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Replacing Front Fender On My 76?


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So a while back when my car what parked along a street it was hit and the front left fender was smashed and completely dented. i have just found a fender on craigslist near me for 60 dollars with no rust and i am thinking about picking it up. but i know nothing about body work. my question is does anyone know anything about the procedure it would take to just swap it out with the smashed one.? does it unbolt or would i have to weld?

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Front fender replacement: 

 

First, carefully cut the spot welds at the seam above the headlight.  If the fender is original, that seam is leaded on the outside; if it's been replaced, it's most likely bondoed, or just left plain, as it is below the headlight.  If it's leaded, it's best to melt the lead out, then cut/drill the spot weld so you don't damage the flange on the nose panel that the fender is welded to.  Fortunately this is the only welded spot on the fender. 

 

Unbolt the rubber bellows from both the fender and the bumper--you'll need it out of your way to R&R the fender.

 

Next, unbolt the hood support rod from the fender top, and prop the hood open with a broomstick or similar.

 

Remove the parking light, disconnect (and mark) the two wires.  You can remove the wire grommet, drain and the side reflector later.

There are two bolts on the lower front edge, more along the fender top (under the hood) and along the trailing edge, underneath the fender.  Remove 'em all, doublecheck to insure you've removed all the bolts, and carefully pull the fender loose.  It's stuck in place with now 35-year-old + sealer so it may take some gentle prying to pop it loose.

 

Installation is the reverse of removal.  Take advantage of the removed fender to check for rust underneath, and don't forget to use sealer between fender and body.  And you have an opportunity to learn how to spot weld and lead a seam, too.  Otherwise, have a body shop do these two tasks. 

 

Have fun.

mike

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