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1955 Ford Part 32: Hood Installation

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

Prepping and Installing the Hood

We are just about to the point in this process when we can begin reassembling the front end sheet metal. The hood and both front fenders have been in storage in the basement since they received their final coat of clear, but they were still waiting for a final wetsand and buff before being re-installed. This post will only concern the hood. The fenders can have their own post since what we are archiving graphically will take up a lot of room. As you scroll below you can see the three videos attached to this post - while some of the information is redundant, the material gives you a good idea of what I am up against here.

The hood looked good from a distance but it did have some nibs and other blemishes

To begin this process I laid out the body panels on stands in the basement and set up a lot of paper underneath (not just to catch the water but the crud we were cutting also) along with good lighting. I gathered my sandpaper in grits of 1000, 1500, 2000, 2500, and 3000 to get going on smoothing things down. There was not much orange peel but there were a number of places with nibs showing. With three coats of clear on the panels I was not too concerned about ever cutting through back down to the color.

Once the hood was buffed, I flipped it over and began the masking process so that I could apply spray adhesive to hold the insulation to the underside. I was considering insulating up front, like most cars have these days but decided against it since there was so much slope to the panel and it would be very close to the radiator. I did decide to cover whole panel at the rear. With a low profile air cleaner I did not think this to be a problem. I had already purchased a 4x5 foot sheet of insulation from wholesale supplier and made sure that I cut a template from paper first before cutting the sheet to size for the hood.

After it was test-fitted I used the good adhesive from 3M and applied it to the backside of the insulation and the hood panel itself. I am very happy with the results.

I am ashamed to say I have to close to 24 total hours in this hood alone, and it is not laser straight. After all that work I decided to live with a few imperfections. If I was doing a show car I would have begun with a different hood altogether but for this build this hood will have to do.

Before I employed the help of my 14 year old son to install the hood on the car I prepared the seal that goes along the length of the panel at the top of the firewall. It was laid out, taped into position, trimmed for the right length, and then secured with 3M sealant and screws. The original seal was actually nailed into position but I would think that was because of assembly time constraints - nailing 6 quick pieces of hardware would have been a whole lot quicker back then than using several screws.

When it was time to install the hood, I prepared the 6 bolts ahead of time (Make sure they are the right length! If you use body bolts that are found around most of the car, they will be too long and will damage your sheet metal!) and placed them within easy reach. We put a couple of clean blankets along the length of the body at the top of the firewall so as not scratch anything in case we dropped the rear of the hood. The process from the basement to the tightening down of all 6 bolts was pretty seamless. I did use the placement holes we drilled over 2 years ago when this hood was removed but I remembered that even back then the hood didn't fit quite right and of course I found out again how bad it was when we started making adjustments. There are a few photos to show the issues and two videos that show both sides.

Once the hood was bolted to the hinges and adjusted good enough for the time being, I dug out the latch panel, installed it, and then gathered the hardware for the latch and pin. You can see in the photo below that the stud for the pin was seized in the threads at the plate that bolts to the latch panel. It had to be heated to be removed and cleaned, but everything turned out as it should and the hood closed well with good gaps on either side. Remembering that the hood latch panel actually goes on top of the fender lips on both sides, I only installed one bolt per side to attach the panel to the air dams. If you can tell in the photos I am beginning to use that Rust Prevention Magic pretty religiously as all pieces of hardware are cleaned and coated with that stuff.

I was surprised to find that both sides of the hood had great gaps between the edges of the and the inner fenders. These distances were dead on and had the same measurements. Hopefully that will translate to good gaps once the fenders are installed.

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