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Modifing `66 Nova wheel wells

V-6 Camaros rule!
Posts: 28
Joined: 03/12
Posted: 02/23/13 06:39 AM

Modifing rear wheel well.    Got a `66 Nova and trying to put 27 or 28 inch tires on the back. I`ve got 26'' now with only 3/4 '' clearance to fender well up front with 235/60/15 on there now. Is this something that is done on a regular basis? Or should I forget about it. How is the well modified and is the cost worth it? shriker  

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I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 1718
Joined: 09/11
Posted: 02/23/13 06:10 PM


If your quarter panels have a lip rolled into them. Here is what we did. I say we my buddy had experience with this. I purchased a '66 ChevyII in 1970. It was a race car all it's life. I needed more tire also. The car was never cut, but the factory quarter panel had a lip to give it strength and also so it didn't cut the sidewall of the tires up.

We cut the lip from the quarter panel. Then blew the tires up I was going to use, as hard as I could. I took a 2"-or 2.1/2" pipe and rolled the pipe between the quarter panel and the tire i was using. (They do it on Cup cars to get tire clearance). Doing this a few times the quarter panel edge took the shape I needed.

With the piece of the quarter panel lip I removed I cut it in half. Tack welded it back to the remaining quarter panel, to give it some strength. My buddy did the rest of the little bit of body work. When I painted the car you would never know what I had done the tire bulge looked natural to the way the quarter panel was kicked out. )I did that in 1970). I sold the ChevyII 2 years ago with the same quarters. But I'm not the resident Body Expert.
  Matt: (AKA Idrivejunk) is the GURU body man on CHP. Stay around maybe he'll give us some advice.

Bob Aka-pepsi1  

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I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 5119
Joined: 12/09
Posted: 02/23/13 07:50 PM

Howdy Bob and Shrike. I have not done this modification on this body before. Each car is a little different though, and my advice would apply to any car made the same way.

I have found on most bodies that when you have clearance at the lip and frame, you may still have problems with outer sidewalls contacting the outer wheelhouse when the spring is loaded down. Thats usually the limiting factor for me. If the issue is at the outer wheelhouse - to- quarter flange, theres quite a bit you can usually gain and this is the order I would work in for that-

Decide first whether you are willing to hurt the paint and/or make a wave in the quarter.

Not willing to create visible damage? OK-

Use the pipe, like Bob said. Or an old baseball bat, in my neighborhood. Wood won't scratch as bad but you might tear up the bat. You may need friends to put in the open trunk or on the rear bumper in just the right amount to bend the steel as the car moves and rolls the pipe between lip and tire. Beeee Caaaaaarefullll, watch that whole quarter.

There is also a tool available from Eastwood that bolts to the wheel hub and uses an adjustable arm and skateboard wheel-looking plastic roller to do the job with more control and with the wheel off. We have it at the shop I work at.

Thats all you can really do without hurting anything. You could also grind any sharps off the inside of the flange and touch up the paint after the above methods. I have had some luck using a 3lb shot-filled plastic dead blow mallet on the inside to fine-tune after rolling the lip. Best to back up the quarter with a rag-wrapped 2x4 on the outside, if you're gonna beat on the inside lip. You can only bend paint so far before it cracks.

If tearing up the paint is OK and just the flange is hitting, you can drill out the spotwelds and reshape the lip with a hammer and dolly then re-weld and trim so its really smooth and won't cut tire.

Or you can leave it welded and do the same- bend, trim, smooth. You may not gain as much as if you seperated the two panels. This is usually enough, because you end up hitting inside the wheelhouse, higher up. Then you get into modifying the wheelwells, or tubbing.

My favorite solution is to concentrate on getting the exact wheel back spacing to locate the tire for maximum clearance, and my best tip is to have the tire/wheel you want to use installed when the modifications are made. To eliminate guesswork.  

Hope theres something you can use in all that!  Smile  If you show me where the interference ends up, I can offer more suggestions.  

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