As we go along this process, the parts change alignment; sometimes very slightly and unnoticeable. Then when you go to hang your back up, nothing fits. The doors won’t close correctly. The hood and trunk seem to have large gaps on one side and rub on the other. This is a big pain in the butt that plagues all body shop technicians and it just goes with the job.
In my projects I rarely have this problem. In an earlier article, I briefly described a process that I use to ensure that my body panels line up exactly the way they did before I removed them. Even by removing the doors and the hinges, aligning them back up again has always been a breeze. I used a relatively simple method and implemented simple 1/8" dowels at the time. To my knowledge, I don’t believe anybody else uses this particular method. Anyway, recently I thought the whole process could be even easier if there was just some kind of alignment tool kit out there that I could use.
After doing a little research, I couldn’t find one on the market, so I decided to make my own. To make other people’s lives easier, I had my Rich Evans Alignment Tool Kit produced and distributed. The tool kit comes with three 1/8" drill bits of varying lengths and six stainless steel 1/8" dowels of varying lengths. You need to use the correct length of drill bit and dowel depending on the type of vehicle being repaired. These dowels also have handles to make them easier to work with.
The procedure is simple. Using a door as an example, first open the door and locate the hinges. Before removing the bolts, drill two holes using the 1/8" drill bit. Make sure that the bit is long enough to drill through the hinge, door, and mounting bracket.
Then when realigning the door, insert the dowels into the 1/8" holes. The door should mount back to exactly the same position, tighten the bolts and you are done. What could be easier than that. The beauty of this tool kit is that it will work on virtually any vehicle and will help align almost anything mounted on a hinge.
I’ve also been working on another accessory – my new DA hangers. There’s no real way to store your DAs other than throwing them on some shelf somewhere or if you are like me, you store them in the largest drawer of your tool box. The problem with this is that over time the pads of your DAs get damaged and warped.
If your pad is warped, you no longer have a true surface to sand with. This could cause low or high spots in your body work. Another problem that really bugs me, is that your tool box or work area gets cluttered up very fast. With my DA hangers, you can finally have a nice organized toolbox or work area, and your DAs stay in great condition.