A-Body Trunk Filler Panel Installation Tips
So now that you have removed your trunk filler panel and prepared the area for the new one, here are a few basic things to check before you begin joining metal. We are fortunate to have options for replacement panels for GM A-Body cars – many others doing restoration have a much more limited set of options (like donor car or hand-fab). One thing to be careful of is make sure you have the correct trunk filler panel for your installation. Not all GM A Body trunk filler panels are the same, although they appear to be! Some people complain about the reproduction panel not fitting well and believe it is a poorly manufactured one only to find out they received the wrong part so naturally it doesn’t fit well. It is also a fact of life that your new panel may require some adjustment (as did the one in this case).
Dry fitting exposes any adjustments required and in this case the passenger side break between the quarter panel and trunk filler panel was off, so it had to be re-bent to provide a good seam with the quarter. ALWAYS lay your stainless trim in the window channel to ensure that the panel is positioned properly because this gap will be very visible.
Once you are satisfied with the fit, punch or drill your plug weld holes and then spray the joint side of the panel edge with weld through primer. Prepare the weld surfaces on the body in the same way and then get as many clamps as you can to hold the panel in position.
It is best to plug weld from the center of the panel out to each edge, cooling the welds along the way. Kiss the plug welds with your Dynablade or grinder to flatten the plug welds and then seam seal, prime and you have finished the job – see, it wasn’t that difficult!