Posted by: Mark Polk | 2015

71 Power Wagon – Tackling the Hood

When I first removed the hood I noticed that one hood hinge had 5 shims on the upper bolt and the other side had 4 shims on the upper bolt, so I knew it would be a challenge re-installing the hood and getting the lines and height straight. Especially when the old hood didn’t close properly and in more than half the Sweptline truck pictures you see the hood doesn’t close right. I also noticed some play in the driver’s side hinge so I picked up a used set of hood hinges that were in a little better shape.

hood painted completeThe first thing I did was clean, sand, primer and paint the hood hinges. I used my favorite POR cast iron paint again. Earlier in the project I fixed some small dents in the hood and sanded, primed and painted it. The hardest part of prepping the hood for paint was the underside because of years of grime and grease getting eveywhere. When I painted the fabricated winch bumper with a darker shade of paint I decided to paint the raised center section of the hood the same color for an accent color on the truck.

hood hinge on 71 dodge truckModern day hoods don’t seem to require as much adjustment as the older hoods, and since I am not an experienced bodyman by trade I knew it would be a challenge. There are 5 bolt holes on the hood hinges (2 that go in the hood itself and 3 that go on the body) and all 5 are adjustable. The first step was to get the hood in position and start some bolts. My son and my wife came to the shop to help with this part. With gthe hood back on the truck, and no scratched paint so far, I started experimenting with the adjustments. The first problem was the back of the hood was raised up too high and it did not go far enough back towards the cowl. When I removed the hood I labeled all the bolts and 2 of them (labeled as top hood hinge bolts) had the shims taped the bolts. This is why it pays to label things when you take it apart.

hood on 1971 Dodge Power WagonI started by shimming the top hood hinge bolts with 2 washers on each side. I noticed the back of the hood lowered with the shims, but not enough so I added a third washer to both sides. With the lines between the hood and the fenders looking better the next problem was the rear of the hood was too far from the cowl and it was raised higher than the cowl. I tried tightening the hinge bolts just tight enough to hold the hood in place and then using my weight to press down on the rear of the hood. It would go into place, but when I raised the hood just far enough to really snug the bolts it still had the same problem. I always use chalk to mark the current location on the hinges so I can at least get it back to the most recent adjustment if things really get out of whack. I tried just about everything, but nothing seeded to work. Then for no good reason I decided to leave 4 of the bolts snug and only loosen the bottom hinge bolt that goes into a bracket mounted on the fender. With that bolt loose and the other four tight I picked up on the hinge and tightened the bolt at the same time. This adjustment lowered the rear of the hood and lined things up with the cowl.

It still needs some fine tuning, but I’m sure I can get it aligned now so I went ahead and installed the hood latch and the safety catch.

Now it’s onto the LED Light Bar Project. I’ll keep you posted.

Read about the full build HERE

Mark Polk

Auto Education 101

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