How to align body panels?

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Aug 7, 2006
Portland Oregon
What is the best or correct method for aligning body panels on a FJ40. Specifically if I align the front grill between the frame rails and if I align the hood to the cowl my hood sits about an inch over to the divers side. Do I need to shift the tub over to bring it in? Any suggestions on how to square it up. Hope this make sense.
I use a BFH for my alignment needs!

good luck
What we do in the shop. Check the frame for square. Check the tub for square mounting on the frame. Use a level to insure all panels are mounted as you go forward. Mount the fenders, check for square and level. Mount the front bib, check for level. Mount the hood. Realize that you are dealing with a vehicle that has some miles on it. You could easily have distortions in the panels that you won't see, but will exaggerate at you move foreward on the chassis. Don
The factory in Japan didn't care too much about how the various panels "matched up" to one another. I think it is fair for me to say this because I've owned my Japan-assembled BJ40 for 27 years, I'm 99% sure it has never been pranged (there was only a couple of years before I bought it for that to happen and I've seen no evidence), and the panels have never matched up perfectly.

Some of us "fussy old bastards" want a better "look" than the factory achieved. -- I don't resort to using a level or tape measure to achieve this but prefer instead to just use "my eye".

Here's how I tweaked my freshly painted LH guard/fender into the best position I could get - which I reckon was better than the factory achieved. (The skirting panel used to jutt too far forward from the end of the bonnet/hood but now it fits much better.)

guard 065.jpg

Off the subject - The high-lift jack looks virtually unused because it is! I got sucked into buying one (by peer pressure) but now I'd never bother taking it off-road cos I reckon the standard jack is far superior. (Why people like these monstrosities for lifting wheels off the deck is beyond me. They're too heavy. They take up too much space inside/outside a vehicle. You must lift the chassis way too high in order to a wheel off the ground. Nowhere on a standard 40 is strong enough to attach it to (without modification). And when you do get a wheel off the ground, the whole thing is usually "teetering precariously". The have "poser value" more than anything else ..... End of rant)

But as you can see, I'm not selling the high-lift because I've found it does have good alternative uses.

guard 065.jpg
Stock jack won't get your ass out of a three foot snowdrift!
Not if your entire frame was sittin on snow...that's a lotta shoveling!
when your are aligning the panels on your fj, first make sure your tub is even from side to side on the frame (assuming your frame is straight).then install the hood and align it to the cowl with the same gap on both sides. then you can build the nose/front section from there aligning to the hood. when your hanging the doors remove the striker and align. when you have nice gaps then reinstall the striker and adjust it to the door. click! good luck.
Body Alignment

I did 2 restos down to the last nut and bolt . To assemble / align the front end body components, it was necessary to loosen all the body mounts and tweek everything into place for a straight fit. Good luck.
I did 2 restos down to the last nut and bolt . To assemble / align the front end body components, it was necessary to loosen all the body mounts and tweek everything into place for a straight fit. Good luck.

Had to do the same thing. My tub and bib installed looked fine till I set the hood. Had to go back and loosen up all the new body mounts and pull the passenger side of the tub forward about a 1/4 inch to get the hood to sit straight.


That answers my question. I thought I might need to shift the tub a little. So I ordered some new body mounts. Might as well knock that out while I am there. Thanks Wes

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