Houston, We've Got A Problem....Anyone Agree

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I've had my bird since August of 2001. I've looked at it quite a bit and thought I was thorough until yesterday.

I was having it washed and noticed the "rough metal" rails under the doors that are exposed and not covered by molding.

My opinion is that they should be covered by molding or maybe a chrome strip. The designers should have tucked that thing under the car or out of sight so that it is not apparent from the curb.

You can see the same thing on the screen saver JODROD posted with the red vehicle. It is painted and it is rough metal.

Given the good ideas others have had in this forum, what should we do about this? Has anyone noticed this flaw? Would making a chrome strip to match the car and cover this area be a good idea?? Does it move like a part of the suspension?

If it does move, I see flaring out the molding at the bottom sides or hanging hard black rubber off the sides would have solved the problem.

Comments please.

Triple Black #1049

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My only comment on this is that I have mentioned this from the day I bought my car. No good reasons for it that we have actually figured out and so far no good ideas to "fix" it. I think it looks completely unfinished.
totally agree. was thinking about having a chrome cover (or silver to match the NM top and trim) made for it. I'll bet the custom bird has this area covered.

neiman vin#00035
delivered October 4, 2001
Why?? Does this thing have some reason why it could not be covered??? Fortunately, my black bird is not as obvious as a colored one but I just can't figure it out.

The car has to be far enough away or elevated somewhat to really notice.

We have got to engineer a solution. I am thinking of putting a nice finished rubber piece over it with some epoxy.

Triple Black #1049
rt2esq are you talking about the ugly pinch weld flange at the bottom of the rocker panels? As shown in this photo?
http://photos.groups.yahoo.c om/group/newtbirddata/vwp?.dir=/New_Rides/NM10020000002&.dnm=at+Neiman+Marcus+Willow-Bend.jpg&.src=gr&.view=t&.hires=t

This weld flange has been a Ford design hallmark on its unitized body cars for over 20 years.
It is where the steel rocker panel stampings are spot welded to the floor pan of the body. On some models it is positioned further back under the body and is not as noticeable as it is on the new Bird.

Several solutions come to mind:

The best, most elegant (and most expensive) way to get rid of it would be to have a body shop bend the flange, folding it over to the inside and flattening it out along the body pan of the car. A little grinding, maybe some filler and some paint and it's gone!

Another solution, cheaper & easier but not as thorough would be to lightly scuff up the pinchweld flange with some 400 grit wet or dry and paint it FLAT black. That way it won't be as noticeable. Many Ford vehicles of the past have used this approach to hide this unsightly area.

One could take another approach and further finish this area. It would involve grinding, filling, smoothing and priming this area. The body shop would then repaint it the same glossy color as the rest of the body. The flange would still be there, but it would look well finished like the rest of the car.

I would argue against a chrome strip along this area, as it will call attention to this ugly part of the car, rather than cover it up.

Another technique, which I don't seriously recommend, would to apply a ground effects moulding to the lower rocker panel area of the car, like on the Mustang GTs of the late 80's and early 90's. Personally, I think this would be an abortion.
It would ruin the sleek, gracefull lines of the new Bird. It is, however, another possibility.


I had a Datsun quite a few years back that had the same weld joint/strip. I was able to bend it back towards the center of the car and it was no longer noticable, however, I would not try this with my Bird, maybe have a professional do it though. Anyway, on the black car you have to be looking for it for it to be noticed.

Great suggestions. Hallmark???? You'd think they would have done something with it similar to what you've suggested.

Will bending it inward cause any problems with the vehicle's performance??

Triple Black #1049


I can't believe this is acceptable to you given the details your bird now has with the bezel and wheels. Isn't this a major flaw that will get noticed as people give your ride a good viewing?

Triple Black #1049

Bending over the flange should have little effect on the Birds structural integrity, since the flange and welds are left intact. One would want to be sure that the bend is even and symetrical along the line of the bend to prevent the development of stress cracks due to any uneveness. If anything, bending the flange should increase the ridigity of the body structure. Thats is why they corrigate sheet metal panels - less flex with no weight increase. (Remember the corrigated alunimum panels used on the old Ford Trimotor aircraft?)

I would certainly want a professional body shop to do the work. It is not a job for the average owner who doesn't have bodywork experience.

As for Ford's failure to deal with the problem, I guess it's just a matter of $ and time. The TBird, after all, is priced at $35-40K MSRP. In a limited production vehicle like the Bird they have to do some things we might not like to keep the cost to a manageable level. Otherwise, they might well end up with an albatross like the Mark II Continental. Let us know if you try any of the solutions I've postulated.

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