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Aligning hood/headlights

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Old 01-30-16, 01:10 PM
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Aligning hood/headlights

Hey guys -

One thing that has bugged me for YEARS on my car is the hood and headlight gap has never been that great. I'm always jealous seeing FD's with dead perfect gaps all the way around the headlight.

There has to be a "factory style" way to align everything. I'm sure the assembly line didn't take a day to loosen, check, tighten, loosen again, check, etc. over and over again.

I have found one big lie in the shop manual. For hood alignment, you have to loosen the bolts that hold the hood hinges to the car, which are under the fenders. There is a good amount of adjustment on those holes. The shop manual shows the hood to hinge nuts as an adjustment point - there is so little adjustment there (just the clearance slop in the hole) it's not worth fooling with.

I'm also having problems with finding an alignment that's good but also allows the headlight to not touch the hood when the headlights are up. My driver's side has rubbed for a while. Bringing the headlight to the raised position the gap there just disappears.

Right now I have the fenders and nose off the car, trying to get the hood and headlights happy, then start on the fenders.

Anyone have any tricks or advice? I've burned a LOT of time messing with this and feel like I'm missing something.

Thanks!
Dale
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Old 01-30-16, 08:34 PM
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Dale - Have you thought about Sleepy Eye Setup. I did that for a while and they look pretty good.
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Old 01-31-16, 02:15 AM
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My driver side headlight rubs when it goes up and down too. I would love to find a solution.

In addition to that, I am also having a gap problem and cant get the hood and bumper to line up. The gap between hood and front bumper is larger on my passenger side. Looks like the hood closes deeper on the driver side. I tried adding a piece of wood/towel under the closed hood on the driver side overnight to see if it readjust itself but it didn't work. I have gone from the 93 to the 99 bumper and still have the same gap problem..so it has to be the hood and/or fender.
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Old 01-31-16, 05:54 AM
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have you tried aligning the bonnet with the headlights up so you know they wont rub?

maybe your cars been in a accident once in its life and been repaired.
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Old 01-31-16, 03:36 PM
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I have the same problem I think my car was in an accident because I don't have enough adjustment to get a perfect gap all around.
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Old 01-31-16, 05:54 PM
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the panel gap specs are in the FSM, which is neat because you can then make a little tool and then your gaps are correct, and its easy and quick.

so with the FD step 1 is the fenders. there are two holes in the fenders that are/were covered with a little piece of tape (oval for 93-94, and square 95+, installed before paint but after primer). these holes are the factory alignment holes for the fenders, there is a hole in the body, and so you just need a round thing to go in both holes and this lines them up and then you can tighten the fenders down and on a perfect car you'd be done. on an imperfect car you should be really close. i have a pair of 9mm deep sockets that fit in the holes really nicely, but its not too important what you use as long as you have one in each hole.

mazda's gap spec is 4.5mm +/- 1mm, and i found what i believe is an old shingle that is 4.5mm at one end and tapers at the other. its about 70mm x 50mm x 4.5mm. you need two of these. i drew it up in CAD, and have thought about 3D printing them, but real life being real life, haven't gotten to it yet

the next step is to get the fender to door clearance and you use the shim/tool to do this, again with something in the gap, getting it right becomes easy.

then we move on to the hood. put it on and you want the adjustment to be snug enough not to move around too much, but loose enough you can move it. put your shims between the hood/fender and adjust as needed. if you need to move the hinge, the FC you need to take the fender off to move the hinge, which makes it either really laborious, or really hard, i made a little bracket that simulated the fender. if you can move the hinge with the fender on in the FD, you're lucky! i'd suggest loosening both at the same time. once you get side to side, get the front to back.

after that you need to check the hood latch alignment.

then the headlights. there really must have been some jig at the factory because getting these lined up is just not easy. the rear isn't too bad, but the front either needs the bumper off or the headlight assembly to come out. doesn't help that its a compound curve...
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Old 02-01-16, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by j9fd3s View Post
the panel gap specs are in the FSM, which is neat because you can then make a little tool and then your gaps are correct, and its easy and quick.

so with the FD step 1 is the fenders. there are two holes in the fenders that are/were covered with a little piece of tape (oval for 93-94, and square 95+, installed before paint but after primer). these holes are the factory alignment holes for the fenders, there is a hole in the body, and so you just need a round thing to go in both holes and this lines them up and then you can tighten the fenders down and on a perfect car you'd be done. on an imperfect car you should be really close. i have a pair of 9mm deep sockets that fit in the holes really nicely, but its not too important what you use as long as you have one in each hole.

mazda's gap spec is 4.5mm +/- 1mm, and i found what i believe is an old shingle that is 4.5mm at one end and tapers at the other. its about 70mm x 50mm x 4.5mm. you need two of these. i drew it up in CAD, and have thought about 3D printing them, but real life being real life, haven't gotten to it yet

the next step is to get the fender to door clearance and you use the shim/tool to do this, again with something in the gap, getting it right becomes easy.

then we move on to the hood. put it on and you want the adjustment to be snug enough not to move around too much, but loose enough you can move it. put your shims between the hood/fender and adjust as needed. if you need to move the hinge, the FC you need to take the fender off to move the hinge, which makes it either really laborious, or really hard, i made a little bracket that simulated the fender. if you can move the hinge with the fender on in the FD, you're lucky! i'd suggest loosening both at the same time. once you get side to side, get the front to back.

after that you need to check the hood latch alignment.

then the headlights. there really must have been some jig at the factory because getting these lined up is just not easy. the rear isn't too bad, but the front either needs the bumper off or the headlight assembly to come out. doesn't help that its a compound curve...
I have heard about the holes in the fender and body to line it up but if I do line it up I still don't have enough adjustment as the bolts hit the inner lip of the fender before the holes are lined up. Actually thinking about it if they did use the holes and a tool to align the fender how did they cover them with tape once it was all bolted up since the fender is in the way?
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Old 02-02-16, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by turboIIrotary View Post
I have heard about the holes in the fender and body to line it up but if I do line it up I still don't have enough adjustment as the bolts hit the inner lip of the fender before the holes are lined up. Actually thinking about it if they did use the holes and a tool to align the fender how did they cover them with tape once it was all bolted up since the fender is in the way?
the holes i'm talking about are on the same flange as the top fender bolts, so they put fender on. put tool in the holes to line everything up, bolt the fender down, primer the car, cut tape into circles, put it over the holes and then paint the car.

car in picture is missing the tape, so you can clearly see the holes i'm talking about. keep in mind that Mazda built every FD basically the same, so this one missing the tape has been painted.
Attached Thumbnails Aligning hood/headlights-l1000343.jpg  
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Old 12-07-17, 01:58 PM
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Did you ever figure out the issue and how to adjust the covers?
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Old 12-07-17, 03:08 PM
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If you are having trouble aligning things check the alignement of the chassis, it may not be possible to have a perfect alignment. At least you'll know where the problem lies. From the Body Shop Manual:







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Old 12-07-17, 03:42 PM
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Nope, never got that far into it. I messed around with it a good deal but no conclusive answers.

I'm waiting until the Someday Big Paint Job on my car.

Dale
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