Lower Control Arms and F-Panels

I got the lower control arms installed. This first step reminded me that this is not a production vehicle with tight tolerances. Those arms required some persuasion to get into the frame mounted tabs!

Next step was to prep and mount the f-panels. They required some deburring and trimming, particularly on the driver’s side top forward point, to get them properly aligned. I pondered long and hard how I wanted to tackle the aluminum in the kit… powder coat, leave raw, paint? Ultimately, I decided I wanted a brushed aluminum look. Taking some tips from the Factory Five Forum, I “brushed” the panels with some Scotchbrite pads using long linear strokes. After cleaning them up, I installed some rivet nuts on their trailing edges using a really cool wrench-driven tool. The rivet nuts will make attaching the f-panels to the adjacent panels easier in the future. To curb any oxidation or corrosion, I rubbed on a product called Sharkhide. It is usually used to preserve aluminum boat pontoons.

Finally, setting the first rivets was a family affair with my wife, Monica, doing a few while the kids watched. I used clear GE Silicon II between the panels and frame.