Author Topic: Hood Latch  (Read 3417 times)

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Offline Rockford

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Hood Latch
« on: May 07, 2020, 06:56:40 PM »
Hey gang.  First time poster, long time reader of this informative site!

Question.  Is there a way to adjust the height of the hood latch?  Primarily to lower it a tad?  A friend of mine suggested doing this, as the driver's side corner of my hood is slightly higher.  I really don't want to mess with any hinges if at all possible, so he suggested trying this first and also greasing of the springs.  The latter I have done repeatedly, and by the way, the stoppers on each side seem to be at correct height, too.  When I press on the hood where it is raised, the hood then hits the stopper and looks flush with the fender.  Suggestions?

Proud owner of a '78 Trans Am for 28 years now.

Offline RENOVATIONS

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Re: Hood Latch
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2020, 09:28:01 PM »
the driver's side corner of my hood is slightly higher.

Is it higher at the front or rear of the hood?

If it's the rear, adjusting the hinge should help (I know you didn't want to hear that).

If necessary. I guess you could try lowering the latch by putting shims/washers beneath the mounting points.

The hood isn't tweaked/bent, is it?
Even though they seem correct, have you tried adjusting the hood stops?

And welcome! Congrats on a long ownership, too
Jeff

Projects:
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1978 Trans Am
1970 Camaro
1970 'Cuda

Offline Aus78Formula

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Re: Hood Latch
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2020, 09:47:43 PM »
As above, there's always the possibility that the hood isn't perfectly straight and parallel or that the fenders and nose have been setup perfectly either. Everything is always a matter of adjusting to the best outcome of compromise. If the hood rear at the springs sits nice, and the hood latch and one corner line up, then any further adjustment for the last corner will start to undo one of the others. Yes, you can shim the latch to pull the centre of the hood down, but it can't be raised. Likewise, you can raise the front corners by unthreading the bumpers but they can't be lowered once the hood lose contact. Be aware that the amount you shim in the centre will be far more at the corners. The latch it basically a pivot point. Looking at the hood latch you'll see it mounted using 3 bolts screwed through the radiator support into the latch housing. Undoing them, and adding the thinnest 3 washers you can find will see the hood centre come down when closed. Do it very gradually. That will also bring the nose centre down at the hood, but perhaps being even both sides is better than just one and a touch low in centre. Easy to undo if looks worse.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2020, 09:55:21 PM by Aus78Formula »

Offline Rockford

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Re: Hood Latch
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2020, 02:03:12 PM »
Many thanks for your replies and suggestions!  Also, sorry for the oversight on neglecting to mention exactly where on my hood the problem exists.  It is indeed, the front driver's side at the front end of the car.

Funny, though, as I am mechanically inclined, (should I have the tools), but give me body work or electrical issues and I'm usually at a loss.

Thanks for confirming for me that there is a way to lower my hood latch.  I looked at it several times and also came to the conclusion that outside of using shims, there was really no other option available.  Speaking of the hood latch, I have read that many people have to use the "two pull" maneuver to completely open their hoods.  I've always had success with pulling it once.  Is that an indicator that my latch is set properly and that it is taut, but not too tight?  Meaning that there is room for adjustment without having to worry about it not opening for me at all?  Thanks also for letting me know that if I do choose to go the hood latch adjustment route, that to proceed with the bare minimal at first.  Seems to be the case with any type of body work apparently.  I do have very thin washers, thankfully.

By the way, I looked at my hinges and noticed that both sides have completely different set-ups on them.  I can only assume that this was not a factory setting.  I have read that these F-body cars often go out of whack and are a bugger to align (fenders, panels,...etc).  Perhaps it's a minor issue to contend with knowing that we own such beautiful machines as we all do to this day.

I'll add a foot-note to my problem.  Two weeks ago after washing the car, my wife began to close the hood.  I was about 5 feet away and noticed as it came to the halfway point, the hood seemed to be slightly higher at that pivot point where my problem exists.  We closed the hood completely and noticed that there was a discrepancy between the two sides of the shaker scoop and the hood.  Upon measuring it, I learned that the passenger side is 1/2 closer to the shaker scoop (in terms of height) than the drivers side.  Now is where it gets weird.

If I close the hood with slightly more force, the hood looks fine.  The moment the hood starts to lift on the driver's side is when I may inadvertently hit a good bump in the road, or if I'm on the highway with a good head wind.  I'm not sure if this bit of info complicates things further, or assists in solving it, but I thought it was worthy to mention.  Maybe my hood is warped to a certain degree as previously mentioned.

I would upload a photo of my hood, but I don't know how to accomplish that.  Same for a photo for my avatar.

Thanks again!     

Offline Aus78Formula

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Re: Hood Latch
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2020, 10:52:11 PM »
Sounds like potentially the hinge on the lifted side is a bit worn or still and is acting as a follower for the other hinge. Once hood is closed it is still just slightly behind the other in angle. These hoods, being so long and heavy, can end up with a curve over their length that starts in the centre where the bracing ends, designed to bend there in large impacts. But as hinges get stiff and people opening and closing them incorrectly, it transfers all the force elsewhere.

To overcome the hinges without damage, you need to pull the hood forwards and up to opening, and push the hood back and then down to close, once it starts moving it's fine. Maybe with the hood in a few different open positions just to wiggle it back and forth and see if one hinge moves before the other each time.

Shims won't affect hood latch operation in this instance. Only needing to pull the cable once could be a sign of the latch mechanism gummed up or slightly out of alignment so the second stage doesn't engage the hood. That can be either from the latch being off-centre or a twist in the hood making it won't to close next to the latch but pulled across with the housing taper.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2020, 10:58:38 PM by Aus78Formula »

Offline Rockford

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Re: Hood Latch
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2020, 09:06:40 AM »
Hmm,...interesting!  Right after reading your comments I went and opened and closed the hood several times.  It does look as though when lifted to the utmost highest position, that right at the end of its travel, the hood veers from the driver's side towards the passenger side slightly.  I gather even the slightest movement can make a world of difference when closing as well?  To think I have greased the hinges on a somewhat regular basis, too.

I wasn't aware that there was a proper and improper way of opening and closing of the hood.  Generally when I open, I tend to lift it up from the center.  However, lately when closing, I place both hands at the hoods most outward left and right points.  Hopefully I'm doing it correctly, if not, please let me know.

Offline RENOVATIONS

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Re: Hood Latch
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2020, 02:13:49 PM »
and push the hood back and then down to close, once it starts moving it's fine.

That's how I've always done it...the hoods are so long and somewhat flimsy that I feel this method just aids in the hood in it's movement without causing any undue flex.

As for the hood release...many say a single pull is normal but every single one I've owned has been a pull to release..then push down hood slightly and give a 2nd pull to overcome the catch before raising.
I feel a properly working latch mechanism incorporates that 2nd pull as a fail safe to prevent the hood from flying open at speed if the initial catch fails...
Jeff

Projects:
_____________
1978 Trans Am
1970 Camaro
1970 'Cuda

Offline Rockford

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Re: Hood Latch
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2020, 05:23:29 PM »
My bad.  I understand what you guy's mean now with the opening and closing of the hood.  It initially went right past me when I first read it for some odd reason.  I shall do this from now on.

Thanks!