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Discussion Starter #21
12/16/2018
Progress has been non-existent on the Mustang for many weeks. Life, business, family, health, each seem to conspire to prevent me from working in the shop. Over the last week or so I finally got out there and worked to cut out the worst of the rust rot. I decided that since I was this far into it already, there was no reason to cut corners. The DS floor was already rusted through, the firewall had noticeable rust, and the PS floor shows a little rust at the front. Might as well go big or go home! (Wait - I am home! I guess it is GO BIG!) It took multiple plasma cutting sessions to get it all cut out, but the entire front frame and the DS Floor is now completely gone. It is going to take quite a while to finish prepping the various surfaces to receive the new sheet metal.









I ordered new panels from . . . a well known vendor. The firewall looks great. The floor panels concern me a bit. They are not the same quality. I'll let you know how they turn out to fit. I hope I can get in an prepare all the surfaces a bit more in the next couple of weeks.

Just in case I don't get back to post here again in the next couple of weeks, Merry Christmas to you all!
 

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Discussion Starter #22
7/7/2019
Bet you thought I gave up! No such luck. Life has conspired to get in the way of progress, but this holiday weekend I finally had the time to get back to working on the Mustang. (It has been an exciting six months, with lots of great things in the process.) In order to really do this build correctly, I had to get the shell on a rotisserie. I have been watching for one for months, not that I had time to buy it, get it, or set it up, I had found several over the months, but they were in poor condition, didn't have all the parts, or wanted a ridiculous amount of money for them. I finally found one yesterday. It is new, complete, and will support 4000 lbs. More than enough for my purposes. i jumped on it, and set it up this morning. (By the way, that is little Abby on the floor. She is now two years old and 70 lbs! Still loves to keep dad company in the garage though!)







I can't actually rotate it yet. Right now it is simply four forks holding up the body. without a front frame, I can't actually attach the body to the rotisserie. For now it is just hanging there, but it is there!
For the first time in six months, I finally applied tools to metal and continued removing the remains of the front firewall. It took two hours and 50 holes drilled to break welds, but I finally got the top piece out.







I have now discovered that I put the two ends of teh rotisserie too close to the body. I am going to have to put the body back on the jackstands, adjust the rotisserie slightly, and then put it back on the rotisserie. Thats Ok. Thats how I learn!!!

Now we enter the dangerous audience participation part of our program. If you are a restoration purist, now is the time to check out. The following is not intended in any way to be a faithful recreation of the original! When I began building my Cobra, I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted to create. (It took me two years of research to create it, but as anyone that has read that thread knows, it morphed a bit, but the end result was almost exactly what I had envisioned.) I was not sure I had the skills to do it, but I knew approximately what I wanted it to look like. With this car, I am have a broad concept, but not a truly clear vision of the how I will make this car my own. Lets face it, there are a million mustangs out there, all of them variations on a basic theme. Since this is a coupe, not the much more popular fastback, from a resale standpoint it is almost valueless. Since i know I am going to put much more money into it than it is worth, I figure I had better get exactly what i want. Problem is, I don't know exactly what that is. I am channeling my best Chip Foose, but failing miserably. The "Elenor" look, though wonderful, may be somewhat played out and not really for the coupe anyway. I have seen a couple coupes try to use some of the pieces, with varying degrees of success. So I am still forming my "vision" for this car. I am starting with an almost clean slate:

-- Pro-Touring look - modern, lowered stance, lower profile tires than original, wider rear tires
-- A modern reinterpretation, not a faithful recreation
-- Modern drivetrain: Coyote Motor, Automatic transmission
-- Air conditioning and heating for year around driving

From there, I am still considering how to make my Mustang special, unique, one of a kind. In short, a worthy stable mate to FlipTop! Have you ever thought, "you know what I have never seen on a Mustang . . . "? I have already considered and nixed several ideas for any number of reasons:

-- NO Gull wing doors. Cool on a Mercedes 300SL, bit not so much on a Mustang.
-- No Lambo doors. Too 1980's and mullets!!
-- No full-blower-up-through-the-hood monstrosity! I plan to drive this car daily!
-- No hydraulics. I am way too old to bounce a car, and it looks silly trying to do it while blaring Spyro Gyra, Coltrane, or even Tower of Power!

I have considered some several ideas:

-- Repurpose the full interior from the 2017 Mustang and use as much of it as possible in the '67. Modern front bucket seats, reuse the gauge cluster, etc. My hesitation is that this is a bit too . . . predictable. It lacks real creativity.
-- A sun roof. I don't think I have ever seen one on a Mustang, which probably means it is a bad idea and/or nobody makes one to fit. Not sure how it would look either. It would have to be shaped like the roof so as not to look like a flat spot, and would have to be fitted into the metalwork very smoothly. Not sure on this one. Cute idea, perhaps, but perhaps just too cute.
-- Full digital dash. Not sure if this could be made to look "right" in a '67 Coupe. I'm not thinking of going full Tesla on it, but not just replacing old gauges with digital replacements either.
-- I would like to replace the wind wing/side window setup with single window that eliminates the windwing. I have heard of this but never seen it.
-- There is a guy here in the Phoenix area that did a mustang coupe and replaced the rear lights with thick, polished, pieces of plexiglass and ran LEDs into them. It was truly interesting to look at. But it's been done. I don't want to steal his idea. I wish I knew who he was, I would like to compliment him on his creativity and execution.

So now it is your turn. Brainstorm with me. What ideas, concepts, visions, etc, would you consider if you were doing this car. What have you thought "Wouldn't that look good on those old mustangs?" Don't worry, no idea is too far afield. The worst I can say is "no way"!!
 

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Discussion Starter #23
7/20/2019
Finally, some real progress! Now that the mustang is out of the way, and the Cobra is safely stored in the third bay of the garage (Covered with both a car cover and plastic sheeting to keep out dust) i could finally take the time to reset the mustang on the rotisserie correctly . . . or as correctly as you can given there is no front frame! I cut out the front of tranny tunnel just forward of where the firewall meets the floor pan. I removed the remaining metal left over from cutting out the existing (and rusted!) firewall. I removed all the torque box pieces except the 45 degree angle pieces of the torque box (and the same support plate on the PS) where the angled portion of the firewall will rest. This way, I know I have the firewall exactly where it was to begin with.

Finally I could remove all the paint, goop, and dried up black snot (sorry about all the technical jargon!!) from the lower inside corners of the front area. I got a five foot stick of 2" square steel with 1/8" walls and welded in a cross bar at the front of the car. This provides a very solid point to which the front of the rotisserie can be attached. With just a bit of fear and trepidation, my faithful assistance (my wife) once again stood by worrying as I spun it for the first time!











It works! I know that this is not a monumental accomplishment, but for me, this is a real step forward in being able to more easily access where I need to work. It is truly cool to be able to see every angle of the car without laying on my back and worrying about being under the car! My bride is happy!! (That's always a WIN!!)
 

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Discussion Starter #24
07/20/2019
Now that I can more easily see everything, I am having to make some decisions about what to do and not do, as well as decisions about timing. Here is what I am thinking (Please give me your ideas if you think I am wrong!!)

Floor Pan: The DS front floor pan completely rusted, and was cut out long ago. I have can now see that with the exception of maybe the first inch or two, the PS front floorpan is in pretty good shape. I am debating if I should it out to match the DS pan, or leave it there. I have both a DS and PS front floor pan, so I am good to go regardless. I also have to decide if I should cut out the front of the Tranny tunnel. I plan to use the Coyote motor and either the eight or ten speed automatic transmission from current Mustangs. I have been warned that the tranny tunnel might have to be modified to accept this larger automatic transmission. here a a few photos of what I am working with:

DS floor already cut out just forward of the seat mount pan:


PS which I may/may not cut out at same point just forward of the seat mount pan:


Underside of the PS front floor pan: I know that the remains of the frame have to be removed if I am going to leave what is left of the PS floor pan. However, If I am going to cut out the entire front floor pan, this frame rail will be removed with the floor pan. I am considering cutting the floor pan at approximately the blue tape line.

So, should i cut out the front floor pan and take out the frame rail with it, or just remove the frame rail from the floor pan?

This transmission support bracket will also likely have to be modified or removed entirely. Should I just cut the entire front floor pan out and remove the tranny bracket with it?


Another challenge is this about 1.5" rub/dent area just aft of the gear shift lever hole. I don't know exactly what caused this, but it is a significantly ground away. It did not go entire through the interior floor of the tranny tunnel, but there is clearly a bulge in the top of the tunnel.

Is this enough reason to just cut out the tunnel entirely?

In the trunk area, on the PS rear wheel well is this indentation:


It is visible on the underside as well:


This indentation doesn't look like it is "supposed to be there". It looks like I should fix this considering that I have easy access to it. However, if I am going to mini-tub the rear wheel wells, should I bother with it? I haven't decided if I will go to the effort of "mini-tubbing" the car. What size tires am I limited to if I do not tub the rear wheel wells? Should I go to the effort of tubbing for the pro-touring look?
 

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Discussion Starter #25
7/20/2019
I am considering when to reinstall the firewall and one or both floor pans. I plan to have the entire car and all the various parts sand blasted. Once the car is back at bare metal, the blaster offers a service of "powder coating" the entire car, inside and out, to prevent rusting. Here is Arizona, rust is not the problem that it is in other areas, but I certainly wouldn't mind the additional layer of protection. with the firewall removed, the blaster/powder coater would have unhindered access to the underside of the dash and the front of the passenger compartment. On of the areas with the greatest amount of surface rust is under the dash. It appears because that area was already assembled, there never was any type of coating, paint, or protection on the underside of the dash. Thus it collected surface rust over the years. Should I leave the firewall and floor pans out until after the car is blasted and powdercoated? Or should i put the firewall and floor pans in so that they can be fully sealed with the powdercoating? It seems both methods have merit. The worst area of rust on the entire car was the point where the floor pan meets the lower firewall. I would n't mind getting that area fully powder coated to protect from future rust.

My current thought is to leave all the panels out for the initial blasting and powdercoating. When it returns, install the firewall and floor pans. After the engine is fitted and the size of the transmission is understood, take the car back and have the remaining panels powdercoated to protect them. What do you think?





Last item for consideration today. The dash seems to be in good shape, except for this top piece that supports the iconic dash shape. I am thinking of just drilling out the welds and replacing this piece.


I am thinking I would install this piece before I have the car blasted and powder coated. What do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter #26
7/25/2019
Surprise, Surprise, look what I found: a completely rusted out hole!



It was completely covered by the front quarter panel, covered with silver metal tape, then painted black. One more place to try to open up, clean, and replace.

Perhaps the last of the really big cuts is done. cut out the front floor forward of the front seat throne, and removed the tranny tunnel forward of that same point.











I am going to cut away the floor, possibly using small parts of it to patch the hole previously discovered. I am going to keep the tranny tunnel, as I might use it again once I see how the 10 speed automatic transmission fits.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
7/26/2019
It's going to be 110 here this weekend. Perfect time to crank up the AC in the garage and spend the weekend working on the Mustang! I began by welding a couple of patch panels on the firewall. One small one covers the holes that would have been used for the clutch. Not necessary on my build. The second one is a filler plate for the Vintage air AC/Heating system. I cut out the old holes and welded this in. My welding is still not great, but it is getting better. I ground it down, and will fill the edges with body filler to make it all smooth.





No the real fun begins. I get to weld the firewall back in! I put it in and dry fitted it a couple of times, trimmed here and there, and now it seems to fit as well as it can.







There are some gaps on the angled portion at the outside edges, but I will fill them with small angle iron for strong support.





I got it all placed and have been double and triple checking that I haven't missed anything. I will weld it in either later tonight or tomorrow morning. Then it is on to the floor panels.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
7/31/2019
In the absence of feedback or counsel, I decide to just jump into the deep end and spot weld in the firewall. To be honest, my first spot welds were a bit rough, but I got pretty good. After doing a few of them, I was able to get the full drilled out spotweld area filled with one quick stroke. It felt pretty good!



spot weld penetration looked good (to me anyway!!) If I am wrong, please let me know.



The firewall is really solidly in there now. I haven't ground down the spot welds yet, but I will. I next moved on to the PS floor. I first had to decide where to cut it and where to weld it. I decided to over lap the new floor onto the old floor under the front seat to just beyond the first access holes for the seat bolts.



I then drilled a bundle of holes for the spot welds. I drilled one set along the flange that goes along the outboard edge, two rows at the rear of the floor panel where it goes under the seat pan, and two rows at the front of the floor panel, one one the "bottom" and one on the angled front piece that goes up the firewall. I cut off this front piece so that it only went up the firewall by about 2". I then buffed off all the black primer from the areas that would be welded. It took quite a while to prepare this panel, but I really worked well.



I clamped it into place. I began by pounding and welding the flange along the outboard side. I then worked my way toward the middle of the car along the two rows of spot weld holes under the seat pan. This took a bit of encouragement with a hammer, but it really fit in nicely. I had to keep stopping to move the few clamps I have to their most optimum location for each weld. It is REALLY solidly attached! I did not yet stitch weld the back edge of the floor panel. I also did not yet weld the floor panel to the firewall panel. I don't have a clamp long/deep enough to reach where I need to in order to make the welds tight. I have an extra long clamp on order now, but it will be 7-10 days to get it. I have other things to work on!





Hopefully this next weekend I can get the other floor panel prepared and welded in.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
9/01/2019
For the few of you that are joining me on this journey, thank you for hanging in there. Life has changed somewhat dramatically for our family in the past month. My sister was diagnosed with stage 1 pancreatic cancer. We are thankful that it is only stage 1, but it still a major gut punch! Needless to say my free time has been almost entirely taken up by more pressing issues than car restoration. I finally was able to get back to it this weekend.

I recently purchased my own Lincoln Welder. I had previously been borrowing a friends, but he needed it back and I felt bad about needing it for months on end. I finally was able to get it hooked up yesterday. It welds. . . lousy!! I couldn't figure it out. It's a 220 volt machine, it should be fantastic. I rechecked all my settings, changed them a lot because what I was using was clearly wrong. I finally went in and searched the internet to see if someone else had similar problems on a new welding rig. After 90 minutes of videos, I finally discovered the problem. The setup directions were for when you plan to use flux coated wire. I am using regular welding wire and 75/25% shielding gas. Turns out that the instruction that I read, the first page, said to set it up as negative to the welding gun, positive to the work clamp. Turns out that on the second page of instructions, it tells you the polarization must be switched to to welding gun positive, work clamp negative! Switched the polarity late last night and I haven't had time to try it out again. I have a feeling that it is going work great now!

So the question of the day is: When is it time to give up fixing sheet metal parts? Both of the front fenders have damage on the lower sides of each fender. They both were "fixed" previously by a welder who (if possible) is an even worse welder than I am! He used the wrong gauge sheet metal, left all the rusted material behind it, did nothing to paint, prime, or protect the new work, and instead of carefully fitting each patch, he slid a piece of thinner sheet metal in behind the rusted out area, welded it (sort of) through the rusted out holes, and covered it with a very thick slab of bondo. I can get the bondo out, I can cut out the front sheet damage. I can weld in correctly a new front sheet metal patch made with the correct material. What I can't do very easily is repair the vertical piece on the back of the front panel that attaches to the car. Take a look at these photos:









The structure backing up the front skin of the car is rotted, put back together badly, and now needs further rust repair because it was not done correctly the first time. I have read many times that remanufactured body panels, even the good ones that are expensive, are a poor replacement to the originals. I looked around, and I can buy the entire fender for about $140 each. I can't buy the inner support structure only, so a complete fender appears to be the the only option. So what is your opinion? Should I even attempt doing such major surgery on both front fenders, and both the front and the rear area of both right and left fenders? Or is it time to admit defeat and buy replacements? If I buy replacements, what brand should I look for and who would you trust to provide them?
 

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Discussion Starter #30
10/22/2019
It took three times the 2 weeks that I was originally quoted to get my Mustang media blasted. The good news is they did a good job. The bad news is they did a good job!! Here's the body after blasting: Looks great, right?



Closer inspection revealed a surprising number of rusted out "swiss cheese" issues. Start with the doors. I knew I had minor issues. Wrong! I have major issues! Both doors have to be replaced. (If you are counting, that is both front fenders and now both doors.)







now lets look at the rear quarters. the PS isn't too bad, but has clearly had some sort of damage and is pretty rough. It was pounded out, but not well. Both sides have really bad patch jobs on the lower quarters behind the rear wheels. Not a total surprise, but certainly worse than expected. now I find that the bottom of quarters are also rotted out. More swiss cheese!







So both quarter panels need to be replaced, one outside wheel well panel is dented and doesn't fit correctly, the other is marginal. So out go the outside wheel wells. If I am already going to be that far into the wheel wells, I am going to go ahead and replace both inside wheel wells to allow for wider rear tires. There go both inside wheel wells. One good note is that the rear panel where the tail lights sit appears to be in excellent condition!
 

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Discussion Starter #31
10/22/2019
To my surprise and amazment, even the hood had significant rust damage! The underside of the very front of the hood had a lot of "swiss cheese".





I am not sure if I can (or want) to fix the hood. The lights in the hood are one of my favorite features, but that's a lot of rust in a place I really did not expect. Why the underside of the hood and not the top? If you have been playing along and keeping score, you now realize that every exterior panel except the top and the trunk lid is going to have to be replaced! Thus far I haven't found any damage at all on the trunk lid. Great! that's one piece! :(

So now I am at a crossroads: do I dump this project and get out before it eats any more of my money, or do I continue and go down the rabbit hole in an even bigger way . . . more on that possibility in my next post!
 

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Discussion Starter #32
10/23/2019
Comment from another forum: "This is a perfect example of why we went to new bodies. Every time we get them back from being media blasted, this is what they look like. The cost of the new body is cheaper than replacing all the body panels."

Yep. I am discovering that. So what say you: Dump the project, or jump down the rabbit hole? At the end of the project, it is crystal clear that I will have a car in perfect condition and exactly as I want it, but it will also have less than half the value of what I put into it in new parts. This is a reality of this hobby and I accept that. I can go out and buy a brand new "whatever" and still spend less than I will spend to rebuild this pile of parts. I can likely go buy a completed car at Barrett Jackson for less than I will pay to rebuild this thing. If I really want a 67 mustang, would I still be better off at this point to dump the whole thing and buy a brand new fully assembled dynacorn body? A new body is almost certainly cheaper if I were to pay someone like MTF to rebuild all the panels on this car. If I am doing the work myself, I will put enormous amounts of "sweat equity" into the car, but cost will be somewhat cheaper. Is the work the real prize? Is the build process the real reward? I know that at the end of the day only I can make these decisions, but I would welcome your input. What do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter #33 (Edited)
12/4/2019
Some time ago I came across some videos on YouTube by a guy name Bruce at JoDaddy's Garage. He has quite an amazing group of build progress videos on many different cars. The one that caught my attention was "Brooklyn Pony". I found his videos both intriguing and astounding. I encourage you to watch them, but if you don't have time, heres the short version. He keeps the A pillar, windshield, and all the unique pieces that are only in a convertible, and dumps everything else! I do mean "EVERYTHING". He then starts rebuilding from a brand new Dynacorn frame with all new parts. It will take you a couple of days of solid watching to see it all, but it is truly fascinating. I had to wonder why anyone would waste any time on such a rusted out pile of junk. However, watching his videos really inspired me regarding my own project. I really saw how each part went together, and more importantly learned some of the things that might go wrong as you build up from virtually nothing using new parts.

I have spent a lot of time evaluating my current car. At the end of the day, virtually every exterior panel except the roof, and a good number of interior panels, are rusted to the point that they must be replaced. I had to seriously examine if saving this pile of steel made any sense. Short answer: it doesn’t. Financially, it is going to cost a fortune to put her back together. But this decision is not made based upon “return on investment”. It is based upon the love of learning. The desire to create, the joy of the challenge. I have decided that despite all the reasons dump it, I am going to proceed with the project.

Now when I say “proceed”, I don’t me just rebuild her. To paraphrase a very dated TV Show, “we can rebuild her, make her better than she was. Better, Stronger, Faster” (cue “The Six Million Dollar Man” theme music). Everyone else wants an “Eleanor” Fastback. I don’t. I want a CONVERTIBLE! Yep, I am going to cut everything away and rebuild this coupe as a Convertible. No, it doesn’t make any sense. No you can’t even buy some of the parts. No, it won’t be titled as a convertible. No it won’t be original, or numbers matching, or any of the things that collectors want. But it will have what I want! At the end of the day, this Is being built purely for the joy of building.

So here we go . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #34 (Edited)
12/4/2019
A few weeks ago I made my first ever journey to a "salvage" yard. It was quite an experience. It turns out that this particular salvage yard in north Phoenix was featured on one of the many reality television programs. The show didn't make it, but the yard has survived for many, many years. They have dozens of acres of parts for hundreds of different makes and models of cars. This yard has cars from 1960 to 1985, they have another yard that features cars before 1960. (Haven't been there yet, but plan to just for the experience.) I found another car to buy . . . or at least part of one!





I purchased the "rear clip" from a very rusted 1967 Mustang convertible. Why? because there are a couple of parts for a convertible that simply are not made anymore. I looked everywhere I knew, and asked a lot of people that know far more than I, and none of the leads paid off. So I bought the rear clip to pull out the parts I could not buy anywhere else. As it turned out, I was able to get quite a few other parts which are available, but when you add up all their costs, I effectively got the unavailable parts for free. It took a lot of time to cut away all the stuff I would not be using and to carefully extract the parts I wanted. I took them in to the media blaster. Most of the parts came back in surprisingly good shape. The one part that was not available in any other way was in the roughest shape. It is going to take some time to graft on some additional support pieces and remake some of the water transport features. More on that later.

After all the work to put in the new front floor panels, it now is clear that I am going to have to replace the entire floor. In order to add all the structural bracing for a convertible, the floor has to go. So I discovered several pieces of good news. My skills with my plasma cutter are getting better. The floor came right out with very little work. Even better, I discovered that my spot welds are excellent! It took a lot of hard drilling to break loose all the spot welds that I had done around the perimeter of the front floor pans. While it was a lot of work, it was very good to know that the welds I am doing are really holding tightly.





I placed an very large order at CJ Pony parts to get all the necessary parts to do the rear end of the car. I took advantage of their Cyber Monday sales and saved quite a bit of money. Now I am waiting for all the parts to arrive. The first pieces arrived today. It was especially nice that the first box received was the next pieces that must be installed before anything else can be done: the Inner Rockers. I likely won't get time to play with them until the weekend, but it is good to have them on hand. Perhaps even better was the second box: among other things it included the Weld/Sealant Assembly manual from Jim Osborn Reproductions. Since I don't have an actual build manual for this kind of a crazy project, having this assembly manual is great. I really can see what I am seeing on the car. There are still a couple of parts that I just can't figure out where they go, but I hope I will come across them as I proceed. I don't know when all the other parts will be here. Some are having to come "truck freight", which ain't cheap or quick. That's OK, I have more than enough to keep me busy with the inner rockers.
 

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Knowing you are planning on a Coyote and AT, once the new floor is in here is a suggestion on modifying the trans tunnel. Don't do what a friend did for me, start cutting with the plasma a little at a time until the trans fit, ask me how I know? I have since seen a number of builders take and make a horizontal cut along the length of the trans tunnel from the firewall to the area of the shifter. Then cut along the firewall up and over. Finally cut at the area around the shifter. This way you can "lift the trans tunnel cap to make room for the transmission. You then just add metal along the horizontal cut and that is pretty much it. Now this is a bit over simplified description, but you get the idea. The route that was taken with my build forces me to make an entirely new tunnel cap. Our first attempt at doing this out of one piece of sheet metal did not go well, once you start bending and forming you get to a point where things don't move anymore. Our second attempt will be to make the tunnel cap from three pieces, that should make forming the tunnel much easier.
The 2nd Gen Coyote has the CMCVs on the back of the intake. Some remove them and lock the runners. Ford incorporated them for a reason and I am keeping them. That said, not much room if the stock firewall is used. We moved a section of the firewall back 1 3/4" providing plenty of room for the CMCVs, the heater bypass valve, vacuum solenoid, and the fuel pressure regulator. That extra room will fill up quick. Even with the extra space, the last time the engine goes in, we will remove the intake and reinstall after the engine is in.
Another thought, I made my radiator core support fully removable using rivnuts. We have had the engine and trans in and out 14 times now. I cannot imagine trying to install the engine and trans together with the core support in place.
Keep up the good work, that hind end of the convertible should make your conversion much easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
In order to turn the coupe into a convertible, I have to install all the reinforcements into the coupe frame to turn it into a convertible frame. This begins (I hope!!) with the installation of the inner rockers. These major girders run all the way from the front of the frame to the back of the back of the cabin area in the original convertibles. After they are installed, the rear torque boxes are attached to the inside rockers. However, in a coupe that already has rear torque boxes installed, it is a bit more complicated. I considered just removing the existing torque boxes and installing new ones after the rockers were in place. However, the coupe frame is already factory welded in exactly where it should be. I really didn't want to mess with it. Because I will be using the MTF front frame that actually attaches to these rear torque box locations, I really did not want to take a chance on getting them in even a slightly different place. So I decided to leave the rear torque boxes where they are and make the inner rocker fit around them. This required cutting and fitting the inner rockers around the rear torque boxes. This was not easy feat!! I started with the easy part: the small section aft of the torque box.



I cut off the rear section of the inner rocker after measuring three times and sleeping on it overnight! (I didn't want to screw this up!!) The basic cut was just a 90 degree cut off, but that's where the simplicity ended. I had to grind the top and bottoms to slightly different lengths, and then had to cut a slot for one piece of the rear torque box.



It took quite a bit of fitting and grinding to get it to fit just right, but I got it.



After drilling eight holes for spot welds, I welded this piece into place. The photo doesn't show it, but I went back and welded the inner rocker rear piece to the torque box whereever I could reach. The inner rocker is a fully attached member of the torque box.



Lesson next: this one is about "weld through" primer. I had picked up a couple of cans from Napa to touch up those areas that I had to cut and grind. The inner rocker itself is already coated with "weld thru" primer material. So apparently weld thru primer has zinc or copper to conduct the weld arc. Long story short, you can weld thru this stuff, but it makes and awful sound and splatters all over the place. I don't know if napa's paint is low quality for this purpose, but I gave up on it and ended up wire brushing off all the "weld thru" primer on and around all the welds after the first dozen or so. What a mess!!
 

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Next I moved on to the front section of the inner rockers. This was considerably more complex. I had to cut a sweeping compound curve around the rear end of the inner rocker to fit tightly to the front and top of the rear torque boxes.



Then I had to cut a rectangular hole through the firewall to allow the inner rocker to pass through the firewall on it's way to the front of the car. To make this process a bit more fun, I had to leave some flanges to weld to the cabin side of the inner rockers to firmly attach the firewall to the inner rocker.



In addition, since I do not currently have a front frame on the car, I had welded a 2" square tube in place to allow me to attach the front of the car to the rotisserie. You guessed it: the square tube was exactly where the inner rocker had to be! So in order to get the rocker through, I had to cut the square tube and reattach it to the inside of the inner rocker. Lots of moving parts all at once!!



After cutting, grinding, and fitting more times than I can count, I finally got it all to fit correctly. I put a boatload of spotweld holes all along the attaching flange. This inner rocker is not going anywhere!



After spot welding the entire inner rocker in place, I went back and welded the rear of the rocker into the torque box. My spot welding is getting pretty good, but my line welding still leaves something to be desired. Forgive me, I'm learning!!



On the drivers side front I also had to remove and replace the outside rocker, but just the front section. Thankfully, this must be a common problem, as you can buy just the front section that needs to be replaced. I had to cut away the old one, which took a bit of doing. The old piece fits under the outer rocker, but the new replacement piece fits on top of the outer rocker. I suspect that is because you would have to tear most of the A pillar area apart to get the replacement piece under the outer rocker. I got the old rotted piece cut out and back to good metal, and with a bit of encouragement got the new piece to fit into place. I did not install it yet because I had to get the inner rocker in place before i do the outer.



I plan to try to install that outer rocker front piece tomorrow. It feels good to have those inner rockers in place. Now I will move on trying to fit the new MTF Rear Tubs until the floor pan arrives. I am avoiding cutting off too much structural material at this point until I know I have the entire frame back together and squared up. The rear tubs should not be a problem, as I will only be cutting out the inner wheel wells, leaving the outer half and all the quarter panels in place for now.
 

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While I wait for the full floor pan to arrive, I am trying to stay busy by taking small steps. I am tempted to begin cutting away everything that will be replaced. I decided not to do that until i get the new floor pan welded in. I want to make sure to keep the frame unit square. If I get it off square a bit, it could be a real pain to get it all straightened out. I am not sure how likely it is that this would happen, but since I don't know for sure, I am erring on the side of caution.

I received a box from Mustangs to Fear late last week containing a pair of their "Mini-Tubs". These tubs provide as much room for larger rear tires as you can get without completely changing the interior structure. They seem very well made. The metal seem a bit thicker than the stock sheet metal and the welds are all sharp. I watched their video on YouTube on how they suggest that these tubs get installed. The first task is to cut out the old inner wheel well and square up the opening. Once again, I learned to love my plasma cutter!







I cut around the perimeter of the old inner tub, leaving all of the outer tub for now. It will come out later, but I want to make sure I have the inner tubs in a solid location before I cut out the outer tub. (And the outter tubs have not arrived yet.) I discovered a bit of a change that I should have anticipated, but did not. As i cut the inner tub out, the weight of the upper half of the car compressed the opening that I had just cut. The tub came out, but I am absolutely sure that there is maybe 1/16"-1/8" of compression. I am not worried about it because everything that sagged will be coming off anyway.

Per MTF's instructions I then ground the edge back to create a straight line from front to back. I also measured the new tub to be sure it would fit and have enough overlap to attach it to the outer tub. Also per their instuctions, I left plenty of metal to be able to grind it back to fit correctly.





Turns out I still needed to cut about 5/8" further back to make it fit. I wasn't going to grind that much off, so I hit it again with the plasma cutter, then ground it back again. Now the rear corner is flush with the frame rail side, and the front edge is 2.5" away from the frame rail, just like MTF suggested. (What a surprise!!) This did, however make a couple of other removals obvious. The rubber bumper attached to the frame rail had to go, and the plate that is welded to the floor to attach the outboard end of the rear seatbelts also had to go.





By this point, I was tired, didn't want to screw it up by trying to go too far in one day, and my son had arrived to watch Star Wars movies in preparation for the new moving coming out Thursday. The first mini-tub is not quite ready for installation, but it's close enough for Jazz. I called it a good day.
 

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The time has come to remove everything that will not be used in the newly rebuilt convertible. This means removal of the top, the rear quarters, the rear panel, and the outer wheel houses. I began with the roof. I cut along the edge of the windshield frame. (this frame will be replaced later, but I wanted to leave enough metal to work with.



A few more cuts, and the roof came off completely.





Both my wife and I agree, it looks much better already! I cut out the window rear panel, and the right quarter and outer wheelhouse.



In short order it was all gone:



I continue to find more good reasons to replace everything. Here is a hole the size of a nickel that is simply because the original installer did not fit the panels correctly.

 

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Happy New Year! Last weekend I got the replacement floor pan installed. That thing took forever! It doesn't hurt that I am putting welds every two inches, and ever one of them has to be drilled and then buffed on both sides to clean away the excess metal shavings and the "weld thru" paint that you really can't weld through! I have long since lost count as to how many welds I have done, but I know that I have used 3/4 of my bottle of welding gas, so it's quite a few! I had to do a few adjustments to make it fit properly. I had to reshape two of the flanges at the back corners because they were too narrow to fill the space. Other than that, It went in pretty much as expected. Slow and tedious, but not particularly difficult.





I put in the seat throne pan. This is a very heavy piece! IT forms are very strong "H" to join and reinforce the frame. This also took dozens of weld, all drilled, marked, buffed, and only then welded. I had to put a couple of bolts through the rear holes right at the top of the transmission tunnel to pull the floor pan and the seat throne pan together tightly. It worked great! That floor is very strong! after welding the plug holes, I polished down the weld flush with the pan. I had to do this because at a much later date there will be another reinforcement pan on the under side of the floor pan, directly opposite the seat throne pan. The two panels sandwich the floor pan for even more rigidity.





While I had the car upside down and the front of the outside rocker was easily accessible, I went ahead and welded the replacement outside rocker front into place. I did all the hard work on this one a few weeks ago, so tonight was pretty simple. I just slid the piece in, clamped it, and welded it on.



I started trying to bold the rear light panel into place to see if the rear quarter panels were going to fit correctly. I discovered why the original panel didn't quite fit right: It was forced to fit. The new panel, when installed on the existing trunk bumper supports, actually sits about 3/8" away from the flange to which it is supposed to be joined! The existing trunk bumper supports will have to be removed and repositioned to allow the rear light panel to be installed correctly. I haven't decided if I will just buy new trunk bumper supports, or try to reuse the ones I've got.

 
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