Monday, January 9, 2012

Tail Light Panel and Trunk Floor – Part 8: Right Trunk Floor & Heidts Panhard Rod Mount Install

To quote Hannibal Smith from the A-Team: “I love it when a plan comes together”!  As fortune would have it, the installation of the Heidts panhard rod mount and right side trunk floor went basically without a hitch. So much so, in fact, that I won’t bother to go through the entire account of the trunk floor installation over again as it was a virtual carbon copy of the left side I documented earlier………precisely according to plan.

If there was a challenge in this last bit of work on the right corner or the trunk floor, it would have to be the panhard rod mount.  As I have documented before, I am never one to believe any manufacturer that claims anything is a “simple bolt-in modification”.  Alas, that philosophy has not wavered even slightly after tackling the panhard mount.  As I experienced with most of the other components of the Heidts 4-link suspension kit, the build quality is actually pretty good, but the ultimate fit leaves something to be desired.  In my case, the spring mount saddles on both the left and right side are not aligned very well and it will cause me to have to adjust them a bit to mount the upper coilover mount beam in place.  More little irritations.

In any case, with the panhard mount permanently in place and the right trunk floor fitted and welded in as well, I am ready to move on to installing the rear trunk floor cross panel.  But before I can do that, I have to make some significant modifications to my rotisserie to allow proper access to the chassis in the area of the rear valence.  Bugger…..

An oversight on my part, when designing my rotisserie, created a clearance conflict between the rotisserie frame and the chassis such that I can’t install the rear trunk cross beam or the lower valence.  In addition, I have decided to spray the SEM spray on bed liner material on the bottom of the car before taking it off the rotisserie, and to do that, I need to devise an alternative way to mount the rear of the car to the rotisserie so as not to prevent the application of the coating to the rear frame rails where I have the frame mounts saddling the rear frame rails.  Kind of a bummer really as the setup I have is very rigid and works well, but I gotta do what I gotta do.  Of course, I will air my laundry right here to hopefully help someone avoid making similar mistakes.
Following the Heidt's installation instructions to the letter, I positioned the panhard rod mount on the right side frame rail and clamped it securely in place.  This shot shows the mount fully welded into place looking through the right rear wheel well opening.

Once these welds are dressed a bit, they will be very easy to blend when the bed liner material is sprayed.  These welds sure look a lot better than having bolts poked through everywhere in my opinion.

Here's a rather unique perspective of the panhard mount from inside the trunk area.  I have smoothed up the plug welds in this shot (ignore the crappy, rusty front trunk floor to the left.  That will be repaired soon!)
Here, you can kind of get an idea of how the panhard rod passes forward of the fuel tank.  The two small tabs toward the top right of the shot are the coilover mount saddle brackets.

Rear welds cleaned up.

Front panhard bracket welds cleaned up.

Fully installed and cleaned up, the panhard bracket is ready for action.

When fitting the new trunk floor, one of the toughest edges to fit is along the inner wheel house.  The original trunk floor in my car fit quite poorly and I wanted to make sure to correct this with the new panel.  Here I have several clamps positioned along the inner wheel house flange to help in fitting the new panel.

The trunk drop offs on all of the higher quality replacement trunk floors come with extra material along the lower edge.  This is actually a great feature and allows the panel to be fit exactly the the required contour.  Mustangs have a tendency to be quite "variable" in this area and this extra material is essential to achieving a good fit.

A view from the top side while fitting the trunk floor.  I spend a lot of time in the fitting stage of panel replacement to try and get everything a tight and right as I can.

Once the panel is fit properly and clamped in place, I can mark the bottom edge of the drop off with my paint pen so I can trim off the excess material with accuracy.

I like to mark each spot weld location on the new panel so I can sand away the e-coat on the new panel for a good weld surface.

I also trace around the frame rail flanges from the bottom.  This allows me to mark and drill the spot weld holes accurately.

Here is the trunk floor drop off marked for trimming.  Generally speaking, these drop offs require about 1" of material to be trimmed off for proper fit.

The point of no return!  Here, I have completed the spot welds along the top of both frame rail flanges.

In this shot, you can see the welds along the inner wheel house flange and the front edge of the trunk drop off.

Here, you can get an idea of the weld penetration along the lower flange of the trunk drop off.  This panel is welded from the inside.

The trunk drop off is fully welded and ready for finish grinding.  This looks so much nicer than the old rusty mess that it replaced.

Upper welds finish ground.

Drop off panel welds finish ground.

Inside the wheel house, everything is looking quite nice.

Another look at the inner wheel house after finish grinding all the spot welds.  Note good weld penetration along the inside of the front edge of the drop off panel.

Looking down into the right quarter drop off well, you can see the condition of the metal is now excellent and the flange fits are nice and tight along every edge.  Right rear corner repair is DONE!


  1. SW, Nice work as usual. I only hope the metal work on mine comes out as professional looking as yours.

  2. Thanks Dennis! I watch your blog closely and your work looks every bit professional from what I can see. No reason at all that your car will be anything but beautiful when complete! All the best and Happy New Year!

  3. Wow. Really nice work as usual. Your welds are awesome, BTW.

  4. Thanks as always Alex! And in all fairness, I can't claim all of the welds in the pictures. Only the one's sticking new parts to the original metal. The 4-link parts come welded up out of the box and they do look pretty nifty.

  5. Nicely documented there Sven. Been awhile since I checked in here - oohhh, I feel guilty now :)

    I remember doing my drop offs and trunk floors and had exactly the same issue around the inner wheel well when fitting. I think you have produced an excellent result with these - I can't say I am completely sold on my efforts as I don't think the trunk floor fit up against the inner wheel well has lined up quite right but hey... I can always come back in another 40 years and do it again right?!?!

    Still can't respond to anyone's posted comments on my own blog so not really sure what is going on there.

  6. Hey Mike! Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate the comments as always. I followed your trunk floor exploits an thing your work was right fine!

    I noticed when I try to read the posts on your sight, the screen goes blank and locks up. Odd business. I sure hope you can get that fixed so we can continue to harrass you from way over here! Ha!