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"1967 Mustang Shock Tower Notching"

After a lot of good discussion on Ford Muscle and 460.COM I have decided it was time to do something different and go BIG BLOCK, in the form of the 460 stroker. I don’t have the coin to go out and buy the MII conversion that gives you all that real estate.

The big beasts will fit into the 67/68 Mustang without any cutting or modifications; however, having wrestled trying to get big tube headers on the car and struggling with header bolts and clutches with the extra deck height on the 351, I was not about to stuff the 460 block into this and try that without making some extra room. Even if I wasn’t going big block, I think I would do this modification. My car is an original six banger car, and that is why I bought it, I don’t worry about cutting and welding on it. You folks with the GT’s etc may not want to go this route.

Having said that, some of my info came from Ford Muscle project 460, those guys whacked an original 69 Mach, their logic – shock towers can be replaced; worked for me.


There was not a lot of info on this project out there, I found an a thread on FM as I mentioned above, but not very exact on where the measurements and cuts were located. I found a couple of dudes on 460.com (another great forum) who had done it (429 Hemi or Boss heads in a 67) and they filled in some gaps on the measurements. So I am writing the one complete how too on this.

This is a simple project, took me about 9hrs total, half of that because I don’t have a plasma cutter or torch, I used a cut off wheel and saws all to make it work. A band saw would have helped. The only cost here were two plates of 1/8 inch sheet steel that was 11 inches by 12 inches, that cost me 20 bucks for the steel and one break I had put into each plate. The sheet is 11 inches wide, and 12 inches tall, I had a 90 degree break put in the bottom of each, so I had a piece 11 inches wide, 9 inches tall, with a 3 inch lip on the bottom.


First thing you do, is remove the shocks, then coil springs (get a good tool – even with that this is a bit nerve wracking), and remove the upper control arm.
I use blue tape and/or a white china marker to lay out my work, this makes it easy if you goon it up. My research and determined the cuts for the towers were:
At the top, ½ Inch in from the front face of the tower toward the shock. I marked it in a few places, then used a flat edge to scribe a line in the tape across the top of the tower. Before I cut this line, I drilled a very small hole in the center to be sure I was not in my upper spring cups or support.

At the bottom, 2 inches above the upper control arm bolts, one guy used one inch, but if you do that you can never lower relocate the control arms using the Shelby kit. I went with two, as a big block will probably lower my car enough and I wanted some extra meat in this area.

Also note: the control arm bolts are not level, so I laid tape across the top of the bolts, and measured up two inches above EACH hole, to keep the angle of the cut with the top of the control arm. Again, I laid a straight edge across these holes, and then scribed a line using a sharpie across the marks to create my cut template.

Once I had the top and bottom horizontal lines marked, it was time for depth and vertical lines. The info I got was you could cut two inches into or towards the spring. I had measured my spring to tower clearance before I took the spring off, and had over three inches, plenty of room.

The inside face of the tower is not smooth; there are different structural pieces that stick out etc. To be on the conservative side, I laid a straight edge across the face of the tower, and then used another straight edge to go back two inches onto the side of the tower two inches, 2.5 to would have been fine I think for even more room.




Now you have your top ½ inch mark, your two inch line scribed above the control arm bolt marks, and your two inch depth off the face of the tower mark, take a square and connect the top mark to the bottom marks making a 90 degree angle at the bottom cut marks.






Once you have the lines laid out on both your towers, double check your angles and measurements, they should be the same. Now you’re ready to cut.
I started at the top of the tower and worked my way across and down the sides with my pneumatic three inch cutoff wheel. I was told some folks use a 4 inch angle grinder with a cutting wheel. A plasma cutter would be nice here. The straighter your cuts here, the less grinding you have to do later on! So keep these cuts straight and clean.

I started cutting across the lower control arm marks with the cutoff wheel, but that steel plate in there is thick! I wound up cutting as much as I could get too with the cut off wheel ( it’s not a level surface, rather scalloped), once I had the marks or line established with the cut off wheel, I came in with the saws all and zipped it out. Again, the plasma cutter would have been sweet here.


Now you should have a solid piece of shock tower in your hand for both sides. Set your two plates on top of the old tower supports into the notch you have created. Mark what side is which.










Take a look at the fit, top, sides and bottom. You will need to grind the edges of the towers so you can get the best fit or least amount of gap between the plate and towers. Lots of grinding here, but I am anal with a perfect fit and no gaps for maximum weld.

Now you have it fitting flush on all sides, then just mark the inside with a sharpie, same thing marking the bottoms of the plates where the tower is scalloped. I also marked the outside edge with the sharpie, this gives you the inside and outside form. I cut along the outside line to make my plates.


More grinding, once I had the plates cut out, I ground down the edge of the plates to eliminate any overhang or edges at the mating surfaces. Then I beveled the plates to make a smooth transition to the towers.


Once I had the plates ground to fit like I wanted, I tacked them in place, and then started welding them in, using short bursts, and alternating side to side. For example, I ran a small bead along the top of one tower, then ran the same on the other, then I shifted to the bottom back corner, then did the same on the other side to prevent distorting.






Along with the back and forth side to side welding, I also alternated inside and outside. I ultimately completely welded around the inside and outside of each plate. Finally, I simply knocked the tops off the welds with the angle grinder, zapped any places I found that didn’t have complete weld coverage. Then I topped them off with seam sealer, primer and paint.

Hope this helps, I would do this if I was running anything bigger than a 302, it bought me almost four inches in extra room at the bottom of the towers. It also save me about 500 to 2500 bucks, as everything I found for pre made tower panels (like RRS or the 429 boss repro panels) were $500 or more, for the MII conversion being over two grand!


.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys, be glad to get this body work done so I can fill all that new real estate.

Chris
 

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I just might be doing the same to fit some twin turbos in on my new stroker. Should leave plenty of room for some nice equal lengths to feed the turbos. Thanks for the info
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Looks nice. Do you think a mod motor would fit?

Thanks you for posting a well written build.

Jason
Sorry, I didnt really research that one. What I have read about mod motors generally entails the MII/tower delete mods. The mod motor is huge.
 

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I have a 71 montego and I'm putting a 4.6 sohc in it. The motor fits with about a 1/2 inch clearance on either side. I plan on notching the towers to give it some more room. I have also converted to coilovers so I will be able to remove a little more from my towers. Thanks for the great write up.
 

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This is a great article!

In reading this I think I'm going to notch my towers in my '66 the next time I have any sort of reason to pull my motor out. ;)

Right now I'm just happy to have everything shoe horned into that little engine compartment. heh heh

Definitely a bookmark worthy article, I'm serious about chopping mine given the reason to pull the motor.

thanks man!

Flip
 

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Discussion Starter #11
This is a great article!

In reading this I think I'm going to notch my towers in my '66 the next time I have any sort of reason to pull my motor out. ;)

Right now I'm just happy to have everything shoe horned into that little engine compartment. heh heh

Definitely a bookmark worthy article, I'm serious about chopping mine given the reason to pull the motor.

thanks man!

Flip
Thanks, glad it helps. Proof will be in the pudding when I mock up the engine later this fall.
A small block would be sweet in the notched towers.
 

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Beautiful work my friend! I'm considering doing this to my current project...but I need to get a little further ahead on what heads I'm going to run first. If I run the ones I want to, I'm going to need all the help/room I can get!!
 

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The PITA the Windsor with the big tubes was, Id do it for a small block. Amazing the diff. Its easy and cheep.
 

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The PITA the Windsor with the big tubes was, Id do it for a small block. Amazing the diff. Its easy and cheep.
Mine's a small block, 8.2 deck no less. I think I'm still going to need it...

:D
 

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I would do it before even starting to drop the motor in. Just be done with it.
:)
That's pretty much the plan, lol. If you look on my new build thread...last post, you'll see why =p.
 

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I wish I had notched my towers. A couple of header bolts on the driver's side pretty much touch the tower, if the engine shakes at all you can feel it hit. This is with an FE. Let's not even talk about changing plugs 2,3,6,7, (power booster makes 6 and 7 especially fun). It looks fairly easy to do, maybe a bit time consuming but very good results.
 

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Capilion - Notching my towers (62 & 63 F'lane) gave me a tower to tower measurement of a hair under 30", is that enough room for a mod motor?
Should mention, the RRS plates do angle in towards the bottom of the towers, so measure across there is more like 30.5"
 

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When I wrote this Article, I was a bit conservative. I could go prob a 1/4 to maybe a 1/2 wider at the top, and more towards the bottom.

Another thing I wish I had/may do, that 90 ledge on the bottom, if you go on 460 ford you can find folks who do the Boss 429 notch, where that ledge is rounded down, makes even more room. But that calls for a bit more fabrication. I did it quick and simple, and its all I need. that roll down would just be cosmetic in my app. But required for the Boss.

Easy answer to the mod motor, check against the Boss 429 dimensions, that beast sucks up every 1/16th of an inch in the motor box. If the Mod is wider than the 429 Boss Valve Cover/headers, your not gonna make it.

Best assumption I can give you.
 
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