Removing the Front Frame Rail/Shock tower assembly
Fortunately, this entire assembly is now reproduced as a single piece, so I'm going to remove my old broken parts as one assembly and install the new one in its place. After this, I'll remove and replace the radiator support as well, so I don't have to worry about being careful in during the removal about causing any collateral damage to the radiator support.
The new piece is has the full frame rail, the front (battery) apron, the rear (hood hinge) apron, shock tower with extra support plates (based on what Ford installed on big-block cars - but you don't get a choice in this, it just comes this way), the sway bar mount, a coil spring cover, and the rear apron-to-cowl brace. It's all assembled in a jig to correct dimensions (right?) and covered in e-coating. The new assembly weighs in at 50 lbs, whereas the original I remove here is only 45 lbs, about 5 lbs lighter. The shock brace plates on the new assembly are most of that difference I bet.
The diagonally-mounted strut rod support (connects the bottom of the frame rail to the radiator support) will be kept since it's already in the correct place per the frame shop measurements (and mine). So it will stay mounted to the car by at least one end through this entire process. I'd worry about getting it mounted wrong If I took it off, and that's bad - the strut rod location is critical for proper suspension alignment. If it was welded back in all cockeyed, the car might never track straight as it went down the road.
So, let's get to it - lots of pictures in this one, I'll keep the commentary short and point out mistakes/pointers as we go.
No big deal - just cut all the way around the perimeter of that interface with a whiz wheel and we're done. Please note however, this just made all that spot weld drilling and cutting I did earlier up here totally unnecessary. I could have just made these 6 cuts and been done with it instead of screwing around with the 15 spot welds. Frak.
Next up - the radiator support falls under the knife.