I got asked by Coolvibes in a PM how I did my removable radiator support panel. However, I don't know how to attach photo's in that medium, so I have made a post.
I was putting the V8 & trans in and out many times in the process of figuring out how to make it all work, so I was sick of tilting it to extreme angles to do it. I had some trouble getting it to line back up perfectly in the end, so this is what I would suggest.
- Remove the paint around the ends to see all spot welds. Pick at least 2 places on each side where you want the final reatining bolts to go, and drill them all the way through.
- My painter installed what he called 'nut-serts' for me so that I am not fiddling around with nuts in awkward places. I would install these and the bolt before doing anything else, to understand how it will go back together. Scribe the position of the vertical support bar (it runs from the lower subframe that the bumper mounts to, up to the radiator support panel) so you know exactly where it was.
- drill out all the spot welds holding the top part of the radiator support panel in place. There are quite a few, accessed from on top, underneath and behind. As the piece you want to make removable is sandwiched in between other metal, you will invariably have to bend some tabs of other panels out of the way to free the mid section
- Remove or permanently bend back the tabs that prevent the middle panel from going in and out
- Re-paint the pieces and re-fit, using your scribed marks as guides to the correct location
Left side - top
Left side - underneath. See nut-sert painted red on the front bolt. Note the tab folded out of the way, and some spot weld holes on the side that have not been used. You could put more bolts in if you wanted.
Right - top
Right - underneath
Spacer washers for bonnet catch - this is because my piece was tilted down at the front. I hope that doing it the way I have said to, instead of what I did, would stop this from happening. Also note the black vertical brace - this is the key to keeping the whole thing stiff, now that you have replaced many spot weldswith only a few bolts.
Comments - would I do it again? I don't know. I have since bought a better engine tilter, but I still find it hard to get the long 6 cylinder motors in and out without scraping the radiator support panel. I would not like to remove/install an engine in a nicely painted car with the fixed panel, but if I only expect to do it once I would leave it as-is and cover everything in cardboard, call in an extra set of hands, and be really carefull. Use maximum tilt on the engine/trans (which can seem a bit scary, I must admit).
Good luck people, Drew