Install a Custom Export Brace for EFI Upgrade to 65-66 Mustangs

For Under $100

I'd always like the appearance of the heim joint style export braces but the  aftermarket ones were out of my budget range.  Then one day I came across Jim Keller's web page on fabbing an export bracket for early model Falcons. 

What follows is taking Jim's guidance and applying to an EFI conversion in a 65 Mustang. It is identical in content and all the credit goes Jim.  I just used his method and took a few more photos.  (Thanks Jim)

The photo to the right shows the completed installation.  All brackets are painted to match the engine bay and all linkage is installed. There is approx 1/4" clearance to the upper intake on the driver's side, and the same to the mass air snorkel on the passenger's side. Should work just fine.  

Fabrication of Shock Tower Braces: The photos to the right depicts the pattern traced on the plate aluminum and pilot holes drilled to aid in fabrication.  The braces were sawed out using a jig saw with a course metal cutting blade.  More holes were added to aid in making the curved transitions.  Note the firewall brace is also included.  All 3 parts are made from the same 12 sq inches. The photo on the far right shows the two braces drilled and bolted together in order to shape them and ensure they were identical. 

Shock Tower Brace Pattern:  Photo to the left shows a cardboard pattern in place on the bare shock tower.  The old shock tower braces has been removed earlier when I'd installed a Shelby style aftermarket export brace.  Any old brackets will need to be removed.  The have spot welds which must be ground out.

The pattern follows the basic curve of the shock tower.  Be sure to allow for 1) adequate material at the 3 attachment hole locations and 2) enough room to clear the shock foot.

Test Fitting Braces:  The four photos above show the "blank" aluminum braces being fitted in their locations.  Note: Shock tower screws had to be replace with longer carriage bolts in order to cover the additional 1/4" plate.  
Adjustable Rods:  Below shows the 13" adjustable rods with end fittings.  I searched for days to find another option for the clevis end, but I could not find any that were small enough for these rods.  The brackets from the muffler hangars were the only ones I could find that were any where near the right size.  Most were 1"+ in width.  I also considered standoffs like the TCP style units, but didn't like the load on the bolt for that location.  I ended up using a combination of 1/2" standoffs made from shaft collars and the muffler brackets.  It took both in order to clear the upper intake.  

The adjustable strut rods from SpeedPartz were very nice quality.  The heim joints were the cheaper ones that they offered.  I didn't see a need to go to the more expensive ones as these won't see any movement.

Attach Points:  Close up views of the rod end attach points.  The tower end is removable, using a clevis pin. The firewall end is permanent, using a 7/16" grade 8 bolt and the 1/2" shaft collar for a spacer.  The collar has an allen screw to secure it to the bolt.  Also shown is the muffler hangar as it comes from the auto parts store.  The rubber hangar had a large rivet which needs to be drilled out, then all the holes need to be upsized to 7/16".
Firewall Attachment:  Section below (left) shows the 3 parts that make up the firewall structure.  The 1/4" aluminum plate is supported by a 1.5"x1.5" steel angle bracket, which bolts to the vertical firewall below the cowl (center). The angle bracket is reinforced on the inside of the cowl with a 1.5" wide strap (right).  
Parts List/Sources/Prices (June 06)
Parts List: 12"x12"X.250 Plate Aluminum 6061 T651 Metal Connections $27.50
13inx7/16in, 7/8in OD Radius Rod (2) SpeedPartz $19.90
7/16x7/16-20 Rod End (2) SpeedPartz $8.90
7/16x7/16-20 Rod End (LH) (2) SpeedPartz $8.90
Universal Exhaust Hangar (2) Advance Auto $11.00
Misc. Steel for brackets Stock $5.00
7.16" Shaft Retainers (2) Ace Hardware $4.50
Miscellaneous Grade 8 Hardware Ace Hardware $5.00
Total Cost: $90.70
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