Saturday, August 20, 2011

shock towers

This project was never intended to be focused on either performance upgrades or modifications, but as time has gone on more and more of these issues have crept into the picture. The engine compartment is a prime example. The original idea was for a simple clean up and repaint....but then I somehow found myself contemplating welding up the shock towers....

Ford's design is such that the shock towers are spot welded to the engine mounts, and that is...well...that's it. The theory is that by welding up the gaps at the edges will increase strength in this area and reduce body flex under cornering and/or hard acceleration. It also looks incredibly cool...provided you're not going for a concourse restoration.

Some of the gaps were almost an eighth of an inch wide. I tried closing them up by applying the force of my BFH, but I just couldn't bring myself to hit the car as hard as I needed to in order to affect significant change. So, where necessary, I forced a welding rod into the gap before I got cracking with the MIG.

Started by removing the paint where I was going to weld.
Once you start looking for gaps to weld up, you find 'em everywhere.
The first bit of welding that will be visible when the car is done.
Extended the weld around the top of the shock tower...
...and invested some time with the angle grinder.

I'm not a very experienced at welding, but as my buddy Mark is fond of saying, "you don't have to be good at welding, you just  have to be good at grinding."  I got a fair bit of grinding practice when  I lowered the seat platforms in the car. One of the issues that rapidly became apparent is the need for a variety of disc options - grinding disc, sanding disc, wire wheel, etc - and hence the amount of time spend switching out the various discs. A nice solution to this problem is to invest in a couple of dirt cheap Harbor Freight angle grinders, so that a selection of media is always available. I still use my beloved DeWalt, for the serious stuff, but the other tools save me a lot of down time. 

Started with the driver side tower.
Piled a bunch of beads over the welding rod...
It all made a satisfying heat marks on the other side.
a whole day welding in short sleeves and with...
....holes in my gloves left me beat up.
next day I bought some proper gloves...with fur inside!
BIG weld
driver side finished up.
moved on to the passenger side.
this is where I started to look for more stuff to weld up...
The finished look (after much grinding!).


  1. Wow! That looks really, really sweet. Now you got me thinking about doing the same thing!

  2. Thanks Dennis, I think it was worth of my buddies talked me into doing it, and I'm glad I did.

  3. Great Blog, and Great work. I am just starting out on my 67 Coupe, and you have inspired me to do it right.

  4. Hey, '67...thanks for your comments - there were several blogs that encouraged me when I was getting started, this one in particular:

  5. Fantastic job. That looks freaking amazing. It really comes down to the type of sanding abrasives you use if you are not a good welder. Though to be honest I can't weld or grind so I'm up the creek without a paddle.