Early-Mustang Cowl Repair - Cowl Repairs

Well, now that we had all this rust we had to do something about it. You've got basically 3 options when it comes to fixing this area, once more than just the 'hats' are rusted out. You can buy a patch panel from one of the Mustang suppliers, make your own patch panel, or try to fill in the holes with some type of body filler. This last option is the worst of the 3. With big holes and rotted metal, chances are good that the filler wouldn't stay in place forever. Once it broke loose, you'd have water again.

That leaves you with either a repro patch panel or making your own. In my case, I made my own. This was for a few reasons:
1. My driver's side fresh air vent was rusted beyond use, so I would have needed a new one of these.
2. I wanted to create a situation where NO water could ever come thru the driver's side again, especially since this was the scene of the worst of my floor rust.
3. After dealing with the floorpan and toeboard repro panels, I didn't have a lot of faith in how good they would actually match up. At about $50 each, they're pretty pricey. Too pricey for ending up not using them, like what happened with my toeboard. Now, before I go any further, there's one thing to note here: If it's your passenger side cowl hat area that's rusted real bad with big holes, or if you want to have the fresh air vent in the driver's side, you would probably be better off purchasing one of the patch panels. You've got to have the fresh air intake for the heater, or else your defroster won't work properly. I suppose you could make your own patch and then cut out your own holes for 'hats', but that seems like more work than it's worth to me. So, anyway, onto the patch deal.
I went to my friendly neighborhood Lowe's and bought myself a large piece of 14guage weldable steel. Then I came back and cut out all the old, rotten metal. 2 things to watch here: make sure you don't cut into the wiring harness (there's a wire grommet holding the harness up near the cowl area) and, if at all possible, don't cut into the are where the wiper motor mounts or where the wiper arms are.
After I got all the rotten metal out, I used a block of wood and a rubber mallet to rough shape my patch panel into the shape I wanted. From there, I took it and clamped it to the bottom edge of the cowl assembly and tack welded it into place along the 'grill' side of the cowl area. Then, once I had it welded securely on the upper end of the cowl assembly, I literally used my rubber mallet to beat the metal into the shape of the cowl assembly. Once I had it beaten into shape, I bent down the corner, ran a light coat of primer over it, and did a water test to make sure it was going to drain properly. Water ran right off of it, perfectly. So, I welded all the way around. The following picture shows the patch welded into place all the way around.


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