Nearly all 1965-1968 Classic Mustangs and Cougars should have their cowl vent panel removed. This area harbors hidden rust, ugly scaly paint overspray, and water leaks. If not repaired properly, rust will continue to eat away at the cowl panel and then the firewall. You’re better off taking care of the cowl panel before this nightmare happens.
Upon removing the cowl panel, clean, repair, repaint and re-install it. Here are some tips for how to re-install the cowl panel.
- Align the cowl panel. Make sure when re-installing, that the position of the cowl panel is correct. It should line up evenly with the rear edge of the hood. It should also line up evenly with the front fenders. Temporarily install the hood and fenders to get the positioning correct. Self-tapping screws work really well for temporarily installing body replacement panels. When the cowl position is correct, attach the cowl with a few self-tapping sheet metal screws. This will temporarily hold the cowl in proper position. Remove the hood and fenders so that you have access to the cowl.
- Weld the cowl panel. Beginning from the center of the cowl panel and working outward, make a plug weld every 2-3 inches. A plug weld is a weld that fills a hole in the top piece and attaches to the bottom piece. This type of weld is about 1/4″ size. Complete the plug welds until you have welded the entire panel.
- Grind the welds. Using an air or electric grinder, grind the excess welds so that they are flush with the cowl panel.
- Seal and fill the welds. Using a quality seam sealer or body filler, fill any grinder marks or unwelded holes. Once the sealer or filler has cured, sand the area smooth.
You are now ready to paint the cowl area and permanently reattach the hood and fenders.