A funny thing happened when I followed instructions... - Ford Mustang Forums : Corral.net Mustang Forum
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A funny thing happened when I followed instructions...

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Posted 12-27-2011 at 09:34 AM by That89GTGuy

So a while (like 2 years ago), I bought a K-member brace from Maximum Motorsports that was on sale as a returned/scratch and dent model. I figured it was 80 bucks, what the hell? It's only 4 bolts, even if it's just extra weight, it's not hard to install at least.

So I get the item a week or so later, and it's wonderful looking. I'm not sure what about it made it considered a sale item, but it looked perfect. Nice, sturdy construction, intact paint, new bolts... no problem. It then sat around for a while as I just never got the motivation to put it on the car. I have a dirt driveway, it was cold and damp outside, and I didn't have a garage. I was in no rush anyways since the season was over.

A while later, I go to my friend Ray's house to work on the car since he has a garage, and we try to put on the brace... oye.

So we get the car in the air, and take a look. The brace is a 4 point, so 2 rear bolts go into the nut plates at the rear of the k member, and 2 go through holes further forward in the k member stamping. Seems easy enough, but then we try to get the rear k member bolts off. On there like a son of a gun. Had to let an impact driver (didn't have one at the time) chew on it for a while before it finally came loose. Did this on both sides, bring the brace up aaaannnnddd...

... Doesn't fit. Well fudge. The forward bolts are almost where they need to be, but the rears do not fit at all. totally wrong. Supposedly loosening the nut plate would let you line it up, but it looked like the k member holes themselves where wrong, not just the plate positioning. I knew the car had been in an accident at one point, I guess it bent the k member? I had no idea but it made sense. I gave up on the idea for about a year.

Over the recent Christmas vacation, I figured since I now had a garage and some spare time after work, I would try again. I remove the rear bolts that I needed to remove, put up the brace, and bolted up the front bolts. Seemed to line up easily! Great! I then bolted up one of the rear bolts, went in! Also great! Then I tried the last rear bolt, and it's waaaay off. I had not torqued anything down yet so it was still loose, and even with that extra play I was still 1/2'' off at least. It was like the car was bent in somehow. The brace was too long or the k member was too short or something.

I remember I had emailed MM some time ago regarding this and they recommended I loosen the nut plates on the k member even after I had explained the situation to then. So I did so. Suddenly, everything fits like a glove. It's as if the k member suddenly became the right length. Weird...

So I guess the moral of the story is that while Fords build tolerances where measured in miles, I should probably just RTFM next time and instead of disregarding it, actually try what it says.

But where's the fun in that!?

Next job: Removing the fender for some futile rust prevention and inspection of the cruise control module. I was going to replace some vacuum lines and I figured such a pain in the ass place would be a good place to start while I still have 4 months to work on it. Would be a good time to bend some of the dings on the edge of the door back as well.
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