So to get the driveline angle at the need 3* down I had to open up a very LARGE hole in the trans tunnel. I originally made a small hole just for the shifter to poke out. Everything was looking great and thought, “this is going to be easy”. Then I got concerned about driveline angle and consulted some people on the pro touring forum. They confirmed that you must have 2* to 3* (but not more) down angle on the engine and a corresponding up angle on the pinion for the draft shaft u-joints to work properly. Looking at the AMC technical service manual seemed to confirm this as well so I got out the sawzall and massacred my transmission tunnel. I even had to hack out the center support because it was interfering with the yoke joint.
To make up for the lost center support I welded in some square tubing and skinned the top of it with 16G steel. I then used cardboard to make a template of the shape I needed to cover up the hole. Once I had the template the way I wanted it I cut the shape out of 16G and went to work bending and hammering it into shape. This post could have been called “I love clecos” because they were very helpful in holding the cover in place as I worked around the perimeter. The front is not pretty but it will never be seen so I’m not stressing it too much. I had to split the front and then bend one piece over the other. I then welded the seam up. The big trans patch panel has a large opening that allows me full access to all the shifter plate bolts. I also created a smaller cover plate with a round hole just big enough for the shifter to poke through. I welded nuts on the bottom of the big patch panel and undercoated the bottom of it before adding seam sealer around the perimeter and riveting it in place. the top cover then bolts to the patch with some allen head bolts. here are the pics: