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Old December 25th, 2014, 10:30 AM   #2
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OK. So the next we cut the hole. Yes... you are going to cut a hole in your perfectly good body. No fear though... you have something to cover it up. The closeout panel.

This is Dodge Part Number 04848582AB.

It is NO LONGER IN PRODUCTION. Your only option to to make it yourself (using the panel you cut out) or get a used one. There are salvage yards that sell the parts. So as to not offend I will not post where I got mine. However, I will be happy to tell you if you drop me a line/PM. I will, however, let you in on something I found out. The panel is in every Gen 2 RT/10 made. In other words, the panel in an RT/10 is the closeout panel used for the GTS cars. Same part number. Same EXACT unit. So if you call for a "Closeout Panel for a Gen 2 GTS" you will likely get the answer that "We don't have one". If you ask for the fuel tank closeout panel on an RT/10 they will say "which year, we have them". That little tidbit will save you time and money. If nothing else, this info made it worth reading my rambles. I will be happy to take donations towards the Big Brake Kit I am going to buy... Just PM me and I will give you my paypal ;-)

So getting back to the process....

You lay the closeout panel in place. Once you do that, you mark the outside perimeter of the panel. You want to keep the top edge of the panel up against the "overhang" of the rear deck. In the center (where you see the blue tape in the photo below) there is a tab on the panel. That can be placed on the lip of the deck on top. Very important. Keep the lower "notches" pressed in against the matching boxes on the lower corners of the half moon. Bottom line. Makes sure its in there right and then mark the outside edge. I used a paint pen (black sharpie won't work on the black sound deadner) to mark the edges.

The panel in place to trace...

Once the trace is made, I went in about two inches to cut the sound deadner. If you dont have this installed... you won't have to do this. You can see my score marks in the photos below.

Another shot

Once that is scored with the razor blade to cut the aluminum panel on the mat, I proceed to take of the sound deadner strip with my painter's tool and the heat gun.

If you do not have sound deadner (Dynamat, Hushmat, etc) then no worries, you will have a clean grey piece of composite panel that you can mark.

Once I had the area/strip clear of sound deadner, I place the closeout panel back in place. I marked the outside edge again. This time making very certain I have the permiter right and that the panel is pushed in well into where it will end up. Once that is done I measured 1" (one inch) IN FROM THE TRACED LINE towards the center. You will find that on the top edge you can mark one inch down from the lip formed by the rear deck (one that has the fuel pump / sender access panel) on the half moon panel. If it makes you feel better, you can come up 1 and 1/4" inches (1.25 inches) up from the lower traced line. You will still have space to pull the tank. Any more than that and it's going to be tight.

Double check your trace and make sure you measured IN FROM THE OUTSIDE TRACED LINE. (Don't say I did not tell you to measure twice and cut once).

The inner line (the one 1" in from the edge) is your CUT LINE. Take the cutting tool of choice and cut the panel out. I used an air cutoff tool. Make sure you go just deep enough to cut through the panel. If your cutter goes too deep you will nick the tank in there or a frame rail. Work you way around the perimeter.

TRICK: Start the cut on the top of the panel. as you go leave two one inch sections without a cut. Then continue around the perimeter. Down the sides. Across the bottom leaving one uncut tab in the center. Continue around until you are done. Once that is done, you cut the three tabs you left to remove the panel. The reason for the tabs is so that the panel stays in place as you cut. It avoids the panel dropping onto the cutter and binding it.

Once you cut it out... you will see this...

Sorry I did not photograph the cutting. Kind of difficult to photograph yourself while cutting...
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