Special thanks to Benjamin Barch at Barch Designs for taking the time to provide all of us with a great product - Proudly Made in the United States of America

Over the past year (almost), Benjamin and I have been working together on the 34/78 RedTop Optima tray designed to be an exact replacement to the stock steel battery tray in the 1966 Mustang. After several months of R&D, Barch Designs has indeed created the perfect fitting animal.

Installation:

Pretty straight forward.

However, the first thing I did was use an extra stainless steel carriage bolt with a 3/8 washer to replace the bolt that is used to secure the skirt under the front bumper.

When I first installed the bottom of the tray, it hit that bolt. (It would be noting to include an extra carriage bolt, nut and lock washer as well as a 3/8" washer to fill the gap in the radiator support it bolts through.

When I first installed the bottom of the tray, it hit that bolt. (It would be noting to include an extra carriage bolt, nut and lock washer as well as a 3/8" washer to fill the gap in the radiator support it bolts through.

The next thing was to bolt the sides to the bottom.

Since this will likely be something I don't remove often, I opted to use thread lock on the bottom screws so the vibration of the engine wouldn't cause them to loosen and fall out down the road.

Installing the tray with the sides:

While lying under the car, I was able to place the tray in position and run the first carriage bolt through the hole farthest from the fender, though the tray and the spacer.

With the other hand I was able to thread the nut with the lock washer. I repeated this step for the second bolt hole nearest the fender.

I recommend the two bolts be finger tightened as some wiggle room will be needed when installing the support brackets… which is next.

Installing the support brackets:

Conveniently, they marked the brackets so it is virtually impossible to install them wrong. Fender and Tray should be pretty self explanatory.

Putting the brackets on with the carriage bolts and nuts (with lock washers) is easy up until you feed the one closest to the front of the car.

In some cases, this bolt may and up hitting your bumper support bracket that runs along the frame under your fender. It just so happens that by replacing the lock washer with a larger flat washer (must use this because the hole through the engine bay for the original bracket is too large for the replacement stainless steel nut) and using a 1/2" shorty open end wrench, I was able to tighten down the bracket.

Depending on how things have shifted, you may experience more or less difficulty when installing this bolt.

After that, I tightened everything up in this order;

  • brackets to tray
  • brackets to fender wall
  • tray to fender shelf
  • battery tray top

And there you go.


https://optimatrays.com/


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