Good evening, all! I've made a fair amount of progress on my 1974 Challenger resto in the last few months with the little free time I have. This is my first go at body work as well, and I went off the deep end fast. I have the firewall, cowl, floor pans, inner fenders, radiator support, outer hinge panels, splash panels, and all of the various front end brackets and reinforcement panels installed now. Basically, the only things untouched at this point on the front end are the shock towers, frame rails, inner hinge panels, and A-pillars! I'm also installing the Level 2 reinforcement kit from USCT. All of my before and after measurements are basically identical (nothing moved or shifted), and most of the side to side variation is actually a little lower than before.
On a side note: it's incredible how these rickety old buckets made it 45 years without falling apart! The QC on the assembly was nonexistent on my car. There are parts that had 2x as many spot welds as necessary, and then the same part on the other side would have all of the welds missing entirely. The 1/8" steel shock tower support gusset on the LH side practically fell off after removing the inner fender and cowl brace! All 5 or 6 giant spot welds had little/no penetration - the tower and gusset were rust free and solid.
While my RH front rail looks great, there is some rot in the shock tower area of the LH rail. I have not welded in the inner fender and brackets on that side yet. How difficult is it to replace the frame rail given the car is fully stripped down? I was thinking of welding in the remaining panels and reinforcement pieces with the exception of where they attach to the rail. I'd think that with all of the new plug welded metal and reinforcement parts the car would have no chance of flexing if leveled out and all of the weight supported by the RH side, torsion bar crossmember and rockers, right? After that, it'd just be a matter of drilling out the remaining welds tying it to the floor and crossmembers. Does that approach make sense and seem safe? Obviously, I'd measure everything humanly possible.
If I can avoid building a frame table that would be ideal. I've also considered patching the rail, but I have OCD with patching a part of a car where I cannot definitively know how bad the rest of it is, especially on one as critical as a rail. Also, I do not have the fab skills or tooling to make any patches more elaborate than a basic square or rectangle, so anything more than that and it is usually easier for me to replace vs. repair. I do not want to do frame caps given the amount of work I'm already doing. I want this done right and for it to last.
Also, what frame rail manufacturers are best? I see offerings from AMD, Goodmark, and Dynacorn. It sounds like they each have panels that are superior and some that are inferior to the others with no rhyme or reason, so I was hoping to get some insight from some people that have actually used them and had good results. Thanks in advance!