I finally got around to installing my block off plates I got from Cobb's Diesel Performance. Let me go on record saying if I had the option of doing this install again or getting kicked in the nuts twice, I'd take the pain from the nut kicks. :bang I finally got the little ####ers in there, but some things you just have to learn as you go. Lucky for you, I did a write up that might help you not make mistakes I made.
Here's the kit from Cobbs. Well done Cobbs! It has two plates, detailed instructions, and an E7 torx socket. Everything you need.
Here is the driver side where you have to install the horizontal cooler plate. It's hard to get to due to wires, power steering lines, and very little room in general.
Here is what I did to help with the mess. Take your tire off, you'll hate your life if you don't. You have to take out the fenderwell, no way around that. Get a strap and strap back some wiring. Some wires will tuck up without a strap. I used the ratchet strap to pull the cooler toward the front, although I don't think it helped at all, and the left over slack to tie the wiring back.
Remove the two flange bolts - they're hard to get a socket wrench on, and there's not much room to move it anyway. May have to use a simple wrench. Mine came loose after a few rounds, and I used my fingers for the rest of the way.
Loosen the two nuts that clamp the cooler down. That is supposed to allow the cooler to move a little better, but mine was still hard as hell to move. Still, loosen them. They're also hard to get to - will need an extension for the socket and a deep socket.
Here's where the nut kick comes in. You have to create a very small gap in the flange to install the plate. Cobbs says to use a screwdriver. I broke mine trying to get a gap in the flange - that's how hard mine was to move. After a lot of cussing and beers, I used a 36" pipe wrench on the exhaust side from under the truck and ratchet strapped it to the rear of the truck, creating a small gap. I tried all sorts of things, but that's all I could get to work. Finally. There is an exhaust gasket in the gap, so make sure you see which direction it's pointed when you get it out. I don't know if it makes a difference which side faces which side, but look at it anyway. The gasket does have to go toward the rear of the truck from the plate you're about to install. Here is the gasket and the plate:
I had hell getting the gasket/plate/flange to line up for the bolts with the small amount of room to work with and not being able to see the holes. After more cussing and beers, I found a better way to install the plate/gasket. Line up the top bolt holes inside the flange, go ahead and get the top bolt started, then push the plate/gasket down until it lines up with the bottom. Just trying to free float it in there will cause you to want to get kicked in the nuts. Tighten down the two bolts real tight so you won't have an exhaust leak, but don't break them off. Tighten down the two nuts that you loosened earlier that secure the cooler. Here is the plate installed. Remember, plate on the left, gasket on the right.
Now the top plate is much easier. I figured that, so I saved it for last. Here it is in relation to the motor:
There are three nuts that secure this cooler, loosen all those (I circled one of them in blue in the picture). Then use a 12 point 8mm socket to remove the left bolt (red in the picture). Then use a 13mm socket to remove two nuts off the right stud (yellow in the picture), then use their supplied E7 torx socket to remove the stud. Weird, I know.
Same thing. It was hard as hell to get a gap here too, but not quite as hard as the fender one. The pipe wrench helped again. Get the exhaust gasket out of there, add the plate to it, you can see these holes, so you can free float it in there to align it. Put the gasket on the engine side of the plate - very important. Install the left bolt, install the right stud, install the two nuts on the right stud. Tighten them down good to prevent exhaust leaks, but be careful not to break them off. Tighten up the three nuts to secure the cooler. Done. Took me about 3 hours due to the learning curve and beer drinking, but it could be done in less thanks to this write up. :happymugs