Headers and Exhaust

The 302 in the truck came with stock exhaust manifolds. This just wouldn't do, so headers were a given from day one. Also, the exhaust dumped just in front of the rear axle which (along with some exhaust leaks and lack of door moulding) led to fumes in the cab. The door moulding is covered in another section, but here's a look at the headers.
The stock exhaust manifolds. Functional, but not what I want. In taking these off, I discovered that one was cracked at a mounting bolt.
It's always a bit of a risk trying to find stock headers for custom applications. Fortunately, there are lots to choose from for Ford small blocks. There appeared to be a fair amount of room on both sides of the block so I decided to skip block hugger headers. Some internet reading also warned that block huggers might require changing to a mini-starter which was one more thing I didn't need to deal with.
The only apparent fitment issue looked to be the steering shaft.
The passenger side had over 4" between the head (actually the stock exhaust manifold) and the frame - plenty of room for a "typical" set of headers.
The driver's side had only a little over an inch of clearance to the steering shaft. This weird looking shaft with knuckle is the stock Crown Vic steering shaft. I assume the knuckle is related to an adjustable column in the Crown Vic, or some such. But it adds the need for a bit of additional clearance as the shaft rotates around the knuckle.
After looking around I ended up buying a set of Flowmaster headers. They have a traditional long tube construction that I like the look of.
The passenger side header sits forward of the driver's side due to the head alignment. The engine mount and the header interfered with one another. As the engine mount was a Rube-Goldberg make-it-fit contraption, a little work cutting and re-welding it allowed the header to mount properly and actually improved the engine mount without changing its relative position.
Front view of the passenger side header and engine mount after reworking the mount.
A trial fit of the engine/headers into the engine bay showed some interference of the passenger side header with the engine mounting post on the Crown Vic crossmember. This is a pretty hefty cast piece, so I decided rather than trying to cut/weld/hammer/dent the header, it would be easier simply to make a small cut in the mounting post.
I didn't get any pictures of the process, but although the driver's side headers fit, they did prevent turning the steering because they were right up against the steering shaft. I thought about working up a new steering shaft geometry, but in the end decided it was easier to re-work the headers. They came out from the heads horizontally and dropped almost vertically with over 2" of clearance to the engine block. So I cut a wedge out of the bottom side of each header tube about an inch from the header flange and bent the tube/collector portion inward towards the block and re-welded the tubes. This swung the headers/collector in towards the block and bought me about an inch of clearance at the steering shaft. I could now rotate the steering shaft, but it did still touch one pipe at one point in the turn.
A small dent made with a ball-peen hammer in the header tube now lets the steering work freely. In the full rotation of the steering shaft, this is as close as it gets to the headers - about a quarter inch of clearance. Since this isn't a high torque engine I expect this to be adequate as the engine revs. I hit the weld area of the headers with some high-temp stainless steel paint - the heat has discolored this to a slight gold tint, but it is functional.