Alright, I finally finished removing the EGR cooler, Turbo heat shield, Down pipe heat shield, down pipe and the driver's side up pipe heat shield.
The how-to's I mentioned in my OP helped with the cooler removal. First thing, if you haven't performed the PCV reroute, you will want to as the stocker is completely in the way. I did the reroute at this time for except i just put the billet plugs in with paper towel wads in them. No sense having the hose in my way at this point. To remove the cooler follow all of the how-tos i linked in my OP but here are some additional things you will want to know:
1) noone i saw talks about how to get to the 12mm nuts that hold the up pipe to the cooler. one is easy to get to topside. I believe it was the port-side nut. Starboard side nut was a beast. NOTE: whoever said to get wratcheting wrenchs, thank you. I used that as an excuse to buy this set of wratcheting wrenchs for $50
and they have worked out great so far. I digress. The starboard side nut, i positioned the 12mm wratcheting wrench from topside but then used a piece of pipe (1" id) from the wheel well to push on the open end of the wrench upwards. I couldnt see doing it any other way. I couldnt get my hand on the wrench and still have enough umph to break the nut. Keep in mind that there is a line above your wrench if you tackle it like i did.
2) you also have to disconnect the EGR valve/motor (at this point IDC what its called). Its two bolts, one simple and one PITA. The bottom one is the fun one. Knock it out first. Once you get that egr motor thing out of there I'd recommend plugging the cooler outlets unless you like coolant everywhere. I'm telling you this because i found out that i like coolant every where (read: I did not know at the time to plug the outlets). Needless to say, I had an 'experience'.
Next was the turbo heat shield. This was actually fairly easy for me once I used a pair of vise grips. I only made one snip and it came out. When its on and you are looking at it, on the right, in front there is a structural piece that has one spot weld on the front. I snipped just above that spot weld. This then allowed me to bend the entire right/driver's side of the heat shield up enough, using vise grips for leverage, to then get it where i could remove it from the passenger side, pulling it out where the EGR cooler used to be. Yes you have to remove the glow plug controller and mount. To get to the third bolt on the mount, egress the line that is blocking you from the holder that is just in front of the mount. This will allow enough movement to get a socket down in there. (putting it back might be fun)
I havent decided if i'm going to put the heat shield back in yet. If i do, i'll probably modify it. We'll see.
On to the down pipe heat shield. Getting to the three bolts was interesting. I did two of them from the wheel well and one from top side. Although i think two could be done top side. I read somewhere that heat shield comes out the top and down pipe comes out the bottom. That is how i did it an it worked for me. But, you have to break the downpipe free before the heatshield will budge.
To break the down pipe free, I soaked the DP/Turbo band clamp with kano kroil
. This is what i use to apply the kroil
. I let it sit for about 30 min-1 hour and it broke free by hand. Then i broke the down pipe free by just wiggling it from the passenger wheel well. I had already removed the DP/exhaust clamp and removed the exhaust so i didnt have anything in the way. Once the down pipe is free from the turbo you can then just start wiggling everything to get the heat shield to come out topside. There is a coolant line but the part with the foil on it is a hose and it will move. I flexed it out of the way and out came the heat shield. The DP proved to be more trouble. Besides already having to unbolt the trans dipstick i tried removing the dipstick. This proved to be a quick way to get trans fluid into a pan STAT. So, dipstick did not get removed (that and i couldnt figure out how to anyway?). The key to getting the DP is to pull it over the frame, not between the trans and the frame. You just have to wiggle it until it comes free. I did not have to man-handle mine to get it to come out. Just had to find the sweet spot. For those that beat theirs up with a hammer to get it out, how the heck did you get a hammer in there TO beat it? no clue.
The driver's side heat shield (the only up pipe with a heat shield) was a piece of work. Seriously. I started thinking i was going to have to remove the coolant line but figured out that by making two small snips right above the bottom bolt hole on the shield that you could bend that back enough to then get it to clear the coolant line and then get the shield to come out topside where the EGR cooler used to be. Again, I learned this myself as i couldnt find any one actually talking about these details.
I'll take and post pics of the snips on the heat shields later. I started soaking the up pipe bolts with the kroil and will soak'em again tomorrow. Not sure what I'll work on tomorrow. Probably high time I take the centerlink apart and put back together with my stupid big DMAX store tierods.
update: here's how i snipped the turbo heat shield
Also, I think i'm going to go the blanket route instead of putting the stock shield back on. For those not knowing the different T# sizes, here is a sizing chart I found (believe it was off PTPs website).