Yesterday I marked out the hole in the boot and drilled the access hole. I found out that someone patched the area with fibreglass and random bits of sheet metal. However got that sorted. Removed the cover plate and removed the rod without drama. The rod hanger however was broken, so I removed the hanger and rewelded it and put it through the tunnel... Painful but ready to weld it back up. I bought the empi coupling kit from the UK and I compared it with the original and found that the V cutout for the rod end is a few millimetres too small and won't fit...absolute rubbish then fitted the original coupling with the new bushes and seems ok. I was looking on the net and found a brass shift rod bushing that replaces that flimsy plastic one and I'm considering buying the brass one before I weld up the hanger. Don't really feel like changing the plastic one anytime soon. Apparently for about $40 you get the kit which has the brass bush, retaining clip and the offer a lifetime guarantee.
I'll let everyone know how this pans out.
Happy holidays to everyone