Another update: I finally got the pieces cut to mount the heat shield around the driver's side exhuast manifold. More trimming was needed to do a "real" custom fit. It looks like I'll have right a 1/4" clearance at the steering shaft, maybe less, but that'll be o.k. because I don't expect any movement in that area when the holes are closed up. As luck would have it, I ran out of cutting wheels after the half tube was welded in and the welder could only do the front part of the shield mount. This will eventually go into Phase III after I get the rear piece welded in and the holes closed up from the engine side after I pull the package for the umpteenth time. One more session with the welder and out it comes again. Now, it's getting fun again. Here's a pic of today's progress.
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