For anyone who would like to do the hood mod, I have extra stripping that I can mail to you. You will need about a 15" strip to cover the entire edge of the hole (gives you a little extra to work with.) I ended up having to buy a big box of it to get the size I needed. I was thinking I will ship you the stripping for about $10 shipped (or possibly less if you are "really" hurting for money.)
One more thing about the hood mod. As far as worrying about rust and the such, I coated the entire inside and outside lip of the hole with clear silicone RTV sealant ($2.99). This should keep the majority of the water out and keep the gasket tight.