Tag Archives: 1989 Ford Mustang Restoration
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We've been working on Project Resolution now for a few months and we're finally at a point where we are ready to start going uphill making the car nice again. With the front end removed I was able to remove the inner fender "skirt" and assess the damage that was caused during the accident. So far it looks like the damage was just sheet metal related and the chassis itself is still intact and not tweaked from the accident. We now need to clamp all of the new body panels in place with clecos and test fit the hood and fenders to make sure that our gaps all line up correctly before we begin welding those pieces back in place. I know we will need to do a little bit of hammer and dolly work on the remaining sheet metal around the replacement panels, but it should all be straight forward.
While I was working on the front end removal the rest of our team has been working diligently removing all of the old red paint and uncovering the filler and previous owner repairs (yikes!). The roof is definitely much worse than we thought. It looks like someone used a "stone" style grinding disc or a cut off wheel to remove the old paint and there is a lot of deep gouges in the metal and some more hidden dents. We will have to take some serious time shaping the roof back to an acceptable point before we can make it shiny again.
Speaking of damage we've uncovered, the rear hatch had some minor paint pitting around the lower edges, but we wanted to investigate them further. We found some terminal rust in the hatch and that we needed to cut out of the lower edge. Nick has removed the worst rust and is currently making up patch panels to weld back in place with the MIG 135. We hope to have that minor body rust tackled quickly and continue getting the body ready for a skim coat of filler, primer, and finally a new coat of paint! We're still on the fence what color we want to paint the car, so if you have any suggestions feel free to drop us a comment with your opinion!
We plan to get all of the new body panels welded in place, the major body damage repaired, and all the rust repair done by the next update. July 13th for the Eastwood Summer Classic is getting closer everyday and we need to kick this project into high gear! Stay tuned!
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Since our last post we've been busy working on disassembling the car down to just a rolling shell. This meant we had to removed the entire drivetrain and start deciding if we were going to keep the original or get a replacement engine. The engine and transmission came out pretty easy when using the Folding Engine Hoist. We then separated the engine and transmission and put the engine on a Ford Small Block Rolling Engine Stand so we could easily move it around the shop.
Meanwhile, some of the other members of the team worked on sanding the fenders and doors down to bare metal using the Eastwood Stripping Discs and then sprayed them with Eastwood Fast Etch to keep them from flash rusting while they wait their turn for bodywork and shiny paint.
After looking over the engine we decided that this engine had been neglected for quite sometime and even the original waterpump was still on the engine! When Tim went to remove the bolts out of the waterpump just about every single one broke off. This is going to cause a lot more work as we now have to extract each broken bolt. This task will include removing the harmonic balancer on the crank and the timing chain cover to get to the bolts that broke. Let's hope this doesn't require some serious surgery!
Once we were tired of fighting with broken bolts we moved on to removing the front radiator support on the car. This is NOT an easy job even on the best day. First of all you have to drill out numerous spot welds and the number of spot welds on each side of the radiator support are not equal. It seems like the spot welder in the factory just did however many felt right that day.. or two guys were spot welding on each side and one did way more than the other. The other problem we had was that the car has been hit in the front and some of the metal was bent and damaged. We took turns drilling spot welds with the Eastwood Spot Weld Cutters and slowly we were able to peel the old radiator support off of the front of the car. We'll have to do some hammer and dolly work to the remaining parts on the front end, but so far the CJ Pony replacement radiator panel seems like it will fit pretty well.
Next up we will have to remove the damaged inner fender skirt panel and mock it all up to make sure the front sheet metal will sit correctly when we're done. Soon we'll be firing up the MIG 175 and the TIG 200 to weld these panels in place. Stay tuned, we're just getting warmed up!
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We've been VERY busy since our last update. We've decided that the best way to fix the body damage in the inner fender was to remove the 5.0 engine from the Mustang. As we dug in we found all sorts of holes drilled in that side of the engine bay from someone using a slide hammer to pull the dents and never filling the holes. This will be a great time to freshen up and paint the bay while we're "in there".
Since we made the decision to pull the drivetrain out everyone has been arguing over what we should do when we put an engine back into the car. Some ideas we've heard range from mild to wild! We've heard supercharging, turbo, refresh and bring back to stock, a new crate engine, even a wild naturally aspirated engine build (big cam, port and polish, lightened and balanced internals, etc). We're still undecided, but I admit it would be good fun to see what sort of power we could get out of a cheap custom turbo setup on the stock 302 with Eastwood tools (give that TIG 200 a workout!). So we decided to do a compression test on all eight cylinders in case we keep the engine or use it as a base. Surprisingly all cylinders were pretty close and within spec. With the high being 145PSI and the low being 130PSI, this engine has faired better than many other fox body Mustangs out there!
Now with those numbers recorded, Nick and I tore into the bay removing everything that needed to come off to remove the drivetrain. We're a little behind schedule, so we pulled out the Eastwood Air Tools to get the job done a little faster. We didn't run into that many rusty or seized bolts, but we were surprised that few we did run into, the Composite Twin Hammer Impact Wrench broke them loose with ease. With the use of the impact wrench and the Eastwood Composite Air Ratchet we have the engine hanging by only a few bolts. We're hoping later this week to try and pluck the lump out of the bay and drop it on the engine stand.
While Nick and I worked on the engine bay Lisa, Amanda, Kevin, and Randy worked on getting the interior taken apart. This area was as dirty and abused as we expected, but Lisa did find a few surprises when she was removing the drivers seat. It turns out that someone had ripped or destroyed some of the seat mounting locations in the floor and made some pretty unsafe repairs. Under the right rear drivers seat bracket they had stripped out the mounting hole and drove a larger sized bolt into the floor pan at about a 45 degree angle. This was a pain to get out! Then she found that in the front someone had ripped out the front left mounting point of the drivers seat. To repair the area they used some painters tape (yes you read that correctly!) and a piece of aluminum plate they shoved into the hole to drive another incorrect bolt into. We're still unsure how they got the plate into the hole. but we imagine a BFH was in the mix!
The crew got the interior pretty well stripped, the bumpers, rear quarter windows and sunroof removed so far and the car really is in shambles. Some may think the Mustang is ready for the junkyard but we see a fresh slate to start over and give this car a new lease on life. Next we hope to get the engine out and start to tackle the body damage. Repair panels are just starting to roll in from CJ Pony Parts and we can't wait to get these quality repair panels installed!
If you have an idea what we should do for our new engine, please drop us a comment and let us know you're thoughts! Thanks for following, now get out there and build something yourself! -Matt/EW
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Recently we reintroduced you to our fox body Mustang we've named "Project Resolution". We finally got a chance to start tearing the car down and really see how bad the hidden accident damage was. We all agreed this is one of the more scary parts of working on an older car, you never know what you'll find when you start digging in. So Nick, Randy, and myself started taking the front end apart on the car.
During the late 80's-early 90's a lot of auto manufacturers were starting to make the switch from SAE hardware to Metric. This project is caught in between the conversion and we found that a lot of the hardware had both SAE and Metric heads. We decided to pull out the Eastwood 150 Piece Tool Kit so that we had all of the metric and SAE tools we needed along the way.
As Nick took the headlights and grille out he found a lot of the bolts were pretty loose and the lights were not sitting square in the radiator support. Once the lights were removed you could see that the mounting points for the lights were bent from the accident and never fixed correctly. We'll definitely need to address that before we think about reassembling the front end.
While Nick was working on the front end, I decided to get the passenger fender off so we could see how bad the accident damage to the inner fender really was. I started by removing the wheel with the Eastwood Composite Twin Hammer Impact Wrench so I could get to all of the splash guard bolts. After removing the splash shield I got the bolts going through the front bumper and into the fender, and all of the bolts that ran along the top of the inner fender. Once all of the bolts were out the fender came off with little resistance.
After the fender was off we could see the accident damage was about as expected. The worst part was that it looks like the bumper mount for the passenger side compressed and was pushed back and the mounting slot was ripped open. It also looks like the previous owner had drilled numerous holes and installed screws to slide hammer the worst damage out. The strings of filler poking through those holes were tell-tale signs. We're going to have to spend a lot of time working around the passenger inner fender and frame rail to get this part of the car even respectable looking. I went ahead and removed the front bumper so we can really start assessing the damage.
The car is already looking pretty sad, but it's only going to get worse before it gets better! Stay tuned for the next update, we hope to get the interior pulled, and start prepping the engine for removal next. We're just getting started!
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