A Smart Guy Would Know The Answer To This:

Discussion in 'Fox 5.0 Mustang Tech' started by bigjimmy, Jun 13, 2013.


  1. bigjimmy

    bigjimmy Member

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    I am a self-taught mechanic with a good selection of tools and little serious knowlege. I know some things well, but am ignorant of others. I just bought a '91 LX convert with 5.0 and 5-spd manual--kinda neat car with original paint, original (shabby) interior, healthy sounding motor, good transmission and an attractive price. The most pressing problem appears to be the clutch cable/linkage, and I read all about it and am convinced I can deal with that in the near future, but my problems just got a little worse last evening just before dark.
    I had detailed under the hood, fixed an exhaust hanger, fixed a couple of interior trim fittings, I just go over it to find out if its safe to drive. So I fired her up, after a brief warm-up I backed out of my driveway and the ignition just went off with no clue why. I'd crank it and it would lite up for a split second and then go off again. After doing this ten times or so I found that if I held the key on manually and kept it from going to the "ON" position, it would run, so I drove it back into the carport like that and called it a night.
    Today I got out my tools and began diggin into the steering column looking for the cause of my troubles, and after removing every bolt and screw in sight I now have everything loose and rattley, but it is still not disassembled, now there are other problems. There is an electrical device, white plastic, behind (forward of) the ign switch, attatched to the large aluminum part and it has come adrift, and I don't see how it comes apart, its come loose but I need to get it out to re-fasten it, so it would seem. I see another white plastic piece with copper 'rocker switches' lying inside the plastic dash panel under the gages. They apparently fell out of the plastic box I'm referring to??
    I tried to remove that lower dash panel, it had three screws at the bottom edge--I removed them, now 5.0 001.JPG the panel is sorta loose but will not come off. I hate to force it too much because it's obviously fragile. How do you remove this panel?
    It gets worse: I found online the method of removing the ignition switch, I got it out without drama, but the wire secured with a small plastic fitting is broken, the little tab was perhaps broken before I got it out. I wonder if I can superglue the small tab on the ignition switch, or must I buy another switch? Is it important to fix this little plastic part?
    There are many crimp-on connectors from a previous "mechanic"--the wires to the cruise control are crimp connected,--there are others.
    I forgot to mention, as I began today I started by disconnecting the neg. terminal on the batt, and find both cables are loose, put together with clamp-on terminals, they just look bad altogether--I am going to NAPA tomorrow for a pair of new batt cables, and that should get me over one more hurdle.
    So I am tired today and got no gratification. My steering column is in pieces and I can't go much further without removing the plastic panel under the steering column.
    Is there a place to get info on this area of the car online or should I buy a Haines book or some other (Chilton)? Often they just say "Remove steering column and related fittings" without telling exactly HOW to accomplish that. Am I just in over my head?
    I admit I don't really know what I'm doing, but I usually win in the end and from then on I can fix it like a pro. The first time through is always a bit(ch). Any suggestions you may have would be welcome.
  2. 7991LXnSHO

    7991LXnSHO Active Member

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    First, replace the ignition switch. Ford had a recall from fires and these switches. It sounds like this is is a prime candidate for electrical issues. There is a link on here on how to do it. It life is to a Ford magazine how to article with good pictures.
  3. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL SN Certified Technician Founding Member

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    Some of the symptoms of ignition switch problems are things that don’t work or are intermittent like radio, turn signals, wipers or heater.

    There was a FREE recall on Ford ignition switches. They overheat and sometimes catch fire. That burns up the steering column and sometimes the car interior. Since this is very old information, you may not be able to get the switch replaced for free anymore. The auto parts stores sell the switches for $13-$15.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Saleen0679 was nice enough to dig this up for us awhile back: Replace a 1979-1993 Ignition Switch Assembly
  4. 7991LXnSHO

    7991LXnSHO Active Member

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    See, there is s smart guy on here. If he posted the pictures of what you have in pieces, it is toast and will explain lots of goofy stuff. New battery cables are an excellent idea too. Check the solenoid to starter one too. It is no fun when the solenoid points stick on the ford starting system. And it does not take a lot of voltage drop to get it to happen. If you are lucky, a good tap on the solenoid will stop the stuck starter if your cables cause this.
    bigjimmy likes this.
  5. bigjimmy

    bigjimmy Member

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    NOW we're getting somewhere! This thing has come apart totally and the insides have fallen out. I obviously need a new one. I was calling the device you stick they key into the ignition switch! We learn as we go.
    Now, how does the lower dash panel come off? I want to access the wires better.
    All I need is to learn things some of you guys have already learned, that's all. Thanks for the help.
  6. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL SN Certified Technician Founding Member

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    The how to do it was listed with my original post, but here it is again.
    Click on the underlined link and it will take you directly to it....

    Saleen0679 was nice enough to dig this up for us awhile back: Replace a 1979-1993 Ignition Switch Assembly
  7. 7991LXnSHO

    7991LXnSHO Active Member

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    You asked "I tried to remove that lower dash panel, it had three screws at the bottom edge--I removed them, now [​IMG] the panel is sorta loose but will not come off. I hate to force it too much because it's obviously fragile. How do you remove this panel?"

    If I remember the right panel, the knee banging one, pull all the screws you can find, then this might be one that has a couple of spring clips that need to pull straight out. I think someone was chasing rattles and used some clear gel goop/glue on the clips last time mine was on.
  8. MikeH686

    MikeH686 Mine is only two inches though.

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    You will also need tamper proof torx bits to remove it
  9. bigjimmy

    bigjimmy Member

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    I have the proper bits, no problem--the old switch is out, the new one is on it's way, so this morning I busied myself with removing the old clutch cable. It was looking not too bad but was adjustable at the fork so removing it was extra difficult, the adjusters were double-nutted and very difficult to remove because my jack/stands are not able to lift very high so I was using one hand basically to remove the double nuts. Everything's filthy because of an apparent rear main seal leak, its not dripping bad, just enough to be a mess! Also there was a long loosely wound spring inside the fork cover--that is supposed to be a light return spring I imagine.
    The quadrant is not stock, its made of metal, I can't tell if its stamped or cast aluminum--in any case its black and strong, so I guess I'll leave it. The clutch pedal pivots appear to be good.
    I am going to buy another cable, and since the quadrant is not stock and is non-adjustable, I should buy an adjustable cable, right? Or is a stock cable adjustable in some other way?
    These questions are probably old hat on this forum, I looked at other clutch cable replacement posts but didn't see the answer to this specific question.
    Also I am having no luck finding a way to remove the lower dash panel. Grrr.
  10. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL SN Certified Technician Founding Member

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    Did you check out the underlined link I posted...Twice?
    Click on it and you'll have your answer...


    A binding clutch cable will make the clutch very stiff. If the cable is misrouted or has gotten too close to the exhaust, it will definitely bind. The binding common to adjustable cables is often due to misplacement of the adjusting nuts on the fork end of the cable. This will also cause the cable to wear and fray. Both nuts should be on the back side of the fork so that the domed nut faces the fork and the other nut serves as jam or locknut to the domed nut.

    Clutch pedal adjustment with aftermarket quadrant and cable: I like to have the clutch completely disengaged and still have about 1.5” travel left before the pedal hits the floor. This means that I have only about 1” of free play at the top before the pedal starts to disengage the clutch. Keep in mind that these figures are all approximate. When properly adjusted, there will not be any slack in the clutch cable. You will have 4-15 lbs preload on the clutch cable.

    The quadrant needs to be replaced if you use any type of aftermarket cable or adjuster. My preference is a Ford Racing quadrant, adjustable cable and Steeda firewall adjuster. The adjustable Ford Racing cable is just as good as the stock OEM cable. It allows a greater range of adjustment than a stock cable with a aftermarket quadrant and firewall adjuster. Combined with the Steeda adjuster, it lets you set the initial cable preload and then fine tune the clutch engagement point to your liking without getting under the car.

    Using a stock OEM cable, firewall adjuster and a single hook quadrant may result in not having any free pedal travel before the clutch starts to disengage. I found this out the hard way.



    See Summit Racing - High Performance Car and Truck Parts l 800-230-3030 for the following parts.
    Ford Racing M-7553-B302 - Ford Racing V-8 Mustang Adjustable Clutch Linkage Kits - Overview - SummitRacing.com Cable and quadrant assembly $90
    [​IMG]

    The Ford Racing Adjustable cable is available as a separate part:
    Clutch Cable, Adjustable, Ford, Mercury, 5.0L, Kit $42[​IMG]

    Steeda Autosports 555-7021 - Steeda Autosports Firewall Cable Adjusters - Overview - SummitRacing.com Steeda firewall adjuster. $40
    [​IMG]
  11. bigjimmy

    bigjimmy Member

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    Your link was to the Mustang Monthly article? I should have specified what the trouble is. MM showed a 87 Saleen with a simpler dash panel apparently, theirs was much smaller, secured by two screws, and it stated once the panel screws are removed just remove the panel. My '91 LX has a much longer, larger panel secured by three screws. I removed them and the panel wiggles but I have tried pushing and pulling it every direction until I'm sure its about to break--and it still won't let go. Once I see whats holding it I'm sure it's simple to remove, but as yet I can't see what's holding it. I suspect some spring clips perhaps, but how do you get the blasted things to let go?
    The rest of the MM article was VERY informative--thanks!

    As to the clutch cable I just removed, it was apparently installed correctly, the top half looks nearly new but the bottom half was covered in dirty grease/oil, and had one crack in the plastic sheath, so it may have been there awhile. I don't know if it was the excess friction inside the old cable that was the problem, but I will try a new one just to eliminate the cable as the problem.
    Until yesterday I didn't know what a "quadrant" was, so I read all about them on this site and now I think I understand them. My first reaction is to dislike the OEM plastic self-adjusting piece, and the quadrant on my clutch pedal is made of metal and has no provision for self-adjustment as the stock piece did. Mine is made of some kind of metal, its black in color, and since the clutch pivots seem smooth and free I will leave it in place.
    I just looked again at the cable that came out of the car--it looks EXACTLY like the cables you posted. My quadrant looks exactly like the Summit part, but it's black instead of natural metal.
    Now if I buy a stock Ford cable, will it be compatible with the non-stock quadrant? I know it will slip into place, but will I have need for some other sort of adjustment? Must I buy an adjustable cable--non-OEM? If I got the Steeda firewall adjuster would it work with an OEM cable? I would like to just get the right parts instead of experimenting on this choice.
    I understand many other clutch aparatus, bell-cranks, hydraulics, etc, but I admit this cable is something new to me.
    Thanks for advice to a newcomer.
  12. bigjimmy

    bigjimmy Member

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    I just bought the Ford Racing cable from Summit--looks EXACTLY like the one that came out of it--hope it does the trick.
  13. 1200gt

    1200gt Member

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    J, or anyone else, do you know if that Ignition Switch issue went back to year: 1986? If so, I think I will throw that in as a part to replace when I in the steering column in a few weeks...
  14. 7991LXnSHO

    7991LXnSHO Active Member

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  15. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL SN Certified Technician Founding Member

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    The one that I have is done using the screws to secure the adjuster to the firewall. The screws are set at the 2 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions. You can drill and install screws in the "C" shaped ears without removing anything. The only problems are having enough room to get the drill motor in there and keeping it straight and level when you do the drilling. I have a Sioux air drill which is small and quite handy for such jobs.
  16. bigjimmy

    bigjimmy Member

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    Here's a follow-up on my problems, the ign switch and the clutch cable. I went with new parts, both from ebay which were considerably lower priced than anything I could get locally, the only downside was waiting for the parts to get here. In both cases I spent the time detailing parts and making sure everything was ready, and when the parts got here they went on without a hitch--the ignition works perfectly now, all my guages are working perfectly (some were erratic), the big winner was the new clutch cable. Thanks to advice from this site my new cable went on perfectly, got adjusted right the first time, and the pedal now feels crisp and smooth as when new! Thanks for the advice!! My car squawks rubber effortlessly and acts like a happy car!
    I never did get the lower dash panel off, but was able to get the new stuff installed anyway. I'm happy!

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