Progress Thread 1986 GT 5.0 Mustang Restoration/Bringing my dad's old car back to life


Active Member
Apr 23, 2021
Goleta, USA
Hello I am Kyle and yesterday I got my dad's old 1986 GT Mustang into the shop, where I will be bringing the car back to life. It needs a fair amount of work done to it, but I am willing to put the effort and time into it to restore it the best I can. It has been my dream ever since I was a little kid to restore this car and to finally start working on it is amazing. This is my first car I get to work on and learn so much about something that I love. I like friendly tips and suggestions so if you have any ideas let me know.
The car was sitting on my Grandpa's property under an awning and a bunch of tarps, but that still doesn't stop all the weathering. It is overall in decent shape and I want to see if it will turn over at all once I get the key since the guy who brought the car down from my grandpa's lost it. It is a long story and the car has already been through so much, I plan to do a progress thread on here and see where that goes.
I want to get the car running and feeling good before I start heavily focusing on doing bodywork, interior, paint, etc... I don't mind the car looking like a rust bucket if she runs well. I will do small basic things like wipers, plastics, headlights, and weatherstripping but nothing too big until I get my first goal out of the way. I dropped the gas tank today and am going to clean it tomorrow, plus I'm going to put on the new water pump. Also, do this to flush the water in the system since it's been sitting for so long.


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General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
polk county florida
Grab some black sharpies, index cards and a supply of plastic containers, like butter tubs, cool whip tubs and as the parts get bigger you get bigger tubs.
Sounds like you have a plan
Start out with small goals
Is that thing carbed? I see a round air cleaner on it.
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Active Member
Apr 23, 2021
Goleta, USA
Hahaha yeah, I am in love already, I'm planning on flushing it and putting the new water pump plus a fuel pump my dad is bringing down from my Grandpa's house. He lives about two hours away and my Dad is helping him build a barn for his machines since he has been into Model Ts and other old cars like that. I am planning on bringing bags today with me and will throw in some flashcards cause the sharpie rubs off way too easily. I am sticking to one goal at a time and trying not to get ahead of myself. It is carbed, but I need to rebuild and clean it before I do too much more. I have a nice budget available to me as I have been saving for years which is why I am now starting on it and on some things my dad said he will help out on so the project can go a little faster. My Grandpa also had a key to it lying around which is a lifesaver, I almost thought I was going to have to buy a new ignition. The steering wheel is theft locked and we did not have the key when loading it on the trailer. Luckily my Dad's friend whose property it was on was home and he was able to help us out with his forklift to get it on the trailer. Now the car is at the shop and it is up on stands as you can see in the pictures, but it is a little too close to a spray room at the shop. If I had the key before we raised it we could have moved it over, but all is good and I hope she starts!
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clean it good before insertion
Jul 3, 2005
Dallas, TX
Were the early 86 models carbureted and then they switched at some point? I thought it was ‘85 carb, ‘86 EFI ?
I've always understood that all 1986 Mustang 5.0 models had SEFI.

All AOD equipped 5.0's in 1984-85 were CFI, with 5-speed cars of the same period using the Holley carb.

Perhaps there was some carry over but I've never seen a documented example of the carb carryover from the factory into 1986 mocels.
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But at least it's tight!
Jul 16, 2019
Lexington, KY
Yeah, the carbureted engine isn’t correct for an ‘86. You need to verify the VIN is for an ‘86.

Whatever you do, don’t try to start it until you’ve cleaned out the fuel system!

Welcome aboard, especially for your first ever car!
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Stangnet Facilities Maint Tech... Er... Janitor
Admin Dude
Jan 4, 1985
Box behind Walmart
All 86s were Fuel Injected. It was a huge deal. I don't recall anybody swapping to carb unless they were highly modified or had blown the original motor. It doesn't make much sense to just throw an 85 engine in it. :shrug: From what little I can see from the above pics, it does indeed look like an OEM 85 air cleaner at the very least.

More images of the engine bay would help as would a pic of the back of the car. One of the things that I noticed in your images that didn't look right is the exhaust tails. 86 Mustangs came from the factory with straight tails.

Does it have a 3rd brake light?