Progress Thread 2001 Bullitt #265 - Build Thread (LOTS OF PICS)

MineralMan

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I just recently reacquired a 2001 Bullitt Mustang, #265 in Dark Highland Green. She has accumulated 187K miles on her. This will be the build thread, to document its restoration/rebuild and turning it into an autoX/track toy.

Vehicle History

In 2004, we bought this exact Bullitt from El Cajon Ford in El Cajon, CA (outside of San Diego). It was a trade in from the original owner. We owned the car for two years, and sold it off to my dad. He had it as his daily driver for about 6 years in Albuquerque. He then sold it to my younger brother, who took it to Louisiana and it was his daily driver for most of the last 7 years. It has been sitting for the last year due to a miss above 35mph, and my brother was looking to get rid of it. I decided to buy it off of him and still keep it in the family. Here are some notable events in the cars history:
  • Accidentally backed the car into a tree, denting the right rear quarter. Repaired before selling to my dad.
  • Alternator caught fire on the freeway, was able to get the fire out before any significant damage. Paint blistered on the hood.
  • Rear ended on the freeway by a driver too concerned with texting. Rear end damage fixed, hood repainted at same time.
  • Catalytic converters have been removed.
  • Head gaskets failed, causing car to sit for about a year until it could get repaired.
  • Brother's ex-wife backed into it one morning, damaging left front fender.
  • Scrape on the right side, dislodged right scoop delete.
  • Scoop delete flew off on highway, never to be seen again.
  • High winds blew over a basketball goal onto hood, creating large gouge/scape on scoop and hood.
  • Has developed a miss above 35 mph, car has been parked for about a year.
Current Condition - Exterior

After a quick bath, here she is in her current condition. Paint has significant rock chips/missing on the hood. Hood scoop has deep gouge from basketball goal. Grille is peeling/faded. Clearcoat is flaking off and peeling on both rear quarter panels. Side scoop on right is missing. Scrape down right side rear quarter. Left front fender is partially black from previous repair. Bullitt gas cap is bubbling and has rusty screws. Rear badges are peeling/flaking chrome. The Bullitt specific side skirts are there and accounted for. Even in the current condition, that Dark Highland Green color really looks great, I love this color. The only exterior mods on it are the Mach 1 chin spoiler (old and faded) and the aftermarket headlights.

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Current Condition - Interior

For 187K miles, the interior is actually in pretty decent condition. It is need of a good deep cleaning. The driver's seat outside bolster is torn to shreds. Even the seat cover (Pulled back in these photos) was worn through. The headliner is sagging towards the back window. There are a couple of broken vents on the driver's side. The trunk struts dont hold the trunk up and the weatherstripping in the trunk is broken/failing. The shift knob is misaligned, but it' been that way since we first purchased the car back in 2004. The Bullitt pedals are starting to wear thin. The Bullitt sill plates are in great condition. Radio works (haven't checked the tape deck or the CD player).

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Current Condition - Mechanical

Right now it's hard to assess the current mechanical condition without a proper test drive. It runs, and it drives. I've only driven it in my neighborhood, from the delivery truck to my driveway. My brother said it developed a miss above 35 mph. He thinks it might be one of the coil packs going bad. The car currently doesn't have any catalytic converters, which means it won't pass the CA smog check which right now means I can't get it registered. Since it doesn't have any plates on it, it will sit until I am able to get it road worthy enough to get it to the smog place (and pass) and then to get it registered. Then I will be able to get a full assessment of it. The intake manifold and alternator both are pitted heavily, I think it is from the fire suppression that was used to put the alternator fire out. The tires have good tread on them, so that's good. Car is slow to start, but I think that the battery just needs a good charge.

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That's it for the introduction to the Bullitt. Thanks for reading, commenting, and watching the progression.
 
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MineralMan

Member
May 17, 2005
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San Diego, CA
www.michaelbrianstudios.com
Plans for the future

I've already got a lot of plans for the future of the car. I will be keeping the essence of the Bullitt, with some tweaks to make it better. Here are the mods that I have planned:
  • 50-state shorty headers
  • Full cats
  • Borla cat-back exhaust with quad exhaust tips
  • Suspension work, lowered. Not sure what yet, but I want to take the car autocrossing.
  • 18x9/10.5" Bullitt rims
  • 03/04 Cobra front bumper
  • Smoothed 03/04 Cobra rear bumper
  • Full repaint in Dark Highland Green
  • Reupholstered front seats (TMI Seat kit)
Plan is to get it road worthy first, smogged and registered. Then i will work on the suspension so I can start running it on the autocross. Finally, I will do the exterior/interior work.

I had an artist on Instagram do up a couple renderings for me of the end goal.

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MineralMan

Member
May 17, 2005
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San Diego, CA
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Have done just a little bit of work on the Bullitt over the past few weeks. Just some odds and ends to keep me busy until I can spend the $$ on exhaust to get her CA compliant.

Went to the junkyard hunting for a factory catalytic converter H-pipe, but as I suspected they were cut out before becoming available in the yard. So here was my score. Two factory headlights, trunk weather stripping, a few wheel bolts, and a driver's dash vent.

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Here is the weatherstripping in the trunk before...

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and here is the new(ish) weatherstripping in.

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Headlights

I wanted to replace the aftermarket halo headlights with some stock units. Before:

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The headlights I snagged from the junkyard were well worn, but I've had good luck with a headlight restoration kit on my Magnum SRT8, so I figured I would give it a try.

Stock headlights installed, pretty cloudy:

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This is a shot during the restoration process. Sanded with 1000 grit, and then 3000 grit. This is before the polishing.

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And here they are after they are polished.

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Loving that she's looking more like a Mustang. The stock headlights are so much better (IMHO).
 
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MineralMan

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Interior Cleaning

I pulled the interior out to see what sort of surprises were waiting for me and to help clear out some of the musty smell from sitting for a long time in the humid south east. Surprisingly, the interior was in pretty good condition and not alot of dirt or surprises. Some stray coins is all I found. Looks like probably a soda or coffee spill in the console, the carpet has some stains below the console and under the driver's seat. Other than that, carpet is in really good condition for it's age. Everything got cleaned and treated.

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Bullitt Holographic Serialized sticker under the back seat:


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MineralMan

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May 17, 2005
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Replacing Broken Wheel Stud

Not a lot of work recently due to weather. I did take it out for it's first big test drive on Wednesday. I had to take it to the DMV to do a VIN and emissions certification, so that I could get it registered as "Planned Non-Operation". The front suspension was a little squirly, i'm sure that there's a lot of bushings that will eventually need to be replaced.

I finally got to experience was was described to me by my brother as a "miss above 35 mph". Once the car gets up to operating temperature, as you run up through the gears, in 3rd and above once it gets above about 2500 rpm the car just falls flat, no power and you can hear a miss with the engine. I didn't do it until it got to full operating temperature. Not sure what that is yet, it will be interesting to try and troubleshoot that once I'm fully registered and able to run test drives on the road.

The rain cleared today and I replaced a broken wheel stud on the left front. First time ever having to replace a wheel stud.


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MineralMan

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May 17, 2005
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Buying a 50-state legal cat'd X-pipe

A shop that my brother took the Bullitt to gutted the catalytic converters to try and fix the engine miss under load. It didn't fix the issue, and now the car doesn't have working cats. When you run the car, it's pretty clear that the cats have been gutted based on the smell. Since I live in California, I knew before buying the car back that this issue would have to be corrected before I would be able to get the car to pass a smog check and to get it fully registered.

Living in California also means that engine and emissions parts have to be direct replacement (OE specs) or any performance improvements have to be certified by the California Air Resource Board and come with an Executive Order (EO) number. The factory cat'd H-pipe for the 4.6 GT/Bullitt is no longer produced by the factory, so to the aftermarket I went looking.

I found that Magnaflow makes a 50-state legal replacement catalytic converter X-pipe, part # 441114 (Link here). Every place that I looked (Late Model Restoration, Autozone, Amazon, etc) all carry the part for the same price of $1,281. I waited to see if any place would have a good % off during either Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but not deal.

During my Black Friday deal hunting, I also checked out RockAuto.com. They didn't carry the Magnaflow, but I did see this when I was shopping. Rock Auto also carries a 50-state legal cat'd X-pipe, but from a company called Bosal which I had never heard of before. The price was much nicer at $826.

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I checked the emissions label under the hood to confirm the engine family. Yes, this will work on the Bullitt. I went back in to do some more research. I snagged the EO # D-193-97 and plugged it into Google to verify that it was a legit EO number.

The first thing that I read was Car Sound Exhaust Systems, Inc. (d.b.a. Magnaflow) . Wait, what?!? Magnaflow?? I went back to the other sites who were selling the Magnaflow branded cat'd X-pipe, and sure enough the same EO number. Turns out Bosal was acquired by Magnaflow a couple of years ago. Knowing what I know about EO numbers, these surely would have to be the same parts. So I took the plunge and purchased the Bosal ones from Rock Auto.

They arrived yesterday. The outside box had a few labels ripped off of them, one of which had a part number. I could only see part of the number, but it was clear the last digits were 1114 (same as the Magnaflow part number). Open the box, and the cats are stamped with "MF". The paperwork and warranty are all Magnaflow. So I just scored over $400 off of the part buy buying a no-name brand that really is a Magnaflow part.
:banana::banana::banana:

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MineralMan

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With the lockdown for coronavirus, things have slowed even further than they had been. The Bullitt has taken a back seat to more pressing issues, but I'm still doing what little I can when I can.

Rear Differential Fluid and Seal

From one of my last posts, you could see that the rear end has been leaking, and for quite some time. I ordered a fluid/gasket set from Late Model Restoration. Tackled that job this weekend.

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Car up in the air on ramps/jackstands for easier access to that dirty rear end.

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You can see how nasty the leak has been. You can also get a pretty good shot of the exhaust that is still on the car. Gutted factory cats, welded to no-name mufflers, dumps right before the rear axle.

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What's left of the fluid. Who knows how long it's been since this was changed.

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This would be the first time I've ever seen inside the rear end of any of my vehicles.

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All buttoned back up, a bit cleaner, and no leaks.
 

MineralMan

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Exhaust System

The final pieces of the exhaust system have arrived!! The full system will consist of the Magnaflow 50-state legal catt'd X-pipe, 4 brand new 02 sensors and the Borla "Type S" Stinger cat-back system. I've had Borla's on all of my V8 powered cars.

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I never did get the cat pipes removed, just couldn't get that last bolt off the header. I tried and tried and finally gave up in frustration. Time for someone else to take care of it.

Will be taking the car to an exhaust shop for installation of the full system.
 
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Mattstang04

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Pretty awesome job. Keep up there good work. Thr new edge cars aren't quite collectible yet but another decade and they'll probably get pretty popular again. Great platform for affordable restorations in the meantime. Bullitt cars will a rare special edition. Plus that green is legendary.
 

MineralMan

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May 17, 2005
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San Diego, CA
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Exhaust System Installed

Yesterday I took the Bullitt down to a local exhaust shop and all all the parts installed. I also installed 4 new O2 sensors while the exhaust was out. Got a few photos of the system installed while it up was up on the lift.

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Sound Clips

Here is what the exhaust system sounded like before the replacements.



Here is what the new system sounds like.

 
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MineralMan

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Well it's been a little bit, so here are the latest updates.

Fully Legal

She is fully registered now and can be legally driven on the streets!! Also got the custom plates I ordered picked up and installed. COVID restrictions made that an interesting ordeal, but glad to have the plates on her.

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*yes I know she needs a bath

Time to Troubleshoot

Here's a recap of the summary of the problem I'm facing.

Under light throttle (less than ~1/3), I am able to run the car up through the rev range all the way to redline. If I am any heavier on the throttle (greater than ~1/3) and put the engine under load, above around 3-3500 rpm the engine will fall on it's face. It stutters and has a significant loss of power. The mechanic my brother took it to a couple of years ago said that it was due to clogged cats, so those were gutted. That fixed it for a couple of weeks, and then it came back. Same mechanic supposedly replaced the coils, but that didn't help. He drove it around for a little while around town, but didn't have the $$ to keep throwing at it, so the car was parked.

Whatever is causing it, it is not throwing any codes or a check engine light. I've hooked the car up to a code reader several times to verify, no codes at all.

Fuel Filter

First up is something easy. The fuel filter. When the old filter came off, the first little bit of gas that drained out was clear. But then it was a nasty brown color from all the crap in the filter. Put the new filter on, didn't fix the issue. But, makes me think that with all that nastiness in the filter, the tank might need to be drained/cleaned and/or a new pump/sock installed. That may come later.

I'm following along the Haynes Troubleshooting Guide under Hesitation or stumble during acceleration, which lists the following sequence to check:
  1. Ignition System not operating properly
  2. Dirty or clogged fuel injectors
  3. Low Fuel Pressure
  4. Fuel Injection or Engine Control Systems malfunction

Vac Hoses/Connectors

Went through under the engine to check all the vacuum lines and connectors. Everything appears to be connected where it should, no connectors were loose. All the vac lines looked to be intact, no breaks or disconnects that I could tell.

Testing Coils

Diving into the ignition system, first check was the coils and their resistance readings to see if there is a bad coil. 1st and 2nd coil (driver's side , front to back) looked good on the resistance readings. 3rd coil came a part when I removed it.

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Don't think that's supposed to happen on a coil has less than 500 miles on it. Plus, all the coil tops looked severely worn, you couldn't read any information printed on the top. I have a feeling that shady ass mechanic never replaced them.

I ordered a set of MSD coils and new spark plugs.
 
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MineralMan

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New Coils and Plugs

Coils and Plugs arrived. I swapped them all out. Coils #3, #6, and #7 (drivers to passenger, front to back) all separated when I tried to remove them. Installed 8 new Motorcraft SP-493 plugs, verified the gap in them before installation.

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All of the plugs looked decent when coming out, except for the #3 plug. It had a little extra carbon deposits on it, I'm guessing possibly from the broken coil.

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With the new plugs and coils, still hasn't fixed the problem.

I did notice that when I removed the throttle body to gain access to the coils/plugs underneath, that there was no gasket between the throttle body and the intake manifold. I've ordered a new gasket to replace it. Maybe there is some extra air being sucked into the intake under load because of the missing gasket??? If not, then further checks of the ignition system to see if maybe a sensor is going bad.
 

MineralMan

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It's been a bit since I've posted some updates, so here's what's happened recently.

Throttle Body Gasket, Cleaned

I ordered a new throttle body gasket and replaced it. With the throttle body off the car, I also took the time to clean it of all the carbon deposits on it. Cleaned the Mass Air Flow sensor and the electrical connections on the throttle body. Bolted everything back up, still having the same problem.

Video of the Problem

I took the car out for a drive to record what was actually happening. Here's the video.


As you can see, no check engine light even though it's falling flat on it's face. I shared the video with a friend who does a lot of engine work. As we talked through the symptoms and what I've already done we came to the conclusion that it was some sort of fuel starvation and quite possibly the fuel pump. The mechanic that my brother had taken the car to replaced the fuel pump. This was the same mechanic that gutted the cats and "replaced" the coil packs. So at this point I'm suspicious that the pump had never been replaced and has 187K miles on it.

New Bosch pump ordered from Rock Auto.
 
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MineralMan

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Fuel Pump Replacement

Once the fuel pump arrived, I dropped the tank to replace it. I was a bit intimidated by this, first time dropping the tank. Turned out to not be that bad at all, with only one broken part. :-/

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Based on the initial look of the top of the tank, my suspicions grew that the pump hadn't been replaced. All that grime and looks like the bolts hadn't ever been touched.

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But, upon closer inspection the pump had a manufacture date of 11-06-15. So the pump definitely had been replaced by my brother's mechanic. That didn't give me high hopes that this would solve the problem, but at least it would cross one more part off the list of potential suspects.

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I went ahead and replaced this pump with the Bosch pump that I got from Rock Auto. When I was dropping the tank, I snapped off the end of the filler neck inside the tank. I was easily able to fish out the broken part. Ordered the new filler neck from Rock Auto, and installed it once it arrived.

I filled up a few gallons of gas and car started up. Took it out for a little drive. Once the engine got up to operating temperature, I started testing to see if it was fixed.

SUCCESS!!!! IT DRIVES AGAIN!!!!

I got into it a little more, and a little more, and then really hard. No stutter, no stubmling... no nothing. Pulls like it should! I was so excited to finally get this issue resolved. Turns out that the new pump was also defective, getting starved of fuel under load.

Here are a couple vids that show she's running great again.

1st gear launch through 2nd gear


2nd & 3rd gear full throttle

 
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Dark04GT

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Fuel Pump Replacement

Once the fuel pump arrived, I dropped the tank to replace it. I was a bit intimidated by this, first time dropping the tank. Turned out to not be that bad at all, with only one broken part. :-/

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Based on the initial look of the top of the tank, my suspicions grew that the pump hadn't been replaced. All that grime and looks like the bolts hadn't ever been touched.

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But, upon closer inspection the pump had a manufacture date of 11-06-15. So the pump definitely had been replaced by my brother's mechanic. That didn't give me high hopes that this would solve the problem, but at least it would cross one more part off the list of potential suspects.

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I went ahead and replaced this pump with the Bosch pump that I got from Rock Auto. When I was dropping the tank, I snapped off the end of the filler neck inside the tank. I was easily able to fish out the broken part. Ordered the new filler neck from Rock Auto, and installed it once it arrived.

I filled up a few gallons of gas and car started up. Took it out for a little drive. Once the engine got up to operating temperature, I started testing to see if it was fixed.

SUCCESS!!!! IT DRIVES AGAIN!!!!

I got into it a little more, and a little more, and then really hard. No stutter, no stubmling... no nothing. Pulls like it should! I was so excited to finally get this issue resolved. Turns out that the new pump was also defective, getting starved of fuel under load.

Here are a couple vids that show she's running great again.

1st gear launch through 2nd gear


2nd & 3rd gear full throttle


So glad some fuel system work got your problem fixed.