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

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.








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).







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.



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


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.


Here is the weatherstripping in the trunk before...


and here is the new(ish) weatherstripping in.



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


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:



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


And here they are after they are polished.




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





Bullitt Holographic Serialized sticker under the back seat:

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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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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 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.


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.



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.


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


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.


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


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


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