Progress Thread Almost Stock Rebuild (89 GT)

Mustang5L5

i'm familiar with penetration
Mod Dude
Feb 18, 2001
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Massachusetts
Here’s what’s supposed to be inside the rail.

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The rail channel is u-shaped with the top open. The strut tower tucks down into the rail and is secured to the rail with a few spot welds as you can see.

The bottom plate holes the bolt tubes and is spot welded in a couple places to the bottom of the frame rail chNnel.

On the sides of the strut tower at the bottom are two 90 degree braces. One side spot welded to the strut tower And the other to the bottom plate.

The top plate on the other side gets spot welded to the strut tower edges, backside, and the frame rail lip (you can see 4 spot welds in the the pic)

It’s quite busy in there, and winter sand builds up in there holding moisture and rotting it all out. I’ve seen so much worse actually out driving on the road still

This is a running driving car (94 cobra) that is for sale locally. Not much holding it together here
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PJV9126

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May 13, 2011
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Made a bit more progress on the car recently. It is slow going, especially now that most of the work tearing it apart is complete. Trying to do as much as possible before pulling the trigger on a welder.

Made a new plate for the bottom of the frame rail. I *think* I cut out enough so that I will be welding to solid metal all around it but we will see when I go to weld it in. The crush tubes will be sitting on another plate that I am planning to plug weld to this plate so I am thinking I will be okay.
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Also made a piece to replicate the area of the shock tower that I cut. Fits okay, but will need some glaze once it is welded in and ground down. Like the image in the post above, the frame rail will get plug welded to this, and this will get plug welded to the "top plate" on the other side of the shock tower.

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Only thing left on this side is to get some crush tubes cut to size and also to make the lower plate that they will sit on.

I was jonesing to pull something else apart so I decided to pop one of the heads off my engine to have a quick look at the bores. I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw. It was parked with about 115k miles on it. Happy to see it still has the crosshatching but from what I have read it isn't super surprising...seems to be a common occurrence even at higher mileage.

I have to check the main/rod bearings but I am thinking I may go for a bearing change, new rings, ball hone and away we go. Although lifting one of those heads by myself has me convinced to get a set of aluminum heads, even if only for the weight savings.

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Lastly, did some work on the drivers side of the car. Got the master cylinder and front brake lines out. That gave me enough room to get my angle grinder in there and cut the frame rail. Here is the before shot:

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Little rusty but no big holes...right? Can't be that bad....

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Like they say...the rust you see is only the tip of the iceberg.
 
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BP Builds

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Feb 27, 2020
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Floors are surprisingly in pretty good shape. There is one spot on the passenger side, I believe near one of the plugs that will need work but overall they are in good shape.

I am in the North Billerica/Chelmsford/Lowell area. But for a good machine shop I would be willing to go really anywhere over New England.

I havnt been there (yet). But some guys I work with say great things about Larry’s Auto Machine in Groton, ct.

Rust wise, my 89 from Connecticut has some of the same spots. I will be following your progress.
 

PJV9126

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May 13, 2011
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Wow can't believe my last update was early May. Man time flies and can't believe we are already (almost) halfway through August. These past ~3 months have been spent mostly welding, cutting, grinding, etc. I will catch the thread up to the current state of the car. Disclaimer....I bought a welder when I started this project and have learned as I have gone along. I think most of it came out okay and I am pretty happy with it but I know it's not perfect and could have been done differently/better/etc.

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This was the piece of new frame rail that was welded in.

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The "support plate" that I made to hold the crush tubes and help brace the frame rail. This extends beyond each end of where I cut and welded the piece of frame rail.

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Welding it in with a bunch of plug welds.

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I had purchased some tubing and used that to cut my own crush tubes. I ended up leaving out the middle tube based on some of Mustang5L5's observations that the SN-95 cars did not have a middle tube.

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Strut tower piece I cut and bent into shape. Drilled a bunch of holes for plug welds to the top piece/frame rail cover on the other side.

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Starting to weld it in and grind it down.

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Welds ground down fully.

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$30 Chinese LED work light from amazon. Quite bright and helps me see during welding.

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Frame rail piece with plug weld holes drilled. Tacked into place.

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All welded in and the welds ground down. That is just about it for the passenger strut tower.
 
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PJV9126

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Cleaned up the K member and hit it with some paint. Rustoleum gloss black engine enamel.

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Not sure why these pictures came in rotated.

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Welded in a support plate and crush tubes on the drivers side.

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Improvised a sheet metal brake to bend the metal for the shock tower.

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Checking the fit of the metal. Had to use two pieces due to the step down on the left side.

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Starting to weld it in and grind it down...

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Made a similar frame rail piece to the other side. Lots of holes for plenty of plug welds to ensure the strut tower is nice and secure to the frame rail.

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Both strut towers finally with some solid, clean, metal. It was nice to finally be able to see this after knowing about the rust for so long.
 
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PJV9126

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Some more work that was done these past few months...

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This is where the frame rail side meets the channel/top of the frame rail. Right near the driver's side sway bar mount. It had separated due to rust and there was a good amount of thinned metal up at the top. I ended up cutting out the thin stuff, welding in new metal to give it a new lip. I then drilled some holes for plug welds and while it was clamped up tight welded it solid.

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Starting to grind those plug welds down.

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This is the where one of the battery tray nuts was previously welded to the apron. I don't recall what happened but based on what I could see, I may have tried to overtighten the bolt at one point. I ended up breaking the welds on the nut and losing it, crumpling the metal around it, and bending the support piece that is behind it. That support piece is where the horns mount under the driver side fender. To repair this I had to drill the spot weld for that support so it could be bent out of the way. I then hammer and dollied the metal back approximately straight.

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I bought a new nut at the hardware store and welded that in. Then I was able to bend back the support into position and using the hole from the spot weld cutter I plug welded the support.

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The backside, showing the support and excessive weld around the new nut lol. On the right I added a couple of small tacks to hopefully strengthen that side as well.

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Seems like everywhere I go I find more rust....This is under the driver's side hinge cup. I have not decided what to do yet, especially since I would need some precise cuts and I only have a 4.5" angle grinder with cut off wheels.
 

PJV9126

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May 13, 2011
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Time for something more fun than rust repair...

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I pulled the original brake booster and it had definitely seen better days. I debated what to do and settled on buying a brand new one. Sticking with the stock size. I will hang onto the original and in the future maybe send it out to be rebuilt. The new one that I received I hit with some paint to hopefully stave off any rust/oxidation.

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Bought a brand new set of stainless brake lines from NPD. One of those, while it is apart things...

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Spindles and dust shields were blasted and painted.

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Front sway bar was wire brushed and painted as well.

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I will keep the set of calipers that were on the car. I ended up buying another set and installing some Steeda steel sleeves. I then painted them with some POR 15 caliper paint.

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I have not been too impressed with this stuff honestly. Does not seem like it ever cures and if you rub the parts with your fingers you can see that some of the paint rubs off onto them. Not sure if they need to be baked/cured but even after a week in a 70-80F garage it does not seem to have changed. *shrug*

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Ordered some Russel brand braided brake lines from NPD.

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And new Moog control arms from RockAuto.

The rest of the plan up front includes Bilstein Struts and a bunch of MM parts. I went with MM lowering springs, CC plates, MM SN-95/hybrid steering shaft, and MM solid steering rack bushings. Unfortunately, the steering shaft is backordered and the ~$700 charge dropped off my credit card account so I don't think I will be seeing those parts anytime soon.

I plan on sticking with the four lug stock disc/brake setup. I am probably in the minority but I do like the look of the turbines so I will be running those (if I can find some rubber to wrap them in lol). With some good pads, the braided lines, and steel sleeves maybe I will get a little improvement over stock. The Bilsteins and lowering springs will hopefully help the handling a little and also make it look a little better.
 
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Ryuk

I love your drawers
Apr 22, 2017
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Lastly, wanted to show everyone this book I had picked up a while back. Got it at Mustangs Unlimited when they were going out of business. Thinking it was <$20 with the original price being closer to $50. Lots of diagrams showing the major systems in the car, scan quality is not always the best and it definitely helps if you are familiar with the system. But for the price, it is a great reference and should aid me (along with my pictures) when the car goes back together. Pic of a couple examples below.

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I was just up in Manchester over Christmas and decided to wait until next trip up to stop by their store. Damn.
 
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Potomus Pete

Gretchen Whitmer is eating at me
Mar 7, 2019
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Nice job I would assume by doing it the right way your investment will pay off when you are finished. Glad I am not dealing with rust .
 
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gearhead77

Active Member
Mar 13, 2019
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Pittsburgh PA
Time for something more fun than rust repair...

IMG_6242.JPG

I pulled the original brake booster and it had definitely seen better days. I debated what to do and settled on buying a brand new one. Sticking with the stock size. I will hang onto the original and in the future maybe send it out to be rebuilt. The new one that I received I hit with some paint to hopefully stave off any rust/oxidation.

IMG_6281.JPG

Bought a brand new set of stainless brake lines from NPD. One of those, while it is apart things...

IMG_6282.JPG

IMG_6284.JPG

Spindles and dust shields were blasted and painted.

IMG_6290.JPG
Front sway bar was wire brushed and painted as well.

IMG_6287.JPG

I will keep the set of calipers that were on the car. I ended up buying another set and installing some Steeda steel sleeves. I then painted them with some POR 15 caliper paint.

IMG_6283.JPG

I have not been too impressed with this stuff honestly. Does not seem like it ever cures and if you rub the parts with your fingers you can see that some of the paint rubs off onto them. Not sure if they need to be baked/cured but even after a week in a 70-80F garage it does not seem to have changed. *shrug*

IMG_6286.JPG

Ordered some Russel brand braided brake lines from NPD.

IMG_6285.JPG

And new Moog control arms from RockAuto.

The rest of the plan up front includes Bilstein Struts and a bunch of MM parts. I went with MM lowering springs, CC plates, MM SN-95/hybrid steering shaft, and MM solid steering rack bushings. Unfortunately, the steering shaft is backordered and the ~$700 charge dropped off my credit card account so I don't think I will be seeing those parts anytime soon.

I plan on sticking with the four lug stock disc/brake setup. I am probably in the minority but I do like the look of the turbines so I will be running those (if I can find some rubber to wrap them in lol). With some good pads, the braided lines, and steel sleeves maybe I will get a little improvement over stock. The Bilsteins and lowering springs will hopefully help the handling a little and also make it look a little better.

I don’t know what kind of performance you want from a tire, but I have Cooper CS5 on my turbine 89. Original Gatorbacks they aren’t, but they aren’t awful. More of a touring tire than a performance tire. Hard to find decent rubber in 225/60/15.

Sucks with the rust! I’m lucky my car was bought in Rochester NY area, but lived in Northern VA nearly all it’s life. Being from Pittsburgh, I know rust kills cars. I love driving around in places where salt is only on the kitchen table and admiring 20+ year old cars that weren’t subjected to “Salt Life”.
 
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