Dad's 1989 Mustang GT

Dec 4, 2018
8
2
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32
Fort Worth, TX
#1
Hello! This is my first post here. I am a first time Mustang owner. This car was my dad's. He bought it as a project car. He started converting to 5-lug (completed the front end) and then found out his lung cancer had come back in his throat. He ordered most of the parts needed to finish off the back-end while bed-bound, but unfortunately passed away before he could do anything else with it. My brother didn't have time for it, so I asked him if I could have it. I know very little about working on cars, but I want to learn everything I can and do as much as I can. I'm a very fast learner, so I don't think i'll have many problems (Please forgive me if at any point my noob-ness comes out). This is a way I feel I can still be close to my dad, even though he's not around anymore. My husband and I will be diving into this project together.

This car has been sitting at my dad's old property for over 4 years (maybe over 5). My dad lived in BFE, so I'm sure at some points over that time some parts have come up missing (for instance, the battery is missing and 1 of the two battery cables [who in the heck steals one of two battery cables?!?], as well as the console arm rest assembly). I can guess that at some point this vehicle was in an accident, as the car is a GT but the front end is an LX. Either that, or a previous owner preferred the LX look to the GT look. The hood and front bumper are chipping away paint to a red color, while the rest of the car is not, so those are not original parts.

We had the car towed to my mom's property the Friday after Thanksgiving (we live about an hour and a half away, and the car was sunk in a few inches of dirt from sitting so long, rain, etc). We'll move it home within the next month. Our first planned project is to strip all of the fabric items out of the car, as some water has leaked into the failing weather stripping in the drivers side door. I also hate the red interior, so I'm hoping to change everything to black. After that and a good wash, I'm not sure where we'll go with it, except to finish the first project my dad started (5-lugs), painting, and some form of engine work. Any suggestions on what you would do if you were in my shoes is greatly appreciated!

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Jul 14, 2018
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ontario
#3
sorry to hear about your dad, welcome here. these cars are fun and challenging too. Don't rush anything and develop a passion for the car
 

billison

I like tinted tail
10 Year Member
Feb 27, 2006
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#4
If you get a real hot day there, pull that stuff and pressure wash it and let it dry in the sun.
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
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#5
I would suggest getting a good assembly/repair manual first. Then take inventory of what needs to be done body wise, rust, damaged areas and poor repair from previous owners.
looks like you may have a good project, keep us posted on this thread.
 
Dec 4, 2018
8
2
13
32
Fort Worth, TX
#6
Actually, my dad was a life-long mechanic and owned an auto body/paint shop. The first thing he did after buying the car was get the Chilton manual for the car. So I’m set there!
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
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polk county florida
#7
I'm not gonna knock a chilton manual, I have an assembly manual from ford books cause I'm a dummy. It's a life saver, along with stangnet members.
 

95BlueStallion

Yo Adrian, I did it.
10 Year Member
Feb 22, 2007
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Cedar Rapids, Iowa
#8
You have quite the project there. My very best suggestion after learning from my own car is to stick to one big project at a time. Dont jump around and lose focus, you will get over whelmed and discouraged. It is going to take a lot of time, and a lot of money, but can be done if your heart is in it and you have the dedication to give it. Keep us updated!
 

Steel1

Advanced Member
Aug 18, 2017
385
126
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Connecticut
#9
You have quite the project there. My very best suggestion after learning from my own car is to stick to one big project at a time. Dont jump around and lose focus, you will get over whelmed and discouraged. It is going to take a lot of time, and a lot of money, but can be done if your heart is in it and you have the dedication to give it. Keep us updated!
This is great advise, pick a project see it through and move on to the next.
Maybe start with the 5 lug swap and related suspension issues then on to the next.
A lot of smart people on this site (not me.. lol) so ask questions along the way.
Sorry about your father.
 

Mustang5L5

SN Certified Technician
Feb 18, 2001
28,933
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#10
I'm assuming the front 5-lug swap is simply replacement rotors, so out back you can just do the ranger 5-lug drum and axle conversion.

https://lmr.com/item/LRS-1126K/79-93-Mustang-5-Lug-Rear-28-Spline-Axle-Drum-Kit

If you don't want to buy new, you can hop on rockauto and pick up two 9" drums from a 1990 ranger with the 2.3L engine. Should be around $25 each. At that point, you just need two axles. If you don't mind searching junkyards, you can use axles from a ranger or aerostar equipped with the 8.8

https://www.stangnet.com/mustang-forums/threads/4-lug-to-5-lug-axle-swap.691593/#post-6782706


Where i'd start? Clean the car up really well. Pull the interior out, power wash it, let it dry in the sun. Same under the hood and elsewhere. Then focus on getting the car running and running well.
 
Dec 4, 2018
8
2
13
32
Fort Worth, TX
#11
I'm assuming the front 5-lug swap is simply replacement rotors, so out back you can just do the ranger 5-lug drum and axle conversion.

https://lmr.com/item/LRS-1126K/79-93-Mustang-5-Lug-Rear-28-Spline-Axle-Drum-Kit

If you don't want to buy new, you can hop on rockauto and pick up two 9" drums from a 1990 ranger with the 2.3L engine. Should be around $25 each. At that point, you just need two axles. If you don't mind searching junkyards, you can use axles from a ranger or aerostar equipped with the 8.8

https://www.stangnet.com/mustang-forums/threads/4-lug-to-5-lug-axle-swap.691593/#post-6782706


Where i'd start? Clean the car up really well. Pull the interior out, power wash it, let it dry in the sun. Same under the hood and elsewhere. Then focus on getting the car running and running well.
Actually, My dad purchased alot of the parts I'll need and then some. I'm guessing the parts he purchased match the ones he had installed on the front. All of these parts are in my attic at the moment:

Axles
http://www.mustangsunlimited.com/Mu...Kit-8-8-28-Spline-5-Lug-1979-1993-Mustang.axd

Drums
http://www.mustangsunlimited.com/Mu...on-Rear-Brake-Drum-1979-1993-5-0L-Mustang.axd

Control arms
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/bbk-2521

Set of wheels to match the front (However, I do NOT like these rims, nor do I like how big the set of tires are on the front that he bought. We are considering something different at the moment - also, this rim is SIMILAR to the ones he purchased... I cannot find the matching rims to match the serial number on it):
https://www.extremecustoms.com/product.php?item_id=62706

I also have exhaust pipes, mufflers (2), shifter boot set, fuel pump, and lug nuts for the wheels. The first thing we'd planned on doing is clean out the interior and trash the fabric.
 

Mustang5L5

SN Certified Technician
Feb 18, 2001
28,933
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#12
Those parts should work fine. Have fun bringing that car back. Looks like a good project
 

90sickfox

I didn't really have an issue with the stink...
SN Certified Technician
Mar 2, 2015
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#13
The interior looks awful dirty and moldy but you'd be surprised what a washing machine can do. I'd strip the seats ( pull the fabric off them ) and throw them in the washing machine. The foam would need to be washed by hand.

Either way, I'd strip them and keep the seat frames. You can buy new foam...and even new covers...but I have yet to see a new seat frame.

It's nice to see people interested in continuing their parents projects.

The first thing I'd do is list everything you have and what you need to buy. The very next thing I'd do is get the car running.... or atleast see if it will run.

Its alot easier to work on something that runs and drives on its own power. If the car runs now then if you strip it down and put it back together it should run again. I've seen alot of people tear a car down without ever starting it first. After the car is put together they chase their tails trying to figure out why it won't start. If you get it running you'll know what you have or what you need to do to get it starting and running better.
 
Jul 7, 2005
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#14
This is an awesome project! I just got my Dad's mustang the end of last year that sat for 5 years thinking it was a bearing issue in the bottom end. When I dove into the car I did the normal that was already mentioned, which is to go through all the fluids, cap/rotor, plugs, etc before you try to fire it up. Just a heads up if it sat for as long as you mentioned I would highly recommend that you drop the gas tank, drain all the gas completely out of it, put a new fuel pump and filter in it. This is what was the biggest issue when I tried to refire mine back up. Old gas in the tank will mess with the internals of the fuel pump.

The interior my be a mess, but is fairly easy to clean up by just pulling everything out especially the carpet...pressure wash that thing and if you dont have one take it to a self-serve car wash to pressure wash it. I used a carpet cleaner attachment on my seats and used it on the carpet when it was cleaned. This made short work of the mess.
 
Dec 4, 2018
8
2
13
32
Fort Worth, TX
#15
I spoke to my brother last night. He was my dad's caretaker and knows a lot about the car when my dad first bought it. He told me that when they bought the car, it had been sitting a while, then, too. They put a new battery in it, poured some (what he called "ether" but not sure what that is) in it and it fired right up. He also told me that when it was parked where it ended up sitting for so long, it still ran. He's guessing we can put a new battery in it and we shouldn't have much trouble getting it to start.

He did, however, ask me to find a checklist of all the things we need to go through when trying to start a car that has been sitting for a while. Anyone have a list or can point me in the direction of one?

My dad did buy a new fuel pump, so I have that covered. I'd planned to change the oil and gas and their filters. My dad had already put new spark plugs in it (Will they go bad when the car has just been sitting?) My dad also had something done with the clutch (I cant remember what he said they did).

I'm feeling a bit positive about getting it started. I'll definitely try washing the seat covers and power washing the carpet, though I'm not holding out any hope for them being savable (I want a black interior anyway). The drivers seat is torn, though.
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
9,757
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polk county florida
#16
I think @jrichker has a recipe for reviving an engine that has sat for a long time, lets see if he will chime in.
basically you drop and clean the fuel tank, new pump and filter, I would blow out the fuel lines just to be sure, change the oil, filter and fresh water in the radiator, check hoses for cracks including vacuum lines, no need for antifreeze until you are sure you have no leaks. Prime the engine by removing the distributor and turning the oil pump with a big drill until the gauge shows pressure for a minute or two.
 
Dec 4, 2018
8
2
13
32
Fort Worth, TX
#17
I'm not gonna knock a chilton manual, I have an assembly manual from ford books cause I'm a dummy. It's a life saver, along with stangnet members.
Which manual do you have? Can you share a picture of it? I wouldnt mind a small library of books if it will help seeing things from different perspectives when I try to research something.
 

jrichker

StangNet's favorite TOOL
SN Certified Technician
Mar 10, 2000
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Dublin GA
#19
As suggested...


Barn car find checklist: first steps to get it back on the road.

First of all, carefully check the underhood area to make sure that rodents haven’t had a feast on the electrical wiring, air ducts and vacuum lines. Replace and repair any visible damage. Replace the battery if you haven’t already done so.

Next, drain ALL the engine fluids, transmission fluid, pump the fuel tank and fuel lines clear.

Get several cans of brake fluid, you will need it to flush the brakes. Loosen all 4 brake bleeders one at a time and flush the brake system by pumping the brake pedal. You will need to bleed the brakes when you finish flushing them. Brake fluid absorbs moisture if it sits for a long time and corrosive compounds start to brew themselves in the brake system.

Pumping out the old gas - do this before replacing the fuel filter if possible;
If the old pump still works, you can use it to pump the tank out.
1.) Separate the pressure line (the one with the Schrader valve on it) using the fuel line tools.
Look in the A/C repair section for the fuel line tools. They look like little plastic top hats. You will need the 1/2" & 5/8" ones. The hat shaped section goes on facing the large part of the coupling. Then you press hard on the brim until it forces the sleeve into the coupling and releases the spring. You may need someone to pull on the line while you press on the coupling.



OR

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTwmjj23EpRXMFfHYVG6hYEK53GOKCWWvYG9-LefxImTo50cmW1.jpg


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRTjYAxvaCs


Use a piece of garden hose to run from the pressure line to your bucket or gas can. Make sure it is as leak proof as you can make it. Fire and explosion are not part of the repair process...

2.) Jumper the fuel pump’s test point to ground.
Foxbody Diagnostic connector



Foxbody Diagnostic connector close up view[/b]






Turn the ignition switch to the Run position. the fuel pump will pump the tank almost dry unless the battery runs down first.

Some 5 gallon paint pails lined with garbage bags are good to hold the gas. The garbage bags provide a clean liner for the pails and keep the loose trash out of the gas. If you decide to use a siphon, a piece of 1/2" garden hose stuck down the filler neck will siphon all but a gallon or so of the gas.

The fuel filter is on the passenger side of the car on the body just over the rear axle housing. Pull the plastic clips out by grasping the tabs with a pair of needle nose pliers or a screwdriver.

]View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-JU54w7FL4]

At this point you have fresh engine fluids, fresh gasoline, new filters, new battery fresh brake fluid, and have replaced or repaired any rodent damage.
Then change ALL the filters (fuel, air & oil). Then put in new oil, new antifreeze, and 5 gallons or so of new gasoline. Be sure to replace the all the fan belt or belts. Reusing old belts are an invitation to break and leave you stranded or overheated.

Pull the spark plugs out and squirt some oil down inside the cylinders to lube them up. While the spark plugs are out, examine them for signs of damage or fouling. Write down which plug came from which cylinder and write down any negative things that you saw when you examined the spark plugs.

This next step is for those who have successfully removed and reinstalled a 5.0 Mustang distributor. Pre-oil the engine to insure that everything is lubed up good before the engine starts. Turn the engine up to where the distributor rotor points to #1 cylinder. Mark the distributor base with a scratch mark or something else that isn’t going to get rubbed off. Then remove the distributor and stick a ¼” socket on a12” extension on an electric drill. Place this rig on the oil pump shaft in the hole below the distributor. Turn the ignition switch to Run but don’t crank the engine. Run the drill counterclockwise while your assistant watches the oil pressure gauge.

For the less experienced DIY’er, here is a less complicated procedure.
While the spark plugs are out, crank the engine until you see the oil pressure gauge indicate pressure. If you don’t see any indication of oil pressure at the gauge after 30 seconds or so of cranking, you have some other problems. This is the time to stop and investigate them.

Put the old spark plugs back in if they look good; replace the ones that don’t. Have a spare set of new spark plugs handy for installation once you get the engine running. Why? The oil you squirted in the cylinders will lube things up, but it may also foul the spark plugs. Don’t foul the new plugs by putting them in cylinders that may oil foul the plugs.

Remove the distributor cap, and examine it and the rotor for signs of moisture and tracks. Lightly spray the inside of the distributor cap with WD40 to displace any moisture, and then wipe it up with a clean paper towel. Replace any cap or rotor that shows signs of damage, excessive corrosion or tracking that won’t wipe up with a shot of WD40.

Put the distributor cap back on, secure any loose wiring, vacuum lines, check the fluid levels, check belt tension and tighten any fasteners that you may have loosened. You are now ready to see if the engine will run.
 
Oct 1, 2006
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#20
These cars have some common areas that are known for water leaks and if allowed unchecked can turn into hidden rust. First thing I would do is make sure there isnt any major rust issues ie, where water drains down the windshield into the cowl area and down into the fender structure. This is fairly hidden and usually results in water leaking into the front floorboards near the fender wells and the computer kick area. Can also continue into the strut towers and front frame rails. Depends alot on where the car originated from also so it may be completely clear of rust entirely which is always nice to find.