Paint and Body Engine Bay Cracks

Thatmustangkid

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Hey everyone. I'm new to the forums and trying to find my way as I go, so bear with me. (I tried searching all the threads before posting because I realize starting a new thread on something that's already been addressed is exceedingly frustrating, however I found nothing). I'm looking at buying my first mustang. It's an 87 GT with a 5.0 cobra(?) motor. I have done all necessary checks (I believe) including frame straightness through bulges or cracks in the pillars, strut tower rust, and floor pan rust. I have bought a few cars in my life so far although I'm only 16 including 2 early Broncos, so I'm fairly familiar with buying used cars. Unfortunately with this particular car, it needs a fuel pump and starter toggle, so I won't be able to hear it run before forking over the cash. Generally I would never ever in a million years buy a car I couldn't hear run, but for the price I'm paying, it is worth the risk. Now that I've gotten all that out of the way, I'll build on the whole purpose of this thread. When I opened the hood, everything looked great except two large cracks in the rail of the engine bay (see pictures). I'm not sure if this is something that can be replaced, or worth replacing at all. I am quite handy with welding and metal work in general and I am totally up for a challenge and getting my hands dirty. Thanks in advance and I'm excited to be a part of the mustang community in the near future!

-Gray
 

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MustangIIMatt

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This is a car that has likely been in a hard front-end collision. It'd be a good parts car, but not a good restoration candidate unless there is something that makes it a rare car or you have deep pockets.
 

Thatmustangkid

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This is a car that has likely been in a hard front-end collision. It'd be a good parts car, but not a good restoration candidate unless there is something that makes it a rare car or you have deep pockets.
hmmm okay that's good to know. That makes since seeing as the cracks are in the same place on either side. The front bumper and rad and everything else in that area is in great shape, it just seems to be that one area.
 

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Davedacarpainter

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Definite solid punch to the front with a half assed repair. It seems to look great on the front because, at least the bumper has been replaced. The front end has been painted. The holes on the fenders were the bolts mount it to the car have been "adjusted" at best. I have another name for what's been done to the front end, but you being a young fella, I don't want to shock you with my blatant body shop coarseness.:O_o:

Unless it's being given to you by a loved relative and you have fond memories of riding in that car to the drag races with them, let it go.
,
Great parts car.

Truthfully, it wouldn't be tremendously difficult to repair if you work in a body shop. You will need a frame machine and all of the other bigger tools to make it safe. Plus there would be all that new inner structure you would have to buy.

I think it's best it doesn't run.

Keep looking though brother, be patient, you'll find a decent starting point fox if you just look for it.

Now though, let's say you already bought the car......If you have, let us know. We'll help you make it safe and run really nice. If you did, pictures, pictures, pictures. There will be specific things to do right off if you have bought the car. Check the title to see if it's a rebuilder first.
 
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Thatmustangkid

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Definite solid punch to the front with a half assed repair. It seems to look great on the front because, at least the bumper has been replaced. The front end has been painted. The holes on the fenders were the bolts mount it to the car have been "adjusted" at best. I have another name for what's been done to the front end, but you being a young fella, I don't want to shock you with my blatant body shop coarseness.:O_o:

Unless it's being given to you by a loved relative and you have fond memories of riding in that car to the drag races with them, let it go.
,
Great parts car.

Truthfully, it wouldn't be tremendously difficult to repair if you work in a body shop. You will need a frame machine and all of the other bigger tools to make it safe. Plus there would be all that new inner structure you would have to buy.

I think it's best it doesn't run.

Keep looking though brother, be patient, you'll find a decent starting point fox if you just look for it.

Now though, let's say you already bought the car......If you have, let us know. We'll help you make it safe and run really nice. If you did, pictures, pictures, pictures. There will be specific things to do right off if you have bought the car. Check the title to see if it's a rebuilder first.
Thanks a lot! I'm glad I came here before I bought it because everyone here so far has been super welcoming and full of info I never would've known. Roughly how much would I be looking at for a good safe repair if I was to buy it? It almost seems a shame that the rest of the car is in such good shape but this is a deal breaker.
 

Davedacarpainter

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Thanks a lot! I'm glad I came here before I bought it because everyone here so far has been super welcoming and full of info I never would've known. Roughly how much would I be looking at for a good safe repair if I was to buy it? It almost seems a shame that the rest of the car is in such good shape but this is a deal breaker.
It really depends on the damage you would find.

The front end needs to be torn down to see the inner structure damage. The radiator support looks like it was wracked down a bit.

Cost? Depends how much work you could do yourself and really seeing what needs to be fixed under that bumper and fenders.

Notice how the radiator support isn't flush with the inner fenders. The right fender has a crack in the jamb. Look at the upper bumper brackets and how much adjustment they have had done to them.

It's kind of hard to be really detailed without seeing more of it.

Be a little cautious of the rest of the car. There is a strut tower brace in the engine bay. That means someone wanted to be able to push it a little more than what factory would support. It doesn't mean necessarily that it has been hammered on the track, but it's a sign to say, "let me look at those torque boxes". The torque box is just where the rear control arms connect to the body. Lay down on the ground and take a serious look at them. See if you see cracks in the lower box area, or welds that have torn out.

While you're laying there on the ground, look toward the front and see if you see any serious rust in the floor pans.

Rust isn't a deal breaker, but it does require work. You'll have to decide if it's worth it to you. At your age, fixing all of these things may seem worth it, the experience you'll get from doing it and all is really invaluable. Me, at 53, I might say screw it, I've done this crap enough....
 

Thatmustangkid

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Jun 18, 2016
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It really depends on the damage you would find.

The front end needs to be torn down to see the inner structure damage. The radiator support looks like it was wracked down a bit.

Cost? Depends how much work you could do yourself and really seeing what needs to be fixed under that bumper and fenders.

Notice how the radiator support isn't flush with the inner fenders. The right fender has a crack in the jamb. Look at the upper bumper brackets and how much adjustment they have had done to them.

It's kind of hard to be really detailed without seeing more of it.

Be a little cautious of the rest of the car. There is a strut tower brace in the engine bay. That means someone wanted to be able to push it a little more than what factory would support. It doesn't mean necessarily that it has been hammered on the track, but it's a sign to say, "let me look at those torque boxes". The torque box is just where the rear control arms connect to the body. Lay down on the ground and take a serious look at them. See if you see cracks in the lower box area, or welds that have torn out.

While you're laying there on the ground, look toward the front and see if you see any serious rust in the floor pans.

Rust isn't a deal breaker, but it does require work. You'll have to decide if it's worth it to you. At your age, fixing all of these things may seem worth it, the experience you'll get from doing it and all is really invaluable. Me, at 53, I might say screw it, I've done this crap enough....
Floor pans are immaculate. No rust at all. Got down under the car and checked all around and no sign of any. Torque boxes looked good (I think, I wasn't really sure what to look for) and no obvious big rips in the welds or anything but no added extra support had been added. I've got a picture but it's not great. Tell me if you can see anything from it.
 

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Davedacarpainter

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Floor pans are immaculate. No rust at all. Got down under the car and checked all around and no sign of any. Torque boxes looked good (I think, I wasn't really sure what to look for) and no obvious big rips in the welds or anything but no added extra support had been added. I've got a picture but it's not great. Tell me if you can see anything from it.
It's a little hard to tell from that one, get some pictures from where the lower box welds to the frame and anywhere on the upper torque boxes.

That front end has me a little worried for you though. In addition that you haven't heard it running yet. People may say one thing about how good the car is, but I've discovered that, through years of personal experience, that people can be either lying scum or stupid. Both are dangerous.
 

FoxMustangLvr

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hmmm okay that's good to know. That makes since seeing as the cracks are in the same place on either side. The front bumper and rad and everything else in that area is in great shape, it just seems to be that one area.
You should also know that you can buy a lot of different intakes plates that say a lot of things that the engine is not. With the exception of an A/C delete kit that moved the P/S pump up the motor looks stock.
 
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