Exorcising a '78 ( and '78 and now '76")

IICrew

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Mar 29, 2020
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Hi all,
I've been lurking off and for for a few years. Had a couple II's back when I was a teen. A lot of fun was had hammering back roads and the local dragstrip. I abused that car for a decade. I failed to reinforce the chassis which wound up twisting it and cracking the A pillars. Life, family and salt proceeded to happen and it was partially stripped and sold as a rusted mess.

About 20 years ago I ran across a killer deal on a nice t top car. The guy I purchased it from tried to stick a 351 cleveland in it but had no clue what he was in for and abandoned the project. I found it with the engine halfway installed. Literally, halfway in the car. Well maybe 3/4 the way but no way was it fitting as is. The interior had been stripped and all the trim removed. After yanking the engine and getting the car on the trailer he tells me he has the other parts and title at his moms. He seems legit and I am loaded up already. We are at his house. So I paid him half with the rest due when I picked up the rest of items and title. Luckily I insisted on a written statement from him at the time as he flaked out and I was never able to get in touch with him again.

I brought the T top car home and needed to find a beat up v8 car to make the swap easier. I had driven by one for years as it sat outside. I was not interested prior because it was wearing white primer with rust everywhere. Now though, I only needed the v8 stuff, trim and interior. It was a perfect fit and dirt cheap.

The problems with it began once I got it home. Looking it over in daylight for the first time and checking the buck tag I found it was originally a V8 4 speed Black and Gold Cobra II. See the problem? Here I am, just came home with 2 Mustang II's within days. One without a title. Both unplanned a week prior. And here I am attempting to explain why we need a THIRD. For some strange reason the wife was not having any of it.

It took a while to get a title. Having the written statement made getting the title a long but fairly easy process. During this time I threw my old parts and the Cobra together to make a pile of junk that leaked fuel like a sieve. Broke 2nd and 3rd gears within a couple test drives on the good old rad4. Around this time I suffered a back injury which snowballed into other problems leaving my cars moving with me multiple times, but untouched until this past winter.

The Cobra now needs a full restoration. The floor pans are weak. It has holes. I've kept it under cover but time and wearing primer for 30 years does a number on a car. I will not be able to get a restoration done like it deserves. So it is being mothballed.

The T top car though, it is still in fairly good condition. This past winter I pulled together enough old parts to make it run again. From the time she entered my life my health has deteriorated just like Roland's. My wife thinks I act like Roland at times. She looks like she came from Darnell's used parts pile. I've pushed her off and on trailers moving several times over the years to get her running on her own. So without further ado.

Ladies and gentleman may I introduce Christine. A faded red 1978 Mustang II. Originally a V6 auto. This car has no options except sport mirrors and t tops. Nothing. Seems odd to me. Someone paid for the most expensive option then said no on everything else. Everything. She now has my ancient (circa 1986) crate 302 from Ford. It's paired with a 1990 t5 using the II's bell, flywheel and clutch. The rear axles were redrilled by Moser. I upgraded the front brakes running across a deal on the speedway motors wave brake kit. I hate the wave rotors. lol. The kit itself isnt bad but the wave rotors look childish to me. I wish the bracket was more stout but hopefully it holds up. I had to grind the lower control arm to stop the rotors rubbing when turning. Suspension is stock except for new shocks. She wears 215/60r14 Front and 225/60R14 rears on old school slots. The fronts needed some massaging to fit. I will need to roll rear fender lips but with no weight it may be okay.

Any questions let me know. I have had a few of these cars apart over the years and managed to actually get one or two back together. I am currently awaiting my yard to dry enough to get it out of the barn. It needs a windshield and I need the rear glass installed. Otherwise she is almost ready to awaken from her slumber and unleash oil drops and coolant trails upon the unsuspecting masses.

IMG_20200313_173539898.jpg
 
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LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
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Welcome to the forums officially!! :D

Looks like a solid base from these pics, and T-tops would make it especially nice!!
 

2Blue2

will be trying this sex one when I can find it
Mar 5, 2019
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Its a good looking start for a 40+ yr old car.

Looking forward to updates.
 

BlakeusMaximus

Still got to try a little lube on my speedo head
Jul 12, 2017
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Hi all,
I've been lurking off and for for a few years. Had a couple II's back when I was a teen. A lot of fun was had hammering back roads and the local dragstrip. I abused that car for a decade. I failed to reinforce the chassis which wound up twisting it and cracking the A pillars. Life, family and salt proceeded to happen and it was partially stripped and sold as a rusted mess.

About 20 years ago I ran across a killer deal on a nice t top car. The guy I purchased it from tried to stick a 351 cleveland in it but had no clue what he was in for and abandoned the project. I found it with the engine halfway installed. Literally, halfway in the car. Well maybe 3/4 the way but no way was it fitting as is. The interior had been stripped and all the trim removed. After yanking the engine and getting the car on the trailer he tells me he has the other parts and title at his moms. He seems legit and I am loaded up already. We are at his house. So I paid him half with the rest due when I picked up the rest of items and title. Luckily I insisted on a written statement from him at the time as he flaked out and I was never able to get in touch with him again.

I brought the T top car home and needed to find a beat up v8 car to make the swap easier. I had driven by one for years as it sat outside. I was not interested prior because it was wearing white primer with rust everywhere. Now though, I only needed the v8 stuff, trim and interior. It was a perfect fit and dirt cheap.

The problems with it began once I got it home. Looking it over in daylight for the first time and checking the buck tag I found it was originally a V8 4 speed Black and Gold Cobra II. See the problem? Here I am, just came home with 2 Mustang II's within days. One without a title. Both unplanned a week prior. And here I am attempting to explain why we need a THIRD. For some strange reason the wife was not having any of it.

It took a while to get a title. Having the written statement made getting the title a long but fairly easy process. During this time I threw my old parts and the Cobra together to make a pile of junk that leaked fuel like a sieve. Broke 2nd and 3rd gears within a couple test drives on the good old rad4. Around this time I suffered a back injury which snowballed into other problems leaving my cars moving with me multiple times, but untouched until this past winter.

The Cobra now needs a full restoration. The floor pans are weak. It has holes. I've kept it under cover but time and wearing primer for 30 years does a number on a car. I will not be able to get a restoration done like it deserves. So it is being mothballed.

The T top car though, it is still in fairly good condition. This past winter I pulled together enough old parts to make it run again. From the time she entered my life my health has deteriorated just like Roland's. My wife thinks I act like Roland at times. She looks like she came from Darnell's used parts pile. I've pushed her off and on trailers moving several times over the years to get her running on her own. So without further ado.

Ladies and gentleman may I introduce Christine. A faded red 1978 Mustang II. Originally a V6 auto. This car has no options except sport mirrors and t tops. Nothing. Seems odd to me. Someone paid for the most expensive option then said no on everything else. Everything. She now has my ancient (circa 1986) crate 302 from Ford. It's paired with a 1990 t5 using the II's bell, flywheel and clutch. The rear axles were redrilled by Moser. I upgraded the front brakes running across a deal on the speedway motors wave brake kit. I hate the wave rotors. lol. The kit itself isnt bad but the wave rotors look childish to me. I wish the bracket was more stout but hopefully it holds up. I had to grind the lower control arm to stop the rotors rubbing when turning. Suspension is stock except for new shocks. She wears 215/60r14 Front and 225/60R14 rears on old school slots. The fronts needed some massaging to fit. I will need to roll rear fender lips but with no weight it may be okay.

Any questions let me know. I have had a few of these cars apart over the years and managed to actually get one or two back together. I am currently awaiting my yard to dry enough to get it out of the barn. It needs a windshield and I need the rear glass installed. Otherwise she is almost ready to awaken from her slumber and unleash oil drops and coolant trails upon the unsuspecting masses.

IMG_20200313_173539898.jpg
I really don't like those cars usually, but theres something about that one. I don't know anything about them either. Were those cars factory 5 lug cars, or did I miss something about that in your post?
 

LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
10 Year Member
Dec 6, 2005
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I really don't like those cars usually, but theres something about that one. I don't know anything about them either. Were those cars factory 5 lug cars, or did I miss something about that in your post?
No, they were original 4 lug cars. The only giveaway is in the last paragraph, these sentences: "The rear axles were redrilled by Moser. I upgraded the front brakes running across a deal on the speedway motors wave brake kit. I hate the wave rotors. lol."
 

IICrew

Active Member
Mar 29, 2020
154
193
53
USA
Thanks for the warm welcome.

I see the awesome builds here but this will not be one of those. It's getting preserved on a budget. My plan is basically to do no harm. Upgrade what needs it but keep it visually as is. Treat the rust that is there. Have a friend of mine do some touch up but that's about it body wise. Being broke I have convinced myself I like the mad max vibe lol. Now if my rich uncle ever gets out of that damn poor house I may rethink my strategy.

I converted it to 5 lug. It worked great except I should have gone with 15" wheels. I found the 14's cheap but don't like that they rubbed the caliper so I had to "adjust" the front calipers. I ground about 1/8" from the top of them. The stance and tires do look good on it though. I appreciate the bigger wheels but always loved the slots on these cars since the designer intended them and they were an option.

Here is a pic of her being drug from hibernation and what was a Cobra
IMG_20191120_131935014.jpg
 
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BlakeusMaximus

Still got to try a little lube on my speedo head
Jul 12, 2017
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No, they were original 4 lug cars. The only giveaway is in the last paragraph, these sentences: "The rear axles were redrilled by Moser. I upgraded the front brakes running across a deal on the speedway motors wave brake kit. I hate the wave rotors. lol."
Got it.
 

extra_stout

Advanced Member
Aug 27, 2018
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Welcome!
I like your idea about keeping it "mad max"! Wheel and tire combination looks great. The grey color of the wheels just make it.
 

IICrew

Active Member
Mar 29, 2020
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I fell into the wheel color. I ordered the wheels from ebay. The pics were deceiving. The fronts were polished but the rears were horrifying. They looked like sheet metal with cancer. Someone took a grinder or heavy sand paper to them. I tried to clean then lightly sanded them but I could not get the scratches and gouges out. Plus they never have matched. So I used VHT wheel paint. I was shooting for a darker color but I am happy with the results. The black lugs finish it off nicely. I initially wanted the center caps but am liking the raw vibe.

My plan is to eventually finish blacking out the trim. I dont want to paint the targa band though. Does anyone have a suggestion for blacking the chrome strips on it?

Has anyone treated their chassis? I don't have any holes but it has surface rust. I have Coroseal and Chassis Barrier. The Coroseal leaves a primered surface but needs top coated where the chassis barrier is intended for heavy rust on frame rails and leaves a thick uneven coat. What have you guys used and been happy with?
 

LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
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You could go with a black chrome look on the targa band. I've used this stuff on a motorcycle I used to have and it worked pretty well, although I think it had a bluish tint to it. But for ~$20 it's not gonna break the bank to try it out.

licolor-shadow-chrome-black-out-paint-kit-11-oz-24.jpg
 

2Blue2

will be trying this sex one when I can find it
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A old barn full of old mustangs makes my day:D:rolleyes:
 

IICrew

Active Member
Mar 29, 2020
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Glass was installed and insurance obtained so a test drive was required. As I've told my son "the first 10 test drives are to break or find what is already broken" . Luckily this drive found at least 4 problems.

1) Performance is horrible under load. I don't have a timing light and being an old engine I ass-u-me-d the timing would be close. Well it doesn't matter because the distributor will not budge. It has been in place since 1989 or so. I've tried PB, heat, prying. All i've done is advance it a couple degrees by actually twisting the housing. I am soaking daily with PB awaiting the arrival of a new one. If it won't free up i guess we move to excessive heat a BFH and a chisel. Remember to use anti-seize when installing a distributor!! Aluminum and iron don't play well over decades.

2) Nasty vibration comes in around 30mph. Tires and wheels were just balanced. The wheels appeared straight on the balancer. The original v6 driveshaft was balanced with new u joints. The diff was removed, cleaned and appears in good shape. Axles were checked by Moser when redrilled and should be straight. Brakes are all new. Since it's a t5 swap I am assuming the pinion angle is off. I don't have an angle gauge but if the new mount doesnt fix it that will be the next tool ordered. The shifter is almost touching the floor using the t5 swap crossmember and the oem transmission mount as the crossmember advises. I have ordered a 1966 trans mount since it appears about an inch shorter which hopefully brings pinion angle closer. I've read where someone had a similar problem but cannot locate the thread now that I need it.

3) Brakes. Just replace the damn booster. Don't even friggin try the old one. Just do it. What a pain. I tested it by running the engine and hammering the brakes. Seemed to hold so I thought it was okay. There I go trying to think again. One real test drive leads to horrible vacuum leaks and erratic power brakes. Will order a new booster in a couple weeks. Should have done it when everything was apart. Don't repeat my mistakes!

4) I did install a new master cylinder. It was close but internally the design was different. It's a little deeper so I lengthened the pushrod 3 turns. Adjusting the damn pushrod is a pita. It was working fine rolling around the shop but the further I drove the brakes started hanging. By the time I was back home I had to loosen the master cylinder to get it to roll into the garage.

The glass guys were enamored with her. I was asked several times what it would cost to take her off my hands. Even the kids now days are fascinated by these cars. First stop was getting gas for the first time in decades. I was asked a hundred questions by a younger gentleman. He seemed genuinely interested in what it was and the details. What a change from driving my old one in the 90's.
 
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LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
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Yes, it is probably your driveline angle. The mount might work, but then again it might not. Your best bet is to check both the angle of the tail shaft and compare it to the pinion angle.
In short, your tail shaft and pinion angle should closely match.
If they're out of whack, you'll need to shim the axle to bring the pinion angle into phase. There are angle shims made for this scenario, chances are that you'll need install them to correct the geometry. Here's an illustration to help describe what I'm talking about.

4ForfcoWlnezZvYcykHXFu1FnZwUXSV6rVduDqscA&usqp=CAU.jpg


here's another:

d4ecb87b5b9299f7e63d14c8b4279253.jpg


And these are what the shims look like that you'll need to use to correct the geometry:

exp-99-250_xl.jpg
 

LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
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Here's my thread from years ago when I had a vibration issue. I've gone through and corrected the pinion angle and this situation was different, but the pinion angle correction is mentioned here. They even used one of the same illustrations I shared. :)

 

IICrew

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Hopefully the mount helps. I plan on doing the traction bars so I can get the rear sway bar mount. Original plan was to get her roadworthy before performance stuff but they may have to be next if the mount doesn't help. That way I can shim it while installing them. I hate redoing work just to redo work. I am hopeful the mount does it though.

When originally doing research I ran across a thread where the mount helped. I think it fixed it but cannot find that thread again. May have been another forum. May have been just a dream. My old ass can't remember.

Has anyone here done the t5 swap using the conversion crossmember? If so which mount did you use and did you have vibration issues?
 

LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
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I cut my crossmember up and welded it back together to swap the T5, so I can't answer that question. I'd just use the mount that they suggested. I'd venture a guess that they've done enough homework to know what works and what doesn't.
 

2Blue2

will be trying this sex one when I can find it
Mar 5, 2019
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Even the kids now days are fascinated by these cars. First stop was getting gas for the first time in decades. I was asked a hundred questions by a younger gentleman. He seemed genuinely interested in what it was and the details. What a change from driving my old one in the 90's.

Haha good stuff, only the old timers remember the hate on these cars.
 
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