Looking for help getting my '02 GT Convertible back to life


New Member
Oct 9, 2019
New York
Hi, I am sure this has been addressed before, but I just joined and wasn't sure where or how to look. I have a 2002 Mustang GT Convertible with the 5 speed with about 50,000 miles and totally stock. I live in the suburbs of New York CIty and have used the car for pleasure. A couple of years ago I had a heart attack while off duty from my job as a firefighter. The car sat while I recovered and then sat through the winter without me touching ( I used to start it every couple of weeks). With a few minor setbacks, I've recovered, but had to retire. I've wanted to drive the car, but am very concerned about putting a new battery in it with the gas that is in it and what other mistakes I could make by just turning it over after nearly three years. I realize that the gas has to come out, and the oil needs to be changed along with the new battery, but can anyone give me some advice and details on the safest way to bring my beloved Mustang back to life without doing damage? I have basic to moderate skills, but limited ability with regard to lifts and equipment and tools.
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Active Member
Apr 8, 2017
New battery, change gas, change oil, change coolant. If it was parked outside look at the brakes as they might be all rusted and need to be replaced. Also probably not a bad idea to change trans and diff fluids while you're at it. Pull a plug and look at AF to check condition. Change if needed. Check tires for dry rot cracks and there is a good chance the tires have flat spots from sitting so long which will cause a vibration.


New Member
Oct 9, 2019
New York
Sluggie24, thanks for the help. I figured the basics like gas, battery and oil; hadn't thought of the coolant. As for tires and brakes, no problem there, already planning on that after I get it started. The trans and diff fluids is also a great heads up. The one real thing that I'm looking for is anything not obvious when it's time to actually start it up again, I'm really concened about any damage to engine when I do, never had a car sit so long before. Thanks again, I really appreciate your time.


New Member
Oct 9, 2019
New York
Also, as for the gas, do I need to drop the tank, or can I get away with just siphoning out old gas and adding new gas? Worrying about any residual in tank, although I always put premium and never let it get below 1/4. I used to always change fuel filter once a year. Never wanted injector problems.


Active Member
Jul 2, 2019
Rings rusted to cylinders can be a concern sitting that long. I think if it were me, I'd put some form of lubricant (I see Marvel Mystery Oil used for this often) down in the cylinders (via the spark plug holes), let it soak in a little bit, and slowly turn it by hand a few times before starting it (trans in neutral), just to make sure everything moves freely.

As for gas, I'd siphon as much out as possible, then drop the tank. Our tanks aren't that hard to remove, once most of the fuel is out, and it'd be easier to do now than after you've filled it again.


New Member
Oct 9, 2019
New York
I appreciate the help. Looks like most of what I expected, last Mustang I worked on was my 1969 GT Sportsroof in 1980. Fuel injection and electronics are things I never messed with until now.


SN Certified Technician
Aug 14, 2009
Houston Texas
The siphon trick won't work. Why? Because there's an anti-siphon valve on the end of the fuel tank filler neck. This will prevent a hose from going all the way into the tank.

When I brought back to life my 2000 GT, I disconnected the fuel filter and forced 12 volts down the RD/BK and BN/PK wires to force the fuel pump to run. I took the stale gas and put a gallon in all of my (and my neighbor's) cars. Saved the hassle of disposing.

I used an "old school" battery charger to power the fuel pump.

With a high end bi-directional ODB2 scanner it might be possible to "command" the PCM to run the fuel pump.

+1 on removing the spark plugs. I have used Sta-bil fogging oil to great effect. To me it makes more sense because it's a mist that will get into all of the areas within the cylinder.

Consider an injector cleaning and flow test service such as InjectorRX.com. Once cleaned and tested they are as good as new (but cheaper).

If it's the first time to work on a modern PCM controlled car, consider staring out with a strong first step. Consider getting yourself an ODB2 scanner.

ForScan ODB2 scanner w ELM327 USB

Do a visual inspection for evidence of rodent activity. How does your nose work?

Another problem you might have is an over loaded charcoal canister. This may manifest itself as slow re-filling at the gas pump. If you encounter the problem it may clear itself up after several EVAP purge cycles. If trying to make the car run EVAP purge cycles keep the gas tank less than 3/4ths full.

Here is another place where a bi-directional ODB2 scanner can help. Simply command an EVAP purge test to force the EVAP purge to run. This will help get the years of gas vapors out of the charcoal canister.
Last edited:


New Member
Oct 9, 2019
New York
Wow, thanks for the information, very informative. I will look into the OBD2 Scanner, sounds like the way to go. No rodents or problems like that, the car has been parked in my driveway and even though I haven't started it, I have cleaned it and opened it up just to make sure that all I would have issues with is mechanical, didn't want to have interior, wiring and paint issues. Thanks again.


Founding Member
Feb 13, 2002
I started working on my 2002 GT (~58k miles) after several years of neglect (got married/had kids), though I still drove it off and on. A couple of things I hit aside from the usual mentioned above:

- Fuel pump died. Was able to replace just the pump for $100 and my labor to drop the tank. Dealer wanted much more (quoted ~$900) as they would have replaced the entire sender assembly, not just the pump module.
- New coilpacks, started getting a misfire. Went with MSD replacements, seemed like good replacement for the price.
- Did some suspension work and noticed my rubber bushings and such are getting old (ball joint boots, tie rod boots). Going to eventually do some more upgrades at which point I'll replace them.
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