Reviving one that's been sitting 20+ years

BestGuess

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It was suggested that I post up a little build thread of the latest POS I decided to try and bring back to life so I'll give it a try.

Awhile back I started following a guy that goes by 50Tussin on youtube. I liked that he brought back to life rough fox cars and showed the progress of upgrades through his track outings. I already had a car that I was going to the track with occasionally, but really wanted to put together something I found in a field and drug out. A buddy of mine knew of a 79 model and he teased me with it for a while. He finally decided he wasn't going to attempt to mess with it and let me get in touch with the guy who owned the land that I dug it out of. That was back in February and this is the progress I've made since:

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BestGuess

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The car sat for 20+ years that I can tell with no suspension and only one wheel on it. I dug it out and sat it on blocks and whatever I could find in the field to poke around underneath to make sure it wasn't too far gone. I paid the guy scrap price for it and got it home. The day I went to get it off my trailer and into my driveway the cable popped, what a good sign!!! I knew to add some straps to it while letting it roll off the trailer in the event something crazy happened. How cool would it have been to destroy my packed single car garage and the car sitting in there with an absolute POS. I'm in the process of getting a bigger garage built, so this thing has been built 100% in my driveway in true low budget fashion. I've stripped it down, pressure washed it, wire brushed the surface rust underneath and inside and treated it with rust reformer. The interior floor has been painted with black Farm and Implement paint to make it look better after the rust reformer since it's probably not going to get any carpet. It has some rust holes, but not bad in my opinion. Nothing a riveted in old license plate can't handle. Did I mention thing has been a mouse mansion for a while!!!!
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BestGuess

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As posted above, I pulled the original 4 cylinder and SROD and was lucky enough to sell those for what I paid for the car. I already had a set of 94-95 spindles and brakes that I didn't use on another project and this car came with a manual rack which it didn't have when I got it. That's one of the parts I did buy brand new. When I dug the car out, I used blocks of wood where the suspension would go on the front to get it on the trailer. It was a pain loading the car with no steering rack in the mud.

I knew that I wanted to keep the car kind of old school with the build. Keep it really simple if possible, but I wanted EFI because it's what I'm more familiar with. I found a 1987 Lincoln Mark VII in the local junk yard and pulled the engine in the rain, such a fun time.....said no one ever. The engine was in there looking rough, but I took a gamble on it and got it, also bought a warranty with it. The engine didn't have both valvecovers, so my buddy had a set of 1969 valvecovers off an engine he had. I left them original and unpainted to match the rest of the trash.

Since I wanted EFI I looked around for a good stock harness and ECU. They were too expensive for my wallet for 30 year old parts. I opted out for a Microsquirt ECU from EFI Source. I have some experience with Megasquirt and what I can't figure out I know a guy who is a whiz with anything Tunerstudio related. He put the original tune in my other car and has helped me a lot since with any of my dumb questions.
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BestGuess

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Gonna fast forward a little bit and get this thread to the most recent state of the resurrection. I installed a later model Fox EFI tank after some beating and banging on the tank to make it fit. I was able to cut and rivet some tank straps I managed to save from a 79 Mercury Zephyr build that I did. I cleaned that all up and painted it. Put a Quantum 340 E85 pump in the tank as well.

As far as the engine goes, it's stock, has an Explorer intake on it, modified throttle body to make it a 70mm I think. I randomly ran across a guy selling an older but brand new still in the packaging nitrous kit for a smoking deal with the bottle included and had to slap that on there. I thought I had pics of the transmission rebuild I did, but I guess I don't. A buddy of mine got tired of destroying T5's with his turbo Fox and sold me his last bits of T5 stuff for a sick deal. I got two T5Z spec trannies that needed some work, two bellhousings, a Spec Stg 3 disc, brand new flywheel, Pro 5.0 shifter, and some other stuff. I rebuilt and upgraded one of the T5Z's and installed it with a brand new stock pressure plate and the Spec Stg 3 disc. Another guy gave me a set of stock exhaust manifolds for this thing. I don't aim on making a bunch of power obviously and the original plan was to turbo the car with stock exhaust manifolds, but plans changed for now.

Other interesting facts about this engine is it has a set of decapped chevy LS engine flex fuel injectors in it. I had a set, modded them, and sent them off to be cleaned and flowed. They flow about 850cc now, which is overkill, but the car will be on E85 and may still get a turbo kit if I can put one together for next to free. Nothing like putting some bigger injectors in, using stock sized fuel line and return, and stock non adjustable FPR. I also used an inline fuel filter from something later model that's flex fuel.

Also included are picks of my hack job exhaust. I wanted to keep the car looking somewhat stock and since this thing came with a single sided exhaust, why not choke off any power I could potentially make with a single sided exhaust. I had a bunch of scrap exhaust piping I had saved from prior sloppy builds and started whipping something up. I've got to still finish fitting it to the car and hopefully soon a friend will finish welding it up for me to hide all of my hideous tack welds and some that I didn't do.
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BestGuess

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And here is how it's sitting now. I need to cut the rear coils, which are from my 4 door 79 Zephyr. The rear wheels are borrowed from a friend, the front wheels are 5 lug 17" aluminum spares I found in the junkyard. If you notice the rear is 4 lug. The hood and front bumper are from another rusty old 4 eye fox, but they fit the build and I'm glad I found them.

It's parked like this because we had to use a tree in the cul-de-sac to rope the car to in order to straighten out the upper radiator support. We were going to use my truck to do it, but were not able to get the angles right to pull it back into a decent position. The lower radiator support was completely destroyed by someone prior to me using it to pull the car. I cut it out and used some metal my dad gave me to make a lower radiator support.

As of right now I'm still below my budget on this build. But, after today I am not sure I'll be able to keep it at that. I fired the car up to let it warm up because I installed the correct water pump and installed a Ford Taurus dual speed fan. I let the car fully warm up a couple times and found the left side of the engine smoking some. The car is currently running rough because the tune is off and I don't have my wideband in the exhaust yet and I thought that's probably why I saw some smoke. Upon closer inspection I found oil in the #7 header pipe which prompted me to pull the plug, which also had oil on it YAY!!!!. Looks like either rings or valve seals I'm thinking. I shouldn't have expected much out of a 34 year old engine that I pulled from a car that wasn't wrecked. I got a warranty on the engine from the junkyard, but now I'm not so sure I want to try and use it. For one I don't see 5.0 HO motors in the junk yard often, if ever, and secondly I don't think I can bring myself to scrap the engine I have. These old parts are getting harder to find, at least for me they are.
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mikestang63

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Rodney would be proud of the progress. You car looks better than 1/2 of his already lol... Some of the turds he had over the years were real gems but he manages to get them in the low 10's and 11's on junkyard and used parts.
 
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BestGuess

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Rodney would be proud of the progress. You car looks better than 1/2 of his already lol... Some of the turds he had over the years were real gems but he manages to get them in the low 10's and 11's on junkyard and used parts.
Are you buddies with him? If so let him know he has fans up here in VA.
 

Gs1987GT

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Looking good so far man! Good work. I'll be following your progress.

Notch back cars are my favorites. Cool you found a 79 notch and are bringing it back to life when it otherwise would have rotted into oblivion. Very cool
 
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BestGuess

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It’s actually a January 1980 model by the door tag. I like to call it a 79 though since my other cars are 79’s.

I forgot to mention the suspension mods I’ve done to it. The front is stock 4 cylinder K member with A Arms from an 03 model GT. I mentioned the 94-95 spindles and brakes, manual steering rack from Summit. I also have a set of UPR coilovers and Lakewood shocks as well as UPR camber caster plates. All of that stuff minus the steering rack is good and used.

The rear is an 8.8 with 3.73’s, UPR upper and lower trailing arms, and the only new part is some rear shocks I found on ebay or amazon for like $30 shipped. The car is currently 4 lug back and 5 lug front.

Ohhh and the rear springs are from my 4 door Mercury Zephyr. Obviously I need to give those a trim to take it out of 4x4 mode in the back. Just a quick guess I’m thinking maybe 2 coils out of the springs? I’d like for the car to sit kinda low. Probably wait till I decide on a rear tire and put my other cheap wheels on it. The wheels on the back now are borrowed.
 
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BestGuess

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Now that it looks like I’ll be doing a cheap refresh on the engine, after doing some research because I don’t know SBF’s that well, I’m curious to see if I could get this engine to make 250whp with nothing more than an explorer intake, explorer TB, and a single 3” exhaust with some tuning and E85 fuel. Got a buddy telling me to throw some 1.7 rockers in it and something about swapping the pistons from side to side. That nets a free bump in compression. I haven’t researched that one yet.
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
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The 1.7 rockers ok but the piston swap I don't see, they may be confused with the timing swap from 289-302 firing order to the 5.0 HO-351 swap.
 

90sickfox

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A piston swap side to side is new to me. Never heard of that one. Technically it doesn't make much sense.

The big mod was 1.7 on exhaust and 1.6 rockers on the intake valves with the stock H.O. cam. Kept the velocity up on the intake and helped get the exhaust gasses out. Also helped to port the exhaust side of the head. These things are old mods that have been surpassed by newer camshafts and better cheaper aftermarket heads.
 

BestGuess

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I’ve researched a little more on the piston reversal. It makes sense and is an old trick for certain engines with an offset built into the rods/pistons. I think I found where some fast factory stock type racers may have done it.
 

BestGuess

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Borrowed my buddies shop to pull the engine back out of it. Will start tearing the engine apart tomorrow, I think.
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90sickfox

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It's weird that I don't remember anything about swapping pistons side to side and reversing them. I did some research and talked to a friend about it that's been doing mustangs way longer than me. It's true and apparently gives more power with offset piston pin locations. I'll have to make a mental note of this.
 
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BestGuess

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Pulled the heads and found that both sides appear to have the headgasket blown out between cylinders. Parts of the gasket were not stuck to the heads. I guess this would explain why when I was trying to get the engine to fire up it would sound like it was huffing back through the intake and overall sound weird to me. Also the cylinders are fairly polished over with very little sign of crosshatching.
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Mustang5L5

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It's weird that I don't remember anything about swapping pistons side to side and reversing them. I did some research and talked to a friend about it that's been doing mustangs way longer than me. It's true and apparently gives more power with offset piston pin locations. I'll have to make a mental note of this.


First i've heard of that practice myself. I was watching a youtube vid last night where they said they "flipped the stock pistons" and was wondering what the hell they were talking about. Today I see this thread mentioning it. Hmm
 

BestGuess

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Measured the crank to make sure that standard bearings will work. Starting the cleaning process and hope to get some parts ordered to get this thing back together.
 

BestGuess

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Update for anyone who cares: Waiting on valve springs. Bottom end has been cleaned up and slapped back together with standard sized bearings, hone job done by me in the garage, new rings with looser end gaps, and that's about it. True legit low budget rebuild.
 
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