Progress Thread The Tale Of Elsuperpinto ( Now With More Excuses And Memes! )

Discussion in '1974 - 1978 Mustang II Talk & Tech' started by 74stang2togo, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. Some of you are familiar with my car. It's a 1975 Ford Mustang II Ghia Coupe with a 302 and a C4 automatic.

    For those not familiar with it, here's a little background:

    I bought the car in 2012, a barely running/driving former bracket racing car that had been in storage for over 10 years, had electrical problems, and was running high 12s with traction issues when it went into storage. The car had a ton of issues including; a badly cobbled-together electrical system, badly oxidized paint, too big of a carburetor, leaf spring U-bolts that had reached the end of their life (as I found out when I broke one on the drive home!) a rusty roof due to vinyl top rot, a leaking auxiliary fuel tank, no horn, no heat or a/c, a leaking power steering pump, a leaking fuel pump, seized rear brakes, and dry-rotted tires.

    In spite of all of that, I bought it anyway, because it had a potent powertrain (302 bored .040 over, Comp cam, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, milled and ported heads with 2.02/1.60 valves, harland-sharp roller rockers, a Holley 670 street avenger carburetor, heddman headers, a built C4 with a shift kit, stall converter, hurst shifter, and what I was told was a 4.56 gear with a Detroit Locker) and once I got it running for the guy that owned it, I fell in love with it, and had to have it.

    Over the years I've done quite a bit to the car. I've replaced everything in the rear brakes, as well as the master cylinder. I've removed the 14" chrome steelies that were on it and switched it over to chrome ponies. I installed MSD's Atomic EFI. I've repaired/replaced the most dangerous of the bad wiring. I've upgraded the headlights to something more 21st century (can be seen in the "essential tech" sticky), I've replaced the worn-out 40-year-old seat belts (I honestly consider this the most important thing any of us with an older car can do!), repaired the rear suspension, installed a 3" cowl scoop (will be changing that again, hood and scoop are splitting, in spite of there being rivets under the fiberglass to hold the two together), completely overhauled and upgraded the inadequate cooling system, and much more.

    I'm starting this thread for several reasons.

    1. I've been in a rut lately. I've got all kinds of parts stocked up, including a set of Stumpy's subframe connectors and traction bars. A brand-new fuel tank and sending unit so I can get that cheap fuel cell out of my trunk and not have to smell fumes anymore when driving. New quarter windows, interior panels, and exterior trim to finish the conversion from a vinyl-top Ghia to a regular coupe (as far as the roof is concerned) a new headliner, a set of Mazda RX8 front seats, and so much more that is just sitting because I haven't messed with the car in months. I last started it over a month ago (in my defense, I did have gallbladder removal surgery 3 1/2 weeks ago, so the car hasn't been my biggest concern as of late), haven't driven it in two months, and all the while, I'm paying State Farm $50/month to insure the thing.

    2. In my time off, I've done a lot of reading on the forums. Reading threads like:
    @madmike1157 's freaking AMAZING Fairmont thread: (and I don't like Fairmonts!)
    Hadley's build thread over on (One of my favorite build threads, I've actually referenced it for tech help on a few things over the years).
    And these two ongoing threads by @rusty428cj and @Marcolivier

    It's been inspiring to read these (in same cases multiple times) and re-whetted my appetite for getting off my ass and getting things done with my car.

    3. It's time to :poo: or get off the pot, and frankly, I don't want to sell it, I've done too much and spent too much money to want to ditch the car now.

    4. It's going to be one hell of a show for everyone. Previous owner screwed some stuff up on this car, I've screwed some stuff up on this car... it'll be a good laugh at the least, and possibly save some trouble for others.

    I'll add some pictures of before/after and where we're at now to put some perspective on this, and do my best to keep it up to date.
    RaggedGT likes this.
  2. Glad to hear you are going to get back at it ,
    Now add Lots of Pics :D
  3. Well thanks for the Kudos. I appreciate that. Like you said though,..the only way that stuff gets done is to put your head down and just start pluggin along. Maybe You can tag @rusty428cj for some inspiration,...Looks to me like that guy knows how to make one of these cars look really good.

    My II cents.... (You like that?). I'd ditch that rear leaf spring rear end and convert it to coil over so you can get a tire up under there. Then maybe,.......ohhh,.....I don't know.......maybe an injected, roller cammed, turbocharged I-6 to set it apart.
  4. I've played with the idea of doing a different rear suspension, but there's just not a whole lot of room under these cars anyway without tubbing them. I think about a 275 or so is the widest tire that can be crammed in the stock rear wheelwells. As it is, it's going to have a damn nice set of traction bars and air shocks back there to compensate for the ol' buggy springs quite a bit.

    Engine wise... dunno. Doesn't matter much. Car is already weird and different by virtue of being a II in most circles. If the 302 that's in it gives up the ghost (and I've got this nagging feeling it's going to), I've got an extra 302 roller block, still standard bore, with a set of forged pistons and steel rods sitting in storage (with an E303 cam, ARP bolts, and a pair of junkyard-fresh GT40P heads), but I'm really thinking about three possible engine swaps (4.6 4v, 3.7L V6, or an Ecoboost 4-banger) instead. Probably won't happen, the other 302 is free, I have all of the parts to swap it out, just need to put it together. I've seen one I6 II in my life, not even in person, but on the internet. It had a 250 in it, and the radiator had to be moved to the outside of the core support, and even then he was running a tiny electric fan to clear the engine. He mentioned having to notch the crossmember to clear the oil pan. Not sure I want to do something like that.

    Tagged rusty in the initial post, the bodywork and paint on that car are impeccable.
  5. Air shocks? traction bars? Wait,...where's my banjo?

    Nothing makes for a worse riding car faster than restricting the shock compression w/ an air shock, and binding a leaf spring with a traction bar.

    Nicholson made that car body accommodate Pro stock. somehow between the stock 1/4's he fit a 14 x 32 tire.
    Now I know he stretched the wheel well,...but he certainly didn't widen the body. Back then the car had to look "stock".

    The lack of tire is what kills the way these cars look IMO. Not that it needs a steam roller,..but it certainly needs more than some short 15 profile. (Something in the 275 x 35 x 17 oughtta be just about right)

    I know that you know that I don't like this body style,...Mainly because of the disproportionate styling (Giant headlight buckets, trimmed down to a regular sized head light) "Too small" tires that reek of "I can't go around a corner to save my ass" and that interior,........seems I hear Ricardo Montelban off in the distance.....talking about how he jumped ship from Chrysler because he liked the "Corinthian feel" of the II interior better.

    If somebody would take one of those cars OUT of the mid 70's and do a modern interpretation using current styling,....maybe I'll change my mind.
  6. The traction bars I'm installing are different than most. They don't bolt to the leaf spring directly like the old Lakewood bars everyone bought at Pep Boys back in the day. They'll still restrict the spring some, but not like that.
    thumbnail_Mustang II Traction Bars 2 small.jpg

    The air shocks, well, the car had them when I got it, and I figured out the various air pressures fairly quickly for whatever I was doing. I don't know if they're staying long-term or not at this point, but for now, they're the plan. I've dreamed of grabbing the whole rear end out of a mid-90s Thunderbird and figuring out how to shove it under there and make it work, but my fabrication skills are nowhere near up to the challenge, and I don't know anyone around here that has said skills that wouldn't charge more than I could afford. IRS is the dream, but for now I'll settle for bolt-ons.

    I don't want to tub the car out for a tire wider than what will fit in there right now because the factory fuel tank is in the way (and I'm going back to that for simplicity's sake, I don't want to cut out the trunk floor for a fuel cell, and the trunk-mounted cell I've got takes up too much room and vents to the trunk (my fault, bought a cheap RJS Racing cell that vents through the fill cap when I was younger, stupider, and didn't know any better.) When I found out Spectra was making Mustang II fuel tanks and sending units again, I grabbed one. The original was leaking, in bad shape, had the sending unit epoxied to it, and was coated in some thick black coating that wouldn't easily come off on the outside.

    The interior, well... I'm putting a new headliner in it, and ditching most of the vinyl. I haven't made up my mind one way or another on a rear seat delete. It's getting modern non-shag carpet (found a company that makes a thicker cut-pile so it'll fit the factory trim without slipping out, but still look like modern automotive carpet) and the dash, well... I haven't made up my mind on it yet, but it's getting gutted for an aftermarket A/C system eventually, so I know I'll be doing something with it at that point, because 41+ year old plastic isn't going to easily come out in one piece. The door panels need attention, but I haven't decided whether I'm going to re-create something similar to the original yet, or go for something totally different.

    Exterior-wise, I'll probably be doing the 3-red taillight lense conversion with 60s Mustang reverse lights mounted in a tucked fiberglass rear bumper from Scottsrods to replace the oversized urethane 5mph piece on it that's cracked to hell. on the rear, and do the same tucked bumper in the front. I'll be doing something totally different with the hood, as the 3" cowl doesn't look as good as I wanted it to, and it's splitting anyway. I have no idea what, as of yet, and I do have a stock hood in storage from my gold '76 I parted out after I got the estimate to straighten the subframe (was bent when I bought it).

    When I look at attempts to modernize a II's exterior, they always seem to just fall flat.
    1978-ford-mustang-motion.jpg 1978-ford-mustang-taillights.jpg
    From the front it looks like a mongrel. The offspring of a Lexus and an S197 Mustang. From the side it looks ridiculously long, and certain body lines don't seem to match. From the rear, it looks like a 70s Toyota Celica with a Hyundai Veloster's exhaust tip. That said, it's popular as hell with the mainstream Mustang crowd, even with it's oddball and goofy sounding V10.

    118230_large-1978_Ford_Mustang_II_Hatchback-passenger_front_side_view.jpg 118231_large-1978_Ford_Mustang_II_Hatchback-driver_rear_side_view.jpg
    This one made Car Craft Magazine when I was in high school (around 2000). To be honest, I'm still surprised to this day that they did a feature on it. The wheels SCREAM 1990s loud and clear, the Chrysler minivan front bumper (kid you not, that's what the guy used) leaves it looking artificially "nose-high", and the smoothed roll-pan look on the rear, while clean, just leaves too much of a big flat blank spot for my tastes. I LOVE the taillights he did for his car though. The interior was 100% stock except for the orange body color on the dash panels, and the engine was a ho-hum 302. Like I said, surprisingly plain for a feature car, though it's execution was clean.

    Then I look at cars that are built without regard for being modern, sometimes while being very modern:

    A prime example would be this car:
    It really flies under the radar. I've never seen it featured in a magazine or any 'stang site other than, but the car is one of the cleanest custom IIs out there. The 4.6 Terminator swap, very subtle (other than the seats) interior changes, like the same kind of carpet I'll be doing in my car, and the aluminum dash inserts, 8.8 swap, a crap-ton of smoothing in the engine compartment, it's a real nice build. From the outside, other than the all-red lense conversion to the taillights (which I'll be doing) and the cowl hood, there's no obvious big changes to the car.

    There's also cars like these: (Make sure and go through all of Forgottenpony's cars, he's probably done more builds than anyone else with IIs).
    None of these cars attempt to be overly modern, just different, and for some reason they work. The two up top that tried to be modern really don't.
    #6 74stang2togo, Dec 16, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
  7. well there you go. Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder.
    The "Lil Eleanor car is how I woulda done it. (MOF,...I did,....w/ a different version)
    As for some of the other cars....
    It's still too short. The bumpers are a mal-occlusion, (much like a Fairmont) and it doesn't take too much od a stretch to see where any of these cars came from.
  8. RaggedGT likes this.
  9. I absolutely LOVE what Adam did with his interior! I want to basically copy his interior for mine, especially the door panels. And I agree, most attempts to visually "modernize" these cars (hell, most older cars for that matter...) usually fall short IMO. They are usually secondary to the attempts to modernize the mechanical aspects of the car, for example the Evolution above was lengthened to accommodate the V10. An exception is that front end. The nose fits and makes the bumper more pleasing to the eye. The rear though.... I haven't seen anything to make the rear look any better than the stock bumpers. When the roll pan was done on the orange one above or Scott's Rods tucked bumper is installed, there just seems to be something missing when you look at it. That's just me I guess. But anyway, post up what you do, and speedy recovery my friend!! I wish I had more time to play with mine again!!
  10. If you wanted to make the look more modern, I would consider buying a more modern mustang. I picked this car for the vintage look. Love that Eleanore mustang ii btw.
    #10 Marcolivier, Dec 22, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
    74stang2togo likes this.
  11. Mad mikes car is amazing. Looks like it's brand new.
  12. Exactly.
  13. Parts, parts, parts.

    Funny story. Since I was in high school I've been a foodservice worker, an automotive technician, a parts guy, a technician, a parts guy, a technician, a parts guy... and so on and so forth.

    The problem is, I REALLY hate working parts, but I'm REALLY freaking good at it. Like scary good, like, Advance Auto Parts store managers that have worked with me once or twice here or there when I've filled in when they were short-handed are calling my cell phone trying to get me to come be their assistant manager and teach their clueless crews good. Like the dealership I've quit on three times has already started the conversation on me coming back when I've only been gone three months good. ASE and three OEM top-level certifications good. (Ford, VW, and Hyundai).

    Why am I bragging about how good I am at parts (isn't this a build thread?) well, to be blunt, I'm an "okay" technician. I'm not great at it, but I enjoy it a hell of a lot more.

    This is part of the problem with the II. I'm damned good at finding every little piece I need for the build. I mean, I even found this little bastard to replace the three-wire connector that's been giving me fits on the MSD EFI system and upgrade to something better.

    Right now, I have under my desk: 2 interior panels for either side of the back seat, a crap-ton of stainless trim for the exterior of the car, that Painless connector, and all of the stereo system parts that I took out of my F150 when the junkies broke into it for the 2nd time. (Long story, it's in The Squeaky Wheel somewhere).

    I also have a shiny new gas tank, straps, and sending unit in the garage, along with a good used fuel filler neck for a car without an auxillary tank.

    There's also a pair of Mazda RX8 seats in the garage that need the 12 rivets each that are holding the factory tracks to the bottom of them drilled out so that I can bolt some flat-iron to the bottom of the seats so they'll bolt to the Mustang II tracks (I'm not looking forward to drilling 24 rivets so badly that I'm strongly considering just throwing aftermarket seats in there, finding a good used pair of Fox, SN95, or Escort GT seats, or scrounging through the import section of the junkyard for something sporty and flatter on the bottom for easier installation, possibly from an Eclipse or WRX). The two pieces of flat-iron have already been bought though, and they're likewise in the garage, where they've been so long that they're flash rusted and now need to be sanded down before I paint them black (after I cut and drill them, of course).

    Then there's the various trim pieces in ziplock bags in my garage, the headliner that's folded neatly and in my closet (it was shipped folded) the new leather for the dashpad that's likewise in my closet, the subframe connectors that are in the front right floorboard of the car, and other crap I'm sure I'm forgetting at the moment that's inventoried in the corner of my mind, next to the jukebox.


    Oh, that's right, the new traction bars are in a box in the living room. The damned things were so heavy when they arrived that I couldn't lift them (surgery is wonderful, let me tell ya!), so I pretty much left them right inside the door and haven't gotten around to moving them (I really should).

    Where am I going with this?

    I finally got the news this week I've been waiting on at work. I start the night shift next week.

    This means I'll be getting home when the sun is coming up, giving me a few hours of daylight every day instead of darkness after work. On top of that, night crew at the dealership I'm at gets a 4-day workweek, with every Fri-Sun off, meaning I'll have TONS more time on the weekends now!

    Combined with these wonderfully mild Texas winters, there should be some real progress in this thread within 1-3 weeks!
    LILCBRA and RaggedGT like this.
  14. Text to follow (as well as more pics) after some sleep... and a trip to Harbor Freight... and to my storage unit to get my compressor... and maybe down to Austin so I can get my good tools instead of the crap they've replaced over the years...

    After taking the throttle body off 4 times dealing with the IAC issues, this connector flew apart the last time I disconnected it. I needed to start the car and move it, so I rigged it like so (only the white wire out of that harness currently does anything, the yellow and orange are for A/C and Nitrous, so they might get used in the future). Hasn't been a big deal because I haven't touched the car since before I had my surgery the week of Thanksgiving.

    The new connector, a GM/Delphi "Weatherpack" connector sourced from Painless. These are relatively easy to install without the right tools and downright simple to install with the right tool (which I have, and brought home from work with me).

    I'd had a "no start condition" the last time I worked on the car, and after pulling the wiring harness for the EFI system and the starting and horn circuit (original steering-column-based stuff is shot), I discover that the wire for the start button under the dash has pulled out. Easy fix.

    I loaned my Battery Tender to a family member in October and haven't seen it since, and haven't started the car since November... Duracell AGM batteries aren't just made here, they're awesome. Car started on the first button push after over two months of sitting!

    Up on the ramps. It was my first time pulling a car with a stall converter onto ramps, was slightly interesting.

    With ramps under the front and the jackstands under the rear, you can now see the next thing I'll be playing with today, the cheap parts store exhaust tips that made their way over from the GMC when I put turndowns on it to clear the hitch. (I miss that truck.)

    Another of today's projects, and probably the biggest challenge, since I don't want to lower the exhaust, will be removing this sport-compact-style lateral brace that is literally doing nothing for the car. It was installed by a previous owner, and the brackets for it catch speed bumps and make loading the car on the trailer more of a pain than it should be. I've left it until now, but the subframe connectors need to go where it is, so today is it's last day on the car.

    Undercoating is your friend, until it's hardened, 40 years old, and covering a nut you need to remove from your suspension... a nut that was also spot-welded to the car at the factory. This is why I work on late-model cars for a living instead of older stuff.

    Buh-bye brace! The first subframe connector is in place. I was worried about that gap towards the front, until I realized it was making full contact where the brace meets the subframe for the first half to 2/3 of it, and some Google-fu revealed that it's normal for these to fit this way. Stumpy calls these "bolt on" connectors, but honestly, 42 year old subframes made this a bit more "hammer on" than bolt on. Not a reflection of Stumpy's work, they lined up great, it was the subframe that wasn't perfect.
    #14 74stang2togo, Feb 10, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
    jozsefsz and RaggedGT like this.
  15. Glad to see you are making some headway on the ole' II
  16. 15813636_large.jpg

    I wanted to see what it would look like without the secretary mom, vinyl top. It looks better as a hard-top IMO.

    Took a while to find. lol
  17. upload_2017-2-11_9-41-53.png

    I dunno what's init but something N/A and lumpy would be sweet. hehe
  18. dat chin spoiler :drool:


    I really like the small, deep wheels. Wanted to see more of this car.
    IIGood and RaggedGT like this.