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Beerdog's 65 Convertible

8646 Views 73 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  beerdog5
After posting my New Member Introduction almost 2-1/2 years ago, I'm finally getting motivated to start working on my baby! Figured I'd get a build thread started as well.

The vehicle:
5F08Cxxxxxx, 1965, Dearborn, Convertible, 289-2v, 3-spd manual.

There is no door tag (pretty sure the door was replaced), but the original color looks like it was Honey Gold (C) (repainted to Phoenician Yellow (7), then Rangoon Red (J), and I'm pretty confident the interior is original black vinyl (26). It has manual steering and brakes, and a power top.

I bought this car as a roller from a dermatologist in Fort Collins, Colorado, on my birthday in 2004 for $3000 (which I thought was a great deal at the time). I paid for it with inheritance I received from my mother, so I consider it her last birthday gift to me... sentimental value!

The PO bought it from a friend in North Carolina in 1987 and stored it in his barn for 15-years prior to transporting it to Colorado. With the intent of restoring it, he pulled the fenders, bumpers, grill assembly, and all of the interior, then realized he was in over his head. It sat in his garage for two years until his wife gave him an ultimatum to get rid of it... LUCKY ME!!! Not sure of the history prior to the PO purchasing in '87, but that was the last year it was registered in NC (sticker on the windshield in pic 3 below).

Below are some pics after I got it home. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture with all of the pieces and parts piled in the car, which is how I first saw the car.

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My initial goal was to get the car running, then make it drivable and reasonably presentable

To get the car running, I rebuilt the carb, changed the oil, and replaced the voltage regulator, fuel pump, gas tank and sending unit, battery, spark plugs, wires, and cap, points & condenser. As soon as I got spark and fuel to it, it fired up immediately and has been running ever since! Also needed to have the radiator repaired as it was leaking.

I went on to clean everything up and start putting it all back together. The car was mostly complete, with the exceptions noted below.

Engine Bay - Replaced the incorrect air cleaner assembly, one of the wiring harnesses, battery cables, windshield washer pump, bag, tubing, and nozzles, and replaced the points with Pertronix electronic ignition.

Exterior/Body - I bought a master body kit and a new rear bumper and brackets. The headlight buckets each had a tab broken off, but they've been holding up. Reinstalled the rocker panel moldings and bought a new gas cap on eBay since the original was trashed. Installed new tires and shocks.

Interior - Installed new carpet, sound deadener, door panels and arm rests, kick panels, scuff plates, rear view mirror and mounting bracket, and sun visors and convertible sun visor brackets. Replaced instrument panel bulbs, turn signal switch, headlight switch, and miscellaneous smaller parts. Also topped off the convertible top reservoir, and the pump amazingly still worked great!

I'm sure I missed listing some of the parts that were replaced, but after all that, the end result was a running, somewhat respectable looking mustang!

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To be continued... I'll post more tomorrow regarding my plans for the restoration and all of the parts I've accumulated over the years.
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Welcome, I'll be following.
To continue...

My plan is to do a stock restoration. I don't have the funds and/or space to go all out and do a rotisserie restoration, and I'm not necessarily planning to do a concours nut and bolt restoration. My goal is to do a good job and have a nice original looking Mustang! I do love the look of the original detail, so I will make it "correct" where possible but I'm not going to lose any sleep if it's not concours! Since the data plate is missing, I'm not worried about restoring to the original color (which I don't care for anyway), but I do want it to be originally available paint and interior.

I plan to do as much of the work myself as possible, save for machine work and other things for which I don't have the skill or facilities. I've been working on cars since I was 12, so I have the experience to do (or at least try to do) most everything that is needed. I have a welder, but have never done any real body work or fabrication. I've worked with body fillers and done a lot of paint prep, but have only done a little painting. I'm game, so, Hell, I may even try to paint it myself!

One of my daughters has committed to help with the work, which is good for a few reasons... 1) She's the other Mustang buff in our family and already has two... a 2004 coupe, and a 2019 Eco-Boost coupe, 2) She actually wants to learn about working on cars, and 3) She has laid claim to this car when I die, so the least she can do is help with the restoration!

So, here's the plan:
Paint - Twilight Turquoise (5)
Interior - Black on Black Standard (26)
Convertible Top - White

Engine - Stock rebuild with maybe a mild cam upgrade that does not require any other upgrades or modifications. The engine in the car now is a '66, so it will be repainted in the correct '65 colors. I may consider upgrading to a 4v carb and intake, but I'll likely keep it as a 2v since it's a C-code and that's what would have been original on the car. I also have a heat riser tube and the choke tube kit to install after the mounting stud and hole in the manifold are restored.

Engine Bay - Once the engine is pulled, strip and repaint to original. I need to replace the battery tray, and I'll try to restore things like the brake reservoir, fan motor, and hood springs/hinges, etc. to the original look. Will also replace the other wiring harness.

Transmission - May consider an upgrade to a 4-spd top-loader, if I can find one and do it for a reasonable cost. If not, I'll rebuild the 3-spd, which also currently has a Hurst shifter.

Brakes - Will restore the drum brakes all the way around. Not planning to do any upgrades to power or disk. I do also need to replace the parking brake cables and/or whatever else is needed to restore proper function.

Body - Once I strip off all three layers of paint, then we'll see where we're at. The last time the car was apart, there was no rust to speak of (at least not that I could tell) in the body or floor panels. Since moving to Houston, the humidity has started to take it's toll and I know for certain there is now a rust issue on the lower right quarter, behind the tire. I'm planning to replace the rear valance, at which time I may add back-up lights (assuming I can figure out the wiring). I may also need to replace the tail light panel. It looks a little suspect, but we'll see how it is when stripped.

Frame/Undercarriage - Mostly solid there, and someone previously sprayed an undercoating. The one rust issue I know of for sure is on the right rear frame rail, which is rusting through one side just behind the rear shackle bolt hole. This is one item that worries me as I'm not sure if it can be patched or if I'll need to replace that rail. I'm sure I'll be seeking guidance on that when the time comes!

Suspension - I have nearly all of the parts to completely restore the front suspension... control arms, springs, tie rods, etc., but have a few more to buy. The rear springs seem to be OK, but I'll see how the car sits with the new front springs before deciding if the rears need to be replaced.

Interior - It already has new door panels and carpet, and I have a new TMI standard upholstery kit and seat buns waiting to be installed. I will need a new dash and new convertible quarter trim. I'm planning to install speaker kick panels and figure out some way to mount a modern stereo w/o any cutting. I'll strip and repaint all of the metal, and restore (or replace) the dash bezel and glove box door. When everything is apart, all of the window components, seals, and trim will be repaired/replaced.

Convertible Top - Will repaint the bows. I have the new top and all the pieces, but installation of the top will be one item I will sub out to an upholstery shop. Will probably look for recommendations from the Houston area members when that time comes!

I have many parts that I have accumulated over the years that are just waiting for me to get off my butt and get going so they can be installed! I'm just going to pick a spot and get started.

A few months ago, I felt the need to "make some progress", so I restored the air cleaner assembly. I had trouble finding a reasonably priced snorkel with the cutout for the additional convertible brace, so I found some pictures online, figured out the measurements, and cut one that I had! I think it turned out OK!

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I look forward to all of the feedback and direction from everyone one as this build progresses!
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Getting Started:
After spending some time organizing the garage and hanging a bunch of stuff on the walls to make more room, I'm ready to get started with disassembly. I also bought a rolling wire rack to store parts on as well as various sizes of zip lock bags and some toe tags to keep everything labeled and organized.

This weekend I pulled all of the front sheet metal.

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As previously mentioned, the headlight buckets had the normal broken tabs. After pulling them, they seem to be worse than I remember, so I'll probably be replacing them.

The radiator support panel appears to be a little more jacked up than I thought. I'll try to straighten as best I can, but I may end up replacing it. Any thoughts on how big of a job that is?

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I also found that part of the inner support structure just above the mounting point at the lower rear of the right fender is rusting out. It appears that the interior of fender panel itself only has surface rust, so I'm assuming I'll be able weld a patch to repair. Any suggestions on this would be appreciated.

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Next up will to get it up on jack stands. I'll be pulling the wiring and removing components from the engine compartment. Then I'll drop the tranny and pull the engine.
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Getting Started:

I also found that part of the inner support structure just above the mounting point at the lower rear of the right fender is rusting out. It appears that the interior of fender panel itself only has surface rust, so I'm assuming I'll be able weld a patch to repair. Any suggestions on this would be appreciated.

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Yeah, they sell the patches for that section, although you could possibly make one. I used a patch in one of my panels and it saved me some hammering and such but I still had to do some work to make it fit right. You are lucky, mine was rusted all the way through requiring patches on exterior and on brace both.
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A little progress over the last couple of months...

Cleared most everything out of the engine compartment and got the engine ready to pull.

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Got it up on jack stands and pulled the driveshaft, trans, and bell housing.

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Pulled the engine.

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Next up, I'll be pulling the rest of the front suspension, master cylinder, brake lines, heater blower, etc... everything to allow cleanup and refinishing the engine compartment and front clip. I have another discussion looking for recommendations on what paint to use for the engine compartment (65 Engine Bay Paint). Please add your two cents if you have a recommendation.

I bought a body and fender set and will work on straightening the radiator support panel so I don't have to replace it.

I will probably also start engine disassembly so I can get things over to the machine shop to be resurfaced and measured for bearings, pistons, etc...

While climbing around under the car, I noticed some rust outboard of the frame rail, just in front of the driver side rear wheel well. Additionally, I noticed some blistering under the paint on the the right rear quarter panel. Certainly some rust going on and the lower portion of the panel didn't pass the magnet test, so likely a bunch of filler. Either way, the metal and body work is adding up to be a bit more than I expected. Here comes the "rabbit hole" that everyone has been talking about!
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Some progress this weekend. Got the engine torn down to the block. Just need to remove the cam, bearings, and lifters then it will be completely disassembled. Almost everything looked good coming apart except one of the compression rings on #4 was split in half. No damage to the cylinder wall that I could tell. Crank looks good and all of the bearings were standard size.

Will work on honing the cylinders and getting everything degreased, cleaned up, and ready for the machine shop and first coat of engine black paint.

I'll have the machine shop:
  • Inspect the crank and cylinders and measure for proper bearing and piston sizes.
  • Resurface the flywheel.
  • Do a valve job and resurface the heads.
  • R&R the heat riser mounting stud on the exhaust manifold.
Once I have measurements, I'll be ordering a master rebuild kit with a stage-1 cam. While waiting for the kit and machine work, I'll have plenty to keep me busy with cleaning, prepping and painting engine components for reassembly.

I will also work on removing the front suspension and fan motor / heater box assembly, then I'll be ready to start prepping the engine bay for paint.

BTW, I decided to go with Eastwood Chassis Black Satin for the engine bay and frame/sheet metal on the front clip. Just seems like a good quality single stage solution! I'm also picking up some Eastwood Rubberized Undercoating to spray the wheel wells to (hopefully) replicate the original undercoating.

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Quick update... Just dropped everything off at the machine shop. In addition to the valve job and resurfacing the flywheel (which was planned), the crank needs to be resurfaced and the cylinders need to be bored. So, the price tag is getting a bit higher than expected. Looking at about $800 for cleaning, pressing, and machine work... not counting any valve parts that may need to be replaced or hardened valve seats, if not already done. But... It's going to be done right!
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Alright... got everything back from the machine shop last week. Ended up costing quite a bit more than expected ($1200) to clean everything and do the following:
  • Heads completely rebuilt... new valves, guides, springs, hardened valve seats, resurfaced.
  • Engine Block:
    • Cylinders bored to .020 over
    • Replaced all freeze plugs
    • Pressed in cam bearings
  • Crank - Ground to .010 main and rod
  • Pressed pistons off/on
  • Exhaust manifold - drilled/tapped heat riser tube bolt hole
While waiting, I worked on cleaning/painting engine parts (intake manifold, timing chain cover, harmonic balancer). I still need to paint the oil pan, valve covers, heads, pulleys, and fan.

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As soon as I got the block back on the stand, I painted it:
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Basically new heads:
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New Silvolite cast pistons:
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I bought a nice master rebuild kit ($500) that has all quality, name brand components, Silvolite pistons (above), Mahle rings, King bearings, Melling oil pump, Cloyes timing set, Felpro gasket set, and a Melling MTF-1 stage 1 cam with Elgin lifters.

As originally intended, I went with a Stage-1 cam for a mild upgrade to get a low end bump without affecting idle and requiring additional mods.

Once I'm done with my current jet ski project (replacing the fuel pump and traction mats), I'll finish cleaning/painting the remaining items and start reassembly.

After all is said and done, I'll have about $1800 into the engine, including machine work, rebuild kit, paint, and a few other items. But, I will essentially have a brand new engine.
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Finally got started on the engine build...

Installed the crank, cam, and timing set:
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Timing cover and harmonic balancer:
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Pistons and rods:
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Installed heads:
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Tomorrow I'll install the valve train, including new push rods. Still need to strip and paint the oil pan and valve covers. I'm also waiting for new bolt kits for the intake manifold and water pump.
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More progress...

Installed the valve train, including new push rods:

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Received the new bolt kits and installed the intake manifold and water pump. Also installed the exhaust manifolds:

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Stripped and painted the oil pan, and painted the fan, pulleys, and motor mount brackets and heat shields. Also cleaned up the fan spacer. Installed all of this plus the fuel pump, coil, and new motor mounts:

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I'm waiting on a fan bolt kit. You can see in the pic that there are only two, which is they way it's been since I got it. I've also ordered a new exhaust manifold bolt kit. They are a pretty beat up and one bolt is too short (not sure how it ever threaded).

I'm currently stripping the valve covers and hope to have them painted this weekend. Once they are installed, I'll set the engine aside for now. I'll rebuild the carb at some point, and I need to figure out what I'm doing with the distributor. I may need to rebuilt it, if that's even possible, or consider buying new.
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Valve covers are done and installed. The only things left on the engine are the carb rebuild and whatever I end up doing with the distributor.

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Pulled all of the front suspension, motor mounts, master cylinder, brake lines, and steering column/gear box. Still need to finish pulling the heater components and plenum, then I'll get to work on the engine bay.

I bought some impact hammers (along with the body kit I already have), so I'm going to try to beat the radiator support into submission (I really don't want to replace it if I don't have to). There is also some work needed on the front of the driver side fender apron (where the radiator support attaches). There was clearly a front end impact that was not worked out very well.

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I also discovered a hole that was cut in the driver side shock tower for some reason. I'll weld in a patch, so that will be the first test of my welding skills with my new welder (I bought a Yes Welder MIG205DS multi-function welder)!

** QUESTION ** - Can anyone advise what gauge the sheet metal on the shock tower is? Seems like maybe 14 or 16.
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After completing the metalwork, I'll strip it down to metal and prep for paint.

The paint is on the way. I had originally decided on Eastwood Original Chassis Black, but it's been on backorder since June. That option has been replaced with Eastwood Extreme Chassis Black plus the equivalent primer. Probably a more durable option anyway. Eastwood was going to give me a 40% refund on the original paint (due to the delay), but I got them to throw in four more cans of Rubberized Undercoating instead.
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Nice work here Beerdog, thanks for sharing the progress! I have a '65 vert that needs al lot of the same...
I also discovered a hole that was cut in the driver side shock tower for some reason. I'll weld in a patch, so that will be the first test of my welding skills with my new welder (I bought a Yes Welder MIG205DS multi-function welder)!

** QUESTION ** - Can anyone advise what gauge the sheet metal on the shock tower is? Seems like maybe 14 or 16.
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Not sure on the thickness, I believe it was 14. Usually that hole is found on the front side of the shock tower. Someone may have added a grease fitting or was simply pumping grease into upper joint to take care of the "Ford Mouse" as it was known around here. Lot of those 60s Ford suspensions had a squeak to them and grease was usual attempted solution.
I bought a thickness gauge and the shock tower ended up being 16-gauge. For my first attempt at fabricating and welding a patch, it turned out ok!

After grinding the welds down, I found there were some places where the weld didn't fill the seam. This partly due to my novice welding skills and the fact that it's a tough angle and hard to see behind the shock tower with a welding helmet.

I'm almost embarrassed to say that it took me almost 6-hours to cut the shock tower, cut, shape, and trim the patch, then weld and grind. But the shape of the patch turned out great, and after some touch up welds (or maybe even some filler), it should look perfect!

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I've been procrastinating the tedious job of straitening metal and prepping the engine bay for paint, so I worked on a few side jobs. Since I pulled the master cylinder and heater assembly, I figured I would work on those...

The master cylinder cleaned up very nicely. I rebuilt the guts and bought a new cap for it. Almost looks new!
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I had a heater core and a rebuild kit for the heater box that I got back in 2004 when I bought the car. The kit included all of the seals, gaskets, and foam pieces that glue onto the door and flappers as well as a new plenum. The heater blower motor was fairly well trashed, so I bought a new one. I cleaned everything up, wire brushed all of rusted metal parts and put a light coat of clear on them to prevent further rusting.
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I've also been cleaning and painting miscellaneous parts such as the engine mounts, strut rods, accelerator linkage, and idler arm bracket. A few more things to go and most of that stuff for the front end is done.
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It's been several months since my last post mainly because I haven't spent much time working on the Mustang, and, consequently, have not made a ton of progress. I've been procrastinating (which I do well) and the tedious job of stripping the engine bay has been going much slower than I'd hoped. I have stripped about 3/4 of the paint and also removed and replaced the seam sealer on the cowl to firewall seam. I hope to be ready to prime and paint the engine bay sometime soon.

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I cleaned up the inner fender wells, seam sealed everything, and sprayed them with rubberized undercoating. I didn't remove the factory rubberized coating that was remaining, so it looks a little uneven and funky. Not too worried about it since it's in the fender well.
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While I was away... I decided that since I had the car torn apart, it made sense to add air conditioning. I posted another thread (AC Kit Recommendations) seeking opinions and advice on the topic. Ultimately, I've decided to go with an OE under-dash AC evaporator unit with a new under-hood A/C kit. I get the best of both worlds with a modern and efficient system while keeping the original interior look.

I purchased the pictured OE 65 under-dash unit from a fellow VMF-er for a very reasonable price. It's in decent shape, but I will pull it apart, clean it up, and restore it. The chrome needs buffing, the faceplate needs to be repainted, and the registers have lost their chrome and need to be replaced. Before painting, I will also need to cut out the hole in the firewall for the A/C hose gromet. Fortunately, it's pre-punched, so I know exactly where to cut!

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Also while away, I came across a set of after-market styled steel wheels on FB Marketplace and bought them for $300. They are in great shape and will clean up nicely. I'll buff out the chrome and repaint the insets with the proper charcoal gray. I'm planning to get the original style red center caps and put on BF Goodrich T/A's for the classic muscle car sporty look. I really like the styled wheels and they will look great with the Twilight Turquoise!

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Next post should be a completed, painted engine bay. Hopefully it won't be another 3-months before the next one!
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This is looking great, and you’re doing a wonderful job documenting things. Keep it up!
This is looking great, and you’re doing a wonderful job documenting things. Keep it up!
Thanks, Blake! Appreciate it!
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