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Discussion Starter #1
Hey y'all,
I am considering jumping back in and fixing up an older car after not doing this type of thing for 20 or so years. I may go look at the Mustang shown in the attached picture. Any suggestions on what to look for to make sure there is not any structural damage? I have no issues with buying a new fender, door shell and quarter panel and replacing these but don't want to have to mess with a bent frame or other major item.
Thanks
 

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Front and rear frame rail rot, spring perches, fenders bolt up correctly behind the headlight buckets and down on the bottom by the rocker, look under battery tray for rot. They don't call them rustangs for nothing.
 

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Check along the bottom of the door, trunk floor and lid, along the back glass (between glass and trunk lid are also some places.
Stan
 

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I wouldn't worry about a bent frame, but the frame being just a mass of rusted, spongy metal held together by undercoating.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the good info. I will definitely check these areas. My largest concern is the damage along the side of the car from an accident. Is there any support in this area other than the frame I should be worried about being bent?
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Anybody mention cowl? That is a pain in the butt project if it needs to be replaced. Shouldn't be an issue from an accident... but just putting it out there.
 

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Kind of hard to imagine that kind of hit without getting to the rocker panel.
 

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These are unibody cars. For example the rocker panel that you see from the front tire opening to the back tire opening is part of the main structure. If that's rusted out that's about as bad as it gets. With the old conventional frame with bolt on body design that rocker panel was usually just for styling.
 

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As others suggest, rust is the biggest pain...

But a quick and easy check for the front sub chassis is to open the hood and use a tape measure on the diagonals of the engine bay. The should be within 1/4 inch per factor specs; the engine compartment is a true rectangle.

I also take a thin cloth (like a bandana) and a weak magnet with me. The thin flexible magnets that have advertisements printed on them (for your refrigerator) are perfect.

Place the magnet on the cloth and stick it to a fender/door/body panel. Gently slide the cloth over the car; body filler over about 1/8th inch will cause the magnet to fall.

Good luck,
-Rory

P.S. You will never know exactly what you bought unless you get it media blasted, which I highly recommend for serious restorations...
 

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When I used to go help guys buy their mustangs, I would always take a pen with me and the first thing I would do is crawl under the car, and see if I could poke it through the floor boards. You'd be surprised how many cars floors are nothing but undercoating. And of course you have to do the magnet trick to check for bondo.

That's a great tip too 2ndGen, about the engine bay. I'm going to add that to my checklist from now on.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I went by and checked the car out this morning. I am pretty sure I should not pursue this but thought I would run in by you guys. I have attached a few pics. The initial hit was on the front and this pushed the radiator into the fan a bit so there would be some issues there. He then slid around and hit the side into a tree pretty hard and that is where the major damage is. The trunk lid was knocked off center. The body was pushed into the side of the rear seat. I have included a couple pics of underneath where it looks like the impact caused some buckling. The car is from So Cal originally and I checked out all of the spots pointed out earlier in the post and did not see any rust. I also did not see any obvious rust on the under carraige but could not get a great look under there. He is asking $2,400 but was curious if it was worth throwing out a real low ball number.
Thanks
Dan
 

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