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Discussion Starter #1
Building my Factory Five Roadster "FlipTop" was one of the best decisions I have ever made! Excluding the decision to marry my bride of 30 years and having two fantastic kids, the experience of building my MKIV brought more joy and personal growth than almost any other I have done. I began that journey to learn, to experience, to challenge myself. Regardless of the actually end product, I personally got more out of the build experience than I could have imagined. (I think the car came out OK, too!!) It challenged my creativity, my innovation, my tenacity, my patience. So when the build was done, I was . . . well, bored.

I craved the challenge, the distraction, the learning, the release. I knew early on I would want to do a second car, I just wasn’t sure what it would be. I have entertained possibilities of another FFR model, another Roadster for my wife, a Corvette, a Porsche 911, a 1956 Ford F150, a 1951 Mercury Lead Sled, a late ‘60’s Ford Bronco, etc, etc. All have their allure, all have their challenges. I spent a lot of time reading various forums, looking at available project cars, considering options. Nothing I found had the right combination of quality un-restored condition, price, locale, and that indefinable something that captures my imagination. I must admit that one of the hardest parts of this decision was deciding whether or not to do another FFR model. They are all wonderful, each with their own personality. I still eagerly await the next FFR offering. I treasure all the new friends I have made on this forum. I thank each of you for welcoming and encouraging me through my journey. The Factory Five Forum is a safe, supportive, and nurturing place. I am already aware that not all forums have these values!

When I was in High School, my best buddy’s older brother had a 1967 Ford Mustang Coupe. I thought this was the coolest car around! I loved just looking at it. I never even got to ride in it! But I never forgot that aggressive stance and the cool turn signals in the hood. I think that was the singular car that fueled my passion for cars. I am now aware that the Fastbacks are the most collectible, then the convertibles, and in a very distant third position is the humble Coupe. I seriously considered tring to find a decent fastback, but if it wasn’t already completely restored, it was a very overpriced rust bucket!! My mind kept wandering back to that White Coupe in Todd’s driveway.

About three months ago when I was in Hawaii on vacation, I came across a craigslist ad for a 1967 Ford Mustang Coupe “Project”. By the time I came home from vacation, the ad was gone. Sadly, I assumed it had been sold and I had missed that opportunity. That was ok, because I was still having the internal debate of “Fastback or Coupe.” Coupe was the first love, Fastback the new obsession. Fast forward to about two weeks ago. The same ad pops up again on Craigslist. It turns out to be only a couple of miles from my home. After a lengthy series of text messages with the owner, I was able to schedule a time to look at the car. Long story short . . . FlipTop has a baby sister!







She is in pretty good condition considering she is 51 years old and has been a project for over a decade, and not stored indoors. (He did keep a tarp over her, and she is an Arizona car. Rust is not quite the same issue that it is in snow country.) She has a 289 engine that has been “gone through” (whatever that means!!)



Based upon the dried-up bottles of engine lube and other liquids that I found in the trunk, I suspect the former owner did the “rebuild” himself. (Clearly this means that his engine work cannot be trusted! At a minimum, it means having a professional go over the entire engine to see if I runs.) She has an automatic transmission, but I have no idea if It has ever been serviced. The interior is completely shot. The exterior is all “Primer” grey, but the primer looks like parts of it were put on with a brush! There is minimal body filler, but what is there was very poorly applied. The former owner cut out all the brake lines, all the fuel lines, power steering lines, and the vast majority of the wiring. He was kind enough to leave all this newly created trash in the trunk for me! I can’t quite figure out why. It’s garbage at this point.

Bottom line: This is a complete restoration. First task: completely strip her of everything and have the entire car media blasted to get down to raw metal and see what I am working with.

Unlike the Roadster where I had spent two years planning and envisioning the car, this one does not have a fully formed build plan yet. Here is the basics that I know at this time:

Overall concept: Build a streetable RestoMod Pro-Touring car that I can drive year around. A car I will be comfortable and able to take Grand kids out it on a Saturday afternoon. (Specific Grandchildren to be added later!!) It will not be a classic “concours” type restoration with everything just as it was on the showroom floor in 1967. It will NOT be the original color (an awful light green!). Themes will be drawn from the original but will in most ways be a modern car hiding inside a classic shell. It will not be another “Eleanor” clone but may have some more modern treatments at the front and rear. It will, however, be up to my already established standards!!

Engine: Either a rebuilt and improved original engine that came with the car (unlikely), or a Current Coyote engine (most likely), or possibly a modified 3.5L Ford EcoBoost V-6 with twin turbos, (If I decide upon an homage to the GT-40, not very likely, but not out of the realm of possibility.)

Tranny: Must be automatic to satisfy the wife. Perhaps the stock C-4, perhaps the current tranny that comes in a 2016-17 Ford Mustang, perhaps even one of the 8-10 speed autos with paddle shifters.

Rear end: Either the stock 9” rear that came with the car (rebuilt obviously), or a new Independent rear suspension.

Front suspension: Independent Front suspension to improve ride and handling, to lower stance, to eliminate the shock towers and add room for the giant Coyote, and to clean up the overall engine bay look. Still working on which brand of IFS I will use. (Suggestions appreciated.)

Wheels: Definitely Foose Wheels, probably Impala’s.

Color: still very much up in the air. I only know it won’t be a candy job this time!!

It will have a modern interior with all the amenities. AC is an absolute must. It came with the factory “add on” type AC unit that mounts below the dash and above the tranny tunnel. It looks a bit too dated and clunky for the modern interior I want, so likely it will not be used. Seats will likely be higher back seats, not stock ones, but not racing seats either. I talked to my interior designer and told him that I wanted to start with a completely blank page on this one. No pre-conceived notions of what is every other Mustang interior. I may even try my hand at installing a backup camera. (My bride would like that!)

Last night I cleaned out the trunk. What a lot of junk.



Why do I have six hubcaps, only two of which are from a mustang, and none of which I will be reusing?! All the nuts and bolts are in paper and plastic containers that are seeming to lose their molecular integrity. Nothing is sorted or marked. This is going to be fun!! Found a couple of dents on the floor of the trunk and on the PS rear wheel tub, but nothing major. Best news of all: No significant visible rust, no soft spots. (I am not delusional enough to think I won’t find some rust to repair, but thus far it looks pretty minimal.)





Thus begins the journey my 1967 Mustang Coupe.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Tonight I started removing the windows. I vaguely remember this process from my old 67 Mercury Cougar. It is not a happy or simple memory!! I remember fighting it every step of the way out, then again on the way in. I decided to refresh my memory by looking for a YouTube video on how to remove a window. I came across
which got me about half the way, but also offered some good suggestions for necessary maintenance "while you are in there anyway". It's sort of ironic that it happens to be a "how to" video about a '67 Cougar. Thirty years ago when I was trying to keep my Cougar running and semi-restore it, It was extremely difficult to find any help on anything. My how the internet has changed the process of learning! But I digress.

I took 30 photographs of the procedure so I could work backwards when it was time to reinstall the windows. (I won't bore you with all of them!!) All the rubber and plastic stuff is completely shot. The windows are in surprisingly good condition. The window controller works rather well. (I wonder if I should replace it "while I am in there anyway"?) The metal inside the door looks pretty good. No rust visible. So far so good.





And then . . . I find it. The first really major patch of rust. Right on a multiple compound curve of the front of the door.



That's going to take some work to fix. Ok, I knew it was highly likely there would be some rust somewhere. I knew I would have to fix it. I didn't, however, expect it in that specific place. I wonder what else is hidden . . .

PS window out, door completely stripped of everything except the latch system. One down, one to go. Then the rear windows. This is going to keep me out of trouble!!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have been remiss in posting here. Lets face it, YOU generally have more to offer on this forum than I do! But just in case someone is wondering what has transpired since my last post, let me give you the readers digest version. I have had a lot of family responsibilities that have taken my time and attention. The Mustang has had to take a back seat. I had the car media blasted, and found a lot more than I bargained for. This forced me to do some evaluation and introspection. This generally brings you up to today. I will next post a bunch of historic stuff and some photos. Then finally I will post my current thoughts . . . which you may find quite surprising and . . . insane?!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
July 24, 2018
Some progress has been made over the past few days. I have taken a boatload of photos so I can work backwards through them when it is time to reassemble the car. I will only post a few of them here. Rust has proven to be a much smaller issue than I feared might be the case. More on that in a minute.

The windows are all removed, including all interior mechanisms. Wow! just removing them was a chore. Getting them back in is going to be a real bear. As you can imagine, all the rubber seals are shot and will get replaced. The chrome generally looks OK. We shall see if I get really anal retentive and have them re-chromed. Probably depends upon how much other chrome has to be redone.

Both doors are removed.


This is where I found the only major rust problems thus far. Both doors are rusted through at the lower inside front corner of each door. It appears that the seals on the wind wings must have been gone for a long time. Water seems to have dropped down the inside of the door into that lower inside front corner and rotted it out.

Drivers side door:


Passenger side Door:


Both can probably be fixed, but I am considering just replacing the entire door. The cost isn't that much, and I don't want to worry about it. I don't like the fact that the area under the lower hinge attachment point is clearly compromised. Thoughts on this subject? Should I try to fix the metal damage, or should i just get new doors and be done with it? Thankfully that is the only major rust found thus far.

I was given a referral to a local media blaster. Well, when I say local, I mean local to my painter. It's actually a long way from my office! Oh well, he seems trustworthy. I am going to have him media blast every inch of every piece of metal I plan to reuse. After he has cleaned off the rust and paint from the doors, I will decided if it is better just to replace them. One service the media blaster provides which sounds very interesting to me is that he will "Powder Coat Prime" the entire car (for a fee of course!). The thing that makes this process sound very enticing is that they will powder coat and seal the inside of the doors, the trunk, the engine bay, even the insides of the frame rails, and after it is baked on, the coating is extremely durable. Apparently this powder sticks exceptionally well after it is baked, and because it is electrically drawn to hidden areas, it will seal areas that you can't even see. After the powder is baked, it supposedly seals the metal so it can't rust. The owner of the media blasting company has a VW microbus that had been left out in the heat, rain, and constant sunshine. He had left it in the sun to prove how durable the product was. The primer was sun faded, but there was no rust to be found anywhere. This sounds like a very appealing option. Have any of you used this type of service? Appearantly you do your pre-paint priming, sanding, and surface prep just like you would over any other primer, but this one seals the metal. I am considering buying brand new doors, then having them blasted and powder coat primed like all the other metal in order to have them seal the interior of the doors. Thoughts?

I have all the interior torn out. The Dash is opened up, only to discover another myriad of items to remove. I am planning on retrofitting the car with AC, so removing all the heater stuff is going to be required anyway.



I am making notes of the wiring harness patterns. It is a good thing that I plan to completely replace the wiring harness. The wires are old, brittle, frayed in some areas. There are a lot of opportunities for shorts. All the wiring is coming out. It is 113 degrees today, and even my garage air conditioner can't keep up with that temp. I probably won't be working on it tonight!

Updated list of my current thinking on the build plan:

Coyote Motor - gotta do it!!
upgraded rear suspension with Coil over Shocks - currently considering the Total Control Products Coil-over Rear Suspension.
upgraded front suspension with Coil over shocks - Also considering the Total Control Products Subframe Clip. I have to get the stock shock towers out of the engine bay to fit the coyote in there, so this package will improve the handling as well as the stance.
Disc brakes, both Front and rear, Baer or Wilwood.
Automatic Transmission - Would like to get a complete engine/harness/tranny/gauges/AC package out of a wrecked 2018 Mustang. If so, this might be a very nice 8 speed (I think) tranny. The Coyote with a manual is more common in Mustang GT's but the Automatic can be found. It will be an automatic transmission, just not sure which one yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
August 11, 2018
Had a great saturday of destruction today! It's over 100 again here today, and the humidity is high (for us!!), but the temp inside the shop is a comfortable 80 degrees. I had pretty much the entire day to work on the mustang, a rarity recently. I started by removing the entire bumper/grill/radiator/lower valence area.



The bumper is bent, and may or may not go back on. Depends upon what i can find. The rest of the parts are in decent condition with almost no rust to be found. The only part that proved to be a problem was the heavy bumper support bracket on the PS. There is a lot of rust in the area. One bolt came out with some encouragement, but the other one, the front one, would not come out. It is held on with a nut that is inside the main frame rail. The problem is that there is no way to get a wrench inside the small access hole that is large enough to go around the 5/8" nut inside the frame rail. I will likely just cut the bolt and replace it. I'm thinking on it overnight before I make any rash decisions.

I removed the front fenders, the door hinges, and the fender splash shields.



The door hinges are fine, they just need to be media blasted and painted. The splash shields just need to be replaced. The PO riveted on some sort of rubber material in an attempt to prevent water from getting past the broken original material. The shields are just in terrible shape. They will be replace.

The tough decision revolves around the fenders. The majority of the panels are in pretty good condition. However in the lower corners of each fender there is clear evidence of a bad rust repair job. Worst of all, the fixed areas were not done correctly and are already rusting again! I think it will be better to just replace both the front fenders rather than try to fix an already bad job.



Now that I have better access to the inside fender panel in the engine compartment, it now is clear there is yet more evidence of incompetent panel repair jobs. The biggest one is the battery tray area at the front of the PS engine compartment panel. Her is the view of the "repair" from the outside of the engine compartment area:



Creative? Perhaps. Correct? not even close. Effective long term fix? NO. This panel will have to be replaced. It was likely going to get cut out anyway, so I am not exactly heartbroken.

The rust issues are definitely there, not as bad as they could be but certainly more than anyone wants. Now i have to decide if I will replace the hood cowl box. This is not just an "unbolt and replace" type of a fix. This is a major "cut the spot welds and replace a major piece" type project. The problem is that there is no way to know exactly how much rust is inside that cowl without cutting it open. (At which point you have to replace it anyway!!) Since both the front floors of the interior show evidence of current or previous rust damage, it appears likely that there is some amount of water leak from this cowl area. I think I will probably go ahead and replace the cowl "just in case". I am going to have to do at least part of the front floor area anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
8/26/18
Surrounding yourself with the right support network is critical. Factory Five is the beginning of that network. This forum grows out of the Customer focused attitudes of FFR. Clearly you, the members of this forum have become very important to me. You welcomed me when I began, you answered my silly questions, you cheered my successes and laughed with me in my failures! Why do I do a build thread on a Mustang that relatively few may see on a Factory Five Forum? Simple: Because this forum is a safe, helpful, friendly place. I have discovered that other forums are not nearly as welcoming. I want to thank you all for that! You are truly a special group of people.

After debating (yes again!!) which engine I should choose, and the waterfall of other suspension and framing issues that each choice required, I found another "critical support" source. I had a couple of lengthy phone calls with Rich Smith, owner of MustangsToFear.com. He has a customer centered focus quite similar to FFR. He takes call himself and provides real, useful, information. Also similar to FFR, he has products to address many of the unexpected issues we might run into in the process of a project. Long story short: I will be using a Coyote Motor, and the IFS and IRS systems from Mustangs to Fear. His products appear to have high quality and they are priced more reasonably than many of his competitors.

With that decision made, I returned to work on the Mustang. I continue to tear it all apart. It continues to be in surprisingly good condition. I have thus far not found any other rust issues other than what I have already written about. I have completely torn apart the trunk area:



The gas tank looks to be in pretty good shape. A dent or two hear and there, but nothing major. If I keep this gas tank, I will have the exterior powdercoated black to protect it. Should I consider replacing the gas tank? At 50 years old, is it likely to be rusted on the inside and cause me headaches in the future?

Most everything is out of the cab. All the windows are gone, the heater box is gone, all the air ducting is gone, most of the wiring is removed. I still have to remove the steering system and a couple other minor things under the dash. They are the things that are hard to reach! I am putting off those items until i have to climb in and get the steering system torn out.

Today was a big day, as I pulled the engine and transmission out. Yesterday I broke my "tool rule" and bought an engine hoist from Harbor Freight. I figured that there was not much that could go wrong on an engine hoist. So yesterday I got the hoist purchased and built. Today I put it to work:





Now that the engine is out, I can get a good look at it. A little part of me hoped is was some sort of special engine that no one had ever noticed before. Nope, it is pretty much as advertised. It is likely the original engine. It is a 1965 289 block slated as a General Large Ford engine. I am also glad that i took the whole thing out. So many things were done wrong! The engine mount on the DS literally tore as I was getting the engine ready to pull out. The transmission had no bolts holding it to the supporting bracket. I just dropped the transmission support bracket, and the rear end of the transmission fell free. The tranny is only held on to the engine block by two bolts. The transmission has the following written on it in large letters: "Bad Tranny"! Well that's great news!! I am glad I decided to replace all this stuff!

The last major items are the front and rear suspension. I am leaving them in place as long as I can so I can move the shell around. I have not yet decided how I am going to roll it around and support the body and frame as I put it on my trailer and take it over to the media blaster. If you have any suggestion, preferably with photos, please let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
9/1/2018
Busy week and weekend. The young man that wanted my engine and tranny did indeed come buy to pick it up . . . in a mini van! Yes, we loaded engine and transmission, attached, into the side door of his minivan! I wish I had taken pictures. A nice young man with three kids, trying to restore an old 67 Mustang his mom gave him. Appearantly it is in much worse shape than mine. I made him a good deal to help him out. He wanted to know all about my project, and when he learned that I would be installing a Coyote, he wanted to know if I was going to have to replace the rear end. I confirmed I was. He asked if I would be interested in selling the one I have. We arrived at another sweetheart deal, but at least I don't have to do much to get rid of the old rear end. So last night and today, I tore out the old rear end. I love my air wrench!!





I borrowed a spring compressor and got most of the front suspension pulled off. It wasn't particularly difficult, but it certainly was nerve wracking.





Tomorrow we are going to visit our friends new ranch up in the cool part of the state, so no more car work this weekend. The kids come over monday for a Labor day party. Much more important than working on the old car!!

Have a safe and blessed Labor Day!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
9/23/2018
AZPete;340690 said:
Hey, Kevin, get back to work! It's been 20 days and there's nothing new here to watch and learn. You know, don't you, that some of us depend upon this project for entertainment?
Ok, Ok, Pete, I'm still among the living. Sorry I have deprived you of entertainment. However, as i remember, I haven't seen updates on your engine either!! So, I'll bring you up to date if you will bring me up to date! :cool:

So the reason that I have been sort of invisible is that i have spent much of the last three weeks helping my son prepare for the SEC Series 7 test. I am proud to say he will be joining me in my business in the near future. He has two more weeks before he takes the test. It was not until this weekend that I had any time at all to work on the Mustang. We did work on his studies diligently this weekend, but we did it in my shop! He studied, I worked on the Mustang and kibutzed. I think I had a much better time than he did!

The first and most important thing completed this weekend is that the area behind the dash is finally completely cleared out. Compared to FlipTop, the area behind the dash is cavernous! Furthermore it is absolutely loaded with stuff, most of it cracking, rusting, or just filthy. I am so glad to have all that stuff removed.







I got both the broken front windshield and the perfect rear window removed. It is helpful when the rubber is so old that it cracks. I just had to crack the rubber seal all around the window and push the glass out. The bonding material was also dried and hard. It wasn't even sticky.



All the wiring harnesses are now pulled out. They will not be reused, but it is nice to have them for reference.
All the brake and fuel lines are removed.
The brake power booster is gone.
The cross member underneath the engine has been removed.
The upper window seals and their aluminum mounting rails are gone.
The headliner bows are out. Not sure if they will be reused.

I think the car is now ready for media blasting. I guess I had better go get my trailer. While it is gone, I am going to have to make some strategic decisions . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #11
9/23/2018
Now that I can get to see a bit better, It is clear that I have my work cut out for me. I certainly have seen worse rust issues. This car was butchered up by the previous owner, and I am going to have to fix his mess. Lets start with the most obvious problem area: The DS floor. The previous owner cut out the floor, badly, then sort of pieced in a new piece of sheet metal. He did not, however, use the correct piece of floor material, nor did he weld it in! He riveted it in, again, badly,







Here is what is currently holding the front frame clip to the floorboard: Yep, no welds, just one single aluminum rivet!



Clearly the DS floor must be replaced. The transmission tunnel will have to be removed and reshaped to allow for the larger automatic transmission that is mated to the 2017 Coyote Engine. Since I am going to be redoing the DS and tranny tunnel at the front, and because there is just a bit of rust at the front seam of the PS floor, I figure I had better just replace the entire floor forward of the seat mountings to the firewall.

The top of the dash area shows some rust. I hope that after media blasting I can add some strength here and not have to replace the entire dash.

 

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Discussion Starter #12
9/23/2018
Now lets review the firewall and engine bay area. I will be installing a new front frame clip from Mustangs To Fear (More on that later). The entire front frame will be removed like this:





The entire frame forward of the firewall and all the engine bay side panels forward of the rearmost 12" or so of the side panels of the engine bay will be cut off and replaced. The torque boxes will be replaced on both sides. Once you remove the front frame clip, you are only left with the firewall and the floor. Since the front half of the floor is being replaced, this leaves only the firewall. I will have to wait until after media blasting to be sure, but here is what I see on the firewall right now:







Doesn't look too bad up to this point. However, This is the firewall to the outside of the engine bay panels and frame.



This hole is about the size of a quarter now, and I fear it will only get bigger after media blasting.



I am not sure If I can patch that hole, or if I will find there are enough other issues with the firewall that I will need to replace the entire firewall. I am really hoping I don't have to go that far.

Here is my current thinking of the next few steps in this process: (If you have suggestions, I am wide open!!)
1. Media Blast the entire car. Do not prime it or have it powder coated with primer. I will do that later after I have done all the metal work and panel repair.
2. Remove the floor that must be replaced to see what I am working with.
3. Cut and remove the entire front frame clip.
4. Remove and replace the firewall if I have to.
5. Install the new MTF Front Subframe.
6. Install the new front floor pan.

Does that seem like the logical order to do the metal work? Did I miss anything?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
9/27/2018
"All things work together for Good for those that Love God". In the grand scheme of things, on the scale of challenges experienced by our brother GoDadGo, the events of the past couple of days are on the minor end of the scale. But it has not been a great couple of days! Yesterday we were told that our beloved dog, Abby, needs bilateral knee surgeries. You might remember seeing photos of Abby as a very young pup sleeping in the footwell of my MKIV. That was only 18 months ago. Now as a very young dog, she has two torn ACL's. She has her first Knee surgery next Wednesday. Needless to say, this expense was not expected, and is quite significant. Therefore the media blasting is off for now. The work, however is not. I will just do what I can do at little to no expense.

I plan to replace the entire front frame with the Mustangs to Fear Full Front Subframe. I had planned to have the car media blasted,then begin cutting off the front of the car. Now I am going to reverse the process. I will cut off the front of the car, do all the metal work, then have the entire car and new frame media blasted. Tonight I began taking measurements of the front clip.

I am adding the photos and measurements here for future documentation purposes. When I first inspected the car, it did not appear that the car had ever experienced any frame damage. I am pleased to report that this first inspection proved correct. The frame and engine bay are both straight, square, and true. All measurements are taken from the very corner of the engine cowl:

The DS upper rail of the engine bay: 44.5"





The PS upper rail of the engine bay: 44.5"



 

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Discussion Starter #14
To check Square:

from DS Cowl to PS tip of engine bay: 65"





from PS Cowl to DS tip of Engine Bay: 65"





I am trying to figure out what other measurements I should take before I cross another "point of no return". (That particular point in the build process feels all to familiar. I seem to remember the last time I did something like that!!!)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
9/29/2018
After 8 hours of studying, it was definitely time to get out into the shop. The AC had all day to get the temperature inside to a nice comfortable 78 degrees. This morning I got the Mustang back on Jack stands, and this evening I started by making sure it was a level as i could get.



DS Door frame level: just slightly nose high, but at close as I could get.



Inside DS frame rail inside the engine bay: just slightly tail high!



Inside PS frame rail inside the engine bay: almost perfectly dead flat!



Across the front frame rail that would hold the radiator: PS 1/2" higher than DS:

 

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Discussion Starter #16
9/29/2018
Next I took the vertical heights of the TOP of the front frame rail.

DS front rail corner: 25.5"



PS Front rail corner: 26"



Inside engine bay DS TOP of Frame Rail, 2" behind corner: 25.5"



Inside engine bay PS TOP of Frame Rail, 1" behind corner: 25 15/16"

 

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Discussion Starter #17
9/30/18
I came across this video of how to measure and install the MTF Subframe. This really helped me understand what to measure. (I am off to take more measurements when I get done writing this!!)

My plan seems to change daily. Before yesterday evening here was the plan: (All this to be done before the car is moved again)
1. Cut out the floor and possibly the lower portion of the firewall, replace it and get it welded back into place.
2. Cut and remove the entire stock front subframe.
3. Install and weld in the new front subframe.
4. Do an other clearly visible rust repair
5. Get the entire car media blasted and powder coat primered.

Last night I did my first metal removal. The DS front floor in front of the seat thrones. (I don't know what to call them, but the seats sit on a raised and raked area, sort of like a throne.) You may remember that the previous owner had done a terrible job of fixing the rusted front floor. He did not buy the correct replacement pan and weld it in. He took a piece of sheet metal and bent it to fit, then riveted it into place. He then slathered some type of black goo all around it. It mostly kept the water out of the inside of the car, but it created a place for water to gather on the underside of the car. Short version: it has to go!

I started with a wire wheel and started buffing down through the black goo to find the rivets. it took a while to find them all, but I drilled them all out. Then I used a breaker bar and a hammer to separate the junk panel from the remainder of the car. That took some doing too, but thankfully whatever black goo he used had mostly become hard and brittle. Once I found an edge I could get under, it pulled up relatively easily . . . Until I hit that one spot! You know the spot . . . the one where everything else is loose, the panel is ready to come out, but there is one thing holding on tight. I tried to drill it out thinking it was a rivet that I had missed. No joy. I then tried to grind it down to release the panel. Nope. Finally I cut the panel around it and the panel came free. I still don't know exactly what that item was, but I will have to cut off the remainder and grind it down if I plan to keep that area of the floor. (It is in an area that is likely to be trimmed to fit in the new front floor.

(Lesson #next: cutting sheet metal with a grinding wheel is painfully slow! I may have to look into buying or renting a plasma cutter. Do I know how to use a plasma cutter? Noooooooo! But when has that ever stopped me before!!)

Now that I can see remainder of the floor area, it is a mixture of good and bad:

The front subframe rail is, surprisingly, not rusted. Of course it is coming out anyway, but it is good to know that the rust does not seem to have spread here.



The "floor" (tissue paper!!) between the frame rail and where the transmission tunnel rises is garbage! I can only imagine that the rest of the DS floor must have been similar before the previous owner did his bad fix.



I put my hammer right through that part of the floor with no effort at all!!



The outboard side of the interior floor is a real problem. Rust doesn't seem to be an issue, but the previous owner cut the original floor right against the vertical side. He left no flange to attach the new floor to. Not insurmountable perhaps, but yet one more challenge.



The front of the floor where it turns and rises into the firewall looks sketchy at best. I think the replacement floor pans rise some in this area. I am hoping to not have to remove the entire firewall, but that is still an open possibility.



I drilled out my first four spot welds. I decided to do it where the front subframe meets the lower firewall for several reasons. 1) it is likely that this lower firewall area will be cut out and replaced anyway. 2) it will be relatively unseen if I screw it up, 3) I believed (wrongly) that I would be drilling through relatively thin floor metal (true) into relatively thicker frame rail metal (barely true if at all, possilbly false!) I had not noticed that the flange on the subframe turns outward away from frame rail. I had incorrectly assumed it would turn inward like a "C" channel. I learned on the MTF forum that it is better to weld thinner material to thicker material. Since the stock subframe is coming out anyway, I figured that any holes left in the firewall pan would be correctly welded to the thicker new subframe material. Now that I have drilled out the sheet metal from the inside, I see that the holes may end up being outside of the size of the new subframe rail. I know that the MTF subframe uses larger, fully boxed framing material, but I am not sure it will be that much bigger. Time will tell.

Lesson #next: cleaning all the layers of rust, paint, black goo, etc off this car where I am going to have to do metal work is going to be very slow and tedious. It is imperative to do so that I can see the spot welds that have to be drilled to separate the panels and frame. I now see the very real advantages of media blasting!! Media blasting has now become a much higher priority on the list. As has a plasma cutter!!

I know that the transmission tunnel has to be modified to accept the larger 6 speed automatic transmission that is mated to the 2017 Coyote motors. I have got to find some one who has done this and see photos of how and how far back they had to modify the tunnel. Deciding now what I will do with the tunnel plays into my decision about what floor repair I do. If I am going to cut out most of the tunnel anyway, perhaps I will replace the entire front floor ahead of the seat thrones on both PS and DS of the car. (I still have to take a look at the floor on the PS.) If I can simply modify the existing tranny tunnel, then perhaps I will just install individual floor pans and leave the main tunnel in tact.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
10/7/2018
It is 3:15am and raining cats, dogs, an little fish! In some areas of the country this may be a non event, but here in Arizona rain, any rain, is an event. And boy do we do it up right!! The lightning storm that comes along with it is breathtaking! Of course, I would prefer if it occurred at a more reasonable time of night, but beggars can't be choosers. Since I am up anyway, I figured I would share my very early morning with you.

This past week has been completely taken up by training classes for my son. He takes his major exam tomorrow. (Prayers for his wisdom, patience, peace, would be appreciated!!) I only got back into the shop briefly last night for the first time in over a week. I returned to the task of slowly preparing to remove the entire front subframe from the car. In order to see the weld locations, I am having to remove the paint, undercoat, grime, dirt, and God knows what else along the weld points. This required me to once again don one of my least favorite things:



I have eight major areas of welds that have to be removed. I am going to place them in the order I think I need to remove them to safely remove the front subframe:

1. Welds at the top of the shock towers where the towers meet the top of the rear engine bay side panel.
2. Welds along the vertical point where the shock towers meet the rear engine bay side panel.
3. Removal of the support brace that goes between the sub-frame rails at the top underside of the tranny tunnel.
4. Welds on the interior floor that weld the floor panel to the sub-frame
5. Welds on the interior floor to firewall angled panel that joint this panel to the sub-frame
6. Welds where the sub-frame meets the firewall to floor angled panel.
7. Removal of the DS torque box.
8. Welds along the bottom of the rear engine bay side panel where it meets the sub-frame. (Removing this last because it supports the entire subframe in the horizontal direction)

First question: Do I have this order of removal correct?

I started with the top of each engine bay becasue it was easy to see and to practice my spot weld cutting technique. Knowing how deep to go is still challenging. I think I am tending to go too deep, but the parts are coming apart, so that's a win! I started on the DS:



It looks pretty good and came off cleanly. Then I moved to the PS:



Definately not so good. I am wondering how long the MTF top rails are that come with the engine bay side panels? I will use these replacement sides because they fully replace where the shock tower has been deleted. If the top piece will cover that rust, I will not worry about it. If they will not, I may have to remove this side piece as well. (I may have to remove it anyway if I have to replace the firewall.)

I then moved down the inside of the shock towers. These both came loose pretty easily. I am finding that the cutter heads for the spot weld cutter don't last as long as I had hoped they might. I am already into my second cutter head. I don't know if anyplace could sharpen these things. May have to buy quite a few more, but at $9 a piece, you don't want to have to buy too many of them!!





Its not a great picture, but you can see that the side panels are now completely separated from the shock tower:



Each step has it's issues, and I am debating how to proceed in each area. As an example:

I plan to remove the spot welds at the bottom of the rear side engine bay panel last. my thoughts are that these are supporting the rest of the sub-frame until the very last moment. However, these welds are on the INSIDE of the engine bay. In order for me to drill them out, I have to be either 1)underneath the car, not a good place to be when the entire sub-frame is finally loosed, or 2) i have to be standing in the middle of the engine bay, also not a great place to be when the sub-frame is finally free. Any ideas on how to get the welds drilled out by not kill myself in the process?

The DS floor and the floor to firewall panel are in worse shape than I had originally believed. It appears that it will take a floor panel that goes well up the floor to firewall panel to get all the rust out. I am fearing that a full firewall replacement may be in my future, but I am still trying to avoid it. Since the floor to firewall panel is rusted out where the welds would have been, I can't see where there are/were. As bad as the rust is, I am not sure i even need to drill the welds out. They might just pull apart. But I don't want to take any chances. I am thinking of cutting the floor to firewall panel up to the top of the sub-frame so it will be completely loose. The risk is that it may force me to replace more or all of the firewall and floor to firewall panel which I would like to avoid. The benefit is that I will be able to see where the rusted material ends and the good material begins. What do you think?

The support brace that goes between the sub-frame rails at the top of the opening for the tranny seems to only be attached by welds at the ends on the subframe. Is is generally welded to the floor pan? I assume this has to be removed in order to get to the sub-frame, right?

 

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Discussion Starter #19
10/7/2018
It is becoming much more clear that I am not sure I can cut all the metal that needs to be cut with just a grinder, or even a body saw. I think I may need to buy or borrow a plasma cutter. I can't figure how to cut the main subframe or the torque boxes without a plasma cutter. I am really not eager to buy a plasma cutter. They are NOT cheap! I can't think of anyone I know that has a plasma cutter. I am debating the relative merits of hiring a mobile welding/cutting company to come here and cut off what I want gone. While it will cost some $$$, it probably won't cost as much as buying, then having to store, a plasma cutter. I found a Miller Spectrum 375 Plasma cutter, 3 years old, on craigslist for $800. A buddy will split the cost with me. I may pick it up. I am also considering buying a new Eastwood plasma cutter. Only about $470, and new. I am not a pro shop (clearly!!) and wonder if this lesser tool would be adequate for my needs. I like to always buy the good tools, not the trash throw away tools. Wonder which one this is? What is your opinion?

Here is the DS Torque Box. (the PS doesn't have one. Is this a problem?)



It appears that there are two layers of about 1/8" thick material here. WHy are there two layers, and do they both get removed?

 

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Discussion Starter #20
10/13/2018
Today we had one of the longest rainstorms in recent memory. In Arizona, if I rains for six hours solid, you can be pretty sure someone is building an Ark someplace!! So what is a man to do but drive 50 miles one way in the torrential rain to buy a used Plasma cutter!! Picked this up this morning:



Once I got home (after witnessing not less than three cars that had spun out on the wet freeway and smashed into the nearest wall!!) I set up the cutter and practiced a bit. Since the entire front subframe is going to be replaced, I had lots of places to practice. I decided to start small and remove a piece of sheet metal from the radiator support area. I was quickly reminded of how very nice it is to use the right tool for the job! The concept of a hot knife through butter takes on an entirely new level with this thing!! I am not ready to quit my day job yet, but I was really please with my first attempt.





Maybe I am just getting ****y, but it is time to attack the frame. (That's why I bought it right?!!) I slice down the inside of the main frame rail just below where I had already broken the spot welds. I cut across the top of the frame rail on both sides of the sheetmetal, then down the outside of the frame rail. Just as I had planned, it became clearly obvious when I had really cut completely across the frame:



Just a bit more pressure, and the entire front end slowly bent to the floor.



One more quick slice on either side, and presto! The entire front frame falls free.



Clearly I have crossed the next point of no return . . .
 
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