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Hi, I'm new here (go easy!) I'm pretty good with cars (built my own replica Cobra from ground up) and my son is getting near driving age. He has shown an interest in wanting an old Mustang in rough shape that he and I can make into his first car. I remember these cars had lots of rust problems because they were unibodied, etc.

In any event, I found a local paper listing a 66 coupe V8-auto for under $2k OBO within 50 miles of my home. I drove by the kid's house (leaving for college) and looked at the car from the street to see if it was worth going back with a floor jack, jack stands, etc. The car looks very presentable and does not appear, from the street, to be that bad. I am going to go there Saturday AM to inspect.

Can anybody give me some pointers as to where the biggest problems are? When should I run to my car and leave? Any "hidden" areas that, knowing where to look, will tell me if I'm buying someone's nightmare?

Again, I'm not looking to make a trailer queen or a 98 point concourse. I want something that can be made into a presentable daily driver (thankfully my son hates the Fast N Furious ricer craze more than I do!) We want to work on her so my son will get a sense of accomplishment and a learning experience.

Thanks for any advice you can post here!
 

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look for RUST... Mustangs are bad at rusting floor the floors out. What happes is the cowl area gets clogg'd up with leaves or gunk. Water sits in there.. Rusting place #1.

Once that is rusted out, water then runs down the floor pan getting the carpet wet. Water now sits in the floor pan area. Rusting place #2

Rust also happens around the window trim area.

Frame rails are easy to check as rusty rear frame rails should be a pass to you. My Coupe was rusted so bad around the rear shackles that I am surprised the rear end stayed on the car.

Anyway...Easythings to replace are interior items such as seat covers, door panels, carpet, and dash. Quite rewarding to refresh the interior as it is easy to see progress. Body work and rust removal is a whole nother thing...
 

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Ok, Here goes.

1. The cowl. Take a warer hose to the cowl area and see if you have a natural spring under the dash inside the car.

2. If you see water come insude the car from the cowl then you more than likely have rusted fron floor pans.

3. Make sure the heater core is not blocked off in the engine compartment. If it is then there is a leakey heater core wich could also lead to rust on the passenger side floor pan.

4. REMEMBER... These cars rust from the inside out. If you look under the car and the floor looks solid dont assume it is. You must pull the carpet back to see the condition of the floor from the inside.

5. Then there is the most common. Inside the trunk, Lower front edges of the doors,lower rear egdges of the front fenders, and the frame rails.

2k is a fair price for a coupe in need of some work. Take your time and go over the car carefully so you know what your getting into. Sounds like a great project for father and son.....Billy ::
 

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First, I would suggest looking for a rust free car from the southwest that needs re-done. The cost and shipping will be well worth it compared to trying to repair the rust, even if the rust "isn't that bad". Also, personally when I look at them I could care less if they actually ran b/c engine work is cheap and easy compared to rust repair. Any way here are some of the typical problem areas I can think of: Rear quarters, wheelhouses, trunk drop-offs, floor pans, cowl vents, lower front corners of the doors, lower rear corner of the fenders, trunk area where the gas tank mounts, all 4 frame rails, battery tray area, and rocker panels. Oh yeah, on '66s the lower chrome molding sometimes hides rust that is behind it so check that area very closely. Plus several of these places rust from the inside out so look in behind them as much as possible. If I've missed anything someone chime in. If there is evidence of repair work check it out very carefully, I've seen some where the work was sub-par and very dangerous. (for example frame rails barely re-attached) Check for large areas of bondo, it will eventually be a problem. I've checked out lots of 'stangs that looked good from the street only to turn and run after looking up close. Don't get hung up on a car with a shiny paint job if there's any question about its structural integrity.
 

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I agree that the mechanicals are a lot less important than the rust. You can fix most mechanical problems and have it on the road in no time, getting a quick sense of accomplishment.
Major rust repair is not quite as easy or fast. I would rather spend more on the front end for a fairly rust-free or already repaired car.
 

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Doing a project car with my soon-to-be 16 yo, so I know what you're going through.

Check it thoroughly for rust, as these guys have already stated. Then, when you're convinced that it's fairly rust free, go home, take a cold shower, cool off for a couple of days, then go back and check it again. Don't let your son or YOU get in heat!!! ::

I speak from experience. our 67 had some rust, but it "didn't look too bad", and SWMBO convinced me that for $1600 we couldn't go wrong (I love being able to hold that over HER head for once) ::. We're going to have one heck of a car when we get done, but man we've got a lot of work to do.
 

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All of the advice you've gotten so far is excellent. I just wanted to say "Have Fun!!" It should be a great project and will build many memories (happy and otherwise LOL).

John Harvey
 
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Hey, thanks a lot for the helpful tips! This place rocks! I am going to print out this entire thread and study it before Saturday. I am really impressed with the detail (the cowl problems, using a garden hose, etc).

I too am not concerned about how the car runs. My wife got mad at me that I didn't ask the kid on the phone about the running condition of the car! I said "I don't care about that, I can always get her to run. It's the rust I'm worried about". You guys have confirmed my fears.

Assuming I pass on this pig-in-a-poke, is there a good, reliable source for locating good, tired, non-rusty stangs from the desert areas?
 

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Just to re-iterate: Floor board, cowl, and rocker rust

RUST IS FREE!!!

as far a locating. Look here....also www.cctol.com, contact the local (desert local) Autotrader or ford and mustang trader mgazines.

Slade
 

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Actually, believe it or not if you take your time e b a y is a pretty good source for southwestern cars. I know several people who have been very satisfied using the site to acquire rust free cars. I know that not everyone has had a pleasant experience though.
 

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If the car is low-rust and stored outside in NY then look CAREFULLY at the rust repair that was done because rust repair was certainly done at some point. If this work wasn't done right (old rust cut out and new metal welded in properly) then pass. My coupe had great 1/4 panels and lookd real solid, too bad they were brazed on in a half dozen places and not welded on right. I'll be cutting them off to reattach them properly in a few months.

Folks are saying turn and run if you find bad rust, I don't know if that's necessary on a '66 since nearly every piece of steel on that car is being repoped and if you want to make this a real project then welding fresh metal in will be part of the fun. I'd think I would turn and run if I find repaired rust, I'd rather do that myself and know the job is done right.
 
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