Archive for the ‘Fox Body Mustang Project’ Category

Project Resolution – The Final Chapter?

1989 Fox Body Mustang

1989 Mustalng LX Project Resolution

Eight months ago, we set out to transform this tired 1989 Fox Body Mustang into a cool cruise night ride, while working with a $7,000 budget.  The ultimate goal was to show what a typical “car guy” (or “car girl”) can accomplish at home.  As you can see, the transformation is incredible.

A quick recap on “Project Resolution”.  It is a 1989 Mustang LX, with the popular 5.0 engine.  It has approximately 130k miles on the odometer and has suffered a pretty substantial front-end collision.  The positive factors of the car were that it was relatively rust-free (for an East Coast car) and not overly molested (outside of the front-end accident damage repairs).

Back in January, we decided to take on the project of transforming this Fox Body.  Knowing that the car had accident damage, we assessed the condition and ensured the car was within factory tolerances for alignment.  Although the car was within specs, the damage we could see was only the tip of the iceberg.  From our original assessment, we thought that a new radiator support and inner fender aprons from CJ Pony Parts would fix the damage.  Once we got deeper into the project, we realized the damage was much worse.

After we pulled the engine and transmission, we found a lot more damage than we could initially see.  We pulled up measurement specs online and took some initial measurements to see how close it was to the specs.  The front-end was shifted to the driver’s side and was pushed back quite a bit on the passenger side.  At this point, we had to decide whether we were going to cut our losses or see the project through (whether we fixed the damage or farmed out the work).  As some sort of accident damage is likely to be encountered when working on a project vehicle that is 20, 30, 40+ years old, we decided to tackle the repair.

Our first attempt at fixing the damage was by using a Porta Power.  This helped a little, but the damage was so extensive that we could not get it within specs.  We decided to search Craigslist and see if we could find a front clip.  Luck would have it that we found one within driving distance for $50.  The clip was from a 1990, which has the same upper strut mounts.  Not to jump ahead, but we found out the clip was from a 1991 or newer as we had to find different upper stut mount plates when we were assembling the car.1989 Mustang Inner fender removal

To get the clip ready for installation, we used our Eastwood 100lb Pressure Blaster and Ground Glass media to remove the old paint and rust.  The saying “measure twice, cut once” applied to replacing the front-end.  We replaced the front clip behind the strut towers, which allowed us to remove and replace the factory spot welds for a repair that is mostly undetectable.  Matt utilized Eastwood’s Battery Powered Reciprocating Saw and Eastwood Spot Weld Removers to remove the old clip and to prepare the new clip for installation.  Once cleaned up and fitted, the Eastwood MIG 175 was used to joint the new clip to the Project Resolution.

While this was going on, the rest of the crew were working to clean up the bolt on parts, interior panels, suspension components, and body working the hood, fenders, and doors.Although a spray booth is optimal and recommended, we wanted the build of Project Resolution to be just like a person would experience building their vehicle at home.  As we know most home hobbyists do not have access to a spray booth, we decided to give Project Resolution a “driveway job”.

Mustang in Eastwood Black Epoxy Primer

Eastwood Gray Urethane PrimerEastwood Blue Pearl MustangThe Eastwood Blue Pearl really pops in the sunlight.  To give the paint a mirror shine, we colorsanded and buffed the paint using 3M compounds and Norton Dry Ice.  The response we’ve received from people that have seen the paint first hand is that they are amazed that it was painted outside.1989 Mustang side passenger1989 Mustang RearNow, to answer the question that everyone wants to know….did we stay on budget?  To get to the stage that Project Resolution is currently in, we went over budget.  Including the price of the vehicle ($1,300), we came in at $10,776.  As with any project, there will be certain things that are encountered, as you get further into the project that you will need to decide how to handle.  There were a few items we decided to address and make right, which caused us to go over our original budget.

The main item was the engine.  We were planning to just freshen the original up, based off of the compression tests, but once we pulled the intake and heads, we saw that there was corrosion in two of the cylinders.  We paid $2,250 for the crate engine from the local Ford dealer, plus new fuel injectors, timing cover, sensors, hoses, spark plugs, fluids, etc and we were into the engine for $3,000.  To make the car safe, we decided to also put in new struts, shocks, and upgrade the front brakes and rotors.  Although we could have skipped this next item, we also decided to install a new windshield and rear hatch glass.  Both of these items were usable, but had damage that was beyond glass polishing.  Technically, we could have left the glass, but it was in poor shape and look really bad against the Blue Pearl paint.

Below is an itemized list of the items we used during the build.  Please note, some items are more than a typical hobbyist would need because we had multiple people working on the car (example – we had respirators for those stripping paint, doing body work, and painting).

Item Total Cost Purchased From Qty
Storage Baggies and Bin $8.43 Wal Mart
Mustang $1,300.00 Private  1
Drain pans $11.55 Wal Mart  2
Front Fender Aprons (inner fender) $164.99 CJ Pony Parts  1
Radiator Support $151.99 CJ Pony Parts  1
Door Hinge Kit $18.99 CJ Pony Parts  1
Hinge Check Roller & Pin (2) $11.98 CJ Pony Parts  2
Chassis Kleen $41.94 Eastwood 6
PRE $56.94 Eastwood 6
PIG Mat Roll $53.98 Eastwood 2
4.5″ Cleaning/Striping Disc Kit $89.97 Eastwood 3
Nitrile Gloves $33.98 Eastwood 2
Spot Weld Cutter $39.98 Eastwood 2
Pro Spot Weld Cutter $25.99 Eastwood 1
Replacement Spot Weld Cutters $17.99 Eastwood 1
Pinch Weld Clamps $24.99 Eastwood 1
Bandit Respirators $239.88 Eastwood 12
Fast Etch $22.99 Eastwood 1
Tarp, towels,spreaders $27.98 Wal Mart 1
Aluma Blast, Spray Gray, Detail Gray Kit $34.99 Eastwood 1
Sawzall blades $15.35 TSC 2
Ground Glass Media $53.98 Eastwood 2
Contour Glazing Putty $49.98 Eastwood 2
Contour Pro Filler $59.99 Eastwood 1
Pro-Glas Filler Qt $24.99 Eastwood 1
Eastwood Gray Urethane Primer Kit $89.99 Eastwood 1
Black Epoxy Primer & Catalyst Kit $94.99 Eastwood 1
Contour Polyester Primer Qt $24.99 Eastwood 1
Evolution paint gun $69.99 Eastwood 1
Landau Black Vinyl Dye $41.97 Eastwood 3
Presidio Gray Interior Paint $83.94 Eastwood 6
2.0 needle/nozzle $24.99 Eastwood 1
Aerosol Injected Cleaner $9.99 Eastwood 1
Eastwood Euro Clear Kit $124.99 Eastwood 1
Reducer $14.99 Eastwood 1
Low VOC Blue Pearl Basecoat $339.98 Eastwood 2
Bristle Disc Kit $79.99 Eastwood 1
Sheet Metal Kit $37.99 Eastwood 1
spray adhesive $9.99 Eastwood 1
80 grit PSA paper $17.99 Eastwood 1
80 grit DA paper $11.99 Eastwood 1
120 grit PSA $16.99 Eastwood 1
220 PSA paper $18.99 Eastwood 1
Front Clip $50.00 Craigslist 1
Paint Suit $9.99 Eastwood 1
masking tape $19.96 Eastwood 4
ThermoCoustic $149.99 Eastwood 1
2K AeroSpray Clear $79.96 Eastwood 4
lacquer thinner/scuff pads $28.60 PepBoys
engine $2,250.00 Fred Beans
timing cover, studs, emblems $224.95 LateModelRestoration
Mounting tape, rivets, RTV, etc $57.87 National Auto
Trim screws, nuts, etc $19.19 Pep Boys
New Glass $512.00 Mr. Windshield
Tie Rod End $16.42 National Auto
Fluids, oil filter, $85.00 Wal-Mart
exhaust hangers, molding tape $25.40 Pep Boys
exhaust gaskets $18.01 Pep Boys
wheel bearings/seals $63.55 Pep Boys
Interior, weather-strip seals, engine tune-up, exhaust, brakes, injectors, sensors, battery tray, screws, lx trim kit, struts, shocks, bushings $3,466.68 American Muscle

Is this the final chapter for Project Resolution?  I don’t think so!  Be sure to watch for our recap video of Project Resolution.  There has been talk about taking it to the strip to see what it can do.  Matt has also tossed around the idea of fabbing up a turbo.  Give us your feedback.  What would you like to see for the next chapter?

By: Nick Capinski

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Mustang Project Resolution Phase 7- It’s looking like a car again!

It’s been a while since we’ve last updated you on Project Resolution, but I can assure you it isn’t because we’ve been lazy! As The 2013 Eastwood Summer Classic crept up on us we were putting in long hours getting our Fox Body Mustang ready to debut at the show. I can’t tell you now this isn’t a fairy tale ending like an episode of Overhaulin’ where magic occurs behind the scenes and the car drives off into the sunset. We kept everything in-house and we did all the work OURSELVES and even with late nights, long hours, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, our car wasn’t quite 100% done as we hoped.

In a matter of 2 weeks we took the empty, unpainted shell and shot it with Eastwood Low VOC Blue Pearl Basecoat and Eastwood Low VOC Clearcoat to transform the tired shell from the flat, tired red to this deep shiny blue pearl!

While Mike and Nick were tackling the paint work, the rest of us began reassembling the interior. Almost everything inside of the car was either replaced or restored. We first put down Eastwood Thermo-Coustic Barrier to keep the noise and heat down inside the car. We then laid the new carpet, recovered sport seats, and restored trim parts into the car. The final product was a much sportier, classy black and gray interior scheme.

Finally once the body was in color Kevin, Nick, Mike, and Randy worked on getting the mechanicals of the Mustang back on the car. They assembled and installed the new Ford 302 crate engine, the original transmission, and the exhaust system coated in Eastwood Hi-Temp Exhaust Coating to give it that “OEM+” theme we have had going on the car. We also reinstalled the stock springs with some new sport shocks on all 4 corners, sport drilled and slotted rotors, and performance Hawk brake pads. We’re still on the fence if we want to go back and lower the car further to get it sitting, better.. but we’d like to get some miles on her first!

On the day of the 2013 Summer Classic our team was still cleaning and detailing the car up until the beginning of the show! We rolled it out mostly complete and the reaction from the spectators was great. The Eastwood Blue Pearl paint REALLY pops in the sun! We’e happy with how far the car came in such a short time and we’re currently working on tying up the last few loose ends so we can at least take the car out for some cruises in this nice late summer/early fall weather! Stay tuned as we get the car on the road and start planning our next steps with the car. We’d love to hear from you on what our next improvements should be! Feel free to comment here, facebook or tweet us, or drop us a line on our Youtube channel! Thanks for following!

-Matt/EW

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Project Resolution- Phase Six

We’ve been busy as can be since our last update. With time running short we’ve really kicked it into high gear!

We decided to replace the entire front clip after too many nasty accident damage surprises. The crew stripped the donor clip down using our stripping discs and our 100lb Pressure Blaster. Once the new nose for Resolution was cleaned, I took the reciprocating saw and began surgery. We decided to cut the old front clip just behind the strut towers and in front of the OE lap joint. Once the bulk of the front end was off we made relief cuts in the necessary spots to slip the new front end in place. After a bit of cutting, some hammering, a LOT of measuring, and finally a test fit of front sheet metal, we were ready to weld. I used the MIG 175 to weld the new clip on permanently.

While I was working on the front clip the rest of our team were busy cleaning, painting, and detailing everything that was removed and destined to be reinstalled on the car. A lot of the parts from the car were surprisgnly reusable and they’ve all been getting some Eastwood detail paints. With most of the parts looking good we needed to address the interior. I’ve been working to install new black tweed seat covers on the Mustang sport seats. We’re currently working on a DIY how-to video to teach you how to recover your front seats right now. Stay tuned!

We haven’t forgotten the drivetrain either! After finding our old engine needed so much work AND being under such a tight deadline, we made some calls to Ford and found the LAST new Ford 302 5.0 engine in the country. Days later a big black crate showed up and we had our fresh NOS longblock. We immediately threw it on the engine stand and Kevin is working on assembling it and getting it ready to drop in. It looks like a lot is going to happen in the next few days!

Lastly Mike, Nick and the crew have been working hard getting the body ready for primer and paint. Nick and Mike have been putting in long hours and it shows! The Mustang just recently got a couple coats of fresh primer and just yesterday the jams and engine bay got some color. Below is a sneak peak at what color Resolution is getting!

Stay tuned, we are pushing hard and we hope you can check the car out in person for the 2013 Eastwood Summer Classic!

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Project Resolution Phase V

Since we last checked in with Project Resolution we had a lot of goals and plans of action on how we were going to repair and restore the car. Since then, things have changed quite a bit! Sometimes we think this should be called “Project Surprise”! We’re constantly finding that the car has a lot of hidden damage and surprises that are much worse than initially anticipated.

After we heat shrunk the roof with an oxy- acetylene torch we found that the roof had been stretched so far that it wasn’t going to come back into shape. Instead, we decided to cut the entire panel out of the car and make up a replacement panel out of 18 gauge steel. We then lap welded the panel in place using the MIG 175. Now with the panel in place and the welds ground down we just need to do a little bit of pulling with the MIG Stud Welding Kit in the corners and we’re ready for a skim coat of filler.

The rest of the team has been very busy fixing minor dents and body damage on the car. We hope to have the removable panels on the car ready for primer any day now! We’ve also begun tackling the bodywork on the shell itself and luckily that looks like it will be pretty straight forward. Our new Tech Advisor Mike is a seasoned autobody tech so he has been whipping everyone into shape block sanding!

We’ve also picked up a replacement front clip that we scored off Craigslist for VERY cheap. This should save us a lot of time and really is the proper way to fix the damage we recently found further back on the frame rails. We’ll be cutting the front clip off at the OE seam just behind the strut tower and welding it back in place. This will allow us to cross check our chassis specs to make sure the car drives down the road straight. We’ll be making those big cuts here shortly.

Lastly our tired little 302 5.0 V8 is more tired than we had hoped when we pulled it apart. As soon as Kevin pulled the heads off the block he found the tell-tale signs of coolant and oil mixing and we all agreed we should do the job right and send the engine off to the machine shop to have it freshened up. We’re still trying to figure out how many go-fast goodies we can fit into the budget while it’s off at the machine shop!

Time is ticking and the Eastwood Summer Classic is about a month and a half away! We’re definitely going to be down to the wire on getting the car done! Stay tuned for what happens next…

-Matt/EW

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Project Resolution- Paint Stripping and Final Teardown

We’ve been working on Project Resolution now for a few months and we’re finally at a point where we are ready to start going uphill making the car nice again. With the front end removed I was able to remove the inner fender “skirt” and assess the damage that was caused during the accident. So far it looks like the damage was just sheet metal related and the chassis itself is still intact and not tweaked from the accident. We now need to clamp all of the new body panels in place with clecos and test fit the hood and fenders to make sure that our gaps all line up correctly before we begin welding those pieces back in place. I know we will need to do a little bit of hammer and dolly work on the remaining sheet metal around the replacement panels, but it should all be straight forward.

While I was working on the front end removal the rest of our team has been working diligently removing all of the old red paint and uncovering the filler and previous owner repairs (yikes!). The roof is definitely much worse than we thought. It looks like someone used a “stone” style grinding disc or a cut off wheel to remove the old paint and there is a lot of deep gouges in the metal and some more hidden dents. We will have to take some serious time shaping the roof back to an acceptable point before we can make it shiny again.

Speaking of damage we’ve uncovered, the rear hatch had some minor paint pitting around the lower edges, but we wanted to investigate them further. We found some terminal rust in the hatch and that we needed to cut out of the lower edge. Nick has removed the worst rust and is currently making up patch panels to weld back in place with the MIG 135. We hope to have that minor body rust tackled quickly and continue getting the body ready for a skim coat of filler, primer, and finally a new coat of paint! We’re still on the fence what color we want to paint the car, so if you have any suggestions feel free to drop us a comment with your opinion!

We plan to get all of the new body panels welded in place, the major body damage repaired, and all the rust repair done by the next update. July 13th for the Eastwood Summer Classic is getting closer everyday and we need to kick this project into high gear! Stay tuned!

-Matt/EW

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