72 hardtop Hcode "Geraldine" Build


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Welcome to the forum from RI. It looks like you have scored a pretty solid Mustang. Consider yourself fortunate you live in road salt free Texas. Good luck to you and your wife.

I am looking forward to following your progress.


Hello all,

Its been a few weeks since I got the rear end back under Geraldine so I have been putting this update off as I debate whether or not to share the HUGE mistake I made that could have been disastrous.  Thankfully, God was watching out for us and all turned out well without any real damage.  I'll get into all that a little later. (yeah, yeah,  I know,  I grabbed your attention and now I'm making you wait...  That's Life.  I have to keep my ratings up somehow. :D )  When I last left off I had pulled the rear end, inspected and put it all back together.  I then took a wire wheel and other power tools to it.  Once I had all the old finish off I primed it.  I believe that was the last pic I posted.  So here is one after paint.


Here is a nice before and after that includes new springs and hardware.


I just want to say, the hardest thing to accomplish so far was getting the old rubber grommets out of the shackle perches at the rear of the leaf springs.  I watched videos and searched for anything I could find on how to get those old bushings out.  most of them showed using a drill to weaken and separate the rubber from the metal it is bonded to.  The problem is there isn't much room between the perch and the gas tank on the inside and the perch and the body panel on the outside.  You can't get a punch and hammer in there and you certainly cant get a drill in there I even tried a right angle attachment on a drill.  It didn't fit either.  My wife tried shoving a little shorty screwdriver in between the rubber and steel and wasn't having much luck but that got me to thinking.  I sharpened the tip of the flathead stubby screwdriver.  Then I used a long bladed utility knife to slice off the rubber lip on the outside of the grommet.  That gave better access to the joint between the rubber and steel.  I then had to shove the screwdriver in between and force it in over and over again all the way around the grommet.  Finally with it shoved in at the bottom I would pull with all I had and pry the rubber out.  Once it moved just a little bit, it could be worked the rest of the way out.  Then repeat 3 more times.  All together we spent almost three hours trying to get those nasty little buggers out of there.


From there it all went together pretty smoothly.  I had taken lots of pics of the drum brakes before I took them apart.  With the aid of those pics and a little scratching of my head I got the brakes back together.  We blead all four brakes. (Another first time thing for us.) and while I took care of other odds and ends Janet put the rims and tires back on.  I had the thought that I need to go back and retighten those lugs, however I failed to do so.  (There's a little foreshadowing of things to come.)  We got Geraldine all back together and decided to take her for a short test drive around the neighborhood.  She felt great!  All the slop was gone out of the rear end.  Before, you would feel the back end moving and any speed bump would make you bottom out. All that was gone.  It even made the loose steering box feel a little better.  However there was a problem,  I kept hearing a sound that I could only describe as a metal gurgling. I stopped once and looked for anything that looked out of place. I couldn't find anything.  As I went around the last corner about a half mile from our house I kept the speed up a little so I could feel how she handled in the corner.  I felt something shift!  I immediately pulled over.  I looked all around and still couldn't find anything out of place.  I got back in and started to go the last half mile back to the house but as soon as I started rolling I felt the driver side rear corner drop.  I hit the brakes and stopped right there.  when I got out I could tell that corner was sitting low.  (Later Janet Who was in her car behind me said she saw the wheel wobble as it happened).  When I looked underneath I could see the hub was out of the lug holes and sitting down on the inside of the rim.  I don't know how it managed to stop there but I can't imagine all of the damage it would have done to the axle and body if it had come all the way off.  when I pulled the hub cap off I found the mysterious "metal gurgling" sound.  It was the five lug nuts bouncing inside of that dish plate sized hub cap.  I jacked the car up and put it all back together.  As far as I can tell the only damage done was a small pile of shaving that I think came from the lug holes on the rim. We are planning on new rims anyway so I am not too worried about that.  I checked the other side and at most I only turned the lug nuts about a 1/4 further than what my wife had done.  I running theory is that the brake drum was sitting a little off kilter when she put the rim on and that kept her from getting a good seat of the drum and rim.  Even though she tightened them as soon as it started rolling it most likely loosened right up and as more lug nuts came off the sound got louder.  I put the hubcaps back on which kept the nuts from being spread out along the 2 miles we had driven but I might have noticed the missing nuts if the caps had not been on.  Who knows...

We are ok. Geraldine is ok! and we have had her out a couple of times since then and all seems great.  When I went back later and checked the nuts with my clicker style torque wrench I had Janet try to make it click.  With her buck 25 frame she could not make it click when set at 100 ft lbs.  Lesson learned, note to self, always check lug nuts with a torque wrench.

One last thing for you northern guys to drool over.  Here is a pick of Geraldine's unmolested unrestored trunk. (Got to love south Texas)


Good to hear nothing bad happened to you or the car. 

I had something similar happen to me back in 1975 or 76. I was getting ready to drive from Central New York to Miami to visit my mother, who was living there at the time. Before I left I decided to get the oil changed and tires rotated on my '75 Gran Torino. I got on the road as soon as the garage was done with my car. I was on I-81 just about to Wilkes-Barre Pa. (about 5 hours into the trip) when the front end started shaking like crazy. I pulled over on the shoulder as quick as I could. As soon as I stopped the car the right side of front end dropped. When I walked around the car the wheel was laying on the ground next to it. When I checked out the hub all of the studs had been sheered right off.

Being around 17 at the time I don't think I realized how lucky I was! I was probably cruising at 70-75 with Led Zeppelin cranking. Clueless! I was pissed only because I had to stay in Wilkes-Barre overnight while the car was repaired.

I never even thought to check the lugs after the garage rotated the tires. Needless to say I did after that, and I still do.


My H code 73 had a 2.75 rear-end gearset when I got it. I had it switched out for a nearly new 3.0 Ford gearset (really hard to find!!) and I had a Trac-loc limited slip put in. Man, does that make a difference! It handles with much more stability and much more "snap". The only down-side is that I now need to get a new speedometer gear to show correct speed.

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