Jim & Zach's mustang build thread


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Jan 25, 2017
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Tavares, fl
My Car
71 Mustang Mach 1

I figured I might as well start a build thread since I dont plan on selling this car any time soon.  I got this car for my son.  He will turn 18 in November and is a senior in High School.  He doesnt like new cars.  Ever since he was about 10 years old, I have taken him to the Mecum Auto Auction in Kissimmee.  Since then he has been hooked on old cars.  Which makes me really happy, because the right old car can be purchased relatively cheaply, and if well maintained, can be sold in the future for the same amount or more than you paid for it.  So that was my intention all along, to instill in him a sense of economics.  I dont want him to fall into the trap of wanting to buy a NEW car every 4 or 5 years and end up paying more than what a good house note used to be in the 80's.  This way, He can drive The coolest Car around, learn how to work on it, and if he gets tired of it some years down the road, we can sell it and get another cool project to work on.

So, we looked for about a year for the right car.  The timing never seemed to meet up with our financial ability, but eventually the stars aligned and we got this nice 71 fastback for $14000.  It came from a small dealer in Minnesota.  The car was last titled in Idaho, by a regular customer of his.  Overall the car is in remarkably good condition.  It has its issues but none of them are life threatening.  It is 1T02F104879. I cant read the build date on the door tag as its very faded. Eventually I will get a mardi report on it. It started off life as a Gold color and was shipped to the New York DSO. At some point it was also painted Blue. Then the current shade of yellow/green.

Since we got the car, I have changed the master cylinder, and had the mechanic do a complete brake job on the 4 wheel drum brakes, and put a new flexible line on the rear brakes. 

Known Issues of the Car are fairly minor for the most part.  I only have one serious issue.  So here is the run down of what I have found so far.

#1 - The Engine leaks oil all over the place.  The Valve covers are definitely leaking.  The oil Pan is definitely leaking.  When I go to change the valve cover gaskets I will have to check the intake gasket closely to see if it is leaking too. - All of those gaskets are on order.  I only use Fel-pro Blue Perma Dry one piece gaskets where possible.

#2 - The Radiator is leaking in a couple of spots.  It doesnt appear to be big leaks, but its definitely leaking.  So I ordered a new Aluminum Radiator for it today as well.  I got the Champion Radiator from Dallas Mustang.  Hopefully it will work out great.

#3 - The A/C system is not blowing very cold at all.  It works, it just only drops the temperature maybe 10 degrees.  Its like a very low charge.  I have a suspicion that it has not been properly converted to 134a since only one charge port has a 134a adapter on it.  It looks to me like someone just got an adapter, charged it with a can of A/C Pro and sold it to the dealer I got it from.  So I will go thru the process of flushing the system out, changing all the O-rings, and expansion Valve, getting all the old oil out of the compressor and flushing the condenser, evaporator, and all the lines.  I also ordered a new dryer, and a set of 134a service ports for the compressor, so there will be no doubt its been converted.  Then I can pull a vacuum on the system, and charge it up properly.   Then I need to find a good 134a conversion sticker to put on the core support.

#4 - All of the front suspension is COVERED in oil, dirt and sludge.  It looks like its been accumulating there for YEARS.  To me, there is no excuse for this kind of neglect.  I would like to just jap slap all of the people who have owned this car and let it go like that.  So At some point, I will have to pull the entire front end completely apart, and send out all of the pieced to be blasted and powder coated.  Then I will put in new ball joints, new steering links, new sway bar bushings and take it in for an alignment.

#5 - This is the bad one.  Someone covered up that the rear floor pan was rotted out.  When I initially looked at the floor pans back there I didnt see any issues.  Then we had 4 people in the car a couple of times.  Then I took it in for the brake job and the floor pan on the passenger rear side was broken loose.  Maybe it was still connected initially but was just really thin, and the full load of passengers busted it out.  I had the man from the restoration shop come over and have a look at it while it was on the rack and he said there are 4 places that need some work.  I will have a hard estimate on it by monday, but he said it will likely be about $1200 to fix.  Not terribly bad considering the extent of the work, but I could have gone without that surprise.

#6 - The illumination on the center console is not working.  I will look into that eventually, but its not a big priority for me at this time.

#7 - The speedometer is jumping at low speed.  Im not 100% sure why its doing this, but Its very annoying, so Once all the other stuff is done, I will get to this.  Its fairly low priority.

#8 - The car was hit in the front left fender at some point.  The damage was not extensive, it was limited to the area between the side marker light and the head light.  The problem is, they did a very poor job of reparing it.  Basically they drilled holes and pulled it out, filled it in with bondo, and painted it.  This one will have to wait for a good while.  Its not obvious unless your looking for it, so it will wait till its time for a paint job.  There is also some fittment issues with the rear lower valence on the drivers side.  Theres a fair amount of bondo work on that corner as well, so there may be some collision damage there too that needs to be cut out and new metal welded in.  Another job for when its time to paint.

#9 - The battery cables are not in good condition at all.  So I will need to replace those.  Maybe next pay day.

#10 - I want to do a front disc conversion.  I just need to decide which kit I want to use.  The man from the restoration shop told me there are kits that will fit the stock 14" Drum brake wheels so I need to find out which kit he recommends and start saving for that one.  I want to replace all the hard lines with stainless and put in a new proportioning valve and disc/drum master cylinder.  I will already have the booster installed by then though, so thats one of the hard things out of the way.

#11 - The lap seat belts have to go.  I already have sitting right here next to me the 3 point harness kit and I am going to install it tonight or tomorrow. That will be a welcome safety improvement.

#12 - Theres a fair amount of undercoating applied in the wheel wells that has protected that area nicely, however the area in the center and the entire fuel tank area has not been treated.  There is some surface rust in all these areas, but nothing extremely major.  Its still going to be no fun to clean all that up and seal it, but I will get it done in time.

#13 - I hear a metal on metal sound coming from the rear axle when I hit the brakes, and after I release the brakes.  The sound continues as long as I remain at low speed.  Once I get over 10-15 mph it goes away.  My thought is that the axle bearings have seen better days.  So I will need to change those out sooner rather than later.  Its a pretty easy job so I dont mind doing it.  I will take the axles up to the machine shop and have them press the bearings on and off we go.  Hopefully thats the issue.  If not, It might be something worse, like the dreaded pinion bearing starting to fail.

Thats pretty much it at this time.  I am sure other issues will pop up in time and as things get fixed.  Its been my experience that when you start fixing things on a car this old, it just stresses out the next weakest part and it fails.  So the process now starts with this car and will end when its done or im Dead. lol  whichever comes first.

I will go back and add some pictures later on tonight.  Right now I need to get up and get to work on this mustang.

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Be thankful for your oil leaks up front: they keep rust at bay! Your car sounds fairly typical of what one finds in the marketplace at those kind of price-points. It's a good rolling project car with lots of opportunities for you and your son to learn various repair skills and how to properly maintain these old beasts. All in all, you did good, so don't get depressed or feel disappointment. It's a nice car and 10-20 years from now, you'll look back and feel extremely proud of what you accomplished.

Im very happy with it.  Yea it has its issues, but I dont mind that.  Im not Rich, so I cant afford to buy one thats fully restored.  I also cant afford to put this in a shop and let other people work on every little damn thing that comes up.  But I do not mind getting dirty at all.  Ive been wrenching on Trucks for about 10 years so im no stranger to it.  There are not many jobs I havnt done, and thats only because I couldnt physically do it.  A lift would be awesome, but I dont have the room.  Fortunately for me, There is a place here in Orlando that has 10 bays with lifts and thats all they do is rent work bays, tools, whatever you need.  They also have mechanics that will help you or advise you on a time basis.  So any bigger jobs that come up that I need a lift for, I have that option available as long as I can get in and out of there in under 8 hours.

When I go to clean up the suspension, I am going to go there and get it up on a lift.  That will be much easier to deal with on a lift than crawling on the ground.  But once Im ready to pull it all off I will have to do that in the garage at home since it will take a week or more to get all the parts back.

Eventually Id like to build a 347 stroker to put in it.  I also want to upgrade to a built AOD.  Theres a company that will take an AOD Case and put all 4R70 parts in it.  Makes them alot more bulletproof.  I built the engine that is in my bronco and it was pretty easy.  It came out really nice too.

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I got some new parts in today for the mustang.

The Brake Booster came in from LEED Brakes.  Looks to be very nice.  Also came with the pedal adapter.


The new Radiator also came in.  Looks to be well made.  Hopefully it will keep this thing cool.


I also got my AC Flush and AC Flushing Gun.



I got in my new set of valve cover gaskets and the new oil pan gasket.


Im just waiting on my AC Parts from Ebay to show up, and the parts from Original Air.

Looks to be a busy weekend.


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Round 1 of work on the mustang is done!  It was a fairly productive day.  We got the old radiator out and the new one in.  Burped it good and took it out for a spin.  Everything looks great.  Overall it was a fun project though it did have some bitch points.  Getting the old original radiator fan shroud clips to fit the new radiator was not too much fun.  The old radiator frame where the clips mounted was paper thin.  The new aluminum radiator frame is about 1/8" thick.  So getting those clips on required some quality time with the dremel tool.  I had to massage the frame clip mounting point with a cutoff wheel to get the clips to go on.  After 45 mins of frustration they were on.  Then getting the top of the fan shroud wasnt too bad.  I just had to drill new holes for the bolts to go thru, then get the old clips off the old radiator and bend them out some so they would fit the much thicker radiator frame.  Then hold them bent into position while I screwed in the bolts.  Wasnt too bad.

The main Radiator mounts lined up perfectly with this Champion Radiator.  Also the Transmission cooler lines were in exactly the correct position.  Both Main water hose lines were also perfectly positioned.  The overflow line Nipple is alot longer than the original, so I had to disconnect the hose from the clip to get some slack in it.  Of course the 46 year old clip just disintegrated.  No biggie.  For anyone interested the Champion Part number is CC-381.

The only thing I have left to do is get a new filler piece fabricated.  The Original black plastic Filler piece that goes between the radiator and the Core Support is so fragile I dont want to try to put it back on there.  It is completely disintegrating.  The clips are also not going to hold it to that thick radiator frame.  So I think I will run by the metal shop on Moday and get them to bend me a piece of polished Aluminum to match the original filler piece.  Then I will just screw it to the radiator frame.  I will have to see if I can find some better threaded clips as well that will work with the 1/8" thick frame.

Installed pics.




Heres a shot of the old radiator.  It looks like its been leaking a long time.  I dont want to throw it away.  It might be repairable and original parts are worth something to someone.




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I also got in some more parts today.

The new A/C Service Valves for R134a came in. Along with the new Expansion Valve.


I also got my new Dryer and O rings from Original Air in Tampa. The dryer looks very nice.


That should be all the parts I need to convert the system over to 134a. Sometime this week or next weekend, I will start work on it. I need to take it all apart, flush the hoses, condenser, evaporator then change the oil in the compressor and it will be ready to put back together. My old vacuum pump died on me, so I will go rent one from Autozone. $155 deposit, then use it all you want, then take it back for a full refund. Cant beat that for nothing.

I still need to find some Ester oil. I guess I should just go ahead and order that now so I will have it about the time Im ready for it.

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Congrats on buying a cool car. Sounds like it will have a renewed life in your hands. Being hands on will yield you a great car for less investment so that's good but the most valuable thing is the memories the restorations will make for you and your son. A family that plays s together stays together. Enjoy the journey.

More parts came in today.

While we were working on the Radiator, we noticed that the battery tray was a complete rust bucket. About 20% of it was completely gone. So I got a new one, and the hardware to mount it.


I also noticed the battery cables were original, and the negative power lead was completely devoid of jacket material. Nothing left but a bare wire. So I got the Heavy Duty set of cables to replace those.

They look very nice too.


I finally got around to putting on the "Mach 1" Decal on the trunk lid. I think it looks great. Might be a bit low, but I like it.


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I worked on the mustang a little bit today. I FINALLY! Got around to installing the tail light filler panel. It was the first part I got for the car back in July. Its about damn time I got this on.


It looks great, but I still need to do some adjusting to get it all lined up properly. The Mosquitoes were just killing me out there tonight working on it.

I also got in the new front Mach 1 grill. Im currently in search of the elusive Grill center support bracket, that no one reproduces. So it may take me a while to get that one installed. I have been making calls and sending out emails and posting on forums all day trying to find one. They are pretty damn elusive, but I will find one somewhere.


Looks like you are making great progress. One thing to consider on the AC is changing out the condenser and the orifice valve to use a variable orifice valve. The condenser intended for 134A will help the system to cool better and the variable orifice valve will make it work better when at low speed or idle.

here's a link that goes into some details


Well we were driving the mustang around and we suddenly lost brakes. Stopped and checked it out, pumped the pedal ALOT, and moved the car. Found Fluid on the ground near where the bleeder would have been dripping. No evidence of fluid anywhere on the brake lines. Nothing especially wet looking on the back of the backing plate. But its so covered in grease and oil and road dirt that you couldn't see a single bolt head on any of the suspension parts. No evidence of leaking at the banjo fitting.

This was after SOME digging off all the grease and dirt around the Tie Rod Nut. You couldnt even tell there was one before I started. All of the suspension looks like this.



I finally got it in the garage today to look at it. Jacked it up, pulled the wheel, removed the hub cap and spindle nut then pulled the drum. Well tried to pull the drum. The shoes were locked against it HARD. So I had to beat and pry on it with a rubber mallet and pry bar till it finally came off. I suspected that one of the plungers from the wheel cylinder had slipped out of place and the piston blown out in the wheel cylinder. But upon opening up the drum there was no evidence of that or any leaking fluid.



I managed to strip out the bleeder valve, its in such an awkward place that its very difficult to see and work the wrench, without laying on the ground. So I went and got what I could find at the parts store. An assorted box of them with all different sizes. Hopefully one fits.


So we put the wheel back on and rolled it back into the garage for the day. Then I went and got the bleeders and some more brake fluid.

So I cant really explain what happened to the brakes. He said that it got super firm, then felt like something broke as he pressed harder and then boom, no more pressure. Just like you blew out a wheel cylinder. They are working now and not leaking. So Maybe they did leak a small amount when they got jammed. I just dont see it. So I will try changing out the bleeder and bleeding the brakes really good tomorrow. Maybe at least it will get enough line pressure to expose the leak if there is one.

We spent a good 2 hours cleaning all that crap off of everything. I used 2 cans of brake kleen on it and wire brushes and screw drivers. Theres still alot on there. So I got 2 more cans of brake kleen for it to continue cleaning.

I will likely have to replace the A arms and the Lower control arms soon, as well as the tie rods and ends. Theres some nasty squeaking coming from the tie rods when turning one direction.

It will surely need all the sway bar bushings replaced soon too. Should be a fun project. Then I can get a front end alignment done.

Worked all day Sunday trying to find the leak but it still wont hold a firm pedal after bleeding the crap out of it and inspecting every thing. The only evidence of a leak I saw was a tiny bit of fluid around the brake warning switch on the proportional valve. There was a TINY amount of fluid around the base of it. Dunno if I splashed it there filling the MC or if it leaked from there.

OK I head from the mechanic today and it WAS the Proportional Valve leaking thru the sensor. So I made the hour drive up to Ocala to NPD Parts after work and picked up a rebuild kit and a original Ford Safety Switch for the prop valve. So it should be an easy repair to get it going.

I knew it had to be that or a rusted thru brake line somewhere I wasnt finding.

Just out of curiosity, how did the installation of the booster go? Been looking at that Leed kit for my coupe for some time now

I finally got around to getting the grill lights working today. It was pretty simple. I wired them in with the side marker lights as Mid-Life Suggested. Worked out great!

Light wiring



Grill - Lights off


Lights on


Overall I think it came out great.

We finally got the correct fuses for the radio circuit. Wow, whoever did this bit of Redneck Engineering knew how to solder.

ALso found a loose vacuum line and a bare wire. No idea where its supposed to go.