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  1. #1
    FEP Supporter BMW Rider's Avatar
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    Default 79 coupe build - street legal auto-crosser

    I posted some of this in my introduction thread, but figured I'd share it here as a proper build thread. Be patient, this is going to take a while

    The car is a 1979 coupe. It was just about as plain and basic as they came. I bought it back in 1989 to build into a semi raceable car. The original 2.3L had put a piston through a cylinder wall, so the car was a non runner and was less than clean. The good part was, the gal who had owned it had it in the southern US for much of it's life for university so the rust was minimal.

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    Life was simple, I was single, working full time as a mechanic and lived in my parents basement. The car project seemed like a great way to blow my spending money and occupy my weekends and nights. Then life got more complicated.
    Last edited by BMW Rider; 03-16-2017 at 10:12 PM.

  2. #2
    FEP Supporter BMW Rider's Avatar
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    Shortly after I had the car stripped bare, I changed careers and bought my own house. That ended the financial leeway for a project car plus I needed a garage at the new abode. The project stalled for a couple years until those issues were addressed. With a new garage to work in, I got back to work on the car. It went onto a homemade rotisserie and I started cleaning and sandblasting the underside. Lots of welding work was done on the body seams to strengthen the chassis and sub frame connectors were fabricated and welded in.

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    Then life got in the way again.
    Last edited by BMW Rider; 03-16-2017 at 10:13 PM.

  3. #3
    FEP Supporter BMW Rider's Avatar
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    Marriage had happened somewhere along the way, then another move, this time to a new larger house, again with no garage. Time and money from two jobs went towards so many other priorities. A new larger garage was built to house the car, but little was left to actually work on it. It sat, it got moved around, it got neglected, it took up space, it got in the way, it gathered dust, it got piled with junk. For many years.

    Gradually life got easier, the careers advanced, bank accounts no longer hovered on overdraft, the garage filled with other tools and toys, but still the Mustang saw no progress. Then the garage grew to make more room for the expanding collection, a parking lift went into the new addition to put the Mustang onto to free up floor space. That meant a little work happened to get tit off the rotisserie and onto a simple dolly. Onto the lift it went and again it sat.

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    Last edited by BMW Rider; 03-16-2017 at 10:13 PM.

  4. #4
    FEP Supporter BMW Rider's Avatar
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    So by this time, 25 years has gone by with little progress to show on the Mustang. Life is pretty good now, the bank balance has grown fatter and extra funds are available. I figured that I would get back to work on the Mustang sometime, but just never committed to getting at it. I had it in my mind for maybe when I retire. Then this fall I sat looking at it and all that I had done to keep it for so long and concluded that I really had no good reason not to work on it and if I wasn't going to do so, why was I keeping it at all. That was the moment I made the decision to get my ass back in gear and get at it.

    First order of work to be done was getting a roll cage in it. I ordered a ten point cage from SW Racing and got it cut and fitted in place.

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    Last edited by BMW Rider; 03-16-2017 at 10:15 PM.

  5. #5
    FEP Supporter BMW Rider's Avatar
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    Next order of business is getting the body fixed up. The rad support had suffered some serious curb damage and needed to be changed out. There are a few areas of rust that do need work as well, some I had fixed earlier, others still need attention.


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    One other issue I had was that I had scrapped a lot of the original body parts when I first stripped the car. Of course at that time they were all readily available and fixing the old rusty ones was not what I wanted to do. Unfortunately over the years some parts became obsolete, in particular the hood. I was debating what to do and figured I might have to update the front fascia to a newer four eye or possibly even an aero model. Then good fortune and timing worked in my favour and I brought home a brand new reproduction hood. Its actually the 2.3L turbo hood with the large cutout. I have a pace car hood scoop in the hands of FedEx on its way to complete the hood. So the front end is staying original.

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    Last edited by BMW Rider; 03-16-2017 at 10:17 PM.

  6. #6
    FEP Supporter BMW Rider's Avatar
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    I had gathered up some underpinnings for the car long before it went dormant. I have an 8.8 differential from an 88 GT, and had the front spindles and brakes from that car also. I have swapped those for newer spindles and a full Cobra brake set up with five lug hubs and axles from North Racecars 13" up front and 12" discs in the back.

    The engine was built even before I had the car and sits in its crate waiting for its moment to come to life. It is a 1968 Mustang 4bbl engine. It was a one year engine that came out to replace the 289 HP. I put a lot into the engine when I was still working as a mechanic in a machine shop. I had free use of all the equipment to do the work on it. It's bored .040, line bored, balanced and deburred. The pistons are forged flat tops for 10:1 compression with the small chamber heads. Those were ported out and has new stellite seats put in with larger 351W valves, screw in rocker studs and roller rockers. A 351W Crane cam with the windsor firing order rounds out the valve train with lots of lift and duration. It'll have a lumpy idle, but should make good power once it spins up.

    I originally had a C4 auto to run in the car, but though better of that and recently came upon a T5 from an 87 Mustang to use instead. I'll give it a once through with new bearings and wear parts sometime in the future.

    I am presently working on a MM Maximum grip box order. Once that arrives, I'll have lots of work to do getting all that fitted.
    Last edited by BMW Rider; 11-13-2014 at 10:12 PM.

  7. #7

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    Car looks like a twin(maybe more like a brother) to the way my '79 was. Except that mine had the powerhouse 2.8L six cylinder , and plain red vinyl seats.

    Nice build.

    Jess
    Currently own;
    1979 Mustang, v6 swapped to EFI 393, custom installed m122 blower, 4r70w trans, Megasquirt II, T-top swaped in.
    Previously owned;
    1990 Mustang, 545 BBF, C-4 with brake, ladder bars.
    1983 Mustang, 1984 SVO Mustang
    1984 Mustang convertible, v6 swapped to 351
    1986 Mustang GT, 1989 Mustang GT convertible
    1992 Mustang coupe, 4 swapped to 302

  8. #8

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    Excellent story, I'm glad you decided to keep her all these years. It's also great that things have finally worked out for you two and you have the space and the means to get her looking and running right. Obviously patience is a virtue you have, so I know this car will be done right. Can't wait to see your progress. Do you have any pics of the motor, or is it all boxed up?

    Welcome to FEP, it seems like you know what your doing in the garage, but if you need any help just ask. We have a ton of knowledgable people on here that are more than willing to help another member. This car is gonna be amazing when you're done. Have fun!
    Cheers!

    Mike (TopGear85)



    Have:
    85 Saleen #73-GT,2R,TuTone,Cruise,Pos,5spd,Charcoal
    ***August 2015 ROTM Winner!***

    Had:
    79PC-San Jose #2890
    86GT-9L,TuTone,5spd,T-Tops,Sand Beige
    86GT-9L,TuTone,5spd,T-Tops,Charcoal
    90LX-Oxford Wht,5spd,Sunroof,5.0 Hatchback
    90GT-Oxford Wht,5spd

  9. #9
    FEP Supporter BMW Rider's Avatar
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    No picture of the motor currently and yes it is all wrapped and crated up. Basically it is just a long block. I still need an intake, valve covers and oil pan to close it up as well as all the accessory components; distributor, water pump and so on. I"m looking at running an EFI system on it, the Holley Terminator on an Edelbrock RPM Air gap manifold looks like it should suit my needs, but I'm a long way from needing those right now. I just hope to have it on its own wheels within a year. There is another distraction on the horizon for this winter; some renovations in the house will eat into the time budget.

  10. #10

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    I was looking at your pictures again and I'm curious...will the dash go back in with that roll cage bar running up front? Maybe it's just the pic, but it looks very close?
    Cheers!

    Mike (TopGear85)



    Have:
    85 Saleen #73-GT,2R,TuTone,Cruise,Pos,5spd,Charcoal
    ***August 2015 ROTM Winner!***

    Had:
    79PC-San Jose #2890
    86GT-9L,TuTone,5spd,T-Tops,Sand Beige
    86GT-9L,TuTone,5spd,T-Tops,Charcoal
    90LX-Oxford Wht,5spd,Sunroof,5.0 Hatchback
    90GT-Oxford Wht,5spd

  11. #11

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    Nice project you have there. Keep at it and know we are watching.lol

  12. #12
    FEP Supporter BMW Rider's Avatar
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    No on the original dash. The interior will be bare with just aluminum skins and dash. Seats will be racing buckets and five point harnesses, no rear seat at all, just an aluminum bulkhead to seal off the trunk space as there will be a fuel cell in there. This will be a no frills lightweight.

  13. #13
    FEP Supporter BMW Rider's Avatar
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    Todays progress report.

    Got the last of the rust patched. One spot under the rear fender well was a bit of work. had to shape a couple pieces then tack them together before tacking it in place. Not the prettiest metal work, but its not a visible spot so it'll do. After a layer of undercoating, it'll look just fine. This afternoon I spent wire buffing, disc sanding and rust treating the front end. Got it all cleaned up, washed down with laquer thinner, primed and painted. looks pretty now.

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    Last edited by BMW Rider; 03-16-2017 at 10:23 PM.

  14. #14
    FEP Member dk5_cobra's Avatar
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    Great build prospects, even better story. Can't wait to see it come to fruition
    Devin

    1979 Mustang Cobra - IRS, MM Suspension, 302/t5
    Check out my build thread for tons of IRS info, and general restoration help. There's a little bit of everything -->goo.gl/krmqNz
    Pm's welcome if you have any questions

  15. #15
    FEP Supporter BMW Rider's Avatar
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    Yesterday I got the welding finished on the roll cage. I felt like a school kid climbing on the monkey bars in the playground getting in an around all the joints. Once that was done. I put the car back onto the rotisserie to get the underside cleaned up. I did a few metal patches, scraped, brushed, buffed, scrubbed and ground as much of the loose rust as I could. Then I gave it hell with rust converter to get the rest.

    Today I did a final cleaning on the underside, then hit it with a coat of rust encapsulating primer. I also used some Eastwood frame coating spray to coat the inside parts of the framework. Then lastly, a good coat of semigloss chassis paint to finish it off. I also gave the fender wells a good coat of rock guard spray. Tomorrow it will come down off the rotisserie for the final time and I'm ready to start putting some running gear underneath this beast. That is whenever it all gets to me.

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    Last edited by BMW Rider; 03-16-2017 at 10:24 PM.

  16. #16
    FEP Supporter 82GTforME's Avatar
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    Nice work. You'll have to show me your shop one day. I need motivation!

  17. #17
    FEP Super Member mustangxtreme's Avatar
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    Congrats on your progress. It's looking great. How about some pics of your car dolly?
    Dave

    If common sense was common wouldn't it just be sense?

    1983 Capri L T top 5.0 efi aod
    1983 Capri RS Turbo
    1981 Black Magic 400 c6
    93 F-250 351 5sp 4x4

  18. #18

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    very nice !

  19. #19
    FEP Supporter BMW Rider's Avatar
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    You can see the dolly on the floor just below the car in the last photos. I'll try to remember to get some clearer shots today when I put it back onto it.

    Always happy to give shop tours and talk cars and tools.

    If you need a rotisserie, I have one to get rid of; it's home made and specific to the fox body, but could probably be adapted to something else.

  20. #20
    FEP Supporter BMW Rider's Avatar
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    Dropped it back down off the rotisserie today and back onto the dolly. I spent the afternoon scrubbing and brushing the interior clean. Lots of crappy tarry seam sealer that Ford applied got stripped off revealing a bit of light rust underneath, so more buffing and rust treating on that. I'm pretty sure the only purpose for the sealant was to keep the carpet dry, there was little value for actually keeping water out of the joints for corrosion protection. I'll be going over the bottom side of the car with sealer later to correct that.

    Some photos of the dolly as per request. It's basically just a wagon style frame with a tow bar to pull and steer it. I used all thread rods to bolt it up to the chassis.

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    Last edited by BMW Rider; 03-16-2017 at 10:25 PM.

  21. #21
    FEP Super Member mustangxtreme's Avatar
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    Very cool. Thanks for the pics.
    Dave

    If common sense was common wouldn't it just be sense?

    1983 Capri L T top 5.0 efi aod
    1983 Capri RS Turbo
    1981 Black Magic 400 c6
    93 F-250 351 5sp 4x4

  22. #22
    FEP Supporter BMW Rider's Avatar
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    This weeks work has been mostly focused on cleaning up the inside of the car some more. I buffed and scraped all the old butyl sealant from the glass frames and addressed some rust there. I've also been cleaning up many of the components getting them ready for the day they go back into the car.

    But the big score of the week aside from the news that my MM Grip box has been shipped was scoring some wheels and tires. I have been regularly scouring the local ads for parts I need or can use and came across these.

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    They're 17x9 Cobra R replica wheels with 255/40-17 Nitto NT01 tires, virtually brand new. The guy used them for a couple autocross races then changed directions with that so did not need these any longer. The tires have been scrubbed in hard, but still measure full new tread depth and the wheels are pristine like new. All four for $900. I probably would have gone with 275s on the back, but hey, can't beat this deal.
    Last edited by BMW Rider; 03-16-2017 at 10:26 PM.

  23. #23
    FEP Super Member 79mustangcobra's Avatar
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    Very cool! I also sent you a pm.

    Thanks
    1979 Mustang Cobra 5.0
    2P Red and 1C Black

    Stock never goes out of style
    MCA #70281 - 79-93 MCA Concours Judge
    Proverbs 3:5-6



    My Mustang Story
    http://vb.foureyedpride.com/showthre...71#post1688371

  24. #24

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    Awesome project! Any chance those original red seats floated with you between the moves?

  25. #25
    FEP Supporter BMW Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 79cobrasnake View Post
    Awesome project! Any chance those original red seats floated with you between the moves?
    If I had any idea 25 years ago that somebody would have wanted the interior pieces today, I may have been more inclined to keep it. Sadly it's all buried deep in a landfill somewhere. At the time it was ugly and dated and had no value as there were lots of them around and few people looking for stuff. Ah hindsight, what a cursed thing.

    The only interior part I have is the dash - less the top pad and only because I had planned on using it again with new instruments and such. But now having gone with the full cage rather than just a roll bar, I will be doing an aluminum dash too as the front bars interfere. I've recently stripped the dash down for the wiring and stuff I still need to reuse and would happily let someone have the framework which is in OK shape.

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