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  1. #1

    Default Mike's 1986 Mustang convertible build thread

    Day 1, in the previous owner's garage. He brought it home a year prior, and an '87 5.0L HO (to eventually replace the 3.8L V6) on a stand beside it. He put a new battery in it and did nothing else, it was on the back burner. He thought it would need all new brakes... it had all new brakes on it. He ran into personal issues, and it had to go. It looked decent to me, so I crawled around underneath. There were fairly small soft spot areas in the four corners of the floor, a missing driver's door molding, and the bottom strip of material of the back window curtain had separated and shrunk drooping down. The rims looked okay and the tires decent. It fired right up, and I confirmed my being sure it was CFI, not a carburetor like he thought. The top and windows worked. We struck a deal and the 5.0L and a tarp were included.





    If you're thinking that passenger seat below looks cockeyed, you're right. Luckily the floor is good and solid under the rear outer seat bolt, because I had to pound back down where some jackASS had obviously jacked the car up at that point... oye, I have a longer list of things I ran into with this thing that I may share later, lol...





    Pretty dirty interior, and there is a dash crack through the far side speaker opening hole...


    I thought I'd start a build thread that, for now, might be educational for someone, because there really isn't anything exciting going on yet. I'm just getting it on the road shortly, and it's been a fairly long road so far. I hope you enjoy following along.

    Mike
    Last edited by Walking-Tall; 07-18-2017 at 07:41 PM.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  2. #2

    Default

    At home:





    Rough around the edges and not really a happy girl. More on the battles later, lol...
    Last edited by Walking-Tall; 07-18-2017 at 07:44 PM.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  3. #3

    Default

    The '87 5.0L HO that came with it:








    The #2/6 crankshaft rod journal is scored... not a big issue. A 10-under and bearings is about 200 bucks.




    All the V8 ideas got torpedoed for now with the discovery of piston #5's horrendous detonation pitting damage...



    So yeah, I proceeded to investigate the V6's health, which is pretty good.
    Last edited by Walking-Tall; 07-18-2017 at 07:47 PM.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  4. #4

    Default

    Is that "Arrest Me" red?

    Looks very decent. Are you still going to build the 5.0?
    '88 Mustang GT convertible, T5, 3.08:1 gears. 5.0 Explobra Jet: A9L Mass Air conversion, Fenderwell Mac cold air intake, 70mm MAF meter = 4.6 T-Bird/Cougar housing + '95 Mustang F2VF-12B579-A1A sensor, aftermarket 70mm throttle body and spacer, Explorer intakes, GT40P heads with Alex's Parts springs and drilled for thermactor, Crane F3ZE-6529-AB 1.7 "Cobra" roller rockers, Ford Racing P50 headers, Mac H-pipe, Magnaflow catback, Walbro 190 LPH fuel pump, UPR firewall adjuster and quadrant with Ford OEM cable, 3G conversion ('95 Mustang V6), Taurus fan, rolled on Rustoleum gloss white paint...
    Past Four Eyes: Red well optioned '82 GT 5.0, Black T-top '81 Capri Black Magic 3.3L 4 speed, Black T-top '84 Capri RS 5.0 5 speed.Over 200,000 miles driven in Four Eyes, and over 350,000 in Fox Body cars.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by grabbergreen84 View Post
    Is that "Arrest Me" red?

    Looks very decent. Are you still going to build the 5.0?
    I hope not, lol! It has had a re-paint, but it's the same color behind the door panels and everywhere else, so it's the original red.

    Thanks, it's decent. The photos don't show it, but there's a number of (just visible when you get looking closely) hail or golf ball dings on top body surfaces, and it did get a pretty good punch in the nose on the driver's side at some point, with some not-so-best-practices body shop repairs. Maybe, maybe not, with this 5.0L. It would be nice to hang onto since it's an '87 with the standard size good shape bores and forged pistons (well, 7 of them... I'm thinking there must be some used standard pistons around, like at machine shops that do over-boring and sell new pistons, unless they get tossed... or I wondered if wrecking yards might sell a rod and piston if they keep older stuff... anyways), but it is listed for sale locally, for some much-needed-right-now bucks, with an honest description of it's condition and pictures, but there's only been one low ball offer. The plan, ultimately, is to get a V8 of some form in there, and without EFI.
    Last edited by Walking-Tall; 11-23-2015 at 09:28 PM.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  6. #6
    FEP Senior Member rob342's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    darien, il
    Posts
    522

    Default

    is that a block heater? i've never seen a freeze plug with a connector on it before.

    i have a 1992 GT, 4.10, 5spd.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rob342 View Post
    is that a block heater? i've never seen a freeze plug with a connector on it before.

    Yes that is...and they often leak from there. That was the culprit of my last 5.0.
    1985 Mustang GT 5speed LRB with Ford Racing M-6007-X302, Performer RPM, Holley 670 Avenger carb, BBK headers with H-pipe, B&M short throw
    1986 Mustang GT (parts car)
    1986 LX Coupe 4cyl, 4speed, LRB

  8. #8

    Default

    Upon checking things out, the driver's side rear window dropped into the abyss, so I investigated, and the metal/rubber that encapsulates the glass had rusted enough to dislodge from the metal block that rides up and down the guide rod. Took it all out and all apart and fixed with new steel, the good black urethane windshield sealing adhesive, new hardware, and some jb weld for a busted out portion of the guide rod base. Cleaned and lubed guide rod and also everything for the other window, and reinstalled to as close as I could figure where the adjustments were before. Neither back side window is adjusted right yet, and I still have to figure out a way of doing that when they are installed, because I don't see any access to the adjustments when they're in there... Any ideas for that?




    I'd say whoever installed the last replacement top was DRUNK, lol, as can be seen by the dimensions below. This is no doubt the reason the bottom strip separated from the glass. For now, I unattached and reattached the too-tight end to the bottom bar, hunted around some and found a piece of material that's not super noticeable but is light grey, doubled it and covered that whole bottom area, with urethane everywhere securing it, and put the curtain back in the car. Seems fine, and is good enough for now until a new top can be had.




    Also had to fix the surprisingly thin fragile plastic water drain boxes in the trunk, with jb weld and black urethane, and cut a few inches of spout from two old funnels I had kicking around, to repair the box outlets that attach to the rubber hoses that go down behind each rear wheel well and out the bottom of the rear quarter panels.



    Last edited by Walking-Tall; 07-18-2017 at 07:51 PM.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rob342 View Post
    is that a block heater? i've never seen a freeze plug with a connector on it before.

    Yep, that's a block heater element.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  10. #10

    Default

    Alternator wasn't charging, and here's why:



    New brushes are about 1/2" long. These were down to nearly 1/8" on one end, and the one was detached electrically.
    Was 7 or 8 bucks at NAPA for a brush set. Just like new, charging 14.5v
    Last edited by Walking-Tall; 07-18-2017 at 07:52 PM.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  11. #11

    Default

    This is the third car this (favorite of mine) Grant GT steering wheel has been on. First on my '86 T-Bird, then my '83 Cougar.
    Door panels were off for glass rub felt fixing, cleaning/lubing window guides and guide rods, and oiling all lock and handle linkages, as well as some door bottom repair and oiling the heck out of their insides. The console was out for fixing both busted off uprights of the tray that's under the emergency brake handle, and for a good cleaning. The seats were still wearing their brown neglect at this stage...




    It was dirty, but I'm glad there's no rips and such in the upholstery.

    Last edited by Walking-Tall; 07-18-2017 at 07:55 PM.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  12. #12

    Default

    The tires that were on the car when I got it, on American Racing five spokes, upon closer inspection, all had bad cracking between their tread blocks. That was a first for me, seeing that condition in tires. Anyway, it needed tires. I scored damn near new P235/60R-15 Cooper Cobras on a great set of 10-holes to boot, for a better price than ONE new tire of any size would have cost.



    Last edited by Walking-Tall; 07-18-2017 at 07:56 PM.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  13. #13

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    Sportin' her "new" shoes...



    Last edited by Walking-Tall; 07-18-2017 at 07:59 PM.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  14. #14

    Default

    Sometimes the car wouldn't start in Park. After checking wiring and connectors and ignition switch, and I'd already replaced a toasted and sticking starter solenoid, and pricing around for new neutral safety switches, which everybody wanted $100+ for, I dove into unknown waters, and removed it and carefully drilled through the two rivets holding it together, and opened it up. One roller was sitting outside of it's channel in there. I don't know if it was like that on the car, or from when I opened it up, because they are spring-loaded.

    I cleaned out what was left of the "grease" Ford put in there 30 years ago, which was mostly a dried sticky crust, not lubricating anything. "Lubed for life" they tell us. BS, I say, lol (I guess that's a matter of interpretation of the word "life". My interpretation is to infinity, or at least for as long as the component is still in use). Cleaned up all the copper and brass, greased 'er up, stretched those little springs a wee bit for good solid contact, found a couple small screws to reassemble it. It seemed to rotate smoothly now and click through it's positions, so I put it back on the car and adjusted it. That's done with the transmission in Neutral, with a #43 (0.089", or a 5/64" at 0.0781" will suffice) drill bit inserted to about 1/2" depth. You install but don't fully tighten the switch's bolts, so that you can rotate it back and forth until the drill bit will go in through the small hole and through the plastic piece inside, about 1/2", and then you tighten it's attaching bolts.

    It started in Park after this, and it has over and over ever since.



    Last edited by Walking-Tall; 07-18-2017 at 08:00 PM.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  15. #15

    Default

    So, the new battery that the previous owner put in, wasn't the right battery. It fit in the tray but not down under the lip into the tray, and as is was sitting at what I thought was dangerously close to the alternator fan, at an inch or less. That, and the ridiculously huge aluminum bracket that also once held the air pump under the alternator (which I had past experience with, with my '83 3.8 Cougar, busting clean off across the cylinder head mounting bolt holes one morning, rendering the car un-drive-able and not quickly repairable), as well as incorporating the steel bracket for the adjustable idler pulley, which was protesting fairly loudly with the engine running, no doubt due to a lack of lubrication. So, again I looked around and priced the idler and alternative pulleys that could be made to work... ridiculous cost involved IMHO, and the fact remained that I wasn't comfortable with how close the battery and alternator were, even after relocating the battery tray as far forward as possible.


    So first, here's a before and after:




    I removed the steel tube brace to the intake and the alternator/idler bracket, the alternator, and then the aluminum combination alternator/air pump bracket from the cylinder head. So, with hack saw and file, I got rid of all of the aluminum but the cylinder head mounting face with bolt holes and the air pump hole, cut to length (accounting for the air pump hole being about an inch further rearward, that needed spacing the alternator forward for belt alignment) the necessary length threaded stud for the alternator to now pivot on, fabricated two nice thick strips of steel for mounting and adjusting brackets.


    Both:




    The bottom bracket for alternator pivot. I learned about the necessity of this bracket the hard way with the Cougar. A threaded stud alone is not enough to counter the forces when the belt is tightened:




    The top bracket, for belt tightening adjustment:




    Miles away from the battery, and nice quiet running under hood, and a nice short belt with the removal of the dealer-installed AC as well. The upper rad hose and belt had about an inch between them, but I made that short piece of steel attached to the fan shroud to hold the hose away just for safety sake. My super-dooper steel strip bent-and-hooked-into-inner-fender-hole, threaded rod, and wingnut battery hold-down can be seen here too, lol:





    Last edited by Walking-Tall; 07-18-2017 at 08:04 PM.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  16. #16
    FEP Super Member JTurbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Western MA
    Posts
    5,624

    Default

    Great thread. My first vert was an 84 red, V6. Just placed my 86 GT vert into storage last weekend for winter. I miss the warm top down weather.....

    I like how you fixed the alt instead of buying a new/reman unit. I've never personally opened one up, next time I will.
    1979 Indy Pace Car Mustang 302 / 5spd
    1982 Mustang GT T-Top 302 / 4spd
    1986 SVO Mustang - 1C

  17. #17
    FEP Supporter
    Dadsccat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Niagara Falls , Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    427

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    Looks like you have a great car to work with. I've had a convertible for 16 years and still love it. Started my Capri restoration just over a year ago and brought it home to keep the vert company 6 weeks ago. You're car is in a lot better shape than mine was when I started it. You should have a lot of fun getting her the way you want it.
    Shawn


    Currently in the stable:
    83 Capri RS Crimson Cat
    90 7 UP Mustang
    83 Porsche 928S
    78 Lincoln Mark V
    69 Thunderbird Landau
    89 Eddie Bauer Bronco
    65 Cadillac Calais 4DR Hardtop

  18. #18

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    Good luck on your new project, we need to keep these on the road!!

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by JTurbo View Post
    Great thread. My first vert was an 84 red, V6. Just placed my 86 GT vert into storage last weekend for winter. I miss the warm top down weather.....

    I like how you fixed the alt instead of buying a new/reman unit. I've never personally opened one up, next time I will.
    Thanks! Cool, and my youngest brother has an '83 red that was a V6. I haven't experienced the warm top down thing yet. Next year.

    I've yet to buy a new or reman alternator. Checking/replacing the brushes is too easy and too cheap. As long as it's all still electrically okay, you can't beat 8 bucks. A few tips, some I learned the hard way: 1. Put a little ATF or WD-40 or something onto the long case screw threads, and let soak for a while, so they come out easy without twisting or breaking; 2. Mark a line front to back so you reassemble it back the way it was; 3. Take some fine sandpaper/emery cloth and clean up the copper donuts that the brushes ride on; 4. Clean up inside the back case and bearing, and put a finger's worth of grease into the bearing. If mine were making noise, I'd have removed the pulley and fan and taken the armature out to get some grease into the front bearing too.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dadsccat View Post
    Looks like you have a great car to work with. I've had a convertible for 16 years and still love it. Started my Capri restoration just over a year ago and brought it home to keep the vert company 6 weeks ago. You're car is in a lot better shape than mine was when I started it. You should have a lot of fun getting her the way you want it.
    Thanks! I can't wait for some top-down! I rode in my youngest brother's, an '83. Coincidentally, it's a twin to this '86, lol, but he tossed the V6 out of it long ago. I miss my '80 Capri I had. I learned a lot and did a lot with it, and would she ever go! Well, I hope the fun starts soon. There's been some trials, but it's all part of the game.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt1986gt View Post
    Good luck on your new project, we need to keep these on the road!!
    Thanks, Matt! Yes we do!!!
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  22. #22

    Default

    Something I would suggest to any Fox chassis owner, is to buy from Ford or wherever or create a restrictor for the pressure (from the intake, usually the bigger 3/4" size hose) heater core hose. This removes the factory as is situation of the greatest cooling system pressure being inside the heater core, which makes the suckers pop frequently enough to be a well known issue. I made one out of a regular 1/2" copper plumbing end cap, and drilled a 1/4" hole in it, and tapped it into the steel elbow that's at the intake manifold. My heater core is fine now, and I did what I could and hope it remains fine.

    Last edited by Walking-Tall; 07-18-2017 at 08:05 PM.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  23. #23

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    Got to some much-needed cleaning of the console before it went back in, and the front seats and door panels.









    The door panels aren't great, with some moisture distortion of the bottoms, but they cleaned up okay for now. The grime on the door pulls plastic is tougher, and I'll have to revisit them...

    Last edited by Walking-Tall; 07-18-2017 at 08:07 PM.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  24. #24

    Default

    She didn't seem to like me very much for a while. If this car were a person, I'd understand why, because the majority of the things I have had to fix were due to nothing but plain old neglect mixed with a number of hodge-podge mickey mouse "repairs", etc. With a number of issues, I'd be INCHES away from the home plate of fixing something, and poof something else would go in the chain or something related or elsewhere would pop up an issue that has to be dealt with. Call me crazy, but for a while she seemed to just wanna be left alone, with a bit of the "one step forward, two steps back" business here and there... but I'm more stubborner than she is, lol. I think she's smiling more often now.






    .
    Last edited by Walking-Tall; 07-25-2017 at 05:07 PM.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

  25. #25

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    A tip for a bargain and reportedly rugged adjustable fuel pressure regulator, that apparently also bolts onto many Ford EFI fuel rails.
    The regulators on these older CFI units are "anti-tamper", but the tampering for adjust-ability is real easy...
    There was what looked like a button in the top of this one. You carefully drill (off the car, and so no metal gets into the throttle body) about a 1/8" hole in the "button", thread in a small screw and it comes out, because the tip of the screw goes down into the hex of an Allen bolt (which you will later use to adjust fuel pressure with your gauge connected to the fuel rail) and presses it up and out, or you grab the small screw head and pull that "button" out like you're pulling a tooth, lol




    Last edited by Walking-Tall; 07-18-2017 at 08:13 PM.
    Mike
    1986 Mustang convertible ---> BUILD THREAD
    1983 Mercury Cougar LS
    1986 Ford Thunderbird ELAN
    1966 Ford Fairlane sedan
    1966 Ford Fairlane GT
    1981 Mercury Marquis Brougham
    1980 Capri RS Turbo
    1971 Mustang
    1974 Pontiac LeMans

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