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  1. #1

    Default 1985 LX 2.3 project build! (My first solo build)

    Hello all, this will be my first ever build thread and first ever solo build. My 1985 Mustang LX with the all powerful 2.3! I'll give a short story on the background of the car as far as I know... about 7-8 years ago (will check with my dad on this time) a coworker of my dad needed a bigger toolbox and my dad had one available for him. Dude told my dad he had this car that hadn't been used in roughly 7 or so years. He proposed a trade, car for the tool box. Sounds like a good deal right? A high valuen snapon tool box not used anymore for a car not used anymore that had potential in thought. Well dad went to take a look at the car and of course it was an ugly critter. We were told it had a V6. Obviously was a 2.3 (ugh). Was hoping for the 5 speed, it was a 4 speed (ugh). The guy eventually just said "You know what just take the car. You can have it. I can't get it to run. I''ll pay for the box." Now that's a good deal right? A free foxbody! Fast forward a month or so later and dad got the car running fairly easily. Drove the car to work and parked right next to the guy that gave the car away. Gave that puppy a few revs and the guy just put his head down.... HAHA!

    Fast forward again to a few more years to 2013 to when I took serious interest in the car as it officially became "mine". There I am a year outta high school with a mustang! Nothing done to the car since dad got it running other than basic maintenance. First thing I did was put in a good audio system and some tint. Then some 14x7 chrome modular wheels. (excuse any sideways pictures. Not sure why they upload like that)
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    Then I threw on some air shocks in the rear to replace the old worn shocks and also some struts in the front. I got the urge to have the bigger wheel in the back. The muscle car look? Not sure what to call it right now but I went with some 15x8 wheels in the rear with some 235/70/15 white letter cooper cobra tires. I kept the 14x7 up front and put 215/70/14 coopers. Now there weren't any 15x8 chrome mods in a 4 bolt pattern so I put some wheel adapters to go 5 lug. Yes, I know that's frowned upon by many. It's temporary in this build. Wheels ended up being bigger than expected. The sidewall was bigger than I pictured and the wheel adapters pushed them out pretty far but it has grown on me and I like the look. Car looks mean as hell! and looks pretty fast! Why do that to a stock 2.3? Cuz I can and I love it!
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    Before I did the wheels I "redid" the interior a tad. I resprayed the old worn down charcoal gray interior with the duplicolor vinyl and fabric paint, also charcoal gray. The stuff is great! Made a huge difference. Brought the interior back to life. Made it "pop" more. I don't have pictures of the old interior nor of it currently yet. I plan on doing it yet again. This time I'll be doing it black. Will post pictures of before, during, and after when I start that part of the build soon. I'm planning om having it done by mid-august.

    Now here we go on to the massive 2.3 under the hood. My lord it is a mess. There are so many wires scattered under there and dirt and grease everywhere! I'm sure this thing hasn't been clean since it rolled off the dealership brand new. Anywho, I am doing a "restore" for the lack of a better term. I plan on making the engine compartment purrdy! I will be going from red to black and respraying the block ford blue. As well as the other components a color I feel will look good, mostly black and aluminum colors. So it really isn't a restore I suppose. I'll also be trying to clean up all the hackjob wiring the previous owners did to this poor thing. There are more pictures but cant get them to upload. I'll try again tomorrow.
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    Last edited by chevelle21; 07-04-2016 at 09:28 AM.

  2. #2

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    Glad you are happy with it. Can't beat free. This hobby is addicting. You will never be "finished" with it, trust me. There is always another project. I guess maybe you taught me something. I thought all the 2.3 cars were EFI by 1985 but this one is obviously a carb. Do you have any idea if the engine is the one the car came with? Just curious.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by homer302 View Post
    Glad you are happy with it. Can't beat free. This hobby is addicting. You will never be "finished" with it, trust me. There is always another project. I guess maybe you taught me something. I thought all the 2.3 cars were EFI by 1985 but this one is obviously a carb. Do you have any idea if the engine is the one the car came with? Just curious.
    Yes, the car came with a carb. I used to work at my local Ford dealership as the parts guy. I ran the VIN and it did come originally with the 2.3 carbed. As far as the original engine I'm not sure. I do believe so though. Haven't seen any signs telling me no yet. I'll look into it once the engine is clean and I see some numbers. I also am aware it is addicting and I know I will never be done with it. I must say I am loving it. Each little thing I do on my own is so rewarding.

  4. #4
    Moderator wraithracing's Avatar
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    I had an 86 coupe that was a 2.3 carb with a 4 speed that we were going to build for my daughter.

    Then again we were going to swap in a full 84 SVO drivetrain so . . . . .
    ​Trey

    "I Don't build it hoping for your approval! I built it because it meets mine!"

    "I've spent most of my money on Mustangs, racing, and women... the rest I just wasted."

    Mustangs Past: Too many to remember!
    Current Mustangs:
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  5. #5

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    How cool. So the 2.3 had Multi-port EFI in 1983 (GT Turbo) but the 5.0 was EFI in 1986 yet the 2.3 was still carb. That is funny.

  6. #6

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    My 86 2.3 litre 4 speed coupe is also a carb. I do think the carb is assisted with a computer of some kind.
    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

  7. #7
    FEP Super Member IDMooseMan's Avatar
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    Nice looking project base. Let the fun begin. I'm looking forward to watching your build progress. Should be interesting.
    Craig "IDMooseMan" Peters
    1979 Mustang Ghia Notchback, 2.3L, Holley 5200, 4-spd, 3.08:1 7.5" diff, A/C, PS, PB, AM/FM/8-Track, Sunroof, Rear Defroster
    USAF SSgt 63170 1983 - 1992; Co-Founder, Vice President, Omega Delta Sigma, ID-A 2/2015
    To those that serve and have served, "Thank You", to those that haven't, "You're Welcome"
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracer View Post
    My 86 2.3 litre 4 speed coupe is also a carb. I do think the carb is assisted with a computer of some kind.
    As far as I know it has an idle speed control solenoid that the computer assists. Not sure exact;y how it works because to my knowledge mine has never done anything. I've never noticed a change in idle. Maybe that's why..... but doesn't matter anymore because I took that solenoid out. I put an idle stop solenoid in it's place for my AC instead. More beneficial for me. Is that a bad thing? I don't know. The car has been running the exact same since I did this a month ago. Other than that I am not sure what else the computer does for the little carb.

  9. #9
    FEP Super Member IDMooseMan's Avatar
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    Paraphrased from my 1979 Car Shop Manual, Volume 2, "...the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) monitors the composition of the exhaust gases via the Exhaust Gas Oxygen (EGO) and commands modification of carburetor main metering mixture for best exhaust emissions."
    Craig "IDMooseMan" Peters
    1979 Mustang Ghia Notchback, 2.3L, Holley 5200, 4-spd, 3.08:1 7.5" diff, A/C, PS, PB, AM/FM/8-Track, Sunroof, Rear Defroster
    USAF SSgt 63170 1983 - 1992; Co-Founder, Vice President, Omega Delta Sigma, ID-A 2/2015
    To those that serve and have served, "Thank You", to those that haven't, "You're Welcome"
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by IDMooseMan View Post
    Paraphrased from my 1979 Car Shop Manual, Volume 2, "...the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) monitors the composition of the exhaust gases via the Exhaust Gas Oxygen (EGO) and commands modification of carburetor main metering mixture for best exhaust emissions."
    Holy cow. That sounds pretty reliable, LOL.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by IDMooseMan View Post
    Paraphrased from my 1979 Car Shop Manual, Volume 2, "...the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) monitors the composition of the exhaust gases via the Exhaust Gas Oxygen (EGO) and commands modification of carburetor main metering mixture for best exhaust emissions."
    Well I'll be damned.. I never would have guessed such a thing lol That's pretty interesting. Thanks for sharing that info.

  12. #12

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    Small update.... Nothing major but ordered some gaskets I'll need. Also bought $50 worth of paints and cleaners for under the hood. Gaskets will be in by Thursday. I won't be able to do much until Saturday evening. Starting to think I may not have this car ready for the car show August 20th as I can only do anything on weekends after work. I am not giving up though! I plan on entering the "under construction" category so I suppose I don't need to have too much done. I still want to get the engine bay done as well as my interior but time and my budget may not allow for both.

  13. #13
    FEP Super Member IDMooseMan's Avatar
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    Keep at it. If you're not ready by the August 20th car show, I'm sure you'll be ready by the next one.

    I'll have to check my local car shows for an "Under Construction" category. That might fun to enter, just to get some exposure to the car show scene. Entering in that category would become expensive very quickly for me. I'd have to rent a U-Haul trailer to get my car to the shows.
    Craig "IDMooseMan" Peters
    1979 Mustang Ghia Notchback, 2.3L, Holley 5200, 4-spd, 3.08:1 7.5" diff, A/C, PS, PB, AM/FM/8-Track, Sunroof, Rear Defroster
    USAF SSgt 63170 1983 - 1992; Co-Founder, Vice President, Omega Delta Sigma, ID-A 2/2015
    To those that serve and have served, "Thank You", to those that haven't, "You're Welcome"
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  14. #14

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    Another small update. Did some work on the passenger side. Got a good amount painted pretty nice. Got the section to bare metal. Put down some black primer then some gloss black. Looks pretty darn good I must say. Excuse the dirty wires and what not. I have not gotten to that stage yet. I'm trying to do a little each day after work. This is my daily so I won't tear down too much to where I can't get it back together within the couple hours I have between after work and sunset.

    Here is a shot of before:
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    Here is a shot of after the section I did:
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  15. #15
    FEP Supporter webestang's Avatar
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    SWEET!!!! I'm redoing my 85 2.3 notch as well, wish I had that 4-speed, mine has the crappy c-3 auto.

    Scotty
    1985 Fox Notch 4-banger Ranger tube header Eastwood Royal Blue
    1988 Fox LX 5.0 AOD Vert BBK 170mph speedo Candy Apple Red
    1999 Mustang Coupe V6 Auto Chrome Yellow -Rebuild Coming Soon.
    1996 Crown Vic LX 4.6 Silver "Gort" Daily Driver

    Past Pony's.....
    68 Coupe Inline-6 3-Speed-Man. Primer
    78 II Hatch 302 3-Speed-Auto Sunroof Black
    81 4-Eye Coupe 4-Banger 4-Speed-Man. White

  16. #16
    FEP Supporter webestang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracer View Post
    My 86 2.3 litre 4 speed coupe is also a carb. I do think the carb is assisted with a computer of some kind.
    If it is still stock it has a Carter YFA feedback (TFI) 1bbl like mine.....

    Scotty
    1985 Fox Notch 4-banger Ranger tube header Eastwood Royal Blue
    1988 Fox LX 5.0 AOD Vert BBK 170mph speedo Candy Apple Red
    1999 Mustang Coupe V6 Auto Chrome Yellow -Rebuild Coming Soon.
    1996 Crown Vic LX 4.6 Silver "Gort" Daily Driver

    Past Pony's.....
    68 Coupe Inline-6 3-Speed-Man. Primer
    78 II Hatch 302 3-Speed-Auto Sunroof Black
    81 4-Eye Coupe 4-Banger 4-Speed-Man. White

  17. #17
    FEP Super Member IDMooseMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webestang View Post
    SWEET!!!! I'm redoing my 85 2.3 notch as well, wish I had that 4-speed, mine has the crappy c-3 auto.
    If I ever get around to swapping in a T5, I'd be happy to send you my 4-spd. It's a non-OD unit.
    Craig "IDMooseMan" Peters
    1979 Mustang Ghia Notchback, 2.3L, Holley 5200, 4-spd, 3.08:1 7.5" diff, A/C, PS, PB, AM/FM/8-Track, Sunroof, Rear Defroster
    USAF SSgt 63170 1983 - 1992; Co-Founder, Vice President, Omega Delta Sigma, ID-A 2/2015
    To those that serve and have served, "Thank You", to those that haven't, "You're Welcome"
    2.3L Horsepower Potential Thread
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by IDMooseMan View Post
    I'll have to check my local car shows for an "Under Construction" category. I'd have to rent a U-Haul trailer to get my car to the shows.
    We have a big show in Klamath Falls, OR without classes. Load something up and come over. It's the last weekend in September (23-25). Friday night is a dinner and silent auction, Saturday is the show and raffle car giveaway, after-party Saturday night, and then a cruise on Sunday morning to Crater Lake. We have a swap meet on Saturday too, so if you have parts to sell you may be able to unload some of them there.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by webestang View Post
    I'm redoing my 85 2.3 notch as well, wish I had that 4-speed, mine has the crappy c-3 auto.
    I am going to swap my '80 coupe from the 2.3L / 4-speed to a 5.0L / 5-speed this winter. Can't beat the extra cubic inches.

  20. #20
    FEP Supporter webestang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Basin Motorsports View Post
    I am going to swap my '80 coupe from the 2.3L / 4-speed to a 5.0L / 5-speed this winter. Can't beat the extra cubic inches.
    Amen brother.

    Scotty
    1985 Fox Notch 4-banger Ranger tube header Eastwood Royal Blue
    1988 Fox LX 5.0 AOD Vert BBK 170mph speedo Candy Apple Red
    1999 Mustang Coupe V6 Auto Chrome Yellow -Rebuild Coming Soon.
    1996 Crown Vic LX 4.6 Silver "Gort" Daily Driver

    Past Pony's.....
    68 Coupe Inline-6 3-Speed-Man. Primer
    78 II Hatch 302 3-Speed-Auto Sunroof Black
    81 4-Eye Coupe 4-Banger 4-Speed-Man. White

  21. #21

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    Hey guys so so sorry for not keeping this thread updated. My schedule to work on the car has been crazy with work and monsoon season getting the best of me. I have completed the interior. I am in the process of doing under the hood. I'll post pictures as soon as I can. The car show is this Saturday so I am very very short on time. I get off work in 15 minutes and am heading straight home to get to the car. Praying it doesn't rain again. It sucks not having a roof to work under.

  22. #22

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    Ok guys I finally have some pictures to upload. Some aren't the very best pictures, sorry. I busted my butt getting this car done before the car show yesterday. Thankfully I was able to finish on time. Here's some photos
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    Last edited by chevelle21; 08-21-2016 at 11:58 AM.

  23. #23

  24. #24

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    Back to the car show.... There were beautiful cars everywhere. 153 of them to be exact. It was a beautiful day as well. I failed to take any pictures of the show. I am so horrible at that... This was the first show I had ever entered. My plan was to enter the "under construction" class. Turns out there were no classes in this show. That lowered my confidence in bringing any type of award home. My thoughts were "how can I possibly compete with these beautiful cars and trucks that have been worked on by their owners for years and years?" but then I remembered I did not enter to win any type of award. I entered for myself and for my car, to show all the hard work I had done to my "ugly little POS" car we had inherited several years back. A handful of hours went by. I was walking around looking at the other cars and chatting with the owners. By the looks of everyone I spoke to I'm sure I was the youngest participant by far. I am 22 years of age. I went back to my car and saw a pink slip on my windshield that said "AWARD WINNER". I had no clue what this was. An hour or so later a club member of the host club told me to start lining my car up with the other winners. Being my first show I had no clue what was going on. I fired the car up and followed some other cars with the same pink slip. They had us drive around the park and one by one they announced the name of the owner and their vehicle and what award they won. It was a lengthy process. Took at least 30 minutes for me to get to the announcing area. The entire time in line I thought "what the hell could we have possibly won??" FINALLY I got to the front of the line. The announcer said "Here is Tim Vasquez in his 1985 Ford Mustang! They are taking home the 'Best 80s Car'. Thank you Tim!" They had me step outta the car to accept the award and take some pictures. As I drove off to go park everyone was clapping and cheering. I did my best to hold the tears in. The amount of pride and joy was overwhelming. My first show ever and we won. My former "little POS car" is an award winner now. All the recognition the car got from everyone that was at the show... I've never felt anything so satisfying before. All the compliments on how good the car looked was truly amazing. All my blood, sweat, and tears were more than worth it!
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    I'll now forever be on their website as a winner. The website is http://www.coppercountrycruizers.com/ they have not updated it for this year's show just yet. Once I see they do I will post in here.
    Last edited by chevelle21; 08-21-2016 at 10:51 AM.

  25. #25

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    That's awesome! I had the same thing happen at a Mustang car show at a Ford dealer in this area. My car needs paint and looks pretty rough..especially with the purple fiberglass hood on the silverish car. I got called up during the awards and was given a top 35 trophy. I was shocked, but a lot of the guys new how much work I had been doing on it and voted for me. It's an amazing feeling to have other car guys recognize you for your hard work!

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
    1985 GT, Sunroof, 5 Lug, Rear Discs, 01 Graphite Bullets, 88 forged piston shortblock, 2.02/1.60 Alum heads, Weiand Stealth, Holley C950 TBI, BBK Long tubes

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