Fox 1989 LX complete restoration - the long slow project car

BP Builds

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Feb 27, 2020
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Hello everyone, long time reader, first time poster here. As with many of you, I've always loved working on cars, and loved the look of the Foxbody Mustang.

I recently picked up this "semi" clean '89 LX. There is rust in the quarter panels, but the shock towers and floor plan and other usual places are clean. No, its a 2.3. Yes, its a 5 speed. As you probably already know, 5.0 foxbody are getting very high in price, and they are either heavily modded, or beat up like a racecar. 2.3 'stangs are cleaner andmore affordable.

My plans for this are:
-complete revival of the body - welding/ body work/ paint, whatever is needed - looks like it was side swipped at some point in its life.
-Complete interior teardown and restoration
- V8 Swap -I've done engine swaps before, but this would be my first Ford. Leaning towards a EFI 302, but I could be convinced otherwise.
-Rear End Swap - have to do 8.8 rear end anyways for the 5.0, might as well upgrade to SN-95 rear end and brakes.

Right now I'm planning on running the 2.3 T5, I read stories about how they handle the 5.0 no problem, and read stories where they don't. I'll use a low gear in the rear to compensate for the short first gear in the tranny. This is a 3rd car for me, and I'm in no rush to get it finished in any sort of hurried manner, so I apologize if my updates are few and far between. This is a budget build, but that being said, I have no problem waiting and saving for the right parts if they help me reach my goals.
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Thanks for reading! Oh and some buddies and I are trying the whole youtube thing out, so whenever I have anything worthy of posting i'll show you guys some video.
 
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eighty5fox

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Sep 29, 2016
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Looks like a good starting point. Take your time and it will all work out. I see you are from CT if you want I will give you a 89 block has all internals. Its just in my garage wasting space. Im in Mass but you cant beat the price of free lol
 
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BP Builds

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Looks like a good starting point. Take your time and it will all work out. I see you are from CT if you want I will give you a 89 block has all internals. Its just in my garage wasting space. Im in Mass but you cant beat the price of free lol
Wow thanks! If you’re serious then yes, absolutely. Maybe in a little bit after all this craziness in the word dies down.
 
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Gravydog

dripping from every hole
Oct 6, 2019
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That looks like a pretty good starting point, my car has a 2.3 t5 in it right now, I have no idea how long it's been in there, but it seems to be doing fine.
 

eighty5fox

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Absolutely just want it gone no charge. I agree when this mess is behind us just send me a pm when or if you decide to.
 
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BP Builds

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Started some investigating on the body this week. Turns out the paint is NOT original. I'm not sure if this was a full blown rattle can deal, or if the PO got the super budget package from Maaco. I tried to polish the paint to bring back some shine - my goal is to have the paint looking like a new car. But there really wasn't much of a difference. so I bought some 1500 grit (the finest my local auto parts store had) and did some wet sanding. Immediately the water turned pink, indicating to me there was practically no clear coat.

So I'm thinking now I'll order some 5000 grit from the internet, but it that fails, she may need a whole respray (after body work of course). Also, its probably time to order a history report to see how many accidents she's been in. Who do you guys like for Reports? I've had good luck in the past with checkthatvin.com.

Thanks for reading!
 

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Steel1

Mustang Master
Aug 18, 2017
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Either the water turned pink because you cut through the clear coat , however thin it may be,
or it's a single stage paint, without clear coat. Although from the pics it looks like it has some clear ?
Where in CT ?
I'm in the New Haven area.
 

BP Builds

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Either the water turned pink because you cut through the clear coat , however thin it may be,
or it's a single stage paint, without clear coat. Although from the pics it looks like it has some clear ?
Where in CT ?
I'm in the New Haven area.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure its a rustoleum special. Which means lots more body work for me!
Not too far from there, I’m in the New London area.
 

90sickfox

I didn't really have an issue with the stink...
SN Certified Technician
Mar 2, 2015
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Maaco single stage turns out just like yours. They also overspray on everything.
 

BP Builds

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I started tearing out the dash and the interior so that I could confirm what i had hoped when i bought her, that the floor pan was good. And it was! See pics below. The only rust is inside the seat mounting cross rails and a little by the rear quarter panels. Not so bad. And Ive been wanted to try out something I read on the internet, where you wash the carpet in a large washing machine and it comes out looking nearly brand new.

Unfortunately, for reasons i don't understand, the insulation under the carpet on both the drivers side and passengers was sopping wet. It didn't smell like coolant or anything, just dirty water. This mustang has been stored in my garage since i bought it in February, and the only thing i can think of is that water got in when i pressure washed her a month ago. But i mean, this was so so wet, and it confuses me. But I'm planning on replacing all the weather strips and seals anyways, so i guess its ok.

Also, i got a part that is critical to this restoration
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Mustang5L5

i'm familiar with penetration
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Feb 18, 2001
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That's not the original radio for a Mustang.

That's a 87-89 Lincoln Mark 7 head unit. Should say E8LF-19B165-AB on the side somewhere
 

90sickfox

I didn't really have an issue with the stink...
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I don't know if you have yet...but check the cowl...under the plastic cover. In my thread I'll be showing how to use screen to cover the area under the vent...and over the air intake horn on the passenger side. That intake horn is the favorite way for vermin to get inside the car.
 

BP Builds

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Check your heater core.
Thanks for the suggestion! I don't think its that since it did not at all smell like coolant. However i will probably be removing the heater core at some point anyways to make swapping the wiring easier when i do my 5.0 and to flush the heater core.

That's not the original radio for a Mustang.

That's a 87-89 Lincoln Mark 7 head unit. Should say E8LF-19B165-AB on the side somewhere
Itll still fit though though right? Just have to get the right wiring harness.

I don't know if you have yet...but check the cowl...under the plastic cover. In my thread I'll be showing how to use screen to cover the area under the vent...and over the air intake horn on the passenger side. That intake horn is the favorite way for vermin to get inside the car.
Thanks, ill be watching your thread for sure. That sounds a lot more likely than door seals leaking and the water running down to the foot wells.
 

Mustang5L5

i'm familiar with penetration
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Feb 18, 2001
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The mark7 lacks the provision on the bottom plate to mount the coin tray. Not exsctky a direct replacement.
 

BP Builds

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Project update.
I'm taking off all the trim to prep her for paint. But i'm stuck on what to do with the quarter glass. The molding around mine is torn away. Seems like everyone here uses a high build primer, sands, and paints it like new. Is there another option for me besides replacing the whole window?
 

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BlakeusMaximus

Still got to try a little lube on my speedo head
Jul 12, 2017
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There’s no way to fix that. Not that hard to replace. There’s 9 bolts and then butyl tape holding them in. Used ones pop up on eBay, kinda pricey.