Progress Thread '67 Mustang 351C > C4 trans > Clueless 21 year old

MrClueless67

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Nov 12, 2019
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New Jersey
My dad left me a rust bucket full of sentimentality. The car's been rebuilt maybe twice in its life, originally the car had a 289, but early in its life someone put a 351c (4v) in it and swapped the trans for a C4. The motor had a really big blower carb on it that stuck up through the hood, and higher-end specs in the heads like "solid lifters" (not sure what that means). Then my dad bought it and rebuilt it with the intent to de-tune it for more comfort than performance, considering it broke loose whenever he left a red light hahaha. My mother drove this car daily for a period of time while pregnant with yours truly.
Something tells me this car and I were meant to be together.
I'm 21 and I have a very basic understanding when it comes to working on cars. I've done brake jobs and axel bearings and small repairs on lawn equipment, but I have no experience when it comes to working on old cars.

Basically, I'm wondering if someone like me could take a car that hasn't run reliably in 5 years and make it a weekend warrior.
I appreciate anyone who clicks to read this :) love you

P.S. I could post some pictures of my situation if anyone happens to be that interested.

EDIT 1: Here's some of those pictures you guys might have wanted to see!!
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when it comes down to it, I stare at this car for however long and never just "get it" the way some other people can.
I wish i learned more from my dad when he was around about things like this. but I didn't, and I can't change that.
thing is, this car is just sleeping (in my mind's eye anyway) and I don't have a clue on how to wake it up.
I know the engine turns. I know the electronics that control things like ignition are old, but they still work at the moment, but when the day comes that one of those components stops working, I won't know what to do or how to fix it and that scares me because ill never get it back to the way it was before I ****ed it up.
I know it sounds silly - being afraid of a car because it might break - but the state that it's in now is where my dad left it years ago, and it just feels like a really hot "torch" to pick up where he left it.

thanks for the encouragement you guys I liked to read it.
I don't have unlimited money (shocker)
I know almost nothing about engine work although if I'm being honest I'm great at using tools
I don't have a lot of time and energy and I work 50+ a week and most hours are swing shift anyway
this isn't a "complain about your situation" forum but I guess it might help someone along the way

I've decided what I want from the car is to have something on the weekends in the summer to drive around town all slow and steady like. I'm not in any position to wish for some powerful beast of a motor and great tires and running gear. HELL the thing still has drum brakes!!
what id love to do is try to make it... dare I say... reliable??
quite a loaded request I know! hahaha

I took off the power steering pump and looked around under the car to see what it was connected too and then examined that whole power steering assembly portion in the front.
lots of leaks, covered in grease and road grime and dirt and dust. id love to replace those hydraulics down there and then get an alignment once I got the engine running again.

I also replaced the gas tank because it was really gross inside and rusty and the float was basically a solid piece of rust.
I followed some of the fuel rails along the frame to check for leaks by pressurizing the line from the engine side into the tank and the lines seemed intact for the most part. this was important because well, it needs fuel first and foremost.

I also tried starting an Instagram page called "Cluelessmechanic67" in hopes that I could record what I do to it over time.

END OF EDIT 1
 
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rbohm

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Apr 12, 2002
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ok the first thing you need to do is decide what exactly you want from this car.

the next thing is to honestly assess your mechanical skills. regardless of the level you are at now, you can improve them, so dont be concerned, just be completely honest with yourself. for instance when i was your age, i was capable of doing a fair amount of work on motor vehicles, but somethings i needed done. at 21 i couldnt build my own chassis for instance, today if i had the materials, tools, and energy i can.

next educate yourself. the local community college or trade school can offer you courses in automotive technology so you can learn what you need to learn.

another thing to recognize is the limitations you have to work with. for instance you likely dont have the necessary machine shop to bore cylinders, and mill the block and heads, and do other machine work as required, so you need to farm that out. but you also need to have a working idea of what and dhow it needs to be done so you can speak intelligently with the machine shop, and get the work you need done properly, and not get overcharged. you also need to be able to check their work when you get the parts back from being machined.

budget, be real on this. you need to spend money to make this car what you want, but unless you have unlimited money and time, you are going to have to budget both carefully.

in the end you can do this, you just need a little education, and a little confidence in yourself. and you need to take your time and pay attention to detail when doing the work.
 

LILCBRA

I started this morning by knocking out some studs
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Dec 6, 2005
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You can do it, as @rbohm says you just need to educate yourself on whatever aspects you need at the time you're working on it. Sooner or later you'll have the knowledge needed to tackle the next project should you feel so inclined.

I'm sorry for the loss of your dad, it stings no matter how long it's been. I lost my dad when I was 11. I grew up working on his 55 Chevy with him, that's where I got my bug. He left the Chevy to me, so I can relate to inheriting a rust bucket! :D Here's me with his buddy's 55 - the one that was left to me is the one in the background.

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And one of it from the many times I've moved it to a new "home."

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The thing I think I'm trying to say is if you've got the willingness to learn and the ambition to take it on, you'll do alright. In my case, I learned a good portion of the base of my knowledge from my uncles. And since I was always interested (thanks dad!), I enrolled in every auto shop class possible in high school. I then started college for auto mechanics but then dropped out because I thought I'd burn myself out and wouldn't enjoy it as much anymore. In hindsight, for me, it was the right choice. But if you're interested, willing to learn all you can, and have no qualms about getting dirty and busting a couple knuckles, you can totally take care of anything that car can throw at you. I'm sure anyone here will help you with whatever questions you may have, no matter how "dumb" you might think it is. Remember, there is no such thing as a dumb question - only dumb responses.

And everyone loves pics!! Post 'em up!!
 
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TRush

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Nov 18, 2019
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Great story and great pics!!! I grew up working on cars with my dad from the time I was old enough to pick up a tool. That being said I learn something new everyday. I am currently helping a friend of mine who is just like you but he is 50 years old. His dad left him a basket case 1967 Fastback with an inline 6 cyl that the engine was blown on. His dad always wanted to put a 302 in it, fix the body and paint it. A couple of years ago we started the project with the hope of making his dads dream come true before he passed away. Unfortunately that did not happen but he is even more determined to complete the project now. He felt the same way you did about screwing something up. I always told him " Its already broken so what's the harm in working on something that's already broken". Mistakes cost money but there is nothing that can't be fixed. Sometimes that leads you down a different road that will have an even better consequence!!! I suggest watching some youtube videos for idea's not all video are good but you will quickly learn that if the process is the same in several videos then it must be correct. I sometime have no clue how to remove some parts on our car and have to watch videos and I have a lot of experience with cars. The only thing you can screw up is not moving forward!!!
 
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rustaddict

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LILCBRA I enjoyed the pics of the 55. I have a 55 project and my Dad's first car was a 55 Handyman like yours. I always look close at every one I see to see if it might have been his

Clueless67 If you can change brakes and work on lawn mowers I believe you can get that car running. Those early Mustangs are some of the simplest cars ever made in my opinion. You have already realized you needed a new gas tank. The carb may need cleaning and new seals too and the fuel line may need flushing out or replacing. Other than that, if I were in your shoes I'd pull the plugs, ( one at a time so you don't mix the plug wires up ) squirt some oil in the cylinders, change the crank case oil and filter, put some fresh gas to it and see if it will run. There are videos all over youtube of people cold starting engines like yours that haven't run in years and some of them are by people your age. Check out a few of those. I can post some links if you want some. Some of the best money you can spend at this moment is on a genuine Ford ( they make reprints ) shop manual for the 67 Mustang. Don't get the generic manuals that you might see for sale at bookstores. The genuine Ford one tells a lot more and gives a lot more detail. Better pictures too lol. I like your project. Keep us posted.
 
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