Progress Thread 87' GT rescue

africansnowowl

Active Member
Apr 29, 2020
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San Antonio
My co-worker had an ugly 87' GT that he had parked at work. For the 7 years I've been there, so has that car. He'd move it from spot to spot every few weeks so that people would think he drove it. Well one day I jokingly offered him $100 for it, and he accepted it :oops:. It had a clean California title, he had been the only owner, and best of all, the car was rust free, straight, and practically un-modded. He told me he didn't drive it because it ran rough and the doors wouldn't lock.
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Here it is the day I took over as owner. The wheels just scream 1990...

The car fired right up, but sure enough ran like crap. I could hear the vacuum leak, and it appeared as though the car had never had a tune-up. I replaced all the dry rotted and missing vacuum lines, plugs, wires, cap, rotor, coil, fuel filter, air filter, and fuel pump since I had one laying around. Also timed it to 13 degrees and set TPS voltage. The car now idled pretty good. The car was about 10 miles from my house, and to get it home I wanted to make sure all the lights, blinkers, and horn worked, which none of them did. I decided this was a good time to replace the housings and do a full LED upgrade to all bulbs. Took about 5 different flasher relays before I found one that worked with the LEDs. I was also very surprised when I found that the PO had installed a "La Cucaracha" horn. Made me laugh, but I pulled it out and put new ones in.

On the drive home it became very apparent that something was bad in the front suspension. The car wondered all over the road and felt very loose. I figured this would be a good time to just replace everything, and also do a 5-lug swap since I'd already have it apart. I bought new A-arms that already had the ball-joint in them, factory style KYB struts, inner and outer tie rods, bump steer kit, sway bar end links, and SVE springs. Picked up the 94 GT spindles off Craigslist, then some 99 GT calipers, rotors, and brake lines. I used the Yukon rear 5 lug axels and also decided to do new tubular lower control arms, and KYB shocks.

I got tired of looking at the worn out door trim molding that was peeling off, so I put some new ones on. It's not fun peeling 34 year old adhesive off the door! I also determined this was a good time to replace all the weatherstripping. Most of it was pretty straight forward, but the window channel run stripping was a giant pain! After all that was done, I found out the power window motors were too old and worn out to work with the new stripping. New high torque convertible motors fixed that issue.

For the wheels, I went with SVE Series 1 in 18x9 and 18x10. 265/35 up front and 285/35 in the rear. I was extremely worried about how they were going to fit. In the rear, I removed the quad shocks(not sure if that was totally necessary or not), and I had to cut the tail pipes off. It was pretty tight, but definitely enough room. Up front the fitment appeared to be good, but found out later that the passenger side rubbed like crazy on the fender. A BFH fixed that issue, and now they don't rub at all. No spacers were needed.

The idle wasn't as good as I'd have liked, and sometimes it would even climb to 1500rpm. Time to throw some more parts at it. I bought a set of refurbished explorer 19lb injectors, new fuel pressure regulator, air charge sensor, coolant temp sensor, PCV valve, screen, and grommet, IAC motor, and a thorough cleaning of the EGR valve and TB. Idled like a champ now. Swapped out the throttle cable and threw in an adjustable clutch cable/firewall adjuster as well.
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Next on the list was to get the car all one color. I've painted a few cars before, and was pretty set in that until a friend talked me into Plasti-dip. I figured since it was pretty cheap I'd give it a try. I prepped that car like I would have with paint, filled the few dings and dents, and sanded down the areas where the clear was peeling. Next up was the dip! It called for a grey base coat, followed by the purple top coat.
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Avalanche grey base coat. It actually looked pretty good just like this in my opinion.

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And the "Poison Purple" finished result. It didn't come out perfect, but I'm extremely happy with the way it looks.

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Currently the car runs and drives great. The main issues on my radar are the T5 has worn out synchros, the speedo doesn't work, and the interior could use restoration. Plus this thing still has the factory exhaust. Whats a mustang without exhaust?
My original goal was to do something absolutely crazy with this car, but now I think I've changed my mind a little. I'm thinking 650hp , and still be able to cruise around with power steering, AC, radio, and a full interior. The 3 options I've been researching are keep it a pushrod 302 or 351 with a couple turbos, coyote swap with blower, LS swap with a single turbo. Either way, those are all way down the line. The current plan is to just drive it.
Thanks for looking!
 
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Ryuk

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Apr 22, 2017
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Worth every penny. That was a steal. I vote for anything but an LS.
 
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90sickfox

I didn't really have an issue with the stink...
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Mar 2, 2015
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I like the white too. The wheels really set it off. Good thing its dipped so when you get tired of the purple you can change it back.
 

95BlueStallion

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Probably would have kept the Avalanche Grey myself, but kudos for rocking what you like. You have done quite a bit to get it running well again, you should be proud. Has the PO seen what you’ve done with it?
 

africansnowowl

Active Member
Apr 29, 2020
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San Antonio
The clear coat was peeling on every part of the car. It was pretty bad. Plus I had put an LX hatch on it that I found at a salvage yard that was black with a yellow pin stripe, and the door moldings were a dark gray color. On top of that, at some point the PO had repainted the car, and they didn’t do a good job. This car originally had the red tape on all the molding. Well they painted over that, and at some point it started to peel away from the car. Looked awful, and took forever to try and remove painted over tape.
So either way this car needed to be completely repainted, or dipped. I thought the dip would be a cool cheap option. I’m pretty sure I’ll try a different color in the fall, or maybe actually paint the car instead. I was pretty “anti dip” before I did this, but I gotta say I’m pretty impressed with how easy and user friendly it was.
The PO was happy to see that the car is actually being used again.
 

90sickfox

I didn't really have an issue with the stink...
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Mar 2, 2015
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The color isn't hateful at all...just takes some time for us to get used to it. A friend of mine does spray dip on high end cars here in VA. Some of them look shiny like real paint. It is nice to have the option of peeking it off and doing a different color.

I had a tripple stage candy apple red paint job on my old convertible. It had like 5 coats of clear. Ran from the local law and ended up rattle canning it camouflage green. That was a good and very bad day....all at the same time.
 

Steel1

Mustang Master
Aug 18, 2017
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Great get !
Plasti dip has always intrigued me , not sure where I'd use it but it is interesting technology .
Not trying to judge but it looks from the pic that the gray hood has some considerable "tiger striping".
Where you able to correct this when you sprayed the purple, just trying to understand the process a bit.
 

africansnowowl

Active Member
Apr 29, 2020
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San Antonio
Yeah the hood has a little bit of the "tiger stripes". The purple corrected most of it. I found the gray hard to spray because it was hard to see over the white. You can only really notice it now if you're right up on the car. I learned from my mistakes though, and I'd like to dip it again in the fall.

I had been planning on concentrating on the cars interior next, but with all this EPA non-sense going on, I felt I should buy an off-road X before the market dries up and they become absurdly expensive(LMR and AM have started pulling off-road exhaust off their websites). So I bought some stainless shorties, an off-road X, and some Pypes M-80 mufflers. I plan on installing all of that next week.