Progress Thread Black Beauty: '85 GT T-Top: Winter Is Coming

Rdub6

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Time to take a break from work, and work on cars, especially the really nice one! Tonight, I just jacked the car up and spent some time looking around. Tomorrow will be the actual work (fluid changes and such).

Subframe connectors!
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Looks like mufflers are in my future. This one is actually the better one; I wasn't able to get a good picture of the other, but it crunches when I push on it.
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Here's a pic of the rear lower control arm:
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Oh, and the speedometer mysteriously stopped working just a short while ago... :rlaugh:

Don't know how easy that is to see, but the speedo cable is zip tied to the bracket, with the speedo gear just hanging out above the tranny. There's some kind of wad of cloth wedged into the speedo cable hole, which is leaking a good bit. That probably explains the whining. I hope it goes away with some new fluid, and there isn't real damage in there.

The speedo gear is also likely wrong. It's red, which looks like 21 teeth by LMR's catalog pics. I don't know what's in the tranny yet, but I either need a 17-tooth or 20-tooth gear with my current tires. Given how close it is, I suspect I've got a 7-tooth gear in the tranny. If so, I can run with that level of inaccuracy for now.

There's a good bit of oil coating things underneath closer to the front. I traced it to this:
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Not sure what it is. If you're looking at the engine from the front of the car with the hood open, it's to the right, not too far from the power steering pump.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with what I'm seeing so far. The previous owner said he went over everything with a can of black Rustoleum, which seems to be doing the job keeping rust at bay. The exhaust looks to be in OK shape, except for the mufflers; one of them is welded in, so I might have to buy some more exhaust parts when the time comes to deal with that.

Tomorrow: oil and transmission fluid change, brake adjustment, and some attention to that speedo cable.

Last pic is your oil pressure sending unit.
 
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LiquidStangs

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Last pic is your oil pressure sending unit.

That would explain the clear hose making its way to the firewall. That's probably where I'll need to do whatever's necessary to support an electric sending unit for the to-be-acquired electric oil pressure gauge.

The current gauge is one of those Bosch three-pod all-in-one units; any recommendations for something better?
 

LiquidStangs

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Well, the car's back on the ground and terrorizing the neighbors. There's been some success, and some, uh, future success. :)

Oil change went without a hitch. I think I'm going to need new drain plugs next time, but overall, no drama. 10W30, and oil pressures are the same.

I tested the rear brakes, and saw they engaged to stop the wheels, so I elected not to mess with them and did the reverse trick to get them adjusted. That appears to have improved brake performance, but the parking brake is unchanged. So I'll likely have to mess with that next time.

Tranny fluid is also changed. What a mess! I swear ATF is worse than oil at making a mess. Good news is the fluid didn't look bad; still red and no sparkles or swirls. It was pretty low, so things should be better now, though I can't tell a difference in the transmission's whine or performance.

As for the speedo cable: that's in place, sorta. The transmission doesn't have a 6 or 7 tooth gear; it has a zero-tooth gear, as in no gear at all. I even poked a finger inside the hole and felt the little wide spot in the output shaft where the gear is supposed to be. So I removed the gear off the speedo cable for the sake of prudence, and re-installed the cable to provide a better seal than the multiple plastic caps and wedged cloth that was in there.

Between the missing gear and the whine, I believe a tranny swap is in my future. I have a spare in the garage from the old '89, which is mostly rebuilt; I'll probably finish that up and try it out at some point.
 
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LiquidStangs

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I've made my way through a good bit of the documentation I got with the car, and I think I've found the stats for the drivetrain.

Engine:
  • 302 Windsor, bored .30 over.
  • World Products Windsor heads.
  • Hypereutectic aluminum flat-top pistons.
  • Crane camshaft; not clued in enough to be able to read a cam spec sheet, but I found a spec for part number 449521 at http://www.carbdford.com/fletch/tech/camlist/cams_rol.htm that seems to match.
  • Hydraulic lifters.
  • Crane coil.
  • Edelbrock Performer RPM intake.
  • Holley Street Avenger 80570 570 CFM carburetor.
  • BBK shorty headers with a PaceSetter 2.5" off-road H-pipe and Dynomax mufflers.
Most of this work looks to have been done in about the 2001-2002 time frame; the block was bored at the end of September 2001.

Transmission:
  • T5 from a 1990 or later Mustang. 1352-199 code (from docs, not verified on trans itself). Looks to have had a recent rebuild, though not professional; there's receipts for a kit from Paul Cangialosi from just a few years ago. 3.35 1st gear ratio.
  • Centerforce clutch.
  • Aluminum quadrant and adjustable clutch cable.
Diff: 8.8" rear with 3.73 gears. There's a driveshaft safety loop welded in as well, which tells me the car was at least set up for drag racing.

I'm curious if any of the experts here can tell me anything about what I have.
 
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TOOLOW91

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Seems like a nice little setup you got there. Cam looks decent for little hci street car but not too radical at all
 

2Blue2

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I love them old quad eye foxes, looks pretty nice for a 34+ year old car.

SCORE!
 
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LiquidStangs

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Spent a week in San Diego on business, and spent Saturday catching up on sleep. Sunday was car day.

I've read lots of advice that one should always make sure one's ignition system is tip-top before messing with the carburetor, so I picked up a set of Autolite 25s and got to work. Holy %#^*, is that cylinder 7 a pain. Finally figured out that you pretty much have to unclip the dipstick tube from its little bracket and twist it out of the way to do that spark plug.

And guess what my prize was for figuring this out?
IMG_20190825_172722.jpg


Cracked all the way around (looks the same on the other side), with bits of porcelain on the driveway.

Here's a shot of all 8. Cylinder 1 is top right; cylinder 5 is bottom right.
IMG_20190825_172852.jpg


Yes, that's a Bosch Super r6 plug mixed in with the AC Delcos. Gaps ranged from .034 to .046. (I gapped the new plugs at .044.)

I suppose the cracks could have resulted from my attempts at getting it out, but I did see the top of the crack fairly early on. Or, perhaps, the Bosch plug was interfering with cylinder 5's firing. What I do know: the fishbite is gone, and the car clearly has more oomph than it did. As amazing as it was, it feels even better now.

Didn't get to the parking brake or the cold idle settings. I did see that the electric choke looks like it's adjusted middle-of-the-road, if the marks on it are any indication.

I went ahead and filled it with mid-grade fuel; this particular station's mid-grade is ethanol-free, which is why I like it. I suspect I'll have to redo my octane experiment, but for now I'd like to just drive it without having to trickle in a few gallons every other day.
 

droopie85gt

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A nice 85! As was mentioned with the alternator, the factory wiring is just an accident waiting for a chance to happen. Hopefully you took a good look at the big plug to make sure it was showing signs of heat. In stock form, the carb'd 85 doesn't have a lot of power draw, but as you have already seen the wiring is less than optimal when turn signals cause the voltmeter to tick in time with them. One way to easily upgrade your headlights is to buy a premade relay harness. You'll have to run a lead to the battery or starter solenoid and then plug into one low and one high beam. The relay harness is also really easy to make yourself if you're handy at all soldering. I wouldn't use crimp connectors...those are on a time limit to failure.
 

LiquidStangs

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A nice 85! As was mentioned with the alternator, the factory wiring is just an accident waiting for a chance to happen. Hopefully you took a good look at the big plug to make sure it was showing signs of heat. In stock form, the carb'd 85 doesn't have a lot of power draw, but as you have already seen the wiring is less than optimal when turn signals cause the voltmeter to tick in time with them. One way to easily upgrade your headlights is to buy a premade relay harness. You'll have to run a lead to the battery or starter solenoid and then plug into one low and one high beam. The relay harness is also really easy to make yourself if you're handy at all soldering. I wouldn't use crimp connectors...those are on a time limit to failure.

Thanks for the advice!

The plugs on the old alternator and voltage regulator were all in good shape, or at least "good shape for 30-year-old wiring". I plan to do a few things when I put the car down for the winter, with the alternator being high on the list.

I've heard of the headlight relay before. One drawback I've heard of is that it disables part of the "information center", where it can tell you when a bulb goes out. When I get a chance, I'm hoping to figure out a way to wire the relay so the information center warning still works. Call me weird, but that little doo-hickey is one of the things about these cars that makes me happy. If I can't figure it out (or find someone who has), I'll be sad, but either way that will likely also get done over the winter. Probably after the alternator upgrade, so the power side of the relay can take advantage of some of that sweet, sweet amperage on its own circuit.

I can do some wiring; I've done a bit of home automation in my house, complete with a home-grown open-source central hub, "smart" thermostat and light switches, some hand-built sensors, and some custom code to essentially do something like a Logitech Harmony for the home theater, except with a generic universal remote. It's awesome... when it works. :rlaugh: Not professional wiring work by any means, but "good enough".

Right now, my biggest problem is that I can't bear the thought of taking the car down for any length of time. It's so nice... My wife thinks I'm crazy that I love this car with its cold starting and bumpy suspension and rattles and other weird things.
 
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2Blue2

will be trying this sex one when I can find it
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My wife thinks I'm crazy that I love this car with its cold starting and bumpy suspension and rattles and other weird things.


lol
My wife said something bout AC before she's rinding in it again
 

02 281 GT

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The biggest plan: drive the snot out of it! It's really fairly good as it sits, and there's something to be said about just being able to drive a car you really like without constantly thinking of what you need to do to it.

That said, there are a few small projects that will need to happen soon:
  • The "used car purchase fluid change" hasn't happened yet. I'll probably need to throw in a transmission fluid change on top of that to see if it helps the transmission whine any.
  • The speedometer is completely dead. The previous owner said it had just stopped working recently, so I'm hoping this is something simple. It's got a fairly new speedo cable, so maybe it just didn't get tightened down or something.
  • The aforementioned problems when the engine is still cold. I'm trying to learn as much as I can about pre-computer cars so I can try and fix those problems on my own, but we'll see how well that works out.
  • The parking brake is almost nonexistent. This feels like a misadjusted cable; I can pull the lever up until it hits the center console, and it's only slightly engaged at that point.
  • The headlights are a bit dim. They were a lot worse, but I bought new, stock bulbs. I've read that getting the high-output bulbs puts too much stress on the wiring, and that it's best to add a relay.
  • Do something about the few rust spots that are there so they don't get worse. The most concerning bits are on the hatch and a spot of surface rust on the passenger frame rail.
  • Speaking of the hatch, it's really difficult to shut. The bushing on the striker is completely gone, so I suspect that's the culprit.

632373
632374
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Beautiful interior. I've always liked the '79-'86 interior and dash layout much better than the '87-'93.
 
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LiquidStangs

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lol
My wife said something bout AC before she's rinding in it again

Heh. Mine doesn't have working AC, either. She's actually fine with that; she prefers the T-tops off. Her car is a '05 convertible, and she drives it with the top down until the weather gets way below freezing, heat blasting away!

Truth be told, she's been extremely supportive, if a bit bewildered. She's got back problems at the moment which prevent her from riding in it much, and she actually feels a little guilty about that.
 

LiquidStangs

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Latest update: I've got the parking brake working like a champ. I wrote up my experiences with that in a separate thread, to make it easier to find for other folks confused by all the '87-and-later instructions out there.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to get to do my first carburetor removal and inspection soon. A few days ago, the fast idle stuck and wouldn't reliably kick down. I was able to maintain about 40 MPH in fourth with my foot completely off the pedal, and when I pushed in the clutch, the revs wouldn't drop. I pulled over and pulled off the air cleaner, and the choke was still partially engaged, even though the engine was plenty hot. I got the fast idle to "unstick", which popped the choke plate fully open, but the car still wanted to rev high even after that.

I've also noticed that the fast idle screw doesn't fully extend below the choke cap when the throttle is opened, like it's supposed to on Holley electric chokes. I can't see anyplace where it's hanging up on the intake manifold, and can't otherwise tell where it's hanging up. The whole mechanism feels loose, but I'm not sure if that's normal or not.

The last few times I've taken it out, it's seemed to act "normal" (i.e. still not happy when cold, but pretty much on-point when warmed up). I may see if I can get that fast idle screw dialed down and see if that helps matters.
 
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