Exorcising a '78 Mach I {Formally Warning to reinforce your chassis }

IICrew

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My son and I decided to go on a road trip. He wants a project car. He has always been around II's in various states of dis-repair. At 18 months old he sat still on the cowl panel of my Cobra when I put an engine in it. Don't ever remember him sitting still that long for anything else. Not sure if he was terrified or interested but I digress.

We headed out to find a car for him and this idiot tailgated me for a 12 hour drive home. Have to compliment the driver for mirroring my every move as well as being able to duck every time we took a picture.

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It's a V8 4speed 78 Mach I fully optioned. Parked in a barn since "99. I think it has every option except t tops. Everything is there and attached except transmission and radiator. Transmission, driveshaft, bellhousing, new clutch, undamaged fan shroud and engine accessories are inside the car. Owner stated he was redoing the engine and could not find motor mounts 22 years ago. Then life got in the way and here we are.

At first glance the car is in fair condition. Minimal rust on the body. Was rust proofed when new. All trim present. Chassis has a few rusty areas but no holes. Hood and hatch have no rust at all. Body lines are fairly straight. The engine looks like it was painted and installed on torn motor mounts years ago.The engine paint still looks fresh. Deluxe black interior in very good condition. Factory dash pad in great shape with no cracks.

As we were deciding to buy it we noticed all 4 pillars are cracked at the welds. Right front wheel is out of alignment and right fender is bent upwards in front of the wheel. The owner said he was doing wheelies with it. I initially doubted it but the signs are there. The right rear spring mount is halfway ripped from the chassis. Rear axle is not centered. The A and C pillars are all cracked, wrinkled and bent outward. The fender looks like it was smashed from below. The roof has several wrinkles radiating out from the A pillars. The drivers floorboard is pushed up from the subframe pushing it up. It appears he was correct and this thing was doing wheelies. Then hit hard on the landing. I have never known a II to do wheelies except a drag car. So I am still a bit skeptical but it appears he was telling the truth.

As demonstrated in my Exorcising A 78 thread I am not a body man. I imagine a wrinkled roof with cracked A and C pillars means she is bent and will require significant chassis work to make her straight. She will never be right again or as strong as she was. We all know II's were not that strong to begin with. With torque boxes, subframe connectors and t top style engine bay reinforcement this probably would be saveable. In the least the damage would have been less.

Do the work Ford didn't do. They never accounted for high horsepower engines being in these cars. they were designed to be light and fuel efficient. Not withstand 200+ Hp engines.

My kid is better off finding a better platform to start with so this car isn't for him. Unfortunately, I on the other hand have to put off buying that transmission. I do now have all the dash parts to add ac and all other options to my t top car. It came with nothing except the t tops. I have a complete black deluxe interior. I also have decent doors, hood, fender and hatch for the Cobra. I have a complete II 4 speed drivetrain including a 302 that can pull wheelies. I will save the body and eventually it may be worth it to someone who has the means, ability and desire to straighten it out. If I learn how and it's doable I may try.

We may put it back together just to see if it really does wheelies first though.

The best part..... My wife was the one to find the car so I am partially off the hook. I was actually allowed a blanket and pillow while I am banished to live in the car. lol

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They sure would have looked great as a pair. The obnoxious hot rod t top and the survivor Mach I cruiser.

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MustangIIMatt

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My son and I decided to go on a road trip. He wants a project car. He has always been around II's in various states of dis-repair. At 18 months old he sat still on the cowl panel of my Cobra when I put an engine in it. Don't ever remember him sitting still that long for anything else. Not sure if he was terrified or interested but I digress.

We headed out to find a car for him and this idiot tailgated me for a 12 hour drive home. Have to compliment the driver for mirroring my every move as well as being able to duck every time we took a picture.

1597055215424.jpg


It's a V8 4speed 78 Mach I fully optioned. Parked in a barn since "99. I think it has every option except t tops. Everything is there and attached except transmission and radiator. Transmission, driveshaft, bellhousing, new clutch, undamaged fan shroud and engine accessories are inside the car. Owner stated he was redoing the engine and could not find motor mounts 22 years ago. Then life got in the way and here we are.

At first glance the car is in fair condition. Minimal rust on the body. Was rust proofed when new. All trim present. Chassis has a few rusty areas but no holes. Hood and hatch have no rust at all. Body lines are fairly straight. The engine looks like it was painted and installed on torn motor mounts years ago.The engine paint still looks fresh. Deluxe black interior in very good condition. Factory dash pad in great shape with no cracks.

As we were deciding to buy it we noticed all 4 pillars are cracked at the welds. Right front wheel is out of alignment and right fender is bent upwards in front of the wheel. The owner said he was doing wheelies with it. I initially doubted it but the signs are there. The right rear spring mount is halfway ripped from the chassis. Rear axle is not centered. The A and C pillars are all cracked, wrinkled and bent outward. The fender looks like it was smashed from below. The roof has several wrinkles radiating out from the A pillars. The drivers floorboard is pushed up from the subframe pushing it up. It appears he was correct and this thing was doing wheelies. Then hit hard on the landing. I have never known a II to do wheelies except a drag car. So I am still a bit skeptical but it appears he was telling the truth.

As demonstrated in my Exorcising A 78 thread I am not a body man. I imagine a wrinkled roof with cracked A and C pillars means she is bent and will require significant chassis work to make her straight. She will never be right again or as strong as she was. We all know II's were not that strong to begin with. With torque boxes, subframe connectors and t top style engine bay reinforcement this probably would be saveable. In the least the damage would have been less.

Do the work Ford didn't do. They never accounted for high horsepower engines being in these cars. they were designed to be light and fuel efficient. Not withstand 200+ Hp engines.

My kid is better off finding a better platform to start with so this car isn't for him. Unfortunately, I on the other hand have to put off buying that transmission. I do now have all the dash parts to add ac and all other options to my t top car. It came with nothing except the t tops. I have a complete black deluxe interior. I also have decent doors, hood, fender and hatch for the Cobra. I have a complete II 4 speed drivetrain including a 302 that can pull wheelies. I will save the body and eventually it may be worth it to someone who has the means, ability and desire to straighten it out. If I learn how and it's doable I may try.

We may put it back together just to see if it really does wheelies first though.

The best part..... My wife was the one to find the car so I am partially off the hook. I was actually allowed a blanket and pillow while I am banished to live in the car. lol

IMG_20200809_133213359.jpg


IMG_20200809_133203012.jpg


They sure would have looked great as a pair. The obnoxious hot rod t top and the survivor Mach I cruiser.

IMG_20200809_133133019.jpg
If you're parting that Mach, do you have a ballpark figure for the roller once you're done pulling the powertrain? ElSuperPinto could be parted to save that car, I'd rather have a Mach than a rusty ol' Ghia anyway.
 
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LILCBRA

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Good find! Although I have serious doubts about the wheelie story. It's more likely it had gone into a ditch or otherwise somehow was in the air and come down hard on the front end.

The cracks at the rear pillars shouldn't be a huge deal. The rear pillars in my car are cracked at the seams and I've had my subframe connectors in it since before the current engine was installed.
 
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2Blue2

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They jumped it off their favorite railroad tracks,

Lets see that sun roof.
 

IICrew

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I don't know what to do at this point. I wanted parts, it's just too clean to strip though. Being Mach I as well, it has to be saved even if it's not perfect. Besides my son grew attached before we even picked it up. Now I am too. The better half is gonna divorce me. lol

It's finally on jack stands. This thing flew over some rail road tracks or hit a huge speedbump at high speed. All the damage is to the top and bottom except the right fender and core support. The passenger floor looks phenomenal except the subframe under the passenger seat has an impact mark and a mild crease. The body seam at the passengers feat is rusted and looks off. The metal is not tight together but no holes.

Entire drivers side is rusty the first foot in from the rocker. There is a 3 x 4" hole where the seat belt bolts through. The rear spring shackles, mount and bumper shock plate attachment is rusty and bent out of shape but the frame itself is the 3rd layer and seems okay enough. Whoever rust proofed it did great work in most places and flat out sucked in other areas. The engine bay needs a bath to remove dust then will look great. Not a rust spot in sight under the hood until you get to the trans mounts.

The most troubling issues are the drivers side subframe rail has a significant upward slope. The front subframe has an upward slope on the right side that isn't right. Then the damaged pillars. I am probably going to get subframe connectors. Remove the drivers seat and sunroof, then jump up and down to see if the floor straightens out. What can it hurt. I have most of what I need to get it running and if it drives straight and the pillars don't flex too much I will keep her around.

Pulled the valve covers and the engine looks clean as a whistle. Clean oil in the low spots. Not a speck of dirt or rust. Trans shifts through the gears and feels smoth turning the input haft by hand. The engine mounts are trash. Other then those I have everything except carb, plug wires, left exhaust manifold or headers, radiator and hoses to get her running. The flywheel needs resurfaced but it included a new clutch. Damnit, the list was shorter in my head.

I should probably change the thread title and call this a build thread. lol

The cracks worry me because of how they push outward. All 4 pillars have a humped appearance like a giant pushed down on the roof.


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MustangIIMatt

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The front cracks look a little worrisome to me, but the rear ones? Look like a car without chassis stiffening got an extra hundred horsepower or more and then was launched hard on sticky tires.

The build quality of Mustangs from 1964-1993 wasn't that great to begin with. There were a lot of "good enough" welds hidden under lead, bondo, and paint at the factory on them until crash testing started being a much bigger concern in the mid 90s. If you've got a friend at a body shop with a frame machine, or an old-school body-shop friend that can work a torch and lead, all of those should be fixable from at least a cosmetic standpoint.
 

IICrew

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Here are the sunroof pics. The interior latch is missing. The glass slides out. The hanging piece is just a cover for the screws. The rubber is hard as a rock.

You can also see the wrinkles in the roof. It rocks on the jack stands it's so tweaked. The left rear and right front teeter when on flat ground with jack stands under rear axle and front crossmember. My other car sits level when in this spot. The best fix for this car is straighten the chassis. Then weld a t top roof onto it. I already have extra glass panels! That is beyond my means currently but who knows what tomorrow may bring.

Drivers seat has 1 seam separated and another that is about to separate. The headliner has a taped up tear. Otherwise some cleaning and the interior looks great. That dash pad is perfect.

The bottom looks great except that drivers side and the rear shackles.

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IICrew

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It was set that way and I just didn't change it. That's my story and I am sticking to it. No we do not have body cam footage of the aledged incident due to an equipment malfunction. Any statements to the contrary are mis informed or don't know the specifics of this alledged incident. cough cough.

Powered up the electrical system and everything operates except a couple lights, the clock and blower for the heat/ac. I found a connector laying unplugged on the center hump that I don't recognize. All my cars are non a/c cars so I assume it's ac related. My back was not happy with me so I was unable to crawl around and find where it goes yesterday.

Pulled the right front wheel off and the control arms look straight. The upper arm is all the way back on the adjustment slots so that is hopefully why it so far out of whack. Could not get the bolts loose due to mild rust and my back screaming at me. That will wait for another day as wd40 soaks on the bolts.

Engine sat for 22 years. Supposed to have a hot cam and be a fresh rebuild. It looks like it with the valve covers off. Not a speck of carbon or dirt. Sprayed oil in the cylinders then let it sit for a couple hours. Turned it by hand and she is free. Turns smooth with no stickiness to start. Did not need to be "broken free." Don't have a compression tester but pressure felt equal using the tried and true shove a finger in it test. Fresh clean oil came out of oil sending unit hole. It is a 78-81 block out of a Lincoln Continental according to the engine numbers. It has a 68 Mustang 4 bbl intake. Has the correct II timing cover and oil pan.

I need to turn the flywheel to remove rust, a motor mount rebuild kit and left exhaust manifold or headers to drop the engine back in it. I found new plugs, newer plug wires, coil, starter, ps pump and brackets as well as most if not all bolts in the car. We are still missing a carb. I can steal the one from t top car for the trip to frame shop and see where we are. T top car needs motor mounts rebuilt too so if the Mach I is too far gone I am only out the manifold or headers plus fluid and time. The t top cars headers wont seal at the heads so if I get new headers and the Mach is junk I am only further ahead on t top.

I bought a combo stick, plasma cutter and tig welder setup a year ago and have yet to use it other then to stick weld a mower deck. A friend was going to teach me to use it but he passed away shortly after I bought it. Should I just get a mig welder? Youtube tells me it's easier to start out learning to mig. I can use a relatively cheap one since it's just sheet metal I have to repair.

The current plan is get her running, Take the frame specs you guys found for me to a frame shop and see if they can pull it straight. If so we will get subframe connectors on it, fix the spring shackles and then pretty her up. It has factory paint with a lot of scratches. Until I learn to paint it will be buffed out and I am thinking linseed oil as a rust preventative which will also help the cracking paint? She gets to wear each of her wounds with pride instead of hiding her shame.

Yeah yeah. New paint would be awesome but I can save a few II's for the cost of 1 paint job.
 
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IICrew

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The guy I bought it from swore it was a special factory add on that the dealer did. So a dealer installed option. He claimed to have had an article documenting 2200 of them. I wonder if he was getting his info a little off and if there were 2200 Mach I's with the v8 4speed combo. It's a guess on my end. Based on 7900 Mach I's made in total and the v6 was standard.

A couple before and after pics. I vacuumed it out and cleaned the pleather. My phone died before I could take more pics though.

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429MII

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If you've got a friend at a body shop with a frame machine, or an old-school body-shop friend that can work a torch and lead, all of those should be fixable from at least a cosmetic standpoint.

I would do this if you want to save it. ...Strip it to a rolling shell and get it on a frame machine. Once its square and on measurement, the rest is easy. Now, depending on how much that costs it is up to you if its worth it. If I had to guess, I'd say the car was either jumped or dropped from a considerable height to do that damage.
 
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MustangIIMatt

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I would do this if you want to save it. ...Strip it to a rolling shell and get it on a frame machine. Once its square and on measurement, the rest is easy. Now, depending on how much that costs it is up to you if its worth it. If I had to guess, I'd say the car was either jumped or dropped from a considerable height to do that damage.
If I had that Mach it'd be going to my semi-retired friend's shop and on his frame machine to be pulled straight, then the body hammered and dolly-ed back to shape, then bondo or lead to hide the work, then paint.

I broke a Camaro like that over railroad tracks in high school, at the subframes on the front.
 

IICrew

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She flew dukes of hazard style and landed hard. Drivers outer rear seat track went through the floor. It is rusty in that spot but it looks torn. That's the only hole. Rest of floor is sturdy. The drivers arm rest is sloped down a couple inches at the back. The passenger seat front bolts are stripped leaving that seat loose. The core support is rolled back and flat as a pancake.

Local frame shop wanted it running and me to get specs. Just ordered what I needed from summit and classic to make it run. Should be able to get her going by next weekend depending on classics delivery date. Not going to really fix her up just yet. Just make her run with what I have laying around, get brakes working with minimal cost and see where we are at.

I still think it's savable. Even if I cannot afford to get it fully fixed I can put it back to stock and running. keep her dry and someday it will be worth fixing to the right person. If it's not at all savable everything will swap to the coupe, t top or Cobra. My t top gets a/c and the deluxe interior. Cobra gets doors and doghouse ect. Only thing I am out is time.
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2Blue2

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My bookie is giving 3 to 1 odds that your get a fourth Mutt2 before the end of a year.

Interior is looking loads better~feel the corinthian pleather. ;)
I want you to make a convertible out of the hardtop. Only because I want one.


Also want a family shot of all three.


More sun roof comments
The guy I bought it from swore it was a special factory add on that the dealer did. So a dealer installed option. He claimed to have had an article documenting 2200 of them.


I've seen that sunroof on alot of mustang twos all fastbacks, but never in the Ford literature. They made so many M2 (1.1million) that 2200 sunroofs for dealer options doesn't sound far fetched.
 

LILCBRA

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I was like that in the early-mid 90s. At one point I had 5 - it's an addiction I tell ya!! :shrug: :rlaugh:
 
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