First Project Car.

Metalhead24

Member
Nov 27, 2018
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Washington state
Hey everyone, I'm Nate.

My wife recently caught the car bug when we took her Fiesta ST to an autocross event. Now she wants to race and learn to fix up cars! I'm so proud! Anyways, in order to not beat up her daily driver, she convinced her brother to give us his old 1990 Mustang LX 5.0 to turn into an autocross racer. It has been sitting still in central California for the past 6 years, but we drove down from eastern Washington to rescue it and brought it back up to work on.

Our first plan of action is to see if the engine will start. No point in doing anything to the car without a working engine, right?

So that brings me to my first question:

My initial idea was to drain the old oil and remove, clean, and reinstall the oil pan... and then I read how involved that process really is. So my question is this; what is the best way to clean out the oil pan? My new plan is to drain whatever I can, change the filter, and refill with cheap conventional oil and seafoam. Then, if the engine starts, we let it run and clean itself out. Does that sound about right? And a co worker suggested priming the oil pump. Is this a good recommendation? If so, is it pretty easy to do (minus the removal of the distributor)?

Other actions that I plan to take before attempting to start the engine include:
-Air filter
-Empty, drop, and clean fuel tank
-Fuel filter
-Inspect distributor and plugs

Anyone have any input on what else should be done? Remember, we just need the bare minimum to get the engine to fire up, so we are ignoring brakes, transmission, etc.
Thanks in advance. I look forward to learning a lot from these forums!

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90sickfox

I didn't really have an issue with the stink...
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Sea foam works really well to clean the engine out. Just let it idle for a while then change again. Mustangs have 2 drain plugs... and the dip sticks usually aren't right from the factory. After draining add 5 quarts, fire it up for a few, and check the dip stick. Add hash marks if it isn't correct. We'll be glad to help if you have any issues.

Is that car an automatic or 5 speed ?

I'm sure you'll change the spark plugs, too. Regular cheap copper core autolites work well in these older cars. Platinums and iridium's aren't needed. There's a autocross road racing group that I'm with on FB. This is by far the most informative and active forum on the net.

There are some great folks here that autoX.

Welcome and keep the pics coming.
 

Metalhead24

Member
Nov 27, 2018
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Washington state
Sea foam works really well to clean the engine out. Just let it idle for a while then change again. Mustangs have 2 drain plugs... and the dip sticks usually aren't right from the factory. After draining add 5 quarts, fire it up for a few, and check the dip stick. Add hash marks if it isn't correct. We'll be glad to help if you have any issues.

Is that car an automatic or 5 speed ?

I'm sure you'll change the spark plugs, too. Regular cheap copper core autolites work well in these older cars. Platinums and iridium's aren't needed. There's a autocross road racing group that I'm with on FB. This is by far the most informative and active forum on the net.

There are some great folks here that autoX.

Welcome and keep the pics coming.
Thanks for the reply, and yes, Plugs too.
The car is an automatic. Not ideal in my opinion since I've only owned manuals (even that Tacoma I towed it with is MT), but it was free.
 
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90sickfox

I didn't really have an issue with the stink...
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Manual conversion is relatively cheap and easy for a mustang. My car is originally a 4 cylinder auto that was correctly swapped to v8 5 speed with IRS. That auto transmission fluid may need a change, too. There are a bunch of options for the AOD trans now. Years ago they were useless slush boxes. Now, they are modified to handle a decent beating and still retain OD. I don't like automatics in performance cars...unless they have paddle shifters.

We get a discount at LMR....check our sponsors thread for discount codes.
 

Metalhead24

Member
Nov 27, 2018
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Washington state
Manual conversion is relatively cheap and easy for a mustang. My car is originally a 4 cylinder auto that was correctly swapped to v8 5 speed with IRS. That auto transmission fluid may need a change, too. There are a bunch of options for the AOD trans now. Years ago they were useless slush boxes. Now, they are modified to handle a decent beating and still retain OD. I don't like automatics in performance cars...unless they have paddle shifters.

We get a discount at LMR....check our sponsors thread for discount codes.
We have 4 jack stands and a floor jack. We won't be swapping trannys anytime soon.
 
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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 don't tend to swap trannys...really dont care to lay under them either....the thought of one dripping on me makes me cringe. To each their own...some folks really like them...I guess.

( SN joke ) calm down guys... the will be no tranny swapping in this thread... not yet anyways. :nono:

... 4 jack stands and a jack are part of the turbo starter kit....
 

Mustang5L5

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We have 4 jack stands and a floor jack. We won't be swapping trannys anytime soon.
That's how I did my 5-spd swap. Wasn't bad.


Anyway, dropping the oil pan is a PITA. It's a double hump over the k member so the engine needs to be lifted to get it out. I'd just drain the oil, fill with fresh oil, restart engine and then maybe do one more oil change soon after with a hot engine.

I'd also do a coolant flush, change plugs and fuel filter. Before cranking the engine over, I'd squirt some oil in each cylinder through the spark plug hole and turn engine over by hand a few times. Then install plugs and you are ready to fire up.
 

nelzfoxes

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I love my tacoma and I love my foxes! Change out the fluids and get it running! Filters, fuel and oil and air etc. I wouldn’t prime the oil pump, save that for post engine rebuild. Throw some subframe connectors under there and go to town. Autocross is gonna be suspension, stiffness, and handling.
 

Metalhead24

Member
Nov 27, 2018
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Update: we got it running with just new oil, plugs, and a battery. Now that we have proven that it works, we can tear it apart.

So a few things have changed with our mustang plans. The biggest thing is that we are now going to do a tranny swap. I am a bit more comfortable with it now and have scrapped a T5 WC from a 98 mustang.

I've ordered some new parts, including the proper input shaft. We will slowly acquire the proper bell, pedal assembly, and clutch as we rebuild the engine.

Engine rebuild won't be too extreme. Exhaust, intake, ignition, AC delete... basics.

However i do have a question about heads. I have learned that stock 302 heads are 60ish cc and was wondering if i can upgrade those without upgrading the cam? Would it be worth it? Reason I ask is that i want to concentrate on the handling/ breaking more than the power, but since the head gasket is blown, we might as well.
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Rdub6

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Just catching up on this thread. Free car! Wife on board! What more could you ask for!
Good luck with your build!!
 
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General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
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h-c-i= heads, cam, intake
the ford ignition is well up to the task just try to use ford/motorcraft parts when possible. As for what hci to use can be debated till hell freezes over, that said, consult with several manufacturers for recommendations, remember it's a total package, so you have to consider trans and rear gear when talking about what your building.
 

Metalhead24

Member
Nov 27, 2018
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Washington state
h-c-i= heads, cam, intake
the ford ignition is well up to the task just try to use ford/motorcraft parts when possible. As for what hci to use can be debated till hell freezes over, that said, consult with several manufacturers for recommendations, remember it's a total package, so you have to consider trans and rear gear when talking about what your building.
I dont need to go nuts with power. This is a weekend hobby/ learning car. We want something better than stock but something that won't take us over 350 tq. From what I've read that's what the T5 is rated for.
 
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Metalhead24

Member
Nov 27, 2018
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11
13
30
Washington state
h-c-i= heads, cam, intake
the ford ignition is well up to the task just try to use ford/motorcraft parts when possible. As for what hci to use can be debated till hell freezes over, that said, consult with several manufacturers for recommendations, remember it's a total package, so you have to consider trans and rear gear when talking about what your building.
How much tuning is involved with an HCI swap? Is OBD-I easy to do? Remember, this is just my wife and I and there aren't really any tuning shops around.
 

90sickfox

I didn't really have an issue with the stink...
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Yup. No tuning needed for a mild set up. If you do the Trickflow top end kit you may want 24lb injectors and a matching 24lb mass air flow sensor....and a 190lph fuel pump.
 
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Shakerhood

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Oct 28, 2004
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Thanks for the reply, and yes, Plugs too.
The car is an automatic. Not ideal in my opinion since I've only owned manuals (even that Tacoma I towed it with is MT), but it was free.
Nice project car and Truck, my Tacoma is a 6 Speed Manual too.