Fox Fox Body Frame Rust-- Scrap or Save?

03GThoopty

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Actually it's just the engine (probably), transmission (maybe), and the hood. The hood is literally the only part of the car that's not chock full of holes except for the front bumper, which is warped. The car is determined to return to the earth it's sitting on as quickly as possible.
Reading this made me laugh for some reason. Dang well.
 
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LILCBRA

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Alright, thanks. I'm still toying with the idea of finding a roller to transfer the good stuff into. I found a really clean 86 LX that has everything but the engine/trans for 1500, but having never even worked on a car before, I don't know if doing a full on engine swap is a good idea for a first project. I need something I can get done within four or five months at the most, and most of the work is going to have to be done on my own. Would it be a direct swap into an 86?
Yes, everything will swap into an 86. And all the swap really is is taking parts from one car and transplanting them into another. There really isn't much you need to know compared to troubleshooting and repairing a car. "This part goes here like this...." is really all there is to it. As long as you ID and tag parts and can put them back together it should go fairly smoothly. Where you'd possibly run into problems would be if you decided to tear into the engine, i.e. replace the heads or anything of that nature. But to remove a running engine and transplanting into another car really isn't that bad. And although it is time consuming, you should be able to complete it within your time frame given you start in a timely fashion and work diligently.

You've seen the pics of what I did to my 84.... I did that all in a winter season in Iowa. I don't remember exactly when I started and finished, but from removing the 3.8, repairing the frame rail and strut tower, then installing the 5.0 and AOD took a few months - and I didn't work on it every day! I was in school full time and working full time when I tackled that. Just swapping an engine/transmission combo can be done pretty quickly in comparison, given you don't need to do too much other work.

If it were me and I was looking at the same thing you're talking about, I'd swap the engine/transmission, at least the GT seats, and the front bumper cover then call it a day. About the only skill you would need would be brake work, depending on how long the recipient car had been sitting. If all else fails and the donor car has good brakes, then just swap all of that stuff over too, bleed the brakes and you're golden! It can be done, I guess it just depends on how ambitious you are and how set-in-stone you are about having it....
 

Boostedpimp

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I wouldn't put a dime into that car. I would do like others had suggested and found another candidate to swap everything into
 

CarMichael Angelo

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I don't know, to me it just looks like a hole that needs to be patched up or not. I guess frame damage is severe if that is what it is but to me since you have a budget to work with, why not get a good frame and swap over parts? $1000 is a lot but its not as much as I've wasted on my - most likely blown motor lol. All is not lost :)
Dude, just stop. Your advice is completely unsound. All is lost. According to the op..he has no experience( clearly), no space, and very little time, to do anything...and has purchased the rustiest car on the planet.
You cannot buy a " frame" for these cars..they are subframe cars. This one has none of the original left. And..(here's the really funny part) if you can patch that hole and make the car drveable, you're missing your calling..Whaddya think?...Maybe he can pop-rivet an old stop sign over that hole?

Bringing dead cars back to life that are worth one 10th of what it would cost to fix it.
 
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BlakeusMaximus

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That is the worst apron that I have ever seen on one of these cars. Definitely take mine and others advice on this. Don’t even try to salvage that car
 
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Mustang5L5

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I'm actually surprised that car's front end didn't collapse from just sitting there. One good pothole and that nose is going to buckle.

However, pretty sure you could part that out and make your $1K back and then some. Probably a few hundred bucks alone in the bumpers and fenders if they are straight. Rust can be dealt with if it's surface rust. Sell the cats to a scrapyard, and the interior panels and seats will sell fairly quick. A lot of it might be $10 here, $20 there...but you can get your money back.
 

Alldegree

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Thanks for the additional replies. I heard from the original owners after contacting them to see if they wanted it back, and they asked to see some pictures of the rust. I won't be doing anything until I hear back from them.
 
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Mstng93SSP

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The guy you bought it from was a ford mechanic, and he wants to see pictures of the rust???? How on earth could he NOT know the condition of the car he sold you? Merely popping the hood would tell him the car is done. I will be extremely surprised if he wants it back. You can make your money pack parting it out.
 

Boostedpimp

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The guy you bought it from was a ford mechanic, and he wants to see pictures of the rust???? How on earth could he NOT know the condition of the car he sold you? Merely popping the hood would tell him the car is done. I will be extremely surprised if he wants it back. You can make your money pack parting it out.
lol I was thinking the saaaame thing
 

tsiemens

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Rot. The thing that drains bank accounts. Ask me how I know fixing my door jambs....
 

Davedacarpainter

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Well, I got to say, looking at your car made me feel better about mine, lol!

Honestly, you should do whatever it takes to get rid of the car as soon as possible.

You said your parents are wanting to retire, that’s parent code for “We really need for you to fly away from the home nest not so little bird”.

IF you had your own place or at least a place to work on the car besides your parent’s home, it would be ideal for use as a 5.0 swap into a four cylinder model that hasn’t been beat to death.

It’s the easiest way to swap, one car next to the other and just move parts over.

But from what you’ve explained of your situation, don’t try it. It’ll take you longer than what the guys are saying because of your inexperience and minimal help from others. Not that you couldn’t do it, it would be a perfect way for you to learn in fact.

Dump it, the emotional baggage you should have from the previous owner should be your great irritation that the “mechanic” didn’t tell you the truth about it and probably was chuckling as he watched you leave with the rust bucket.

He and his wife probably went out for a nice weekend at the casino with your money.

It’s not a waste though, you’ve really learned a lot from this adventure. Don’t let it discourage you from finding a decent driver.

Expect to pay at least a couple grand more for what kind of vehicle you originally talked about.
 

Alldegree

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Well, I got to say, looking at your car made me feel better about mine, lol!

Honestly, you should do whatever it takes to get rid of the car as soon as possible.

You said your parents are wanting to retire, that’s parent code for “We really need for you to fly away from the home nest not so little bird”.

IF you had your own place or at least a place to work on the car besides your parent’s home, it would be ideal for use as a 5.0 swap into a four cylinder model that hasn’t been beat to death.

It’s the easiest way to swap, one car next to the other and just move parts over.

But from what you’ve explained of your situation, don’t try it. It’ll take you longer than what the guys are saying because of your inexperience and minimal help from others. Not that you couldn’t do it, it would be a perfect way for you to learn in fact.

Dump it, the emotional baggage you should have from the previous owner should be your great irritation that the “mechanic” didn’t tell you the truth about it and probably was chuckling as he watched you leave with the rust bucket.

He and his wife probably went out for a nice weekend at the casino with your money.

It’s not a waste though, you’ve really learned a lot from this adventure. Don’t let it discourage you from finding a decent driver.

Expect to pay at least a couple grand more for what kind of vehicle you originally talked about.
As much as I hate to admit it, you're probably right, but I still can't make up my mind for some reason. The stubborn and emotional part of me is convinced that this is all very simple and I'll be able to round up a few friends to help me and get the whole thing swapped by spring. The other more rational part of me says my friends don't have time for my crappy projects and I should sell it for parts and save up for something less ambitious, maybe one from 86-93. I've heard the EFI systems on those are easier to tune and performance parts are a little easier to find. I'm also looking at baja bugs and miatas, but those are for different forums :D.

I listed it for sale on facebook marketplace for $600, making it clear that it was for parts, and within five minutes of posting I got a message from a guy who wanted to buy it and pick it up immediately. I then asked him if he read the description and looked at the pictures of the rust and he said "Oh yeah, just noticed that..." and backed out of the deal.

Then I pulled the ad because I was having second thoughts and wanted to think about it more.

Is 600 a fair price, or should I have gone lower?
 

LX Dave

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I've been watching your thread. I don't know where you are located (probably missed that part), but around here (Wisconsin) cars like that are normal. I see no reason you couldn't get $600 for that. There are probably a LOT of good parts on that body yet.

I wasn't going to do this, but here's my thoughts...

If you don't have a welder and possibly people that will help and guide you along, sell it. Whether it's parting it out or selling for parts as a whole. You won't have this done correctly by next spring...maybe the spring after that. The work that car needs is extremely labor intensive and can get very expensive to do it right. Not saying it can't be done, but you may get overwhelmed once you get into it. If you have the time now and the space, you could part it out and save all the good stuff for another. Take lots of pictures for reference.

I wanted to tell you this from personal experience. If you really enjoy projects like this, it can be a ton of fun. If you've never done anything like this, part it or sell it. I picked up a '84 GT350 last summer that needed a ton of attention. Put the car on a lift and dug into it before I decided to buy it. The car needed front frame rails, doors, hood, hatch, floor pans, rear pan, and more. I got lucky that I found another car with a near perfect front in a local scrapyard and cut it off and replaced it. Found a local guy with all the bolt-on sheet metal at great prices. Had floor pans, front frame and all rust fixed correctly, then I started to work on the roof. To my suprise, it was butchered by somebody and had tons of mud in it. Don't know how I missed that one. The car almost got scrapped at that point, but I remembered a nice sunroof car in another local yard and took the roof section home one day. Replace the roof skin and even leaded it back in like the factory. Just the body has taken a bit over a year now.

Guess what I'm trying to say is projects can snowball really bad and really quick. It takes a LOT for me to scrap a car, especially an original GT350 (even though it's just a GT with a stripe kit). Even though it almost got scrapped, I didn't have much money into it at all, just gotta get lucky, I guess. One thing though, I really really enjoyed bringing this one back to life and can't wait to get the drive train done so I can drive it. Even though I would hate to see another go to the crusher, I feel parting this one out to save another would be in its best interest. Just a pic to show what can be done with a rusty pile of junk and the willingness to keep going no matter how bleak it's future seems :).
 

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Alldegree

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I've been watching your thread. I don't know where you are located (probably missed that part), but around here (Wisconsin) cars like that are normal. I see no reason you couldn't get $600 for that. There are probably a LOT of good parts on that body yet.

I wasn't going to do this, but here's my thoughts...

If you don't have a welder and possibly people that will help and guide you along, sell it. Whether it's parting it out or selling for parts as a whole. You won't have this done correctly by next spring...maybe the spring after that. The work that car needs is extremely labor intensive and can get very expensive to do it right. Not saying it can't be done, but you may get overwhelmed once you get into it. If you have the time now and the space, you could part it out and save all the good stuff for another. Take lots of pictures for reference.

I wanted to tell you this from personal experience. If you really enjoy projects like this, it can be a ton of fun. If you've never done anything like this, part it or sell it. I picked up a '84 GT350 last summer that needed a ton of attention. Put the car on a lift and dug into it before I decided to buy it. The car needed front frame rails, doors, hood, hatch, floor pans, rear pan, and more. I got lucky that I found another car with a near perfect front in a local scrapyard and cut it off and replaced it. Found a local guy with all the bolt-on sheet metal at great prices. Had floor pans, front frame and all rust fixed correctly, then I started to work on the roof. To my suprise, it was butchered by somebody and had tons of mud in it. Don't know how I missed that one. The car almost got scrapped at that point, but I remembered a nice sunroof car in another local yard and took the roof section home one day. Replace the roof skin and even leaded it back in like the factory. Just the body has taken a bit over a year now.

Guess what I'm trying to say is projects can snowball really bad and really quick. It takes a LOT for me to scrap a car, especially an original GT350 (even though it's just a GT with a stripe kit). Even though it almost got scrapped, I didn't have much money into it at all, just gotta get lucky, I guess. One thing though, I really really enjoyed bringing this one back to life and can't wait to get the drive train done so I can drive it. Even though I would hate to see another go to the crusher, I feel parting this one out to save another would be in its best interest. Just a pic to show what can be done with a rusty pile of junk and the willingness to keep going no matter how bleak it's future seems :).
That looks fantastic, those torq-thrust wheels really fit well with that car.

If I had any skill at all with a welder, this whole project would be easier (or at least a lot less impossible). I'm in the suburban Chicagoland area, so I know exactly what you're talking about with the rust. Cars made within the past decade or two are usually ok, but anything older than that has at least one hole in it somewhere.
 

CarMichael Angelo

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As much as I hate to admit it, you're probably right, but I still can't make up my mind for some reason. The stubborn and emotional part of me is convinced that this is all very simple and I'll be able to round up a few friends to help me and get the whole thing swapped by spring. The other more rational part of me says my friends don't have time for my crappy projects and I should sell it for parts and save up for something less ambitious, maybe one from 86-93. I've heard the EFI systems on those are easier to tune and performance parts are a little easier to find. I'm also looking at baja bugs and miatas, but those are for different forums :D.

I listed it for sale on facebook marketplace for $600, making it clear that it was for parts, and within five minutes of posting I got a message from a guy who wanted to buy it and pick it up immediately. I then asked him if he read the description and looked at the pictures of the rust and he said "Oh yeah, just noticed that..." and backed out of the deal.

Then I pulled the ad because I was having second thoughts and wanted to think about it more.

Is 600 a fair price, or should I have gone lower?
Here..we put this one here just for you..:bang:

A pro painter, an experienced chassis fabricator, and several others here with years of experience are telling you that the car is a disaster, and you keep right on heading for the cliff.

Just from the pictures you can see doors, floors and that front subframe are all lost. In cars this badly gone, that hatch, the door hinge bulk heads, and more than likely the rear subframe and floor will be just as bad. This isn't something that a "few friends working on it over the winter" will change..

The previous reply is telling you that that is a normal condition for rust belt cars...and that's absolutely correct, but that doesn't change one thing about the fact that because it's normal, this car is done.

Here,...before you spend one dime, or one more minute on this car, consider this:

Almost every car that has lived it's life in the south, or southwest..doesn't have this problem. I'm not suggesting you buy a car like this, and I am only using it for this example but it makes my point..
g1r2-jpg.jpg

I live in the south, yet I had this car shipped to me from Arizona. It was a perfectly running car when it came. I drive the thing from the parking lot it was offloaded in to my home to take this pic.I didn't use one single thing on the car except the glass, chassis, and sheetmetal. I threw away the interior, the engine, trans, rear end, brakes, and chassis electrical. By the time I was done all I had left was a non-rolling chassis. My initial cost on this car was 1100.00, and it cost me 600 more to get it to me. Bottom line cost was 1700 for a car that almost nobody here wants..I didn't care about that because all I wanted from this car was an absolutely rust free starting point.

Everything that bolts on a car can be replaced easily.. id take a dead non running car with a good body over a rusted out mess like you have every single day.

All this to say ( my last time doing so) Bail on this car. Instead of getting your buddies together for an attempted rustectomy, get them all together for a drive to the southern part of the US, and bring back something that 20 Minnesota winters didn't destroy.
 

74stang2togo

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As much as I hate to admit it, you're probably right, but I still can't make up my mind for some reason. The stubborn and emotional part of me is convinced that this is all very simple and I'll be able to round up a few friends to help me and get the whole thing swapped by spring.
Here..we put this one here just for you..:bang:

A pro painter, an experienced chassis fabricator, and several others here with years of experience are telling you that the car is a disaster, and you keep right on heading for the cliff.
Mike's right. In this thread, that I know of, you have an actual automotive restoration expert and professional painter ( @Davedacarpainter ), someone who tows cars to and is in shops daily ( @General karthief ), an ASE-certified automotive technician (myself), an AMAZING fabricator/welder/customizer ( @CarMichael Angelo ), an actual engineer (@Mustang5L5 ), someone else who has done extensive rust repair on a fox, but it wasn't anywhere near as bad as what you've got, and even he's saying use it as a donor ( @LILCBRA ), all telling you THIS CAR AIN'T SALVAGEABLE.

That doesn't even take into account the guys I don't know any of the background of who agree with us. Up until now, everyone's been nice and polite in telling you to learn from your mistake and move on. That stops right here.

The cold hard truth on that car is that nothing short of a complete stripping to a bare shell, sandblasting on a rotiserrie, and then welding in new metal where all of the holes show up is going to fix it correctly, it's that far gone. You've got rot in the floorpan where it meets the subframe, meaning you have rust above, and possibly into the subframe. You've got a strut tower that's so far gone that I'm frankly amazed the strut hasn't shot through the hood yet, and though it hasn't, I'm fairly sure the metal around that hole has deformed from the stress it's under due to the lack of structural integrity (in layman's terms, even if you patch the hole, it's going to be a bitch to get an alignment done on it, and it'll still be structurally weak). That passenger side door is rotted in two at the bottom, that seam is gone. The right rear quarter has visible rust, including penetrating rust, all the way from the tail lamp to the door itself, and that's not including what likely lurks inside the wheelwell and/or under the paint. As bad as the visible rust is, there's a REALLY good chance there's even worse lurking where you can't see on a car this bad. I'm willing to bet I could poke my pocket screwdriver right through some of the panels that still look good from the outside because the paint is probably all that's intact in a few places. A rotiserrie restoration's going to set you back tens of thousands of dollars, not a few thousand, not even the $12k that shop you visited quoted you.

If you're a beginner, this project isn't for you. The reason that shop quoted you $12,000 is because they didn't want the work. They knew what they were looking at, and wanted to blow you out of the water with a price you'd be so shell-shocked at, or would be so far out of your budget, that you'd move on to the next and let them get back to work they could make money on. I do the same thing to customers that bring totalled garbage to me, I get them out of my hair and move on to something that will make me money. It's the polite thing to do.

So either use it as a parts car, or sell it as a parts car, but either way, move on. You let emotions cloud your judgement when you bought this rust pile, (and trust me, I understand completely, the "74" in "74stang2togo" was a '74 Mustang II in nearly as bad of shape as your fox that I bought as a teenager back when I didn't know :poo:. I kept making the stupid emotional decision to keep trying to fix the damned thing, an eventually parted it out when I realized how over my head I was), and continuing to let emotions cloud your thinking is just going to cost you time and money you'll never get back.
 
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LILCBRA

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After reading some more replies and your own hesitation to rid yourself of this overwhelming project, maybe we could offer suggestions on how you could recoup some of your money by parting it out individually in a fairly quick fashion. Then you could still possibly part the shell OR sell it to a scrapper. You may or may not get what you've paid, but you'll at least not be completely out the full $1k. Maybe others will chime in with their thoughts, but here's my list off the top of my head:

Engine, transmission, front bumper cover with the side extensions, tail lights, seats, maybe the dash and gauges if they're in good shape (especially that dash pad if it's in good shape!), Wheels, tail lights, door panels, and center console. You could then keep what you like for another project, maybe rent a storage facility or something temporarily, and find another more useable body to transplant all or part of this. Or sell the pieces. It would be totally your call, but you'd at least get rid of the carcass that you haven't the time or skills to take care of.

Like I said, if I was looking at the same thing you were talking about with that 86 you mentioned, and I had the extra cash, I'd come up to Chicago and take it all off your hands and I'd probably do exactly what I'm saying here. The upside for me is that I have the place to store everything. I don't think that $600 is a horrible asking price for a GT parts car of that year.....
 
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Alldegree

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Thank you all again for the replies/advice, just wanted to give a quick update.

After a few swift kicks in the pants from you guys as well as my parents, I've come to my senses and decided to list the car for sale, for real this time. Still with the 600 asking price.

After thinking about what everyone has said, and what a burden a drawn out project would be to myself and my parents, I'm ready to let this one go and pick up something else that I can enjoy from the beginning, and that I could take with me when I move out. This is technically my first car that I've ever owned myself, and it does look pretty awesome, so I think my judgement was clouded by the experience of finally owning a classic car, regardless of it's condition.

But that's pretty much worn off, so it's time for this thing to disappear before I start getting strongly worded letters from my neighborhood's HOA. I'll post again when it sells, but it looks like this adventure is almost over.
 

LX Dave

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I think when you sell this one and find a solid car to build, you'll be much happier in the end. Chalk this one up to a learning experience, as many of us have had.