Hi. About to be new 76 owner. Many Questions

russosborne

Member
Nov 15, 2009
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Glendale, AZ, USA
Hi all.

I am getting a 1976 Mustang II Ghia this Saturday. I have been involved in vintage mustangs for many years, but am a newbie to the II's (except for having owned one back in 1982 for a few months. So I apologize in advance if any of these are too basic or just plain stupid. :rlaugh:

The car I am getting is a project. No engine or trans. Lots of rust, but just how much I won't know for a while. I couldn't really get under it. But the fender aprons are pretty bad.

Which leads to question number one. What if any sheet metal is being reproduced and where can I find it? You can almost build a brand new vintage mustang these days, even before the Dynacorn bodies came out, just from replacement panels. I am thinking from the searching I have been doing that with the II's that isn't the case.

Second question. I was doing some internet reading the other night and one sort of history type sight mentioned that the front subframe on these is bolted on, as opposed to being welded on like the older Mustangs. True or false? Not having the car yet I can't just go out and look. :)

Third question. This car originally had a V6. Again doing some searching I have found that some people say that means the rear is an 8 inch, and other places say maybe not. I did try to look and see (and even feel) and it sure felt like the typical 8 inch housing, not with a bolted on rear cover plate like the 6 and 3/4 like is on my Pinto.

Fourth question(re the fender aprons/inner fenders). On the older Mustangs these are pretty critical structures especiall since the shock towers attach. Now I know that the II's don't have shock towers, but does that mean that they aren't as critical? In other words, how worried do I need to be when repairing or replacing them? If all they really do is hold the fenders and such, I wouldn't stress over making sure they are perfect(would most likely want to replace them anyway, but being in Ohio the odds of finding anything better locally aren't good).

Fifth and Sixth questions. Subframes. I also read that these don't really have a rear subframe like the older cars. True or false? Again, another one that if I had the car here I could run out and look. Also along those lines how about subframe connectors? On the older Mustangs they are pretty important if you want to run decent horsepower plus they just add a lot of structural integrity. I have seen "Stubby's" (or something like that). Are they worth it on these cars? I am not sure if I would use those or make some of my own. I have lots of ideas from my vintage Mustang years that I would like to carry over.

I am sure that I will have many more questions later on. Right now my goals are just to get the car here in my garage and start disassembling it. Just how much rust it is going to have is a concern. But I have no real deadlines on this, it is meant to be something to work on when I feel like it and to be a destresser in my life. So there is no rush. :nice:

Thanks all
Russ
 
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78CobraII

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Jul 31, 1998
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Russ, welcome to MII ownership! The Mustang II circle is pretty tightly knit, so if you have questions, you will usually find help here or we will find you help elsewhere. Another good thing is that many of the members here also post on the other MII forums.

Rule No 1 for restoring a Mustang II is the same as for any Mustang only more so...start with the least rust you can afford. The reason is that there are far fewer MII sheetmetal parts in reproduction than for the classic Mustangs. As far as I know, the only sheetmetal parts in reproduction for the MII are floorpans and rear (outer) fenders. Everything else must be sourced NOS or used.

2. The MII front suspension crossmember is welded in. I've seen a pics of one being cut out for street rod use, and there were so many layers to cut through that I don't know why you would want to. I read one report of a MII front suspension crossmember coming off in a towing situation (on the U-Haul web site?), but I just can't imagine how that would happen. There is a bolt-on structure jokingly called the "toilet seat" by many MII owners which is an isolation cradle that carries the forces from the strut rods back into the frame rails under the passenger cabin, but it is really solidly mounted also.

3. The 2.8 V6 should usually have the 8" rear. The early ones usually have good ratio's (3.00 or 3.55). The later ones will be much taller (2.89). The 8" rear for the MII is very similar to earlier Mustangs except for the flange ends which have a unique bolt pattern. And of course the 4-lug bolt pattern is unique (until the Foxes came out anyway).

4. I've seen a lot of drag racing MII's with the front aprons/inner fenders completely cut away (for headers), but I wouldn't want to do this with a street car. Apparently most of the suspension load is carried through the front frame rails into the floorpan. It is very common for the battery tray to rust out and take some of the inner fender with it (they are welded together). As long as the frame rails are unaffected, just clean up the rust and weld in a patch. I've seen a repair of that area with a NOS inner fender, and it was at least as bad as the classic Mustang cowl repair. With a coupe, a trunk mounted battery is usually a good idea, especially with a V8 engine.

5. & 6. MII's have a front subframe just like previous Mustangs, but no rear subframe (just a flange where several panels are welded together). However sub frame connectors are just as important with a MII as for any other Mustang. In our case they just connect the tail of the front subframe with the bolt-on plate that holds the front eye of the rear leaf spring. There is a guy that makes these with a company named Stumpy's Fabrication. Or you can get a local fab shop to make a set of "through the floor" connectors. The lack of a rear frame rail is only really a problem if you are trying to connect parts meant for a '65 Mustang like under-rider traction bars. Ask me how I know... :)

There are several vendors that specialize in breaking MII's up for salvage, so its possible to get quite good used panels. They usually have a pile of spot welds to drill out, so they are not cheap, but don't let that stop you from saving a rusty MII.

The entry price to our hobby is usually low, but the fun is in finding and modifying parts on the cheap!

What kind of a restoration do you have in mind? Factory, RestoMod, or all-out Custom? The 2.8 V6 can make good horsepower with some modding, or you can swap in a later 2.9L EFI V6, or a later 4.0L OHV EFI V6 from a Ranger, or even a SHO V6 if you are wanting something wild. Or a 5.0L V8 of any flavor is an easy swap with a new set of engine stands and engine mounts.

Keep us up to date!
 

russosborne

Member
Nov 15, 2009
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Glendale, AZ, USA
Thanks for the welcome.

Who is repro'ing the floors? I haven't come across any yet in my searching. I am hoping that I won't need any, but would like to know just in case.

The article I read about the bolt on subframe meant the whole thing, not just the crossmember. Like the early Camaros and Novas where you can actually remove the entire front end by unbolting. Seeing as how the II's have the aprons welded to the firewall and subframe (I think, to be honest I didn't look that close) that wouldn't seem to be right. But it wouldn't be the first time I have come across bad info on the web. :)

Re the 8 inch rear. I have read that it needs some mods to fit say an older Mustang 5 lug axle and brakes. Something about grinding the flange? Hadn't heard about the difference in the bolt pattern. Is this a fairly big deal? If I get the Ranger drums, is there an issue if I use the 65/66 Mustang 5 lug axles? Do those axles actaully fit without mods?

I already planned on a trunk mounted battery, especially since this has a trunk (vs a hatchback like my Pinto(79 beater, 4cyl auto, but it is a decent daily driver until the snow hits).
I don't know what shape the actual front frame is in. Once I get the car home this weekend I plan on starting to disassemble and look for rust. That I can do without spending any money. Already on notice from my wife. :) (to be fair, she is out of work right now, so I agree about spending)
Hoping I can patch the aprons. I don't really know how to weld, but I have a mig capable welder (lincoln 100 HD) that I will need to get the mig kit for. I don't mind learning on the car, I just don't want to attempt any critical type stuff until I get the hang of it.

If I go the through the floor route for subframes, where would I attach to at the rear? Again, once I get the car I imagine I could see. But where do others do it to? And is it a straight shot, or more like the older Mustangs with a bend?

I am planning some sort of resto mod. My current thinking is a mix of Pro Street and Corner Carving. I know that isn't a great mix. But I like the look of the Pro Street(but I doubt I will be tubbing the rear) while being able to take at least freeway corners and such at a decent speed. Don't anticipate this being any sort of track car. Just a quick car with good handling.
Most likely the engine will be some sort of Ford V8. Probably just a 302, but I have always liked the 351C's, and that would be fun. But a stroked 302 would be much simpler. That is going to be quite a ways down the road though. I am thinking a couple of years at least just for rust and stuff.

Russ
 

78CobraII

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Jul 31, 1998
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I swear I saw floorpans at MustangsUnilimted.com, but darned if they are there now... Anybody?

I believe that the "Ordering Axles" sticky at the top of the board has all you need on installing axles. The Ranger drums are a definate.

The front leaf spring mount is actually a plate that bolts to the bottom of the floor. Its a pretty stout piece. I've seen one guy build a "box" on the front of the plate to connect to a set of under-the-floor subframe connectors. I know there are a couple of MII owners with through-the-floor subframe connectors, but I don't think I've seen pics of how they connect to the leaf spring mount.

Your Pro Street look may have to be limited to a set of slicks and skinny front tires. ;)
 

russosborne

Member
Nov 15, 2009
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Glendale, AZ, USA
With my luck stuff that was being repro'd isn't anymore. I keep going places to get something I saw years ago and need now and it isn't made anymore. Kind of the story of my life. :cry: and :rlaugh:

Not going to be running slicks or real skinny front tires. That is one of the compromises I will have to make to keep it a good handling car. But who knows what will really happen down the road? But it will be getting a roll cage. Maybe a fuel cell. I would like to keep the trunk usable, but if I have to replace the gas tank anyway, why not. I live about 10 minutes from Summit Racing here in Ohio. :D:D:D No shipping charges.

This is being a really long week. I really want to get this car home and start on it. While I don't have a real time frame, I am 50 and would like to finish it while I can still drive. :D

Thanks,
Russ
 

russosborne

Member
Nov 15, 2009
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Glendale, AZ, USA
A person on a vintage mustang site reminded me about Sherman auto body parts in Michigan. They do have some Mustang II stuff including floors. I have the link but not sure if it is allowed to be posted. But a search on them will bring it up. And no, I am not associated with them at all. wish I was, I can't afford them right now. Although they may not have anything I need anyway, since I don't know yet what I need. :)

Russ
 

Wart

I'm Mad as HELL and I'M not Gonna Take it ANYMORE!
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Sep 1, 1998
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NE Ohio
Which leads to question number one. What if any sheet metal is being reproduced and where can I find it?
:shrug:

And God knows I hope I don't need to find out about replacement fenders. :rlaugh:

You can almost build a brand new vintage mustang these days, even before the Dynacorn bodies came out, just from replacement panels.
For the last couple of decades or longer.

Second question. I was doing some internet reading the other night and one sort of history type sight mentioned that the front subframe on these is bolted on, as opposed to being welded on like the older Mustangs. True or false?
Both.

The 'frame' itself is spot welded.

The radius arm and forward rear cross member bracket are bolted to the spot welded frame.

Third question. This car originally had a V6. Again doing some searching I have found that some people say that means the rear is an 8 inch, and other places say maybe not.
Far as I know the V6 had the 8".


Fourth question(re the fender aprons/inner fenders). On the older Mustangs these are pretty critical structures especiall since the shock towers attach. Now I know that the II's don't have shock towers, but does that mean that they aren't as critical?
As critical?

:shrug:

I wouldn't remove them or want a car without them.


but being in Ohio the odds of finding anything better locally aren't good).
Akron?

Fifth and Sixth questions. Subframes. I also read that these don't really have a rear subframe like the older cars. True or false?
Once again both.

There is a pieced together structure with an open bottom that could be considered a frame. If a 'frame' has to be 'boxed' or a single piece then this isn't a frame.


Again, another one that if I had the car here I could run out and look. Also along those lines how about subframe connectors? On the older Mustangs they are pretty important if you want to run decent horsepower plus they just add a lot of structural integrity. I have seen "Stubby's" (or something like that). Are they worth it on these cars? I am not sure if I would use those or make some of my own. I have lots of ideas from my vintage Mustang years that I would like to carry over.
Some of the connectors available require parts of the unibody to be beaten out of the way.

I'm not a fan of the hammer.

The rear spring shoe can be reinforced.
 

HaveII

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Sep 9, 2001
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Welcome Russ! Congrats on the new II! I would highly recommend the frame connectors made by Stumpy and think the are definately worth it! I did not realize how much flex was in these cars until I installed a set on my last II. I recently picked up a new project II myself and the first thing I purchased was the frame connectors and the lift bars. They fit great, no hammer required and a very reasonably priced in my opinion. I hope this does not sound like a plug as I have never met him, just extremely pleased with his products and service. Let me know if you need contact information and I will be glad to forward it to you.
 

russosborne

Member
Nov 15, 2009
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Glendale, AZ, USA
:

Far as I know the V6 had the 8".


As critical?

:shrug:

I wouldn't remove them or want a car without them.




Akron?



Once again both.

There is a pieced together structure with an open bottom that could be considered a frame. If a 'frame' has to be 'boxed' or a single piece then this isn't a frame.




Some of the connectors available require parts of the unibody to be beaten out of the way.

I'm not a fan of the hammer.

The rear spring shoe can be reinforced.
Again, brain isn't working, so I will just try to answer down here.

Almost everything I have seen does say the V6 had the 8 inch rear. There was one site that said "maybe". So I just was double checking. Pretty sure mine has it.

Aprons being critical? Well, I don't want to remove them permanently either. Just wondering if I can just patch up the ones on the car with less than the best quality (i.e. MINE) welding, or if I should wait until I get really good. I would be doing some ojt of the welding while doing them at this point. Just looking for options at this point. They may be so far gone that I will have to replace them. If I have to do that, I would wait until I got good at welding.

Yep, Akron. Firestone Park to be exact.

Re the rear "subframe" or lack thereof. I need to learn these cars and forget the vintage year Mustang stuff I think. Going to be really confusing for me until I do. :p

Thanks,
Russ
 

russosborne

Member
Nov 15, 2009
93
0
6
Glendale, AZ, USA
Welcome Russ! Congrats on the new II! I would highly recommend the frame connectors made by Stumpy and think the are definately worth it! I did not realize how much flex was in these cars until I installed a set on my last II. I recently picked up a new project II myself and the first thing I purchased was the frame connectors and the lift bars. They fit great, no hammer required and a very reasonably priced in my opinion. I hope this does not sound like a plug as I have never met him, just extremely pleased with his products and service. Let me know if you need contact information and I will be glad to forward it to you.
Thanks!
I have found his web site. They do look promising. Once I get to that point(after I know the car is savable) I will be contacting him for some details on them. Pictures are nice, but things like material used, how they mount, etc are important too. For instance, I would like them to actually fit inside the front frame rails, not just weld to the ends. Thickness of tubing. That sort of stuff. From what I have seen so far, it looks like it is either his or build your own. I came across references to some made by South Side Machine, but looks like they are out of business.

I am not sold on the lift bars though. They "seem" too much like the old style traction bars by lakewood or mr gasket. At least in my experience (second hand by others more informed anyway) on the vintage mustangs at least that isn't the best choice. Course, again, that may be the only choice we II'ers have right now. I just don't know.

No rush though, by the time I am ready and have money, maybe someone else will be selling everything I need. :lol:

Russ
 
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