Progress Thread Time For A Revival Of My '91 Gt


Active Member
Jun 28, 2005
Buffalo, NY
Hey everyone, long time since I have been on here. Very long. I still have my 1991 GT hatch and it is time to bring her back to life! I am very excited.

Long story short, while I still frequented this forum, I managed to snap my crankshaft. I rebuilt the motor that winter and was able to run it for a couple minutes to ensure I didn't botch the job(I set it up just enough to get it to run, it had a few vacuum leaks iirc, etc). Since then I hadn't had the time or finances to put the rest of it back together and get it back on the street. I went back to school, graduated, got a good job and moved away from home, so it just sat at my parents.

Last fall I finally got the car back, I had to 'bribe' my friend with beer and gas money to tow her to my place. That weekend it snowed, for the first time of the season, over a foot.

Our hellishly long winter was only made longer by having to wait to work on her until she thawed out. I know, I know there is garage space directly behind the thing... I don't own the garage(landlord) and it was, and still is, filled with motorcycles and a Miata that has no roof.

Finally however the snow started to melt about a month ago. I finally wasn't overwhelmed with being out of town with work so I got to wrenching last week/end while it was gorgeous out.

I had a slight head start on fixing the biggest hindrance on the car's life, the misaligned starter, with the driveshaft already removed. It has plagued me for a couple years now(last time I got under her.) I would make sure everything was setup right, have the starter where it was supposed to be and as I torqued it down, it would pitch away from the flywheel causing there to not be enough engagement of the starter gear and the flywheel. I blame it mostly on the two bolt design which allows it to rotate at all relative to the bellhousing & flywheel. However, the dust cover is also old and not quite as flat as it should be so I started there.

Only hiccup I hit was getting the bellhousing off, I used a bit of PB Blaster and a nice rubber mallet and it eventually came off but not unscathed. Not the end of the world as that is the alignment hole location that broke off a piece. I didn't get a picture of the less than straight dust cover but it was pretty messed up, especially around the starter hole. I just ordered one last night and should have it by next week.

Thanks for having me back and I hope to have more to add to this recovery soon!

TL;DR I am restoring my once glorious 91 GT back to life after a long hiatus.
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Not much of an update as it was rainy/snowy yesterday but you want pics? I'll give you some pics! Just for relative overall condition of the car.

Exterior: Needs a bit of work, a few scrapes and even after a good wash a couple weeks ago it is still very dirty.

Interior: I laugh about it, I was supposed to weld subframe connectors the weekend after the motor blew and so the interior was stripped out and never put back in. It needs a good cleaning and has some extra parts I accumulated while owning it as well.

Condition: Still no severe rust considering I made the mistake of driving it during one good and salty New York winter. Mostly just surface rust that I plan on brushing off and sealing/painting or protecting in one way or another.
Good quarters
A little crusty around the rear
and a little around the subframe ends
By far the ugliest section of the car, it needs a ton of work to be pretty. I will get to that after she moves under her own power. More when I get it!
Yea, I have been itching to do it each summer since I got my job but I just didn't have the time and means to tow it 6 hours. I am just glad to have it close to home again and the ability to work on it at will.

As for plans, right off is troubleshoot the starter issue, redo the vacuum lines and just get it mobile. I haven't driven it in about 4 years, right after I rebuilt the motor and decided to drive it around the block before finishing it up. After that the flood gates will open. I will likely start with simply cleaning it up a lot before dipping into more mods. Cleaning/tiding the engine bay as best I can and replacing any interior that is beyond just reassembly and cleaning. Then it will be time for the track and eventually a, TBD, H/C/I setup with any necessary supporting mods. It has been a while since I have read up on what is available and while I doubt too much has changed, I would like to find a nice middle ground between daily driver and streetable track car setup for it. As I would only track it a couple times a year and mostly just enjoy it during nice days to work or for drives around.
Alrighty then. I received the new dust cover yesterday while at work. I was antsy as hell to get home to put it all back together. Here is the new vs old picture of said dust cover as well as a solo shot to show how bent out of shape the old one is.



I got as far as beginning to install the starter but then it got real windy and rainy so I called it a day despite my anxiety. I am hopeful, however, that this will do the trick with the starter alignment issue. I was able to get the bottom bolt in and snugged it up to see if it would angle out like with the old dust cover and it didn't. *crosses fingers* Here are a few shots of my process.
I lined everything up so I could just grab and go. I had my tools and thread locker ready to go as well.


Before I put the flywheel in I also did a once over on it, removed any of the surface rust along the edges. I only did the edges since the surface is still quite clean. I did notice about 18 teeth that showed some wear but nothing major except for one or two of them. This is likely due one or more of my many failed previous attempts to get the starter to align. I decided to proceed with this flywheel since only one or two of them are maybe bad enough to give me trouble, I hope. Opinions welcome on this subject.
It only took me a minute to remember how much 'fun' it is getting the flywheel & pressure plate all lined up without dropping it on your face but I took my time and didn't have too much trouble.

It is supposed to be rainy and windy for the next week so I probably won't find suitable time to work on it but I am looking forward to getting this thing started once again!

Oh and here is my dog guarding me while I work. He knows I am vulnerable I suppose, ha.
Weather turned out to be manageable last night. It was windy as all hell but no rain and a dry ground so I got back to it. I put that damn starter in, hooked up the battery and gave it a test crank. Sounded better than it had in a long time. Here is the nice flush mounted starter, what a relief.
20140429 Mustang Starter Aligned.jpeg

I hooked up the coil and gave it another crank. It started right up! It lives! A bit rough, but I ran the motor for about a minute having to use the pedal to hold the RPMs up enough to keep it from stalling, one thing at a time but it was a good feeling to hear that motor again.

I started to get the transmission cleaned up to toss it back in but I didn't get to it yesterday. Next weeks task, but I feel I am getting kinda close.
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I finally got the transmission, driveshaft and exhaust all back in. The exhaust isn't very neat but I have a feeling I am going to replace it when I get the car nearer to road ready. I got a new belt for it as well as a new negative battery cable, which managed to lose it's connector somehow. I moved the car around a bit, I can pull it into the garage now that it moves, which is nice. Here are a few snapshots I took of everything.

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Next up is vacuum lines and not to much of my surprise, a brake line. A small puddle showed up after turning the car around but fortunately the (first or only if I am lucky) line that blew was the one between the master cylinder and the proportioning valve. I just keep telling myself, one day at a time.
Hah, in that video I still have the cat-back removed. As for what was attached it is just BBK short headers and catless h-pipe. Yesterday I didn't get much done. I only bolted the fan and shroud back in. I took pictures but we've all seen those factory components. It is supposed to be thunderstorming the remainder of the week so I likely won't get anywhere until this weekend. In the meantime I will find some parts to move forward.
Hah, I didn't have the cat-back hooked up for that video. As for what is hooked up I have BBK shorty headers and a catless H-Pipe. As for progress yesterday, I didn't get much done. I only reinstalled the radiator shroud and fan. Weather looks like thunderstorms all week so not much will get done. In the mean time I need to get some more stuff for it anyway.
Also, oh hell yea it is. I remember when this was my only car and the clutch disintegrated on my drive home from work once. It was my first time rpm match shifting so I could get home and I was up until wee hours of the morning after scavenging a clutch kit from a friend. But those were the days. It was somewhat fun working on it frantically. At least that's how I want to look back on it, ha.
Weather this weekend was super nice, a little chilly but manageable so I got to tinkering some more.

I didn't have time to get any stuff I needed to get crackin' on the vacuum lines but I scoped it out. Looks like the only thing that wasn't hooked in or in this case is just broken is what I believe is the Canister Purge. Pictured above in post 11 with the broken vacuum tee. Would this being the only broken vacuum line cause idle issues? Or is it likely I have a phantom leak somewhere (joy)?

Other than that I got some small stuff done like cleaning and other stuff that has been needing to be done for years. First off after sitting so long what was still installed for my interior had begun to get moldy. I took some rags and very mild bleach cleaner spray to get it all off. What a difference it made. It still needs some more cleaning but it looks so much better.

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My driver side seat bracket had broken before I owned the car, I can't even think of how... But the previous owner welded it back together, poorly and it broke again a few years ago. Also the mount bracket under the seat ripped out somehow as well. Either way I finally had the motivation and tools to fix it.

DISCLAIMER:It has been years since I have welded and I think the wire feed was erratic on the machine but I couldn't get a clean bead rolling, I'm going to blame the equipment dag nabit! Again don't judge the welds too harshly... I am sure I will have to do this again in the future.
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Last thing I did was start to look for vacuum leaks so I pulled the upper intake off to have a look. As I mentioned above, nothing obvious other than the canister purge. I have mixed emotions on just redoing the entire vacuum system but I also want to make sure that's the actual problem I am having. Either way I took the liberty to clean up the upper intake and engine compartment of the stash of acorn shells damn rodents! I also wanted to clean up the 5.0 HO plague a bit as most of the painted section was worn off. I didn't have the proper knife to trim the tape around the 5.0/Ford/HO lettering so I will do that another time but here is the difference, looks way better.

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Same with the upper intake.

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Also considerably better. More progress this week hopefully. Tires will be ordered this week as well. Might I mention it is hard to find good summer tires for factory ponies! Unless you all know of anything. I am sticking with some better quality all seasons. I am leaning towards Kuhmo's for relative cheapness and decent quality. Tires certainly won't be my limiting factor at the track this year.
It was pretty easy actually. I just borrowed my friends wire wheel, wore down the crusty aluminum and chipping paint, taped the whole thing up with painters tape. Cut the lines with a razor blade and peeled those sections of tape off. Lastly apply a few coats of whatever color paint you want.

The Ford logo I kind of want to paint the proper blue with a fine tip brush and the 5.0 & HO in the same glossy black. I think it will make for a nice centerpiece when I get the engine bay cleaned up some.