Progress Thread Working on something else...rant included

droopie85gt

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Dec 26, 2016
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I've been on here a while and thought I would post a thread on my 85 over here. I've been primarily on Another since I bought this car about 7 or 8 years ago.
History: I got divorced and decided I needed another hot rod. My brother and I had previously had a pretty hard core back half 83 Regal with a methanol injected 455 Buick in it that ran 10's. I knew I didn't have money to do that all over again, PLUS I wanted something to his the cruise ins and just drive.
I found this 85 over in Knoxville (7 hr drive) and drove it home. It already had a bunch of good parts like 5 lug conversion, 86 up dual exhaust, BBK equal length shorties, Weiand Stealth, alum. driveshaft, clean interior, SVO sail panels and 97 Cobra wheels. I quickly ditched the quirky Holley and put an Edelbrock 650 on it and an Innovate LC-1 to tune it. With a purchase of a tune up kit and some metering rods that weren't in the kit, I had it running pretty good. I drove it 2 years like that.


But, like most other hot rodders, I couldn't leave well enough alone. I pulled the shortblock and reringed it and got rid of the ported E7's for some ProComp heads and BBK long tubes. The 89 shortblock already had had the pistons notched for the healthy cam already in it, but I bumped up a hair to a TFS Stage 2 cam. As I got it, it dyno'd 275/275ish at the tires and ran 9.21 in the 8th and best of 14.40 in the 1/4. After all the upgrades, I never dyno'd it, but it ran an 8.51 in the 8th. I put Maximum Motorsports full length subframe connectors on it and put upper torque box reinforcements in when I saw a crack. I got rid of the Cobra wheels and put the Bullits on it. Along the way I picked up a PURPLE fiberglass hood.

Then for some reason, I decided I wanted EFI. I swapped out the tank for an EFI tank. I swapped the guts of an early gas gauge sender to a 87-93 sender so my gauges, which are Nordskog digital, would read correctly. I found a open but never used Holley Commander 950 TBI setup cheap on EBAY. I wired it all in, not bad, but with the thought that if that thing actually worked, I would go back and redo the wiring and do a wire tuck while cleaning a ton of unused stuff up. Funny how that worked out. I had fun messing with the efi for a while, and then found a great deal on a used Avenger setup, which is bascially the same TBI with a Holley HP ECU. I'll get to installing that someday.

In the interim, life got in the way. Slow times at work led to pay cuts. When I recovered from that, shoulder surgery. It seemed life was getting in the way. I had ended up with a 2600 sq ft house in 2005 when I got divorced. I never could sell it. I almost walked away. If I would have, I probably would have recovered my credit by now and HAD A TON more money to throw at this thing. But I didn't. I've gotten remarried and then all the things a single guy doesn't worry so much about, like wall colors, stained carpets, lack of tile, etc, came to the forefront. I've recently started a new job and think it is going to be very rewarding. I've still got the majority of the downstairs floors to redo, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I've been hoarding parts as I find them and I have started work on it again after a 2 year patch of just using it as a shelf.

Once I figure out why my NAS is offline, I'll post up some pics of this POS.
 
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General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
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Enough of the fluff, where's the pics! by the way how big is the work space? You know, cause it matters.
I think
Maybe
Not really
Definitely not
What kind of tool box you got? (now that matters!)
 

droopie85gt

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Dec 26, 2016
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Regular 2 car garage. I've got 3 roll around toolboxes in it...2 are my brothers, lol. I'll get you some pics, so you're INFORMED. I finally figured out that Windows 10 disabled SMBv1 and my old NAS is well, OLD. SO I am accessing my photo collection now.
 

droopie85gt

Hookers and Beer for life!
Dec 26, 2016
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Cordova, TN
100_1880.JPG

Pretty much how I got it. It looks good, but the paint is shot. I repainted the trim black, but the clear coat is trash and the roof has 2 rust holes around the sun roof. That's a piece of cardboard under it. I even had to look and go DAMN, what's it leaking?

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A couple of the first things I did was found someone selling an aluminum radiator and chinee black magic fan and installed those. The mechanical fan blades were cracking. And then Summit had a close out on this Nordskog digital panel. I'm not such a fan of it now. I want needles.


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I did even actually drive it. This is at the boat ramp on the Mississippi River in Shelby Forest State Park. circa 2009.

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It looked pretty good here. I should have left well enough alone and just got it repainted. Buuuuut.....NOOOOOOOO!
 

droopie85gt

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Dec 26, 2016
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So off I went without a real plan. I was like a crack addict. I checked the sale sections on Corral and Foureyedpride every 10 minutes and just snatched :poo: up willy nilly. Word of advice....make a plan before you start buying :poo: willy nilly. You'll be on a wild goose chase!
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New wheels. Looks good....but there wasn't anything wrong with the Cobras...and these ultimately aren't what I want on the car!


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I put these horrendous things on because LED ya know.

Then I started the same frenzied buying for the engine. It was leaking everywhere, so the obvious fix was aluminum heads, a scattershield to protect my feet, and a HUGE intake.

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Funnel Web and Procomp heads. I sobered up somehow and just put the Stealth back on and sold the Funnelweb.

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It was pretty grungy!

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Filth. Shame.
 
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droopie85gt

Hookers and Beer for life!
Dec 26, 2016
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Then came cleanliness and a pretty healthy 302 going back in the hole. I did clean and degunk a lot of this. I had plenty of time since I had bought a 302 shortblock off of Craigslist and was pretty much just swapping engines until I started it and found it WAAAAY out of balance. Turned out it was a 1 piece seal block with a 28 oz crank. Who knew? Not me. Since I already had spent the money on 50oz SFI flywheel and balancer and the 5.0 cylinders actually were in great shape, I just bought a set of rings, rod and main bearings, and swapped engines.

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Much cleaner.

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Back in a second time. But I'm never through spending money. Not long after I just couldn't stand those black sheet metal valve covers that actually look pretty good.

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Ebay sheetmetal valve covers to the rescue! They were cheap...like $65 and they leak like it!

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Somewhere around in here I found this beautiful PURPLE hood. Not black with purple pearl like the ad said. Barney Purple. But hey, I like shiny things, right?

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Hey look, Summit has Caster/Camber plates on sale!!!
 

droopie85gt

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Dec 26, 2016
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One of the coolest and best purchases I made were the aerolatches for the hood. No more losing hood pins and it's very easy to tell if they are not latched.

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I did take some time to paint all of the black trim.

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And headlight buckets.
 

droopie85gt

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Dec 26, 2016
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Look ma, longtubes, scattershield and a Canton oil pan.

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Then decided gas mileage on this thing was irrelevant, so I put a 750 double pumper on it.

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I think rolling thru the gears the gas gauge drops as fast the mph goes up!

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I found a bnib T5 close to local for $1,000. It's a T5Z and although this was back before the big price jump, it was still a lot cheaper than new at the time. Good purchase Drew!

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I got my brother to burn in some full length subframe connectors and the upper torque box reinforcements.

While I had the interior out, I put some Cooltec sound deadener in but when I pulled the back seat, I actually found a spot above the rear frame rail rusted out. So that was fixed too.

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droopie85gt

Hookers and Beer for life!
Dec 26, 2016
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Cordova, TN
Applying sound deadener is easier than removing the old factory crap. :fuss:

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And SFC for the doubters:

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Then it was time to try TBI EFI.

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I mounted the ECU under the driver's seat and wired up an output from LC-1 to work as on O2 sensor for closed loop operation. I wired up the fan output to run one of my 2 fans. The other was on a standalone cheapie controller that turned it on a little hotter than the Holley controlled fan and also when the A/C was on.

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I modified the Holley harness to get the fuel pump relay closer to the ECU and then ran the harness out of a hole in the tunnel, just about where that brown stain in front of the seat belt is. I wrapped it in heat resistant convoluted tubing then a DEI heat sleeve. It runs on top of the tranny to the top of the bellhousing behind the engine, so it's pretty hidden.

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droopie85gt

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Dec 26, 2016
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Then came the MSD debacle. When I switched to the Holley Commander, I removed the duraspark box, but left the duraspark distributor in and hooked it to a MSD streetfire box. My thinking was I could just worry about fueling and then switch to a tfi distributor later and control timing.

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This was where not doing things right the first time caught up. Up until this point, the EFI was pretty flawless. It had started right up the very first time I tried. I did have an IAC problem, but that turned out to be a noisy ground on the LC-1 heater circuit. I had tied all my in car things ground together, so LC-1, radio, the smaller C950 ground etc. When I moved that LC-1 heater ground to another location on the body a few feet away that was also jumpered to the engine block, my IAC problems went away. But, trouble was brewing.
I had put several hundred miles on it tuning when one day about 2 miles from home, it sputtered and died and at a stop sign. I couldn't see any fuel spray when I tried to start it, so I assumed the pump in the tank I bought off of ebay had died. So I paid $75 to have it towed home, dropped the tank, replaced the fuel pump and it fired right up. I am a genius right? Wrong.
Maybe 100 miles later, leaving my house, it died just around the corner. Same thing. I walked home to get some tools, and come back and my neighbor is out. We chat and I ask him to get in and crank it over. ZAP. I see an arc on the ground wire of the MSD box, that I had just taken the strands, twisted and wrapped under the coil bracket mounting bolt. That's on a painted surface, no less. Well, I felt like a jack :dead:. So I just went ahead, got a tfi distributor and a pigtail and wired it up without the MSD. And that problem went away until the tfi distributor died. It wasn't the module, so I assumed it was the pickup, so I bought a reman one at the McParts store and that fixed that.
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What's that? That my friends is the tool I made to press the quick disconnect fittings into factory style nylon line. I tried putting the nylon line in boiling water and pushing them in, but that didn't work for :poo:. The silver piece is the clamp out of a double flare tool. The clear line represents the nylon efi hose and the castle nut is the fitting. You use the caulk gun to press them in. It works great and is very fast. Beats the $200 or so they want for the real tool that presses them in.

I used a factory efi filter and then just pieced it to the factory carb feed and return fuel lines. I had one leak, but that was the nylon where I must have cut it with something.

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I used EFI rated hose and clamps up front. The old GM style tbi injectors are low pressure...22psi so this has worked great. One day I plan to get tube adapters and put some braided lines on. But I would have to quit buying other stuff in the meantime!!!!
 
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droopie85gt

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Dec 26, 2016
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I seem to have lost a bunch of photos. I'll have to fire up an old PC and see if they are still on it. Then we'll sit down and talk about more recent happenings. I mean after the 2 or 3 year hibernation it went through.
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
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Well that was satisfying. Good job even of the stuff that was temporary. Looks good , keep it up because I'm watching over your virtual shoulder. I must say your gonna have to convince me about the cobra wheels though.
 
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droopie85gt

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Dec 26, 2016
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@karthief are you saying you do or don't like the Cobra wheels? It's not that I like them more. I just always wanted 10th Anniversary wheels in anthracite. But lately I've had a change of heart. I am thinking something more along these lines:
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Not sure on the color. Maybe it's the decade coming to an end, but black and dark wheels seem so overplayed. I am starting leaning towards shiny. Not chrome, but maybe polished aluminum look. (LOOK...I don't want to polish the damn things all the time) Another problem...this is an 18". I want to stay 17". I think 18 and up starts to look too big on a Fox, but especially on my 85, the front wheel wells are smaller and with the GT front fender extensions, it's very tights.
 
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droopie85gt

Hookers and Beer for life!
Dec 26, 2016
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Cordova, TN
So skipping over a bunch of stuff that would bore you guys, (and since I can't find the rest of my pictures.....:scratch:) We'll pretend it's Monday and we're going to watch a complete football game in 24 minutes.

So my plan now...I actually have a little spiral notebook I keep up with my 'Plan' in...is to change out the Commander 950 for HP TBI efi, remove a bunch of the unused wiring/wire tuck and get rid of the fusible links. One reason I have been sitting still so long, is I couldn't find an appropriately sized fuse block in the yards that also has full size relays. There's some cool aftermarket stuff, but again, I don't have $$$$ to spend.
I hit up the used stuff when it's a smoking deal. I had a small box out of a mid 90's GM front wheel drive, but it only had 2 relays, which would have been fine for the fans, but I want to put my headlights on relays too.
So I found a panel out of an early 90's F body. It was a slim, single row affair and held lots of promise. Until I started cleaning it up and realized it had no buss bar. Everything would have to go to a power point to get power. So you're out General. So, last fall I made ANOTHER trip to the pullapart, just walking from car to car looking at the fuse boxes underhood.
Then low and behold I looked at a 95 Mustang. And there it was. Compact, 4 relays, lots of large fuses (whatever they are called) and the little atc/ato fuses too. With a single power point that's a buss bar for the whole thing. Then I looked and I found the same style box on Crown Vics and mid 90's Thunderbirds. They had 2 different types of mounting brackets. I bought 3 so I could get all of the relay sockets populated and swap out larger gauge wires where needed.
I made a modified bracket to mount it on the drivers side. I'll power it from a megafuse off the solenoid and 4 gauge cable running to it. I also am going to upgrade the 3g alt to a 4g cable to another megafuse.

But to get there, I decided to ditch the whole TSAD (Two Speed Accessory Drive) getup that only 1985 Mustangs were saddled with. I won't bore you, but the cliff notes are the 1985 Mustang was going to have a computer operated planetary gear setup on the crank pulley to switch the accessories to half speed to save gas. It must have gotten so far into production that the electrical for the 85 cars was changed and the ecu and wiring was installed, but at the last minute it was ditched and no cars actually got it. If you look in a 85 EVTM, it shows all that crap. The only thing it actually does is cycle the A/C compressor and some of the evac solenoids I think.
Since I don't have any of that stuff anymore, I am just going to wire the A/C myself and decided to remove the TSAD ecu and the 60+ wire wiring harness. Most of those wires come out where a EFI Fox harness comes out on the passenger side and then cross the firewall and then MOST of them go BACK IN THE CAR under the brake booster. WTF????

I yanked all the mess out. I did power up the car and my gauges came on. So I'm good. LOL. Piece of cake! Not really.
So that's when I really started working on this car again. Last labor day. My friend came over and helped me pull the dash and then remove all the sub harnesses that come off the porkchop brace and pulled it all out from under the hood and yanked out all non essential bs.

I need to start soldering a couple of hundred wires to get the fuse block installed, but I decided I would take this opportunity to paint the fender aprons before I mount all my stuff back up. When I do the 351 swap, I will paint the entire engine bay and clean it. Maybe in reverse order.
 

droopie85gt

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Dec 26, 2016
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I'm not crazy about the cobra wheels, I'm growing fond of those posted above only it needs a polished lip. Can't get them in 17's?
I would like them with the face of the spokes and the lip polished. I haven't really looked. I have to give myself a new mantra. Is what I am searching the internet for today going to make the car run or is it just fluff. Wheels are fluff right now.

I have it written in my little book that a 351W that is sitting in my garage and for which I pretty much have everything except heads (reuse the ones off the car), balancer, flywheel and gaskets for. But that didn't stop me for spending the better part of 2 weekends ago scouring the internet for a CHEAP 2.3 ecoboost pullout. It doesn't exist.
Even if the motor is cheap, the FRP controls are $1700 and the bellhousing is $800, plus a flywheel....bla bla bla. So I slapped myself back into reality and decided if I can think to spend that kind of money, then I am going to shell out for some real heads.

I REALLY want some AFR 185s. But I can't just hide a $1800 expense right now. So again, do I have to have them to proceed. NO.
 

droopie85gt

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Dec 26, 2016
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So here are some pictures of all the TSAD and other stuff I pulled out, plus the cluster F you know what of the fusible links and of the electrical distribution box I am using and mounting to the driver's side fender.
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Where do all of these go? They clip onto the porkchop brace behind the dash. It braces the steering column and pedal box to the a pillar, sort of. All of this crap here disconnects and gets shoved out by the brake booster....below and outside of it.


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See the ecu connector and firewall grommet for the TSAD? There's only like 3 wires in all of that, that do anything.

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So I pulled all the light harnesses back and laid them out so. Those big fat black things are splices. They splice 2 -6 wires together. They are spliced together like a Dallas freeway. They go here, there, connect everywhere. Some seem to connect to the same wire two or three times.

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Here's the harness with that goes up to the lighs and has some of the fusbile links over on the passenger side by the solenoid.

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Busy with a wiring diagram and this EVTM trying to identify everything.
 

droopie85gt

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Dec 26, 2016
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Then I started taking out what's not needed and sorting the wires into bundles of where they need to go.

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Wait, where'd that sexy mount come from? I'll get there.

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This is part of the mess of splices I cut out. The 14ish gauge green wire was all that really connected the alternator to the solenoid and the batter to the rest of the car?!?!?!?!?! I especially like the 8ish gauge alternator lead that splices into a 12 or 14 gauge wire. I guess carrying a fire extinguisher with me all the time, kept this fireball from igniting!

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Here's the bracket. I had some 1/8" aluminum plate and bent it up to support the fuse box bracket I had to use my special sheet metal brake.
 

droopie85gt

Hookers and Beer for life!
Dec 26, 2016
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Cordova, TN
20171224_152116_HDR.jpg



Why yes that is a 351W shortblock. Supposedly the guy I bought it from bought it from his neighbor out of an 89 E-250 van. It had just been replaced by a Ford dealer and had less than 3000 miles when a storm blew a big oak over on it. I cleaned off the first piston on the right looking for a number but the others I haven't touched. I'd say it definitely has less than 3,000 maybe less 1,000 on it.

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As luck would have it, when I cut this piece down it was right at 4" wide. A few 1/2" bolts and washer and I have me a metal brake! I hit it with a hammer and it worked great. I had to flip it over and finish the bend hitting it in the up direction to get it completely to 90 degrees.

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I put some riv nuts in the fender apron to hold the new bracket and bolted the fuse block bracket to it.

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And without realizing it, I put it on facing the correct way, so the Ford Logo is not upside down when standing over the driver fender!!!!

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IF ONLY all those wires going thru that hole were connected to something.