Category Archives: DIY



OK. So the mustang was way past due for a new front suspension. I figured it would be a good project and maybe I would learn a thing or two in the process. I did learn a thing or two. First, not one minute of the project was easy. Second, not one minute of the project was fun. It was just plain hard, hot, tiring work all the way through from the first bolt to the last. Fun times you bet.

So I don’t have a lot of pictures of the process but there are a few.


I bought a suspension kit that included new upper and lower control arms, tie rods, and bushings for sway bar and torsion bars. Naturally I couldn’t leave them stock so I prepped and painted them to match the car. I also painted the valve covers while I had the paint out.


Everything turned out nice and shiny as planned. So far so good.


I put the valve covers back on and it looks a little better under the hood although there is still much clean up to do.


The next step was to pressure wash the grime off the underside of the car. This was a nasty job indeed.


This is where the grime went after it came off the car. No fun at all.

After cleaning the car and then myself it was time to remove the worn out suspension components.


Above is the “before” picture featuring the worn out stuff. Removing the old parts was just difficult, hot, and tiring. I had a picture with the parts removed but now I can’t find it so you’ll just have to use your imagination on that bit.

So after the parts were removed I cleaned up rusty stuff, painted stuff, and then put a bunch of shiny new parts on. It was a pain and hot and tiring. I did not enjoy it but I did it.

assembled1 assembled2Installed

Above are a few poor photos of the new suspension components. Sorry about the poor quality here but it was hot and I was tired and really in no mood for crawling around on the garage floor any longer. Anyway, the suspension is on and the ride quality is much better although there is a shake which may be a wheel out of balance (I hope). I’m going to mess with the alignment a bit before I take it somewhere and get the wheels balanced and then it’s on to the next fun project – new dual exhaust.




OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI cleaned up the spindle and control arm and stuff and gave it a little spray paint. It doesn’t look great but it looks better than rust. Hopefully in the future it will all be replaced with new performance parts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe backing plates cleaned up nicely.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is the brake assembly with new wheel cylinder. It turned out to be much easier than I had anticipated. I guess I’ve done these old drum style brakes so many times it’s just second nature now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce again, it looks better than rust.

So after getting the front brakes finished and replacing a coupling in the brake line the car was finally safe to drive. So I drove it. It ran stinky and it overheated again. So I ordered a new aluminum radiator.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI like the new radiator. It’s shiny.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd it cools much better. It hasn’t overheated yet but it does start to get hot after idling for a while so I ordered a fan shroud. I’ve been driving the car around for a couple of days and sorting out little things. I spent a couple hours yesterday welding the leaks in the exhaust system. I got it pretty well sealed up but the mufflers are junk so it’s still too loud. The vacuum advance is still not working right but I’ve decided to replace the entire distributor and coil and put in an electronic ignition. That will probably be my project for next month. But right it it’s drivable and that’s a good thing. So enjoy a few pictures of the road ready mustang.






OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGetting this thing back on the road has been a little more challenging than I expected. After all, I drove it home 60 miles when I purchased it. Now I can’t get it out of the driveway and into the street.

When I last posted the car needed a water pump and I thought it might have a blown head gasket. I put a new water pump on and the overheating seems to be under control although I still want to put an electric fan in front of the radiator to help at idle. I’m also happy to report there is no blown head gasket. After a bit of tinkering I was able to diagnose the engine problem as a faulty carb.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce I made the diagnosis I decided to take it off and dissect it. As you can see it had a bad case of the cruds. Rather that spend more time and money on this old carb I decided to get a new one. I got the Holley 650 with electric choke. I hope it’ll get a little better gas mileage than the old one. (I wasn’t even sure what size the old one was)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince the carb was off I thought it would be a good time to clean up the old intake. After a little cleaning and some paint it looks like new.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the new Holley 650 installed. Putting on a new carb solved the horrible running condition but there was still a problem with the vacuum advance. I checked the timing and wanted to adjust it but wouldn’t you know, the distributor was all frozen up in the block. It took a week of soaking in PB Blaster to get it loose. I was able to get the timing adjusted right but the vacuum advance is still causing a problem. As soon as the timing starts advancing with the vacuum advance it looses power and dies. I put the timing light on it to watch as the timing changed and at a certain point the power cuts off and the timing light goes dead and the engine dies until the advance decreases. Weird huh? I checked the plate in the distributor and all the point wires and everything looks normal. I disconnected the vacuum advance and it runs fine. I’ll just run it without vacuum advance until I can get it figured out.

Since the engine was running fairly decent again I thought we were ready for a little cruise. Caroline and I jumped in the car but we didn’t get far. We didn’t even make it out of the driveway. The brake pedal got mushy and I could barely stop the car at an idle. So back in the garage it went.

It had the old single bowl master cylinder which was so rusty I couldn’t even get the lid off to check the fluid level. I decided to order a new dual bowl master cylinder. Those things aren’t cheap anymore like they used to be. Anyway, it came in and I put it on and guess what? Still no brakes. So I pulled off the front drums to check the wheel cylinders.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAbove is the culprit. I pulled the rubber boot and rusty brake fluid poured out. So I have some wheel cylinders on order. Since this is going to be another whole project I thought I might as well restore everything.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese old parts cleaned up OK. No need to buy a new hardware kit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese cleaned up good too. The brake shoes look almost new.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are in progress.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this still needs to be cleaned and painted. Maybe it will make it out of the driveway by Christmas.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe good news is the car is pretty much put back together. I got the interior put together and the wiring under the dash cleaned up. The front bumper is bolted on and the lights and turn signals are all working and that’s all good. I spent a long hot Sunday afternoon fitting the trunk lid and trimming the new weatherstripping to fit. Not sure yet if it will keep the water out but it finally closes correctly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI dragged out the old tail pipes and cleaned them up and installed them along with the new stainless steel tips.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo it all looks great and appears ready for a cruise.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow for the bad. Caroline and I took it out for a short drive around the block and it ran horrible. The engine was missing pretty bad and it over heated before we could get around the block. Now that I finally have gauges in it I can see how hot it’s getting. So based on what I now see on my temperature gauge I know that the car was overheating a few weeks ago when I had it idling out in the driveway. Ever since then it hasn’t been running well at all.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo the first thing I did was try to figure out the overheating problem. I removed the old thermostat and it was really crusty. After testing it I discovered it wasn’t opening until the water temp was over 200. I got a new thermostat and put it in and the engine lasted a little longer before overheating. There was a little noise coming from the water pump so I figured it was most likely finished as well. I removed the water pump and found the impeller spinning independently of the shaft and then it fell off completely. I wasn’t surprised. I picked up a new water pump so that problem will be solved soon.

Next I thought I’d look into the engine miss. First I opened up the distributor and checked out the vacuum advance. It was toast. I put a new one on and cleaned up everything in the distributor and gapped the points but I didn’t really think that was going to solve the problem. It didn’t. My suspicion is that when it was out in the driveway a few weeks ago overheating that it blew a head gasket between a couple of cylinders. Before I go get a compression test kit I’ll check for vacuum leaks around the intake and the carb but I really think it’s a head gasket. So that’s where we are right now.







HeaderAnother super busy weekend has reaped a few rewards. I’ve had a couple of projects that have been hanging over my head for a while so I decided to go ahead and get them over with.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI pulled the car out of the garage to make room for my projects.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe hood had been bugging me ever since I painted it. The paint was light and splotchy on the sides and worse than that, the stripes on the back end didn’t quite line up with the stripes on the cowl. It was just driving me crazy every time I looked at it so I took the hood off and started sanding it down for a repaint. The underside of the trunk lid needed painting too so I thought I’d get it all done in one long day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou’ve seen something like this before. I’m in the process of masking off the silver stripe here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere it is after color and three coats of clear.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here it is after wet sanding and polishing the clear. Everything lines up now and there are no light splotchy areas. I can rest easy now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the underside of the trunk lid all painted and ready for weatherstripping and hardware.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter finishing the hood I got down to installing the gauges. I need to know if the engine is trying to cook itself. I think it may have some overheating problems. I haven’t run the engine long enough to check for overheating since I installed the gauges but the oil pressure is very good and the volts are good so that’s a relief.


Oh yeah. I also painted the air cleaner cover. It was black and crusty and I just couldn’t stand looking at any longer. As you can see I haven’t done anything else with the engine compartment yet. I plan on painting the valve covers to match the body color. Eventually when I yank the engine out I’ll do the whole compartment right.

After I finished up mounting the hood I thought it was time to give the front end a little attitude.




Nothing adds a little attitude like hood locks.



What do you do when your seats are pretty much wiped out? You could spend about $300 on a new upholstery set and install it yourself, or, if your budget is low like mine, you could go the cheap route and find something to get by until your budget increases.

Here’s what I did in several sort of easy steps.

Step one: Find some presentable seat covers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI found these FOOSE covers at WalMart for $20.

Step 2: Drag out the old wiped-out seats and give them a good cleaning.


Step 3: Take it all apart.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey come apart pretty easily. Just a few screws and some pins.

Step 4: Look at the ugly rusted stuff on the underside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo surprises here. It’s old.

Step 5: Clean it up and paint it.


Step 6: Cut the seat covers to separate the back from the seat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt only took a little cutting to get the pieces ready for installation.

Step 7: Lay out the seat back and figure out the glueing sequence.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI started with the lower center and worked my up using spray adhesive.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter I finished the center section I did the edges and then pulled the remaining stretchy material around to the backside and glued it.

Step 8: Put the seat back panel on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had to spray the back panel with vinyl dye. It helped a little.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo here is the back all glued.

Step 9: Do the seat bottom in a similar fashion.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere it is with the cover glued on. The seat is easier than the back.

Step 10: Assemble seat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here it is assembled.

Step 11: Stick it in the car.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd that’s how to do a seat make-over the cheap way. It doesn’t look as good as a real upholstery kit would but it looks far better than the slip-on seat cover. Eventually I want to make my own custom seat upholstery but I don’t have the tools for that yet.