This is my first automotive post.
I have been holding on to my Red 1972 Mustang coupe for 20 years now. Back in 98 my 302 died (broken connecting rod) and was fortunate to find a local professional gear head (he owns his own machine shop) who just happened to have a (67) 289 2V that he had rebuilt for himself, but was too busy to deal with the rest of the restoration project (works for me). It purrs like a kitten (well it did until I messed up. I'll get to that in a moment). I also have 71 (302) and 73 (351W) Mustang coupes that I use for parts (hey, no red-neck jokes. It's lawn art.) I've painted it 3 times in the past 20 years. Each time I get better at it. I did almost blow up the garage the last time (mental note: don't put air compressor in the same room you're painting in, even if it does reduce condensation in the air lines.)
I've been real busy the past few years working on houses (real-estate equity rocks!). This means I've been totally neglecting my Mustang. It's gotten to the point where I either have to sell it or restore it (and I'm not selling!). Unfortunately, I have earned myself a big dope slap for not storing it properly. I left it outside here in Connecticut with half a tank of gas in it for at least 8 months. Now the fuel filter clogs with tank rust almost immediately. I have never removed a fuel tank and I know this tank is the original. Should I buy a new (reproduction) tank or have the old one cleaned? Are there any reliable options that don't require tank removal?
I also need to replace the leaf springs and have the rear end rebuilt. I intend on doing the leaf springs myself, though I've never done this before (any advice or warnings of permanent dismemberment would be greatly appreciated here). I will remove the rear end and bring it to my gear head friend to rebuild (I believe in the pride of accomplishment, but some things are best left to the pro's).
I've also noted exhaust leaks at both manifold to "Y" pipe connections. This is another area I've never had to deal with. The studs coming out of the ends of the manifolds look real rusty. I suspect the studs will break if I try to loosen or tighten them. Is there a secret to dealing with this? I assume that I must replace the gasket, though I'd prefer to just tighten the nuts (nothing is that easy). I'd obviously rather not have to remove the manifolds because of broken studs if I can avoid it.
Sorry about the novel and thanks in advance for any words of wisdom.
Progress. Apparently, the goo that is in my fuel tank isn't rust after all. It's old jelled gas. I drained the entire tank (naturally, I had previously filled it to the top), one gallon at a time, into a large glass jar so I cold see what was in the gas. A milky substance settled at the bottom of each gallon I drained. The amount of which became progressively less with each gallon. I will pour more gas into the tank in an attempt to flush as much of it out as possible. When I am done, is there a recommended gasoline additive that I should use that will dissolve any remaining residue? Should I put a secondary filter between the gas tank and the fuel pump?
All that rust and bad gas has to go, and the tank needs to come out to do it. Some rad shops boil out gas tanks clean and coat the inside so the tank never rusts again. I forget what the coating is called, but the service is usually advertised in the Buy&Sell. The sending unit needs to be removed first. Clean the pickup screen gently and thoroughly and check that the brass float isn't leaky. The fuel lines need to be flushed and the filter changed too. The fuel pump diaphragm is probably ok, but Carter pumps are inexpensive anyway. Some carb cleaner would also be prudent.
Old putrid gas caused my buddy alot of engine trouble. His truck had sat for a few years, but after restarting actually ran ok driving around for the afternoon. Then after sitting for a couple of days afterward, the bad gas had time to gum everything up and some pushrods bent from sticky valves the next time it ran.
Your situation is not as bad since the gas is not as old, but the rust and the bit of water in there along with it, is a real problem.
I like stiffer leafs than stock by adding an exta leaf. Dearched for 1" drop or a mideye type is better than lowering blocks. You know your springs are too soft if you jack up the axle and the wheels move up into the wheel wells. My Mach 1 looks the same on the ground as it does jacked up under the axle.
Now's a good time for headers seeing as the exhaust is leaky, but do keep an H pipe. Once the car is running again, after it's warmed up and then cooled down, the bolts should come out without problems. It worked on my car. Soak them in Liquid Wrench when warm for extra insurance. Good luck, and keep us all posted on your progress.
Your local library should have a copy of the book, "How to restore your Mustang". It will explain how to remove and replace the gas tank, leaf springs, etc. I agree that it would be a good time for headers and to replace the exhaust as well. I know I have seen some duals made for early Mustangs on different web sites before but don't remember which ones. Good Luck. Any pics?
I had hoped I could get out of this without removing the tank. I'm all too familiar with the incredible expanding cost factor when working on these things. Somehow a one day $200 tank replacement will end up becoming a 3 weekend $750 project. Prior to realizing the bad gas problem, I did replace the fuel pump, and found that the car ran quite nicely on carb cleaner ( I don't want to damage anything here - the engines' only got 20,000 miles on it.) O.K., I'll come clean here. I was doing the "keep replacing stuff until it works" routine. So I now have new - alternator, relay, plugs, distributor cap, rotor, replaced the points/condenser with (pseudo) electronic ignition (magnetic collar and thingy) and set the timing (oh yea, dope slap #2 coming up:).
I couldn't for the life of me rotate the distributor to set the timing. The reaction between the aluminum casting and the steel block had welded the two together. First I cleaned the area. Sprayed it with carb cleaner, followed shortly after with "Break Away". Let it soak. Spray some more "Break Away" on it, still wouldn't budge. So naturally heating up the aluminum casting should do the trick, right? Light the propane torch, get within 5 inches of the distributor and poof the right front of the engine is on fire. So I blow on it, which causes the fire to ignite the left side also. This is all happening inside the garage, so things are looking bad all around. Fortunately, I have a fire extinguisher, which made short quick work out of a pending disaster. My level of stupidity generally increases with my level of frustration. Nothing is damaged and I did finally get the distributor lose by very gently prying on it in various directions with a large crowbar.
Regarding leaf springs and headers. I tend to keep things as stock as possible to avoid the unknown interference and/or handling problems. I don't want the rear end to be any higher or lower than it is now. I'll consider headers if; I can do it without raising the engine, it doesn't reduce ground clearance and I don't have to do any other major modifications to make it fit. More information or resources would be appreciated on either item.
If you insist, <a href="http://www.svend.net/mustang/mustang.html">here</a> is a lousy picture of my baby. I'll do better later, but it's stuck in the garage for now (where it should have been all winter!).
While I was keying in a reply to your first post Svend, you beat me to it with a follow up (check the times). If the tank is rust free like you say, just put a gallon of gas in and push up and down on the bumper to slosh it around, then remove the drain plug to let it out. Repeat until what comes out looks and smells like proper gas, and you're done without having to remove the tank etc.
Auto parts stores have a variety of fuel treatments or conditioners to choose from, but if the tank is filled with fresh gas, I don't think they're necessary. As far as headers go, there's plenty of room in 71-73 engine bays, especially with a small block. Ford finally got rid of that silly power steering slave cylinder contraption by 71 too. That means you won't need a bracket to lower the power steering for header clearance like earlier Mustangs. Headers on your car will be an easy install. If you buy them, make sure the triangular collector flanges are welded on with the flats facing the ground. It's annoying how many seem to have one of the points down reducing ground clearance. It's a good idea to open the box in the store.
Good looking baby! I was assuming that you were going to have to take the tank out anyway but doesn't sound to bad. Sorry about the fire, glad there was no damage!
Here is another book that might help you, "Modern techniques for auto restoration" by Ken Wickham.
Here are some parts sites:
Now we're talking. Thanks, tyrantX. Your advice on the triangular collector flanges is exactly the kind of information that your average book doesn't tell you. It's all these little gems of info that can really make your day.
Drain plug? (Damn this ignorance thing.) I'll have to check the books (I have the Chilton book and the mechanics' manuals for the 72 Mustang)(the mechanics manuals are good for detail, but they assume you have access to every custom tool ever made). I was draining the tank by jacking up the right rear and disconnecting the fuel line (which is on the left) from the tank. I did put some of the goo in a small jar for testing purposes. I tried mixing the fuel stabilizer "Sta-bil" with the goo to see if it would have any effect, after the fact. But, no such luck, it would just be a waist of money to add that now (Dope slap #3: Yes, I actually had a can of fuel stabilizer sitting on the shelf in my garage.)
I will drain the tank as you stated, tyrantX. Then install an intermediate fuel filter right after the tank (unless someone tells me why this might be a bad idea). I'm thinking something with a lot more filter surface area than the one at the carb.
Thanks for all the links, Bobnoxious. Doesn't look like I'll have too much trouble finding any obscure parts. Hmmm…makes me think that I should make a list of all the 71-73 Mustang parts that I have sitting around and make them available on the net. Yeah, I'm sure I'll find the time to do that…..NOT!
I'll definitely be checking into headers now. Somehow that's a lot more interesting than replacing a fuel tank.
Svend, are you saying your tank doesn't have a drain plug? It should be in the front pass. side corner. A 3/8" square socket or an 8 point is best, but an open end 3/8" will do. I've seen some early Mustangs without drain plugs, but I've always thought the later ones had them.
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