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ClemSparks
ClemSparks PowerDork
8/24/16 9:31 p.m.

I've wanted a Fairmont since I was in High School (that was in the early '90s). I had the opportunity to get this one earlier this year. I have a basic plan, but haven't started on it yet.

 It's a 1980 Fairmont Wagon with 200 c.i. Inline 6 cylinder and a non-overdrive auto transmission. We drove it a couple hours home on the interstate and it did well. The a/c even blows...coolish. Somebody has cut the front springs to lower it and it's pretty bouncy in the front end. The idea for the car is to have a fun family cruiser. I want something that I can hop in and drive on vacation if we want. Working A/C, respectable appearance, decent interior, V8, automatic with overdrive. What I'm not trying to build is a hot rod or race car. So the basic plan is Carbureted 5.0, AOD, 10 hole 15” wheels and tires, front brakes from an '87-up 5.0 mustang. I've started gathering parts. I bought an '85 5.0 convertible parts car that will donate the engine (I plan to rebuild it) and K-member with V8 mounts. I bought a '90 convertible parts car that has the bigger front brakes that should go well on the Fairmont.

  (Both of these cars were primarily purchased for parts for my '83 Mustang project, so it's cool to have 2 fox projects!) I also got a nice radiator for it.

ClemSparks
ClemSparks PowerDork
8/24/16 9:33 p.m.

I figure 15” wheels will be a good size for this car and the tires can still have 60 series (or so) sidewalls that should ride comfortably. With the two parts cars, I have a total of 7 10 hole wheels. All of them are pretty rough, finish wise, but I bolted a couple on tonight just to get an idea how they would look.

 

I meant to have center caps on for this photo...but one valve stem was leaking quickly so I had to move fast and just get some photos. But basically...I like it! Not too flashy, not too incredibly-narrow-14”-steelies-with-dorky-hubcaps. The front end is too low for me. If it were juuuust a little bit higher, it would be great. So...I'll do some asking around on the internet to see what springs work well on a foxwagon. 

The_Jed
The_Jed PowerDork
8/24/16 10:40 p.m.

SN95 GT front springs less a coil should bring the Fairmont back up to stockish height and give you a bit of a rate increase as well.

Epic projects!

dropstep
dropstep Dork
9/3/16 9:58 p.m.

another foxbody wagon, maybe your project will move faster then mine since i cant quit driving mine. Trans should be a weird small bell c4 if it has the highmount starter. Im jealous of your collection of 10 holes. i keep my eyes peeled for a set myself.

ClemSparks
ClemSparks PowerDork
9/4/16 8:42 p.m.

Ah...speaking of 10 holes: So...I've got all these 10 hole wheels that look like...corroded, scratched, dirty 10 hole wheels. I thought long and hard about how to refinish them without spending lots of money or too much time. I think I may have found a solution that only requires spending too much time. So...that's a compromise.

 These wheels have a machined surface on the face and rim but the recessed parts are as-cast (and painted or not, I think, depending on year). I can't fix the machined surface where there is corrosion...but I thought maybe a “brushed” finish would look alright. First, I got some aerosol paint stripper (I might just get the regular non-aerosol next time and glob it on with a foam brush) and did some scrubbing to get the clear coat off. I bolted the 2nd worst-looking wheel I have onto the ~200 horsepower lathe in the barn. 2nd gear seems to work well. I experimented with a wire wheel on a cordless drill, emery cloth, and a scotchbrite type roloc thing (pretty sure it's a harbor freight one). The end result is as good as I could hope for. Driver-quality wheels that I won't be completely embarrassed to be driving around on (truth be told, my bar is set really low in this regard). They look better in the photos than in person, of course.  photo IMG_31331_zpshho79a3c.jpg

 I didn't get any photos or video of the process. Partly because I didn't take the time and was alone and partly because I figure the safety police would show up at my doorstep/thread. Don't worry, I was wearing eye protection, ear protection, and safety flops. Also, I'm pretty sure Keith made me think this is a perfectly cromulent activity in a thread years ago. Basically, I put the car in gear and got the wheel spinning. I used another spinny thing to brush the surface. It made a difference. (After on left, before on right)

 When it was done I cleaned them off with brake cleaner and sprayed some clear coat on them.

The_Jed
The_Jed PowerDork
9/4/16 9:14 p.m.

Looks good!

Wall-e
Wall-e MegaDork
9/5/16 7:43 p.m.

They look good. I like those wagons. As a kid my brother, sister and I spent a lot of time in the back of a red 6 cylinder Fairmont wagon.

Rodan
Rodan New Reader
9/6/16 10:06 a.m.

Awesome project! I've always wanted a Fairmont Wagon project... closest I got was owning a Futura for a year.

You're probably going to want to use some kind of clearcoat on those rims if you want the finish to be relatively maintenance free.

tdrrally
tdrrally Reader
9/6/16 10:20 a.m.

i love a wagon, they haul kids, dogs groceries and in this case ASS!

ClemSparks
ClemSparks PowerDork
9/6/16 3:42 p.m.
Rodan wrote: Awesome project! I've always wanted a Fairmont Wagon project... closest I got was owning a Futura for a year. You're probably going to want to use some kind of clearcoat on those rims if you want the finish to be relatively maintenance free.

Yeah...I threw that bit in at the end. Kind of hiding out after the photo. But they have some clear coat on them. 3 down and one to go. The last one is on the "lathe" waiting for me to do the work.

PMRacing
PMRacing SuperDork
9/6/16 5:27 p.m.
ClemSparks wrote: I've wanted a Fairmont since I was in High School (that was in the early '90s).

You ain't right in the head, is ya? Guess that's why you fit in here.

racerxr650r
racerxr650r New Reader
9/6/16 7:20 p.m.

Team Property Devaluation ran a Fairmont Wagon in 24 Hours of LeMons for a few years here in Texas. It was rather quick and very well sorted. Plenty of fox body parts to swap out mean that you can build it mild or wild.

ClemSparks
ClemSparks PowerDork
9/6/16 7:46 p.m.

Yes. This one will get the K-member from one of the V8 mustangs (which has the correct engine mounts for the V8), Larger brakes from the '89, probably one of the rearends from one of the mustang parts cars, and who knows what all else. It's a foxbody wagon. I love it!

ClemSparks
ClemSparks PowerDork
9/6/16 7:47 p.m.
PMRacing wrote:
ClemSparks wrote: I've wanted a Fairmont since I was in High School (that was in the early '90s).

You ain't right in the head, is ya? Guess that's why you fit in here.

Normal is something I've not tried to be ;).

dropstep
dropstep Dork
9/6/16 8:38 p.m.
ClemSparks wrote:
PMRacing wrote:
ClemSparks wrote: I've wanted a Fairmont since I was in High School (that was in the early '90s).

You ain't right in the head, is ya? Guess that's why you fit in here.

Normal is something I've not tried to be ;).

Its alright, i also wanted one before i ever had kids. It combines my favorite chassis with my favorite bodystyle! Yours even has clean looking paint!

ClemSparks
ClemSparks PowerDork
2/17/17 8:10 p.m.

No real progress on this car. (I've been mostly working on the Mustang and Malibu lately.) I've been snagging good deals as I find them. I picked up an unused SVE h-pipe for $75 off the local craigslist.

I started the car and drove it around the property recently. I parked it next to the donor mustang and it compelled me to take a photo of them side by side.

I decided today that I'll try to make regular progress...even if it's one bolt every day or two...on removing the engine and k-member from the red donor mustang. If I can get that stuff out, I can slowly pick away at cleaning parts and prepping them for assembly onto/into the Fairmont.

petegossett
petegossett UltimaDork
2/17/17 8:42 p.m.

Good plan Clem, that's the way you make progress...one bolt at a time.

ClemSparks
ClemSparks PowerDork
2/17/17 8:54 p.m.

I've been keeping up with your corvette thread Pete. Your Camnundrum (conundrum of the cam) has me thinking ahead about the 5.0 for this car.

If anyone has experience with 5.0 Roller engines, I'd love to get some advice on what to do with this one.

As far as I know it's a stock '85 5.0 engine. That's the first year of the roller cam engine and the last year of the Carburetor. I plan to run a carburetor. The car will most likely have an AOD transmission. I want to do a budget build. If there's a good cam that can give it a little extra umph without killing the "family cruiser" street manners, I'd like to hear about it. If it sounds a little lumpy at a stop light...all the better (but that may be exclusive of the street manners I mentioned). And really just any discussion on the engine build would be welcomed.

dropstep
dropstep Dork
2/17/17 9:02 p.m.

Gt40p's off an explorer with the fix it kit for the weird exhaust valvesprings, a b303 cam with a performer rpm and a nice vacuum secondary holley should make a fun cruiser.

ClemSparks
ClemSparks PowerDork
2/17/17 9:15 p.m.

I figured I'd probably use one of the Holley 4160 carburetors (I've got one on the Mustang and one on the Malibu...I haven't gotten to drive them much yet, but they're pretty much what the '85 Mustang came with new I think).

IIRC, the Performer RPM would be a single plane intake, right? I've always heard/read/thought that those moved the power band up a little high for regular street driving. Any thoughts there?

Woody
Woody MegaDork
2/17/17 9:37 p.m.
ClemSparks wrote:

dropstep
dropstep Dork
2/17/17 10:16 p.m.
ClemSparks wrote: I figured I'd probably use one of the Holley 4160 carburetors (I've got one on the Mustang and one on the Malibu...I haven't gotten to drive them much yet, but they're pretty much what the '85 Mustang came with new I think). IIRC, the Performer RPM would be a single plane intake, right? I've always heard/read/thought that those moved the power band up a little high for regular street driving. Any thoughts there?

dual plane, pretty much my favorite intake on a mostly stock 302. the air gap is supposed to be slightly better but i have no real world experience with that.

pres589
pres589 PowerDork
2/18/17 9:11 a.m.

Performer RPM does move the powerband upward a little but the goal is still a good all around intake for street use. The 4160 is probably a good match for a mildly built 302.

jmk015
jmk015 New Reader
2/21/17 9:46 a.m.
Woody wrote:
ClemSparks wrote:

Please tell us more about this awesomeness! I love wagons.

Does the whole mustang front clip bolt onto the Fairmont? Do the body lines of the Mustang fenders match up with the Fairmont doors?

The_Jed
The_Jed PowerDork
2/21/17 10:06 a.m.

In reply to jmk015:

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