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Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
5/23/23 10:41 a.m.

After selling the Boxster a month or so ago, I started looking at Mustangs. I've had a few, two late aero-nose Fox bodies, two SN95s, and a Coyote-powered S197. For a while I was fixated on finding an early 4-eye Fox, especially one with T-tops. I will always love the look of those, and the Fox body, while quite a poor chassis in stock form, has unlimited possibilities via the aftermarket. But I wasn't happy with what was out there for the money. Seemed like everything was either poorly modified, ratty and rusty, really expensive, or some combination of the three. Another S197 was always on my radar, too. The 2011 I had was a fun car, but not the right DD for me at the time. Now I'm looking for a pure toy, as I have the Expedition as a daily.

Anyhow, long story short, I ended up finding this black 04 on FB Marketplace and getting it for what I consider to be a very good price:

It's in pretty good shape, not perfect, but most importantly it's COMPLETELY BONE STOCK. You wouldn't believe how rare that is in the used Mustang world. 100k miles, clean Carfax, GT Premium so leather seats, upgraded stereo, etc. Black wasn't my first choice, it really never has been, but it's always second or third, so somehow or another I've ended up with a lot of black vehicles.

Cosmetically there are a few issues. It was in a minor rear-ender at some point, and it looks like someone tried to rattle-can the end of the bumper cover:

So, the plan there is to wet sand it and buff it and see how it comes out. Push comes to shove, I remove the bumper cover and get it professionally repainted or try and find a clean replacement at a junk yard.

Also, the leading edge of the hood has what looks like bedliner on it:

Not a fan of this. My assumption is that, being a Ford with an aluminum body panel, the paint was starting to flake off, so someone masked it off and put this stuff on. For now I'm going to paint the bedliner gloss black to match the hood better so it doesn't stand out so much, but I'll keep my eyes open for another black hood. Mustang guys love putting big stupid cowl induction hoods on their cars, so I should be able to find a takeoff.

Other than that, there are some typical stone chips and other imperfections that I can deal with.

The interior is basically mint, with one exception, the leather is starting to peel on the shifter knob:

I'll try and glue it for now. If that doesn't work, LMR sells a new factory-style knob for $75. I'm not a fan of any of the aftermarket knobs.

Also, it's kind of hard to see in the pics, but it has some cheap tint on all the side and back windows. It's all streaky on the side windows from them going up and down, as you can see near the mirror:

It's also kind of bubbling around the rear defroster lines, so it's all coming out.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
5/23/23 11:02 a.m.

Mechanically, it's good, other than one odd issue that popped up last night after I got it home. Given that it has 100k, I'm going to assume it needs a full tuneup and fluid change. Fortunately, I still have the special tool for removing spark plugs on these engines from when I had my 07 F-150 with a 3V 5.4. The brake pedal feels pretty low and soft to me, so I'm going to flush the fluid and see if that helps.

The shocks feel pretty tired, so that's a ready excuse for suspension upgrades. The plan is to go pretty mild. I was considering coilovers, but I came to the conclusion that for me, more adjustability is just more chances to get it wrong. So I'm just going to go with a set of lowering springs and some Bilsteins, possibly with a set of sway bars and CC plates down the road. Open to input on springs that will drop the car a bit without rattling my fillings out. This will be a 90% street car, after all. 

The tires are also quite worn, and I'm going to want to do bigger brakes at some point, so I'll probably do wheels and tires together at some point in the near future.

So, the issue I had. Bought the car last night from a guy in northern Ohio. Filled it up with gas and drove it the ~100 miles home. It was flawless, cruised easily on the freeway, got over 24mpg, cold AC, cruise control worked, etc. Got it home, parked in the driveway, took some pics, then went to move it into my pole barn. It cranked over for half a second, then died, with all the dash lights on. After that it would just click when I turned the key. It acted like a dead battery, in other words. Mind you, the seller just replaced the battery a few weeks ago, and the whole way home the voltage gauge was just above center, right where it should be. So I put my jump box on it, and it immediately fired back up. Got it back to the barn and checked the voltage. Running it was about 13.6V, and off it was just under 13V. So my alternator and battery would seem to be fine.

Some searching online shows a few possible culprits, among them the clutch safety switch and something to do with the PATS/key system. I have two new keys and fobs on the way since the car only came with one. The seller also mentioned that the car has a battery drain which is apparently typical of these cars with the Shaker sound system where the radio never really shuts off. He told me that as long as you turn the radio off before shutting the car off, it's fine. I didn't pay much mind to it, as I'll be putting an Android Auto head unit in it soon, anyhow. And besides, it shouldn't be dead after a long drive like that anyhow, so I don't think that's related. Also, I never turned the radio on, I was listening to my phone with earbuds on the drive home.

So, for now the car is sitting on a trickle charger while I try and figure out what's up and get the plates sorted, etc. I may just throw the jump box in the trunk and keep driving it.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
5/23/23 3:10 p.m.

Doing some more reading on the Mustang forums, it seems that the "Smart Junction Box" can cause some of these weird electrical issues. It's essentially a fuse panel that lives in the passengers side kick panel, so you remove it and clean it with contact cleaner. Will investigate further.

akylekoz
akylekoz UltraDork
5/23/23 4:02 p.m.

Plugged cowl drains can put water where it doesn't belong on these also.  Let me know if you need to borrow an electrical service manual.  See my build for ideas to keep it mild and improve the handling.

ShawneeCreek
ShawneeCreek GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
5/23/23 5:22 p.m.

Nice Mustang. It should be fun.

On your battery issue: could it be as simple as corrosion or loose connections at the battery? Considering that was touched recently, that would be the first place I'd look.

-Sean

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
5/30/23 12:38 p.m.

Did a bit of tinkering on the Mustang yesterday, in between holiday activities and trying to fix my son's Volvo so I can sell it.

Starting to peel off the window tint:

For the most part it came off OK. The glue, of course, was another matter. I tried Goo-Gone and heat, but neither made much of an impression. At the end good old acetone did the trick, like it usually does.

It also has another very common S197 interior problem:

You can buy replacement panels from LMR, but first I'm going to take a shot at fixing them myself. I found a Youtube video that explains how.

I didn't get much in the way of documentation, but I did get the original window sticker, which is always nice to see exactly what options the car had:

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/5/23 9:59 a.m.

Minor updates. I've started and driven the car several times since the "no start" incident, with no problems whatsoever. Battery terminals are clean and tight. So, I dunno? Gonna just roll with it for now.

I didn't get any pics, but I washed and and touched up a bunch of the rock chips with one of those little paint pen thingys. Next step will be a complete cut and polish.

One thing I did do was replace the serpentine belt and tensioner:

I'm happy to report that this was about as difficult as falling off a log. The three fasteners were easy to reach, no extensions needed. A welcome change from my recent adventures with Euro cars.

Also did the cabin air filter:

Yuck! This seems to be one of those things that most people just neglect or forget about, as I have no doubt that this one dates back to 2005.

Other than that, I have a new set of plugs (with the extraction kit ready to go), new fluids, etc. I FINALLY got the title from the state of Ohio, so I'm going to go register the car today.

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso UltraDork
6/5/23 10:40 a.m.

Replacing the in cabin air filter is my favorite maintenance item on the replace on a car.  When I started driving my wife's 1998 CRV in 2010, I couldn't figure out why the AC wouldn't move any air.  Had the system evac/refilled and still no air.  Read online about the in cabin air filter, which at the time I didn't even know was a thing.  I couldn't believe how packed it was with leaves and grime.  Replaced the filter and it was night and day.  Cold air all day long.   

Loweguy5
Loweguy5 GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/5/23 11:07 p.m.

In reply to Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) :

Congrats on the find!  As we agreed in my build thread, nice clean one owner S197s are becoming rarer by the day.  

What a great starting point!  I'm jealous of your Shaker 1000 system, my 08 has only the 500.  However I'm going to tell myself that mine must be a bit lighter because of that difference haha.

I'm staying tuned in.  Looks like you have a solid plan in mind.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/6/23 9:31 a.m.
Loweguy5 said:

What a great starting point!  I'm jealous of your Shaker 1000 system, my 08 has only the 500.  However I'm going to tell myself that mine must be a bit lighter because of that difference haha.

I'm honestly ambivalent about it. Not only is it heavier, as you say, but the subwoofer takes up like a quarter of the trunk. I'm sure my podcasts will sound just as good on the 500 as they do on the 1000. But, whatever.

EriktheAwful
EriktheAwful New Reader
6/6/23 11:09 a.m.

I've been dailying an '06 Mustang GT optioned like yours since 2008.

Also, the leading edge of the hood has what looks like bedliner on it:

It was probably done to cover rock chips. The front edge and first 12" of my hood is speckled with rock chips.

Fortunately, I still have the special tool for removing spark plugs on these engines from when I had my 07 F-150 with a 3V 5.4.

I wasn't able to change my spark plugs at 60k miles, so when I went to replace them at 100k I was nervous. I chatted with a fellow autocrosser who's also a Ford tech. He said to use a 3/8" impact and back the spark plugs out a little, run them back in, back them out further, back in, etc., until they come out clean. I got all 8 out with no problems, but I think you have to have a good feel for how they're coming out.

I only buy NGK sparkplugs and coils. Autolite/Motorcraft is the "OEM" plug, but the electrode tips are welded on. After I replaced my plugs at 100k one of the tips fell off (the clue was a dead misfire), so I probably have a piston with a bunch of u-shaped stampings in it. The NGKs are one-piece.

The shocks feel pretty tired, so that's a ready excuse for suspension upgrades. The plan is to go pretty mild. I was considering coilovers, but I came to the conclusion that for me, more adjustability is just more chances to get it wrong. So I'm just going to go with a set of lowering springs and some Bilsteins, possibly with a set of sway bars and CC plates down the road. Open to input on springs that will drop the car a bit without rattling my fillings out. This will be a 90% street car, after all.

My suspension has been upgraded as parts wore out. I had suspension popping from day one, and the local Ford dealership insisted it was normal right up until it ran out of warranty, when they suddenly said it needed $800 worth of work. A pair of Steeda camber plates fixed that. While I was in there I put in a set of Summit Racing lowering springs (NLA). It's recommended that you put in an adjustable panhard bar when you lower the rear, but I waited a few years before I put one in. At about 120k I replaced the front control arms with Steeda arms and Steeda "Pro-Action" struts and shocks all around. and At about 150k the rear suspension started getting a little loose, and I knew the stock rubber bushings were old, so I put in a BMR adjustable panhard bar and control arms. I'm pretty sure I also replaced the sway bar bushings. It's about as stiff as you'd want on the streets, and you really have to watch for potholes or risk losing fillings. My wife doesn't like driving it, but it does stick pretty well when autocrossing.

https://www.steeda.com/steeda-mustang-upper-strut-mounts-555-8120.html

https://www.steeda.com/steeda-555-4910-s197-mustang-front-lower-control-arms

https://www.steeda.com/steeda-pro-action-mustang-shocks-and-struts-555-8405.html

https://www.americanmuscle.com/bmr-adj-panhard-0512.html

https://www.americanmuscle.com/bmr-rear-lca-poly-blk-0514.html

https://www.americanmuscle.com/bmr-uca-poly-0510.html

https://www.americanmuscle.com/mustang-rear-sway-bar-end-link-bushing-kit-20mm-black-6-1162-bl.html

Got it home, parked in the driveway, took some pics, then went to move it into my pole barn. It cranked over for half a second, then died, with all the dash lights on. After that it would just click when I turned the key. It acted like a dead battery, in other words. Mind you, the seller just replaced the battery a few weeks ago, and the whole way home the voltage gauge was just above center, right where it should be.

Get a good battery brush and clean out the insides of your battery terminals. Just a couple weeks ago my '89 Chevy Stepside had good-looking terminals that wouldn't conduct. A quick brushing fixed that.

www.amazon.com/Lisle-11120-Battery-Brush/dp/B0009OMY92/

The seller also mentioned that the car has a battery drain which is apparently typical of these cars with the Shaker sound system where the radio never really shuts off. He told me that as long as you turn the radio off before shutting the car off, it's fine.

My car's currently at 180k and I have never had that problem with my Shaker 1000.

Plugged cowl drains can put water where it doesn't belong on these also.

This is one of the major issues to watch for. You have to pull the cowl off and clean the leaves out about once a year or your passenger floorboard will fill with water.

It also has another very common S197 interior problem:

I relented to peeling mine off and wire brushing the underlying material. It doesn't look good, but it doesn't look like total butt.

One thing I did do was replace the serpentine belt and tensioner:

I'm still running my factory tensioner and it hasn't been a problem. What is a problem is the one-way clutch on the nose of the alternator. I'm on my fourth or fifth alternator, and just last week it started sqeaking. Years ago there was a guy who sold a $60 kit to replace the clutch with a normal pulley, but I never bought it - wish I had. The clutches are just plain junk. I have a good alternator in my junk pile that would charge great if the clutch didn't freewheel all the time.

EriktheAwful
EriktheAwful New Reader
6/6/23 11:17 a.m.

Also, nice score!

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/6/23 2:04 p.m.
EriktheAwful said:

I wasn't able to change my spark plugs at 60k miles, so when I went to replace them at 100k I was nervous. I chatted with a fellow autocrosser who's also a Ford tech. He said to use a 3/8" impact and back the spark plugs out a little, run them back in, back them out further, back in, etc., until they come out clean. I got all 8 out with no problems, but I think you have to have a good feel for how they're coming out.

When I did the plugs on my 07 F-150 many years ago, I followed the Ford TSB to the letter. I only broke one. And the back plugs on that truck were under the cowl and hard to reach, no such issue with the Mustang. My plan is to run the engine to get it hot, then shut it down, pull the coils, and spray an acetone/ATF mix into the plug holes and let it sit overnight to cool. At which point I will try and carefully and slowly remove them by hand. We'll see how that goes.

I only buy NGK sparkplugs and coils. Autolite/Motorcraft is the "OEM" plug, but the electrode tips are welded on. After I replaced my plugs at 100k one of the tips fell off (the clue was a dead misfire), so I probably have a piston with a bunch of u-shaped stampings in it. The NGKs are one-piece.

I did buy Motorcraft replacements, supposedly the newer ones are pretty good. Realisically, I'm never going to be touching them again.

My suspension has been upgraded as parts wore out. I had suspension popping from day one, and the local Ford dealership insisted it was normal right up until it ran out of warranty, when they suddenly said it needed $800 worth of work. A pair of Steeda camber plates fixed that. While I was in there I put in a set of Summit Racing lowering springs (NLA). It's recommended that you put in an adjustable panhard bar when you lower the rear, but I waited a few years before I put one in. At about 120k I replaced the front control arms with Steeda arms and Steeda "Pro-Action" struts and shocks all around. and At about 150k the rear suspension started getting a little loose, and I knew the stock rubber bushings were old, so I put in a BMR adjustable panhard bar and control arms. I'm pretty sure I also replaced the sway bar bushings. It's about as stiff as you'd want on the streets, and you really have to watch for potholes or risk losing fillings. My wife doesn't like driving it, but it does stick pretty well when autocrossing.

I'm a big fan of Maximum Motorsports from my old Fox body days, so I'll probably be defaulting to them for stuff like CC plates. They offer a pretty good starter box for S197s, though I'm not sure I want those springs. Steeda has a package for similar money that includes a few more things like bars. I'm not sure who makes their shocks, though. There's also a package from Ford Racing that has similar bits to the Steeda one. I may end up doing some mixing and matching.

Get a good battery brush and clean out the insides of your battery terminals. Just a couple weeks ago my '89 Chevy Stepside had good-looking terminals that wouldn't conduct. A quick brushing fixed that.

I suppose I could try that. As I said, the terminals looked pristine, and the issue hasn't come back. But I also haven't driven it long distances since the day it happened, so it may be a hot-start condition? Time will tell.

My car's currently at 180k and I have never had that problem with my Shaker 1000.

Apparently it's a thing: 

https://mustangforums.com/forum/2005-2014-mustangs/676705-the-dreaded-battery-drain.html

https://mustangforums.com/forum/2005-2014-mustangs/738695-shaker-500-battery-drain-workaround.html

https://mustangforums.com/forum/2005-2014-mustangs/569320-2006-ford-mustang-gt-problem-dreaded-battery-dying.html

I'm still running my factory tensioner and it hasn't been a problem. What is a problem is the one-way clutch on the nose of the alternator. I'm on my fourth or fifth alternator, and just last week it started sqeaking. Years ago there was a guy who sold a $60 kit to replace the clutch with a normal pulley, but I never bought it - wish I had. The clutches are just plain junk. I have a good alternator in my junk pile that would charge great if the clutch didn't freewheel all the time.

I'll keep an eye out. As for the tensioner, it was like $20, an easy swap, and I was doing the belt anyhow, so I figured I might as well. I've had them fail before.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/7/23 8:55 a.m.

Cosmetic cleanup continues. For some reason, a PO of this car decided to "dress up" the engine bay by painting the airbox and fuse cover red:

Yeesh. So I cleaned those up and hit them with some SEM Satin Black:

Much better. Still a little too shiny compared to everything else, but I assume a bit of driving will take care of that:

Also did a cut on the hood and roof, followed by a polish on the rest of the car:

Finally, I attempted to make the bedliner on the front edge of the hood a bit less obvious by painting it black:

akylekoz
akylekoz UltraDork
6/7/23 10:10 a.m.

For suspension there are two trains of thought, stiff springs and sway bars to match or softer springs and larger sway bars.  The latter is the Steeda way, call them and talk to Rod, he gave me a baseline setup for everything based on my tire size etc and it works great.  Ask yourself how punishing of a ride can you handle and choose accordingly.

 

akylekoz
akylekoz UltraDork
6/7/23 10:22 a.m.

This is what I went with and am super pleased with it.  Copy and pasted from page 1 of the ownership log.

 

Rather than proceed in my usual manner by scouring Craiglist and Mustang forums, I loaded the parts cannon with the proceeds from my Fox chassis garage sale.

Trying very hard to keep this a multipurpose car, I went with the soft spring stiff sway bar approach.  This will help preserve some of the cushy ride while still improving the handling.  What did I get?

Koni adjustable dampers, Steeda Competition spring and sway bar combo.  Steeda strut mount/CC plates, Ford rear control arms and bump stops, Maximum Motorsport relocation brackets.  

This is round one to get this thing out of the weeds and on the track.  It desperately needs some suspension travel.  Parts should start arriving today. 

 

08GT Build

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/7/23 10:56 a.m.
akylekoz said:

For suspension there are two trains of thought, stiff springs and sway bars to match or softer springs and larger sway bars.  The latter is the Steeda way, call them and talk to Rod, he gave me a baseline setup for everything based on my tire size etc and it works great.  Ask yourself how punishing of a ride can you handle and choose accordingly.

I already know the answer, and that is "not very punishing". This is a street car, first and foremost, and I live in SE Michigan. So, zero interest in slamming this thing into the weeds and pounding my 52-year-old spinal column any more than necessary. So I very much favor the "soft springs and stiff bars" approach.

Here is a summary of the rates of popular S197 springs I found on another forum:

Mustang GT (2011+) Stock: Ft 122 lbs./in Rr 154 lbs./in * Source, Maximum Motorsports
Brembo Stock: Ft 131 lbs. /in. Rr 167 lbs./in
Boss Stock: Ft 148 lbs./in. Rr 185 lbs./in
Boss LS Stock: Ft 137 lbs./in. Rr 191 lbs./in
Eibach Pro-Kit: Ft 159 lbs./in Rr 193 lbs./in * Source, Maximum Motorsports
FRPP K Springs: Ft. 188 lbs./in Rr 221 lbs./in *Vorshlag Tested
FRPP P Springs: Ft. 204 lbs./in Rr. 165 lbs./in *Vorshlag Tested
Steeda Competition: Ft 225 lbs./in. Rr 185 lbs./in
Steeda Sports: Ft 200 lbs./in. Rr 175 lbs./in
Steeda Boss Springs: Ft 225 lbs./in. Rr 195 lbs./in
Steeda Ultra-lite: Ft. 195 lbs./in. Rr. 175 lbs./in
Eibach Pro street Coilover: FT. 225 lbs./in Rr. 90-200 lbs./in * Eibach Spec sheet
Eibach Pro R1: Ft 225 lbs./in Rr 250lbs./in * Eibach Spec sheet
H&R RSS Clubsport: Ft 630 lbs./in Rr 515 lbs./in * H&R Spec sheet
302S: Ft 600lbs./in Rr 350lbs./in * Official Ford 302S manual
Suspension Techniques/KW V1/2/3: Ft. 342lbs./in Rr 200lbs./in * KW confirmed. Rates are @ static load/ride height

Current front-runner is the Ford Racing Performance Parts (FRPP) "P" with some Bilsteins and MM caster-camber plates. Probably with FRPP sway bars.

akylekoz
akylekoz UltraDork
6/7/23 12:00 p.m.

In reply to Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) :

I've been down that same road, research wise and I live in SW Michigan, with a 50 year old spine.  I think I know where you are going with this.  I chose the Steeda CC plates over the MM for NVH reasons.  My only complaint with my setup is the rear ends up a little bouncy unless I have 100 lbs in the trunk.  Feels great cruising and on the track but some roads just feel like I can't get the rear dampers soft enough.  

Sounds like you are on the right track with your choices, I like to keep the sways and springs matched per manufacturer, they seem to work that way.  Are the ford sway bars adjustable?

akylekoz
akylekoz UltraDork
6/7/23 1:05 p.m.

I finally figured out the part numbers for the upgraded rear upper control arm.

05-10 6R3Z5500A

11-14 BR3Z5500A, this one has a one inch longer arm used on the newer cars to reduce wheel hop, it is a direct bolt in.  Mine is shot, this is a great upgrade that will not increase NVH, that is my concern with the aftermarket ones that have one or both ends with a bearing.

 

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/8/23 1:11 p.m.

A little before and after on the hood edge bedliner:

One thing I didn't notice on my test drive was the smoke smell in the car. Normally that's a deal-breaker for me, but I got a good deal on this car, so I'm willing to let it slide. Besides, there are ways of dealing with it. 

My ozone generator:

I let it run in the car for a couple of hours last night, then today at lunchtime I backed the car outside, fired it up, put the AC on full blast, and ran it in the car for another 30 minutes. The idea being to get the ozone sucked into the HVAC system to de-stinkify that. So far it seems to have worked, though I'll know better once the car sits with closed windows for a while again.

However, my no-start issue came back. This was after I was done running it outside, I shut it down for about 15 minutes to air out, then I went to start it to bring it back into the garage. No bueno. So, I have determined that this is 100% a hot-start issue. I've started it probably a dozen times when cold and it's never had any trouble at all. The two times I've had the problem, it was after the car had been running for a while. And just like last time, when I connected my jump box, the car fired right up, even though it was still hot.

So, to review. When hot, the car will refuse to crank, even though the battery is fully charged, all accessories work, etc. When cold, it starts perfectly, cranks fast, no problems. When it does refuse to start when hot, connecting my jump box immediately fixes the problem and it fires right up. The car supposedly has an almost-new battery, per the PO. The battery still has the factory thermal wrapper thingy on it. The terminals are clean and tight. No codes, no CELs, no nothing on that end.

I'm thinking either my starter is on it's way out and is refusing to work when it's heat soaked, or it's a relay, or a bad ground or connection somewhere. The extra bit of voltage from the jump box seems to overcome whatever issue is there.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/20/23 9:46 a.m.

I have updates! The no-start issue has not come back, but I haven't driven the car a ton yet, either. For now I'm going to leave a jump box in it and just deal with it.

The de-stinkifcation seems to have worked really well. In addition to the ozone generator, I used a can of "FreshFX" air freshener in it. I'm not normally a fan of perfumy-smelling stuff, but this has a pleasant apple odor that I don't mind. It's now been over a week with the car closed up, and when I checked it last night, I couldn't detect any smoke smell. Success!

I also did an oil change. Uneventful as you might imagine, though it does seem like the car had an undersized filter on it. I put a Wix 51372XP filter on it. It had an AC Delco. This is what it looked like sitting in the Wix box:

It was also on there really tight, to the point where my wrench distorted it getting it off. Classic quickie-lube situation, I suspect.

While under the car, I had a look around. The first thing I noticed was that it was super clean, not a speck of rust. Really good for a Michigan-Ohio car. I would imagine, witih "only" 100k miles in 18 years, it didn't see a lot of winters. The other thing was that most of the rubber underneath is pretty shot. Tie rod ends:

Front LCA bushings:

So, those are going to need to be addressed when I do the rest of the suspension. I imagine the rear is just as bad, I've heard some clunking from back there.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/20/23 9:56 a.m.

I've been looking for the date codes on the tires, but wasn't able to find them. Turns out they are in the inside:

February of 2016, so getting up there. And sure enough, when you look at the treads:

Some decent dry-rot happening. So, no go-fast in this car until it has new rubber. And since I know I want wheels, I'm not putting new tires on these. So it's time to get the wallet out. More on that in a bit.

The other thing I did was spark plugs. Now, if you know the Ford 3V mod motors, you know what a nightmare this can be. I did it once on a 2007 F-150 many years ago, followed the Ford TSB to the letter, and broke two of them. I had bought the Lisle remover tool at that time, and it worked well, so I was ready for this one. So, I tried the same procedure again. Started the car, got it hot, then pulled all the coils. You can't find the Ford carb cleaner that the TSB specifies anymore, so I sprayed a 50/50 acetone/ATF mix into the plug holes and let it sit overnight. The next day I tried to turn a couple of the plugs, and they didn't want to budge. Obviously I could have put more force on them, but I wasn't comfortable doing that.

I'd seen a few forum posts and videos saying it's better to do it with a hot engine, so I put the coils back on and fired it up again. When it was running, I Seafoamed it. Pulled the main vacuum line off the front of the intake manifold, attached a bit of hose to it, and had the engine "drink" some Seafoam from a little jar. It produced the usual smoke show that you get with Seafoam. Then I shut it down. This time all the plugs came out easily. Old vs. new:

So, you can see that there was a lot of carbon buildup, but between the acetone/ATF and the Seafoam, it was softened up to the point where it wasn't a problem. Put the new plugs in with some nickel anti-seize and away we go. So my verdict is that the best way to do plugs on one of these engines is with it hot, contrary to the Ford TSB.

bumpsteer
bumpsteer Reader
6/20/23 11:23 a.m.

Hot engine tracks with the aluminum head expanding more than the steel cap on those plugs. Dry and hot worked for 7/8 on my dad's godson's 08. We had the lisle tool ready for the last plug.

 

Bushings: yeah on one of these cars 100k is about where you want to start replacing all of them and the tie rod ends. Front lower control arm bushings can be pressed off pretty easily with a hydraulic press, pressing the new ones on can be tricky for the rear one as there isn't a good place to support it. Front ball joints also don't go in very tight after pressing those out in my experience, so it is probably best to just swap with stock style replacement arms unless you're interested in going full hog with poly and roll center improvement ball joints. Outer tie rod ends should pop out with a hammer. Also consider replacing the strut hats at this point as they do wear out. 

The rear, rear upper control arm bushing is probably shot at this point. It's pressed into the axle housing but I was able to swap mine on the car, with the arm off using a C-clamp style ball joint press and some sockets and some patience. On the others back there, stock replacement control arms aren't particularly expensive if you want to save yourself the hassle of sourcing and pressing out the old bushings. 

 

My car currently runs Eibach Sportline Springs and single adjustable dampers all the way around (strange up front and koni out back, the stranges were on sale and will get replaced some time soon), I would not recommend the ride quality of those springs, but they are very predictable which I did not get with progressive Ford performance springs. I have also changed the front roll center, which has some to do with it, but improves the front roll characteristics drastically once lowered. Rear LCA relocation brackets also are a must in my opinion if you want it to ride/handle well once lowered, the control arm angles are pretty bad otherwise. (My car is also on tubular arms in the back so it was easy to make that change and a new panhard brace while I was in there).

As far as camber plates go, the route I went for low NVH was to use GT500 strut hats and buy the Ford camber/caster bolt kit. This enables you to keep a quiet strut mount and adjust camber without impacting KPI, and without decreasing the size of the bolt that goes through the knuckle like the Eibach camber bolt does. Part number M-3B236-A.

Also, there are mass dampers on the rear axle that I yoinked off to lose about 10lb of unsprung mass back there, they are there for wheel hop issues on the stock suspension and not necessary once you have done the changes being talked about in this thread.

 

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/20/23 11:40 a.m.

Having replaced a lot of bushings over the years, I'm all about avoiding that job if I can. I'm also not interested in poly or anything, stock replacement is fine. So I'll probably just be buying new complete control arms. They aren't that expensive.

bumpsteer
bumpsteer Reader
6/20/23 11:46 a.m.
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) said:

Having replaced a lot of bushings over the years, I'm all about avoiding that job if I can. I'm also not interested in poly or anything, stock replacement is fine. So I'll probably just be buying new complete control arms. They aren't that expensive.

That's the route I should have gone, but I just had to make everything a little better, so a $120 harbor freight hydraulic press and a lot of wire wheeling later and I was able to swap mine to poly, but I also don't have to drive mine much for commuting anymore so keeping them greased with the fittings I installed isn't too big a pain. Edited my post with some more of my experiences/opinions on suspension parts after re-reading your thread. If you ever see a gray 07 v6 around the Farmington area on gold wheels and brembos that'll be me (haven't broken it out from hibernation yet though, too many other projects this summer). 

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