This is my 1986 Mustang LX Convertible with a 3.8 liter V-6.
i picked it up from one of those car lots you see surrounding military bases. I was driving by, saw those white racing stripes and fell in love. I drove her home the next day. Little did I know what I was in for!
The first thing I did was take her to the base auto hobby shop and put her on the lift to inspect her throughly. Front end was totally shot. Front discs needed new pads and discs. As I pulled one of the rear brake drums to inspect the shoes, the pads, springs, and cables fell onto the ground. I checked the oil....black and thick, transmission had a leak from anywhere it could leak from.....what had I gotten myself into!
Thus began the gradual transformation from street disaster to reliable fun machine to cruise with the wife and kids. I bought this car well before the advent of digital cameras so no pics of it and is disasterous beginnings.
I was accomplishing this entire transformation as a young Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps with a wife and child. So the repairs had to be correct and not break the budget. I can tell you, that there is not many systems on this vehicle that have not seen my grease covered hands on them!
The first thing I had to do was get this to be a reliable daily driver. Brakes were top priority...gotten whoa! I purchased all the parts necessary to repair them; new discs, pads, rear drums, shoes, hardware kits, well cylinders, as well as everything required to change the oil, twice, and change the transmission fluid. Up on the lift she went. I drained the old oil and as it was draining removed all the tires and tore into the front disc brakes. Everything short of the calipers went straight into the metal bin. As the old oil glopped out of the crankcase, I greased up the new bearings, installed them with new seals, and mounted the new discs. I removed the old oil and grease encrusted filter and let whatever remained from there leak into the oil change drum.
i finshed up the front brakes and started to tackle the rears. Since one side had already fallen apart, I opened up the other side as a reference and started rebuilding. With the portable solvent tank, I cleaned the entire area of years of accumulated nastiness. Removed the old wheel cylinder and popped in the new and began piecing it all together. Once back together, it was the other sides turn....same nasty. On the suggestion of the shop manager, I drained all the old brake fluid (good call, looked the like the engine oil) and proceeded to bleed the brakes with fresh fluid. Love those vacuum brake bleeders!
With the tires all put back on, and a real good pedal feel, I installed the first new oil filter and filled the engine with what had to be the first new oil it had seen in many a year. I started the car and let her circulate the oil for a while. Then drove the car around the housing area and tested the brakes. Damn! Did I even have brakes before? Stopped on a dime, but, accented the need for a front end rebuild! That would come later.
With the car back in the shop, I dumped a can of Risolene into the engine and let that solvent work its magic on the internals. What I got out of that engine after lifting it back on the lift is the stuff of nightmares! Just as black as before, but thinner thanks to the Risolene. But, I was very confident that the engine I now was putting fresh oil and filter into was much cleaner than before.
Now it was time for the transmission. Back up on the rack. I started to unbolt the pan and grayish nasty smelling fluid started to pour out. Even the guys in the next stall mentioned the horrid smell! The bottom of the pan was layered in crap. Over to the solvent tank it went. I pulled the drive shaft, replaced the u-joints and the rear trans seal and bolted it back into place. Then I discovered the parts store gave me the wrong filter and gasket! The wife gave me a ride to the auto parts store where we matched the pan to the gasket and back to the shop. I cleaned as much as I dared from the trans and installed the pan with new filter and gasket. Filled the fluid and, the moment of truth, I took her for a test drive.
With the exception of the need for a total front end rebuild, the car acted like a new pony! She did not like to shift very well at first but as that new fluid worked its way through the passages of that transmission, she reacted amazingly! For all the good I had done that LONG day in the shop, it served to accent the issues with the front end even more. But that is another story!