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Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Published: 26th Jan 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
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Do you drive this great classic or are thinking of buying one? Here’s how to ensure that you get the best out of your car for years to come

Of the many attributes given to Ford’s iconic Mustang, ease of maintenance must surely be one of them. Underneath those classic looks lurks a simple Falcon saloon, meaning that working on a Mustang is as easy as our own Capri or MGB. If anything, obtainability for parts and help is even easier!

ENGINE OUTPUT

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Engines, range from a 2.8-litre straight-six, to a 4.7-litre V8. Options for upping the ‘six’ are more limited and far more expensive; concentrate on fuelling and exhaust for starters before having heads gas-flowed. V8, has great potential, starting with ported and polished cylinder heads; with the right mods it’s possible to extract over 400bhp. Tuning Mustangs gas been popular for 50 years there’s a huge range of specialists both sides of the pond.

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Both are hardy units, but can suffer overheating, especially V8; uprated radiators help so budget around £300 for an aluminium item. UK-based specialist Mustang Maniacs (01920 822 556), recommends Evans Waterless Coolant as an ideal addition. Also popular is electronic ignition to reduce distributor wear upsetting the tuning. Straight six can display rockershaft rattles and general engine repairs can cost a third dearer than the V8.

BOTTOM END

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Obvious answer when it comes to improving power on the straight-six is a V8 transplant. Hold your horses because if you want a V8, buy one as you won’t make one as good. V8s are ripe for serious tuning, with a huge range of performance pistons and crankshafts available although be prepared to sacrifice everyday drivability. If you want to stick with the six, then it’s possible to take the block out to well over 3-litres.

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According specialists Bill Shepherd Mustang, most well-cared for examples give few issues but if and when they do go wrong, parts are widely available and pretty inexpensive. A small oil weep with the V8 isn’t uncommon, changes are vital even on little used cars as strainers can block on engines that are not maintained regularly – use a quality 20W/50. Overheating can be due to V8 block sludging up as its quite common here but collapsed bottom hoses have same effect so always check this first and fit a steel spring to prevent it happening.

FRONT SUSPENSION

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There are a massive assortment of suspension upgrades but one worth considering is adjustable coilovers. For those looking to go that bit further, a modern, fully-independent set-up is available but costs some £1800. On a lesser budget? Simply fit harder dampers and springs and poly bush worn out joints and improvement is marked.

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It’s a simple system. The bushes on the upper control arms require greasing and squeak if not. The control arms are fine but if they need renewing consider upgrading to tubular items as they don’t disturb much of the originality plus are lighter and stronger, offering improved geometry and great scope for adjustment.

STEERING

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It lacks precision, so upgrading to a more modern rack and pinion set-up is a popular mod within the Mustang scene, and complement suggested changes to the suspension and completely transform the handling. Bear in mind though that the exhaust manifold was not designed with rack and pinion in mind, so a new one will be required. Power steering and right hand drive conversion kits are also available but not cheap.

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Steering box can be adjusted to remove some slack. A screw on the top of the box should be turned clockwise. If screw will not adjust further then the box needs replacing A new steering box will cost around £550 for a normal system. Idler and various ball joints also wear out.

BRAKES

Larger, modern disc set ups from later Mustangs can be fitted with a conversion kit but your car will also demand larger wheels to clear the bigger calliper and disc combo, which will cost some £1000. If you have a pre-1967 model, it’s also possible to convert it to a dual circuit braking set-up. Conversion is suitable for a home mechanic and a good safety mod.

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Early cars were offered with power- assisted drums, or non-assisted discs. With good linings, there’s little wrong although they can grab. That said, front discs is popular and worthwhile. Original discs can be converted to power assistance and again worth doing before spending around £400 for performance pads.

TRANSMISSION

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Installing a five-speeds is popular using ’box from later 1983-95 generation. Fitting is straightforward, using readily available parts from specialists. Standard clutches are not particularly well regarded but every component in the system can be uprated – an improved, dual friction clutch plate will cost around £100, for example. Three- speed Mustangs can be similarly converted, but it’s more involved.

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All have a decent reputation for strength and reliability even on tuned cars but pre ‘67 T-10 manuals are toughest. Automatic transmissions should last well, only require a fluid and filter change once every 30,000 miles but known to weep. Manuals can suffer from a loose, floppy gearshift but this is simple to rectify or fit a custom shifter instead. A ‘bang’ upon take off is the Detroit Locker differential starting to play up.

BODY AND CHASSIS

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Ford started to remake bodyshells a couple of years ago and they cost around £14,000. If that’s too extreme, a full range of individual panels are available from experts. Budget around £200 for a repro front wing. Cheaper fibreglass panels also available, but best avoid say experts as they may not fit too well and hurt resale values.

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Check body regularly for rust particularly in the rear footwells, sills, boot floor and door bottoms – poor past repairs will rust quicker. On convertibles, the sills provide much of the car’s strength. Periodically carry out a bucket of water test on bulkhead by ’screen; can cost £3000 to fix.

REAR SUSPENSION

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As with the front suspension, the rear can, and should, be stiffened and lowered. For those looking to do something a bit more involved, a full air suspension system displacing the leaf set up is available for around £6000, complete with ride height sensors! Bigger, more beefy rear axles are also available, and may be needed if serious power outputs are envisaged.

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Mustang is as simple as it gets here. New standard leaf springs are available and replacement is simple so long as the bushes haven’t taken root. It’s worth fitting them as they are keenly priced and will instantly improve axle location and ride – plus will have sagged after all these years anyway. Poly bushing will make refinement considerably harsher so speak to an expert first.

WHEELS AND TYRES

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With beefier brakes, bigger wheels become an option. Kits using late model Mustang discs and callipers also accept alloys from current car. Thanks to its retro styling, the modern Mustang’s wheels suit the classic rather well. If you’re sticking with standard brakes, there’s a variety of 14” wheels and tyres available. Heed advice from a specialist on the best tyres, pressures and geometry settings.

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Unless you’re a stickler for period- correct items, don’t contemplate crossply tyres. If your potential car is wearing period alloy wheels it’s worth inspecting them for signs of damage and ageing. If you are looking to replace the wheels, V8s use a five-stud fitment, the straight six is a four-stud. This could also help you identify a car that has had its engine swapped and purporting itself to be a pukka V8…

AND ANOTHER THING…

Check out the Mustang Owners Club of Great Britain (www. mocgb.net)who has been supporting the car since 1979 and can be found at events nationwide and are invaluable for help. There’s no shortage of parts but beware of their quality, especially body and trim panels such as new chrome. You can buy bumpers from as little as £200 but they won’t last! On the other hand, interior refurbishment is cheap and easy with new seat covers from just £300 and a full resto kit for around £700.

SERVICING TIPS

ENGINE OIL: (15w/50) V8: 8.5 pints

S6:7.5 pints

GEARBOX OIL: 14 pints

COOLING SYSTEM: 25 pints

SPARK PLUGS: V8: NGK V Power WR 5 0.035in S6: NGK V Power WR 0.035in

POINT GAP: V8: 0.021in S6: 0.024-0.026in

TIMING: V8: 8 degrees (manual) 12 degrees (auto) S6: 6 degrees BTDC (manual) 10 degrees BTDC (auto)



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