Using Every Decal That Comes In The Kit
You've done it or seen it-the restorer who installs every decal in the decal kit. Stop that! Laurie Slawson tells us not every decal in the kit is supposed to be installed on your Mustang. Yet we see so many of them done that way. Use only what should be installed on your Mustang.
Not Taking Pictures Before...
Not Taking Pictures Before Disassembly
This is the digital age where taking pictures has never been easier or cheaper. Jeff Lilly suggests rounding up a good digital camera and a 2-3 gigabyte flashcard to photograph the entire disassembly process. And if you inherited a mess, attend a Mustang show or two and photograph how the best restorations are put together. Images, coupled with the Jim Osborn Assembly Manuals mentioned earlier, will get you on the right path.
Using NOS Parts That Aren't...
Using NOS Parts That Aren't Up To The Task
When Imagination Transcends...
When Imagination Transcends Tasteful
Ford originally billed Mustang as "The car to be designed by you." However, some have taken Ford a little too seriously. Customizing a Mustang boils down to personal taste. There are some modifications that have never looked good on a classic Mustang, yet enthusiasts continue to use them, like six taillights across the tail panel, polished headlight bezels and trim rings, unusually large bumper guards, and ridiculous looking mud flaps. You can also include chin spoilers never intended for a Mustang, tacky aftermarket instruments that don't jibe with a Mustang's interior, hideous low-budget upholstery, speakers installed in the darnedest places, and ugly exhaust tips that extend 12-inches beyond the back bumper with one bent down and the other bent up.
Would you like us to go on? Think twice before bolting something really awful on your classic Mustang. And if you're thinking about it, get a couple of second opinions before drilling or bolting.
Changing Trim Without Protecting...
Changing Trim Without Protecting Paint
This mistake can be applied to almost any trim item you have to install or remove. Not enough of us protect the paint while replacing trim items. The more padding or masking tape you use, the better. Trim can pop off or your hand can slip with a tool, causing paint damage.
When you're tightening lines,...
When you're tightening lines, use a wrench on both sides or you risk twisting and kinking lines. Tighten, then loosen to initially seat the flare. Tighten a second time to firmly seat the flare.
Did You Remember To Connect...
Did You Remember To Connect The Ground?
You'll probably laugh at this one, but it happens a lot. There has to be a complete electrical circuit in order for anything to function properly. With automobiles, the steel body is part of the electrical system known as the ground. The negative battery cable "grounds" to the engine block. The engine is grounded to the firewall via a ground strap. The vehicle's wiring harness is grounded to the body as well, which makes your Mustang's body an electrical path. If you don't use an engine-to-firewall ground strap, you're courting electrical gremlins that cannot be explained-the alternator won't charge, lights are dim or won't work at all, and the ignition system works then quits.
Check all of your Mustang's electrical system grounds from bumper to bumper. Any stray black eyelet leads are disconnected grounds. Make sure they're connected.
We're showing a PerTronix Ignitor installation here because we get calls and emails about no-start conditions wi
Not Seeing The Forest For...
Not Seeing The Forest For The Trees
Whenever we look at a Mustang as a potential purchase, we often miss what's right in front of our faces. We see the finished product long before that first can of WD-40 and busted knuckles. In fact, it's easy to get lost in the fantasy of a car project because they are exciting by nature. Realistically examine any Mustang you're thinking about buying. We get in trouble when we don't see what's really wrong with a car. Sheet metal replacement or accident damage is not cheap to fix.
From a distance, this '65 Mustang hardtop appears to have simple grille and valance damage. However, the radiator support and inner fender aprons are also damaged. Additional cost there, plus time on a frame table to get the body straight. There's also significant rust in critical places. Even though you might be able to buy a beater on the cheap, figure in what it will cost to correct sheet metal damage. It's often cheaper to buy a good, straight car to begin with than it i
Leaks Because You Didn't Dress...
Leaks Because You Didn't Dress Mating Surfaces
Few things are as discouraging as leaks in a fresh restoration. Your Mustang's exhaust system has its own little demons. Jeff Lilly suggests dressing exhaust manifold mating surfaces as well as their cylinder head counterparts. Exhaust manifold gaskets do a nice job of sealing, but they can't do it all alone. When your Mustang's engine is built, have the machine shop shave all exhaust mating surfaces for excellent sealing. Make sure donut contact surfaces are clean too.
Wheel And Tire Fitment
Wheel And Tire Fitment
There are few things more deflating than discovering you've bought the wrong wheels and tires for your restoration project. They stick out too far, rub the fender lip, have the wrong offset, or are just too large. It is crucial for you to measure and do a reality check before laying down hard-earned money for new tires and wheels, which can be very expensive. Resist the temptation to go big just because your buddy managed to fit 20-inch wagon wheels on his '69 Mach 1. And this isn't just about fit; it is also about ride and handling quality. The less sidewall there is, the more harsh the ride.