I just purchased a 1965 Mustang convertible, 289, 4 speed man. trans. It is very badly rusted out underneath. :ohcrap: It is sagging and the doors are hitting. Anyone got any advice on where to start replacing metal, how to brace, and how to square it up? It hasn't moved for at least 10 years (I'm renting the garage it is parked in) and has 4 flat tires that don't hold any air. any good ideas how to get it off the ground without twisting it out of shape? I will try to add pictures once i get up to the garage with a camera, maybe Friday. Any ideas would be appreciated.
If it is so badly rusted that it is sagging in the center, I recommend that
you find a less rusted car to use to build the project. Mustang are
relatively inexpensive...and you can use the 289 and 4 speed in the new
If this option doesn't work for you and you want to rebuild this one, be ready for a great deal of work. The best way to get it back into shape is to completely strip it down to the bare shell. Remove every part that is bolted to the car. Now that you have most of the weigh removed, you can use jack stands to support it. Use at least 8...position one under each torque box 2 under the radiator support and 2 at the rear of the rear frame rails. If it is as bad as I suspect, you will need to install a new floor (they sell a 1 pc), inner & out rockers, all four torque boxes, rear frame rails, upper and lower cowl, 1/4 panels, inner & outer wheel wells, trunk drop downs and all the front fender aprons. The car will not really line up until you get all the metal back on and it is solid again. It is very important that you properly align all of the metal before you weld it in to place. You will need to get a factory assembly manual to get the factory measurements.
My sig has a picture of a 66 convertible we just finished a few months back.
Hope this helps...if you need more specifics just ask.
I'd do what Corbette_Auto said, and use the Mustang you have now as a parts car for a car that's not literally falling in due to rust.
Unfortinately(sp?) it is hard to find one around here in northern NJ that
wouldn't be just about as much work that is reasonably priced, and I don't
have the room for another car.
The floors look like chicken wire, but the hump over the transmission looks ok, so I hope to use just 2 full pans. Other than that, I am realy just interested in making it drivable for now, then decide if i want to keep it and do a full restoration, or sell it. But i will probably end up doing everything once i get started. But it will probably take me 5+ years on a student budget and schedule, just spending weekends and vacations working on it.
And another question. Would one of those portable garage things on a level driveway be an ok place to work on it? or do i need a better idea?
Or am I completly insane for even considering restoring this car?
It sounds as though you purchased a car with some good options...but if the
car is as bad as you describe.....you may be better off with one that needs
less work. Restoration can become very frustrating when you bite off more
than you can chew and based on your questions you have more than a
You do not need to necessarily get rid of it. Maybe find an easier project to get your feet wet. Get one that just needs a tune-up and a brake job. Drive it around for a while, sell it for a profit, then buy one that needs a little more work....then repeat. After a few years will have gained the skills, money, tools, place to work and patience needed to dive into a project like the Mustang.
I guess I've passed the point of no return, I realy want to fix the car up.
As for skills and tools, my brother is working on a 67 mustang coupe, so he
has a some tools, and some experience, so with his help and my dad's, I
think I can make it through some of the more difficult times. And I figured
if I realy run out of patience, I could sell it as a parts car and probably
Thanks for the advice, even if I am too thick headed to listen
Is there any way you could post some pictures of it? I'm curious as to how bad the rust damage is. I have experience restoring and building cars, it's what I do. I can tell you a lot more from a picture.
I will try to get pictures friday or saturday, but i have to see when i have time, a camera, and access to the garage.
a month and a half late, i finally got pictures, and brought the car home.
I know these pictures can't tell you much about the over all shape of the
car, except in the second to last image where you can see the ground
through the floor behind the drivers seat. clickify for larger
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/th_001lightened.jpg (http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/001lightened.jpg)_http:/ /i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/th_007lightened.jpg (http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/007lightened.jpg)_http:/ /i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/th_65mustang002.jpg (http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/65mustang002.jpg)
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The hole in the last picture is in the inner rocker panel. This is a very
hard panel for a novice to repair. Floors and fenders are not so bad, but I
recommend you proceed with caution. The inner and outer rocker are what
holds the car together.
The rest of the car looks really good, but the structural damage looks bad. You really should consider finding a donor vehicle with a better body.
The next step you should take is to remove the seat and carpet. Then vacuum out all of the dust, dirt and rust flakes...then look it over really good...this will give you a good idea of where you stand.
I think the frame rails might be toast.
My suggestion is to take the drivetrain out and drop it in a better suited, less trashed body.
Get a same year 200ci inline 6 cylinder car. They can be had for cheap. Or better yet, just find a shell.
Well I did two things since I last posted. First of all I drove it around
the block a few times, I just love the way it drives. It took a bit of
work though, because when I opened the gas cap, I realized it still had
what appeared to be about 10 gallons of gas still in it, after its been
sitting for 10 years. After I siphoned out as much as I could, I found
about an inch of a thick, tar like substance in the bottom of the tank. Not
fun. So for the moment, I have my brothers gas tank and sending unit in it,
so I could drive it around. The other thing I did was pull out the seats
and carpet. See pictures below, click for larger.
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/th_carpetup010.jpg (http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/carpetup010.jpg)_http:// i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/th_carpetup009.jpg (http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/carpetup009.jpg)_http:// i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/th_carpetup008.jpg (http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/carpetup008.jpg)
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edit: I forgot to mention that I hope to go to Carlisle PA Saturday to pick up front torque boxes, 2 complete rockers, 2 full floors, 2 frame rail floor supports, and 2 convertible reinforcement pans. Anything else I should get while I am there?
MUCH better shape than my brothers was
I say do it, but only if you can realize just how big of a project it will be
as for tips... it would help to be a welder/fabricator lol
Make sure that you are getting the inner rockers. You may also need the
outer, but I can not tell from the pictures. And be ready for a lot of
work. Replacing the inner rockers is a very difficult task.
Once you get the parts lay them all out and develope a good game plan. You will also need to buy or borrow a few tools to do a good job. And the main thing to remember is take your time. There are a lot of parts you will need to take off and save such as the seat platform. We normally just buy a new one because it is cheaper and faster than trying to save the old one.
As you dig deeper into it don't be affraid to come back and ask questions. You will get your share of smart a$$ answers, but a few of us will try to help if we can.
I'm getting the complete rocker, its got the inner, the outer, and the front extension all stitched together. And what tools would you be referring to? I (my father) already have a couple air tools, spot welder, Mig welder, grinder, etc. And also, when you replace the rockers, is it wise to weld braces across the door openings, or is it better to leave the doors in to line things up, and put braces somewhere else?
You can get by with just a cut off wheel and drill. But an air chisel and a
good spot weld cutter make things go a little smoother.
AS I mentioned what you will need to do once you have the new pieces is pay close attention to how the factory put the car together...then what you want to do is reverse the process, replace the needed parts and then re-assemble. Along the way yuou may discover that a few other pieces may not be reuseable..if so you will need to repair them or replace them...
As far as braces go it doesn't really matter. If I was doing it, I'd leave the doors off and take a lot of good measurments from multiple points on both sides and square everything up the best you can and brace it accordingly.... If you install the braces out of the way of the doors, then you can mount them after you tack it all together to be sure everything lines up....What you are after is a straight line between the door and the 1/4 and along the rocker panel. Take your time ligning up the doors. It is not an easy thing and could take you all day to get one side done, but all of the time spent will be worth it in the end...
The other thing you need to do is figure out how the water got in the car and caused the problems....A common problem in Mustangs is the cowl...Here is a picture of what they normally look like. This picture is after the upper section was removed:
If you dont stop the water leaks it will eventually rust out again.
I think the cowl is fine, or not too bad, because I didn't see any leaves
in it, and when I poured a gallon of water in each side, none came in the
car, so I think the water may have come from a poorly sealing or torn top,
as the original owner had the top replaced. I know my brothers looked like
that, but I think mine might be ok.
I already have the air chisel, and a bunch of cheep Harbor Freight spot weld cutters.
well the car has set for almost a year and as it gets warmer I can't wait
to start working on it. Here is my plan of action.
1. Since I am working in a tent in the back yard, I want to build something like a floor to work off of(unless my brother moves out and takes his car, then I get the garage :drool: ) I am figuring run 2 4x4's for 16 feet, approximately under the tires. on top of this I would run 2x4's or 2x6's on end crosswise to build a floor. Then there would be 2x6's or 2x8's parallel to the 4x4's for the tires to run on, and later for a jig to rest on.
2. I plan on building a jig similar to this. one set of supports to the bumper brackets, one set just behind the front shock towers under the frame rail, and one set to where each of the rear spring shackles attach to the rear frame.
3. remove engine, transmission, doors, fenders, convertible top, suspension, etc.
4. get car onto jig, and put braces across the doors
5. replace rocker panels and torque boxes
6. replace front frame rail extensions under the floors
7. replace the floors
8. repair rear frame rail
9. repair engine bay
10. repair rear wheel wells
11. reinstall suspension and drive train
12. repair/replace fenders, doors, etc.
13. final cosmetics and assembly.
14. take it for a spin
15. wrap it around a tree
16. wake up in ER
Estimated cost: $18,000 to $20,000 plus hospital bills
ETA: Fall 2015
That seems reasonable... Just be sure you hold everything plumb, square,
perpendicular, parallel, etc...... otherwise final fit of the panels will
be way off.
When you write it all out it makes it sound easy... which it is if you take it step by step and take your time. Your budget and time frame also sound like you have thought it out.
We have done lots of Mustangs and have a lot of pictures of replacing various items if it would help.... Due to the link posting restrictions I will not post a link, but feel free to email or PM if you want to see any.... We actually just finished the rust repair on a 68 Convertible that needed many of the things yours needs.
Well, a little update as to what is happening...
Shortly after posting the last update, I got another job, so now I am working per diem as a nurse, maintain 8 lawns in the neighborhood, work part time at a local mom and pop shop, and go to school full time, so as you can imagine, life is busy, so the car has, for the most part, been sitting untouched. Before the semester started, I removed the front: bumper, bumper supports, valance, parking lights, headlights, and grille and valance.
Since my brother finally moved his car and most of his parts to his house, I will be moving into the garage soon (before it snows!), so hopefully over Christmas break I can get some real work done.
i wish you the best of luck and really you dont have it to bad ya its
a mountain of work but i have seen cars from the 90's with more rust
than metal just like a few of us have said take it slow and in
... depending on how much time ya got you will look back and well feel
good haha but other than that floor bits and such just make sure to
save as much as you can never know how hard it can be to find a
well best of luck
i look forward to seeing the progress :drool:
btw when ya wrap it around a tree can i have it?
A little update:
Got her in the garage in early December, so I have been able to get some work done. Conv. top is off, fenders and hood are off, radiator is out, exhaust has been removed, working on taking the glass out.
Got a cart for the engine to go on, so once I can make arrangements to borrow an engine hoist, and I get a free weekend, the engine and trans will be pulled out.
There has been a slight change in plans: So far it looks like I won't be building a jig, but rather I'm leaning toward using an assortment of jacks and stands to hold things in shape while I work on the rockers and frame. And it looks like most of the suspenssion will be staying in for ease of menuverability. As you can see, there isn't much room in the garage, so I will need to be able to roll it out to the driveway.
Picture from shortly after I got it in the garage:
sounds like things are moving in the right direction. And jack stand will
work great to hold things in place while you work. On convertible we
typically use 8: 2 at the very front under the frame rails, 2 near the
torque boxes under the front frame rail, 2 at the rear torque box near
where the leaf springs mount, and the last two at the rear under the frame
rails.... It will be just fine as long as you take your time jacking it up.
Only go a little at the time, do not jack the front all the way up and then
jack the back all the way up. Do it in about 3-4 stages. If that makes
Good luck and remember to take your time. In the end you will be glad you did.
Engine, trans, and drive shaft came out Tuesday without any problems at
all. :heh: In fact it went MUCH smoother than I had feared. Noted a few
more things that will need to be replaced. The front springs have all but
worn through the upper control arms, and the clutch is shot.
Time to assemble a shopping list so I can finally get started on some of the body work.
If the front spring are bad you make want to take a little time and decide if you want to upgrade the front suspension. If not at least replace all of the bushing. The easiest way to do this is to buy complete new upper and lower control arm which come with new ball joints and bushing installed.
well the plans have changed again.:doh:
After thinking things through again, it appears as though I will be building a body cart after all. Dad doesn't want me welding in the garage if I can avoid it, due to the fire hazard. Aside from that, there isn't so much room to maneuver large parts around (as you can see in the above picture). Also the driveway isn't in good condition and a little short on space (4 cars, 5 when my brother is home) so I don't want to leave the car in the driveway while I work on it. Also decided it wasn't a good idea to leave the car on its own wheels, because it would be to easy for things to shift out of proper alignment, especially when moving over the uneven driveway.
That being said, all of the suspension is out. Quite a fight to get the rear springs out, ended up taking a sawzall to the front bolts to get it free. the steering came out all to easy, basically fell out, more parts to add to the shopping list...:ohcrap:
Now the problem is building a cart to spec, so it will hold the car squarer than it is now, and not get in the way when I replace the inner and center rocker panels, front torque boxes, floors, floor reinforcement pan, etc.
Well, most of the disassembling is finished, time to start fixing some things...:drool:
Decided this post needed a picture: My brothers new ride, it's in our blood:
What you describe pretty much sums up most restoration projects: Full of challenges and new directions. If you keep the motivation up it helps things move more smoothly. Good luck! :thumbs:
Answering the Hobo's call for more activity, just without posting
Work in progress for the cart. Being constructed from 3X3X3/8 inch "L" beams that my dad was able to acquire. I was hoping to get it finished over winter break, but as you know from my other post, (http://www.car-forums.com/talk/showthread.php?t=32852) winter break didn't go exactly as planned. While I was wating for the Taurus to come out of the shop, I was able to get the plans finalized, all the pieces cut out, and some of the welding done. If I get a nice weekend, I should be able to get all the welding done and the necessary holes drilled. Then it is just a matter of getting the car off the jackstands and onto the cart. Make clicky for larger.
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/th_Picture026.jpg (http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/Picture026.jpg) http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/th_Picture030.jpg (http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/Picture030.jpg) http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/th_Picture029.jpg (http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/Picture029.jpg.j pg)
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Had to make an assembly in Pro E for school, so I drew up plans for the
Thats a pretty nice simple design you got there, what kind of materials are you going to use?
Solid steel construction. Heavy as anything, but darn sturdy.
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this looks like an awesome project, any progress lately?
Well, the cart is finally completely built, so it has come time for some
actual work on the car. I started on the drivers side because it is in the
worst shape. First the remains of the inner rocker panel where slowly
pealed away from the outer, which hopefully will be able to remain in
place. Then the remains front torque box where removed, and the
reproduction rocker was clamped in place to check fit and placement.
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/th_Picture005.jp g (http://s178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/Picture005.jpg) http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/th_Picture021.jpg (http://s178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/Picture021.jpg) http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/th_Picture039.jpg (http://s178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/Picture039.jpg)< br /> Then my first real positive repair: fabrication and instillation of a small patch for the front edge of the outer rocker panel. It will be behind the fender when the car is finished, so I wasn't too particular about it. I thought it turned out well considering it was my first attempt at bending metal, and my brother was quite sure I wouldn't be able to make the compound bends. Not perfect, but I am quite proud of it, and it only took me about three hours to go from a flat sheet of stock to a tacked in patch.
http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/th_Picture045.jpg (http://s178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/Picture045.jpg) http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/th_Picture047.jpg (http://s178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/Picture047.jpg) http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/th_Picture050.jpg (http://s178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/Picture050.jpg) http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/th_Picture051.jpg (http://s178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/Picture051.jpg) http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/th_Picture052.jpg (http://s178.photobucket.com/albums/w269/dvdrose18/Mustang/Picture052.jpg)< br />
Hopefully over the weekend I can finish welding the patch panel in and start repairing the toe board, but before I can go much further with the rocker, I need to figure out what I am doing with the front of the rear wheelhouse. It is supposed to join up to the inner rocker, but has since rusted out, so I really need to repair that so I can be sure the rocker is lined up properly front to back before I go crazy plug welding it in place.
Up next comes the floors, floor supports, and seat panel reinforcements.