I posted this on another Mustang forum and I thought I would post it here as well. Like it says in here, I hope this can be sort of a "technical" post where I can help anyone with any problems they have doing similar mods to their cars.
If you have a 98 GT and you are having a problem, I have probably had that same problem. So ask me!
I have been working on this write up for quite a long time now, almost two months (finding all of the pictures I wanted has been a royal pain). And it is pretty good timing because it seems everyone is posting one of these up right now. This is meant to timeline my car, and includes everything I have done to the car, not just performance/visual mods.
I kind of invision this as a thread that people can look at, and ask for any help with similar mods or problems they have with their car. So I am hoping that people will ask for help!
Also note, that when I use the first person (I, me, myself, etc.), I am really referring to myself and my dad. Without his help, none of this would be possible. I cannot express enough how much I have enjoyed working on the car with him. For the simplicity of the post, I use "I", but my dad was just as much a part of this as I was. We have bonded so much over this car and I love him to death.
I call her Roxanne. The car is a 1998 Mustang
GT Convertible with a 5-speed. It is Silver with a black top, black interior. I bought it when I was 15 years old, in the summer of 2010. The car seemed to be good at the time of purchase, but ended up having a lot more wrong with it than i expected (which i will detail here).
Here's the first couple shots I took after the first clean.
and the engine bay:
My first impressions, the sound was nice, but the wheels looked pretty bad (i mean, deep dishes on the front? just wrong).
I learned to drive stick on the car, but the clutch was pretty much garbage, had to push it to the floor to disengage and it made a ton of racket. The synchros was also pretty far gone, but it was drivable. Also, the car seemed to spew blue smoke on startup. The top would not go up/down automatically either, such a buzzkill.
I liked the exhaust because it had a catless H-pipe, a good choice in my opinion. It was using the stock tubing with an aftermarket muffler behind that ("XLerator Turbo Muffler" was the brand). I am very glad that it came with the light bar on it already, as that was one of the things that completed the look of the vert to me. Also, it had FRPP Lowering Springs on it which have the perfect amount of drop for me.
So initially, there were problems that needed immediate
fixing. First up, the latch that attaches to the trunk lid was broken off entirely
. My guess is that the car got broken into or hit in the back. All I had to do was weld it back on.
(it still doesn't look too good, you can also see the rust in that picture. New trunk lid will come once money permits).
I sprayed the bottom of the car for rust. Here's a picture of the before, not too bad, but it is worse in some other spots.
Next I sprayed tinted the headlights and tailights. It turned out nicely but ended up fading (so the taillights need to be redone as well).
I changed the rear struts and the fuel filter. I dont have pics of this, but who cares nobody wants to see that anyways. The rear struts were so bad I couldn't even drive the car basically...so those needed to be changed.
So now for the worst part of the car- the engine ticking. Some of you may remember me trying to narrow down what the tick was. The ticking wasn't there when I bought the car...but about two weeks later it showed up.
For now I had to live with the ticking though, the engine ran fine.
Winter 2010 was a pretty low-mod time for me. The car was driveable and I didn't want to work on anything in the cold. I was also doing Varsity Swimming which took up all of my time.
I did two major things to the car though.
First off, I replaced the headunit from some old/low end unit to a nice new shiny one. I put a Kenwood KIV-700 in. Looks really clean and the controls are extremely simple. It is one of the best aftermarket headunits I have ever used.
I wired the iPod connector into the center compartment to keep it all clean and to give me access to the iPod. The new headunit did a good job of tuning out the tick as well lol.
Now for the sad part. Somebody decided that they were jealous of my car...or something. They slashed a tire, cut the top, and keyed the side. I don't understand how somebody can do this to a car, especially mine (which wasn't even that nice). But such is life.
I claimed insurance on it and got a nice chunk of change. Putting new 18x10.5" tires on the stock rims would have been way too much money, and so I used the opportunity to buy a new set of rims.
They are off of a 2001 Cobra, and I think they match perfectly with the car.
That's it for Winter 2010.
For Spring 2011, the first thing I did was a K&N Air Filter and I shortened the antenna. I don't have any pics but we've all done these two mods. The car actually came with a K&N filter...but it was the wrong size. It was way too small and a lot wider than the correct size.
Next, I put in sequential tail lights. These are a feature of mustangs that I absolutely love and I had to have them on my car.
Next I put that insurance money to good use and I got myself a trans out of a wrecked car (had ~17k on it at the time) and a new clutch. The clutch was nothing special, better than stock though. Money was tight to cover it all with the insurance money.
This tick haunted my dreams for too long. No matter what I tried...it ticked. I tried all sorts of magical oil additives, with no luck (no surprise lol). So I had to crack open the engine. What I ended up doing is replacing the lash adjusters, rocker arms, and valve seals.
As a side note, let me just mention that replacing the valve seals may easily be the scariest thing you can do to your engine. you have to remove the retaining clips off the valve, and the only thing keeping the valve from falling into your engine is air pressure...
Those are all the old parts. The valve seals were totally shot. The rubber is probably just as hard as the metal part. This soved the blue smoke issue. The lash adjusters and rocker arms did next to nothing, the tick was a strong as ever. I decided to seafoam it just to see what would happen lol...
And once again the tick never stopped. I had to live with the ticking for the time being. So on to the other stuff...
One last little fix, the parking brake light wouldnt come on when I pulled the e-brake. So I just removed the switch and sanded all the connections. Fixed the problem.
The Summer of 2011 was all restoration. No pics of any of this, but this was all the grimey, greasy work that is pretty unsatisfying. It is unsatisfying because you're working on your car to fix someone elses abuse, and it wont make the car any faster.
First, before the heat kicked in, I put a new A/C Compressor and Condenser on. The first compressor ended up blowing up, it was a made in china piece. I got a rebuilt Ford compressor and it has been good since.
I put Tie-Rod Ends, Front Struts, and new Rotors/Pads on the front brakes, and pads on the back. No pictures, but nothing too special here. I discovered that all the calipers need to be rebuilt or replaced, but it isn't too bad. Also take note that my ABS had been acting up big time, it tripped way too soon. So my Dad broke the sensor entirely, rendering the whole system useless (ABS shuts off completely in the case of a broken sensor). I like it better without ABS anyways.
Next I put new top cylinders on the convertible top, and filled it up with Dextron. The top works beautifully now, the top cylinder was just leaking.
The hood latch cable busted (the handle just pulled right out with a bunch of frayed wires on the end. I hated my car this day lol. So I put a replacement on, was an easy fix.
Lastly, I put some black "Mustang GT" lettering on the bumper, which you can see in this video:
I bought some parts off a parts car, I got all of the trunk interior pieces and put them into my car. I also got the strut tower brace off the car (which wouldnt go on until later).
The engine catastrophically failed sometime in the fall. I was cruising at ~20 mph down a side street and I heard one of the worst noises in my life. It was a metal-on-metal shrieking noise. The gauges on the dash went insane and flickered all over and the engine died. The engine would still run...but it continued to make that god awful noise. I drove it home and parked it, and the hunt for an engine started.
I was really hoping to find a DOHC to drop in there. I looked at a few but the deal never went through on any of them. One guy couldn't get his to run...and another just wanted too much for his. I ended up settling on a dusty SOHC out of a 2001. It had been pulled from the car 2-3 years prior and the guy needed it out of his garage. I paid $400 for it.
The engine has a little Ford Rebuild plate on it, so my dad called up Ford and had them run the code. Ford said it was out of an 01 Mustang GT, and estimated the mileage to be ~40k (which is what the seller said). It was still a huge risk though because we didn't know if the engine ran.
After I cleaned the engine up, turned out to be quite a good looking piece
The process began of the engine swap! It ended up taking me ~4 monthes to do. I kept the 98's return fuel system, and I kept the COPs on the new engine (it looks much cleaner). I had to make my own wiring harness to accomodate the COPs. I also opted to drill/tap a hole for the 98's second temperature sensor. I got the 8-bolt flywheel that came on the 2001 engine resurfaced (the only work I didn't do myself).
I also cleaned the crap out of all the coolant parts and everything I was going to reuse. I didn't want any of the old 98 engine grime in the new one.
Engine is out!
And the new one's in!
I also put a new pinion seal on my differential, as the stock one was leaking (as you can sort of see in the picture).
The engine did not start right up though. I had a minuscule short in the wiring harness I made, and it was driving the PATS insane. I guess the car thought I was trying to steal it. I managed to bipass the PATS system and get the engine to crank. It started up, but ran very rough. It was pretty disappointing.
I got the car put back together and got it on the ground. I decided to drive it home even when it was running rough. I put some good gas into the fuel tank and drove it home. On the way home, something sort of...popped. I can't describe it, but the engine just started to run like it was brand new. My guess is the injectors were clogged from sitting so long. This was one of the most amazing moments of my life, the engine has so much more power than the old one.
I threw on a FRPP Shift knob that I got for christmas as a mini-celebration for having my car running: