1976 Mustang II MPG - Ford Muscle Forums : Ford Muscle Cars Tech Forum
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post #1 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Cool 1976 Mustang II MPG

I recently sold my daily driver 1998 Oldsmobile Bravada that was vandalized some 6-8 months ago after fixing it back up. I found this incredible opportunity on Craigslist for a 1976 2.3L 4 Cylinder Mustang II for $700. The guy was selling it because his son didn't want the vehicle after driving it for a year. The guy is the 2nd owner, and it only has some 26,000 miles on it! He's had it in his garage he said for some 20 years! The interior is by far the worst part, the leather seats are cracked and ripped, the carpet is worn down to the floor panels on the driver and passenger side and there is no headliner. The hatchback trunk is off of a different year of Mustang II so the latch on the trunk lid doesn't fit the locking mechanism on the car. The seals need to be replaced all around, they're just worn out and deteriorating. There is only one really bad rust spot and that's where the battery tray is, again nothing major to repair!

For the most part everything is original, engine, body and I "believe" the rims are also. I haven't researched enough to be positive about the rims.

I don't plan on decking this car out and making it a muscle driven powerhouse. On both of the front fenders it has the logo "MPG" stamped on the sides. It doesn't have a large engine. I want to turn this into a comfortable, stylish, and fuel efficient daily driver while still keeping that good old carburated American muscle feel!
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1979 Ford Bronco - 351M auto
1979 Ford Ranger Lariat - 351W auto
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post #2 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 09:49 PM
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Re: 1976 Mustang II MPG

Nice find..I never had much luck with the 2.3s of that era...My brother had a couple of those cars with 302s and they got pretty decent mileage.Especially with the 4 speed manual trans and 3:1 rear gears.


1968 mustang 408W Hybrid..Burns gas and rubber!
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post #3 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1976 Mustang II MPG

Mine has the 4 speed manual transmission in it and it has the 3.18:1 rear axle. It's fun to just cruise around in. I know a lot of people dislike the 1974-1978s but they're a nice little Mustang! I can't complain for $700. I found out this MPG was a part of a special line built in response to consumers wanting better gas mileage; as well as a means for Ford to attempt to strike back at the foreign cars of the time.

This is what I found out about the "MPG" edition on Unique Cars & Parts website:

"Late in the model year, an MPG version of the Mustang II was made available. Using the 2.3L four-cylinder engine and a lower numerical rear axle ratio, 3.18:1 vs 3.40:1, the MPG Mustang was designed to deliver better mileage. The Competition Suspension, available by itself, included heavy-duty springs, Gabriel adjustable shocks, a rear stabilizer bar and 195/70x13 B/WL tires. There was also the regular Luxury Interior Group (standard on the Ghia) which included a choice of vinyl or cloth and vinyl seat trim, deluxe door and rear seat quarter trim, door courtesy lights, color-keyed deluxe belts on hardtops, shag carpeting, rear ashtray, parking brake boot and, as Ford called it, a super sound package."

I'll take some pics of the dash in my MPG tomorrow when it's bright out, the guy I purchased it from really gutted the dash. I think he was going for a drag car or something.. Spent 11 hours on the wiring alone under the dash...

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post #4 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 10:21 AM
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Re: 1976 Mustang II MPG

that is one fine drag racing car there! Light, Light, Light
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post #5 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 04:22 PM
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Thumbs up Re: 1976 Mustang II MPG

one super popular swap for those cars is the turbo 2.3 T-bird and mustangs. they are super fast and still get 20+ mpg. you will surprise people at stop lights and the engines are in wrecking yards from time to time.
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post #6 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-11-2010, 05:03 PM
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Re: 1976 Mustang II MPG

Not a big fan of those years, but I'm interested in what you'll do with it.

Keep it up!

1968 Ford Fairlane 500 fastback 302 ci C4 tranny
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post #7 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1976 Mustang II MPG

I'm really not sure what direction I want to take with this vehicle so far.. I'm focusing right now on getting everything sealed because there is spots that water is leaking in. I don't want any rust to form on the inside. After it's all sealed up I will focus on the motor / tranny..

I'm up for suggestions for motors.

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post #8 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 08:55 PM
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Re: 1976 Mustang II MPG

Inline Six. Power and Economy if thats the route you want to go.

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post #9 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-13-2010, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1976 Mustang II MPG

Here's the dash as it is, the 2nd picture is what I want to turn the dash into... I can't believe the guy who owned the car before me did this, but to each their own I guess...
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post #10 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 11:52 AM
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Re: 1976 Mustang II MPG

Great deal! The V-6 was good power and economy too. I had a throttle body fuel injection V-6 in a 1987 Thunderbird that I installed a Mustang 2V carburator on and that engine came alive! True dual exhaust and it was economical and had plenty of power too. Although it was not a V-8, it impressed me more than the in-line six cylinders that I have owned.
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post #11 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1976 Mustang II MPG

4 P.M. Fuel up to full.

5-6 P. M. Go to Broadway and burn out 5-6 times and drive home.

7:30 P.M. Can't start the car. Find out I am out of gas.

8 P.M. Figure out that the fuel pump isn't shutting off even though the car is.

Rebuilt the carburetor today after tearing it apart for 3-4 hours. Going to try driving around for 20-30 minutes and see how it operates. I knew before hand that the seals were bad and that the carburetor was leaking gas, also I am hoping this stops the fuel pump from thinking the carb needs gas. Found two ball bearings in the pump discharge nozzle, so I am hoping that it works. Here's some more pictures!

Also got my heater core in today!
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1979 Ford Bronco - 351M auto
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post #12 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 07:10 PM
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Re: 1976 Mustang II MPG

those rims are original. i had a '74 with those rims. good find.

Richard
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warmed up just a little
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post #13 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1976 Mustang II MPG

Well.. after a very long talk with the Misses I think I have gained some ground and have a firm direction as to what I want to do with this car. I was going to go for fuel economy, but she wants to buy a new Ford Focus for when we have children. So she agreed to let me turn this into my play thing. ^^

I'd like to turn it into a Monroe Handler.

Now my question is this:

I've been looking at a twin turbo kit for 302s, now can the new Boss 302 block be set up for a twin turbo set-up? Will it fit in the engine bay? Can a Boss 302 handle a twin turbo set up? Is this idea completely preposterous?

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post #14 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 09:48 AM
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Re: 1976 Mustang II MPG

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dcollins85 View Post
So she agreed to let me turn this into my play thing.

Score!!!
Is this idea completely preposterous?
Not at all....dude, you could drop in one of those 302 boss blocks. Growning up, one of the high school kids in the late 80's had one with the big cobra package, 302/4 speed, and it was a riot of a mini-stang. No problems drifting that car sideways from a stop.

I say, do what floats your boat.
Personally, if I was doing a project like this, I'd skip the V8, and go look for a good SVO turbocoupe 4 banger and a T5.

Then again, I have this thing for 19 foot long 4,000+ pound Gran Torino Sports...

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post #15 of 94 (permalink) Old 03-16-2010, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1976 Mustang II MPG

Well my biggest problem with turning this into a Monroe Handler is that no one sells that body kit, and from reading various forums and searching the internet like mad I have only found this much info:
The complete body kit consisted of the following.

(1) Left & right front fenders that extended down (further than a stock fender) in front of the tires to connect with the front air dam. The fenders, as well as all the other pieces, were beautifully made of a very thick fiberglass (not racing thinness as I've seen in other posts) that was gel-coated in black. None of the body pieces were fragile, these pieces were solid and well made but needed some trimming to fit properly The fenders were bolted into place using the same underhood bolts that held the stock fenders

(2) A massive front air dam with 2 brake cooling ducts, one on each side, and a center radiator duct replaced the front bumper and its associated hardware. There was probably close to a 50 pound weight savings alone in using the air dam in place of the stock hardware. The air dam bolted to the front flanges that had been fabricated into the front fenders by Maier Racing. I added additional support rods to both the front air dam and sides of the fenders, that were directly in front of the tires, to better secure the pieces and minimize any vibrations.

(3) Left & right rear fenders that incorporated both forward & rearward brake cooling ducts and an intergral rear spoiler (actually the right and left ends of the spoiler). The rear exhaust duct was huge, which gave the car the IMSA race car look. The stock fenders had to be cut a considerable amount to increase the wheel well opening, since I would be installing a Centerline wheel that measured 15" dia. x 10" wide (about 1" wider than the Monroe show car). Once the inner and outer wheel well was cut, the two pieces needed to be welded back together again, just like stock manufacturing practices. The Maier fenders were riveted to the body and glassed over to smoothly meet the stock body (boy, did I spend alot of hours and elbow grease doing this). The left fender had a cutout for the gas cap and filler opening that I slightly modified by drilling a small hole in the cavity to allow water to drain out instead of possibly into the filler neck!

(4) A rear valence panel mounted directly below the tail lights. This piece could only be riveted to the car body directly below the tail lights which made it the only poorly designed piece from a functional standpoint, in my opinion. This piece should have had a diffuser built into it so that the air exiting from under the car wouldn't apply so much force to this piece. This piece broke off once because it block the flow of air coming from under the car. I eventually added supports to the lower edges of the piece and never had another issue.

(5) An extremely tall rear spoiler that mounted to the hatch. This spoiler was so heavy that the hatch struts had to be replaced at fairly short interval, or a stick had to be used to hold the hatch up. This was another area where alot of elbow grease was required in order to have a seamless transition between the lid and spoiler. Also, the ends of the center spoiler had to be trimmed to not rub the end caps, which are on the fenders, when the hatch was closed.


This is going to probably require heavy fabrication as no one seems to be selling a body kit for the Monroe Handler... Anyone with any information on the Monroe Handler body kits would be a great help!

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