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Discussion Starter #1
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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
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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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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Discussion Starter #7
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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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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Discussion Starter #11
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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Discussion Starter #13
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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So she agreed to let me turn this into my play thing.

:D 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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Discussion Starter #15
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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Discussion Starter #17
Yea, Maier Racing is the only company that offers the body kit, $1499 though. I was hoping it'd be a Dave Kent edition, but a kit will work if that's all that's out there.

Now comes the fun part of getting all the body work started.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I've been in contact with a guy who owns one of the original monroe handlers, he sent me some really interesting pictures, some rarely seen stuff! Especially the Monroe Handler Blackheart!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Got the carburetor issues resolved mostly, in contact with a member on this website about it for good measures.

Now I am on to the fuel tank problem. My tank isn't leaking itself, it's the rubber grommet on the tank that fits around the fuel hose that goes into the tank... As well as the rubber grommet around the hose that leads to the gas cap.

I haven't been able to find anywhere that sells the rubber grommets for 74-78.. If anyone knows of a place that sells them or something I can do myself to fix these issues, any help is good help!
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Well... where to begin.

Noticed a soft tapping noise from the upper part of the engine and after a day it got louder and louder, especially in the higher RPMs. Figured it was my lifters tapping. I called the guy I purchased it from and asked how long he had it stored in his garage and what he did when he started using the vehicle again. Said he just started it right up after about 5 years of sitting in storage... Yay for dry starts. So took off the valve cover and watched as the seal dissolved. Probably still the factory seal.. so went and got that. Upon removal of the valve cover saw that there was barely any oil covering the camshaft, rockers, lifters and valve springs...

Don't see how that was possible since I just did an oil change on it 3-4 days prior to this. Checked to see if any oil was leaking, saw a small spot, nothing major. Put some Rislone engine cleaner in it and started it up. After about 30 seconds the engine started shooting oil out of side underneath the oil filter. Noticed somehow one of the screws in the block itself was missing... So went and baught a new one. That fixed that problem but than it started to leak straight out of the oil filter!!! My first thought was that the Rislone was doing one hell of a job and all the spots where sludge and impurities had built up over the years was being broken up and now leaky spots were showing up. Well... that's true and false. The place I had went to do an oil change won't be receiving my business anymore... And I will from henceforth perform my own oil changes... They failed to remove the old oil filter seal that didn't stick to the old oil filter... So when I removed the new oil filter there were two oil filter seal rings on mine.. Instantly I knew that this was my problem all along... Went out and baught new oil and oil filter, performed an oil change and the engine fired right up, no leaks...

On another note.. I had a gentleman contact me about a pair of original 1/4 panel side louvers with the glass, cobra emblems and hardware all in like new condition!! Settled on a price of $250! Incredible condition! Going to box them up and wait for the body work and new paint job before applying them to the car. Will post pictures once I pick them up on Sunday.
 
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