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    CAR #Ford-Mustang / #Ford / #Ford-Mustang / #Mustang / #Mustang-Mk1 /

    RUN BY Lizzie Pope
    OWNED SINCE October 2017
    PREVIOUS REPORT Dec ’18

    The exciting pre-Christmas arrival of a fresh set of Pirelli Cinturato CN36s from Longstone Tyres was all the inspiration I needed to get stuck into the Mustang’s to-do list and get back on the road.

    First was an oil and filter change, then it was time to find out where the oil leaks were. One was from the diff, so with the front wheels chocked and the rear on axle stands, the cover and gasket were removed, and the oil drained. This was also a chance to work out what the diff was. An earlier inspection proved that it wasn’t a Mustang part – and not even a Ford item – and with it apart, the only clue was that the gasket sat inside the bolt-holes.

    Some Googling suggests it could be from a Jeep – we’ll see if the eBay-sourced replacement fits, once it arrives. Another leak was traced to where the propshaft and ’box meet, so the former came out for me to clean the yoke and grease the universal joints. The gearbox’s rear seal and pipes were leaking, too, so the pipes are now off and the seal has been replaced. And while we’re at the rear, a stay for the spare wheel and matching bag for the jack have tidied the boot.

    Up front, a frayed battery pipe was replaced, then it was time to look at the loose bonnet seal. Removing and cleaning the rubber was much easier than persuading the old RTV silicone off. With fresh adhesive applied, the seal didn’t seem too keen to stay put, but after a few days with the ends clamped in place it was another job that could be ticked off the list. One final task was adjusting the bands in the gearbox to see if this helps it shift as it should. Hopefully it won’t be too long until I’m back behind the wheel to find out.

    THANKS TO Longstone Tyres: 01302 711123; www.longstonetyres.co.uk

    New Pirelli Cinturatos should improve grip while retaining the Pope Mustang’s classic look.

    A jack bag has tidied things up in the boot. Oil was dripping from the rear of the ’box. What is this diff? Jeep is the latest guess.
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    Public squeaking

    CAR #1966-Ford-Mustang / #1966 / #Ford-Mustang / #Ford / #Mustang / #Mustang-Mk1 / #Mustang-thermostat

    OWNER MARK DIXON

    It just happened, out of the blue. One day the ’Stang was performing sweetly, the next it had developed an irritating noise from the front suspension. Not just an occasional chirp, but a relentless squawk induced by even the tiniest road ripple. Googling revealed that this is a common phenomenon with early Mustangs; so common that it is known as ‘the Mustang squeak’. But it can originate from one or more of several places in the suspension and identifying the source is very difficult, even if you enlist someone to bounce the front end up and down while you stick your head under the car.

    The noise was coming from the driver’s side, so I jacked the car up and whipped off the front wheel. Pumping the lower ball-joint full of grease made no difference, and my money is now on the upper wishbone pivots – built with no means of lubrication – or the spring perches. The latter are miniature platforms that pivot on top of the lower wishbones to support the springs. With no lubrication points, they rely on the elasticity of rubber bushings.

    Thanks to the Mustang’s fantastic parts support, you can now buy wishbones with grease nipples built in, and spring perches that pivot on roller bearings. The latter are relatively expensive but will last forever and are said to have other benefits for the ride and steering feel, because the entire weight of the car’s front end bears on these perches and the standard items have innate ‘stiction’ under load.

    Otherwise, the only problem I’ve had in 2000 miles of sunny springtime motoring is that, as bought, the engine was running too cold. There are three temperature options for a Mustang thermostat – 160, 180 or 195ºC – and the one fitted turned out to be a 160, presumably to help it cope with summers in Los Angeles, where it lived for almost 50 years.

    I’m blessed with a choice of two major US car parts warehouses within 30 minutes’ drive of the Octane office, so obtaining a replacement ’stat was an easy lunchtime jaunt.

    Experimenting with a 195 made the #V8 run too warm but, like Goldilocks’ porridge, a 180 was just right and the car is now averaging just over 21mpg, which I think is pretty good for a 289 V8. I was amused to see that the thermostat housing gasket fits all #Ford-V8 s from 1948 to 1989 – you gotta love Henry’s parts rationalisation!

    Right and above Mark attempts to cure ‘the Mustang squeak’ and fits a new thermostat, which has improved fuel consumption.
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    Film star Ford breaks cover / #Ford-Mustang-GT / #Ford-Mustang / #Ford / #1968 / #Bullitt / #1968-Bullitt / #Steve-McQueen / #2019-Ford-Mustang-Bullitt / #2019-Ford-Mustang / #1968-Ford-Mustang-Bullitt / #2019 / #2018

    Following the re-appearance of a genuine ‘Bullitt’ movie Mustang last year, a second car has just come to light / Words John Simister

    Ford revealed a ‘Bullitt’ version of its latest Mustang at Detroit, in Highland Green and suitably sparse in its detailing, to mark the 50th anniversary of the film. The launch was special because the new car (with a hefty 475bhp and an aural output to match) was joined on stage by an original 1968 film car that hasn’t been seen for nearly 40 years.

    Two Ford Mustang GTs were used in Bullitt, one for stunts, the other – known as 559 from the final digits of its chassis number – for everything else. Octane reported last March on the discovery of the battered stunt car in a scrapyard in Mexico. The other, the so-called ‘halo’ car, is the one that finally broke cover at the North American International Motor Show.

    While 559 was never lost in the way that the stunt car was, it led a reclusive existence after Steve McQueen’s film. It passed through two post-movie owners before being bought in 1974 by Bob Kiernan, who resisted all McQueen’s efforts to buy it for himself.

    In 1977 #McQueen made his last bid to buy the car, offering to find Kiernan an alternative Mustang ‘if there is not too much monies involved with it’. But Kiernan didn’t want to deal. His wife used 559 to commute to work until the clutch failed in 1980, and for two decades it sat in the Kiernans’ garage, moving house from time to time with its owners.

    In 2001 Bob and son Sean decided to make the Mustang driveable again and took it to pieces for overhaul. The engine was rebuilt in 2008, but Bob died in 2014. It was only when Sean subsequently contacted Mustang authority Kevin Marti to authenticate the car for a possible film project that it came back on the radar.

    Having reassembled 559 for Marti’s inspection and restarted its engine on 4 July 2016, Sean was then advised to call insurance company boss McKeel Hagerty to get 559 on the US’s National Historic Vehicle Register. Then Ford got involved, culminating in the sensational re-appearance at Detroit.

    The Mustang is still unrestored, and bears all the signs of its film role including camera mounts, a sticky residue on the tacho from a label warning McQueen not to over-rev, and a large amount of filler down one flank following an incident in filming. McQueen’s granddaughter Molly – who was shown 559 last year – drives a new Bullitt in a race with a (new) Dodge Charger for a parking space for the new model’s TV advertisment.

    Like his father, Sean Kiernan has no plans to part with the Mustang: ‘My dad and I always talked about enlisting Ford to bring our car back into public view.’

    Top and above Kiernan’s car didn’t do the stunts so is amazingly original; marks on tacho are from warning label to keep McQueen honest; Shelby snake on horn push.
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    CAR #Ford-Mustang / #Ford-Mustang-MkI / #Ford
    Run by Graeme Hurst
    Owned since September ’1999
    Total mileage 66,678
    Miles since August 2014
    report 252
    Latest costs £580

    ROUGH RUNNING FINALLY SOLVED

    On paper, my Mustang is the most reliable car in my fleet. Pushrod V8, points ignition, mechanical fuel pump and a live rear axle with non-servo brakes. What’s not to like? It’s Car Design 101 when it comes to classic reliability and DIY ownership. Yet, over the past few months, the ’Stang has frustrated me with a series of mechanical and electrical maladies that had me convinced it was possessed enough for a role in a Stephen King film. It all followed a fresh set of sparkplugs, but that simple task – to cure a cold-start issue – seemed to disturb a hornets’ nest of issues.

    And the plug swap had me baffled on two fronts. First, I noticed that the box of AC Delco items I bought on a parts haul in the US contained only seven plugs. Perplexing, until I recalled that my luggage had contained an inspection note from the TSA (the US’s Transportation Security Administration). I’ve since learnt that sparkplugs are a red flag to their screening software and need to be sampled.

    The omission was sorted with an NGK equivalent but, even with all eight refreshed, I suddenly had an engine running on seven, as if the 289 was under the TSA’s spell. Oddly, there was a spark from each lead, albeit not a very bright one.

    A set of leads and a new coil (the existing one looked to be the original) was my next move to beef up the voltage. Still no joy. Must be a compression issue, then? Nope – when tested, all eight cylinders measured between 130 and 150psi. That was followed by a blast around the neighbourhood in the hope that it would ‘come right’, but my efforts resulted only in a few spectacular backfires.

    Then I discovered that the vacuum advance on the distributor wasn’t working. I couldn’t see how that could result in a misfire but I scrounged one off the old dizzy from the Cobra my brother Kevin built up. The Windsor still ran like a pig, and by then the frequent bouts of cranking were putting a strain on the car’s high-tension circuit because the starter solenoid cooked. That was easy to replace and, with cranking restored, the electrical gremlins moved on to the low-tension circuit – specifically the ignition barrel, which cried foul and came apart under the dash.

    Taking out the instrument panel revealed a shattered housing. Here on the southern tip of Africa, sourcing bits involves a 10-day delivery process plus punitive courier and customs charges. All of which turned a $14.95 barrel into a 1500- Rand (£73) purchase, on a car that cost only 20,000 Rand in ’1999.

    With the new barrel in place, the engine was back on seven cylinders but I was at my wits’ end. Fortunately, there was another diversion because the accelerator pump called time with a fan-shaped spray of unleaded over the engine when I blipped the throttle. Local specialists don’t stock FoMoCo carb bits

    In fact, even the Mustang parts suppliers in the US are light on them, so I opted for a new 600CFM Holley. Luckily, those are a dime a dozen here thanks to the hot rod scene. Swapping it couldn’t have been easier – it’s the most bolt-on bit I’ve ever fitted – and I only had to reposition the fuel feed.

    Of course, it still didn’t solve the misfire but stripping the distributor showed up some play in the shaft – perhaps that was causing an intermittent contact across more than one pickup on the dizzy cap?

    That was just before Christmas and my brother Kevin, who was coming over from Australia, suggested a fix by simply adding a new dizzy to my list for Santa, who was due to shop at a vast #V8 parts specialist in his part of the world. Done, along with a request for a high-power MSD coil. Thanks to a packaging error, though, the dizzy-shaped item that I opened under the tree was not for a Ford small-block!

    By then, I was so desperate to get the right bit that I simply waved the credit card and ordered a stocklooking, Pertronix electronic distributor from Mustangs Unlimited. I then waited for salvation in the form of a courier van.

    And when it came it was salvation indeed. Installing it was an absolute doddle, and bingo – a spark that was probably fat enough to register on the TSA’s surveillance systems across the Atlantic, and a Ford small-block running on all eight. Result!

    Now that its mysterious misfire has been sorted, the Mustang is finally fit enough for Hurst to enjoy on South Africa’s stunning coastline.

    Shiny new coil and starter solenoid fitted. The ignition switch had seen better days. Holley carb proved a welcome distraction. Pertronix distributor was an easy solution.
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