Original Parts with an Original Fit!

Remove your 1965 – 1968 Mustang Cowl Panel?

Exterior Cowl Panel

Exterior cowl panel once removed

Many restoration shops don’t take the time to remove the exterior cowl panel. Should you insist this be part of your Mustang’s restoration? Here are some things to consider when restoring your Mustang.

1. Hidden Rust. Rust forms around the heat and air intake, then spreads to the door post, cowl side panel and firewall. This rust remains hidden unless the cowl panel is removed. Once the panel has been removed, the area can properly be inspected.

2. Leaks. Rust holes cause water leakage from under the dash. If the cowl panel has not been removed and restored, rust can go unnoticed until bigger problems surface. If your cowl does not leak, rust still might be forming inside. You would still need to examine the area by removing the cover.

3. Proper Inspection. Inspecting the cowl from under the dash is not adequate. To completely see all of the areas, the cowl panel must be removed. It is a lot of work to remove it, but will be worth it to inspect this area now and properly restore and seal this area to protect the longevity of your Mustang.

4. Concours Restoration. Once the cowl has been removed and restored, the cowl area can be painted. Mustangs that have had this area painted look much nicer. There is no longer any scaly paint inside the cowl vent grills (a common problem with Mustangs that have not had their cowl panels removed).

This picture is from our current restoration project, a 1965 Mustang factory GT Fastback. It was thought to have a rust-free cowl since there were not any leaks. After removal of the cowl panel, however, you can see the moderate surface rust located around the air intake area. This rust is minor now, but if the cowl was not removed, this area would continue to rust.

1965 Mustang left hand cowl air intake (driver's side)

1965 Mustang left hand cowl air intake (driver’s side)

The picture below shows the cowl heater intake vent (passenger side of the Mustang).  It has moderate surface rust located near the door post. It is still solid, but given time, this rust would cause serious problems.

Right hand side of the cowl panel, heat intake vent area

Right hand side of the cowl panel, heat intake vent area

It took several hours to locate and drill all of the spot welds.  But this time is well spent as it will save many hours of grueling repairs in the future.   The cowl will now be sandblasted and epoxy primered to eliminate any possibility of future rust.

Tips for removing a cowl panel:  see our Mustang Guides, Locating Spot Welds for a Unibody Panel Replacement and Drilling Spot Welds for a Unibody Panel Replacement for removing spot welds.

Important Note: When re-installing the cowl cover, make sure the alignment is perfect. This is critical for proper hood and fender alignment. If your original cowl cover will be used, simply align all the drilled spot welds. If a replacement cowl cover is used, fenders and hood may need to be bolted on and aligned to achieve this proper cowl alignment. Without proper alignment, you can be sure to need some Tylenol, as you will be faced with many headaches!

Mig Welding Techniques

Using Mig welders can be rewarding, as they are user friendly and work very well when needing to complete a body panel replacement on a Classic Mustang.  A wire feed welder with argon gas yields a much smoother weld than welding with flux core wire.  Here are some tips for perfecting your Mig welding skills:

  1. Clean the surface area.  Do your best to grind, sand or media blast the areas that will be welded.  The cleaner the surface, the smoother the welding will turn out.  And, the more time you will save when grinding and cleaning up excess welds after welding.
  2. When holding the welding tip, weld in a direction which pushes forward, rather than pulling the tip toward you.  Welding forward, in a forward motion, ensures that the gas is able to clear the area to be welded of contaminates.  This creates a cleaner weld.  Pulling the welding tip toward you makes you pull in the opposite direction that the gas is exiting the tip, defeating the purpose of the gas.  This technique is difficult to get used to, as it feels more natural to pull toward yourself, but the results are worth the extra effort to learn the correct technique.
  3. Welds should be smooth and flat.  If welds are too high or too thick, they will need to be ground down, which is unnecessary work.  If your welds are turning out too high, your wire speed may be a little high.  Adjust the speed down to a lower setting.
  4. Welds should not burn through the metal.  If they are, your voltage may be set too high.  Adjust it as necessary.
  5. Practice on a scrap piece of metal to discover the settings that will work best and familiarize yourself with the proper settings.

For more tips on wire feed welding, see our Body Panel Patch Welding Tip post.

Classic Mustang Oil Change Tips

When your 1965 – 1973 Classic Mustang is ready for an oil change, here are a couple of tips to follow.

  1. Have the necessary tools and materials ready.  Tools:  Oil filter wrench, oil pan drain plug wrench, funnel, drain pan, and rag;  Materials:  Oil filter and 5-6 quarts of oil (depending on the engine size)
  2. Oil drains the best when the engine is hot.  Before changing the oil, drive a short distance to warm up the engine.  This helps the oil flow out nicely when changing it.
  3. After draining the oil and prior to reinserting the oil pan drain plug, always make sure that the drain hole and threads on the drain plug are in good condition.  If they are worn, you will need to replace them.  You wouldn’t want your drain plug to come out and have your Mustang lose all its oil!  You can replace the plug with a “drain plug repair kit”, which consists of a new drain plug that is slightly larger than the existing plug.
  4. Check the nylon washer that fits under the head of the drain plug.  If it is worn, replace it.  The washer forms a seal under the head of the drain plug.
  5. Make sure the oil pressure sending unit and gauge are working properly.  A properly working oil pressure gauge needle should be in the center or just above the center.  This gives it a “medium” oil pressure reading.
  6. Dispose of oil properly.  Most parts stores will accept used motor oil for free (as a part of their recycling program).

Date Code Your Timing Chain Cover

1965 Timing Chain Cover

1965 Timing Chain Cover

If you want a numbers matching vehicle, how do you decode a timing chain cover to determine if it’s the best match for your vehicle?  Most timing chain covers have a casting number.  Look on the front of the timing cover to find this number.  In this example, we are using a casting number of C4AE 6059.

“C4AE” =
“C” – 1960’s; “4” – 1964; “AE” – the engineering number used to denote Galaxie (but was also used on many other Fords).

“6059” =
The engineering number code which designates “timing cover”

In addition to the casting number, there will be a small circle with a number in it.  This example has a “65”, which means it was made in 1965.  As you can see, the casting number does not always match the year the part was made.  Within this small circle, there is a series of small dots surrounding the number.  Each dot indicates one month.  In this example, there are 7 dots, which would indicate the 7th month.  The 7th month of a calendar year is July.  Thus, the circle area indicates that this timing cover was made in July, 1965.

Some timing chain covers were service replacements made several years after the casting number.  An example of this would be a C4AE 6059 with a circle containing a “72”.  This would mean that Ford issued a replacement timing chain cover for a vehicle in 1972 (7 years after the vehicle’s production date).

Mustang turns 45, FastbackStack LLC is reborn!

Happy 45 Birthday Mustang!

Happy 45th Birthday Mustang!

Yes, 45 years ago today, the Ford Mustang was unveiled. By July, 1964 100,000 Mustang Coupes and Convertibles had been produced and were being sold at record speed. No other car has ever skyrocketed so quickly into the ranks of the top sellers. The Ford Mustang was (and still is) a true icon.

It seems almost fitting that the launch of our re-designed website coincides with this moment in history. To celebrate Mustang’s birthday and our new website, we are offering a 10% off storewide sale, which continues through the end of April.

The price of a Ford Mustang back on April 17, 1964 was $2,368. We thought it would be fun to see what other items cost in 1964:

Average Cost of new house: $13,050.00
One gallon of gas:  30 cents
Loaf of bread:  21 cents
United States Postage Stamp:  5 cents
Movie Ticket:  $1.25

Happy Birthday Ford Mustang!

Body Panel Patch Welding Tip

How do you weld a seam that is almost invisible on your body panel? Take some time to make your replacement patch a perfect fit.  Ideally, there should only be a 1/32″ (or less) gap between the patch and the body panel.  Place the welding tip wire through the gap and tack-weld the patch in place (put a couple of small spots of weld here and there).  This holds the patch in the correct position.   Next, begin welding a small portion at a time (1/2″ to 1″ usually works the best).  Be careful not to weld too much at once, as this would warp the body panel.

Once the welding is complete, carefully grind the welds flush with the existing body panel.  Further welding may be required to fill the areas that were missed.  Wire feed welding is a good weld for beginners to try.  Try practicing on a piece of scrap body panel before attempting to weld your body panel.

Tip:  when purchasing a wire feed welder, make sure it’s a name brand and purchase the welder set-up that uses the argon gas rather than flux core wire.  Gas aided welding is much smoother and user-friendly.  It’s a little more costly, but well worth the investment.

Where have all the Mustangs gone?

1969 Convertible from the year 1994

1969 Convertible from the year 1994

Back in the mid-1980’s and early 1990’s, there were a lot of “daily driver” Mustangs in western Washington. By the mid-1990’s I noticed fewer and fewer on the road. By the late 1990’s, I also noticed a very sharp decline in the availability of used original parts at all local swap meets. The classified sections selling Mustangs and Mustang parts within the local newspapers were also dwindling. I remember the day when you could look at local newspaper, AutoTrader, and Little Nickel ads and come up with a Fastback Mustang project. It may have taken a few weeks of searching, but one would turn up. Now, in 2009, it seems like finding a similar project is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

At the recent Portland, Oregon Swap Meet that we attended, finding original Mustang parts was difficult. Oh sure, there were Mustang parts, but the quantity of them were dismal. Our vendor booths seemed to be the only ones with an abundance of parts. But, after all, I have collected Mustangs and parts for the past 20 years and have amassed quite a collection.  As an avid collector, however, I still continue to search for more parts whenever I can!

Original vs. Reproduction

Original 1968 Shelby Mustang Interior

Original 1968 Shelby GT 350 Mustang Interior

How do you decide to purchase original parts or reproduction parts for your Classic Mustang?  In most cases, original parts fit the best.  Reproduction parts are often flimsy and not of the finest quality.  For instance, original Mustang fenders fit and line up nicely with the door, while some reproduction fenders are made of a lesser gauge steel and do not line up well.

In the early days of the reproduction industry, the parts were made with presses and dyes that were worn down from the original assembly line machinery.  As a result, these inferior reproduction parts did not offer the best fit, nor did they offer the quality that the original parts did.  In recent years, reproduction parts have gotten better, but are still of inferior quality.

Ford recently began to offer original Ford tooling body panels.  These panels offer good fit and quality, but still need a little fitting work when installing them on a Mustang.  Unfortunately, these tooling parts are expensive and run about double the price of other reproduction parts.

Original parts, being between 40-45 years old, often need a little clean-up.  However, once original parts have been restored and placed on a Mustang, the Mustang’s appearance and value have been preserved and the fit is all-original.

Mustang Cheers!

Since this is our first post with our WordPress blog, allow us to introduce ourselves.  FastbackStack, LLC specializes in 1964 1/2 – 1973 Classic Mustangs and parts.  Our all-original parts are obsolete, hard-to-find and rare.  We don’t sell reproduction parts…we only sell original parts that offer the right fit for your Mustang.

We are avid Mustang enthusiasts and collectors and have a Mustang collection totalling over 50 Mustangs and 100,000 Mustang parts.  We enjoy meeting other Mustang enthusiasts and sharing Mustang and restoration information.

Our blog will focus on providing information that Mustang restorers and enthusiasts are looking for:  restoration tips and tricks, decoding information, Mustang parts, interesting Mustang finds, crazy Mustang oddities and other useful information.

If you have any questions regarding restoration information and/or Mustang parts, feel free to contact us.  Mustang Cheers to you!

FastbackStack, LLC