2004 Comp Orange GT - Daily / Project

ctandc

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Picked this up about a month ago:

IMG_4657.jpeg

Got lucky on FB marketplace. Was halfheartedly hunting a decent 5 spd 01-04 GT and ran across this one. I caught it right after it was posted for sale. The only picture posted was a picture of a printed flyer - you know the kind where you tear off a piece at the bottom with the phone number? Yeah, I'm old.

Full disclosure: I've never owned a SN95. I fixed up / flipped quite a few Mustangs over the years, but never owned any Mustang for any length of time until I bought a new '17 V6 6pd back in '17 for my daily driver after test driving another S550. Gears, headers, tune, etc - all while serving as my daily. Ended up making a bit of money trading it. Bought a new '19 GT 6 speed. Before COVID. 5% under invoice. Transferred my chassis mods from the '17 (mainly bracing but WELL worth the effort), wheels and tires and I drove it.

The Coyote engine in the '19 was just good. Ended up with a Ford Performance Power pack because I wasn't looking for HP peak gains or even quicker ET's - I wanted some solid gains in the low / mid range where I'd feel them everyday when I drove it. It did that. Drove that for 3+ years then a dealer bought it outright for more than I paid for it brand new. So eventually I ended up here.

Quite of ironic since a lot of SN95 owners are doing Coyote swaps LOL.

Back to the '04. I've always loved this color. Don't know why. I remember when they came out. An old buddy of mine bought one off the lot, because of this color. The '04 was located in MD, I'm in VA, but this was a NY car all it's life. The owners, in their 70s, were planning to retire to MD. They had bought a house there several years ago. The guy bought this car with 50K on it back in '08. He ended up having a serious medical issue and stopped driving the car. It stayed covered / garaged. It was his weekend cruiser toy. When I picked it up it had 96K on the odometer. 15+ years for 46K miles - but it's actually less than that.

Whomever bought this car originally got every factory option, including the Mach 1000 system, which works btw. They also modded the car. Whomever did the work did solid work. I've yet to see any mickey mouse stuff, which I'm used to on older cars.

At one point they had a Vortec on it - the OEM pan was tapped / plumbed for the oil cooler line. I brought it up the owner when I saw it, he said his mechanic had pointed it out to him well after he'd purchased it. I'm guessing that same owner installed mid-length headers- which after the help of this forum, almost 100% positive they are Bassanu headers, running into a catted Bassini X pipe, into a Bassini cat back.

Interior is damn near perfect. Body has no rot. Strut towers and underneath is ridiculously clean. This is the worse part of the car I've found so far (there is a bit of rust on the body seam under the battery tray, will pull that apart eventually and address it)

IMG_4745.jpeg

It's just surface scale.

Engine appearance wise, regardless of previous mods, is stock. Stock air box, TB, plenum etc. Runs smooth, no timing chain noise, pulls great to redline no problems at all so far.

Took it by my buddy's shop to get inspected. Known him for years, we put it on the lift. Even he's impressed how clean it is.

Eibach springs were added years ago as well. Aftermarket clutch quadrant, cable and firewall adjuster. With a seriously stiff clutch pedal. I was used to hydraulic, so I figured it was just me.

Ended up replacing both original ball joints with Moog (ripped boots, no noise, but definitely loose) and both outer tie rods. Went ahead and replaced what was likely original rotors (it had Motorcraft pads with A LOT of pad left, but they were so old they backing plates were coming unglued). Went with coated Raybestos rotors and Powerstop ceramic pads. Bled / flushed the brakes system. Rears aren't horrible but I'll be addressing them before too long, they appear original as well.

Back to the mileage. This car had 4.10 gears put in it EARLY in it's life. I'm guessing right around the time headers, Vortech etc were done. I'm also guessing when the first owner pulled the Vortech they also pulled the tune for the SC and the gears. So the previous owner started didn't put 46K on the car as the speedometer was 25% fast when I got it and had been the 15+ years he drove it. So in reality car has @ 85k on it LOL.

That's the first thing I ordered, a SCTx4 to correct the gears / speedo. Got that done and added the canned 93 octane SCT tune as well- why not. Car runs great.

Currently need to do some stuff of my son's car and the '13 SS Camaro ragtop (sorry the 6.2 LS is a fun engine) we just picked up as my wife's daily driver so I'm figuring out what's next for the '04.

I did replace the old adjustable clutch cable with a Steeda adjustable. Clutch is MUCH better. Got a bit of T/O bearing noise when clutch is disengaged, so I'll like try to get some grease in there. MGW shifter is on the way. The aftermarket shifter in there now is okay, but after using MGW once, I'll never use anything else. Also grabbed some AC Delco Synchromesh for a fresh fill on the TR3650 when the shifter gets installed.
 
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ctandc

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Cosmetic wise, I spent a few minutes on the roof - paint cleans up nice. Front bumper is faded, rear bumper was repainted (badly) years ago. Plan right now is just take one bumper off at a time, and respray 'em.
 

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nice . Don’t think I’ve seen a comp orange gt in real life before . Enjoy the clean up process .
 
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ctandc

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So the front calipers seemed to be dragging a bit, so when I replaced front rotors and pads, I pulled the pins out, cleaned and greased them up. Been driving everyday to work - seemed fine. This morning ran down the road / interstate to drop off a package and get a haircut. RH front caliper got HOT. I could smell that ceramic brake pad material. Weirdly enough car wasn't pulling at all. Let it cool, nursed it home. Now I'm surfing Amazon / Rock Auto seeing where I can get new calipers from the quickest. Figure I'll do the front hoses too while I'm in there.
 
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ctandc

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So apparently these calipers are famous for seizing up. Nice. Trying decide now between waiting a couple of days for new / rebuilt Raybestos calipers (for cheaper than the crappy parts stores hit or miss rebuilds). Was going to rebuild them - but apparently not one parts store in 50 miles has the rebuilt kit in stock. Lovely.
 
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ctandc

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Amazon apparently had ONE rebuild kit that will get here tomorrow. Try to order two? Have to wait a week LOL. Bit the bullet, ordered the one rebuild kit, ordered rebuilt Raybestos calipes / brackets from Rockauto along with new front brakes hoses. After core charge I got BOTH Raybestos calipers for the cost of ONE no-name rebuild from the local parts store. Went ahead and ordered another pair of front pads - that RH front pad set might be cooked LOL.
 
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ctandc

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Well got the front RH caliper apart yesterday. And it was definitely the caliper. Broke the bleeder screw loose - wheel was still ridiculously hard to turn. Got the caliper off. Both caliper boots look torn / bound. It took my compressor to get one of the caliper pistons out. I didn't even bother trying to rebuild it. I am going to order some replacement steel caliper pistons to keep in the shop. I didn't break the calipers out, but I swear one of the phenolic pistons is swollen a bit on one side.
 
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ctandc

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Calipers came in yesterday afternoon, a day earlier than expected - score one for Rock Auto. Of course the front brakes hoses are supposed to get her today. But the car was already apart, so I went ahead and replaced the calipers last night.

The MGW shifter also came in. For those who have never tried a MGW? Just do it. I've been driving with three pedals for 35+ years. My daily driver for the most part has always had a third pedal. Just my preference. Over the years I've used Hurst, B&M, etc etc.

Tried a MGW in my first S550 back in '17. I'll never use another brand shifter. So while I had the '04 up on jacks stands, I went ahead and drained the TR3650. I had some AC Delco Syncromesh waiting.

Got the front calipers installed. Power bled the system. Ended up having to bleed the master. Turns out the brake pedal in the '04 has been SUPER stiff and short since I've had it. Quick test run last night - everything seems good, in fact much better than it was originally.

Got the MGW installed. I went with the OEM / Comfort handle. Added 3.2 quarts of fluid while the shifter was out. Also used their gripper shifter know - had one on my '19 GT as well and loved it. BEST mod yet. Now I can move my seat back where I'm comfortable and shift comfortably without leaning forward. At 6'3" - the '04 is a snug fit in the first place. Much better than the aftermarket, short handle shifter that was in the car.

Need to get struts / shocks on my son's 03 then I can install the double DIN Apple Car Play compatible stereo that arrived the other day. While the entire Mach 1000 works - radio commercials are killing me.

old caliper new caliper.jpeg

Torn apart original caliper and the Raybestos caliper.

new caliper installed.jpeg

New caliper installed.

Didn't get any pictures of the MGW shifter before install. Just wanted to get it done.
 
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ctandc

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Got the stereo upgraded to a JVC Carplay compatible unit. Likely going to drop out the complete and working Mach 1000 setup and see if anyone is interested in purchasing. Will include both subs, mounting brackets, amp rack and (4) rear amps and then the sound enclosure with speakers for the rear package tray with the additional (2) amps and associated wiring.

I've been trying to get a bunch of stuff done to other vehicles, but I noticed a 'clunk' type noise coming from the '04 GT the other day. Have a feeling it's probably the infamous rack moving back and forth (I only can reproduce the noise when the weight of the car is on the wheels and I'm turning the steering wheel back and forth).

But I pulled it in the shop and got it on jack stands to check it out. Noticed something sprayed all over the inside wheel well on the driver's side. Brake fluid. When the pedal is pressed, car off, there was a bit of brake fluid coming from the brake hose where the metal 'block' end bolts to the caliper. Replaced copper crush washers on both front calipers, did a quick bleed and it seems fine. Will check it again this weekend.

Front control arm bushings are pretty worn. Really bummed because I JUST replaced both ball joints with HD Moogs. I really am not looking forward to trying to press out and the reinstall OEM type control arms bushings. I don't want poly. Personal preference. So at this point it seems the best route forward is getting new front control arms with ball joints and new bushings already installed.

Problem is the Moog control arms come with their lower level ball joint (not greaseable). For only a few $$ more I can get the Mevotech Control arms

Mevotech1.jpg

I told myself that if I went into the front end again I'd go ahead and address the things it needs. So that means replacing the struts (from all indications OEM - @ 90k miles and 19 years old). Since I'm that far in, I'll likely opt for poly spring isolators up front. The 04 GT has Eibach springs installed 15+ years ago. A little added right height would not break my heart.

I've got the updated Ford rack and pinion metal sleeves on the way, I'll add new bushings for the rack while I'm in there - debating that now as the OEM bushings looked like they were in pretty good shape. And I've got a LITTLE bit of play in the wheel / tire when it's up in the air and I move it back and forth. Outer tie rods are new. All indications are pointing towards the OEM wheel bearings / hubs just being worn out.

Nature of the beast with an almost 20 year old daily / project car.
 
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ctandc

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Ended up ordering Moog control arms, sway bar bushings, end links, inner tie rods, KYB struts and shocks.

Didn't take me long to find out where my creaking noise was coming from

front susp6.jpeg

The Eibach spring (installed over 15 years ago by a previous owner) was broken. The last coil (still wrapped in the OEM lower isolator) was busted. Now waiting on new BMR springs.
 
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ctandc

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Got the suspension wrapped up a while back.
- New BMR 1" drop springs front and rear
- New KYB struts / shocks
- New sway bar end links, and bushings
- New rack and pinion bushings and metal sleeves
- New inner tie rods (outer tie rods already replaced earlier)
- New control arms

Also got the Mach 1000 subs / amps / amp rack removed and actually sold locally. Door and rear package tray replaced as well.

old control arm1.jpeg

Turns out both front Eibach springs were broken

installed1.jpeg

New stuff installed.

I did get my recent order in to repaint my faded front and rear bumpers. Hopefully get to start on that this week.
 
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ctandc

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Guess I never updated the thread.

The rear bumper cover on the car when I bought it had seen better days. Apparently it had a small damage spot and course it had some fading - Haven't seen many of these Comp Orange cars that didn't have fading. The previous owner paid good money to a body shop to repair / repaint the rear bumper. Yeah - they screwed him over. This was done years ago, but still. You can see the clear / paint failure on the rear bumper in the first pic in this thread

So last weekend I pulled the bumper. Prepped and painted it. Base coat / 2K clear coat. It's a five footer - it is my DD - the shop who worked on this did a HORRIBLE job. I would have been sanding for a week. No time for that.

rear bumper1.jpeg

rear bumper2.jpeg

rear bumper3.jpeg

Yeah - great work by the 'body shop'. Most of my fingerprints and a lot of prep work later, + some adhesion promoter + some primer + base coat + clear coat

rear bumper installed1.jpeg

It ain't perfect but it's a nice improvement
 
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ctandc

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Got the OEM faded front bumper removed and started prep work on it the other day. It's in MUCH better shape - it's never been butchered by a so called 'body shop'

front bumper prep1.jpeg

front bumper prep2.jpeg

180 dry then 320 dry then a 400-600 sponge scuff. Washed it, blew it off, wiped it down, added some adhesion promoter. Hope to get base / clear on it this afternoon.
 
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ctandc

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Finally had time and daylight + weather to get some base / clear on the front bumper. Had to take the day off today anyway to deal with some paperwork and DMV crap.

There is some trash in the clear -that's the nature of spraying outside. Didn't have time / room to rig a temporary spray booth so it is what it is.

Regardless it's better than the faded before condition

front painted1.jpeg

front painted2.jpeg
 
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ctandc

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Got the painted bumper mounted. There are some tiny bugs and some trash in the clear, it doesn't match the hood which is faded a bit (normal) but it's better than it was

BEFORE

front bumper before1.jpeg

AFTER

painted front bumper1.jpeg

Now to get the shop cleaned up and finish wet sanding then clear coat the extra set of headlights I picked up awhile back.
 
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ctandc

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Well got one headlight redone, then discovered the LH headlight was messed up beyond tearing it all apart. Ordered a pair of DEPO CAPA headlights from RockAuto - looks nice

new headlights clean1.jpeg

new headlights clean2.jpeg
 

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