Dirty Money: An Impractical Investment

sluggish94

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What's up SN95 Forums. Some of you may have seen my intro thread where I present my 1994 Mustang GT "Dirty Money".

I wanted to start another thread to share all the stuff I've done to it and all the stuff I'll be doing to it.

I bought it in June 2020. It looked kinda like this:IMG_0167.jpg

Quite frankly, it was so ugly, everyone died. The end.
But seriously, it was so ugly i didn't want to take pictures of it until it looked halfway decent. Like this:
IMG_0314.jpg
The owner had included these 18in Cobra R replica rims and I got some cheap used tires for the front just to have all four rims matching.

The engine bay looked like this:
IMG_0168.jpg

There is something really wrong with this picture. Look closely at the air box.
Well, the first issue I fixed was the MAF sensor. It wasn't connected and there wasn't an air filter in the air box. I installed a paper air filter and connected the MAF. This caused the engine to drive WORSE than it had before. I disconnected the MAF and it ran better, so I left it disconnected and started looking for vacuum leaks. Lo and behold there was a brittle vacuum hose falling off underneath the upper intake so I plugged that vacuum leak. After I fixed the vacuum leak I reconnected the MAF in hopes that the leak was the main issue, and it was. The MAF, inlet tube and filter housing were cleaned as best I could. It ran much better.

This car didn't come with mufflers when I got it so I searched my local classifieds and got a sweet deal on some stainless steel Magnaflows and flow tubes off a 96 Cobra. Killer sound.

The previous owner had yanked the smog lines and the A/C accumulator, but had failed to remove either accessories. I removed both the pump and the compressor from in front of the engine and installed an 82.7in. belt, reducing the belt size by 21.8in.

I started focusing some of my attention on the interior. This car was in an accident at one point because the previous owner had replaced the airbags with non-matching grey pieces. I was able to find a Black OEM steering wheel and a Tan passenger airbag to give the interior a more complete look. I wrapped the steering wheel. The ignition switch spun freely in any direction so I removed the broken piece and tried installing a new one. I failed miserably and broke the new ignition switch. Luckly my uncle is a locksmith so he rescued me big time from that one. I installed some nice OEM Cloth Tan seats with manual tracks. They were an improvement over the ripped up power seats it came with, and were a bit lighter as well, which was a plus. The HVAC center plastic section was missing so I hit the junkyard and found a nice piece that I liked. I just cut a piece of metal and 3M taped it to where the radio was. I had a Hurst shifter handle laying around so I tossed it on the stock shifter. I just recently was able to source the actual Hurst Billet Plus Shifter (PN 3915033) locally and installed that in place of my fakey wannabe unit. The car came with some decent tri-bar pony floor mats. I had to replace the passenger side rear window motor. Here's kinda what the interior looks like:
IMG_0525.jpg

"Now I'm styling and enjoying this drop", I reason. But the steering is sloppy and it leaks water from the water pump weep hole. So first I tackle the rack. It was time consuming but rewarding. I also replaced a tie rod that was gacked. Noice.

Next is the water pump. I break a stud though. FML. I pull the timing cover off and clean everything. I'm stuck waiting for some gaskets and parts. I take this time to thoroughly clean the upper. I remove it and replace the PCV hoses and PCV valve. I had some clean black valve covers from an explorer engine that looked much nicer, which I also threw on. Since everything is off I also remove the condenser from in front of the radiator and the lines that go to the firewall. The previous owner had mickey moused the heater tube re-routing, so I deleted the heater tube for a cleaner look. You can see the bypass plug on the fitting by the distributor that I had to use because it was the only fitting I had that fit. Upon further inspection the ignition coil had a little chunk of the tip missing, almost like it had arced at some point or something. It now has one of those Summit Racing ignition coils on it.
20+ hours later:
IMG_0470.jpg

Now I'm spinning all of first and second and I can't have that. It's time to address the rear suspension. I order some brand new KYB quad shocks and I strike some luck at the junkyard by finding some KYB rear shocks on another SN95. My neighbor who has a Foxbody had some Eibach drag springs laying around which he gave to me for free so I threw them under there. This shot was prior to the Eibach springs.
IMG_0424.jpg
I had to throw on the big boy racer wheel and tire package I have on my other car onto this one. Much better:
IMG_0517.jpg

The latest improvement has been drilled and slotted rotors and ceramic pads all around. I got them off eBay, don't judge me, they work WAY better than what was on there and look SICK.


Next is:
Polyurethane Transmission Mount
Ball Joints
Driver Side Rear Window Motor
Power Steering Pump & lines
Front Struts

I will be painting this car in my garage the original color. We are using single stage. My dad is insisting on spraying it himself so I'm just gonna let him. We will be doing it in sections. I'm not the type to care too much about paint, but I know that anything other than the nasty peeling clear coat will be better.


Thats pretty much it.
Thanks for reading.
 

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Werecow

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Nice job!!! That's showing how you can do it one piece at a time and not dump a pile of $$$$ into it!! I applaud you good kind sir on your innovation and use of what at hand to build up a nice ride!! You have proved you don't have to buy everything brand new or from all the high name places to put together what was a turd into a really sweet ride!! Hats off to ya!!!
 

sluggish94

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Thank you for the kind words Werecow. I got lucky on a few pieces but it really takes patience to find a good deal on good parts. I was able to source a few parts from my pile bin. I really do hope to make 300hp and stay under the $5,000 dollar mark. I still have a chunk of budget left. I'll be installing a ZEX Kit PN 82015 on it in August or September. I have used this kit before on my Foxbody and it took the .52 jet like nothing. From what I understand that's like a 100-125 shot. With that kit on Dirty Money, I'll hit the 300hp mark for sure.
 

Werecow

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I'd try something like that on my fox, Cherry Bomb, but I have no idea how many miles that old engine has on it!! Hell I've never heard it run yet!! Still getting it sorted out where it sat for almost 10 years!!
 

Akurma

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Nice to see this being saved, seems like the previous owner was not kind to it. Sounds like it is in good hands, the drag wheel setup looks sweet!
 

white95

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Ah, budgets, I remember those. These things have a way of chewing those up and spitting them out. I love what you’ve done with the old girl, can’t wait to see more.
 

sluggish94

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Nice to see this being saved, seems like the previous owner was not kind to it. Sounds like it is in good hands, the drag wheel setup looks sweet!

The previous owner was a teenager. He took me for a rip in it and I knew I could make something of it because the engine felt pretty healthy. Thankfully with just a few maintenance updates it's running even better now. For some reason all of my cars end up with a drag wheel setup.

Ah, budgets, I remember those. These things have a way of chewing those up and spitting them out. I love what you’ve done with the old girl, can’t wait to see more.

I feel you man, I have an 88 Mustang and an 85 Marquis that have taught me a thing or two about going over budget. I'm gonna see what I can make happen with Dirty Money.
 

sluggish94

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There has been a lot of work put in but not too much visual progress in the past couple of weeks. I did manage to replace the driver's side rear window motor so now all the windows work. We began the paint work starting at the rear of the car. We are doing panel by panel. In this picture the rear bumper has already been worked on a bit.
IMG_0558.jpg
I have over 10 hours of sanding in only the spoiler, trunk and rear bumper.
Here's my little rig for getting the spoiler all primed up. I'm practically an engineer right?
IMG_0581.jpg
It was only my Dad's second time ever shooting a metallic color so this will be a learning experience for him as we work each panel. Despite the limited space the work comes out ok.
IMG_0584.jpg
Removed the trunk to avoid any masking and because that's how Senior wanted to paint it. I removed the rear bumper to sand it a bit more and prime.
IMG_0592.jpg
More preparation.... (look at Senior touching the panel with his greasy fingers right before spraying. I forgive him)
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Basically the finished product
IMG_0599.jpg
It does need more paint on the license plate section. Senior and I spoke about this and he agreed to accept my constructive criticism.
I put the bumper back on so I could drive it around a bit.
IMG_0606.jpg
I also removed the thermactor tube behind the cylinder heads and plugged the holes with these little metal plates I was given when I bought an engine. They worked cool.
IMG_0571.jpg
The latest thing I was able to do was install the Energy Suspension 4.1104G Transmission Mount. Big difference.
IMG_0637.jpg
I had never swapped a transmission mount but I succeeded, and the results were absolutely worth the cost/effort. No more movement at the shifter during throttle input or in between shifts.
IMG_0642.jpg
This transmission mount along with the Hurst shifter has been some of the best money well spent so far. Theres much more of a connection between me and the machine now. I have the ball joints and the front struts sitting in my room, I just have to get motivated to do the jobs. I removed the power steering from my Fox last year so I had a pump sitting on my shelf. I removed it from the bracket and plan on putting it on Dirty Money this weekend. But yea, that's pretty much it. Thanks for looking.
 

sluggish94

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I got around to doing the front struts and lower ball joints.
IMG_0659.jpg
Here's kind of how I went about it:
Lift and support car on jack stands.
Remove front wheel.
Turn steering wheel to expose tie rod end.
IMG_0664.jpg
Support Lower Control Arm with a jack.
Soak everything with PB Blast/WD-40/lubricant to break nuts free.
IMG_0665.jpg
Remove the cotter pin from the tie rod.
Use an 18mm deep socket to remove the tie rod castle nut.
I flipped the castle nut, bolted it back on, and gave the tie rod a couple of good whacks with a mallet. There are tools specifically made to remove tie rods but this worked ok. Careful to not damage the threads as much as possible if using this method. Again, this is not ideal but it works.
IMG_0667.jpg
Next use a 15/16ths socket to remove the brake line clip from the strut.
IMG_0668.jpg
Use a 15/16ths socket and an adjustable wrench to remove the two spindle to strut bolts.
IMG_0669.jpg
The strut is now free from the spindle. Support the spindle and brake assembly on something like a small chair or stool so it's not hanging from the brake line. Use a 7/8ths (might vary by application) at the top of the strut and slide the strut out of the strut tower. Here are the accompanying pieces to the stock strut assembly. I reused the strut cover, the strut sleeve/spacer, the top rubber bushing, and the top metal cup.
IMG_0671.jpg
Remove the spindle from the ball joint. Again, there are specific tools that exist for this exact purpose. I used a mallet and struck the ball joint until it did my bidding, with successful results. A cleaner approach would be to use the proper tools, but I just used what was available to me.
IMG_0672.jpg
Now it's time to press off the old ball joint. Be sure to add extra lubricant during this process to increase your chances of a smooth removal. I'm using a Maddox Ball Joint Service kit that can be found at your local Harbor Freight.
IMG_0673.jpg
Sometimes its necessary to improvise. Maybe a lot of the times. Hey look, I'm practically an engineer.
IMG_0674.jpg
Once your old ball joint is off, rejoice.
 

sluggish94

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Now you can press on your new ball joint. Add a little bit of lubricant to the control arm where your new ball joint will be pressed on. Set the ball joint in place.
IMG_0676.jpg
Make sure your ball joint is nice and straight as your setup your ball joint press. Press in your new ball joint.IMG_0677.jpg
Your new ball joint is now on.
IMG_0678.jpg
Installation of the rest is pretty straightforward after this.
Install spindle/brake assembly to ball joint.
Install strut to spindle. At this time I installed some inexpensive replacement struts to have a nice suspension all around.
Install brake clip to strut.
Install tie rod end.
Make sure everything is torqued down to spec.
That should cover most all of it.
It's recommended to get an alignment after any suspension change.
IMG_0683.jpg

This was my first time doing a job like this and I have to say, it was less involved than I thought it would be. My greatest anxiety was getting the ball joints removed from the control arm. I'm glad I got it to work properly.

I'm not an expert or a professional mechanic. Any personal injury or bodily harm associated with following these directions are entirely at the risk of the end user. This guide here is intended to help others visualize what it takes to generally service a ball joint from home. Please be safe if doing any work from home, always use jack stands, and stay within earshot of others.

Dirty Money
IMG_0684.jpg

Thanks for looking.
 

sluggish94

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Hello fellow SN95 enthusiasts. Since the last update my Dad and I have completed most of the body work on the passenger side quarter and were able to complete the drivers quarter. He also resprayed the trunk and rear bumper. Here's how it looks:IMG_0740.jpg
Progress is slow but that's how projects go sometimes. Next will be to paint the passenger side quarter and begin the driver and passenger doors.
I also added a bit more lift to the stock camshaft by installing some ProForm 1.7 Roller Rockers. This is how i went about it:
I began by looking at what I would be working with and disconnecting the battery.
IMG_0741.jpg
Next I removed the intake tube with a flathead screwdriver at the clamp and disconnected the MAF/ACT sensor harness.
IMG_0742.jpg
I took a moment and cleaned up the all the nasty dust under the intake tube. Next I removed the harness at the coolant overflow with an 8mm. IMG_0743.jpg
The overflow bracket and electric fan also came off with an 8mm.
IMG_0744.jpg
To remove the belt I used a 15mm at the tensioner.
Now I focused on the upper intake assembly. First was the cruise control. This simply lifted upwards off its bracket. I didn't know how to do it at first and I kinda dug a screwdriver into the side. It happens.
IMG_0745.jpg
The throttle cable slides out of its bracket. Pinched that sucker loose.
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The throttle bracket behind the intake wanted a 10mm.
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An 11mm removed the throttle cable bracket on the intake stud.
IMG_0751.jpg
IAC and TPS disconnected
IMG_0754.jpg
 

sluggish94

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Vacuum lines and EGR disconnected
IMG_0755.jpg
The intake plaque took a TORX20 and the upper intake bolts are 1/2in. I popped off the PCV valve and unbolted the upper. I had to loosen the alternator with a 1/2in and a 15mm to remove the passenger side valve cover. The valve covers took a 1/2in.
IMG_0757.jpg
Next I had to find TDC.
How did I go about it?
I removed the distributor cap to see where the rotor was pointing. I then took a 15/16ths and rotated the crankshaft until the rotor was in line with the #1 spark plug wire.
Now I began the actual rocker install.
I used some ProForm 1.7 Pedestal Mount Rockers I got for $220 shipped. I was originally going to use them on another engine but they didn't work. I had them laying around, so Dirty Money got blessed.
IMG_0761.jpg
I removed and installed the intake and exhaust rockers at cylinder #1.
IMG_0762.jpg
I found zero lash and got about 3/4 turns on every cylinder from here on out. Some were closer to 1/2-3/4 and others were closer to 3/4-1 full turn but form what I understand, this is all still within spec. I rotated the crankshaft 90 degrees and did cylinder #3.
IMG_0763.jpg
Another 90 and cylinder #7.
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90 degree rotation and cylinder #2.
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Checking the rotor to make sure I'm on the right cylinder. Nasty rotor.
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Cylinder #6
IMG_0767.jpg
Cylinder #5
IMG_0768.jpg
 

sluggish94

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Cylinder #4
IMG_0769.jpg
And I didn't take a picture of the last cylinder because I was too much in a hurry to finish. Everything went back on pretty smoothly. To answer the question if anyone is wondering, they did fit under the stock valve covers. I have yet to hear an audible problem so all is good so far. I did try the fox power steering pump but it didn't fit, which explains the puddle of P/S fluid. Upon doing that though, I noticed that the o-rings on the high pressure line were crushed, so that's probably what's making the pump leak. I will address this soon. I have something big coming up next for this car.

Dirty Money
IMG_0733.jpg

Thanks for looking.
 

sluggish94

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Thank you DKblue98GT, it's been a fun project an I've learned a lot so far.
 

joe65

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yeah nice work and good job documenting!
 

sluggish94

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Thank you joe65, I hope the pictures help someone in the future!
 

sluggish94

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Do you notice a difference in the way it runs?

It made a difference.
Drivability is the same based on the city driving I've done so far.
It has a small but distinct lope at idle now. Like a baby cam.
Not much difference below 3000rpm but revs faster to redline once it reaches 3000rpm. It was enough for me to notice, but I guess everyone's situation will be distinct. Seems this engine responded really well to the rocker upgrade. Kind of makes me want to get the stock lower ported and get a 75mm throttle body. I might end up doing that.
 

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