My Neglected 94 GT vert

b1pig

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I decided it's time to make a thread here. To get it straight... I didn't neglect this car. Someone else did.
Last summer a series of events led to me taking ownership of this 94 GT Convertible. The SN95 was not my first choice. Like so many others in the world, I was looking for a 86-93. Chasing that car I wanted in high school but couldn't afford. There is a specific reason why I was after that particular Mustang, though. I wanted one with a 302 in it. A good ole pushrod V8. Didn't matter to me whether it was a coupe, vert or t-top. Really would have preferred that t-top, though. I didn't want a SN95 mainly because I did NOT want a 4.6. Personal preference. While wasting away on FB marketplace for months having car after car disappear and one car almost literally slipping through my fingers cause someone beat me to the purchase, I stopped looking. Then while at work one day, I saw a green SN95 looking really rough at a local used car dealership. Long story short, I did go have a look at it... and was suddenly reminded that the first couple of year SN95's DID have the 302. And they are actually affordable. Not wrecked out, stripped out rusted hulks still listed at $6k.

With the wife's blessing and little bit of cash loaned to me from her savings account... I brought it home.
Granted... it had too many racing stripes, no exhaust from the h-pipe back, no power steering, only one window worked, rear view mirror laying in the floor, missing stereo antenna, torn top, flaky paint on the rear bumper, the top wouldn't work... and who knows what else.... but it was cheap. And it had a 302. My wife was immediately concerned because it was an auto. She knew I had been shopping for manual, but I've had good respect for the auto in these cars. They tend to last when treated properly.

So. The car. As it sat on the lot
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It had matching wheels. All 4 caps. 2 front tires that matched. 2 rear tires that matched. No critical wear on any of the tires. The owner of the dealership handed me a key and a jump box, then warned me about the power steering not working. I took it out on a test ride.... man that thing was LOUD. Transmission shifted very well. It was the dead of summer, so I got it up to temp and ran it in traffic. All was well. Then I had the fortunate discovery... the A/C worked like a DREAM. Imagine that. A convertible with a top that wouldn't go down, but the A/C worked. The paint looked "ok", but the cheap stripes someone stuck on the car were dried out and the white coloring was running all over the car. There were white streaks everywhere that rain water had run down the car due to the degrading vinyl.

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Tried to do a little bit of haggling with the dealer, but he wouldn't budge. Again, with the wife's surprising support, I paid the price and drove it home. Needless to say, no one missed me in a mirror. Sounded like a dang log truck going home, but it did fine.

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After I got it home, I spent a little bit of time on it. I pulled out the three non-functioning window regulators. All of them had broken those plastic drummy thingies inside the gear. I fixed them in a more permanent fashion (not recommended, but I'm a cheapo) with stuff I had in my shop and reinstalled them. Now they work perfectly. After downloading an owners manual for a 96, I discovered that the reason the top wasn't working is because the dealer had no idea that the parking brake had to be set (light on at least... one click) and told me it was broken. LOL... Worked great, though. On closer inspection, it was obvious that the rear view mirror post was messed up some how. Looked like it may have come apart at some point and someone beat on it. Glued the tab back to the windshield and hung it up there best I could. One more thing fixed.

Then I set about trying to take those ruined stripes off.

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Needless to say... I'm still not done. I've gotten most of it off. But damn. That crap is tedious.
I put a new power steering line on the car, as the one in there when I brought it home had a hole rubbed in it. New line in place, fresh fluid poured in and bled.... and amazingly, the power steering worked. Shockingly, the pump wasn't smoked. Still works today. However, I found fluid pouring out of the rack boot a couple of weeks ago when I moved the car. Ironically, I refilled the pump and moved the car three more times and even drove it around a little and it hasn't leaked another drop??!!.....

Then I worked on the decals a little more....
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b1pig

b1pig

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After a couple of phone calls to some folks I know in the Jeepin world, I had some Power Stop rotors sent to me.
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The ones that had been on the car were BEYOND warped. Thanks to my Jeepin life, the Jeep equation of "parts+damage=upgrade" applies to Mutangs as well.

I now had the car in the category of a 30-footer. Looks great from about 30 feet. Get in closer, though.... not so good.
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I then pulled the cluster, popped off the needles like dumb___ .... refreshed the needles and replaced all the backlight bulbs with LEDs. Don't do like I did. I forgot stuff about the little stepper motors and had issues with the needle accuracy. Lucky for me, I had spent some time driving the car aroud and knew where the tach was at specific speeds. I was able to correct all of the needles because I had taken notes and photos. LOL... but don't do like me.... there are some really good detailed threads here and there that explain the PROPER way to do it.

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So. About the exhaust. I'm only guessing... but thinking maybe some crackhead though he was stealing cats and cut the mufflers out instead. The dealer had told me that while the car was parked in his storage lot for a long time, someone did the damage. He had no interest in fixing it. The bad news, was the cut the flanges off the mid-pipe. Unable to find a second hand pipe near me and unable to foot the bill for a new one, I ordered a pair of pipe flanges off Amazon. One slipped on with no trouble, but the shorter one required a little ingenuity.
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To them, I attached a brand new Flowmaster system.
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While crawling around under the car, I discovered a Mac diff cover.
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Sadly... I also discovered that ALL of the rubber bushings in the rearend are herniated and in sad shape. This is something that is still on the back burner. I'll get to it eventually, but I'm currently in a position that I have to scrape cash together and work extra hours to get parts. With all this done, We started driving the car around. The clamps on the exhaust were clamped on mainly to be temporary with the plan that I would weld the new flanges in place later on, provided that they worked. They did... and I haven't. Yet. Go figure.
So, while on vacation, I convinced my wife that I "needed" to replace some items in the stereo system. She again relented and I ordered a new amp, sub and one pair of speakers to put in the doors. Something I have not yet done, as I will explain there are number of things that piled up because of winter and me not wanting to disassemble the car multiple times.
However.... I did work some extra hours at work leading up to Christmas and also sold a couple of things I had on FB... which led to me being able to order a new top. Ironically, the folks at American Muscle called me. Turns out that I had some "credit" or "discounts" that I had earned on some earlier purchases and would be expiring at the end of that month. Ironically, I had been looking at new tops but had not ordered one from anyone yet. They cut me a deal I couldn't refuse with what discounts I had made... and a top was sent. I waited to pick up a new pneumatic staple gun from Harbor Freight and found a couple of warm days... and I ripped the shrunken, hardened top off the car.

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b1pig

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I do not recommend this job for those who are not both extreme cheapskates (ie: very tight budget) and possessing a moderate level of understanding of vehicle work. It is slow work. Lots of checking and rechecking. Tugging and pulling. Measuring. Marking. Measuring. Marking. Remeasuring.... removing old rusted staple bits, stapling new material on, refitting springs, refitting pinch bars... and a lot of praying you don't f-up a $400+ top. But again, no way I'm paying someone else to do it. I had a MGB when I was a kid. I put two tops on it... I had a clue... but the separate window gave me some grief.
In the second photo with the new top, you can see the rain flaps sticking out, as I did not go through removing the beltline trim. As of today (this evening, actually), I have finally done that.

One of the tension springs that runs down into the rear quarter panel broke while I was trying to get it onto the new top, so I decided that the car didn't need to be driven until I got a new spring in it. I didn't want my new top to tear. So. It sat. This afternoon, I took car of this issue as well... and as I related elsewhere on this forum... replacement of those springs is an elevated level of trollish torture. Apparently, Ford requires the use of profanity to properly install these springs. Its not written down anywere.... there are no instructions I'm aware of anyway, but if there are there is certain to be some formal requirement for colorful language. If you take on this task, put the big hook through the loop on the top, then run the cable through a channel in the quarter down to the nut retaining the vent trim. Leave the nut on, but loose. The rest is up to you. Any other way is helpless. Send children and wives away, turn up the shop stereo and curse your way through it.

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So. I grouped all that together as it is top related.
A couple of weeks ago, there was some clear weather and I had some spare time. I pulled the car into the garage thinking I would finish up the top, but there was more noise than I remembered under the hood. The water pump bearings were on their way out. I pulled the belt off and found an amount of slop in the shaft. Again. Not leaking yet, but I guarantee if I wife drives it, it will break with her in it.... so....

Fresh water pump
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I also found that the air pump delete pulley seemed to have A LOT of slop in the bearings. Seemed solid enough, but I will have to replace them as well soon. Since I had no idea who made this kit, I guess I'll have to remove the thing, pull the bearing and see if I can clean it up enough to find a part number on it.

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While doing all this and under the car, I found power steering fluid leaking from the driver's side of the rack boot. I pulled the boot off and fluid POURED out. Annoyingly, I refilled the pump and cycled the steering. I haven't caught it leaking again. Yet. I'll have to get someone in the house to help me cycle the wheel while I inspect it later. For now... ignorance is bliss. It's not leaking. It's sitting back under the shelter with the boat. The interior is still laying all over the place hoping I'll be able to pick up where I left off on my work next weekend.

Still on my list of things to do/buy....
control arms/bushings for the rear end
rear shocks at a minimum...
new front strut top bushing/mounts
weld the exhaust flanges into place permanently
fix the rearview mirror... actually hang the replacement mirror/dashcam I have
replace the smog delete bearing
install the speakers and amp....
make a sub box
order a complete replacement antenna set
replacement upholstery for front seats (which seems to be very difficult to find ... I prefer the cloth)


I have no ambition of racing this car or doing any sort of restoration. This car is to be driven and enjoyed. The wife and kids spent a fair bit of time with me in this car over the summer and fall. I plan to make the car reliable, comfortable and pleasant to drive. So. There it is.

As is the case with many used cars. When you take it apart and dig into crevices that are rarely seen, something evidence of it's previous life emerge. This car is no exception. It seems that most likely, this car lived a long life stored in a garage when parked in Florida. There was evidence that kids were a part of the family, as I found daycare papers and some classroom art under the rear seat and in the quarter panels. I found a couple of broken toys in the side panels of the trunk. This car has 170,000 miles on it. Someone owned and loved this car for a very long time. Then it was either sold/traded off or passed on to a teenager who beat the snot out of it. There are LOTS of signs that nothing was maintained in the last few thousand miles. Shocks/struts are wornout, one strut bushing is BROKEN, evidence of some "performance" parts installed (intake, diff cover, smog delete maybe)... who knows what was removed. Still has all 4 original base model speakers in it, though. LOL... but not for long.
 

maillemaker

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Great write-up. I'm in a similar situation, though I think I'm starting out with a less-worn example. I just bought a 95 GT convertible a couple of weeks ago.
 

lutter94

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Scrap that smog pump pulley block. Run a shorter belt, I have been for years now, no reason to run the stock length anymore.....I forget what I bought, but google brought me to 90.2" long.

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b1pig

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Scrap that smog pump pulley block. Run a shorter belt, I have been for years now, no reason to run the stock length anymore.....I forget what I bought, but google brought me to 90.2" long.

View attachment 24567
Excellent suggestion, and one I shall endeavor to apply to mine.
thank you!
 
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b1pig

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Spent the afternoon with my car today.
Got the driver's side windows aligned. Couldn't get the passenger side to line up right, though.
While I had the door panels off.....

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The tabs on the bottom need to be removed or bent flat against the speaker so there is room for the door panel to go back on. :)

Aaahhh... the sound improvement... and that's running off the stereo....
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For now, the old JVC thats in the dash is powering the new speakers. I have a 4ch Skar amp and a 10" sub still waiting their turn.



Pulled the license plate.
Mounted up the rear camera that I've been holding on to. I figured the cleanest way to run the wire would be to pull one of the bolts off the trunk lid, drill it out a tad bit and run the cable through it.

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I squeezed a bit of silicone RTV in the hole once it was in there.

Ran all my cables for the amp into the trunk. The only one that got the full install was the main power wire. The rest I just bundled under the top for now. One thing at a time....
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I popped the door panels back on and parked it back under the shelter for the rest of the week.... before we can drive it, I still have to check out that steering rack.
 
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cobrajeff96

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Nice story unfolding. I hear ya on that rear convertible tension cable. I messed with that once. Never again. Only brick & mortar shops will do my top replacements whenever they come. Problem is you can't get any real leverage on that cable to get it to anchor down.

I don't want to be the bummer, but whenever it does come time to service the A/C system you might as well replace all lines because to me it is amazing that not even a single O-ring failed and leaked after all this time and the system still blows cold. Usually with no PAG circulation they just rot out. Got lucky on that one!
 

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Spent the afternoon with my car today.
Got the driver's side windows aligned. Couldn't get the passenger side to line up right, though.
While I had the door panels off.....

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The tabs on the bottom need to be removed or bent flat against the speaker so there is room for the door panel to go back on. :)

Aaahhh... the sound improvement... and that's running off the stereo....
View attachment 24716

For now, the old JVC thats in the dash is powering the new speakers. I have a 4ch Skar amp and a 10" sub still waiting their turn.



Pulled the license plate.
Mounted up the rear camera that I've been holding on to. I figured the cleanest way to run the wire would be to pull one of the bolts off the trunk lid, drill it out a tad bit and run the cable through it.

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I squeezed a bit of silicone RTV in the hole once it was in there.

Ran all my cables for the amp into the trunk. The only one that got the full install was the main power wire. The rest I just bundled under the top for now. One thing at a time....
View attachment 24719

I popped the door panels back on and parked it back under the shelter for the rest of the week.... before we can drive it, I still have to check out that steering rack.
I'd like to know more about your camera installation!
 

Maximum95

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This is a great thread. I see so many SN cars out there in less than great shape, that just need some diligent work like this to be excellent. You have a solid car to start with!

With the smog pump delete, you can just remove the delete pulley and run a shorter belt. I have done this for years.
 

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I had the same problem with that spring tension cable that goes in to the rear quarter window crevice in the body. It is made of some super strong but extremely brittle metal and when I tried to bend it a little to get it back into the hole it snapped. I looked everywhere and it's a discontinued part so I don't know how you were able to find a replacement spring unless you just got something generic that was about right. All I was able to do was to make a very slight Bend in the broken end to replicate the hook and of it and that was extremely hard due to the hard nature of the spring itself. It was the tiniest possible amount of hook bend, I was shocked that it actually held and didn't go flying off across the shop floor. You are 100% correct with those springs, when doing the top nobody should be within a hundred miles due to the explosive nature of tears, cursing and having to spend 8 hours just to hook a little fucking spring on.
 
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b1pig

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I had the same problem with that spring tension cable that goes in to the rear quarter window crevice in the body. It is made of some super strong but extremely brittle metal and when I tried to bend it a little to get it back into the hole it snapped. I looked everywhere and it's a discontinued part so I don't know how you were able to find a replacement spring unless you just got something generic that was about right. All I was able to do was to make a very slight Bend in the broken end to replicate the hook and of it and that was extremely hard due to the hard nature of the spring itself. It was the tiniest possible amount of hook bend, I was shocked that it actually held and didn't go flying off across the shop floor. You are 100% correct with those springs, when doing the top nobody should be within a hundred miles due to the explosive nature of tears, cursing and having to spend 8 hours just to hook a little fucking spring on.
Yea, they're a little tough to find and a little pricey when you do. NPD had them half the cost of anyone else I could find.
 

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Yea, they're a little tough to find and a little pricey when you do. NPD had them half the cost of anyone else I could find.
What did they charge, in case I ever decide to torture myself again. Was it exact OEM style or something generic that happens to work?
 
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What did they charge, in case I ever decide to torture myself again. Was it exact OEM style or something generic that happens to work?
Seems I missed uploading an image...
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Near exact copy of the original. At least I'm guessing its original. I think the top has been replaced one time before judging by marks I found on the top hardware. The only differences are a slightly smaller spring diameter (slight enough not to matter) and the "appearance" of a smaller cable. The cable is apparently the same size, its the coating on the cable. The "original" has a much thicker nylon sleeve common to the age. The new one looks much thinner. Since the cable doesn't rub against anything, its nothing more than a corrosion preventative... in which case it looks far superior to the "original".

I think their price was a tick under $20 for the pair when I ordered them. From memory.
 

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Oh I see. I was trying to order just the spring alone whereas this is more like a complete assembly with a length of cable. Maybe that's why I thought they were discontinued in the Ford dealer couldn't find the part.
 
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Oh I see. I was trying to order just the spring alone whereas this is more like a complete assembly with a length of cable. Maybe that's why I thought they were discontinued in the Ford dealer couldn't find the part.
I'm pretty sure 70% of everything on our SN95's has been discontinued by Ford.
I did not find any place that listed a NOS part for these springs, and yes they are a complete assembly.
 
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While running the wires for the amp, I found a massive mess under the center console. Smoking is one of the most disgusting habits.... just nasty pile of ash and trash under there. In the midst of cleaning that up and with the eventual plan to install the later cup holder in place of the ash tray.... I decided to move the 12v port to the left side of the shifter. I figured I'd match the angle of the original, but there's no way to get that new one to go low enough to match the height of the original, either. So. To get it as low as I "can" and clear the supports under the dash I got out the heat gun and a 15/16 half inch drive socket.

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Ends up sitting slightly higher above the "floor" of the cover, but its about as good as it will get without really deforming the plastic. As I've done it here, even the texture of the plastic is unaltered. I don't any OCD's, so it's not bothering me.
 
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Tested the moved plug.
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Worked perfectly... however its direct to battery. The one on the right runs off ignition, however I think I blew the fuse or something. I'll have to check it later, as I ultimately ran out of time and daylight.
Someone asked previously about the camera. I'm a huge supported of dash cameras. All of our vehicles have one. Honesty is hard to come by these days, and absolute liars come in droves. Sadly, I've had far too much experience with those who have no honesty, integrity, nor any level of responsibility.

This particular one is a "Van Top" brand. From what I can see, the brand is now out of business. Sad. These are actually pretty good. I got an older one that was in a Audi the wife had. That one now lives in my Jeep and the little Kenwood unit that was in my Jeep is now in the wife's current Audi. (She likes Audi...)
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The rear camera has a lead that you can run to the backup light... which I did in this car. This will trigger the backup camera mode, which will switch the display to a full wide screen view with parking alignment lines. In the case of this installation, I'll have to adjust them. They're WAY off. LOL. In any case, the camera works well.


Another thing I did today was to finish running all the wires from the trunk into the dash for the amp. I got it all wired in... but there was HORRIBLE static in the front speakers when I turned the volume up a little. It was horrible. I'll have to look into it a little more to see if there is actually a factory amp somewhere in this car. I rewired the stereo back into the front speakers... and then find out that NOW I have no audio. Which is another reason why I'm thinking there's a factory amp hiding somewhere in this thing.
While I was crawling around under the car looking at stuff, I found what looks like the factory tag on the rear coil spring. This car rides lower than I think it should to be original. I do have some experience with Crown Victoria's, and they had a bad tendency of sagging rear springs as well. I haven't had one of these cars before and to be fair I've been a SUV/truck owner most of my adult life. But this car bottoms out the rear suspension on EVERYTHING. Rolling dip in the highway at speed? Yep. Crossing an intersection? Definitely. Speed bump? Bet your booty. To top that off, I actually scraped the undercarriage on a wide asphalt speed bump today. First time its ever done that. I know it needs new shocks and struts... and the upper strut bushings. The driver's side bushing pops and shifts to one side when backing with the wheels turned. Aaahh.. it's just money.....

The factory tag on the coil._nc_ohc=8EP73KTlG6IAX_JD4nd&_nc_ht=scontent-atl3-1.jpg

Side note. One of those little things I found while digging crap out from under the center console....
PqpaLe2GoIupBGIjiqrbGty_3Ob&_nc_ht=scontent-atl3-1.jpg

The car "only" has 173,000 miles on it now. Hasn't gone very far in 2.5 years.
 
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Slice

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Why did you install a cigarette lighter right beside the existing one? I have removed my ashtray and installed the cupholder and would like to run the leftover power to a 12v USB charger but as you may have found, not much inner clearance under the console. Mine is a stick.


20230328_181256.jpg
 

Slice

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Why did you install a cigarette lighter right beside the existing one? I have removed my ashtray and installed the cupholder and would like to run the leftover power to a 12v USB charger but as you may have found, not much inner clearance under the console. Mine is a stick.


View attachment 25272
Also mine is a vert so extra buttons taking up space too.
 

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