1985 Ford Mustang LX Parts Car
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Background and Overview

I purchased this 1985 Ford Mustang LX hatchback as a parts car to get at various things I needed for my 1964 Ranchero 5.0L EFI swap and to get a good 5.0L engine core for a friend's 1979 F100 that needed a new engine. The car ran and drove when I bought it for the princely sum of $100 and drug it home to be stripped for parts. It has a 5.0L engine with the "central fuel injection" (CFI) system (Ford's version of a TBI injection system) and overall it ran pretty well considering it had stale gas in the tank, had not been driven to "blow out the crud" in many years, and had 136,000 miles on it. It is NOT a GT model, but a base LX model that was optioned with the 5.0L engine. It has the AOD transmission and full instrumentation. It has manual windows and door locks, AC, a rear defogger, and the "light monitoring" system to tell you if you have blown headlight or taillight bulbs. The rear axle should be the original 7.5" one with the 3.27:1 ratio that came in all AOD equipped Mustangs in '85, and as I found out later, this one is a "posi" - and I have the burnout picture below to prove it. :-) The motor should be a roller cam engine and is equipped with the serpentine belt drive system. It has the dual inlet air cleaner assembly and a dual outlet exhaust system - true dual exhaust didn't come onto the Mustang scene until later in the model run. Bummer. All of this indicates it is the 180hp/260lb-ft 5.0L motor with 8.4:1 compression that was introduced into the non-GT models mid-year. The wheels were nice looking aftermarket units fitted to the original 4-lug front disc/rear drum brakes. The whole car needed a bath very much badly.

The car was pretty much intact, and ran OK with a slight knock - it could be a variety of issues, but the engine will need at least a freshening up. The transmission had trouble dropping into gear when I was getting the car onto the trailer, but it turned out it was incredibly low on fluid (seals dry up from sitting, and then the fluid leaks out over time), so I'd blame the bulk of the transmission issues on the low fluid. The tires held air, all of the instruments seemed to work, and the car seemed to be reasonably weather-tight despite the shattered front windshield. Adding some trans fluid seemed to cure the "won't go into gear until you rev it up" issues. After driving it around a bit on my street, the trans does definitely need a full fluid change but overall seems to function correctly. Given the mileage, it could be getting down near "needs a rebuild" status, but it's working OK for now. The exhaust pipes in the back looked to be brand new, and were possibly replacement/aftermarket pieces. The car certainly sounded pretty darned good when I was revving it up to get it to go into gear!

The story I have on the car is that the guy I bought it from had purchased it from his ex-girlfriend's mother (or was it sister?) in a non-running condition, and he was going to fix it up and drive it. Before he bought the car, it had been parked and sitting for two or three years. He replaced the starter solenoid and tossed a battery in it - and it started up and ran. Despite the fact that the car was operational, it ended up sitting parked for a couple of years not being moved, but being started and run periodically. Before he bought the car, it had been in a relatively minor accident on the right front corner. It had pushed the core support back a tiny amount, taken a chunk out of the front bumper piece, messed up the right fender and door, tweaked the hood, broke the plastic air intake cover at the base of the windshield, and the overall impact seems to be what cracked the windshield - basically a very typical result for a hit on the front corner of the car - stuff got pushed back and tweaked, and the windshield cracked due to the sudden stress. The passengers side fender and door were replaced with "junkyard fresh" units by someone in an attempt to start repairing the car, but just enough to get them sitting on the car. The right fender was literally just sitting in place being held in with a bungee cord - no bolts we installed and no inner fender was present. The passenger's side door inside panel was still in the hatchback area along with the passengers side front kick panel trim piece. The door was not adjusted properly, and the door lock was not re-installed. The door glass and handles are there and operate correctly.

 

Decoding Stuff

The VIN on this car is 1FABP28M8FF226547, which decodes to:

  • 1FA = Manufacturer ID: FoMoCo, USA, Ford Passenger Car
  • B = Restraint System: Active Belts (Manual)
  • P = Passenger Car
  • 28 = Body Style: 3 Door Hatchback
  • M = Engine: 5.0L V8
  • 8 = Check Digit (Ford internal use only)
  • F = Model Year: 1985
  • F = Assembly Plant: Dearborn, MI
  • 226547 = Consecutive Unit Number. Numbers started at 100,001 at the beginning of each model year, making this the 126,546th Mustang to roll out of the factory for 1985. Since only 156,514 Mustangs were produced in 1985, this one was a fairly late production unit.

So far I've found three body tags on this car. There was one on the inner fender structure on each side, and those were both stamped "FF226527" which matches the last part of the VIN. There was also one screwed to the radiator support with a variety of details on it. Note that the "C" near the end of the fourth line is actually a cut-out in the metal tag, and the "A" at the start of the fifth line is also a cut-out, but turned 90 degrees so that the top of the "A" is towards the right side of the tag.

MUSTANG

226547 61B M    0179

3V          DF ST

   AC 02  C HB

A             01

   B CI 02 1 X 1 NLR

  • MUSTANG = Well, sort of obvious, isn't it? :-)
  • 226547 = Consecutive Unit Number for this car, matches the VIN and other body tags.
  • 61B = Body Style???
  • M = Motor???
  • 0179 =
  • 3V =
  • DF =
  • ST =
  • AC = Air Conditioning?
  • 02 =
  • "C" (cutout) =
  • HB =
  • "A" (cutout) =
  • 01 =
  • B =
  • CI =
  • 02 =
  • 1 =
  • X =
  • 1 =
  • NLR =

As you might have guessed, I haven't found a decoder yet for all of this, but some of this is guess-able.

 

Pictures

Here are some pictures of the car right after I brought it home and gave it a quick bath to remove the moss and other grime that was all over it. I wanted to be able to see what was and was not busted, plus get some decent pictures to show folks what was up for sale when I post it on CraigsList. Overall, it's not too bad and has many good parts on it. If you need something, email me and ask!

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Here's pictures of the car after I got it off the trailer. Naturally, the first thing I did was see if the trans was slipping, and in the process I found out the car has a "posi" rear in it. I also took some close-up pictures of the CFI system for reference, along with the decals on the radiator support. I pulled the front fenders and front fascia assembly, and in the process found a few tags with VIN and option-related data on them, so I took pictures of them for future reference. I also took one final picture of the semi-repaired accident damage on the core support and passenger's side inner fender structure. It would have still needed some more work to be perfect, but it's not too bad.

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Here's pictures of the car during my first evening of disassembly work. I got it up on jack stands, pulled the wheels, and started disconnecting all of the AC and wiring bits from the engine so I could pull the engine and transmission. So far I've managed to not break anything, which is a good sign. Even the funky "springlock" fittings on the AC hoses came apart without breakage, though they did need some coaxing. Not shown here is that all of the wiring is disconnected all the way back to the firewall, the AC hoses and condenser are out of the car, and a large percentage of the stuff that was able to be unbolted from the engine compartment has been removed form the car and stored. I even got the massive smog control solenoid setup off intact - I'd never seen a "harness" made up of color-coded plastic vacuum tubing before. Nice engineering, I guess, but it would have been nice to not need all that crap in the first place. Ah, well, it took the factory a few more years after this car was produced to figure out how to make EFI more simple and meet the required emissions standards.

One interesting note is the exhaust system - I can't find the cats on it and it looks like maybe someone fitted this thing with "offroad" pipes at some point. Also, the passengers side muffler got nailed on a speed bump a long time ago and rusted out in one spot (which is likely why it sounds so good :-), so the pipes are only good in pieces. The back sections are pristine, but the middle sections look well used but serviceable. The system is also one massive welded together setup from the "header flanges" on back, which doesn't strike me as a factory arrangement.

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A potential buyer asked for detail pictures of each of the wheels before they drove up to my place, so here they are. The weird squiggly lines on the rims are, as best I can tell, the remnants of the ivy that was growing on them when it was parked. They need some polishing to clean that up, but overall they are in pretty good shape for a driver. The tires are size P215/60-R14, and the rims look to be around 7" wide. They fit the Mustang quite well and I saw no signs of the tires or rims rubbing or hitting anything, so the backspacing and overall fitment were good.

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The rear axle is out, and so is the exhaust. I also took a pic of the door tag before I forgot to. The rear axle is a 7.5" locking unit with a 3.27:1 ratio. Here's the info off the tag. And, yes, I put it back on the rear after snapping the pic of it separately.

    276F

3SL27 75 5D29

I'll put the info off the door tag here later - the photo is really what the tag looks like - very light, very faded, and very hard to read.

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The engine and transmission are out, and the transmission has been sold. I also pulled the center console to get at the shifter which was sold with the trans. The picture of the speedometer gear is here for the buyer of the transmission so they get get the right gear on their speedo cable.

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The dash and steering column came out next. Once I did that, the engine compartment, dash, and EFI wiring came out. There are lots of useful pieces in here - the wiring was not butchered in any way, and is all safely stored away in case someone needs it. The heater/AC setup is available as well if needed, but it'll head to the trash soon enough as I expect interest in that to be about nil. The gas pedal and cable came off, as well as the brake pedal assembly and the hood release cable. On the engine compartment side of the firewall, I pulled off the wiper system, windshield trim, the power brake booster/master cylinder/combination valve assembly, the brake hard lines from the engine compartment.

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The front sway bar, steering rack, and front suspension + brake assemblies came out next. I was smart and degreased the front suspension and steering gear the day before I did this so it was at least tolerably clean without inches of spooge to go through to get at the mounting bolts for various things. I also removed the brake and fuel lines from under the car, and it turned out that a bunch of the clips were riveted to the car and a bunch are done with bolts. Weird, but true, so I had to drill out the rivets to get the lines off the car. I also pulled the gas tank and filler neck - they are in great shape, right down to the plastic shield under the tank. The in-tank fuel pump works, so I may hang onto that. I haven't decided yet.

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The interior was the next "item", then the hatchback, then the doors, then the tail lights, then the rear shocks, and then the rear bumper cover and internal bumper support bar. Most of the interior bits are junk, but some aren't so I may hang onto them for a few weeks to see if someone wants them - basically, they're for sale until I have a chance to do a dump run.

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The final things to be removed before cutting up the car were the rear side glass and associated trim, then the remaining side trim pieces, and finally the engine cradle. I also had to remove the windshield, and after that I drilled the rivets on the VIN tag out and stashed that away for safe-keeping. Somewhere along he way, I also remembered to take a quick picture of the tire data on the passenger's side door post. You never know when you might need to refer back to this stuff, and digital pictures are effectively free. Anyways, after all that unbolting and removing of parts, it was time to start cutting the carcass up into small pieces with my trusty Sawzall. Part-way through the cutting, I ran out of blades, then the Sawzall itself died a rather violent death - something jammed internally, the front of the case split in two, and one of the metal internal supports broke in two. While a tad expensive, it turned out that the new "professional grade" Sawzall I bought from Sears was an order of magnitude faster at cutting with the same blades. It has a longer stroke, a smoother running motor and reciprocating assembly, and a stronger motor. The difference was amazing - cuts that would have taken 5-10 minutes with my old Sawzall took <1 minute with the new one. Blades lasted a lot longer, too. The only drawback on the new Sawzall is the "no tools needed" blade change design. It's a spring loaded lever assembly, and if you're trying to coax the cut to turn and you put more than moderate sideways pressure on the blade while the saw is running, the blade can pop right out of the holder. It's easy enough to put it back into the holder, but it can be annoying in certain cases when you need to make a curve in a cut that tends to make the blade pop out. I got really good at re-seating the blades after a bit. :-)

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Here's the final metal chunks ready to go to the local metal recycling place.

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I still need to break the windshield into pieces small enough to put into the trash - or just haul it to the dump in a pickup truck. I've found that heating the glass with a torch in a line shatters it on that line, and then the plastic lamination melts and separates at the break line. As long as you wear long sleeves, long pants, heavy gloves, and eye protection you should be fine. You'll also need to sweep up the glass shards when you are done.

 

Purchasing Order

This was car #27. This was the first parts car that I managed to sell enough parts from to recoup my original cost in buying the car.


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Page last updated 12/27/2011 10:23:21 AM