Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
January 1, 2000

Step By Step

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From useless…
P85321_image_large useful.
To facilitate extraction of the console from the car, which is much easier than previous Fox consoles, begin by prying out the forward console-lid bumpers and removing the two Phillips head screws found under them.
Once the two screws are free, you can carefully pry out the storage bin with a small screwdriver and set it aside. A decision to reuse the original bin will be made shortly.
Using a T-20 Torx bit, remove the two retaining screws at the bottom of the rear half of the console. Save these screws, as they will be reused.
Apply the parking brake and pull the shifter back (Second or Fourth for a five-speed). Carefully pry the shifter bezel from the console until the bezel’s friction clips release. On five-speeds you will need to unscrew the shift knob to remove the boot. Disconnect the power outlet connection as well.
Using the same T-20 Torx bit, remove the two screws at the forward edge of the console that are now visible with the shift bezel removed. Set these aside as well.
Pull back the console assembly to clear the dash, and then lift up the forward edge. This might require pulling farther back on the parking brake handle.
Once the console has been lifted high enough to remove from the car, you will see the console wiring master plug. Carefully separate the plug by spreading the locking tabs open, and then remove the console from the car.
These comparison views of the original Saddle console at left (a ’96 in this case) and the ’98 Saddle replacement at right show that the only major differences between the two (besides the cupholders of course) are the rear power port and the recessed parking brake–handle boot. All mounting points are identical.
Since the console we obtained from MPS was sans storage bin, we decided to reuse the original bin and add a third cupholder (take that, GM!). To clear the rear power-port wiring connector, we had to grind these ribs off the bin with a rotary tool.
Due to the design of the ’96 console’s forward bin edge (for the retractable cupholder), some minor clearancing is required to allow the bin to drop in. Again, a rotary tool with a grinding stone attached made short work of the modification.
The ’96 console storage lid was retained by a magnet, which the owner complained was too strong, making the lid difficult to open, but the ’98 used a push catch. The bin would need further clearance work to allow the new-style catch to work with the older storage bin.
The slightly larger opening in the bin was trimmed by our rotary tool and allows a snug fit right around the push catch.
This last modification to the console is only necessary if you actually wish to use the third (original) cupholder. The early console had two slots at the forward edge of the bin area to allow the cupholder to seat fully. Without these slots, the cupholder is at an unsatisfactory angle.
We easily made the clean slots for the original cupholder by using our rotary tool and a steel-cutting tip. Simply allow the tip to melt the plastic and push the tool straight down to make a clean cut. Don’t worry, the slots are hidden with the lid closed. If you use the ’98 bin, you won’t have to worry about any of these extra modifications.
Install the new console in place of your original console, and plug in the main wiring connector. Install either your foglight/convertible top switches and/or coin trays, and then reinstall the four T-20 screws.
The newer console’s sole wiring snafu is that the forward power-port connector differs. The wire colors are the same and if you want the port to work, simply cut the connector from your old console and install it to your new console. You’ll now have two power ports but no lighter—perfect for when you might use a radar detector and a cell phone charger at the same time.
Lastly, snap the ’98-style cupholder into place and you’re done with the installation of the updated console. If you only want to install the cupholder into your existing console, then read on.
We began the console trimming operation by using our rotary tool to simply cut the complete ashtray and lighter assembly out of this original ’96 console guinea pig.
Now, with the ashtray and lighter section removed, the new cupholder (Ford PN F8ZZ-6313562-AAA) can be positioned to check for clearance and where to cut. Take your time and make accurate measurements and small cuts. You can always cut more, but it is difficult to put it back.
Carefully trim away plastic with a rotary tool, file, or other item a little at a time, checking the fit of the cupholder after each removal step.
This was our final shape with notches and reliefs for the cupholder retainers. The next real challenge was how to retain the cupholder to the modified console.
Our idea came from the factory console itself. The console’s skeletal frame, which is also plastic, is melted or plastic-welded, if you will (arrows), to the outer console to form an assembly. Our plan was to retain the cupholder in a similar manner.
First, we inserted the cupholder and then gently clamped it into place using a pair of swivel-head locking pliers. This will make a nice finished look by keeping the cupholder flat with the console, as we fuse the two together.
Use a soldering iron with a fusing tip to accomplish the job. This tip is flat-faced and angled at 45 degrees. Simply heat the console lip until it fuses into the back of the cupholder. Fuse the cupholder in as many places as you can reach.
This angle shows the fused cupholder in place from the backside. Let it completely cool to prevent the plastic from stretching when you release the locking pliers.
Before installing the console, make sure you tape off the old ashtray power connection to prevent any shorts (arrow).
Bolt the console back into place (in our case, we swapped the original console for our modified one), and install the storage bin and shifter bezel. Our shifter bezel barely touched the cupholders when installed, so check yours before you cut your cupholder opening.
The cup-holder is a welcome change to the ashtray. The rearmost holder can easily secure a soda can with a can wrap installed to keep your 12-ounce beverage cool for the long haul...
...or you can place your 12-ounce can in the forward holder and utilize the extra design attributes of the rear holder for a coffee mug.

OK, this might sound petty, but the Mustang cupholders that finally were given to us in 1994 were woefully undersized. A can of soda or a small coffee from Dunkin’ Doughnuts was about all that would fit. Needless to say, the marketers at GM caught on quickly and made a new TV spot for the Camaro that touted the GM F-Body’s cupholder, which could hold a large 7-Eleven Slurpee. Remember that one? Now I love a good Slurpee as much as the next American on a hot summer day, but not wedged between the seat and console or, worse yet, in my lap.

Starting with the ’98 models, Ford did away with the ashtray recessed into the console of the Mustang and instead put two (yes, two!) cupholders in its place. One was a standard size and the other could hold a larger beverage or travel mug. If you opted for the smoking package, you would get a lighter (otherwise, you had a power port by the parking brake) and a drop-in ashtray that would fit the forward cupholder.

As usual, after driving numerous Ford press-fleet Mustangs and our share of ’98-’99 rental Mustangs, our minds and hands started to wander around the interior, and we thought the cupholder cavity would drop right into the ’94-’97 console. After ripping apart a rental or two, we figured there were two ways of going about this: replacing the console section with a ’98-and-newer version, or trimming your existing console to mount only the cupholder.

Placing a call to Mustang Parts Specialties (who else would have a bevy of consoles for us to cut up and tweak), we found that modifying your existing console might be the only option for some owners. The gray interior in ’94-’97 Mustangs changed from year to year and the ’98-’99 gray won’t match, thus you would have to modify your console. MPS sent us a few consoles and cupholder cavities for us to figure out this entire thing. Read on as we show you both ways of getting your Big Gulp or Super Slurpee nestled into place.