Tom Wilson
April 1, 2002
Another broken Fox Mustang ashtray door. MavroMont Industries has an easily affordable, easily installed fix for this all-too-common Mustang malady.

Horse Sense: The MavroMont kit is available with and without the coiled mousetrap-like spring seen in the photos. Strictly speaking, you can get by with straightening the old stock spring, but we'd opt for the new one unless money is ultra-tight.

Like death and taxes, there are some bad things '93-and-earlier Fox Mustang owners can absolutely count on. The bumper caps and headlight doors will bleach into a faded version of their former selves, the rubber window gasket around the quarter-glass will petrify, and the ashtray door will break.

Throwing huge money at the first two cures those problems, but did you know there is an inexpensive, easy fix for that sorry mess of a door gaping open in your center console? MavroMont Industries has a $19.97 kit consisting of a new spring and some reinforcing metal that'll take care of the typical broken ashtray door. The installation takes maybe an hour and is easy to do.

This is the entire MavroMont kit. Typically, you won't need but half of it. Ingenious design allows this handful of parts to fix several common breakage points associated with Mustang ashtray doors. Interestingly, many Mustang doors are metal and rarely break; it's the plastic around them that fails.

Our own '91 LX had the broken-door syndrome, naturally. The problem comes from cracked plastic bits inside the console. These no doubt result from weight being applied to the ashtray door lid. Pushing down with the right hand while adjusting your seating position is the likely culprit. The underengineered plastic junk Ford built the ashtray door supports out of is to blame in the first place, but hey, these were $14,000 cars.

The basic steps in making the fix are easy. Order the kit from MavroMont, which will show up in a letter-sized envelope containing what resembles a few bits from an exploded watch accompanied by two pages of well-detailed instructions. Then pull out the top panel of the center console-just the part with the ashtray in it-and put it on the bench. That'll take all of 10 minutes. On the bench you can assess the damage-there are a couple of typical breakage spots involving the door-and stare goat-like at the MavroMont directions while fingering the little metal tabs for about 15 more minutes. The instructions flow like an IRS form, i.e., "If you have two navels and a broken toe but don't work for a railroad, proceed straight to step 5B," but are succinct (unlike this article) and will quickly get you up to speed on what needs doing.

Start by removing the armrest at the rear of the console. Four bolts hold the armrest to the center console. They are accessed under plastic plugs on the side of the console. Under the armrest, Jim Glessner of Fallbrook Classic Car Center (760) 728-3255 removes a pair of screws holding down the console top. If you don't have an armrest, you'll find these screws under plastic plugs in the console top.

Typically all that's needed is to drill two small holes through the console-the plastic drills like butter-and install the metal tabs as reinforcements or replacements for the cracked plastic areas. This will take another 10 minutes, mainly because you have to dig out the drill motor from the bottom drawer of the toolbox and fish around that cigar box that functions as your drill "index" to come up with the necessarily small bit. After the climactic moment of actual drilling, it's 3 minutes to get the spring and door back on in the right order, followed by refitting the console top back in the car.

The only downside we can see is the MavroMont kit can leave two small screw heads exposed inside the ashtray door well. These are visible only when the ashtray door is open, and they are small and stuffed up in a corner so we doubt anyone, save for your most astute Mustang friends, will ever notice. Even if they do, their next question will be how to get a kit so they can fix their broken doors.

Of course, for those considering the full concours-restoration route, two small screws are two too many. Then it's off to the dealer for a good, old-fashioned wallet inspection. Our friends at Pearson Ford looked up these parts for us. The one you are sure to need is the center console top, which retails for $63.07. You'll also likely want the small spring, which inevitably gets tweaked when the door is pushed out of shape, and that'll set you back $9.80. Should you have the rare misfortune to require the ashtray door itself, then you'll have to cough up a C-note, as the door is an amazing $91.37 hit. Don't forget these are paint-to-match parts, so you'll have that little ditty to run through as well. Otherwise, you can consult the wrecking yards.

Our impressions of the MavroMont experience is the fix went faster and easier than expected, it didn't cost much, and it sure is nice to have that ashtray door closed again!

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