Top Mustang Problems
Whether you're looking to buy or trying to keep your Mustang on the road, these top problems are something to watch for
9: Improper Repairs
Everyone thinks they're capable of making a solid repair and pocketing the savings. The truth is most enthusiasts are shade tree types at best. The important factor to know here is your limitations. We've seen people buy welders and other shop equipment to fix the rust on their vintage Mustang only to blow holes in the sheetmetal or not have enough penetration on their welds for the repair to be solid/safe. The owner then gets frustrated and takes it to a shop where they charge a fair rate, yet the owner is upset because they just wasted $800 in sheetmetal parts and have a $500 welder taking up space in their garage they'll never use again.
Whether it is inferior parts or inferior workmanship, or both, improper repairs often lead to further damage as time goes by. Fixing it right the first time, or paying someone that knows how to will honestly save money in the long run. This is probably one of the biggest issues we find when looking at potential cars to buy (or helping a club member to look at a car they're thinking of buying) next to rust in vintage Mustangs. A Mustang that looks decent at twenty feet could be hiding numerous bad repairs, causing the over-all purchase price to go up exorbitantly once these bad repairs are found and corrected by the new owner or by a competent shop.
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8: Non-Original Parts
When we're speaking of non-original parts, we're not referring to aftermarket parts, as we just discussed that in problem number nine. No, this little gem of an issue is referring to original Ford parts, just not on the right car or the right year. Let's face it, after four decades on the road a lot of vintage Mustangs have been repaired or upgraded with parts from other years and model Mustangs (or even Fords). A first time vintage Mustang buyer may not realize those disc brakes came off of a Granada, so when they order new tie-rod ends and then they don't fit the first thing that happens is an angry call to the vendor stating they sent the wrong part—but did they? Another perfect example is buying an upholstery kit for your '67 Mustang, yet it has newer seats in it that came with it when you bought it. The key here is to know your car and know what you have. Research it, look at other cars of the same year and model, ask the seller questions, and for vintage Mustangs pick up a copy of the Mustang Recognition Guide. These will all help you to become more educated on Mustangs in general and will help prevent parts issues, delays, and angry calls to your Mustang vendor when all they did was fill the order with the parts you asked for. 7-Availability of Parts
We've often said that you can build a whole '65-'68 Mustang from a Mustang parts catalog, and that has never been more true with the inclusion of reproduction body shells that are now on the market. However, as you move into the '71-'73 Mustang market, or the '74-'78 Mustang II market the availability of replacement parts drops considerably. We're not talking only restoration parts to restore these cars, but even basic service parts from your corner auto parts store are often hard to come by. We'd be remiss in mentioning the early Fox as well. The '79-'86 Mustangs had different interiors and drivetrain parts than the more utilized '87-'93 models. While companies such as National Parts Depot are working hard on early Fox restoration parts, some of these items may never be reproduced due to tooling costs and low sales volume. Parts like urethane bumpers for Mustang IIs, 13- and 14-inch tires for stock Mustang wheels, and more. Even some later Fox parts are obsolete from Ford and not reproduced (anyone have a working door chime module they want to throw my way for my '90?).