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My 1970 Convertible and I need Help.

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I own a 1970 Mustang Convertible with a 351C 4 barrel intake/heads and an FMX trans.  I bought it and 1973 and I am the 2nd owner.   The car was my daily driver until the late 1990's when it started having a variety of reliability problems.  These problems continued into the 2000’s with carb and electrical problems being at the top of the list.

 In 2020, the carb needed to be rebuild, which I did myself.  It ran fine for about 30 miles, then it went bad and a second rebuild was bad from the start. After that, I just got tired of dealing with the car.  When I decided to take a break, I had no intention of letting the car set for 2 years.

 I am not a mechanic, but I am a pretty good parts  changer.  By this I mean, I not good at diagnosing problems, but if I know the problem, I can change the parts.  In the mid-80’s I rolled the car.  To get it back on the road, I stripped the car, ever thing came out of it except the electrical harness; did welding (rust repair); cleaning, repairs, and replacement of parts; and reassembly.   A neighbor did final body work and painting.    There is no way, I could do that work now.  I don’t have the space and I don’t have the time.    

Here some of the advice and answers I am seeking:

I am thinking I should get the car running again as this would really help in future logistics.  I figure the easiest way would be to get a new carb and put it on.  Any suggestion on the carb?  Bu the way, I have come to hate carbs because of my problems.  My best friend has had very good luck with the Holly Sniper system.  I am reluctant to go that route now, because of the other problems I have.

What about the two year old gas?  I don’t trust it, but it is name brand (Shell gas)   Run it or  dump it?   Any suggestion on getting rid of the gas?  Dumping it in my yard is not an option.   I  think the tank is clean.  Prior to the 2020 carb rebuilds I checked the fuel and never saw any dirt.

Here are some of the other problems:

The car has rust issues,  I can see rust on both the lower quarter panels and both doors.  I think that both quarter panels need to be replaced.  From the 80’s rebuild I know the floor boards have rust (repaired with fiberglass) and there was internal rust in the rocker panels.

 There are electrical problems such as, headlights will cut out after about 20 minutes of run time; various gauges don’t work; trunk light does not work; and other problems.   I think the wiring harness needs replacement and instrument clusters may need repair.

I hate the Ford power steering system.  It has always leaked and I think the steering box needs replacement or rebuild.  Would love to have that replaced with more modern steering.  However my car knowledge is stuck in the 80’s.  After that rebuild, I drifted away from the car mags and the car culture.  I don’t even know the names of the various current engines and transmission, or even the type of engine/trans in my 2018 Edge.  It is a 6 cylinder.    

I would like to have  a restoration shop take care of these problems.  Here is an advice question, should I try to have everything done at once or do say, the wiring issues first and then  move to other stuff?  My thought is to properly take care of the rust, the car would need to be stripped and blasted and that would be the time to do the wiring and front end work.

Can any one recommend a good restoration shop?  Any tips on what to look for in a restoration shop?   I live in the Brunswick, Ga area.  It is about 6o miles north of Jacksonville, Fl and about 90 miles south of Savannah, GA.  I am not limiting myself to this area, I would ship the car if I had to do that, but I sure would like to visit the car while it is in the shop.  

The final and biggest question and advice area, MONEY!  I have no idea of the budget for just the problems I have outlined. Any one paid for work like this?  I know we are talking a lot of man hours to strip, blast, and weld in new sheet metal.   While on vacation in Sarasota, Fl, I spoke to a guy who owned a classic car restoration shop and he said my Mustang, as I described it would be worth about 16K and if It was fixed up and 32K.  Does this sound right?  

On a brighter note, the power train and interior of my Mustang are all in good shape.   I look at this post as the first step and I appreciate any help or advice the members of this forum can give

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First order of business, happy early birthday. 

My advice is based on you saying you don't have the time or space to work on your Mustang, and my own experiences. 

Rusty Gillis does outstanding work on Mustangs, and is located in Port Richie FL. http://www.gillisrestorations.com/  

Summit sells a Holley knockoff that people rave about, I've not used it but would if I need another carb.


Forum member  @Midlife is the go to guy for wiring harness issues. http://midlifeharness.com/

Nothing wrong with Ford steering if it's in good shape. Dan at Chockostang.com is the go to guy for steering issues. I believe the doing the Shelby/Arning upper control arm one inch drop, and proper alignment to be pretty much mandatory for a good handling Mustang. Day Scovil at Daze Cars is a great guy, with many how to tech articles. https://dazecars.com/dazed/drop.html

When you change from factory parts to aftermarket, it's not plug and play. One change will require several other mods for the first to work. I'm president of that club, and discourage new members. 

A points based ignition like our cars came with need replaced every 10-15,000 miles. Many people change to Duraspark or Petronix and are happy with it. 

I think your buddy's valuation is pretty close. 

Good luck with your build.


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With rusted rockers etc, if you have to pay someone to do the rust repair, bodywork and paint,  you will spend more money than what the car is worth after restoration.

Installing and tuning Sniper to run good is not cheap and an easy task, I would stay with carb. I installed Sniper on one of my cars, my other cars will be staying with carb.

I would drain the old gas and get the car running with fresh gas; later on add a couple gallons of the old gas to almost full tank and use it.

Ethanol blend gas is not good for old aluminum parts like your old carb. It eats up aluminum, that  may be why carb rebuild is not working. New aluminum parts that gasoline touches (like carbs) have a coating to prevent damage from ethanol. The cars I don’t drive at-least once a week get non-ethanol gas.

Headlight cutting might be your headlight switch. Do you have higher output (compared to original) headlights?

You can have a non-leaking factory power steering. If it is leaking from hose connections, you need to replace the seats. If it is leaking from every where, you can rebuild it or get Choke to rebuild it for you.

I am in Warner Robins, there is a shop here that does rust repair etc but I do not have first hand experience with them as I do my own work.

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Thanks, RPM and aslanefe.  I have updated the Distributor, but can not recall the name right now.  As for the power steering, over the time I have owned the car, I have rebuilt or had the steering redone multiple times.  It always ends up leading.   What can I say, I don't like the Ford power steering system.  I have replaced the headlight switch and it did not help, but that was a while ago.  I really think it is something in the wiring, or the connections, but I appreciated the suggestion.  The head lights are original style. The rust is my main concern, if you happen to see, or can recall the name of the shop in Warner Robins, it would be appreciated.   I am very much afraid, that if I have the car taken down for the metal work that I think it needs, even just the quarter panels and possible the floor, the cost will spiral out of control, but if I don't with in 2 years of so, I am going to have holes in the car.  The uncertainty over what I can afford to do and the uncertainty over the possible problems from giving the car to a stranger to work on really bum me out.  I have heard some real horror stories about what some shops do to folks on restorations.

Any one else who read this thread, any suggestion or referrals would be appreciated. 

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I can tell you from first had experience with my '70 convertible restoration that the structure is your #1 concern.  There are many hidden surprises there.

I would get the car to a condition where it is safe to drive and enjoy it.  If you want fix it, be prepared to pay.   Any decent shop will charge you $100 per hour for labor.   So, 2 people working on your car for 20 hours will cost you $4,000.   

The best sheet metal/body/structure/fabrication person I know is up here in NC, not far from you, up Interstate 85.  He is on the forum.  His name is Mike goes by latoracing.

if you are not in a rush, contact him, I know he has a few cars in his shop right now.

He has detailed pictures of my '70 convertible rebuild.

Always here if you have other '70 vert questions.




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