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Thread: Rusty's Log

  1. #1
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    Default Rusty's Log

    Meet Rusty!
    rusty1.jpg

    It's a boring base 3.8, but we've grown quite fond of her. She was a godsend, dropped in our laps just when we needed her most. She's been a reliable workhorse, and we've decided she deserves some love. Mechanically she's in pretty good shape, but oh man she looks horrible, as you shall see when I collect some more photos. Going to log process for posterity, to keep myself motivated, to keep my head screwed on straight, and of course moral support. Diving right in:

    Dinking around today. Mowed the lawn and cleaned up the center console switches (serviceable switches FTW!):
    rustyswitch1.jpg
    Mirror switch sporting 30 years worth of food stuffs, dead skin cells, and god knows what else. It all cleaned up quite nicely (toothbrush, mild detergent, isopropyl, contact cleaner), unfortunately the PCB traces are shot - but amazingly only traces controlling the passenger mirror, both axes work fine on driver's side.
    rustyswitch2.jpg

    Modest start to non-essential repairs, good enough for now.

    "Rusty Roadrage"
    Rollin deep in the '88 3.8.

  2. #2
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    Make a plan and move slow. Don't get overwhelmed. Keep us posted on progress. I love these kind of stories.
    '88 Sport--T-5,HURST shifter,TMoss GT-40 intake,Ed Curtis cam,Trick Flow heads,Scorpion rockers,70mm t-body,3G,mini starter,Taurus fan,BBK headers,O/R H-Pipe, Flowamaster 40's, deep and deeper Cobra R wheels,Mass Air, Mass Air and 24's,8.8 with 3.73's,140 mph speedo,Mach 1 chin spoiler,SN-95 springs,CHE control arms,aluminum drive shaft and a lot more..

  3. #3
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    Looks like quite a project but if it runs and drives good, you're well on your way. Good luck and keep the updates coming.

  4. #4
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    Grabbed some pics as it is right now. (Pardon the dust, I swear I do wash it from time to time. Unfortunately, there are no less than six construction sites within a 1 block radius of me right now; our cars constantly look like we live on a frickin dirt road.)




    Rusty's got some eczema


    But no trenchfoot


    These lenses are too pricey to justify any major priority, therefor they drive me bonkers. But, I do like my dealer badge.


    Dealer badge outlasted the Thunderbird badge. Thankfully we still have it, the thing just fell off while parked - found it in the street behind the bird.


    Aaaaannnnnndddd the interior... Not much to the pic, but pretty much representative of the interior as a whole.


    Though, the helm actually isn't too bad. But those scratches on the windshield, I just noticed them today and my blood is boiling. They're not deep, won't be hard to rectify, but some bastard swine clearly scratched our brand new windshield on purpose.


    Yep, for initial stages taking it slow, cleaning and assessing. Fixing what can be fixed for free. Don't want to get into anything real nitty gritty until emissions testing's done with later this year, but there's a distinct possibility I may have to address a dead AOD before that time comes (sad trombone)...

    "Rusty Roadrage"
    Rollin deep in the '88 3.8.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by skrimace View Post
    the PCB traces are shot - but amazingly only traces controlling the passenger mirror, both axes work fine on driver's side.
    That is inaccurate. Both mirrors worked in only one direction on each axis. The bad trace provides +12 for the polarity swap on the common to the motors. Patched the trace, the little black box that makes the mirrors go 'whrrrrr' is fully operational again.

    The fuel button isn't a bummer any more. The cable in the trunk to manually pop the door snapped yonks ago, and that button was a real drag - pull up to the pump and I'd have to, er, rub the button for a minute or two. Thought I was going to have to get in behind the glove last few times I fueled the bird. The contacts were really bad. Not the usual gritty corrosion, they were actually slimy. Behind the dash is immaculate, which leads me to believe the button was gunked up almost entirely with oils originating from human fingers. Gross.

    Seat was stuck at rearmost position. Power seat FWD/RWD actuator cable snapped, unraveled within the sleeve, then snapped again. Got the track into a position for now where I can reach the bolts using the lumbar actuator and we can better reach the pedals.

    Edit:
    Oh yes, also gave the EC a rinse. Previous photo was only 3 weeks worth of dust!
    Last edited by skrimace; 06-05-2016 at 07:32 AM.

    "Rusty Roadrage"
    Rollin deep in the '88 3.8.

  6. #6
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    Well, I think we have a plan for Phase I. First order of business - transmission.

    OD's gone. Never had a tranny die before *knocks on wood*, so completely new territory for me. Don't know what the hell I'm doing, but hey, that's why I'm here and why I'm doing all this in the first place. So, shopping for remans while also putting out feelers for a good transmission tech to rebuild my old one. Sticking with AOD, this thing isn't going to the track and there's a fairly significant amount of traffic in this city. Not fun in a manual.
    Will also take the opportunity to replace u-joints, clean and paint the shaft while it's out.
    Target - Hoping to have this done by 9/2016

    Second order - front suspension overhaul.
    (Snap crackle pop!)

    Fear. I've installed lift kits on many Kawasaki Mules, it scared the hell out of me every time - and those coil springs are puny in comparison. I'm sure all will be well, plenty of info on these forums regarding getting coils in/out. I'm at least confident I won't end up in the ER or morgue, I just hope I'm one of the lucky ones whose coils pop right back in. Since I'm keeping stock, my hopes are not high. I do want to put in some subframe connectors - the only performance enhancement I've planned so far. We only intend this thing to be a city cruiser and day tripper, but adding SC's seems to just make sense regardless its use.
    Target - Probably tackle front end & SC's after the holidays.

    Third - Smog pump

    Squeak, squeak.
    Target - probably the day the suspension is done. It's maddening...

    "Rusty Roadrage"
    Rollin deep in the '88 3.8.

  7. #7
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    if you dont want to pick up a new switch you can repair it if you have a soldering iron

  8. #8
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    Some don't call it rust they call it patina. Good luck with the repairs!
    84 TurboCoupe with 302 .010 over - 9.8 : 1 Forged Pistons - Edlebrock Goodies: Aluminum Heads #6037, Intake #3821, 65mm TBI/EGR #3824/3827, Camshaft #3722 - Interactive System & Technologies Mass Air with 24# Injectors - A9L - 3g Alternator - BBK shorties, Cat Converter H-pipe, Magniflow Mufflers - World Class T5 1352-169 (1986, V8, WC, 3.15 3.35 1.93 1.29 1.00 0.68) OEM Clutch Cable - 7.5 Trac Lock with 3.08 and slapper bars from 82 Mustang.

  9. #9
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    Send me a pm with your info. I have some 87 bird tail lights with some small chips you can have.
    Quote Originally Posted by jcassity
    I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
    Hooligans!
    1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
    1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
    1986 cougar.
    lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonmount View Post
    if you dont want to pick up a new switch you can repair it if you have a soldering iron
    There's a jumper in there. It restored operation, but it's a little finicky - the jumper wire mechanically interferes with the switch pins a bit. I'll probably go back in at some point and try my luck with conductive paint.

    Quote Originally Posted by custompunk View Post
    Some don't call it rust they call it patina. Good luck with the repairs!
    Thanks! Vinnie's advice rings true - the more I compartmentalize, plan, and prioritize, the less daunting the project becomes and the more the car reveals its simplicity.
    Yeah, I like the rust bucket sleepers. Much as I'd like, I don't have the dough or knowledge to build a proper Mad Maxer yet. Gettin' there...

    Quote Originally Posted by Haystack View Post
    Send me a pm with your info. I have some 87 bird tail lights with some small chips you can have.
    Whoa, that'd be rad, thanks! I worry these things'll shake themselves to pieces one day as I'm driving down the road - no joke. We lost one driving down a dirt road a few years ago. Luckily we missed our turnoff and had to turn back and there it was, lying pathetically in the middle of the road. Probably the first mod we ever did to the car - the original black duct tape holding the rear lenses in is now blue duct tape. But I digress.
    Shooting pm...

    "Rusty Roadrage"
    Rollin deep in the '88 3.8.

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