Lookin to buy A Fox Body and need some advice - Forums at Modded Mustangs
 
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post #1 of 8 Old June 24th, 2015, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Lookin to buy A Fox Body and need some advice

So as the title said I'm looking for a Fox Body for a project car. I'm looking for an 86-93. I'm really a novice when it comes to working on a car, but I'm willing to learn and get my hands dirty. My budget once I buy the car will be about $1000-$2000/year for parts and upgrades assuming nothing breaks. I'm not planning to build a 9 second car. I want to build a street car that looks good inside and out and will put me back in my seat when I put my right foot down. I really only have 3 questions:

What are the common areas of rust that I should be aware of?
Is this something I should even attempt with my limited knowledge?
With my limited budget, is this attainable in my lifetime?

Thanks in advance for the info.

2015 F150 - daily
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post #2 of 8 Old June 25th, 2015, 09:21 AM
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Frame rails, floor pans, and torque boxes are all good things to inspect.


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post #3 of 8 Old June 25th, 2015, 09:49 AM
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You should be able to find a nice one in Florida...rust is probably not the issue down there I would think paint...clear coat peel and fade would be the isssue.
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post #4 of 8 Old June 25th, 2015, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4eyedfoxdriver View Post
Frame rails, floor pans, and torque boxes are all good things to inspect.
As long as its not from the northeast the rust shouldnt be that bad. It never hurts to check regardless so in addition to those 3 listed by 4eyedfox i would also check the rockers, especially if its a GT as the retainers behind the ground effects trap water which can find its way past the rivets and inside the rocker. There are retainers on the fenders and the 1/4s. The pinch welds next to the floorpan should be inspected as some people simply have no clue where to put the jack and fubar everything. Also check the fender mounts at the rocker. I have had to cut bolts off to remove the fender it was so rusted. The 1/4s can be another trouble spot. The rear can rust away just ahead of the bumper cover. The wheelwells themselves are an often overlooked area. I have seen some shotty spotwelds at the lip, which allows water to pass. It will collect at the bottom behind the 1/4 next to the rear seat. That can be a hard spot to get to btw with the inner structure back there. This goes for any bodystyle and any year from 79-93.

If its a vert you have a couple more places to check. Look behind the backseat for rust or leaking pumps. If the top mechanism is tweaked the top wont seal and water can find its way in. There are drains which should be occassionally cleaned out. If its a t-top or sun/moon roof, do the same. There are drains from the roof that pass thru the A-pillars IIRC. There may be drains in the B-pillars, i dont remember.

The northeast loves salt. The southern states still have rain which can do the same, so check everything. Should you need them, you can buy replacement floorpans, front frame rail kits (tho not exact for 86/87-93 if youre a stickler for details), outer rockers (which need a lot of work to fit and look right...they are horrible imo), inner rockers, rear framerails, and entire trunk/hatch floors that include the section under the back seat.

Most of the other stuff will be weatherstripping and possibly some electrical bits like power windows, and door lock actuators. Vacuum leaks can be common on old or neglected Foxes. Try to stay away from hack jobs tho. They can be a major PITA.

The youngest Fox is only 22yrs old and even they are beginning to wear out. Dont let limited knowledge turn you away. We all had to start somewhere. Got a problem, we will help. Thats what we are here for. As for your budget...that depends on what the car needs to remain safe and reliable. That should be your #1 ...and #2 , priority.

Tools. Dont forget the tools. Basic handtools, service manuals and fuel injection manuals always come in handy. And a code reader. The EQUUS 3145 code reader is perfect.

Happy hunting.
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post #5 of 8 Old June 25th, 2015, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the advice.

2015 F150 - daily
2015 Focus ST - sold
1986 Mustang Saleen clone - new to me
2013 Mustang GT - sold
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post #6 of 8 Old June 26th, 2015, 09:32 AM
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Defiantly check the area where the strut tower and frame rail meet!!!!!

I got bent over bad on this... bought a 90 GT last year, it just looked like just light surface rust on the strut tower on driver side inside the engine compartment... drove it home, (this was January 2014) so I had to wait for it to warm up to mess with it... but once I started poking and prodding, it wasn't just surface rust :-( in side the wheel well it still had the factory rubber coating crap (looked factory) in that area where the k-member bolt nuts sit, that metal crumbled like a cookie when I started poking with a screw driver, but it looked solid before I did that.....

So long story short, I pulled the motor/trans and cut open that section and replaced the metal... finished the driver side before winter hit this year, and cut open the pass side (figured I might as well), which was in great shape and only started rusting the metal inside the rail that is part of the bottom of the strut tower... then winter hit and had to stop working (don't have a garage, only permanent car port, so I only get to work on it on the weekends when the weather is nice... so it's been slow going...

On the bright side, I should be closing up the pass side this weekend if the weather is nice... then I can remove the k-member out of the car and blast and paint it and then do the same to the engine compartment and start putting it back together.... and it will have all new suspension since I have boxes and boxes of LMR parts ready to bolt in.... so i'm getting to know every inch of this car... lol...

now would I of bought this if I knew how bad it was..... NO!!!... but once I punched holes in it, I was stuck... I would had to sell at a big loss (if someone would even buy it at that point), plus I had jumped the gun and ordered a bunch of parts in anticipation to start fixing it up once the weather turned... I but I have spent at least 4k or more in parts so far on top of the 3k for the car, I have be ordering here and there thought out the year when I have saved up money.... stuff adds up quick.....

Now if I had all that money at one time I'm sure I could of got a great car, but that's how my luck is.... I should have waited...

so just be prepared.... an old car is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your going to get once you byte into it....

1990 Mustang GT 5.0 5sp Hatchback
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post #7 of 8 Old June 26th, 2015, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kendawg73 View Post
Defiantly check the area where the strut tower and frame rail meet!!!!!

I got bent over bad on this... bought a 90 GT last year, it just looked like just light surface rust on the strut tower on driver side inside the engine compartment... drove it home, (this was January 2014) so I had to wait for it to warm up to mess with it... but once I started poking and prodding, it wasn't just surface rust :-( in side the wheel well it still had the factory rubber coating crap (looked factory) in that area where the k-member bolt nuts sit, that metal crumbled like a cookie when I started poking with a screw driver, but it looked solid before I did that.....

So long story short, I pulled the motor/trans and cut open that section and replaced the metal... finished the driver side before winter hit this year, and cut open the pass side (figured I might as well), which was in great shape and only started rusting the metal inside the rail that is part of the bottom of the strut tower... then winter hit and had to stop working (don't have a garage, only permanent car port, so I only get to work on it on the weekends when the weather is nice... so it's been slow going...

On the bright side, I should be closing up the pass side this weekend if the weather is nice... then I can remove the k-member out of the car and blast and paint it and then do the same to the engine compartment and start putting it back together.... and it will have all new suspension since I have boxes and boxes of LMR parts ready to bolt in.... so i'm getting to know every inch of this car... lol...

now would I of bought this if I knew how bad it was..... NO!!!... but once I punched holes in it, I was stuck... I would had to sell at a big loss (if someone would even buy it at that point), plus I had jumped the gun and ordered a bunch of parts in anticipation to start fixing it up once the weather turned... I but I have spent at least 4k or more in parts so far on top of the 3k for the car, I have be ordering here and there thought out the year when I have saved up money.... stuff adds up quick.....

Now if I had all that money at one time I'm sure I could of got a great car, but that's how my luck is.... I should have waited...

so just be prepared.... an old car is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your going to get once you byte into it....
Damn man - reading that made me feel pretty bad for you lol.

But to the OP, this is the truth - you really never know what to expect with old cars and Foxes are almost 30 years old now. Shit happens and you're going to have to deal with it. Best thing you can do is take your time when you look at them. Don't rush into a sale because you think all is well. Shock towers, floor pans, frame rails, torque boxes(rust & cracks from abuse) are all good places to start but don't be afraid of laying on the ground and taking a hard look at where you're about to spend the money. I bought my current Fox a few years ago and all I cared about was that the body was in good shape. I took my time and found one that was rust free, torque boxes in perfect shape, etc for cheap. The first few I looked at, I'll admit looked better from the outside but once you started poking around, little things started to raise flags. Cracked torque boxes from hard launches/abuse, rust on the lower shock towers, etc which could end up being nightmares if I didn't look into it. So take your time looking.

On another note - yes, with limited knowledge, these are great platforms to play with and learn on. Parts are cheap and labor is easy. Budget wise - if you're simply wanting to build a decent street car, you'll be fine. It may take time but you'll get there.

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post #8 of 8 Old June 26th, 2015, 10:12 PM
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I agree somewhat with FB's post but don't rule out Northeast cars. Guys who have Foxes in the Northeast tend to garage the during the winter so salt isn't always an issue. Many Northeast cars are not run in inclement weather at all, they are summer cars. The Southern Foxes are driven year around and the interiors and paint get hammered by the beating sun.

My Fox originated from Virginia but I got it from a guy in Maine. As far as cleanliness, I would put it up against any clean Fox on here. My car doesn't see snow or rain. Foxes and snow are not a good idea anyway and I have never personally seen more than one driving in the snow and have lived in the Northeast since I was 5.

Just look for a well taken care of clean and if possible stock Fox to build. It is worth paying a little extra to get a solid foundation.
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