Detroit Muscle Featured Projects

Detroit Muscle Builds

Parts Used In This Episode

Summit Racing
Summit Racing Sport Seats - Left
Summit Racing
Summit Racing Sport Seats- Right
Maximum Motorsports
Street Roll Bar
Moser Engineering
Rear Axle Kit

Episode Transcript

(Tommy)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Tommy)>> Today on Detroit Muscle we're kicking off a new project. This one is definitely gonna take some blood, sweat, and gears.

(Peyton)>> Let the parts hit the floor. [ Music ] [ engines revving ] [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> Hey guys, welcome to Detroit Muscle. We've got a piece of just that up here on our lift, but it's got a little bit of age on it and we're gonna hold off just a few on it. Let me introduce you to something a little bit younger, our Fox body Mustang.

(Peyton)>> We're gonna take this from a common cruiser to something that really turns heads when it hits the highway.

(Tommy)>> One thing's for sure, these cars were popular when they rolled off the assembly, and they're gaining momentum today.

(Peyton)>> But before we get to wrenching on this iconic pony car me and Tommy are gonna take her for a spin and see how she performs. As we roll out on the road let's take a step back and see how we landed this old ragtop. We found this retro ride on our local marketplace listing, and with Tommy being busy at the shop I decided to take Frankie from Engine Power along to help me give this car a once over. Two sets of eyes is always better than one. The owner shared some of the history of this car with us, like the fact that it set in a garage for 16 years. ( )>> Found out with a vin check it was actually unregistered for 19 years.

(Peyton)>> He picked it up as a project and something to cruise around in. Then decided to part ways with it. After Frankie and I gave the car a good shakedown, examined it for rust, we decided it'd be a good fit for this build.

(Frankie)>> I vote buy it. It's up to you.

(Peyton)>> I think that's my vote too. None the less, it's a 1990 model convertible GT car. That means it's got the fancy body work package.

(Tommy)>> Like your house, it's got vinyl.

(Peyton)>> So why do people pick a Fox body? Well for a young guy or gal that's wanting to get into the car industry, or just have a hobby of building cars, or just something to get out and cruise it's affordable to get into. You can pick one of these up, depending on how much work you want to put into it. Honestly you can find one for $500 bucks. Now you may have to do a little bit more elbow work. Well a lot-of-bit. A couple grand and you can get into a car that you can drive as it is, and then work on it as you go. Or do like us and tear it all the way to the ground and start back up. While the Fox body isn't something Tommy would choose for his Sunday drive.

(Tommy)>> This car to me is just like, eh! Engine is noisy, front suspension is noisy, brakes is noisy. Do you guys hear that? Sounds like the windshield's leaking, or squeaking. Did you hear that car joke about the guy that built the Mustang Fox body?

(Peyton)>> No!

(Tommy)>> That's the joke!

(Peyton)>> But even he can agree that the affordability and possibilities are definitely appealing.

(Tommy)>> A Fox body is essentially a jeep of the car world. You can do a whole, whole lot of different stuff with them. If you want to build a sleek car you can. If you want to build a drag car you can. If you want to build something to carve out the corners that's really easy to do. Whatever your taste is in all reality if you're into a Ford there's a good chance you can build a Fox body just as sweet as you ever wanted one.

(Peyton)>> Aftermarket support for these vehicles is a list as long as you can think. You can make it whatever you want it to be. I have seen some crazy Fox body Mustangs. As we took this pony car down the road we could tell that she had lost some of her giddy up. This might be the weakest Fox body I've ever rode in.

(Tommy)>> So you're saying the acceleration is the floor's fault? We've just got to cut a hole and make the floor lower?

(Peyton)>> It's saying I want to be worked on. While the 5-0 was a welcome sight after the cars of the oil crisis, 34 years later economy cars make more power. Mix all that in with weak brakes and poor suspension and you'll see we've got our work cut out for us. [ Music ] Now that we've had a look at the vision for our car it's time to jump into the work.

(Tommy)>> Coming up, if the words Fox body causes your ears to perk up you're gonna like what we have to say.

(Peyton)>> Welcome back to Detroit Muscle. As you can see we've got the Mustang on the ground in here because the Chevy Two is occupying the lift. So we're gonna do this the old school way. It's not often that we have two projects going on in the shop at the same time, but there's a lot of work can be done on this Mustang without access to the lift. So we're gonna start with pulling this radiator out. [ Music ] Pulling a handful of bolts and draining the anti-freeze the coolant system comes free from its home for the last 34 years. [ Music ] With a little elbow grease and sweat of the brow engine components start to drop like flies. [ Music ] Now that I have a little more breathing room I can roll under it and see what's left to detach. [ Music ] [ saw buzzing ] [ Music ] Let the parts hit the floor. Time to break out the big, big guns. [ Music ] Try to spin out some of the last little bits of power steering fluid in here. When you have just a single nut on a stud like this when you turn the nut it's gonna loosen the stud because they're both threaded in the same way. If you jam another nut against it, it physically can't back out against this other nut, which allows you to spin the whole stud instead of just the nut. [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> You needed help with that?

(Peyton)>> Well with the hood removed we can take this tired old power plant out with our tow motor. I removed the engine mount bolts. So it should slide right out.

(Tommy)>> This is sketch, this is gonna be sketch. Is all the bolts out?

(Peyton)>> Yep, both motor mounts are broke loose and the transmission is unbolted.

(Tommy)>> When in doubt get a bigger bar. [ Music ]

(Peyton)>> Alright, hold it a second. Let some more of this drain. [ mechanical humming ]

(Tommy)>> Need communication here.

(Peyton)>> Up, up, up, keep coming up. [ mechanical humming ] [ Music ]

(Peyton)>> Alright, towards you. [ reverse horn beeping ] [ Music ]

(Peyton)>> Towards you. [ Music ] Channel locks! [ reverse horn beeping ] [ Music ]

(Tommy)>> Well I assume this spread that you've got here is your plan for transforming that pile back there into something special.

(Peyton)>> Oh yeah, we've got something really special. This 410 cubic inch Windsor motor belting out over 620 horsepower backed by that five-speed manual transmission and a bunch of other supporting goodies. To put all the power to the pavement I picked this kit from Mosier Engineering. It bolts right into the Fox body and features a coil over four link system backed by this M-88 custom housing. Some of the cool features with it, extra pinion support, adjustable control arm mounts, and this 13-50 yoke. Another nice thing about Mosier's housing is you can order it to whatever width you need it for your project. We ordered ours to SN-95.

(Tommy)>> Seeing this Tremec TKX from American Powertrain on this table puts a smile on my face. These things have a lot of advantages to them. One, they can hold quite a bit of power, and they give you overdrive just to name two. So I guess we're gonna be doing a manual conversion. His plan so far, I'm digging it.

(Peyton)>> Moving on to the inside of our car we found these seats at Summit Racing. They've got bolstered sides, harness holes, but still retain factory comfort with reclineability. Now with me I like a little something between my head and the pavement, especially in an old ragtop. So we'll be adding this roll bar from Maximum Motorsports.

(Tommy)>> What's up with these wheels and tires? You couldn't get the wide ones?

(Peyton)>> If they'd have had wider I probably would have gone wider. We're gonna be running a thirteen and a half inch tire on the back with a 12-inch wheel, and a twelve and a half inch tire on a ten and half inch wheel in the front.

(Tommy)>> I assume this giant pile of bubble wrap is how you're planning to transfer that into a bow legged stallion?

(Peyton)>> Oh yeah, this is a wide body kit from JBA. It's their Dominator GTC kit that'll add about four inches of width on both sides of the car to help us stuff these big meats in it.

(Tommy)>> That thing's gonna make a heck of a transformation on the curb appeal. What about all that stuff over there?

(Peyton)>> That's just more goodies tow unwrap. Up next, we take a look at one of Mustang's biggest competitors, and it's no snoozefest.

(Peyton)>> Well we've got muscle car fever here at Powernation. And with a lot of us taking on some serious horsepower, like our Mustang, it's a lot like the hot rod craze that swept the nation in the late '60s. In fact, the Mustang was so popular when it debuted in 1964 that it sold over one million units by the end of the second year. When they teamed up with Shelby it was game over for the muscle car industry. But that didn't stop Dodge and Chevy from trying to compete in the hot market. Dodge's response was what's been nicknamed the ultimate muscle car, the Challenger, and Chevy fought back with the Camaro.

(Tommy)>> Chevy joined the pony car stampede in '67 with the sexy new Camaro. When it came time for the second gen fans had to wait a little longer to get their hands on one. Labor disputes pushed the release to February in 1970, halfway through the model year, but it was well worth the wait.

(Peyton)>> Buyers were in for a radical departure from the '69. It shared the same wheelbase but that was about all. Longer, wider, and lower than the previous models, it took the styling cues from European sports cars like the Ferrari and the Aston Martin.

(Tommy)>> The roof was moved back to exaggerate the long hood, short deck look, and the rear got round taillights. Most noticeable was the front end with the wide mouth grille and the headlights were molded into the fenders.

(Peyton)>> A lot of people refer to the second gens as split bumpers, but only RallySports came this way. The package includes bumperettes, turn signals mounted next to the headlights, and an extended nose made of endura rubber.

(Tommy)>> The new body style also fixed many of the flaws of the first gen, which was rushed to production to compete against the Mustang. First gens were noisy and performance handling was somewhat lacking. So GM engineers added a new front subframe to the uni-body that provided greater rigidity.

(Peyton)>> All out big block power could be had with the SS-396, but for more refined road handling there was a race bred Z-28. New Trans Am regulations allowed larger displacement engines. So the "Z's" got a new motor to replace the 302.

(Tommy)>> Chevy dropped in the LT-1 350 straight out of the Vette. It made 11 to 1 compression, the highest of any second gen. Using solid lifters, aluminum pistons, a hot cam, and extra large valves, for a small block it made big power. Officially rated at 360. [ engine revving ]

(Peyton)>> Performance enhancements included a posi rear end with 4.10 gears, higher rated shocks and springs, front and rear sway bars, power brakes, seven-inch mag wheels, and Polyglass F-60 15s.

(Tommy)>> Inside there was a new wrap around dash with gauges moved from the console up to the instrument panel. For the first time the Z-28 came with your choice of either a hydromatic turbo 400 or a Hurst four speed.

(Peyton)>> There are several one year only features to help spot a '70 Camaro. Look for a chrome "C" on the nose. Badging on the trunk is unique too. This is the only second gen with Camaro by Chevrolet. Inside the bucket seats should be low back with adjustable head wrests.

(Tommy)>> This was also the only year that Z-28s had a gas pedal hinged on the bottom, and underneath a 12-bolt rear end. Frank Marullo has always loved the second gens.

(Frank)>> The car is great to drive. It doesn't really have a weakness. It's got a lot of power. It's got great brakes, and it handles really well.

(Tommy)>> And his son loves them for another reason.

(Marc)>> You don't see a lot, and usually we're the only ones at a car show. Nobody really knows what it is.

(Peyton)>> That's because the second gen was a victim of its own success. It was such a hit the new body style lasted 11 years, the longest of any Camaro. So the '70 usually gets lumped with those later models that had a lot less horsepower.

(Tommy)>> A lot of folks just don't realize how unique and powerful the '70 version is. It's a car that almost guarantees you won't be catching any Zs. If you like jamming gears and dumping the clutch what's next is right up your alley.

(Tommy)>> Hey guys, we got our 500 horsepower LS sitting on the table in efforts to continue to make some progress. What I'm gonna be doing is installing my clutch assembly. Now if you're looking to do something like this it's not really all that complicated but there's a few tips that if you'll use as common practice they can go a long way once you're ready to sit in the seat, bump the key, and head out on that maiden voyage. There's a few parts that you're gonna get up close and personal with. The first one is gonna be the flywheel. That's this big, giant piece of steel. Then you'll have a pressure plate, clutch disc, a line up tool, a few pieces of hardware, and a pilot bearing. The procedure for installing this is relatively primitive. All you have to do is drive it into this little orifice. However what you don't want to do is mess up this little seal on either side because that's what holds the grease inside of here. You damage it it's gonna leak, and the next thing you know this thing's gonna be making a noise. Now the way I like to do is use a socket and extension that's basically the same diameter as that bearing. All you have to do is put it up against there and drive it in there. Also it's a good idea to put a little bit of lubricant around here and that bearing to just make sure that it slides into place a bit easier. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. You want to make sure that this inner bore is the same or matches your input shaft. If it's too small it won't allow the transmission to slide into place, and you also don't want it sloppy. Not saying that I've ever done that. Okay, I have! Make sure it's sitting in there pretty true, not twisted off to one side or the other. Give it a couple of gentle taps. Now we're ready to install our flywheel, and you want to make sure that the crankshaft and the back side of your flywheel is nice and clean. If there's dirt, corrosion, debris, or metal slivers, something like that, that will not allow this thing to seat properly. If you're using a used flywheel or something that's old it's a good idea to make sure that all the teeth on the ring gear are nice and where they're supposed to be, and it's usually a good idea to have this thing true'ed or machined. That way you don't run into any vibration issues on that. [ Music ] Sometimes whenever you're bolting one of these things up the crankshaft and the flywheel has a unique pattern that only allows it to go on one way. Sometimes it takes a couple of times of wiggling around before you line everything up. Also you want to make sure to use some form of a thread locker on your bolts. These already have it in it. It came that way from the American Powertrain. So we don't have to put any of that liquid stuff that you've seen us use before. Now we need to torque these things down and we'll be ready to move on. Finishing up our second set I'm ready to move on to the final one. Now to do this you may have noticed that I actually did this in a star pattern. The reason for that is that helps to ensure that it draws down evenly without any distortion. On this third step we're really gonna have to crank it up a good bit. So one of the things that you may need is a little crowbar, or a pry bar like this one. You'll need to wedge it in the teeth, and then probably off of the block or one of these dowels to help prevent this crankshaft from spinning on you. We're finally ready to install our clutch disc and pressure plate. Now before you go to slapping these in you need to make sure that the surface where this disc is gonna run is nice and clean. To get this stuff off really all you need is some brake cleaner, and you can either drench it down real well and make sure to wipe it clean. Then you can move forward. Oftentimes your disc will be marked which side goes where as far as the orientation. Now whenever you're going to put this thing in there this little alignment tool will be your friend. You want to slide it through the splines, and then slide this little stub through your pilot bearing. Now whenever you go to tightening this thing up what I prefer to do is slightly lift up on this just a bit cause you can see that movement. Whenever you go to pull this thing out with everything nice and tight you want it to be nice and free. If you have to really snatch down on it usually that indicates that this stuff isn't lined up exactly where it needs to be. I like to keep one of the mounting holes all the way at the top. Reason for that is whenever you put this pressure plate up there and you put your bolt in there what it will do is it will hang straight down if you will. We're pretty much ready to start cinching down our pressure plate. Earlier I mentioned to you guys a star or cross pattern. You need to apply that on this thing as well because you want to ensure that the pressure plate seats properly against your flywheel. If you were to tighten one of these bolts up completely at each time in a circular manner what can happen is you'll distort the pressure plate, you can distort the flywheel, or you can just kinda pull it to one side and then whenever you try to work the clutch you'll notice a hop or a skip in it. This takes a little bit more time but trust me, it's worth it in the end. Oh yeah, we've got some wiggle room. You know guys, I think we had a pretty good day. We got the engine out of that drop top. We've made some advancements on this thing. You know what it is now? It's go home time. I hope you guys have enjoyed what you've seen on the show. Until next time y'all keep it between the ditches. I'm gonna wash off some of that Mustang!
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