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Thread: 1986 SVO Mustang Return to Service

  1. #1
    Building Boost
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    1986 SVO Mustang Return to Service

    Hello,

    My 1986 Mustang SVO showed up on the truck today from Oregon to Houston, TX.

    I looked it over really good, and have already identified some things that need fixed immediately, but overall I am pleased with the purchase. I also got a couple of surprises that I wasnt expecting, but what old car doesnt want to surprise its new owner?

    The hood latch cable has broken off because the old battery leaked acid which ate through the cable. I have one on order and will be replacing that immediately.
    The horns are missing, and I will need them in order to be able to pass the vehicle safety inspection. I have them on order and will be replacing immediately.

    I was told that the car is medium canyon red, and that may be the color that it is, but the color code on the door is 2R which is either Bright Red or Jalapena Red depending on where I look. Either way, that is news to me. SURPRISE!

    The engine on this car is very modified. It also appears to leak a little bit of oil. I will need to find the oil leak, it is somewhere underneath since it is not splashing about the engine bay and all around the head looks clean and dry, but their is an oil slick on the oil pan and oil on the steering shaft. I am going to have to try to figure out what all mods have been done to the car, but that may be easier said than done.

    The wiring harness is a hack up and spliced together mess of wires. I expect no less from a car of this vintage, but I will have to sort it out and get rid of wires that don't do anything.

    It has some stuff that I didn't expect it to have: sunroof bag, parcel cover (although it does not retract anymore), the koni shock adjuster, and the original Hurst shift boot.

    It is missing some things that I didn't expect as well: The quad shocks for the rear are gone, and I think that may be causing the ride quality to be less than superb.

    The steering wheel is an aftermarket Grant wheel (not super), the shift knob is some round plastic POS, the flocking on the dash front is gone, the dash top is cracked (I am hoping that a dash top out of any Mustang of this vintage will work?), the driver seat is pretty worn, the AC system is gone, and I do not feel any air coming from the dash front vents when the heat is turned on (only from the defroster and floor vents). The paint is ok from 20 feet and really bad from 5. The trim work and plastics are tired and some of them are brittle. The spats and fog lights are MIA.

    Basically, I have some work to do. I am not looking to turn this into a 100 point show car, but I want to get it to Sunday driver status so I can take it to cars & coffee meets and cruise around when I feel like it. Luckily I have the resources to make this happen, and I want to keep it running as much as possible throughout the process. I do not want a non-running project car because I lose motivation when the thing wont move under its own power. Step 1 is to get it to where it can pass the inspection so I can register it, and then I will start checking things off of my to do list.

    TLDR: Yay, I have an SVO Mustang...it needs work

  2. #2
    Some Boost
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    congrats, looking forward to pictures.

    If the latch cable is trashed, take out the battery and check the frame rail under it. (bend back the plastic if necessary to see the bottom.) Mine in my RS Turbo was trashed under the battery due to the leak.
    1984 Mercury Capri RS
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  3. #3
    Building Boost
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    Thanks for the info. I checked and it looks good under there. The car is mysteriously rust free. It does have some serious problems though. It runs like total garbage. It falls off hard once it hits boost and the idle starts surging really hard. I wish I knew what the hell the PO had done to this car, but I think that a return to stock as much as possible is in order to try to get it running better. I also need to figure out the wiring mess that I have inherited and fix other things. It does run, but it doesnt do it well. It also squeaks, squeals, and has a really hard ride so I need to sort that...it is going to be an adventure. It is pretty intimidating right now, especially since I have no idea what was done to this car over the past 33 years. I will just start sorting one problem at a time and then moving on to the next one until either the car is fixed or I die of old age...I hope it gets fixed first!


  4. #4
    Red Captain MikeFleming's Avatar
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    That looks like Jalapeno Red - definitley NOT Med Canyon Red Glow.
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  5. #5
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    Sounds like it has suspension mods too if its really stiff. Check the rear suspension for tubular control arms and stiffer springs. Also check what is in it for ECU. with wiring mods it might have a pimp or something. Nice looking from the picture.

  6. #6
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    Yeah, the suspension is modified. I think it has Eibach Sport springs on it, I will get a closer look once I take the wheels off. It sits pretty low so I am going to have to get it up on jack stands.

    In other news, I think that I know why it was running like crap. I believe that the fuel pump was either going out, or something connected to it had split, cracked, exploded. Took it for a run around the block to get some data on when it was starting to lose power and what might be causing it. When I got home my wife said it smelled like gas...not good...looked under the back and noticed that it was dripping gas from the gas tank. My wife thought that there was a hole in the tank, but I reassured her that all of the gas would have been leaking out prior to the trip if it had a hole in it. I am going to have to drop the tank and look at the pump, filter, lines, sending unit, and inside of the tank. At least the car had the decency to tell me what was wrong with it instead of making me hunt the problem down! Might be time for an adjustable fuel pressure regulator as well since it looks like I will be digging into the fuel system and I dont know how long this car was sitting (although Carfax tells me that it wasnt registered for 12 years until about 18 months ago) but I am guessing that it sat in someone's garage for a long time.

    Good news is that when it wasnt in boost and choking for fuel it was running excellent. The little 4 banger has all kinds of spunk so that is neat. Also my 8 year old daughter likes the car a lot so that is to its credit!

  7. #7
    Red Captain MikeFleming's Avatar
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    If you need one, I have a new-in-box fuel tank sitting in my garage wanting a new car to call home.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeFleming View Post
    If you need one, I have a new-in-box fuel tank sitting in my garage wanting a new car to call home.
    I may be taking you up on that. I am thinking that the trip on the back of a shipping truck may have knocked some rust loose in the tank and it made its way into the system and caused a catastrophic failure of the fuel system. If that turns out to be the case I would love to purchase your fuel tank. I need to get it drained, dropped, and inspected before I can know for sure.

  9. #9
    Some Boost
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    When you pull the fuel tank, don't forget to check the filler neck grommet. It can leak from there on a 3/4 full tank.

  10. #10
    Noob
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    If you get under the car with the key on, engine off, can you see where the leak is coming from? There are several connections that can leak there:

    - pump to filter
    - filter to rail
    - rail to return

    Then the fuel lines themselves are steel. These can be rusted through in places.

    Dropping the tank is likely to damage the filler neck grommet on a car of this age. If you go that route, new ones can be had from LMR.

  11. #11
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    Thanks, people! I did get under it a bit last night. I didnt have a lot of time, but i looked at a couple of things. The pump is turning on when the key is turned in the ignition. The leak is somewhere above the gas tank, I cannot see it so I am going to have to drop the tank and replace the seals. Not a big deal, they probably were past it at this point anyway.
    There is no pressure in the lines even with the pump on. 0 on the gauge and not a drop from the valve under the hood. I am thinking that one of the connectors may have broken off as a result of the shipping of the vehicle...not sure if that is a thing, but it is really all that I can think of. My mechanic who looked at it before I bought it said it ran great and I dont see why he would have lied to me, he had no skin in the game as to whether or not I bought the car. He is my brother in law though so maybe he thought it would be a funny prank...plus he is a Corvette guy

  12. #12
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    Ok, I took off the driver side rear wheel with the help of my mini mechanic last night, and found that the only mods that appear to be there are H&R Sport springs and the removal of the quad shocks. I also took a cursory look a the area where the fuel filter is while draining the gas tank and saw a mess of rubber hoses up there, and one that looks to be completely perished. I will have to investigate further once I get the tank down, but it looks like the problem may be that one of the previous owners didnt want to use the right stuff and did a real hack job on the rear fuel lines. I will have to look closer of course, but I think that the culprit may be a barbed fitting that was leaking fuel and finally gave up on doing its job. That would be nice. I have pics of the suspension and stuff that I will get on here later, for some reason my employer blocks image sharing sites so I cannot get to where I have the pictures hosted at.

  13. #13
    Red Captain MikeFleming's Avatar
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    Rubber (actually neoprene or Viton) should never be used in that application. Ford used only Nylon lines/hoses with their quick-connect fittings on this era vehicle. Bulk hose (5/16") , appropriate ends in 5/16-5/16") are all available.

    Need special tool to install ends though. It's in a box in the garage somewhere if you need to lend it.
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    Yeah, I may have to do that and build some fuel lines. That would be a first for me.
    Also, I lied earlier, I was reading about Pat's suspension setup over on SVOCA and got H&R on the brain. The springs are all Eibach Sportline springs. They are way too aggressive and make the ride very harsh. I will have to change them out since I do not like getting kidney punched every time I go over a bump. I had a Focus RS that was like that too and it made my daily commute less enjoyable than it could have been.

  15. #15
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    Ok, well...this car is apparently trying to never ever leave the garage or something. I dropped the fuel tank, and it appears that the leaking from the top of the tank was from a bad seal and that will need replaced but that is not why it suddenly died when I took it for a spin around the block. So, I got to poking around in the engine bay, and I started looking at the mess of wires that are all over the place and I discovered a few fun things that a previous owner left for me to find...

    Think that looks like some exposed wires just hand spun together? You would be right!



    I don't know what this is or where it goes, but I know where it doesn't go


    So, I tried spraying some starting fluid into the line between the intercooler and the throttle body. I am not sure if that works or not, but I thought I would give it a try to see if it would even try to start, but it wont. It turns over no problem, but that is it. I also found out that the fuel pressure test kit that I have has every fitting you could possibly imagine except for one to hook up directly to the Schrader valve on the fuel line, so I do not know how much fuel pressure I have, but I do know that I have fuel pressure.

    I am going to have to go and check for spark, but I know that the distributor, plugs, and wires are all brand new...like less than 10 miles on them...

    I really don't understand how the car went from running fine, to running fine unless you were above 3500 rpms, to dying while cruising at about 35 mph on the road. I am feeling a little defeated and a lot upset right now, and I am going to have a beer...that is all

  16. #16
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    Ok, in typical fashion I was unable to give up that easily. There is no spark. I tested the leads coming into the coil and I have 12.8v at them when the switch is on, and it drops to about 10.8 when the ignition is turned. The resistance across the primary coil is .3 ohms and the resistance on the secondary is 8k ohms.

    Those values seem like they check out to me. This leads me to believe that the problem must be past the coil. I will check the distributor to make sure that the rotor is pointing at #1 when at TDC tomorrow...I think that is the correct alignment? I would check to see if I can get a spark off of the coil onto the block or something, but I dont know how to do that with the plug. I am used to disconnecting one side of the coil and then connecting the other side to the negative battery terminal to test the spark. Any advice there would be appreciated.

    If all that checks out I will be replacing the MSD wires with Motorcraft wires and seeing if that solves the problem. Hooray?

  17. #17
    Red Captain MikeFleming's Avatar
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    In your pics above. The first one shows a melted/mangled TPS harness. This happens a LOT since the turbo heat damaged wiring. Replace the TPS and repair (as mneeded) the harness stub that goes into the firewall tray. Also the ECT sensor wire comes through the same hole in the tray. It's also shown as mangled / melted. All of those wires should be cleaned up and insulated,

    The second pic shows the boost fuel pressure switch (only on 85.5 and 86 models). It samples manifold pressure and when it is below a specified value, it lowers voltage (adds a resistor into the circuit) to decrease voltage to the fuel pump, allowing it to run quieter (NVH mod). Take it out and remove the resistance wire and learn to live with slightly increased pump noise.

    You need to get an EVTM (Electrical & Vacuum Troubleshooting Service Manual) for the 1986 Mustang. Or
    New $42.78 $38.50 1986 FORD Body & Chassis, Text & Illustration Parts Book CD [eb12233N]
    1986 FORD MUSTANG, THUNDERBIRD, CONTINENTAL, MARK VII, COUGAR, CAPRI, MARQUIS Body, Chassis & Electrical Service Manual CD [eb12126N] [12126],

    Try http://www.lloydsautolit.com. There are other companies that may have it too.

    It will show you how to properly diagnose / troubleshoot the FI / PIP ignition system. But first make sure the rotor turns when the engine turns.
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  18. #18
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    Yeah, I am buying that CD regardless of what happens. I want to have that as a resource.

    I am going to have to track down a new TPS and work on soldering, sleeving those wires to fix that mess. RockAuto doesnt appear to list a TPS for a 2.3L Turbo Mustang from 1986, but does list one for a 1986 TurboCoupe. Would this one be compatible?
    I am assuming that for the pressure switch you are talking about tapping the wire that is coming up into the hatch area from the tank and running a new chassis ground to the wire that comes out black and becomes white. I saw your write up on this I actually looked a lot at posts that you did on building the Red Baron. Very cool stuff.

    I will check to see if the dizzy is turning the rotor when I get home this afternoon. I hope it is...it is a brand new dizzy and oil pump. I know that doesn't preclude it failing in a spectacular way, but I hope it didnt. Although, I am supposing that I am likely to wind up having to replace the distributor regardless. I also need to get some Motorcraft wires apparently, the shop that did the engine work put MSD wires on and I had no idea that they were not any good on this engine.

    Update: 11:44AM Texas time 8/8/2019 -> Well, I have been doing a bunch of reading up on stuff related to the ignition system for a SVO mustang (and other mustangs too since there seem to be at least a few similarities). I think I need to take a look at my TFI. I am pretty sure it is just kinda flopping about in there and not attached to anything. I dont know why it would be like that, but I kinda remember seeing a little module just hanging out (literally) next to the engine block last night. I wasnt aware of what it was so I assumed it knew what it was doing. I think I may have been mistaken. If that is the case, that could be my guilty party. Maybe I will use this as an opportunity to relocate it to a safer place in the engine bay where it wont be exposed to the dangers of heat and being beaten against the engine block.
    Last edited by brotharon; 08-08-2019 at 08:49 AM.

  19. #19
    Red Captain MikeFleming's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brotharon View Post
    I am going to have to track down a new TPS and work on soldering, sleeving those wires to fix that mess. RockAuto doesnt appear to list a TPS for a 2.3L Turbo Mustang from 1986, but does list one for a 1986 TurboCoupe. Would this one be compatible?
    I would expect the 86-88 TC to be the same.

    I am assuming that for the pressure switch you are talking about tapping the wire that is coming up into the hatch area from the tank and running a new chassis ground to the wire that comes out black and becomes white. I saw your write up on this I actually looked a lot at posts that you did on building the Red Baron. Very cool stuff.
    The ground wire is ONLY used on the dual pump system, 1983.5-1985. The single in-tank pump system (86+, all) does not use the ground wire in the trunk (boot) harness as hte dual pump system does.

    I'd have to research it but IIRC the single pump system uses a pressure switch that adds resistance to the pump electrical circuit that can easily be bypassed by removing the switch (plug vac/pressure hose) - maybe jumper the pins, would have to look that up. The wiring diagram you are ordering will have details.

    I will check to see if the dizzy is turning the rotor when I get home this afternoon. I hope it is...it is a brand new dizzy and oil pump. I know that doesn't preclude it failing in a spectacular way, but I hope it didnt. Although, I am supposing that I am likely to wind up having to replace the distributor regardless. I also need to get some Motorcraft wires apparently, the shop that did the engine work put MSD wires on and I had no idea that they were not any good on this engine.
    Nothing wrong with non-Motorcraft wires.Obviously there are junk wires out there, which should be avoided, but any quality product will work just fine. If you're looking for wires that will never fail, get Magnecor #49190 in 10mm jacket size. NOTE: the stock 7mm plastic thingies will NOT work. I have Magnecor 49190 10mm solid-core cables on the Red baron - probably visible in some pics here.

    I think I need to take a look at my TFI. I am pretty sure it is just kinda flopping about in there and not attached to anything. I dont know why it would be like that, but I kinda remember seeing a little module just hanging out (literally) next to the engine block last night. I wasn't aware of what it was so I assumed it knew what it was doing. I think I may have been mistaken. If that is the case, that could be my guilty party. Maybe I will use this as an opportunity to relocate it to a safer place in the engine bay where it wont be exposed to the dangers of heat and being beaten against the engine block.
    Engine heat is nothing to be concerned about - the TFI is more than capable of handling that. Even in 120F ambient temps.

    If the TFI itself is flopping about, perhaps the screws fell out and it started to leave home? It should be firmly attached to the side of the distributor body - 4mm screws, iirc. The top of the TFI module has 3 flat-blade electrical connectors that push up into the PIP (ignition component inside the distrubutor) and if those pins come disconnected, then no workie.

    If the distributor is new, it *may* have come with a new PIP already installed.

    As another aside, I also have some new auxiliary shafts for the 2.3/2.5L OHC block in the shop somewhere. The aux shaft has the mating gear to the distributor gear. If either one of them is chewed up, both should be replaced.
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  20. #20
    Red Captain MikeFleming's Avatar
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    Pics.

    TFI assembled to side of dist body with PIP in place.
    Img_5914.jpg
    PIP installed under vane.

    Img_5917.jpg

    Top side of PIP (stator).
    Img_5930.jpg

    Bottom side. Note three flat-blade female connectors where TFI plugs in.
    Img_5931.jpg

    Thermal compound before assembly of TFI to dist body.
    Img_5949.jpg
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