Home: Mustang Tech: Maintenance and Tune Up: Classic Mustang Maintenance
Classic Mustang Maintenance
By Aaron Thurman


So you just bought a classic Mustang and you're eager to drive it? I can't blame you, I was the same way. Well here's the steps to get you on the road. I'll keep it simple and effective with pictures to boot, so that we can get you on the road as easy for you as possible. The pictures taken for this article are from my 200 ci. six-cylinder in my 67 Coupe.


Here are the tools and parts you'll need:

· 5 quarts of 10W-30 or 10W-40 motor oil
· New Oil Filter
· Set of new spark plugs
· New air filter
· New fuel filter
· New PCV Valve
· 2 gallons of anti-freeze
· Full tank of gas(for best operation use premium)
· New battery(optional)
· Can of carb cleaner a.k.a. starting fluid
· Set of standard wrenches and a standard socket set with ratchet
· New oil pan gasket set
· Gasket sealer
· Anti-Seize Lubricant
· Thread sealer tape

Alright, lets get started shall we?

1. Drain the oil from the car into a pan by getting underneath and unscrewing the drain plug from the oil pan. After fully drained, put the plug back in. Then, find your oil filter, it will unscrew as well and you'll want to take this off. Make sure to have the pan under it as more oil may come out. Throw the filter away and dispose of the oil properly(talk to you local parts store for the proper way to get rid of the old oil). You may now put your new filter on.

Before putting it on, take some of the old oil, just a little bit, and rub it around the rubber ring on your new filter. Then, unbolt your oil pan from the block so that it may be removed from the car. You will have to unbolt the sway bar to get it out, but that is only a few bolts, nothing special or overly hard. Once the oil pan is out, clean it out good, run water through it and get out any build-up or what not that is in there. Then, take a scraper of some sort and scrape off ALL of the old gasket on the oil pan. It is critical you do this in order to prevent future leaks. Then, take your gasket set, put gasket sealer on them, and place them on the oil pan. Once on the oil pan, go ahead and put gasket sealer on the other side of the gaskets that will touch the block. Then take all your bolts, clean them off, put your thread tape and then Anti-Seize on all of them and bolt your oil pan back up. The Anti-Seize will keep your bolts from corroding and sticking inside the block. When 2 different types of metals touch, over time, they form a connection, which is bad, and the Anti-Seize will prevent that. The thread sealer tape will keep your threads intact and in good condition. Now just bolt your oil pan back up. Bolt it up in a criss-cross pattern. Such as, the first bolt go in the right front and then the next go in the left rear. After all bolts are in , go back and check them all, because chances are, some of come a little loose. Now you can pour in your proper amount of motor oil. That was the hard part, lets move on.

2. Take out all of your old spark plugs. Make sure to mark all of your spark plug wires so that you know which wire went to which plug. Before putting your spark plugs in, GAP them all. Just ask your local parts store for the spark plug GAP. If you are unsure, most likely it is .34. After all plugs are gapped, put them in making sure not to hit them against anything because you will then have to re-gap them. Once they are all in, put your wires back on the plugs and you're done. Note: I suggest Autolite plugs. They last forever. I've got buddies that hate Fords and love their Chevy's but still use Autolite's(made by Ford) because they will last forever. When they go bad, pull em out, clean em off, and you're ready to put em back in and go. But if you decide against Autolite for some reason(reasonably priced compared to any other spark plug), do not use Bosch plugs. I've seen them go bad too many times to count.

3. Your radiator should have a drain plug at the bottom, go ahead and drain this into a bucket(once again, check with local store for proper disposal). Then take a hose and spray water into there just to clean it out and what not. Make sure all water is gone, and then plug everything back up on the radiator. Then, pour in a half gallon of anti-freeze from each container(assuming you bought two as I listed above). Then pour in a gallon of water.

Now the mixture in your radiator is 50% anti-freeze and 50% water. Then with the 2 half full containers of anti-freeze, fill the other half of them with water. Now you have 2 gallons of 50/50. Now just pour in until you get close to the top but do not overfill. The reason you are using a 50/50 mixture is because a mixture of the both will give you better cooling than using one or the other alone.
Done with that!

4. Now we move on. Unscrew the wing nut from the top of your air filter. Pull it off and put your new air filter in, that is a breeze. Now you should be able to see your carburetor(carb). Pull your fuel line from the fuel filter(watch out for gas). Then unscrew your fuel filter from the carb(in some cases you will have an in-line fuel filter, but there is really no difference in the process, just a different placement of filter, nothing to worry about). Now this is where a 2-man operation comes in. Take the disconnected fuel line, and point it towards a pan/bucket/bottle. Now have someone sit in the car and just turn the key and KEEP it turned(unless it starts). This will keep running gas through the line.

The point of this is to get any rust or corrosion out of the line. Once you see clear, good gas come through the line, you can stop. Now go ahead and screw your new fuel filter in if you haven't already. *BE CAREFUL* though, turn the filter till you get tension in the wrench, and then give it a 1/4 turn from there. Fuel filters are very vulnerable, so do NOT tighten them down too hard. If you tighten it too much and snap that filter off in the carb, it's NOT fun to get out. Now go ahead and hook your line back up to the fuel filter. Then screw your air filter back on top.

5. Last step! And very easy. Locate the PCV valve on your engine in the valve cover, pull it out, and put the new one in.

6. The can of carb cleaner is to help get your car going. The carb cleaner is a highly combustible liquid(to my understanding, it's pretty much Ether). But you want to be very careful with it. It's best to have 2 people for this. Have the air filter off. Give 2 small squirts into the opening of the carb and then have someone inside of the car to turn the key. If a flame comes from the carburetor, which is very possible if this is done wrong, put it out as quickly as possible and try turning the car over a few times without the carb cleaner to get any carb cleaner left in the carb out of it. While turning over and started, they need to give it a little gas. It's somewhat of an intermittent process.

You want to use the 2 small squirt process sometimes, and others, just try turning the car over on it's own. Often the chokes are incorrectly set, or you may have a manual choke, in which case you'll want to hold the plate in your carb down to close it, which will give it a little richer air/fuel mixture and help the car idle a bit better if it hasn't been turned over in a while. Note: If you don't feel you can do this task properly, do not attempt it. This a dangerous task.

As far as battery swap goes, take your old battery to the local parts store, and show it to them and tell them you need a new one. Batteries should also be disposed of properly. The red wire goes to the positive terminal and the black wire goes to the negative terminal.

*UNIVERSAL RULE FOR SCREWING IN PARTS*- I mentioned it in the article, that when tightening things you are worried about breaking them off or what not, tighten them till you get tension, and then crank them a 1/4 turn. It's just kind of a general rule that a lot of people use on situations that they are unsure of.



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