Joined: Nov 2016
Micah, just a couple very important questions for you:
1) Is full restoration to you more important than 'hard to tell it's not original'? Because if you are willing to consider the option, you could get a roller cam 5.0 HO motor, from a '97-2001 Explorer/Mountaineer, and enjoy superior power, reliability, and gas mileage, while still retaining the appearance of your stock engine. WAY less expensive to do, too. The GT40P heads are amazing, and will work with your stock exhaust manifolds pretty well. You even get a roller cam, so you don't have to worry about using ZDDP additives to help your engine survive. Virtually all of your old 289 accessories bolt right up to it, so you can very much make it look original to the car, except for a few small details that you'd have to be an expert to spot.
2) Have you upgraded your master cylinder to a dual-reservoir unit? The original Mustang brakes just use one cylinder and one reservoir, so if there's a problem with any part of the brakes, you have NO brakes. The dual setup means the front and rear brakes are separate, so if there's a problem, you at least have a chance to stop the car anyway. If you want to drive, this one's a biggie!
Aside from the brakes, I'd definitely look at the battery cables and grounds, check the battery tray for corrosion, look at your steering gear and inspect for wear/play/leaky boots. If you don't have them, get an export brace and Monte Carlo bar. Every first gen mustang NEEDS them, to prevent metal fatigue, improve handling, and keep your fenders apart from each other. It'd be a great time to do the Shelby drop (Free handling improvement? Yes please.) and possibly install new and improved shocks and swaybar as well, if you want better ride and handling. For shocks, there's a definite "good, better, best" hierarchy for street cars, in terms of ride quality, performance, and pricing: KYB, Bilstein, Koni. And lest they be ignored, if you want to really save money, but have a very soft, compliant, not quite so performance oriented ride, Monroe shocks are actually pretty good!
How's your radiator? Do you have a shroud? What kind of fan?
Just some ideas to help get you rolling, Micah!
I smile a lot. It makes people wonder what I'm up to...