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Discussion Starter #1
I am returning to MC.net after about 2 year layoff of working on my Cougar. Chalk it up to family, life responsibilities both work and home related, as well as money and time. It wasn't long until the Cougar's top surfaces were buried under stuff as it sat in the garage. Over the last few years I have toyed with the idea of selling the car, but knew I would not see the $15k I have invested into the car, of which nearly half is in the built 302 (350hp). That and I could not bring myself to sell it.

You can read the vitals of my 1968 Mercury Cougar XR-7 here. While that page is a bit dated only a bit of additional work was accomplished on the cat. Along with rebuilding the front and rear ends, I had the C4 transmission rebuilt and a new exhaust system install. I mentioned the engine, which was rebuilt using the original block back in 2006 (see images). Here is the build sheet if you are curious. I have an inventory of parts that I bought that I must go through to remember what I have.

This last week my wife and son went on vacation, which allowed some "me time" that I used clean the stuff off the Cougar and rolling it backwards, partially out of the garage to work on it. I spent about 15-16 hours over 2 days working on the car. Thankfully my neighbor down the street is experienced in restoring cars and he spent about 3 hours with me cutting out the battery ledge and welding in a new piece of metal (Story here with a picture of the new ledge). I also started to neutralize surface rust on the floor pans,backseat deck ledge and truck. Thankfully much of the rust had been sanded off or down, but not treated. None of the rust is the point where the metal must be replaced, so I will consider myself lucky.

Unfortunately with such a long layoff from working on the car I was not really sure where to begin. I have been talking about getting the engine compartment done and painted to drop the engine/headers/transmission in as a single piece. Before doing that I should probably consider any other work in the dash board or the engine compartment before I do this.

My question(s): Where should I start in the engine compartment I don't want to get ahead of myself, but should there be other work down before I drop in the engine?

I have a spattering of notes I made at what worked and did not work in the electrical system. Should I pull all the wiring harness and replace them or keep what works, replacing only the damaged ones?

Are fuel and brake lines easier to run without the engine/transmission in mounted in the car?

Bottom line, I am trying to find a point to start at that will allow me some time to work on the car, but allow me to spend as little as possible right now. I know there will come a time I need to invest further money on parts, but figure I have a vast amount of work that could be relative cheap or free to accomplish.
 

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As far as the wiring goes Do Not throw away anything! The harnsses for theae cars are not remanufactured to my knowledge. Clean up use as much as possible. Your remind me of myself as you have already sank a lot of money in the car and can't sell it to make it back so you will take a loss and have a sweet ride or take a loss and have some cash now...you're going in the right direction bud! Paint the engine bay and clean up you headlights. This will all take time and little money. Install the engine and c 4 as you'll need them in to check if your wiring is correct. Clean up and loom all your wiring and also clean up the vacuum lines as needed. This will all have to be done and will be cheap too. There is, however, a lot of variables here too....what needs fixxed and how much of a priority are these things? What is your goal for the car? Originality or hot rod? I never knew my goal until the car was finished lol. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Priority is what I need to figure out. With glass removed, interior torn out and no engine, this would be a great time to look at body work and paint. Unfortunately that money things puts the breaks on getting the car sprayed. Thankfully it's fairly straight and the flaws I do have I can work out with the help of my neighbor, thus saving quite a bit of money on bodywork.

To date, I have not thrown any parts away. They are boxed, some labelled, many not a mistake I made when I started tearing things around. Headlights are off and one set is disassembled for cleaning. When I bought the car they vacuum system worked and the lights would open and close with little sag. The tail lights needed work due to a previous fire in the trunk. One side sequenced correctly, the other not at all. Interior lights didn't work and only one turn signal. So there is some work to be done on this front.
 

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Where to start?! I keep asking myself that also. I still have to finish installing the front suspension, Then I am going to finish running the brake and fuel lines under the car. Finish the underside as much as possible minus the exhaust and drive shaft. Then I am going to move to the trunk and work from the rear of the car forward. I think I am going to spend less money from the rear of the car to the windshield than I will under the hood. ?? Only plan I have right now.
 

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I know how you are feeling! I own a 69 Eliminator that I bought in 2004 that has all brand new or NOS parts completely rust free and a complete rebuilt drive line. I was thinking of selling the car until I started looking at old pictures and the wife telling me I would regret selling it. The Eliminator is waiting for me to give the body shop the call to paint it. It's been waiting since 2008 when they finished the body work. I think it is time to call the shop!
 

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I always attack structural work first , then do the light work for last . This seems to help me keep moving knowing I have nothing really hard to do just spend some time getting things cleaned up and ready .
 

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It's funny like that - if you leave 'em alone they sit there waitng on you! ;>) Once you get the fire re-kindled - you will find renewed interest I bet....
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah, there is a big renewed interest. As I stand in the garage and look over the cat much of the expensive work, except for paint is done! It's all these smaller jobs, some that turn into one bigger job or require more dis-assembly to complete. A prime example, the dashboard. Now that I have removed it I am looking at the mess of hoses and wiring behind it. While I have it open I guess I should have a look and see what needs to be fixed or update in there. The engine was the same way, I never envisioned sinking money into a rebuilt 302. In hindsight I am happy I did, but looking at the engine bay I know I have a long road ahead of me to get to the point where the engine/trans is ready to be installed.
 
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