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I purchased this car last october, My intent is to do as concourse restoration as I can. The body is solid, I have only found a little surface rust up under the front valance, non anywhere else yet. Today I officially started. I got the car up on jacks. I figured I would remove everything from the trunk section first, then work each side and then the front. Once I get all trim, lights and emblems off the outside I will go underneath. Then pull the engine and all under the hood, last I will go inside the car. Today I am going to finish the trunk section. This is going to be more work than I had imagined, I am pretty good with a wrench and don't fear any of the mechanics but all this body stuff is tiring and trying!! For all of you that have finished one I envy you. I am thinking this project will take much much longer than I had figured. If I can get it painted this year I will be real happy, not sure If I will even get that far though. I bought a log book to document everything I do and will take thousands of pictures to help get stuff back together correctly. Wish me luck as this is my first restoration project.
 

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what car are you talkin about? pics would be nice!
 

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Good luck. Mine took 12 years for me to get it to that alleged restored state so I'm aware of how time consuming it may be. Mostly it was fun and a good diversion from other life events that also take place over that length of time. Take lots of photos and show a few here every now and then.
 

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Yes sir, You can eat a whole bear all by yourself... one bite at a time!

The occasional pic on here is allways appreciated

Jean
 

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I purchased this car last october, My intent is to do as concourse restoration as I can. The body is solid, I have only found a little surface rust up under the front valance, non anywhere else yet. Today I officially started. I got the car up on jacks. I figured I would remove everything from the trunk section first, then work each side and then the front. Once I get all trim, lights and emblems off the outside I will go underneath. Then pull the engine and all under the hood, last I will go inside the car. Today I am going to finish the trunk section. This is going to be more work than I had imagined, I am pretty good with a wrench and don't fear any of the mechanics but all this body stuff is tiring and trying!! For all of you that have finished one I envy you. I am thinking this project will take much much longer than I had figured. If I can get it painted this year I will be real happy, not sure If I will even get that far though. I bought a log book to document everything I do and will take thousands of pictures to help get stuff back together correctly. Wish me luck as this is my first restoration project.


Harvey,


Please pardon my long rambling post here..I wanted to tell you, without offending you, that it is obvious from reading your posts that you are very new at this and, well, you have a lot ahead of you, as you said..I too was in the EXACT SAME situation Six years ago, though, so I have sympathy for a guy like you who is new at this, maybe to Cougars in general, but has energy and enthusiasm. I appreciate the ability to just ask the Questions! I did the same thing very early on in my process and I've no intention of stopping. Your questions often bring back very fond memories. I've been ridiculed, appreciated, and laughed at..It's OK. But do yourself a favor, research all the posts available, then ask away! It will be fun to watch you and your project grow and evolve, if you keep at it and keep your hands dirty. Having the wherewithall to spend the $ necessary will unfortunately be part of the equation too, though. I have been lucky for some financial success, followed by a lot of financial stress, through my existance in the hobby. It took a huge risk or two, and I have a very supportive family. I'm no rich guy, I just took a lot of my savings and earnings to plunge into the hobby and keep going. I'm just warnin' ya, though..take it for what it's worth..


Now, I hate to tell ya, but the taking-apart process is the easy stuff ! :) Have bags and boxes and Sharpie around to label stuff..Have shelves to organize between Body, interior, trim, electrical, vacuum, and engine. Have WCCC on Speed dial and spend time paroozing their online catalog (a great way to learn what goes where and how much they cost and what you should throw away and what not to throw away!)


Break the project down and build an "outline"..something like:


Body/Paint prep and finish

Out to stripper, Shell blast /sandblast/soda blast; Metal refab, primer, then paint Usually $5-15K for a reasonable amount of work on just the body shell..if you strip it out yourself and assemble yourself again, this saves money..


Get your master Engine, Chassis, Body and interior kits from AMK early on. Study what they contain, and then you won't fret about which nuts and bolts and fasteners you need to keep and polish, etc. (it's suprising how few you need to save) total 600.00 tops. Refinishing the rare bolts like the ones that hold your distributor bracket, power steering pump, alternator brackets, water pump bolts, head bolts, intake bolts, etc..saves $ and keeps you busy with a wire wheel, bead blaster/polisher..refinish with the proper/perfect finishes gets expensive though.

Get your anodized exchanged and your bumpers exchanged for newly finished ones, order your light fixtures, door handles, your glass if you need it, your wiring harnesses if you need them..clean your wires with Brakekleen and condition with WD 40 , rewrap with black fibrous electircal tape..Trim and Chrome and fixtures $2K...Wiring and Vacuum 1K at most

Get your engine block out for magnaflux, machined, order your rebuild kit, choose your cam and rocker assemblies clean your PCV attachments or buy new ones..Radiator out for re-core, new fan shroud, get hoses ordered, make sure you have a good distributor, vacuum advance, etc. Small block? 5-6K Big Block? 6-10K (depending on smog, PCV, extent of rebuild)


Transmission out to a rebuild shop. About 900 bucks in a week or two..that's easy.


Interior-Concours, really? Dash Pad 400-1000.00 Cluster refinish 300-600.00 Carpet and headliner 225.00 Seat Covers (XR-7?) $1,000-2200
shifter knob, radio, radio bezel, door panels??, Package Tray, Headliner install 200-250.00, Carpet underlayment, steerign wheel refinish? 700.00
All farmed out, for the most part, you'll have to decide who puts it back. It's not rocket science, but takes time. Talk to me about repairing and repainting a steerign column after taking it all apart! Matching up interior paint so it is all the same everywhere is TRICKY too..


Brakes and splash sheilds and lines: 800-1,000 and a bit of time..Oh yeah, Distribution box rebuild?

Suspension front and rear: 2,000 and a lot of time and wire brushing/new parts. Shinty concours a lot different than wire wheeled and painted. Rubber Boots-beware, the new ones crack! Keep em moist..Coil springs? Arreggg!! Height is fun to play with.

Steering: New Power steering distribution valve? New Steering box?



All the above stuff can be done while you have the body out for metal refab and paint. Luckily, you can have 5 projects going at once. What speeds your project up is NOT WAITING for PARTS or SERVICES..so get it out into the mail, order your kits, seat covers, trim, lights, wires, hoses, belts, bolts, glass, rubber gaskets, weatherstripping, seals, glues, epoxy asap..some things will be on backorder

*** Have a LIST of TO GETS and TO-DOs**

Real easy to lose focus. I put an "open list" on my Blackberry to document an open "shopping list" and to-do list (ie polish this bolt, get these anodized, get brake pedal switch, anything!)

Keep your receipts all in a file. Keep your to do list in writing too and cross off accomplishments. They are great motivators.

Keep your purchases/ready to go items in a CLEAN and organized fashion. Rubbermaid snap lid tubs, for example. Interior here, suspension there, engine in this box, brakes in this box..In an area separate from your "stripped out" pile of parts in the other boxes/bags/tubs..compare and build your shopping list from there.


**Have a HUGE ROLLING TABLE** around to have a work area on..keep it clean, keep it organized, and it's great to clear it off when you put the car together. I used a sheet of plywood, 4x4 posts and casters..really helps. Also have a WIRE WHEEL and a GOOD BLAST CABINET..You won't do the project without them. And a buffing wheel too, for that matter. Do you have a good compressor? Space for all this?


** HAVE JB WELD/Quick and a TORCH** around.. Torch with a coffee can of Oil. Torch bolts to red-hot and dip them in oil. Leave it overnight, black Oxide finish results..(Mr. Vaccuum Man's trick here) They won't rust and they're ready to build your chassis, your suspension, steering components, etc. They won't be damaged by heating, don't worry. OR the AMK kits will have the bolts with the perfect finishes. They don't have 'em all, though. Obscure ones are tricky and you'll have to refinish them.







Hell, nothin to it..Two years tops! Concours, really? Do you wanna drive your car again, Harvey? What kind of Cat? Think about it hard. I hope you have a lot of friends with spare time. And a lift. this is a job and a half without a lift, and it's hard on your body!! There is a reason that the shops that restore cars can get it done..and many guys who have completed a car..well, they have the shops to back it up. It's quite necessary. I built my shop while I built my cars. It became necessary and cost $ but it was worth it!



I'm only spouting these things because they pop into the front of my mind after just having finished such a project--I leaned a lot of organizational stuff the HARD WAY so I will fight to keep others from making the same mistakes. And I picked up a lot of great tips..some of the littlest things really saved me time or taught me what I did wrong!




Just some random thoughts..I'm bored at work today









I'm exhausted just thinkin' about it ;)
 

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what car are you talkin about? pics would be nice!
I just remembered, it is a 68 XR-7 with 390 2 BBL

I'd get me an aluminum 4 barrrell on that sucker, if it were me ;)
 

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Wow, after reading this post not not sure if I'm up to the task.lol
Very informative.
But, I question the black oxide process.
Heating bolts up to red hot will affect the strength of the bolt. If you heat it above the tempering temperature it will reduce the tensile strength. May be ok for fasteners where strength isn't important. But on chassis, suspension and steering components?

** HAVE JB WELD/Quick and a TORCH** around.. Torch with a coffee can of Oil. Torch bolts to red-hot and dip them in oil. Leave it overnight, black Oxide finish results..(Mr. Vaccuum Man's trick here) They won't rust and they're ready to build your chassis, your suspension, steering components, etc. They won't be damaged by heating, don't worry. OR the AMK kits will have the bolts with the perfect finishes. They don't have 'em all, though. Obscure ones are tricky and you'll have to refinish them.
 

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Wow, after reading this post not not sure if I'm up to the task.lol
Very informative.
But, I question the black oxide process.
Heating bolts up to red hot will affect the strength of the bolt. If you heat it above the tempering temperature it will reduce the tensile strength. May be ok for fasteners where strength isn't important. But on chassis, suspension and steering components?
Amen brother. The REAL trick is this, either send them out to a plating shop for phosphating (after you blast them), or buy an Eastwood's blackening kit (and a refill of the solution) and have at it. Blast them clean and dump 'em in. A few minutes later, Voila! Rinse in water and dry as quickly as possible (to minimize rusting) and then matte clear, that's my recipe. Comes out real nice, all the black fasteners on my car are done this way.

Regards,

Bob
 

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The next one I do (hopefully it will be aircooled from the dark side with a hair dryer attached ) I'm going to get one of those cheap photo printers (with expensive ink refills) and take lots of pics as I go. When I bag some bits I'll throw pics in the bag as well (ziplock freezer bags are good). Write on the back of the pics with sharpie - or use A4 paper and write on the blank bits
 

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Discussion Starter #10
small right side.jpg small full left side.jpg This is the car I am starting with. As I am only looking for a cruiser and I want it to match the door tag I am going to stay with the two barrel carb and 2.75 rear. Well not totally scared off after reading that but a little more aprehensive. Today I made sure the jack stands were set started disassembling the trunk area. I got the gas tank out and discovered it was full of rust! Will have to replace that. Removed the rear lights, sequential unit, chrome and weather stripping from trunk lid. Wiring and trunk light and rear bumper. The reflectors and the Mercury and cougar scripts. I bagged and tagged everything and the only thing I am discarding right now is the trunk mat and under-layment. The Car is a 68XR7, from South Carolina, So far I have only found a little surface rust on the very bottom of the rear valance. I am hoping there is no metal to be replaced.
 

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Do not discard the trunk mat or underlayment. The replacement trunk mats are not the same as the originals and you will want to trim the new one to match the original. Also the original underlayment is much better than the after market stuff.
 

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Bill has a good point. I didn't throw anything out until after the restoration was completed.

Brian hit on almost everything you need to do in order to be successful with a complete restoration. I have an 18 page document of everything I did and when I did it. It started out as a list of tasks and as I completed them, I moved them up in the document under the date they were completed. I maintained a separate spreadsheet with all the parts I bought, when I bought them, how much they cost and who I bought them from.

I waited over two years for my paint and body to be completed and used that time to assemble all the parts I needed and to rebuild and refinish everything. From the time I got the car back from paint, it took 8 months to reassemble it and that was spending nearly every night, weekend, holiday and 7 weeks of full time work using vacation time. If I didn't have everything rebuilt and ready to put back on the bare body, it would have taken several years to complete the restoration. Don't underestimate the amount of time (or money) this will take if you're doing it yourself.
 

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SANDBLASTER....mega time saver

if I started all over again I wished I knew about the master kits produced by http://www.amkproducts.com/default.htm a little sooner....o well next project

what is the technique for cleaning/detailing a front wiring harness...I was going to start this in the next week or so....spary Brakleen in a rag and give her? how does the WD40 condition?
 

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what is the technique for cleaning/detailing a front wiring harness...I was going to start this in the next week or so....spary Brakleen in a rag and give her? how does the WD40 condition?
I'm sure there are many ways to do this but I use Gojo or any other type of hand cleaner for cleaning wiring and vacuum hoses. A side benefit is that your hands stay relatively clean and the wiring/hose doesn't need additional conditioning. If you have paint overspray on the wiring, you will need something stronger like MEK or Brakleen. Just put whichever product you decide to use on a rag and start wiping. If using MEK, you'll want to be careful not to remove any paint stripes or writing on the wiring or hoses.
 

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Nice car, looks like you already restored it.Nice looking shop too.

View attachment 24888 View attachment 24889 This is the car I am starting with. As I am only looking for a cruiser and I want it to match the door tag I am going to stay with the two barrel carb and 2.75 rear. Well not totally scared off after reading that but a little more aprehensive. Today I made sure the jack stands were set started disassembling the trunk area. I got the gas tank out and discovered it was full of rust! Will have to replace that. Removed the rear lights, sequential unit, chrome and weather stripping from trunk lid. Wiring and trunk light and rear bumper. The reflectors and the Mercury and cougar scripts. I bagged and tagged everything and the only thing I am discarding right now is the trunk mat and under-layment. The Car is a 68XR7, from South Carolina, So far I have only found a little surface rust on the very bottom of the rear valance. I am hoping there is no metal to be replaced.
 

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Wow, after reading this post not not sure if I'm up to the task.lol
Very informative.
But, I question the black oxide process.
Heating bolts up to red hot will affect the strength of the bolt. If you heat it above the tempering temperature it will reduce the tensile strength. May be ok for fasteners where strength isn't important. But on chassis, suspension and steering components?
ZMan..You're right, maybe. I was a bit overzealous talking about the importance of this procedure and the quantity of times I did it..but it was a good little tip that I learned. And beleive me, I did a ton of research with people specializing in metals (Mr VaccuumMan is one) and found no one that would tell me it's any absolute safety risk. I also tried breaking and bending bolts after treatment, to no avail. I probably did more cosmetic treatment of bolt "Heads" than anything, usually.

Definitely wish I'd have had one of those kits you describe. I had a ton of parts treated after they were sent out, etc..and usually the AMK stuff or "Dead Nuts On" or a vendor like this was the way to go..

The Eastwood/Duplicolor two stage Dichromate yellow paint cans weren't too bad of an option in some cases, too..this stuff was usually a fun trial and error procedure:)
 

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Harvey,

Even if you have the energy and resources to restore the car, it's too good of a car to start with to be any kind of "win-win" situation if you restore it. Then what are you gonna do with it!? Drive it? Show it? You'll put a ton more into the restoration than it's gonna be valued when finished, beleive me. Is that the original paint?
 

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You have a nice shop. My advice is to spend your 1st $2k on a hydraulic lift. I honestly think this the best money I've ever spent. I don't think I could have restored mine without it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
This car was 100 percent original until Golden Classics got a hold of it. They used spray paint from cans and prettied the underside of the car up to make it look better in pictures. they even went so far as to paint the exhaust silver. Car does run and the only thing so far that I have found that does not work on it is the amp gauge. There were a couple of cracks in the paint also near the rear driver side quarter that they attempted to cover with some kind of paint. They ruined the survivor catagory for me. I have always wanted a cougar as It was my very first car I drove and played with as a kid. Now I have one. I realize the time and money it will take but right now I believe one of the enjoyments for me will be the aspect of restoring it to like new. I enjoy turning wrenches and tinkering specially when i don't have to! I am amazed at how clean this car actually is. I removed the trim around the wheel wells today. Every screw came right out easy and there was absolutely no rust under the trim! I would have thought if anywhere I would have found it there! This car even has factory floor mats in it and they are in great shape. I would like to get the car down to the stage of getting it painted this year. I will then gather all the new parts I need and rebuild kits for stuff like the steering and brakes and rebuild everything over the winter. Also over the winter I can get some of the parts re-chromed or anodized as needed. Then next year I will start the re-assembly process. Sounds good anyway huh? Engine and tranny I can rebuild myself as I am going to stay stock with it all.
 
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