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Discussion Starter #1
Project Mudstang! (new name, same great taste)

Hello all

I created a really big build thread (over on Vintage Mustangs) for my other car, a 68 coupe with a 2JZ. While I don't expect this thread to be as detailed, I do want a place to chronicle my progress.

The inspiration for this build comes from pictures like these:







I want an off road Mustang. But not a 4x4, or a Mustang body on a truck frame. I want it to still be low and mean, 2WD Pre-runner style. When I started my search I fully intended on getting another 68 coupe and chopping the top off. But then I found this 91 vert for a great price. My wife saw it, fell in love and convinced me to build a fox baja toy.





Here it is on it's first day home, next to the 68. Space is going to be an issue for this build.

 

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The car has a 2.3 in it. That will never do :)



I have experience with the 2.3T engines (I had one in my 68 for a while) and while that would be fun, I really want to stay simple and NA this time. Since I already have the 2J in the 68, lots of people expect me to swap in something weird. For a long time I planned to do just that, I was set on a Nissan VQ35DE V6. Then I came across a deal for an entire 302 drivetrain. I've gone through many trials and bouts of depression with the engine swaps in the 68, this time I think it would be nice for that part to be somewhat easy. It will still be challenging, but in other areas. This car will show it's uniqueness on the outside, not under the hood.



So, step 1. Buy a decent welder. I have been using a Harbor Freight flux core unit for the past few years, I didn't know any better. I've never had a weld break, but man the welds were ugly and a pain to grind down. the first time I fired this thing up it changed my life, gas is the way to go. I'm still learining, but light years ahead of where I was.



With no top and the possibility of taking this thing off some sweet jumps, my first major project was some MM subframes.





Next I stripped out the interior. This thing was never going to have a top again, so all of that mess went, as well as the rear side windows.





Under the carpet I found a build sheet, pretty cool.

 

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What cool off road car doesn't have a roll cage?

I ordered the 8 point kit from S&W Racing:





I wasn't really happy with the cage from the main hoop forward. I didn't like the halo bar, the door bars or the front dash bars. So I ordered a set of pro-street style bars from Jegs:



I couldn't find exactly what I wanted for the overhead pieces. I really wanted the dual overhead bars in the middle, like the Thomas Crown Mustang. So I took my car to a shop and had them build the front half of the cage.





Then I put in some gussets from JEGs, and painted the whole thing with hammered finish Rustoleum, brush on. I like it.

 

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I want to still use the trunk for secure storage. So I got some box tubing and made a frame.



Attached to the frame are MDF panels that will be coated in bedliner, then covered in rubber mats.



I'm going to be running some pretty big rubber on this thing (30" out back, 28" in front) so I made a mock up tire. The spare will be mounted in this area, but flat so I can still use the rear view mirror.



One thing I have to have in my toys is a decent system. So I started making a subwoofer box where the rear seat used to be.



Some fiberglass:



The inside and outside of the box is totally coated in bedliner.





Now, on top of the box will be another panel, spaces 3" or so above the subs. With it in place, you won't be able to see the subs at all. Also, the spare will be in some of this space, coming off the rear deck. This will give me a nice little shelf back there to toss a backpack or cooler or whatever.

Here are most of the panels mocked up. I just need to make a couple more, make them pretty, then coat in bedliner.



Also, I have started hoarding parts. My garage is getting tight.

Here I have an 8.8 with 3.73 gears / trac loc and SN95 spindles / brakes from a 2001 GT. I also have SN95 lower front control arms and struts.



These are Corbeau Baja RS suspension seats, should give my butt a little more cushion when blasting down dirt roads.



I have a ton of other little odds and ends, and wheels / tires should be here soon, but I will save that stuff for when I start installing it.
 

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I'm trying to not lift it too much, 1-2" maybe. I don't want the 4x4 look. Most of my tire clearance will come from chopped fenders with flares and some work with a BFH.

In the rear I'm using MM adjustable lower control arms and will try to fab up some Rancho shocks.

Up front I'm going to put 1" spacers under a tubular K member. Then SN95 lower arms / spindles / brakes with KYB struts. I'll be running MM caster / camber plates flipped upside down to account for the k-member spacers. I might also run spacers between the spring perch and k-member if needed, and also between the engine block and motor mounts. I'll probably put on some limiting straps too, maybe figure out a way to run a second shock up front.

Hopefully its strong enough for some mild off roading, if not I'll have to build something else.
 

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I guess you are going to run SN95 struts? I think they are longer than the fox struts.

I have a SN95 I have been thinking of doing the same style of off road modifications to.
 

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Correct, SN95 struts.

8.8 rear with 3.73 gears, hopefully the limited slip is enough but if not I'll get a locker.
 

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Longer arms from where? I'm using SN95 arms which are already a bit longer than fox. I want to keep the spring in the stock location. I suppose I could have something custom made, but that brings on a bunch of other issues.

In an ideal situation I would have a double a-arm setup and run a long coil-over shock, but the budget just doesn't allow for that right now. K-member spacers are nothing new, people have been using them forever. The strut extensions are a little janky, the ones in the pic were just for proof of concept. The ones on now are made of thicker steel angle iron.
 

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This is cool, cant wait to see more!!
 

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Looks good!
 

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It seems like you build your projects just trying to piss off the masses. I love it.

Looking forward to more.
 
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