first drive mustang

First Drive – The Disgustang Becomes a Mustang

Going for a First Drive

Saturday was a cluster-f$%&.  Plain and simple.  We chased problems all day, as I’ve mentioned, and even at the end of the night when I’d finally broken-in the motor, I couldn’t drive it.  That sucked.  It was a big let-down.  I closed the night by crawling into bed tired, frustrated, sun-burned, and cold.  Sunday I woke up re-energized.  I would conquer this by the end of the weekend, damn it!  Come hell, high water, or dark of night, I was going to get the Disgustang on the road and take it for a first drive before the weekend was over.

Mark graciously agreed to brave traffic and come back over again to help me stay motivated and positive (and to lend a much-needed hand).  With his help, just before 2pm Sunday afternoon, I was backing down my driveway, rumbling slowly toward the street.  A few cautious moments later the car touched asphalt moving under its own power for the first time in 38 years.  The little pony I’d taken in lame and nursed back to health trotted and then galloped through the neighborhood.  I had officially transformed the Disgustang back into a Mustang.

How was it?

I think it was a great first drive.  Here are some of my observations:

  • The power steering isn’t nearly as squirrelly as I’d been led to expect.  That may be because my back-yard alignment dialed in more caster than the factory spec’d, but in any case, I’m cautiously optimistic.
  • I haven’t stepped on it much, but I can tell there’s plenty of power there in reserve…it really wants to move.
  • I found the power front disc brakes very underwhelming.  Perhaps the pads just need to break-in, and maybe I need to adjust the proportioning valve, but I’d hoped for more stopping force.  The brakes aren’t bad.  I guess I’d just expected braking on par or better than my 4-wheel drum Packard.
  • Putting in the T5 5-speed was definitely the right decision.  I’m in love with the transmission.  It’s awesomely smooth and tight, and I’m proud that something I rebuilt actually works.

What’s next?

Now my primary task is de-bugging the car.  Finally getting it running has given me a ton of feedback I didn’t have before.  The power steering leaks at the pressure fitting on the pump.  The temperature sender constantly reports the car is overheating when it isn’t.  The front coil springs have settled and now I think the car sits too low in front.  To my dismay, the rear leaf springs have not settled at all, leaving the Mustang sitting too high at the rear.

Every night since I’ve taken time to sift through the issues.  I tested the temperature sender, the wires, and the gauge, and determined the sender itself to be the culprit.  Indeed swapping in a new sender from AutoZone had the gauge reading correctly.

The power steering has proven much more tricky.  I’ve removed hoses, cleaned the seats, tightened nuts, and still the pump leaks at the pressure fitting.  It’s maddening.  My current advice: don’t mess around with power steering, it’s not worth it.  Nothing with the power steering system has gone according to plan.  Under-hood space is at a premium, so a leaky pressure line is doubly frustrating.  There’s fluid everywhere!  The Mustang has always had power steering, so I kept it, but I’m regretting that decision.

And then there’s the springs.  Let’s just say I’m really starting to dislike Scott Drake products.  In my naïve and foolish enthusiasm when I began buying stuff three years ago, I decided I wanted to go stock-plus.  That meant going with special handling/GT-style suspension components.  That’s what I thought I bought when I ordered the “high-performance 5-leaf rear springs.”  Nope.  Not even close.  The stance is all wrong.  So now I get to do what I should’ve done in the first place: buy the correct springs from Eaton Detroit.

 

 

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