1968 Mustang - Engine Project

In the spring of 1999, Joel and I were getting our Mustangs ready for the 35th Anniversary Mustang Convention being held at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC.  Joel had entered his 1968 Mustang coupe and I'd entered my 1968 Mustang fastback.  I eventually came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to have my Mustang ready.  Joel thought his Mustang was ready until he developed engine problems only weeks prior to this Mustang show.  We still went to the 35th Anniversary Mustang Convention in Charlotte, looked at as many of the 6000+ Mustangs entered as we could, and had a great time.  We even parked a car on the show field, but it wasn't a Mustang... it was a Pontiac Bonneville.  We put one of our registration placards for our Mustangs in the window along with a sign stating that this was a highly modified 1968 Mustang... and what had happened to our Mustangs... some laughed... some didn't... oh well... some folks just don't have a sense of humor.  Once we returned from Charlotte, we decided we'd find out what was wrong with the engine in Joel's Mustang.

Here's a picture of Joel's Mustang at the 1994 30th Anniversary Mustang Convention in Charlotte... but it wouldn't make it back in 1999.  Joel had the 289 engine recently rebuilt locally prior to this failure. This candyapple red 1968 Mustang Sprint is mostly unrestored and has the original paint on it!!  It has red standard interior, 289 - 2bbl engine, C-4 automatic, and power steering. 
We pulled the engine and transmission so we could haul the engine to my house to tear it down and rebuild it.   Does this look like an engine with only 30,000 miles on a rebuild to you?  It didn't to us.  Joel had been plagued with minor oil leaks every since the engine had been supposedly rebuilt and it just didn't run right.
Check out this nasty cylinder head!  It had not been touched during the "rebuild!"  Finding "stuff" like this after paying big bucks for a rebuild just makes you mad.  The lesson to be learned here is to make sure you're getting what you're paying for. How 'bout those valves?  Do you see all of the carbon and sludge on the stems?  They were not even cleaned during the last "rebuild" much less had any machining.  We concluded that Joel's "rebuild" was really just rings, bearings, and gaskets.
This is almost as good as getting presents at Christmas... we sent the disassembled engine to our local machine shop for proper cleaning, machining and new parts. Here's the pistons, rods, and camshaft.  We double checked the rods, pistons, and camshaft prior to installation... you just can't be too careful...

Here's the block ready for reassembly.

Here's a picture of the assembled bottom end.  We double checked the bearing clearances, piston ring gaps, crank end play, rod and main torque specifications... well you get the idea... and made sure everything was lubed. The long block assembly is almost complete.  The heads had a 3 angle valve job and new valves.  Joel wanted his engine rebuilt completely stock and original... two barrel heads and intake included.
Here's the 289 awaiting a fresh Ford Blue paint job... Doesn't that look good!!
The 289 is ready to be loaded back on the truck and hauled back to Joel's for installation back in the Mustang. DONE!!  The fresh 289 runs just fine with no leaks and no quirky problems.
Here's some of the latest pictures of the beautiful car!! Joel has done a great job of detailing his Mustang.

I have rebuilt the two-barrel carburetor and replaced all of the front suspension on this Mustang for Joel.