Well this stinks... - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-26-2018, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Well this stinks...

This winter it was my intention to get the rocker panels and any rust the previous body shop missed addressed on the T-bird, since some he missed broke through on the driver's side a couple years ago. I found a reputable local shop and met with them in fall and had them look at the car, and agreed to drop it off after the weather turned to get it addressed over the winter.

I dropped the car off a couple weeks ago and they called me back the other day. They put the car into the air and started poking around underneath to get a better idea on scope. Much to my disappointment, they said that in their opinion the car "isn't worth putting any more money into". Essentially they said the inner rockers have continued to deteriorate and are weak and don't provide anything to weld the new outer rockers to. The previous guy didn't weld the driver's side rocker panel patch in at all - he just used body filler without clearing any of the old rusty stuff out (ughhh!).

So it looks like I'll be on the lookout for a good, clean rust-free chassis to swap everything over to in the next few years. Not looking forward to all the work, and I'm quite disappointed that the chassis I had taken steps to preserve some 10 years ago has gotten past the point of no return.

-Brandon
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post #2 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-26-2018, 06:40 PM
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B, I'll look around and see what's here.

That fucking sucks, tho; you paid someone to spread peanut butter on a rust sammich, when you paid for a hoagie.

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post #3 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-26-2018, 07:27 PM
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Come over to the Cougar side. I have a clean title chassis sitting on cinderblocks out back It has some minor upgrades that come attached such as 5 speed manual and a 1500hp rated subframe lol. No rust on these rockers, and the back 1/2 of the car has been undercoated with 3m product just for S&Gs.

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post #4 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-26-2018, 08:18 PM
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Christ, that does suck! Why do people do that? That guy must have known what this car meant to you, and he does an asshole move like that!

You should get some pictures of the rust that's on it now and send them to him, and tell him thanks for nothing!

Joe

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post #5 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-26-2018, 09:03 PM
No, Mr. Lemmywinks, No!!!

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Christ, that does suck! Why do people do that? That guy must have known what this car meant to you, and he does an asshole move like that!

You should get some pictures of the rust that's on it now and send them to him, and tell him thanks for nothing!

Joe
Give us his facebook/yelp/whatever address, and let us ALL remind him what an asshole he is, lol.

Nah, B's too nice for that. Probably.

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post #6 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-26-2018, 11:29 PM
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Earlier message deleted. Forgot which car this was at the time.

Inner rockers are difficult but they can be done. They were also bad on my SC when I was going through its rust issues. I say fix it. You have a bunch of work in this car already, itd be a shame to see it go away like so many other cars on this site recently. Plus this body means something to you, even more reason imo.
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post #7 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-27-2018, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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I was thinking about that too, but the trick would be finding a shop who would be willing to undertake the job. I'd prefer to go that route even if it costs a few extra grand; this was my first car and it's been in my family since 2004, so it's worth it to me to hold onto it.

-Brandon
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post #8 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-27-2018, 09:14 AM
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Hope you find a shop that can accommodate. My 95 needs new rocker panels, too. Will learn if I can tackle it in auto body welding class at the local community college this semester.

Seems hard to find quality work without doing it yourself. I was very disappointed with a paint job from a local shop and named names in other forums pertaining to that type of vehicle. Repainted it myself in auto body class to get it done right.

Good luck with your repairs.
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post #9 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-27-2018, 09:41 AM
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Hope you find a shop that can accommodate. My 95 needs new rocker panels, too. Will learn if I can tackle it in auto body welding class at the local community college this semester.

Seems hard to find quality work without doing it yourself. I was very disappointed with a paint job from a local shop and named names in other forums pertaining to that type of vehicle. Repainted it myself in auto body class to get it done right.

Good luck with your repairs.
Dang.

Wish you were closer, I'd be willing to pay you to learn on my truck (body AND paint) and the Cougar (minor body, no major rust I know of, and of course paint.)

RwP

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post #10 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-27-2018, 11:13 AM
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I feel for you. My 95 is in a similar predicament. Have you looked under the trunk carpet lately to look at your rear shock towers? Those and the rockers are the problem areas (and the doors).

Few body shops in my area have any interest in anything that involves much welding and actual body work. We are possibly entering the age where we will need to seek out restoration shops as opposed to body shops to do this sort of intensive repair.
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post #11 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-27-2018, 11:13 AM
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This sucks It’s been a long time since I saw the progress pics in your thread, but if I recall right one of the things the shop did to repair both the rocker and quarter panel rust that happens at the seam was cut it out and replace it with one flat piece of new sheet metal, eliminating the seam alltogether. I had wondered what they did inside considering the original internal metal was still presumably there, but I guess we now know.

I firmly believe there is more than one way to skin a cat with these kinds of repairs though, but it takes creativity and unfortunately profit doesn’t favor that. Either good shops are going to do it strictly by the book - preferring to replace the entire stampings of metal front to back and rebuilding the structure to OEM spec like they would a major collision repair(if they can’t source the stampings then you’re SOL, as is the case here) - or less than reputable shops will be “creative” in that they’ll cut out the rust and craft you a fine sculpture... of bondo. There isn’t much middle ground, which is unfortunate since even OEM spec doesn’t guarantee a permanent fix since the design is inherently rust prone and a shop can never effectively duplicate Ford’s internal coating processes after welding, which is legitimately effective when there are no water traps like these cars are riddled with.

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post #12 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-27-2018, 01:15 PM
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We need to laser-scan a non-rusted good shell and then make 3D models of it that can be 3D printed, so we can print out entire new frames to put our parts on unlimited MN12s! Super Coupe kit cars! We can re-engineer the suspension as we go to use easily sourced parts

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post #13 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-27-2018, 02:22 PM
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What are you going to make a Tbird out of Plastic ???

For what its worth, I have a few "non rusted" Tbirds here if anybody wants to buy one to scan.
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post #14 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-27-2018, 02:30 PM
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If youre interested

Theres a 97 bird by me thats knocking on deaths door. Been for sale at a junkyard for a few months. Car has 190k, but is solid except for the fingers on the top of the front shock towers. They are wanting $700 for it, so maybe you could use it as a parts car for yours.
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post #15 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-27-2018, 02:57 PM
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What are you going to make a Tbird out of Plastic ???

For what its worth, I have a few "non rusted" Tbirds here if anybody wants to buy one to scan.
Now,now

Not only do they make sintered metal 3D printers, with good enough scans there's complete CNC systems to take sheet metal and make almost anything you can program into the controllers.

RwP

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post #16 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-27-2018, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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When I go to pick up the car I'll have a conversation with the manager about any other places he might know who could/would do the work, or whether he's interested in even attempting it (or what the complete scope/cost might be). That shop does do restores, but they may perceive the car to not be worth the investment due to the niche nature of the chassis. We'll just have to see where this goes. Last time I checked the trunk shock towers they looked just fine; the worst of the rust that I know of is what's going on in the rockers (most evident on either side of the gas tank).

-Brandon
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post #17 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-27-2018, 04:41 PM
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He's not close, but you might talk to MadMikey about it; he's done the most hardcore rust resto I've ever seen. (Grandma's Car, IIRC.)

He can at least give you useful advice.

He may read this and think "Grog6 is such an asshole..."



I'm down for investing in disassembling one to 3d scan; I want a sintered titanium MN12, and we can upgrade certain parts while it's in Solidworks.

Rework the K-member, Make the IRS bushings match the still available Mustang bushings, move the dash bracing to make the heater core come out easier; I can think of several upgrades.

A nice, thick 'frame' a la built in frame bracing setup would be nice.

Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
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post #18 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-27-2018, 05:36 PM
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+1 talking to Mike. He got me a lot of parts and info when I was working on the SC that I would have been SOL without. Plus Id say he knows these cars as much as the people who designed them.
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Ellie: 1989 Tbird SC, r̶e̶s̶t̶o̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶n̶e̶w̶ ̶d̶a̶i̶l̶y̶. off the deep end
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post #19 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-27-2018, 07:06 PM
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Call the boys down at Skunk Works, they should be able to help.

I drive an endangered species...they are being crushed at an alarming rate. Please do your part to preserve the Cougar species, and ensure they live on into the future.

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post #20 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-27-2018, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I'd feel comfortable trusting him and his assessment of things. Looks like he's ~7.5 hours from here one way, very doable driving. I'll leave it up to him as far as whether it's something he'd consider doing; I know he recently opened a shop so I'm sure he's plenty busy with that.

In the meantime I'm keeping my options open back here. At least I see the writing on the wall, so regardless of the outcome I'll be prepared for it.

-Brandon
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post #21 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-28-2018, 07:45 PM
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So since my name was thrown out there, I guess I better chime in. First of all, I am a great mechanic, but I am by no means an expert body man. I understand the processes and the work involved, and I can do some basic body work, but most of the progress on my Cougar came from paying someone else to do it, and I am not a skilled enough body man or welder to tackle this type of job in any reasonable timeframe. I was lucky enough to find someone who was capable of doing the work, and that was great until he flaked out and stopped returning my calls and text messages. That car has now been sitting in pieces for several years now because it is so hard to find people willing and able to tackle the job and do it properly, unless you are prepared to pay full restoration prices, and shelling out 5-10 times a car’s resale value in rust repairs is a hard pill to swallow, so you have to figure out how much value in dollars that sentiment is worth to you. That being said, as long as it is caught before it gets too far, rocker rust is usually easier to repair properly than some of what I was dealing with. The seam where the rocker and quarter meet is a common problem area, and is very difficult if not impossible to reproduce the factory setup, but the good news is that seam is not structural, so there are options for that. The inner rocker dusting out is also not necessarily fatal, as long as it has not spread too far into the seam where the inner rocker, the inner quarter, and the floor meet. Wherever you have multiple layers of metal stacked together and spot welded through, if rust gets in there it is very difficult and time consuming to eradicate it. I would be happy to look at it and give you my opinion and advice, but I am not the one to do the actual repairs, so keep that in mind before making a 14hr round trip. I think starting with some pictures is probably best, possibly followed by some exploratory surgery removing the outer rocker panel and maybe the interior quarter trim panels and pulling back the carpet to see just what you have to deal with inside.
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post #22 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-28-2018, 08:05 PM
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OK, I'll chime in on this because I figure that I may as well inject some different kind of thinking into this conversation.

First thing is first; the car as it stands is a total loss, right?

OK, assuming that is the case, there is nothing you can do to it to make it worse. You're a young guy and you're into these cars (for some odd reason).

Let's do some quick math:

Hobart Handler Welder - ~$600
MIG Welding Gas - ~$150
Sheet Metal - ~$100
Miscellaneous Tools (i.e. Harbor Freight) - ~$100

Less than $1000 total and you'll have tools and skills to reuse all of this.

Just try to figure it out yourself. The internet and YouTube are a treasure trove of information on this kind of thing. Your investment is relatively small and, if you aren't successful, the only loss you'll really have is the car itself and you've already lost that.

There is a learning opportunity here. Just find a place to do it and learn this stuff. That's what I've done in life and it's just not that bad.
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post #23 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-28-2018, 08:23 PM
No, Mr. Lemmywinks, No!!!

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I'm sorry if I put you on the spot, Mikey; but I trust your experience. Please don't hate me, you are an awesome guy.


You might look at the pix and KNOW it's not worth the hassle, even buying a welder and all.

I mean, If there's nothing to weld to, what can you do?



I would still love to disassemble a 'perfect' car, and scan it, with an aim toward 3d printing one.
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Red '96 Cougar XR-7 240k mi. '02 4R70W, PST DS : '03 PI engine, 04 maf, 24lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, '02 4r70w + Jmod, DirtyD0g TC + cooler + 3/8" lines, 255 walbro fp. Alpine system.
Black '96 Cougar XR-7 (Lazarus) 210k mi PI Intake, '02 4R70W, Jmod, PST DS, GrogTune, Konis, Mark LCA+Poly, racecougar Custom Engine Chain, and JL and racecougar Bracing.
Black '97 Tbird Limited Edition, '02 4R70W, 255 walbro, PST DS, PBR Brakes&SS lines, Toicko Blues & Springs, GrogTune.


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Truth Isn't Truth. - Rudy Giuliani, 2018 Award winner, “Most Outrageous Diversion” by MSNBC for this quote
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post #24 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-28-2018, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
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....

I mean, If there's nothing to weld to, what can you do?
....
There's always something to weld to.
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post #25 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-28-2018, 09:41 PM
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Buying a weld machine does not make you a welder. LOL … takes a lot of time to learn how to properly manipulate metal. The best advice we give to aspiring welders at the weld shop is Practice, Practice, Practice. YouTube videos will not give you that hands on feel, and muscle memory is something you can only teach yourself. That being said, if you have a piece of junk Tbird to use as a practice medium, go for it.
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post #26 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-28-2018, 09:46 PM
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No worries Greg, we’re all here to try to help one another out, right?

Let me tell a little story that relates here. First of all, in my family, we have a lot of what we call “darmoks” (which, for everyone except grog and myself, is a reference to a Star Trek TNG episode where they encounter an alien race who only communicates by analogy). This story has become one of them. When I was 16, I had just gotten my 91 Cougar, in non-running condition, and with over 200k miles on it. I was a kid who didn’t know the first thing about cars, but I wanted my car to be fast, and my grandfather had had some hot rods way back in the day, so I figured I would ask him all my questions. Can I supercharge or turbocharge my car? What about changing the heads and cam? How about swapping in a big block? Or an old Mopar 426 hemi? T-tops are cool, could I make those work on my car? What about making fiberglass body panels? Could I do this? Or that? The list went on. One day while I was asking him all these stupid noob questions, he hands me the tin bottle cap from his beer and says “Michael, if you wanted to, with enough time and money and effort, you could take that bottle cap and convert it into a 747 jet airplane. The problem is, at some point along the way, you would likely realize that it would be easier, faster, and cheaper to just buy yourself a 747”. So now, whenever someone in my family is taking on a daunting task that is in all likelihood going to be a waste of time and money and effort, and where any sensible person outside the situation would point toward a cheaper and easier way, we say they are making a 747 out of a bottle cap.

Make no mistake about it, repairing rust on one of these cars is just such an exercise. You can ship a car from California for under $1000. Complete running and driving rust-free cars can be purchased from CA for $1500 all day long. You can even buy very nice low mileage ones that need nothing for $3000. You will spend more than that just for a decent paint job, let alone the rust repair work. Literally the only reason to fix a rusted MN12 is sentimental value, which can not be replaced with another car.

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
-90 SC Automatic rustbucket winter beater
-97 Tbird Sport 4.6 Nice weather daily driver
-"Your buddy Mike is INSANE!" -ClintD's dad
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post #27 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-28-2018, 09:56 PM
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No worries Greg, we’re all here to try to help one another out.....
Your point is spot on. To add to your point, a saying that I came up with another car/IT buddy is "If you do the math there is nothing worth doing". Case in point, these cars. There is nothing special about them and practically everything we do to them does nothing to enhance their value or the desire of others to have them. Everything we do is difficult to do and doesn't net out a lot of gain when compared to other cars. The math says that doing anything at all with this platform isn't worth doing if you look at it from the angle of what value there is in the car itself.

That being said, my suggestion about getting a welder is based on the ideal that by learning to do fabrication and having a foundation on which to learn is the thing that makes the math work. What you learn by doing this is something that transfers to any project that comes along. This isn't to be confused with being a master welder or a master mechanic or a master anything. The odds are that you are doing this as a hobby and learning seems to be part of that hobby. Otherwise, the math says that none of this is worth doing.
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"When the only tool you have is a hammer, suddenly everything looks like a nail."
"Nothing is foolproof because fools are so ingenious."
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post #28 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-28-2018, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Mike hit the nail on the head... if it was merely a "fun car" to drive in the summer, I wouldn't care much about replacing it with a rust free chassis and moving the parts over. But this particular vehicle does have such a sentimental attachment, for a variety of reasons, which is why I'm willing to sink in several grand over the value of the car to keep it going. Is there a point at which I'll give up? Yes... but I'm not certain I've gotten there yet.

My perception of the amount of rust to fix is that it's not past the point of no return, so I'm going to be seeking second opinions. The floor pan and shock towers are solid, so in my estimation it's a matter of how far back we have to peel the lid to get rid of the remnants of what's been going on that's not immediately apparent.

I'm fine with a soldering iron, but a welder... scares me lol. I've tried a few things with paint in the past (e.g. the 94 Cougar) but I've come to the conclusion that I just don't have the patience or long-term motivation to undertake body work personally. Could I learn under the right circumstances? Probably, but I have a hard enough time motivating myself to do anything aside from rotate the tires and change the oil anymore.
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-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 159k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
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post #29 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-28-2018, 10:17 PM
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Mike hit the nail on the head... if it was merely a "fun car" to drive in the summer, I wouldn't care much about replacing it with a rust free chassis and moving the parts over. But this particular vehicle does have such a sentimental attachment, for a variety of reasons, which is why I'm willing to sink in several grand over the value of the car to keep it going. Is there a point at which I'll give up? Yes... but I'm not certain I've gotten there yet.

My perception of the amount of rust to fix is that it's not past the point of no return, so I'm going to be seeking second opinions. The floor pan and shock towers are solid, so in my estimation it's a matter of how far back we have to peel the lid to get rid of the remnants of what's been going on that's not immediately apparent.

I'm fine with a soldering iron, but a welder... scares me lol. I've tried a few things with paint in the past (e.g. the 94 Cougar) but I've come to the conclusion that I just don't have the patience or long-term motivation to undertake body work personally. Could I learn under the right circumstances? Probably, but I have a hard enough time motivating myself to do anything aside from rotate the tires and change the oil anymore.
You're only about 2 1/2 hours from me. It's a bit of a drive just to shoot the shit but if you ever want to come by and see where I am and the kind of things I've done to one of these things I'm open to it.
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"When the only tool you have is a hammer, suddenly everything looks like a nail."
"Nothing is foolproof because fools are so ingenious."
1992 Ford Thunderbird SC

Coast High Peformance 347 Stroker
-Low Tension Oil Rings, Zero Gap Seconds
-10.5:1 Compression Ratio
Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads
Trick Flow Stage 1 cam
Trick Flow Street Heat Intake
Mac 1 5/8 long tube headers
FRPP 42# injectors
3.27 gears
Custom aluminum driveshaft
M5R2
Burned Chip for SN95 T4M0 ECM
OMGHI2U

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post #30 of 52 (permalink) Old 12-28-2018, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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I have thought about that in the past, I've seen a few of the things you've done with the 93 and it had me thinking about more things I should (need to) do on mine. My wife and I regularly hit Columbus to visit some shops near where she stayed while she was in vet school. I did all my flight training down at Vinton County and I still visit the airport and the Hocking Hills area a few times a year, so I'm pretty familiar with the route.
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-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 159k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
98 Black Mark VIII 150k, stock daily driver
07 Redfire Fusion V6 SEL 176k, for the wife
Gone but not forgotten: 96 Mark VIII, 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

TCCoA's resident pilot since 2014
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the world with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci
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