North American Turbocoupe Organization



88 TC Restoration
88chickentc Offline
Junior Member
#1
I've been meaning to start a thread to document the work I'll be doing on my 88 Turbocoupe.  I bought the car in 1994 and used it as a daily driver until 2008.  She has about $173k on her right now.  Even though I was pretty diligent about underbody washes the whole time I ran her, she has some pretty substantial rust on the RF and LR frame rails.  Seeing as those are the critical repairs needed, that's where I'm starting.  

First step was to get plenty of measurements.  Check the distances between frame reference points and compare them to the shop manual measurements.  If discrepancies, document them.  Mine were dead on.  I also took measurements from various points on the frame rail to the floor and recorded them.  It's important not to move the car until all welding is complete so your references are valid.  I also braced the fender apron the to opposite frame reil to minimize shiftin.  


I found replacement frame rails for Fox Mustangs on LMR.com.  LMR RF Frame Rail  They are made by a company called Fox Rails.  I have compared them to my rail, and they are very close dimensionally.  I think the new one was 1/8" shorter, but almost all the holes were dead-on for a TBird.  I recall having to move one hole (which required plugging an existing hole).  The kit is 12 and 14 guage metal--same as factory.  

I have cut out the old rail with spot-weld cutters on a drill motor.  The Blair cutter was very good through Amazon, but the HF cutters worked better in some spots.  Here are a few pics to show you what's going on.  

I don't think it'll be warm enough to work in my shop til 2/19/2021, but I'll try to post an update if I make some progress.


Attached Files Image(s)
           
1931 Deluxe Coupe
1949 Club Coupe
1952 F-1
1971 Torino GT Convertible
1988 Thunderbird Turbocoupe
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#2
(02-12-2021, 11:32 PM)88chickentc Wrote: I've been meaning to start a thread to document the work I'll be doing on my 88 Turbocoupe.  I bought the car in 1994 and used it as a daily driver until 2008.  She has about $173k on her right now.  Even though I was pretty diligent about underbody washes the whole time I ran her, she has some pretty substantial rust on the RF and LR frame rails.  Seeing as those are the critical repairs needed, that's where I'm starting.  

First step was to get plenty of measurements.  Check the distances between frame reference points and compare them to the shop manual measurements.  If discrepancies, document them.  Mine were dead on.  I also took measurements from various points on the frame rail to the floor and recorded them.  It's important not to move the car until all welding is complete so your references are valid.  I also braced the fender apron the to opposite frame reil to minimize shiftin.  


I found replacement frame rails for Fox Mustangs on LMR.com.  LMR RF Frame Rail  They are made by a company called Fox Rails.  I have compared them to my rail, and they are very close dimensionally.  I think the new one was 1/8" shorter, but almost all the holes were dead-on for a TBird.  I recall having to move one hole (which required plugging an existing hole).  The kit is 12 and 14 guage metal--same as factory.  

I have cut out the old rail with spot-weld cutters on a drill motor.  The Blair cutter was very good through Amazon, but the HF cutters worked better in some spots.  Here are a few pics to show you what's going on.  

I don't think it'll be warm enough to work in my shop til 2/19/2021, but I'll try to post an update if I make some progress.

First off, let me commend you on your task at hand. I grew up in Western PA so I know all too well the damage those winters exact on vehicles there. Many would just pass on this project and let the car join the others in the boneyard. My feeling—shared by many here, no doubt you as well—is that each of us individually have a duty to save as many Turbo Coupes from the crusher as we can.

It’s not going to be an easy job, but you seem to be prepared for its challenges. I notice in your signature that you also own—amongst others—a 1931 Deluxe Coupe and a 1949 Club Coupe. Bravo and kudos to you.
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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88chickentc Offline
Junior Member
#3
I've gotten a little done since the first post.  There was a little bit of welding to prep the new rail.  I had to weld the bumper bracket and towing hook reinforcement inside the rail.  Both should be plenty strong.  Two pieces of 12 ga steel should be good. 
   

The most difficult thing to this point has been fabricating a strut tower patch.  I found some 16 ga sheet at the hardware store and formed it into the rough shape with a coupld of relief cuts and the shot bag and mallet.  I planned to butt weld it to the original strut tower, but the 16 ga was too hard to work with.  If you look close, you'll see some pretty substantial gaps.  That wasn't going to do for strength.  

     

So, I cut myself a 2-1/2" strip to reinforce the weld and ran a belt/gusset over my original but weld.  That should hold it.  I'm not the prettiest welder, but good use of a die grinder masks many flaws.  I'm pretty happy with the fit so far, and think it'll be plenty strong.

   
1931 Deluxe Coupe
1949 Club Coupe
1952 F-1
1971 Torino GT Convertible
1988 Thunderbird Turbocoupe
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Kuch Offline
Senior Member
#4
88, Nice work so far, you have yourself a project there for sure. Keep up with the pics as you move forward as it is a great reference for the rest of us. Also, I would love to see a pic of your Club Coupe, those are one of the best looking shoebox Fords ever, does it still have the flatty in it?
1988 Turbo Coupe, Black/Black, 5 Speed, Moonroof,  T3/T4 50 trim, ported E6, 255LPH, Kirban, 3" DP dual 2.5" w Hooker Maxflows, MGW shifter, K&N, Gillis valve, RR cam, Koni's
1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL, 390 6V, Big Solid cam, Headers,3.89's, 4 Speed, Vast and fast
1960 Ford Starliner, 292 Y Block, 312 4bbl intake, headers, 3 Speed, slow and low
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88chickentc Offline
Junior Member
#5
(03-17-2021, 11:18 AM)Kuch Wrote: 88, Nice work so far, you have yourself a project there for sure. Keep up with the pics as you move forward as it is a great reference for the rest of us. Also, I would love to see a pic of your Club Coupe, those are one of the best looking shoebox Fords ever, does it still have the flatty in it?

Kuch: the 49 isn't much to look at.  That's my next project after the TBird has new paint.  I agree it's a nice looking car.  I'm thinking a mild custom.  I've never chopped a car before, but I think 1-1/2" would be nice and subtle.  This is a picture from the online add and she hasn't changed much.  I've had a few look at me like I'm crazy, but the metal work is my favorite part.  So I'll have many happy days saving this one.

I did sand blast a wheel and paint it last week.  So that looks pretty good.  I have to get some good tires on it so I can roll it out of the chicken house and into the shop.


Attached Files Image(s)
   
1931 Deluxe Coupe
1949 Club Coupe
1952 F-1
1971 Torino GT Convertible
1988 Thunderbird Turbocoupe
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Kuch Offline
Senior Member
#6
Man, if that car were in that kind of shape up here in NY, it would be like finding gold! It is a good start for a resto, I can see a nice old school Y Block or an early FE in there if your going mild custom. I like it
1988 Turbo Coupe, Black/Black, 5 Speed, Moonroof,  T3/T4 50 trim, ported E6, 255LPH, Kirban, 3" DP dual 2.5" w Hooker Maxflows, MGW shifter, K&N, Gillis valve, RR cam, Koni's
1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL, 390 6V, Big Solid cam, Headers,3.89's, 4 Speed, Vast and fast
1960 Ford Starliner, 292 Y Block, 312 4bbl intake, headers, 3 Speed, slow and low
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88chickentc Offline
Junior Member
#7
(03-18-2021, 11:45 AM)Kuch Wrote: Man, if that car were in that kind of shape up here in NY, it would be like finding gold! It is a good start for a resto, I can see a nice old school Y Block or an early FE in there if your going mild custom. I like it

Just saw you have a '60 Starliner.  My dad always talks about his 60 Sunliner.  Do you have a pic of it?  

As for the flattie.  It does have one.  I just don't know if it's any good yet.  That's a job for sometime the next year.
1931 Deluxe Coupe
1949 Club Coupe
1952 F-1
1971 Torino GT Convertible
1988 Thunderbird Turbocoupe
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Kuch Offline
Senior Member
#8
It's an older pic, but it still looks the same, lowered 2", 292 Y Block with a 57 312 intake and 4bbl carb, 3 speed, straight pipes. It has been in my garage for about 4 years now and I really need to get it out this summer.Yes, that is me back in 2006.


Attached Files Image(s)
   
1988 Turbo Coupe, Black/Black, 5 Speed, Moonroof,  T3/T4 50 trim, ported E6, 255LPH, Kirban, 3" DP dual 2.5" w Hooker Maxflows, MGW shifter, K&N, Gillis valve, RR cam, Koni's
1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL, 390 6V, Big Solid cam, Headers,3.89's, 4 Speed, Vast and fast
1960 Ford Starliner, 292 Y Block, 312 4bbl intake, headers, 3 Speed, slow and low
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88chickentc Offline
Junior Member
#9
Looks good. Try and get her out. She deserves it.
1931 Deluxe Coupe
1949 Club Coupe
1952 F-1
1971 Torino GT Convertible
1988 Thunderbird Turbocoupe
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88chickentc Offline
Junior Member
#10
Had a good morning working on the frame this morning.  If I didn't get it right, it's too late to turnback now.  

I verified my measurements, and proceeded to burn all the spotwelds from the new rail to the body, strut tower, and radiator supports.  I'm very happy with the quality of this kit from Fox Rails.  If any of you guys are in a similar spot but are afraid of the welding, I'm guessing that if you buy the parts yourself, disassemble as much as you can, you could find someone to do the structural work for $1500-2000.  Not saying that's cheap, but thought I'd throw it out there.  

This first shot is to show you the crush tubes mounted inside the frame.  The kit closely matches the factory set-up.  The crush tubes are fully welded to a 12 ga plate, and then that is spotwelded to the 14 ga frame rail.  It's pretty stout.  My next head scratcher is figuring out the best way to weld the top of the crush tubes to the horizontal top plate that rests inside the strut tower.  I might need to auger out the holes in the top plate 1/8" in some spots to get at clear shot at the crush tubes.  You can also see my spotwelds through the rail and into the strut tower flanges.  I'm no engineer, but I'm thinking these are critical for strength.  You'll also notice the burn marks from the welds I did inside the engine compt through the rail and into the body of the strut tower.  
   

The other shots are from the engine compartment side.  You can see the spot weld locations.  I had to add to my clamp collection to make this work.  The U-clamps from HF were critical for getting a good fit into the firewall bracket at the back of the rail.  Standard c-clamps did not have a deep enough throat.
       

Next up is welding the top plates in, fixing the rust on the rad support, and then a front steering/suspension refresh.  
1931 Deluxe Coupe
1949 Club Coupe
1952 F-1
1971 Torino GT Convertible
1988 Thunderbird Turbocoupe
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