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S197 CaptKaos' 2011 S197 LS Swap Build Thread Profile - S197 Mustangs

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Bill Pemberton

0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror
8,560
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Blair, Nebraska
Not the first choice of a swap for many here , ha, but so cool to work together with your daughter on this project. Those of us who have had great experiences with our kids and cars can tell you the rewards of working and racing together are hard to fathom. Still racing with my son, and he has worked on cars with me since he was 5, so I count almost 35 years of father/son car camaraderie! I am sure you will find the same rewards with your daughter and welcome to TMO.
 
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I expect to be in the minority here, but I have collection of LS engines (currently 7) so they are practically free at this point. I probably won't be the most popular one here and probably won't make anyone happy but if she is happy I and I can get her involved, that is what matters to me. The one going in her's is one I bought with only 64K on it.

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Bill Pemberton

0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror
8,560
8,679
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Blair, Nebraska
We have another member ( PatientZero ) with this type of engine swap and I have to bet he will chime in concerning your project also. Heh, I am a positive kind of guy, so I figure you are doing at least 50% of a good job, haha. Enjoy the Labor Day Weekend.
 
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This started 2 years ago when my daughter started getting more interested in Trucks/Cars. (I own 8 73-87 C10s) She started pointing out Camaro's, Challengers and Mustangs. In the beginning she couldn't tell which was which and I could trick her by calling Camaro's Mustangs, Mustangs Camaro's etc. Eventually she knew the difference but then it was hard to tell which model she liked or which years. Color was easy, she wanted Grabber Blue. I finally figured out that it was 2010-2014 S197's. By this time she started paying more attention at the local Cruise-ins. I was trying to sway her from such newer model vehicles because Sports Cars and teenagers aren't cheap and she was hitting high dollar options.
Then the unfortunate happened, she got interested in an older car. To my misfortune she now wanted a 1964-1969 Mustang Fastback after seeing the attached.

I finally got her off of that kick because Even I being a GM guy would want one of those and I am not going to put a 16 year old in a $50K car from the late 60's. So I talked to by Mustang buddies and they directed me to focus on the 2011-2014 version as the V6 had the same axle as the V8, had 300hp and was in their opinion a better starting point. And yes a Coyote was in play up until June of this year. Now I was on the hunt for a 2011-2014 Mustang V6 in Grabber Blue that essentially was tired and someone was tired of.

@TMSBOSS answers coming soon as I catch this thread up..

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In November 2021 browsing Marketplace I stubbled across a 2011 Mustang V6/auto (she started out wanting a manual) for sale. Price was higher than what I wanted to pay but it had high mileage, wasn't perfect, but was Grabber Blue. As MarketPlace goes, it disappeared and reappeared a few times, each time lower in price. In mid January 2022 it got to a price I was more willing to actually look, so as my normal buying plans I found some friends that HATE the cars I am interested in as they will have no attachment to it and they will tear it apart. This has been a successful strategy so...
We went and looked, the owner was young and driving this 45 minutes one way to work and I thought ok it should be ok, so I drove the car around the block and it was HORRIBLE.
When I got back I ask the girl if her father new she was driving a car like this to work everyday? Rattles, squeaks, popping bumping shaking etc. It was bad. If he was there I probably would have had a talk with him.. But she was own her own and this was just a way back and for to work. It was not a Mustang to her, it was a way to work.
I offered her much lower than asking price and she said she would need to think about it.
3 days later she called and asked if I was still interested and if my offer was cash. ( I was looking more as my daughters 15 birthday was approaching and I wanted one in possession prior) I told her that I had found a few more in better shape and told her what my cash offer would be at that time (lower that original) and I wouldn't pick the car apart, I would just come get the car and hand her cash. She said come get it. A buddy of mine picked it up and hid it at his house until it was no longer an option to hide from my daughter.
 
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At the end of January I presented the following to my daughter for her Project giving us 12 months to get it ready. 4 to drive and get used to it and 8 for me to completely destroy a running driving car.
We did nothing to the car during the time it was hidden. This is what she received: Busted taillight (this was expensive) messed up front bumper (front AND rear hits), ripped off Vent shades (was that a thing) fur all over the inside and cloth seats that were NASTY. But it it moved under its own power and everything worked. The tires were new (4K miles) and a new EPAS rack.

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Before every buying the car I new I was going to put a K-member in it so I bought an AJE universal for a 2011-2014. Once home, the first weekend she and I pulled the seats out of the interior and started cleaning out all the junk, dog hair etc. Vacuum, scrub brushes and tooth brush cleaning ensued.
The car had 253K miles on it. I actually found track slips in it from where the original owner raced it.

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Second week of February we started Round 2 of cleaning on the cloth seats. It was disgusting. I am actually looking for leather or faux leather seats for it.
Steam Cleaner, Scrub brushes, Upholstery Cleaning ensued (best of what we could do with what I had. I went after the left over tape from the Vent shades and got all that junk off also.
You can't tell how much better the seats are, but this is the same front passenger seat and it was a HUGE difference. We actually cleaned them a second time after this.

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During this time the rear of the car was making some strange noises that sounded like rear axle Roar or a seriously bound caliper. It was weird. I also found a rear passenger taillight at the local Ford Dealership along with an antennae. MAN that taillight list price was HIGH, I was able to get a discount but sheesh. This got installed along with the antennae.
I eliminated the caliper/brakes as being the issues but since I knew the car was going to get a V8, it was time to go through the axle and replace everything and put a Ford LSD and new Ford 3.31 gears in. So we took got the car on jackstands to remove the rear axle since the parts were in the next day.

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Buddy called the next day and told us that he wasn't ready for the axle so we started on working on the paint. When we got the car it appeared to have mud all on one side of the car and it hadn't been washed since we got it. So we spent the day washing the car, twice. Once to get the dirt off and once to clean the car. My daughter actually thought the wheels were darker until we washed the car. You can see the "mud" was apparently paint and it was down the whole passenger side of the car. I also went after the vent shade residue for the final time.

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The following week she drive the car some (learners permit) to get more used to it but it was finally time to pull the axle for a rebuild. We pulled it out and send it off.

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During the time the car was stuck we went to town on cleaning up the paint. Mike Phillips my friend from ShowCarGarage is my go to on paint issues and he told me to try Goof Off, WD40, Paint Thinner, Any type of orange citrus solvent, Tar and Sap remover – Stoners. We started with the first and I skipped straight to the paint thinner, and got all the splattered paint off the car. Out on the back was what he described as "Artillery Fungus" that I hit with Goo-Gone and a plastic razor Blade, effectively. Then we put a quick detail wax on the car since I was NOT being nice to the paint

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After taking longer that what was promised on the rear axle rebuild and it being done by the place that I dropped it off (that I didn't want doing it) NOT by buddy I picked it up and had issues with them providing an invoice for payment. I got the axle back in that Friday night in time for the 4th Saturday Cruise-in sadly my daughter wasn't able to make it but the car did and I parked by my twin brothers Camaro.

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The next couple weeks she was driving the car as much as she could. The suspension was still making noise so I started researching replacement parts. We also took a weekend to learn how to wash and buff the car. We ended up washing and claying the car and then she did some areas but I did the majority. It made a big difference but I need to go over it again and get a little more aggressive with it. You can see some deep scratches on the roof along with the back of the car.

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Previously I was researching suspension pieces and planned on just updating the bushings and the other wear parts along with new aftermaket BMR camber plates and Koni shocks. All that had came in but since 4th Saturday Cruise-in was fast approaching again, she wanted to drive it to the cruise in before we took it to the shop to do this. So she got her wish.

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This is where it gets interesting and sadly I don't have pictures, but... I dropped the car off with the new aftermarket suspension bushings along with other components (keeping in mind I have NO clue about a S197 Mustang) I talk to the guy and he see what I have and says no problem. I leave the car with him on the last Wednesday of April. The following week 10 days later the call and say it is ready but I didn't think I could make it there in time so I have a friend pick it up who knows the owner. I go to his house ask if it drove ok and if there were any noise and he says I don't know the owner just dropped it off here. I open the truck and every bushing is still in the trunk! I look at the reciept and I have just bought replacement LCA's front and rear, rear UCA and have a Large bill.. I drive the car and it is still making the same clunking noises in the rear but the popping noise from the front is gone. I drive to the shop right before they close (yea I was that guy) and talk to the manager (owner left for the day) and the get the tech and I ask what was going on why wasnt I called? I got all my used parts and the manager told me to come back Monday.
Monday I come back talk to the owner and he said the factory ball joints were shot and it was going to be way cheaper to replace the whole thing than for him to charge labor to remove all the bushings and put them back in. I told him that I could get BMR Control arms with bushings that are much simpler to replace for less. Luckily for me he was a car guy too and he told me you order them and I will install them and return what you have.. So I ordered from BMR and he lined it up and now all the noise was gone.

EXCEPT now I am right under 400 miles on the new axle rebuild and on the way home the suspension is WAY better but now the rear end it whining on accel and decel..

I take the car back to them (they asked me to remove it and bring it back) and told them they need to ride in it. He does with me and he notices within 1/2 mile it is making noise on accel/decel... BAD. I told him it was due to him setting it up and he needs to fix it. We have a gentlemanly disagreement since he thinks he did my buddy a favor and it is by buddies issue. Of which I show him the reciept of where he did the work for me... I tell him I am going to call my buddy and he said he was also. As for him to fix it I would have to remove it from the car again, of which I told him he could redo all of it in the car and he disagreed.

Many phone calls and weekend later apparently said shop owner tells by buddy that he thought it was an IRS axle which is why he wanted me to pull it, of which I told owner I pulled it to save me money, and that savings is gone. He told me to give him 2 weeks tops to get a rack free and he would call me to bring the car. 2 weeks go by and no call, from him. I call my go to guy for axle work, he orders the parts (thanks pandemic) 2 weeks later it comes in and I drop the car off and he fixes it. He then tells me whomever build this put ZERO backlash on it and he suggest whomever it was to never let them touch another axle or learn on someone else stuff. I leave his shop and it is quiet as a mouse. Sadly I had to get new bearings and new gears as these were chewed up. The next Monday my buddy calls to say the shop that screwed it up has time to fix it now. I told him I'll pass...
 
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This brings us to the beginning on June. The whole time we owned the car the door inserts were BAD. My daughter wanted blue to match so we ordered some and attempted to install them. They look ok in the pictures and 10 feet away but being OCD and a perfectionist they look like crap, but they do look better than before.

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All of June and the first week of July, my daughter has been my wife and I's personal escort service driving whatever vehicle she can. The second week of July I attend a big Chevy Truck show SETN. The 4L60E in my twin brothers Turbo Truck starts slipping and he leaves it at my house for us to pull apart when we get back so we can swap to a 4L80E, so before I leave I put the Mustang behind it in the driveway so she can drive it without being blocked in. Upon my return 3 days later apparently it didn't get driven and we had some bad storms and now the roof and drivers door has some nice dents in it.

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