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Project Blue Collar: Fox Body Mustang Restoration

Created by Jeff Jimenez
Last Updated 12/10/2016

Watch us completely restore a 1988 Fox Body Mustang GT! Check out video & tech articles to see how you can do the same thing from your own driveway.

Viewing this install and using the information shared is subject to the terms set forth here - View the LMR Install Instructions Disclaimer.

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I know you have all seen the Craigslist and Forum post about a Fox Body Mustang that reads something like this: Fox Body Mustang Cheap -- Won’t Start. Many times these types of projects can be a nightmare but sometimes they can be a diamond in the rough. That is what we found in Project Blue Collar. The wiring, interior and exterior were all in place; just not in the best of conditions. We plan to pull from many of our 5.0Resto parts and completely restore this 1988 Mustang GT.

With the help of 5.0Resto and LMR.com’s complete line of Fox Body Restoration videos and parts, you too can take a “won’t start” or “doesn’t run” Fox Body and turn it into a running “gem”! We intend to show you exactly what it took to completely turn this new Project Car into a running, driving, performing Fox Body Mustang. We will do our best to show you just about every step in the process. There won’t be the “Lets install this part” and tada--- it magically installed itself during the transition.

Project Blue Collar: Fox Body Mustang Restoration  - Fox Body Mustang Restoration Project

We won’t you to know about and see the issues we faced during this full on project car. This was very evident in Stage 1. Going into stage 1, we thought we would get away with a simple fuel pump install and filter change. Boy were we wrong! Future stages include new upholstery, interior upgrades, performance upgrades, 5 lug conversion, a new set of wheels and more.

Check out the full build below as we take this Regatta Blue Fox Body Mustang from pushing it around the shop to burning out in our parking lot! We have some really BIG plans with this Mustang. So be sure to check back often and follow us on social media to stay up-to-date on our project cars. Comment below on what you would do to this Fox Body Mustang!

Stage 1: Fuel & Ignition System Upgrades

Project Blue Collar: Fox Body Mustang Restoration  - Fox Body Restoration Fuel & Ignition Systems

Before we could do anything with Project Blue Collar, we had to get it moving under its own power! Pushing a Fox Body Mustang around the garage with no power steering fluid and a full tank of couple year old gas was getting tiring. So Stage 1 was going to be strictly a complete fuel system overhaul that included a new fuel pump and fuel filter. As soon as we removed the gas tank from our Fox Body Mustang we quickly discovered Stage 1 of Project Blue Collar would be more than simple fuel pump install.

We found that the fuel tank baffles had broken lose and torn the fuel sock off the pump. The fuel level sending unit was also damaged by the baffles. Because we had complete failure, we turned to 5.0Resto and picked up a new fuel tank, new pump bracket, fuel level sending unit and vapor valve seal. For the pump we turned to BBK and picked up one of their 255 Fuel Pumps. To finish off the install we picked up a 5.0Resto fuel filler neck grommet and filler pipe to trunk floor seal. Lastly we used a Motorcraft fuel filter because we were sure the old one was full of lacquered old fuel.

After the fuel system upgrade was complete Blue Collar fired right up; however, it revealed yet another set back! It had a TFI module failure that led to rough idle and poor performance. This again made us extended Stage 1 out to include a full ignition system upgrade. We turned to the PDI (Performance Distributor) complete 5.0L Performance Ignition Kit to solve our entire ignition system problem. After this installation was complete, Project Blue Collar was roasting tires in no time – evidence can be seen in our Harlem Shake Video!

How To Remove 83-97 Mustang Fuel/Gas Tank

Here at Late Model Restoration, we are passionate about the Mustang hobby and we want to see it grow. We also want to share our vast Mustang knowledge with you. In an effort to help you with your Mustang project car, we have developed a full line of Mustang how to videos and tech articles. In the video above you will f... more

Project Blue Collar: Mustang Fuel System Upgrades

Project cars don’t always go the way you planned. That was the case with Project Blue Collar right out of the gate! We thought this would be a simple replace the fuel pump and filter would allow our new project Fox Body Mustang to get back on the road in no time. Since we don’t have x-ray vision we couldn’t see the dam... more

83-97 Mustang Fuel Filter Install

When was the last time you replaced your 83-97 Mustang Fuel Filter? Watch our video as we show you how to replace your Mustang fuel filter. Replacing your fuel filter should be part of your regular maintenance schedule. Over time your Mustang fuel filter can become clogged with particles and dirt that can rob your valu... more

Project Blue Collar Mustang Ignition System Upgrades

Shortly after replacing Project Blue Collar’s fuel system we found that the ignition system was also in need of a complete overhauling. So Stage 1 continued on with a full ignition system restoration step. We found the ignition issue ended up being a TFI module problem. This gave us the perfect opportunity to install o... more

Stage 2: Fox Body Mustang Tuning

With the fuel system and ignition systems completely replaced on our project Fox Body Mustang it was time to make sure we optimized its performance with some “free” tuning! One of the best things about owning a Fox Body Mustang is the fact that you don’t need a tuner or performance chip to improve your performance. Advancing timing and improving idle can be done in your garage for free!

After installing a distributor you need to also check your timing. Setting your timing is key to maximizing your performance and drivability. That is why we created the video below! Watch as we show you how to properly set the timing on a 5.0L V8 Mustang. We were able to advance the timing and free up some extra horsepower in Project Blue Collar.

Project Blue Collar was also experiencing an idle that was sitting a little bit higher than we wanted. Since it had an aftermarket throttle body on it, we suspected that the TPS (throttle position sensor) wasn’t adjusted properly. We created a video to show everyone how to properly adjust your TPS and while doing so we found that our project Fox Body Mustang needed some small adjustments. After the adjustments were complete our idle issues were solved.

Lastly we had a starting issue with Project Blue Collar that we traced back to an ignition switch. This is a common failure on Fox Body Mustangs so we figured we would highlight the installation on video. We also replaced the sunroof weatherstripping so we could park Blue Collar outside when we weren’t working on it. Stay tuned we have plenty more video and updates on the way!!

How To Time Your Mustang Ignition (86-93)

How To Time Your Mustang Ignition (86-93) Advancing the ignition timing on your Fox Mustang is one of the age old "free" horsepower mods. A timing light, a wrench, and a little bit of time will net you more power. Thats just one reason to adjust your timing. The other is if you've moved your distributor at all. If yo... more

86-04 Mustang TPS Voltage Adjustment Video

If you have some rough idling issues in your 86-04 Mustang, especially after replacing your throttle body, then you may need to replace or adjust your Throttle Position Sensor (TPS). Any time the TPS or throttle body is replaced it is critical to properly adjust your throttle position sensor to avoid idling issues. F... more

Mustang Starter Ignition Switch Install (79-93)

Fox Body Mustangs are notorious for faulty ignition switches. The factory ignition/starter switch is held together by a few crimps. Over the last 2+ decades, these crimps have become brittle and tend to break. When these crimps break, the ignition switch separates into two halves. Once this happens you get all kind... more

How To Install Fox Body Mustang Sunroof Weatherstrip (79-93)

A Fox Mustang with a factory installed sunroof will plague its owner by leaking at least once. This can wreak havoc on the headliner, upholstery, carpet, electrical connections ....... well just about the whole interior! While the carpet, upholstery, and electrical connections can be dried out, once the factory headlin... more

Stage 3: Upholstery & Interior Removal

Stage 3 of Project Blue Collar is our first step toward prepping our Fox Body Mustang for paint! The interior is nasty to say the least. We figured this was the perfect opportunity to remove the seats so we could get them ready for some upholstery work. In true LatemodelResto fashion, we decided to take the opportunity to show you how to remove your seats.

We were slightly torn on what we wanted to use for upholstery – factory replacement or something a little bit more custom. Once we saw the new TMI 03-04 Cobra Upholstery kits for Fox Body Mustangs we made our minds up. Lucky for us, Dean Satterfield from TMI decided to come visit us when the upholstery was delivered. Dean was even kind enough to jump on video to lend a hand with the installation. Watch our full installation video below.

We also took this time to fix a few broken parts such as inner door handles and hatch struts. In the next stage of Project Blue Collar we will be tackling some of the exterior tear down and prep work for paint!

How To Remove Fox Body Mustang Seats

Removing the seats from your Fox Body Mustang is a critical part of many interior restoration projects. These projects include upholstery and carpet installs. Removing the seats from your Stang is a easy task. Follow along in the video as Jmac shows you how to remove the factory seats from your coupe, hatchback or conv... more

Fox Mustang 03-04 Cobra Upholstery Install

Everybody needs a good support system. This is especially true when it comes to seating in your Mustang! Unfortunately the stock Mustang Seats are known to let you down. Until now, the only option was to replace the stock seats with an aftermarket style, such as Corbeau Mustang Seats. While this definitely isn't a pr... more

How To Remove Fox Body Door Panel | 87-93 Mustang

While removing the Door Panels on your 87-93 Mustang is a fairly straightforward process, it may seem a bit daunting to the uninitiated. At some point in time, all Fox Mustang owners will be faced with removing their Door Panels to replace Door Lock Actuators, Power Window Motors, or even to just hang a new set of Doo... more

79-93 Mustang Hatch Support Struts Install

If your Fox Body Mustang has worn out hatch struts then you are constantly living in danger of having the hatch slamming down on your head or other body parts. You don't have to live with this fear!! 5.0Resto replacement struts are the ultimate fix to this problem with almost all hatchback Stangs that still have factor... more

Mustang Inner Door Handle Install

With a not-so-durable plastic construction, the 79-93 Mustang inner door handles are well known for breakage and failure. The trim bezels that go over the inner door handles are even more prone to cracking and breaking and oftentimes are missing altogether. These 50Resto replacement handles are top quality and the best... more

Stage 4: Paint Prep Work

With the major interior components removed, it was time to turn to the exterior and prep it for paint. It was at this point we all got a little bit more excited about the project. The faded and peeling clear coat had been an eyesore since Project Blue Collar rolled into the garage.

The first step was to start removing the paneling, body components, and quarter windows. Since it was going into paint we figured it was time to upgrade the exterior with a 1993 Cobra body kit and replace the worn quarter windows. We also opted to paint this Fox Body with a custom pearl blue paint job.

You will find plenty of removal and installation videos below to help you prep your Fox Body Mustang for paint. We also took the time to repair the worn out door hinges while doing this work and decided to go with a 5.0Resto 5 lug conversion kit. Stay tuned because the next time you see blue collar we will be putting it back together after paint.

Project Blue Collar: Paint Prep

Since its introduction, Project Blue Collar has been through a lot to get it running under its own power. We installed a completely new fuel and ignition system on our project Fox Body Mustang. We also replaced a few other non-functioning components such as door handles, hatch struts and ignition switch. Now that it is... more

How To Install Mustang 5 Lug Conversion (79-93)

Fox Body 5 Lug Conversion Kit Info Ford Mustang 4 lug wheel options can be very limited for your 5.0L Stang and that is why we have been offering our complete Mustang 5 lug swap kit for years! Installing one of our Fox Body Mustang 5 lug conversion kits will open up a wide variety of aftermarket and factory wh... more

How To Install Fox Body Mustang Door Hinge Pin Kit (87-93)

How To Install Fox Body Mustang Door Hinge Pin Kit (87-93) Tools Needed for the Installation Jack and jack-stand Cutting Tool (Dremel) Hammer & punch Pillars Installation Instructions Using a shop towel, or something protective over the jack, gently jack up the very outside edge of your Mustang's door to ... more

How To Install Fox Body Mustang Lower Door Hinge Tension Spring (87-93)

Tired of having the door swing back at you when you open it? This is caused by a worn, broken or missing Mustang door hinge check spring, also known as tension spring. After years of use, abuse and weathering they finally lose all tension to help hold the door open. Replacing these hinge springs is easier than you thi... more

How To Install Mustang 93 Cobra Grill Insert (87-93)

How To Install 93 Cobra Grill Insert Install (87-93) A popular exterior mod for any 87-93 Fox Body Mustang is installing a 1993 Cobra grille insert by 5.0Resto. Not only does this grille insert add aggressive styling but it also improves airflow to your engine for improved cooling performance! It adds the unique looks... more

How To Install Fox Body Mustang GT Ground Effects Brackets (87-93)

If the ground effects, also known as side skirts, are sagging on your GT or Cobra model Fox Body Mustang, this is because the brackets have rusted through. Often these rust over time and become brittle and break. Many times you might not even recognize this problem until you go to remove the ground effects on your Must... more

Stage 5: Back From Paint

Project Blue Collar is back from paint! This stage in the build has been a mad rush to get our Fox Body Mustang build back together. We had plenty of to-dos and action items to take care of once Blue Collar was back in our garage. The bulk of these revolved around putting the exterior and interior back together.

To get the exterior back together, we turned to the 5.0Resto brand for all of our needs. We installed new 5.0Resto quarter windows, exterior renewal kit, headlights, tail lights (we were excited to see those clear tail lights go away), and weatherstripping. We gave this Fox Body Mustang an aggressive new look with the 93 Cobra conversion kit and SVE Drag Wheels.

Next up, we turned our attention to the interior. We found out that Project Blue Collar was originally and automatic car so we installed a 5.0Resto transmission tunnel hump before we installed the new ACC floor carpet. We also installed new hatch carpet and floor mats from ACC. With the carpet in place we installed our TMI 03-04 Cobra Seats, new 5.0Resto seatbelt kit and pedals. Lastly we finished off the interior with TMI black suede headliner and door panels.

We decided to replace the old rusted exhaust with one of Pypes Pype Bomb Cat-back exhaust systems. This gave our Fox Body an aggressive exhaust tone to match the new looks. The final performance mod was the installation of the SVE 70mm throttle to improve air flow to the engine!

With Blue Collar fully assembled and back on the streets, you will see it grace more videos and maybe even a car show or two. Who knows what is next for Blue Collar? Maybe some track time and more power. Stay tuned to find out!

1993 Fox Body Cobra Conversion Parts

The 1993 SVT Cobra featured unique styling and performance modifications that made it the ultimate Fox Body Mustang! The many of these styling and performance mods are available through LMR.com to help give your Fox Mustang the look and performance found on these SVT badged Stangs. Below we will go over many of the sty... more

Fox Body Mustang Seat Belt Kits

The 5.0Resto Fox Body Mustang Seat Belt kits include everything you need to replace those worn, stained and ugly seat belts that are found in almost every 79-93 Stang. All too often these seat belts aren’t just an eyesore; they are also a safety concern. As the seat belts in your Fox Body start to age, they stop retrac... more

Installing SVE Drag Wheels on a Fox Body Mustang

What does it take to add a set of 15x10 drag wheels to my Fox Mustang? This is a common question we get here at Late Model Restoration; so Jmac wanted to show you guys what it took to install a set of 15x10 SVE Drag Wheels on a Fox Body Mustang using 275/50/15 tires. The obvious first step was to do a 5 lug swap/conver... more

How To Install Fox Body Mustang Quarter Windows (87-93)

How To Install Fox Body Mustang Quarter Windows (87-93) Are the hatchback quarter windows on your Fox Body Mustang looking worn and nasty? You can now replace them thanks to 5.0Resto and LMR.com! All you have to do is pick up a set of replacement 5.0Resto quarter windows and follow along in this installation video to ... more

How To Install Fox Body Mustang Carpet (79-93)

How To Install Fox Body Mustang Carpet Replacing the smelly worn carpet in your Fox Body Mustang is a major part of any interior Resto project. All too often on these 20+ year old vehicles the carpet has been stomped down with dirty shoes and had countless drinks and food spills throughout its life. That is way we off... more

Fox Body Mustang Hatchback Carpet Installation

In most cases, the hatch area of your Fox Body Mustang takes a beating from hauling groceries, tools and maybe even a set of drag wheels. If the carpet in your hatchback has seen better days, replacing it is a breeze with the help of Late Model Restoration’s complete line of ACC hatchback carpet and our how to install ... more

Mustang Manual Transmission Hump Install

Swapping the AOD slushbox automatic for a manual transmission is a second nature urge to Fox Mustang owners. You can search the internet and find all the information you could ever hope to find on completing this swap. Except for one thing; no one ever mentions the difference in the transmission tunnel heights. T... more

Fox Body Mustang Throttle Body Install

Follow along in this installation video to see how to easily add some horsepower to your 86-93 Fox Body Mustang with an aftermarket throttle body. Installation will take you roughly an hour and will help your 5.0L Mustang breathe easier. Tools Needed: Common Household Tools Volt Meter Removal Procedure: ... more

Pypes Pype Bomb Mustang Cat-Back Exhaust (79-04)

Give your SN95, New Edge or Fox Body Mustang a killer exhaust tone with the Pypes Pype-Bomb Cat-back exhaust system. This 79-04 Mustang catback exhaust system features 16 gauge mandrel bent stainless steel pipe to guarantee maximum exhaust flow, a big boost in horsepower and decades of rust free construction. It also ... more

About the Video

Fox Body Mustang Project Blue Collar: Back From Paint!

Check out our YouTube channel for even more tech tips, installation videos, how-tos, and more. The best place to go for anything Mustang related!

Published on 2014-04-09
Project Blue Collar, our Fox Body Mustang Build, is back from paint! We had a lot to accomplish once the Stang came back from the paint shop. We started by installing new 5.0Resto exterior trim parts, new quarter windows, headlights and replaced those ugly clear tail lights!

Once that was done we installed a set of SVE Drag Wheels on Project Blue Collar. I would expect to see some drag times in the future. To finish off the performance mods we installed a SVE 70mm throttle body and Pypes Pype Bomb Catback Exhaust.

The last part of this project was re-installing the interior components and replacing all of the broken and worn out pieces (there were a lot!). We installed the TMI 2003 Cobra Seat Upholstery kit, black suede headliner, sunvisors and door panels. We finished off the interior with new ACC carpets and floor mats.

Click the link above to see this project take off from start to finish! There are tons of installation videos to help you with your Project Fox Body Mustang!

LatemodelRestoration.com 50Resto SVE
We've finally reached the end of the road with Project Blue Collar. And she has come a long way. If you remember, whenever we got her, she wouldn't even run. Not to mention the paint looking terrible, along with the interior, the wheels-- pretty much everything about the car, including the exhaust.

We went ahead and sent her off to the paint shop to have a brand new coat of paint laid down. Whenever we got it back, we went ahead and finished off the look with one of our rear drum fox style 5-lug conversion kits and some of our SVE drag wheels.

The car already had '93 Cobra rear bumper cover when we got it. So we went ahead and finished off that '93 Cobra look with all the replacement ground effects in the rear wing. The car got a new set of 5.0Resto headlights and taillights. To finish off the exterior trim, we used one of our exterior renewal kits and a set of our new hatch quarter windows. Anything that wasn't replaced got repainted with some of our 5.0Resto exterior trim paint.

Underneath, the car got a brand new pipes cat back, a set of our SVE rear control arms, SVE springs, new 5.0Resto front control arms, and a 5.0Resto power rack and pinion kit.

Because the car wasn't running, we did have to go through the fuel system, replacing the fuel tank, the fuel pump, level sending unit. And we flushed the lines and the injectors. The ignition system needed some love, too, so we put on one of our PDI ignition kits, consisting of a new distributor and TFI module, coil, and plug wires. We even put in some new spark plugs.

Other than that, we really didn't have to do much because the car already had a 130 amp alternator, long tube headers, heads cam and intake, cold air, mass air. But we did put one of our a SVE 70 millimeter throttle bodies on it.

And finally, we get to the interior. We pretty much gutted the interior, save for the dash, because there wasn't much going to go back in. Once we reassembled the exterior of the car, the interior quarter trim panels were given a thorough scrubbing, rubbed down with some protectant, and stuck back into place.

A new hatch and floor carpet from ACC was dropped in, along with a new set of ACC floor mats. And our friends over at TMI helped us out with the seats, setting us up with their 03-04 Cobra-style fox seat upholstery with new foam. And let me tell you, this is most comfortable fox seat I've ever sat in.

To match those awesome new seats, we put in a set of TMI's fully assembled door panels with suede inserts. We even put in a matching suede headliner and sun visors. All the miscellaneous and broken pieces were replaced, as well. Even got a new set of 5.0Resto seat belts. You see the new console top panel, console armrest pad, shifter, shifter boot and bezel, even a nice Ford racing shift knob.

All in all, this car's come a long way, and we're really excited to be able to drive it around.

Every part used in this build is available from our website latemodelrestoration.com. Be sure to also subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest and greatest videos. And while you're there, you can see all the videos featuring this project, Blue Collar.

Project Blue Collar: Fox Body Mustang Restoration Tech Info

Ford Mustang - 1979 (79) - 1980 (80) - 1981 (81) - 1982 (82) - 1983 (83) - 1984 (84) - 1985 (85) - 1986 (86) - 1987 (87) - 1988 (88) - 1989 (89) - 1990 (90) - 1991 (91) - 1992 (92) - 1993 (93)