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S550 The Albuquerque Stripper Build Thread Profile - S550 Mustangs

PaddyPrix

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Everybody loves a backstory, so please allow me to introduce the Albuquerque Stripper, an insurance auction theft recovery Oxford White 2018 Mustang GT. Love's a funny thing, I was out there, looking for a GT350, and had my heart set on one until I had learned that California residents can't really buy a car at a California auction. Dang. Had some simple demands of 2015+, Salvage, Manual Transmission, amd I came across this in Albuquerque. I was planning on fixing up a front-end without huge damage, and seeing that it's pretty straight looking, I had then prepared for the worst, thinking the motor and transmission were blown. However, figuring those in, I had a certain number in mind, and with those rebuilds, the price still came out significantly lower than what a GT350 would be, so even if they were toast, well, it was within my meager project budget.
edit - and yes, I believe that is a beer bong that somebody along the way believed was supposed to go on the car.

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PaddyPrix

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Spoiler alert, I won the auction.
They said that it didn't run and drive, which, sure, on blocks made sense. They did put a battery on it to get the mileage, but still didn't start. It arrived a few days later, and upon further inspection, we can see that it has its tailpipes filled to the axle with sand, I'd guess from the recovery team towing it from the rear and scooping up whatever that it was sitting in. From a quick inspection of the undercarriage, looking at the pumpkin, it looks rather good, and so does the rest. Not a huge fan of the yellow spray painted brake calipers, but I do see some aftermarket springs on it. Tossed on my HRE track rims and rolled it off.

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PaddyPrix

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The car arrived without a battery, so tossed one of those in, and tried to pull some codes, but the OBD-II port wasn't working. Took off the throttle-body and cleaned out some of the fine New Mexico dust that had accumulated on the bottom of it, and some of it that snuck into the intake manifold in the few months it had been directly exposed. Sitting on its chin, I also removed the front bumper to align some things and noticed there were some missing pieces while I'll fix later on. Checked every single one of the fuses, but until checking it against my 2019, didn't notice that a 50 and 60 were missing. A quick trip to the parts store, 2 fuses and $11 later, things lit up, I was able to pull some codes which didn't have anything too scary, and fired the motor right up. Pressing my luck, I went to go test the transmission, and could get it to hold and inch forward at the slight driveway incline, and with my emergency gallon of 91 that I had sitting in the garage, figured it was time for the maiden voyage. Hearing some noises from the right side, and as it increases in speed, I'd guess it's some dirt or pebbles between the caliper/pads/rotor, but nothing serious. Feels pretty peppy with the quarter/half throttle I gave it, and sounds pretty loud. Took it to the gas station and snapped some pics for the gram, and as I got back, I became painfully aware of something I had missed in my quick once-over, a pencil-sized puncture wound in the fuel tank. 💩

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PaddyPrix

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Between getting sick, having my family out for a week, work pulling in on weekends and long nights, and the coronavirus doing its thing, I took about a month off from this against my own will, and during that time, it just sat and enjoyed the SoCal monsoon season. I'm fortunate enough where I get to work remotely, which saves me about 2 hours of my day and a tank a week at these California prices, that helps a bunch. I also haven't really been hitting up the track, so saving on those fees, a few tanks there, and hotel stays, I've got a few extra bones in the account. Well, that pretty much ended this week. Bringing things current through today, the Apex Group Buy EC-7's showed up, as did the 315/30/18 Nitto NT01's, and so after I stuffed them into my lil' Kona, they're mounted up and ready for action. I also took a nice drive up north and talked to @Scurdy for like two hours and grabbed his Sparco Evo. Got a lil' order in with Vorshlag to keep them and MCS busy for a day or two, and some other things like the fuel tank, and some 1 7/8" longtubes that I had found before the stripper entered my life.

The scientific tester in me wants to go to the track in full weight with the suspension toys and dial it in, and see what I can do like that, and then start removing the weight. My inner Beavis says I should just take all the stuff off and out now, and drive the balls off of it, take my measurements, and make adjustments between sessions. Open to suggestions.

Tomorrow I'll continue returning the 2019 GT to stock, and doing so will free up some of those parts that go onto the 2018, and with it up, will give me a better idea of what was making all of that noise.

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Bill Pemberton

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We ( Woodhouse Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep , Ram) was the largest distributor of MCS suspension systems for Vipers and I commend you for getting with Vorshlag for their camber plates and more. Just got my stuff from MCS a month back ( along with contacting Vorshlag for their camber plates ) and my fabricator just finished up the install ( along with some other items). Those shocks and more will be a major advantage against the folks you run against, imho. I did not read you replaced the fuel tank , but assuming that has been done also. Interesting that no one thought to check the rear exhaust tubes and sounds like you may have scored a huge win. Look forward to reading your progress and thanks for sharing!
 

PaddyPrix

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Thanks Bill and APEXRaceParts (If that IS your real name) for the encouraging words as I star this stupidly expensive journey, but hey, not everybody has GT4 money lying around. Still waiting on the fuel tank (dang!), so started the stripping process off. Seats out, center console out, rear bottom, rear back, front and back seatbelts, headliner, and the sidepieces.

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For those of you've stripped your s550/s197's before, what'd you do with all the wiring? Part of me wants to relocate them and then rewire/extend some extensions for the things that are necessary going to the rear and whatnot, maybe buying some blank/empty harnesses and selectively wiring things up.
 
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steeda5

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I would not be cutting into that wiring harness at all. The S-197 didn't have the air bag curtains. Sorry I can't be of help there. Be very carful with those air bags for you might be able to sell them online. Take your time with all the wiring. I know its tempting to start hacking that shiznit away but it will cost you a lot of time/ money reliability if you do. Way cool build you have going here!
 

Scurdy

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Nice meeting you Pat! Maybe more parts are still available and I hope to see them continue to survive on your awesome build!!
 

PaddyPrix

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I would not be cutting into that wiring harness at all. The S-197 didn't have the air bag curtains. Sorry I can't be of help there. Be very carful with those air bags for you might be able to sell them online. Take your time with all the wiring. I know its tempting to start hacking that shiznit away but it will cost you a lot of time/ money reliability if you do. Way cool build you have going here!
Heh, yeah, I was awkward when I was playing around the side impact airbags, scared that I might touch something with a screwdriver and short out a circuit, and propelling myself to the other side of the car. If you look beneath my fist, you'll see the Rear Control Module, the two harnesses full o'wires meeting it, and another 3-4 wire connectors nearby for things like the e-brake, cigarette lighter/usb, and the other misc lighting pieces in/around the cupholder/box. With the Sparco bucket, I wouldn't really be resting my hand there, but that's a pretty busy area that is now exposed. Knowing me, it'll eventually become something of a hack job, but I'd also like to hide them and not let anybody within 50 feet to know how terrible of a person I truly am. To some degree, I'm flying blind, as some of you who work for dealerships or shops have programs to help assist, especially on things like the wiring schematics. I can keep up as I am armed with all the part numbers and the internet, but yeah if anybody has any helpful direction to other softwares/sites to help me along, I won't curse your name at a moderate volume. Most of my friends have worked at Mitchell, but none that I know of in the last year or so. From the parts of my 2019 that I've seen, there's a difference in a few places, like the seats which have two connectors, (heating and cooling?) whereas the 2018 only has one.
 

PaddyPrix

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Nice meeting you Pat! Maybe more parts are still available and I hope to see them continue to survive on your awesome build!!
Same, and hey, there's nothing stopping you (well, other than Gov. Newsom) from dropping them off down here, I won't even charge for installation. Funny how we didn't cross paths, must be that only one white s550 per track limit rule.
 

PaddyPrix

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Carpet gone, pretty much the instrument cluster, dash console, AC vents, driver and passenger airbags, and the door skins. Tank arrived today and going to try sneaking off to my bud's shop tomorrow morning for some lift time so we can swap the fuel tanks. From there, I just really need to get a Slot MAF, some basic CAI, and a hood. Yeah, I can also skin the doors, a couple misc pieces here and there as well, that, and still have to swap those suspension pieces over from the 2019, but I'm holding off on the MCS shipment.

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steeda5

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That sound material is not a bad project to do. A heat gun and some good scrapers will take that stuff out. Its not all that glorious of work to remove but rewarding in the end. I was at this point on my Boss a few weeks ago. Drink plenty of beers and enjoy the build.
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steeda5

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Im really enjoying your build. Thank you for sharing with us in these crazy times. My car is at the shop waiting for the Watson cage to be installed/welded in. Ive removed all the sound material in my Boss. The seam sealer debating what to do w it.
 

PaddyPrix

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Im really enjoying your build. Thank you for sharing with us in these crazy times. My car is at the shop waiting for the Watson cage to be installed/welded in. Ive removed all the sound material in my Boss. The seam sealer debating what to do w it.
My pleasure, doing whatever I can with my Covid-car (too soon?) to keep myself and others around me sane ... although, wow, I've got a long way to go to catch up to some of you. I think buying this salvage car was one of the better decisions I've made recently, (not like I'm hurting the resale value of it) and it gets easier when you realize that it is a racecar and you don't need that crap weighing you down. I could have picked up somebody else's failed or past project, but it's a lot more relaxing than I thought it'd be. My "what in the hell are you doing to this car?" has turned into "what is that still doing here?" and like a cross country trip, it's exciting doing something that you've never done before, everything feeling so new, and unlike my day job, getting an easily visible sense of accomplishment.
 

byronj

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As for the wiring, well I know @Fabman could refer you to someone that might be willing to make a trip and you could lose some weight in that dept.
 

Fabman

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My pleasure, doing whatever I can with my Covid-car (too soon?) to keep myself and others around me sane ... although, wow, I've got a long way to go to catch up to some of you. I think buying this salvage car was one of the better decisions I've made recently, (not like I'm hurting the resale value of it) and it gets easier when you realize that it is a racecar and you don't need that crap weighing you down. I could have picked up somebody else's failed or past project, but it's a lot more relaxing than I thought it'd be. My "what in the hell are you doing to this car?" has turned into "what is that still doing here?" and like a cross country trip, it's exciting doing something that you've never done before, everything feeling so new, and unlike my day job, getting an easily visible sense of accomplishment.
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PaddyPrix

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Tossed my 2019's hood on the 2018 to not look incredibly suspicious while making a decently illegal voyage to my friend's shop to swap the fuel tank. Only had to go about 10 miles but stopped along the way because it holds so little gas with the leak. Made it there, and while waiting, played with the menus for a minute, curious what differences there are between the 2018 and 2019. Went through the personal bests, which uh, weren't so good.

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With it up in the air, we were finally able to get a much better idea of what the situation is, and pretty impressed with how little damage there was. Also from our inspection, we found out that the right side noise was the inner dust shields being slightly bent from I'd guess to be dragging contact with the tow truck flatbed ramp. After we gave it a little bend, and redneck engineered the blue nipple off (15-17 tank?) pretty happy with how the rest of it looked. Had a moment to better inspect that hole, and gee, doesn't look suspicious at all. I wouldn't think that the salvage yard would go draining everybody's tank, do they? Got it back down and on the drive home, forgot how good it felt to have more than a gallon in the car.

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Got some more time with the MBRP Pro Race Exhaust which sounds good down low, not sure if it'll drive me crazy with the loud and partial rasp if I'm on the track especially with so much removed. How many of you do your own tunes? Got home and had a ton of codes, most of them complaining about missing sensors for things like the seat and side airbags. For simplicity's sake, wouldn't it be smarter to just disconnect/remove the Rear Constraint Module, supposing it only feeds the airbag sensors?
 
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