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Discussion Starter #1
Well, so it was finally time to get to the project I've been waiting on. Complete restoration of my first car. Bought the day after Thanksgiving in 1997 as a junior in high school. The car had 37k miles and was overall very clean besides some tiny cracks in the clear on the hood and passenger side. The only thing I didn't care for was the luggage rack.

The car got me through high school and college and many fun times had a few years after that. Last tags say August of 2008. I believe in the fall of 2007 I felt a little slipping in overdrive. Decided to try a fluid and filter change. Parked the car for winter as I did most years since I'm in Iowa. Took it out the next spring... Overdrive was gone. Decided at the time money was tight, and the rust under the quarter windows was bad enough. Car only came out a few times that summer to do a couple short drives. It's been sitting since fall 2008. This is what 12 years in a damp and dusty building looks like.
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Discussion Starter #2
And here are some interior pics. A couple mouse nests and some mold on the leather and vinyl.
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Forgot to take a pic of the back seat before pulling the bottom out.
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Mostly small trim around the seat frames and door panels removed today. Trunk is bare after a little work there. Here are the pics of the notorious shock mounts

Right with a bit of a bubble above the support:
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Left fairly clean:
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I'm afraid of what I find under the carpet... Maybe next weekend I'll see. Here's to hoping it's better than I expected.
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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That headrest 🤢

For some reason I had always pictured your car an XR7, and not that that’s a bad thing. I used to be dismissive of LS models but now I’m now preferring the “regular” models with the 5.0, to the “enthusiast models” same with early model base/LX Birds, same even on old musclecars. So many of these were ordered with HG popping 3.8s, it defies expectation more when you pop the hood and see a 5.0, way more so than later models where the 4.6 sold better. The original moldings look so much more natural on these cars than the smoothed over monochrome 94+

The tower rust is a little concerning, but I’m more used to the 93+ towers without that reenforcement plate. Is is rust poking through the outside?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The tower rust is a little concerning, but I’m more used to the 93+ towers without that reenforcement plate. Is is rust poking through the outside?
I don't see it on the outside, but there is undercoating there that could be concealing it. It's not a complete rust through, but I'd have that cut out and patched.

I did find some surface rust in the trunk on the bottom of the fender, where the rear bumper would cover the outside. Afraid of what I'll see when I pull the bumper. There is a bit of light surface rust in the spare tire well, also... Assuming the mouse nest was the perfect place for moisture to sit. I'm debating a fuel cell, which would get rid of that anyway.

I guess I found a bit more rust than I hoped for. I'm not giving up yet and will tear the car down completely before taking it to the body shop so I can get a real estimate. I'm willing to put much more into this car than any sane person, but there is a point where I have to cut my losses. Let's hope we don't find that point.
 

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That plate is gonna have to come off. Both sides.


Excited to see how this turns out. My 96 (my first car) is sitting in the drive way under a cover. When my 89 is done, and my 90s rust is fully killed off, Im gonna start working on it again.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well some more pieces out of the car, and more rust found. Passenger side floor pan is toast. Forgot to take a picture of that because in order to take the padding from under the carpet out, you have to remove the dash. ( Vent ducts are still nicely attached to the pad). That's next.

Headliner, side 1/4 panels, knee bolster and glove box are out. The automatic seat belts have been removed too. Driver side had been unplugged for years because it hung up all the time but the passenger side was fine and still operable. If I could get my hands on the proper burgundy panels and belts I'd convert. Figure that's unlikely so I may try to fine the tape on the driver side.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Last 2 pictures show a little rusty in the spare tire well and then some that'll need repair on the bottom of the passenger side fender. Driver side is worse and goes up to the visible part of the wheel opening. Can't see it from the outside, but I think that fender needs to be replaced.

It's looking more expensive every time, but I'm not convinced I can't get it fixed. Really wish I could weld body panels. I can do a bit of the rest and wouldn't mind painting the car if I had use of a nice booth.

It would be nice to have someone else helping just to get the different sockets, bits, etc. I feel Ford just used what they had laying around. Spend half of my time finding tools
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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If it’s all under the bumper cover just cut it out and replace it with a doner section IMO, replacing the whole quarter is a big job. That’s a very common spot rust develops in old cars, it baffles me why Ford didn’t just tie that area flat to the floorpan since the bumper cover covers the sides
 

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Floor pans seem daunting but they arent that bad. Ive done both on my 89. Im guessing its mainly around that stupid channel for the wire loom to go? I made my own panels the first time around but Id recommend finding a donor car in a junkyard.

Im gonna say this: if its rusty like that, cut the skin off the rockers. Even if they look ok we all know it doesnt show until its really bad. New skins are on RA for $60 so Id do it. Or at the minimum drill a hole in the bottom of it and stick a bore camera up to see how the inners look.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I had bought rockers 10 years ago or so thinking they would be hard to come by. They are rotten in the usual spot under the 1/4 windows.

And yes the worst part of the floor is near the wire channel.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Some more progress. Finding some of it to be better than I thought as far as rust goes. Some worse, but overall I think savable.
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
This fender looks really good. I was concerned of what I might find behind the bumper
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This side not so good, but I knew it wouldn't be based on a touch-up I did 18-ish years ago.
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Trunk floor is solid.
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13 year old gas smells horrible!

Dash, wiring and insulation are basically all that's left in the interior.

A bit of work to get the exhaust, gas tank and driveshaft out, then motor and trans come out. Then off to a couple reputable shops to see what they can do.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A little more progress over the last month. Life has been busy, so not as much as I'd like. Rusted floor pan on the passenger side. I'll get better pictures once I get the dash out. I have all of the wiring lose to that point and started pulling it today.


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Discussion Starter #16
Also got the radiator out and the wiring off all of the engine and front end. It's basically waiting for the dash to come out, then engine and trans to come out.
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Anyone think a tunnel ram would look cool. Well maybe not a 4*4 next time.

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Discussion Starter #17
Basically just windows to come out back here, and of course the Cougar Emblems on the outside
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One wire to the fuel pump, is all that's left on the back half of the car.

This dash is not much fun. Pulled the steering column and the throttle and brake pedals. Also the instrument cluster. And now I need a new cluster cover as I scratched mine taking it out.
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Discussion Starter #18
Prying the trim off the passenger side dash, I heard some bad noises... The upper dash is cracking with the user of a plastic or tool. I didn't know how brittle it was. Assuming I need a 91-93 dash to get the correct red. I'll reuse my trim, so any level trim package should work.

Has anyone wrapped their dash in leather or vinyl?
 

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I leave everything attached to the dash when I pull it; the column, instrument cluster, trim, radio, etc. Not only does it make it go much faster, but there is less chance of breaking trim pieces.
 
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I leave everything attached to the dash when I pull it; the column, instrument cluster, trim, radio, etc. Not only does it make it go much faster, but there is less chance of breaking trim pieces.
How do you do that without removing those pieces?

Why not remove the steering column at least in order to minimize weight when pulling the dash?
 
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