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Classic Mustang Topics - Problems with Vintage Mustang

Updated on November 2, 2010

Some Issues After Purchasing My 67 Classic Mustang Fastback

These are some of the issues I had after purchasing my classic mustang.

Engine: was not an issue with my 67 mustang fastback. but this is probably an issue with most. I was lucky that my 289 was rebuilt and only had about 500 miles. Just be careful, and be prepared for the worst. Check all VIN numbers to make sure they match.

Cooling: it had a rebuilt 289 motor, which ran like a new motor. However, it ran hotter than I liked during the warmer months. Because the motor was rebuilt, I started replacing items that I thought would help it run cooler. Bottom line, replacing the radiator with a larger radiator did the trick.

Tires: Tires and rims were probably the next thing I bought for my 67 classic mustang. However before settling on what you see in the photo, I had some smaller rims and tires, and was just never happy.

Ignition: Even though I basically had a new motor, the distributor and points were still classic. So, I replace the points with a more robust electronic ignition set-up with pertronix.

Rust: my initial overview of the 67 classic mustang while I was purchasing was great in regards to rust. I saw some superficial rust here and there but nothing major. Well, after messing around with it, one day i was sitting in the passenger side, and felt the floor give. I pulled back the carpet, and it looked pretty bad. The rust was from years of a bad heater core leaking undetected.


Radiators, on a day to day basis have a hard job. They have to transfer a great deal of energy to the environment. Your classic mustang's engine generates a lot of heat energy under normal daily driving conditions. When the outside air temperature increases during the summer months, it creates a more challenge for the combustion engine to transfer heat to the atmosphere. This causes the classic mustang engine to run hotter.

What I had to do to be able to enjoy my fastback without overheating:

Start by replacing the thermostat. While you are doing this, replace the water pump with a high flow aluminum water pump. If it is still running hot, replace that stock radiator with a new 4 Roll radiator, filled with 50% distilled water and 50% antifreeze.


Larger diameter Wheels and wider tires are probably one of the first things people purchase for their classic mustang.

To be safe, some experts suggest a 16-inch wheel is the ideal diameter for 65-73 Mustang, such as 16x8-inch Vintage 45s. A 67-73 Mustang can easily accommodate a 17-inch wheel, as long as wheel offset is correct and the tire isn't too large. As for tire sizes, facts show that on a 16-inch wheel, 225/50R16, 245/50R16, and 255/50R16 tires fit well on '67 and newer cars, while several sizes fit nicely on 15-inch wheels fo '65-'66, including 215/60R15s, 22550R15s, and 205/55R15s. For 17s, a 245/45R17 is a good size.

If you want to add a little sportiness to your classic mustang, replace those 14 inch stock rims/tires with at least a set of 16x8 in the rear, and 16x7 up front. Of course, purchase a set of the American Racing Torq Thrust II's. I was worried about scrubbing, but found out that 225x50 upfront and 245x50 in the rear with no scrubbing. Tires will make such a difference in its look and stance.


Replace those old worn out points with a durable and reliable electronic ignition by Pertronix. Easy to install, and have the security of knowing your classic mustang will crank up.

The factory recommended setting of 10-11 degrees. There are many additional factors when dealing with the ultimate timing. One main item many people overlook is the condition of their distributor. Always check for shaft movement from side to side, as this will greatly affect performance. There should be no detectable movement. In addition, the base plate that the points or in Pertronix unit, is secured to often will have excessive play at the pivot point. Once all of these items have been addressed, and it is determined that all is well, make sure there are no vacum leaks.


Rust has been a problem for Mustangs for as long as there have been Mustangs. Just several months after the Mustang was introduced in 1964, a Ford Technical Service Bulletin was issued to notify dealers about possible cowl-vent leakage and a fast service department fix. Still, cowl vents leaked all over the carpeting anyway, causing serious floorpan and kick-panel rust-through. This has been the lament of classic Mustang enthusiasts for at least the last 20 years.

Of course the rust issues in a classic mustang is more than just floorpans. Trunk areas are another big problem area due to the rear-window and trunk-lid seals. Leaking cowl vents caused the quarter panel and wheelhouse to rust  also. Front framerails and inner fender aprons are both  areas of corrosion problem because they were not always galvanize. 

I know when I purchased my classic mustang, I thought I looked in all the obvious places for rust, but negelected to look under the front passenger side carpet. Once I got it home and started messing around with it, I discovered the passenger side floor pan had rust holes all in it. The mustang was known to have heater core issues, which would leak onto the passenger side without the owner being aware of this before it's too late.

If your classic mustang fogs up inside when the heater is turned on, or you smell antifreeze, look under the carpet and check out the heater core. Good chance it's leaking.


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