The Albuquerque Stripper - Salvage DIY to NASA TT2 racecar

PaddyPrix

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Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you the project and story of the Albuquerque Stripper.

First time here? Can't believe this thread's so long that it needs an index or chapters.

So I had been looking for something to become a more dedicated track vehicle, and started cruising the insurance auctions. Initially, I had been looking for a GT350, and after having my heart broken since California residents can't buy cars at California Auctions (yes, there are workarounds), I took a few weeks off. I was trying to do the math like, well, if I get a GT350R, I could sell some of the carbon fiber wheels to offset the costs, but there's no guarantee that they won't be "lost" in shipment, or some other similar hooliganry. Setting my requirements to something simple, I said 8 cylinder, manual transmission, and everywhere else but California, and a Pure Sale.

As luck would have it, the first result that came up was the Albuquerque Stripper.
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PaddyPrix

PaddyPrix

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I was somewhat happy that the frame appeared pretty straight, and the body was pretty good. As one would expect, with it having no tires, it would have been on its belly, so the bumper, side skirts, and chin are loose or have broken tabs. The engine is missing the battery, what I'd guess was previously an aftermarket CAI, and perhaps an aftermarket hood. The rotors were sprayed yellow/gold, and they appear to have no damage. The interior looks good, no real signs of the airbags being deployed, no water/flood marks, seats look good, but, the shifter knob is gone.

Is that a beer bong? How long can this 2018 Mustang GT do a keg stand?
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PaddyPrix

PaddyPrix

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So, why not live a little? The price wasn't terrible, well under my budgeted amount for the GT350, and supposing things like the engine or transmission are busted, I could send them out. I've already got a dedicated set of track rims, and I've got a track pack suspension on my 2019, so I was planning on returning the 2019 to stock and setting this one up anyhow.

It shouldn't be any surprise that uh, I won. I mean, why would I have wasted these posts had I not?

Trying to piece things together as time goes on, why are the tailpipes filled with dirt? The auction didn't say anything about flood, only vandalism.

The engine has oil, which on first glance, looks decent. I see some blue springs, and some beautiful yellow over spray.
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turnswrench

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Nice, I'm in for the journey of The Albuquerque Stripper
 
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PaddyPrix

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All hitched up, it was only a day's drive from Albuquerque to San Diego, and after showing symptoms of the Michelob Ultra virus, I just had to leave work early.

Turns out, the hauler was f'n awsome (Zak, you da bes) and treated the car like his own, I dunno, perhaps even better. The jack just cleared it, and I tossed my HRE FF15's that I dedicate to track duty, and as luck would have it, they looked and fit fantastic. I happened to switch out to black lugs, so, the factory chromes went on just fine. Had a fun run-in with a hub-centric wheel spacer only on the front driver side, and four of the open lugs were 21, and one was 22. Odd. Plenty of dirt all throughout the calipers, or between the rear of the rotor and the dust shield, things you'd expect if somebody was winching it through the dirt.

Now free of the straps, I jumped up and in, and we went for a drive around the block, as I held the brakes and e-brake for dear life. Dropping 5 feet face down would have sucked, but started digging through the glove box, scored the original manual in the special manual cubby, and the sunglasses tray just happened to have a sweet set of Ray Bans. Score! After we repositioned the hauler at the top of the street, it went for a nice trip down the ramps and boards, and got it down with no major losses other than the passenger side ground effect popping off.

Got a slightly better look at the engine bay, and could see lots of dirt in the places that it'd usually collect from being in the lot for a while, and unfortunately, one of those places were also the previously exposed throttle body, as the hauler elec taped it up before he left. From first glance, other than the intake, MAF, and like pieces, everything else appears to be there, no real signs of anything else being stripped, shredded, or cut. Again, appears to be.

Thinking out loud, how can you get into the trunk if you have no power? There's a special keyhole in the driver's side door handle should your battery die, but at least from what I saw, couldn't find anything other than the glow-in-the-dark manual latch, which you have to pop the rear seats down and really stretch for. The trunk revealed various trash and receipts, including some hints at who the previous owner was, perhaps they're a member here. Sun was down, called it a night, hoping to get some time over the 3 day weekend to make some further progress.
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BeastAR

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Interesting find. I might have to do something like this. Keep the updates coming.
 
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PaddyPrix

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Hit up the local Cars n' Coffee, and decided today was all about a lil' TLC.

Grabbed a paintbrush, agitated all of the dirt in the engine bay, and after a little bit, was able to break almost all of it free. Kicking myself for not taking better before pictures, but no way in hell am I putting all that dirt back into the engine bay so I can brag to you all about how much was in there. Even so, it'll be hard to beat how much I had dug out of the driver's side tailpipe, more than a softball, closer to a football. Haven't put it up on a lift yet, y'know, because I don't have one, but it looks like some MBRP Race Pro-Series, which will make a sweet sound of victory, whenever that time comes. However, it is missing one of the tips, so, uh, MBRP, if you're listening, yo, hook a Paddy up.

It was a f'n hot and sunny in Southern California, and I don't do so well in the sun, even after chugging a whole bottle of SPF 50, so I didn't get too much more done until when the sun started to go down. Vacuumed out the cloth interior which is now impressively clean, shame it'll eventually be coming out to make way for a cage. Grabbed a new battery, tossed it in, and played with the radio for a bit, and let Sync annoy me like it always does. I was hoping that I'd be able to check and read codes with my Bluetooth OBD-II reader, but it wouldn't even bother lighting up, which struck me as strange, as it's usually dependable, and I've used it on my BMW, Hyundai, and my 2019 Mustang. Called a friend over who eventually bailed on me, because his 2019 Camaro is once again, at the dealership, until they can fix that problem which makes it usually .3 to .5 slower than my Mustang. So back to the OBD-II, not yet sure of what to make of it. I hope it's something as easy as a fuse, but then again, those guys had cut out the CAI, perhaps they cut other things out that I wasn't yet seeing.

When pressing the power without the clutch, I was able to get the full accessory mode, and got door ajar (because it was hot out), hood ajar (Ford, if you're listening...), tire pressure monitoring (I don't run TPMS stems on my track tires, they only survive a few sessions), and something new to me, Service AdvanceTrac. That last one has me puzzled, and I took it as being my first indicator that maybe something bad is going on. I also got what I believed to be a different message about the fuel level, which is strange because I've run the 2019 out of gas plenty of times at Auto Club and Willow, and I don't recall seeing it in those occasions. Granted, I usually drive there and get like 24mpg, which adjusts it to thinking I'm a responsible adult (I'm not) and so when I'm on the course, it'll say I have 25 miles left, and then any heavy turn will slosh the few remaining vapors to the other side of the tank, ... and have me perfectly execute a coast to a stop. I find it odd that it has absolutely no trace of gas though, perhaps there's some rule for transport to/from the insurance auction which has them drain the tanks. That, or perhaps the fuel pump is disabled, if they still do that nowadays.

Played around with some of the other gauges, which either since the car was off, I wouldn't get anything such as the Air/Fuel, Vacuum, or because they don't exist for the time being such as the IAT. Decided it was time to move onto something else and make progress, so decided to remove some of the vinyl which was previously on there, which was on the fenders, and the headlights. Thought I did a halfway decent job getting most everything off that wasn't a rock chip. Looking slightly lower, I was pleasantly surprised that none of the tabs were broken on the bumper, since I've been told they're super easy to snap, and see people with various wood screws holding them on. There unfortunately were some other victims, as the front grille is cracked, so that'll need to get replaced, the Roush lip is split on the passenger side (Roush! ROUSH!), and the whole bottom tray is ripped, bent, and busted, with half the screws/snaps on the frame. More supporting evidence that it was towed from the rear.

I was hoping I wouldn't have to break out the multimeter, but I'll have to do a check of all the fuses tomorrow, and maybe with my friend's help, take the intake manifold off and see how much dirt made it into/beyond the throttle body. I still haven't attempted to start it yet, but without the code reader giving me some reassurances, I'm going to assume the worst, but try to win some of that confidence back.
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PaddyPrix

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offcamber

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Follow the journey......:thumbsup:
 
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So far, I've popped the throttle body off, and cleaned that up real good, and shoved some rags down into the intake manifold and got some dirty gunk out, but good news doesn't look that it really sucked all that much in, only the little bit that might have made its way in while it was exposed. Tried to fire it up, and it wouldn't even attempt to do so, still curious about that. Trying the previous link, I've tried out that F15 10 amp in the passenger footwell, and going by my cheap multimeter, it reads something other than OL, a sign that it's at least passing something to the other side, which says that the 10 amp fuse checks out. I'm curious to how smart the car is, so I'm going to disconnect my MAF and see if it even attempts to start on my (up until now) working 2019 Mustang GT.

edit: Removed the Slot MAF, and it immediately fired up, no problem. So it's either not that smart, or my problem is something else in the boot program. I mean even if it is completely bone dry in the fuel system, it should still attempt something, and it's not doing that.
 
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PaddyPrix

PaddyPrix

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No power locks, no power mirrors, no power windows, no visor mirror lights, but power seats, radio, headlights, rear lights. I checked every fuse in the engine bay, and just now decided to check my 2019, which I had waited way too long to do. The 50 and 60 in the upper right are on my 2019 but aren't on the 2018. The second I put them in, the little things like the start button light illuminated, and the thing fired up right away. This thing is pretty loud, shame that I have some longtubes coming too.
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edit : Who in the hell steals fuses? Really? REALLY?
 

BeastAR

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^ They probably pulled them to get other cars working..... So, got it running? That's awesome
 
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PaddyPrix

PaddyPrix

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Indeed, it was awesome.

... wait, was? That's past tense.

Yeah, it is. I've got a gas station nearby, so put a few bucks into it, and as luck would have it, the tow must have put it into something sharp that punctured the gas tank. I got that one home, and jumped into another car to pick something up, not wanting to write off $60 in gas quicker than a trackday. Made some makeshift canisters to save some of it, and ran off to Home Depot to grab some of that stuff you've seen advertised on TV.

You know that stuff where the guy spray paints something on a screen door, and then cuts a hole in a boat, and takes it out on some lake? I knew it was always something fake made for TV, duh, but was thinking of what else I could do quickly to something coming out. Kinda angry at myself for not having or trying duct tape, but yeah, that TV stuff just made my driveway look like somebody's roof, don't do that. Wised up and dumped out some water jugs I had ready for a radiator system flush, figured $3.95 91 gas is a better tradeoff than a $1 gallon of distilled water, managed to save about 3 of the 15 gallons I had pumped in. Serves me right for taking pictures for da Gram.
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BeastAR

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Should have grabbed some flex tape and slapped it on there.
 
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