Category Archives: Mustang II

Repairing Rust Damage with Fiberglass

My ride originally comes from Pennsylvania. As a result it has an ATROCIOUS rust problem. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like any of the rust directly impacts the structural integrity of the vehicle. After removing my hood and fenders I was able to see the full extent of the damage. I decided to fix the damage by bonding fiberglass directly to the vehicle unibody.

Tools Used:

  • Hammer
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Metal Snips
  • Orbital Sander
  • Super cheap paintbrushes (They turn into plastic after you’re done)
  • Latex Gloves
  • Respirator




Liberal application of a hammer, flat head screwdriver, metal snips, and my orbital sander gave me a good look at what exactly needed repairing.

The most significant damage was under my driver’s side fender. I had to remove a fair amount of metal in order to eliminate all of the rust spots.












Other damaged areas included the engine compartment frame that my fenders were bolted to and the floor on the drivers side. And yes I could stick my hand right through the bottom of my car and touch the road!







There was also some corrosion damage around the battery compartment that needed patching.



Patch Management

The first step was to prep the regions. Affixing my handy dandy respirator I mixed fiberglass resin with MKP (catalyst) in order to start the clock. The resin is very sticky, but starts to harden within 3-5 minutes. I coated the problem areas liberally. By the time I’d gotten through coating all of the areas the places I started at had already gotten tacky.

Tacky – Fiberglass resin is said to have gone “tacky” once it is no longer wet and gloppy like an oil-based paint, and is holding its position. At this point the resin is very sticky (like glue). Once it has dried and is no longer sticky, it ceases to be “tacky”.


Once the resin became tacky I added my first layer of 6oz fiberglass cloth. You can technically add resin to any type of cloth in order to form a solid part. The most common materials are:

Fleece/Cotton/Other Crap – Fleece or cotton are common base materials used in DIY composite construction due to their high availability and low price they lack the strength of more advanced fabrics.

Carbon Fiber – Carbon fiber is super cool, super light, super strong, and super expensive. It is also relatively hard to come by when compared to other fabrics, but it looks sick!

Kevlar – Kevlar is very strong, but it is also extremely heavy when compared to other fabrics.

Fiberglass – Fiberglass comes in two general flavors: fiberglass mat and fiberglass cloth.

Fiberglass Mat vs Cloth – The general difference is price and finish. Mat has a much more course grain and is often used in the construction of temporary parts like molds for future fiberglass work. Cloth is more expensive, but it has a denser weave and can be more easily sanded to a pristine finish. Since fiberglass is not overly expensive I chose to use it as my learning material (as opposed to expensive carbon fiber). I’m using 6oz fabric (fiberglass fabric is differentiated by the weight (oz) of the material).

The next step was to coat the fiberglass with another layer of resin in order to set it appropriately.
















Depending on the location I laid down between 3 and 4 layers of fiberglass.







Before applying paint I sanded the patches smooth.





Finishing Touches

20141005_164215Finally, I added a layer of paint and let the sucker dry!


I’m really happy with how these repairs turned out. The fiberglass is extremely strong (I tested it with my hammer).


In making these repairs minimal weight was added to the vehicle. I didn’t have to purchase expensive welding equipment. The project only took a couple days despite my lack of experience with this type of work.






Let me know what you think or if I left out some obviously crucial detail that you’d like to be regaled with. Yanking the engine out was a load of fun!


Trippin’ on Dat ICE

It’s time to ditch my greasy old Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)! My Mustang II is currently running a 1976 2.3L v4 carbureted hunk of scrap metal. That’s not to say I’ve got anything against a carb, having that over fuel injection would certainly have solved some of the recent trouble I’ve had with my other car, but… a v4? In a Mustang? Nope, goin ‘lectric!

I bought an Impact Tool to help me pop the nuts off of the rig, but I found that most of the time I only had the room to use a plain old wrench. Getting this hunk of junk was a total pain that included me standing on the engine itself and trying to deadlift some of the bolts loose. Slippage? Let’s just say that I have about a hundred bruises.

Lesson learned during this sprint: ??? Wrenches suck…


Tools used:

  • Ingersoll Rand 236G 1/2-Inch Edge Series Air Impactool, Silver
    • English Driver Set (Stanley)
    • Metric Driver Set (Stanley)
    • Impact Joint Set
  • Wrench Set
  • Ratchet Set 12mm – 23mm (needed english set not metric, old Fords…)
  • Couple Buckets
  • Car Jack
  • 2 Jack Stands
  • Cherry Picker/Engine Hoist
  • Air Cutoff Tool (had to cut through some of the bolts on my exhaust piping, was epic fun!)

The motor before I started turning wrenches


Started by jacking the vehicle up. I was afraid of the jack stand’s stability for a while, but after jumping on the engine block for hours on end I managed to develop a modicum of bravery. It certainly looks precarious though. Ya, I was under that!

Hours of tugging on wrenches, draining oil, and smashing things with my hammer out of frustration (not on the parts list) later…


I wrapped trucker chains around the motor in order to get it out. Unfortunately I stripped the heck out of the bolts on the exhaust system so I couldn’t disconnect it. You can see it hanging off in the picture below. In order to rectify that I had to cut the bolts tying it together underneath the car. That allowed me to raise the motor as high as seen in the photo, but the exhaust pipe was still to long to go any further. Fortunately, getting the engine out this far allowed me to get a better angle on the nut and my air impact tool was able to spin it write off. That sucker was money very well spent. Glad I went with the higher-end IR. It was on sale on Amazon too, $77 bucks! At the time of this posting it was back up to $100 with MSRP at $130. so definitely happy with my timing.

Exhaust Trouble

Finally loose!


Motor out and engine compartment cleaned up a bit.

This next part of the project is actually for the next phase (installation of the electric motor), but it shows the engine bay cleaned up and painted so I figured I’d throw it in.cleanAnyway! Let me know what you think or if I left out some obviously crucial detail that you’d like to be regaled with. Yanking the engine out was a load of fun!


Mustang II Conversion – The Body

In this second post about my 1976 Mustang II project I’m going to discuss the vehicle’s body, and the modifications I either have to or want to make to it. Most people hate it, but the 70s Mustangs are my favorite in the long line of pony cars. Whilst trolling the Internet for sexy hot rods, I stumbled upon this saliva inducing beauty put together by the folks at A-Team Racing. I’m using that vehicle as the reference and target for my own project. Note that not only do I have absolutely NO experience working on cars or with composites, but I also do expect to spend most of my time stepping on my tail and failing. Best way to learn right? At least I’m realistic…


Rough Design

The vehicle I’m starting with has some significant bodily differences from my target so I did a quick mockup of what the vehicle should look like before and after. This allowed me to really get a feel for how large the project I’m taking on actually is. It’s pretty big…

Slide2Sorry the bottom image didn’t scan well. I’ll try to spruce it up in the future.

You’ll notice that the biggest issue is that hatchback problem. My donor vehicle is a notchback, not cool. The part that I’m most worried about there is the glass. I intend to fabricate the rear panel out of fiberglass and use a lexan sheet for the window. I think I can drill holes through these layers and bolt them together, then grind off the bolts and fiberglass over top of them to get a smooth finish.

Fabrication Plan

The basic idea is to pull off most of the body panels and replace them with fiberglass replicas. This allows me to cut weight while also giving me the opportunity to adjust the vehicle’s appearance to better suit my ego.

Here’s the general layout of my plan:

  • I will be using foam to build the general shape of the body panels
  • I plan to overlay that with clay in order to mold a more defined shape
  • Next I will cover that with aluminum foil and spray it with a releasing solution
  • Then I plaster fiberglass on top of that and let it harden into the part
  • After reinforcing the piece I should be done

In some cases I may have to take the positive and pull a negative form off to get the actual desired shape, but that is generally speaking what the process should be to build virtually every part of the car… I hope…

Let me know where the wrinkle is in my plan! No, it’s not the whole plan, Jeez!

Mustang II Restoration & Conversion

I’m beginning a new project and this one is a touch out of the ordinary for me. I know absolutely nothing about cars, but I’m going to be taking an old 1976 Ford Mustang II, modernizing it, restoring it, and converting it to electric power or die trying.

My first objective is to establish the technical requirements for my project. The purpose of this vehicle, once built, is going to be taking me to and from work on a daily basis; however, I would like to maximize the vehicle’s acceleration where possible in order to yield a more pleasurable driving experience.


Dialing in the Project Requirements

My daily commute is 16 miles each way. I want to have at least a 30% mileage buffer but would prefer a 50-60% buffer due to additional battery drain caused by auxiliary systems like HVAC, the stereo, power steering, etc. This all totals out to:

Range Calculation:

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 9.19.49 AM

This means my minimum range is 42 miles, and my target range is between 48 and 52 miles from. The next step is to determine how much power it will take to drive my car each mile. This metric is known as Watt-hour per mile or Wh/mi. This number can be extremely difficult to determine prior to producing the finished product. It is further muddled by the driving efficiency over speed curve. That is to say my base requirement is a function of the vehicles weight and aerodynamics, but my electric motor will also have a different efficiency based on the speed I am traveling at and the gear ratio of the vehicle’s transmission/rear axel. This means that I have to begin making assumptions and over-engineering my system in order to develop an adequate product.

The most important controllable variable in this equation is the vehicle’s weight. 1973-1978 Ford Mustangs had a gross curb weight of anywhere between 2600 and 3400lbs based on the year model and trim package. By ditching the major vehicle components required for an internal combustion engine (ICE), we shed a bunch of the car’s flab. My donor car is a 1976 notchback body style 2.3L v4. This makes it a muscle car wussy! Fortunately for me, it also makes it one of the lighter Mustang IIs weighing in at 2600lbs. The vehicle also suffers from some rust and is in need of a facelift so I will be constructing my own paneling out of fiberglass and carbon fiber. These modifications should allow me to shed additional weight over the existing sheet metal.

Component Weight
Engine 400
Exhaust System 200
Fuel Tank 50
Sheet Metal 150
Total 800lbs
New Weight 1800lbs

This is of course just the vehicle’s weight without the new electric drivetrain and batteries to propel it forward. Once I factor those pieces in the car will be much heavier, though still lighter then it was as a stock ICE. Since we won’t know how much battery we need until we solve for wh/mi and we need the to know vehicle performance data in order to calculate that we will make some assumptions. Wh/mi for most light vehicles tends to be around 250-300 and for small trucks it is 350-400. I was able to find that amp draw for a small miata is 90amps at 50mph. We will use this number as our low end. For our high end, since the Mustang II will be much heavier we will assume 170amps at 70mph. For all of these calculations we will assume a 144V battery system, though our file setup might differ. We’re just eyeballing and overestimating here.

Range Calculation:

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 8.52.25 PM

The last thing we need to do is solve for our power requirements. In order to preserve the lifespan of our batteries we must factor in a depth of discharge (DoD) limit. If we deplete our cells by greater then 80% it will greatly shorten the life expectancy of the EV. This means that we will need an additional 20% on top of our power requirements. For this conversion I will be using lithium ion batteries (LiFePO4). However, if using lead acid batteries it is important to also factor in the Peukerts effect. This effect causes lead acid to output at only 55% efficiency meaning that we need almost twice as much power for the same effect. All right! Power is in watts so let’s solve for it!

Power Requirements:

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 9.24.22 AM

Value Power Requirement DoD Factored
Minimum Power @ 50mph 10811.84 12974.208
Base Target Power @ 50mph 12475.2 14970.24
Top Target Power @ 50mph 13306.88 15968.256
Minimum Power @ 70mph 16219.84 19463.808
Base Target Power @ 70mph 18715.2 22458.24
Top Target Power @ 70mph 19962.88 23955.456

This means that peak power for my rig is 24,000 kW. Now it’s time to take a look at equipment and gauge the kind of power I am going to see.

EV Setup

I want my “muscle” car to handle with the same level of growl you would expect out of a small block v8 like the 302s Mustangs are famous for. A little bit of tire squeal is appealing, especially on a bad day! In EV speak we have a couple values to work with. What is somewhat counter intuitive, is that they are each predominately controlled by different components of the car. That means that horsepower isn’t as simple as a big motor.

Value Result Control System
Volts (V) Horsepower (Top Speed) Battery Pack -> Motor Max
Amperage (A) Torque (Acceleration) Motor Controller
Amp hours (Ah) Range Battery Pack


An electric car is a system. High voltage means high top speed, but only if both your motor controller and your electric motor can support it. Your controller can always output the max amperage it is rated for; however, the voltage sag that it can place on your batteries if they aren’t rated for it can be catastrophic. What is similar to an ICE vehicle is that the more fuel (Amp/hrs) you pack into it the farther it can go in one straight shot.

I found that I could get a really good deal on certain pieces of equipment by buying used. Since EV components are typically rated to work for a long time without breaking I felt safe buying certain parts like the motor and controller second hand. The current rig I am planning to build with associated specs is:

Parts List Specs Notes
NetGain WarP 9 Motor 156V continuous Should handle like a small block v8 when fed properly
Manzanita Zilla 1KHV 1K Amps/300V HV controller is powerful enough to handle dual WarP 9s if I upgrade in the future
PWN Real Force 3.2V 100AH/170V Not sure about these yet…

Reading around online I’ve found that the WarP 9 should be able to run at 170V fairly stably given that it is still run within its holistic power guidelines. The controller is also capable of adjusting the true voltage/current seen by the motor thereby shielding it from the battery pack. This means that as long as my pack is not over 300V it should be within limits, but in order to hit near max voltage for the WarP 9 (to maximize the top end speed) I will need to be careful about choosing batteries with too much AH opting instead for higher voltage (more on this in a future post).

OMG!!! What did I sign myself up for!

That is the general details regarding my conversion project. I decided to just jump right in and start working on this car because I’d otherwise never actually get around to it. The most difficult part of the project might not actually be the EV conversion. I have three major goals in mind:

  1. Make a cool electric car
  2. Make said car actually look cool too
  3. Create a sick car computer system to jam out and hack the planet!

I’m not too worried about that last part… it’s my forte; however, that second bullet might give me some trouble and will be the focus of my next post. I want to make the whole thing look very different than stock. This is going to involve a LOT of fiberglass and carbon fiber fabrication work! I have NO idea what I’m doing, but I can’t wait to get started! I’m glad to have you along for the ride. Please comment below if you have any questions or want to provide suggestions/encouragement. Most importantly please comment if you think I’m and idiot and have a better idea or a flaw to point out! You’re dumb and this is why are the best comments out there!


P.S. Sorry about the exclamation marks… I get excited