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03Panther New Reader
12/5/19 6:29 p.m.

I haven't had do do a fuel pump on a panther, so no advice there. I hope you get the other cars straight.

I hear the HHP bars are the best combo. Good blend of handling and ride quality. They're building a Pic A Part style yard near me now... I hope when they open I can find a 21 mm rear


I am fortunate to have a rear bar, even though its the 15 mm. I'm trying to hold out for a 21 mm; I'm not sure the 17 mm PI bar (good upgrade for cars with none) is enough stiffer to be worth the time. Stock replacements used to be available, but now all replacements cross to the 15 mm bar angry The 21 is at a few dealers NOS, but they want $600 + for 'em, so I guess they don't really want to sell anyfrown

All years rear bars interchange; early and late end links mount different.

Bent-Valve HalfDork
12/5/19 7:08 p.m.

Does anybody have a recommendation for a better OBD reader? It showed no codes, even though the check engine light was on. I have updated the reader once already.

Cleared them anyway, drove around, no drama, just ran. I have had some electrical gremlins in the nav system. And since I spilled antifreeze I rinsed the engine off last night so maybe something was still damp / wet this morning. I'll try it again tomorrow and hopefully it was just a fluke.

03Panther New Reader
12/5/19 8:07 p.m.

I haven't been very satisfied with any of the cheaper readers. I bought Auto Ingenuity with just the Ford bundle a few years back. I think 'bout $600. The "everything" package was too much. But it will do the basics on all OBDII. Now if I could just find the interface...

A bud works for city maintenance, and they were using that at the time. They are using high end AUTEL now. I haven't used any of their stuff, but they have some of the hand held readers too.

There is free software or apps, as we have to say now, you can use with a cheap dongle (usb or Bluetooth) bought online. A few friends have highly recommended this route.

For my 96 Diesel, the high end stuff would find all kinda stuff the handhelds didn't, but that was in 2010, so better handhelds might do better now. I know the right free software/dongle do great... just don't know the one thats right!

Bent-Valve HalfDork
12/25/19 7:23 p.m.

To catch up with events.

Fixed Hondas, put wood stove in barn, spread gravel, made it through Christmas, blah blah blah.

Pyro had the idea  to get a wood stove to heat shop, then we started insulating the walls and covering with osb. Once we finish the shop will be warmer to work in. The rest of the blocks are going to extend to the door. I am not going to argue, it makes my "play area" nicer. laugh

On to Panther content, I decided NOT to drop the tank, got the exhaust loose and pulled it to the side.

Got the fuel lines loose, once I used the right size tool. Lots of dirt was packed in the joint. The filter bag wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I just cut the wires right at the mount since I bought a whole new unit.

And after playing a 3d puzzle to get the new unit back in place I realized I had forgotten to take the old gasket off. So I did the 3d puzzle moves again to get the fuel pump out and pulled the gasket off. Go ahead and laugh,  I did. Actually I think I muttered some thing like "you idiot". Anyway, It was going quickly, yup, I had this in the bag .....

I finally got the big connector, connected. The last little bit required channel locks, these are seriously tight connectors.

Now for the stopping point, the little connector behind the wheel. Let me fast forward through 45 minutes of struggle and a good list of curse words, maybe a few new ones in that list.

I gave up. The connector is just off enough I cant get it to latch. As a last resort I cut the old connector off to splice into the new harness. And then I found that I didn't have heat shrink, etc.. So that will wait until tomorrow when I get to the store.

To speed things up I sprayed bolts on the drive shaft and a housing that hides a solenoid I need to clean. It causes the fuel to cut off when your at the gas station. Both u-joints need replaced also. I'll finish the wiring first, but things should start moving along.


Bent-Valve HalfDork
12/25/19 7:44 p.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

I made a trip to PicknPull, went down the row measuring sway bars. Took the ones I wanted. $28 each. Two different cars. Just watch the website for when they have a good assortment. Look up the vin numbers and you can find a HHP, the P71's are easy to id.

Bent-Valve HalfDork
12/26/19 8:16 p.m.

Busy day, more work on the shop. We got some metal siding to replace the windows which didn't fit and had massive gaps. And as we took it apart Pyro found rot in the wall, that added to the task. And the temp was dropping which spurred us on to seal up the wall. My camera battery died so there are gaps but here are a few.

It looks a little odd but it its sealed up. Some paint this spring will be in order.

Inside we added insulation and osb tongue and groove after framing it in to prevent drafts.

Then we added fire. Its in the thirties and while its not toasty warm in the shop it is getting better.

Next post is Panther stuff.

Bent-Valve HalfDork
12/26/19 8:32 p.m.

So with a little warmth in the shop I soldered and heat shrinked (shrunk?) the pump wiring. Camera was charging so just imagine the glorious soldering you missed ... laugh

The solenoid, well, dirt, lots of dirt, then more dirt.

Little nodules of dirt.

A dirty screen.

Clean screen.

Almost a shame to put the clean solenoid back into the pan. I scraped it out. I washed this car before I brought it home. I left about 600 pounds of dirt in the carwash. I missed much.

I thought I had gotten a lot of the dirt out. This shows how much I missed.

Bent-Valve HalfDork
12/28/19 11:02 p.m.

The universal joints were pretty loose and since I had it up in the air and since I had bought the joints like 3 months ago....

The rear joint was the worst, the front one was pretty solid, the units I got have grease nipples so I just went ahead and replaced them both.

Oh and all the harbor freight crap I bought from a friend finally got used. He had filled his garage and then decided to unfill it so I paid like 1/4th what he did and got a press, parts washer, etc.

So that was yesterday, today I flipped Gerti around and started on the front end. Here is my stack of parts. 2 new O2 sensors, shocks, springs, and a new idler arm. The 2 wheel sensors I snagged at Pick-n-pull. I hope they are good, but are easy to change if not.

Starting with the easy stuff I replaced the O2 sensors, heres why I need them:

Rats chewed on the wiring under the car. I have already fixed quite a bit of it.

2 shiny new O2 sensors installed!

On too the springs! The picture doesn't do it justice but the P71 springs are thicker and much heavier than the stock GS springs. 700 or 710 inch pounds, I forget which but they are hard to compress even using a spring compressor.

I compressed them about an inch or so and then the fun began. Really its kind of nerve racking because its like a finding an old grenade, if that compressor slips ... and my  fingers are in the wrong spot. I compressed the second one more and it made it easier.

I had to use a ratchet strap, a crow bar and remove the bump stop to get the spindle back on the ball joint. I can't get the bump stops back in. I hope after I drive it around the yard they will settle some.

I bounced on it and they still have it raised, like really high up. I put the old wheels back on because they are larger. The little Mustang wheels and tires looked completely ridiculous. And yes the springs are down in the pockets, I had to do the second one twice because I had it clocked wrong at first.

I got the wheel sensors in and one of the shocks, thats when I found out they didn't include the lower bolts for the shock.

Next week I'll finish the idler arm and shocks, go over all the bolts and I think its done with suspension, except for the gumbo mudders.


Georges1991 New Reader
12/29/19 2:47 a.m.

Yeah P7Juan springs definitely give it some lift. I like the stang wheels but they definitely need some bigger meats with the increased height.


I had 18s on my 2011, and with the right tire they look great. Sorta OEM+

Agent98 Reader
12/29/19 9:21 a.m.

18s were OEM size for the Marauder. Yeah not much room on top of the tank to plug in the evap. system tank pressure sensor that's what that thing is in the top corner of the fuel tank. You'll get a CEL for "P0451"...won t affect the running.

Bent-Valve HalfDork
12/30/19 6:21 a.m.

Was going to do more but food poisoning changed those plans.

I'm supposed to goto work today, don't care if they fire me. 

This is the worst I have felt in years.

Bent-Valve HalfDork
1/1/20 10:51 p.m.

Update - drove Gerti around and the springs settled a little, seriously police stanced.

Got the shocks on and was lucky I had some brand new self tapping bolts in the right size. I have a whole bucket of them, I have no clue what they were for originally. A buddy used to give me over stock they cleaned out so I have several buckets of various bolts. Anyway since the a arms are new there are no threads just holes for a thread cutting bolt. I finally have shocks.

Got the bump stops in and clamped down.

Also ordered some new front sway bar bushings and mounts from Rockauto, got the red poly Energy Suspension parts, they will be in next Wednesday.  I am missing a bracket for one side. I'll probably find it when the new ones comes in. It ok though since those were from Pick-n-Pull.

Speaking of Pick-n-Pull, the front tone wheel sensors work which I had worried about pulling them from a junker. All the lights and codes are gone except the over drive light flashing at me. I grabbed a range sensor from Pick-N-Pull and that might be it but I haven't done any research yet.

Sorry for no pics, not really an exciting visual update but I can see the end in sight. She's not the fanciest car, but I bet she holds together for a long time.

Bent-Valve HalfDork
1/4/20 9:37 p.m.

Found the errant sway bar bracket. Still gonna put the poly units in next week.

Pulled the idler arm off and the sleeve stayed.

And yes I use plumbing tools when needed. laugh

It needed a little clean and grease.

Some grease joints and a little grease and the suspension is complete, not aligned but complete. Drove it down the road a couple of miles, firm ride and good control. Once aligned it should be really great. So here it is in its current state. The Mustang wheels are inset 31 mm or so. Im going to check one of the front ones that has curb rash and if its good get tires and spacers. Got a new battery today. Its the roughest looking car on the property but I'd trust it to drive anywhere.

Yup it sits up. Like I said serious police stance. smiley

03Panther New Reader
1/9/20 6:40 p.m.

Most folks are lowering theirs, and I assume stiffening up the springs also. I like the police stance! And I assume about the same stiffness as their lowered. But I wonder how the handling difference is. and it needs a bit more tire at that height, ( NOT hoopty rims) I think, and then gears to go with that...

Keep 'em coming! Looking great. Mine, although a little better in the looks part, is NOT the worst lookin' . Tis sad, but true.

03Panther New Reader
1/9/20 6:46 p.m.

After swapping out the rear air bags with springs, I have not put my stock 15mm bar back on. Been trying to find a HPP bar, but no luck yet. I have the poly end links, but couldn't find 15mm Poly bracket bushings. Any suggestions? I'll be driving it to work more now, so I want to at least help the 15mm bar out.

Bent-Valve HalfDork
1/9/20 9:28 p.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

Thanks, Yes I like the way it rides, handling? not sure yet I haven't gotten to test it out. But here the reason for the stiff but cheap springs, I plan to autocross the heck out of this this year, and laugh the whole time!

Oh and I plan to get a Police rear with 3.55's last time I was at Pick-N-Pull they had one. Its supposed to rain like crazy this weekend or I was thinking about getting it.

On that note, I needed a sway bar bracket, looked at Rockauto, I wandered down to the Performance section. They had the red Energy Suspension units, you had to add them to your cart before you got a price. I was pleasantly surprised, $20.79, for the pair, a quick click on "Submit" before they noticed the low price and they were on the way.

This box has been here 3 days, taunting me. These are the first non stock performance parts to go in. The springs and sway bars are all stock items off higher performance Panthers.

The first one was easy, I took the nuts off, pulled the bar down, cut the old rubber bushing off, slipped the new one on, bolt in place. Easy.

Now if you, hypothetically speaking, forget to put grease on it, you will have to take it back off. Just saying that COULD happen, not that it did.blush

In reading reviews this grease is sticky, kind of like a tattoo and if it gets on you it lasts just as long so I used gloves.

And I know they will improve handling without driving it, heres how. The first one went on quick and easy. I bolted it back up. The second one? I had to loosen the first one to pull the bar down! Oh and I found the easy way to cut these old bushing was to stretch them with a screw driver and they slice easy. This pic is of the second one, notice how its pinned against the frame? I hadn't loosened the first one yet.

So those were easy and fun to put on and will help handling.

 Next I checked the rim for damage. Only one rim had any and its local to this spot. I am looking for another but haven't had any luck yet. I may just go with it but I wonder if i will feel it. Its about 1/8 of an inch bent in. The pic makes it look terrible but its not quite that bad.

And that is all for tonight. Back to looking for Mustang rims.

Bent-Valve HalfDork
1/12/20 10:08 a.m.

Wheels. One is bent. I have been looking for a 17 inch Mustang rim. I found a set of 18 inch chrome Mustang rims, $400. I don't want to spend that right now trying to get it on the road.

I could go the "hooptie rim" route, lol, I have 7 steel rims. I also have the hubcaps for a more original look. It would be the cheapest route.

I still want to put a rear end under it so that is part of the budget problem.

Then I saw these 2009-2012 Escape rims on CL:


1) 12 mm studs on Escape, 1/2 x 20 on Panthers

     > The drill required is less than 1mm larger, like 0.7 mm plus tolerance, I may not even have to drill the bolt holes out.

2) From time to time I hear "Don't use FWD wheels on a RWD car, YOU WILL DIE!" Ok, so maybe not that dramatic, but no one has ever given me logical, rational reasons for that statement except maybe offset, which I already have to use spacers for the the Mustang wheels.

    > Is there a logical reason why fwd wheels are bad on rwd cars?

3) The Panther is heavier than the Escape, I'm not sure it is enough difference to matter here, except I do plan to do autocross, so I will stress the suspension / wheels regularly.

    > Do you think they would hold up long term?

Finally I find LOTS of Jeep rims out there, who here would lynch me for putting Jeep rims on a Panther? devil

Georges1991 New Reader
1/12/20 12:02 p.m.

Other than the offset I dont see an issue. It's not the prettiest wheel, but I'd send it.


Lots of guys run all sorts of Mopar wheels, I've seen 300/Charger wheels that are cheap and look good, and I've seen some that are downright hideous. Jeep wheels are cheap, and work too. Go for it!

03Panther New Reader
1/13/20 5:22 p.m.

In reply to Georges1991 :

Correct on offset... back before a few RWD stuff started running similar offsets as FWD, the extremely emphasized "NOOOOOO" was for the guys that HAD to be cool, but didn't know what they were doing!

Most Charger/300/Magnum's had a diferent pattern... similar to GM FWD. Jeep started changing things around a few years ago; some 6 lug stuff, and some GM RWD pattern.

I think steelies with dog dish would look good... but I don't think you can get enough meat on 'em. When I mentioned "hoopties" I was refering to the silly Donk things, where ya sacrifice handling and ride to look fugly.

MrChaos GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/13/20 6:02 p.m.

when i looked a few weeks ago at least around me, it was just cheaper to order the cheaper alloys from Tire Rack/Summit that what people wanted for alloy wheels that fit the later panthers. Motegi's or Focals.

like https://www.summitracing.com/parts/mxw-wn67t5440s/overview/year/2005/make/ford/model/crown-victoria

or https://www.summitracing.com/parts/uwc-4486718sbx40/overview/year/2005/make/ford/model/crown-victoria

or new cragar steel wheels were like $50/wheel

Bent-Valve HalfDork
1/13/20 6:43 p.m.

In reply to MrChaos :

I picked up the Escape wheels, $125 for all 4. I have to get spacers but I will order those tonight.

They need spacers, 1 3/8 inch but I think they will look fine. They fit right on the hubs, I was worried that I would have to drill the bolt holes but they slip on. They CAN NOT be run without spacers, they hit the caliper and you cant bolt them up.

Later this summer I will find some wide ones (or another Mustang rim) that fit and put good tires on them for autocross, these are going to get some all season tires for getting me back and forth from work.

Bent-Valve HalfDork
1/15/20 8:54 p.m.
Georges1991 said:

Other than the offset I dont see an issue. It's not the prettiest wheel, but I'd send it.

Don't try Escape wheels on a Panther, you will see why in a minute.

Ordered hub centric spacers, 1.5 inch because I couldn't find 1 3/8 or equivalent mm. Came in a nice box, look like quality units, heres the unboxing and notice the lug nuts that came with them are a different size socket.

Ok now look at the hub centric part, the flange that sticks out. It measures roughly 2 3/4 of an inch.

The Escape rim measures roughly 2 5/8 of inch,

Now I could torque 'em down and force the two to become one, maybe, but I would never be able to change that wheel again. I have a lathe and could turn the hub center down, but that defeats the reason I bought them. I could also turn the adapter and put a plug of aluminum in it then turn it down to the right size. That doesn't set well with me either.

BUT! The Mustang wheel sets in the right place now, maybe even a little bit to far, I mean I am going Stance Nation with this setup, right? cheeky OK, I know, but when I lived in Wichita Falls I saw an impromptu low rider gathering and pulled up in my jacked up 1984 step side 4x4. I explained that I tried to lower it but I might have installed the kit wrong, most of the guys there were cool, and offered to help me lower the truck. We had a great time and I found out how much work they put into a low rider.

Anyway heres the picture you have been waiting for.....







No wait thats not it... here it is






It puts the rim where it should be. Maybe a little far out. Now for tires?

I will sleep on it and decide if I want run a slightly bent rim for a while or try to find another one. I liked the Escape rims but this is a stock - ish car for mostly transport and autocross secondary. If it was primarily a toy I would do things I won't do to a daily.

As they say, 2 steps forward and one step back. wink

MrChaos GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/15/20 9:14 p.m.

go full off road and put cragar d windows with some A/T's on it.

slowbird Dork
1/16/20 9:45 a.m.

Rallycross it! devil

Bent-Valve HalfDork
1/18/20 4:16 p.m.

I had always said "It's not yours until you bleed for it."

The Grand Marquis used to be mine, skinned knuckle here, slight cut there, its all part of working on a car.

Well, now its ours, evidence? Pyro's finger:

We were cleaning the really, really old tint that had become cloudy and wrinkled off the windows. I snapped a razor blade and it went flying. I looked for it and carefully clean off the plastic shreds at the bottom of the window. No luck, I figured it had flown out and landed in the gravel. Looked there, still no luck. A few minutes later Pyro found it, in the corner of the window behind some more shredded tint. Right next to the corner of her nail.

Also found out the passenger side window doesn't roll down, so it looks like crap.

I also put the spacers on all the way around. The wheels are placed nicely. So if you are putting Mustang wheels on a 2002 or older Panther 1 1/2 inch spacers work nicely. I may have to roll the fender edges a little, I'll know better in a few weeks.

They also leave mucho room around the calipers which I like.

Not a spectacular update, but its a little closer. Its too cold to do any body work but spring will be here eventually. Then I am going to do the foam roller type paint job.




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