Garage Blog Index

Focus Update

Posted: 05-12-19

Cleanup, fix up and upgrades

This is a summary of the stuff that has been done in the last few weeks. A good spring cleaning, some hard core fixing and some planned upgrades.


Clearing Out The Winter Leftovers

This is when you make a great effort to get out all the goofy stuff that has collected inside the car. Up North we deal with it until the weather breaks and then tackle it. It was lots of vacuuming and wiping down but was well worth it. Even the carpeted floor mats got a well needed scrub and flush. All the windows are now decontaminated and sparkly.

And the outside got a thorough scrubbing and waxing. The wheels and tires get all the winter build up removed and a good treatment to get them looking like they should. It did take a bit of work to decontaminate the aftermarket rims. But it was worth it!

Some Facia Damage

During the winter there was a minor dunch on the passenger front corner. It did some superficial damage to the fascia. But the flexible fascia did it's job and flexed. It took some scuffs and generated some minor cracking. The flexing tweaked and tore the attachments for the front splash shield. It was temporarily fixed Red Green style, with duct tape. Actually black Gorilla tape, but the same result. This ugly tape repair was recently upgraded with some strategically placed screws until the replacement shield arrived.

The good news is that the damage assessment determined that the fascia will NOT have to be replaced. All the damage is cosmetic and an easy repair. While it will have to be removed to do it that is relatively easy on this car. I did have to replace the sagging water shield because of having some of the attachment points torn out and a big flex crack. The new one was a basic R&R. And replacing a couple of missing fasteners got it back right.

Headlight Restoration

During the spring cleaning I was able to get a good look at the headlight housings. And even after the clean up they definitely looked dingy and degraded. So I went online to see if I could just replace them. Wow! That made my head hurt! The Ford price was $250 EACH! Aftermarket pieces were around $170 each. With that trauma out of the way I decided to give the headlight restoration kits a go. Since I work at a auto parts store I went for a Meguires kit. I have faithfully used Meguires products for 40 years because they work.

Simply following the kit instructions ( What?! We don't need no stinking instructions! ) made the headlight housings come back to life! While not flawless after 10ish years, they were astronomically better than they were. A great $30 investment. I highly recommend this kit. A bonus to this scenario is that there was enough material left over to make a pass at the 13YO headlights on my HHR. While not really bad looking the result made it obvious that they were in need also. They are nice again. Both cars are set for night time running with maximum light!

Adding Fog Lights

During the fascia assessment I noticed that the fascia incorporated the mount points for the factory option fog lights. Some online research revealed that the light units mount directly to the fascia and that the blank-off fillers simply snapped in and were easily replaced with a light bezel insert. It also revealed that the fog light units were very common and used on a wide variety of other Ford products from Mustangs to Expeditions. I rummaged around the web and located new replacement bezels and lamp units for the same money as a hunting trip to Parts Galore or Ryans for used pieces. About $50 for the whole bundle. Not that I don't need to go on a hunting expedition but .... why? If I can get it sent to the house and save my knees.

The wiring I can do myself and the lights are H11's so connectors are common and not an issue. So, I have the pieces and now just need finish the project and plumb them in. Things To Do!

Gotta Have A Wing!

After doing a bit of body cleanup, removing the trunk lettering and badges, I decided to research a trunk wing. Why? Because ....! Not that it makes a whole lot of aerodynamic hoopla but it is a "must have" in this day and age. Online research pointed out a factory wing was available on some models. And a subsequent search uncovered some economical clones of the OEM unit. $40 vs $210. So I got one ordered and it is here. A bit of factory paint and it will be good to go. It may even go faster. Another project for ANOTHER day! Stay tuned.