Very enjoyable and reliable car, but no Cadillac
By Joe on Thursday, November 15, 2012
I owned and sold this car
overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Reason: College tuition
- Overall Rating
Pros: "Bulletproof powertrain, great value"
Cons: "Useless backseat, expensive to modify"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I used this car (GT model) as a daily driver and occasional weekend drag racer. After five years of owning the car, I sold it to help cover college tuition. I purchased it for 7,000 in 2007 and sold it for 6,900 in 2012 after putting about 8,000 in modifications and regular maintenance into it (so I had about 15 grand into the car in total).
It was a very reliable car, but there are a few common problems with these cars. 1999-2001 Mustang GT's have plastic coolant crossover tubes integrated into the intake manifold, which eventually melt/crack and leak coolant. A new manifold with a metal crossover tube is around $250. This was fixed in the 2002-2004 model years.
On higher mileage cars, the door hinge can wear unevenly and make a "popping" noise when you close the door. The door still closes fine, but the "popping" noise is obnoxious. A new hinge is around $70.
The front seatbelts retract slowly after extended use. Before I replaced mine, I had to manually feed it back, which was also obnoxious. A new seatbelt assembly is around $300.
The front foglights (if equipped) can crack and leak water, which ruins the bulbs. A new set is around $80. The headlights also can fog up fairly easily, but I never had any leaking issues with them.
If you live in an area where it snows, the exterior sheet metal may be rust-free, but the underside might not be. Check the underside of the car near the rear axle for rust. Also, open the doors and look on the bottom of the doors for rust. If you're buying a car from an area where it doesn't, you're lucky and won't have to worry about rust.
If you plan on modifying the car, you will lose every cent that you put into it. Unfortunately, there are enough of these cars out there with enough people that could care less if the car is modified or not. If you are modifying it and it's a daily driver, be smart with the modifications. I lowered my car 2" and ruined my exhaust and rear tires because of it. I had a set of long tube headers on the car and scraped. I dented my $700 headers and developed a loud exhaust leak from a damaged exhaust manifold gasket. (You have to lift the engine or drop the front k-member to replace the exhaust gasket). I also installed rear wheel spacers, so my rear tires rubbed the fenderwell and tore up my tires. Obviously, all of this was preventable, but just a fair warning.
Regardless of everything I said, I absolutely loved the car. I consistently ran high 13's in the quarter mile and the car handled reasonably well. It's no Cadillac so it is a little loud in the interior and the back seat is more decoration than anything functional. People complain about it being terrible in the snow, but with weight in the back and good snow tires it is very doable. The parking brake is also weak on these cars so don't expect to be able to lock the rear wheels for drifting in the snow. (You'll have to break them loose with the throttle.)
Overall, this is a great looking, fun to drive, reliable, and good performance car for the money. The GT sounds great, and the powertrain handles pedal to the medal abuse like a champ, not to mention it's an American icon."
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