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Author Topic: Long time old Ford guy, first time Pinto owner with lots of questions  (Read 984 times)

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Offline J.M.

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Hi all,

After more than 15 years being a member of this forum I actually own a Pinto now. I originally joined years ago when I was looking for Pinto specific parts I needed for another project (I was putting a 2.3 in a Maverick and needed a Pinto oil pan). I've mostly owned and been into the Pinto's fellow underappreciat ed brother, the 70-77 Mavericks. I've also dabbled in 57-66 Fairlanes, Comets and Foxbodies over the past 18 years. I've always hoped to come across a decent deal on a Pinto to play with and that's finally happened.

I picked up a 73 wagon yesterday. The car is in decent shape but was someone's abandoned project and is missing a few things needed to get it back on the road. I'm in a bit of a time crunch as I'd like to drive this car to the Turkey Rod Run in Daytona this year.


Question #1 - Brakes. I'm finding that rotors and reman calipers are not available for a 73. Some searching on this forum shows that this has been the case for quite some time. My rotors have some pretty deep ridges in them and I'm assuming my calipers are shot since the car has been sitting for 10-15+ years. I have a set of spindles from a 74 Mustang II. Can I use these on the 73 and simply upgrade to the 74+ front brake parts that are readily available?


Question #2 - Gas tank. The car did not come with one. I see that this is another obsolete part. Just my luck. What are my interchange options here? My car is a '73 wagon. Is there a difference between body styles? Do I need to be targeting a specific range of years? At this point, finding a usable tank seems like it's going to be my biggest hurdle to jump in a short time frame. I basically need to find one within a month. I have advanced welding and fabrication skills. Are there any other tanks that are "close enough" that I can modify and adapt? 


One last question - the car is a 2.0/4 speed. The shifter in the 4 speed feels extremely vague with no detents to help find gears. Other cars I've driven with this shift pattern you generally have to push down on the shifter to get into reverse. This thing just flops around. It's basically a 50/50 shot whether you land in 1st or reverse. I can't imagine this is normal, are there any common problems with the shifter that could cause this? I haven't pulled it apart to investigate yet.

Greatly appreciate any input and help with the above questions. Pic of my car attached.

Offline Wittsend

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Re: Long time old Ford guy, first time Pinto owner with lots of questions
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2023, 12:12:30 PM »
Welcome (back). Yes, the agony of owning an early Pinto. I might as well rip the band-aid off and tell you that the 1973 Pinto's have a one year only steering rack too. Activity here is pretty light but hopefully someone can enlighten you regarding the '74-up brakes. I THINK it has been done but don't have the background to say for sure. YEARS ago I was at a Pick Your Part and someone had removed but not taken a set of early rotors that were decent. I almost didn't get them but my wife convinced me that maybe I should go back inside (she was picking me up) and purchase them. I paid $8 ea., and that included the bearings. NOW, I'm so glad I did as IF they can be found at all they are about $150 each.


Regarding a gas tank you probably just have to find an original, or perhaps (with reduced volume) get a generic fuel cell that will hang below and require fabrication to mount. I have a '73 wagon myself but I don't know if the wagons and sedans have the same gas tank. My understanding is that though they have the same wheel base rearward of the axle the wagons extend back further.


Hopefully you will get it sorted out in due time. Unfortunately there are no Pinto specific vendors though SOME Mustang II parts MIGHT work. So that MIGHT be a pathway to getting a gas tank. Some times a part is said not to fit because it is not an exact fit but could work with minor modification or acceptance of change (like a smaller volume tank). I don't know if that is the case with a Pinto tank but might be worth looking into.

Offline oldkayaker

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Re: Long time old Ford guy, first time Pinto owner with lots of questions
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2023, 05:49:09 AM »
Great looking Pinto.

The late Pinto/MII spindle should bolt up to the 73 Pinto suspension.  The 73P uses the same larger tie rod end as the late Pinto/MII.  The late Pinto/MII spindle has different locating dimensions and will probably raise the carís front about an inch.  There was a thread where somebody with a 73 that did it without reported problems but I suspect there may be some handling changes.  The factory 71-73P steel wheels had a smaller center hole that will not fit over the later Pinot/MII larger hub.  I do not know if your factory aluminum wheels will fit over the larger hub of the late Pinto/MII.

The gas tanks varied in dimensions over the years and the wagons had a different one from the sedans from what I have read.  I have not seen a direct replacement.  See Wittsendís comments above.

The 4 speed has a plastic saddle bushing that wears out at the bottom of the shifter (visible when shifter is lifted from the transmission).  There have been a few threads describing partial success with some replacement saddle bushings (see link below).  There is also a plastic/rubber doughnut spring at the base of the shifter that pushes up on the shifter keeping it from falling out of or into gear.  I do not recall any replacement for this spring doughnut.  Hurst use to sell a good shifter with a built in steel spring but it would be hard to find one.

https://racerwalsh.com/product/shifter-saddle-plastic-pinto-mustang-rwa3149/
Jerry J - Jupiter, Florida

Online rob289c

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Re: Long time old Ford guy, first time Pinto owner with lots of questions
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2023, 03:38:39 PM »
I hope you can find what you're looking for and your story has convinced me never to buy a '73, unless it is only for the engine!
rob289c

Offline Wittsend

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Re: Long time old Ford guy, first time Pinto owner with lots of questions
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2023, 01:00:48 PM »
Soooo..., did you buy this Pinto Wagon from the individual that went by "Long Time Ford Man" here at the PCCA or are you him with a new ID? The red wagon, dark roof and alloy wheels look like his car. I ask because the title of the post has "Long Time Old Ford Guy" and the similarities with the title and the car seems to be connected??? Maybe not, just curious.

Offline J.M.

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Re: Long time old Ford guy, first time Pinto owner with lots of questions
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2023, 04:26:32 PM »
Soooo..., did you buy this Pinto Wagon from the individual that went by "Long Time Ford Man" here at the PCCA or are you him with a new ID? The red wagon, dark roof and alloy wheels look like his car. I ask because the title of the post has "Long Time Old Ford Guy" and the similarities with the title and the car seems to be connected??? Maybe not, just curious.

I found it on Facebook marketplace. I bought it from a guy named Drew Ward near Woodstock, Georgia. If I recall correctly he said his wife bought it from an estate sale about 5 or 6 years ago but they never got around to doing anything with it. I believe he did say that there were a number of Pintos and parts in the estate sale. It's had an amature level single stage paint job put on it and the masking from the marker lights, etc. hasn't even been removed. I have no idea the history of the car beyond that.

Offline J.M.

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Re: Long time old Ford guy, first time Pinto owner with lots of questions
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2023, 04:34:48 PM »
Soooo..., did you buy this Pinto Wagon from the individual that went by "Long Time Ford Man" here at the PCCA or are you him with a new ID? The red wagon, dark roof and alloy wheels look like his car. I ask because the title of the post has "Long Time Old Ford Guy" and the similarities with the title and the car seems to be connected??? Maybe not, just curious.

I just looked him up. Looks like he's still currently active on this site. The previous owner of my car had passed away some years ago. My car does bear a striking resemblance to his but it's not the same car. Title of my post was pure coincidence.  :D

Offline Wittsend

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Re: Long time old Ford guy, first time Pinto owner with lots of questions
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2023, 10:27:47 AM »


... My car does bear a striking resemblance to his but it's not the same car. Title of my post was pure coincidence.  :D

Thanks for the reply and thanks for understanding that given the similarities of the cars and name why I asked. Hope the '74-up spindle and brakes work out. Let us know.