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Restoration of Moonstone #466

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Well, I have not even picked the car up yet (had a call today and it should be ready for pickup Wednesday next week) but the restoration has already started, if only small at first :)

As I have not yet picked up the car, I do not have any pics yet to get this thread started but intend to keep this thread going over the next year or so as it progresses - this is not going to be an all at once, months off the road get every thing done in one go type restoration but a bit by bit type restoration. 

Based on my initial inspection, there are 2 big things that need fixing on the car as well as a whole bunch of little things to get it back to the condition I want the car it. 

The 2 big items are slight rust and paint repair on the body which will likely result in a bare metal respray and a YBD build.

I have built a list of the little things which will no doubt grow after I pick the car up and start going through it with a fine tooth comb but this is how it looks at the moment: 

EDIT - I will keep this as the "hit-list" for things that need to be done on the car and tick them off as work progresses. 

  • Interior - Sunroof winder 
  • Interior - Interior light surround trim
  • Interior - Steering wheel (may just need a tidy up / re-tan)
  • Interior - Carpet
  • Interior - Dash Clock
  • Interior - Radio (has an after market one at the moment, will go back to orig)
  • Interior - Gear knob
  • Interior - Gear Shift boot
  • Interior - Tool kit
  • Engine Bay - Radiator hoses
  • Engine Bay - wiring loom 
  • Engine Bay - Coolant Overflow bottle / lid
  • Engine Bay - Fuel hose (car to fuel rail)
  • Engine Bay - Turbo Heat shield
  • Engine Bay - re-plate nuts, bolts, brackets etc
  • Engine Bay - Sticker's
  • Engine Bay - Fuse Box
  • Engine Bay - Air Box
  • Engine - Fuel rail (connector has been cut off and had a barb brazed in, grrr!)
  • Engine - Turbo hoses
  • Engine - Thermostat housing
  • Engine - water pump
  • Engine - dump vale / piping
  • Chassis - Swap rear beam (car currently has a 3dr one but is coming with a RS500 one to be fitted)
  • Chassis - Brake calliper rebuild
  • Body - Side pin-striping / decals
  • Body - door bumpers / rubber strip each side

I had a quick chat with Paul L today and have placed my first purchase (of many to come I am sure) which will see the dash clock, an RS500 alternator drop bracket and engine bay sticker set on its way down under and also ordered a new set of orig replica boost hoses ready to put on next week when I pick the car up. 

I am planning on doing a lot of the work myself including re-plating etc but will leave the paint and body work to the pro's and also the main engine build (at least bottom end / short engine.

I will get a full photo set of the car as it is when I pick it up ready next week and keep a bit of a build diary in this thread as things progress - to say I am excited about this project is an understatement!


Cheers for now,


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OK, quick update, I pick up the car tomorrow and have just got off the phone with the previous owner who sold the car some 16 odd years ago and they still have the original engine! Still need to strike a deal with them but is nice to know exactly where the engine is and that there is a hope of getting it - will be a couple of weeks before I know more as the current owner is travelling overseas tomorrow but fingers crossed!

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After picking up the car last night and getting a flat on the way home (car had an original jack in the boot but no tools to get the wheels off!) it seems that the tyres on the car have been on there over 16 years and may be just a little hard, so add 4 new tyres to the list of things to do :)

Will get a photo shoot and report done over the next couple of days and see where the starting point is from there.

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Update - Have dropped the car off this morning for 4 new tyres (the spare looks good).

As per above, I picked the car up last night and aside from the issue with the tyre blowing out, everything is pretty good, if not better than I expected. There seems to be an issue with one of the brakes grabbing which in one way is good - it now has anti-rollback / hill start assist :) but will move to get that fixed as quick as possible so I ordered the parts yesterday and they have turned up today for a brake rebuild which I will be doing this weekend.


The car currently has an aftermarket dump valve on it but I got most of the pieces with the car to restore the original valve and piping back to the inlet pipe, just need to check that I have all the hose clamps and silicon hose etc. 

Also, the car currently has a 2WD thermostat housing on it but I received an RS500 one with it (need to double check to make sure it is not a 4x4 one) but also need to get a 4x4 / RS500 water pump before I can change that over. Will see how things go over the next couple of weeks. 

The car also currently has a 2wd rear beam in it but I also received a genuine RS500 item with the car, just need to track down some bushes for it and will be swapping the rear beam over. Will probably take the opportunity to strip it back and have it re-painted first - does anyone know if these were painted or powder coated originally?


Have also booked the car in for a full fluid change on Monday - the car has been sitting in a garage for some 15 years with only occasional starting of the engine. As per the tyres which were also 15+ years old and getting a bit brittle, I am going to take a guess and say the engine will likely do its best impression of a oil well some time soon as the gaskets have probably all dried up and shrunk so will be looking to at least do a full gasket kit inc head gasket and probably timing belt on the current engine prior to the YBD rebuild.

Also have a RS500 alternator drop bracket and new turbo-intercooler boost pipe (managed to track down an original item in Australia which is to be delivered today!!!!) on the way so will be changing those over hopefully next weekend as the alternator is currently eating its way thru the turbo hose (reminds me of a pretty famous comment over here a number of years ago - Driver to Pit boss - "whats wrong with the engine?" Pit boss to Driver - "Umm, we seem to have an electrical problem" Driver to Pit Boss "What do you mean electrical issue, seems much worse than that!!!" Pit boss to driver - "Yeah, well, A piston has gone out thru the side of the block and taken out the alternator!!!!" :) )


For the next couple of weeks / months, I can only see the job list above growing but will get stuck into is this weekend and looking forward to getting my teeth stuck into it, has been a bit of a challenge already getting parts etc but that is all part of the fun!


And yes, will get some pictures up soon 



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Good read Ben


Post a pic of the thermo housing and ill tell you how to tell if its 500 or 4x4



Hi Paul,


See below - this is the first time I have had a look and starting to wonder now . . .




Also, here is 2 other pics - I dropped the car in today for some new tyres, unfortunately the f***tards didn't do one of the wheels up, I got about 300 m down the road and had the left rear come off - more work to do now. . . . Has not been a good first 24 hours of ownership!



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Thats a 4x4 thermo ,,not a rs500

the rs500 thermo has another bleed screw in the top ,,and also the front cover is a diferent angle ( ill get a pic for you )


Bad news about the wheel ,,,,i bet you were going mental


Good job its not that bad ,, could have been a lot worse



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Update for 2015/11/08

Hi Guys, 

 I started poking around on the car the other day as I needed to change the boost pipes (alternator has been rubbing on the turbo - intercooler pipe) and when I got the pipes off the turbo, I was greeted with this - 


Which was not a great thing to see, but then I noticed that it was all the way through the inlet pipe back to the airbox, so decided to pop the line and was greeted with the following: 

DSC_0296.jpgJust a bit of mesh, not more filter - looks like the filter had simply deteriorated whilst the car has been sitting around for the last 15 years and the foam had all been sucked through the turbo and the engine, hence the oil slick in the front of the turbo from the oil on the foam. There was a little bit of foam left in the bottom of the air box - 

DSC_0297.jpg(bit hard to see with black on black but is a mound of foam in the bottom right corner) 

So I quickly started tracking down an air filter and realised that I may not have the right air box on the car - just another thing to add to the list!

I also did a bit of shopping to get some equipment - you can't do a resto without the right tools so grabbed a new sand blaster and air compressor - 



Today I spent the day bleeding the cooling system to make sure there was no air in it and hopefully get rid of the temporary over heating issue (fingers crossed no damage was done) as well as checking a few of the electrical items went through all the fuses and reapplied that a few were dead and a few were the wrong size for the slot they were in - also realised that it looks like I do not have the correct fuse box (there is a fuse slot for headlight washers which I am guessing is Sapphire) but did get a couple of wins in that it looks like the fan fuse was blown which hopefully will fix the fan not working issue (have not had a chance to test yet as lost my keys for the best part of the day) and also now have central locking and electric mirrors working again!


That saw me move onto the brakes - it feels like they are sticking a bit (hope it is the callipers and not the ABS system) so decided to put a fresh set of seals through them and clean them up. After stuffing around trying to get the handbrake cable off the left rear for a while and also making sure I had all the all the bits and pieces I needed, I finally got one stripped down, cleaned up, in the sand blaster and looking like new again - 


I was almost going to put them back together bare metal but had to run up to the hardware store to get a tool to compress the parking brake spring so decided to get some high temp paint while I was at it and stop them from rusting - 


I am letting them dry at the moment and will probably give them a second coat in the morning before putting them back together and getting onto the other 3 corners. 

Lastly, there was an issue with the temp gauge not working correctly so I ran out after dinner, multi-meter in hand as well as some wire, shorted the temp wire to the chassis and confirmed that the dash gauge is actually working so quickly swapped out the temp sender and now have a working temp gauge.


All in all, a good day, I even managed to find my keys at about 10pm :) - is good to finally start getting stuck into it. I have to head off to Germany for the next week so won't be any progress for 2 weeks now but will defiantly be more updates after that. 

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41 minutes ago, RS 500 Registrar said:



You dont mess about


any updates / pictures for us ??


I have been away in Germany the last week and a bit and only got back the other day so missed last weekend but am all set for this weekend - Sunday is my "work on car" day each week. I have a box of new bits and pieces sitting in the garage ready to put on and also need to complete the calliper rebuild from the other week so I will get some more photos and an update up at the end of tomorrow.

I did however get to the bottom of the reheating problem - after testing the fans by shorting the wires at the sensor and confirming that the fans were working, then putting the sensor/switch in a pot on the stove and confirming it was working with the multi meter I finally figured out that the fans were not turning on because the radiator was not getting hot - it was not getting hot because no water was flowing into it. After whipping off the thermostat housing I discovered that the thermostat was blocked up, likely by the flushing of the cooling system coupled with the rubber gasket behind it falling apart so whipped the thermostat out, put the housing back on and the car is running cool again (taking a little to warm up though and water pressure through the turbo seems reduced) - just one of the tasks tomorrow is to put a new thermostat and gasket in.

I think for tomorrow I aim to do the following:

  • Complete the brake rebuild (front callipers)
  • Install new thermostat
  • Change timing belt
  • Swap dash clock
  • Change engine sensors
  • Clean / check ABS wheel sensors
  • Install alternator drop bracket
  • Change boost hose

Lets see how the day goes though. More pics etc to come tomorrow!

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Depends on what you call lucky - that photo was taken at about 8pm at which point it was still over 35 deg c, we finished the night at about 10 pm when it was still 32 deg c and we were all sweating like a fat kid in a lolly shop.

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Update 2015/11/22

Another fun day working on the 500. I had set some lofty goals for today (see above) and whilst he day was productive, it was not what was planned (is it ever).

I started the day off with the most important piece, fuel for me - 


I have been building up a stock of bits and pieces to go on the car over the last few weeks and so far have this cache - 


New engine back decal set, new side pin-striping, new header tank cap, drop bracket and clock for dash.DSC_0365.JPG

New air, water and crank angle sensors. DSC_0366.JPG

New rubbers front and rear as well as new thermostat, gasket and clip, NOS wheel brace.DSC_0367.JPG

The old dump valve already removed (factory one back in), brake rebuild kit for the front, old water temp sender, new boost hose (will run aftermarket for the moment and go back to original when the right engine goes in).DSC_0368.JPG

Old boost hoses, spare clock, 4x4 thermo housing (wont go on my head though) DSC_0369.JPG

First thing to do was get the brakes off and stripped down so I could clean them up and have them painted in time to dry to put back on the car by end of day, after getting the car up and the wheels off this is what I was greeted with - 


Not too bad a start, is reasonably clean under there but could do with a detail and "correcting" a couple of problems.

There has been an issue with the brakes not feeling quite right and the car pulling to the left as well as some chatter. After getting the right calliper off, it was starting to become obvious that there were some issues. 


The dust seals were completely stuffed and there was a nice "patina" built up on the pistons. I got going on pulling them down and quickly realised the extent of the problem. After approx 2 hours getting the pistons out of the right calliper, I quickly lost any illusions of getting the rest of my list complete today - all 4 pistons were virtually seized in the right calliper explaining the braking issues on the car (how it passed a road worth 3 weeks ago I dont know - the previous owner had it done the day before I purchased it). I finally got the pistons out after much work with clamps, the air compressor and WD-40, got it in the sand blaster and finally got it cleaned up - 


I got a quick coat of paint onto it and then started on the left calliper which proved much quicker and easier to pull down. 

Whilst letting the callipers dry, I started on the alternator and getting drop bracket in place (the alternator has been rubbing on the original boost hose!). The first thing I quickly realised was that I didn't have the extra bolts needed to get the bracket and alternator back on but instead of rushing up tot he store to get some, I luckily decided to fit it up and make sure everything was OK before heading out.

After getting the bracket in place and the alternator back on, I realised that it was not going to happen today. In the back of my mind I new the adjusting bracket was different on the 500 but hoped the standard one would suffice - not the case. Also not sure if the belts are different on the 500 compared to standard as mine were pretty tight with the alternator all the way into the engine block. It also looks like the existing bracket has had a bit of a cut and shut done on it, probably by the previous owner in an attempt to mimic the drop bracket so I took the drop bracket out and restored it back to how it was at the beginning of the day - will need to track down an adjuster bracket and will probably get one of the aftermarket all in one drop bracket / alternator brackets for the moment and will make sure that when the correct engine goes back in it is all as it should be.

With the alternator back on and the brake callipers touch dry, I decided to throw the callipers in the oven for a few hours to cure the paint (don't let the missus know :) ) and got the wheels back on so I could wheel the car out and pop the thermostat housing off, put the new thermostat, gasket and clip in and get it reassembled. Whilst still waiting for the oven baking of the callipers, I thought it best to check the ABS sensors and give them a bit of a clean up and looks like they will probably need replacing as well. Also changed the crank angle sensor and manifold air temp sensor (it was covered in the remnants of the old air filter and filter oil!) but could not get the water temp sensor changed - looks like I need to go out and buy a long 19mm socket to get that done. By the time this was done, the callipers were done so got them out, let them cool a bit and went to work getting them re-built. With a bit of TLC, they came up pretty nice and no longer have pistons that dont move - 


I don't have my electro-plating setup yet so the anti-rattle clips and pins had to do with a simple clean up but I will revisit them likely when it comes time for the engine swap and body spray. 

Finally got them back on the car and got them bled - took a while as flushed the 15 yr old fluid out in the process - was nice to finally see clean fluid coming out after what seemed like an age of glug coming out the nipples. 


Am guessing the whole in the chassis rail is for the brake pad sensor wiring which is missing??


Unfortunately I could not get new discs in time but they have been ordered and should turn up this week so will get them on this weekend although Sunday which is CarDay just happens to be All Ford Day this week so probably wont get any time to work on the car as will have it at the show.

Despite not getting all that I wanted done today it was a good productive day and I am now a lot more comfortable in safety of the brakes. There are still a couple of glitches in the ABS which I will get sorted. It seems like at this stage I am still in the 1 step forward, 2 steps back phase as each time I touch something I find something else but is definitely progress.

I had a good week last week tracking down parts which will be turning up over the coming days / weeks so keep watching for more updates.

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