I feel the same way about my 1988 Ford Thunderbird Sport. I bought my first one brand new and I put 280,000 on it. Unfortunately what I didn't know was that when I used to wash the sand and salt off the front inner fender, well that it was going down inside the front structural support. They completely filled up with salt and sand, and did major damage to the body.
I am now on my second 1988 Ford Thunderbird Sport. When I wash the salt and sand out of the front inner fender wells now, I make sure I flush the structural tube supports out with plenty of water to prevent the salt and sand from collecting in there.
I replaced the original 14 inch rims on both my Sports with Turbo Coupe wheels, and the car handles much better. The suspension is stiff enough on the Sport that the wheels do not hit anywhere inside the fender wells.
I also had my heater core go and I fixed it myself. It was a big job. If I remember correctly, I worked on the car for over two days. A mechanic once told me he could do the job in two hours. I said that's impossible. He told me he takes the bolts out surrounding the dash around the perimeter. He disconnects the air conditioning lines. He then pulls back on the dashboard and slips a 2x4x8 in there and pries the dash back. He then slips the heater box out, replaces the heater core and puts everything back together. He has to be putting so much strain on the wiring harness, I would be afraid of damaging it. I asked him if he passes the saving onto his customers and he said no. When the wiring gives trouble later, he probably says he knows nothing.
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