Door tag decoding – harder than I thought

I mentioned in my last post that I would be looking to add a 87-93 Mustang door tag decoder to complement the VIN decoder on the mobile side of this site. I have been researching the codes for 1987 to 1993 in an attempt to load them into a database to serve as a basis for the decoder. I have collected a lot of information over the years and thought this would be pretty easy. It turns out that not one of the sources I have is without errors. For my sources I have several books including the Fox Body Mustang Recognition Guide. I have a CD from Ford for the 1993 Model Year and I have a three part series on decoding from Mustang Monthly that they did in 1992.

There are enough discrepancies between these three that it is driving me crazy. I want to create a definitive list of what the codes were used by year. I don’t think this type of detail exists. The Mustang Monthly articles comes close to this but it is not 100% accurate. From searching the internet I have found examples of door tags that demonstrate to me that each of the sources are incorrect in some areas.

I have toyed with the idea of starting a Fox Body Mustang Door Tag project where I would ask owners of 87-93 Mustangs to send me a picture of their door tags. That way I could see exactly what codes were used. If there is enough interest I might do it.

For now, I will continue pouring over the sources I have to come up with my best guess. It will serve as the basis for my new decoder. I am also considering publishing it in its raw form where I would hope that people would review it and provide corrections.

Stay tuned…

Take with you

Each year, I typically attend a technical conference related to what I do for my job. I recently returned from this years version. It’s good in that it keeps me up to date on the things I am doing at work. Although, I often come away with as many ideas for directions I want this site to go in as I do for the “real” work I do everyday. It helps inspire me to keep adding new features to this site.

I have been interested in mobile applications for some time so I explored them while I was at the conference. That, coupled with the Internet capabilities of my new phone, opened my eyes to the world of using Web-based applications while away from a regular computer. Southwest’s mobile check-in was indispensable on my trip and I even checked in other family members who were traveling on different flights and whom I was ultimately meeting up with. I also checked my email through my phone while I was away. After that experience, I was convinced I needed to do something with this site to make it mobile-friendly.

The logical first piece was to open the ebay auction tracking to mobile devices. Ebay has a mobile version of their site so it seemed like a very good fit. As a result, I just completed a version of my ebay auction tracking for feature cars and parts that will work on mobile devices. Now you can view the ebay auctions that this site is tracking in a format that works well on small screens and link right over to ebay where you can bid.

I have tested it on my cell phone’s integrated browser as well as Opera Mini. Below are some screen shots of this site as viewed through Opera Mini’s demo version.
TWF Mobile Screen Shots

The site is available at

I thought that having only one feature, ebay auctions, was too lame. So, I added a second feature; a rebuild of my VIN Decoder. The original VIN decoder uses Javascript which does not translate well to all mobile devices. I rewrote the VIN decoder to be more flexible such as to work on a wider variety of platforms. At the same time, I expanded the decoder to work for all 1987-1993 Mustangs. Right now, only the mobile VIN decoder uses the new code but I plan to replace my original VIN decoder so it too can decode all 1987-93 VINs instead of just 1993 VINs.

Along the same lines, I also plan to rewrite the Door Tag decoder to work on mobile devices as well as for all model years 1987 to 1993. That’s a bit more ambitious than the VIN decoder.

Not only is this cool by allowing me to use some of the new information I learned at my technical conference, but, I also think these mobile applications are really useful. I hope others so as well.