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Old 07-30-2009, 10:45 AM   #1
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I need help...with everything

First, I'm going to be honest and tell you all that I know jack about cars. I'm interested, though. I was raised a corvette fan, but a friend of mine who works for Ford converted me to Mustangs. I want one. I like the New Edge body style, so I'm looking at either a 2000/01 or an 04. He says Ford made changes to the 04 to improve it. That's about all I know.
I asked people for advice and I've heard it all. I've been looking on these forums, and it sounds like some of you really know your stuff. I'm US Army serving in Germany right now, and with the autobahn, it's all about top speed. But I know when I go back to the states, I won't often be able to do that. (I don't plan to race; I just want a project car to build up and drive around.)
I'm looking for high acceleration and decent top speed. I plan to keep the car for quite a while, so I expect to put a fair amount of money in. Could I get some ideas what you would do and about how much your ideas would cost?
Questions are welcome and I'll answer the best I can.

(Also, I've never driven a standard but they seem like more fun)
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Old 07-30-2009, 10:57 AM   #2
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Re: I need help...with everything

First, your friend is a smart smart person.

For the new edge cars I would really consider getting an 03/04 cobra. I know I may seem biased about it since i own one, but really, bang for the buck you're not going to find a better buy in the new edge body style.

Even in stock form, the 03/04 cobra is going to give you plenty of fun. The instant torque and over all power of the car is going to make you smile every time. 400 hp and torque from the factory...you can't go wrong.

You can find 03/04 cobra's for around 17k-25k right now...with a few a bit more expensive due to either the owner over pricing their stuff looking for a sucker or because hey have been heavily modded already.

It would not take much tinkering on the car to give it a good increase in power. A simple pulley swap and a custom tune can get you up to the 450ish hp range at the wheels. Total mod price: About $600 including buying the hand held tuner, tune, and pulley.

If you decide not to go with an 03/04 cobra, I would look at the 99/01 cobras or at a 03/04 mach 1. With any of those choices you'll get the same 4 valve motor and pretty much the same power levels. The Mach 1 is available in an automatic where as the 99/01/03/04 cobras are solely manuals unless someone converted it.

Whichever way you go, I would try and get into a 4 valve car instead of the 2 valve GT's. The 4 valve is a bit better platform to start from and will respond a little better to the mods that you do.

The 99/01 cobra can be had for 12k-17k right now...and the mach 1's I believe are around the same range.

Best bang for your buck though would be an 03/04 cobra. And it would definitely be worth learning how to drive a stick.
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Old 07-30-2009, 11:02 AM   #3
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Re: I need help...with everything

I'll be sure to tell him you said that, and thank you.
Mostly I've been hearing supercharger, cold air intake, exhaust.
Those are the three that every guy who says he 'owns a garage back in the states' is telling me to do. Your input?
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Old 07-30-2009, 11:07 AM   #4
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Re: I need help...with everything

Well, if you get the 03/04 cobra, it comes complete with the supercharger so that is taken care of for you already. Plus, the motor is completely forged already.

If you go with any of the other options, if you want to go fast, you're going to have to add a power adder whether it be a supercharger or a turbo or nitrous. The mod motors don't do a lot on their own. You can make them somewhat quick, but you're not going to get too far with them without bolting on a power adder of some sort.

If you do bolt one on, you're going to want to keep the boost under 14 psi because the stock rotating assembly can not handle too much boost and power. You're going to max out a 2 valve GT around 400 rwhp. Anything over that, you're motor is on borrowed time.
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Old 07-30-2009, 11:14 AM   #5
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Re: I need help...with everything

I'll be honest, as a new enthusiast I want to put work into my car. If i have a choice of buying a quick car, or buying a decent car and putting in time and money...I'd rather do the work. Plus, it would help me learn what I'm doing if I do it myself. And I have friends and family who know engines so they can help if I need it. I'm more worried about performance than style, at least for a while.

One guy i was talking to said he swears by crate motors. But from what I've heard, it doesn't sound like I would have to make a swap.
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Old 07-30-2009, 11:15 AM   #6
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Re: I need help...with everything

i don't know what the factory rear end gears are on a cobra, but you'll probably want a new one, specially on a gt (specially on a 94-95 gt, dunno what they did for 96-98)

pretty much what is listed above is what anyone would do if they could afford it, 03/04 cobra and a couple mods putting you well into the 400 hp range.

EDIT: personally if you can find people that have been working on engines for a while and can help you out i would build my own engine, 18k for an engine from ford racing is a tad spendy to me and i'm sure the engine can be built for less (s/c 5.4L)
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There was a case of the stuff stacked at the end of an aisle. Definately not cold or in the cooler. Also it was over $7 for the two bottles.
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Old 07-30-2009, 11:17 AM   #7
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Re: I need help...with everything

03/04 cobras are 3.55 from the factory...
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:12 PM   #8
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Re: I need help...with everything

Another thing in particular that I'm interested in:
I've heard there's a trans built with a stick and no clutch. I haven't seen one though. Is this true, is it any good, and what would it cost?
Could someone tell me the differences between an 03/04 Cobra vs a GT of the same year?
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:46 PM   #9
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Re: I need help...with everything

03 cobra has a 4v engine with a factory supercharger, and has a forged bottom end (pistons crank, rods, ect) while the gt is a 2v and doesn't have the fordged bottom...
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1994 GT, stock gears, stock shifter, stock engine, stock rims (or knock offs).

Quote:
Originally Posted by sti2gsxr
There was a case of the stuff stacked at the end of an aisle. Definately not cold or in the cooler. Also it was over $7 for the two bottles.
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:27 PM   #10
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Re: I need help...with everything

So I'm looking at a 2004 Cobra with a pulley swap and custom tune.
Any other suggestions?
I've seen shows on Spike TV install a chip that lets the driver switch between milage and performance modes. Could that be done and would it be practical?
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:39 PM   #11
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Re: I need help...with everything

With a hand held tuner you get 3 custom tunes loaded into a little game boy type device. Plug it in and change your tune all you want. Takes about 60 seconds...however not possible when driving.

There are switch chips out there that do allow you to have 2 or 3 or 4 tunes in your car and it can be changed by turning the switch.

I prefer the hand held tuner because it is much easier to update your tune than a chip. At chip you have to take out of the car, send it away to have it re-programmed, shipped back, and then re-installed. Lots of room to mess up a connector or the chip itself.

A hand held, you tell your tuner what change you made, he updates your tune, emails it to you, you download it to your hand held, then load it in your car. Takes about 3 minutes including the walking time from your computer in your house to your car.
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:55 PM   #12
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Re: I need help...with everything

PureVenom, you are my honorary Hero of the Day.

Are those hand-helds make or model specific?
And who or where is a good place to buy one?
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:01 PM   #13
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Re: I need help...with everything

Hand helds are car specific once you get a tune loaded on it. Until then, it's kind of just brand specific to ford, dodge, chevy, etc. Once you load your tune into your car, it will be married to your car and unusable on any other car until you return yours to stock.

You can find them at any of our sponsors at the top of the page....as well as a few other sites:

VMP Tuning Inc
Lethal Performance, Performance parts for Ford Mustangs
Atomic Performance - TA Performance, Pro 5.0, SCT, C&L, JLT Cold Air


And many other places.
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:01 PM   #14
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Re: I need help...with everything

Hand helds are car specific once you get a tune loaded on it. Until then, it's kind of just brand specific to ford, dodge, chevy, etc. Once you load your tune into your car, it will be married to your car and unusable on any other car until you return yours to stock.

You can find them at any of our sponsors at the top of the page....as well as a few other sites:

VMP Tuning Inc
Lethal Performance, Performance parts for Ford Mustangs
Atomic Performance - TA Performance, Pro 5.0, SCT, C&L, JLT Cold Air


And many other places.
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:03 PM   #15
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Re: I need help...with everything

Oh, when yo go to those sites, look for the SCT XCAL 2 or XCAL 3's...
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:19 PM   #16
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Re: I need help...with everything

Now that I feel I have a place to start:
Looking at the other posts, I see a lot of people talking about things that are way over my head. Gear ratios, axles, 5/6 speeds, exhaust, etc. Any insight on these? I want the best sound I can get, any tips?
I know I have a lot of questions, but I haven't had anyone to answer them until now.
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:25 PM   #17
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Re: I need help...with everything

Well, the 03/04 cobra comes with a 6 speed stock. Gear ratios, the 3.55's are hard enough to get to hook up with stock power...going higher to like 4.10's or 3.73's will just make traction that much harder.

Axels, you don't have to worry about with the 03/04's because they don't have any. They have independant rear's like the vettes...so you have half shafts. These hold up just fine to most anything you can throw at them unless you get wheel hop. Then they will snap. 98% of wheel hop can be cured with sticky tires like a drag radial and replacing the stock rubber bushings that do nothing but compress and flex.

Sound...well...a simple cat back can solve all your problems with sound. I have borla stingers but the magnaflow magnapaks would sound just as good. It is a deep sounding exhaust at idle...not over loud just a nice muscle car sound...same when cruising. But mash the gas and it is a nice bass filled scream.

Here is my car with an offroad X pipe and borla stingers...this was on a super rich tune so it does not sound as crisp as it does today.


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Old 07-30-2009, 02:35 PM   #18
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Re: I need help...with everything

That is a thing of beauty.
As far as aftermarket parts such as head/tail lights, hoods, body panels, etc. What models are they compatible with? I know it won't apply to every part, but generally speaking...

[EDIT] I mean what parts from other models/years fit onto the 04 Cobra? For example, would a hood made for a 2004 GT bolt on?
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:42 PM   #19
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Re: I need help...with everything

lights, hoods, body panels, etc are all interchangeable with the exception of fog lights. The cobra has different fogs from the GT. Many have turned their V6/GT into cobra look-a-likes by installing complete cobra body kits, or just hoods/bumpers, etc.

The only parts that won't be interchangeable between the GT and Cobras will be engine and some drive train parts. The rear ends are all the same at the V8 level. The transmissions are the same in the 99/01 cobras and the mach 1's. The 03/04 cobra is a whole different trans with 6 speeds instead of 5.

You won't be able to directly swap any 05+ parts over to any of the new edge cars. Same pretty much holds true for any pre-99 parts.
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:48 PM   #20
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Re: I need help...with everything

I figured that, but I was hoping most of the New Edge parts would be swappable at least. In the magazines I've looked at, most say 99-04, but I wasn't sure if the cobra's body was different, or by how much.
Next topic: Height
What do you recommend for lowering the car?
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:51 PM   #21
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Re: I need help...with everything

Mine is down about 1.5-1.75" or so. Pretty low. It has about 3-3.5" between the ground and the mid pipe and side skirts. 1" is a pretty nice drop and really gets rid of the 4x4 look.

The H&R race springs really give the car the perfect stance. Mine is just cut stock springs and may be a touch lower than the H&Rs give you.

SpectorV has the H&R's on his car and it lowered it around 1.25-1.5" if you check out his gallery.
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:00 PM   #22
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Re: I need help...with everything

That looks perfect. Low stance, and I can still make it over the speed bumps that Uncle Sam loves to use.
Would this be what you're talking about:
H&R Race Springs (99-04 Cobra) at AmericanMuscle.com - Free Shipping!

And next question: Since I've never driven a stick, do you have any suggestions on parts or modifications?
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:08 PM   #23
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Re: I need help...with everything

That would be the set I was referring to.

Mods for the cobra manuals have been 26 spline input shaft. Comes with a 10 spline stock. 26 makes it much stronger.

Clutch wise you will get a lot of opinions on. I have the spec stage 3+ clutch with the light pedal effort option. It is super light and good to around 700 or 800 ft pounds of torque. So, I'm good for a while.

The 3+ is much more streetable than the stage 3 I had before.

A lot of guys like the centerforce DFX clutches....and even some of the twin disc clutches that are out. If I burn through this one I will probably end up going with a twin disc next time....but they are pricey.

As for a short throw shifter, if you manage to find a car with the stock shifter in it...there are several options as well. There is the Steeda Triax, the Pro50, and the MGW. Those are the big 3 being used. I had the triax when I first bought the car. It was ok, but was overly stiff and notchy. Too much so for my liking. I later switched to the MGW shifter and haven't looked back. Smooth as butter. Nearly everyone you talk to that has had another short throw before will all say the MGW is better than the one they had before.

MGW is here MGW LTD., INC. - CNC Machined and Turned Parts. Accessories for the Corvette, Mustang, and Viper

The steeda and pro 50 can be found at any of the sites I've mentioned...and american muscle as well.

And the final piece of the puzzle would be a clutch quadrant and firewall adjuster. however, odds are any cobra you find will have these already. But if not, the UPR and Steeda ones are plenty good. I have the UPR firewall adjuster in my car. I had the UPR triple hook quadrant up until recently when I switched to a steeda quick release. I switched because i installed a clutch pedal height adjuster to lower the clutch pedal down even with the brake pedal. Stock it was about 3" higher than the break pedal.
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:18 PM   #24
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Re: I need help...with everything

I was just looking at American Muscle's selection of head and tail lights. I saw this, and I'm wondering if it is whats on yours:
HID Single Beam Fog Light Conversion Kit for 03-04 Cobra & 05-09 Mustang GT (H10 Bulb) at AmericanMuscle.com - Free Shipping!

I also noticed the third brake light is not available for the 04 Cobra. Does it not have a third light?

And something I should've asked a while ago: I'm 6'1. Will I be comfortable driving it?
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:22 PM   #25
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Re: I need help...with everything

I'm 6', 330 lbs, I'm plenty comfy driving it.

I have stock headlights on mine. Stockers are smoked.

The cobras have a 3rd break light, however it is a special one that you can only buy from ford...for $170ish. Ours is LED and in the ducktail spoiler. Mines cracked...and you can't just buy the lens. You have to buy the entire thing.
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:26 PM   #26
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Re: I need help...with everything

I'm all for safety and shiny things, and I was looking at Halo projector headlights and LED brake lights, with an LED third light (that I now know I can get from Ford). Do brands make a difference with lights, and would you recommend the HID fog lamps?
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:28 PM   #27
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Re: I need help...with everything

I don't like HIDs only because I've never owned them and I hate when they are behind me. lol

But, they do light the hell out of the road....that's for sure.
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:37 PM   #28
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Re: I need help...with everything

Definitely adding HID lamps to the list. I can finally be "that guy" for a change. Is there anything wrong with the Halo headlights? Do you know of any sequential LED brake lights? And next: Ram air/cold air intake?
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:41 PM   #29
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Re: I need help...with everything

Ram air...www.jlttruecoldair.com ... that's the only one you need to look at.

Halos, I'm not sure about. Never been into them personally, but, it's not my car.

Sequentials are not an complete swap...just a wiring deal. I have the slower rate set from here coming as we speak: Page Title

Oh, I have the JLT carbon fiber RAI on my car currently...with a 10" filter instead of the 9" that comes with the kit. I have a pic of it in my albums.
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:52 PM   #30
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Re: I need help...with everything

Do the sequentials cycle the whole time you're braking, or do they stay full after they fill? I can't tell from the site, and I don't think I've ever seen them in person.
For the Halo's, I like smoked lights, but I live in Ohio when I'm home, and they don't allow smoked or covered lights.
And thanks for the link on the cold air kit.
Minor question..did Ford produce the Cobra in Mineral Gray in 04?
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:54 PM   #31
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Re: I need help...with everything

as said above if your price range is 17k+ then get an 03/04 cobra if a little less get a mach 1 or 99-01 cobra.

The 2v gt's are not bad but cost a good bit to make power with... so consider how much money you will have to spend just to get them to CATCH UP with a stock 03/04 cobra.

Also you MUST MUST MUST MUST get a professional dyno tune with an 03/04 cobra. You have to put it on the dyno and get the correct setup for that car. You can not just load some mail order tune and be done.

Also a fuel mileage tune is all BS... unless you do tons of data logging and such, wide open throttle pulls are not the same as normal driving tables.
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:57 PM   #32
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Re: I need help...with everything

There were no 04 mineral grey or dark shadow grey cobras made....no sonic blue either.

Cobras came with smoked stock, so they will be legal in ohio as well as long as you replace them with stock headlights...they aren't dark by any stretch.


The sequentials only cycle until they are all lit when breaking. When turning they cycle until you turn the signal off.
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:58 PM   #33
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Re: I need help...with everything

Also, here's a link for color selections for each year:

Terminator Production Numbers

They also have a big terminator FAQ section you may want to kill a couple hours with.
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Old 07-30-2009, 04:15 PM   #34
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Re: I need help...with everything

Looks like I may have to go with red or silver if I don't happen to find one custom painted.

Definitely interested in sequentials. Just found these:
Mustang Project - Product Display
Brakes light up full, but it sequences with the turn signal.

And with all this power, the next topic is brakes.
How are they stock, and should I upgrade?
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Old 07-30-2009, 04:22 PM   #35
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Re: I need help...with everything

That's the same thing the $64.95 kit I sent you to does. The only difference is when you hit the breaks it will sequence until all 3 lights are lit and then stay on full. Turning is a constant sequence.

Stock are good. I'm having a brain fart currently on their size as it has been a long day at work. They could always use an upgrade if you go crazy with power. But, stock, and under 500-600 rwhp, the stockers will do you just fine. I've slammed many people's heads into the headrest with my stock brakes. lol
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