Cobra Chronicle (Progress thread) - Mustang Evolution

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Old 05-15-2013, 06:39 AM   #1
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Cobra Chronicle (Progress thread)

I'm new here, but certainly not new to Mustangs. Having had a few foxes, and several classics,..this is my first time owning anything Ford made after 1989.

I work at CarMax. The perks of doing so allows me access to the purchases, and trades that come into our lot. Certain cars get refurbished, and put out on the lot,...most get sent straight to our wholesale lot for auction the next week.

That's where I found this:

Huh,..will you look at that. a 2003 Cobra.




A 2003 Cobra mostly stock, (w/ the exception of an obvious C.A.I., wheels, and a non-catted off road pipe) sitting on our lot like so many other Hyundai Accents.
Wonder what it costs?..........uhhhh 11,400.00.

Naturally,...I bought this, else-wise I wouldn't be typing up this thread. So I decided to post up some progress pics as I learn the hard way what these cars are all about. I'll post up some more later this evening, but for now,...I gotta go. (late for work)
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:51 AM   #2
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Nice man very lucky how its run ? Anything wrong?
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:42 AM   #3
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Lol I work there too.. We had a sonic blue termi that I was gnna buy but i didn't, I'm waiting for another one to come in and go to auction
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:05 AM   #4
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Nice man very lucky how its run ? Anything wrong?
The clutch was fragged. and it was/is filthy,......and there is that tramp stamp clutter on the trunklid that I had to remove. I'll update tonight,....I've done a bunch of junk since I got it home.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:07 AM   #5
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Mileage?
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Nice man very lucky how its run ? Anything wrong?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slow4V View Post
Lol I work there too.. We had a sonic blue termi that I was gnna buy but i didn't, I'm waiting for another one to come in and go to auction
Yeah,...there was two Cobras here the same day,...a 98 and the 03. I was gonna buy the 98,..but there was just too much wrong with it. what store do you work at?

---------- Post added at 09:08 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:08 AM ----------

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Mileage?
alot.....89k
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:41 AM   #7
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Sounds like it's had 89k hard miles; hopefully there isn't anything wrong with it mechanically from being beat on.
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:48 AM   #8
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that snake looks mean!!!
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:40 AM   #9
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Welcome and nice stang! That's a great price to get that car at
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:36 PM   #10
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Beautiful, 89k hard miles or not thats still way low for a termi, i saw one yesterday for 16k with over 130k
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:15 PM   #11
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To pick up where I left off,..I get the thing home,...and the clutch is really almost completely gone. It's never seen a bath, much less a wax in who knows how long. It has black powder coated 17x9's w/ Nitto 555 275's up front, and 17x10.5's w/ Nitto 555 315 rubber in back.
The body is near excellent,..but the paint is starting to show its' age. There are 79 rock chips on the hood alone. I get out the wash mitt, and the car wash soap and go to town:



There was soo much dirt in the trunk rain gutter I couldn't get it clean,...so I took the trunk off to be sure I could.
After spending about 4 hours on it however, it became clear that it needed to be clayed and buffed,..so I stopped there and turned my attention to the mechanicals:

Having never owned a Cobra before, I figured that I'd buy a clutch pkg, and resurface the flywheel and be good to go. After getting it up in the air, and getting the trans out,..I get my first lesson in Cobra reality:
Cobras come factory w/ an aluminum flywheel. The factory FW can be resurfaced once, and from there, you have to send it to McCleod to get the steel friction surface replaced. My flywheel was toast,. and already had been surfaced at least once.....I was expecting a 40.00 resurface on a steel/iron flywheel, not a 150.00 flywheel rebuild. Lesson #1. I get an F.
This car will always be a street car as long as I own it,..and while in my possession, will probably see the easiest life it has ever seen. I don't intend to spin the motor to a bazillion RPM, and street manners are more important than how quickly the engine will rev. The decision for the eventual clutch set up was based completely on that criteria:
I bought a Spec Stage 1, w/ a new T/O bearing, pilot bearing, a new Ford Clutch fork, a new pivot ball,..and..........A Nodular Iron flywheel

The engine has an oil leak at the oil filter adapter, I knew that. The day I intended to start putting the trans back in. I noticed that there was also either a rear main leak,...or a oil pan leak at the rear of the engine,...or both.

Since the trans was already out,.......
I decided to pull the engine to fix the leaks:





It left a mess in the engine bay.



But now that it was out,....that should be easy to fix:



The brakes were shot: there was barely 1/16" left on the front pads, and little more on the rears,....so that was next:





So, this is the way it sits. literally blown apart waiting till tomorrow for the start of a 4 day thrash to put it all together. The plans for the next several days:

New gaskets for the engine: oil pan, rear main, oil filter adapter, and valve covers.
7/8 head cooling mod ( if it comes in)
New plugs (currently motorcraft af22's, will probably replace w/ the same)
Bolt up new clutch, mate trans to engine, reinstall combo as unit.
Drop I.R.S. to clean and reseal diff.
Cut coils on all 4 corners 1/2 coil.
Install brakes.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:30 PM   #12
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Real TLC!!!
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:31 PM   #13
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If you plan on upping the power and have come this far invest in a 26 spline input shaft and heavier clutch. My spec 3+ is alot easier than the factory clutch and handles 500hp with ease.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:32 PM   #14
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Sounds like my car the more and more you dig into it the more you find wrong with it... Frustrating. I'm wanting to supercharge it in about two months and I'm scared to lol
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:59 PM   #15
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If you plan on upping the power and have come this far invest in a 26 spline input shaft and heavier clutch. My spec 3+ is alot easier than the factory clutch and handles 500hp with ease.
Yeah,..I've already had that argument w/ myself, and budget beat reason down like a *****.

Spec is headquartered here in Birmingham.. Sales dude at Spec told me that even the Stage 1 was rated to 500 HP. The 10 spline input will just have to stay,...for now.
Again,....street driver!!! I'll bet I never put it on a drag strip.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:31 PM   #16
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How can you have such a beautiful car like a cobra even worse a terminator, and neglect it like that. Thats a crime in my book
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:48 PM   #17
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How can you have such a beautiful car like a cobra even worse a terminator, and neglect it like that. Thats a crime in my book
I couldn't agree more. It's disgusting to see a terminator in the hands of someone that doesn't appreciate what the car stands for.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:49 PM   #18
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I couldn't agree more. It's disgusting to see a terminator in the hands of someone that doesn't appreciate what the car stands for.
At least it's in good hands now. He will get it right
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:13 PM   #19
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You guys don't know the half of it. I've actually eliminated alot of extra blather that shows the extent of what kind of goob the PO was.
He sold this car to car max for 10k. Had a DUI, and either the wife or mommy forced him to sell it probably because he didn't have a prayer of being able to afford the SR-22 insurance post arrest.

The rockers were both beat to hell either from jacking it up in the wrong place, or driving it off of curbs (that's why the lower rocker moldings are also off the car). I was able to straighten the pinch weld at the bottom of the rockers straight enough to get them to fit decently (that is after I refinish them,..they look like he ran over barb wire)

The wind shield took a fist, an elbow, or a baseball bat right in the line of sight for the driver. (first thing I replaced) Probably pi ssed at himself for driving drunk in a screaming yellow cop magnet.

All of the belts and hoses are original. Replacing the inner drive belt was hard lesson #2, Where you learn that the lower blower drive pulley requires a breaker bar from King Kongs' tool box to break loose before you can change it out..

AND the pics are STILL of a car covered in a black dinge that will not wash off. ( I'll have to clay bar the thing it's so dirty,....)
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C.A.I.; 2.8 upper pulley;Non-catted off road pipes w/ Mac flowchamber, Flowmaster cat back. EGR delete; Head cooling mod;

My 5.0 feature:http://www.mustang50magazine.com/fea...d/viewall.html
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:12 PM   #20
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You guys don't know the half of it. I've actually eliminated alot of extra blather that shows the extent of what kind of goob the PO was.
He sold this car to car max for 10k. Had a DUI, and either the wife or mommy forced him to sell it probably because he didn't have a prayer of being able to afford the SR-22 insurance post arrest.

The rockers were both beat to hell either from jacking it up in the wrong place, or driving it off of curbs (that's why the lower rocker moldings are also off the car). I was able to straighten the pinch weld at the bottom of the rockers straight enough to get them to fit decently (that is after I refinish them,..they look like he ran over barb wire)

The wind shield took a fist, an elbow, or a baseball bat right in the line of sight for the driver. (first thing I replaced) Probably pi ssed at himself for driving drunk in a screaming yellow cop magnet.

All of the belts and hoses are original. Replacing the inner drive belt was hard lesson #2, Where you learn that the lower blower drive pulley requires a breaker bar from King Kongs' tool box to break loose before you can change it out..

AND the pics are STILL of a car covered in a black dinge that will not wash off. ( I'll have to clay bar the thing it's so dirty,....)
Ridiculous, do that to a honda
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:56 PM   #21
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Great progress man!
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:57 PM   #22
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Mike, congratulations on an amazing project car.
You might need a more aggressive clay to get all the crap off. Definitely follow it up with a compound and polish too! Chemical Guys V series compounds are excellent and Menzerna's SF4000 polish will be a great finish to wax over.
I'm so excited to see the results!
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:57 AM   #23
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It's so sad to see such a beautiful work of art destroyed by someone who doesn't appreciate it. Good luck with your build!
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:23 AM   #24
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with the motor out look into the cooling mod for them, best do it while you can access the back of the engine.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:38 PM   #25
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with the motor out look into the cooling mod for them, best do it while you can access the back of the engine.
It's part of the plan,....however the day didn't go according to plan.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:59 PM   #26
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So there really wasn't a "plan" for today,..except to get as much done as possible. I hoped to get the engine all sealed up, and mated to the trans, and installed,..but that was fool hardy of me.

The first hurdle came when I decided to change out the rear main seal.
Don't ask me why I decided to do it,.but since the engine was out, and has 89k on it it made sense to do so. So I removed the bolts and pried the cover off. It resisted.
(the seal and slinger stayed on the crank, the cover came off)
I don't know why the seal and slinger remained behind, and it was no big deal to get it to come off after the cover was removed,..what turned out to be the crippler, was that I had no idea how deep, or what orientation the lip seal was supposed to go. Ordinarily, I'd just google it, (and that's what I did) but after 30 minutes of searching, was unable to really find a definite answer to the question. So I winged it, and installed the thing open side ((lip facing in) to the back of the block to a depth of 6.5 mm's. I used the old seal as a install tool. I then tapped the slinger up against the seal,..just till it made contact.

I hope the hell it's right. I do not want to do this again.

For whatever reason,...I then decided to remove the freeze plug that will later be occupied by the cooling mod plug,...and got the piece of junk freeze plug almost jammed into the head. It took an hour of raving and ranting, drilling,..chiseling,..and slide-hammering to get the now mangulated freeze plug out of the head. I can't imagine doing that with the wiring harness in place, and the engine installed. I would've had a stroke.

( if you asked my M.I.L. in the bedroom above the garage, she thought I had)

I bought the head cooling mod from On3 performance (yeah, the Chinese turbo kit supplier) on Ebay for 70.00. on Monday so I'd have it by today. He still hadn't shipped it this morning.
I let him know that I wasn't happy w/ that,..and he assured me he'd ship it priority for delivery Saturday.
So I decided to strip the paint off of the valve covers cause I wanted to change the color.
I sprayed them w/ aircraft stripper and waited,..........

When the stripper had sufficiently wrinkled the paint, I got out my handy-dandy pressure washer and attempted to blast the lifted paint off of the valve covers.There was still un-stripped paint left behind.

So I reapplied the stripper and waited......

This process went on for another hour. There was still un-stripped paint on the valve covers when I handed them to my machine shop to Glass bead the remaining junk off of the valve covers,..another wasted 90 minutes. ( And now I gotta wait till 12 tomorrow just to get them back,...and I still gotta paint em w/ no idea what color to paint them yet.)

I did get the oil pan off, cleaned up and reinstalled. The oil pan was absolutely free of sludge,...so at least the lazy *** P.O. changed the oil.

What he didn't do was gap the plugs.

There were Motorcraft AGSF22's in the engine. I replaced them w/ the same. I gapped the new ones at .035,...I thought I'd check what the old ones were at;.....

.050......... The way they come in the box.

I also pulled the oil filter adapter apart,....it looks like the large O-ring was leaking probably, instead of the gasket. I ordered a new one from Ford. I'll pick that up tomorrow when I stop and get my clean valve covers.

So what the hell did you do then Mike? It seems that you dicked off all day long.

I did drop the entire I.R.S. out to clean and reseal the diff. Hell,..I'll clean the whole thing.




I chose not to separate the axle from the spindle...no need for a rented Autozone spindle nut socket,...or a torque wrench capable of pulling to 250 ft lbs...easy peasy.
The diff was really starting to leak at the gasket,....so again,....no time like the present:


So that brings me to right now.

Tomorrows Plan?? Pfffttt!!! We'll see
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My 5.0 feature:http://www.mustang50magazine.com/fea...d/viewall.html
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:22 PM   #27
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Great write up!!! This is definitely worth subscribing to. I sure hope you are keeping it after all of this work.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:37 PM   #28
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Great write up!!! This is definitely worth subscribing to. I sure hope you are keeping it after all of this work.
Thanks,.....I do tend to get wordy when I write.

I have no plans to sell it,.but I'll tell you if and when I do,..it won't be for 11,400.00.
I have not even stepped on the gas pedal hard enough to break the tires loose. I'm sure that the day that happens,...I'll keep it.
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C.A.I.; 2.8 upper pulley;Non-catted off road pipes w/ Mac flowchamber, Flowmaster cat back. EGR delete; Head cooling mod;

My 5.0 feature:http://www.mustang50magazine.com/fea...d/viewall.html
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:33 PM   #29
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I think yellow matching the car would be an awesome color for the valve covers. Just a thought!
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:09 AM   #30
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Maybe while the motor is out you could paint the engine bay black. Just a thought.
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:10 AM   #31
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This thread is awesome, nice progress i cant wait to see some pictures
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:16 PM   #32
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Another wasted day:

It started out OK,..I went to the 'Zone to pick up my rear end stuff (Fuel filter, 8.8 gasket, and 2 qts of Royal Purple 75-140 gear oil, (because they didn't know what the word "friction modifier" meant, so I just got the RP stuff,..it states on the label "with friction modifier".

I showed the bottle to the clueless autozoner, and pointed.....see, FRRICCTIONN MODDIFFIER!.

I got my junk, came back home, and proceeded to fill the now clean differential w/ the prerequisite 1.5 qts of my 17.00 a bottle gear lube. I installed the gasket, and moved the center section to the rear of the car, where the I.R.S. frame was waiting.



I then turned to the task of getting the old fuel filter replaced.
Except none of the springlock tools I have worked. Seems it takes a 5/16,...all I got is on either side of that measurement. So I head back off to another part store to spend more money.
Since I was fairly close to the machine shop, I figured I'd call dude to see if he got my valve covers done.
"My glass beader ain't gonna get the job done my friend." he says.
Great! Now what? He thinks about it and says "let me try something else, and I'll call you in about an hour."
I go back home.
I slide under the car w/ my newly purchased 5/16 spring lock release tool and proceed to get the fuel filter swapped out.
10 minutes,...da done dah!
I slide the rear end assy up under the car,..and then remember that I have yet to cut the springs,...........so I cut them. 5/8th of the coil gone.

Now can I slide the freakin' rear end up under the car.?
Finally!!


It takes me,.....Ohhh I don't know,....about what seems like two hours to get the whole thing back up there, and bolted back in place w/ all pieces assembled. The cut springs became another point of confusion for me because I wanted to orient the cut coil exactly the same way on both sides.
That wasn't meant to be.
I ended up with each cut coil end almost 180 degrees opposite of each other as they are installed. It's the way they wanted to go in,...so who am I to argue w/ a spring?
It still took for freakin-ever,

It was now 3 oclock,..so I figured I'd call the machine shop to see if he was successful w/ the "other thing" he was gonna try.
Still no progress. ( I honestly don't think he wanted to dick w/ it)
Fortunately,.I have relationships w/ shops all over the city,..so,..in a last ditch attempt to get my valve covers clean, ( and it's now 3:30) ..I pick the VC's up and fly to Birmingham Friction.( they close at 4:00 on Friday).
Birmingham Friction is a OEM clutch and brake shoe reliner/rebuilder. They have this cool-*** machine that tumbles parts while blasting them w/ steel shot. They call it a Wheel abrator. I've been using that machine on and off for 20 years now.
For steel parts,...there is nothing better. 2-3 minutes in that thing, parts come out spotless.
For aluminum parts, it's a different story:

The thing is so aggressive, it will literally eat the aluminum up if left in there too long.
We put my valve covers in the thing one at a time for 2 minutes at a whack. After 2 minutes the first one comes out too hot to touch ( one of the side effects of the process), but still had some of that damn paint clinging to it. I took it out and tried to scrape, wire brush, and chisel the small remnants still holdiing on to try and get them to come off w/ a second treatment in the Wheeldestroyer.

The second time they came out (now a total of 4 minutes each) was enough. I could not afford another 2 minutes,..as it was starting to eat up too much of the cover. despite the fact that there is still paint stuck on the valve cover I took them and came back home.(what the hell did Ford put on these damn things?)
What did this process cost me you ask? Why nuthin'! Like I said,...I know alot of these guys.
This is what you get after 4 minutes:

It's just starting to rain as I snapped the pic.

So here we are again at the end of the day. Now I am still trying to decide what color to paint the damn things:

Yellow to match body color. (or as close to body color the yellow engine enamel come in)
Black. Not my favorite,....I think black VC's just dissappear under all of the wires.
Silver. (Why did I strip off the paint again?)
Candy Gold
Candy Red

I will leave you w/ a shot of my last engine in last years' car.
I was pretty happy w/ the way it came out.


Now I'm not gonna repaint the whole damn engine so don't start. But......I do want the Termi to look as good as I can get it.
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2003 Zinc yellow Cobra (Rescued shelter dog)
C.A.I.; 2.8 upper pulley;Non-catted off road pipes w/ Mac flowchamber, Flowmaster cat back. EGR delete; Head cooling mod;

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Old 05-17-2013, 08:49 PM   #33
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Crinkle black. You can't go wrong with it.

btw, every halfshaft I have replaced was done using the gudenteight method. Hammer on the two piece (actually four piece) nut (retainer as called by Ford if you ever need one) gets the axle out with no problem. Done it at the track a few times.

Did you install an irs diff brace? You'll regret it in the future if you didn't.
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:11 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by lowflyn View Post
Crinkle black. You can't go wrong with it.

btw, every halfshaft I have replaced was done using the gudenteight method. Hammer on the two piece (actually four piece) nut (retainer as called by Ford if you ever need one) gets the axle out with no problem. Done it at the track a few times.

Did you install an irs diff brace? You'll regret it in the future if you didn't.
IDK what a diff brace even is,....so,...I did not install one. What is it, where can I get one, Why do I need it?
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2003 Zinc yellow Cobra (Rescued shelter dog)
C.A.I.; 2.8 upper pulley;Non-catted off road pipes w/ Mac flowchamber, Flowmaster cat back. EGR delete; Head cooling mod;

My 5.0 feature:http://www.mustang50magazine.com/fea...d/viewall.html
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Old 05-18-2013, 01:39 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1157

IDK what a diff brace even is,....so,...I did not install one. What is it, where can I get one, Why do I need it?
billetflow makes the best one out there. It bolts to the diff cover and rear diff mount to help prevent movement. Without it the diff cover is prone to cracking with any wheel hop. Wheel hop is just a side effect of the irs design...
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Our's:
90 7up vert - new project-07 DSG Focus -DD
335
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