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Ford Mustang Cobra and SVT Cobra



  • stevensteven Posts: 2
    While gears are known as the "best bang for you r buck" for mustangs (generally). That may not be the case for these cars. Traction is the one thing that is tough to come by in these cars even dead stock. Going to a lower gear set only decreases traction even more. Believe me, stock 3:55's provide plenty of acceleration for "Terminator" Cobra's.

    The reason why stock 03/04's generally only run high 12's to low 13's in the 1/4 is due to high 60' times 2.0-2.3. If you look at the stock trap speeds, 109-113mph, there is PLENTY of power there, going to that lower rear gear is only going to make getting a jump off the line that much more difficult.

    If your not worried about digging it out of a hole and want great acceleration from a roll, the 3:55's are just fine there also. These things "get it" when the big pedal is hammered, even with the 3:55's.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    launching my old 5.0s (I've had 6) was nearly impossible, even with 3.08s or 2.73s.

    I was just doing the mental math -

    My thing is, why not use gears to make a 6 transmission gears more usable? In a perfect situation, with no drag and stock gears, the car would top out at 250 mph - we all know that's impossible, and there's nowhere that could happen, but what if?

    Why not change the range of usuable power where the thing tops out at only 150 - think of how explosive it would be in the first 5 gears...

    By the way, I'm NOT even remotely interested in drag racing - in fact, I pretty much hate it - it bores me. I race autocross (3 different classes) and will be looking at the American Iron Club Racing series and other Mustang club events - think of the additional punch in the midrange and top end with deeper gears...with no consideration for dragstrip-style launches.
  • stevensteven Posts: 2
    I would highly recommend a test drive in one of these mules. The torque produced is early and huge. So even with 3:55's acceleration is not much of a problem. I have only gone to one autocross event, the 3:55's didnt preclude me from running good laps.

    I just wouldnt be so quick to ditch those stock gears. Test it out. You may like them.

    If you did swap them out I would think going to 4:10's would be decent. 3:73's arent enough of a jump to notice much difference.

    Also, these DOHC 4.6's arent anything like the 96-99, 01 Cobra's. Those engines LOVED to rev, this engine makes MUCH more power earlier and werent designed to rev like those of the past. My car made 300+ft-lbs at 2000rpm, stock.

    No matter what you decide, these are fun cars. Basically 400+hp and close to 400ft-lbs torque stock for right around $30k. WOW!
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    one highly modified - launching is a nightmare, but I'm from the school of there's no substitute for cubic inches, plus the Tim Allen philosophy that everything is better if it has more power...

    I'll be doing the Apten Engineering supercharger modification, a chip, a 2.76" pulley, Hooker full length headers and x-pipe with higher flow cats, and a Flowmaster catback (2 chamber mufflers) and a K&N intake. It's amazing that less than $2500 gets you over 100 hp on these cars. There's not many cars on the market that can do an extra 100 for $4-5k, much less $2000-2500...
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    and wishy-washy stuff, as we'd planned to forego the Cobra for now and get my wife a new truck, we've decided to switch back.

    I'm going to buy a used '03 or '04 Cobra in late July from a buddy (also an Edmunds poster), then trade our other rig at the beginning of next year (like right on Jan 1st or 2nd) for the new Ford truck.

    Can't wait to cruise main street in that Cobra...
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,206
    Most effective mod out there is to re-program the stock computer. You can do that yourself with a hypertech scanner tool. You can get some impressive gains with that alone. Plus it'll recognize if your SC 4.6 is the later version with the head fix (remember the early 4.6 SC had the bad heads that caused overheating because of a flaw in the combustion chamber). If it isn't, it won't let you reprogram the ecu, causing damage. Plus, the tool will pay for itself quickly because you can scan for codes, gather real data, tweak as you go, plus return the settings to stock if your dealer isn't SVT of cool with ANY mods. Another thing, the Hypertech tool is for a stock SC Cobra, so if you do the cat-back, gears, cold-air induction, let them know and they'll tweak the program. Just watch the launches: the IRS is kind of weak, too many hard drag launches, 1/8- & 1/4 mile runs will bullet that thing in a hurry.

    If you do the pulley, get the kit that uses a bolt-on system for the pulley and a new idler. It'll allow you to change pulleys w/o having to use a puller each time. You can go to a 3.0" pulley w/o having to change the belt,

    Good luck.
  • I am looking at a 2003 Cobra with under 2,700 miles and the asking price is 28,990. It is at a used car dealers lot that deals in late model luxury cars, supposedly at wholesale prices. I haven't spoken to a salesman yet, but I am curious as to how they have this car on the lot, it is for all purposes new. It looks perfect. And the asking price seems reasonable too. Maybe I'm paranoid! Why would this car have been wholesaled? Or could they have taken it in trade? I know I should just talk to a salesman, but I want to get as much info as possible first. They say that they will provide the CarFax report for any of their cars. What should I check out for possible problem areas? And how do you know if the car has the improved head design or not? What are the differences between the 03's and 04's? The 04 no longer has the gas guzzler tax, how was that accomplished? Thanks for your input.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    and that will show you the origin and original owner of the car. Those cars are actually wholesaling at $25-26 at auction (I'm a buyer/appraiser), so $28,990 is NOT a wholesale figure.

    Realistic selling price would be around $27k even.

    They could have easily taken it in trade - people buy and trade cars on a whim all the time - don't think that just because you and I do some research there aren't 100 other guys who buy something because their girlfriend thinks it's cool, then they end up unhappy a month later - happens all the time. CARFAX will give you the real answer on that question, though.

    Other than color choices (Screaming Yellow instead of Zinc Yellow, and the deletion of Mineral Grey), there aren't any real changes between '03s and '04s.

    I can only assume that Ford did some kind of reclassification with EPA that changed the gas guzzler tax status.
  • I went to check out the Cobra today, shortly before they closed so I didn't take it for a test drive. It is in new condition, as it should be with only 2,700 miles. The owner of the car lot told me that he took it in trade on a Mercedes CLK, I forget which model. Supposedly this gentleman bought the Cobra new, owns several cars and changes them frequently. Like you said, the CarFax report will give the ownership history. This dealership specializes in late model import luxury cars. In fact, the Cobra is the only American made car on his lot.

    He told me that he could have the car Ford Certified for whatever warranty period I would be interested in. I have to do a bit of research on this, I'm not familiar with how this works cost wise etc. Are you familiar with this at all? And it's still under it's new car warranty, and I'd be able to find out when it went into service to see how much time was left on this.

    Just a few observations from spending a little seat time in the car:
    Shifter position is a bit awkward for me, I have to reach for it a little bit, clutch effort is on the heavy side, but I would expect that in a car with this much power and torque, it sure needs a heavy duty clutch.
    The sound system really didn't impress me, but I didn't try to dial it in to my tastes to see if I could get it any better. What do you think of the sound?
    Of course no one buys this car for the stereo. The 390hp V8 makes its on music!

    As far as price, he said he has room to work. His asking price is right on the money according to KBB, Edmunds, and Black book. You think it can be had for about 27k? Thanks for the info and sorry to all for the long winded post!
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    Ford Certified? Only if he's a Ford dealer, otherwise, sounds hinky.

    Clutch, shifter, etc? yes, they should be stiff, considering the job is has to do.

    Ford's Mach 460 sound system is one of the best on the OEM market, save for the Levinson Sound System in Lexus products and some of Acura's and Cadillac's offerings. Heckuva lot cheaper than a Levinson system, too...

    I love music, and may even add another sub and some more power, but the sound of that car through 2-chamber Flowmasters, in my opinion, outranks anything any stereo can put out.

    $26-27 is a realistic price - some "high-end" dealers change more for the pleasure of doing business with them, but they don't pay any more at auction for their cars than say, a regular Ford dealer - don't buy into the "we're a high line place" bunk.

    Contact me off-line, if you need, I have several lines on used Cobras - other places you can look if they don't want to budge on price.
  • Well, the Cobra sold the next day, I never even got the chance to take it for a test drive. I had a feeling it would sell quick, but not that quick!

    What is different on the 03 10th anniversary edition vs the regular model? There are still a few of those new floating around. Thanks.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    the 10th Anniversary model has special red leather seat inserts and interior appointments, different wheels, and red Brembo brake calipers instead of Ford units - looks really good if the car is grey or black.

    No performance differences, don't fall for any stories about how much more they're worth - cool and all, but only worth $500-750 more.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Well what about the white Cobra Mustang II that Farah drove in "Charlie's Angels", huh, huh, huh? Shouldn't the 2003 be like a 30th anniversary model?

    Nevermind, I think the medication is kicking in now.....
  • revmattrevmatt Posts: 14
    The 10th anniversary is the 04... is it not?
  • No, it's the 03.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    the first Cobra was a 1993.

    I'll be looking for a 10th Anniversary Edition when I buy mine - I love the interior.
  • calambacalamba Posts: 14
    Might be interested in this private sale. A 2001 Cobra Vert with 29K miles, asking is $19K, yellow. Single owner, with maintenance records, no accidents and/or repaints. Any thoughts will be appreciated
  • dan1dan1 Posts: 76
    That sounds pretty good a friend of mine had a 2001 Cobra conv. red manual trans and around 13 to 15k on it an he paid 23k I believe. I am in Denver and cars seem to go for more here for what ever reason.
  • I have a 01MUSTANGGT CONVERTIBLE with a vortec supercharger and the Flow master exhaust. It's just not punching like it should. Does anyone have some simple tweaks I can do to improve performance. I'm new to this forum and not much of a mechanic to be honest with you.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    The best "bang for the buck" mod I've ever done was running a 3.55 or 3.73 gear with a Ford Racing limited slip...

    Considering the ratios in your '01's transmission. 3.73s work GREAT! On the older T-5s, with the 3.35 first gear, 3.55s are as high as you'd want for the street (instead of 3.73s or 4.11s), otherwise, first gear is useless and 5th is now 4th...
  • I have an automatic. I've thought about gears and I think I will look into that. Sounds awesome. I might do that and do an off road H- pipe this summer. I also have that programer 3 chip, but it gets confusing when setting transmission shift points matched up to the engines rpms and tire size. I will have to read the manual more in depth because I'm not much of a mechanic.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    They can do a gear swap for you, and for probably not much money, set up your programming to optimal specs for what you're running.

    3.73s or 4.10s work GREAT with an automatic and I think you'll be like a kid in a candy store once you step on the "go" pedal after the modifications.
  • rac43rac43 Posts: 1
    I am thinking of buying a 97 base stang with a cobra motor installed. Motor looks 94-95, a 5.0 liter. Is there anywhere I can look to I.D. where this motor came from or at least what year it was made? Thanks in advance!!!!
  • I currently have 54K miles on my 2003 Ford Cobra Mustang convertible. I have had several problems (albeit all covered under my extended Ford warranty) with shifting and also engine cooling.

    In regards to shifting, Ford ended up changing out and replacing my transmission after me bringing the car into the dealer approximately 6 times. The car drove great, shifted and clutched better than the day I bought it, and worked great for about 6K Now, I'm having problems again with the shifting. Has anyone had this problem?

    I have also had cooling system problems. My car has overheated more than 8 times now. I have had 3 thermostats and have been towed to the dealer 8 times. Now the latest dealer is telling me that maybe I have a defective radiator. Has anyone had this problem too?

    Looking forward to hearing from you. Other than the above problems, the car has been flawless and has been fun to drive!
  • crisp64crisp64 Posts: 1
    I have seen a 98 SVT Cobra, 16500 miles, looks mint. The owner is asking $17k for it but Edmunds puts the price closer to $13k for private and $16k for retail. Is there really a premium for this car? Also looking ot use this car for daily commute, but not sure it is really suitable - any thoughts?
  • I have a 96 cobra convert with 235,000 miles it runs great....however the rear end has noise. factory gears (3.27 I think) 5 speed and syncs are bad in it...has trouble going into 5th have to let rpms down to under 2000 to get it in...Im thinking of changing it to a tremec 6 speed and rear end gears to 411...does anyone have any imput on this? another question is that with that many miles I will be rebuilding prob next year....(adding a procharger)...will I ever be able to get close to my money back out of it...right now I have about $ 10,500. in it. any help or advise is greatly appreciated.
  • bought my 03 Cobra in April 05. Now about 40,000 miles. Had clunking sound at rear w/ shifting. Dealer had a "clutch in the differential" replaced. Less clunking, but still there sometimes. Dealer has it again now & I am trying to find if there have been other owners w/ similar problems. Why did Ford replace your tranny?
  • Do you or anyone else have any info on whether Ford did anything on this? I bought my 03 Cobra from a dealer in Apr 05. Trying to get the clunking sound that I get sometimes fixed if it really is a problem.
    Clunking in lower gears as I let the clutch out. Pretty normal driving---not on the gas much.
    (1st time I brought back to dealer they replaced a "clutch in the differential"---probably not as frequent now, but still happens.)
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