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cobra faq's


Well-Known Member
General Questions
Basic Questions
What are the differences between the 2003-2004 Cobra?
Changes were mainly limited to color and trim. New exterior paint offerings for 2004 were Torch Red (re-introduced after being discontinued mid-year on the 2003), Screaming Yellow and Competition Orange. An optional Mystichrome package with an exterior paint treatment that changes color when viewed from different angles was offered for 2004. Inside the Mystichrome Cobra, the leather seat inserts and the steering wheel cover also shift colors. Interior wise, the 2004 Charcoal Gray seating added dark gray inserts. 2003's were lighter gray. Other differences:
* The 2003 radio decks came with an AUX 20 pin port in the back and the '04 had the SAT button.
* The door lock on the drivers side on '03 Cobras were black, 04 Cobras were chrome
* The 2004 the cats were bigger
* The 2003 had a small interior headliner cargo net. It was deleted for 2004.
* The computer codes were different between the model years
Pricing? And what is the gas guzzler tax that was added to the 2003 Cobra invoice?
MSRP of the 2003-2004 Cobra was $37,545 for the convertible, and $33,300 for the Coupe, both without including tax/title/tag, destination charges. The 2003 Cobra also included a $1,000 gas guzzler* tax. Changes made to the '04 allowed the gas guzzler tax to be dropped. Invoice on the cars was $34,555 for the convertible and $30,693 for the Coupe. Dealer holdback was 3% of the MSRP. With X plan pricing (for Ford employees, family members, and friends), buyers could get the car for close to the invoice price.

Used 2003-2004 coupes are in the $20,000. - $28,000. range depending on mileage and mods. Add approximately $2,000. for a convertible. It is still possible to find used Terminators with under 12K miles, with a bone-stock motor, but you'll pay on the high end of the above scale for one.

If you are wondering why the 2003 had a gas guzzler tax and why the 2004 didn't, Ford made a change in the catalytic converters and, I believe, in the computer program which resulted in slightly improved fuel economy numbers. Here is some government information about the gas guzzler tax

What is the Gas Guzzler Tax?
The Energy Tax Act of 1978 established a Gas Guzzler Tax on the sale of new model year vehicles whose fuel economy fails to meet certain statutory levels. The gas guzzler tax applies only to cars (not trucks) and is collected by the IRS.

The fuel economy figures used to determine the Gas Guzzler Tax are different from the fuel economy values provided on this web site and in the Fuel Economy Guide. The tax does not depend on your actual on-the-road mpg, which may be more or less than the EPA published value. The purpose of the Gas Guzzler Tax is to discourage the production and purchase of fuel inefficient vehicles. The amount of any applicable Gas Guzzler Tax paid by the manufacturer will be disclosed on the automobile's fuel economy label (the window sticker on new cars).

Gas Guzzler Tax
Unadjusted MPG (combined)*
At least 22.5
No Tax
At least 21.5, but less than 22.5
At least 20.5, but less than 21.5
At least 19.5, but less than 22
At least 18.5, but less than 22
At least 17.5, but less than 22
At least 16.5, but less than 22
At least 15.5, but less than 22
At least 14.5, but less than 22
At least 13.5, but less than 22
At least 12.5, but less than 22
Less than 12.5
* The combined fuel economy MPG value (55% city, 45% highway) is used to determine tax liability. The MPG value is also adjusted slightly to account for differences in test procedures made since the base year, but it is not adjusted for in-use short fall. The unadjusted combined MPG of a vehicle can be approximated from the city and highway values provided in the Fuel Economy Guide and on this website by the following equation:

(1/(.495/City MPG + .351/Highway MPG)) + .15

Since this is an approximate calculation, the actual gas guzzler tax may be off by one tax bracket.
How many were made? And when did production begin and end for the '03 and '04?
According, in part, to the book entitled '"Iron Fist, Lead Foot" by Frank Moriarty......
Production begins for early 2003 builds: May 8, 2002
Production begins for late 2003 builds: Sept. 29, 2002 (some say the date is actually earlier in September)
Production ends for regular 2003 builds some time in early May (to be verified). The 10th Anniversary model was built in June/July of 2003 (to be verified).
Production ends for 2004 builds: March 31, 2004

Production numbers for both the '03 and '04 models are available by CLICKING HERE.
What changes were made on the SVT 10th Anniversary Edition?
The 10th Anniversary Edition is mechanically the same as the standard 2003 Cobra. Trim changes were:
Carbon fiber weave inserts on the shift boot, E-brake handle and steering wheel
10th anniversary SVT badging on the trunk and both front floor mats
Red and black leather seating
Red door inserts
Red painted brake calipers
Multi-spoke anthracite wheels with polished lip.

How can I get a replacement Owners Manual?
Helm Inc. has then. CLICK HERE to order on their website. You can also call them at (800) 782-4356. I believe the price is $44.95 and that includes the SVT Supplement and leather cover. Helms does all of the OEM factory manuals for Ford, GM, etc.
If you need the SVT Supplement Guide that came with the Mustang Owner's Manual, click CLICK HERE for a PDF file. If you need a copy of the Mustang Owner's Manual, click CLICK HERE for a PDF file.
How can I get a copy of my original window sticker? And How can I get my Build Certificate?

Many who buy used Terminators ask how they can get a copy of the original window sticker. While it is possible to order a new one from your dealer, it is difficult to get them to do it. An easier way is to buy a reprint. Jeff Brown, a member of STVPerformance.com can get you one. His member ID is JBROWN1238. I do not have his email address.

Build Certificates (different from the Build Sheet) were printed and sent out at the end of the model runs. If you bought a used Cobra you can call SVT for a new copy of the Certificate. They will need your name and VIN number. They now charge you $40. for the Certificate. Call SVT and have your vehicle information handy. SVT Phone Number:

SVT Fax Number:

SVT/Ford Performance Group address:
Ford Performance Group
P.O. Box 490
Dearborn, MI 48124

Hours of operation:
Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Where do I get the build documentation?
Build documentation has been found in various places on the vehicle, typically wedged into gaps in the vehicle bodywork. A common location is under the rear bumper.
I have a blue stripe on the driver side head. Does it mean that the head was replaced by the dealer or at the factory to fix the tick issue?
This is a question that has been tossed around more than a mixed salad. The popular rumor is that the blue stripe means that the head was replaced by the dealer (or at the factory) to fix the tick issue. First, some facts. The tick issue can occur on any 2003 or 2004 Cobra, and also Mach 1s. The latest head, and the one that fixed the tick issue, wasn't released until 01/2005. Second, the blue stripe has appeared on 2003 and 2004 Cobras/Mach 1s from the factory. It has appeared on both the driver side and passenger side heads. So it has no correlation to the fix issue that we're are definitely aware of.

As far as what the blue stripe means, JB from SVTPerformance.com belongs to a local Cobra club and they toured the factory a couple of years ago. This was the explanation given at the factory. "Assembly plants use just-in-time inventory, meaning parts are not stored up but are delivered daily. The paint markers provide a visual confirmation of when particular batches have been purged from the line. They show up on other Ford engines besides the '03/'04 Cobra. The bottom-line is that the blue stripe doesn't mean a head has been replaced by a dealer".
What things should I check for when buying a used 2003 or 2004 Cobra?
Questions to ask the seller
1) What are the reason(s) that you selling the car?
2) How long have you owned the vehicle?
3) Are you the original owner?
4) Has the vehicle ever been driven in rain or snow? If so, how often?
5) Has the vehicle been garaged when not in use?
6) Was the car raced? If so, how often?
7) Was the car used as a daily driver?
8) Has the car been smoked in?
9) Do you have all of the maintenance records?
10) Are there any existing/known mechanical issues (engine, drivetrain, suspension, chassis, etc) with the car?
11) Has ANYTHING (glass, wheels, body panels, tires, seats, transmission, engine, etc) been replaced or repainted since the vehicle was purchased?
12) Are there any chips in the windshield?
13) Is there significant chipping on the front bumper from road debris?
14) What has the car been into the dealership for in the past, in terms of maintenance, warranty or any other mechanical work? (including Technical Service Bulletins, general warranty work and even things as simple like oil changes)?
15) In what condition are the tires (front and rear)? What brand/size are they?
16) Are the wheels stock or aftermarket? If aftermarket, what brand and size are they?
17) What specific modifications have you done to the car? Have the seller state ALL (intake, exhaust, tune, pulley, shifter, clutch quadrant, shocks, springs, etc). And
be aware that some seller hide the fact that the car was modded by removing all mods prior to a re-sale. Be asking this question and getting the answer in writing
you are potentially protecting yourself if you find out later that the seller was deceptive and didn't disclose the mods.
18) What is its build number (on Certificate of Ownership from SVT)?
19) What was the build date?
20) What is the VIN number so that I can run a Carfax on it?
21) What documentation do you have with the car? The 03/04 Terminators came with a black zipper pouch that contained four booklets including (a) “Mustang Owners Guide”, (b) “SVT Mustang Cobra Owner’s Guide Supplement”, (c) “Scheduled Maintenance Guide” and, (d) “Warranty Guide”). Does the seller have this pouch with all of these booklets? In addition, most original 2003 Cobra owners received a hard cover book entitled "Powered By SVT". If possible, get this book. It's a good one.
22) Does the car have an extended warranty? If so, be sure to get the documentation.

Third party verifications:
Get the VIN number and run a Carfax to help you determine the ownership history of the vehicle and to determine if it has been in any major accidents. Be aware though that this is not 100% reliable.
Before buying any used Cobra, take the VIN to a Ford dealer and have them run it through their warranty system (OASIS) to verify that the car has a warranty and to determine what warranty repairs have been performed.
Things To Check For
1) Look for previous mods. Look at the end of the blower drive snout, in the center of the pulley. If there is any form of a dot in the middle of the shaft, it has probably had a pulley mod done.
2) Listen for strange noises coming from the motor, suspension, body or interior, whining in transmission or rear end, clunking in the drivetrain, etc.
3) Look at the throttle body bolts, intake clamp screws, etc. Little things for signs of being messed with.
4) Check for the tick issue. Don't confuse this with normal fuel injector noise. It will be louder. If it is the real tick, it will get louder with rpm. CLICK HERE to listen to what the 'tick issue' sounds like.
5) Make sure the clutch doesn't engage too low. If so, it might need to be adjusted.
6) Look at tires. Abnormal wear, rubber residue in wheel wells, or new tires on low mileage car might indicate it was raced.
7) Look at brake pad wear.
8) Look in the filler cap for burnt oil residue, indicating possible infrequent oil changes or hard driving/high operating temps.
9) Look for signs of cooling system leaks. Running low coolant with aluminum heads is very bad.
10) Check entire body and exterior for defects. Check for dents or visible damage.
a. Dents and door dings.
b. Front spoiler damage.
c. Check the paint surface for scratches, chips, flaking, over-spray or orange peel. Check the hood. There is a TSB for flaking paint on the hood.
d. Inspect the rear spoiler; the 3M tape in known to creep out, if this is the case it'll need to be adjusted or trimmed.
e. Check for catalytic converter damage: Rap on cats and mufflers looking for rattles.
11) Check for system leaks and drips:
a. Valve covers and engine
b. Rear end and differential
c. Transmission
d. Power Steering and ABS
e. Radiator
12) Check Wheels and Tires:
a. Check wheels for damage from encounters with curbs.
b. Check that all lug nuts are tight.
c. Ensure all locking lug nuts are in place (one on each wheel). Be sure the puzzle lug is in the console or trunk.
d. Check the air pressure in the Tires.
13) Verify that the mileage is acceptable to you.
14) Check entire interior for defects:
a. Check steering wheel and seats for scratches, cuts, stains and wear.
b. Check power window operation. Some windows stick in the down position and squeak when rolling up.
c. Check power top operation if it is a convertible.
d. Check for fraying or damage to convertible top.
e. Check dead pedal (by clutch) for looseness.
f. Check center console trim: Some have found that clips were missing or broken
g. Push on the trim around the A/C vents-- it shouldn't move.
h. Check the instrument lighting for proper operation.
i. Verify the cargo net is in the trunk (only early '03 cars included the net). If not, nets are available through your Ford dealer for around $35.
j. Verify convertible toneau cover is in trunk.
k. Check for rubbing of passenger seat against passenger door. There is a TSB to fix this -- 03-01-05.
15) Check the Engine for the following:
a. Check oil level.
b. Check windshield washing fluid level.
c. Check Radiator Coolant level.
16) Test Drive the Vehicle and check for the following (TSBs for most of this issues can be found HERE):
a. Do the doors lock on startup?
b. Check for rough idle: Idle should be about 750rpm
c. Listen for ticking valve train (TSB 3521). Stand next to the driver's front wheel and listen with the hood up. DO NOT confuse this with normal fuel injector noise.
d. Check for any drivetrain vibrations, especially at higher speeds.
e. Check alignment. Does the Vehicle pull to either side?
f. Is there any vibration during braking? Pulls to either side during braking? Brakes OK?
g. Misfire or stumbling at moderate RPMs during test drive? Could be caused by a faulty FRPS (Fuel Rail Pressure Sensor).
h. Stalling on deceleration? There is a TSB for this - 17-54-2.
i. Clunk noise from the suspension while turning?
j. Driveline clunk during acceleration after coasting?
k. Belt Slipping or squealing?
l. Does the clutch have any play, rattle, or a loose feeling?
m. Listen for rubbing of passenger seat against passenger door while driving.
n. Check for "skunk" smell after test drive (more evidence of plugged cats).
o. Check carpet under gas pedal. There have been cases of the carpet interfering with the pedal and causing a potentially dangerous WOT issue. There is a recall
for this.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to take a good test drive before you commit to a purchase. Don't take the seller's word for the condition of the car. And don't let the seller drive. YOU must be the one to do the test drive in order to check all or most of the above things to check for. If you do buy a car without test driving it, be aware that if you encounter issues you might not be able to back out once you've paid for it and signed a contract. Also remember that any 2003-2004 Cobra without an extended warranty will likely be sold "as is". Another reason to get a good test drive.

If you buy a used Terminator, how the car was cared for should determine what maintenance tasks are needed when you take delivery. Normally you should only have to change the oil/filter, and check the air filter, fluid levels, brakes, clutch, spark plugs, etc. Other detailing may be desired or required depending on the condition of the exterior, interior and engine bay.

Lastly, if you are buying what is described as a "stock" or "near stock" Terminator, do the visual checks for previous motor mods, but most important, get the seller's claim in writing. It is all too common for people who have modded their Terminators to remove all or most of the mods, and then sell it as a "stock" or "near stock" car. Simply because they can either make more money doing this, or because they know most buyers prefer a stock Terminator (at least motor wise). A seller is unlikely to hide previous mods if he has to put it in writing. This most neglected step is for the buyer's protection and for his peace of mind.

When you take delivery of your Terminator, one of the first things you should do is check the A/F. If it happens to be too lean you'll be driving a time bomb. Get the car onto a local dyno and check the A/F. It's nice to have baseline numbers anyway. Or use a wideband to check the A/F. If the A/F is too lean get a new tune ASAP.
Educate your self about these cars as much as possible. Forums such as SVTPerformance.com and ModularFords.com are except sources of information.
What colors were available?
All exterior colors for both model years can be found CLICK HERE.
Convertible Top- Black or Parchment (With Red Fire, Torch Red, Black or Oxford White Exteriors Only)
Interior- Dark Charcoal with choice of Medium Parchment or Medium Graphite accents (dark accents were added for 2004). The 10th Anniversary model has red accents. The 2004 Mystichrome model has special seating, steering wheel and shifter boot that changes color.

What options are available?
The only options for the 2003/2004 Cobra’s were the spoiler delete and chrome wheels. There was also a 10th Anniversary model for 2003 and the Mystichrome model for 2004. Each had unique trim pieces.
Does the stereo play MP3’s?
Unfortunately, no. Neither the '03 or '04 (which has the Mach 460 system) can play MP3s. Nor can even year play MP3 files on a CD. However, to my knowledge regular 2003 & 2004 Mustangs (which have a different audio system) can play MP3s with the standard CD player. If you are looking to use an MP3 player with the stock audio system, controlled by the stock controls, go to this link for some great information. http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?t=305510
Should I remove the yellow stickers?
No. The yellow warning stickers are adhered to the cloth very strongly, and will most likely leave lasting residue if you remove them.
What are some good web sites for 2003 Cobra information?
The best focused 03 Cobra sites around are svtperformance.com and modularfords.com. However, the 2003 Cobra shares many components with earlier mustangs, so many general mustang sites can be helpful as well.
What kind of gas mileage should I expect?
On the interstate, around 20 MPG (17-22) should be the norm. In the city, it depends on how much you like the loud pedal. General mileage for normal driving is around 14-18 MPG, but if you drive it hard, you may see as little as 6-8 MPG.
How do you clean the Alcantera (imitation suede) on the seats?
The seating material is called Alcantara (a brand of Italian Suede). I have a PDF file which gives general cleaning tips. If you would like to see it, CLICK HERE. Also read the cleaning instructions/tips below.

Regular Weekly Maintenance
Note: To preserve the beauty of your upholstery, excessively vigorous cleaning of accumulated dirt should be avoided.

Regular cleaning is recommended. Just avoid rubbing too hard. The use of steam machines is not recommended. If you clean your seats weekly, it is sufficient to dust the fabric using a soft brush, a dry cloth, or a vacuum cleaner. After dusting, run a lightly damp white cotton cloth over them. Avoid the use of printed absorbent cloths/papers as they can release ink onto the fabric.

Annual Cleaning
You can clean Alcantara® fabric by using specific products listed at www.alcantara.it in the furniture/maintenance section. In the absence of the above-mentioned products, you can dust the fabric with care, dampen a soft cloth in clean water, wring it thoroughly and run it over the whole Alcantara® fabric, making sure you don't wet it excessively. Then rinse the cloth or sponge and repeat as necessary. Leave to dry (overnight) Once dried, in order to restore the fabric, brush it delicately with a soft bristle brush.

Stain Removal
For localized stains, and when the specific products for the cleaning of Alcantara® are not available, follow these cleaning instructions:
• Address the stain within 30 minutes and begin treating it from the outside edge into the center to prevent the stain from spreading.
• Never pour a cleaning product directly onto the Alcantara® fabric.
• Before treating the stain, remove any of the substance that has fallen on the upholstery.
• Avoid rubbing to prevent the stain from spreading or going deep into the fabric.
• Use a white cloth or a well wrung sponge when removing stains. If using a sponge, rinse it in clean water and wring it well between each wipe.

Special Instructions for Water-Soluble Stains
It is recommended, depending on the type of stain, that you should use water, lemon juice, or pure ethyl alcohol and follow the instructions below.

Fruit juice, jam, jelly, syrup, ketchup: Use lukewarm water, rinse by dabbing with clean water.

Blood, egg, excrement, urine: Use cold water; avoid warm water because it makes these substances coagulate, rinse by dabbing with clean water.

Liquors, alcoholic beverages, wine, beer, coke and tea: Use lukewarm water; if the color mark remains, treat it with lemon juice and then rinse it well.

Copying pencil, cocoa, chocolate, pastry with cream or chocolate, ice-cream, mustard: Use lukewarm water; rinse by dabbing with clean water.

Vinegar, hair gel, tomato sauce, coffee with sugar: Use lemon juice and then wipe with lukewarm water rinse by dabbing with clean water.

Special Instructions for Stains Non-Soluble in Water
It is recommended, depending on the type of stain, that you use water, lemon juice or pure ethyl alcohol and follow the instructions below.

Lipstick, foundation, mascara, eye-shadow, perfume, shoe polish, oil and grease in general, grass stains and felt tips in general (including the indelible kind): Rub with ethyl alcohol, then with water and rinse. For grass stains and felt tips, which are quite difficult to remove, especially on light colors, it is necessary to intervene as soon as possible in order to prevent them from becoming too “dry”.

Chewing-gum and wax: Put a plastic bag full of ice on the stain; when the material becomes hard remove the pieces and then treat with ethyl alcohol.

Special Instructions for Resistant stains
Repeat the above described treatments as often as necessary. Even stains that are not soluble in water often require to be treated afterwards with water.

Special Instructions for Old stains of Unknown Origin
First of all treat with lukewarm water, then rinse by dabbing them with clean water. If you see that the stain begins to dissolve with water, repeat the treatment as often as necessary. Let it dry and, if necessary treat with ethyl alcohol.

How can I find out when the warrantee started on my Cobra?
Your local Ford dealer can give you this information. If they have done service for you in the past, they can easily look up the information on the computer. If not, they will need your VIN number.

How do I remove the inner gray coating on my OEM chrome wheels?
For those who didn't know, Ford added a silver coating to the chrome plate on the back of the wheel. Be assured that under the gray coating is pure chrome. And according to Stang2WRX, aircraft remover won't harm the chrome plating. It will only remove the gray coating over the chrome. Some have used a very fine steel wool to remove the coating, but this method is easier and faster. NOTE: If you decide to use the aircraft remover, test it on a small area of the wheel coating to insure it won't harm the chrome. Personally I would stick with using fine steel wool.
Thanks to Stang2WRX from SVTPerformance.com providing this info. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.
Step 1:
Make sure you have all of the necessary supplies:
-"Aircraft Remover" (available at AutoZone)
-Container to pour smaller amounts of the stripper into
-Paint brush (3" or 4" recommended)
-Heavy-duty rubber gloves
-Safety glasses
-Bucket of hot/warm water
-Old sponge
-Car wash soap
-Hose/water supply

Step 2:
Once you have your eyewear and gloves on, pour a small bowl full of aircraft remover. Then apply it to the painted part of the rim with the brush in "swirling motions" (you can only do 1/4th to 1/3rd of the wheel at a time if you want to do it right). Let it sit for 2 minutes.

Step 3:
Use an old car wash sponge and dip it into hot water, ring some of the water out, and begin to wipe off the remover, the paint should be freely coming off, if it's not then you either didn't "swirl in the remover" with the brush enough or you didn't give it enough time to set.

NOTE: Be careful that you don't let it sit for too long, as the silver paint will begin to set again.
Repeat this procedure around the rim.
*Keep away from the center caps*

Step 4:
Empty your bucket and prepare a bucket as though you're going to wash your car. Use a soft wheel brush and wash down the wheel, and tire as some residue may be left over on the wheel.
Dry and...

How do I change the Eaton super-charger oil?
Special thanks to airmanb2b on SVTPerformance.com for this write-up. Note that Ford says the factory fill is good for 100,000 miles but if you are using a smaller upper pulley to increase boost you are over-spinning the blower and should change the oil more often. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.

Parts and Tools Required
1 large syringe (any pharmacy)
8 oz. Mobil 10w30 motor oil - (10W30 recommended by Stiegemeier Porting), or use Ford E9SZ-19577-A or GM 1234-5982.
3/16 Allen wrench
2 rags
1 small bowl or cup (to put old oil in)
Approx. 6 inches of clear fish tank hose (any pet department)

First step is to locate the oil drain/fill plug

Use the the 3/16 allen wrench and unscrew the plug. The plug will be tight the first time. Don't worry. Just put a little ass into it. Lay rags under the plug. You will get a bit of oil out. It's inevitable so just let it drain on the rags. Watch how it flows out. That's important later.

Push the hose into the hole as far as it will go and suck out the oil. It will take a bit depending on the size of syringe. Repeat until you get only air. Put oil in cup or bowl.

Once the Eaton is empty, you will have some oil in the hose that you cannot get out. Purge the line with new oil to get the old out of the hose.

Keep filling the syringe with new oil and squirting it into the Eaton until it flows out like it did when you first removed the plug. Should hold about 8oz or so give or take. If you have small fingers, you can stick your pinky in the hole and feel the oil. Should be level with the bottom of the drain/fill hole. Once the oil is flowing out freely and you cannot put anymore in, install the plug. Don't over tighten! Just snug.
Is it worth it to port my new heads and give them a quality valve job?
The latest heads have improved cooling passages which are designed to eliminate the heat issues experienced with the older heads (the so called "tick" issue). They also have additional spark plug threads. They retail for approximately $1,400. for the set, and are worth investing in if you can afford it. The following comments are from JimmySideCarr on SVTPerformance.com and are well worth reading if you are buying these new heads.

As good as even the older versions of our heads are, the factory valve jobs are not the greatest. Some are nearly perfect but many have issues!
Even with a new set of the improved heads, if it was me I would have mine treated to a pro quality valve job. The porting IMHO is not a big deal. I can tidy up the overall quality of the port finish myself, including a casting flash clean up and doing a bowl clean up (but NOT polish). I don't believe there is much power to be found in porting these revised heads.

Not so with the valve job itself! I believe THIS is where people are finding the improvements. With a positive displacement engine the subtle little shaping improvements that work so well on naturally aspirated engines (that rely on air pressure differentials for cylinder filling) I believe have very little effect on a PD engine (you can't suck air past the rotors of the blower). If ported Terminator heads were that big of an improvement you would be reading about crazy boost drops after porting, and I'm not seeing that.

Now if our heads were junk (which they aren't), then porting would be worth doing. If someone is shooting for a 600+ rwhp car then the new heads are worth it IMO.

The additional plug threads alone will pull more heat out of the combustion chamber face! The additional coolant flow and better cooled exhaust valve guides also makes for improved detonation resistance and the ability to run more timing in the tune and that equals POWER!

If tuners are already dialing in more timing if you are running the LDC left head cooling mod then you know they are going to be able to take advantage of the the elevated detonation protection threshold afforded by these new heads.
I'm storing my car for the winter. What are some storage tips? And how can I prevent damage from mice?
If you are going to store your car for a period of more than two months, the following are recommendations to follow.
* Fill the tank with gas and add a gas stabilizer to keep your gas from becoming stale.
* Change the oil and filter.
* Thorough wash the exterior of the car, wheels, and tires. If possible, remove each wheel and thoroughly clean them. Especially the back side
where dirt and road debris accumulates. Polish the wheels and reinstall. Polish/wax the exterior. Clean/detail the engine bay. When the car
is sufficiently cleaned and the paint treated to a good coating of carnauba wax or polish, consider covering it with a quality car cover from
California Car Cover or Big Sky Car Covers, or another high quality cover.
* To prevent tire flat spots, use jack stands to raise the car off the floor. Set the stands under the control arms so that the weight of the car is
still on the suspension, and just high enough to keep the weight off of the tires. Putting the jack stands under the spring perches is
recommended by many. If jack stands are not available you can use wood blocks. Just remember that the suspension likes to be loaded. It's
heavy. Many recommend that you just inflate the tires to the max and put carpet squares under each tire.
* Check the tire air pressure and be sure all four tires are the same correct pressure. Note that regular air can leak during storage due to faulty
valve stems, wheel irregularities, etc. Costco warehouse stores use nitrogen to fill tires. It is the only place that I know of that has nitrogen
due to the expense of the equipment I guess. However, nitrogen is preferred for a number of reasons. The most important IMO is that it is
heavier than air and is less likely to leak out (larger molecules). So if you have a Costco in your area consider replacing the air with nitrogen.
You'll have more consistent air pressures without leaking.
* Disconnect the negative battery cable. When you're ready to take it out of storage hook it back up. Some prefer to use a battery tender.
* Place a few moisture absorber packs (desiccants) in the interior to absorb any moisture. Large packs are usually available at most do-it-yourself
building supply or hardware chains. A couple of bags on the front and rear floors, as well as a few more in the trunk, and you'll have dampness
protection for the entire winter season. As an alternative, kitty litter can be used in small containers.
* Get some Arm & Hammer baking soda to put in the cabin. Open the tabs and place the entire box on the floor. I'll put one box on the rear
floor and one on the front floor. This will prevent any musty smell.
* Cover the car with a high quality car cover. The cover will keep the paint surface clean and protect it from scratches if you (or others) will be
working around the car.
* Inflatable bubble covers are also available. You basically drive your car into the bubble and inflate it. Users state that air is continually kept
flowing through the bubble and this totally keeps out all moisture. So rusting of the brake rotors, for example, is not an issue. I don't know
anything more about this method so you should research it before using it.
* Change your oil again when the car comes out of storage.
* When starting the car after long term storage, hold the accelerator to the floor (which will turn off the fuel injectors) while starting. Turn the car
over for about 10 seconds to get the oil flowing to the top of the engine. Then start the car normally. It is also recommended to pull all the
plugs first so the starter isn't working against compression. It is my understanding, though, that if you have a BAP it can render this trick
useless, reportedly due to the upgraded wiring coming directly from the battery.

The best way to keep mice out of your car is to keep them out of the storage area, usually a garage. Keep doors and windows sealed as tightly as possible.

Keep food out of your building and cars. If there’s nothing for mice to eat, they won’t usually hang around. Pay close attention not to leave scraps or crumbs inside the vehicle. Vacuum the carpets, seats, under-seat area, console and glove box. Use probe tools to get at the petrified French fries on the side of the seat. LOL! Then shampoo the carpets so they are nice & clean and smell fresh.

Traps and poisons are a line of defense against mice. They come in a variety of models and prices. They work, but remember that bait traps are designed to attract mice and then kill them. Keeping the mice away in the first place works best. Some people prefer to put triangle shaped tube traps, that have a sticky base, near the garage door on both sides where the floor meets the wall. Rodents normally walk along these edges so places traps there works.

In most cases, mice enter a car by scampering up the tires. If the vehicle is stored without tires, it is a bit harder for them to get inside. Tireless storage will also keep your tires from “flat spotting.” However, the 2003/2004 Cobra is heavy and the suspension likes to be loaded. So jacking up the car is not one of my recommendations in this case, although some people do it.

Rodents can nest several places in a vehicle: the engine compartment, the interior and the trunk. They’re drawn to the warmth of an engine or heater motor. They will eat electrical wires and even spark plug wires.

Mice can also get into cars through holes around cables, pedal shafts, steering columns and so on. If you can seal all these openings, mice can’t enter. Leave the sun visors in the down position. If you want to keep the windows slightly open for better airflow, cover the opening with screening.

Usually, these creatures can’t get into a trunk if you seal interior openings; they usually enter the trunk from the rear seat. Some cars have drain holes in the spare tire well. These holes should be taped.

Some people put mothballs on the floor around the car. The line of mothballs should have no gaps at any point. Other car owners place mothballs or scented soap in a cake pan inside the car to keep mice away. Mice don’t like the mothball smell, but neither will you. If you go the mothball route, you can help to eliminate the smell by putting a scented candle under the seat on a hot day.

Zipper bags seal the whole car. There are two types. The first is a big plastic sack with a zipper. A second type is a plastic bubble supported by a curtain of air. The air pump draws little current and promotes better airflow. Both bags work well if you use them properly. The trouble is the hassle. You must be very careful not to trap moisture in the bag. While the air-curtain type won’t trap moisture, it does require electricity.

One final step in fighting rodent infestation is to make spot checks every couple of weeks. If you see droppings or notice that unpleasant mouse smell, the steps you have taken so far aren’t working. In this case, the first thing to do is to get rid of the mice. Then you’ll need to protect the vehicle from being re-infested. If you inspect the car on a regular basis, you should be able to remedy the problem before damage is done.
Is it safe to spray wash my engine? Will it cause any drivability issues?
It is fairly common for Terminator owners to spray wash their engines to keep the engine and engine bay looking factory fresh. However, occasionally people experience an engine miss after spraying down their engine. The most common reason is a damaged COP (coil on pack). Water can seep into the spark plug hole where engine heat turns it into steam and damages the coil.

Here are some things you can do to prevent the problem:

1) Never wash the engine unless you cover the coils

2) Always replace spark plug boots when you change plugs.

3) Always replace the spark plug when you replace a coil

4) Apply a liberal coating of dielectric grease to the rubber seal on the coil where it connects to the engine.

To test, try the following:
You will need to remove the coil (COP). You will need to make two resistance measurements, one for the primary side and one for the secondary side.

The first measurement is for the primary side of the coil. Where it connects normally to the connector will be two connections or terminals you will need to measure across, this if for the primary side. Connect your meter leads to the (+) and (-) terminal. The resistance should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.55 ohms.

The secondary measurement will be from the (+) terminal and the terminal that is connected to the spark plug when it is on the car. This measurement should be in the neighborhood of 5,500 ohms, or 5.5M ohms.

If either measurement shows 0 ohms or “overload” “OL” “999.999” or what ever your meter reads when there is an open the coil is bad.

What may be a good idea is to take two coils off then you can compare the readings you get.

Or you could buy a tester like this:
What are the general specs such as lubricants, torque specs, engine specs, etc.?
---General Specifications---

Lubricants and Sealants
Motorcraft Premium Engine Coolant VC-4-A
(In Oregon VC-5, In Canada CXC-10) ESE-M97B44-A
Motorcraft Premium Gold Engine Coolant VC-7-A
(In Oregon VC-7-B) WSS-M97B51-A1
SAE 5W-20 Engine Premium Synthetic Blend Engine Oil XO-5W20-QSP WSS-M2C153-H
Metal Surface Cleaner
F4AZ-19A536-RA WSE-M5B392-A
Silicone Gasket and Sealant F7AZ-19554-EA WSE-M4G323-A4
Pipe Sealant with Teflon® D8AZ-19554-A WSK-M2G350-A2
Threadlock 262 E2FZ-19554-B WSK-M2G351-A6

Displacement 4.6L (4V) (281 CID)
Number of cylinders 8
Bore 90.2 mm (3.55 in)
Stroke 90.0 mm (3.54 in)
Firing order 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
Oil pressure 138-310 kPa
Oil capacity 6 ± 0.25 (a)
Compression ratio 8.5:1
Cylinder Head and Valve Train
Cylinder head gasket surface flatness 0.10 mm (0.004 inch) max. overall
Combustion chamber volume 52.6 ± 0.5 cm
Valve arrangement (front to rear) (b)
Intake (left hand): S-P-S-P-S-P-S-P
Intake (right hand): P-S-P-S-P-S-P-S
Exhaust (left hand): E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E
Exhaust (right hand): E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E
Valve guide bore diameter 7.015-7.044 mm (0.2762-0.2773 in)
Valve stem diameter—intake 6.975-6.995 mm (0.2754-0.2746 inch)
Valve stem diameter—exhaust 6.949-6.970 mm (0.2744-0.2736 inch)
Valve stem-to-guide clearance—intake 0.020-0.069 mm (0.00078-0.00272 inch)
Valve stem-to-guide clearance—exhaust 0.046-0.094 mm (0.0018-0.0037 in)
Valve head diameter—intake 37 mm (1.46 inch)
Valve head diameter—exhaust 30 mm (1.18 inch)
Valve face runout 0.05 mm (0.002 in)
Valve face angle 45.5 degrees
Valve seat width—intake 1.8-2.2 mm (0.071-0.086 inch)
Valve seat width—exhaust 1.8-2.2 mm (0.071-0.086 inch)
Valve seat runout 0.05 mm (0.002 inch)
Valve seat angle 45 degrees
Valve spring free length—intake 42.16 mm (1.6598 inch)
Valve spring free length—exhaust 42.16 mm (1.6598 inch)
Valve spring squareness 2 degrees
Valve spring compression pressure—intake 711.47 N @ 26.19 mm (159.9 lb-ft @ 1.031 inch)
Valve spring compression pressure—exhaust 711.47 N @ 26.19 mm (159.9 lb-ft @ 1.031 inch)
Valve spring installed height 36.14 mm (1.4228 in)
Valve spring installed pressure—intake 289.1 N @ 36.14 mm (64.99 lb-ft @ 1.4228 inch)
Valve spring installed pressure—exhaust 289.1 N @ 36.14 mm (64.99 lb-ft @ 1.4228 inch)
Roller follower ratio 1.8:1
Hydraulic Lash Adjuster
Diameter 16.000-15.988 mm (0.6299-0.6294 inch)
Clearance-to-bore 0.018-0.069 mm (0.000709-0.002717 inch)
Service limit 0.016 mm (1.0006299 inch)
Hydraulic leakdown rate (c) 5-25 seconds
Collapsed lash adjuster gap 0.80-1.20 mm (0.0315-0.0472 inch)
Theoretical valve lift @ 0 lash—intake (primary and secondary) 10.0 mm (0.3937 inch)
Theoretical valve lift @ 0 lash—exhaust 10.0 mm (0.3937 inch)
Lobe lift 5.54 mm (0.218 in)
Allowable lobe lift loss 0.130 mm (0.0051 in)
Journal diameter 26.962-26.936 mm (1.0615-1.0605 inch)
Camshaft journal bore inside diameter 27.012-26.987 mm (1.0635-1.0625 in)
Camshaft journal-to bearing clearance 0.025-0.076 mm (0.00098-0.002992 inch)
Runout 0.025 mm (0.0010 in)
End play 0.025-0.165 mm (0.00098-0.00649 inch)
Cylinder Block
Cylinder bore diameter 90.2-90.239 mm
Cylinder bore maximum taper 0.016 mm
Cylinder bore maximum out-of-round 0.016 mm
Main bearing bore diameter 72.402-72.422 mm
Head gasket surface flatness 0.15 mm (0.006 in) max. overall
Main bearing journal diameter 67.493 mm
Main bearing journal maximum taper 0.05 mm
Main bearing journal maximum out-of round 0.05 mm
Main bearing journal-to-cylinder block clearance 0.023-0.055 mm
Connecting rod journal diameter 52.983-53.003 mm
Connecting rod journal maximum taper 0.004 mm (0.0002 in)
Connecting rod journal maximum out-of-round 0.004 mm (0.0002 in)
Crankshaft maximum end play 0.130-0.301 mm
Thrust bearing journal diameter 67.493 mm
Thrust bearing journal maximum out-of round 0.05 mm
Thrust bearing journal maximum taper 0.05 mm
Thrust bearing journal length 17.725-17.775 mm
Piston and Connecting Rod
Piston diameter 90.180-90.191 mm
Piston-to-cylinder bore clearance -0.010/+0.026 mm
Piston ring end gap — compression (top) 0.30 mm
Piston ring end gap — compression (bottom) 0.50 mm
Piston ring end gap — compression (oil ring) 0.65 mm
Piston ring groove width — compression (top) 1.53-1.549 mm
Piston ring groove width — compression (bottom) 1.519-1.539 mm
Piston ring groove width — oil ring 3.031-3.055 mm
Piston ring width — compression (top) 1.47-1.49 mm
Piston ring width — compression (bottom) 1.47-1.49 mm
Piston ring width — oil ring 2.854-2.984 mm
Piston ring-to groove clearance — compression (top) 0.04-0.079 mm
Piston ring-to groove clearance — compression (bottom) 0.029-0.069 mm
Piston ring-to groove clearance — oil ring 0.047-0.201 mm
Piston pin bore diameter 22.0042-21.998 mm
Piston pin diameter 21.991-29.994 mm
Piston pin length 61.60-62.03 mm
Piston pin-to-piston fit 0.0058-0.0132 mm
Connecting rod-to-pin clearance 0.018-0.033 mm
Connecting rod pin bore diameter 22.012-22.024 mm
Connecting rod length 150.7 mm
Connecting rod maximum allowed bend 0.038 mm per 25 mm
Connecting rod maximum allowed twist 0.050 mm per 25 mm
Connecting rod bearing bore diameter 56.866-56.886 mm
Connecting rod bearing-to-crankshaft clearance 0.027-0.069 mm
Connecting rod side clearance 0.15-0.45 mm

(a) With installation of a new filter.
(b) P=Primary, S=Secondary, E=Exhaust
(c) Time necessary for plunger to leak down 1.6 mm of travel with 222 N force and leak down fluid in tappet.

Miscellaneous Specs
Inner serpentine belt - 6 rib. 96". Here's a Gates link for more info. Click Here.
Supercharger belt - Stock belt is 75.1". Gates stock number is K080751. Gatorback stock number is 4080750. For other than the stock upper and lower pullies, use my Belt Selection Guide.

Torque Specifications Nm lb-ft lb-in (note that a dash means that particular spec isn't used)
A/C compressor bolts 25 18 —
A/C peanut fittings 8 — 71
A/C muffler nut 25 18 —
Accelerator bracket bolts 10 — 89
Battery tray bolts 11 8 —
Belt idler support bracket assembly fasteners 25 18 —
Camshaft sprocket bolt 115 85 —
Coolant bypass tube studs 25 18 —
Coolant bypass tube bolts 25 18 —
Coolant hose and tube assembly bolt 25 18 —
Cooling fan motor and shroud bolts 10 — 89

Connecting rod bolt Stage 1: Tighten to 25 Nm (18 lb-ft).
Stage 2: Tighten to 80 Nm (59 lb-ft).

Engine front cover 25 Nm (18 lb-ft).
Drive belt tensioner bolts 25 18 —

Cylinder head bolt Tighten the bolts in six stages, in the sequence shown.
Stage 1: Tighten to 40 Nm (30 lb-ft).
Stage 2: Tighten an additional 90 degrees.
Stage 3: Loosen the bolts a minimum of one full turn.
Stage 4: Tighten to 40 Nm (30 lb-ft).
Stage 5: Tighten an additional 90 degrees.
Stage 6: Tighten an additional 90 degrees.

Idler pulley bracket 25 18 —
Power steering pump bolts 25 18 —
Power steering hose fitting 65 48 —
Power steering hose bracket bolt 10 — 89

Pulley to crankshaft bolt tighten the bolt in four stages.
Stage 1: Tighten to 90 Nm (66 lb-ft).
Stage 2: Loosen the bolt one full turn.
Stage 3: Tighten to 50 Nm (37 lb-ft).
Stage 4: Tighten an additional 90 degrees.

EGR valve to intake manifold 10Nm(89inlbs)
Engine coolant degas bottle bolts 10 — 89
Exhaust manifold studs 25 18 —
Generator bolts 25 18 —
Generator support bracket bolts 25 18 —
Hood prop bolt 10 — 89
Hood mounting nuts 12 9 —
Heater water inlet tube 10 — 89
Heater water outlet tube 24 18 —
Lower intake manifold-to-cylinder head bolt 10 Nm (89 lb-in)

Main bearing cap bolt-vertical main bearing cap fasteners Stage 1: Tighten to 40 Nm (30 lb-ft).
Stage 2: Tighten an additional 90 degrees
jack screws against the cylinder block Stage 1: Tighten to 5 Nm (44 lb-in).
Stage 2: Tighten to 10 Nm (89 lb-in).
side bolts: 21Nm(15 ftlbs)

Oil filter adapter bolt 25 18 —
Oil bypass filter to adapter 50 37 —
Oil pump screen cover and tube-to-oil pump bolt 10 — 89

Oil pan-to-cylinder block bolt Stage 1: Tighten to 20 Nm (15 lb-ft).
Stage 2: Rotate an additional 60 degrees

Oil pump-to-cylinder block bolt 10 — 89
Radio ignition interference capacitor bolts 25 18 —
Oil pump screen and pickup tube-to-main bearing cap stud spacer bolt 25 18 —
Water pump pulley bolts 25 18 —
Throttle body spacer nuts 25 18 —
Vacuum accessory bracket fasteners 10 — 89
Valve cover bolt 10 — 89
Wiring harness support bracket 25 18 —
Water pump-to-cylinder block bolt 25 18 —
EGR valve to exhaust manifold tube nuts 40 30 —
Power steering pump to engine 25 18 —
Power steering hose bracket nut 25 18 —
Power steering reservoir bracket fasteners 10 — 89
Supercharger degas bottle bolts 10 — 89
Camshaft cap cluster to cylinder head 10 — 89
Timing chain tensioner bolts—primary 25 18 —
Timing chain tensioner bolts—secondary 10 — 89
Ignition coil cover bolts 10 — 89
Generator mounting bracket retainers 10 — 89
Oil level indicator tube retainer 10 — 89
Primary timing chain guide-to-engine bolts 10 — 89
Oil pump screen and pickup tube spacer to main bearing stud 25 18 —
Belt idler pulley bolt 25 18 —
Subframe brace nuts 41 30 —
Flywheel 85Nm(63ftlbs.)

Pressure plate Stage 1: Tighten the bolts to 45 Nm (33 lb-ft).
Stage 2: Tighten the bolts an additional 60 degrees.

Spark plugs 15 11 —

Note: For the torque specs, some numbers are noted to be in newton meters (nm), ft. lbs. or in. lbs. Bare numbers are noted as foot lbs, then inch lbs. A dash in place of any of the three means that particular torque spec isn't used.
Where can I buy a good car cover?

If you're going to buy a car cover, but a good one. Be sure it fits well and be sure the fabric is high quality so it won't damage your car's finish. And, of course, be sure it provides the level of protection you need for either indoor or outdoor use. There are a number of good ones out there. I highly recommend Big Sky Car Covers. Another good choice is California Car Cover.

Technical Questions
What are the general specifications for each model year, including standard and optional equipment?

Drivetrain layout
Front engine, rwd
Engine type
Supercharged 90 Degree V-8 with fully counterweighted forged crankshaft, cast-iron block/aluminum heads
Valve gear
Chain driven DOHC, 4 valves/cyl.
Bore x stroke, in/mm
3.55x3.54 / 90.2x90.0
Displacement, ci/cc
280.7 / 4601
Compression ratio
Firing Order
Eaton Generation IV Roots-type supercharger with water-to-air intercooler, 8.0 psi maximum; aluminum intake manifold / tuned equal length runners, 57mm twin bore throttle body, 90mm mass-air sensor
Fuel Delivery
Sequential electronic fuel injection
Distributorless coil-on-plug
Stainless steel, dual 2.25" / 3" polished tips
Max horsepower @ rpm
390 @ 6000
Max torque @ rpm
390 @ 3500
Specific output, hp/liter
Power to weight, lb/hp
Redline, rpm
TTC T-56 6-speed manual with 11" single plate clutch
1st Gear - 2.66
2nd Gear - 1.78
3rd Gear - 1.30
4th Gear - 1.00
5th Gear - 0.80
6th Gear - 0.63
Reverse - 2.90
Axle/final-drive ratios
3.55:1 / 2.24:1
Aluminum driveshaft
Rear Axle
Aluminum case rear axle: 8.8" 3.55:1 Trac Lok
Suspension, f;r
Front: SVT modified MacPherson struts, with gas charged Bilstein monotube dampers and separate 600 lb./in. coil springs (500 lb. in. on convertible) on lower arm, 29mm tubular stabilizer bar
Rear: Multi-link independent system, cast iron upper control arms, aluminum lower control arms, aluminum spindles, fixed toe-control tie rods, gas-charged Bilstein dampers and 600 lb. in coil springs (470 lb. in on convertible), 26mm tubular stabilizer bar
Rack and pinion, power assist
Steering Ratio
Turning Circle
41.7 ft.
Brakes, f;r
4 channel/4 sensor system
Front: 13.0" vented Brembo discs with 2-piston calipers, ABS
Rear: 11.65" discs with single-piston caliper, ABS
Wheels, f;r
17x9.0; 17x9.0, 5-spoke cast aluminum (optional chrome plating)
Tires, f;r
275/40ZR17; 275/40ZR17, Goodyear Eagle F1
Wheelbase, in
Track, f;r, in
60.3; 60.3
Length, in
Width, in
Height, in
Curb weight, lb; f/r %
3665 lbs; 57/43 - Coupe 3780 lbs. - Convertible
Fuel capacity, gal
Base price
Price as tested
EPA mpg, city/hwy
Wheelbase, in
Track, f;r, in
60.3; 60.3
Length, in
Width, in
Height, in
Curb weight, lb; f/r %
3665; 57/43
Fuel capacity, gal
Base price
Price as tested
EPA mpg, city/hwy
Click on each thumbnail image below to see a full size Data Card for each model year. These full color Cards show all of the specs, standard equipment/trim, engine and drivetrain specs, etc. Depending on which browser you are using, you can scale the full-size image to suit your viewing needs.

2003 Specs Card 2004 Specs Card

What do 2003-2004 Cobra’s typically dyno at stock?
On average, 2003/2004 stock Cobra’s dyno between 345 and 395 hp at the rear wheels using SAE correction. The lowest stock dyno number I have seen is in the low 340’s and the highest was 395. Average is between 365-370rwhp. The wide range of reported numbers are likely due to a number of factors, including.....
* motor break-in period before first dyno run
* manufacturing tolerances
* factory tune
* dyno variances
* weather conditions when dynoed
What are the differences in the “runs”?
2003 Cobra’s had two production runs. First run cars seem to have a bit more variation in dyno numbers and quality, come stock with AGSF12FM1 spark plugs, and have the older QUD2 EEC program, identified by a white sticker on the passenger side door, near the locking mechanism. Second run cars seem to have leveled out a bit, use AGSF22FM1 spark plugs, and have the newer YDH0 or YDH1 program.
What are the differences between the 2003 Cobra and the 2001 Cobra?
The 2003 Cobra has several mechanical and visual differences from the 2001 Cobra. Mechanically, the 2003’s have a 112 c.i. Eaton supercharger, intercooler, intercooler reservoir, slightly different heads and cams, 8.5:1 compression, forged pistons and Manley H-beam rods, an Iron block, Tremec T-56 transmission, 3.55:1 rear gears, and stronger half-shafts. Visually, the 03’s have a different spoiler, front fascia/splitter, hood, side skirts, redesigned 17”x9” wheels, redesigned suede seating, and slightly different interior trim.
How does the Traction Control System work?
The Cobra's Traction Control System is an all-speed traction control system (TCS) that is standard equipment on all the 2003/2004 Ford SVT Mustang Cobras. The system's "Power Start" feature allows the driver to spin the drive wheels under acceleration, as long as the car tracks straight. If the system senses the vehicle slipping sideways, the traction control system will engage. The system also has a driver-selectable on/off switch. When the light is ON, the TC system is off. When the light is OFF, the TC system is on. A bit confusing but that's the way it works.

With the TCS activated, when either of the two rear ABS/traction control sensors detects a wheel spinning at a rate higher than its counterpart, the engine management system retards ignition timing and modulates the fuel-air ratio to reduce power to that wheel. If the spinning continues, engine management cuts off one or more cylinders, and the ABS applies braking to the spinning wheel, transferring power to the other drive wheel.

The sophisticated system can detect the difference between wheel spin due to acceleration from cornering slippage, based on differences in slip rates at the wheels. The TCS engine management strategies work at all speeds, and the system can apply braking to either rear wheel at speeds up to 62 mph.

Most Cobra owners do not like this TCS. From what I understand, the system works better on a normally aspirated system like the 2001 Cobra. But it doesn't work as well with the supercharger on the '03/'04. So many owners get into the habit of turning the TCS off when they start the car.
What are the TSBs (Technical Service Bulletins) issued for the 2003/2004 Cobra?
Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) and Recalls for 2003/2004 Mustang (Cobra is included)

04-24-8 STEERING RACK NOISE - Some 2002-2004 Mustang vehicles may exhibit a squeak or creak type noise while turning.
ACTION: Replace both power steering gear tube brackets. Refer to Workshop Manual Section 211-02 Steering Gear Mounting. Tighten the steering gear mounting fasteners to 52 lb-ft (70 N-m).
17-54-2 DRIVEABILITY - Stall Issue - Referred to as 'Lack of Power on Decel".















Some 2003 Mustang Cobra vehicles with engines built before 11/1/2002 may exhibit an unusual engine tick noise that is present at all temperatures during idle. This noise may be due to valve guide wear in the left bank cylinder head. Guide wear manifests itself as a tick noise which can be heard at the rear of LH head, through LH catalyst, at the LH front wheel well and may not be heard with the hood open.

Use the diagnostic procedures listed in this article to evaluate the vehicle condition and replace the cylinder head if applicable.

The part numbers for the latest Cobra heads (to fix the tick issue) are:
Left side head
Part # 2C5Z-6049-BAB
Right side head
Part # 2C5Z-6049-CAB

* Please note that this issue was NOT confined to 2003 Cobras built before 11/1/2002. It has happened on both 2003 and 2004 Cobras. Even on Mach 1s. Also note that the actual percentage of affected Cobras is very small.


Reports from the field indicate incorrect or low engine oil levels are being found at Pre-Delivery Inspection on new vehicles received in dealer inventory. In most cases, the level is being misinterpreted because the fluid fill mark on the stick is not touching the top hash mark at the upper limit (or MAX mark), or is partway down the crosshatch area.

Ensure the vehicle is sitting on level ground. Set the park brake and ensure the transmission selector lever is in PARK position, or in FIRST gear on manuals. The engine must be OFF.

The best time for determining oil level is before the engine is started and the oil has had sufficient drainback time to the sump. If the engine has been running, allow it to sit for a few minutes turned off. An oil drainback period is required before taking an initial reading.

If the level falls below the lower hole, fill with one quart of oil. If one quart is insufficient to raise the level above the mark, add oil until it records within the crosshatch area. Use caution during this procedure as some time is needed for oil to drain down through the drainback passages in the cylinder head, to the oil pan. Adding oil a quart at a time repeatedly without sufficient drainback may overfill the sump.

Ford is in the process of standardizing the markings across all vehicle lines. Current markings shown will be upgraded to a refined marking, shown in Figure 1. Both markings will be used in production over the next few years. Oil levels will still be recorded in the crosshatched area of the blade, between the upper and lower limit holes. Vehicles shipped with engine oil levels falling within this area are acceptable and do not require topping off. Oil fill quantities are precisely measured at the plants and account for slight variations that may occur in oil pan volumes, indicator length, and pressed-in locations of the indicator tube into the block. For customer use, the markings continue to serve as a guide to refilling the engine to the correct initial fill volume with filter or, to top off the engine when it is determined the level is below the lower hole.

If the oil level falls between the upper and lower hole do not add more oil. Adding an extra quart could cause overfilling and may result in aeration (foaming) causing eventual damage to vital bearing surfaces and moving parts inside. Overfilling will require some oil to be drained out until the indicator shows the level between the upper and lower holes of the blade. DO NOT expect the engine to “consume” the extra oil back down to the upper oil fill level hole, or consider it as extra lubrication protection for the engine.

NOTE: The information in Technical Service Bulletins is intended for use by trained, professional technicians with the knowledge, tools, and equipment to do the job properly and safely. It informs these technicians of conditions that may occur on some vehicles, or provides information that could assist in proper vehicle service. The procedures should not be performed by “do-it-yourselfers”. Do not assume that a condition described affects your car or truck. Contact a Ford, Lincoln, or Mercury dealership to determine whether the Bulletin applies to your vehicle.










04-13-4 TRANSMISSION - Transmission Rattle Noise or Difficult to Shift (Tremac T-56 Transmission) - Some 2003-2004 Mustang Cobra vehicles equipped with the T-56 transmission may a rattle noise or a difficult to shift condition. This is due to a cracked or broken release bearing guide tube.
Action: To service, install a revised transmission adapter cover plate. The revised adapter cover has release bearing guide tube already installed.

Ford Announces Recall of All 2003-2004 Cobras for Carpet Fix/Sticking Gas Pedal (May, 2006)

The NHTSA concluded its investigation into reports that the gas pedal on 2003-2004 Mustang Cobras could become snagged on the carpet trim under the pedal. As a result of the investigation, Ford has issued a recall on all 2003 and 2004 Cobras for a fix. Details of the fix are below.

Make : FORD Model : MUSTANG Year : 2003


NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number : 06V108000 Recall Date : APR 03, 2006


Potential Number Of Units Affected : 19140









Here is a picture of the plate installed. Click to enlarge.

What is heat soak?
Heat soak is when the engine's generation of internal heat exceeds the cooling system capacity to dissipate the heat being generated. The surrounding metal surfaces literally becomes "soaked" in heat which will rob the engine of its ability to generate full power since the air and coolant is literally being heated from the surrounding "heat soaked" metal parts.

In regards to the Terminator, it isn't just so much a matter of high coolant temps causing power loss, but rather the effect it has on the efficiency of the intercooler. It isn't a problem unless you are racing and concerned about an above mentioned power loss after repeat runs. It is worse in hot climates/seasons. It really isn't so much a 'problem' for the average driver, but more of an inconvenience.

When heat soak occurs, it pulls timing based on post-intercooler air temps. That's where some power loss will occur. A larger heat exchanger is a good mod, as is a larger coolant reservoir. Replacement intercoolers aren’t available.

The real issue with heat soak is that the engine's cooling mechanisms are not able to keep up with the heat buildup and therefore everything metal in the engine begins to retain the heat going into them from the blower plenum on down to all the metal ducts, plating, block, heads, etc.
How does the supercharger work?
The following page has a great explanation of the operation of a roots supercharger: http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/t425.html
If this link gives you a “server too busy” message, try this link:
What transmission does the Cobra use?
The 03 Cobra uses a Tremec T-56 6-Speed transmission. While this is fundamentally the same transmission used the the Viper, C5 Corvette, and F-Body (Camaro/Firebird), the torque specifications and gearing for the Cobra may be different than from these other models (our T-56 is rated to 450 Ft/Lbs of torque).
I have a PDF file for the T-56 Service Manual. If contains detailed service information on the T-56 transmission. CLICK HERE.
What are the specifications for the Cobra’s IRS?
Rear Suspension- Multi-link independent system, cast iron upper control arm, aluminum lower control arm, fixed toe-control tie rod, aluminum spindle, gas-charged Bilstein™ monotube shock absorber, 600 lb/in (470 lb/in on convertible) coil spring, 26mm tubular stabilizer bar.
Coupe Shock Part# 2R3Z-18125-AA
Vert Shock Part# 2R3Z-18125-BA
What are the specifications of the Cobra’s suspension components?
Front Suspension- Modified MacPherson strut system with gas-charged Bilstein™ monotube dampeners and separate 600 lb/in (500 lb/in on convertible) spring on lower arm, 29mm tubular stabilizer bar. Coupe Strut Part# 2R3Z-18124-AA Vert Strut Part# 2R3Z-18124-BA Rear Suspension- Multi-link independent system, cast iron upper control arm, aluminum lower control arm, fixed toe-control tie rod, aluminum spindle, gas-charged Bilstein™ monotube shock absorber, 600 lb/in (470 lb/in on convertible) coil spring, 26mm tubular stabilizer bar. Coupe Shock Part# 2R3Z-18125-AA Vert Shock Part# 2R3Z-18125-BA
What are the specifications of the Cobra’s brakes?
Front Brakes- 13.0 in. (330mm) vented Brembo™ disc, PBR™ twin-piston caliper.
Rear Brakes- 11.65 in. (296mm) vented disc, single-piston caliper. ABS- Four-channel, four sensor system.
What fluids should I use in my Cobra?
Engine Oil

Based on Cobra’03’s extensive research on this subject, here are the suggested lubricants:
”Amsoil 0w30 Series 2000, Amsoil 5w30, NEO, Motul Ester 300, and Red Line 5w30 or 5w20 (it's lubricating qualities make it a safer bet than a mineral 5w20 for the Nervous Nancy’s out there). Lesser but still high quality are Mobil 1, Valvoline, Pennzoil synoils. I do not think much of Syntec or Castrol domestically - their Euro-spec oils are very good. In mineral oils, Pennzoil PZL Turbo 10w30 is a great lube, but I believe it is either on the verge of or has been discontinued. If you drive your car on nice days, and never at temps much below 20 degrees F, 10w30 spec oils, esp. synoils, have even greater shear stability than 5w30. If you are at the borderline of sunny day only use, go for the 5w to be on the safe side.”
Note that there is no harm in using synthetic oil in the Cobra, despite what SVT says on the subject. See the following post for more information on this subject: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=14856
Next, no “snake oil” products, such as Slick 50, Prolong, etc., should be used in the Cobra. For information as to why, please see the following post: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=19386
Finally, the following post will be helpful in understanding the additives in engine oil: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=19526 If you're looking for a ton of FAQ information about motor oil, here is an excellent source. Just a mouse click away. BobIsTheOilGuy
Blower Oil
The Eaton M-112 Supercharger on the Cobra has it’s own oil, separate from the engine oil. This oil is used to lubricate the internals in the blower snout. To change the oil, remove the oil from the snout through the fill plug, and then refill with approximately 8-10 ounces of Ford E9SZ-19577-A or GM 1234-5982. Some have used Mobil 10W30 but IMO use a real supercharger oil.

Ford says the factory fill is good for 100,000 miles but changing it at 60,000 miles is better. If you are using a smaller upper pulley to increase boost you are over-spinning the blower and should change the oil more often. I would recommend 30,000 miles max.
Transmission Lubricant
Tremac recommends the following lubricants for their transmissions, including the T-56.
TR-3550/TKO - GM Synchromesh or Dexron III
TR-3650/T-45/T-5 - Dexron III
T-56 (Ford and GM) - Dexron III
T-56 (Viper only) - Castrol Syntorque

The following transmission fluids are widely used as well.
Red Line D4 ATF; Red Line MTL
Valvoline Durablend ATF
Amsoil ATF
Mobil 1 ATF
GM Synchromesh or Quaker State Synchromesh
Stock Ford Fluid

Many Terminator owners recommend changing the transmission fluid once a year. Others do it every 24,000 or 30,000 miles. Or follow Ford's recommended maintenance found in your Owners Manual.

Transmission Draining and Filling
DEXRON III® (ATF) Transmission Fluid


  1. Remove the drain plug and drain the transmission.
    • Position a suitable drain pan under the transmission.

  1. Clean and install the drain plug.
  1. NOTE: Before removing, clean the area around the filler plug.

  1. Remove the filler plug.

  1. Using a suitable oil suction gun, fill the transmission to the correct level with the specified fluid.
    • Transmission capacity is 3.9 liters (4.1 quarts).

  1. Install the filler plug.
Primary Coolant
Early 2003 Cobras came with green color ethylene glycol coolant. Second run 2003 Cobras and all 2004 Cobras came with the gold color ethylene glycol coolant. The gold colored coolant is Motorcraft Premium Gold Engine Coolant. It is recommended that you use the gold Ford Premium coolant.


VC-7-A Motorcraft Premium Gold Engine Coolant - For Use In U.S. (Except For California and Oregon) - (6) U.S. 1 Gallon Containers

VC-7-B Motorcraft Premium Gold Engine Coolant with Bittering Agent - For Use Only In California and Oregon - (6) U.S. 1 Gallon Containers
The bittering agent renders the coolant or antifreeze unpalatable.

A new, extended-life engine coolant, yellow-colored Motorcraft Premium Gold Engine Coolant, meeting Ford Specification WSS-M97B51-A1, service part numbers VC-7-A and VC-7-C (for use in the U.S., except California and Oregon) and VC-7-B (for use only in California and Oregon as it contains a bittering agent), has been equipped in all of the vehicles noted above. The initial-fill life for this coolant is 100,000 miles/5 years. Due to variations in water quality, the replacement interval is 50,000 miles/3 years.

Some claim that you can mix the Green coolant which came with initial run 2003 Cobras with the Gold coolant used on 2nd run 2003 and all 2004 Cobras because they are both ethylene glycol type. However, Ford specifically states that you should not mix the two, so do so at your own risk. If you are flushing and refilling your cooling system go with the Motorcraft Premium Gold Engine Coolant noted above. Here is some info direct from Ford/Motorcraft. Specifically they state the following. Do not use this product in systems originally equipped with any green-colored, conventional engine coolant such as Motorcraft® Premium Engine Coolant, meeting Ford Specification ESE-M97B44-A (see usage chart for exceptions), or with any orange-colored, extended-life engine coolant such as Motorcraft® Specialty Orange Engine Coolant, meeting Ford Specification WSS-M97B44-D. CLICK HERE if you'd like to read the entire page.

Please note that Motorcraft Premium Gold Engine Coolant (ethylene glycol type) is not compatible with any orange-colored, extended-life engine coolants (propylene glycol type) such as Motorcraft Specialty Orange Engine Coolant, service part numbers VC-2 and VC-3. DO NOT MIX COOLANT TYPES. USE ONLY THE TYPE OF COOLANT WITH WHICH THE VEHICLE WAS EQUIPPED. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in degradation of corrosion protection and potential engine damage.

You can find more info on this subject here: SVTPerformance.com Discussion
Intercooler Coolant
The intercooler takes the same type of coolant as the engine. Refer to the notes above under Primary Coolant as they apply to the intercooler coolant.
Brake Fluid
Currently, it seems that the stock brake fluid (listed in the owner’s manual) is sufficient for most needs.
Where are the jacking points for jacking up the car?
It is very important to jack up the car using the correct jacking points to avoid damaging the undercarriage. Here are the proper jacking points.

Steeda sells a neat set of jacking rails which give a more solid lifting point. Click thumbnails to enlarge.

You can also install a good quality set of full-length (NOT mid-length) side rails. If you choose to go with the side rails be sure to put the jack squarely under the rail to avoid damaging the undercarriage.

Will “bouncing” off of the limiter hurt the engine?
The rev limiter in the 2003 Cobra is a fuel-cutoff system. I think the obvious answer is that it can’t be good for the engine. However, I have yet to see any evidence that hitting the limiter on occasion does any serious damage.
How do I change the fuel filter?
Thanks to Airmanb2b on SVTPerformance.com for these instructions and photos. Click thumbnails to enlarge.

Time: 1 hour with a break after removal

Supplies and Tools:
5/16 Fuel Line Removal Tool - Different brands are available. Check this one: http://www.tooltopia.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=6448
Flathead Screwdriver
Fuel Filter of your choice

1. Disconnect Negative battery terminal

2. Find the fitting on the passenger side fuel rail.

3. Remove the black cap and depress pin with a phillips screw drive. You may want to cover with a rag. Depending on how long the car has been sitting will effect the amount of pressure in the fuel rail.

3. Jack up the rear of the car and place on jack-stands.

4. Slide underneath the car and find the filter. Best way to describe is between the gas tank and IRS.

5. You will see 2 metal clips. One on each side of the filter. Pull those off.

6. Clip your 5/16 tool of the lines on the fuel filter. Once it is on hard fuel filter line, pull it into the main fuel line until you hear a click.

7. Pull the tool into the main fuel line. You may need to push the filter with your knuckle for leverage. May need to work the tool up and down. Be patient, the line will come off. Note that the fuel line ends are spring loaded. The tool pushes the spring over the flare.

8. Do the same on the other side.

9. Once both lines are off, unscrew the clamp and slide it off the filter on the dirvers side.

10. Once the clamp is off, pull the filter up to remove from bracket.

11. Place the new filter in the bracket. Be sure the FLOW arrow on the filter is pointing to the drivers side of the car.

12. Slide the metal clamp on the filter and bracket and tighten down.

13. Install fuel line onto the filter until you hear a click. lines will be seated on the filter then.

14. Install metal clips back onto line and filter.

15. Remove car from stands.

16. Before actually starting the car. Turn the Key to run and off a couple of times, listening for the pump to charge the line. The first time, the pump is going to sound a little louder than normal. It should sound normal by the third time.

17. Start car and let run. If you have a leak, you will know immediately.

18. Do a blow test on the filter and see how much crap was in the filter.

How do I adjust my clutch?
With the car OFF, put it in first gear. Reach down and with your hands, pull UP on the clutch pedal. You may or may not hear a click. With your foot press the clutch down to the floor. This works much like an auto brake cable adjuster.

What is the FRPS and where is it located?

The FRPS is the Fuel Rail Pressure Sensor. It reports the pressure inside the fuel rail to the PCM. The PCM responds to inputs from the fuel pressure sensor and other sensors, then adjusts the fuel pressure by changing a pulse width modulated voltage supply to the fuel pump. The fuel pump either speeds up or slows down, based on what the PCM believes the engine's fuel needs happen to be at any given time. In this way, fuel pressure across the injectors is maintained at the correct pressure. When the FRPS starts to fail (not uncommon) the result can be stalling and rough idling. Here is a photo showing its location.

Some new Cobra owners make the mistake of immediately buying mods without considering their needs and goals. Some of it comes from the excitement of knowing that for a nominal sum of money you can just about instantly make this car a 450rwhp beast. But my advise is don't do a thing until you establish your goals. You first need to answer some basic questions.

1. How will you be using your Cobra?
a. Street only?
b. Street & occasional drag racing?
c. Any road racing?

2. What power level are you shooting for?
a. A bit more than stock?
b. 450rwhp or so?
c. 500rwhp or so?
d. More than 500rwhp?

3. Do you want a very conservative and safe setup?

4. What is your budget?

5. What is your timeline for your mods?

IMO these are all very important questions any new Cobra owner has to answer before throwing their money down on mods. With so many options and offerings, it is too easy to waste money and time on a package that is less than perfect. A great source for information is SVTPerformance forum. You can spend some time browsing there and using the great Search function to gather info. There is so much info, though, that you might get overwhelmed. So I would also recommend that you talk to a few folks there who can help you do it right. There are also a number of great vendors who can give you great advice, including, Horsepower By Hermann, Amazon Tuning, etc.
Take care time and do it right and you'll have a lot more fun and fewer headaches.
What are the common “bolt-on” mods?
The most common bolt-ons are CAI, Exhaust, Pulley, Ported Blower, Headers, Wheels, and Drag radials. These mods are typically enough to get the Cobra to around 445-475 RWHP and 475-500 RWTQ, and should be capable of propelling a good driver to low 11’s. Other more radical mods include twin-screw blowers (Whipple and Kenne Bell) and twin-turbos. Porting the Eaton is very popular as well, and can net you over 50rwhp. Stiegemeier Porting is the most popular porting shop.
What does a Cobra with “XYZ” mods dyno at?
This is a difficult question. Every car is slightly different, and will respond differently to modifications. Your best advice is to get your car chassis dynoed after each modification. A chassis dyno session should run you around $100 for three pulls. To find a dyno in your area, visit:
Do mods void the warranty?
This is also a difficult question. The short answer is “maybe”. The sure-fire warranty busters seem to be chip and pulley mods, but that is debatable. According to the law, the manufacturer has to prove that the modification caused the damage in order to deny the warranty. The following website details the law in this regard:
While this sounds good in theory, the truth is that you will most likely have to take the matter to court in order to get the law upheld. In general, it is usually better to call around to several dealerships before you modify your car and find one that is “mod friendly”. Since warranty repair determination is usually left up to the individual dealer, having a good relationship with your service writer is somewhat vital. However, if you do have warranty troubles for damage that was not caused by the mod, and the dealer refuses to work on the vehicle, you can attempt to fight the decision (you can also try another dealer, but sometimes the dealer enters the denied repair into the system for all other dealers to see). Fighting a denied claim may involve getting the regional Ford warranty rep involved, and/or getting a good attorney involved.
Is a custom tune needed with a pulley swap?
Usually, yes. For an upper pulley swap, with a pulley smaller than 3.2” you should at the very least get a dyno pull with a wideband A/F check. In general, you want the A/F ratio to be below 12.0 (12 parts air to 1 part fuel). Rule of thumb is that any time you install a motor mod, get your A/F checked.
What is the difference between upper and lower blower pulleys?
The upper blower pulley attaches to the blower snout and is pressed on and must be pulled off. To swap this pulley, a specialized “pulley puller” tool is usually recommended. The stock upper pulley is 3.65”. For more boost, you reduce the size of the pulley. Smaller pulleys, however, also have less belt wrap, making belt slippage a strong possibility. So adding auxiliary idlers is highly recommended. Lower pulleys, on the other hand, are bolted on. Lower pulleys are the opposite of upper pulleys, and bigger pulleys provide more boost. Lower pulleys typically do not suffer from belt slip as badly either. On the other hand, the lower pulley kit consists of several pieces of supporting hardware, and can be more difficult to install. The stock lower pulley is 7 5/8”.
How much boost will a Cobra make with “XYZ” pulley?
Upper Pulleys
NOTE: Estimated Peak Boost is just that...an estimate. Boost will vary from car to car depending on your mods. It is important to remember that a Terminator making 450rwhp with 12 lbs. of boost is more efficient that another Terminator making the same power with 14 lbs. of boost.

Also, please use the information ONLY for general comparisons. The chart does not take into account the varying combinations of intake and exhaust and weather conditions. To really be accurate , every combination listed would have to be with the exact same intake/exhaust mods, on the same car on the same day. So it is only a guide.
Combination Lower
Pulley Size
in Inches Upper
Pulley Size
in Inches RPM (%
over stock) Est. Boost
(psi) Blower
6500rpm Stock7.603.650.00%8.613,534 2 lb.8.003.655.26%10.714,2473.407.603.407.35%11.014,5292 lb./3.408.003.4013.00%12.015,2944 lb.8.603.6513.16%12.015,3153.207.603.2014.06%12.115,4383.107.603.1017.74%12.615,9356 lb.9.103.6519.74%12.916,2052 lb./,2504 lb./3.408.603.4021.48%13.216,4412 lb./,7742.937.602.9324.57%13.516,8608 lb.9.553.6525.66%13.717,0076 lb./3.409.103.4028.54%14.017,3974 lb./3.208.603.2029.07%14.117,4692.807.602.8030.36%14.217,6432 lb./2.938.002.9331.13%14.317,74710 lb.10.003.6531.50%14.417,7942.767.602.7632.25%14.417,8994 lb./3.108.603.1033.23%14.518,0328 lb./3.409.553.4034.90%14.718,2576 lb./,4842 lb./2.808.002.8037.22%15.018,5712 lb./2.768.002.7639.21%15.218,8414 lb./2.938.602.9340.96%15.319,0786 lb./,0818 lb./3.209.553.2043.33%15.619,3984 lb./2.808.602.8047.51%16.019,9648 lb./3.109.553.1047.95%16.020,0246 lb./2.939.102.9349.16%16.120,1884 lb./2.768.602.7649.65%16.220,2546 lb./2.809.102.8056.09%16.721,1258 lb./2.939.552.9356.54%16.721,1866 lb./2.769.102.7658.35%16.921,4318 lb./2.809.552.8063.80%17.322,1708 lb./2.769.552.7666.18%17.522,491
Special note concerning idlers. It is not uncommon for those who install a smaller upper pulley to stick with one or more of the stock idlers. It is important to point out that increased blower boost (and subsequent belt rpm) from smaller upper pulleys will add more tensional torque that the stock idlers are designed to handle. Therefore it is important to swap out all of the stock idlers with quality aftermarket idlers. There have been many reports from owners who have had stock idlers come apart or seize up, resulting in broken blower belts and loss of blower function.
Lower Pulleys

Approximate Max Boost 2 Lb.: 10.7 lbs.
4 Lb.: 12 lbs.
6 Lb.: 12.9 lbs.
8 Lb.: 13.7 lbs.
10 Lb.: 14.4 lbs.
What size belt should I use with a pulley mod?
Stock (3.65”): Goodyear Gatorback Belt 4080750 - 75”
3.4”: Goodyear Gatorback Belt 4080750 - 75”
3.2”: Goodyear Gatorback Belt 4080745 - 74.5”
2.93”: Goodyear Gatorback Belt 4080740 - 74”
2.8”: Goodyear Gatorback Belt 4080735 - 73.5"
Lower 2#: 77”
Lower 4#: 78”
Lower 6#: 79”
NOTE: Some have reported less slippage with .5” smaller belts.
For custom lower and upper pulleys, consult your tuner for proper belt size. Gates makes belts in the equivalent sizes above, except for the 73.5" belt. It has been discontinued. If using a Gates belt consider going with their K080733.
What is the difference between dyno tuning and road tuning?
Dyno tuning approximates driving on the road by placing a load (provided by the dyno rollers) on the vehicle. In general, this load is somewhere around 3000 Lbs., so it does not accurately simulate the actual load (street weight of a Cobra coupe is around 3900 Lbs with driver). In addition, rolling friction is not accurately simulated (the front tires are not rolling), and aerodynamic drag is not taken into account. In general, you will run a bit leaner (A/F ratio) on the road than on the dyno. However, road tuning is not employed by all tuners, and may cost more than dyno tuning.
Hermann, owner of HorsePowerByHermann and an excellent tuner, said it best. "The best way to get the tune nailed is to drive and log it the way you use it....on the road. The dyno will NEVER accurately duplicate those conditions found while actually driving the car. The difference is HUGE. Never have I seen a car that was dyno tuned only (and not road tuned) log well on the street. They are always off in one way or another. The dyno is a great tool to compare parts with and to see gains and losses while comparing (mods). It is also useful to getting a calibration done quicker. It seems that this has been lost with the majority of tuners deciding to just set a car up on a dyno and not drive it after to assure perfection. That just isn't the way I have done it, or will do it, in the future!"
Are “mail order” tunes safe?
The general consensus is that a dyno or road tune is much better. However, if you do purchase a mail-order tune, you are advised to: A) Purchase from a tuner who has a great reputation for 2003-2004 Cobras, B) Ensure the tuner does the tune for your specific mods and for the fuel you'll be using, and C) Dyno the car as soon as possible after the tune is installed to ensure correct A/F ratios.
What spark plugs came from the factory, and what are best with a pulley mod? And what is the best way to gap Iridium plugs?
Their were three plugs that came from the factory for the '03/'04 Cobra. They were the AGSF12FM1, AGSF22FM1 & AGSF32FM1. The '12s' would be first run. The '22s' would be the mid run. And the '32s' would be the latter run. I believe that 2004s got the '32s'. The first run AGSF12FM1 Motorcraft plugs are one heat range colder than the latter two. NGK TR6 plugs are hotter than the 12FM1’s, however, these plugs as well as the NGK TR6 IX and Denso Iridium plugs seem to work well for chipped cars with a pulley. The NGK TR6 and TR6ix/TR7ix (Iridium) plugs are very popular.

Note that a spark plug's heat range has nothing to do with how hot the plug burns. The heat range refers to the plug's ability to transfer heat out of the combustion chamber. A TR6 is a hotter plug than a TR7. Here is a link to a very good article which explains it pretty well. http://www.ngksparkplugs.com/techinf...000&country=US
According to NGK, the TR7ix's are iridium and the BR7ef's are copper and also they are a non projected plug. Which means they do not protrude into the combustion chamber and they also come factory with a tighter gap. So they have less chance of actually overheating and less chance of spark blowout because it's non projected which is good for a high boost app. He also said they are a good plug for Nitrous applications. The TR7ix's are actually a projected plug and the tip goes into the combustion chamber. The BR7ef's are one range cooler than the Tr6's also.
Several large discussions have been started on this subject recently, however, and you can draw your own conclusions from the info provided in the following links:
Notes about gapping. When running high boost it has recently been noted that .032 is good for for up to 15psi. boost, and .028 for over 15psi. boost. Here's the SVTP thread for additional information. http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?t=518356
If you are using Iridium plugs (Denso or NGK), here is the recommended way to adjust the electrode gap.

1. To widen the gap, take a pair of needle nose pliers and gently PULL the ground electrode outwards. Just a little bit at a time. Then check the gap being careful to not touch the center electrode. By PULLING on the ground electrode vs. pushing it out, you have no chance to contact the center electrode as you would with the cheap flat tool (that PUSHES the electrode out). You want to PULL the ground electrode outwards, vs. PUSHING it outwards.

2. To lessen the gap gently tap the ground electrode against a hard surface. Then very carefully check the gap. Again, DO NOT touch the center electrode.

Here's a link direct from the Denso website as far as how to gap iridium plugs. Same procedure applies to NGK's.

Q. How do I gap Iridium plugs
A. Before attempting to gap any DENSO Iridium Power spark plug, please review the specification chart to see the factory-preset gap. In most cases your Iridium Power plugs do not need to be gapped. Even with small variations in the factory set gap the ultra-efficient firing power design will compensate for those small variations. Should you decide to re-gap your Iridium Power plug, use extreme caution as improper gapping may damage or destroy the Iridium center electrode or porcelain center. To increase the gap size:

Step 1 - Use needle nose pliers or spark plug gapping tool to bend the ground strap up to the desired height. DO NOT LET THE PLIERS OR GAPPING TOOL TOUCH THE IRIDIUM CENTER ELECTRODE OR PORCELAIN. Step 2 Re-check the gap with a calibrated gapping tool. To decrease the gap size: Step 1 Use the same method as above, however bend the ground strap down to the desired height. DO NOT LET THE PLIERS OR GAPPING TOOL TOUCH THE IRIDIUM CENTER ELECTRODE OR PORCELAIN.

Step 2 - Re-check the gap with a calibrated gapping tool. WARNING: Failure to follow these directions may permanently damage the spark plug. Note: Never use a round gapping tool to check the gap or to increase or decrease the gap setting.

Here's a more detailed link for gapping Iridium plugs. Also from Denso's site.
Here is another very good link to info on how to re-gap iridium plugs. I highly recommend reading it. It also has other very good information concerning spark plugs. http://www.spark-plugs.co.uk/pages/technical/spark_plugs_faq.htm#how_to_regap
Another good Denso link explaining the merits of iridium plugs. http://www.densoiridium.com/faq.php
What exhausts are available for the 2003 Cobra?
Cat-back systems
Dynomax has a 3” cat-back system, part # 19314, and is available from many sources, such as Jegs (www.jegs.com) and Summit (www.summitracing.com)
Sound bites of the Dynomax can be heard here: http://www.getleaner.com/don/cobra.htm
Quarter Mile Performance (QMP)
Quarter Mile Performance (QMP) has a 3” full exhaust system. You can get it here: http://www.ls1motorsports.com/CobraPage.htm
More info on this exhaust is available here: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=22566
Finally, sound bites are available here (thanks to Toofast4U): http://www.mailliard.com/toofast4u-exhaust-021031.wav
Bassani has a 2.5” cat-back system, part # 4603C5S. This can be purchased from various exhaust shops. Sound clips, thanks to Postban, are available here: http://www.imagestation.com/album/?id=4291458289
Magnaflow’s 2.5” cat-back system is part # 15644. Again, this part is widely available. Sound clips, thanks to KingCobra, are available here: http://www.magnaflow.com/11sound/11mustang01.htm
Flowmaster also has a 2.5” exhaust for the Cobra.

QMP is the only vendor offering a 3” X-pipe at present, to my knowledge. You may contact them here: http://www.ls1motorsports.com/CobraPage.htm
Bassani’s X-pipe is available with or without high-flow cats. The part #’s are 46033 (with Cats) and 46032 (without Cats)
Magnaflow X-pipes are available with and without cats. The part #’s are 15445 (without Cats) and 93335 (with Cats).
Long Tube
BBK Longtubes are ceramic coated, and come fully assembled. The primaries are 1 5/8” x 30”. They are not CARB legal. The reason not and the shorty ones are is because anything that removes the stock h-pipe with cats is illegal. If you wanted to go with an x-pipe you would have to replace the cats on that pipe with the stock cats. This means that even just changing out your h pipe to an x pipe is illegal.
Hooker Longtubes are fully assembled, and can be purchased with or without ceramic coating. The primaries are 1 5/8” x 30”. Hooker longtubes also include 3” collectors.
Kooks headers are the most popular for the 2003-2004 Cobra. They come unassembled. Get more information HERE.
Installing Longtubes
Note that the installation procedure for all longtubes is quite difficult, and may cost considerably more than the headers themselves. In addition, the longtubes may have to be loosened or removed entirely to change the clutch. Finally, longtubes require a special shortened H or X-pipe. For more information, see this thread: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=14971
Bassani “Mid Length”
Bassani has mid-length headers for the 03 Cobra. They are easier to install because their X-pipe bolts right up to the headers without any cutting or welding.
These short headers have a duplex nickel/chrome finish, and 1 5/8” primaries. They are CARB approved.
Should I get a “catted” X pipe?
It depends. If you want to remain street legal (especially if emissions testing is performed in your area), then yes, you most likely do want cats. However, if you are looking for the most performance, cat-less designs will provide less backpressure. They will also provide a louder exhaust tone. If you choose to go cat-less, you will need MIL (Multi Indicator Light) eliminators to keep the check engine light off. Note that some X-pipes (such as the QMP X-pipe), include a replaceable section to allow for cats or cat-less fitment.
Do you lose torque with a 3” exhaust?
On the Cobra, it seems that you do not, as the roots supercharger makes tons of low-end torque. Note that the old rumor that backpressure is needed for low-end torque is a bit of a misnomer. Based on my understanding of the physics behind the process, what actually occurs is that backpressure allows for more scavenging of exhaust gasses at low RPMs, due to a more exhaust powerful pressure wave. This can provide a slight increase in torque at low RPMs. However, at high RPMs, the increased backpressure reduces the torque and horsepower by a larger amount. Since, in drag racing, most of the run is completed at high (4000+) RPMs, this effect is actually more negative than positive.
What CAI is best?
5.0 Magazine published an article by Dr. Jamie Meyer on this very subject. You can get the full article in the May 2003 issue of 5.0. Excerpts of the article are here: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=32328&highlight=cai
What are the “free” mods?
Hood Mod
This mod is also known as “Postban’s Hood mod” after the individual who pioneered it. It involves either A) Removing the hood blanket entirely and cutting/bending the flaps to allow more airflow or B) cutting larger holes in the blanket, sealing the edges, and removing/bending the flaps to allow for more airflow. For detailed instructions, visit Postban’s site: http://www.imagestation.com/album/?id=4291686253
Snorkel Mod
The “Snorkel” mod involves removing the stock air silencer from the factory air box. Dyno gains with this mod, if any, are elusive and variable. Some have reported gains of up to 10 HP, while some have actually reported a loss of HP. Regardless, it does seem to make the blower whine a bit more noticeable, which is enough for some. The mod is quick and easy, and involves simply removing the air box, pulling the silencer off, and reinserting the air box. Directions (from Postban) can be found here: http://www.imagestation.com/album/?id=4291644831
What is the difference between a CAI and a RAI?
A CAI (Cold Air Intake) normally places the air filter in the fender-well area and draws colder air from the outside. A RAI (Ram Air Intake) places the air filter in the engine compartment.
How do I install my new K&N FIPK Generation II kit?
CLICK HERE to open a K&N PDF file with excellent installation instructions. You will need Adobe Reader (free) to open it.

FYI, the Gen 1 FIPK was not CARB approved. The Gen 2 is. There are no real visible differences between the Gen 1 and Gen 2 kits.
Shifter Mods
With there being so many aftermarket billet shifters available, individual mods usually are not necessary. MGW, for example, makes an adjustable shifter handle.
Bending the handle
The first of these was pioneered by CWCobra, and involves bending the stock shifter handle. You can find directions here: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=20209&highlight=shifter+mod
The second shifter position mod, involves fabricating a steel plate to extend the reach of the shifter. Unfortunately, it seems the post was deleted, so instructions are not available. If you have them, please let me know.
Bushing Removal
The third mod involves removing the stock rubber bushings to provide a more direct, positive feel. Note that this mod may also increase noise from the shifter. This mod was developed by Tetge, and may be found here: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=19302&highlight=remove+rubber+shifter+mod
Quieting Shifter Noise
Well actually this is gear noise that is transmitted through the stock and aftermarket billet shifters. Early on a few folks added a piece silicone rubber material between the 2-piece shifter handle. A better solution is to use my shifter gasket set which includes both two shifter handle gaskets and a shifter base gasket. While not free, it is close to it at only $6.00 a set. Sets for other Mustangs are available as well.
Weight Reduction
To reduce the amount of weight on the Cobra, the following items may be removed. Thanks to Dwight (IronTerp) on SVTPerformance:

Spare tire...................................-26.4 lbs
Jack/crow bar..............................-6.6 lbs
Trunk pad...................................-6.0 lbs!
Mott bar (under diff).....................-7.8 lbs
Front sway bar/brackets................-12.4 lbs
Rear seat bottom.........................-11.0 lbs
Rear seat back.............................-25.6 lbs
Rear seat head rest.......................-5.6 lbs
High flow catted midpipe................-22.6 lbs! (stocker=36.0, High flow=13.4)
Odyssey battery/bracket................-22.2 lbs (stocker=37.6, Odyssey=15.4)
Front 3.5" ProStars w/ ET Fronts......-49.6 lbs (stock chrome w/ F1's=49.8, Skinnies/spacers=25.0 each)
Rear Diamond R 16" w/ ET Streets...-10.8 lbs (stock chrome w/ F1's=49.8, Diamond Racing Wheels/ET Streets=44.4 each)
UPR K member kit.........................-65.0 lbs
Front Passenger Seat.....................-43.0 lbs

Total Reduction....................... - 314.6 lbs.

To further reduce the amount of weight on the Cobra, the following items may be removed:

Rear seatbelts: 5 lbs
Supercharger pulley guard: 2.0lbs
Mach460 head unit: 5 lbs
Mach460 rear enclosure w/amps: 22 lbs
Mach460 front speakers: 5 lbs
Front driver seat: 62 lbs (replace with lightweight seat)
Front passenger seat: 43 lbs (replace with lightweight seat or just delete)
Lighter wheels: (maybe 25 lbs. for the street and 70 lbs. for the track)

You can pick and choose which weight reduction options best suit you. In most cases you will want to find a good balance between weight reduction and daily comfort. All but the dedicated weekend warriors would likely prefer to only remove what can be removed without detracting from the daily creature comforts like radio, A/C, full sound deadening, and pretty much everything that makes your car nice for the street.

As far as the rear suspension, there is much discussion about sprung* and unsprung* weight but the bottom line is that going to a solid rear will save another approximate 175 lbs.

* Here is some additional information concerning sprung and unsprung weight. The unsprung weight (or mass) has to do with the overall design/function of the suspension, and the materials used in the construction of suspension components. Solid rear suspensions, in which wheels on opposite sides are connected as a rigid unit, generally have greater unsprung weight than independent suspension systems, in which the wheels are suspended and allowed to move separately. Unsprung weight is brought up because how the two types of suspensions function (unsprung vs. sprung weight/mass) is as important as a weight savings. There are obviously tradeoffs with a solid rear that might negate the physical weight savings. And there are tradeoffs with the IRS if you're drag racing (wheel hop/weight transfer issues). Simply/generally stated (I am not anywhere near an expert in this area), sprung weight is everything from the springs up, and unsprung weight is everything from the springs down. Reducing unsprung weight is a key to increasing the car's performance, although the application factors in. Ie. drag racing vs. road racing. The greater the unsprung weight, the greater the inertia of the suspension, which will be unable to respond as quickly to rapid changes in the road surface, making an IRS setup more preferred for daily driving (driving on uneven road surfaces) or road racing. Here are a couple of interesting reads relative to sprung and insprung weight/mass.

Almo's 2003 Cobra (from SVTPerformance.com) is at around 3075 pounds with a 1/4 tank of gas. Here is some info he provided.
"I recently weighed my car without the delete kit and passenger side seat and it weighed in at 3050 pounds. So it is safe to say.. the passenger seat and bracket with the delete kit weighs around 25. So again, car is most likely sitting at 3075 pounds. Keep in mind this is with a steal 8 pt roll bar in the car as well. Before the roll bar it weighed in at 2990... something like that.

By the way, besides the rear amp/rack/speakers being out, everything else is still in my cab and works perfect... heater, AC, and all. I have been daily driving the car for the last week and could do so anytime when it isn't raining hard or snowing. I have also set the car up so that I can take it right off the street and run it at the track... usually just take the passenger side seat out, this is the only difference from me driving it on the street and running it at the track. Oh and I forgot to mention before... I quickly take the windshield wipers off at the track, too."

Quick list of weight reduction:
* Door bars cut out
* Aluminum front/rear bumper supports
* All sound deadening scrapped up throughout the car
* Rubber rear wheel stops removed
* Windshield wipers removed (take these off at the track)
* Catback dumps installed (saves weight, no tailpipes)
* No sway bars (lightest anti-roll bar is a Steeda one which is on my car, 12 pounds)
* UPR K and arms
* Live axle
* Aluminum upper/lower control arms
* GT rotors and brakes all the way around (3050 pounds were with the front Cobra brakes, so car might weigh a little less than stated above due to the GT brakes and
rotors on the car now)
* Big and little’s on the car
* Smaller battery
* Rear amp/rack/speakers removed
* HO Fibertrend hood

As of 9/24/07, Almo's '03 Cobra makes 440rwhp and 419rwtq (SAE) at stock boost. It is currently the quickest and fastest stock upper/stock lower pulley, non-ported, and non-sprayed 03/04 Cobra in the Country! His record time slip is 10.887 @ 118.29. That is one heck of a car with those mods.
Boost Gauge Mod
In order to increase the amount of boost the stock boost gauge will show, the needle must be carefully removed and the small tab on it must be filed down or cut off. This mod was developed by Larryc7777. Instructions for this mod are here: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=22772&highlight=boost
Thanks to BBriBro for the link.
However, bear in mind that if you are making more than 10 lbs. of boost you the above modification won't do you much good. You then need to either install an aftermarket boost gauge that reads 15-30 lbs. max (depending on your needs), or order the Ray Hilton boost gauge overlay. Visit Ray Hilton's website for more information. IMO it is a worthwhile and inexpensive mod.
Removing the “Pony” on the grill
To remove the emblem on the grill, you will need a T-25 tamper-proof torx bit. Simply remove the screws, and lift up until the tab comes loose.
Boost Bypass Mod
Many people ask what the bypass valve does. It is integrated in the supercharging system, and when low engine power is required, the bypass valve allows air to enter the engine without passing through the supercharger. Here's how it works:

Under normal engine operating condition vacuum is supplied to the bypass valve. The valve opens, diverting excess airflow back into the air plenum. This prevents

the supercharger from “cavitating.” Cavitating causes reduced performance, increased temperature, and poor fuel economy.
At high engine demands, vacuum is removed from the bypass valve causing it to close. This directs all airflow from the supercharger to the intake manifold.

The supercharger boost (SCB) solenoid is used to control intake manifold vacuum to the vacuum bypass actuator. The PCM transmits an output signal to the SCB

solenoid, which activates the solenoid to bypass vacuum when the engine is under maximum boost, reducing the boost pressure by up to 3 PSI.

The purpose of a "Boost Bypass Modification" is to supply continuous boost from your supercharger when the engine is under maximum boost limits. It disables the “abuse” valve in the blower which will bleed boost between shifts if an over boost condition is detected. This mod will NOT provide an increase in performance with the stock pulley.

With the boost bypass modification, you can keep your boost at the maximum level when under WOT (Wide Open Throttle) usage. The term “boost bypass” is a bit misleading. It should really be called a WOT Bypass Mod. This modification does not effect normal engine operation and is designed for modifying boost bypass at WOT only.

There are three common (but not recommended) ways to perform this mod. And one recommended way.

The only way I (and many others) recommend you do the boost bypass is in your tune. Your tuner can assist you. JB on SVTPerformance.com stated the reason very clearly. "Turning it off in the tune in the proper way to do it because it only eliminates the torque management aspects. Mechanically bypassing by disconnecting wiring or re-routing vacuum is NOT the right way because you are eliminating the PCM's ability to pull boost in case of high heat, sensor failures, etc. This is a FAIL-SAFE feature and is something that is foolish to ignore."

Not Recommended
1. Buy a boost bypass kit (Ie. from Steeda). This is a popular method due to claims that it "adds more power". The amount of increased power varies, depending on the amount of boost that is being bled under WOT. Unfortunately vendors who market these bypass kits do not explain the negative side of it.
2. Buy a few parts and install the mod yourself for about $3. Full directions are here, thanks to 03SoCalCobra: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=20846&highlight=boost+bypass+mod
3. Disconnect the wire to the boost dump solenoid, but this may cause your check engine light to come on.
Fan Mod
This mod enables you to use a toggle switch to cut the high-speed fan on at will in order to aid cooling. Full directions for this mod, thanks to Scott 96 and Purple Haze from the Corral: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=15094&highlight=fan+mod
Is there an aftermarket aluminum radiator available?
Yes, aluminum higher capacity radiators are available from both Lightning Force Performance and Lethal Performance (Fluidyne and Steeda).
What size wheels and tires will fit in the rear without rubbing/scraping?
In general, it appears that up to 11” wide wheels (which will support a 315/35 tire without problems) will fit the rear, as long as the offset is modified. The primary area of concern is an IRS bolt that is only about 1.5” from the stock wheel/tire. Any custom wheel will need to keep this clearance. Some shave the IRS bolt for clearance. In addition, without suspension modifications, adding wider wheels may not improve grip. However, most have had good results from 315/35 Nitto tires on the stock rim. They appear to fit without issue, and provide a large improvement in traction. Be aware, however, that the Nitto tires appear to be unique in this aspect. Other brands do not appear to fit properly at the 315 size on the stock rim.
How do I get rid of wheel hop?
There are several options for reducing wheel hop. Amazon Tuning Solutions and Billetflow have an IRS kit for the Cobra designed to specifically reduce wheel hop. In addition, some improvement can be made by stiffening the suspension and frame. This can be accomplished using sub-frame connectors (full-length, weld on are best, as there is no “bolt walk”) and improved IRS bushings. Steeda products for both of these are available here: http://www.steeda.com/
Is anyone using nitrous with a 2003/2004 Cobra?
Yes, quite a number of 2003/2004 Cobra owners are running nitrous setups very successfully.
Can the T-56 be replaced with an automatic?
Yes. A number of people have swapped for a 4r70w automatic. It is actually a good swap, especially for racing. Horsepower By Hermann has done all of the swaps that I am aware of. Give Hermann a call at 813-241-2783 for more information.
Here is an excellent link on SVTPerformance.com that explains what is required for the conversion. How To Install An Automatic In A Terminator.
Can a live axle be installed in a 2003 Cobra? And is a live axle better for racing?
Yes, this has been done as well. The swap doesn’t seem to be extremely difficult, but the only swaps I am aware of were performed by professional mechanics. The advantage of a solid axle is better launches due to no hop. And we all should know by now that wheel hop can very quickly snap the stock 10-spline input shaft, especially with a heavy duty clutch. It is recommended that if you've modified the motor with higher boost and you're using a HD clutch, replace the stock 10-spline input shaft with a 26-spline shaft. A trade-off is to going to a solid rear setup is that you lose the ability of the IRS to react more predictably on uneven surfaces. Contrary to popular belief, an IRS doesn’t necessarily provide more grip, it is simply easier to drive in most cases over difficult surfaces.

Many ask if a live axle setup is better for drag racing. Although many racers prefer a live axle setup, a properly built IRS system can work very well. Some want a simple but strong rear setup and choose the live rear option at the expense of slightly compromised ride and handling. Others choose to build up the IRS system.

Click on the Blue Pill below for info on how to properly do a live rear axle swap, or the Red Pill to learn how to properly build up your IRS.

Special thanks to Dave Franey (Postban on SVTPerformace.com) for his great research and documention.

Are there any aftermarket superchargers for the '03-'04 Cobra?
Yes, Kenne Bell and Whipple both sell twin screw superchargers. Twin turbo setups are popular, too.
Are you over spinning the Eaton blower with a smaller pulley?
Common consensus is yes, the Eaton is rated at 14,000 RPM for the maximum speed. With a 2.8” upper pulley, the blower should be spinning at around 18,000 RPMs at redline. However, the general thought is that the blower is not rated at 14,000 RPMs for reliability reasons, but for efficiency (the blower heats the intake too much at higher RPMs).
How much boost can the Cobra’s internals take?
I am not aware that we have reached a limit. The internals have been tested with up to 25 Lbs. However, on premium gas, the common limit is probably around 16 Lbs. without detonation.
How do I check for detonation?
There are several methods. If the detonation is severe, you may hear a “knocking” or “pinging” sound, like marbles in a can.
You can also check the plugs for detonation. The signs of detonation in plugs are detailed here: http://www.centuryperformance.com/spark2.htm
However, the best method for detecting a lean condition that can cause detonation is to use a Wideband A/F meter attached to a bung welded into the exhaust before the catalytic converters during a dyno pull or hard driving.
Does running higher octane gas help?
Yes and no. The advantage of higher octane fuel is that the flash point of the fuel is moved up, meaning it requires more heat to prematurely ignite the charge, which can help if your car is detonating. Even if you have very slight detonation, higher octane gas may help, as the knock sensors on the car will register slight detonation, causing the computer to cut timing. Without detonation, the computer may return to normal timing, causing a gain in power. However, if your car is not detonating at all, higher octane gas will not improve your performance.
Are there any intercooler upgrades?
Saleen has a larger intercooler reservoir that they use on their supercharged cars that will fit the 03 Cobra, and includes fans. However, the performance gain of their system has yet to be proven on the Cobra. You can get their product here: http://www.saleen.com/
Are there any handling upgrades?
Yes, several vendors sell improved suspension components, including braces, shocks, and springs. Saleen, Steeda, and Lethal Performance all have suspension components for the Cobra.
Are there any braking upgrades?
Brake upgrades are widely available through most vendors that cater to the 2003-2004 Cobra. Lethal Performance has a good selection.
How do I change the pulley belt?
It is very easy to change the pulley belt. The stock belt configuration schematic is courtesy of Doug at Billetflow. The photo is courtesy of 03DOHC on SVTPerformance.com. Click each thumbnail to enlarge.
1. The schematic shows the stock idler setup with a 2.93 upper pulley, and doesn't show an auxiliary idler. The auxiliary idler, if added, would be in the location labeled 'Next' in the photo below. Follow the order shown on the photo if you have an auxiliary idler. If not, follow the order on the photo but eliminate the one labeled 'Last' .

2. Use a socket wrench handle to loosen the tensioner. Slide the belt under the pulley labeled 'Last'. Release the tension on the wrench handle carefully.

What is the right way to check my oil level?
Here is a useful PDF file that explains the proper way to check your oil level. Click on the following link. You will need a copy of Adobe Reader (free) to read the PDF file. ENGINE OIL LEVEL INDICATOR MARKINGS .pdf
How do I get the traction control to stay off?
A few options exist to cut the traction control off by default. First, you may be able to get your tuner to set your custom tune to default the TC to off. Second, if you are decent at electronics, you may be able to create your own circuit to default the TC to off. This mod, made by Jumpinjackflash, is detailed here: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=20710&highlight=traction+control
Finally, you can buy a completed circuit for this mod here: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=20086
What are the difference in dynos?
It appears that all dynos will differ slightly in reported output, due to differences in software revisions and calibration. However, in general, Dynojet dynos tend to dyno a bit higher than Mustang dynos.
What correction factor should I use for my dynos?
SAE correction is generally preferred to STD correction. However, be aware that many magazines (including MM&FF) routinely use STD correction, as STD numbers are generally higher.
How do I change the RPM the stock shift light engages at, and what is the maximum safe RPM with the stock internals?
A tune change is the only way I am aware of to change the stock shift indicator RPM. If you raise the rev limiter with a custom tune, the tested limit with the stock internals that I'm aware of is 7,000 rpms. Many have confirmed that when racing at the track optimum performance is obtained by shifting at 6,000 rpms, so raising the limit with the stock internals doesn't seem to make sense.
If I install long-tube headers how much power will I gain?
For setups making in the neighborhood of 600rwhp and under, there is little or no power gains, and in some cases you might see a loss of power. Hissman (SVTPerformance.com) sums it up this way. "You get the aid of sound, and in theory more heat is moved away from the engine compartment with greater efficiency. You see a greater gain from an NA car because you gain nothing in the induction side because the cylinder pressure is relatively fixed, however you see a benifit because it is taking less torque to push the piston back to TDC due to the exhaust gas being driven out more easily. On a boosted car that has the flow characteristics of our's, the boost pressure that in conjunction with the A/F detonation overcompensates for the need to drive the exhaust gases out. If that makes sense. There does come a point where this ratio begins to flip flop, but it is closer to around the 700 hp mark, and the amount of air needed to be pumped in and out of the cylinders. Cam profiles and the amount of overlap that they give you will also have a large effect on everything. At least this is my understanding of it."

JMProductions (also from SVTPerformance.com) adds, "Headers and most importantly the pipe diameters used throughout the system are all players in the "tuning" of the entire system. Too much diameter on the piping without enough air flowing through it will not allow the exhaust pulses to do their job effectively and creates less scavenging effect. If you lose at lot of boost then that could indicate that you need to move more air through the system in order for it to work properly and see any gains or the system is just too large for your application. Not to mention the tuning of a shorty header may be too low in the power curve to see peak hp gains but you should see power lower in the curve. I think people losing power after a header install is a good indicator that the stock manifolds flow pretty well and allow good scavenging effect for most of the power levels we're running. Backpressure is always bad but using those exhaust pulses to your benefit is a delicate balance of pressures and piping."

For the cost of long tube headers you're better off using the money where you'll get actual/substantial power gains.
What are the limits of the Cobra’s stock fuel system?
Generally the practical limits of the stock fuel system is 490-510rwhp. Each car may be different. At that level you usually max out both the MAF and the fuel pump. It is very common to see the stock meter max out in the 485-500rwhp area. So a BAP (Boost-A-Pump) or higher capacity pumps (ie. Ford GT or Aviator) are required, along with either a MAFia, MAFXtender or BA2400 meter upgrade, at that power level. The stock fuel injectors will reach the upper end of the duty cycle usually in the 510-525rwhp area, but read the additional information below. Your tuner can help you in this area.

Also consider upgrading the injectors when they near the maximum recommended 75-80% duty cycle. While the stock injectors might be fine for a setup making, say, 505rwhp (with ported blower), going with larger injectors allows the fuel system to work more easily and produce less heat. It is recommended that you keep the injector duty cycle at a maximum of 75-80%. This will insure less heat and longer injector life. It really doesn't make sense to push your injector duty cycle to near max, even though they will handle the fuel sufficiently. The same logic and recommendations apply to the fuel pumps. Upgrade when the duty cycle eclipses 80% rather than wait until they're maxxed out and you run out of fuel.
Why does my boost fluctuate with the pulley mod?
There are several theories on this. In some cases, belt slippage is an obvious culprit. However, other cases are not so clear-cut. It appears that even when no belt slip occurs, at high boost levels, boost may drop off at high RPMs. Based on what I know of the process, my personal belief is that the intake of the Cobra (TB, MAF, tubing, and filter/CAI) is too restrictive to provide enough air to sustain high RPM, high boost scenarios. However, at this point, this is just a theory. In either case, it appears that the current sustainable boost limit throughout the RPM range is around 14 PSI. New idler pulley kits are now available from several vendors to improve belt wrap and help eliminate slip.

It is important to point out that increased blower boost (and subsequent belt rpm) from smaller upper pulleys will add more tensional torque that the stock idlers are designed to handle. Therefore it is important to swap out all of the stock idlers with quality aftermarket idlers. There have been many reports from owners who have had stock idlers come apart or seize up, resulting in broken blower belts and loss of blower function.
What wheels are available for the Cobra?
Currently, many designs of wheels are available for the Cobra from a great many vendors. However, large sizes (such as 10.5+ widths) are a little more difficult to find.
What drag radials are best?
This depends upon your intended use of the DRs. For example, the Nitto 555 DRs are best for all-around driving (including wet weather), while BFG DRs seem to grip better for pure track use. There are other DRs available as well.
What is the difference between DRs and slicks?
DRs have a stronger sidewall and a smaller aspect ratio than pure slicks. In addition, DRs have some (if minimal) tread for water dispersion. Slicks will grip better than DRs on a track, but may also cause more breakage.
Are there any 160 degree thermostats available for the Cobra?
Actually, it appears that Lightning thermostats fit both the Cobra and Lightning. Hypertech produces a 160 and 170 degree thermostat, and Stant has a 170 and 180 degree thermostat available. Note that adding coolant back in after replacing the thermostat can be difficult, see for more information. The stock thermostat is 180 degrees.
Are there any “beyond bolt-on” mods available for the Cobra?
Some posters have considered more advanced mods such as stroking, engine swaps, camshaft swaps, etc, but for now, there are no “common” beyond bolt-on mods.
What gauges match the factory gauges?
The Autometer Lunar series are a close match for the EL gauges in the Cobra (a bit brighter than stock), but they are no longer made. You can also wire the gauges to utilize the car's dimmer feature. However, the Lunar series is no longer made.

Speed Of Sound sells a very popular set of gauges, and their A-pillar pod is a unique design.

If you would prefer to use the factory boost gauge and just want to increase its range, Hilton Boost Gauge Overlays are available to increase the range to 16 lb. of boost.
Are there any gauge pods available?
Autometer has A-pillar and dash pods available. The A-pillars for coupes and convertibles are different. If go with an AutoMeter A-pillar pod and want to match the stock color, spray the pod with Ford part number M4JZ-19M547-1074H.

For the dash, the Autometer instrument bezel seems to fit well, but it does have an additional “hole” near the light stalk that will need to be covered. You can find these products here: http://www.autometer.com/hp/2001_catalog/gaugeworks/18.html
Speed of Sound (http://www.speedofsoundllc.com/) has a neat gauge pod, too. Different design than Autometer's, but very popular.
Is an Air/Fuel gauge useful?
Opinions vary, but it appears that for critical monitoring or tuning, the Autometer A/F gauge, at least when used with the stock O2 sensors, is not very useful. However, for basic monitoring, it appears to perform adequately.
What does a pyrometer do?
In a nutshell, a pyrometer measures the exhaust gas temperature. This, in many people’s opinion, is more useful for detecting detonation than an A/F gauge, as detonation will show up as a “spike” in temperature.
How do I install an aftermarket tachometer or shift light?
The short answer to this question is that you will need a tach adapter, which needs to be wired into the coil packs. You can find more information (including part #’s and instructions) here, thanks to Silver03Snake: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=21505
In addition, if you are just looking for a shift light, there is one available that works without a tach adapter. Information on this product can be found here, thanks to Rbz: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=22527
What clutch components should be upgraded to handle more HP?
In general, it seems that for high horsepower applications (which applies to stock Cobra’s as well), upgrading the clutch quadrant, firewall adjuster, clutch cable, flywheel, and clutch assembly allows for faster, more direct shifts, more adjustment, and less slip. Information on this topic is available here, thanks to TooFast4U: http://www.superstallions.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1207
Where can I find a list of ECU powertrain diagnostic codes?
The 2003 Ford Mustang Service Manual/CD contains all of the diagnostic codes, along with a description of each. Information might also be found on the Mustang forums.
Does using a smaller upper pulley or larger crank pulley require that I install a larger alternator pulley to under drive my alternator?
First, you need to understand that the upper pulley is a driven pulley and the lower crank pulley is a drive pulley. The only accessory driven by the blower belt is the alternator. Changing the upper pulley has no affect whatsoever on the alternator's driven speed. The only time you have to worry about that is when you change the drive speed when you change the lower crank pulley. So if you change to a larger lower crank pulley it is recommended that you install a larger alternator pulley to offset the increase in speed from the larger lower crank pulley.
The stock alternator pulley is 2.6". The most common upgrades are a 3.2" for a 4 lb. lower and a 3.5" for a 6 lb. lower.

Drag Racing the Cobra
This is loaded question. Launching is highly dependant on variable conditions, such as track prep, tires, clutch condition, temperature, etc. In general, on street tires, there are two schools of thought on how to get the best times. The first is to use a standard street launch (off idle or slightly above) while simultaneously “rolling” on the throttle and slipping the clutch once traction is obtained. I have seen a best time of around 1.9 with this method. The second method is to rev the car to 3,000 or 3,500 RPM and quickly but carefully slip the clutch while rolling on the throttle in a controlled manner. Times as low as 1.6 on the stock Goodyear F1’s have been reported using this method. Be aware, however, that this method may cause premature clutch failure. On DR’s, a bit harder launch method can be used, though dumping the clutch will typically result in wheelspin/hop. With slicks, a dump at higher RPM (5,000 or so) might actually hook, but the chance of breakage will be more severe. The bottom line is that practice is the key.
What should I do if I have wheel hop?
Let off the throttle, and quickly. Wheel hop is the major cause of rear end component failure, and is much harder on the components than spinning. This is due to the rapid loading/unloading of the rear during a hop. It is highly recommended that you buy the Billetflow IRS Brace and IRS Bracket. Cheap insurance to help prevent breakage.
What “tricks” will get me better times?
Practice. The first 60’ is, in many cases, where your E/T will be primarily decided. The faster you can get through the first 60’ of track, the lower your E/T. Other than improving your launch, shifting quickly (speed shifting) or performing full throttle shifts (power shifting) can also improve your E/T, but they take extensive practice and can harm your transmission components.
What do stock Cobra’s run in the 1/4 and 1/8 mile?

Stock Cobra time slips vary, due to the difficult nature of launching the car. A good driver should see the 1/4 times as reported in the book 'Iron First Lead Foot'. Coupe: 12.67 @ 110
Convertible: 12.99 @ 109 0-60 times average 4.5 for the coupe and 4.6 for the convertible.
Should I do a burnout?
The general consensus on this is that with DR or slicks, yes, but on stock tires, no. For stock tires, skip the water box and simply spin the tires long enough to clear any debris or water from the tires and expose fresh tread.
How do I do a burnout?
In a manual RWD car, burnouts can be a bit tricky. One technique is to dump the clutch and very quickly hit the brakes. The other technique is to “heel and toe” the brakes and gas with the right foot, modulating the clutch with the left. Either way, the trick to a good, non-damaging burnout is to keep the RPMs constant throughout the burnout.
What is a “good” 60’ time?
A good 60’ time on street tires is anything below 2.0 seconds. With DRs, 1.8’s and lower should be attainable. With slicks and suspension modifications, short times as low as 1.5 seconds can be obtained with an excellent driver.
Should I powershift?
If you know how and can get traction, powershifting has the ability to reduce your E/T’s by up to .3 seconds. However, the tradeoff is accelerated component wear and tear, and the possibility of frying your clutch.
Why do I keep missing gears?
The stock shifter is a bit difficult to get used to due to the placement of it and the difficulty of finding gears. Third and Fifth are commonly missed gears. However, your clutch may also be part of the culprit, especially if you miss the 1-2 shift. Ensure you have the clutch properly adjusted before your run by following the procedure outlined here: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=20714
If this procedure does not work, you may need to invest in an adjustable clutch quadrant and firewall adjuster. Both Steeda and Fiore make excellent products. And they work well! Upgrading to a good billet shifter is good as well, such as the TriAx, Pro 5.0, Ripper, and MGW. The MGW shifter is considered my many to be the best on the market.
What is the best 1/4-mile time and trap speed so far for a modded 2003 Cobra?
The best time/speed I am aware of so far was set at the NMRA Spring Ford Nationals in Bradenton Florida by “Nitrous” Pete Misinsky with a 10.06 at nearly 138 MPH.
TSBs and Quality Issues
For a list of TSBs, click on this link. 2003 Mustang TSBs Or go to to the information posted ABOVE.
The “pull” issue
The “pull” is typified by a constant pull to one side or the other. This seems to commonly caused by misalignment. More information is available here: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=21364
The “vibe” issue
The “vibe” seems to be caused (in most cases) by a bad driveshaft, which can eventually affect the rest of the rear end. The bad components cause a vibration in the car that cannot be felt, but makes the rear view mirror impossible to see out of at speeds of over 80 MPH. Occasionally, this may also be concurrent with a high-pitched “whine”. More information on this problem can be found here: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=21915
The “clunk” issue
The “clunk” is a moderate volume sound which typically occurs after depressing the accelerator following a coast. It is very noticeable in 6th gear in most cases. This is caused by play in the driveline (fairly normal in Mustangs). Here is the official Ford directive about this issue.

Special Service Message 17510 (1999-2004 Mustang 4.6l - Driveline Clunk During Gear Changes And/or Quick Acceleration After Coast (tip-in Clunk)
Some 1999-2004 Mustangs equipped with a 4.6 Liter engine may exhibit a 'clunk' noise from the driveline during gear changes and/or a quick acceleration just after a coast (tip-in clunk). The clunk may be present in multiple gears and is considered normal. This is caused by driveline lash reacting to the rapid response of the engine when the throttle is suddenly opened. The clunk noise has no effect on the performance or durability of Tthe vehicle. Inspect and check the driveshaft attaching bolts, axle mounts, transmission mounts and sub-frame mounting bolts for proper torque. No other service should be performed.
Effective Date: 01/26/2004
The “stall” issue
Stalling is a fairly common and potentially dangerous problem with the Cobras. There is a TSB on this issue. It is easily fixed with an ECU reflash by the dealer. For cars without the ECU reflash the stall can occur at any time on deceleration, usually when the clutch is depressed. The motor does not always return to a normal idle speed but drops too low and stalls. See the TSB list above for more fix information.
The “tick” issue
Here is a great explanation from Ike (WDW MAKER) on SVTPeformance.com. "The sound is simply a worn valve guide allowing the valve stem to move. This is caused by overheating of the area due to poor coolant flow in the part of the left bank cylinder head. The lack of bronze valve guides in our heads makes them even more susceptible. The Jan05 heads come with revised coolant passages keep the exhaust valve guides cooler. This may also help to keep #7 and #8 cylinders running a bit cooler.

Will running a car with the tick result in some sort of catastrophic failure? Highly doubtful. It's mostly an annoying sound that you have to live with. I'm sure the worn valve guide causes a bit of inefficiency due to blow-by around the seals. I doubt it's enough to notice until it has been run like that for quite a while. I personally wouldn't and didn't want to live with it. Others chose to leave well enough alone and have yet to see any significant issues."

This problem sounds like a light ticking coming from the driver’s side valve cover, and is most noticeable when the car is warm. If you can hear the noise inside the car while idling, you most likely have the problem, otherwise, the ticking you hear is most likely injector noise (normal). The only permanent fix for this issue is installing the latest factory heads, released in January, 2005. The part numbers are:
Left side head
Part # 2C5Z-6049-BAB
Right side head
Part # 2C5Z-6049-CAB

As of 11/10/06 the discount cost of these heads (complete with cams and valve train) is $1,358.00 plus core charges, from FORDSVTPARTS (Steve) on SVTPerformance.com. Steve can be reached by PM on that website, or by E-mail FORDSVTPARTS@HOTMAIL.COM. You can also call him at 1-800-328-9552.
Drivers head $616.00 plus a $150.00 core charge
Passenger head $742.00 plus a $150.00 core charge
Please note that on rare occasion an oil filter can cause a ticking noise. In one case, a Terminator owner had a CarQuest filter installed and immediately heard a ticking noise. He thought if might be the "tick" issue but since it started right after installing the CarQuest filter he thought it could be related to that. Using a stethoscope he pinpointed the noise to coming from the oil filter. He changed to a Mobil 1 filter and the noise disappeared. He reinstalled the CarQuest filter and it came back. I bring this up only as another area to check IF you hear a ticking, before you assume it is the tick issue. Here's the link discussing the oil filter issue. http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?t=278483&highlight=oil+filter+noise&page=2
Many ask how they can help prevent the head tick issue from developing in the first place, other than replacing the head(s). Fortunately a few companies offer an inexpensive mod which improves coolant flow to the head. One company,
APS (Frank Carter) sells two cooling mod kits that improve coolant flow, which in turns helps to prevent this issue from occurring. For more information, click on the APS Head Cooling Mods link on the upper left menu.

Paint problems
Various problems have been reported concerning the quality of the Cobra’s paint. It seems that the paint was poorly/thinly applied in some cases, and light impacts seem to cause considerable chipping to the paint. Others have reported cracking after only a short period of time. The worst cases of this problem seem to have been repaired under warranty, but you mileage may vary. Many people are resorting to protection products such as 3M Scotchcal film.
Fitment problems
Many people have reported poor fit and finish in the Cobra’s body panels. This can be easily seen in most cases by examining the seams of the body parts. In particular, the fitment of the rear quarter panels seem to be a tad off fairly commonly (you can see the panels rise above the surrounding bodywork).
How many threads do the heads have for the spark plugs?
There has been much discussion over this. It was believed that all 2003 and all 2004 Cobras had 4 threads from the factory. And that only the latest heads (01/05) had 9 threads. New information now indicates that all 2003 Cobra have 4 threads, early 2004 Cobras have 4 threads, and 2004 Cobras built after some date in 11/03 have 9 threads. However, even these revised 2004 heads do not have the revised coolant passages found on the heads released in January, 2005. This is interesting information because there have been reports of spark plugs blowing out of the heads possibly in part due to the lack of sufficient threads and possibly also due in part to an improper installation of the plugs. I don't believe there is any substantial proof that the 4 threads is a potential issue since the reported cases of blown out plugs is so few, but obviously having 9 threads is better than only 4. I have to admit that it is interesting that apparently Ford changed the number of threads at some point in the 2004 production run. The question is why they would do that if they weren't concerned about the heads only having 4 threads.

Here is a picture of a stock head from a 2004 Cobra with a build date of 11/03. Note that there are 9 threads for the spark plug.

(Click Each To Enlarge)

The latest heads (with revised coolant passages) which fixed the tick issue are the following part numbers.

Left side head (
Part # 2C5Z-6049-BAB
Right side head
Part # 2C5Z-6049-CAB
As of 11/10/06 the discount cost of these heads (complete with cams and valve train) is $1,358.00 plus core charges, from FORDSVTPARTS (Steve) on SVTPerformance.com. Steve can be reached by PM on that website, or by E-mail FORDSVTPARTS@HOTMAIL.COM. You can also call him at 1-800-328-9552.
Drivers head $616.00 plus a $150.00 core charge
Passenger head $742.00 plus a $150.00 core charge

Window squeal
Some owners have reported a high-pitched squeal from the window seals when raising or lowering the windows. This seems to be caused by insufficient lubrication, and can be fixed following the procedures outlines in the following thread: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=18320
Hard to Shift
A very common complaint is hard shifting at higher RPMs, typically from 2nd to 3rd gear and from 1st to 2nd. Downshifting at higher RPMs can be an issue as well. This can sometimes be caused by a clutch out of adjustment, or a worn clutch. Sometimes installing an aftermarket (Fiore, Steeda) shift quadrant and firewall adjuster can help. But some have complained that even after adjusting the clutch (or replacing it) and/or installing the aftermarket shift quadrant and firewall adjuster that the issue still remains, although there was an improvement.

Recently ZXMustang (Brian) on SVTPerformance.com found a solution that seems to have cured the problem for good. Basically he had TSB 04-13-4 (click on TSB number to see TSB detail above) done by his dealer as a start. Here is Brian's detailed fix.

"Bob, this TSB fixed my problem only part way. The other issue I was having was the stock quadrant adjuster under the steering wheel was adjusted all the way out causing my pedal to only engage like an inch or two from the floor, which means my clutch cable had maximum slack and wasn't disengaging the clutch properly, causing the hard to shift condition. This paired with the broken guide tube (fixed with the TSB) that guides the clutch cable from the tranny, was causing me to have even MORE stack in the cable. The way they tell you to adjust your clutch by pulling the pedal up is the OPPOSITE of what needs to be done and will make this WORSE. When you do that, you are letting the adjuster out and causing your pedal to gain clutch cable slack. What needs to be done to PROPERLY adjust the cable is you need to move your seat back and steering wheel all the way up. Then you need to push the clutch down with one hand and hold the white adjuster with your other hand in its place, then pull the clutch pedal up. When you do this you are preloading the adjuster and taking up the clutch cable slack by pulling the pedal up. When you do this, you should hear clicks from the pedal preloading on the adjuster plastic teeth. You can do this as much as you want, then your clutch pedal will engage much higher and your clutch will disengage properly to allow you to shift faster. Now, there is an issue with speed shifting when you do this, because if you let the clutch pop back up too fast when you hammer it, it will do what the manual says and come up too far and let all the slack back in causing your pedal to be floppy again and engage close to the floor. To prevent this from happening, all you have to do is bend the metal piece that stops the adjuster when the pedal goes up so it won't get let out. It really is the fix for this, and I NEVER have issues with the stock setup now. I ran an 11.93 on STREET tires with my cobra with my limited mods because I was able to power shift now. Before I did this mod, my best was a 13.1 even with the pulley because I could BEARLY get the car in second or third without grinding. I actually read about this here a long time ago. If anyone doesn't understand this, feel free to PM me your number and I will call you and talk you through it because its such a simple fix." -- Brian
Clogged Cats
Some cars have experienced a melting of the honeycomb inside the cats due to a rich fuel mixture. This problem causes a rough idle when warm, a slight "miss" from idle to mid RPMs, "sluggish" acceleration and/or an occasional skunk smell. The solution appears to be replacing the cats. The following thread has more info on this problem: http://www.svtperformance.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=17529
Pedals Cracking
Some drivers have broken the stock gas pedal on their Cobras. This seems to be caused by the weak material the pedals are made out of (plastic with a metal insert) combined with a lead foot. Ford has replaced these under warranty. However, all-metal pedals can be bought from several vendors, and would be a more permanent solution.
Grinding gears
Many owners have trouble properly shifting their Cobras, due to a combination of the shifter position/travel and in some cases poor clutch adjustment. Aftermarket clutch quadrants and firewall adjusters are a good idea and will help. For more info on resolving these problems, see 4.9.
Noisy shifter
Many owners have complained of noise coming from the shifter and tranny. Some noise seems to be normal, and is attributable to the nature of the T-56 and the shift linkage. Replacing the stock shifter, however, usually makes the noise issue worse due to their billet construction. An excellent solution is to purchase a set of my shifter gaskets. They will dramatically reduce the noise.
Clutch pedal vibration
This problem seems to be due to poor clutch adjustment in most cases. See 4.9 for more information on resolving this problem.
Dirty rear brakes
Many owners have reported a considerable amount of brake dust from the rear brakes. This seems to be normal with the high performance pads used on the rear.
Loose lug nuts
Many owners have reported loose lug nuts (usually the anti-theft nuts) on their wheels at delivery. For this reason, it is suggested that you check the tension in the lugs shortly after your purchase.
Ultra-firm seats
Many owners feel that the seats are very tight upon initial delivery. However, the seats tend to break in with time, and become more comfortable. There are excellent aftermarket seats available as well.
Poor clutch adjustment
This is a common, reoccurring problem, with the most common symptom involving the clutch “grabbing” very close to the floor. The solution is to use the adjustment procedure outlined in Section 4.9 above fairly regularly. If the procedure does not resolve the problem, then the only lasting solution is to upgrade the clutch quadrant, cable, and firewall adjuster. Both Steeda and Fiore make excellent products.
“Skunk” smell
Many owners report an occasional “skunk” smell in the car. This can be caused by unburned fuel. A regular skunk smell, however, can be caused by clogged cats, as listed in 5.11.
Pop in the rear of the car while turning
This problem typically occurs when turning the car sharply up or down an uneven slope, such as when entering a raised driveway. It sounds like a loud “pop” in the suspension. It can be corrected under warranty with TSB 03-09-05.
Double sided tape showing from under spoiler
Some owners have sections of the 3M double-sided tape used to mount the rear spoiler peeking out from the edges. The only known solution is to trim off the excess tape or remove/re-apply with new tape.

info from:www.stangshiftergaskets.com. thanks "cobra bob"


Tell the cops nothing!
Staff member
Board Member
that has to be the longest post ever! i read the first page got tired lol great info though asain ppl with to much time lol


Well-Known Member
the only thing that i have a quesiton about is at the beggining of this 2.1.1. differences between the 03-04's it says that in 04 the cargo net on the roof of the 04 was deleted but my buddie has an 04 with the cargo net.


Well-Known Member
i wonder if he is bullsitting me then. He says that it is an 04 and maybe it is really an 03 because up until now i thought that all TERMY's had it. But i have personally only drivin one and ridding in another so that is a total of two TERMY's. man i need to get out more


Well-Known Member
you wanna know what else is weird. on kbb.com for the 03 COBRA's you can choose the 10th anniversary as an alternate package which would increase the value of the car but in 04 you cant do that with the mystic COBRA's. Its kinda crazy