Cobra Conversion (AKA the Project that never ends...) Photos


Recently finished repairing my rear
15 Year Member
Aug 26, 2004
West Los Angeles, CA
Thought I'd start a new post to keep the photo count low. Today was a painting day, I finished repainting the tan color on the doors, glove box and the panel by your knees. I also finished assembling up the Cobra's rear axle, the remaining parts will go on after the axle is on the car. One shot here of the pumpkin:


And one of the whole axle. The plastic area behind the axle is my improvised painting booth.


And last, the finished Cobra valve covers. Just finished painting the letters, the paint's not quite dry yet.


Also got rid of what's left of the Cobra, the landlord was griping about the parts and oil on the concrete. :rolleyes: For those that are interested, the last thread is back <a href="">here.</a>.
  • Sponsors (?)

Last night, I decided to put in some work on my GT; guess it was my hot date for the night. :rolleyes: I had been putting this work off until I finished the Cobra, but that won't be happening for a while. So I installed a 03 Cobra steering shaft and new O2 sensors. I also tried to fix what (I hope) was causing the chatter in my front suspension. This GT had gotten into a wreck before I bought it; the power steering lines from the rack were all bent up. They were on top of the sway bar, instead of below and all the way over by the frame rail. I decided to see if I could twist them around and line them up right. I had to take off the sway bar to do this, of course. A half-hour of cursing and bending metal later, the metal lines were back where they should be and the sway bar was back on. I haven't taken the GT for a drive yet, but I'm eager to find out how well it drives now.

SN95StangMan was kind enough to stop by today, so progress was made.....sorta. It seemed like the Gods did not want us to install the rear axle today no matter how hard we tried. When we started, we realized that the rubber hangers for the exhaust had broken. We needed to hang the exhaust properly so we had room for the axle. OK, I had kept the Cobra's exhaust hangers and brackets just for this reason. The driver's side went on with a bit of a fight. The passenger's side...not so much.

I had dual exhaust installed when this car was a V6. The mechanic fab'd up a decent bracket for the one near the mufflers, easy to unbolt. The "clip-on" nuts weren't on that side, however. No problem, I'll pull them from the Cobra.....crap. Had to get rid of the Cobra earlier this week. So, off to Kragen to improvise a set. The back bracket by the bumper was a threaded rod WELDED on to the frame, right over where the actual bracket attaches. :nono: Out comes the Dremel tool to grind it off. I just hope he didn't thread the rod into the mounting hole.

Problem #2: partway through grinding down the welds, my Dremel tool breaks. :mad: Wonderful. Off to Home Depot for a replacement. One new Dremel tool and a frick-load of metal-cutting bits later, I continue grinding the welds off. Amazing how having the right tool will help, these metal-cutting bits really made short work of the welds. Fortunately, the mechanic only welded the rod on top of the frame, and not into the mounting hole.

To keep busy, SN95StangMan was kind enough to do some work on the Cobra engine while I was busy. I ground the welds flat and shot some paint over the bare metal. The bolt hole for the bracket wasn't tapped, but the 10.9 bolts are great for tapping their own bolt holes. NOW we can hang the exhaust....nope. The mechanic had bent the metal hanger on the exhaust pipe to fit the rod he welded on, and now it doesn't line up. Out comes the propane torch; heated the metal enough to bend it back to where it should have been. Finally, we got the exhaust all hung properly.

After all this we finally get to the rear axle. SN95StangMan & I carried the axle over, set it down on a jack and lined it up. After some wrangling we got the upper control arms bolted up. We did have problems with the lower ones, which ultimately stopped us. I have a set of powdercoated Mega-Bite Jr's to install, they take a bit of extra time to install. First problem: they use SAE bolts, not Metric. We had to widen the bolt holes in the axle to allow the slightly thicker bolts to fit. After a bunch of grinding with the new Dremel tool, the bolts slid in...but were a quarter-inch too short. The bolt wasn't long enough for the nut to engage all the threads. The only other bolts I had that would work had some bad threads. I couldn't buy any more tonight, so we were done. :nonono: Here's a photo of our almost-installed axle, still resting on the jack:


We then turned to the engine sitting right next to the car. SN95StangMan had removed the valve covers; the rockers still looked new. I wish I had taken a photo of them, didn't think of it until I had torqued the covers back on.

Progress made: Installed painted valve covers and new gaskets. Reinstalled the exhaust manifolds. Reinstalled the oil dipstick. Result:


A big thanks to SN95StangMan for helping out, he was great to have around. :flag:
LOL, that was a hell of a write-up, and I must say, right on the money. Just happy to get some things accomplished and to know that the axle "should" go on without any other problems with the new hardware, and the passenger side hole ground out a little more.
The axle is in!

I finally enslaved a photographer (a friend of mine) to take pictures, so I have some in-progress pics this time. This first one is me taking a Dremel to the control arm bolt hole. The Mega-Byte Jr's I'm installing use SAE 8.8 bolts, and they're a bit thicker than the stock metric ones:


This one is from the other side, where I've already installed one part of the Mega-Byte Jr's and the shock. SN95StangMan and I nearly finished this the week before, I just tightened it all up:


Last one is the finished axle, minus the brakes. I know no one's gonna see it like this, but *I* know it's there. :D


If you want more pics, here's a few more:

<a href="" target="_blank">In-Progress 4</a>
<a href="" target="_blank">In-Progress 5</a>
<a href="" target="_blank">In-Progress 6</a>
<a href="" target="_blank">In-Progress 7</a>

And one last one, of the mess in the trunk (where I've stored a bunch of stuff):

You are insane for doing all that painting...but it looks really awesome? is this gonna be a daily driver? or only for show??? That looks like stock headers? do want aftermarket headers for better flow? are you gonna put new cam in there while you have everything out? good luck man. :)

I would personally do all kinds of UPGRADE when i have my engine out :)
This will be a daily driver, I have no plans to bring it to car shows at this time. I'm doing all this because I *want* to. I don't like seeing rusty or unpainted parts, and I hate feeling like I've left things unfinished.

I'm aiming for this Cobra conversion to be a stock Cobra, as far as performance parts go. Those are stock Cobra manifolds (which do flow a bit more than stock GT headers), which I've Jet-Hot coated. No new cam, the Cobra cam is good for me.

I have a second Mustang, a 95 GT. THAT one will get upgrades soon enough. :nice:
Weekend Update

A lot done this time. I swapped the hard brake line leading from the front passenger wheel all the way back to the axle. The V6 runs that line to the passenger side; since the GT & Cobra have dual exhaust, the hard line runs just off to the side of the differential. I also had to pop-rivet in the bracket that the rear center line attaches to. No pics this time, my photographer from last week decided he had a life. :rolleyes:

I did decide to highlight the fact that the Cobra has GT-40 heads, so I painted the "GT" and the three ridges on each side of the head in black. It turned out ok, see for yourself:



The bare spot above is for the smog tube that fits on the back of the heads. I need to scrape some more paint off later. After finishing some touch-up on the dash, it was time to swap everything over. Now see, my dash had a broken frame from when my passenger airbag deployed a couple of years back. The dash creaked a lot after that, so to fix that I needed a new frame. Here's the new frame in the foreground, with my original dash on the dishwasher. :rlaugh: I'd already removed the wiring harness from the dash at this point.


Next up, a shot of the frame with the wiring harness being installed:


And finally, a bit of discovery. Looks like my V6 had the dimmer switch overheat at some point. the switch itself is undamaged, but the connector is not. The undamaged one is one I picked up off of eBay. I swapped the connector over to my Stang's harness.

You are the perfect guy to ask this question to. I love your meticulous care to detail, kinda makes me feel better about myself and my Anal Retentive tendencies. My hat goes off to you sir. I had a question for you. How big is the distance from the face of the rear caliper mounting plate to the back of the rear axle (where the lug bolts go through)? I am doing a Cobra brake conversion on my 87 GT and I cant figure out what length I need the rear axle shafts to be. All I know is stock length for an 87 is too short at 29". If you can help me out with that I'd appreciate it greatly. Thanks a million.
Bunch of little stuff done, but nothing really photo-worthy beyond the new sound insulation I put in the door:


It's Cascade Audio sound insulation. I had Dynomat in, but it was a bit too thick to let the door panel sit right. It also has a tar smell I didn't like. :mad:
Small list of things done, but a major improvement. Spent most of Saturday with a friend trying to bend the Cobra's metal frame (inside the dash). The frame looked good, but when the Cobra's airbags went off it bent the framework up. My passenger airbag was sticking out about 3/4 of an inch. Several hours of bending and cussing later, and the airbag fit like a glove. :nice: Sunday was installing the dash. Here's a shot of the dash in place, barely:


And a later shot, with the dash all bolted in and the steering wheel installed:


We also worked on fabricating up brackets for the rear brake lines. I'm replacing the soft lines with s/s lines. But the stock lines came with we salvaged those brackets and re-used them for the s/s lines. Take a look:


This week I'll be finishing up the interior, be nice to have it done!