New person with '97 Cobra...


New Member
May 14, 2005
Ames, Iowa
So my girlfriend bought a 1997 Cobra with 25k miles yesterday.....bought it from a small dealer in Michigan for $7,900 plus a 1998 Eclpise RS.

I do have to first say that I come from, what you guys probably consider the *dark side*....(GM). I recently graduated from college and work for a local Chevrolet/GMC/Isuzu dealership as a technition. This is the first Ford I have ever driven or known someone to own...other than my roomate's old Probe GT...which really was a Mazda anyways.

As far as the



The rest are here.

Not quite sure what to do with the paint on the hood. The guy who did it did a great job of doing it, but it seems sorta out of place. Most likely this is going to be painted back to black....unless of course someone wants it.

The car does have a few problems....

#1 Paint. It has a couple scratches that need paint and needs to be buffed....don't forget the hood.

#2 ABS Light. It comes on when after the car moves a few feet. So the EBCM (or whatever Ford calls the Brake module) most likely not getting a signal from a wheel speed sensor.

#3 CEL on. Came on after about 200 miles last night going down an off ramp. Need to get the code out of bad the Tech 2 (GM scan tool) isn't universal.

#4 Seat belt light won't go off.

#5 Speedometer calibration. The speedometer reads higher than it should, like 9-10% higher. I think someone has switched the FDR.

#6 Noisy transmission....not quite sure how much of that is normal....kinda reminds me of driving a grain truck.

This car isn't far I have found the following modifcations....

-K&N cone filter with modded airbox. least I don't think Ford would put ceramic coated tublar manifolds on it. Not sure what kind.
-Exhaust....the mufflers look like a Dynomax Ultraflo welded muffler....but if I remember correctly, I think they say Race Magnum on them or something. This runs from the X pipe back and actually sounds pretty good.
-BBK djustable fuel pressure regullator and gauge. A bit of a worthless mod in my mind.
-Welded in steel members underneath....not quite sure in the point of these.
-Home built driveshaft safety loop. Ghetto.

Other than that.....the clutch seems strong, I think it might be an aftermarket unit. The suspension is stock.A couple of holes in the A pillar, I assume from a gauge....and a 1/2" hole in the gauge bezel. I don't think this thing had nitrous, at least not for long....its not filling the crankcase with blow by gases anyways.

I don't like how the gauges don't move activily.....GM's oil pressure gauges actually move when you nail the throttle.....what gives?

I'd like to remove the Ford badge from the back...seems sorta out of place and added on......I see its bolted to the a good time to remove it and fill and paint the holes while the other stuff is getting done.

The wheels have been abused.....scuff marks and curb rash galore.....I think one wheel's outter rim is bent slightly...doesn't vibrate though.

The dealership slapped on a new set of tires.....Hankook Ventus V4ES 245/45/17s.....not a bad tire so far.....I was wanting to put a set of Kuhmo MXs on it. At least they come with a Z speed rating.

So far we have been burning 93 octane fuel from BP in it. What do you guys reccomend?

The car is pretty fun to drive.....I am now He-Man because of the shifter. Whats with the vent near the fog light switch under the cup holder? Does the clutch pedal normally sit higher (2-3") than the brake pedal?


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New Member
Dec 21, 2003
springfield MO
wooooo so down, a couple at a time please. and yeah the snout on the horse looks more like a cow. my tires were beat to crap as well, the steel members , I assume run from front to back? they tie the three sections of the car together, to keep it from twisting under launches. sub frame connectors. these cars need them, I haven't gotten them yet though.


Mod Dude
Sep 22, 2001
Canada said:
...I don't like how the gauges don't move activily.....GM's oil pressure gauges actually move when you nail the throttle.....what gives?...

Ford uses "idiot" gauges. The oil pressure "switch" by the oil filter housing is only a 6 (or 8 psi?) open/close switch - so as long as the engine has over 6 or 8 psi of oil pressure at that switch, the factory gauge on the dash is going to read dead-center. LOL

Needless to say, it's a smart idea to invest in an aftermarket oil pressure gauge, at a bare minimum (I went with a water temp gauge in addition to the oil press gauge too). I'm running Autometer Phantom (electrical)
2 1/16th gauges in my A-pillar. :cheers:


New Member
May 14, 2005
Ames, Iowa
Good to know about the speedo gears.

Some of the noise I think is coming from a grumpy bearing on the input, there seems to be a fair bit of backlash in the rear end. Whoever built the rear end I don't think really knew what they were doing....both the pinion seal and rear cover have a slight leak. Oh well....

Found out why the A/C doesn't work......the accumlator is gone. Not sure why.


New Member
Jul 15, 2004
Sounds like this car also has swapped out gears to throw off the speedo and a short throw shifter to make all the noise from the tranny. The hood's gotta go and that's not a vent below the cup's a place for small coinage. How much tradein did your gf get on her car? With all of the "lights" on in this cars' dash, sounds like she got took. However those are really low miles if they are true. Mine has just under 50k right now and that's pretty low for a near 9 year old car.


Oct 9, 2004
I picked up my 97 COBRA for $13,000 with 21k on it last Sept. I don't know the value of that eclipse she traded but with all those issues, I would drop the car off and tell them to call you in a week when it's resolved.

The speedo being inaccurate would suggest gears were done, which could be verified by the leaking rear seals. If you can find out the gear ratio, I can tell you the correct speedo gear to install...
2.73 Gear Ratio / Maroon 16 Speedo Gear
3.08 Gear Ratio / Yellow 18 Speedo Gear
3.27 Gear Ratio / Pink 19 Speedo Gear
3.55 Gear Ratio / Black 20 Speedo Gear
3.73 Gear Ratio / Red 21 Speedo Gear
4.10 Gear Ratio / White 23 Speedo Gear

Have a FORD Dealer check the car top to bottom and scan all the codes. It might be worth the money to find out if there are any major issues that caused the vehicle to be traded in!!


New Member
May 14, 2005
Ames, Iowa
Got ahold of my roomate's GPS reciever tonight.....

It has the factory 3.27 gearset.....and, near as we can tell.....has a 2.73 pin. Not exactly sure whats going on there.....I could see this causing an issue with the ABS system, maybe not the direct problem, but not right.

The three dash lights lights really aren't a problem (I am a tech afterall)......the seat belt light will be taken care of by bulb removal.....its not like it has any effect on any other system on the car.

The CEL will be looked at tomorrow at work.....turns out our used car department has a OTC scan tool.

The ABS light should be correctly solved by the proper gear....maybe.

The gear whine really isn't that great.....I think its most likely a grumpy bearing on the input shaft. Darn....I was planning on overhauling the transmission (or maybe possibly switching to a T-56) and rebuilding the diff (and throwing 3.73 gears in) anyways.

The other minor details.....are, well, minor details involved with buying a 8 year old car.

She paid $7900 for the car.....and the gave her $3500 for the Eclipse (expecting to only get $2-2.5)....making the total $11,400. They were orginally asking $11,900.

The issues I listed are the only issues with the car. The CEL I believe is an EVAP DTC....I think I left the cap a bit loose.


New Member
Aug 31, 2002
St. Louis, MO
Speedo gears aren't that great IMO, they tend to shred after a while since the aftermarket ones are plastic...a brother's performance speedcal will fix the speedo electronically and works much better than the gears...

As for that vent next to the fog light, many people call that the 'coin holder' although it doesn't hold many's actually just a blank insert for where the convertible switch would go on a convertible...

As for gas, 91 is minimum, 93 is bonus if you can get it as the premium at the pumps...

And as for gears, you'll want more than 3.73's...everyone says no less than 4.10's but I say no less than 4.30's...I just put 4.56's in my car and it's a complete beast now...and this holds especially true if you are going to put a T56 in is since the T56 is geared so much lower than the T45 that's in'll be a pig and a turd with 3.73's in it...