Greg's 96 Cobra 1.5 Kenne Bell Build Thread

the.greg

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I’ve decided its time I made a build thread. My name is Greg, and I bought my 1996 Cobra when I lived in Marietta, GA from a guy in Kissimmee FL, back on October 30, 2011. My goal for this thread is to document my ownership of the Cobra, and explain my particular setup in detail. I previously owned a 1998 gt and I “outgrew†it very rapidly and decided not to mod it, but keep it mint and keep my eyes open. I take extremely good care of my cars and a friend of mine made me an offer on the gt that I could not refuse, so I started looking for a replacement. I had test driven a new 2011 mustang gt 5.0 and base 3.7 and I knew I wanted something that would rival the 5.0 in straight line acceleration!

My old gt next to my cobra
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My price range excluded the cars that I wanted most, a 2001+ lightning and a 2005+ gto. I searched online when I came across a 1996 cobra with a 1.5 kenne bell setup. It was located in Kissimmee Florida, so after several phone conversations I decided to grab my brother and a mechanic friend and we made the roadtrip to Florida. After a thorough inspection, and test drive I wasn’t sold on it just yet; it honestly wasn’t as fast as the 5.0 that I had test driven. The car also was not as described, it had a leaky rear diff, a very erratic idle, its rear tires were shot, and its paint was in sad shape. I renegotiated the price and my mechanic friend drove it home because I hadn’t learned to drive a manual transmission yet!

How the engine bay looked when I picked it up
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Driving it through a toll booth in Florida.
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The ride home was uneventful, and my mechanic buddy drove it hard and enjoyed every minute of it! He actually told me if I hadn’t bought the car, he would have purchased it himself!
Got the car back home and learned how to drive it. At this point I will rattle off it’s entire list of mods that the car had prior to my ownership:
Clear Cobra headlights with clear side markers, HID kit in headlights and foglights, 18x10 and 18x9 Anthracite Fr500wheels, sequential taillight kit, OEM Export side view mirrors, 1.5 Kenne Bell Supercharger, Snow Performance stage II methanol injection kit, 03-04 COP conversion installed with brand new motorcraft coils, Mishimoto radiator, Moroso coolant reservoir, BBK cold air intake, Lightning 90mm maf, 42lb injectors, 255lpf fuel pump, Ram HDX clutch, Ford racing clutch quadrant, BBK offroad h pipe, flowmaster catback, Tokico Illumina adjustable front/rear shocks and struts, Steeda cc plates, Steeda progressive rate lowering springs, Steeda upper and lower control arms, freshly installed Moog balljoints w/new inner outer tie rods, and Aluminum driveshaft, black interior conversion, autometer guage cluster pod w boost gauge and coolant temp gauge, blue led interior light conversion, JVC head unit/cd player, ‘98 center console, mach 1 aluminum pedal kit, steeda tri ax short shifter, billet headlight knob, ‘01 cobra seats, ‘03 cobra shift knob. Bunch of little odds and ends…


Then we began troubleshooting it. First I cured the erratic idle with a new TPS sensor, easy fix. Then it needed new rear tires, it was terrifying to drive in the rain. A new set of sumitomo tires, helped a lot in the rain, but are admittedly lacking in the dry traction department. Oh well its pretty fun spinning tires into third gear anyway! We drained and filled the rear diff with fresh fluid and friction modifier as well.
Changing the diff fluid.

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Also I removed the rear dogbone at this time.
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New Tires
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I could tell the car’s drivability was a bit lacking, and the power wasn’t as strong as I thought it should be. So I scheduled a dyno session at Kurgan Motorsports on 11-10-11. On the dyno, after some tuning, it put down 335rwhp at 5psi! Another thing that we noticed on the dyno was a huge meth leak, the line had been cut and leaked like crazy at WOT! Kurgan fixed the leaky line and retuned the meth injection. I went from using a gallon of meth a week, to maybe a gallon per 3-4 weeks! Kurgan and I determined that the missing boost was due to the underdrive crankshaft pulley, so I had him leave a conservative street tune at 5psi and went home that day determined to save up enough cash for a retune. Kurgan also told me I was getting some spark blowout above 5500rpms and suggested ngk tr6 spark plugs gapped at .030 for my setup. I went ahead and installed the spark plugs myself and saved up for a retune session. A couple months later I was back, Kurgan installed a oem crankshaft pulley on it and swapped the 11psi blower pulley for a 10psi pulley on my request. He also installed a oem ford lightning IAT sensor in the intake manifold in order to get accurate, post-blower IAT readings so that the computer pulls/adds timing to the tune as needed. This is extremely important in running a kenne bell on a b head 4v!! It prevents detonation even under heat-soaked conditions, or in the case of bad fuel, or any other reason. I told him I wanted a conservative, safe, street tune, I wasn’t worried with max numbers, I wanted a safe, reliable tune for my DD. With the meth and a full 10psi I hit 372rwhp/352tq on the third dyno pull of the day. I was more than pleased as it was so much of an improvement over my old npi gt. It now had a perfect AFR, nice straight, dyno-proven powerband. It is also worth noting that this is tuned for 93 octane, no cheap stuff, gotta pay to play! I keep an eye on my IAT by using a sct product that mounts to the windshield and displays live IAT, as well many other engine parameters.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvTK_FqwkDg&feature=g-upl
This video is the initial dyno run, you can even see the massive meth leak if you view full screen!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCIU5FQ5VHs&feature=plcp
This video shows a short pull after I got it tuned the second time.
Ready to be dynoed.
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After the first dyno, I started using boost juice.
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First dyno sheet. 5psi!
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Second dyno sheet, much smoother, no spark blowout. 9-10psi
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the.greg

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IAT monitor
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Many months later, around April 2012, my t45 started slipping out of gear, I researched my options. I wanted a t56 swap, but that was pretty expensive and I honestly love how a t45 shifts. I decided to have it rebuilt by The t45 Source, a company out of Ohio. I pulled the transmission and sent it off, turns out the syncros were shot. At this time I pulled the Ram HDX clutch which still had plenty of life left, but I decided I wanted all new parts in my driveline.
Got t45 out. Did it in the driveway with some friends. I'm honestly not much of a mechanic and this was a real pain to do in the driveway!
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My basement after the t45 drop.
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I was very proud to have done this on jackstands! I'm on the right.
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After pulling the clutch I realized that I had a stock flywheel, (the previous owner had told me that it had a Ram aluminum flywheel installed!! I was furious!) so I ponied up and ordered a new Fidanza aluminum flywheel and installed it and my new Ram HDX clutch. I received the t45 back and my buddies and I installed it, in the driveway on jackstands! This sucked too! I also installed new Ford Racing pilot bearing and throwout bearing. Also at this time I realized my rear u joint was shot, so I installed a new heavy duty unit from napa.
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This shows the driveshaft safety loop and the aluminum driveshaft.
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Whoops, snapped this bolt off...
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Tri ax, speedcal
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New Fidanza flywheel.
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Old stock flywheel.
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Couldn’t get it to drive right, I could tell something was wrong, but had no idea what; drove to the front of the neighborhood and turned back around. The clutch could not be adjusted correctly with the Ford racing clutch quadrant, so I ordered a new 2 hook unit from Promotion and a new firewall adjuster and installed them and was able to correctly adjust the clutch. I had driven the car 26 miles when I took it to a shop for an alignment. Well, they called me and asked if I had problems shifting the car, I said, “No, why?†They said it had jammed in reverse when they tried to back it off the alignment rack! I was in the middle of a move from GA to NC so I had to rent a uhaul trailer and tow it to NC. Thank goodness my brother has a ‘99 GMC Sierra that never has any issues and could tow it!
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I brought it to NC and contacted The t45 Source who agreed to take a look at it and covered shipping for free. I highly recommend the t45 source, they have worked with me to determine exactly what my transmission needs are, and always have excellent customer service. Now I’m just waiting to get it back and reinstall it.
 
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the.greg

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Also somewhere during my time of ownership I replaced my rear brake pads, front brake pads(Hawk HPS pads), and front rotors, fuel filter, flushed the coolant system twice, replaced all coolant hoses with Gates units, and changed the thermostat to a higher quality 180 degree unit.
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It is still very-much a work in progress, but mechanically it is now at a point I am pleased with, next I need to focus on the paint!
It still shows pretty well from a distance.
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the.greg

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Future plans are to have it repainted, probably will stick with Crystal White, but also I am considering Bright Atlantic Blue, or Competition Orange. I also would like to have the rear end built, ideally I'd like some 31 spline axles and carrier, and swap my 4.10 gears for some 3.55 or maybe 3.73 because honestly this car gets no traction and if I ever take it to the dragstrip I think I will have to shift into 5th with my current setup.

I also just purchased a set of 2 17x9 cobra r wheels with nitto 555R 275/40?/17 so when I get the t45 back in I can go to the dragstrip and my goal is 12s.
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Probably still have 90% tread life, got them for a steal, 200$!
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I'm not a fan of racing at the dragstrip though so I may only go once, I just don't care for it. This car is only meant to be a fun daily driver, I do not put much emphasis in dyno #s or 1/4mile times honestly.
 

Cpotts13

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Wow!!! sweet build. if you dont mind me asking, how much did you pick this beast up for???
 
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the.greg

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I bought the car for 7900$, but since then Ive spent a fair bit more fixing it up!
 
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the.greg

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Thats a sweet deal. Nice build. what rebuild package did you go with from t45 source?
Yeah its been a nice budget build. I just went with the street level rebuild. I called the owner, Zak, and we discussed my needs. Since I don't try to shift above 6200-6500rpms and with my relatively low hp, he said there was no need to go with the higher level rebuilds which are more suited to shifting at 7000+rpms. Since I had to send it back, he upgraded it for free with a new prototype piece he is developing to hopefully prevent t45s from jamming in reverse. Zak is a real nice guy to deal with. I highly recommend him.
 

belber095

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nice build man! it's nice to see this snake getting the treatment it deserves
 

justinschmidt1

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Sweet ride...that blower must not be very efficient to only make that power on 10 psi with a 4v though.
 
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the.greg

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Sweet ride...that blower must not be very efficient to only make that power on 10 psi with a 4v though.
Yeah that is the nature of kenne bell and b head 4v. You lose timing due to IATs so fast you never make good peak numbers. My dyno numbers were on the third dyno pull on a 78degree day. On a nice cool day I'm sure its pushing very near 400 before heatsoak. I only gained 40hp going from 5psi to 9-10psi because of the extra IAT. It is what it is, I am very familiar with these 4v kbs(1.5 1.7 & 2.1) and everyone heatsoaks and and power ranges from 350-420rwhp depending on supporting mods. One guy custom mounted a intercooler on a 1.5 that he built into the kenne bell intake and hit 500 with forged internals and 14psi, but his intercooler really didn't look well-crafted. Still its a fun street car, should be good for mid 12s with a tire and driver.
 

justinschmidt1

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Ya I'm sure its a fun street car....just suprised a 4v only makes that power.... hands kb 2v made like 405 rwhp on 10 psi
 
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the.greg

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I can't honestly say how it compares to other quick cars because the fastest car I've driven besides my cobra was a 2011 gt stock, which isn't that fast anyway. Mine tends to "feel" faster than it is because I have 4.10 gears with the kenne bell. Plus I have only driven it on sumitomos so Ive never been able to go WOT in first or second gear without the tires breaking loose. I just got a set of nitto 555r so hopefully I can make a new acceleration video or go to the track and see how much they help when I get my t45 back in the next week or so.

I have pulled a e39 m5 pretty easy on the highway, but they aren't anything special. I also ran a new m6, but I don't think he was in "M" mode so really not a fair test either. He would not pull over or roll down the window to talk, I wanted to ask if he had engaged "M" mode or not,bmw drivers... He did look shocked.
 

duh09

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You have my old seats! I'm pretty sure I've brought it up before but yeah. I logged quite a few miles in those bad boys.
 
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the.greg

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You have my old seats! I'm pretty sure I've brought it up before but yeah. I logged quite a few miles in those bad boys.
Yeah I know! They are one of my favorite features of the car. Pretty darn comfortable for oem seats imo.
 

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