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  1. #1
    Crazy SVT Poster myslowstang's Avatar
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    What are the basic upgrades to road race an 03/04 Cobra?

    I have a basicly stock 03 Cobra and I'd like to try a little road racing. The only upgrades I have are an upper pulley, SFC's, and a coilover kit (using stock struts). I know cooling can be a big issue so my main concern is my upper pulley. Is a 2.8" upper pulley too much for a track event? Should I put a larger pulley on for track days to help with heat soak? Anything else you guys recommend? I'll only be doing this once or twice a year so I don't want to go way over the top, just the basic stuff.

    Thanks in advance for the help!

  2. #2
    SVT God racebronco2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by myslowstang View Post
    I have a basicly stock 03 Cobra and I'd like to try a little road racing. The only upgrades I have are an upper pulley, SFC's, and a coilover kit (using stock struts). I know cooling can be a big issue so my main concern is my upper pulley. Is a 2.8" upper pulley too much for a track event? Should I put a larger pulley on for track days to help with heat soak? Anything else you guys recommend? I'll only be doing this once or twice a year so I don't want to go way over the top, just the basic stuff.

    Thanks in advance for the help!
    Do a search for cooling mods and brake upgrades.


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  3. #3
    Schooler of idiots RDJ's Avatar
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    are your SFCs full length and weld in? if not I would replace them with ones that are

  4. #4
    Crazy SVT Poster myslowstang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racebronco2 View Post
    Do a search for cooling mods and brake upgrades.
    Are you suggesting that I do every single cooling mod to just run a few times a year? That seems a bit over the top.
    I think I'll be ok on the brakes. I'll be bring an extra set of brake pads and rotors. I'm not trying to break records, I just wanna have a little fun.


    Quote Originally Posted by RDJ View Post
    are your SFCs full length and weld in? if not I would replace them with ones that are
    Yes full length SFCs and yes welded in.

  5. #5
    500 hp grocery getter suaveflooder's Avatar
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    Carlos is correct on this one you are about to run your car harder than it has ever been run (probably) and for as long as it's ever been run. Change all your fluid, upgrade brakes and get some cooling upgrades (hood/ and or a track tune will be your best help). If you don't have a head cooling mod, I would do that as well.


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  6. #6
    Piss on Fox Sports1 99COBRA2881's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by myslowstang View Post
    I have a basicly stock 03 Cobra and I'd like to try a little road racing. Thanks in advance for the help!
    Tighten up the nut behind the wheel first.

    Get some books they'll introduce you to the concepts of driving at speed on a race track.

    Dave Gran has a great book out called "Go ahead take the wheel" Racing on your budget. It covers alot of the ins and outs of building a road race/open track car. It has a ton of good advice and info in there.

    Any of the Ross Bentley "Speed Secrets" books are good.

    After your first few track days pick up Skip Barbers "Going Faster" book.

    Listen and be receptive to your instructors!!!

  7. #7
    Crazy SVT Poster myslowstang's Avatar
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    So I should get as many cooling mods if not all cooling mods including the head cooling mod. On top of that upgrade to brakes, and do a hood cooling mod.... Wow, it's is gonna cost way more then I was planning, maybe I should just stick with drag racing lol.

    When you say brake upgrade will upgraded pads and rotors be good enough or are you talking about upgrading the calibers too?

    I am planning on getting the car tuned shortly. I have a flip chip and was planning on getting a tune for the street, one for the drag strip, one for road racing, and one set with the rev limiter low for those valet parking times. That's also why I was asking about pulley sizes. Is a 2.8" upper too much or am I ok with that?

    For a hood cooling mod, if I just pull out the vents in the hood would that be good enough or are you talking about something else?

  8. #8
    500 hp grocery getter suaveflooder's Avatar
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    Basic just to run a track day, I would change all fluids, like you said a good set of pads, head cooling mod and run street tires. Street tires will limit you and slow you down. I've actually never run a track event, but I am in the same boat as you. Planning on running this summer

  9. #9
    SVT God wheelhopper's Avatar
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    I see you're in MD, so am I. I do about 10 track events per year and instruct with NASA and SCMC. What group are you going to do a track event with?

    If this is your first track event, your car will be fine as is. Once you get some experience you will have to make some adjustments.

    Here is what I would recomend:
    1. change your brake fluid out to a better brand. Any synthetic Dot 4 will be good for now.
    2. Check your rotors and install some better pads. Send me a PM I have a few different brands that I'll sell cheap that will work on the street and track, so you don't have to swap them out, and are much better than stock. I have outgrown them and my car is pretty much track driven only.
    3. Since you are scheduled for a tune, have your OT tune be a little on the rich side and pull a few degrees of timing, that will help keep your car cool. Excessive Motorsports, in VA, did mine and I have very happy with it.
    4. Do a general inspection and maintenance of your car. Be sure your belts and hoses are in good shape as well as brake lines and seat belts.
    5. Don't forget to have a SA rated helmet. Many organizations will not allow use of a M rated helmet.

    If you are staying close to home, the closest track is Summit Point. I'll be there with NASA in April, if your interested.

  10. #10
    Crazy SVT Poster myslowstang's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! Great info and you all have been very helpful!

  11. #11
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    Change the brake fluid, get a helmet, enjoy.
    Retired.

  12. #12
    Crazy SVT Poster Sirl's Avatar
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    Trade me your Cobra for my GT.

    My car will be much slower, and hence, much safer for you.
    Speed is not you friend. You should start out in a slower car, and build up slowly.
    My car would be perfect for you ;) ;)

    j/k. Its all been said already. Fresh fluids, good brake pads, listen to your instructor, and enjoy the hell out of it!
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  13. #13
    Crazy SVT Poster myslowstang's Avatar
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    Oh I planning on driving the wheels off of it lol. Thanks

  14. #14
    [_==[_=_][_=_3[_=_< /_=_\ mu22stang's Avatar
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    The closer to stock power, the easier these cars are on heat, obviously. I don't have problems with the heat, but I don't run in the Texas summers. My blower and pulley are stock.

    One tip, remove your hood vents. They pop right out and will make a difference in your running temperature.
    I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Cobra IRS.

    Stop installing parts and hit the tarmac.

  15. #15
    Rookie Racer TXPD's Avatar
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    first modification is to address common misconceptions. 1. open track is not racing. 2. horsepower is relative and has little to nothing to do with the amount of fun you will have either track driving or road racing. miata racing is the wildest racing short of anything professional. no hp there at all. i have a professional class mustang fr500c. i can race grand am or world challenge with my car. most of the guys that open track here have as much or more hp than i do.

    the bottom line is to have fun. safety is the first most important thing. that means taking car of stopping first. brakes and tires. make sure you have proper track grade brake fluid and fresh pads and rotors. make sure your tires are properly inflated and that your alignment fresh.

    next is to drive for yourself. there is no need to pay any attention to anyone on the race track beyond safety. you are not racing. by the time you are ready to start trying to go faster than other drivers, you will have proper belts, fire suppression and other safety gear.

    have fun and dont try and make too much out of it.

    if you want to race, there are good fox body cmc or american iron cars you can get for $5k to $8k and you dont need to mess up a perfectly good street car.

  16. #16
    Insane SVT Poster David Hester's Avatar
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    ^ I agree. There is driving fast, but safely, and there is racing.
    I built several cars over the years to do TimeTrials and road racing. Wrecked one, blew up one, got tired of one.
    Best investment I ever made, was to buy a National competitive car used and just went racing.

    I know Rob gets tired of seeing this , but this was us in 2009.

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0O5kSz1kWs"]ARRC 2009 - YouTube[/nomedia]

    You don't want to try this on a track day. ;^)
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  17. #17
    Schooler of idiots RDJ's Avatar
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    Excellent advice here. I have actually planned to spend very little on my 04 engine wise since I don't do straight line stuff. My plan has always been to beef up suspension and brakes since those are what makes going fast fun on a road course.



    Quote Originally Posted by TXPD View Post
    first modification is to address common misconceptions. 1. open track is not racing. 2. horsepower is relative and has little to nothing to do with the amount of fun you will have either track driving or road racing. miata racing is the wildest racing short of anything professional. no hp there at all. i have a professional class mustang fr500c. i can race grand am or world challenge with my car. most of the guys that open track here have as much or more hp than i do.

    the bottom line is to have fun. safety is the first most important thing. that means taking car of stopping first. brakes and tires. make sure you have proper track grade brake fluid and fresh pads and rotors. make sure your tires are properly inflated and that your alignment fresh.

    next is to drive for yourself. there is no need to pay any attention to anyone on the race track beyond safety. you are not racing. by the time you are ready to start trying to go faster than other drivers, you will have proper belts, fire suppression and other safety gear.

    have fun and dont try and make too much out of it.

    if you want to race, there are good fox body cmc or american iron cars you can get for $5k to $8k and you dont need to mess up a perfectly good street car.

  18. #18
    Crazy SVT Poster myslowstang's Avatar
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    I'm not planning on doing anything competitively, I'm just looking to have a little fun. I've been drag racing for years and I just want to try something different. If I like it that much I may end up building/buying a car for it but for now I'd just like to try it and see what it's like.

  19. #19
    Insane SVT Poster David Hester's Avatar
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    Another thing, Check out your local SCCA region. I bet they have autocrosses somewhere close. I started aurocrossing in 1984 with a couple of guys named Randy Pobst and Jeff Altenburg. I've roadraced, hillclimbed, run Time Trials and instructed for track days and driving schools for years. Did an autocross yesterday and STILL had a blast. You can learn a lot about car control and not break anything, usually. ;^)
    It's all fun.
    Your original question was basic stuff, so fresh fluids, pads, decent tires, and have fun. When I ran my Cobra, I just ran the defroster on high, and never had a problem for the 15-20 minutes sessions we got.
    Last edited by David Hester; 02-27-2012 at 09:52 AM.

  20. #20
    Crazy SVT Poster myslowstang's Avatar
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    Why run the defroster on high? Does it help dissipate engine block heat?

  21. #21
    Rookie Racer TXPD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by myslowstang View Post
    I'm not planning on doing anything competitively, I'm just looking to have a little fun. I've been drag racing for years and I just want to try something different. If I like it that much I may end up building/buying a car for it but for now I'd just like to try it and see what it's like.
    a lot of newbies come here asking about more horsepower and suspension upgrades and cooling and stuff to go faster.

    the main reason to go faster is to keep up with or go faster than someone else. with healthy brakes and good tires that are well taken care of you need nothing to have a good time at the track. thats really my advice to you.

    from experience i can tell you the more mods you do and the more adjustable you make your car the easier it is to completely mess up your fun.

    i went to scca school with a friend in the marine corp. he in his cobra with a basically stock 4.6L early cobra motor was much faster than me in my 95 cobra r race car. by our second race together he had taken his car in for a tune to increase his HP and the car never ran right after that. he was always fighting it. meanwhile my cobra r ran like a sewing machine.

    dont outsmart yourself.

  22. #22
    Crazy SVT Poster myslowstang's Avatar
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    I'm not trying to outsmart myself lol I just wanna try a different kind of racing and do it in a safe way. Since I've never been to a roadracing event I'm not really sure what to expect. This is why I'm asking you guys. My goal is not to go fast but to run my car in a safe manner. I don't want my car to over heat, I don't want to spray the track with oil/antifreeze, I don't want to injure myself or anyone else. Chances are that I'm not going to push my car to the limit because like you all have said, I'm new at this!

    Seems like most of you are saying change my fluids, brake pads and rotors, and I should be fine. I'm looking forward to my first time at the track! Hopefully it'll be sooner rather then later.
    Thanks again guys!

  23. #23
    Rookie Racer TXPD's Avatar
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    anti freeze is a no no anyway

  24. #24
    Unknown Cyborg 03 DSG Snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by myslowstang View Post
    I'm not trying to outsmart myself lol I just wanna try a different kind of racing and do it in a safe way. Since I've never been to a roadracing event I'm not really sure what to expect. This is why I'm asking you guys. My goal is not to go fast but to run my car in a safe manner. I don't want my car to over heat, I don't want to spray the track with oil/antifreeze, I don't want to injure myself or anyone else. Chances are that I'm not going to push my car to the limit because like you all have said, I'm new at this!

    Seems like most of you are saying change my fluids, brake pads and rotors, and I should be fine. I'm looking forward to my first time at the track! Hopefully it'll be sooner rather then later.
    Thanks again guys!
    Brake cooling ducts are a good place to start, as is fresh fluid/brake pads.

    Definitely don't need the head cooling mod or anything major, especially at the beginner levels. But the front brakes definitely do get hot fast stopping these heavy cars in a hurry.

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  25. #25
    Schooler of idiots RDJ's Avatar
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    one additional point. Do NOT put the emergency brake on after a track session. you will warp your roters, that will not be good.

    Quote Originally Posted by myslowstang View Post
    I'm not trying to outsmart myself lol I just wanna try a different kind of racing and do it in a safe way. Since I've never been to a roadracing event I'm not really sure what to expect. This is why I'm asking you guys. My goal is not to go fast but to run my car in a safe manner. I don't want my car to over heat, I don't want to spray the track with oil/antifreeze, I don't want to injure myself or anyone else. Chances are that I'm not going to push my car to the limit because like you all have said, I'm new at this!

    Seems like most of you are saying change my fluids, brake pads and rotors, and I should be fine. I'm looking forward to my first time at the track! Hopefully it'll be sooner rather then later.
    Thanks again guys!

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