Meet Rachel - Crystal White 98 Cobra Convertible Build

96GT226410

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Here's a build/maintenance thread for my Crystal White 1998 Cobra Convertible...


My name is Jay and I live in New Jersey. I've been a fan of Mustangs since I saw a poster of a white 96 S281 convertible. I've had four Mustangs previously, and Rachel is my fifth. I've always been hooked on the original SN95'S. The rounded body is just a beautiful car and it can be made to look so mean! My soon-to-be 10 year old son loves Mustangs like me and I bought this with the hopes of working on it with him to get him familiarized with working on cars and one day passing this down to him.


I purchased Rachel in March of 2017 from a guy in Virginia sight unseen for $2,000. It had a rod knock, 118,xxx miles, zero rust, and the only mod was a JLT intake. I paid $450 to get it shipped to me in New Jersey. She was pretty clean, everything worked, and the chassis was very clean without any rust, you could even see the Ford part numbers on the mufflers. Here's a couple pictures of when I first got it.
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96GT226410

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My plans as of now for this Mustang is a weekend car with 500 RWHP that's easy to drive. I love the look of the B head intake manifold so I'll probably go with a centrifugal supercharger down the road to meet my power goal. I don't have the funds to rebuild my engine right now so in an effort to get it running sooner I bought a 95 Mark VIII engine with 110,000 miles on it for $250. For the swap I reused the complete Cobra intake with fuel rails, injectors, and IMRC's, spark plug wires, coil packs, oil pan, oil pump pickup, AC compressor, PS pump, water pump nipple, coolant bypass, heater core fittings in the back of the heads, and knock sensors. I bought FRPP stainless shortys (welded the AIR system bungs shut), Joe G. 170° thermostat, water pump, alternator, tensioner, idler, a serpentine belt, rear main seal, Ford pilot bearing, Fidanza 6 bolt rebuildable aluminum flywheel, and a Ford throwout bearing. I cleaned my intake manifold and IMRC's while everything was apart.
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96GT226410

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One of the IMRC cable ends snapped while I was putting everything back together so I used a universal throttle cable end and it snapped back in place. I also forgot to mention that I welded stainless nuts to the back of the exhaust manifold to make assembly go smoother. Dropped the engine and transmission back in in September and started her up.
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96GT226410

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Once I got everything in I promptly found a coolant leak in the crossover. I took it back out and replaced the O-rings again. After that I installed a TriAx shifter with a Cobra shift knob from CJ Pony Parts, rear bumper cover letters, SVT cluster logo, a Raxiom plug and play sequential tail light kit, and LED license plate bulbs with new lenses.
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96GT226410

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Next I wet sanded, compounded, and sealed my headlights. They look so much better. Eventually I'm going to replace them with a two piece smoked set that I'll retrofit with HID's from The Retrofit Source. I replaced the front and rear pads and rotors after that. While cleaning the interior I did the fog light repinning to have the fog lights on with the parking lights. I also found the owner's manual, SVT manual, and original window sticker (that I later laminated).
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96GT226410

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Thanks, guys. It's been fun so far...

I have a set of 2" lowering springs in my garage awaiting install. I want to get some more suspension parts before I install those. I also picked up a set of FRPP 3.73's and cluster LED's. Hopefully I'll be able to get more done to her this spring. My next mods are going to be a catback and an SCT X4 tuner and then I'll get it inspected. For now Rachel is sitting in my driveway under a cover getting started once a week.
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96GT226410

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Nice job, love threads like these.
Thanks. I had to sell my last Mustang, a 96 GT, to get married. I was a dealer tech at a Chrysler/Jeep dealership and when the auto recession hit in 2007/2008 I wasn't making enough money to pay for the wedding so I had to sell her. PI swapped 96 GT with 70mm throttle body, K&N intake, BBK O/R H pipe, Flowmaster catback, and dyno tuned. It made 260.7 RWHP and 302.0 RWTQ... She was the one who actually bought this Mustang for me, I've got a keeper. The Mustang I had before that was another 96 GT. It was a pretty stock deep violet coupe. I was driving on back roads when it started to snow and I touched the double yellow lines where there was snow sticking to the roads, started to slide, and I thought I could save it. Well, I did not save it. I know I should've just got off the gas, but I was young and dumb. Anyway, here's some pictures of them...
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Dontilgon

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Next I wet sanded, compounded, and sealed my headlights. They look so much better. Eventually I'm going to repeat them with a two piece smoked set that I'll retrofit with HID's from The Retrofit Source. I replaced the front and rear pads and rotors after that. While cleaning the interior I did the fog light repinning to have the fog lights on with the parking lights. I also found the owner's manual, SVT manual, and original window sticker (that I later laminated). View attachment 1460363View attachment 1460364View attachment 1460365View attachment 1460366View attachment 1460367View attachment 1460368View attachment 1460369View attachment 1460370View attachment 1460371

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Re-pinning lights?
 

Tillerman77

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Wow - great work on Rachel. I like the innovative fix for the broken IMRC cable end. Your before and after pictures on the headlight restoration remind me that I need to do that on my 97.
 

Samsred04gt

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Awesome project. I have 2 daughters and my oldest who is 13 used to go to car shows with me and hang out with me while I was tinkering with my stangs but now she has no interest anymore. I would love to do a project stang with one of my kids but I dont think that will ever happen. I was just telling a guy a few months ago that the sn-95 cobras are the best project mustang out there cause they look awesome and its crazy how cheap you can get them. I love the new edge mustangs but after that I would take a black sn-95 cobra over anything current
 

96GT226410

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Awesome project. I have 2 daughters and my oldest who is 13 used to go to car shows with me and hang out with me while I was tinkering with my stangs but now she has no interest anymore. I would love to do a project stang with one of my kids but I dont think that will ever happen. I was just telling a guy a few months ago that the sn-95 cobras are the best project mustang out there cause they look awesome and its crazy how cheap you can get them. I love the new edge mustangs but after that I would take a black sn-95 cobra over anything current
I bet your daughters will like a project Mustang once it's done. And I agree with you about the SN95 Cobra's.

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buddha93

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Awesome thread man. Love this stuff, just shows what you can do with a little creative thinking and working guys budget........not to mention the ability to turn a wrench!
 

96GT226410

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Awesome thread man. Love this stuff, just shows what you can do with a little creative thinking and working guys budget........not to mention the ability to turn a wrench!
Yeah, I don't have much into her at all. I'm happy where she is. I'm getting ready to start making some purchases, though. Brenspeed for my X4, catback, some fox shocks and struts, and Maximum Motorsports subframe connectors and caster camber plates are what I'll be ordering soon and when it gets warm out they'll be going on.

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