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Thread: Internet Lore vs Results, A few things I learned that I thought I'd share

  1. #1

    Internet Lore vs Results, A few things I learned that I thought I'd share

    My car was made street legal only recently, so not really a great deal of seat time yet. Take my words with a grain of salt. I'm planning to drive her in GelCoat for a few months while I try to find the right body and paint guy. But.. it occurred to me that some of the things the "internet" told me.. simply were not true.. or.. were at least over exaggerated. So.. I thought I'd share what I have found as a result of my build. The idea being anybody else who finds themselves pondering a few of these questions as they plan and build... might benefit from what I found. Pay it forward if you will.

    Since context is everything... obviously the details of my build, my driving style and typical use of my car will matter.

    Like so many of us here.. it'll be no surprise to anybody to learn I've been a "gear head" most of my life. Wrenching on cars in various forms since the mid 80s. Motor rebuilds, transmissions, rear-end.. brake... Superchargers.. you know..GearHead stuff. I'm the guy my friends call when they have a car issue. My daily driver is 18 years old, because I don't sweat fixing things that break. Also, like many of us.. I've been a fan of the Shelby Cobra since I fist saw one at a big car show when I was about 9. Saved up my $$$ and snagged me an F5 Mk4. Lets do this thing I said!!

    It's a budget build staring with the base kit. Not to be mistaken for a "cheap" build mind you. I have a tight budget, and I try to keep as close to it as possible. But.. I also believe in spending the necessary money for the "right" part, not the "cheapest" part. In other words... I try to spend a great deal of time researching and learning about the various options and choices, and try to make the "best" decision based on my main concerns... the right part.. for the right price.

    It has a 302 from a 99 Explorer. Explorer accessories. GT40p heads. Weiand Stealth Intake. Summit Racing 600CFM Vac Secondary Carb. E303 Cam. F5 BBK 4into4 headers. F5 side pipes. T5z transmission. 4-wheel disks. Vacuum Power Brakes. Power Steering (cut spring mod). 8.8 with 3.55 gears and F5 3-link. SN95 5-stud Axles. F5 Konis coil-overs all around. F5 front lower control arms. SN95 Spindles. 17" FR500 wheels. 315 rears, 275 fronts. SpeedHut gauges. Universal Roadster Wiring Harness from Speedway.

    This car is going to be a mostly street car, with a few AutoX events each year. But.. really.. I'm going to drive this car around town, to and from work (yes, I'm going to commute it). to the store. The odd out-of-town trip with my wife for a weekend getaway. I'm too old and wise (haha... yeah right) to drive this car like a would have in my younger years.. trying to prove something. In short... a driver. This is my dream car, and I want to drive it!!

    Caveat: The following are my opinions.. and not to be mistaken for expert facts... oh no.. I just realized.. I'm adding to "Internet Lore". haha.. oh well.

    1. Nothing wrong with Vacuum Secondary Carbs. If like me, you've researched and researched and googled for "best carb for 302 with GT40p heads and mild cam".. you've come across countless threads here, and on the other form about how our cars are so light, a mechanical 2ndary carb is the better choice. I'm willing to accept that is true. In fact, I'm sure it is true. But I can tell you right now, the vac secondary carb I have works perfectly, feels butter smooth, has no issues creating plenty of power and just feels perfectly fine in all typical driving situations and when slamming the loud pedal. I'll grant I've not raced my car yet.. but I've stood on the loud-pedal plenty of times... and I feel nothing but crisp response and smooth power from this carb. I do not for a second regret going with a Vac Secondary carb.

    2. Noting wrong with the E303 cam. The mustang forums seem to all agree. Ditch the dinosaur Ford Alphabet cams... and go get a TFS stage 1 cam. The B303, E303, F303 cams.. don't waste your money on them!! Just do the TFS cam and that's final. Or better yet, a custom grind!! Again.. I'll grant.. I'm sure the TFS1, the CompCamps.. Lunati cams are indeed a far superior cam in many ways. I'm sure the split-pattern is a benefit on a 302. I'm sure if put side by side on a dyno, it would out perform the Alphabet cams by ford. But.. the idea that the dinosaur cams are actually junk.. is flat out wrong. Well. at least if we're talking about the one I have (E303). In my setup, it has a nice loppy idle.. something I won't deny I was looking for. And pulls like a freight train well past 6000rpm easily. I don't actually know where my redline is yet because it just seems to keep pulling. It's power feels linear and smooth during gentle roll-ons anywhere above 1200rpm. Start going bast 2500 and it's really winding up. At 50mph in 5th gear, I'm spinning 1500rpm, and this cam still feels just fine for driving around. It doesn't feel like I'm in the wrong gear at all for just cruizin. No issue putting more gas pedal down to pass someone. It's easy to drive around parking lots with low rpms high-vac situation. It produces plenty of vacuum to power my brake booster. The main reason I went with the E303 though is because I got it for less than 1/2 price. Bought it used from the Corral forum and it was in fantastic condition. I know not everybody is willing to buy a used cam.. but I was. The price of the E303 new and a TFS1 new is pretty close mind you. But, the E303 new is quite a few $$ less than a Lunati or Custom grind. I'm just sayin'... I do not regret going with the E303 one bit. I got the performance I wanted, at a price I wanted to pay.

    3. The Stock F5 side pipes are not "THAT" loud. This one I'll grant is quite a bit more subjective... with just around town high-vacuum crusing, or highway crusing.. the stock F5 side pipes are not that loud at all. Yeah... when you press down the gas pedal, they bark pretty loud. In a good way if you ask me!! But.. if you drive like I do, that's only for a short shot up to speed. Not a big issue IMO. Then.. throw it up a gear and just driving around. Not too loud. Highway speeds (70-80).. again.. not really loud if you're just cruizin' . Like many have said... the wind noise and traffic noise seems to be much louder than the pipes. Do I see myself perhaps one day retrofitting something more quiet? Honestly .. no. That is.. unless I fail the decibel meter test at the AutoX.. but until then. I'm good with the stock pipes.

    4. 315 rear tires on 17" FR500 wheels can fit with SN95 axles and disk brakes. This one will also be ride-height subjective. How much gap you like between the edge of the wheel well and your tire. How much space between the edge of the tire, and the edge of the fender lip. I happen to not like the slammed look.. nor do I like tires tucked way under the fenders. I like to see the whole wheel with an even gap. I have about 1.5" gaps on mine, and I'm loving how it looks to me so far. I have the ride height set to just shy of 4" out front, and just over 4 out back. I also have the Koni coil-overs all around, and the upgraded 3-link rear. I have no doubt those helps. The edge of the fender and the edge of the tire are almost flush, but not quite. The tire sits just a little bit inside. So, if you're building a "street" car, this combo can fit without rubbing even on reasonably quick corners. Now... what is going to happen when I go to my first AutoX? We'll see.. and I'll amend this post with my results. I won't be surprised if I find some rubbing. But.. on the street? It's fine.

    5. 275 front tires on 17" FR500 wheels "can" fit with SN95 spindles. Emphasis on the word "can". These tires are not small. I had to put steering rack limiters to keep from hitting my F-Panels on full-lock turns. And they sit just a bit past flush with the outside edge of the wheel well. Might not be everyones favorite look. When the day comes I need new front, I think I might try 255s. We'll see though. That said, I've not managed to induce any rubbing yet with just street driving. Like the rears, I have about a 1.5" gap tire to fender lip. Like the rears, I don't know what to expect at AutoX. Once again, I won't be surprised if I find some rubbing on the track. On the street though? So far.. just fine. You'll have to be OK with the tires sticking out just past the fender though. Doesn't bother me yet. We'll see what time tells.


  2. #2
    ... cont

    6. The Forward Leaning Gear Shiftier arm for the stock T5 is absolutely perfectly fine to drive with. This one I think is not so much lore, as just my paranoia. I was worried that the shift pattern not being a flat front to back, but rather a slight angled front low to back high.. would be awkward and strange to drive. I wondered if it would be easy to get used to, or if it would just feel strange going from my other 5spd car to this one. Turns out.. it's perfectly fine. In fact, I don't even notice the slight up-down to the shifting at all. I spent lots of time looking at "forward" shift linkage setups, coming up with a couple of designs, looking at the S10 tail-shaft mod... etc .. etc... and in the end just said.. "don't change anything.. just try it first". I'm glad I did. I love the look since it's more period correct, and I'm telling you, it feels totally fine to shift with. Now.. I did do a couple of minor mods to my shifter. I put in 1/2" spacers to push it a little closer to the driver, and I used the lower 2 holes to mount the F5 shifter. My not-stock shifter from D&D came with 3 holes for the shifter to bolt to. I just cut off the top hole, and used the bottom two. Not sure if that's common here or not.

    7. Solid Engine Mounts don't make it unbearable. In an effort to keep costs down, and to get the engine low enough to leave plenty of hood room (these are 3/4" lowering mounts), as well as try to prevent the side-pipes from moving around.. I chose to go with a pair of sold engine mounts. Like the others things in this post... this one is pretty subjective too. I'll admit, at idle with that lopy cam, the car does shake a bit. But.. I won't say it's the kind of shake that is uncomfortable or annoying. Just something I'd say I can feel when at a stop light. The kind of shake where I notice it and say to myself "oh yeah, solid mounts". But.. once you're moving... I feel nothing. .. that is.. the rest of the ride is already so loud (wind noise) and bumpy (f5 coilovers) that the NVH added by the solid mounts.. just isn't noticeable. These solid mounts I got off of ebay for $45, so really quite a bit cheaper than urethane ones. For those worried about stressing my trans, don't worry, I'm using the stock rubber trans mount.

    8. 300(ish) HP is plenty for a street driver. I'll grant that I've not been on a dyno yet, so only butt-dyno numbers to go by... but I can tell you that it's plenty for this lightweight beast. Like most of us, I'm no stranger to high-HP cars. I'll admit I didn't think 300 would be enough. Didn't think it would quite have the get-up-and-go that I wanted. I figured i'd drive it as is for a couple of years, and plan to upgrade to a 351 one day. I thought it would be fine, but didn't know it would be better than fine. Seriously.. again.. for a street car... a 302 with some trivial bolt-ons and a cam. Fun as fun can be!! I have zero regrets going with the motor combo I have.

    9. You don't need an Air Pop Rivet gun or Clecos! Sure.. they do make it easier if you have them, but I can tell you now, using a medium quality hand-pop-rivet-gun and the self-taping screws that the kit comes with, works fine, and is not difficult to work with. If you're battling with the idea of spending $$ on clecos.. don't bother with them. You'll be just fine without them.

    10. TBA

    Ok.. there's my 02c to share. So.. what do you guys think? anybody have some good "Internet Lore vs Actual Results" they want to share?
    Last edited by skidd; 03-29-2018 at 10:12 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CraigS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Manassas, Va.
    RE: tire sizes. Since you have a solid axle you may be glad to know that usually the tire hitting the fender is over straight line bumps w/ a full tank and passenger. In an autocross the tire will slide up inside the fender just fine. In a turn, think about the axle pivoting around the point where the panhard bar crosses the center of the diff cover. The top of the tire actually moves inward in a turn. On the front, if you start hitting, just crank in some more negative camber. Yeah, you will wear out the inside of the tire first. But you will still get 8-10000 miles out of a tire like a 555G2. I run 3 deg all the time and it is time to get my front tires flipped on the wheels. You can also go to stiffer front springs. Not sure what you have now but 650s in the front have a surprisingly small effect on ride. I really like your plan to drive it. W/ that in mind be careful about your painter. You will obviously have gotten the gaps for all the doors and stuff worked out by then. Learn how to adjust the doors and the body mounts under the rocker area to get the doors as flush as possible. Find someone who has fiberglass experience, read all the threads here to educate yourself about how to deal w/ the mold joints, and tell him you want a driver quality job. Pick standard 2 stage colors and maybe even skip stripes as they are quite labor intensive. You are now starting on the best part of owning an FFR. Have a blast!!!!
    FFR MkII, 408W, Tremec TKO 500, 2015 IRS, DA QA1s, Forte front bar, APE hardtop.

  4. #4
    Unconventional Builder Joee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Hatboro PA
    Re #6 Shifter, while I agree it is manageable for driving there are some drawbacks that I experienced, mostly race related. I personally could not get the shifts I wanted in 1/4 mi. The way I am driving bouncing around in AutoX once in a while my right elbow would knock it out of 2nd gear by simply bumping it. However there is no need for a TKO mid shift trans if you are just going to street drive your car.
    ** SOLD 4/8/18 ** Roadster Mk3 5294, 302 Comp XE276HR cam, AFR 185 heads, 650 Quick fuel carb, Air Gap intake, T-5 3.55 gear Levy Upper & Lower Front and Rear control arms Purch Jan 2008 Tagged Mar 2012 Best ET 12.14 @113
    YouTube Videos: Current performance - Older build - My Pics:

  5. #5
    Thanks for posting. Good stuff.

    RE #3 - It took me 1000 miles before I figured out the FFR pipes were to loud.
    Miles 1-600 -who cares how loud it is? this thing is freaking awesome!!!!!!
    600-800 - The pipes are starting to annoy me
    800-900 - MY ears are starting to hurt after 30+ minutes drives
    900-1000 - I gotta get rid of these freaking pipes. They are killing my enjoyment of the car!
    Your mileage may vary.
    MK4 #8900 - complete kit - Coyote, TKO600, IRS - Delivered 6/28/16 First Start 10/6/16 Go cart - 10/16/16 Build completed - 4/26/17 - 302 days to build my 302 CI Coyote Cobra - Registered and street legal 5/17/17
    Build Thread
    PHIL 4:13 INSTAGRAM - @scottscobra

  6. #6
    Senior Member MPTech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    St. Louis, MO
    Blog Entries
    My engine setup is similar to what you've built and I don't have a strong disagreement about anything you stated, but a couple things can be better.
    I also agree with Craig, driving it is the best part!

    1. Carb: I'm running a '95 302 with GT40-EFI Intake, GT-40P ported heads, and an FMS F-cam. Just shy of 290-hp to the wheels and it's a LOT of fun! My first auto-cross this year was a blast and I was running upper mid-pack of about 18 Cobras, first time out. Really handled well! (Can't really comment on the Vac Secondary carb).
    2. Cam: my F-Cam has the same lope you described and I enjoy it. Also running vacu-PB & PS (with a Heidts valve for tuning, I recommend it)
    3. Sidepipes: I originally had the stock FFR sidepipes (with 4-into-4 headers) and this wasn't bad, but 3 years ago I switched to the Gas-N polished SS sidepipes and the tone is much better. But even with the Stock ones, I never thought the noise was harsh. As you said wind and road noise on the highway are worse!
    4. 315's rear: I'm running 315s in the rear, but with the IRS, so my experience is a little different. I did add 3/8 wheel spacers to bring them out just a touch. With 2 men and a full tank of gas, I have hit dips on the hi-way and rubbed a bit.
    5. 275's front: In the front I'm running 245's on SN95 spindles and haven't noticed an issue, except rubbing the F-Panels. And the 245s don't protrude from the fender.
    6. Gear Shift: I'm also running a T5, but converted to the S10-midshift and an MGW short-shifter. I've driven a couple stock gear-shift forward FFRs, the shifting is OK, but I prefer mine. Short and VERY smooth.
    7. Solid Engine mount: I installed the Energy Suspension motor & transmission mounts. Stiffer than stock, but as you said above idle, you really don't notice. You stated your mounts lowered it 3/4", does your oil pan hang below the frame rails? That would be my bigger concern.

    I drove mine in Gelcoat the first summer and highly recommend it. Gives you time and to identify and workout the bugs before mounting the body after paint. I think I put almost 5k miles on it the first summer! I couldn't stop driving it
    F5R #7446: MK4, 302, T5 midshift, 3.55 Posi IRS, 17" Halibrands
    Delivered 4/4/11, First start 9/29/12, Licensed 4/24/13, off to PAINT 2/15/14!! Wahoo!

  7. #7
    @CraigS. I'm going with a non-metalic gray & black stripes and silver pin-stripes. Hopefully not a hard combo to shoot... and yeah.. driving has a perma-grin on my face! Love winter in South Texas.
    @Joee. I can totally see how trying to get quick shifts in the 1/4 could be an issue. I suspect AutoX will be ok. Our tracks never exceed 60mph in Corvettes. 2nd gear and go.
    @wareagle. I sure hope your wrong! lol But I did plan to wear ear plugs even just for the wind noise for longer than average drives.
    @MPTech. I haven't been on a dyno yet, but I agree... more than enough power for my needs so far. My oil pan is pretty much at the exact level of my frame tubes. Actually, I had to put 2 small 1/4" spacers back into the mounts to raise the motor up just a hair more. The only thing that just hangs down a little is the oil drain plug. But, it's not a standard one, it's a low profile one that requires an allen head socket. I'm thinking about putting a pair of frame sliders on the frame tubes just in case.

  8. #8
    I'm a little confused on this site, I'm trying to advertise my business but I don't know where to start a post thread. somebody help please.

    ADMIN EDIT: PM Sent...
    Last edited by Replica Builder VIP; 01-11-2018 at 08:34 PM.

  9. #9
    Could not agree more on the E303 cam.
    My second Cobra (FFR MK II which now lives in Bul Verde, TX with my best friend) had a 5.0 with GT40 heads and an E303 cam.That combo sounds awesome and pulls like a big block.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Northern VA

    We have so much in common here. Our builds are quite similar and built with the same mentality; "not what is cheapest, what works best for the dollar". I only have 200 miles on my car (still in gelcoat) so take this with a grain of salt.

    I too have a motor I pulled from the mercury mountaineer with the gt40p heads. I did a b303 and have a 600 cfm quickfuel vac secondary on it. This is my first carb'd car so I don't know any better, but when I am WOT, it pulls like a freight train. I still have tuning to do with my Innovate LM-2 once the weather warms up here.

    I couldn't agree more about the side pipes. When cruising or being light footed on the throttle, I was expected almost unbearable noise. But, no. My wife and I can chat and it hasn't really bothered me too much. When you lay into the throttle, it sounds amazing. And yes, loud.

    When it comes to the SN-95 spindles, I used those up front also. I did use Breeze's offset bushings to center and lower the rack a little bit. I have not noticed any bump steer.

    I found a deal on new unused energy suspension engine mounts, so I used those. My car shakes at idle, after that it's fine.

    Glad to hear we have had a similar experience. I have kept very close track to how much I spent, and I am really pleased with the car I put together. I would say some great advice to new builders is that it is absolutely OK to keep it simple.

  11. #11
    You may find that you like the FFR side pipes less as you put miles on the car. The glass pack gets blown out fairly quickly. I cut in a set of Flowmaster Slimline mufflers (used an old set of FFR stainless steel side pipes to get the 4 pipe front and the tailpipe. Much nicer sound for most times and still loud when you really get on it.

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