2003 Cobra LS Swap (8/1/22 - Wiring Chassis)

Burning

Greasemonkey
Jul 9, 2020
169
93
Bardstown, KY
EDIT: Silver car has been sold, replaced by a 2003 Black Cobra


Whats up guys!

So i have my 88 Monte Carlo on hold right now so i can revive my old car again. Link Here for those who want to check it out. This thread is going to be my sanity to where i show you all the progress/questions throughout the 3rd version of this build.

Little history behind the car:
Bought the car in high school, after college decided to put a v8 in it. 1st iteration was a N/A 6.0 with a Tick stage 2 t56 on stock ecu and a standalone harness i did myself tuned on HPtuners by me. Car ran a womping 2 months like this before i had the itch to go forced induction. That brings me to round 2 of the car... SBE 5.3 with a 7875 billet turbo, car put down a little over 600 rwhp corrected on 13lbs, still through the same t56. Found a local guy selling off his t boned cobra parts so i basically has a clone at this point of a 03/04 cobra. Ended up selling it just under 6 months later to pay off a lot of debt and buy my then gf a ring. Ended up not working out with here, and here i am now with a new lady and the guy who i sold the car to listed it for sale for a already decent price.. so i messaged him and we worked out a deal I could not refuse.

Car when i sold it:
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Car when i bought it back:
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The car got bought back as a roller, all of the cobra body panels were sold during the time with the guy i sold it to originally. The built rear end was sold, the holley dominator and all the wiring was sold.... however the fuel system was still there ~ Cobra Sumped fuel tank with twin 525 lph pumps, -10AN Fragola PTFE Hose, E85 Flex Sensor, Aeromotive FPR..

First things first, come up with a plan for the car.

Requirements:
1. 800-900 RWHP Street Car
2. Aftermaket ECU w/ Digital dash
3. Auto w/ t brake so the fiance can drive it
4. Roll cage and chassis supporting mods to be able to cert to 8.50's
5. Be a FOBRA again (last on the list but i will pick up parts slowly for it)

Got the car home, decided to completely strip it down and remove all the hacked up stuff between what i have done and what the guy who had it had done. The wiring was all messed up, there was actually house hold solid wire in it in some places (not by me). Crappy roll cage was cut out and removed (Mild steel, welded by blind men).
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Car had a AC delete panel installed on it from me, decided since it will be a street car we need AC right? Removed the rivets and panels and patched those up. Sprayed a quick shot of black on it to keep from rusting or until i repaint the firewall back to body color.
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Swapped over from a vacuum booster to hydro.
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Removed the old dash, fixed all the cut up wiring and reinstalled the AC ducts.
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Then started to try and think about how to mount and the turbo (FI S488). Ultimately ended up cutting off the front end forward of the shock mounts. This opens the mounting areas up a little more, as well as opens up for a lot of opportunities to route a number of things.
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Started buying a decent amount of goodies for the car... BTR shaft rocker kit, BTR .660 springs with titanium retainers, 4" On3 Intercooler, Force Inductions 88/96 v band turbo, 10 point chromoly team Z cage, 60mm Turbosmart waste-gate, 50mm Turbosmart BOV, Holley Hooker turbo headers, Motion Raceworks E85 sensor one piece unit, FID 2300CC injectors, upgraded my fuel hat to a Fore triple 525lph pump module, 12.3" Holley digital dash, Holley dominator and wiring harnesses.

That about brings me to where the car sits today. I am waiting on my Codion tubular front end to come in so i can start mounting and routing a bunch of stuff. I have a 99-04 8.8 i got out of a car i parted out recently to that is waiting to be sent off to be shortened, straitened, braced and then assembled.

The goal is to get this car on the road sometime this fall on the SBE and then build a forged bottom end 5.3 in the winter. Still a unknown on what transmission i will run as of right now. I have a powerglide and a 4l80e sitting in the garage as we speak. I know that the 4l80e will rob some rwhp but it has overdrive, the powerglide will be a good for the power and cheaper to build but is not as forgiving on the street/highway. Thought?

Ill keep this thread updated as parts roll in or as progress allows!
 
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87National

G-Body Guru
Apr 15, 2009
613
93
eastern SD
Still a unknown on what transmission i will run as of right now. I have a powerglide and a 4l80e sitting in the garage as we speak. I know that the 4l80e will rob some rwhp but it has overdrive, the powerglide will be a good for the power and cheaper to build but is not as forgiving on the street/highway. Thought?
4l80e......no question about it. Since you are adding AC back to the car, I have to assume driveability has some value to you......its not going to be all that streetable with a 2 speed automatic. Also....rule of thumb seems to be a powerglide is best suited for sub 3000 lb cars......th400 (or 4l80e) is a better choice for the heavier cars.
 
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64nailhead

Goat Herder
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2014
4,861
113
Upstate NY
Dang, you aren't scared to jump in the deep end without a life preserver. If you ever need a hand testing any of this stuff out, then I'll pay the shipping back and forth for a 20x20x20 box for the 88/96 from Jose. You can keep the women - piece of advice - tell her the ring is in the flower bed - see if she can find it. If she is bitchin' about not being able to find it after rounding the house, then give it to her. But if she won't dig to look for it, then ..... trade up :) :)


Kidding of course - looks great and let us know how all of it turns out.
 
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Burning

Greasemonkey
Thread starter
Jul 9, 2020
169
93
Bardstown, KY
4l80e......no question about it. Since you are adding AC back to the car, I have to assume driveability has some value to you......its not going to be all that streetable with a 2 speed automatic. Also....rule of thumb seems to be a powerglide is best suited for sub 3000 lb cars......th400 (or 4l80e) is a better choice for the heavier cars.
I know that with a few supporting mods i can get the 80e to hold around that power level, but it start to get really expensive anything above 1000 rwhp. The one thing i like about the power glide is they are stupid simple to rebuild, parts are somewhat cheap and if i dont like not having overdrive a gear vendors unit can support 3000HP and is around the $2500 mark. Im torn between the two..

I have a decent amount of time before i need to figure it out, i will continue to weigh the pros and cons before i do anything.

Im hoping the car will be around 3200-3300lbs when its all said and done. The chromoly really helps keep things light when adding in the tubular front end and the cage.


Dang, you aren't scared to jump in the deep end without a life preserver. If you ever need a hand testing any of this stuff out, then I'll pay the shipping back and forth for a 20x20x20 box for the 88/96 from Jose. You can keep the women - piece of advice - tell her the ring is in the flower bed - see if she can find it. If she is bitchin' about not being able to find it after rounding the house, then give it to her. But if she won't dig to look for it, then ..... trade up :) :)


Kidding of course - looks great and let us know how all of it turns out.

I tend to do that from time to time. This will be my first turbo from Jose, i used to run the VS Racing stuff with no issues. In fact i have a Gen 3 billet 7875 sitting on the shelf. Talking to people VSR stuff is good for cheap turbos but Jose's stuff makes power more efficiently which is what i am aiming for.

She already found the ring in the garden lol, she blessed me with a now 4 month old baby and two bonus daughters that are 7 year old twins. Sometime life throws us a couple curve balls, but in the end it all works out. I wouldnt trade her for anything. Shes supportive of my expensive hobbies and likes to help out when im in the garage. In fact i rubbed off on her and now she wants me to find a 65-68 mustang coupe for her.



Ordered a couple of expensive intake goodies yesterday. Once those arrive ill show them off... pretty sad when my intake is going to end up costing more than what i have in the entire motor when its all said and done lol.
 
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Burning

Greasemonkey
Thread starter
Jul 9, 2020
169
93
Bardstown, KY
Got a couple of goodies in the mail this week.

Motion Raceworks 102mm ICON throttle body with super seal connection.
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ShearerFab 1800HP intercooler with Holley Low Ram
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Ended up selling this one to my buddy since i got a even better deal on a 2000HP with integrated fabricated lid. Here it is mocked up on his car.
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The replacement for my car.
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Finally got the car into the garage to mock up the front end that came in.
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Aligning some panels for final tab mounting.
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Door gap is perfect, however the headlight alignment is not, so i am going to see if i need to brace the header panel up to twist the panels a bit.
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I will finish welding the front end up this week and start to locate the turbo and get the kit built possibly this weekend. Sent off some measurements to Ron Davis for a custom radiator setup to fit the car and be suiteable for HotRod drag week and Rock Mountain Raceweek. The rear end should be getting sent up to my fabricator in a couple of week as well. Time to see this project start making inches to the finish line.
 
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Burning

Greasemonkey
Thread starter
Jul 9, 2020
169
93
Bardstown, KY
Well that didnt last long... Shes off to her new owners.
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And then came her replacement :)
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True 03 Cobra with 75k on the chassis. Full 8.5 Cert custom built cage, subframe connectors, built rear end, PPP 2 speed air shifter, grant steering wheel, tubular k member and control arms, full coil overs all the way around, came with a fresh 6.0 block with forged rods and pistons.

Lots of goodies ill post up more pictures later this week.

Already ordered another front end kit so i can go ahead and chop this one off.
 
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Burning

Greasemonkey
Thread starter
Jul 9, 2020
169
93
Bardstown, KY
No real update at this point... Collecting parts while i figure out the goals for this car.

So far i have added to the collection: Forced Inductions GT5594, Shearer T6 merge, Maven mid frame mount, 2.5" Stainless pipe for the hot side, twin Turbosmart 45MM wastegates, Aeromotive 5.0 GPM pump, 33x19 3" dual pass radiator, fan shroud and fans for radiator, Codion Docol R8 tubular front end, Motion Raceworks motor plate, Skinny Kid Racecars mid plate, Davis Craig EWP150's for radiator and ice tank, im sure im forgetting some other small things.

So with this car i am going to try out a rear mounted radiator setup, this gigantor of a turbo will take up alot of room and i want the turbo to have as much fresh air as possible. Went with the biggest radiator i could find that would fit between the rear subframe rails. Going to utilize the stock LS pump to get water to the rear, and then a Davis Craig EWP150 to boost it back up front. I have seen alot of cars utilize this style setup and worked really well.

Changed gears a little bit and decided to ditch the dual 4303 pumps that came with the car and just buy a Aeromotive 5.0 GPM brushless pump. Should be significantly quieter than the 4303's as well as keep the fuel cooler since its not cooling down the brushed motors inside the 4303. Luckily the fuel cell that came with the car is already plumbed for a -12AN feed and -8AN return so it fits perfectly. I will have to redo some of the mounts in the rear to make it work with this larger pump.

Decided to ditch FI S485/96 and upgrade to a FI GT55 because....why not? Lol. It will be a little lazy down low, but with the custom cam and some good tuning it should be pretty decent. Ill have to pay close attention to the converter when it gets to that point as well.

Under some closer review of the car, the front frame rails have been pushed over at some point and then straigtened up. I was going to put a tubular front end on it anyways but this solidifed the thought since it was in front of the shock towers. Since these engines are notorious for ripping out the motor mounts when past the 1100-1200 RWHP level i decided to go ahead and motor plate the car. Power level being the first reason however the car has a UPR Mod Motor K Memeber in it and with the solid converison mounts it put the motor way to high for my liking and messes up al of the important angles. So im going to borrow a buddies AJE LS K member to align everything where it is supposed to be then mock up the motor plate/mid plate about 1" lower than that. My plan is to just remove the motor mount perches all together on the UPR k member and make it an "Outlaw" style k member.

Hopefully i will have some pictures for everyone this weekend, going to start the tubular front end and then possibly start the motor mount process.

God Bless
 
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Burning

Greasemonkey
Thread starter
Jul 9, 2020
169
93
Bardstown, KY
Some goodies rolling in this weekend.
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Still waiting on the Team Z motor-plate and mid-plate to come. I did get notice that my GT5594 will be shipping this week from Jose at Forced Inductions, so i will mock up a stand to hold it where i want to build the kit off of. The shearer flange is still two weeks out which sucks.

Started Saturday out strong by taking the saws-all to the front end, got the car leveled out and tacked in the bottom frame bars. Got inpatient and fully welded in the upper bars before checking clearances with the header panel. The upper bars were hitting the light bulbs on the headlights... So out came the grinder.
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Took the upper bars back towards the shock tower another 1/2" inch and then moved the bottom bars inward about 1" on both sides. PROBLEM SOLVED!
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You can see here how much i moved it from where they were. Ill go back and clean up the shock tower face when i get everything fully welded in.
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Unfortunately i ran out of Argon to tig weld the bars in, so ill get some more today from the welding store and then finish the front end up this week.
 
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Burning

Greasemonkey
Thread starter
Jul 9, 2020
169
93
Bardstown, KY
Well didn't get as far as i wanted too this week.

First order of business, get rid of the crappy aftermarket bumper tabs. Went to the junkyard and snagged these off of a car.
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Set the hood, and bumper along with the header panel to get all the panels somewhat aligned before fully welding everything in. Probably spent the better half of 3 hours getting the panels somewhat square..
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I moved the lower bars in about 1-1/4" or so from factory just to have some decent clearances around the headlights. this caused me to have to modify a little bit of the kit. No biggie!
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Just waiting on some longer fender tabs before i rip everything apart to fully weld everything in.
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Also decided since im going to be doing lots of cuts, and with tig welding i will need some pretty close tolerances to pick up a used band saw... IDK how i lived without this thing before..Tested it out on some truck manifolds im using for the turbo kit.

Decided to go ahead and weld my v bands on after i got the ends of the truck manifolds cleaned up... Not too bad for a newbie. I welded about 1" at a time and then clamped them immediately to cool off in order to help reduce the warping. I used 309L rod at about 90amps.
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Hopefully my new tabs come this week and then i can start working on fully welding everything in and getting the motor plate setup.
 
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motorheadmike

Geezer
Nov 18, 2009
8,993
113
Saskatchewan, Truckistan
Ooh... I am liking all of this.
 
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