DuPuis Family Cobra Build

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ted DuPuis, Aug 3, 2018.

  1. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie Pattern Altitude

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    Hmm, that sounds a lot like what it takes to build an airplane, at least at this phase.

    What spindle bolts would you use instead of the factory ones?
     
  2. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    There are absolutely a lot of similarities to building an airplane. Really this is a good intro to someone wanting to do an airplane build as it’s got a lot of parallels but is overall easier and faster to complete, plus cheaper. People report an honest 250-300 hours of build time. I’m not tracking it personally but it feels accurate.

    The factory spindle bolts have an eccentric in them as that’s how you adjust camber. These use Koni adjustable coil overs with a standard upper and lower control arm setup, so it would use standard bolts. The catch is getting the right size and strength. I would think grade 5 or 8 should be sufficient (and a lot cheaper than $40/side) but I do want to get that right for obvious reasons.
     
  3. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

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    Do the FFR A arms adjust via a spherical rod bearing end? It's now been a dozen years since my racing days ended, but I think the amount of adjustment produced by turning the rod end one wrench flat on those cars was .040”.

    It's surprising how much the cost of the adjustable height setup platform with digital four wheel scales has come down. In the 90s, they were a few thousand dollars, now a really nice Intercomp setup is about $1,400.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
  4. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    The way FFR does it you either use the factory lower control arms, or else you buy their tubular lower control arms. Neither of these are adjustable. If you buy the FFR lower control arms then they just bolt up, if you use the factory Mustang ones there's some minor modification you have to do. The upper control arms are adjustable and that's where you adjust your camber and caster, and then of course toe via tie rod ends.

    Frankly the front end geometry doesn't seem all that great to me, the tie rods have to be bent pretty far forward to reach the spindle. People do say that bump steer is an issue on these, and the FFR spindles (another $450) are supposed to reduce the bump steer. It didn't seem that was really worth it to me, but we'll see how I feel once I get more going on this.

    I'm at the point where I do need to start ordering a few more significant parts. I ordered a new steering rack in the "quick ratio" 12:1 that came with the factory performance package on the Fox Bodies. I'm going to be using electric power steering assist rather than hydraulic since I don't want any , so I could either go with the power rack and just leave it "depowered" or I can put in an actual manual rack. The manual racks were not only more expensive (unless going with a 20:1 ratio, which isn't nearly quick enough for my tastes) but they didn't save more than a couple pounds. The weight savings I'm getting is really in removal of the power steering pump.

    There are two write-ups I've seen for electric power steering. One puts the booster right behind the steering wheel, which I think is the correct location for it. Another puts the controller in the engine bay which I don't like. From what I can tell it wasn't designed to be in an engine environment, and plus that makes (one more thing) to clutter up the engine bay and moves CG forward. I need to research a bit more but I'm thinking that doing it my own way will make more sense.

    Pretty soon I'm going to be getting to the point where I'll need to start pulling parts from the parts car in order to make significant progress. The first thing that needs to come out is the pedalbox as I'm getting about to where that needs to go in. If I follow the instructions in order (I'm not, I don't think the order is very good to be honest) I should be working on the rear end right now. I'm going to get the drivetrain pulled out of it first and then put the shell someplace on the property where it's out of the way. Then I can also start parting out the rest of it.

    An additional design decision I need to make is regarding the power brakes, whether to do vacuum assist or electric assist. Electric is appealing to me since that allows for a cleaner underhood area, but I'm still undecided on that.

    Another decision I need to make is regarding the fuel system. Originally I'd planned on a carburetor, but am now pretty sure I'll do EFI so that I can install the cool velocity stacks EFI manifold that gives me the look I'm going for. Given that, I'll probably just set up the fuel system as a standard in-tank pump with a fuel return, and do a Walbro 255 LPH pump since that will be more than enough for the power I'll be making.

    I generally feel like I'm not making as good of progress on this as I should be, but then every time I spend even a small amount of time in the garage, I feel like I've made good progress on it. Part of what helps with that is the fact that (at least right now) I'm at a stage where everything I do creates a visible impact of the work performed. One thing is that I'm used to having to take things apart and then put them back together. In this case, everything (at least for now) is in the "going together" stage.
     
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  5. FormerHangie

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    I looked up what I think are the bolts you are talking about on RockAuto, and they looked very specialized to me. If it were me I'd get that specific bolt set. Rock Auto had a listing for those made by Moog, who is a brand I would trust. I've had a lot of disappointment with no name and house brand parts over the last 10 years, to the point where I've given up on them.
     
  6. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    The stock hardware includes an eccentric in it for adjusting camber, which is part of the reason for it. The eccentric doesn't apply in this case as the camber is adjusted using the upper control arm. I ended up finding the proper size of bolts and ordered Class 10.9 (Metric Grade 8 equivalent) from Fastenal.

    I'll say that as I'm getting into it more, I'm definitely using fewer used parts than I had originally figured. At this point it looks like the main used parts are going to be the rear end (which has been rebuilt), pedal box, emergency brake handle, and the fuel tank (unless it shows signs of being really rusty) with some related components. As I continue I'll see what other used parts I end up putting in from the parts car. My general thought is that items that could be considered wear/consumable items or are otherwise going to be at least somewhat visible I want to either be new or at least rebuilt/reconditioned. Hopefully this will mean that once it's on the road I don't have too much for failures. In spite of this I'm still tracking towards the mid $20ks for total cost into it, which is very reasonable when you consider that the initial cost of the "complete kit" from Factory Five is $20k plus shipping, and that doesn't include the engine, transmission, or rear end.

    At the current progress rate my thought is that I should be able to get it at least in go-kart stage sometime in 2019 while the weather is still warm. A lot of people then put the body on in gelcoat phase and drive it for a while like that until they feel like getting the body work completed on it. I'm less inclined to do that, I'd rather just put it together once and drive it. The gokart phase makes sense for a little bit just to look for any major issues, leaks, etc. before the body gets permanently attached, but I'd rather not go to all the finish work of putting the lights on, final wiring, etc., and then undo it for paint. We'll see if I change my mind on that.
     
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  7. MIFlyer

    MIFlyer Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    I’m stunned they’d want silicone on aluminum. In airstreams silicone is a dirty word and we use tremco 116 polyurethane


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  8. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    What's the reason for avoiding silicone on aluminum? The reason might have to do with differences in the intended purpose of it. On the FFR cars, the real reason for it is less to seal things (you're not really supposed to drive these in the rain anyway, and remember it's a roadster so you're not going to keep water out if it rains/is wet) and more about putting something to prevent the aluminum from rattling against the steel frame or other pieces of aluminum. Given the intended use case, I could see why you might want something different.
     
  9. MIFlyer

    MIFlyer Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    There was a lot of talk about it not bonding well and also just getting nasty. I've seen this and had to strip silicone off the airstream and it's a pain. it doesn't really bond, but does stick well enough to be a pain to remove.

    you'd never get tremco back apart again, but otherwise, I think it'd be better and hold up for decades vs silicone. Not sure if the factory five folks have thought about any reason not to use tremco. There are discussions about etching?? This guy called the manufacturer. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f456/silicone-caulk-on-aluminum-83291.html

    Having applied the polyurethane, it seems like really solid stuff.
     
  10. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I could actually see that as a benefit of the silicone - easier disassembly. Some people have actually purposely built their cars with nut plates and screws instead of rivets to make assembly/disassembly easier. Plus, then if you have some kind of damage you can buy new aluminum panels (Factory Five does support the car well) and just replace that panel. For vehicles that are constantly being tinkered with, that's a nice thing. Different from restoring an existing vehicle/item that's the way you want it/way it is (like the AirStream).

    I could also see doing it differently if I was building a Type 65 Coupe, for instance, since that's enclosed. But I have no delusions that the car will never end up in the rain. I've even purchased windshield wipers.
     
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  11. -KLB-

    -KLB- Pre-takeoff checklist

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    With silicone, I might worry that the ubiquitous acetic cure version could accelerate corrosion on the steel or aluminum. I would think a neutral cure product would be better, but might be cheaper not as a silicone.
     
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  12. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Good points. This is GE #2 Silicone (what they recommended) if that has any impact on thoughts.
     
  13. -KLB-

    -KLB- Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I can't find any spec sheet that says it, but I see several anecdotal references that GE silicone II is a neutral cure product. Apparently it is also fairly important to watch the expiration date, as it will age to a state that it won't cure when applied.
     
  14. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I’ll look. The stuff I’m using I bought a couple months ago (basically when the kit arrived) so I imagine it’s still good.

    Another interesting point on the kit is that although they don’t say anything about doing some sort of Dynamat (I’m going to use Rockmat - it’s a clone that I used in the semi with success) you’re wise to do something if the car will be driven. There are a LOT of little holes that will let air through from the engine bay. All that will do is make you hotter in the summer and colder in the winter.

    The instructions are ok, but they leave a lot to be desired in my opinion. A lot of the people who are building these things have clearly never wrenched on a car before (which is slightly frightening) trying to put tie rods in upside down.
     
  15. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I've been giving some thought to my power steering and power brake situation.

    One of the things that's important to me is good feel on both, and I would also like (this is something I've never had before) the ability to tune how much assist I have. This is for two reasons: one so I can "dial it in", and two so that my wife can also dial it in to her liking.

    I'm going to end up with a hydraulic power steering rack mainly to get the right ratio. Now, at the moment my plan is to add the electric power steering. Because of how that system works, it essentially waits to detect you moving the steering wheel and then adds power assist (at least that's what I've observed on my BMW Z4, which had electric power steering). For 99% of people, no big deal, and BMW still did a decent job on it. Using the GM setup, I'm really wondering if that wouldn't drive me nuts. Plus, I also need to do something for power brakes, and the hydroboost (basically power steering pump driven brakes, commonly used on diesels) seems to be the preferred.

    So, this makes me wonder if I shouldn't move towards just buying an appropriately rated hydraulic pump that I could then adjust or put some kind of regular in-line with to provide the adjustment capability I want. I'm not sure how feasible that really ends up being, but the idea sounds good to start. The other thing this would do is let me put the pump in the trunk, right over the rear wheels, giving me a better weight distribution, which is one of the goals for the car.

    Any thoughts on a 12V electric pump idea? Another option would be to just take the Ford power steering pump and get a 12V motor that would spin at a variable speed, I suppose...
     
  16. Grum.Man

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    Sounds like you are drastically over complicating it. I would just put a Wilwood manual master cylinder on it, smaller bore will give more stopping power with longer travel. Put a standard power steering pump on the engine and use a Detroit Speed Tuned steering rack.

    https://www.detroitspeed.com/all-products-steering/21-5-detroit-tuned-power-rack-pinion-090220
     
  17. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    There's no doubt I'm overcomplicating it. I also don't particularly want manual brakes, more than anything because my wife will be driving the car as well.
     
  18. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man Pattern Altitude

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    I think you would be surprised at how easy the new systems are if the master cylinder bore is sized properly. I get it though so in that case I would just put a regular vacuum booster on with good quality fluid and lines.
     
  19. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    That's an option for sure, and if I did that the simplest (and lightest weight) solution would end up being the electric power steering and just vacuum brakes.
     
  20. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My opinion is that instructions are just another man's opinion.....:lol::lol:
     
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  21. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I'm back on the electric power steering idea after having done some research into the Fox body power steering rack. The FFR kit is designed around the Fox body steering rack, which is an older design that has the power assist basically as on or off internally, producing worse "feel" than the SN95 rack, which has a more advanced valving design.

    I need to look more into the vacuum booster size wise and see how that fits.

    That I agree with. Although in this case when I'm building something that was ultimately another man's opinion when it was designed, they do help.

    Given the number of people who seem to be building these cars with zero previous wrenching experience, I do think it'd be good for them to have a bit better of instructions in there.
     
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  22. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I haven't had many photos up, so here's one that I took at the conclusion of this evening's work:

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the front suspension is mostly completed - control arms, coilover shocks (mounted upsidedown from what I'm used to seeing, but it makes sense as it reduces unsprung weight and that's what the manual calls out), hubs, and brakes. I still have to put the calipers on, however I'm waiting on new sliding pins first since I'm trying to use as many new parts as possible on the car.

    I'm going to be using the stock SN95 front brakes, which are 2 piston sliding calipers. I'm sure the Wilwood 4-piston calipers produce a better feel, but I'll at least start off with this. For being a 1,000 lb lighter car than what the brakes came off of, I expect it should stop pretty well.

    You can't really tell in the picture but I also did the initial slide-in and fit of the steering shaft. Tomorrow my new steering rack is supposed to show up, so my plan is to mount it in the car, attach the tie rods, and get the front suspension bolted up. I also did the temporary mount of my accelerator pedal. I bought an "adjustable" pedal, so I'm not going to be able to fully mount it until I have the engine in and hooked up. But the box came so I figured I'd put it where it belonged since it took all of 30 seconds. :)

    It's going to take a bit more before I can bolt the steering shaft in permanently, though. If I do the electric power steering the way the person who sells the kit recommends it (which is the plan), I'll have to cut the steering shaft to make room for the EPAS unit and then weld on the U-joints. I somewhat hate to do that since it ruins the very pretty shaft. That said, I'm more or less resigned to keeping it under the hood. For one that makes it easier to access for repair (plus easier to install), and for another that allows the car to maintain its collapsable steering column. Not that that should ever be needed or an issue (especially with the 4-point harnesses), but might as well leave that in.
     
  23. Bill Jennings

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    Must be nice to work on such a clean car. Sweet!
     
  24. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    No kidding on that! I'm really appreciating the lack of grease and grime that goes with this. Of course, the donor car work involves the standard grime, but this car isn't too horrific.

    When I pull the rear end I do expect I'll paint it with POR15 to make it look nicer. Having one obviously used rusty component would not look good on an otherwise new car.
     
  25. SaltH2OHokie

    SaltH2OHokie Pre-takeoff checklist

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  26. SoonerAviator

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    Lol most of them sell for half that or less once completed.


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  27. Craig

    Craig Line Up and Wait

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    Makes you wonder about build and parts quality when you look at the trunk and cockpit photos.....:eek:
     
  28. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    What they go for depends heavily on what's in it and the build quality. Personally I think that car is priced about 2x too high. A run-of-the-mill 302 (which I'm guessing is matched to a T-5) doesn't help value, it's a 2002 originally (which I think is a Mk2 roadster... they've made a lot of improvements between there and the Mk4). Basically you're paying for a unique paint job and body work.

    If you got a Mk4 with a Coyote engine and TKO or T-56 and really high quality interior and fit and finish, you might be able to get up close to that.

    When I'm done I expect I'll have somewhere in the mid to upper $20ks in it, and it would probably be worth around there or maybe into the 30s.

    When I was first thinking about it, a friend of mine found a driving Mk3 and suggested I consider that, as it was priced in the mid to upper teens. The car looked like crap and was a cheap, low-end donor build that looked to use as many donor parts as humanly possible. No thanks.
     
  29. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Didn't get a lot done today, but one of the girls wanted to help work on the car, so we installed the front brake calipers.

    [​IMG]

    I was going to throw in the steering rack, but wasn't able to. Factory Five has some bushings that you're supposed to put inside of the factory bushings. Well, the dimensions aren't right at all. So I'm going to give FFR a call on that and see if they didn't send something or if I'll need to do something else to make it work. Once the steering rack is in, the next steering-related part will be looking at where the electric power steering would go and probably doing something with that.

    Realistically, what I ought to be working on next is either some more garage related items (getting the lift or remaining LED lights in) and then pulling some of the parts from the donor car that I need like the pedal box or the rear end. But I also have lots of aluminum panels that need drilling and painting. The nice thing about this phase is that there's no shortage of work to do, so I can work on whatever I feel like. :)

    I doubt I'll get a lot done this week with it being Christmas and Laurie being home after being gone for 11 days, but I'm not in any rush.
     
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  30. 3393RP

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  31. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    “As seen on TV” doesn’t do much for me.
     
  32. SaltH2OHokie

    SaltH2OHokie Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not when an extremely well optioned 2019 Corvette can be had for the same money.
     
  33. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    When you look at the FFR cars, you can definitely get a lot for similar money. Let’s say I end up at $30k into the Cobra when I’m done. I can easily buy a nice first gen Viper for that and it will probably appreciate in value as I think the things are way undervalued right now. But the Cobra in the end will be a more interesting car and I get the experience of building it myself with the kids. It’ll also be higher performance out of the box.

    There are plenty of people who spend $75k on their Cobras. They go for a new Coyote crate engine or some other new crate engine (usually something that actually is too big, too heavy, too powerful to be usable on the street) and pay one of the pro builders to make it. Some of the builds have very impressive fit and finish on the interior. In that scenario I think they’re comparing it more to a Pininfarina supercar.

    I am definitely finding scope creep as I build mine, specifically going for extras to make the fit and finish nicer. There’s a wide variety of end product, which I think is neat.

    The problem is the pro builders tend to look down on everyone else for building hoopties, which is ridiculous. I also laugh at the “purists” who say others are doing it wrong by installing EFI/alternate powertrain/etc. It’s a replica, not a numbers matching original.
     
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  34. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    So what is getting used off the pink donor vehicle in the upper left corner?
     
  35. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    The paint.
     
  36. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I haven't made any significant progress in the past couple of weeks. Today the girls helped me paint a few more aluminum panels. I hung up the next ones and then I'll have all of the firewall forward pieces painted. Well, sort of. I also have the box for the heater core and AC condenser, and I need to finish drilling that and cutting the hole for it, then paint. There's a lot more aluminum drilling to do, bit by bit.

    The big thing that I've been trying to get done is get the lift installed in the garage. I have a half-height lift (MaxJax) that I had in Ohio and really loved. I hadn't gotten around to installing it here because I wasn't doing a lot of wrenching. The Cobra's finally given me the motivation to get around to it. This took a while as I ended up borrowing a friend's hammer drill, and then realized that four of the anchors were trying to drill into rebar. Great. So then I had to order a special rebar bit, which made fairly quick work of them.

    The MaxJax uses WejIt anchors that I'm familiar with having put them in before in Ohio. I will say that they went in a lot easier this time than when I did it in Ohio. Part of that is because this garage has a proper floor in it, seems to be 6" at least. In Ohio the garage floor had a monolithic pour and didn't seem very good. It was also about 35ish years old. These anchors went in easily, so I should be ready to bolt things up on it if not tomorrow then Monday. That will be very nice to have again, especially as I move further along with the project.

    I would have the front suspension fully bolted together were it not for one item, and that's the rack bushings. I ordered a new steering rack for the car since I hate play in steering racks, and that way would know what I was getting. When doing the base kit you're supposed to use the stock steering rack bushings and then FFR provides you with some spacers to put in the stock bushings. Only problem was that would be a 0.010" interference fit, not going to work. Also the bushings weren't quite the right size and would need some modification to get in. After doing some digging, there were some references to bushings supplied by FFR to put in the rack, but I couldn't find reference in the manual or in my parts list.

    I called up the FFR tech support about this, and they said that on the complete kit it came with bushings, but not the base. But since I was having a problem, they'd just send me the bushings anyway, free of charge. I was really impressed by this. People say that the FFR service after the sale is very good, and I'm certainly finding that thus far. When you see people complaining on the forums or groups, they're pretty quickly shot down. That says a lot.

    Once the lift is in then the next major project is probably pulling the drivetrain from the donor car for the person buying it, and then I can pull the rear end and start getting that converted over and put into the car, but I can keep on drilling holes in aluminum and painting panels for quite a while if I feel like.
     
  37. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Wait a minute. Heater core? AC condenser? What the hell are you putting that in a Cobra for?
     
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  38. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Greg, the heater at least is a popular option. The AC less so, but it's something I've decided on putting in and is still common. I'm also going to put in seat heaters. There are a few reasons for this.

    When I had my convertible (BMW Z4) for a daily driver I found that the heat and AC extended the time when driving with the top down was enjoyable and comfortable. Obviously this will be a fair weather car, but there are plenty of times when the weather might be conducive (like today - currently in the low 40s, high predicted for 60 today) but a little extra warmth would make it more comfortable. No different than heated gear or heated seat/grips on a motorcycle.

    The AC aspect was really nice in the summer, especially since we tend to hit 90F one day and never get below it for a few months. Maybe the mornings will be cool and comfortable, but then in the afternoon it's blistering. A little cool air, again, makes it nicer (especially since I have to wear pants rather than shorts to work).

    Another reason for doing these now during the build is that there are options for both soft and hard tops that can be put on these cars. I'm not planning on doing that during the initial build, and frankly not really thinking I want to do that at all. But if I change my mind, then the AC and heat do a lot for making the car a potential 4-season car since there's not much salt on the roads here in the winter. There are some people who daily drive their Cobras with a soft or a hard top, even in the winter and snow. I have no intention of doing that (that's why I have a truck), but it's doable. Really no different than I did with my first car, the '82 Jaguar XJ-S V12 I had in college.

    For the AC I'm planning on using a MasterFlux electric AC compressor that I'll mount in the trunk, rather than he engine-driven compressor since I want to have a very clean engine bay with only the alternator driven by the engine.
     
  39. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Drake the Outlaw
    Out of curiosity, how many amps will that pull?
     
  40. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I haven't decided which of the compressors they make that I want to go with, but I'm figuring on the order of 35 amps.

    Between that, the electric power steering (which can pull up to 50A when you're using it) and the electric water pump (haven't decided on which one yet, but figure 10A), and EFI, there's some decent current draw. However unlike a modern car the only computer is going to be the EFI. I'll figure out what makes sense. The plan is for the alternator to be the only engine driven accessory.