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Discussion Starter #1
I just bought a 94 Cobra with 25K miles. The car is completely original except for the tires and the battery. I plan to daily drive the car when it is not snowing. The car drives like a new car and I am very happy with it. I do not plan to make any major modifications to the car, but would like it to be a bit faster from idle to 3000 rpms. Does anyone know what the stock gears are in the car and if they are 8.8 or 7.5? Also, the owners manual states I can run 87 octane fuel - is that correct or a misprint for the Cobra? I've done some searches on here and it looks like I can bump the timing to 14 degrees. If I do, what octane will I need to run? Do I need to disconnect the battery after setting the timing? Thanks.
 

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94 Cobras came with 3.08 gears from the factory, unless the original purchaser opted for the 3.55 special order. 3.55s and the 5 speed are pretty much perfectly matched for performance and drive-ability. Your rear end is an 8.8 from the factory.

You can MAYBE use 87 octane if you leave the timing at 10 degrees or less. It will run like crap. Most everyone tweaks the timing to 14+ and runs 91 octane or more. It really helps the oomph from the motor. Set the timing by find the spout on the passenger fenderwell (next to the strut tower) and remove it. Start the engine up and set the base timing to what you want it to be. 10 or lower for low octane, 14 or a little higher for high octane. You do not have to disconnect the battery after you set your timing.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks 95-GT for the clear answer. I found the SPOUT and remember doing that to my last, heavily-modified Cobra. Anyone know what the trick is to removing the black cover over the distributor cap or is the cover built in to the cap?
Also, I have a small oil leak at the oil cooler near the filter. Do these commonly leak? Is there an easy fix other than removing the cooler?
 

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Thats a gorgeous car and it makes me hate my beat to ##### Rio Red Cobra even more....

ugghh.... I hate that everybody is finding these great deals on these cars now.
 

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fwiw I used regular in my 95 when it was stock. I never noticed any bad effects, but I don't know how weak my timing was.
 

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How much did you pay for it?
 

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Nice ride indeed! The engine bay is super clean too. That plastic cover simply unsnaps from the distributor. It likes to hang up in the rear but it'll come free eventually.
 

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94 Cobras came with 3.08 gears from the factory, unless the original purchaser opted for the 3.55 special order. 3.55s and the 5 speed are pretty much perfectly matched for performance and drive-ability. Your rear end is an 8.8 from the factory.

You can MAYBE use 87 octane if you leave the timing at 10 degrees or less. It will run like crap. Most everyone tweaks the timing to 14+ and runs 91 octane or more. It really helps the oomph from the motor. Set the timing by find the spout on the passenger fenderwell (next to the strut tower) and remove it. Start the engine up and set the base timing to what you want it to be. 10 or lower for low octane, 14 or a little higher for high octane. You do not have to disconnect the battery after you set your timing.

Good luck.
It's only a 9:1 compression motor. It'll run on 87 just fine with stock everything. Until you start swapping H/C, or mess with the timing as you've suggested, 87 is all that's needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the info and compliments on the car. I am leaning toward just leaving the stock timing alone and running 87 octane for now. I snapped a bunch of photos of the engine bay and undercarriage to document how an original car looks. Here is a link to the photos in case anyone is interested. The more I get to know this Cobra, the better it looks. I've owned several Mustangs and this is the most original one I have owned.

Red Rio 94 Cobra pictures by rjzink2 - Photobucket
 

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It's only a 9:1 compression motor. It'll run on 87 just fine with stock everything. Until you start swapping H/C, or mess with the timing as you've suggested, 87 is all that's needed.

It really comes down to how the car drives, and how you drive the car. Altitude, ambient air temp, and the "heavy foot" all have an impact on how an engine behaves. I agree that the 9:1 compression ratio should only require 87 octane, when you keep the 10 degree or less of timing. In my experience the car is a little anemic with those settings; hence my comment that it will run like crap. It is a figurative term. :) A little additional timing certainly perks up the performance, but it will normally require additional octane to offset the "pinging" or detonation.

On the oil leak, try tightening the fittings. If that doesn't work, you can opt for some special thread sealant. Just don't go crazy with it, and don't smear it on where it can get into your oil system, harden, and plug up the passages. It is not recommended to use the "tape", as that can easily get into the system.

So....set it up how you like it, and drive it like you own it. It is a beautiful car. Enjoy....
 

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awesome car. I love the 94/5 cars.
 

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94 Cobras came with 3.08 gears from the factory, unless the original purchaser opted for the 3.55 special order. 3.55s and the 5 speed are pretty much perfectly matched for performance and drive-ability. Your rear end is an 8.8 from the factory.

You can MAYBE use 87 octane if you leave the timing at 10 degrees or less. It will run like crap. Most everyone tweaks the timing to 14+ and runs 91 octane or more. It really helps the oomph from the motor. Set the timing by find the spout on the passenger fenderwell (next to the strut tower) and remove it. Start the engine up and set the base timing to what you want it to be. 10 or lower for low octane, 14 or a little higher for high octane. You do not have to disconnect the battery after you set your timing.

Good luck.

UMMMM NO :bs:


There was no special order rear end.. All Cobras came with T5's and 3.08 gears. Period.

It will run fine on 87. I would bump the timing to 14, see if it pings, and go from there, but the little power you gain from the advanced timing isn't really worth running premuim.

3.73's will make a huge difference, especially since 1st and 2nd gear are spaced so far apart. The shorter gears will make the transmission feel like its closer ratio, and will still give you a nice highway cruising rpm.. With stock gears, its almost lugging at 75 in 5th anyway.
 

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Bob -

Congrats on the purchase of your new to you 94 Cobra! Very nice, they are becoming harder to find in near to 100% stock condition today.

Recommendations to you if you plan on daily driving it:

1) remove that serpentine belt - they are obsolete and you will never be able to get one with the original Motorcraft/Cobra markings. Jim @ PPI was selling them a few years back, not sure if he even has any left in inventory today. Consider it rare.

2) Store the stock rims and either find another set of used originals to beat on or a set of aftermarkets to use for daily driving. The originals you have will be ruined by road debris and environmental fall out for daily driving.

3) the upper and lower rad hoses - stamped Cobra - not sure if anyone still sells them (Mustang vendors like Jim and more importantly, Ford). The last set I bought from my local Ford Dealer was a few years ago and even then, they were hard to get from Ford's inventory. If you want to daily drive, pull the originals and store them and replace with generic hoses. The white lettering on them can get ruined or deteriorated with chemicals, engine heat, etc. Again, rare to find in good to new condition.

4) oil cooler and associated parts - All obsolete today. Many 94-95 Cobra owners pull those parts and store them, while at the same time this also allows the owner to use the standard 5.0 oil filter (Motorcraft FL1A), over the "shorty" oil filter. The conversion is easy to do and has been addressed on here a few times as well in older threads. Definitely think about removing the oil cooler parts, more so if it's leaking now. There will be no detrimental effects from removing it for drivability, performance OR reliability. Again, rare parts today.

LOL - sounds like I'm telling ya to tear the car apart - but in all reality, just giving you the info on what you should save and store if you plan on driving it. Trust me and others, some folks wished they had the above thoughts, advice and/or those parts due to the rarity today.

When you get a chance, can you post up your build date info and/or the SVT number? You can check the sticky thread at the top of this forum of which within, there's many details on how to find/locate that info (or you can search on my user ID as well for many related tech threads).

Best of luck and enjoy the ride!!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for the info Cobra Jet NJ. Your suggestions make sense, but I won't be able to change out the wheels in the near future. I will be enjoying and driving the car as is for a while and cleaning the car frequently. I put 300 miles on it so far and it seems to be getting stronger - perhaps the sea foam helped.

I kind of like the oil cooler system and am thinking about leaving it on. Although I am not sure how much help it really is.

I am looking for a NOS Cobra serpentine belt to have a spare. My car has 235/55/17 Michelin HydroEdge tires on it. Not sure what the original tire sizes should be off hand, but it seems my speedometer is reading too slow. The taller tires fill up the wheel wells and hide the fact that the car isn't lowered. These tires have amazing wet weather traction, but they have a lot of road noise. Handling is a few steps down and the T rating is not helping.
 
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