View Full Version : '94 Cobra Cooling Problem

08-01-2006, 03:48 PM
I have a cooling problem on my stock ’94 Cobra and I am looking for some advice.<O:p</O:p

Here’s the first problem: When the weather is reasonable, the temp gauge runs somewhere between “N” and “R” in the NORMAL range while cruising down the road (50 MPH or better). In this nasty hot weather that we have been having lately, the gauge often runs at the halfway point (straight up and down) or a little better. (For reference, the temp gauge on my beater ’91 Plymouth Acclaim has not moved from it’s normal running position in this latest heat wave.) Has anybody else had this same problem with a basically stock ’94 or ’95 Cobra? Do these cars typically need a radiator upgrade even without many engine mods? If so, has anybody used something other than the all-out race ready fluidyne radiator? I checked into them and received a little sticker shock. I thought about a higher CFM rated fan, but then I thought that the fan really shouldn’t make much of a difference when cruising @ 50 MPH+. At those speeds I would think the air being forced into the radiator would be as much or more than the fan would pull when standing still. Any opinions?
Next problem: Even when the weather is reasonable, the car runs a little hot in traffic due to the fact that the fan is not set to turn on until the temp is relatively high. I have read that this temp was intentionally set high for emissions purposes. Is there any way to change this without re-programming the computer? Can you wire in an adjustable thermostat that will power the fan on at a lower temp and still have the fan turn on whenever the A/C is on?<O:p</O:p

This weekend I plan to flush the radiator and change the coolant (even though it “looks” very good yet) and change the thermostat to a 180 degree unit. I doubt that these changes will make any difference, but they sure won’t hurt.

Sorry for the lengthy post. However, you can never have too much information about a problem that you want to diagnose.

08-01-2006, 09:19 PM

From a fellow 94 Cobra owner that is Rio Red with a black leather interior take it from me as pretty much being spot on. :thumbsup:

The 94 temperature gauge will always fluctuate as this is the way it was made from Ford. Many owners got so nervous that Ford changed the gauge so that it would not show swings in the temperature. By a Ford service manager who told me "as long as it is in the NORMAL range, do not worry about it." Like you, I still worried so I put in the pricey Fluidyne and never looked back. I mostly did this because I open track the car and when you are driving at WOT for 20 minute increments, you need the extra cooling.

Here is what I did to my car excluding the Fluidyne.

1. Put in a 160 degree thermostat (I recommend a 180 for the street)
2. Change out the coolant and add water wetter
3. Replace all hoses with new ones. (They still have the hoses with the COBRA markings on them.)
4. Have an SCT chip installed in the computer so the fans can be set to come on at 195 degrees instead of the 200 plus from the factory
5. While you are at it, take out the shift retards in the transmission, it will feel like a different car, believe me.
6. Put in 355 or 373 gears and transmission gear for speed correction.

I also had the OR pipe and the gains are minimal if you don't get the chip and a tune in the car. I used Pro-Dyno for my tune who is a club vendor and will give you a discount on both a tune and dyno pull for hp. www.pro-dyno.com.
You may also use any other vendor/tuner but make sure they are as reputable as both Pro-Dyno and Amazon Tuning Solutions. www.amazonracing.com

P.S. the fan automatically turns on when every time you turn on the A/C.

08-01-2006, 10:57 PM

Thanks for all of the advice. I already have the 180 degree thermostat and the new coolant waiting to go in this weekend (along with new plugs, cap, rotor, and wires. It's due for a good tune-up too). I had considered the water wetter but did not know if it really made a difference. Based upon your recommendation, I think I will give it a try.

My 3.73 gears are on the way, they shipped out on Monday. I really can't wait to get them in!

The shift retards in the transmission? That's a new one to me. What exactly are you talking about? How do you remove them?

The SCT chip that you mentioned - is that the chip that I would have to get custom burned at a shop when the tune is done, or are you talking about an off-the-shelf item? You'll have to excuse my ignorance here, the last Mustang that I modified was carbureted. This is my first venture into modifying a vehicle with a computer controlled engine.

Thanks again for the advice. It's good to hear from someone with the same vehicle who has experienced the same problems.

08-02-2006, 09:02 AM
I run a be-cool radiator in mine with a good water pump (190 thermostat). It runs less than half on the guage in 95 degree weather. Also have the upr upper, lower solid radiator pipes. Stock fan. The be-cool will set you back bout $500. Also, my car is sc, non-intercooled and makes 485hp at the wheels.


08-02-2006, 12:53 PM
Putting a "real" gauge in will tell you exactly how hot the car is running. I installed a manual fan switch so I can turn on the high speed fan any time I want.

08-02-2006, 09:09 PM

All I can tell you is what my experience was with my current 94 Cobra Coupe you saw in Atlanta. I would do the SCT chip, as it will take the place of your current engine management system with the stock computer. Yes, it will have to be burned but you do that while you are getting dyno tuned.

If you followed the last couple of newsletters, you read about my 94 and how it gained horsepower from one mod after another. From 225 to 250 to 303 from a naturally aspirated engine. You can add mods to your car but without a tune, your gains would be minimal if any. The chip will allow you to get your cooling fans to come on sooner which I highly recommend, it will take out the shift retards in your transmission, (This is something Ford put in the computer to reduce wear and tear on the engine/transmission so you feel a slight hesitation when you change gears.), and most importantly it will allow you to add fuel to your current modifications which in turn will allow you to increase timing. On the dyno, my car with an OR pipe, catback, headers, and CAI was running way lean. By getting the chip, I gained 25 rwhp that's about 30 at the flywheel just by having fuel added for my current set up. I always called my 94 a slobra because it never felt like it had the kind of power I wanted. After this tune, it was a totally different story and I went home with a big grin on my face. I never thought I would get over 300 at the rear wheels with this car but it finally got it with a set of AFR 185 heads. :thumbsup:

08-02-2006, 11:05 PM
Thanks for all of the replies. I had already decided that I would like to get the custom tune done before, especially after reading in the newsletter what the tune did for Tony's power, but now I am even more convinced. I want that fan to come on sooner and now that I know about the shift retards, I want them gone. I have noticed that no matter how fast I shift my Cobra it will never "slam" into the next gear like my '85 GT did (after all the mods). Power shifting isn't something I want to do all the time, but it sure is fun every now & then. Right now the car just feels sluggish right after a gear change. It's good to know why.