View Full Version : Upgrades for stock 96

12-25-2006, 10:39 PM
Hi All! I need some advice. Just looked through all posts from the last year and did some reading about upgrades. I am wanting to get some more (if possible) out of the 96. Right now the car is bone stock except for Prothane bushings in the rack.

I am not that keen on modifying the engine much. Whatever I do, I want to be able to remove the parts and change it back to stock.

1. I think a new shifter would be good. MGW seems to be the choice. Any other thoughts?

2. I want a different exhaust sound and a better flowing system. I put a Magnaflow cat back on the Focus and like it. Am thinking about just putting on Magnaflow mufflers on the stock system. Is that is a good idea? I really like the way the stock pipes look coming out the back. I have them all shined up from the axle back. Again, I want to put the car back to stock if needed. So Cat-back or just mufflers? Is an X pipe much better than the stock H?

3. Computer flash? Would an SCT or Diablo do anything for me? Or is the 96 tuned pretty good from the factory? Do I need to flash the computer with a cat back system? I am assuming that a CAI and Cat back would need a flash to compensate for the increased airflow? I dont know much about this, so all thougths are appreciated.

4. Gears. What came in the 96? I am not dragging it, so would gears be a big help or would it just cause traction problems with stock tires/rims.

5. Any other thoughts? I dont want NOS or a blower (at least for now). Just want to get the most out of a stock engine. If it is tapped out, I am OK with that (still want different exhaust).

Thanks for the help!

12-26-2006, 01:30 AM
You would be best suited if you got a computer reflash (tune) Stock 96-98 Cobras came with 3:27 gears.

In this order for best bang for the buck:

1. new gears, 4:10's for every day driving
2. catback exhaust, you would need to listen to others in order to get the one you like best.
3. Cold air kit - add more hp with this mod and exhaust (JLT)
4. under drive pulleys - free up more hp
5. tune up, replace plugs and wires
6. shifter - better shifting for quicker get up and go (MGW)
7. tune - once you get all of the bolt ons done, get a tune to maximize hp and driveability.

Hope that helps....

12-26-2006, 06:34 PM
Good thoughts! Thanks!

Are you saying reprogram the computer now? Or after the mods?

Thanks again!

12-26-2006, 07:32 PM
After everything is bolted on, then reprogram.

12-28-2006, 12:03 PM
With those small/limited mods I wouldn't expect much at all from a tune. For the $700 or so you could end up paying (tune + dyno time) it may not be worth it. It may/maynot help drivablity either. Your mass air meter and computer will detect the greater airflow and compensate (that's what it's for), and a Cold-air and Catback is going to increase air flow.....um...not much at all really.

I'd suggest gears (4.10), a short throw shifter (MGW is highly recommended), a JLT cold-air or ram-air kit, non-piggy back style underdrive pulleys and if you keep the stock mid-pipe, just get some mufflers. If you replace the stock mid-pipe, either go offroad H or offroad X and add the appropriate catback that matches well (sound wise).

If you add headers to your exhaust swap....then a tune would be recommended. Otherwise unless you notice some drivability issues, I'd hold off on the tune.

12-29-2006, 12:27 AM

OK, thanks for the advice.

If I understand you correctly, if not doing the X pipe, mufflers would have as much benefit as a cat back system?

All of the mods you suggest do not need a computer flash?


12-29-2006, 10:14 PM

Not sure if you are an SCMC member but there's an article from Pro-Dyno coming out in the next SCMC newsletter, Snakebite, about tuning a stock 96-98 Cobra along with the benefits of having one done. (I've already read the article :) )

Basically, a stock 96-98 Cobra puts down 262 - 268 rwhp. With the mods you discussed your car will probably get into the low 280's. Having your car tuned will allow you close if not over the 300 rwhp mark. (Most likely over the 300 rwhp mark.)

For example, when I spoke to Burke today who owns a 1997 Cobra, he stated he had around 270 rwhp with his mods that were almost identical to the ones you describe; after his tune, he had 309 rwhp, almost a 40 rwhp jump. He did have long tubes on his car but pretty much everything was a CAI, catback, and underdrives.

Even if you have no mods and want your Cobra to stay stock with no bolt ons, a tune will be to your benefit because according to the article your car has what is called "tip in retarders" which can be turned off, timing can be advanced, fuel curves can be adjusted for maximum power and throttle response will be crisper.

If the finances allow, I'd go with a full catback system since your pipes will be mandrell bent and will allow better flow of your exhaust system.

Hope that helps! :)

12-29-2006, 11:21 PM

Thanks for the advice! I just joined the club, so I hope to see the newsletter soon!

Where would a guy go about finding someone to do the tune? I am in North Dakota, but get to Minnesota often.