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rsa4046
09-20-2004, 11:44 PM
I've seen this topic mentioned elsewhere, but can't find the correct posting. I need to replace the radiator in a 1996 stock Cobra. A few questions:

(1) Is there any obvious way of verifying whether this vehicle has had the "cooling system upgrade" (described in http://www.scoa.org/legacy/tsb/96-25-12.htm)? This TSB apparently called for retrofitting the stock radiator with the larger 1997 unit and making additional changes to AC and electric cooling fan hardware – does anyone have any critical dimensions or part numbers for these units that would positively identify the 1996 versus the 1997 radiator?

(2) Assuming the change was never made, can I simply replace the 1996 unit with a stock 1997 radiator without the rest of the “kit”? Were there any other critical changes to brackets, mounting hardware, wet connections, etc., that would require additional changes, or will a simple 1997 radiator swap work?
(3) Could anyone make recommendations from personal experience with aftermarket (Griffin, Fluidyne) of significant improvements in performance for street use over the stock units?


Thanks much in advance!
Cheers, Rolf

SVTCobra96
09-21-2004, 12:10 AM
i was going to get a 96 cobra and the kit i was gonna get for it was around $1200

GUMBALL
09-21-2004, 10:20 AM
Rather than going thru all the trouble of trying to find or adapt another rad to your car, why not go to a rad shop and get yours re-cored? and upgraded at the same time?
If the end tanks on yours are ok, just get the rad shop to put them on a thicker core. (thicker core=more cooling)
On mine, I went from 3/4" thick to 3 1/2" thick for less than $250.:thumbsup:

rsa4046
09-21-2004, 12:24 PM
Thanks for the replies and suggestions, people. For those with similar inquiries, I also found a relatively recent thread at

http://www.corral.net/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=467837&highlight=Cobra%2Boverheating

concerning the 1996 "upgrade", radiator, AC condensor, mounting modifications, how to identify the upgrade, what to expect, etc.

Thanks again, Cheers.

SNAKEYE
10-19-2004, 10:19 PM
Thanks for the replies and suggestions, people. For those with similar inquiries, I also found a relatively recent thread at

http://www.corral.net/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=467837&highlight=Cobra%2Boverheating

concerning the 1996 "upgrade", radiator, AC condensor, mounting modifications, how to identify the upgrade, what to expect, etc.

Thanks again, Cheers.
I replaced my stock '97 radiator with a 2-core unit from Steeda to overcome high temp problems of unknown origin, except Vortech-equipped. As #77 in '97 I often thought it might be a 'late' '96 rather than an early '97 with regard to the cooling system. I don't know if my used (40K miles) radiator will fit your '96, but its for sale for $50 plus UPS.
When I was looking into a replacement radiator last Fall, I talked to a Ford parts person friend of mine. A stock '97 radiator, with a part number code that told her it was a salvaged radiator, was close to $400. I got the 2-core for under $400.
Knowing what I know about the radiator change I made, if I were you I'd just go for a 2-core and make whatever baffle changes/removals that went with the '96 high temps. fix. And a lower t-stat. I'm running a 180-degree. The gage never sees the 'A' in 'NORMAL' anymore! And the horsepower is copious!

Abneriel
10-19-2004, 11:52 PM
I also thought the A/C deal in front of the radiator had too many fins to let air flow through very well to the radiator...might want to look that up and replace if necessary...

andre96
11-10-2004, 11:47 PM
Went with Steeda ($400) in my 96 cobra, not exactly a true drop in...decent radiator shop charged $150 for the swap and minor re-engineering...good results in the sweltering Florida heat with A/C going all the time...no more trips to the "L" in NORMAL....

SNAKEYE
11-11-2004, 09:25 AM
Went with Steeda ($400) in my 96 cobra, not exactly a true drop in...decent radiator shop charged $150 for the swap and minor re-engineering...good results in the sweltering Florida heat with A/C going all the time...no more trips to the "L" in NORMAL....
Well, the installation in my '97 was a near-drop-in. I had to remove a chunk of the fan mounting bracket because, with the thicker core, the fan moved about 3/4" rearward and the fan mounting bracket came in contact with the upper hose. But then my hose is not in the normal place because of the Vortech S/C. One of the A/C's Schrader fittings also hit the fan mounting bracket. Again, the Schrader valve was relocated due to the Vortech S/C. It just touchs the bracket. As the bracket and the Schrader valve move together, I did nothing. Bending the A/C line leading to the Schrader valve might have been a disaster without a descent tubing bender. The radiator expansion tank support rod needed a bit of rebending to clear the fan motor. And some of the wiring that passes in the vicinity of the right side of the radiator needed minor re-routing. Getting it all stuffed into place took a little manipulating. The rubber bushings in the top mounting brackets are a bit strained because the new radiator would not move forward (toward the A/C condenser core) anymore than like 1/4" passed its stock position.
After installing a fan over-ride thermoswitch, a high capacity Evans coolant pump, an additional 'pusher' fan in front of the A/C core, and putting a 180-degree t-stat in along with the 2-core radiator, I can say the radiator made all of the difference. No more temp guage excursions to "L" and beyond!

Mystic_Cobra
11-11-2004, 05:11 PM
I went with the Steeda for my 96 (non upgrade). It was a direct bolt in with no problems. About $400. they are made by C&R who builds for NASCAR. You can also go with Fluidyne. I wouldn't trust a recore or rebuilt. There's old nasty stuff in there. The aluminum replacements are great. No need to do the upgrade. You should be able to check with your dealer (have them run the VIN) and see. Plus I bet there's a label under the hood.
Jimmy Bost