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Old 08-08-2002, 12:34 AM   #1
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Question Cooling TSB for 96 Cobra Worth $550.00?

I am trying to get the cooling upgrade done to my 1996 Cobra and have been working with the local Ford Dealership. They are tyring to work with me on the upgrade and have offered to do a 70% / 30% where I pay 30% and Ford pays 70% of the cost of the TSB. From what I have read on the Ford Cooling TSB, I understand that the upgrade includes the following:
1. Larger Radiator
2. Larger Cooling Fan
3. Revised A/C Condensor
4. All Necessary Hardware

After taxes and installation, my cost would be about $550 out the door. I can't decide if the cooling upgrade from Ford is worth the cost or if I should just go and purchase a Steeda Radiator and larger cooling fan elsewhere and do the install myself. Also, I don't know what the difference is on the "Revised A/C condensor". Does anyone have any suggestions. Should I get the work done through Ford or go with non-ford parts and do it myself. I think I can get a radiator for about 400 and a larger fan for 200.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 08-08-2002, 12:59 AM   #2
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Thank God my Cobra wasn't one of the victimized one's with the overheating issue I would just go with the Steeda ultra cool aluminum radiator. You don't need to buy an aftermarket fan, the stock fan is fine. What I would also recommend is a 160* or 180* thermostat and a manual fan switch. My 96' Cobra runs significantly a lot cooler after I installed the 160* thermostat and manual fan switch. You'll also save some money by just going with the Steeda radiator... Hope this helps.
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Old 08-08-2002, 01:07 AM   #3
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Venomous,
Did you have the Cooling upgrade done to your car and then add the Steeda Radiator for extra protection?
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Old 08-08-2002, 02:25 AM   #4
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ttt
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Old 08-08-2002, 04:03 AM   #5
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No I did not have the cooling upgrade done on my car due to the fact that it was a later build and that my car temperature has never passed the " R " in the temperature gauge ( but then again who's to say that ford's temperature gauge is ever precise ) . My car, temperature wise, runs great, especially with the new 160* thermostat and manual fan switch. I'm currently still running the stock radiator for i've heard its pretty good and doesn't really need to be changed to a bigger core aluminum one ( although I wouldn't mind having one! .) If you have the money for a new radiator then do it, but unlike others and myself I can't afford a new fluidyne or steeda ( pretty pricey ) .
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Old 08-08-2002, 06:36 AM   #6
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If your having cooling problems on a 96 Cobra, the best anadote is the Ford Cooling Upgrade. There are some people who have done the aftermarket radiator/thermastat/redline water wetter, and still have cooling problems. With the deal your local dealership is working out with you, I would jump all over that and have them install it. You should be fortuante that the dealer is putting in some of the cost (let alone performing the upgrade), usually they will tell you that your **** out of luck and that you will need to perform your own cooling upgrades...

I have the cooling upgrade on my car. It nevers goes past the A on the gauge, even in summer time bumper to bumper traffic on the 405 freeway with the A/C on...
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Old 08-08-2002, 07:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rev Happy
If your having cooling problems on a 96 Cobra, the best anadote is the Ford Cooling Upgrade. There are some people who have done the aftermarket radiator/thermastat/redline water wetter, and still have cooling problems
I'm one of those people. The Fluidyne in my car (my 3rd one to be exact) did absolutely NOTHING to improve the cooling. It still runs just as hot as it did with the stock radiator and this is with a manual fan switch that NEVER gets turned off. And before anyone says it, yes I got all the air out of the system, so that's not the cause. I bought my car used and knew nothing of the TSB until after I clocked 36K, went to the dealer, they tried to tell there was NO TSB concerning cooling systems on the '96s and REFUSED to fix it. Once I finally got them to admit there was a problem, they said because I bought the car used and it was past 36K, they weren't "allowed" to fix it free of charge. I like Fords, but I will NEVER FORGET the way they bs'd me about this issue. It's just as well that my car has been on jack stands for the past 1-1/2 months due to another fine Ford design/engineering feat, that being the T45 transmission, because my car would be undriveable in the brutal heat/humidity we're having this summer.
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Old 08-08-2002, 09:00 AM   #8
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Let me share my .02 cents worth.

The few 96 Cobra owners I've conversed with have all expressed the same type of cooling issue. Runs fine w/o the a/c on. In the heat of the summer and with a/c on, car runs hot. Doesn't spew out coolant, but the temp gauge shows hot, mostly while driving around town. On the highway, usually sustained speeds of 45mph and above, it cools back down and is drivable with the a/c on.

If this describes your symptoms, read on.

I experienced the same type of problem on my 99, although I never really noticed it until I installed an autometer water temp gauge. The factory gauge on the 99+ will read dead center (normal), even if the water temp is hovering around the 225 to 230 degree mark. I think 98 and earlier, at least your gauge needle moves, giving you some indication of warmer or cooler.

Of course, my engine is built and supercharged, so I'm sure this has added to the heat being generated. However, since becoming aware of it and doing some data logging, I've noticed it does it even when just cruising. Again, only with a/c on and in the heat of the summer (95 plus degrees).

OK. The cure? Like a couple you you noted, the larger radiator by itself doesn't do anything. I've found that airflow fixes the issue. The stock radiator fan is fine, but not adequate IMO. It really only circulates air through 65% or so of the radiator. Adding a 2nd pusher style fan, stratigically positioned near a corner that doesn't get any fan generated air flow, makes a tremendous difference. Mine is driven by a simple off-the-shelf electronic controller, activated by a thermal probe inserted between the fins of the stock radiator. Switches on and off automatically.


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Old 08-08-2002, 10:31 AM   #9
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Coop
[B]Let me share my .02 cents worth.


I experienced the same type of problem on my 99, although I never really noticed it until I installed an autometer water temp gauge. The factory gauge on the 99+ will read dead center (normal), even if the water temp is hovering around the 225 to 230 degree mark. I think 98 and earlier, at least your gauge needle moves, giving you some indication of warmer or cooler.



This brings up a question I have, are you running both your factory gauge and an aftermarket? If you are where did you place the second temp sender. I thought about a tee but I am not sure how well that would work. Any tips would be appriciated - thanks.
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Old 08-08-2002, 11:31 AM   #10
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Re: Cooling TSB for 96 Cobra Worth $550.00?

Quote:
Originally posted by 96 SVTCobra
They are tyring to work with me on the upgrade and have offered to do a 70% / 30% where I pay 30% and Ford pays 70% of the cost of the TSB.
My advice?

DO IT!!!



I was quoted $750 for parts plus labor, didn't do it, spent more, and still don't have all my cooling problems solved.

At least if you do this, you have a good foundation and your dealer will work with you to solve any addition problems.

PS: The new AC condensor that comes with the upgrade flows much more air through it. It cost me about $600 (inc labor) to upgrade to that alone.
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Old 08-08-2002, 12:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by MikeMustangGT

This brings up a question I have, are you running both your factory gauge and an aftermarket? If you are where did you place the second temp sender. I thought about a tee but I am not sure how well that would work. Any tips would be appriciated - thanks.
I'm running both.

Don't use a "T" at the factory location. Could end up with air bubbles that will interfere with results.

The best thing to do is weld another bung on the side of the coolant tube. An alternative is to screw in adapter in place of the fill cap on top of the tube, then install the water temp sensor there. You can get a brass adapter at Home Depot or Lowe's. If doing this method, get the probe to thread down far enough so it will end up directly in the flow of the water once installed.
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Old 08-08-2002, 12:59 PM   #12
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Thanks COOP
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Old 08-08-2002, 02:47 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the feedback...

I am still a little undecided on this issue, however it sounds like the general consensus is to get the cooling upgrade from Ford because the Fluidyne Radiator (or other) alone will not fix the cooling problem. My only hesitation is that I am planning to add a supercharger at some point in the future and don't want to have to upgrade the cooling system yet again and eventually have to replace the TSB radiator with something like the Steeda or Fluidyne. Any other thoughts for people who have experience with the cobra cooling problems?
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Old 08-08-2002, 05:13 PM   #14
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I'm still trying to figure out why some '96's have this problem and some don't. My cooling system works perfectly. Did Ford make a change mid-year, or is this a random occurence for all '96 Cobra's.
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Old 08-08-2002, 05:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by BlackOnBlackCobra96
I'm still trying to figure out why some '96's have this problem and some don't. My cooling system works perfectly. Did Ford make a change mid-year, or is this a random occurence for all '96 Cobra's.
Do you ever see mid 90s or even 100s with extreme high humidity (aka Atlanta, Tennessee). How about the weather compared to Texas to OH? That's why some people complain, and others don't. Also if the coolant system is just slightly low (not topped off in the coolant bypass area), and running in mild 90s, it will get pretty damn hot.


All I have to say about this thread is, "WTF?!?!" You mean I could have gotten Ford to pay for some of this? Jesus...

I just got done (last weekend FYI) putting in a 98 A/C Condenser, Steeda UltraCool radiator (for 97-98, not 96 as the condenser won't fit 96 model radiators), and '98 Cooling fan.

I had to replace the cooling fan because the 97/98 radiators (and the Steeda) have different mounting positions then the 96 did. So, I nixed my 96 for a 98. It is a bit larger.

I also had to buy two 98 radiator brackets (they are the same on both sides). Witht he Steeda rad in, it wouldn't line up witht he bottom brackets. Nothing a hack saw and a bit of welding can't fix. Fyi, you want to move the PASSENGER side lower bracket over, 1.5" to 2", not the driver's side. DOH! This is to make the top radiator support brackets line up with the existing holes. Also the lower radiator mounts are not wide enough in the 96 to fit the 98 radiator.

One last thing, the Steeda Radiator (the 98 Radiator I had next to me seemed ok, if I just got a 98 rad instead of the steeda) is about an inch too tall. So I had to crush the top brackets to get them to fit.


And FYI, I have an ATI ProCharger D-1SC. And this radiator, cooling fan, condenser and intercooler tubing all fits. Tightly, but it does fit.



[




As far as your question of, "is it worth $550?". Here's my price, plus my own labor to do the work:

Steeda UltraCool radiator (97-up) $380
or
1998 Ford Mustang GT/Cobra Raditator $240 (if I remember)
1998 Ford Mustang GT/Cobra A/C Condenser $180
1998 Ford Mustang GT/Cobra upper radiator bracket $11 ea X2
Take down and recharge of entire A/C system.

Prices are via http://www.fordpartsnetwork.com (really cheap).


Eric
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Old 08-08-2002, 05:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by 96 SVTCobra
Thanks for all the feedback...

I am still a little undecided on this issue, however it sounds like the general consensus is to get the cooling upgrade from Ford because the Fluidyne Radiator (or other) alone will not fix the cooling problem. My only hesitation is that I am planning to add a supercharger at some point in the future and don't want to have to upgrade the cooling system yet again and eventually have to replace the TSB radiator with something like the Steeda or Fluidyne. Any other thoughts for people who have experience with the cobra cooling problems?
Actually from what I have seen, unless you are road racing/autocrossing in the desert, or in Texas, the stock radiator works just fine with 500 or 550rwhp on a s/c application on these motors. I'm just travelling a lot soon and don't want to take the chance.

The reason for the "upgrade" is the condenser. The A/C condener is the sole problem in the entire coolant system. Why? Because it doesn't allow for enough airflow to the radiator. Sorry, forgot to mention that in my last post.

I can't find the pics of a 96 condener and a 97 that a friend sent me. I'll look for them when I get home. But looking at what I removed this past weekend and compared to the new condenser. Jez.. What a difference!

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Old 08-08-2002, 06:14 PM   #17
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Eric,
How does your new cooling system work? Have you noticed a major improvement.

What temp did you car get up to on the factory gauge while running in stop and go traffic with the A/C on before the upgrade? How about after the upgrade?
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Old 08-08-2002, 06:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by 96 SVTCobra
Eric,
How does your new cooling system work? Have you noticed a major improvement.

What temp did you car get up to on the factory gauge while running in stop and go traffic with the A/C on before the upgrade? How about after the upgrade?
Over the past month, the temps have bene in the mid to high 90s and very high humidity here in Nashville. The hottest part of the year most likely.

I didn't have A/C for any of it (buggered up a line when moving things around during the D-1SC install). But the convertible top helped, a little. With a suite n tie, not much though. Hehe.

With A/C and no ATI Coolant Bypass easlier this year, in just the 70s and 80s, it got PRETTY warm (218 degrees, that's the letter M in the NORMAL gauge on a 96, different on 97 and 98 years). This was in stop n go traffic. Freeway was never an issue.

Then the ATI bypass went on, and no A/C, the temps in traffic wasn't bad unless i got into it for a while. On the freeway though, just a cruise would overheat the car. Or sit right on the A for the longest of times! Ouch! Anything over 60mph and it would hate the 90 degree temps. The ATI bypass is to remove the thermostat (because it restricts flow from the radiator) and to block off the thermostat bypass tube coming from the top of the motor to the thermostat housing. This effectively turns the awesome coolant system that Ford designed (that keeps water flowing at all times, even cold) into a ye-old full time flow, no thermostat operation. Eww.. But it works very well on this motor. Let's just see how it goes this winter though...

Btw, I installed the ATI bypass well before the entire s/c system. I installed things in steps, one thing at a time over the weekend.

And that was with no A/C on.

After installing all of that above, it still gets a little warm (200 degrees or so on the AutoTap, the letter O to R) in stop n go traffic with A/C on full blast in high 90 degree weather, and the highest humidity of the year. On the freeway, it wouldn't budge above N, if even that high (182 degrees).

I tried a few times to go with no A/C in traffic to see what a difference it would make (you know, top down, sun tan lotion on, no shirt, shorts, 95 degree weather and humidity). It wouldn't budge over N.

That convinces me I nailed the problem.

Eric
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Old 08-08-2002, 06:41 PM   #19
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Question Question about 160 degree thermostat

Venomous96svt--Where did you buy your 160 degree thermostat from? Do you have a PN # for it? I also live in the Los Angeles area. I currently am running a 180 degree thermostat with S/C & when it is hot here, I see 210 + degrees on my autometer temp. guage. Let me know & if any more info., e-mail me from corral site. Thanks
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Old 08-09-2002, 12:24 AM   #20
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I've been following the cooling issues with '96 Cobras ever since I bought mine used almost three years ago (and learned about the TSB shortly after buying it - and discovered that mine had NOT had it done) and I haven't spotted a pattern yet! Some '96 Cobras are just simply more prone to overheat than others - regardless of geographic location or driving habits/conditions. It seems to basically come down to the luck of the draw as to if a particular car is going to have problems or not. I can't explain it... it doesn't make any sense to me at all.

I will have to disagree with those who say an aftermarket radiator makes NO difference though. In some (most?) cases I think it does. At least in MY experience I know that it very definitely DID make a difference. If you've ever seen the stock radiator along side a good aftermarket one, the difference is very obvious. There's NO WAY the stocker can cool as well as a Fluidyne or a Steeda. It's literally HALF as thick - if that. I do believe though that in some cars it may NOT make a difference though - if they are really prone to overheat. My car was built in December '95 - #2377 - and I guess I was one of the lucky ones because it has NEVER overheated. With the stock radiator, in the absolute HOTTEST days of summer here in sweltering Columbia, SC, in stop & go city traffic with the A/C on 'Norm' blasting ice cold air, the temp would run on the high side of the 'A'. That's as hot as I ever saw it get. Switching the A/C to 'Max' forces the radiator fan into high speed mode - and it would usually cool down a letter or so on the gauge. About a year ago, I got a good deal on a Steeda radiator, so I bought it - just for the peace of mind. It has been brutally hot here the last few weeks (right around 100* - if not over - practically every afternoon - with high humidity) and I have yet to see the temp get past 'M' on the gauge. Usually it stays locked on 'O' - occasionally creeping up to 'R' for brief periods of time. VERY rarely does it get to the 'M' - like I said - only on the WORST days. I'm sure if I installed a '97-up A/C condensor, it would run even cooler. I'm running roughly a 60/40 mix of water/antifreeze with one bottle of Water Wetter and I'm still running the original thermostat - whatever it is.

98K miles so far! It's a GREAT car.
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'96 SVT Cobra Coupe #2377
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Go: K&N, Steeda Tri-Ax, FRPP 4.10's (Abbott ERA), Baer Braided Stainless Steel Brake Lines, Flowmaster 40-Series DeltaFlows, MSD Wires, Steeda Aluminum Radiator

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Old 08-09-2002, 12:32 AM   #21
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Originally posted by Poe
I've been following the cooling issues with '96 Cobras ever since I bought mine used almost three years ago (and learned about the TSB shortly after buying it - and discovered that mine had NOT had it done) and I haven't spotted a pattern yet! Some '96 Cobras are just simply more prone to overheat than others - regardless of geographic location or driving habits/conditions. It seems to basically come down to the luck of the draw as to if a particular car is going to have problems or not. I can't explain it... it doesn't make any sense to me at all.

I will have to disagree with those who say an aftermarket radiator makes NO difference though. In some (most?) cases I think it does. At least in MY experience I know that it very definitely DID make a difference. If you've ever seen the stock radiator along side a good aftermarket one, the difference is very obvious. There's NO WAY the stocker can cool as well as a Fluidyne or a Steeda. It's literally HALF as thick - if that. I do believe though that in some cars it may NOT make a difference though - if they are really prone to overheat. My car was built in December '95 - #2377 - and I guess I was one of the lucky ones because it has NEVER overheated. With the stock radiator, in the absolute HOTTEST days of summer here in sweltering Columbia, SC, in stop & go city traffic with the A/C on 'Norm' blasting ice cold air, the temp would run on the high side of the 'A'. That's as hot as I ever saw it get. Switching the A/C to 'Max' forces the radiator fan into high speed mode - and it would usually cool down a letter or so on the gauge. About a year ago, I got a good deal on a Steeda radiator, so I bought it - just for the peace of mind. It has been brutally hot here the last few weeks (right around 100* - if not over - practically every afternoon - with high humidity) and I have yet to see the temp get past 'M' on the gauge. Usually it stays locked on 'O' - occasionally creeping up to 'R' for brief periods of time. VERY rarely does it get to the 'M' - like I said - only on the WORST days. I'm sure if I installed a '97-up A/C condensor, it would run even cooler. I'm running roughly a 60/40 mix of water/antifreeze with one bottle of Water Wetter and I'm still running the original thermostat - whatever it is.

98K miles so far! It's a GREAT car.
Yep. You can put the largest radiator in there and it will help, a little. But once you open the flow (like putting in a coolant fan and not having a coolant fan), it just stays nice and cool.

Btw, the stock thermostat is 180 degrees.

Eric
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Old 08-09-2002, 06:54 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by eduncan911
Btw, the stock thermostat is 180 degrees.

Eric
I thought it was 195
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