5.0 Mustang & Super FordsFeatured Vehicles
1997 Ford Mustang Cobra - Hail Raiser
Mike McHenry brought this hail-damaged ’97 Cobra back and better than ever
"I was happy with the additional power, but it didn't last long," Mike says. It only took 300 miles for the factory short-block to start smoking and going through a quart of oil every 200 miles.
Therefore, the engine had to come out, and thanks to Mike's friends Joey Wilson and Robert Whiteman, the oil-burning Four-Valve was extracted. Another friend, Brian Davis helped Mike take apart the Four-Valve, and Joey was called upon to help put it back together after the factory Teksid block received a 0.20-inch overbore.
During the new engine's breaking-in period, the ProCharger started making increased noise, so Mike sent the P-1SC back for a D-1SC upgrade. "I put it back on the car and it was a world of difference," Mike says. Boost went from 10 pounds to 17 pounds using the same pulley.
To get the tune spot-on, Mike contacted Dynospeed Racing in Memphis, Tennessee. "I trailered my car to Joe and he had it running like a bone-stock car until you mashed the gas pedal. The driveability was perfect," he said. The combo was good for 594 horsepower and 505 lb-ft of torque at the wheels, but Joe warned Mike he was out of mass air meter at 6,300 rpm.
After enjoying the Cobra for a little bit, Mike got greedy. One night he took the Cobra to 7,100 rpm. "It made this terrible clattering noise and started smoking real bad," he said. Mike thought he had broke another piston and started saving money for the repair. He did his research and found the best deal for him was to get a MMR 900S 5.0 stroker short-block and add his existing top end to that.
With the necessary funds collected, Mike sent the car and short-block to Dynospeed for repairs/upgrades. The diagnosis was blown head gaskets, and pitted heads. It was agreed to go ahead with the stroker short-block, repair the heads, and put it back together. To go along with this round of mods, Mike once again addressed the fuel system and induction to work with the new combo.
Since the Cobra's been back together, Mike has retired it from any track duty. The car now makes a reliable 580 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque, and Mike's not afraid to put wife, Kim, and daughters, Katelyn and Kourtney, in the car for a cruise with the A/C at full blast. "I also love the fact that it is 100-percent emissions legal in my state," Mike says.
It's now a fun, weekend street car Mike can clean up and take to shows. Except now, Mike doesn't have to worry about uncovering any hail damage.
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Tech Specs: 1997 Cobra
Engine and Drivetrain
Block: Iron, MMR 900S
Crankshaft: MMR Forged
Rods: MMR H-beam
Pistons: Manley Performance forged 2618
Cylinder heads: Stock B-heads
Intake manifold: Stock w/ an Accufab throttle body, and an SCT BA3000 meter
Power Adder: ProCharger D-1SC supercharger w/ 3.4-in pulley, and 20 pounds of boost
Fuel system: '03 Cobra tank w/ Fore Innovations hat, two Walbro 255-lph pumps, Aeromotive lines, Aeromotive rails, 60-lb/hr injectors, and an Aeromotive regulator
Exhaust: BBK Performance long-tube headers w/ BBK X-shape crossover pipe, and Borla XR1 Cat-Back exhaust
Transmission: Stock T-45 w/ McLeod Racing RST twin-disc clutch, Steeda Autosports Tri-Ax shifter, and an aluminum driveshaft
Rearend: 8.8-in w/ Eaton differential, Moser Engineering 31-spline axles, and 3.55 gears
Engine management: Stock w/ Dynospeed Racing SCT tune
Ignition: Stock w/ MSD wires, and NGK TR6 plugs
Gauges: Stock w/ Auto Meter boost, Auto Meter fuel pressure, and Uego 1000 wideband
Suspension and Chassis
A-arms: '03 Cobra
Struts: Stock w/ BBK Performance caster/camber plates
Springs: Eibach Sportline
Brakes: Stock Cobra w/ Bendix pads
Wheels: Saleen 18x9-in
Tires: Nitto NT555, 265/35-18
Springs: Eibach Sportline
Control Arms: Steeda Autosports adjustable uppers and Maximum Motorsports adjustable lowers
Brakes: Stock Cobra w/ Bendix brake pads
Wheels: Saleen 18x10-in
Tires: Nitto NT555R, 305/35-18