Thiswebsite is EXTREMELY GRAPHICS INTENSIVE. If you are accessing thissite with a phone modem, some pages can require a number of MINUTES toload.
The technical information presented on this website may contain typographical errors and/or errors of omission. All tech information obtained from this site should be verified with information available from other sources. Additionally, some procedures may not be suitable for your application. You assume all responsibility regarding the suitability and outcome of your modifications when attempting the procedures described on these pages.
Welcome to Taz's web site
This site is best viewed at a resolution of 1024 x 768 or higher. You may jump to any of the site's main category pages by using the buttons above and at the left. However, the various category pages may be linked to supplemental files and/or secondary pages that are not accessible from the button bars. Think of peeling an onion layer by layer, and you'll have a good feel for the way this site has been laid out. Except for Lunatic Ravings, each category page is arranged in chronological order, with its oldest project at the top and its most recent undertaking at the bottom. TheLunatic Ravings page is arranged in the opposite order, with my most recently published rant at its top.
As the pages here grew in size, navigating them to find a specific upgrade or topic became somewhat cumbersome, so I've added bookmarks to most pages and placed a list of bookmark links just below the horizontal button bars on those pages. You'll also find many hyperlinks embedded throughout the text on each page that will take you to other sites, other pages on this site, or various tech documents. All hyperlinks are underlined. Generally, if a link takes you elsewhere within this site or opens a local tech document, the transition will take place in your current browser window. If the link takes you to another web site, it will usually open in a new window.
Editorial Comment: What you'll read on this site are the voice of reason and the truth as I understand it to be. Period. No sales pitch and no hidden agenda. Furthermore, the information appearing here is based on first-hand experience, not something a friend of a friend happened to mutter in the midst of a drunken stupor. I've been a card-carrying ratchet head for decades. My first project car, bought brand new, was a '67 Camaro Rally Sport with a 327, and I've been an automotive enthusiast ever since. In other words, I didn't buy my first Jr. Mechanic's tool set last week.
Sure, I publish opinions and preferences here. Mine. Each based on decades of personal experience. You probably won't agree with all of them, and I really don't care. This isn't one of those moronic free-for-all forums where you get your 15 minutes on a soap box to rail about your pet peeve or grind your axe or whine about this or that shortcoming, or ask the same lame questions over and over again ad nauseam. Neither is this a site you can visit to hawk your wares or spread your favorite lies, slander, or irrational prejudices. But most importantly, this isn't a place where you can further decimate the beleaguered English language by spewing an incessant stream of shabby diction and poor grammar. However, please feel free to use the Internet forums for those purposes. Everyone else obviously does, which is why I rarely visit the forums any longer.
On the other hand, if you're looking for solid tech information, you'll find it here. Even though this blog is focused primarily on my SVT Cobra's upgrade program, it also contains a lot of good general tech that I've acquired over the years. Make no mistake. Nothing gets said here except what I have to say, but I will at least do my best to back up what I present on these pages with verifiable data and hard numbers wherever possible, instead of employing the shadowy innuendos and sweeping generalizations that you'll usually find elsewhere on the Internet. And I will do my best to say it well, so even if you don't agree with what I say, you may wish to stop by from time to time, if only to enjoy what English was like prior to its decline and fall at the hands of assorted "texters," "tweeters," Ebonics disciples, and just plain ignorant louts.
In addition to much technical information, you'll find many blue-text Editorial Comments like this one scattered about the pages of this site, generally wherever there are controversial topics, such as HID lighting, brake component technology, or suspension options. Each of these comments is merely a candid expression of my opinion and/or my understanding of the straight scoop on the topic at hand, supplemented by whatever relevant factual data I have uncovered. They're color-coded to enable you to easily skip them if you'd prefer, but I'm not at all interested in debating anyone's opinions to the contrary. Again, go tell someone who cares. Read the blue-text sections if you want, or don't. Regardless, you won't get any rebuttal time around here.
First, a little history: I bought Taz new on Father's Day in 2001. Ever since that day, this little black Mustang has been reserved for recreational use, and has never been a daily driver. Although I've owned a number of performance cars over the years, I've never enjoyed the luxury of having a project car that I didn't also need to rely on for daily transportation until this one. I must say that being able to take the car off the road for extended periods in order to tackle lengthy projects lends an entirely different perspective to the hobby of automotive tinkering. Not being forced to meet completion deadlines has enabled me to pursue much more ambitious projects and to take as long for each one as I feel necessary to satisfy my perfectionist nature.
Taz was an outstanding car right off the showroom floor, and I thought Ford had certainly bargain priced him, considering his standard features and performance. That's why I bought the car. Of course, once the "mod bug" got hold of me, I began replacing all sorts of perfectly good stock components with upgraded parts to further enhance the Cobra's performance and appeal. Eventually, I reached the point at which I had spent considerably more on the upgrades than I had for the car, itself. But so what? After all, what's the point in having an automotive toy that's exactly like everyone else's?
Editorial Comment: The question above begs another:why do so many members of the automotive community feel compelled to rely on peer approval to select everything from the color of their valve covers to the knobs mounted on their shifter handles. Are those poor souls incapable of independent thought and critical analysis? Or do they perhaps feel so socially and emotionally insecure that they're more concerned with gaining others' approval than they are with pleasing themselves? Regardless, by habitually making their upgrade choices based on consensus, they end up with cars that are just like most everyone else's, don't they? But considering one's car is supposedly an extension of his/her unique personality, there appears to be something dreadfully wrong with this dynamic, doesn't there? To quote the late Steve Jobs, ?Don?t let the noise of others? opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.?
In my opinion, nothing truly outstanding was ever produced by a committee, so I've never understood the consensus approach to automotive tinkering. Why not take a chance on YOUR OWN DECISIONS, instead of relying on a twisted social networking paradigm that reduces everyone and everything to the least common denominator, while suppressing originality and self-expression in the process? You may be surprised by how rewarding it can be to actually make some choices of your own. Remember, you cannot please everyone all the time, regardless of what you choose, so why not focus on pleasing yourself?
Okay, why "Taz" of all names? Aren't cars supposed to have feminine monikers like ships? Umm, no. Ships actually come in both genders, as evidenced by the names of many U.S. Naval vessels, such as the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Cars are no different. Besides, I didn't name this car - he already had a name. As any real car guy will tell you, every vehicle is "born" with a name that reflects its nature. It's the owner's responsibility to discover what that name is. This car just happens to be a somewhat insane little devil named Taz.
Let's fast-forward to the present. Here are a couple shots of Taz as he looks nowadays, after countless upgrades, large and small. The front quarter photo shows off the car's heat extractor hood and retrofitted ECE-spec Hella bi-xenon projector headlamps. You'll find the gory details regarding the hood project on the Body / Trim / Misc page of this site, and for more about the HID headlamp project, visit this site's Electrical/Electronics page. The engine bay photo showcases the car's Kenne Bell supercharger, which was installed in 2004. The scoop about Taz's power adder project can be found on the site's Twin-screw page.
Of course, acceleration represents only one of a vehicle's performance facets. Equally important to those interested in a well-rounded performance car are braking and handling. From the outset, I adopted a "balanced package" approach designed to achieve good overall equilibrium by addressing every aspect of the car's dynamics. At the same time, I was intent upon retaining an acceptably civil and refined cabin experience for myself and my passengers, and maybe even enhancing it just a bit. To be sure, I most certainly was not interested in creating a rolling Guantanamo Bay experience in an irrational quest to wring the last iota of performance out of a primarily street-driven car. Nor was I keen on building a car that required constant tinkering just to keep it running.
This site's Days of Future Past page provides a visual chronicle of Taz's gradual metamorphosis from assembly-line product into a unique and vastly more capable machine. For the most part, the Cobra's upgrade program has been deliberate and methodical, and I've done my best to make the most appropriate choices and tradeoffs along the way to achieve my goals and to suit my own personal preferences. I'm still not finished, just a plodder with limited funds. On the other hand, will the car ever be truly finished? Maybe, maybe not. Project cars rarely ever are. Regardless, I must have done a lot of things right, because Taz's most recent valuation by a licensed automotive appraiser came in at more than twice the price listed on his Monroney sticker back in 2001, and he is insured with an agreed value policy for this amount through a major national underwriter of collectible cars.
To open an Adobe PDF document containing Taz's current technical specifications in tabular form, click here. Factory parts and specifications are listed with white text in the table, while all upgrades are listed with yellow text.
NOTE: The above link will open an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) document. If you haven't already installed Adobe Reader on your computer, you can download it free from the Adobe Website.
2017 IRS Refresh
Okay, I realize this is the first update in a couple years, but there really hasn't been any news worth publishing. Taz still looks just like he did in the 2014 photo above, and I hadn't done any noteworthy wrenching on him. Hell, I've been so busy and traveling so much for work that I've been putting only about 200 miles per year on the poor thing. But a significant issue with the rear axle hubs and bearings that forced me to dump a bunch of money into some new parts and break out the tools again surfaced toward the end of 2017. I ended up installing new half-shafts and loaded spindles. Click HERE for all the gory details.
2014 Annual Photo Shoot
I conducted Taz's annual photo shoot late this year, near the end of October. However, the solar index was still high enough to provide excellent results, while the temperatures were below the threshold of pain at a mere 98F degrees. See HERE for a brief recap of the car's 2014 upgrades and a link to the photos.
Michelin PSS Tires
In October of 2014, I replaced my second set of Dunlop tires with new Michelin Pilot Super Sports. You'll find the details and my initial impressions of the new PSS tires HERE.
Speaker Upgrades and Power Antenna Installation
Earlier in 2014, I had stumbled upon some direct-replacement tweeter/midrange speakers that sound better than the OEM Mach 460 drivers to my ear, so I installed a pair of them. The details are published HERE. Not long after the speaker upgrades, I replaced Taz's fixed-mast antenna with a mini power unit. You can read about that project HERE.
Maintenance Schedule for OCD Owners
Since many car owners appear to have no established preventative maintenance plan in place, and most owner's manuals aren't much help in this regard, I have published the comprehensive maintenance schedule that I've complied for my own use. This schedule is a bit more aggressive than strictly necessary, because I'm borderline OCD when it comes to maintaining my Cobra, so if you adopt it for your own use, you can rest assured that your vehicle will be better cared for than most. The downloadable PDF consists of three sections:(1) an alphabetical listing of maintenance procedures with estimated costs for both parts and labor, (2) maintenance tables broken down by recommended frequency, and (3) a maintenance procedure checklist to help you track your own vehicle's upkeep.
For those new to the concept of automotive maintenance, I feel compelled to point out that the periodic maintenance tables are inclusive. By that I mean, for example, that when it's time to perform the annual maintenance on your car, the items listed in the annual maintenance table aren't the only ones you'll need to address. You'll also need to perform the semi-annual, quarterly, and monthly maintenance procedures, as well, because each of those intervals coincides with the 12-month period. Similarly, when performing your 3-year maintenance, you'll also need to perform the annual and all of the shorter maintenance interval procedures. Hopefully, I've made this clear with the maintenance checklist you'll find in section 3, but I thought I'd also mention it here.
The estimated labor costs listed in the tables reflect the average national cost to have an auto mechanic perform each procedure. This may provide an incentive for you to perform at least some of your own automotive maintenance yourself. Or not. Regardless, every dollar you don't pay someone else to perform work you could do is money in the bank for other needs. Furthermore, you should be able to rest assured the work was done right if you do it yourself. Just sayin'.
In any event, you'll find the PDF file HERE. I've also provided a link to this file under the General Info, Maintenance, & Repair section of this site's Tech Docs page.
The Rx for Wheel Hop
I've published my prescription for curing the nasty wheel hop exhibited by all IRS Cobras during hard launches. Those seeking a genuine solution to this problem will find the Silver Bullet HERE on the Tech Docs page of this site.
Suspension Tuning Basics
For those interested in some basic suspension tuning guidelines, as well as some general technical information about suspensions, I have also added a Handling Tweaks section to the Tech Docs page.
Courtesy Lighting Upgrades
I have upgraded Taz's courtesy lighting to remedy some glaring deficiencies in that department. You'll find the details of the project HERE.
Miscellaneous old news is accessible from the site's Archives page. This includes photos from open track outings and other past events.
Taz uses and recommends IPOWER web hosting. Click on the IPOWER graphic below to get started ...
NOTE: If you follow the above link and decide to sign up, you'll be doing us both a good turn. You'll be getting IPOWER'S excellent web hosting service and the nice folks at IPOWER will reward me with a little money to help keep this site going.
Ford's WebsiteClick this link to visit the Ford Vehicles website
Ford Performance Group Website Click this link to visit the Ford Performance Group official Website (formerly the home of Ford's Special Vehicle Team).
SVT Owner's Association Website Click this link to visit theSVT Owner's Association Website.
This page was last updated on 11-Aug-2018.