restoring a 1976 mustang cobra

Home  \  Classic Cars  \  restoring a 1976 mustang cobra

HI im new to restoring cars and this forum. Me and my dad just bought a 1976 mustang and i want to get the most power out of it as i can. everything else in the car is in fairly good condition. I also want to say that i dont have a lot of money so can u give me some names of engine parts or brands that are cheap thanx!

posted by  Speed Demon

Well if you want cheap, I would suggest using Edelbrock stuff all the way around.

posted by  SlipKnoT

what motor/trans, etc?

posted by  dodger65

It would be a 302. But im not to sure of the tranny...a 4 speed automatic perhaps? :doh:

posted by  SlipKnoT

idk, you could get the cobra w/ any motor, just about. my friend has a nice 76 cobra w/ a 2.8 4 speed :screwy: nice looking car, but a dog, espc. since he blew a hole in the side of the tranny... :banghead:

posted by  dodger65

Wow, thats great :banghead: I forgot that you could order those cars with any engine. Most of them had the 302 from what Ive seen/experienced though.

posted by  SlipKnoT

it'll have a fi 302 when we're done... so far, it's the only car he's owned that i haven't put an engine in...

posted by  dodger65

im pretty sure that it is a 302 im not sure wat the tranny is (i havnt quite bought it we have to tow it home. also my friend dad said it a problem car is it i would like to know any problems that i will encounter and thanks for all the advice.

posted by  Speed Demon

Woah woah woah....can you go back and edit this for me so I can understand it? :laughing:

posted by  SlipKnoT

ya sure. the engine in the car is definetly a 302. I am not sure what the transmission is though. my friends dad also said that this car is a problem car is this true? I would also like to know if its worth while to put a bigger engine into the car or just improve the current engine.

posted by  Speed Demon

Well this was a problem car if it had the 2.8L engine like dodger65 stated. Yours has the 302, so it shouldnt give you much trouble. However this year of the 302 was an incredibly under powered one. I think it only had something like 160hp. It might have been closer to 200hp but I dont remember. Anyway, it wouldnt be to much trouble to put a bigger engine in there. Its got a big engine bay. But if you want to keep it original, then use the engine that its got in it, rebuild it, and do a few performance mods to it.

posted by  SlipKnoT

i dont care about origanality just getting more speed.

posted by  Speed Demon

Ok well yank that old 302 out of there and sell it and then drop in a 351 Windsor or a 351 Cleaveland. The Cleaveland would be cheaper than the Windsor. Both those engines are a nice basis for a good speed project. :thumbs:

posted by  SlipKnoT

Ok, the Mustang II is actually a fairly solid car to build from. It's also old enough that you don't need to worry about emissions. The problem areas were emissions related, as well as some typical older car electrical issues, which can be cured by making sure all conections and grounds are good.

The 302 in that car, stock, would be a low compression engine making not much more than 100 hp. The heads are large chamber as well. It won't matter what you do with cams and intake/exhaust as the compression ratio and heads are your limiting factors.

Luckily you can find swap meet or used heads that will wake that car right up. I prefer the early 289 hi po heads with the small combustion chambers, and then port them for better flow. You can often find them for about $100 each. Much cheaper than later 5.0 heads. Then, have the block overbored .030. Any good machine shop should be able to accomplish this for fairly cheap. If you go to Summit or PAW, you can get a complete rebuild kit for that engine for cheap, with overbored, higher compression pistons. If you go with a 10:1, .030 over piston set, you can still run on pump gas easily. Match that up with a swap meet Edelbrock Torker 289 dual plane intake manifold (or equivalent) and a Holley 650 double pumper (or 700-750 cfm if you can find it, but don't get an Edelbrock/Carter.) An Edelbrock Performer RPM cam grind will take advantage of that compression ratio to give you a 6500-7000 rpm redline, while still being streetable.

You could probably build this engine for under $1500 if you shop carefully. And you'd be looking at about 300+ RWHP with some good equal length headers an 2 chamber flowmasters (cheap mufflers, but they'll work. Borlas are better, as are a couple others, but costs can sometimes be an issue.)

As for the transmission, if it's an automatic, it's most likely a C4. A B&M shift improver kit will tighten it right up, and give you hard launches, firm fast shifts, and extended transmission life. $50 or so, and easy to install.

After that, you're looking at traction and suspension.

posted by  ChrisV

He could do all this to that old 302, but then again wouldnt it just be easier to drop in a 351 Cleaveland?

He would already have better compression to start with, so he would have to deal with bumping it up. You can get these egines for fairly cheap used if you look around enough. Plus, if he wanted 300+ hp out of it, he could throw on a set of Hooker headers, an Edelbrock intake, and a good Holley 700cfm carb, along with those Flowmaster 2 chamber mufflers. Simple and wuick bolt ons :mrgreen: He wouldnt even have to deal with finding better heads, beacause the heads on it are already great.

posted by  SlipKnoT

A 351W would be a bolt in, but it's an inch taller and wider. A 351C would require a lot more work, as it woudn't swap in cheaply with factory parts. It would require a different transmission, as well, AND it's a heavier engine. Harder to find them anymore in the early, high performance forms, and more expensive to make power from if you can't find the high performance versions.

I mean, if you're going to do that, I'd just go all out and fabricate mounts and space to drop in a built 460. For $1500, I can make 600 hp from one of those.

That's what *I* woud do with a Pinto/Mustang II, but it's not a low budget first project. Something like this car with 600 hp and 700 lb ft of torque in streetable form...

http://www.mustangii.net/images/ontheroad/cobraii_from_calendar.jpg

posted by  ChrisV

Well that makes sense. I didnt consider the dimensions of the 351C or the tranny problem. The 460 idea is good though. My dads cousin dorpped on in a 1972 Mach 1 and it makes 1200hp without the spray :mrgreen: However its not streetable :laughing:

posted by  SlipKnoT

sorry if i sound like a noob to this (mostly cause i am) but i heard u can also put a new mustang engine in it to. is it possible to do that. I would like the fact that it would be easier on gas and it would probably be faster. thanx for all of the help so far guys i really appreciate it :orglaugh: :clap:

posted by  Speed Demon

This would be possible. But then theres the ECU deal, as well as the transmission, and numerous other things. Plus, getting a new 4.6L V8 isnt easy. Getting a production 4.6L V8 engine from Ford Racing costs over $2000. :laughing:

posted by  SlipKnoT

oh well thats not realistic for me and by the way wat does ecu stand for i kinda wanna know?

posted by  Speed Demon

Im not exactly sure what it STANDS for. But its your vehicles computer board. It controls the fuel injection, among other things. Carb. cars (like your 1976 Mustang) dont have it.

posted by  SlipKnoT

k thank you :orglaugh:

posted by  Speed Demon

I was also wondering if it would be a good idea to switch the transmission to a manual and install a shortshift is this a good idea? :banghead:

posted by  Speed Demon

ECU stands for Electronic Control Unit, basically teh car's computer. While it may be hard to buy or install a 4.6, you can get a later 5.0 and 5 speed for well under a grand out of a wrecked 5.0 Mustang. If you find one '88-93, it'll be a great engine. And there's a kit to make that engine work in pre-computer controlled cars. It's under $300 from Ford Motorsports.

But you'll also have to hook up a cluch pedal assembly and linkage... not necessarily as easy as it sounds.

posted by  ChrisV

k thank you

posted by  Speed Demon

Your Message