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Thread: 2003 Mustang Cobra convertible getting e-level setup!

  1. #51
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    Awesome work guys. Looking forward to this.




    The Kia has been parted.

  2. #52
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    Thanks guys, your interest is helping us stay motivated. We didn't work on the car today, but I can update you on a couple of other things.

    To swap rear springs on an IRS-equipped Cobra or IRS-swapped Mustang is very easy. Remove the exhaust, remove the two lower shock bolts, put a jack under the center rear of the IRS subframe, and remove the two rear IRS subframe bolts. Then just lower the jack until you can pull the springs out. Anyways, when we were raising the IRS back up after removing the springs, it slipped off the jack and dropped down, and it overextended the left rear brake line. The line started leaking brake fluid, so basically the car is undriveable until the line is replaced. Today I located a set of Russell braided stainless brake lines that I should have in my hands tomorrow. The kit has lines for all 4 corners. I'll do the rears because they are necessary (can't do just one), but I might not do the fronts if we run out of time.


    We also had to think of a solution for attaching the sensors, because they are being mounted on the rear framerail. It's like a 2"x3" (roughly) hollow steel section, so our options are either to drill out both sides to gain access for a nut on the back side, or use a Nutsert. We decided to try the Nutsert option, and Michel was tasked with trying to find some locally today. I haven't talked to him, so I don't know if he found some. For those that don't know what a Nutsert is, here is a pic and a link:

    Fastenal Nutsert

    I emailed Mike at Accuair with a few questions we had about the ride height sensors. We needed to know what happens if we go beyond the oft-repeated 2.75" maximum travel for the sensors. With our current setup, which is the only option we have anyways, we have roughly 3" of travel at the sensor. The sensor allows for almost 4" of travel between the physical stops, but Mike says there's some kind of dead spot at either end of the range that the sensor won't be able to read properly. I guess we'll have to see what happens when the car gets out on the road.

    That's all for now. Tomorrow I have to go buy a couple things we will need, and I should have my brakelines in by mid-afternoon as well. Stay tuned.

  3. #53
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    Keep going!
    "on our way back i hit a bump and both of the springs slip off of their seats and slashed both of my front tires."

    -Dane M

    If your not doing this, your doing it wrong.

  4. #54
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    We got a late start today, but we feel we made some good progress, and we have a clear view of what needs to be done tomorrow, so we should get some good progress tomorrow too. I have a deadline of Friday night in sight because of the yearly All-Ford show on Saturday.

    Michel finished working on the rear ride height sensor plates today, and they look and work great! The driver side is bolted onto the car and checked off the to-so list. The passenger side was still too tacky to work with, so we'll let it dry overnight. Michel shot them with black header paint, followed by a coat of rubberized undercoating. This will help to prevent them from rusting, and reduce rattling should they ever come loose.




    We also made a final adjustent to the ride height sensor positioning to get the travel more centered in the sensors' range, and I got my hands on some Nutserts from the shop at my work. They will do the job perfectly, but the tool that installs them is missing a key component, so Michel fabbed up something that will do the job. We will try it first thing tomorrow. I got my brake lines today and installed the rears right away, just to get something checked off the to-do list. We just have to bleed the brakes after we swap out the front lines.



    Moving on to bigger items, I started working on the wiring harness for the ECU and air compressors. Two wires (Ignition and Lighting) needed to be routed from the ECU to under the dash, so I ran them along the main wiring harness on the driver side floor. Tomorrow I will tap them into the wires near the fuse panel and that will be done. Michel ran the wiring harness for the Touchpad Controller down the center of the car. I don't have a permanent location in mind for the Touchpad yet, so for now it will reside in front of the shifter.





    I also mocked up the positioning of the air tank and compressors. The main restriction is the length of the braided stainless lines that go from the compressors to the tank. I know I could always get longer ones, but I'm sure they cost more than I'm willing to spend. We ended up mounting the compressors on the inner fenderwells. Michel deemed it necessary to fabricate some more mounting plates for the compressors, so he got to work on that while I was fiddling with the wiring harnesses. I think the location we chose for the compressors will look really cool once it's done. We will probably have to cut clearance holes in the side panels of the trunk liner to clear the heads of the compressors, so they'll be peeking into the trunk but not fully visible.







    Another thing I took care of was to assemble the top plates for the front airbags. Couple of washers and nuts and an air fitting on each, and they're ready to go into the car.


    As I stated, we have a clear idea of what we will do tomorrow. First on the list is to get the rear suspension buttoned up. We also need to get the air system up and running so we can get the car on the ground and turned around in the garage.

  5. #55
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    This makes me happy.

    Gonna drag it? lol.

  6. #56
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    Today we got a lot of work done, but we didn't get the rear end off the jacks, and the front is still on the ground. We did complete a few tasks that will enable us to get the front done a little quicker.

    I started off by finishing the wiring under the dash, and I put the interior trim pieces back in place. I also worked on the wiring for the compressor relay. I decided to mount it on a metal tab on the driver side between the rear seat and the trunk, where everything else except the tank is going. It's starting to get crowded in there, but I don't expect to have to go in there anyways. I ran the big power wire for the compressors from the battery to the relay along the underside of the car, and brought it up through the grommet that the ABS sensor passes through.




    We finally got the rear suspension all back together, and we had to extend the pushrods because the shock absorber was forcing the A-arms lower than they were when we mocked it up. The shocks also reduced the top of the travel slightly, so it worked out well. We added the brake line clamps to the same single bolt that holds Michel's fabricated plates to the upper A-arms, making it a simple and clean setup. The Nutserts for the sensors worked like a charm with Michel's fabricated installation tool.




    Michel's fabricated compressor brackets were all painted and ready to go into the car, so we got them installed.



    We polished up the exhaust tips while they were off the car and made a couple of small fitment adjustments to the exhaust system when we put it back on the car. The girls came by to lend a helping hand. It's fun to have them around in the shop, they came in handy when running the big power wire through the front inner fender and up through the grommet!



    Accuair's products are really top-notch. If the wiring harnesses weren't all properly labeled and with different, non-interchangeable connectors on them, I'd have a hell of a time keeping track of what's what. Every time we run a harness or air line through sheetmetal or near sharp edges, we use our trusty red air hose. Also, to pass the sensor harnesses through these holes, it's necessary to dismantle the connectors and pass the wires through the hole then put the connectors back on when you're ready to plug them in. Here you can see the pair of front sensor harnesses disappearing through the trunk floor to be routed forwards together under the car along the fuel lines. The other two holes have an air line each, with each line running up its own side of the car. The passenger side line follows the fuel lines as well, while the driver side follows the big red power wire.







    I also got all the air tank fittings in place with teflon tape. Michel has an idea for a tank mounting bracket, because it can't be bolted straight to the floor due to its location partially over the spare tire well.


    We noticed that my right front tire is worn unevenly down to the cords on the inner edge while we were under the car. We'll have to investigate the cause of that. A new tire (or two) and possibly a ball joint wasn't on my to-do list (or in my budget), but safety first.

    Tomorrow will be a big day. We are still aiming to get it done for Saturday's show, but I won't be too sad if I don't make it. As long as I can get to my family BBQ on Saturday afternoon, I'll be happy. I'll stop making predictions as to what we will be doing tomorrow. I could just sum it up by saying that tomorrow, we need to do everything that's not done yet.

    Later.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_The_BMXER View Post
    This makes me happy.

    Gonna drag it? lol.
    I'm still not even sure what will be touching the ground, if anything. Either way, I think you'll like the result.

  8. #58
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    good work Phil. good luck hope you have it ready by the weekend.

  9. #59
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    OK I know Phil didnt do an update so I'll give you guys one.

    First we worked on the car until 4 am last night.
    We finished the front end.
    Mostly trying to bleed the brake system.

    Today, we finaly bled the brakes and buttoned up the lines and sensors under the car .

    Anyway we took a lit of pics so Phils update will explain much better.

    Phil just left with the car going to a family Bar-B-que with a huge smile on his face.

    We calibrated it, tested to see what was rubbing and the car barely touches the ground and is drivable when air is out.
    not even rubing when the front wheels are fully turned from side to side.

    I'm impressed.

    Got to say that it was quite a project.
    It is the most satisfying project I have taken so far.

  10. #60
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    2fup is a local Montreal Mustang friend who is contemplating some Accuair for his 37 ford. Good to see you here Wayne!

    Ratfink pretty much summed it up. We have a kew kinks to work out, but the car is operational. I'm working on a detailed update. So much has gone on that I will break it down into two posts, one for Friday and another for Saturday.

  11. #61
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    Looking forward to seeing the Cobra Phil congrats!! a job well done.Here is the car that i will be putting accuair system on


    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

  12. #62
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    As Ratfink said, we have had an eventful couple of days. Friday was a marathon day of 18 or 19 hours, but we ended up falling short of the goal line. We really worked hard to get the car done, but it became obvious that we just weren't going to make it. What did us in was the mishap on day one, in the first hour or two of our project. The damn torn brake line that ended up making us replace all 4 of them killed us because we had to flush and bleed the entire brake system. When we ran out of fresh brake fluid at 4am on Saturday morning, we realized it wasn't gonna happen.

    Anyways, here is the rest of the stuff that went on.

    Michel started off Friday's work by designing and fabricating a tank mounting bracket. This was necessary because the tank mounts over the spare tire well, and one of the two bolts was directly over the tire. Even though the system is functional, the bracket is still evolving. We have not yet determined how to attach it to the floor in front of the spare tire well.



    Meanwhile, I was finishing up the power wire for the compressors at the front of the car. We had fished it through the inner fender on the driver side so that it doesn't clutter up the underhood area. Not like a wire takes up a ton of space, but space is already at a premium with a 4-cam supercharged V8 under the hood. In case you're wondering, the other little box with the car on it is one of those rust inhibitor doodads. Don't ask me if it works. I guess we'll find out in 30 years.



    Once we got the wiring done and the tank temporarily installed, the rear suspension was fully functional. We were finally able to remove the car from the garage to turn it around and clean up the floor while it was out. It was also a great chance to take a couple photos and a video.


    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnDd8qEfcJM"]First drive of in-progress Bagged03Cobra - YouTube[/ame]

    With the car turned around (not much room to work on all 4 corners at once due to the sandblast cabinet), I was able to have a closer look at my right front tire, which was heavily damaged from rubbing on the inner fender liner. It's hard to tell in the pic which spots on the fender liner are where the tire rubbed. It doesn't look like much, but it's the only real possibility and the angle looked right. In any case, the damage is done, and I now need two new tires. We heated and mashed in the sections where it was rubbing.



    We drilled the A-arms to mount the lower plates, then fiddled around with the upper spring cups before we figured it would just be easier to drill a couple more holes to pass the air line through. The way Ridetech suggests to route the air line is difficult, runs close to the exhaust and steering shaft, has some very tight bends in it, and virtually eliminates the possibility of the hose having a straight shot into the quick-connect fitting in the cup. Their instructions also say to cut an inch off the all-thread stud before mounting the cup, so I did it. Turns out an inch is way too much. I had to go to the store to buy a new rod, and the correct length was about 1/4 inch shorter than what Ridetech supplies. Why they don't just cut it to length before shipping, I don't know.




    Michel then mocked up the ride height sensors. Unlike the rear, there were a couple of options, but one stood out for its clearance, travel and ease of installation.



    By this time, it was getting towards midnight, and I got sick of taking pictures because I just wanted to get it done. We finished up the front suspension install, plugged the air lines in to get it functional, and routed the sensor wires. I'm really happy with how we routed the wires. They're completely out of sight and out of harm's way. Michel showed me a trick he used on his Harley, using a vacuum cleaner to draw a length of yarn through the K-member support brace. The plan was to draw the yarn through, then tie the sensor wires to it and pull those through. The yarn didn't do it because it kept bunching up somewhere, but we used some stiff electrical wire and that worked like a charm. There was no other practical way to get the sensor wire from the passenger side back to the driver side, because even tie wraps would shear off as soon as I go over a speed bump.

    Once we got that done, we put the front suspension back together. We were then able to move the slack in the wires and air lines back to the rear of the car, using a ton of tie wraps as we went. Just for kicks, I took this pic of the ass end sitting just above the ground while the front was on stands.


    We then put the rear on stands as well, so that we could double-check everything. At this point, we were still plowing ahead full steam, thinking we would get it done. Then we started bleeding the brakes. Through carelessness, the master cylinder had run dry while the torn line was on the car. Anybody who has had this happen knows what I'm going to say next: There was so much air in the rear brake lines that it took over an hour of bleeding before we ran out of fresh brake fluid and called it quits for the night. It was 4am, and we were spent.

    Next update for today's work is coming shortly.
    Last edited by Fastphil; 09-17-2011 at 09:10 PM.

  13. #63

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    awesome work man! ive been a long time lurker but i figured id register and start posting! Im currently getting ready to bag my mustang as well, with a full ridetech setup

  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fup View Post
    Looking forward to seeing the Cobra Phil congrats!! a job well done.Here is the car that i will be putting accuair system on


    Uploaded with ImageShack.us
    Man this is one sweet ride.

  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02Saleen View Post
    awesome work man! ive been a long time lurker but i figured id register and start posting! Im currently getting ready to bag my mustang as well, with a full ridetech setup
    Thanks man, glad I could draw someone into the fold. I'm new here too, but if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

  16. #66
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    For anyone who's reading the updates directly in their email, I added a bunch to my latest update, so click through to check it out!

  17. #67
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    Today was a short day because I had a hard deadline. I had already missed my previous deadline for the All-Ford show. I didn't care too much about that because I was wanting to go for the drag racing anyways, and I wasn't gonna drag race with a bum tire and an untested suspension system. But the family BBQ was something I wasn't going to miss.

    With 3 liters of fresh brake fluid in hand (I wanted to be damn sure I didn't have to go back to the store to get some more!), we picked up where we left off, bleeding the brakes. There was a shedload of air in the rear lines, but once we got the old dirty fluid out, I was able to recycle the fluid by dumping it back into the master cylinder reservoir. Turns out 3 liters is way too much, so I'll return the two unopened bottles tomorrow. The front lines were pretty clear of air because I had let them gravity-bleed after installing the new lines. It was just a matter of flushing out the old fluid and making sure there was no more air. Now that I've driven the car, I know without a doubt that when the reservoir ran dry, air must have gotten into the ABS system, because the pedal is nowhere near as firm as before. This is the number one reason why I'm hesitant to bleed brakes on any vehicle unless I'm damn sure it's necessary. I'll have to get it done at a shop, along with an alignment and two new tires.


    Once the bleeding was done, we put the wheels back on and got the car off the stands. I put the finishing touches on the air lines and wiring between the rear seat and trunk. There's so much stuff in there, it's pretty impressive! Michel strapped the tank into the trunk so that it wouldn't move around while driving, then we ran the e-level's self-programming function. It measures travel then sets the presets at 10, 50 and 90% of the suspension's travel automatically. It's pretty neat to watch.




    Finally, after almost 6 full days of work, the car was on the ground and out the door. There are things that remain to be done, but the car was rolling and fully functional. The trunk panels still need to be cut and put back in after the tank is installed. We have to keep the spare tire accessible, and cut clearance holes for the heads of the compressors, and in the front panel for the air line to pass through. I have to go under the dash to double-check the wiring I did because I think I didn't tap into the best sources for ignition and lighting. We have to silicone all the red air hoses where they pass through the body so that water doesn't get into the car. The custom-fabricated bracket for the VU4 manifold came unglued from the floor. On the drive from Michel's house to mine, I noticed the soft brake pedal as mentioned above, and probably the brake backing plate on the left front wheel is slightly touching the rotor. There's also a brake fluid leak somewhere in the left front wheel. That's all I can think of for the moment. (I made this list as a future reference for myself, and of course to inform all the readers as well).

    I didn't have time to clean up the car and take good pics, so without further ado, here is the finished product!









    I'll let you figure out which pics were taken at which height preset because I wasn't keeping track. It's worth mentioning that as long as the road is smooth, the car is fully driveable when completely aired out. The rear tires still rub on the bumper/quarter panel joint, but that's no big deal. Even the slightest crown in the pavement causes the car to scrape, so it's probably no more than 1/4 inch off the ground when aired out.

    The neighbor kid who came by on day one came out to see the finished product. His mom said that my care is *really* nice.


    Giving credit where credit is due: Thanks to my girlfriend Veronique for holding down the fort while I spent way longer than predicted in the garage working on this project, and still loving me through it all. Thanks to Michel's wife Jo-Ann, who treated me like family while I was stealing her husband's time and attention, and for feeding us so well all week. I can't imagine what we would have eaten if Jo-Ann wasn't around. And last but not least, thanks to Michel (Ratfink) for agreeing to tackle this project in the first place, and for doing so much of the hard work, despite the headaches. Without your commitment, I would have never even ordered the parts. All the above people and I were on vacation for the duration of this project.

    No animals (well, maybe a few mosquitoes) were harmed during this project, and everthing was done in an ecologically friendly manner (well, except for the inherent burnt hydrocarbons that a supercharged V8 spits out). That's it for now. I'm here to answer questions, accept praise, and ignore criticism until we get back in the shop to work out the bugs. I see lots of people are viewing this thread, but not many comments coming in. Let's hear your thoughts, people!

    Later.

  18. #68

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    Legendary, amazing work! This picture took the cake for me:


  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastphil View Post
    No animals (well, maybe a few mosquitoes) were harmed during this project,
    Humm, I do remember a cricket that was relocated in the shop vac.... but he was really annoying.

  20. #70

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    sick cobra!

  21. #71
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    Here's a quick video we shot today, Michel got the first drive to see if everything was good. It's kinda long and doesn't show much, but it might be worth watching anyways.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-_xwHv5kSU"]Fully functional first drive of Bagged03cobra - YouTube[/ame]
    Last edited by Fastphil; 09-17-2011 at 09:30 PM.

  22. #72

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    Great build, I love the CCW's and bags on a car which isn't a BMW or VW!!

    Looks really good, I installed my own bags and know how rewarding that is...

    Plus you're from the QC too!!!

  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat View Post
    Legendary, amazing work! This picture took the cake for me:

    Co sign. Looks amazing.

  24. #74
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    Thanks, guys. I'll try to get some better pics soon, but my first priority is to relax while I still can.

  25. #75
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    I just took care of a few of the problems on the list I had. It was in fact the brake backing plate that was scraping on the left front rotor, so I just pushed it out of the way. I also double-checked the wiring job I did under the dash. I must have been in a daze when I did it, because both wires were tapped into the wrong circuits, and not even just switched around as I was expecting. I found the proper circuits with a test light, and now the keypad lights up with the ignition on, but the dimmer function doesn't work. I'll have to check that. The keypad also shuts off now when I turn the ignition off, and the compressors stop running when the ignition off, as they should. Turns out the pancake button has to be held for 3 seconds to work, and it works just fine. That was a user error. There's no brake fluid leaking in the left front wheel either, it must have been some leftover fluid that was trapped somewhere when we were working on the car. So that's it for working on the car until next weekend. I'll be shopping for tires tonight.

    I've made a couple of observations so far: The car is harder to get out of now, because the ground is higher up! The road also looks a lot closer when aired out. The ride so far is less jiggly than it was, but I'll have to try it on some more familiar roads to make a final conclusion.

    Later.

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