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Kirkham Motorsports

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  • 1 Post By eschaider
  • 1 Post By Danr55

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-08-2023, 09:16 AM
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Cobra Make, Engine: Backdraft #2364
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Default Cobra mechanic?

Hi there! New Backdraft owner (Build #2364) here in AZ. Loving it!!!

I’m looking for recommendations for a local mechanic who does basic service work like changing fluids but also has other experience working with cobras. I’m coming up on my 500 mile service and would like to start working with someone who is familiar with some of the other issues I may experience. Replacing windshield…troubleshooting MSD issues, etc.

I went back through several years of posts looking for any recommendations before posting this but didn’t find any if they are out there.

Thanks in advance!

John
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Old 03-08-2023, 11:59 AM
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John,

Cobra's tend to be, to a very large extent, do it yourself sorts of cars. While they don't have to be, they usually are. Some of it has to do with the unique builds from car to car, some of it has to do with the lack of period correct informed technicians, and of course some of it has to do with the lack of an onboard computer to report what is wrong.

A good example would be searching for a technician who was qualified and capable of performing the service requested / needed. Did I mention owning the appropriate tools? Let's assume you have purchased a brand new upgraded Holley carb to replace the original supplied with your engine.

Your ability to find someone who understands Holley's, their midrange fuel delivery circuitry and how to adjust the circuitry to produce the performance, drive quality and fuel economy that should be available is all but non existent, today! Many shop technicians have never even seen a Holley (in person) let alone worked on one. Others don't know what they are, other than museum pieces.

Suspension tuning, disk brake maintenance, corner weight adjustments and what they affect, anti-sway bar mechanics and how it affects car handling etc., etc. are simply unknowns to these talented but daily go to meeting sorts of car technicians.

Bottom line is that you signed up for a lot of learning and hands on experience when you decided to buy your Cobra. Now in fairness you don't have to do all that because you can buy the talent, good talent, if you are willing to pay for the car transport out and back along with the service you want performed — but of course that is not inexpensive.

If you thought your Cobra was a little pricey to buy, hang on to your hat. The cost of ownership is about to take a quantum leap upwards — if you don't learn how to do it yourself.


p.s. You might want to fill out your personal info with stuff like where you are, Cobra make, engine etc. It will help others help you.
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Last edited by eschaider; 03-08-2023 at 12:03 PM.. Reason: Spelling & Grammar
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Old 03-08-2023, 12:50 PM
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John, PHX metro is a large area. We should know approx where you live to direct you properly. I have a SPF and my son has a BDR. We simply go to a good mechanic. Your car has limited unique parts. If need of maintenance and repair you should have no problem unless a BDR part is needed.

Bob
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Old 03-08-2023, 01:16 PM
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You should separate the Cobra specific items from the fact that the power train is simply a 1960s engine and transmission. Same for brakes, clutch and lots of other pieces and parts. Cobra suspensions are specific but the concepts are the same so for someone to do front end, shocks etc it's a matter of finding the right parts. Search for an old guy with a garage. Someone with a couple of 57 Chevys on the lift can handle almost all of what you need.

That said, the knowledge of the care and feeding of a carb is not wide spread in mechanics below the age of 50+. The same actually applies to fuel injection as these systems are in reality aftermarket specials and if they require attention it is beyond the knowledge base of most of your Ford/Chevy/etc mechanics that approach such problems with a cookbook for component replacement rather than diagnosis and repair. Re-tuning (or refined tuning) is a task for a speed shop. Find a place with a dyno and you're there.

To find these kinds of specialty places I would normally recommend you visit some Cars and Coffee type gatherings with old cars and ask for recommendations. However, the Arizona Cobras group here is essentially that so asking here you'll probably get some good places. Like was mentioned, it does help to know what part of the valley you're in.

But the Cobra is a Tinkerer's dream or nightmare depending on which side of the fence you sit. If you are intimidated by basic mechanical maintenance - like tightening loose bolts when something squeaks - like Ed said, learn to do it yourself or spend a lot of money, or like Jay Leno, hire a live-in.

Enjoy the Cobra! It's a hoot! Do so carefully so as to not exceed your capabilities on a car that will swap rear end for front end when you press on the accelerator but you've probably read that advice already.
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Last edited by twobjshelbys; 03-08-2023 at 01:18 PM..
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Old 03-09-2023, 06:35 AM
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I highly recommend Juan Toledo in NW Phx. You can contact him either through the "members" here on CC on through the AZCOBRAS FB page. Great attention to detail, very thorough, and a nice guy.
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Old 03-11-2023, 01:55 PM
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Ed, Bob, Tony & Karl - Thank you for the advice and insight. First, I live in the Northeast Phoenix area and my Backdraft Cobra has a Roush 427R motor with 550hp and 535 torque, per Roush.

I grew up on working on a dairy farm so I do know how to turn a wrench. Despite what my father says, I do know which end of the wrench to grab. :-) So while I can and will do some of maintenance on my own I am self-aware enough to know there are things I don’t know I don’t know. I value the experience of someone who regularly works on cobras who has likely seen some common issues so he/she knows what to look for when they are servicing the next one, maybe mine.

Also, there maybe maintenance/service items I don’t want to do myself like replacing brake pads (which may need replaced sooner rather than later…these cars are FAST!!), adjusting the suspension or rebuilding the carb. Stuff like that.

Thank you all again for taking time to respond. I appreciate it!
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Old 03-11-2023, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1casabella View Post
Ed, Bob, Tony & Karl - Thank you for the advice and insight. First, I live in the Northeast Phoenix area and my Backdraft Cobra has a Roush 427R motor with 550hp and 535 torque, per Roush.

I grew up on working on a dairy farm so I do know how to turn a wrench. Despite what my father says, I do know which end of the wrench to grab. :-) So while I can and will do some of maintenance on my own I am self-aware enough to know there are things I don’t know I don’t know. I value the experience of someone who regularly works on cobras who has likely seen some common issues so he/she knows what to look for when they are servicing the next one, maybe mine.

Also, there maybe maintenance/service items I don’t want to do myself like replacing brake pads (which may need replaced sooner rather than later…these cars are FAST!!), adjusting the suspension or rebuilding the carb. Stuff like that.

Thank you all again for taking time to respond. I appreciate it!
I had the fuel injected (IR) version of that engine. I personally think you made the right choice by staying with the carb'd verison. It's simple but like I said, finding someone who knows what a carb is is getting harder.

Brakes are not rocket science. Your highest risk is that the tech will wreck your car driving it up on the lift. If you take it to a place like Midas or Firestone for basic services don't let them take it for a test drive after working on it. They're likely to wrap it around a tree.

I grew up on a dairy farm too. I even milked cows by hand. Power went out. Hands ached for days.
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Old 03-11-2023, 04:07 PM
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Tony, "I grew up on a dairy farm too. I even milked cows by hand."

And how long did it take to get the smile off your face?
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Old 03-14-2023, 06:32 PM
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Charlie Sullens at American Classic is the only Cobra specific mechanic that I know of in Phoenix. He has worked on my car for years. Not sure he would be available for standard maintanence, but you might give him a call.
You can also try PRK Auto in Mesa. They do excellent work, are reasonably priced and prompt. Call Randy at 480-610-4599.
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