Welcome to the 2001 Cobra Chromed
Newest updates (Summer
2006) and new pictures are at the VERY bottom of this page
Tech article .... "How to pull valve
covers on a 2001 4V"
Click on ANY image for Larger picture
FOOT NOTE: UPDATE 2005
...... more chrome added >>>>> Alternator - Canton overflow - hood hinges
- prop rod brackets battery tray. You HAVE to click this one for LARGE
view >>>>> You will love it!!!!! >>>>>>
For 2006 UPDATES go to the VERY bottom of this page.
Well folks, I've been wanting to
Chrome the engine bay for a long time, but knowing how big of a job it is to do,
I kept putting it off. This page will not only show the details of what I did,
but also provide a tech article for those that want to do the same on a Cobra.
I chromed the Intake hat, Valve
covers, coil on plug covers, cross-over pipe and bracket. In addition I polished
the TB and Idle air myself following my own instruction which can be found
here. I also added the
Steeda Rad cover which is an outstanding unit. The only problem with the
Steeda unit is that it scratches easy, so this winter (2004) I am chroming it
along with a few more other pieces.
Read the Entire article first because some important notes are found along the
OK - Pulling the Valve covers with the engine IN
the car is NO easy task. So I will walk through the EXACT procedure to do this.
Tools required are the basic metric sockets, and a deep 8mm will help a bit. The
same sizes in small wrenches is a plus as well. And of course a torque wrench to
put it all back together. I'll list the torque specs as we go. BTW - this method
requires you NOT to lift the motor of the car. Lifting the drivers side would
help but I decided to do it this way which is doable.
First things first - protect the paint with 100% cotton towels taped to the
engine bay - I don't use covers because I personally think that towels are
softer then fender covers.
I also suggest taking before pictures
incase you can't remember where something goes. In addition to pictures, I put
every single item in a separate baggie and labeled the baggie as to where the
item goes. In other words - be organized.
Because I am TALL, I find it easier to work in the
bay with the car jacked up (less bending), but that is up to you).
On my car the strut tower brace comes off first. - Then the air intake back to
the MAF. I also had to remove all the NOS purge stuff - Next remove the Throttle
linkage, spring and cable and tie a rag around the end of it all and lay it over
the drivers side of the car (see above picture).
Next, remove the Throttle body and Idle air (behind it -)
Now remove all the other small items that are bolted onto the intake (use
masking tape to mark were all wires/switches/vacuum hoses go). The EGR valve,
the black plastic unit beside it (don't know the name) and the black plastic
unit on the very back - be careful not to drop bolts. They will fall into
never-to-see again spots (lol). The intake hat is held on with about 8 bolts
(8mm I think) - remove them (one will require an 8mm wrench or deep socket).
Unless I have forgotten something else that is attached to the intake hat - it
should now pop off. I left the gasket on the intake upper because it is
reusable. COVER the intake with a cloth so nothing can fall into it. PIC before
I covered it>>> notice the labeling>>>
If you are planning to do the cross over pipe -
jack up car a bit and drain the rad - A 1/4 inch drive will fit the fill plug.
Once the bracket bolts are off the cross-overs pull right out nice and easy. I
used baggies to cover the rad hose tops!
Valve cover time (Fun wow) ....
The passenger side is easier so lets start there.
Pull the coil on plug cover. Pull coils and swing them over on top of the
intake. They are specific lengths so you can't get them mixed up going back on.
Push as much crap (wires - harness) away - towards the firewall as possible.
To gain more clearance from the fuel line - we removed the bolts holding the
fuel rail down to the intake .... and only one injector - the front one. see pic
>>>>> Yes, The picture is taken AFTER we pulled the cover off - just note the
rail bolts removed.
The harness that runs around the front we lifted
over the long stud/bolt down towards the pulleys.
Remove the 10 bolts holding down the cover -
read all the NEXT text before continuing
The valve cover gasket has two spots on the front face that has gasket glue (you
can barely see this in the above picture - bottom right corner) on the engine
face so when you lift the valve cover - it will stick, so you have to yank
pretty hard to break the seal. Lift and shift and play with the cover till you
can get it out. The back has to come up pretty high to clear the Cams so it is
good to have a friend helping you move crap out of the way (fuel line) and start
lifting from the back. ALSO to gain room on the strut tower side I cut off the
thick foam protective cover that covers the AC line. And I didn't even put it
back after because it is far enough away from the cover and it looks MUCH better
without it. Just keep playing with it till it comes off. Toss the gasket because
you do not want to reuse it.
Don't lose the 4 big white donut shaped seals that could be anywhere right now -
they may be on the inside of the valve cover (where they go) or they could have
fallen into the engine or perhaps on the floor - make sure you find them - they
OK, Now cover the open engine with a towel and get ready to tackle the drivers
Remove clutch cable (trust me - do it) >>>>Here is how ....
Jack up car (use jack stands)
Get under and at the tranny remove that silver access box (one small metric
bolt). Then pull the cable and remove it from the tranny side - small pry may
Now go inside the car and crawl under the dash and pull the clutch cable off the
clutch quadrant (this takes 5 seconds).
The firewall mount will now pull away from the firewall. You don't need to
remove the 2 bolts - just pull away the bushing so the clutch cable has
mobility. We need this room for the cover to come UP.
Remove the bolts that hold on the power steering fill unit at the front of the
- again just for added room. As well, we removed the bolt holding the dip-stick
so the dip stick could sway forward.
OK - here comes the FUN part ..... Oh Yey!
We need to remove the 5 bolts that hold on the Brake Booster. The brake booster
is that black unit that is the shape of a pop can and comes straight out from
the fire wall. IT WILL LEAK FLUID SO TRY AND CATCH IT BY PLACING A BAG ON THE
BODY OF THE CAR DIRECTLY UNDER THIS UNIT - Don't worry though, this unit works
on Power steering fluid NOT brake fluid so if it gets on the paint it won't hurt
it. 2 of the bolts (the lower ones) are EXTREMELY hard to get at. The one on the
valve cover side you can get with extensions and from coming along the side of
the valve cover from the front by standing in front of the car. The one at the
bottom and closest to the fender is hard but doable - attach this from the side
of the car and use a wrench or a VERY small ratchet. Once the bolts are removed
- clean up the area of any oil. The unit will NOT come out because it is
attached to the brake unit - but it will be able to move a couple of inches
towards the fender. I used a bungee cord and pulled it to one of the holes in my
strut tower (remember I had to remove mine so the holes were empty)
Go ahead and pull the coil on plug cover and the coils. Again swing the coils
out of the way. I did NOT have to remove any injectors or touch the rail on this
side. The main harness though needs to be pushed back towards the center of the
firewall as far as possible so that corner will clear - get a friend to pull
this from the other side while you pull the cover.
This cover will now come out (It will not come out if you didn't remove the
brake booster - trust me on this). It will come out if you don't remove the
clutch cable but it is WAY WAY harder to do - and when it goes back in you want
as little resistance as possible so nothing gets scratched. The cover has to
come up at the back - then lift and shift and lift and shift and pull hard till
you get it out. Remember - the gasket will hang you up till you break the 2
beads on the front that hold it down.
Congrats on getting it all out.
Here is a picture of the drivers side and the power steering unit loosened
The splash trays inside the covers will need to be
removed and make sure you get all the bolt washers out and put them in baggies.
If you are sending out the Coil on plug covers - remove the gasket and keep them
- they are reusable. Remove the badge with Fishing line. This will work the same
for your build number badge and Cobra emblem. If you are sending out the
cross-overs, there are 3 o-rings to save - yes, they are reusable.
I replaced the valve cover gaskets and the EGR gasket and the Idle air gasket.
You should also replace the throttle body gasket (which I did not do) but I had
a leak when I reinstalled it so I removed it and used gasket glue on both sides
- to avoid this just get a new gasket and be done with it.
While your stuff it getting polished or chromed you can polish your TB and Idle
air if you want. You can find an article I wrote a few years ago
HERE which will show you how.
OK .... Let me show you some of the parts OFF the
Fishing line will remove the snake - but if you
don't have any, thin wire like I used will work. Another intake pic -
I polished the Throttle body myself. Here is
a before and after shot - pics don't do justice but it looks great in person ;)
OK ..... Here are the new Chromed Units. Click for
bigger view >>
I didn't like the V8 32 Valve badge on the Coil
covers here is what I created instead >>I cut these out of stainless just like
the custom build numbers I make for SW Designs. I then painted them black
and I used the same 3M emblem tape that holds the build numbers and Stainless
Bumper Letters on the car. In this picture you can also see the Coolant
cross over pipe I chromed.
Here is a group shot of all the chromed items >>>
Once you get your stuff back you may need to clean
up the parts where you have bolt threads - I found that I needed to. It is very
hard for your chromer to stop all unwanted areas from getting chromed.
Theoretically, chrome should not stick to an "Unpolished" surface, but sometimes
it does - especially it likes to get into threads. I found that the valve covers
were ok except for a couple of the tiny thread holes that hold down the splash
shield - I cleaned these out with my dremel and an engraving bit. However, I
found that almost ALL the intake threads had some build up in them that
prevented the bolts from going in, so I had to purchase an 8mm and 7mm thread
chaser and clean out those holes. This is not difficult to do and the thread
chasers (taps) are only 5 bucks each and certainly good to have around.
Next you want to install NEW valve cover gaskets. When you are fighting to get
these back on you do NOT want them to fall off so I used black valve cover
gasket glue and put a tiny bead on the valve cover before putting the gasket
down. Once you have done this turn it upside down on a flat surface and press
down firmly so the gasket gets seated down properly all the way around. Let this
sit 2 days before doing the reinstall.
2 days later tape the valve covers up so you don't damage them putting them back
on. I used BLUE painters tape (the least stickiest of those types of tape) and
then on top of the blue tape I used traditional grey duct tape (for protection).
When you are applying the tape keep in mind that this tape will have to come off
once it is in the car, so apply it in LONG strips so it will come out easier.
Don't start any strips at the back because you will NEVER get your hands back
there to remove it. Just keep that in mind ok! PIC >>>
Remove the excess Gasket glue gobs that will be
left at 2 spots on both sides of the engine. There is a "Join" spot there which
is why ford used gasket glue - you need to as well.
Putting the covers back on is pretty straight forward >>>
Clean with SOAP and dry completely - the 4 white
seals for the spark plug holes. These stick to the inside of the cover and tend
to fall out easier then I would like - they HAVE to be in place once the cover
is seated or ELSE!!!!!
OH - BTW - now would be a good time to change your spark plugs! :) (while
everything is off).
OK - you are ready to put the covers back on. Make sure those seals are on as
tight as possible and try not to knock the covers while you are placing them
down. I thought about placing a dab of gasket glue on each seal to hold it in
the cover, but I didn't - it may be a good idea (but let it dry).
Don't put those 2 gobs of gasket glue down yet - place the cover down first
being as gentle as you can. Once the cover is seated look on an angle using a
flashlight at each spark plug hole and make sure you can see the edge of each of
those seals. As long as you can see them you know they are in place still. Then
slightly lift the front and have a friend get in there with the tube of gasket
glue and put a small gob of it where that joint is. Then drop the cover - line
up the holes and place the bolts back in. Do not tighten them yet - only do them
OH - BTW (another footnote) I have an 01 Cobra. The bolts I have are copper
colored. The 03 cobra bolts are polished silver so I purchased the whole set
(NOT CHEAP) so they look nicer. Now I have to find polished ones for all the
other bolts. Grrrrrrrrr
You should torque the bolts from inside out. They call for 12-24 ft. pds.
HOWEVER at 10 ft. pounds they felt VERY tight so we stopped. Remember - it only
needs to torque down the gasket and there is very little pressure inside. Also -
this is going into aluminum and the last thing you want to do is to OVER-tighten
so BE CAREFUL. 10 for my covers is all I went. Also, because I used gasket glue
under the gasket, it may be why it required a little less torque value. Once the
covers are on - remove the tape, but on the drivers side hook up the brake
booster before removing the tape.
Continue putting everything back together in the reverse order of how you took
The torque value on the Intake hat is 18-24 give or take 6. It torqued nicely at
12 so that's what we did it at.
NOTE: If the TB side of the intake got chromed (most likely it did) use sand
paper to make this surface non-smooth. You don't have to remove the chrome, just
make it rough so the gasket can sink into something. I would also suggest
putting a paper thin coating of gasket glue on both sides. This is not required
if that surface did not get coated.
I think the torque setting on the TB is the same as the Intake. I used 12 as the
torque value. Just make sure it is tight and equal all the way around. All the
little crap that bolts up the the intake hat we just did snug. Be careful on the
Make sure all the holes and switches get plugged back in - re-hook up your
throttle and cruise-control. Put the coil on plug covers back down (Snug) and
everything else you unhooked. Don't forget the clutch and the oil dip-stick.
Put the air intake on last and don't forget the Maf switch and the AIC switch
IF you did the cross overs - reinstall it making sure the bracket goes under the
cross-over holes. Don't forget the alternator ground wire. Fill the rad like
Cross-over fill plug OFF. (can you believe I forgot to chrome this???).
That's ok, it's getting done winter 04/05.
Fill the overflow tank till it's full (this will take about 75% of the fluid you
removed). Don't fill more than 75% even if it takes it. Once the car is running
and it is up to temperature, fill the rest from the overflow until it takes it
all. Don't fully top it up till you hear both fans kick on.
When you FIRST start the car listen for any HIGH pitched whistling - i.e. Vacuum
leaks. Hopefully all is good. After a few seconds you may see some smoke from
fluid that leaked onto manifold/headers. As long as it is not TOO much, don't
worry about it - it will subside once it gets burnt off. Check for visual leaks
on covers. If in the unfortunate event you see oil spewing out of a cover - it
means you'll have to do that side again - DOH. But if you take your time and
follow these directions you should be fine.
A road test is the final confirmation that there is
no oil leak!
Here are some final installed shots >>>>>
The Steeda unit >>> It is polished Stainless - this
winter (04/05) I am chroming it because as it is now it scratches way to easily.
A couple close-ups >>>>
The Intake Hat .... and see how nice the TB came
OH ... and here is the Cold air kit I went with -
Made by BBK >>>
Winter 04/05 I Chromed the rear firewall
plastic unit, as well as a few more items under the hood .... every year a
little more - never ends - lol
SUMMER 2006 UPDATES
The Power Steering Reservoir got Vacuum Metalized.
I decided since this is made of plastic - to send it out along with it's Metal
Bracket and get it vacuum metalized instead of purchasing the aluminum one from
Canton. Reason being .... By the time I chrome the canton one it will set
me back a total of around $300.00. I vacuum metalized both pieces for
$30.00 and it looks SO fantastic.
Remember the before shot >>>>
And now the after
And here are a couple updated pictures ....
That's all for now folks.