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Bama Performance 2003 Terminator Cobra Build


Table of Contents
  1. Terminator Stage 1 Build Video
  2. 2003 Terminator Stage 1 Mods
  3. Stage 1 Video Transcript
  4. Terminator Stage 2 Build Video
  5. 2003 Terminator Stage 2 Mods
  6. Stage 2 Video Transcript
  7. Terminator Mustang Tackles the Drag Strip
  8. Drag Run Video Transcript
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We all have our unicorn cars, and for some the 2003 Terminator Cobra fits the bill. Building up such an iconic car for the drag strip is both a surreal and envigorating experience. The same can be said when experiencing your own build, and seeing all of your hard work come to fruition. Build up your own 99-04 unicorn, no matter the submodel.

1999-2004 Parts

Terminator Stage 1 Build Video

2003 Terminator Stage 1 Mods

Stage 1 Video Transcript

Justin: Hey, guys. Justin here, checkin' in on some of the early progress with the Project Bama Terminator. Now, if you guys saw the first video, you know the whole goal of this car is to work hand-in-hand with the Bama Performance team to turn this '03 Cobra behind me into a legit quarter mile car. Of course, we wanna bring you guys along for some of this fun, so click the link below to subscribe to our YouTube channel if you haven't done so already. Or if you're watching this on Facebook, of course give us a Like first. Then go over to our YouTube channel, AmericanMuscle Videos, and subscribe while you're there. Now, this way, you guys can be the first to catch all these videos as they are released.

Again, working with the Bama Performance team, we are gonna exploit the power and quarter mile capabilities with the stock blower in place, along with some basic bolt-ons. So if you guys have an '03 or '04 Terminator at home and you don't feel like changin' out that blower so far, well, this might give you a good indication what these cars are capable of. Again, after that, though, we are gonna go crazy, rip out that factory Eaton blower, throw it in the trash, and then go balls to the wall with a new power adder.

Now, my buddy, Paul, here is just one of the many guys from Bama Performance helping us out with this build. Paul's actually been very hard at work helping us with the tuning, of course, and a lot with the part selection. Now, Paul, as you know, we are maximizing this thing, utilizing that stock blower. We're not porting the blower. What do we have to address when doing something like this?

Paul: Yeah, obviously, we've added some additional boost and when doing so we had to address the ignition system with a cold and heat range spark plug, some fuel system, and some cooling parts.

Justin: Okay. Now, we have a good idea of what this car should do power and quarter mile times, but give these guys an idea what this thing should be lookin' at.

Paul: We're lookin' to shoot for around mid-400s on the dyno, 11.7, 11.8 at the track, and then go from there.

Justin: Very cool. Now, I heard we're gonna stick with the stock IRS. When you first started this build, kinda grinned a little bit. We all know what these things can and cannot do, but we have some confidence that at least we can help maybe get this thing down to some good times with the IRS, right?

Paul: Definitely. We just wanna see how far we can go with the stock IRS, and as we modify the car a little bit later, we'll address some of those issues at that point.

Justin: Beef it up a little bit, for sure. Now, I do know what we're doing with this power adder. Now, these guys don't know, of course, but can you give us a little indication of just how different this thing is. I mean, you like different, right?

Paul: I do. One of the philosophies that Bama Performance has is do it different, and that's exactly what we're doing.

Justin: Yeah, different is definitely good, and you twin screw guys at home might be a little surprised on this one. We have something up our sleeves. So we're gonna show you around the car a little bit and see what we've been up to for the first part of this build.

All right, guys, starting with the most basic of bolt-ons, we installed a C&L Cold Air Intake on the Bama Terminator. Now, V6 GT, Cobra, whatever, starting with a cold air intake is always a great choice for many Mustang owners for a few different reasons. Obviously, you're letting more air into the motor, which is what we're looking for here, of course, trying to maximize this setup, but it also looks good under the hood. I mean, the all-silver construction looks great underneath the hood here of the Cobra, made in the U.S.A., quality construction, and a nice, big MAF housing. Now full disclosure, we did have to upgrade our MAF sensor itself because, with this MAF housing, we would've pegged a stock sensor. So upgraded to the SCT unit, a larger intake, along with a new throttle body and power inlet we installed, should really be feeding that Eaton all the air it can handle.

Truthfully, guys, we did need to open up things on the intake side of things because that Eaton blower did just get a little bit more of an appetite, thanks to the three new parts installed from Metco Motorsports. Now, we do know that these factory Eaton unported blowers do tend to run out of breath around 15 pounds or so. After that, the efficiency just goes downhill, and, as a result, the power numbers suffer. So with the help of the 2.8 upper here from Metco, what you guys can't see is the 8.10-inch lower crank pulley. We should be making around 15 pounds of booster, so right in the sweet spot for this car to maximize those power numbers. Making sure those boost levels and this new gait belt doesn't slip at all, we went with the Metco Motorsports 90-Millimeter Double Bearing Auxiliary Idler. Now, we have used this same Metco in some of our newer Shelby builds with great results, so we figured we would throw one here on our Cobra.

All right guys, with more air being forced into our motor, it's time to address the second part of that combustion equation: more spark, more fuel. As for our spark needs, we did go with the Autolite AR103 plugs, which is a very popular plug here with the Cobra crowd. It is a one-step holder plug because, as those cylinder pressures increase, the temperatures start going up. You do run the risk for pre-ignition, otherwise known as detonation. So by going with a one-step holder plug here on our Cobra, should alleviate any problems there. Fueling-wise, again, we are just maxing out our stock setup for now, so we're gonna keep things simple. We installed an MSD Boost-A-Pump just for the time being. Now, if you guys aren't familiar with what a Boost-A-Pump does, it basically just cranks the voltage on your stock fuel pumps to increase your fuel pressure, no matter what kind of boost you're running. So just alleviates any of the need for extra fuel pumps or going to a return-style system. Now, keep in mind, guys, this is just temporary, as we are gonna get a little crazy with this thing down the road.

All right, guys, before we get out of here, I did wanna show off the brand new Power Stop Street Warrior Front and Rear Brake Kit we installed. Now, obviously, going fast is great and all, but you do eventually have to stop at some point. And the Power Stop will definitely help us with that. This was actually a very easy choice for us because we do have a drag pack planned for the car in terms of wheels, slicks, and skinnies, so that did eliminate any big brake kits. Now, the slotted and drilled rotors, along with those carbon ceramic pads should help bring the Bama Terminator back down to sane speeds after we cross the tracks.

All right, guys, that's where we're at right now with the Bama Project Terminator. Now, when you check back in with us, we're gonna show you what else we did to maximize this setup, in addition to what we're doing to make sure the factory independent rear suspension is ready for some serious strip smackdowns. Also in that video we'll show you our first dyno pass, see what kind of numbers this thing's putting down, in addition to our first track runs, as well, to see where the car sits right now. Believe me, guys, after that, things are gonna get very interesting, so you're gonna wanna stay tuned for this. Click the link below to subscribe to our YouTube channel, if you haven't done so already. Or if you're catching this on Facebook, head over to our YouTube channel, AmericanMuscle Videos, and subscribe while you're there. Guys, for all things Mustang, you know what to do. Keep it right here at

Terminator Stage 2 Build Video

2003 Terminator Stage 2 Mods

Stage 2 Video Transcript

Justin: Hey guys, Justin here, checking back in with the progress of the Bama Terminator. Now, this is our '03 Cobra that we are building with the Bama performance team for the sole purposes of just being an all-out track monster. If you guys caught the first video, then you know our plans a little bit. We're riding out this stock blower as long as we can with bolt-ons and after that thing's maxed out, we're going to rip it out, put on a completely different power adder capable of some serious numbers. You guys are gonna have to stay tuned because later on we are gonna throw this thing on the dyno for the first time and then we're gonna take it down to the track and see what kind of numbers it is capable of. In the meantime, if you want to see these videos, first and foremost, you have to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Click the link below if you're watching this on YouTube or if you're catching this on Facebook, head over to our YouTube channel, AmericanMuscle videos and subscribe while you're there.

In the first video, we checked off some of the blower basics. We added an upper and lower pulley from Meco Motorsports to increase the boost or the CNL cold air intake and the power inlet and throttle body combo made sure our factory Eaton blower is gonna be well fed with plenty of air. Fueling wise, we kept things simple for now with a booster pump from MSD which should be able to handle our added fueling needs. So now along with the Bama performance team, we're gonna round out some of those performance basics. In addition, to show you guys some of the parts we use to strengthen up that factory independent rear suspension before hitting the track for the very first time with our new project car. So what do you say we check out some of those parts?

Pulleys and intake all sorted out with this car, it was really time for us to start thinking about the exhaust. Now, of course, we want something that's gonna help us out right away, but we also want something that's gonna work out for us later on down the road when we do get a little bit more radical. So together with the Bama performance team, we decided on the Kooks 1 and 3/4- inch long tube headers in conjunction with the Kooks, 3-inch off-road X pipe. Now Kooks is definitely one of the top names in the game and this setup should really help give us a lot of power, pretty much everywhere throughout the curve, which would really help us out with our top end games, which of course is what we're after here with our strip car.

When it came time to pick the actual exhaust for the car, it really just boiled down to our personal preference. Now going with the Bama performance team, we put our heads together. We wanted something that would give the car a nice little growl. So we decided upon the Flowmaster American Thunder series catback. You really can't beat this exhaust, I mean full stainless steel construction throughout, the polished 3-inch tips look awesome coming out the back and honestly guys, you can never go wrong with the Flowmaster Mustang Combo. While we still have the car in the air, why don't I show you guys some of the things we've done to make the rear end a little bit more stout just as of now. I'm sure a lot of you guys might knock us for not going to a solid rear axle right away, especially considering this thing's gonna be mainly seeing strip duty.

And truth be told, I was probably one of those people, but we wanted to ride the stock IRS out for as long as possible just to see what it can do. I mean honestly, there's guys going nines on the IRS just given a little help so we know it's been done. For starters, we grabbed a carbon fiber one piece drive shaft from our friends over at the drive shaft shop. Now honestly I can't say enough good stuff about this product. We've used it on several of our project car builds in the past and the thing is is pretty much damn near bulletproof. After that we've totally rebuilt and overhauled or we are at using the Ford racing bearing seal and pinion kit and while we're in there we actually punched up those stock 355 gears to a set of 373s.

The 373 gears along with a 28-inch tall tire seems to be the magic set up your these Cobras and should put us through the traps at the top of fourth which is exactly what we're looking for. As for our diff, we went with the tried and true Detroit locker from Eaton. A little tricky to drive on the street, but when it comes to putting the power down at the track, you can accept no substitutes. The thing just rocks.

Again guys, just like our motor setup, this is just the tip of the iceberg. We're definitely gonna dive a little deeper into the IRS, make it a little bit more bulletproof, but for now, with the power levels, we're seeing, this thing should be just fine getting us down the track. That wraps us up for now guys. I'm gonna get out from underneath the car and I'll show you a couple more things underneath the hood and then we'll get this thing over to the dyno.

All right, guys. As we know by now when we really start putting these roots blowers to work, like we are now increasing the boost, heat quickly becomes the enemy. So taking a page from some of our past bolt-on buildups with the GT 500s, we went with the AFCO double pass heat exchanger down there, which would really help keep things cool at our current boost levels and power levels and especially later on down the road. Under the hood as you can see we have a couple of beautiful parts from Canton. We had their aluminum heat exchanger tank, which is nice, replaces the cheap plastic factory piece that oftentimes cracks. And we also have their battery box supercharger coolant tank. Now I like this one. This is actually their newer street version. It does have a vent on it and of course it has nice big tops. When we get down to the track, we're gonna ice that thing down. Hopefully, keep that blower nice and cool for a few passes. All right, Paul, let's like you're working hard out here, brother. You just about got the tune dialed in.

Paul: Just about dialed in. Just cleaning up some of the fuel pump voltage tables, some fueling, some timing. Ready to make our final poll.

Justin: Well it sounds like you're about ready to do a poll and so allow me to get out of the way then. All right, Paul, we definitely heard that Eaton working overtime, brother, 458, 469 at the rear wheels. You've got gotta be pretty happy with that.

Paul: Yeah, completely stoked with the power of the car made right in the neighborhood of what we wanted. I can't wait to see what this thing's going to do.

Justin: It should be quite a handful of about 450-pound feet of torque right off idle, Huh?

Paul: Oh, yeah.

Justin: Nice man. Well, I guess there's only one way to find out guys. We're gonna get this thing packed up, head down to the track and see how she does. All right guys, so we're down here at the track with the Bama Terminator. My Buddy Paul from Bama performance is here with me hanging out and we're gonna shake this thing down. Paul, what do you think it's gonna do man?

Paul: Based on the dyno numbers that it laid down, probably a mid to high 11.

Justin: Very cool. And I know traction should be an issue here with this thing. We're just sticking with the radios for now and hopefully, those half shafts stay together too, right?

Paul: Yeah. Hopefully, nothing breaks but you never know what the track.

Justin: You never know with the track. But on the plus side guys, we have beautiful weather today, low temps, low humidity. So we have that working for us. I guess it's just time to get this thing in the line and see how it does. All right, Paul. So first shakedown pass 12.0, not too bad. Followed immediately by an 11.8. This thing is definitely where we want it.

Paul: Exactly. It's right where we want it. We know what power it made on the dyno. We saw it perform at the track, put some ice in the intercooler reservoir to take advantage of that Canton tank. The AFCO heat exchanger. We're ready to roll. That's what I'm talking about.

Justin: All right, Paul. Well, that settles that. I mean, the night was great. Successful night all around. The car just went 11.4 on its last pass. We're calling it a night there. We couldn't ask for much more.

Paul: No, not at all. We got perfect weather, allowed the car to cool down. Make a couple of tune adjustments and then let her rip down the track.

Justin: Yeah, so 11.4 I believe at 121 was the best pass of the night with a 1660 [inaudible 00:07:11] time. That's not too bad considering that was on a radial, right?

Paul: Not bad at all.

Justin: Yeah, we actually ran the slicks for a couple passes, but we ran into an issue. We actually were grinding on some of the brake components here at the IRS, so we actually took those back off and the car went a little faster. Go figure.

Paul: That's awesome.

Justin: Hey man. Well, now we're going to get crazier. We're gonna ditch that Eaton altogether and you've got some crazy up your sleeve, right?

Paul: Yeah. Something totally crazy. Totally different.

Justin: Should make big power?

Paul: Oh yeah.

Justin: That's the goal, right? So guys are going to have to stay tuned to see this one. You are not gonna want to miss it. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel. If you haven't already, click the link below. If you're catching this on Facebook, head over to our YouTube channel, AmericanMuscle Videos, and subscribe while you're there. Paul, well done, my friend.

Paul: Awesome.

Justin: Good night. All right. All right, sounds good guys. You know what to do. All things Mustang, keep it here in

Terminator Mustang Tackles the Drag Strip

Drag Run Video Transcript

Justin: All right, guys. Justin with Paul from Bama Performance. We're here for stage three of the Bama Terminator, the one these guys have been waiting for. Now, I know you guys are anxious to see what's under the hood but first, Paul, why don't you tell these guys how far we got with the stock Eaton blower.

Paul: With some upgraded exhaust, changing the pulleys and a cold air intake, we made about 460 to 470 wheel horsepower and a best of 11.4 at 121 miles an hour in a drag window so...

Justin: Not bad.

Paul: ...pretty good.

Justin: Yeah. Absolutely. But now, it's the moment of truth, guys. We're gonna get under the hood show you guys what you've been waiting for. So, Paul, let's do it, man. All right, guys, the wait is over. Here it is, the moment of truth. We went with the Procharger F1-A Race Kit. Now, Paul, tell these guys at home why we went this direction.

Paul: Well like I said before, I'm a big believer in doing things different, and everybody puts a Twin Screw on this thing. So we wanted to rip it out, put a centrifugal and make some big RPM, big power.

Justin: Now, this thing is pretty burly, right? I mean, it's capable of some serious numbers, about how much?

Paul: It is, you know, 30 plus pounds of boost, 1,000 plus horsepower. Maybe a little bit more than where we are at right now, but we've got big plans for the future.

Justin: Well, let's talk about right now, as far as boost levels are concerned, what are we looking at right now?

Paul: We're right hoping around 15 pounds of boost, maybe in the neighborhood of 700 to 750 wheel horsepower, just to start things off.

Justin: Just enough to start things off. You notice how he said start, right? Because I'm sure this thing isn't gonna stay at 15 pounds for long.

Paul: No. We wanna trim this thing up to 20 to 25 pounds of boost and really go in for the kill.

Justin: That should be fun. Now, tell these guys at home what the benefits are of switching to a centrifugal blower as opposed to sticking with a Roots or a Twin Screw.

Paul: Well, like I stated earlier, it continues to make boost with RPMs, and it's gonna continue to climb and it also offers much cooler intake air temperature, so the car is gonna be nice and consistent even on those hot, summer days.

Justin: And it should be a little easy on the drivetrain, correct? I mean, it's gonna be hard on those shock launches like that, where it's really putting the stuff through its paces.

Paul: That's correct. Yeah, we can still launch this thing hard out of the hole, but it's not gonna make 800 foot-pounds of torque right out of the hole, so it's gonna be, you know, a little bit forgiving on our independent rear suspension.

Justin: Definitely.

Paul: That we're also worried about.

Justin: As far as our fueling is concerned, we had to really pump things up there. Tell us a little bit more about what we did.

Paul: We did. To be able to have adequate fuel supply, we went with a return style fuel system and with an adjustable fuel pressure regulator, Injector Dynamics ID1000 and pumps in the tank to make sure that we have enough fuel supply no matter how much power we wanna make.

Justin: Nice. And we're moving away from pump gas, right? We're actually getting a little crazy with this.

Paul: We are. You know, we wanted to make as much power as we could, and we want that reliability at the track. The motors were designed for an unleaded fuel, so we went with the VP Motorsport 109. It's unoxygenated, unleaded race fuel.

Justin: Very cool. There you have it guys. That about does it for the power adder and our fuel system. We are gonna get underneath the car now, show you some suspension stuff that we did and also some work we did keep that IRS together. All right, Paul, well an area we really haven't talked much about with this car yet is the suspension, and obviously, it's a vital part of the car when trying to get down to 13.20 quickly and it looks like we have some new parts under here to help us do that.

Paul: That's right. We're running AFCO's double adjustable Big Gun shocks as well as their tubular K-member and tubular control arm.

Justin: Now, talk about that double adjustability, very important, right, when trying to build a drag only car in terms of fine-tuning everything, right?

Paul: That's correct. Being double adjustable, that gives us the option to adjust the compression and the rebound of the strut independently of each other.

Justin: Very cool and the new part up front here, the AFCO K-member, not a whole lot of people are running this.

Paul: Yeah. As far as I know, it's a fairly new part from AFCO. It's really nice, really high-quality.

Justin: Yeah. It looks great under here. Should definitely take some of the weight off the front of the car, right? And it's just great in helping this thing launch.

Paul: Exactly

Justin: Now, speaking of launching, we...whatever we did up front, we have to kind of mimic in the rear, right? And I know our options are limited back there with suspension, so what did we end up doing?

Paul: We ended up going with QA1's double adjustable shocks in the rear. As you mentioned, rear coil-overs, specific to drag guys, there's not a ton available right now for the IRS.

Justin: For the Cobra, right? Okay. Very cool. And as far as our springs all-around, what are we doing there?

Paul: In the front, we're running the AFCO 14 inch 175-pound coil-over spring. And the rear, we're running the H&R Super Sport [inaudible 00:04:00].

Justin: Okay. So again, with anything with a drag car, I mean, it's probably gonna be from some fine-tuning, some adjustments to be made. We'll get it down to the track, see how it launches and probably go from there, right?

Paul: Right.

Justin: Paul, a hot topic, of course, is sticking with the IRS here on our dedicated drag car, something a lot of people didn't necessarily agree with, but we made it a lot stronger thanks to the Full Tilt Boogie kit. We have the diff cover brace along without endlinks and of course the bushing kit, which is very important. Tell these guys at home why.

Paul: That's right, you know, the car comes from the factory with a rubber bushing that has a lot of deflection and that's why you always see a lot of that wheel hop. By getting rid of the rubber and going with a solid Delrin bushing, you're gonna avoid all that wheel hop, and hopefully avoid breaking an axle.

Justin: That's right. Wheel hop is the enemy, so we're gonna avoid that, but even still, we do have stronger half-shafts in the car now. We upgraded to the Driveshaft Shop's Level 5 half-shafts, which are now in the car. And keeping going with the strengthening up of our driveline, we also upgraded our input shaft to the 26 spline and because of that, we had to upgrade our clutch also to the McLeod twin disc. So this thing should be ready to boogie, man, [inaudible 00:04:58], we gotta do some hard launches and do one of those, right?

Paul: Keep our fingers crossed.

Justin: Well, Paul, the car certainly sounded angry, man. 733, 561. Just about where you were expecting.

Paul: Yeah. It's crazy powerful. About 15 and a half pounds of boost.

Justin: It comes on strong, what? 4500 RPM, look like a freight train, I guess, right?

Paul: Yeah. At that point, the car just wheels and pulls so hard all the way right through red line.

Justin: Very nice. Now, you were talking to me a little bit just earlier about you're thinking the MAF is close to being pegged here, right?

Paul: Yeah. Right around 6800 RPMs, what happens is the PCM can no longer register how much air is going into the motor. Thus it can't put in the necessary fuel, and it runs lean.

Justin: So how do we remedy that moving forward then?

Paul: So what we're gonna do is we're go ahead increase the size of the piping where the mass air is all the way up to the throttle body.

Justin: Cool, man. Now, this is all trial and error stuff, right, with this Procharger. I mean, Procharger gives us the kit. We pretty much have to do the rest as far as the piping is concerned and we thought we had the right size dialed in, but guess not.

Paul: That's correct. All we can do is sort of estimate how much airflow we're gonna go based on the horsepower we're gonna make. And like you saw, it's trial and error, and we'll get it fixed.

Justin: Let's get down to business, man. What are we thinking this thing is gonna do when we get down to the track?

Paul: With the power that the car is making, it's all gonna be in the launch, especially with the 3.73 gear in the car.

Justin: All right. We're getting ready to shake down the BAMA Terminator for the first time after it's new power. Let's see how it does. I don't know, the clearance is, you know, a little tight with the slick and the rear bumper, so we don't know if it dug in a little bit. I guess we just have to wait and see with that, but it's definitely...

Paul: The cars hauls the mail halfway down the track, it just turns on and, you know...

Justin: Once boost comes in, right? With that blower. I mean, it comes in hard and it...

Mike: It's got a lot more left. That's for sure.

Justin: Oh, yeah. Just shaking it down.

Man: All right, that looks better.

Justin: There you go. Well, we're still working out some of the kinks, but that's to be expected. Right, fellas?

Mike: Absolutely. I mean, yeah, still getting the launch down. It's starting to come outta the hole slightly better but not great.

Justin: Paul, I think we need a little bit more gear, right, buddy?

Paul: Yeah. Maybe like a 4.10 or 4.30 to help with the bog out of the hole with that supercharger but huge improvements. The day is not done. Let's see what's left in her.

Justin: All right, boys, so 10.70 at 130. Not bad first time out, right?

Paul: Not bad at all. We knew we were gonna have to come here, shake the car down a little bit, learn what was going on with it and we did exactly that. I think we're gonna take it back to the shop, put a 4.10 or a 4.30 gear in this thing so we can get it out of the hole and into the power.

Justin: That's right. Yeah. You know, if we went 9.90's the first time out, we'd have no more videos for you guys, and we know you don't want that. We're gonna bring you more with more boost, and probably more gear like Paul said. But in the meantime, subscribe if you wanna see more from this machine here. You're not gonna wanna miss the next step for sure. And for all things Mustang, keep it right here at