5.0 Cobra or 4.6 Cobra?

Discussion in 'SVT Tech Forum' started by Aggie 08, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. Hey guys! Its been a while since I've been on here. Well I sold my 97' GT a little over a year ago after I got a new 07' Focus for graduation. My GT had been having problem after problem and my dad was having to pay for it, and was tired of it. So he bought me a new car that he felt would be reliable. Anyways...I've been working, saving, and wishing for another Mustang for almost a year now, and narrowed the list down to a few options.

    First I only had 96' to 98' Cobras on my mind, I guess I just love that body style, and the only newer ones in my price rang have too many miles. Oh and most 96' to 98' Cobras out there in my range seem to have 70,000 miles or more on them. But recently I found a 94' 5.0 Cobra in my range and it only has 16,000 miles on it!! I test drove it earlier today and it seemed just as fast if not faster than my fairly heavily modded 97' GT. I know they only have 240hp and 285tq but I was wondering if those 5.0's have quite a bit of easily tapped potential. My first vehicle was a 95' 5.0 F-150 with 140,000 miles on it and 185,000 when I sold it. It had plenty of tranny problems but never any engine problems, so I know that engine is tough.

    I was mainly just curious as to what y'all would go for, a really low milage but equally priced 5.0 Cobra or a 70,000+ mile 4.6 Cobra? Obvisouly the 4.6 DOHC would have more power to start with, but would the 5.0 be able to be just as powerful with minimal mods, and then even more powerful with more mods? I'm not worried about dumping money into either of the two cars, thats one of the things I like to do, so thats not really much of a factor. Ok, thanks for any and all input.
  2. This is just my opinion, but a 5.0 Cobra with so few miles shouldn't be hacked up with mods. I'd keep it stock and would enjoy it if I owned it. If your ultimate goal is just to go fast, keep looking for a '96-'98.
  3. 5.0's are cheaper to add parts to, but the 4.6's tend to be the big power dogs these days
  4. This is a break down of how they run.

    96-98 Cobra
    Ported/Short Runner Intake

    High 11 Sec car

    94-95 Cobra
    Everything you can think of

    Mid 12 Sec car
  5. dude, go with the '96-'98 cobra, you wont regret it. I was patient and picked up a nice '98 cobra, about 2 months ago, after a lot of change of heart of which to go with, the 5.0 or the 4.6, all i can say is that i'm glad i went with the 4.6L DOHC. The thing is amazing and it really isn't that much more than a '94-'95 cobra if you think of what you're getting. Just be patient and take your time picking the right one for you. Good luck bro :nice:
  6. If it was me, I would go with the 94 5.0. The potential for the 5 liter pushrod is incredible as seen in the drag racing world today. It is cheap to work on, easy to work on, and overall very reliable. I would tend to stray from the 96-98 4.6 DOHC as they weren't quite as strong as Ford hoped they would be. When I was looking at buying a Cobra, I was looking for a '95 5.0, but I ended up buying an SUV for hauling my racing trailer. Either way you will have alot of fun, so like others have said, just take your time and pick the right one.

    P.S. Never buy without a test drive, that is the only real way to tell if you'll like the car.
  7. Bolt-on, for bolt on....the 4.6L DOHC is really no more expensive than the '94-'95 5.0L platform....but the pay-off in the end is far greater. Not to mention the ’96-’98 is already a half second quicker right out of the box before you even get started.

    You'll run much faster in a stock bottom end, bolt on '96-'98 than you ever could in a 5.0L Cobra with the same configuration. You really need to get into the engine of the ’94-‘95 (Heads, Cams, Intake) along with a full host of bolt ons to surpass, or even match a bolt on DOHC's performance....which lets be honest is not only is far more expensive by comparison, but ruins the value of the car in the long run.

    My vote goes to the ’96-’98, hands down. The only reason I would have to vote against it, would be because it would be taking one more car off the market for me to look at when it comes time to buying my own. :D
  8. I've driven both and love both. What I can say is that my 95 Cobra was not what I would consider fast stock. Just doing a full exhaust on these things with gears wakes them up big time. The 5.0 has better low end grunt. I haven't done too much to my car besides bolt ons and I'm making as much flywheel hp as a stock 96-98 Cobra, but about 50 more ftlb of torque. And that's untuned. The 4v mod motors are very cool also and have better power potential for the money :D , but not as easy to work on.

    Personally if you found a 94 with miles that low in your price range, I would jump on it. Just make darn sure you get a carfax report on it to make sure the milage is correct. I'm trying to convince my wife to get a 96-98 cobra, so I have another toy to play with. :p
  9. Define "not as easy to work on" though? Perhaps if tearing into the engine is required, the DOHC is a more involved process, but where basic maintanence or performing exterior bolt ons are concerned, the 4V is no harder to maintain (easier in some cases) than a 5.0L. :shrug:
  10. A 93 will hold its value better than any 94-99 cobra.
  11. My opinion is that if your going for a daily driver get the higher mileage car. If it is just gonna be a weekend/nice day car, get the low mile '94. I miss my '95 Cobra but if I was going strictly by performance I'd get a '96-'98. It seems they are cheaper to make fast. I do have a soft spot for the 'ol 5.0 however so I am a bit partial to them.
  12. ive owned a 94 cobra and currently own a 96 cobra. the 94 is easier to work on in the garage changing heads cams ect... and upgrage parts have been made for the 5.0 for way longer. so a lot of the parts are cheeper, and the 5.0 has more torque down low . the 96 has a more advanced engine and responds better to computer tunning and supercharging. the 4.6 motor likes higher rpm's and has better torque up high. the guys who own a 5.0 are going to like those and the guys who own a 4.6 are going to like those. i dont know what i would pick if there were both sitting beside each other and were the same price with same miles i guess it would come down to color. if you owned a 97 gt you are probably use to the 4.6 power curve...
  13. While I agree with your round about thinking, your post is a little misleading and inaccurate in the same respect. You make it sound as though the only difference between the power of the '94 and the '96 is where the sweet spot of their power band lies. But what you neglect to mention is that the '96 not only makes more torque, but a lot more power and in head to head comparison the '96 would absolutely murder the '94.

    Sure, "individual" bolt on parts are a little cheaper with the 5.0L OHV, but you'll need to do pretty much all of them (which isn't going to be cheap) in order to match the power output of the DOHC. You really won't start putting any distance between the two cars until you get into the more costly stuff like heads/intakes/camshafts/stroker kits and/or power adders. That being the case, you will have already spent a pile of money on all the bolt ons and big ticket items for the '94 in order to take the lead (so to speak), yet you haven't even cracked the wallet for the '96 yet? :shrug:

    If bang for the buck is your goal, you'll never come close to the performance of the 4.6L DOHC with the 5.0L OHV (even in N/A trim) unless you start doing a lot more involved work and spending some serious cash....at which point you'll notice that the so called "cheaper" and "easier" 5.0L moniker no longer applies. :D
  14. im sorry i thought the idea here was to help by giving the info we had and letting aggie make up his own mind. its clear you like the 4.6, and i agree it is a great car. in the end after all bolt ons and a blower it would probably be faster. although not by much with the same add ons plus heads and a cam. but if you like to get your hands dirty its not as easy to pull heads off, change cams, things like that. the 96 was suppose to have over 300hp from the factory but didnt, it did have more than th 94. it comes down to what feels good to you when you drive it.
    how much is a blower for a 4.6 ... and how much is a blower, heads, cam for a 5.0 ...
  15. I’m not quite sure where you got your info on the horsepower figures, but the ’96-’98 Cobra’s dyno right at about 260-265hp at the wheels, which puts it right there within advertised specs. It was the ’99 models that were down on power from the advertised specification. It may looks as though I’m trying to show a bias towards the Mod motor cars (and in some ways I am) but that’s only because when all the chips are down, the fact remains that the later Cobra is the superior of the two.

    The mindset that most OHV guys have is that the 4.6L is hard to work on, but it really isn’t. I’d most certainly rather change spark plugs on a SOHC/DOHC over that of an OHV. Otherwise, you basic bolt ons and maintenance is pretty much the same between both cars. Sure, swapping out cams and heads on the DOHC is a more “involved” process, but what many fail to realize or refuse to acknowledge is that for the most part head/intake and cam swaps are not necessary for great performance. In stock trim the heads and intake already outflow all but the most aggressive aluminum OHV castings, so what’s really the point of tearing into the engine unless you’re looking at making some really serious horsepower? As it sits, with basic bolt ons, a gear swap and some sticky tires you’re looking at 12-second ET’s DOHC cars….unlike the stock 302, where unless you want to run 14’s for the rest of your days, you need to replace nearly the entire top end of the engine, or invest in some sort of power adder.

    As for blowers for the 4.6L DOHC.....they can be had from $3,000 and up. So you tell me, how does that compare with the cost of a blower, heads, intake and cam swap for the OHV? Not even close would be my guess. And that’s not factoring in the cost of labour on top of it?

    Yes, you are correct, the point of this thread was so that Aggie could make his own “informed” decision on which of the two cars to buy, but I thought it best he had all of the facts before doing so. It's not my fault that most of those facts shine a brighter light on the later car. ;)
  16. Christ almighty we've got some seriously biased people responding to the question. To be perfectly honest, I'd be inclined to take the DOHC if I were going to keep it stockish, which is to say if I didn't intend to make it fast.

    Thing is, the 94-95 cobra put down only 30-35 rwhp less than the 4.6 in stock form. Whatever bolt-ons you add to one, you can add to the other and still the gap will remain. That is until you swap heads and cam on the 5.0. There isn't a set of heads that are going to pick up 90 rwhp for you on the 4.6. Parts are definitely cheaper for the 5.0. What does it cost for a set of aftermarket cams on a 4.6? In the neighborhood of a grand? Probably more than the aftermarket premium custom cam in my 5.0 ($325). That difference would go most of the way toward a nice set of aluminum heads like TFS twisted wedges or AFR165s. Plenty, myself included, have made well over 300 rwhp from a pretty basic H/C/I and bolt-ons 302. There is no point to getting into an aftermarket pissing match here though, because the "what ifs" will never end. The 4.6 will start off ahead, but when you modify them, the price/performance ratio is going to be very close in either car. I just want to point out that the 5.0 has some advantages people are too quickly overlooking in this thread, especially when it comes to decent modification.

    As for potential, both engines have been well into the 9s n/a. The DOHC has the added benefit of rpm ability inherent with OHC designs. The 5.0 has the ability to displace 347 with a common application stroker kit. The aftermarket windsor cylinder heads out there are super impressive. If you want to go forced induction and push big boost trying to run monstrous power, you'll have to crack both engines open and replace the internals. The 4.6 has a pretty stout block that you'll never need to replace. The 5.0 block gets iffy at around 600 rwhp, but rejoice, there are multitudes of aftermarket blocks, and plenty of used ones that will get you to any power limit you desire.

    If you really want to get after it in modification, there's definitely plenty of potential in either engine. So, take your pick. The guys acting like you need a H/C/I package to get the 5.0 cobra out of the 14s are being ridiculous. They're already low 14 second cars stock. A full bolt-on Cobra with tires will run 12s no problem. A mild H/C/I package that's well tuned and well driven can put them into the 11s. The 4.6 crowd needs to get off of their high horses. They're both great cars. Buy whichever makes you happiest or go for the best deal.

  17. Clearly...
    Before the aftermarket, sure

    So? Takes me 20 minutes or less to swap all 8 without a lift in my 5.0.
    Unless maintenance has to do with the valvetrain, sure
    i.e. "harder"
    Nothing is "necessary" for great performance except money, but I don't think your going to get anywhere with this argument at least in so far as your reference to cams. If you're going to get into the "great performance" realm, I think you'd better do a cam swap or you're going to be leaving a lot on the table.
    So don't buy the crap heads for the OHVs
    I used to think you knew a thing or two about 302s. You just lost some credit with this overly dramatic statement! It sounds like you think that the 5.0s are the equivalent of riced out 4cyl econoboxes. Please a power adder, or the "entire top end of the engine" to get out of the 14s? Didn't you mean to include "j/k" at the end of that? Wow! just wow... If that doesn't show your overpowering bias to the readers, then nothing I say will make any difference because they're blind to the truth.

    Here's a '95 Cobra that barely scraped it's way out of the 14's without going to the extremes you mentioned. This is from gmkillr on this board:
    Basic bolt-ons, check
    gear swap, check
    tires, (I'm sure he had 'em) check

    Wait isn't that whay you said a 4.6 DOHC would need to get 12s? The 5.0 hasn't already caught up has it?

    Nah, you can get them for less on both platforms.
    Why do you care? Blowers are great for the 4.6s in stock form, but no better than blowers are for H/C/I 5.0s. Why not just put some nitrous on the 5.0? Oh yeah, forgot about that one, huh? Add the nitrous to your 4.6 and pickup the same amount of power for a lot less than your blower. The nitrous shot is going to gain the same amount on either engine. Face it, the 4.6 DOHC for the same amount invested in both platforms is never going to gain any more of a performance margin over the 5.0 than what exists between the platforms stock, and I believe it'll start to lose ground at some point.
    You might not want to do your own labor with the 4.6, but I don't have any problem doing mine on the 5.0.

    Patting yourself on the back here? Well congratulations! The 4.6 DOHC is a great platform, you should take pride in knowing that. Get off the pedestal, though. It's only a clear winner to the biased. Those 5.0 Cobras are great performance cars for the money too, and their aftermarket is 2nd to none.

    Blah, the hell with all of them, give me the '93 Cobra. It's the coolest one, anyway.

  18. Man, I forgot all about this thread.

    Look, I'm sure what you have written there is very interesting and informative...but it's just too much for me to read through right now, so I just kinda scanned through it. The bottom line though, is that although the 302 OHV may be able to outperform the 4.6L DOCH in N/A trim when all the chips are down, it won’t do it until all the chips are down! You've got to tear into and pretty much replace all of the stock components in order to accomplish as much. We're talking heads, intake, cam and all the bolt ons at the minimum to accomplish what could be had with bolt ons and stock parts and about 1/2-2/3 the cost with the DOHC.

    Sure, you can take it a step further and get into the bottom end increasing the displacement, but now you're really tearing into things and inflating cost and work involved...and for what? At that level, you're now reaching the limits of the stock block and now on the hook for an even more expensive aftermarket block.....so where does it end? I mean, with just rods and pistons the 4.6L DOHC will hold together well into the 1,000hp range. So why would a mod motor guy waste his time staying N/A at that point.

    So bravo....you've finally outperformed the DOHC in N/A trim when all is said and done and all it cost you was pretty much all of the original components and about $6,000 worth of aftermarket parts. ;)

    But then again…why would a Mod Motor guy waste his time with N/A components when that’s clearly not what works best? Sure, the OHV may have it in N/A trim, but when power adders and stock components meet on the 302, the results are almost always less than spectacular. Where the addition of a blower on a DOHC will guarantee big results, the OHV guys are saving their pennies to afford suitable aftermarket supporting components that will allow support the airflow.....which after all is said and done puts them right back on par if now not further behind in terms of cost and work needed to accomplish that goal.

    So what we’ve now got is a never-ending argument and a lot of expensive parts on the table! Fun, huh? :D
  19. I think you missed this part where this guy only has mild bolt ons, no HCI..

    Originally Posted by gmkillr
    My mods were as follows:
    mac underdrives
    bbk 1 5/8 shorty headers
    mac prochamber
    summitt catback
    pro-m bullet 75 maf
    homemade cai
    bbk 65mm tb

    The above mods led me to a best of a 12.97 @ 106.16mph

    I don't think thats tearing much into anything :shrug:
  20. Yep, seems like he missed a lot more than that, too. Gearbanger, if you're not going to bother reading a post, then just don't respond to it. I addressed pretty much everything you laid out already. So I'll refrain from doing it again.