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Hello folks, Dave K here from Sykesville, MD. I recently purchased a 2003 Shell Valley cobra from the original owner/builder in North Carolina and on advice from the broker selling the car, had it shipped to my home. I looked the car over before buying it but alas, fatal error, did not drive it. It has several major problems and basically isn't street worthy. A member of this site contacted me (I'm registered on another Cobra site) and recommended I join and post here because there are many people with actual build/fix experience (as opposed to ownership experience).

So I'll be posting and asking for help and will thank any and all in advance. I've got serious clutch problems (long travel, mega force required to push), non-existent brakes, a pathetically anemic 302, mucked up bolted down seats, and more shakes and shimmies than a Detroit transit bus with 200 million miles on it.

Anyway I'm up to locating my long put away SAE tools and trying to sort this car out. I bought it with the intention of pleasant drives in the bucolic back roads of Maryland but it seems I've simply bought someone else's problems.

The car LOOKS super! That's the good news. It has some good components. Maybe it just needs some better craftsmanship to get it sorted out. It has a 1979 302 with 1985 heads, an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold and Edelbrock 1405 4bbl carb (600 CFM with manual choke). There's an Elgin 204 (@0.050") hydraulic tappet cam with .478" valve lift (Intake). The ignition is a manual vacuum advance Flame Thrower distributor. That sounds decent enough for a mildly tuned 302 but thing can't get out of it's own way.

The motor is mated via a Lakewood steel bellhousing/scatter shield to a T5 Tremec (2.95:1 first gear) feeding a shortened 9" rear. I don't know the final ratio or if it has a LSD.

The suspension is Mustang II spec tubular A arms with screw in ball joints and QA1 coil over shocks. The front brakes are upgraded Shell Valley 9" Ford (Granada) with GM Intermediate single piston calibers. I do not know what the rear brakes are. The pedal box has two master cylinders for the brakes (I guess one for the front and one for the rear). The clutch is hydraulic feeding to a Wilwood slave cylinder. I know nothing of the clutch except it's a *itch to engage.

The seats were bolted down to the very back of the passenger compartment. I found this out when I first tried to fire the car up at my home and was looking for the seat adjustment. There is none. I initially figured the original owner must have been a very tall/big person, but then I noticed both the clutch pedal and brake pedal had large hunks of WOOD bolted to them....

The only thing I can think of is that like a recumbent bike this gave the owner the leverage to leg press the clutch and to stomp on the "brakes" (<- a term that doesn't really apply to the arrangement of wheels discs, friction materials and hydraulic clamp presently in place).

I have no bones to pick with the Shell Valley company as it appears the execution of key construction details was ... ummm... imperfect. That's about it! Any help/suggestions are most appreciated. She's a looker -here's a pic!

Thanks, DaveK.
 

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Welcome to the forum. It sounds like you have a doable project.Shell Valley will be able to give you some good advice on the brakes. You said your engine has 1985 heads.That would be one reason the car is running slugish.A good set of aftermarket heads and a set of 1.7 to one rockerarms would wake it up a bit.Good luck Roger
 

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My advice is to pick one "issue" and solve it before moving on to the next one.

I would fix the brakes before anything else. Be able to control the outcome of the rest of the repairs, IMHO.

You got good advice to come here to pick brains. There are lots of experienced folks here, maybe not as many with a Shell Valley, specifically, but the principles remain.
 

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priorities

While I do agree with nukemmc about fixing the brakes first, I also see what PSB is saying about fixing the seats first.

Brakes are a delicate balance of power applied and applied force. If the seats are in a position that doesn't allow you to press hard enough because you are "reaching" to apply, then by-all-means fix the seat position first.
There is a leverage advantage incorporated into the brake pedal lever that applied pressure adds to the equation. Leverage "advantage" can be added by creating different mounting points for the swing arm(s).

A few questions first off:
Are they power brakes? (I'm thinking 'No' because you mentioned dual masters)
Are the rear brake disk or drum?
Is there a "proportioning valve" in the rear line?

Is this a "Wilwood" pedal assembly or something other? You mentioned that the clutch was Wilwood hydraulic.

Older 302's were rated at 200-225 HP carbed but can be made to produce 400+ with the right parts and tune.

The clutch may just need to be bled -or- the pedal ratio may need to be adjusted to allow more advantage.

Get the seat tracks so you can be in a position to press with the greatest amount of force for your stature (5' people need to be closer :yes:)

When the seats are out, that is the time to climb under the dash and figure out the brake pedal arrangement to see if there is an alternative mounting solution so you have the most pressure available (from a mechanical standpoint). Then work on the hydraulics of the system.

The "can't get out of it's own way" issue may be that the rear gears are stock (3.00 or higher) and need to be more in the 3.50 to 3.73 range for a 302.
(My '89 5.0 (see-profile/signature below) runs 3.73's and it definitely gets up and moves quite well.

We can help out if we know more about what we're working with - there is an enormous amount of talent and knowledge on this forum to feed from.

Good Luck! - keep us posted . . .

Doc :beerchug:
 

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Shell Valley

I would go to clubcobra, and go to the Shell Valley Group ... You might also want to look at the Antique & Collectable group since their frames are very simular
Jon
 

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I think seating/brakes should be the first thing, get them sorted and then we can work on power!

Like Pete suggested, check the pedal leverage on the booster. What kind of pedal box do they use? Wilwood? Stock Mustang? Pictures would help. And you should think about calling Shell Valley to see if they can give you more info on them, gtaroger hit that one on the head.

For power, again, Pete has a good suggestion. Check the rear ratio, it could be 3.08 or something like that, a new set of gears will wake it up. Also, new heads on the motor, find a used set of GT40P heads from an Explorer for a cheap upgrade, or go with new aluminum heads.

You definitely want to be able to drive that thing around where you live, some amazing roads there. I used to live in Columbia/Elkridge, and would go riding out towards Thurmont on Sundays, all back roads. I really miss those roads.

Have fun, it's a good looking car!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
More info

Thanks folks. I've posted some specifics of the clutch problem on the 'other makes' forum of this web site. I've selected solving the clutch problem first. (I'm calling Shell Valley for more information on what I have and am getting seat rails).

I wish to do double posts, so if I can be excused this initial time, here's the jest of my configuration. The pedal box is standard Shell Valley, a tandem arrangement where the brake pedal actuates two brake master cylinders. The clutch pedal actuates one clutch master (of unknown size). The pedal box is ABSOLUTELY NOT Wilwood. The slave cylinder though is Wilwood (most likely 7/8" diameter). The pedal ratio (clutch and brake) is (so far as I know) 6:1. The bell housing is Lakewood. I do not know the throw out arm pivot ratio nor the pressure plate specs. I'll check the documentation I have ...

Yes, I've contacted Shell Valley and hope to hear back shortly about what I might have for master cylinders (brake & clutch).

If any can pass along the specs to their hydraulic clutch system that would certainly give me a baseline starting point.

Thanks again, Dave K.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Contact with Shell Valley ...

I've spoken with Shell Valley and they've concurred the pedal ratio is 6:1. For 2003 they believe the clutch cylinder was 3/4" diameter. I went back to the Wilwood site and found conflicting information. One page indicates the bore size of their pull type slave is 7/8" and on another page it's listed as 3/4". I think I have to pull both and physically check. I'll try to do that this weekend. I'll see if I can pull the Lakewood throw out bear pivot arm to measure. If memory (30 years ago) serves me right I should be able to pull the pivot arm without removing the tranny or anything else! (I think...)

(I think therefore I am....)

Like Gasholes racing says, we don't like us either!

Thanks much!, Dave K.
 

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Easiest way to fix both your brake and clutch problems is to rip out the old stuff and put in a Wilwood pedal assembly. Call Wilwood and they'll tell you what master cylinders to order.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #11
a bit more info....

Sorry folks (ducking on and off this site during work...)

I've ordered the seat rails to address the seating issue from Shell Valley. I do not believe (99 & 44/100% sure) that I do not have a proportioning valve for the brakes. They are NOT vacuum powered/power assisted. The rear brakes are discs. (While the fronts are 11" Ford Granada I'll have to measure the rear). It appears (based on talking with Shell Valley) the brake pressure bias is achieved by using two master brake cylinders. The fronts get a 3/4" diameter bore for more pressure and the rears get a 7/8" diameter bore for less pressure.

Based on standard 'old' style Shell Valley pedal box, it doesn't appear that I can readily make adjustments to the pivot point. The pedals are already pretty close to the floor now so I'm not sure they can be lengthened ...


Many thanks! Dave K. (I'm feeling a whole lot better the bugs can be worked out because truth be told I was feeling like I bought a lemon ...)
 

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On you clutch pull type slave, the best fix is to scrap it. I also had one for a short while. The pedal effort was too high and it failed quickly. The fluid sprayed all over my trans crossmember and ruined the finish. Contact Mike Forte on the vendor list and he can help you out with a push type slave set up. As well as many other parts and services.
Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks!

Folks, thanks a million for the many suggestions. I have lots to check and several options to ponder. I hope to gather more/better information this weekend when I can get under the car and pull some parts for inspection (and measurement). I've got the slide rails ordered and will get them in, that'll at least allow me a better point of reference for pedal pressure. Right now I'm reclined so much I can't hardly see over the dash! I'm going to lubricate all the pivot points, etc. as now on closer inspection I see plenty of corrosion on various fittings. The car was garage kept, but certainly not climate controlled. It was at a lake house in South Carolina.

My plans are to pop the pistons out of the brake calipers front and rear. Maybe I they are corroded. The underside of the car looks VERY clean but I see lots of fittings and bolts and connections that have corroded.

I pulled a rear wheel last evening and found I have 11" discs with integral drum (about 7 1/2" for the drum). I only lifted up the chassis on one side and tightened the wheel with the tranny in neutral. There was resistance as I tightened the wheel but it eventually spun. This leads me to believe I have a clutch type LSD. I think for an open diff the wheel would have spun much easier. I'll determine the rear ratio this weekend hopefully on the 9" Ford rear. I can confirm the LSD with both wheels off the ground to. If memory serves me correctly, with both wheels off the ground spinning one tire causes the opposite tire to spin in the opposite direction in an open diff.

Thanks again, especially for reinforcement that things CAN/WILL get fixed. I guess the 6+ week ordeal in getting the car, not driving it before purchase, and then a problematic first drive, certainly took the wind out of my sails...

Cheers! Dave K
 

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The fronts get a 3/4" diameter bore for more pressure and the rears get a 7/8" diameter bore for less pressure.
Food for thought on upcoming projects.

Highly recommended reading on this issue: http://www.ffcars.com/forums/17-factory-five-roadsters/245120-brake-bias-concern-warning-safety.html

You're going to be a little "out of the normal loop" here, because most of that discussion is based on Fox and later Mustang brakes - Granada brakes are not a frequent topic, and it sounds like you may have some sort of GM or Explorer rears.

That said, it's all going to be very similar - fronts and rears out of Detroit (any, except maybe Corvette) are engineered to provide too little rear bias for these cars.

Most of us who are using tandem manual MCs with Detroit OEM front + rears are running ~ 6:1 pedal ratio (no extra room for extra leverage, can't really be done) and 3/4" MC to the front and 5/8" MC to the back (with a balance bar for adjustment).

Does your MC look like this? They can also be "tricky" to get bled properly (we'll get into that later).


 

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I only lifted up the chassis on one side and tightened the wheel with the tranny in neutral. There was resistance as I tightened the wheel but it eventually spun. This leads me to believe I have a clutch type LSD. I think for an open diff the wheel would have spun much easier. I'll determine the rear ratio this weekend hopefully on the 9" Ford rear. I can confirm the LSD with both wheels off the ground to. If memory serves me correctly, with both wheels off the ground spinning one tire causes the opposite tire to spin in the opposite direction in an open diff.
Correct. With both rear tires off the ground, with an open diff turning one wheel will cause the other to turn in the opposite direction. Limited slip they will turn in the same direction.

If there's no tag on the diff, you can get pretty close to figuring out the ratio. With the trans in neutral and both tires off the ground, make a line on the pinion yoke and on the diff with chalk or a grease pencil. Do the same on one of the tires. Now rotate the driveshaft by hand and count the number of turns of the driveshaft that it takes to make the rear tire turn one complete rotation. You should be able to get in the ball park.
 

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Folks, thanks a million for the many suggestions. I have lots to check and several options to ponder. I hope to gather more/better information this weekend when I can get under the car and pull some parts for inspection (and measurement). I've got the slide rails ordered and will get them in, that'll at least allow me a better point of reference for pedal pressure. Right now I'm reclined so much I can't hardly see over the dash! I'm going to lubricate all the pivot points, etc. as now on closer inspection I see plenty of corrosion on various fittings. The car was garage kept, but certainly not climate controlled. It was at a lake house in South Carolina.

My plans are to pop the pistons out of the brake calipers front and rear. Maybe I they are corroded. The underside of the car looks VERY clean but I see lots of fittings and bolts and connections that have corroded.

I pulled a rear wheel last evening and found I have 11" discs with integral drum (about 7 1/2" for the drum). I only lifted up the chassis on one side and tightened the wheel with the tranny in neutral. There was resistance as I tightened the wheel but it eventually spun. This leads me to believe I have a clutch type LSD. I think for an open diff the wheel would have spun much easier. I'll determine the rear ratio this weekend hopefully on the 9" Ford rear. I can confirm the LSD with both wheels off the ground to. If memory serves me correctly, with both wheels off the ground spinning one tire causes the opposite tire to spin in the opposite direction in an open diff.

Thanks again, especially for reinforcement that things CAN/WILL get fixed. I guess the 6+ week ordeal in getting the car, not driving it before purchase, and then a problematic first drive, certainly took the wind out of my sails...

Cheers! Dave K
Dave,
This experience will actually help you. You are about to become as intimately familiar with this car as any you have ever owned. From the description, you will end up doing a bunch of relatively minor (compared to a full build:001_tongue:) work on most of the car, engine, clutch, brakes, interior, etc. The more you know and have touched on the car, the easier it is to troubleshoot and/or improve things down the road.

For me, the build was at least as enjoyable as the drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Brake set-up

I don't want to mis-state what Shell Valley offers but I believe (99 & 44/100 % sure) they offer a standard Mustang II brake kit front and rear (entry solution), a high end Wilwood solution (most cost), and a somewhat in the middle (cost) solution that I have.

The front discs are 11" Ford Granada but the calipers are "GM Intermediate" (i.e., mid-to-late 70's GM intermediate cars like Monte Carlo). My rear disc brakes are 11" discs with 7 1/2" integral drum. So there's disc brake pad for normal braking and the integral drum used for the 'emergency'/parking brake. I do not know what caliper I have in the rear.

The front brakes are driven by a 7/8" bore single outlet master cylinder and the rears are driven by a 1" bore single outlet master cylinder. There is no pressure/bias regulator. The brake pedal goes to a tandem arrangement pushing on the two master cylinders.

I believe the newer Shell Valley cobra kits now have different pedal box with tandem cylinder.


Cheers! Dave K.
 

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Hello folks, Dave K here from Sykesville, MD. I recently purchased a 2003 Shell Valley cobra from the original owner/builder in North Carolina and on advice from the broker selling the car, had it shipped to my home. I looked the car over before buying it but alas, fatal error, did not drive it. It has several major problems and basically isn't street worthy. A member of this site contacted me (I'm registered on another Cobra site) and recommended I join and post here because there are many people with actual build/fix experience (as opposed to ownership experience).

So I'll be posting and asking for help and will thank any and all in advance. I've got serious clutch problems (long travel, mega force required to push), non-existent brakes, a pathetically anemic 302, mucked up bolted down seats, and more shakes and shimmies than a Detroit transit bus with 200 million miles on it.

Anyway I'm up to locating my long put away SAE tools and trying to sort this car out. I bought it with the intention of pleasant drives in the bucolic back roads of Maryland but it seems I've simply bought someone else's problems.

The car LOOKS super! That's the good news. It has some good components. Maybe it just needs some better craftsmanship to get it sorted out. It has a 1979 302 with 1985 heads, an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold and Edelbrock 1405 4bbl carb (600 CFM with manual choke). There's an Elgin 204 (@0.050") hydraulic tappet cam with .478" valve lift (Intake). The ignition is a manual vacuum advance Flame Thrower distributor. That sounds decent enough for a mildly tuned 302 but thing can't get out of it's own way.

The motor is mated via a Lakewood steel bellhousing/scatter shield to a T5 Tremec (2.95:1 first gear) feeding a shortened 9" rear. I don't know the final ratio or if it has a LSD.

The suspension is Mustang II spec tubular A arms with screw in ball joints and QA1 coil over shocks. The front brakes are upgraded Shell Valley 9" Ford (Granada) with GM Intermediate single piston calibers. I do not know what the rear brakes are. The pedal box has two master cylinders for the brakes (I guess one for the front and one for the rear). The clutch is hydraulic feeding to a Wilwood slave cylinder. I know nothing of the clutch except it's a *itch to engage.

The seats were bolted down to the very back of the passenger compartment. I found this out when I first tried to fire the car up at my home and was looking for the seat adjustment. There is none. I initially figured the original owner must have been a very tall/big person, but then I noticed both the clutch pedal and brake pedal had large hunks of WOOD bolted to them....

The only thing I can think of is that like a recumbent bike this gave the owner the leverage to leg press the clutch and to stomp on the "brakes" (<- a term that doesn't really apply to the arrangement of wheels discs, friction materials and hydraulic clamp presently in place).

I have no bones to pick with the Shell Valley company as it appears the execution of key construction details was ... ummm... imperfect. That's about it! Any help/suggestions are most appreciated. She's a looker -here's a pic!

Thanks, DaveK.
Hi Dave.
I just also got a 2003 Shell Valley Cobra delivered - I rode in it prior to purchase but did not drive it and have found similar problems with the clutch pedal placement, non/adjustable seat, and difficulty getting enough leg extension and force to get the clutch to disengage. A quick look at the pedal assembly looks pretty primitive. Before I start to sort this out I'd be glad to have the benefit if any of your lessons learned. / john
 
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