Original Coolant lines

One of least replicated items of the 427 is the secondary air bleed line on the coolant reservoir. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a replica with one yet every original had them.


Note 3/8″ line from passenger side of reservoir to top of radiator

I am adding features like this to my new build, to go that extra step on my replica. 

I chose to use a dual pass radiator, the radiator is divided in half, top and bottom, so the coolant goes across on the top set of tubes turns and comes back on the lower set of tubes. That extra time in the cooling fins makes a big difference in cooling capacity.  That also puts both the inlet and outlet on the same side of the radiator. The original cars used a ‘Chevy’ configuration on the radiator, inlet at the top drivers side, outlet on the bottom, passenger side. There was a tube that crossed over on the bottom to get to the pump inlet and a 90 degree tube at the top to come out of the expansion tank and into the radiator.

The outlet on the bottom drivers side makes it easier and harder to get to the pump inlet. Easier because it’s on the same side but harder because of all the steering mechanism it has to dodge.


Clockwise, around the radiator, top left is the inlet; top right, air vent line; bottom right, drain fitting; bottom left, Outlet; Middle left is for an anode for electrolysis protection

To mate with the radiator, I modified the classic Ford Galaxy tank used on the FE. 


Ford expansion tank

To fit the cobra, that tank has to have multiple modifications:

  1. The unit is disassembled and the tank rotated 180 degrees, to put the outlet on the drivers side.
  2. The mounting bracket and inlet tube is modified to lower the overall height approximately 1/2″ – Necessary for hood clearance
  3. A 3/8″ vent tube is added to the upper corner of the tank.
  4. The assembly is cleaned up, re-soldered and pressure tested. 

To be continued . . .

Antifreeze & Brake Fluid

Pieces are beginning to come together. Installed cooling system and hydraulic reservoir system

Hydraulic Reservoirs
The original S/C cars came with Girling hydraulics, which incorporated  remote reservoirs, mounted on the engine compartment wall. The originals used two larger reservoirs for the brakes and one smaller for the clutch. Incorporating this into the build presents a number of challenges.

The taller reservoir cans were also used on the 3000 series Austin Healy’s. But those also are almost impossible to find. The smaller can is the same size as is commonly used for PVC solvent cans.  It is common place to use three smaller cans due to the scarcity of the taller can.. I just got lucky on eBay one day.

The cans were stripped of their decals and any paint, scuffed lightly then coated with a black epoxy paint. The paint is alledged to be brake fluid proof. Time will tell. The paint may obtained from

The bottoms use an AN fitting adapter #3 x 7/16-20. I used crush washers under the head to seal the joint.

To connect to the Wilwood cylinder caps, I found the port could be shortened and threaded to accept a AN fitting adapter. I then used #3 teflon-wire braid hose to connect them. The entire system became a little pricey but definitely more visually appealing. If cost becomes an issue, some have used the hose supplied with the Wilwood kit.

The Girling lids are available from  a number of sources; VictoriaBritish, Moss Motors or Pegasus Racing.Don’t forget to order the rubber gasket seals also. They are sold separately.

It takes some maneuvering to get the reservoirs in place, especially if you are using an FE with authentic throttle linkage and coolant hoses. They’ll fit but there isn’t much room. The mounting brackets I fabricated put the can as close to the sidepanel as possible. While doing this, you gain appreciation for how difficult it was (is) to fit a big block into the car.

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An original installation S/C installation Original Girling
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Girling short
My build


Hood Clearance and coolant tank

While I had the body on, I checked the underhood clearance to help clear up some questions about the FE coolant tank.

The FE uses a coolant reservoir mounted on the front of the manifold. Tanks available exit on the passenger side of the vehicle. But the original Cobras had an exit on the drivers side. I purchased my kit with a drivers side inlet on the radiator, so the upper line would appear period correct. I chose to use a double path radiator, with the lower outlet also on the drivers side. This would allow a more direct path to the FE’s waterpump inlet and also, would provide a little better cooling.

The FE tank is easily reversed by un-soldering the pieces and turning the tank 180º. This is easily accomplished with a proper sized torch. Those less experienced may wish to have it done by a local radiator shop. My car didn’t require any cutting or modifying other than to unsolder, turn and resolder.

Those choosing to put a small block motor into the car and duplicate this appearance will find info regarding this on the web. Google is your friend. Be careful with this combination – this may be subject to hood clearance issues.

Underhood clearance
Many Hurricane builders have run into hood clearance problems. To help clarify this, I double-checked my build.

I am putting an FE block, with the coolant reservoir tank on the front in the car. With the engine in place and the body installed, I came up with this info:

IMG_3565 IMG_3568

Opening Clearance

I plan to run a 3×2 setup. From first glances, it looks like there is more than enough room for the oval air cleaner although the opening in the hood does appear to match.

Cooling System
My quest to build a period correct car began when I ordered the kit. I specified a cross flow radiator so the upper radiator port would be on the left side. I did deviate on the lower outlet. The original cars used a “Chevy” style radiator – outlet on the bottom right and inlet on the upper left., Rather than run the 3′ long lower hose, I went with the outlet on the lower left. That lines up better with the FE pump inlet. It also allows the radiator to operate as a cross-flow for better cooling. The coolant path runs across the upper tubes then back across the lower tubes and out to the pump.

The upper path incorporates a stainless tube, bent 90º and connecting to the reservoir tank. The tank, commonly used on the FE, is reversed on its mounting bracket.

For better performance, I chose to operate at 190º. Through luck, I found a 2 1/2″ diameter thermostat to fit the larger Ford manifold. The Stant 14429 is used on mid-80’s GM diesel engines.The balanced flow style provides much higher flow than the reverse poppet style.

I added a zinc anode to the lower drain port, knowing electrolysis can be an issue. I also incorporated a thermal switch for the fan by adding a connector tube with a 1/4″ NPT port in the lower hose.

IMG_3826IMG_3828 IMG_3830 IMG_3834
Stant 14429 Thermostat Upper Tube Coolant Reservoir


Category: Body, Engine | LEAVE A COMMENT

Fabricate remote oil adapter

Spent the day fabricating my own oil adapter plate for remote oil filter. Bolted up sway bar Most FE motors used a horizontal oil filter and an adapter that angled up from its mounting location. This adapter fits the motor and the Hurricane frame, but it positions the oil filter outside the engine compartment and into the left wheel well. Not what I was looking for. I had decided to be period correct and had found a remote oil filter adapter and bracket that mounted as the originals. All that was needed was an adapter plate to connect the hoses to the block. IMG_3517I thought I had solved this with an inexpensive adapter made by TransDapt. But when I installed the motor, I learned the lower oil outlet was right next to the frame and the hose and fitting couldn’t be installed. Time for plan “B” Some have used the truck adapter oil filter bracket then added a sandwich type adapter to it. But this extends thru the wall of the engine compartment. Not the look I am after. (For those who don’t care about period correct, using this adapter puts the adapter into the drivers side wheel well) IMG_3518Southern Automotive makes an adapter for their motors and some have had success using this. I don’t have a picture of it. Cost is around $60. For most, this is the most likely solution.       IMG_3519I chose to make my own adapter. A little bit of 1¼” tooling plate and a few hours at the drill press and milling machine and I had an adapter. Side exit hole comes from the oil pump. Front entrance hole is the return line from the filter and into the oil system. I also tapped into this line for the oil pressure gauge. Making the part is not complicated and I’ll be happy to supply a copy of my drawing to anyone requesting it.   IMG_3702

Manifold Installation

Damn, installing intake manifold and stripped three bolts in Edelbrock head. Learned the ARP FE manifold bolt kit is 1/4″ too short. Installed Helicoils and continue to curse manufacturers who know of problem and don’t correct it in their product.

Category: Engine | LEAVE A COMMENT

Engine valve train problems

Prep frame and paint. Fitting Erson rocker arm assemblies to Edelbrock heads with ARP stud kits. The studs hit the bottom of the rocker stands. Call to Erson and they say to grind as necessary. They are aware of problem but previous owner (Mr. Gasket) wouldn’t spend money to correct product applications.

Category: Engine | LEAVE A COMMENT