Adding ABS, Traction Control, and Side Airbags to Cobalt? - Chevy Cobalt Forum / Cobalt Reviews / Cobalt SS / Cobalt Parts
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 05-08-2018, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 8
Adding ABS, Traction Control, and Side Airbags to Cobalt?

We have a 2006 Cobalt we bought new and have used as a daily driver for the past 12 years, and itís been a super reliable little commuter car the entire time. Itís at 226,000 miles on almost all original equipment except your standard suspension wear items (but still somehow has its factory rear wheel bearings,) which means itís pretty much tied with my old 94 Camry as the most reliable vehicle weíve ever owned. It burns a little bit of oil every month, and leaks a little more on top of that, but it doesnít smoke and itís still fairly peppy with no noticeable transmission slip or shifting issues.

Thatís why it was a shame when it was caught up at the end of a chain-reaction fender bender, and is now out of action in our driveway. Due to the relatively low value of a 12 year old, 226,000 mile Cobalt combined with the surprisingly high cost to insure this model of car we had reduced our insurance to liability only. That means we didnít get a payout, but we also didnít get the car totaled out either.

The current status of the car is that the hood, hood latch, headlights, metal bumper, bumper foam, plastic bumper cover, and cooling fan are completely destroyed. The radiator and AC condenser are bent but somehow not leaking, with the AC still blowing ice cold about two months after the accident. Airbags didnít pop since the accident was more like a slow crush against an F-150s rear bumper than a sharp impact, my wife said her purse was on the seat beside her and fell over but didnít even slide off. It still runs and drives just fine, aside from the fact that it would overheat at a stoplight due to the shattered cooling fan and youíd be blind in the dark thanks to the lack of headlights.

Ultimately that means the real problem is that the radiator support crossmember was bent back until it almost touched the intake box, and all my redneck efforts to bend it forward and up into place are still resulting in just a mangled piece of metal. I could probably keep pulling on it until it was close enough to the original shape for a beater car but 1) Iím not a bodywork guy and 2) even if it looks fine Iím very leery of my wife driving around a vehicle with a part thatís supposed to be part of the airbag trigger timing system, but is already compromised.

This made me institute plan B: find cheap a roller with a dead engine or transmission, and just drop ours in. At 226,000 miles theyíre not gonna last forever, but swapping a 2.2 for a 2.2 canít be that hard and could probably get us a year or two more of commuting for not a lot of money invested. Looking around I found this 2005 with a dead engine for $750 or best offer:

The owner is a young woman who admits sheís pretty mechanically illiterate, so she canít tell me what options the car has beyond base interior trim and an auto trans, and I wonít be able to inspect it in person until this upcoming Thursday. That means for the time being Iím trying to figure out if the safety options we had ordered for our sedan could be transplanted into that coupe should it lack them, and Iím hoping that yíall could help me with that information. We have ABS, traction control, side-curtain airbags, and aftermarket cruise control to potentially transfer over.

1) ABS: Looks like Iíd have to transplant the control module, modulator/valve body/whatever GM calls it, any lines unique to the ABS-equipped brake system, the hubs with integrated ABS sensors, and the wiring harness for the wheel sensors. Am I missing anything? Additionally, would there be provisions for those wheel sensors harnesses and control module in the existing body and body/engine harness? Does anyone know if the ABS module communicates with anything else, like the ECU, and if so is there the possibility it could be configured differently in a non-ABS car vs an ABS car?

2) Traction control: where is the controller and sensors for this even located, is it part of the ABS? If so Iíd assume it would just follow the ABS over in the case of a successful transplant, but is it dependant on any other control or sensing system that has to either be moved if not present or flashed to enable the option?

3) Side-curtain airbags: so I know from looking at car-part that the coupe and sedan have different side airbags, and also the airbag controller (BCM) is listed as being different between a car with just front airbags vs a car with front/side airbags. Does anyone know if thereís provisions for side airbags in every wiring harness even if the car didnít come optioned with them? Would I have to transplant my sedan BCM in order to enable the airbags, and then flash it to coupe configuration or something? Is it a hardware or firm config thing?

As I write all this out Iím also starting to wonder if itís all worth it, lol I guess that means the last question would be does it seem like itís not worth all the hassle to end up with a 2.2L LS coupe with a high-mileage engine that might randomly throw a rod through the block next month? I worry I might just be blinded by the sentimentality we have towards our car, and the idea of keeping it running in some form. Should I just admit defeat and say goodbye, part the car out on craigslist, scrap whatever is left and put that money toward a car that already has all these options?

Thanks for your info and input!
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 05-08-2018, 11:23 PM
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 471
Unless you know some one with a Tech II GM programmer, your local GM dealer will most likely give you a very good ride matching the new options you put on that 05. It seems like 1 hr labor per guess. Now I do not believe a Cobalt sedan’s side air bags fit a coup and as I know GM, they have a different part number for each car type and option package for just the mail wireing harness.
Now you may if you wish, however, I would not sweat the side airbags. As to the ABS, you will also want to confirm the proportioning valve is the same. You will also need to extract the wiring for the ABS. This includes all wheel sensors and the master cylinder unit. Now stringing the wires from wheel sending units from the rear wheels to the front of the car will NOT be a “trivial” task. Now after mounting the ABS unit bleeding the abs system is a bit more involved than a simple rear wheel cylinder replacement.
This said, If you wish to keep the 250k mile engine and transplant it into a free car, you will only be out a few gal of coolant, oils. And what else does a 250mi engine need? Hoses belts alternator water pump. By the way, how are the shocks and struts? I bet they are the original in sad need of replacing 50k miles ago.

So you might “get by” with just an engine swap, remember there is this thing called PM. As it pay me now or pay me more later
And count on changing the tranny fluid if you get a chance and that nasty cabin air filter.

By the way, other than saying you have a 2006 Cobalt, I guess it is a 4 dr automatic.
What trim level is it? LS or LT and what part of our litter area are you located. We might be able to help you find you a little more help
There is a build sticker in the trunk, on the left side, just under the floor carpet. It gives all of the build codes for your Cobalt.

Good luck


Last edited by 1966tbird; 05-08-2018 at 11:32 PM.
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