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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, I know I don't really post here often, what can I say, life's crazy. Here's my intro post if anyone's curious.

I was recently employed at a Cadillac dealership as a lube and tire tech, so I have access to OE and aftermarket parts at very good prices thanks to an employee discount. This job also gives me access to a hoist and tools on weekends and after hours. Since my front struts are starting to give out and I need to replace some steering parts anyways, I figure this is the perfect time to upgrade my suspension to FE5 components.

I'll be submitting a list of part numbers later this week to get a quote, but in the meantime I did have a couple questions.

Is there any particular downsides to only swapping the front suspension with FE5 components, leaving the rear springs and shocks stock? I might not be able/want to spend on doing it all at once and I wouldn't mind the front being lower than the back, but I'd be worried about negative effects on handling, especially in the snow.

How much/what kind of an improvement would I get from the FE5 lower control arms? I've got enough miles on the car that I'd like to replace them if I can, and even if they perform the same I'd still do it for the weight savings and not having to worry about rust. Just wondered how much of an impact they'd have on handling, if anyone has experience.

Thanks a lot for reading this, I'll update this thread as I do the conversion!
 

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Honestly, the rear shocks are so incredibly cheap, I'd just wait until you can do it all at once.

Having a much softer rear end is going to introduce some very strange handling characteristics into your car - body roll at the rear, but none in the front.

The FE5 control arms are a bit stiffer (being cast aluminum versus stamped/welded steel), weigh a lot less and add a little bit of built-in camber to the car. If you have the funds, I'd recommend them - just make sure you only get SS/SC or SS/NA (FE3 control arms are the same as FE5) control arms - SS/TC has a different knuckle design and will not fit with your knuckle.

If you can swing it - I'd pick up the Powell YYZ springs instead of stock SS/TC springs - they are by far the best-handling springs out there, and do not drop the car much, if at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply.

Makes sense, and I should be able to afford the rear shocks & springs too if I'm waiting another month to order them (which is likely at this point). Just wondered if it was an option. If I can get the money together, I'll definitely get the FE5 control arms too, just a matter of what numbers I'm looking at on my next pay stub...

I was looking at the YYZ's on Crate Engine Depot, but the description says "Note: Version X. Just the latest build," and lower down gives drop heights compared to the YYZ v1's but not total overall drop heights. I'm worried that they may have too extreme of a drop for me- I'm not the only one driving this car, and I also intend to continue using it through the winter.

I've also been looking for good rims to go with the new suspension setup- I like the look of the MSR 091's, but I don't know the first thing about ordering aftermarket wheels or where best to do so. If I can't afford those I might settle for whatever I can find on ebay that looks alright, or getting some from Discount Tire. Craigslist has turned up nothing good- everyone's probably looking for new wheels this time of year.
 

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The YYZs barely have any drop over the stock SS/SC springs. @rrob5382 has them on his car, and he lives up in the Thumb.

I drove mine on SSC springs (which are about a 1.5-2" drop) through a couple Michigan winters as well. So I wouldn't worry too much.

MSRs are good affordable wheels. I have the 045s, which are a very popular choice on Cobalts. I guess it depends what size you want to go with, what design, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh, great. I'll pick the YYZ's up too then if I can squeeze another couple hundred or so. It would be more tempting if I didn't have a discount on the stock FE5's, but I'll see where the budget lies before I make that decision.

The 045's are nice, but I prefer five-spoke wheels. Looks like the 091's are the same 17x7" as the 045. Where'd you order yours from, any recommendations on a retailer?
 

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I got mine on Amazon.

My 045s are 18s, by the way. I have MSR 013s on my wife's Cruze, and those are 17s.

So the 091s have the proper offset, so I think those would work for ya.
 

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The yyz springs are amazing, and John Powell is a great guy too. I would recommend absolutely anything he makes. Like mp81 said, drop isn't too extreme. I actually measured it and don't remember exactly but it was between 1.5 and 2 inches lower than stock base model suspension

---------- Post added at 11:05 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:51 PM ----------

here we go..
stock

yyz

about an inch drop total although it did settle probably another quarter inch or so after i actually drove it around a bit

---------- Post added at 11:09 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:05 PM ----------

does just fine in snow as long as you don't leave the summer tires on haha
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Got my quote today from the parts department- interesting how some of the parts have increased drastically in price. The front struts, for example, are $200 a piece even with my employee discount, and the front springs have been discontinued entirely- can't get them from our dealership at all. Bearings and mounts are $74 and $124 each, respectively. I'll get all those parts elsewhere.So far it's looking like amazon has better prices on a lot of the big-ticket items, despite my discount.

Unfortunately, the control arms are $238 apiece as well, significantly more expensive than crate engine depot's $178. I was wondering if anyone's tried any of the non-OEM arms, like the Dorman ones, as those seem to be even cheaper at about $100 each. I'm not sure if I can justify spending $360 just to upgrade the control arms, but $200 would be easier to stomach.

I'm leaving this Sunday to New Mexico for a couple weeks, so I'll sort out the specifics and start buying parts when I get back. Based on the lack of availability of the FE5 front springs, and the $63.00 price of each rear spring, I'm probably going to get the YYZs.

So now it's just a matter of figuring out where I'm buying each part, sourcing some wheels and tires, ordering it all, and slapping it in there.
 

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The best prices are usually either amazon or rockauto, watch for some to pop up in the warehouse deals to get them for even cheaper

---------- Post added at 04:11 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:04 PM ----------

Although crate engine depot has a package deal for all 4 shocks and struts for 355 or it comes out to about 300 if you order them on Amazon

---------- Post added at 04:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:11 PM ----------

Also, you can probably get away with reusing your stock mounts, I just swapped mine over
 

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I never replaced my mounts - just swapped the stock ones over.

Yeah, sounds like Amazon, CED or Rock Auto would be cheaper.
 

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I too would check rockauto for your Delco FE5 shocks & struts. Also check out MEVOTECH CMS50174 and ...173 for your LCAs you might be pleasantly surprised. And dont forget to get new control arm end links. FE5s use shorter end links and they will work on your stock sway bar until or if you get a beefer front sway bay.
One last thing. Save your self lots of worry chasing down clanks, rattles, knocks,& bumps and spend an extra $6-$10 bucks and get new sway bar bushings that match your sway bar. It will keep you from casing it down 2 weeks later.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Great, will definitely look at RockAuto and Amazon for some of that stuff. Those Mevotech arms look perfect. Price on RockAuto appears to be $108 per arm though, so not sure where you're getting $173. Still, the price is palatable, and greasable ball joints will be fantastic.

I was definitely going to get new links- pretty sure the Moog K750012's are the right ones? Pretty cheap on amazon. Also have grease fittings. I'll make sure to get new sway bar bushings too.

Unfortunately I'll have to replace the mounts, as my original ones are worn out. The car's got just under 150,000 miles on it, and the bearing on at least one of them is shot. Besides which, if I've got it all out of the car anyways, I may as well spend the extra $50 and get some new mounts and bearings.

I'm working on a full list of the current best places to buy each part, with part numbers and prices. I can put it here when I'm done if anyone's interested in the specifics. Seems like I'll be getting control arms, struts, and mounts from RockAuto. The sway bar links and rear shocks will be from Amazon. Then I'll get a set of YYZ's from Crate Engine Depot. That's all the major stuff, besides bushings, seats, insulators, etc. Not sure how much of that I actually need to replace- I've been assuming all of it, but does anyone know if there's anything I can just transfer over from my FE1 suspension?
 

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Mounts, insulators, bushings, seats and what not are all transferable no problem. The difference between the fe1 and fe5 is all in the calving and what not, externally they are the same

---------- Post added at 03:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:39 PM ----------

When I did mine, all I replaced were the shocks and struts and end links from rockauto which had the cheapest prices on everything including shipping at the time, and yyz from CAD. Swapped everything else from mine over. Then again I only had like 60k miles on my stock stuff but everything was still in great shape at the time even though the shocks were blown haha

---------- Post added at 03:46 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:43 PM ----------

Also, if you buy anything off rockauto don't forget to use a 5% off code.. this one should be good until August 13 but if not then it's just a simple google search away, they are always running them
6391544651222302

---------- Post added at 03:58 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:46 PM ----------

Oh, keep forgetting about this guy but he has some really good prices on some things as well. Don't have time right now to check prices but it's worth a look
TGMPG | ThatGMPartsGuy.com
 

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Great, will definitely look at RockAuto and Amazon for some of that stuff. Those Mevotech arms look perfect. Price on RockAuto appears to be $108 per arm though, so not sure where you're getting $173. ..
Not $173.
There is a Left side part number and a Right side part number CMS50173 is one side. CMS50174 is the other. i was just being lasy using ... for the missing text
PS when you factor in price. Might wish to include shipping and verify all parts are coming out of One wherehouse.

---------- Post added at 10:32 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:33 PM ----------

In order to change an FE1 car over to an FE5 front swaybar you must order 2005 SS/SC insulators, 2006-up FE3/5 cars use a "2 bolt" clamp and an insulator with a "hump" in it.
ALL FE1 cars use a "1 bolt/1 slot" clamp, and insulators with "no hump"

The 2005 SS/SC clamps/insulators are the only parts that allow a proper mod free install of an FE5 bar in an FE1 car.
Insulator(no hump FE5)=GM # 22700091
Clamp(1bolt/1slot FE5)=22722387

Your stock clamp will work correctly with 2005 SS sway bar insulator & all Cobalt FE5 front sway-bars
 

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You could always try finding a used set of control arms, I found a guy parting one out local and picked up the rear axle assembly complete with brakes, the control arms, front calipers, and front sway bar for 200 bucks haha
 

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Yeah, I got most of my stuff used. Honestly, the only thing that I bought new out of the struts, shocks, control arms, springs, sway bars and end links were the rear shocks, the end links and the rear sway bar. Everything else was used.
 

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i bought new shocks/struts and endlinks. then also new springs because i wanted yyz and they almost never pop up for sale used haha. control arms, sway bars, and strut tower bar are all used. Then again, i picked up ottp's control arm bushings and didn't plan on running stock ones anyways so buying new would have really been a waste!
also, i know the strut tower bar is basically useless but got it basically for free with the rear sway bar along with a few other things i picked up from the guy.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Gotcha. Seems sway bars are actually pretty cheap on ebay- the FE3 had the 22mm bar, right? I'll probably do that too, since it's not all that costly. Just want to make sure I get the right bushings.

I'd love to get more of this stuff used, just not sure where I'd look. Craigslist and ebay didn't turn up much of anything. There somewhere in particular I should be looking?

Thanks for the tip on the 5% off code by the way, that'll save me a good bit.
 

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I believe so. The SS/SC FE5's front bar is actually the biggest, at 24mm. The SS/TC has a 23mm bar, I think you're right on the FE3 having a 22mm and FE1 has a 19mm.

Either of the FE5s or the FE3 bar should be plenty. Too large of a front bar can cause a lot of understeer - something a FWD vehicle does not need any help in doing.

The "other" Cobalt site is a good place to look - always stuff for sale there. Lots of it. That's where I got most of my parts.

If you have the means, definitely get yourself a Powell rear bar. But you can wait on the rear bar - though I will say, it absolutely transforms the way the car handles - allows the vehicle to rotate the rear end, instead of just understeering.
 

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I got quite a few things off the other site as well haha although it seems like they don't even have nearly as much stuff being posted up over there anymore. The facebook groups seem to always have some good stuff though
 
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