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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, just joined this forum.

I purchased my 4-door 2.2L Black 2006 Chevy Cobalt LS w/ Manual Transmission BRAND NEW in December of 2005. The odometer is now approaching 600,000 miles. Yes, that is correct, 600k!

As a storm chaser and nature photographer I rack up the miles every year shooting tornadoes, winter storms, hurricanes, etc. This Cobalt has been in all 48 Contiguous States plus Washington D.C. and 3 Canadian Provinces. This car has been featured on several television shows including "Dangerous Drives" on Speed, and "Storm Riders" on The Weather Channel.

It has been in 5 hurricanes (3 successful eye intercepts), 3 tropical storms, in Superstorm Sandy, around hundreds of tornadoes and supercell thunderstorms, and directly hit by 2 weak tornadoes.

It still has the original transmission and engine.
The clutch has been replaced once at 350k miles.
I've replaced the windshield about 25 times from large hail damage.
The back window has been replaced about 4 times from hail and vandalism.
The mirrors have been replaced from hail.
The headlights and taillights have been replaced at least twice from large hail damage.
The stock steel tires have been replaced from too many dents. I kept pounding out dents until they were too badly damaged to continue fixing.
The fuel pump has been replaced several times from bottoming-out the car on rough farm roads while chasing.
The condenser has been replaced twice: once from a massive jack-rabbit hit in the Badlands of South Dakota, and another was replaced from large hail damage.
The plastic grill has been replaced several times from large hail damage.
Hit one deer outside Sioux Falls, SD with all these miles.
Every body panel has some sort of hail damage. Duct tape is used to secure both bumpers to the car from severe hail damage.

I'll post a video link for this car soon.
Here's link to my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAnSuGYTjwbGoBMgF_aBpnQ
Simon
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, I was invited to this forum several years ago, but forgot to check it out.

Below are some pics of my car:









Back window is busted from large hail in Southern Texas in one of the pics, and tape and plastic covering window damage in another.

Simon

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

Guy in third image is Juston Drake, my co-host of "Storm Riders".
 

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I checked out your YouTube channel and it's some really awesome stuff. The highlight one where the windows shatter and awning thing gets ripped off blew me away
 

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When that awning comes off on the first clip, that's crazy.

---------- Post added at 09:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:10 PM ----------

Btw that's 960,000km for us Canadians.
 

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The pictures aren't working, but 600k miles is pretty damn impressive.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk
 

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Ha, it looks like it's been through hell and back.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks!

I chose the Cobalt to chase storms for the following reasons:

-fuel economy: I get between 32-39 MPG depending on road, load, & wind. Chasers in SUV's spend twice as much if not more on fuel. So I can chase more events with the Cobalt.

-manual: Need as many manual parts as possible chasing storms. Flooded roads, storm surge, horizontal driving torrential rain, hail, snow, and lightning shorts-out electronics. Not many cars now offer manual transmission, locks, and windows. My door speakers were first thing to fail on my car. If my car got struck by lightning next to a massive tornado, I might not be able to escape quickly with power-windows and locks. And manual transmission gives me control over terrible roads and road conditions.

-easy to find cheap parts: needed a common USA car where I can get parts anywhere in the country with ease. Whether I'm in rural coastal Louisiana, Valentine Nebraska, or Northern Vermont I can get parts quickly, easily, & cheaply for my Cobalt.

-low profile: higher profile vehicles get pushed around by high winds much more than my lower profile Cobalt. Once the vehicle is pushed the tires lose traction and in extreme environments that can cause a loss of control and accident.

-smaller: I don't want something too small because I sometimes have a decent amount of equipment, but the size is perfect for maneuvering small one-lane farm roads. Larger vehicles have trouble or sometimes get stuck turning around on those roads.

-4 doors: I can and have managed some chases in a two door coupe, but it's much easier to access equipment in the back seat with a 4 door car.

-front wheel drive: WAY more control than rear wheel drive and WAY better fuel economy than AWD or 4WD. Clearance & tire traction is 99.9% of the reason I've had trouble on bad roads. But clearance is a big tradeoff, because it hurts the aerodynamics of the car making it more susceptible to high winds.

---------- Post added at 12:41 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:33 PM ----------

Things I wished my Cobalt had:

-sealed headlights
: get infiltrated with water too easily causing me to change bulbs way too often

-better emergency /parking brake: it has given me many problems, and now hasn't worked for several years

-better access to serpentine belt: it's ridiculous how big of a pain it is to mess with the serpentine belt!!! This might be my biggest gripe with the Cobalt. My power steering went out at 62k miles my first year of ownership (my extended warrantee ended at 60k coincidentally), but it didn't bother me. I drove it for years until the recall without power steering. But the serpentine belt location/access is ridiculous.

Simon
 

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Makes sense. A few things though:

Low profile: I remember getting tossed around on my stock FE1 setup by "strong" winds (def not hurricane winds though). Car would catch it like a sail and blow me around, happened more in wide open spaces at highway speeds, bridges especially. Swapping to FE5 hardware and lowering springs helped solve a lot of that. If SUVs are bigger sails, they must be downright unstable.

Clearance: Poor handling aside, the stock suspension was actually quite good at getting around obstacles. I descended Vankleek hill in the pouring rain at 1 in the morning and it got me through it. The experience brought me closer to God. Climbing curbs and driving through some flooded sections of town were impressive too. For a compact car, these things are pretty beastly, even when the pavement runs out.
 

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Serpentine belt is actually quite easy to do if you do it just right, I swapped it in less than 30 seconds with nothing but a jack and a 2x4 haha, just jack up on the tensioner with the 2x4 and pop the belt off and slide the new one on
 
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