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Lookin to do some performance before style, don’t have a lot of funding but still want some fun. Any recommendations for cheap reliable parts? Cold air intakes, exhaust systems, intake manifolds, anything and everything would be great guys!
 

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You forgot to mention which trim and year you have. I might assume a 2.2 like mine, and being a 2006. For me there are basic bolt ons I can do, which I have not done yet. But have been reading other people’s experiences with the modifications.

Exhaust header, larger down pipe, and free flow cat back exhaust can be installed. You have to be careful because if you go with the long tube header or anything larger than 2.25 inch, you may lose you low end power. But you’ll gain a little more pull in the higher rpm range, like when passing on the highway. The stock exhaust manifold is super restrictive, but the shorty header doesn’t add a ton of power. But is better than the original setup. You’ll keep low end power with a short header. But really we usually are looking for top end power as it is.

To my next suggestion. I have seen a lot of people use an intake manifold from the 2.4 engine, installed on the 2.2 and gain more top end. Again with this mod it is going to cause a slight loss in lower rpm power, but allow for a gain in top rpm power. If you have the early 2.2 you’ll have to stick with a 2.2 throttle body. There is a problem that none of the companies that tune our computers want to work with, so 05-06 2.2s can’t be tuned without using a separate fuel management system and other systems for the electronic throttle body. I may be doing this fairly soon. Not sure what I’m going to do about the throttle body. It’s supposed to use an adapter spacer to block off part of the opening where it attaches. I can either make something or order from a company that sells the piece.

Im not saying you can’t mod an earlier 2.2 further but it takes some work and custom electronics to make it work. You can improve the performance a little but doing something like a turbo or super charger setup will require the internals to be changed with something stronger and aftermarket. Then if you have an automatic like mine, you probably don’t want to push too much power through it. Bolt ons are safe enough since you’re only going to gain maybe 30 hp if you’re lucky, being the engine is probably already up in the miles. Mines has a little over 130,000 miles and it seems to have decent power still. A tune up did wonders for my car. Top end power and fuel mileage jumped at least an amount I noticed compared to when I got the car.

Luckily, you can go wild with suspension mods. Using parts from the SS, you can lower the car. There’s quite a few companies that make lowering springs and larger sway bar kits. If you’ve got a 4 lug wheel hub, you can swap the 5 lug hubs. But that does mean the brakes have to be changed, meaning calipers and brackets, rotors, maybe the hoses. Definitely hoses if you get rear disk set up. If disks aren’t a must, a 5 lug setup can be taken off of a Chevy HHR. Which is what I’m considering doing since drum brakes don’t really bother me.

I’ve only done maintenance to my car in the past year of owning it. And with all the thing I’ve done, I’m only in the $700 range. Luckily these cars are super cheap on parts. I do plan on doing the timing and balance shaft chain system replacement. That’s something you’d really need some serious experience with if you’re not familiar with doing timing chains. But if the engine is getting high in mileage, it’s be worth it to do before something like a tensioner or one of the guides lets loose and ruins the engine. Also the car may start to idle rough when the timing chain is getting to the point where it needs changing. Also may lose some power because the timing may be off a bit. Even being that I’ll be doing this job myself, it is rather expensive due to this engine design using not only a timing chain, but also a balance shaft chain. Most people are deterred due to the high cost and considering what the car is valued at, it is a lot to put into it.

If you’re not wanting to go fast, go for suspension mods and wheels. Another mod that’s mainly more useful than real performance is an oil catch can. These engines like to consume oil through the PCV system. If you remove your intake pipe from the throttle body and look inside, I’d bet it’s full of oil residue. Almost every GM vehicle that I’ve worked on with the 2.2 or 2.4 has this problem up to fairly current vehicles.

My last suggestion is to do a search on the site because you’re really asking what many other over the past 12 years or so have asked.
 

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I run a true 3in cold air intake (most aftermarket ones are garbage) ported throttle body, 06 single piece le5 manifold, mid length header, catless downpipe (cat blew out), 2.5 catback with resonator and muffler. Plus the car is gutted.

As far as intake, take the resonator out. Mod the box, and use a k&n filter. Save some money.
 

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Lookin to do some performance before style, don’t have a lot of funding but still want some fun. Any recommendations for cheap reliable parts? Cold air intakes, exhaust systems, intake manifolds, anything and everything would be great guys!
so your logic is kinda flawed here, the old saying of pick 2, fast, cheap, reliable.
If it's fast and reliable; it aint cheap.
If it's cheap and reliable; it aint fast.
If it's fast and cheap; it aint reliable.

With that out of the way, it looks like they have basically got you in the right direction. You can start with the basics if you want, Intake, header, downpipe exhaust. Sure it'll sound quicker, but probably all negligable gains. To see any real gain form the installed parts you are going to want to tune. I always tell people figure out what you want from the car and and head that direction from the get go. If you want to turbo the car, skip on the partr right now and wait until you have basically assembled the full turbo kit, this way you are not buying 2 different intakes, downpipes, header, and such.
 

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I run a true 3in cold air intake (most aftermarket ones are garbage) ported throttle body, 06 single piece le5 manifold, mid length header, catless downpipe (cat blew out), 2.5 catback with resonator and muffler. Plus the car is gutted.

As far as intake, take the resonator out. Mod the box, and use a k&n filter. Save some money.
Very helpful in my quest to fast, cheap, and reliable parts! Might add in a good quality drive shaft in the mix as well.
 

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I fogot to ask what car you are driving, 2.0, 2.2, or 2.4? If your in a 2.2 and it is an 05/06 you will have no tuning, so anything the basis modifications will not work.
 

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I have a 2009 cobalt LT coupe
Sorry yeah I missed this.

There are only a small number of places that still develop parts for Cobalts. ZZPerformance and Over The Top Performance.

ZZP usually has all the good go fast parts intake exhaust, turbo/supercharger kitd, and OTTP has all the supporting parts such as shifters mounts, sway bars ECT.

You can find parts on eBay as well and they may work, but I would expect to get what you pay for. Cheap meta,l bad welds, fitment issues and more.
 

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Short of boosting it, the only thing that made a noticeable difference for me performance wise is upgrading the suspension and putting some good summer tires on it
 
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