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Discussion Starter #1
What suspension parts need to be changed to convert the lower ground clearance front suspension back to the standard ground clearance position? do we change the struts only with longer, standard springs and then do a front-end alignment?? and do we include different length tie-rods as well??? i live where there are muddy roads with ruts. i want to change the front suspension back to the standard ground clearance and add some spacers on the strut to bring it up an additional 1 inch. you can email me at [email protected]. for a response. thanks everyone. Peter.
 

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More information is needed. As to what has been done to your car. Has someone installed lowering springs?

In my experience with customers that have brought lowered Cobalts in over the years, many just went with lowering springs. But had not installed struts from the cars with lowered suspension. Meaning they had an FE1 suspension, and did not install the lowered suspension FE5 struts to accommodate the lowering springs. Instead, kept the FE1 struts.

As far as adding strut spacers to the front, and spring spacers to the rear, I don’t think any company makes a kit for the Cobalt to raise the suspension. You can however fabricate a spacer plate to go on top of the existing strut mount. And also modify a spring spacer to work with the rear springs. You would need to make a custom extension for the rear shocks and also longer sway bar end links. It may be possible that the original length tie rod ends may have enough adjustment to work. This was something that has crossed my mind since I work on a lot of lifted trucks. It’s quite possible to fabricate a lift to raise a car. I’m pretty sure nobody here has ever done it though. I have come across one Cobalt that someone made into an “off-road” version. It was interesting to say the least. I imagine the most you can lift this car is about 2-2.25 inches due to the limitations of the front axles.

It appears that some of the cars with huge diameter wheels, like 26s, have modified the Cobalt with a lift to fit the wheels.

Here’s the car I found a while back. It looks a bit janky. And I’m sure it could be done much nicer. But you get the point. It says nothing about the amount of lift. But in my experience, most fwd cars are only able to go up around 2 inches. Again it’s due to the limitations of the axles. They can only be angled so much before they don’t work right. If you’re good with a welder and are familiar with modifying suspensions, this is for you. If not, you have no idea what you’re in for.

19815
 

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Discussion Starter #3
greetings.. no, i was not planning to make my COBALT LT into an "off-road" setup. i just wanted to lift the front, only the front up about 1 inch from the standard front end setup. 2.5 inches higher than stand position, as appears in your photos, is much too high. my can has a factory low-profile sport front end. MY QUESTION; what does it take to get the car back to the "standard profile" front end in terms of height, profile, etc.??? spacers can then be added to pickup an inch, etc. please let me know if it is worth the effort to make the change and exactly what needs to be changed to bring the factory low-profile front end sports version 2009 cobalt back to the "standard profile front-end" ????? let me know and thanks, peter klinck 802/889-3585. call 7-9pm E.S.T. in the evenings.
 

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I know at least on my Cobalt LT, it is not a sport suspension. The only lowered suspensions available when new were on the SS models. FE1 suspension was available on the LS and LT trim, which was the highest riding of the Cobalts.

Several things on these cars will cause the suspension to lose height over the many years these cars have been around, they’re old. You would be surprised what a set of new front struts will do. I installed new ones a short while back, and probably gained 0.75 inches of suspension height. They other thing that will cause the front to lose height are going to be the lower control arms. As the bushings settle, the front will become lower. This is not uncommon on older vehicles of any make or model. Not too sure on the Cobalt as I haven’t replaced springs for reasons of them being bad, but they can also sag over time. So overall struts, springs, and control arms are going to be what will cause the front end to lose height when compared to how the car was when new. I just replaced front springs on a Lincoln Town Car yesterday. The height difference was 1 inch. I measured before and after. The customer was really surprised how bad the springs were.

If you do work to the front, you will want to do springs and shock in the rear as well. You may end up with a front suspension that’s higher than the rear. Hard to say until you do this though. You have really not given much information about your vehicle other than it’s a Cobalt LT. You say it’s a Sport. For that year, there is either a Sport model or LT model, not both at the same time. At least from what I can find. If it’s a Sport, it is what replaces an SS with the 2.4 engine.

Also we do not know how many miles the car has. Now if your car is an LT, it should have steel control arms. It would have the FE1 suspension. Aluminum arms will indicate it has an FE3 suspension, which an LT will not come with. You should have black painted steel control arms.

Unless a previous owner has installed lowering springs, it should have the stock original suspension. If you are experiencing the car bottoming out over dips, bumps, potholes, speed bumps, uneven pavement, etc., you probably have blow struts up front. They are very common to blow out around 100,000 miles. Again the car is old, they probably should have been changed years ago. When I got my Cobalt, they were pretty much blown out and it would scrape over bad streets. Replacing just struts and shocks fixed the problem. No need to raise the suspension.
 

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If it's an LT, that thing should be riding sky-high from the factory. If it's not - those struts are probably toast and/or the springs are starting to sag (likely as a result of said blown struts).

And @CodyATE6, you are correct - Sport (formerly SS/NA) and LT are independent of each other.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Cody, thanks for the info. still some questions. can you email me at [email protected] or call me in the evening around 7-9pms E.S.T. 802/889-3585??? this cobalt , 2009 car, is a florida car with 80K on it. it clearance was factory with s slightly low front end, but evident. it has 17" rims, sport tail pipe, tinted windows a foiler on the trunk, etc.. i really want to know if a can only put in "standard" struts and springs to bring the low profile back to normal heigth plus do front-end aliginment??? call me. thanks, peter PS: i can't confirm buying the car until i clear these issues. thanks a bunch. also, my 2010 cobalt is what i'm driving since 2014, also a nice aution car from Penn. peter.
 

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Cody, yes i do have the SS cobalt model i just learned. It has the bullet lights in the fender, air foiler on the trunk, a little lower front end and 17' allo rims. it is a 2009 year model. Please, i need to know whether or not i can install the standard struts on this SS and just do the re-alignment after?????. i would like to also add a 1/2 " spacer on the struts to get it i little off the ground. peter klinck [email protected]
 

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Yeah, they'll fit...but that really sucks to go backwards in performance on an FE3 car...
 

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Yeah, they'll fit...but that really sucks to go backwards in performance on an FE3 car...
MP81, i live where there i snow and mud season and walking down the roads looking for my muffler is a problem. i also just grounded out the lower radiator maount and pulled the corner radiator post out od the radiator..lots of expenses with the low profile. BUT MY QUESTION, IS DO I HAVE TO GET LONGER TIE-RODS OR JUST GO FOR THE FRONT-END RE-ELIGNMENT AFTER I PUT THE STANDARD LT STRUTS AND SPRINGS ON????????? Thanks for your effort and i'm waiting whether to pay for the car until i am sure of this going back to the standard conversion front suspension LT set-up on the SS cobalt. peter klinck
 

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No, the tie rod length is the same, but as with any suspension modification of that sort, yes, you'll need a front end alignment.

But that all said, I personally wouldn't bother doing all that to an SS/Sport, since you're basically degrading it. Might as well spend less and get an LS/LT with a suspension already at the height you want (aside from strut spacers)...
 

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MP81. So this SS 2009 cobalt was bid on an auction for 2,500 bucks and it's a Florida car w/80K on it. With the dirt roads and snow in winters, with any purchased used car, i would be buying new strut assemblies anyway, right? so whether i have an LT or SS suspension., i'm still going to get new struts. So it would or not be "worth it"??? Remember, to purchase cost is not too bad. My LT i bought was actually was more expensive, 3,500 bucks w/64,000 on it. Thanks for info about not needing to change the tie-rods.

I assume that just to purchase the standard LT strut/spring assembly and install them on the SS cobalt to bolt in, no problem and they have longer spring and strut lengths??????

Anyway, let me know of your comments based on my costs and other comments above.

Thanks very much for your support and commentary. peter klinck
 

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MP81, latest news and i never looked at the SS or LT' model on the the trunk of the car. you see the Red SS cobalt photo at the heading of this site? mine looks that same, bullet lights in the fender,low front end, trunk spolier, 17" rims, etc. BUT IT IS AN LT! according to the marking on the the lower.right of the trunk lid. Woo..MP, what is your comment on this??? and the above previous message. thanks a bunch and all. peter
 

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Are there any pictures of this car? It's entirely possible someone swapped the bumpers.

Fact of the matter is, from the factory, the LT would not come with SS/Sport bumpers.
 

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MP, thanks for your response. i'll enclose photos. also, to note the non-stock tail pipe too on this ""souped up LT" model. Also, notice the added rocker cover panels added too. Let me know. this is very interesting. peter
 

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Okay - so I think this is a case of "you learn something new every day", as I was not actually aware of this!

In 2008, they renamed the SS/NA the "Sport", but it still had the FE3 suspension and the 2.4L LE5 engine. This I knew.

In 2009, they deleted the Sport model altogether, along with the 2.4L LE5, but introduced the "Sport Appearance Package" on 2LT models.

From what I can tell, this is purely appearance (making it look like the SS/NA & Sport models did), and more than likely, your car has the stock FE1 suspension already. You can confirm this by having a look under the front - FE1 suspension has welded steel control arms while FE3 suspension will have cast aluminum.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
MP, thanks for your response. i'll enclose photos. also, to note the non-stock tail pipe too on this ""souped up LT" model. Also, notice the added rocker cover panels added too. Let me know. this is very interesting. peter
 

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MP, also notice the 5-lug 17" alouy wheels too. Ok, is i can just buy LT standard length struts and springs, add say, 1/2 " height strut spacers to gain a little more ........
 

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Yup - that's a "condition" of having the 17" wheels, puts you into 5-lug territory for these cars, but that's just a different hub assembly with 5 lugs instead of 4.

So, basically, the Sport Appearance Package gives you everything visually that was on an SS/NA or Sport - SS front/rear fascias (sans the additional ground effects the SC/TC cars get), the rocker extensions, chrome exhaust tip, deck spoiler (low-rise), 17" aluminum wheels, white-faced gauges and leather-wrapped steering wheel. It does not appear to come with the lower/stiffer/upgraded FE3 suspension, nor does it come with the larger 2.4L engine.

As far as I can tell, yup, you can just go get yourself some new FE1 struts/springs (your front end does look quite a bit low for an LT, especially when you look at the back - they usually had a little rake, but not that much) on the car with the strut spacer and be good to go.
 

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I would keep or replace th front and rear struts with Delco FE5 struts. And not go for the softer FE1 struts. It’s your choice to put FE1, FE3, or FE5 springs.
The factory FE5 spring will give about 1” drop over the other 2 choices.
At 80k you can count on the springs and struts to be sagging. I personally would not choose FE1 springs but they will work and work well. I would defiantly stay with Delco FE5 struts front and back.

PS measure your front sway bar diameter and report back and look to see if ther is a rear sway bar welded insid the rear axel/wheel brace/mount. These ar only for body roll not ride height.
 

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There’s two LTs running around here where I am that are later model cars. With 5 lugs and the larger SS style wheels. But they have the 2.2, so I have no idea that you could get the LT with an appearance package. Looking inside they have the basic LT interior.

My LT has the door sticker that says it comes with 16s, but has the 15s. Has the leather steering wheel and shift knob, also steering wheel buttons other LTs didn’t have. There’s so many variations on the Cobalt it’s kinda hard to keep track of what’s what unless you go off the VIN.

You’ll know if the car has the FE3 suspension if it’s got the sliver colored aluminum control arms instead of the black painted steel lower front control arms.
 
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