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So, last week I bought an '05 LS Coupe with all the bells and whistles, and the cars got a mere 83k on it. There are some touch ups to do, both in the inside and the outside, but overall not that bad (1 spot of rust on the hood that's around half an inch wide and some missing paint there and there). I would like to change the stereo for something that supports aux input and usb, and hopefully, when the car is going to be up to date in terms of maintenance (flushing fluids etc), I would start upgrading some of the parts on it (exhaust, put nice wheels etc.) I've also got a check engine light, but I did not check for the codes related to it yet. I've also gotten a pretty good price for it (1800$). My question is, should I get a newer one with similiar mileage before starting to put money on it, or should I keep it and upgrade it ? I was wondering because it's 11 years old, but I really like the look of it, I just don't want to spend a lot of money on it then regret it. Are there any advantages going for a newer model, except the age of the vehicule ? Because as far as I can see, there is absolutely no difference between an 05' and a newer one. Thanks !
 

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Honestly - the differences through the years aren't many...

Sounds like you got a good deal - I'd keep it for sure.
 

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Yeah the price was really good. I must say there is some work to do on it, but during the summer I will be able to pretty much all of it and I think it will look better after that
 

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There are actually quite a few changes across the model years.

First of all, the engine they use changed. For 2005-06 they used the L61 rated at 145 chp. In 2007-08, they used an updated L61 that was rated at 148 chp. For the last two model years, 2009-10, the Cobalt got the LAP engine, which added Variable Valve Timing, and was rated at 155 chp. I think it got a small bump in gas mileage as well.

Secondly, the steering wheel and radio changed from 2006 to 2007. The new steering wheel features a 3 spoke design, and the radio was completely redesigned, which (I think) always included an AUX jack.

Finally, there was a minor cosmetic change in the headlight design. In 2008, for turn signals, they removed the amber lens, and replaced it with an amber bulb instead.

These are just the changes for the base model (LS/LT) that I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure there are other changes. Differences between model years of the Cobalt SS are more pronounced and numerous.

So, overall, nothing particularly significant. There's definitely nothing wrong with keeping yours if it has everything you want out of it. Personally, I like the cosmetic changes of the 2008 model year, and the LAP engine's VVT, so I'd get a 2009/2010, but you should pick what you'd like best.



2005-2006 Cobalt Interior


2007-2010 Cobalt Interior


The color of the gauge cluster was dependent on trim level, so the white and black gauges were available across all model years.

2005-2007 Cobalt Headlight


2008-2010 Cobalt Headlight
 

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Thanks for that comparison ! For me, the interior is not the biggest deal to be honest, but the steering wheel sure does look a lot better. The stereo was one my main complaints because the 05-06 models don't have the new stereo. The new one looks better imo. Also, do you know if the new model front lights would fit on older models ? I gotta admit they look sleeker and more modern, but it is not a big difference. The variable valve timing sounds interesting, but would it make a big difference in performance overall ? I was thinking of turbocharging my '05 in the year to come, but wasn't sure if it was a good idea (ZZP turbo kit looks really nice). Sorry for all of those questions, I just don't know a whole lot about cars and I want to be on the safe side. :)
 

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All headlights are interchangeable. The only issue for turboing the car in the future is that the 05 and 06 models can only be tuned by Trifecta unless you use a standalone. 07 and newer models can use either Trifecta or HPTuners. I would contact Trifecta to see if they can tune you before you commit to the build.
 

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I might be wrong here, but if I swap the ECU for something else, it would be tunable by anyone right ? Btw, I have a manual transmission (I think it makes a difference when it comes to tuning not sure though).

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Thanks for that comparison ! For me, the interior is not the biggest deal to be honest, but the steering wheel sure does look a lot better. The stereo was one my main complaints because the 05-06 models don't have the new stereo. The new one looks better imo. Also, do you know if the new model front lights would fit on older models ? I gotta admit they look sleeker and more modern, but it is not a big difference. The variable valve timing sounds interesting, but would it make a big difference in performance overall ? I was thinking of turbocharging my '05 in the year to come, but wasn't sure if it was a good idea (ZZP turbo kit looks really nice). Sorry for all of those questions, I just don't know a whole lot about cars and I want to be on the safe side. :)
Not a problem at all! We all learn by asking questions.

As LsCobalt07 said, the headlights are interchangable. The removal of the lens and use of a colored bulb instead of clear was the only difference. However, if you're feeling up to the task, you can pull apart your headlights and remove the amber lens. You'd also need to get an amber bulb, but those are available at Walmart for like $6.

I think that you might be able to swap the steering wheel, but I'm not sure what all would be involved in the process. Swapping the radio for the newer one is a pretty involved process, and generally not recommended.

As far as turboing goes, I've read that the L61 engine (yours) has stronger internals than the LAP, meaning it'll handle boost better. I don't really have any proof of this though. MP81's L61 has been supercharged for quite a while and he hasn't had any problems. Also, the VVT barely does anything for performance. The power increase isn't really even noticeable. It's mostly just for fuel economy.

All headlights are interchangeable. The only issue for turboing the car in the future is that the 05 and 06 models can only be tuned by Trifecta unless you use a standalone. 07 and newer models can use either Trifecta or HPTuners. I would contact Trifecta to see if they can tune you before you commit to the build.
Now, your tuning options are actually pretty limited now-a-days. Trifecta has completely stopped supporting all Cobalts that are not the LNF (2.0L Turbocharged) engine. So, our 2.2L base models need to be done by someone else. I'm not even sure who can tune the 2005-06 models now. You might be able to convince Trifecta if you ask really nicely.

EDIT

I might be wrong here, but if I swap the ECU for something else, it would be tunable by anyone right ? Btw, I have a manual transmission (I think it makes a difference when it comes to tuning not sure though).
I don't know of what aftermarket ECUs are available for the Cobalt. If you swap for another stock ECU, you'd need to do quite a bit of research to make sure it's compatible. I don't think the LAP ECU will work with the L61 at all and vice-versa. If there is a good aftermarket ECU available, then it should be fully tunable. Maybe something like a Haltech? Dunno if they support the Ecotec platform, they're just a company I'm aware of.

The difference transmission makes on tuning is whether or not you'll need to have the TCM tuned. From what I recall, the manual doesn't have one but the auto does. The auto's TCM can be tuned to move shift points, whereas the rev limiter is handled by the ECU. Someone please correct me if that's wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Not a problem at all! We all learn by asking questions.

As LsCobalt07 said, the headlights are interchangable. The removal of the lens and use of a colored bulb instead of clear was the only difference. However, if you're feeling up to the task, you can pull apart your headlights and remove the amber lens. You'd also need to get an amber bulb, but those are available at Walmart for like $6.

I think that you might be able to swap the steering wheel, but I'm not sure what all would be involved in the process. Swapping the radio for the newer one is a pretty involved process, and generally not recommended.

As far as turboing goes, I've read that the L61 engine (yours) has stronger internals than the LAP, meaning it'll handle boost better. I don't really have any proof of this though. MP81's L61 has been supercharged for quite a while and he hasn't had any problems. Also, the VVT barely does anything for performance. The power increase isn't really even noticeable. It's mostly just for fuel economy.



Now, your tuning options are actually pretty limited now-a-days. Trifecta has completely stopped supporting all Cobalts that are not the LNF (2.0L Turbocharged) engine. So, our 2.2L base models need to be done by someone else. I'm not even sure who can tune the 2005-06 models now. You might be able to convince Trifecta if you ask really nicely.
Damn, that really *****. As I said in my last post, would using a different ECU solve that problem ? I am not very familiar with different ECU brands, but I have heard Altech are really good and would be easily tunable (if you know your **** obviously). When it comes to computers I'm quite knowledgeable so I should be able to figure it out or to use someone else's config. As for the diy headlight change, that sounds very interesting I will look into it for sure, I thought you had to swap the unit completely.

Edit :
Didn't see your edit, thanks for the info I will look into it for sure, but swapping for another stock one wasn't really an option. If I have to swap it, I'll get a better one. If someone is able to provide more info on the subject that would be greatly appreciated :)
 

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For the headlight mod, to pull it apart, you have to put it in the oven to soften the adhesive. Personally, I didn't feel confident in my ability to put it back together airtight enough to not get condensation inside.
 

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Personally, I didn't feel confident in my ability to put it back together airtight enough to not get condensation inside.
I did - but I still used silicone as well.
 

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For the headlight mod, to pull it apart, you have to put it in the oven to soften the adhesive. Personally, I didn't feel confident in my ability to put it back together airtight enough to not get condensation inside.
Oven ? Damn that glue is really sticky. I will try it, if it fails I'll just go to the junkyard and get 2 of the headlight from the latest modelsnof cobalt. That's what I planned to do in the first place before you talked about the diy solution ahah

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---------- Post added at 01:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:39 PM ----------

I did - but I still used silicone as well.
Genius
 

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Ah, here we go. How To: Paint your headlights goes over how to open the headlights. You can also see that the amber lens is removable.

I bought a new set of headlights off
That was way cheaper than any salvage yard in my local area. (Mine were cracked and had started getting condensation inside.)
 

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Ah, here we go. How To: Paint your headlights goes over how to open the headlights. You can also see that the amber lens is removable.

I bought a new set of headlights off Amazon for about $115. That was way cheaper than any salvage yard in my local area. (Mine were cracked and had started getting condensation inside.)
Oh nice bonus linkI'll save that for later xD and that's very odd. Srapyards must price their stuff according to the amount they get, and because these cars are kinda new they dont get a lot, I guess

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I think the scrapyards in my local area are just being dumb or something. They probably shouldn't charge more than like $40 or $50 each for used headlights. For some reason, they wanted $150 each when I went.
 

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when i ran into a deer and broke the drivers side headlight i bought 2 off a guy on CL for $60 total. later that winter i found out the other side was starting to get condensation inside.
 

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I think the scrapyards in my local area are just being dumb or something. They probably shouldn't charge more than like $40 or $50 each for used headlights. For some reason, they wanted $150 each when I went.
I think around here they charge about 40$. The previous owner had to change it and that's what he told me lol

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---------- Post added at 03:01 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:01 PM ----------

when i ran into a deer and broke the drivers side headlight i bought 2 off a guy on CL for $60 total. later that winter i found out the other side was starting to get condensation inside.
Lucky you


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I'm a bit late to this, but one advantage of the 05/06 L61 motor is that it's got the highest stock torque out of the entire 2.2 range (155tq). It may be lowest on horsepower, but pulls very well for an NA four pot.

Like Parthros said, it's not a night and day difference, but it's something you can be proud of.
 

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Actually...Came back in 09-10

Engines[edit]
Years Engine Power Torque
2005–2006 2.2 L Ecotec L61 I4 145 hp (108 kW) 155 lb·ft (210 N·m)
2007–2008 2.2 L Ecotec L61 I4 148 hp (110 kW) 155 lb·ft (210 N·m)
2009–2010 2.2 L Ecotec LAP I4 155 hp (116 kW) 150 lb·ft (203 N·m)
 
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