In The Shop: Our 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt SS Sedan

With only 474 turbocharged sedans sold in the United States for the 2009 model year, we feel that it’s worth maintaining this one.

We mentioned owning this four-door Cobalt SS in our first article, and we talk about some of the similarities between the Cobalt and Saab 9-3, but now we’re finally putting it in the lime light.

We appreciate this car for some of the same reasons we prefer “seasoned” Saabs; it’s relatively cheap to purchase, cheap to own, can offer decent gas mileage, it’s easy to work on, and there’s decent aftermarket support for the platform. Oh, and I have a thing for low-production, “exclusive” vehicles, although Chris just sees them as cars that nobody wanted to buy when they were new. As they say, to each their own.

When my partner, Kayla, and I bought this Cobalt back in 2016 it was in rough shape, which is why we only paid a fraction of its market value. Since then, we’ve replaced a majority of the suspension and steering bits, including new AC Delco shocks with YYZ springs designed by Powell Performance, along with Moog control arms, tie rods, and sway bar end-links, and it drastically improved the handling and ride quality. The improvement was emphasized by the fact that the previous owner had installed a base model strut on the driver’s side, which meant that the coil spring wasn’t fully compressed. This resulted in the car shifting its weight suddenly through turns, making it a bit very dangerous and unnerving to drive.

Eventually we put the car under the knife for an engine replacement, and this is the stage it’s currently in. My neighbor had made us a dolly that allowed us to drop the loaded subframe with everything attached, which saves us a ton of time. We’re in the midst of disassembling, cleaning, and swapping parts over from the old long-block to the replacement unit. Fortunately we were able to source a lightly-used long-block with about 15,000 miles on it for a great price, and it even came with some other components, including the turbocharger and injectors.

We’re taking advantage of the ease-of-access to everything since the entire drivetrain is out, cleaning and replacing everything we can before we put it all back together. We plan on taking some before and after shots in an effort to document our progress, and get some footage of the work for you guys. We’ll flesh out more of the details on camera, too.

Aside from swapping in a low-mileage engine, we’ll also be fitting the Cobalt with a new turbo-back exhaust, Dejon intake, filling the mounts with polyurethane, and potentially installing a new clutch disc and pressure plate. We’re also going to have James Rakes of RP Tuning work his magic on the LNF.

I’m by no means a fast worker when it comes to wrenching in the garage, and there’s quite a bit of work to do. That said, we’ll do our best to answer any questions you might have about the process, so feel free to reach out to us in the comment section at the bottom of the page.

Below you’ll see a gallery of some of the images we’ve captured so far. We will continue to post updates with new images and videos as we progress. We’re also working on similar content for the Saab race cars we use in the Champcar racing series. As always, stay tuned!

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