Basic repairs/upgrades - Second Generation Forum

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Basic repairs/upgrades
Thursday, July 01, 2010 7:31 AM
Been lurking around this forum for awhile, thought I would join and make a post.

I have a 1991 cavalier, bought it a year ago for $700 and I am slightly surprised it's still running well, I drive it almost every day. I need some help finding parts because it is such an old car. Here is what I have found thus far:

Eibach springs: The only problem is that they lower the vehicle, and that's not desirable for me. Can I combine lowering springs with some kind of spacers to even the height out?

Addco Rear Sway Bar: From what I've read this seems to make a dramatic improvement in handling. Is this a good product? What about front sway bar links? I see plenty for sale but I would think they wouldn't do much unless combined with a new front sway bar. Also I've read that a 3.1 sway bar will improve a 2.2's handling because it is stiffer. I'm not much of a mechanic but I have a manual and I might be able to scavenge some scrap parts.

Muffler?: My muffler bracket broke (seems common on cavaliers) and I'd like to replace the whole thing. I want something that sounds ricey at high revs (just for fun) but won't have a horrible drone at highway speeds. Any recommendations?

Fog Lights?: I could redneck bolt some onto the bumper, but maybe there is a model of cavalier/sunbird that came standard with fog lights and I could look for a front end off of that car.

Seats: Will any J body seat fit in my car? What about other makes/models of cars? I don't know much about how universal seats are. Bottom line is mine are old and torn (and scorching hot black) and I'd like to salvage some different ones.

In my quest for better handling one of my main goals is to stop it from nose diving so much when I hit the brakes. This is what stiff springs are for, right? Next time my mechanic changes the brake pads, should I ask for anything to be adjusted?

Thanks for any help, and for all the help I've found already in this forum.

Re: Basic repairs/upgrades
Thursday, July 01, 2010 11:23 AM
If you don't want to lower it then just get a set of stock springs at your local auto parts store or from www.rockauto.com, rock auto has them from $27 to $77.
for better handling Performance Suspension Technology makes a polygraphite front end kit for 1982-1994 J-Bodies They also sell sway bars as well.
for a muffler check again with your local auto parts store, Dynomax used to make a cat back muffler/exhaust system for Cavaliers not sure if they still do.
as for seats check the Junkyards All first gen and 2nd gen jbody seats are interchangeable(correct me if I'm wrong). I almost had a pair of nice ones out of an old skyhawk but some idiots that removed engine parts out of it decided to put a half full radiator on the seats so they were ruined. Cacillac Cimarrons came with leather seats. If anything just buy some seat covers at the store.
Some Cadillac Cimarrons came with Foglights but once again they are a rare car so good luck finding them.








Re: Basic repairs/upgrades
Friday, July 02, 2010 10:21 AM
Roman Woolery wrote:

Eibach springs: The only problem is that they lower the vehicle, and that's not desirable for me. Can I combine lowering springs with some kind of spacers to even the height out?


The Eibachs lower approximately 1" total, which is hardly noticeable, and they are not considered a "lowering" spring, but rather a handling spring. You can hack it to raise it back up with spring spacers, but that would negate the entire reason for having the Eibachs, since you would be deadening out coils. If you want a stock ride height, use stock springs, but lose all performance.

Roman Woolery wrote:

Addco Rear Sway Bar: From what I've read this seems to make a dramatic improvement in handling. Is this a good product? What about front sway bar links? I see plenty for sale but I would think they wouldn't do much unless combined with a new front sway bar. Also I've read that a 3.1 sway bar will improve a 2.2's handling because it is stiffer. I'm not much of a mechanic but I have a manual and I might be able to scavenge some scrap parts.


Yes, the Addco bars are good stuff, but you can have the same effect using an FE3 bar for much cheaper. The sway bar link is the main connection to the car. Regardless of what bar you have, a quality end link will work wonders. Always use poly. You can bolt in an FE3 rear bar no problem, but a 3.1 FE3 bar will not bolt in to a 2.2 car without rerouting the exhaust (the 2.0 turbo FE3 bar will, but good luck finding one of those).

Roman Woolery wrote:

Seats: Will any J body seat fit in my car? What about other makes/models of cars? I don't know much about how universal seats are. Bottom line is mine are old and torn (and scorching hot black) and I'd like to salvage some different ones.


Any year and model J body seat will bolt right in (1st, 2nd and 3rd gen). if you decide to go aftermarket, just order the brackets for a 3rd gen and they will work just fine.

Roman Woolery wrote:

In my quest for better handling one of my main goals is to stop it from nose diving so much when I hit the brakes. This is what stiff springs are for, right? Next time my mechanic changes the brake pads, should I ask for anything to be adjusted?


Yes, stiffer springs will help control that, as will poly control arm bushings.

You should check out the Suspension FAQ at V6Z24.com



Re: Basic repairs/upgrades
Friday, July 02, 2010 4:16 PM
Thank you for the help. With the springs I don't really mind if it lowers the car a bit, I'm just a little concerned about my shocks and struts since I just replaced them. Would the 1" be enough to cut my shock's life by a noticeable amount?

From searching the web, it looks like the FE3 bar is for a pontiac solstice. Is this the right bar, or should I look for something different?

I installed a tach today, my friend had it lying around and gave it to me. Temporarily fixed my muffler with some hanger wire.

I will look at the V6 forum as well.

Thanks
Re: Basic repairs/upgrades
Monday, July 05, 2010 1:52 PM
Roman Woolery wrote:

Thank you for the help. With the springs I don't really mind if it lowers the car a bit, I'm just a little concerned about my shocks and struts since I just replaced them. Would the 1" be enough to cut my shock's life by a noticeable amount?


Not at all. What type of dampers did you use? factory, Monroe, or KYB?

Roman Woolery wrote:

From searching the web, it looks like the FE3 bar is for a pontiac solstice. Is this the right bar, or should I look for something different?


FE3 is an RPO code that refers to an option package. The FE series of packages is typically suspension packages, and there are many different vehicles that had FE3 suspensions, but they are not all the same. If you want FE3 suspension bits from a 94 J body, you need to look for that specific generation of J body (although sometimes they cross generations). You can look for any year from 82-94 J body and find what you need. Anything other than that won't fit.



Re: Basic repairs/upgrades
Monday, July 05, 2010 2:54 PM
Yes, my dampers are just the normal Monroe ones. If performance dampers make a considerable difference when combined with the stiff springs then I suppose I could get some new ones and do the whole job at once. Just would rather not since the dampers only have 10k on them.

Just waiting for the stores to open again after the holiday and I should be able to start picking this stuff up.

Thanks
Re: Basic repairs/upgrades
Tuesday, July 06, 2010 6:16 PM
You can run the Monroes with the Eibachs, no problem. Although most people use KYBs with their setup, there are plenty of people who have used the Monroes with no issues.



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