I posted in the newbie section to declare I'm new to this forum, but not new to cars. The only reason I have a Cavalier is because my E30 got totaled out and I didn't have the funds to buy something fast and fun again. In the meantime, I'll be driving this old beater.
1) Retrofit H1 projectors.
The stock headlights are garbage. My E30's H4 headlights were like laser beams compared to these things, so I'll be having to do a projector retrofit pretty soon. I actually attempted one the other day, but got frustrated when the lens wouldn't go back on the assembly. The projector and shroud sat forward about a half-inch too much, so I'll have to do some experimenting and test fitting on my old headlights. I have since put brand new headlight assemblies in to hold me over until I can ensure my retrofit will work, but they're still pretty dim. Yes, I've tried several different bulb types and every result was disappointing. With that said, I'm going the bi-xenon route.
I've done a search for retrofits and I really couldn't find anything that shows me what I'm looking for.
2) Make it more tall friendly.
I'm 6'3". This car is awfully uncomfortable. My knees touch the steering wheel, my head almost hits the ceiling, and my back doesn't sit properly in the seats. My plan is to either find seats out of a totaled Cruze or just cut 1.5" of foam out of the butt of the current seat and mount the seat about 2" to the rear so I have a bit more leg room.
In my intro post, I said something about getting a couple extra horsepower. I thought of purchasing an AEM replica intake from eBay ($65, was it?) and supply my own filter just to get an extra 4 or 5 HP to compensate for some of the parasitic draw of the AC compressor when burning through my daily commute. Another bonus would be the slight bump in fuel efficiency (from past experiences with CAI's, anyway), so there is that. I've already looked through the JBO FAQ on horsepower and, frankly, nothing really jumps out at me since this car is merely a daily beater.
Anyway... I'll post DIY's on my tall-friendly modifications if there are any other tall members who are interested.
I guess that extra inch makes all the difference (insert sexual joke here). I'm 6'2 and I find the car very comfortable and in the driver seat my knees don't touch anything. Passenger seat that's a different story. I don't even try the back nor will I need to anyways. Good luck with your build here. I'll be following
Did you manage to retrofit the projectors? Are you going to install HIDs?
Weighing in on the driver height here.
6'4" here. 2 doors will not work at all for me but 4-doors are great due to the better windshield angle. 2 doors also rust worse but that is another issue. My height is all in my legs. On my 99 4 door I removed the window shades but only because the previous owner made them filthy. Even though it in all actuality did not make that much of a difference, it still made the car feel more spacious.
BTW, I just found the Cav I Have been looking for for many years too, a Manta Green 98 4 door with the 2.2 and the 5-speed Isuzu standard with relatively low miles. It is not an LS or Z and his has the plain black unpainted bumpers. The overdrive 5th is so much better on the highway vs. my 99 auto with the 3T40 which is beyond 3k rpm at 65. It rode extremely quiet and my guess is because it has the 14" 70 series tires that perhaps muted the road noise more than I am used to with the 15s on my 99. The seller had trouble selling this car until I found it because nobody who looked at it before could drive stick. I plan to only drive the 98 in the warm months to avoid any and all salt. The 99 will be the winter car. Another plus was the dash is not cracked which is surprising on a 98. I will probably take it out and do some preventive reinforcement from the backside using Fiberglass or some carbon fiber.
I would love to see a comprehensive production stats list out of Lordstown on the types of cavaliers and their configs. I think that a 4-door with stick is pretty rare. I have only seen one other ever in a local ad and the only others that I know of are the ones people have talked about here.
What engine/trans is in your 2002 beater? If its an eco. Try and pickup an m62 supercharger setup. You can do an intercooled setup for under a grand easy and take that 135crank hp to 200+whp for some more fun.