Last night, I finally TRIED to get started on replacing the starter on my 2001 cavalier 2.2 manual.
I thought the very least I would do is to remove the mystery steel bar that is under the starter, which seems to have no apparent purpose other than to be in the way. Just like every other thing I have done or tried to do when working on my car this year, it quickly turned into a disaster. For whatever reason, the only 13mm socket I could find had only a 1/4" drive for the ratchet. So I put on the extension - that I have had for many many years, and of course the first of the two bolts would not budge. Then - snap. The adapter broke off into the socket. I did not know this is even a remote possibility. Never heard of it happening. So I dig around and find a second adapter. Same thing. I was in a state of disbelief. It was only then that I found a 13mm with a 3/8" drive but it was too late because I need an adapter for other nuts and bolts in the project. I figured I could find one of these things for like 50 cents somewhere but no of course you have to buy a whole set of them for like 5 bucks. I am pissed and while I was going through all this, I became more curious as to what the hell this steel bar in the way is for and why it is even there to start with. I took the first bolt out and left it out for the last 24 hours and I can't get the other one to move either. What is this thing and what is its purpose? Can I just never put it back on and drive around without it? I found a diagram where it is called a "bending brace". Who knows?
You know what the best-kept secret on the internet is? How to replace the starter on my exact make model and year. Don't sent me links because it is in on the internet, I have looked at it and it isn't specific enough.
I have already made multiple attempts under the car and every time I get to a new point, I find out that there is yet another bolt in the way or yet another tool that I don't have that I never imagined I would need. (swivel socket). The funny thing is that I have no idea what these bolts are there for or what they do. That steel bar I mentioned in the first post here, I have been driving around with it completely off for the last 24 hours. Now the problem? there is a 13mm bolt that I need to buy a wrench for because a socket can't get at it - this thing is in the way of the 15mm for the starter. I have no idea what this thing is - but based on my question in another - but related - thread about the inspection shield - it must not be that. Who knows what will happen if I remove this 13mm. I am afraid to find out but it has to be done to get to the 15mm.
Why is my particular model such a top-secret online.
I think it must have some sort of inspection cover over the clutch/flywheel at the bottom. I believe I said the manual trans doesn't have one, but I'm sure they must have. It is likely just a flat plate with 3 or 4 screws holding it on. Probably metal. It is not like the ones on an automatic trans, but serves the same purpose. No idea what the "bar" you are talking about is. Get some pictures of what you are doing and upload them in this thread. As aggravating as things seem, I'm pretty sure anything bolted to the engine or chassis is there for a good reason. The GM engineers wouldn't have designed something that is not needed.
Since you want to work on your car yourself, I suggest buying a full set of 3/8" drive sockets, both deep and regular wells. A breaker bar, torx bits, wrench sets, etc. A 1/2" drive ratchet and what ever sockets your car takes for the larger size nuts and bolts. A breaker bar 1/2" drive is also a very handy tool. Harbor Freight has decent ones for a good price, especially if you use a 20% coupon. They have a lifetime warranty. There is no such thing as having too many tools. If you are going to get into doing the work yourself, you may also want to get some specialty Kent Moore tools too. Get a GM Factory Service Manual for your car. You can probably find one (and many Kent Moore tools too) on eBay. They cover nearly everything service related. They will have part numbers of any special tools needed and in many cases you WILL need some of them.
I'm not really the person to be trying to help you with a 3rd Gen. I know nothing about them. I've only ridden in one a couple times before,,,, years ago. But if you can get some good pictures, I may be able to figure out what you are trying to do.