I did not write this post but it is all good and accurate info credit goes to Roger Spears
First off. Let me state my experience. I've been in the community about 5 years from this post date and I get questions on a daily. I'm not the only source of information, you can do plenty of reading on the forums and just in google searches. My information is pretty much well agreed to by the people that have been around for a while.
The Cobalt SS 05-07 is about the same car under the hood and a lot is in common, but not everything.
Below is modding & information for a beginner plain and simple. But others can take some solid advice as well.
Stock these cars make 210whp it ranges +/-10whp but thats the generic number. This is contrary to GM originally stating it makes 210hp.
Your first mod? Fix your probably broken IC pump. This keep the IAT2 temps(temps post blower within reason). Any temps above 160* will start pulling timing and the car makes way less power as a safety measure.
Easily checked here:
When people say stage 1. It's simply injectors with a tune. GM made a stage 1 kit that made a minor bump in power to like 220whp, but for it's price people just bought stage 2.
So. Stage 2 is a hard one, stock pulley is a 3.35in. GM stage 2 is injectors, a smaller pulley(3.06), and a custom tune from GM. This makes around 250whp and is a great option for a daily driver looking for good mpg.
But... Stage 2 from ZZP or other company is usually the same, injectors, pulley. Now you can change your pulley size base on your want. For pump gas you should run a 2.9 at lowest without cooling mods as covered below. For e85 go to a 2.7. If you plan to run meth preblower then lower can be done, but please do research.
Stage 3... Also a tricky one.
Stage 3 GM was injectors, pulley, and a badass tune allowing for a 50shot of nitrous that also had a high octane mode you could active with your steering wheel. I won't cover this much, but know it exists.
Stage 3 from zzp, ect is simply the same mods as stage 2, but with a shitty heat exchanger they sell. It's not worth the money. Just skip on down to my cooling mods section.
The only way to make more power from here is going to a TVS 1320, 1900, or turbo the car. Multiple ways to go about turbo setups, so research. Cheapest turbo setup will cost about $1,500 and you'll use the stock intake manifold with an adaptor. A full turbo kit will run you $2,500 madeup yourself or like $4,300 from zzp or other company. There are many kits.
Before anything make sure your IC pump is working like I said before...
So lets start with what IAT2 is. It's the temp of the air after your blower. You want the temp to be as low as possible to keep the most power possible.
So how to see IAT2...
Hptuners $500+ but you can also tune your car.
Interceptor Gauge $200+
Torque app on Android with a Bluetooth OBD2 Dongle $30-100
Torque app info to setup right: http://www.cobalt ss.net/forums/elec...p-mods-290681/
Now learn now your intercooler/heatexchanger system is completely separate from your engine coolant. Engine coolant runs 180-210* while the purpose of the IC system is to be as cool as possible. Like I said verify your IC pump is working right? OR this is all a waste. Then you should make sure your oem lower air dam is still on the car. Big black plastic piece hangs from the radiator area under the car.
FIRST you should do is OPTION B. This simply bleeds the air stuck in the IC system which drastically increases efficiency.
SECOND is dual or single pass. Dual pass is a endplate on the manifold that lowers cool down time between pulls. You'll want to research the risks and gains of dual pass. While single pass can only be found used or many one zzp has made.
THIRD is buying a Griffen Heat Exchanger. It is the ONLY properly made and strong performer as a upgrade for our heat exchangers. These also cost about $650. So it's usually out of reach for most.
Trevor Jolley makes a big aftermarket HE you could look into as well and it's cheaper than the Griffen by far.
Another option is spraying methanol preblower or post to reduce iat2 temps and gain octane. I won't get much into this... Just do research or ask around.
Don't waste your time & money on ZZP's HE for "stage 3." It's cheaply made and hardly helps a proper setup with opt b and dual pass. For $200 your wasting your time and money.
Intake- On a IRL is the best it gets beside a few other contenders. But K&N intake, and many others actually perform worse. The stock intake is 3in at minimum the entire way and around 3.5in at the bigger sections. Just stick with a stock intake to save yourself time, hassle, and money. Only upgrades are a few aftermarket existing 3.5in. If you want more whine there is a mod I have in here, just use the search function "Silencer delete Roger Spears" in this group. Easy mod and you'll hear a little blower action, otherwise you'll need any aftermarket intake as they are all metal and allow sound to transmit easily.
Short shifter- a great upgrade to make with multiple company option out there. Another nice upgrade is to do the LNF shifter bracket. It's cheap and solids up the feel a nice amount. Also metal base bushings are cheap add on to firm it up a hair more.
Exhaust- Honestly.... Mod this last. It's the least power to price to make in here. Do research in the forums. But I'll just give my opinion to do header first, then downpipe, then the rest. Look into the over the axle upgrade as well.
Suspension- You want to just get low, but lose performance go with any brand you generally hear about from people. You wan to gain performance go to the 08+ FE5 shocks/struts and endlinks. You cannot use Cobalt Springs aftermarket or oem. They will not work right with your tophat. Powell makes an adaptor piece to allow safe use, so contact him.
Front left: 506683
Rears x2: 560582
Endlinks MOOG(servicable) x2: K750012
That will feel like a great upgrade even on stock springs. You want some low and amazing performance go with Powell YYZ springs. Can be found on http://www.crateenginedepot.com/Coba...ocks-an…
Check your lower control arm bushing as well. I'm going to bet their toast. These need replacing to help with wheel hop, and corning. You can upgrade to ss 08+ FE5 Control arms. Will improve handling a bit since your upgrading anyways.
If you plan a lot of hardcore autox/track I suggest you look into the upgraded knuckles for our car as the oem have a weak spot that can snap.
Trans/engine mounts- Ingalls stiffy is a bandaid and a waste of money. Engine mount is a waste to upgrade. Only real upgrade is Powells rotated trans mounts. These eliminate all wheel hop. Otherwise a cheap route is LNF trans mounts which eliminate a little bit of it with a updated design, and actually being new parts from your currently broken down and dying ones. They are a direct swap as is Powells with his instructions.
Stock- 400hp-450hp is the general "safe" consensus. But of course if you beat the piss out of it and don't maintain it right at that power it won't last. The aftermarket for big power is pretty big, just do research. I've seen just shy of 500whp last 3 years beating raced all the time last with a good owner taking care of maintenance.
Turbo Swap: Lots of ways it can be done. Do research. The newest way is zzp's turbo adaptor plate on the stock intake manifold. This eliminates a lot of costs and hassle with a T-swap. Look into it if you like. I'm in the process of doing this myself(4-20-2016). I've seen it done and it's very reliable.
There's more I'll add to this if people ask, or when I have time. but this is it for now. I only make this because I seem people new all the time and I have to explain this stuff all the time.