Modding Your IRL 101: - Saturn ION RedLine Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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Modding Your IRL 101:

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.
COOLING MODS:
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.
OR....
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.
Bolt-Ons:
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.
Part #'s
Front left: 506683
Fr: 506684
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.
Motor capabilities:
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.

Cpl. Lavigne-Soucie Richard, L 3533 USMC

2005 Saturn Ion Redline -All bulbs changed to LED's, TWM Short Throw, Custom shift boot and ebrake boot from redlinegoods.com
ZZP Shorty Header with Trubendz.com 3" Downpipe into 3" Mandrel bent CatBack dynomax superturbo muffler, Intense 2.7 MPS.
Custom Tuned by me with the help of 04redline

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Last edited by richsoucie; 08-16-2016 at 09:19 PM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:52 PM
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I'd like more info on the turbo swap keeping the LSJ intake route. Pipe routing, etc.

I'm mulling my options between building something piece by piece or just copping out and buying the whole ZZP kit.

I know I wanna go with the snail, just haven't decided which route for sure yet.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 11:15 AM
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Appreciate the time and detail that you put into the thread


it's nice to get a better understanding of things even having my IRL for while...


I have GM stage 2 and when I purchased my IRL I thought it was stock ...

it was here on the forum that I learned of the nice surprise - I went about 8 months

thinking I had a stock IRL and even asked at the chevy about getting the GM 2 installed..

they said: "those kits aren't available anymore" - so I was pretty disappointed ....

scary too that they did not let me know I had the kit already...

My car was a little slow at first and rough - most likely from being ignored for a while

probably had very little maintenance considering it had about 27k on it

----------

I like the idea of the aftermarket parts and upgrades but I would need someone to install

and adjust/tune everything so for me I am very happy to have the stage 2...

and recently with the maintenance I can feel the power in the back of the recaros

so I good

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebel Redline View Post
I'd like more info on the turbo swap keeping the LSJ intake route. Pipe routing, etc.

I'm mulling my options between building something piece by piece or just copping out and buying the whole ZZP kit.

I know I wanna go with the snail, just haven't decided which route for sure yet.
if you are going to go turbo you will have to have an aftermarket intake... there are select few that actually make an intake for the lsj..

https://www.facebook.com/HahnRaceCraft/

RDFABS - Stainless aned Performance Specialists

Turbo Tech Racing Ecotec Cavalier/Cobalt/HHR/Ion Intake Manifold - ON SALE!

there was also another that i cant remember where it was from but a member on here phillzoot got his from that company

i have contemplated going turbo myself eventually but i was always thinking about doing a WATER/AIR setup rather than AIR/AIR... all the crazy piping for an air to air system is what steers me away from the idea.. I have done some searching around previously for a water to air setup and i did find one place

Air/Water IC

the only problem i might see from a water/air system is it may not be able to keep up????? using the stock lsj heat exchanger... i would think tho if you had a FMIC and or a griffin heat exchanger it would do very well
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 10:45 AM
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To me, it looks like if I modify the LK9 intake myself and make my own charge piping, it's about a wash money-wise to keep the air-to-water setup versus air-to-air.

I need to send some e-mails and make some phone-calls before I commit to which route I'm going to take, ZZP or home-built with ZZP parts.

2004 Saturn Ion Redline - S256ET | Ported Head
421whp/354wtq @ ~23psi on E30

2000 Z28 -
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 08:07 AM
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[QUOTE=richsoucie;1272698]I did not write this post but it is all good and accurate info credit goes to Roger Spears


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.



I have still not heard of anyone having the GM stage 3 tuned and modified by GM.

I read in the GM performance book - think it was 'make your LSJ a 300+ HP ground pounder' book

that the internals have to be reworked and smoothed

basically redo the whole car like it's the Lamborghini -- or was that for the 450 HP version?


Sure you guys know all about this but I found it interesting

when I first picked up my IRL...


They say that it is tuned with a rough aggressive idle

which I would like to have - sounds fun

I sort of had the rough Idle without the power

...before some of my recent maintenance
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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for what its worth there are guys over 400hp on stock blocks and internals

Cpl. Lavigne-Soucie Richard, L 3533 USMC

2005 Saturn Ion Redline -All bulbs changed to LED's, TWM Short Throw, Custom shift boot and ebrake boot from redlinegoods.com
ZZP Shorty Header with Trubendz.com 3" Downpipe into 3" Mandrel bent CatBack dynomax superturbo muffler, Intense 2.7 MPS.
Custom Tuned by me with the help of 04redline

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 05:46 PM
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some very good info for guys like me new to this platform. had a mazdaspeed 3 and there was a lot of info out there for them. thats one of the thing i was looking at when i was deciding on what car i was going to get next.

2006 saturn ion redline
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-22-2016, 05:28 PM
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Alittle out of date. 2.9 on stage2 will toss a lean code. Although cooling isn't needed it is advised stage2 up to help cool off after pulls.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 05:52 AM
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I'm trying to find a steering wheel hub for a 04 Saturn ion 2.2 and I believe it's the same steering column etc as redline, could anyone PLEASE STEER ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION TO A LINK OR SPECIFIC SIZE THIS IS THE LAST THING I NEED
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