How To Upgrade Your 08+ Cobalt SS turbocharged LNF!

Posted by Alex Darmos on

Your first decision is important. You should decide how far you want to take your LNF because doing it twice is expensive. Planning out your build before you start is the smartest choice.

If you plan on ~300WHP being the most you’re going to want out of the car, start with a ZZP LNF Turbo PCM.

The next thing would be a good downpipe, like our LNF Stainless Downpipe.  It will work with the stock turbo and cat back exhaust as well as with our ZFR turbos.
This is one of those mods that you would skip if you wanted to make over 450whp, because our LNF Upgrade Kit comes with its own specific downpipe.

Have you replaced your clutch yet?  Some cars with just a simple PCM reflash need a clutch after a couple days of spirited driving.  We sell multiple Clutch/Flywheel combinations.

This mod can be done at any time for great gains, our LNF Upgraded Intake Tube, this along with the stock air box mod and a K&N Replacement Air Filter is a great combination and very easy to install.  However we do offer multiple aftermarket intakes that replace your stock air box as well.

The stock intercooler works fine for the stock power level, however as you make more power you will need to cool your charge temps more, we offer our Front Mount Intercooler.  It is also a cheaper replacement intercooler than buying a brand new stock one if your original is damaged.
We also offer the Intercooler package specifically for your 08+ Cobalt SS that comes with our intercooler, silicone couplers, and the hot and cold side charge pipes, clamps, etc.  Basically everything needed to replace the intercooler and all of the factory piping.

Next would be the charge pipes separately, or some people call them intercooler pipes:
Upper pipe (hot side) and Lower pipe (cold side)
The lower pipe is a neat piece; it allows you to convert your car to a “blow through” MAF tube if that is beneficial for your specific setup.  For example it allows you to install an aftermarket blow off valve, which has multiple cool purposes, performance (because the stock one can leak), and sound (so you can vent your blow off valve to atmosphere to get that Pssst! sound when you let off the gas.)

At this point solid mounts are recommended to keep your engine in place.  Our billet Front Trans Mount and Rear Trans Mounts are a great fit, and they hold the engine firmly in place without the annoying dash shaking effects.

For goals of 350whp I would suggest our 6758 ZFR turbo, it spools like stock and will give you gains of 50-75whp.  For goals of over 375whp, I would recommend our 7163 ZFR turbo instead, the spool has a slightly more lag than stock, but is capable of near 500whp with the right supporting mods.

If you want to make big power (450+WHP), purchase our LNF Turbo Upgrade Kit,  it comes with a PCM file and all the turbo related parts needed for big power (except a catback exhaust).This is a big step, but this is the ultimate bolt on for the 09+ Cobalt SS turbo.

When you increase the RPM range and boost of your car, the stock valve springs will start to float and reduce the higher RPM power of your car. You will want to replace your valve springs with our 82# valve springs.  While you have the car that far apart it would be a good time to upgrade your cams to our Stage 1 or 2 LNF Performance cams.  The stage 1 cams are good up to around 350whp and the stage 2 cams are good for 400+whp.

The next step would be a ported head, we actually offer a Ported head, cam package that includes the ported head with cams and valve springs of your choice.  Like mentioned before, everything is available separately, or sold at a discount in this package.

There is always the catback exhaust; however gains are minimal for replacing the stock LNF exhaust until you are making 350+whp.  Here is our 3” LNF specific catback:
Cobalt version and HHR version.cobalt 

If handling is a must, then we sell ZZP, Eibach, and Tein lowering springs along with BC Racing coil over conversion kit.  The coil over suspension kit allows you to adjust the ride height, spring and dampening rates.

When you make a lot of power, or your lower control arm bushings get worn out, when you go full throttle the car will tow in and cause torque steer, uneven tire wear, and a loss of horsepower to the wheels.  We offer ZZP chrome moly control arm replacements.  These will keep the tires pointed forward under hard off the line acceleration and keep the tires in place around corners.

When you add a bunch of power, it would also be a good idea to improve the brakes at the same time.  We offer Brembo kits for those LNFs that do not come with them, we have a 14.5” brake conversion kit for the front, cross drilled and slotted rotors, multiple brands of brake pads, etc.

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Tags: Ecotec Tech Articles