Modification Recommendations for 2.0L Cobalt SS or Ion Redline

Posted by Alex Darmos on

You first need to verify that your intercooler pump is functioning. Around 60% of the Cobalt/Redlines today will be driving around without a functioning intercooler pump. The pump is located on the front of the block, right under the lower intake manifold. Make sure your car is secured, then start it up and reach under the car to feel if the IC pump is running (If you have our ZZP 1.0 pcm, all you need to do is turn the key on, without the engine running). Unplug the pump and plug it back in to see if it does shut off and restart. While it is off, use a power tester/multimeter to verify that the polarity is correct. The ic pump will have a plus (+) and minus (-) on it, just make sure they are correct. Since the pump only spins in one direction efficiently, you’ll notice a huge improvement on the IC pumps actual flow. Also note that the IC pump is different from the engines water pumps that driven by the timing chain.

Next, we’ll move into the modifications. If you want to gain about ten HP, all you need to do is purchase our ZZP 1.0 pcm. This will raise the rev limiter from 6500rpm, to 7200rpm while modifying fueling/timing tables. The next step is to install a 3.1” pulley and injectors. The stock supercharger pulley size is 3.35”, and the smallest size you can run on stock fuel injectors is 3.25”, since they are already close to maxed from the factory.  It’s also a good idea to replace the spark plugs with a more boost friendly set, such as the cooler NGK or Autolite brand that we offer, which will also help to avoid spark knockback as they are lower heat range spark plugs.  You can also gain five to ten HP by installing a cold air intake, which we offer in the following options: ZZP Cobalt CAI, ZZP redline CAI, and the K&N Typhoon CAI for the Cobalt and ion, however the gains for the K&N are roughly half of what our ZZP ones offer. To be able to safely run a 3.1” (or smaller) modular pulley system, you will need to purchase larger fuel injectors. We do offer many options, and if you do not plan on running a pulley smaller than 3.1”, than 42# injectors would be fine. If you want to be safe down to a 2.8” pulley on standard gasoline, then our 50# Siemen injector is a great choice. If you want to run e85, then you may want to purchase the 80# fuel injectors. When you change the injectors, your pcm must be programmed for the new injector size.

The best deal in this case would have to be our Stage 2 kit, which gives about 240-250WHP, and it is the cheapest bolt on kit around. The stage 2 kit typically uses a 3.1” pulley as well. If you’re looking to get 250-260WHP, then you will want to look into our Stage 3 kit, which has all the elements of the Stage 2 kit, but adds a ZZP heat exchanger and the optional dual pass endplate. This will allow you to run the smaller supercharger pulleys and still be completely safe. The Stage 3 kit uses a 2.9” pulley, but, if you add a header/downpipe and a dual pass endplate, then you could run a 2.8” pulley. Note that all pulley size recommendations assume that you have premium 93 octane available.

Continuing forward will require exhaust modifications, and the factory exhaust manifold is extremely restrictive, so I would recommend a header, in which we have two options for. Option one is a mid-length header and downpipe package, and option two is a ZZP Long tube header and downpipe package. The addition of one of these packages will allow you to run a 2.8 to 2.9” pulley. This is important because in order to get more air into the engine, you must be able to make it easier for the air to get back out. When you free the flow of the exhaust, you increase power safely, as the boost pressure will actually go down.


Note: Due to poor efficiency at higher boost levels, we recommend that the factory M62 supercharger never be run past 16 psi.  More than 16psi of boost will just increase the IAT2 temps which will lower your spark advance (timing) and reduce performance.  (IAT2 temp is the temperature of the air that is flowing into the engine, IAT temp is the temperature of the air flowing through the MAF (mass air flow) sensor.)

At this point you should improve your intercooling system with our ZZP dual pass intercooler plate and Intercooler heat exchanger-(Cobalt or Ion).  With both of these options, you will be able to run smaller pulleys.  If you want to run below a 2.8″ pulley then you will need to look into the Ecotec cams, 78# valve springs, and/or ZZP ported head. With all of the above mods, cams and ported head; you should be able to make about 300WHP with the stock m62 blower.

To be able to spin the engine safely above 7200rpm, you will need to add valve springs. When you want to go above 7500rpm, and still be safe, I would recommend our neutral balance shafts and the upgraded ATI balancer.  The ATI balancer is a very important mod, we have broken many crank keyways trying to retain the factory balancer, and the ATI unit has fixed that problem. There is always the option of building your shortblock as well, and we sell a couple different options for our forged LSJ shortblocks; we have a 2.0L, 2.1L, and a 2.4L version.  The 2.4L version is intended for 320+whp m62 blower builds.

If you want to make big power such as 350+WHP, then you would want to look into our Turbo only kit.  It is available for both the 05-07 Cobalt and the 04-07 Redline.  You can bolt this kit onto a totally stock LSJ car along with 60# or 80# injectors, and make about 380-420WHP,  with around 20psi of boost with perfect drivability!  A 3″ cat back exhaust is highly recommended but is not required.  A set of Ecotec turbo cams, 82# valve springs, and possibly even Ecotec ported head will make power levels of 450whp at 20psi of boost and the possibility of well over 500whp at higher boost levels.

Special note! Please check to see if your IC pump is running. These cars are known for the wiring being backwards, which causes very low flow, and a lot of the pumps just plain die. Unfortunately there is no code thrown to let us know either. Just start the car, get under it and see if the pump is running.