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Thread: Performance component recommendations?

  1. #1
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    Performance component recommendations?

    Okay, here's the deal:

    I recently got a new car, a 1992 Chevy Cavalier RS with 14,000 miles. No I'm not kidding, it really has 14,000 original miles, original engine, factory everything. The car is in mint condition because it sat largely unused in a garage for the past 10 years. I've been driving it daily for the past few weeks and it's great. However, I want to take EXTREMELY good care of this car. I've already begun some cheapo interior mods to customize the feel a bit. However, I want to get under the hood and spruce it up in ways that will prolong its life and reliability.

    I am short on cash and am not looking to turn this into a racer or anything but it would be nice to push it a notch or two above your average passenger car.

    I'm not looking to replace the engine or anything, but I would like to get your feedback as to what kinds of things would help to make the car run better, cleaner, etc. I have almost no mechanical experience when it comes to cars and I'm kinda hoping that this will teach me a little bit about that. So, for a poor student with a paltry budget, what would you recommend?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    FLAC
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    Re: Performance component recommendations?

    good quality oil (I always use Penrite) /spark plugs (NGK/bosch) / filters and regular servicing/tuneups.... and keep filter changes regular.... every 6 months is good for oil/fuel filter changes...

    anything 'performance' is typically gonna work your engine harder - well in theory anyway..... so if anything it will reduce engine life...

    but a sportal exhaust is always a nice touch
    Project - GAME OVER :(

  3. #3
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    Hmm, okay. I kinda figured using good filters would be a no brainer but like I said, since I have no experience I don't know what "good" is or what to look for. I was thinking of changing my own oil just for the experience of it. Heck, if I'm good at it, I can save myself some money. What oil filters will benefit me the most?

    And what about the fule filter? Is that something user serviceable? If so, have you any recommendations in that department?

    Spark plugs I figured would also be one of those things. When shopping for these, what should I be looking for in terms of specifications?

    And one last detail, as far as air filtration, would I benefit at all from an aftermarket intake system? Or am I better off just buying air filters from Wal-Mart?

    As always, I'm open to any and all suggestions? (Was that exhaust suggestion serious? If so, more info please!)

    Thanks!

  4. #4
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    i would start with a cold air intake, check on e-bay if you can get one. that should give it some more power (10hp) and some quicker response. you may want to check out the Cavalier forum's on the internet and there may be some free hp mods.
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  5. #5
    Retired Admin Aaron Cake's Avatar
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    Smart-assed answer: It's a Cavalier, not a performance car. Leave it alone and let it be what it's meant to be (A-B economy car).

    Informative answer: Speed costs money. Your most restrictive areas are undoubtably your intake an exhaust. Any rice shop will be able to fix you up with a new exhaust and intake. Remember to go FULL exhaust, meaning headers, high-flow cat and catback. Most shops will only qoute the catback (rice shops know that 99% of people are concerned with image). Any standard aftermarket intake will do the job. Probably about $900 total here, and the gain would be about 10HP. Honestly, the cheapest and most "bang for the buck" item is nitrous. A $500 nitrous kit will be good for 50HP, and as long as it is done properly, won't harm the engine or effect engine life. There are kits available that include everything you need (both fuel and nitrous solenoids, FPR, valves, hoses, bottle, NAWS sticker, etc.).

    If you don't want to go the nitrous route, do the intake and exhaust and then go for a cam swap. You won't have to go deep into the engine, and the cam should be good for another 10HP with the sacrifice of fuel economy. Probably about $300. A cam alone won't result in much of an increase, so you NEED the exhaust and intake upgrades to support the higher flow. Aftermarket ignitions will show marginal gains, but start to become necessary once you start to modify the engine past intake/exhaust. You may also be looking at fuel upgrades with the cam changes.
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    Ack! I think I liked your smart assed answer better!

    But seriously, all I want it to be is an economy car that runs a little bit smoother, that's all. I think nitrous is a tad bit overkill. But thanks!

  7. #7
    Raw Wave Defiler's Avatar
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    here's my 2 cents...

    Replace the stock filter with a K & N. NOT a cone filter (you'll only suck in hot engine compartment air, unless you route it or build a box around it accepting only cool air from somewhere else)...just the rectangle K & N replacement filter.

    Switch to synthetic oil and use a quality oil filter filter. I use Fram. Some may disagree, oh well...If you notice a little smoke after switching to synthetic, switch back to the regular oil and wieght recomended for your geographical location...(I know I'm gonna get flamed for this one) ie. Warmer location thicker oil, colder thinner. I lived in S. Florida for years and ALWAYS used Castrol straight 40 in all my cars. I'll explain if asked why. I can afford other brands now so I use Mobil 1 15-50. Change every 3000 miles. Synthetic can last a little longer but I still change every 3000 to 3500 miles.

    With each gas fill up put a couple of capfulls of Marvel Mystery Oil in. This shiznit will keep everything looking like new and will help avoid build up in the engine.(prolly get flamed for this one too)

    I could go on but I will resort to just 2 cents...
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  8. #8
    FLAC mp3z24's Avatar
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    well.... before coming to the realization that aaron so bluntly pointed out, i too wanted to do something to my crap-alier...

    but, there really is no aftermarket for the cavalier like there is for any other "sport compact" (and i use that term loosely). even the focus and neon have larger aftermarkets, and the cavalier cant even match up to 1% of the honda (ack) market.

    so, if you want to dump ungodly ammounts of money into what is essentially an economy car, after all, you are starting with an RS. almost the bottom of the line for cavaliers.

    oh, and whatever you do. dont paint the interior. think of it this way, would you want to buy someones car that has a painted interior? i mean you arent going to get a ton if/when you sell it, but why add to the hassles later.

    just make sure it runs well, and spend your money on other hobbies....

    ~mike
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  9. #9
    Rob
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    Bare with me, I'm from the old school of engine building here, but I think what I have to say stands true for most engines.

    I'd avoid filddleing with the cam, as preformance cams only give the power in the upper band range, and can make the car hard to drive without alot of revs.

    Bolt on air filters are nice, look nice, preform better,don't need replacing (they need cleaning ocasionally) and can be more economical. There are loads to choose form, K&N being the most famous. However depending on the engine you may need to get it retuned if you fit one. Also give it a nice supply of cold air, (a pipe running from the grill to the air in take works great here)

    Do you have are carb or injection? if the former consider different needle(s) or jets or chokes, depending on the carb. If the latter chipping it is allways worth a go (not really my sceen)

    As Aaron said, quality header & exaust system will make a difference especially if combined with the above.

    Ditch the CAT, most exaust people go replacement pipes, be warned you may need to refit it for emissions tests.

    If you change to fully synth oil DON'T do a straight swap, as it turns gloopy if mixed with mineral oil, very bad. Instead totally drain the engine, fill it with semi-synth, drive it for about 1k miles, totally drain the engine, then fill it with fully synth.

    NOZ, sorry chemicals arn't my thing, but it might be worth checking out the legality of it first, as it's actually illegal to us it in a lot of places.

    Electrics, make sure you've got a good coil, spark leads, distributer etc, especially if you up-rate the plugs, as plugs are only as good as the electrisity that flows throw them.

    Get it on the rollers. A proper rolling road session is a must if you do any mod to the engine, or else your likely to end up with less power than you started with before you put the mods on.

    Lastly brakes & suspension, getting up to speed is fine but getting around a corner if a totally different game.
    And you say people actually pay money for M$ Windows?
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  10. #10
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    Ha ha... I dont think anyone realized this guy doesnt want nor have the technical capabilitys to do ANYTHING to his car.. He is wondering if he can even get changing his own oil down! I think he should find himself a trustworthy mechanic and just keep up with the basic maintenance (coolant flush, oil change, filters, ect..). Go buy a nice set of rims, that is something that will make it instantly yours and you will notice it everytime you use your car!

    Mike

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