NA Donor for a SS/TC kit?

Mayor West

Active Member
I'm having a hard time finding "the right one" when it comes to a sub 130k mile SS/TC Cobalt. There are a few I'm keeping an eye on but their auctions are TBD. The two I'm really holding out for are ideal but if anyone else bids on them my goal of not spending a billion dollars on a donor gets extended until the next lower-mileage one comes around. Shipping makes these a lot less economical and there's only one SS/TC car up for auction within ~800$ of shipping to me.

There are 2 of the brand new LNF engines for sale on eBay, so I was wondering what all it would take to buy separately off eBay or craigslist to replace from an NA donor that has to come from an SS donor? I thought about the F40 swap but as I've read it's not as direct of a fit and that's a lot of money for an extra cruising gear... I guess the idea of a new transmission coupled to a new motor is appealing.

Basically, if I ordered an SS/TC goblin and bought a manual NA donor because they're so much more available, what would I need to replace in addition to the engine/transmission/ecu? The idea of a brand new engine is appealing given that my experience with old turbos have always lead to replacement anyway. I think i'd feel better about having a brand new engine but I wouldn't want to pay the premium for a SS/TC donor and take a chance on a used engine if it's not too much of a hassle to get an NA donor and just replace what was different.
 

Desert Sasqwatch

Well-Known Member
Daniel, the engine wire harness is different between the NA and TC and I also believe some of the interface with the dash harness is as well. If I recall correctly Brian1777 did a rewire of a NA harness to a TC (or was it a SC?). There are other differences in the suspension (uprights, arms, axles) from the NA to the TC. I reviewed this myself when I was looking for my donor and waited it out to find the right TC donor. You will be better off finding a TC for the simplicity of not swapping out parts, if that is the route you wish to go with your car - unless you are very tech savvy then you can do whatever you like.
 

BaltimoreHokie

Well-Known Member
You could always find a tc completely smashed at a junk yard and then rework that harness. It would take a while to get it out but it's possible. Alternatively. Keep posting on Facebook cobalt parts forums. People are always parting out and selling parts.
 

Karter2026

Well-Known Member
JSATX has done this exact thing. 2010 2.2 N/A He put a turbo on the stock engine and is currently building a new engine. I may do the same thing after I get titled
 

Motoracer110

Active Member
JSATX has done this exact thing. 2010 2.2 N/A He put a turbo on the stock engine and is currently building a new engine. I may do the same thing after I get titled
I think this is becoming the way to go. Donors are becoming very expensive with these kit cars gaining traction and sales keep increasing. Looking back at builds from a few years ago it looks like the final price on these auctions for turbo cars have doubled these days and will keep increasing. After all my fees and shipping I spent just over $2700 for a 09 “car starts” tc and found out one of the cylinders was cracked so spent another $2000 on a new motor, and $300 for a new motor wire harness.

I got my best friend want to build a goblin, we are going to completely price out all the parts I pulled from the donor and see if it’s a better rout not to get a donor start with a new tc crate motor and buy the parts needed new and used.
 

JSATX

Well-Known Member
My budget turbo build puts down 230hp with a very conservative tune and on only 11psi boost. I spent less on the NA turbo kit than I would have buying a turbo donor, by a bit.

I personally would not push a stock 2009-2010 2.2 past 275hp. Which is plenty. (Unless you’re Justin Reed, but he’s clearly nuts.)
 

Mayor West

Active Member
Thanks for all the feedback guys! One of the TC donors near me is going up for auction on Monday! There's a slight bit of pre-bid interest in it but I'm going to see how it goes. If this particular car gets too rich for my blood there's one more further away that I'm interested in, but it'll also probably go for a pretty penny. I'm not holding my breath but I am going to check out the car in-person today to see if its G85 or not, as well as check out the condition of everything.

I'll know more after the Monday auction on whether or not I'll be putting my deposit down for a kit any time soon.
 
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