SS Donor search in Hill Billy Country

Discussion in 'Buying a Donor' started by Chris Eggert, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. Chris Eggert

    Chris Eggert Active Member

    So far in the past 2 weeks I think I have been fairly lucky in my search to find a good running and driving car with a clear title. I have mostly found decent cars at managable prices. I am narrowing down the cars and hopefully I bring at least one of these cars home this week.

    Possible donor #1

    Is a 2008 SS TC 2.0L LNF with a 5 speed, has 110k on it is a G85 package car. It is on its 2nd owner so far. It Drives like a brand new car, has plenty of get up and go. Has the GM stage 1 kit installed with the higher- flow injectors and the ECU tweek. The Turbo car has been the only one with a modification kit added to it. The starting asking price was $4500.00 I lowballed a counter offer at $3600.00. We told each other to think about it. He called me later in the day and told me he would take $4,000.00 on it and he would give me throught this weekend to think about it since i was already scheduled to go see these other 2 jobs.

    Possible Donor #2

    Is a 2006 SS SC 2.0L LSJ with a 5 speed transmission with 140k on it and it is also a G85 package car. The old man is the one and only owner of the car so far. The car is absolutely beautiful, burnt Orange paint Ebony on Ebony interior not a sctatch or a scuff matk anywhere on it. I was expecting to test drive it when I got there, but unfortunately the old man who owns it was letting his son dtive it to school. Son called him tuesday to let him know that the clutch felt weird and wouldnt keep the car from moveing fully depressed. He said he told his son they would put it in the shop as soon as he got back from school this week. Son talked to some friends and they decided they could put the clutch in it at school. The son did not have the correct clutch, but did manage to pull the engine and transmission out of the car. Completely unplugged every wire connected to the engine and trans, without marking any of them. Dad tried to get it in the shop tuesday or wednesday, but, the shop wont take it until friday. I will be going back Sunday morning to drive it. Asking price started out when I saw the add in the local news paper at $4000.00, He lowered the price to $3500, by the time I was finished looking the car over. I told him I would be back on Sundsy to drive it and he said when I come to drive it to just bring $2900.00 in cash so he can go ahead an sell it to me on Sunday...

    Possible Donor #3

    Is a 2005 SS SC with the 2.0L LSJ engine with the 5 speed transmission, 88k on it and it is also a G85 package. It is the only one that has the recaro seats in it out of the three. Car is on owner 2 interior has some wear and tear on it, but not bad for its age. The exterior would be outstanding except for the groove of a motorcycle tire that added a crease in the drivers side behind the door and then tore a hole in the bumper cover from the bike hitting it. He has a brand new paint matched bumper cover to go with it since he hasnt had time to get it installed. The Car is fast and pulls hard and runs as smooth as the 08. It is the oldest car I have looked at this week, but it is also the lowest mileage car I have looked at this week. Started out with an asking price of $3600.00, the first time he brought up price after I pulled in from driving the car, he said he wanted to $3200 or $3300 out of it. He told me to think about it and get back with him. He said Im the only person to come to look at it since he put the add in to sell it. He said it was his works fault the company he works for has them working 6 days a week 12 hours a day until further notice.

    Im still searching and I have found a couple more cars Im hoping I can get in to check out ASAP. I was kind of on the fence about this buying from the big dealers using a broker. From what I have seen so far it a big time hit or miss.. You can either get lucky and be the high bid of $150. On a car. Then you pay the purchase price, sales tax, the brokers fee to bidders fee and the frieght compay that wiil load up your car and deliver it to you. The auction site has some pretty strict rules dealing with how long you have to get them paid for youre winning bid and how much time you have before you are required to have the vehical off of the property. Both of these items are a 72 hour limit, the 72 hours actuallhy started when the first bid was placed on the first item in this item group. So you need to check the time your 72 hours started and get payment made and frieght pickup arranged... Some of the wrecked cars that are being won at the Auction compays after all is said and done as costing just as mush if not more than some of the cars I am checking out and driving. So the big price diffrences are there ln rare occasions on some vehicles, but most of the time unless you pay an inspector to inspect the car you are planning on bidding on you are really bidding in the dark.
  2. Johvans

    Johvans Well-Known Member

    What are your goals for the car? I bought a hail damage 07 SS/SC off of copart in Dallas so bidding/shipping wasn't too bad.
    Chris Eggert likes this.
  3. SliderR1

    SliderR1 Well-Known Member

    Chris - I think you are in the Chattanooga area if I remember correctly. You should check out Craigslist for the Knoxville area. There is a guy in White Pine that is constantly parting out SS Cobalts. Might be worth at least a phone call... Adam has posted a donor parts list somewhere on here.

    Another option I considered is buying from Copart in states where you don't need a broker. Georgia and North Carolina are probably the closest to you. The Atlanta area usually has a bunch of them. You don't have to buy a Copart membership if the selling price is less than $1k. There are non SS Cobalts that sell for around $500 all the time on there. You would still have the fees from Copart, but no broker BS. If you have access to a truck/trailer you could swing down to ATL and pick it up without paying for delivery - which seems kinda steeply priced in this area. You could always add a SC or TC later to one of these non SS cars later. I was planning to go this route before I found my SS donor on Craigslist. If you are willing to wait, there are deals out there...
    Chris Eggert likes this.
  4. Chris Eggert

    Chris Eggert Active Member

    I was shopping on Copart and iAAi for a donor. I was watching and paying close attention to quite a few vehicals as they were being bid on. One car I was really wanting to go after was a hit front and rear. Damage on the front didn't really look that bad. When they opened the prebidding it shot right up to $1500 ended up selling for $2300.00. Take that $2300 add in all the fees involved, the brokers fee and the almost $800.00 for the freight and it would have been in the $4k to $5k range by the time it got to my garage. I started digging around online, buying the local news papers that pretty much every town has around here looking for Cobalt ss listed for sale. Found out that there are more of them than I thought around here and the prices they are asking for some are pretty crazy. I have also found some really nice donor cars that are really priced right. All you have to do is make up your mind on how crazy you want to go with the Goblin and buy the donor that makes getting your Goblin to the level you want the easiest.
    I am pretty sure I will be sticking to the 2.0L LSJ powerplant with the supercharger and the 5 speed. By adding the stage 1, stage 2 and stage 3 kits along with a tune and that original 205hp should be closer to 300hp. More than enough in the Goblin to carve up all these mountain roads around my house.

    Another plus to buying a donor with a clear title here in Tennessee will be when applying for the VIN and a title. It will cut out a lot of paperwork on documenting exactly what parts or components were used from a salvage vehical. I had that discussion with my county registrar at the tag office. He advised me to stay away from the salvage titled vehicals. I know David is building In Nashville and Silverback is building up in Johnson city I don't know what route they went with donors or what paperwork their DMV office is having them fill out, but I do know what the plan is coming out of Dewights office here in my county. He wants to make sure its safe and he is discouraging the use of parts from anything other than a clear title vehical. Dewight is a good guy Ive known him my whole life and he is in charge of my county office. I am going to follow the majority of his recommendations to try to make titling and getting the VIN as smooth as possible
  5. Chris Eggert

    Chris Eggert Active Member

    I have been hitting Craigs list, FB, the local papers, the BCBS employee sale board Ive been keeping an eye out. You would not believe the amount of non SS that are on the market from $500 to $1k just in East and middle Tennessee. Some of them are actually low mileage 60k range. Im looking for a 2.0L LSJ G85 vehical and i have found a few so far. Meeting up with a guy today that has one an 06 with 80k on it he is asking $3000.00 for it, so I am going to check it out he isnt sure about it being a G85 package and I have nothing but time right
  6. Chris Eggert

    Chris Eggert Active Member

    Took the drive to meet him and check the car out. Looked on the outside of the car he handed me the keys and when I went to the trunk first I really confused the guy. Popped the trunk pulled the carpet back and no its not a G85. It had the recaro seats but not a G85 package so Im still considering a couple of cars and I'm going to check copart in Georgia and see if I can get an account there. Meet an old Army buddy for lunch yesterday. Might have him bidding on Copart/iAAi in Nashville and Chattanooga areas soon. He runs a towing and recovery company in Nashville. He's checking into being able to buy from them so Im still on the hunt for now. Ready to get started in a bad way but I need to keep my donor cost down
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
  7. theeulogy

    theeulogy Member

    If you know someone with a dealers liscence, it'll save you a bit of money. I also hauled mine back and n my own trailer. They load them with a forklift, so no need to worry about it running.
  8. Brian74

    Brian74 Well-Known Member

    If you want to find out if a car is a G85 without looking at it, you can ask the seller for the vin and look it up on for a very small fee. It will give you the entire build sheet. Saved me a lot of time.
  9. Chris Eggert

    Chris Eggert Active Member

    I have been using a free service for checking the VIN#'s and it doesnt give to much detail on some cars and others its been great on. I will have to check out and try it out. Im finding more turbo cars for pretty decent prices over the last few days than any other SS. Just wanting the 2.0l SC it seems to be the most bang for the buck when it comes to bumping it up to the 250hp range. Still on the hunt though
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
  10. Chris Eggert

    Chris Eggert Active Member

    Found a 2005 SS SC today for sale through a guy my brother works with. 140k on it 2.0l SC on its 3rd owner. Spoke with her today she purchased the car with 90k on it and she said that she had her BF have the stage 3 SC kit installed when it had 100k on it. She also told me it was T-boned at a little over 125k she had it repaired so it comes with a rebuilt title. Since she is a 4 hour drive away from me I asked her if it had the G85 option she didn't have a clue what I was talking about. She did go out to the car and send me a picture of the build sticker and as my luck goes it is NOT an LSD its the standard MU3 transmission. Just trying to weigh my options because I can get the car running and driving pretty cheap at around $1800.00 - $2000.00. It just wont have the LSD transmission unless I have the trans rebuilt and added the LSD to the it. I have found plenty of the differentials for sale new for around $350.
    I also found a new F35 LSD transmission for sale for $1795.00+ shipping

    Any ideas on what it would cost to have the transmission rebuilt and the LSD added to it??

    The last transmission I had rebuilt was in a silverado and that was $1100.00 about 6 years ago.
    I guess I will do some phone work and call some shops today. See if anyone around here can do it then see what their price is for the rebuild and addimg the LSD to the Transmission. Thats going to be the big thing in this area, finding someone that knows what they are doing with a Cobalt transmission...
  11. ctuinstra

    ctuinstra Well-Known Member

    School me, what's the special about the F35 LSD?
  12. Johvans

    Johvans Well-Known Member

    In this application I'm not sure its special at all. FWIW I looked for a donor that didn't have the LSD.

    The Lotus Elise/Exige came without an LSD and when it was added as an option alot of people complained about how the car handled with it. Just food for thought.

  13. Chris Eggert

    Chris Eggert Active Member

    MU3/MC2 transmission F35 is a Saab designed and built.. 3.82/4.05 final drive, The LSD version is Quaife's technology. The Quaife ATB Limited Slip Differential (LSD) is designed to prevent the complete loss of drive that occurs with a conventional differential when one wheel slips. While requiring some torque in the slipping wheel, the Quaife unit is progressive in action but never locks, controlled power is transmitted to all the driving wheels. Ideally suited to high powered front wheel drive systems, Quaife ATB differentials are also used in rear and four wheel drive vehicles where optimum traction is required.

    Getting more traction and putting the power to the ground is what its all about

    In cornering aspects LSD really makes a difference. Centrifigul forces is that all moving objects want to travel in a straight line, so if an object is moving through a turn, at any instance of that turn, gravity its pushing to the outside of a turn. This makes it very easy to lose traction and spin a tire. Now in a NON LSD Transmission once the point of gravity causes the wheels to lose traction and get pulled to outside of the turn, the lbs/ft torque to the wheels is once again limited by the wheel that is slipping.

    But in a LSD based trasmission the lbs/ft torque applied to both wheels is independent, so one wheel can continue to put more power to the ground until the point at which it loses traction. You should be able to continue to power through the turns more effectively with the LSD. Im in an area surrounded by mountain's with those fun mountain roads
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  14. Johvans

    Johvans Well-Known Member

  15. Silverback

    Silverback Well-Known Member

    When I installed a Quaife LSD in my '83 Caterham 7, it made a huge improvement in my AutoX times. When sorted out with suspension mods, the car handling was very neutral - which is definately not normal for an 7 of that era (or before.)
  16. Chris Eggert

    Chris Eggert Active Member

    I live in the Cumberland plateau area of Tennessee. There are thousands of miles of roads all around my home to drive that are nothing but twists and turns. Actually I have one road I drive often that turns back on itself 4 times coming across the mountain. They are almost a full 360 degree turn with a increase or decrease in elevation depending on which direction you are going.
    It will make drifting around the curves on these roads a whole heck of alot more fun...
  17. Chris Eggert

    Chris Eggert Active Member

    Well I caught one today within a few minutes of the guy posting his Cobalt SS for sale on Craigslist. 2006 SS SC just turned 100k with the 5 speed (not sure which one yet). Only modification that has been done since it was new is the cold air induction. Called him and we figured out a time tomorrow to meet up around 11 so I can look it over and drive it. His asking price is $2500 firm for it. What do you guys think for a clean title car right about an hour drive from home that looks like this.
    zcamera-20170919_000639.jpg zcamera-20170919_000524.jpg zcamera-20170919_000508.jpg zcamera-20170919_000312.jpg zcamera-20170918_235513.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  18. ctuinstra

    ctuinstra Well-Known Member

    Jump on my it! I paid a little more for the exact same car that had some damage plus fees, etc.
  19. Chris Eggert

    Chris Eggert Active Member

    I had the cash on me yesterday. I offered to go ahead and meet up with him before dark yesterday, but he was going someplace with his wife. I will be there around 10 or 11 today to meet up with him when my doctors appointment is over... Im taking a driver for my truck Just in case Im coming back with two vehicals
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
  20. David

    David Well-Known Member

    Good luck, because I sure haven't had any with those kind of deals

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