Ark's City Goblin #187 (2008 SS/TC donor)

Ark :D

Goblin Guru
Chapter #2, BEGIN!


Thread Index

Chapter #2, BEGIN! - Introduction to 2nd donor - YOU ARE HERE
Tip for medium-range transport of non-driving donor
Stubborn bolt on subframe - great tip from JeffsGoblin
Clutch elbow - Don't lose the metal clip or the seal!
Engine OUT!
Broke my ignition TDM - be careful swinging that hammer
Removal of A/C compressor
Donor shell #2, GONE!
First removal of valve cover - cam/rocker inspection
Wiring - low-speed GMLAN info courtesy of Briann1177
End-to-end route for high-speed data wires - courtesy of Ross - NOTE: donors with the RPD will have it as an additional stop in the data chain
Half-assed headlight "resistor"
First look at seat selection
Stage 1 ARRIVES!
Frame powder-coated - info on the powder coater (they did a GREAT job for CHEAP)
Misadventures in hose pulling
Final seat mount design
Seat install finished
Cleaning up the wheels - Saleen replica 5x114.3 with polished aluminum finish
Keyless start - first proof-of-concept
Fuel tank installed
Dorman timing guide bolt - DO THIS, IT IS A MUST
Stages 2 and 3 ARRIVE!
Run a tap through your control arm threads!
Engine mounted
Miscellaneous progress toward first start
More misc progress
Subframe, hard mounts, and control arms installed
Fuse box and BCM fuse diagrams courtesy of Bradr
Turbo intercooler plumbing and air intake installed
After MANY pages of wiring troubleshooting with the good members of this forum, got the first key start!
Spoiler installed
Rear end built
Parking brake and shifter installed
5-point harnesses installed
Engine cover cut
Front- and rear-facing camera installation preview
Links to camera items I chose to install
Minor body work, body panels wrapped and installed, vinyl logos (courtesy of @lksohm) installed
More "finished" pics
ACTUALLY finished pics, lol!
Information pertaining to Montana registration, and insurance coverage
Titled and street legal!


Put a deposit in on another donor this morning. I'll pick it up next weekend, and it's a beauty. It will take the bitter taste of my first donor out of my mouth, real quick.

For $1700, I'm getting a 2008 Cobalt SS/TC with 78k on the odometer and (somehow) a clean title. But the accident was bad enough to blow the bags and damage the fuse box, coolant reservoir, turbo intercooler, driver-side CV axle, and driver-side control arm. In spite of that, this donor runs like a champ. The dealer was great to work with; he understood my pain and took the time to loop the intercooler hoses so he could show me a good start. He was also good enough to dig out the title for me and confirm the 78k odometer reading (it was stubborn and didn't want to show on the gauge cluster because of all the warnings present).

This one also has some pretty decent sellables. Not as much as the original donor, but the trunk lid and spoiler are perfect and should bring in more than the $75 I got for the other one. It's also got the late-model SS seats and Brembo brakes, both of which are probably worth a good bit as resells.

So, here she is:

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Desert Sasqwatch

Goblin Guru
2008 SS/TC with driver's side damage....hmmm, somehow that seems familiar. :rolleyes: 78,000 mile is a great low mile car, hopefully the person did regular oil changes and other maintenance.

Hope the suspension damage did not bend the front subframe. The LCA can be found easy enough, the axle will be a little harder. Make sure to check the steering rack to make sure it did not get damaged.

Looks good and hope there are no surprises during teardown! :D

Ark :D

Goblin Guru
I still have my first donor's subframe and coolant reservoir, so I think I'm covered there (unless they're different...). I'm probably going to swap the CV axles for a NA/SS/SC pair for the smaller wheel hub diameter and convert to 4-lug hubs. I was reading about that and there doesn't seem to be a problem doing that, even with the increased horsepower. And finally, I have a control arm on the way already. :)

I will, however, have to buy a fuse box. Apparently they changed between 07 and 08. /eyeroll

Desert Sasqwatch

Goblin Guru
Ark, sounds like you have a better 'restart' going this time and have a plan in place to use items from your first donor. Two thumbs up!

Ark :D

Goblin Guru
Dang, that's a great site. Already found what I needed, thanks ... but I'm not going to lose my cool this time around; I'm going to have the car in my possession before I order anything (I'm not 100% certain the current fuse box can't be used).


Goblin Guru
Dang, that's a great site. Already found what I needed, thanks ... but I'm not going to lose my cool this time around; I'm going to have the car in my possession before I order anything (I'm not 100% certain the current fuse box can't be used).
there are some tricks to that site just pm me when you are ready for some things I have found with it.

Ark :D

Goblin Guru
Question: can a Cobalt move under its own power with a missing driver-side cv axle? From what I'm finding out there, the car will move but obviously driving it is a terrible, terrible idea. I'm just trying to plan ahead for getting the car into my garage this weekend.

Thanks in advance.


Well-Known Member
My cobalt sure didn't move like that. My donor had a disconnected driver side axle (accident broke the steering knuckle and strut and disconnected the driveshaft). I had the frame sitting on a dolly under the driver front corner, driver front wheel removed; I could put it in 1st or reverse on my F35 manual transmission with G85 LSD and it didn't go anywhere when just the passenger wheel was on the ground. It just spun the driver side output cup on the transmission. Once I removed the passenger front wheel and put that side on a dolly too I could shift into any gear and both sides spun as expected. I haven't finished building my goblin yet but I'm assuming it'll be fine once reassembled fully.

I think I had a little clutch slip happening but I know the output shafts were spinning so it wasn't just a failed clutch.

Ark :D

Goblin Guru
Good info. I suspect that's just a side effect of having the LSD. I forgot to check if my new donor has the LSD or not ... I knew I'd forget something. Either way, I think I'll just plan to have a few people on deck to help push this weekend.

Thank you.


Goblin Guru
baustin - your car should have moved, if the parts are working correctly.
A limited slip differential should limit the amount of torque going to one wheel, and give some torque to the other wheel.

So Ark, If you have a LSD diff, it should move forward, if you have an open diff, it won't.


Well-Known Member
The failure to drive with 1 wheel is why I replaced the clutch, pressure plate and flywheel (haven't driven it yet but using the lightweight flywheel). I was expected with LSD it'd still pull the dolly that had some terrible casters might've been equivalent to a parking brake to fight.

If you have to dolly the car, check the casters under weight if you can to see if they roll free enough.

Desert Sasqwatch

Goblin Guru
Actually, the LSD will not transmit torque to the wheel with traction if there is zero resistance on the slipping side - or if you have no tire or axle connected. This excerpt is from one of many different webpages about LSDs:
Limited Slip Differential
Limited slip differentials transmit equal torque to both wheels when driving straight. However, when one wheel spins due to loss of traction, a patch of ice, mud, too much throttle, etc., then the unit automatically provides more power to the wheel that has traction. Highly effective for daily driving and works well in rain, mud and snow. However, in situations where absolute lockup is needed, a limited slip is not the best choice due to the fact that limited slips do slip in some situations. An example of it slipping would be with one tire in the air. This does not provide enough resistance and the differential acts like it's open or standard counterpart.
I know this to be true with my Jeep limited slip, you get one side up in the air and it is a no go - so I have air lockers now! :cool:

Ark :D

Goblin Guru
Well, this is going quite well so far. I have not listed a single part for sale yet, and in fact, don't even have the car in my possession yet, but I've already got buyers for the back bumper cover, trunk lid + spoiler, wheels, and even the demolished hood (someone wants it to use as a sled for hauling boulders around their property). Pretty pleased thus far.

Also, the dealer I bought it from clued me in on a good trick, which I'll expand upon once I have the car at home.

Ark :D

Goblin Guru
Got her here, safe and sound. The car was 116 miles away, in Owings, MD. I subscribed to AAA Premiere a week ago and had them tow it here, thus avoiding all the fun of I95 in the Annapolis/Baltimore area. Thanx random AAA guy!


I forgot to look at the trunk plate before I bought it, but I checked it out today and JACKPOT! G85 code, LSD. I am pleased.


Ark :D

Goblin Guru
Is this wheel lock, OEM? My old donor didn't have them and I don't have a key... (I know about the 19mm socket trick but I'd rather do it the right way if I can source a key)


Desert Sasqwatch

Goblin Guru
Check on-line, like eBay. They list many different keys and you may be able to find one. Otherwise check with Autozone, NAPA, O'Reilly's, etc. and they may be able to source one - rather than going through a Stealership.