The Cavalier Project (Page 4)

Photos and writeup by Trevor Freeman.

With the holidays over I went to a local A/C shop I found in the phone book. The guy was very honest and installed a rebuilt compressor that worked better than anything I'd ever had before. He said in his 20 years of fixing A/C systems he had never seen a compressor as destroyed as mine. Wow!

While browsing around eBay I spied a set of Eibach Pro-Kit springs and KYB GR2 struts for sale. I won the auction for $250 including shipping. The seller had some shipping problems and it took a month for them to get to my house. The ride is quite stiff but it looks perfect from the outside.
Lowered 1.4 inches front and back. March 2007. Lowered 1.4 inches front and back. March 2007.

Before heading out on my Mississippi Road Trip I installed a Hayden Rapid-Cool 677 Transmission Oil Cooler, rated for vehicles up to 20,000 lbs. Installing it was fairly straightforward, though I did have to get an adapter fitting kit so it would work with the stock transmission line connector. It is mounted on the drivers side in front of the radiator, and goes through the Hayden unit after the stock cooler. While on the trip my alternator died and I had it replaced at a shop in Little Rock.
Hayden Rapid-Cool 677 Transmission Oil Cooler. June 2007. Installed in front of the radiator. June 2007.

Because the window tint was bubbled up and peeling, I decided to remove it myself using directions from the Internet. I used steel wool, ammonia, a glass scraper, and the midday sun to peel it right off in big sheets. There was a lot of cleaning involved and the ammonia gave me a nasty headache. It also stained my rear door panels with tiny white spots. Beware of doing-it-yourself to save money!
Removing the window tint. August 2007.

Also in August I stopped by the junkyard and hit the jackpot: a washer fluid pump and hose to replace my dry-rotted one, and a pair of Z24 side skirts that I purchased for $10 dollars each! They looked awful but I knew I could fix them up. Sanding and priming didn't take long at all.
Z24 side skirts from the junkyard. August 2007. Z24 side skirts from the junkyard. August 2007.

Fitting the side skirts to my car required making small notches near the fenders in each one. I painted them with five or six cans of Duplicolor Bright White paint (wetsanding between coats) and a few coats of clear for protection. While they looked great on their own, they didn't match the car too well. They are held on with 10 ft (5 ft per side) of 3M Molding Tape and some plastic pop-rivets that I drilled holes for. Everything looks great from ten feet away.
Z24 side skirts sanded and primered. September 2007. Z24 side skirts being painted. August 2007.

Cavalier sedan with Z24 kit and wheels. October 2007.

There have been a lot of other small projects which I have not taken the time to document. This includes reupholstering the sun visors (didn't work out so well), soldering all of the speaker connections and using heat shrink tubing, stalling out the car while crossing a DEEP body of standing water (and removing the spark plugs to blow the water out of the engine), and all sorts of other wacky adventures. You've never met a car so forgiving as this one.

Please continue to page five for more pictures and modifications.