Chevrolet Cavalier Performance

driftracerdriftracer Member Posts: 2,448
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
First, they don't allow cursing here, so edit your post, please.

RK Sport has everything you can imagine for Cavalier performance. NOPI also offers several things that will boost peak hp and torque.

Bear in mind, just about anything you do that's NOT RK Sport will trash your warranty. RK Sport is a GM subsidiary and their products don't affect the warranty when installed properly.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    #1 post was deleted for profanity. Poster was asking about inexpensive mods to increase performance on 2005 Cavalier without voiding warranty. Driftracer offers suggestions above.

    Poster also wondered about cold air intake. My research indicates that these don't work and that a cannister type (ram-effect) air filtration system would be much better. CAI only works on a cold day (as does your normal filter) and merely sucks warm air into your engine on a warm day, same as your regular filter.

    Any other suggestions for the Cavalier? post 'em here.

  • gmoudygmoudy Member Posts: 67
    “My research indicates that these don't work and that a cannister type (ram-effect) air filtration system would be much better. CAI only works on a cold day (as does your normal filter) and merely sucks warm air into your engine on a warm day, same as your regular filter.”

    I cannot believe you, as the Host, would post such a statement. A little history. In the earlier days, the air filter housing snorkel ended in the engine compartment. This being done, all you ever got was hot engine air. Later on they decided to route the input to the filter housing to outside the engine compartment. This provided much ‘cooler’ air compared to the engine compartment. Unfortunately, the manufacturers made the run not very straight and constrictive. If someone installs an aftermarket CAI, they will see an improvement. I know! I did not buy an aftermarket CAI, but took off the ‘S’ shaped intake in the fender well and now see an improvement in performance. The input to the filter housing is still in the fender well so that I get cooler air.
    True that Ram Air is the next step in getting even more performance boost. This system forces in even more cooler air than a CAI.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    Well all I can tell you is that friends of mine have tested every CAI they can get their hands on, on a state of the art dynomometer, and they report no or miniscule results--period. They run a very successful tuning shop and don't even recommend the CAI systems on the market. They say cannister systems are the only way to get your money's worth, with the ram effect you talk about

    The logic of CAI escapes me, since the factory systems take in air right behind the grill anyway, and, even worse, on warm days a CAI is sucking in warm air just as warm as a factory system.

    The supposed "non-restrictive" qualities of CAI systems create a lot more noise than horsepower. Possibly at very high rpms with a large displacement engine, you might gain a couple HP under very ideal conditions. Hardly worth the trouble IMO.

    Your experiment really supports the contention, in my mind, that CAIs arent' in fact worth the money, since some tuners report that by merely cutting a hole in the factory air box, they outperformed the CAI easily.
  • gmoudygmoudy Member Posts: 67
    First, I did not say that I cut a hole in the factory air box. On the Cavalier, the input to the air box is in the fender well, outside of the engine compartment. The input has an 'S' shaped input snorkel. Removing this gives a more easier air intake.
    Second, outside air is 'cooler' than engine compartment air. Some CAI systems do not exit the engine compartment. Those systems I would not buy. The systems that extend outside the engine compartment will receive the 'cooler' air.
    Third, the larger vehicles air intakes are right behind the grill. Most smaller vehicles route the systems to the fender well than right in back of the opening underneath the front headlights.

    "The supposed "non-restrictive" qualities of CAI systems create a lot more noise than horsepower. Possibly at very high rpms with a large displacement engine, you might gain a couple HP under very ideal conditions. Hardly worth the trouble IMO. "

    The CAI system does give a little more noise than the factory system, but that is because of all the baffling the factory does on the air intake to reduce this noise.
    As far as doing a Dyno test on CAIs, for me it is hard to see how you can get good 'real world' results when the vehicle is sitting still and the air that is getting sucked in is whatever the air temperature is in the garage at the time of the test. Try take a stock from the factory Cavalier on a road test. After you are done, remove the restrictive "s" snorkel intake and run the same road test. See if you do not see an improvement in horsepower. I sure did!! It's A FACT with my Z24.
  • driftracerdriftracer Member Posts: 2,448
    the difference in a short intake vs a cold air system? No doubt, one of the cheap intakes where the filter is at the top of the engine, sitting in the perfect place to draw hot air, may sound cool, but hurts performance. Many of the wanna-be sticker boys get their alleged "intakes" or "cold air systems" off of ebay or JC Whitney and think they're some hopped up street racer because their car sounds cool when they jump on it - problem is, they're now slower than stock.

    A true cold air system draws air from outside the engine, usually low in the compartment, and can improve performance SOME (like 1-2%). No major gains, like so many vendors claim...
  • gmoudygmoudy Member Posts: 67
    I agree with you. It's a shame that the Mr. Shiftright doesn't think so. I agree that the improvement is not that high, but it is better than the stock system in the vehicle.
  • driftracerdriftracer Member Posts: 2,448
    not the bogus 10-15 hp claim by many manufacturers - 1% is 1 hp on your car.

    Add it because it sounds cool and looks cool, don't expect any performance from it.

    Mr Shiftright has plenty of experience to draw from and his opinions are directly in line with mine on this.

    Install it if it makes you feel better, and your buddies go nuts in the parking lot when you pop your hood - just don't expect to see dyno or quater mile results.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    What I said or meant to say and possibly didn't do a good job with, is that the horsepower gains " in the real world" are apparently not worth the money you spend for a CAI. You need to drop I believe 10 degrees I(and that's ALL the time you're driving) to gain 1% HP ON THE TOP END.

    So, if you figure that you're not always going to be 10 degrees cooler (especially on a warm day), and that you're not always going to be in the top end, and that 1% is hardly noticeable, and that you could lose that 1% with low air pressure in your tires or other variables that occur in your engine---well, what's the point of it?

    Also I've seen some CAI installations that are downright dangerous---they are too low in the airstream and there's a risk of hydro-locking.

    Having said all that, there may be some cars where it's worth it, maybe the older machines, but I have never seen a really bad design on air intake in a modern car.

    And we haven't even talked about people using air filters you oil up, which have been causing grief to MAF sensors and clogging up on dusty roads.

    I was once much more in favor of CAI but the more I read and the more pro people I talk to, the less and less I think of them as worth the effort and money. If you gave me one for free, sure I'd try it.
  • gmoudygmoudy Member Posts: 67
    You need to look at the intake on the Cavalier. That 'S' shaped entry in between the fender well will surely slow down the amount of air entering the system. Taking that off will ease the breathing of the intake. Let us not forget that we are talking 4 cyclinder engine.
    I know the increase is not alot, but if the flow is smother and the air is cooler, meaning the air is cooler outside the engine compartment than inside the engine compartment, than the car will run better and might even get better gas milage.
  • gmoudygmoudy Member Posts: 67
    Maybe you like to make a domestic car look '[non-permissible content removed]', I Do Not! My car is stock except for taking off the 'S' snorkel entry to the air filter box.
    Further, I don't know how you think you can Dyno air flow. Read all my postings. Kinda hard to Dyno air intake performance from a CAI or Ram Air scoop when the vehicle is sitting still and in a garage.
  • gmoudygmoudy Member Posts: 67
    Gotta talk to you about the air filters you oil up. I have been using a K&N filter for years in my 1998 Z24. No problems. I believe that your statement goes towards those individuals who spray too much oil on the filter. The clogging on dusty roads, yes I can see that if the air filter is exposed, like the ones at the end of some of the CAIs. I have not had that problem. I can only state that my experiences and the minor mods I have done to my Z24 have helped it breath easier, seen quicker response on acceleration, and my gas milage has stayed high. By that, let me give just a little background. I use my Z24, for the past year, drive back and forth to work which is round trip 36 miles. I do some city driving. I have been averaging 31 mpg. When I take a trip with the car, I get 34 mpg with the air running. This is better than EPA on the car. I guess I did something right by doing the minor mods I have done.
    My car still looks stock. So does the engine compartment. But it has surprised alot of people on how quick it still is and always has been.
    I believe you and I should put this thing to rest and state, you have your likes and I have mine. I know for my application, what I have done works great for me. It might not be for everyone.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    I dunno, I've done a LOT of reading and research, and I am personally more and more convinced that these sytems are not worth the money and time we spend on them. If 2-3 HP at 6000 rpm (maybe) is worth it to you, then by all means go for it.

    The claims simply do not seem to hold up to any kind of rational and methodical testing. The evidence is all anecdotal and can't translate onto a dyno or a time slip with any sort of reliability and certainty. Why? The "improvements" are so small as to fall into the normal variables of dyno testing or driver error/skill.

    On the other hand, you put a turbo, or a custom intake and larger injectors on a car, and you can measure it decisively.

    If people building big HP tuner cars tell me they don't work, I am hard pressed to discount their advice because they know so much more than I do about it.

    So I'm just passing professional opinion to you along with my own reading and research. It all tilts to a very high level of skepticism and doubt about claims for significant power increases through CAIs or "free flow" air filtration.

    I think I qualified this by saying that the ram-effect cannister systems coming out of Europe are better.
  • driftracerdriftracer Member Posts: 2,448
    what I'm talking about, gmoudy. Have a nice day, and good luck with your Cavalier.

    And by the way, if you think that a stationary roller dyno is the only way to measure performance on a vehicle, think again.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    The dyno question is interesting, because if we say "you can't test CAI with a dyno" then we must also say "you can't believe the dyno numbers that the makers of CAI put in their ads".

    So that's an impasse right there.

    I dunno what to say. When real smart people who do this for a living adamantly tell me to save my money on this stuff, it's hard for me to ignore it.

    But nobody knows everything about everything, that's true.

    Now and then a car will fool you. I remember a non-cat Porsche Turbo where a Flowmaster muffler of all things gave some GREAT results. Oddly enough, the completely non-restrictive muffler they tried prior made the car worse, but the Flowmaster, which has SOME restriction, really helped in the high end of the band.

    This is not something I would have predicted.

    So maybe on a very old car with a big engine, a CAI might give a noticeable improvement. The engine builders tell me that the more the cubes, the more the chances of CAI or K&N registering a couple horsepower.
  • driftracerdriftracer Member Posts: 2,448
    and cycle-wheel test equipment WILL show results and comparisons for parts installed and tested during driving cycles.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    There are lots of real world reports over in K&N Air Filters, bolt-on power? for those interested in aftermarket air filters.

    Steve, Host
  • skyler8622skyler8622 Member Posts: 2
    i just bought my cavalier a week or two ago and would like to know what would be the best thing for me to do with it to start????????

    what are some of the cheaper things i could do???????

    and what should i do in the future to improve the performance of the car in general???????

    for any suggestions.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    Actually the first thing I'd do if I were you is save up for a set of better tires. If you want to wait until your OEM tires wear out, then maybe you'd enjoy a really good set of shocks on that car for better response, and a performance exhaust system (more for sound that speed in reality). These things shouldn't cost too much money and you'll enjoy the car more.
  • skyler8622skyler8622 Member Posts: 2
    the car is a '95 and i've already put new tires, belts, hoses, battery, and almost fully restored engine( i only paid $450 bucks for it but it runs like a dream ).

    i read some of the messages and still don't understand the real difference between CAI and Ram, could u explain it and is it really worth it??????????????
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    Your question is actually kind of complicated and doesn't have a set answer.

    CAI is really about the placement of the filter, and the RAM AIR is more about the nature, size and routing of the tubing going to the engine's throttle body or carburetor or whatever is gulping in the air to the engine.

    So CAI is relying on dropping the air temperature into the engine for more power (denser air has more oxygen) and the RAM systems are about forcing large amounts of air into the engine "for free" as you build up speed. Of course it's not that simple as you don't get more and more pressure the faster you go...and the design, length and diamater of the tubing on RAM systems is pretty sophisticated (or should be) if it's going to work.

    One thing I can tell you with some assurance is that while a well designed CAI system or short-ram system may give you some HP (depending on how good or bad your STOCK system is), thing that doesn't work is a simple "drop-in" so-called "free-flow" filter.

    So is it worth it, a CAI or RAM system? To answer that you'd have to research some site or contact some person who has done it on your car AND tested it accurately.

    Many dyno tests on modern cars are completely wrong because the engines are so complex in computer regulation that the dyno numbers jump all over the place as the engine runs from one "map" to another. I'd imagine that VTEC type engine are particularly difficult to dyno accurately.

    But I think, from all the reading I've done, that the very best result you could expect from the best designed and most expensive system (and some of these are difficult to install and quite $$$) might be 15 HP or so, and with a typical CAI running outside the engine bay, maybe 5-9HP. Same-o, same-0 with RAM, depending. I think anything over 15 HP would be exceptional results.
  • z24blacknblackz24blacknblack Member Posts: 3
    I've been searching for awhile now for a decent looking supercharger kit for my 2002 2dr Z24 coupe. Anyone out there with suggestions or comments go for it. Anything welcome. Its a 2.4l with stock 150 hp.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    Have you checked Vortech at all?
  • hyde552hyde552 Member Posts: 3
    What are some good mods for 05 cavalier, and is a cold air intake actually worth the money? someone please this 140 horse power 4 cylinder. proud member if the U.S. military
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    Well if the Cavalier stock air box and runner system has lots of kinks in it, or is mounted in such a way as to allow absorbsion of engine heat (poor insulation) ...yeah...a good cold air intake might be worth it.

    Factors in deciding whether it's worth it would be the difficulty of the particular installation, and whether they place the air intake so low as to put the engine at risk from scooping up water on the road.
  • gmoudygmoudy Member Posts: 67
    Most all Cavalier owners take the stock air intake off and install a Cold Air Intake. It will help the car perform better since it will be less restrictive than the stock system.
  • mandm2005mandm2005 Member Posts: 1
    Ok, I am new to the board and am typically a big 4X4 Chevy v-8 guy; however, I bought my wife a 05 Cavalier LS auto...loaded as much as you can get a Cavalier. It is very nice looking, doesn't ride like a skateboard and gets good mileage. She does complain about, and I have noticed as well, it is rather "loathy" off the line and when passing. When you first hit the gas off the line, or when hammering down to pass, it starts off kind of slothy and then after a couple of seconds it will finally start to move...pretty decent for a 4 banger. In particular when kicking down, there seems to be quite a delay from the time you tromp the gas, until it actually shifts down. Is there anything that can be done about this delay, or the loathiness? I have always been sold on CAI for my trucks, computer programmers and such. It seems as though most people on this forum aren't sold on the usefulness of the CAI for this car. I have also done exstensive searches for computer programmers, and there aren't any. There are those darn resistor mods (garbage), that people buy for a buck and then sell on ebay for $5-20. Is there something I am missing. Programmers for my trucks really improve the shift time, and stiffness, and overall performance to include throttle response. What is the deal with this little car? I know it is capable of much more, but what is the ticket? Obviously I don't want to cram 3-5 grand into a car like this, but it needs some help. Can someone provide some real guidance? I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks, Mark
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    You might want to investigate the gearing on this car--it could be that for economy that both transaxle and transmission ratios are for the loafer, not the speedster.

    A CAI theoretically can improve throttle response. I'm not sure if you can buy an aftermarket throttle body for this car or not, but that's a possible way to go.
  • hyde552hyde552 Member Posts: 3
    I found a Trans Tuner on the RK sport website but I'am not shure if it will make any differnce to my automatic cavalier or anyone elses if anyone has any input or maybe can shed some light on the suject that would be great. The only thing thats been said about mods for cavaliers is an CAI but thats up to the investor if you think it's worth it or not. Our cavalier is an automatic as you have read so my question to any good tuner is it worth wasteing my time and money on any performance parts since the trans is an automatic. The simple bolts are all available I just don't know if its worth the money. ex: (headers,exhaust,intake) and so on. If this part will help please let me know.
  • yamadog1134yamadog1134 Member Posts: 1
    Not to get into your argument but I have a 05 cavy and I have put a simple cone k&n filter on the end of my stock intake arm, and I have noticed a massive difference in power. My next goal is to get a set of under drive pulley's and carbon fiber hood. A friend of mine that is trying despritly to have a better car than I have. Bought a 05 cavalier and has bought a cold air intake from rk sport, well before i get into this mabey i should list the other mods

    single chamber flowmaster
    k&n filter (cone)
    shocks nothing special but better than stock

    he has the same mods except magnaflow exhaust

    Well we ran them and the cold air intake didn't help him at all i barley beat him so personally I dont think it is worth it unless you want a show car with little go!
  • tmnelsontmnelson Member Posts: 1
    has anyone had a problem with the 2003 model accelerator stciking and causing the engine to rev up? :lemon:
  • hyde552hyde552 Member Posts: 3
    Could someone checkout the Trans tuner interceptor on the RKsport website for a 2005 cavalier automatic and tell me if it is a worthy investment as far as stronger/smoother shifts, the RK sport rep guy was trying to tell me it could be good for making the car a little better at takeoffs for racing.??????????
  • xplicit_cavy05xplicit_cavy05 Member Posts: 2
    Yo, I bought a new 05 Cavy. I was thinking about puttin on a CAI. But from what I've been reading. He saying that its worth it, then another sayin its not. However, if I were to put one on where should I put it? and can I make a custom CAI. ANYONE PLZZZ.....
  • darestiedarestie Member Posts: 3
    I have a stock 05 2D cavalier with a 5spd. A while back someone mentioned putting a K&N cone air filter on the end of their stock intake arm. I've noticed how the end however is oval shaped. does anyone know if there is an adapter I can buy. or can the K&N filter fit right on. Thank's
  • xplicit_cavy05xplicit_cavy05 Member Posts: 2
    Yo I noticed the same thing. I think you can put an Air Filter onto the end cap. The filter sould adjusting rubber on its back with a clamp to clamp onto. I mean I dont know, let me know if you can do it. AND THERE MIGHT BE AN ADAPTER...
  • z24_cavalierz24_cavalier Member Posts: 2
    had that problem with a 98 Z24, was told by the dealer that a "partial" tune up was needed. Which means cleaning out the throttle body. I have not cleaned it yet, but it has not stuck again. It first happened about 3 years ago.
  • gimmpygimmpy Member Posts: 1
    i have a cavy 01 and i am tired of the pathetic sound she makes i need to add sum growl to my girl.... so if there is any in expensive way to give her sum growl lemme kno
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    I'm not a big fan of coffee cans, but maybe a ram-air intake and a hi-flow catalytic (or just a cat-back aftermarket muffler like from Flowmaster or Ansa) shouldn't set you back too much.

    You want to be careful about noise. What sounds nice at idle or low speeds can drive you nuts hour after hour on the highway.
  • cavyneedsworkcavyneedswork Member Posts: 12
    does neone know if i can put a cobalt ss engine in my cavy ?
  • cavyneedsworkcavyneedswork Member Posts: 12
    or will it be cheaper to get 99 2.4 and build it up to where i can put a supercharger on that one?
  • gmoudygmoudy Member Posts: 67
    Cheaper getting a 2.4 and building it up. Trying to transfer a SS into a Cavalier, you will also need to change out the PCM also. Too much work and too expensive. Use the money to build up a 2.4
  • cavyneedsworkcavyneedswork Member Posts: 12
    where is the best place to look for engine performance parts? I want to get pistons, cams, cam gears, lifters, roller rockers, a crank and, etc.
  • cavpatcavpat Member Posts: 1
    For the intake. There's an oval metal ring inside the end of the stock intake arm, pull that out and you can make the arm round to fit your filter.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    This forum is strictly for modifications and customizations, so I'm going to move your post to our regular

    Chevy Cavalier Forum

    see you there!

  • umbrellaincreumbrellaincre Member Posts: 1
    Hey, I drive a z24 with a 4t4oe. Does anyone out there make a performance built replacement for the 4t4oe, I've checked B&M, but they only make performance automatics for older cars and chevy v6s and 8s. IF YOU HAVE ANY RELEVANT INFORMATION, please reply to this post. IF YOU WOULD RATHER RIDICULE ME FOR CHOOSING AUTO OVER STANDARD, than please read below, and don't bother replying.

    Long have automatic transmissions been shunned, but they've dominated racing for a long time. Now, of course, top fuel dragsters don't even have transmissions, and some classes of racing require a manual, but many racing cars use [highly modified] automatics, or so called "sequential manuals" which are nothing more than an automatic that lets you select the "gear".
    The pros of a manual transmission are they are more easily modified to handle more power, they typically (as is the case with the cavalier) have better gear ratios, and they are cool and fun. Let's not get into the issue of numbers, since while more gears has its advantages, 4 is really all you need (3 works, but is admittedly outdated).
    The cons of a manual is that they are suseptable to driver error, and they all but require that you disengage the clutch to shift gears. This momentarily interupts the flow of power to the wheels.
    An automatic transmission may not have the same ratios, and it is far too pedestrian for some young folks eager to have a cool ride. But it does all the thinking for you, almost never makes a mistake, and shifts out of one "gear" and into the next instantly, with little or [frequently] no power interuption.
    To credit the 4t4oe, its ratios are quite snappy, and it will hold its gear to redline if pushed. It can also handle more power than most people give it credit for.
  • cavyneedsworkcavyneedswork Member Posts: 12
    Does neone know where i can get good performance parts for a 2.4 twin cam. I'm mainly looking for internal mods though like pistons, cams, and stuff like that.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Member Posts: 4,421
    What sounds nice at idle or low speeds can drive you nuts hour after hour on the highway.

    ... and keep local noise ordinances (and your neighbors) in mind too please.
  • adambomber8adambomber8 Member Posts: 1
    What are the 5 bigest engines i could drop into my 98' cavalier?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,482
    You can put anything you want in there if you have the money. V-10 Viper, no problem, just takes cash. But seriously...... If you mean an easy bolt-in type of thing, I dunno, you'd have to do some research. I don't recall anything that fits. Most people with this type of car will work with what they have. Anyone got any ideas for him?
  • cavyneedsworkcavyneedswork Member Posts: 12
    take a 2.4 twin cam and bore it out and put a cam in it and then procharge it, along with all the other minor neccecities. thats what im tryin to do but i cant find any good catalogs to order out of for the parts i need
  • jlittlejlittle Member Posts: 2
    is it possiable to put a V6 engine in a 97 2door cavalier LS..if not what about the 98 Cavalier engine into a 97 Cavalier? i found a nice supercharger for the LS 98 and i wanted to know if the swap was possiable?
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