Hello all. It's been a long time since I've done a good how-to. But this is a good one. At least I hope you'll think so. For some time I've wanted to swap on the SS facia to my LS. Well about 7 months ago I got wacked by a guy that backed into me. Then I moved to Tennessee where there is no front license plate, so I have the drilled holes. So it was time to finally do it. Can't see it too well, but here it is:
In case you have ever wondered if swapping different kinds of facias onto different cars works, it does. There are a couple of issues which I'll show you here. Also, my car has the RK Sport lip on it. You'll see that in the pictures as we go, but don't worry. It doesn't effect anything.
So the first step to any project like this is WASH YOUR @!#$!
Seriously people. I can't tell you how much it pains me to see people working on their nasty ass, filthy cars. A clean car is a happy car, and it's easier to work on.
So here's our project:
Take that thinggy on the left and swap it with the one on the right. Here's what you need:
Jack and Stands
19mm Socket (wheel lugs) and Driver handles
7 and 10 mm nut drivers or sockets
Assorted screw drivers
Torq's bit drivers (for the fog lights)
Start by getting the car jacked up and take off the front wheels.
Now we just start taking off fasteners. Start with the wheel well. Theses are 7mm.
You don't have to completely remove it. After you get it loose from the front, just fold it back for the time being.
Work your way across underneath, removing all of the fasteners for the lower air dam. There is one push-on fastener at each corner.
At this point, the air dam will be removed. This bring us to issue #1.
The air dam will not work on the different facia. It's a different shape. If you are simply replacing your facia directly, no problem. Otherwise, you won't be able to use this part again. So set it and it's fasteners aside.
Now unplug the fog light harnesses
Okay, before leaving the bottom end, don't forget the two big plastic pins under the lower grill.
Now you're done underneath. Move up to the headlights. Remove them completely. Start with the bolts that attach the light to the frame:
You can tilt the headlight out right now, or continue and take off the frame bolts too.
Now you have to tilt the light out. It's a little tricky, you have push the inside of the light in and twist the fixture out. The key is, don't force anything. It will come out smoothly, you just have to wiggle it a little. Unplug the harness and set them aside, and then take off the lower frame bolts.
Okay, on the left headlight (driver side), the OAT (outside air temp) sensor is attached to it. Just unplug the harness and leave it in the frame.
Now take off the grill fasteners up top. You're going to remove the grill along with the facia. It's easier that way.
Last spot are the large bolts that attach the facia to the fender. This is why you took the headlight frame off.
There is a bracket that goes along with those bolts. Keep them together. Don't worry if they get mixed up, they only go on one way.
Okay, that's it. Pull the facia off the car.
Okay, with the two facias next to each other, start swapping parts from one over the other. The grill and styrofoam insert can swap as a unit:
You don't really need to much guidance here. It's very obvious once you get it in front of you. The fog lights however are a bit more tricky. I tried to find an easier way to do this for you guys. But there just isn't. So here's what you do. First remove the two mounting screws at the bottom.
Then screw out the adjusting screw from the front to completely remove the light from the mount.
Having an LS, I had to remove the grill inserts to get at that adjuster. Here's a picture of that:
Now pop the frame off. You have to remove the light first to do this, there is no other way.
Now, look above again at those two tiny little rubber grommets over the screw holes for the mounting screws. They fall off and get lost really easy. Don't lose them. I lost one and I'm pissed.
Okay, clean up the lights and swap them over onto the new facia. Installation of the facia back on the car is pretty much the reverse of removal, so I don't have a lot of pictures of that except for these couple.
Here is issue #2:
The new facia is lower then the original, and the last screw on the wheel well wont match up with the new, lower facia. It's not a big problem actually. I will probably get SS wheel wells at some point just to complete the installation. But for now, it really doesn't create a problem.
Here's the finished product:
Now once you put your headlights back on, your probably going to think to yourself "Damn, those fit horribly! What the hell did I do wrong?" Trust me, you did nothing wrong. All Cobalt headlights fit like @!#$. Seriously. Yours probably fit like @!#$ before you took them off and you just didn't notice. It's pretty normal actually.
I have ordered the SS/TC grill set from Crate Engine Depot (Tom is the man). That will fill in the hole. It would have been nice to have had it during this job since it would have been super simple to install it with the facia off the car, but it's really not that much harder with it still on.
I'm going to look into getting the SS air damn as well. I'm thinking it will help with a little support around that bottom edge. I'm guessing it's pretty cheap. Then I'll put my RK Sport lip back on to finish it up. I bought a brand new one and got it painted at the same time as the facia.