New face, new life, new alias. The Savvy Cavvy is going places!
The 1995-1999 Cavalier is a handsome little bugger as far as compacts go...
But, I’ve always been a fan of the 2000-2002 Cavalier refresh. It’s such a subtle refresh that makes the front end cleaner looking with its crisper lines. The front end conversion I’m doing is based off the LS model which ditches the integrated foglight housing of the Z24 for open air slats on the bumper cover.
I’m also doing a JDM conversion of the headlamp assemblies. It’s had to tell from this stock photo, but the JDM had a tweak on their corner lenses. The corner lens has two purposes on this model, to alert drivers from the front and side that you’re making a turn...no surprise there. The way the Cavalier does this is by having the turn bulb face forward with a giant amber reflective lense right next to it to reflect the light to the side. Simple, yet effective.
Japan’s regulations are slightly different to the U.S so GM had to necessitate a change to comply with them. They took out the reflective inner amber lens insert and added a standalone side turn indicator on the fender.
The first order of business is to assemble all the pieces for a conversion from a 95-99 to a 00-02.:
x1 Bumper cover/x2 full headlamp housings with corner lights/x2 Headlight bulbs with their sockets and wiring intact for front only (no corner lights needed as stock bulb/wiring plug and play into them)/OPTIONAL X2 00-02 fenders (stock ones will work but you have to do minor cutting and drilling for clearance when mounting new headlamps)
I already had a white 2000 LS bumper lying around in my back yard for a couple of months. I just needed the rest of the jazz. It was a simple trip to the junkyard and done. Now the work begins. The first step is to convert the corner lenses to JDM spec.
Here’s my 2000 stock lens housing. I’m sure if you by new ones, it’s a lot easier to work with verses the 18 yr old ones that I snagged.
It’s just a matter of separating the lens from the housing, they are only held on by waterproof glue of sorts and with time and patience, you can make that happen. From there, the amber inner lens just slides out with some extreme aggression.
From there you can button up the housing by beading some trusty silicone adhesive and sealant.
The only difference between the fenders from the refresh is the bumper cover mounting hole positioning and the internal metal mount design for the corner housings. The mounting holes are simply drilling new ones to accommodate.
The internal metal housing mounts is just trial and error. You test fit and trim metal until that corner housing is flush and tucked in the fender.
Now we want to wire in the new headlights. My 1997 headlamps had two separate headlamp bulbs, one was daytime driving light while the other pulled normal driving/highbeam duty. The refresh is a single headlight bulb only.
It’s really just a matter of putting square peg in square hole. The wiring is all color coded and you just splice and match them up. The corner light socket is plug and play from the pre-refresh corner bumper turn indicator, so no splicing needed for that one.
We’re almost done. The bumper has x3 plastic shrouds to form fit the bumper cover when it’s mounted. Leave the middle on alone and focus on the outer two. They each have a tab that extends upward from the flush bumper surface. Those need to be flush like the middle one to fit the 00-02 bumper cover.
I just used my sheet metal shears and trimmed it like a bush. Once it looks like that, we can put on the new face.
And we are 98% done! I still have to put on the independent side turn lens housing on the fenders to compete the JDM look. There is leftover turn signal wiring from the 95-97 corners that were unused during the changeover. The plan is to lengthen the wiring to reach the fender and connect it to it’s new home. It was a fun little project, thanks for reading!