What Sunfire Parts Are Interchangeable?by Don Kress
The Pontiac Sunfire was produced by General Motors between 1995 and 2005, and is closely related to the Chevrolet Cavalier, which was built during the same period. While the car does have a number of style cues that are different from the Chevrolet Cavalier, the two vehicles are built on the same vehicle platform, known in the industry as the "J" platform. This means that many of the structural parts and mechanical components of the Sunfire are interchangeable with parts produced for the Cavalier. In addition, the underpinnings of the Sunfire did not change between 1995 and 2005, meaning that many of the parts from different model year vehicles are interchangeable, as well.
The interior of the Pontiac Sunfire looks different from the Cavalier, but in fact, the mounting points for all the vehicle's interior components match up with the Cavalier. This means that you could, if you wanted, completely change out your Sunfire's interior with the seats, carpeting and center console of the Cavalier. Because the main body structure is the same, the dashboard is also fully interchangeable with that of the Cavalier. Between Sunfire models, there was no differentiation in the mounting points of interior components between 1995 and 2005, meaning that you could use a 2005 model year seats or other components in a 1995 Sunfire, if you wish.
There is some differentiation between the Cavalier and the Sunfire with regards to exterior panels. However, the doors and quarter panels are the same, as are the sunroof parts, rear view mirrors and the windshield wipers. Body parts that are not interchangeable include the hood, front and rear bumper, spoiler and fenders. Between Sunfire models of different years, any body panel can be changed to reflect a newer body style. For instance, you can change a 1995 Sunfire's front and rear bumper for a 2005 front and rear bumper without modifying the bumper itself.
Engine and Transmission
The engine and transmission of the Pontiac Sunfire are fully interchangeable with the engine and transmission of the Cavalier or with any other year Pontiac Sunfire. The only difference between the engine units of both cars is the plastic molded covers that serve as vanity plates on the engine. In addition, the cooling system and electronic systems are the same, as well. All of these parts are produced by GM's AC Delco unit and are unchanged from model to model. However, the computers should only be interchanged between vehicles that are originally equipped with the same engine. Four different versions of the engine were produced for the Sunfire, and a computer that worked with the Ecotech engine won't work with the 2.3-liter Quad 4.
The running gear of the Pontiac Sunfire, including the suspension components, brakes, wheels and tires remained unchanged during its production. Not only can these parts be utilized for any model year Sunfire, but they can also be utilized on any 1995 through 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier.
- "General Motors Chevrolet Cavalier & Pontiac Sunfire: 1995 thru 2004"; John Haynes; 2005
- "GM Cavalier/Sunfire 1995-00"; The Chilton Editors; 1999
Don Kress began writing professionally in 2006, specializing in automotive technology for various websites. An Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified technician since 2003, he has worked as a painter and currently owns his own automotive service business in Georgia. Kress attended the University of Akron, Ohio, earning an associate degree in business management in 2000.