If you are using the plastic Corvette valve covers, you will also need the following:
- 1/4" male pipe to 3/8" ID hose barb. Builder's Square Waxman part number 07-811
- 1/2" hose barb to 3/8" hose barb (Builder's Square Waxman part number 07-832) , or make your own using:
- 3/8" pipe double female union
- 3/8" male pipe to 1/2" hose barb
- 3/8" male pipe to 3/8" hose barb
- Washers - 3/16" (you need about 10). 10mm washers also work if you can't find 3/16".
- Fuel Line Disconnect Tool - 5/16" and 3/8" KD Tools #3321. The fuel lines use a quick connect fitting that requires a special tool available at any normal auto parts store. The tool actually consists of a set of quick release tools for newer A/C and fuel fittings. A 6 piece set from JC Whitneys for about $7 (p/n 89XX0707U) which works great.
- Drill bit - 7/8" or larger, or a comparably sized hole saw (used to drill into the covers for the fuel lines).
- Assorted files
- 1/4" to 5/8" fitting for the intake to fit the new power brake booster hose which is smaller than stock. ~$2.
- 1/4" size brake booster valve to go onto the brake booster. ~$2.
- OR Arizona Speed and Marine offers made-to-fit covers for $165 that are polished aluminum. This will save many of the modifications listed below for a bit of extra cash.
- Valve covers, old P/N 10108605 and 10108606, new P/N 12552321 and 12552322, $80 each (net)
- Cap Assembly, P/N 12554955, $3LI>
- Valve Stud, P/N 10108674 (you need eight), $???
- Bolts, P/N 10108675 (you need eight), $???
The valve cover gaskets come with the valve covers, and the crankcase breather adapter grommet comes with the RH valve cover. You need to trim crankcase breather hose to fit new grommet.
There are also some new injector covers available that are used on the Corvette LT4 engines. You will still need all of the other parts from the normal install, above, except for these different covers. The only difference is that they have red lettering instead of the normal black letters:
- LT4 Injector covers: P/N 12552432 & 12552431, about $20 each
- LT4 Throttle Body Plate (called AIR COVER): P/N 17113211, about $10
For those of you with late '95s and '96s, GM changed the design of the pipe/check valve/rubber hose setup over the RH valve cover to a straight pipe design, connected to the check valve, then to the rubber hose, which now makes a u-turn over the cover. The previous design had a small u-turn pipe that connects to the check valve and then a 90 degree rubber elbow hose. This design agreeably looks better than having a rubber hose run across the valve covers. Here are the part numbers for the older, better looking design:
- 10231681 - Pipe Assembly - retail $9.10
- 10217106 - Connector - retail $3.40
- 22040805 - Valve - around $15-$20
- A brass flanged connector that converts a 7/8" male connector to a 1/2" male connector, or female on the 7/8" side and male on the 1/2" side.
Note that if you order your parts from Bob at World Parts, you can just order P/N N800. $39.95, to get the entire injector cover kit set. This includes all of the GM parts required.
- Before you get started, decide if you will be replacing the valve covers with the magnesium units from the 87-92 Vettes, the plastic ones from the 93+ Vettes, or leaving them stock. The Vette covers will prevent rusting and quiet down the noisy LT1 valvetrain. The magnesium covers should be coated to prevent staining (e.g. Jet-Hot). If you are using the stock stamped steel valvecovers, then you should use the RH injector cover from the '92-'93 Corvette application (P/N 10224936) instead of the RH cover listed above. This is because the stock valvecovers have the crankcase vent tube on the top of the cover, as did the Magnesium LT1 valvecovers used on the '91-'92 Corvette. The RH injector cover for those years has a clearance notch for the crankcase vent hose to pass through. You should always use the LH injector cover from 94+ Vettes.
- Because the Corvette brake vacuum hose is smaller in diameter than the stock hose (11/32" ID compared to 1/2" ID), you will need to change the brake vacuum fitting in the intake manifold from the existing 1/2" hose barb to a 3/8" hose barb type. This allows you to attach the smaller diameter Corvette formed brake vacuum hose. The portion that screws into the intake manifold is 1/4" pipe thread. You may want to use teflon sealer on the threads before screwing the fitting in place. Remove the original fitting, take the 1/4" pipe to 3/8" barb fitting, apply some thread sealer, and screw it into the manifold where the original fitting was positioned.
- Attach the Corvette brake booster vacuum hose to this fitting and run it back towards the firewall along the intake manifold valley, and then around behind the LH valvecover. There you will splice that hose to your existing brake vacuum hose with a 3/8" barb to 1/2" barb adapter made up from the brass double female union and 3/8" male pipe to 1/2" and 3/8" male pipe to 3/8" barb fittings. Note that you can also find the correct teflon piece at Builder's Square. This splice can be covered with the 3/4" convoluted plastic tubing for a factory look. Be sure to locate the splice so that you have plenty of slack to put the injector cover on.
- Another way to do this is to replace the check valve in the brake booster with one that fits the Corvette hose correctly. You can The "HELP" part number for the check valve is 80190 and it fits perfectly. This part will fit the smaller 'Vette hose without modifications.
- Once the brake vaccum hose has been re-rounted, you will need to disconnect the fuel lines at the regulator in order to re-route the main engine harness behind the fuel lines. First, and this is very important, you must relieve fuel system pressure and use several rags around the fuel fittings when disconnecting them. You should do this on a cold engine and have a fire extinquisher (preferrably HALON type) nearby. To relieve fuel system pressure, follow the service manual guidelines, or disconnect the fuel pump electrical connector at the rear of the vehicle, start and run the engine until it dies, and then relieve the remaining pressure by depressing the fuel rail schrader valve. Use a rag to catch the fuel that will come out.
- Then proceed to disconnect the fuel line fittings with KD #3321, and wire or tape up the fuel line ends at the firewall to prevent any siphoning of fuel from the tank or dribbling out of the lines. Use the rags to catch any fuel that might dribble out. With the fuel lines now disconnected and secure, reposition the main engine harness to route behind the fuel rail fittings. Then bend both fittings to align with each other, so they project up at the same angle. Use a small screwdriver inserted in the steel lines to act as a handle for minor bending.
- Now get the LH cover, and position it in place the best you can. The purpose is to get an idea of where to drill the holes in the cover for the fuel fittings to pass through. The holes will be much larger than the fittings, so you can easily remove the cover in the future and slide it up on the fuel lines without having to disconnect them. If you like, you can notch the cover later by using a hacksaw to continue the holes towards the rear, but it looks much better with just the holes and the fuel lines passing through them.
- Now take the cover and drill two 7/8" holes where you estimate the fuel lines will pass through. It is OK if you are off by a little, as the steel lines can be bent slightly to center them in the holes once you put the cover back on. Now set the cover over the steel fuel lines, and check for fit, bending the lines as necessary so they are centered. You can also use a hole saw and drill them a little bit larger, which will make the assembly process easier.
- A nice touch is to use two rubber grommets to cover the drill marks in the covers. They give the covers a factory-finished look, and hide any slivers around the edges of the holes. Just slide them on over the fuel lines and then work them onto holes in the cover.
- There is enough slack in the LH harness to make it work without modifications. You need to take off all of the clips on the harness and stuff it down into the injector area. You may want to unclip the leads from the injectors and disconnect the fuel lines and brake vacuum hose to make this easier. Route the harness behind the engine, being careful of the EGR valve back there. This will require some major tugging and pulling on some engines, but it should go eventually.
- You may also have to grind on the fuel pressure regulator fitting to get the cover to seat properly, and you will have to grind a notch in the cover to clear the fuel pressure regulator towards the center rear of the engine.
- When you are re-arranging the wiring harness to tuck down next to the intake manifold, make sure it is positioned on the outside of the throttle guard plate, between the plate and the valve cover. You do not want any interference with the throttle cable. Then position the brake vacuum hose setup, also tucking it down next to the manifold.
- Now install the metal studs in the intake manifold. It may be necessary to use some 3/16" washers under the two studs on the LH side to raise them enough to get the cover to properly engage. This is only necessary for the LH cover due to the thickness of the wire and hose bundle underneath it. You will have to do some rearranging and compressing of the wire and hose bundle, to get everything to fit nicely with the cover on. In some cases you will have to file down the metal fuel regulator bracket in order to get the injector cover to seat down properly.
- After the LH injector cover is in place, re-attach the fuel fittings. They are quick connect fittings and should just snap into place. Reconnect the fuel pump electrical connector at the back of the car and be sure the schrader valve cap is installed, then turn the key on (don't start it yet) which will pressurize the fuel system, and check for leaks.
- The RH injector cover is much more easily installed than the LH side. If you are using the '92-'93 style cover (which is required if you are not changing to the Corvette plastic valvecovers), then you may need to trim it in the area where the MAP (Manifold Air Pressure) sensor is mounted at the RH side of the throttle body. Also you will likely have to bend the transmission fill tube to clear the cover at the rear. Bend the transmission dipstick tube back towards the firewall, and to the left towards the wiper motor. After tucking the wires and solenoid down into the intake manifold valley, the RH injector cover should neatly snap into place.
- The canister purge solenoid is mounted to the bracket for the triangular resonator on all '94s and '95s. Since this bracket will be removed, you will have to relocate the solenoid. You can get the Corvette bracket for this, but since it is hidden, you could also take a large hose clamp, drill a hole through the band, and screw it to intake manifold. You will see a threaded hole that is perfect for mounting the clamp bracket directly in the center of the RH side. Then simply put the solenoid in the clamp, and tighten it down. Space is a little tight there, so you may want to go the hose clamp route instead of the bracket.
- Alternatively, there is a separate bracket available (from the Z28). It's called an emission bracket, part number 10229207 ($2.69). Pick up the bolt also since it is very small and metric, part no. 11514607. This bracket mounts to the horizontal hole (about 6mm) in the center of the manifold. Trim off the little extra piece of it that protrudes upward. This allows it to clear the manifold cover. Again, on '96 models, this will not be needed as it comes attached to the manifold (it is no longer attached to the home plate mounting bracket).
- After the injector covers are installed, the plastic cable clips will go into the two holes in the LH cover, and hold the accelerator and cruise cables close to the cover for a neat appearance, and to prevent them from abrading against the hood insulation.
- Now you can install the throttle linkage cover. You must remove the splash shield that is currently there, it will be discarded, along with the bolt that held it in. Remove the LH upper throttle body screw and attach the short "L" bracket for the linkage cover underneath it. Set the cover in place and use one of the small screws you bought to attach it to the linkage bracket.
The CB will allow you to remain in contact with others and won't be an eyesore when mounted properly in the Impala. Note that this procedure also works for other radio equipment or scanners.
You will have to drill two small holes in the ashtray brackets, or, for some wider CB's, you can use tie wraps to attach the CB to the ashtray mounting brackets. In either case, you give up the use of the ashtray, which means no cupholders in 96's.
- CB Radio, your choice. Around $100.
- CB Antenna, your choice. Around $50.
- Allen wrench
- Phillips and Flat Screwdrivers
- Power Drill
- 7mm Ratchet
- Black plastic wire ties
- wire cutters.
- Plastic Dip vinyl coating
- Center punch & hammer
- Soldering iron & electrical solder
- Crimp-on blade and ring connectors
- Crimping tool
- Black wire (within size range of connectors)
- Dremel Tool & safety glasses
- SWR meter & 2-3 ft. length of RU-58 coax with female connectors (available at any Radio Shack, and may be included with the SWR meter).
Procedure (from Randy Stone and Louis Pascucci ) :
- No holes for the antenna are required. Most radios come with mounting hardware, so you shouldn't need to buy any screws. The speaker is in the radio, so you don't need to worry about installing a separate one, and the only wires to run are the antenna cable and power leads.
- The antenna is, of course, personal choice, but we really like the K40. Not only can you adjust the angle of the whip, but you can remove the whip and cap the base with an optional weather cap ($1.25) whenever you are worried about theft or hitting a low ceiling. The angling feature of the K40 comes in handy, as you don't have to be as careful about the whip tapping the roof if you open the trunk too fast. In addition to its great styling, it also has the best performance on the market. The Wilson is just as good, but you can't angle it or remove the whip and toss it in the trunk. The K40 is around $50, and you can get an optional loaded whip for about $10 more. This reduces the height of the antenna by about a foot, from 44 inches to 30 inches, in case you're worried about low ceilings, but trades off a small amount of performance.
- You'll probably want to get the trunk lip mount. It is better for the paint than the magnetic mount, and looks better too. Best place to mount it is in the center of the trunk behind the third brake light. I've seen three different trunk lip mount antennas, and they all come with allen screws and an allen wrench.
- Optional: The antenna itself sits on a rubber mount, so there's no possibility of scratches as long as you wax prior to install, but there is a little bare metal where the clamp wraps around the lip of the trunk. You can coat this part of the trunk mount with plastic dip to prevent the possibility of scratches, but leave the clamping screws bare as you need some metal to metal contact for the antenna to work properly.
- Run the cable over to one side of the trunk, anchoring the cable to the driver's side trunk hinge with black plastic wire ties, and through the side of the back seat. Push the seat back forward a little and thread the antenna cable over to the door sill. Make sure you go behind the seat belt. You should be able to push the cable under the rear plastic door sill without having to loosen any screws. Removing the rear seat bottom may help here: just push it back and lift the front. You can push the cable under the plastic piece that covers the driver's seat belt, but if you are afraid it might kink the antenna cable, thread it over the seat belt cover and then back under the driver's door sill. Use a phillip's screw driver to loosen the driver's door sill enough to slip the cable under it. Now thread the cable under the kick panel by the parking brake. You shouldn't have to loosen anything to do this, but it will be kind of tight. Now run the cable over to the center console and use a couple of wire ties to secure it under the dash.
- Alternately, and this requires a bit more work, you can run the cable under the carpet right down the center "hump". You take out the back seat bottom, and loosen the center console a little. You need to loosen a bolt or two at the rear of the console: to get to these just lift out the compartment tray under the armrest. There is a hole in the carpet under the console that you can run the cable up through. While everything is loose, pull the end connector out, under one side or the other near the rear of the console and pull it up toward the dash (outside of the console). Here is another benefit of the K40: You can unscrew the big radio connector end off of the small connector which is attached to the cable. Getting this small connector under the console walls was tight but achievable. Doing this with a brand that you can not get the end off will be a chore. Once the cable is pulled up to the dash, you can tuck the coax under the console walls out of view. Now you should only be able to see a short piece of coax leading from the front of your console waiting to be connected to your radio.
- As for the radio, there are too many choices here to make a real recommendation, but I like the Cherokee CM5 (about $120) because it has a dual scan feature, allows you to listen to Ch. 19 but switches instantly over to the other 'watch' channel whenever it recieves a transmission on that channel. Good for when you want to listen to 19 but 19 is too busy to talk to the other members of your caravan. Other basic rigs include the Uniden Pro 510XL (about $50), Midland, and Cobra. You can go from there depending on what you want. The antenna is much more important than the radio for peak transmission distance.
- If you are going to get power from the main fuse box, you may want to tin the ends of the radio's power leads with solder to make it easier to insert them into the fuse terminals.
- Begin the radio install by sliding out the ashtray and removing it by unscrewing the four bolts that hold it and its bracket in. Unplug the gray wires that go to the ash tray light. The wires run about six inches from the ashtray and then are connected to the car's wiring by a two prong connector, so you can unplug it there. Now remove the ashtray from its bracket by sliding a flat screwdriver into the black plastic rails the ashtray slides on and depressing the detents. (This is kind of hard to describe but very easy to do once you see it.)
- Once you have the ashtray separated from the bracket, slide the bracket back into place. Put the radio's bracket (mounting hardware should come with the radio) on the radio and then position the radio how you want it. Note where the radio bracket touches the ashtray bracket. This can be tricky because the ashtray bracket has a depression in the top side on the left, and you have to make sure the screws that came with the radio are either long enough to reach the extra distance or else mount the radio slightly to the left. The ashtray is asymmetrical anyway, so this isn't noticeable.
- Once you have the radio bracket position marked on the ashtray bracket, take the ashtray bracket back out and drill the mounting holes for the radio bracket.
- Optional: Use the center punch and a hammer to make a small depression where you want to drill each hole, this will prevent the drill from walking all over the bracket.
- I used a 1/8" drill bit, but your radio may require a different size hole. Drill them a little off-center because of the aforementioned shape of the bracket. You may have to put one of the radio bracket's adjusting knobs in place before you screwed the radio bracket down if it is a tight fit between the radio bracket and the side of the ashtray bracket.
- A little antenna install info: A CB antenna is composed of two main parts: the base and the whip. The base, besides containing a coil and other things to help the antenna function, is what mounts to the car. The whip is nothing more than a long piece of wire with one rounded end to dissipate static. Some antennas mount a coil in the center of the whip, but that's not important here.
- Optional: Make a case ground for the radio. The ignition gives off a slight amount of radio noise, and for the more anal of you out there (you know who you are!), this can be reduced with a case ground. Cut a piece of wire about 6-8 inches long and put a small ring connector on one end with the crimping tool, and a blade or bullet connector on the other end. Optionally, cut the plastic off the connectors and solder the connector, then cover it with shrink wrap tubing) Now cut another piece of wire for the other half of the case ground, adjusting the length depending on where you decide to anchor it. Make the other half with the blade connector's mate and another small ring. Attach the second half via the ring connector to any screw under the dash that's grounded, the first half to any screw on the radio that will ground the case. Your radio may come with screws expressly for this purpose. Run the wire through the back of the bracket with the other wires, and connect when you put the radio in the dash.
- Now mount the radio in the bracket. Connect the antenna cable, making sure it's tight. Run the radio's power leads through the hole in the back of the ashtray bracket and then over to the fuse box by the driver. Ground the negative lead from the radio. Insert the positive lead in the #9 fuse, which is the power fuse for the stereo. This will allow the radio to be on when the key is in the 'run' and 'acc' modes, but not when the key is off. Insert the radio and bracket into the dash and tighten things up. Use wire ties to clean up any loose wires.
- Mike install: You can just leave the mike loose and set it in the pocket of the center console, or mount the mike clip to the driver's side of the center console. Screwe it into the carpeted part of the center console, which has the added benefit that if you ever need to remove it the holes won't show. This location is about an inch in front of your seat, and you can always find it without looking. If anyone smaller than yourself drives the car, make sure the clip is mounted far enough forward so that the driver's seat won't hit it when they move the seat forward.
- Linear Amplifiers: While you can install a linear amp to boost the signal, Tom at American Mobile Electronics, who has no moral objections to an illegal amp (linear amps are apparently as common as export pipes), feels that the high transmission power can interfere with the PCM. This means that you're probably better off without the amp.
- Antenna Efficiency: You are limited by the FCC to 4 watts maximum transmission power. Your antenna reflects a certain amount of this output power back into the radio, where it is lost as heat. You can tune your antenna so that the reflected power is at a minimum, and the maximum output is going out over the air. Also, if an antenna reflects too much of the radio's output, it can damage the radio over time.
- This is where the SWR, or Standing Wave Ratio, meter comes in. By measuring the SWR of your antenna, you can tune it by adjusting the length so that the SWR is as low as possible, preferably below 1.5. With cheapo antennas, you would tune the radio for best performance on channel 19, which is where you will spend the majority of the time. (Channel 19 is the unofficial national truckers' channel, and where you will find traffic, weather, and smokey reports, as well as connecting with other people before going to another channel. A computer analogy would be that 19 is the main chat room, and you would go to another channel when you wanted to have a private conversation or just eliminate most of the chatter, like going to a private chat room.) A cheap antenna will rise above 2.0 towards Channel 1 and Channel 40, cutting down on useful range. A modern antenna will be able to stay below 1.5 on all channels, giving you greater transmission range on these very quiet channels. A tuned K40 has an SWR of 1.35 on Ch. 1, 1.05 on Ch. 19, and 1.5 on Ch. 40. (1.00 is perfect, and unobtainable in the real world.) An SWR of 3.0 or greater will damage the radio over time.
- Tuning your Rig: To tune your antenna, connect the SWR meter via the short piece of coax (may be supplied with the meter) to the antenna jack on the radio, and the antenna cable to the other side of the meter (it's labeled). Flip the switch on the meter to 'Calibrate', Close your doors, turn on the radio and tune it to Ch. 19, and press the mike button. Turn the knob on the SWR meter until the needle is centered in the calibration mark. Release the mike button, flip the switch on the meter to 'test', and push the mike button again. Follow your antenna's instructions to adjust its length, and adjust it up or down. Now go through the same procedure again, calibrating each time you change the length of the antenna, until you find the sweet spot. It's best to tune on Channel 19, because a) it's near the center of the citizens' band, and b) 19 has the most chatter on it so that is where you will need transmission efficiency the most. K40 and Wilson suggest a more sophistcated tuning strategy to achieve peak efficiency over the entire bandwidth, but I've found through personal experience that I need Ch. 19 to be at peak efficiency. If you get a K40, you can save yourself some time by cutting 2" off the bottom of the whip to begin with. Do not cut the rounded end! This is the top of the whip!
- If you buy a K40 but do not wish to spend the extra $20 on an SWR meter, you can get pretty close to these specs by cutting 2" off the bottom of your whip and then sliding it all the way into your base. Tom at AME says this is consistent for all Caprices, and since he installs the CBs for the Manassas police 9C1's, he has a lot of experience. Make sure you cut the flat end and insert it in the antenna base, as the rounded end goes on top to help eliminate static.
- The dremel tool comes in real handy here, but heavy wire cutters will work. It helps to eliminate static if you grind or file any sharp edges.
Back to the index...
AdvantagesLights up the door panel controls (power windows, seats, etc.) at night. Fills in the empty triangle left for the light.
DisadvantagesYou must remove your door panel and do some wiring to get it to work.
- GM # 10031003 or #10031004 bulb, which has a tiny blue silicon cap. You can keep it or remove it. $???
- Some wire and appropriate soldering tools.
- Door panel removal tool. About $35.
- Some plastic retainer clips. GM # 10161510 (15 cents each). You almost surely break some taking the door off. There are 6 per door.
Procedure (from Scott Mueller for the light and Glen Novitsky for the door removal ):
- Remove the door panel. First, there are 4 screws. One in the piece where the door handle, lock and power lock controls are. Two are in the door arm rest. One is under the armrest toward the back of the door. All are easy to get too. The one under the armrest is different as it has one of those "drill bit" ends on it. Start with unscrewing all of them first.
- After you take off the screws for the armrest, it will act as if it wants to come off. Don't take it off: there is still a retaining clip that holds it in place. Just let it flap around.
- Next remove the piece around the lock/door handle. This is held in by two metal tension mounted clips. One on the front one on the back. Slide it forward to release the rear clip, pull the rear out and then slide it back to remove it. The lock control must be either in the LOCKED position or at least in the middle somewhere as it extends behind the cloth when it is in the unlocked position, making it impossible to remove the piece. The drivers side must hang there as you (if you have MANUAL mirrors) cannot disconnect from the mirror. I don't know about power, probably you can.
- Next, there are 5 plastic clips that hold the door on. They are located on the sides and bottom (the top of the panel will come later). You will probably break at least 3, so a trip to your local parts shop is in store. You can by them at any auto parts stores, usually in packs of three for $1.50. There are two kinds that look alike, so take one to the store and match it up so you have the right ones or get them from the dealer.
- Now, there are only two things holding the panel in place, the top of the door and the power window/seat (if applicable) wires. Next, to release the door from the top around the window area, you must FORCEFULLY pull up on the panel to release it from the window channel. There are no plastic clips here, just metal ones and you cant break them. Just be sure to pull it up as straight as possible. I found that starting at the front of the door helps release it easier.
- Now, the last thing. The power window/seat bezel is held in by one metal clip in the front and it is simply held in the back by sliding it under the plastic. To remove it, place your arm up the inside of the door panel and PUSH the metal clip up. That will release the whole control piece (that holds all the switches), now slide it foward to remove it. Turn it upsidedown and remove the plugs. The passenger side has two plugs, the drivers side has 5. It does take some creative thinking on how to remove a couple of them, just take your time.
- The light comes from a very small triangular hole in the door release handle bezel in the driver's side. The hole is exceedingly small, and is not easy to spot. Look on the upper left corner of the black plastic recessed area where the chrome door opening handle is. You will notice a very small triangular shaped hole right in the inside corner area. You could also install one in the passenger's side, but you will need to make the hole yourself.
- Fabricate a small triangular lens out of a piece of translucent plastic from the top of a can of clear spray paint, and glue it to the inside of the bezel.
- There is no socket for these bulbs, so solder a tail of wire directly to each of the bulb leads. These tiny bulbs have a very long life, and will likely never burn out at all, thus making the search for a socket seem pointless. A socket would greatly complicate the bulb mounting.
- Mount the bulb using some small pieces of duct tape to hold the tiny bulb in place over the lens.
- To wire the bulb up, run a wire from the dimmer module under the dash, through the door conduit, and over to the tiny bulb. Ground is provided by tapping into the power mirror control ground wire, which is mounted in the same bezel.
- Reinstallation is the reverse. One hint on reinstalling, make SURE that the two threaded clips that go on the metal piece in the door where the two arm rest screws are lined up before pusing in the plastic clips around the door. If you don't you will have to pry them off again to realign the clips so the screws will be held in.
Back to the index...
AdvantagesAllows you to pull back on the multi-function turn signal stalk and flash your lights regardless of the headlight state for signalling traffic.
DisadvantagesDifficult (4-6 hour) installation.
- P/N 26035237: Switch, Dimmer. This is a dimmer switch for a '94+ Cadillac Fleetwood. $29.75 retail / $19.98 from NAISSO through World Parts.
- Either a GM connector (P/N 12102757) ($21.99 retail / $13.29 through NAISSO) or 2" of 12 gauge wire and a spade connector.
- A package of quick-splice connectors ($3.00 at any auto parts store).
- 7mm nut driver (for removing the dash panel)
- 10mm socket and socket wrench
- 5/8" deep socket
- 5/16" open-end wrench
- 3/8" open-end wrench
- A pair of pliers
- Buy the flash to pass switch. This will flash the high beams when you pull back on the control stick. Any GM dealer should carry the part.
- Disconnect the air bags, just in case. If one inflates while your head is under the dash, it will give you a terrible headache! Turn the ignition switch to "LOCK" and remove the key. Find the two air bag connectors and disconnect them. They are located just above the brake pedal. They are bright yellow and marked with black and yellow warning tags. GM calls the air bag a SIR, not an air bag. Turn the ignition switch to "RUN" and verify that the "AIR BAG" warning lamp flashes seven times and then turns "OFF." Turn the ignition off.
- Remove the gray lower dash panel above the brake pedal. It is held in place with two 7mm screws. When you have everything apart, you will find some 7mm screws are different lengths than others. It would be good to mark which screws go where. I didn't do that. I still managed to get everything re-attached so it is not a critical error if you just dump them all unmarked in the cup holders.
- Remove the black steel plate that you can now see above the brake pedal. It is held in place with four silver 10mm bolts.
- Remove the large black bracket, which held the steel plate. It is held in place with four black 10mm bolts.
- Remove the black bezel around the dash gages (Figure 3 Section 8C in the Service Manual). It is held in place with two 7mm screws at the top. Remove the two screws. Set the parking brake. Shift the transmission into low to get the gear-shift lever out of your way. Pull the bezel back at the top and it should pop out. It is held at the bottom by three blind spring clips. Shift the transmission back into park after removing the bezel completely.
- Remove the lower dash trim (Figure 5 Section 8C in the Service Manual). Start on the driver's side by removing the access cover to the fuse block. The access cover pops out with no screws (it's on the end of the dash). Remove the 7mm screw (all dash screws are 7mm) under the cover. Remove the four screws along the extreme bottom edge of the dash. Two are located just above the console and are harder to remove than the others. One is located on the left side of the opening where the black bezel was. One is located on the right side of the ash tray opening. The dash is now only held on with blind clips. You can pop some through from the back by raising the lower part of the clip with a screwdriver. After wiggling the dash it will come out, hopefully in one piece.
- You must separate the connector for the ash tray light! It is easy to do when the dash is loose. Just don't forget to do it!
- Remove the shift indicator cable, which is attached to the bottom of the shift lever bezel on the steering column. It pulls off straight back.
- Remove the two nuts holding the steering column to the upper dash. This requires a 5/8" deep socket to clear the end of the bolts. The column should lower until the wheel is resting on the driver's seat.
- Disconnect the old high beam/low beam switch, which is on the left side of the steering column. To find it, pull the control stick back a few times and you will see the white part of the switch move. You may want to disconnect a few other wires to make access easier.
- Remove the front bolt on the high beam/low beam switch. It is on the left of the steering column almost on the top. Try a 5/16" open-end wrench as space is tight.
- Remove the nut holding the rear of the high beam/low beam switch. It takes a 3/8" open-end wrench. On a '94-'95 Impala, there is a bracket on top of the switch! On the '96 Impala, there is not. On the '96 the rear ear of the stock switch has its own bolt holding it to the steering column. On the '94-'95 Impalas the stock switch shares a bolt with a solenoid bracket. The Caddy switch still has to share that bolt.
- On a '94-'95 Impala, remove the nut holding the bracket using a 5/16" open-end wrench. The bracket holds the solenoid that forces you to push the brake to shift out of park. Loosen the nut that holds the bracket just enough to get the bracket off the bolt. Then you can remove the old high beam/low beam switch. On the '96 Impala, remove the nut holding the bracket using a 5/16" Open-end wrench. The new switch is going to mount just like the '94-'95 Impala switch, so you will still have to loosen the nut holding the solenoid bracket. The new FTP switch uses that bolt for mounting.
- Make sure the FTP switch clicks. It comes with a shipping retainer that keeps it from moving. Remove the retaining clip.
- Put the FTP bracket on the screw and put the solenoid bracket back on top of it. Tighten the screw holding the bracket to the steering column (5/16" open-end wrench). Put the nut back on the rear FTP mounting bolt (3/8" open-end wrench). Don't tighten it as you must adjust the position of the switch on the steering column first.
- Slide the rear slot of the FTP bracket under the solenoid bracket and onto the bolt that holds the solenoid, and put the solenoid bracket back on top of the FTP bracket. Tighten the screw holding the two brackets to the steering column (5/16" open-end wrench). Put the nut back on the rear FTP mounting bolt (3/8" open-end wrench). Don't tighten the nut as you must adjust the position of the FTP switch on the steering column first.
- Put the rod from the control stick into the end of the FTP switch. Replace the bolt in the front mounting hole of the FTP (5/16" open-end wrench). Tighten slightly. Adjust the position of the FTP switch until it clicks when you pull the control stick back (the headlights won't work because you have the plug disconnected from the switch, but you can hear the click). Tighten the front bolt and rear nut.
- Reattach the steering column to the upper dash with the two 5/8" nuts, using your deep socket.
- Reattach the shift indicator cable and adjust the position of the clip until it reads correctly for P, R, N, etc.
- This is a really good time to get rid of any squeeks you have in the lower dash. Most of them will be from the ash tray assembly (metal on plastic). A little silicone spray and they are gone. You can also spray a rag with silicone and lubricate the padding that the lower dash rests against.
- Reconnect the ash tray light connector.
- Put the lower dash back on the car. The metal ash tray assembly will keep the dash from fitting correctly unless you reach up under the dash and help the ash tray into place. Put back all the 7mm screws you removed (one by the ash tray, one by the instruments, one by the fuse block, and four along the bottom of the dash).
- Reconnect the wires you disconnected earlier EXCEPT THE AIR BAG CONNECTORS!
- Replace the black bezel around the gages. The parking brake shoudl still be set. Shift the transmission into low. Pop the bottom of bezel into the dash. Attach the top of the bezel with two 7mm screws. Shift the transmission back into park.
- You now need to swap the high and low beam wires in the connector shell that goes on the FTP switch. If you don't, you will flash the low beams. Look at the connector shell from the switch's viewpoint. There is a hole at the top (where a new wire will go) two wires side-by-side, and one wire at the bottom. You will swap the two wires that are side-by-side. The connectors on the end of the wires are held in the connector shell by a small tab on the connector that rests against a ridge inside the connector shell. You have to raise that tab (which you can't see) enough to clear the plastic ridge (which you can't see either).
- Look at the connector shell. The four openings in the shell should look like little camper shells (small part on the bottom and large part on the top). Take a paper clip and bend the small loop tighter so that it can slip inside the lower part of the opening (under the connector). Press up against the connector and slide the paper clip back and forth while pushing up to bend the retaining tab up enough to clear the ridge inside the connector. Remove both the high and low beam wires and reverse them. Bend the tabs on the connectors out so they will catch the ridge again and stay in the connector shell.
- The FTP switch has one more electrical pin than the old stock switch. The stock connector doesn't have a wire there (yet). You need to get 12 volts to the new pin to make the lights flash. You can either use a 12" piece of 12 guage wire and put a spade connector on one end, or you can do the following.
- Remove a connector and wire from the 12102757 connector listed at the top under "parts needed." This has the correct connector to fit inside the FTP connctor shell. Insert the connector into the shell.
- Locate the biggest connector you can see above the break pedal. The connector has 7 rows and 8 or 9 slots per row, depending on the row. The wire you will connect to is the 12 gauge red one that comes from the second row from the top and just to the left of the bolt holding the connector to its mate. Use a quick-splice connector to connect the wire that will go to the new pin to this red wire.
- Put the connector on the switch. If you are using the wire-and-spade version, you will have to put the spade lug on the pin also.
- Replace the large black bracket around the steering column, using the four black 10mm bolts you removed earlier.
- Replace the large metal plate on the bracket, using the four silver 10mm bolts that you removed from there.
- Replace the gray dash piece and attach using the last two 7mm screws.
- Reconnect the two air bag circuits.
- The high beams should flash without the ignition on when you pull back on the high/low switch stalk.
AdvantagesAllows you to monitor your fuel pressure from inside the cockpit, which is handy if you are running a blower or NOS. Allows you to monitor changes in fuel pressure if you are using an adjustable regulator.
DisadvantagesJust the effort to plumb it, and the lack of a place to put it if you have added other gauges.
- CYB-8114 ($65.00) Cyberdyne gauge & sending unit
- CYB-8971 ($14.00) Cyberdyne 4AN to 1/8 inch coupling
- Start by locating the 4AN fitting on the fuel rail. On my 95 SS, it was located on the rear of the rail, on the passenger side of the intake manifold.
- Remove the cap to the fitting. It looks very much like the cap to a bicycle/car tire air valve.
- Surround the fitting with old rags and release any fuel pressure from the rail, using a small screwdriver, a punch or a toothpick. You may want to have a fire extinguisher handy at this point. Also see the Corvette engine dress procedure for an alternate method of releasing fuel rail pressure.
- Using a valve core remover, remove the plunger from the center of the 4AN fitting. Some bicycle air gauges have a core remover in the stem. You should be able to find one at a bike shop or a department store.
- Screw the Cyberdyne sending unit, into the 4AN to 1/8 adapter. Screw it very tight, to avoid any leaks. If you want to seal the threads, use a very small amount of liquid Teflon. Do not use tape, as it could break up and result in a clogged injector.
- Screw the gauge/adapter assembly into the 4AN fitting on the fuel rail.
- Have a friend turn the key to the run position, while you are closely watching the connections. If you are sure there aren't any leaks, you are ready to run the wires to the interior of the car.
- Behind the drivers side wheel well, towards the bottom is a rubber plug. I was able to press a sharpened coat hanger through this plug, with my wire on the end. Not very precise, but appears to have sealed. I did not remove the plug and pass the wire through, because I was not sure that I would be able to reach down into the space far enough and place it back into it's hole. See the tachometer installation for more information on the location of this plug.
- Once the wire is passed into the engine compartment, you need only hook up the wires on the gauge to the wire from the sender, to +12, to -12 and if you choose, to a switched supply. This permits the gauge to dim at night, when you turn your lights on.
- I chose to install a switch and turn on the gauges only when I needed them. This way they will not be a source of distraction at night. I got my +12 from the cigarette lighter and installed a switch on the flat space on the passenger side, behind the ash tray. When the ashtray is closed (always), the switch can't be seen.
- See the tachometer installation procedure for information on how and where to mount these gauges in the Impala interior.
Back to the index...
The stock oil pressure gauge is merely an idiot light with a dial: it is either "none" or "some". This modification will allow you to accurately monitor the oil pressure to take corrective action before a serious problem occurs.
Making this modification will cause the needle to move outside of the "normal" range that is defined for the stock switch. This can be minimized with the addition of another bias resistor, though.
- Police / Taxi Oil Pressure Sending Unit. P/N 10201491, about $20.
- "Long" GM oil pressure switch removal tool (about $20 at NAPA) or a Craftsman 1 1/16" deep well six point socket in 1/2" drive (about $10 at Sears).
- Optional: 120 ohm, 2 watt resistor, about $1.
- Black tape, miscellaneous electrical connectors, and wires.
- It helps to avoid oil spillage if you park with the rear of the car higher than the front and the engine cool.
- Unscrew the stock oil pressure switch using either the socket or the tool. The oil pressure switch is on the top of engine, toward the back on the drivers side. It is mounted on a small elbow. The connector attaches from the top.
- Install the new sender and reconnect the wire. It should just plug back in.
- You must now either bypass or modify the resistor for the switch using one of the procedures below.
Resistor Bypass Procedure:
- The resistor is in the tan colored sending unit wire between pin A5 of the C1 connector at the gauge cluster and pin A in the C205 connector in the RH kickpanel. Locate it.
- If you have the Helms manuals, start by looking at the "Instrument Cluster Electrical Diagnosis" section and study the schematic diagram on page 8A-82-2. This is used to identify the oil pressure sender circuit you are looking for, which is labelled circuit 31 on the schematic. You can trace this circuit to the appropriate connectors and pins right on that schematic.
- Page 8A-82-3 then has a picture of the C1 instrument cluster connector, and a chart that identifies all of the wires in that connector.
- Then turn to page 8A-82-5, where it lists all of the involved connectors, specifically the C205 harness connector. Here it indicates that the connector is pictured on page 201-19, figure 30. Actually the book is slightly off here, and you will actually find the picture of the connector on page 201-18 figure 28, and 201-20 figure 30.
- The chart on page 8A-82-5 also indicates that the connector face itself can be viewed on page 202-4, which precisely identifies the pin numbers and locations in the connector.
- Using this information, simply remove the appropriate wire from both connector ends, and run your own (sans resistor).
- Cut the wire at each end and splice a jumper wire between them, or make up a new wire with the appropriate terminal pins on each end and insert them into the stock connector just as if the factory had done it.
Resistor Modification Procedure:
- Remove the glovebox (3 screws underneath the door) and the dash panel around it (several snap-in connectors: pull hard!).
- The wiring harness runs along the top edge of the glovebox opening behind the hard black plastic dash support--it's held to the support with three small gray snap-in connectors. You can see and remove these connectors, which frees the harness. There are two in plain sight, and the third is barely covered by the panel just to the left of the glovebox.
- Reach up and behind the dash support about where the glovebox latch is and pull the harness out to where you can deal with it.
- Remove the electrical tape wrap along the top of the glovebox portion of the harness between the middle two gray connectors. Remember where the gray connectors go (I left a little tape holding them) so the harness will go back in without any kinks or twists.
- The resistor is taped separately in what appears to be black duct tape (sticky stuff!). When you get down to the resistor and wires, you'll see the resistor and two tan wires crimped together and the other end of the resistor crimped to a black/white stripe wire.
- Cut the resistor off at each end, leaving the two tan wires crimped together and the black wire disconnected from everyting. You can remove the resistor from the entire circuit.
- With the resistor bypassed in this configuration, the gauge will read at around the 3/4 mark (where it normally read before) when the engine is cold, at about the 1/2 way mark (just before the normal range) when the engine is warm and cruising, and at about the 1/4 mark (well below the "normal" range) when idling with a warm engine. If this is OK, then you can skip the next step, which will bias the needle up into the normal range at all times.
- Here is the procedure for adding a new bias resistor to move the reading up (from Steve Das):
- Tap into the tan wire (the one with the crimp) with a new wire. The tan wire is the one from the gauge to the sender.
- Obtain a 120 ohm, 2 watt resistor from someplace like Radio Shack or another electronics supply store. The value IS rather important. If you go higher than 120 ohms, the gauge will read lower and of course, going lower than 120 ohms will make the gauge read higher. Yours might be slightly different so you might want to try it out before buttoning things up.
- Connect one end of the resistor to the new wire tapped into the tan wire.
- The other end of the resistor goes to a source of 12 volts that is only on when the key is in the run and start position. Make sure of this because if you use a source that is on all the time, it will run your battery down and you will look for the "short" forever! In my case, I used the pink wire going to the Twilight Sentinel controller behind the right front kick panel. The additional resistor increases the dissipation through the sender by about 10% so I don't think that should be a problem.
- Now, the gauge reads just slightly higher than it did with the original sender while going down the highway at 55. The idle "pressure" is just slightly below half way up the gauge and it goes all the way to ZERO with no oil pressure. Be advised that the resistor will get warm so make sure it is not in a place that this could cause a problem. I put two layers of heat shrink tubing on mine and taped it to one of the bundles under the kick panel. The only time the resistor even gets warm is with the engine off and the key on. In this condition, the resistor is connected between 12 volts and the sender which is essentially at ground potential. Thus, the resistor is handling 1.2 watts: 100 milliamperes at 12 volts. As the resistance of the sender increases, the dissipation of the resistor goes down. At "normal" pressure, it is well under 1 watt. With the engine cold, the pressure goes up near the top of the "normal" range. I think you will find this totally satisfactory.
- Tape the exposed tan crimp, tape the (now disconnected) black wire, and then re-tape that section of the harness.
- (Clarification for above steps) It is easy to get hold of the wrong harness behind the dash pad, above the glovebox. To clarify, the harness needed is well-hidden up above and behind the glovebox door latch. Make sure you're working with the harness that is held in place by the small gray plastic nibs that are visible when the trim surrounding the glovebox is removed. There is also a plastic guide fastened above the right-hand-most A/C outlet that supports the harness as it makes the turn at the corner of the dash to go down to the RH kickpanel area. Your best way to get to it is to pull the gray plastic dash off that surrounds the glove box. You will notice the little plastic harness connector tabs/nipples coming through by the metal glove box latch. Squeeze the tabs, push them through the other side, reach your fingers up behind the latch (a real tight fit) and pull the harness out to where you can work on it. It winds around and down and is fastened in place above the headlamp control module in the RH kickpanel area. The schematic for the SEO vs. Base wiring is on page 8A-82-2 of Book 2 of the Service Manual (Electrical Diagnosis). Also in the same book the following diagrams are helpful:
- 8A-201-18 for the location of connector C205 and the RH kickpanel
- 8A-14-6 for a broader schematic of the S200 and G202 connections (as you can see, snipping the black/white wire isn't as easy as it seems since there are a myriad of those coming together at S200). The picture isn't very good of exactly where the harness goes, but 8A-201-20 has a picture of the I/P harness. If you look closely, there are lines showing that the nibs taped into the harness go through the front of the instrument panel, but it doesn't show them routed above the glovebox.
- The other harness (the wrong one) is shown on the next page, 8A-201-21, Fig. 33, running up and along the very top of the dash near the windshield.
- Put the harness and glovebox back into place
Allows the installation of an oil pressure sender unit without having to either remove the stock sending unit or to fabricate as adapter to retain the stock unit.
Requires that a non-stock gauge be mounted somewhere on the dash.
- 1 ea. 3/8" diameter NPT 45 degree elbow
- 1 ea. 3/8" to ?? NPT adapter as required to fit your sender unit
- 18" of heat resistant sleeve (i.e. the old asbestos tubing)
- 48" of 1/2" diameter split loom
- 5/16" short handle Allen (hex) wrench
- Teflon pipe tape
- The alternate sending unit mounting location is located on the oil cooler adapter ring, sandwiched between the engine block and the oil filter. On the side of the adapter ring, facing the the driver's side catalytic converter, is 3/8" screwed in plug with a 5/16" square socket.
- File two corners of the 5/16" Allen wrench down to fit the 5/16" square socket on the plug. Don't use a long wrench as space in the area you'll be working in is limited.
- After jacking the car up and installing jack stands, slide under the car so you can see the oil filter. Snake your hand around to fit the modified Allen wrench into the socket. You only need loosen the plug slightly before you can turn it by finger. Place a small container under the filter as a small amount of oil will dribble out. If there is not enough room to work, you might consider dropping the driver's side catalytic converter. With the converter out of the way, there is lots of room to work.
- Install the 45 degree elbow. Do not forget the Teflon tape. Turn the fitting so that the open end faces up and away from the catalytic converter. Warning: do not over-tighten! NPT threads are tapered... And too much muscle could crack the adapter ring!
- Install the NPT adapter and your sending unit. If you removed the catalytic converter, re-attach it and check clearances around the sender unit.
- Make the electrical connection to the sender unit with the appropriate sized wire. Slide the heat resistant sleeve down over the wire until it reaches the sender unit. This sleeve is suggested due too the close proximity of the wire and the catalytic converter: you do not want to have to sender unit short out and have to repeat this process.
- Slide the split loom over the heat resistant tubing, but stop it short of the catalytic converter. The rest of the loom can be used to conceal the sender unit wire until it hits the firewall. In the area below the brake master cylinder, you'll see other split loom running upward from the frame. Place the new one amongst them for camouflage.
- Run the sender unit wire into the passenger compartment by passing it through the rubber grommet next to the brake master cylinder and wire it to your gauge. You're done!
- Way cool mod: all visible parts are GM, looks factory.
- Keeps back seat passengers occupied on long trips, can help end arguments on who listens to what on the radio/CD
- Lets passengers listen to the radio/CD without turning on the main head unit and speakers.
- Cost: over $500 if you choose to not sell your original factory head unit. You can sell your stock head unit to recoup some of this cost.
- Somewhat labor intensive: count on 8-10 hours between making a wiring harness, removing half the interior, mounting everything, and buttoning things back up.
- Technically, requires cutting up one small piece of the interior (namely the center armrest vinyl). This means you will have to buy another center armrest cover if you ever undo the mod.
- Rear Seat Control from Chevy Venture Minivan (GM #16239121) : ~$125
- 97 Venture Head unit (LOOKS IDENTICAL to the stock SS head unit, but is different internally, GM #16228471 for CD) : ~$380 trade, $520 list
- Female Metripack pins to insert into the stock SS Metripack connector on the back of the SS head unit. Obtain the female connector used in custom stereo installs to attatch to the stock head unit, and pull two pins out of it. Do not buy the "easily available" connector from Wal-mart or the like : it will be the MALE end! You need a total of two female pins with leads for the connections on the head unit.
- Approx 20 feet each of five different colors of 18 ga wire to run from the rear seat to the head unit. Get the pages out of the Venture Service Manual (see below) and the colors to get will be obvious (RSA In, RSA Out, Acc Power, Dim Signal, Parking "On" Signal colors).
- Either female Metripack connector to go on the rear-seat unit, OR just buy the individual female pin connectors for the rear-seat unit from a local supply store, make your own "piggyback", then slide on the connectors and seal it all up with hot glue. I took the second route, since I did not EVEN know where to start on buying the metripack connector for the rear-seat unit!
- Misc wire, solder, ground lugs, and zip-ties.
- You REALLY need to get the wiring diagrams for the radio out of the 97 Venture Factory Service Manual. If you can't easily get them from a local dealer, just email Ed Runnion and he will fax it to you. Do not attempt this mod without the wiring diagrams!
- Remove the lower dash according to the procedure I give in the 6H6 switch installation instructions in the tech archives.
- Before you unplug your old radio, be sure to disable the security code in it or write it down! You will have a tough time selling a radio with a security code enabled in it if you don't know the code! Also, be sure that no tapes or CDs are inside the radio, since the eject button doesn't work too well once there is no power to the head unit.
- Remove the two screws holding in the radio. Pull out the radio, and unplug the harness and antenna. Put old radio away.
- Slip two of the female connectors into Pins C2-12 and C2-13 as shown on the 97 Venture manual pages. You will connect two of the five wires in the "harness" running to the rear seat unit to these pins. Do not connect your harness to these splices yet!
- Splice into the accessory power, parking lights on, and parking lights dimmer wires on the back of the radio. You will be connecting the other three wires of the "harness" to the rear seat onto these splices. Do not connect your harness to these splices yet!
- Remove the Rear seat bottom cushion. This basically is done by pushing down and pulling forward on it to disengage from the hold-in mechanism.
- Remove the rear seatback by taking out the two screws (allen head) holding in the left and right seatbelts. Then, lift the seatback off its hooks and out of the car.
- Remove the four plastic trim pieces holding the back of the carpet in, then lift the carpet up to expose the floorpan underneath.
- Once you remove the rear seatback, you will have to remove the center armrest to mount the controls in it. Do this by removing the metal rings holding the upholstery "flap" to the rear seat (you can use zip-ties when you reinstall) and then removing the bolts holding on the bracket.
- Keeping track of which side of the console is the top (you might put a piece of not-too-sticky tape on it, for instance), take the console out of the rear seatback, and put it on your bench.
- Once you have the armrest on the bench, disassemble it. Do this by cutting the remaining metal rings (once again, you can use zip-ties on reassembly). Then pull out the center of the armrest (it is a plastic container!). This will make more sense once you have the armrest out of the car!
- Figure out where you want to place your controls on the armrest (I chose the "top front" of the armrest when it is folded down) and trace out the shape of rear-seat controls (behind the "face") on the plastic armrest center. Then use a dremel tool or such and cut the hole in the plastic container. Do NOT cut a hole in the vinyl itself of the armrest yet! You want the hole to be the minimum size possible, so that the fit will be snug.
- Drill a hole into the back of the plastic container so you can route your wires from the control unit out of it.
- Now you need to wire up your control unit. You will be putting the 5-wire bundle that is approx 20 ft long onto the unit, as well as one wire that is about 5 feet long (for a "clean ground" into the floorpan under the rear seat) and 8 wires approx 5 feet long each (to intercept the speaker wires). For this, pre-make the wires with "female pins" on them (go to the local electronic parts store and find appropriate parts) and heat-shrink them to prevent them shorting out, then put all the pins in there and use good hot-glue to seal up the entire assembly. Be sure you have everything right, as this step is not easily undoable.
- Reassemble the center armrest by putting the plastic container (now with holes in it) back into the vinyl). Tie the vinyl back up with zip ties where the metal rings once were.
- Cut hole with minimum cutting in the vinyl where the rear control unit will fit. Keep doing minimal slicing, and see if the unit will go in with a snug fit. You will feed in the wires into the console, and out the second hole you drilled in the back of the console. Then, simply push the rear control unit into the center console until it is flush.
- Reattatch the center armrest to the rear seatback. Once again, you will have to use zipties where you cut the metal rings that held on the vinyl flap.
- Put the rear seatback (with center armrest on it) back into the car, and tighten the bolts for the seatbelts.
- The wires to splice into for the rear speakers are in the bundle running up the RIGHT side of the floorpan. You want to run the appropriate colors from the FRONT of the car (i.e. head unit) into pins A1-A4 of the Rear Seat Controls, and the wires from the REAR of the car (i.e. speakers) into pins B1-B4. Match it all to the colors/pins in the Venture manual, and you should be fine.
- Run the ground wire to the floorpan under the left rear seat, and attatch it there with a screw and crimp-on lug. You may want to sand off the paint there first, so that you are 100% sure that it is a good clean ground.
- Run the five-wire bundle to the front of the car by running it up the "channel" along the left floorboard where the wiring for the taillights etc is already running. You will see this when you have the rear seat out. You may have to remove the trim along the left doors in order the reach under the carpet and run the wires.
- Reinstall the rear carpet, seatbottom, and trim. You are done back there hopefully.
- Your wiring bundle to the front should be coming out from under the carpet up near the parking brake pedal. Run it up into the wiring under the dash, and over across to the radio. If you shove it up there good and attatch it to existing bundles with zip ties, you should have no problems with it coming loose later.
- Attatch the five wires of the bundle to the appropriate pins or splices on the back of the radio harness. It helps here if you've done the color coding correctly!
- Plug new Venture head unit in, and put it into the dash (two screws on front). Don't forget to plug in the antenna as well.
- The Moment Of Truth (tm). Turn on the radio, and tune it to a good station. Put in a CD/tape. Now, have a helper activate the rear unit by hitting the "PWR" button. The amber light on the rear unit should light up, and the rear speakers should turn OFF. Now, the rear-seat passenger should be able to listen to the "other" source in the head unit AT THE SAME TIME as the front seat passenger is listening to the primary source. Also, the rear seat passenger should be able to listen to anything in the head unit IF the main unit is turned off. Note that the rear-seat unit can ALSO listen to the same source as the head unit (i.e. a CD) but in this case the controls to change that track/station on the rear unit are over-ridden by the controls on the head unit (i.e. the parent is always in control of what comes out of the speakers).
- Assuming you are real excited because everything works now, reinstall the lower dashboard and enjoy your cool new "Ultimate Roadtrip Mod".
The switch panel allows you to incorporate additional features into the Impala using a GM parts bin switch that comes from the Caprice station wagon. This switch fits right in to the dash of the Impala in to the "hole" to the left of the steering wheel. Suggested accessories includes an additional PASS-Key security feature and a handy antenna delete switch.
Requires you to give up the change holder on the left of the dash. Not a big disadvantage as the coin holder really doesn't hold much to start with.
- Chevrolet Wagon accessory switch panel (p/n 10203772)
- Various lengths of wire and crimp-on connectors. Butt connectors work fine, and you can use the piggyback splices if you want.
- Electrical male/female type connectors or (OPTIONAL: soldering iron and solder and some shrink tubing for wiring to the panel.....NOTE: The pigtail for the reat of this switch panel may be difficult to obtain as it is discontiued and GM has no more)
The following procedure for mounting the 6H6 and relocating the cigarette lighter was contributed by Ed Runnion:
- Remove the knee protector plate along with the five or six screws that hold on the left portion of the dash under-fascia. There is no need to actually remove the whole fascia. There is just enough room to work in there. There is a screw behind the fuse panel, one at the bottom left of the dash, two at the top of the dash gauge bezel which allow the bezel to be removed, one screw behind the gauge bezel (to the left), and one more screw that hold bottom of the headlight control knob/dial panel.
- The headlight control panel assembly is held into place with one screw at the bottom and then two plastic tabs that snap into the dash frame. Gently pull it out being careful not to break the tabs. The piece shoud include the headlight control knob/dials (held in by three easily distunguishable connector plugs) and the "hole" cup which easily snaps into place. Remove the "hole" and you'll see how easy the wagon switch panel snaps into place.
- For VATS/Pass-Key mods, use the lower switch (momentary contact switch) The VATS/Pass-Key controller module and relay are located (mounted) on a black plate tucked WAAAAY up underneath the dash. You will have to remove one screw and then slide the unit (plate) out.
- Unhook the relay (small black) from the unit and the disconnect the relay from the wiring connector. The car should not start now.
- There are four wires on that connector:
Mitch Posner suggested using the dark blue wire that controls the fuel-enable signal to the PCM and cuts the fuel pump switch seven seconds after starting up the car if the circuit is open. This causes the car to shut off no matter what after that time. However, while the switch is closed, the car functions normally. Therefore, the car will ALWAYS start whether the circuit is open or closed. This is an advantage, because one who forgets to push the switch to start the car won't inadvertently keep cranking the engine. If a valet function is desired, use ONLY an on/off style (not momentary contact) switch for the fuel cut-off. If a momentary contact switch only is desired for the fuel cut-off, an on/off switch must be used in conjunction with it to override the circuit to create a valet function. Incidentally, using a fuel cut-off switch is a viable alternative to the starter cut-off, since that can be overridden by jumping the connector at the source, the starter itself. The fuel switch cannot be overridden by an alternate means as such.
- larger diameter red = hot
- larger diameter yellow = ?
- smaller diameter yellow with black stripe = ?
- smaller diameter plain yellow = THIS IS THE ONE YOU WANT!
- That yellow wire goes hot while the key is turned and held in the START position when you are starting your car. You must cut that wire and wire in a simple momentary contact switch, such as the bottom switch of the wagon accessory switch panel.
- This momentary contact switch is governed by the smaller of the two connector ports on the rear of the panel. The smaller port has four pins on it. The two nearest the middle of the port are for the switch (doesn't matter which you hook it to because it's only an open circuit completer). The other two pins are for the backlight illumination on the switch panel. The larger of the port has 7 pins. The 2nd and 3rd pins from end that are note wide pins are the pins that are used by the on/off mode of the rear wiper/washer switch. Again, it doesn't matter what pins you hook it up to.
- For the antenna kill mod, use the upper switch's left half of the switch. The correct wire on the antenna relay (located at the top corner of the "convenience center" under the dash against the firewall...you will have to remove it for easier working) is the SMALLER diameter green wire. Cut that wire and wire and wire in the switch. This will force the antenna to the down position when depressed.
- To correctly hook up the backlight illumination, you must connect it to the dimmer switch. The center connector (for the headlight control knob...not the twilight sentinel or the dimmer) has a brown wire. That is the wire that goes hot when the lights are on. Use that one and any ground to hook to the panel.
- Double check that the twilight sentinel will also activate the panel backlight.
- 6H6 Switch Panel, PN 10225158, about $25.
- Various lengths of wire and crimp-on connectors.
- First you must remove the dash. Start by opening the glovebox, ashtray, and drivers door, and remove the fuse panel cover.
- Remove the four screws holding in the ashtray. Pull it out, and unplug the light.
- Remove the black bezel around the speedo cluster. It is two screws pointed up, then pull it out to disengage it from the "prongs" holding it to the grey plastic below.
- Remove the following screws :
- One on the left side beneath the bezel removed in step 3.
- Similar screw in the "fuse panel" that is screwed into the side of the air vent
- Total of 4 screws along the bottom of the dash pointed straight up.
- One screw pointed straight up that is inside the "ashtray area" basically below the ride side of the radio.
- Optional: if it makes you feel better, remove the two screws from the "kick panel" below the column and remove the panel.
- Now just YANK on the panel, it should come loose from the prongs holding it in and practically fall in your lap! Installation is the reverse of removal.
- Now, to remove the lighter, there are a total of 3 prongs on the front perimeter of the lighter to be pressed in, then the ligher assembly basically pulls out. These prongs are in the same location as on your new switch that mounts there for reference. Pull the lighter out, and unplug it. Then unscrew the lighter from the "bezel" it is mounted in by turning the "outside" of the part of the lighter behind the bezel.
- To remount it inside the ashtray, drill a hole basically the diameter of the SMALLER part of the lighter on the "vertical" face inside the ashtray recess below where the current lighter is located. Use a file or gentle "drillbit persuasion" to make the hole big enough if necessary. Then screw together the lighter assembly around this hole (i.e. slide the inner part of the sleeve thru the front of the dash panel, then screw on the outer sleeve from the back). Reroute your lighter hook-up to down below where it can be plugged in right before you remount your dash. Don't forget to plug it in, or you will be removing the dash again to plug it back.
- Once you have the lighter removed, installing the 6H6 switch is easy! Here is a basic pinout of the switch:
1 = On/Off Switch (OFF Switch)
2 = On/Off Switch (OFF Switch)
3 = N/C
4 = N/C
5 = light
6 = light
7 = Contact Switch (Trunk Switch)
8 = Contact Switch (Trunk Switch)
Use an ohmmeter, and these pins will become obvious.
- There is a GM connector for it, but it is about $55 from the dealer! Easier to make your own, or get lucky like I did and snag one off a junkyard 9C1.
- Wire pins 5/6 in parallel with same pins on the "Trip - E/M" switch on the other side of the dash, and your switch will now be backlit. I then wired pins 1/2 such that it "breaks" the dark green wire off the back of the radio to the antenna relay. This will enable you to lower your Antenna with a push of the "Off" switch on the 6H6 panel. I then tried to wire 7/8 such that it goes between +12 and a 475 ohm resistance to pin C2-14 on the radio. In theory this will give a "mute" switch on your radio using the steering wheel interface, but I haven't got this one working yet (I believe Scott Mueller has however...).
- To remove the symbology from the switches, try a couple light coats of permanent black marker. The switch is white plastic painted black (the light shows through the remaining white sections), so solvents or sandpaper won't remove the lettering.
Installing the tachometer allows you to monitor engine RPM, a feature that is sorely missed by some 94-95 owners. Other gauges can be installed in '96 models to monitor oil pressure or voltage levels.
You have to install a non-factory gauge in the interior of the car. It requires some cutting of (replacable) interior pieces.
- Replacement black dashboard instrument cluster bezel (P/N ???). Optional, but good insurance. About $15.
- A 2 1/16" tachometer. A Cyberdyne unit is about $50 from JC Whitney or Summit. It has two red digits indicating RPM and goes totally black when the engine is off. JC Whitney also carries a 2 1/16" analog unit for $21 that fits. It has a backlit white and green display (a little dim for some, but it works fine). No matter what you get, make sure it is at most 2 1/16" wide and no deeper than 3 1/2".
- 18 gauge wire and a length of black ribbed wiring conduit. About $5.
- Soldering iron or some method of splicing.
- Remove the black bezel surrounding the instrument cluster by removing the two bolts at the top of it and pulling it back away from the dash. There are three clips at the bottom in the back and two guide posts. Be careful with the rubber ring that goes around the steering column as it is held on by some flimsy plastic rivets and cannot be reattached easily.
- The tach will go in the right hand side of the black plastic in the bezel to avoid interference with the turn signal and tilt levers and to allow the sacrifice of one of the two clips on the right if need be (the left has but one). If you're careful, you can keep both of them. It will need to rest on or near the point where the smooth grey plastic ends and the molded grey plastic for the rest of the dash begins. Using the tabs and holes as a reference, find where the center of the tach should be if it would rest about 1/8" above the lip and mark the spot on the back of the bezel.
- Using a 2" hole saw and starting from the back of the bezel, cut out the hole for the tachometer. If you screw it up, don't worry: the bezel is only $15 and you can always try again.
- Trial fit the tach. If it doesn't fit, work around the exterior of the hole with an Exacto knife until it does. Don't cut too much: it should fit tightly.
- Cut an identical 2" hole out of the grey plastic behind the bezel. You can re-insert the bezel and use it as a guide. The tach will angle downward slightly, so take this into account.
- Again, trial fit the tachometer. You may need to cut into the two slots for the clips. Make sure the tach fits in below the clear instrument cover and does not bind. It'll be tight but it will fit. Keep trimming the grey plastic until it does. Repeat ad-nauseum. You might need to cut into one of the rectangular holes for the clips to make it fit.
- Once it fits in well, make sure the wires are routed so that they'll dangle into the are below the instrument panel and replace the bezel.
- Remove the access panel below the steering wheel by removing the two screws on the bottom of it. Then remove the steel plate behind it by removing the four bolts and pulling it to the right. The wires for the tach should be dangling down there, or at least accessible from there. Installing a four-way connector here would be a good idea in case you ever need to remove the tach.
- Tap in a "dimming" or "lights on" signal. The ashtray has both dimming lead and a ground wire going to its light. The wires are also free enough to work with. The grey wire is the dimming wire, and the black wire is the ground.
- To get power to the tach, you might want to tap into one of the orange wires at the bottom of the fuse box. Check the Helm's manuals for details: you want one that is only hot during run.
- To get the actual tachometer lead hooked up, you need to route it through the firewall using a factory, unused grommet. Look behind the LH wheelwell. There is an oval, rubber piece there. Now remove the LH kickpanel and look near the point where the hood latch cable exits. If you pull back the insulation, you'll see the same grommet. Use a sharp point to poke a hole in the plug in the firewall, and then squeeze the 18 gauge wire through it. You might have to fish it through using a coathanger or something.
- The tachometer can take its signal from the black and white wire (negative) terminal at the coil pack on the front of the LH cylinder head. Alternatively, another member has plugged the lead into fourth, unused female terminal on the coil. The both go to the same spot.
- Another good place to get a tach signal would be from the PCM connector pin A13. All B/F-car PCMs output the tach signal on this pin. You will need a terminal p/n 12084913 (for 20 ga. wire) to install in the PCM A connector (the factory uses a white wire for this application).
- The wires should be inserted inside of factory ribbed conduit. You can cut a short length and route to one of the factory conduits from the firewall grommet, or route a new conduit all the way to the coil pack.
AdvantagesAllows you to force your power antenna to an up or down position to avoid problems such as having it freeze up in the winter or allowing it to stay down while you play CD's.
DisadvantagesFor a clean installation, you must relocate your lighter to the ashtray, as the 9C1 cars do.
- The 9C1 switches (P/N ???, $??.00) that go in place of the lighter if you want the switches in the factory location OR
- An easy and invisible solution is to put a small black rocker switch in the back roof of the "HOLE" (the change holder near your headlight switch. The switch should be flat black plastic and placed to be invisible. It can readily be switched by feel and if you ever want to remove it, all you have to do is get a new "hole" liner box.
- The dash needs to be slightly disassembled. The Instrument Cluster Trim ring is easy to take off, but the 96 service manual only shows 3 screws for the dash lower trim piece. There are 7 screws with 4 across the bottom, one in the ashtray, one by the glovebox, and one behind the left fusebox lid. You will probably need to remove the ashtray assembly to get to one of them. Getting the lower dash piece off is nerve wracking. Just make sure to get all of those 1/4" screws and unsnap it from left to right. Also keep track of where each screw comes from! Refer to the service manuals for details on dash disassembly.
- If you are installing the switch in the "hole", remove the "Headlight Switch Panel". The "hole" unsnaps from the "Headlight Switch Panel".
- Refer to the service manual wiring diagrams. Remove the convenience center 2 screws, (you may need to remove the "tall" audible alarm module plugged into the convenience center to get to the top screw).
- Unwrap the black tape from the emerging harness and look at the wires coming from the lower connector. Find the smaller of the 2 dark green wires from the back of the antenna relay and find a good place to cut into the wire to put a switch in the circuit. This dark green wire is connected to the radio at pin 8 of the C1 connector, then it goes over to pin E7 of the big C200 connector under the LH side of the dash, and from there it goes to the Power Antenna Relay connector at pin B.
- Using compatible crimp-on connectors allows you to disconnect the switch from the circuit and attach the 2 ends of the original wires back together if you ever want to. Run your switch wires to where your switch will be.
- If you are installing in the "hole", Install the switch by cutting the the far right roof of the "hole". A little Dremel Moto-Tool with a cut-off wheel makes it easy to cut the plastic accurately. A snap-in type switch makes it easy to install in the cut hole.
- If you are using the 9C1 switches, remove and relocate the lighter to the right side of the ash tray. Replace with the new switches and wire them up. The diagrams for the switches are in the service manuals.
- When reinstalling the dash trim pieces, put in all the screws before tightening them. As you tighten them, gently pull back and forth on the close area of the dash and tighten just past where it stops rattling/creaking.
- The antenna only goes up when the switch is flipped, and if it is flipped after the Ant. is up, it immediately goes down.
AdvantagesPrevents gas from dripping onto your rear bumper when fueling up.
- Caprice Gas Bib, P/N 10186225, $???
- You might want to also pick up a couple of the white connectors in the rear license plate frame, as they may break while removing them.
Procedure (from various people):
- Remove your rear license plate. This involves unscrewing the two screws on top and pulling the plate off.
- Remove the two square white tabs in the bracket, noting the direction that they go in.
- The bib fits between the license plate and its backing plate, attached at the top by the two white tabs. At the bottom of the bib are two slits that look like they go thru same-sized pieces of metal at the bottom of the license plate bracket.
- The letters "FWD" should be facing up towards you with the license bracket pulled down, and should appear almost directly under the filler pipe. The letters "TOP" should be towards the top of the bracket, closest to you with the bracket in the lowered position. Both words will be visible with the bib and license plate installed, and the bracket lowered as if to add fuel. If not you got it on upside down or backwards.
- Reinstall the white tabs in the correct position, replacing any that you broke taking them out.
- The rest of the bib is pushed like a tongue under the fuel filler neck, between the neck and the bumper. It's function is to deflect any gas under the car away from the bumper. You DO NOT have to remove the license plate bracket at all to install the bib.
AdvantagesDirects additional cooling air to the brake area during high-speed driving, and allows the full width of the tire to be viewed from the front of the vehicle. It also makes the front look more narrow.
DisadvantagesSome have reported that they increase the amount of water that is thrown up during driving through rain.
- Deflectors, Left and Right, 10220593 and 10220594, about $4 each.
Procedure (from various sources ):
- Take off the old deflectors that wrap around the sides of the front moulding. A small 1/4" socket set works well. You will need to reuse 2 of the 3 screws you now have from taking the stock deflectors off.
- Look on the 9C1 deflectors, they are marked LH (driver side) and RH (passenger side). You can also tell by examination: the deflectors have a hard, 90 degree turn followed by a short, straight piece at one end, and a gentle, rounded end on the other. The end with the 90 degree bend attached up by the radiator where the center air skirt is located, and the gently curved end points toward the brakes. The 9C1 deflectors go front to back, not side to side like the stock deflectors. Once you install them, you will see how they channel air to the front rotors.
- Take the correct 9C1 deflector, and screw in the hole closest to the center of the vehicle, next to the middle deflector still in place. This screw goes in vertically.
- Screw in the hole that is in the brace surrounding the radiator. There is a pre-drilled hole in the sheetmetal near the back of the radiator housing that is already put there for you by GM. This screw that goes in horizontally.
- If you want the deflector to meet up perfectly with no gap, install some tiny black oxide coated metal clips from behind. Get a standard factory style U-clip retainer (you can get them at most parts stores) and cut it slightly with some side cutters to fit over the plastic air dam pieces. It now clips from the rear, and each side grabs one of the plastic air dam parts, holding them tightly together.
Original (stock) deflector setup:
| | | |
| | | |
| | <-- Tires --> | |
| | | |
| | | |
| LH Stock Deflector RH Stock Deflector |
| / \ |
\____________ _____Center Deflector_____ ____________/
And here is how it should look after it is modified:
| | | |
| | | |
| | <-- Tires --> | |
| | | |
| | | |
|X <----- 9C1 Deflectors -----> X|
|X_ _____Center Deflector_____ _X|
X = mounting points
AdvantagesPrevents mud and gravel from winter from being thrown up against the paint. The large rear quarters are especially susceptible to damage.
DisadvantagesMud flaps aren't the prettiest thing to add to a vehicle, and the Impala does not accept standard mud flaps.
- One or two sets of mud flaps. GM Performance Parts makes some nice ones.
- 3/16 X 3 inch flat stock steel.
- A jig or hack saw and some extra blades.
- 6-8 #12 self tapping screw per mud flap.
- Washers for the above screws (for spacing).
- Pick out the flaps you want (but make 'em big!),
- Cut the stock. Get plenty of extra blades for the jig or hack saw: you will go through them pretty quick! Each piece needs to be about 14 inches, and you need a piece for each flap
- Bend the stock to 90 degrees about three inches from one end. You need to measure for your needs; your body may not be on the frame square and the dimensions will be different between the two sides. What you are aiming for is to mount the short end of the bend to the frame with four ~No. 12 self tapping screws. Bending the stock isn't easy: take your time and be patient.
- After you have the stock bent, fit it up to the frame so that it runs parallel to the ground behind the rear wheel. It doesnt have to be perfect, you can work out any misalignemnt issues when you mount the flap.
- Use washers between the steel and the frame to get it as square as possible and flush with the inside of the wheel well. The other end doesn't have to butt up to the wheel well, just close.
- After you have this on, just mount your flap to the flat stock using more self tapping screws. Watch your clearence with the exhaust pipe and trim to fit.
- I also mounted some on the front using more of the flat stock but I didnt like the looks of them on the front and took them off! I may go at it again later this year, but the engineering concept looked like it would work and I'll pass it on to anyone that is interested, just drop me a line!
Back to the index...
AdvantagesGives your car a custom, one-off appearance that matches the original Impala SS prototype.
- TrimBrite T-1816 2" by 24" Red Reflective Tape. A couple of bucks at Pep-Boys or a similar store.
- The existing chrome bowtie is exactly 2" tall by 5-1/4" wide, so cut off a piece of this tape just over 5-1/4" long and stick it on as to completely cover the chrome bowtie, aligning the top and bottom edges with the top and bottom of the bowtie.
- Take an Exacto knife and a metal ruler, and use them to carefully trim the excess tape from the inside and sides of the chrome bowtie. The ruler will help you trim a straight and accurate line, exactly matching the outline of the chrome bowtie underneath.
- Trim the red tape so that it completely covers all of the chrome, but not any of the black center or side areas. If you screw up and cut a bad edge or scratch the tape, just peel it off and start over! The 24" length will allow you to do 4 bowties, so there is plenty of spare material.
- With this deep red reflective tape, the bowtie absolutely lights on fire when you hit it with headlights at night! Also, since this is merely a piece of tape, you can peel it off and return to the stock look anytime you like.
Another option is to use Chevy pieces from the Chevy parts bins. Order 22591877, $5.45 (trade), which is the rear emblem from a 1996 Cavalier Z-24 coupe. It is red with a black border and adhesive backed. If you own a DGGM car, or if you just want to be different, there is a blue bow-tie (BBT) with the chrome outlining that is used on the 97 Cavalier: the p/n is #22591876. Here are some tips for installation:
- Do not use heat to remove it. Several members have tried and ended up with wrinkled paint or a warped grill.
- There is a hole in the grill behind the stock silver bowtie. Use a Philips screwdriver to push out on the stock bowtie and then slide a credit card, plastic putty knife, or some other flat surface underneath to cut through the stock adhesive. Work it up and down.
- You don't need a blade to cut through the adhesive. You run a greater risk of damaging the grill with a blade.
- Use you fingers to roll off any adhesive tape that remains on the grill. Some 3M Adhesive Remover will make the job easier. Be sure it is clean where you want to apply the new bow tie.
- The Cavalier bowtie has a small "bump" on the top. You can feel this through the adhesive. Although it really doesn't matter, this can be used to get the orientation of the bowtie correct.
- Make sure you get the bowtie centered before the adhesive touches the grill. Once it touches, you cannot remove it again. You get only one chance.
AdvantagesAllows your car to be more visible to other motorists in all conditions.
DisadvantagesBulb life is decreased, more power required to run the alternator to power the lights, does nothing that you couldn't do with the headlight switch.
- Goodwrench Daytime Running Lamps (DRL) Module, P/N: 12370131
- The DRL can be physically mounted to the top of the right inside front fender under the hood with two stainless steel sheet metal screws (do not over tighten - sheet metal will strip). All wiring should be covered with that black plastic spiral wrap that you can get in Radio Shack and elsewhere that looks like the factory wire wrap.
- Black Wire: Wants to see vehicle Ground at all times. Crimp an eye lug on the end of this wire and connect it to the grounding screw near the battery.
- Red Wire: Wants to see +12V at all times. This wire is protected with an in line fuse. Connect to the positive terminal on the battery using another crimped on eye lug. This can be facilitated by purchasing a double ended replacement for the 5/16 battery cable bolt at a local auto stereo shop. This bolt goes thru the connector on the end of the positive battery cable. One end holds the battery cable to the battery while the other end (stud & nut) is available for auxiliary connections to the battery. They use these to connect trunk mounted amplifiers to the battery and are often gold plated. Cost is about $5.
- Pink Wire: Wants to see +12V with ignition switch in "run" position. Connect this wire to the output of fuse #7 (Primary Fan) at the Underhood Electrical Center (UEC) using a 3M tap connector (do not cut the wire). Fuse #7 is hot when the ignition switch is in either the start or run position. The UEC is a plastic "box" that is located at the right rear (passenger side) of the engine compartment. This was one of the most difficult wires to get at so be very patient.
- Tan Wire: Supplies reduced voltage to headlamps during DRL mode. Connect this wire to the tan wire at the rear of the right front headlamp using a 3M tap connector (do not cut the tan wire going to the headlight - instead tap into it).
- Brown Wire: Wants to see +12V when headlight switch is manually activated. Connect this wire to the gray/black wire (circuit #308) behind the right front parking lamp assembly. The instructions included with the DRL Module are incorrect for our Impala's in stating that "This wire is dark brown in GM vehicles (circuit #9)." Circuit #9 in the Impala stops at the I/P fuse panel but continues as circuit # 308.
- White Wire: Wants to see +12V when the park brake is not activated and ground (0 volts) when it is. Connect this wire to the tan/white wire near the park brake using a 3M tap connector (do not cut the tan/white wire - instead tap into it). The use of this wire is optional but I recommend making the connection. If this feature is not desired, or your are not sure, route the white wire to the area of the park brake, insulate the end (insulated butt splice connector - use only one end) and roll it up for possible future use.
- Several of the above wires are not long enough as supplied with the DRL Module. The pink will just make it while the tan, brown and white wires need extending. Of course, this depends on where you mount the module and what circuit you chose to connect to. Use insulated butt splice connectors and wire of the same gauge or heavier to make the extensions. It is very helpful, but not necessary, to use the same color wire when making an extension.
- The 3M tap connectors referenced above do not come with the DRL module but are available at Radio Shack or at any electrical supply store. To use them to tap into a vehicle wire without cutting or stripping the wire simply assure that the plastic flap is open and metal "knife" is not depressed, slide the vehicle wire into the slot on one side of the connector, insert the DRL wire into the open "hole" in the end of the connector, depress the "knife" blade with pliers (strips the wire and simultaneously makes the two connections) and snap the flap closed. Also, the yellow butt splice connectors that do come with the DRL are too large for most of the connections while blue ones (not supplied) are probably what you want. Do not use pliers to crimp butt splice connectors - rather purchase an inexpensive crimp tool at Sears or Home Depot.
- If your Impala is equipped with a factory installed Twilight Sentinel system, Installation Note #1 of the DRL installation instructions probably applies (it did for my 96). Install the DRL Module first and then check for the symptoms described in note #1 - namely, unwanted flickering of the park lamps and chattering of the Twilight Sentinel Module under the dash. If this condition occurs, you must install a 12V DC SPDT relay (GM# 12077866, DELCO# 15-8386). Radio Shack also sells a good substitute.
- The headlamp automatic control module (Twilight Sentinel Module) is located in the Right Hand "A" pillar, behind the RF passenger kickpad (to the right of right front passengers right foot). You must cut the yellow wire going to the module and install the relay per Installation Note #1. This is not too difficult if you are patient and careful. If you have the Factory Service Manual, refer to page 8A-101-1 in Book 2 of 2. The yellow wire is somewhat short so be careful where you cut it in order to leave room to make the new connections. The added relay can be left hanging or mounted with a sheet metal screw (has a mounting tab with hole) or mounted with Velcro (neat).
It illuminates the dark side of the trunk, looks factory, reduces the chance that factory wires will suffer damage from trunk contents (because their exposed length is shorter). The rocker switch is unobtrusive, looks factory, and makes it easy to switch the lights off if the trunk is to be open for an extended time (like during a show).
You'll have to drill a hole in the package shelf and enlarge an existing hole using a grinder.
- Trunk lamp assembly, P/N 10268235 (about $7 from World Chevrolet)
- Small black rocker switch (NAPA #RS1046 is a good choice; about $3)
- Rubber grommet, (NAPA #784630 works well)
- 6 feet of #14 or #16 automotive wire
- Electrical tape and/or shrink tubing (if you solder instead of using crimped connections)
- Cut two 3-in lengths of wire and strip both ends. Solder one to each of the terminals on the switch. Insulate these and all other joints/splices with shrink tubing or tape. Alternatively, you can use female spade connectors here.
- Cut the mercury switch off the new trunk lamp assembly and splice a 3-ft length of wire to each of the two pigtails coming from the lamp.
- Open the trunk and disconnect the power connector for the trunk light. It is located near the left side of the left trunk hinge, toward the back. Note the location of the mercury switch for the factory lamp, mounted on the left hinge arm.
- Examine the underside of the package shelf and locate the following features: a. Narrow, hollow cavity running between the trunk hinges along the rear of the package shelf. b. Factory-installed trunk lamp, mounted in left side of hollow cavity. c. Oval hole just to the left of the factory lamp. This is the hole that you will enlarge slightly to mount the rocker switch. d. Square hole on right side of package shelf, symmetric with factory trunk lamp. This is where the second trunk lamp will snap in. e. Angled vertical surface at left end of the hollow cavity. This is the place to drill a hole through which to feed the wires. You'll need to install a rubber grommet here to protect the wires.
- Carefully unsnap the factory lamp from its receptacle and cut both leads, leaving about 3 in of each attached to the lamp. Exercising care to avoid damaging the insulation, slip the wires from the notch in the lens so that they will feed out the back of the assembly. Also, trace the wires from the mercury switch and power connector and slip these wires from the clip just inboard of the hinge arm.
- Locate the position at which you will drill the 3/8-in hole for the grommet (see 4f above) and mark it using a center punch and hammer. Spread newspapers to protect the carpet and then drill the hole. If necessary, clean up the edges using a rat-tail file.
- Widen the hole where the rocker switch will be installed using a small grinding stone chucked in a drill or Dremel tool. Don't let the grinding stone get away from you and scratch the paint on the package shelf! Stop occasionally and test-fit the switch, but don't push it all the way in until you're ready to finally install it! It's easiest to just lie on your back in the trunk for this and subsequent steps. Use eye protection!
- Use some black enamel to cover the bare edges created in the previous two steps.
- Feed the leads of the new trunk lamp through its intended mounting hole and pull one out through the switch hole and the other through the factory lamp hole. A straightened coat hanger helps with this. Gently snap the lens in place.
- About a foot from the end, splice one of the leads from the factory lamp into the lead hanging from the lamp hole. Now feed the free end back up through the lamp hole and out through the 3/8-in hole you drilled. Slip the grommet on the wire and tie a loose overhand knot in it to retain the grommet and to identify this lead as the one that goes to the power connector. Don't install the grommet yet.
- Cut about a foot off the wire hanging from the switch hole and solder the other lamp lead and one of the switch leads to the end still attached to the new lamp.
- Solder the piece of wire you just cut off to the other switch lead and then feed it back through the switch hole and out through the 3/8-in hole you drilled and through the grommet.
- Splice the wire from step 12 into the wire coming from the mercury switch. This places the mercury switch and the rocker switch in series.
- Untie the overhand knot in the wire from step 10 and splice it with the wire coming from the power connector.
- Reconnect the power connector and check the operation of the rocker switch and the lamps. With the switch on, check the operation of the mercury switch and verify that the wires do not bind or strain. Use the original clip(s) to control the wires.
- Now you can install the grommet, snap the switch in place, and snap the original lamp lens back into its receptacle.
Bulbs will be much brighter with the lower voltage drop across the harness. Safer when using high wattage bulbs.
Obsoletes the current wiring harness, leaving it dangling.
Note that you can also order a 14 gauge harness from Competition Limited for about $70 instead of fabricating this one. However, if you are the do-it-yourself type, or want the thicker 12 gauge wire, then you may want to try this. This will run about $50.
- 7 feet of 3 strand 12 gauge power cord
- 4 feet of red 10 gauge wire
- 1 foot of black 12 or 14 gauge wire
- 30 amp fuse link (NOT a fusable link, but a strand of wire with a base to mount a 30 amp blade fuse or circuit breaker)
- One 3/8" 10 gauge solderless ring connector (the yellow size)
- Two 1/4" (blue) solderless ring connectors
- Various blade or bullet type solderless connectors, both red and blue sizes, or use electrical (rosin core) solder
- Six metri-pack connectors #280. Conduct-tite p/n 85339
- Various sizes of shrink tubing
- Two 9004 headlight sockets
- about ten feet or so of 3/8 or 1/2" plastic wire loom
- about ten medium or large zip ties
- dielectric grease
- two auxillary light relays and matching pigtail sockets. Try an off-road hotrod shop.
- 3 inch piece of bracket metal (L-shaped) with one hole in each leg of the 'L'
- two 1/4" hex head bolts with washer and nut, about 1/2" long and preferably stainless
- epoxy (one that will stick to metal)
- Before you start on the car, you need to make the harness. Strip about 4-6" of the outer covering off the three strands of wire on one end. Using a crimping tool, strip all three wires about 1/2".
- Now take the little white retainer off the headlight sockets and yank the wires out. Get the metri-pack connectors and crimp or solder them onto the three wires. (These connectors are the metal contacts you see inside the sockets.) The wires are a little big for the connectors, so you may have to use a little ingenuity to make them stay on.
- Holding the socket with the bulb clip up and the bulb end of the socket facing away from you, so that the middle hole is highest, the wires go into the socket in this order: black (ground) on the left, low beam (tan wire) in the middle, and high beam (green) on the right. Put some dielectric grease on each connector before you insert it for corrosion protection. The driver's side headlight socket is now completed.
- Now cut about a foot of wire off the other end. Strip the outer covering from this segment, and use the three wires to make a pigtail for the other socket, using the instructions given above.
- Now, go out to the car and run the harness from the driver's side headlight, in front of the radiator along the X brace, and over to the passenger side. Cut the harness to fit, but leave yourself about 8-12 inches slack so you can fit things around the battery.
- Clarification note: Each relay pigtail has four wires, a coil hot, coil ground, main hot wire and the main power wire. The coil wires merely activate the relay, the main wires carry most of the current. The main hot wire will be connected to the remote battery terminal, and the main power will be connected to either the high beams or low beams.
- Strip about six inches of the outer covering from the remaining harness wire. Slide a 2" piece of shrink tubing over each wire. Either solder or crimp the 1/4" ring connector onto the 1 foot piece of black wire.
- Now comes the tricky part. Connect the socket's pigtail to the wiring harness, but also connect the ground wire you just made to the harness's ground wire and the power leads from the relay pigtails to the power wires on the harness and the socket pigtails. This makes three 'T' connections. If you are crimping, insert the relay and ground wires from the pigtail side; if you are soldering, lay the relay and ground wires parallel to the socket pigtail wires. After you have connected them, put the shrink tubing over the connections.
- On the relay pigtails: on the ground wire for the coils, hold them side-by-side and crimp the two of them together with a 1/4" ring connector. Use a blade connector and do the same thing with the hot wires, or solder them directly to the fuse link and shrink tube them. Put blade connectors on the positive coil wires, as you may have to unplug them during testing.
- Relay bracket: Take the L-shaped bracket and bolt the relays to it back-to-back with the bracket between them. Now put the other bolt through the other side of the bracket, and bolt it down tight. Mix up a little epoxy (e.g. JB Weld) and put it thickly around the nut not holding the relays, being careful not to get any on the threads of the bolt. (Gluing the nut to the bracket this way will keep you from getting six different cramps later trying to hold a wrench in the proper position inside the fender.)
- Put the plastic wire loom over the harness to give it a factory look.
- It will be easier if you remove your battery at this point. Don't forget to write down your radio's anti-theft code before you do it.
- Cut the stock headlight sockets off the wiring harness. Cap all the wires on the driver's side, but use the two hot wires (green is high beam and tan is low beam) on the passenger's side to activate the relays. Strip the stock wires and crimp blade connectors onto them. That way, you can change them later if you screw up. Use dielectric grease on all non-soldered connections for corrosion protection.
- Plug the relays into their pigtails. If you will look at the insde of the fender where you removed your battery, you will see a hole that is perfect for bolting the relays to the inside of the fender and completely out of sight. Take the ground coil wires and the ground wire from the harness (remember, you put ring connectors on them) and string them on the bolt holding the bracket before bolting down the bracket. Connect the hot coil wires to the stock headlight wires; again, green is high and tan is low. You may want to use a couple of zip ties to clean everything up at this point. Now thread the other end of the wiring harness through the gap between the headlight and the radiator, down along the X-brace, and up the other side and through the gap on the driver's side. Put zip ties on to hold it in position, but don't tighten them all the way down yet.
- Starting at the remote battery post by the under hood fuse box near the passenger side firewall, crimp or solder the 3/8" ring connector to the 10 gauge wire. If you solder it, take the yellow plastic off with a pair of needle nose pliers. After it cools, slide a piece of shrink tube up the wire from the other end to cover the connection. Now slide a second piece onto the wire, all the way up to the ring end. Solder the fuse wire onto the other end of the 10 gauge wire. Now slide the pieces of shrink tubing over the connection and shrink it. Put the rest of the wire loom over it to make it look factory. Run it up along the fender to the remote battery post near the antenna and bolt the ring connector to the post. Take out the stock bulbs and install the high power ones, and connect the harness. Put zip ties where appropriate, tighten everything down, and re-install the battery. If the low beams come on when the high beams are supposed to, just switch the coil wires that connect to the stock headlight wires.
- Install time is about 1 hour, and on a difficulty scale of 1 to 10, I'd give it a 3, where 1 is changing your oil, and 10 is putting in a new drivetrain.
Bulbs are much brighter than stock and the beam pattern can be refocused, which means better visibility at night. You can also customize the front headlamp area to give your car a unique nighttime appearance. Light pattern is much more even and cutoff is much sharper than US spec lights. High wattage bulbs will not blind oncoming drivers due to sharper cutoff patterns.
The export capsules' beam pattern may not be pleasing to everyone. Other drivers may be offended by the brighter lights. Questionable legality. Expensive.
If you just want brighter lights (and not the new beam pattern), try JC Whitney (PN 83KZ0801A for 55/100W and 83KZ0802A for 80/100W, about $10 each: they are also available through the NAISSO superstore for less)) for high wattage bulbs for the stock headlights.
Method 1: Installing Higher Power Bulbs
This method allows you to install the higher power T84 bulbs in the stock headlamp capsules (with a few modifications). This is by far the most economical route, and will dramatically brighten your lights. Note that there is also a high-quality kit available from Competition Limited ( 313-464-1458 ) for $50, or the kit and 2 80/100W bulbs for 68.00.
- High power bulbs. Try JC Whitney (PN 83KZ0801A for 55/100W and 83KZ0802A for 80/100W, about $10 each).
- A pair of 30 amp relays (Labeled "BAJA TOUGH", have the Desert Fox name on the package, part number DF005, cost about $4.00 at AutoZone)
- Two sockets for the 9004 lamps that look identical to the original GM sockets (Calterm part number 09004, cost $2.97 from AutoZone).
- A 30 amp circuit breaker, (part number 15-1 from Big "A" auto parts, cost $4.75).
- Black, ribbed wire loom. About $2.
- Miscellaneous wire, connectors, and metal bits.
- Remove the battery from the car.
- Install the circuit breaker on a homemade bracket near the under hood fuse box.
- Connect it to the main terminal on the rear of the fuse box with #12 wire.
- Run #14 wire (through original style plastic wire loom) to a bracket holding the two relays which can be mounted in the opening inside the right fender directly behind the battery. There is an existing hole for the mount.
- The new headlamp sockets came with wires long enough to easily reach the relays from the right side lamp. Run #14 wire to the high and low beam wires on the driver's side socket, again using factory style wire loom.
- On each side of the car, the ground for the lamps can be obtained by using one of the existing ground bolts near the headlamp sockets. The ground wires for the relays were joined and connected to the ground terminal on the original right side headlamp socket using an old connector from a 9004 bulb. The high and low wires were connected likewise to the old socket and then one wire to each relay.
- Now, the original headlamp circuit only controls the new relays which draw about 200ma (0.2 amp) each. The voltage drop at the lamps now is about 0.5 volts which means the under similar conditions as those outlined in the test above, the bulbs will be seeing roughly 13.65 volts. This is slightly ABOVE the design voltage for the lamps but one thing that can be said is they are BRIGHT NOW! If bulb life turns out to be a problem, I can add resistance in the #14 wire to the relays from the circuit breaker and lower the voltage but for the time being, it works well! The light pattern in front of the car is dramatically better, or more "full" on low beam and the high beams are best described as "impressive".
- The installation is virtually invisible except for the new circuit breaker on the bracket back by the fuse box. This is fine with me as I intend to add some radio equipment and will use this breaker to protect the radio wiring as well.
Method 2: Installing Export Style Headlight Capsules
This method allows you to install the clear, glass export style headlight capsules along with the brighter bulbs. This gives you a more defined and sharp beam pattern, which some people may like. They also give the front of your Impala a unique look. They are quite expensive, however.
- 16519237, T84 Capsule Assembly LH, $243.00
- 16519238, T84 Capsule Assembly RH, $243.00
- 2x 8905394, Connector, Headlamp, $5.50
- 2x 12159672, Socket, Turn-Signal/Park, $41.25 (may only work with single filaments: has not been tested (see text))
- 2x 10031004, 158 bulb w/blue silicone cap $1.31
- Proper sockets for the bulb adapters (see procedure). Connectors are P/N 6288471 (you need two) and terminals are P/N 6294068 (you need 6).
- Optional: male weather pack connector #12030291 ($6.25 list)
- Optional: terminal connector #12355107 ($1.70 list ea.)
- Trim Blackout tape (Trimbrite T-9005 1-3/8")
- Electrical tape
- 10mm wrench (or socket and ratchet)
- #2 phillips screwdriver
- 2.5" Hole Saw
- Exacto knife or razor blade
- Soldering iron and solder
- Wire strippers
- Note that these lamps require different connectors and sockets for the headlamp and t-signal/park bulbs. The same t-signal/park bulbs are used with the T84 lamps even though the sockets are different. The factory parts for the connectors and sockets are expensive, and, as an alternative, you can get the headlamp connector and t-signal/park bulb socket for much less money at any auto parts stores. For the t-signal/park bulb socket, you can use General Auto Specialties #34390, and the headlamp connector is a standard H4 or sealbeam three prong connector. These normally come as pigtails, which means the connector or socket includes approximately 6" of wire with the terminals already crimped on inside.
- Splice into the factory headlamp and t-signal/park lamp wires to attach the new connectors and sockets. This way you would have both types of connector and socket ends available should you ever want to go back to stock. The positioning bulb sockets should be spliced directly into the parking lamp socket such that they illuminate with the park lamps.
- Remove the phillips screw attaching the side marker and cornering lamp housing. Pull the housing forward to remove it from the car. Unplug the bulb sockets by twisting them counterclockwise 1/4 turn. Set the housing to the side.
- Remove the 4 10mm screws holding the headlamp capsule bracket to the vehicle. Pull the capsule forward and disconnect the headlamp connectors and turn signal park lamp bulb sockets. Remove the capsule and set it aside.
- Locate the 9004 style headlamp bulb connector you just unplugged. It is a 3-pin female connector with Light Green, Tan, and Black wires running to it. Splice the new 3-pin H4 bulb connector maintaining the same color coded wire positions.
Using a razor blade or wire stripper, scribe a cut in the insulation where the splice will be placed. This cut should go through the insulation completely around the wire, but do not cut the wire itself. Scribe another similar cut 1/4" away from the first one. Slit the insulation between the cuts and peel the section away. You should now have an undamaged source wire with approximately 1/4" of insulation missing from a section. Strip the end of the new wire to be spliced to the source wire. Wrap it around the bared portion of the source wire. Solder the splice junction. Tape the splice thoroughly with electrical tape to insure a weathertight seal.
This method leaves the original wire undamaged and allows the best possible connection with low resistance and high physical strength. Under no circumstances should you use "quick tap" or "Scotch-Lok" type crimp on splice connectors. These will corrode and leave you with an unreliable high resistance connection that will cause problems in the future.
Headlamp bulb female connector pinouts:
H4 Connector 9004 Connector
| | -- --
Lt Grn Blk Lt Grn Blk
Tan = Low Beam
Lt. Green = High Beam
Black = Ground
Many of the generic pigtail connectors will just have three black wires, so in that case just match the position of the terminals as shown with the correct signals.
- An alternative method is to purchase the correct connectors and do the splice further into the wire harness. GM lists the opposite end as a male weather pack connector #12030291 ($6.25 list) and the terminal end with the rubber seals are #12355107 ($1.70 list ea.) With these you can make the splice farther in the harness (less noticeable) and if you ever need to remove the assembly you can now just disconnect instead of cutting again.
- After wiring up the new connectors and taping all splices, I recommend sealing the original 9004 connectors with black duct tape to protect them from the elements. This will prevent them from corroding should you ever wish to re-install the original lamps.
- Locate the Turn Signal/Parking lamp sockets. Splice the new sockets to the existing wires, following the standard color coding and pinouts.
Turn Signal / Park Lamp Connector Pinouts
The color coding on the generic replacement socket usually differs from the factory sockets. Note that the factory sockets use a slightly different colored turn signal wire on the LH and RH sockets. If you are using the generic replacement socket, then just splice the (light or dark) blue wire to the yellow, gray/black to brown, and black to black.
- Solder and tape the turn signal splices on each side, but do not solder and tape the parking and ground splices just yet. You will be adding the positioning lamp to this circuit.
- Remove the positioning bulb harness section from the new T84 lamps and cut off the connector end. Splice the wire ends of the positioning bulb socket to the parking lamp circuit on each side. Splice the gray to the gray/black and brown to black. Now solder and tape the splices on each side. Remove the #2057NA bulb from the original socket and install it in the new socket. Tape up the original turn signal/parking lamp sockets with black duct tape to seal them from the elements.
- Take the new T84 capsules and locate the angled portion of the plastic bracket which would be behind the cornering lamp socket once installed. Use the 2.5" hole saw and cut a 2.5" diameter hole in the bracket centered in this angled portion. This will allow the wire and socket for the cornering lamp to pass through the T84 brackets. Export cars did not get cornering lamps, hence they did not have clearance for the socket.
- Remove the blue silicone cap from the 3w #158 GM wedge bulbs, and reinstall the cap on the 5w positioning bulbs removed from the T84 lamps.
- The T84 lamps will not have the upper part of the lens under the hood area painted black like on the Impala SS lamps. Cover the top edge of the T84 lamps with black plastic trim tape and cut it with an Exacto knife to match the appearance of the US Impala lamps.
- Using the original US lamps as a guide, apply black trim tape to the top edge of the T85 lenses, and trim the tape with a razor or knife to mimic the black painted section on the US lenses. First apply the blackout tape, and then apply masking tape on top of this along the edge you wish to trim. Using the masking tape edge as a guide, use an Exacto knife to cut the tape in a smooth curved line even with the front of the lens. After pulling off the excess tape, this leaves only a portion on the top of the lens similar to the black painted portion on the US lens.
- Install the new T84 capsules. If you are installing 80/100 high output bulbs, now is the time to put them in. Then connect the new H4 connector to the headlamp bulb, screw in the new turn signal/parking lamp socket with bulb, and insert the positioning lamp socket and bulb. Before mounting the lamps turn on the headlights and test to see that both low and high beams, as well as the parking and turn signal lamps work properly. The positioning lamps should come on with the parking lights.
- If everything is working properly, then mount the T84 capsules and reinstall the 4 10mm screws you removed earlier.
- Install the original cornering lamp/side marker housings. First plug in the sockets with bulbs, and then install the housing and secure with the phillips screw you removed earlier.
Provides a handy way to signal traffic that you are in a hurry. Also looks cool at car shows. Adds that special touch of SEO blood to your Impala SS!
Most likely illegal in your state. Consult your local authorities. Do not use a solid red (forward facing) light while engaging wigwags. This is know as a "take down" light and is the sign from police to motorists to pull over for a traffic stop. Use of this combination (wigwags and take down light) can definately result in felony arrest for impersonating a peace officer. Don't say I didn't warn you! The rule of the road is "When you see red, pull over". SO don't use the red, please!
- Gall's (1-800-477-7766) model FS-025 standard wig-wag flasher (about $20)
- Miscellaneous electrical butt connectors
- Wire cutters
- Electrical butt connector crimpers
- Wire loom (black) - 1/2 inch (about 5 to 6 feet)
- (Optional) +12V DC light probe
Back to the index...
- First of all, the instructions that come with it are very easy to understand. Follow the diagram. It basically tells you to cut the stock high-beam circuit in two places: one before the headlamps, and the other in between the headlamps.
- You then connect the provided wires (a total of five) and essentially have two circuits (the original high beams and the wig-wag circuit). You still retain your stock high beam function but when the wigwag switch is engaged, the wig-wags take over and cancel your base high beam circuit and start alternating the highbeams. If your lows were on, they stay on. The low beam circuit is not affected at all.
- The correct wire in the stock highbeam circuit to cut is the smaller light green wire. Just follow the wiring harness that comes through the firewall just beneath the brake master cylinder.
- Make the first cut right next to the washer fluid reservoir. At cut #1, two of the wires from the wigwag harness will connect to the light green wire that goes back into the firewall while another one connects to the light green wire that goes to the dirver side headlamp.
- Make the second cut in front of the radiator between the headlamps (behind and to the right of the hood latch). At cut #2, the fourth wire on the wigwag harness connects to the light green wire that goes to the passenger side headlamp. Also at cut #2, the light green wire that comes from the driver side headlamp (going to the 2nd cut) is taped off and left dormant.
- You can use the stock Gall's switch box that comes with the unit or you can disassemble it and mount the contents elsewhere. The control box comes with four components: a light, a relay, which is inside the box, a dual pole switch, and a fuse housing. If you don't want to use the light, simply cut it off and tape the ends up.
- Run the wigwag wiring harness through the firewall alongside the hood release cable. Use black wire loom to hide the wires and make the appearance factory-looking.
- Be careful as these flashers are illegal in some states. I am not responsible for anything and all disclaimers apply! Contact me for any other info at BasimSS@ImpalaSS.org.
- For Basim's installation picture (second to the bottom picture), check out http://web.archive.org/web/20001202162600/http://www.kentconsulting.com/kpauley/impala/basimss.htm on Ken Pauley's website. (the link may change and Ken will notify the list).
AdvantagesThese sway bars will make your Impala feel much more stable and corner incredibly flat. The Impala will feel like it lost 1,000 lbs with these bars installed, and the cornering limits will be beyond what you ever could expect for a vehicle this large. Herb Adams is the original designer and engineer of the '69 Pontiac Trans Am, and he also did the '73-'74 455 Super Duty Trans Ams as well. He quit Pontiac around '74 seemingly over the bean counter and government related politics that hamstrung the whole Super Duty project. You can get the Herb Adams swaybars either direct from Herb Adams VSE (their number is 408-649-8423, tell them I sent you!) or from Summit racing, however a better version of the front bar is only available from Herb Adams VSE directly.
DisadvantagesHerb Adams' current focus is racing cars, and most of his products are of the "some assembly required" type. Be prepared for some work, improvisation, and fabrication.
You can get the rear bar from Summit racing (216-630-0200) under the Herb Adams/Moroso name, part number MOR-86516 ('77-up B-car, cost $166.69). They also carry the front bar under part number MOR-86015, however they only carry the bar with heim joint end links. These end links will rapidly wear out and rattle, and they are very expensive to replace. Instead, if you purchase this bar from Herb Adams VSE directly you can get the bar modified for tie-rod end links (included). The tie-rod end links are even stronger than the heim joints, and they are greasable and do not wear out.
- Front Bar:
- (1) Herb Adams Front Bar (with Tie Rod Ends - 33mm)
- (2) Replacement Bushings
- GM PN 14094388 (34mm)
- GM PN 10288551 (32mm) Recommended/easier fit
- (4) Replacement Bolts (non-stripped)
- Totally Stainless PN 1-1273
- GM M10x1.5x25mm PN 15959689
- (4) Replacement 1/8" Washers
- (4) Nuts (just in case you strip the frame threads)
- Totally Stainless PN ???
- GM PN ???
- Rear Bar
- (1) Herb Adams Rear Bar
- (4) Replacement Bolts (cars without newer style trailing arms)
- Totally Stainless PN 2-0852
- GM M10x1.5x110mm PN
- (4) Replacement Bolts (cars with newer style trailing arms)
- Totally Stainless PN
- GM M10x1.5-120mm PN 11508196 (changed to 11504610?)
- (4) Replacement 1/8" Washers
- (4) Replacement Nuts (prevailing torque)
- Totally Stainless PN
- GM PN 10255857 (Changed to 11502812?)
DO NOT order the front bar through Summit as you will only get the version with heim joint end links that wear out rapidly and once they wear, they start to rattle. Replacing them is almost as expensive as purchasing the whole bar. Instead you should get the front bar direct from VSE modified for tierod end links, and it is only sold that way through VSE directly. The bar has to have different ends welded on to accept the vastly superior (greasable) tierod links. Contact Herb Adams directly at 408-649-8423. The front bar with the tie-rod end links is around $320.
You have to consider that the Herb Adams bars come with no attaching hardware, and there are really no instructions to speak of, so you are on your own. If you need instructions, use the factory service manual or the information I am giving here as a guide, since these bars install in the same manner as the factory bars. The big difference is that you CANNOT re-use the stock mounting hardware, or at least you SHOULD not. Here is what I recommend:
Here are some installation tips for installing the Herb Adams swaybars, compiled from various sources.
- To install the Herb Adams front bar (33mm) you absolutely CANNOT re-use the stock rubber bushings. These are designed for only a 30mm bar, and simply will not fit around the 33mm bar. I don't recommend using polyurethane aftermarket bushings either (such as supplied by Herb Adams in their optional installation kit), as in my experiences the bar will abrade the inner hole, wearing it oversize until the bar begins rattling around inside the hard urethane bushings. Hard urethane bushings also tend to squeak a lot, unless you are constantly lubricating them.
Instead I would recommend a factory replacement bushing from another GM application. The stock bushings feature a 30mm hole, are made of soft rubber, and have no fiberglass liner where the bar runs through them. I recommend you replace these with factory 32mm or 33mm High Durometer (hard rubber) bushings that have fiberglass liners. The liners prevent wear and totally eliminate noise as the bar rotates in the bushings. These are available under GM part number 14094388 (34mm) or 10288551 (32mm).
The 34mm bushings have exactly the same external dimensions as the original 30mm soft rubber bushings used in the Impala, however I have found that because of their high durometer (hard) rubber construction, they are sometimes difficult to compress in the stock Impala clamps. If you find this to be the case, then I recommend you use the smaller 32mm bushings. The smaller bushings will still fit around the bar, although a bit more tightly, and their smaller external dimensions will also fit inside the stock clamps a little easier. Either of these seem to be tailor made for installing the Herb Adams 33mm front bar in the Impala! These bushings are from the F-car parts catalog, by the way. The 34mm bushing is from an '85-'92 F-car, while the 32mm bushing is from a '93+ F-car with the special 1LE suspension (pn #10288551).
- Now, on to the brackets and bolts. The bushings I just listed have the same basic form factor of the stock bushings (except the larger hole for the larger bar), so the stock brackets can be used. The bolts, however should be changed. The original bolts are a metric M10x1.5 30mm prevailing torque bolt. I do not like these bolts at all and absolutely will not re-use them. The problem is the prevailing torque feature means they have distorted threads that will strip the threads in the frame if installed more than once, as well as making it very difficult to "feel" how tight they are when you are installing them, causing you to easily strip the threads. I recommend replacing the stock bolts with non-prevailing torque bolts of the same size. These will tighten much more easily, and you will know when they are getting too tight.
- If your stock threads are not stripped, then I recommend an M10x1.5 25mm or 30mm standard (non-prevailing torque) thread bolt with a small internal hex cap head. The small cap heads will easily clear the bracket, and you can use a large (8mm) allen key or allen hex tool to tighten them. Conventional hex head bolts do not leave enough room against the bracket to work properly, and you cannot get a wrench or even a thin wall socket on them easily.
The absolute best bolt for the job I have found is available from a company called Totally Stainless (800-767-4781). Their motto is "In Stainless we Trust, In Chrome we RUST!". They specialize in nothing but stainless steel fasteners, and have an excellent catalog that every car crafter should have. They have high strength M10x1.5 25mm bolts with hex socket cap heads in pure stainless steel which will never rust or corrode, and which do not feature the distorted threads of the stock bolts. They are available under part number 1-1273 (4 are required). Use locktite 242 (blue) to prevent them from loosening, and to act as a lubricant when they are being installed. These are what I recommend if you have not stripped your stock threads. Tell Totally Stainless I sent you!
- If you strip the threads in the frame, you will have to either get an M10x1.5 nut (also available from Totally Stainless) on the inside of the frame rail (which is very easy to do on the RH side, but difficult on the LH side), or install a "nutsert" type fastener. Nutserts are special nuts that are installed through the frame holes, and then a special tool (included when you buy them) is used to crush them against the inside of the frame rail, where they will stay. Then you can use a conventional bolt to tighten the bracket. In most cases, installing the nutsert will require that you drill the frame holes out to a larger dimension, but in the end you have a much stronger set of threads than the stock setup.
- If you are using the nutsert approach, then I recommend a hex cap head bolt in whatever size is required by the nutsert threads. A 3/8 version would be the closest to the factory metric size and would fit the best. The bolt should be a 3/8" diameter by about 1-1/4" long, and should feature the small internal hex cap head.
- For the rear bar, the stock 7/16" by about 1-5/16" long bolts are clearly inappropriate. They feature only 1-1/4" of thread length after the 1/8" thick washer is installed, and the Herb Adams rear bar is 1" thick at the attachment points. This leaves only about 1/4" of thread to engage the nut in the control arm bracket (absolutely not enough!). Instead I recommend you use a longer bolt with the same 7/16" diameter as the stock one.
Absolutely the BEST bolt for the rear bars are the ARP Grade 8 stainless steel bolts. These are available in a 7/16" diameter by 2-3/16" long version, that leaves over 2" of thread after the 1/8" thick washers are installed. These are also available from Totally Stainless as part number 2-0852 (4 are required). These bolts are absolutely a work of art, in fact they are aerospace quality and just beautiful to look at. I have extra ones in stock just so I can occasionally pick them up and admire them, but then I am not normal!
Herb Adams Front Bar Installation Tips
- Make sure you have the bar oriented the correct way, the tabs should be pointing UP, not down.
- Get two floor jacks:
- Use the one to hold the bar up firmly against the underside of the car be centering the bar on the jack and raising it until it is firm against the frame.
- Use the second jack to compress the brackets onto the bushings.
- The Herb Adams front bar torque specs:
- Frame bushing bolts... 35 Ft/Lbs
- Control arm mounting blocks... 80 ft/lbs
- Stover nuts (castle nuts) that go on the tie rod ends...just put a box end wrench on them and tighten them up
- Front Bolts, Bushings and Clamp preference order:
- RIVNUTS(Stainless bolts), 32mm Bushing, HA Clamp
- Stainless Bolts, 32mm Bushing, Stock Clamp
- Stainless Bolts, HA Bushing, HA Clamp
- HA front Bolts, HA Bushing, HA Clamp
As a quick work around you can try to get M10x1.5 nuts behind those holes if one of them becomes stripped. You can not reuse the stock bushings. The F-car 1LE 32mm bushings are p/n 10288551.
- It is recommended to use Liquid Wrench on the bolts to the frame and control arms to help prevent them from being stripped.
- Put the bushings on the bar and squeeze the clamps on with the vice, this spreads the clamp out a little at the base, which in turn widens the distance between the holes. Then squeezed the clamp on the sides to narrow that distance back to where it should be. When the bar is in place, the holes should line up perfectly, hence no striping of the threads. Using a floor jack with a block of wood, press the clamps on and install them relatively easy.
- Sometimes there might still be about 1/8" space when fully tightened. Shim the gap between frame and clamp with 1/8" thick washers and Loctite Blue.
- An alternative method is to take a Dremel tool with a coarse sanding drum and carve out the rubber so that the bushing will fit into the clamps. Cut a semi-circular cross section groove that goes around the bushing. It probably makes the bushings a bit stiffer, but that's rarely considered a problem. :-) The bushings then sit in the clamps and protruded just a bit just like stock clamps and bushings. No jacks needed, just put them in place and bolt them down.
- Install steering stops p/n 10225366 RH and p/n 10225365 LH or just bend the stock steering stops to avoid the tires from hitting the bar.
Herb Adams Tie Rod End Link Installation Tips
- It seems that the tapered holes in the front bar and the lower mounting blocks are not quite deep enough for the tie rod ends to protrude enough to allow the cotter pin to be installed through the castle nut. The only option is to ream the hole with tapering bit.
- Tie rod ends: The tie rods are adjustable... where should they be set? For normal city driving the car should be set up neutral.
- Make sure that the mounting blocks are angled to be somewhat parallel to the end of the sway bar (as per Matt Adams).
- Align mounting blocks so tie rod ends clear the car's frame when the suspension moves up and down. If it doesn't, it may get dinged when the upper control arm compresses on the rubber bump stop.
- Mounting blocks should be positioned straight (mounting holes will line up straight across the car).
- Adjust one set of tie rod ends so there is about 1/4- 1/2" of threads showing and install...just use box end wrench and tighten then up. Do not torque to 90 ft/lbs. Loctite is a good idea.
- Assemble the other set, but just install the lower tie rod end, position it near the sway bar, but out of the way, install tires and let the car down. While the car is at full rest, adjust the other end so it will fit easily into the swaybar. This procedure (adjusting tie rod length on the ground) is as not pre-load the suspension.
- Start the nut then jack up the car and remove the tire to finish tightening the nut. Do not tighten both nuts with the wheels off the ground.
- Tighten the Castle nuts with a wrench, tight, and then install the "Mr Cotter" pin. Make sure you leave about 1/4 to 1/2 of the threads showing on the Ball joint bolt (Ball joint to Ball joint Bolt). Make sure you line up the grease nipples either facing the front or rear of the car and not to the sides of the car due to the danger of knocking them off if it hits frame of car. Very important: Grease fittings just screw them in, no tapping necessary use a 5/16" box wrench.
Herb Adams Rear Bar Installation Instructions
If there is a problem with these bars, it is the lack of included hardware and poor to nonexistent installation instructions. Hopefully the information I have provided here will help those of you who are considering these bars.
- With Hotchkis lower trailing arms mount with FLAT SIDE UP toward the Hotchkis lower trailing arms. With stock lower trailing arms mount with Flat Side DOWN.
- The rear bar requires bolts to be torqued to 55 lbs as per Herb Adams instructions and 35 ft/lbs as per the Hotchkis lower trailing arm instructions. At 45 ft/lbs the bolt felt like it would snap. At this time the true torque spec has not been finalized. Just approximate!!
- Use stock 8 sided washer, one or two for each side, between the Herb Adams bar and the control arm to fill this space. This lowers the bar about 1/8" and provides clearance between the bar and the control arm. Also, since the holes in the HA bar are quite large, pay particular attention to centering it before you tighten the bolts.
- The Totally Stainless bolts are a little long and at time it is possible to bottom out on the threads. You will need a couple of 7/16 flat washers and Loctite or a lock washer or both for the later style lower control arm.
AdvantagesThe 9C1 springs are firmer than the original springs in the Impala. They are also a little higher, which gives the car a somewhat "raked" look.
DisadvantagesSome may not like the "raked" look, and the stiffer ride might not appeal to some.
- 9C1 Rear Springs. See the FAQ for a discussion on spring part numbers and rates.
- Place wheel chocks in front of both front tires.
- Jack up the rear of the car.
- Place jackstands just forward of the spot where the rear control arms attach to the frame. Use good-quality jack stands. This is a really heavy car!
- Remove both rear wheels.
- Remove the lower retaining nut and washer from both rear shocks.
- Place your jack under the differential and slowly raise it until you are able to push both shocks free from their lower mounts. With a new rust-free car, you should NOT need a hammer.
- Lower the jack. The rear axle will drop several inches lower now that the rear shocks are disconnected.
- While pushing down on the rear brake assembly, pull the rear springs off their pedestal mounts and then remove them from the car. Don't lose the rubber isolators on the top of the spring and on the pedestal mount on the lower control arm.
- Some folks claim a handling advantage by leaving off the lower rubber isolator. You may or may not want to remove them. Put the upper isolator on the top of the new spring and push the spring up against its upper mounting point.
- You may need the help of an assistant for this step. The new springs are slightly taller and stiffer and do not go in as easily as the old ones came out. While you push down on the rear brake assembly with all your might, have your assistant slide the bottom of the new spring over the spring perch.
- If you have troubles, you may try bolting a hub puller to the wheel studs and push down on it with your foot while folding onto the fender well. This will provide you with the extra leverage so that your assistant can slip the spring over the perch and into place.
- Place the jack under the differential and raise the axle assembly enough so that the lower shock bolts line up with the mounting tabs. Reattach shocks.
- Put everything back together and enjoy!
AdvantagesOffers an added level of security by preventing current from being applied to the fuel pump unless a hidden switch is pressed.
DisadvantagesMostly just the inconvenience of pushing the button.
- 15A, 30VDC DPDT relay, Radio Shack part number 275-218c, or equivalent. The relay should be able to handle 6 amps or so at 12VDC.
- There is a matching socket: Radio Shack part number 275-220.
- Misc electrical connectors and wire.
Procedure (from Steve Das ):
- Fabricate a bracket for the socket and mounted it behind the glove box, on the upper right corner of the AC plenum. There is a hole already there and the bracket should bolt right to that hole. This position is close to the fuel pump wire (which runs behind the right kick panel just below this location) and is very accessible. Mounting the relay here resulted in very short wires to the fuel pump wire.
- Before starting this modification, pull the Air Bag fuse and separate the TWO yellow Air Bag connectors under the steering column just to be safe.
- Locating the fuel pump wire: There is a large, black connector behind the right kick panel. The connector you are looking for is "bolted together". It has a bolt running through it to hold it together. The wire you want is a large gray wire in the center of the connector. Rather than try to describe it. The numbers on the connector are duplicated and make no sense, locate it with a test light. The wire you are looking for has 12 volts applied for 2 seconds when you turn the key on but don't start the engine. Once the wire has been located, you are ready to start.
- You can either cut this wire or pull it from the connector. I cut mine. The wire from the engine compartment will have 12 volts on it as described above. The other wire will now be dead.
- Layout of Radio Shack # 275-218c Relay terminals:
- Normally closed fixed contact #1
- Normally closed fixed contact #2
- Normally open fixed contact #1
- Normally open fixed contact #2
- Movable contact #1
- Movable contact #2
- Relay Coil
- Using wire of sufficient size for the current required, connect the wire from the engine compartment to pins 3 & 4 (normally open stationary contacts) of the relay.
- The wire from the pump (the other cut end) goes to pin 6 (one moving contact).
- Connect a wire from pin 5 (other moving contact) to pin 8 (one side of the coil).
- Connect a wire from pin 7 (other side of the coil) to a good ground: there is a ground lug just in front of the door opening at the bottom.
- Now determine where you want to mount the hidden push button switch. It should be some place not too obvious but easy to get to. Let your imagination be your guide.
- Run wires from the Normally Open contacts on the push button switch to pins 3 & 8 on the relay.
- In addition, you can put a hidden toggle switch (a "valet switch") across pins 4 & 6 of the relay. This allows you to defeat the relay should you need to leave the car with a parking attendant, take it in for service, or drive it if the relay fails.
- Keep in mind that the wires you splice to the fuel pump wire must be large enough to carry the fuel pump current of about 6 amps. If you use a hidden toggle switch as a "valet switch", those wires as well must be large enough for 6 amps. If you wire this correctly, the wires to the hidden push button need only carry relay coil current (about .075 amp) so they can be smaller. Be sure you know what you are doing with your wire size.
- What all this does is this; when current is supplied to the relay by turning on the key, and the push button is closed, current flows through the push button and powers the relay coil. The relay closes and one set of the relay contacts supplies current to the pump and the other set supplies current to the relay coil, holding the relay closed. When the current disappears as a result of shutting off the engine, the relay opens and current is prevented from getting to the pump until the cycle is repeated.
- Remember that there is a switch in the oil pressure switch that supplies current to the pump as well (in the event that the fuel pump relay under the hood fails) but that connection is ahead of this point so this system still works.
I hope this hasn't been too confusing. I can, of course, assume no responsibility for your installation but if you are careful with your wiring, insulate everything, use heat shrink tubing on your wire splices etc., you should have no trouble. It's a good feeling knowing that I have added another level of security between my Impala and the bad guys. I will be glad to help anybody with questions.
The remote keyless entry in the Impala SS (and Caprice) is missing several features that are found on other GM cars, including the Caprice's sister, the Buick Roadmaster. These features are:
Also, you can extend the range of the remotes by installing a better antenna for the RCDLR module.
- The dome/courtesy lights coming on for 30 secs after the remote's unlock is pressed, and 3 seconds after lock is pressed.
- Automatic door lock when shifted out of park and unlock when shifted back into park. The unlock function is optional by a special programming sequence.
- Re-locking of the doors if any door is opened then closed while out of park and while the brake petal is depressed for picking up or dropping off passengers.
You may not like the auto-unlock, but it can be disabled. Running the wires and performing the modifications for this procedure involves soldering and some wiring between the trunk and the dash. Note that you can also use crimp-on connectors in place of the soldering: it is all personal preference.
- 30A automotive relay (Radio Shack P/N 275-226 will work @ $5.99) (30A, 12VDC ,66 ohms, 160mA coil)
- Small gauge wire - approx. 12-15'
- Solder gun/iron and solder
- Shrink tubing or plastic electrical tape
- At least 3 6" cable ties
- (Optional) Metri-Pack terminals for the C1 and C2 connectors from the GM Terminal Repair Kit. The C1 connector uses p/n 12047767, about $.75ea. C2 uses p/n 12077411, about $2.90ea.
- The RCDLR (Remote Control Door Lock Receiver) module is located in the rear package shelf (rear deck). You'll need to undo the two plastic clips (squeeze and push back through the holes). You may have to remove the rear package shelf carpet and padding that is above the RCDLR.
- There are two 8-pin connectors on the RCDLR. C1 is blue, and C2 is bigger and black. Pin 'E' of C2 goes to ground for 30 seconds after lock or unlock. 'E' is the first empty pin in the second row of 4, closest to the tan wire (the last wire in the first row). I didn't have any connector contacts to insert into the empty 'E' position, so I opened the RCDLR cover and drilled a small hole in its side. If you have the correct Metri-Pack connectors, use them now.
- The male connector inside the RCDLR is a right angle style and the pin 'E' is easily accessible. I just soldered a wire to it and ran it out the hole. You can also use the splice / crimp-on connectors here, if you prefer.
- While I was there, I soldered another wire to the middle of the antenna loop (stiff bare wire that runs the length of the module above the circuit board).
- On the outside, I crimped an insulated spade terminal to this new 'E' contact. This needs to be connected to the ground side of the Dome/Courtesy light relay in the convenience center that is under the dash on the driver's side.
- Pin 'C' of C1 currently goes to +12V in when the car is running (run or start). It is the pink wire next to the light blue wire in the first row of C1. There are two pink wires in this first row. The one in position 'B' is also pink and is adjacent to the empty 'A' position. This 'C' wire needs to be cut and wired from the RCDLR to the Park sensor on the steering column. I also put a spade crimp terminal on this wire and wrapped up the other side of the cut to insulate it now that it doesn't connect anywhere. Note that this ping wire needs to be cut below the wire tap.
- Under the dash, next to the parking break petal is the Convenience Center. It is anything but convenient to work with. :-( It has several relays and the hazard and turn signal flashers on it. I unscrewed it with a 6" flexible shaft driver - same hex nut head as what holds the dash trim up. There are two screws in deep recessed holes in the center top and center bottom. You might also want to try a 1/4" ratchet with a 6" extension.
- The dome light relay is the left one of the row of three square black relays between the round metal flashers and the large light green colored module on top. On the back of the Convenience center, you'll see a dark blue wire coming from the dome light relay. This gets connected to the RCDLR. I crimped on an in-line tap to my new piece of wire (just plain 20ga hookup wire).
- Remount the convenience center module. It was a real pain working with it, and if I had to do it again, I'd unwrap the wire harness that leads from the convenience center and look for the dark blue wire and tap in there. I don't recall another one of that exact color (there is a dark-blue-with-white-stripe which goes to the opposite side of the dome light relay).
- Next to the park position sensor. The park sensor is a switch assembly a few inches away from where the steering column goes through the firewall. It is on top of the steering column, and it is the first switch assembly up the column (from the firewall). On this switch assembly are two light green wires. The one you want goes to the very right side of the assembly. The other light green wire goes out of site to the top of the assembly. Its easy to check with a multimeter and shifting the car in and out of park with the key in 'RUN' and the engine off. Be sure to set the parking brake!. This wire goes to +12v in park, and ground in all other gears. I crimped on another in-line tap and connected some more hookup wire.
- Route both these two wires around the parking brake pedal (following a factory wire harness) and down along the carpet and into the wire channel to the rear set area, then up behind the rear seat.
- Crimp on the corresponding spade terminal and hooked it up to the RCDLR and check its operation.
- If everything works OK, remount the RCDLR and run your extended antenna wire (about 2 ft long) though a hole in the rear deck and behind the left rear quarter window trim. Disable the auto-unlock feature (see below) if desired.
Steve Das came up with the following changes for additional functionality:
- If you pull the relay that controls the interior lights, (it's the one on the left) it is fairly easy to carefully remove the cover of the relay.
- Drill two 1/16 in. holes in the end of the cover over pin one (marked on the bottom of the relay) and feed two wires into the cover.
- Cut the conductor going from pin 1 (one) to the feedthrough plate on top of the relay coil and connect one of the wires to each side of the cut: one to pin 1 and one to where pin 1 used to connect before you cut the conductor strap. You will be putting a switch in series with the coil of the relay.
- Now, plug the relay back in and run the wires along the harness to a place where you can mount a small switch of your choice. The switch now controls the interior lights; that is to say, you can leave the doors open without having all the lights blazing inside the car. Very nice if you are sitting and visiting. In addition, you can connect the wire from the remote control module to one of these wires at the switch and not have to remove the convenience center. You can choose how you want the remote to perform: if you connect the wire from the remote receiver to one of the wires on the switch, the switch will disable the lights, period. Connected to the other wire, the remote will still turn the interior lights on regardless of how the switch is positioned. You can still turn all the interior lights on regardless of switch position using the rotary wheel switch used to control the dash light intensity or the individual switches on the reading lamps will control each lamp just as before the modification.
- If you want to get really fancy (I did), you can use a double pole double throw, center off switch and set it up for position one to be "normal", that is, all lights work just like originally designed including the remote lights on. In the center position (call it position 2) none of the lights come on in response to the doors or the remote and in position 3, the doors will not turn on the lights but the remote will turn them on for 30 seconds upon unlocking the door(s) and for 3 seconds upon locking the door(s). I like it!
Mark Hawthorne contributed the following procedure that describes how to add the automatic lock/unlock features to a '96 car:
- Remove the center console. There are four (4) metric bolts, two in the console box, two under the rubber insert in the open forward compartment. NOTE: You must remove the gearshift knob by pulling the retaining staple out of the front of the knob. A small screwdriver will help get it started, just pry carefully so you don't mess up the pseudo-leather covering. This is best accomplished with the gear shift in "Drive", "2", or "1". (Remember to set the parking brake.) Leave the shifter in "OD" or "D" and pull the console straight up just far enough to get your hand up underneath and remove the gearshift indicator lamp. (1/4 twist counterclockwise and it's out.) Now you can get the console out of your way.
- The wire which connects to pin "C" on connector C1 of the RCDLR must be long enough to reach under the center console. Route the wire under the left side rocker panels, up and over the steering column, then under the carpet to the shifter. (Feed a straightened wire coat hanger up under the carpet somewhat following the path of the shifter cable. Tape the end of the wire to the hanger and pull it through.) This wire (the electrical wire, not the coat hanger) will be connected to the normally open post on the new relay.
- The park sensor switch is on the side of the gearshift lever. There six (6) wires in the connector on this switch; black w/ white stripe [A], orange w/black stripe [B], pink [C], light green [D], violet [E], and light yellow [F]. You will be tapping into the pink and orange w/black stripe wires. The pink is +12 volts, and the orange w/black stripe goes to ground when the shifter is in gear. The switch may be removed for easier access by depressing the retaining tab on the inboard side with a small screwdriver and pulling the connector out. (I had to pry under the edge with a small screwdriver to get it started.) Tap into the pink wire using a quick connect or by stripping the insulation and soldering. Tap into the orange w/black stripe wire again using one of the previously mentioned methods. These newly attached taps should be about 12" in length.
- Connect the pink wire tap to one post on the coil of the relay and the common post of the relay. (Yes, you are connecting the same wire to two, count `em - two, posts on the relay. Soldering is best, as is using heat shrink tubing. Be sure to use the appropriate size of heat shrink tubing, and slide it onto the wire BEFORE soldering. After the solder joint has cooled slide the heat shrink over the solder joint and apply heat to shrink it. A lighter or match works well for this, but DON'T cook it.)
- Connect the orange w/black wire tap to the other post on the coil of the relay, in the same manner as you did step 4.
- Now, you're ready to test it. With the key turned on, shift from park to reverse to neutral to drive. The doors should lock in reverse, unlock in neutral, and lock in drive. Going back through neutral and reverse to park, the doors should unlock, lock, and unlock, respectively.
- Once the system is verified, use the tie wraps and plastic tape to secure the wires and the relay someplace out of the way. I just taped mine to the shifter cable about 2" forward of where it attaches to the shifter bracket assembly.
- When you're done, reassemble the console in reverse of step 1.
Eric Woster used the following steps to extend the range of the RCDLR: Based on a frequency of about 315 Megahertz, a quarter wave antenna length will be about 240mm or 9.5inches. You need to make a close coupled loop that matches the internal antenna loop dimensions with two quarter wave tails on the ends of the loop. In this way the extra antenna is outside of the RCDLR box.
- Find a thin piece of stiff cardboard and cut a rectangle the size of the front surface of the RCDLR.
- Glue (don't staple) a single 360' loop of braided 20AWG wire to the board with long ends. The ends should hang off of the cardboard by at least a foot.
- Snip the ends of both wires to make them extend from the edge of the cardboard by 9 to 9.5 inches.
- After the glue has dried, pull the back of the back seat out, lift the back package shelf carpet up just a little, and secure the carboard loop to the front of the RCDLR with tape or double-sided tape, and let the wire ends hang off at the top. The wire ends can be streched out and taped down or just held in place by the package shelf.
- This should nearly triple the range to the rear of the vehicle.
A longer antenna won't help without some fancy ground plane effects and ugly designs. Running the antenna somewhere else will increase the antenna length unless a coaxial cable is used.
John Wilson has added a procedure to make the car "beep" when the door are unlocked.
- Installing a small Radio Shack piezo buzzer in the door lock relay circuit will allow you to hear when the door unlock. If you mount the beeper in the engine compartment, it has a chance at staying dry while still being audible. It's not very loud but you can still hear it: they also have a miniature alarm horn that is quite loud.
- You must pick which relay to trigger off of. Since I usually open the left rear door first, I wired the buzzer to beep when the passenger doors unlock. For the '96 model, the wire colors from the door lock relay are tan and gray. The relay is at the left kick panel above and behind the parking brake bracket, completely behind and out of sight.
- I wanted to tap in at the relay because I was taking the wires through the firewall to the engine compartment. If you manage to get the relay loose the bundle is long enough to allow you to work on the wires.
- Rather than cut wires, attach spade terminals to the new wires and just shove them into the connector where the existing wires enter. You may have to trim the spades to get them to fit, but they will be nice and snug.
- Poke the wires for the buzzer through one of the big firewall grommets.
- Attached the buzzer to the small brace in the corner of the engine compartment with a couple of zip ties.
- If you don't want to mess with the hard-to-reach relay, the wires are also accessible at each door because they go to the individual door lock actuators. The wire bundles that go into the rear doors are behind the lower center-post cover (the B-pillar), where the front seat belt reels are located. The tan and gray wires are right out in the open in this area.
- I stuck straight pins into the wires and attached the buzzer to test it. If you reverse the wires it will beep when locking instead of unlocking. This could also be useful. Perhaps two buzzers, one for lock and one for unlock.
- The Radio Shack part number is 273-060, about $3. It's about the size of a half dollar. It is rated at 86db @ 12v but I wish it was a little louder. I doubt that it is weather proof so durability could also be an issue.
Programming the RCDLR Module
- Find the programming connector that is hanging off a wire harness on the upper left side of the trunk, just behind the carpet (about 8-12" from the rear stop/turn lights). Its a 2-pin male connector with two black-with-white-stripe wires.
- When you short these two pins together with a screwdriver, the RCDLR will cycle the lock and trunk solenoids to confirm it is ready (the trunk release solenoid sounds weird when the trunk is already open).
- Pressing any key on either remote will program that remote to the RCDLR. To disable the automatic unlock-in-park feature #(2): after the last remote is programmed, but before you un-short the programming connector, press this sequence three (3) times on a remote: lock, unlock, trunk. The RCDLR will cycle the door locks and trunk release solenoids three times to confirm at the end of the sequence. Note: I had to try several times, I don't know if I lost contact on the screwdriver I was holding in my other hand, or I did it too fast or too slow, but it eventually worked.
- To re-enable the unlock-in-park feature of (2), just repeat the above to reprogram the RCDLR to your remotes, but don't do the special three-button-three-times sequence.
Other Possible Modifications:
- I may enable (3) by tapping into the break pedal switch (to RCDLR C1-F empty) and a door jamb switch (to RCDLR C1-A empty). The RCDLR senses a voltage drop for the door jamb switches. The non-driver's doors (3) should all be on the same circuit, so I'd wire to the right rear door (the left rear door would also work, but its got more wiring harnesses in the way).
- I may put a small piezo beeper on the lock signal wire (C1-D lt blue), and unlock-driver (C2-E tan) and/or unlock-all signal (C1-E white) so that I can confirm I locked the car while walking away from it - sometimes the sound of the door locks themselves are just too faint. And in the daytime, the dome light cannot be seen. It'll also make it sound like I have an alarm :-) The RCDLR energizes these lock/unlock signals for less than a second, so it should produce an appropriate 'chirp' sound.
- I was thinking of buying an aftermarket stick-on windshield radio antenna ($4.99 at Radio Shack) and running it between two of the rear defrost elements or below the lowest element. That way, it is not shielded by the rear deck or side panel metal and should perform even better, and still be stealth even though it is in plain view. :-) Another Idea: Wire RCDLR door unlock signal to the twilight sentinel. The twilight sentinel will think the car was on (even if just for that second that the unlock signal had voltage) and if its night, the headlights will come on (to light your way) for duration of the twilight sentinel's turn-off delay. Maybe connect RCDLR C2-D (unlock driver) to Headlamp Automatic Control Module (C1-E - pink - Ignition sense). See service manual page 8A-101-1 (diagram), 8A-201-18 & -26 (pic).
RCDLR Connector Diagram
(buick) Door jamb switches-\white |A H| black/white - to programming connctr
(chev) empty -------------/
ignition sense pink |B G| empty
(buick) park sensor -\_____ pink |C F| /-(buick) stop lamp switch (brake pedal)
(chev) +12v in run -/ \-(chev) empty
Lock lt blue |D E| white unlock-all
+12v (always) orange |A H| empty
trunk release black |B G| empty
empty |C F| black/white - gnd
unlock-driver tan |D E| /-(buick) drk blue - dome light relay
Pages from 1995 Impala SS/Caprice/Roadmaster service manual (Helm) of interest:
8A-132-0 RCDLR electrical connections diagram (Note: Dome light
relay drk blue is from C2-E, not C1-E as shown in diagram).
8A-201-24 RCDLR picture (rear shelf), also 9K-26
8A-202-11 RCDLR C1 & C2 A thru H pinout (C1 - pack 150, C2 - pack 280)
8A-201-13 Convenience center picture
8A-201-15 Park sensor assembly picture (steering column), also 8A-201-17
9K-27 location of RCDLR programming connector
9K-27 Programming the RCDLR (see also 9K-2)
9B-3 Stop lamp (brake pedal) switch picture (also page 5-7)
Good luck if you decide to do this mod, and as usual, mod at your own risk. E-mail me direct (Mike Kerr) if you would like an update if I complete feature #3 or do the other enhancements.
Back to the index...
AdvantagesAllow you to unlock the door by simply pulling the door handle instead of having to manually unlock the lock first.
DisadvantagesThere may be some security and/or safety concerns by allowing the door to open from the inside even if it is locked. However, many other cars do work like this.
- 6N1 door lock module, P/N 16630059, $ 47.10
- 4 Aluminum rivets, P/N 9442468, about $1.00 (you may want to get a few extra)
- 6 Door panel retainers, P/N 10161510, about $1.00 (you may want to get a few extra)
- Remove the door panel itself. First make sure the power window is all the way up as you will be removing the switch pod and will not be able to easily move the window later. You will first have to remove the arm rest (2 screws), the switch pod (clipped at the front), and the door handle bezel (one screw). The switch pod can be tense if you have never done it before. The metal clip is towards the front, which is where you should use a screwdriver or preferably a plastic pry tool to wedge in and pry inward and up. Do not pry from the sides or the rear portion of the pod or you will likely break it. Disconnect all wires and remove the switch pod itself.
- There is one screw and 6 door panel retainer clips that must be pried out of their holes to remove the actual door panel itself. To do this it helps to have a special door panel clip removal tool. The best one on the market is the one made by Cal-Van (marked as Cal-Van tool #34) that has a U-shaped handle and a long forked plastic wedge/ramp. Unlike the metal pry tools usually sold for removing door panel retainers, the plastic one will not scratch the paint on the inner metal door structure, which can lead to rust and corrosion in the future. JC Whitney sells the Cal-Van #34 door panel retainer tool.
- With the door panel off, pull back the plastic water shield and remove the screw holding the rear window channel. This screw is in the lower LH portion of the door. You don't have to take the channel completely out, just pull it down and move it forward in the door so it is out of the way of the lock module. The power window should be up as mentioned earlier.
- Then remove the lock module and bracket by drilling out the 4 rivets, and removing the three Torx screws in the door jamb area. When drilling out the rivets use a drill bit that is about the size of the rivet stud itself and you should not damage the door at all. The rivets are aluminum, and drill out quite easily. After the rivets and screws are out, the entire module and bracket assembly can be moved enough to remove the exterior lock and door handle rods from the lock module. These are the two rods that go up to the exterior lock and door handle. The rods are simply snapped into plastic clips on the module itself, and using a curved needle nose pliers makes it easy to squeeze the rod end out of the plastic retainers.
- At this time the entire lock module and bracket assembly can now be pulled out of the door. On the bench you can remove the original lock module from the bracket by unclipping the two internal lock and door handle rods, and them removing the two screws that hold the module to the bracket.
- Then install the new 6N1 lock module back on the bracket with the same screws, and re-attach the lock and door handle rods to the module by pushing them back into their clips. You can now test the module by locking it, setting the latch, and then pulling on the inside handle release. When you pull on the inside handle release, the module will unlock and the latch should release.
- Then reverse the previous steps to re-install the lock module and bracket assembly (using the new rivets you bought). Re-test the lock and door opening action once the module is installed, as you may have to bend the rods slightly to get the proper action to occur. The rods may also contact each other or the bracket so you may want to bend them slightly to minimize the chance of any future rattles. Then re-attach the window channel, re-seal the plastic water shield, and reinstall the door panel itself (using the new retainers you purchased).
- With the door panel off, there are several areas you can pad that can cause rattles. One is the sheet metal itself. What you want to do there is to purchase some rubber/asphalt sheeting material specifically designed to sound insulate a car. This stuff goes under different names: one manufacturer calls it Dynamat. I picked it up from JC Whitney, but most stereo places will carry it. The stuff comes in different sized sheets that can be cut to fit virtually any panel, and has peel and stick adhesive on one side. Fit it and stick it to the inside of the door panel outer skin.
- The next area of rattles is the door lock module itself. Occaisonally, some of the original rivets holding the lock module bracket to the door are loose, which will caused a rattle in the future. Drill out the loose rivets and install a new one.
- Also running from the lock module to the door handle are two metal rods, which were close to contacting several parts of the door or each other either with the handle relaxed or pulled. Purchase some velcro tape, and used the fuzzy side to wrap the rods in two or three places where contact may occur. Also put this tape on the handle area, where one of the rods may be near contacting. Finally, some minor bending of the rods ensures that they will clear everything properly.
- Another area of potential problems is the window regulator mechanism. Check this out and made sure everything is tight. Note that when the window moves up and down it places stress on other parts of the door, so even though your rattle went away when your window was partially opened, the rattle could still be caused by the lock mechanism or other area of the door.
- Finally, on re-assembling the door, add extra silicone grease to the door lock module, the door handle, and the clip that the rods slide through. Stuffed some foam into the door armrest area and under the switch pod. Add some thin foam pieces behind the wiring harness connectors and wires to make sure they would not contact the door metal. This all conspires to make the door THUNK quite solidly now when it is closed.
The VSS150 is GM's basic alarm system. It will provide added protection for your car without sacrificing the stock remote locking features.
DisadvantagesIt's a bit of work to install the system. You need to cut and splice several wires, and drill some holes for the siren.
- VSS150 Alarm Kit, Available from GM Parts, about $100LI>
- Various bits of wire and crimping tools.
Procedure (from Peter Allendorfer and Louis Pascucci ) :
- Mount the siren behind the bumper in front of the left wheel to hide any holes that have to be drilled. Remove the deflector and bend the plastic panel out of the way to get at it. Drill out the holes on the siren base and use the existing bolts sticking down with 10mm washer-nuts to hold it on.
- Route the wires over the frame rail and up beside the anti lock brakes, then run the wires in the corrugated wire loom to the firewall. Push the tube/grommet back on the hood release cable and run a coat hanger wire or stiff piano wire through the tube from the cabin side to engine side. You may have to unhook the hood release from the latch to get enough slack to perform this operation. Don't forget to reconnect the cable, it's real hard to open the hood without it :P You will also have to lengthen the wires by about 3 '. Bring the siren wires into the cabin and route them to the right of the steering column.
- Remove the lower dash panel, knee bolster and deflector. Lower the steering column to disconnect the plugs to the ignition switch (only one of the 15mm nuts was tight on my car).
- Cut the yellow wire about 3-4 inches from the plug and connect the yellow/red to the plug side and the yellow wire to the other side. If you want to stay all GM, go to the dealer and get another connector insert for the plug to the ignition switch to obtain constant power for the alarm. Otherwise, you can use a 1/4" AMP flat terminal and insert it through the empty cavity above the yellow wire in the plug.
- You also need to solder the red wire for the siren to the fused side of the constant power connection. Solder the switched power to the pink wire in the same plug. The horn wire (black) is in the long flat connector on the side of the steering column. Remove the terminal from the "fixed" side of the connector and soldered the black/green wire to it. The red/black wire gets a ring connector and goes to ground.
- Remove the screw at the bottom of the light switch and pull it out. Remove the connector and extract the brown wire for the parking lights and solder the dark blue wire to the terminal and insert it back into the connector. Probe for constant power at the headlight switch connector and perform the same operation for the orange/black wire (#12).
- You can instal the disarm button in the top corner of the change box under the light switch. Extend the wire with the terminal to reach the control module. While on that side, use an 11mm socket and remove the door switch. Extend the #3 white wire for the courtesy light and solder it to the white wire on the door switch.
- The trickiest bit was deciding that the Impala door lock system had an internal isolation relay. The actual relay is up behind the parking brake and cleverly hidden behind big wire bundles. The long, green wire from the control module is fastened to the white wire at one end of the relay. There is a 8 way connector (231) with 4 filled cavities. One of the tan wires will show power when the remote is pressed the first time, extend and connect the brown wire to it. The gray wire will show power when the door is locked with the remote or the door switch. The blue wire goes to it.
- The Valet switch/light will fit in the panel for the cigarette lighter. The bezel diameter is approx. 0.4" If you center a hole about .25" radially from the edge of the chrome bezel for the lighter approx. 30 deg. from the bottom, you can feed the wires through and they will reach to the control module. That panel is tough to remove without breaking the spring tabs that hold it in place. Mount the control module on the deflector bolted around the steering column. It is covered by the deflector and then concealed by the lower dash trim panel. The fuses can be pulled down behind the trim panel when desired. Mount the shock sensor to the steering column. It seems to be pretty solidly mounted to the body and should also detect someone messing with the front wheels.
AdvantagesIncreasing the amount of air that can get into the engine allows it to produce more power at higher RPM's. Modifications to the airbox area can also introduce cooler air into the engine, which results in more power.
DisadvantagesSome claim that K&N filters allow too much dirt through to a street engine, resulting in unnecessary wear. Some "cold air" intakes, which relocate the filter below the fenderwell and behind the bumper, put the air filter in an area where it could get wet or draw water into the engine.
Method 1: K&N Filter and Opened-Up Air Box
This method installs a stock-sized K&N filter in the stock airbox. The airbox has additional holes cut in it to allow more air to flow into the filter. This method is recommended for those who want to retain a stock looing engine compartment or those who don't want to use a K&N filter (you can also use the stock filter with the opened up box).
- A K&N Filter for the Impala SS (stock size). K&N P/N 33-2057 $50.
- Remove the air filter housing lid and the air filter.
- Remove the bottom of the air filter box.
- Using a hole saw and a compass, scribe and cut cut six 1-1/4" holes along the back side and four 1-3/4" holes along the fender side, as well as one 1-1/2" hole on the front side to the left of the existing oval inlet.
- Blend the holes on the fender side with a file, so that it looks like a 4" by 1-3/4" oval hole there.
- Reinstall the parts using the K&N filter, if desired, or the stock filter.
Method 2: K&N Cone Filter
This method bypasses the stock Impala airbox and leaves it intact. It allows plenty of air into the engine from all sides, not just the small rectangular slit that the stock air box has. This method also probably allows more air into the engine than the modified air box. This method is recommended for those who want high flow and don't mind a non-stock appearance.
- A conical K&N air filter. K&N P/N RE-0920. About $40.
- A "breather" type filter for the AIR tube that connects to the stock air box. Purolator P/N 13103(or one similar that fits (I.D. of the hose is 3/4")). K&N also makes several of them: 62-1030 (2"w x 1.5"h, rubber top), 62-1160 (3"w x 2"h, chrome top), and 62-1070 (3"w x 2"h, rubber top). They also make a clamp on unit (62-1360, 2"w x 1.5"h) that will clamp right on to the AIR pump and get rid of the hose completely. About $20 for any of them.
- A pipe clamp that fits the top of the K&N. $1.
- Remove the air filter housing lid and the air filter.
- Remove the air filter housing lid from the MAF (mass airflow sensor). Be careful not to damage the MAF as you remove it, and be sure to mark or remember the correct direction of the MAF.
- Connect the K&N to the MAF using the pipe clamp. It fits inside the adapter with a little silicon spray. You should not need any hose to connect the K&N, but a little tape around the end of the MAF will allow you to clamp it down without cranking on the clamp as much. The filter goes all the way to the fender and rests on the computer box.
- Connect the breather to the AIR tube and hide it somewhere up underneath the conical filter. If you get the female version, you can connect it directly to the air pump and get rid of the hose entirely.
Method 3: Aftermarket Air Intake Systems
Aftermarket air intake systems, along with eliminating the rectangular baffle, usually either place a K&N cone on the end of the MAF, or relocate a K&N cone filter underneath the fenderwell. By relocating the filter, the air intake can draw in cooler air from outside of the engine compartment.
- Aftermarket Air Intake Kit. $200 - $350.
Procedure (will vary, for an example only):
- Remove air box lid, air filter, and air box base.
- Drill a 3.5" hole through the fenderwell to a box behind the fender.
- Install a special bracket to hold the computer and to form a passageway through the hole to the area between the fender and the plastic splash guard in the wheelwell.
- Relocate compute to top of wheelwell (using bracket).
- Remove the splash guard from the wheelwell (on the outside of the car).
- Install the K&N cone filter to underside of the bracket.
- Connect a special elbow between the MAF and the new bracket. The new elbow should have a fitting for the AIR hose.
- Reinstall the plastic splash guard in the wheelwell
AdvantagesRemoving the "home plate" baffle on the top of the engine not only make the engine look better, but also allows more heat to escape from the engine and reduces turbulance in the intake air stream, providing more power. Removing the baffle prevents chafing of the wires underneath it, possibly saving the cost of a new wire harness.
DisadvantagesThe baffle is meant to reduce full-throttle noise. You may experience a "howling" at full throttle.
Method 1: Baffle Bypass
This method bypasses the baffle but does not remove it. Total cost is about $3. This method is recommended if you want to keep the engine looking stock and don't want to spend much money.
- A paint can lid. Free.
- Duct tape. $1.
Procedure (from High Performance Chevrolet, January, 1996):
- Loosen and remove the two nuts on top of the "home plate" baffle. They are 13mm.
- Loosen the clamp that connects the baffle to the intake elbow just in front of the throttle body.
- Pull up on the baffle and remove it. You may have to "wiggle" it to remove it. Leave the clamp in place.
- Wrap the paint can lid in duct tape until it can be firmly wedged inside of the opening on the baffle. The flat part of the lid should be flush with the bottom lip of the opening.
- Reinstall the baffle.
Method 2: Plugging the Stock Elbow
This method totally removes the baffle. The hole in the intake elbow is plugged with a pipe cap. Total cost is about $5. The end result looks fairly OEM. This method is recommended if you want the functional benefits of removing the baffle and plugging the elbow, but want to keep costs down. Note that the Callaway air intake system includes hardware to do this, but none of the other aftermarket air intake systems do.
IMPORTANT: Use of the red Oatey test plug has been strongly discouraged! Several members have had them disintegrate under the extreme heat stress in the engine. This can allow unfiltered air to enter the engine post-MAF, causing a lean condition, along with severe damage from ingesting parts of the plug itself. If you are using the test plug (plastic, with a wing nut on top), discontinue use now. Note that Oatey also makes a metal test plug: this plug can be inserted without fear of disintegration.
Also note that you need to be sure that the insert that you are using makes a good seal. Plugs with threads will eventually cut into the elbow (accelerated by the high heat), and will cause an air leak.
- A 3" aluminum pipe knockout or "tee" cap. These are available at hardware stores or some of the home mega-stores. A Nestea cap also fits pretty well. You could also try to find a 3" O.D. chrome center cap in the chrome accessories section of your local parts store (Grant Products P/N 5894: Classic Horn Button). The chrome piece looks good with the Razzor pipe. Other options range from mayonnaise lids to custom milled aluminum to hockey pucks. You get the idea... About $5.
- A optional can of flat black paint to paint the cap. The engine looks more OEM if the cap is painted. $2.
- Paint the cap with the flat black paint, if desired.
- Loosen and remove the two nuts on top of the "home plate" baffle. They are 13mm.
- Loosen the pipe clamp that connects the baffle to the intake elbow just before the throttle body.
- Pull up on the baffle and remove it. You may have to "wiggle" it to remove it. Leave the host clamp in place.
- Insert the cap into the hole. It should fit perfectly and should extend far enough into the hole for the clamp to hold it in place.
- Tighten the clamp.
- Remove the two "towers" that used to hold the baffle in place. Unbolt them from the black bracket that crosses the intake manifold by using a 6mm socket or a wrench on the top of them.
Method 3: Replacing the Stock Elbow with the F-Body 1LE Elbow
This method totally removes the baffle and replaces the stock elbow with the larger Camaro 1LE (non-airconditioned) intake elbow. The 1LE elbow doesn't have the hole in top like the Impala does, and doesn't have the hole in the bottom like the air-conditioned Camaros and Firebirds have. The '94 elbow has no provision for the vent tube from the OptiSpark distributor, while the '95 has a connector in the top for it. The '94 can be modified to accept the vent hose by puncturing it on the bottom. The Camaro elbow is wider than the Impala elbow and can thus flow more air. They are slightly expensive since they include the MAT sensor. This method is recommended for those looking for maximum flow into their engines and are willing to pay the price to keep only GM parts in the engine.
- A '94 or '95 non-air conditioned 1LE intake elbow. The list price is $80-$90 (the '94's are cheaper), but some dealers sell them for as much as $150. P/N 25147210 is the '94 1LE w/o vent nipple ($95.63 retail) and P/N 25147187 is the '95 1LE w/ vent nipple ($155 retail!).
- Loosen and remove the two nuts on top of the "home plate" baffle.
- Loosen the pipe clamp that connects the baffle to the intake elbow just before the throttle body.
- Pull up on the baffle and remove it. You may have to "wiggle" it to remove it.
- Remove the rectangular baffle from the front of the elbow. You may have to remove the air filter cover to do this.
- Remove the stock elbow from the throttle body, removing all sensors and hoses.
- Replace the stock elbow with the Camaro elbow, reconnecting all sensors and hoses.
- If the elbow is from a '94, you'll need to pierce it to insert the blue nipple for the OptiSpark vent. On the first rib from the throttle body, about 20deg to the driver's side from the bottom, use a drill bit just smaller than the blue vent tube elbow and bore a hole through the rib. You can then push the blue vent tube into the hole and hide "yetanothervacuumtube" from view. You'll need to trim the vacuum tube to length (about three inches I think). When finished you'll have a factory looking intake elbow and a hidden distributor vent tube. Be sure to put it on the side of the elbow, not the bottom, so that moisture won't enter the distributor.
- The bottom of the elbow has an oval tube protruding from it. That is the resonator connection, which you'll notice is not opened. Careful work with a razor knife or razorblade will allow you to cut off the tube and leave a clean surface on the bottom. A little mistake won't cost you much because about the only place you can see that spot is from underneath the car. A pair of tin snips also takes care of the lip quickly.
- Replace the rectangular baffle and the air filter lid.
- Remove the two "towers" that used to hold the baffle in place. Unbolt them from the black bracket that crosses the intake manifold by using a socket or a wrench on the top of them.
AdvantagesRemoving the rectangular baffle between the air box and the intake elbow allows the air to flow with less restriction and turbulance to the intake, which increases power. It also helps the appearance of the engine bay.
DisadvantagesThe baffle is meant to reduce full-throttle noise. You may experience a "howling" at full throttle.
Method 1: Baffle Bypass
NOTE: this method has been removed until further notice from Franklin Poole since the duct tape can shred, causing engine damage if it is ingested.
Method 2: Replacing the Baffle with a Pipe
This method replaces the baffle with a piece of chrome exhaust pipe. It looks much like some of the aftermarket kits that are out there for a lot less money. This method is recommended for those who don't mind a non-stock looking engine bay and are on a budget. Note that you can use any sort of pipe you want for this: chrome exhaust pipe, polished stainless steel, painted PVC pipe, or whatever. Be creative!
- A 3.5" chromed exhaust pipe cut to 13". About $20 from Pep Boys.
- A 2"-3" section of 3.5" ID rubber hose. Check with a local heavy truck supply store for Gates hoses. "GATES Green Strip 3 1/2" I.D. (89 mm)", P/N 24256, seems to work great. You can also get something called a "no hub coupler" from a hardware store. Basically, any sort of heat- resistant rubber connector will work fine. About $10 per foot.
- Two pipe clamps to secure the tubing to the MAF and the pipe. $2.
- Originally, the pipe will come tapered on one end (the exit for the exhaust) and have a 2 1/2" "nipple" on the other to fit into the stanard exhaust. You will have to cut both of these off so that it is just a straight piece of chrome pipe. If you can find such a piece without cutting, then you're better off. You'll need it to be around 13" long.The original pipe should look something like this:
- Loosen the clamps on both ends of the baffle.
- Remove the baffle. You may need to remove the air filter cover to do this. Be careful not to damage the MAF (mass airflow sensor) as you remove the baffle. While you are doing this, make sure you remember (or mark) which way the MAF faces.
- Clamp the rubber tubing to one side of the chrome tube.
- The other side of the rubber tubing should be clamped to the side of the MAF that originally was connected to the rectangular baffle. The hose should fit inside the rubber coupling that used to connect to the resonator.
- Insert the pipe into the intake elbow. Secure the clamp on the elbow so that it is tight around the pipe.
There is some concern about putting stress on the MAF connector if you are using the stock airbox. The solution for this is to unmount the airbox from the top of the PCM and angle it such that when the straight pipe is installed, the stress on the elbow is relieved.
- Take the air box lid off of the airbox base, remove the filter, and set them aside.
- Unscrew the Torx head nut/bolt on the fenderwell.
- Look at the airbox; it's actually two pieces consisting of the square airbox itself and a flat piece underneath that snaps down onto some tabs on top of the PCM.
- Unsnap that flat piece and pull out the airbox base.
- Take another look at the airbox after it's out of the car. You'll see two push pins holding the flat piece to the bottom of the box -- one outside the box, one inside.
- By *carefully* pushing the pin back through the base, remove the push pin that is outside the box. Leave the one inside the box alone. The airbox should turn on the one remaining pin effectively providing a pivot point.
- Snap the airbox back into place on the PCM. You should be able to turn the airbox somewhat.
- Put the filter back in and put the lid back on the airbox.
- Turn the airbox towards the intake elbow as far as possible without binding anything and measure and install your pipe.
Method 3: Aftermarket Air Intake Systems
All current aftermarket air intake systems for the Impala remove this rectangular baffle. Instructions for installation will vary. The main difference between the intake kits are the finish of the parts and the air box modifications that they include.
- Aftermarket Air Intake Kit. $200 - $350.
Method 4: Sewer Pipe Substitution
This method uses 3" angles of PVC pipe to substitute for the rectangular baffle. The advantages to this method is that the angles allow it to line up with the air box better, and the pipe can be painted and customized in creative ways. It is also very inexpensive.
- 2x 3" PVC long-turn street elbows, one inside end and one outside end
- 1x 3" rubber connector
- 1x 3" dia. x 3" long straight piece of PVC pipe
- 2x 3" ring clamps (should come with the connector)
- 1 can PVC purple pipe cleaner
- 1 can PVC cement
- When you are buying the PVC, make sure it is all of the same schedule. The lowest number is best. This procedure was originally done with schedule 40 PVC.
- Loosen the clamps on both ends of the baffle you are removing.
- Remove the baffle. You may need to remove the air filter cover to do this. Be careful not to damage the MAF (mass airflow sensor) as you remove the baffle. While you are doing this, make sure you remember (or mark) which way the MAF faces.
- Put the big ends of the PVC elbows together using a 3" long piece of the straight pipe as a connector.
- If you want to, and have the time, you can fill in the joint on the inside of the pipe with silicone caulk for a more smooth airflow. This is really difficult, and probably not worth the effort, though. You also might want to chamfer the inside of the upstream end of the now S-shaped pipe, again to prevent any sources of turbulence.
- Use the 3" rubber high pressure connector ( you can also use a no-load connector) to connect the "S" to the MAF with the two steel ring clamps. Cut about 1" off the end of the connector and cut a small slot on the inside to match the end protrusion on the lip of the MAF. The chamfered end of the pipe goes into the other end of the connector (without the notch). The chamfer eliminates a lip that would have generated some turbulence ( probably not much, but you might as well do things right).
- The other end of the "S" goes into the stock elbow. An added advantage is theat the end of the pipe extends past the corrugations in the stock piece, thus aiding in keeping the flow smooth.
- Tighten all of the clamps down and you're ready to go!