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95 Impala SS Barn Find Project

32611 Views 196 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  smelonas
Took a ride with my 17yo son out to my buddies farm to get a better look at the SS that came with his property that I think was purchased ~2 years ago. Under a coat of dust sits a complete '95 Impala SS, with a dead battery and a bad transmission. Was a lot better to have an inspection in the daytime, and overall it's in pretty decent shape considering the year and mileage - 120k.

Decent sized dent in the driver's rear quarter, and the front passenger wheel trim is dinged up. Underneath shows fair amount of rust, but not too bad for a New England car. Can you tell if those are the original shocks from that sticker on it? Speaking of stickers, is there a decoder site for the Service Parts tag in the trunk?

Rotors and pads are in good shape. Motor oil was a nice gold color, not burned or nasty smelling at all. The trans fluid (yes I know you check it hot while idling in park...) was pink, but with a large amount of metallic particulates showing on the paper towel when I swabbed the dipstick. Something inside the transmission has decided to disintegrate, so I'm not surprised by the contaminants.

On to post 2 for additional pix.
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More pix

So I pulled the drivers side plugs, and they all look good. I made the call not to bother with the passenger side as disconnecting the wires without a wire puller was a first class PITA, and it was getting late. My bet is that after we disconnect and blow out the fuel line, and clean up the throttle body that it will fire up without too much trouble. We will prime the engine by getting it to crank without starting it up to get the oil up into the engine.

Stay tuned for part 2 in two weeks.
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Original equip. shocks were orange. These cars don't respond well to neglect. So,don't be surprised to see the list of things requiring attention to grow...
Yeah I'm not expecting perfection by any stretch, there's a sticky note on the dash stating the fuel gauge is fubar. Seeing as I will have to pull the tank anyway, I will replace the fuel pump and pickup assembly while it's out.
Looks decent enough if the price is right. Tow it outta there, visit a pressure wash/car wash on way home to clean it up and chase all the critters/spiders out of their hiding places.

Drain/change all the fluids and filters...
Especially the fuel system! If it's been sitting a long time there is all kinds of crap in there.
Don't forget the fuel rails, easy enough to flush them out as well.

Check the wiring under the hood for rodent chew-age yet?
Since this guy is a neighbor of our buddy, friend of a friend, he's agreed to let me store it there over the winter, and come back in the spring with replacement transmission. I'd rather put the cost of a ~250$ tow into new parts. He's got a compressor, so we'll get a long hose and blast out all the undercarriage, wheel wells, etc. I was happy with the overall condition of the car, the tires are good Kumhos, decent tread and no signs of dry rot. Hoping they don't have flat spots from sitting for so long...

I will give the wiring harness a good inspection, didn't appear to be any based on the first go around. Returning with my mechanic buddy in 2 weeks to get it running.
I wouldn't crank it trying to prime it, pull all plugs and fog the cylinders with oil.
PITA yes, but cranking a dry engine with no lube in there may cause some damage.

Pressure should build much quicker just firing the engine vs. cranking w/o starting it.

just my .02
I've already squirted Marvel Mystery Oil in the drivers side cylinders, guess it wouldn't hurt to finish the job by doing the passenger side... I've got a big paw, and even with the front wheels off it was a pain to get the wire's off and get the plugs back in. I only realized AFTER the drive home that to prevent the Ujoint socket from flopping all around while trying to position it on the spark plug tip that I could have just wound a bit of my painters tape around it to keep it 'semi-rigid'. Then it would give way once it grabbed and I needed to get it out of the head.
This car has only been sitting for <2 years, and inside a solid barn with a concrete floor. On a scale of 1-10 on how well it has been stored I'd give it a 7 given its current condition. I've already bought the MMO, and that's what my mechanic recommended, so we are going to stick with that. Thanks for the feedback on that stuff, it looks like it's what you want for vehicles/engines that have sat outside or been exposed to the elements for a long long time.

Also found out this afternoon that my barn find is a 1 owner car... not that it really matters much, but kinda cool. Owners manual, but no service records.
How is that even possible? You would think they would make replacement parts idiot proof?! Oh, wait a minute....
Thanks for the info. Would it be worth the effort to swap them over, or is that impractical? The rotors aren't scored and look ok apart from the surface rust from sitting.

And now to the real issue. I am very confident we will get this running in 2 weeks and seal the deal for the purchase. Is the R&R of the transmission something that will require an impact wrench/compressor to make the task possible in 1 day? It's a 70 minute drive to the barn, and ideally I would like to bang out the job in a weekend. I am already planning on buying a portable compressor, and basic set of related tools, so this project is a good excuse to buy what I want.

What would I want to buy to get the exhaust out of the way, pull the driveshaft, and replace the transmission? P plan on replacing the Ujoints and also pulling the gas tank and installing a new fuel pump unit. My mechanic will inspect the engine to see if there are any other required maintenance that should be performed so we can drive this baby home after the repair work.

Does it look like the car is high enough on the current jack stands to get it out, or should I try and get it higher?

Last time I pulled a transmission was over 20 years ago in a 78 Thunderbird, in my apartment parking lot - oh I'm sure my neighbors loved me for that... At least now I have access to all the tools I'll need and a decent space to do the job. Last time it was rainy and cold.
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Was thinking of going with a freshly rebuilt one from a local shop, or buying a known good unit from a forum member here. The job is hard enough without installing bad/wrong/incompatible parts...
Sure, that means getting rid of the 1971 Ford C-6 sitting in my garage. Would love to get some $$ for that after hanging onto it for 20 damn years.
See post 8 & 9 in this thread. I've pulled the drivers side plugs and soaked that side with Marvel Mystery Oil. Saturday I will pull the plugs on the passenger side, do the same thing, and turn engine over with breaker bar. We will have injector cleaner/spray, a 5 gallon gas can, new battery etc. Now the thought just occurred to me that I can't just pull the fuel line off the tank, and put the line in my 5 gallon can since the pump is part of the tank fuel pickup assembly. There's a sticky note on the dash indicating that the sending unit for the fuel gauge is faulty, and not to trust the reading!

At this point, I'm not sure how much, if any ~2 year old gas is still in the tank, but either way it's getting dropped so we can drain it. If we are already going down that road, I guess it really doesn't make sense to try and use a secondary fuel source instead of the existing gas tank. So the question is, what would (collective forum 'you', not just smelonas) do to try and start my barn find? I'm sure my mechanic buddy knows what to do, but I want to be prepared and have everything we need to get it running in a hour or 2.
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Yeah I have a hand pump, need to make sure I have some old anti-freeze, washer fluid jugs handy to pump the old gas into. As I have a faulty sending unit, I am going to drop the tank and inspect the assembly and harness. I bit the bullet and ordered a complete pickup unit and assembly, as I really would rather not have to drop the tank twice if I don't have to. More pix and maybe even a video of the startup this weekend.
use BG 44K in the gas to clean the resistor on it.
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Seems a little pricey... 25$ a can? And what do you mean by 'clean the resistor' ?
Thanks for the explanation, sounds like good stuff. Will have to get some and try it out.

Tomorrow is the big day to find out, WILL THE SLEEPING SS AWAKEN?!

Confidence is high, the oil looked great, almost like right out of the jug clean when I looked at it on the stick. I will take my gopro and edit up a video of my project, stay tuned...
Wasn't thinking of a time lapse, as the thought of my ugly mug and beer gut hanging out for the world to see isn't exactly appealing to me... More along the lines of a walk around the car as it sits, then shots of pulling the tank, and then firing it up for the first time in 2 years.

And mine. Paid $400 for it, and will start the process of bringing it back to life. As the tank was almost empty, we didn't have to drop it, just disconnected the filler neck hose, and drained what little that was in it. Gas came right out as the rear was tilted with the front on jack stands. Added 4 gallons, and I finished putting MMO in the passenger side. Hand turned the crank at the damper bolt, was very smooth, no binding. Don't think it would have been a problem to have skipped this step, but better safe than sorry.

Primed the engine by tuning the key 5 times to on, then back off. On starting, it took 3 cranks for it to catch, and once it did, just let it idle rough, and then even out. Engine sounds great! No ticks, knocks, or rapping noises. No exhaust or coolant leaks. Will post video later once uploaded to Vimeo.
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So now that it's running and its MINE... Next weekend will be oil change and coolant system flush. I will read up on the forum posts on the best method for the flush. I will also add my 2c on the method of dropping the tank to change out the fuel pump assembly. Don't know if I will have time to drop the tank next weekend, we'll see.

I've watched the videos already of that guy dropping the tank on that rust bucket Roadmaster, holy crap that looked like a horrible job. Is there a bolt kit for the strap bolts that you can get from RockAuto, etc? Or just get your own replacement bolts just in case...?

There are LOTS of factory hoses still on the engine after 21 years, so I'm considering a hose kit as well.

I swear before it was parked the car was driven through a sand & mud pit, as everytime I'm under the car I get a head full of sand and grit on me. I am thinking of getting my pressure washer, but will probably just be too lazy and use a regular hose and nozzle to spray the wheel wells and area under the trunk. Saw the tips on the tank drop to make sure you thoroughly clean the top of the tank before unbolting the assembly to prevent contaminants from dropping into the the tank. Oh and TEST THE PUMP before bolting it in - ASK ME HOW I KNOW - hahahahaha ;^) (Someone here warned me).
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Oh and about hoses, look into getting the green silicone hoses that came on the 9c1 caprices. SAMCO also make a real nice silicone set for about 150. Silicone hoses never need replacing just make sure you use the 'correct' clamps if you choose to go that way.

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Already posted in the hoses thread. Guess you didn't have an issue when replying to that thread after this one with that choice as you commented on the accessories to purchase.

"Get a new heater core restrictor and replace the stock plastic TEE at the coolant reservoir with a brass one."

Thanks again for this kind of advice, it's just what I need. I never did any of my own work on my 96 RMS, but this 95 SS is going to be 'all me' for regular maint and component swaps. For stuff that requires a lift or specialty tools/expertise, I have good local shop less than a mile from my front door. Can't wait to start using my compressor and air tools. I unboxed it, added the wheels and filter, added oil and ran it for the 30 min break in period.
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