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95 Impala SS Barn Find Project

32566 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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...lots of short trips in the winter AND my son warms up his ride for a good 5-10 minutes always to make sure the engine oil is up to temp...
Even given the short trip/cold weather problem, extended idling is hard on a cold engine/transmission. Better to start out with warm oil and warm coolant (which can also reduce the time the AT circulates cold fluid).

On various cars I've used combinations of frost plug heaters and a silicone heating pad for the oil pan, both plugged in maybe 45 minutes before cranking. Huge improvement--very easy cranking with the oil pan heater, and rapid cabin heat with the block heater.

For my Fleetwood, a block heater is gathering dust on the shelf (laziness), but the oil pan pad works great. I stuck it to a super-clean surface 9 years ago, RTV'd the edges to seal them, and it's still in place. It's possible to add a small one to the transmission pan but it doesn't get very cold here, and almost all my short trips are 5 miles one-way.

Given how short your son's trip is, the combo of all three could make a really nice difference in winter.
Kat's is the big maker of such stuff: Kat's
Next up it to try and solve the fans always running in failsafe mode, pretty sure this is the reason for the constant CE light on.
Assuming this happens with the AC turned off (makes initial diagnosis easier), the first place to start is the ECT sensor or pigtail:

The PCM will run both fans AND turn on the check engine light when it gets bad or no info from the engine coolant temperature sensor on the water pump. You can test the resistance between the ECT sensor terminals on a cold engine with a multimeter referring to the table here: 4th Gen LT1 F-body Tech Articles
At an ambient temp of 68 deg F, the resistance should be 3520 ohms, and 2796 at 77 deg F. If resistance is much lower at air temperature (it goes down to less than 200 ohms at boiling temperature), then the sensor is bad and your PCM thinks the car is overheating. If ECT sensor is original, it's not trustworthy anyway, and is easy and cheap to replace. Or, the pigtail connector might be damaged, but that's also an easy fix.

The forum thread below isn't your situation, but it's kinda cool to learn about: always-on fans and no check engine light at all, which could have been a burned-out bulb (no kidding), but was a damaged wire in a PCM connector: Both fans ON? Driving me crazy !!!
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