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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This '96 Impala SS is one of those cars that you just can't help but look back it when you walk away from it in the parking lot.

My grandfather bought this car new late in 1996, the last car available at the dealership and the last real chance to get an American RWD luxury, yet sporty, sedan. It has been drag raced, auto-crossed and shown. After many years of his ownership my uncle took the car down to his place thinking that he was going to restore some of it's lost luster. Unfortunately that was not the case and instead it was brought back to me. So now here I am undertaking the challenge. This car is completely unmolested. There is an after market intake, SLP exhaust and some suspension work (don't know the details on that). I have some work ahead of me to get it looking pristine once more. Here is my quick little short list.

  • Antenna, doesn't go down anymore. Probably needs to be taken apart and rebuilt.
  • Oil cooler lines are leaking. I plan on doing the AN fitting oil cooler line conversion.
  • Front bumper needs to be sanded and repainted because the paint has cracked. I will take that to the dealer as I have a paint guy there.
  • Rear bumper is the same story.
  • The truck has no carpet, it is bare metal. I don't know if I can get carpet for this but I will try.
  • Clear coat is peeling on the wheels. Hopefully I can take it to someone to media blast and then restore.
  • Some knobs on the radio and HVAC panel are either broken or missing.
  • New lights. Hopefully LEDs all around but at least starting with some of the bulbs that are burnt out. My turning lights are burnt out and so is my under hood light. Yes I know that never works but I got it to work in my truck so I have faith I can get it here.


Here she is first day off the trailer
Automotive parking light Tire Wheel Car Vehicle


Engine Bay, needs a detail
Car Vehicle Hood Motor vehicle Automotive battery




Today or tomorrow I will pick up the AN fittings and the new cooler line gaskets. I may do that this weekend while I am off work but the main thing is giving the car a deep clean and getting it inspected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Some more pictures for your viewing pleasure. My uncle put that steering wheel in. It is cool but I kind of like the original one better.
Cleaned all the floormats up last night and some plastic paneling. The car really just needed a dusting. Pristine interior. I was missing a pull handle end cap in the rear driver side door so I have one being delivered next week.

Car Vehicle Land vehicle Motor vehicle Gear shift
Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Gear shift Car seat cover



Picture of my oil leak. Picking up the AN fittings today.
Automotive tire Automotive lighting Hood Motor vehicle Automotive design



Also I have some cancer on the roof in two small spots. My clearcoat is bubbling up, you guys think I can paint correct it back to full health? Very nervous with this as my truck did the same thing on the hood and the entire hood's clear coat comes off in chunks now.

Automotive lighting Hood Grille Automotive tire Motor vehicle
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ready to go for the AN hose oil cooler lines, I'll pick up the gaskets later. I already had the hose from building a fuel system for my dad's 1970 Grand Prix.

Brown Font Paint Handwriting Material property

Black Automotive exterior Wood Line Bumper



P/Ns:
  • SUM-2200077B -6 to 3/8" Male Hardtube
  • SUM-2200076B -8 to 1/2" Female Hardtube
  • SUM-220844B -8 to -6 AN Male Adapter
  • SUM-260690B 6AN T-T Hose End
  • FC332-06 Eaton Low Pressure Hose
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Picked up my cooler line gaskets from O'Reilly today. Dorman P/N: 66201

Spent most of the day giving her a bath and detailing. Wash, clay bar and a wax. Hood needs to be polished bad, Type 2 water spots basically have it ruined. and I may end up just doing the whole car slowly. I had never clayed before but holy cow that is probably the most wicked feeling ever running your hand over the fresh clayed paint. Afterwards I just had to take it out. Filled up the gas tank and drove a couple miles, still pulls strong but damn the A/C needs a recharge and I need to change the idler pulley. Enjoy the pics :D
Drinkware Automotive tire Wood Aluminum can Tin can
Wheel Car Tire Land vehicle Vehicle
Automotive parking light Automotive side marker light Car Vehicle Grille
Tire Wheel Vehicle Car Hood
Automotive parking light Tire Wheel Car Sky
 

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Quite a lot of work you've put into it. And it shows. Keep att'er.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Well my disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined. Door panel accessory bezel cracked while I was swapping out the end caps. All 4 of these are cracked at the end so I am guessing this is a common issue but mine completely snapped off :( I am going to try and glue it back together, can't find any of these online....

Wood Vehicle door Gadget Audio equipment Automotive exterior


Edit: Never mind guys. As soon as I posted this I realized I own a soldering iron and 3D printer PLA+ filament. I plastic welded it back together and it turned out great. Day is no longer ruined.
Hood Automotive lighting Automotive tire Automotive exterior Bumper
Automotive lighting Vehicle Bumper Automotive exterior Grille
Hood Automotive tire Wood Bumper Grey
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Drove the Impala to work and back today, ~35 miles round trip since the high way was closed on my way home, car was over heating. I would stop at a stop light and it would steadily increase in temp. I had this happen to me in my truck once and it was low coolant but my first thought on this car is the fans are not working properly, my truck has a mechanical fan. So the Impala is not coming out the garage for the rest of the week until I get that figured out. I also believe I have an exhaust leak somewhere. I keep hearing a ticking when revving up and driving around. Not sure yet, on the back burner for now.

Ordered some new parts today to fix the clacking of the pulleys hopefully. Who knows when the last time any of this stuff was changed out anyway.
ACDelco Serpentine Belt P/N: 6K642
Gates Tensioner P/N: 38145
AC Delco Idler Pulley P/N: 15-20676
 

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Drove the Impala to work and back today, ~35 miles round trip since the highway was closed on my way home, car was overheating. I would stop at a stop light and it would steadily increase in temp. I had this happen to me in my truck once and it was low coolant but my first thought on this car is the fans are not working properly, my truck has a mechanical fan. So the Impala is not coming out the garage for the rest of the week until I get that figured out.
Quoting Scott Mueller (yes, this is roughly 20 years old):
"B- & D-car coolant fans operate under PCM control at the following engine temperatures and AC system pressures:

Fan …….….…… Mode ….….… Temps ….….… AC Pressure
Primary (RH) ... ON ... ... 107°C / 225°F ... ... 225 psi
2ndary (LH) .... ON ... ... 111°C / 232°F ... ... 248 psi

Primary (RH) ... OFF ... ... 103°C / 218°F ... ... 180 psi
2ndary (LH) .... OFF ... ... 107°C / 225°F ... ... 203 psi

Additionally, the PCM will turn off the fans at higher vehicle speeds (above 48 MpH I believe), since running fans can actually impede airflow through the radiator at high speed.
Each fan also has a minimum running time. Once activated, the primary fan will run for a minimum of 50 seconds, and the secondary fan for a minimum of 26 seconds.
Finally, certain Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) may cause the PCM to turn on one or both fans."

If your pcm has not been reprogrammed, the fans might be working 'properly'.
GM's very high OE fan-on temp thresholds are already very close to overheating (239°F / 115°C).
After 26 years, even with fresh new coolant, the radiator probably has some calcification.

If the fans move enough air thru the radiator (fan motors get old too!), get your pcm reprogrammed.
Your fans will turn on much sooner with or without using AC, and ... LOTS of other fun stuff.

Before getting reprogrammed, read the rest of
this incredibly old thread,
in case something else needs fixing or replacing.
 

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Yeah that was with AC off today. I’m seriously considering getting it tuned but need to do more research. I have HPTuners so that is a plus.
If it's not yet tuned, HP Tuners won't help.
Besides pcmperformance, there are few options left to mail-order tune OBD2 LT1 engines.

If interested in self-tuning, very seriously consider an OBD1 conversion unless your state's emissions inspection does not directly connect to the diagnostic port.
 

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Sorry should have specified. HPTuners with an 0411 PCM swap.
That makes all the difference in the world.

From plenty of and several personal experiences:
Under normal circumstances, there's no reason at all whatsoever why the LT1's coolant temp should ever reach 221°F / 105°C, nevermind exceed it.
In my experience, the primary fan should be on by 203°F / 95°C, and the secondary fan by 212°F / 100°C.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Okay, I do not believe that I reached 203°F / 95°C at all. It creeped above the half way line, and then I took off from the light I was at so it went back down. I guess it is possible that what I was experiencing was normal. I drove the car again to work today after reading your post and it seemed fine on the highway, it is cool this week so it should be no problem. I have another car I will drive on Friday since it is raining.

Also I do not get tested for emissions since I have a classic car exemption.
 

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Okay, I do not believe that I reached 203°F / 95°C at all. It crept above the half way line, and then I took off from the light I was at so it went back down. I guess it is possible that what I was experiencing was normal. I drove the car again to work today after reading your post and it seemed fine on the highway, it is cool this week so it should be no problem. I have another car I will drive on Friday since it is raining.

Also I do not get tested for emissions since I have a classic car exemption.
Although the dash temp gauge needle mechanism should not be considered as trustworthy as it was in the mid-'90s, if the needle did not get anywhere near the redzone, it's ok - not great, but ok.

[RECOLLECTION]
With GM's stupid OE fan-on thresholds, all LT1 cars run cooler on the highway than they do in metro/urban/city situations.
With my first ever Caprice 9C1-LT1, back in '99, I stopped driving it in Manhattan on weekdays because the fans would not kick on til the dash temp gauge needle was 2/3rds of the way between vertical & the redzone (today, that's too close).
Then one day I turned on the AC, & the needle never went to the right of vertical ... unless I shut the AC OFF ... ???
Still ran cooler on the highway though, AC on or off made no difference.
[/RECOLLECTION]

Point of reprogramming fan-on thresholds is so that the coolant temps remain as consistent as possible across as many environments as possible. (It's why some LT1 owners who are safe from winter don't route ATF through the radiator.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Gotcha gotcha. Yeah I was thinking about that too, maybe if I had the AC on the temps would stay down since one fan would have to come on.

Thanks for the tips Marky. I will have to look at getting it reprogrammed soon then. Texas summers ain't no joke.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Sorry for the every day post spam but don't you love getting "New to You" cars? I do. Got a couple updates for the day.

1. Ordered a LH cornering lamp housing. Turns out that my mounting tab broke off and it has been held on by bread wire. Just eBay generic stuff.
2. EDIT: I cannot find the correct socket. Have a thread asking about it. Mine is a 2 wire but all the ones I see are 3 wire?
3. Turns out that my under hood lamp has lost the harness to it. I cannot find it yet but I may just need to buy a new plug and rewire it.
4. A/C is extremely loud when on max. No idea why but this is like abnormally loud. Will keep an eye on it but for now it is fine.

Also put the door panel back together with my new end cap that I bought. At least I had one success today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Got my cornering lamp housing, unfortunately the cornering light bulb space is not cut out so I am going to have to use my super dremel skills and put a hole in it.
Also received my new tensioner, idler pulley and serpentine belt.
Hopefully next week I will have my four jack stands off the project car and I can put them under the Impala to do the oil cooler lines and the tensioner etc.

Still need to order a socket though for my LH cornering light.
 

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On the cooling issue, chances are the fan motors are gradually going south. They don't fail all at once, they tend to just run slower and slower while consuming more and more power. Good way to check them is to pull the fan relays and visually inspect them. If the bottom of the relay is brown and scorched, the fan motor's going bad. You used to be able to go down to AutoZone and buy just the fan motors, don't know if that's still true today.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I believe what Marky had posted was correct. I ran AC the other day in traffic and temps barely went vertical. Seems to me that they are working as factory intended. I just don't run AC since the AC needs servicing bad and can't get around to it until mid next week or later.
 

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chances are the fan motors are gradually going south. They don't fail all at once, they tend to just run slower and slower while consuming more and more power.
One of the most obvious signs of fan failure is they make scraping or grinding noise or stop quickly. When I replaced mine I had to get used to the "spool down" sound of the blades turning just after shut down. Waiting until the wiring gets hot is expensive and adds electrical "gremlins" nobody wants. Use a wire jumper to run the fans with the engine off and listen to them.

If you are worried about overheating in march you might want to start diagnostics now. If the coolant has not been changed in a while it might be a good time to drain it and have a look in the radiator for contamination stuck to the inside.

If you are serious about cleaning up the cooling system order some knock sensors and then flush the block through the knock sensor holes.

No amount of programming will save a engine from a radiator that is coated with insulating contaminants inside.
 
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