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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I have a 94 9C1.

I am wanting to ultimately do a turbo or supercharger setup (preferably turbo, single, bi, pr twin) but I cant afford it right now. I want to do the cam swap now because I need to do the opti and figured it's basically half of the labor for the cam swap.

Anyways, is there a cam I cam get (I have never used comp but my mechanic has had bad luck with them. I would prefer Howard's of something not comp) that will work ok without boost until I can afford to do the turbo setup? I dont mind if I sacrifice some power or drivability in the mean time until I add the turbo but I want it to be drivable still.

I have questions about tuning as well but I will address these in a separate thread.

Thanks everyone!
 

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You can buy the cam now, and install it later. You are going to be doing a lot more than just the cam when you get a compressor of any type. You should consider reducing your compression ratio, because you have more tuning opportunities with about an 8:1 compression ratio.

You can hone the cylinders, install forged internals, get rings with a larger gap (so the heat does not cause the rings to seize in the cylinders, and rip the top of the pistons off). You will probably need the heads redone as well to contain the pressure. You will need higher flowing injectors, and maybe a higher flow fuel pump. Plan on new cam, main, and rod bearings, because you are installing a new cam, and the bottom end needs to be refreshed, or replaced with forged parts.

Putting a cam in for use with a compressor is a small portion of the job, and unless you do it right, you will not be experiencing the real possibilities of supercharging. You may also damage your current setup.
 

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The Optispark and water pump replacement is a fraction of the labor involved in a camshaft swap.

Do the necessary maintenance now and wait for the rest. You wouldn't be doing yourself a favor by swapping the camshaft at this point in time.
 

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If I was you I'd save up and start lurking on Facebook groups like LT1 Nation and such. Guys (especially F-body guys) are regularly selling built LT1s and 4L60Es as combos for relative bargains. Keep in mind a forced induction motor will require a very strong transmission to survive. Or even just sell your 9C1 and buy a car with this work already done.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the replys guys! As for selling im going to pass on that idea. I like the ability to seat 6 and haul another 6 or 7 in the trunk lol. I got the car for 2k with tons of mods so its just going to be my fun "daily" beater eventually with scary horsepower (id like to get 450+ out of a boost setup eventually)

I will heed the advice about just doing the opti for now. It's just such a big job I'd like to get more payback for my time investment.

Anyone know if the opti or CEL could be related to why my AC suddenly wont turn on? Just had the engine cut out and the AC was working fine right before, but upon restarting the CEL came on and now the AC compressor clutch wont engage. This happened before but i cant recally when the AC came back.
 

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I will heed the advice about just doing the opti for now. It's just such a big job I'd like to get more payback for my time investment.
The opti is not a big job. I've done it multiple times on my wagon and can start-to-finish it in under 2 hours. I have a ram-air intake, so I have less intake crap to move out of the way, though. I'd figure that a fairly competent tech oughta be able to do it in about 4 hours if he's got all of the tools handy.

To do the cam, you have to remove the thing on the end of the crankshaft (requires a special puller) to remove the timing cover, and on top of the motor, you've got to remove the intake (and everything around it) and the lifters. I haven't actually done the cam (but I have replaced the lifters), and doing a cam swap is HUGELY a bigger project than the opti.
 

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...I will heed the advice about just doing the opti for now. It's just such a big job I'd like to get more payback for my time investment.
Good idea. I've swapped Opti's in 30 minutes at the track. It shouldn't take more than two hours at the slowest, unless you stab it wrong and miss the dowel hole.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
The opti is not a big job. I've done it multiple times on my wagon and can start-to-finish it in under 2 hours. I have a ram-air intake, so I have less intake crap to move out of the way, though. I'd figure that a fairly competent tech oughta be able to do it in about 4 hours if he's got all of the tools handy.

To do the cam, you have to remove the thing on the end of the crankshaft (requires a special puller) to remove the timing cover, and on top of the motor, you've got to remove the intake (and everything around it) and the lifters. I haven't actually done the cam (but I have replaced the lifters), and doing a cam swap is HUGELY a bigger project than the opti.
Well sure it's much bigger than just the opti but I'm gonna feel really weird not swapping the opti and water pump if I ever get around to the cam and based on what I did for the opti to water proof it I'm not going to want to. I dont drive much so chances are they'll have under 10k miles before i do the cam. Probably going to just do a full rebuild by then.


Good idea. I've swapped Opti's in 30 minutes at the track. It shouldn't take more than two hours at the slowest, unless you stab it wrong and miss the dowel hole.
Took me way longer than 2 hours but the hardest part was swapping the plugs. 3 of the 8 plugs were next to impossible to remove and reinstall. Would a proper 5/8 spark plug socket help? For one of them I couldn't even get the socket onto it and had to use a an open ended wrench at a cockeyed angle to get to the plug. But if the spark plug socket is shorter than a normal socket then it might fit. I also had to get under the car for that one plug. I even have headers which I heard makes doing the plugs easier.

I did struggle loading the opti a bit because everyone that I saw do it said it should slide on easily and not to force it. But the new gasket I used actually (felpro timing kit) provided quite a bit of resistance even with a bit of oil. Once I realized that it was the gasket and not misalignment, it went right in.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
By the way, AC is working fine after the opti swap.

Thank you all so much for the replies this far! This forum is wonderful!
 

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I even have headers which I heard makes doing the plugs easier.
It's the opposite, especially on our cars. People say the craziest things.

Took me way longer than 2 hours but the hardest part was swapping the plugs. 3 of the 8 plugs were next to impossible to remove and reinstall. Would a proper 5/8 spark plug socket help? For one of them I couldn't even get the socket onto it and had to use a an open ended wrench at a cockeyed angle to get to the plug. But if the spark plug socket is shorter than a normal socket then it might fit. I also had to get under the car for that one plug.
A short spark plug socket with a hex head on the end is invaluable. But for the impossible ones, you have to get creative.
 

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Consider yourself lucky that you did not have to remove the starter to get to one of the plugs. I put shorty headers on my 92 OCC, and to tighten the rear PS plug, I had to remove the starter, and use an open end wrench. I think the headers may be for the old angled plugs.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It's the opposite, especially on our cars. People say the craziest things.

A short spark plug socket with a hex head on the end is invaluable. But for the impossible ones, you have to get creative.
That wrench looks like the tool I needed.

Consider yourself lucky that you did not have to remove the starter to get to one of the plugs. I put shorty headers on my 92 OCC, and to tighten the rear PS plug, I had to remove the starter, and use an open end wrench. I think the headers may be for the old angled plugs.
Yea the PS rear plug gave me the hardest time. I was considering pulling the headers off. I didn't think about removing the starter though.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Anyways back to the OT.

When I finally get around to doing a rebuild I will certainly get a new cam and I would like to add the turbos later.

The main reason i want to do turbos is because i cant do machine work my own. Also i like the way turbos sound 🙂

Maybe this is a terrible idea and im asking for a disaster?

I realize I will be missing performance by using a turbo cam without turbos but is there a cam that will work without boost reasonably well until I add turbos?

The more I think about this the more im thinking I'll do everything at once but I'd like to be prepared in case I can't.

Do I even need turbos to get near 500hp without machine work? I'll probably get vortec heads and port em or just port the stock heads. I have some heads from a 1979 z28 that i can play with as well but i doubt they'll be better than the stock heads.
 

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If you find a combination that will produce 500 HP, it will surely shorten the life of the bottom end, as well as the transmission. The LT1 heads are similar to the Vortec heads, and the Vortec heads will not accept the intake manifold for the LT1. You will have to use the OEM Vortec intake, or an aftermarket part that is not MPFI compatible. If you use the Vortec heads, you must use the specific Mahle MS20136, Felpro MIK98000T or Felpro MS98000T intake manifold gasket set, or you will be subject to a vacuum leak at some time.

If you are going to port heads, make sure you know what you are doing, or you will probably make them worse rather than better.

If you put a cam in the engine, you will have to tailor the torque converter to match the power curve of the engine. Your idle will also tend to be higher, and rougher. A turbo engine making the same HP will have a milder cam, and idle much better than a naturally aspirated engine.

Save your money, and when you have all you need, save that much again, and then start your project. Until then, drive what you have, and be happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
If you find a combination that will produce 500 HP, it will surely shorten the life of the bottom end, as well as the transmission. The LT1 heads are similar to the Vortec heads, and the Vortec heads will not accept the intake manifold for the LT1. You will have to use the OEM Vortec intake, or an aftermarket part that is not MPFI compatible. If you use the Vortec heads, you must use the specific Mahle MS20136, Felpro MIK98000T or Felpro MS98000T intake manifold gasket set, or you will be subject to a vacuum leak at some time.

If you are going to port heads, make sure you know what you are doing, or you will probably make them worse rather than better.

If you put a cam in the engine, you will have to tailor the torque converter to match the power curve of the engine. Your idle will also tend to be higher, and rougher. A turbo engine making the same HP will have a milder cam, and idle much better than a naturally aspirated engine.

Save your money, and when you have all you need, save that much again, and then start your project. Until then, drive what you have, and be happy.
I was planning to convert to 6 bolt mains during a rebuild for added strength on the bottom but I assume you mean the crank itself? Probably not worth putting in a new stronger crank eh? I realize it will be hard on the trans but precious owner had it rebuilt about 20k miles ago so it should be good for a bit anyways. I've heard they can be buffed up fairly strong though.

Of course before I start porting I will see how to do it probably not go as big as possible for fear of ruining everything. I assume 500hp will require porting unless i run tons pf boost which will ruin everything faster?

Might also just buy some Al heads if i can find a good set for a decent buck. I want to do as much of the labor (preferably all) on my own so that i can know how to rebuild it again when something inevitably breaks and also so i can spend more on better components.

I am aware of torque converters. I was thinking a 3000 stall would probably be a good maybe 3500. I went with 2500 in my camaro which is probably close to 350-400hp at the crank and its a pretty nice setup.

As far as idle goes i want it to sound super cammed out but not kill my vacuum at idle (not sure if thats possible with a boost setup) i dont care about the idle speed really.

And in hear you about saving 2x the money im to the point where 3x is actually closer lol. Thats why i try to make a point about getting a good value and my time is enjoyed working on these cars as long as i can find it haha

Thank you so much for your helpful and generous input!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Weld the hood shut!
Maybe after I get everything built up. Better aero!

After doing the opti i bet this thing will run for a long time as is but oil changes might be tough with a welded hood lol.
 
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