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New Impala SS owner! Looking for suggestions, pointers and tips

1458 Views 6 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  storm9c1
Hey all!

I just bought a '94 Impala SS and would love some general tips and pointers such as recommended maintenance, things to look for, common failures, etc, and I also have some questions about a few issues it has, as well as some pre-installed mods I was told it has.

I've done some forum digging already but if anyone's down to concentrate some information into one place for a newbie, that would be stellar.

To start, it's a 94 with roughly 300k KM on it, allegedly well maintained and thoroughly enjoyed before my ownership. It has a "chip" apparently, which was not explained to me as to what it did or anything, has a 160* Tstat, headers and an exhaust, a shift kit, and 3.73 rear gears. Any comments on those mods, good or bad are welcome, because I did none of them.

Being a 94 with the digital dash, almost none of the gauges worked. I've seen a few things about these clusters, but where should I start for example with the fuel gauge, and the temp gauge not working? I've read about the sensor for the temp gauge on the passenger side of the engine block, and I'm curious if that's the best place to start to diagnose that.

Also, any cheap/"free" mods anyone would suggest? Heard about the TB coolant bypass, may do that. Will that be an issue being that I live in Canada and it's gonna get cold as **** soon?

This is a bit of a text wall, but I figured I'd throw a post out there if anyone wants to help me familiarize myself with these cars, and or help me perfect mine.
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Hey dude where are you in Ontario?

We have a b body group

Those mods look are very ideal if they were done properly as those are generally the recommendations from a stock setup anyways.

Can't speak to the gauge issues but I'd make sure the car is running right i.e no vacuum leaks etc.

Other than that enjoy it as is and we should have some b body meets next year
There is no "chip" in a 94. It may have a "reflash" to accept the mods. You need to check on programs for your laptop to modify your computer, and a patch cable from your car to your computer.
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The oil,fuel, and temperature gauge are fed by one fuse and wire. The voltage gauge is fed by a different fuse.
Oil,voltage, and temperature are on one ground wire, the fuel gauge uses a different ground. Oil,fuel and temperature gauges are operated by the senders grounding to the engine and fuel tank.

If all four gauges are not working your instrument cluster connectors may not be making good contact due to contamination on the pins or in the connector.

Open a new post in the electrical section to get more help with the gauges.

Here is a link to GoldSSWagon's diagram:

This car is a mix of computers and old school electrical systems. You will make your life easier if you get a factory service manual instead of the much smaller aftermarket ones.
Find ,and download "Qalo'SS Handbook"... Tons of useful info inside...
The front suspension will tolerate negative camber to the limit of stock specs and as much positive caster as adjustment will allow. A knowledgeable alignment shop will be able to balance the settings with the proper amount of toe so that you'll get good steering response and handling without uneven tire wear and with good straight line tracking.
+1 on starting a new thread regarding the gauges. If it's not a fuse, it's more likely the senders, the wiring, or the gauge itself. I suggest starting one gauge at a time... with it's own thread. This way we don't tangle the problems.

Based on experience, the diagnosis will be slightly different for each gauge. For example, the temperature gauge often gets misdiagnosed as a sensor issue when it's actually an issue with the gauge itself (more common than expected). So before you get started poking around at 25 year old wires and making things worse, it may be a good idea to see if the gauge is even starting at C or if it has fallen below C. Once that happens, it's a completely different problem. There's another huge recent thread about this.

I am creating a video series on YouTube on how to diagnose these gauges. I've already posted two about how the temperature gauge works (it's quite technical and not so much on how to diagnose it but how to understand when the gauge itself is misbehaving and not the sensor). Go find the "storm9c1" channel. But due to lack of video skills, I am quite slow at producing more. I have a ton a footage to edit for the next ones in the series. Eventually I'll make one that starts with the basic troubleshooting. There's a reason I did these out of order.
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