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Discussion Starter #61 (Edited)
The stock harmonic damper was definitely shot at 170,000 miles. The rubber ring was split all the way around. For as heavy as that is, I DON'T want that flying off while I'm going down the highway.
197577

Here is the backside ( you can see the hub outline in the center). Look closely at the rubber ring; Every firing pulse, that rubber flexes once. So rough math: 170,000 miles times 760 revs/mile (roughly), assume 3rd gear so 1:1, 4 firing pulses per revolution because it's a 4-cycle V8, that means this rubber has had to flex 51,680,000 times. Yeah, I'd be split too. Not to mention the serpentine belt constantly twisting it.
197578


Need to order a new one.
 
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Discussion Starter #62
Let's get these motor mounts cleaned up.

197579


After prep:
197580


Installed. Sharp eyed observers will note that this is the passenger side mount installed wrong. It should be flipped and moved backward one set of bolt holes. We found this out the hard way during install.

197581
 
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Discussion Starter #63
Time to get the optispark ready to go. Fortunately I was able to secure one of the last original Delco optisparks. Time to loctite the rotor.
197582


Daughter was great with these small bolts!

197583


Time to seal with flex seal. I do NOT recommend this; either I applied it wrong, or it's junk, because it sat for three months and the coating cracked at the opti joint. I had to go over it all again with RTV before I installed it.

197584


197585


197586


197587


197588


197589
 
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Discussion Starter #64
Time for new spark plugs and wires. These are Belden, I think I bought two of the last sets from Rock Auto. Came with high temperature loom too!
197590


New knock sensors while I was there too.

197591

Need to clean and paint the plug wire brackets.

197592


197593


After:

197594
 
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Discussion Starter #65 (Edited)
Original passenger side wires with that bracket that makes in-car wire changes so difficult.
197595

Passenger side done. Sharp-eyed observers will note the upside-down passenger side motor mount and the #3 exhaust manifold bolt should be a stud instead, so as to support the long alternator bracket.
197596


197597

Driver's side:

197598


Note that the driver's side wires would normally be supported by a bracket on the AIR pump mounting bracket. I carefully removed and saved the bracket, stainless crossover pipe and all connectors in case the car ever ends up in a state that requires all emissions equipment to be installed.

197599


197600


Closeup of driver's side rear plug routed per factory behind the factory heat shield (painted silver for maximum heat reflection).

197601
 

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Discussion Starter #66 (Edited)
Exhaust manifold prep. Machined flat, all crossbars cut and deburred, and ready to go. Notice how the outboard bolt holes are already larger than the center port bolt holes from the factory; this prevents shearing of the bolts from thermal expansion due to the intake manifolds. That said, if you compare thermal expansion rates of steel vs. cast iron, they're pretty close. While we're talking about this, aluminum expands about twice as much, which is why the aluminum head LT1 gasket is roughly twice as thick. If your car doesn't have to operate in such a broad temperature range as the OEM requirements state, you can get away with a thinner head gasket on aluminum heads and not get leakage problems or broken bolts.

197602


All threads chased.

197603


EGR bolt - 5/16-18. New Dorman 03133 catalytic converter studs.

197604


All threads in block chased.

197605


I put brand new grade 5 flange cap bolts in, 1.5" long at all locations and just stacked up washers. This provides more length of bolt for expansion, giving a longer, easier life. I also only torqued them to 20 ftlbs instead of the factory spec of 30, to leave yet more room for expansion. The LT1 exhaust manifolds are already drilled at the factory for larger openings on the outboard openings so no need to add that.

One thing I did when I hooked the rest of the exhaust up after the engine was installed was to loosen all the manifold bolts and let the manifolds/cats rotate slightly to better align with the rest of the exhaust and remove the bending stress. I then retightened them to 20ftlbs.
 
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Nice! I love your attention to detail!
 

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I honestly didn't know the harmonic balancer was a wear part. What's the solution?

Aren't FRAM filters supposed to be over-marketed junk?

Incredibly sorry about your daughter's facial deformity.
 

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Discussion Starter #69
I'd never rebuilt an alternator before, and now was my chance. And since I had three, it was worth my time. If only one, I would have had a local shop in town rebuild it. Thankfully there are lots of CS144 rebuild videos on youtube now; supposedly the CS130 is not rebuildable but I'm not sure how true that is. Basically an alternator contains:
  1. Rotor (shaft and rotating windings)
  2. stator (stationary windings)
  3. case halves
  4. diode / rectifier and heat sink assembly
  5. voltage regulator
  6. capacitor.
  7. Screws and insulators.
  8. Bearings (front and rear)
  9. brushes.
Reassemble all of these in the correct order and you have charging.

Disassembly:
197616


All three alternators laid out. You will need E-torx bits to disassemble the guts in the rear of the alternator.
197617


Time to paint the cases. Personally I hate that the big silver alternator is up so high on the LT1s. I don't want people to say "nice alternator" when I pop the hood. So I painted it black. Here's my go-to paint for everything under the hood:
197618


clearcoat:
197619


197620


Inside of the rear of the alternator prior to disassembly. Pay close attention to the order in which parts are stacked on top of each other on the screws, and which insulators go where.
197621


If I learned nothing else from this, it's that do NOT use cheap bearings. The one alternator with the loudest bearings had no-name bearings in it, so not only was it noisy, it had the lowest miles of all of them! You can also tell because the front bearing has aluminum staked around it during original assembly; rebuilt alternators have no lip, but rather a metal clip retaining the bearing (it's about as useful as LT1 fuel injector clips though). Other notes: do NOT use the thin nut to protect the alternator nose if you need to hammer on the rotor to get the bearing off of it. You will hose up the threads and need to buy another, and it's a very odd thread size. Honestly I could have just put new bearings in them and put them back together. The diodes and capacitor all tested good, and the brushes wear very slowly.
 
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Discussion Starter #70
After baking the paint and then letting it cure another several weeks, we then assembled it. Again, youtube videos to the rescue.
197622

New brushers are .886" long, if you care. Be careful with the copper wires coming off of them; they don't tolerate rough handling.
197623
 
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Discussion Starter #71 (Edited)
Some more assembly pics. You can test each diode directly with an ohmmeter or a diode tester, from each of the studs to each side of the rectifier. There are two diodes on each post, six total. If you have a mysterious battery drain that pulling fuses doesn't stop, you may have a failed shorted diode. What you can do is disconnect the alternator hot side terminal on the rear when you get home from work, and if the battery is still charged the next morning, that's your problem.
197628


Yes, I did tighten all the nuts and bolts before final assembly. Several are loose in this pic. I prefer to put every fastener in place, THEN tighten them all.

At the end of the word "Brush Holder" is a yellow toothpick I trimmed the end off of an inserted into the brush assembly to hold the brushes back. You then put the alternator together. Then, remove the toothpick from the rear of the alternator. There's a small hole in the rear case next to the bearing for this.

197629


If you have a radio whine that's tied to engine RPM, it's likely that the capacitor is bad. You can "test" it with an ohmmeter by putting it on high resistance and then touch the ends, and resistance should start out low but quickly climb to infinity. If it starts at infinity, even after you short both ends together first, the capacitor is bad.

197630


I also measured resistance across the windings; each winding should be very low resistance; there's not really a way to check across windings other than a visual inspection, so it is what it is. Just look for cracks in the varnish or chafing/wear on the wires.

197631


I also wanted to disassemble the alternators before painting so there's absolutely nothing blocking the cooling of the regulator and the rectifier. Cooling air enters from the rear and is exhausted by the fan in the front. In case you're wondering why there's three alternators, my next project is a '96 Buick Roadmaster wagon. I ended up acquiring it a few months after I had the Impala in pieces. The garage was (and still is) a mess of parts. Note to self, one project at a time. But there were some economies of scale, as we'll see in the transmission builds coming up next.

197632


Brush holder assembly pin hole just above the center bearing, hiding in the shadow.

197633


I did not take pictures of the bearing installs; I used the freezer/oven trick - heated the housings to 200F, put the bearings in the freezer, put some loctite on each one and they practically dropped in.

I also did not take pictures off the final assembly of the pulley and washers. Just be careful of which washer goes where; two of the three are very close in thickness, but they're unique in size and will only fit in one location, so you can figure it out. As you can see, I forgot to paint the pulleys; it's on the punchlist.
 

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Discussion Starter #72 (Edited)
I honestly didn't know the harmonic balancer was a wear part. What's the solution?
A new damper. Stock ones are relatively cheap. The stock damper is good at one frequency, and it's designed for the stock LT1 rotating assembly. If you're deviating from that, ATI dampers are rebuildable and they can be tuned specific to your rotating assembly; I do not know how wide the damping frequency is with them though. If you call ATI, they probably have enough test data on the various metal types and strokes of Chevrolet crankshafts that they can build one that's optimal for your crankshaft. Viscous dampers are mult-frequency, though the Fluidampr LT1 740101 damper was designed to fit F-bodies, not B-bodies, and making it fit a B-body is nontrivial (as you'll see if you search threads on this forum; many have given up).

You can watch more tech here:

Aren't FRAM filters supposed to be over-marketed junk?
The internet article that started that all is quite old; the answer to that question is complicated and not worth discussing in this thread.
Incredibly sorry about your daughter's facial deformity.
There is an alarming lack of privacy in our current times; my wife and I decided that one of the best gifts we can give our children is as little public record of their childhoods as possible, leaving that in their control once they are old enough to understand the implications. We are also foster parents and have been attempting to adopt a little boy for several years now, so we are used to not showing pictures of our children.

BTW, if you haven't frozen your child's credit reports yet, do it as soon as possible. Your child could be the victim of identity theft and you'd never know until years later.
 

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Love this thread! Thank you for your attention to detail and sharing it Sherlock! This thread is a keeper.

I'm looking at a DCM 96SS for myself and a 95SS DGM for my son.

Can not wait to get another SS. Been too long since I sold my BBB 96SS.

I just want a stock one. Drive, maintain and enjoy.

If any of you haven't done so already, please consider joining ISSCA, Impala SS Club of America. I'm on the BOD. We need to stick together and keep our cars going strong. If you register soon, you will receive a special little gift with your membership. It's only a $30 annual fee.

Go here: Join ISSCA
 

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Discussion Starter #74
I'll second what Lance said - well worth the $30 and it is a strategic investment on several levels. I showed up at the 2020 Nationals in my minivan because neither of my cars were operational and was STILL treated like family. They even let me drag-race the van! This was after not having attended a Nationals since 2011.

OK guys, as soon as I get a break, time for transmissions!
 

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Sorry I missed you at Bowling. Just couldn't go last year.

Thanks for your support. We hope more owners join and support the cause!
 

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Thanks for taking the time to do the write-up, I really enjoyed it. I got rid of my modified Caprices and wagon, but was able to obtain a 96 RMW that has a lot of sentimental value, 75K miles and runs great. I have mailed in my membership as well.
 
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I don't have anything original to add but I feel like the more people send positive feedback on this thread the better. Thank you very much for posting your project in such detail! One specific question, where did you get your alternator rebuild kits/supplies? I've seen kits on ebay and amazon but as usual don't know who to trust. My alternator is working but is loud so I was thinking about just doing bearings. You mention having cheap bearings in one that's noisy, don't want to replace noise with noise on mine!

Thank you also for the practical dad advice, as a new parent I appreciate that.
 

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Discussion Starter #78 (Edited)
So... this was a "too soon old, tool late smart" moment. I'm not afraid to admit my mistakes. As one of my mentors taught me, "You win or you learn, you never lose." This was a learning moment I'm willing to share with you so you can benefit from my experience.

It was only after I had received all the parts that I discovered the noisy no-naming bearings in the one that was already rebuilt; I bought mine from Ebay. I can only assume that if the bearings aren't labeled, they're cheap. Unfortunately mine were unlabeled; the other two alternators had original bearings and weren't even as noisy. We shall see how long they last.

You're welcome on the parenting advice. If nothing else, remember that we are wired for relationship. With our creator, and with each other.
  • Involve your children in every activity you can. More is caught than taught. Especially while they're young. Ages 0-2 is critical bonding time. Ages 1-6 is when most basic life habits get cemented. My 14 year old wants nothing to do with me right now; I'm in the "dumb dad" phase. But every so often we connect, and I cherish those moments.
  • Put your spouse over your children. My kids will be out of the house when they turn 18. My wife, I'm keeping her around forever.
  • On kids, think backwards. If they're gone when they're 18, how many years do you have left? What do they stilll need to learn before they can be successful adults?
 

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If nothing else, remember that we are wired for relationship. With our creator, and with each other.
You must know something the rest of us don't. :p

In all seriousness, this is my field of study. So, I'm just busting your balls.

I struggle to come up with solid logic to explain my own views, let alone the views of others. I'm not sure that anything is objective. o_O
 

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Discussion Starter #80
I struggle to come up with solid logic to explain my own views, let alone the views of others. I'm not sure that anything is objective. o_O
You can't say that nothing is objective. That in itself is an objective statement. Now... I think maybe what you're trying to communicate is that things are a lot less objective than most people make them out to be. That, I can objectively agree with. I got really wrapped up in all that philosophy stuff in my 20s and honestly it really didn't affect my daily life that much. But serving my team and my customer well at work, providing for my family, protecting/loving my wife, raising my kids and helping those less fortunate than I.... THAT'S a life well lived.

And this is a car forum, not a theology/philosophy forum. So let's get back to the task at hand. I'm gathering all of my transmission rebuild pictures and will start posting them shortly. A number of folks have privately asked what the clunk shift was.. we'll get to that here soon. As Alabama thaws out of the first time in 10 years there's been a WEEK without school, I have to use my outdoor time when I can get it! Wrenching on cars with my kids! What else?
 
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