Ahem,......hello. - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2003, 11:14 PM
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This is my first post, and I am a Caprice-aholic.

I have despised reviled, and swatted American hotrods for most of my life, while envying the plentiful parts and excellent build quality of American cars. I wound up with a '91 Caprice recently.

It is slow, but makes big V-8 noises, feels supremely safe in traffic, is fairly nimble for a 4200lb sedan, and get this; is effortless to drive.

After decades of hot rod Porsches and driving drag bugs with street equipment, and piloting full-house race engine rotary engined bruisers, this Caprice does something that I find especialy amusing; it starts everytime I turn the key.

OK, I need some motivational help. I ran into this car when my aging mother was moving into a retirement community. It had been parked for the last 6 years, as it ws bought for her husband who has been in prison most of his life is currently on 4 of a 10-15 year plan. (Yes I have kicked his ass. No, you cant punch someone hard enough to knock sense into them. Yes I realized that he makes my mom happy and thats all that counts). So, anyhoo-hard facts; my mom was going to sell this thing for $1200 in the nickel adds. I knew she needed the money for bills, and I make an assload of money so I paid her $2000 for it. (Also my 13 second bridge-port rotary engined truck wouldnt start, and had been pumping oil and water for the past week, and she let me drive the Chevy away). This car is a 1991, it has a L03(?) 305 TBI motor with a single exhaust. Chevy must have been experimenting with shuttle launch vehcles when they created the ring and pinion in this thing as it does not hit 4th unless I am on the freeway, doing 75 MPH, looking for holes in traffic, and wishing that the motor would have a rumpier cam. I am used to 'point and squirt' driving, but this big son of a bitch responds well to 'place your order at the gas pedal and wait 4-6 weeks for delivery' style of driving.

1. Dual exhaust: this car has a little pea-shooter single exhaust right now. I would like to take it to my local muffler shop and have them go hog wild on the damn thing.

I want to replace whatever the **** is hanging off the heads right now with tubular headers, free flow cats, and loud but not resonating mufflers. Give me some pointer her guys!

2. Suspension: This god-damn thing handles like it is pissed off at me. What the hell makes this car turn in faster, roll around on it's center of gravity less while braking and turning and generaly feel like it's more connected to the road?

3. Air cleaner: I dont have a homebase or whatever. I would like to install a 14 nch chrome air cleaner with a pcv intake. Is there anything you can think of that would cause problems with this?

4. Wheels; I like Weld wheels 18 inch XP's. The car is silver, and I have buffed all the name tags and trim designators off the car. I am wonderring if anybody has mounted Wld XP's and if so what advice they have.

I am currently an ISP technician for a telco, have large amounts of disposable income, was a Dodge heavy line automatic transmission tech and a detailer before this.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2003, 11:35 PM
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Rock Lobster! Welcome to the forum. You will find answers to almost all your questions by cruising around this forum for a while. You will see answers to every one of your questions here. Most guys have been there, done that and are more than happy to help.

I personally waited until my warranty expired in 2000 until I completely lost my mind and spent my kids college money on my Impala (just kidding). I read this forum for 2 years before actually joining and now I am addicted. You damn well better make a boatload of cash because us forum members will help you spend it faster than **** goes through a goose! You will become addicted like we are and haunt these pages looking for more cool stuff to do!

We have guys who like to go fast in a straight line, go fast through turns, go fast all the time, go slow all the time, and, well, you get the picture.

Read my signature below, you can see MOST of the things I did. One piece of advice, if you want to do it right check around this forum before doing anything like going to Joe Local Muffler Guy and just having him bolt on the best they have. Guys here can tell you the best, the worst, the cheapest, the most expensive, and most important: the right and wrong ways to do things.

You look like you have driven some fast vehicles so I am sure you understand that anyway. Good luck and welcome. Come on in, the water's fine!!! Bill
post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2003, 11:36 PM
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by sneezinglobster:
...After decades of hot rod Porsches...
...have large amounts of disposable income...
post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2003, 12:41 AM
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KeWl someone from around here! We have an email list for local PDX people, though we never seem to send emails
[email protected]

Also we try to hang with the northerners at

[email protected]

I think I have all the answers to your questions, but typeing isn't really my came. I have the gift of gab however, and a boring job, so if I am not jumping on you and being too forward, email me and we can swap #'s and I can tell you all you want to know.
post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2003, 10:07 AM
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the L03 is a bit lacking in torque but a few things will definately help it breathe better.

dual exhaust:
go to this thread for what you will run into with this. i have a '94 impala ss exhaust with 2-chamber flowmasters, cat and resonator delete, and h-pipe. it gets a little drone at 1700-2000 but its not too bad. i cant help too much with headers as there arent too many L03/L05's here with them it seems. tho i do know heddmen full length headers run into the frame a bit(requiring it to be cut away a little) so be careful in choosing full length headers. shorties should work fine.

the exhaust is a pretty custom job so if you just take it to a shop and have them go "hog wild" then thats fine, but it can be costly. other than getting headers to fit, the crossmember will need to be modified, no way around it. otherwise youll need to get a crossmember from a '94-'96 B-Body along with tailshaft housing and youll also need to make a custom bracket for the passenger side of the crossmember. '91-'93's do not have provisions for the newer crossmember on that side. newer crossmember will absolutely not work without both the newer tailshaft housing and a fab'ed bracket.

i also ran into this problem when i installed my duals. the '93 caprices and earlier use the larger starters. if your car has had it replaced at any time, then it might get the newer smaller one. otherwise, the starter might get in the way, requiring it to be upgraded (a lt4 starter should work well though)

i havent really tackled suspension much but check for 9c1 suspension parts as those will stiffen things up. if you want a little lower ride you can get a set of impala springs.

an open element filter might be okay but you might run into clearance issues with the 'lip' over the firewall the caprice has. ive seen some fit but it cuts it pretty close. i dont like these anyway as they suck up warm underhood air so performance suffers.

another option would be the caddy intake (my writeup for it is here). a little better design than an open element.

dont know about the wheels but im sure someone else can chime in here. hope this helps...
post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2003, 10:34 AM
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You're not going to like this, but I'll be the first to tell you. Sell the '91, and get a '94-96 with the LT1 and save yourself a lot of headaches trying to get that 305 to do anything. I would suggest a 9C1 police package, as you could probably sell the '91 and pick up a '94-96 9C1 LT1 and be out very little if any extra money. Then you will have a good starting place: LT1, 4 wheel discs, etc. You can throw an extra grand or two at that L03 and then be where you would be had you started with an LT1 in the first place. FYI, I purchased a really good shape '96 9C1 LT1 with 115k miles for $1700 at an auction. If this is not an option, ditch the 305 and buy a Rat for your '91. These are the only two reasonable ways you'll be happy after years of driving those Porches. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2003, 12:08 PM
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hey sneezing you're gonna hafta git us some pics.
since we're on the topic of the 91,2,3 B's, how rare is it to find a civie with the L05? my parents were looking at a few and i was wondering about this. what would be a good price for a 91/2 with cloth, power everything, A/C and L03/5? i really like the skirts.
post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2003, 01:39 PM
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pretty rare. IIRC, L05's were not even offered in civilian caprices until '93. and even then, i believe it was the LTZ package that was the only non-9c1 caprice to have the L05.
post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2003, 02:08 PM
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I've got to agree with VIN Guy. By the time you're done playing with the engine and suspension, you will have spent a lot of time, labor and money. A newer 9C1 with the LT1 is the way to go. It's got the power you're looking for and the 4 wheel disc brakes make a world of difference, too.
post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2003, 05:19 PM
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I have never driven a LO3 Caprice but I had a 84 with a carbed 305 when I bought my 96 with the L99(4.3l V8 mini LT1) and the 96 though heavier and with 50 fewer cubes still had more pep, the little motor has less torque but more HP(200hp 245ft.lbs.). Now I have a LT1 that basically stock throws me back in the seat harder than the 89 GMC with big block (TBI 7.4l)I had. So the newer technology is worth the initial buy in, buying a 94+ is the easy way to power and likely the cheapest.
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