View Full Version : '94 Fltwd Tuneup

07-12-07, 12:24 AM
I'm starting to feel that tell-tale rough running which tells me a tuneup is in the near future. I had to replace the Rotor/cap at 88k, and I'm now at 151K. It's funny how this car runs so rock solid, but when it does act up, it's not long before it requires attention.

I want to do this tuneup myself and avoid the bank loan needed to pay the local car shop. (ha,ha) I've seen a number of threads on the subject. Does anyone recommend any parts over OEM? Nice wires, plugs, etc.?

Any of course, any tips to avoid the "gotcha's". thanks.

07-12-07, 09:18 AM
Use the A/C delco platinum spark plugs.

As for wires, I went with the MSD, they run $80-100 depending where to buy them.

Some people like the cheaper Taylor wires, but they just don't look quality IMO.

The drivers side is easy, the passenger side resulted in many cuts and bruises on my hands...

Go ahead and do the PCV valve and tighten the manifold bolts if you can.


07-13-07, 02:23 PM
Thanks for the tips. I picked up a PCV valve a month ago to have it on hand, and darn if I can find the location. Can you point me to that location?

07-13-07, 02:40 PM
Driver's side above the valve cover:



07-13-07, 03:19 PM
Thanks, I think they gave me the wrong PCV part at Advance. I'm in Detroit on business now. I'll check it out when I get back to VA.

07-15-07, 04:39 PM
I grew up in Herndon, folks still live there.

Elias is right-on. Also, when did you last change the O2 sensor(s)?

I actually really like the guys at Fairfax Auto Parts near the main USPS branch. They tend to know their stuff and the parts often cost less. They've also helped a lot with the small-task machining I'm too lazy to do myself. Perhaps just another place to consider.

I'd highly recommend a PCM monitoring system if you want to get into the details of a real tune-up. Otherwise there's really not a terrible amount to do other than the in-stream wear parts and the fluids.
1981 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Turbo - LS1/T56
1993 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham - 383 Vortec/4L60
1993 Mazda Protege LX - BP-ZE/G25M-R
1994 Mazda Protege DX - B8-ME/F25M-R

07-20-07, 11:39 PM

Thanks. I know what you mean about Fairfax Auto, they usually know their parts very well. They aren't as cheap as Total Auto, but less than NAPA.

I've changed one O2 sensor in the six years I've had the car (48k to 150K mi). So you think they should be changed also?

Yes, I live near the golf course. When is the last time you were in Hrndn? It has turned into a congestion nightmare with all the town houses and apt. buildings. We've been here 19 years and seen a lot of changes.

08-12-07, 10:13 PM
Ok, I've started the tear down process. I'm replacing the water pump, entire distributor, and the normal tuneup items.
I was thinking about changing the timing chain and gears, but I don't have the time to get too involved, especially on an engine I don't know very well (1st time LT1 teardown). I must say though, comparing this effort to the V6 tranverse mounted GM 3800, it's been fairly easy so far.

My dilemma: I've got the six bolts off the water pump (three each side); Is there a trick to getting the pump off
the block? I didn't want to pry, but it just won't budge. I have the new pump in hand, so I can see where all the bolt holes are located.
Any tips?

Also, any tips on holding the balancer assembly to prevent it from turning while removing the bolts? I still have the serpentine belt on,
hoping it would provide enough resistance, but no luck.

Stan C.

08-12-07, 11:12 PM
Best way I have used is to pull trans torque converter inspection cover and jam an extension in the flywheel.

I didn't do that on mine, but I did manage to put a ratchet with extension on the bolt and wrench on another bolt and hold on to the wrench and let the ratchet bind into the wrench and then it can turn and the wrench can't. A pain on the last one though. I managed, but spent a lot of time on that one part. Serpentine helps some.

Get GM parts and replace ALL o-rings and seals. MUST DO. I don't get any parts store parts on this one.

08-13-07, 07:19 PM
Yeah, I need to get involved with this too, I just don't have the time or tools to do it all myself.

The '95 is at 127k of largely untouched mechanically miles, and has been running rather rough and not very strongly ever since I moved home this summer, and I'm mostly sure it's in need of plugs, wires, and maybe a few other things. ESPECIALLY before I start my high speed highway trips to PA and back in less than 2 weeks.

In case anyone's curious, do you know what a GM dealer (who I've had other work done at) and an independent shop I've also gone to said for a plug & wire change estimate? $5-600. I know it's a very high number given the low complexity of the parts, but it was just what I expected, given the semi difficulty in getting to it all, at least compared to most newer cars with coil packs and such right in plain view.

Know full well the "through the wheel well" procedures for doing this at home, etc., but between work and school, really likely will still farm it out to someone else. We'll see.

08-13-07, 07:44 PM
Wish you were closer! We could get it done in 2-4 hours. The drivers side is easy, it is the passenger side that will burn, cut, and cause you to have a cursing fit.

08-14-07, 10:10 PM
Yeah, actually I just did an about face, and ordered plugs, wires, and a new TPS and PCV valve (the latter two just for the heck of it). That $600 just kept lingering on my mind in a bad way, even if it is the easy way out.

Really, the driver's side doesn't look too bad at all, and the other side we'll see. Since you've done yours already, did you go by this method (or something similar?):


Things are always easier in print than they are when you're in person with your fingers stuck in sharp metal cracks, but any other tips and tools you might suggest? I think I need to pick up a tool or two, despite our arsenal, just not sure what yet.

But between the car running rough still, narrowed down to missing and questionable wires, etc., and my gas mileage which is now at "hole in the tank" level of guzzling, I really need to just get this done once and for all.

08-15-07, 06:50 AM
I did everything from up top (except plugging the wires into the opti)... but then again I have the CIA headers which makes it MUCH easier than with the stock manifolds. I guess going through the wheel wells would be even better.

When I did the just the plugs on the '95 Roadmaster with the stock manifolds, it took twice as long as the Fleetwood (I did plugs and wires on it), because the headers give you so much more room.

08-15-07, 09:02 AM
I have STILL haven't replaced my #2 plug.... Lazy on that one I guess, but I need too, mine has around 120-130K on it, the rest maybe 20K. I have to go and mess with the AC compressor (the dreaded AC clutch bearing squeal), so I figured when I got in there I would do it. And that would be a good time to get the rest of the my plug wires on too....

Honestly, my BB 454 is far easier to work on for so much despite the size in my Suburban than the LT1 and the old 96 Vortec 350 Burb we had.

Did find an interesting tidbit yesterday, the BBC design was from Bunkie Knudson, which worked for Pontiac, but he was tapped on the shoulder to go to Chevy to lead engine development, and the engine went with him. If you look close at the design, it shares more with a Pontiac than it does with the old 348/409 "W" big block and 1955-up Small Block designs. Even the block shift is shifted #2 in front of #1, as Pontiac did intentionally to turn the distributor CCW and push UP into the dist housing instead of down like the Small Block, which puts the stress on the oil pump, which was what the original designers wanted to improve reliability. Interesting.....

08-15-07, 06:33 PM
Yeah, we'll see. My weekend is looking to be filled with a lot of wrenching, pulling, plugging, and cutting knuckles.

The missing is now getting to the point that there's no ignoring the intermittence of it anymore.

08-15-07, 10:17 PM
But the rewards are another 100-150K miles before you have to do it again.....

08-16-07, 06:01 AM
But the rewards are another 100-150K miles before you have to do it again.....

Precisely, which is also my reasoning in always using AC Delco EVERYTHING. If it was good enough to make it past a decade and 100k miles without issue, it's good enough to use as a replacement.

08-16-07, 11:42 AM
IIRC, Katshot always did the Opti/WP at 142K when he worked as the SM for the Limo company. My guess would be wires too then as you are in there and a good time to do them.

My 96 Burb Vortec 350 went 198K on stock plugs, cap, rotor and wires. I can attest to GM reliability on them. I put in some cheap plugs and got 25K and they were shot (No one had AC Delco plugs by me and I had to do them then). They were worn down good....

08-16-07, 12:06 PM
Only aftermarket parts I have ever used are WIX . However I'm mainly an "OEM" guy and mostly use AC Delco .In my FWB ,I will use nothing but OEM Parts as well.

08-16-07, 11:41 PM
Don't think anyone mentioned it yet, but a fuel filter would probably be a good idea as well, cheap and easy to do.

08-16-07, 11:45 PM
Also have a question for NODIH. I REALLY do not want to hijack your post but I cannot send a PM yet?

Just wondering if your G80 mod was a straight forward install? I am looking at FW's and see it is rare to find a FW with tow package for a factory posi.

08-17-07, 11:24 AM
The car is a factory V4P 7000# tow package, but the axle is from a 1980 Impala Cop Car, I installed the whole axle at one time (got it at a swap meet). The factory axle I need to reset the backlash (GM allowed American Axle to be very sloppy) and I have a posi from my old 96 Suburban to swap in. G80 posi (the Eaton non locking is what I have) is Auburn for the Impala's, wasn't available at all in the 93-96 Fleetwoods due to the traction control. Nothing like having a tight posi, it is NICE!

But I DO highly recommend it for anyone who drives at all in any conditions, especially wet and slick... The advantages are many.... The disadvantages are few, but need to be noted.

08-17-07, 07:23 PM
Yes, as N0DIH said, there was NEVER a factory posi/locking option for the Fleetwood, like there was on the Caprice & Roadmaster--just electronic traction control and an open diff.

There were 3 gear choices each year, and the Tow Package models got a firmer suspension, modded cooling, and different programming and gears, but still no posi.

There are kits and ways to add it, however. This doesn't include swapping in a Caprice/Roadmaster axle (wrong ABS system and even axle size), but by keeping your stock and just changing the gears and adding a locker.

08-17-07, 07:30 PM
You can change plugs and wires without going to dealer with $500 to $600.

08-17-07, 09:39 PM
I'll do it for $500! Heck, I am doing an engine swap on an LT1 for less than that. Very easy to swap wires then....

08-17-07, 11:42 PM
Ahhhh, I know I read that the tow package got 3.42's, I also thought that they got a posi. Thanks. I want posi as this will be a winter car, plus an open diff is just no fun once you have had a posi.

So its just a simple upgrade of a posi and gears then? I could keep the stock axle? Or is it a little more complicated?

08-18-07, 07:17 AM
Around $1,100 installed will get you a Eaton Posi, 3.73 gears, ABS Reluctor and all installed. :thumbsup:

08-18-07, 11:14 AM
Around $1,100 installed will get you a Eaton Posi, 3.73 gears, ABS Reluctor and all installed. :thumbsup:

Precisely. You can't just swap something in from another B body with it (like I said), due to the differences in the ABS and dimensions, but there are package deals, etc. that people sell that are made specifically for a Fleetwood.

08-18-07, 11:16 AM
You can change plugs and wires without going to dealer with $500 to $600.

I'll do it for $500! Heck, I am doing an engine swap on an LT1 for less than that. Very easy to swap wires then....

Yes, I know. Just wanted to state what I was told.

I'm still waiting on FedEx to show up with the parts, then hoping I can do it without breaking anything or stabbing myself too many times.

08-19-07, 01:22 AM
Ok, the dirty deed is done. I found out too late about the wheel well access to the right side, but was able to get all plugs and wire done from over and under access. Even climbed on the engine to get the needed angle with my right hand on the right side of the engine.

I had to change the water pump. The original had a small shaft leak for over a year now. I went with a new pump, not rebuilt. ALso, decided to change the entire distributor. The rotor and cap would have been cheaper. New distributor just plugs right into the end of the cam. Very easy replacement. My only real trouble was not knowing the engine very well. This was my first real work on it, and I was determined not to pay for a tuneup....again.) The original Optispark died at ~80K and I paid for the replacement and tuneup at a local shop.

Since others are asking, here are my parts costs from Parts America (Advanced Auto online):
ACD1104032 DISTRIBUTOR ACDEL 1 $364.44
ACD1104032 core charge 1 $33.00
FEL35072 GASKET WATER PUMP FLPRO 2@ $1.24 (returned; new set came with WP)
BOS09717 IG SP Wire Se 1 $113.99 (Went with the Bosh wires, ACDelco cost were same, $114)
DAY5060643 BELT POLY COG RIB DAYCO 1 $32.98 (S-Belt)
DAY5040370 BELT POLY COG RIB DAYCO 1 $15.98 (fan belt for HD cooling, mech fan)

I changed my fuel pump and filter back in March, or I would have included a new gas filter.

08-19-07, 07:30 AM
The key to a successful waterpump/Opti swap is the replace all the seals. GM is the only supplier of many of them.

MUST do to keep it from leaking in the Opti and from leaking oil in the Opti.

Always do a close inspection of the Opti vacuum harness too. I periodically do a Opti vacuum pressure test to verify it is still good.

Just put a vacuum gauge on the line to the line going to the air into the throttle body. It should suck down to 15+ inches.

08-19-07, 10:09 AM
Wow, good job.

I have all my parts in hand, but started looking more in depth at the engine compartment yesterday...and started to get frightened. The driver's side still looks mostly doable, but the passenger's side even from the wheel well looks like one tricky arse. Actually, plugs seem accessible from underneath, but the routing of the wires on that side is pretty hidden and jammed in there.

So, as part of the "survey" how long approximately did the plugs and wires take you? Any personal tips as to method and tools from your experience?

08-19-07, 02:18 PM
Nodih: I did not replace the oil seal in the timing chain cover. It was not leaking, but maybe I should have on GP.

The new water pump came with the "O" ring shaft seals.

As far as technique on the plugs and wires. This was the first time I ever changed them. I used only what tools I had, 3/8 in drive socket wrench with a couple of small extensions, a long extension, to get the best stand-off on each plug as needed.

I think a lose fitting plug socket extension, one of the "wobbly" type would have been helpful to get a better grab on the plugs when going straight in is not easy. I thought removing the alternator may help, but it doesn't , the bracket is still in the way. Threough the wheel well is probably the way to go based on others comments.

08-19-07, 03:17 PM
Sounds okay then, I went through a wheel well yesterday just to see what I could get to and it seemed pretty open as far as the plugs, just again the wires on the passenger's side looking like a real bear to route in the invisible space.

08-19-07, 03:43 PM
~4-6 hours total for both sides, not sure exactly.. I did alot of BS'ing and cursing in between.

I am not sure what tools you will need because you have the stock manifolds which makes things very hard to access, especially the rear passenger plugs.

08-19-07, 03:57 PM
Yeah, I just rummaged through the huge tool arsenal and found pretty much all that I think I'll need for the plug part of it (extensions & a u-joint socket), based on those wheel-well instructions and my own looking.

So, that part at least shouldn't be a problem. Just will have to dig around and chop up the hands a bit to get the wires in correctly.

Also on that...just to check, is it typical practice to use dielectric grease in the plug wire ends, for moisture/etc. purposes?

Lay out your new plug wire set, and "prep" it by putting dielectric grease (a thin coat) in the inside of the boots on both the plug and distributor sides of the wires.

Seems okay, but just checking.

08-19-07, 08:31 PM
Also on that...just to check, is it typical practice to use dielectric grease in the plug wire ends, for moisture/etc. purposes?

I used it when installing them. I used a q-tip to swab the inside of the plug wire connector at the metal connector that slips over the metal plug end. For me, it helped to make the plug wire connection a little easier on those plugs that I couldn't get a good strong direct push. I also used in on the Optispark connector end for the same reason. The distributor plug wire connection isn't always centered in the middle of the rubber boot, so you have to manouver it with a little trial and error. The dielectric grease helps me to feel a more positive connection as the connector slips on a little easier. I don't have the strongest hands, so I need an advantage whereever I can get one.

I think the 4-6 hour estimate is about right. I actually did one bank each of two nights after work, and I was working in to the dark from about 6 to 9:00pm.

08-19-07, 10:00 PM
Sounds good. I read through everything again and it seems pretty straightforward, and I have all my new AC Delco (only things that touch the car) parts ready. Just waiting for the rain to go away, now....oh the shame of not having a garage.

SO, after all your work, how's the change in the car's performance seeming?

08-20-07, 08:30 AM
Rain, don't I know it, and I am trying to do an engine swap on a Fleetwood right now and can't get enough dry weather to get the engine out!

08-20-07, 02:04 PM
Just waiting for the rain to go away, now....oh the shame of not having a garage.

Oh, no, there's no shame in not having a garage. The shame is having a garage, but not being able to get your car into it to do the work!

Haven't been able to measure any real improvements yet. Only had the car out a few times to work and back.


08-20-07, 03:21 PM
I find that in the really hot days when fuel mix is leaner that is when I find more issues with a weak ignition. Idle especially.

08-20-07, 05:42 PM
I find that in the really hot days when fuel mix is leaner that is when I find more issues with a weak ignition. Idle especially.

Yeah, I think the same here. Like I've said, I have a miss that seems to vary in severity and sometimes even come and go, and the more I notice, it is dependent on temps.

When it would be extremely hot out, dry or humid, I'd notice it pretty much guaranteed at idle and on the road, and usually badly--a real wobble/shake and lack of power trying to maintain speed and even at idle. On "normal" 70-85 days it's come or go, or at least varies in severity. And on cooler mornings, such as today, it'll almost seem like a different car and be almost completely smoothed out and have more kick.

From all that I've gone over on my own and read, asked, etc., the plugs and wires seem like a hugely impactful thing to first change out--moreso when they never have been yet. Already has a new coil, coil wire, and ICM, but none of those things seemed to make much change except for largely alleviating a slow/weak start bug I was also having at times.

No need to go messing with the Opti yet either, famous for people digging into it and/or replacing it after issues only to find out it wasn't the problem, and I just recently put a new Opti vent harness on which is a well known maintenance item. Plus, I'm not having issues severe enough that do signal an actual distributor issue.