: Need Help Replacing Spark Plug Wires



hearseman
01-14-10, 08:52 PM
Well, Its time to replace the wires on my '96 Fleetwood LT-1 engine. Looks like a booger, especially the right bank. What would be the best way to tackle this? Looks like some parts need to come off. Thanks, Cliff

jayoldschool
01-14-10, 09:08 PM
It's a pain. You do most of it from below. You can go through the fenderwell, too.

thefleetwoodguy
01-15-10, 02:31 PM
the first time I did them was a nightmare, pass side that is
I have a technique that works well for those hard to snake wires,
last wire change I did was under an hour!!!

hearseman
01-15-10, 04:14 PM
Oh come on fleetwoodguy! Please share your technique ! I'm looking at it thinking it might be easier to pull the engine : )

outsider
01-15-10, 06:18 PM
i know on my 87 it's easy if you take off the inner wheel well coverings...or easier I should say.

thefleetwoodguy
01-15-10, 09:55 PM
Oh come on fleetwoodguy! Please share your technique ! I'm looking at it thinking it might be easier to pull the engine : )


lol, I take a 3-4 ft long piece of stainless cable
with a loop in one end,
also a spray can of silicone and some elec tape
you remove 1 wire at a time, snake the cable through the "slot"
stick the straight end of the wire through the hoop in the cable secure with tape, give it a shot of silicone, and pull it through,
might have to back up here an there, but with only
a little patients , you can snake them through
I will try to post a pic of cable rig, to make it easy to copy
it makes it go easier to mark the wires, and remove them from the opti
and push them down or up out of the way

hearseman
01-15-10, 11:31 PM
Thanks Fleetwoodguy! That is an incredibly smart idea! I am going to give it a try. I would love to see a picture of your cable setup when you have time.

thefleetwoodguy
01-16-10, 12:16 AM
Ill post it up sat afternoon........

N0DIH
01-16-10, 09:51 PM
Or just take off the pass side front end accessory drive, not really hard honestly, probably have it off in 20 min or so. Then SUPER easy to change the plugs and wires on that side.

hearseman
01-17-10, 03:11 PM
Are you talking about the bracket that holds the alternator ? I tackled the plugs this morning. What a bitch ! Runs better though. I had to order the wires and they wont be here until tommorrow. I am hoping this will take care of most or all of the miss without having to replace the optispark yet. I can dream cant I ?

N0DIH
01-17-10, 06:50 PM
Alt and power steering.
Mine is a V4P car so it has the mech fan, so that adds another 10-20 min to take off, not too bad really, being I don't do often.

I have to recall now, but pull alt off, I think the pulling the PS pump was not too bad, then pull the bracket off, and everything but the AC on that side comes off. Then great access to the Opti.

Remember, the Opti ISN'T as failure prone as most give it.

1. You STILL need to change the cap and rotor like any other car. Not distributorless car. You need to swap it out 100k or LESS.
2. When you do, change ALL the seals, don't slap it back together with old seals. That is inviting damage. Water leakage is the #1 Opti killer, I have personally not seen any Opti's fail that weren't due to water leakage.
3. Plugs and wires still have to be replaced, just like the cap and rotor, but not replacing them causes high voltage to have to find a way out and if water is present, you have the issue.
4. Water is the Opti killer, did I mention? Opti Vacuum Harness. It should be checked and ensure in 100% tip top shape all the time. I checked mine around ever 6 months. Easy. Unhook the vacuum line to the air intake, put on a gauge. It should read up to around 15 inches of vacuum fairly quickly, like a couple seconds. If not, you have a leak. Replace all hoses, they often get greasy and the hoses deteriorate on the Opti and leak and water gets in. OR not a good vacuum seal, and water gets in.

One way to help reduce moisture in the Opti is to route the vacuum hose that goes in the air intake to the passenger compartment. That air is much less humid in the summer than the incoming air. I don't think necessary, but it is an improvement.

The Opti has a very bad rap and honestly I feel a majority of it is very unfounded. Most led to poor maintenance. Early failures did exist, but the internet has made them sound like they are 1 in 2 failures, when they are more like 1 in 200k failures.

hearseman
01-17-10, 08:41 PM
Thanks for your reply! I think I will tackle the wires first tommorrow . If they dont cure the small miss that is left, I'll try a cap and rotor. Didnt really want to spend the money right now if I can get by with it. I would rather wait until I can afford to replace the water pump at the same time.

thefleetwoodguy
01-17-10, 10:15 PM
if you decide to try it the "snake" method
pulling from the top down worked best for the bent boot (spark plug boot that is)
wires the straight ones either way
electrical tape the cable to the wire as in pic two
tape it so it comes to a point , more or less
and spray the area with silicone spray,
the last time I did it was a snap!!

I agree with nodih, the optispark dist in these fleetwoods
doesnt fail very often, the caps do!, , with oil/water
the rotors are famous for the retaining screws
coming out, not unusual to find one screw in the base of the cap, when you separate it

it is a MUST to change the seal where the dist go's through the t/chain cover
I have caps and the tool youll need to remove the cap
good luck keep us posted!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v301/hemijimbo/STA71863.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v301/hemijimbo/STA71864.jpg

N0DIH
01-17-10, 10:40 PM
I did this personally on a LT1 out of the car and when I did it, was AMAZED at how easy. I can't recall any issues at all. Think taking off larger items than smaller. IIRC there was one bolt that was hard to do, and it could have been left on and taken off in higher assy. Wish my LT1 wasn't covered on a cover and 1-2 feet of snow...


Thanks for your reply! I think I will tackle the wires first tommorrow . If they dont cure the small miss that is left, I'll try a cap and rotor. Didnt really want to spend the money right now if I can get by with it. I would rather wait until I can afford to replace the water pump at the same time.

hearseman
01-18-10, 10:20 AM
thefleetwoodguy, thanks for posting that picture! What brand of cap /rotor do you recommend? I would like to find one locally today while I have some time off. If I cant find one, I'll shoot you an email. Thanks!

hearseman
01-18-10, 08:37 PM
I installed the new wires today. It took me a solid 3 hours and it was a whippin' ! I tried to take the accessory bracket off (alt./PS/AC) but couldnt find one stinkin bolt that was hidden but, I did find that once I dropped the ac compressor, I was able to route the wires properly. If I do this again, I'll only loosen the ac compressor. The left bank was pretty easy. I still have a little shutter on acceleration so, I guess I'll tackle the cap and rotor (later). The coolant needs to be changed anyway. I am going with the Borg-Warner cap/rotor. Its about 1/2 the price of the GM cap. After doing the wires, I think the cap and rotor will be a cake-walk........

N0DIH
01-18-10, 11:45 PM
I can't get to my parts engine right now, but I am thinking the hidden bolt is behind the PS pump, that is why I had to pull the pump out. Once out, it all came out very easy.

IIRC, dropping the AC isn't fun, I need to on mine to replace the comp (I really need to replace the clutch bearing).

hearseman
01-19-10, 11:01 AM
I think I would attempt to replace the clutch bearing with the compressor on the car. The rear compressor bracket is tough. You would think that as big as these cars are, there would be more room to work on these engines ;(

HAZZARDJOHN
01-19-10, 11:32 AM
I concur with the removing of the accessory drive. Once you do it a few times you will be a pro at it. I can strip the whole front of an LT1 in a B or D body GM in about 20 minutes.

One time when I replaced the engine in my Impala SS, I didn’t replace the opti seal (rookie mistake). So hear I spent all day getting the motor in and running, I am tired and cranky, and I have a huge oil leak coming out of my opti. I have a car show the next weekend and I won’t be able to work on it all week. I piss and moan for a hour or so, and I tell all my friends that I will just have to miss the show. They basically beat me over the head and convince me to just fix the thing now and be done with it. I sent one of them to the store to get a seal and started wrenching. I had the whole accessory drive, water pump and opti out in 15-20 minutes and I was sitting drinking a beer when my friend arrived with the part. Then about a half hour later I was cleaning up and going to bed. I spent more time Complaining about having to remove all that stuff than it took to do it.

~HJ

N0DIH
01-19-10, 11:49 AM
I tried, bought tools and bearing, but there is no threads to screw into. It is some odd ball clutch that doesn't have the threads like most all have, it is smooth inside.... Like they didn't WANT it to come off ever again.


I think I would attempt to replace the clutch bearing with the compressor on the car. The rear compressor bracket is tough. You would think that as big as these cars are, there would be more room to work on these engines ;(

hearseman
01-20-10, 07:47 PM
Well, I am glad that I tackled this project. Once I got the water pump off, I found the bearing was out on the output shaft. I also found that the bearing in the Opti had a lot of play and, the "wheel" was bent inside so, I replaced the complete unit. Runs great although I still have a slight shutter on take-off. Might be the transmission. I dont know for sure.

N0DIH
01-25-10, 01:34 PM
mine has a touch of hesitation when cold, it almost seems like spark is weak. Gotta check the coil and see.... once warm all ok. Going to put in a 96-up coil, supposed to be hotter spark.


Well, I am glad that I tackled this project. Once I got the water pump off, I found the bearing was out on the output shaft. I also found that the bearing in the Opti had a lot of play and, the "wheel" was bent inside so, I replaced the complete unit. Runs great although I still have a slight shutter on take-off. Might be the transmission. I dont know for sure.