Cadillac Owners Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
2005 CTS-V, 1994 Infiniti Q45
Joined
·
7,658 Posts
Its basically a distributor.... Except the computer has control over it... Except they put it in a weird place..... (not on top of the engine where it normally is, its somewhere on the front of the engine)
 

·
Registered
94 Fleetwood Brougham
Joined
·
7,534 Posts
What is the life expectancy of a vented Optispark?

My car has 154K miles and the factory Opti is still on it, never has been touched. Should I plan for a cap/rotor this summer? I seem to have a slight miss with the AC on, at lower vehicle speeds that I can't pin down yet, but it strikes me as the cap. Plugs are factory Delco P/N with only 54K miles on them. Same with wires. So that leaves the cap....

What is the real world time to replace it?

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
'94 Fleetwood Brogham, '94 Fleetwood, 2010 SRX 4WD, F250
Joined
·
768 Posts
My Fltwd. went through it's Optispark at about 88K miles. Once it went, it went fast. One contact was burned off, and another was showing signs of wear. I was basically running on 7 cylenders.

I only have 42K on my other '94 Fltwd., so time will tell.
 

·
Registered
94 Fleetwood Brougham
Joined
·
7,534 Posts
What is common failure mode of an Optispark?

I seem to get a small miss at low rpm, light load, lower speeds, like say doing 35 mph steady speed, AC on, 85-90 degree weather. It is hard to determine if it is the road of the engine. With 160K on the Opti, is this a warning sign?

I have seen cap and rotors for the Opti from MSD. Is that all it needs?
 

·
Registered
1996 Fleetwood
Joined
·
2,536 Posts
I had to replace my opti at 100k. Started as a small miss, got bigger and bigger. Nodih, you'll need a new opti soon, dunno if you can just do the cap and rotors...
 

·
Registered
94 Fleetwood Brougham
Joined
·
7,534 Posts

·
Registered
94 Fleetwood Brougham
Joined
·
7,534 Posts
Was looking in the FSM last night, and it shows removal of the Opti and removal of the cap and rotor and leaving the base on the engine. So it appears you can, now, can I just take it off and clean it up till I can get the $$ to get a new cap/rotor?

Anyone know what actually fails on the Opti? Anyone ever try to get failure info out of GM?
 

·
Registered
'94 Fleetwood Brogham, '94 Fleetwood, 2010 SRX 4WD, F250
Joined
·
768 Posts
I realize this thread is a few weeks old and my reply is not very timely, but I did have to replace my Optispark on my '94 at 88K. It started going bad and I really felt it in the seat after the trans shifted into OD. I had the trans checked, and after showing no problems, I had the engine checked. The engine was showing a bad electrical spark, so I had the full tuneup with wires, plugs, etc. The optispark had one very badly burned contact, and one other going bad. Since the replacement with NAPA rotor and cap (PN:RR218), it has provided 44K worry-free miles with excellent operation.

The unit (RR218) retailed for $231., but can be found on many online sites for about $110.00.

If you have done any research on this part, you most likely have run across the Delteq distributorless unit. It's very expensive at $695, but does offer many advantages over the original OEM design. Other manufacturers offer redesigned OEM-type units that are said to last longer and provide better high output service. http://www.delteq.com/opti_design.htm
 

·
Registered
94 Fleetwood Brougham
Joined
·
7,534 Posts
I was looking at them, I will be replacing my cap/rotor soon, but sorry, $700 is too much for my blood, the stock Opti seems ok for that sort of price.

Mine is at 161K now, and I have seen no records in the folder of receipts that I got with the car that indicated it has ever been replaced since around 60K miles (when the 2nd owner got the car and started keeping records). So I figure this year before it gets cold I will pull the cap and rotor and drop in one of the MSD caps.
 

·
Registered
1996 Fleetwood
Joined
·
2,536 Posts
Stock opti is not the ideal. It's a poor design by GM, and difficult to work on/with. I won't be using an opti when I do my motor after the LT1.
 

·
Registered
'94 Fleetwood Brogham, '94 Fleetwood, 2010 SRX 4WD, F250
Joined
·
768 Posts
I agree, other than OEM replacements are a little rich for my non-racing applications.
You may want to consider a good cooling system flush too, since the water pump needs to be removed.

later dude.
 

·
Registered
94 Fleetwood Brougham
Joined
·
7,534 Posts
Will do, Anyone with advice on swapping it? The FSM covers it, but there still is real world experience (...define real world, for all we know, this could be the Matrix....and nothing is what it seems....)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,471 Posts
Delco DOES offer a high-mileage service kits which includes a cap, rotor and mid-body but to be honest, after trying several, I'd say REPLACE it rather than service it. With our fleet vehicles, I eventually selected a 140K mile interval for timing chain/gears, waterpump, and distributor. These were the "primary" items we did at that mileage. We also did the fuel pump, filter, belt, belt tensioner and idler pulley. I "think" that was it. I used to do a 100K mile service but the LT1's were so easy on the timing chain/gears that I pushed it back to 140K miles.
The Opti-Spark unit is a computer-controlled distributor that is mounted directly on the end of the camshaft. It had it's weakness's but overall, I found it to be far more reliable than most people seem to think. I rarely had one die on me and when they did, they were more often than not killed by another componet failure or a screw-up by a mechanic. The two quickest ways to kill an Opti were to damage/disconnect the vent tube system, or have a coolant leak that got inside (usually via the connector on top). We DID have a couple timing wheels come apart internally but they were really a very small percentage of our total cars.
There are a few aftermarket Opti replacements (such as the MSD unit) that allow you to basically bypass the distributor altogether, and some that bypass only the ignition secondary side of the unit (beware, the primary side of the unit is the weak link) so be aware of what you're buying. It's possible to spend a good deal of money and not REALLY eliminate the potentioal for problems. IMO, unless the engine is semi-heavily modified, the OEM Opti is fine. I'll be relacing mine soon myself, and I intend to go back with an OEM unit. I've found them for as low as approx. $250 and I think that's okay.
 

·
Registered
94 Fleetwood Brougham
Joined
·
7,534 Posts
So with my LT1 at 161500 miles and it appears that the timing set, water pump and Opti are all factory original, I should just do them all at one time? I was hoping to get them replaced before winter.

Any advice on replacement, like things not to do or things to do? Or does the FSM cover it well? I want to ensure no goof ups, they can be $$ on this one.

What actually fails on the Opti? Is it one component that fails? I have heard that it is commonly the optical sensor is the weak link. Anyone ever try to find the supplier and/or get a new supplier and just repair them?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,471 Posts
I've seen optical sensors go bad, degree wheels pop off the shaft, rotors break....the list goes on and on.
As for what to do and not to do, I'd try to replace as much at the same time as possible since you'll have it apart anyway. At least the timing chain/gears and waterpump, and distributor. And be careful to properly align the pin and cutout on the distributor when you install it. It IS possible to put it on wrong. I've seen guys do it. It can even start up but will run rough.
 

·
Registered
94 Fleetwood Brougham
Joined
·
7,534 Posts
Is pulling the fan off (V4P with V08) any big deal? Did limo's come with V08 very often?

Any recommendations on parts? Is the waterpump a dealer item or highly recommended to get a GM part? Or are NAPA, Advance Auto parts and the like stores ok to get pump from? Same with Opti? Are they supported well by non OEM parts suppliers? Or are they to be avoided?

I know Jim Hand won't use anything but a GM HEI module, as in my experience, I agree with his reasons.
 

·
Registered
94 Fleetwood Brougham
Joined
·
7,534 Posts
Cool, thanks

I didn't realize just how simple the Opti is inside. It is just a cap, rotor, optical 360 sensor/wheel and that is it. Quite easily rebuildable if the parts survive and if you can get replacement parts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,471 Posts
N0DIH said:
Cool, thanks

I didn't realize just how simple the Opti is inside. It is just a cap, rotor, optical 360 sensor/wheel and that is it. Quite easily rebuildable if the parts survive and if you can get replacement parts.
It's been my experience that rebuilding an Opti is a waste of time and money. Also, for my money, I would only use Delco parts.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top