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97 lt1 upgrades

This is a discussion on 97 lt1 upgrades within the LT1 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; I bought a 97 trans am from a guy a year ago and its been nothing but trouble. I've fixed ...

  1. #1
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    97 lt1 upgrades

    I bought a 97 trans am from a guy a year ago and its been nothing but trouble. I've fixed part after part after part and have finally got it running pretty solid, (not to mention memorized every bolt on it). Right now it has some minor mods I did: Stage 2 clutch, MSD optispark, MSD wires, K&N air filter, TB bypass. And a mechanic rebuilt the tranny (reverse synchro replaced with a metal one since the plastic one broke), and the rear end with an Auburn posi unit and I'm not sure what gears I'll have to look into it. I also found out just recently there is a Flowmaster catback on it.....yay. Never noticed before but yeah its got to go. Anywhos I just ordered some Prothane engine/tranny mounts since mine are going, and my first REAL upgrades some pacesetter long tubes and off-road Y. Someone recommended a TSP rumbler for the catback and I'm wondering if thats a good choice or go with SLP. I was also curious if running straight pipe from the y-pipe back would be too obnoxiously loud. My plans are to install full exhaust and get a tune, and then I still want to squeeze some more power out without killing my gas mileage or wallet. What should be next on my shopping list?

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    Custom Painter/Tech Customta98's Avatar
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    Flame Red / Orange Custom
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    have you done any free mods? if not you can do a Throttle Body Coolant Bypass, thats really cheap if you just buy a hose.
    98 Trans Am Custom Paint, Ghost Skuls On Racing Stripe + Custom Front Lip, :MODs Tubular K-member, Tubular Upper and lower A-arms, Tubular Control Arms, 4:10's, Cam L-.567/.575 D@.05-.212/.218,1.85 Roller Rockers, P&P Heads, ARH Headers & HF Cats & Y-Pipe, SLP loudmouth catback, +'s

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    problem

    Yeah I JUST did it actually and now I'm having some sort of wierd problem which involves a really rought idle and power issues at low rpms, engine sounds like its missing but no code...I hate my life.

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    Flame Red / Orange Custom
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollingD View Post
    Yeah I JUST did it actually and now I'm having some sort of wierd problem which involves a really rought idle and power issues at low rpms, engine sounds like its missing but no code...I hate my life.
    did you mess with the throttle body at all?

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    I did some extensive internet google searches and then went out all gung ho with a can of brake cleaner (my favorite weapon). Apparently my bleeding of the coolant system got the last straw of crud onto my MAF and just screwed everything to hell. I took it out and cleaned it and some surrounding components real well and now everything is peachy. I even found and fixed a bad pcv hose while I was at it. The day went from bummer to badass all in the course of a few hours, I'm definitely digging the TB bypass it makes a small but still noticeable difference. I can't wait for my exhaust parts to get here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RollingD View Post
    I did some extensive internet google searches and then went out all gung ho with a can of brake cleaner (my favorite weapon). Apparently my bleeding of the coolant system got the last straw of crud onto my MAF and just screwed everything to hell. I took it out and cleaned it and some surrounding components real well and now everything is peachy. I even found and fixed a bad pcv hose while I was at it. The day went from bummer to badass all in the course of a few hours, I'm definitely digging the TB bypass it makes a small but still noticeable difference. I can't wait for my exhaust parts to get here.
    sweet glad it worked out what kinda exhaust are you going with?

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    I donno yet I'm gonna try straight pipes and see what it sounds like

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    i had a borla on my 95 formula M6 and it was the best $ i have ever spent. the LT1 and borla are made for each other!

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    too good to be true

    Well same wierd problem happened today I thought I fixed it. My headers and mounts just got here and I was so stoked, I went for a drive and there is a crazy misfire or something but its not throwing an engine code. I guess I'll mess with it tomorrow morning

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    Quote Originally Posted by RollingD View Post
    Well same wierd problem happened today I thought I fixed it. My headers and mounts just got here and I was so stoked, I went for a drive and there is a crazy misfire or something but its not throwing an engine code. I guess I'll mess with it tomorrow morning
    Check out your distributor cap and see how it looks on the inside. you could have some gunk or other various stuff in there clean it up or buy a new one if you have too this happened to my friends 93 Trans Am and after I cleaned it and it worked fine. remember check Air, Fuel & Spark the three major things to make your car run properly. You can also check the timing with your distributor cap, now this will only adjust so much the main timing is done with your timing chain but that is hard to get at so don't worry about it. Just check for Air, Fuel, Spark & Distributor Cap Timing.

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    progress

    Firstly, thanks for the advice. We started the install today of headers and y pipe and I must say I severely underestimated exhaust work on a 12 year old car. We broke nearly every bolt we touched even with liberal applications of PB blaster. Sadly with a grueling 4-5 hours of work (more like 3-4 with all our thinking and confusion) we only got off the stock y pipe and cats including the flanges to the manifolds, as well as the passenger side motor mount bolt we fought for an hour because of AC pipe and some random brackets + starter/alternator to get room. I'm no expert mechanic but I've got two cohorts including one massive guy to break things that are uncooperative. Although all the bolts securing the y pipe broke and the egr to manifold bolt stripped the two manifold to head bolts we managed to get out came out SO easy. Very happy I'm not going to have to remove the heads to drill out bolts. Tomorrow we hope to get out of work early and the goal is both stock manifolds out and maybe one header and engine mount installed. For my level of expertise this stuff is being WAY more serious than I thought. If I end up having to pull the motor for some shit I'm buying a cam no if ands or buts. I know it shouldn't be necessary but this car is so not taken care of at all. We also blacked out my car with some VHT nightshade this weekend and it looks so sick nasty. Of course nothing I do comes without some sort of failure and poor preparation and forethought lead to some overspray due to wind, now I'm going to have to get some rubbing compound or something to fix that. Any advice on this install would be greatly appreciated. For the third time I'm not that good at this, but I am at least gung ho about it, I'm not giving up until I win.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RollingD View Post
    Firstly, thanks for the advice. We started the install today of headers and y pipe and I must say I severely underestimated exhaust work on a 12 year old car. We broke nearly every bolt we touched even with liberal applications of PB blaster. Sadly with a grueling 4-5 hours of work (more like 3-4 with all our thinking and confusion) we only got off the stock y pipe and cats including the flanges to the manifolds, as well as the passenger side motor mount bolt we fought for an hour because of AC pipe and some random brackets + starter/alternator to get room. I'm no expert mechanic but I've got two cohorts including one massive guy to break things that are uncooperative. Although all the bolts securing the y pipe broke and the egr to manifold bolt stripped the two manifold to head bolts we managed to get out came out SO easy. Very happy I'm not going to have to remove the heads to drill out bolts. Tomorrow we hope to get out of work early and the goal is both stock manifolds out and maybe one header and engine mount installed. For my level of expertise this stuff is being WAY more serious than I thought. If I end up having to pull the motor for some shit I'm buying a cam no if ands or buts. I know it shouldn't be necessary but this car is so not taken care of at all. We also blacked out my car with some VHT nightshade this weekend and it looks so sick nasty. Of course nothing I do comes without some sort of failure and poor preparation and forethought lead to some overspray due to wind, now I'm going to have to get some rubbing compound or something to fix that. Any advice on this install would be greatly appreciated. For the third time I'm not that good at this, but I am at least gung ho about it, I'm not giving up until I win.
    Yeah i know how you feel im in the same boat finishing up my Trans Am rebuild, as for advice umm dont bolt in your Headers completly before you bolt in your starter (cause its a paint in the ass to bolt it back in after doable but a pain) other than that dont take your dipstick out unless you plan on installing it before you finish bolting in your headers (its almost easier to just lift it over the dipstick tube, but take out your dipstick so you don't break the handel off and cover tube with tape so you dont get any dirt in there). Oh and by the way always think about what your car is gonna sound like after your gonna love it. I just started my engine after a long two month engine, transmishion, and front suspension rebuild and boy dose it sound better and way more mean. Well good luck to ya and keep a positive attitude and it will come out awesome.

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    So were even slower than slow apparently. Today we spent forever fighting a few bolts. We did manage to completely remove one stock manifold and the other has one bolt left in it and it's stripped! We also changed one engine mount which we had to cut to fit the bolts past, those things are serious. We won't be able to get back to it till thursday but we've gotta figure out how to get that last bolt out

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    Ok try this get some vicegrips and clamp them on really tight and I meen really tight. then try to break it free then repete (if it works) untill it is off or if you get really desperate then get a file and try to file the edges back (you need at least four sides fairly flat on the bolt head) then try it with a smaller socket and you can lighly, lighly tap the socket on to it then try not to mash on it all at once you should be able to get it out that way. Also you might want to clean the bolt holes out with a Tap (figure out what size bolt it is) then you can clean all of that rust out of the bolt holes, when useing it twist the tap lightly if it feels like its getting any harder back out the tap a little and continue back in, you can get it out.

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    Due to the ridiculously tight space none of those options worked :/. We did however avoid worse case scenario by purchasing a set of really expensive sockets that are made for extracting stripped bolts. They worked like a charm and I believe they were worth the price, a good addition to my toolbox. We managed to get both motor mounts changed now and one header is in! I followed pacesetters instructions and used ultra copper rtv with the supplied foam gaskets. I read something recently that says the foam/paper ones aren't very good so I'm hoping it all just works out. But I also worry because it was extremely difficult getting the bolts threaded and the gasket got a little bent, possibly some rtv scraped off too. For all practical purposes I think once we retorque everything it should hold but thinking is usually how most of my problems start. All that's left is the other header, y pipe, and extranious parts that were in the way. I think we should finish today!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RollingD View Post
    Due to the ridiculously tight space none of those options worked :/. We did however avoid worse case scenario by purchasing a set of really expensive sockets that are made for extracting stripped bolts. They worked like a charm and I believe they were worth the price, a good addition to my toolbox. We managed to get both motor mounts changed now and one header is in! I followed pacesetters instructions and used ultra copper rtv with the supplied foam gaskets. I read something recently that says the foam/paper ones aren't very good so I'm hoping it all just works out. But I also worry because it was extremely difficult getting the bolts threaded and the gasket got a little bent, possibly some rtv scraped off too. For all practical purposes I think once we retorque everything it should hold but thinking is usually how most of my problems start. All that's left is the other header, y pipe, and extranious parts that were in the way. I think we should finish today!
    SWEET! that should make your car come alive. Im Glad you thought of the bolt extracting sockets (completely slipped my mind) they are very handy. I don't think you will have any problems with the gasket it should work fine. Well Im glad everything seems to be going good.

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    T_T

    We finished up everything this morning and after looking at the y pipe and catback for a bit decided to destroy things. We let the big guy go to town on the flowmaster catback with an electric saw. Soooo now I'm running straight y-pipe for the moment and she sounds BEASTLY. I totally love the sound and I'm just going to have an exhaust shop run straight pipe back to the tips. The drive from the hobby shop back to the barracks was awesome and everything was going fantastic, but of course something has to go wrong. It was raining off and on when we drove back, but had no problems from start to park. But after about 20 minutes of chillin we get back in and its doing that same wierd problem again. It seems to happen only after I've driven it in the rain but never starts during a drive, only when I start it later. Basically it'll rough idle, and the more throttle I give it the more it misses up till 2000-2500 rpm. It sounds like a straight machine gun and it makes it horrible to drive. I cleaned the MAF, put in new o2 sensors with the headers, new spark plugs, and the MSD wires and distributor are still almost brand new. What the hell?

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    Could be your fuel injectors are dirty but it almost sounds like your distributor timing is off if I was you I would research how to adjust your distributor timing try that if that don't work the try taking your car to a shop and have them clean the fuel injectors with the the stuff that hooks up to your fuel rail, not the stuff that goes into your tank that stuff is bad or at least i have never had any good results with it, if that don't work then look for problems that other people have had with LT1's that are similar to the problems you are having. Hope this helps.

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    Well I took it to a mechanic and he gave me a bunch of bullshit. He said I have spark and fuel but misfire on cylinder 3. He then pretty much said I don't wanna play anymore because you removed the rear o2s and without them any further testing is pointless. Maybe I'm wrong but plenty of people do offroad y pipes and my problem started before that. I nought a compression tester and I'll try that tomorrow. So pissed I can't enjoy my headers right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RollingD View Post
    Well I took it to a mechanic and he gave me a bunch of bullshit. He said I have spark and fuel but misfire on cylinder 3. He then pretty much said I don't wanna play anymore because you removed the rear o2s and without them any further testing is pointless. Maybe I'm wrong but plenty of people do offroad y pipes and my problem started before that. I nought a compression tester and I'll try that tomorrow. So pissed I can't enjoy my headers right now.
    Do you have a spot that you can put the O2's in anymore or was there never one? I think you need to reprogram the ecm to get rid of the o2's but I'm not positive, I kept mine on so I did not have to mess with it, but I don't see why your mechanic wont test any more there is a lot of ways to diagnose problems and trouble shoot. Doing a compression test wont hurt any.
    Your mechanic said that you had spark and fuel on all cylinders but a miss fire on 3. That dose not sound right check the # 3 cylinder fuel and spark to see if you get spark and fuel. (checking spark) You have to pull the plug hook it back up to the spark plug wire then find a clean spot on the block hold the electrode of the spark plug to it and have someone crank your car and watch for a spark if you see it spark then you have spark if not you don't. (checking fuel) When you pull the plug you can check it to see if it is wet (turn your can on and off before pulling of the spark plug) if it is then you have fuel if its dry then no also look for this stuff also >>>>>>>>>>>>

    If you see anything but normal you might want to replace them also check for cracks those are bad and you should replace. Now if everything looks like you got spark but no fuel in the combustion chamber then check your fuel injector on that cylinder in your intake manifold you have to unhook the wires to the injector at the top first (just push in the little bar and pull up) then pull straight up and slightly, slightly wiggle side to side to pull out of intake, then check for the o-ring (make sure it is pushed on) then check the part of the injector that was in the intake for dirt and build up if it is dirty and not looking silver then use some Carb Cleaner and a nylon brush to gently clean it until it is clean. Then connect the wires back to the injector hold a rag just under the injector about one inch away then have a friend start the car for a couple of seconds the shut it off (in that time you should see some fuel spray out or have fuel on the rag if not you injector is most likely bad and should be replaced or it could be the wires hooking up to the injector but that is somewhat uncommon) Just remember to check down the line i.e. if spark plug don't work try another plug (one you know works) in the same wire to test the wire and vice verse for the plug and if plug and wire works check the rotor inside the distributor to make sure it is contacting all eight points ect. If you need anymore help trouble shooting just let me know.

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