An intimate page with the nitty-gritties
It was a happy day for all of us, even if we went up at 6.00 AM. We
were so happy just being out driving the Impala SS again. I don't
know if it's a bad thing or not but Axel is getting more and more
like his dad... =)
In the Lundby tunnel we opened the side windows and had full throttle
for a short while just to enjoy the sound! Typical tunnel behavior.
Axel and I had planned to go to a McDonald's McDrive to get a
breakfast first, Egg McMuffin and things. We just love that! So it was
disappointing to hear that the breakfast menu started at 07.00 and we
were half an hour too early! Imagine, too early for breakfast!? So we
had to have a Big Mac for breakfast! Not at all the same thing!
Even though we arrived 1,5 hours before the opening 08.00 to the
Tagene inspection station we were not the first in line!
And this was a Saturday morning! So what's wrong with this picture?
Well, it was the yearly Open House for enthusiasts' cars! These
cars normally has a low representation in accidents and they also
has a low milage since they are only used in summer and in sunny
weather etc. So the inspection company Svensk Bilprovning awards
the owners of these cars with this special day every spring "all over"
Sweden. We thank you for that SBP! Even if it should be every day!
Buick Dynaflow, Chrysler Imperial meets Impala SS. And Hot Rods,
4x4's, small english sports cars...all kind. These cars are on this
day treated for what they are by the understanding inspection folks.
When one of the inspection guys arrived in this car you began too
feel relieved. Maybe, they are not the enemy after all?!
The computer broke down when the office opened! And we couldn't do
a Control+Alt+Delete. So the rest of the day was back to the good
ol' hand waving style. No problem with that, all people were in such
a good mood. Compared to a normal inspection day...
Jonas Alholt came by to give support, he was standing over there in
the left port and kept an eye on things. And Axel was comforting me
here. Still this was a nervous moment for me! Always has been, and
always will be. It like going to the dentist...
Brakes, Check! LT1 engine, Check! Blower not hooked up, Check!
All mechanical stuff in suspension and chassie - the links, springs,
shock absorbers, bars etc. were of course found in top condition!
It was nice to have a chance to get some pictures underneat.
It was a nice service with a Hot Rod Café inside for all the tired early
bird entusiasts. There is always a market for coffee and hot dogs in
Sweden. Even if you just had a Big Mac for breakfast...
Exhaust fumes like a 70's Russian tractor, Check!
Carbon dioxide and Hydrocarbon through the roof and these values
set some new kind of bad record...well, this was without the cats!
When going back in a month I will have my catalytic converters
mounted! I have not had the time to make them fit the new exhaust
system yet. =) Now I will have more time! All in all it was a very
good inspection for a car like this. Well, like it always should be.
Only four faults! Need to be fixed before the re-visit within a month
if I want to drive the car in traffic, legally:
* Insufficient Parking Brake
* Hidden Speedometer
* Can be started in Drive position
* Wrong exhaust emissions
How the things were fixed
* Insufficient Parking Brake
I have never used it...
The easiest fix even if the original adjustment was incomprehensible welded - nut to rod!! And could not
be adjusted at all! So this is what I found in my "Good-to-have-things-box" - an U-bolt muffler clamp
and an old hoodpin mounted on the transmission crossmember could help stretch the wire..
* Can be started in Drive position
When GM was surpassed by something superior
There's a switch underneath the shifter console (or in the steering column for column shifter models)
that should prevent that you can start the engine with the shifter in gear. Of course. One of my Impala SS
friends overseas - Dave Wilson, Syracuse, New York, USA - helped me along to find the partnumber
on this switch since I couldn't find it in my "Bibles" - the thick shop manuals. Dave:
"I think I have it.. from the B-Body Parts manual, I found section 4.054 on page 4-A18, titled
"CONNECTOR- SWITCH, Transmission Safety Start/Warning" There are part numbers for
connectors and for the switch itself. Anders, you have a 96, correct? That is in the manual as
"Switch, Park/Neu Posn" and shows AC-Delco P/N #D2234 for the Floor Console (or for 91-96
Column shift, it's called "Switch, Park/Neu Posn & B/U LP" and shows AC-Delco P/N #D2286A).
My experience has been that sometimes the Delco P/N's have been superceded but that the
old number still helps them find the right part. I would guess these switches are on almost every
GM car to this day so should be obtainable".
Thanks Dave. Our GM-dealer over here in Mölndal, Gothenburg found it with that partnumber - in stock
in Stockholm - and promised me that it should be in my hand no later than two days later, they should
even call me when it arrived. I have not heard from them ever since...I called them but they didn't see it...
... and no...time was running out so the problem had to be solved in another way.
So The Higher Power sent Bernt Skagerlund down to me...
Bernt is a co-owner and operator of the wellknown Centas and live in Stockholm. He bought his 1996
Dark Cherry Impala SS in Kiruna last summer from the first/only owner and Bernt is still happy and
proud of this deal. Sören "Fixarn" Fjellstedt knew about this particular SS and said "it's possibly the
SS in best condition in Sweden". I can't disagree now when I've seen it and I've drove it too! And it is
in original shape! When driving it I remembered again why Impala SS is so special. That BIG feeling...
Why Bernt cruised by and stayed in Gothenburg during these days is a proof that something bigger
than us humans is ruling, because Bernt is of course a master in electronics...
Bernt didn't know about my problem when he arrived but he didn't leave until it was solved! He first read
the circuit diagrams in my GM shop manuals and understood every symbol as the pro he is. And then
said "let's forget this original switch and go and buy something else".
Bernt took me to a "Kjell & Company" at Frölunda Torg to buy stuff to solve the problem. A microswitch
was the central part. I quickly made a 90 degree bracket to place it in front of the shifter.
Underneath the shifter consol we have eliminated the original switch and mounted our own made switch.
Now the engine can only be started when in Park-position. ( I have made the red mark to make it easier
for me in pumped-up-situations to avoid to race in Overdrive ...)
* Hidden Speedometer
I can see that
I know what they mean... Like here on M1 northbound in United Kingdom, I can't see the speedometer
so I follow the flow of traffic and my guess is that it is well over the speed limit...=)
Anyway, my need for a large tachometer, Volt meter and oil pressure warning light has buried the
original speedometer, which doesn't work anyway since I took out the OBD II PCM of the car.
So the solution is to use a bike computer! I bought a Sigma 1106 for 320 SEK and it has many more
functions than I need. It is monitoring data via a sensor which picks up pulses from a rotating magneto,
mounted on a wheel of course. In my case it will be left front wheel, the closest to the display.
A small bracket made (quickly again) of stainless to fit on the lower bolt holding the brake caliper on left
front wheel. This bracket will hold the sensor which here is attached with black silicone under pressure.
And the magneto is already attached to the wheel in a chunk of black silicone. Maximum 5 mm gap.
The bike computer should now only be programmed with the exact diameter of the wheel, which was
2155 mm (manually mesured) on the original size SS-tire, 255 ZR 50-17. Now ready to go. Almost.
June 6 - Sweden's National Day
Since I was to meet Bernt again and his Gothenburg staff and our good friend Klas Insulán - on a
Swedish National Day Brunch at Ann-Sofies' - I brought with me the final problem to get it solved. The
bike computer's cable is too short for use in a car so I went to Kjell & Company again and bought their
thinnest cable to go with the thin cable of the Sigma. And Bernt did the soldering with the equipment
Klas brought! Everybody must be involved! Thanks for the help! And thanks for the brunch Ann-Sofie!
Note that thin cable, it is actually a thin twin lead cable! I added 140 cm / 55" to make it long enough.
Don't forget to turn front wheels both ways to make sure you have enough cable.
And to get it approved by the inspection don't forget to add lighting! You can find that in any bling-bling
department of a automotive store, to plug in at the cigarette lighter. Cosy isn't it? =)
* Wrong exhaust emissions
A shitty work
Of course I had "Wrong exhaust emissions" since my catalytic converters weren't even mounted yet!
Because I have had "no time" to do the new V-band connections to these cat-pipes after the new
headers were installed with V-bands. Only for the off road pipes.
So now I had to call Jonas again and beg him to come over to my garage with the TIG-weld, so we could
start fitting everything in under the Impala. Jonas did some welding before he just stood up and said
"I hate this kind of shitty work" and just walked out! He had complained about the rough 4 mm gaps
which were difficult to cover with his tiny 1.6 mm TIG rod. I understood him but I had to finish it. So I
borrowed a MIG-welder from Roadmaster owner Michael Hernwall, who also owns a whole welding
company - Elit Montage! In that way I could make all the small pieces in peace and then tack weld it.
Next day I left the pair at Elit Montage and they finished it. Thank you all for helping out!
Meanwhile Axel is pinpointing the Big Picture. It's all about transport back and forth to the races. And
of course the "street legal philosphy". With a car weighing around 2 tons / 4444 lbs it isn't easy to
transport it on a trailer - let's say behind our Dodge Grand Caravan minivan. You can't add up more
than 3.5 ton for your total carriage - if you don't want the hassle of stepping up your driver's license!
And we have no place for a truck or bus - or funding for such vehicles for that matter. So we're sticking
to the original plan - to drive to the races and hopefully also back home. If we have to use a towing
company...well, that would still be less expensive than buying/owning a whole truck or bus.
Blackout SS was originally built with road ableness always in mind, or else it had looked completely
different! I choose to stick with an overdrive transmission like the 4L80E (instead of the otherwise logic
choice TH400). 3.71:1 gears in the rear, and hundreds of choices throughout this Impala SS makes
this a street car. So now we just want it approved for traffic by the State of Sweden.
A tune up visit at Gaisarn's place
It's always nice to bring it out on the roads like a normal car. Without the blower hooked up it's really
easy to cruise around with only 8.5:1 static compression... Today we had a special mission
to make it even more normal...
Filling up E85 (ethanol) at the gas station. That together with VP's Motorsport racing fuels 109 and 103
I'm sure we can find a healty mix. And it's good to have a large trunk like this when carrying big
things like these jugs.
No doubt about it, we're at Gaisarn's place! GAIS? An old local fotball
(soccer) club in Gothenburg which normally isn't among the best, but
it seems that GAIS have the most lovingly fans, like Gaisarn.
And Tommy Aga Olsson too for that matter!
Gaisarn in his "fikahörna" - coffee corner, in his auto shop. A nice guy
among nice girls! His phone number is +46 31-45 76 80
We're here to tune the emissions on the SS and here we find the right kind of instruments to do that.
Mixing fuels and lowering the fuel pressure were the tricks this evening. Jonas Alholt seems to master
everything around engines, like the diesel engine engineer he is at Volvo. It is notably that we did all
adjustments without entering and changing anything in the FAST!
The race cats were sometimes so hot that they smoked themselves...
And see! Final result was CO 0.39 (0.50 allowed) and HC 0, that's ZERO! (100 allowed). Wow!
And this is a possible way to drive the SS between races. But not in the races...=)
Gaisarn showed me a lot of hard-to-get Ford stuff, like this cross ram
intake! "It's so rare it's almost like it doesn't exist" said Gaisarn! It
reminds me of the "Smokey ram" intake which Smokey Yunick
developed for Chevy smallblock, and which good friend, late Lennart
"Bagarn" Bergqvist bought and used on his 66 Chevy Nova.
1969 Talladega - like straight from the Holman Moody garage! One
of 745 NASCAR-homologation cars built! Sometimes a Chevy guy like
me just give in and softens up beside a Ford.
Gaisarn's everyday car, a new Shelby. Thank's for the help with the
emissions tune Gaisarn! Now I can go back to the Svensk
Bilprovning inspection to get the SS approved for use in traffic!
June 8 - The Return
Exactly one month later I showed up at a SBP station again. What's that sound? It's my heart beat...
When you are greeted by nice and reasonable guys it quickly becomes a rather enjoyable meeting!
Check this out! 0.02 on CO (0.50 allowed!) And HC 44 (100 allowed). It's worse than before at Gaisarn's
place where I got 0?! "If we would drive it a couple of laps around here it might come down" was the
explaination I got. Well, the toughest issue was solved and emissions were approved anyway!
Same thing with the other issues.
When all the planets line up...
Finally! Blackout SS is approved by Svensk Bilprovning for use in
traffic! And It is even more legal now than it was when I bought
it in 2000! Because this time was without any remarks!
Justice is done!