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Old 08-15-2012, 10:39 PM   #1
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Default A Good Day!

Today was the day, the last day I can work on the car before camping in the mountains. The todo list:

Get catalytic converter off of living room floor and installed.
Spark plugs and wires
Fuel filter
Clean air filter
Oxygen sensor
Swap coils

I was convinced the O2 sensor was going to be annoying, and only accessible from under the car. While down there I was going to swap the fuel filter. Spark plugs and O2 sensor were coming by Fedex, and we tend to be toward the end of their route (late day deliveries).

This is how it actually went down:

Car gets to the exhaust shop at 7:50ish in the morning. Goes on the lift and up in the air by 8:05. In conversation, they mention that they sell that same converter for $300 (I got it off of eBay for under $65). He cuts the old one out, and the new one slides right in, which confirms the NA Park Avenue got 2.5" piping, I was a little concerned about that one in all honesty. Mechanic was quite thrilled, as this was one of the simpler installations. Didn't even need to add piping. Clap off, clap on. I roll out of there by 8:30.

Take old unit to recycle. Subtract one slightly plugged stock converter, add $40 to my pocket (I was hoping for a bit more, but still acceptable).

Swing by AutoZone on the way back, pick up sparkplug wires (Duralast, yes, but already have lifetime warranty, so don't shoot me!), MAF sensor cleaner, and fuel filter. Swing by Harbor Freight to get the fancy deep sparkplug socket, only to find they don't have one. Settle for a standard with a shorty extension, also grab o2 sensor socket, as well as some other odds and ends, and head back home.

Meet up with a friend for lunch, had fun, and found out that Fedex made a delivery in my absence, plugs and o2 sensor (ACDelco BTW). Run home, grab those, grab tools, change clothes, run back over to friends house. Shaded carport FTW!

Pop hood, and track down o2 sensor to hit with penetration. The stupid thing is freaking next to #6 spark plug!

Swap front 3 plugs and wires (20 year old plastic plug wire guides were annoying admittedly), blast the o2 with PB Blaster again, and get 2 of the 3 in the back (2 and 4), knocking off some more of the plastic outer shell of the HVAC air box in the process.Then swapped out the o2 sensor (it was easier to get out then the spark plugs, I was expecting a fight), and bring it home with the last plug and wires.

In review:
I was reminded how easy this car is to work on and maintain.
Parts are cheap
The drive home after a tune up, smooth as glass.

Here'* to hoping that my fuel mileage jumps a lot! Sub 20mpg with 50% highway mileage is kind of annoying, especially when all of the internet is watching on Fuelly!

Still have to do fuel filter, clean the air filter, and the coils have yet to be delivered. I plan to stretch her legs tomorrow though :-$

Glad to be able to leave some positive feedback, instead of some rant about how a 20 year old car with 171k miles needs some attention. I really love the engine bay on this thing. Mechanic gloves go a long way, especially on a blazing hot engine.

Stay sharp my friends, and may the 3800 gods smile on your journeys
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Old 08-16-2012, 08:17 AM   #2
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my father inlaw has a 96 bonnie se which i would imagine would be the same gears weight and shape, claims he is getting 32-34 but its a 45 mile commute 80% rural two lane a little expressway and only 3-5 miles of city. the gears are more hwy friendly which hurts if you drive 50% city.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:11 PM   #3
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On the drive to work this morning, I jump on the highway, set the cruise to 70mph, and it felt like I was going slow. It is so smooth that 70mph did not feel fast enough.

It runs so good now I feel like I am going to get in trouble if I don't use the cruise control.

Keep in mind too, mine is series 1, which typically like to turn out better highway numbers. I am looking forward to when the figures come in.
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Old 08-18-2012, 09:14 AM   #4
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As the days go by, it gets better. I suspect the computer was reeling in the LTFTs.

I dare say, I believe I have found the car that GM built 20 years ago, and it is good!

Coils just went in, and this morning will be the first drive with them. I can't see how it can get any better.
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:11 PM   #5
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Just cleaned MAF last night, and it seems as though there is even more driveability, and top end power.

I can definitely see why the supercharged version likes to destroy differentials.

When it is cool out (I.E. not on a hot day), this car loves to run!

Still trying to track down a couple more things, but I think I will take a month off of spending money on this thing.

Can't wait for the fuel mileage figures to come in!
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:44 PM   #6
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Is it bad for me to say next to the lumina I just bought bubba is my most fuel efficent vehicle..6 in lift 33'* 388 stroker 18 hwy mpg ftw!
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:06 AM   #7
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Took a trip camping in the mountains. Let'* just say that a climb to 10k feet with a full load of gear heated up the tranny pretty good. Managed a measely 21.4 MPG. Quite disappointed, but the engine never skipped a beat. I got back, and filled it up with 91 octane, just to see what would happen. Not sure if it was the mountain flogging, or the gas, but the idle is so smooth, I was able to sneak up on somebody with it in a parking lot. I have a bad motor mount that likes to transmit vibration, and it feels like a 4 cylinder idling, not a lopey v6. The only time I can tell it is a v6 is under load at low rpm.

And the exhaust note? It is brutal, primal even.
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