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Impala SS Technical Archives

Complete "how-to" dialogues on how to perform some common maintenance items or to install some common aftermarket parts. These procedures were put forth by list members as the procedure they followed: your mileage may vary, of course, depending upon your application. One thing you may want to consider before any modification, though, is ordering the Helms manual for about $90. It is money well spent, and some of these modifications will be difficult without it. Use the order form in the back of the Owner's Manual or call 1-800-782-4356

I've tried to include the originator of each idea (not necessarily the procedure, but usually so) with it. Hopefully this will help with any questions you might have. I have also done some minor editting of the procedures as they were originally posted to the mailing list to format them into a list better and to put them into more of a "how-to" type guide. My apologies for any errors I introduced in this process, and my thanks to the original contributors. I also want to send an extra thank-you to all of those who have contributed pictures of the modifications to this page. I am always looking for more!!! If I have made any errors or omissions, or if you have something to submit, please tell me about it so I can correct it or include it. Also please note that these archives are provided for information purposes only: there is no warranty expressed or implied about what they will do to your car, factory warranty, performance, or value of your car. Use them at your own risk.

Main Index

-- Engine and Engine Dress --

AC Drip Hose Extension


Prevents the air conditioning drip water from falling right on the right front ABS (Antilock Braking System) connector.



Parts Required:

Tools Needed:

  • Scissors or a knife to cut the tubing.

    Procedure (from Mike Lukens):

    1. The stock air conditioning drip elbow drips right on the front ABS connector. You can see the situation by looking into the right front wheel well at the rear of the tire. Look onto the frame. You should see a black retainer and a white connector. If you have had the air conditioning on recently, you will probably see water ON the frame (causing rust) and around the connector. Now I don't know about you folks, and I don't know if GM thinks that connector needs to be regularly bathed in drip water, but I don't want that water in that location!

    2. Go to the passenger side of the engine compartment (with the hood up). With your left hand reach under the air conditioning tubing AT the firewall. (Be careful if the engine is hot. For those of you with headers, it may be darn near impossible to do this mod!) You should feel a rubber elbow coming out of the firewall. Gently rotate and pull on the elbow until it is loose. It is NOT glued on. (Of the 30 or so cars done at Bowling Green, 3 of them did NOT have the elbow, and one had a broken pipe coming out of the firewall.)

    3. Cut the clear tubing to 9 or 10 inches. Put the tubing into the rubber elbow and angle it so that when the elbow is back on the firewall, the tubing will point to the inboard side of the frame. Ensure that when you put the tubing up into the elbow that you do NOT insert it so far that you would cut off the water flow!! Use the cable tie around the elbow midway between the bottom of the elbow and the inner bend of the elbow. Snug it down just enough to apply some squeeze on the elbow to keep the tube in place.

    4. Double check that the water flow is not restricted and that the tubing will point toward the inboard side of the frame. Take this assembly and put the end of the hose BEHIND the wire bundle that is low on the firewall. Again, for those of you with headers, this may not be possible.

    5. Once you have the tubing behind the wire bundle, attach the elbow back onto the drip pipe coming out of the firewall. Note that you can't see this connection so you have to "let your fingers do the walking".

    6. With the assembly back in place, you should be able to see the end of the tubing hanging off the inboard side of the frame. A cautionary note: If you buy tubing that is at the end of the roll, the curl may be too round. I believe the tubing will droop with heat and time, but if you have a sharply curled tubing, be sure to check that the drip water is indeed falling out the tube and not just collecting in there.
    Back to the index...

    Installing Camaro Engine Dress


    Covers throttle linkage and removes ugly brace under home plate. Less expensive and involved than the Covette engine dress.


    Requires that home plate be removed. Doesn't hide all of the wiring harness.

    Parts Required:

    Procedure (from Jeff Dawson and Rob Cheek):

    1. Remove the "home plate" baffle.

    2. Remove the brace for the baffle from the intake manifold. To do this, you'll need to remove the screws that hold it into place and save them, since they also hold down the fuel rails. Also undo all of the clamps that hold the wiring harness to the brace.

    3. On 94 and 95 models, remove the solenoid from the bracket on the passenger's side. Slide a screwdriver between the solenoid and the bracket. The solenoid should then slide off. '96 models are connected to the intake manifold already, so this is not necessary.

    4. Remove the large electrical connector attached to the baffle brace next to the solenoid. Using needlenose pliers, pinch the locking tabs under the baffle brace and remove the connector from the baffle brace. Be careful not to damage the tabs as they are needed to attach the connector onto the new bracket!

    5. Remove the 15mm bolt and the shield underneath the throttle linkage on the driver's side. There are two extensions on the splash shield that will go into the two holes there. With this shield removed, placement of the shield is apparent.

    6. The old bracket has a hole in it to accept the plastic clamp holding the wiring on the drivers side of the engine. Using needlenose pliers, pinch the locking tabs of the clamp, and slide the clamp off of the bracket. Be careful not to damage the tabs as they are needed to attach the plastic clamp back onto the new cover!

    7. Mount the bracket for the splash shield on the top right hand corner of the throttle body near the throttle linkage under the 10mm bolt located there. The bolt is on the front of the throttle body. You will need to remove it and then resinsert it with the bracket underneath of it.

    8. Mount the splash shield by inserting the two extensions into the two holes below the linkage and the tab from the throttle body mounting bracket into the correct spot on the shield. Screw it into the pre- existing hole using the 7mm screw listed above.

    9. Mount the solenoid on the emissions bracket and bolt it to the passenger's side of the engine. On '96 models, this will not be needed as it comes attached to the manifold (it is no longer attached to the home plate mounting bracket). Sorry, I don't have any more details on mounting the solenoid than this. Let me know if you do.
    10. There is a hole on the splash cover for mounting the wire harness. Snap one of the clamps into it and you are done!

    Back to the index...

    Manually Controlled Engine Cooling Fans


    You can cool the engine and coolant down when the car is idle, before the car gets up to the activation temp, and before the engine decides to leave them on for a while. The switch does not interfere with the normal operation of the cooling fans, it allows you to activate the fans when they would normally be idle.


    The only disadvantage I have discovered is that the PCM sends a signal to the relays every 5 seconds or so and notices when you have ground them (when the fans are on). This causes the check engine light to come on, but only as a warning that the fan relays are not working properly. There is no additional impact to the PCM. You can get around this by adding a few more relays, however.

    Parts Required:

    Procedure (from Troy Clark) and Stephan Yelenik) :

    1. The Primary and Secondary fan relays are in the fuse box located in the rear passenger side of the engine compartment, next to the remote positive battery terminal. The cover opens on the box and the tray in which the fuses and relays are mounted lifts out by releasing the clips on the inside edges of the box. Do not short out any wires or terminals. You may want to disconnect the battery, but be sure to record you radio code if activated. Disconnecting the battery also clears the PCM's "learn idle", which may result in a rougher than normal idle for a while after. Drape the area with a towel to insulate the "ground" and remove the two 10mm screws to remove the box the fuse block sits in: this allows more room to find, cut, strip and solder.

    2. The relays are the two large square olive green cubes. There are four wires entering each relay.
      • Primary Relay:
        • Brown = 12v Ignition
        • Red = 12v Battery
        • Black = Fan
        • Dark Blue = PCM (and switch to be installed)
      • Secondary Relay:
        • Brown = 12v Ignition
        • Red = 12v Battery
        • Light Blue = Fan
        • Green = PCM (and switch to be installed)

    3. A relay is an automatically controlled switch. The purpose here is to separate the switch portion of the factory relay so that a separate and additional relay can be used. These second relays in their normal position will leave the factory wiring as is and when a manually controlled switch in the car is thrown by the driver, the PCM wire is separated from the factory relay and therefore the fan is grounded, independent of the PCM.

    4. Locate the dark blue an green wires, identifying as going from the factory relays to the PCM. Also locate and identify the brown wires going to the factory relays. These brown wires will be required as 12V Ignition for the two relays being added.

    5. If you choose not do the relays, you don't need to cut and strip. Just jumper onto the blue and green wires.

    6. Cut the dark blue and green wires , keeping track of which side of each wire is the relay side and the PCM side.

    7. Remove a small section of insulation from the brown wires (be sure the ignition key is off) and solder on jumpers wires.

    8. Mount the two relays convenient to the factory fan relays. Connect one of the jumper wires from the factory brown wire to new fan relay "one" terminal 85. Connect the other jumper wire from the factory brown wire to new fan relay "two" terminal 85. Connect separate wires to both terminals 86 on the new relays (long enough to run per section 8 below as these will go through the firewall and to the installed switch). Jumper a wire from the factory relay side of dark blue wire to terminal 30 on the new relay "one". Jumper a wire from the factory relay side of green wire to terminal 30 on the new relay "two". Jumper wire from the PCM side of the dark blue wire to terminal 87a on new relay "one". Jumper a wire from the PCM side of the dark green wire to terminal 87a on new relay "two". Connect terminal 87 on both new relays to a suitable ground point on the chassis.

    9. Route these wires across the fire wall and enter the car through the rubber grommet near the parking brake. You can mount your switch any place. For instance, you can remove the center console and run the wire under the short piece of carpet and into the console. The switch will mounted on the side of the center console.

    10. Use a 3 position switch. Up for Primary fan = wire to ground (a bolt under the center console to the frame) and the jumper to the Dark Blue wire. Down for Secondary Fan + Primary Fan = Ground and Jumper for both Green and Dark Blue wires. The middle position is off.

      Back of switch: (switch has six terminals)

                 GND----o---o                  <----  "primary only" position
             primary----o   o----secondary     <----  "jumper" wires 
               (blue)            (green)
                 GND----o   o--NC              <----  "both fans" position
      This keeps the two relay wires isolated. Also note the grounds go to the end terminals of the switch, and the fan relay wires go to the center. "NC" means No Connection. The switch grounds BOTH wires in one position, only the primary wire in the other position, and neither wire in the center-off position, which is exactly what you want.

    Back to the index...

    Installing a Secondary Hood Light


    Provides additional lighting for underhood area.


    Takes about four hours to complete. Requires both hood lamps to be modified. Dificult to remove original hood blanket without ruining it.

    Parts Required:

    Procedure (from Art Funk):

    1. The first job is to remove the under hood blanket. Open the plastic clamp holding the cable for the existing lamp to the hood, remove the cable from the clamp and let it hang free. Carefully pry out the plastic fasteners holding it in place using a pulling/twisting motion. Expect to break one or two.

    2. Next, disconnect the connector from the old lamp assembly and carefully drill out the aluminum rivets holding the old lamp in place.

    3. Make the new holes for the second lamp by making a paper template of the holes in the passenger side and transferring it to the drivers side while flipping it 180 degrees. Use the 1/2 inch hole near the two 1/8 inch holes for a reference point. The connector on the new lamp faces the front of the car. The connector on the old lamp faces the passenger compartment. Mark the hood with a Sharpie marker and then confirmed it is the correct (mirror image) location by taking several measurements with a tape measure.

    4. The original light mounts on a "land" or flat raised area of the hood. The new light mounts in the mirror image location where there is no land, but that is no problem. The hole size is 1/8 inch. You must put several layers of electrical or masking tape on the drill bit about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the end of the drill bit. This forms a "stop" so that the bit can't damage the outer panel of the hood. The new lamp will be fastened in its new location later using aluminum 1/8 inch pop rivets.

    5. The cutting of the dust cover (underhood blanket) is done off the car. Cut a block of wood out of 1 x 4 scrap lumber to approximately the size of the cutout. Place it in the mirror image location by eye, moving it around until you are satisfied that I it is indeed in the mirror image location. Then mark the blanket with a Sharpie pen.

    6. Remove the wood block and cut carefully with a sharp Xacto blade. When the blanket was reinstalled, the hole should fit perfectly over the new lamp.

    7. The new lamp must be disassembled, the mercury switch removed and a short jumper soldered in its place. It will now be "on" any time power is applied to the connector. (Do not solder to the brass contacts while they are still installed in the plastic housing - the housing will melt).

    8. Save the mercury switch you remove for use as a spare part. The old lamp must be disassembled, two holes drilled in it, and two 18 gauge wires (about 4 feet long) soldered across the bulb holders (brass pieces that support the bulb, not the bulb itself) and run out the two holes. These wires will feed power to the new (second) lamp any time the first (original) lamp turns on. The old lamp then gets riveted back in its original location. The new lamp gets riveted in the new location (bend white plastic as necessary to assure the plastic mounting tab on the new lamp is held flat against the hood before riveting - this is necessary since there is no "land" on the passenger side).

    9. Use 1/8 inch aluminum pop rivets. Do not reverse the positions of the old and the new lamps or they will not turn on and off properly. Run the 4 foot wires through the hood supporting structure from the old lamp to the area of the new lamp. Butt splice the ends to the new lamp connector using the butt splices supplied with the connector/pigtail. Then heat shrink these butt splices around the wires (these are special butt splices that are made of heat shrink material). Stagger the joints to avoid a bulky joint area. Apply black electrical tape to cover the white wires attached to the lamp connector and heat shrinked butt splices. Connect the connectors to both lamps. Both should light when the hood is up and go out as you lower the hood.

    10. You may wish to paint the under hood blanket while it is off. It requires 6 to 8 cans of gloss black spray paint, one for the back (top) side and the rest on the front (bottom) side since so much is absorbed by the blanket. Be sure to wear a good face mask so you don't breath the airborne paint particles. Use Krylon Gloss Black for highest quality and very quick drying times.

    11. Reinstall the under hood blanket. (best if done with a helper so you can hold both sides of the blanket in the approximate position and then ease the blanket over one lamp at a time, very carefully). Re-use the fasteners you removed in step #1 to secure the blanket to the hood.

    Back to the index...

    Installing the SEO Power Steering Cooler


    Keeps the power steering fluid cooler than the just the stock unit, which is a good thing, especially if you autocross you beast.


    Additional hose routing needed, blocks some flow to the radiator.

    Parts Required:

    Total cost is around $50.

    Tools Needed:

    Procedure (from Basim Jaber):

    1. Park the car, place blocks at rear tires, and set the parking brake.

    2. Siphon, pump, or drain the power steering fluid from the reservoir.

    3. Detach the reservoir from the bracket (it slides up), and detach the fluid line from the reservoir. This is the one closest to the front of the car. Save all of the protective sheething for reuse later!

    4. Tape up the end of fluid reservoir line to avoid spillage

    5. Jack up car and remove the clips that hold the two power steering lines. Tthey are under the motor along the frame cross member.

    6. Slide the plastic steering shaft cover off of the power steering fitting and unhook the two fittings from the power steering gear. Beware: this is a knucklebuster job! Use an 18mm wrench here, and watch out for draining fluid. Unhook the forward one first.

    7. Remove the power steering line in question that is to be replaced with SEO 7L9 tube assembly.

    8. Insert the tube assembly. The RH side goes under the coolant hose, and the LH side goes underneath (or possibly between, if it will fit) the oil cooler lines. Getting the RH side underneath the coolant hose will be snug, so hang in there.

    9. Hook up the cooler hose line to the reservoir using the stock clamp, and slide the reservoir back onto the bracket.

    10. Install the screws that hold the tube to the radiator frame housing using a 10mm wrench. Tighten them later, after fitting everything else, especially the cooler fitting to the power steering gear.

    11. Install the SEO cooler fitting to the power steering gear and tighten well. Note that if you take off the left wheel, there's more clearance to get a wrench in there from the side.

    12. Slide the plastic shaft cover back over the fitting.

    13. Install the stock inflow line back into the power steering gear and tighten well.

    14. Fill the reservoir with new fluid. Fill until the "C" mark (full cold) on reservoir cap is reached.

    15. With cap off reservoir, turn the wheels lock to lock 40 times.

    16. Lower car to ground, and check that fluid level is still at "C". Add if necessary

    17. Start the car, and turn the wheels lock to lock for two minutes.

    18. Check the fluid again, and add as necessary.

    19. Replace the fluid reservoir cap.
    The hardest part of this mod is disconnecting/connecting the fittings to the p/s gear unit. There isn't much hand room and the wrench can only turn about a 1/8th of a turn in either direction. Consult the service manual for the standard precautions and more information on this mod.

    Back to the index...

    Installing Corvette Engine Dress


    Makes the engine compartment look much better by concealing wires running above and around the intake manifold.


    Requires that home plate be removed. Not a "plug and play" installation: every car is a little bit different.

    Parts Required: