New to the Forum

Sep 18, 2018
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#1
Sup fellas, I own 2 B-Body Caprices currently. An '87 9C1 and a '95 9C1.

The '95 came from the factory with an LT1. About 5 years ago I upgraded (or so I thought) the ignition system with what is called an "LTCC" system which converts the infamous Opti-Spark into a coil-over-plug ignition system. It was supposed to be more reliable, easier to maintain, and a great conversation piece. Only one of those things proved to be true. Over the past 5 years I've had nothing but trouble with the damn thing. At first it would blow out ignition fuses on the highway, meaning the car would suddenly die and be without any power. After a while I decided to up the fuse to 25A rather than 20A, and this seemed to do the trick... for a while at least.

One night out of the blue the ignition switch on top of the column decided to blow out, again... cutting the vehicle's ignition dead cold while driving and left the passenger compartment filled with the foul stench of burnt electronics and smoke. Took the dashboard apart, dropped the steering column (much more involved than it is on our G-Bodies because the entire lower dash has to come off) and replaced the ignition switch. Then it fried one of the coils and the car ran on 7 cylinders until I could get a replacement from the autoparts store... and after that it gained an appetite for the cheap autopart store coils.

Let's just put it this way... after 5 years of this, it blew out 4 ignition switches, 3 coils, an untold number of fuses, and all the while it skipped, sputtered, and made me dislike driving that car, but I never did anymore than fix the problems as they came up because I could never figure out what was causing them other than the system itself. I can take apart the dashboard, drop the column, and replace an ignition switch on that car in under an hour with the proper tools. I can piece together the brackets for the stupid thing BLINDFOLDED.

Well, last week I finally had it. Drove to work last Tuesday and it got there just fine, no problem. Lunchtime came about and I went out to my car to go pick up some grub and the car wouldn't start. The starter kept turning over the engine, but no spark... plenty of gasoline smell but no spark. Hopped a ride with a friend to go get lunch instead, and after we ate I came back to it and tried again... started up after a bit so I figured maybe it was nothing. Went out to the car later that day to go home... no start again. After trying for a bit I finally got it to chooch over, and it got all of 100 feet before the ignition cut out and died. I was done. That was it. No more.

So I left the car there, got a ride home with a friend, and borrowed a family member's car to go to work (didn't wanna drive the wagon to work since it's got a few bugs to work out). When I got home I bought a new ignition coil, ignition module, the brackets and heat sinks, new wires and connectors. Stayed after work on Saturday and just pounded it out in 3-4 hours with the most time spent on fishing the ignition wires through the accessory bracket on the passenger side.

Car started right up, and you know what? I will never ever ever so long as I live, bad mouth Opti-Spark ever again. The power comes on smoothly, it doesn't sputter, it doesn't miss, and I already know that it isn't going to die on me randomly, and it isn't going to blow fuses, fry my ignition switch or anything like that. Opti-Spark has two enemies. Large puddles, and leaky water pumps. I can drive around puddles, and I can make sure my water pump isn't leaking every time I do an oil change.

The moral of the story is this though: If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Don't go and upgrade something just because they promise you it'll make your old tech more reliable and easier to maintain because it's a damn lie!
 

Bondoman

New member
Aug 30, 2018
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Turtle WI
#2
Huh, I never heard of the LTCC until this. On paper it seems like it would be an upgrade....

As long as the opti stays dry and aftermarket parts are (typically) not used, they’re pretty darn reliable. Good to see it ended well, even if it was an expensive lesson!
 
Aug 30, 2018
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#3
Yep. Aftermarket isn't always better. I had a similar experience. I had a little Nissan Sentra in college. I ordered a header for it. It looked really cool, and had a high-temp ceramic coating on it. Drove it for many years with it on. Maybe it was placebo effect, but it seemed faster with it on, or at least that's what I was telling myself. Then, when I returned back to California, I had to put the stock exhaust manifold back on, because they wouldn't smog it with the header on it. I kid you not, it felt like it gained 15 lb-ft of torque with the stock manifold over the header. And when you're talking about an engine that only has a little over 100 lb-ft to start, that's a big difference.
 
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