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Thread: Replacing spark plug wires on LT1

  1. #1
    kenwa's Avatar
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    Default Replacing spark plug wires on LT1

    At 120,000 miles I'm considering replacing the spark plug wires. It looks like a nightmare though, especially on the driver's side. Those of you who did it, what was your experience?

    Thanks,
    Ken
    LS1 Engine Accessory Drive Brackets at www.kwikperf.com

  2. #2
    Member 9340Ruby's Avatar
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    It is not that bad. I replaced mine and the wires about three months ago. Alot of patience. If you do a search on this site, there is one user that gave a nice breakdown on the process. It can be done, don't let is frustrate you. BK

  3. #3
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    I've done it on a LT1 Camaro twice. Don't try to replace one wire at a time,do it one side at a time using the factory wire looms/brackets. Since you MUST use the factory looms don't buy 8.5mm wires,its a huge headache tring to fit the bigger wire into the looms.

  4. #4
    kenwa's Avatar
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    I do want to reuse the factory wire brackets, so I've got a set of red Delco LT4 wires ready to go.

    I can't see the distributer from below, or from the driver's side at all. Of course the front accessories are different on a Vette versus Camaro. I don't see how to get under the PS/alt/AC even get to the wires.
    LS1 Engine Accessory Drive Brackets at www.kwikperf.com

  5. #5
    Member 2VettesMike's Avatar
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    Having been there and done that a couple of times pull the inner fender panels off. Only takes a few minutes on each side. Opens up a lot of room. I agree do one side at a time. Strongly recommend plugs change at the same time as panels have to come off for them as well.

    Once you change them the hard way you will wonder why the panels didn't come off sooner.

    Good luck.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenwa View Post
    I do want to reuse the factory wire brackets, so I've got a set of red Delco LT4 wires ready to go.

    I can't see the distributer from below, or from the driver's side at all. Of course the front accessories are different on a Vette versus Camaro. I don't see how to get under the PS/alt/AC even get to the wires.
    I'm not sure about the Vette but on the Camaro the alternator had to come off and the power steering pump had to be unbolted to route the wires underneath.

  7. #7
    Member JAKE's Avatar
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    Tell us why you aren't using the factory looms. You'll need something to separate and hold them or you'll be headed for problems down the road.

    I changed the ones on my son's 96 Vette a few months ago, but the engine was on a stand so it wasn't nearly the problem it would have been with the engine installed.

    I went with 8mm BlueMax's so they fit the stock looms. Haven't tried changing them with the engine in the car, though yet.

    Jake

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  8. #8
    Member Curious George's Avatar
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    I replaced the ones on my '92 convertible. The trick is to remove the serpentine tensioner pulley from underneath the alternator / power steering / a-c assembly. You do not have to remove the inner fender wells.

    Use the factory size wires and route each side and be patient. The driver side is more challenging, but not impossible. If you choose to replace the spark plugs too, then I would recommend removing the inner fender wells.

    CG

  9. #9
    kenwa's Avatar
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    I am going to use the factory Delco LT4 wires, so they will fit the brackets.

    I actually replaced the driver's side spark plugs this afternoon. I started by unbolting the ASR (3 bolts) and swinging it out of the way. Access to the plugs was pretty good then; I've done a lot worse. I didn't need to remove the small inner fender. I thought I might in order to run a really long stack of extensions to get to plug number 1, but that wouldn't have helped since the upper A arm would have been in the way. I have a wide variety of extensions and just used them all. I didn't need a swivel, which is always a good thing.

    Changing the plugs themselves wasn't that big a deal. The problem occurred at the very end when I just plain couldn't get the socket off of the newly installed plug in number 7. Seems it wedged up against the exhaust manifold or something, maybe the heat shield. I had to remove the plug and put it back in with a regular deep socket without the rubber spark plug holder. Even then it was a bear to get the socket off after installing. I've got the bruises and scrapes to show for it.

    When I change the passenger side plugs I'll do those 4 wires then. That side I can see and get to.

    I see what you mean about removing the inner panels to get to one of the wire holders. That would help. They still go into oblivion after going under the PS pump though. I will check into removing the tensioner and idler.

    Thanks,
    Ken
    LS1 Engine Accessory Drive Brackets at www.kwikperf.com

  10. #10
    Member tonyponykay's Avatar
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    Default had a 95 formula firebird lt1

    what a pain in the

    I'll never buy another chevy with an lt1 engine again

    strong engine but what a pain to work on. that opti spark

    they had to take off my powersteering and something else in there to run new wires and they ran some cheap wires and charged me over 90 bucks for them... f-body central .. took them 4 take backs to fix an oil leak from the timing cover... each time it was worse than before.. talk about incompetent.

    sold that piece of junk lt1 firebird and got 2 corvettes instead ..

    good luck with it, got to be patient with it.. all it takes is a lot of patience, which of course, I don't have

    tony

  11. #11
    Member So Bay Vetter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenwa View Post
    I see what you mean about removing the inner panels to get to one of the wire holders. That would help. They still go into oblivion after going under the PS pump though. I will check into removing the tensioner and idler.
    The job is almost impossible without removing the fender panel and the a/c pump. Then un-mount (but don't remove) the P/S pump as wires need to go behind P/S hose. The more parts you remove, the less bloodshed.

  12. #12
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    Any competent backyard mechanic can do this job. As stated it easier to remove or unbolt some items such as the asr, a/c compressor, alternator, drive belt, etc. But with patience the job can be done in an afternoon and a 6 pack. I used 8.5 mm wires from MSD, but you will need to modify the wire separators to accept the fat wires. No real big deal, but its necessary to keep the wires neat and routed properly. I used a router bit to do this.

    I did mine when I changed out the water pump, upgraded the opti cap and rotor and installed the vacuum line which vents the opti in case of moisture. My cap had visible signs of carbon tracking to ground, so in my case it was a wise choice. The water pump was just a preventative measure.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2VettesMike View Post
    Having been there and done that a couple of times pull the inner fender panels off. Only takes a few minutes on each side. Opens up a lot of room. I agree do one side at a time. Strongly recommend plugs change at the same time as panels have to come off for them as well.

    Once you change them the hard way you will wonder why the panels didn't come off sooner.

    Good luck.

    Thanks,
    Mike
    I changed my plugs, it was easy, didn't need to remove anything, plug wire on passenger side was easy. Plug wires on driver side is impossible, spent 5 hours on it, and can't get them on the opti, I'm about ready to set the car on fire!

  14. #14
    Moderator Toms007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geardo View Post
    I changed my plugs, it was easy, didn't need to remove anything, plug wire on passenger side was easy. Plug wires on driver side is impossible, spent 5 hours on it, and can't get them on the opti, I'm about ready to set the car on fire!
    Don't do anything drastic!

    It can be done, but it isn't easy. I did mine when I had the water pump off to fix a seep.

    Welcome to CAC. Hopefully someone will be along shortly to give you some hints on getting them on without going to extremes.
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  15. #15
    New Member 90Tre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geardo View Post
    I changed my plugs, it was easy, didn't need to remove anything, plug wire on passenger side was easy. Plug wires on driver side is impossible, spent 5 hours on it, and can't get them on the opti, I'm about ready to set the car on fire!
    Hi, I'm new here but I'm also right in the middle of installing new wires, plugs, valve cover gaskets and bolt seals. Driver's valve cover done, no problems there. Like you, I can't get the wires to fully seat in the opti on the driver's side. They slide on but no clicks. I've had to walk away from the project several times due to my distain for this opti design. I can get the clicks on the pass side because I can apply a lot more pressure to the boots due to better access. However, even on that side, the wires I took off, snap on to the opti quite a bit easier than the new ones. I'm using Taylor Spiro Pro wires, I wonder that is part of the problem. Seriously considering buying a different set and returning the Taylors. (BTW, I have removed the belt, alternator, A/C comp, inner access panel, ASR, and the wheel.)

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