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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Got invited here from the introduction thing; HELLO!

Well, yesterday I bought a (very ugly) 2004 Impala LS; here's the story as mentioned on the introductions to the forum:

This particular Impala is in kind-of-poor condition, and I exchanged my 2005 Hyundai Accent (my little tank which was very reliable for 12 years since I bought it) on the Impala buck for buck. My Accent was in better condition and I loved that little bugger.

The Impala has many electrical issues (many cables are just running wild, have to check each), no a/c (compressor not turning on), power steering is busted (might be pump?), coolant reservoir is broken (was patched but it gave), and the windshield washer reservoir is missing it's cap. Also the previous owner bypassed the heater core, no coolant is going in there.

So why did I buy a car in such conditions? Well, I'm getting married soon, I need a bigger car, and I don't really like SUVs for daily driving (on note, I also own an 87 Blazer but it's more of a workhorse). Plus, adding value, if I fixed the Accent I wouldn't gain enough, while fixing the Impala I stand to gain maybe a couple grand.

Anyway, I'll try to use this forum to document BUFFy's rehab; showing before/after and perhaps explaining some DIY. I'll also try to hack the original head unit to add bluetooth/usb/aux capabilities without being too invasive on the original.

On yeah, and I'll try to manage all of this on a country deeply in crisis and with hard-to-find spare parts (despite the fact that the Impala was indeed made here) VIN starts with 8Z1, look it up.
That was before I spent a few hours with the hood open, in which time I did the following:

1- Cleaned the entire interior and removed the fabric seat covers; guess what? The car actually has leather seats and in excellent condition - I saw a few more impalas before buying this one and they were too worn and even cut. These are pristine albeit dirty and with a few stains.

2- Picked apart every single cable from the engine bay, a few zip ties, electrical tape, and plastic flexible piping later, all circuitry is clean.

3- Checked out the steering pump; after cleaning it thoroughly (needed, since that bay was a pigsty) filled it to the top and there were no leaks (so either the pump is worn out inside, or there's a pressure leak somewhere - what baffles me is that when removing the cap I hear a "psssh" sound like pressurized air.
NOTE: Steering is still hard, just not as hard as yesterday.

4- Replaced a few fuses, no change in the a/c situation.

5- Applied this fix ( ) to the ABS module and didn't change anything - trac is still off, and abs light still on.

6- Cleaned the entire engine bay with engine cleaner; and replaced both air filters.

7- Screwed tight the gas cover - I should reset the engine errors since this was the only one pointed out when i used the OBD-II on the car - P0452

8- Replaced 2 oil hoses and a radiator hose - those were leaking

So, do you guys have any suggestions/recommendations? I kind of have a time table to restore this car as I intend to use it later as a daily driver on the long term.


Go Get It
15,066 Posts

ABS/TRAC is likely the wiring harness leading to the speed sensors at the front wheels. Dorman sells replacement harnesses for $25-30 each. Cut off the old wiring, crimp on the new, no more TRAC/ABS issues.

Try getting the A/C charged. The compressor will not turn on if there is no freon in the system. If filling it gets it to work, then you'll need to find the leak in the system thats letting all the freon out, and have that repaired (or else just have it re-charged once a year). If not, you may need a new compressor. I would verify that the compressor is receiving power to the electrical connector with a test light or multimeter before replacing though.

Also, if you need any parts, I have a 2000 Impala LS parts car in silver that I am parting out. Most of the mechanical parts are either no good or spoken for, but just about everything else is up fro grabs, so send me a PM if you're looking for anything in particular.

Good luck with your new ride!

10 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Hi RYD! Thanks for the offer, but we're kind of very very far away lol; gonna check out the harnesses and in a couple of days I'll have the A/C system checked out by my guys.

Restoration checklist on the last couple of days:

1- Cleaned out the trunk, the spare wheel is spotless - indeed, the whole trunk is spotless, it was just filthy.
2- Found another impala that was crushed by a wall that collapsed on it during an "owner's stubbornness episode" - the whole story at the end of the post. - From this I took both the coolant container and the washer fluid container. I think I'll pick up a few more pieces later, including the head unit which I'll use to diagram/practice the "modern module" hack.
3- Replaced the containers and flushed the whole coolant system.

And now the future:

1- Tomorrow, I'll fix about 3 small chips on the windshield - have it checked on the steering situation - check the parking brake situation (it's simply not working) and the harnesses for the ABS/TRAC

2- In 2 days, get the A/C system checked (and maybe fixed) - have all the windows tinted
3- In 3 days, fix the steering and parking brake using donor parts. This will be fun.
4- This weekend have the driver's door fixed. I found the missing long plastic piece and it's pissing me off not having it there.

And story time. Please fetch your cocoa and marshmallows:

This is a gearbox shop; the Impala owner came to get a few stuff fixed so it was a medium-term job. We specifically told him NOT to park near the rear wall since it was fragile and we were gonna demolish and rebuild it soon. Guess what he did? He parked right on that rear wall, with the impala's rear touching it. Whatever mate. A couple of days later we still had the gearbox out and waiting for a few parts to arrive, and the guy comes into the shop with a tire iron and a jack saying he was gonna take the wheels off to use the tires on his truck. Alright, no problem, go for it. Turns out that, when the guy lifted the front of the car, I don't know what happened but the wall collapsed on top of the car and nearly missed him. The result? The car's rear and most of the roof was crushed. Declared total loss, we decided to chop the car and sell it as spare parts.
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