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aka IMPALER
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3,174 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Many of you all on this forum have known me for years as a B-body impala lover. And yes, I definitely am. But I have recently acquired a new daily driver, and i'm stoked to tell you it's a 2002 Chevy Impala LS. In this thread i'll try and keep you updated with different modifications I plan for this car, and give you kinda the story behind it. Hope you all enjoy! I'm always open to suggestions but please keep criticism to yourself. Thanks :eek:k3:


Ok, so history about myself (for those that don't know me). When I was 15 i picked up my first car, and by some miracle it was a 1996 Impala SS. Yes, I happily admit that I'm one of the luckiest kids in the world! Since then i have cared for it and made it something of a personal expression that really speaks volumes about what I love in cars. For anyone interested check out my Impala SS build thread.

When I first pulled it out of the barn:


How it is now (9 years later):




Now the moment you've been waiting for! This is a picture of my new daily driver (with my 96 way back when).


It's been my sister's car for years and she recently decided to get a different car, so I am going to be buying it off her once she takes delivery of her new car. However, this morning I got a call. "Someone rear ended me." Here's the extent of the damage.



To sum it up... She got rear ended and the back of the car managed to get just a few scratches and paint transfer, but the front of the car unfortunately smashed into the car in front, damaging the bumper, grill, headlights, and hood. Luckily it's all cosmetic damage and nothing mechanically wrong with it. It will be taken to a buddy of mine who does excellent paint and body work, and I will be making a few changes while it's in there.

1. black trim will be painted body color
2. all emblems on the exterior will be blacked out
3. grille will be blacked out

This is what it should look like when it's finished (photoshopped):



I have a few other starter modifications in mind. I've always hated the way the factory wheels look on these, but always like the next generation SS wheels. The goal is to get a set and "mirror black" powdercoat them, and then to lower the car on 1.5" - 2" drop springs. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS on brands.

Here's a pretty bad photoshop of what it should look like


This is just the start for this car, but I think it's a great start. I don't plan on keeping this car stock for very long. It will be LOW just like my SS, but no major powertrain changes for a long time. The only thing i'm really wanting to do is a mild top swap build later on but I have a lot more research to do before that.
 

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Mr. Handy
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6,289 Posts
Hell yes! Awesome. Can't wait to see what you come up with. If you put as much work into this w-body as you did your 96' its going to be a show stopper for sure.

Likely going to be at the top of my fav list at some point. I can see it already
 

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Go Get It
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15,039 Posts
Niceeee!! SS wheels are definitely the way to go :eek:k3:


As for the springs, most people tend to go with the Canuk/SSC Grand Prix springs. I plan on using those in the front only, just to even out the stance a bit (since I have subs, the rear sits almost perfect for where I want it)


Definitely cant wait for the updates :beer:
 

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aka IMPALER
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3,174 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
thanks for the kind words guys. It'll probably be awhile before my next update just because i have to wait for insurance to do its thing before i can get it into the paint shop. Hopefully when it's done it'll turn out better than I'm picturing! As far as springs go, i'm currently running canuk springs in the rear of the SS and haven't had any issues with them , so i'll probably run them on this car as well. Looks to be a healthy 1.7f and 1.6r drop so i'm excited to see what the results will be.
 

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aka IMPALER
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3,174 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I'm also looking for decent cat-backs for this car. I hate the single tip exhaust, and would like to have a dual exit for a minimal price. i'm thinking of going custom piping with these mufflers
ZZPerformance - ZZP 3 chamber straight flow mufflers #ZZ-3CMUF


BUT i'd rather have a full catback for when I go top swapped. It'd be nice to have one from zzp but they don't list any for the w-body impalas. IDK if the grand prix has the same exhaust layout or not. Input welcome :eek:k3:
 

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Go Get It
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Yeah, not sure of an aftermarket cat-back for these cars. I know the 8th gen SS exhaust will fit, and will give you the dual exit, but getting the custom piping is probably a better bet. Definitely something I plan on doing too at some point, but I'll probably go with dual exit single tips.
 

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Go Get It
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15,039 Posts
I'll get some pics up later, but the basics are I'm running 235/50-18 tires (stock size for the 8th gen SS wheels) and 1/4" spacers in the rear in order to clear the strut mounts.
 

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Go Get It
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A few pics of the strut clearances. As a note for the rear tires, when I originally put these wheels on, the tires I was running had ~50% tread. I recently (about 5-6k miles ago) put brand new tires on the car. When I inspected them after about 1000 miles, all seemed to be well, and while there wasn't much clearance, they didn't seem to be rubbing. Well after about 6k miles, even with the 1/4" spacers, it appears a slight groove has been worn on the inside edge of the rear tires. Doesn't seem to be dangerous by any means, but something to be aware of. There must be some amount of leeway in the movement between the strut mount and the wheel (or possible just the tire?) since the tire was clearing the strut mount just fine even when brand new. When I go to rotate my tires soon, I'll move the strut mount out of the way just a little bit with a hammer. Should give it the little bit of extra clearance it needs to not wear grooves into the other 2 tires.


Here are the pics of the strut clearances. I have some pictures of the wheel fitment as well, but waiting for them to transfer from my phone to my computer atm.


Rear wheel is first, front wheel second.
 

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Go Get It
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15,039 Posts
Here are the pics showing the gaps and fitment. Don't mind the dirty car
 

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aka IMPALER
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3,174 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
BIG THANK YOU goes out to the first person who can tell me the factory part # for an OEM Impala SS front bumper cover (for this generation, obviously). There's definitely a difference in looks that i'd like to add to this car, especially since i'll be adding an OEM SS style wing asap.

EDIT: I found out it's a "bumper extension" on the SS bumpers. Hoping to find a used one somewhere.

Also adding to the list of modifications to this car, i'll be purchasing these headlights:
http://www.carid.com/2004-chevy-impala-headlights/spyder-halo-led-projector-headlights-15320972.html
 

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Go Get It
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15,039 Posts
Okay, so the bumper extension is a separate piece, but it clips into a number of holes on the SS-specific bumper. In order to do it properly, you'd need the whole bumper cover.

Good luck finding a used bumper extension. I've been trying for 2.5 years with no luck. They're a little over $200 on Rock Auto. Best I've found anywhere.

I'm planning on trying to attach the bumper extension to my LS bumper (no spaces for the clips) using most probably 3M double-sided adhesive. Not sure how well it will work, and it would mean cutting off the clips from around the bumper extension. If you decide to try and fit the extension onto a regular LS bumper, and get to it before me, I'd love to hear your experiences with it.
 

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Go Get It
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15,039 Posts
Also, for those headlights, check out SCOTTYINWV's garage. He added them to his Impala when he had it and they were a LOT more chrome-looking than the pictures from sellers make them out to be. You'd be better off going with a black housing style instead of a smoked style.
 

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Go Get It
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15,039 Posts
perfect! Thanks! I'm only guestimating but i'm wanting it flush with the outside of the fender (bringing a little stance to the w-body) so i'll probably start with 1" adapters in the rear. not sure what the front needs yet.
The fronts sit a lot more flush than the rears do. You'll probably still need some spacers or adapters, butI'm thinking 1/4" to 1/2" should do it. I'll take a measuring tape out tomorrow and let you know what the distances are.
 

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aka IMPALER
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3,174 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I did a little digging and came up with a proper "show wheel" and tire size. I'll have to do a lot more measure to see if they'll fit somewhat flush with the wheel well. A little poke is ok too as long as I can get some adjustable camber bolts and bring the tops in.

 
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