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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Cheap Upgrades

My list of upgrades that I am likely to afford:

1. Chip:
My primary reason: Removing top speed limiter. Increasing MPG and HP.
My concerns: Damaging the engine, not getting expected results.
My question: What brand or retailer do you suggest, that will work with a 3.4 Impala, and won't cost an arm and a leg?

2. Cold Air Intake:
My primary reason: Improving MPG and HP.
My concerns: I heard from a mechanic that it will damage my engine. I doubt it that I can install it myself, especially if its complicated, as I have no experience working on engines.
Question: Is what he said true? What can I find for cheap? Whats the easiest way to go? I've heard of 'drop in filters', is that easier to do?

3. Flowmasters exhausts / Mufflers:
My primary reason: Sound, improving HP and maybe MPG.
My concerns: Getting one that doesn't fit.
Question: What range cars are able to use the same set of exhausts as mine? Can I install them by myself or do I need a mechanic for that? Do I go for a whole system or just a muffler would make a good enough of a difference?

So yeah...that was the easiest way to put it. As you can see I got a lotta questions that I had to categorize them. In case you're wondering what's up with my weirdass way of asking. :p

The car is a 2003 Impala 3.4liter. 97,6xx miles on it. Bone stock. As an 'economically challenged' (aka - broke) college student I'm looking for the best bang for the buck. I have high hopes and no money, the cheapest way to go will be the first thing I'll do.
 

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My list of upgrades that I am likely to afford:

1. Chip:
My primary reason: Removing top speed limiter. Increasing MPG and HP.
My concerns: Damaging the engine, not getting expected results.
My question: What brand or retailer do you suggest, that will work with a 3.4 Impala, and won't cost an arm and a leg?

2. Cold Air Intake:
My primary reason: Improving MPG and HP.
My concerns: I heard from a mechanic that it will damage my engine. I doubt it that I can install it myself, especially if its complicated, as I have no experience working on engines.
Question: Is what he said true? What can I find for cheap? Whats the easiest way to go? I've heard of 'drop in filters', is that easier to do?

3. Flowmasters exhausts / Mufflers:
My primary reason: Sound, improving HP and maybe MPG.
My concerns: Getting one that doesn't fit.
Question: What range cars are able to use the same set of exhausts as mine? Can I install them by myself or do I need a mechanic for that? Do I go for a whole system or just a muffler would make a good enough of a difference?

So yeah...that was the easiest way to put it. As you can see I got a lotta questions that I had to categorize them. In case you're wondering what's up with my weirdass way of asking. :p

The car is a 2003 Impala 3.4liter. 97,6xx miles on it. Bone stock. As an 'economically challenged' (aka - broke) college student I'm looking for the best bang for the buck. I have high hopes and no money, the cheapest way to go will be the first thing I'll do.

i wouldnt get a chip, but i would say get a pcm from 1 overkill 2 intense 3 zzp.
if your worried about the car breaking you prob shouldnt be looking for performance!!

for a cold air intake you can make a fwi your self with abs pipe, coupler, & filter! no a cold air intake will not damage your motor!

for exhaust just have an exhaust shop throw a new muffler of your choice on!


im sure someone with way more knowledge than me will chime in & have better input!!!
 

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another PCM to look at is from Milzy Motorsports. as far as the mufflers go, you are not going to see HP gains or MPG increase from just swapping out mufflers. you can go the whole route and see a little increase, such as downpipe, high flow cat, u bend delete, dual cat back exhaust of some sort. theres a saying that goes something along the lines of: fast, cheap, reliable...you only get two. save your money up and do it all the right way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, I found the PCM flashing on Milzy, that was exactly what I was looking for. Now I have to take my own PCM out, send it to them and get it flashed and get rid of that annoying speed limiter.

One thing though, will the stock tires be able to take the extra speed? What are they rated at and what is the maximum speed I can have before they blow out?


There is also another thing that has been bothering me for a while. I've seen lotta Aleros and Grand Ams on the internet that have been turboed easily and all had the same 3400 LA1 engine. The owners claim costs lower than 2000 dollars, which is significantly lower then what it would cost to swap that engine with a 3.8. I actually have an online buddy with a 3.4 Alero who turboed his car with only 900 bucks, using a turbo that was pulled off a Pontiac.

Yet, it seems as if I'm talking about aliens landing on earth when I ask about turboing a 3.4 over here. "if you have the money and the time, everything is possible" is what I'm getting everytime. Can anyone explain me what is exactly going on? Is this some anti-turbo campaign? or is there something that people who have turboed their 3.4s don't know?
 

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as far as the turbo goes, its not as easy as getting a turbo from a GAGT and just slapping it in and driving off. for one, there will be a fair amount of fab work to be done to make it mount up right. then, you have the tranny, which will absolutely explode under that power, which means you will have to upgrade it as well. a good company to look for about upgrading that tranny is TEP. the guy goes by trannyman on some forums. maybe hes on here, i dont know. not to mention the vast amount of tuning that will have to be done to get all the right fuel trims, etc. there is a turbo'd 3400 impala on cardomain somewhere, try to find him and see what info you can get from him.

EDIT: what tires do you have on there now?
 

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My list of upgrades that I am likely to afford:

1. Chip:
My primary reason: Removing top speed limiter. Increasing MPG and HP.
My concerns: Damaging the engine, not getting expected results.
My question: What brand or retailer do you suggest, that will work with a 3.4 Impala, and won't cost an arm and a leg?

2. Cold Air Intake:
My primary reason: Improving MPG and HP.
My concerns: I heard from a mechanic that it will damage my engine. I doubt it that I can install it myself, especially if its complicated, as I have no experience working on engines.
Question: Is what he said true? What can I find for cheap? Whats the easiest way to go? I've heard of 'drop in filters', is that easier to do?

3. Flowmasters exhausts / Mufflers:
My primary reason: Sound, improving HP and maybe MPG.
My concerns: Getting one that doesn't fit.
Question: What range cars are able to use the same set of exhausts as mine? Can I install them by myself or do I need a mechanic for that? Do I go for a whole system or just a muffler would make a good enough of a difference?



So yeah...that was the easiest way to put it. As you can see I got a lotta questions that I had to categorize them. In case you're wondering what's up with my weirdass way of asking. :p

The car is a 2003 Impala 3.4liter. 97,6xx miles on it. Bone stock. As an 'economically challenged' (aka - broke) college student I'm looking for the best bang for the buck. I have high hopes and no money, the cheapest way to go will be the first thing I'll do.

1. A quality PCM tune will not damage your engine. A poor PCM tune can. Make sure you use a quality and reputable company that you've heard good things about.

2. Some people say that some aftermarket filters like K&N let in too much dirt and could potentially harm an engine. That being said...I run K&N.

Also a cold-air intake could potentially be damaging to an engine if it was too open to the elements and the engine inhaled water. I do not think this is an issue on any W-Body intakes on the market.

3. A muffler will change the sound and maybe free up a couple HP. A full cat-back will change the sound even more and free up maybe 10hp.
 

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The whole fuel economy thing is moot if you intend on doing more than 108 mph very often. More power=less milage is a good general rule.

Get a PCM tune, not a chip. The companies listed above are all good.

FWI will not damage your car unless you really butcher the install and let it collect water. Lots of people run them without ruining their motors. You can build your own for 50-100 bucks, or spend 2-300 bucks on an intake kit.

Full catback exhaust systems are going to do much more good than a muffler, but the cost is going to be significantly higher.

Turbos are just too much money for a 3.4 because there's so much fabrication. You could get a lot more performance for a lot less money if you started with a car that had forced induction from the factory.
 

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FWI will not damage your car unless you really butcher the install and let it collect water. Lots of people run them without ruining their motors. You can build your own for 50-100 bucks, or spend 2-300 bucks on an intake kit.
Is there a thread that gives you a DIY guide to making one? I am not too good at just wingin' it.
 

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if you want a pcm tray, you have to buy one. its part number 15995679. try to get it from the dealer, it will be a few bucks cheaper and you wont have to pay shipping for it. but you dont have to get the tray, you could just zip tie it in there so it doesnt move around. right now your pcm is inside the air box, so once you remove that, it will be flopping around in there, so the pcm tray or zip ties are going to secure it. mine is zip tied right now, and it has been for about 2 years. any more questions, let me know. i have the LA1 and the FWI that i made myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Last night I was lurking around in Milzy motorsports and I found something called a 3400 "top swap" package. Apparently it increases the engine size to 3.5 liters and with the few mods it comes with, it essentially makes it an LX9 engine that is not only more efficient, but it has 25 to 37hp more power.

Another website explaining it:
http://wot-tech.com/shop/3500/new-3500-cylinder-heads/prod_66.html

For the amount of power I would be gaining with this, it seems like a bargain. 500 bucks is nothing for 40hp. Because let's face it, these 3400 are not exactly what you'd call "quick".

Would you guys recommend this?
 

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it basically replaces the top end of your engine with the parts from a 3500. if you do this, be prepared to spend more money to see the proper gains. for instance, 3" downpipe, u-bend delete, high flow cat, aftermarket exhaust, some sort of intake, (not sure if the larger throttle body comes with that package or not...), pcm tune, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
what if I just buy this package and swap the parts, without doing any of the things you mentioned? I know I'd be gaining less power, but how much of an increase should I expect with this package alone?

Oh, and, how many hours of labor should it take to get it installed?
 

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honestly, i have no answers for that. you can email mike miller, the owner of milzy motorsports. he usually responds to me in about a day or so. i have also called him a few times, but i cant seem to find his current number anywhere. OFF TOPIC: i plan on going to see him soon for a PCM tune. im about an hour away from the shop. :biggrin:
 

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honestly, i have no answers for that. you can email mike miller, the owner of milzy motorsports. he usually responds to me in about a day or so. i have also called him a few times, but i cant seem to find his current number anywhere. OFF TOPIC: i plan on going to see him soon for a PCM tune. im about an hour away from the shop. :biggrin:
Thats cool! Where's he located at? Does the place he's located sell the stuff or is it just like a HQ or production factory only type deal?
 

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actually, i just noticed you are in lima. hes in dayton, well not in dayton, but miamisburg, which is right outside dayton. i havent been there yet, but get in touch with him and tell him what you want and im sure he will work with you if he doesnt have what you are looking for.
 
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