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 October 2016 Longroof of the Month

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r67northern

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Join date : 2010-09-05
Location : North Louisiana

PostSubject: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Sat 1 Oct 2016 - 10:51

Hi Everybody, my name's Leland and here’s my entry for the Longroof of the Month series: a ‘93 dark sapphire blue with blue leather interior, just about 220k miles now.  

IMGP2569 by Lineswest, on Flickr

Untitled by Lineswest, on Flickr

Now like a lot of you out there, it’s not my first wagon, that honor goes to this:

120901_ImpalaDiesel_Wagon by Lineswest, on Flickr
1982 350ci diesel Impala Wagon

Back in ‘87 or so, my family moved from Vancouver to Iowa and we needed something to replace a very tired 1976 suburban.  Some of you might remember the squarebody trucks from those years: metal so bad they start rusting in the dry sun.  Our 76 was no different and by the time it got to Iowa was losing large pieces of its front fenders.

So my family went down to the Iowa DOT auction and looked at a few suburbans and this wagon that the state was auctioning off from its fleet.  One low-ball offer later, as the story goes, the wagon was unexpectedly ours.  It towed a small pop-up across the country, made me sick in its rearward facing seat from time to time, and smelled like diesel.  

Then it started going through batteries two at a time (I guess they were undersized).  Battery cables failed once or twice - undersized too maybe.  The starter died, at least once maybe twice ($500 in 1989 dollars for that one).  The head gaskets failed.  The a/c eventually shook itself apart.  The 1982 GM paint peeled off and GM poisoned the country against diesels for decades (a proud tradition now carried on by VW).  My dad laments even now that he didn’t  just drop a crate 350 in it.  It ended its days as a taxi around town, and then probably a parts car for a couple of other diesel wagon taxis that company had running around for a few years.  

I still really like the way those big square wagons look but I also fell in love with the ‘94-96 Impalas.  After I graduated college I found one with 20k miles on it and treated it like a queen.

IMGP8705 by Lineswest, on Flickr

But I still had a soft spot in my heart for wagons, and it dawned on me one day that I enjoy working on cars more than just preserving them so I could get rid of the Impala (which never even got driven in the rain) and maybe find a wagon to work on a bit. Maybe some of you remember ‘stockfornow,’ my first wagon was from him.  Went out to NY by train to pick his ‘95 LT1 and drive it home.

100_1276 by Lineswest, on Flickr

I had fun doing mods to it, including an electric water pump, rear marauder swaybar, CC625 cargo coils, bilsteins, and airlifts.  By the time I was done, it drove quite a lot like the Impala, a nice setup.  

LT1_mods by Lineswest, on Flickr

SavetheWhales by Lineswest, on Flickr

But there was something else I always really liked, and that was a TBI.  Through all of those years and other cars, my main vehicle was a ‘90 suburban 4x4 TBI.  It was kind of slow, but rugged and tough.  And I came to appreciate the TBI as something that would limp its way home just to get the job done if it had to.  So I started looking around for a wagon with a TBI … and maybe  blue interior … a leather one.  I knew I was giving up power, but I just like that TBI.

About 4 hours east of where we’re living in Louisiana is a small little Texas town named Dallas.  On a small used car lot 3.5 years ago was this:

100_1277 by Lineswest, on Flickr

It looked a little tired but it was a ‘93 TBI with the blue leather interior that was still in good shape.  I went over and drove it with a buddy, thought about it some, went back and picked it up for a couple thou.  Right after I signed the paperwork, I went out to start it and it wouldn’t crank, so there it sat right in front of the dealer office until we towed it across the street and got a new starter in it.  

Turns out I’m only the second owner, I tracked down the original and he was very happy that it hadn’t been scrapped.  It had seen some TX sun over the years, and the bumper and close inspection of the paint tells that story, but it’s solid.  For a brief glorious (?) period I was the proud owner of 2 B-body wagons that sat in the driveway.  Proof that my wife is amazing.  

100_1275 by Lineswest, on Flickr

I started swapping things from the ‘95 to the ‘93 ... and over the past few years I’ve made a few more mods and upgrades to it.  It’s tightened down now and is a nice firm cruiser.

IMGP2841 by Lineswest, on Flickr

IMGP2840 by Lineswest, on Flickr

IMGP2842 by Lineswest, on Flickr

IMGP2844 by Lineswest, on Flickr

IMGP2845 by Lineswest, on Flickr

IMGP2847 by Lineswest, on Flickr

And more recently an access port for the fuel pump (thanks Tom):

Untitled by Lineswest, on Flickr

Untitled by Lineswest, on Flickr

So that’s my wagon story.  I suppose I’ll repaint it at some point, I’m not decided on whether to keep the wood or not so we’ll see.  Thanks to everyone on this site (and to those of you who sometimes are over on the ImpalaSS forum site too) because I’ve been able to keep this wagon and the one before it on the road and rolling with a lot of your help.  That’s it from Louisiana, happy October.
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Andebe

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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Sat 1 Oct 2016 - 11:27

Great write up,although I didnt expect to see the words,"looking for a TBI". What a Face That dark blue is really sharp,I dont see many in my neck of the woods.
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r67northern

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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Sat 1 Oct 2016 - 11:33

Andebe wrote:
Great write up,although I didnt expect to see the words,"looking for a TBI". What a Face That dark blue is really sharp,I dont see many in my neck of the woods.

Yeah - I think most people go the other way ... and start looking for an LT1. But I've always figured I was more than just a little nuts. Smile
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Dropkick_Eddie

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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Sun 2 Oct 2016 - 19:19

nice story, yeah I like that blue too!Like a Star @ heaven Like a Star @ heaven
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jon7190

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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Sun 2 Oct 2016 - 21:39

Nice car! I like your alternative preference for the TBI models. There is definitely a good case to make for giving up some power to get reliability and ease of working.

The story on the 82 Diesel Caprice was interesting. I have no personal experience with the GM diesel, but from what I've read, the later years of it were supposed to be more durable. I guess not in this case!
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brokecello
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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Mon 3 Oct 2016 - 15:33


Awesome story! I like your hood ornament without the colors. Where did you get that?

I don't know about gaining reliability....I've never had issues with LT1s....but I won't lie about ease of working. TBI always wins. They are cruisers for sure and will always get the job done.

Chris
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phantom 309

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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Mon 3 Oct 2016 - 23:15

reliabilty,.?  tbi,...?   they can have there fair share of gremlins too,.i never have gotten the same fuel mileage as an lt1 car either,.unless i,m on the inside lane, driving it very gently,on flat ground,.

i always seem to put a lot of miles on these lt1's without much trouble,. they like to be thrashed,.

just lucky i guess,.

you've got your wagon looking good,.
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silverfox103
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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Tue 4 Oct 2016 - 0:05

Hey Leland, nice story.

Of course, I remember those diesel wagons, a friend of mine had one.  I remember he bought it cheap.  No sooner he did than GM comes up with a program to pay for gas engine conversions.  They got quite a bit of pressure from the government to do that.   I don't think he got a new engine but a used one, probably with the tranny also.  I think he was allowed up to $2500, but may have been less.  That was somewhere around 1984.

Lot of us remember "stockfornow" he attended a few WagonFests in NY.


Tom


Last edited by silverfox103 on Tue 4 Oct 2016 - 15:20; edited 1 time in total
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r67northern

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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Tue 4 Oct 2016 - 13:39

brokecello wrote:

Awesome story!  I like your hood ornament without the colors.  Where did you get that?

I don't know about gaining reliability....I've never had issues with LT1s....but I won't lie about ease of working.  TBI always wins. They are cruisers for sure and will always get the job done.  

  Chris  

Hi Chris and everyone else who chimed in here. Glad you liked the story, I think we got that '82 wagon after the replacement program expired and it being a state car, owned by the university as I recall, I guess they never opted to deal with it and just kept the diesel around until they decided to cut and run.

The hood ornament was something I picked up for a few bucks on ebay. The first wagon I had from stockfornow came with a broken one, so I needed something. I 'think' that's probably off of a mid 90s regal or something like that. It fits just fine and I've always liked the simplicity of it too. It's kind of catchy with the polished trim lines.

And just in case someone thought I was disparaging the LT1s, I'm not. They move those big cars around very well and get better mpg too but as has been suggested, I've always had more fun working over a TBI. But ... talk about a nice engine package that fits in everything, I was always impressed with just how compact everything is put together with the LT1. I even kept a used but still good optispark unit around in the garage after I switched wagons - just in case.
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phantom 309

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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Tue 4 Oct 2016 - 21:38

I would really like a 5.7 diesel wagon,...
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r67northern

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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Tue 4 Oct 2016 - 21:47

phantom 309 wrote:
I would really like a 5.7 diesel wagon,...

Do you suppose any are left? That would be a rare, rare bird.
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1tireman

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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Thu 6 Oct 2016 - 22:40

Liking the tbi cars must be a coon ass thing...I'm kind of partial to them myself, maybe because I have no experience with lt1 motors. Your wagon looks good, nice write up.
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Andebe

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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Fri 7 Oct 2016 - 13:57

Say Coon ass again...
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phantom 309

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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Sat 8 Oct 2016 - 10:46



coon ass again
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1tireman

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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Sat 8 Oct 2016 - 21:46

lol!
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stewzer55

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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Sun 16 Oct 2016 - 14:28

Congrats on LROTM. GM is using Dark Adriatic Blue again. I wonder how close it is.
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r67northern

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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Sun 16 Oct 2016 - 14:55

stewzer55 wrote:
Congrats on LROTM. GM is using Dark Adriatic Blue again. I wonder how close it is.

No kidding? That's good, it's a nice color.
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Sprocket

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PostSubject: Re: October 2016 Longroof of the Month   Tue 25 Oct 2016 - 13:13

Nice write up. My first wagon was sapphire blue. Ex NYSP so no wood. LOVED the color, hated the rust...it's still around somewhere back in NY.

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