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 Jan 2017 LROM - 1995 Caprice Wagon

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jasonlachapelle

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Location : CFB Bagotville, QC.

PostSubject: Jan 2017 LROM - 1995 Caprice Wagon   Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:36 am

I got a request for my 1995 Caprice to be the January wagon of the month.  Thanks!

I bought this car in 2013 from Adam (CaddyDaddy13).  I was temporarily living in Nova Scotia for P3 operational training.   Adam was a good sport and drove it to Jarrod's place in northern NY and dropped off the paperwork at the border, and jayoldschool went to pick it up for me.  He took care of all the paperwork at the border.

It's a 95 caprice with no wood.  Black with grey interior.  It had a bit of an odd option package in that it has power door locks, power windows, autodimming mirror.  No tow package (2.56 gears...boo), no stock oil cooler but has a tranny cooler.  I -like a lot of folks here I presume- am really fond of the wagons in black with no wood.

I had been into b-bodies since the mid 90s when my dad showed me car and drivers with the impala SS.  He ALMOST bought a new (demo) 96 SS in 1997 but instead opted for a then brand new 97.5 pontiac GTP.  I had consistently owned a series of B-bodies, both sedans and wagons, since 2004.  When I bought this 95 caprice, the only other b-car I owned was my Black 96 RMW WB4 (I still own it).  I also had a 98 Buick riviera I was daily driving, and the idea was to replace the riv with the Caprice.

Here's what the Caprice looked like when I picked it up.
























 



Last edited by jasonlachapelle on Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:35 pm; edited 2 times in total
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jasonlachapelle

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PostSubject: Re: Jan 2017 LROM - 1995 Caprice Wagon   Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:36 am

When I got the car, it required a bit of work to pass the Quebec provincial inspection.  Moreover, I was going to drive the wagon from Quebec to Vancouver Island, BC shortly after.

The tires were quite worn, so I threw on some used ones (can't remember where they came from) to avoid a repeat of the delamination incident I had in 2012 on the same drive with my RMW.
The passenger side Inner fender had a significant rust hole in it, probably from a leaky battery.  I replaced it with a pristine one I had obtained from Joel (sherlock9C1) back when he lived in Syracuse that I had lying around for a while.   It may or may not have been powdercoated -can't remember now- but it was really nice and glossy.  It was a pre-94 so it needed a few holes drilled but it made a nice difference.



With that, the car was ready for its drive.  I had an amazing 10 day cross-continent roadtrip through the Canada and the US with my wife and brother.  We drove through the badlands in SD, saw custer state forest, mt rushmore, Yellowstone, drove the beartooth highway and came up Idaho and WA.  We made a point of driving on as many scenic byways as possible.

When I arrived in BC, I ditched the tires and crosslace hubcaps that weigh a ton and put on the mint Roadmaster mags I had, which had nice tires.  I was told the car needed an idler arm for the BC safety inspection, so I threw on the ProForged one I had in the garage.

From June 2013 to Aug 2016 the car was basically a daily driver.  It was the only car we plated year round.  My wife and I lived 6km from work, and lived in a small town, so it didn't accumulate much mileage (25k km in 3 years, 10000 of which were coast-to-coast-to-coast).  

I did some regular and preventative maintenance during that time, like;
disabling the ALC
installing koni adjustable rear shocks and moog CC623 rear springs
new costco battery
new coil and coil wire
new alternator
removal of the air pump
optimized tune for 2.56 gears

Unfortunately, the car also had a few setbacks during that time I was in BC. I was away a LOT during that time and my wife drove the wagon when she wasn't driving her Saturn Sky. While I was away she got stuck because of the coil going bad. It rains a lot in BC so when it was humid the car started stalling out. Fixed with a new coil. She also lost all power to the car when the brand new AC Delco alternator died after about 1000 miles of use. That really scared her, so that's why I drive the wagon now Smile. I got a replacement Delco alternator under warranty, but still not really impressed with the whole experience. So far so good. She also scraped a low but huge rock that was in the middle of a parking lot while backing up, damaging the front passenger corner of the front bumper. It's just cosmetic, and you really have to bend down to see it, but she was pretty bummed about it (If you're reading this and have a black non-SS caprice front bumper skin, pm me). I also smoked a racoon, which took out the front air dam. I still haven't found a replacement. I'm pretty sure that's got to be costing me almost 1mpg HWY.

The worst was when the Caprice was broken into in my driveway one evening in July 2015.  Some kids broke the vent window and went in through the tailgate. It had to be kids because they didn't take any of the power tools in the back. They essentially made off with change from the coin holder. I was pretty bummed and sort of lost interest in the car. I had been toying with the idea of selling the caprice for a while. We had too many cars, and I proverbially didn't really know what I wanted to be when (if) I grew up.  The reality of the situation was that I did HAVE to fix the car in order to sell it, so I ended up fixing it with parts from my brothers 96 caprice wagon that jayoldschool took to the big junkyard in the sky the week after the car was broken into.  Non-broken vent window in hand, I replaced the broken one, and started a sort of "rejuvenation" on the Caprice.


Last edited by jasonlachapelle on Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:18 pm; edited 2 times in total
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jasonlachapelle

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PostSubject: Re: Jan 2017 LROM - 1995 Caprice Wagon   Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:38 am

In the spring of 2016 I had already essentially decided I was not renewing my contract as an RCAF pilot come 2016.  I started sending resumes out to major airlines and applied to med school.  Going to the airlines meant a significant pay cut, and probably relocating.  Med School was a gamble and I wouldn't know til summer 2016 if it was going to work out.  Preparing for the worst case scenario (a period of unemployment followed by a 60% pay cut) I sold my Buick Riviera and 1987 Buick Turbo Regal.  We had also been saving a significant portion of our income for this eventuality.

Back to the "rejuvenation" of the caprice.  By this point I figured I'll just drive the Caprice.  It's paid for, insurance is cheap enough, I have a stash of parts and I have a decent idea how to work on it after owning B-cars for 12 years.

I sent myself the grey limited seats from my brother's car via greyhound and installed those.  Since I needed to take the carpet off to run the wires, I decided to pressure wash it. While the carpet was removed I noticed a bit of rust on the floor (it was definitely from moisture coming through the carpet, not rusting through from the outside in like I had been accustomed to), which explained the rust stain on the carpet.  A friend from work gave me a bit of POR-15 to treat it and it came out great.  

I noticed water pooled in the rear passenger foot well.  there was about a litre.  Pretty rank so I guess it`s been there for a while.  Using a hose, I figured it's draining down around C-pillar weatherstripping (normal), but coming up under the weatherstripping at the very end, where there is a normal gap in the weatherstripping.  I used some roof sealer to seal up the leak.

While everything was out, I put dynamat on the floor.  At this time I also had the headliner torn.  It was a bit damaged when I bought it, but got torn up by the guys who broke into the car.  While the headliner was off, I sealed the wellnuts with roof sealer, and then applied dynamat to the roof.  I have never had roof leak issues, and I never want to.

I also replaced the headunit that got kicked by the idiots who broke into the car. I replaced the front speakers with pioneers, the rears with clarions I found at the thrift store. While I had the doors skins off I replaced all 4 front window rollers.













Last edited by jasonlachapelle on Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:33 pm; edited 2 times in total
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jasonlachapelle

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PostSubject: Re: Jan 2017 LROM - 1995 Caprice Wagon   Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:39 am

In July 2016, after finishing the caprice's rejuvenation, I found out I was accepted to medical school in my home province of Quebec.  This meant another cross-country relocation.

The car had had hard start issues for as long as I could remember.  I changed the fuel pressure regulator with a spare one I had from a project but no joy.  I had been suspecting a faulty return valve in the fuel pump, but this confirmed it.  I was super busy with my move so I brought the car in to the shop.  They replaced the pump with a spectra unit I had, along with a new delco sender I had lying around for the past 5-6 years.  I had them put on my class 3 hitch which had been in my shed for 5 years.   I changed the PS fluid, flushed the brake fluid, slapped on a new air filter and put on the OZ Nova wheels I had for 5 years in the shed with take-off tires from a recent camaro.  I was ready for the 5200 km drive back East.




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jasonlachapelle

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PostSubject: Re: Jan 2017 LROM - 1995 Caprice Wagon   Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:47 pm

Arriving in Qc in 2016, the Caprice was relegated to full-blown DD mode.  I got it rustproofed at Metropolitain (highly recommend them or their competitor Krown).  I purchased a very low mile  2010 Pontiac Vibe 1.8 litre automatic for my wife.  She loves the car so far.

Sadly the car didn't pass the Qc provincial inspection.  They nailed the car for outer tie-rods, faulty centrelink (which started to vibrate immediately after I left the inspection facility), tire rubbing the swaybar at max steering wheel deflection and lack of daytime running lights.

I brought the car to a local shop that belongs to a friend in the military.   I had relocated a large portion of my parts stash, plus all the parts jayoldschool picked clean off my brother's 96 caprice wagon before it went to the crusher.  They kept the car for a month, but during that time did:

- 3.73 gears and Truetrac
- New Front upper and lower control arms and GM spindle (5/8" Balljoint)
- New ATE rotors and HAWK pads (from when Pep Boys was clearing them out for 10$)
- new front ABS sensors
- New 700# coilsprings, new isolators
- ZQ8 bumpstops
- New front koni adjustable shocks, set on max stiffness.
- PPM front end kit.  The rest of the kit I bought when I lived in Ottawa, so probably 2010-ish (yikes).
- hotchkis front swaybar + endlinks
- SLP headers w/ AIR and EGR delete
- new plugs and wires
- Impala SS wheels I picked up for 200$ cdn in Ottawa from a nice guy on ISSF.  Had no centrecaps but I had some stashed away.
- 235/55R17 pirelli winter tires
- GM block heater, a must-have
- new Edelbrock valvesprings + new valvespring seals
- new rear wheel cylinder
- new bearings
- replaced some vacuum hoses.

Got an alignment to upgraded specs.







Threw on a raiss intake I found in Winnipeg of all places.   I'm really digging the 3.73 truetrac combo.  The car has been fairly good in the snow so far.  The rustproofing place re-sprayed the front end and frame for free since I changed some parts.   I drove the car about 1000 miles since.  I took it to the Montreal area for the holidays and got 19.5 mpg highway.  Not "amazing" but not bad for a car with 3.73s and 27" winter tires and EGR delete.  I was getting about 20 mpg highway (max 21) with the 2.56, which was in the summer, with 28" tall summer tires.  Once I get my exhaust here, I'll probably replace the O2 sensors to see if I can recoup some MPG.

Still to come on the car:
- replace centre air dam
- Datalog and tweak the tune. I'm convinced this car can get better mileage (by 2-3 mpg). It has returned lower mileage than any other b-body I have owned.
- catback
- upgraded 4L60e (from my bro's Caprice, built by Joel)
- 3000 rpm Edge converter
- SS hood and grill (eventually)

At this point I think I'm going to call it quits.  The car is pretty much has the max amount of torque I would want on a winter DD.  I don't see myself adding the 845 cam, super ram intake and AS&M throttle body.  On the snow I can just feather the throttle with 2nd gear start.  I guess most of you in the US are thinking "it's probably not that bad."  I'll see if I can take a pic of my driveway tomorrow.  We have a few feet of snow already.  I wish it were a joke but people commute via snowmobile ON the roads.

A plus from being back in Qc:  Gas is pretty much the same price as back in BC in my area but the insurance is about 1/8 of the price.  When I called to switch the insurance from the Govt run Insurance Corporation of BC (biggest racket going) to a private insurer in Quebec, it went from about 900$/yr (that's WITH a 43% discount) to 106$/yr.  Since we had the Vibe insured and had paid in advance, the amount owing for the caprice was literally a $60 check.  The multi-vehicle discount was greater than the amount to insure the Caprice.  The insurance lady had a good laugh.

I still having fun driving it, appreciating it for what it is: a completely paid, reliable daily driver.  Yeah it uses a lot of gas, but the insurance is dirt cheap, I can haul anything I need (mainly my small dog), do some donuts in snow covered parking lots.  Plus it looks really good on the SS wheels.  I just had an older gentleman honk me yesterday to give me a thumbs up.

I'll drive it until I finish med school here in Quebec. Then we'll see.  I'll still have the other RMW waiting for me when this one goes.


Last edited by jasonlachapelle on Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:57 pm; edited 4 times in total
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harrisons13

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PostSubject: Re: Jan 2017 LROM - 1995 Caprice Wagon   Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:19 pm

That is one clean wagon! I love the OZ wheels!
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Andebe

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PostSubject: Re: Jan 2017 LROM - 1995 Caprice Wagon   Fri Dec 30, 2016 6:07 pm

Nice write up. Love...no LUST, this wagon. What a Face
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PostSubject: Re: Jan 2017 LROM - 1995 Caprice Wagon   Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:40 pm

Jason

Thank you for being the Wagon of the Month!

Great story, I remember the wagon when Adam had it. Looks like you have made many improvements. Love those wheels. I can imagine it was an enjoyable trip coming across Canada and the US. Should give you good service while your at school.

thanks again

Tom
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PostSubject: Re: Jan 2017 LROM - 1995 Caprice Wagon   Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:01 pm

Great read and love the pics and updates. I remember when you got that car! What a beauty!

-Mike
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PostSubject: Re: Jan 2017 LROM - 1995 Caprice Wagon   Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:29 am


Nice story and beautiful wagon Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Jan 2017 LROM - 1995 Caprice Wagon   Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:27 pm

Nice wagon !
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PostSubject: Re: Jan 2017 LROM - 1995 Caprice Wagon   Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:07 am

Broken Pics Sad
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