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 Greetings from Italy!

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Quetzalcoatl



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Join date : 2017-02-07

PostSubject: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:07 am

Hi everybody, I'm Gabriele and live in a small medieval city (approx 6000 inhabitants) near Viterbo, north from Rome. In a few months I'll be 40, so i was thinking about a family, some more space and, obviously, more space also in the car. I love sport cars, but i can't afford stuff like Ferrari or Porsche (and i don't want them...), so recently i've realize a childhood dream: a 1979 Pontiac Trans Am... but this is another story.
So, i want a larger vehicle than my daily FIAT Bravo (also sporty: a 2 litre 160HP bullet than goes 230Kmh), so... a wagon. But i don't want something "normal" here in Italy, then... a big american wagon. I've made some research and found 3 Roadmaster Estate: a 3000€ not-running piece of rust, without documents... a 1994 low-mileage white one, perfect but at 25000€... and a 1996 Collector's Ed with Euro instruments, all the paper stuff, already licensed in Italy and with the historical certification (needed to insure the car at lower price), at 11000€. I've seen it and immediately falled in love with her... Buyed it and drove it at home...

So, the car has 20 years and obviously is rather than perfect...
-some little bumps and scratches all over the body
-the "wood" trim is peeling out the transparent coating
-some chrome trim have little corrosion
-cigarette lighter is in short-circuit and burn the fuse
-rear window defroster is not functioning
-right mirror is broken (already ordered)
-center steering arm (not sure it's the correct name) is worn and the steer is inaccurate (already ordered)
-must adjust the headlight (drive at night is quite an adventure Laughing
-must install rear camera (here in Italy cars are veeeeery shorter than the RME, and I usually park using one spot and an half Laughing so hit something while going retro is not difficult)
-must install 2DIN new radio (stock radio not present, now the car have an ugly Blaupunkt 1DIN radio-CD with an adapter)

When i'll sell the Bravo, i'll install LPG in the RME... probably a "monofuel" kit. Here gas price is very high (from 1.5€/litre - 6€/gal - in private pumps, to a mad 1,8€/litre - 7,2€/gal - in non-self highways pumps) and also the owner tax, that goes with horsepower. Now i pay nearly 800€/year for a 20year 260hp car, and a LPG monofuel kit will reduce the tax at 25% this value, so i will pay near 180€/year... and spend less than an half in fuel.

That's all. I'm sure you'll prove very useful with troubleshooting and maintenance (here mechanics don't even know what is this car...)

Bye! cheers
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dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:17 am

Interesting, and welcome to the forum. You'll notice that we have members from around the globe here. If you want to put the car on a boat and come over in July, you can come to Wagonfest in New York in July!
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Quetzalcoatl



Posts : 38
Join date : 2017-02-07

PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:29 am

dmg4 wrote:
Interesting, and welcome to the forum.  You'll notice that we have members from around the globe here.  If you want to put the car on a boat and come over in July, you can come to Wagonfest in New York in July!
Hahaha thank you but i think it's a bit impossible for now... i surely want to come and visit the States, but i think that I'll come "on foot" without my cars.
The funny part of the story, is that 90% of the people living in my town, and 90% of people working with me, look at the car as they've seen a starship Laughing or even a pirate galleon Laughing
To get a better idea to how exotic is a RME in my environment... this is my town:
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dmg4

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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:52 am

Bugger of a driveway if you have to plow snow!
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Quetzalcoatl



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Join date : 2017-02-07

PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:00 am

Luckily my workplace is very close, approx 15Km from home, and less than 8Km from my girl's home. So if there's some chance of snow, i go to her house. If the snow blocks the road, i can go to work even on foot... but usually there's some co-worker with SUV or snow tires that can give us a lift.
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silverfox103
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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:34 am

Hello Gabriele

Welcome to the Forum!

That's a nice looking wagon you found. By the looks of it, you wouldn't find one any better in the US. The problems that you list are very small and very common. They shouldn't be a big problem at all. If you don't find them by searching just ask.

If you have to take off the interior door panels, be very careful. They are let's say delicate and break easy. They are also next to impossible to find, and that's it the US. I have a 94 wagon and you have to remove the door panel to replace the mirror, it's been a while since I had my 95 wagon, don't remember if I had to remove panel, to take the mirror off. If you just have to replace the glass, you should have no problem

Good Luck

Tom
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Quetzalcoatl



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Join date : 2017-02-07

PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:39 am

Unfortunately i have to change the whole mirror, as it has broken glass, broken electrical mechanism, and also broken support... so if I hit some fast road, the wind will fold and close the mirror.
Actually i forgot 2 biggest (maybe) issues: headlight switch has falled into the dash, i can pull to turn on the lights but must open the fuse panel and hold the switch with the hand, to turn it off. But i notice that the car turn on the lights automatically when i release the park brake, so i'm not using it.
Aaaaand... third row seat won't go up automatically as i release the block, and won't stay open. It seems that some spring is broken... but as my circulation sheet says i have 6 seats (i think the guy that bring the car in Italy didn't know it has other 2 seats hidden in the trunk...) i cannot use them, so it's not so important.
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Andebe

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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:08 pm

First,welcome to the forum. Second,congrats on the new ride,and lastly what a beautiful city you live in!
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Quetzalcoatl



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Join date : 2017-02-07

PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:12 pm

Andebe wrote:
First,welcome to the forum. Second,congrats on the new ride,and lastly what a beautiful city you live in!
Oh, thank you for all the three lol!
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81X11

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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 07, 2017 2:24 pm

Welcome to the forum and good luck with your wagon. You'll love it!
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threetimes



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Location : Wisconsin

PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:50 am

cheers
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Quetzalcoatl



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Join date : 2017-02-07

PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:19 am

threetimes wrote:
cheers
Wisconsin? That's where my little T/A come from... i have old (1998) plates, i've found them in the trunk lol!
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Sprocket

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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:56 pm

Welcome aboard.   I just made my first visit to Italy this past September.  I loved it there (northern in the Italian Alps - Domodosolla and also Bellagio for a couple days.   I understand your parking issues with such a large car.  

2 big things to owning the car:

Under the hood on the passenger side by the firewall is a fusebox with an Auxilary battery post.   In 1994 they started with Aluminum and then changed to Brass later in the year.  Check it.  If it is Aluminum, you will want to source a brass replacement.  It is a fire hazard.  I just swapped one last week and I could walk you through the process (took about 1.5 hours and not that difficult).
http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/26-electrical/237690-replacing-auxiliary-battery-post.html

Go on Ebay and buy a set of the Factory Service Manuals for the car.   Best money ever spent in long term maintenance as it has wiring diagrams and everything else you need.

here's an example (although I think you can search and find for less money)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1994-Impala-SS-Caprice-Roadmaster-Factory-Service-Manuals-3-Volume-Set-/192032295583?hash=item2cb6044a9f:g:ZVsAAOSwiONYMQkS
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Quetzalcoatl



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Join date : 2017-02-07

PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:07 pm

Hi Sprocket, and thank you. As for the auxiliary battery post, i will check but i think i have the brass one, as the car is a MY1996.
As for the service manual, i'm waiting the shipping from Rockauto... center steering link, left mirror and the Haynes repair manual Cool
It took 3 days to go from San Bernardino, CA, to Milan, Italy... and 12days to pass the customs clearance... uff i really HATE bureaucracy.
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Sprocket

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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:11 pm

the Haynes manual is ok, but the factory ones are ALOT better. Oh I thought it was a 1994. Whatever year, buy that year factory manual as they did change things from year to year including wire colors...(I can't explain it either). If you wait and are patient you can usually find a set for about $30 US sooner or later...

oh and Rock Auto is the best!
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Quetzalcoatl



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Join date : 2017-02-07

PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:32 pm

I usually buy from Rockauto all the pieces regarding mechanic and restoration... i've rebuild the Olds 403 in My Trans Am, all with Rockauto pieces. And i usually buy from Summit Racing all the "special" parts like headers, chromed pieces and... sidepipes. US sport cars MUST have sidepipes hahahaha

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Quetzalcoatl



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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:59 pm

Finally, the parts i've ordered have arrived. Hope the mechanic will find some time to work on my car in the next few days, because i'm tired turning my steering wheel continously only to go straight...
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phantom 309

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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:13 pm

Quetzalcoatl wrote:
Finally, the parts i've ordered have arrived. Hope the mechanic will find some time to work on my car in the next few days, because i'm tired turning my steering wheel continously only to go straight...

Just leave the steering wheel alone,. it'll steer itself most times,. it;s not a rack and pinion,.
you guide the car rather than steer it,.
It;s a common complaint from guys in europe who are used to small nimble quick steering vehicles,.
the north amrican beasts are sloppy by nature,. and trying to steer them constantly never works out,.
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Quetzalcoatl



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Join date : 2017-02-07

PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:07 am

maybe i feel this more than other... i usually drive a sporty car with street-racing suspensions, soft low profiles tires and some camber. But time passes and i'm not a street pirate anymore hehehehehe, so i must get used to other type of feeling. Also, keep in mind that my daily home-office road is full of holes, bumps and depressions caused by heavy trucks and buses... i usually drive in the center of the road, avoiding incoming vehicles, trying to not scrap the bottom every ten meters.
But the point is, my RME has worn ball joints on the center link, and while it makes the steering very inaccurate, it can also be dangerous as the joints can jump out of their housing, disconnecting the steering from the wheels.
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stewzer55

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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:49 pm

Just because it is not rack and pinion does not mean the steering is supposed to be complete slop. I don't think you will be able to find much else over in Italy that will ride like the Roadmaster.
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Quetzalcoatl



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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:53 am

Different kind of cars have different kind of feeling, that's clear... but my steering was very inaccurate, as the ball joints on the center link were very worn. My mechanic said it was difficult to unscrew the ball joints, as they are so worn they TURN in their housings! Now I have a new center link and finally the car driveability is PERFECT. I think it would be much more accurate if I could use bigger rims and more sporty tires, but here i cannot change tire sizes without a very big amount of bureaucracy. And i love stock alloy rims.

As for the side chromed trims a guy hit me, i've asked a friend of mine, a jeweler (I'm not sure "goldsmith" is a correct translation... he sells jewelry but also makes is own creations in silver or gold) if he can try to reshape the trims. He's not answer yet, so i'm waiting ;-)
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Quetzalcoatl



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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:04 am

So, saturday i didn't go to work (i usually work till 13:00 on saturday, except one saturday every month) and i started working on the car at 8:00... a 10 minutes stop to eat something and i ended at 18:00... the result is this:

I'm quite happy with the installation, and with the extra functions this kind of radio has.
I'll write more in the Audio section.
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Andebe

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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:05 pm

Looks good!
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Quetzalcoatl



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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:12 pm

Yes... and sounds good, also!
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silverfox103
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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:59 pm

It does look good, nice installation. May or may not apply to your situation but, when installing an aftermarket radio, there is always a problem dimming your dashboard lights. I have never done this, so maybe someone that has, will post.

Tom
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Quetzalcoatl



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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:09 am

For "dimming your dashboard lights" you mean turn the light switch clockwise (or counter-clockwise, i don't remember)? Mine is OK even with the radio... the buttons on the climate control panel lights up when headlights are on... i don't know if the climate panel display must dimming too... it has the same lightning in every situation... and also the radio, in the wiring mess there's one labeled "illumination" and i've connected correctly (I think), but the radio lights up buttons even with headlights off.

PS: another thing... i'm happy with the "auto" headlights... i mean, i start the engine and, when i release the parking brake, headlights lights up... it's OK but... if i would leave the lights off, i don't know how to do it!
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silverfox103
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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:14 am

If you don't notice any difference in the dimming of the dashboard lights, that's great.

Tom
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Quetzalcoatl



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PostSubject: Re: Greetings from Italy!   Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:43 am

silverfox103 wrote:
[...] If you have to take off the interior door panels, be very careful.  They are let's say delicate and break easy.  They are also next to impossible to find, and that's it the US.  I have a 94 wagon and you have to remove the door panel to replace the mirror, it's been a while since I had my 95 wagon, don't remember if I had to remove panel, to take the mirror off.

Hello again! A little update...
-rear camera installed. I've put it under the license light "lip", on the left side (the camera is very wide and will not fit in the centre without cover one of the lights) and it WORKS. Now i can park using all the available space, that is very useful with a car so looooong...
-after some guys that called me and even tried the Bravo, noone had still take it. So the LPG is delayed... and i still go around at about 70€ gas per week.
-i've noticed that the driver side seat heater don't work. The LED near the switch will light up so I exclude a broken fuse, but the seat don't get warm. The passenger side is OK.
-sometimes, when cruising at "relaxed" speed, it happens the car hit the speed at which the transmission want to change gear... but the change took a little time, enough to slow down the car at the point the gearbox wants to downshift... so, if I don't speed up OR slow down, the car continues to switch, eg. from 2 to 3 then in 2 then in 3 and so on. It's normal?

Then, some questions:
-someone has a tutorial on how to remove the door panels? For various reasons i must open 3 to 4 panels.
-i've seen in the web some RM with Corvette valve covers... are they "plug n play" on our engine? I know it's the LT1, so i think yes... am I wrong?
-also, i've seen online some custom air intakes, like this: https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/8cEAAOSwqu9U7L4p/s-l300.jpg
are they useful? I mean, to improve horsepower (i know they cannot do miracles) or even to improve MPG?
-i've bought a pair of LED lamps. very powerful but i think they're out of focus... the low beam make a narrow and long oval bright zone, while the high beam make a RING of light, with a dark centre. I want to replace the headlights, possibly with some with a clean transparent cover that will feel more "modern" that the stock lights... and i've seen this: http://www.topgearautosport.com/img/350/1021013MEW.jpg
and also this: http://www.dashzracing.com/images/T/HD-ON-CCP91-1PC-LED-C.jpg
that are for the Caprice and Impala but I think will also fit the RMW... someone has tried one of these? are they brighter than the stock ones? There's also a smoked version of both, will it reduce the light a lot or it's yet useful in a "non show car" daily driver?
-the last (for now Rolling Eyes )... someone has bigger rims? I'm thinking about replacing the 15" with 17" obviously with lower profile tires, so the outer tire diameter will remain the same... how will change the handling of the car?
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