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Everything posted by Human

  1. Human

    Z34 swag

    Nice! I've always liked the lines of that generation Monte.
  2. This was a little project I'd had in mind for a while to allow me to bring the OEM Delco radio in my '95 Cutlass convertible into the twenty-first century by enabling it to play music from my phone or iPod. I have this hard wired FM modulator that I'd originally put in a Pontiac Bonneville I had a few years ago and then later transferred it to the Olds LSS that replaced it. It works much better than the ones that plug into the cigarette lighter socket and use a low powered FM transmitter. I needed a few things besides the modulator to bring the project together, namely a switch to turn the modulator on and off and a second instrument panel bezel from the boneyard so I wouldn't have to mess the original one up by drilling a hole to mount the switch. Finding the correct spot for the switch required a bit of measuring to make sure there was sufficient clearance behind it. Positioning the modulator itself was much easier since there's a nice little alcove inside the dash, right next to the radio's niche that's exactly the right size for the modulator and its wires but it did take a couple of attempts to get everything sufficiently tucked in to allow the radio and dash bezel to go back into place the way they should. The only thing that didn't quite go as planned is the push button switch works backward from how I expected it to. Somehow, I've got it where the radio plays normally when the button is pushed in and its LED is lit and the FM modulator is activated when the button is in the "out" position with the LED off and the radio is tuned to 87.7 FM. I'm not sure what I did wrong but at least for now, I decided to cut my losses and leave it alone. Someday, when I'm really, bored and looking for trouble, I may try moving wires around on the power switch to see if I can make it behave the way I want it to. The modulator also acts as an amplifier so I don't have to crank the volume on my phone all the way up to be barely audible like I do when I play it through the auxiliary input jack on my Impala's Delco/Bose radio.
  3. Now that everything's buttoned up, there's really not much to see other than a button on the dash and cable hanging out on the passenger side where the console and dash come together. To me, that's part of what makes it an elegant solution. The modulator is an Eiger Vision EV-F120 (see link below). You can tune its output frequency anywhere along the FM spectrum. It does require a pair of antenna adapters to fit it into a '90s GM car. I think I paid about $20 for the modulator itself back around 2011. With adapters, switch and output cable, I think I may have $30, give or take, in the whole setup. The only thing I still have left to do—and it can wait until the weather warms up a little—is to pull the dash bezel back out and clean up around where I drilled it out for the switch. I've got some Rustoleum hammer texture black paint that's a perfect color match but a little glossier than the factory finish. That stuff is very forgiving and the texture will cover a world of sins. I'll probably just mask off the vents and paint the entire bezel instead of just spotting in around the switch. I've already painted the passenger side corner where I had to sand off a big glob of super glue where somebody had stuck on a belt clip for a cell phone. It was a cool idea but poorly executed. The new paint job will give it a subtle custom look. Meanwhile, the original dash bezel is stored in my barn for safekeeping.
  4. Yes. It connects physically to the radio's antenna jack and the car's antenna plugs into it, so when active it interrupts the antenna and inserts its own signal. It's the same principle that VCRs used back in the day. The unit is equipped with two RCA plugs to which I have connected a cable with RCA plugs on one end and a 3.5mm male plug on the other. I keep the cable tucked up under the dash when not in use.
  5. I don't drive my '95 Cutlass Supreme convertible much at night--and now that the weather has gotten cold, I'm not driving it much at all. But when I do drive it at night, I notice the dash lights are ridiculously dim, just barely bright enough to let me know they're on. There don't appear to be any burned out lights; they're just not all that bright. While I may be more than a little spoiled by the dash lights on my 2011 Impala, I do feel the ones on the Cutlass should be brighter. My '95 Aurora's dash lights are not all that bright either, but they are noticeably brighter than these. Any suggestions?
  6. You're absolutely right. It's always better to test things like that as a system.
  7. Good idea. I'll keep an eye out for one. The trick will be finding a switch cluster that also has a fog light switch.
  8. Thanks. I'd still like to figure out what's causing the dash lights to spontaneously dim and brighten like that.
  9. So I drove the convertible this afternoon and didn't get home until after dark. Sitting in rush hour traffic, I had some time to observe the dash lights. The first thing I noticed is they would noticeably dim while I was sitting at a stop light but then brighten up a little bit once I got back under way but would dim down again at the next red light. While sitting at another long light I ran the dimmer thumb wheel up and down rapidly for a few seconds and the dash lights got a bit brighter so when I got home, I grabbed my can of CRC Electrical Contact Cleaner and spritzed it in around the little thumb wheel. The result was a noticeably brighter instrument cluster. I can't say that this represents a definitive cure or that it will even stay bright but it's a step in the right direction.
  10. Human

    Front suspension fail

    Ouch! Glad no one was hurt. That's the most important thing. Hope you can get her back on the road. That looks almost just like my '95 'Vert. I'd be pretty sick if that happened to mine.
  11. Human

    W bodies with the Wrong stock wheels

    I almost became a statistic on this one. I have my dad's 2002 Silhouette van, which I'm trying to sell for my mom. Just before he went into the nursing home, Dad put a nice set of Pirellis on it and the tires are the same size as on my '95 Cutlass Supreme convertible, which came to me a couple of months ago with a fairly new set of El Dorado (never heard of that brand) tires. I seriously considered swapping the van's tires and wheels over onto the convertible and the convertible's tires and wheels onto the van. I did some measurements and I think the offsets are pretty close on the two wheels where they would have worked, but in the end, I just couldn't bring myself to do it so instead, I replaced the convertible's original lug nuts with their ugly plastic covers (amazingly, all the covers were still there) with a set of nice chrome lug nuts.
  12. Human

    Stock radio swap

    Double-din Oldsmobile head units (1994-2000) should fit in a Buick although the steering wheel controls might function a little differently. I had a Buick AM/FM/CD/cassette unit in my '95 Olds Aurora that was a plug-and-play installation except the steering wheel controls took on the functions they would have had in a Buick. The volume control was in the same place (upper right) but the temperature and tuning controls were reversed so that the tuning controls were on the lower left and the temperature was on the lower right. Instead of controlling the fan, the switch on the upper left was source and mute. It was confusing at first, but then wasn't so bad once I got used to it. Although I missed having the fan control on the steering wheel, I found I generally preferred the Buick unit over the Olds unit it replaced. I still have that Buick radio and it may well find its way into my '95 Cutlass Supreme convertible.
  13. Human

    01 Monte Carlo Headlights stuck on

    Yeah, pulling the light sensor might fix it. I had to do that on a '97 Cadillac I used to have. The sensor went wonky and it would go into DRL mode, regardless of how dark it was outside, which meant I didn't have dash lights. Once I pulled the sensor, it worked just fine as a manual system.
  14. Human


    I've always found that Rock Auto's attractive prices are almost always nullified by expensive shipping charges so news of hassle-filled returns only further pushes me away from ordering from them.
  15. I suppose this would fall into the category of a re-introduction. I joined a few years ago when I acquired my 2011 Impala LT but haven't been around in awhile. A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon a 1995 Cutlass Supreme convertible in surprisingly good condition for what I felt was a reasonable price, so I decided to pull the trigger. I've always wanted a convertible and I have fond memories of a 1991 Cutlass Supreme coupe I'd had about 20 years ago, so this felt like a natural fit. The car arrived Monday evening and after registering it yesterday, I took it out for an inaugural drive. The 3.1L engine is definitely not the most exciting thing ever put under a hood (I really wish Olds had offered a 3800 in the W-body Cutlass) but it's more than adequate for cruising around on pretty days, which is about all I intend to use the car for. To be sure, the car is not without its blemishes and there are some minor issues that need attending to, but for its age and almost 120,000 miles on the odometer, it's a gracefully aging survivor. I'm looking forward to having fun driving it and fixing it up.
  16. Human

    Doubling Down on W-bodies

    Thanks. The top was recently replaced. That's one of the things that attracted me to the car. I was noticing the top pin cups today when I was replacing the ratted out sun visors and will put them on my shopping list. I picked up a pair of visors at the junk yard yesterday. They came out of a 2001 Cadillac Seville STS. They're black instead of graphite, but the color difference is minimal. The only modification I had to make was to cut the back side of the anchors off flush. The lights on the vanity mirrors don't work because the plug is different. The Cadillac visors have a two-wire system while the convertible has a single hot wire and a grounding contact built into the anchor plate. At some point when I'm really bored, I'll come up with a way to adapt the two to work together but for now, I'm just content to have better looking visors.
  17. Human

    Doubling Down on W-bodies

    I first heard the term 'flash dash' back in the '80s when they first came out. My dad, who was a district sales manager for Oldsmobile, used the term frequently so maybe it was an unofficial, internal euphemism. It's not the sort of thing he would have coined.
  18. Human

    Doubling Down on W-bodies

    I'm actually glad it has the 3100 engine because it's a whole lot more dependable than the 3.4 DOHC engine. I'm not sure what, if any modifications may have been made to the suspension. Everything felt pretty good when I drove it yesterday. The only mechanical mod I've noticed so far is a chrome exhaust tip that brings the exhaust out an inch or so beyond the rear bumper. Not sure if it changes the exhaust note but it does sound a little on the throatier than I remember my earlier Cutlass sounding.
  19. Human

    Doubling Down on W-bodies

    The '91 coupe was the same shade of red as the convertible but with a light gray cloth interior. It was an end-of-model year car that had a lot of the cosmetic goodies usually associated with the International Series--ground effects, fog lights, LED 'flash dash' instrument panel, luggage rack on the trunk lid, 15-inch alloy wheels with the cross-laced pattern. It had the same 3.1L V6 as the convertible. It had just a basic AM/FM/Cassette radio with no steering wheel controls and of course, no airbags back then. I bought the car in the summer of 1996 with 55,000 miles on it, kept it three years, and put another 40,000 miles or so on it in that time. It was a very fun and dependable car. The only repairs I had on it were, I think, an alternator and a serpentine belt. I have (old fashioned silver halide emulsion) photos of it somewhere. I'll scan and post a few whenever I come across them.
  20. Human

    W bodies with the Wrong stock wheels

    Last week, I parked next to an early 2000s vintage Impala with wheels from an Olds Intrigue on it. Actually looked pretty good.
  21. So, about a month ago, my dad called me up and said he was shopping for a new car for my mom because the warranty was about to expire on her 2011 Impala LT, which only has 15,000 miles on it. As it so happened, my '97 Olds LSS had broken down and left me stranded on the road the night before. It was only the alternator, but it had put me in enough of a frustrated frame of mind that I eagerly jumped at the opportunity for an upgrade (my first 21st century car!). Dad bought Mom a new Buick LaCrosse the next week and I went down to pick the Chevy up on Halloween (or as I called it this year, 'Impalaween'). The car is absolutely pristine; it even still smells new. It has the LT Luxury Edition package, so it's essentially an LTZ without the 3.9L engine. It's loaded with leather, heated seats, Bose audio w/Bluetooth, etc., etc. I'm glad it has the 17-inch alloy wheels and rear spoiler; otherwise, it would be indistinguishable from a state motor pool vehicle. Being so new, I don't plan on making any mods any time soon, but I did visit a bone yard recently to snag the emblems off the back of a 2003 Impala for a little 'arts & crafts' project in the form of a decorative front license plate. I like the way it turned out. The 3500 engine is adequate but not all that exciting; however, it does turn in respectable gas mileage--22-23 mpg in town and 33-34 on the highway. This isn't my first W-body. I had a 1991 Cutlass Supreme coupe from 1996-1999. It was a fire engine red beauty with a lot of the cosmetic goodies normally associated with the International Series. That was a great car. Since then, I've mainly had H-body cars (three Olds LSS's and a Bonneville) along with a couple of Olds Auroras, the second of which I still own. As you can tell, my GM roots run deep. My dad is retired from Oldsmobile.
  22. Human

    Crazy idea, is it possible?

    That was a feature / option on some higher end GM cars in the mid-'90s, even before DRLs. My '95 Aurora has them and the '95 Bonneville I used to have was supposed to have them but they never worked right. Wiring them into a car that was never intended to have them could be tricky but not impossible.
  23. Human

    Just scored a 2011 Impala LT

    I agree. It kind of suffers from terminal blandness. There's nothing particularly offensive about the design, but there's nothing all that exciting about it, either. That said, the interior is pretty well thought out in terms of ergonomics. That's one of the reasons I'm still holding onto my '95 Aurora. It's just too much fun to drive.
  24. Human

    Greetings from Northern Virginia

    That's a pretty ride. I'm assuming it has a 3800 V6 under the hood. That's a super dependable engine that'll go forever if you give it a little love. It's fairly easy to work on and parts are plentiful and cheap.
  25. Human

    Why Dex Cool?

    There is extensive information on the forum regarding DexCool. Many blame it for the intake manifold gasket failures common to 3800 Series II engines. You actually can run either Dex or non-Dex in the engine, just don't mix them, as that will turn turn your coolant to sludge. The anti-Dex people over on the Bonneville board suggest thoroughly flushing out the cooling system and using the "Mixes with Anything" coolant instead of Dex.