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2003 Impala from Chicago auto auction

 
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swiss
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2003 Chevrolet Impala


PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:43 pm    Post subject:  2003 Impala from Chicago auto auction Reply with quote

Hola peeps, wifey and I are just getting set up in Chicago (her native town, I'm from London) and we've picked up a 2003/116k miles basic-trim Impala at an auction. The outside looks to be in great condition for its age, only very minor scuffs to the paint and small dings in the panels. The only rust I've seen is inside the fuel filler flap. The engine bay also looks very clean, the battery looks new as do all four tires.

The interior, well... it desperately needs a good detailing, for a start. But honestly, we're surprised at how basic it is in there. The layout looks like a throw back from '93, not 2003. Anyway, it does go and nothing's fallen off yet.

We do have a couple of concerns however. First and foremost, we're experiencing vibration under acceleration. I've not driven it yet, until the insurance is sorted out, but her indoors reports it manifesting only when accelerating and seeming to come mainly from the driver's side. I've had a look and seen reports of anything from unevenly worn tires or bad alignment right through to worn joints and cracked subframes.

Then there's the fuel gauge. When we collected the car it was reading full, but by the time we got it home (about 30 min driving) it had dropped off to nothing and the warning light was on. After putting $40 in the tank, it seems to bounce between full when driving and 1/2 to 3/4 when standing still. My initial guess is the sender in the tank, which I've read is a frequent offender.

Would be interested to hear from anyone with the same issues in the same car, while I continue to search through the forums.

Thanks all, and thanks for having me at the forum.

Tom
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IffyG
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:26 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Vibrations under acceleration are usually due to problems with the CV joint geometry. The axle itself could be shot (leaked out all its grease) or it could be that the motor/trans mounts have collapsed. If it is a horrendous vibration, it should be pretty easy to spot.

As far as the fuel gauge goes, you are spot on with your assessment. It's a relatively easy fix if you are comfortable messing around in the fuel tank as there should be an access door in the trunk under the carpet to get at the pump.

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topgun
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:30 pm    Post subject:  newbie Reply with quote

Hola you say. Champion. Right mate shes from Chicago n you from Limey land. Hola. I was born and bred, grew up in the burbs of London. Full fledged Gunner supporter. Now residing in Upstate NY. Expect to spend time with the Impala every so often. They need to be loved gently. IffyG has given you good pointers. Let us know how you make out. Good to have a fellow Brit here. Cool

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swiss
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:56 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Cor blimey guvnor, strike a light, put the kettle on and we'll watch Eastenders.

I'm gonna throw a couple bottles of Techron concentrate in the next tankfuls first, I know opinion is divided on effectiveness but it won't do any harm and might just be enough to cure any manky contacts on the sender. Meanwhile, I've located the access hatch and will whip the unit out for a detailed clean if this jollop doesn't achieve anything.

Re: vibration, I sat and gave a good revving in park and there was nothing unusual, leading to me believe that the engine mounts are good. I want to jack it up and give each wheel a wiggle, see if anything's lose, but it's still several inches deep in the white stuff out there (and the car didn't come with a jack or wrench, naturally). What am I looking for to diagnose a bad CV joint? All I know is to check around the rubber gaiter for obvious signs of deterioration.

Oh, and one more thing - it's giving me a battery alarm, rather intermittently. Intentions are to recover my multimeter from storage and check the battery and alternator outputs. Belts all look good, no visible slip or squealing. Does anyone know what the battery fault message refers to, amperage or output voltage for example?

Thanks for the welcome and the advice!
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topgun
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:08 pm    Post subject:  oy oy oy Reply with quote

Eastenders . . . I'll see you at the Rovers Return. Bad CV joint, other than grease splattered all around you will get a clicking noise on turns. Can't help with the battery warning, never seen it.
Cool

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TeenBeach
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:24 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Welcome to NAIOA

Love to see other 2003s around here! I too have one, but its in the ol garage getting ripped apart Twisted Evil

Not sure on the battery light, but it seems like you have a bad cv joint or motor mounts like others have said.

Hopefully this link will help you with the gas tank sender:

http://impalahq.naioa.com/
Look for replace the gas tank level sender
not too far from the top

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77GP
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:05 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

My wifes 03 we just purchased needed the sending unit repaired, Lot fixed it before we bought it. If I remember correctly it was having similar issues and just a few less miles. Good Luck..
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00impala123
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:22 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

FYI the fuel cleaner wont do anything for the sender.

Its not a bad idea because itll clean the system a little bit, but it won't affect your sender readings. You just need to replace the sender.

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swiss
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:24 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Woo, total electrical failure! Sitting downtown, smoking a ciggy and awaiting a tow. Alternators are going cheap enough on the electronic bay, to how easy is it to whip the auxy belt out?

Last time I hit up an auction unless it's for a project car...
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IffyG
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:27 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Getting the belt off is pretty easy as long as you have a long breaker bar handy. You'll probably want some extra hands available to get it back on though.

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00impala123
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:54 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I've done belts by myself and with people, and it def is MUCH easier to have someone there to line everything up while you hold back the tensioner pulley. Can be a PITA by yourself, but not terrible

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TeenBeach
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:28 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

IffyG wrote:
Getting the belt off is pretty easy as long as you have a long breaker bar handy. You'll probably want some extra hands available to get it back on though.


This for sure, you don't really need those kits that gm or others sell to help aid in the belt installation process. If you don't have a breaker bar go get one from harbor freight. I use this tool 80 percent of the time.

Your lucky you own a wbody Wink The alternator removal and installation is soo easy. Unlike the rio is purchased and the alt went out on me... it was impossible! and when I finally got all the bolts except one... screw imports

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swiss
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2003 Chevrolet Impala


PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:12 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Well, got it back home safe. Damn grateful it fell over somewhere safe rather than doing 60 down the express way. I've got the battery out for a few hours charge, will retrieve my multimeter tomorrow and try to confirm my theory.

What 'appened was... the battery warning had been on and off as mentioned. Then today all the systems, traction control, airbag, etc, everything went schiz within a minute or two. Dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree on meth. Then the lights fizzled out just as we pulled it up and by the time I'd popped the hood and had a look the engine itself had fallen over. Not enough juice left to even turn it over.

So, my theory is bad alternator. Hopefully I can confirm this, otherwise I have no idea Pray

[EDIT]

Right, solid 12V across the battery. Clagged it back in, started it up with just a bit of a cough, but struggling to get 10V even with her indoors revving the poop out of it.

So, unless anyone has any other things to test (forgot to check the earth continuity, now it's dark and I've got beer to drink) I'm gonna go ahead and find a replacement alternator from a local breaker.

Many thanks all, for your supportive attitude and good advice. Seems like a nice place to hang out.

[/EDIT]
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swiss
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2003 Chevrolet Impala


PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:32 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Grabbed a used alternator for $35 plus the old part, all bolted in and problemo solved. For anyone in the Chicago area, I must recommend the nice folks at C&J Auto Parts at 3200 South Archer... knowledgeable, courteous, and with a 90-day warranty

Wifey is rewarding me with Mexican food and beer. Hurrah!
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topgun
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:56 pm    Post subject:  huh Reply with quote

Good to know all is well again (for now). And kudo's to wifey, mexican food and beer. Must of been a little tough under the sheets last night. Rolling Eyes Cool

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