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Does anyone have suggestions on a reliable aftermarket optispark?

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LT1-LT4 Modifications 1993-97 Gen II Small Block V8

Does anyone have suggestions on a reliable aftermarket optispark?

Old 07-31-2018, 09:08 AM
  #21  
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I'm usually the kind of guy that will spend a little more money for a quality part; however, in the case of the Opti, I bought one on eBay for $60. Now if an ACDelco or MSD Opti was $100 or so, I'd probably spend the extra money, but last time I checked a couple years ago when I had to do it, an ACDelco was close to $400 and an MSD was $500, and people were still having issues with them, so I decided to roll the dice and save a good chunk of money in the end. Also, replacing the Opti isn't a fun job but after the first time, you can knock it out in half a day so it's not the complete end of the world if it take a dump.

I think the secret to a reliable Opti isn't so much the brand as much as it's the prep work. I took my eBay opti apart and converted it to a vented style for my 94. When putting it back together, I siliconed the crap out of it, it is literally air tight now, the only air that gets in and out of it are through the two vent tubes. I also cleaned all the gunk off the front of the motor and replaced my water pump drive seal properly with the right tool since the previous owner didn't do it correctly, and it leaked and got oil all over the old Opti's drive and destroyed the rear seal bearing of the Opti.

I have spilled coolant all over my Opti, it's taken a bath in power steering fluid when it boiled over at the track and it hasn't skipped a beat.
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Old 07-31-2018, 11:55 AM
  #22  
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So after reading this whole tail of woe,,, heres the bottom line..
Please consider the following to be Blunt,,
Not trying to hurt ya ,, but I'm 55 and been working on custom and race cars since I was 14
(Literally I did my first solo engine swap the weekend of my 14th birthday...got 800 bucks for it.. That was MONEY then )
Been dealing with customers that whole time.. so here we go.. and most of what I'm saying assumes your paying to have it done.

You don't have the skills or knowledge to maintain a modified car which means you need someone else to do it.
It doesn't sound like you have the time and moneyer place to deal with it either.

I can tell from how your describing it,, None of the things your saying are YOUR knowledge,
its always "He Said" "They Said" "I'm afraid its..." etc. you don't seem to have the background to tell if they are BS'ng you..
Optisparks are not the Antichrist... When they go south it just feels like it.. The folks I know that run them,, have a spare on the shelf.
I know of many with 200K miles on them never really needed attention but when they go south,, its almost always a leak/age problem.
They are kind of a horrible design, worst possible location to put the thing, if they had been awesome every SBC made after would have one.
Note the prior post about making it liquid/air tight... Thats the thing!

Oh and as far as performance cars go,, unless your INTIMATELY familiar with a car, if your buying a hotrod just assume the motor is coming out.
"Fresh engine" is probably the most abused term on the planet. I mean why would anybody put a brand new engine in THEN sell the car??
You'd lose half the money easy... Budget 6K minimum to pull the engine freshen it and put it back.
I've seen too many pretty cars that are sold as a creampuff that had **** motors in them. At one time likely good but a lot of cars get
"built" motors while one owner had enough money AND skills to do it themselves, they then drive it till its wore out and figure out that
at the current stage of their life,, they can't afford to feed the things ,, kids/school/life etc... so they trade them sell them etc..

Your motor is a big giant question mark that has no answers... Your just don't know the real history, you've been screwed by cheap shops...
You need either a strong diagnostician to take it sort it and don't give it back till its good,,, or firewall forward engine replacement.. Neither will
be cheap.

Your options are:
1. GM Goodwrench engine with warrantee installed by the dealer. (Yes its expensive but it will work when its done. )And it will be fun to drive..
2. Find a GOOD shop and stick with it. Nobody wants to fix crap that someone else screwed up.. they have been through
much of what you've already been through and its no fun for them either. sub options are,
a) Switch to a different ECU system. Megasquirt/Haltech/Motech/whatever floats your boat, it will cost about 5K to get one installed and tuned MINIMUM..
b) Pull and refresh the engine check everything inside and out.
4. Sell the boat anchor and go buy something that just runs. Its just a effing car,, there are millions of them. Wait till your done with school, got your career in hand then go buy a toy...

Things guys told me,,, That have all proven true..
Don't bleed over a car,, life is too short..
Know when to send them to the farm.
If you can't afford a car payment,, and your not self sufficient on repairs,, you can't afford a built car.
If you can't maintain it,, don't buy something that needs it.

Good luck on wherever you head with that thing..
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Old 07-31-2018, 01:27 PM
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OP

^^^,, the above post is a frank assessment. After reading this thread you have a car with several phases of repair by shops that may not have done any of it correctly. If you are a "point & pay" guy vs doing your own work this is going to be one long continued road of mis-steps for a modified 20+ year old car. 99% of repair shops just follow FSM's to repair "stock" configured cars.

The wiring harness situation could very likely be the core cause of several codes you have vs the code/item specific part. Hard to guess from this side of the keyboard what really is wrong with your wiring as your personal knowledge of what was done is insufficient for anyone to "guess" what may be the problem

Hopefully you can find a qualified shop who can dig through all of this and get it all sorted The last thing I would do is replace the stock ignition system with a 24x anything. That will only add to the long list of "altered" pats that will make any further diagnostics more problematic
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Old 07-31-2018, 06:51 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by pullngz View Post
If you go out and start your car right now, it starts and runs fine? Just keeps setting codes codes?

You lost me with the reman Jasper engine story. You think ,the shop that was to install the jasper engine for you, gave the jasper engine to "that guy". Who is "that guy"?

Was the computer that was "rebuilt" the original one for the car? Why did it need "rebuilt"?

Sounds like there is more to this than needing a reliable optispark.

Mike
The shop that the Jasper site recommended had a mechanic who bragged about racing his LT1 pickup truck, he even mentioned it to me. From our talks I could tell he was feeling me out for my knowledge on automotive mechanics and naturally it is not hard to figure out I don't know that much. The first day I got my car back after they installed this "new Jasper reman engine", the car was misfiring and the engine sounded like it had dead cylinders, either that or what sounds like rubbing scaly metal blocks together, it was horrible! Why they called me in to take possession of this car when it was in such crap shape is beyond me. After numerous attempts later, I got the car back but it would have electrical problems, melted harness wires, which shorted my PCM and in which those morons had to get rebuilt but until recently was told by mechanic #1 that in Texas, the soldering job was horrible, the chips were able to move around on the motherboard and he was surprised the computer functioned at all! On top of that they never put my water pump seal on correctly and she leaked, destroying one optispark, they tried to repair it and my water pump gaskets starting leaking destroying the replacement optispark. I stopped taking my car to these "professionals" but the next shop never fixed my leaking water pump seal, either that or their mechanic kept ripping the rubber seal on install not using a proper tool. Then the shop politely tried to discourage my inquiry to fix the leak and then as of late March, my car optispark finally died and the entire engine was flooded with gasoline and fouled out by the time I got home. It is amazing I didn't destroy any piston rings or totally have the engine screwed up because of what happened. Now, can I confirm that my PCM needed a second rebuild based on mechanic #1 who lied about the state of my engine later on, bad pistons, cracked head and block and warped crank and camshaft? I made the mistake of trusting him but my car is now running...

I just got my car back from Firestone and the solution for code P0152 was to replace an oxygen sensor that was supposed to have been replaced months prior by a reputable auto service. I tell ya, I can't trust anyone. I got a chance to drive my car around town for a bit, the car idles fine, under load at mid-range RPM there is full power, no hesitation, no misfire, no stumbling, nothing. Engine braking the car, it sounds good. I still have codes P1357 and P0336. Firestone can not help me with these and I did some talking with the tech and thinks the car needs to be reflashed with the stock problem. My concern, however, my car has a few non-stock items, most notably I am using the base model airbox for the LS1 f-bodies on top of using an optispark that does not use the Mitsubishi sensor. Another problem is that I am using a remanufactured engine that was possibly bored to 355 and is using the appropriate internals which could very well throw off calibrations between the crank and the cam sensors. I likely need a custom program. It is just a matter of finding someone who will do it for me. It sounds illegal to program the codes P1357 and P0336 to not set off the check engine light but that is really all that keeps me from passing an inspection. No one has told me my engine has problems that they can find or other issues so what else am I left to think?

Last edited by Phoenix'97; 07-31-2018 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 07-31-2018, 07:32 PM
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Thanks for the explanation, it all made since, you have been on a long ride with this one.

Well to me, it sounds like you now have a good running car, with 2 codes popping up. Is this a true statement?

If so I have an out of the box theory. Since your car is running right and your still getting the P0336 code. First thing I would do is:

1) Verify the wiring to the CPS is good.
2) Verify the CPS is good
3) Degree the cam(this is going to require an adjustable timing set)
I suspect the center line is off, hence the code still coming up. The opti signal(cam driven), being compared to the CPS signal(crank driven) in the PCM. The PCM can't make sense of it so it throws the code.

I'm not going to tell you that is definitely your problem, but in my head it makes sense.

Mike
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Old 07-31-2018, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by pullngz View Post
Thanks for the explanation, it all made since, you have been on a long ride with this one.

Well to me, it sounds like you now have a good running car, with 2 codes popping up. Is this a true statement?

If so I have an out of the box theory. Since your car is running right and your still getting the P0336 code. First thing I would do is:

1) Verify the wiring to the CPS is good.
2) Verify the CPS is good
3) Degree the cam(this is going to require an adjustable timing set)
I suspect the center line is off, hence the code still coming up. The opti signal(cam driven), being compared to the CPS signal(crank driven) in the PCM. The PCM can't make sense of it so it throws the code.

I'm not going to tell you that is definitely your problem, but in my head it makes sense.

Mike
Well, maybe one of the mechanics did me a big favor on my car at a major expense to them in terms of labor hours. If they had parts from a roadmaster LT1, who knows. With regards to the wiring.
  1. The Firestone technician rewired my CPS to the PCM harness so I have fresh grafted wires in place.
  2. I had a free brand new crank sensor put on my car from Firestone even though I already had a new one! Same condition.
  3. I don't have the skills to degree whatever stock cam I have in my car. So, I need another option to make this work somehow. RallyBoy on another post claims he is getting the same codes from an Autozone optispark. Can his cam too be out of line?
The last shop I took my car to to get inspected supposedly reflashed my then PCM. The head mechanic mentioned my computer needing a reflash. Everyone says that only a dealership can flash your car with the stock program. Is it possible that they gave my car a custom tune? This is the only way I can explain how my car was able to pass inspection with a non-stock type optispark these past three years.
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Phoenix'97 View Post
..... What more can you tell me about it than what is typed on the website? Is the casing coolant and oil proof or do I need to glop some dielectric grease over the entire seam? You use a Hall effect pickup sensor which I read is the predecessor technology of older distributors, still reliable, but not the optical sensor technology used by the optispark. This set-up is still compatible with the computer? Do we have anyone on this forum who can attest to the reliability of your version of optispark? The biggest problem with the optispark is the optical sensor and now that you mention your version, I am left thinking if hall effect is actually the better way to go. I do like the price but Chinese ripoffs sell for the same price as well.
Originally Posted by pantera_efi View Post
Hi ALL, I truly DOUBT if one could BUY a DelCO "opti" as THEY "closed their doors" in 2004.

I do supply Delphi Purchasing items, OEM grade items.

My "opti" has a one year warranty, the same as WorldPac, the same "opti".

SO I ASK, "why pay more money for the SAME ITEM ? "

Lance
No answers to any of the questions asked.
what's the deal with the hal effect sensor?​​​​
That's the whole reason I bought mine, and while it is working flawlessly currently, I still have my doubts that it's not another optical sensor opti.

I could not see any real difference between the Chinese opti I removed and the one I got from you...
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Old 08-16-2018, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by fbody_brian View Post
No answers to any of the questions asked.
what's the deal with the hal effect sensor?​​​​
That's the whole reason I bought mine, and while it is working flawlessly currently, I still have my doubts that it's not another optical sensor opti.

I could not see any real difference between the Chinese opti I removed and the one I got from you...
Chances are EXTREMELY HIGH that you have the same old LED based optical sensor distributor and NOT a magnet based sensor which is what the Hall effect sensor is. If your optispark is working flawlessly then I am happy for you. I just did not appreciate the lack of response from pantera and using that old slogan that makes you wary about paying more when you can pay less for "quality".

I am happy as can be with my Petris Enterprises optispark AND I got fresh vacuum tubes with it. I bought the five year warranty, I DID NOT OPEN IT for fear of screwing up any special hand done work on their end and to void the warranty since they have security markings on the thing. I did glop dielectric grease all over the seams of the optispark and the casing that meets with the spark plug wire covers. I did have some coolant leaks during the expansion and contraction required to seat the gaskets and seal them but no signs of further leaking and no triggered codes! Plus, I had to request the two-tone black/red MSD style cap for my pin-drive optispark set-up which they honored my request and I thank them for it. The car runs so smooth and I honestly feel like I have a reliable ignition system now, paired with the rather overkill yet necessary dielectric grease treatment!
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Old 08-21-2018, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Phoenix'97 View Post
Chances are EXTREMELY HIGH that you have the same old LED based optical sensor distributor and NOT a magnet based sensor which is what the Hall effect sensor is. If your optispark is working flawlessly then I am happy for you. I just did not appreciate the lack of response from pantera and using that old slogan that makes you wary about paying more when you can pay less for "quality".
To say that I am not exactly thrilled about the opti I received would be an understatement. While it is working flawlessly, the whole reason I purchased it was because it was advertised as having a hal effect sensor, doing away with the problems caused by the aftermarket optical sensors. I could see 0 difference between it and the one it replaced.
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Old 08-21-2018, 12:18 PM
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Christ Almighty I hope my Delphi lasts awhile...
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Old 08-21-2018, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by SS RRR View Post
Christ Almighty I hope my Delphi lasts awhile...
me to....back when "thepartslady" was selling them years ago I bought one as a spare. I installed it about a year ago while chasing what I thought was a bad opti (turned out to be ICM). My old Opti is a AC Delco with about 75k mi on it and works fine but does let oil inside via the bearing. Very little oil which as yet never presented a problem. I would just clean the opti out but did notice over several years the opti did have some oil inside it and on optical sensor. I was so sure I found the ignition problem as soon as I opened the AC Delco up and saw the oil the last time so I installed my new Delphi only to find my problem was the ICM

Its the aftermarket crap roll now on Opti's
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Old 08-21-2018, 01:44 PM
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FWIW,, Hall effect sensors are pretty much the main method for timing in just about every High Performance car made,
nobody is still using the Optical sensors, the receiver diodes just don't like heat or vibration, and any contamination on the
transmit or receive diode face blows the signal.. Hall effects don't like a lot of dirt but they will also work inside the crank case and
heat doesn't affect them unless its extreme..

The IR laser timing looked like a great thing way back,,, but in actual use,, Not so much..

Pertonix originally used a optical trigger wheel I believe theirs all use a reluctor/Hall effect pair now.
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Old 08-21-2018, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by fbody_brian View Post
To say that I am not exactly thrilled about the opti I received would be an understatement. While it is working flawlessly, the whole reason I purchased it was because it was advertised as having a hal effect sensor, doing away with the problems caused by the aftermarket optical sensors. I could see 0 difference between it and the one it replaced.
All I can say is, as long as it is not throwing bizarre codes that would otherwise suggest that the engine should not be running, and as long as you didn't pay a premium price for it, you should be grateful. As long as your optispark is reliable...

In the process of playing games with optisparks I have spent a good amount of money that I am embarrassed to even guess at and even while having a one year warranty on the unit that was giving me codes P1357 and P0336, I had to spend another $400 to get my Petris Optispark and while I am happy to have my car back, she passed inspection and runs better than ever now, I am still trying to forgive myself that I had to go through two private mechanics, one who totally ripped me off and stole parts off of my car which I now have to use ebay to get back, and then the sheer amount of money it took to essentially fix an improperly installed optispark that got ruined by mechanic one, and to have two fuel injectors replaced. There is no way to prove that my computer was ever bad and I don't trust anything mechanic one told me as he tried to bankrupt me and screw me out of my car with unnecessary maintenance. I had the fuel pump replaced and the guy even left one of my evap lines unhooked. However, one bright side to this whole thing, I now have a high temp heat sleeve protecting my rewired harness to the PCM, thanks to Firestone technicians, and now that my fuel tank is hooked back up properly, my car does not have any lingering gasoline smell and my fuel economy seems to have improved a bit.
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Old 08-21-2018, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by pdxmotorhead View Post
FWIW,, Hall effect sensors are pretty much the main method for timing in just about every High Performance car made,
nobody is still using the Optical sensors, the receiver diodes just don't like heat or vibration, and any contamination on the
transmit or receive diode face blows the signal.. Hall effects don't like a lot of dirt but they will also work inside the crank case and
heat doesn't affect them unless its extreme..

The IR laser timing looked like a great thing way back,,, but in actual use,, Not so much..

Pertonix originally used a optical trigger wheel I believe theirs all use a reluctor/Hall effect pair now.
If the Pantera Optispark was converted into a successful hall effect distributor then you know everyone would be flocking to buy it just due to the added reliability of the more simple set-up. Unfortunately, the only way to get Hall Effect sensor technology or anything that uses magnetic sensors into our cars is to convert the ignition over to 24X. After emailing Torqhead about their ignition system they assured me it has been tested by offroading pickups using the LT1s and even the owner uses it on his daily driver Impala with no problems. I will see how long my Petris Optispark lasts because after the five year warranty I would think the distributor is on par with the AC Delco/Delphi opti. It would be really hard to make the case to switch to a 24X ignition system if the Petris Optispark is of the same quality as the factory Delco optispark!
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