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1997 Z28 Need Tuning, Running Out of Options. Lost Hope

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1997 Z28 Need Tuning, Running Out of Options. Lost Hope

Old 10-08-2018, 06:16 PM
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Default 1997 Z28 Need Tuning, Running Out of Options. Lost Hope

Dear All,

Have a pretty pristine 1997 Camaro Z28 that needs some work done on it before storage time is here (middle of November). Originally bought the car on December 5th, 2005 with 68,200 miles; as she sits today 75,650 miles. Car has not been started in about 10 1/2 months, so I've already charged the battery and left it on a trickle charger. I've also pulled the Opti coil ignition wire and unplugged the ignition coil itself and wire. Also took apart the fuel relay on the DS kick panel. Plan is to turn the car over for 5-6 seconds and do this 8-10 times to get oil pushed up through the motor. Car needs an oil change badly and a full extreme flush of the coolant system (brown sludge in there now) -> believe the green coolant and the old left over dex cool mixed. I had the system flushed but there must of been remains for it to be this bad. I also am throwing codes for AIR/EGR/EVAP (Such as P0135 - Heated Oxygen Sensor Heater Performance Bank 1 Sensor 1, P0172 - Fuel Trim System Rich Bank 1, P0410 Secondary Air Injection (AIR) System. I live in Nebraska and there is only one SHOP that can tune LT1's and they are hesitant to do so but I would need to buy some expensive tuning software called JET 14005 Dynamic Spectrum Turner Programmer. This software I was told is around $500 dollars through this shop but I've found it through WS6 Store for $375. I've called WS6 and talked with the owner and some tech guy named Josh? They suggested I give a buzz to Ed Wright and he told me about HPTuners and how he has never seen or worked with this JET system. He still uses his Tuner Cats software, he quoted me $350 before freight charges for him to look at the PCM. I am being told that this JET Tuner is all that is left for tuning LT1's (especially OBDII aka 96 and 97). I can pay $400 for the system and have it forever (hoping it is supported that long ha) and just pay to have someone tune my car for me on a dyno and while driving around. The Shop I'm leaning towards (thinking about it) is called The Shop Inc and he mandates that you have you own full tuning system before he will tune your LT1 meaning this $375-400 system. Am I being sold and told a bunch of bullshit or? I guess the LT1 is a really dying breed.
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Old 10-08-2018, 06:23 PM
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The $400 is just to get me in the door so he can tune my car that doesn't include his charge of $200 to remove the AIR/EGR/EVAP stuff out of the tune as well as adjust the fuel trim and oxygen sensors. I am looking at a $1000 when all I wanted was simple full diagnostics and tune done of my LT1.
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Old 10-08-2018, 06:51 PM
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You have a lean code what changes have you made the short and simple version?
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:32 PM
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Things Iíve changed.

Full CAI
under drive pulley for crank and OD for alternator
long tube headers pacesetter
3in off road y pipe pacesetter
removed all AIR tubing and capped headers
no cats / no mufflers / dumped before rear end
OTVC spark plug wires MSD / NGK plugs
built rear end / 373ís
full UMI suspension minus k member / upper and lower a arms
air foil for TB
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Slowroll View Post
You have a lean code what changes have you made the short and simple version?
see my reply, Iíve had a tune in the past down by someone else and only thing different from then to now is CAI / AirFoil then all new wires and plugs.

taking away the headers and y pipe everything else has less than 500-700 miles on it.
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:56 PM
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There are tuners who reprogram 96-97 as obd1 95s. You could try tunercat.
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Old 10-08-2018, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by blk97z28 View Post
Car has not been started in about 10 1/2 months, so I've already charged the battery and left it on a trickle charger. I've also pulled the Opti coil ignition wire and unplugged the ignition coil itself and wire. Also took apart the fuel relay on the DS kick panel. Plan is to turn the car over for 5-6 seconds and do this 8-10 times to get oil pushed up through the motor.
Are you using ethanol blended gasoline or pure non-ethanol gasoline? If the car has been sitting for 10 1/2 months I hope you added Sta-Bil fuel stabilizer before hand to address the phase separation issue of ethanol after it sits in gasoline for too long and ends up degrading into a gunky substance at the bottom of your fuel tank which screws up everything in your fuel system when sucked up into the fuel pump and sent to the injectors!

Second, why don't you let the car run for 20 minutes and get up to operating temperature?! To cold start the car 8-10 times with 5-6 seconds to run sounds like a recipe to foul the spark plugs. You mentioned you pulled the ignition components and fuel pump relay, are you planning to simply crank the car with no ignition and fuel? I suppose this will be okay but again, what is the point when the car has been sitting for so long?

Originally Posted by blk97z28 View Post
Car needs an oil change badly and a full extreme flush of the coolant system (brown sludge in there now) -> believe the green coolant and the old left over dex cool mixed. I had the system flushed but there must of been remains for it to be this bad.
Did you also flush the heater core? You need to get it flushed too as it will likely be sludged up, and if you don't drive the car in the colder fall and winter months, you will never know it is plugged!

Originally Posted by blk97z28 View Post
I also am throwing codes for AIR/EGR/EVAP (Such as P0135 - Heated Oxygen Sensor Heater Performance Bank 1 Sensor 1, P0172 - Fuel Trim System Rich Bank 1, P0410 Secondary Air Injection (AIR) System.
Originally Posted by blk97z28 View Post
Things I’ve changed.

removed all AIR tubing and capped headers
Well, we know why you are throwing codes for the missing AIR/EVAP system...

Originally Posted by blk97z28 View Post
I live in Nebraska and there is only one SHOP that can tune LT1's and they are hesitant to do so but I would need to buy some expensive tuning software called JET 14005 Dynamic Spectrum Turner Programmer. This software I was told is around $500 dollars through this shop but I've found it through WS6 Store for $375. I've called WS6 and talked with the owner and some tech guy named Josh? They suggested I give a buzz to Ed Wright and he told me about HPTuners and how he has never seen or worked with this JET system. He still uses his Tuner Cats software, he quoted me $350 before freight charges for him to look at the PCM. I am being told that this JET Tuner is all that is left for tuning LT1's (especially OBDII aka 96 and 97). I can pay $400 for the system and have it forever (hoping it is supported that long ha) and just pay to have someone tune my car for me on a dyno and while driving around. The Shop I'm leaning towards (thinking about it) is called The Shop Inc and he mandates that you have you own full tuning system before he will tune your LT1 meaning this $375-400 system. Am I being sold and told a bunch of bullshit or?
Honestly, I have local mechanics shops trying to rip me off and they are not shy about lying straight to my face like I am a total clueless moron who doesn't deserve his Trans Am. I would research what other systems are out there and if I were you, schedule a day to drive out of state to find a top-notch shop to do this kind of work on my car! I know you have other options so don't let this one and only local shop get the better of you, that is how they take advantage, especially being the only shop locally that will do some work but not all work, and this can be an expensive problem for you down the road!


Originally Posted by blk97z28 View Post
I guess the LT1 is a really dying breed.
The 5.7L LT1 is only a dying breed when the owners of such cars decide to give up on them and take the easy way out of swapping in an LS family engine. There are ways to get around the foreseeable problems in the future, if they stop making reliable optisparks then you can always switch over to the 24XX ignition system which uses the LS1 PCM, or for the water pumps, save the housing and convert it over to electric with an included warning indicator for when the electric pump fails, I can find more ways to salvage and upgrade these engines but such ideas stray from the purpose of this wonderful forum and site.
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Old 10-08-2018, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Phoenix'97 View Post
Are you using ethanol blended gasoline or pure non-ethanol gasoline? If the car has been sitting for 10 1/2 months I hope you added Sta-Bil fuel stabilizer before hand to address the phase separation issue of ethanol after it sits in gasoline for too long and ends up degrading into a gunky substance at the bottom of your fuel tank which screws up everything in your fuel system when sucked up into the fuel pump and sent to the injectors!

I use 91-93 Octane no ethanol and used a full
bottle of fuel stabilizer, filled up tires to max cold psi, park on carpet squares and have a painters tarp covering my whole storage garage floor to protect against moisture. Just bought a coverking custom made satin stretch car cover, should be here mid October.

Second, why don't you let the car run for 20 minutes and get up to operating temperature?! To cold start the car 8-10 times with 5-6 seconds to run sounds like a recipe to foul the spark plugs. You mentioned you pulled the ignition components and fuel pump relay, are you planning to simply crank the car with no ignition and fuel? I suppose this will be okay but again, what is the point when the car has been sitting for so long? Yes crank the car over with minimal load via disconnecting the fuel pump relay and stuff under the hood. Ls1tech threads seemed to suggest this would be like almost turning the motor by hand and would send oil through the passages. Yea not starting it over dry for 8-10 seconds. Instead doing 8-10 cycles / cranks with no load to help spread oil.


Did you also flush the heater core? You need to get it flushed too as it will likely be sludged up, and if you don't drive the car in the colder fall and winter months, you will never know it is plugged!

I didnít flush the system had it done when I had some other stuff done, but Iíll make sure the entire system is flushed this time.




Well, we know why you are throwing codes for the missing AIR/EVAP system...


This was originally tuned out then my pcm blew up when tuning my car once, I know the ls1 pcm you can save the entire thing and not fire it, so my tuner ďhackedĒ a used 96 SS and uploaded my tune into the PMC since then my car has never really ran right.
Honestly, I have local mechanics shops trying to rip me off and they are not shy about lying straight to my face like I am a total clueless moron who doesn't deserve his Trans Am. I would research what other systems are out there and if I were you, schedule a day to drive out of state to find a top-notch shop to do this kind of work on my car! I know you have other options so don't let this one and only local shop get the better of you, that is how they take advantage, especially being the only shop locally that will do some work but not all work, and this can be an expensive problem for you down the road!

I agree I am exploring all the options I can! I might just go through this shop to tune it up for storage then for any future work just rent an enclosed trailer and haul it down to Omaha about 60 miles away or Kansas City (3 hours away) for my future work?


The 5.7L LT1 is only a dying breed when the owners of such cars decide to give up on them and take the easy way out of swapping in an LS family engine. There are ways to get around the foreseeable problems in the future, if they stop making reliable optisparks then you can always switch over to the 24XX ignition system which uses the LS1 PCM, or for the water pumps, save the housing and convert it over to electric with an included warning indicator for when the electric pump fails, I can find more ways to salvage and upgrade these engines but such ideas stray from the purpose of this wonderful forum and site.
See all my response in bold! Thanks for all of your input!
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Old 10-08-2018, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Slowroll View Post
There are tuners who reprogram 96-97 as obd1 95s. You could try tunercat.
dont you need an OBD1 PCM to make this work? You can ďtrickĒ an OBDII to be OBDI can you and vice versa?
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Old 10-08-2018, 11:38 PM
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Why do you need it tuned? I see nothing in your sig that would justify tuning the car except for the gearing and maybe the deleted cats.

Last edited by ACE1252; 10-08-2018 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 10-08-2018, 11:48 PM
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Oh, looks like you deleted a ton of emissions stuff. Why did you delete all the emissions? I don't think there is power to be gained by nuking them. To me, makes no sense to do that on a stockish engine.

Heck, I still have all the emissions with a CC503 in the car.

Last edited by ACE1252; 10-08-2018 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 12:49 AM
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There might be a chance that the used 96 SS PCM may have a bad chip and that could be enough to hurt any stored program on it. However, there could be other reasons for why your car isn't running right, some component may not be functioning properly and that could be enough to make you think it was a bad program flash. All you can do is try to narrow down the symptoms and slowly replace what appears to be the problem and go from there. I would hate to have the car flashed with a new program when certain engine components are not functioning properly and this plays into getting a bad program as a result.

Well, if you can trust this shop with a tune-up then my best wishes to you. As far as the programming for next year, you have plenty of time to communicate with reputable shops that are not too far away to have your car hauled to. You have time to talk to the guys on this site and anyone who may have experience with the shops you may be interested in. I would want to make sure that I am taking my car to a shop that has worked on 5.7L LT1 engines before and are not shy about custom programming for them.
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Phoenix'97 View Post
you can always switch over to the 24XX ignition system which uses the LS1 PCM
question from the ignorant
so by replacing the opti with a 24X like system including the new PCM...is that all there is as to the hindrance of tuning an LT1? i have no familiarity with tuning, but because certain LT1's (mine) run OBDII and have an opti, that throws diagnostic shops for a complete loop? the LS system is that much different because of the PCM and ignition software wise?
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by ACE1252 View Post
Heck, I still have all the emissions with a CC503 in the car.
Deleting a catalytic converter(s) in favor of an off-road y-pipe will make a huge difference even on a stock engine.
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:38 AM
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(threadjack alert)
Originally Posted by SS RRR View Post
Deleting a catalytic converter(s) in favor of an off-road y-pipe will make a huge difference even on a stock engine.
If your existing cars are otherwise in good nick and not plugged, Its a gain of 5-7 RWHP. Hardly worth deleting them when looking at the environment.
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Old 10-09-2018, 09:43 AM
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Environment is a completely different topic. Power wise that isn't close to being the case. Plenty of cars with bolt-ons (not rockers) and ORY's were in the mid and high 12's at 105 to 107mph at sea level tracks when people used to actually race these things way back when. In all actuality deleting the cats for either a test pipe for OBDI or a y-pipe for OBDII cars was the best bang for the buck.
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by SS RRR View Post
In all actuality deleting the cats for either a test pipe for OBDI or a y-pipe for OBDII cars was the best bang for the buck.
OBD2: Zero HP and zero tq gain (dyno)

EFI Live car:

There are many other dyno runs that show the same thing. You'll pick up more with headers than deleting cats.

/end threadjack
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:18 AM
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for what you have done, I would think a mail order tune would be totally fine and way cheaper than a dyno tune.

FWIW the shop inc has built some badass cars, namely kyle from 1320 video had his twin turbo c5 built there and his buddy "sketchy vert" also had his twin turbo trans am built there. I have no personal experience with the shop but they seem to have a good rep in the ls world
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by ACE1252 View Post
Why do you need it tuned? I see nothing in your sig that would justify tuning the car except for the gearing and maybe the deleted cats.
I am throwing codes for AIR/EGR/EVAP (Such as P0135 - Heated Oxygen Sensor Heater Performance Bank 1 Sensor 1, P0172 - Fuel Trim System Rich Bank 1, P0410 Secondary Air Injection (AIR) System. I've replaced both front oxygen sensor with GMparts Direct OEM replacements and even switched them from side to side and still throwing codes. These codes have always came and gone, I didn't splice any wires but I did use the extended lengthened type wires that are plug and play O2 extenders.

For my first tune after my headers all I had done was: Tuned out rear cats, tuned out rear O2's, raised my rev limiter, made my speedo like unlimited like 300mph or something stupid ha, adjusted shift points, adjusted shift pressure and leveled out air / fuel ratio.

Tuning my PCM once, car shut off and ruined the PCM. So the tuner bought a used 96 SS PCM and uploaded my tune in that PCM and even since then it has never ran right. After my gears I had the speedo calibrated correctly within a MPH or so, and changed gear ratios to 373s.
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ACE1252 View Post
Oh, looks like you deleted a ton of emissions stuff. Why did you delete all the emissions? I don't think there is power to be gained by nuking them. To me, makes no sense to do that on a stockish engine.

Heck, I still have all the emissions with a CC503 in the car.
Well technically the only emissions / related stuff I've removed are - Cats / mufflers / AIR (to clean up engine bay). This shop wants to tune out the EGR since I will remove it when I drop the motor and also wants to tune out the EVAP since I'll probably remove that too. I live in Nebraska so no emissions here. Forgot to add I had my injectors checked and all that was good, I did a Walbro 255 pump with upgraded plug and play wiring harness.
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