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LT1 Optispark Electronics Replacement


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#1 Danno74Z

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Posted 14 January 2004 - 09:20 PM

I have some excellent news for all LT1 engine owner’s who are having Optispark related problems. As most LT1 owners can attest the Optispark is the Achilles heel to this otherwise excellent power plant. I have been in contact with one of the engineers (Peter Visser) at a company in Virginia called Delteq. Delteq currently has a product that removes all the high voltage from the Optispark module. This high voltage over time can cause arcing and then Optispark failures. This “stage-1” product uses Delteq design electronics along with a 4-coil pack instead of the one coil currently used. The optical sensors however remain intact. Delteq’s Stage 2 product, which will be released in April, will replace the optical components with a more robust housing and Hall effect sensor.

Stage 2 is not inexpensive and I think it will run about $800 but it is an alternative to just replacing the defective Optispark. Stage 2 if I'm not mistaken will include all of the stage 1 electronics.

Below is some email that I had with Mr. Visser.

Dan,
> >
> > Our Stage 2 system replaces the factory Opti-Spark sensors and
> > encoder disk with a different sensor and encoder. So why is this
> > any better or reliable than the stock system? Because we are
> > replacing the optical sensors with Hall Effect sensors. Hall
> > Effect sensors work by detecting magnetic flux differences when a
> > ferrous target is passed near them. Unlike an optical sensor,
> > they are not susceptible to dirt, moisture, or any other physical
> > "masking" of the sensor. Additionally, our sensor unit is sealed
> > much better than GM's. If GM had sealed their opti-spark sensors
> > as well as they seal all their other ignition components (i.e.
> > ignition modules), we probably wouldn't have had as much of a
> > problem with the opti-spark sensors. Then again, the sensors used
> > by GM were made entirely by Mitsubishi! I guess they got a good
> > deal on them... :)
> >
> > Our website does not list too much about the Stage 2 yet simply
> > because it is not yet available. We are doing in-house testing on
> > the Stage 2 sensors now, and we anticipate them being ready for
> > purchase sometime in April.
> >
> > Our Stage 1 system is in-stock for immediate shipment. Our
> > website is being updated with pictures of all the kits (Vette,
> > Camaro, Impala).
> >
> > The Stage 1 kit does not require that you remove or modify your
> > opti-spark. The factory Opti-Spark sensors are used, providing
> > they are in good shape. Incidentally, the second design Opti-
> > Spark sensor is sealed much better than the first design. As a
> > result, we have not seen many failures of the second design opti
> > sensors that were caused by a bad seal. The most common failure
> > point of both opti-spark units appears to be when the cap and
> > rotor become worn, and a high voltage arc jumps from the rotor to
> > the distributor housing, which sometimes kills the sensors.
> > Eliminating just the cap and rotor from the equation with our
> > Stage 1 kit seems to help the longevity of the system greatly by
> > removing the possibility of arc-over into the sensor.
> >
> > Thanks for your interest in our products. If you have any other
> > questions, please feel free to ask. Also, if you would like me to
> > email you some pictures of the systems installed on vehicles
> > (before they are posted on our web site), just let me know.
> >
> > Best regards,
> > Pete
> > --------------------------------------------------
> > Peter Visser
> > Mechanical Engineer
> > DI Development, makers of "Delteq"
> > 2758 Viking Drive
> > Oak Hill, Virginia 20171
> > Phone: (703)476-3566
> > Fax: (703)476-1506
> > pvisser@cox.net
> > http://www.delteq.com

#2 Muskrat

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 01:49 AM

Another Optispark replacement is made by Dynotech Engineering, to replace the Gen1 and Gen2 versions of the GM opti.

http://dynotech-eng.com/dynaspark.htm

The cost for both the Gen1 and Gen2 Dynaspark module is $599.

If you are intersted in using your stock optispark sensor package, but want to get the high voltage out of the unit, you can switch to LS1 coils here:

http://bailey-eng.com/LTCC.html

To use the LTCC setup, you buy the LTCC box and wiring harness for $399, and from there buy 8 LS1 coils, plug wires, and figure out how to mount your coils.


For anyone interested in excellent general information about the workings of the GM optispark, the December 2003 issue of GM High Tech Performance has an article thatis an excellent read.
Mike
72 240z L28ET T04s/T3, MSNSe w/ WBo2, KYBs ST springs, 3.545 R200, PDK brace
*turbo swap in progress*
94 240sx - daily

#3 Danno74Z

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 05:16 AM

Mike,

The LTCC product seems from all accounts that I have read to be an excellent product and Mr. Bailey is excellent to deal with. For me (and this is just my opinion) the $399 price is a little steep as one needs to locate 8 LS1 coils. Personally I would not use used coils and a set of new ones run around $200. One still needs to fabricate a bracket to mount all the coils etc. I wrote to Dynaspark and never received a response so I have written them off. Their product is nothing more the a direct Opti replacement module put in a nice anodized case which you pay for. I think it is way over priced for what you get but again that is my opinion. To their credit the other two offering at least move the high voltage out and away from the water pump and offer multiple coils.

Why the hell GM ever used the Optispark in the first place especially in that location is incredible but that is a dead horse subject.

#4 gramercyjam

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 09:33 AM

A deadhorse subject perhaps, but I had no idea until I tried to change my plug wires on my '96 Vette over New Years! A root canal would have been less painful.
John B
73 FP 240Z

#5 Guest_Your Car is Slow_*

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 04:02 PM

Id planned on a Haltech E11 setup with a crank trigger sensor and some LS1 coil packs....eliminate it all :D

#6 Danno74Z

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 08:09 PM

Sounds like you have very deeeep pockets. Your looking at $2000 minimum for that system and how do you plan to run the engine in sequential mode? To my knowledge you need a cam sensor for that. The Optispark module has a duel Optical wheel system that determines cam position and crank position. Putting a crank trigger on is easy but how do you plan on getting the cam position signal to the Haltech if you dump the Optispark? It is a catch 22.

Like I said, LTCC and Delteq are relatively low cost fixes to a mediocre ignition system.

Danno74Z

#7 Guest_Your Car is Slow_*

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Posted 15 January 2004 - 11:14 PM

The optical sensor is what is the weak point on the opti itself...whats the point of using those other units if you still maintain the opti itself(LTCC).

They dynaspark option is basically a 600 dollar opti with only a year warranty.

Last I checked..autozone had a lifetime replacement warranty option on the opti..id rather swapem out for free for life..than spend 600 bucks on that unit.

I dont quite get the "dual optical wheel" (then again I never studied the opti a whole lot). however its only driven by the one gear comin off the cam...so how does it determine the crank position?

My motor is a 93..and Im not a big fan of "burning chips" for replacement..so replacing the PCM with a standalone EMS was a logical choice in my design.

#8 Pop N Wood

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 05:34 AM

Interesting discussion. Here is one more option to, they claim, make the early Optispark's bulletproof.

http://www.corvettef...om/howto/16758/

Electromotive also makes direct coil replacement units. I think they are rather pricey, though, and don't tie into the stock computer, nor do they replace the optispark's optical unit feeding the stock computer.

#9 Danno74Z

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 10:42 AM

Pop N Wood,

The article you make reference to converts an early style Optispark module into the "later design" type. Better and cheaper then trying to change over the entire opti system system but hardly bulletproof. The only way to make the LT1 Opti system bulletproof is to change it out as
Your car is slow suggests. Not a very cost effective thing to do especially when a used LT1 engine costs less then the computer management system you are going to put on it.

Both systems whether it is the LTCC or Delteq removes the high voltage from the optispark module. Very good since the Opti sits under the water pump. Delteq goes one step further which I think is great by also changing out the optical sensor with a Hall effect sensor which is more robust and a better sealed unit. Unfortunately the module is physically located in the same location as the original OEM unit. You can thank GM for that.

Danno74Z

#10 Pop N Wood

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 11:20 AM

All I know about the the optispark I learned on this site so I am far from an expert. But there have been past posting that said removing the high voltage from the optispark was pointless since the sensor can still be corrupted. Looks like Your Car is Slow said about as much. I posted the link as much for the discussion of optispark problems as anything else. Sounds like no matter what you do, you need to properly seal the early units or even your kits are a waste of money.

Also Electromotive sells the direct ignition by itself, independent of the fuel management system. I don't know what the price of the ignition alone is, but I imagine it is significantly less than the full TEC3 system. And from what I can see, it does the same thing as the "stage 1" kits in your original links, including new coil packs.

#11 Guest_Your Car is Slow_*

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 11:53 AM

It was the electromotive kit (with the crank trigger) that I had planned on running with the Haltech setup. Although as you pointed out...its quite expensive.

Id still like to know more about this "crank vs cam" position sensor dillyo..as I have no idea how the opti measures this?

Might as well just get a complete LS1...I dont have a whole lot invested in the LT1 motor at this point.

#12 mas28O

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 12:24 PM

Might as well just get a complete LS1...I dont have a whole lot invested in the LT1 motor at this point.

It is never too late to change


1972 240z
LS1 swap now 1999 LS1/4l60e SOLD
1993 RX7 LS2/t56 550rwhp 10.5@136mph NA texas mile 196MPH
Now turbo LS9e allowed maximum of 500 x 100 pixels.[/u][/i]"

#13 Tim240z

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 12:36 PM

The only thing that is keeping from even considering the LS1 at this point is the price of the software to edit the PCM. On the other hand, it is absolutely not uncommon for a LT1 to go 200,000 mikes with no Opti problems. A crap shoot I suppose.
Tim

#14 mas28O

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 12:41 PM

I never did have problems with my optispark. When I put in a new cam I also put in a new optispark $220 from Summit. I never drove my car in the rain either. As long as you have the vented opti then you will be ok.
1972 240z
LS1 swap now 1999 LS1/4l60e SOLD
1993 RX7 LS2/t56 550rwhp 10.5@136mph NA texas mile 196MPH
Now turbo LS9e allowed maximum of 500 x 100 pixels.[/u][/i]"

#15 Guest_Your Car is Slow_*

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Posted 16 January 2004 - 12:44 PM

Ah..plenty of buddies around here have access to LS1 and LT1 Edit..so tuning isnt that biga deal!




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