LT1 Based Engine Tech 1993-1997 LT1/LT4 Engine Related

Best Opti????

Old 02-07-2019, 10:01 PM
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Best Opti????

Hey guys I'm fixing to put in a new water pump on my 95 Camaro Z/28 and I figured I might as well change out the Opti. From yalls experience what's the best Opti I can get for my car???
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Old 02-07-2019, 11:01 PM
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Re: Best Opti????

Have an MSD and my car runs great!
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:23 AM
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Re: Best Opti????

I recently had to replace my Opti and I ended up having to do a bit of research to find something suitable. There are tons of horror stories out there concerning 'parts store' and cheap rebuilt units lasting for a very short time. Based on this site as well as others I narrowed the choices down to a rebuilt unit from Petris Enterprises or the 'Opti-Doctor' on eBay. The MSD units have a bad reputation as well, though their caps and rotors are considered to be good. I ended up going with one from eBay - it uses a new Mitsubishi optical sensor with a MSD cap and rotor. This allowed me to also take advantage of a vented cap, something the 94's didn't have. The seller also sends you a video of your unit prior to shipping;

https://www.ebay.com/str/OptiDoctor?...p2047675.l2563

I only replaced the Opti late last year so I don't have a ton of miles on it yet, but it's been smooth sailing so far.
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Old 02-08-2019, 07:57 PM
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Re: Best Opti????

Hi Kyleisag93,

In my opinion the optispark is the crux of LT-1 reliability and should be given your best shot what ever you do. If you have a working opti now you may not want to change it at all. I have had several opti failures and they often leave you dead on the road (so to speak) needing a tow truck. The first failure I had ,I didn't know about Camaroz28.com and the car was at the shop for three months while a well respected mechanic scratched his head trying to fix it!

I think Pontiacstogo as a good idea with the OptiDoctor on eBay and I have checked the feedback at the site and it is very highly rated. The best rated OEM optisparks are not available. All other opti units available today have folks who love them and folks who hate them!

Personally I have a Delphi unit that I bought after my second Summit Racing opti died within 24,000 miles. I can't say that the Delphi will last longer cause I have not driven the car enough to know but I am hopeful. But just in case I have a spare opti on the shelf and the shelf is in a dark temperature controlled room and locked (it's a condition my doctor calls optispark anxiety)!

Good luck with your car!
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:03 PM
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Re: Best Opti????

Originally Posted by kyleisag93 View Post
Hey guys I'm fixing to put in a new water pump on my 95 Camaro Z/28 and I figured I might as well change out the Opti. From yalls experience what's the best Opti I can get for my car???
Are you kidding? People would pay good money to have your working Optispark right now if it has been reliable. The best Opti you could ever buy is the one that came with the car in 95. All the rest are second rate.
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Old 02-09-2019, 08:35 AM
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Re: Best Opti????

Originally Posted by GaryDoug View Post
Are you kidding? People would pay good money to have your working Optispark right now if it has been reliable. The best Opti you could ever buy is the one that came with the car in 95. All the rest are second rate.
I had serious problems with my '97 Trans Am WS6 when my opti crapped out thanks to an oil leak from the timing cover water pump hole seal. The mechanics shops never fixed it even though I pointed out the leak over the course of three years. Suffice it to say, I went through a NAPA optispark and some other local performance store brand Opti, a non-MSD, and both were bad, the second one tore itself apart thanks to the mechanic moron who was supposed to know these engines, and the NAPA was throwing the notorious bad sensor code even though the car would run! What solved the problem for good? Petris Enterprises Optispark, it is pricey but in my opinion VERY WORTH IT.

This business has worked with Chevrolet Performance and they specialize in Corvette Performance. The owner even did me a favor by taking my request to use the two-tone red and black distributor cap instead of the solid black one, since they are color coded for pin-drive and cam-drive optisparks. You can pick if you want a five-year warranty with yours which, I did, and you automatically get a brand new vacuum tube assembly with metal filter which they recommend checking every three years.

I have thrown no codes with this optispark, it actually has my engine running far better than it ever has, and for now I am happy with it! In the future I have plans to upgrade to the torque head system using the LS1 PCM but for now this optispark seems damn reliable! Make sure to check your timing cover seals for the crank and water pump to ensure they are not leaking and if they are, REPLACE THEM!

One last bit of advice, do not take apart the Petris Optispark, it will void your warranty AND the owner hand-builds these units so you don't want to mess up whatever he may have done with the internal seal. For an added bit of peace-of-mind, you can coat the external cap and distributor seals with dielectric grease to truly make this distributor as water and coolant and oil protected as you possibly can! That is what I did because I had to install them myself twice and I don't want to do it again! I hope this helps!

Last edited by Phoenix'97; 02-09-2019 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 02-09-2019, 08:42 AM
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Re: Best Opti????

OP

if your current working Opti is a AC Delco, keep it. If it has 100k mi on it just buy a MSD cap & rotor kit for it. Like any distributor those are wear items. Use blue loc-tite on the rotor screws and dialectic grease on the large O ring seals of the cap
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:50 PM
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Re: Best Opti????

Originally Posted by Phoenix'97 View Post
I had serious problems with my '97 Trans Am WS6 when my opti crapped out thanks to an oil leak from the timing cover water pump hole seal. The mechanics shops never fixed it even though I pointed out the leak over the course of three years. Suffice it to say, I went through a NAPA optispark and some other local performance store brand Opti, a non-MSD, and both were bad, the second one tore itself apart thanks to the mechanic moron who was supposed to know these engines, and the NAPA was throwing the notorious bad sensor code even though the car would run! What solved the problem for good? Petris Enterprises Optispark, it is pricey but in my opinion VERY WORTH IT.

This business has worked with Chevrolet Performance and they specialize in Corvette Performance. The owner even did me a favor by taking my request to use the two-tone red and black distributor cap instead of the solid black one, since they are color coded for pin-drive and cam-drive optisparks. You can pick if you want a five-year warranty with yours which, I did, and you automatically get a brand new vacuum tube assembly with metal filter which they recommend checking every three years.

I have thrown no codes with this optispark, it actually has my engine running far better than it ever has, and for now I am happy with it! In the future I have plans to upgrade to the torque head system using the LS1 PCM but for now this optispark seems damn reliable! Make sure to check your timing cover seals for the crank and water pump to ensure they are not leaking and if they are, REPLACE THEM!

One last bit of advice, do not take apart the Petris Optispark, it will void your warranty AND the owner hand-builds these units so you don't want to mess up whatever he may have done with the internal seal. For an added bit of peace-of-mind, you can coat the external cap and distributor seals with dielectric grease to truly make this distributor as water and coolant and oil protected as you possibly can! That is what I did because I had to install them myself twice and I don't want to do it again! I hope this helps!
Glad to finally see some feedback on here regarding the Petris. I've been suggesting that unit for a couple years, based on the good feedback on the Corvette forums. But no one ever came back to tell us if they tried it, and how it worked.

I wouldn't buy an MSD Opti if it was the last source on the planet. I will never understand how they can build so many excellent products, but have had so many problems with the Opti.... fix one problem and create a new one.

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Old 02-10-2019, 10:56 AM
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Re: Best Opti????

Originally Posted by Injuneer View Post


Glad to finally see some feedback on here regarding the Petris. I've been suggesting that unit for a couple years, based on the good feedback on the Corvette forums. But no one ever came back to tell us if they tried it, and how it worked.

I wouldn't buy an MSD Opti if it was the last source on the planet. I will never understand how they can build so many excellent products, but have had so many problems with the Opti.... fix one problem and create a new one.

I was given the option to buy an MSD but I read all about quality problems that happened after so many successful units were made in the beginning. What won me over to the Petris was the description about it using a "Mitsubishi grade" sensor. It may not exclusively use the Mitsubishi sensor of the original AC Delco factory units but if the LT1 PCM is happy with it and can read the data no different, you by then officially have an effective and reliable replacement for the OEM units. This is something we all have been looking for!
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:11 PM
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Re: Best Opti????

How many miles do you have on the Petris?

Are Delphi optisparks no longer available? That seems to be the case. I'm not even sure if you can get remanufactured AC/Delco units anymore. Summit Racing doesn't even list them and they seem to be in very short supply on Rock Auto.
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:46 PM
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Re: Best Opti????

Originally Posted by BTC View Post
How many miles do you have on the Petris?

Are Delphi optisparks no longer available? That seems to be the case. I'm not even sure if you can get remanufactured AC/Delco units anymore. Summit Racing doesn't even list them and they seem to be in very short supply on Rock Auto.
I personally installed it late last July. I have been through plenty of rain storms and I even drive my Trans Am in the heart of winter. This distributor is proving reliable, and it helps to have exterior seams covered in dielectric grease.

Pretty much any "Delphi" brand is remanufactured and they don't use the original high quality Mitsubishi sensors. Delphi may have stopped offering them for remanufacture! From what I have read, quality is just as bad as buying them from an autoparts store. The sensors may fail after a few months or you will get the dreaded bad sensor code of missing low/hi signal reference even if the engine starts up and runs! I was desperate for a reliable optispark nearly a year ago and I had to get my car reliable since I am going to college and trying to work full-time. So far, so good.

Last edited by Phoenix'97; 02-10-2019 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 02-10-2019, 06:24 PM
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Re: Best Opti????

Interesting. I always considered Delphi to be equivalent to OEM and I thought they used the Mitsubishi optical sensor.
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:39 PM
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Re: Best Opti????

Originally Posted by BTC View Post
Interesting. I always considered Delphi to be equivalent to OEM and I thought they used the Mitsubishi optical sensor.
Not anymore. Mitsubishi likely discontinued this sensor, it's been well over twenty years and ignition systems have certainly improved! I looked at many forums regarding the Delphi optis and they stopped making them new and went into the business of refurbishing and likely sourcing the same cam sensors that are equipped on autostore brand optis. Then people start reporting the higher failure rates and exchanges and then finally gave up on them or in extreme cases switched their ignition over to LS1 technology, torque head 24xx.

If Petris Enterprises managed to find higher quality sensors, I think the new OEM replacement should be awarded to Petris Enterprises! They even have the cost of a Delco/Delphi optispark. Time will tell about the reliability since I won't have any major engine work done for a good five years or so. Now, I don't worry about the distributor, my worries have now switched over to my cylinder heads and I may have a bad block now that I see where a small coolant leak is coming from. Thanks Jasper! This story is for another thread.
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:51 PM
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Re: Best Opti????

Everyone keeps talking about the Mitsubishi sensor as if it's the only part inside the Opti. There is more stuff there that is far more likely to fail. Of the 5 I have repaired, only one had a bad optical sensor circuit. The rest were faulty amplifiers and power connections. As far as I can tell, the real strength of the OEM Opti was in the amplifier circuitry and it's ASIC design, all of which was encapsulated in clear epoxy, unlike most others.
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:58 PM
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Re: Best Opti????

I've had a Petris since last September. If you talk to them directly, you'll find out how serious they are about their product and quality control. Stay away from MSD opti's!
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