You can be forgiven for being unsure what Optispark is, what Optispark does, why it might be important, and whether or not a full Optispark delete is in the cards for you. Optispark is incredibly controversial as many people feel that it is subpar. Actually, what many people say is it is *insert your favorite expletive*.
It is not popular yet it still remains a common system in place on a fair few Chevys. Including some immensely popular Corvettes. While it is no longer used that doesn’t exactly help people who are still stuck with this inferior and outdated system.
At the very least, the fact Chevy scrapped it is a testament to how utterly garbage most people find it to be. This blog post will cover everything you need to know about Optispark including the possibility of a full Optispark delete.
What Is Optispark?
Optispark is an optically triggered ignition distributor that is intended to be incredibly quick and reliable compared to traditional ignition methods. The actual tech behind the Optispark is pretty clever and if it had been properly utilized this article would be completely different, if not entirely irrelevant. Alas, it is not.
The Optispark uses a three-hundred-and-sixty rotating disc that correlates to a degree of rotation on the crankshaft. Now, the Opitspark can identify the exact location of the crankshaft at all moments and can therefore accurately decide the right time for the ignition injector to fire. Clever, right?
Why Did Chevy Implement Optispark?
The Optispark technology mentioned in the above section is in essence an incredibly accurate and reliable timing mechanism. And in fairness, if it had been implemented as was intended that would be a fair representation of the functionality of the Optispark.
Chevy regularly tries to innovate and create new and exciting bits of equipment that can nudge their cars ahead of the pack. And to be honest they regularly succeed. It is strange that they would try something like the Optispark in the corvette as there is little room for error in that customer base. They are paying a lot of money for a working car, not one full of inherently flawed gimmicks.
Why Do People Hate Optispark?
We have mentioned the Optispark system being flawed but not how. That’s because how it is flawed and why it is hated are one and the same. The idea of the Optispark is excellent it is the implementation by General Motors that is absolutely horrendous. Firstly, the Optispark gets stuck or jams regularly for a few reasons.
One, its position within the car means it gets the full brunt of all the heat and debris that is generated when driving. Especially at high speed. Furthermore, given it is positioned under major components that are prone to generating or attracting moisture and the Optispark is not sealed it is constantly corroded by moisture right from the get-go.
Given the Optispark, by default, plays a major part in the ignition system and the fact that it breaks down easily and is incredibly unreliable it is natural that people loathe the system. Furthermore, if GM had spent a little more money on the system to protect it from the elements and debris we likely wouldn’t be here, it feels like a slap in the face to their customer base a little.
Are There Some Good Qualities to Optispark?
Sure, when it is working it’s super effective and actually most Chevy owners would argue that it holds up to the brand standard. However, the lack of reliability is not enough for most people to overcome. If you are lucky enough to have never had a problem then chances are you would think quite highly of the Optispark. At least until it starts to corrode on you, then an Optispark delete will start coming to mind.
Which Chevy Vehicles Came With Optispark As Standard?
The Optispark ignition system was used on all Chevy LT1, LT4, and L99 engines. This means you will find the Optispark system on everything from the Camaro and Corvette to the Trans Am. It is not a minor problem as it affects a huge amount of their franchise-defining vehicles.
How Do You Perform A Full Optispark Delete?
If you want to do an Optispark delete you will need to physically remove the system and swap it out with a Delphi or AC Delco Opti. It will even entrail replacing timing cover seals and potentially rotator screws. So, you can definitely do so but you do so at your own risk. It should be mentioned that there are methods to seal up the Optispark with different coils and silicone gel.
However, that is not something everyone would feel comfortable doing. It is also worth mentioning that the benefit from swapping out the Optispark is going to be very limited compared to the benefit you were getting when it was working fine. Chevy will send you a replacement for about 70 bucks so you are probably better off simply replacing the Optispark and letting the new one run its course.
Are There Any Risks With An Optispark Delete?
If you try to delete/remove the Optispark system yourself you may run the risk of annoying your Chevy dealer voiding some kind of warranty. Additionally, if you remove the Opti yourself and replace it yourself you may just damage it worse in some other capacity. It is best to simply request a new Optispark from Chevy and pay Chevy to install it for you.
Final Thoughts On The Optispark Delete
Hopefully, you found this article informative and that you now have a good idea about what your options are. It is best to discuss with your local dealer if you aren’t comfortable doing the Optispark delete yourself.
It is a little annoying that you are basically stuck with the system, especially as it is so universally disliked, but to be honest when it is working it works great so you will probably be happier biting the 70-dollar bullet and getting a new one. In theory, a properly fitted Optispark should last about 100k miles. So, if you are sure to secure it correctly it is not going to be an overly repetitive problem.