They had "FBI chips" too?

Grand_87_national

I lika... do da cha cha.
#1
So, I was at a small car show in Faucett, MO over the weekend when a gentleman, likely in his upper 60's approaches me. He walks up to my engine bay, peeks in for a moment, slides his aviators down over his nose, and proclaims "I've had a few of these myself". I quickly sat down my spray bottle of McGuire's quick wax next to the drivers door I was wiping down and draped my microfiber cloth over the top of it.... I want to hear what this cat has to say. "Oh, really? That's awesome." I told him. He replies, "Yep, this was back in the early 90's. You may or may not know, but GM sold a bunch of these to the FBI when they were new." I definitely rolled my eyes, as a knee-jerk reaction, but I had sunglasses on so he didn't notice. He continued, "Well, I had a close friend who worked in the shop for them, so he knew all the tricks. I had him pull some strings and get a hold of one of the 'FBI chips' for me. I ran that chip in my car for years, and you wouldn't believe how much harder it runs with that chip. Funny story about that: I had another friend with a turbo Buick and I switched his chip to the 'FBI chip' without his knowledge, and it nearly killed him!" he exclaimed with a laugh. "I put that chip in there and the first time he drove it, he did 360's in the intersection. He brought the car back to me and said 'I don't know what you did, but you need to undo it.'"

We continued to chat for about 20 minutes or so, and he was an incredibly friendly fellow, but he might have been just a little full of s**t.
 

mr84ss

Active Member
#2
So, I was at a small car show in Faucett, MO over the weekend when a gentleman, likely in his upper 60's approaches me. He walks up to my engine bay, peeks in for a moment, slides his aviators down over his nose, and proclaims "I've had a few of these myself". I quickly sat down my spray bottle of McGuire's quick wax next to the drivers door I was wiping down and draped my microfiber cloth over the top of it.... I want to hear what this cat has to say. "Oh, really? That's awesome." I told him. He replies, "Yep, this was back in the early 90's. You may or may not know, but GM sold a bunch of these to the FBI when they were new." I definitely rolled my eyes, as a knee-jerk reaction, but I had sunglasses on so he didn't notice. He continued, "Well, I had a close friend who worked in the shop for them, so he knew all the tricks. I had him pull some strings and get a hold of one of the 'FBI chips' for me. I ran that chip in my car for years, and you wouldn't believe how much harder it runs with that chip. Funny story about that: I had another friend with a turbo Buick and I switched his chip to the 'FBI chip' without his knowledge, and it nearly killed him!" he exclaimed with a laugh. "I put that chip in there and the first time he drove it, he did 360's in the intersection. He brought the car back to me and said 'I don't know what you did, but you need to undo it.'"

We continued to chat for about 20 minutes or so, and he was an incredibly friendly fellow, but he might have been just a little full of s**t.
Lol or he mightve been telling the truth. Don't police chips in cars make them run harder than a pedestrian car?

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Grand_87_national

I lika... do da cha cha.
#3
Lol or he mightve been telling the truth. Don't police chips in cars make them run harder than a pedestrian car?

Sent from my LGMS631 using Tapatalk
First, we would have to establish that they did, in fact sell Grand Nationals to the FBI. I've heard all the rumors, but I have yet to hear or read it from a credible source. Maybe he was telling the truth, but I have my doubts.
 

Anthony P

Active Member
#4
Do a search and educate yourself. don't be so quick to dismiss...

FBI, DEA, CT state police all had unmarked turbo Regals.

many were maroon....some were tan in body color.

About 12 years ago, G Body parts had a tan TB former DEA car and did a 4-wheel disc brake conversion to advertise the product.

here is a SPID label from a CT law enforcement TB
HP 435192_CT police.jpeg
 

Grand_87_national

I lika... do da cha cha.
#5
Do a search and educate yourself. don't be so quick to dismiss...

FBI, DEA, CT state police all had unmarked turbo Regals.

many were maroon....some were tan in body color.

About 12 years ago, G Body parts had a tan TB former DEA car and did a 4-wheel disc brake conversion to advertise the product.

here is a SPID label from a CT law enforcement TB
View attachment 328491
Solid info, are you confirming that they had "FBI chips", or just that the government used turbo Buicks for different agencies? Again, I don't know... but that conversation was a first for me.
 

Grand_87_national

I lika... do da cha cha.
#7
I know there was a police (FBI?) chip in the digital dash to remove the display governor at 85 mph.

http://www.installationinstructions.com/FYI/digitaldash-police.pdf
Not surprised that they did something like that to remove the speed limiter and/ or speedometer display limiter on a government vehicle. However, I'm curious as to just how a chip from the late 80's to early 90's could be aggressive enough to increase boost and advance timing to that level without causing detonation with poor quality fuels. This fella made it sound like it turned a high 13 second car into a John Force dragster.
 

Anthony P

Active Member
#8
have to remember a high 13-sec car was super quick on the street at the time. 93 octane gas back then was much better than 93 octane gas today. Back then, higher grade hydrocarbon based fuels were used to achieve the octane rating. Today, lower grade hydrocarbons are used as the base then mixed with ethanol (having a higher octane rating) to build up the octane value.
This is a good article from Hemmings...Tech 101: Octane

the stock PROM chips had 24 - 26* advance timing at the higher LV8 engine load parameter values.

SIDE NOTE: That's way too much timing for today's gas...what Eric has done with his TT street chip for WOT fuel set for 18* advance timing is much more appropriate for today's gas.

One of the many great things Turbo Dave (Huinker) did was to compile the stock PROM data. It's attached below, converted to a pdf format in order to be uploaded. If you're familiar with the format, scroll down a few pages to read the relation between timing and engine load (LV8) at RPM sequence.

The stock chip controlled mph cut-off at 124 was because of the H-speed rated tires (130 mph). By removing the vehicle speed governor from the PROM, a turbo regal could attain speeds of 150 mph or a little more. here is an older thread discussing that.

I'm sure the law enforcement TB's had some tweaks to the PROM data besides eliminating the mph cut-off (actually fuel cut-off if mph =124).
 

Attachments

Grand_87_national

I lika... do da cha cha.
#10
have to remember a high 13-sec car was super quick on the street at the time. 93 octane gas back then was much better than 93 octane gas today. Back then, higher grade hydrocarbon based fuels were used to achieve the octane rating. Today, lower grade hydrocarbons are used as the base then mixed with ethanol (having a higher octane rating) to build up the octane value.
This is a good article from Hemmings...Tech 101: Octane

the stock PROM chips had 24 - 26* advance timing at the higher LV8 engine load parameter values.

SIDE NOTE: That's way too much timing for today's gas...what Eric has done with his TT street chip for WOT fuel set for 18* advance timing is much more appropriate for today's gas.

One of the many great things Turbo Dave (Huinker) did was to compile the stock PROM data. It's attached below, converted to a pdf format in order to be uploaded. If you're familiar with the format, scroll down a few pages to read the relation between timing and engine load (LV8) at RPM sequence.

The stock chip controlled mph cut-off at 124 was because of the H-speed rated tires (130 mph). By removing the vehicle speed governor from the PROM, a turbo regal could attain speeds of 150 mph or a little more. here is an older thread discussing that.

I'm sure the law enforcement TB's had some tweaks to the PROM data besides eliminating the mph cut-off (actually fuel cut-off if mph =124).
Right... I realize a high 13 second car was super quick on the street at the time, which is why I was surprised to hear that a chip swap made such a "night and day" difference (as he put it). I mean, honestly... what gains could be made in that era with literally just a chip? High 13's to mid/ low 13's?
 

Anthony P

Active Member
#11
Maybe it allowed for higher boost in 1st gear like the old Thrasher chips?
Yes, probably...all of them that I can remember from the time like Thrasher, Modern Muscle Extender, Casper's 7-position, Kenne Bell Ultimate and more seemed to set boost levels like...

1st gear max = 19 psi
2nd gear = 17 psi
3rd gear = 17 psi
4th gear = 16 psi

there were hotter chips that needed like 98+ octane, but on the street with 93 octane or Sunoco 94, if you could get it, the above boost levels worked well with hi-test pump gas at the time. When CA reduced max pump gas octane to 92 and the rest of us started dealing with re-formulated gas, those chips were not so great.

@Grand_87_national, the stock LC2 engine is maxed out at 360bhp....turbo, injectors, intercooler, etc.

for a 3500# car with driver, 360bhp with stock injectors at 100% duty cycle could run a 12.5x sec ET in good air.

a 3700# car with driver, 360bhp and maxed stock injectors could produce a 12.9x or high 12.8x ET given cool dense dry air.

considering a 20% driveline parasitic loss, 360bhp is about 290 at the wheels...the higher boost level chips that law enforcment probably used permitted intercepts that much quicker. in comparison, the chevy equipped police package LT1 made 260bhp or about 210 at the wheels - those vehicles had no problem chasing speeders on the highways.
 
#12
I had a 9006U Kenne Bell chip back in the day it worked as advertised with Sunoco 94 octane gas. :)

It did however suck for winter warmup etc. probably due to the fact they were in Kali. :p
 

Pronto

You're very kind. Some day it will get you killed.
#13
My old Thrasher went to 21 psi in 1st. The first time I got on it I held my breath when I saw 21. That was with 36 Blue Tops.
 

Nick Micale

Tech Advisor
Staff member
#14
..................We continued to chat for about 20 minutes or so said:
Actually, you should be eating your comment about the "guy", as his info is accurate!

In 1986 to 1989, I worked with the GM Desert Proving Ground here in Mesa, AZ, and was good friends with a few of the guys responsible of testing the GN's.

Tom Chow was the technician responsible for developing and refining the performance and drivability of the GN's and other GM cars as well. He burned a few chips for me, which I still have, and they perform much better than stock ones.

The FBI cars had a "special" chip w/o the stock MPH at 121 MPH limit cutout, and had more performance as the timing table was unique to those cars.

Also, I asked why the "weird" power brake system on the turbo cars?

The reason was a corporate decision for a reliability field test of the Powermaster on a small selection of production vehicles, mainly 1986-7 turbo cars, and 1985 Regal station wagons.

This was the forerunner of the GM/Bosch anti-skid brake systems, and if you had the opportunity to look under the hood of a 1989 Cadillac sedan, you will see a PM unit which is connected to the ABS solenoids and electrical parts!
 

Grand_87_national

I lika... do da cha cha.
#15
I have no problem with that.You must admit, though, that his story still seems extremely far fetched. I mean, how easy is it to steal stuff from the FBI just so you can take it home and hook your buddies up? I can't think of a place I'd be less tempted to steal from.
 
#17
Do a search and educate yourself. don't be so quick to dismiss...

FBI, DEA, CT state police all had unmarked turbo Regals.
Indeed, we were pulled over in Virginia back when I was a kid in the 90's by a Grand National for speeding.

Was worth the ticket just to see and hear that damn thing...
 

RUQWKNF

KEEPER OF SECRETS
Staff member
#18
Right... I realize a high 13 second car was super quick on the street at the time, which is why I was surprised to hear that a chip swap made such a "night and day" difference (as he put it). I mean, honestly... what gains could be made in that era with literally just a chip? High 13's to mid/ low 13's?
Boost and timing in all gears were majorly altered from the stock chip. I wouldn't doubt his buddy almost wrecking his car with just a chip swap, especially if it had 215/65R-15 Eagle GT tires on it. Those things SUCKED for traction. You'd be dealing with well over 400 ft lbs of torque bare minimum.

Back in the day, an ATR Pitbull chip and a can of 104+ octane booster with good 93 and basic bolt ons was the ticket for low 13's, if, you could perfect the launch. We did not have good tire technology and most tires were a hard compound and very easy to spin. Aka, zero traction. The timing was up there and we typically ran 19-20psi of boost. Remember, this was pre-drag radial days. So managing traction for the first 60-70 foot then laying into it and dealing with wheel spin was the name of the game on hard radials. When BF Goodrich Radial T/A's hit the market in GN friendly sizes, traction got a tad better.

My buddies car was one of the first one of a hand full of GN's around town, with an ATR Pitbull chip. He had the basic mods from their catalog and went from low 14's to low 13's following their stages. This was on hard Michelins that would produce a John Force burnout if you power braked it more than 3psi. His car would hit 21psi in 1st, then 19psi in 2nd and 3rd with straight 93 Exxon and a can of 104+ Octane booster. We learned the hard way about it killing O2 sensors. And he went through two sets of tires in one year. IIRC, this would have been circa "89 time frame.
Ah the good ole days.

Michael, did you mean to say, Eric Marshal from TurboTweak?

-Patrick--
 
#19
I liked the D40M2 Dunlops in 235/60 size when the stock tires gave out at 20K.

The stock tires really sucked for everything in MHO. Made the rear end posi. noise around parking lot turns, even the Kenne Bell green rear end magic fluid didn't help lol.