friends - we're here for you! Below are tech tidbits for all
generations (and many will even work with non-Corvette vehicles).
Do you have a safety, repair, maintenance or car care tip you'd like to share?
HERE to submit your contribution.
Cooling Clean-up: Is
your Corvette's engine running a little warm? Is your A/C
not quite keeping up? For many, this brings to mind
expensive repairs. However, for owners of the so-called "bottom
breather" Corvettes, it may just require a little extra effort
in cleaning. The C4 (1984-1996) and C5 (1997-2004)
Corvettes do not have forward facing grill openings - they
obtain cooling air from underneath the nose. Because of
this and the orientation of the radiator, these cars can easily
accumulate leaves, paper and other light road debris across the
front of the radiator and A/C condenser. In most cases,
it's a very easy fix. Simply elevate the front of the cars
with jacks stands or ramps, crawl under the nose and with gloved
hand pull the built-up leaves etc. out. Take your time,
don't be aggressive, as the radiator fins are very easily bent.
Once you have the bulk of the debris removed, take a garden hose
or air compressor and from the top of the engine compartment
blow forward through the radiator, flushing any remaining debris
out. If you use a hose, don't put any sprayer nozzle on,
just use the flow straight from the hose. Keep the water
pressure low. If you use an air compressor, be very
careful. Do NOT use a typical high-pressure blow gun, use a low
pressure unit. Also keep the line pressure very low.
Both water and air at high pressure have the potential to bend
radiator fins or even punch holes in the thin aluminum - then
you WILL have an expensive repair!
Once your radiator is clear of debris, there is an additional
step you can take to prevent debris built-up going forward.
There are aftermarket screens designed specifically to address
this issue, and they are a relatively inexpensive ($60-$70).
They are also easy to install from underneath.
Generally, the C1-C3 and C6-C7 Corvettes don't have the same
problem, as they are all front breathers, and have much larger
grill opeings. However, the C7 does have a couple of
potential points to address. For those who have coupes
with automatic transmissions, the Z51 package, or Grand Sports
or Z06s, there are a pair of vents on top of the rear fenders.
Some Corvettes have these vents blocked off as they are not
equipped with extra heat exchangers, but many will have these
open and functional. If your Corvette tends to sit
outdoors for any length of time, be it at work, in the driveway,
etc., it is possible for smaller leaves, paper bits, or other
debris to enter the ductwork. This can gradually
accumulate at the bottom against the heat exchanger, and
possibly cause reduction of cooling efficiency, or in extreme
cases, block it entirely. There is a small gap between the
end of the duct and the face of the radiators, so in most cases,
simply flushing the duct out every time you wash your car by
hand should take care of it. In more extreme situations
(say, you park near maple trees in the spring or locust trees in
the fall), you may want to crawl under the rear of the car, and
check to see if there is any build-up at the base of the duct.
Cautiously working a flat tool back and forth should clear the
worst, follow with a flush from the intake vents.
Automatic non-Z51 cars will have only one functional vent, all
Z51s, GSs and Z06s will have one on each side.
Convertibles do have the same heat exchangere options, but as
they do not have top-mounted intake vents, the potential for
debris accumulation is very low.
A little "elbow grease" can in this case go a long way to
restoring your Corvette's intended cooling capacity. Of
course, there is always the chance of bigger issues, but
certainly check for this first. If you're not ready to
tackle the task yourself, contact one of our more tech-savvy
member or our sponsor, Lou Fusz Chevrolet - we're here to help!
Corvette Tires: With
winter hard upon us, there are a few things to remember regarding your
Corvette's tires. First, even if you do not drive your Corvette
over the winter months, it's a good idea to periodically check the tire
pressure. For every 10 degrees in temperature drop, your pressure
will drop about one pound. Also, even new tires will gradually
lose air over time, as molecules of oxygen and nitrogen slowly work
their way through the rubber. Periodically checking and adjusting
the pressure will ensure your Corvette is ready to go when that warm
spell hits and you have the itch to go for a drive.
On a similar note, be aware of the
outdoor temperature, and how it relates to the type of tires currently
installed on your car. Corvettes for many years have been
factory-equipped with high performance summer tires. If your car
still has summer-only tires, avoid driving the car if outside temps are
below 40 degrees F, and never below freezing. The rubber compounds
in these types of tires will harden in cold weather, to the point you
have little traction when you need it most. They are especially
hazardous if there is any moisture, frost or snow on the pavement.
If you intend to drive your Corvette in the winter on those deceptively
sunny days, do yourself a favor and invest in a set of all-season tires.
They are available from several manufacturers in sizes for virtually all
Corvettes (well, except for 2015 & up Z06s and Grand Sports - but snow
tires are available for you!). The use of summer-only tires
in the winter is critical enough that GM has issued a bulletin to all
Corvette owners - in summary they state that those factory-equipped with
Michelin Super Sport tires cannot drive on them below 40 degrees F, and
those factory-equipped with the even softer Michelin Cup tires (Z07
package) cannot drive on them below 50 degrees F. Failure to heed
this can result in cracking of the rubber along the sidewalls and treads
(ruining the tires even if they don't end up leaking), and WILL NOT BE
COVERED UNDER WARRANTY.
Electric Door Latches: With
the introduction of the 2005 C6 Corvette a major change was made to the
way the doors are opened from the interior of the car. Instead of a
mechanical lever to pull, there is now only a small button to press on
each door panel. The latch mechanism itself is actually now on the
body of the car with the striker on the door. This is great for
conserving space on the panel, and allows for more features, larger
speakers, etc. but does have one small aspect to be aware of: the button
will not open the door if the battery is dead or the actuator fails!
But fear not, Chevrolet did think about this and has provided emergency
back-up releases for each door. These are large plastic levers
located on the floor just in front of each seat, near the sill, and is
labeled with a door open pictogram. If the electric system fails
for any reason, simply pull up on the release lever to open the door.
Please note that with dead battery conditions, extra effort may be
needed to push the door open, as the automatic window indexing will
likely not function as well.
We encourage all owners of 2005 and
newer C6 & C7 Corvettes to familiarize yourself with the location and
function of these emergency release levers, and to point them out to
others who may not be aware of the levers and their importance.
With extremes of summer heat and winter cold, knowing this tech tidbit
may just save a life!
Personal Radios: These
are small, easily handled two-way radios and are sometimes called
walkie-talkies. We use these radios at many of our events,
including autocrosses, road runs and car shows. Why, should I get
a pair? you might ask. They make communications considerably
easier between members at our events, without the need to call using
your cell phone. A recent road trip emphasized the usefulness of
the radios: one car in the caravan was inadvertently separated from the
rest of the group. This car did not have a radio with them, and
their phones did not have cell reception, making communication with the
remainder of the group impossible. At the same time, the group
attempted to contact the missing car with no success. Several people had
cell reception, but no phone number, others had the number but no
reception. And still others also did not have radios and were in the
dark as to why the caravan had to stop and regroup. Had each car
had a personal radio onboard, a lot of concern and stress could have
Many members already own a couple,
and we encourage all members to pick up a pair for use both during club
events and for personal needs. There are many brands, such as
Cobra, Midland, and Motorola, and they can be found for reasonable
prices at stores such as Bass Pro Shops, Cabella's, WalMart and Target,
as well as online, and there are many versions for under $75 per pair.
They can be designed from quite basic to rather well equipped.
Some offer rechargable battery packs, built-in weather radios, emergency
flashlights and other useful functions. I suggest getting the best
ones you can afford, as they will generally have clearer signals, longer
range, and will last a long time. Pick a set that have the usual
main channels, as well as the sub-channels. BTCC generally uses
channel 5.6 (or 5.06) but will sometimes need to switch channels for
various reasons. Once you purchase a set, take the time to become
familiar in their use. One common mistake many people make is to
push the "talk" button as they begin to speak. However, you
actually need to push the "talk" button then pause for a moment
before speaking, or else your first word will be cut off.
One final thought - once you have the
radios, get in the habit of actually bringing them with you to club
events! We're all guilty of forgetting them once in a while, and
if members bring both, then a few extra units will be on hand to lend to
those who forget theirs or haven't yet picked up a set.