I found your March 2014 op-ed very interesting, as I too have been perplexed as to why so many feel so negatively about the new Corvette without ever having driven one. In fact, the negativity started even before the car had been released or subjected to the scrutiny of the automotive world. Now nearly every automotive publication is singing its praises, yet the detractors persist.
My theory is that many people are just naturally resistant to change. I believe many of the naysayers will come around as they are exposed to the car and get used to the many positive changes.
For the others, I think they are having a hard time swallowing the fact that the very cars they have come to love—their C5s and C6s—are no longer kings of the hill. Nobody likes to "lose" to a newcomer. But again, I believe time will win many of them over.
I love your publication. Keep up the good work, and if you are looking to attend a great Corvette show, come on down to the 19th annual Corvettes at Myrtle Beach (SC) this June 7. Information on this year's show will be up on our website, www.myrtlebeachcorvetteclub.com, very soon.
Larry Beall, President
Myrtle Beach Corvette Club
The problem with the new C7 is not so much that the rear looks hideous, or that the interior looks like a '90 C4 (with better material and new gauges), but that the car is too heavy and feels more like a cruiser than a sports car.
The Corvette reached its high-water mark in 2004 with the C5 Z06. The C6 had numb steering, it felt heavier, and it had stupid keyless/handle-less doors and ignition switches that caused problems. The C6 Z06 had snap oversteer, and the LS7 is a ticking time bomb that's expensive to fix when an intake valve drops.
The C7 Corvette should have been a modern version of a '93 Mazda RX-7 with an LS3 engine. Instead GM made it bigger, heavier, and with more electric gizmos that will fail after the warranty has expired. The new LT1 is a very good and torquey truck engine, but the LS6 and LS3 were much more eager to rev above 5,000 rpm. And performance-wise, an '02 C5 Z06, an '08 C6 LS3 Z51, and a '14 C7 are virtually identical—not good for a $70,000 car.
Heavy or not, the C7 Stingray accelerates faster, sticks harder, and stops shorter than both the C5 Z06 and the LS3 C6. And while it's certainly possible to option one above the $70,000 mark, a base '14 coupe starts at just $51,000.
Another Oil Option
I genuinely enjoyed Rick Jensen's "All About Oil" article (Mar. '14), which contained much useful and enlightening information about black gold.
Owners of Corvettes with flat-tappet engines may be pleased to learn that Mobil 1 also markets a High Mileage motor oil. It has a zinc content of 1,000 ppm and a phosphorus content of 1,100 ppm, plus an additive package that benefits older engine seals. That's quite a bit more ZDDP than the 800 ppm found in other "normal" Mobil 1 oils.
For additional information, a chart showing the zinc and phosphorus content of Mobil 1 products may be found at www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/MotorOil/Files/Mobil_1_Product_Guide.pdf.
Seeking Valve Guidance
I have a stock '07 Z06 that is street driven. At 21,000 miles, my dealer replaced the cylinder heads due to the exhaust valves failing a "wiggle" test. I have no confidence that the same wear will not occur again, given that no one has figured out the root cause of the problem, and there is no indication of any changes having been made to the replacement parts that were installed.
There have been many theories brought forth in Internet forums, but someone needs to do some investigative reporting and find out what is wrong with the LS7's valve guides. Polls on Corvette Forum show that guide wear is widespread among '06-'08 Z06s, and that, given enough use, the potential for one of the two-piece, hollow, sodium-filled exhaust valves to drop and thereby destroy the entire $15,000 engine is quite realistic.
Soon my warranty will be expiring, leaving me to wonder whether my new cylinder heads are truly fixed. I'm not seeking a recall, a class-action lawsuit, or anything of that sort. I simply want to know what the root cause of the problem is, why it's so widespread, and what I need to do about it to enjoy my car again. I can't keep extending my warranty forever.
Sean P. Murphy
It just so happens that we have an illuminating tech article on the LS7 valvetrain on page 56 in this issue.
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