General Motors will recall certain Chevrolet Corvettes to correct a condition in which the vehicle can operate when the electronic steering column lock fails to unlock. The vehicles included in this recall are:
* Model year 1997-2000 Corvettes with automatic transmissions in the United States, Canada, and Mexico;
* Model year 1997-2004 Corvettes with automatic transmissions in Europe and export countries;
* Model year 1997-2004 Corvettes with manual transmissions in North American, European, and export countries.
GM is still working to determine the recall population and the breakdowns by countries; however, the estimate is a total of about 127,000.
During the second quarter of 2004, owners of the affected vehicles will be notified, instructing them to bring them into their Chevrolet dealers. For the Corvettes with the automatic transmissions, dealers will remove the column lock plate. For the manual transmission vehicles, the dealers will reprogram the Powertrain Control Module software. The repairs will be performed at no cost to the customers.
GM has not confirmed any occurrences of this condition in the field. There are no confirmed crashes, injuries, or fatalities related to the condition.
These vehicles may have a condition in which the electronic column fails to unlock when the driver starts the engine. When this happens, an electronic message is sent to shut off the fuel to the engine if the vehicle starts to move. If the power supply to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) is interrupted or voltage is low, the PCM resets and the message is not processed. Fuel is not inhibited and the driver can move the vehicle with the steering column locked.
Until their vehicles are repaired, owners can easily verify that the column is unlocked by turning the steering wheel a full turn before shifting into gear. If drivers hear a racheting noise while turning the wheel or experience column lock after starting the engine, they should contact a dealer to arrange repair.