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2003 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 & 1999 Chevrolet Corvette C5 - C5 Solutions

'97-'04 Corvette Tech Q&A68-'82 Corvette Tech Q&A

Steve Dulcich Aug 1, 2006
Corp_0610_02_z 2003_chevrolet_corvette_z06_1999_chevrolet_corvette_c5 Red_exterior_view 2/1

Unwanted SoundsI have a '97 and love it. The issue is at certain radio frequencies the passenger side door panel vibrates/ buzzes. I can stop it be simply pulling on the door handle or pushing on the panel. This fixes it temporarily. Is there a permanent fix?Herb Dreo, Via e-mail

This one isn't complicated, but, unfortunately, the fix will likely prove to be time consuming. What you have is a loose fit or gap in some of the door components, and that clearance allows that part to vibrate. Usually with the C5, this comes about when the speaker is dishing out the base. There are a few possible causes. the most likely is just the natural shrinking and aging of the soft components in the door panels, or the fasteners loosing tension. These kinds of problems can be frustrating, and certainly detract from the driving experience.

The first thing to do is try and isolate just where the noise is coming from. You might find the problem is in the speaker attachment itself, or in the door panel, door latch, or window mechanisms. Check to make sure the wiring and insulation remains firmly mounted into position, and reattach it if the factory glue has failed. There really is no short cut, just dig in, and be prepared to remove the door panel.

Squeaky SeatbeltMy question isn't about a cool high-performance modification, but I hope you can help eliminate an annoying problem. I have a '99 coupe, and the problem is my seatbelt retractor makes a squeaking sound when it goes in and out. This may seem trivial, but it moves slightly while I'm driving, and I get this ongoing squeak-squeak-squeak. Is there a simple fix?No name given, Via e-mail

There are a couple of ways to approach this, but you asked for simple, so here it is. At the upper belt behind the seat, you'll find the belt retractor. Get a small penlight and look inside at the edges of the belt at both sides, while working the belt in and out. You will notice that there are metal teeth spinning on both sides of the belt as the belt is wound out and in. A little lube here will usually fix the noisy reel problem. Just use some spray lube, such as WD-40, and lightly lube the mechanism using the spray extension tube on the nozzle. You'll find the squeak will be silenced.

Likes the 'StonesThe letter from Tom Stephes a few months back stated that he wanted good EMT's for a C5 car. I had three replacement sets of tires on my '98 C5, and I am on my second replacement set on my '03 Z06. I tried a set of Firestone's Wide Ovals on my Z06 and am very pleased. The size is exact, and the cost is less than half the OEM's. These are a winner.

The five features that Tom wanted: weekend cruiser, to and from work, good price, low noise, and wear and longevity, exactly describe my experiences with the Firestone Firehawk EMT's on my '98. In those days, everyone was complaining about the noise, and the Firehawks really solved that issue. All the other features are frosting on the cake. I like Goodyear, but the Firestone line has some good offerings.Roger Giles, Knoxville, TN

Thanks for sharing your experience with the Firestones. We get numerous questions about tires and specific tire brands and recommendations, but generally prefer not to get into recommending one brand over another. There are many considerations in selecting a replacement tire, including the price, intended use, and ultimately the driver's expectations on performance. A useful guide to tires can be found at, where you can find plenty of feedback from actual purchasers and users of various brands of tires.

Mild ModsI own an '01 C5 roadster, which is completely stock. I'm interested in a few minor performance enhancements, primarily in the area of airflow. I'm looking for some advice or recommendations on a cold air induction system that will provide increased performance without sacrificing everyday drivability. There are many choices, all claiming increased horsepower. I'm looking for an upgrade that will give a performance boost without a negative trade-off. Also, regarding exhaust, I'm considering a complete long tube header, x pipe system, and aftermarket catbacks. What can you tell me about the performance advantages/trade-offs of a complete system versus just a more aggressive sounding catback system? How difficult is this kind of modification for a novice mechanic?Jim Ghere, Cincinnati, OH

With the cold air kits, the overall benefit is more performance, surprisingly more in most cases, and best of all there really is not a downside to the change. There is a modestly more aggressive engine sound at wide-open-throttle, but most enthusiasts consider this as a positive. You can expect to find 12-15 hp at the rear wheels with a cold air kit. Check some of our advertisers for potential sources.

As for the exhaust, there is quite a dramatic jump between the two systems you are considering. A catback system will give a moderate but noticeable improvement in output, and will have a notable effect on the exhaust sound. Actually, most enthusiasts will select a specific catback system based primarily on sound. Going to a full exhaust system with full-length headers is an alternative aimed squarely at making serious improvements to power output, and such a system will deliver the goods. You can expect an improvement of 20 lb-ft of torque nearly across the board in the useable rpm range, and 25-30 or more horsepower at the rear wheels. Just be aware there will be some minor tuning required to make the most of such an exhaust system-a job that can be handled by a competent tuning shop with a chassis dyno.

CheckmateI've never seen my problem mentioned, but my C5 50th edition front parking lamp covers have developed several fine cracks in each. I can see no impact signs and think it must be due to vibration/stress cracks. I first noticed them at about 18 months and 9,000 miles. I had the same problem with my C4 40th edition. I suspect it must be a common problem that most owners don't even know about (you have to look close) or bother to have fixed because they would just crack again. Should I complain to Chevy (my warranty has a month to go), ignore the problem, or try to seal them with a glass patch?Jeff Parish, Andalusia, AL

What you are seeing is weather checking, usually a result of UV light and swings in humidity over time. The lenses will develop fine checking, and, unfortunately, the only cure is replacement. Fortunately, the lenses are not difficult to change, and, yes, if your dealer will comply, have them replaced. The best prevention is to keep the car in an enclosed garage rather than an open carport, and keep the car covered when not in use.

Gear is GoneI own a '99 C5 six-speed with 43,000 miles. Going to third gear is like going into neutral. Can you give me some light at the end of the tunnel?Jim North, Via e-mail

If I understand correctly, there is no engagement when the shifter is in the third-gear position only, and otherwise the transmission works normally. I hate to say it, but if this is the case, the problem is most likely in the internal shift rail mechanism, and you are in for fairly major transmission work, unless you are well versed in manual transmission service. This kind of failure is pretty rare, especially with such low mileage, but I suspect that is little consolation for you at this point.

Supercharged SupercarI have an '01 C5 six-speed coupe with an A&A ProCharger kit, and computer dyno tuned by Ed Wright out of Tulsa. It currently makes 519 rwhp.

As of late, at start up it has flashed "SERVICE ACTIVE HANDLING SOON" and then the icon on the dash stays lit. If I turn the vehicle off and restart, all is good, and I may not see this happen again for weeks. It has only happened six or seven times in last two months, and the car is a daily driver. The car has about 25,000 miles on it.

Is this a routine service code because of a mileage mark? I did do the supercharger install myself, and it involved removing the rack-and-pinion and pushing around the active handling, traction control equipment that was in tight and around this area, and the power steering system lines had to be opened. The install was done over 18 months ago, and this problem has just started in last two months. I have noticed it seems to occur when it is cooler outside, and the car has sat for a while.

Nonetheless it is a Viper-eating, tire-punishing monster, and you cannot beat the combo of Andy's toys at A&A and Ed Wright's masterful computer tuning.Sam Turner, Fayetteville, AR

It sounds like you do indeed have a monster on your hands, and the 519 rwhp proves it. I don't think the "active handling" issue is related to the supercharger installation. In fact, this is a problem that comes up fairly frequently, and most of the time superchargers are not part of the picture. We have addressed the same problem in previous editions of C5 Solutions.

Diagnosing the problem needs to begin with checking the codes, which will help identify the source of the problem. Unfortunately, you did not include any codes, but to give you some idea of the types of problems that can create the active handling warning, some common causes are the steering wheel position sensor, a faulty ground, a bad EBTCM, or just a loose wire connection. Bottom line: you need to check the codes to narrow down the cause and make a meaningful diagnosis. this is one of the advantages of the DIC system on the C5.

Flip-up FlopI am a longtime reader of Corvette Fever, and also a longtime Corvette fan and owner. My most recent Corvette is an '00 Corvette coupe, and it is my first "modern" Corvette. Let me begin by saying that the C5 exceeded my expectations in every way-comfort, speed, and road-holding. These are truly great cars.

Now for my problem. my left front headlight door closes when I turn off the lights, and then it immediately reopens. This is more that a little annoying and downright goofy looking. Is there some kind of electrical glitch that causes this problem, or do I need to replace the headlamp motor or switch?Dubin Murray, Via e-mail

There happens to be a GM Technical Service Bulletin on exactly your problem, No. 00-08-42-002, with the subject listed as Left Headlamp Door Does Not Stay Shut. The cure is listed as, Shim Headlamp Motor/Actuator and Replace Insulators, and the bulletin is applicable to '00 model year Corvettes. Sounds like you. For your information, the GM information is listed below, though it may pay to have a look at the actual bulletin to view the assembly drawing. Keep in mind, the technical service bulletins are aimed at professional service technicians and not the do-it-yourselfer, however, this one seems pretty straightforward.

Install one washer (2) between the left headlamp door motor/actuator (1) and the mounting bracket (3) at each of the three attaching bolt locations. Also replace the insulator (4) on each of the two mounting bracket travel stop tabs (5) as shown. For information on headlamp motor/actuator removal, see the Headlamp Motor/Actuator Replacement procedure in the Lighting sub-section of Body & Accessories in the appropriate Service Manual.

Parts InformationPart # Description Qty per Vehicle1505463 Washer 316524060 Insulator 2

9 C5 Questions?Steve Dulcich9036 Brittany WayTampa, FL 33619corvettefever.c5solutions@primedia.comWhile mail cannot be answered personally, letters and responses will be published as space permits.

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