7. You should have topped off the fuel tank before you put your Corvette away for the winter. This simple rule-of-thumb borrowed from aircraft owners helps prevent condensation buildup inside the tank. Since water is heavier than gasoline, guess what will get sucked into the carburetor the first time you start your engine? Siphon out as much of the old gas as possible and set it aside in an approved container. Use it to top off your daily driver, lawn mower, or other yard tools. Add four or five gallons of fresh gas to the tank.
8. Check your carburetor and other fuel-system components for signs of leakage, varnish, excessive dirt, or other unusual conditions. Make sure all the linkages are free, the throttle return springs are in place and serviceable, and your choke functions properly. Some carburetors may have dry fuel bowls at this point. If your Corvette is Holley-equipped, loosen one of the lower bolts on both the front and rear bowls on the Holley carburetor and see whether fuel dribbles out. Then operate the throttle while looking into the carb and make sure there's a healthy squirt of fuel from the carb's shooters. Remove, clean, and/or replace them as necessary. Work the throttle on your Quadrajet while looking inside to see whether the accelerator pump squirts fuel into the carb. If the carb needs priming, squirt at least a few tablespoons of fresh fuel into it via the vent tube(s), then thoroughly wipe up any spillage.
9. By now, your battery should be charged. Clean the terminals on the battery and cable ends-either the clamp or screw type-with a wire brush. Put a smear of dielectric grease on the terminals and install the battery, making sure to snug up the cable connections to get good contact at both terminals. Reinstall the battery.
10. Start the car and let it idle for a while until it gets up to operating temperature. Keep a close eye on the engine compartment and the ground under the car. Look for leaks and correct them. Finally, pull your Corvette out into the sunshine and give it a good wash and wax with your favorite cleaning products. Then take off the T-tops and hit the road for that first stylin' cruise of the year.
Pre-Lube It Or Lose It
Build Your Own Engine Pre-oiling Tool
When you're getting ready to bring your Corvette to life for the first time this year, it's time to tackle your first automotive-related project at the same time.
Many companies will be happy to sell you an engine pre-oiling tool. But why not save some money by making your own from a junkyard distributor or one of the spares in the parts box?
Grab the distributor of choice and strip it. Remove the cap, rotor, condenser and points, if equipped, as well as the advance weights and everything else that's in there. Put it into a vise and drive out the roll pin holding the drive sprocket using an appropriate-size drift pin and a hammer.
Remove the sprocket and completely grind off the teeth so you have a nice cylindrical piece of metal that won't catch or hang up on anything inside the engine. Reinstall the now-stripped drive gear onto the distributor shaft by reusing the previously removed roll pin.
Next, using a Dremel-type tool or a die-grinder with an abrasive stone or whatever you choose, carefully grind the top of the shaft into a roughly triangular shape so it can be inserted and securely cinched down in the chuck of your chosen drill.
To pre-oil the engine, remove the distributor from the engine and replace it with your homemade tool, making sure the tang on the shaft engages with the slot in the top of the oil-pump driveshaft and clamp it down securely. Remove the rocker-arm covers, attach a drill to your pre-oiler, and let 'er rip.
Spin it clockwise with the drill for a few minutes until oil comes out of the rockers. Consider using a 11/42-inch drill for this if you have a high-pressure and/or a high-volume oil pump in the car. These units take some serious torque to turn, and you run the risk of frying your 31/48-inch drill in this case because the process could take several minutes.
Congratulations! You've just saved some money and completed your first project of the year.