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Chevrolet Corvette C5 - C5 Solutions

'97-'04 Corvette Tech Q&A

Steve Dulcich Nov 1, 2007

Sensor NonSense
I recently purchased an '02 Z06 with 19,500 miles, and the check engine light stays on. The dealer said the code shows that the front left O2 sensor needed replacement, so I had them replace it. A half-hour later the check engine light came on again. I took it back to the dealer, and they said now all four O2 sensors needed to be replaced. I took it to another mechanic, who ordered all four sensors and replaced them. The check engine light still came on after about a half-hour of driving. I took it back to the shop that replaced all sensors, and they said the code still shows that the O2 sensors need to be replaced, so there is probably a problem with the main computer. Is this the likely cause, or do I need to take it to another dealer/mechanic for another diagnosis?
Martha Peterson, Clearlake Oaks, CA

I wish you would have presented the actual codes pulled up when your Corvette was scanned since there are more than a dozen trouble codes that deal with the oxygen sensors. For what it's worth, modern oxygen sensors are very reliable, and the idea that all the sensors have failed and need replacement is nothing short of ludicrous. A real full diagnosis will require a technician who is willing to look for the root cause, such as poor grounds, injector or fuel system problems, exhaust leaks, or even vacuum leaks. Find an experienced Corvette facility before shelling out for replacing what are very reliable electronics.

More on Peeling Tint
In your July issue's C5 Solutions, a question was posed regarding what can be done to restore the degradation of the "peeling tint." Like the writer, I found that nothing short of painting it is the answer. Working with my favorite body/paint shop here in Kaneohe, Hawaii, the top was painted after a few experiments. The solution was a good sanding of various grits followed by a good buffing. A few coats of body matching paint (black in my case), a few more coats of clear, and the top was saved for $350. From the inside, the top looks like a black mirror (clear, clean, and shiny). This was a great save as opposed to spending anywhere from $850 to $1,300. It's now a Targa-top; if I want to see the sky I remove the top.
DJ Freitas, Via e-mail

Thanks for sharing the information, DJ. It goes to show that some innovative problem solving can go a long way to handling a problem, and sometimes save some cash in the process.

Self-Locking Steering Wheel
Your column on C5 Solutions is the primary reason I have subscribed for so long. Now I have a crisis: The steering wheel in my '99 coupe (48,000 miles) has started to lock when the engine is running and transmission engaged-not a good experience. fortunately, I was just backing out of my driveway and not on the road. I let the car sit for two days and it unlocked itself. I called the Chevy dealer who handles Vettes, and they want me to bring it in. I'm afraid I'll get ripped on a major repair that may not be necessary, so please advise.
Chuck McCormick, Via e-mail

Problems with the column lock have plagued C5 Corvettes and are well known to GM. Naturally, this type of problem can be a serious safety issue, and there are numerous recalls and many technical service bulletins for the various production C5s. I would recommend going through the dealer and having the recall service procedure performed. For manual transmission C5s there are a few aftermarket firms making Column Lock Bypass kits, which may be worth investigating, but I would make an authorized dealer my first stop.

Mr. Clean
I own an '01 Corvette, white-over-red. I purchased it used in 2003 with 8,173 miles after I had retired in 2000. It is my first Vette and I love it. I put it to bed for the winter on November 10th. My question is: is there a good way to clean the inside of the aluminum wheels. Also what tools and products do you recommend?
Ron Coulman, Hebron, IL

A C5 Corvette is a beautiful car, and I understand your desire to keep it immaculately clean. Getting in between the tight spots of the wheels can be tough, and it is an area that naturally collects brake dust and general grime. It can be tempting to use some of the really aggressive wheel cleaners on the market, but it is crucial to be careful in selecting the correct product. Some wheel cleaners are based upon an acid solution, which can actually do permanent damage to the finish of the OEM wheels. Make sure the product is labeled as safe for all wheels.

You can use a spray-on cleaning product of the many brands available on most auto parts store shelves, again making sure the product is recommended for OEM finished wheels. What is really helpful in reaching those tight areas and getting to the grime is a specialty wheel brush. These brushes are shaped like oversized bottle brushes and are made for tight recesses and the area between spokes.

Another idea is to go with power tools rather than relying on your elbow grease and muscle. Mothers brand of polishing and cleaning products markets an item called the Powerball, which is a wadding that works with a power drill to save time and effort when attacking a set of grimy wheels. We have found this system to make cleaning and polishing wheels a snap.

C5 Questions?
C5 solutions
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