There's nothing like feel of the open road. The wind whipping through your Corvette's cockpit. The view of passing scenery as you accelerate down your favorite stretch of highway. The pinging of the check-engine alert as your coolant temperature reaches dangerous levels. Wait…what?
It's a problem many of us will face during the life of our favorite ride: an aging cooling system putting a crimp in our Corvette-driving enjoyment. And whether it's the hoses, the water pump, or the radiator, a failure in this part of the drivetrain always seems to happen overnight. One day it's fine; the next day it's not.
Thankfully, the ability to diagnose a leak is one we all innately possess. Just look for a pool of colored water that doesn't belong under your car. In the case of our '02 C5, we traced it from the passenger's side to the radiator surge/overflow tank. After 150,000 miles of constant heat, the plastic had become sufficiently brittle that one of the hose ports developed a crack large enough to leave a telltale sign of impending doom.
Fortunately, replacement can be performed in a matter of minutes using a new part from Corvette Central (PN 245238, $84.95). But we didn't stop there. To help keep our nearly 10-year-old C5's cooling system top-notch, we also opted to install a set of fresh silicone hoses. (We used CC's Red Silicone Hose and Clamp Kit, PN 245115, $339.) While there might not seem to be a big cooling benefit to this step, silicone hoses are much more durable than rubber ones, and are therefore less prone to collapse, warping, and age-related wear. The ability to color-code our accessories to the engine bay was a big plus, too. But as always, the devil is in the details--in this case, the installation. Read on to see what we did, and how.