Frequently Asked Questions about Corvettes


Answered by The VetteNet


FAQ originally by J. David Cover.
HTML version by Brad Waller and Andy Efron.

Last Modified 3/23/97

Introduction:

This FAQ contains distilled wisdom and specific articles written to answer questions that come up frequently on the VetteNet mail group. Please use this information as a guide and not as the absolute truth. This FAQ is only as good as the information provided, so *PLEASE* send any corrections, additions, criticisms, etc. that you think are relevant, informative, etc. to Brad Waller (brad@vettenet.org)

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Table of Contents:

Navigating the VetteNet Owning a Corvette Learning More About Corvettes

What is the VetteNet?

The VetteNet is a mail group devoted to the discussion of all aspects of Corvettes. It is available either as a mail reflector or as a digest (with headers and signatures stripped). See the section on subscribing for details.

There is an additional group that deals exclusively with Corvette racing (for more info send mail to vettes-request@pms706.pms.ford. com).

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How do I subscribe/unsubscribe to the VetteNet?

There are two ways of doing this. One uses a web interface at http://lists.asu.edu/cgi-bin/wa. To join the list by email, send the command "subscribe vettes first_name last_name" in the body of a message to listserv@asu.edu. Please note that this command must NOT be sent to the list address (vettes@asu.edu) but to the LISTSERV address (listserv@asu.edu).

You may leave the list at any time by sending the command "signoff vettes" to the appropriate listserv address given above.

More information on LISTSERV commands (including the LISTSERV reference card) can be found here.

If you encounter problems or have questions about this list, please send them to Bob Kaneshige (KHAAV@asuvm.inre.asu.edu).

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How do I post to the VetteNet?

Postings should be sent to: vettes@asu.edu.

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How do I temporarily suspend my VetteNet mail?

There are two ways of doing this. One uses a web interface at http://lists.asu.edu/cgi-bin/wa. If you want to turn off your VetteNet mail temporarily by email, send the command "set vettes nomail" in the body of a message to listserv@asu.edu. Note that this is the LISTSERV address, NOT the Vettenet mailing list address.

When you want to restart your mail send the command "set vettes mail" and you'll be all set.

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How do I get previous articles of the VetteNet?

Two answers. The new, modern way is to access the VETTES archives via the WWW. Use the following link:
http://lists.asu.edu/archives/vettes.html

The old way is to use email commands to the listserv.
Contributions sent to the list are automatically archived. You can obtain a list of the available archive files by sending an "INDEX VETTES" command to listserv@asu.edu. You may retrieve the log for any particular week by sending the command GET VETTES LOGyymmw, where yy is the year, mm is the month, and w is the week represented by the letters "A" through "E". For example, sending the command GET VETTES LOG9307A will retrieve the log for first week of July 1993.

You can also use the database search facilities of LISTSERV. Send an INFO DATABASE command for more information on this, or go to the next topic.

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Searching the VetteNet Archives using keywords

Because their main application is the scanning of list archives, the LISTSERV database functions are document-oriented and therefore quite different from "usual" commercial database systems.

Batch access

When accessing the database in "batch" mode, you must construct a CJLI job which you must then submit to the appropriate server for execution. This means that you must know in advance what you want to do exactly. If you are not familiar with CJLI, you can use the following "job skeleton" to build up your database search job:

    //  job  echo=no
    Database search DD=rules cpulim=300 outlim=5000
    //Rules  dd  *
    search  VATS  in vettes
    index
    print body
    /*
Just copy the above text, paste it into your message to listserv@asu.edu and replace "VATS" with the string for which you want to search. See below for info on more complex searches (such as multiple keywords).

You will then receive a "DATABASE OUTPUT" file containing the results of your search. This file might look like this: (**=comments)

  > search  VATS in vettes          **(searching for VATS)
  --> Database VETTES, 3 hits.

  > index                           **(give me an index of
search)
  Item #   Date   Time  Recs   Subject
  ------   ----   ----  ----   -------
  000133 92/04/04 10:09   43   Advice on 86,87
  000134 92/04/04 20:26   42   Re: Advice on 86,87
  000137 92/04/05 00:59   63   Re:  Advice on 86,87

  > print body                      **(now print only the
body)

[messages would be printed here]
More complex searches: some examples
search steering wheel in vettes
Returns messages containing "steering wheel" as well as those containing both "steering" and "wheel". Not case sensitive.

search 'steering wheel' in vettes
Returns messages containing the string "steering wheel". When you use single quotes the search is not case sensitive.

search "steering wheel" in vettes
Same as above but double quotes make the search case sensitive.

You can also use "and", "or", "not", and parentheses in a variety of combinations (remember, "and" is implied if you don't use quotes!):
search 'steering wheel' bolt
search 'steering wheel' and bolt [same as above]
search 'steering wheel' or 'steering box'
search paint and (urethane or lacquer)
search paint and (urethane or lacquer not red)
For complete documentation on the database search functions, send the command "info database" to listserv@asu.edu.

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What is "R***" and why do people use it?

Ahhh. This comes from the days of the original creation of this distribution. First there was Don Day's 'vette distribution. Don created this distribution mainly to talk about Corvette competition topics. Don is a serious Corvette racer and has a highly modified late model that he competes with. The VetteNet was a spinoff group which was created to talk about all the stuff we talk about! :-) R*** stands for racing and was once considered to be a taboo word on the VetteNet. Jim Lockwood was the first person to use it, to humorously taunt the list moderator. It is now okay to talk about racing on the list if you want to, but tradition says to use r*** instead of 'race'.

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Are there Corvette pictures and can I upload mine?

Corvette pictures can be found here. If you would like to add a picture, contact Brad Waller (brad@vettenet.org) for more information. Usually, attaching a reasonably sized .jpg or .gif file will work.

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Where can I get parts for Corvettes?

See the VetteNet list of Corvette parts vendors.

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What things should I look out for when insuring my Corvette?

See the recommendations of a VetteNet member on insuring your Corvette.

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What should I do to store my vette for the winter?

Info From: Dave Bright

I don't do all of them. Some are a must and some depend on where you live and where you store your car. It also depends if you are only storing it for a few months or a few years.

So here it is in no order:

  1. Clean the car inside and out and put a good coat of wax on.
  2. Change the oil and filter and run the car for at least 5 minutes to circulate the new oil.
  3. Flush the radiator and add new fluid.
  4. Flush the brake system and add new fluid.
  5. Change the rear axle fluid.
  6. Change the transmission fluid and filter.
  7. Replace the fuel filter.
  8. Fill the fuel tank and add a gas stabilizer. No fuel injection cleaner.
  9. Long term remove the good tires and wheels and put on a set of crappy tires and wheels. Short term over inflate the tires by 10 or 15 lbs to cut down on flat spotting. You can also put the car on jack stands but I don't like doing this because it puts the car in an unnatural state and undue stress.
  10. Put moisture absorbing packets in the car.
  11. Stuff rags in the tail pipes to keep rodents out.
  12. Remove battery and charge it once a month.
  13. Store your car on wood. Wood absorbs moisture, cement floors are like a sponge. You should lay plywood down on cement and park your car on top of the plywood.
  14. Put a cover over the car. The type depends on where you store the car, inside or outside.
  15. Do not start your car over the winter. If you do you should drive it around for at least a 1/2 hour.
  16. Pull the spark plugs and squirt a little oil down the cylinders.
  17. Tape a piece of paper to the steering wheel to remind you in the spring anything that you need to do first before starting the car for the first time like pulling the rags out of your tail pipes.
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Info on car covers

This section has not been written yet.

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Where can I get performance chips for my vette?

PromPaq can be bought from Adaptive Technologies in Port Hueneme, CA. (800) 677-6672 or (805) 488-8832 (in CA).

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How fast are those gears turning?

Info from: Bill Jurasz

Try these on for size:
mph = (rpm * td) / (gr * rr * 336.13524)
mph = 234 * (hp / wt)^(1/3)
et = 5.825 * (wt / hp)^(1/3) [NOTE: for < 100mph]
= 5.825 * (235/mph) * ((mph-100)/400)^(1/3) [NOTE: for > 100mph]
rpm = 336.13524 * mph * gr * rr / td
gr = td * rpm / (mph * 336.13524)
hp = wt / (78655.65 * gr * rr / td / rpm)^3
hp = (torque * rpm) / 5252

Where:


Speedometers are pretty much standardized from car to car -- so many revolutions of the cable equals 1 mile of travel. I beleive that number is 4000 cable revs per mile travelled, but could be wrong. Anyone know? Any rate, the faster you are going, the sooner you travel that mile, the faster that cable spins. Thus, you have odometer and speedometer easily off one cable.

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What can I do to get rid of the 1-4 shift lock in late models?

Pre-'96 Models
Info From: VetteNet member Pete Peterson - No connection to the organizations discussed.

The "standard" way to fix this is to order the CAGS DISABLE KIT from Ecklers [800-327-4868] or MidAmerica [800-500-8388]. It's about $13-$14 from either place as I remember. It's simply two connectors, one of each gender, that are sealed off where the wires would normally come out. You just unplug the CAGS connectors at the transmission and plug these connectors in. It takes less than a minute, once you get under the car. These connectors serve only to keep crud out of the original connectors, so they could be plugged back together in the unlikely event (VERY UNLIKELY) that you would ever want to do so.

I don't know whether you've encountered this, but what's really scary, is the complaint you get from the transmission if your hand notices that the shift into 2nd is blocked and you unconsciously pause before actually shifting into 4th gear. The manual warns you about this and the transmission reminds you! :-(

'96 and Later Models

Info from: Stephen Brown - No connection to the organizations discussed.
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 1996 09:51:47 -0600
Subject: Re: CAGS '96/STOP THE PRESSES!!!!!!

I just talked with Eckler's technical department (a guy named RJ, actually). The CAGS disconnect is now available for the 1996 LT4's!!! It does address the OBD II situation. The part number is 32542. It's brand new and I didn't get a price (who cares about the price!). This RJ guy said he would confirm some of the technical aspects of the connector to me tomorrow.

BTW, the reason I found this out was because I sent Eckler's an email yesterday about missing a big opportunity to sell merchandise. I suggested they get this connector in the works ASAP. When I logged onto email this morning, bingo...I had a reply from their customer service department. Not bad.


From the F-body email list FAQ
Q: How do I disable CAGS?

A: There are several electrical connectors going into the transmission. There are three two-wire connections on the drivers side of the tranny. Two of them are hooked up to large, brass colored protrusions that look big enough to be solenoids (and guess what, they are!). The third connection is to a small black box on the tailshaft of the tranny This is the speed sensor (no speedo cable on these babies!). Disconnecting this will stop CAGS, but also your speedo will not work and a CHECK ENGINE light will come on. Of the two final connections, on is up on the tailshaft. This is the reverse lockout solenoid. Actually, lockout is a bad term, I should say reverse enable solenoid, since when it is not powered on, you are locked out of reverse. The final connection is the CAGS solenoid....the furthest forward of the 3, pretty much in the center of the trans. Unplug it, tape it, forget it.

Although the Service Engine light won't come on, the PCM still stores and error code of 84 indicating the open circuit in the CAGS wiring. Since an open circuit (which a disconnected solenoid would be) using 2 wires can only be detected by _no current_ flow. Simply insert a resistance relatively close to the DC resistance of the solenoid coil across those wires. That way the current detector will still see the load, assuming the CAGS solenoid is still there and operational.

To find out the DC resistance, you will need an ohm meter, or a part number from the solenoid. One could guess, however. I would start out with about a 1K ohm, and work my way down, but be careful not to go too low. What is too low?? Best guess, don't go below 25 ohms - that's a half amp load to the circuit.

Q: Why does my Service Engine Light come on now that CAGS is disabled?

A: You most likely have 1996 or later car. In 1996, GM instituted the OBD-II standard on the F-Body computers. This makes modifying the car much more difficult than in the past. Simple changes (such as disabling CAGS) will cause the computer to sense a problem and light up the service engine light. Luckily, you can fool the computer into thinking CAGS is still connected.

The resistance of the CAGS solenoid is 15 ohms. Assuming 13.5 V, that means about 12 W are dissipated. Go to Radio Shack or any local electronics store and pick up a 15 ohms, 10 W resistor (about $0.50). 10 W should be fine as it will be mounted to the tranny which will work as a heat sink and the skip shift is only active a few seconds at a time, so there won't be much time for any extensive heat build up.

Simply put the resistor in place of the CAGS solenoid thereby closing the circuit and making the computer think CAGS is still connected. You can also buy some heat shrink tubing to put around the resistor to protect it. Then take a tie wrap and fasten the "eye" of the wire connector to the tranny so everything is nice and tight. The connection be returned to stock form in less than 5 minutes if needed and easily be duplicated again for $1.

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What is this "Save the Wave" stuff?

Info From: Dave Bright

>From what I understand the "Wave" started many years ago when "sports cars" were few and far in between. Because of the rarity and uniqueness of sports cars back then, when one sports car passed another sports car, the owners would wave to show their mutual admiration and to acknowledge that they both drove unique automobiles.

Corvettes were of course no exception, if you figure that even today only a little more then a million corvettes have been built in 40 years that Corvettes have been around still makes them somewhat of a rare automobile to see on the road. Back 20 years ago Corvettes were indeed very seldom seen on the road. So of course the "wave" was the best way for one Corvette owner to acknowledge another Corvette owner that they were driving cars that were to be envied and admired.

Over the years the type of Corvette owner has changed. Many factors, including price, force today's owners of Corvettes to be older and most likely be employed in a professional field (lawyers, doctors, businessman, etc). Many of these people didn't understand or weren't told about this "wave" and what it meant or even didn't care. Anyway, less and less Corvette owners were waving (especially in the late model Corvettes).

Because of this a cry has gone out to "Save the Wave." To go out and try to make these people understand what the only true American sports car is all about. If we all start waving then maybe we can still save this sports car tradition and at the same time reaffirm to one another that we own and drive one of the best.

In 1969, Corvette News published an article about the Wave. Click here to read that article.

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Do radar jammers really work?

Info From: Neil Gallagher

We have been testing the two radar jammers that we received from the marketing company. We have taken them apart and studied the circuits. Our conclusion so far is that they do not work at all. The only circuitry inside the devices seems to be an oscillator that makes a humming sound when a button is pushed and a power supply for the light on the front of the unit. Our feeling is that the antenna in the device must be at least 25 sq cm in cross sectional area. This means that the current jammers do not have a sufficient antenna area even if they were designed to do something.

The radar commercial jammers do not work in any of our road test. The jammer idea that we had does seem to work, but we have used an oversize antenna; one that is too large for general use. We need do redesign with a smaller antenna and see if it still works.

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Do laser detectors really work?

Info From: Neil Gallagher

About laser radar---I have now purchased and tested a Cincinnati Microwave laser detector and it seems to work. I have encountered police laser radar several times in the past week. It does not detect the direct laser beam itself, but detects the scattered light. Because the laser radar works by sending pulses. It measures the distance to the target at each pulse and computes the change in distance form pulse to pulse. This is how the speed is computed. The laser radar detector looks for a pulsed infrared signal in infrared light scattered by dust in the air. It can give significant advanced warning of a laser radar trap. There are virtually no false alarms. Unlike a microwave radar jammer, a laser radar jammer would be very easy to build. It can be active because it is not against the law to shine a light.

It is still my feeling that the laser radar is easier to detect and defeat than the microwave radar. Time will tell on this one.

Finally I think it is possible to beat a laser radar ticket. I would use the following argument. The coherent laser light and incoherent visible light diffract differently. The equations that describe the diffraction of the two types of light are different. Therefore, the target that the cop sees in his telescope may not be the spot illuminated by the IR laser.....

I have in my current possession a ProLaser police laser radar. We are doing some more tests on the device. I don't know if I ever mentioned that at present there is no way for the police to calibrate the velocity measurement of the device. Because it does not use doppler shift as does microwave radar, the tuning fork method does not work. Contrary to what you may have read in popular magazines, the police have no way of testing the velocity measurement accuracy of the radar gun. This is because the pulse rate on the pulsed laser is too slow to use the tuning fork. Also, the radars are only recommended for use at a maximum range of 2000 ft. The beam diameter is 4 ft at 1000 ft range. This is not exactly the point size laser beam your read about in popular magazines. This is first hand information from the source - technical reference manual for the ProLaser.

By the way in the sales literature for the device they have a picture of a cop nabbing a red Corvette. Am I just being paranoid or what?

If you get nabbed by laser radar you should be able to beat it on the calibration issue alone, let alone the beam width issue.

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What books are there on Corvettes?

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Where can I buy Corvette books?

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What magazines are there for Corvettes?

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What Corvette Clubs are there?

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Buyer's Guide: Midyear Corvettes (1963-1967)

Now located at Doc's Old Corvettes Buyers Guide

Also, check out the description of An Investment in Excitement: Buying a 1963-'67 Sting Ray in the books section.
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Buyer's Guide: '70s Corvettes

Read a VetteNet member's recommendations on what to look for when buying a '70s Corvette.

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What characteristics are there to differentiate years?

A good book to help in the area of differentiating years is the Corvette Buyer's Guide by Michael Antonick.
Also, see How to determine the year - very basic primer for determining what year each Corvette is
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How do I find out more about the National Corvette Museum?

Check out the NCM Home Page!

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What are the details on getting a Corvette plant tour?

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What do L-88, LT-1, etc. mean?

See also Doc's Glossary
Info From: Bill Jurasz

ASR: anti-slip regulation, or something like that. Traction control.

ABS: anti-lock brakes.

IRS: Independent Rear Suspension. Introduced in Corvettes in '63, and basically unchanged until '84 model year.

L48: the base 350" motor used alongside the L82. Not much glory here.

L82: the performance 350" motor used in the 70s up 'til '81. Iron heads, various HP ranges up to 235hp, good cam (even by aftermarket standards).

L98: engine used from 86 until the LT-1 came out (about '91?). This is the "old" small block design (first gen) with some mods (such as the one piece rear main seal). L98 also refers to the Corvette aluminum cylinder heads (which I have on my '80).

LT-1: second-generation small block Chevrolet V8. 350 cu.in., overhead valve motor (i.e. cam in block, pushrods, etc.), reverse-flow coolant design (coolant to heads first), improved water pump design, improved ignition system, other small improvements as well.

To add to the confusion, the LT-1 designation was also used in '70 on a motor. Obviously it bears little in common with the new LT-1 motor (first gen block, iron heads (could be wrong here), QuadraJet carb). This LT-1 was also a monster motor in its day!

LT-4: the successor to the LT-1. Not sure of all the improvements, but hp is 340hp (LT-1 in Corvette trim is 300hp, 275hp in Camaros).

LT-5: the ZR-1 motor, built by Mercury Marine. 350 cubic inches, 4 cams, 4 valves per cylinder, etc. Originally 375hp, moved to 405 in 92 (?)

LS6: this is a big block motor with tons of power. Also used in Chevelles and other muscle cars.

M20, M21: Muncie 4-speeds used in early Vettes.

M22: Another Muncie 4-speed, known as the "Rock Crusher" due to its really high torque rating. Had close-ratio, straight cut gears. Straight cut design made it very noisy but allowed it to handle really powerful motors. I know people with M22s that will power shift 1-2 and 3-4 without using the clutch at all!

Straight Axle: Vettes prior to '63 had a conventional rear suspension. These cars are known as straight axle Vettes.

T-10: A Borg-Warner 4-speed used after the Muncies. My '80 has a Super T-10, but I'm not sure when Muncies went out and BW's went in.

TH400R, TH700R4: the 4-speed automatics (3-speed with one overdrive gear). GM has dozens of 4-speeds, many sharing a common name. Those two names above are not the only 2 designations, just the ones I know of. The 700s were used in Vettes starting in '82 (BTW, 82 is the only year with only one transmission option - no manuals in '82 :( ).

Turbo350, Turbo400: 3-speed automatics used by GM forever. The 400 unit is beefier and has different gear ratios. Very popular with racers. Easily modified.

ZF-6: the ZF-6 speed used from '89 up. ZF is the initials for the German firm that designed and built it. BTW, the 6-speed in Camaros is a Borg- Warner unit, not the Corvette unit, and is called a T56 tranny.

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FAQ originally by J. David Cover.
HTML version by Brad Waller and Andy Efron.


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