Archive for the ‘AutoShop’ Category

C5 100K Miles – An Owner’s Experience

Monday, October 28th, 2013

C5 100K Miles – An Owner’s Experience
Considering purchasing a Corvette C5? Are you wondering how durable the car might prove to be over time? While a single owner’s experience can’t predict what will happen with your C5, problems that occur in one car often predict what others will find. With that in mind, here’s my experience with my 2002 C5 Corvette Coupe which I purchased new in April of 2002. The car turned 100,000 miles near Iowa City, IA in September of 2013.  

Body and Paint, Exterior – Grade “A”
I didn’t know what to expect from the fiberglass body? Would it get cracks? Would the paint fade? Would it get chips that would be hard to fill? I give the Corvette body an “A.” The paint looks like new (the car has been garaged and not driven during the Winters here in Ohio.) The fiberglass resists dings and chips better than metal. I have not seen a single crack form and there are still none of the “creaks” I expected.

Interior – Grade “B”
The C5 was not known for a great interior in the first place, with large panels of uninspiring plastic on the doors and a basic mid-quality leather covering on the seats. The plastic materials have held their colors and have not developed cracks. However, the seat foam has deteriorated and should be replaced in my car. (A friend rebuilt his seats with good results. Body shops can do this for you and I’m likely to have them fix mine.) The leather is still okay, the carpet is wearing well, and I have not had problems with the electrical accessories.

Electrical Systems – Grade “B”
I have experienced three problems with what I will call the “Electrical System” in general. First, my ABS computer required replacement at approximately 40,000 miles. The text in the driver information display that normally shows the odometer reading or other messages began displaying “Service ABS.” I took my car to the Chevrolet dealer and they happily replaced the ABS computer for $1,200! I later found out that ABS Fixer, with a reference on the Competition Corvette website, repairs the ABS computers for $200 and they plug into the system with little difficulty. Lesson learned, $1,000 wasted! Second, my right headlight stopped popping up when I turned the switch at about 80,000 miles. I was able to fix this for $65 by purchasing a brass replacement gear kit and taking about two hours of my time to rebuild the gearmotor the powers the headlight. The Chevrolet dealer wants $500 to replace both gearmotors, but you can save this expense. Third, my fuel gage began to abruptly drop to zero fuel from about a half tank with about 65,000 miles on the car. C5 owners will tell you this is a common problem and it can be solved by adding Techron fuel system cleaner every 10,000 miles. (Note that I almost always use regular (not premium) fuel and perhaps this problem would not occur with premium, but I doubt that would make a difference.) Apparently something in the fuel renders the fuel sending unit intermittent until it is cleaned by the Techron. In general, I consider these problems (except the brakes!) to be minor.

Mechanical Systems – Grade B+
In this category, I include the engine, engine accessories, the transmission, the suspension, and the brakes and tires. (This forms a big category, I know!) First, here are a few simple things. I change the oil and filter myself with high-quality, conventional 5W-30 once per year, or approximately every 8,000-10,000 miles. (I know that this sounds like sacrilege to some Corvette owners, who swear by synthetics, but I am stubborn and believe that the anti-rust properties of conventional oil outweigh the anti-wear properties of synthetics for applications like everyday driving that don’t require much power from the engine. If I was running on the track a lot, I would use synthetic!) My first set of tires (Goodyear) lasted 36,000 miles. I replaced them with Michelin as the price was about $1,400 – or $120 less than the Goodyear offering. That set lasted 38,000 miles. I replaced them with another set of Michelins at 74,000 miles and that is the set on the car now. Brakes, including pads and rotors, front and rear were worn and replaced at the same time as the tires. (JJ’s in Concord, OH did an excellent job on both brake jobs.) Some people have told me that my experience with tires and brakes is better than average. I don’t know. I have taken my car on the road track at Beaver Run eight times for a total of about 700 miles of track driving, plus a few Corvette club low-speed events. The other driving is mixed highway and suburban/city streets.
While my automatic transmission has performed very reliably, it’s probably the weakest point on the car. It’s a four-speed with a six-inch torque converter, standard for the C5 in 2002. If you’re going on the track, especially road courses, four speeds are just not enough to put the Corvette power at the wheels! Much less powerful cars gain on me as the engine speed on my automatic C5 builds to allow me to regain position. Frustrating! This problem is solved, I think, with the 6-speed in the C6. (Yes, I could have bought the six-speed manual, but I wanted the automatic for everyday driving. I know that might be a bad compromise for some of you!) Not only does the 4-speed automatic not offer enough gears to match the engine, it also overheats under track conditions. Transmission over-temperature has caused me to leave the track on several occasions. However, in all normal driving, the transmission has performed very well with no problems.
The engine has performed flawlessly! Telling about 28MPG on the highway in a car like the Corvette causes me to be accused of fibbing, but I promise the mileage is accurate! The engine remains as good as “day one” after 100,000 miles. However, whoever designed the accessory drive train needs a bit of remedial work. I have spent over $1,500 resolving some problems with the harmonic balancer, the air-conditioning compressor belt tensioner, and the water pump. With these replaced, the belts run smoothly and quietly.
The suspension presents a high-point for the car. Beautiful forged aluminum pieces underneath are strong enough to handle racing loads and are loafing on highways. No problems with the bushings, shocks, etc.
Overall, I have been very satisfied with the first 100K miles on my C5. I expect to drive it another 100K over the next ten or so years. Stay tuned!

Ken Deken

Monthly Meeting & Tour of the OEX Manufacturing Facility – 09/08/10

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

We held our September 2010 monthly meeting at the manufacturing plant of OE Exchange on Tyler Blvd in Mentor. 
Fred Dugach arranged to have a tour of the facilities for our CCA club members.  We actually had one of the best turn outs for any monthly meeting!  Might be a good idea to have more “show and tells”.

The principals Peter Mooney, Bob Boley, and Brian Boley welcomed us with an in-depth description of their patented manufacturing process prior to our meeting. 

Brian showed us how they take a new or repaired rim and prepare it and powder-coat it for an extremely durable “chrome” or “colored” finish.

This process is becoming more and more valuable due to the caustic manufacturing problems of the more familiar chrome plating process.

In fact if you ask for an upgraded set of wheels on a new or even used car, chances are good that you will own a set of OEX coated wheels.

Fred Dugach can attest to the durability of the wheels because unknown to him, he received two OEX rims from Pat O’Brien Chevrolet and another two OEX rims from Conrad Tires.  All of which came through another OEX retail distributor Motomotion, Inc

You can learn more about the OEX process on their website at .

If you are interested in having your rims repaired and/or refinished by OEX, (or anything else like intake manifolds, rocker covers, etc), then please contact either Peter Mooney at peter@oexllc.com440-266-1639, or Bob Boley through their retail store, Wheel Medic, Inc. at 800-826-5795, or
Our sincere thanks to our gracious hosts!

Check out the photos at

Thank you!

C5 ABS Failure with a happy ending!

Monday, July 19th, 2010

I decided to add this to our blog because of an identical problem that recently happened to another member of our club.

Back on August of 2007 when my 2001 Corvette coupe had about 36,000 miles, I got the dreaded C1214 ABS error on my display.

After picking myself up off the floor when I found that it would cost about $1500 to have it repaired by the local Chevy service center, I searched the Internet for a better solution and found Brandon Hite from

So I called him and emailed him a few times to find out how he worked the deal.  He only wanted $150 plus S&H to repair my unit!  It would cost more if he had to send you a refurbished one first, (I pay with PayPal for security reasons).

So I removed just the ABS unit, (called EBCM), from the valve body and shipped it to him.  While waiting for the repair I simply had to tape a plastic bag over the valve body to prevent any dirt from getting into it while driving it for little over a week until the repaired unit was shipped back.  I actually used one of those mylar computer parts bags because it was a little tougher.

This was a fairly simple, although a bit awkward, process to remove and then later, to replace the unit.
After installing the repaired unit I simply cleared the error codes from the DIC (computer) and have had no troubles to date!  But if I did, Brandon does provide a warranty.
(There are instructions on our website that shows how to get and clear any error codes on the C5 Vettes).

Check out the removal process here on his website…  

He will do this for the ABS units in many other cars not just Vettes.  
I even told an auto repair client of mine so he can make a few extra bucks too!

So please pass this along to help other fellow C5 owners!
Thank you!

Secrets of the C5

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

An interesting list of C5 secrets, obtained from

* The little yellow “helper light” on the bottom of the rear-view mirror that illuminates the shifter area.

* You can put your key in the driver’s door lock and turn it twice towards the front to unlock the passenger door and a third time to pop the trunk.

* The little slotted cover on the dash behind the steering wheel is where the inside air temperature sensor is located.

* All of the option codes are are in the glove box.

* Tire inflation recommended pressures are on the driver’s door.

* The thing that looks like a little LED near the DIC buttons is a light sensor.

* The thing that looks like a little LED near the defroster vent is a UV sensor for determining A/C usage to compensate for the heating effect of the sun.

* If you leave your turn signal on, in about 1 minute it will start to ding (loud enough to hear over the stereo) to let you know you have old timers disease.

* You can reset the oil life by pumping the gas pedal 3 times (but not with the engine on)

* Hold down the reset button while on one of the trip odometers and it changes that reading to the miles you have traveled since last starting the engine.

* The side view mirrors can twist both forward and backward, decreasing the chance of damage if struck.

* If you have a 6-speed car you can pop the trunk when the car is running by lifting the e-brake.

* The HUD has a shift light for the manuals

* You can eject a cd from the in-dash player without turning on any power. The key does not even have to be in the ignition.

* When the engine is shut off, you can get the odometer reading by turning on the parking lights. 

Slotted and Drilled Rotors

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

I am about due for new brakes on my 2001 Vette and would like your opinion on slotted and drilled rotors.

A friend of a friend said that he had some problems with additional noise when he put the slotted and drilled rotors.

Does anyone have first hand experience with this?  If so what brands are good and won’t break the bank?

Thank you.