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1989 Z51/FX3 - 9,300 miles. New to CAC Forums; Sharing


New member
Jun 30, 2006
New England
I am new to the CAC Corvette Forum in regards to posting. I've been following for many years and have finally settled in and purchased a 1989 Charcoal Metallic C4 Corvette with Z51 / FX3 and 6 spd manual. I've found it very helpful over the years reading posts about what to look for in a car, how to fix items as needed, and general Corvette information. Hopefully I'll be able to positively contribute as well in the future.

To start, I just picked up the car this weekend. Of course I made sure it was washed, leather seats were conditioned and the interior was cleaned to start off with. Because of the year and how little the car has been used I'm changing everything liquid despite if it was just done or not. I want to have a solid baseline of when everything was done, including brake fluid, coolant, oil(s), and spark plug wires. One headlight was out so I took the opportunity to upgrade all of the front and rear bulbs to super-whites. From reading other posts it seems I may need to replace the headlight bushings. They open and close just fine and once I lubed the shafts they actually open and close at equal rates now but the motor continues to run for 2-3 seconds after the lights have closed. Just making sure that this sounds correct from other people that the extended run time is probably because of the bushings slipping and not providing the 'resistance' when the lights are fully closed?

The other item I need to look at is the FX3 unit. On the touring and sport mode everything is fine but when switching to competition the service light turns on. Not sure if the car just needs to be driven more to help loosen things up? Just seems strange that the error code only comes on in comp mode. I've checked both front shock units and they both trigger / turn on when turning the ignition on. I just need to check the hear units still to make sure those do the same.

Otherwise, little things like rear window and roof tint, exhaust upgrades, and a stereo replacement will all be done over the summer. Hope to be able to share as I move along. I'm looking forward to enjoying the car a bit more than the 9k miles in the first 27 years of its life. :happyanim:


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Well-known member
Apr 9, 2002
Atlanta GA.
82,91 ZR-1,
Congrats and welcome Nice C4

Paul T

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2003
Congrats on a great car. With the low miles you should have years of enjoyment from it. I had an identical (almost-it was bright red) 1989 Z51/Fx3 Corvette and loved driving it. Great for autocrossing. One thing to look out for, the power brake vacuum canister was prone to failure that year. Mine went out fairly early so warranty covered it. You will know when it goes as you lose all vacuum and when pressing on the brakes, the engine will shudder and most likely die. I would start looking for a spare just in case. Otherwise, it served me well for four years. Happy Corvetting.

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Jan 10, 2001
CenCoast CA
71 04 12 19
Welcome to the Corvette Action Center, "Maxgrip".

If you are having problems with Selective Ride Control (SRC) and want to DIY the diagnosis and repair, the first thing you need is the 1989 Factory Service Manual, which you can get from CAC sponsor Zip Products, and then you need to read an article about SRC elsewhere on this web site.

The reality is that in '89, Selective Ride (FX3) came only in combination with the Performance Handling Package (Z51), but when those two were ordered, in a unfortunate and strange twist, the car was downgraded to softer, base springs, stabilizer bars and front lower control arm bushings. In 1990, FX3 no longer required Z51 but, if you ordered both, again, you got base springs, bars and bushings. Unfortunately, this downgrade was not widely known. Many unsuspecting '89/'90 customers, wanting the stiffer springs and bars, ordered Z51 along with FX3 but never knew their cars had base parts. While there were 83 Corvette Challenge or World Challenge race cars built during those two model years with FX3 and "real" Z51 (a combination known to some as "R9G") they were not available to the general public. It was not until 1991 when a combination of SRC and the stiffer springs and bars was released. That was RPO Z07, available through 1995.

Parts for for all the SRC systems are hard to find and the 89-91 version of the system is the most difficult to work with as far as replacement parts. This is why accurate diagnosis of the problem is key. You want to know exactly what to look for before you start.

On your headlight motor problem, neither lights' motors should run after the deployment or retraction movement is complete.

If your SRC service light comes on when you put the system in "Comp", you need to get the specific fault code which is setting and post it.

On your first maintence operations, assume no one has changed some of the fluids. Change the coolant, the power steering fluid along with the rear axle and transmission lubricants. Flush the brakes, too. In fact, you likely need to read an article about ABS brake service which is also, here on the CAC.

Again, welcome to the CAC and...good luck with your C4!


Well-known member
Mar 25, 2015
2019 ZO6 in Elkhart Lake Blue
Welcome to CAC and congrats on the C4.


Apr 25, 2016
1994 Admiral Blue LT1
Beautiful C4. The only combo I'd get (other than black interior) w/ the older styling! In fact, I almost got one like yours last year.

Would you mind sharing about how much you paid?


Active member
May 7, 2012
1989 Black coupe
Welcome. Your car looks great. Enjoy

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