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My ZR-1 Saga...


Aug 4, 2005
Castle Rock, Colorado
90' Black ZR-1 #1723
I thought I'd share my interesting ZR-1 buying experiance.....Love my Z...


As some of you know I bought the 90' ZR-1 in Vegas that was advertised for $14K with 47K miles. Many have asked to hear how it went so here you go...including pictures. Believe me, it was an ordeal!

I had sent my 24yr old son who lives in LA to check out the car and based on his approval I agreed to buy the car from the owner for $13,900. I knew from my sons inspection that the SES, Inf Rest and LTPWS lights were on, and that the car needed tires, these items would need work. The owners tech felt the car needed an O2 sensor and wires to correct the SES light. We were going to go to Vegas the following week anyway so I planned to pick up the car then and drive it back via Reno, to see my parents, to Denver where I live.

My son and I met with the owner at the appointed hour last Saturday to have a final look at the car and do the transaction. I must say I was disappointed when I did finally see the car because it was rougher than I expected. It looked like it had been sitting for some time and was dirty. However having been in the car business all my life I was able to look past the dirt and see it as a basically good car that needed some TLC. I started the car up and immediately detected a very faint knock from the engine. After some poking around I determined that if I pulled the #8 plug wire the knock became severe at idle. I told the owner I felt it was a rod knock and was not interested in the car. He asked me to make an offer because he just wanted to move the car. I said I would consider it and call him back later in the day after some further research. We parted.

In the mean time (and prior to seeing the car) I had put out a plea on the forum here for help from a Vegas member to help change out the O2 sensor and wires. Ron Hanselman graciously responded. He called me after I had seen the car and I told him I passed due to the knock issue. He luckily advised me not to be hasty and felt what I was hearing was the dual mass flywheel, which when bad makes that exact sound. He invited me up to his house the next day to hear his two ZR's and compare. We went and sure enough when we pulled the #8 plug wire on his 91' we got the same sound. Interestingly his 93' didn't do it.

That day (Sunday) I called the owner and said I would take the car if he took another $1500 off because flywheel needed replaced. He agreed. The following morning (Monday) we went to pick up the car and pay the $12,400. At that point the owner said the car had developed a miss. I figured it was ignition related and I would fix it prior to the drive to Reno. I had brought tools and since I was a trained Mercedes tech (years ago) and thought it would be no big deal.

I took the car straight to be detailed, so it would be presentable for the wife, and in the mean time went to the Nevada DMV to get a "drive away" permit. As I picked up the car from the detailer and pulled up to the gas pump a black Mercedes pulled up along side and the guy offers to buy the car on the spot! I turned it down of course.

So...I'm driving back to the hotel in my rough running ZR in the 110 degree Vegas heat and notice that the temp needle is almost to max and the A/c had turned off and was blowing hot air. I also noticed that the fans were not running. Luckily the hotel with it's under ground parking was not far. A quick look under the hood and I determined that the fan relays were hooked up backwards, switched them and the fans ran fine.

After 3 hours of diagnosis for the miss and another consultation with Ron I determined that the miss was caused by a failed #2 primary injector. Again, luckily I had brought my volt/ohm meter. I didn't have the tools however to pull the plenum to replace the injector. I called around and found a shop, Tucker's GM Performance Center, to do the work on short notice and order the part. The part however had to be overnighted from Kentucky. It was finally finished Wednesday, they did a great job, and also fixed the SES light by reconnecting a secondary vacuum line under the plenum, installed the wires that I had brought along and replace the fuel filter at my request. $702 dollars was the bill. Fortunately, they also pointed out the screw in my right front tire that had to be fixed before the drive. The local Discount Tires Direct did that for free while we waited. Needless to say the wife was not happy at this point!

Off we went Wednesday afternoon (two days late) to drive to Reno 475 miles. The car was very loud on the trip, the tires howled and vibrated and the drive train made alot of noise. The wife was now not speaking to me.

We got to Reno OK and I immediately ordered a set of tires (Summitomos) from Tire Rack. They have a warehouse there and I was able to pick them up immediately. $422 dollars. A local shop balanced and installed them and did a 4 wheel alignment (boy did it need it) They also removed the LTPWS sensors at my request. Now the car drove very smoothly and the LTPWS light was out. $227 dollars for that work.

I had also noticed that the oil pressure guage was reading wrong and the sending unit was leaking. The local NAPA store had the part and I replace it. $27 dollars.

So..yesterday the wife flew back to Denver (she had to be at work today) and I drove. The trip went well (15 hrs) and the car drove great! I did notice that the drivetrain noise was still unusually loud. I remembered the owner telling me that the clutch and sychros had recently been replaced, so I was a little concerned there might be a problem. I suspected, however that the rubber boots between the shifter and the body had been incorrectly replaced when the clutch was done, allowing drivetrain noise to transfer to the cockpit. (I've done clutches on these before.) Sure enough, today I pulled the console trim and had to reinstall the boots.

Now...after all this, the car is really nice. It's quiet inside, only normal noise levels, idles smooth and runs strong (including the secondaries)
Shifting is perfect (still have to disconnect CAGS) The interior is near perfect with only wear on the drivers seat bolster. The paint is very good only the rear lower valance will need repainted. It will need rear wheel bearings this winter and brakes. I'll probably change out the flywheel at that time too. I have a Power Effects exhaust sitting here just waiting to go on. All in all not a bad $14k ZR-1.

Many thanks to to Member Ron Hanselman, couldn't have done with out you!!! I'll buy you that beer when I see you at VOTR

Thanks to the forum too...couldn't have done it without the help and info here.

Here are some PIX of the $14K ZR-1.









EDIT by 67HEAVEN: No need to go elsewhere. Let's read the story here.
Hans, that's a heck of a story. Looks like you got one great deal on the Z. It helps to be able to troubleshoot those things and thne be able to fix them. I wish I could run across a deal like that....but if I bought one my wife wouldn't talk to me either. Good luck with your sale of the 91.
I was holding my breath, hoping after all you went to get this car that it would end right. I envy you. You found a good deal and made it even better. what a super car, it's even the right color! This story is everyone's dream, to get such a great deal on such a great car. I'm sure you will enjoy it for years to come.:lou
Thanks guys...the wife is once again speaking to me...I my case thats a good thing.

Did I mention the car had a semi-famous original owner? It was the personal car of Larry Cahill. Larry owns the largest chain of Holiday Inns in the country but more importantly for us he operated Cahill Racing of Sprint Car and Indy Car fame. I researched it and the last time he ran Indy was 2002. The team never won the Indy 500 but was a player for some 20yrs.

Probably doesn't add anything to the value but interesting none the less. I plan on keeping this one for a long time.

Great story!! Happy that it all worked out for you. :) Have been on a few of those long distance car adventures. :ugh Usually works out better for me if I leave wife home. Car looks like a lot of bang for the $$$$$! :lou Now go have some fun with that thing.
Great story Hans!! Congrats on the Z!! I know how you feel when it wasn't running right and how great it feels when all the "little" things have been taken care of!! It's a great feeling when the secondaries kick in!!
Enjoy it! :lou

Congratulations on becomming a "Zroner", Hans.

I enjoyed reading your story.
Thanks, guys...

Just did the radiator clean out, replaced all the hoses, installed a 180' thermostat, intalled a Haibeck Chip and replaced the serpantine belt while I was in there. Now instead of running near the top of the temp guage she runs right down the middle and holds that temp...

King Of The Hill

:lou You are one lucky S.:drool: O.B. Congratulations.I am sure you will get years of enjoyment, Plus it is kind of fun working on your own car,knowing you did the job right!

Jamm'in Jeff:w
Nothing like stealing when you should of been buying.

Congrats on a nice find...:beer

Great story, awesome Vette. Glad to hear it all worked out for you,

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