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Ring Rumor


Joe Iannarone

I was browsing Microsoft Carpoint and saw a Vette review in which the writer claimed there's a problem with C5 rings which cause them to burn oil. Anyone heard anything about this? Also, on the steering column lock -- it appears there are no recalls in effect. Is this something I should be concerned about and hounding my dealer to resolve?

I have a quote from the NCOA (National Corvette Owners Association) News letter. Hopefully it will clear up your question about the Steering Colum Lock

By Les Jackson

NHTSA investigators determined that "a significant trend of failure exists for the ECL in Corvettes, however a significant trend of compromise to vehicle safety in actual service as a result of those failures was not demnostrated" Therefore, this dose not constitue a safety-related defect and recall

So what does this mean to owners of '97-2000 Vettes? High-level managers at GM told me that the company will go out of it's way to satisy Corvette owners, since such persons tend to be enthusiasts and very loyal to Chevrolet. Although out-of-warranty problems will be handled on a case-by-case basis, GM management intends to be "very flexible" with such claims. Another course of action might be to contact C5 Solutions at c5solutions@att.net to get information about a column lock bypass kit that you can buy to override the ECL system. Better yet, have your mechanic pull out the factory service manual and firgure out how to remove the ECL's lock bolt from the motor. That will certainly cure any potential problems without affecting the electronics.

Installing a bypass system or removing the ECL's lock bold does not violate federal safety laws, contrary to popular thought.

As for the rings leaking oil? I have not seen any documentation one way or the other...

And let me be the first to welcome you to the Corvette Action Center Community! There are a lot of great people here.

There is a problem with oil use in some LS1/LS6 engines, but it's not widespread.

*Some* of the oil consumption problems experienced by LS1/6 engines are caused by ring-flutter during high-rpm/light-load operation (such as cruising around town in low gears at 4000 or more rpm). This is an abnormal driving cycle and in many cases the oil consumption problem goes away if driving habits are modified somewhat. This doesn't mean you can't run your C5 hard. Under high-rpm/high-load operation, ie: wide-open throttle hard driving, oil consumption will be somewhat higher than normal driving but *not* near as high as it can be under high-rpm/light-load conditions.

A fix is currently available for this high-rpm/light-load, ring-flutter-driven, oil use problem, but not through the ordinary service channels. Right now, it's avaiable on a case-by-case basis though Chevrolet's technical assistance network.

A service-level fix is under development and I suspect release is to be soon. A production fix is, also, under development, either for start-of-production MY02 or shortly afterwards.

The fix is higher tension rings and a different oil scraper profile.

More details of this fix will be posted on the C5 Registry web site sometime in the middle of next week.

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