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Working on your C4...

Stallion

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 20, 2002
Messages
2,305
Location
Jersey
Corvette
1996 CE LT4
Before I owned my '96 (CE LT4), I owned a '78. Between fuel injection and all the computer control, as well as the basic cramped style of the engine bay in these C4s, sometimes I look around the mechanical parts of the '96 and get a little discouraged. Doesn't look like there's much room for a backyard mechanic. Good thing these cars are reliable.

What's your take to working on C4s? The modern technology and "new car layout" ever hold you back?
 

SSTibet

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 13, 2004
Messages
722
Location
Ankara TURKEY
Corvette
1995 6 Speed Manual Coupe
Most of the gizmos around the engine are emission control parts, hence the complexity of the C4. I had a chance to look under the hood of a C3 and I could see the pavement all around the engine; no way around a C4 :)

Selim
 

Robertwav1

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Messages
813
Location
Ocala, Florida
Corvette
1993 Blue
I don't like the tight engine compartment although I've seen worse on other vehicles. The computer part is not all that bad once you've learned how it works. I find it hard to work inside the car since the design is to keep you from moving around a lot. Some things I've decide not to mess with while others are no biggy. I find the car to be reliable. :)
 

G Winter

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 21, 2004
Messages
2,177
Location
NW Iowa
Corvette
1990 red convert 6 sp
If you decide to do much work on your car yourself you want to be sure to get the Helms manual for it. The price is well worth it, only takes one or two repairs to pay for it. Read sections of the manual and you begin to get an idea of how things work, once you know how things work repairing them is no big deal.

Glenn
:w
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2003
Messages
174
Location
So Cal
Corvette
1996 LT4 Collector Edition
I do quite a lot of my own work in the engine bay. I've replace every componant on the front of the block (water pump, Opti spark, power steering pump, alternator, etc), and done the basic tune up with new plugs and wires. It's a little daunting at first, but dive on in there and you'll find it's not as bad as it looks!

Barry
 

vetteboy86

Well-known member
Joined
May 26, 2003
Messages
2,760
Location
IN
Corvette
1986 Black "Indy 500 Pace car replica"
My 86 is not that bad, however ten years newer I might feel the same way you do. I have also seen many models of cars worse, I would imagine working on the C5's would be more of a challenge then the C4.
 

WILLFEOM

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2005
Messages
21
Location
ST LOUIS
Corvette
1996 BLACK COUPE
INTERIOR

I don't minded working on engine, but the interior sucks. Every time you take something off IE console, air vents etc. they are broken. Too much plastic
 

davec0_17

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Messages
164
Location
Houston, PA
Corvette
1994 black 6 speed, cat back flowmasters
It's not to bad, really. I have done plugs, wires, water pump, and a rear wheel bearing. On the engine, I usually take the front tires off, and that gets me real close to the engine, and makes working on it a whole lot easier. The service manual is a good idea to, for any car really. I try to think of it as nuts and bolts, like every other car, and its not so overwelming.
 

milehigreg

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2004
Messages
271
Location
Denver Colorado
Corvette
1989 Dark Red Coupe
The ten years I spent wrenching on my 1970 Malibu Convertible really prepared me for owning a Vette. I couldn't own it if I had to have all the work done by others. So far I have serviced the transmission, changed the fluid in the differential, fixed the headlight bushings, swapped the seats around, trouble shot and repaired the turn signal/fog/parking light circuit, replaced the alternator, changed the fuel filter, cleaned in front of the radiator, replaced the plugs, replaced the outside window seals, replaced brake pads and replaced the water pump sepentine belt and radiator hoses. I take pride in the fact that I can do these things for myself. Also, whenever I tear into things, they get cleaned up before I put them back together. If I ever have to tear into the engine, it's just a Gen 1 small block Chevy. In my opinion, electronic fuel injection is no more difficult to understand and work on than carbeuration, it just looks more intense. There is an excellent book on Corvette fuel injection that covers EFI from the Cross fire to the LS6 if you really want to dive in. Lastly, buy a shop manual if you intend to do anything. :) Also, if you get stuck on something, lots of help is only a mouse clik away at the CAC!
 

onedef92

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Messages
214
Location
Louisville, KY
Corvette
1992 Dark Red Coupe
The clamshell hood offers very generous engine access...and that big, meaty gumball of a tire makes a nice work bench, too.
 

Stallion

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 20, 2002
Messages
2,305
Location
Jersey
Corvette
1996 CE LT4
The clamshell hood offers very generous engine access...and that big, meaty gumball of a tire makes a nice work bench, too.

I got to agree with you here. I'm all about the hood on these C4s. You open that girl up and all of a sudden there is no body in front of you. I love it. Such a good design with that.

I'm buying the shop manuals real soon. I can't wait to learn a thing or two about these newer ones. For fun I used to just page through the '78s service manual. Common breakfast reading material was the assembly manual. You really do learn a lot about a car by just looking at pictures and reading procedures.
 

blockhead

Active member
Joined
Mar 3, 2006
Messages
36
Location
western new york
C-4 Complexity!

I didnt realize how complex the c-4s were until after I purcahsed one. Just went on the looks- which I really love! Kind of scares me when I read about some of the problems people have and the price to work on these cars. The guy I bought my c-4 from sold it because A dealer charged him $ 1700 for a new Disributor. Said he wanted to sell it before anything else broke! After buying it I checked out the Carfax data on it (never imagining what I would Find). It had been in a accident when it was only about a year old and been totaled. Someone repaired it and had to take it to another state to sell it. Cannot tell it was damaged only that the front bumper had been welded back on. Still love the car but hope I dont live to regret it! Helps to have all you other guys out there to talk to ! GREAT SITE!!!!!
 

KOPBET

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 31, 2003
Messages
1,355
Location
Tulsey Town
Corvette
'73 Silver LS4 4 speed
If you want to get started on some "simple" stuff change the plugs and wires. If the wires are original (easy to tell) they will need changing anyway. The wires look really difficult to change at first inspection, but they're really not all that bad to do. The passenger side is easy, but the driver's side is the pain. Just takes a few hours and some major cussing is all.
 
T

tdr1919

Guest
Along with the shop manual which is a must, I find the Haynes repair manual to be quite helpful because of the photos & step-by-step instructions. After working on late model Japanese cars I think the C4 has great access to the engine compartment and as you start fixing minor things the more you start understanding what is going on, and as some else mentioned it is a great oportunity to clean and repaint. My car is a work-in-progress, little by little I fix the 20 yr old broken pieces. If I am going to work on something I check to see if I have the tools, if not, I go and buy them. So my Vette is not just the car, it is the car port I built to work on it and the tools and the support equipment to keep it in good running shape.

This forum is one of the greatest assets we vette owners have, most guys post the problems and then fill us in as to what solution worked for them.

Don't let it over whelm you, focus in on what you want to do, and log on to CAC for some direction!
- Tom
 
S

Sunstroked

Guest
Im an aircraft mechanic by day, or ahem by night. Fly em during the day, fix em at night is the rule of our industry. Anyway a C4 hasnt given me too much trouble. I love the easy engine access. I diagnosed and repaired the few nagging issues the car had when I bought it using a factory service manual I picked up off of ebay. They are a must for any serious DIY er. The only time I cussed and swore alot was when I did my clutch R&R by myself. I had the car jacked up about 4" lower than it needed to be. I found this out while the ZF6 tranny was on the floor jack and couldnt be removed from under the car. Ever try to pick up a 140 lb tranny by yourself while lying on the ground? Yeah I wore out the F word that hot summer day.
 

SPANISHVETTS

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
1,143
Location
El puerto de Santa Maria Spain
Corvette
before 60,63&82 now 90 383 Stroker & 91 ZR1-Sold
I have changed everything on Thunder from the Radiator to the exhaust tips. For me the C4 is the easiest car ever built to work on. Even pulling the Clam Shell is easy if you have 2 strong kids to help you lift it off.

The inside is ok if you pull the seats out. That is only a 5 min job and you have easy access.

The plastic parts are crap but the plastic on the new Mercedes is just as bad.
 
T

tdr1919

Guest
Im an aircraft mechanic by day, or ahem by night. Fly em during the day, fix em at night is the rule of our industry. Anyway a C4 hasnt given me too much trouble. I love the easy engine access. I diagnosed and repaired the few nagging issues the car had when I bought it using a factory service manual I picked up off of ebay. They are a must for any serious DIY er. The only time I cussed and swore alot was when I did my clutch R&R by myself. I had the car jacked up about 4" lower than it needed to be. I found this out while the ZF6 tranny was on the floor jack and couldnt be removed from under the car. Ever try to pick up a 140 lb tranny by yourself while lying on the ground? Yeah I wore out the F word that hot summer day.

I am anticipating doing a clutch ob on my 86, and what happened to you is my worst nitemare! (not having it high enough)

- Tom
 

milehigreg

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2004
Messages
271
Location
Denver Colorado
Corvette
1989 Dark Red Coupe
Im an aircraft mechanic by day, or ahem by night. Fly em during the day, fix em at night is the rule of our industry. Anyway a C4 hasnt given me too much trouble. I love the easy engine access. I diagnosed and repaired the few nagging issues the car had when I bought it using a factory service manual I picked up off of ebay. They are a must for any serious DIY er. The only time I cussed and swore alot was when I did my clutch R&R by myself. I had the car jacked up about 4" lower than it needed to be. I found this out while the ZF6 tranny was on the floor jack and couldnt be removed from under the car. Ever try to pick up a 140 lb tranny by yourself while lying on the ground? Yeah I wore out the F word that hot summer day.


I wish somebody really would "wear out the F word" Then it wouldn't be so readily availabel for my use!;)
 

jrzvette

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
287
Location
NJ
Corvette
1969 RED SB COUPE, 1993 BLACK ZF6 COUPE
I have both a 69 and a 93. While haven't done any major repairs myself to either car ( I leave those to my mechanic), I have the Helms manuals for the 93 and the Assembly Manual and Haynes for the 69. The Helms manuals are much more detailed, which is good because the car is more complex.
 

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