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Corvette - An American Dream: Sep 23, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

C5 Ignition Issues

That's my car to the left. Ain't it purty? It's a 2001, Magnetic Red Coupe. And it always starts right up and runs great. Except for one time when it didn't.

It's a bit of a shock when you put your key into the ignition of your Corvette, turn it, and nothing happens. It's happened to me. And I'm guessing it may have happened to some of you.

Sometimes it's the battery. And that's a pretty easy fix. Other times, it's something else. In my case, it was the key. My 2001 Magnetic Red II Coupe has an ignition key with a "pellet" embedded into it. It's my understanding that this pellet has a computer code in it that the car's computer system can read. If it's the right code, the computer says yes, and the starter engages. If not, you get nothing but a readout on your DIC (Driver's Information Center) that gives you a message. In my case it said, "CHARGING SYSTEM FAILURE."

I turned the key to the off position, removed it, and tried it again. It started right up. But a couple days later, it happened again. It only happened occasionally, but it was a real PITA, not knowing if you should turn off the engine when you're miles from home. It could always happen again, you think, and maybe it won't start this time.

So off I went to my buddies at Corvette Forum to find the answer. (Because they always have the answer.) One member told me about the pellet and suggested I clean it with rubbing alcohol. If you look at the picture to the right, the pellet is that little black rectangle with the silver line running through it.

So I followed the suggestions I received. And, I'm happy to say, I haven't had the problem since. So, if you've experienced a similar situation, try the rubbing alcohol cure. It just might do the trick for you, too.

If you'd like a great web address for a listing of the error codes from your DIC, try this one: