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Corvette - An American Dream: 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Old Man Winter is on his way. (Repost from 10/23/08)

The days are getting shorter and the temperature is dropping in many parts of our country. Fall is winding down and winter will soon be rapping at the window.

If any of you live in the less tropical areas, I'm certain you have figured out that it will soon be time to put the Vette into hibernation for a long winter's nap. Here are some things you can to protect your investment and make sure everything is okay again when the warm breath of spring pushes the winter out for another year.

I've listed the minimum requirements below. Others readers may had additional items to add. If so, just click on that COMMENT link at the bottom and give us your information.

Gas Tank:
Fill the tank and add a bottle of Sta-Bil.
This prevents condensation.

Put a battery tender on to keep the voltage up.
Obvious benefit need not be explained.

Over-inflate to 40-45 pounds.
Prevents flat spots.

Fill exhaust tips with steel wool or cover with aluminum foil
Keeps rodents out.

Coat with Dielectric Gel (available from GM or your dealer or parts store)
Keeps it soft and supple.

Place some dryer sheets in an aluminum pie pan and place inside the car. Desiccants will help keep the moisture down also. Moth balls in pie pans will discourage rodent invasion. You can also place these in the engine compartment.

If you're lucky and Mother Nature decides to let the sun shine and melt the snow and ice, and you have a decent driving day, be sure to get the engine up to operating temperature before you quit driving for the day.

That's all I have. As I said, any additional advice or comments are welcome.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

This is amazing...

Although it's not Corvette-related, it's still an amazing piece of video.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

DIC codes

At some point in your Corvette experience, you're going to need to find out what type of error occurred in your engine that caused your "Check Engine" light to come on.

It could something as simple as a loose fuel cap, or it may be something more serious that needs attention. In case that's happened to you, here's an easy way to see where the problem originated.

In the center of your instrument panel, below the speedometer and tach, there is a horizontal readout that comes one when you start the car. It usually begins with the word "CORVETTE" and then changes to "BY CHEVROLET." This is what is referred to as your DIC, or Digital Information Center.

Turn the ignition key on, but don't start the car. Hold down the OPTIONS button and press the FUEL button four times. You're now in DIAGNOSTIC MODE.

The computer will display what are referred to as DTCs or Diagnostic Trouble Codes. There are two kinds of DTCs, "Current" and "History," designated with a letter suffix, "C" or "H". A current code indicates that the malfunction is present in the system whose module is displaying data. A history code indicates a problem existed in that module sometime in the last 40 or 50 ignition cycles. When not accompanied by a current code of the same number, it is possible it's evidence of a previous problem, now solved, that was not removed by clearing codes. More likely is that a history code indicates an intermittent malfunction. "Intermittents" are the most challenging DTCs. An intermittent may have happened only once, may have happened more than once but is inconsistent in its appearance or may be happening on a regular basis but not at the time the IPC is displaying codes.

History codes can also be caused by a current malfunction in a system that is not operating at the time DTCs are displayed. An example is the rear window defogger which doesn¹t operate until the BCM detects engine rpm. For history codes set by a system that does not operate with the key on and engine off, a special diagnostic tool called a "scan tester" is necessary to properly diagnose the malfunction.

Inititially, the on-board diagnostics go into the "automatic" mode which shows each module's DTCs in a pre-set sequence:

10 PCM Powertrain Control Module
28 TCS Traction Control system ABS
?? RTD Real Time damping
40 BCM Body Control Module
60 IPC Instrument Panel Cluster
80 radio
99 HVAC Heater Vent-Air Conditioning
A0 LDCM Left Door Control module
A1 RDCM Right Door Control Module
AC SCM Seat Control module
B0 RFA Remote Function Actuation

For each module, all DTCs will be displayed. If none are present in a module, you will see "no more codes" on the ICP display.

Once the IPC has displayed all 11 modules, the system goes into the manual mode which allows selection of each module using combinations of DIC buttons. The manual mode can also be entered at any time during the automatic sequence by pressing any button except "E/M". Once the IPC displays "manual diagnostics," you may select a particular module by pressing the "options" button to go forward or the "trip" button to go back. Once a system is selected and a DTC is displayed, if more than one are present; press "gages" to move forward or "fuel" to go back.

To exit the diagnostic mode at any time, press "E/M". If you want to erase or "clear" codes, press "reset." Clearing a code does not repair a problem. You are simply erasing the evidence of it in the module's memory.

So, now that you have the codes, what do they mean? Rather than list them all here, I'm going to refer you to another site. This site provides a great listing of all the error codes you may encounter.

Hope that helps.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Stingray Concept Design Overview

Now let's jump forward to today and take a look at this concept design for the Stingray. Pretty impressive.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blue Devil vs Blue Angel

If you love speed, this is the video you've been waiting for.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Jim Mero Driving the ZR1

If you're up for a little adrenaline rush, hop in the passenger seat and strap in. This is an exciting ride at Nurburgring when Jim drove the 7:26.4 record lap. Hang on because it's a great ride in a great car.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

How do those nannies work?

Active Handling was introduced by GM in 1998 as an option. It became standard equipment on the 2001 and newer models. Like me, there may be a few of you who don’t realize what it does, how it does it, and the other options you have in changing the features. I’m not recommending you disengage it, but I thought you might like to know the options. Following is an abbreviated version of a GM Press Release from the fall of 1998. If you would like to read the full press release, this link will take you there:

What Active Handling Does

The Active Handling system activates when there is a significant difference between how the driver intends for the car to corner and how the car is actually cornering. Working together with the ABS and traction control systems as needed, it automatically applies any of the four brakes to help correct the situation

Active Handling uses a simple yet sophisticated system of sensors to detect unwanted vehicle manuevers. These sensors include a steering angle sensor, yaw-rate sensor, lateral accelerometer and sensors in the vehicle's ABS brake and traction control systems. All of the data that these sensors provide is fed into the Corvette's onboard computer where specially-developed software "reads" all of the inputs and automatically activates the car's brakes selectively to help the driver bring the vehicle back under control.

Steering Angle Sensor: This digital sensor monitors the driver's steering inputs immediately and communicates the steering angle that the driver has selected back to the system. It is accurate to within one degree of steering angle change and is located in the car's steering column.

Yaw-Rate Sensor: This solid-state device utilizes a tiny pair of ceramic tuning forks to measure the actual rate that the car is turning or yawing from the centerline. This data is continuously fed into the Corvette's computer where the yaw rate is compared to the steering angle. Any variation beyond a pre-programmed set of values will result in activation of the Active Handling system's assist features. The yaw-rate sensor on the Corvette is located inside the center console.

Lateral Accelerometer: The lateral acceleration sensor measures the centrifugal force created in a turn. The data it provides is weighed against all of the other inputs and is used to calculate whether or not the car's limits are being exceeded for the speed and traction conditions that exist. This sensor is located beneath the passenger seat.

Unique Controller & Software: All of the information being provided by the sensors mentioned above is processed by the Corvette Active Handling system's computer through a very sophisticated and specialized software package. This computer is actively linked to the ABS brake system and the traction control system -- all these systems share information continuously. This multiple linkage is vital because the combined inputs from each system make the fully-integrated system better able to respond to a wider variety of inputs from the driver.

Competitive Driving Mode

The Corvette Active Handling system will be the first of its type to offer dual mode operation. In addition to an "OFF" mode, in which Active Handling is disabled, the system also allows the driver to select a "COMPETITIVE DRIVING" mode for autocross or gymkhana competitions. In this mode, the Active Handling system remains fully-functional -- measuring steering, yaw rate and lateral acceleration inputs as well as applying individual wheel brakes as required -- but the traction control system is disabled, allowing for some wheelspin and oversteer that skilled drivers often find beneficial in competitive driving.

Summary of Active Handling System Modes

ON - Active Handling is automatically enabled when the car is started. This is also true of the ABS brake and traction control systems.

OFF - Like traction control, the Active Handling system may be manually turned off if the driver so desires. This is not true of the ABS brake system which is always enabled.

COMPETITIVE DRIVING - In this mode, Active Handling and ABS are both enabled, but traction control is shut off.

The "OFF" and "COMPETITIVE DRIVING" modes are important features on a high-performance sports car like the Corvette. As mentioned earlier, skilled drivers may find that some wheelspin and oversteer can be beneficial to their lap times in competitive events, and the Corvette system allows them to operate the car in this fashion when appropriate. Chevrolet recommends against selecting these modes for street use.


The overall effectiveness of the Corvette Active Handling system, or any similar system, is directly related to available tire traction and the aggressiveness of a given maneuver. Active Handling is designed to work to use existing traction to assist the driver -- but it cannot overcome the laws of physics. The Active Handling system reacts only in extreme situations, and special care should be taken when the system does activate because it's a clear signal that vehicle or tire limits are being exceeded.

This information wasn't placed on this site to encourge anyone to drive without the Active Handling system turned on. The Corvette is a powerful car, and a system of this type can be beneficial in preventing out-of-control situations from remaining that way.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Corvette vs Ferrari... Fun Stuff.

I found this interesting and exciting. What fun. I'm going to go out later today and find me a Ferrari to beat up on.

Friday, June 26, 2009

How to use a claybar...

Some of our readers have asked about claybarring. This is one of the easiest and most important first steps in giving your pride and joy a beautiful shine. Naturally, you would follow the clay bar procedure with your polishing and waxing processes. We'll talk aobut those in a future post.

From experience, I can tell you the most important part is to use ample wetting agent to prevent the clay from sticking to the paint. It won't cause any damage if this happens but makes it a bit difficult to get it loose. Not a bit deal, but easily prevented.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Not Corvette, but Worth Seeing...

This video is from the Volkswagen plant in Dresden, Germany. It was sent to me by my good friend, Pat, from Indiana. It's amazing and something that the UAW ought to consider for improving conditions, quality, and morale.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Love that Meguiar's

Summer has arrived and it's time to keep that Corvette sparkling and shiny with a good coat of wax. I know each of you has your favorite detailing products. Or maybe you don't, and you're looking for suggestions. Well, here's mine. I love Meguiar's products. They make everything I need for giving my Vette a deep, lustrous shine and protecting it from the elements.

Here's my procedure:

Since I don't drive my Vette in the rain (yes, I'm one of those guys) I rarely need to wash it. When I'm not driving it, it stays protected in my garage under its car cover. But it still needs some care on a regular basis to keep that shine going on.

My first step when I bought the car was to use a claybar. You may not think it's necessary, but I assure you it will make a difference in the depth of the shine you can achieve. The secret is not to scrimp on spraying that lubricating spray. Otherwise your claybar will stick to the paint. No damage, but just a little troublesome to get it unstuck.

Secondly, I use Meguiar's Step 2 Polish. You apply it like wax. And here's a point I'm adamant about. Always use a microfiber towel unless you want to end up with swirls in the paint.

After Meguiar's Step 2 Polish, I apply the Meguiar's Showcar Glaze. Same procedure. And I finish it off with Meguiar's Gold Class Wax. That's it. I'm done. I do the whole car by hand.
So enjoy polishing your Vette, no matter what product you prefer. Just remember to use those microfiber towels.
You'll be happy you did.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Watch those potholes!

One thing you have to be very careful of when driving a Corvette, or any other sports car that sits close to the ground, is potholes.

Actually, you need to be careful in any vehicle when it comes to holes in the road surface, especially at higher speeds.

Here are a couple that appear to be quite dangerous and capable of inflicting serious damage to your undercarriage.

I don't know about you, but I know this would slow me down! I see myself slowing down, trying to "straddle" the hole, then breathing again when I cleared it without hitting it!

But they're not really holes. They're actually a clever, new idea to slow traffic down. Actually much better than the old concrete or asphalt humps or speed bumps we all remember. It looks like these would jar your dentures loose if you drove into one.

So if you're driving along and see something that looks like anything in these pictures, just be careful. If you think they're the fake ones you've seen on here, and just drive carelessly over them, you might be surprised.

It could be the real thing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


That's right. Not one, but TWO Corvette's are being given away. Plus you can help deserving kids in the process.

CLICK HERE to enter.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cherry Berry

Some of you may not know about my Corvette, so I wanted to post this and tell you all about it. It was a year ago this month that I drove it for the first time and fell in love. I had been searching for two years to find the perfect car, and this one was definitely it. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

It all started the summer of 1967.

If I remember correctly, gasoline was about twenty-five cents a gallon. I think the United States was producing a lot greater proportion of our oil supply at that time. We weren't nearly so dependent on the foreign oil producing countries. But that's another story for another time. You could buy a sixteen-ounce Coca Cola in a glass bottle for ten cents. A ticket for a Saturday matinee movie was thirty-five cents. And automobiles were not nearly as expensive as they are today.

On that particular day, I was in the showroom of a Chevrolet dealer in Independence, Missouri. I was waiting for them to finish up the paperwork on a Chevelle Malibu I had just purchased. There wasn't much to do to fill the time except to look at the cars on the showroom floor. One of them was a brand new, bright red, 1967 Corvette convertible. It was gorgeous, of course. I looked at the sticker and read the price: $5,700. Naturally, it was way out of my price range. But from that day on I dreamed of someday owning a Corvette.

I searched for 40 years, on and off, but never could find exactly what I was looking for. A new one was out of the range of possibilities, but a well-maintained pre-owned Vette would fill the bill. But I was picky. Being an artist, I'm a bit of a perfectionist. And I couldn't find a pristine and perfect Vette at a price I was willing to pay. By the way, if you would like to see some of my paintings and prints you can visit

But we're not here to talk about painting. Let's get back to the subject at hand. I finally got serious about two years ago and decided, at 59 years old, that it was time to either find my dream car or forget about it altogether. And forgetting about it didn't seem like a good option. You just can't let a lifelong desire fade away and become an unrealized dream.

So I began looking a little more seriously. I searched the country, spent excessive time on ebay, and surfed the net checking out what was available at the local dealers.

March 15th of last year (2008) was a beautiful and sunny spring day. That's the day I saw it for the first time. It was sitting on the front line at Morse Chevrolet in Overland Park, Kansas. I thought it was new when I drove past it the first time and almost didn't stop. But, as fate would have it, I decided to turn around just to check it out.

The closer I got, the better it looked. It didn't have what you would call a "ten-foot paint job." Even at a foot away, it was slick and shiny without a scratch visible. The interior was equally perfect. The previous owner had babied it, and it looked as if it had just been driven off the showroom floor. After speaking to Chad Barker, the Sales Manager, the great news was that it was in my price range!

I was surprised to learn that it was 2001 model year. And I was even more surprised when I learned it only had 22,780 miles on the clock. What sold me on this particular Corvette was the envelope in the glove compartment containing a letter from the previous owners and addressed to "The New Owner." The letter indicated that the car had a name. They had named it Berry, perhaps because of the Magnetic Red color. It also included their name and a phone number to call with any questions — and a request to please take good care of Berry because it had been a great car for them. Well, that pretty much sold me.

The dealer was asking $27,500 for Berry. I knew the Kelly Blue Book value was very close to that price, but naturally you always want to try to negotiate when you can. I offered them $25,000. Of course I had to wait while they thought about it, as they always do. They returned with a story about another buyer who was interested at full price. This buyer was supposed to come back in a day or two to buy it. My reply was that the other buyer may or may not come back, but I was there right now with an offer to write the check as soon as they agreed. It didn't take long for them to see the logic in accepting my offer.

The deal went very smoothly. They were great to deal with and met all of my expectation. I would highly recommend them if you're in the market for a Corvette, or any other car. I felt I was treated very fairly.

And so the adventure began. An hour later Berry (now named Cherry Berry) and I were driving home and getting to know each other. And that's enough for tonight. I'll be back tomorrow to continue the story and get you up to speed on everything I've learned about Corvettes in general and about my Corvette specifically. I'll try to remember to include some information I learned about tires when I come back.
Today, she's sitting in my garage, under her cover. We're supposed to get 6-10 inches of snow this evening, so she won't be seen on the streets until that mess is cleaned up. I hope you enjoyed the story, and if you've got one of your own, hit that comment button and tell us all about it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Marie's Black Vette

Well, all I can say she's gorgeous. And, hey, the car isn't bad, either!

This black beauty comes to us from my friend, Marie. I'm going to let her tell you about it.

"Well, it's a 2003 Z06. The mods include: RK5 Hood (RK Sport), GHL Bullet Exhaust, Drilled Slotted Rotors, Tire Pressure Sensors, Z06 Exhaust Plate, Z06 Shift Knob, Z06 Door Sills, Rear Z06 Partition, billet Grille Inserts, CCW 505A wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Tires (Front 275/30/19, Rear 295/35/19."

It sounds to me like the gal knows her car. Thanks, Marie. And just look at that shine.

You've made us all jealous now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fabulous Corvette Auction

One of the biggest Corvette auctions in the Midwest is coming up in March. It will be held at the new, state-of-the-art facility of Adesa in Belton, Missouri. More info to come soon.