Corvette Technical Articles

Corvette parts technical articles.

  • How to rebuild the original horns on your 1957-1975 Corvette

    So the horns on your classic Corvette stopped working properly a while ago. You know you need do something about it, but you don't want to replace the original horns because they are date coded and your want to keep your Corvette as original as possible.

    But replacing is not your only option - you can also rebuild - and Zip can help!

    Zip offers 1957-1975 Corvette Horn Repair Kits that include everything you need to make this your next DIY project. The kits allow you to easily rebuild one or both horns in your dual horn system. As long as your horn coil is not damaged, you can have your original horns sounding like new in no time.

    The repair/refinish kits include aluminum assembly rivets and housing gaskets while the complete rebuild kit includes: two vibrating discs, two hammers and screws, four gaskets and assembly rivets.

    Zip's Project '73 had a dead horn and we brought it back to life with a complete rebuild kit. Follow along with our technical article 1957-1975 Corvette Horn Rebuild for step-by-step instructions and photos.

    Before you begin, you'll need to gather a center punch, #25 drill bit, a 1/8″ punch, a vise, gasket cement and some hand tools. Take the tech article out with you and you're ready to get this project done!

    For more great technical articles covering all Corvette generations, visit corvettemagazine.com, your online source for Corvette know-how!

  • Do your early C4 headlights "wink"? The fix takes less than an hour each.

    1984-1987 C4 Corvettes commonly fall victim to headlight motor failure. The result: your corvette "winks" with one headlight up, one down. Frustrating, we know. And slightly embarrassing.

    Here's the problem: straight from the factory, the 1984-1987 headlight motors used nylon gears to rotate the Corvette headlight assembly. With the weight of the headlight assembly, the nylon gears eventually strip where they come in contact with the metal worm gear. Chevrolet recognized this problem and redesigned the motor for the 1988 Corvette, but that didn't do much to help the early C4's.

    Here's the solution: new Bronze Headlight Gears that won't strip.  You don't need a whole new headlight motor, you just need to replace the gears. Once you replace the nylon gears with bronze, your headlight motors will operate as they were designed and you’ll be able to expect many years of reliable service.

    The replacement procedure is not very difficult and can be done in about 45 minutes per side.  To make it even easier, Zip has documented the entire process for you.

    Read our technical article 1984-1987 Corvette Headlight Motor Gear Replacement and we'll walk you through the replacement with step-by-step instructions and photos.

    To replace the gears, you will need 1/4-inch ratchet with a long extension, 13mm deep well socket, 10mm socket, Phillips screwdriver, hammer, brass punch, needle nose pliers and some silicone sealant.

    Once you have completed this project, you can rest assured that your Corvette won't be winking at anyone again!

  • Emission Impossible: How to Install the Missing Smog System on your C3 Corvette

    Back when the 1973-1982 C3 Corvettes were rolling out of the factory and into the hands of eager owners, many do-it-yourself weekend warriors went straight to work removing the factory installed emission system because it robbed horsepower. We didn't think we'd ever really need it, so we just threw the whole smog system on the junk pile.

    Boy, were we wrong!

    Today,  C3 show cars are REQUIRED to have the smog system if they were originally equipped that way. In addition, an intact system is needed to get the car registered or to renew license plates in some cities and states. Come to find out, an operating smog system is very important afterall!

    But as owners decided to undertake this re-installation project, they found that most smog systems were hard to locate and very expensive.

    Your mission....should you choose to accept it....is to install the emission system on your 1973-1982 Corvette in just one afternoon.  Don't worry, Zip can help! We have the Corvette Parts you need to get the job done and when we installed a smog system in our 1973 Corvette, it only took a few hours and was relatively painless. Better yet, we documented the entire process!

    Follow along with Zip's technical article "1973-1982 Corvette Emission System Install"  for easy to follow, step-by-step installation instructions and photos.

    So let’s grab our tools and shop manuals and get this thing done. After completely reading this article.... it will self-destruct in 5 seconds. Poof!

    Mission Accomplished!

  • How To Replace C4 Corvette Door Window Seals

    It’s a nice sunny afternoon. You're out enjoying the weather, washing your C4 Corvette. After you're done, you bask in the beauty of your glistening Corvette. But as it begins to dry, you notice the horrible condition of the original door window seals. Cracked and splitting, they make your dream machine look more like an aged Mazda. Not cool.

    Fortunately, these ugly seals can be replaced. Installing new door window seals is a project that can be accomplished with some time and patience. The procedure actually looks more difficult than it really is, so be confident that you don’t have to be a Corvette mechanic to get the job done.

    Follow along with our technical article 1984-1996 Corvette Door Outer Window Seal Replacement and we'll guide you each step of the way. With easy step-by-step instructions and detailed pictures, you'll have the job done in no time - about 30 minutes for each door, to be exact.

    Along with your new C4 Corvette Door Window Seals from Zip, you'll need some common hand tools, a pop-rivet gun (a relatively inexpensive tool found at your local auto store) and 3/16 aluminum rivets with a shank no longer than 3/8-inch.

    That's all you need.

    For more great technical articles covering all Corvette generations, visit corvettemagazine.com, your online source for Corvette know-how!

    Purchase online at Zip Corvette Parts

  • How to Install Stainless Steel Brake Lines on your 1984-2004 Corvette

    There's no question that when modifying a C4 or C5 Corvette, the most overlooked system on the vehicle is the braking system. It’s possible the availability of components is partly to blame for this oversight. After all, for every 50 companies that offer horsepower upgrades, there are probably only 10 that offer proven brake system performance.

    Zip excels in packaging C4 Corvette Brake Systems and C5 Corvette Brake Systems. We offer more than just high-end competition brake systems because we understand that not everyone wants to - or needs to - replace their entire system. Sometimes, you simply want to improve the factory system. Zip offers many affordable up-grades ranging from brake pads to a line pressure bias spring to stainless steel brake lines.

    To refer to them as brake lines is a bit of a misnomer; they’re really high-tech hoses due to their construction. At the center is a flexible Teflon hose that seals in the brake fluid, just like OE brake hoses. The benefit is found in the outer shell. The Teflon hose is encased by a stainless steel braided shell. This is what gives the hose its strength and durability and is why they’re referred to as lines and not hoses. This strength and durability is precisely why stainless steel lines have been preferred over rubber hoses on race cars. However, just because Corvette Parts are on a race car doesn’t mean they should be on a street car. But it also doesn't mean that they shouldn't.

    Simply put, stainless steel brake lines are superior to the original equipment rubber brake hoses. Over time, rubber hoses dry out and crack. This leads to leaks and an eventual rupture. Granted, a bad hose is usually discovered long before it bursts and under normal driving conditions, it takes considerable time for a hose to reach failure. So if the most aggressive driving you do with your Corvette is in a car show parade, your factory hoses are fine. Just have them inspected when you get your pads changed out at 60 or 80,000 miles.

    But for those of you who are used to changing brake pads at 5 to 10,000 miles (or less), get rid of those rubber hoses and install a set of stainless steel lines.

    Whether you’re aggressive on the street or auto-crossing on the weekend,  you’ll enjoy the benefits of the stainless lines. Most notable is a firmer and more consistent brake pedal. This comes from the strength of the stainless steel shell. With rubber, every time you stab the brake pedal the hose balloons slightly under the extreme internal hydraulic pressure. You will feel this ballooning as a soft brake pedal. Now add to that the high temperatures generated during heavy braking and the result is braking inconsistency. As the temperature goes up, so does the flexibility of rubber and therefore more ballooning. Compound this with thousands of cycles and that's why rubber hoses eventually fail when subjected to constant aggressive braking.

    In addition to a firmer, more consistent brake pedal, you’ll also realize a higher brake pedal. Simply put, less pedal travel is required to generate the desired brake pressure. When the rubber hose expands, the internal area of the brake system is increased. That is why extra pedal travel is required to bring the system up to a given pressure. All these benefits usually parlay themselves into more confidence in your brakes, resulting in quicker times at the auto-cross.

    Follow along with our technical article "1984-2004 Corvette Stainless Steel Brake Hose Installation"  as we install stainless brake lines on a new C5 Corvette. However, the steps shown in the article apply to C4 Corvettes as well. There is no significant difference between the brake hoses and connections on C4 and C5 Corvettes.

    For more great technical articles covering all Corvette generations, visit corvettemagazine.com, your online source for Corvette know-how!

  • How to Convert your 1957-1974 Corvette to Electronic Ignition

    How many times over the years have you thought about converting your 1957-1974 Corvette to a solid state electronic ignition? Probably more than once. How many times have the challenges that would come with such an undertaking keep you from rolling up your sleeves and diving in?

    Having to use a non-stock distributor...tackling wiring so complicated that it takes an electrical engineering degree to figure out...mounting black boxes on your engine compartment...just to name a few of the challenges.  Needless to say, this is one of those DIY projects  that most Corvette owners have no interest in doing themselves.

    Until now.

    Zip Corvette has the solution you've been waiting for. The solution that leaves no more excuses for putting this project off. It's a complete solid state electronic ignition system – The Ignitor – that uses your original stock Corvette distributor. Manufactured by PerTronix, it has no complicated wiring or any black boxes. As a matter of fact, the whole system fits completely under your Corvette’s original distributor cap, allowing you to maintain your Corvette’s factory ignition shielding. Too good to be true? Nope. In fact, it gets even better.

    This system will install in about one hour and costs less than $100. Since the unit is one piece, you do not have to drill any holes or cut any wires. Best of all, you will not have to buy anything else. According to PerTronix, The Ignitor has an effective rpm range from 0 to 6000 rpm with a standard coil. If you need to go from 0 to 15000 rpm, all you need to do is change to a stock heavy duty coil. Another nice thing about this system is that you do not have to change the timing or your stock plug gap.

    We installed The Ignitor on our 1973 L48 350 Corvette. It took less than an hour and worked flawlessly.  Installation can be performed with the distributor in the Corvette or on the bench. We decided to install on the bench which would allow for better photography and a check on our Corvette’s distributor end play.

    Follow the installation step-by-step with our technical article "1957 - 1974 Corvette Distributor Electronic Ignition Conversion". You'll find detailed instructions and photos and the confidence you need to tackle this project on your own!

    If you want the convenience of a solid state electronic ignition system while still being able to use your original stock distributor, this is your answer. For more great technical articles covering all Corvette generations, visit corvettemagazine.com, your online source for Corvette know-how!

     

  • How to Replace the Radiator in your 1963-1967 Corvette

    Has the little drip under your Corvette’s radiator turned into Old Faithful? If the water is running out as fast as you can pour it in, it's time to take action.

    We know what you're thinking: Where do I get an original equipment radiator for my C2 Corvette?

    Look no further than Zip. We have exact reproduction aluminum radiators or replacement radiators for all Corvette generations! Follow along with our tech article 1963-1967 Corvette Radiator & Expansion Tank Replacement as we install an exact reproduction aluminum radiator on our project 64 Corvette.

    Zip's 1963-1967 Exact Reproduction Corvette Aluminum Radiators are totally original in appearance, licensed through the GM restoration parts program and can even be correctly date coded and detailed for your particular application. We also carry all of the associated radiator components such as expansion tanks and fittings, hoses and more.

    For this project, we chose an all aluminum radiator over a brass/copper radiator because an all aluminum radiator will cool better than an equal size brass/copper radiator. The aluminum radiators are made of a long life alloy that resists corrosion and they come with a 5-year warranty. Need we say more? So roll up your sleeves and stop that big drip!

    For more great technical articles covering all Corvette generations, visit corvettemagazine.com, your online source for Corvette know-how!

  • Rebuilding the 4-Speed Shifter on your 1964-1981 Corvette

    Is your 1964-1981 Corvette shifter so loose that you sometimes have to hunt for each gear? Do you have to make a perfect shift pattern to get it into gear? Does the shift handle move around so much that you feel like you are stirring a mystery brew with a spoon? If you answered YES to any of the above, you're probably dealing with a worn shift mechanism.

    Through use, the levers and pins on your Corvette Shifter experience wear and tear, causing hard or sloppy shifting. In the past, your only real option was to buy a new shifter and mechanism. Thankfully, times have changed! Zip Corvette offers  4-Speed Shifter Rebuild Kits. These complete rebuild kits cover 1964 to 1981 Corvettes and eliminate the need to replace the shifter and mechanism.

    Each kit includes instructions, a new ball, reverse T-handle with rod, springs, shafts, pins and two different interlock levers to tighten up the mechanism. The best part: these kits are inexpensive and the do-it-yourself rebuild is relatively easy!

    Follow along with our tech article 1964-1981 Corvette 4-Speed Shifter Rebuild as we install a rebuild kit on our Project 77, which was suffering from an extremely worn shifter.

    In addition to your rebuild kit from Zip, you'll also need basic hand tools, white lithium grease, chrome polish, a cleaning solvent (mineral spirits will work), a jack and jack stands and the Corvette Shop Manual for your specific year.

    Installation should only take about 4 hours. Definitely worth the time and effort to turn your sloppy shifter into a slick shifter!

    For more great technical articles covering all Corvette generations, visit corvettemagazine.com, your online source for Corvette know-how!

    Purchase online at Zip Corvette Parts