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Robert Bowen
Robert Bowen Editor
9/13/18 9:30 a.m.


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Story by Robert Bowen • Photos as Credited

The launch of an all-new Corvette is a rare automotive event, heralding a new epoch of posters plastered on teenagers’ bedroom walls and raising the bar for nearly every other domestic production car. No other vehicle, with the possible exception of the late and lamented Viper, defines the American sports car the way the Corvette does.

Usually, “bad” Corvettes only appear in hindsight. As is often the case, even the best Corvette of every generation is eclipsed when its successor is announced.

Read the rest of the story

Spoolpigeon
Spoolpigeon PowerDork
9/13/18 10:38 a.m.

Perfect thread timing. I’m picking this up on Saturday:

 

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Reader
9/13/18 1:41 p.m.

This article pretty much sums up why I keep thinking of selling my gorgeous '91 ZR-1 and picking up a similar mileage (65k) '02-'04 Z06.  I can use it for autocross and HPDEs without fear and it's easier to work on.  I shudder to think of taking my 996 on track and sucking a valve, cracking a head or eating up the replaced IMS bearing.  Replacement LS6 parts are far cheaper and the power to weight ratio is better.  My wife isn't keen on this idea, but I really think a C5 Z06 is my perfect hobby car. 

rdcyclist
rdcyclist New Reader
9/13/18 3:51 p.m.

The biggest downside to getting a C5 Z06 is the incessant level of crap I'm going to get from my son along the lines of "How many gold chains came with it?" and "Aren't you a little old for a mid-life crisis?" and "When do you get fitted for the toupee?"

I suppose all that E36 M3 will stop after the first track day...

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Reader
9/13/18 6:54 p.m.

In reply to rdcyclist :

I get all the Corvette attire jokes from some people, but I don’t have any.  Good is valuable in the case of economic meltdown.  Don’t let anyone make fun of your gold.  

As for first track day....  I’m a PCA member.  Think they’d let me run a Z06 at HPDEs?  

te72
te72 Reader
9/13/18 8:54 p.m.

People can joke all they want, but the stop watch (or a well driven ride) usually shuts up the jokes. I used to catch every Miata joke in the book from one of my friends until I took him for a ride. Had to pull the seat out of his cheeks, haha!

 

Fun fact, a 97 C5, in silver, was the first time I saw a car, and WANTED it. I was 13 at the time, going into Metro Center Mall, in Phoenix, with my parents. It was parked under one of the planter trees, in the oh-so-useful shade. All these years later, I still can't shake the occasional desire for one.

 

I do feel a bit concerned though, that a C5 would render my Supra a bit... deficient... due to the cheap ability to modify, and the admittedly better platform that the C5 started with, vs the Mk3 Supra. However, I saw one the other day, and for the first time, it struck me as a bit... dated. I don't know why, but I don't like it.

 

The article did leave out one of the most impressive C5's, the Dick Guldstrand, for 2003. Might have been considered an aftermarket car though...

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro PowerDork
9/13/18 10:14 p.m.

Want to know how to tell if someone owns a Corvette?...

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Reader
9/14/18 1:06 a.m.
Trans_Maro said:

Want to know how to tell if someone owns a Corvette?...

Easy they will tell you.....  multiple times.  Same answer for anyone that’s ever completed an Ironman.  

BA5
BA5 Reader
9/14/18 7:38 a.m.

My favorite C5 fact that I rarely see:

GM engineers designed the chassis in such a way that the node when the body vibrates at it's natural frequency is at the drivers seat.  This allowed them to tune the suspension stiffer without as much a compromise in ride quality, because even though the car is vibrating, the driver can't feel it.

I was in FSAE in college and read it in an SAE paper GM had published.

tian647
tian647
9/14/18 8:50 a.m.

I have done numerous PCA and BMW CCA DEs in my C5Z, no one there cares you're in a Corvette except when you lap them, again :) 

I had similar apprehensions about buying into Vette culture, but after the first session in the car I wish I had taken the decision years ago. 

They aren't perfect cars, but they are pretty damned close if you don't look at the interior too hard.

 

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
9/14/18 9:40 a.m.

When I lived in Colorado a good friend of mine bought a brand new C5.  At the time I had a 240z, and one day we swapped cars for a canyon run.   I was blown away by the Corvette, such a massive step up from the C4--- in just about every possible way. 

It still impresses me that they can offer such amazing performance, but still deliver GREAT highway mpg, and be such good daily drivers.   If I wasn't so attached to my E36 M3, I'd be shopping for one.

rdcyclist
rdcyclist Reader
9/14/18 9:45 a.m.
AnthonyGS said:
Trans_Maro said:

Want to know how to tell if someone owns a Corvette?...

Easy they will tell you.....  multiple times.  Same answer for anyone that’s ever completed an Ironman.  

Or a vegan...

jv8
jv8 Reader
9/14/18 11:04 a.m.

Regarding "easy to work on"...

I'm refreshing a 2002 Z06.  The engine, cooling, suspension, and brakes were all cheap and easy.  The interior wasn't too bad (race seat, harness bar).  Everything was great - couldn't believe the performance per dollar!

But now I have to pull the drivetrain to replace all the rubber bits and clutch.  The rear subframe has to come out followed by the entire diff+trans+torque tube.

I don't have access to a two-post lift or a corvette specialty shop.  Just watched the GRM youtube stream on the C5 drivetrain... ugh.

Then there's the fuel smell which is probably a leak in one of the tanks or crossover tube... again the whole drivetrain has to come out to service.

Anybody done this on jackstands?

Even GRM took their C5Z to a shop.

 

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
9/14/18 11:30 a.m.

But now I have to pull the drivetrain to replace all the rubber bits and clutch.  The rear subframe has to come out followed by the entire diff+trans+torque tube.

I don't have access to a two-post lift or a corvette specialty shop.  Just watched the GRM youtube stream on the C5 drivetrain... ugh.

I've done it on jackstands (tall ones).  It's possible, and afterwards I felt it was easier than I had thought it would be. Go for it! 

rdcyclist
rdcyclist Reader
9/14/18 11:37 a.m.
Vigo said:  ... and afterwards I felt it was easier than I had thought it would be.

Isn't that always the case?

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo SuperDork
9/14/18 11:48 a.m.
jv8 said:

Regarding "easy to work on"...

I'm refreshing a 2002 Z06.  The engine, cooling, suspension, and brakes were all cheap and easy.  The interior wasn't too bad (race seat, harness bar).  Everything was great - couldn't believe the performance per dollar!

But now I have to pull the drivetrain to replace all the rubber bits and clutch.  The rear subframe has to come out followed by the entire diff+trans+torque tube.

I don't have access to a two-post lift or a corvette specialty shop.  Just watched the GRM youtube stream on the C5 drivetrain... ugh.

Then there's the fuel smell which is probably a leak in one of the tanks or crossover tube... again the whole drivetrain has to come out to service.

Anybody done this on jackstands?

Even GRM took their C5Z to a shop.

 

 

I had the driveline out of my C5 more times than I could count in a regular 2 car suburban garage.

Few tips that help a lot:

  • Truck jackstands - the taller the better
  • Don't be afraid to lift it multiple times with cribbing underneath or with a high lift jack to get it up in the air enough.
  • Get a large transmission jack similar to Harbor Freight 60234  Don't try to do this with regular floor or transmission jacks.
  • Drop the rear K frame first - don't use an impact on the K frame bolts.  Always by hand.
  • Remove the rear K frame with hubs and axles on it.  Pop the axles out of the diff and unbolt the upper control arms and rear shocks from the chassis.
  • Support the trans when the rear K frame comes out to keep from damaging the firewall
  • Pull the trans out with the rear diff and torque tube attached
  • Use some long pieces of allthread to get the torque tube restarted on the bellhousing during installation

Thats about all I have -first time took a while subsequent times I could get the whole thing apart in about 2 hours by myself.

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Reader
9/14/18 1:52 p.m.

I hear on the C5 drivelne but I am definitely putting a lft in the new garage.  We close on the new house on the 24th.  I will be coating the garage floor on the 24th and 25th.

My other choice is a 987 Cayman S or Boxster S.  They are probably more difficult and definitely more expensive to repair.  

 

dclafleur
dclafleur New Reader
9/14/18 3:06 p.m.

The biggest issue with pulling the driveline out is getting it high enough in the air.  I'd argue that it's easier than pulling the c-beam on a C4 corvette.

Difdi Al-Jabal 68
Difdi Al-Jabal 68 New Reader
9/16/18 9:30 p.m.

I was a bit surprised to see the CD of the C5 described as slippery. Mid 90s Audi A4, A6 and A8s, Lexus LS400, late 80s Trans Ams, and even the VW Passat B5 Wagon all have equal or better CDs. None of those are necessarily mpg focused nor performance vehicles.

No complaints about the looks here; still they always looked a bit like the engineers borrowed all the best design ideas from other 90s coupes which is why the look appeared dated so quickly into the next millennium.

 

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Reader
9/16/18 10:40 p.m.

I mentioned the C5 Z06 to my wife tonight.  First question, “is it easier to get into and out of than the ‘91?”  Yes.  Next question, “is it easier to drive?” Yes.  

Now if only I could get her to like yellow sports cars.   I guess it’s going to be blue, silver or red for me.  I’m not sure I want red since I have a guards red 996 that I’m keeping until I can get a GT3 (most likely never).

 

 

StuntmanMike
StuntmanMike New Reader
9/17/18 7:51 a.m.

Stop talking up the C5's!!! 

I'm trying to resist buying one because I have too much going on right now and trying to maintain my 4th gen Camaro that's about 90% sorted. I know the C5 is faster but I just hpde and ax anyways so not trying to spend too much. Also in a few years when I might actually get one, prices will be higher than they should and whats left will be wore out!

ztnedman1
ztnedman1 New Reader
9/17/18 8:22 a.m.
jv8
jv8 Reader
9/17/18 8:39 a.m.
93gsxturbo said:

I had the driveline out of my C5 more times than I could count in a regular 2 car suburban garage.

Few tips that help a lot:

  • Truck jackstands - the taller the better
  • Don't be afraid to lift it multiple times with cribbing underneath or with a high lift jack to get it up in the air enough.
  • Get a large transmission jack similar to Harbor Freight 60234  Don't try to do this with regular floor or transmission jacks.
  • Drop the rear K frame first - don't use an impact on the K frame bolts.  Always by hand.
  • Remove the rear K frame with hubs and axles on it.  Pop the axles out of the diff and unbolt the upper control arms and rear shocks from the chassis.
  • Support the trans when the rear K frame comes out to keep from damaging the firewall
  • Pull the trans out with the rear diff and torque tube attached
  • Use some long pieces of allthread to get the torque tube restarted on the bellhousing during installation

Thats about all I have -first time took a while subsequent times I could get the whole thing apart in about 2 hours by myself.

 

Thanks for the advice!  GRM should get you to do a video they can post as a companion to the existing "here we are at the specialty corvette shop getting $10K worth of work done to our $15K C5Z" video.

 

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo SuperDork
9/17/18 9:20 a.m.

Thanks!

The C5 has gone on to greener pastures, I now enjoy a stock Viper as my fun car.  As awesome as a fully built and boosted C5 was, it was not conducive to reliability.  Basically I was able to find every weak link in the driveline one piece at a time.  

Stock Viper on stock tires is awesome.  Everything is durable and over-engineered at this horsepower level, speed is adequate, and it gets a lot of looks.  

jv8
jv8 Reader
9/17/18 10:27 a.m.
93gsxturbo said:

As awesome as a fully built and boosted C5 was, it was not conducive to reliability.  Basically I was able to find every weak link in the driveline one piece at a time.  

In your experience, where is the reliability pain threshold for the C5 driveline?  Is the stock 400 hp the limit?  Or can it handle more without a frequent rebuild?

 

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