Despite the limited number of units produced in 1997, there was no question that the new C5 Corvette was anything less than a phenomenal success. Enthusiasts and critics alike praised the car for its outward appearance, improved ergonomics, impressive drivability and handling, uncompromising performance capabilities, and its complete feeling of precision and quality. General Motors had hit a home-run from the very start, leaving many questioning with eager anticipation how the C5 could possibly be improved upon.
The answer was simple enough. For its sophomore year, Chevrolet introduced an all-new convertible companion to the C5 coupe.
The plan had been to build the convertible from the very start of the C5 project and, as a result, the execution of putting the design to production was far simpler than the development of a convertible variant might have been had such measures not been taken.
In truth, the C5 Corvette had been engineered to accommodate a convertible top without the necessary heavy structural reinforcements most convertible cars require.
The benefit of this intentional design strategy was that the C5 Convertible would not require extensive reworking, it would weigh just one pound more than the coupe, and it would retain almost all of the structural rigidity of its coupe counterpart.
Additionally, the C5 convertible actually weighed 114 pounds less than the C4, yet it was four times more torsionally sound than its predecessor.
The Corvette design team, working carefully to maximize functionality of the available space on the car while focusing on developing a rag-top design that was more streamlined than earlier models, created a Corvette convertible that was both practical and very aesthetically pleasing.
For starters, the C5 convertible included a functional trunk – which was the first time a trunk had been included on a convertible Corvette since 1962 – and at 13.9 cubic feet, it was not just a small cubbyhole but rather a cargo area that provided genuine and practical functionality.
Amazingly, given the space limitations commonly associated with a Corvette, the C5 convertible’s trunk space was larger than that of any other contemporary convertible from that time.
Another of the design elements that paid homage to the C1 was the revival of the convertible’s “waterfall”, a body panel that continued down from the tonneau, flowing between the seats just as it had on the 1953 thru 1962 Corvette.
This new “waterfall” was so carefully incorporated into the design of the C5 convertible’s interior that its seams were nearly indiscernible from the rest of the tonneau (all of which is used to carefully conceal the convertible top when it is lowered.)
Finished with the Corvette emblem and painted to match the rest of the exterior, it provided another design element to the already sophisticated interior and helped add to the genuine “roadster” look that made Corvette so appealing all the way back in its earliest days.
The convertible top itself was also a fusion of effective design and simplicity. The top itself featured a glass rear window that included an electric defroster as part of the standard convertible package.
While the double-lined top still had to be raised and lowered manually (as with all generation Corvette convertibles before it), this new top was lighter and easier to operate than the C4’s. It could be raised or lowered in about 20 seconds.
However, because of the tops weight and release points, it was not possible to lower the top while seated inside the vehicle. While considered a minor inconvenience by some, the new design did offer several upsides as well.
For one, the convertible top now used the tension of its raised framework to hold the bottom in place. This new design eliminated the need for the many unsightly tonneau anchor holes and roof locator pins that were always synonymous with earlier Corvette convertible tops.
Making a return for a second year was the LS1 small block V-8 engine. Now available as the standard (and only) power plant for both the coupe and the convertible, this new engine delivered 345bhp (brake-horsepower) at 5,600rpm and 350 lb-ft of torque at 4,400rpm.
While the engine displacement was the same as the C4’s LT1, this 5.7 liter engine was constructed of aluminum instead of iron and was a more aggressive, more durable design than its predecessor. Also a carry over from its predecessor, the LS1 shared the same time-honored “440” cylinder block layout (meaning 4.40 inches from bore center to bore center) and the familiar 5.7-liter displacement label.
Specified to run on premium fuel and filled with synthetic oil from the factory, the new LS1 had to be carefully fitted into the body of the Corvette. In fact, the engine clearances were so minimal, the new oil pan that was mated to the LS1 engine was scarcely 5 inches deep, yet offered increased capacity and the ability to supply lubricant during even the most extreme cornering maneuvers.
Even more impressive was the fact that this new 5.7 liter engine weighed 45 pounds less than the LT4 engine that it replaced, while still producing enough power to make it a serious contender against the former ZR1’s power plant.
Mated to the new LS1 engine was a standard, four-speed automatic transmission gearbox. As with the C4 before it, a Borg-Warner six-speed manual transmission was offered for an additional $815.00 (although this transmission was a revised version of its previous generation’s counterpart.) As with before, the new six-speed included the optional first-to-fourth Computer-Aided Gear Selection (CAGS) skip shifter. While the linkages were more complex than before, the six speed transmission’s shift effort and feel were very reminiscent of the C4.
In an effort to increase the equal distribution of weight, the C5’s transmission was relocated to the rear of the car. Located just in front of the rear axle, the transmission was mated to the LS1 engine via an aluminum tube which ran through an enclosed tunnel that formed a chassis backbone strong enough to reduce structural loads on the outboard frame rails.
Relocating the transmission to the rear axle produced the desired balancing result with a 51/49 percent weight distribution. This equal distribution of weight would result in an automobile that was better-balanced and better equipped to handle the rigors of even the most aggressive drivers.
Further, this new layout was the direct result of a car that hadn’t solely been the brain-child of a single designer, but rather the response by GM to understand the considerable number of customer (and enthusiast) inputs that had driven the development of this car – including a call for friendly handling, roominess in the cockpit, and a solid, silent automobile. Another added benefit of relocating the transmission to the rear of the Corvette was the elimination of the former toe-pinching tunnels of the C4.
As has always been the case with General Motors, safety was a major concern in the development of both the C5 coupe and convertible. Many key safety features that were introduced in the 1997 Corvette carried over for the 1998 model year, while several others were introduced with the onset of the convertible. Daytime automatic running lights were included in both variants of the car to provide increased visibility of the Corvette during daytime operation.
Four-wheel antilock brakes, which were also standard in the previous platform, were also provided as a standard feature. Manufactured by Bosch, the ABS system helped to reduce wheel lockup and maintain driver steering control while braking – even on slippery surfaces. Safety cage construction and a high-strength perimeter frame were part of the design and, as mentioned earlier, attributed to the elimination of additional engineering that is generally required when rolling out a convertible variant. Other features to return for 1998 included driver and passenger side air bags as well as PASS-Key II theft deterrent system.
The Corvette had always been considered a platform for innovation of new technologies, and the C5 was no exception. Both the 1998 coupe and convertible featured a number of technical innovations that helped make owning a Corvette that much easier for. These included a 10,000 mile recommended oil change interval. Admittedly, this option, while a good selling point, also required that a number of specific driving conditions be met. Still, with the specified Mobil 1 synthetic oil being nearly $5.00 a bottle in 1998, this was definitely a marketing point worth noting. An engine air-filter monitor was also installed that would indicate when the filter would need to be replaced. Like the extended oil life, the primary purpose of this monitoring system was for the benefit of consumers who were feeling the pinch at their wallets.
DID YOU KNOW: In 1998, General Motors experimented with a couple of paint colors that were never “officially” issued as optional choices to consumers. In preparation for its 50th Anniversary, Chevrolet produced fifteen Corvettes with a high metallic painted they called “Aztec Gold.”
The paint was initially applied to 5 Corvettes on October 22, 1997. When painting was finished, GM engineers and designers noted that the individual body panels did not appear to match one another in certain light conditions.
With the guidance of some experts at DuPont, a second batch of 5 Corvettes were painted with the special “Aztec Gold” color on November 17, 1997, with the same results. A third set of 5 were painted on November 26, 1997, but in all cases, the only consistency with this color was that the body panels of every Corvette seemed to vary from one another.
In an effort to reduce the color differences, the panels were removed from all 15 of the Corvettes (which consisted of 3 convertibles and 12 coupes), and each component was matched to others whose color was most similar. It is said today that no two “Aztec Gold” Corvettes look the same.
While many Corvette enthusiasts might argue that the Aztec Gold was the rarest color of the 1998 Corvette vintage, they would be wrong.
Late in the production year, GM introduced a new paint color, “Navy Blue Metallic” but, due to its late introduction, a very limited number of orders was placed – 14 Corvettes in all – for this color, making Navy Blue Metallic the rarest paint color for the ’98 model year.
Like the 1997 before it, the 1998 Corvette was fitted with Goodyear Eagle F1 GS Extended Mobility Tires. These tires were designed to run airless for 200 miles. Their introduction to the extended mobility tires convinced Chevrolet to eliminate the spare tire and jack altogether, which further aided engineers in reducing vehicle wait while also increasing cargo space. The inflation level of the tires was monitored constantly and could be called up on an instrument-panel display (thanks to the on-board tire monitoring system that has since become standard on almost every GM vehicle.)
Wheel diameter was again increased to 17 inches in the front of the car but was increased an inch to 18 in the rear. The tires, which were sized 245/45ZR-17 and 245/45ZR-18 respectively, were actually slightly narrower than the 1996 model’s base tire package. This proved to be an advantage as the somewhat narrower tires actually aided in improving the directional stability to levels unsurpassed by General Motors. Optional magnesium wheels were introduced in the 1998 model year, but the $3000.00 optional rims proved to be unexpectedly popular, and were later discontinued for the model year when supplies ran out.
Considering the incredible reception that the 1997 Corvette received, it was really no surprise that the 1998 C5 convertible was very well received by enthusiasts and critics alike – so much so in fact that it was selected as the official pace car of the 1998 Indianapolis 500.
This would be the fourth Corvette to serve as a pace car for this race, and while Chevrolet planned on marking the occasion by creating a special edition pace car model, the mechanical modification from the stock convertible were actually very few. The pace car’s LS1 engine received a freer-flowing intake manifold and a modified exhaust system boosted the car’s horsepower by 25, taking it to a total of 370hp.
The car’s overall ride-height was lowered slightly, a roll bar was mounted behind each seat, and rear-facing strobe lights were integrated into the tonneau’s fairings.
To commemorate the occasion, Chevrolet manufactured 1,158 pace-car replica convertibles for distribution to dealerships across the country. Listed as option RPO Z4Z, this option package-price carried an additional cost of $5,039.00 (and an additional $5,804.00 for customers who wanted their cars equipped with a manual transmission.) Interestingly, the replicas did not include any of the mechanical tweaks or safety features that were featured on the actual pace car. They did, however, include the exclusive radar-blue paint, decals, two-tone upholstery, and yellow wheels. They also included most of the otherwise optional equipment available for the model year and featured a new Corvette performance option – an anti-skid system known as the new Active Handling System (RPO JL4).
The new Active Handling System was available to consumers for an additional $500.00 and was designed to send an impending skid during a turn. In such an instance, the car’s ABS/computer systems would take over and, by selectively applying individual brakes and activating the standard traction control system, would bring the car out of a skid and back under control – at which point it would immediately relinquish control back to the driver.
Much like the standard ABS system, this special Active Handling System functioned in real-time and was designed to aid drivers only as long as it was needed. The system did not affect throttle control, and keeping in character with the Corvette’s sporting nature, this system also featured a “competition mode”. By pressing a button on the console, the “competition mode” could be activated, thereby disengaging the Active Handling System and allowing drivers to drive the cars where some rear-wheel spin was actually desirable, as in extreme cornering situations on race tracks and in drifting conditions.
DID YOU KNOW: While today’s Corvette convertibles are usually about 15% to 20% more expensive than the base coupe, this wasn’t always the case. In the 1960’s and ‘70s, the “ragtop” Corvettes were actually less expensive than the base coupes, with the base coupe generally costing approximately $300 to $400 more than the convertible.
There were a number of minor improvements made to the 1998 Corvette platform which included a modified accessory drive tensioner, the removal of an alternator brace that produced a high-rev “whining” sound, improved window seals and, later in the production run, a quieter electric fuel pump. While none of these improvements affected drivability, each was made to help reduce unwanted drive noise.
Additional mechanical improvements were made which included increasing the power-steering system’s caster angle to provide better tracking and an optional Real-Time Damping suspension to aid in better wheel control. The transmission oil cooler was manufactured out of stainless steel instead of a copper-nickel alloy, and, perhaps the most significant from a driver’s perspective: the standard four-speed automatic transmission was modified to include an optional second-gear start mode to reduce (and often eliminate) wheel spin from a standing start on slick roads.
Sales numbers for the 1998 C5 Corvette were incredibly positive – and affirmed that the positive press and overwhelming positive response was more than just talk. For its first full model year, a total of 31,084 units were sold – which equated to the highest production total of Corvettes in 12 years.
Priced at $37,495.00 for the coupe and $44,424 for the convertible (which was a comparable price spread to the C4 coupe and convertible), the new convertible accounted for approximately 38% of the total units sold that year. Needless to say, General Motors was thrilled by the sales results and again, people were asking how the team responsible for the C5 Corvette were going to top their current efforts.
Little did anyone realize that the answer was just a little more than a year in the making, and would leave a mark on the Corvette legacy that would carry across two generations of the incredible sports car, forever transforming the franchise from being a respected American sports car to instead being recognized and accepted globally as one of the top automotive contenders in the world.
The last six digits begin at 100001 and run thru 131069. A total of 31,084 Corvettes were built in 1998. Each Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is unique to an individual car. For all 1998 Corvettes, the Vehicle Identification Number was stamped on a plate on the inner vertical surface of the left windshield pillar visible through the windshield.
Make: ChevroletModel: CorvetteModel Year: 1997Manufacturer: General Motors Corp.Mfr’s Report Date: Apr 06, 2000Nhtsa Campaign Id Number: 00v111000Nhtsa Action Number: Ea00009Component: Seat Belts:frontPotential Number Of Units Affected: 71569Summary: Vehicle Description: Passenger Vehicles. The Lap Belt Webbing Can Twist Allowing The Webbing To Become Jammed In The Retractor.Consequence: When The Belt Webbing Becomes Jammed In The Retractor, The Seat Belt May Be Unusable.Remedy: Dealers Will Install Inserts To The Belt Web Guide Of Each Lap Belt Retractor.Notes: Owner Notification Began November 13, 2000. Owners Who Take Their Vehicles To An Authorized Dealer On An Agreed Upon Service Date And Do Not Receive The Free Remedy Within A Reasonable Time Should Contact Chevrolet At 1-800-222-1020. Also Contact The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Auto Safety Hotline At 1-888-dash-2-dot (1-888-327-4236).
Make: ChevroletModel: CorvetteModel Year: 1997Manufacturer: General Motors Corp.Mfr’s Report Date: Feb 06, 2004Nhtsa Campaign Id Number: 04v060000Nhtsa Action Number: Ea02031Component: Steering:column Locking:anti-theft DevicePotential Number Of Units Affected: 126624Summary: On Certain Passenger Vehicles Equipped With Electronic Column Lock Systems (Ecl), When The Ignition Switch Is Turned To “Lock,” The Ecl System Prevents Turning Of The Steering System. When The Vehicle Is Started, The Ecl Unlocks The Steering System. The Vehicle Is Designed So That If The Column Fails To Unlock When The Vehicle Is Started And The Customer Tries To Drive, The Fuel Supply Will Be Shut Off So That The Vehicle Cannot Move When The Vehicle Cannot Be Steered. If Voltage At The Powertrain Control Module Is Low Or Interrupted, However, The Fuel Shut Off May Not Occur And The Vehicle Can Be Accelerated While The Steering System Is Locked. Also When The Control System Shows That The Ecl Is Unlocked And The Vehicle Is Being Driven, The Lock Pin Location Can Vary. Depending On The Location Of The Lock Plate Relative To The Switch Transition Point, There Could Then Be Contact Between The Lock Plate And Pin Causing The Steering To Lock While Driving .Consequence: If This Occurs, A Crash Could Occur Without Warning.Remedy: On Vehicles Equipped With An Automatic Transmission, The Dealer Will Disable The Steering Column Lock By Removing The Column Lock Plate. When The Ignition Key Is Removed, The Transmission Shifter Will Lock But The Steering Column Will Not Lock. On Vehicles Equipped With A Manual Transmission, The Dealer Will Reprogram The Powertrain Control Module, Perform A Dimensional Check Of The Column Lock And, If Necessary, Replace The Lock Plate. The Steering Column On These Vehicles Will Continue To Lock When The Key Is Removed. Owner Notification To Owners Of 1997 Vehicles Equipped With Automatic Transmissions Began On April 26, 2004. Owners Of 1998 Through 2004 Vehicles (Except 1997-1998 Manual Transmission Vehicles) Will Be Notified Beginning On August 2, 2004. The Remaining Owners (1997-1998 Manual Transmission Vehicles) Will Be Notified Later In 2004, When Parts Are Available. Owners Should Contact Chevrolet At 1-800-630-2438.Notes: Gm Recall No. 04006. Customers Can Also Contact The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Auto Safety Hotline At 1-888-dash-2-dot (1-888-327-4236).
Make: ChevroletModel: CorvetteModel Year: 1997Manufacturer: SabersportMfr’s Report Date: Mar 28, 2009Nhtsa Campaign Id Number: 09e012000Nhtsa Action Number: N/aComponent: Exterior LightingPotential Number Of Units Affected: 16270Summary: Sabersport Is Recalling 16,270 Combination Corner And Bumper Lamp Assemblies Of Various Part Numbers Sold For Use As Aftermarket Equipment For Various Passenger Vehicles. These Headlamps Fail To Conform To The Requirements Of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, “Lamps, Reflective Devices, And Associated Equipment.” These Lamps Do Not Contain The Required Amber Side Reflectors.Consequence: Decreased Lighting Visibility May Result In A Vehicle Crash.Remedy: Sabersport Will Notify Owners And Offer A Full Refund For The Noncompliant Combination Lamps. The Safety Recall Began On May 11, 2009. Owners May Contact Sabersport At 1-909-598-7589.Notes: This Recall Only Pertains To Aftermarket Replacement Equipment And Has No Relation To Any Original Equipment Installed On Vehicles Produced By The Vehicle Manufacturer. In Order To Determine If Your Aftermarket Lamp Assembly Is Affected By This Noncompliance, Please Review The List Of Model Numbers Provided To Us By Sabersport. The List Can Be Found Under “Document Search” Located At The Bottom Of Your Screen. Owners May Also Contact The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline At 1-888-327-4236 (Tty 1-800-424-9153), Or Go To Http://www.safercar.gov .
Make: ChevroletModel: CorvetteModel Year: 1997Manufacturer: Dope, Inc.Mfr’s Report Date: Apr 05, 2009Nhtsa Campaign Id Number: 09e025000Nhtsa Action Number: N/aComponent: Exterior Lighting:headlightsPotential Number Of Units Affected: 42540Summary: Dope, Inc. Is Recalling 42,540 Combination Corner And Bumper Lamp Assemblies Of Various Part Numbers Sold For Use As Aftermarket Equipment For Various Passenger Vehicles. These Headlamps Fail To Conform To The Requirements Of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, “Lamps, Reflective Devices, And Associated Equipment.” These Lamps Do Not Contain The Required Amber Side Reflectors.Consequence: Decreased Lighting Visibility May Result In A Vehicle Crash. Remedy: Dope, Inc. Will Notify Owners And Offer A Full Refund For The Noncompliant Combination Lamps. The Safety Recall Began On July 28, 2009. Owners May Contact Dope, Inc. At 1-626-272-1798.Notes: This Recall Only Pertains To Aftermarket Replacement Equipment And Has No Relation To Any Original Equipment Installed On Vehicles Produced By The Vehicle Manufacturer. In Order To Determine If Your Aftermarket Lamp Assembly Is Affected By This Noncompliance, Please Review The List Of Model Numbers Provided To Us By Dope, Inc. The List Can Be Found Under “Document Search” Located At The Bottom Of Your Screen. Owners May Also Contact The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline At 1-888-327-4236 (Tty 1-800-424-9153), Or Go To Http://www.safercar.gov.
Make: ChevroletModel: CorvetteModel Year: 1997Manufacturer: General Motors Corp.Service Bulletin Number: 3850Nhtsa Item Number: 10019189Component: Structure:bodySummary: Water Leak In The Rear Compartment Area. *tt
Make: ChevroletModel: CorvetteYear: 1997Manufacturer: General Motors Corp.Service Bulletin Number: 3785Nhtsa Item Number: 10018625Component: Exterior Lighting:fog LightsSummary: Fog Lamps Inoperative. *tt
Make: ChevroletModel: CorvetteYear: 1997Manufacturer: General Motors Corp.Service Bulletin Number: 3132Nhtsa Item Number: 10010628Component: Suspension:rear:shock AbsorberSummary: Lower Rear Shock Attaching Bolt May Break After Torqued. *tt
Make: ChevroletModel: CorvetteYear: 1997Manufacturer: General Motors Corp.Service Bulletin Number: 3359Nhtsa Item Number: 10013549Component: Suspension:rearSummary: Lower Rear Shock Attaching Bolt May Break After Torqued. *tt
Make: ChevroletModel: CorvetteYear: 1997Manufacturer: General Motors Corp.Service Bulletin Number: 3060Nhtsa Item Number: 10009370Component: Power Train:automatic TransmissionSummary: The Engine Does Not Stall When Performing A P1870 Diagnostic Test With The Tech 2 Scan Tool Or When Commanding The Torque Converter Clutch Enable Solenoid On Applications That Do Not Have The P1870 Diagnostic Test Listed. 4l60e Or 4l65e Transmissions. *tt
The following list of common issues is intended for individual reference only, and may not reflect the specific issues of every 1998 Corvette. While the intent of this page is to identify the common issues pertaining to the 1998 Corvette, it is not an all-inclusive list and should be used for reference only.
Many C5’s came with AC Delco Freedom batteries that had a tendency to experience exterior cracking near the battery posts. The leaking battery acid drips down the side of the battery, down the funnel-like battery support, straight down onto the PCM and the wiring loom. It can also get onto the A/C lines. In some instances, car crippling damage can occur. Worst case scenario can result in the need to replace the battery, the PCM, and the wiring harness. Additionally, acid corrosion will need to be removed from the frame and the frame repainted to avoid further damage as a result of prolonged exposure to natural elements. In some instances, repairs will need to be made to the air condition lines. It may also require replacing the computer.
The needle bearings in the OEM rockers have been known to fail. The most common indicators that the engine is experiencing this type of a problem is increased valve train noise and the appearance of needle bearings on a magnetic oil pan drain plug.
On manual transmission cars equipped with either an MN6 or M12 transmission, the transmission sounds as if it is chattering/rattling whenever the car begins to accelerate from a complete stop. Despite the foreign nature of the sound, It is completely normal. The sound is the bi-product of the clutch throwout bearing, which creates a ratting sound whenever it is engaged/disengaged. In some instances, the transmission will make a similar, discernable rattling sound when the Corvette ignition is turned on/off. The source of the sound is the same. By depressing the clutch when turning the car on or off, the sound can be eliminated.
The C5 Corvette’s manual transmission shifter can be difficult to get into gear. During normal vehicle operation, it is worth noting that if the shifter is not fully engaged when operating 1st gear or Reverse, it will cause the transmission to literally “pop” out of gear when the clutch is let out. This is not considered the fault of the car by Genera Motors, but the fault of the driver.
In all C5 Corvettes, there are two fuel tanks and two fuel pumps. The first fuel pump continually pumps gasoline from the passenger side tank into the driver side tank. This pump is not known to create any type of audible sound. The main fuel pump, which resides directly behind the drivers seat, creates a considerable amount of noise, especially on early model C5 Corvettes. These sounds are normal, and are not an indicator of a failing fuel pump. NOTE: Chevrolet does have a bulletin out instructing Corvette owners how to better insulate against the humming sound of the fuel pump. Additionally, a newer, quieter fuel pump can also be installed.
The front brakes of many C5 Corvettes have been known to pulsate during braking conditions. This is the result of warped rotors. The brake rotors developed for the C5 Corvette are known to warp from excessive braking conditions. This does not indicate that the brake rotors require replacement. In many instances, the rotors can simply be turned. However, when inspecting the brake rotors, it is important to observe if the rotors are cracked, as a cracked rotor will require replacement. Cracked rotors are the result of excessive hard braking and could be an indicator of how the car has been driven/maintained.
Old-style headlight bezel plugs, which conceal the bezel mounting hardware, have a tendency to fall off of older C5 Corvettes. To resolve this issue, General Motors released a new style plug that features a twist-lock to prevent the plugs from falling out, but these plugs also require a new headlight bezel. Only the newer style bezels and plugs are available through General Motors and both are compatible with all years of the C5 Corvette.
During periods of cold weather, the rubber hood stops have a tendency to rub and chatter against the hood. Proper adjustment and lubrication of the hood stops is known to reduce/eliminate this issue.
All C5 Corvettes, especially those equipped with a manual transmission, are known to have as have an issue with the steering column locking after ignition is disengaged and remaining locked after vehicle operator starts the vehicle again. In rare instances, it has also been reported that the steering column has locked during vehicle operation. Chevrolet dealerships are able to disable the locking mechanism by replacing the current locking plate with a modified locking plate. At present, this is the only known method to resolve this issue.
The C5 Corvette seats have several known issues that can occur if improper use and or improper maintenance occurs. Sliding hard across the bolster (the raised/contoured sections of the sitting area on either side of the central seat pad) can break it, causing it to flap from side to side. This area is also the most common area of the seats to experience leather wear/tearing as a result of having the most abrasive contact with the occupant as they enter/exit the vehicle.
The wire springs in the seat bottom, and the bars in the bolsters are sometimes known to wear thru the foam and leather. This situation can be fixed by placing a layer of burlap between the springs and the foam padding.
Another common seat issue often identified with many early C5 Corvettes is that both the driver and passenger seats tend to rock back and forth by about a 1/4″ during hard acceleration and braking. This issue can be repaired, but is not currently identified as an actual issue with General Motors.
Many C5 Corvette Coupes with the removable roof tend to create a fair amount of wind noise and creaking during normal vehicle operation. While there is no known solution to completely eliminate the wind noise, the creaking can be reduced/eliminated by adding a lubricant to the weatherstriping seal around the roof. A dielectric or petroleum based grease is recommended and will doubly protect the weatherstrip by keeping it from drying out.
In certain instances, some types of gasoline (especially those with a high sulfur content) will cause the fuel gauge to falsely read empty. In some instances, running a fuel system cleaner through the gas tank has been known to resolve this issue.
Change engine oil and filter as indicated by the GM Oil Life System (or every 12 months, whichever occurs first). Reset the system. The system will show you when to change the oil – usually between 3,000 miles (5,000 km) and 10,000 miles (16,000 km) since your last oil change. Under severe conditions, the indicator may come on before 3,000 miles (5,000 km). Never drive your vehicle more than 10,000 miles (16,000 km) or 12 months without an oil and filter change. Use engine oil meeting the GM Standard GM4718M.
The GM Oil Life System won’t detect dust in the oil. So if you drive in a dusty area, be sure to change your oil and filter every 3,000 miles (5,000 km) or sooner if the CHANGE OIL SOON message appears. Remember to reset the Oil Life Monitor when the oil and filter have been changed. See “GM Oil Life System” (at the bottom of this page) for more information on resetting the system.
Change automatic transmission fluid and filter if the vehicle is mainly driven under one or more of these conditions:
If you do not use your vehicle under any of these conditions, change the fluid and filter at 100,000 miles (166 000 km). Manual transmission fluid doesn’t require change.
Change automatic transmission fluid and filter if the vehicle is mainly driven under one or more of these conditions:
NOTE: If you haven’t used your vehicle under severe conditions listed previously and, therefore, haven’t changed your automatic transmission fluid, change both the fluid and filter. Manual transmission fluid doesn’t require change.
Drain, flush and refill the cooling system (or every 60 months since last service, whichever occurs first). See “Engine Coolant” in the “1997 Corvette Fluids/Lubricants” chart (in the right margin of this page) for what to use.
NOTE: It is important for you or a service station attendant to perform these underhood checks at each fuel fill.
Engine Coolant Level Check: Check the engine coolant level and add DEX-COOL coolant mixture if necessary.
Windshield Washer Fluid Level Check: Check the windshield washer fluid level in the windshield washer tank and add the proper fluid if necessary.
Tire Inflation Check: Make sure tires are inflated to the correct pressures. Cassette Deck Service (if so equipped): Clean cassette deck. Cleaning should be done every 50 hours of tape play. Power Antenna Service: Clean power antenna mast.
Restraint System Check: Make sure the safety belt reminder light and all your belts, buckles, latch plates, retractors and anchorages are working properly. Look for any other loose or damaged safety belt system parts. If you see anything that might keep a safety belt system from doing its job, have it repaired. Have any torn or frayed safety belts replaced. Also look for any opened or broken air bag coverings, and have them repaired or replaced. (The air bag system does not need regular maintenance.)
Wiper Blade Check: Inspect wiper blades for wear or cracking. Replace blade inserts that appear worn or damaged or that streak or miss areas of the windshield.
Weatherstrip Lubrication: Silicone grease on weatherstrips will make them last longer, seal better, and not stick or squeak. Apply silicone grease with a clean cloth. During very cold, damp weather more frequent application may be required. (See “Recommended Fluids and Lubricants” in the right margin of this page).
Manual Transmission Check (if so equipped): Check the transmission fluid level; add if needed. (See “Manual Transmission Fluid” in the right margin of this page). Check for leaks. A fluid leak is the only reason for fluid loss. Have the system inspected and repaired if needed.
Automatic Transmission Visual Inspection: It is not necessary to check the transmission fluid level during a visual inspection of the actual transmission. A transmission fluid leak is the only reason for fluid loss. Check for leaks. If a leak occurs, take the vehicle to your Chevrolet dealership service department and have it repaired as soon as possible.
Body Lubrication Service: Lubricate all body door hinges. Also lubricate all hinges and latches, including those for the hood, rear compartment, console door and any folding seat hardware. More frequent lubrication may be required when exposed to a corrosive environment.
Starter Switch Check: CAUTION: When you are doing this check, the vehicle could move suddenly. If it does, you or others could be injured. Before you start, be sure you have enough room around the vehicle. Firmly apply the parking brake and the regular brake.
On automatic transmission vehicles, try to start the engine in each gear. The starter should work only in PARK (P) orNEUTRAL (N). If the starter works in any other position, your vehicle needs service.
On manual transmission vehicles, put the shift lever in NEUTRAL (N), push the clutch down halfway and try to start the engine. The starter should work only when the clutch is pushed down all the way to the floor. If the starter works when the clutch isn’t pushed all the way down, your vehicle needs service.
Automatic Transmission Shift Lock Control System Check: CAUTION: When you are doing this check, the vehicle could move suddenly. If it does, you or others could be injured. Before you start, be sure you have enough room around the vehicle. It should be parked on a level surface. Firmly apply the parking brake. (NOTE: Be prepared to apply the parking brake immediately if the vehicle begins to move.)
With the engine off, turn the key to the ON position, but don’t start the engine. Without applying the regular brake, try to move the shift lever out of PARK (P) with normal effort. If the shift lever moves out of PARK (P), your vehicle needs service.
Ignition Automatic Transmission Lock Check: While parked, and with the parking brake set, try to turn the ignition key to OFF in each shift lever position. The key should turn to OFF only when the shift lever is in PARK (P).
On all vehicles, the key should come out only in OFF. Parking Brake and Automatic Transmission PARK (P) Mechanism Check: CAUTION: When you are doing this check, your vehicle could begin to move. You or others could be injured and property could be damaged. Make sure there is room in front of your vehicle in case it begins to roll. Be ready to apply the regular brake at once should the vehicle begin to move.
Park on a fairly steep hill, with the vehicle facing downhill. Keeping your foot on the regular brake, set the parking brake.
To check the parking brake’s holding ability: With the engine running and transmission in NEUTRAL (N), slowly remove foot pressure from the regular brake pedal. Do this until the vehicle is held by the parking brake only.
To check the PARK (P) mechanism’s holding ability: With the engine running, shift to PARK (P). Then release the parking brake followed by the regular brake
Underbody Flushing Service: At least every spring, use plain water to flush any corrosive materials from the underbody. Take care to clean thoroughly any areas where mud and other debris can collect.
Steering and Suspension Inspection: Inspect the front and rear suspension and steering system for damaged, loose or missing parts, signs of wear or lack of lubrication. Inspect the power steering lines and hoses for proper hook-up, binding, leaks, cracks, chafing, etc.
Tire and Wheel Inspection: Inspect the tires for uneven wear or damage. If there is irregular or premature wear, check the wheel alignment. Inspect for damaged wheels.
Exhaust System Inspection: Inspect the complete exhaust system. Inspect the body near the exhaust system. Look for broken, damaged, missing or out-of-position parts as well as open seams, holes, loose connections or other conditions which could cause a heat build-up in the floor pan or could let exhaust fumes into the vehicle.
Engine Cooling System Inspection: Inspect the hoses and have them replaced if they are cracked, swollen or deteriorated. Inspect all pipes, fittings and clamps; replace as needed. Clean the outside of the radiator and air conditioning condenser. To help ensure proper operation, a pressure test of the cooling system and pressure cap is recommended at least once a year.
Rear Axle Service: Check the gear lubricant level in the rear axle and add if needed. A fluid loss may indicate a problem. Check the axle and repair it if needed.
Brake System Inspection: Inspect the complete system. Inspect brake lines and hoses for proper hook-up, binding, leaks, cracks, chafing, etc. Inspect disc brake pads for wear and rotors for surface condition. Inspect other brake parts, including calipers, parking brake, etc. You may need to have your brakes inspected more often if your driving habits or conditions result in frequent braking.
Your vehicle has a computer that lets you know when to change your engine oil. This is not based on mileage, but on engine revolutions and engine operating temperature. When the computer has calculated that the oil needs changing, the GM Oil Life System will indicate that a change is necessary. The mileage between oil changes will vary depending on how you drive your vehicle — usually between 3,000 miles (5 000 km) and 10,000 miles (16 000 km) since your last oil and filter change. Under severe conditions, the system may come on before 3,000 miles (5 000 km). Never drive your vehicle more than 10,000 miles (16 000 km) or 12 months (whichever occurs first) without an oil change. Use engine oil meeting the GM Standard GM4718M.
The system won’t detect dust in the oil. So, if you drive in a dusty area, be sure to change your oil and filter every 3,000 miles (5 000 km) or sooner if the CHANGE OIL SOON message appears. Remember to reset the system whenever the oil is changed.
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To reset the CHANGE OIL SOON message after an oil change, do the following: 1. Turn the ignition to ON and with the engine off. 2. Press the TRIP button so the OIL LIFE percentage is displayed. 3. Press RESET and hold for two seconds. OIL LIFE REMAIN 100% will appear.
You can download for free this exclusive 1998 Corvette User Manual for more information about the car.
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