Time: 2 Hours
Tools: Sockets and screwdrivers
Applicable Years: 1984 to 1996
Tools: ¼-inch drive socket set and metric combination wrenches
Tip: You don’t have to replace the entire spoiler. Remember it comes in three pieces. The way these spoilers get abused you might want to consider doing one section each year. That way you wouldn’t be spending a lot money and your car would always look decent.
Performance Gain: Improved radiator flow may help the car run a little cooler on the highway. They don’t have much effect on local driving.
Complementary Work: If you have an overheating problem, it’s probably because of a lot of dirt is trapped between the radiator and the air conditioning condensor. Broken spoilers usually won’t cause your Corvette to overheat.
The front spoiler on the C4 Corvette will be the bane of your existence. If you keep your 1984 to 1996 Corvette long enough you’ll go through several of these spoilers. No matter how careful you might be this spoiler is going to scrape the pavement at some time.
There’s one basic fact that gets overlooked by most people: on the early cars there were two different spoilers available. The base suspension cars got a shorter spoiler than the cars equipped with the Z51 suspension. The theory here was that the Corvettes with the Z51 suspensions wouldn’t bounce as much going over bumps so the spoiler could be closer to the pavement. Hey, a 1984 Corvette with the Z51 option would barely move at all on its suspension.
The reality of the situation was the Z51 spoilers just got torn up quicker. If I only drove my Corvette on the street I would opt for the non-Z51 spoiler. If I were concerned about originality with my Z51-optioned car I would go for the original spoiler. The third choice, and more people are doing this every year, is to keep a street spoiler and put the really nice correct one on the day before you go to a show.
This is really a two person job. I have difficulty thinking about how I would do it by myself. One person has to use a ¼” ratchet with a long extension and maybe even a universal on the end. One person can use this socket from the top of the car while the second person is under the car keeping the nuts from turning. The center section is really easy. The side extensions test your collection of ¼” extensions and swivel sockets.
With the old spoiler in the trash you get to reverse the process. After a break one person gets back on the ground and pushes the bolts up through the holes. The second person reaches around all of the stuff in the front corner and places the nut on the bolt. You continue this process for about an hour and you’ll be done.
The other thing to remember is to leave everything loose until you get it lined up properly. Carefully align the top edge of the spoiler with the body panel and then tighten each bolt as you go around. All that’s left is to apply a coat of your favorite vinyl treatment to your shiny new spoiler.
10-1.tif: By the time the average C4 gets over a decade old the spoiler is usually a mess and is held together with an assortment of nuts and bolts, not to mention cable ties. Take a good look at the situation before you place your order. You may want to order the mounting kit that’s available as well as the spoiler.
IMG007: This was one of my more foolish moves. This aftermarket spoiler has a place for attaching a brake cooling duct. We won’t even discuss the fact the opening is in the wrong place. What really amazed me was that there was no provision for attaching the cooling hose anyplace near the front brakes. Brake ducts are a great idea, but this particular one it the wrong answer. Save your money and stay with the original spoiler.
IMG008: Everyone has tried to sell fiberglass spoilers for the front of the C4 Corvette. Even Chevrolet offered one in 1988. They’ve just never caught on with the Corvette masses. The first reason is that they’re generally pretty ugly and detract from the original C4 design. Secondly if you hit the pavement with this spoiler it’s going to cost you a lot of money. Any of us who drive a C4 Corvette know that no matter how careful we might be we’re going to rub the spoiler on the pavement.
This is an adaptation from Richard Newton’s most recent book 101 Projects for Your Corvette 1984 – 1996. He has also written two other best selling Corvette One deals with the 1968 to 1982 Corvettes, How to Restore and Modify Your Corvette 1968-82 , while another deals with the Sting Rays from 1963 to 1967, Corvette Restoration Guide 1963-1967 All of these books are available from Corvette Central.