Body & Paint

1986-96 Corvette Convertible Top Installation

Story and pictures by Chris Petris

Petris Enterprises

 

Convertible owners know the joy of the open road. It is almost a magical experience with the wind whipping around. It was a big disappointment when GM dropped the convertible option from their lineup in 1976.

Fortunately, a convertible option for the Corvette returned in 1986.  By then, significant strides had been made in convertible technology.  Road noise and interior temperature control was abated with the addition of a headliner. The headliner wasn’t just functional though; its smooth, finished look greatly enhanced the interior and eliminated the unsightly steel top bows.  Additionally, it was now possible to wash the exterior without water intrusion concerns. Even water directed at the top of the windows was generally not a problem.

Our goal is to help you to feel more comfortable installing a 1986-1996 convertible top. Early tops and late tops are on entirely different ends of the spectrum when it comes to installation difficulty. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the easiest to install and 10 being the most difficult, I would rate early tops as a “10” and 1986 and later tops as a “1.” Read more on “1986-96 Corvette Convertible Top Installation” »

C1 (53-62)

Corvette Central C1 Dash Insert Overview

Ever since they were designed into the 1958 Corvette, passenger side dash inserts have been a somewhat of a headache for Corvette owners. The OEM inserts were subject to damage that the rest of the interior could generally resist. In a short time span, these inserts became dinged, dented or scratched, making the dash of C1 Corvettes look years older than they were. While aluminum dash inserts have been available for many years, the installation has always been time consuming and difficult…

…until now, that is! Corvette Central has all of the well-received, U.S. made C1 aluminum insert and insert assemblies, for 1958 Corvettes with white letters, 1959 with black letters and the 1960-62 versions with red and blue bars. The balance of the parts on the dash insert come from overseas with the assembly work completed (as always) by Corvette Central. C1 owners now have the luxury of replacing their dash inserts at any time. Read more on “Corvette Central C1 Dash Insert Overview” »

C2 (63-67)

Installing a Side Pipe Exhaust System on a C2 Vette

All-American Look For Your Mid-Year Vette

Story by Jerry Heasley, Vette Magazine

Factory side pipes go on a Vette like a set of pinstripes on Mickey Mantle’s Yankee uniform. The combination just looks right and all-American.

Mike remembered side pipes on his ’67 big block coupe. Although that car is long gone, today he owns a ’66 coupe with no side pipes, officially RPO code N14, catalogued as “Side Mount Exhaust System” for 1965-66-67 Corvettes.

After the installation, Mike admitted the side pipes seemed a little louder than he recalled from the 1960s. Back then he was a foot loose teenager without a wife in the passenger seat.

Of course, a more robust exhaust is one reason for installing side pipes. His base 327 four barrel also felt a little stronger after the installation.

Of course, he got the look. Side pipes, with their aluminum covers, chambered pipes and stainless steel tips add flash and dash to any Mid-Year.

Mike ran into two surprises during the installation. Surprise #1 was he had to cut off an ear of each lower front fender. Surprise #2 was he had to bend back the steel brackets visible beneath the original side molding on each side of the car.

He also discovered the passenger side bend in the factory pipe near the header would not fit. Apparently, the pipes had suffered some damage sometime in the past. Luckily, skillful heating and bending restored them to their original shape. Possible wear and tear on OEM side pipes is why ordering a reproduction set, which saves money, might be the better alternative except for restorers after points in concours judging.

Buying a new set of side pipes from the aftermarket will assure a good fit of the pipes and the option of longer lasting stainless steel.

The installation is fairly straightforward with some important key points included in our picture set.

Read more on “Installing a Side Pipe Exhaust System on a C2 Vette” »

C5 (97-04)

C5 Horn Switch Fix

 

By Chris Petris

Petris Enterprises

 

Do you have a C5 with a horn that no longer functions, or worse, one that blows continuously? Your local GM dealership will probably provide you with a quote of $900+ for an airbag assembly to remedy the problem. That’s a lot of money to fix a horn!

 

Testing for a malfunctioning horn switch begins at the underhood electrical center. Locate and remove the horn relay for circuit testing. A 12 volt test light will be used for testing. You cannot damage any of the horn components (including the horn switch in the air bag) when using a test light in this manner, whether the test lead is on battery power or ground. Connect your test light lead to a good ground (the battery is the best place). The horn relay has four terminals; you should find that two of the four horn relay socket terminals have a bright light (battery voltage) during testing. Now the test light lead is placed on the battery’s positive terminal for the next test. When probing the remaining two horn relay socket terminals, you should find one that will illuminate the test light when the horn button is pushed. This is the relay control wiring coming from the horn switch. If you cannot get the test light to illuminate when pushing on the horn button in one of the two remaining socket terminals, the horn switch is the most likely problem. The remaining socket terminal should light dimly as it feeds low voltage current to the horns themselves. If the socket terminal does not illuminate your test light dimly, the horns have an open circuit (horns are bad). Read more on “C5 Horn Switch Fix” »

C5 (97-04)

Retro LS Build: Rocker Arm Trunion Upgrade

 

Original article, by Mike Mavrigian, reprinted with permission.

If you’re gonna pound on an LS engine that features OE rocker arms, you need to perform this simple aftermarket trunion/bearing upgrade!

In the process of building any LS engine, if you plan to use OE rocker arms (whether re-using originals or using new OE rockers), you should be aware of the critical need to perform an upgrade to the rocker arms. Specifically, the OE trunions and trunion bearings should be replaced with an aftermarket upgrade kit. Read more on “Retro LS Build: Rocker Arm Trunion Upgrade” »