1990 Corvette Z51

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TireSmoker
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1990 Corvette Z51

Postby TireSmoker » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:17 am

I bought a car today! This is the first car that I was able to see via live video call before I went up there. We used Google Duo. What a great way to check out a car before heading out.

It's a 1990 Corvette, L98/6sp, with the Z51 & FX3 suspension options. 90k miles. It's been upgraded with AFR heads, an Accel Superram intake, some sort of Comp roller cam, Hooker headers, Magnaflow mufflers, and various DUI ignition components. The interior is in really good shape overall, although there are a few items that will need immediate attention. It's been repainted, and except for a couple minor areas, looks excellent overall.

BP originally found the ad on craigslist, it was up in Warren, MI (north of Detroit). I saw it, and we talked about it, really cool looking car, lots of good parts, good price, etc. It had already been listed for several weeks. I waited another 7-10 days, and when it was still there I decided to give the guy, Brad, a call. Brad seemed like super-good dude, someone we'd all enjoy hanging around with. He also had a '69 Vette in the garage (yours for $20k) and some sort of LS1 Firebird out in the driveway. Brad said he bought it 4 years prior in New York from some guy who had mega-money and this Corvette was the 'crappy' car in that collection. It's believed that the heads/cam/intake were all done in the early-mid 90s.

My good friend Jered Baumert lives in Washington, MI, maybe 20 miles further north, so we made it up to his place for dinner. Him, his boys Charlie & Andrew, and their friend Zach joined us for dinner at a local BBQ place. Jered rode with me to the restarant, on the ride back to his house, Andrew got a ride, and afterwards, Charlie too. Much full-throttle was had!

Drove it home successfully without any issues. Gwen drove it from the Ohio turnpike/I-280 to the west side of Cleveland. Initially skeptical, as she likes the looks of the C3's better, she's now a fan.

It has some issues that will need to be addressed-- the tach doesnt work, the lumbar controls for the seats don't work, cruise doesn't work, the rearview mirror is loose where it mounts to the roof. Some weather stripping is in good condition, a couple other pieces need to be replaced. It is leaking some oil somewhere, I can smell it. The brakes work, and that was one of the things Brad had to really repair during his ownership, but the pedal feels really loose/sloppy until the brakes actually engage.

But it's a hoot to drive! More to come..

Heading up to Michigan
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Fred32v
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Re: 1990 Corvette Z51

Postby Fred32v » Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:10 am

Congratulations! :D
Fred32v
GMC Canyon Crew Cab Short Box 4x4 V6!

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TireSmoker
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Re: 1990 Corvette Z51

Postby TireSmoker » Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:53 pm

20190624_002332.jpg


https://www.digitalcorvettes.com/forums ... hp?t=27224

Service Parts

L98, 245hp 350ci TPI
ML9,MN6 = ZF 6 speed manual
GT6 = 3.33 rear
J55 = Heavy Duty Brakes
Z51 = Heavy Duty Suspension
FX3 = driver adjustable shocks

This is a well-optioned performance car.

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MostMint
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Re: 1990 Corvette Z51

Postby MostMint » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:21 am

I’m thinking 13’s should be very doable with this setup. Once the race car is mobile we will have to get them both to the dragstrip
[quote="Basement Paul"]Is that a mint rocketship on the hood?? :shock:
-BP[/quote]

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Basement Paul
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Re: 1990 Corvette Z51

Postby Basement Paul » Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:47 am

That car had all the goodies from the factory! Definitely an enthusiast's version. Add to your to do list: attach air intake bellows to front snorkel (looks loose in pics). Retail Red always looks great on this car. I have a poster of it in my garage since forever.

I can't wait to check in out in person as this vintage Vette is also high on my to-own list.

-BP

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Re: 1990 Corvette Z51

Postby TireSmoker » Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:58 am

So as it happened, I drove both the Chevelle and the Corvette yesterday down Wilson Mills. The Chevelle will hole-shot the Vette like crazy, but the Vette has really good pull through the gears. I really wanna get these on the dragstrip, side-by-side. It would be a ton of fun, and generate some good photos and video. I'm sure BP would be willing to help out the cause if I can get them both there.

I've read about in the ingress/egress of these cars, and everything you read is correct. Hard to believe a lot of old, fat guys are known to own these. There is no getting in and out quickly.

The A/C is one of the things that was advertised as not working. I made an appt at Velotta Auto Service in Kirtland for Monday. They've done A/C work for me in the past very reasonably. If it's major money to fix, I may pass.

The bad news is, it does have an oil leak. I might be lucky and it's only the dipstick tube, as it's loose. I don't see any oil on the top end so far, and as I drove it nice & easy to work (behind a u-haul, then a dump truck), I didn't smell any oil burning like I did on the drive home. Maybe it's only throwing some oil when you get on it.

This is honestly a better car than I thought when I left to go get it. Engine mods aside, the rest of it is so stock, with desirable options, and in overall good condition that it might change my plans.

-Dave

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MostMint
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Re: 1990 Corvette Z51

Postby MostMint » Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:52 am

Keep in mind I have every component of the A/C system except the pump from a low mileage car. Let me know if you need any parts
[quote="Basement Paul"]Is that a mint rocketship on the hood?? :shock:
-BP[/quote]

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Re: 1990 Corvette Z51

Postby Basement Paul » Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:17 pm

You are correct in your assumptions that I'll help you race yourself. I'd even swing by your place and pick one of the cars up as necessary.

-BP

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Re: 1990 Corvette Z51

Postby MostMint » Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:23 pm

Tiresmoker was over last Friday to work on the race car. He brought the Vette down and I had the chance to pilot this machine. Runs strong and the handling is good. Great starting C4 platform. Once we get the Vette race car out we will definitely do some 1/4 mile passes together.
[quote="Basement Paul"]Is that a mint rocketship on the hood?? :shock:
-BP[/quote]

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Re: 1990 Corvette Z51

Postby TireSmoker » Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:28 pm

So a few developments..

When I took the car to Velotta, they called me up and said they weren't able to get the car to idle. That's weird, I haven't had any issue with that. It has a lumpy idle, but never would it not run right or stall out. (foreshadowing) I was working from home that day, so I ran up there, and sure enough it didn't want to start, and when it did, ran poorly at idle. I took it up and down 306, I chalked it up to potentially dirty injectors.

They were able to check out the A/C and there's good (not great) news. The good news is that the system (still R12) has a charge and is otherwise functional when he manually triggered it. Sweet! That means its probably the electronic AC controls. Thanks to the internet, there's service available for that: http://www.batee.com/corvette/dcrg/serv ... epair.html That same place also has a tach repair kit that should work for me.

Later that night, we would drive it to the Red Hawk for dinner, where after locking it, I went to unlock it and set off the car alarm that I didn't know it had. I had no idea how to turn it off. Tried putting the key in the ignition and turning it on (maybe even started it? cant remember now) but no luck. However, there was a big aftermarket battery disconnect under the hood, right next to the battery. I popped the hood and turned it off. Problem solved.

After dinner, we went to Paul & Amy's, Paul and I drove the car around, a good time was had by all.
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Gwen wanted to drive home, and that was cool. We were heading down Ravenna Rd, approaching the I90 bridge and the car started sputtering. It quit, and we coasted into the driveway just after the bridge. Fuuudddgggeeeee. It's like 9:30pm on July 3, the night before a holiday... greeat. Long story short, I end up getting towed home after waiting 3 hours for a truck. I called Fade, but he was already off-duty and out at TRP for their event. It was almost 1am by the time I got home. Hagerty's Road Side Assistance paid the tow, though!

When I got the car home, I added some gas to the tank,(even though I was reading 1/4 tank) and it did sorta fire up, but ran poorly again. I think it was a combination of shitty fuel, and then not enough of it. After filling it up and running a couple bottles of Techron through it, it seems to be running just fine.

The oil leak turned out being just the oil filter! How lucky is that? I changed the oil + filter at ~90,500 and all the oil drops on the floor have stopped.


I did get it out to the dragstrip on 7/24 and managed to run a best of 13.28 @ 106. I wasn't launching aggressively, because hey, it's still July. But I was *very* happy with those numbers.
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New tires will be a necessity sooner rather than later, but then I'll be able to try a track day! :-)

-Dave

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Re: 1990 Corvette Z51

Postby TireSmoker » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:20 pm

Picking up right where I left off....

I got new tires today! I was planning on getting new tires anyway, but when I got my Kung Flu stimulus funds, and with the upcoming autocross, figured there was no better time. I did some poking around on tirerack.com 275-40-17 is a really common size, which means lots of choices. I wanted something than leaned more towards high-performance vs high-mileage. Plenty of 4-star rated tires down in the ~$100 range, but the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500s had an even better rating 4 1/2 star with almost 500 reviews, but they were $150. $660 shipped. Slightly disappointed they're not US manufactured.

I've ordered from Tire Rack in the past, but never used their recommended installer, usually just opting for a local place near my house. This time, however, its recommended installer was Mobile Tire Service out of Madison. The owner, Joe, has a Sprinter 3500 van with a compressor, tire machine, balancer, etc. Tire shop comes to me? I dont have to make 2 trips to the store? Sign me up! Along with my 4 Corvette tires, Joe also took care of the 2 new rear tires for the Chevelle last fall that never got mounted. So, 6 tires mounted/balanced, new valve stems, old tires taken away, $160. Very happy how it worked out.

While the wheels were off, I decided to take a look into the brakes. I've never been happy with how the pedal felt, so I decided to bleed/flush the brake fluid a bit. I found on Corvette forum that you're suppose to start at RF, RR, LR, LF, going around the car in a circle. By now, Gwen is a Tiresmoke-certified expert assistant at bleeding brake, and after finishing LF, she said it was totally better. I haven't sat in it yet.

Oil change / lube (ball joints/tie rods) with Mobil 1 5W-30 and PF454 filter, 92,247 miles.

-Dave
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Re: 1990 Corvette Z51

Postby TireSmoker » Sat May 16, 2020 7:18 pm

Sad news today.. Gwen took the Corvette to Bainbridge today, and this happened on the way home. She's ok, no one else involved.

She was turning onto Fairmont from 306, said the back end came around on her, over corrected and hit the guardrail. She drove it home, but there's a good amount of damage. RF wheel took a good shot.. And we're leaving for Florida tomorrow.

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-Dave

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Re: 1990 Corvette Z51

Postby TireSmoker » Mon May 18, 2020 9:41 pm

So I've had a couple days to think about whats happened.. I'm leary about trying to fix it, because this kind of stuff is definitely not my wheel house.

But within 15 minutes on Facebook marketplace, I've found:

Red 1990 Hood in Rome, OH for $200, https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/it ... 1836894061
Maroon 1990 front fascia,near Louisville, OH for $200, https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/it ... 9888352187
and a correct wheel for $20, up in Howell, MI. https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/it ... 1179291713

I found another ad with a passenger door, red, from an 86. I assume it'd work for me, although I think its only the mirror that is actually damaged.

-Dave
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MostMint
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Re: 1990 Corvette Z51

Postby MostMint » Mon May 18, 2020 10:34 pm

There are so many C4s you can get the parts relatively cheap. I would look at the suspension too just to make sure something did not bend. Also check Mirrock Corvette site for interchangeability of the parts as they made minor changes over the years
[quote="Basement Paul"]Is that a mint rocketship on the hood?? :shock:
-BP[/quote]

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Re: 1990 Corvette Z51

Postby Blue_69_malibu » Tue May 19, 2020 12:39 pm

The wheel and possibly the suspension are easy enough fixes.

The problem with all of the body parts/panels/etc. will be paint. Even the same factory color will have a different patina and luster after 30 years. Odds of everything matching are almost zero.

That said, sometimes insurance companies will let you buy the car back from them....although you'll end up with a salvage title, I believe. Motor is probably worth something though, with those nice heads.

Something to ponder: Try to get as close to what you paid for this car from the insurance company, sell the blazer, and then buy a C6 with the combined $$$?


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