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  #1  
Old 01-31-2015, 10:34 PM
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Waaay off topic - C4 Corvettes

Ok, so I know I should be shopping for a Benz. But my eye has been drawn to a Vette lately. I've never owned one(I've had 4 Benzs), and I'm at the right age(58). I'm too toy broke to buy anything very new or expensive, and I don't REALLy care about going 0-60MPH in 3.5 seconds, as fun as that sounds.
Sooooo....the old-school C4 is kinda what I'm looking at. Relatively cheap to buy, cheap to insure, parts aren't TOO expensive, and it's actually easy to find a clean one with low miles for well under $10k.
Anyone here got any good/bad experiences with 'em? I have an old high school friend back up in Washington state with a '94, and it's the best thing since sliced bread to him. But I found a 'vette web site with a list of "Common problems with the C4", but my friend says he's never experiences anything on the list except that weird Opti-spark distributer thingee they used on the L98's back then. He's gone thru 3 of them at about $1200 a whack

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  #2  
Old 01-31-2015, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickg View Post
Ok, so I know I should be shopping for a Benz. But my eye has been drawn to a Vette lately. I've never owned one(I've had 4 Benzs), and I'm at the right age(58). I'm too toy broke to buy anything very new or expensive, and I don't REALLy care about going 0-60MPH in 3.5 seconds, as fun as that sounds.
Sooooo....the old-school C4 is kinda what I'm looking at. Relatively cheap to buy, cheap to insure, parts aren't TOO expensive, and it's actually easy to find a clean one with low miles for well under $10k.
Anyone here got any good/bad experiences with 'em? I have an old high school friend back up in Washington state with a '94, and it's the best thing since sliced bread to him. But I found a 'vette web site with a list of "Common problems with the C4", but my friend says he's never experiences anything on the list except that weird Opti-spark distributer thingee they used on the L98's back then. He's gone thru 3 of them at about $1200 a whack
First off, Even a ZR1 in that ear is listed as going 0-60 in 4.4. So it will take work to make it go 3.5. If you are toy broke, don't bother. A ZR1 does 375 HP so to go 3.5 you are going to have much more work since a L98 C4 will make 240HP and an LT1 will make 300HP tops. So if you want more, you are going to shell out much more. Having built a NA 383 that makes 410 RWHP, it isn't cheap. Replaced engine with better cam and AFR heads, intake change to HSR and a few other misc stuff. 700R4 trans rebuilt and now the rear end shredded so switched to a rebuilt D44 instead of the D36.

There is no such thing as a cheap Corvette since you get what you paid for. In my case, it didn't matter since the engine and trans was going to be disposed off anyways. Up to 91 (since that is what I have), you are going to have to dump the injectors (Multec junk), change brake lines and all the fluids plus regular maintenance stuff. If you get a cheap one, the PO has done all sorts of "modifications" like mine. He tossed the FX3 stuff for cheap crap. Took time and money to get it back to spec plus the light bulb he took out. Ignition relay burned and he put an "anti theft" (push button) to crank the starter. That and much more crap.

Your best bet is to get a 90-91 L98 unit or a 95-96 LT1 since they have all the bugs worked out. Engine parts are ok BUT body parts are hard sometimes since GM obsoleted them.

C4 Vettes DO NOT SEAL WELL so you have to change weatherstrip and try not to drive in heavy rain.

So for a resto hobby job, no problem. If you want reliable, pay for it.
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  #3  
Old 02-01-2015, 12:58 AM
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Originally Posted by rickg View Post
but my friend says he's never experiences anything on the list except that weird Opti-spark distributer thingee they used on the L98's back then. He's gone thru 3 of them at about $1200 a whack

If this is the distributor I'm thinking of, it sits behind the water pump with the water pump being driven from the camshaft. ( it also has reverse cooling flow ) .

There was a mod that vented the dist to prevent problems. This engine was also used in similar era full size rear drive cars so parts should be common enough. Even with labor, I don't see the replacement being $ 1,200.
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Old 02-01-2015, 07:59 AM
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Older vettes, like new ones are a lot of bang for your buck. I imagine the weaknesses are well known and can be discovered on forums and fixed more easily then when they were newer.
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Old 02-01-2015, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by 97 SL320 View Post
If this is the distributor I'm thinking of, it sits behind the water pump with the water pump being driven from the camshaft. ( it also has reverse cooling flow ) .

There was a mod that vented the dist to prevent problems. This engine was also used in similar era full size rear drive cars so parts should be common enough. Even with labor, I don't see the replacement being $ 1,200.
Either you have a distributor WITH the coil on top of it in the L98 (Large Cap) or you have the LT1 Optispark.
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  #6  
Old 02-01-2015, 12:23 PM
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Just picked up an 87 convertible Friday, cool cars go for it.
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Old 02-01-2015, 03:11 PM
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Smaller blocks if available are good enough for old goats like myself. Since I imagine they are not as collectable they probably are more reasonable in cost as well.

As mentioned there are a lot of corvettes around with reasonably low milage. That is a distinct upside not common with a lot of labels.
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  #8  
Old 02-01-2015, 03:29 PM
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Yeah, a lotta old guys buy them.
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  #9  
Old 02-01-2015, 03:52 PM
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The C4 has became somewhat of a punch-line in Corvette circles over the past several years. The early years were plagued with dashboard electronic malfunctioning for one thing. The other is that they were slow, which was because of the times. Today, there are dedicated C4 owners that have realized the bang-for-the-buck that you get out of one. Learn what to avoid when buying one, is my best advise.
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Old 02-01-2015, 05:42 PM
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IMO go for an LT1 car (91+), more power, easily moddable, better efficiency, etc. You might also want to page Kartek, I believe he had one for a while.
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  #11  
Old 02-01-2015, 05:46 PM
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the computers vary in them, an 85's datastream speed is a snail compared to 90 -91 727 ecm. the later ones are just as fast but the 727 is most common hacked for performance.
once you go obdII them the readily avalable "chip" is on the shelf for most common stroker,cam, bigger throttlebody, manguson blower etc swap.
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  #12  
Old 02-01-2015, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbomachines View Post
IMO go for an LT1 car (91+), more power, easily moddable, better efficiency, etc. You might also want to page Kartek, I believe he had one for a while.
MY 91 is L98 so it is going to be 92 and up. I'd go later since we want them to have the bugs worked out. As to mods he doesn't want to spend the money so that killed the idea.
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04 Tailgator 21 ft Toy Hauler
11 Harley Davidson 883 SuperLow
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  #13  
Old 02-01-2015, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by aklim View Post
Either you have a distributor WITH the coil on top of it in the L98 (Large Cap) or you have the LT1 Optispark.

The large cap unit goes all the way back to 1974 so I don't see it costing $ 1,200. Even for Opti that seems high, I think the OP's friend is miss quoting the problem / costs.
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  #14  
Old 02-01-2015, 06:07 PM
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the cheapest and quickest track to souping a mid 80's would prolly be an all aluminum ls and its matching computer. An aluminum head 5.3 truck engine on the other hand is a better bang for the buck and can be found with the computer and harness for $750 all week long, ( and its ready to rock for 10 psi boost without a chip--which gets you to 405 hp) ( but not under the hood of a c4 with the typical manifolds avalable). You might need to be prepaired to drive a few states away with a pickup to score that though.
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  #15  
Old 02-01-2015, 06:10 PM
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Optispark can be a bear. My brother had it on his Impala SS and it gave him fits. Make sure it has been updated to the vented unit.

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