At 58 years old and kids in college, my wife and I decided to buy a car that we can enjoy "our time" with. The C3 has always been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. Although we are somewhat conservative by nature, we decided to take a chance and make our purchase through ebay. After a tune up, oil change, and general going through, our first month of ownership has been a blast, having taken a couple of day trips around New England and a few nightly coffee runs. We can't wait for the leaves to turn and head up north.
The car has not been neglected (previously owner purchased the car in the mid-80's and cared for it), but it hasn't been driven regularly in a couple of years and has a few areas in need of attention. So far, I have found the following things not working: the tachometer, center console guage lights, cigarette lighter (for my iphone), heater/AC blower, interior lights when the passenger door is opened, the clock, and the retracting of the headlights (will however go up after 3 minutes or so of driving). I have checked the fuses and all seem ok (could they have placed the fuse box in a more out of the way location? I am not as flexible or have the eyesight I once had!).
No specific questions unless someone had ideas on these areas. More to introduce myself and to say thank you in advance for your collective wisdom and help as my wife and I embark on this new adventure that we hope will bring years of enjoyment.
Vette(s): 1978 Silver Anniversary L82 4spd (M21) Red Leather.
-1978 Pace Car L82 4spd (M21) 20k miles.
Welcome orange77. The C3 4 speeds are great cars and a lot of fun to drive. Picked up our Silver Ann '78 back in the spring of '07 and still enjoy it just as much as that first summer. Similar story, the kids grew up and moved out so time to spend some money.
A well cared for car with 47,000 miles but needed some things worked out mostly due to sitting so long.
A lot of electrical stuff could just be connections and switches that need to be cleaned up. I don't think any of the clocks still work right, mine don't. Some of my gauges on the center console didn't work right and I found the plastic circuit on the back all dried out, an easy fix.
If you ask specific questions in the related area of the forum for your issues you'll probably get a better response and people that will gladly help with trouble shooting.
Some of the deeper stuff is out of my league but I have learned a lot here.
Enjoy the car. Some great cruising weather in the next month or so in New England.
Vette(s): 1973 L82 4 Speed Coupe - Very original, well documented driver/survivor. 2016 Bend Regional NCRS Top Flight.
Orange77, congrats on your purchase and welcome to the site. The problems you have listed are fairly common to these cars and also a bit chronic I might add. The first question I have to ask is are you going to be fixing this car yourself ?? If so you've come to the right place and we can talk you through most things. Most people on this sight have either experienced the problem or know someone that has. A search of our previous posts is also a good idea.
If your not going to be doing the fixing, look for someone with C3 experience in your area. Don't just take it to your average tune-up/repair shop. Check around in your local area for any Corvette Clubs, or check to see if you have an NCRS (National Corvette Restorers Society) Chapter near by to get some recommendations from experienced owners.
Your headlight problem sounds like a vacuum leak. That same leak is also possibly affecting your heater/temp controls if they do not function properly. Vacuum leaks are a bit of a pain, but they can be found using a vacuum pump with a gauge and isolating each of the connections at the different components. If the vacuum hoses appear to be the original, many people choose to purchase a new vacuum hose kit and replace them all. Unless the're in really bad shape, I prefer to cut off about 1/2" off the end of the hose at the suspect connection to eliminate the already expanded section and provide a tighter fit, just make sure you have enough slack in the hose to cut off a small section. Look for a vacuum hose diagram for your year, there are a lot of connections to be checked.
The rest sounds like electrical gremlins that could be a combination of several things. The tach could be anything from the tach connection at the distributor to the small circuit board that's on the back of the tach. Look for a reply from Adam's Apple, he should be able to help with the tach based on what if does, if anything, when to turn the key. As Jeffm posted, the gauge lights could be the flexible circuit connector on the back of the gauge cluster.
One give away to many electrical problems is work done by the previous owner(s). New stereo installations can spell trouble if somebody went a little crazy with the wire cutters and blue splice connectors. Check out the electrical section of our site, you should find a link to a wiring diagram for your year.
Hope this helps you to get a start, check a few things out and get back to us. Good luck !!
Vette(s): 1980 loaded red on red. 68,000 original miles. Second owner. Well documented with all original paperwork.
NCRS Founders Award 9/27/14. NCRS Top Flight 10/12/14.
On this site in the upper right hand of forum there is a google search. Search wiring diagrams and you will find any corvette wiring diagram you need. Thanks to adams apple. On my 1980 the clock, lighter and interior light are all on same fuse.
Thanks for all of the responses. I have started searching through the many years of great postings so will start my journey there first. I have some mechanical ability but also know my limitations. I plan on researching and attempting to fix what I can and seek out professional help as needed. I have also joined a local Corvette club so hope to make good connections there as well. In the meantime, nothing is that serious that prevents us to enjoy the car on the weekends!
Thanks for the suggestions. Joel, the diagrams are very helpful. I have already addressed the courtesy lights issue. The switch on the passenger door had some corrosion on it and the wires just needed to be re-seated. In doing so I found two old-style beer can flip tabs down in the recesses where the body mount is. Wonder how long those have been there.
Vette(s): 1977 L-48 auto. 3.55 gears. Bright silver with silver leather int. A few minor performance parts, carb/intake shorty headers w/full dynomax exhaust.
Congrats on your purchase! Love the color, I too just got a 77 but mine is bright silver.
Really wanted an orange or yellow one but they are hard to find and the silver looks great so what the hell! I too have grown kids and always wanted one of these since I was a little kid in the 70's. Always had mopars or other assorted muscle cars so this my first Corvette and we are having a great time! Same as you the previous owner had mine for 20 plus years and really cared for it well. Enjoy your car and would love to see some pictures!
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