I like to trade around with my “fun” vehicles every few years and get something new. I guess it’s just the urge to try to own one of everything, and experience riding and driving just about every type of car and bike. I’ve had quite a few! But one thing I haven’t had is a fast car. I mean a FAST car. Sure the Mustang is fun to drive and all, but I’ve always wanted a real souped up muscle car, or sports car, just once!
As I think we might be having kids in the next few years, when I came across this opportunity to do a crazy thing like trade my Harley for a Corvette…well I jumped at it. I love the Harley, and it was a great trade for my ’56 Pontiac, but I just feel like it’s my last chance to get something fast for a while. And hey, the insurance on the ‘Vette is cheaper than the Harley!
We worked out a straight trade on the car for the bike. I’ve spent hours talking to the owner, and he’s had the car for almost 20 years. I got the VIN, ran the Carfax, everything checks out legit. While it does have a rebuilt engine and transmission, that’s not too uncommon in a ‘Vette of it’s year with 95k on the clock. Plus the motor was worked over when it was rebuilt, and he’s got receipts for everything done to it. He’s also having the AC system completely replaced with brand new OEM parts before we do the deal. It’s also got a custom Greenwood body kit installed, which I verified was OEM Greenwood. These were apparently sometimes added by dealers or owners, but didn’t seem to be a factory customization.
Turns out he’s in Havasu, and I’m headed that way for a river trip this next week, so it just worked out perfectly to bring the bike and do the swap. I’ll post some new pics once I’ve got everything worked out!
Well everything worked out great! We did the deal while I was out in Havasu at the river on vacation. Dani and I rode the bike into Havasu City and met up with the owner, a super nice guy. Everything checked out, and Dani even drove the car all the way home.
Since getting it home, I’ve been doing some minor fixes and sorting things out. First I need to get the registration sorted out, and I’m waiting on word back from my insurance. I want to keep the car registered in AZ, and have worked with a Title company (Sierra Title Services in Phoenix, they are great!) on doing this on a bike before. I found out that the county in AZ I would have to register it in due to the location of my property in AZ requires smog. While I could smog the car, I would have to drive out there to do it. However, you can bypass the smog requirement by having the car insured as a classic car. My insurance company allows you to do this with any car older than 25 years, and thankfully this one is 26 years old. It does limit the mileage you can put on the car, as it’s for cars being driven to car shows, etc, which is what I’ll do with the Vette. Plus, working from home, I don’t drive much regardless – same with the mustang, it’s insured as a classic. Waiting on word back from them if it’s accepted as a classic, then I can get the reg situation finished.
I’ve been dealing with some issues on the car. First and foremost I noticed the temp gauge was running hot – almost to peak at times in this hot weather. I’ve done a ton of research on ways to combat this, and have implemented the first step. I changed the thermostat to a 160dg stat, down from the stock 180dg. I also flushed the entire cooling system. After doing this and taking temp readings with a digital infrared thermometer, it seems the engine is running cooler than the temp gauge is showing. It seems to be in the low 200’s range, which is right on, even though the gauge is hitting 260. I’m going to next replace the switch that sends the temp reading to the gauge (it’s located in the pass side block near the firewall).
I also ordered a fan switch kit that overrides the ECM fan control and kicks on the fan at lower temps. I’m hoping to utilize both radiator fans to keep the temps lower all around. Will look into installing this next after I’ve got the temp reading correct.
I’ve done some other small things – replaced the shock struts on the rear hatch so it stays open. Got a great deal on these on Ebay for cheap. Also added a carpet dash mat and a padded center console cover. Cleaned up the interior a bit with these adds.
Finally – I’ve now got an issue with the AC. While it was all completely replaced the week before I brought it home, and it ran great in AZ, it suddenly died on me here. The AC buttons on the dash are flashing and there is definitely a code being thrown. I’ve got to check out the shop manual and see if I can identify the issue and get it resolved. Will update with details once I sort it out.
Finally, here are the pics I promised.
And also, I purchased the PDF factory service manual. Usually I try to find these things online for free, but had no luck on this one. I also went to my local library and ordered the Haines and Chiltons manuals from them so I have hard copies to use. NOTE: The library is a great resource that no one thinks of ! They have tons of service manuals!
For anyone restoring a car like these, I’d like to help you out . Here is a download link to the PDF FSM for the 1990 Corvette and everything I got on the CD I ordered. Good luck!