GM Corvette 1984-1996 Repair Guide

Engine

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OIL LEVEL CHECK



See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4

Every time you stop for fuel, check the engine oil, making sure the engine has fully warmed and the vehicle is parked on a level surface. Because it takes some time for the oil to drain back to the oil pan, you should wait a few minutes before checking your oil. If you are doing this at a fuel stop, first fill the fuel tank, then open the hood and check the oil. Don't get so carried away as to forget to pay for the fuel; most station attendants won't believe that you forgot!

  1. Make sure the car is parked on level ground.
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For the Corvette ZR-1, equipped with the 5.7L (VIN J) engine, the engine oil should be checked with the engine cold for the most accurate reading. If the engine is warm, allow ample time for it to cool before checking the oil level.

  1. For most engines, when checking the oil level, it is best for the engine to be at normal operating temperature, although checking the oil immediately after stopping will lead to a false reading. Wait a few minutes after turning off the engine to allow the oil to drain back into the crankcase.
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  3. Open the hood and locate the dipstick which will be in a guide tube mounted in the engine block. Pull the dipstick from its tube, wipe it clean (using a clean, lint free rag) and then reinsert it.
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Fig. Fig. 1: Pull the dipstick out of the tube

  1. Pull the dipstick out again and, holding it horizontally, read the oil level. The oil should be between the FULL and ADD marks on the dipstick. The oil is below the ADD mark, add oil of the proper viscosity through the capped opening in the top of the valve cover. See the oil and fuel recommendations listed earlier in this section for the proper viscosity and rating of oil to use.
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Fig. Fig. 2: The engine oil level should be between the ADD (1) and FULL (2) marks on the dipstick

  1. Insert the dipstick and check the oil level again after adding any oil. Approximately one quart of oil will raise the level from the ADD mark to the FULL mark. Be sure not to overfill the crankcase and waste the oil. Excess oil will generally be consumed at an accelerated rate.
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WARNING
DO NOT overfill the crankcase. It may result in oil-fouled spark plugs, oil leaks caused by oil seal failure or engine damage due to oil foaming.



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Fig. Fig. 3: If the level is low, remove the engine oil fill cap, located on the valve cover



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Fig. Fig. 4: Then, using a funnel, add the proper type and amount of oil

OIL & FILTER CHANGE



See Figures 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13

Although the manufacturer recommends changing the filter at the first oil change and then at every other oil change, (unless 12 months pass between changes), we recommend changing the filter with each service. It is a small price to pay for extra protection.

Under normal operating conditions, the oil is to be changed every 7500 miles (12,000 km) or 12 months, whichever occurs first. When driving conditions frequently include dusty or polluted areas, trailer towing, idling for long periods of time, low speed operation, when operating at temperatures below freezing or driving short distances (under 4 miles or 6.4km), change the oil and filter more frequently. Under these circumstances, oil has a greater chance of building up sludge and contaminants which could damage your engine. If your vehicle use fits into one or more of these categories (as it does for most vehicles), it is suggested that the oil and filter be changed every 3000 miles (5000 km) or 3 months, whichever comes first.

The oil should be disposed of properly after it is drained from the vehicle. Store the oil in a suitable container and take the container to an official oil recycling station. Most gas stations or oil and lube facilities will take the used oil at little or no expense to you.

Oil should always be changed after the engine has been running long enough to bring it up to normal operating temperature. Hot oil will flow more easily and will carry more contaminants than will cold oil. The oil drain plug is located on the bottom of the oil pan (bottom of the engine, underneath the car). The oil filter is located on the left side of most engines covered by this guide. To change the oil and filter:

  1. Run the engine until it reaches normal operating temperature.
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  3. Raise the front of the vehicle and support it safely using a suitable pair of jackstands.
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  5. Slide a drain pan of a least 6 quarts capacity under the oil pan. Wipe the drain plug and surrounding area clean using an old rag.
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CAUTION
The EPA warns that prolonged contact with used engine oil may cause a number of skin disorders, including cancer! You should make every effort to minimize your exposure to used engine oil. Protective gloves should be worn when changing the oil. Wash your hands and any other exposed skin areas as soon as possible after exposure to used engine oil. Soap and water, or waterless hand cleaner should be used.

  1. Loosen the drain plug using a ratchet, short extension and socket or a box-wrench. Turn the plug out by hand, using a rag to shield your fingers from the hot oil. By keeping an inward pressure on the plug as you unscrew it, oil won't escape past the threads and you can remove it without being burned by hot oil.
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If the drain plug is equipped with a removable washer or gasket, check its condition and replace, if necessary, to provide a leakproof seal.

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Fig. Fig. 5: Use a 13mm box-end wrench or ratchet to loosen the oil pan drain plug



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Fig. Fig. 6: Keep an inward pressure on the drain plug while loosening it, so hot oil does not drip onto your hands

  1. Quickly withdraw the plug and move your hands out of the way. Allow the oil to drain completely into the pan, then install and carefully tighten the drain plug. Be careful not to overtighten the drain plug, otherwise you'll be buying a new pan or a replacement plug for stripped threads.
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Fig. Fig. 7: Quickly withdraw the plug and allow the oil to drain completely



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Fig. Fig. 8: Make sure you thoroughly clean the oil pan drain plug threads to avoid stripping the pan threads



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Fig. Fig. 9: Also, make sure to clean the oil pan drain plug mating surface

Although some manufacturers recommend changing the oil filter every other oil change, we recommend the filter be changed each time you change your oil. The old filter will contain up to a quart of dirty oil, which will contaminate the clean oil. Also, the benefit of clean oil is quickly lost if the old filter is clogged. The added protection for your engine far outweighs the few dollars saved by using an old filter.

  1. Move the drain pan under the oil filter. Use a strap-type or cap-type filter wrench to loosen and remove the oil filter from the engine block. Keep in mind that it's holding about one quart of hot, dirty oil.
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  3. Empty the old filter into the drain pan and properly dispose of the filter.
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Fig. Fig. 10: You can use a cap-type oil filter wrench with a socket to loosen the oil filter



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Fig. Fig. 11: Carefully lower the oil filter. Remember, it's holding about a quart of hot, dirty oil

  1. Using a clean rag, wipe off the filter adapter on the engine block. Be sure that the rag doesn't leave any lint which could clog an oil passage.
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Fig. Fig. 12: Use a clean, lint-free rag to wiper off the engine block filter adapter

  1. Coat the rubber gasket on the filter with fresh oil, then spin it onto the engine by hand. When the gasket touches the adapter surface, give it another 1 / 3 - 1 / 2 turn (but no more, or you'll squash the gasket and it will leak).
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Fig. Fig. 13: Before installing a new oil filter, lightly coat the rubber gasket with clean oil

  1. Refill the engine with the correct amount of fresh oil. Please refer to the Capacities chart in this section.
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  3. Check the oil level on the dipstick. It is normal for the level to be a bit above the full mark. Start the engine and allow it to idle for a few minutes.
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WARNING
Do not run the engine above idle speed until it has built up oil pressure, as indicated when the oil light goes out.

  1. Shut off the engine and allow the oil to flow back to the crankcase for a minute, then recheck the oil level. Check around the filter and drain plug for any leaks, and correct as necessary.
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