Wednesday, September 15, 2021

How To Replace the C3 Corvette Ignition Key Switch

Replacing a 1969 through 1982 C3 Corvette ignition key switch is a challenging task, but not impossible for the ambitious DIYer with the right tools and necessary patience to get the job done.

For this demonstration, I am using a standard 1969 steering column, but the removal and replacement of the ignition switch will be almost identical for most GM columns.

To gain access to the steering-column-mounted ignition key switch, a few things will have to come off. Based on whether your Corvette has a standard or a tilt/telescoping column, these will include the horn button, telescope lever, steering wheel, horn plate and brush, hub assembly, steering wheel lock plate, hazard light button, and the turn signal lever and switch.

Also worth mentioning is that you can replace the ignition key tumbler with the steering column in the car, so you do not have to remove it, which actually, makes this process easier.

However, if you also need to replace the sector gear, you may need to remove the ignition housing, something that will also require removing (or at least loosening) the turn signal switch.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Installing an AutoSound Challenger Speaker Bar in a C3 Corvette

If there's one area in which C3 Corvettes fall short, is audio. And if you haven't already swapped the most likely dry-rotted factory dash speakers for better-sounding modern units, I am sure your Vette's radio sounds horrible.

However, it doesn't need to be that way.

A few years ago, I bought a speaker box I found at AutoZone. It was cheap and it came with speakers and tweeters. I think I paid around $30 for it (it was on sale), so for that price, I'm sure the components were of low quality, even though the box was well made.

It sounded ok for the most part, but eventually, I added a subwoofer and that made all the difference.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Buying a C3 Corvette: Thoughts and Considerations

After having owned six C3 Corvettes, ranging from 1968 to 1976, and with a fine-looking and running '76 Stingray in my garage, you'd think the last thing I need is another C3.

And you'd be right. However, I am not as smart as I like to think I am so I'm always looking for the next project. Not sure if it's a disease or an addiction, but as far as I know, there is no cure.

But all joking aside, I thought this would be a good time to share my thoughts and views on purchasing a new (to you) C3 Corvette.

Needless to say, this article (and the video at the end) are based on my experiences of owning, fixing, and restoring C3s, so it may not apply to everyone.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Installing a 3-Row Champion Aluminum Radiator

The small puddle of coolant on the floor was all the motivation I needed to make the decision to replace the copper radiator with an aluminum unit by Champion.

After exploring different options, I made a few calls to find out more specific details. Unfortunately, most companies seemed to be too busy taking care of other customers to answer the phone, so I kept calling until someone answered, and I hit paydirt with ChampionRadiators.com.

I spoke with Justin, and he was quite knowledgeable about what radiator would work best for my '76 Corvette based on my requirements.

My wants list included:

  • A direct-fit radiator (no mods or special brackets required).
  • A heavy-duty unit (my car has a/c and I use it a lot).
  • Use the same size radiator hoses.

SIZE MATTERS

During my research, I learned that a 2-row radiator with 1-inch tubes is more efficient at cooling than a 3-row with 5/8-inch tubes (source: Summit Racing).

Monday, May 17, 2021

Complete Restoration of a C3 Corvette HVAC Panel

A couple of months ago I posted an article about refurbishing the HVAC panel. For that project, I used a kit that included a new trim panel and control thumb-wheels.

But after posting the article I thought that some readers would enjoy learning about the possibility of actually restoring one of these panels.

At around $90 the new replacement parts are affordable. However, those ninety bucks can be used to purchase other parts. Besides, unless the HVAC control panel is completely destroyed or useless, something that would be unlikely, these units can be taken apart, cleaned, painted, lubricated, and detailed to look almost brand new again.

So I decided to dig through bins of old Corvette parts to locate the original HVAC panel and the old thumb-wheels.

They were pretty dirty and ratty looking, so it justified my decision of replacing those old components with new aftermarket replacement parts. But they also presented an interesting challenge.

Would I be able to bring these old pieces back to life?