ZR-1 Maintenance Tips

General Maintenance

by Jim VanDorn


The most common call we receive by far is from a confused ZR1 owner. After years of reading everything from which thermostat to use, to what type of spark plug is best, the average owner is totally and completely confused...and for good reason. There are many varied opinions of what is best for our cars but that may depend greatly on how you use your ZR1.


After seven years plus, many ZR1's are finally accruing some mileage. We have had the opportunity to closely inspect many engines with a variety of types of use from normal street driving to severe "weekend" use (track time). Compiling this information we can now offer the ZR1 owner some observations. One rule we've adopted after hearing so many owners say the same thing is the "DIMWIT" or "Darn, if I didn't Mess With IT" rule. In other words, if you didn't have a problem, then what are your intentions in the first place? To date, the only company known to have a fleet of engineering ZR1's to test with was GM and it's affiliates.


Therefore, we must ask ourselves if their suggested procedures and parts recommendations should have a considerable amount of merit. Obviously they do, but on the other hand, there are no doubt areas for improvement. Although we will begin our segment discussing the routine and normal maintenance of the ZR1, there are many areas where an upgrade will be suggested.


Please understand that these are personal opinions and experiences and are not intended to conflict with service procedures outlined in the appropriate service manual.

Tools Required:

A good trolley jack

Axle stands

I use two floor jacks placed in the positions shown above. The picture shows the forward position on the driver side. I place the jack on the inside of the frame on a flat section just as the frame turns in toward the engine compartment. Note the rear jack placement is also in place and both are brought up at the same time. The jack stand here is shown straddling the lip. You can get a bearing if you note the CAT in the picture.
This is the rear shot (taken out of sequence. The other side would not normally be up yet) Note the floor jack in on the lip where the "locator arrows" are. The jack stand is set in a very convenient location. (above) but see even better detail below.
The stand mounts very nicely in the partial rectangle area.
This is a view of the car up on one side. Now for the other side.  
Both are jacked at the same time.  
This is the passenger side front jack stand straddling the lip.  
That is all there is to it, very stable. No jack-a-vett or anything. It takes me 15 minutes to get this result.  
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