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.


  Articles
Depending on your driving habits and conditions, we recommend the following. Street driven cars can adhere to the recommended lubricant's and service intervals, but the more aggressively driven ZR1 can benefit from a change to the synthetics. Synthetics basically provide better lubrication and have extended ranges of effective operation. ZR1 systems which benefit from synthetics are the power steering, differential, radiator and some transmission applications.
 
Again, these changes are only suggested for severe conditions.  One particular area usually overlooked during routine service intervals is the clutch and brake fluids. The brake master cylinders are located directly in front of the brake booster on the left side of the engine compartment. The clutch master cylinder is located behind the ECM (computer) requiring it's removal for access. Be careful with all hydraulic fluids as they can stain and remove paint even on initial contact. The clutch and brake fluids are originally clear however, after a normal use period they become dark. Both these systems should be flushed and filled with the appropriate fluids at regular intervals depending on the vehicle's use.
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