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
Another common problem with the LT5 seems to be the chain tensioner rattles upon start up. There is a replacement right side tensioner kit available which will reduce this but in some cases, the noise does not completely disappear. As a note, we recently had the occasion to remove the oil pan on a 50,000 mile vehicle that had an excessive tensioner rattle. Just being thorough, we removed the oil pan baffle in order to thoroughly clean it as long as it was off. We were greeted by an unpleasant surprise. Completely unseen with the baffle in place, was a huge pile of cam chain wear plate material. This is the hard plastic used on several chain guides to reduce noise and metal fatigue on the chains. Two of these guides were completely shattered.

WWe strongly recommend replacing any excessively loud chain tensioners before any other problems occur. The plenum must be removed to replace the left unit and the right is accessible from the right front wheel well.

 

Suggestion:


When or if your engine's oil pan is removed for any reason, ask that the baffle unit be removed and the pan inspected. Any debris found in the pan can be an indicator of your engine's health.

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