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
It seems the items most easily accessible to the owner are also the most popular to change. We've all heard the claims of better and more, but the truth is this. Why fix something that isn't broke? In other words, why change brands from the recommended type of plug if you are experiencing no problem?  The 90-92 LT5's were equipped with a conventional (flat seat w/washer) spark plug, the FR2LS. In '93, the platinum tipped (tapered seat) plug was installed. The later style plug can be installed in the earlier engine by basically "forcing" the plug (over torqueing by 25ft lbs the first time) into the head thus creating a tapered seat. Question is, what benefit are platinum tipped spark plugs over conventionals?
 
We see little if any. Remember, platinum tipped plugs were originally developed only to increase service intervals. No problem? Then what are you "fixing?"
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