Heading for work one morning, my C5 Corvette (1997-2004) ran terrible. When I headed home, it behaved the same way. The next day it wouldn’t do anything but flash the dash lights when I attempted to start it. The car has a self diagnostic system that can be accessed by pushing the correct display buttons, but this didn't work either.
Fortunately, I knew about an Internet forum for Corvettes that's loaded with all kinds of information, especially on fixing problems.
This forum is very helpful for those owners who are far from large cities, since small dealerships don’t sell many Corvettes, and consequently, their service technicians are not experienced with these vehicles. The forum included several stories of technicians simply “throwing parts” at a problem, hoping that the bad component ended up getting replaced. Meanwhile, the owner pays for everything, and the replacement parts are very expensive.
There is one service technician who participates on the forum who has a great deal of experience with Corvettes. He suggested that I remove the ignition switch, take the unit apart, and look for bad electrical contacts inside. He also provided a link to a previous post of his in which he provided step-by-step disassembly instructions, a repair procedure, and photographs.
Sure enough, after I disassembled the switch, I found that two of the five electrical contacts were coated with a black substance, while a third was one-quarter coated. After careful “sanding” with 2000 grit paper and an alcohol cleaning, I re-assembled the switch and everything started and behaved as normal. So, what could have been a repair bill close to $1,000 was fixed at no cost, in an hour.
This entry was submitted by Bob Salter and edited by Rob Spiegel.
Bob Salter is a mechanical engineer who works for American Roller Bearing Company. He is also a dedicated do-it-yourselfer.
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