After the drive down to Baltimore and meeting up with David (including a fun visit to the local Tilted Kilt) we were ready to get stuck into the job at hand: updating the Dragon.

DSCF6040Saturday was warm and sunny, almost a shame to waste it on the WMD (Westminster Maintenance Day), but the WAZOO guys are dedicated to building bigger and better ZR-1s and I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to complete several of the jobs that had been on my “to do” list for far too long.

Jim’s place (the then ZR-1 Registry president) is the garage a lot of people dream of having – me included. Spacious, a  four post lift, hydraulic bridge jacks to lift one end of the car up in seconds. What else could you ask for? Continue reading

Okay, so the first stumbling block on my replacement head project arrived in the form of the Metra wiring guide (Metra 70-1857 Bose Integration Tuner Bypass) . First off, instructions are non existent with this product, which isn’t very comforting for a novice (like me!). There’s some general information and a wiring guide on the back of the pack and a tiny note inside the bag telling you where your amp’s located (which I knew).

To make things worse the bag the harness came in had been torn and taped back together, right through the wiring guide! I went to the Metra site expecting to find further help and at least wiring information (it says on the bag “for further information…”). I’m always too optimistic it seems and not only was there no further information online – there was NO information at all! With patience and help from my wife in translating the Spanish, I managed to decipher it. Just in case anyone else has a similar problem, I’ve reproduced the chart below: Continue reading

I had hoped that my stereo woes would have ended after replacing the Bose speaker/amplifiers. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and when I woke the Dragon from his slumber this year the stereo system failed to work. The unit lit up but is completely non-functional.

I do like music when I am traveling, especially on longer journeys. So I’m at the point where I want to address this. I have some longer term plans in this area, but for now I just want to do something relatively simple and cheap that will get me by.

I’d heard from a number of sources that it was possible to swap out the head unit and Continue reading

I visited Niagara a couple of weekends ago. The plan was to meet up with some ZR-1 friends from Southern Ontario also David, President of the ZR-1 Registry, was coming up to visit from Baltimore. We got together on Friday night and had a nice dinner at The Keg in St. Catharines.

On Saturday we dropped my wife off at the Pen Center to do some shopping while me and David went to get the cars cleaned. Finding somewhere turned out to be more challenging than you’d imagine, but eventually we found Superior Car Wash & Express Detailing who helped us clear the hundreds of kilometers of dirt off the ZR-1s. Continue reading

As I was coming back from St. Catharines earlier this year I picked up a noise from the front passenger side wheel area. It was a metal on metal rubbing sound – not the kind of thing you really want to hear on any car let alone your precious Corvette. It was hard to pin it down but there were really only a few possible suspects – I just hoped it wasn’t one of the more expensive ones.

Once home, I jacked up the car, put stands underneath to make everything safe and took the wheels off. One of the advantages of the C4 clam-shell hood design is it gives you great access to the front wheel area. Initial visual inspection didn’t really tell me anything but turning the hub allowed me to better pinpoint the sound. It was definitely coming from the caliper/rotor area. Continue reading

Last time I was looking at the following updates over winter:

  • C5 Brake upgrade
  • Header installation
  • Catback Installation

Those are still on the cards, it’s warmed up a little but not enough to progress very far, but I have got the header fresh air tube welded up and it can now be sent for the ceramic coating.

Due to changes in circumstances I am now going to go down to Bowling Green for the 2012 ZR-1 Gathering. I’ll be taking a rather odd route as I am going to Washington D.C. first to meet up with the WAZOO guys. This has been a long standing invitation and while down there they are going to help me take care of some of the projects that have been hanging around for a while. This will include:

  • Fidanza Clutch installation
  • New Pressure Plate installation
  • Hurst Short Shifter installation
  • C-Beam plate installation
  • RC Injector installation
  • Under plenum service – seals, coil packs, plug leads, PCV hoses etc.

These are all jobs that have been hanging around a while but I haven’t had time or facilities to tackle them.

Many of the jobs have been delayed this year by my attempts at kitchen renovation/installation and the fact that I have been asked to redevelop the ZR-1 Net Registry website. The website is great fun but time-consuming, the kitchen is hell and time-consuming…

I’ve also received the leather trim from RedLine and hope to get that installed before the Gathering.




Earlier I listed my planned tasks for The Beast over the winter. They were:

  • C5 Brake upgrade
  • Header installation
  • Catback Installation
  • Top end porting and polishing

After much thinking and discussion the top end porting is off the list. There are many reasons why but basically I have decided I want to get Jim Van Dorn‘s “Street Skinner” package instead. It’s quite costly but will take me to the power level that I always targeted. None of the work involved is anything I can do “in house”, but I know that Jim will give The Dragon all the best care and attention.

That leaves me with:

  • C5 Brake upgrade
  • Header installation
  • Catback Installation

Not quite my year of big change. I have everything needed for these jobs and can start them as soon as Winter leaves and it becomes possible to work outside again.


I’m replacing the stock ZR-1 front brakes with an updated design from a C5 ‘vette. The C5 calipers are stiffer and better at heat management, they also have a bigger pad area and so provide an increase in braking of around %30. Pretty good for a cheap upgrade. The calipers came from my good friend, Ron, for free. I just need some rebuild kits – seals and so on to make them as good as new.

I’ve looked at various options for updating the brakes. There are a number of systems available but the prices are high – anything from $2k and up! If this were a track car I’d certainly be looking at these alternatives but it’s basically a cruiser, so the C5 is a good cost-effective upgrade.

I’m going to finish them with caliper paint from G2. This is a high ceramic, high temperature paint especially designed for this application. Many people get their calipers powder coated but I don’t have anyone who can do this for me locally so the paint looks like a good option. The G2 system has great reviews from lot’s of people so I’m confident it will work.( Just as a note, this isn’t the caliper paint you can buy in places like Canadian Tire – their’s is a much less durable, lower ceramic content paint that get’s pretty awful reviews.) I had to order the G2 specially, using good old E-Bay.

The C5 calipers had already been painted but not with G2, so the first job is to get this off. I tried various wire brushes and so on but they weren’t very effective. So my next approach is going to be chemical; acrylic thinners to break down the paint and strip it from the metal.

This is the new C5 front caliper:

Dirty C5 Z06 Front Caliper

Pretty dirty right now, Hopefully stripping will take care of that.

This is the C4 rear, also looking pretty rough:

Dirty C4 rear brake caliper

My plan right now is to swap the rear caliper, these are some used ones I picked up. The aluminium is fairly deteriorated though so I may just use the existing ones on the car instead. I’ll decide once I’ve cleaned them up some more.

Here’s the C5 Abutment bracket also in the rough, these are going to be painted in black:

Unpainted C5 Abutment Bracket


And finally, the conversion brackets that make it all possible. I’m going to hit these with the black also:

C5 Conversion Brackets


Enduring the winter off season is never easy for anyone as crazy about driving his Corvette as I am. This year is particularly hard because of the problems with getting my garage done last year. That means that the Dragon is sleeping in a temporary garage in the cold. Not my idea of ideal.

Despite this I have a list of tasks that I am determined to try and get done for 2012. Some of these have been hanging over me for a while. At least having the car on site it means that I can get some jobs done as soon as the weather breaks in Spring and it get’s warm enough to work on.

The upgrades are:

  • C5 Brake upgrade
  • Header installation
  • Catback Installation
  • Top end porting and polishing

All of these jobs will be done by me with the exception of the porting and polishing. That I will have to send out as I don’t have the tools or experience for that kind of work. Another job that will have to be sent out is ceramic coating for the headers – again a specialized job that I can’t do.

As I work through these I’ll write them up and take photos to show progress.