1981 Chevrolet Corvette - Page 8 - Answered Questions & Fixed issues

The power seats use a circuit breaker. Power Accessory (PWR ACC) As the breaker cools off, it works again. Suggest your problem is in the power seat switch, or the motor for the power seat.

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Apr 19, 2009 | 324 views

1.First, if your car has Air Conditioning, loosen the compressor, and take the AC belt loose. Remove it from the AC compressor pulley.

2.Slide the AC compressor as far as it will go, towards the fender well.

3.The plastic Radiator Overflow tank has to be removed. Remove the overflow hose, and remove the bolts holding the tank to the inner fender well. It's a little tough to get to those bolts. I use a 1/4" drive ratchet, 6" and 10" quarter inch extensions, plus a flex adapter. Use either the 6" extension, or the 10" extension, where needed.

The plastic overflow tank is twisted a little, as you remove it. The shape makes it a little tough, but if you move it around, as you bring it out, you can gently twist it out of there. Use caution, as this is a plastic tank, and may be brittle due to age, plus heat from the engine compartment.

4.Now look at the firewall. This is the area under the windshield, and in the engine compartment. Facing the windshield, look to the upper left corner. You will see a motor attached to a plate. The plate has five corners on it.
Remove the electrical connections to it. Lay the small wire harnesses aside. Remove the machine head screws that attach the plate to the blower housing.

The plate is attached to the blower housing with a gasket seal. This is a Black rope like seal, and is very sticky! Due to age, and heat, the blower motor plate may be stuck to the blower housing, pretty well! You may have to use a putty knife to help loosen it.

The putty knife is eased under the edge of the blower motor plate, and is worked around the edge. You may want to wear some type of protective gloves, because if you slip, your fingers/hand could be jammed right against that blower motor plate edge. This edge can be a hazard to your hand, due to the force when your hand MAY strike it.
Safety above ALL else!
Also should your fingers/hand get up against the sticky Black seal, you will get sticky residue on your hands, or fingers. Kind of tough to remove.

Also I advise using finesse when using the putty knife. The blower motor housing, can be damaged by the edge of the putty knife.

Now it's just a matter of installing a new rope seal, or using some silicon of a tube, to form a gasket on the new blower motor plate. Observe how the old one is, and form yours accordingly.

Bolt the new blower motor in place, reattach the wire harnesses.
Put the Radiator Overflow tank back in. Reattach the Overflow Tube. Move the AC compressor back over so you can slip the AC belt back on. Put the correct tension on the belt, by using the 1/2" square hole in the AC compressors bracket, and pull the AC compressor towards the fender. I use a 1/2" breaker bar. The correct method, is to use a belt tensioner gauge, to test the tension of the AC belt.

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Apr 19, 2009 | 231 views

The windows are electric. They have electric motors that raise, or lower, the window up and down. Power to the electric motors comes from the window switches. One window switch for each door window. Power to the window switches comes from the fuse panel.

First thing to do, is to check the fuse in the fuse panel, for the windows. If you do not know which fuse it is, and it is not marked on your fuse panel cover anymore, I invite you to go to your nearest auto parts store, and buy a manual of your Corvette.

The next thing to do is to remove the window switch that corresponds to the window that doesn't work. Turn the ignition switch to On, and use a multimeter to test it. Set the multimeter to DC volts, and the 50 volt scale.
If you don't have a multimeter, I invite you to buy a cheap one. They're usually about $12 dollars.

Find a non-painted surface for a good ground. The Black probe lead is the Ground lead. (Negative) I usually try to find a clean, non-painted surface, that I can wedge the tip of the Negative probe lead into. Frees up your hands.

Use the Red (Positive) probe lead, and touch it to one of the terminals of the window switch. One of those terminals should be 'Hot'.

If not, you are not getting power to the window switch. Your problem goes towards the fuse panel.

If so, your window switch is bad.

Fuses and window switches, are two of the most common problems.

If you aren't getting power, it could be that a wire has the insulation rubbed through, and is shorting out. Or it could be that fuse.

If you are getting power to the window switch, then it may be a wire to the window motor that is bad. Or it could be the window motor itself.
After 28 years, your window motors have seen a lot of usage. Also the door seals shrink for the windows, and this allows rain, or snow to make it's way into the door. Right down to the window motor. If you are a Corvette owner that always keeps their Corvette garaged, and NEVER takes it out in the rain, don't be hatin' me! lol!
Obviously a rusted window motor is not your problem!

It may be that the Ground wire to the window motor, has developed corrosion on it's terminal end.
(Isn't wiring Fun? (!)

You can test the window motor, by using a jumper wire connected to a good ground, and alligator clipped to the Ground terminal of the window motor. Then use a Hot jumper wire, and touch the Positive terminal of the window motor. You will see a spark when touching. Just wanted to warn you. Don't be standing in water as you do this test!

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Apr 18, 2009 | 400 views

I'll tell you, but when you go to do it, you'll probably curse Chevrolet, your car, and me! lol!

You have to reach behind the dash. Even with the seat in the back position, you'll turn into a contortionist! Place an old couch cushion, or something similar on the ground/driveway next to the car, with the door open. Kneel on the couch cushion. Reach up under the dash, and back behind it, with your left hand, while holding onto the steering column with your right.

It's hard to describe this to someone who has never done this before. (Just think. You'll be the expert, when someone you know asks you, when you're done!)

You are feeling for a plastic bulb holder. This holder is about the size of a dime. It resembles one of a gas stove's knobs. It has a round base, and from the middle of the base, it comes up into rectangular shape. If you look at this -> T <- the base is the top of the T. Turn the T upside down, and you'll have the basic shape.

This plastic holder has the lamp bulb in it. You turn it to the RIGHT.
As you face the instrument cluster, it is turned to the Right. You just turn it one quarter turn, then it will come out.
Once you get one in your hand, you'll know why it was difficult to describe. You'll also immediately see how it turns in, and locks into place.

The bulb itself it extracted, by holding the bulb holder in your hand, bulb facing you. You push in, and turn the bulb to the Left.
It is at this point, that I advise you to wear some protective gloves of some kind. The bulb base, could be corroded down in the socket. You may exert enough force to break the bulb, and cut your fingers.
I advise Safety above ALL ELSE!

I also advise that you replace one bulb at a time.
Notice the brass metal ring around the bulb holder base?
This corrodes after time, giving a poor contact. You can take a little fine steel wool, and clean it up. Use care as the steel wool can catch, and bend the brass ring, misshaping it.

Behind the dash panel that you can't see, is a thin plastic flat strip.
Another thing hard to describe. Envision a large U shaped flat piece of plastic, on the back of your instrument housing. The U shape will be upside down, in relation to how it sits on the back of the instrument housing. It's about 1/32nd of an inch thick, and about 2 inches wide.

There are thin flat strips of copper, making a path all the way around this strip. There are holes in this strip, for the various lamp bulbs. The flat copper strips go around these holes, making a connection to the bulb holder. That's what that brass ring on the bulb holder contacts, when it's screwed in.

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Apr 18, 2009 | 719 views

Most of the time you will find that it's rotting rubber hoses. If these have never been replaced, they're 28 years old! Engine heat, exposure to the elements that splash up under the car, and age can rot them.

Also the actuator has a rod that comes out. This rod has a seal around it. The seal rots too. The actuator is the large vacuum cannister, that looks like two pie pans put together. It is down near the headlight. When you have the hood open, look down towards one of the headlights.
Sometimes the vacuum tank develops a hole. This can be patched. It's up on the side of the fender.

Here, let me show you the headlight mechanism,
I use this website for my parts, but this is not a link to them for advertisement. It just shows an exploded drawing, so I can explain better.

B is the Headlight Actuator. See the long rod coming out of the middle? Has threads on the end of it? Where the rod goes up into the cannister, there is a rubber seal. This dries out and cracks, and also wears through time. Corvette parts places (At least online I know they do) sell this rubber seal.

There is also a small check valve that can go bad.
You can buy the vacuum hoses in a kit. They are color coded, and have replacement instructions.

To review:
1.Check all vacuum hoses for drying and cracking. Actually squeeze them, don't just look at them. If they have a crack from your squeezing, they're shot! (You might find that some just crumble in your fingers! Oh, by the way. Dawn dishwashing soap, or GoJo takes that black rubber residue off of your fingers)

2.Start the car, let it build up vacuum. Shut the car off, and use the override switch, (Knob under the headlight switch you pull), to keep the headlights in an up position. Put your finger on that actuator rubber seal I described above, and see if you feel a vacuum leak.
If so, replace the seal.

3.It's a good idea to replace the check valve,

4.It's also a good idea to replace the vacuuum filter,
(Vacuum reserve check valve air filter) http://www.volvette.com/HE75.html

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on May 03, 2009 | 1,150 views

The rear spring has weakened over time. Also, check that the Stabilizer link to the rear spring, on the left side hasn't broken. It's a bolt that goes down through the end of the bearing support, and attaches to the end of the spring. Sometimes the bolt rusts away, and breaks. The left front spring may be weak also. The car is 28 years old now. I have a 1976 Corvette, and customize Corvettes in my spare time.

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Apr 18, 2009 | 191 views

Sure not a problem! I have a '76 Corvette. I use Mid America Motorworks. You may also want to search Ebay. I have purchased a lot of parts from both places, and have never been dissatisfied.

(I was a little skeptical about Ebay at first, but I dealt with those that have Ebay stores, checked their Seller rating, their Feedback score, and posted questions to them. Always got the part I wanted, and pretty darn fast!)

I bought my carpet set, and various steering components from Mid America Motorworks. They send me a catalog about two to three times a year. They have those T-Top gaskets sets for an '81 Corvette. Your Corvette is a C3 like mine.

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Apr 18, 2009 | 1,039 views

Hi, First remove the radiator overflow tank behind the right fender well, you may also have to loosen and place the a/c pump aside. Jack up the pass side of the car, with a combination of below and up inside the fender well , you can remove the blower motor fasteners, then replace the motor. Advance auto parts has this assembly available with the squirrel cage included. This is not an easy job but will be very rewarding.

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Apr 12, 2009 | 237 views

Engine Specifications

Type ohv V-8
Displacement, liters/cubic inch
5.7/350 Bore X stroke, inches 4.00 X 3.48 Fuel management
1 X 4-bbl. Horsepower @ rpm
180 @ 4,200
Torque @ rpm, pound-foot
280 @ 1,600
Published Performance Numbers
Acceleration 190 hp, 4-speed manual
0-60 mph, second
0-100 mph, second

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Mar 25, 2009 | 378 views

Many possibilities but the alternator is a good place to start, if its plug is loose, then the green relay inside the center console just to the left and slightly in front of the emergency brake will be clicking in connecting and disconnecting the battery( one loud click per time). It will need replacing or simply disconnecting works for the short budget.

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Mar 24, 2009 | 285 views

The most like ly reason, which is what happened to mine, there is a small gear in the transmission that causes this problem and usually becomes a problem after any work has been done there. It is a cheap fix and your local police station can let you know of the best place to go.

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Mar 24, 2009 | 176 views

i doubt that they all blew, i would check the wires where the go into the radio to be sure the connection is good there first and also that you are getting power to the radio.If that dont help let me know and we will go deeper into the problem.

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Feb 16, 2009 | 94 views

Try these Guys Chevy-Classic-Parts.com

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Apr 02, 2015 | 420 views

1500lbs or so

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Nov 20, 2008 | 48 views

Have you done an engine vacuum leak test with carby cleaner especially around injector seals.A leak will throw a lean signal to oxy sensor there by telling the computer it needs more fuel.Cant think of anything other than what you have already done.

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Oct 22, 2008 | 446 views

unhook speedometer cable from transmission and spin cable by hand it should turn smoothly if it des hook end to a low sped drill and see if it holds at a steady speed if it does the the problem is in the plastic speedo gear in the trans if it dos not remove the dash and inspect the connection on the speedo head

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Oct 17, 2008 | 1,200 views

The neutral safety switch is located in the shifter housing.

Here is a link to a good article on this topic, that would beat an explanation from me.


Yes, it sounds like the NSS is the culprit.

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Aug 04, 2008 | 603 views

It is not the resistor that fails but the little thermal limiter next to the coils of wire that form the resistive element, it is round, looks like a little barrel.

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Aug 04, 2008 | 346 views

Theres not enough information, sorry cant help you..

1981 Chevrolet... | Answered on Aug 03, 2008 | 919 views

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