Corvette (C4) – MY1984-1996

Chevrolet Corvette (C4)
Chevrolet Corvette (C4) – photo by GPS 56

Chevrolet Corvette (C4)

The C4 was a revolution. It took the Corvette from an old-school brute of a muscle car to a sleek, modern sports car. Its design still forms the basis for the look of the Corvette to this day. 30+ years later, the C4’s legacy has been marred by electrical issues and neglectful owners, but a good one can serve as a cheap entry into the world of performance vehicles. As is typical for a Corvette, aftermarket upgrades are plentiful, and the community surrounding the vehicle is very strong. It is highly recommended to avoid 1984 models due to the L83 engine, and the most desirable cars are LT1 and LT4-equipped vehicles – not to mention the ZR1. Make sure to evaluate the tires, clutch, and brakes, as they are expensive to replace and are often the reason why these cars are for sale.

Engines

  • L83 (Base MY84)
  • L98 (Base MY85-91)
  • LT1 (Base MY92-95)
  • LT4 (Base MY96)
  • LT5 (ZR1)

Problems

Mechanical

  • Wheel bearings often wear out prematurely
  • Steering column knuckle wears out, due to drivers using the steering wheel as leverage to help them out of the car – not an easy repair
  • Coolant leaks
  • Rear axle can leak, especially on earlier models

Electrical

  • If the battery door on the lower driver-side front fender shows wear and tear, chances are that the car has experienced electrical issues
  • Electronics in general, but specifically:
    • Fuel pump relay
    • Electric fan relay
    • Gauge clusters, both fully electric versions and electric/analog mixed versions
    • “Low Coolant” warning on the dash, which often illuminates even when the system is full due to a faulty sensor
    • Airbag warning light

Body & Cosmetic

  • Any damage involving the clamshell hood is very costly to repair, and the cost of replacement can cause insurance to total the car
  • Targa roofs can leak if alignment is off or the weather stripping is worn
  • Carpets and seats are susceptible to wear, especially on the driver side
  • Coupe models are susceptible to bubbling/drooping in the headliner