By on July 22, 2016


Two years of owner complaints and embarrassing media coverage forced Chevrolet to do something about the Corvette Z06’s overheating problems.

The automaker plans to dial down the engine temperature of 2017 models by installing a new hood with larger vents and a modified supercharger cover, hopefully ending the overheating warnings that plagued Z06 models that ventured onto the track.

Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter told Motor1 that fewer than 5 percent of owners reported the problem, but those owners blabbed to everyone about it. The design updates are part of his engineering team’s goal of “continual improvement,” he said.

Overheating issues cropped up quickly after the Z06 bowed in late 2014, and many asked why engineers hadn’t erred on the side of caution when designing the vehicle’s cooling system. Chevrolet built the Z06’s 650 horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with competition in mind, so why the Achilles heel?

Juechter responded in a February 2015 post published in Corvette Forum:

Some may wonder why we don’t design to higher temperatures — say 110 degrees — to accommodate southern tracks in the summer. We have used the “pro driver at 86 degrees” criteria for generations of Corvettes, and for the vast majority of customers, it has resulted in excellent performance for their usage.

If we designed to higher-temperature criteria, we would have to add a lot of cooling hardware, which drives mass up, and perhaps more importantly, you have to feed the system with more air, which has a huge impact on appearance and aerodynamic drag.

Speaking to Autoblog, Juechter said Chevrolet will offer the improvements to existing owners, in addition to applying them to the 2017 Corvette Z06. The modifications won’t change the model’s beastly power rating — they’ll just keep temperatures below warning levels when on the track in hot weather.

“We intend to have the new hardware as a relatively straightforward retrofit to existing cars,” he said. “We’ll announce timing and pricing as we get closer to the restart of Z06 production.”

[Image: General Motors]

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30 Comments on “Chevrolet Rolls Out Overheating Fix for Corvette Z06s...”

  • avatar

    I’m not really a Corvette guy, but as an observer, is it me, or does this seem like it has taken a loooong time to address?

    I’d be curious to know if a modified hood vents and supercharger cover are really enough to address the issue. Why not offer a track package with some additional cooling components? Doesn’t seem like much of a priority for GM.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Moreover, it looks like it’s being addressed only for new customers on the 2017 and later units; it’s not a fix for the existing cars. What about the people who plunked down all that money back in 2014?

      This is a good opportunity for GM to do right by its existing enthusiast customers and retrofit their cars to a similar manner. It’s not like the Z06 is a major volume car like the Cruze or Tahoe where you’re looking at hundreds of thousands of units; it’s a niche product.

      • 0 avatar

        No it looks like it will be available to existing cars. “Speaking to Autoblog, Juechter said Chevrolet will offer the improvements to existing owners, in addition to applying them to the 2017 Corvette Z06. The modifications won’t change the model’s beastly power rating — they’ll just keep temperatures below warning levels when on the track in hot weather.”

    • 0 avatar

      > “Chevrolet Rolls Out Overheating Fix for Corvette Z06s…”

      Which involves equipping each vehicle with a portable fire extinguisher.

    • 0 avatar

      Wish more C7 Z06 owners “blabbed” (as Tadge calls it) more about the overheating issues. Newbie trackie here and my Z06 Z07 gets so hot that after I bought the car I have to dump another 4 grand into it for a Dewitt’s HP radiator, Dewitt’s rad fan, larger intercooler and expansion tank and installation. And I don’t know if that will even do the trick. I live in FL and I find it absurd that a 100K car is not designed to run in the heat. I hope it works because it is lame limping off the track.

  • avatar

    “Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter told Motor1 that fewer than 5 percent of owners reported the problem… “pro driver at 86 degrees” criteria…”

    When the cooling system is five years old then I guess it meets the “pro driver at 65 degrees criteria.”

    I have a quick fix and it’s practically free: tell all the owners to put the heater on if their car starts overheating. Mail out a single page to add to the owner’s manual. Bada bing! Problem solved! I’m a genius! You’re welcome!

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That’s probably because fewer than 5% of owners actually took their Z06s to the track, where this problem manifested. But if it’s supposed to be a track car, it should be able to mitigate that.

      • 0 avatar

        Yep, I hear you. Sorta like a convertible whose roof leaks in the rain. A lot of customers might never notice but that’s no excuse for the car not working. Or maybe the convertibles were built to the “light drizzle and mist” criteria for generations.

        I gotta give their lead engineer kudos for being up front about it.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes. I saw a Z06 with every option (carbon brakes for $8K-I hope they never wear out)…the car was on summer rubber and a speed bump might be fatal to the bodywork..clearly a track day special, but at 100k, taking it out and spanking it seemed unlikely…or I’m not wealthy enough…or even if I was, that car would probably kick my butt.

        Most of these cars will live in a garage, on a perfectly grey painted floor…go out for cars and coffee, take a friend or two on a trip to the golf course (hey, hold, really it has a supercharger). The number of them that will get beat on a road course outside of free meat for auto writers are very, very small.

        Made me wonder what options a daily driver vette would have.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s Sergio’s approach.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “We’ll announce timing and pricing as we get closer to the restart of Z06 production.”

    Wrong answer; these modifications should be done for free.

  • avatar

    We have used the “pro driver at 86 degrees” criteria for generations of Corvettes…

    So no Corvettes south of 40 degree N latitude line? Bummer.

    • 0 avatar

      This is beyond insane. GM used to regularly test these cars in triple-digit temperatures. One of my college roommates drove a brand-new Corvette from Indiana to Arizona back in the early 1990s (said the Corvette wasn’t a great long-trip car) specifically for hot-weather testing.

      This is a major GM fail, and on a halo car like the Corvette, there is just no excuse for this.

      • 0 avatar

        It works fine outside of a specific track environment. They just had a choice to make and instead of catering to just 5% of the Corvette Z06 buying public they opted to cover 95% of the market and still hit important goals like aerodynamics and fuel economy.

        IMO GM should have kept the big cube naturally aspirated LS7 as the overall package would have been lighter and not prone to going into limp mode due to using a blower but as good as the LS/LT engines are they are still capped by what amounts to a highly stressed valvetrain limiting the overall horsepower they can make and still remain durable (well OE durable not LS/LT wingnut durable).

        GM’s pushrod engines can make some serious NA power but you start throwing reliability out of the window when a really aggressive cam is used (lots of lift, very fast ramp rates and so on).

  • avatar

    ” a huge impact on appearance and aerodynamic drag”
    i.e. EPA highway ratings and perhaps closing in on the dreaded guzzler tax.

  • avatar

    Too little too late as this issue plus the well publicized engine failures last year directly led me to consider and eventually buy a viper instead of the 2015 Z06 I had planned for. Of course the Gen V is now proving to have its own issues with catastrophic bearing failures but at least it doesn’t overheat on the track!

    • 0 avatar

      So, you and like 4 other people bought Vipers – a car that won’t exist in 2 years. While all the braying about heat soak had a negligible impact on the sales of the Midlife-Crisis-Cruiser that is the Z06.

      The Z06 overheating issue is this generation’s Porsche IMS Bearing, except it affects an order (or two) of magnitude fewer people. Popular ink to be spilled on ‘Enthusiast’ websites, but negligible impact on actual people-in-stores sales.

      • 0 avatar

        Not quite the same. As disappointing as the track overheating is, the car cools down and drives away. An IMS bearing failure comes with a $20K repair tab before the car moves again under its own power. Talk about FAIL.

        • 0 avatar

          Yes, I still want to know how Porsche screwed up so badly, and took so long to fix it. German engineering isn’t just a TDi thing. Since emissions aren’t involved, they were able to deny, stonewall, and blow off customers.

  • avatar

    When you discover your product doesn’t meet expected performance standards, but there is a fix – the smart business decision is to fix your product at no cost to your customers – always.

  • avatar

    Most consumer cars you’d be able to dismiss engine issues under racing conditions.

    However, for the z06, you cannot have an engine that will reliably overheat while operating on the planet earth. There are other things that can break, wear or fade due to tracking but an unmodified stock engine cannot be one of them. Now that doesn’t mean bullet proof or idiot proof but track proof.

    We should just be happy that these supporting mods add cooling and don’t just electrically gimp the car when high temperatures are reached.

  • avatar

    For 2018, they’ll make it an add-on “AGW” package, for those living south of 85 degrees latitude.

  • avatar

    You have to give kudos to GM here. This is a major step forward for them. Rather than sports cars catching fire (ex Fiero), now they just overheat. Now that’s progress….that’s precision engineering (to steal a GMC tagline.)

    • 0 avatar

      It is superior to BMWs standard of “precision engineering”, which is jacking up factory rod bearings in V10 M5s and 6 cylinder M3s

      Or Porsche making self destructing motors due to IMS bearings.

  • avatar

    C2 and C3 Big Block Corvettes from the 1965 to 1974 were notorious for overheating in warm weather stop and go traffic, and this problem was basically never fixed, so actually this is much better responsiveness than GM had in its glory days.

  • avatar

    As someone who works in the performance division of an OEM, “pro driver at 86 degrees” is a laughably low bar to pass as a functional objective.

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