Chevrolet Rolls Out Overheating Fix for Corvette Z06s
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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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.
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.