2002 Chevrolet Corvette Long Term Road Test


2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: Oil and Notes

March 29, 2010

Z06 easy oil filler.jpg

I finally got in our long-term Corvette Z06. Though I could've had the car earlier, I wanted to wait until its pinging problem was cured. Now that it has a clean bill of health, I figured I'd be able to enjoy it as the creators of its 405-hp V8 intended. I'm sure I'm not shedding any light here when I say "Damn, this thing is fast!" but I'll say it anyway.

Blasting down freeway on-ramps and out of corners reminded me just how great an old two-valve-per-cylinder, pushrod V8 can be. The vocals (sorry, too much American Idol) from the exhaust are cool too -- quiet enough when you're just tooling around and downright rocking with a gutteral roar when you're leaning on it.

Follow the jump for other observations, some of which aren't as well, obvious.

-- I checked the oil and found the 'vette was down a quart. Though two quarts of Mobil 1 were secreted in the trunk (see below) I stopped by Pepboys and got the vital synthetic fluid (cost: $7.49). Thankfully, the LS6 V8's dipstick and oil fill cap were very easy to access. The oil fill opening is dead level and large enough so I didn't spill a drop. Conveniently, it's also just larger than the bottle's neck, so I stuck the bottle in there upside-down for a few minutes to get the last bit of oil out (and minimize the hurt to the earth).

-- This being the top-dog performance Corvette, I expected a stiff, bone-jarring ride but my finicky back was glad to discover that wasn't the case. The Z06 was actually pretty compliant over the crappy roads in and around L.A. (La Cienega, I'm looking at you). And it sticks like a cat to a drape in the corners -- there's more capability here than I was willing to exploit on public roads.

-- When I went to put my gym bag in the trunk, I discovered the lid barely moves when you hit the release. As the trunk is open to the passenger compartment, I saw that there were a few quarts of Mobil 1 stashed in its rearmost left corner, but I couldn't get to them unless I crawled back there, hence the trip to Pepboys. Later in the day, it dawned on me to try shutting the door quickly (with windows up) to pop up the lid, the theory being that if the car is airtight enough that would do the trick. It did. My "Nice going Johnny!" moment was short-lived -- I found out later that Jay Kav already discovered this method and even made a short video on it.

-- The center console lid can't be opened all the way if the parking brake is up. So after parking the car and pulling up the p-brake, my instinctive flip-the-lid-and-grab-my-wallet action was thwarted time and again, until I remembered to open it first and then set the brake. Furthermore, it gets pretty warm in that compartment so I wouldn't advise stashing any chocolate bars there.

-- I love the meaty feel of the shifter but dislike the 1>4 skip-shift (big surprise). I got around that annoying "let's lug the engine to drive up our fuel economy estimates" feature by either accelerating a bit more briskly in first (so it didn't kick in and thus really defeating its purpose) or, if I took off more gently and it did kick in, giving it a throttle blip mid-shift to cancel its action.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 44,773 miles.

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