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C5 rear spring failure - help needed


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Yellowshark

Club Member

Wed 27 Sep 17 13:46

C5 rear spring failure - help needed


Hi everyone,

Well last week I was driving back from France (including overtaking Stephen Irons in his Skoda on the A28, a small world!) and as I turned into my drive to the garage, at 2-3mph rather than 84mph, there was a loud bang from the rear. On inspection the left rear of the C5 was lowered and I could just see the left hand side (LHS) segment of the rear spring hanging down to the ground and some rusty bent metal on the ground.

Having now got the rear jacked up I can see what happened. Each end of the spring has a metal collar attached I do not know but assume its purpose is to stop the metal retaining bolt rubbing against the composite material of the spring?

The rusty bent metal was the disintegrated collar from the LHS and the retaining bolt with the lower insulator had just slipped through the retaining bolt hole in the spring. Checking the RHS showed that collar to be in bad shape too. And my next job will be to jack up the front and check the front collars!

So question 1. The easiest fix is to buy two new collars for the rear. But does anyone know if these collars can be bought separately or am I going to need to buy a new spring at $600+? My searches so far have not shown any collars for sale.

Another option is to try a Corvette breakers yard, few and far between in the UK, but I do not fancy second hand on this. I do not want the same thing to happen again in a few years time when I am doing 84mph on a French motorway rather that 2-3mph up my garage drive. God only knows what would have happened!

Question 2. It seems to me that I may as well also renew the retaining bolt assembly. My first internet searching with the likes of Ecklers, Zip etc. has only thrown up bolts aimed at lowering the car, which is not something I want to do. Does anyone know where I can get a standard length bolt assembly?

If that is not possible is it as simple as measuring the difference in length between the two bolts and adding that difference to the length of bolt currently protruding through the top nut of the bolt assembly to get the current ride height?

I have base rear suspension but would be quite happy to have this start a conversion to a Z51 type suspension if I really do have to buy a new spring.

Thanks for any help you can give on this one. Anyone heard of this happening before?

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FIVE RED

Club Member

Wed 27 Sep 17 14:23

Re: C5 rear spring failure - help needed


I know the parts that you are talking about and in an ideal world GM would have had these galvanised. If you can't buy them individually it's likely a fabrication company could make them quite easily, may be worth looking into rather than pay for a whole new spring assembly.


--------------------
Graham.
C5 owner & very happy about it!

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berg944

Addict

Wed 27 Sep 17 14:33

Re: C5 rear spring failure - help needed


This happened to me when reversing out the drive. Purchased one off eBay for 100, only 30 minutes to swap. Don't worry about used parts, you can easily see any corrosion or cracks on the bracket.


--------------------
Mike

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berg944

Addict

Wed 27 Sep 17 14:42

Re: C5 rear spring failure - help needed


One on eBay at the moment 120
Looks OK, ignore surface rust, treat before you fit.
I now treat mine every year with a ACF 50.


--------------------
Mike

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Yellowshark

Club Member

Wed 27 Sep 17 15:54

Re: C5 rear spring failure - help needed


Thanks guys. Did you mean $120 for a collar or entire spring? I have just gone onto ebay and found an FE3 spring (Z51) from a 2002 for $100 which looks in very good shape - I think I may have to ignore my earlier negative comment about 2nd hand!!!
Lol galvanising, why on earth make it ouf steel instead of aluminium

Good tip on the annual maintenance - my son has just started up a carburettor restoration business and has a large container of some Kurust prevention product. I will check the ACF 50 stuff against that and see how they compare. Obviously something I should have been doing years ago. And I do wonder how it got through the MOT about a month ago

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kentvette

Club Member

Wed 27 Sep 17 16:22

Re: C5 rear spring failure - help needed


Blimey Pete, that was lucky! A bit of broken spring might have hit our car! Very Happy Very Happy

Seriously, glad it only happened at slow speed, sounds like it may not be as hard a fix as first thought.


--------------------
Stephen J Irons
CCCUK Lifetime Member
Corvette Club France
Corvettes of Southern California
NCM Family Member
Stephen & June's Web Site
Red Corvettes Have More Fun!

Apple IS Genisys!
The "Born-Again Greenies" are killing the planet! It's time to wake up and smell the rain-forest burning!

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Yellowshark

Club Member

Wed 27 Sep 17 16:35


Lol Stephen, I think the problem would have been me doing a 720 in front of you! yes the fix looks easy, certainly easier than having to jack up the rear with one side about an inch from the floor. I am now on ebay trying to buy front and rear FE3 springs and a rear FE3 sway bar, but struggling due to freight costs missing

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berg944

Addict

Wed 27 Sep 17 17:04

Re: C5 rear spring failure - help needed


120 + 15 p&p in England .......I have no connection to the seller.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2532-1997-Chevrolet-Corvette-C5-Re...


Lots for sale in USA, must not be a problem.

Mine was fractured then the salt water got in. I had a seized shock on that corner, that and a few pot holes would of cracked it.

Mot will not pick it up because you have to dismantle it to see it, it works fine until the day it doesn't. We must both be lucky to have that happen at walking pace.


--------------------
Mike

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Yellowshark

Club Member

Wed 27 Sep 17 23:43


Yes there are indeed quite a few over the pond. Although Tom's rear spring would be a lot cheaper with much lower freight and custom duties, that one is showing a considerable amount of rust although how much is difficult to tell from a photo. I have now progressed and bought a Z51 rear spring and Z51 rear sway bar both of which look very clean and am very close to buying a Z51 front spring. So with the forum help I believe I have resolved my problem and in addition started down the road to a Z51 conversion. Right now the shocks feel OK but 16year old 152,000 mile set of shocks have probably gone past the point where renewal would be a good idea! So once the Springs and sway bars have been fitted I will probably start looking for a set of Z06 shocks; as I understand it the same spec as the Z51 spec. although the 2004 MY Z06 version had additional work done on the new adjustable preload valving and may be a better option.

Interesting comment on the MOT. When I checked the RHS collar the rust was staring me in the face! I will look again in the morning!

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z06_tim

Club Member

Thu 28 Sep 17 07:30


Pretty sure the Z06 shocks were different to the other models, i.e. the stiffest shocks fitted to a C5. They had low velocity damping increased, which effectively slows the onset of body roll, stiffening the ride a little. It should help improve turn-in response, which you would notice with a quick lane change. 2004MY Z06 were definitely improved further. I think there was a smaller improvement going from 2001 to 2002 Z06 shocks too that made the car more able to squat when putting the power down, I believe eliminating a tendency for axle tramp.


--------------------
2001 Z06, 1994 LT1 (sold)
Alfa 147 GTA daily driver.

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