The 1969 Chevy Corvette arrived on the coattails of critics who had been anything but kind to the inaugural C3 Corvette just the year before. Although the overall tone of the critics was marginally more positive by the end of the 1968 model year, GM recognized that there was still a way to go to fully win over the same people who were so quick to tear the Corvette apart.
Still critics had appreciated some of the design changes that had been made in the third-generation Corvette over the earlier C2’s, even though the second-generation Corvettes had been so well loved and so widely received. For one, the 1968 Corvette had featured stiffer springs, and been fitted with wider wheels that had improved handling. For another, Chevrolet had made the right decision to replace the old Powerglide automatic transmission with the vastly superior Turbo Hydra-Matic.
Still, there were items that needed to be addressed. So it was that the changes that were to be made to the 1969 Corvette would preclude any real new improvements for design sake, but would instead resolve the “unanswered criticisms” of the 1968 Corvette. As is common in automotive manufacturing, the sophomore model of any production vehicle is often a carryover from its inaugural year, with the changes occurring to correct for errors in the initial design – errors that are often identified as the result of feedback from both the automotive media and consumers alike. This was definitely the case for the 1969 Corvette.
The exterior alterations were mostly minor, with one obvious exception – the return of the Stingray designation (now one word instead of the former “Sting Ray” found on Second-Generation Corvettes) over the car’s front-fender louvers. The all-welded, 5-crossmember, ladder-type, steel-reinforced frame was “stiffened” in an effort to reduce body shake and vibration. The exterior door handles were changed from the conventional door grip with thumb button to a single-piece door lever that was depressed as the door was gripped during opening.
A new headlight washer system was introduced and the windshield washer jets were relocated to the wiper arms. The hidden wiper system, which allowed the wiper blades to be concealed when not in use, was further complicated for the 1969 model year when engineers introduced an override switch to the system that allowed the vacuum-operated panel to be left up during freeze conditions.
At the opposite end of the vehicle, the previously separate back/taillight assemblies were incorporated into a single lens which resided in the inboard taillight lamp assembly. Additionally, a trunk rack was supplied to consumers who wanted it to increase the Corvette’s luggage carrying capacity, but utilizing the rack with any kind of luggage reduced the driver’s rear vision to zero. Further, the image of a luggage rack went directly “in the face” of the
un-noticed by critics. The wheels were again increased in size – from 7 inches to 8 inches. Lastly, optional side mount exhaust pipes (RPO N14) and side fender chrome vent trim inserts (RPO TJ2) were introduced which, like the Stingray nameplate, were probably the only other notable characteristics that would help differentiate the 1968 and 1969 model years.
Like the 1968 Corvette before it, the 1969 Corvette also featured a number of standard body features – the most obvious being the same corrosion-proof fiberglass body that had been a trademark of the Corvette since Harley Earl envisioned used FRP (Fiber-Reinforced Plastic)/fiberglass on the 1953 prototype. It also featured steel-reinforced body sills, door hinge pillars and lock pillars, plus lateral steel cross-member integrating front pillars.
The coupe also featured supporting members that enclosed the passenger compartment with protective steel framing. All of this structural steel was specifically laid out to ensure that the occupants of the Corvette were well protected, even when the the drivers were “exposed”. The Corvette convertible added the additional amenity of a fold down top that stowed away beneath a double-locking, spring-loaded cover panel.
The interior received a number of minor, but significant changes. First, a new, smaller steering wheel was introduced, trimmed back an inch for more under-rim thigh clearance. Interior door handles and control knobs were redesigned to improve upon safety.
The ignition switch, which had been mounted on the dashboard since Corvette’s inception in 1953, was moved to the steering column for the 1969 model year, where it combined with the newly mandated column lock for additional security.
Elsewhere, a warning light was added to inform drivers if the pop-up headlights hadn’t opened completely. The Astro-Ventilation System, which had been introduced as part of the 1968 Corvette, airflow through the car’s cockpit, though the volume of air it produced continued to be inadequate. A flexible dash mounted three-section map pocket was included to help make up for the lack of a proper glovebox.
Lastly, Zora Arkus-Duntov had pushed through a $120,000 tooling change that opened up the inner door panels a half-inch per side, allowing occupants additional shoulder space.
Interestingly, there was one optional interior item that changed for the 1969 model year. The driver and passenger seats had been designed with a headrest that had been listed as an option, albeit a mandatory option (RPO A82) in 1968.
While the A82 option became a standard feature on the Corvette on January 1, 1969, General Motors records also indicate that the option could also be deleted when ordering a Corvette. Had any consumer request the deletion, GM would have issued a credit in the amount of $17.95. However, all records indicate that every Corvette built in 1969 included the headrest option.
All 1969 Corvette interiors continued to feature a reasonably-sized luggage compartment behind the front driver and passenger seats with a concealed storage space which was ideal for storing tools, or other small valuables. To ensure that luggage shift did not injure or annoy vehicle occupants, the new Corvette also featured a vertical riser that protected/shielded seatbacks from possible luggage damage.
Beyond those referenced above, the 1969 Corvette featured an extensive array of additional safety features specifically designed to protect both the occupants of the car as well as the car itself. In the event that the Corvette were to be involved in a collision, engineers had equipped the new Sting Ray with an energy-absorbing steering column, seat and shoulder belt restraints, an energy absorbing instrument panel, padded sunvisors and a reduced-glare instrument panel for improved visibility during night driving. To protect the car when its occupants were absent, an anti-theft ignition system was installed featuring anti-theft steering and transmission locks, and an anti-theft ignition key warning buzzer that would sound whenever the keys were left in the ignition cylinder.
While aesthetics and safety were being improved upon by the Corvette’s body designers, its mechanical engineers were likewise making alterations to the car’s engine and drivetrain assemblies. While some of these changes were directed by the aforementioned feedback that Chevrolet had received on the 1968 model, many others were the direct result of the federally mandated emissions control standards that had been introduced the previous model year.
Still, even Federal regulations did not prevent Corvette engineers from enhancing the power output from the variety of engines that were made available to it.
The Chevy small-block was stroked approximately a quarter inch to 3.48 inches, which boosted the engine displacement from 327 to 350 cubic inches on the same 4.00 inch bore. For the 1969 model year, the 350 cubic engine was offered in both a 300- and 350-BHP (Brake Horsepower) versions – which were the same ratings as the 1968 Corvette small block offerings, though the new engines saw a drop in compression.
The 300 horsepower engine now operated at a compression ratio of 10.25:1 and the 350 horsepower at 11.0:1. Additionally, each engine’s peak power engine speed was lowered by approximately 200rpm, to 4,800 and 5,600 respectively.
All four versions of the 427 cubic inch big block engine remained the same for 1969 as in previous years, with power ratings of 390 to 435 horsepower.
Even the high end, aluminum-head L88 engine was again made available as an option – and was again rated at a respectable 430 horsepower, though its staggering price of $1,032 was not inviting to consumers, and only 116 units were sold for the model year.
Despite the cost prohibitive nature of the L88, the 427 cubic inch engines as a whole were widely recognized as a worthwhile investment and accounted for more than half of all the Corvette triple, two-barrel Holley carburetors, a Muncie manual gearbox and a 3.55:1 rear axle ratio, the 435 horsepower 427C.I.
Corvette could accelerate from zero to sixty in less than six seconds and could manage a quarter mile in under fourteen seconds.
Despite these impressive performance numbers (for its time), there were two new performance options for 1969 that further improved Corvettes performance.
The first was an entirely new big-block engine option which was even more powerful than anything that had come before it. Designed RPO ZL1, this production option fitted the 1969 Corvette with an all-aluminum 427C.I. engine block that featured dry-sump lubrication and weighed 100 pounds less than the L-88 engine.
This ultra-high-performance 427C.I. engine was developed by McLaren for use in the SCCA’s Canadian-American Challenge Cup Series racing, and was rated somewhere between 560 and 585 brake horsepower, although the rating was denoted as the 430-bhp rating as the L88 engine.
The engine, simply put, was “a racing mill let loose on the street.” The ZL1 engine option, while impressive, was also prohibitively expensive, raising the price of a “standard” Corvette by nearly 60 percent – from around $5,000 to $8,000 per car. Because of the sticker shock to most consumers, only two Corvettes ever left the factory equipped with this option.
Even though the ZL1 engine never really saw much use in the street variant of the Corvette, the story behind its evolution is nonetheless an interesting one, and certainly a significant milestone in the development of the Corvette as both a high-performance street vehicle and a race car.
However, Chevrolet’s Performance Products Chief Vince Piggins had begun lobbying for an all-aluminum big-block engine in 1968, with the intention of supporting, among others, Bruce McLaren’s successful Canadian-American (Can-Am) Challenge Cup team.
Afterall, small-block Chevy-powered McLaren racers had begun their domination of the Can-Am series in 1967.
When Chevrolet failed to meet the demands of developing a big-block variant for the racers, McLaren threatened to look to Ford for a comparable lightweight big block to power his 1968 Can-Am cars. Piggins stepped in, using the leverage that Ford could – and would – produce a big-block engine that would replace the Chevy small blocks. The rest is history. Ironically, now armed with the ZL1 engine, McLaren dominated all Can-Am racers from 1968 to 1971, winning 32 of the 37 racing events held during that time period.
The second performance option that was developed was listed as an option in 1969, though it did not become available until 1970 as a direct result of development and manufacturing problems.
Zora Duntov, who had always been a proponent of extracting horsepower out of any engine, had returned to work on the small-block, and the result was a special solid-lifter version of the new, 350 cubic inch engine.
The engine, which was listed as RPO LT1, was the genesis of Duntov’s longtime goal of minimizing weight in a performance car that continuously grew heavier with every new creature comfort that was added to its design. Unlike other small block engines, the LT1 had more radical cam overlap.
It utilized the big-block engines hefty 2.5-inch-diameter exhaust system, and was fed through the same 860-cfm Holley carburetor that had been fitted to the L88/ZL1 big blocks. The resulting engine produced 370 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 380 ft-lb of torque at 4000 rpm.
The LT1 could only be ordered with a four-speed manual transmission. When equipped, the Corvette was capable of running a quarter mile from a standing start in approximately 14.2 seconds at a speed of 102 miles per hour. A Corvette equipped with this option was only identifiable by its special domed hood, which featured perimeter striping and discreet “LT1” lettering. However, the visual identifiers were unnecessary. One had only to listen to the distinct rap-rap sound coming from the exhaust or the equally distinct tapping of the mechanical lifters.
Just as the engine lineup for the 1969 Corvette was (with the noted exceptions above) a carry-over from the 1968 model year, so too was the transmission lineup being offered to consumers. In fact, all the transmissions were identical to those offered in 1968 with one exception – the Turbo Hydra-Matic (PRO M40) became available behind the two solid-lifter 427 cubic inch engines. When ordered with the base model 350 cubic inch engine, the M40 Hydra-Matic transmission was priced at $221.80.
However, when ordered with either the L71 or L88 engines, it cost $290.40. The variant in the transmissions (and their respective prices) comes from the setup of the transmission shift points. As stated in Car Life’s July 1969 issue, “In the wild engines, the transmission stays in the lower gear until the driver lifts his foot, right up to the redline.
Between the improvements made to all of the small block engines, the power and performance of the extensive array of big block engines, and the appeal of the ZL1 and LT1 engines enticing consumers and critics alike to give Corvette a more serious look, there were few who had anything negative to say about the new GM powertrains being offered. In fact, even the critics at Car & Driver Magazine now felt the car was worth giving a serious look, despite comments only a year earlier that the car was “too tacky to test.” The critics at Car & Driver felt that the 1969 Corvette offered an interesting problem for prospective owners to ponder: “The small-engine Corvettes are marginally fast and extraordinarily engine Corvettes are extraordinarily fast and marginally comfortable.” The question became which would consumers choose?
DID YOU KNOW: On November 7, 1969, the 250,000th Corvette came off the production line. Also for 1969, the “Shark” once more became a Stingray (though spelled as one word instead of “Sting Ray” as had been seen on the second generation Corvettes). The revised spelling was actually a throwback to the spelling Bill Mitchell had originally used for his 1959-1960 Stingray race car.
The answer would come with sales numbers that were literally off the charts for any Corvette that had come before the 1969 model year.
Despite the improvements that were made to the 1969 Corvette, some critics continued to take issue with the Stingrays “dismal build quality, styling eccentricities, and overall lack of finesse.”
However, the criticisms did nothing to deter consumers from purchasing it. In 1969, sales took a vertical leap, increasing by more than 10,000 units to a total of 38,762 Corvettes sold that year.
Of those sold, 22,129 were coupes, which had a base price of $4,781. The convertibles, on the other hand, accounted for 16,633 units with a base price of $4,438.
It was a Corvette sales record that would not be topped again until 1976, although some argue that the only reason that the 1969’s sales numbers were as high as they were was the result of a UAW (United Auto Workers) strike which forced a two-month extension of the 1969 production run into the start of the 1970 model year.
One other notable Corvette that emerged – or, better said, evolved – in 1969, was the Manta Ray show car. The Manta Ray was actually the evolution of Bill Mitchell’s Mako Shark II, which had toured on the auto show circuit during the development of the C3 Corvette before serving time as Bill Mitchell’s personal vehicle.
Exterior Features: Precision-molded black grille, Concealed headlights with built-in washers,
Already measuring roughly 9 inches longer than a standard Stingray, the Mako Shark’s length grew even more after the Manta Ray conversion took place. The additional length came during the Mako Shark’s transformation, when the car’s tail was restyled and stretched to create a tapered look when viewed in profile perspective.
White lenses over amber parking/direction signal lights
Special high-domed hood (427 V8 engine only)
Bright license plate frame
Functional font fender louvers
Hide-A-Way windshield wipers with built-in washers
Full door-glass styling
Rectangular outside rearview mirror
Wide-oval F70 x 15 tires and 15 x 8 wheels
Body sill moldings
Wheel trim rings and center caps
Side marker lights – front and rear
Bright roof drip and rear window molding (Sport Coupe only)
Flush-mounted door handles
Removable roof panels and rear window (Sports Coupe only)
Astro Ventilation outlet grilles on rear deck
Luxurious all-vinyl bucket seat interior
Sport-styled steering wheel with black rim and horn button
Astro Ventilation system with adjustable vent-ports on instrument panel
Convenient aircraft-type center console
Ammeter, temperature, fuel and oil pressure gauges
Light monitoring system alert panels
Seat belt, door ajar and headlight position indicators
Molded door panels with built-in armrests
Door pull handles
Extra-thick foam seat cushions
Special bright pedal trim
Courtesy light with automatic door switches
Cigarette lighter in ashtray on console
Color-keyed deep-twist carpeting
Carpeted stowage compartment behind seats
Fitted stowage cover for removable roof panels… plus all Corvette standard convenience and security features
The point of the car’s tail was protected by a body-colored Endura bumper. Elsewhere on the car, updates included a chin spoiler on the front end and a repaint that minimized the shark shading that had been so prevalent on the Shark II. Sidepipes were eventually added, as were small mirrors mounted up high on the windshield pillars. However, the biggest change used to replace the Shark II’s iron-block 427. The new power source was none other than Chevrolet’s all-aluminum ZL1 engine, a one-of-a-kind engine that was matched to a one-of-a-kind Corvette.
When finished, estimates indicate that the Manta Ray show car’s development and transformation may have cost as much as $3 million dollars to complete, a number that, while still impressive today, was unimaginably expensive in 1969.
Two-door convertible/coupe, front engine, rear wheel drive
St. Louis, Missouri
Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP or “fiberglass”) body, all welded, full length, ladder construction frame with 5 cross-members. Front section flat;rear section contoured over rear axle. Side-rails and intermediate cross members box construction. Rear crossmember “C” shaped; front crossmember concave for engine clearance.
VEHICLE NUMBERS (VIN):
194379S700001 – 194379S738762
GC: 350 CUBIC INCH, 350 HP, MANUAL TRANSMISSION, TRANSISTOR IGNITION
GD: 350 CUBIC INCH, 350 HP, MANUAL TRANS., AIR CON., TRANSISTOR IGNITION
HW: 350 CUBIC INCH, 350 HP, MANUAL TRANSMISSION
HX: 350 CUBIC INCH, 350 HP, MANUAL TRANS, AIR CON
HY: 350 CUBIC INCH, 300 HP, MANUAL TRANS
HZ: 350 CUBIC INCH, 300 HP, AUTOMATIC TRANS
LL: 427 CUBIC INCH, 390 HP, AUTOMATIC TRANS
LM: 427 CUBIC INCH, 400 HP, MANUAL TRANS
LN: 427 CUBIC INCH, 400 HP, AUTOMATIC TRANS
LO: 427 CUBIC INCH, 430 HP (L88), MANUAL TRANS
LP: 427 CUBIC INCH, 435 HP, MANUAL TRANS, ALUMINUM HEADS
LQ: 427 CUBIC INCH, 400 HP, MANUAL TRANS
LR: 427 CUBIC INCH, 435 HP, MANUAL TRANS
LT: 427 CUBIC INCH, 435 HP, MANUAL TRANS, HEAVY DUTY CLUTCH
LU: 427 CUBIC INCH, 435 HP, MANUAL ALUM. HEADS, HEAVY CLUTCH
LV: 427 CUBIC INCH, 430 HP (L88), AUTOMATIC TRANS
LW: 427 CUBIC INCH, 435 HP, AUTO TRANS, ALUMINUM HEADS
LX: 427 CUBIC INCH, 435 HP, AUTO TRANS
ME: 427 CUBIC INCH, 430 HP (ZL1), MANUAL TRANS
MG: 427 CUBIC INCH, 430 HP (ZL1), AUTOMATIC TRANS
MH: 427 CUBIC INCH, 390 HP, MANUAL TRANS, TRANSISTOR IGNITION
MI: 427 CUBIC INCH, 390 HP, AUTO TRANS, TRANSISTOR IGNITION
MJ: 427 CUBIC INCH, 400 HP, AUTO TRANS, TRANSISTOR IGNITION
MK: 427 CUBIC INCH, 400 HP, MANUAL TRANS, TRANSISTOR IGNITION
MR: 427 CUBIC INCH, 430 HP (L88), MANUAL TRANS
MS: 427 CUBIC INCH
Type and Description: Independent, SLA type, coil springs with center mounted shock absorbers, spherical joint steering knuckle pivots.
Front Coil Springs
Make & Type
Right-hand Helix Variable rate
Spring Rate (lb. per in.)
Rate at Wheel (lb. per in.)
9.99 in. @ 1395 lbs. (9.99 in. @ 1540 lbs.)
Front Stabilizer Bar
Hot rolled steel
.750 with 350ci engine, .9375 with 427ci engine
Suspension – Back
Type and Description: Full Independent rear suspension with frame-anchored differential unit. Position of each wheel established by three links: tubular axle drive shafts, transverse strut rods, torque control arms. Vertical suspension loads taken by transverse leaf springs. Built-in camber adjustment at strut rod inner ends.
Rear Leaf Springs
Number of Leaves
Chrome carbon steel
Length, width, height
46.36 x 2.25 x 2.121
Caliper Disk – 4 Wheel Hydraulic
Bendix vacuum power unit, integral
Drum diameter, front (in.):
11.75 x 1.25
Drum diameter, rear (in.):
11.75 x 1.25
Swept Drum Area Effective area:
Wheels & Tires
Wheels & Tires Specs
Short spoke spider, welded steel
15″ x 7.00
F70 x 15 — 4 PR. 2-Ply Tubeless Rayon
F70 x 15 — 4 PR, 2-Ply Red Stripe Nylon
F70 x 15 — 4 PR, 2-Ply White Stripe Nylon
F70 x 15 — 4 PR, 2-Ply White Letter Nylon
Steering Specs – Manual Steering
Semi-reversible gear with ball-nut driven by recirculating anti-friction bearings, energy-absorbing steering column, steering damper attached to relay rod; two position steering knuckle arm attachment for street and fast ratio steering. Adjustable steering column available optionally.
Wheel Diameter (in.)
Turns, Stop to Stop
37 ft. (outside front), 39 ft. (outside front)
Steering Specs – Power Steering RPO N40
(Specifications are the same as Manual Steering except the following):
0212 – Date Code. Month and Day. 0212 – February 12.
W – Source Designation.
G – Gear and Axle
B – Buffalo
W – Warren
1969 Corvette Factory Options
Base Corvette Sport Coupe
Base Corvette Convertible
Genuine Leather Seats
Soft Ray Tinted Glass, All Windows
Custom Shoulder Belts (std. with coupe)
Auxiliary Hardtop (for convertible)
Vinyl Covering (for auxiliary hardtop)
Rear Window Defroster (Coupe only)
Special Front and Rear Suspension
Positraction Rear Axle, all ratios
Special Heavy Duty Brakes
Engine Block Heater
Transistor Ignition System
427 Cubic Inches, 390 Horsepower Engine
427 Cubic Inches, 350 Horsepower Engine
427 Cubic Inches, 400 Horsepower Engine
427 Cubic Inches, 435 Horsepower Engine
427 Cubic Inches, 430 Horsepower Engine
Aluminum Cylinder Heads with L71
Heavy Duty Clutch
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Speed Manual Transmission, close ratio
4-Speed Manual Transmission, close ratio, heavy-duty
Turbo Hydra-Matic Automatic Transmission
Side Mount Exhaust System
Tilt-Telescopic Steering Column
Deluxe Wheel Covers
Red Stripe Tires, F70x15, nylon
White Stripe Tires, F70x15, nylon
White Letter Tires, F70x15, nylon
Front Fender Louver Trim
Speed Warning Indicator
AM-FM Radio, stereo
Special L88 (aluminum block)
Base Corvette Sport Coupe (19437)
The base price of the 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe without any optional equipment.
A 350 cubic inch, 300 horsepower engine, a 3-speed manual transmission, vinyl interior trim, and T-tops were included in the base price.
The Coupe’s appearance was similar to the 1968 with only minor differences: A “Stingray” scripted emblem (one word) was added to the front fenders, the exterior door opening mechanism was redesigned from a push-button/pull handle type to a concealed release without a separate button.Base Corvette Convertible (19467) – The base price of the 1969 Corvette Convertible without any optional equipment.
A 350 cubic inch, 300 horsepower engine, a 3-speed manual transmission, vinyl interior trim, and a convertible soft top was included in the base price.
The Convertible’s appearance was similar to the 1968 with only minor differences: A “Stingray” scripted emblem (one word) was added to the front fenders, the exterior door opening mechanism was redesigned from a push-button/pull handle type to a concealed release without a separate button.Genuine Leather Seats ( — ) – Optional leather upgrade to replace the standard vinyl seats on the 1969 Corvette.
Soft Ray Tinted Glass, All Windows (A01)
Window tint applied to the upper portion of the windshield and all other windows.
Power Windows (A31)
Factory installed power driver and passenger windows.
A head restraint attached to the top of the seat for both safety and comfort.
Was originally a required RPO early in the model year, then became a standard feature after January 1, 1969. However, General
Motors records indicate that the option could be deleted for a credit.
Custom Shoulder Belts (A85)
An addition to the standard lap safety belt that crosses over the shoulder for added safety.
The shoulder belts option were included with all Corvette coupes at no additional charge. The option was also available on the
Corvette convertible, but at an additional cost.
Auxiliary Hardtop (for convertibles) (C07)
An optional hard-top that could be installed in lieu of the convertible top.
Vinyl Covering (for Auxiliary Hardtop) (C08)
This option provided an external vinyl liner application to the auxiliary hardtop.
The vinyl covering provided a faux convertible top appearance even when the hardtop was mounted on the car.
Rear Window Defroster (Coupe only) (C50)
Air Conditioning (C60)
Factory installed air-conditioning.
Heater integrated, manually controlled by knobs on instrument control panel that operate bowden cables to activate various doors/ducts and switches to operate system.
System includes evaporator, blower, condenser, receiver-dehydrator, refrigerant (freon) tank, air intake assembly and duct assembly for both systems.
Special Front and Rear Suspension (F41)
An optional suspension with upgraded springs, shock absorbers, & stabilizer bar.
Consisted of special heavy-duty coil springs on the front end, with heavy duty shocks on both the front an rear on the car, and a heavy duty 7-leaf rear spring. This suspension package allowed Corvettes fitted with this option to sit slightly lower than the factory suspension.
Positraction Rear Axle, all ratios (G81)
The factory optioned rear axles available for the 1969 Corvette.
The available axle ratios included: 3.08:1, 3.36:1, 3.55:1, 3.70:1, 4.11:1, 4.56:1.
Power Brakes (J50)
Vacuum power assisted brakes; includes dual circuit master cylinder.
Special Heavy Duty Brakes (J56)
Heavy-duty braking system for improved stopping performance.
Consisted of a special proportioning valve which placed the maximum braking effect at the front wheels (in order to compensate for weight transfer under heavy braking conditions), and brake shoes with increased structural rigidity and retention.
Engine Block Heater (K05)
An electric heating element designed to ease cold-weather engine starts.
Transistor Ignition System (K66)
Deltronic ignition system by Delco -Remy.
This system yields higher spark plug voltage, and operates at extremely high speeds without losing ignition performance.
An added benefit is that the transistor ignition system is essentially maintenance free.
427ci, 390hp Engine (L36)
Alternate big block engine with improved 390 horsepower output.
350ci, 350hp Engine (L46)
Alternate small block engine with improved 350 horsepower output.
The 1969 Corvette was the first year to utilize a 350 cubic inch displacement engine.
427ci, 400hp Engine (L68)
Alternate engine with improved 400 horsepower output.
427ci, 435hp Engine (L71)
Alternate engine with improved 435 horsepower output.
427ci, 430hp Engine (L88)
Alternate engine with improved 430 horsepower output.
The L88 engines came equipped with closed chamber aluminum heads that operated at a 12.5:1 compression ratio.
The 1969 L88 engine came equipped with emission equipment.
Aluminum Cylinder Heads with L71 (L89)
Aluminum Cylinder Heads for the427C.I., 435HP Engine (RPO L71).
Heavy Duty Clutch (MA6)
An optional, dual-disk clutch assembly.
Was only available with the optional, high-performance engines offered in the 1969 model year.
The biggest advantage of the dual-disc clutch was its durability. It was capable of withstanding all of the rigors associated with mating it to a 427 engine.
Its friction surface doubled, which greatly increased the clutch’s coupling power and torque capacity.
It featured a special design and heat-treated high cone diaphragm for positive high rpm engagement.
4-Speed Manual Transmission (M20)
An optional Muncie 4-speed manual transmission.
The gear ratios for the RPO M20 4-Speed Manual Transmission are: 1st Gear – 2.52:1, 2nd Gear – 1.88:1, 3rd Gear – 1.46:1, 4th Gear – 1.0:1 (Direct).
4-Speed Manual Transmission, Close Ratio (M21)
A close ratio version of the M20 Muncie 4-speed manual transmission.
The gear ratios for the RPO M21 Close Ratio 4-Speed Manual Transmission are: 1st Gear – 2.20:1, 2nd Gear – 1.64:1, 3rd Gear – 1.28:1, 4th Gear – 1.0:1 (Direct).
4-Speed Manual Trans, Close Ratio, Heavy Duty (M22)
A heavy-duty version of the Close Ratio Manual Transmission.
This heavy duty transmission came equipped with a fine spline input shaft, a larger diameter output shaft and gear teeth that utilized reduced helix angles. It was equipped with the following gear ratios: 1st Gear – 2.20:1, 2nd Gear – 1.64:1, 3rd Gear – 1.27:1, and 4th Gear – 1.00:1.
Turbo Hydra-Matic Automatic Transmission (M40)
An optional, three-speed automatic transmission.
The Turbo Hydra-Matic Automatic Transmission consisted of a 3-element hydraulic torque converter and compound planetary gear set. It was equipped with the following gear ratios: 1st Gear – 2.48:1, 2nd Gear – 1.48:1, and 3rd Gear – 1.00:1.
The M40 Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission cost $221.80 when combined with the standard 350 cubic inch, 300 horsepower engine, but cost $290.40 when combined with RPO’s L71, L88 or L89.
Side Mount Exhaust System (N14)
Optional exhaust pipes routed from the mufflers to beneath the driver & passenger doors.
The sidepipe exhaust system was one of the few characteristics which differentiated the 1969 Corvette from the 1968 Corvette.
Tilt Telescopic Steering Column (N37)
An optional, adjustable steering column and tilt-angle adjustable steering wheel.
The Telescopic Steering Column changes the drivers distance from the steering wheel by literally telescoping the steering wheel closer to or further away from the vehicle operator.
Power Steering (N40)
Hydraulically assisted power steering.
Deluxe Wheel Covers (P02)
Special chrome plated Corvette Rally Wheel Center Caps which feetured a starburst pattern.
They are essentially the same wheel covers as RPO P01 which was previously released on the 1968 Corvette.
Refer to the 1969 Corvette Specification page for more information (including images of the wheel cover design.)
Red Stripe Tires, F70 x 15, nylon (PT6)
Standard size tires with a special 3/8″ wide red sidewall stripes.
The red stripe tires were a popular option in the late sixties and early seventies. General Motors actually experimented with a number of other colors, including blue and gold sidewall stripes.
White Stripe Tires, F70 x 15, nylon (PT7)
Standard size tires with a special 3/8″ wide white sidewall stripes.
White Letter Tires, F70x 15, nylon (PU9)
Standard size tires with a special raised white lettering.
The raised lettering on these tires read “WIDE TREAD F70-15”.
Front Fender Louver Trim (TJ2)
The fender louvers included a special, chrome insert that enhanced their appearance.
The fender vent trim was one of the differentiators between the 1968 Corvette and the 1969 Corvette.
Alarm System (UA6)
A factory installed alarm system.
When activated, the alarm system would trigger the horn to sound in a repetitive pattern of short bursts.
Speed Warning Indicator (U15)
An adjustable needle on the speedometer which activates an audible alarm when speeding.
The speed warning indicator needle signals a buzzer indicating the driver is exceeding the predefined set speed. It can be adjusted by the operator of the vehicle to accommodate different speed conditions.
AM-FM Radio (U69)
A standard/stock dealer installed Corvette radio for model years 1968-1971.
The radio broadcast only a mono signal.
AM-FM Radio, Stereo (U79)
An optional dealer installed Corvette radio for model years 1968-1971.
This radio option provided a true stereo signal.
This radio featured green lettering.
Special L88 (Aluminum Block) (ZL1)
An all-aluminum block variant of the 427CI, 430HP Engine.
The ZL1 option required the same options as the L88 which included the Transistor Ignition System (K66), Special Front and Rear Suspension (F41), Special Heavy-Duty Brakes (J56), and Positraction Rear Axles, all ratios (G81).
Radio and air conditioning were not available when ordering the ZL1 option.
The steering wheel diameter was reduced from 16 inches to 15 inches.
Map pockets were added to the passenger side dash area.
The 1969 Corvette was the first year to feature a steering column ignition switch, an 8 inch wheel width, and headlight
Recall: 1 Make: CHEVROLET Model: CORVETTE Model Year: 1969 Manufacturer: CARDONE INDUSTRIES, INC. Mfr’s Report Date: MAY 07, 2003 NHTSA CAMPAIGN IDNumber: 03E032000 NHTSA Action Number: N/A Component: SERVICE BRAKES, AIR:DISC:CALIPER Potential Number of Units Affected: 15899
REMANUFACTURED REAR BRAKE CALIPERS, PART NOS. 18-7019, 18-7020, 16-7019, AND 16-7020, MANUFACTURED FROM FEBRUARY 1, 2002, TO APRIL, 25, 2003., AND FOR USE ON 1965 THRU 1982 CHEVROLET CORVETTES. THE SUBJECT BRAKE CALIPERS WERE MANUFACTURED USING IMPROPERLY MANUFACTURED PISTON SEALS. THESE SEALS ARE INTENDED TO PREVENT FLUID LEAKAGE BETWEEN THE CALIPER HOUSING AND THE PISTONS. THESE BRAKE CALIPERS ARE FOR USE ONLY ON 1965 THRU 1982 CHEVROLET CORVETTE VEHICLES. THIS RECALL DOES NOT INVOLVE GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION OR ANY OF ITS PRODUCTS
UNDER THESE CONDITIONS, THE VEHICLE OPERATOR MAY NOT BE ABLE TO STOP THE CAR, POSSIBLY RESULTING IN A VEHICLE CRASH.
CARDONE WILL NOTIFY ITS CUSTOMERS AND ALL UNSOLD INVENTORY WILL BE REPURCHASED AND WILL PROVIDE A FULL REFUND TO CUSTOMERS. OWNER NOTIFICATION IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN DURING MAY 2003. OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT CARDONE AT 215-912-3000
ALSO, CUSTOMERS CAN CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION¿S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
Recall: 2 Make: CHEVROLET Model: CORVETTE Model Year: 1969 Manufacturer: GENERAL MOTORS CORP. Mfr’s Report Date: DEC 27, 1968 NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 69V001000 N/A NHTSA Action Number: N/A Component: SEAT BELTS:FRONT:BUCKLE ASSEMBLY Potential Number of Units Affected: 4,420
POSSIBILITY THAT SEAT BELTS WILL NOT LATCH PROPERLY IF BELT TONGUE IS INSERTED UPSIDE DOWN INTO BELT BUCKLE, EVEN THOUGH IT WILL GIVE IMPRESSION OF BEING PROPERLY LATCHED. ALSO A POSSIBILITY THAT PROPERLY LATCHED BUCKLE COULD DIS-ENGAGE IF SEVERE SIDE IMPACT IS RECEIVED IN BUCKLE AREA. (CORRECT BY INSTALLING NEW BELT ASSEMBLIES.) POSSIBILITY THAT SEAT BACK LOCK FORKS MAY HAVE BEEN IMPROPERLY HEAT TREATED, MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR ONE OR BOTH OF THEM TO BREAK DURING LATCHING OF SEAT BACK. THIS COULD PERMIT FORWARD MOVEMENT OF SEATBACK IF FORWARD FORCE IS APPLIED TO SEAT BACK ASSEMBLY. (CORRECT BY INSTALLING NEW LOCK FORKS WHERE NECESSARY.)
1969 Corvette Service Bulletins
1969 Corvette Common Issues
1969 Corvette Mechanical Issues
One of the common issues with the engines in a 1969 Corvette have nothing to do with any specific mechanical issues. The issue is that, more often than not, the original engine has been replaced, and the replacement engine is not the same type/model as was installed when the car was originally manufactured.
Overheating is a common problem on early C3 Corvettes. One of the most common causes of overheating is the replacement of the stock radiator fan and fan shroud with an electric fan.
CRANKCASE VENTILATION/PCV VALVE
PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) Valves are important to proper engine operation. The PCV valve allows a pressure drop (vacuum) in the engine’s crankcase. In turn, this helps the engine piston rings seal against the cylinder wall. The PCV valve also acts as a check valve under hard acceleration when engine vacuum is zero. This allows the crankcase ventilation tube that is connected to the air cleaner to draw a vacuum in the crankcase when the throttle is wide open. PCV valves are often neglected but they play an important role in engine drivability and engine life. An improperly operating/damaged PCV valve can cause hesitation, poor idling, and stalling. The crankcase should never be totally closed- it will cause extreme oil usage and oil leaks Be cautious of replacing crankcase/valve covers with aftermarket brands that do not include baffles for the PCV Valve or crankcase tubes. Also, make sure that all PCV grommets are properly sealing to ensure that the proper pressures are maintained and that oil blow-by does not occur.
One of the common issues with the transmissions in a 1969 Corvette have nothing to do with mechanical issues. The issue is that, more often than not, the original transmission has been replaced, and the replacement transmission is not the same type/model as was originally installed when the car was manufactured.
The transmission vacuum modulator that controls shift timing could have a broken diaphragm allowing transmission fluid to be drawn into the engine. A minor vacuum modulator diaphragm leak will foul the number eight plug slowly and result in a minor loss of transmission fluid. A severe vacuum modulator diaphragm leak will create smoke out the tailpipe and noticeable transmission fluid loss. The number eight cylinder intake manifold runner is where the vacuum supply to the automatic transmission modulator is located. This number eight intake manifold runner also supplies the headlamp actuator system. Therefore, this vacuum supply can create a very rough idle if both systems were leaking. Many times the fitting that screws into the intake manifold is loose.
Both the driver and passenger door windows are known to fail. There are generally two conditions which cause the window to stop operating: 1.) A blown fuse or defective relay, or, 2.) A failed power window motor. When inspecting the vehicle for a cause, always check the fuse first. The replacement of a power window motor is a time consuming process requiring access to the inner workings of the door via removal of the inner door panel.
In instances where the window fails to go up completely, inspect the window gear regulator. If any of the gear teeth are missing from the widow regulator, the gear will need to be replaced. If the teeth on the regulator gear are not damaged, the window motor will need to be removed from the regulator and inspected. A damaged worm gear (gear drive on the window motor) will require replacement of the entire window motor.
If the window rattles when the vehicle door is closed, inspect both the window regulator mounting bracket (which may be damaged/broken), and the window anti-rattle cushions. Due to age, the window cushions can become damaged or may fall off the vehicle. Fortunately they can be easily replaced at many auto parts stores.
If the window travels excessively fast during operation, inspect the power window spring. A broken spring can result in costly repairs to the to the power window motor or the window regulator gear.
1969 Corvette Electrical Issues
The operation of taillights and turn signal lights may experience intermittent or total failure. Although there are a number of possible causes for this issue, the most common cause of failure is a bad ground in the taillight circuit. When troubleshooting, check for breaks in wiring and check for wiring grounds. Other possible causes for failure include bad lightbulbs, bad turn signal switch, and/or bad brakelight switch.
Depending on the climate and driving conditions, the 1969 Corvette is known to develop extensive corrosion/rust in a number of areas including the frame and the “bird cage”. On the frame, the most common areas where rust is known to develop include just forward of the rear wheels, the front cross member, the framework around the doors and the windshield pillars (the area known as the aforementioned “bird cage.”) One of the tell-tale signs of a rust/corrosion issue is the presence of dampness/wetness on the forward floor areas. Severe corrosion may also resort in door sag and can adversely affect door alignment, resulting in a large (and increasing) gap between the top of the door and the fender.
HEADLAMP ACTUATOR VACUUM LEAKS
All Corvettes from 1968-1981 can have a large vacuum leak from the headlight actuator vacuum system that will affect the engine idle. When experiencing rough idle, remove the vacuum hose and plug the fitting temporarily, then check engine performance. See Transmission Modulator Vacuum Leaks above for additional information.
The rubber hoses and other components of the headlight vacuum system are known to wear out. In many instances, only one of the headlight assemblies will operate. Always check all rubber vacuum lines when even a single headlight assembly is not operating properly as many times, it the result of a failed or collapsed line.
Over time, the door hinges on all C3 Corvettes fatigue and begin to fail, causing the doors to sag and other alignment issues including broken door seals, water leaks, and road noise. To prolong the hinge life, lubricate the hinges regularly. In the event that the hinges do sag, replacing the hinge bushings and pin is also an option, although replacing the upper hinge pin will require the removal of the dashboard speedometer cluster.
1969 Corvette Maintenance Schedule
The time or mileage intervals indicated on this website are intended as a guide for establishing regular maintenance and lubrication periods. Sustained heavy duty or high speed driving, or driving under adverse conditions may require more frequent servicing.
Additional Maintenance and Lubrication
In addition to the items listed above, it is also recommended that the following items are inspected every 300 miles or 2 weeks, whichever comes first:
Check Tire Pressure
Check Battery Water Level
Check Oil Level In Engine
Remove air cleaner and block throttle and choke in wide open position. Hook up starter remote control cable and insert compression gauge firmly in spark plug port. Whenever the engine is cranked remotely at the starter, with a jumper cable or other means, the distributor primary lead must be disconnected from the negative post on the coil and the ignition switch must be in the “ON” position. Failure to do this will result in a damaged grounding circuit in the ignition switch.
Crank engine through at least four compression strokes to obtain highest possible reading. Check and record compression of each cylinder. If one or more cylinders reads low or uneven, inject about a tablespoon of engine oil on top of pistons in low reading cylinders (through spark plug port.) Crank engine several times and recheck compression. If compression comes up but does not necessarily reach normal, rings are worn. If compression does not improve, valves are burnt, sticking or not sealing properly. If two adjacent cylinders indicate low compression, the cause may be a head gasket leak between the cylinders. Engine coolant and/or oil in cylinders could result from this defect.
The adjustments described apply to all carburetors used, except as noted. All adjustments are made with the engine at normal operating temperature.
Idle Speed and Mixture(1966-1970)
Remove distributor vacuum line at distributor and plug hose. Start engine and set the throttle stop screw for recommended idle speed. The choke valve must be wide open and the fast idle inoperative. Adjust one idle mixture screw at a time for smoothest, fastest idle speed. On A.I.R. cars, turn one adjusting screw at a time until engine speed drops approximately 30 rpm and starts to roll (lean mixture), then turn screw out exactly 1/4 turn for final setting. Readjust throttle stop screw for recommended idle speed. Basic setting for idle mixture screws is 2 turns open from fully closed for 1966-68, 3 turns for 1969, 1 turn for Holley 2300, Air condition to be ON, except Mark IV and all 1972.
When adjusting the idle speed be sure that the idle compensator is closed. Close it manually if necessary. After idle speed is adjusted, check by pressing down on the compensator. If speed drops, readjust idle speed. NOTE: Idle speed adjustments on cars with automatic transmissions must be made with transmission in Drive and idle stator switch, if so equipped, closed. Be sure parking brake is on.
Idle Speed and Mixture – Holley 2300
All adjustments are same as previously described except as follows: On models equipped with idle stop solenoid, adjust idle stop solenoid screw to give 1000 rpm, then adjust idle mixture adjusting screw to specified rpm. Turn idle mixture screw in (leaner mixture) until engine speed drops 20 rpm, then turn out 1/4 turn. Disconnect lead at idle stop solenoid (throttle level will rest against regular stopscrew.) Adjust this stopscrew for idle speed of 500 rpm. Do not change setting of idle stop solenoid stopscrew or idle mixture screw.
Fast Idle (1966-1976)
With the transmission in neutral, position the cam follower on the high step (2nd step, 1971-1972) of the fast idle cam. Adjust fast idle screw of Rochester carburetors to obtain recommended fast idle speed. Bend fast idle lever on Holleys. On 1970-72 models, disconnect transmission controlled spark solenoid.
With slow idle speed correctly adjusted, fully open choke and make sure fast idle cam follower is off steps of cam. With dashpot fully compressed, adjust for 1/16″ clearance between dashpot plunger and throttle lever.
Remove the air cleaner and check to see that choke valve and rod more freely. Disconnect choke rod at choke lever. Check choke adjustment by holding choke valve closed and position rod so that it contacts stop. If necessary, adjust rod length by bending rod at offset. Bend must be such that rod enters choke lever hole freely and squarely. Connect rod at choke lever and install air cleaner.
Air Injection Reactor (A.I.R.) –Description and Operation
The A.I.R. system is used to burn the unburned portion of the exhaust gases to reduce its hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide content. The system forces compressed air into the exhaust manifold where it mixes with the hot exhaust gases. The hot exhaust gases contain unburned particles that complete their combustion when the addition air is supplied.
The system consists of: An air pump, diverter valve, check valve(s), AIR pipe assemblies and connecting hoses and fittings. Carburetors and distributors for AIR engines are made to be used with the system and should not be replaced with components intended for use with engines that do not have the system.
The air pump is a two-vane pump which compresses fresh filtered air and injects it into the exhaust manifold. The pump consists of: a housing, centrifugal filter, set of vanes that rotate about the centerline of pump housing bore, the rotor, and the seals for the vanes. The centrifugal filter is replaced by first removing the drive belt and pump pulley; then pulling filter off with pliers. Care should be taken to prevent fragments from entering the air intake hole. NOTE: A new filter may squeal when first put into operation. Additionally, GREAT CARE should be taken in working on the compressor as the aluminum used is quite soft and thin. The air pump is operating satisfactorily when the air flow from it increases as engine speed increases.
The air hoses should be replaced only with hoses which are designed for AIR system use, as no other type hoses can withstand the high temperature.
Check and Adjust Dwell
Start engine then check ignition dwell. With engine running at idle, raise the adjustment screw window and insert an Allen wrench in the socket of the adjusting screw. Turn the adjusting screw as required until a dwell reading of thirty degrees is obtained. A two degree variation is allowable for wear. Close access cover fully to prevent the entry of dirt into the distributor. If a dwell meter is not available, turn adjusting screw clockwise until engine starts to misfire, then turn screw one-half turn in the opposite direction to complete adjustment.
Slowly accelerate engine to 1500 rpm and note dwell reading. Return engine to idle and note dwell reading. If dwell variation exceeds specifications, check for worn distributor shaft, worn distributor shaft bushing or loose breaker plate.
Remove distributor cap, clean cap and inspect for cracks, carbon tracks and burned or corroded terminals. Replace cap where necessary. Clean rotor and inspect for damage or deterioration. Replace rotor where necessary. Replace brittle, oil soaked or damaged spark plug wires. Install all wires to proper spark plug. Proper positioning of spark plug wires in supports is important to prevent cross-firing. Tighten all ignition system connections. Replace or repair any wires that are frayed, loose or damaged.
Disconnect the distributor spark advance hose and plug the vacuum source opening. Start engine and run at idle speed. Aim timing light at timing tab. The markings on the tabs are in two degree increments (the greatest number of markings on the “A” side of the “Q”). The “O” marking is TDC (Top Dead Center) and the BTDC settings fall on the “A” (advance) side of the “O”. Adjust the timing by loosening the distributor clamp and rotating the distributor body as required, then tighten the clamp, and recheck timing. Stop engine and remove timing light and reconnect the spark advance hose.
Inspect each plug individually for badly worn electrodes, glazed, broken or blistered porcelains and replace plugs where necessary. Clean serviceable spark plugs thoroughly, using an abrasive-type cleaner such as sand blast. File the center electrode flat. Inspect each spark plug for make and heat range. All plugs must be of the same make and number. Adjust spark plug gaps to .035 in. using a round feeler gauge. If available, test plugs with a spark plug tester. Inspect spark plug hole threads and clean before installing plugs. Install spark plugs with new gaskets and torque to specifications. Connect spark plug wiring.
Transistorized Distributor (H.E.I. System)
There are no moving parts in the ignition pulse amplifier, and the distributor shaft and bushings have permanent type lubrication, therefore no periodic maintenance is required for the magnetic pulse ignition system.
Distributor (Breaker Point System)
Check the distributor centrifugal advance mechanisms by turning the distributor rotor in a clockwise direction as far as possible, then releasing the rotor to see if the springs return it to its retarded position. If the rotor does not return readily, the distributor must be disassembled and the cause of the trouble corrected.
Check to see that the vacuum spark control operates freely by turning the movable breaker plate counter-clockwise to see if the spring returns to its retarded position. Any stiffness in the operation of the spark control will affect the ignition timing. Correct any interference or binding condition noted.
Examine distributor points and clean or replace if necessary. Contact points with an overall gray color and only slight roughness or pitting need not be replaced. Dirty points should be cleaned with a clean point file. Use only a few strokes of a clean, fine-cut contact file. The file should not be used on other metals and should not be allowed to become greasy or dirty. Never use emery cloth or sandpaper to clean contact points since particles will embed and cause arcing and rapid burning of points. Do not attempt to remove all roughness nor dress the point surfaces down smooth. Merely remove scale or dirt. Clean cam lobe with cleaning solvent, and rotate cam lubricator wick end (or one-hundred-eighty degrees as applicable). Replace points that are burned or badly pitted.
Where prematurely burned or badly pitted points are encountered, the ignition system and engine should be checked to determine the cause of trouble so that it can be eliminated. Unless the condition causing point burning or pitting is corrected, new points will provide no better service than the old points.
Check point alignment then adjust distributor contact point gap to .019″ (new points) or .016″ (used points). Breaker arm rubbing block must be on high point of lobe during adjustment. If contact points have been in service, they should be cleaned with a point file before adjusting with a feeler gauge.
Check distributor point spring tension (contact point pressure) with a spring gauge hooked to breaker lever at the contact and pull exerted at 90 degrees to the breaker lever. The points should be closed (cam follower between lobes) and the reading taken just as the points separate. Spring tension should be 19-23 ounces. If not within limits, replace. Excessive point pressure will cause excessive wear on the points, cam and rubber block. Weak point pressure permits bouncing or chattering, resulting in arcing and burning of the points and an ignition miss at high speed.
Install rotor and distributor cap. Press all wires firmly into cap towers.
Battery and Battery Cables
The top of the battery should be clean and the battery hold-down properly tightened. Particular care should be taken to see that the top of the battery is kept clean of acid film and dirt. When cleaning batteries, wash first with a dilute ammonia based or soda solution to neutralize any acid present and then flush off with clean water. Keep vent plugs tight so that the neutralizing solution does not enter the cell. The hold-down bolts should be kept tight enough to prevent the batter from shaking around in its holder, but they should onto be tightened to the point where the battery case will be placed under a severe strain.
To ensure good contact, the battery cables should be tight on the battery posts. Oil battery terminal felt washer. If the battery posts or cable terminals are corroded, the cables should be cleaned separately with a soda solution and wire brush. After cleaning and before installing clamps, apply a thin coating of a petrolatum to the posts and cable clamps to help slow corrosion.
If the battery has remain undercharged, check for loose or defective fan belt, defective alternator, high resistance in the charging circuit, oxidized regulator contact points, or a low voltage setting. If the battery has been using too much water, the voltage output is too high.
Inspect for deteriorated or plugged hoses. Inspect all hose connections. On engines with closed element air cleaners, inspect crankcase ventilation filter and replace if necessary. On engines with open element air cleaners, remove flame arrestor and wash in solvent then dry with compressed air.
Check the brake fluid regularly, for as the brake pads wear the level will drop rapidly. It should be replenished only with the recommended fluid. Check disc brake assemblies to see if they are wet; it would indicate a leaking cylinder.
Disc brakes do not need periodic adjustments; they are self adjusting. The pads should be replaced when the friction material gets down to 1/16″. This is when the groove in the center of the pad is gone. Check by removing wheel and looking directly into caliper.
Clutch Pedal Play
Check clutch action by holding pedal 1/2″ from floor and move shift lever between first and reverse several times, with engine running. If shift is not smooth adjust clutch. Free play with pedal released is approx. 1-1/4″ to 2″ and 2″ to 2-1/2″ for heavy duty
At clutch lever near firewall remove clutch return spring. To decrease clutch pedal free play remove clutch pedal return spring and loosen lower nut on clutch pedal rod; take up play with upper nut. Continue until proper play is obtained, then securely tighten top nut and replace spring. To increase pedal play work nuts in opposite sequence.
Disconnect control linkage at carburetor throttle lever. Hold carburetor throttle lever in wide position. Pull control linkage to wide open position. (On vehicles equipped with automatic transmission, pull through detent.) Adjust control linkage to freely enter hole in carburetor throttle lever. Connect control linkage at throttle lever.
Throttle Linkage Adjustment (Powerglide)
Remove air cleaner, disconnect accelerator linkage at carburetor. Disconnect accelerator return and trans. road return springs. Pull upper rod forward until transmission is through detent. Open carburetor wide open, at which point ball stud must contact end of slot in upper rod. Adjust swivel on end of rod if necessary.
Pull detent switch driver to rear until hole in switch body lines up with hole in driver. Insert a 3/16″ pin through hole to depth of 1/8″, and loosen mounting bolts. Open throttle fully and move switch forward until lever touches accelerator lever. Tighten mounting bolt and remove pin.
EGR Valve Check
A rough idling engine may be caused by a malfunction of the valve. Check by pinching vacuum hose to carburetor with engine idling. If idling smooths out, the valve should be removed for cleaning or replacement if something appears to be broken.
Lubrication – Engine Oil
The car should be standing on level ground and the oil level checked with the dipstick. Withdraw the dipstick, wipe it with a clean rag, replace and withdraw again. The mark made by the oil on the lower end of the dipstick will indicate the oil level. If necessary, oil should be added through the filler cap. Never let the oil level fall so low that it does not show at all on the dipstick. If in doubt, it is better to have a bit too much oil than too little. Never mix oils of different brands, the additives may not be compatible.
Engine Oil Drain and Replacement
Place a pan under the oil pan drain plug and remove plug. Be sure pan is of a large enough capacity to hold the oil. Move pan under filter and remove filter by turning if counterclockwise. Clean gasket surface of cylinder block. Coat gasket of new filter with engine oil. Thread filter into adapter. Tighten securely by hand. Do not overtighten filter. Remove drop pan.
Remove drain pan. Inspect oil pan drain plug gasket and replace if broken, cracked, or distorted. Install drain plug and tighten. Fill crankcase to required level with recommended oil. Operate engine at fast idle and check for oil leakage.
When changing oil filter, add one additional quart.
Check fluid level with engine idling, transmission in neutral and engine at normal operating temperature. Add fluid as needed to bring level to mark. Do not overfill.
Every 12,000 miles or sooner, depending on service, remove fluid from sump and add new fluid. Operate transmission and check fluid level. Every 24,000 miles the transmission sump strainer of the Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission should be replaced.
Raise car on lift, clean dirt and grease from area around the filler plug. Plug is located on side of transmission case. Remove plug and place finger tip inside hole. The oil should be just about level with the bottom edge of the hole. Add oil as needed, using a plastic syringe.
Change cam lubricator end for end at 12,000 mile intervals. Replace at 24,000 mile intervals.
With the car standing level, clean dirt and grease from area around filler plug. Remove plug and place finger tip inside hole. The oil should be just about level with the bottom edge of the hole. Add oil, with a plastic syringe, as needed.
1969 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure
Download this 1969 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure for a quick look at the features of the car.