I have an 81 corvette w/43k miles. Excellent /original cond. I had it stored for 18mths. I heard a knock in it and dealer says the cam shaft needs repair. Is this worth it?

Asked by Dec 26, 2011 at 12:16 PM about the 1981 Chevrolet Corvette

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

hello sir, I have a 1981 corvette.  It is all original with about 44k miles on it.  I had it stored for about 2 years.  I took it to the dealership for an oil change and I heard a knocking in the motor with I get up to 55 plus miles.  The mechanic at the shop did the analysis and told me it is the cam shaft. I am wondering what do I do now.  Or do you know a mechanic that is reasonable and can repair it for me.  

16 Answers

75

It is really up to you what you do from here. I can give you some contact info so you can find a good corvette mechanic in your area, because I am not sure where you are. If you dont mind can I see a pic of your car?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

The car is now at the dealership and taken apart to determine the problem. It is in EXCELLENT cond, 100% garage kept, never in accident, no dents/scratches, interior perfect, glass T-Tops, orig wheels, orig motor and orig mech parts, silver exterior / red interior. I want to keep it if worth it. If I sell as is I am told I would not get much. Can I get the camshaft replaced w/out replacing the motor? Yes pls send info for good mechanic in the area. Have you heard of Corvette Specialist in Chantilly, VA? THANK YOU very much!

1,395

How much is the repair estimate? If you want to keep the car, yes "it's worth it". However an '81 does not have a high collector market value.

335

Your Corvette will continue to increase in Value as the years go by, to not fix a car as pristine as yours is what I would call a very big mistake. A cam shaft is not a big expence, when it comes to motor repair. Your car is worth any where in the area of 5 to 10,000 at the least. the repairs should not come in anywhere close to that. Its a no brainer I think

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
75

So, now here is my question. How sought after are 84s?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I got an estimate of $3500-$4k to replace camshaft/flush motor for metal fragments. This mech recommend this since orig low mileage. One mech says replace both cam & motor for about $7k. Pls send info for good mechanic in the area. Have you heard of Corvette Specialist in Chantilly, VA? Based on your last answer I think I will get it repaired and keep it. Your advice is very helpful.

335

Check with your local Corvette clubs, for repair shops that do a good job,and don't rob you. Auto restore clubs are also a good place for repair advice.

335

I am up in Canada, where I get to use my Corvette convertable for only half of the year. An 81 Vett would still be a very nice ride, and is just begining to go up in value. Never give up on a good Vett.

1,395

$4000 to $7000 is not reasonable. You could replace the entire motor for less than that, and the car is not worth that much. Late C3 Corvettes will not increase quickly in value. Look around you can probably find a vehicle in comparable condition around $5000, if that much. They just don't have the value. Having said that, if you plan on keeping the car for a long time the, I'd look into replacing the entire motor not just the cam.

1,395

Here is an example; for $7250 you can buy a beautiful 1981 Corvette. Spending $7000 to fix yours would not be wise (in my personal opinion). http://www.mecum.com/auctions/lot_detail.cfm?LOT_ID=KC1211-119121

What is the advantage or disadvantage of replacing the Cam without replacing the motor? If I keep it then how much should I pay to repair it? My problem is, if I do not fix it, then I will get little to nothing to sell as is.

1,395

If the cam is shot, it is very likely that other major components in the motor are bad as well. If you replace just the cam, do not be surprised if more major work is required in a short period of time. For an engine with only 44K miles to have a bad cam, something had to go badly wrong to cause that. Small block Chevy cams can easily well upwards of 100K miles with no problems. An entire engine replacement could likely run in the $3000 range, possibly more. If it were me I'd replace the engine and be done with it, maybe spend up to no more than $4000 tops. More than that, you can sell the car for parts/repair for probably $2000 or more, and look at what you can buy at auction, very nice cars in the $6000 to $7000 range.

335

You know your car. A low milage engine from the 80's is more than likely to have the original cam shaft. back in that time the steel was of a lower quallity, and didn't last as well as todays. If you just do the cam and clean, you more than likely will not be putting a lot of miles on the car. you could get a lot of miles out of the car, with just a small expence. To replace it would bring on all the new surprises that come with any used car. Value wise, you know if this repair is all, that you need. Of cource, you could give up and buy a good C-5 and you would never go back.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer

I am going to take the car to a corvette club recommended mechanic shop and get a second analysis & opinion. I have copied all of the advice above and I will share it with the mechanic. I will let you know the final decision. I would like to keep it if not too expensive. Your advice and counsel have been so helpful to me. THANK YOU very much!!!

I recently brought an 1981 Vette for $4600. The motor was knocking alittle, then went to a drum beat. If I were you, I would buy a remanufacture stock crate motor. They run from $1200 and $1500 plus labor to be put in the car. The more horsepower, the more money. I can across a 94 350 motor with 20,000 miles for $650 plus labor to put in. This is alot cheaper.

11,425

Just saw your question, what did you do? Keep the car, you will enjoy it a lot. The 84 was a new model, C-4? They had a lot of issues but the 85s had it worked out. If your cam is bad, metal fragments went throughout the motor and all your bearings need replacement, and your crank turned. A complete motor rebuild is the best if you want to keep the original motor, which I recommend, but put in quality parts.

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions

Corvette

Looking for a Used Corvette in your area?

CarGurus has 20,453 nationwide Corvette listings starting at $3,688.

ZIP:

Search Chevrolet Corvette Questions

Chevrolet Corvette Experts

#1 John Carson
John Carson
Reputation 2,040
#2 carGrrl
carGrrl
Reputation 1,340
#3 Tom Demyan
Tom Demyan
Reputation 1,180
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Chevrolet Camaro
641 Great Deals out of 39,733 listings starting at $2,995
Used Ford Mustang
715 Great Deals out of 39,269 listings starting at $1,995
Used Dodge Challenger
423 Great Deals out of 25,666 listings starting at $7,980
Used Porsche 911
149 Great Deals out of 4,462 listings starting at $9,995
Used Dodge Charger
534 Great Deals out of 29,394 listings starting at $2,343
Used Ford F-150
3,437 Great Deals out of 208,029 listings starting at $1,273
Used Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
112 Great Deals out of 3,482 listings starting at $1,500
Used BMW 3 Series
1,799 Great Deals out of 41,355 listings starting at $1,250

Used Cars For Sale

2017 Chevrolet Corvette For Sale
7,596 listings starting at $43,498
2016 Chevrolet Corvette For Sale
39 Great Deals out of 2,955 listings starting at $44,900
2015 Chevrolet Corvette For Sale
38 Great Deals out of 921 listings starting at $41,986
2014 Chevrolet Corvette For Sale
29 Great Deals out of 932 listings starting at $38,999
2013 Chevrolet Corvette For Sale
29 Great Deals out of 442 listings starting at $25,615