Question about 1981 Chevrolet Corvette

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I have a 1981 corvette that has been stored for sevral years. I recently started it and found that all of the gauges do not work. The choke light, engine and battery lights remain lighted whenever the ignition key is on. Could this be an instrument panel voltage regulator problem or what? Need advise.

Posted by mackcarterjr on


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Charlie Likins

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  • 76 Answers

Start with dirty fuse connection and then look for mouse wire damage

Posted on Dec 30, 2017


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SOURCE: 1981 corvette instrument panel lamp replacement

I'll tell you, but when you go to do it, you'll probably curse Chevrolet, your car, and me! lol!

You have to reach behind the dash. Even with the seat in the back position, you'll turn into a contortionist! Place an old couch cushion, or something similar on the ground/driveway next to the car, with the door open. Kneel on the couch cushion. Reach up under the dash, and back behind it, with your left hand, while holding onto the steering column with your right.

It's hard to describe this to someone who has never done this before. (Just think. You'll be the expert, when someone you know asks you, when you're done!)

You are feeling for a plastic bulb holder. This holder is about the size of a dime. It resembles one of a gas stove's knobs. It has a round base, and from the middle of the base, it comes up into rectangular shape. If you look at this -> T <- the base is the top of the T. Turn the T upside down, and you'll have the basic shape.

This plastic holder has the lamp bulb in it. You turn it to the RIGHT.
As you face the instrument cluster, it is turned to the Right. You just turn it one quarter turn, then it will come out.
Once you get one in your hand, you'll know why it was difficult to describe. You'll also immediately see how it turns in, and locks into place.

The bulb itself it extracted, by holding the bulb holder in your hand, bulb facing you. You push in, and turn the bulb to the Left.
It is at this point, that I advise you to wear some protective gloves of some kind. The bulb base, could be corroded down in the socket. You may exert enough force to break the bulb, and cut your fingers.
I advise Safety above ALL ELSE!

I also advise that you replace one bulb at a time.
Notice the brass metal ring around the bulb holder base?
This corrodes after time, giving a poor contact. You can take a little fine steel wool, and clean it up. Use care as the steel wool can catch, and bend the brass ring, misshaping it.

Behind the dash panel that you can't see, is a thin plastic flat strip.
Another thing hard to describe. Envision a large U shaped flat piece of plastic, on the back of your instrument housing. The U shape will be upside down, in relation to how it sits on the back of the instrument housing. It's about 1/32nd of an inch thick, and about 2 inches wide.

There are thin flat strips of copper, making a path all the way around this strip. There are holes in this strip, for the various lamp bulbs. The flat copper strips go around these holes, making a connection to the bulb holder. That's what that brass ring on the bulb holder contacts, when it's screwed in.

Posted on Apr 18, 2009


Nate Stansfield

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SOURCE: 1981 corvette seat conversion

you will need to pull off the four retaining nuts holding seat in place. Measure the length and width of bottom support frames. Many seats are interchangable.

Posted on May 11, 2009


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SOURCE: My 1981 Corvette Alternator light stays on and my

I would ahve the alternator tested to see if it was bad first, if so I would replace it and see if that improves your choke situation. If the alternator is not putting out enough voltage it can affect other systems in you car including an electric choke system.

Posted on Apr 08, 2010

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Darryl Kazemba

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SOURCE: location of 1972 corvette voltage

Hello: The voltage regulator is inside the alternator (generator) The generator can be overhauled. The brushes, diodes, rectifier bridge and voltage regulator all can be replaced along with the stator, rotor and bearings although now days it may be cheaper to replace the alternator.

Posted on Jul 22, 2011

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(I was a little skeptical about Ebay at first, but I dealt with those that have Ebay stores, checked their Seller rating, their Feedback score, and posted questions to them. Always got the part I wanted, and pretty darn fast!)

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