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1989 Corvette ZF six speed manual transmission
The big news for 1989 was the completely new six speed manual transmission. It was designed for the Corvette by Zahradfabrik Firedshafen A.G. (ZF) a German transmission builder with an excellent background for producing bulletproof transmissions for high horsepower applications. It replaced the "4+3" manual plus overdrive Doug Nash unit that first appeared in 1984 Corvettes. It was a no-cost option (the four speed automatic was standard) with improved shifting characteristics as part of the bargain.
Similar in some ways to the overdrive function of the "4+3" manual, the new transmission featured a Computer Aided Gear Selection (CAGS) system. Under certain circumstances (engine warmed up, speed between 12 - 19 mph, less than 35% throttle) shifting up from first caused fourth gear to be selected. Any other circumstances (in other words, spirited driving) caused the transmission to behave like a conventional six speed. The goal was improved fuel economy and the system resulted in an EPA rating of 16 mpg city / 25 mpg highway rating - and once again the Corvette was not subjected to the gas guzzler tax.

Also new (and overshadowed by the introduction of the six speed) for 1989 was the Selective Ride System (RPO FX3; $1,695.00). It required the Performance Handling Package (RPO Z51; $575.00) which was was available only with manual transmission coupes so the price added up. It started a new trend in Corvettes: giving the driver the ability to control suspension settings. Three settings were available - Tour, Sport and Perf[ormance] - controlled by a rotary switch just behind the shifter. Within each mode there were six different settings which varied depending on the speed. The settings were implemented via actuators located in the shock absorbers.
Under hood Bowling Green assembly emblem
All C4 Corvettes proudly featured a Bowling Green KY assembly plant emblem under the hood.
1989 Corvette 17 inch wheel Right: The 17 inch wheels optional for 1988 were promoted to standard equipment in 1989.

The 1989 Corvette continued its mission as a showcase for GM technologies with the optional Low-Tire Pressure Warning Indicator (RPO UJ6; $325.00). This ingenious system consisted of a tire pressure sensor mounted inside the wheel which, via a built in self-powered radio transmitter, relayed tire pressure data to a receiver in the dashboard. On the other side of the wheel was a weight equal to the transmitter assembly so wheel balance was maintained. A dashboard mounted light warned the driver when tire pressure was low.


1989 Corvette with factory hardtop
A factory sourced hardtop (RPO CC2; $1,995.00) became available in 1989 and there was a lot to back up the high price. Construction consisted of a composite panel of rigid urethane surrounded by fiberglass which was molded around a structurally sound steel and aluminum cage. A cloth headliner and a heated rear window was included. Note: photo is a 1990 Corvette.

1989 Corvette Official GM photograph
1989 Corvette: Official GM Photo.
Note: Clicking on an image with this symbol (Boxes) will lead to a larger image.


Comments (19)

Battery replacement
need to replace my battery. but before I start removing things can anyone explain how its done
#1 - Joe Pawlak - 03/28/2011 - 10:29
Battery
Joe - I found the info on the internet one time as to how you do this. It involves taking that little fender off - I think it has 8 torque nuts - and sliding the battery out. There was something tricky mentioned about the rocker panel in re the fender.
#2 - Joe - 04/10/2011 - 16:50
running hot and wont start
I have a 1989 corvette original. the fan comes on at 230degrees, that seems very high. I need to know at what temp the fan should come on. also some times when I turn the engine off and a few minutes later try to start the car, it will not do anything. I wait about 30 minutes and it starts right up. Is anyone else having these problems. Thanks
#3 - escott8091@aol.com - 06/25/2011 - 21:41
Battery and Fan system
I have an 89 corvette as well and seem to be having a similar problem with the starting. I am about to get my battery connections changed and see if that helps because I can feel the car not having as much power as it should. I am also getting ready to change my fuel filter cuz if that is clogged or backed up, it can cause poor performance and start-up. My fans come on around 230 degrees as well... Maybe a little high but in normal range I believe, as long as the fans work properly.
#4 - Stephanie - 07/15/2011 - 16:27
running hot and won't start
The 1989 corvette had VATS (security). If it won't turn over at all (when the ignition is rotated all the way) then the security system is probably the problem. It will reset after 4 minutes, which would explain the starting after 30 minutes. These cars have ignition contacts for reading the key, and they wear out. Look up VATS troubleshooting on corvetteform.com.
#5 - Greg - 09/04/2011 - 19:32
I am looking for the windo striping around the winshild
#6 - Bill Caliguiri - 11/17/2011 - 11:39
1989 corvette
can someone help me out
#7 - mike burke - 01/04/2012 - 15:23
1989 corvette
can someone help me out
#8 - mike burke - 01/04/2012 - 15:23
89 vet
I just bought a 1989 vet with a tune port and 6 speed. It has the digital read out. The temp range is from 190 to 235.this seems a little high to me. The oil temp reads 189.
Is this a normal operating range. I had a 1980 vet before, that I don't remember it running this hot.
Thanks,
Paul
#9 - Paul - 01/07/2012 - 22:07
Correct tire pressure
I have a 1989 stock Corvette convertible (350 with 4 speed automatic) What are the correct tire pressures (front and rear)? They are not in the Owner's Manual which refers you to the sticker on the driver's side door. The print on the sticker is unreadable. The tires installed are Firestone Fire Hawk P275/40ZR17. The words "Firehawk SZ 50 is also printed on the tires.
#10 - Rick Olson - 05/21/2012 - 18:23
My 1989 vette auto door locks work only when doors are open.
And the alarm onlt works with LF door
#11 - Victor - 06/05/2012 - 18:14
MY corvette is 24 years old and still beautiful. I have been using a local repair shop and they do not look in my repair book to gather information about the car. Is it good to have tire rotation? They are using bulk oil 5w30. They think something is wrong with the car when the " service car soon" appears. There is but not what they think so they start looking all over in the wrong place to find things. I don't know who to talk with since the young man at the desk knows nothing about cars. It is not his fault they hired him to just write up the message given to him. I use to have good service but I think times have changed. I know the owner of the business. SHOULD i talk with him or just leave and go on to better service?
#12 - Vila Ives - 01/08/2013 - 11:06
MY corvette is 24 years old and still beautiful. I have been using a local repair shop and they do not look in my repair book to gather information about the car. Is it good to have tire rotation? They are using bulk oil 5w30. They think something is wrong with the car when the " service car soon" appears. There is but not what they think so they start looking all over in the wrong place to find things. I don't know who to talk with since the young man at the desk knows nothing about cars. It is not his fault they hired him to just write up the message given to him. I use to have good service but I think times have changed. I know the owner of the business. SHOULD i talk with him or just leave and go on to better service?
#13 - Vila Ives - 01/08/2013 - 11:17
Tell the owner
Since you know the owner of the business, I would definitely tell him. Any owner or a well run business should be interested in customer feedback. About the young man at the desk: this is strange as it is not difficult to find employees with some background in cars. Again, tell the owner. If he can't make things right, then go elsewhere.




Regards,


Paul Pollock
WebCars! Webmaster
http:/web-cars.com
#14 - Paul - 01/09/2013 - 01:00
hot starts
I have 2- 89 corvettes and had the problem with not starting when it was hot , I thought it was the vates (security) and purchased the by pass , when that wasn't the problem I purchased a (starter rebuild kit)that was all it took and very easy to rebuild .there are brass contact bushings that wear down and when the starter gets hot they no longer make contact.
#15 - kevin blondin - 01/22/2013 - 19:19
Well as to your hot starts to your corvettes the fans need to be replaced as well as your degree cooler. You will need a 160 degree temp cooler which is fairly cheap. I know this owner who can fix anything on any corvette. Rich Lendhart. WWW.vettepieces.com
#16 - Jeff - 03/17/2013 - 03:13
Thinking about buying 1989 Vette 6 speed.Been sitting outside for 3 years. Has not been started owners wants 2k. Has 120k miles. He said it ran when he bought it as a project. Due to his health and finances he has decided to let it go. Is the car worth 2,000.00 Thanks
#17 - Pete West - 05/12/2013 - 23:00
Is the car worth 2,000
>> Is the car worth 2,000
Maybe as a parts car. Hard to say, but if you want to make it a nice daily driver, I would recommend that you spend a little more $$ and start with a car that runs and has a better chance. Too often the cost of repairs, etc. go far beyond what a nicer car costs.
#18 - Paul - 05/13/2013 - 00:26
Security system keeps setting the horn off and will not stop.
#19 - Taco - 07/13/2013 - 01:45
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