Last week we learned that all of the Corvette ZR1s produced so far – approximately 490 total – were being recalled due to a faulty diagnostic sensor module. We now have more background information about the diagnostic sensor module issue and how it was discovered.
We had believed that the ZR1 Pace Car crash at Belle Isle a couple weeks back may have had something to do with it, but we were told explicitly that wasn’t the case at all. The “faulty diagnostic sensor” was not really faulty and this condition was discovered when the Corvette ZR1s were testing at Virginia International Raceway earlier this year.
According to those in the know, during the extensive testing at VIR, the Corvettes actually exceeded the calibrated levels of the sensors ONLY while driving on the track. Once the calibrated levels were exceeded by the g-forces on the car, the airbag diagnostic module would go into a fault mode and the dash light would turn on. The sensor would stay in fault mode until the end of the driving cycle.
The same diagnostic sensors are used on a variety of GM vehicles including the Corvette ZR1. The airbag control module was programmed so that if the g-forces on the car exceeded 1.89g, the sensor would assume something was wrong and once it went into the fault mode, the system wouldn’t be able to deploy the airbags in the case of a crash. We know that the new calibrated level of the diagnostic program has been raised to 3.0g and that’s the fix that Chevrolet will be doing during the recall.
We heard from a new ZR1 owner who had their Corvette at the dealership for his 500-mile oil change earlier this month. He told us that the recall information was already in the system and the dealership simply reflashed the programming of the sensor module to the new calibration levels.
Update on the Crash of the 2019 Corvette ZR1 at Belle Isle
Regarding the Corvette ZR1 Pace Car crash at Belle Isle, the reason that the driver side airbag didn’t deploy was due to how the car made contact with the barrier in Turn 2. As the ZR1 started to spin out of control, it took a glancing blow to the front passenger side corner that triggered the passenger side airbags, but not the driver’s side airbags as they work independently of each other.
With that knowledge in mind, we see again in the replay of the Belle Isle crash that it was only the passenger side front corner that made contact with the wall:
Although the damage to the ZR1 pace car looked severe in the video from the event, it was limited to the Corvette’s designed crumple zones only and no structural damage to the car was recorded. The Belle Isle Corvette ZR1 Pace Car is being repaired and will soon be back on the road.
[RECALL] Diagnostic Sensor Issue Forces Recall of 490 New 2019 Corvette ZR1s
[RECALL] GM Recalling All 2014-2017 Corvettes For Air Bag Software Defect
[RECALL] 2014 Corvette Stingrays Recalled for Misaligned Fuel Fill Pipe