1993 Chevrolet Corsica LT

The 1993 Chevrolet Corsica LT (offered with both a 2.2 liter and a Quad 4 engine) is a mid-sized four-door family sedan offered by General Motors. The 2.2 liter model is listed in California as a Transitional Low-Emission Vehicle (http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/ccbg/97pc.htm) and, although its specifications put its fuel mileage (both city and highway) below 29 mpg, my experience has been that this model can achieve 29 mpg city/32 mpg highway.

One of this model's peculiarities is its ability to eat alternators for breakfast. It turns out, the alternator in this particular model apparently overheats due to what some consider a design flaw. A popular opinion is that the alternator's compact design, combined with the close proximity to the hood (the alternator is located on the passenger-side near the front of the car at the very top of the engine compartment) causes overheat.

As a result of this wear, for instance, I have replaced the alternator 6 times since I bought the car in 1997 (As of Aug 2002 I now have about 182,000 miles on this car). I have talked with other owners as well as GM factory mechanics who have assured me that this is a well-known issue.

With the practice I have had, I now can replace my alternator on the side of the road in pouring rain in only 10 minutes. The job requires the use of a ratchet with socket extension to remove three bolts (plus the terminal nut) and a serpentine belt tool for easiest removal and installation of the belt. Always remember, when servicing a vehicle disconnect the battery first!

The Chevrolet Corsica LT 2.2 liter's oil change procedure is of average difficulty in comparison to other vehicles. The filler tube is located within easy reach in the center of the engine compartment. The drain plug is easily accessed on the rear of the oil pan with the car either on ramps or with the body properly supported at least 7 inches above resting height. The oil filter is on the firewall side of the engine, about half-way down, and is easiest reached from above on the passenger side. When removed, the oil filter and fitting drain straight down upon the exhaust pipe, causing a small amount of smoke on first-run after the oil change.

Other items I have replaced on this model that could be replaced by the average do-it-yourselfer:

  • Serpentine Belt
  • Rear Hub
  • Belt Tensioner
  • Water Pump
  • Transmission Filter
  • Air Filter
  • Coolant Temperature Sensor
  • Front Brake Pads
  • Front Brake Rotors
  • Rear Brake Drums
  • Thermostat
  • Items I've replaced that a more experienced do-it-yourselfer can do:

  • Head Gasket
  • Power Steering Pump
  • Rear Shocks
  • Rear Brake Shoes and Springs
  • Items I've left to a mechanic:

  • Front Struts
  • This vehicle is fairly easy to work on, with very few exceptions.

    My particular Corsica still runs as quiet as many new sedans and provides me with 30 mpg and few problems.

    The Haynes Repair Manual for this model is moderately correct and useful.

    If you have a problem with your 1993 Corsica, /msg me to see if I've had the same problem

    Exactly one day after posting this writeup, my heater core sprung a rather serious leak.
    After much trial and tribulation, I managed to disassemble my dash to a point where I could open (not remove) the heater box to replace the heater core. For the most part, to do this job, you can follow the Haynes repair manual (except they don't tell you how to disassemble the dash or ducts, just vague instructions).
    I am now around 195,000 miles and have had one more alternator change just about 2,000 miles back. Other than that, the car still runs exceptionally well (although I should probably get the seats re-ulphostered!). There is no hesitation, no shudder, no valve noise... basically nothing much to differentiate this car from one with about 65,000 miles on it. I say all this to emphasize that this model has a good endurance if properly maintained. Heck, you may have even noticed that the '93 Corsica is one of the most-often spotted vehicles in its age range.
    As of November 2004, my particular Corsica now has over 200,000 miles and still operating nearly as well as the day I got it.
    As of February 2006, my particular Corsica now has around 210,000 miles. Really, the only degradation since my last posting is that it is just now beginning to have enough of an oil leak that I have to top off my oil once between changes plus the front suspension has some clunking I attribute to dry bushings. If I wasn't so cheap and lazy, I would hunt down and fix the leak and replace the bushings. Obviously, I've slowed down on accumulating miles. This is not so much a result of the age of the vehicle as it is a change in my work duties, as I now drive a desk quite a bit more. Still 30 miles per gallon, by the way.
    As of November 2006, my particular Corsica now has around 215,000 miles and has only needed a water pump this year.