By Al Engel
The C-5 Ragtop is a wonderful car. I have had my ’99 Roadster since February of ‘99, and have not had any problems. Now, I have made a few modifications as described in some prior writings… and some others that I haven’t publicized, but the modification I’m writing about today is slick. No, it will not make the car faster; or corner better; or even look meaner. Nope, none of these things… but it does add convenience Bowling Green could have put into the car with just a few lines of software code.
Convenience improvement #1… the Window up and down thing. When you put the top up on a C-5, you turn the car off… get out of the car, pop the tonnau cover and manually operate the top. The problem is, popping the tonnau will automatically lower the windows. Now the top is up, and you need to reach in, around the steering wheel, turn the ignition key to ACC or ON, operate the window switches, reach in again, switch the ignition to LOCK, remove the key, close the door, and lock the car. The window up & down software improvement allows the windows to be raised, with the ignition OFF and key removed by simply pressing the LOCK button on the key fob three times. The windows go up, the car locks, the alarm is set, and you walk away. Returning to a hot car, press the UNLOCK button 3X, both windows go to full down position. Very cool (no pun intended) and very convenient. This feature may also be desirable on coups and hardtop C-5s.
Convenience improvement #2… extended power option. When you turn OFF the ignition in a C-5, accessory power remains ON for 15 minutes, or until one of the doors is opened. By pressing the 3rd button from the top on your Digital Information Center (the "DIC"… can’t believe GM actually calls it the DIC), you can reactivate 15 minutes of Retained Accessory Power, or until a door is again opened.
Convenience improvement #3… how fast did I go? With the engine OFF, key in the ignition or out, enter "Configuration Mode" by pressing and holding the "Reset" button and simultaneously press the driver’s side "Unlock" button. Now press the 2nd button from the top on the DIC and your top speed is displayed. Press button # 1 and your top speed is erased and you exit Configuration Mode. …. Or, simply press RESET and you exit Configuration Mode but the top speed register is not cleared.
Convenience improvement #4… the broken instruments excuse. Enter Configuration Mode, Press #1 button on the DIC and the Tach will read 1,000 RPM and the speedo will register 40 MPH… and freezes there till you hit RESET. "Officer, I didn’t think I was going that fast… you see my gages are not operating… Damn computers!" Use your imagination on the usefulness of this feature.
Convenience # 5… ease of installation. Unlike a competing product that only operates the windows upon the command of the key fob, the device that makes all this happen does not require disassembly of the driver’s side door for installation. In fact, this wonder of electronic manipulation is installed without the use of any tools! The device is about the size of a Zippo Lighter, and simply plugs into the Vehicle Diagnostic Connector at the base of the steering column. Enter the serial number of the plug-in module using the keypad on the DIC, select some options again using the keypad on the DIC… and the features this gizmo provides are at your disposal… very cool, very useful, and very easy to install. GM should have programmed all these features into its body control computer at the factory… OK, maybe Bowling Green could have left off Convenience Feature #4.
So, what’s this thing called, and where do I get it? See me, or send me an E-mail (AmortgageMan at MSN.com) … I’ll hook you up with the details…. Don’t want to bother me, just go to www.topdowntech.com.