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AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/6/21 6:47 p.m.

No, I didn't need another project car. I had just bought another Porsche 986 Boxster project a few days earlier and had recently bought an old Honda CR-V to transform into my new Gambler 500 rig before seeing this Fiero for sale on the forum. Fiero? I never really cared much for Fieros. Didn't they all catch fire and get crushed in the 90s? ...but wait, this car has been stripped down and built up. The 1980s interior completely gone. This is a drivetrain, suspension, and seats with a frame. It is cool and it has some history. Priced at only $900, how could I say no?

Works of art are often referred to by the name of their creator. A painting by Picasso is simply called 'a Picasso'. Hence I have taken to calling this car “The Milburn” after Jeff Milburn, the builder and driver. It is not exactly a race car, but it was built to film chase scenes and car commercials with a low camera mount up front and provisions for other mounts. Among its credits, it shot scenes for 'Walker Texas Ranger, Trial by Fire', so it's safe to assume that the car is Chuck Norris approved.

It has been sitting for about ten years. The engine started smoking while shooting a car commercial at Texas Motor Speedway. After completing the job, it was parked in a warehouse where it sat until Jeff had time to work on it. ...Jeff didn't have time and over the years it became obsolete for the job and was replaced by camera bikes.

Last week I drove Tow Pig to Dallas to pick it up. Jeff has a 'dream garage' with lifts in front, a machine shop in back and a cafe/bar style man cave upstairs. Everywhere I looked there were awesome tools, machines, and memorabilia. I would have enjoyed the whole day touring around and visiting with Jeff, but I had a car to get and a five hour drive back home. The Fiero was in the back corner of a warehouse a couple blocks away from the shop. The warehouse was full of cars and motorcycles and other portions of Jeff's collection of cool stuff. We pushed the Fiero through the warehouse, then rolled it down the ramp onto my trailer. It also came with a few boxes of spare and extra parts which I'll itemize as recoup for my Challenge car budget.

Oh my... what have I done. Four bikes pushed out of the garage and parked in back. too many cars to count lined up in the driveway. The Milburn got a new battery, but wouldn't start to drive off the trailer. It wasn't getting fuel.

I rolled it into the still overcrowded garage. There's not much space to work, but I can walk around it and put it on jack stands. Yesterday I finished replacing the fuel pump and it ROARED to life. My garage filled with smoke, but it smoked a lot less when running for a while. I drove it once around the block in celebration. I'm guessing it needs valve stem seals. More to follow soon..........

birdmayne
birdmayne New Reader
10/6/21 7:00 p.m.

https://www.thedrive.com/vintage/4048/driving-death-fiero-just-to-feel-feelings-again

This is the first and only thing I thought of when I saw the listing for this... I was very tempted. 

NOT A TA
NOT A TA UltraDork
10/6/21 7:09 p.m.

I'm glad someone here bought this and it's probably a good thing I wasn't closer when I saw the post jfryfry made as I've waaay too many projects already. Will follow along!

Loweguy5 (Forum Supporter)
Loweguy5 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
10/6/21 9:54 p.m.

This looks like exactly the sort of thing I get excited about, buy, and then store until I realize I'll never do anything with it and sell it on at a loss.  But you're all over it and it looks to be coming along.  Bravo!

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
10/6/21 10:54 p.m.

I'm more excited about that Fox Mustang you left behind.  

iansane
iansane HalfDork
10/7/21 10:32 a.m.

That is awesome.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/7/21 10:56 a.m.

I mentioned that I have a few other projects. This car is very important to me, but I have the 'Okie Gambler 500' coming up in two weeks and I'm going to shift primary focus to the CR-V as that approaches. I'm going to order a few parts and research these Pontiac 2.8L engines to be ready to do some work on this later in October. When time permits, I plan to do a compression check and make sure that the PCV system is clean and clear. After that I'll replace the valve stem seals and run it again to see if it improves.

Here's some moving pictures and sound:

 

My goal for this car is to have it running and driving well with the current engine in the Spring to do some Rallycross and then bring it to the $2000 Challenge in 2022. I may even get it 'Oklahoma street legal' and get groceries with it from time to time. It looks like there will be some other good mid-engine competition in 2022 and I'm looking forward to it.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/7/21 11:37 a.m.

It's not German. You don't have to key off after every start attempt. ;-)

nocones
nocones UberDork
10/7/21 11:47 a.m.

What year is it?  If it's pre 88 a decent amount of camber can be gained up front by rotating the UBJs 180 degrees.   They have two bolts and are offset slightly.  It's been years but IIRC you have to do very minor clearancing of the A-arm.  

Also for Pre88 unless it's got upgraded brakes already the Front brakes from a mid 90s Grand Am provide an excellent upgrade.  It's a Bolt on swap in the rear (but you loose your E-brake).  In the front you have to machine (or grinder) away the stock Cast with hub brake disc then you can install the GA brakes.  I ran them at all 4 corners on my 86 with Performance Friction Carbon Metalic pads and braking was impressive even at Track days.  

Definitely following this along.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/7/21 12:08 p.m.
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:

It's not German. You don't have to key off after every start attempt. ;-)

Habits... At least I wasn't looking for a place to put the key, left of the steering column.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/7/21 12:18 p.m.

In reply to nocones :

It's an 87. The front is not standard and it's on some nice coilovers. I haven't looked at suspension adjustments yet, but I expect that it can be set up pretty well. *The rear is still set from the last job for heavy stuff on the back.

nocones
nocones UberDork
10/7/21 12:47 p.m.

Ooh that's a lot of snazzy suspension for $900.

birdmayne
birdmayne New Reader
10/7/21 5:31 p.m.

I'll give you $925 for it right now

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
10/7/21 6:23 p.m.

Intake gaskets like to suck oil on the iron head engines. 

I love these 60 degree v6 engines....

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps SuperDork
10/7/21 9:39 p.m.

Congrats!

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/1/21 5:30 p.m.

For the moment, I seem on pace to have the car ready for the 2022 Challenge. I had intended to dig in deep over the weekend, but most of my garage time was spent putting away parts, tools, and doing general clean-up. With a little clean space to work in and most of my tools back where they should be, I started out with a compression check. I wasn't sure how the cylinder numbering was, so looked it up:

#1 and #3 showed about 130 psi on a cold engine which seemed decent. #5 didn't even bump the needle. 0 psi. Zero, none, nada. I think this is going to need more than valve stem seals. The cylinders on the front side of the car are difficult to reach. 

My socket was short and the spark plugs long. The wrench or extension could not fully seat and kept popping out when I applied torque. I managed to get #2 out - I would not let it beat me, but decided to head to O'Reilly's for a better socket before doing the others. The socket with the built in swivel is awesome and made the rest easy to do.

Compression on #2 and #4 were both a little over 130 psi, but #6 was barely 100.

I had intended to continue working; pull off the intake and valve covers. Instead I took a step back to re-think what to do next. With a bad reading on both heads, I think that it's best to pull the engine and continue with it out of the car rather than climbing up on the back or leaning in from the side. Dropping the engine isn't really bad on these cars from what I've seen and this is a clean example with no rust and bolts that aren't likely to be seized.

I'm going in two directions now. Looking for a local car with a good higher power engine to swap in that will keep within Challenge budget and I'm also going to continue working on the 2.8L with the intention of repairing it and possibly doing a full rebuild while it's out. I've done plenty of repair work and maintenance on engines, but never done a proper rebuild. For a swap, it's not hard to find a complete running car locally with a GM 3800 in it for $800 to $1,500. There's even a few Supercharged models that might make budget. Maybe I can put a 200K mile 3800 V6 in for the Challenge, kill it with nitrous, then put the original back in when it's done. Not a firm plan, but looking for opportunities and following where it leads.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
11/1/21 5:47 p.m.

Why not a 3400 swap? Should be a legitimate bolt in swap of i remember right, 180hp

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/1/21 6:01 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

Why not a 3400 swap? Should be a legitimate bolt in swap of i remember right, 180hp

There is no "why not" yet. Most of my engine knowledge is based on the Axis Powers of Germany and Japan. My first thought was K-Swap Everything, then Audi or Porsche power. No and no. I'm just starting to dig into the whole 60 degree V6 thing. Bolt-in USA and as little chassis modification as possible is what I want. Unfortunately I know almost nothing. Just registered at Pennock's Fiero Forum today after finding that most Fiero searches led there.

Learn me the ways of the GM V6.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
11/1/21 6:15 p.m.

https://www.fiero.nl/forum/Forum1/HTML/091261.html

 

I didn't ever do this myself. 

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps SuperDork
11/1/21 6:33 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

https://www.fiero.nl/forum/Forum1/HTML/091261.html

 

I didn't ever do this myself. 

Thanks for posting that! bookmarking for later....

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/1/21 6:37 p.m.

Another vote for 3400, cheap path to a decent power bump

daytonaer
daytonaer HalfDork
11/1/21 7:16 p.m.

In reply to AAZCD (Forum Supporter) :

Cadillac 4.9 V8 has the Gm fwd bellhousing bolt pattern that should bolt up to your existing transmission. 

 

A newer V6 is likely the answer, but if your junkyard is filled with fiero era caddies maybe consider one just for extra pistons.

RandolphCarter
RandolphCarter New Reader
11/1/21 7:20 p.m.
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) said:           My first thought was K-Swap Everything

I initially interpreted this to mean you were swapping in a Chrysler 2.2 engine.

daytonaer
daytonaer HalfDork
11/1/21 7:25 p.m.

Expanding on the "4.9"

 

Cadillac had the engine family called "high technology" which had an aluminum block, cast iron head. Most were tbi so carb swap may be simple? They came in multiple caddies from mid 80's to early 90's in various displacement and low power outputs.

 

Allegedly they are lighter than the 2.8

 

I remember 20 years ago when I wanted to V8 swap a fiero I didn't have - these were the easy, but wrong answer (small hp, likely not reliable). 

 

It's an oddly appealing swap to me right now however.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/2/21 7:32 a.m.

It's a 12 hour shift at work today, but my helicopter is having maintenance done that will take most of the day. That means I'm here, but have nothing to do for 8 to 10 hours except learn more about the engine rebuild and engine swaps. Getting back to Pennock's site first thing this morning, I came across another good detailed 3.4 swap link: http://fiero34swap.eleventenths.org/  I'm thinking that the 3.4L is going to be the way, but still want to look at few others including a Pontiac G6 swap out of curiosity. In general, the 60 degree V6s are starting to remind me a lot of the old Honda Civic/Del Sol swaps between D series and B series engines - Lego blocks with a few mount modifications and wiring changes.

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