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Javelin
Javelin UltimaDork
3/29/12 4:52 p.m.

My neighbor's daughter finally killed their beloved Fiero they gave her. It's an SE painted in the original green/purple flip-flop paint and it used to be actually really, really good looking and well maintained. It was delivered on a flatbed last week with four flat mis-matched wheels/tires, three Talladega stripes, two busted fenders, and a giant oil leak. I can't stop thinking about the stupid thing, so how bad of an idea is this?

Come to think of it, the neighbor 2 doors down on the other side has a Yellow Fiero GT with a dead clutch master or slave that's been sitting for a year, too...

Dammit.

The only experience I have with them is my Grandma had a Red GT when I was a young lad and it had the 2.8V6 and was a PITA to work on, but fairly quick. I know the 88's have a much better suspension.

So what say you?

Conquest351
Conquest351 Dork
3/29/12 4:54 p.m.

5.3 LSx mated to a F40 transmission from a Cobalt SS in the back. LS6 heads, cam, blah blah blah... Turbo.

Win

Alan Cesar
Alan Cesar Associate Editor
3/29/12 5:03 p.m.

Fires and failures, mostly. I don't understand the love, except ironically. I do like to look at the train-wreck replicas made from Fieros.

They haven't had very good history at LeMons. A lot of them end up breaking. Do they have any legitimate racing pedigree?

Javelin
Javelin UltimaDork
3/29/12 5:06 p.m.

So not worth fixing and flipping?

Worth stripping and selling parts?

iceracer
iceracer SuperDork
3/29/12 5:24 p.m.

There were a number of capable Firero race cars with the "Iron Duke" engine. There stil are a few running track days.

Nitroracer
Nitroracer SuperDork
3/29/12 5:27 p.m.

There is a well written history of the Fiero over on Ate Up With Motor that is a good read: http://ateupwithmotor.com/sports-cars-and-muscle-cars/201-pontiac-fiero.html

The interior is a little to 80s GM for me, I think I'd rather try a MR2.

CLNSC3
CLNSC3 Reader
3/29/12 5:31 p.m.

I knew a kid when I was a teenager whos dad built him a LT1 fiero for his birthday....that thing was fast as all hell and sketchy! Needless to say he totaled it within a couple months of getting it. I have wanted a v8 fiero every since though....

I say buy it, swap it and try to drive it :)

belteshazzar
belteshazzar UltraDork
3/29/12 5:31 p.m.

it sounds like too much of a project.

When i was in high school i bought a pristine '84 2M4 SE with like 70k miles for $2,200. Despite their reputation, it never did break in any way. I got bored with it pretty quick. Dynamically, it didn't do anything as well as the '80 Corolla Wagon I had before it.

turboswede
turboswede PowerDork
3/29/12 7:00 p.m.

There's a guy that runs one in ChumpCar, will probably be at the track this weekend.

Aside from swapping ends quite often, it seems like he had a ton of fun with it and it survived the two races I saw it at.

I think the body panels bolt onto a "space frame" sort of the like the precursor to the Saturns. Which led them to be used for rebody's (plus they were worthless otherwise compared to other mid engined cars of the time)

The Iron Duke sucks, but other options abound.

I'm not sure how well they do on the market though.

turboswede
turboswede PowerDork
3/29/12 7:18 p.m.

Then again, there's stuff like this on Craigslist:

http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/cto/2927783977.html

Its a 12A powered Fiat Spider.

For Challenge money.

Tyler H
Tyler H Dork
3/29/12 7:26 p.m.

My buddy just pulled away two of them....one with new tires, a running engine and busted trans. The other had a busted engine and good trans. $300 total.

The last year cars are supposed to be pretty good. If you're opposed to an MR2 for some reason, maybe they make sense?

AutoXR
AutoXR HalfDork
3/29/12 7:34 p.m.

I've had one 17 years... Autocrossed...daily ...etc. Have lots of cars and still love the fiero. This comes from vast experiece with an RS america , 997 , Vettes C4 and C5 , 05 mustang, turbo civics... the "fires and failures" thing is BS .. mine now sports a N*, big brakes and koni's... it will never be a killer on the track or the autocross, but it's a great car.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic UltimaDork
3/29/12 7:42 p.m.

If it was free, I would get it. If I had to pay money, the MR2 and X1/9 exist and both are much much better cars.

z31maniac
z31maniac UberDork
3/29/12 8:25 p.m.
AutoXR wrote: I've had one 17 years... Autocrossed...daily ...etc. Have lots of cars and still love the fiero. This comes from vast experiece with an RS america , 997 , Vettes C4 and C5 , 05 mustang, turbo civics... the "fires and failures" thing is BS .. mine now sports a N*, big brakes and koni's... it will never be a killer on the track or the autocross, but it's a great car.

PIcs? build thread?

I used to love these when I was younger.

Cotton
Cotton Dork
3/29/12 9:30 p.m.
93EXCivic wrote: If it was free, I would get it. If I had to pay money, the MR2 and X1/9 exist and both are much much better cars.

x1/9 .....really? I don't buy that at all.

I would prefer an 88 Fiero GT over my 87 MR2 all day long. I do like my MR2, but I'd like the GT more. Never owned or driven a 1st gen SC MR2, so that might be different....would have to experience one before making that decision.

HiTempguy
HiTempguy SuperDork
3/29/12 9:32 p.m.
Javelin wrote: My neighbor's daughter

I would be able to advise you better on the predicament you have at hand if I was provided with pictures of the Fiero and daughter...

ls1fiero
ls1fiero Reader
3/29/12 9:34 p.m.

On this virtual paper it should be perfect for us GRM type folks. How many dirt cheap mid engine American cars are on Craigslist? The mad scientists on here could fit just about anything from a Duramax Diesel to a who knows what. The interior is my least favorite part too.

ronholm
ronholm Reader
3/29/12 10:16 p.m.

I have been wanting to do this to one for a long time..

Chop top..

http://www.v8archie.com/choptop.htm

series8217
series8217 New Reader
3/29/12 11:34 p.m.

I have an '88 Fiero with a 3.4 DOHC V6 swap and a lot of custom and aftermarket parts on it. The car weighs 2800 lbs and makes 220 whp. 22mpg around town and 27 highway. I've been driving it for about 7 years (some of those years the parts were in another chassis) and it was my daily driver until 2010.

There are some common engine swaps that are easy to make 300 whp with, such as the Northstar and the 3800 SC. If you are in a smog state, none of these options will be legal with a manual transmission. I live in California, so I did the only swap that made over 200 HP and could be legal with a manual trans.

I'm good friends with the guys at West Coast Fiero and have done some work on their cars. They have done some pretty awesome builds. It's a lot of work though, and you might as well build a car from scratch if your goal is to fix all the cons I list below.

Mine has been a fun car, but I'm ready to get rid of it and move on to a more refined chassis.

PROS

  • Manual steering
  • Cheap
  • Parts-bin car parts availability. You can get parts anywhere.
  • Tons of powerful, well-documented engine swaps (N*, 3800SC, Ecotec Turbo, LQ4 etc)
  • Safe (the car has enormous crumple zones, heavy steel doors and a strong spaceframe). I've driven one off a cliff and survived with only a scratch (not joking). According to NHTSA testing it was one of the safest cars available in the 80's.
  • You get to replace everything, because the stock brakes, suspension, and drivetrain suck.

CONS

  • SLOW manual steering. Good luck with autocross...
  • Heavy. A car this size should weigh 2400 lbs...
  • Awful suspension. Early 80's GM awful. The pre-'88 cars are worse. 70's GM parts-bin awful.
  • Parts-bin car parts quality. All the aftermarket replacement parts are made in China. Finding NOS stuff is a lot harder now than it was 5 or 10 years ago.
  • Terrible, terrible, terrible wheel bearings.
  • No strong manual transmissions
  • No good gear ratios.
  • You get to replace everything, because the stock brakes, suspension, and drivetrain suck.
novaderrik
novaderrik SuperDork
3/30/12 12:40 a.m.

the 84-87 models were the front suspension from a Chevette up front and the front suspension and drivetrain from a citation out back, except with bigger brakes on both ends..

take from that what you will..

GM killed the car just as it was gonna get good- they redid the chassis for the 88 model year and the DOHC 3.4 was slated to go into it in '90 or so, along with a few different versions of the Quad4- including a turbo on some of them..

racerfink
racerfink Dork
3/30/12 12:56 a.m.
Alan Cesar wrote: Fires and failures, mostly.

Glad you could add to the conversation...

The '84's left the factory with 3.5qts of oil, and how many people do you know that let their cars go too far between oil changes. A bigger oil filter solved the problem of shiny, happy people running their cars a qt. low on oil.

I owned four of them in the process of building one for Improved Touring B. At the time, the '84 SE was the only eligible car. I had Koni's all around, Eibach springs, and Eibach swaybars. I had Energy Suspension bushings in the control arms, and aluminum bushings in the engine cradle. It was a VERY good handling car.

There are tons of aftermarket parts because of their use in the kit car industry. Tubular A arms, big brakes, and lots and lots of body kits from mild to wild. My personal favorite is the DGP Fiero body, which was a replica of the GTU Fiero's running in IMSA at the time.

The Iron Duke should be replaced with anything you can find, really. It's an okay motor for a commuter/dd, but should really be replaced. It'll cost too much to build one that makes decent power. I know. It was the limiting factor for why it's not a competitive ITB car. The 2.8L V6 does pretty good in ITA

Just about any GM motor you can think of has been put in one. I've even seen one with a Buick GNX motor in it.

You'll want to visit Pennocks Fiero forum. Plenty of people there that know a LOT about the Fiero. Don't let a few people that know nothing about the car scare you away from them.

wrenchedexcess
wrenchedexcess New Reader
3/30/12 2:55 a.m.

A few suggestions from someone who has owned 6 of them and autocrossed them for almost 10 years.

Even though they have plastic(enduraflex) bodies there are still some rust issues. Watch for broken or rusted tank straps, engine cradle forward of the firewall, radiator mounting points. right rear fender well where the battery sits and spots on the floor at the rear of the drivers seat. Try to get one with either the Muncie 4 speed. (84 version) or the Getrag 5 speed on the SE or GT versions. Try to avoid the Izuzu 5 speed, it's pretty weak and 1st gear is useless. Looking to install a V8? Check out V8 Archie, Northern Ill. area, he sells a good conversion kit. Keep in mind that the back half of a fiero is from a Chevrolet Citation and the front half came from a Chevette. Replacing the front spindles with something heavier or stronger is a very good idea. Finally watch for dented or kinked coolant lines to the radiator and any leaking around the mounting tube for the thermostat. Both are common problems and can cause overheating issues.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve PowerDork
3/30/12 7:29 a.m.
Nitroracer wrote: The interior is a little to 80s GM for me, I think I'd rather try a MR2.

AN MR2. A consonant is preceded by an "a" unless the consonant begins with a vowel sound, in which case it should be preceded by "an".

Yes, the MR2 is still power-80's inside but better.

Jay
Jay SuperDork
3/30/12 7:58 a.m.
ronholm wrote: I have been wanting to do this to one for a long time.. Chop top.. http://www.v8archie.com/choptop.htm

OH MY GOD I NEED THAT.

Strike_Zero
Strike_Zero Dork
3/30/12 8:45 a.m.
series8217 wrote: I have an '88 Fiero with a 3.4 DOHC V6 swap and a lot of custom and aftermarket parts on it. The car weighs 2800 lbs and makes 220 whp. 22mpg around town and 27 highway.

Nice ride!!

The LQ1 engine is another one of GMs jewels that was cut off at the knees . . .

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