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1985 Fiero - Last Hope

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  • 1985 Fiero - Last Hope

    I've wrenched on Motorcycles for years, generally hacking them up in ways that will make historians cry if they ever excavate them in the dusty future. I decided to try my hand on a larger canvas: the automobile. I have standards though. It needed to be a manual transmission, rear wheel drive, two seater hard top. And it needed to be old enough to escape the curse of digital engines, or whatever I should call the selectable cylinder jiggery-pokery that i can't seem to fathom. I found my dream car in a $500 Pontiac Fiero being sold by a septigenarian named Chuck. It was made in 1985, and had been consistently neglected from that year forward. Except, that is, for the engine. The engine was good. An I4 'iron duke' which is notorious for powering Grummin postal trucks (whoo...). No worries, displacement never was on my wish list. The first time I sat in my Fiero, on a grungy warehouse backlot, the headliner sagging onto my scalp, the steering wheel strangely sticky, I said "this is perfect." And it was. I apologize for the sidewaysness of my photo. Still figuring this forum out.
    Last edited by Demoto; October 15th, 2015, 05:16 AM.

  • #2

    Re: 1985 Fiero - Last Hope

    cool, any project which will be in Hot Rod 100 years from now with the words "we're not sure why they did this" is perfect
    what are the plans?
    tedly likes this.
    Doing it all wrong since 1966

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    • #3

      Re: 1985 Fiero - Last Hope

      Ah my plans...First off, I don't want to paint it, not entirely at least. $300 and a spray gun can get you a perfect finish, but the finish on my car took time. You just can't buy time. It's sun faded, and lacks almost all it's clear coat, but the body is plastic, so big deal. There are places where the plastic is totally exposed and the sun is not doing it any favors, so those will need to be covered.

      I desire to make the car dependable, and bulletproof (not literally, unless I decide to do it literally), and very fun to drive. I want the car to have a feeling, or spirit when you sit in it. I want it to feel desperate, and rebellious, like punk rock. I've always had a sort of grungy, death-race look in my moto builds, and I've been much inspired by Mad Max Fury Road, particularly the interiors of those cars. I think that's the direction I'm going. I understand that many Fiero fans may find this unconscionable, but if they saw what I was starting with, they'd understand that she was gonna be a parts car or worse if I didn't resurrect her into something horrible.

      I figure I'll start by getting her running, then get her running well, and all along make fun little one-off custom bits to give her flair. I don't want the build to be over-stated, or on-the-nose ("Put a Skull on It" kind of B.S.). But I definitely want a C6 to feel insulted and threatened when I pull up next to it. Not that I'll win in a drag (I will definitely lose) but that even in the losing, I somehow won.

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      • #4

        Re: 1985 Fiero - Last Hope

        cool, any project which will be in Hot Rod 100 years from now with the words "we're not sure why they did this" is perfect
        what are the plans?

        Soooo true.
        Escaped on a technicality.

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        • #5

          Re: 1985 Fiero - Last Hope

          Love the Fiero!
          Don't discount the Iron Duke.. A kid locally had one with 250 hp at the wheels in a Monza..
          I had a stock one in a Monza with the 4 speed Saginaw.. Was a good fun car..

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          • #6

            Re: 1985 Fiero - Last Hope

            The Duke can make power. Also, a few years back guys were installing Caddy Northstars or the Olds equivalent (that has an iron block IIFC) and they were reputed to be a good fit and made easy power. I'm thinking there was a kit for that, perhaps from D&D Fabrications in Michigan (they make the 215 Buick into a Vega swap kits). Anyhow, worth a thought.

            If you want to breathe on the Duke check with the circle track crowd. I know that at one time they were the hot set-up in certain classes and the circle track guys had done considerable development on that engine. No sense in reinventing the wheel.

            Dan

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            • #7

              Re: 1985 Fiero - Last Hope

              Buick L67 Series 2 Supercharged 3800 V6 is the easy/powerful swap that most people seem to do. Northstar is another popular one. Ecotec is apparently more work than either the L67 or Northstar for whatever reason so it's not as popular. What I want to see is either a Saab 2.3t motor or a SHO 3.0/3.2L DOHC V6 swap.
              Central TEXAS Sleeper
              USAF Physicist

              ROA# 9790

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              • #8

                Re: 1985 Fiero - Last Hope

                A Northstar would be cool. FYI, GM used it's FWD engine cradle in the back of the Fiero.
                Last edited by Huskinhano; October 15th, 2015, 02:01 PM.
                Tom
                Overdrive is overrated


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                • #9

                  Re: 1985 Fiero - Last Hope

                  How does the fwd 5.3 LS compare in fitment. If you want a challenge, a ford, and a DOHC look into the 4.6 continental.
                  http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...-consolidation

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                  • #10

                    Re: 1985 Fiero - Last Hope

                    How does the fwd 5.3 LS compare in fitment. If you want a challenge, a ford, and a DOHC look into the 4.6 continental.
                    I think it's about like the Ecotec, certainly been done though. www.fiero.nl seems to be the hotbed of activity on these cars. I've many times considered one... the wife vetos it everytime though.
                    Central TEXAS Sleeper
                    USAF Physicist

                    ROA# 9790

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                    • #11

                      Re: 1985 Fiero - Last Hope

                      Well, folks will have to wait for an engine swap right now. I plan on running this Duke through its paces first. If it throws a rod, I'll look into a 3800 with a supercharger. But for now, it has an engine, and that's good enough for me.

                      First challenge of the Last Hope is her crapped out fuel pump. Checked the relay and all circuits and it's definitely a pump issue. Her winky eyes can wait for repair until I get the engine running.

                      Click image for larger version

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                      Dropping the tank was surprisingly easy. Five hoses, six bolts, and done. Got the varnishy gas out and remembered yet again how much I hate that smell. Popped out the pump and...yeah...it's bad.

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                      Fuel level sender was toast too, and you can't replace those unless you buy an entire sending unit for $370. Not gonna happen. I was fortunate enough to have a dodge durango fuel pump in my bin, so I stripped the level gauge off, cobbled together a mount, shortened the float arm, and flipped it upside-down (the durango apparently runs high ohms at empty, and low ohms at full. The Fiero is the inverse). Additionally, I had to lower the resistance on the durango level sender. It ranged from 20 ohms to 180 ohms. The Fiero needs 0 ohms at empty, and 90 ohms at full. The best way I know to reduce ohms is to run resistors in parallel to the fuel level sender's potentiometer. I had a couple 330 ohm resistors laying about, so (after some trial and error that was actually way easier than doing the math) I threw a pair of them into the circuit in parallel and now I'm running 6 ohms at empty and 90 ohms at full. Close enough, just don't go below a quarter tank because that's when she starts lying to you. Here's the look of the final reassembly (with new bosch pump). The resistors will go in a housing on top of the tank that I have not yet fabricated.

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                      I gotta start thinking about what to do with this interior...I'm thinking leather...

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                      Last edited by Demoto; October 15th, 2015, 08:06 PM.
                      tedly likes this.

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                      • #12

                        Re: 1985 Fiero - Last Hope

                        Cool fix for the pump. Quick formula to figure out 2 resistors in parallel is product/sum.
                        Tom
                        Overdrive is overrated


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                        • #13

                          Re: 1985 Fiero - Last Hope

                          http://www.enginebuildermag.com/2014...ing-iron-duke/

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                          • #14

                            Re: 1985 Fiero - Last Hope

                            ....I want the car to have a feeling, or spirit when you sit in it. I want it to feel desperate, and rebellious, like punk rock. I've always had a sort of grungy, death-race look in my moto builds, and I've been much inspired by Mad Max Fury Road, particularly the interiors of those cars. I think that's the direction I'm going. I understand that many Fiero fans may find this unconscionable...
                            That's a noble vision...and who gives a red rat's hind end what those types of Fiero fans find unconscionable anyway?
                            Michael from Hampton Roads

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                            • #15

                              Re: 1985 Fiero - Last Hope

                              Back when man fist stood upright but well after the dinos all died out I worked at a corner gas station in my home town, One of our regular customers had an early Fiero with a SBC....If memory serves it as a 305...boy was that car neat...and it hauled the mail too. even had it juiced....

                              Anyway, while we are waiting for Fiero updates why not regale us with stories and pictures of motorcycle builds? I for one would like to see those...digging what I see in your profile pic....
                              If you can leave two black stripes from the exit of one corner to the braking zone of the next, you have enough horsepower. - Mark Donohue

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