New Moon Rising
Topic started by: Bob2112, Date: 12-15-2015 10:47 PM
Original thread:

Bob2112 MSG #1, 12-15-2015 10:47 PM
      I'm starting this thread to be a journal of sorts. I've been working on Mustang restoration for a few years, and I just recently started doing a retrospective thread on it. I wish now I had started that thread when I started the car as many little details have slipped my mind. So, I figured this time I would start a thread right when I got this project, even though there might be some quiet times.

I got my first Fiero around 1995 or 96 - somewhere near the end of college when I lived in Kent, Ohio. I always like the cars and by then they were cheap. The first one was a 86 SE with a sunroof and luggage rack. I paid $600 for it. The front wheels were at about a 20 degree slant so I promptly got that fixed. Drove it around for about a year or two until my girlfriend was driving it on the freeway one day when it threw a rod and busted a hole in the block. Luckily no fire. I kept the car and took out the engine to sell to the scrap metal place. I had visions of a SBC in the back of that SE, but for now I needed a new ride. As luck would have it, another friend of mine had a 86 plain jane coupe that he wanted to get rid of. The locks had been drilled out of the doors when someone broke into the car and stole the stereo. But it drove fine. I got that one for $300. I swapped over the luggage rack, the SE wheels and the power truck opener. Then I moved out west to Reno Nevada and had to give the first Fiero body to a friend in Ohio. I then drove that second Fiero for a good three or four years and finally had to get rid of it in Tucson, AZ (where I went to U of A for grad school) when it was smoking so much it wouldn't pass emissions.

By that time I had kids and a 2 seat car wasn't in the cards. Plus in California (living in the north bay by then) I had started working on the aforementioned Mustang. Anyway, ten years later here I am in Denver and my kids have cars of their own. So I start to think and realize I don't need a rear seat anymore since the kids have sedans. If we all want to go somewhere, we'll just take their cars. I have a '95 Chevy Truck to drive in the winter and my wife has a 2015 Honda Fit for something practical that also seats more than 2 people. Plus the Mustang is getting close to being done. All that puts me in the mind of getting back to a Fiero project. There is also a 1977 Impala Station Wagon in the project queue, but that's another story.

I wanted an 88 for the suspension upgrades, and I liked notchies so I wanted a Formula. So I spent the last few months watching them on craigslist, ebay etc to get a decent gauge on the price. Well, I finally decided to buy one and although it took me several weeks from first inquiry to finally pull the trigger, I finally did. The car has 51,000 miles and is in very good condition. The car has most options, and it has something I hadn't seen before - cup holders! Anyway, this post is pretty long so I'll wrap it up with a couple pictures from the listing and continue with more tomorrow.

[This message has been edited by Bob2112 (edited 08-28-2017).]

zzzhuh MSG #2, 12-15-2015 11:11 PM
      That is a great looking formula. The black really adds to the look of the notch backs.

Im assuming you didn't get to drive the car at all today, considering all the snow

Bob2112 MSG #3, 12-15-2015 11:14 PM
      Nope - it is completely buried. My wife said "where is the Fiero?" I said - "That lump of snow over there."

Gall757 MSG #4, 12-16-2015 10:59 AM
      When you get a chance, put the VIN in the thread called 88 database guy.

I have a car that is nearly a clone of yours.....Nice Choice!

Bob2112 MSG #5, 12-16-2015 12:50 PM
      Already done!

FieroJuice ( MSG #6, 12-16-2015 02:48 PM
      Cup holders, lol. Besides being under powered, the bane of our beloved car's existence.

Are they screwed to the door or velcro? Good spot for them, BTW.

What mods are you planning?

Bob2112 MSG #7, 12-16-2015 06:18 PM
      I don't know how they are attached - haven't looked much yet. Car got here and we promptly received a foot of snow.

Definitely have some mods in mind. The main reason I didn't buy a CJB was because I wouldn't want to mod one of those. Off the top of my head -

Hood struts (bought them before the car arrived)
Headlights - I like the hide away look, but I will do some type of low profile projector type mod. Saw some nice housings here or might fab up my own.
Body - I like the look of the notchback, so I don't plan to do much with this. I may do some side scoop rear quarters if I can fab or buy some that don't look to crazy. I do like the more aggressive look from wider hips, but I don't want to make it not look like a Fiero anymore.
Interior - Maybe a little here and there, eventually will probably go with Amida's kit.
Drive train - if I'm lazy, I'll do a 3800 swap, but what I am currently envisioning is a LS4/F40 swap.

All that said - I'm wide open to suggestions! Feel free to point out things you all would do with a black Formula if you had one!

FieroJuice ( MSG #8, 12-16-2015 11:07 PM
      I'm right there with ya brother, though you are a few steps ahead.

I also just bought a black '88 Formula with under 60K miles.

Differences is that I have the beechwood interior with power nothing (that's on the Fiero-Do list to change over to power everything & where you're ahead).

2 priorities for me to fix is a rusted battery tray and bad brakes - may do the Corvette ones as that's the end game there anyway if it's not just a pump/bleeding issue.

I'm on record here that I'm going for a black interior swap.

Then normal stuff like hood/decklid props, hood & side scoops, Mustang decklid scoop, poly, suspension upgrade, inch drop, 17s, upgraded sound system with center sub & glovebox TV, back-up mirror display, heated seat pads under Mr Mikes, an overhead console across the inside of the windshield for more storage options (haven't seen that mod much), hidden trailer hitch for enclosed cargo carrier for luggage (yup, a DD that plans to travel too).

I will plan it out and buy as much as I can when I can over the next year or so as this is my last Fiero (5th one) and I'm in no rush to change this all over. With Under 60K, I can get plenty of more miles on this baby girl and enjoy that before all hell breaks loose over a summer.

Stock for now. Plan, save/buy/store parts. Enjoy the hell out of it until it's down to be reborn in a few summers.

Then Fiero Heaven: Last will be an engine swap (TBD but it will be a crate engine). I want that to be the icing on the cake.

Glory be to Hulki

Bob2112 MSG #9, 12-16-2015 11:31 PM
      Sounds awesome. Do you have thread going on the car yet? If so I'll subscribe. Thanks for the list - gives me even more ideas! Funny you mention the power stuff. I looked at CJB that was power nothing and that also played into my decision to get this one. It has power everything except the rear deck opener and since I've done that install before I know it is pretty easy.

It will be a while until I get to the major stuff too. I need to finish my Mustang project for one. Plus I figure I drive this 2.8 for a little while and get some miles out of it before I pull it.

FieroJuice ( MSG #10, 12-17-2015 07:17 AM
      No, I haven't started a thread yet detailing the plans with some starter photos as I have a Chromebook and PIP doesn't support posting from android (or I haven't been able to figure that out yet too. Android smartphone compatible either?).

I will get one started with or without photos after the holidays and it slows down.


Quad Raider ( MSG #11, 12-19-2015 09:04 AM
      That is a great looking car. Bob, are you by any chance a Rush fan?

Bob2112 MSG #12, 12-19-2015 11:44 AM
      Haha - who me? Yes, I am indeed. I did manage to see them in concert back in 93ish. I have my 17 yr old son hooked on 2112 as well now so I consider myself a successful parent.

Raydar ( MSG #13, 12-19-2015 12:25 PM
      Nice Formula!
Mine used to look a bit like that, except that my paint was fried.

I'm one of those people who can never leave well enough alone, so I made some minor tweaks.

Good luck with your project!

[This message has been edited by Raydar (edited 12-19-2015).]

Bob2112 MSG #14, 12-19-2015 03:22 PM
      Looks good Raydar!

Bob2112 MSG #15, 12-19-2015 11:09 PM
      ice day in Denver today. The snow melted enough that I could actually get to the Fiero today.

It started up just fine. A bit of exhaust or heat shield rattle. I'll track that down later. Figured out the power lock doesn't quite kick the passenger side open enough to unlock the door. Might just need some cleaning and lubrication. I can do that the first time I pull the door trim off to see how things look in there.

Looking forward to spring so I can get this thing out on the road. I'm hesitant to do so now because there is so much salt residue out there. Still need to get tags as well. Was nice sitting in the car though. Got the seat and mirrors a bit more adjusted to my preferences.

zzzhuh MSG #16, 12-21-2015 02:16 AM
      Hey Bob, I happened to stumble upon this video:

Look familiar?

Bob2112 MSG #17, 12-21-2015 02:48 AM
      Yup! That's the car. I watched the video a few times before I bought it.

Bob2112 MSG #18, 12-24-2015 07:06 PM
      Weather was nice today, so I took the Fiero out for a spin around the block. Didn't go far since I don't have tags. Seemed to run nice and it was fun.

It seemed like a good opportunity to teach my two boys how to drive manual. The first kid awake came out and did pretty well. The only time he stalled was when we were on a bit of hill and there was a car behind him so he panicked a bit and stalled. The lady behind us was nice and backed up to give him some room to try and he did fine then. Then he wanted to head over to his girlfriends house so I drove him. We of course did as hard a pull as the little 2.8 could do. He said his face was hurting because he was smiling so much both when he was driving and when he was a passenger. Maybe the bug has bit him now.

Anyway, later in the day son #2 gave it a go. Our driveway has a bit of a dip at the bottom. Well, he got hung up in there a bit and I think he wasn't letting the clutch out all the way. He stalled a couple times and then we started to get some smoke from the engine bay, presumably from the clutch. We switched and I backed out onto the street for him. He drove a bit down the road, probably a quarter mile or so, around a turn and then when he went to shift to 2nd he couldn't get it into gear. I think he wasn't pushing the clutch all the way down, so we pulled over and switched again. I headed up the slight incline, and then after we turned again I went 1st, 2nd and 3rd and on third I was slipping. By then we were on a slight downgrade, and I wasn't getting anything in any gear. We coasted down the hill and got close to home, then pushed the car the rest of the way to the house (with the help of a family of 6 that just happened to be driving by).

Anyway, clutch might be fried or might be fine after it cools off. I'm guessing with only 50k, it is the original clutch so it is probably pretty old. Might be just the excuse I need to tear things apart and see how they tick. Fun fun!

84fiero123 ( MSG #19, 12-24-2015 08:15 PM
      If the smoke wasn't colored blue, black or any real dark color or smell bad I would guess you didn't cover the rear vents before the snow fell? And that may be all it is, most of us throw peace of 1/4" plywood over those when winter is coming, or some rug material, just cut ether one to size and in the spring when the snow has melted just store them under or behind each seat.

or it could be a leaking main seal in the engine or trany if it is colored smoke, clutch slipping has a smell all its own and you will know it when you smell it. But also if it was one of those seals it could also have damaged the clutch.



GTGeff MSG #20, 12-24-2015 08:36 PM
Check the clutch fluid reservoir level.

Patrick ( MSG #21, 12-24-2015 08:44 PM
Originally posted by Bob2112:

He stalled a couple times and then we started to get some smoke from the engine bay, presumably from the clutch.

A burning clutch has a distinctive aroma. What did you smell at the time?

Originally posted by zzzhuh:

Hey Bob, I happened to stumble upon this video:

1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula

Uh oh, it's missing the wind deflector for the sunroof!

[This message has been edited by Patrick (edited 12-24-2015).]

Bob2112 MSG #22, 12-25-2015 02:19 AM
      Thanks guys. I'll check the fluid level.

The smoke was pretty light colored, and was a rubbery type smell. Kind of like when a belt is slipping a lot and starts to smoke. I had driven it around earlier in the day, so I wouldn't think it was just snow/water steaming off the engine. The main reason I assumed it was the clutch was the fact that I had no grab from the engine when in gear.

Bob2112 MSG #23, 12-25-2015 07:23 PM
      Am I imagining things or did I see a post somewhere about someone that will take the VIN/Option tag and make a nice looking certificate listing things out? I've been trying google and Pennock's searches and I can't seem to track it down now.

Rexgirl MSG #24, 12-26-2015 01:24 AM
      Is this what you are looking for?

Bob2112 MSG #25, 12-26-2015 01:27 AM
      I don't think so, but that is very handy. Thanks!!

Bob2112 MSG #26, 12-29-2015 09:29 PM
      Last week or so got this:

Today I got this!

[This message has been edited by Bob2112 (edited 08-28-2017).]

litespd MSG #27, 12-30-2015 01:06 AM
Originally posted by Bob2112:

Am I imagining things or did I see a post somewhere about someone that will take the VIN/Option tag and make a nice looking certificate listing things out? I've been trying google and Pennock's searches and I can't seem to track it down now.

You might try to message Fiero Toy Box here on the forum...that's Ray Paulk. He used to take the codes and make a nice printout of what everything was. Not sure if he still does it or not, or if he even frequents the forum anymore, but it's worth a shot.

Bob2112 MSG #28, 01-01-2016 04:40 PM
      Tried out the clutch today and it still is non-existent. Fluid looks fine, but no engagement at all. Once the weather warms up a bit I'll get the car up, the cradle down and mess around with it. Since I'll have the cradle down anyway, I figure I might as well just put a new clutch assembly in all at once. Assuming I'll be keeping the 2.8 in there for a year or two, what are some recommended upgrades to the clutch/transmission system? I'm not worried about the cost, although I don't want to go crazy since I plan to go the F40 route eventually.

Patrick ( MSG #29, 01-01-2016 05:14 PM
Originally posted by Bob2112:

Tried out the clutch today and it still is non-existent. Fluid looks fine, but no engagement at all.

Clutch "engagement" can occur just fine with no fluid... so it's unclear what you're describing. A non-functioning clutch hydraulic system would result in no dis-engagement of the clutch.

Bob2112 MSG #30, 01-01-2016 05:24 PM
      I had just checked the fluid because someone mentioned it above. I agree, I wouldn't think fluid had anything to do with engagement.

Patrick ( MSG #31, 01-01-2016 05:45 PM
Originally posted by Bob2112:

I agree, I wouldn't think fluid had anything to do with engagement.

Correct, the fluid has nothing to do with clutch engagement.

Bob2112 MSG #32, 01-05-2016 12:51 AM
      Putting my shopping list together for when I pull out the transaxle to check out and probably replace the clutch. Figure I'll change the oil pan gasket, belts, fluids, maybe rear main seal, and put on Koni shocks and struts while I have the car up and cradle down.

What's the opinion on clutch kits? Should I just stick with a stock replacement or go with a RAM HDX? I doubt I'll be getting much more power out of the 2.8 anytime soon, but if the HDX doesn't noticeably increase the amount of pressure it takes to press the clutch pedal then I wouldn't think it would hurt to upgrade.

Also, any other parts I should replace while the car is up?

zzzhuh MSG #33, 01-05-2016 01:14 PM
Originally posted by Bob2112:

What's the opinion on clutch kits? Should I just stick with a stock replacement or go with a RAM HDX? I doubt I'll be getting much more power out of the 2.8 anytime soon, but if the HDX doesn't noticeably increase the amount of pressure it takes to press the clutch pedal then I wouldn't think it would hurt to upgrade.

Also, any other parts I should replace while the car is up?

I've read people doing 3.4L swaps and recommend the stock AC delco clutch replacement. It has a nice clutch feel, and quality as well. If the RAM is less, I'd get it. But no need to waste money on something that might be more of a leg workout, than an 'improvement.'

If you aren't in a rush, I'd take off the manifolds and port them. It's a good 5-10HP gain. Patrick can chime in on his tool set he uses that will take about 10 seconds to port each hole.

[This message has been edited by zzzhuh (edited 01-05-2016).]

Bob2112 MSG #34, 01-05-2016 02:43 PM
      Porting isn't a bad idea. The engine will be hanging, but I'm sure the exhaust manifolds will be easier to take out since the cross over pipe is disconnected anyway. Then after I get the car back down, it wouldn't be much trouble to pull the intake from above. The coolant will already be out, air filter housing off, and probably some other small parts out of the way. I'll see what I can find on the interwebs about porting. I'll be picking up a cheap die grinder this weekend since they are on sale at HF. I could also pick up a dremel tool while I'm at it.

Patrick ( MSG #35, 01-06-2016 03:40 AM
Originally posted by zzzhuh:

If you aren't in a rush, I'd take off the manifolds and port them. It's a good 5-10HP gain. Patrick can chime in on his tool set he uses that will take about 10 seconds to port each hole.

As requested...

Originally posted by Patrick in This thread:

My buddy has a Hole Saw kit (similar to what's pictured below) which includes a cutter which is the exact same size as the inside of the manifold ports.

You may not wish to hear this, but it takes about ten seconds per port to do a perfect job! I'm not kidding. I'm surprised more people don't use this method.

And regarding a replacement clutch... I installed a LUK 04088 clutch kit ($74.79 at RockAuto) in my '88 Formula more than two years ago. Daily driven and autocrossed repeatedly. Works just fine.

[This message has been edited by Patrick (edited 01-06-2016).]

Bob2112 MSG #36, 01-06-2016 03:42 AM
      Awesome - thanks! That is a nice price for a clutch - I'll check it out.

Bob2112 MSG #37, 01-12-2016 11:18 PM
      Ordered up most my parts, should be here over the coming week. Clutch, gaskets (oil pan, rear main, valve covers, intake, exhaust), and belts. Also got some 12 ton jack stands at HF on sale this weekend to get the car up nice and high.

Anyway - what's the best shock for the front since Koni doesn't make the front anymore?

Patrick ( MSG #38, 01-12-2016 11:28 PM
Originally posted by Bob2112:

Anyway - what's the best shock for the front since Koni doesn't make the front anymore?

Some people might say KYB, but I doubt you'd notice much if any difference between them and Monroe Sensa-Tracs.

Bob2112 MSG #39, 01-12-2016 11:30 PM
      Guess I'll treat them as equal and see which I can get cheaper.

Patrick ( MSG #40, 01-12-2016 11:50 PM
Originally posted by Bob2112:

Guess I'll treat them as equal and see which I can get cheaper.

Check Monroe's website. Every year about this time they offer rebates on Sensa-Tracs. Several years ago (after rebate) I paid a total of $40 (which included shipping) for a complete set of shocks and struts. Yes, ten bucks apiece!

Bob2112 MSG #41, 02-15-2016 11:05 PM
      Finally got the Formula turned around and pushed into the garage. When I get the chance, I'll post a detailed step by step process of my clutch replacement. I googled around, and found some articles and videos, but nothing was really well illustrated. Hopefully if anyone ever needs to change their clutch, the details will help. I'm sure most of these steps are old news for the regular folks around Pennocks, but I figure it is pretty easy for them to ignore my posts. I'm going to do some other stuff along the way too, like the oil pan gaskets, rear main seal, shocks, and maybe some port work too. We'll see how impatient I get to get the car on the road again!

Bob2112 MSG #42, 02-21-2016 11:47 PM
      Here's, hopefully novice friendly, step by step details of how I removed the cradle on my 1988 Formula Fiero. There are some steps that can be skipped here, but most of them are pretty easy. While you can always drop the cradle with the engine still attached, this saves you the trouble of disconnecting coolant, electrical and some emissions stuff. And you still have access to the engine and transmissions for lots of possible tasks. Changing transmission, replacing clutch, replacing oil pan, rear main seal, belts and plenty more can be accessed easily when the cradle is out of the way. Lots of suspension work can be done at this time as well.

Credit where due - I read these articles to help guide the way:

Here we go:
1. Remove deck lid. Be sure to only remove the 2 bolts on each side that attach to the deck lid. Don't remove the bolt for the torsion bar. Also, it isn't a bad idea to put something in front of your rear window in case the torsion bar strap breaks. Good idea to cover your surfaces at this point unless your paint isn't worth the effort.

2. Disconnect Battery - pretty straight forward. Might be a good time to clean up the battery tray.

3. Remove "S" air inlet tube - a regular screwdriver is all that is needed to remove the two screw clamps.

Tube removed:

Bob2112 MSG #43, 02-21-2016 11:56 PM
      4. Detach upper engine "dog bone" strut - Two bolts here, sometimes need to pry the engine a bit to take some pressure off the bolts. You can leave the strut in place and just remove one bolt, but I like to remove the whole thing. Good time to clean it up.


5. Remove slave - This is easy enough with two nuts being removed from threaded studs. Do not press the clutch pedal once the slave is removed.

Slave removed and held off to the side (left side of picture)

6. Disconnect shift cables. Remove the bolt and push the connector through the eyelet to disconnect it. These can then be placed out of the way. The one cable fits nicely behind the deck lid hinge.

7. Remove shift cable bracket - could be left, but it is easy to remove and is one less thing in your way.

With bracket removed, and shiftcables out of the way

8. Unplug VSS/speedo sensor and backup light - just unplug

Bob2112 MSG #44, 02-22-2016 12:09 AM
      9. Disconnect crossover pipe from exhaust manifolds & EGR pipe. This can be a tricky one. The exhaust manifold bolts are usually pretty rusty so a breaker bar and some penetrating oil will be helpful. The nuts are welded to the flange, but I had one break off. Thankfully it was the top rear nut and was easy enough to get a wrench on both sides. Also be very careful with the EGR pipe. It may take a little wiggling to get it lose, but don't push it hard since it can break fairly easily.

10. Remove crossover pipe from exhaust. For a quick clutch change, this step can be skipped, but even then, things are easier with the crossover pipe out of the way. For anything more than transmission access, you'll want to remove it. There are two bolts that can be accessed from under the car. Again, penetrating oil and a breaker bar are the order of the day. Lift the car, remove the bolts (be sure not to lose the springs) and then lower the car again. From the top, unplug the O2 sensor (can be seen in earlier pictures better) and then lift the crossover pipe out of the engine compartment.

With the crossover pipe removed:

Bob2112 MSG #45, 02-22-2016 12:23 AM
      11. Secure engine. There are multiple way to do this. Some build a jig from metal, some wood, some use the GM tool if they can find one. I built a ladder shaped support from scrap 2x4's in my garage. One 'leg' rests on the hinge supports, and the other on the strut mounts. I then threaded a chain through both engine hoist points on the engine. One is forward and to the right, the other is rearward and to the left.

12. Jack up front and then rear of car as high as possible. You can also use an engine hoist to lift the car of course, but I used jacks just because I was too lazy to unfold the hoist. My front jacks are 6 ton and the rear are 12 ton. The 12 ton jacks go pretty high. I managed to get them up to about 26" which mean the back of the car was three feet off the ground. Plenty of room to work under the car. Also, I've read it is good to put a piece of lumber across the rear jack stands, and that lumber should be just foward of the cradle. There are a couple reinforced areas that protect the coolant tubes that made a good spot for the lumber to go. I used a 1x4, but a 2x4 would be fine too of course. Finally, because the jacks are near the center of balance for the car, throw some weight up front. I put a couple 40# bags of cat litter on the front tires.

13. Remove rear wheels

14. Drain engine and transmission fluid. Don't miss this step! If so, you'll have a mess when you pull the axles out. Also, if you want to drain the coolant this is a good time to do so, but not required.

15. Remove E-brake from cradle. This is a bit tricky. You need to remove the end of the cable AND remove the cable coming from the front of the car to the equalizer bar. I used needle nose vice-grips to hold the cable clip in place and then a flat screwdriver to bend the metal enough to remove the cable end. The equalizer part is a bit easier, but it also requires bending the metal tang a bit. Once the front cable is free, pull/push it out of the cradle and secure it out of the way.


16. Remove E-brake from caliper. There is a bracket attached to a bridge bolt on the caliper. Once removed, the parking break cable and spring can easily be removed. Be sure to unclip the cable from the hanging clip in the fender well also, since this cable will be coming with the cradle. Replace the bridge botl without the ebrake bracket. Remove the caliper with the two T-55 torx bolts. I hang my calipers with some coat hanger so the weight of them is not on the rubber break line. This is a good time to change brake pads if you are so inclined.

Bob2112 MSG #46, 02-22-2016 12:34 AM
      17. Remove strut bolts and sway bar bolt. These can be stubborn, but there is a lot of room to work on them. I used my impact wrench and that made short work of them. Remove the nuts from the two strut bolts, but leave the bolts in place until you are ready to remove the hub and axle assembly. The sway bar bolt is small and easy to break lose, but getting all the washers to slide off can be tricky if it is rusty.

18. Remove toe link and trailing arm bolts. Hopefully I have those terms correct. Again, an impact wrench makes short work of these. Once removed, the hub assembly will be hanging from the strut bolts.

19. Remove hub and axle assembly. Using a special GM tool, or pry bar, pop out the axle. Then, remove the two strut bolts and carefully pull the hub assembly and axle out. Be sure to support the axle so that it won't fall down and become over extended.

20. Remove strut. From above, unbolt the center bolt that attached to the strut. Have a helper hold the strut, or just make sure nothing is under it and let it fall. The other bolts of the strut housing can be removed if you want to clean up those parts.

21. Repeat the brake and suspension disassemly steps for the other side.

Axles and struts removed:

Bob2112 MSG #47, 02-22-2016 01:07 AM
      22. Detach lower portion of splash shield. This will be either screw in or pop in plastic trim pieces. Remove them as appropriate. There are two or three on each side. If you want to do more extensive cleaning, you can remove the entire inner fender and splash shield.

23. Remove engine and transaxle mount bolt. There are three of these mounts. The front transaxle mount bolts are above the e-brake equalizer. The rear transaxle mount is actually one nut and one bolt. The bolt is slightly higher than the nut. The engine mount is two nuts. Unbolt all of them.

Front trans mount:

Rear trans mount:

Engine mount:

24. Lower rear cradle. First, place a jack on the rear cradle so that it is holding the weight of it. I'd say lift the car slightly off the jack stands so that you know the weight of the cradle is being lifted. Then remove the two cradle bolts. Sorry, but I neglected to get pictures of these. They may be hiding behind the splash guards. They are vertical bolts, but they are big and easy to find. Unbolt those, then slowly lower the jack. The entire cradle should come down. Check as it is coming down to make sure nothing is hung up. If yours acts like mine, after a few inches of drop, the cradle will get stuck. It took me a while, but I figured out it gets hung up on the rear transaxle mount. You could remove the entire mount, but I found it was easier to just use a tire iron or other large pry bar to push the transaxle forward a bit. As you do so, the cradle will continue to drop. I'd suggest keeping your jack tightened with maybe an inch of space under the cradle. Push the transaxle forward and the cradle down. Then lower the jack a little more and repeat until the transaxle mount is totally clear. It is kind of tough to see in the picture, but it will make sense when you see it in person.

The other main item to watch is the exhause pipe. It will want to get hung up on the coolant pipe. I unhooked the springs on the exhaust and used that play to push the exhaust pipe forward and down past the coolant pipe and then things were fine.

Rear of cradle down

25. Lower front of cradle. Put jack on the front of the cradle and then remove the front cradle bolts. I used two jacks for this. It is a bit tight, but you can get an impact wrench in to undo the nut on the cradle bolt. Once that is done, use a pry bar to lever out the bolt. You may need to experiment with one jack on the front of the cradle and one on the rear to take the pressure off the cradle bolts. Took me a couple tries, but eventually the bolts slid right out. Then you will slowly lower the jack the front of the cradle. Viola! Cradle is down and you have easy access to both it, and the engine bay. The cradle is actually pretty easy to move around without the engine on it.

zzzhuh MSG #48, 02-22-2016 01:23 AM

Great stuff! There is a video from lostnotforgotten that shows the steps, but this write up is great. I will definitely be using this when I swap my engine out.

Keep up the good work, and try to stay warm!

Bob2112 MSG #49, 02-22-2016 01:25 AM
      Thanks! I believe the video you mentioned is to drop the cradle with the engine still attached, although I haven't watched everything on his channel so I might be mistaken. In any case - glad you liked it.

Where abouts in Colorado are you?

zzzhuh MSG #50, 02-22-2016 01:27 PM
Originally posted by Bob2112:
Where abouts in Colorado are you?

You've got a PM

Bob2112 MSG #51, 02-24-2016 11:40 PM
      Took the day off to fix the heater core in my truck. Got that done and still had some time, so I got the transmission out of the car. The clutch isn't just 'worn' - it is completely devoid of friction material.

At first I thought maybe a rat had died in the bellhousing:

But wait - maybe the rat is hiding in the pressure plate?

Nope - no rats. Just a thoroughly cleaned clutch. I guess the material just fell apart and spun itself right off the clutch.

Bob2112 MSG #52, 05-15-2016 10:53 PM
      Wow, can't believe almost three months have gone by! Guess I better get caught up here.

2/27/16 - Removed the flywheel and took it in to a machine shop in Littleton to get it turned down. Here's a picture before hand. You'd think I'd take a picture of it when it was all nice and clean, but you'd be wrong. Great guy at the machine shop - very affordable too. G&S Auto Parts and Machine Shop for anyone in the Denver metro looking for an old school shop.

While I was at it, I removed the oil pan to clean it up. Well, as I was brushing away the rust, I went right through the pan. I guess it didn't have any metal left in spots. So I ordered up a new one from Rock Auto.

I think it is neat looking at the inside of an engine. When working on these older cars I find it amazing to think I might be the first person to have seen this view in almost 30 years.

3/5/2016 - The next weekend I took the new clutch and pressure plate, and the turned flywheel and put all that back together. Was a piece a cake to install.

3/6/2016 - With the engine hanging in the air, it was also very easy to remove the motor mount so I can replace it with a much nicer looking, and more solid, poly mount.

3/13/2016 - Put on the new rear main seal and oil pan. I have read that sometimes oil can leak onto the clutch. Normally, that oil burns off on a daily driver, but a car that sits a long time can have oil soak into the clutch material and cause it to break down. Perhaps that's what happened to my clutch. So I figure I will change most of the gaskets that typically leak and the rear main is of course an important one.

3/20/16 - I put new poly mounts on the anti-sway bar as well.

3/21/2016 - After a fun day of shoving, lifting, twisting and pushing - and lots of cursing too - I managed to get the cradle back under the engine and transmission. The transmission mounts weren't too bad, but it was tricky getting the two bolts of the motor mount to land in the cradle holes just right. In any case, it is done now and the cradle and engine are back where they belong - in the car!

Motor mount and new oil pan:

Front transmission mount:

Rear transmission mount:

[This message has been edited by Bob2112 (edited 08-28-2017).]

Bob2112 MSG #53, 05-21-2016 12:44 AM
      3/26/16 - Once I had bought the new strut tower pieces and parts (boots, bump, mounting plate, etc) I compressed the spring and put the whole assembly together and then installed it on the car.

All ready to install:

On the car:

The strut went on fairly easily, although the passenger side top bolt doesn't move as freely as I think it should. I suspect this might cause problems when I adjust the camber, but we shall see.

4/24/16 - Started taking apart the top part of the engine. I took a ton of pictures, so if you need to see where a given hose or component goes, I probably have a picture of it.

Plenum removed:

Fuel rail removed:

4/27/16 - With the bottom manifold removed, I started cleaning parts and getting ready to put it all back together. The top of the head assembly looked very clean. Probably by virtue of the relatively low miles of the car.

Ready to reassemble.

4/30/16 - Lower manifold back on.

5/2/16 - Valve covers back on.

5/8/16 - Middle manifold back on.

Also, on the same day, I installed Rodney's stainless steel vacuum lines. They look pretty cool in my opinion.

5/15/16 - Finally all put back together and ready to drive!

After so much disassembly I always assume something won't work when I get things back together. But the car started up fine and was only about 3 or 4 degree away from proper timing. I got the timing dialed in and then took the car for a deck-less cruise around the neighborhood. It worked! The clutch engaged without a problem and the Syncromesh fluid seemed to make it easier to shift into gear. I did have a clunk once or twice, but that might have just been the cradle and/or new strut components settling in. If it occurs again I'll try to track it down. The exhaust is still kind of rattly, might be that I need a new muffler, or could be a loose heat shield. I'll need to investigate further.

I didn't see any oil leaks which is great, and the transmission worked fine which is also great. The thermostat housing to manifold connection leaks very slowly. I managed to get about 3 or 4 drops of fluid under the car in about 20-30 minutes, so I went ahead and tightened the bolts a bit more. Not getting anything under the car now, but it is still damp after the car runs so it is still leaking. The forward bolt didn't seem right. It didn't seem cross threaded but maybe it was. I might just deal with the leak until I feel like tearing down the manifold again and then I can replace or tap the thermostat housing bolt hole. For now it was good enough to put the deck lid back on and park the car in the driveway again. My wife was happy to have her garage spot back.

I also used a camber gauge to adjust the rear wheels. I'll probably do this a couple more times after the car has been driven a bit. It wasn't too far off of spec. The passenger side that is tighter than it should be was a challenge. I had to have my wife tighten the bolts while I put all my weight into pushing the strut in. It is still 1/4 degree beyond the spec (-1.75 compared to -1 +/- .5) but it could be worse I suppose. I probably need to take the strut off and just reassemble it or something. Another mini--project for later. I have a gauge to measure the toe as well but I haven't got to that yet.

So far so good. Haven't driven it long enough to really detect other problems. I am going to go get the temp tags this week hopefully and then drive to work a couple days before I take it to the emissions station.

Also - I noticed on this coffee can there are what look like vacuum hose connections, but I don't see any unattached hoses anywhere. What is this can even for?

Bob2112 MSG #54, 06-02-2016 11:45 PM
      Got my temp tag last week and I have been driving the Fiero to work all week. Sure is nice to drive a Fiero after so many years away from them. Transmission is easy to put into all the gears and the clutch feels just fine. No fluid leaks that I can see yet other than the moisture around the thermostat housing. Last Saturday I washed the car and it really does have nice paint on it. Today I took it out on the interstate for a few miles to makes sure 5th gear was working and to see if there were any high speed shakes. Up to 60mph all was good! Too much traffic to go any faster, but so far so good.

I just need to put the front shocks on and the hood struts I bought, and then everything I've purchased thus far will be on the car and I can start thinking about the next mod. Probably headlights or LED tail lights....

crt454 MSG #55, 06-03-2016 01:17 AM
      Nice looking car. The coffee can is for the cruise control. I can't remember how the vacuum lines hook up to it though.

TXOPIE ( MSG #56, 06-03-2016 09:37 AM
Originally posted by Bob2112: that a 64 1/2 or a 65 Mustang in the back?
My 1st car was a 64 1/2 in Wimbledon white, palomino interior, rally pack (clock & tach on the steering column) & 3 speed Hurst shifter.

davylong86 MSG #57, 06-03-2016 09:40 AM
      Nice car! Thanks for going into great detail and with the pics to boot. This will be a lot of help when the time comes to drop my engine. Also helps to know what parts to have on hand to do the job right.

Bob2112 MSG #58, 06-03-2016 12:04 PM
      TXOPIE - It is a 65 with a long, slow restoration story. If you are interested there is a link in my signature. I'm guessing your 64 1/2 had the old generator on it then. Sounds like a classic, I'm guessing you didn't keep it? I still have my first car, which was also the car I grew up in - a 1977 Chevy Impala station Wagon. My dad got it when I was about 2 or 3 years old and I still have it today.

Hi Davy! Thanks and glad it is helpful. If you are removing the engine entirely there are a few more steps like disconnecting the cooling lines and electricals, but not much more. Lostnotforgotten has a nice video on youtube for pulling the cradle and engine together. But for some work you don't really need to remove the engine anyway, and I couldn't find a well documented process with pictures for cradle dropping without removing the engine.

Bob2112 MSG #59, 06-26-2016 07:52 PM
      A Sunday Fiero update. I had hoped to go to a poker run yesterday, but the week before last I was driving home and my oil filter came off. I then left to do some house hunting in TN and so while the fix was easy, I wasn't ready to push my luck on a drive some distance from home. Seems fine though, so hopefully I'll make it to a show soon.

This weekend was a Fiero weekend. Did a number of little things.

1. Took off my steering wheel and then realized I didn't have an installation kit for the new one. I'll have to wait until next weekend for that.

2. Installed the metal dog bone cover that Rodney sells. I only bought it since I was already ordering a new tach filter.

3. My tach reads about 300 rpm too high, so I figured I'd at least rule out the tach filter. Installed a new one with no change, so back to the drawing board. I suppose I'll need to adjust the needle or install a potentiometer in the circuit. I can live with it for now.

4. Not wanting my Fiero to become the latest news story, I pulled the heater fan resistor bundle and did some digging and shop vacuuming to get the bulk of the crap in the heater box out of there. The fan certainly blows better now.

5. While my A/C has worked since i got the car, it always cycled faster than I felt comfortable with. Although it is an R-12 system, it has the R-134 coupler on the line so I figure it is possble someone put 134 in the system. I don't like running all 134 on an older compressor so I bought some R-12a. I evaced the system and put the r-12a in. The cycling went down to a rate I would expect and the air blows even colder than it did before.

6. Finally (unless I'm forgetting something) I removed my ugly hood prop and replaced it with a gas strut that I bought from someone on this forum. I bought the duel kit, but hte single was pretty darn strong so I might just leave it like that. If I decide to add the other one, it was a pretty easy job. Before and after pic below:

That's all for now - steering wheel and maybe front shocks next weekend.

Patrick ( MSG #60, 06-26-2016 10:20 PM
Originally posted by Bob2112:

I was driving home and my oil filter came off.


How the heck did that happen?

Bob2112 MSG #61, 06-26-2016 11:41 PM
      That is a good question. My oil pressure is a little bit higher than what I would expect, but not anything crazy like a pegged needle at 80. I'm going to chalk this one up to a faulty oil filter. From cruising the internet, it seems it isn't unheard of. Certainly a first for me. If it happens again though, I'll need to examine the oil system in more detail and see if there is something amiss, whether simple like worn threads on the oil filter 'stud' or a complex like a pump that is pushing too much oil.

Bob2112 MSG #62, 06-26-2016 11:45 PM
      Two more notes -

1. The hood struts came from sluppy123. Nicely packaged and good instructions.

2. I forgot to mention I have my plates now, so I'm done dealing with the DMV for a while.

Patrick ( MSG #63, 06-26-2016 11:49 PM
Originally posted by Bob2112:

I'm going to chalk this one up to a faulty oil filter. From cruising the internet, it seems it isn't unheard of.

Was there any indication that oil pressure was dropping as the filter was possibly loose, leaking and unscrewing itself... or did the filter just suddenly blow off?

Bob2112 MSG #64, 06-26-2016 11:53 PM
      There weren't any indications it was working loose. No drop in pressure, no leaking oil. I just was driving home from work one day and it popped right off.

Patrick ( MSG #65, 06-26-2016 11:56 PM
Originally posted by Bob2112:

I just was driving home from work one day and it popped right off.

Okay, last question... I promise! What brand was the oil filter, just so we can avoid it.

Bob2112 MSG #66, 06-27-2016 12:00 AM
      I wish I knew! I'd avoid it as well. I looked for the filter a few days later on my route home, but by then the street crew must have picked it up.

Patrick ( MSG #67, 06-27-2016 12:07 AM
Originally posted by Bob2112:

I wish I knew! I'd avoid it as well.

Ah, I see. Thanks Bob.

Bob2112 MSG #68, 06-27-2016 12:11 AM
      I made a mental note this time that it is a mobile 1 on there this time. Of course, if it happens again, I doubt it is the filter that is the issue.

Bob2112 MSG #69, 07-25-2016 11:59 PM
      Been working on the Mustang lately and driving the Fiero daily. Had a nice Sunday meet up this week with the Mile High Fiero Club. We went to a large car collection called Rambler Ranch here in Colorado. Nine Fieros made it out to the event along with one Fiero owner whose Fiero wasn't quite up for the trip. Was nice chatting with some other folks who appreciate our awesome little cars. Plus it was a good test for mine since this was the most I drove it in a day. It did fine for the most part, 80 miles, with the A/C on and heat and oil were just fine. The only issue I had was I couldn't restart the car without wiggling the negative battery lead. Once I got home for the day, and upon further investigation, turns out the wire-to-terminal connection was pretty dirty and old so I wire brushed the connection and wires and that seemed to fix things for now. I went ahead and replaced the battery while I was at it. I'll add "new battery wires" to the list....

Bob2112 MSG #70, 08-28-2017 11:25 PM
      Wow! Its been a little over a year already!

I've moved to a new house in middle Tennessee (near Spring Hill) and spent most of the winter months doing some last remodeling work on my Denver home before selling it. I'm still in Denver each month for work, but all things automotive have moved to middle TN. My new place has a 30x40 pole barn that I've been slowly working on to make into my dream garage. I put in a solid concrete floor for hydralic lift support and now I'm slowly working on getting the ceiling and walls insulated. Along with the shop work, I've ripped out a bunch of bushes and in the next couple weeks I'm having a 22' x 40' concrete pad poured adjacent to the shop that I'll put a car port over so I have some extra parking outside the shop for things like my trailer, tractor and parts cars.

Speaking of parts cars, I picked up a 2006 Monte Carlo SS the other day that was wrecked but has a running LS4 in it. It wasn't far from home, about an hour drive up in Clarksville. I had some fun getting it on the trailer, but we managed. Now I just need to find an F40 transmission. If any Monte Carlo owners out there need parts, just let me know.

KissMySSFiero ( MSG #71, 08-31-2017 04:42 PM
      It's nice seeing some LS4 swaps with a manual happen. Here's mine mated to an F23.
This is also a test to see if amazon photos allows 3rd party viewing.

Bob2112 MSG #72, 08-31-2017 06:20 PM
      I'm not seeing your pic.

I just had to edit all these posts and move my pictures to Pennock's Image Hosting. Works great, wish I had used it in the first place. On my Mustang forum and garage journal forum I am using Postimage to host my pics. I never trusted photobucket completely so I always kept copied of my pics on my harddrive so it hasn't been too terribly difficult to rehost them elsewhere. I try to knock out a a few posts a night.

As to the swap, I agree - manual LS4's are cool. I'm going with the F40 though. Depending on how it works out for fieroguru I may even try to do the 3.09 final drive hybrid F40.

Bob2112 MSG #73, 11-06-2018 01:07 PM
      A minor update - I have successfully removed the LS4 from the donor car. I have some other projects that need wrapped up, but at least I can get the donor car off to the scrap metal place. I've sold quite few parts off of it, so I'm nearly to the point where the engine was free (not counting my time spent on disassembly of course).