Click here to visit The FieroStore | View all sponsors
  Pennock's Fiero Forum
  General Fiero Chat
  The Truth about the Fiero.....

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Email This Page to Someone! | Printable Version


next newest topic | next oldest topic
The Truth about the Fiero..... by cvxjet
Started on: 01-08-2019 12:55 PM
Replies: 34 (1345 views)
Last post by: cvxjet on 01-25-2019 09:44 PM
cvxjet
Member

Posts: 1465
From: ca, usa
Registered: May 2010


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-08-2019 12:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cvxjetClick Here to Email cvxjetSend a Private Message to cvxjetEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I have become quite frustrated with some of the idiotic claims against the Fiero....Not only recently, but even back in the 80s some of the road tests were full of smelly brown.......Stuff....

So I have written an article that I would be interested in getting published somewhere in one of the enthusiast sites/magazines.....I am trying to give a balanced assessment of the Fiero.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I run into a lot of people who think the Fiero was the world's worst car ever...and a few people who think it is a really great car. Both extremes are wrong and there is some information out there that will prove this.

I have owned a Fiero since I bought it new in 1985; SE V6...It was relatively fast, fun to drive and handled decently (Much better than most American cars of the time). I became interested in cars at the age of 12 when my Dentist bought a De Tomaso Pantera in 1972 (He probably could have pulled a tooth without novocaine with me staring at that car!) But when I could finally afford a used one in 1984-85, I had learned some facts about the Italian cars....Most of them (Ferraris, Panteras, Lambos, etc) had very poor ergonomics, poor reliability, and horrendous maintenance requirements. My Father's neighbor had his Ferrari 308 "Tuned up" back then for $1700! And he was not happy with it....The "Guaranteed" servicing would have cost twice as much! Although the Pantera uses a simple, reliable Ford V8, the rest of the car is problematic- Rust, cooling problems, ineffective ventilation, ergonomics based on some form of Alien life........

The Fiero had come out in 1984 to rave reviews....The one real downside being the low-power 2.5 liter 4 cylinder with only 92 hp....The next year they installed the 2.8 V6 with 140 hp, and improved the suspension. The reviews were glowing from Road & Track and Motor Trend......Only Car & Driver had started to denigrate the car....You can back-check me on this claim..."1985 Fiero GT Road Test" in either Motor Trend or R&T...Handling "very Impressive" and "safe"(R&T), "Twisty roads are the Fiero's forte" and the engine is "Turbine smooth, responsive and happy at it's work" (Motor Trend).....The Fiero would stay with both the 300ZX and the RX7 of the mid 80s!

As the years went by, GM improved the Fiero; 1985, V6 and suspension, 1986, 5spd trans and Flying-buttress GT, 1987, re-styled the base coupe, more suspension improvements, and 1988, the completely redesigned suspension. And, with each improvement, the magazines acknowledged the improvements, but their overall rating of the car went down-down-down....Until Car & Driver compared the 88 Formula to a base MR2 and CRX SI......"Much improved"..."The only drawbacks now are the instruments pointed at your navel and the steering is a nautilus workout"....Then they rated it number 3.....Raving about the "Light-switch" engine in the CRX and it's Daryl Hannah body. I should point out here, that the Fiero beat both the MR2 and CRX in lap time, Lateral "G" and straight-line acceleration, only really falling behind in braking distance.

I have to believe that the magazines were actually getting money from Toyota and Honda.....as proof, I offer this; AFTER the Fiero was cancelled, in 1989, the magazines tested the "Great" MR2, and suddenly.....It had a handling problem called DTO which stands for "Drop-Throttle Oversteer"...A dangerous handling quirk where, when entering a turn too fast, and then cutting the throttle to slow down, the rear of the car comes around.....Most mid-engine cars have this to some extent, while older 911s(REAR ENGINED) are notorious for it. Even the Fiero has it a bit, but it is VERY mild. The MR2 always had quite a bit, but the magazine tests NEVER mentioned it...Until after the Fiero had been eliminated as a competitor.

There are only 2 tests of the Fiero after 1985 that portray it as a good car; One is the TV Motorweek comparison of an 1988 Formula with a supercharged MR2....Although the MR2 was a bit faster and had some other pluses, in daily driving and comfort, the Fiero was the clear winner. The other was a Road & Track test for their 1987 Sports & GT annual special....Peter Egan tested a 1987 GT and found it to be a very good car overall, with a few places for improvement.

Was it a perfect car? Good grief no- especially compared to later cars....Improvements were coming very fast- just look at the changes in the Fiero! So of course, the Fiero does not hold up that well to, say, a 1995 Miata....The knowledge and the improvements were coming very quickly right around the time the Fiero was cancelled. It was one of the (Very) few Mid-engined cars to actually be comfortable and have good ergonomics before the Acura NSX came out in 1990. It's handling, although not as sharp as the best sports-cars, was safer for the hundreds of thousands of regular people who bought it....(I am reminded of the story of a Silicon-Valley man who took his company public, became a millionaire, bought a Ferrari 308....and was killed after losing control of it all in the same day)

The Fiero was actually an engineering marvel....It had a space-frame with separate body...including dent-resistant doors and fenders, and used a "Mill & Drill" machine to locate the separate body panels in perfect alignment on the frame. It was also one of the safest cars ever built......With a 5-star safety rating......Only a Volvo wagon matched this back in the 80s...Better roll over protection, side-impact protection, and the gas tank is located in the center-console (Basically, if you get hit hard enough to penetrate to the tank, you probably don't care anymore)...Of course, this led to complaints that the "Fiero is over-weight" ...Comparing it to the X1/9 and the MR2.....(Have you ever checked out the doors on those cars?...I have seen drum-skins that were stronger!) The Fiero is still much lighter than the contemporary 300 ZX....Which the Fiero equaled in
performance....

Another fallacy that is running around out there is that Pontiac COPIED Toyota's MR2....This is completely false; Pontiac was working on a 2 seat sporty car since around the time the Corvette first came out in the 50s.....The Actual "Fiero" program started in the late 70s and was testing prototypes by 1980....Although Toyota had a showcar in 1976, it was only slightly related to the actual production car which Toyota brought out in 1984 in Japan.

As far as the quality part of the Fiero's history,.....The Fiero was the first American car to be manufactured using the Deming's Total Quality Management system......."What is TQM?" you ask......TQM is what an AMERICAN(W. Edwards Deming) taught the Japanese about quality control in the 50s and 60s....And now ALL manufacturers use some version of this system. You read that right...an AMERICAN taught the Japanese quality control...They even have an award they give out called the "Deming Prize".

Was the Fiero a perfect car, quality-wise? Once again, no! TQM is a PROCESS, and takes time to get to high levels of quality....But I will give you an example; The only thing that went wrong with my 85 Fiero during the warranty was a heater fan.....After a week it started working again and I called the dealer to tell them.....They wanted to replace it anyway- The TQM system doesn't just replace a bad part- They wanted to EXAMINE that bad part back at the plant so they could apply that knowledge to making BETTER parts. The Fiero actually was a better quality car than most American cars throughout the 80s....Take a look at one, then compare it to the other US cars made during the 80s.

If you doubt the TQM story, simply do your own research......There are multiple sources on line...The reason I know so much about it is A) My Fiero's manufacturing used TQM, and B) I was trained in TQM at Naval Air Station Alameda......attended seminars on it...And watched the S-3 rework line change completely......We actually produced Zero-Defect aircraft.....To give context; No Aircraft line, whether rework or actual production, has EVER produced Zero-Defect aircraft.....In the history of flight! We were the first....Because of TQM.

And that brings us to the biggest/Worst myth about the Fiero; "They ALL catch fire!!!!" The facts are substantially different....There were 3 manufacturing problems with 5000 of the 110,000 Fieros built in 1984...Combined with poor owner maintenance they could lead to a fire. A small oil capacity, a mis-marked dipstick, and bad rods (Built at a remote plant) could lead to...Low oil, enthusiastic driving starving the engine for oil, causing a seized rod bearing, which could then cause rod failure, and then the rod could cut the oil pan next to the Catalytic converter, leading to a fire,,,The NHTSA has 167 incidents on record, while GM has 260 recorded incidents....All of the 5000 were recalled and corrected....The really interesting fact is; The Fiero, like the Ford Pinto (Another Media-claimed fire-bomb) actually has>>> A Better Fire-safety Record than the Average for ALL automobiles! Believe it or not, this is the truth!

Since the Fiero is now 30+ years old, there are some additional areas for concern, caused by aging; A) The Ventilation system has resistors for controlling fan speed which get hot- Debris, including rat's nests, can catch fire (Simply clean that area), B) Old Valve cover gaskets, head gaskets, etc can lead to oil leaking down on the exhaust- including the Cat- leading to fire (This can happen to a lot of older cars!) and C) The early headlight motors can suffer an internal switch breakage and continue to run after lowering.....The power does not shut off......overheating can lead to a fire- AFTER you have...Gone inside!

[This message has been edited by cvxjet (edited 01-25-2019).]

IP: Logged

David Hambleton
Member

Posts: 1339
From: Stoney Creek Ontario Canada
Registered: Nov 2012


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-08-2019 01:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for David HambletonClick Here to Email David HambletonSend a Private Message to David HambletonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Hear! Hear! Bravo! Well said!

Larry Webster is Hagerty magazine's editor. He might be interested...

IP: Logged

2.5
Member

Posts: 40137
From: Southern MN
Registered: May 2007


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 178
Rate this member

Report this Post01-08-2019 05:10 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Speaking of miss information out there. When its real bad some Fiero folks have been known to send their mind down a rabbit trail just to make it more rediculous.
When people insist that "they all catch fire", with a straight face you can tell them "only the green ones did". When they say "seriously"? Or give you a blank look. Ask them how many green ones they see, and say "well thats why you don't see them". If they say they have seen one, or if you own one like I do, you can say "mine is a repaint not stock green so I don't have a problem".

IP: Logged

hyperv6
Member

Posts: 5335
From: Clinton, OH, USA
Registered: Mar 2003


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 90
Rate this member

Report this Post01-08-2019 06:32 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

The key to being creditable is first being honest.

The Fiero while not as bad as people like to make it was still a cool car with flaws.

It was a car built under constraints. GM did not fund it properly or support it. But Pontiac used the wrong 4 cylinder and took too many short cuts just to get it to market.

No they all did not catch fire. But all the 4 cylinders did leak oil and the did catch with a flammable deck lid over top of it. This lead to very dramatic fires that the media ate up.

The handling on the early cars was good on a smooth surface but the bump steer makes it a hand full to drive fast easily, you can drive fast but you have to work for it.

A well tuned cars should be easy to drive stupid fast on uneven roads. To be fair many of GMs cars back then only handled well do to stiff springs and big tires. It was not till the GM Performance Division till the got the whole package right.

Now the Fiero was not the fastest or best handling but it was affordable and still very fun to drive. Much like a X1/9, MG or Spitfire they all have their quirks but that is the personality of the car. That often makes them special.

The truth is the MR2 was better sorted out in handling. The Honda was good for a FWD sporty car. Trust me I hate these cars but I have to be honest.

The Miata better fit people’s lives with a solid decent handling car with a usable trunk and drop top.

The bottom line is most low priced sports cars have faults. The MR2 rusted out as did the X1/9. The English cars always needed work. The Honda was not exactly cool.

The Fiero was cheap, still fun to drive, easy to work on and for the most did not need a lot of work.

The Fiero also did what it was intended to do save Pontiac. The division was dying and the Fiero brought a lot of attention to Oontisc and help sell a lot of Grand Ams that saved Pintisc and help put the target in Olds.

There is much more but the key is to credit the Fiero were it deserves and admit the warts were they lie. That makes you creditable and not look like just another blind fan boy.

IP: Logged

ZCR1
Member

Posts: 46
From: Reynoldsville, WV
Registered: Jul 2012


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-08-2019 06:56 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ZCR1Send a Private Message to ZCR1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

You may want to note or differentiate that the 911 is a rear engine car and not a mid. Minor, I know, but it's a good article written by a car guy for car people which means any slightly off car related detail will be caught.

IP: Logged

cvxjet
Member

Posts: 1465
From: ca, usa
Registered: May 2010


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-08-2019 07:22 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cvxjetClick Here to Email cvxjetSend a Private Message to cvxjetEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Thank you for the responses.....Maybe I will send this to Hagerty. There were actually more things the Mags biased towards the MR2; They claimed they had more trunk room- Yes, in the >>FRONT<< compartment...I did not have AC and moved the jack out of the way so I could put a camping cabinet my Father made up there...I used it as my camping vehicle from 1985 till 2000...One time, a friend who owned a 1st gen RX7 stated this myth...so I brought my car to work filled with the camping gear and parked next to him...at lunch we transferred the gear into his '7....We could only get 2/3s of it in there- and that was with it BLOCKING his rear window (I only had a small icebox in the passenger footwell- still plenty of room! My 3 different GFs were comfortable on trips)...

The comfort rating can be somewhat subjective.....But I have had a lot of people in my Fiero and they are always impressed with the room and comfort- the only complaint is that it is LOW......Well, It's a SPORTS car.....Try sitting in a Ferrari! The MR2 looked like a box, so it wasn't as low, but in my opinion (And a lot of others) it is LESS comfortable than the Fiero.

The handling comparison; Seriously, most people out there (In America) do not know how to drive a neutral handling car- Understeer is Safer for most people....And of course, in America, we had very smooth roads from WW2 on, so we never needed soft suspensions and long travel like Europe and Japan did with their bombed out roads....We lagged behind in fully developing our suspensions......The first American to push for good handling was Herb Adams at Pontiac with the Trans Am.

I would have liked Pontiac to have properly developed the car before they sold it......We are doing much better now.....But now there are few small, light sports cars (Miata and the FRS/BRZ twins are about it.....

Thanks for pointing out the 911 thingy...Yeah, someone would flame me for that...I will correct it......And I keep looking for those green Fieros but can't find them anywhere!!!!!

[This message has been edited by cvxjet (edited 01-08-2019).]

IP: Logged

David Hambleton
Member

Posts: 1339
From: Stoney Creek Ontario Canada
Registered: Nov 2012


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-08-2019 07:39 PM Click Here to See the Profile for David HambletonClick Here to Email David HambletonSend a Private Message to David HambletonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I really enjoy the Hagerty magazine; lots of great stories on a great variety of old cars. Larry's email is lwebster@hagerty.com

IP: Logged

trivet
Member

Posts: 731
From: Bay City, MI
Registered: Apr 2012


Feedback score:    (7)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-09-2019 03:39 PM Click Here to See the Profile for trivetClick Here to Email trivetSend a Private Message to trivetEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Great write up! You should really send this to Hagerty - help correct the ignorance that is prevalent about our cars.....

I really enjoyed reading that, and I will reference it often in the future, as you did a great job of covering the high points of the car while being honest about it's flaws.

[This message has been edited by trivet (edited 01-09-2019).]

IP: Logged

carguy8t8
Member

Posts: 148
From: Middlebury, IN
Registered: Apr 2010


Feedback score: (5)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-09-2019 05:14 PM Click Here to See the Profile for carguy8t8Click Here to Email carguy8t8Send a Private Message to carguy8t8Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

My response to the "don't they catch fire" question.

They only catch fire for the typical a**hat who doesn't properly maintain their vehicles. 30 years driving multiple Fiero's and mine has not even smoldered.

IP: Logged

ZCR1
Member

Posts: 46
From: Reynoldsville, WV
Registered: Jul 2012


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-09-2019 06:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ZCR1Send a Private Message to ZCR1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Lol, fires. The day I bought my '88, in 2008, I had a friend drive me from Rapid City to Sioux Falls, SD to pick it up. This is about a five hour trip each way in mid July and the temp was 102F. After going over the car and a thorough test drive, everything seamed in perfect order, so I closed the deal and we started the drive home. Well, about 30 minutes into the journey I suddenly noticed the rear window and mirrors were filled with a huge cloud of white smoke. I had no indication from the engine or gauges that anything was wrong and immediately pulled over and turned the car off. When I got out I could smell burning rubber and could see the smoke still rising from the vents. My buddy pulled in behind me and ran up carrying the fire extinguisher he keeps in his truck. I lifted the lid, thinking the worst, but saw no flames and the smoke cleared quickly. It didn't take long to find that the AC compressor had seized and the belt had fried itself. I decided to just cut the rest of the belt off and finish getting the car home, with no AC, driving west into the sun, in 100+ deg heat without any more problems. I think I was in more danger of catching fire inside my Fiero than it was.

IP: Logged

cvxjet
Member

Posts: 1465
From: ca, usa
Registered: May 2010


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-09-2019 09:35 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cvxjetClick Here to Email cvxjetSend a Private Message to cvxjetEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Thanks for all of the good comments...I tried to be balanced....But I really love this car!

The "Driving into the sun with no A/C" thing.....Man, it's like a Microwave oven......I was driving west into the basically setting sun in southern Idaho...Slowly melting......I see a sign; "EBR-1, 5 miles".......I'm hot and tired, so I sarcastically think, "What the heck is EBR-1?"....A few miles later I see a hand-painted sign; "EBR-1, first Nuclear reactor to generate electricity.......Free tours" I almost wrecked the car!

I drove on over to "Craters of the Moon" Nat'l Monument...But the next day, bright and early I went on that tour- Actually stood on top of the reactor (No, I do not glow in the dark!)....Out in the parking lot they have the two Nuclear Jet engine test rigs- can't get too close but wow! (This is in the middle of SERIOUS Nowhere!!!)

IP: Logged

2.5
Member

Posts: 40137
From: Southern MN
Registered: May 2007


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 178
Rate this member

Report this Post01-10-2019 05:20 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by cvxjet:

Thanks for all of the good comments...I tried to be balanced....But I really love this car!

The "Driving into the sun with no A/C" thing.....Man, it's like a Microwave oven......I was driving west into the basically setting sun in southern Idaho...Slowly melting......


Two things I do in a non ac car while driving, put the passenger window down so the outside air blows on the back of my neck, and open the ashtray doors and remove an ash tray or two. Feel for the heat to pour out those openings from the computer, the wind coming in hitting the back of your neck flows around and seems to pull the heat back out the window...

That or I'm nuts.

IP: Logged

edfiero
Member

Posts: 817
From: Coatesville, PA
Registered: Nov 2004


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-11-2019 01:14 PM Click Here to See the Profile for edfieroClick Here to Email edfieroSend a Private Message to edfieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Question...what suspension improvements are you referring to? I wasn't aware of anything worth mentioning until the 88 redesign.

IP: Logged

cvxjet
Member

Posts: 1465
From: ca, usa
Registered: May 2010


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-11-2019 02:02 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cvxjetClick Here to Email cvxjetSend a Private Message to cvxjetEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

The 85 Fiero had the front modified slightly for more travel (Barely) and tighter turning radius (Also barely)...The rear "Tie-rod" mounting points were moved to help eliminate some of the bumpsteer.

The 86 only had tuning done to the suspension.......Mainly shock differences and a smaller front stabilizer bar.

The 87 had more shock tuning......Also at some point they reinforced the front crossmember to make it more rigid.

These are very small changes......Believe it or not, my 85, with the 88 rear, handles very good now......Just tuning of components can make a huge difference. I could let you drive my '73 mach 1 (Stock original suspension) and then after I had changed out the shocks, springs, stabilizer bars and steering box internals......the change was absolutely shocking; A friend who races BMWs was very impressed with the results... (He was also the one who pointed out the weakness of the Gabriel Strider shocks I had on it, which opened my eyes to how much more advanced Bilstein shocks are compared to old tech- better handling/body control but also, at the same time, Much better ride!)

Everyone looks at suspension COMPONENTS while not paying enough attention to the tuning- it would be akin to installing a F1 engine in the Fiero (WooHoo!!!!) and then not tuning the engine at all (I mean not even so it could get started or run!)

IP: Logged

2.5
Member

Posts: 40137
From: Southern MN
Registered: May 2007


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 178
Rate this member

Report this Post01-11-2019 04:53 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by cvxjet:

The 87 had more shock tuning......Also at some point they reinforced the front crossmember to make it more rigid.

!)


I had two 86 2m4's one had the reinforcement and one did not. I have pics somewhere if I could find them.

IP: Logged

hyperv6
Member

Posts: 5335
From: Clinton, OH, USA
Registered: Mar 2003


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 90
Rate this member

Report this Post01-11-2019 06:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

The 84 to 85 had a rework of the front spindles for tighter turning. Also the rear got relocated tie rod mounts to prevent the excessive toe change of the 84.

IP: Logged

David Hambleton
Member

Posts: 1339
From: Stoney Creek Ontario Canada
Registered: Nov 2012


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-11-2019 09:56 PM Click Here to See the Profile for David HambletonClick Here to Email David HambletonSend a Private Message to David HambletonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by 2.5:I had two 86 2m4's one had the reinforcement and one did not. I have pics somewhere if I could find them.


Pics like these? The left one is the broken factory original from my '84, the right style is a POR15 coated replacement; I don't remember the year of the donor.



IP: Logged

formulaWA
Member

Posts: 272
From: Sumas WA
Registered: May 2004


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-12-2019 12:50 AM Click Here to See the Profile for formulaWASend a Private Message to formulaWAEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Now the Fiero was not the fastest or best handling but it was affordable and still very fun to drive. Much like a X1/9, MG or Spitfire they all have their quirks but that is the personality of the car. That often makes them special.

The truth is the MR2 was better sorted out in handling. The Honda was good for a FWD sporty car. Trust me I hate these cars but I have to be honest.


A couple of things to keep in mind here.

In 88 Auto week put a Formula up against a supercharged MR2 that cost 50% more.The end result was the Fiero was the car they chose because the MR2 was a handful while the Fiero was much better behaved on a race track. The other thing that most people don't take into account in the 80's comparison Fiero against MR2 CRX etc is that most sports cars came with performance summer tires as standard while the Fiero came with all season radials. Its like two sprinters in a race with one wearing nikes and the other wearing snowboots. The snow boots guy is going to have be a lot better to win. On any racetrack comparison tire quality makes a big difference in performance

Fireo vs MR2

IP: Logged

Raydar
Member

Posts: 37953
From: West ATL GA 'burbs Powder Springs
Registered: Oct 1999


Feedback score:    (11)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 449
Rate this member

Report this Post01-12-2019 11:16 AM Click Here to See the Profile for RaydarClick Here to Email RaydarSend a Private Message to RaydarEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by cvxjet:
...Believe it or not, my 85, with the 88 rear, handles very good now.


I don't know if you remember George Ryan, or not. He was one of the more successful Fiero autocrossers, back in the 80s and 90s.
He also had an 85 with an 88 rear cradle. Said that setup had the best "turn-in" of any Fiero he had ever driven, including an 88.

IP: Logged

wftb
Member

Posts: 3205
From: kincardine,ontario,canada
Registered: Jun 2005


Feedback score: (4)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-12-2019 11:33 AM Click Here to See the Profile for wftbClick Here to Email wftbSend a Private Message to wftbEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I have watched that video. The first thing that he mentions about the 88 was its new suspension and power steering. So the 88 model that was widely tested had power steering while the 88 that was sold did not have power steering (except for about 10 of them that were recalled to remove it). So I wonder how the tester would have felt if they tested one without power steering?
Overall, the main thing all the Fiero detractors miss is that it was a success. It sold in huge numbers. Yet it constantly gets called a failure. I think that is probably because of the bad publicity resulting from GM's denials about the 84's fire problems. They caught fire because a lot of them were shipped from the factory with defective connecting rods. When they broke, there was an oil leak alright- a hole in the block will do that. And all that oil went right on to a hot catylitic converter. Yet GM refused to recall the cars, so the media frenzy intensified just like it did with the Pinto and the Corvair. Even though no one got hurt, it was all you read about.

The number of fires will probably never be known. Estimates vary from 1 in every 20 to "just a handful" but GM handled it badly and made the problem worse. And only the 84's had the problem. There have been a few posts about 1984 cars breaking rods here on Pennocks, the most recent that I remember was around 7 years ago.

IP: Logged

cvxjet
Member

Posts: 1465
From: ca, usa
Registered: May 2010


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-12-2019 01:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cvxjetClick Here to Email cvxjetSend a Private Message to cvxjetEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

With my (Non) patented stabilizer mount system, my car has extremely good turn-in; The steering feels much quicker because the car reacts quicker to steering inputs......But with my mounting system for the bars, once you get into a turn, if you cut the throttle, it only has very mild DTO....on a freeway cloverleaf turn at the limit it will simply tighten the turn....and coming out of a turn I can apply basically ALL of the 3.4s power/torque.....If the car had come this way originally, it would have been very well received (Although I probably would have ground-looped it and disappeared into a deep canyon!)(Bought the car in May 85...So in June 85 I drove up to Trinity lake over the Buckhorn summit- that's where I would have.........>Ended< ) (Buckhorn summit; FORTY 25 mph turns...banked, well maintained(And 5 years ago I was talking about moving up there so I could enjoy it all the time.....So they STRAIGHTENED it....(Arrrggggggggg!)

The first time I drove my Fiero with the modded bar mounts, it felt like someone was turning the car in BEFORE I turned the wheel...(The slow reaction of the original setup is safe for most US drivers but just makes the car tend to plow)

IP: Logged

wftb
Member

Posts: 3205
From: kincardine,ontario,canada
Registered: Jun 2005


Feedback score: (4)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-12-2019 05:25 PM Click Here to See the Profile for wftbClick Here to Email wftbSend a Private Message to wftbEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

My car is highly modified. It has none of the bad features of the 86 GT that it once was. I barely remember what a stock Fiero handles like. I did rent an 84 in 84 from a rental car place in Little Rock Arkansas. I really liked it, it was gutless but fun, and because of the small 13" wheels and small tires, I barely noticed the lack of power steering. With my car the way it is now with 16" wheels, power steering is going to be a future mod.

------------------
86 GT built 2.2 ecotec turbo
rear SLA suspension
QA1 coilovers on tube arms

IP: Logged

Dennis LaGrua
Member

Posts: 12674
From: Hillsborough, NJ U.S.A.
Registered: May 2000


Feedback score:    (10)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 314
Rate this member

Report this Post01-15-2019 06:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Dennis LaGruaClick Here to Email Dennis LaGruaSend a Private Message to Dennis LaGruaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

IMO the Pontiac Fiero is a good car but an unusual creation with nice styling. The entire front suspension and brakes were taken from the Pontiac Citation. The rear cradle is very similar. The powertrain's came from the GM parts bins and many other common parts were used. IMO, with the addition of a rear anti-sway bar the 85-87's handle very well, almost as good as the 88's. While much of the Fiero concept was new at the time, it was still a cheaply made quasi sports car. I enjoy driving my Fiero though with the 3800SC and the other upgrades that have been made. IMO it rides and handles as good as many newer vehicles. It can be a fire hazard if not maintained properly especially if you consider that if you haven't changed your fuel lines or gas tank filler hose that are 30+ years old.

------------------
" THE BLACK PARALYZER" -87GT 3800SC Series III engine, custom ZZP /Frozen Boost Intercooler setup, 3.4" Pulley, Northstar TB, LS1 MAF, 3" Spintech/Hedman Exhaust, P-log Manifold, Autolite 104's, MSD wires, Custom CAI, 4T65eHD w. custom axles, Champion Radiator, S10 Brake Booster, HP Tuners VCM Suite.
"THE COLUSSUS"
87GT - ALL OUT 3.4L Turbocharged engine, Garrett Hybrid Turbo, MSD ign., modified TH125H
" ON THE LOOSE WITHOUT THE JUICE "

IP: Logged

cvxjet
Member

Posts: 1465
From: ca, usa
Registered: May 2010


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-15-2019 08:25 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cvxjetClick Here to Email cvxjetSend a Private Message to cvxjetEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I check for gas/vapor leaks regularly with a blow-torch.......Nothing so far! (Actually, you bring up a very good point about old fuel lines, filler hose inspection/replacement.........)

IP: Logged

wftb
Member

Posts: 3205
From: kincardine,ontario,canada
Registered: Jun 2005


Feedback score: (4)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-15-2019 11:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for wftbClick Here to Email wftbSend a Private Message to wftbEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Sorry but the front suspension came from a Chevette. But originally the Chevette's suspension came from an Opel of some kind. If I remember right. Although most of the Fiero was a GM parts bin car, important parts of it were revolutionary for its time. The space frame, the body mounting system, the body panels themselves, all way ahead of their time.

IP: Logged

cvxjet
Member

Posts: 1465
From: ca, usa
Registered: May 2010


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-16-2019 01:12 AM Click Here to See the Profile for cvxjetClick Here to Email cvxjetSend a Private Message to cvxjetEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

The front suspension came from a Chevette which is directly related to Opels...(The rear suspension was Citation based)

And one of the silly things that get people confused about the Fiero suspension is that, although Lotus NEVER had ANYTHING to do with the Fiero's suspension, the early Esprits used Opel suspension also......The spindle and upper A-arm...(They (Smartly) made their own lower arm with better geometry)...

The main problem with the front suspension on the Fiero is the scrub Radius- the difference between the center of the tire and the pivot axis of the front steering...Both the Fiero and the Esprit have approx' 2.4 inches....But NOONE ever complained about the Esprit's steering (It was much more expensive and considered an "Exotic"...so stuff like that is Acceptable........(maybe GM should have quadrupled the Fiero's price- Then the magazines wouldn't have complained so much..."Wow, what a great $40,000 car!!!!!!! It's absolutely PER-FECT!!!!" (Maybe they would write that as "Pre-fect".....)

IP: Logged

olejoedad
Member

Posts: 12351
From: Clarendon Twp., MI
Registered: May 2004


Feedback score: (5)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 180
Rate this member

Report this Post01-16-2019 11:35 AM Click Here to See the Profile for olejoedadClick Here to Email olejoedadSend a Private Message to olejoedadEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

My fully upgraded 86 SE (suspension, brakes) could carve corners, but my stock (suspension, brakes) 88 Formula rides and handles better, and is much easier to drive at the limit.

There is no comparison.

[This message has been edited by olejoedad (edited 01-16-2019).]

IP: Logged

pgackeman
Member

Posts: 61
From: Augusta, GA
Registered: Mar 2014


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-16-2019 07:31 PM Click Here to See the Profile for pgackemanClick Here to Email pgackemanSend a Private Message to pgackemanEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post


The Georgia Fiero Club puts out a monthly Newsletter.

http://www.gafiero.org/bbs/index.php?topic=3407.0

The January issue compares Fieros to Miatas in terms of monetary value than performance value.
http://gafieroclub.org/pics...sletters/Jan2019.pdf

An earlier issue compares MR2s and another does the CRX.

IP: Logged

hyperv6
Member

Posts: 5335
From: Clinton, OH, USA
Registered: Mar 2003


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 90
Rate this member

Report this Post01-16-2019 07:39 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

The 88 is a better package as it cleaned up the car to make the front and real work more in harmony. Even then it was not a world beater but it was very competent.

What many do not know is the suspension in the 88 was a full designed GM suspension. The real secret was that the front suspension was tuned by Porsche engineering. They worked on the scrub and the feel of the suspension. This info came to light in a Tom Goad interview. I can not remember if it was HPP or Zpontiac Enthusiast that carried the story.

Tom was on the program and was proud of the new suspension they designed. Note too that the Turbo 2.9 Turbo coupes originally had tail lamps that would light up and say Porsche Eater. These tail lamps were removed according to the Fiero book because GM was involved with Porsche on a project. Well there is your project as this was being worked on in 84-85.

Today cars are much different and so much easier to drive stupid fast. But for the time for what it was the 88 was not bad for what it was. The truth is back in the day most cars all had good and bad things in their handling.

IP: Logged

pgackeman
Member

Posts: 61
From: Augusta, GA
Registered: Mar 2014


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-16-2019 09:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for pgackemanClick Here to Email pgackemanSend a Private Message to pgackemanEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post


The Georgia Fiero Club puts out a monthly Newsletter.

http://www.gafiero.org/bbs/index.php?topic=3407.0

The January issue compares Fieros to Miatas in terms of monetary value than performance value.
http://gafieroclub.org/pics...sletters/Jan2019.pdf

An earlier issue compares MR2s and another does the CRX.

IP: Logged

2.5
Member

Posts: 40137
From: Southern MN
Registered: May 2007


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 178
Rate this member

Report this Post01-17-2019 10:39 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by David Hambleton:


Pics like these? The left one is the broken factory original from my '84, the right style is a POR15 coated replacement; I don't remember the year of the donor.




Hmm
Actually I didn't know about that change, Mine had a visible difference without disassembly.

IP: Logged

2.5
Member

Posts: 40137
From: Southern MN
Registered: May 2007


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 178
Rate this member

Report this Post01-17-2019 10:42 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by wftb:

Overall, the main thing all the Fiero detractors miss is that it was a success. It sold in huge numbers. Yet it constantly gets called a failure. I think that is probably because of the bad publicity resulting from GM's denials about the 84's fire problems. They caught fire because a lot of them were shipped from the factory with defective connecting rods. When they broke, there was an oil leak alright- a hole in the block will do that. And all that oil went right on to a hot catylitic converter. Yet GM refused to recall the cars, so the media frenzy intensified just like it did with the Pinto and the Corvair. Even though no one got hurt, it was all you read about.

.


I thought I had read they had documentation that the 84 Duke only needed 3 quarts of oil too. Or the wrong dipstick? Is that a myth? Under oiling could sure cause some failures.

[This message has been edited by 2.5 (edited 01-17-2019).]

IP: Logged

hyperv6
Member

Posts: 5335
From: Clinton, OH, USA
Registered: Mar 2003


Feedback score: N/A
Leave feedback





Total ratings: 90
Rate this member

Report this Post01-17-2019 05:19 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

The Dukes issue was mostly leaks. The valve cover was just glue on and the design of it was not good for sealing. The engine leaked in everything it was in.

The other applications were 5 quarts and the Fiero was 2. Less oil and leaks lead to low oil and engine issues.

It also was the primary cause of fires as if the oil built up it would ignite.

In other cars they had air coming from the grill to keep them cooler under hood but the Fiero saw higher temps.

Back in the day we used to retro fit the engines with gaskets that were available but Gzm did not use them.

IP: Logged

bjc 350
Member

Posts: 797
From: Astoria
Registered: Oct 2005


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-17-2019 11:41 PM Click Here to See the Profile for bjc 350Send a Private Message to bjc 350Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

The 84 Fiero owners manual was printed with oil capacity at three quarts. In fact it was supposed to be four quarts. GM fixed the bad info by glueing an amended capacities section over the original incorrectly printed owners manual. I recently sold an very original 84 with the glued on section. I previously had another 84 and it did not have the glue on piece , so I hand wrote the change in case subsequent owners might get confused. May not seem believable, but I have seen it with my own eyes. I'm pretty sure this has been discussed on Pennock's before.

IP: Logged

cvxjet
Member

Posts: 1465
From: ca, usa
Registered: May 2010


Feedback score: (1)
Leave feedback

Rate this member

Report this Post01-25-2019 09:44 PM Click Here to See the Profile for cvxjetClick Here to Email cvxjetSend a Private Message to cvxjetEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I just realized another little myth; "The Fiero is a COPY of the MR2"..........So I put in a disclaimer paragraph about that.......See what you guys think of it...It is in light red.....(I have made some other minor changes but nothing worth mentioning)

IP: Logged


next newest topic | next oldest topic

All times are ET (US)

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | Back To Main Page

Advertizing on PFF | Fiero Parts Vendors
PFF Merchandise | Fiero Gallery | Ogre's Cave
Real-Time Chat | Fiero Related Auctions on eBay



Copyright (c) 1999, C. Pennock