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OPINION POLL------------> Is the 88 really that much better? by Jack Mehoff
Started on: 04-01-2014 11:52 AM
Replies: 56 (1282 views)
Last post by: hercimer01 on 04-09-2014 12:00 AM
Csjag
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Report this Post04-04-2014 07:25 AM Click Here to See the Profile for CsjagClick Here to Email CsjagSend a Private Message to CsjagEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have hit large bumps and potholes with my 85 and the steering wheel does not jerk. Is this a problem caused by some of the non-stock tire sizes people are using?
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carbon
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Report this Post04-04-2014 07:40 AM Click Here to See the Profile for carbonSend a Private Message to carbonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Csjag:

So if I replace all of my 85 suspension bushings and ball joints etc, with quality Moog parts it won't be a good handling car for street use? I have no intention of doing autocross or any "fast and furious" driving. I would rather not put non oem extra parts on the car.


So... you didn't read the second to last paragraph of fieroguru's post then...
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Csjag
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Report this Post04-04-2014 07:57 AM Click Here to See the Profile for CsjagClick Here to Email CsjagSend a Private Message to CsjagEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I've never had that happen on my 85 after I replaced my worn out shocks. Could it be the oversize non-stock tires some people are using?
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2.5
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Report this Post04-04-2014 09:05 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 Csjag:

So if I replace all of my 85 suspension bushings and ball joints etc, with quality Moog parts it won't be a good handling car for street use? I have no intention of doing autocross or any "fast and furious" driving. I would rather not put non oem extra parts on the car.


It'll be good. The thing is there is always a comparison, it wont be good compared to todays everyday driver cars, and they wont be good compared to todays Ferraris. ...etc.
A great thing any Fiero has going for it is Mid engine

If you dont want to upgrade, it will be 1985 Good.
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2.5
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Report this Post04-04-2014 09:07 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

2.5

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quote
Originally posted by Csjag:

I've never had that happen on my 85 after I replaced my worn out shocks. Could it be the oversize non-stock tires some people are using?


Steering wheel "jounce" or whatever it should be called is made much worse by wider wheels and tires and especially if the wheel offset is too far out. My Wheels are 17s that were made for a VW Golf, and the offset is farther out than stock Fiero and I can tell. Mine is an 88.

[This message has been edited by 2.5 (edited 04-04-2014).]

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carbon
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Report this Post04-04-2014 11:13 AM Click Here to See the Profile for carbonSend a Private Message to carbonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by fieroguru:
For the vast majority of daily drivers you will not notice many of these items...
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solotwo
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Report this Post04-04-2014 01:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for solotwoSend a Private Message to solotwoEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Having owned an 88 for 12 years and now an 87. I would say yes on most items.
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Doober
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Report this Post04-05-2014 03:10 AM Click Here to See the Profile for DooberSend a Private Message to DooberEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I go off the assumption a lot of people don't even attempt to use OE style bushings, they go straight to poly, delrin, etc., and for some the ride becomes too harsh. I have to replace the lower bushings - at the least - on my '87, and plan on going with rubber, the ride is harsh enough with higher pressures in the tires. Like some others, I don't autocross, etc. (though I wouldn't mind giving it a try), so I'll sacrifice a little bit of hardcore handling for ride comfort.

That said, I think the fact that the rubber bushings on pre-'88 cradles is just silly. If/when I ever do an engine swap, I plan to find an '88 cradle for the inherent increase in suspension quality and solid-mounted cradle. I don't like bumpsteer...

... while I'm on the subject of bumpsteer, so many think it's when the steering wheel is 'jerked' when you hit a bump - when in fact it is more the fact that the car goes where it wants to when the suspension articulates:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bump_steer

Some will understand what I'm explaining and some won't.
Basically, imagine the steering wheel as being 100% straight, and it doesn't move, no matter the size of the bump. As the suspension moves upward, the tie rod ideally would keep the wheel straight, but it's never ideal. I'm not 100% on this, but from what the Wiki page says, the wheel is typically 'toed' (steered) outward - basically as the wheel moves up, it moves closer to the center of the vehicle, and the tie rod doesn't move toward the center as much (or moves more, depending on if the rack/links are in front of, or behind the imaginary axle line created by the front hubs). Transversely, the same thing will happen... while the suspension is at rest, the car is steered straight - when the suspension moves up, the tires steer in one direction or the other... and when it moves the same amount (from rest) in the opposite direction, it steers the same way (more or less, depending on where the pivot point of the tie rod is).
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iluvsd619
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Report this Post04-06-2014 01:33 AM Click Here to See the Profile for iluvsd619Click Here to Email iluvsd619Send a Private Message to iluvsd619Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Haha! Love it!

[This message has been edited by iluvsd619 (edited 04-06-2014).]

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hyperv6
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Report this Post04-06-2014 07:54 AM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I own a low mileage 85 2M6 and have miles in the 88 and the 88 is a much more refined suspension.

What gets lost here is the refinement. This is the key to where the front of the car handles like the rear of the car in harmony. I have a Herb Adams suspension on my car, Herb is the father of the Trans Am and was one of the best Pontiac suspension engineers over the years. He fixed the bump steer and the under steer with his kit and it is more drivable but is still lacking.

The deal is this a well tuned, engineered and refined car can make going fast easy. It will make a car feel much slower than it really is. I have time in other well tuned and refined sports cars that make 100 MPH feel like 50 MPH. You notice this on uneven back roads and lanes. This is where refinement shines. Anyone can make a car get high G numbers and they can make it have grip but to make it easy to use and work all together takes refinement.

Now I know people here have improved their cars just as I have but few have the Skill, Knowledge and test equipment to sort a car out like a large MFG. Too often while the performance numbers improve there is still a lot of refinement left on the table.

I own a early car and it is improved but it far from refined as so many of today sports cars. Knowing an 88 it is where Pontiac wanted to start and is the one to buy if you want a sell sorted starting point or stock suspension.

But to be honest GM cars today now are much more refined and much easier to drive stupid fast on a uneven surface. In years past many of their cars were tuned to be track fast but lacked in the real world. Today they have backed off the springs and bars and made the cars real world fast. My HHR SS even with FWD is a much more car to toss around fast on back roads than my Fiero.

GM has cut engineers like Mark Stielow lose and let them do what they do best. Just look at the Camaro ZL1 and Z/28 and see what they can do today. These are cars even a novice can go fast in. The L1 is great for everyday and some track and the Z/28 is a race car that you can drive on the street. They have reached the limits of both criteria.

The bottom line is the Fiero is a fun car to drive and is no where near the limits of a race car. The 84-87 can be improved but the 88 is the best sorted. Just a note I have had the evil Drop Throttle Over steer with both cars. Only on mine since I added the Adams kit since the car is now neutral handling. This is just a feature of a mid or rear engine car. Cars like the newer 911 no longer have it since they can remove it with the stability controls but in these older cars it can show up and you need to be ready to get back on the gas or spin if you lift. Note this is only at the limits.

I would recommend if anyone has a chance to drive one of the world best handling cars of today take the drive as you will understand fast what the meaning and feel of refinement really is. A well sorted car should be easy to drive at the limit on poor roads. If it works there it will work anywhere.
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fieroguru
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Report this Post04-06-2014 08:42 AM Click Here to See the Profile for fieroguruSend a Private Message to fieroguruEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I did an alignment on an 86 the other day and remembered yet another nicety about the 88's vs. the 84-87 and revised my original post:

Referring to the Rear Suspension:

*The lateral links also completely separate toe control from Camber, so you can adjust camber w/o changing toe. So you can drive to the autocross, add 1-2 degrees of camber (w/o adjusting toe), race all day, restore the camber to near stock levels and drive back home. On the 84-87 if you touch camber, toe goes out the window and needs adjusted too.
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FieroFanatic13
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Report this Post04-07-2014 10:40 AM Click Here to See the Profile for FieroFanatic13Click Here to Email FieroFanatic13Send a Private Message to FieroFanatic13Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Just to throw some specific data in:

1988 FIERO ENGINEERING HIGHLIGHTS

In its final year of production, the Fiero received a $30,000,000 redesigned
indepenent front and rear suspension systems and revised four-wheel disc
brake system making it a true sports car. The changes are as follows:

Front Suspension:

Elimination of the steering damper assembly
Relocation of shock (inside spring / coil over)
30% shorter spindle length (90 to 64mm)
30% shorter scrub radius (49 to 35mm)
20% reduction in king pin angle (7 degrees to 6 degrees)
20% longer upper control arm length (177 to 214.2mm)
25% longer lower control arm length (280 to 350mm)
12% shorter turning radius (11.4 to 10.2m)
Larger stabilizer bar (22 to 28mm)

1988 Engineering Highlights

Rear Suspension:

Redesigned chassis cradle for suspension attachments
Cradle hard mounted to the frame
New tri-link design allowing for specific tuning of each component
Increased rearward rear wheel motion with jounce for reduced harshness
Lower spring rates (44N/mm to 25N/mm)
Inclusion of 22mm stabilizer bar with the WS6 suspension package


NOW...

This info presented, I know that the rest of this will cause much gnashing of teeth amongst the NON '88 owners here. I may even get flamed. But I will take that risk, lol.

But, I have owned EVERY year Fiero. And ultimately, the simple reality is that the '88 suspension is better. Period. Why? Not because of "my opinion," but because of the truth in the engineering. The early cars had hodge-podge mis-matched FRONT suspensions on BOTH ends of the car that were NEVER meant to be used together- Chevette at the front, Citation at the rear. They didn't change that much from the donor cars.

So, when you consider "dive" and "squat," as well as many other factors, and then compare these TWO FRONT suspensions, guess what you get? A mess in the handling department on the whole due to these geometry problems. Modding the early cars helps, sure, but stiff bushings and springs can't change geometry. They mask the problems at best.

I will try to find the articles on the '88 that specifically discuss how the '84-87 Fieros had front and rear suspensions that actually "fought" against each other rather than working together due to these issues. The '88's, though still not complicated by even 80's standards, were DESIGNED together and were what the engineers planned from the beginning. What they got was parts bin dollar savings and they made due.

It boils down to this: If the '88 suspension WASN'T a huge improvement over the '84-87 cars, GM would NOT have spent $30 million making it happen. The Fiero simply did not handle like a car in it's "class" should have, and GM put the money in to it to change that in '88.

I love all Fieros. I still have an '87. But '88's are better cars.

Gary

[This message has been edited by FieroFanatic13 (edited 04-07-2014).]

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olejoedad
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Report this Post04-07-2014 11:15 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
Well said and very true.
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aaronkoch
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Report this Post04-07-2014 12:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for aaronkochClick Here to Email aaronkochSend a Private Message to aaronkochEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have owned both stock and highly modified pre-88's and an '88.

I agree with Fieroguru's list and would like to add another couple:

pre-88's cannot be lowered in the front (hardly any) without running into bottoming out on the bump-stops. 88's have much more safe suspension travel.
Little to no brake dive and acceleration squat on the 88's. Get into a pre 88 and lay on the brakes, then try the same in an 88. You'll notice RIGHT away. Having the full suspension compliance under hard braking can make all the difference in an emergency situation.
Ride quality is MUCH better in the 88's (IMHO).
Rear cradle is beefier in 88's.
Parking brake cable setup in 88's is a better-engineered solution. Keeps the cable out of most of the muck, and prevents that weird sagging-cable look.
Steering effort MUCH lower in 88's.

As a con, wheels must be offset-correct for the 88, which makes choosing correct wheels more involved.

One thing that I believe I'm alone on: I have no rear anti-roll bar in my 88 and love it. It is the only fiero I've ever felt safe doing controlled power slides in. My 86, both stock and modified, would try to kill me when the back would come around. The 88 is FULLY controllable at or above the limit. I don't know why, as I'm not an engineer, but the difference is remarkable. I have not once had throttle-lift oversteer in my 88, but had it almost every spirited corner in the rain in the '86.
------------------


Build thread for my 88 + 3800NA swap

[This message has been edited by aaronkoch (edited 04-07-2014).]

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fieroguru
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Report this Post04-07-2014 06:34 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fieroguruSend a Private Message to fieroguruEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by aaronkoch:
Rear cradle is beefier in 88's.


FWIW, I don't consider the 88 cradle to be beefier...
The material used in the 84-87 is noticeably thicker and the 88 cradle is prone for cracking out the front transmission mount holes and cracking the rear transmission mount section from the side rail. The rear attachment point between the main cradle rails and the chassis frame rail is easy to bend/flex on the 88 vs the 84-87 one being quite rigid.

The 88 cradle has a wider main rails, but that is likely to help make up for the thinner material used. You can bend the bottom of the 88 main cradle rail by jacking the car up, that doesn't happen on the 84-87 cradles.
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Mickey_Moose
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Report this Post04-08-2014 02:22 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Mickey_MooseClick Here to visit Mickey_Moose's HomePageClick Here to Email Mickey_MooseSend a Private Message to Mickey_MooseEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Having owned a 86 and an 88 at the same time (both with new suspension and stock) I can tell you that in everyday driving you will never really notice the difference, but on a slalom course the 88 feels tighter and in more control. That being said, the 88 makes you work harder on the slalom track than the 86 did as the steering seemed lighter on the 86.

The 88 seems to have less brake fade on the slalom, but again not noticeable in everyday driving.

Now if the 88 is better that is your call, but can also tell you that it is not always easy to find new 88 suspension parts - it is better now with Rodney making front wheel bearings and soon bushings. But was not always the case 10 years ago when some of the parts were made from unobtainium. There is more selection for the previous years (and cheaper).
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hercimer01
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Report this Post04-09-2014 12:00 AM Click Here to See the Profile for hercimer01Send a Private Message to hercimer01Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Jack Mehoff:
PS my username is meant only to be a quick chuckle, nothing else lol


There's a Pink Elephant in our Family Living room you people keep stepping over.
Really?!

------------------
Project Genisis Lo Budget 3800SC swap
13.104 @ 101.45 MPH 3" exhaust, 3.4 pulley, ZZP tune and 18 year old tires.

88 Coupe under construction

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