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How I turned a 1985 Pontiac Fiero Sport into a 24 hours of LeMons racecar by Canyonflyer
Started on: 06-10-2014 07:40 PM
Replies: 23 (1157 views)
Last post by: Canyonflyer on 06-17-2014 01:09 PM
Canyonflyer
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Report this Post06-10-2014 07:40 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CanyonflyerSend a Private Message to CanyonflyerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I've been meaning to post a write up on my 24 hours of LeMons Fiero project for quite some time now. As with most things, life in general, family and work get in the way and I just don't find the time. What spare time I did have I spent either working on this car or on my 1986 Fiero GT and just never got around to sitting behind the computer and doing it. Now that my first race is over I guess that it is as good a time as any.

For those unfamiliar with the 24 hours of LeMons, it is an endurance racing series for $500 dollar cars. It is a play on words for the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France. The cars on the track aren't highly engineered factory prototypes or production cars, but neglected and discarded junkers with a preferably shady history of reliability. Also, $500 dollar figure is misleading. While it based off the actual chassis, suspension and engine there are a large number of other high dollar 'cost exempt' upgrades you need to put into the car in order to make it safe for hard wheel to wheel road racing. A recent article in one car magazine stated that the average team spends about $8000 dollars getting their car to the track for their first race. Having done this, I would have to say that is a fairly accurate number.

I first heard about this series in the fall of 2011. Having been a long time fan of what was then the ALMS and Grand Am series (Now merged together by NASCAR into the United Sports Car Championship) my wife thought I should give it a try. It looked like a lot of fun and even with the price tag, something I could afford. In the spring I got together with a couple of good friends and they thought it sounded like a great idea. It was soon after that I learned first hand the biggest hurdle of making it to a LeMons race; finding committed teammates.

In my situation my teammates talked big and had checkered flags in their eyes. They spoke of small block V8 Mustangs and tuning them up to dominate. Unfortunately that doesn't work. The organizers have seen it all and if they see you've sunk 5 grand into the motor, you're going to get penalty laps until you die. I settled on a car that I could legitimately obtain for $500 dollars and truly did have a shady history of reliability. It was a 1985 Pontiac Fiero Sport with a 2.5 liter Tech IV engine. It was a real hooptie but unlike most LeMons cars, it ran and passed safety and emissions the first time around. My two friends suddenly became disinterested and when asked to contribute, they promptly began ignoring my calls. I would be on my own for most of this journey.

I introduce to you the 'Yack.



To be accurate, the total build time of this car was exactly 22 months. I purchased the car at 7:30pm on July 30th, 2012. This photo was taken the next day. I was going over the final tech sheet items and signed the sheet at 1:30am on May 30th, 2014 and brought the car to the track at 7:30am that same morning. I was cutting it close.

It shouldn't take a team 22 months to get into a race, but again I was on my own. My job sends me out of town frequently for a week at a time and having a family with kids really cuts into the shop time. In addition to that, race prepping any car is really expensive and I ate the entire budget in its entirety. With all the other obligations in life, my time was somewhat limited and at times getting this car to the track was extremely frustrating. My initial goal was to make a race in 2013. Well that became pretty unrealistic almost immediately so I backed off and made it my goal to have the car ready in 2014. In the fall of 2013 the next year's schedule was released and it showed Miller Motorsports Park as one of the venues. This is my home track and 25 minutes from my home. The ticking clock was set.

My wife and 8 year old son were the biggest help through the whole build. They helped me many times when I rebuilt the suspension, and rebuilt the motor. They helped pull it and they helped install it. My wife turned the key after the install and we all got to hear it rumble back to life again. They WERE my team. If it wasn't for them and their support I would have thrown in the towel.

I will only focus on the highlights of what I did to build the car up. I don't want to get into detail of every little thing I did and how I did it. There are plenty of build threads for that. But if you are interested in doing this to any car, this should give you an idea of the work you'll need to have done. Keep in mind there was a lot of trial and error and testing involved with each of these steps. Every build is different and this by no means should be the blueprint for anybodies car, but something to reference.

The first thing that I tore apart was the suspension and brakes. The car I purchased tended to wobble and rattle uncontrollably above 70mph. I decided to go and replace all the budget exempt items and make this car safe. These items included balljoints, and tierod ends. While I was in there I snuck in some Eibach Springs The springs are not budget exempt, but I was told that if I was running an Iron Duke Fiero, I could put a complete racing suspension in there and they wouldn't bat an eyelash. I didn't want to press my luck so I just did the springs. The shocks looked iffy so I replaced them all with OEM Monroe shocks and painted them accordingly with a graphic that read "BULLSTEIN".





While I was in there did the Grand Am brake upgrade on the front end and replaced both front and rear rotors with new slotted ones.


Brakes are budget exempt so I went all out with new calipers, stainless steel brake hoses and Porterfield R4-S street/racing brake pads. The fluid was replaced with good DOT 4 with a dry boiling point of 520 degrees. I had boiled brake fluid before and I didn't want to experience this again.

The next thing I went over was the engine. I had shot valve seals and was all around a crappy motor.


You're pretty much screwed if you go strictly by the budget. I'll admit, I used cheaty parts. You're allowed to contribute any of your own labor budget free to the car but if you pay anyone to build you an engine you're breaking the rules. But I was going to rebuild an iron duke so I figured a better cam, performance valvesprings and new rings and bearings wouldn't hurt. In all honesty I didn't spend all that much on the motor rebuild, and it was an iron duke.

While I was in there I decided to gasket match and port the head. It turned out nicely and would give the cam a little more air to work with. I also added an MSD coil. This was not budget exempt but again, it was an Iron Duke engine. I wasn't going to win anything but I'd at least give this car a fighting chance.


The motor after reassembly was at least nicer to look at and it fired right up.


To help airflow through the radiator and just to make the car look more race-car-ish, I decided to cut some hood vents. It took a while to decide how to do it but I found the side hood louvers from an 87 Trans Am worked perfectly.

They fit very nicely and looked OEM.

I also removed all the AC components. All in all, cooling issues were a thing of the past. This motor would run nicely with a water temperature of about 200 degrees, rarely climbing above it.

Driving the car normally, with lowered springs, I had no problems with the car hitting the bumpstops. But driving on a track is far from normal and with the understeer as bad as it was, hitting the bumpstops on a hard corner just exacerbated the problem. It was time for more suspension work.

First of all was dremeling the ball joint slots to allow for more upper balljoint travel and second of all was cutting back the bumpstops. Most people say 3/4 of an inch is safe enough, but I was a rebel and went 7/8's of a inch back.

In the end I was able to get the front end to a -1.5 degree negative camber, the rear to a -1 degree camber and the bumpstop problem was history...



So now it was time for the safety stuff.

I pulled the steering wheel and replaced it with a Grant quick release type. It wasn't too difficult to do and thinking at the time I'd keep the car street legal, I relocated the horn to a rocker switch on the instrument bezel.



The new quick release hub was great and gave me a more comfortable steering wheel...
The new Grant Wheel installed...


[IMG]http://i603.photobucket.com/albums/tt114/fractionalflyer/The%20making%20of%20the%20Ponti-Yack/SteeringWheelreplacement.j pg[/IMG]


I was beginning to see the race car emerge.


[/UR L]

Next was gutting the car completely for the roll cage.
[URL=http://s603.photobucket.com/user/fractionalflyer/media/The%20making%20of%20the%20Ponti-Yack/GuttingYack.jpg.html]

It's amazing what you find under the carpet of a 28 year old vehicle when everything is removed...




I found $1.08 in change and about a packs worth of cigarette butts...



This was an ideal time to weld in the front tow attachment bracket and paint it...

As for the cage... I attempted to do it myself with a kit. I DON'T recommend this. I wasted about a month trying to fit this poorly fitted pile of junk into the car and finally swallowed my pride and paid $3500 for a professional install. The good news was I recruited an excellent teammate (the cage builder) in the process and finally had a build partner for the remaining build. We were now just over a month to the green flag and there was still a LOT to do.


He owned a Dyno at his shop and insisted we dyno the car. I couldn't help but laugh...


We were able to achieve 85 RWHP and 120 foot pounds of torque. This may sound paltry but remember that we're located at 4500 feet above sea level and this is at the rear wheels. Doing the math in my head, this car should have been producing far less than this had it been stock. Still, it's an Iron Duke Fiero.

The stock Fiero intake for the does not allow for much airflow. In order to achieve that 85 RWHP I needed to modify the intake to get more power. The most we got with the stock intake was 77 RWHP. I took a hole saw to it and my welder with a pair of exhaust pipe ends. So the Duke Performance Intake was born.

With just 2 weeks until green flag I needed to get a roll on it. We got the car back to my house and my family and I set to painting it.



While I had it on the lift, I welded the rear tow attachment bracket...


I welded rear stabilizer bar mounts onto the cradle...

[IMG]http://i603.photobucket.com/albums/tt114/fractionalflyer/The%20making%20of%20the%20Ponti-Yack/WeldedRearStabBarmount.jpg[/ IMG]

And then added a rear stabilizer bar (moved the front to the rear) and installed a 25mm bar on the front end...

[/ URL]
After it was all was said and done, this is what we had. The car had changed a lot in 22 months...
[URL=http://s603.photobucket.com/user/fractionalflyer/media/The%20making%20of%20the%20Ponti-Yack/YackDayofandNow.jpg.html]

TEST DAY:


The car breezed through tech and even with me fudging the budget, they gave us Class C (slowest most desirable class) and zero penalty laps. We managed to turn some okay laps on Miller's east course and started the race with relatively few issues. We lost an alternator bolt in testing so we had to fix that and other than a slight valvetrain tick at idle, the car ran well.






We even finished race day 1 running 2nd in class and 34th overall. That's exactly right smack dab in the middle of a 68 car field. Yes.. My team is called Salty Thunder.



But... on day two we had issues. The valvetrain tick got worse and we lost a distributor rotor which took us an hour to get the car back on track. We ran another hour and the car died. Motor seized.

The truth is this engine is fragile. Even though I briefed the drivers to keep the RPMs below 4500 and shift to fourth on the straights, I found that a couple of them didn't listen (one really didn't listen to anything). I reviewed the footage from the GoPro camera and saw constant over revs of the motor on one particular drivers stints and occasional over revs on another's. I can't really fault them too much for this, but in the end I think this destroyed our motor. Lesson learned.

Was it all worth it? I say most definitely. In spite of all the frustration and roadblocks I've found myself thinking about doing it again constantly. I had dreams about racing my car for days after the event. It was an epic experience and I'll most definitely be doing it again. I've already begun to gather the parts for a 2.8 V6 swap. Next time around I want to run a more forgiving motor and still stay relatively close to budget.

It is said that nobody has ever spoken the words "I enjoy driving my slow car". Well, maybe so, but here is me enjoying the hell out of driving mine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHl6dGexXT8

[This message has been edited by Canyonflyer (edited 06-11-2014).]

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KillerFrogg
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Report this Post06-10-2014 08:22 PM Click Here to See the Profile for KillerFroggClick Here to Email KillerFroggSend a Private Message to KillerFroggEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Very nice! Running one of these races is something I have wanted to do for a long time. Even with the toasted engine, it sounds like it was a lot of fun.

Have you considered getting a Quad4 or one of the n/a eco-tech from the late 90s or early 2000s? I don't know exactly how the classes work, but I think you may be able to get into the C class easier with one of them compared to a v6. You have to deal with the computer and everything else, but you can make 150hp with those engines no problem, and I am sure they are easier to get than a 2.8 would be.

At least that is what I would do.

Regardless, good luck, and have fun!
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Brimmy
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Report this Post06-10-2014 09:03 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BrimmyClick Here to Email BrimmySend a Private Message to BrimmyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Awesome write-up !!! Sounds like you thoroughly enjoyed most of your build and then getting to race.

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Canyonflyer
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Report this Post06-10-2014 10:36 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CanyonflyerSend a Private Message to CanyonflyerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by KillerFrogg:

Very nice! Running one of these races is something I have wanted to do for a long time. Even with the toasted engine, it sounds like it was a lot of fun.

Have you considered getting a Quad4 or one of the n/a eco-tech from the late 90s or early 2000s? I don't know exactly how the classes work, but I think you may be able to get into the C class easier with one of them compared to a v6. You have to deal with the computer and everything else, but you can make 150hp with those engines no problem, and I am sure they are easier to get than a 2.8 would be.

At least that is what I would do.

Regardless, good luck, and have fun!


I've thought about the quad 4 but Ive already got the 2.8 liter spare... well 2 if you count the one I am going to pull out of my GT in the fall. With the spare wiring harnesses and ECMs I have the swap should be no problem.

The car weighed 2230 lbs empty when raced with an empty 40/60 weight distribution. With me in the car that shifted to 43/57 with about loaded weight under 2500 lbs. The difference in weight from the 2.8 liter block should be negligible.

Ive corresponded with Phil at LeMons about the swap and as long as I keep the engine pretty stock I'll remain class C. He asked if I'd do an HT4100 or HT4900 Caddy swap but no thanks. Might consider it but I want to actually try to finish my next race and those high technology Caddy motors leave a lot to be desired.

It was a lot of fun and I've learned a lot from it. The people are great and I made some friends in the process at the track.

[This message has been edited by Canyonflyer (edited 06-11-2014).]

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Report this Post06-11-2014 04:31 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jediperkSend a Private Message to jediperkEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
What a great post. I may try my hand at this in "Life after Army". This sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing!
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Report this Post06-11-2014 07:21 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
great post, thanks for posting it!
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Canyonflyer
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Report this Post06-11-2014 05:32 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CanyonflyerSend a Private Message to CanyonflyerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
You are all welcome... I'll probably post a follow up thread once I get rolling on bringing the car back to life here in the next few weeks.
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Report this Post06-12-2014 11:23 AM Click Here to See the Profile for maryjaneSend a Private Message to maryjaneEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Enjoyed the thread!!!
A few years ago, I followed a couple of people who have raced the LeMons circuits, attended 3 races and in spite of the comparatively slow speeds, it IS really difficult to finish a race.

Did your team get black flagged at all during the race?
Do the judges still give out other discretionary "penalties" to the unlucky drivers besides the penalty laps? (some of those were pretty comical, and it seemed the judges could blackflag for any reason or no reason at all)

Anyone having the opportunity, I strongly recommend attending one of these races. I've never raced in one of course, but I can tell, that it is NOT as easy as one might imagine. The chicaines are tough on engines and trannys as well as suspension and brakes.

Good luck in your future endeavors!!
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Report this Post06-12-2014 03:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CanyonflyerSend a Private Message to CanyonflyerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by maryjane:

Enjoyed the thread!!!
A few years ago, I followed a couple of people who have raced the LeMons circuits, attended 3 races and in spite of the comparatively slow speeds, it IS really difficult to finish a race.

Did your team get black flagged at all during the race?
Do the judges still give out other discretionary "penalties" to the unlucky drivers besides the penalty laps? (some of those were pretty comical, and it seemed the judges could blackflag for any reason or no reason at all)

Anyone having the opportunity, I strongly recommend attending one of these races. I've never raced in one of course, but I can tell, that it is NOT as easy as one might imagine. The chicaines are tough on engines and trannys as well as suspension and brakes.

Good luck in your future endeavors!!


We got one black flag during the race. Having followed LeMons for many years when my driver called in that he had spun out, I told him to bring it right in. We never saw the black flag. In our drivers briefing I told the drivers to not argue with anyone or the judges. When he pulled in it was really comical. Phil explained to the driver the Fiero's handling characteristics in depth and then explained how to drive it properly.

He then noticed the shoulder harnesses were loose and was not amused. I was the one who received the tongue lashing for that. I wasn't the one who strapped him in during the driver change, but as the team owner/captain I said I would take full responsibility and do whatever was needed to remedy the situation. We were put in the penalty box while we strapped him in and then received the OK to get back on track.

They will never pull you in for no reason. There are very specific offenses that will get you pulled in. This includes contact with another car, going off course, spinning out, passing under caution and speeding in the pits or paddock. Most of the discretionary penalties don't happen until your 2nd or 3rd visit into the penalty box. While amusing, the point is to get drivers to be cautious and ensure everyone is being safe. Safety is paramount.

It was funny to see how many people didn't get it though that you need to take it easy. I witnessed one driver taped to the top of his car apologizing for his offense through a megaphone while the rest of the team drove him around the paddock.

Another repeat offender team was chained together and had to march around the paddock explaining while you don't violate the 10mph paddock speed.

I witnessed another team driving their Camaro around the track with a blaring car alarm strapped into the cage behind the drivers helmets. This driver then was black flagged yet again for contact or some other offense and had their 3 strikes. Parked for an hour.

It all depends on your attitude. Some of the teams are extremely aggressive and their attitudes in the hot pits and the paddock really showed. Arguing between teammates and hot tempers could be seen on a couple of the worst offending teams. In the end they all finished poorly in spite of their fast cars, and there were a lot of fast cars. Having a pack of loud, rumbling V8 powered pony cars appear in your rearview mirror really gets your attention.

LeMons is an endurance race. If you take it at an even pace and take care of the car and stay out of trouble, you will finish well. The winner of our class was a Porsche 914 and finished over 90 laps over second place when the checker flag fell. They had been to a few races and learned the drill. They pulled long 3 hour stints and maintained a steady pace. A few of my drivers never got the message and ran our little duke extremely hard. They posted lap times 4-9 seconds faster than mine. Sometimes you just have to learn the hard way.

Still, for a first time LeMons rookie, I felt we did well. We gave it a good shot and even though the motor seized, we got through the first 8 and half hours on day one with only a few hiccups.

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Report this Post06-12-2014 05:14 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Canyonflyer:

Even though I briefed the drivers to keep the RPMs below 4500 and shift to fourth on the straights, I found that a couple of them didn't listen (one really didn't listen to anything). I reviewed the footage from the GoPro camera and saw constant over revs of the motor on one particular drivers stints and occasional over revs on another's. I can't really fault them too much for this, but in the end I think this destroyed our motor. Lesson learned.


So, are you now looking for one or two new drivers?

 
quote
Originally posted by Canyonflyer:

I've already begun to gather the parts for a 2.8 V6 swap. Next time around I want to run a more forgiving motor and still stay relatively close to budget.


It was tough watching your video and seeing you getting passed by everybody, including the soccer mom driving the white minivan! If it was me being passed like that, I think I'd be suffering from ED for at least a month.

I suspect you'll really enjoy driving your Fiero with a 2.8 V6 replacing the 2.5 duke on the track. After four years of driving my 5-spd '84 at autocross, I've finally moved up to a 5-spd '88 Formula this year. What a difference! It's so much nicer having a few more ponies to power out of the corners with.

[This message has been edited by Patrick (edited 06-12-2014).]

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Report this Post06-12-2014 06:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CanyonflyerSend a Private Message to CanyonflyerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Haha

It wasn't that frustrating... We were 20 laps ahead of 3rd and 30 laps behind 1st. Most of the cars I was able to outrun in class C had already retired.
I was trying to keep the car going for the rest of the day so I was shifting at 4000 RPM and taking it easy. It wasn't worth taking risks, so I kept it at a moderate but consistent pace, waving around the aggressive drivers. My mantra is, race your own class.

We weren't going to catch up to the first place car and the 3rd place car wasn't going to catch us. The only hope for us was the 914 blowing up his motor. Still, it would have taken us over an hour just to catch up and take the lead if that had happened. In the end the damage was done and it was us who had the engine give in.

As for the minivan, it was fairly quick on the straights. Believe it or not, when you get those things down to sheet metal they have some pretty good pep. I did give them a run for a while but didn't put up much of a fight when they made their move. Wasn't worth it. Race your own class.

I've still got a full slot of drivers. I've had a word with them and we're all positive about the outcome.

I own an 86 GT which I've done some performance mods to. It is far quicker than my little 85 Sport ever was and weighs about 500 lbs more. I'm pretty excited to see how it will perform with the conversion. The only question out of my teammate/cage builder's mouth when I told him about the plan was, "Will we be able to pass a Miata?" He hates Miatas.
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Report this Post06-12-2014 06:56 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Canyonflyer:

My mantra is, race your own class.


You're far too sensible.

 
quote
Originally posted by Canyonflyer:

The only question out of my teammate/cage builder's mouth when I told him about the plan was, "Will we be able to pass a Miata?" He hates Miatas.


Your teammate sounds like a good guy. I hate those damn Miatas as well.
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Report this Post06-12-2014 09:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CanyonflyerSend a Private Message to CanyonflyerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Patrick:

Your teammate sounds like a good guy. I hate those damn Miatas as well.


There was one cool Miata there. It was powered by a Rotax snowmobile engine and needed to be pull started.

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Report this Post06-12-2014 10:06 PM Click Here to See the Profile for KillerFroggClick Here to Email KillerFroggSend a Private Message to KillerFroggEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Canyonflyer:


I've thought about the quad 4 but Ive already got the 2.8 liter spare... well 2 if you count the one I am going to pull out of my GT in the fall. With the spare wiring harnesses and ECMs I have the swap should be no problem.





That right there is reason enough to do the 2.8. haha. Use what you have!
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Report this Post06-13-2014 03:26 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CanyonflyerSend a Private Message to CanyonflyerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The other side to using a 2.8 block is now I only need to hoard parts for one series of engine instead of 2.
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Patrick
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Report this Post06-13-2014 03:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Would you be allowed to sneak a 3.4 in there?
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Report this Post06-13-2014 04:39 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CanyonflyerSend a Private Message to CanyonflyerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
As a matter of fact I could... and I've got one, but I'm saving that block for my GT. The trouble I had to go through to get it, I'd hate to have to pull another one when I have a 2.8 liter already available.

The car only weighs 2200 lbs anyway, a correctly built 2.8 liter should provide more than adequate power.
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Report this Post06-13-2014 04:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Canyonflyer:

The car only weighs 2200 lbs anyway, a correctly built 2.8 liter should provide more than adequate power.


There you go being far too sensible again.

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Report this Post06-14-2014 03:12 AM Click Here to See the Profile for CanyonflyerSend a Private Message to CanyonflyerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Patrick:

There you go being far too sensible again.


Well, I've got to experience first hand what a sprint racing mentality gets you in endurance racing junk cars, albeit involuntarily. But I digress.

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Tony Kania
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Report this Post06-14-2014 11:37 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Tony KaniaSend a Private Message to Tony KaniaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thanks for the morning coffee read. Great attitude that you carry.

Don't mind Patrick. He is old and senile. And he like Chevells. . (Just busting chops)
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Canyonflyer
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Report this Post06-14-2014 08:24 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CanyonflyerSend a Private Message to CanyonflyerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Tony Kania:

Thanks for the morning coffee read. Great attitude that you carry.

Don't mind Patrick. He is old and senile. And he like Chevells. . (Just busting chops)


I don't mind at all. Even if he does like Chevettes
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MinnGreenGT
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Report this Post06-16-2014 09:54 AM Click Here to See the Profile for MinnGreenGTClick Here to visit MinnGreenGT's HomePageClick Here to Email MinnGreenGTSend a Private Message to MinnGreenGTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I love this thread.... thanks Canyonflyer for the great write-up!

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Looking for Fiero posters?

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sardonyx247
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Report this Post06-17-2014 06:49 AM Click Here to See the Profile for sardonyx247Click Here to visit sardonyx247's HomePageClick Here to Email sardonyx247Send a Private Message to sardonyx247Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Great thread.
Now the reasons you need to go with a 3.4, well only one reason, to finish the race.
The 3.4 block is sooo much stronger, the crank is stronger, the rods are stronger, it has better oiling.
IE: it will last longer, IE: better chance at finishing the race.
And it looks stock.
oh and the more power is just a bonus at that point.

Detailed 3.4 swap info in my sig

------------------
"DRIVE IT LIKE A FIERO"
'84 Fiero, engine to be determined '87 Duke (Sold)
'87 Quad 4 H.O.
'87Blue GT 3.4L Swap Completed!!!!!!!! Boosted!!!!!!!
^^^^ Now in the Construction Zone^^^^
Las Vegas Fiero Club Parts/Sales/Service/Club
Fiero Road Club Of Northern Nevada

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Canyonflyer
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Report this Post06-17-2014 01:09 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CanyonflyerSend a Private Message to CanyonflyerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by sardonyx247:

Great thread.
Now the reasons you need to go with a 3.4, well only one reason, to finish the race.
The 3.4 block is sooo much stronger, the crank is stronger, the rods are stronger, it has better oiling.
IE: it will last longer, IE: better chance at finishing the race.
And it looks stock.
oh and the more power is just a bonus at that point.

Detailed 3.4 swap info in my sig




Believe me, I have seriously considered this as well as I have one currently on my engine stand. It is out of a 94 Camaro. Got it from a guy who did the swap for his Isuzu Trooper so the holes are even drilled in the correct side. It does have a stronger lower end and does have the capability for more power. I have my reasons for sticking with a 2.8 liter though.

1) It is a LeMons race and I like the challenge of seeing if I can keep a 2.8 running for the entire weekend. I built up the duke for this same reason rather than finding a 2.8 liter powered car for 500 bucks. Obviously that motor couldn't handle the abuse but it made it most of the way. I think with the proper attention, the 2.8 liter block can go the distance.

2) One of my late addition teammates owns a machine shop. We can solve the oiling issues by using his equipment. Also, by using our own labor, we'll still remain legally in budget.

3) Fuel consumption is another factor. This is after all, an endurance race and in LeMons endurance racing especially, the fastest car isn't the winner. We've got a relatively small tank to begin with so burning through that with a hot motor for a few more seconds gained in lap time will actually slow us down by forcing us to pit more frequently.

4) Wear on the car is something you have to consider. The brakes and rotors still look brand new on the 'Yack. Given its vanilla top speed and acceleration, you only needed to tap the brake to lose the momentum for a proper corner entry speed. That will change with the 2.8 liter swap considering we're going to be exiting the corners far more easily. Furthermore, cooling is a huge issue and simply swapping in an aftermarket radiator isn't an option unless I want to get punished with penalty laps or being bumped up a class. The point being, there's a trade off for everything.

5) I don't want to. I have been building up the 3.4 for my GT, which weighing in at 2700 lbs, needs it. So in order to do this I would need to find another suitable 3.4 liter block which is a huge pain if you're pulling it yourself out of an old 4 gen Camaro or Firebird. The junkyards that have pulled them around here want 500-600 bucks for theirs. No thanks. I was lucky to find mine from an engineering student who had rebuilt it and 20,000 miles later decided he needed more power. I got it for a single Benjamin complete with a 252 Cam. There's too much work involved to get a 3.4 when I have a 2.8 on hand. The 2.8 will be fine.

The Porsche 914 who won our class in the last race came in 11th overall. That's incredible. They said this was their 3rd or 4th attempt, the previous ones all ending in DNFs. This time they did it right. They were 10 seconds slower than the fastest car but with their large OEM tank and patience, they kept the car on track for 3 hour stints and ground out the laps. They defeated an untold number of Fox bodies, F Bodies, BMW's and Mercedes running in faster classes by simply staying out of trouble and keeping an even pace.

There are a lot of ideas of what you can do with a Fiero at a LeMons race. But all these suggestions have been brought to the track already. In the 8 years the series has run, Phil has told me he's seen just about every type of Fiero show up to a race. He specifically warned me against the Northstar swap stating that people who done it wind up with a whole heap of head gasket troubles. The one thing he said they haven't seen is a HT4100 or HT4900 swap. He said he's heard Fiero guys talking about doing it a lot but nobody has ever followed through with it. I wonder why? High Technology engines are crap? Regardless he'll award Class C to anyone who brings one to a race just because he's curious on how well it would run. In the end, the few Fiero class C victories I've seen were with 2.8 liter motors. Have a different idea? Build it up and I'll see you at the track.

I don't want to bankrupt myself with this at the next race so I'm just going to do the best with the tools I have. I've got an '87 2.8 sitting on standby and it is beckoning me. Like in the movie "Aliens", it whispers "Kill Me..."

[This message has been edited by Canyonflyer (edited 06-17-2014).]

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