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Pontiac drops the fire-plagued Fiero (autonews.com) by Fiero Vampire
Started on: 03-29-2017 01:38 PM
Replies: 10 (357 views)
Last post by: Fiero Vampire on 03-30-2017 11:22 AM
Fiero Vampire
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Report this Post03-29-2017 01:38 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fiero VampireSend a Private Message to Fiero VampireEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Found this Article online, did a search and didn't find it on the forum so I'm posting it.
Pontiac drops the fire-plagued Fiero
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Report this Post03-29-2017 01:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fiero VampireSend a Private Message to Fiero VampireEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Pontiac drops the fire-plagued Fiero

March 1, 2016 @ 10:30 am
Jack WalsworthTwitter

The Pontiac Fiero came to life after a period of increased U.S. fuel prices and was led by Hulki Aldikacti, a Turkish-born engineer. The result was a car with sporty looks, but not much in the way of performance.

The Pontiac Fiero was good-looking, but a small oil reservoir led to engine failures -- and, sometimes, fires. The car had a five-year run.
On March 1, 1988, Pontiac announces that the Fiero will be discontinued after just five model years.

The Fiero’s mission was to help GM meet stricter fuel economy standards as well as draw new customers to Pontiac. The project came to life after a period of increased fuel prices and was led by Hulki Aldikacti, a Turkish-born engineer.

To keep product development costs in check, the Fiero's underpinnings were culled from GM's massive parts bin -- the Chevy Chevette’s front suspension, the Chevy Citation’s rear engine cradle, and a low-performance, 2.5-liter "Iron Duke" four-cylinder engine.

Stress was always part of the Fiero’s DNA. Pontiac engineers wanted a sporty, two-seat car to compete with popular sports cars of the era, such as the Triumph TR7 and TR8, Fiat X1/9, Mazda RX-7 and Toyota MR2. GM brass insisted on a fuel-sipping commuter car to address tightening fuel economy regulations.

The result was a car with sporty looks, but not much in the way of performance.

The Fiero, introduced in September 1983 as a 1984 model, was the first car from GM with the engine mounted behind the driver since the Chevrolet Corvair and the only mass-produced mid-engine car made by a U.S. automaker. It was also GM’s first vehicle to use composite plastic body panels hung on a steel spaceframe. For a couple of model years, there were even speakers in the headrests.

“The Fiero will always be considered a breakthrough car for Pontiac, a vehicle that was right for Pontiac and our dealers throughout its product life,” Mike Losh, then Pontiac’s general manager, said when the car was scrapped.

In 1984, the Fiero’s first full year of production, U.S. sales reached 101,720.

U.S. deliveries reached 370,167 over five years, helping to “reposition Pontiac and attract new owners for us,” Losh said.

The Fiero’s wedge-shaped styling invited sporty driving, something the 98-hp Fiero was not designed to do.

An appearance in 1984 as the pace car for the 68th Indianapolis 500 also helped reinforce the car’s sporty image. It was, and still is, the shortest Indy pace car in length and the only mid-engine one.

Several factors -- and demons -- contributed to the Fiero’s demise.

To fit the engine in the Fiero’s cramped engine bay, GM engineers reduced the size of the oil pan from four quarts to three. Because many drivers rarely checked the oil, when it ran low, trouble was instant and often fatal for the car.

In 1987, GM recalled 125,000 four-cylinder versions produced in the 1984 model year after engine fires occurred in one of every 400 cars. When the engine ran low on oil, connecting rods could blast through the side of the engine, spraying hot oil on the exhaust manifold, often resulting in a fire.

Roughly 20 percent of 1984 Fieros experienced engine bay fires, Autoweek reported in March 1988. GM made some alterations in that first recall, including one that raised oil capacity to four quarts.

In 1990, GM recalled every four-cylinder Fiero ever made, some 244,000 cars, due to engine-fire risks.

Pontiac added new models, such as the GT, and for 1988, the Formula, along with a new, compact 60-degree 2.8-liter V-6 engine rated at 140 hp. A-five-speed transmission replaced the four-speed, but the Fiero’s reputation was damaged and sales never recovered.

Despite its problems, the Fiero was credited with drawing first-time buyers to Pontiac.

“Since the introduction of Fiero, Pontiac has added new car lines and enhanced its other vehicles which compete very successfully for the same type of buyers attracted to Fiero,” Losh said, pointing to the Firebird, Sunbird and Grand Am.

While the car’s life span was short, some features, specifically the plastic body panels, lived on in other products, such as GM’s so-called Dustbuster minivans (Pontiac Trans Sport, Oldsmobile Silhouette and Chevrolet Lumina APV) and a new GM brand: Saturn.

Pontiac engineers also designed an electrohydraulic power steering system for the 1988 Fiero -- power steering was never available -- but pulled it at the last minute. Later, that same system was used in GM’s EV1 electric car.

The Fiero’s demise also had ramifications for GM’s assembly plant in Pontiac, Mich., the sole source of Fiero output.

At the time of the announcement, the plant in suburban Detroit employed 1,109 people with 1,241 on indefinite layoff. At the plant’s peak, in 1986, with two shifts, 2,500 people were employed.

One GM executive told Automotive News that the Fiero workers were among the most cooperative and productive at GM. Workers and managers embraced Japanese teamwork techniques to build the car.

“The Fiero was the first all-new car to signal the development of the new Pontiac image when it appeared five model years ago, and contributed significantly to setting the tone for the successful focused image of Pontiac today,” Losh said, some 21 years before the Pontiac brand itself went the way of the Fiero.

Today, the Fiero is a favorite of car collectors and hot rodders who maintain them in original condition or who have transplanted more powerful engines into them. The Fiero is also a favorite for modifiers to make faux Ferraris and other exotic look-alikes.

The 1988 Fiero GT remains the most sought after and valuable of all. It could be ordered with leather interior and removable T-tops.

GM had planned to offer a revised Fiero for the 1989 model year, featuring Oldsmobile’s Quad 4 DOHC four-cylinder as the standard engine and Buick’s 3800 V-6 as the optional powerplant for the GT and Formula. The body was redesigned with a new nose and tail.

Though the 1989 Fiero was never built, the styling later appeared on the 1991 Pontiac Firebird.
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css9450
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Report this Post03-29-2017 01:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for css9450Click Here to Email css9450Send a Private Message to css9450Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote


In 1987, GM recalled 125,000 four-cylinder versions produced in the 1984 model year after engine fires occurred in one of every 400 cars.

Roughly 20 percent of 1984 Fieros experienced engine bay fires...


So the fire rate was 20%.... Or 0.25%?

Maybe they are differentiating between engine fires and engine bay fires, which to a surprised and startled driver, are probably pretty much the same thing.

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trivet
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Report this Post03-29-2017 02:13 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
 
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Roughly 20 percent of 1984 Fieros experienced engine bay fires


I'm surprised he didn't mention the 88 suspension was designed by Lotus

[This message has been edited by trivet (edited 03-29-2017).]

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cvxjet
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Report this Post03-29-2017 03:03 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
And so the mis-information continues.....

Might as well push the stick ALL the way forward; "First, there was High explosives, then came the A-bomb, then there was the "doomsday weapon"- the H-bomb......and now, the govt has announced that it is buying up all Pontiac Fieros because new, online research has PROVEN that it is the most potent explosive ever devised......"
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Berlzebub
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Report this Post03-29-2017 03:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BerlzebubClick Here to Email BerlzebubSend a Private Message to BerlzebubEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
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Roughly 20 percent of 1984 Fieros experienced engine bay fires, Autoweek reported in March 1988.


So somewhere around 27,000 Fieros experienced an engine (bay?) fire? And I thought reporting today was atrocious.
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pcgold
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Report this Post03-29-2017 03:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for pcgoldSend a Private Message to pcgoldEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The math doesn't add up.

GM sold in the US, 101,720 Fieros (according to article).

Also according to article, 20% of 1984 cars had a fire. That means 20,284 1984 Fieros had fires.

But, and also according to article, 1 out of every 400 1984 cars experienced a fire.

That would mean GM sold/produced 8,113,600 Fieros in 1984. (20,284 x 400)

My math stands to be corrected.
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FIERO JOHN-WI
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Report this Post03-29-2017 04:30 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FIERO JOHN-WIClick Here to Email FIERO JOHN-WISend a Private Message to FIERO JOHN-WIEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Found this one never posted before, unless Im wrong.

http://articles.latimes.com.../fi-2672_1_car-lines
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Fiero Vampire
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Report this Post03-29-2017 08:41 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fiero VampireSend a Private Message to Fiero VampireEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
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Originally posted by FIERO JOHN-WI:

Found this one never posted before, unless Im wrong.

http://articles.latimes.com.../fi-2672_1_car-lines


That was an interesting read FIERO JOHN-WI.

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Monkeyman
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Report this Post03-30-2017 08:28 AM Click Here to See the Profile for MonkeymanSend a Private Message to MonkeymanEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I think the actual number of reported engine fires was closer to 10 (ten).
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Fiero Vampire
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Report this Post03-30-2017 11:22 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Fiero VampireSend a Private Message to Fiero VampireEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have a feeling it may have been an apples to oranges mix up of the fire data, taking the number of cars with the Iron duke rod issue and applying it all to the Fiero. Either that or someone doesn't know how to do math and put the decimal in the wrong place. Or maybe the data was supplied by the Corvette Team
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