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Is there any mechanical difference between the 86 and 87 suspension? by JohnWPB
Started on: 09-25-2018 01:52 PM
Replies: 15 (289 views)
Last post by: Dennis LaGrua on 09-27-2018 05:22 PM
JohnWPB
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Report this Post09-25-2018 01:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JohnWPBClick Here to visit JohnWPB's HomePageSend a Private Message to JohnWPBEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have been driving my 86 Fiero for a couple years now with KYB shocks and struts. 100% of the suspension on the car is brand new. The car drives and has a nice feeling and I thought everything was normal.

I just bought a 1987 with KYB struts and shocks and the handling seems far far superior to mine. The 87 does have front and rear sway bars installed on it. Do they really make that drastic of a difference?

The best example I can give is driving 45 miles an hour down the road and changing lanes as quickly and safely as possible. My 86 has a bit of swagger but still feels pretty tight. I have to turn the wheel a couple inches and then turn it back a couple of inches to straighten out again after changing lanes.

On the 87 I swear it seems like I just have to turn the wheel quickly a half inch or so before it just jumps into the other lane and then 1/2 inch back to straighten out. Is this all just due to the addition of the sway bars?

The two cars handle differently like night and day.

[This message has been edited by JohnWPB (edited 09-25-2018).]

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Report this Post09-25-2018 01:56 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Shho13Click Here to Email Shho13Send a Private Message to Shho13Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Sway bars will make a huge difference in handling. Another thing that could have been done is a swap of steering racks, a common mod is to install an F body rack for a quicker steering ratio.

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JohnWPB
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Report this Post09-25-2018 01:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JohnWPBClick Here to visit JohnWPB's HomePageSend a Private Message to JohnWPBEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
As far as I know, the steering rack is stock.
One thing I think worth noting, is that my 86 has a sunroof, the 87 does not. I know that can also be a tiny factor in body twist and such.
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JohnWPB
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Report this Post09-25-2018 02:14 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JohnWPBClick Here to visit JohnWPB's HomePageSend a Private Message to JohnWPBEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
While I'm talking about and trying to figure out the suspension, there is one other thing that I don't really like on the 87. I'm sure something is wrong, but I just don't know what it could be unless it's something inside the transmission.

When you're accelerating fairly decently from first and then bump into second gear the car jerks to the right. It's almost as if the left tire goes much faster than the right just for an instant when it goes from first to second gear under power. That's kind of uncomfortable at least at first maybe it's something you'd get used to but it seems kind of off to me
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Raydar
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Report this Post09-25-2018 02:17 PM 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
The "sunroof" and "no sunroof" structure is identical. The only difference is the skin.

Just an alignment can make a huge difference, too.
What about the bushings? Poly vs rubber? Cradle bushings? Poly or solid, vs rubber?

Edit - as for the jerk to the right, It could be the right rear tire deflecting forward when the trans shifts. Ball joints, bushings, or toe links could cause that. Maybe even a collapsed strut or shock.
(My 88 coupe used to jump to the left, between on and off throttle. Turns out I had a soft right rear tire, and a dead left front shock. The car would "teeter" on the left rear and right front corners, which were supported properly.)

[This message has been edited by Raydar (edited 09-25-2018).]

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Report this Post09-25-2018 04:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The 87 probably has its alignment set up for better handling.
If the 86 has no rear sway bar that does make a difference yes. I noticed it when I added one to our 86.
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Report this Post09-25-2018 04:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

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quote
Originally posted by Raydar:

...Turns out I had a soft right rear tire, and a dead left front shock. The car would "teeter" on the left rear and right front corners, which were supported properly.)



I agree these are worth checking.
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Report this Post09-25-2018 05:20 PM 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
The suspensions are identical between the two model years.

The addition of matched front and rear bars makes a huge difference in handling.
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JohnWPB
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Report this Post09-25-2018 08:28 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JohnWPBClick Here to visit JohnWPB's HomePageSend a Private Message to JohnWPBEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Ok, sway bars are something ........ ok, . I had read so many of the threads with the arguments that the sway bars do nothing much, and the other camp saying it makes a whole world of difference.

I took it for a bit more of an extended drive tonight. The pull to the right actually happens when you let off the gas or even decelerate, or it is changing gears. It will pull to the left when you accelerate. I can pretty much steer the car with the gas pedal, I do mean that in the literal sense.

I will be certain to check the tire pressure tomorrow and see if they are all the same. I am spoiled by the tire pressure monitor I added into my other Fiero

Hmmmm I wonder if I can take it up here to Firestone and have my "lifetime alignment" done.... I mean it *IS* A blue Fiero hahaha! I would bet they check the VIN in the door on anything lifetime I honestly would not try to pull something like that, but it made for a fun thought

[This message has been edited by JohnWPB (edited 09-25-2018).]

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Patrick
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Report this Post09-25-2018 08:38 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 JohnWPB:

I can pretty much steer the car with the gas pedal, I do mean that in the literal sense.


It's been mentioned by members here several times over the years that they had this exact same experience due to a loose cradle... due to either rotted rubber cradle mount bushings and/or loose cradle mounting bolts!
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JohnWPB
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Report this Post09-26-2018 01:49 AM Click Here to See the Profile for JohnWPBClick Here to visit JohnWPB's HomePageSend a Private Message to JohnWPBEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Patrick:

It's been mentioned by members here several times over the years that they had this exact same experience due to a loose cradle... due to either rotted rubber cradle mount bushings and/or loose cradle mounting bolts!


Yikes, I know what I am inspecting this weekend! ! ! I have been on the forum a lot over the past years, and this is the first time I have somehow heard this. Thanks for the info!

[This message has been edited by JohnWPB (edited 09-26-2018).]

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Report this Post09-26-2018 07:38 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Fiero TomClick Here to Email Fiero TomSend a Private Message to Fiero TomEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by JohnWPB:


Yikes, I know what I am inspecting this weekend! ! ! I have been on the forum a lot over the past years, and this is the first time I have somehow heard this. Thanks for the info!



Check the toe link rod, jack up the car and try to move tire by holding at nine and three o’clock. When the bushing fails on the end of the toe link and you should be able to see the movement.
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Report this Post09-26-2018 07:59 AM Click Here to See the Profile for GODFATHERClick Here to Email GODFATHERSend a Private Message to GODFATHEREdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Check motor mounts
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JohnWPB
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Report this Post09-26-2018 10:43 AM Click Here to See the Profile for JohnWPBClick Here to visit JohnWPB's HomePageSend a Private Message to JohnWPBEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thanks again for all the advice from everyone. I am gonna check everything this weekend. The best way I can think to check the motor mounts is watch the engine, and have someone put the car in Drive, then to Reverse and it becomes apparent if the engine shifts around.

I'm gonna check the toe link rods, bearings, ball joints ect.
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Report this Post09-26-2018 11:06 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
Get the car in the air, crawl under it and use a prybar to check the mounts.
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Dennis LaGrua
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Report this Post09-27-2018 05:22 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
Also check the steering rack as the bushing at the end wears and causes play. Get the wheels off the ground and try to wiggle the wheels from side to side. Alignment is also critical on these cars. As far as the anti-sway bars go; changing just the rear to the larger Addco bar will cause oversteer. Those bars must be installed in pairs. If you add the smaller diameter Fiero Store bar to the rear then steering and handling will be improved but still balanced.

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