Slow and steady wins the race...or, I need to have fewer projects going on concurrently!
Since my last post I’ve been busy with work, travel and renovating my kitchen. Why not wait until the coldest part of the year to work in my very lightly insulated garage!
Anyway, finally got around to focusing on getting the 3800 pulled and GTP stripped so I could gain that space back. I’ve decided to do my own wiring, so we’ll see how that goes. Plenty of info out there, thankfully.
The 3800 looks pretty good to me. I have a suspicion it’s not original to the car, but can’t confirm. Wear surfaces all look good, and it was converted from Dexcool at some point (saw some horrible pictures of sludgy valve covers and blocked water pumps here and other forums I was glad not to have experienced first hand!). Even the supercharger oil and coupler looked great! I remember the horrible smell when I cracked the snout off my ‘97 GTP and this was nowhere near as bad.
Anyhow, after pulling everything I could think of to part out or use, I found a guy on Craigslist who only wanted to know if the car had a cat and title, and a day later, it was gone and I had $50 - not bad for the minimal effort expended on my part.
Focus then turned to my Fiero. I did some thorough reading on approaches to dropping the cradle, and ended up following Toddster’s excellent write up
, but instead of lifting the car by the decklid latch, used the service manual method Skitime and others discussed in that thread. I felt that was a pretty cool way of doing it, and while many haven’t had issues with the trunk latch method, the confines of my “solid” work environment on OSB sheets (I have a gravel floor in my garage) lent themselves to that method simply due to space.
I also decided to take the rear fascia and impact absorber off to mitigate access issues to the rear cradle bolt floating nuts. I ended up breaking a couple of the bolts holding the steel bumper to the frame. I then heated the nuts up inside the frame rail, and to my surprise, both broke free with hand tools! I had the same luck with the front cradle bolts. Whoa...this is going way too easily for a Michigan car.
Then reality hit! While the nuts came off all 4 cradle bolts with the aforementioned persuasion, the front cradle bolts were seized to the steel sleeves they ride in within the rubber bushings. I probably should have just focused on one method of cutting the bolts, but I get stubborn and don’t want to make yet another trip to the store for consumables, haha. Over 2 sessions on a weekend, I attacked the front cradle bolts with a barrage of penetrating oil, heat, a 1/2” Milwaukee impact, an angle grinder, and a sawzall with assorted blades. Looking back, the passenger side bolt and one side of the driver side bolt went pretty smoothly - the other side of the drivers side bolt was a prolonged effort mostly due to my obstinance to getting more carbide blades or another cut off wheel. Oh well. Eventually swearing and a dull blade won the day.
I had followed Skitimes process of attaching casters to a skid. This worked pretty well to drop the cradle and drivetrain, but I should have reinforced a couple of sides or reduced the space between outboard casters as one corner cracked and was dragging. Oh well, at that point I was able to lever it up and slide the corner by hand to get it free of the car since the other 3 corners moved fluidly with the casters. As mentioned elsewhere, using the jack / boards in the center of the chassis just forward of the rear firewall does not pivot the front fascia down dramatically as shown in this picture.
Now that the 2.8 and TH125 are off of the cradle, I am planning to start cleaning up the engine bay (remove OEM fiberglass insulation, wire wheel/paint) and cradle. I still need to procure a trans and associated miscellany, but getting the underlying architecture back to acceptable shape will be a good first start. Then I will get the L67 put back together with gaskets, accessories, mounts etc, mate it to the trans with the appropriate axles and get the assembly mounted to the cradle. At that point my focus will shift to wiring and the necessary changes to the car for the manual trans.
I hope to keep moving forward as time permits, but will soon be back on finishing kitchen flooring and a few house projects. I’ll also be out of commission for a week next month heading to Florida for vacation. I’m sure time will fly as always!
I appreciate any thoughts or constructive criticism! Hope everyone is having a great 2020 thus far.