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Swap Now or Swap Later by Stricken
Started on: 08-31-2020 03:37 PM
Replies: 16 (338 views)
Last post by: fierojp on 09-18-2020 01:03 AM
Stricken
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Report this Post08-31-2020 03:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for StrickenSend a Private Message to StrickenEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
After being Fiero-less for the past few years, I just picked up an 88 Formula 5 speed, and my original intent was to DD while gradually upgrading the suspension and working on other big projects, then finally doing a 3800 swap with cam, intercooler, pulley, etc. Unfortunately, I have found that this car has a couple of significant issues. I think the pickup coil is going out because it runs fine when cool, but starts stalling and backfiring once heat soaked (the coil itself is rusting and flaking bits off). Also, 5th gear grinds and pops out when I let the clutch out, and 1st is starting to do the same. To add insult to injury, my trailer lost an entire 6 lug wheel and tire the night I was towing it back. An inauspicious start to my new toy.

So I think these are my options:

1) Throw parts on this setup to at least be able to drive it without 5th.
2a) Do the cheapest/easiest 3800/4t65 swap now (I found a donor car with only 47k mile for $600)
2b) 3800 swap now with a rebuilt 5 speed
3) Just get a rebuilt 5 speed now and keep the 2.8
4) Other cheap/easy swaps?

I'm pretty well leaning away from option 1 even though this is going to put another project on hold. Any thoughts on which of the others is the best balance of cost and ease? I don't have a big preference for auto or manual, but it seems like staying manual would be easier.
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css9450
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Report this Post08-31-2020 03:56 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
Originally posted by Stricken:

1) Throw parts on this setup to at least be able to drive it without 5th.


Replacing a pickup coil is pretty insignificant. Easy job and it's an inexpensive part. Gets you running again while you decide what to do with the tranny which is a much bigger worry (in my mind, at least).

I'd recommend checking the timing before you pull the distributor, while the car is running obviously, just to verify that it was correct BEFORE you do any work.

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Stricken
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Report this Post08-31-2020 04:13 PM Click Here to See the Profile for StrickenSend a Private Message to StrickenEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by css9450:


Replacing a pickup coil is pretty insignificant. Easy job and it's an inexpensive part. Gets you running again while you decide what to do with the tranny which is a much bigger worry (in my mind, at least).

I'd recommend checking the timing before you pull the distributor, while the car is running obviously, just to verify that it was correct BEFORE you do any work.


That's a fair point. I'm just worried that it will wind up being the tip of the iceberg. I guess I could put a stop loss at the cost of the coil and ICM.
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fieroall
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Report this Post08-31-2020 05:41 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fieroallSend a Private Message to fieroallEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
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Patrick
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Report this Post08-31-2020 08:01 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 Stricken:

I think the pickup coil is going out because it runs fine when cool, but starts stalling and backfiring once heat soaked (the coil itself is rusting and flaking bits off).


Don't be surprised if it's actually the ICM that's dying. It's not uncommon for the ICM to fail when it heats up, and then act "normal" again when it cools down.
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Stricken
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Report this Post08-31-2020 11:00 PM Click Here to See the Profile for StrickenSend a Private Message to StrickenEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post


I think both are due for replacement. I ordered a whole new distributor assembly, so that will cover both. If nothing else, it should add value to resale of the engine if I can confirm it's running well.
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yamaha94
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Report this Post08-31-2020 11:02 PM Click Here to See the Profile for yamaha94Click Here to Email yamaha94Send a Private Message to yamaha94Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Patrick:

Don't be surprised if it's actually the ICM that's dying. It's not uncommon for the ICM to fail when it heats up, and then act "normal" again when it cools down.


I agree with Patrick here. That is a common symptom. My friend Joe (famous from the fieroshop here in toronto) told me if you are stranded with the car ICM failing you can simply let it cool down for a bit and you can get going again for another short drive back home where ever you can safely leave the car. How far you can get is a mystery but definitely not for long.

In my opinion I had a 2.8 that needed a good refresh (some sensors and ICM, Coil) and i went a bit over and beyond to make it look nice and upgrade some components. It was a good engine but i just dumped way to much money into it . In the end I went with the 3.8 engine but lost a bit of money in the un-necessary upgrades i put into my 2.8. If its fairly inexpensive Id say put as little as possible into the 2.8 (you may be able to get free parts from friends) to get by for now and put your money into the swap if that is your goal. A 3.8 swap can be pricey depending where you get your parts from. What i suggest if you want to build a great 3.8 setup start finding the parts now and build it on a separate cradle and take your time with it. I built mine in the garage over 2 years on a separate cradle and when it came time to install it was fairly easy transition. I found a great deal on a cradle locally and broke even on my original cradle when it was out of the car. Dont need to go big now but a mild build will really go fast with good pickup!

Your fifth gear issue - most likely the shift cable needs adjustment. There are more detailed instructions on pennocks but with the car off, put it it in 5th gear and lightly disonnect the shift cable nut, where the cable connects to the transmission lever. It will move. Where it sits tighten it. its that easy. Assuming you are getting the full travel distance. If its at the end the cable may need more refining. I had the same symptoms on my f23 just needed cable adjustment.

Marcus

[This message has been edited by yamaha94 (edited 08-31-2020).]

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Blacktree
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Report this Post09-01-2020 11:25 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BlacktreeClick Here to visit Blacktree's HomePageClick Here to Email BlacktreeSend a Private Message to BlacktreeEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
My suggestion would be to get the Cardone distributer. It comes with a new pickup coil and ICM. And IMO it's a better design than stock.

So, why replace the entire distributer? Well, yours is over 30 years old. It probably needs a rebuild. I'm sure it has a lot of end-play by now. You can disassemble it to rebuild it, or just drop in a new one. Your choice.

If the gearbox is grinding into 1st and 5th, maybe the shift cable needs adjustment? You might want to look into that.
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Patrick
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Report this Post09-01-2020 02:01 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 Stricken:

CLICK FOR FULL SIZE

I ordered a whole new distributor assembly...


Compared to what mine used to look like, that one looks pretty good.

 
quote
Originally posted by Patrick Here:

No, this isn't some discarded distributor I found laying in a ditch in a bone yard. This is the distributor out of my '86 GT that I bought a few months ago. (The car had been sitting for six years.) I can't believe the engine ran (and actually ran well) with all this corrosion in the distributor.



I cleaned it up, replaced the pickup coil (and eventually the ICM), added a heatsink to the bottom of the distributor... and 12 years later this distributor is still going strong.

 
quote
Originally posted by Blacktree:

My suggestion would be to get the Cardone distributer. It comes with a new pickup coil and ICM. And IMO it's a better design than stock.


While I completely agree that the Cardone dstributor is a more robust design than the original, my concern would be with the no-name ICM that it utilizes. Sure, a preferred ACDelco ICM can be swapped in, but now we're looking at this additional expense, and depending where the ACDelco ICM is purchased, it can be a little pricey. Believe it or not, here in Canada at Lordco Auto Parts, a well known (ripoff) automotive parts chain, an ACDelco D1984A ICM lists for $257.99(CDN)... or $197 in US funds!

[This message has been edited by Patrick (edited 09-01-2020).]

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Stricken
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Report this Post09-01-2020 04:24 PM Click Here to See the Profile for StrickenSend a Private Message to StrickenEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I readjusted the shifter cable in 3rd with the drill bit trick, but that doesn't seem to have helped my 5th gear issue. Maybe I'll try adjusting in 5th instead? The trans looks good. It has no leaks and clean oil filled to the proper level.
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Blacktree
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Report this Post09-01-2020 04:48 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BlacktreeClick Here to visit Blacktree's HomePageClick Here to Email BlacktreeSend a Private Message to BlacktreeEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
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Originally posted by Patrick: Believe it or not, here in Canada at Lordco Auto Parts, a well known (ripoff) automotive parts chain, an ACDelco D1984A ICM lists for $257.99(CDN)... or $197 in US funds!

Yeah, that's a ripoff. The same ICM goes for just over $50 at RockAuto.
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Patrick
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Report this Post09-01-2020 06:10 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
 
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Originally posted by Blacktree:

Yeah, that's a ripoff. The same ICM goes for just over $50 at RockAuto.


Yep. This is why I order from RockAuto (and wait nine days for delivery), rather than drive for five minutes over to the local Lordco.
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Stricken
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Report this Post09-01-2020 06:54 PM Click Here to See the Profile for StrickenSend a Private Message to StrickenEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Good news! I tried adjusting the shift cable again, but this time, I forced it in the direction I needed more throw instead of letting it relax. 5th gear goes in and holds now. What a relief. The cables are a bit stiff and probably need replacing, but it's good enough for now.
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Report this Post09-01-2020 07:18 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 Stricken:

The cables are a bit stiff and probably need replacing...


The select (side to side) cable for the 5-spd Getrag is notorious for getting stiff, due to rain water entering the transmission end of the cable and causing internal corrosion.
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Report this Post09-02-2020 06:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BlacktreeClick Here to visit Blacktree's HomePageClick Here to Email BlacktreeSend a Private Message to BlacktreeEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Sometimes, you can get away with dripping some light oil into the cable (like 3-in-1 oil, or ATF) with an eyedropper. It's worth a try. But there's no guarantee.
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Report this Post09-13-2020 08:07 AM Click Here to See the Profile for QuadfatherClick Here to Email QuadfatherSend a Private Message to QuadfatherEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I’m late to the party, but if it were me I’d drive the car while collecting all the parts for the swap. I’m approaching the 10th anniversary of my Quad 4 swap, yet I’ve never actually driven my Fiero. The duke had died when I bought the car.

With the benefit of a decade of hindsight, I wish I had fixed the duke and started driving the car, gradually fixing the problems along the way as I prepared for the Quad swap. I had good reasons for choosing the path I took, but it would have been nice to be driving a Fiero all this time.
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fierojp
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Report this Post09-18-2020 01:03 AM Click Here to See the Profile for fierojpClick Here to visit fierojp's HomePageSend a Private Message to fierojpEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I like "DD while gradually upgrading the suspension and working on other big projects, then finally doing a 3800 swap"

Please post pics!

I'm in AZ too and will keep my eye out for your car! My first Fiero was a red, 5 speed Formula.

[This message has been edited by fierojp (edited 09-18-2020).]

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