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My project car restoration, learning to work on the car, eventual engine swap by FearArrow
Started on: 08-25-2012 11:37 PM
Replies: 13 (557 views)
Last post by: Grantman on 07-18-2013 05:01 PM
FearArrow
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Report this Post08-25-2012 11:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FearArrowSend a Private Message to FearArrowEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
This thread is meant to chronicle the work done on my new 1988 Formula 5spd notchback

The car was in generally decent shape when I bought it I suppose, I mean I was able to drive it 2hrs home without incident (although it was the first time I drove stick outside of a parking lot so the shifting was less than perfect but it wasn't the car)
The car is now my daily driver so after a few weeks of commuting in DC traffic I've gotten quite used to driving stick. I am currently working to make the car pass MD state inspection and I plan to first restore, repair and get to know my fiero in and out while I save up money for a year or two to do an engine swap. The car has the original 2.8l v6 with about 80,000 miles on it. When I got it the A/C didn't work and I had a bad High Blower relay. RWDPLZ and Marvin McInnis helped guide me and I was able to fix them both. The MD inspector informed me that:
- I needed 2 tires (I have replaced all 4)
- Replaced both lower ball joints)
- Front left shock has a leak in it (Replaced both)
- Something is wrong with the clutch (I bled it using Archies method and my foot thanks him)
- Front Rotors are bad (replaced them today)
- Front pads are bad (replaced all today wow were they thin like paper)
- Parking Brake does not hold car (I tried tightening it at the square equalizer nut, its a little better, but still won't pass)
- Muffler leak (I haven't found out where from yet I plan to seafoam the motor and see where the smoke comes out)
- Exhaust manifold leak (same as muffler but the clamp at the Y pipe is rusted to high heaven so thats my first guess I also bought new gaskets and plan to get new bolts)I took it to a shop in PA they fixed the leak welded cracks and put new manifold gaskets on

- One of the 2 light Bulbs on the tag light is slightly loose (wow really maryland ok well that was an easy fix)
- Headlights need to be aimed (Fixed)

So the first step in my journey is to pass inspection and my 30 day window is running down fast, I only have a week or two left.
I'll update this list as I fix things If anyone has any suggestions on how to fix any of these things or ideas for other maintenance items or mods please share. I'll gladly post some pics or diagrams as I fix things.
I could really use some advice on fixing the exhaust leak, since my first instinct would be to replace the manifolds and muffler, but I think it makes no sense to spend that sort of money on a motor I'd like to swap soon anyway.

------------------
1997 Grand Prix GTP-(totaled)
1993 Firebird Formula-(Sold)
2006 Grand Prix GT-(Sold)
1988 Fiero Formula 5spd T-tops - Current Ride

Its better to burn out then fade away (but you go through more tires)

[This message has been edited by FearArrow (edited 04-02-2013).]

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FieroGT42
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Report this Post08-27-2012 05:02 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FieroGT42Click Here to Email FieroGT42Send a Private Message to FieroGT42Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Congratulations and welcome to the addiction. It looks like you already have a great start on things!

I've learned not to throw money where it will be "wasted" by being replaced later, but if one front lower ball joint was bad, you might want to replace both LBJ's to be safe. At least give the other a good prying to make sure it's tight.

Rear brake adjustment (link to Ogre's Cave at the top of this forum): http://home.comcast.net/~fierocave/brakes2.htm

Before you take any of the exhaust off, especially the manifold bolts, soak the hell out of it all with PB Blaster or Kroil every day for a few weeks. Trust me on this. A couple may still break anyway, but that's another issue.

Check your front (firewall toward passenger compartment) manifold carefully for cracks. Stick a mirror under there and make sure it isn't leaking. A leak will trash your gaskets causing more leaks, and that can mess up a lot of things. Cracks can be welded, but I can't see putting much money into an engine you're replacing anyway. If you end up taking the manifolds off, the can be reinforced & ported for what some say is 5-8hp. There are many threads on this.

If you end up removing your manifolds, it might be easier and just as fast to just drop the whole cradle first to do so (or lift the car off of it). Then go with a stud kit for reinstallation. Only the force of threading them into the heads is applied when you're wrenching on them on or off, not the friction and pressure of holding the manifolds. The result is much less chance of breaking one. There are some Saturn studs and Mustang studs that can be used. I bought a kit for Fieros that I believe uses the Mustang studs.

Good luck on the restoration!

Jason

[This message has been edited by FieroGT42 (edited 08-27-2012).]

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seajai
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Report this Post08-27-2012 06:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for seajaiSend a Private Message to seajaiEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
You can download a free copy of the 1988 Fiero factory service manual HERE . It's an essential tool for learning all of the ins and outs of the Fiero.
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RWDPLZ
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Report this Post08-27-2012 07:08 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RWDPLZClick Here to visit RWDPLZ's HomePageSend a Private Message to RWDPLZEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Aiming the headlights isn't hard at all, each headlight has adjusters on the top and the outside, right next to the bulb. Park the car on a level surface ~ 3 feet in front of a wall (say in front of your garage), and adjust the top ones until the beam is centered just below your knees. Adjust the left and right until they point forward. Take it for a test drive and adjust as necessary. If the adjusters are broken, most parts stores sell new ones in the HELP! section, or by the headlight bulbs.
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FearArrow
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Report this Post08-28-2012 11:53 AM Click Here to See the Profile for FearArrowSend a Private Message to FearArrowEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thanks everyone,

I have new studs ordered for the manifold bolts
These looked pretty good to me Fiero Manifold Stud Kit
I am going to start soaking the PB blaster when I get home. I'm a little nervous about dropping the cradle as i'm still learning about working on cars (sort of the reason I bought an old fiero is that I wanted to learn) I have a low profile floor jack and 2 jack stands, but I feel like i'd probably need more equipment to drop the cradle, do I need a hoist? I was thinking about buying a gantry crane or a winch to secure from the ceiling of the garage, as I'll need something eventually for the engine swap I think? I don't want to spend a fortune on it and I don't want to take up too much of my already limited floor space in the garage. What do you guys use or what is your process to drop the cradle? I read about porting and I have a dremel and its tempting, but I use my fiero as my daily driver and I don't want alot of downtime. also since i'm planning an eventual swap I'm not concerned with HP gains yet. Can the cradle be dropped on my own or should I enlist the help of a friend?

I already had the download of the 88Service manual, its amazing that a file exists for that car in that much detail.

Thanks for the explaination on the headlights I'll try it out. I figured that would be an easy one, but I didnt really notice them being that bad, I've driven at night with no issues.
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FearArrow
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Report this Post09-01-2012 02:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FearArrowSend a Private Message to FearArrowEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Well I changed the front shocks this morning following a haynes manual and it went pretty smoothly except for the top bolt on the passenger side that wouldn't come off. There is a little rectangular nub on the top and then a threaded rod connected to the shock, the nut on the thread was stuck so that when I turned it the rod turned the piston within the shock and just kept spinning around as I turned the wrench. I tried grabbing onto the metal nubby on top and none of my wrenches would fit on it. I then turned to my vise grips and well as I turned the vise grips sort of ripped the nubby to shreds. so i was getting pretty frustrated and turned to my next tool of destruction the dremel. I used the cutoff wheel and lopped the nut in half and out came my shock. Luckily my new shocks came with their own top nut.

Now I'm replacing the rear brakes and I'll tell you I am quite stumped. Having already done the front brakes last week, I was prepared for the stupid spring pins and had no problem with them. I followed the instructions and removed the parking brake cable, spring, bolt, lever. I took out the T55 caliper mount bolts and freed my old pads. now I am ready to push the caliper piston back I read that the rear brakes needed a special tool to drive the piston back in a turning motion so I bought this goofy looking cube that has a bunch of odd bumps and a 3/8 socket drive on it. I am guessing that two of those bumps need to fit into the 2 holes in the piston face to turn it back, but if I put the cube in there I can't fit a socket inside the caliper bridge? and also they don't seem to go into any detail whatsoever in the service manual or the haynes manual as to how to do this or which direction to turn them in? I heard on the forums that one side goes clockwise and the other goes counter. Is this sounding right?
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RWDPLZ
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Report this Post09-01-2012 04:39 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RWDPLZClick Here to visit RWDPLZ's HomePageSend a Private Message to RWDPLZEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
You actually don't want to rotate the rear caliper piston on 84-87 Fieros, just press them in. See

home.comcast.net/~fierocave/brakerear.htm

and

http://home.comcast.net/~fierocave/brakes6.htm
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FearArrow
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Report this Post09-02-2012 08:24 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FearArrowSend a Private Message to FearArrowEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
well that would be true RWDPLZ, but I have an 88 and everything I read had said i needed to rotate them in. I was able to finish the job by removing the bridge bolts and once I took the bridge off I had easy access with a 3/8 ratchet. However I must have botched something because now my parking brake is too tight (imagine that?) and my brakes are super spongy and dont stop the car until they are on the floor. I had started by following haynes manual instructions and they instructed me to take off the parking brake lever(the one on the back of the caliper) and inspect the gasket/seal behind it. I did that and the seal looked fine, but I stupidly didnt put it back on before starting to rotate the piston and I had brake fluid started dripping out of the back of the caliper at the bolt for the parking brake. I suspect my spongy brakes are a result of this, and I must need to bleed them now. Do I need to bleed all of the brakes or just the rear passenger one that I let drip when I messed up? I assume I can get my brakes back to normal by bleeding, but my parking brake is so tight that the light stays on even when the hand lever if fully released. How can I fix this? will it auto adjust if I put it on and off again several times and pump the brake?

I'm finding that I know just about enough about car repairs to be dangerous and not quite enough to be quick at it. I only have a week left to get the car to pass inspection and I feel the pressure is on now to finish. I may take the car to a shop to get the exhaust worked on since I don't have a set up to drop the cradle yet, and would still like to get some advice on how others have done it.....

------------------
1997 Grand Prix GTP-(totaled)
1993 Firebird Formula-(Sold)
2006 Grand Prix GT-(Sold)
1988 Fiero Formula 5spd T-tops - Current Ride

Its better to burn out then fade away (but you go through more tires)

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nuvolari2M6
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Report this Post09-03-2012 12:02 PM Click Here to See the Profile for nuvolari2M6Click Here to Email nuvolari2M6Send a Private Message to nuvolari2M6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
hey, congratulations on your new Fiero! i pretty much had the same list of problems as you when i purchased mine (88 Formula about 2 months ago) and have slowly been checking off the list. most recently i have just replaced the steering rack and inner and outer tierods as well as the shocks in front, just a suggestion for future reference if a shock won't come loose a sawzall cut right thru the upper bushing (horizontally) will quickly dispose of the old shock in seconds. one question though, you have an 80k mile t-top Formula and have no mechanical experience and your going to attempt a swap? in that case why not start with something a little less rare like an '84 or anything other than that car. t-top Formulas are pretty rare cars, you might wanna consider leaving it be, just my opinion..
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FearArrow
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Report this Post09-04-2012 09:55 AM Click Here to See the Profile for FearArrowSend a Private Message to FearArrowEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I wanted an 88 for the better handling and I wanted to learn how to drive stick, I read on Archies website that the Getrag 5 spd was decent to hold up to 400hp so I set out to find an 88 5spd in drivable condition for less than $4k. This was the only car I found in a 2hr driving radius that had what I was looking for. I actually found an 87 5spd notch, but when I went to see it, the guy was a heavy smoker and it wreaked plus 2nd gear was grinding really bad. I like the look of the GT slope back, but they weight more and performance is an eventual goal of mine so I wanted a notch. Finding a notch 5spd 88 sort of narrowed down what I wanted, and I found this formula was exactly what I wanted. I don't want to argue with people, but I actually hate the front bumper on the GT cars too and the 88 formula has the nicer looking front end, but without the stupid black plastic pads on it. I understand your concern for keeping it original, but I plan to drive this car for a long long time and a 24 year old engine cannot be expected to run forever, when it goes its coming out and I think an LS-1 is going in. I will probably be buying archies kit and plan to do the swap non destructively and I'll save parts, so if me or anyone else ever wanted to return it to original condition they could.

After finishing the pads I bled the brakes yesterday and not only do my brakes now work (and they don't make a sickening crunching noise when I stop now) but my parking brake works great now. Its much easier to release, and it actually holds the car on my sloped driveway.

Almost ready to get it reinspected, going to take it to an exhaust guy on Wednesday then I need to change the lower Ball Joint.
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FearArrow
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Report this Post09-20-2012 07:34 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FearArrowSend a Private Message to FearArrowEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Here are some pictures of the old parts that came out


heres one side




and the other. These were my Front Rotors, you can see one of those pads was about as thick as piece of copier paper.



here are the old shocks, I got pretty dirty on one of them, it was leaking whatever is inside a shock all down the top.


This is the first tool Casualty, I should have known better than to try a cheap chinese rachet with a 2ft breaker bar to try to remove the caliper bridge bolt. The old craftsman wrench I used next worked just fine and got that stubborn bolt off.

------------------
1997 Grand Prix GTP-(totaled)
1993 Firebird Formula-(Sold)
2006 Grand Prix GT-(Sold)
1988 Fiero Formula 5spd T-tops - Current Ride

Its better to burn out then fade away (but you go through more tires)

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FearArrow
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Report this Post04-02-2013 10:43 AM Click Here to See the Profile for FearArrowSend a Private Message to FearArrowEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
wow its been a while since I have been on here,

Since September I found out my wife cheated on me and she left for a woman... I'm moving but the fiero passed its inspection and emissions tests. It's been running great and I even added a Bluetooth head unit. just recently I have had a problem with the brakes. they do work and they stop the car but not until almost to the floor, its like pushing nothing until the last inch. I think its a fluid/hose or booster problem. I might have a vacuum leak. Any suggestions where to start?
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FearArrow
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Report this Post07-18-2013 04:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FearArrowSend a Private Message to FearArrowEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
BIG UPDATE:


I saw a decent deal on an LS-1 Engine and bought it!



so I have a fiero, I have an LS-1, I have no idea what I'm doing, but I want to learn and I'm ready to dive in. My swap begins...

anyone know any active folks that have done this swap? any threads or guides you would reccomend? Teach me I want to learn, I've thought about buying archies Kit, and I'm debating on using the getrag 282 I have or picking up an F40 transmission.

------------------
1997 Grand Prix GTP-(totaled)
1993 Firebird Formula-(Sold)
2006 Grand Prix GT-(Sold)
1988 Fiero Formula 5spd T-tops - Current Ride
2011 Chevy HHR LT - Kid hauler
Its better to burn out then fade away (but you go through more tires)

[This message has been edited by FearArrow (edited 07-18-2013).]

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Grantman
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Report this Post07-18-2013 05:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for GrantmanClick Here to Email GrantmanSend a Private Message to GrantmanEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
your moniker shouldn't be FearArrow, it should be fearless!! Can't help you with the LS1 but I'll enjoy reading your build.
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