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transplant an '88 front cross-member into a pre-'88 by KillerFrogg
Started on: 10-03-2013 05:47 PM
Replies: 27 (810 views)
Last post by: fieroguru on 10-14-2013 07:53 PM
KillerFrogg
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Report this Post10-03-2013 05:47 PM Click Here to See the Profile for KillerFroggClick Here to Email KillerFroggSend a Private Message to KillerFroggEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
So basically, would an '88 front end bolt into a 84-87 car?
And with that, are the '88 brake calipers a different piston diameter than the earlier years (I am thinking if they are the same, or at least close, then the '88 setup could be used without a change in pedal feel or need to add an adjustable proportioning valve)

Just kind of thinking out loud here. I have an '84 that one day is going to get an LNF ecotech. Basically the drive train out of the later SS Cobalt.
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Report this Post10-03-2013 08:25 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fieroguruSend a Private Message to fieroguruEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by KillerFrogg:
So basically, would an '88 front end bolt into a 84-87 car?


No it isn't a bolt it swap. It requires notching the front frame rails, welding in mounting boxes, slotting some holes, and other minor parts swapping, but it has been done a half dozen or so times.

 
quote
Originally posted by KillerFrogg:
And with that, are the '88 brake calipers a different piston diameter than the earlier years


Yes, front and rear caliper piston diameters are the same for the 84-87 and 88's, so you can swap them w/o major changes to the bias. However, the 84-87 brake master cylinder and combination valve are slightly different between 84-87 and 88, so putting 88 calipers on an 84-87 won't get you the exact same bias as a bone stock 88.
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KillerFrogg
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Report this Post10-03-2013 09:30 PM Click Here to See the Profile for KillerFroggClick Here to Email KillerFroggSend a Private Message to KillerFroggEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Alright, thanks for the info!
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G-Man
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Report this Post10-03-2013 10:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for G-ManSend a Private Message to G-ManEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
It would seem that the big stumbling block with this swap would be getting the front cross-member 'square' so the cars thrust angle isn't off when driving. Everything else is basically cutting and welding. I have a Formula in the garage that has more than a fair amount of rust and I'm trying to decide what to do with it.

My idea was to pull the rear cradle; strip the front suspension and construct a jig that bolts into the slots for the front LCAs (where the bushings would go) and the forward mounting points for the rear cradle. If braced sufficiently, this should keep the front end straight while I finish the rest of the mods to my 86. I've read through the other threads on this swap and they went with a measure-five-times-and cut-once method. Anyone have any thoughts on whether this way would work or not?

Gary
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olejoedad
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Report this Post10-04-2013 09:25 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
If your time is worth anything to you, just buy an 88. Time consuming for very little gain in handling.
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Report this Post10-04-2013 10:23 AM Click Here to See the Profile for TONY_CSend a Private Message to TONY_CEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by olejoedad:

If your time is worth anything to you, just buy an 88. Time consuming for very little gain in handling.


I agree, way too much time and if you don't get the 88 crossmember in just right it will drive terrible. If you want to make a nice setup, swap the rear for an 88 cradle and upgrade the front brakes to the 88 style calipers. I did that to my 84, I used 12 Vette rotors on modified hubs (like you'd do for the Grand Am upgrade and then machined brackets to adapt the 88 brakes to the 84 spindles. Added an 88 master cylinder and now I have vented brakes all around and the car stops way better than before. the larger rotors also look much better underneath 17" rims. I was going to add the 12" Vette rotors to the rear but the car stops fine. I was also able to swap over the E brake from the 88 as well.
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KillerFrogg
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Report this Post10-04-2013 07:27 PM Click Here to See the Profile for KillerFroggClick Here to Email KillerFroggSend a Private Message to KillerFroggEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
All really good info, thanks =)

For the ecotec swap I want to do, it is going to be quite extensive. It is going to look like an 84, but that's about it.

So at this point I have kinda ruled out the '88 front member. But I have had my eye on the Arraut Motorsports/West Coast Fab "sport" front end package for a while now. Any first hand info on how that deal is compared to stock?

I have also been looking at their anti-bump steer set as well. How does that set stack up against going with an '88 rear end for autocross style driving?
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olejoedad
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Report this Post10-04-2013 10:00 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
Current project is an LS4 on an 88 cradle into an 86 GT. Using 86 front suspension with 88 sway bar. 12"C4 Corvette rotors....

You can spend more money if you like.
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SCCA FIERO
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Report this Post10-05-2013 04:31 AM Click Here to See the Profile for SCCA FIEROSend a Private Message to SCCA FIEROEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I want to do this so badly in my 87 GT t-top. The 84-87 cars are garbage compared to the 88s. I think it would be a worth while swap. I'm always looking for an 88 front suspension for my 87 GT. I think the front should be swapped more so than the rear.

Anyone who thinks differently is only trying to make themselves feel better about owning an inferior car.
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Report this Post10-05-2013 07:10 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BoogalooSend a Private Message to BoogalooEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have done this swap many years ago and it is not for the feint of heart it is pretty labor intensive ,although not a direct bolt in even so it is worth it and the end result is like night and datand even though the earlier years were ok the 88 is the way to go..
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KillerFrogg
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Report this Post10-05-2013 03:44 PM Click Here to See the Profile for KillerFroggClick Here to Email KillerFroggSend a Private Message to KillerFroggEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
haha so basically it is the triangle of time, money, and quality.
-The 88' swap is lots of time and labor, but the quality ends up worth it.
-Keeping the early front end saves time and money, but other wise cant hold a candle to the '88 gear.

But I am still curious about the sport front end package I linked to a few posts earlier. It will for sure save time, being bolt in for the early cross member. But at $1,000 retail from them, how does it compare to the '88 handling wise?
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Report this Post10-05-2013 10:57 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
Nothing the matter with the pre-88 front suspension.

The Slalom suspension is very nice, has better geometry than any Fiero front suspension.

88 rear and pre-88 front works well in autocross.

Were you not paying attention?
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KillerFrogg
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Report this Post10-05-2013 11:34 PM Click Here to See the Profile for KillerFroggClick Here to Email KillerFroggSend a Private Message to KillerFroggEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
If I am going to be spending big money on a built up LNF engine, and what ever a cryo treated F23 trans goes for, then at that point I am not going to work with what I have if there is better out there. And yes. I was paying attention.

I know the '84-87 front works well, thats what I am driving with right now, but like I said, if there is better that is what I want to to.

Anyone can go to that web page and read that the slalom package "has better geometry" and for that price it had better out perform the sport and the '88. I did that. But anyone can post anything online. I was looking for people that have worked with the "sport" hardware, to get input how it compares to the other options.

It just seems like you have a bit of an issue with putting the time into putting an '88 front in. I don't, sorry. A week or two getting an '88 front in straight while I am saving up for the engine doesn't bother me one bit if it is going to handle noticeably better.
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Report this Post10-06-2013 02:36 AM Click Here to See the Profile for SCCA FIEROSend a Private Message to SCCA FIEROEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The pre-88 front suspension has lots wrong with it.

The scrub radius makes it harder to steer.
The anti-dive is horrible.
Feedback is numb (even the 88 feel is horrible).

The 88 rear and pre-88 front might work well in autocross, but I bet the 88 front and pre-88 rear would do better (with very stiff springs and a 7/8" rear sway bar). Thing is swapping in the rear is simple compared to the front, so nobody probably has never done it.

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Report this Post10-06-2013 09:18 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
OK. Sorry.
Thanks for explaining your position in detail.
I have been building fieros for several years, and have customers with the 88 rear and the Held (now West Shore Fabricators) Slalom front suspension package. It is a wonderful combination. The car drives and handles beautifully and rides better than the early front suspension, especially when the early front is modified with higher rate springs.
Please keep in mind that this forum is full of people with big dreams and little cash, my advice was based on a good handling autocrosser on a low budget.
As to the bumpsteer reduction for the rear.....very heavy, the 88 rear suspension performs much better due to the design and is light weight.
As to an 88 front cradle swap, the crossmember is located by pins for alignment to the chassis. It is a better design for the street than the early fieros, but it is heavy in comparison to the early design.
If you have the funds, go for it!
88 rear, slalom front, lightweight two piece rotors, brembo calipers, bilstein dampers, and the built LNF.
Knock 'em dead!
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KillerFrogg
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Report this Post10-06-2013 11:45 AM Click Here to See the Profile for KillerFroggClick Here to Email KillerFroggSend a Private Message to KillerFroggEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Hey not a problem I understand about fiero people being notorisouly cheap. I can say I am the same, but this car is something special to me, and i am ok with waiting a while before i can build car up right. I am just trying to work out all of the kinks in my plan as best I can on paper now.

So if the '88 is located to the car via pins. That is really good to know. If they are somewhere that I can bolt a plate to, I can make a guide plate that would bolt onto the 84 with the locations of the pin holes in it. Then use it when drilling the holes for the pins, then weld sleves in the holes. Overengineered maybe but meh. But that would only make sure the holes are square to one another. I would still need to reference the plate to some common feature of attachment point some kind to make sure it is square and properly placed relative to the car.

I almost want to do the cross member swap now because it would be quite the chalange. And if worse comes to worse I just bolt one back in.

[This message has been edited by KillerFrogg (edited 10-06-2013).]

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olejoedad
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Report this Post10-06-2013 04:44 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 pins (one per side, between the x-member to lower frame rail bolts) are present on all year fieros.
I am unsure if they are in the same position relative to the x-member position between the two designs.

I have both pre-88's and 88's. V-8 and V-6. If I were going to the trouble of installing a different front end under any of my fieros, I would install the Slalom front end and not the 88.
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Report this Post10-08-2013 10:17 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by G-Man:

It would seem that the big stumbling block with this swap would be getting the front cross-member 'square' so the cars thrust angle isn't off when driving.

Gary


 
quote
Originally posted by TONY_C:

I agree, way too much time and if you don't get the 88 crossmember in just right it will drive terrible.


Umm... there's a procedure called an "Alignment" that can be performed on cars that aren't built quite straight (which is all cars) to make them drive well.

 
quote
Originally posted by KillerFrogg:

But I am still curious about the sport front end package I linked to a few posts earlier. It will for sure save time, being bolt in for the early cross member. But at $1,000 retail from them, how does it compare to the '88 handling wise?


The "Sport" suspension has exactly the same geometry as the stock components. The only improvement is the ability to run coil over springs and shocks.

 
quote
Originally posted by SCCA FIERO:

The pre-88 front suspension has lots wrong with it.

The scrub radius makes it harder to steer.
The anti-dive is horrible.
Feedback is numb (even the 88 feel is horrible).

The 88 rear and pre-88 front might work well in autocross, but I bet the 88 front and pre-88 rear would do better (with very stiff springs and a 7/8" rear sway bar). Thing is swapping in the rear is simple compared to the front, so nobody probably has never done it.


Agreed on the '84-'87 front; You're smoking crack if you think the early rear would out perform the '88 rear.
With the correct wheel offset and caster settings, the '88 front has excellent feedback.
The 84-87 can actually do well with extremely high offset wheels. Otherwise the scrub radius is too large to get decent contact patch feel.
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Report this Post10-09-2013 11:51 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BillSClick Here to Email BillSSend a Private Message to BillSEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by SCCA FIERO:

Feedback is numb (even the 88 feel is horrible).


I owned both 87 and 88 GTs at the same time. I agree that the 87 with steering damper in place had dead feel (remove it and it improves considerably), but disagree that the 88 steering feel is anything but very good, assuming that you have correct alignment.

The 88 suspensions is better in any aspect I can think of to the Chevette/Citation of the 87.

To the OP - if you could find even a 4 cylinder 88 car as a basis for your project, you could save a lot of time, possibly money, and probably come up with a good end product.

Which Ecotec are you going to be using? I own an LNF version in another car (current output = 350 BHP/375 TQ) and have always thought that would be a great engine for the Fiero (I've never bothered doing the swap myself as I run a turbo 3.2 with adequate power)
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Report this Post10-09-2013 08:03 PM Click Here to See the Profile for KillerFroggClick Here to Email KillerFroggSend a Private Message to KillerFroggEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by BillS:


To the OP - if you could find even a 4 cylinder 88 car as a basis for your project, you could save a lot of time, possibly money, and probably come up with a good end product.

Which Ecotec are you going to be using? I own an LNF version in another car (current output = 350 BHP/375 TQ) and have always thought that would be a great engine for the Fiero (I've never bothered doing the swap myself as I run a turbo 3.2 with adequate power)


As to getting an '88 junker to build up, I have thought about it, but I got my '84 for the cost of a fuel pump, and think it would be fun to put the time and effort into building this car up to something really fun. I like the challenge, and also that in the end I will have a car that is relatively unique in the world of v8 and 3800 swaps.

And for the engine, I will basically have the drive train of the last model Cobalt SS, and am looking to tune it to about 300 HP. I have a friend that had a 'balt with that setup, and it was amazing to drive. And his car as it sat was a good bit heavier than a Fiero too. So swapping the lethargic, 92hp iron paperweight in the car now for an all aluminium beast like the LNF should make for an... well I can see my self getting a ticket or two.
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Report this Post10-11-2013 05:53 PM Click Here to See the Profile for G-ManSend a Private Message to G-ManEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
"Umm... there's a procedure called an "Alignment" that can be performed on cars that aren't built quite straight (which is all cars) to make them drive well."

No need to be sarcastic or talk down. I think we all know what an alignment is and when you should have them done. Earlier in life, I had over 10 years working as a mechanic with extensive suspension/alignment experience. My point is: If you try this and don't get the cross-member in centered and square, an alignment may not be able to resolve every potential problem. You might be able to get caster, camber and toe set right. Even eliminate a pull and get the steering wheel straight, but an alignment won't fix getting the suspension swapped in offset to one side or at an angle. How much room for error is there before you start having clearance issues between the tires and the body during turning or braking? This was the reason I offered the question about makng a jig to aid in locating the front cross-member because I had never heard of anybody doing it that way before.

Some have mentioned the 'Slalom Suspension.' Have you guys seen the current price for that? It's $2400 and you still need to add brakes. Although I think it's a neat setup, it's hardly a low-budget mod.

Gary
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Report this Post10-11-2013 07:23 PM Click Here to See the Profile for KillerFroggClick Here to Email KillerFroggSend a Private Message to KillerFroggEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by G-Man:

Some have mentioned the 'Slalom Suspension.' Have you guys seen the current price for that? It's $2400 and you still need to add brakes. Although I think it's a neat setup, it's hardly a low-budget mod.

Gary


That is why I was asking about the "sport" set =) I am willing to spend money, but for my project, $2,400 for just the front end is a bit over the top. For that I could just buy an '88. But where is the fun and challenge in that? haha. Or i could get an '88 front, rear, and gen2 headlights, a set of new wheels and tires. And probably a ton of other hardware I would need for the swap anyway.

So back a bit more on topic. I agree that having a frame of jig of some sort to get the front and rear square to the rest of the car would be a good way to do it. Just thinking out loud here, but I would do the '88 rear swap first as it is really well documented. Once that is in, solid, and square. At that point, I would probably reference the front end to the rear cradle. Either at the cradle to frame mounts, or the suspension mounting points. That would give me a point where i can get measurements from to make sure the 88 front is in the same place it should be relative to the 88 rear.
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Report this Post10-11-2013 07:57 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fieroguruSend a Private Message to fieroguruEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The front crossmembers have a locating dowel on the driver side.



When you install it you take a couple of measurements from side to side to make sure it is square to the chassis. not difficult at all. Getting it square to the chassis is one of the easiest parts about the swap.

Any time you remove the 88 front crossmember you have to go through this procedure. On the 84-87's the placement is more dictated by the lower a-arm rear bushing mount being welded to the chassis. Once you install the lower a-arm, there isn't much available movement for any squareness adjustments.
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Will
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Report this Post10-12-2013 07:50 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by G-Man:
No need to be sarcastic or talk down. I think we all know what an alignment is and when you should have them done. Earlier in life, I had over 10 years working as a mechanic with extensive suspension/alignment experience. My point is: If you try this and don't get the cross-member in centered and square, an alignment may not be able to resolve every potential problem. You might be able to get caster, camber and toe set right. Even eliminate a pull and get the steering wheel straight, but an alignment won't fix getting the suspension swapped in offset to one side or at an angle. How much room for error is there before you start having clearance issues between the tires and the body during turning or braking? This was the reason I offered the question about makng a jig to aid in locating the front cross-member because I had never heard of anybody doing it that way before.


As mentioned several times above, there are alignment dowels between the crossmember and body.
Someone would REALLY have to be incompetent to get the crossmember installed so cockeyed that an alignment couldn't make up for the error.

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Report this Post10-12-2013 10:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoogalooSend a Private Message to BoogalooEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Here is an article on this procedure http://centralfloridafieros...ndex.php?topic=376.0
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Report this Post10-14-2013 03:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WillClick Here to Email WillSend a Private Message to WillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
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Report this Post10-14-2013 07:17 PM Click Here to See the Profile for KillerFroggClick Here to Email KillerFroggSend a Private Message to KillerFroggEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
a + to Guru, Will and Boogaloo for the writeups and pictures! =D Thanks guys! I have been super busy with work, so thanks for the links.

And that is really good to know that I need more than just the cross member. I am sure some of the stuff would be more obvious that not, but now I have a list and something to reference for procedure. Thanks!
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Report this Post10-14-2013 07:53 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fieroguruSend a Private Message to fieroguruEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
This thread has an 88 front suspension install into an84 chassis as just one part of the overall build, but it has quite a few pictures of the work involved in the swap. Start on this page:
http://www.fiero.nl/forum/F.../HTML/000007-61.html
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