What shops have swapped a Northstar V8 into a Fiero GT? I have a nice 1987 Fiero GT w/ bad original 2.8 V6 (auto trans is OK). I also have a N* V8 w/ auto trans/sub-frame/suspension (this was intended for a different project but I changed my mind). I am looking to get cost estimates from shops that have the expertise to perform the "engine" swap (N* into Fiero) and are willing to take on such a project. I am in SoCal and expect some travel on my part.
Thanks for the input--it's a real good start. I looked at the 2 web sites (thefierofactory and westcoastfiero) and each has its strong points. WCF does have the experience with the N* engine (4.6 L V8, 300 hp) and N* transmission as well; I will be contacting them soon to see if they could do the entire conversion. The Fiero Factory only identified a Cadillac 4.9 L conversion and they also swore off any more of same for California. But their pricing seemed reasonable and they also appear to have all the right experience. I will post again when I get things firmed up.
I have a cradle set up for the N* and I think that I may have a wiring harness. Also PBJs turbo kit. I'm thinning my herd and probably will never use any of it. I don't remember what year the cradle is. I think that it was set up for the 4t80e.
I have a cradle for the N* engine + N* auto-trans (I called it a "sub-frame"). The N* wiring harness might be useful; I don't know yet. I think I have the 4T80 trans and not the 4T80E (electronic clutch/torque converter)--but I need to check on that and dig out all of my notes from a few years ago.
Design One: the "archived" web site was "right on" with engine swap kit parts and prices listed. Too bad, though, the web site is all different now--and web site/domain name is for sale.
From what we have seen the N* is a heavy, complex and expensive Fiero swap. It was never a very popular swap and I do not believe that any shops are currently offering them. There are other options that can provide similar (or better) performance at a lower price.
------------------ " THE BLACK PARALYZER" -87GT 3800SC Series III engine, custom ZZP /Frozen Boost Intercooler setup, 3.4" Pulley, Powerlog manifold, Northstar TB, LS1 MAF, 3" Flotech Afterburner Exhaust, Autolite 104's, MSD wires, Custom CAI, 4T65eHD w. custom axles, HP Tuners VCM Suite. "THE COLUSSUS" 87GT - ALL OUT 3.4L Turbocharged engine, Garrett Hybrid Turbo, MSD ign., modified TH125H " ON THE LOOSE WITHOUT THE JUICE "
I must apologize in advance since my knowledge of 4T80 series of transmissions is limited to Wikipedia where the original 4T80 was described as having a "viscous" clutch rather than the upgraded "electronically controlled" clutch of the 4T80E. But the description(s) indicate 3 different introduction dates for 4T80E: 2005, 2004, and 1993. So which is it . . . I have no clue; but I think you may be right in that my transmission is a 4T80E . . . that ID rings a bell in my head. I haven't yet uncovered the engine/trans from underneath a pile of stuff plus tarps; it is buried deep in my garage. Thank you for your input.
As far as considering a simpler engine swap than a N* into Fiero GT, I am convinced that you are correct in your assessment; however, I was trying to clear my garage of both items at the same time by having the swap performed at a shop where their expertise could handle the job. And if I find such a shop but it turns out to be too expensive, the entire project will be reconsidered. I do appreciate your suggestions very much.
Relative to your questions, there really isn’t a shop that specializes in Northstar swaps. Originally, it was Chris Moore and Design One. As I understand it, both are not performing the conversions any longer. West Coast Fieros, in your state, has the ability to do them for customers and has done them. Everyone seems to do the fabrication a little bit differently based on what they are working with and what year Fiero it’s in. That’s why there is really no kit available.
Since you already have the N* engine and trans and the fiero subframe, it makes sense to do the swap.
My car weighs in at 2850 with the Getrag, if I remember right. So, its not a bad swap regarding weight...and you do not loose any significant handling with the V8 power plant.
The reason some folks say its expensive is because there is more fabrication with getting the engine on the fiero cradle. You can’t use your existing fiero cradle in its present form and add prefabbed engine mounts like you can with a 3800. You have to cut out the rear crossmember and relocate a new one. Parts for the N* do cost a little more because it’s a premium engine with unique parts. Once you get the engine done correctly, it will last a very long time and service you very well.
The nice thing about the N* is that you start with 300HP in naturally aspirated form if you have a VIN 9 car. So, it’s robust from the get-go. If you have followed Wills’ N* build, then his rebuild starts with 350HP and it is naturally aspirated. "Totty", a forum member, used 288 reground cams running on a Holley Commander 950 and netted 400HP WITHOUT any aftermarket mods or using a supercharger(he may have done some porting and used studs). The 3800’s are nice because they have a lot of aftermarket support from engine mounts to performance parts but you start way lower at 240HP and that’s WITH a supercharger. You have to buy performance parts to get to 300 HP. My first Fiero engine swap back in 1996 (using a low mileage 1998 GTP 3800 SC engine mated to a Getrag) was close to 280 HP running on a Haltech computer, smaller pulley, aluminum flywheel and headers.
The Northstar, in my mind, is a popular engine swap because they are cheap to purchase and you start with 275/300 HP. Many have swapped them into their Fiero and/or kit cars. However, they do require a little more work and have significantly less aftermarket prefab support which is why the 3800 and other swaps are more popular.
I’ve have three N* conversions, two 88’s (one manual and one auto) and one 85GT Auto. I did all the fab/welding and engine work on these three and I would say it is not difficult. It does take some time though.
I would say go for the N* swap since you already have the main components.
[This message has been edited by IXSLR8 (edited 04-28-2015).]
Originally posted by IXSLR8: "Totty", a forum member, used 288 reground cams running on a Holley Commander 950 and netted 400HP WITHOUT any aftermarket mods or using a supercharger(he may have done some porting and used studs).
I'll cherp in here.. The north star is a good motor, when all is well. If something goes wrong, it really goes wrong. I would do it again, I did it myself (with help from a lot of members on here and the po of the car gave me tons of parts including a Holley 950 commander. That's the fuel management I know, but that's the one thing I would also do differently next time. Chrfab does offer a newer system, but if you're not planning on modifying it from stock, I would go with the guy on here that burns the Cadillac ecm to work (much cheaper and less tuning / messing around with it).
So overall I love the north star, and I'm hooked on it. I'm also on my third motor, one day I'll actually bite the bullet and have one properly built with helicoils and forged internals. But I won't be doing that until it proves to be more difficult finding good used motors. The sound of a north star with a nice dual exhaust is just pure awesome, enough said.
Yeah, the exhaust note of the N* is King of the Hill as far as that goes. One thing about the extra weight, it does not come from the engine it comes from the 294 lb 4T80E. I have this swap in a 87GT and it weighed 3063 lbs at the 30th. It does affect handling a little with the 4T80E, but not that much. The 4T80E is the reason I wanted a N*. It's the most stout transverse transmission the General has ever produced and can take a lot more abuse than the 4T65eHD in the automatic 3800 builds. As previously posted just swapping cams and upgrading fuel injectors and you can hit 400HP rather easily. I like mine where it is though. It's plenty for the street and it is so Cadillac smooth...