hey guys, so I’ve always been interested in Fiero and recently been wanting to get another toy to play around with. Just not sure on what I should look for. So thought I’d get some inputs from people who know what they are talking about.
At the moment I’m just looking to get in to a starter Fiero so I’ve been looking at the 4 cylinders. There are 2 that I like and within my budget
1. 1986 4 cyl. 5 speed standard with 120,200 kms (74,688 miles) they are asking $1,900CDN body looks good from pic its the bright red. But doesn't look like original rims or seats.
2. 1987 4 cyl. Auto with 220,000 kms (136,000 miles) and they are asking $1,350CDN body also look ok and its the darker red and everything from what i see looks original from pics.
I would rather the auto trans. as i don't have much experience driving manual but it’s got higher miles so don’t know if that’s a red flag or not. i don’t know much about that engine or the car as im just starting to catch the Fiero fever lol. Would appricted any input you guys have!
Welcome and contratulations on your choices. You asked for an opinion and this is just my opinion.
Though I'm partial to the manual transmissions, in your case, without experience, and given that they are 4-cylinder engines, I would suggest going with the automatic, if all else about the cars compares. My reason for this suggestion is that the 4-cylinder has a redline that's easy to exceed in the manual transmissions when in First and Second gears. They don't like being revved over 4500 rpm. The automatic will get you going easily enough without overstressing the engine. You may not obtain as many mpg (mpl) but the difference isn't great and it will save wear and tear on the engine.
A second reason isn't related to transmisions, but the engines. The 87 engine had some improvements over the 86. I believe oiling was one of those improvements. It also uses Distributorless Ignition System (DIS) with timing programmed into the ECM.
Hoplefully, you have done some research on the common rust areas to look for. Underneath the carpet in the lower corners of the trunk, the frame rails behind the rear wheel fender well liners, the cradle, the drain hole plugs in the floor pan. If you have any heavy scaling on the suspension, cradle, or any readily visible parts, you might want to consider the other vehicle.
Body can look ok and frame etc under it can be rotten to the point it's scrap car. More so in Canada and US States w/ high road salt in winters.
You or Mechanic need to look at car from the bottom preferred on a lift. We have seen many car look good and still be junk from rust. Many have tried to fix the junk cars and most have a No Clue and car is dangerous just driving or in a wreck.
Note: 86 to 87 4c are two different engines and many things change while looks close to same. See my Cave, Duke Quick Ref
------------------ Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should. (Jurassic Park)
If both cars have the same level of rust and all other conditions are comparable, I would get the 87. It is largely considered the best year for the pre-88s and some would say better than the 88s in most regards (I am not one of them).
The larger fuel tank and the DIS ignition are both nice features that were introduced in 87. It will also have the more updated non-bumper pad front and rear fascias.
You also can't go wrong looking at Ogres cave. There is a lot of useful information on that site. I personally prefer the stick shift but the auto has its advantages also. Heavy traffic you don't have to shift. The clutch mechanism can be difficult to bleed properly on the stick shift and is a common problem also. The DIS ignition system on the 87 is a definite advantage also. That is what almost every car on the road uses today. It requires less maintenance than the old distributor systems. I wish you the best of luck on your purchase and I think you'll enjoy either car.
[This message has been edited by JMTUT (edited 02-04-2019).]
As a fellow Canadian, I can tell you that you will need to be on the lookout for rust on the Fieros up here. Do some searches on PFF about rust, and you'll quickly learn what to look for. The rear frame and trunk tend to be the most problematic areas. Unfortunately, it will be well hidden and you'll have to poke around under the wheel well covers and carpet to find the true condition. Having said that, if you are patient, even in Canada you can find a rust free (or at least minimal rust) Fiero with a little luck. I found a completely rust free 88 up in Ottawa for $900 about 5 years ago....(which I promptly bought and then cut up...)
Good luck and post some pics once you find your new toy!
I live in CA.....So we have very little rust here......But the number one thing I would check on is the chassis rust.....Look underneath, look in the corners of the trunk....Anything but surface rust....No-no-no!
ALthough it is easy to swap out rusted subframes, a rusted subframe points to MORE chassis rust. All things being equal, the later car is the better choice....Improvements thru-out......But if you have to, you can get the manual.....I learned on my Fiero that I ordered from the factory having never touched a manual...(I practiced synchronizing my foot and hand movements for a month before I drove it....(And yes, I stalled it a few times- once in front of a couple of guys in a Mustang at a light...)
Originally posted by Patrick: Agree 100%. A duke powered Fiero with an automatic can't get out of its own way.
It's all moot though if you buy a rust-bucket. Save yourself a lot of grief... and inspect any potential candidate before you buy it.
More like 100% Worse often parroting crap "reviews" from Rags like Car & Driver etc. Fiero Auto will move just fine If TV and Throttle cables are good. Many have one or both cables adjusted wrong or stretch or have pedal problems at minimum.
But Stick = Fun! is BS too. Stick isn't fun or even get better MPG driving around a city or when dealing w/ heavy traffic. Been there, done that for Decades. Clutch can fail for this and more and need to replace sooner because most w/ break the diaphragm spring in the pressure plate etc. Many small cars use same clutch design as Fiero have and have same problems. Many sell Stick trans cars because have clutch problems hopes buyer signs Bill of Sale before they notice.
Video is only one example... Many are worse and can find them using search here and elsewhere.
[This message has been edited by theogre (edited 02-08-2019).]
Easy first check. Pull the trunk blower that is located on the right corner of the trunk under the carpet. Look in there with a fiber optic camera. If you don't have one then pull the wheel liner out and look up. That should tell you everything that you want to know. As for stick vs auto; unless its a modern auto, I would say that they provide a far smoother driving experience and about equal highway mileage BUT if its the Fiero 3 speed TH125H, they may be better in traffic, around town but hwy mileage isn't all that good. I have met fiero owners with the 88 Fiero Duke and 5 speed that claim 40 hwy mpg. That would be considered great even today.
------------------ " THE BLACK PARALYZER" -87GT 3800SC Series III engine, custom ZZP /Frozen Boost Intercooler setup, 3.4" Pulley, Northstar TB, LS1 MAF, 3" Spintech/Hedman Exhaust, P-log Manifold, Autolite 104's, MSD wires, Custom CAI, 4T65eHD w. custom axles, Champion Radiator, S10 Brake Booster, 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 "
87 duke w/ auto have good MPG on the highway in 27-31 range depending on road and traffic. Better then many cars and SUV build now. And will move too. More confusing is TH125C and 4Txx isn't same setup year to year for Fiero and others even w/ same engine. GM changed chain set, final or both. So just in Fiero, 85 86 duke auto setup is not same as 84 87 88 duke auto Or V6 auto w/ more different gearing setups. Many install 4T60 just to add overdrive to reduce eating gas vs TH125C w/ 3.18 or 3.33 "final" that Fiero V6 autos are setup. See my Cave, Gear Ratio
Originally posted by Patrick: Heh heh... it's pretty easy to tell who in this thread owns a 4-banger slushbox. lol
And you will be wrong, again.
I have a good stick Fiero and sold engine and trans and keep the rest for parts because I got tired of "the fun driving a stick" decades ago. I've had many cars and service Many more w/ all types of power trains. Ford and others use same clutch type as Fiero and have same problems. Even have similar hydro problems w/ bad MC and/or slaves. I had 3 4 and 5 speed stick trans and each have there own issues.
You want to see a real "slushbox" then try old Ford C4 or C6 or any GM Auto build without TCC locking. Unlocked TC eats power most of time and have less Torque Multiplier to try to save MPG and TC makes less Heat and losing power. Giant Headaches for GM and all others to balance TC for performance vs MPG and often failed for both. Worse, Many fools install "High stall" TC and F'd that up because they believe hype from car rags and others and trans never runs right and eats gas all the time as TC is generating a huge amount of Heat.