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My 18+ Year Build Thread by Doc John
Started on: 01-05-2008 11:49 AM
Replies: 90 (15780 views)
Last post by: Sage on 06-02-2017 10:20 AM
Doc John
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Report this Post01-05-2008 11:49 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I thought that people might be interested in seeing the modifications that have been made to my car since I bought it new in the fall of 1985. It will take me a few days to get everything uploaded, so check back to see if there is anything new. Quick description of the car - it is a 1986 SE, silver with black trim when I bought it . It came with a sunroof, V6, 4 speed manual, and not much else. I bought it in September of 1985 from Zimmer Motors (Pontiac/GMC/Cadillac/Nissan) in Moscow, Idaho.

Here are some pictures of it the day I took delivery:







[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 05-24-2010).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-05-2008 11:58 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Here are a couple of vacation pix: on the beach at Long Beach, WA, 1986 or 1987.







Here's one from the Oregon Gorge, 1986, 7, or 8:



And somewhere in eastern Washington (State):

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-05-2008).]

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Mister
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Report this Post01-05-2008 12:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MisterSend a Private Message to MisterEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by Doc John:

Here are some pictures of it the day I took delivery:





Ahhhh a brand new Fiero...I can almost smell the plastic
Let the good times roll

-----------------

T-Top Conversion~Dual HUD~LED Setup~Red Fieros~Montreal Club

[This message has been edited by Mister (edited 01-05-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-05-2008 12:10 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

In terms of maintainance and reliability, the car had all the usual, basic Fiero issues. It ground up the OEM tires in fairly short order, because back then GM was setting the rear toe in wrong at the factory. Water pump died at about 30K miles, and the oil pressure sender pegged and kept the fuel pump running (even with the key out of the ignition), also around 30K.

A fairly isolated problem that I had was the Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS) breaking and part of it falling into the tranny (I was, of course, doing 75 MPH at the time, Murphy's Law demands that problems like that will never happen at parking lot speeds). This necessitated transmission repairs; I had the clutch replaced at that time also, as long as it was torn down that far (this happened at 51K miles).


OK, enough of the car as a stocker. Let the modifications begin!

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-05-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-05-2008 01:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Fast forward to 1990. I am in the market for a Ferrari body kit. I had two in mind. The first was the Corson Fiero, which was based on the Ferrari Boxer Berlinetta (with a shortened wheel base):





The second was the Ferrari 246 Dino kit that was made by Norm at the time.





Then the Winter1989/Spring 1990 issue of "Fiero Secrets" arrived. In it was a brief piece that described how Jim Sutter from IRM was going to be adding what looked like a Ferrari 308 kit to the IRM product lineup. I was living in northern New Jersey at the time, so one weekend we hopped in the car and drove to Gaithersburg, Maryland, to visit IRM and check out the kit.

I was immediately impressed with both Jim's professionalism and the quality of the work done at IRM. I was equally impressed with the quality of the fiberglass in the "Mirage" (Ferrari 308/328) kits that Jim was selling. He didn't make the kits, he purchased them from George Fejer of Canadian Sportscars, Int'l, based in Nobel, Ontario. The fiberglass looked really good, all gelcoated, no weird fiberglass goobers on the back sides, uniform thickness, etc. The Fejer kit came with almost no brackets, which was a little scary, but Jim made up his own hardware kit to propery locate things like the lock cylinders, etc.

Here is a picture of the car Jim and his crew were working on when I visited:




This was the first "Mirage" kit that IRM did, and it took them a good 6 months to get everything right. Being the prototype, Jim based his design for future production brackets off of the pieces he made for this car. IIRC, this 1988 car belonged to Charlie Billella (sp?), and had a carburated 350 in it, using one of Archie's first V8 kits. Hmmm.... a V8 in a Fiero.... something to think about....

Getting back to the rebody - having seen this kit, it was now a coin toss between the Corson car, and the Mirage 328 kit. The deciding factor was Randy Corson raising the price of his kit by $1000. I could get the Mirage 328 kit and have it installed at IRM for less than the Corson kit. Case closed.

BTW here is the second Mirage kit that Jim installed. Also on an '88, this one belonged to Earl Barnes, a retired friend of Jim's who worked part time at IRM.


(not my car)

And here it is, painted Ferrari red:



(not my car)

A few months later Earl added a T top to his car (no picture, unfortunately )

Here is a page out of the IRM catalog that advertised the Mirage kits (I=308, II=328, III=a much toned down version of the GTO):


[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-13-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-05-2008 01:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Spring/summer 1990. My car was the third Mirage install by IRM. Step one was to strip off the old body panels. Jim could do this in about three hours:



BTW, if you squint really hard at the above photo, you might be able to make out a Herb Adams VSE rear sway bar. It's gold in color. That thing was unbelievably stiff. I had the matching front bar as well. I ended up selling the Adams bars and replacing them with a set from IRM. The Adams bars were really meant for autocrossing, not a daily driver.


And now slide on the new clips:




Jim and company only did body work on the weekends (they all had "day jobs"), so it took about three months to get everything right. Fejer said that you could install these kits in one weekend. I'm sure you could. And they looked like it, too. Getting all the gaps even and matched side to side really makes a lot of difference in how the car ultimately will look when it's painted. The brackets to locate things like door handles, lock cylinders, etc all help ensure that stuff will work 18 years down the road.

BTW, if you look to the far right in these pictures, you'll see #4 Mirage waiting. This one was assembled in Canada by Fejer, but the owner hated how it looked, so he delivered it to IRM and paid Jim to have the install re-done.

And here I am picking up the car. Jim Sutter is on the left in this photo, with Earl in the middle. Unfortunately I don't have the name of the guy on the right, which is a shame 'cause Jim said this guy did about half of the installation:

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-07-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-05-2008 01:57 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Summer/fall 1990. Here I am keeping 3M stock prices up by going through a LOT of 220 and 400 grit sandpaper. The fiberglass was good, but like all fiberglass body parts, there were pinholes.

1) Apply putty
2) Sand
3) Repeat






The wheels are the Cromodora wheels that were on the 1988 Meras. Jim Sutter bought up all remaining stock. Tires are 245/50R15 front, 265/50R15 rear. The front light cluster (driving lights/parking lights/turn signals) are OEM Ferrari parts, as are the side markers (all removed in these photos to make sanding easier. Tail lights are Mera surplus. The back-up lights are in the lower rear grillwork.

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-05-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-05-2008 02:17 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

And here's a nice photo to close out Phase I of my build. The car was painted in January of 1991 by Citro's Body Shop in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey (I have no idea if they are still there or not). The paint was and still is fantastic. The bad news, as is really apparant in this photo, was that ground clearance was, uh, generous. Ouch!, those are big gaps above the tires in the wheel wells. Well, that will be addressed in Phase II.





Remember, when this picture was taken, the car was rebodied but everything else (suspension & drivetrain) was essentially stock. That changes next.

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-05-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-05-2008 02:51 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Phase II - 1992/3/4. The car, while it looked great from the outside, was a little (ok, a lot) slower than you might like. Easy to fix - I had IRM install the Miller-Woods (=Design 1 Systems) turbo on my 2.8 V6. This was a fine drivetrain, and it really gave the car decent acceleration. The manual version included a new exhaust system, and put out in the neighborhood of 210 HP at the crank. 10 lbs boost max. I don't have any really old photos of the turbo on the motor, but here are a couple that were taken just before the engine transplant this last spring:











About this time I also decided to get rid of the fake, molded in hood louvres over the radiator and install a real hood vent. I used the vent from a mid-1980's Chrysler Laser Turbo. It fit just about perfectly, matching all of the curves front-to-back, side-to-side, and top-to-bottom.









This helped to get rid of some of the excess heat which a turbo motor will generate. Ultimately I upgraded to Archie's 4-core radiator, years before the actual V8 swap.

I also lowered the car around this time. We installed Bell tech spindles in front, and lowering springs in back. Huge difference in ride height:
(compare with the photo from a couple of postings above)




That pretty much covers Phase II. 328 body, turbo motor, suspension where it should be. Was I done yet?

Nope.

Phase III involves pulling the body back off of the car, and welding & cutting.

And Fiberglassing.

And sanding.

Again.

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-06-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-05-2008 05:23 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Phase III. 1995-6. My quest for a targa top. Since the real "GTS" Ferraris have removable roofs, the next set of modifications involve the targa saga. Originally I was hoping to track down a surviving T top kit - I couldn't find one. Then I saw an advertisement for a new product from Randy Corson:



He said it would fit ANY Fiero based kit, and would even fit on a stock GT. I don't know about that, but it did fit my 328 kit, with some tweaking. One thing to note in the above photo: see how the targa panel is sitting casually against the car, obscuring your view of the top of the door gap?

The exact placement of the targa panel in that photo might not have been an accident. I discovered (a couple of years down the road) that the support frame that you will see below wasn't quite strong enough to support the car, and that it had a disturbing tendancy to sag in the middle, thus closing up the top door gap (more on this later). For the moment, remember that if you cut the roof off of a Fiero, you are removing a HUGE amount of strength. You will need to replace this somehow.

Anyway, on with the targa installation. I'm back at IRM here, in their new shop, a horse barn that Jim converted into a HUGE shop. The first step was to strip the car down to the frame again (the doors could stay on).



One of the IRM fastback cars is in the background.



The picture above shows the finished body panels removed (carefully!) from the car.


In order to restore some strength to the frame, the kit included "C" clips that welded in around the door frames. Here is where it gets interesting. Randy said to cut the car first, use door spreaders to open it up some, and then weld in the "C" clips. Jim didn't like the sound of that, he was afraid that if you cut the car first it would be too easy to introduce some twist or wedge into the car prior to welding in the "C" clips - and that you would make that twist permanant once you did the welding. I'm not sure who was right here, I can see an argument for both. Since Jim was doing the welding, we did it his way, and welded first:










There was also an "X" frame that attached to the corners of the "C" clips.

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-05-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-05-2008 05:48 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

With the welding done, it was time to put the body back on. A few minor (and all invisible) slices had to be made to get everything to fit around the new door supports:




Now comes the fun part - slicing open the top. A certain amount of dust was involved:




Jim Sutter after cutting through the plastic roof panel:




And after cutting the metal roof frame, pull it out:






Then the targa caps (front and rear) were attached:






Oh, and here's an interesting photo:





Name that engine!!!

Jim was doing V6 turbo installs and Quad 4 swaps pretty often in those days. Sadly, Jim had a stroke around 1999/2000. He survived, but IRM began to cut back at that time. Could someone please jump in here and confirm when IRM sold off it's inventory and closed for good?

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-06-2008).]

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topcat
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Report this Post01-05-2008 06:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for topcatClick Here to Email topcatSend a Private Message to topcatEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

What a great read, and the fact that you have photos to document the history of your car's progression through the years is priceless.

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-05-2008 06:09 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by topcat:

What a great read, and the fact that you have photos to document the history of your car's progression through the years is priceless.



I FINALLY got around to scanning a bunch of old 35 mm photos. Now I wish I had taken more!

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Mr.PBody
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Report this Post01-05-2008 06:25 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Mr.PBodyClick Here to visit Mr.PBody's HomePageClick Here to Email Mr.PBodySend a Private Message to Mr.PBodyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Wow, great build, keep the pics coming

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gaas88
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Report this Post01-05-2008 06:27 PM Click Here to See the Profile for gaas88Click Here to visit gaas88's HomePageClick Here to Email gaas88Send a Private Message to gaas88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

That was a great post and close to my heart! I too have a George Fejer 328 kit along with a 3800 Series 1 engine. My kit was installed in 1996 and the engine in 1998. I bought the car in 2004 and since then, I put in a 4 speed 4T60 transmission, 11-1/4" Lebaron brake upgrade, 3" K&N intake and in the spring - a new sound system. From what I understand, Fejer's kits were the best Ferrari 308 / 328 kits made. Every car show or cruise night I attend, people are amazed at the detail and how well the car is put together. The next upgrade will be the interior from Amida in Oregon - he does unbelievable Ferrari interiors. Nice post and I can't wait to see what you do next!

Gene

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-05-2008 06:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Now, to finish off Phase III. In addition to the targa, while at IRM I had RCC suspension and brakes installed. Coilovers on all four corners, and IIRC, Olds Cutlass vented rotors in front and Camaro vented rotors in back. The coilovers are all height adjustable with a spanner wrench. Sorry, but I can't seem to find any pix of those going on the car.

We also did the upgrade to the Stage II turbo, which consisted of a knock sensor for engine and the ECM from a 1985 Fiero - the only year that could accept input from a knock sensor. The advantage of the stage II system was that I was able to advance the timing a little bit, which helped with throttle response (well, a little bit, it wasn't a night and day thing). The stage II was required if I enlarged the 2.8 to 3.1 liters - IRM (briefly) had a program going with Jasper engines producing 3.1 liter "turbo ready" motors. IRM never sold enough of them to keep Jasper interested, unfortunately. I seem to recall Jim telling me that the turbo 3.1 was rated at 230 HP. My plan, at that time, was to wait until my V6 was in need of a rebuild, and go to a 3.1. Oh well, plans change.

After I got the car back to where I lived at the time, upstate NY (waaaaaay upstate - Potsdam), I did the requisite puttying, sanding, etc., on the targa and the caps. I then had the targa painted black and the caps to match the rest of the car. The painter (Terry LeFluer of Norwood, NY) did an excellent job. This is what I ended up with:







One thing that doesn't show very well in these pix is the door gap. As I described above, the gap at the rear of the doors varied from "normal" at the bottom of the door to almost touching (well, ok, it was touching) the rest of the body at the top. Sagging, the classic sign of a weak convertible frame. I knew it had to be fixed, but I was at a loss as to how to do it without tearing the body off (again!) and doing more welding. So, if you are thinking of making your Fiero into a convertible or a targa car, just remember to over engineer everything related to supporting that frame.


Oh, and here is one little change but a nice one. The tail lamps on the car are Mera surplus that IRM bought up. These tail lights differ from OEM Ferrari in that the Ferrari units have the back-up lamps in center of the the outboard amber lamp housings. Meras have their reverse lamps on either side of the license plate. My back-up lights were mounted behind the lower rear grill. In the interest of accuracy, I modified the Mera units (amber ones only) to have a clear center and a metal "tunnel" for light passage. Result is that it now looks and works like the OEM units (contrast this photo with the one above):




This photo was taken in 1997 when I was living in Eureka, CA. By the way, don't try to register a Fiero with an aftermarket turbo on it in the Peoples Republic of California. It ain't happening.


I used a 2.5" hole saw to cut out the old centers. I then installed the light tunnel, with a clear lens at one end and a socket/bulb at the other end:


Close up of the tail light:



.

Here is a photo of the car at Fierorama 1999:




Next: Phase IV, covering modifications from 2000-2003.

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-18-2008).]

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The Poopsmith
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Report this Post01-05-2008 06:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for The PoopsmithSend a Private Message to The PoopsmithEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Cool post a bit off topic but is there anyway to get a reprint of the giant Fiero poster on the wall in the photo featuring Jim cutting through the plastic roof?

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-05-2008 06:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by The Poopsmith:

Cool post a bit off topic but is there anyway to get a reprint of the giant Fiero poster on the wall in the photo featuring Jim cutting through the plastic roof?


IIRC he got that from a Pontiac dealer who had it up in their showroom at one time. Might be tough to track down today, but if you did, what a find!

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 03-28-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-05-2008 07:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Phase IV, covering 2000-2003. Here is where I redid the interior and a couple of other small but really important things. First, here is a photo of my daughter in Daddy's car:




In 2000 I installed the PISA Eurodash and door panels. It was more than a simple weekend job, but it really wasn't an impossible task. The hardest part was dealing with the wiring harness - very little was labeled, and you really had to figure it out as you went on (nothing was plug and play). I hope that they have improved that part of the kit, because in all other respects the dash is superb:





I recently (2007) had the instrument panel black powdercoated:




I bought an extra "GTS" and attached it to the glove box door, since the real GTS cars have this label.



Oh, and unlike a real 328, this glove box really does open!



Now back to the sagging problem. I think you might be able to make it out in this picture. The rear door gap gets smaller as you go up - not a good situation:




In 2002 I took the car to Twin Lakes Fiero to have Fiero Bob install a couple of new items (fuel pump, ported & coated exhaust manifolds, and a set of Darrell Morse lower/middle/upper intake manifolds and bored throttle body. These parts made a real, noticable difference. I have no dyno tests, but throttle response was definitely improved. I'd guesstimate perhaps 8 HP from the exhaust and maybe another 6 or 7 from the intake. No pix, I'm afraid....

More importantly, Bob had something that turned out to be a life saver: a convertible subframe. It mounted completely below the car, and pulls the front and rear subframes together. We deep-sixed the "X" frame and welded in the subframe. The end result? The door gaps are back to what they should be, and I didn't need to worry about attaching a skateboard under the gas tank to keep the belly from any further sagging. Here's a recent photo of the door gap.

Problem solved:




As it turned out the convertible frame was made by Archie. Hmm..... looks like this Archie guy really knows these cars..... Did I really want a 3.1 turbo, considering that there would have been essentially zero aftermarket support for such a motor? Gotta think about this.... (you'll see Archie mentioned again in the next phase of the build).

Oh, and one other minor mod that you can see in the above photo. I painted the front part of the quarter window to match the body color. On the Ferrari 308's, this whole area was black. But on the 308 qv and on the subsequent 328, the front of this frame was body color.

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-08-2008).]

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ALLTRBO
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Report this Post01-05-2008 08:04 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ALLTRBOSend a Private Message to ALLTRBOEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

So far it's a wonderful read. It helps take my mind off of the bathroom's fresh paint fumes.

I would LOVE to have had one of these since new. Or anything since new, really. But in 1985 I was 4 years old.
Thanks very much for sharing, and yours is one of my favorite Fieros (as it is currently). I'm looking forward to reading more.

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ltlfrari
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Report this Post01-05-2008 11:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ltlfrariClick Here to visit ltlfrari's HomePageClick Here to Email ltlfrariSend a Private Message to ltlfrariEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

What an awesome story and the great pics make it come alive. can;t wait to read more. Sweet car too !

------------------
Dave

www.ltlfrari.com

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Mr.PBody
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Report this Post01-05-2008 11:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Mr.PBodyClick Here to visit Mr.PBody's HomePageClick Here to Email Mr.PBodySend a Private Message to Mr.PBodyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

.

[This message has been edited by Mr.PBody (edited 11-06-2009).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-06-2008 12:19 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post


I've edited a few of my posts above to add more pictures of the hood vent, the PISA dash, the modification to the Mera taillight, and the current door gap situation (related to the targa installation).

Later today I'll start on Phase V, the drivetrain swap.

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Report this Post01-06-2008 01:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ArchieClick Here to visit Archie's HomePageClick Here to Email ArchieSend a Private Message to ArchieEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Wow what a great thread.

It's like a lesson in Fiero History.

With all of the major Fiero parts suppliers represented in the next 20+ years of ownership.

Many of today's Fiero owners weren't around when the Fiero was introduced. If you read this thread carefully, you'll find that many of the famous names & companies that pioneered the Fiero aftermarket were involved in this one car over the years.

I would bet that there is no other single Fiero in the country that embodies as much Fiero history as this car does.

Think about it........

Guy, buys a New Fiero in '85 & drives it all over the country, taking pics to document those travels.

After seriously looking at body kits like the Dino & the Corson, he decides on the 328 kit manufactured by George Fejer. Then he has Jim Sutter of the famous IRM install the body for him.

Then later he has Jim Sutter install a Miller Woods turbo system.

Another famous name in Fiero history "Bell Tech" supplied the lowering front spindles for the car.

Then comes the installation of a Corson Targa Top by IRM once again. BTW, I love the pics of George and fiberglass dust all around & on him. Good thing he had that cigar for a breathing device.

And don't forget the RCC suspension.

Then the dash from Dan Campbell at PISA.

Then the frame support installed by Bob at Twin Lakes Fiero.

I gotta say again, I don't think that there's another Fiero in existance today that can boast so many famous names in Fiero history.

WE can't wait to read more.

Archie


------------------

Sig by Custom2M4

[This message has been edited by Archie (edited 01-06-2008).]

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Billybo455
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Report this Post01-06-2008 04:30 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Billybo455Click Here to Email Billybo455Send a Private Message to Billybo455Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

great thread!!

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-06-2008 06:21 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Phase V: covering 2003 - present (most activity was in 2007). By this time, I've moved (again), from the Chicago area to Northern Virginia - I was looking for an area that had worse traffic than Chicago, and I was entirely successful. Back when I lived in the Chicago area (98-03), I stopped by Archies shop a few times, during his open houses, and to shoot the breeze on a few other occasions. I also visited with Fiero Bob at Twin Lakes. I had the opportunity to look at several different engine swaps, and I was in no hurry, so I had plenty of time to think it over.

My original plan was to rebuild the 2.8 turbo motor into a 3.1. Well, I gave this a lot of thought. I seemed to me that I really wasn't going to get a tremendous increase in HP by adding 200 cc of displacement. Yes, it's a stroker, and that would provide a nice low end improvement, but I would still be limited by the very nature of the 2.8 block. While I am certain that there are people that get 300+ HP out of the 2.8 block, in order to do RELIABLY is going to take some serious engineering (just pumping up the boost to 30 lbs was not a viable option).

All right, time to pick a new engine.

Picking a new engine is something where there is no "right" or "wrong" answer. There are a lot of factors to consider, such as budget, desired performance, budget, intended use of the car, budget, anticipated fuel economy, budget, reliability, and budget.

One thing I decided on early in the process was that I wanted a new engine. This ruled several candidates out of the running, and left me looking at some version of the venerable SBC. I also decided that since the stock 328's produced about 260 HP, I wanted to beat this figure by some margin. Again, pretty easy to do with the SBC. My two criteria were fuel injection and distributorless ignition. The first one was easy to find in SBCs, the second one was a little tougher. Of course, there was the LS family, but I remember back at one of Archie's open houses he said that it wouldn't work with his kit. He DID have one sitting in a crate, however, and that he was going to make an adaptor someday (this was probably around 2003).

Just for fun, in 2005 or early 2006 I did a google search for "LS1+Fiero." One of the hits was this forum, specifically the "What's up at Archie's" thread. Archie had devised the LSx adapter kit. Time to make a few phone calls.

One thing that had me concerned about the swap was the Muncie 4 speed I had in the car. I had some concerns about this 7x,xxx mile transaxle holding up to the output of an LS motor. Archie was certain that it would survive, but I still had my doubts. When he mentioned that he was working on a kit to adapt the GM/Saab F40 6 speed, I was interested. The added price would mean waiting an additional year, but I figured the wait would be worth it. It was.

When it came time to pick the engine, I had the choice of the 350 HP LS1 or the 400 HP LS2. While there was a difference in price, I decided to bite the bullet and go for the LS2, since my wife assured me that I was only going to do this once ("aren't you done with that damned thing yet?")

So in February of last year (2007), we loaded the car into a car transporter truck and pointed it at Machesney Park, Illinois, where this was waiting:


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Report this Post01-06-2008 07:26 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Shortly after arriving at Archie's shop, the crew pulled the old drivetrain. I sold it as I am sure it has many miles left in it, I hope the new owner starts a build thread when he transplants it into his car (a mint condition '85 GT). The LSx + 6 speed requires a few modifications to the cradle. Hopefully Archie will jump in here to describe some of the needed modifications. You'll notice that Archie turned the intake around, which is pretty much mandatory to swap this particular motor into the Fiero engine bay. Here are a couple of photos of the new engine and trans sitting on a modified cradle:









[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-07-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-06-2008 07:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

And the all important drive by wire throttle:

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Report this Post01-06-2008 08:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Test fitting:








[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-06-2008).]

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Saxman
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Report this Post01-06-2008 08:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SaxmanClick Here to visit Saxman's HomePageClick Here to Email SaxmanSend a Private Message to SaxmanEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

This is great stuff!

I almost feel like I was there. I need to come up there for a ride soon!

Keep the story coming!

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Report this Post01-06-2008 08:33 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Up in the air:








[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-06-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-06-2008 08:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

And now the new drivetrain, mounted to the cradle, is in permanently:




[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-06-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-06-2008 08:51 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Almost done!

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-06-2008 08:53 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

A Corvette motor a long ways from home:




BTW, notice where the dipstick and oil fill are located. It's easier to check than on the stock V6.
Oh, and the air filter in this and the next few photos was just for mocking-up purposes - the one that went on permanantly is bigger.

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-06-2008).]

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ALLTRBO
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Report this Post01-06-2008 08:54 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ALLTRBOSend a Private Message to ALLTRBOEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
Originally posted by Saxman:

This is great stuff!

I almost feel like I was there. I need to come up there for a ride soon!

Keep the story coming!


Seriously!

We should have a NOVA/SOMD F.I.E.R.O (Freezing In Every Random Orifice) winter meet so we can all go see the Corvette powered Ferrari.

How's February 9th? I'll find a place to meet up!

[This message has been edited by ALLTRBO (edited 01-06-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-06-2008 08:57 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post



and a very similar picture:


[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-06-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-06-2008 09:03 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

And now we really must be almost done - the exhaust is going on:


[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-06-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-06-2008 09:22 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

There was no reason to keep the stock Fiero computer. Usually when Archie does a swap (OBD I or OBD II), the new computer is mounted in the trunk and the stock Fiero computer is retained (I think to run the speedometer). Since everything is being done by either the OBD II from Street and Performance or the Dakota Digital signal generator, the Fiero computer was eliminated. The OBD II is mounted in the same location as the Fiero ECM, between the seats:





If you follow the cable on the right side down, you'll see the OBD II connector.

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 01-07-2008).]

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Doc John
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Report this Post01-06-2008 09:38 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Doc JohnSend a Private Message to Doc JohnEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Installation all done, wires all bundled, injector/coil covers on:

[This message has been edited by Doc John (edited 04-28-2008).]

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Mister
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Report this Post01-06-2008 09:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MisterSend a Private Message to MisterEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Amazing, great pictures, and that's some Fiero ownership story

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