Today I picked up new rear struts to use for my rear coil over build. You may remember, I originally cut stock springs and modified the spring perch to fit 245's, but of course I would like to improve handling, slightly raise the car and fit wider meats in there, so I am collecting parts to make my own. Koni wasn't in my budget plans and I have new KYB's up front, but this time I decided to try Monroe Sensatracs as donors to modify for rear coilovers. Before I start, I would like some assurance I bought the right ones:
...cause I know the lifetime warranty won't cover the removal of the spring perch
Next I need to find out where to get the rest of the stuff, sleeves and springs etc. I am thinking that the heavy LT1/4T60 combo deserves a fairly heavy spring (350-400lbs) - sound right? I also read in other threads that 12" length is the best choice, agreed?
Here's are my current fav rims - HP RACING EVO (Hyperblack) Hoping I can make them fit with rear coilovers and modifying ride height and fender flares if necessary. They come 5x100mm pattern and +38mm offset. I would probably buy tires locally but sample package I like would be:
Rim sizes : 19 x 8.5(Front) +19x9.5(Rear) Tire sizes :235/35/19(Front) + 275/30/19(Rear)
Here's the specs comparing my current rear tires vs. proposed size:
Current Tires (Front and Rear) - 245/50R16
Section Width: 9.64 in 245 mm Rim Diameter: 16 in 406.4 mm Rim Width Range: 7 - 8.5 in Overall Diameter: 25.64 in 651.25 mm Sidewall Height: 4.82 in 122.42 mm Radius: 12.82 in 325.62 mm Circumference: 80.55 in 2045.9 mm Revs per Mile: 811.2
New Front Tire - 235/35R19
Section Width: 9.25 in 235 mm Rim Diameter: 19 in 482.6 mm Rim Width Range: 8 - 9.5 in Overall Diameter: 25.47 in 646.93 mm Sidewall Height: 3.23 in 82.042 mm Radius: 12.73 in 323.34 mm Circumference: 80.01 in 2032.2 mm Revs per Mile: 816.6
New Rear Tire - 275/30R19
Section Width: 10.82 in 275 mm Rim Diameter: 19 in 482.6 mm Rim Width Range: 9.5 - 11 in Overall Diameter: 25.49 in 647.44 mm Sidewall Height: 3.24 in 82.296 mm Radius: 12.74 in 323.59 mm Circumference: 80.07 in 2033.7 mm Revs per Mile: 816
I love your project...wish I had the cash you apparently do.
Thanks, most of the parts cost were spread out over the past four years and I didn't charge for my labour. Any cash I apparently had, has now unfortunately slowed down the project as I am going through a separation
Thanks Alex4mula, I already made the leap and ordered them as a winter project. My brother recently moved to Michigan, so I had the kit shipped to his place and imported it myself after a recent visit to the Detroit Auto Show.
The above posts inspired me to assemble the rear coilovers this weekend, so I will document the build as I go.
Ok, here we go. First step was to remove the McPherson strut spring perch from the new Fiero replacement rear struts. This was achieved by carefully grinding the weld just under the perch with a 5" angle grinder. I notched the perch on both sides and then tapped with a 2-1/2 lb. sledge until the weld cracked allowing removal of the perch. The two spot welds in the lower bracket were also ground off the lower section of the shock body and the bracket tapped off. With the perch removed, it was easy to grind the rest of the weld smooth, so the threaded sleeve will be able to slide over it:
Here is a picture of it completely removed, but I quickly noticed the threaded sleeve would still not slide over the Monroe's due to the seal protector cap. Instead of trying to grind it down to 2" diameter, I chose to remove and replace them:
This was accomplished by using a Dremmel rotary hand tool with a cut off wheel to cut the three tabs on the underside, so the rings could be removed. Then a quick black paint job to cover up the bare metal on the strut bodies:
Now the sleeves could be installed - Held Motorsports recommends applying a thick bead of RTV silicone on the strut prior to install. This is so the sleeves don't spin during ride height adjustments later as the RTV will cure. The new spring seats nuts were spun all the way down - notice they come with allen head stop screws to prevent them from spinning once ride height is set:
Here are some shots of the completed assemblies ready to be bolted in. I chose to go with 350lb springs due to the heavy drivetrain I am using (Iron block and head V8 with a 4T60 Auto transaxle). After sliding the springs on, you drop a washer, bushing, top hat, bushing, washer and strut nut in that order:
Make sure the threads are up as they are bolted through the shock tower during installation. HT Motorsports recommends tightening the strut nut until the bushings are compressed to 60% of their orginal height. I haven't checked with a torque wrench yet what that number is. Once the nuts were tightened, I raised the 12 inch springs by spinning the lower spring seat nut approx 2 inches so some preload of the spring was present. The strut is currently fully extended, but once they are installed I will set the ride height I'm looking for (something between stock and the current lowering):
I think I've covered everything, let me know if you have any questions. This was an easy afternoon winter project and I am hoping to report improved handling, ride height and tire clearances this spring! The parts were complete, very high quality, so if you don't want to build your own for whatever reason, I highly recommend using this proven performance kit. Please continue to encourage me to do these write-ups on my build thread. I printed it for a great binder of the build history, plus it helps other members and my rating I think they look sweet too and I can't wait to install them
Trying to remember without re-reading the whole thread, but did you ever consider roll bars ? The car looks great without, but was just curious. The ones on the K-1 attack look great, but don't know how you could incorporate them into the fiero with the decklid grills/vents so close in proximity.
Basically, I have considered them many times but haven't found something I think would improve the look. Most of the looks I like would involve reversing the way the decklid opens or modifying the vent openings (like Saturn SKY etc). The easy way would be to mount roll hoops to the new frame on the top of the firewall, but I really haven't found ones I like yet.
They could easily be bolted where you see the carpet below:
Happy President's Day! (or Family Day for us Canadians) Today, I started my front suspension upgrade project by raising the front end on jack stands and doing some of the teardown. I read Chapter 10 in the Haynes manual this morning, because I quickly realized this was one the the few parts of the car, I haven't dismantled yet! The things I've done on the front end were replace the steering rack, stabilizer end links, shocks and remove a coil from the front springs. This time, I want to install my total front end polyurethane bushing kit, one inch drop springs to match my rear coilovers and possibly a larger sway bar. I was concerned that with 22 years of rust and never being touched, that I would have issues with nuts and bolts breaking or not coming apart. However, I am pleased to report that so far, so good... Here are some of the tear down pictures to show the inexperienced out there that are thinking of changing springs, the steps to get the front springs out:
Here is the before picture with the front wheels removed and the frame supported on jack stands:
First the sway bar end links were removed with 9/16" socket and wrench:
Next the lower shock mount 17mm nut washer and bolt was removed:
The safety pin and nut was removed so the steering end link could be removed from the knuckle:
There is a bracket holding the brake line to the upper control arm with a rivet that needs to be snapped off:
The lower ball joint nut is removed with an 18mm socket:
The upper ball joint nut is removed with a 15mm socket:
After separating the ball joint with a pickle fork, the rest of it can be removed from the upper control arm with 2 - 15mm sockets on the nut/bolt:
With the jack that was supporting the lower control arm removed, I pryed the spring and rubber retainer down the bump stop with a pry bar:
Here is the shot with the front spring completely removed:
Last picture for today is of all the old parts that have been removed:
My question before the control arms are removed and the knuckle is wired to hang out of the way with the brake line still attached... The Haynes manual states the upper control arm bushings are not serviceable and the arms must be replaced - is this accurate? I didn't check my Prothane kit yet but before removing the upper arms, I'd like to know what you guys have done.
For the upper control arm bushings, burn 'em out and install the new poly, just like the lowers. There's a thread somewhere about the spacer washers that come with the kit being too big, if I can find it, I'll add the link to this post.
Good news, got the front control arms removed. I ended up cutting bolts with a cut-off wheel at the front side near the head of the bolt. Now I'll need new bolts/washers from the Fiero Store or the local Bolt and Nut Supply.
Here is what I did to make room for the cut-off wheel, so that the control and washers weren't damaged:
Upper Control Arm removed, so that I can start prepping for poly bushings:
Might get some new spring seats, but am still looking for front springs with 1 inch drop - everyone wants to sell you four:
Now I'm working on removing the Lower Control Arms, before moving the the rear suspension:
Does anyone know the size of the rear strut lower mounting nuts? I'd like to pick up an impact socket for it rather than break stuff I already have...
an easy way to get your old rubber bushings out is to use an old 3/16 drill bit and drill into the bushing right where it joins to the metal of the arm .then just let the drill bit walk around the bushing until it is loose enough to fall out .you might have to use a bigger ar smaller bit .a lot quicker than burning.dont foget to re use your upper control arm spacers in the same order you took them out . these are hardened and are your caster adjustment .make sure that the control arms and new poly bushings rotate together .they should rotate on the inner bushing .the bushing should never rotate on the bolt holding it .i used grease fittings and drilled rigt through the poly to the inner bushing .the threaded end of the fitting holds the poly and the hole lets the grease get to the bushing or sleeve i guess most people call it .hope this helps ,great thread ,i have followed from the beginning.
Thanks wftb, good tips there and glad you enjoy the thread, plus for you!
Some more progress yesterday on the front upper control arms. I could have given them to a friend to bring to work and sandblast, but as I mentioned before I am trying POR-15 for the first time. This is something I can do myself, and I wanted to try it out on something small. I might eventually do the underside of the space frame if the results are good. I am posting the pictures to show Fiero newbies and homebuilders this option.
So here we go, I started by removing loose rust and paint with a wire wheel on the cordless drill:
A file was used by hand to finish what the wire brush didn't remove:
I like the burning method of removing old bushings, it's a fun, quick and damage free method of removing them. Within 30 seconds of burning the rubber mounts, the inner sleeve pops out on their own and a flat screwdriver takes the rubber out in one piece:
Any rubber residue is quickly removed with sandpaper:
I put the inner sleeves to be reused on a screwdriver and let the wire wheel clean them up:
Now for the 3 step POR system, first clean the metal with Marine Clean to ensure surface is free of grease:
Next the Metal Ready product is brushed on for 15 minutes, to prep areas without rust or smooth areas:
Once rinsed and dry, the POR-15 was brushed on with a sponge brush and a second coat applied while it was still tacky:
When cured, the surface is a hard glossy black chip free coating that seals out moisture preventing rust from coming through the finish:
Now they are ready for polyurethane bushings and new ball joints to be installed.
[This message has been edited by Fiero2m8 (edited 03-02-2008).]
I got the front lower control arms out tonight by cutting the bolts with the angle grinder. The ball joints were removed with a small sledge and the spring tower is now ready for cleanup:
I measured the bolt with my electronic caliper and picked up the 24mm socket with 1/2" drive. I had broke one of my two 3/8 Torque wrenchs and when I returned it to Canadian Tire they gave me the 1/2" drive one instead Now I have one with 250in/lbs limit and the other with a 250ft/lbs limit - sweet :
The bolts came out easy and I removed the 3-13mm nuts in the shock tower and dropped the old struts out in prep for the new HT Motorsports adjustable rear coilovers:
Next, the front lower control arms with be refinished and poly bushings installed.
Well with the huge snowfall this weekend, it was a good day to work inside on finishing my front upper and lower control arms. I am pleased to include new larger pictures in my thread that are still <100K in size. Here is a scan of all the instructions and Fiero 84-87 kit lists complete with part numbers for future reference. It explains how to properly grease everything and also how the thrust washers are to be installed on the lower control arms:
As you can see, although Prothane wants you to save all the hardware, I clearly found why my front end handled a little sloppy in the front end:
So I went to the Metal Supermarket to get a pipe I could make new inner bushings for the lower control arms. I cut and grinded 4 of them to 60mm in length:
Here they are ready to go with the new 10.9 grade bolts and washer to replace the broken and cut original ones:
This is a great example of why my Avatar is of Homer's brain - I can be a moron sometimes The instructions read "if the inner metal sleeve is not included in kit, then the original inner sleeve must be reused." Somehow without checking, I forgot that the kit included new inner sleeves, so now I have an additional set
Here are the front upper contol arms completed with the ball joints and bushings installed. I just need the new bolts to install them which I will have next week:
After the lower control arms were prepped and coated with POR-15, the new bushings, thrust washers and ball joints were installed:
Well as I predicted even after soaking the sway bar bolts with penetrating oil, all four snapped off using a small rachet with ease So I picked up a couple cobalt bits to drill them out but I was wondering if I could just relocate the the sway bar 1/2" forward on the frame rails given the length of the sway bar end links?
Here is the restored sway bar ready for reinstallation:
I decided to remove the front hubs and steering knuckles for a good cleaning and repainting, so brake bleeding will be required later: The calipers cleaned up well and I'm going to try the Dupli-color paint I had laying around on them:
I also got the rest of the hardened hardware I needed for reassembly, so I should have some more progress this weekend. Biggest hold up right now is what I am going to use for new front springs.
[This message has been edited by Fiero2m8 (edited 03-19-2008).]
All the spindles and calipers have been cleaned with the wire wheel and degreased with brake cleaner and marine clean. They are ready for paint - the spindles will be black POR-15 and the calipers will be bright red.
Today I started with the driver's side reassembly. First the Lower Control Arm was loosely bolted into place with the new hardware. When I installed the Prothane thrust washers, it was easier to temporarily bend the brackets out a little until the bolts went through:
The newly painted coil spring (to match the KYB shock) was pushed in by hand over the lower spring perch and a floor jack compressed it nicely. Note: I am trying a spring perch spacer to raise the ride height 1/2" to hopefully accommodate large diameter tires without rubbing the fender flare. It should also improve ground clearance to the X-frame nuts by approximately 1 inch using this spacer and the larger radius wheel/tires:
Next the Upper Control Arm with new hardware was installed. All the ball joints and bolts were torqued to spec as listed at the beginning of Chapter 10 in the Haynes Manual. The Tierod joint was also reinstalled with a new poly dust boot and the KYB shock was bolted back in:
With everthing together, the brake line could be reconnected and the all the joints filled with the grease gun. Only the sway bar link is left to connect once the stabilizer bar is re-installed:
After wearing out a cobalt bit quickly while trying to drill out the snapped bolts for the anti-sway bar, I noticed the prothane mounts have slots in the brackets.
So I used a second bit to easily drill all four bolts immediately behind the original ones (3/8" towards rear on frame rails). The bolts dropped down using my finger in the frame side access hole and the bushings were greased and installed on the bar. Once the washers and nuts were hand tightened, I slid the clamp forward to its original position on each side and then torqued to 15ft/lbs. Then the poly end links were installed and torqued to 144in/lbs.
Glad that went easier than I had prepared myself for
Badass man, one of the pimpest Fieros around here!
Thanks for the compliment HC - Pennocks has dozens of Fiero's I drool over, so I appreciate that you're a fan of my build. My goal has been to be unique for around here in Niagara and I think I've been successful since there are so few Fiero's left.
This weekend I started the job I'd been procrastinating done for a year because it's a pain in the ass - replacing the flexplate (flywheel). However, it has to be done for two reasons:
1) The teeth are damaged causing starting issues 2) The newly rebuilt engine isn't properly balanced
The plan was to get it done before spring and what better time than while the rear suspension was already out. After looking clearances over, I felt I would be able to get the 2 inches necessary to exchange the flexplate with the engine in the car - saving the time of taking the engine out.
I started by supporting the engine and trans with 2 floor jacks since I didn't have the overhead "come-along" chain available:
Next, I removed all fasteners, and the transmission to engine bracket and the trans mount/bracket (both Cadillac items).
With the axles removed, I was ready to jack up the engine/trans on the driver's side so that it would clear the engine cradle:
Unfortunately, I couldn't move the trans left to the frame rail until I removed the governor assembly that was hitting the collector flange, shown here:
To be safe from damages, I unplugged the electrical connections and disconnected the knock sensor / trans cooler lines. Next, the six bolts on the flexplate could be removed and it was lifted out the top. With Archie's adapter bolted on, I wasn't able to tell which of the six available positions to bolt the new one on because I needed to see the crank alignment pin first:
So off it came - here is the Archie adapter removed: Be careful because the adapter only goes on one way as the 2 holes on either side of the alignment pin hole are further apart than the rest (3 and 5 o'clock in this pic)
Luckily the rear main seal isn't leaking after the new rebuild. This is the end of the crank and you can easily see the extra hole that used to have the pin in it at the 4 o'clock position:
I used the original LT1 flexplate to double check rather than just looking at it since you can't see well from under the car. An alignment mark on the outside of the adapter seemed like a good idea, so I scored it with a hacksaw as a reference of where the alignment hole (and weight) needs to go:
Here a great shot of just how bad the original flexplate was...I learned through trial and error how to properly align the Chevy Hi-Torque starter!
Next I did something really dumb - a Homer Simpson moment (DOH!) When I was reaching my hand up to start the bolts, I blindly pushed one into the centre Torque Converter hole and couldn't get it out with a wire or magnet! Solution was JB Quik Weld on the tip of my middle finger pushing on the head of the bolt in the hole for two minutes and then it came right out I'm sure crazy glue on a stick would work too but I used what was within arms reach...
So, after about 4 hours by myself, the new flexplate is installed and I just need an assistant to help me realign the trans back onto the adapter plate guide pins.
With the tailshaft, the trans is unbalanced and awkard to align when it's out of the car, so I'm gonna wait for help on Tuesday night - any volunteers? (just kidding)
Well it took a while but I was able to get the trans back on the engine I laid underneath with the jack holding the engine high enough so the trans cleared the engine cradle. Next I aligned the pin on the torque converter with the hole in the flexplate and rotated the transmission until my girlfriend was able to start the trans bolts from above. Unfortunately after it was all bolted together I noticed the torque converter mount didn't quite clear the balance weight I had welded on. So I loosened all the trans bolts so I could slide it away to gain access to the weight but careful not to lose the alignment! I used a cobalt drill bit to remove a very small amount of material on the weight to allow the torque converter to clear it and bolt flush with the flexplate (flywheel). Success - just have to check starter alignment and replace the governor VSS assembly.
In the meantime, my friend Jamie suggested I try pricing the Tire Rack, so I called them and am now leaning to getting these tires, since they are an excellent value.
The HT Motorsports rear coilovers are installed with the rear hubs, axles and brakes.
I started by bolting them in to the shock towers:
I painted the hardware aluminum, so here is the shot from the top:
I noticed slight contact with the decklid and decided rather than loosening the strut (Held recommends tightening until bushing is compressed to 60% original height) I used a hole saw to add clearance in the existing recessed areas of the decklid:
Next, the axles and hubs were reinstalled to the lower ball joints so they could be bolted to the struts. The lower bolt holes in the new struts are sloted to allow for camber adjustment, so I will need a 4 wheel alignment soon. One of the nuts didn't thread on due to my hitting the bolt to remove it, so I just dressed the end with a angle grinder - no sweat The nuts were torqued to 140ft/llbs:
I finished up for the night by attaching the toelinks and reattaching the brake lines and emergency cables as per the Haynes Manual:
Next, I'll be painting the underside of the front suspension. bleeding the brakes and adding new grease to all suspension ball joints/tie rod ends.