Welcome! Ryan here from Niagara (in the Great White North). Now that my new member tag on PFF expired, I am ready to complete a hopefully great roadster home-build thread in Tech ?'s. I recently organized my progess pictures to date (about 50) so I have some stuff to keep the thread alive until the summer for the PFF fiero-natics like me. Hopefully I'll be on the road enjoying open air cruise nights and shows with fellow Fiero owners by then!
Here is a brief (edit "detailed") chain of events prior to the start of my build in Jan 2006
1983 - First ride in my Aunt's GM company car Fiero 2m4 (white) - I was 12 and loved it, but told her that my Dad said it was "gutless" - hmmm, could it be a sign of things to come?
2000 - Became very interested in Fiero based kit cars. My family is all GM, but I always had Jeep/VW/BMW as I wanted more unique sport vehicles. The Fiero was a very unique vehicle that would also satisfy all the relatives working at GM. Shortly after I found out that my Grandmother's friend bought a new Fiero in 1986 and still had it! I went to the see it at the library where she worked - all original gold 35K mile 1986 Fiero Sport Coupe with the 2.5L auto. Only noticeable issues were the ripped drivers seat bolster, faded paint and auto trans (I was hoping for a manual but beggers can't be choosers). She loved it too much, but I said if she ever parts with it - tell my Grandma as I wanted first right to buy it.
2002 - Grandma called to suprise me that the car was for sale! I asked how much and she said $1!!! I went over that day with flowers, wine and a "loonie" to pick up her baby, the Fiero. They bought a Buick and she didn't need the Fiero as she retired but wanted it to go to a good home. I boosted the battery, put a little air in the tire (13" steel rim) and drove it home! Cleaned up the car and found 10 cents under the seat that more than covered the eight cents I had to pay in tax to plate it.
2004 - After 2 years of driving an all original Fiero as a 3rd car, I got the itch to do a body kit or engine swap, but what to do first? I eventually decided that a "sleeper" Fiero with a V8 would be a lot of fun - this is the point of no return when any spare change went into the Fiero mods and it was no longer the one dollar car. I did a lot of research on Archie's V8 kit and knew his kit was second to none. Best of all it, satisfied my need for under 5 second 0-60 acceralation! It was the classic formula of big engine in a little light car with a bonus of all the weight right in front of the rear wheels. Every local car crazy guy I talked to said the LT1 was the engine to have and I found a 1994 iron head LT1 ad in the local paper and beat 20 other guys to it for $700 complete. I was scared about the wiring so I shipped harnesses and computers to California to have them married together - never got them back, DOH! Soon I was worried that I would never get my Archie kit finished but I bought a Fiero computer on eBay and called Street and Performance to build a ODBI computer/harness for me. Thanks to Archie's video and some patience I got the kit completed in spring of 2005 after almost a year of downtime Replaced the brakes, added a few body mods and hit the local cruise nights and shows after enjoying the rumours of "A Fiero around town with somethin' in it!" After disgracing every local teenager in an import tuner that didn't know what a Fiero or an LT1 was, I was put the car in the garage for the winter in the fall with a big smile on my face.
2006 - New Year's Day I made the decision to start an even more challenging Fiero project as I couldn't wait for spring. The plan was to upgrade to a performance beefed up and rebuilt 4T60 Cadillac STS transmission. A week later I convinced myself that "since the motor is out and it is over 10 years old I should have it rebuilt too". Of course the rebuilt motor would have ported heads, comp cam, 0.60 over JE forged pistons, reversed intake, headers, and a Nitrous Express LT1 Direct Port Kit installed. None of this was feasible with the stock 125C trans but since the bugs on the swap were all worked out it, was time for "Show and Go". With the Fiero empty and nothing to do since I enlisted pros to rebuild the drivetrain, I thought..."I always loved and wanted a roadster, should I go for it?" After some research on the internet and a rationalization that the car with be for shows and is already impractical and not needed as a daily driver - I thought this would be the most fun way to not go down the kit car road. The Fiero pride had grown within me and I didn't want to disguise it as something else. The roadster would be very cool and unique for around here...and now that the snowball was big enough, project Fiero 2m8 Roadster is underway!!!
Here is the last pic of my Fiero before the project started. I started it up and pulled it out of the garage for all too see and hear! The picture was taken in the wee hours New Years Day during my hot tub party. I call this picture : "Hey Dave - easy with the fire next to my Fiero - they don't get along too well"
More of the build update to come regularly a little at a time, so you don't have to keep bumping or TTT...if you read this far, put it in your favorites... Rye
1986 Fiero2m8 (LT1 NX / 4T60 Roadster in progress)
[This message has been edited by Fiero2m8 (edited 03-20-2006).]
From most of the reading on roadsters I did, a subframe was essential to reinforce the spaceframe. I had a local welding shop build this x-frame. I modified the design to allow the center X to be unbolted for gas tank access.
After measuring several times, I lowered the car onto the x-frame and aligned it so the car was square on its new subframe. The whole assembly sat on four jackstands and before welding it in, I bolted it with 10 - 1/2" bolts - (3 through each rocker, 2 through the front frame rails and 2 through the rear frame rails at the firewall)
Before cutting the roof, I removed the engine, transmission and cradle to reduce weight since I was planning to have them rebuilt anyways:
Here is the car ready for the rear window and roof to be removed:
When I removed the interior, I was amazed how solid the floor pan was! I repaired some surface rust around the tin/rubber knock outs and a little rust around the back of the seats probably from a previous window or sunroof leak long ago. The rust was cut out and new sheet metal will be installed. The carpet is in good shape although tan hides the dirt well. I am looking into having them professional cleaned before reinstallation...
First I removed the rear window the fun, quick and easy way with a sledgehammer I call "The Enforcer". Note the mess of wiring around the second ECM - its funny that this time I didn't bother to label everything as it's "old hat". I feel sorry for Archie when he has to explain and repeat himself for many new engine swap kit customers who are tenatively cutting into their harness for the first time
After removing the windshield bodywork (a pain dealing with the butyl rope), I am ready to cut the roof with my trusty sawsall in the following order:
1. Cuts on both sides at the back edge of the door windo to the sunroof opening. 2. Cuts on both sides at the front edge of the sunroof opening. 3. Test the targa for flex - no movement in the rear section but the windshield did flex - it will need reinforcement later. 4. Rough cuts on both sides of the notch to lift the rear section of the roof off. 5. Final cuts on both sides of the notch at the same height as the grill vents. 6. Final cut on the windshield to follow the its natural curve.
Here is a picture before the the notches had the final cuts done:
I was very pleased with the new open air roadster look - why didn't they sell these from the factory?
The next installment will be available after 50-100 more views - Ryan
Sweet..no guts no glory! hope you keep up the post and pics. Im installing a V8 conversion now and my buddy is trying to talk me into chopping the top, but a roadster...now that sounds pretty cool too! And hey what kind of fender flares are those?
Flares and hood vents shown in sig are from a 1989 Pontiac Sunbird Turbo that I plan to blend in with fiberglass. Side skirts and front apron were from a 1990 Crysler Daytona Turbo - they had to be shortened and I added driving lights in them. Rear wing was off a 1992 Chev Lumina Z34 but I plan to change to a Camaro 3rd gen lip spoiler. All was found at the wreckers after some wandering around with a tape measure. The nice thing is that you know you are making the car unique for under $50. At a couple shows, the rumour was that only the Japanese market Fiero's came with flares so it must be from Japan. I'm not sure about that one, but I took it as a compliment that they looked factory installed.
1986 Fiero2m8 (LT1 NX / 4T60 Roadster in progress)
O.K. - I sent the link out to some friends / family today and added 150 views so I'd better post something...I heard the link was making the rounds with some engineers at the GM engine plant. (who will have their opinions I'm sure, so I sent them Archie's LS1 Solstice pics - that should keep them busy for a while...)
xgamefan - although I love the choptops, I sat in a 5" one last year and at 6'1" it wasn't even an option for me, so that was when I knew the roadster was for me.
I got a 1990 Cadillac STS 4T60 for rebuild. My goal was to make it stronger and accelerate as quick as possible. Since I was gaining a gear I could afford to increase the gear ratio. For strength a hardened part kit was ordered. The 2.84 Final drive was swapped for a 3.33 final drive. Then the sprockets and chain were changed to a 37/32 combo. This gives a overall ratio of 3.73 A transgo shift kit was also installed and the Caddy torque converter was replaced with a more LT1 torque friendly 1675rpm stall. I wanted to go with a 2200-2500 stall but several shops recommended to drop approx 600rpm as the 4T60 was designed for V6's and V8 with less torque than the LT1. It should feel like 2300 when I'm done, and I might save an axle or two
Here is a pic of the 4T60 back from fresh rebuild and primed:
I planned on painting the intake LT4 red this time around and since my TH125c was aluminum, I painted the trans red so you can easily tell it isn't the same transmission - something different that my neighbour suggested...
Since I already overworked a V6 fuel pump last summer, I thought now would be the right time to upgrade it to a 255lph pump given the mods. Its a Walbro pump branded Holley and is a direct swap for the Fiero if you order one for a Buick Grand National. Here it is:
This way I don't need to add an MSD inline pump at this time - they are noisier, but the option is still available in the future. Here are the two pumps, and you can see they are identical in size:
Of course I had to drop the tank and try out my removable x-frame Here is the gas tank sanded and painted with some cast iron grey I had laying around:
Now the tank is back in and the x-frame replaced with no issues. Only primer the frame for now - painting the underside with come later but it's a good time to show what it looks like installed from underneath:
What do you think so far? Stay tuned...
[This message has been edited by Fiero2m8 (edited 04-08-2006).]
Even though I oversized the x-frame design to 2-1/2 x 2-1/2, I still felt that more bracing would be required for a LT1 engine.
The plan was to wrap around the existing rust free rockers and build a rollbar style brace to tie the x-frame to the firewall. I had extra steel so I explored the b-pillars and found that if I could get the angle right 2-1/2 box could fit and strengthen it substantially for a nice solid door closing.
The top of the firewall would receive 1" x 2" box to bring the height near flush with the rear deck. Once everything was cut to fit its would be bolted then welded in position. The last place I looked into extra bracing was in the rear wheelwells behind the pillar. Hopefully now I have enough extra steel added to limit flex when the big V8 torques.
Here are the pics showing the rocker and firewall upgrades
View of mods in primer
Passenger side door jam showing 30"x6"x3/16" plate with top plate welded and 3 - 4"x1/2" bolts through rocker and x-frame
View of rear wheelwell brace from x-frame to rear of b-pillar
Here is a view of the driver's rocker in paint showing the rocker mods
And an overview shot of the subframe from the x-frame to the top of the firewall
Hopefully this with give me the strength of a roll bar while maintaining the stock look as none of it will be visible. I estimate that after removing the roof weight and then adding so much steel - the net difference is about 100 pounds. A trip to the local landfill site for a weigh in upon completion should prove I'm still under 3000lbs. The car weighed in at 2857lbs curb weight without driver in stock form.
Next pictures will show windshield mods then after that I will be shaping the b-pillar covers.
As promised here are a few pictures of the windshield mods...
For extra strenght 3/4" solid bar was run inside the length of the A-pillar. It's a very tight fit, but with a little grinding on one of the corners, they went in and provided some extra strength.
To cap the windshield with sheet metal - I grabbed a length of drive cleat and unfolded the tabs into a "C" shape. Then I formed it to follow the contour of the windshield and spot welded it on the top and bottom as I went along.
Here is a shot from the back that shows the sheet metal welded in place ready for fiberglass finish work to come much later
Working on the B-pillars now and will post pictures when they are done.
Flares and hood vents shown in sig are from a 1989 Pontiac Sunbird Turbo that I plan to blend in with fiberglass. Side skirts and front apron were from a 1990 Crysler Daytona Turbo - they had to be shortened and I added driving lights in them. Rear wing was off a 1992 Chev Lumina Z34 but I plan to change to a Camaro 3rd gen lip spoiler. (edit: or maybe a Dodge Shadow spoiler - hmm...) All was found at the wreckers after some wandering around with a tape measure. The nice thing is that you know you are making the car unique for under $50. At a couple shows, the rumour was that only the Japanese market Fiero's came with flares so it must be from Japan. I'm not sure about that one, but I took it as a compliment that they looked factory installed.
Thanks 3800superfast Yah it is already in this thread.
[This message has been edited by Fiero2m8 (edited 04-05-2006).]
A few pictures of the vacant engine bay and custom trunk...
Dropped in new sheet metal truck approx 6" shallower so you don't see it from the rear. The rotten old trunk was removed except for the front side that now acts as a heat shield (only side that was rust and dent free)
I recently bought Greg's "High Performance Fieros" book and liked how they removed all the tabs to smooth out the engine compartment, so I grinded smooth and repainted bay with a tuff textured trunk bed lining spray. Here's how it came out
I wanted to keep the engine compartment black - it came out looking better than I expected
This time around I added 2 additional frame reinforcements inside the passenger side frame rail. They are 3/16" angle iron that are bolted and welded to create a subframe inside the rails.
Here is a shot of the outside frame rail with a large angle iron bolted, welded and grinded to clear the 245 tires. Soon I will have the rebuilt LT1 back with a reversed intake, however the strut tower notch will make any future servicing of the stock LT1 water pump or Optispark distributor a breeze. I also tidied up the hinge box notch - it is larger than required because I was going to use Dart heads, but they were not designed for reverse flow cooling - the stock ported / polished heads with stainless valve covers with fit with plenty of clearance to spare.
Time to get out in the garage and do some work worthy of taking new pictures of...
[This message has been edited by Fiero2m8 (edited 04-08-2006).]
I changed the exhaust from twin tips to larger muffler tips and new catalytic converters - they bolt directly to the hugger headers.
Painted the washer bottle black and the coolant bottle aluminum since they were vitually opaque anyways. This is the beginning of my plan to dress up the front compartment that all non-Fiero folks ask to see...
Had a local sheet metal shop build me a custom battery box that I clear coated. I will be fabbing a mount for it to sit where the spare used to be.
Picked up this battery relocation kit at a local speed shop designed to mount the battery in the trunk of your Camaro. My logic suggests I can use it for my opposite install although I won't use the full 16 feet of cable...
I accidently broke the antenna off at the base last summer, so I removed it from the front fender and will fill the hole.
Then I remembered that I bought a power antenna that I had planned to install in the rear fender but never got around to it - hmmm, maybe I will use it if I can find a spot that I will be happy with.
[This message has been edited by Fiero2m8 (edited 04-08-2006).]
I sprayed a black top coat on the floor boards so I have a clean surface to reinstall the carpeting on later
Rather than rubberized undercoating, I finished the underside with more truck bed lining spray I had left over
I had a couple pin holes in my fuel filler neck so I trying buying a used fuel filler pipe from a local shop - they just had to remove it from the car. When I went to pick it up, the guy had cut it in half because he had "trouble getting it out"! Rather that have a new one made with my ends, I cleaned mine up to bare metal, filled the holes and then heat shrunk the pipe. It came out quite nice, and saved me a few bucks as it just took patience to get it done.
As promised here are some pictures of the work on the engine cradle.
The cradle was replaced two years ago as it was rotten in one of the front corners - here is a shot of it out of the car this time, pretty nasty looking...
One of the things I wanted to try was the bump steer improvement as outlined in the High Performance Fieros book. It involves reversing the toe link mounting tabs and shortening the rods by 2 inches - here are a few shots of that mod
After all the surface rust was grinded off, I sprayed it with truck bed liner to give it a tough finish
The control arms were also grinded, sanded recoated after drilling out the stock riveted in ball joints
Here is a shot of the links after they were shortened (by a local weld shop), new ball joints installed, heat shrunk and painted...
Next, it was time to install the new Prothane polt kits in the cradle and the rear control arms I burnt them out and highly recommend doing this outside - "note to self" I used the freezer method to shrink them a little before greasing them and installing the new poly bushings - here are a couple completed pics:
The new ball joints were bolted on the rear control arms and the hardware I got from an 87 GT was painted aluminum and installed with the cradle mounts
Next I am deciding what to do on the suspension...but at least I'm ready and prepped to receive the motor back, hopefully in a couple week's time.
O.K. I decided to limit the suspension work to some minimal mods. The brakes rotors, calipers, lines were replaced 3 years ago so I will save a big brake mod for next winter. This project is already a big undertaking and since I want to be back on the road this spring I need to avoid getting too sidetracked. Since I will probably eventually go to rear coilovers and rebuild the front suspension, it seemed like a good time to experiment with the stock ride height. If it doesn't work out no biggie, as this is 20 year old stock stuff anyways...
With the rear supension, I managed to remove a coil without complete disassemby and then grinded, sanded and repainted the rear struts.
Upon closer inspection on the front suspension, it was quite apparent that the original shocks were still in place! Once I removed them I confirmed that they were strictly ornamental, as they operated as freely as a trombone
Here are the poor guys beside the new KYB's:
Next with the sway bar links removed and to be replaced, I took 1-1/2 coils out of the front springs without removing the suspension. In order to do this you need to use a 4-1/2" cutoff grinder. Step 1 - cut at the 1-1/2 coil mark from the bottom . Step 2 - remove the unwanted piece by cutting in into 3rds and pulling out. Step 3 - remove the front bump stops.
Here is the spring ready to be cut:
Pieces of front coil removed:
This is the front passenger suspension with shortened spring mod, new KYB shock and sway bar link installed
Next winter I plan to do a front poly kit, upgraded sway bar, and bigger brakes.
Soon I will be starting the engine/tranny swap which should attract some replies... Until then I'm going to be working on the body, interior, and front compartment.
[This message has been edited by Fiero2m8 (edited 04-08-2006).]
Stopped by to check on the engine and it's ready for final reassembly.
Harry G was looking for some pictures of my custom made billet aluminum remote oil filter adapter - here they are. It provides a strong seal with rubber O-rings instead of a gasket and provides addtional clearance to the starter.
If anyone is interested, I will take some measurements so you can have your own made.
Great thread! It looks like it is all coming together nicely for you. I was thinking of doing the tie rod modification on my cradle as well. I'll be interested in hearing your opinion on how it affected the handliong of your car once it's back on the road.
Thanks Nolan. To be fair, I'm not sure how accurate my opinion on the bump steer correction will be. There is a lot going on at once - poly mounts/bushings, lowering, etc. not to mention removing the roof! Maybe someone else has tried it as a stand alone mod? The geometry made sense in theory to me from what I have read, so I thought I would try it since you don't have to buy any parts.
Just to let you know, I ran the same exact Holley packaged fuel pump in my '88 GT, and it only lasted 13 months. I'm mentioning this, as it looks like it is a bit of work to drop your tank with your conversion.
Thanks for the info - I already killed a V6 pump in 4 months, so I had to try something else. When this one fails, I may go with an external type or stock pump with an addtional inline pump. You're right that it's even less fun changing the pump with an X-brace installed - luckily it has the removeable X...
This is the info from spacecoastfieros. Looks like I will have to find a early 4T60 governor with the 3.33 ratio - wish me luck I was hoping to swap the 125c governor but it says the cover won't fit?
The governor – speedometer assembly is located on top of the transmission above the passenger side axle shaft coupling on both the 4T60 and TH125C.
There are 3 variations of speedometer assemblies that I have seen on 4T60 transmissions. One type is almost exactly the same as the one used on the TH125C transmission and will plug directly into the Fiero speedometer connector. A 2nd type is almost the same as the first except the speed sensor (item 1) has been replaced with an assembly that screws into a mechanical speedometer cable. This type can be used if reassembled with speedometer sensor from your old transmission. Both the mechanical cable and sensor type speedometer assemblies are held in place by a 1-inch wire clip on the top of the governor cover. NOTE: The TH125C governor cover (item 3) is NOT interchangeable with the 4T60.
A 3rd type is an electronic pulse generator assembly that looks quite different from the original TH125C governor speedometer sensor. The electrical connector and more importantly the signal generated by this unit are not compatible with the Fiero. If your transmission has one of these units the entire assembly must be replaced with one of the previously mentioned types. CAUTION: Check with the supplier or rebuilder of the transmission before changing parts on it to avoid voiding any warrantees.
It should be noted also that while the governor assemblies from various 4T60 transmissions look the same, there are small differences in the fly weights that control the shift points. The governor assembly's weights are matched to the final drive's gear ratio. If you change the final drive ratio make sure the governor assembly you use comes from a transmission with the same ratio. Using a different governor will work but the transmission may shift at too low or too high a rpm for optimum performance.
I'm wondering how may rpm the shift point will change by going from a 2.84 to a 3.33 ratio. Also would the shift points get higher or lower in the rpm band?
Thanks guys + for you as they are great ideas. Here I go with stereo mod progress - first a few opening comments.
1. I determined the stock setup wasn't sufficient in a V8 Fiero with a roof, so removing the roof (including the rear speakers) required some upgrades to be able to hear it while driving. 2. This a home build budget - not Unique Whips, so no JL audio etc. and so far no manufacturers have donated and shipped me free product like Overhaulin' etc. 3. I have 2- Pioneer CD 50x4 decks now I can use - I am probably going with the older one even though it doesn't flip down because it has a roadster friendly detachable face plate. 4. I wanted to use components that are available at local big box stores for value pricing and convenience. 5. Rather than a mix match system I had the opportunity to use components all from the same manufacturer - in this case Pioneer.
Here are the components I am adding and need to find a location to install them.
4 - 4x10 2-way speakers
2 - 10" subs
1 - 2-channel amp for the subs
Installing 2 4x10's in the dash was easy - they drop right in:
The subs and rear 4x10's on the other hand are a different story...
Found a home for the other pair of 4x10's Hid them in the lower b-pillars in the old vent location - I think this let air escape when you closed the door with the windows up (correct me if I'm wrong) The vents would no longer be required on my roadster from my perspective. Then needed to be ovaled out a little with snips and an angle grinder. A little spray foam and some sound deadening spray was used in the approx .5 sq ft cavity. The existing wiring reaches nicely. It looks like I don't even need grills as the existing vent grill is almost the right size - time will tell. My apologies if someone else has done this before. I am happy when my ideas are already proven with other owners who had success doing similar mods.
Here are a few shots of them installed:
Canadian beer in the background
Close up of passenger side install
Trim in place
This achieves my goal of a stock looking interior with no visible speakers.
Update - the front compartment is sorted out and completed. Everything is a snug fit but a .75 cubic foot sub box, custom metal battery box and slightly relocated washer bottle are all in place.
Here is the battery setup:
And some overall shots from different views:
I'm pretty happy with the end result as it looks tidy and neat. The battery ground exits the bottom of the box through the frame and bolted to the frame rail. The positive exits the rear of the box and through an existing hole to follow the heater tubes to the starter. There is room to cover everything up with the sunroof panel to give you a idea of the clearance to the body.
In prep for getting the engine back, I thought I'd better figure out what I'll need to get the transmission ready for the cradle. A new 10" Torque converter with a 1675 stall is in and ready to go.
Here are the some parts replaced when the trans was beefed up: Old 2.84 final drive to make room for the new 3.33 ratio unit. Old sprockets and chain as a new 37/32 teeth combo was used to get an overall ratio of 3.73
The switch will be swapped so it is plug and play with my harness - one hole will need to be slotted slightly.
The dipstick from the TH125c would give the proper clearance to the trunk but the bracket doesn't line up so I'll pick up a 4T60 tube off a mid to late 80's Pontiac or Buick with the 4T60 trans.
Since I went with a 1990 STS 4T60, it had a pulse type VSS so I need to grab the older version 4T60 cap and VSS while I'm getting the dipstick, tranny brackets, and a 5 pin trans plug at the wreckers.
Once I have the 4T60 unit, I can drop it in after swapping out this green gear from my TH125c unit. I was hoping to install the new cap 180 degrees from stock so I have better clearance from the header flange - does anyone know if it will still work properly? Otherwise I will probably have to modify the header and exhaust to keep the plug from melting.
Next I plan to put the carpeting back in the car, re-install fuel filler pipe and look for a place to install the cooling pipes now that the X-frame is installed.
[This message has been edited by Fiero2m8 (edited 04-15-2006).]
Cut and fit the new insulation to go under the cleaned carpets and interior trim. It should reduce heat and provide a little sound deadening.
Had a little mishap with the rear deck - it was propped up and the garage door damaged it while opening. Before fixing it, I am going to look for one without luggage rack holes that would save me a lot of time filling them.
The last thing I got to this weekend was to add some foam that I can build my fiberglass off of to smooth out the B-pillar areas.
Once it cures I am going to shape it down to get an idea of the finished shape before doing the bodywork.