And just get the block sleeved out to 4.125"... then it'll be 6,345 cc's with the 92mm crank... Voila! The cam gets smaller.
Somehow I missed this, but I agree, probably the best way to solve your cam problem. don't worry, we can spend money you probably don't have too! lol!
------------------ "I am not what you so glibly call to be a civilized man. I have broken with society for reasons which I alone am able to appreciate. I am therefore not subject to it's stupid laws, and I ask you to never allude to them in my presence again."
The cam was suggested by CompCams after telling them all the other components and ultimate HP/TQ goals. Mike also agrees that it'll be a little too aggressive, but not un-tunable or un-streetable.
I actually budgeted for this entire project, including the expect things to take twice as long and cost at least twice as much. lol.
The only "unkonwn" is the total cost of Labor. I pay as we go. Mike never asks me for money, I just go over there and hand him an amount, and I track it on a spreadsheet. He's tracking his hours. We'll settle up when it's over.
The machine shop called me yesterday, block checks out on the magnaflux, line bore was spot on. They did find two low spots on the deck, they said it should take no more than 0.005 to fix it, and that it won't cause any PTV issues.
They said they are "a little behind" on the heads, but I'm not in any rush at this point.
Speaking of crazy stuff, Engine Masters took a junkyard 5.3, all stock except intake (and I think injectors?) put 118 octane and twin turbos on it... and gradually kept ramping up the boost to the point of diminishing returns. They managed to push 29.2 pounds of boost, and turned out 1500 HP and 1430 torque! And the engine didn't blow up.... they just reached the end of the MAP sensor range. They did admit that pushing the engine that hard, they had no idea if it would last for a season, a day, or a single pass. Still insane!
The reason I bring it up is that it gives me a lot of comfort to know that what I'll be getting is going to be about as bullet proof as an engine can get.
OH! Mike also suggested that we get another F23, and mount it and my SBC onto the cradle I had it on... basically offer a "drop in" SBC setup. Think there would be a market for it? I told him it would likely be too rich for the average Fiero owner, unless someone like Troyboy or Madcurl were interested. lol
Speaking of crazy stuff, Engine Masters took a junkyard 5.3, all stock except intake (and I think injectors?) put 118 octane and twin turbos on it... and gradually kept ramping up the boost to the point of diminishing returns. They managed to push 29.2 pounds of boost, and turned out 1500 HP and 1430 torque! And the engine didn't blow up.... they just reached the end of the MAP sensor range. They did admit that pushing the engine that hard, they had no idea if it would last for a season, a day, or a single pass. Still insane!
That's actually been done a bunch of times. Not sure who did the first one, but they just said "Let's find a junkyard 5.3 and see what it takes to fold the rods up!" They filed the ring gaps out 0.010, then put it back together with intake/heads/cam & turbos, but still the stock shortblock. It hit 26 psi before it blew the spark out and made 1200 HP. Then they realized they'd grabbed a 4.8 by mistake. That was an iron block engine.
Lots of copy-cats then followed suit with different configurations. The iron blocks are all very strong, but the aluminum blocks didn't start out as strong, but have improved significantly over the production life of the design.
The big factor is the 116+ octane fuel. Amazings combinations will live without detonation, but nothing will live with it. Even a diesel engine dies if you detonate gasoline in it.
Yes! That was the same guy! Well, he was a guest on the show and told the story about the 4.8. It was his 5.3 they were dialing up. I don't remember what magazine he said he worked from.
I got a call from the engine shop today, they are finished with the block, and plan on finishing up the heads sometime tomorrow. Of course, North Carolina declared "Shelter in place" starting today, and Mike's job is an essential-to-society job, so they are ULTRA serious about him not visiting family/friends or having company over.
The good news is, he works close to the shop, so he can still pick things up on his way home and work on the final assembly, I just wish I could be there to gopher and learn!
Alright, the machine shop called yesterday, everything is ready to be picked up. Mike wanted to pick it up today so he could work on assembly this weekend, but his day job had some emergencies come up, so he was looking at a 12 hour day.
So pickup is slated for Monday. Here's all I had them do (I don't think I listed it anywhere yet)
Hot tank the block and heads, clean all bolt holes/threads Magnaflux the block Check the line bore (it was perfect) Check the deck of the block and heads (minor issues on both) Install cam bearings Balance the rotating assembly (they also said they could fit and file the piston rings for Mike, he said that was a time saver for him, and tedious, so they did that) 3-angle valve job Light porting/polishing to clean up any casting imperfections Install all the new hardware into the heads
I feel like I'm forgetting something, but Mike and I crossed a few things off my original list that went to the shop... when everything comes back, if I did miss something, I'll edit this post appropriately (or take off the fact that I felt like I missed anything).
Okay! Pretty excited. Mike started putting together the engine. As he is uber professional, and I am uber paranoid, he started by checking all of the work the engine shop did, and then start checking tolerances/clearances. This meant things were going to gether and coming back apart a few different times.
He is happy with everything he's found so far. He said the ring gap the shop put on was perfect, it was gapped to where he would have put it if it were his car.
Piston to valve clearance is excellent, no concerns there, even after the machining that was needed.
Here are the pictures he sent me. Oddly, only two came through at "full size", the others came through already greatly reduced in size. Camera phones and MMS are strange.
Some pictures of the bare block!
Here is a pic of the new-old-stock crank I got!
My spiffy new camshaft and spec sheet.
A couple candy shot ofa piston and rod
The coated bearing
Now for pics with things installed at different points!
Some pics of the main caps being fitted (ARP studs, of course), and then the crankshaft installed.
A close up of the cylinders
Some pictures of the block with the rotating assembly fully in there.
Some pics of the heads, valve springs, and the head on the block.
Because of the COVID lockdown, I mailed Mike the few things I still had around the house for the engine. The oil pickup tube, this bolt on retainer for the oil pickup tube (the two bolt style). The KaTech chain, the new GM Performance Sprocket, and the chain dampner.
[This message has been edited by Trinten (edited 04-20-2020).]
As shelter in place restrictions have eased up, I was able to head over to Mike's on the 16th.
He was installing the trunnion upgrade in my rockers when I got there. The upgrade is "shoulderless" trunnions (apparently stock trunnions have these little shoulders that can break from extreme forces). It also has captive rollers, which is one of the pieces that can pop out of whack and cause all sorts of headaches!
The bottom end is all torqued down. The upper end is all loosely bolted together for fitment checks and what not.
Also, the cam bolts are not ARP! GASP! I could have sworn I bought ARP cam bolts... maybe this is one of those things that Mike talked me out of. Or I didn't think about it. Or because this is a loose bolt-together, Mike hasn't installed them yet. Hmmm...
Anyhow! In addition to the pictures below, Mike also did some work on things for under the frunk, including mocking up the water/ice box for the intercooler.
The rockers with the new trunnions installed, rockers loosely bolted into place.
My spiffy Ka-Tech chain installed, with the new chain damper to prevent 'wrap around'.
The Oil Pickup Tube, with the addition bracing hold down.
Oh yeah, and I got my 1500cc injectors! They showed up with the flowchart. It seems that the company had a little issue replacing the 'cyan' laser printer toner! lol
Things left to buy for the engine: Intake Throttle body -8 AN fuel rails Heat exchanger for the A2W intercooler Water pump for the same Pushrods (waiting on confirmation of length from Mike, Brian Tooley Racing makes some nice one piece chromoly ones that I'll get)
And this really awesome setup from FueLabs. Great pre-sales support. I told them what I was running, what my max demands were going to be, etc. They were really cool, wrote back and recommended a pre-pump filter, a pump, a post-pump filter, and a damn spiffy electronic fuel pressure regulator that can slow the pump down when it doesn't need the demand, helping reduce wear on the pump.
I ran their recommendations past the fuel injector company, to make sure it would meet their standards (Especially around filtering, I was concerned it would be a choke point with E85), and got their thumbs up, too. They said the surface area of the outlets on the filters would definitely allow enough through. So that being said, here's the fuel setup:
FUELAB 828 Series Inline Fuel Filters 82823-1 FUELAB Prodigy Fuel Pumps 42401-1 FUELAB 818 Series Inline Fuel Filters 81833-1 FUELAB 529 Series Electronic Fuel Pressure Regulators 52902-1
Yes, it's a little pricey, but I would rather have that then worry about wrecking an engine from an abrupt lean condition!
Pictures will be following this weekend sometime. Sunday was busy and work has kept me busy, so I haven't had the chance to download them from my phone, resize them, rename them, upload them to my site, etc etc. I try not to use the photo hosting here just so I'm not adding overhead to Cliff.
What the pictures will show is the custom water tank pieces and tack-weld-for-fit pictures of it. One of the pictures also captured the new "floor" in the "frunk" during the test fit pictures. Eyeballing the tank, I think it'll hold 3 to 3.5 gallons. Mike wanted it closer to five, but only so much room to work with, which he maximized!
The tank has a "tail" that goes below the funk floor, to utilize as much space as possible and still give everything appropriate clearance. It also has a 7.5-ish inch cap/opening, to make it easy to put ice into it for track days.
He also had me order a fairly large A2W heat exchanger. The thing is nearly the size of a radiator. It's 24"x12"x1" and comes with a radiator style fill cap and a a drain petcock. Makes it easy to drain out excess water from the aforementioned ice! The heat exchanger was bought from frozenboost.com, which has a few other "affiliates", which are just DBAs of the same company to the best of my minimal investigation.
We (I say we, because I sorta helped) also dropped the front cradle again, this time so Mike can do some finish-welding work on the mounting plate for the rack, and replace a few components (outter tie rods, upper ball joints, and we're putting on adjustable/lowering spring pads). I suspect he's also going to clean up, finish-weld and seal/paint the bracket that will hold the EHPS, which is bolted to the steering rack.
His goal is to get the front mechanically done in the next few weeks. That will just leave the skid plate for the front, and duct-work to push air into the heat exchanger, radiator, and AC condenser.
After that he wants to get the Deutsch HDP20 Bulkhead connectors in place. We're going to put one at the front firewall, and one at the rear firewall.
Then the cradle will come out, the SBC will be moved to a stand temporarily, and the cradle modified for the LS and 4T80.
I plan on offering the original cradle, modified to hold the SBC, along with the SBC and a F23 transmission, along with a copy of my tune for a 0411 PCM for sale if anyone wants to pick it up. It will be a very-close-to-drop in way to get a forged, high performance SBC swap done. I don't know how many people will have an appetite for the price. I'm asking 5,000 USD, which is about 40% what the setup cost me.
The rundown of what's in the SBC engine is further up in the thread (maybe a page back?).
I know that's steep for most Fiero owners, but I know I can turn around and sell the engine by itself for 4k, give or take 500. I think getting it, the transmission, all mounted and ready on a cradle is worth the ~1000 more. If someone would like to buy just the engine, please let me know. Again, pick up only unless you want to arrange for it be shipped.
At Mikes last Saturday. He had finished disassembling the whole front setup so we could clean everything, and put some parts aside to be powdercoated (brackets, calipers, caliper brackets... water tank will eventually go, there will be other trips).
So here are some pics, some of these are from the week before last.
First up, some pics of the water box! Mike had to do a lot of test fitting and mock up for this, he wanted to use as much room as possible, so it has a 'tail' that will go below the 'floor' in the frunk. Obviously not finished yet. lol
Next is where I'm kicking myself a bit. I just jumped into starting to clean stuff when I realized.... I didn't have a "before" pic. Not that everything came out looking brand new, but it did come out looking significantly better!
Then here is the new lowering spring pad bolts we got for the front:
and last pic is part of the first batch going out for powdercoating! I took this before we had everything together. And some things can't go yet (stages!)
I haven't listed the old engine and (non-LSD) F23 and cradle setup in the Mall yet. I want to wait till we have the new cradle out and the engine is off of it. I don't think I'll get any bites here. I'm sure what I'm asking is just too much for the average Fiero owner, and that's okay. I've had conversations with some shops to make sure my figure for the engine alone wasn't unreasonable. So I will put "the combo" up in the mall, but will be putting the engine by itself on Craigslist as well.
I also took some time to re-read through this thread, and I was glad I did!! I found some notes from FieroGuru, namely on the spiffy hinges he made for me, to make sure Mike mounts them right in the new car (we don't think we fished out the spreaders that go under the lip of the hinge). I'm also trying to convince him to move the C500 the same way as FieroGuru did as well. He hasn't quite warmed up to that yet.
We did have a funny conversation. He looked at me and said "I want you to give me the same courtesy that I gave you." I immediately stop in shock, thinking I did something super offensive, and just stare at him while my brain is spinning. And he waits a moment and says "If you ever decide to sell the Fiero, I want you to offer it to me, first. I'm building this like I would build it if it were mine, and the more we do, the more I like it." At the explanation I relaxed and laughed and agreed. He's referring to his Grand National, and I told him if he ever wants to sell it, I'd like to be the first to know, and he agreed.
[This message has been edited by Trinten (edited 06-22-2020).]
Yesterday I got to help a little with some simple stuff, Mike was mostly working on finishing welding up the water tank. It's fairly thin aluminum, so it takes a lot of care to do it, and it still makes the metal wiggle around, but he has a ton of crazy shaped clamps just for that purpose.
He put in a little "distributor" plate, so when the water sprays up into the tank, it'll hit that and scatter out, mixing in more with the existing water. Then we filled it with water and checked it for any leaks. There were a few pinholes he hand to take care of. He was hoping it'd hold 6 gallons, I guessed 4.5. With about an 1.5" of gap at the top, it held 5 gallons. He set it up overnight to make sure there were no more drips, and there weren't!
Of the few things I could do yesterday, I took the heatshields off the exhaust manifolds (they'll be jet-hotted when the exhaust manifolds go there), and tried to get the exhaust studs off... that didn't work. Mike is going to cut them off and cut off the end of the manifold anyway, so he can weld on the v-band bung. He loved how close the bung was in size to the exhaust manifold, he said I was a good luck charm when it came to fabricate. The next car he builds, he'll have me just hang out for good luck. lol
Then the last thing is I did was used the airgun and a brush attachment to get as much rust as I could off the surface of the steering shaft. Mike then painted it with an etching epoxy primer, and epoxy paint.
The guy that is doing the powdercoating for Mike has one of those GIANT ovens (They do railings and stuff), so he was annoyed that I didn't want to powdercoat them all the same color (some stuff will matte black, so it looks stock-ish. Some stuff will be glossy black, and for contract, some stuff will be silver). He said we'd have to wait for other things to come that were the same color, unless I wanted to pay an additional fee for the oven. I told Mike I was fine with that if it holds him up from assembly.
Okay! Some awesome news for the last few weeks that I'm excited to share, and vindicates why I always buy extra stuff!
As seen in other pictures over the last year, Mike has fabricated a variety of things for my build, some structural, some to close things up (you'll see a bit more of that in the planning stages in this post), and to fit things together. Among these was the bracket for the new "Frunk floor", and the covering panels, and the bracket to hold the power steering pump.
I think I mentioned before that when we got this stuff powdercoated, Mike and I negotiated a little. He wanted the pieces that <i>could be</i> confused with OEM by the casual non-Fiero person to be coated in a matte black, to help keep that OEM look. And I wanted anything that <i>obviously</i> didn't belong to have some pop! Namely following the color scheme I started when FieroGuru had the car - glossy black and silver/chrome. Now the guy that Mike was originally going to use threw a fit about the "custom colors". He apparently works almost exclusively in matte black. So Mike is using him for that, and found a "home business" guy that did the the glossy and silver bits.
So if you notice the differences in the powdercoating, you know why! Onto some pictures!
Here's a shot of the bakes, still disassembled and then assembled. I wanted them to have some contrast and pop. So the calipers are silver, and there looks like it has a light mettalic mica in it. The brake brackets are glossy black.
Then we have the other assorted bracketry in a group shot! Along with my water tank. Mike was not happy with the watertank's coating. In person it has a few 'fish eyes' in it. But still looks great for being a custom sized tank. More on that another time (the tank, not the 'eh' powdercoating on it). Mike won't be using the "home business" guy anymore because of the tanks poor showing.
So now that we had (most) of the powdercoating done, I got to start to reasseble the front cradle! Yay I helped. lol. Put the A-arms back in and the sway bar. Then Mike attached the bracket he made to hold the power steering pump, which utilized a few things on the cradle, including of the unused Vette motor mounts.
But wait! There's more! Here's a pic with the <i>first</i> steering pump mounted on there (I bought three). More to that story in a moment!
In this next pic you'll see the pump is fully hooked up, Mike connected some longer leading wires to the correct pics we needed to jump to make the pump run, and after making sure it was running, gradually filled it with fluid and let it burp itself out.
How we got there was the fun part. That "lower" hose you see in the picture is a custom hose. The hose which connects there on the Toyota made the MR2 Spyder 2nd Gen was ... bizarre. Probably to help keep it cool, it looked a lot like a giant bobby pin. It would have been a hassle to connect, and looked out of place.
To fix this I took the Toyota hose into a nice little company that supplies a variety of hoses, all the way up to industrial hydraulic stuff. I stopped by with the toyota hose, and said "I need a hose with these ends, and (however long it was, I don't remember right now. Maybe 15 inches)." This was early in the year, maybe even late last year. (the steering rack side just required a M2M adapter).
15 minutes and 45 dollars later, I had said hose! I left. Thankfully I asked for the Toyota hose back! Fast forward to last Saturday. We got to attach the hose... and the side that fits to the pump will not tighten down enough for the flared end to sit securely. It would have just leaked. Sadly, we discovered this too late to go to the hose place!
This morning, I throw another one of the pumps in the trunk with the Toyota hose and the hose they made. I go in there, explain the situation. The guy asks if it was okay if he chopped up the Toyota hose and used the fitting. I agreed. He asked if I wanted him to cut off the end on the hose they made, and put the new end on, losing a little bit of the hose length. Uncertain of the tolerances, I opted for a full new hose.
One hour and 61 dollars later, I had the new hose. He did bring the fitting out before construction and we made sure it was sealing on the pump. Huzzah!
So back at Mikes, we get everything setup, and before we put in fluid, Mike wanted to make sure the pump works. We jump it... it makes a single little stutter and stops. Mike taps it with a hammer, we try again. No joy. Tap, try, tap, try. We double check out wiring diagram.
I remind him I have the spare in the trunk from my trip to the hose place! We get that, move the connectors over... it hums to life! So a little swap-around later, another dry test, then careful filling and running of the pump. Mike then turned the steering input shaft this-way-and-that a little as the pump ran, just to work out some of the air. He was amazed at how quiet it was, but we could see the fluid circulating through. No leaks! And this is why I buy extras.
The pump looks like it might be rebuildable, and at the very least the 'control box' unscrews, so I have spare parts.
Alright, so onto other things! One of the yet-uncoated parts is a new 'shroud' that Mike made for the 'frunk'. This will close a gap from the front sheet metal down to the new 'frunk floor'.
We also did some other test fitting with the powdercoated support frame of the new frunk, where the water tank for the intercooler would mount, battery track and the ECM bracket. The 'red dot' you see is to represent a hole that exists in the frunk floor (also still needs to be coated), the power steering resevoir will 'float' up in that hole. Some soft rubber liner will go around the sheet metal to protect things and seal it off from water splashing up through it.
Lastly, a picture of some of the other mounts that Mike is test fiting for the cradle, and the bits he is starting to fabricate to box-off/close up the holes in the frame that were made when cuting out the OEM mounting points!
Lastly, he did also finish the welding for the Radiator brackets (the radiator was 'final fitted' last weekend). Sadly, this weekend I noticed one of the oxide coated bolts already somehow had some rust on it (I checked my picture from last week, no rust. This week, rust). So I'll have to buy some good quality stainless to go there I guess.
Okay, so last update I talked about the steering setup, and took a pic of some of the custom-piece welding that Mike is doing to close up the frame where he cut off the old mounts. You'll see a lot of unfinished welds, or spot welds. Mike wanted to make sure the frame would be at least as strong as stock, if not stronger. So welding in metal and the positioning of the new mounts for for the upper control arms and the steering rack, plus the tightly fitted metal fill and frame-closing metal, it'll be pretty tough!
And here is a picture of the steering rack in a final test fit, making sure everything lined up where it was supposed to!
And also found the sunroof has another small leak, this one is from the seal just being too hard and shrinking some. I noticed a slight dampness in the car, and then noticed that pine needles had worked themselves under the glass. That's pretty impressive! So when I replace the rails with the awesome stainless steel ones I have, I need to get another seal.
Last I noticed something similar in the door jam seal. It's dry cracking in places. So I want to replace those, too. Which I'm sure will help keep down wind noise and other potential leak points. You may recall that the speaker in the driver side b pillar was rusting, I wonder if the slow leak on the sunroof, and potentially the door, could be the cause.
Mike was working on the finish welding last Saturday, but weather kept him from finishing. If he didn't have the opportunity to do anything over the week, I suspect the first hour or two this Saturday will focus on that. Then we'll be bolting up the steering rack, and work on moving the car into the garage... to drop the cradle!
Once cradle is dropped, engine/trans off and split, the beefed up SBC will go on an engine stand, I'll clean it up, and it'll go on craigslist. Mike will start working on the new engine mounts for the LS4!
Okay, so all of the front-frame-related welding is done. Steering rack mounts are done, frame fill and caps are done, and steering column tunnel is done! Mike finished all of it up yesterday.
After the etching primer and epoxy paint dried, we moved the steering rack under the car again and bolted it up.
We then had an adventure with putting the new upper ball joints into the knuckles. The design of the corvette knuckle made Mike get out ALL the ball joint tools and then some. Once he pressed them out, we then sratched our heads while we hunted for the replacements. I looked in the Fieros, we both looked on the shelves and around the garage, and he looked inside his house were my awesome interior is being stored. No luck!
Mike swears he saw them recently, because he remembered how odd it was to find balljoints before realizing they were for my car. I'm of course looking for either a RockAuto box or a Moog box(es). After ~30 minutes of hunting, came my 'Eff-it' moment, and asked Mike to call the local shops to see if anyone had any. The answer was sadly predictable "we can have them for you tomorrow..."
So we had started to resign that I would need to double check to make sure I did get them, and Mike would look while he cleaned up the garage. As we started to put some things away, Mike moved a piece of cardboard that was by my brake calipers... and there they were! Serendipity!
So he pressed in the new ball joints, and we went about getting the suspension mounted.
Quick funny story. This was late in the day, so we'd been out working on things since about 10am, and this was about 4:30. We didn't stop for our usual lunch break, since we both late late breakfasts. I do not do well in heat. So I feel drained. Mentally and physically. Plus, my hearing is not the best. I go to put the tie rod end in... it won't fit.
"Mike. I think we did something wrong. Do we have these on the wrong sides? Upside down?" "No, that's not possible." "My tie rod is not going in, the wrong side is tappered." There's a pause. "The tie rod end will turn. It's upside down." So I sigh, because it was obvious and I didn't think about trying that, and say "I'm an idiot." Mike "Did you just call me an idiot?" my hearing didn't process it right, because I'm split with focusing on getting this done, and I thought he asked if I called myself an idiot... so what do I say? "Yes." Now he sounds offended (rightfully so thanks to our Fawlty Towers situation) "I'm an idiot. Really?" "Wait, what? No. I'm the idiot because I didn't think of that. I wasn't call you an idiot."
Moral of the story... if I'm going to admonish myself, do it silently! lol
Anyhow. Brakes ar eback on there!
In that picture you can see the plate that the upper control arms bolt to. It is not welded on yet. Mike wants to wait for us to get the alignment as close to done/neutral as possible first, and do so by scooting that plate around as needed. Once that's dialed in, he'll weld it in place.
Once that was done, we bolted the wheels on and lowered the front to the ground.
The top picture is back when Mike had mocked things up, and the mounting plates were just tacked into place. The front suspension still had all used stuff, including the stock adjustable spring pads. So I bought a new set of 'lowering' spring pads, which are advertised to bring the Corvette down about an inch. You can see the difference that's there already.
Once everything is loaded and filled up, we figure it'll sit a little lower. It'll likely still have a crazy wheel gap at the top, but since I'll be getting some custom body work done, I don't really mind that for now.
Lastly, here's a shot from the back line!
Hopefully next weekend we will have the car rolled into the garage, so the rear cradle can come out, and start working on getting the LS4 mounted!
Despite the weather, amazing progress was made this past week. Mike took a few days off during the wheel to clean up his garage and then work on the rear suspension. When I showed up on Saturday, I saw the rear wheels were bolted on, and it appeared the car was sitting on it's own for the first time since the project started. No jackstands!
I was a little dumbstruck. I could see it, but I was having a tough time processing it. It sunk in when Mike gave the car a little push and it rolled. It was a really awesome moment for me. We decided to give the car a much needed bath, so that was done. Then Mike had me start taking apart the rear suspension on the passenger side, so he could start doing some final welding, we could mount the brake calipers, and I could replace the rear hubs.
Onto the pictures!
Check out that pretty weld. When he's got the space to move, Mike welds like a machine! As we progress in the back, more and more will get it's finish welds, starting with the suspension mounting points. You can see more of it a little further down.
Check that out! Yes, huge wheel gap, we know. This is what the custome flared fender wheels are going to help fix.
A shot focusing a little more on the rear tire, since we have some good ones of the front tires already in past posts.
In that first "flank shot" the front wheel is straight(er). In the subsequent pictures, it had turned a little as we were moving the car around. In the last shot there, you can see just how much further that rear tire sticks out. The Z06 (I think) has the same offset, or is super close, so it'll stick out ~1" more in the front and back. To hammer the point home...
This is why I need to get some custom fender flares. With the few inches the wheels stick out up front, and the bigger jump in the back, my car will have an 'hourglass' similar to some Porsches. You can also see a little more of the welding/mounting coming together for the lower control arms.
Plenty of tire grip!
Mike was also happy with how well the rear brake lines fell into place. The Fiero stainless lines have the same style banjo fitting that GM used on a bunch of stuff (including Vettes) for ages, so, at least in the back, it just had to create some new tabs as he finalizes the hose routing, and I don't have to buy new stainless steel brake lines! And I have a coil of stainless steel brake "hard line" still, so if we need to remake anything, we can.
The rain did cause a small delay, but nothing to drastic. I'm trying to convince Chug to come out next Saturday to help Mike with pulling the cradle/engine, and getting the SBC/4T80E off, while I do tool fetching.
When the SBC is free, I'll be posting up the "package deal" in the mall, though I suspect many do not want that much power or might not be able to afford it, regardless how close to 'turnkey' it'd be, so I'll be listing the engine separately on Craigslist, too.
Only regret (hindsight is 20/20, right?), before we decided on the LS4, we had to trim the starter pad to get the transmission to mate up to it. No issues for any Fiero folks that want to run the F23 that'll come with it, but might be a dealbreaker for anyone looking to put the engine into something more traditional.
This weekend marked another milestone. The SBC came out, the LS4 was mocked up, some tentaive mounts on the new frame were made, and we made sure the engine and transmission would go together. Chug was also kind enough to come out to give Mike assistance. They worked much more effectively together thanks to Chug's experience with engine swaps. I'm sure we would not have accomplished all we had if it were not for his help!
We used a couple car dollies under the cradle to slide it out through the wheel well, which was pretty nice. Mad things much easier.
So besides taking pictures and (sometimes) being the tool go-fer, I had the very improtant job of cleaning all the gunk off the valve covers!
We did, sadly, discover that my flexplate will NOT work afterall. The stock LS4 flex plate is 'dished' or 'stepped', to give clearance from the face of the crankshaft bolts and the face of the torque converter. My flexplate is flat. We considered using spacers between the torque converter and the flexplate, but the available space wouldn't allow it, that offset lead to other alignment/fitment issues.
So I've shot an email to Meziere with the pictures of the OEM flexplate, with some comments and explanations, and asked them if they could make me a billet one. They <b>do</b> have a billet flexplate on their site that has a small built in offset around the crankshaft, but I can't tell from the picture if it's "deep" enough.
So for now, things are mocked up with the OEM flexplate.
After that was done, and Mike had created the new mounts, in went the new setup! Again scooting along on the dollies.
After the cradle was reconnected to the body, we put the OEM intake on to see how the fitment would be, and get an idea of spacing. It's pretty roomy! The decklid closes without any issues! There was around 2.5-3 inches of room between the intake and the 'beam' on the bottom of the decklid, and of course more room between the 'beams'.
Now that I have some ideas on the room I have to work with, I can start shopping for my aftermarket intake. Though I think for now, we'll use the OEM since we won't be running any crazy boost until the engine has 500 or so miles on it.
The last thing that's driving me nuts is this terrible water manifold/pulley setup the LS4 has. Look how ugly and convoluted this thing is!
I <b>really</b> want to get something nicer or cleaner or more minimalistic steup for this. Or something. That will need to wait until Mike figures out how he wants to mount the accesories first. There are about 3 or 4 different accessory configurations on the LS motors, I think the Corvette setup is the one that brings it all close to the engine, which he wants to keep, but might still be able to flip stuff around.
Also, the LS4 (maybe all LS engines??) had a provision for an oil cooler built into the blocks! So no need for an adapter under the oil filter, just hook it up to the connections that are there! How cool is that?
[This message has been edited by Trinten (edited 08-23-2020).]
Without the lower frame rails, trunk wall, and strut towers in the way, you will have a lot more options than normal for water pump and accessory setups.
Are you using the Morroso oil pan for the starter? If you are, then they likely are using the standard LS oil cover plate bolt pattern, so the off the shelf oil cooler plates would work. The stock LS4 oil pan is the lone wolf and uses different bolt spacing for that oil cover plate and all other LS engines.
Yes! I did (Finally) get in touch with Brandon Furches via another party to order one of his specialized Moroso pans that come with the starter, setup specifically for the LS4 / 4T80E configuration.
It has not arrived yet. It had a ~5 week lead time. I think I ordered it 3 weeks ago? Maybe 4? So I'm expecting it soon.
Mike and I aren't concerned of that setup fitting... it's just... I don't know. 'Eh'.
If we do stick with that, I'll probably send it off to be powdercoated. Do I recall correctly that you came up with a cool bracket/pulley setup that goes where the LS4 power steering pump went? If I remember right... and we stick with that accessory setup... would you be interested in selling one to me?
------------------ Korey "Plastic Makes It Possible" 86 Pontiac Fiero SE #70123, gold on black options incl luggage rack,power windows,power door locks,sunroof,4 spd,black GT lace wheels,restoring it back to stock check out my build thread! 84 Jeep CJ7 "Dixie" 86 Buick Grand National bone stock 93 GMC Typhoon #1710 black on black bone stock
CowsPatoot was down this way this past weekend. He kindly agreed to help me tear apart the doors to put in all the goodies I had bought for them:
A set of the Rodney Dickman faster window motors New inner and outer dew wipes New felt pads
With everything apart, I cleaned everything, I took the rust off the "x" of the regulator, covered the wheels, and hit them with a little paint. I cleaned all the tracks thoroughly, and of course re-greased them (and the little roller wheels on the aforementioned x part). Mike was kind enough to tack-weld the nuts on the back of the motor plate for us.
Fierobsessed and Rodney were not joking, the new motors FLY.
Only downside, the stock assist springs are a little rusty, and they are NOISY. Like, so noisy that when we first cycled the window (before all the work), we thought something was wrong. When we put everything back in, it was still scary noisy. Checked everything, it all looked good. Took the spring out... (near) silent.
So I do need to get a new set of those stupid springs at some point.
Once all of the MANY window adjustment bolts were adjusted ("with the window in the half-way up position"... quote from the TSB on adjusting the windows). we applied blue loctite one bolt at a time. All rivets that we removed were replaced with appropriate sized/length stainless steel hardware.
Today we started to mockup the accessory drive. I say "we". I mean "Mike". I put the DeLorean horns on the car today and just sorta hung out and asked Mike questions. Though I did give him a good idea while he was working on the brake lines! So, score.
Anyhow. Not much room from the valve cover and the cabin bulkhead. He also found that we will need to put FieroGuru's awesome decklid hinges on sooner than later. The accessory drive needs to come up about another 1.5", which puts the fill cap right into the bracket. Mike did say if he needs to shift the engine and transmission back on the cradle some, it can be done with minimum impact to anything. There is plenty of room between the trunk wall and the engine, so the slight shift back would just put an acceptable angle in the axles. Right now it's placed so they are directly in line with the hub opening.
There is also no cleanup yet on the bulkheads. Mike doesn't like to remove anything until he knows for sure he's not going to use it.
The rear brake lines are all done. He had to flip some brackets around. We picked up some brake line for the front, I forgot I had brought over some stainless steel line last year (left over from fixing the brakes on my last Town Car), and he's a fan of the nickle-copper stuff. He came up with some great uses of the existing bolt holes on the front cradle. He wanted to try to route it without having it bolt to the cradle, so the cradle could come out even easier (if needed). Now it'll take undoing a whole extra 4 screws. lol
After some emails with Darth Fiero, who was kind enough to educate me on some things, and additional conversations with Mike, we realized the stock PCM was not going to do all he wants it to do. Thankfully, Mike is experienced at tuning multiple aftermarket units, so I've settled on the Holley Terminator Max unit for the LS1/4L80e. Selling my NIB HP Tuner unit if anyone is interested! Check the mall!
Also tossing up some pictures of the work that CowsPatoot and I (yes, I actually did some work this time!) did putting in the new Rodney Dickman motors, along with all the seals and the dew wipes. I cleaned all the tracks, cleaned rust off parts, helped remove rivets, used a self etching paint to protect things, and of course regreased things. CowsPatoot did the disassembly and reassembly. He also pulled all the crappy jute from the front area and put in the thermal/sound stuff I bought and used in the rest of the car. I am debating on if I went to put any of the fiber-padded stuff on top of it in places or not. Cow spent a CRAZY amount of time doing this for me, and I'm grateful.
For the doors, I will be using FieroGuru's images as a guide to put the sticky stuff on those, too. Again, not sure if I'll use the new jute, or use the fuzzy insulation which is thinner. The vapor barrier will go on too.
Okay, so first picture up....
Above: What is that thing? What does it do? It's just sort of flopping around there. There's not one on the other side. What does it connect to? Thanks!
Slick brake line measuring and routing by Mike, and effective use of pre-existing mounting points!
Check out that nice work by CowsPatoot!! He made sure to get around all the push mounts, and screw mounts, and what not.
Rusty window regulator!
Starting to get it cleaned up. I did fully disassembly it and use a variety of brushes to clean it all.
Covered up the wheels and hit it with self-etching paint in a light coat. Made sure the wheels were well greased.
Used the same paint to clean up the scratches and marks from when we were getting the rivets out. You can see some of the paint was running there.
And lastly, the completed frunk... which will now need to be redone a bit, since the bracket that Mike made for the 0411 won't be used now.
Sorry for the lack of updates. There has been progress, just sometimes not enough to make a post about. Also, the FTP connection to my host doesn't seem to be working, so I can't upload pictures!
Here's the high level for now:
Brakes are DONE. The car had come with the SS braided Fiero brake lines, and for once, GM used the same kind of connections, so those hoses connected to the Vette calipers (via a fresh set of banjo bolts) without any issues. We bled the brakes out, which went pretty smoothly. Even with no vacuum, the pedal firms up quick. Far faster than it did before. And even with just light pressure applied to the pedal by Mike, I wasn't able to force the car to roll.
The body-length coolant lines have been repaired and modified. Mike didn't want to use a bunch of rubber couplings, so he had me buy some appropriately sized stainless steel, and he modified the driver side pipe. It was cool seeing how it went in and the thought he put into it. This is where I wish I had the pictures up. When they're up this will hopefully make more sense - the coolant tube front was arched and hooked, so it had to rotate into place as the part that ran under the car moved into position. It fit great. So now there is just the two small flexible lengths of hoses that go from the radiator to the body lines. Compared to what was on my old Fiero, where there was more than a few rubber hose couplers.
I also got my first intake from Summit. Sadly I ordered the wrong one, it was a little too tall. Thankfully it was within the return date, but the shorter one that came powdercoated was sold out, on back order until February 2021!!
So I asked for the non-powdercoated version. It shipped today. I'll take it to get powdercoated.
We also cut up the axles for the back, one of which I ordered from Rockauto. It was made by a company called FVP. It was inexpensive. What surprised Mike and I the most (given the cost was that this piece used a genuine GM shaft. The tripods are now bolted to the rear hubs, so Mike can get the alignment done. Then when the cradle comes out, he's going to shift the engine back about a half-inch and do the final welding. We'll use the axle parts to make the mock ups for the correct lengths I'll need to order from the Driveshaft Shop.
Still trying to find a good solution / reliable replacement clip for the lock mechanism rod. Not the plastic clip, but the metal one that holds the lock cylider rod to the lock cylinder arm. I've tried a variety of aftermarket "GM compatiable" clips, all to no avail.
Anyhow, another short (pictureless) update. The new intake showed up and we clear the decklid with plenty of room. The injectors I bought are the LS3 style though, so they were too short for the included fuel rail brackets to work. Instead of the shenanigans going into fabricating brackets, I saved Mike the time and bought the injector adapters to make them 'taller'.
He also modified the intake to be able to mouth an IAT sensor in the center of the intake. Eventually the intake will go off for powder coating.
ALSO! My spiffy Moroso LS4 oil pan showed up, courtesy of Brandon Furches. It's modified to support the starter on the bottom, it has baffles and a modfied pick-up tube to prevent oil starvation, and it's setup with a turbo return already.
The starter hasn't shown up yet, but we're still some ways away from needing it, and worst case, I can spend the few hundred bucks to buy it (I know which manufacturer and model), and when the one from him shows up, I'll shelve it as a spare.
This weekend the weather is supposed to be lousy, so not sure if we'll be working on it.
Got things resolved with my host. The upside is, there's been some progress. A lot of test fit and mock up stuff. Mike has been playing around with the exhaust stuff. We got a set of manifolds off of a Chevy Truck, which are apparently super well suited to be used as turbo headers on this swap (again thanks to Brandon Furches videos for the idea). Mike agreed, that these particular manifolds flow super well for being a cast piece. I wanted to have all of the exhaust stuff done in Stainless 321, and even found some good sources to buy it in larger pieces that Mike could whittle down, but I was only going to bother with that if I could get the whole thing done that way. Since we're using these cast headers for now, we're sticking with 304. Doing a combination of oval and round pipe to maximize our space.
The nifty LS4 Moroso Oil pan with the starter provision! I thought I took more pictures... but apparently I did not. It is a quality piece, but Moroso tends to make good stuff. It comes with a modified oil pickup tube, does not sacrifice oil capacity, and the starter will mount to it. When it originally showed up, it was missing the starter and oil filter plate (the pan is setup to have a plate for a screw on type or remote type filter). Brandon has always been quick to reply when I shoot him an email. While it all took some time, I have the pan, starter, and I THINK the plate for the remote oil filter showed up. I need to check that last one the next time I'm at Mikes.
I also have a picture of the new window assist spring installed. Now if only I could get my hands on some pristine door glass! Still kicking myself for not seeing the posts about that company in the northeast that was making the glass for a while!!! I did get ahold of the guy, but he actually had to close his doors entirely, which was sad to hear.
Among the door parts, this body panel pusher piece has some broken ears, I managed to get another one thanks to Chug, who had some extra doors laying around (one seems to have a really nice piece of glass in it...).
These clips! I hate them! Why did GM make so many different versions! These are the clips for attaching the rod to the lock cylinder arm. Again, thanks to Chug for letting me pillage his doors for a couple. I've tried Dorman and a few others, none fit properly.
Mike used some stainless tube of the appropriate OD and ID to modify the coolant tubes, it slid into place really smoothly given the bends! It sort of 'corkscrews' into position.
Speaking of that piece of pipe, check out the crazy optical illussion when I looked in that bit of stainless. I wish my camera was able to capture the image better. Do you see the innermost "concentric ring"? That's the actual opening of the tube. The rest is a stepped reflection! When looking through it with your eyes (instead of a camera) at the sky, you could see the sky reflected in the tube, it was a little trippy.
Here is my new intake.He's already modified the bottom of it for a sensor that he wanted to be more central instead of near the back where the factor stuff is, in addition to the other sensor ports it'll be using. Once we know it's all good, it'll be going off for powder coating (probably).
Above is a bunch of pictures on Mike working on the mount for the turbo. That tiny cut in the one is no longer there. We were using some scraps he had laying around to work on this, the tubing is all chrome moly (did you have any doubt?).
He originally made that cool plate to bolt to the side of the head, and was going to have an arm coming off from there as well as the supports coming up from under the turbo that you see above, but I think he's abandoned that part. We hung the turbo from his cherry picker so it would stay in the same relative position while he took measurements. The primary mount and drain tube is done.
Then we have our test fit for the intercooler! It actually fits in the 'luggage' section of the trunk pretty nicely. He started mocking up brackets to hold it, the gloves are there to mimic (roughly) the space needed for the carpet and such. We want to try to install the carpet around it, and powdercoat the bracket as close in color to the carpet as possible, to give it a vague "floating" appearance. The pipes leading to/from the intercooler will go through yet-to-be-drilled holes in the trunk bulkhead. The water pump isn't going to go there, I don't think. That's just where it was sitting at the time.
Currently waiting on more stainless exhaust tube to show up. And yes, a lot of stuff looks "rough", this is because we know some changes are likely to happen, and it's easier to undo tack welds than cut full welds. It's worked out, as things went into place, we've noted where other things will need to move. The whole drivetrain needs to move back 0.25-.5" on the cradle. When everything is tacked in and fits, then powder coating and final assembly with correct hardware will take place!
[This message has been edited by Trinten (edited 01-21-2021).]
Thank you so much for the pointer! That will be awesome if they have it! Since CowsPatoot had already done some work on my doors/windows, the glass already just has the screws in the plastic follower things, so I don't think it would be too tough to pop the outer door skin back off and get the old glass out. I will definitely reach out to Randy ASAP!
So an idea that FieroGuru gave me was around getting an OAD (or "decoupler") alternator pulley. They're pretty neat. Here's some info on them, but in summary, they have something along the lines of a one-way clutch so when you lay into the gas and drop off, the belt isn't fighting the inertia of the alternator. I know I way oversimplified that. I'm tired and going to bed right after this post.
Anyhow! I found out you cannot just pop a decoupler pulley onto an alternator not designed for them, and vice versa (talked to a few alternator shops). I did ask one if they could bump up the amperage on mine to 200 (from the stock 135) as well as put on a decoupler pulley. They said none of their suppliers have the parts to kick up the amperage on that alternator, but they can probably swap out the parts to put on a decoupler.
It was only the first place I talked to, so probably going to check with some others. I haven't researched what's involved in bumping up the output of an alternator.
Alternatively, I'll pick up a C5 Vette alternator (they apparently all came with decouplers to start with), and see if Mike can fabricate a bracket for it, putting it in the stock location with the proper plane for the belt.
It was a chilly morning (well, whole day) here in North Carolina today. Mid-30s this morning when I got to Mikes. His garage is not (well) heated, so no welding today. Instead, we tackled a few of the smaller things.
This one, I'm going to turn into a write-up!
That's right, I'm actually going to contribute something besides commentary!
The first is, I feel we found an easy fix (your opinion may vary) for the anemic door lock actuators, especially as things get gunked up. One again, Mike cursed my good luck at random stuff working out! At least with this. The other thing we did today did not work out, more on that later.
Things you will need!
A set of these! https://www.amazon.com/gp/p...le_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 These are good for 13lbs of push/pull force. They come with a mounting kit and screws, you won't need it. The screws are also wood screws, so we opted to use other hardware that wouldn't "bite" into the plastic of the housing and eventually crack it with stress over time.
Various* sized stainless steel screws, nylon lock nuts, and washers. The size we used to mount the linear actuators is 6-32 metric, 1 5/8th in length (we bought 2 inch ones and cut them down). This size slid snugly through the aforementioned mounting points on the actuators.
Tools of your choice to remove rivets!
Now, I should have taken more pictures. So apologies if this isn't quite a super great write-up. I figure the majority of people here are more comfortable with doing stuff on their cars themselves than I am.
This also can be done WITHOUT removing the outer door skin. We removed it on the first door just so we can really look everything over, but Mike installed it on the second door without taking the outer door skin off. However, he now had measurements he could just copy from door 1 to door 2, so not sure how easy this will be without taking the outer skin off at least ONE of the doors.
Here's a comparison of the two:
1. Remove your inner door panel! Also the door handle/lock assembly fascia, so you just have a rod there.
2. Remove the rivets so you can take out the old actuator and that metal thing that mostly covers it. It should look like this when you're done:
3. Slide off the little linkage bar from the stock actuator. Use a screwdriver and carefully pry out the gasket at the end of the actuator (the one the bar you just took out was going through). KEEP THEM BOTH.
4. Slide said gasket onto the door handle rod, the one that runs to the fascia where you physically pull the inner handle to open the door. Pop the rod off the little slide clip thing. Keep sliding that gasket along to the "Z" bend by the power lock "swing arm" (I have no idea what it's called). Use screwdriver and carefully work the gasket into that oval space. It should look like this:
4A. You are now probably asking WHY?! WHY DO I NEED TO DO STEP 4?! Here's where it gets a little tricky. The "throw" on this linear actuator, when it's set nuetral/center, is about 1/8" too short in each direction to fully 'snap' the lock open and closed. As you all know though, that's because the "oval thing" around the "z bend" needs to travel a lot of unnecssary distance before it can "snap" the rod to the right position. Using this gasket eliminates that issue. And yes, we tested the door, and the key, many, many times. No issues.
5. This part requires some patience. You need to find the points to mount the actuator as close to 'center' as of it's throw as possible. There's a bunch of ways I'm sure this can be done. Mike didn't completely explain how he was doing it. Here's what I think was going on. Connect the rod to the actuator, then to the lever. With the oval thing center/neutral, move the actuator all the way down (extending it), so you can get a mark. Then move it fully the other way, again don't let the oval shift. Now you know the travel distance and can mark it.
6. using measurements of spacing from the mounting holes, roughly mark your bottom hole. Mike made this hole a "slider" (so adjustable). The top one is not as 'oblong' as the picture makes it, not sure what's going on there. The point is, with some adjustability in the bottom one, you can set the actuator and make adjustments for measurements on the top hole, checking things twice, etc, before you drill for it.
7. Mount said actuator! Use the aforementioned 6-32 screws, two washers (one on each side) and a nylon lock washer. Because I was paranoid, we rolled the glass down afterwards to make sure everything cleared. It does with room to spare. 3rd pic is through the rolled down glass.
8. Weatherpack! Unfortunately the wiring ends that came on these is obviously not compatiable with the OEm stuff. Get some weatherpack connectors of your choice, cut and assemble. TEST to make sure the pin orientation is right (and not "unlock button" = lock).
9. Get in the car and do more tests, do tests outside the car. Make sure you do not lock your keys in the car.
10. Put the door panel(s) back on! DONE!
I'll put this in it's own thread if folks want me to. ***************
Mike also messed around with the Ford Fusion side mirrors I bought. I really want the mirror-mounted turn signal indicators, since our cars are so low. And since we have an aftermarket blind-spot indicator system, we could wire that to the blind spot lights in the mirrors.
Sadly, the base of these mirrors has an obtrusion that could not be worked around, and the mounting angle was wrong. Mike said he could work out a solution, but it would take a bunch of time and reworking the mounting point on the door, and I'd still have a funny gap between the base of the mirror (in places) and the door. I decided to scrap the idea. There are other cars out there with mirrors that have those features and mount 'to the door' versus 'the window triangle'. I just wish I could find technical drawings of them. It would make my life so much easier!
And because it was so damn cold today, and Mike has a lot of firewood on his property, he rigged up a portable firepit, using an old wheel and a car dolly!