Seriously considering scrapping my car... (Page 1/2)
Cliff Pennock FEB 13, 04:30 AM
...and maybe buy another Fiero.

☝️ (Just so you know I'm not planning to leave the Fiero scene)

First off, I love my car. It's been in my possession for over 25 years now and the thought I might have to scrap it, kills me. But for the past 2 years or so, it's been standing still more than I have been able to drive it. I fix one thing, two other things break. At the moment, I can't drive it because:

  • It has a serious coolant leak causing it to overheat in minutes
  • It's leaking transmission oil badly
  • It's leaking engine oil badly
  • It probably has a leaking head gasket
  • It has an electrical problem causing my rear tail lights to not work
  • It has an electrical problem causing my battery to drain in a day
  • Above problem broke my (one year old) battery. It will no longer charge
  • My front wind shield is cracked
  • It has several severe rust spots
  • The body work is in bad shape
  • It needs to be repainted
  • Sometimes one headlight won't pop up
  • My seats' upholstery is shot (I have new Mr Mike's upholstery though)

Now all these things I could easily fix if I had my own garage. But I don't. So I need to wait until the weather gets better before I can even attempt to fix these things. And then if I do, I don't know what else will break down.

So I'm considering two alternatives:

  • Taking it to a garage and hope they can fix it
  • Scrapping it and buy another one

The problem is, in the state it is in now, I'm lucky if I get a few hundred dollars for it. And if I have to buy another Fiero, a decent one will set me back at least $5000 here... Having it fixed will probably set me back the same amount.

Things I fixed recently (in the last year or so)

  • Installed new water pump
  • Installed new radiator
  • Installed new heater core
  • Replaced all wheel bearings, brake discs and break pads.

I would really love to fix it. But I first need to assess if it's even worth fixing. The above repairs are all doable. But what worries me are the hidden defects (or stuff that might cause problems soon). Things like rust.

So what do I need to check for? How can I figure out if the car is at the end of its life, or still worth saving?
Australian FEB 13, 04:44 AM
I have driven cars into ground and spent the time to fix them and repeated but i can understand the woes and while possible can pick up a dream car from a member here.
Well now get what you want perhaps 88 targa project kit etc. Hope you can find something you desire in budget.
82-T/A [At Work] FEB 13, 07:38 AM
Hey Cliff... I understand the frustration. I want you to keep the Fiero, but the responsible side of me says that the best thing you can probably do is get something else. But before I go on with that, I'll say this... your Fiero does not need to be scrapped. I don't know how the laws work over there regarding older cars, but can you not just sell it? The car you have now runs... it may not be great, but it runs. Someone with a garage can take that car and totally rebuild it. It is absolutely worth saving. Especially the Fiero, the sheet metal is only seen when you open the doors. Everything else can be repaired in a round-about way that doesn't have to be done by a body shop. All the other stuff.. it's just normal servicing and replacing parts. All things that are easy to do if you own a garage. Is selling the car an option? I know that when a really rare and unique European car comes over here, like the mid-engined MG, or the Vauxhal, or something like that... they sell fast because it's so unique.

Considering your situation, you may be better off actually just buying another one that needs less work.

I'm happy to help you look for one too... all of us are... so if it's just import fees and such... let us know how we can help.
Vintage-Nut FEB 13, 10:51 AM
Can I ask what is the mileage?

Obviously, deciding to 'save' a dying vehicle can easily turn to a 'money pit'. But the 'real' question is if it's really 'worth' saving?

Hint: Don't Get Emotionally - Be Logically

I was in the same boat years ago on my 1984 K10......
Either put in major time and money or search for a 'newer' truck.

As my K10 had less mileage than newer trucks (which were asking big bucks), I decided to keep it and spent years to refurbish it.

So yes, it is hard to decide to fix your Fiero or dump it.

To help me to decide; I always make Pro/Con lists on both sides of the coin to 'see' more clearly......

Put Effort or Buy Better?

IMHO: body work and repainting are "showstoppers"

Original Owner of a Silver '88 GT
Under 'Production Refurbishment' @ 136k Miles

[This message has been edited by Vintage-Nut (edited 02-13-2024).]

RWDPLZ FEB 13, 01:58 PM
With the potential exception of the rust, those are all fixable issues, and buying another car may have the same or worse condition/repair requirements. Not sure about over there, but over here prices have gone WAY up, $5000 won't buy you a decent GT anymore, and would likely cover the list of repairs, minus paint?
Frenchrafe FEB 13, 02:16 PM
If I had a two car garage, I'd let you put your Fiero in it and I'd help you fix your car up.
But I don't have that sort of space.
Isn't there anyone in Europe who could help out? Hello...?
There are several scandinavian Fieros, some german ones as well. Even in France there are one or two others apart from me...

I hope you find a solution, maybe with some local enthousiasts car club?


"Turbo Slug" - '87 Fiero GT. 3800 turbo. - The fastest Fiero in France! @turboslugfiero

Mike in Sydney FEB 13, 11:17 PM
Cliff, based on what you've posted and on the problems you have shared with us, I'd be inclined to buy a "new to you" Fiero. I'd look for an '86, '87, or '88. The '86 and '87 may be the most cost effective because there are more of those about and brake and suspension parts seem more plentiful, relatively speaking. The '88 is more desirable because of the better suspension. Probably the '87 would be the sweet spot. They have the gen 2 head light system. If you buy an '86, consider swapping out the head light harness and motors. I've done it on all three of my '86 cars and it was well worth the investment.

I'd hang on to your current car and strip it of all the good bits before scrapping it. Find a bed to store them under and hang on until you need them - because you will someday. Definitely swap the seats for the one's with Mr. Mike's covers or if the upholstery is good in the new car, take the Mr. Mike's covers off and save them until you need them.

Are there many Fiero's in Europe on the market or should your mates on PFF be keeping an eye out for you? $5000 (USD?) is a reasonable budget for a car if it doesn’t include shipping and import duties.

BTW, what are the shipping costs to the Netherlands? Shipping a Fiero Downunder has quadrupled since COVID. The cost is now around $15,000 AUD including taxes and import fees so I'm waiting for costs to come down before I bring my SE into the country.

Good luck.

Mike in Sydney

Cliff Pennock FEB 14, 06:39 AM
Well, as it is now, $5,000 is about $4,999 above my budget... 😁

I'm hoping for just a few days of nice weather so I can better find out what is causing those leaks as they seem the most urgent to repair. I can most likely fix those myself. I'm setting aside some money each month so when summer comes, I hopefully have around $2,000 to spend on repairs I can't do my self. But like I said, I want to know if that will be $2,000 well spent or thrown in the trash.

My biggest worry is rust (since I live near the sea and the salty air is killing for cars) but I really don't know what to check and which rust is "fatal". If it turns out that too much has rusted away, then I probably need to sell or scrap the car.
theogre FEB 14, 09:47 AM
⚠️ Don't bother anything else until you find out rust is "Fatal" or whatever. "" Because of time/money to deal w/ damage or actual Fatal problems that can cause a wreck or Fail in a wreck because of rotted Crash/Crush Zone areas.

Don't know how NL Inspections etc are done... In some places, taking to a shop & they find bad rust problems can "void" the inspection cert right then & can't drive maybe not even drive to home. Side Note: Crack windshield may Pass Inspection in some places depending Where the damage is & just what the damage is.

Example: Pull the rear inner fenders & use camera(s) if needed to look @ upper frame sections. That part can rust big time w/o being obvious looking @ engine side.
Many "fixed" that but most does so poorly & Fail in several ways including can Fold Up in a minor rear end hurting people in the car.

Other places, say rotted cradle or control arm(s), can be fix or replace but both will cost time & money.

If junked, first store it in rental space until you get another to swap parts if needed like GT taillights etc.

⚠️ You need to check if another has same or worse rust problem before buying it. Because Many got ripped off because plastic panels on many models not just Fiero hinds major rust & crash damage. A shop can put it on a lift & just look to start or use camera(s) like bore scope to look @ upper rear frame w/o taking apart inner fender.

In the mean time... Iffy Gen1 HL Motors love to kill car batteries. Unplug both motors if they have any problems.
Or get DC Amp Clamp so don't have to unplug/cut wires & read the cave for Battery Leaches

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.
(Jurassic Park)

The Ogre's Fiero Cave

Raydar FEB 14, 09:48 AM
By my way of thinking, the only real show stopper is severe rust in the space frame. Everything else can be unbolted and replaced.
And once you've replaced something major, it should not need replacement again for a long time.
The obvious exceptions are "wear items", and electrical parts.

The first places that Fieros start to rust through are the "short" sides of the trunk, where the panels are welded to the upper frame rails on both sides.
Those, and the tin plugs in the floor pans. Surface rust is not a huge problem. Holes can be, if they're in the right (wrong) place.

Pics of non-rusted trunk sides.
Left side...

Right side. (You will have more difficulty seeing the right side, since there's a blower fan there.)

Floor pan plug. This is the passenger side, just in front of the rear wheel.

There are lots of "near the ocean" locales, here.
I still think it's not as bad for our cars as is the rock salt on the roads that are subject to snow.
Most of the really rusted cars I see are from the midwest. Many hundreds of miles from the ocean.

[This message has been edited by Raydar (edited 02-14-2024).]