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is a 1988 really better than previous years? by dgsmooth
Started on: 10-18-2013 11:08 PM
Replies: 20 (972 views)
Last post by: Fformula88 on 10-24-2013 08:33 AM
dgsmooth
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Report this Post10-18-2013 11:08 PM Click Here to See the Profile for dgsmoothClick Here to Email dgsmoothSend a Private Message to dgsmoothEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
cheers mates - wondering about the difference from and 88 to all other years....i've been told by guys (not fiero owners/fans) that previous to 1988 fiero's shared a lot of parts, mostly steering and suspension, with pontiac acadians and chevettes type stuff. and then in 1988 it was truly its own design (and better?). i currently have an 86 gt, the owner i got it from described the 88 as much more 'car like', smoother steering and ride. (he's owned an 88 as well as couple other years). and the 86 he described as much more of a 'drivers' car, he likened it like a go-cart, really goes where you want it type thing. i guess this is all hear-say and opinion, what i'm really looking for are the facts;

- what years are 'the same'. my guess is 86/87 gt's the same, and 88 different?

- what is different/better about 88 from 86/87?

- what parts are and arent't interchangable from the 86/87 to the 88?

and after the physical parts differences, what are the real world ramifications of all that - are the 88's better handling, more/less reliable?

thanks again to all for the help.

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BlackEmrald
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Report this Post10-19-2013 12:03 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BlackEmraldClick Here to Email BlackEmraldSend a Private Message to BlackEmraldEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
A resounding YES to all questions.

Try the search function to learn about the details.
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jscott1
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Report this Post10-19-2013 04:01 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
YES
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fieroguru
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Report this Post10-19-2013 07:04 AM Click Here to See the Profile for fieroguruSend a Private Message to fieroguruEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
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DimeMachine
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Report this Post10-19-2013 09:16 AM Click Here to See the Profile for DimeMachineSend a Private Message to DimeMachineEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Better handeling - 88.

Better as a daily driver with minimal competitive road coarse driving - I would go with pre 88. Which one would you like to try to find the hard suspension parts for if you were to own the car for the next 10 years?. 84-87, or and 88?

------------------
84/87 NB, 3800SC, E-85, VS Cam, 2.8 Pulley, 4T65E-HD, HP Tuners, AEM Wideband, Regal GS Gauges, S-10 Brake Booster. 1/4 mile -11.85 at 114mph

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hyperv6
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Report this Post10-19-2013 10:01 AM Click Here to See the Profile for hyperv6Send a Private Message to hyperv6Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The key to the 88 is lighter steering and no real bump steer. The handling is more neutral an just much better sorted out.

The 84-87 cars have bump steer, heavier steering and a lot of understeer. You can drive a early car fast but you have to really work it at the upper scale of driving. Also the car has the feeling of the front and the rear not working together. I have a low mileage 85 and it never felt sorted out. I have added the Herb Adams suspension and it has made it feel like a 88 with a little heavier steering. It is now neutral and the bushings remove the bump steer. I have heard he still sells the parts direct have seen them on his web site.

The 88 was designed by GM with the 3 link rear and redesigned the front suspension to better work in harmony. It is what they really wanted in the first place. The scrub radius and turn in tuning was done by Porsche Engineering back in 1985 on the front suspension. That I found was always funny how Lotus was given credit in error but Porsche per Tom Goad of GM did the tuning of a GM design. This is also why they had to remove the Porsche eater tail lights from the two turbo Fiero's in the 80's GM had running around.

Parts are getting hard to get on some of the 88 Suspension parts but some are being reproduced. the early cars are no an issue.

If given the choice the 88 is better but overall condition and price of the car is a greater factor as the better the car the better off you will be. To invest to restore a Fiero is like many other cars anymore. It cost more to restore them than they are worth. You generally are better off buying a low mileage unrestored car for a little more vs. rebuilding one unless you are going all out modified.

Plus one to the 88 if you can find a reasonable priced one in good condition.

Also keep in mind the Fiero is not a handler like many of todays cars as things have come a long way and while the stock 88 was good back then todays cars have other advantages that have taken cars to the next level. Today many you can go stupid fast with little effort as the driver. GM has finally mastered the fine art of handling with out just using big tires and stiff springs. The new Z/28 is a great example of what they have learned as is the new CTS V Sport.
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Raydar
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Report this Post10-19-2013 12:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RaydarClick Here to Email RaydarSend a Private Message to RaydarEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I found the steering in my "new" at the time 85 GT (same as the 86 and 87) to be so obnoxious, in terms of kickback and "tracking" that I traded the car. Other than that, I really didn't have any complaints. But then I didn't drive as hard as many people do, so I was less likely to discover the other "negative traits" that people speak of.
My 88 is much nicer in that regard. Even with low/wide tires and stiffer springs on all four corners, it's much easier to drive.

People who autocross seem to prefer an earlier car, with the rear cradle/suspension from an 88 swapped in.

Of course, opinions may vary.

------------------
Raydar
88 Formula IMSA Fastback. 4.9, NVG T550

Praise the Lowered!

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Patrick
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Report this Post10-19-2013 02:08 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I've owned several Fieros since the early 90's. I picked up a Formula this summer, my first '88.

My first impression after getting it driveable (replaced clutch, fuel pump, etc) is that the '88 is more... refined. It drives like a Cadillac compared to the earlier years.

Now having said that, my '84 duke (which I've autocrossed for the last three years) would easily outhandle the Formula on a track right now. The Formula obvioulsly has more power, but I find the factory suspension much too soft to really push it in the corners. My goal is to do the tweaks to the Formula's suspension that I did to the 84's and hopefully have a more powerful car that handles well at autocross next spring.
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uhlanstan
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Report this Post10-19-2013 02:54 PM Click Here to See the Profile for uhlanstanClick Here to Email uhlanstanSend a Private Message to uhlanstanEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The 88 has vastly superior handling & the brakes are far superior to the 84 to 87
the 88 duke handling is much better than the GT in spirited street driving, must be the weight factor
the first time I went around a corner at speed in the 88 I was amazed ,i had given to much throttle

& knew I had to brake ..but no ,I was use to the early Fiero supension & my new to me 88 felt like it was on rails compared to the older cars
the 88 brakes are good ,with the addition of thermo quiet ,carbomet or other quality street brake pads you can get
0 to 60= 120 to 125 feet stops
cheap brake pads are the zombie curse of the Fiero nation,,put out the sheckles for excellent pads
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retroman
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Report this Post10-19-2013 03:24 PM Click Here to See the Profile for retromanClick Here to Email retromanSend a Private Message to retromanEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Don't just take it from us. Take it from the automotive experts who were reporting on these cars when they were new:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ib-jB58GEg

I trust that you will find the report relatively unbiased.
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zefferk
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Report this Post10-19-2013 03:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for zefferkSend a Private Message to zefferkEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Most definitely! The only negative for an 88 is availability of parts these days, but more and more suppliers are starting to help us out like Rodney Dickman.
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Formula88
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Report this Post10-19-2013 05:00 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
88 is far superior. Better ride. Better handling. Better brakes. Better steering.

However, there are more aftermarket upgrades for pre-88 cars and you can modify a pre-88 to out handle a stock 88 without much trouble. It won't have the 88 steering feel or ride, but it will handle better.
I love all Fieros, but if it's one I'm buying for myself, I'll choose an 88.

[This message has been edited by Formula88 (edited 10-19-2013).]

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thesameguy
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Report this Post10-21-2013 03:54 PM Click Here to See the Profile for thesameguyClick Here to Email thesameguySend a Private Message to thesameguyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Weird reading about the lighter steering on the '88s. I've an '87 that I just put 225/45-17 Sumitomo HTRZ-III (a fairly sticky tire) on 7" wide wheels and the steering still feels quite light. I wish there was a steering rack with a higher ratio, as I'd be more than fine with slightly heavier steering if I could reduce the number of turns. As it turns out, the biggest downside with the handling I've built for it is actually wanting to drive it fast. There is nowhere for my right elbow to go when fast steering is called for - it's either hand-over-hand (sloooooow), or banging my elbow against the center console or my crotch. :lol: I've found the only way I can drive the car fast is one handed, with my left hand around 7 or 8 o'clock... just like driving something with significant steering boost (looking at you, Corvette!). With stock tires, the bump steer issue was completely tolerable, but it got worse with wider, lower-profile tires. With a stock alignment I'd go so far as to say it was intolerable with more front end traction. After dialing in a little more camber (lightly slotted UCAs, -1 degree) and a little more toe (.25 total), it's quite good. Bump steer is well under control, steering effort is slightly too light (for my taste), and on-center is solid. Turn-in could be better, but it might have something to do with needing a bazillion turns of the wheel. Don't get me wrong, there is *clear* room for improvement, but my gut tells me - as others have said - for most applications you can get good results from the earlier front suspension without ridiculous amounts of work. The rear, OTOH, I think that'd be worth the price of admission for an '88... or a cradle swap.

[This message has been edited by thesameguy (edited 10-21-2013).]

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spirit
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Report this Post10-22-2013 09:45 AM Click Here to See the Profile for spiritClick Here to Email spiritSend a Private Message to spiritEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have a 86GT and have driven it unholy fast through some twisties. the only mod done to the suspension is a heavy-duty rear sway bar. A friend had a stock 88 GT and he let me drive his 88 through the same twisties to compare the two cars. They both handled the same but had a different feel in the steering wheel. I would not turn my hand over for the difference. My 2 cents.
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Report this Post10-22-2013 12:00 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by spirit:

I have a 86GT and have driven it unholy fast through some twisties. the only mod done to the suspension is a heavy-duty rear sway bar. ...


I too would say if you get a pre 88 one of the first things I'd recommend, or if you only do one thing, is add a rear sway bar.
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Rickady88GT
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Report this Post10-22-2013 12:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Rickady88GTClick Here to Email Rickady88GTSend a Private Message to Rickady88GTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have had 5 88's all at one time. So my opinion is a little bias, YES they are better. And can be modified to be even better.
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Kevin87FieroGT
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Report this Post10-22-2013 11:13 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin87FieroGTSend a Private Message to Kevin87FieroGTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Grease gets old and dry. Take an 84-87, even an 88, and open the rack, clean and regrease, you will be amazed by how smooth they can steer.

You can't beat the parts availability for the 85-87's.
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RossT
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Report this Post10-23-2013 12:14 AM Click Here to See the Profile for RossTClick Here to visit RossT's HomePageClick Here to Email RossTSend a Private Message to RossTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
about 5 or 6 years ago I owned an 87gt with 10,000 miles on it and an 88gt with 3,000 miles. The 87 had new tires and the 88 had 20 year old tires on it. The 87 drove 10 times better than the 88.

[This message has been edited by RossT (edited 10-23-2013).]

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fierogt28
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Report this Post10-23-2013 12:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fierogt28Click Here to Email fierogt28Send a Private Message to fierogt28Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Guys, keep in mind...are your 88 fieros in good order "alignment-wise" (suspension bushings, ball joints, tie-rods, shocks & struts)
to comment on the car handling performance?

Back in 2000, I drove an 86GT that the GM dealer was selling. I drove it for 10 miles. It was a world of a difference than my
current 86GT I was driving at the time. Problem was that my fiero was not aligned well and the fiero I tested was in prestine condition.
That car was sold for the same price and the 86GT I bought. I should of bought it from the begining. Mine was a 4 speed,
and the fiero I tested was automatic.

I can't really judge myself because I never drove a perfect 85-87GT fiero that was / is aligned to spec. That 86GT I test drove
was alot easier to steer at slow speeds than my old 86GT because it was probably aligned to spec. Those washers on the UCA
to adjust the caster makes a difference, but many shop (I believe) won't adjust those washers to spec because its alot of work
to R&R the UCA and see what difference it does. Those washer are measured in millimeters and should be installed correctly.
I've never did this job on a fiero, but understand the procedure.

If the future, I'd possibly buy an 86-87GT but its would need to be in pristine shape, all original, low milage car.

As for the 88, playing around with the alignment is more easier.

You can have a nice 85-87 fiero handle very well, but if the 88s components are all worn (bushings, ball-joints, etc) how can you
compare??

The bottom line for me is the 88 is more superior that the 85-87 fieros, and easier to work on...no question.

*The reason I say 85-87GT is because it has a V6 engine just to be fair on performance / weight / suspension.*

------------------
fierogt28

88 GT, Loaded, 5-speed.
88 GT, 5-speed. Beechwood interior, All original.

[This message has been edited by fierogt28 (edited 10-23-2013).]

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johnyrottin
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Report this Post10-24-2013 08:09 AM Click Here to See the Profile for johnyrottinClick Here to Email johnyrottinSend a Private Message to johnyrottinEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I also think this is kind of a "Is Ford better than Chevy?" question. The 88 Fiero had the mentioned suspension changes but the early ones area still great cars. The question comes down to your preference and how you are going to drive it. If you are racing it where every tiny difference will make changes in your pace then gaining the advantages of an 88 might weigh heavily. If it is a daily driver I don't think you will see too much of a difference. There will be some you feel but unless you push the car hard I think you will be happy with either. Look at the difference in appearances and buy the style/year/color/options you want.
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Fformula88
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Report this Post10-24-2013 08:33 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Fformula88Send a Private Message to Fformula88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have owned both. A couple 88 Formula's, and my present 85 SE. (All WS6 suspension RPO coded). My 85 SE also has the 15 inch GT wheels on it.

My take: I have found the 88's to offer equivalent grip to the pre-88 cars, while giving superior dynamics, ride quality, and smoothness in stock form. Also, the brakes tend to hold up better from fade and stuff (although I have quickly cooked and faded the stock 88 brakes too so I am hesitant to talk them up too much).

If I was shopping for a Fiero today, I would not rule out a pre-88 because of the suspension or brakes but they are a nice perk to have.
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