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Back in a Fiero after 20 years. Thoughts/opinions welcome about my new one! long read by MacGyversMullet
Started on: 11-16-2013 11:47 AM
Replies: 15 (514 views)
Last post by: 84fiero123 on 11-21-2013 02:25 PM
MacGyversMullet
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Report this Post11-16-2013 11:47 AM Click Here to See the Profile for MacGyversMulletSend a Private Message to MacGyversMulletEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Hey everyone, I just wanted to re-introduce myself into the Fiero world after a 20 year hiatus from the cars. An '85 2M4 was my first car when I was 16, which we bought for $800. Keep in mind, I didn't know how to work on cars whatsoever, but I had a heavy passion for them. It turns out that that particular Fiero taught me about everything I ever needed to know in regards to auto repair. It broke down all the time and it was a constant trial by fire for me in the garage. I am not kidding you, but the tow company that we frequently used gave us a free tow one time, for being such "great customers". It was a pain back then...and I loved every frustrating minute of it.

The car was the base 2M4, complete with the 13" wheels that had the chrome rings around the perimeter. Every interior piece was in awful shape, the paint was wretched, etc... Before the internet was big, I spent my days traveling and searching through parts yards, slowly restoring the thing. I remember the Pontiac symbols on the sail panels were the most difficult things to get, and I had to find them twice, since someone stole the ones I finally found. I repainted it with a $400 Maaco paint job (hey, I was making $100 every two weeks at my job, at $4.25 an hour. I couldn't afford much!). Anyhow, here is a pic I dug up. It is laughable, as I thought those wheels were so great back then (I loved the '93 Dodge Viper wheels, so they were my inspiration). A close eye will note the V6 dual exhaust I put on the 2M4:



(some older members in Kansas City may remember this car. I did win a 1st place trophy for it at a St. Louis meet for "custom 4 cylinder class"...but I was the only one in that class at the time )

The 5-speed transmission finally went out and my dad had enough of the car. We replaced it with a parts yard tranny and sold it for $3,500 to a gentleman in his 80's. I will never forget...he said he always wanted one and came with money out of his freezer. I had blue neon lights under at the time (oh, the shame!) and he just loved those as much as the car. It was the greatest moment seeing him with so much joy in buying it. I would like to think it ended up in a good place after all these years, but probably not.

So, fast forward 20 years. Since my dad wouldn't let me have the GT model back then, I always wanted to pick one up. I have been waiting for a red 5-speed '88 t-top with very low miles, but I can't quite pull the trigger for the amount of money some people are asking for them. So, I found an '86 GT auto with 70,000 miles here in Kansas City. The seller was asking $4,200 for it a few months ago, but couldn't unload it. I ended up getting it for $2,000.

I fixed some very easy engine problems that were keeping him from selling it (vac lines, one wire was melted) and it runs like a top. I also re-installed the temp gauge needle and did the wire swap for the bulb test, also assuring the needle never falls off again. Also, got rid of the minor oxidation on the spoiler and trunk lid. Here are some pics. Keep in mind, I can't stand the 14" wheels and the very unsafe Coker Classic 195/70 series tires:



























I can tell it had some paint re-fresh work at some point, but it is a 30 year old Fiero that cost me $2K. Can't expect a flawless car in that world.

So, here is my dilemma....I thought it was a worthy purchase for the price and I fixed some extremely minor problems to get it back to normal. The problem is that it needs some brake work, it has the "yaw-sway" on the highway and the front wheels shake at highway speeds. Oh, I have the classic #32 check engine light for the EGR solenoid, but that is an easy repair, thanks to this forum and the how-to of fixing that part.

I have no problem in fixing the brake and suspension parts myself. The trouble is that if I replace some ball joints, wheel bearings, a couple of brake calipers, etc...then I will be replacing everything, since I may as well while I am there. I know the terrible single-ply Coker Classic tires are not helping in the car being very nervous on the highway, with the yaw-sway. The Coker tires belong on a car that is not driven, only shown off. And the yaw-sway could be 50 things...

Do I sell the car right now for maybe $2,500-3,000 and make some money from the general public....or spend around $1,100+ for new brakes, suspension components and new 16" wheels and 225/50 tires? At that point the car "may" be worth around the $3,500-4,000 mark, I would think. At least to the right buyer. Or I could spend all that money and be in the car for around $3,200 and wind up selling it less for that if the market is terrible.

I have been out of the Fiero market for so long that I am unsure if I made a decent purchase (I think I did!) or if this car would be worth around $4K with the repairs and nice wheels/tires I put into it. I see garbage Fieros for sale all the time around $3,000-$4,000 with 50,000 more miles. What do you all think, about its current worth and "fully repaired" worth?

Do I hold onto this baby or make a few hundred and keep the money for another one down the road?

Either way, I can't wipe the smile off my face in owning a GT after all these years! I have owned many great cars, but these cars have their weird and undeniable charm that can't be matched.
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BlackEmrald
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Report this Post11-16-2013 12:32 PM 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
It really depends on what you want to do with the car.

Do you want to keep it, drive it and get back into the Fiero scene? Or do you want to make a quick buck?

It sounds like you really like the car and knew what you were getting yourself in to before you purchased it.

Its hard to make money with project cars, and especially with Fieros. Also, a Fiero with issues is a tough sell.

I would say keep it and fix it up, but that's just my biased opinion. At the end of the day no one can tell you what to do with the car.

[This message has been edited by BlackEmrald (edited 11-16-2013).]

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css9450
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Report this Post11-16-2013 12:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for css9450Click Here to Email css9450Send a Private Message to css9450Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I'd say, just keep it and work on it as time allows. It looks like its in great shape based on what we see in pics.

A better one might show up next week, next month or next year. You can always sell this one when or if the time comes.
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MacGyversMullet
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Report this Post11-16-2013 02:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MacGyversMulletSend a Private Message to MacGyversMulletEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by BlackEmrald:

It really depends on what you want to do with the car.

Do you want to keep it, drive it and get back into the Fiero scene? Or do you want to make a quick buck?

It sounds like you really like the car and knew what you were getting yourself in to before you purchased it.

Its hard to make money with project cars, and especially with Fieros. Also, a Fiero with issues is a tough sell.

I would say keep it and fix it up, but that's just my biased opinion. At the end of the day no one can tell you what to do with the car.



Yeah, I certainly knew what I would be getting into. Sometimes the hole of fixing things is a little deeper than you want it to be. Maybe I will just slowly pick away at it during the winter. Plus, if I would sell it, I would want the car to be completely safe for the new owner, so they can enjoy it to its fullest extent!

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ltlfrari
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Report this Post11-16-2013 04:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ltlfrariClick Here to visit ltlfrari's HomePageClick Here to Email ltlfrariSend a Private Message to ltlfrariEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Well first off, welcome back to the madness. You can check out but you can never leave as the song goes!
As for keep/sell the car. If you want to stay in Fieros then at some point you are going to end up pumping money into one, either at the point of purchase (prev owner has done all the work) or subsequently. Since this one seems to be a) what you were looking for and b) in ruddy good nick it seems to me at least you may as well stick with this one and pump another k or so into it.
On the other hand, if you are just passing through then sure, sell it.
Just my $0.02 worth.

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Patrick
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Report this Post11-16-2013 05:48 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
 
quote
Originally posted by MacGyversMullet:

I have been waiting for a red 5-speed '88 t-top with very low miles... I found an '86 GT auto with 70,000 miles


There is no comparison between driving an automatic and a manual tranny Fiero.

As someone who has been in a very similar situation, I say sell the automatic '86 GT and at least get a 4 or 5-spd... even if it's not an '88.

Several years ago I bought an automatic '86 GT to use while I was working on other Fieros that I had been "collecting" since about 1994. It was in great shape (after I went through it), but I never enjoyed driving it. As soon as I got my '84 (with a swapped in 5-spd) driveable, the GT was set aside. Fast forward three or four years, and over this past summer I acquired a 5-spd '88 Formula. It's taken quite a while, but I'm now finally driving what I should've been enjoying ages ago.

[This message has been edited by Patrick (edited 11-16-2013).]

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AL68
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Report this Post11-16-2013 11:39 PM Click Here to See the Profile for AL68Click Here to Email AL68Send a Private Message to AL68Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I'd keep it - it's not easy finding one that clean for that price.

Check out Rock Auto for parts, a lot of the parts are cheaper than my cost through my shop. Just don't buy the cheapest off-brand parts, some are really bad quality.
I replaced the ball joints/bushings/tie rods and shocks/struts with Rock Auto parts on my 86 GT daily driver I rescued from U-Pull-It, went from being almost undriveable/bad bumpsteer to almost driving like a new car.

For wheels watch the KC Craigslist, some good ones show up once in a while (there's a set of MSR black/silver lip 5x100 20's for $475 on there now )
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84fiero123
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Report this Post11-18-2013 10:33 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 84fiero123Click Here to Email 84fiero123Send a Private Message to 84fiero123Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by MacGyversMullet:
Yeah, I certainly knew what I would be getting into. Sometimes the hole of fixing things is a little deeper than you want it to be. Maybe I will just slowly pick away at it during the winter. Plus, if I would sell it, I would want the car to be completely safe for the new owner, so they can enjoy it to its fullest extent!


That's my problem when I sell any of my cars, I am to honest about what it has for problems to whoever comes to look at them.
But then that's me and you are you and no one can say what you should do except you.

Picking away at the little things over the winter is what I TRY to do, but seeing I do all the work on our other DDs I sometimes have to put her out of the shop and fix something else and then I get pissed at myself for ever starting some LITTLE project because they never turn out to be as simple as you think they are.

But from the pictures that thing is in great shape, unless you are a perfectionist sometimes that can be good and sometimes it ain't.
Do whatever makes you happy, and make sure the shop/garage is sound proof. Sometimes things that are so simple to do on our other vehicles, as they are trucks and you can climb right into the engine compartment, try to do that in the Fiero engine compartment with the motor still in there anyway.

Steve

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and one big pain in the ass when it doesn't



Detroit iron rules all the rest are just toys.

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Report this Post11-18-2013 09:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Alex4mulaClick Here to Email Alex4mulaSend a Private Message to Alex4mulaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Nice car for $2k! That's the advantage of the auto cars. You can get nice ones cheap. Interior looks mint. Must be a northern car. Down here all are blown and cracked. Enjoy it!
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MacGyversMullet
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Report this Post11-19-2013 04:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MacGyversMulletSend a Private Message to MacGyversMulletEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thanks for the positive comments! I think I am just going to close my eyes, order a bunch of parts online and fix the brakes/suspension during the early months of the winter. In the meantime, I can keep my eyes peeled out for some decent wheels around KC/Omaha. Then, it will be ready for the spring and then I can decide to keep it or not. I am sure that I will get some enjoyment out of it and I could still sell it for as much as I put into it, if I end up parting with it.

Can't wait for those lower ball joint changes! :/
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MacGyversMullet
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Report this Post11-19-2013 04:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MacGyversMulletSend a Private Message to MacGyversMulletEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

MacGyversMullet

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quote
Originally posted by Patrick:

There is no comparison between driving an automatic and a manual tranny Fiero.

As someone who has been in a very similar situation, I say sell the automatic '86 GT and at least get a 4 or 5-spd... even if it's not an '88.

Several years ago I bought an automatic '86 GT to use while I was working on other Fieros that I had been "collecting" since about 1994. It was in great shape (after I went through it), but I never enjoyed driving it. As soon as I got my '84 (with a swapped in 5-spd) driveable, the GT was set aside. Fast forward three or four years, and over this past summer I acquired a 5-spd '88 Formula. It's taken quite a while, but I'm now finally driving what I should've been enjoying ages ago.



As much as I want the manual tranny, I still have bad memories of my '85 2M4's 5-speed tranny. I can still hear and feel those shifts to this day. But, even the 4-speed GT manual isn't that bad, right?
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Patrick
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Report this Post11-19-2013 04:56 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
 
quote
Originally posted by MacGyversMullet:

I still have bad memories of my '85 2M4's 5-speed tranny. I can still hear and feel those shifts to this day.


I don't see why one bad tranny/clutch should turn you off of any potential future purchase of a manual equipped Fiero.

The "new" dual-seal clutch slave piston has changed driving manual tranny Fieros forever! Seriously.

 
quote
Originally posted by MacGyversMullet:

... even the 4-speed GT manual isn't that bad, right?


If you drive on the highway at all (and most of us do), it's SO nice to have the 5th gear overdrive.

[This message has been edited by Patrick (edited 11-19-2013).]

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MacGyversMullet
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Report this Post11-19-2013 05:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MacGyversMulletSend a Private Message to MacGyversMulletEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Patrick, oh I fully agree and I can't let one bad apple dismay me from all other manual cars. Sounds like that "new" slave piston would be nice, as I remember having troubles with mine! Good to know that there have been better options from when I owned one.
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Report this Post11-19-2013 05:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for infinitewillSend a Private Message to infinitewillEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Wasn't this the car that was restored by KCFOG.? Great buy!

Dr.W.

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MacGyversMullet
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Report this Post11-19-2013 06:32 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MacGyversMulletSend a Private Message to MacGyversMulletEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by infinitewill:

Wasn't this the car that was restored by KCFOG.? Great buy!

Dr.W.



Yes, so the seller told me. He said how it was used in shows with all of the panels taken off to show the space frame. I wasn't sure as to what was true/untrue and took everything he said with a grain of salt, but it does have the KCFOG sticker on the windshield. Any backstory to this car would be appreciated, if you have any tidbits!
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84fiero123
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Report this Post11-21-2013 02:25 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 84fiero123Click Here to Email 84fiero123Send a Private Message to 84fiero123Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by MacGyversMullet:

Patrick, oh I fully agree and I can't let one bad apple dismay me from all other manual cars. Sounds like that "new" slave piston would be nice, as I remember having troubles with mine! Good to know that there have been better options from when I owned one.


Everyone has their own preferences as to tranies, me I loved our 84 except when I had to shift her into reverse, 4 speed. never had a Fiero with the 5 speed so I can't help you there. but since the stroke I have band myself from driving any standards for everyone else on the roads own protection. if you can handle the clutch go for it, I loved our old Ranger and F-150 pickup with the 5 speeds, they got great mileage and was actually fun to drive.

Steve
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