In the spring of 2010, I was home on R&R leave from Afghanistan. During my stay, My best friend convinced me to buy a Hot Rod. Just so happened, that a 1986 Fiero GT was on Craigslist for $500 bucks. Now to make it a "Hot Rod". I hadn't heard of Pennock's yet so I didn't have much information to go by. So, we decided to go "old School" and put a 500 HP small block into my little car. While finishing my time in Afghanistan, I bankrolled the project and my friend performed the work along with some others. To make the story a bit more interesting, I'll skip ahead. He and his friends managed to install my motor and the car ran, but there were issues.
1. it would run out of gas on hard acceleration.
2. It overheated...not too much, but hot.
3. other odds and ends.
Ok, so the title says review. I'll be reviewing my engine guy, the transmission shop that built my new transmission, the transmission control unit, and the finisher. I did work too, but I'll not be reviewing myself...lol
ENGINE: 383 SBC bored .040 over, Keith Black Pistons and rods, Crower solid lift tight lash cam, Scorpion roller rockers 1:5, Weiand Stealth intake, Dart II Iron Eagle Platinum heads, Archie install kit.
Builder: Steve Kotenberg- Oshkosh, WI
Review: **** 4/5 stars- Steve has been my best friend for over 30 years. He is one of the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to cars and racing. He has been building cars for almost 20 years, but has recently started to build engines also. He is a graduate of the Fox Valley Tech. College diesel mechanics program and this just adds to his know how and expertise. When he first built this motor, we had an issue with the oil filter relocation and it lost oil pressure and spun a bearing. After tear down and rebuild there have been no issues with the motor. The power the motor makes in this car has been described as scary, insane, and Holy CRAP!! I do not hesitate to recommend Steve to build a solid motor for anyone. If interested please message me and I'll get you in contact with him.
Transmission: 4t65e HD 3.29 final drive 3500 billet custom torque converter.
Builder: Stryker Transmission- Minneapolis, MN
Review: **** 4/5 stars- After burning out the 4t60 used initially in the conversion, I needed a transmission that could stand up to the approx. 525 HP and the torque of a 383. I shopped around on the net and found 1. There are few sources for performance 4t65e transmissions and 2. The places available were priced well into the $3000 range. I found a page for a HD 4t65 at http://www.strykertransmission.com/home/strykerhd
so I gave them a call. They were extremely helpful and asked for my input on every aspect and option for the build. Their customer service was awesome. The transmission was complete as ordered in 2 weeks including the custom torque converter. The trans is solid and shifts like a dream. Only hiccup was the torque converter initially did not fit on the Archie flywheel, but I called stryker and they had me ship it to them. They fixed the issue and I had the converter back in a week. Yes, I had to pay for shipping...but only because they had moved into larger facility and did not have their UPS account set up they paid to ship it back to me. For me, the customer service is what sold me. I highly recommend Stryker Transmission for any transmission upgrades. You will find them at www.strykertransmission.com
I hope you will be happy with them, I know I was.
Transmission Control Unit: Magnashift TCM806
Builder: Magnashift- Edgewood, NM
Review: ***** 5/5 stars- Of course I needed a Transmission Control to run an electronic transmission. Again after searching the net I found Magnashift. Their control unit was the best price and had all the features that the other more expensive controllers had and then some. This controller even has "launch control", which is basically a trans-brake an awesome feature which is standard on both of Magnashift's trans controllers. The owner of Magnashift is a Fiero enthusiast and as with Stryker their customer service was awesome. If you need a transmission control unit, check out Magnashift. http://magnashift.com/index.html
Finisher: Fixed the major issues and installed new transmission
Who: Steve LaPlant - Green Bay, WI... Pennock's name- 86soon3.4
Review: ***** 5/5 stars- I found that after the initial install there were some issues. The car was strong, but had a fuel feed issue which caused it to stall on hard acceleration. The car over heated, not excessive, but enough to be concerned, and of course, the transmission had burned out. I was in the Army at the time and shipped the car back to Wisconsin to be fixed by one of the original install guys. Unfortunately, he did not have time. So, after almost a year of sitting in my parents yard, I asked the members of Fox Valley Fieros for assistance. Steve stepped up along with Rob and they came picked up the car and went to work. Steve found and corrected the fuel issue as well as upgraded the fuel system to be safe and reliable. He corrected the overheating issue by replacing the coolant tubes and removing the "custom" tubes from original installers. During his work Steve really paid attention to all of the details. We replaced the brake lines and replaced the exhaust to make it a true dual exhaust. Steve also installed the new transmission. He fabricated new mounts and modified the cradle for the transmission. He installed the Control Unit and custom made the axles. Steve's work was incredible, he was extremely professional and it shows in his work. Very detail oriented.
Lots to read so no pics. I will post some, just let me know what you would like to see.