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OPINION POLL------------> Is the 88 really that much better? by Jack Mehoff
Started on: 04-01-2014 11:52 AM
Replies: 56 (1314 views)
Last post by: hercimer01 on 04-09-2014 12:00 AM
Jack Mehoff
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Report this Post04-01-2014 11:52 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Jack MehoffSend a Private Message to Jack MehoffEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Those who have driven multiple years, does it justify shelling the extra cash for the last year?

Anecdotal explanations encouraged
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Report this Post04-01-2014 11:54 AM Click Here to See the Profile for IMSA GTClick Here to Email IMSA GTSend a Private Message to IMSA GTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Snuck under the radar with that screen name
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Report this Post04-01-2014 12:13 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Mark A. KleinClick Here to Email Mark A. KleinSend a Private Message to Mark A. KleinEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have driven all years. If the road is smooth, there is no difference. If the road is bumpy, Watch Out! The 88 is better. I personally know one of the engineers who helped develop the 88 suspension. He said GM actually bought and gave them a Ferrari 308 and told them it must be better! And Jim Heise claims it was!
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Report this Post04-01-2014 01:32 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I like it better, but then the 88 I drive actually has a rear sway bar too, and the earlier years dont.

[This message has been edited by 2.5 (edited 04-01-2014).]

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Report this Post04-01-2014 03:32 PM Click Here to See the Profile for DanyelClick Here to visit Danyel's HomePageSend a Private Message to DanyelEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by IMSA GT:

Snuck under the radar with that screen name


hahaha south florida too !!! I really tried to see the difference road handling wise between my 86 Widow that is lowered, coils-overs all around with 18's shoes and FR & RR swaybars .. compared to an unmodified 88 GT ... man ya got to be one heck of an expert to tell the differences between the handling in both in slalom and track ... IMHO apples to apples and oranges to oranges 88 are superior if compared to others that are NOT modified ....
Danyel

edited to make sense

[This message has been edited by Danyel (edited 04-01-2014).]

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Report this Post04-01-2014 03:44 PM Click Here to See the Profile for KitskaboodleClick Here to Email KitskaboodleSend a Private Message to KitskaboodleEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Is your question based on just ride/suspension superiority or the "whole picture"? There are other factors that may weigh in. In regard to suspension parts availability and prices it's going to cost you more money. Resale wise, 88's go for more but I don't think its a huge difference. If your not the kind of person that is really going to push your car hard on the street or track, an 88 is not a mandatory requirement.
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Report this Post04-01-2014 03:57 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Rsvl-RiderSend a Private Message to Rsvl-RiderEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Anecdotally? OK, just don't shoot the messenger...

I spoke to an old Fiero hand a while back. He has two '88's. A Formula and a GT. I asked him the same question. He swears by the '88's. Told me that in non-88's when you hit a good sized bump or pothole it will wrench the steering wheel right out of your hand. Now, the roads are pretty good here, but you never know whats around the next corner. That, and the fact that my wife or daughters might drive the car, was the convincer for me. (No, he wasn't trying to sell me one of his cars)

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Report this Post04-01-2014 04:08 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoostdreamerClick Here to Email BoostdreamerSend a Private Message to BoostdreamerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by 2.5:

I like it better, but then the 88 I drive actually has a rear sway bar too, and the earlier years dont.



Be glad of that!

//www.fiero.nl/forum/Forum1/HTML/093324.html

Long story short. An add-on rear sway bar will overpower the front which is not designed to work with a rear. It is not substantial enough for that. The result is drastic-to-the-point-of-dangerous oversteer.

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Report this Post04-01-2014 04:10 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
 
quote
Originally posted by Rsvl-Rider:

Told me that in non-88's when you hit a good sized bump or pothole it will wrench the steering wheel right out of your hand.


Yeah. Bump steer.

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Report this Post04-01-2014 04:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoostdreamerClick Here to Email BoostdreamerSend a Private Message to BoostdreamerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Rsvl-Rider:

Anecdotally? OK, just don't shoot the messenger...

I spoke to an old Fiero hand a while back. He has two '88's. A Formula and a GT. I asked him the same question. He swears by the '88's. Told me that in non-88's when you hit a good sized bump or pothole it will wrench the steering wheel right out of your hand. Now, the roads are pretty good here, but you never know whats around the next corner. That, and the fact that my wife or daughters might drive the car, was the convincer for me. (No, he wasn't trying to sell me one of his cars)


My 86 GT has excellent handling qualities. All stock, all original, low miles. Servicable bushings and a proper alignment including the front caster adjustment makes all the difference.

In comparison, my Formula is a rust bucket so I do not like my 88 better!

//www.fiero.nl/forum/Forum2/HTML/130901.html
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Report this Post04-01-2014 04:57 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 Rsvl-Rider:

Anecdotally? OK, just don't shoot the messenger...

I spoke to an old Fiero hand a while back. He has two '88's. A Formula and a GT. I asked him the same question. He swears by the '88's. Told me that in non-88's when you hit a good sized bump or pothole it will wrench the steering wheel right out of your hand.


Could have needed an alignment among other things. But 88s do have less issue with "bump steer".

[This message has been edited by 2.5 (edited 04-01-2014).]

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Report this Post04-01-2014 04:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

2.5

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Member since May 2007
 
quote
Originally posted by Boostdreamer:


Be glad of that!

//www.fiero.nl/forum/Forum1/HTML/093324.html

Long story short. An add-on rear sway bar will overpower the front which is not designed to work with a rear. It is not substantial enough for that. The result is drastic-to-the-point-of-dangerous oversteer.


I am a guinea pig for that as well though, our 86 2m4 has an addco rear bar now. I havent noticed any dangerous tendencies but plan to run it through some paces and see if thats true, maybe a modified alignment would help?
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Report this Post04-01-2014 05:04 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BoostdreamerClick Here to Email BoostdreamerSend a Private Message to BoostdreamerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by 2.5:

I am a guinea pig for that as well though, our 86 2m4 has an addco rear bar now. I havent noticed any dangerous tendencies but plan to run it through some paces and see if thats true, maybe a modified alignment would help?


Start by finding a vacant paved lot and do tight circles. Gradually increase your speed until you slide. Did the front slide or did the rear come around? It is preferable for the front to slide if it comes to one or the other. Obviously a simultanious slide would be optimal.

If the front slides, you might benefit from a rear sway bar. If the rear comes around, you need to remove the rear bar or get a stiffer front one.

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Report this Post04-01-2014 05:27 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Cheever3000Send a Private Message to Cheever3000Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I had an 88GT, an 88 Coupe, and then an 84SE. And over the years I have driven or ridden in all the other models as well. I liked 'em all.

You have no business hitting any bumps with any Fiero. Just don't do that.

[This message has been edited by Cheever3000 (edited 04-01-2014).]

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Report this Post04-01-2014 05:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BlacktreeClick Here to visit Blacktree's HomePageClick Here to Email BlacktreeSend a Private Message to BlacktreeEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
After doing the '88 cradle and rear suspension swap in my '87 Fiero, I can say that IMO the '88 rear suspension feels more stable. Also note that the '87 Fiero suspension was upgraded with lots of goodies, and had a good wheel alignment with good tires. So I wasn't comparing a beat-up old suspension to a fresh one. Any differences I noticed were solely due to the suspension design. The '88 rear suspension feels more "planted" in the turns.

[This message has been edited by Blacktree (edited 04-02-2014).]

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Report this Post04-01-2014 07:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
IMHO the brakes alone make the 88 worth it. The brakes on the 84-87 are a joke. Yes both can be upgraded, but the 88s start out better. Why start with a crappier product?
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Jack Mehoff
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Report this Post04-01-2014 07:13 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Jack MehoffSend a Private Message to Jack MehoffEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
It seems most of you are saying that there is indeed some difference. However, with a little help the earlier years could handle just as well.
Someone above mentioned solid cradle mounts, would not that solve the hinged feeling?

PS my username is meant only to be a quick chuckle, nothing else lol
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Report this Post04-01-2014 07:31 PM Click Here to See the Profile for olejoedadClick Here to Email olejoedadSend a Private Message to olejoedadEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The 88's are definitely superior. You can take my word on that.
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Report this Post04-01-2014 07:44 PM Click Here to See the Profile for pontiackid86Click Here to Email pontiackid86Send a Private Message to pontiackid86Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
driven them all and Yes the 88 is a better car functionality But... not better to own in my opinion. Being a one of car parts for them are starting to become difficult to find.
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Report this Post04-01-2014 08:10 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CsjagClick Here to Email CsjagSend a Private Message to CsjagEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I think for a street car the "bump steer" problem is way over emphasized. My 85's are street cruisers and both of them are loads of fun to drive at highway speeds and both are fun in the twisties even if I hit a pothole. I think high tire pressure has a lot to do with increasing bump steer as well as having oversize tires on the car.
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Report this Post04-01-2014 08:48 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 prefer the 88s, but that's just me. Others have built earlier cars that will seriously outcorner mine, and mine isn't stock. It's all according to what you want.
I have never had trouble finding parts for mine.
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Report this Post04-02-2014 02:44 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Rsvl-Rider:

Anecdotally? OK, just don't shoot the messenger...

I spoke to an old Fiero hand a while back. He has two '88's. A Formula and a GT. I asked him the same question. He swears by the '88's. Told me that in non-88's when you hit a good sized bump or pothole it will wrench the steering wheel right out of your hand....



The steering damper on the 84-87 was put there to minimize the steering reaction to bumps. The 88s removed the steering damper because it was no longer needed.
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Report this Post04-02-2014 08:55 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I'd say go drive both and see what you think, but a poor alignment, cradle bolt issue, etc on one of them would skew the comparison.
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Report this Post04-02-2014 09:33 AM Click Here to See the Profile for carbonSend a Private Message to carbonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Hmm... pros and cons of an 88 Fiero...

Pros:
Better front suspension geometry
Better rear suspension design
Better brake system
Solid mounted engine cradle
Power lumbar driver seat

Cons:
Front wheel bearings are unique - the few replacements are expensive and used one are getting old fast
Brake system is unique - hasn't been a real problem for me to find parts yet
Suspension components are unique - not a problem for shocks and struts, but replacement rubber bushings are difficult to source
Exhaust crossover and cat pipe are unique - hasn't been a real issue for me yet

Stupid things due to Pontiac cutting costs, that some people love, that bother me about the 1988 GT:
88 monotone paint scheme is cheaper than painting the lower bright silver, but I happen to like the look better
88 GT seats are of a design that was cheaper to produce than earlier years, no piping, no stripe nor logo
88 dot matrix trim is screen printed and cheaper to produce than the molded brushed aluminum look of the previous years
88 GT door map pockets are flat vinyl and the dash pocket is flat vinyl with just a screen printed logo on it, they were previously upholstered

All that said, I love my improved, but cost reduced, little red car!
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Report this Post04-02-2014 10:00 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Mark A. KleinClick Here to Email Mark A. KleinSend a Private Message to Mark A. KleinEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have driven all years. If the road is smooth, there is no difference. If the road is bumpy, Watch Out! The 88 is better. I personally know one of the engineers who helped develop the 88 suspension. He said GM actually bought and gave them a Ferrari 308 and told them it must be better! And Jim Heise claims it was!
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Report this Post04-02-2014 08:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by jscott1:

IMHO the brakes alone make the 88 worth it. The brakes on the 84-87 are a joke. Yes both can be upgraded, but the 88s start out better. Why start with a crappier product?


This.

88 is better. In similar condition, the 88 will ride and handle better. The pre-88 can be made to handle very well, but it still won't ride as well as a comparable 88.
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Report this Post04-02-2014 09:22 PM Click Here to See the Profile for DooberSend a Private Message to DooberEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Mark A. Klein:

I have driven all years. If the road is smooth, there is no difference. If the road is bumpy, Watch Out! The 88 is better. I personally know one of the engineers who helped develop the 88 suspension. He said GM actually bought and gave them a Ferrari 308 and told them it must be better! And Jim Heise claims it was!


Reiterating?

I haven't driven an '88, but I can feel the bumpsteer in the rear around a certain curve on my way to work. It's more of a high spot in the road - or maybe it's a dip? - regardless, it's enough to cycle the suspension, and I can feel the whole back of the car moving around as it goes up and down, it's pretty scary, because I'm sure if I go over it much faster than I do for it to do that (it's above the speed limit, but it's also a long sweeping s-type curve :P), I'll be suddenly facing the car behind me. I bought the car with aftermarket front/rear bars installed and rear poly arm bushings, so everything should be solid (haven't really looked at the cradle bushings yet). I'd love to either do an '88 cradle swap or find an '88.
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Report this Post04-02-2014 10:03 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RavantSend a Private Message to RavantEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I've driven three Fieros in my life.

  • Mine
  • A near-factory-perfect restoration 1986 GT
  • A near-factory-perfect 1988 Formula


That said, mine? Nasty bump steer and really sloppy back end. (The bushings are pretty much gone.) We won't use it for the comparison. It will be getting an '88 rear swap. Completely worth the upgrade IMO, especially since I have to drop the cradle anyway and all of my bushings are pretty much greasy powder anymore.

My "feel" on the '86: Hard braking into a turn would unload the back wheels, and the understeer/oversteer balance is rather... non-linear. (Likely because the fact that a front suspension is hacked into the rear is causing toe-in on decompress.) If you hit a bump on decel and are putting any lateral G's down, the sudden toe-out triggers a 'kick out.' When the suspension catches up and rebounds to the ground, it's back to sudden oversteer, and this is where I swapped ends on more than one occasion during an autocross event on Long Island. (Was not my GT, belonged to a friend of my father, the man who got me into the Fiero in the first place. Unfortunately, he's deceased, which makes me sad.) Accelerating out of a turn compresses the back end and there's an odd sensation as the car literally squats into the accel. If you start putting pressure on the throttle near the apex of your turn, the back end gets squirrely at best, downright dangerous at worst. (If you manage to find a bump a foot or two after you get on the throttle from the apex and are still holding lateral acceleration, you're going to find the car oversteering pretty bad.) Even on the rare 100% perfect even surface, the non-linearity of the understeer/oversteer balance is a bear to figure out and compensate for. Makes for a slower time around the course.

The '88 Formula? Drove it the same day, also bone-stock and on the same course. The understeer/oversteer reactions are still somewhat non-linear, but they are infinitely less of an exponential function than the pre-88's. This means they're predictable, manageable and can be pushed marginally beyond their limit without sudden, undesired surprises. Because the bump-steer in the '88 is doing what a rear suspension should (the opposite of the pre-88) as far as toe angle, you don't get the same twitch, the same tendency to want to swap ends. That's not to say there isn't an oversteer... you can make both oversteer plenty. The '88 just has less of a propensity to suddenly do it at undesired times. As such, it is much easier to hold a proper line through a turn and easier to keep a higher average speed throughout. Makes for a faster time around a course.

I'd be perfectly willing to bet $10 that:
A 100% stock 1987 GT and a 100% stock 1988 GT running with the same, well-experienced driver on the same, well-designed twisty course, in the exact same conditions, with the exact same tires and the exact same tire temperatures, the 1988 will post a time 5% to 15% better than that of the '87.

The above doesn't even touch on the fact that you can run solid trailing links on the '88 without affecting the ride harshness because the trailing links only deal with lateral acceleration and don't care about bumps one way or another, or that, despite having a solid mount between cradle and frame, the '88 feels smoother when cruising. It's from a performance aspect alone. That said, I did an 1150 mile cruise in the '88 back in 2003 (switching out with my friend Mark every 4 or so hours) when we went to Disney following our high school graduation. (We took his Fiero, four others were in my friend's '00 Maxima.) It is every bit of a good cruising vehicle as it is a fun track-day car.

Edit: In short, having driven both and having been a passenger in both, I can say, at least in this one's humble opinion, that the 1988's rear suspension improvement is worth the swap over the pre-88's, by a very wide margin. That's ignoring the brake upgrade and coilover setup you end up doing as a result of the swap. Those are just added value above and beyond the geometry change.

[This message has been edited by Ravant (edited 04-02-2014).]

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Four_hundred_86
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Report this Post04-02-2014 11:50 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Four_hundred_86Click Here to Email Four_hundred_86Send a Private Message to Four_hundred_86Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I am going to agree with many above me on this. The 88 is a better car stock for stock, the suspension is better, the brakes are better, the gas tank is bigger, and the coupe/ formula bodies are some of my favorite. That being said, there are downsides to owning an 88. First parts become extremely difficult to source locally. Second the suspension components usually must be recycled from other 88 cars, and being that there were less made that can get expensive, especially as our cars continue to age. I have owned both 88 and non 88 cars with several different configurations, and what I have found is that a perfect 88 will handle better than a non 88 in like condition. Both have a tendency to under steer if pushed to the limits. Both are capable of snap oversteer or the tendency to spin out if throttle is applied at the wrong time. The pre 88 cars will be easier to acquire parts from local vendors, ( not knocking TFS or Rodney iI just daily drove mine so turnaround was key.) Neither cars are particularly fast by today's standards, though most will surprise a lot of people. Finally everything goes out the window when you modify.

------------------
Honestly, What is a "stock" Fiero?

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Report this Post04-03-2014 07:18 AM Click Here to See the Profile for CsjagClick Here to Email CsjagSend a Private Message to CsjagEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
So whats the best suspension mod for an 85 short of swapping an 88 suspension in?
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Report this Post04-03-2014 08:55 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Csjag:

So whats the best suspension mod for an 85 short of swapping an 88 suspension in?


Better brakes.
Solid cradle bushings.
Rear bump steer kit. http://www.fierostore.com/P...px?s=57630&d=331&p=1
Rear sway bar.

Many will say the rear sway bar should be first on the list, but that's a matter of preference. I'd suggest getting the rest of the suspension squared away first. The rear bar will reduce understeer and increase the tendency for oversteer. That can be a bad thing if the rest of the suspension isn't solid.
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Report this Post04-03-2014 08:59 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Formula88

53788 posts
Member since Jan 2001
 
quote
Originally posted by Four_hundred_86:

That being said, there are downsides to owning an 88. First parts become extremely difficult to source locally. Second the suspension components usually must be recycled from other 88 cars, and being that there were less made that can get expensive, especially as our cars continue to age.


There are not many 88 specific parts that aren't available today. Even the once rare 88 front wheel bearing hubs are now reproduced and available from Rodney Dickman and the Fiero Store. You can substitute Cavalier brake rotors on the rear of 88s. (they don't fit the front without some mods). Rear trailing links and bushings are available.

What parts are you referring to? If you haven't had to check lately, you may be surprised how many once-rare 88 parts are not easy to find.
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David Hambleton
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Report this Post04-03-2014 09:45 AM Click Here to See the Profile for David HambletonClick Here to Email David HambletonSend a Private Message to David HambletonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Formula88:
If you haven't had to check lately, you may be surprised how many once-rare 88 parts are not easy to find.


You mean now?

[This message has been edited by David Hambleton (edited 04-03-2014).]

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Snapperhead
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Report this Post04-03-2014 10:10 AM Click Here to See the Profile for SnapperheadClick Here to visit Snapperhead's HomePageClick Here to Email SnapperheadSend a Private Message to SnapperheadEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have driven all of them at one time or another. The 88 is stock form was the best over all to me stock to stock. My wife and I ordered what must have been the last yellow Formula back in 88 new. After all the years she still drives a 88 Formula, not the same one but still an 88.

Myself I like the way my 86 GT feels. It's lowered with 18's and a 88 rear cradle with coilovers, rear swaybar, Koni struts and vette rotors with 88 calipers. The front has vette rotors & calipers, street dreams 2" lowering spindles, Rodney Dickman 1" lowering ball joints, Koni shocks, larger swaybar, lowering springs and all poly.

I like the feedback I get with the pre 88 front with the 88 rear cradle. As far as easier to drive, I think the 88 doesn't wear you out on a long drive as much. it's a smother more stable car in stock form. Beside it was finely becoming the car it was suppose to be.

Just my $.02

Vince

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Report this Post04-03-2014 01:54 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fieroguruSend a Private Message to fieroguruEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
88 is by far the better suspension/brake design. Sure you can "upgrade" the 84-87 suspension and brakes, but there are compromises along the way (which often times are greater than the compromises for the same upgrade to the 88).

Here is a description of the changes from Automotive Engineering Oct 1987.
* Elimination of the steering damper assembly
* 30% shorter spindle length (90 vs 64 mm)
* 30% shorter scrub radius (49 to 35 mm)
* 20% reduction in king pin angle (7.5 to 6 degrees)
* 20% longer upper control arm length (177 to 214.2 mm)
* 25% longer lower control arm length (280 to 350 mm)
* Larger stabilizer bar (22mm to 28mm)
* 12% shorter turning radius (11.4 to 10.2 m)

Rear Suspension:
* Revised chasis cradle design for suspension attachments
* New tri-link design allowing for specific tuning of each component
* Increased rearward rear wheel motion with jounce for reduced impact harshness
* Lower spring rates (44 to 25 N/mm)
* Inclusion of 22 mm stabilizer bar with the WS6 suspension package

Here is my commentary:
FRONT SUSPENSION
*The 88's have a lower scrub radius in front so it is easier to turn the wheels in parking lot maneuvers. This also reduces kickback in the steering wheel when one wheel hits a bump, so the 88 didn't need the steering stabilizer that the 84-87's had.
*The 88 upper a-arm is fully adjustable for Caster/Camber whereas the 84-87 is limited to the fixed adjustments of flipping the ball joint 180 degrees and moving the washers on the pivot bolt front from the front/rear... both of these adjustments are "you get what you get" and very difficult to dial in precision from side to side.
*The 88's came with vented rotors, so brake upgrades on them are quite simple and relatively inexpensive without the need to machine down the stock hubs.
*From an engineering perspective, all current 88 brake upgrades bolt the caliper bracket to the machined side of the mounting surface on the upright/spindle, whereas the 84-87 front brake kits bolt to the as forged side of the front upright, which greatly reduces the parallel precision between the caliper pads and the rotor.
*The 84-87 front lower a-arm does not have the bushings co-axial so cycling the suspension up/down induces bushing deflection. Not so much of an issue with rubber bushings, but when you replace both of them with poly, this misalignment starts increasing the binding of the suspension due to less available bushing deflection.
*One redeeming aspect of the 84-87 front suspension, is the lower a-arm is of the offset design with the front bushing setup to take the vast majority of the lateral loads and the rear bushing acting more for braking/acceleration/road harshness. So you could run poly in the front bushing placement and keep rubber in the rear to firm up lateral control while minimizing road harshness (and allow the rear bushing to easily deflect to accommodate the bushing misalignment)... but I have never seen anyone do this.
*The 88's arelady have the shock inside the spring and you can adapt an adjustable height coil over setup to the 88 with minor modifications while keeping the stock upper and lower a-arm.

REAR SUSPENSION
*The 88 rear is the tri-link design that separates the lateral (turning) loads from the acceleration/braking/road bumps. This allows you to run rod ends in the lateral links while keeping rubber bushings in the trailing link for great precision in toe control and zero bushing deflection under lateral loads, while the rubber bushings in the trailing link keep road harshness very close to stock.
*The 88 lateral links are quite easy to replace with adjustable units, so if you want to make small or large changes to the rear track width, it’s easier on the 88.
*Since the 84-87's use a lower a-arm, its two bushings play double duty and stiffing the bushings for improved lateral control, also results in increased road harshness under daily driver situations.
*The lateral links also completely separate toe control from Camber, so you can adjust camber w/o changing toe. So you can drive to the autocross, add 1-2 degrees of camber (w/o adjusting toe), race all day, restore the camber to near stock levels and drive back home. On the 84-87 if you touch camber, toe goes out the window and needs adjusted too.
*The 84-87 rear was originally designed as a FWD suspension with anti-dive built in. This is good when the suspension is in the front, but becomes pro-squat when moved to the rear. This makes the rear of the car want to squat down more than it should under acceleration.
*Then you have the solid mounted cradle (which the 84-87 can be solid mounted with aluminum bushings, or welded in sleeves), but at additional cost/work.
*Many brake upgrades on the 88's can use the stock 88 fiero calipers and retain the stock parking brake setup. This allows many of the brake upgrades on the 88 to be $500 to $1000 cheaper than doing the same upgrade on the 84-87.
*The 84-87 rear brake upgrades need non-stock calipers and often require additional parts/work to retain the parking brake function or to correct the brake bias.
*Lastly the 88 rear cradle has a factory rear sway bar, so it fits without any impact to ground clearance and was dialed in by the GM engineers for improved "safe handling". While it isn't optimized for optimal handling with an experienced driver, it provides benefit while keeping the car safe for normal drivers to drive.

For the vast majority of daily drivers you will not notice many of these items, besides the difference in cost of brake upgrades, but the more work you put into the car and the more you ask of it from a performance perspective, then the differences start to show up.

As for the 88 parts scarcity... That will happen over time and at a sooner rate than the 84-87, but that is really just a reason to save any 88 from ever going to the junk yard. 88's are still quite common and I keep tabs on all of them that are near me incase one needs to be saved/purchased and collect any and all 88 suspension and brake parts that I come across. I could have saved more 88 specific parts, but I just don't have the room at the moment.

[This message has been edited by fieroguru (edited 04-06-2014).]

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markkrug
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Report this Post04-03-2014 03:03 PM Click Here to See the Profile for markkrugSend a Private Message to markkrugEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have had an 85 and two 88GTs. Hands down the 88s are best. IMHO.
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Report this Post04-03-2014 03:32 PM Click Here to See the Profile for CsjagClick Here to Email CsjagSend a Private Message to CsjagEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
So if I replace all of my 85 suspension bushings and ball joints etc, with quality Moog parts it won't be a good handling car for street use? I have no intention of doing autocross or any "fast and furious" driving. I would rather not put non oem extra parts on the car.
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Report this Post04-03-2014 05:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SnapperheadClick Here to visit Snapperhead's HomePageClick Here to Email SnapperheadSend a Private Message to SnapperheadEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Nice write up fieroguru.

Vince
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Report this Post04-03-2014 07:48 PM Click Here to See the Profile for California KidSend a Private Message to California KidEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Fieroguru really summed it up. I have both an 87 and 88 GT with very similar suspension modifications for improvement, the 88 will run circles around the 87.

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Report this Post04-04-2014 01:16 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Josh52894Click Here to Email Josh52894Send a Private Message to Josh52894Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
when you hit a good sized bump or pothole it will wrench the steering wheel right out of your hand.

HA!!! true story but it usually snaps back right away, maybe it was my suspension who knows... i know there was alot wrong with my car.
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