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series8217
series8217 Reader
1/10/14 12:04 a.m.

Overview

Model: 1988 Pontiac Fiero Coupe

Exterior Color: Awesome

Interior Color: Black

Engine: 1993 3.4 DOHC V6 "LQ1"

Transmission: 5-speed Getrag 282

Purchased: December 2006

Weight: 2780 lbs wet (without driver)

Vote me up on my Readers Rides page!

Modifications & Additions Note: Most of the links below go to my build threads on RealFieroTech.com, but some go to GRM Forum threads. I'll update links as I make more build threads on either forum. Small updates will stay in this thread.

Engine:

Balanced and blueprinted 1993 3.4 DOHC V6 from a Chevrolet Lumina Z34.

Custom short-runner intake manifold.

2.5″ exhaust with Magnaflow muffler.

Dyno-tested at 220 whp @ 5800 RPM, 218 ft·lb @ 4900 (tested at Church Automotive in June 2007 on a Dynapack). California emissions legal, inspected and approved via the California Bureau of Automotive Repair.

Cooling:

Spal radiator fan (p/n 30102082) (22 amps / 2470 CFM)

Griffin 1-25201-X radiator

Transmission / Clutch:

Hybrid Getrag 282 with late-model upgraded differential

Clutchnet organic/kevlar clutch

Brakes:

West Coast Fiero brake caliper relocation brackets for C4 Corvette rotors, using Centric 12-inch brake rotors

Porterfield R4 brake pads

Goodridge Stainless Steel braided brake hoses

Front Suspension

Bilstein ASN-series 46mm monotube dampers with custom shafts and valving

750 lb/in springs

Polyurethane control arm bushings

Custom fully-adjustable upper control arms

Rear Suspension

Koni Sport (Red) adjustable struts

Adjustable coilover conversion using Coleman Racing threaded sleeves

Hypercoil 475 lb/in springs

Solid rod-end lateral links

Polyurethane bushings in factory trailing links

Fieroguru's roll center / camber curve correction kit

Steering:

1994 Corvette ZR1 super-fast ratio power steering rack (2 turns lock-to-lock)

Wheels/Tires:

Front: Motegi MR-116 17x7 (48mm offset), 215/45/17 Hankook RS3

Rear: Motegi MR-116 18x9 (45mm offset), 275/35/18 Hankook RS3

Aerodynamics:

Rear: NASCAR Car of Tomorrow wing (Crawford Composites) with straight endplates

Front: Custom front splitter / undertray, tire spats, improved radiator inlet duct

Safety Interior:

Seats: Sparco Rev and Corbeau A4

Steering wheel: Sparco Targa

Shift Knob: Momo weighted shifted knob

Custom harness bar

Schroth Profi II ASM 6-point harnesses

Video:

/DRIVE made a film about my car!

"How to Turn a Fiero Into a Track Car"

The free, shorter version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVBLU1fhqnY

More Photos:

Photo added June 2014:

Last photo credit: Cali Photography

DoctorBlade
DoctorBlade UltraDork
1/10/14 1:08 a.m.

how's it run? :)

series8217
series8217 New Reader
1/10/14 1:53 a.m.

Well, it's still a work in progress... I think I'm about 1/3 of the way there as far as chassis development goes.

The fast steering it's an absolute blast on technical road courses (e.g. Buttonwillow) and at almost any AutoX. Turn-in is great and the car has decent grip but not as much as it should... I still need more roll stiffness and static camber to optimize tire usage. Based on tire wear I'm probably only using 1/2 or of the tires..

Big changes this year with the Bilstein shocks I assembled and valved for the front, and the stiffer springs, and once I get the rear struts worked out and some decent swaybars to address roll stiffness, things ought to get pretty serious in the handling department.

Brakes have been another issue.. with the large rear weight bias (I'm at about 43/57) and tire sizes to match, I have about the same braking force as a stock Fiero, but lots of rear grip to spare. I installed a brake bias adjuster that I still need to tune. Once that's sorted out, it ought to stop at least ;-).

Overheating hasn't been a problem in autoX but is a serious issue on the track, especially since all the tracks in Southern California are in the desert (90F+ air temps). The cooling system has always been holding me back since I only run one lap at 10/10ths before getting above 240F on coolant... and I don't have an oil temp gauge :-/. I'm upgrading the radiator to a Griffin unit before Spring, and I'll probably put an oil-to-air heat exchanger behind one of the quarter panels too. I have a small oil-to-water unit right now, so extra water cooling will help some.

Caleb
Caleb Reader
1/10/14 5:55 a.m.

Thats a nice fiero

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
1/10/14 6:46 a.m.

Nice assembly of component build threads, I've been following along since you've been on here. Your splitter & spats are just what I had in mind for my car, but I didn't think to integrate the spats like that, very clever.

series8217
series8217 Reader
3/12/14 11:56 p.m.

I finished installing a Griffin 1-25201-X radiator. This radiator is thicker than the stock one but an inch shorter. It drops into the stock lower support, but I had to fabricate some simple brackets to hold it down at the top. It works! No more overheating at the track!

I'm running BF Goodrich Rivals now since Hankook is changing the compound on the RS3s and they're out of stock everywhere. I still have 215/45/17 and 275/35/18. The rears seem to wear a lot better than the RS3s, but the fronts still shave a lot off the outer shoulders from each day at the track. I am designing some adjustable upper control arms so I can add more caster and camber, since I'm maxed out at a little under -1 deg camber right now.

Just some updated pics of the car:

Lap video from the weekend before last: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8r5zMC-rDA

bgkast
bgkast Dork
3/13/14 12:25 a.m.

Makes me miss my crap can Fiero. Very nice work.

edizzle89
edizzle89 New Reader
3/13/14 5:50 a.m.

damn it that thing is awesome! your car makes me jealous beyond belief! nice work

Box_of_Rocks
Box_of_Rocks New Reader
3/13/14 9:29 a.m.

That's a great looking car. With regard to cooling issues - I see your new radiator seems to have resolved it, but did you ever consider venting the hood? My V8 conversion Fiero used to run 5-10 degrees cooler with a small vent cut just behind the radiator (above the opening before the spare tire well) than with the solid hood. Just a thought.

tuna55
tuna55 PowerDork
3/13/14 9:36 a.m.
edizzle89 wrote: damn it that thing is awesome! your car makes me jealous beyond belief! nice work

YES, THIS

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku PowerDork
3/13/14 1:36 p.m.

Cannot say enough good things about this build!

series8217
series8217 Reader
3/17/14 3:23 p.m.

Thanks for the mad props!

Box_of_Rocks wrote: did you ever consider venting the hood?

Yup, it's on the todo list! I just don't want to cut it until I have time to make it look good, as well as take some differential pressure measurements on the hood to find the ideal size and placement. Taking this project one step at a time...

BTW I vented the hood that way on my previous Fiero and it made a big difference. I have no numbers to back it up, but I feel like it decreased front lift as much as this splitter did.

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 Dork
3/18/14 8:31 p.m.

Cool car. I'm surprised by the weight though. Thought they were lighter.

series8217
series8217 Reader
3/20/14 3:20 p.m.
amg_rx7 wrote: Cool car. I'm surprised by the weight though. Thought they were lighter.

Yeah, Fieros are pigs. The bare spaceframe (literally just the spaceframe; no doors, no body panels, no subframe, nothing) weighs 600 lbs.

Doors are 60 lbs each, 100 lbs of plastic and composite body panels, heavy iron subframes, cast iron knuckles, etc... and that's without all the modern amenities. It's very hard to lighten a Fiero.

That said, I do have an anchor of an engine; I think the dressed long block weighs 475 lbs. An N/A Ecotec or Quad4 would probably drop 200 lbs off the car.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltraDork
3/20/14 3:27 p.m.

Very nice - I have to wonder if they'd have come from the factory that way if they'd stayed in production.

ssswitch
ssswitch New Reader
3/21/14 9:51 p.m.

Hey, I remember this car from a previous thread. It's still awesome.

series8217
series8217 Reader
4/7/14 10:46 p.m.

I designed and built a upper control arm that's a bolt-in replacement on the '88 Fiero and fully adjustable for camber and caster. It also makes camber gain adjustable to a small degree because the factory adjustment method can be used to move the inboard axis, while the control arm length and offset can be adjusted with the threaded sleeves.

The new control arm consists of off-the-shelf parts, mostly from SPC (Specialty Products Co.) since they have good support (I got an e-mail response for some part dimensions after-hours the same day), and good availability (most parts in stock at Summit Racing). The original '88 Fiero upper control arm cross shaft is utilized. New cross-shafts are available from the Fiero Store for $70. I can't beat that with a custom heat-treated steel part.

The only custom parts are the reducer bushings to use the stock cross shaft, and the 1/4" steel ball joint plate, which I milled on a CNC and welded a modified bolt to for the fixed 3/4-16 stud.

Onward to the details!

Weight

Let's get the weight out of the way first.

The OE 1988 Fiero front upper control arm weighs 5.24 pounds (2.38 kg), complete, with the OE balljoint and rubber bushings:

My adjustable upper control arm weighs 5.38 pounds (2.44 kg), complete, with the Rodney Dickman balljoint.

That's a gain of 0.14 pounds (0.064 kg) per control arm.

You may notice an errant stud sticking out the bottom of my original upper control arm. That's a droop limiter so I don't have to jack the car so far up to get the front tires off the ground. The droop limiter hits the crossmember shortly after the spring becomes slack, but before the shock reaches its droop limit.

The new control arm has no provisions for a droop limiter, so that's still something I need to work on.

Parts List

The following parts list is for one (1) control arm, but does not include the bushing reducer sleeves (5/8" OD / 11.9 mm ID) and ball joint plate, which are not available as off-the-shelf components: - (1) Race bushing kit, SPC p/n 92021 (includes 2x delrin pivots 92025, 2x bushing pivot studs 92005, 1x slotted stud 92013, and jam nuts and bolts) - (2) 3 3/4" adjusting sleeve, steel, SPC p/n 92040 - (1) 1988 Fiero upper control arm cross shaft, Fiero Store p/n 57205 - (4) Bushing thrust washers (need to finalize these)

The SPC parts are available from Summit Racing, among other places. To build two control arms, order double the above (two race bushing kits, 4 sleeves, etc).

I used the OE cross shafts, and I don't have any experience with the Fiero Store cross shafts. If they are dimensionally the same there is no reason they shouldn't work.

Installation Photo

Here is the new adjustable upper control arm installed on my Fiero:

Alignment Settings

I dialed in -3 deg of camber and 10 deg of caster. More caster and camber are not a problem. It should easily be possible to achieve 15+ deg of caster and -5 camber or more (stance it!), with wheel clearance or balljoint angle probably being the limiting factor.

With 10 deg of caster and -3 deg of camber the camber gains to a little over -6 deg on the outside wheel with a steering angle of 20 degrees.

Mad caster yo!

Mr_Clutch42
Mr_Clutch42 Reader
4/8/14 12:49 p.m.

This car looks really good. I wonder if I should buy me a Fiero.

series8217
series8217 Reader
4/9/14 12:41 p.m.

Another epic, epic weekend at Buttonwillow Raceway!

I installed a brake proportioning adapter on Friday before heading to the track, and dialed in some more rear brake bias. HOLY E36 M3! Adding some more rear brake bias transformed the car. Three major things happened: 1) The front brakes no longer overheat after a few hot laps, because they aren't working as hard now that the rears do something. 2) Overall braking is SIGNIFICANTLY increased. I had trouble locking up the brakes. It just stopped harder and harder and harder. Braking was very progressive. 3) I can now brake hard enough without locking up that the brake pedal is finally down to the height of the gas pedal.... which means heel-toeing is finally possible. Fanastic!

Also, quite importantly, I got my adjustable upper control arms built, installed, and adjusted for a final setting of -3 camber and +10 caster up front (see previous post). Front tire wear is pretty damn good now. Not much mid-corner understeer, though there still is a bit. The car is stable enough with my tire package and alignment settings to drop the throttle a bit and get the nose to tuck in, but I'd rather be able to stay in it and have the car rotate some. I'm going to work on swaybars next -- I'm still not running a rear bar but it seems that now the time is right.

I spent Saturday getting up to speed and working on corners, but on Sunday I kept running into a tire temperature wall when I tried to push it for more than a lap. The track surface was just too hot around mid-day to really set a fast lap time. I also backed out a bit too due obvious signs of excessive oil temperature -- blowing oil smoke exiting the Off Ramp (slow, very tight banked right hander) and lots of lifter tap. Even the guys on race tires were losing a second or two versus their morning times, probably due to overheating their tires.

I pulled into the paddock after a cooldown lap and measured my oil pan temp with an IR gun -- 250 degrees F. Yikes. That means probably at least 280*F when I'm pushing it in the middle of the day. I plan to install an oil cooler before the next hot track weekend.

Almost everyone went home before the final session of the day, but they missed out big time... a cool breeze picked up and the track temperature dropped to match the air temp.

I set a new personal best on Buttonwillow's #13 clockwise configuration: 2:09.9. Hell ya!

Lap video:

Also, the lead instructor for HPDE 3 followed me around a bit on Sunday and said I'm ready to move up to HPDE4. Just a stone's throw away from Time Trials now! I'm going to start seriously assessing my car against the competition rules to see if it's possible to be competitive in any class.

Unfortunately, during my post-trackday suspension inspection I discovered both front wheel bearings to have a lot of play in them. One is an OE unit with unknown miles, and the other is a brand new Rodney Dickman bearing that I installed last week. Rodney Dickman had a new run of bearings built with tapered rollers instead of the ball bearings of the OE unit. They are supposed to be stronger than the OE units (but not intended for track use), but I had OE units last much longer than one weekend. Maybe it's just a problem with the grease... but at $150 a pop I can't afford to risk it. I think I'm going to have to design or adapt different knuckles to accommodate a known-good part.

Mr_Clutch42 wrote: This car looks really good. I wonder if I should buy me a Fiero.

Thanks!

I think the platform has promise, but consider the stuff I've done to my car as requirements for any real track use, and take note of the wheel bearing issue I mentioned above. It's a lot of work to make a Fiero capable and reliable.

series8217
series8217 Reader
5/7/14 1:56 a.m.

New parts! I designed some wing endplates and had them laser-cut from 0.090" aluminum, then finished them with some camo vinyl scraps I had laying around. I also designed new wing stands and had them water jet cut from 3/8" aluminum. I used my router with a template rounding bit to profile the front and rear edges for better aero, then painted them with Rustoleum semi-gloss black.

Also just another updated shot of my engine bay since the last one was from so long ago:

I also got my Sparco Rev seat finally installed. Had a lot of problems fitting the steel brackets I built. The seat wasn't as square as I thought, and the thick carpet and underpadding got in the way. Two nights of work and the seat is finally in. I'll take some pics of that eventually.

Some major cosmetic changes coming soon, and then I'll be doing a full photo shoot.

Oh yeah, I also finally got my Speedhut gauges!

I'm planning to make a cluster that's arranged somewhat like this mockup. It will be symmetrical when I'm done; I'm going to put the idiot lights in the area opposite the oil temp gauge.

Very excited about having a tach that actually includes my redline, and a speedometer that includes my top speed at Auto Club Speedway!

Conquest_LR4
Conquest_LR4 New Reader
5/7/14 2:05 a.m.

Awesome! This is actually my next project. As soon as I'm done (god willing) I am looking to do a Fiero GT fastback with the GM 3800 SC engine swap. I have always loved these lil rides. When I was a teen my best friend with whom I cruised town with on the weekends his girlfriend had one. We'd meet up and sometimes he'd leave with her and guess what I got to do? ;) Yep drive that Fiero GT around the rest of the night. (Boy was she naive) They personally remind me a lot of a Mini Cooper S. Not in style, performance, etc... It is just one of those cars that every time I get behind the wheel of one I smile & laugh until I park it. Awesome build friend! In reply to series8217:

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps Dork
5/10/14 8:28 p.m.

very cool build

Wxdude10
Wxdude10 New Reader
5/10/14 10:11 p.m.

Cool build. This is one of the builds I'd love to do myself. Subscribed.

Timeormoney
Timeormoney Reader
5/11/14 1:19 p.m.

most excellent

series8217
series8217 Reader
5/14/14 1:23 a.m.

Thanks! Been working my ass off on it lately, finally making some progress on the cosmetic side of things (or anti-progress in the view of some). The new look is.... polarizing ;-)

Almost done:

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