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Thread: My first car and project...a $200 Pontiac Fiero SE V6

  1. #1
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    My first car and project...a $200 Pontiac Fiero SE V6

    Here it is...my $200 1985 Fiero SE. V6, Automatic, no power windows, and an odometer that broke 6 years ago...with 355,000 miles on it. Still all original parts, the kid I bought it from took great care of it...mostly. He made sure it always had fluids topped off, but he neglected the brakes...and the tires. He hit a curb and threw the left front one out of alignment, but then we realized he also had the wrong size on the right one.

    There are a number of problems with it - it has some grounding issues, I can let go of the wheel to go around soft left turns, the turn signals only work intermittently, the hazards don't work, one of my headlights is pointing in peoples faces on the other side of the road, and I'm moving at a steady 14 mph and idling at 1500 rpm when I'm parked and the engine is off. The temp gauge always reads me running waaaaay cool, same with the oil pressure being waaaaaay low, my gas gauge either says I'm half full or twice as full, the odometer is stuck at 355,000, my windshield wipers have been rigged up to have an on/off switch (literally), and I've recently learned you have to have a certain size star-shape screwdriver to take apart the *entire* interior of the car. The front left is also a tad rotted out, my steering wheel confuses me when it sits at a 30 degree angle to the road, and my headboard is so disgusting that I actually choked on some of the debris while driving to my friend's garage. There are leaves through the entire ventilation system, my tape deck is shot, and my driver-side mirror cable is lost somewhere within my door. My lower front bumper is kind of broken, and there are numerous cracks in the fiberglass all over the car. And the brakes...well, the fluid is black, and I need 4 new pads.

    I already love this car. All the major components still run just fine, engine, transmission, speakers in the headrests. This is a fantastic project car for me simply because there's nothing major I have to replace - just tune it up here and there, get some of that horsepower back. After 25 years, it still moves around pretty quick too. For $200, I got a fantastic car.

    Our to-do list starts out with brakes, tires, and turn signals. While the first two are pretty straightforward (put new pads on and change the oil, put new tires on), I'm gonna have to dive into the electronics of all this. I'll keep you updated.

    I do plan on putting a carputer in here...and hopefully a lot more. First step is getting the car running efficiently and safely.

    Finally, my support system on this is extensive. My partner-in-crime (Travis) is possibly the best guy I know to work on this with, I've got the presidente of the Alfa Romeo Club helping me out a ton, my dad is a professor of electrical engineering, the combined knowledge and resources (kind of) of the CUSCC (CU Sport Car Club), and all the members of Pennock's Fiero Forum, Mile High Fieros, and MP3Car.com to help me out. Thanks in advance to all of you. If you have any ideas how to cheaply regain some of the performance on this car, it would be greatly appreciated. Oh, and NAPA for their CUSCC sponsorship.

    Her name is Fiona!

    The pics:

    The dash:


    The interior:


    Side shot:


    The headboard:


    The engine:


    Me:


    Us demonstrating how low the car actually is:


    The guy who hooked me up with the car:


    Outside it's new home in Boulder, CO:


    - Ken

  2. #2
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    brakes and tires

    back again, with more news on the fiero. after this weekend, here's a list of what we've done so far:

    The saturday we picked it up, we swung by chris' place to have him look the car over, see if what I got was worth it. He took the opportunity to look at the engine, brakes, and tires. We determined that brakes needed almost immediate replacement, because they were almost gone and mysteriously wearing unevenly. Then we realized that I have two different sizes of tires on my front wheels...wonderful. Aside from that though, him and Travis worked on grounding the engine a little bit better, and me and sarah decided that absolutely awful headboard was time to go.

    Travis pulled out some awesome part shopping... found all four pads, plus the *only* pair of tires in my size in probably all of boulder...for about 60 bucks. So far I've spent about $260 on this car. We parked it in his apartment garage to have a look at some things...throttle sensor...mainly I just wanted to see wtf was going on with my turn signals. We discovered just how many screws are required to take apart the dash/console, but didn't really get anything done...at least I have a better idea of how to get into the console now.

    this past saturday, we decided to put the tires and new pads on. everything went smoothly, except for when the back left piston wouldn't go back far enough to allow the new pads on. we had to mix and match back there. also, there was a problem with the parking brake spring back there. other than that, tires went on just fine, and we also ordered a brake hose for the one that was cracking on the front left. we also fixed the mysterious flapping noise! it was some cloth shield that had ripped in the back right wheelwell.

    sunday I expected it to snow hard...but we got lucky. we took the car back down to chris' garage and installed the new brake hose, and bled the brakes. My gf also bought me new headlamp retaining rings and emblems to put in my b-pillars, so we got that fixed - also, we connected the spring behind the headlights that actually controls the orientation of the headlights. yay!

    unfortunately, we've still got a long way to go with this car. turn signals still don't work, one of the bolts in the right headlamp we had to replace, and it's not working, side parking lights are out, it still needs an alignment, my wipers are real messed up...probably because of the on-off switch...and the mysterious noise is back. I've determined it's not something flapping, now it's more of a popping...and it's getting worse. we think it may be the sway bar endlinks, so i'll have that looked at this weekend. here's the thread I started about it: http://www.fiero.nl/forum/Forum2/HTML/098278.html

    I had a little incident last night when I was working on replacing my side parking bulbs...you see, i haven't had spare keys made for this car yet. I accidentally locked my keys in the car when I was done...they were still in the ignition but the car was off. Luckily I had my passenger side window cracked to listen to the mysterious popping noise! I reached in with a coat hanger and pulled the keys out of the ignition. Quite a scare.

    Here's the pics:

    Brake fluid:



    Proper technique for changing brake pads:



    New emblems:



    After we were all done..."Is this supposed to be on the car?":



    Sweet hat!:



    Old brake hose:



    New brake hose (my car is held together by zipties):



    Bleeding the brakes:



    Amusing:



    fixing the mysterious flapping noise...i thought:



    the parking brake that wouldn't die:



    grrrr, she's gonna eat you:



    wiring diagram of exterior lighting:



    more zipties holding my car together...see if you can spot them:



    Thanks for looking!

    - Ken

  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate sargeants's Avatar
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    How dare you call her Fiona!!
    My Fiona is ashamed!

    Seriously, you've got a bunch of work ahead of ya... I believe it's a Torx 7 to take apart the interior. I've done it a couple times, not all that bad.
    Great to see you're on Pennocks, they'll help you out with getting everything working properly. I wish I spent more time there... or more driving my 86se.

    I'll be putting a PC into my Fiero eventually... I've seen one on here already - by Mister

    Good luck - keep up the progress
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    86 Pontiac Fiero SE 2m6
    possible carpc install

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    New Fiero

    Congrats on the Fiero other than the headliner, the interior looks like it is in good shape! I have seen lots of them with the plastic all cracked in the center console, cracks in the dash, the arm rest all worn out ect ect.

    Anyhow...... I was doing a google search (Here is the exact search) for replacement side rear windows, and this thread was the 2nd link in the google search for some strange reason!

    I just bought a Fiero yesterday with the intent on restoring it.I started a Work Log of it HERE. It's also an '86 6cyl GT Fastback. The car is currently white but will be repainted some shade of red, and I am going to do the interior in red and black. Everything is gray now. I Just bought these seat covers till I get a chance to shop around (and save up some money) for some cool racing seats

    I registered with Pennocks just a couple hours ago and seem to be finding all the key components to read up and get all the information I need. FieroStore is also a definite asset to check out if you haven't already!

    As for the CarPC, I have a 10" Touchscreen, and have yet to figure out where to put it. I think it is going to involve creating a custom center console that conects the center console with where the radio is. Even then I will probably need to relocate the vents and/or the A/C controls. The PC is no problem, as it will easily mount behind the passanger seat on the firewall.

    OH! Get ready, people are gonna b|$<h and moan about how "unsafe" the Fiero is! Actually it tied for the safest small car on the road in 1984, and was just barely beat by the Volvo DL!!!!!! I suggest you check out THIS PAGE, print out the article, and keep a copy in the car to put people in their place
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  5. #5
    Newbie CanuckMark's Avatar
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    Hi fellow Fiero owners!

    Another Ontario Fiero here - I picked up a 1984 Indy Edition last fall and the work now begins. I'll be doing a custom (yet stock appearing) center console as well - the good news is the dimensions are "square" enough that it can be done relatively easily.

    Good luck with the project Ken!

    Mark

  6. #6
    Newbie mnicolia's Avatar
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    I can confirm these little cars are very safe. I'v owned 4 of them, and my last one, I had a full size pickup pull out in front of me. I was going about 75mph and walked away from it. You can see picture of whats left of my car at http://speed-demon.no-ip.org/my%20fiero/ I always planned to put a carputer in it. RIP

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    holy crap dude! that's incredible! pull out in front of you how? like head on collision? at least the cupholders are sturdy hahahaha

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    Quote Originally Posted by mnicolia View Post
    I can confirm these little cars are very safe. I'v owned 4 of them, and my last one, I had a full size pickup pull out in front of me. I was going about 75mph and walked away from it. You can see picture of whats left of my car at http://speed-demon.no-ip.org/my%20fiero/ I always planned to put a carputer in it. RIP
    Welcome to the Forums! Wow! That was a 75 MPH impact?! That does not seem like very much damage for hitting something at 75MPH.
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  9. #9
    Newbie mnicolia's Avatar
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    The guy cam off of a side road and completely stopped right in front of me. The whole passenger compartment was about a foot shorter. The shifter was moved all the back by my elbow. The engine was twisted around.

  10. #10
    Maximum Bitrate jpinkerton's Avatar
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    Congrats on the purchase telefragged, looks like you're already enjoying working on the car!

    Can't wait to see how it all turns out for ya!

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