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I just came across a reference to Fieros on a current thread. I had already forgotten about the marque until now. I never saw a lot of Fieros, even when new, but I recall vividly seeing two that were broken in two behind the driver's seat. I'm curious to know, not that it's very important, if this was a well known flaw and ,thus, why they disappeared. Anyone have any thoughts?

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I do not remember the year but there was a problem with them catching fire.they were dogs until the 6 came along

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I had an 88 Fiero Formula; 2.8L V6, 5 speed MT. Loved it!

Lotus suspension design was incorporated into the 1988 model year; last year of the car. Handled GREAT; fun autocross car!

 

I don't know anything about them "breaking" behind the seats.

 

@54vicky: yes, the "Iron Duke" 4 cylinder cars were mundane performers, but Pontiac had to design and market the car as a low-cost "commuter" to get corporate approval for the program.

They could not get program approval for a mid-engine sports car...look how long it took for THAT to happen.

 

Lots of stories about overheating and fires.Not sure what the cause was.

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Posted (edited)

I bought a bright blue '87 Fiero in 1988 that was a blast to drive with the 5 speed. 

 

An 18 year old kid with a beat up Fiero was dying of cancer in Minnesota so a couple of dozen other Fiero guys went up there from all over the US and worked 24 hours straight to restore his so he could take it for one last drive before he died. Have a Kleenex handy at the end of this 6 minute video....

 

 

 

Edited by Lebowski (see edit history)

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Most of the overheating issues were with the v6 model from what I remember.

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4 hours ago, TerryB said:

Most of the overheating issues were with the v6 model from what I remember.

no, i have owned 2 pontiac fiero gt with the 2.8 V6, never a overheating problem, the cause of fires in fieros was owners too lazy to check oil level or engine coolant level, engine ends up getting low on oil, engine overheats, throws a connecting rod through the block, hot exhaust manifold catches the oil on fire. 

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7 hours ago, pontiac1953 said:

no, i have owned 2 pontiac fiero gt with the 2.8 V6, never a overheating problem, the cause of fires in fieros was owners too lazy to check oil level or engine coolant level, engine ends up getting low on oil, engine overheats, throws a connecting rod through the block, hot exhaust manifold catches the oil on fire. 

One of the engineers I worked with was single and anal when it came to cars and how they run.  He hooked up thermal sensors to his v6 and found cooling was not as good as it should be.  He made his own fan system to improve cooling in the engine compartment.  As you mentioned it was up to the owner to make sure all oils and cooling were maintained, if they were not there was trouble.  My friend maintained his and in fact still owns it.  

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Having had a gaggle of them can say it was easy to discourage tailgaters by just rocking the steering. One/both rear tires would leave the ground and they would back off. 

The TBI 4 cyl (Iron Duke) is best forgotten but the Chev 2.8 (3.4) V6 has the most beautiful car sound imaginable.

 

Engine swaps (3.4 TDC, L67, Archie V8s) are common.

 

Never had an overheating problem but made sure the fan relays worked, used a 180F thermostat, and brought be fans in by 185. Lose a relay and it will overheat. Quickly.

 

Roof vent kept cool when parked and AC was very effective. Is also a very comfortable car to drive even with my screwy position. Was actually looking for another Fiero when I discovered Reattae.

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Like many cars, the only people who say good things about them are the people who owned one.

 

I wish I still had mine and my nephew has two.

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Mine had an engine conversion to an early 1990's 4.3 V6 Chevy truck engine. I would buy another.

Bernie

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I saw one at a car show a long time ago with a 500 cu. in. Caddy engine in it. I wish I had taken a pic of it but this was before cell phones....

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16 hours ago, Hudsy Wudsy said:

why they disappeared. Anyone have any thoughts?

 

The 1988 got Lotus front suspension and that gave a real enhancement over the Opel Kadet system. The car was becoming a direct competitor to Corvette sales. GM vaporized it.

 

This discussion has already got me into my old Fiero pictures and onto the Fiero site: http://www.fiero.nl/cgi-bin/main.cgi

Not a safe place for a weak mind.

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Mine was a V-6 and I loved it. I had no issues with overheating living in Georgia and driv9ng it to Florida nearly e very weekend.  Great unique car in my opinion. 

 

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Posted (edited)

This thread is a perfect example of how urban legends and car myths are created over decades, and the Fiero is one of those popular misunderstood cars that fall into that category. While I'm not a Fiero Ambassador and don't want to spends hours defending the car or its creators, but because I'm familiar with the Fiero and other mid-engine sports cars since the 1980's I do feel obligated to briefly point out some common misperceptions. I will respond directly to the comments first then elaborate on the car in general at the end...

 

 

Quote

Junk out of the gate

 

 

There were many cars in the 80's that were junk out of the gate by many manufacturers, but the Fiero isn't one of them when you understand the specifics.

 

 

Quote

I do not remember the year but there was a problem with them catching fire

 

 

The majority of engine fires were due to defective connecting rods in the 1984 four cylinder models. During production the defective rods were sent back to the foundry twice, yet some still made it into production. If the owner neglected oil changes that defective rod could fail and eject through the oil pan or block, resulting in oil onto the hot exhaust system and sometimes catching on fire. The other isolated fire cases that were not related to the 1984 defective rods were the same as any other car fire you see today, owner neglect and stupidity (dry leaves on engine, oil leaks, parking a low clearance sports car on dry grass, and so on). The issue that most people overlook is you can't give the general public an affordable mid-engine sports car and expect them the follow the same safety rules and maintenance as an exotic car owner does.

 

 

Quote

they were dogs until the 6 came along

 

 

Even with the 2.8 L44 V6 with 140 HP and 180 TQ which was decent NA specs at the time, because the car was so heavy it was still sightly under powered. But comparing apples to apples, the majority of 80's cars were also under powered. Look at the Delorean for example with its similar 2.8 V6 powerplant, yet the Fiero design was superior compared to the Delorean's stainless steel clad/veneer panels on a fiberglass body, not to mention the fit/finish, safety, and reliability factor... but this is not a Delorean vs Fiero thread.

 

 

Quote

Lotus suspension design was incorporated into the 1988 model year; last year of the car. Handled GREAT...

 

 

 


Pontiac had to design and market the car as a low-cost "commuter" to get corporate approval for the program. They could not get program approval for a mid-engine sports car

 

 

 

 

 

The Lotus story is a myth, but you are correct on your second statement... Chief designer Hulki Aldikacti wanted to build a rival to the Corvette but the GM Execs never wanted it. His concept had to be sold as a mass produced commuter. So what most people don't know is they designed the important structure and foundation correctly out of the gate, then to stay within budget constraints they used off the shelf suspension components (Chevette front suspension and Citation front cradle reversed and modified for the rear). This is often used as a punch line by those who don't understand the Fiero, but what is funny about that is many auto manufacturers around the world used off the shelf parts with their cars. So the Fiero budget suspension was 1984 to 1987, then GM gave them the green light to spend about $30 million dollars ($60 million is today's money) on the 1988 model year redesigning the entire suspension giving it the true sports car suspension it deserved and was supposed to have in 1984. That consisted of a coil over front and tri-link rear similar to a Porsche. Since 1988 is the final year for the Fiero its the only one with that completely different suspension, that is why they are more desirable and worth more than the 1984-87 years.

 

 

Quote

Most of the overheating issues were with the v6 model from what I remember.

 

 

Generally speaking there were no design flaws to contribute to overheating. Just like any enthusiast does to any hobby car, there is always room for improvement on the cooling, so what many Fiero owners do is take out the 195 stat and and install a 180 stat with a 210 fan switch so the fans come on earlier than factory. Another big mistake that leads to overheating is when individuals or garages change the coolant using traditional front-engine methods by using the radiator cap in the front of the vehicle, where actually you have to have the vehicle facing nose down using the coolant cap on top of the engine where the push-in thermostat is, because that is the high point and ensures there is no air is the system. There were a few cases were the cooling fan was backwards, but 99% of overheating cases were owner neglect, or general auto repair garages unqualified to work on mid-engine sports car, or by denting the coolant tubes under the car when putting it on a lift. (same as exotic mid-engine sports cars)

 

A few other tidbits to note...

 

The Fiero design had many pioneering greats including a space-frame chassis, impact resistant Enduraflex panels and laser-guided body panel alignment. The super strong space-frame chassis consists of 275 pieces of steel held together with 4300 welds weighing 700 pounds. The space-frame went through a 2.5-story Gilman mill-and-drill machine where it’s chassis was gauged at the tops and leading edges of both doors and centered cross-car, then drilled with 39 mounting points for the external body panels. This precision allowed panels to be fitted within 0.50mm, the process is a worldwide industry first. Following the mill-and-drill procedure, the frame was dipped into an electronically charged primer called cathodic elpo uniprime. After dipping, the Fiero chassis was never drilled or pierced again. The exterior body panels are not for safety and weigh only 175 pounds, yet total vehicle weight of a fully loaded 1988 GT with a full tank of gas with it driver is a whopping 3000 pounds.

 

Exterior panels are one of the last things installed during assembly. Three types of Enduraflex body panels were used on the exterior: RRIM (fiberglass reinforced reaction injection molding), SMC (sheet molding compound) and TPO (thermoplastic olefin). All the exterior body panels were painted off the car as a set in proper relationship to each other to ensure paint consistency. Unlike most vehicles it is a running, driving, safe automobile without its outer skin. NHTSA crash tests gave the Fiero a 5-STAR frontal and side impact rating. As of 2005 it was the safest domestic car ever tested without an airbag, had one of the highest ratings ever recorded in GM barrier safety tests, and it was the only American car that passed strict Swedish rollover tests. With its space-frame construction, multiple crumple zones and side impact beams its basically a steel-caged tank. Like the original poster pointed out it does have a weakness, if T-Boned hard from the side at the rear, the rear section can detach from the occupant cage, but what automobile doesn't have a vulnerable spot in a world of unpredictable physics, most antique and classic cars are death traps by comparison.

 

The team had big plans for the Fiero, prototypes were built with light weight aluminum space frames, turbo V6 aluminum engines were tested and V8 engines were on the drawing boards. That resulted in quicker performance than the Corvette with better handling and safety, at almost half the price. If the Fiero had a very bright future, why did GM stop producing it? Several reasons... 1) When the Fiero evolved into a true mid-engine sports car by 1988 as originally envisioned by Hulki with turbo V6 and V8 engines in the near future, the Corvette was on life support with dwindling sales. The GM Execs could not allow the Fiero to outperform its flagship sports car for almost half the cost. 2) Bad media press from the 1984 four-cylinder engine fires killed its reputation. 3) Insurance skyrocketed in the late 1980's on 2-seat automobiles. Even though GM spent $300 million ($600 million in todays money) to produce the Fiero, they forcasted a potential loss of $20 million between 1989 and 1995, thus claiming there was no future market for it and wanted to focus on the Corvette, Firebird and Camaro.

 

The Fiero made a profit every year it was sold and was a success, its construction was revolutionary and it was the only mid-engined production sports car ever built by an American manufacturer until the recent FordGT came along. Carroll Shelby said "the Fiero is the ultimate modern day hot rod" because with its mid-engine layout, strong space-frame construction, and affordability. Some of the popular engine conversions for the Fiero include Chevrolet small block, Cadillac V8, and Buick 3800 Supercharged V6. With these engines it can produce 12 to 13 second quarter mile times and tear up a road course. The Fiero is one-of-a-kind and an affordable alternative to the expensive mid-engine sports cars.

Edited by PVPPI
errors (see edit history)
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       I never heard of one breaking in half.  Catching on fire, yes.  Mine was GT  (V6) with a ground effects kit an low profile Wheels & Tires'

       Lots of fun to drive.  Felt like an air conditoned Go Cart.   When I took it to the Dupont Registry Cars & Coffee they would alwys direct

       me to park in the Ferrari area.  Poor parking guy didn;t know a Pontiac from a Ferrari/FieroL.thumb.JPG.223ffa361f9495ad66bd99d430add8bb.JPGontiac from a Ferrari.

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When I took it to the Dupont Registry Cars & Coffee they would alwys direct me to park in the Ferrari area.  Poor parking guy didn;t know a Pontiac from a Ferrari

 

That doesn't surprise me, plenty of car enthusiasts not knowledgeable about certain cars, and those two cars being from the same era and both being a mid-engine sports car with similar lines and proportions. Here is a GT parked next to a 308, as you can see they are approximately the same size and wheelbase...

 

 

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I bought a new 4-cylinder automatic in 1986 and used it as a daily driver (including on vacations) for 5 years.  It may not have been a speed demon but it got good mileage and had enough zip to accelerate and keep up with interstate traffic.  It didn't break in half and it didn't catch fire - I was conscientious about changing oil and coolant and keeping them filled.  It was the best handling car I've ever driven on snow and ice - good weight distribution, not overpowered, and light enough that it didn't bog down.  It was still running great when I traded it, and I wish I hadn't.  The only reason I did is because I was getting old enough to have difficulty with a low-slung car - I used to joke I had to step up to get out of it!  :D

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Excellent discussion on a car from the 1980s era and lots of new information for me!  Saw one for sale recently for $1500, pretty sure it was a 4 cyl.

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My neighbors daughter used hers to move all her personal stuff and a large dog to Florida from Illinois in the 90’s and then a month later when she realized how much she missed her Mother she moved it all back.  I still marvel when I think about it.

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13 minutes ago, plymouthcranbrook said:

My neighbors daughter used hers to move all her personal stuff and a large dog to Florida from Illinois in the 90’s and then a month later when she realized how much she missed her Mother she moved it all back.  I still marvel when I think about it.

 

 

Ours had a luggage rack on the trunk lid.  Is it still a trunk if that's where the engine is?  Anyway, when my wife and I took it on vacation, we packed on the luggage rack, in the trunk, and on the spare tire under the "hood".  We couldn't take everything we owned but we had room for what we needed plus what we acquired along the way.

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Posted (edited)
Quote

Ours had a luggage rack on the trunk lid.  Is it still a trunk if that's where the engine is?  Anyway, when my wife and I took it on vacation, we packed on the luggage rack, in the trunk, and on the spare tire under the "hood".  We couldn't take everything we owned but we had room for what we needed plus what we acquired along the way.

 

Funny that you would bring that up, when I had my Fiero's about 20 years ago our washing machine broke so I took my wife to her mothers house to do the laundry. It was such a nice day I wanted to take the Fiero, but she said "you will never get all that laundry into the Fiero" and I accepted her challenge. I still have a photo of everything I fit into the trunk compartment that day, below is that photo and another photo showing what an empty Fiero trunk looks like, its amazing what you can fit in there!

 

 

trunk capacity.jpg

trunk capacity 2.jpg

Edited by PVPPI (see edit history)
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44 minutes ago, PVPPI said:

 

Funny that you would bring that up, when I had my Fiero's about 20 years ago our washing machine broke so I took my wife to her mothers house to do the laundry. It was such a nice day I wanted to take the Fiero, but she said "you will never get all that laundry into the Fiero" and I accepted her challenge. I still have a photo of everything I fit into the trunk compartment that day, below is that photo and another photo showing what an empty Fiero trunk looks like, its amazing what you can fit in there!

 

 

trunk capacity.jpg

 

 

And you didn't even need the special Fiero fitted luggage the made use of every available cubic inch of storage space in the car! 😁

 

luggage1.jpg

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