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Cars > redraif’s Garage > Blog > 1984 Pontiac Fiero (Stormtrooper) > Getting the car running right (the never ending saga)


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Getting the car running right (the never ending saga)

By redraif

Filed under: 1984 Pontiac Fiero (Stormtrooper)

When I first met the car it would not roll one bit. It was drug and pushed on a trailer by 3 guys, 2 girls, my Mom and I. The crappy calipers that GM used commonly seized when they sat for along time. The seized brakes meant all new flex brake lines at the calipers, along w/ new calipers and a fluid flush. So while I was at it, what the crap, throw on new shocks and struts.

Ok so it would roll, now for the clutch issue. A new clutch rod lead to a new slave cylinder and clutch petal. The clutch petals in this particular year liked to bend over time and eventually the car would not let the clutch disengage when the petal is depressed.

After a full tune up, oil change, and all new coolant hoses and fluid, it was time for the first start up... Well It was a no go. I had a bad starter too. For ease, the stock cat was cut off to get the starter out easier. Well the whole exhaust was FULL of water, so off it came too. When the new starter went in we discovered a landmine of red 10 gauge wire leading all over. There was wire wrapped around the suspension. I cleaned it up and removed 10 feet of access and we were in business, or so we thought. Seems someone did the big no-no. They must have taken all the plug wires off at once and then did not know what order to put them back. They were so off.

So once we go that sorted out... and after a few minutes of run time, we noticed the radiator fan would not kick on. After some investigating we noticed a odd looking rigged up switch on the fan. I was not about to try to figure that rigged up mess, so I just straight wired the fan and off we went.

So finally, its first voyage... to the muffler shop and alignment shop. Well it made it only a few miles to throw its new v-belt. Well once the alternator was tightened up the belt stayed. Then as we attempted to continue on it would not go into gear.

This time it was the clutch. We installed the new one in, but it was defective, so then we had to do it all over again. All seemed well, but then the master cylinder went out, followed by another new slave cylinder (Autozone crap).

So the car was engaging fine. We were finally done and then tried to start the car. Now the fuel pump is not priming. So now a new fuel pump, ugh! Drop the tank, new one in, but now there was no spark. Traced it out.... It needed a new coil.

Finally it ran, but wait...what's this, the water pump gushed coolant after 20 minutes of run time... Ok replaced it, then it needed 2 new coolant sensors to fix the fact that it idled at 2x the RPM it should. That and replacing the TPS and a few rotten vacuum lines.

Now it ran OK. I drove it a few weeks and boom... it went nuts. I was driving along and the check engine light came on and the car just started bucking and stalling with the CEL on. I got it pulled over at a gas station and tried to pull the code. The CEL light would then not come on at all. So I let the computer cool down. I had once heard that would work in some cases. The car limped home and I replaced the ECM. While I was in there I added a temperature gauge and fixed the rigged up wires and hole in the firewall.

I still needed to clean up the engine bay to be sure there were no oil leaks as the Dukes had a rep for having engine fires. Well the car got pressure washed to get most of the crap out. The firewall's heat shield padding had to be removed as it was oil soaked and torn up. Well I confirmed 2 leaks. The passenger side rear axle was bad and had to be replaced. I found grease due to the torn boot.

After the cleaning I found the valve cover was leaking horribly. I tried to use a gasket, but this was not going to do it. The cover leaked more. Research showed the 84 cover was meant to use RTV and had dimples in the cover. I got a new cover. Tamped out the dimples used RTV, and the flat long load spreaders off my Firebird's valve cover. It worked. I had to also replace the rubber grommets in the cover as well and no more oil leaks.

After driving around sounding like a deranged go cart, I finally got the exhaust sorted out. The final trick was to cut up the Firebird's old exhaust and piece it together for the Fiero. It actually worked great. The Flowmaster gave it a great deep sound for a 4 banger.

Finally a driver... only thing I still have to work out is the darn intermittent starting issue I have. I fixed the neutral safety switch as well as replaced the ignition switch. The starter went bad again and was replaced under its lifetime warranty. Whew! My best guess it that it leads back to the rewire job the previous owner did to the power wires. He eliminated the fusible links and straight wired everything. Like I said earlier the wires were wrapped all around the suspension and had to be sorted out.

So to start I replaced and cleaned up all the grounds. I think I will add a few more and check the ones up front. Then it on to replace the power wires and add back either fusible links or some type of fuse block in the engine bay. Now If I could just get the info on what the correct sizes are for what system and how to convert that into fuse sizes...

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Cars > redraif’s Garage > Blog > 1984 Pontiac Fiero (Stormtrooper) > Getting the car running right (the never ending saga)

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