Engine, Part I
Thanks to the folks I met on Internet mailing lists and forums dedicated to the Fiero, I found out that a small block Chevy V8 can fit where the stock V6 used to. Having been fed a steady diet of CarToons, Hot Rod, and Car Craft from an early age, once I gleaned this bit of info, I had plans to put a V8 in place of the V6. It was gonna happen.......it HAD to happen.
But……………..keep in mind that I HAD NEVER ATTEMPTED ANYTHING LIKE THIS EVER BEFORE!
Starting with this......
Before this project, the most involved car “project” I had ever done was grinding out the rust and “rustproofing” the floor of Dad’s Chevette (please don’t ask).
Before I even had a plan in mind, I was fortunate enough to find someone who would eventually become one of my closest friends and who had the parts and engineering knowledge to help guide me through the engine swap. John Austin, who heads up Austin Conversions, was in the process of updating his LT1 powered 1988 Fiero to run on Cadillac Northstar power. As a result of that decision, he had for sale most of the parts that would make my V8 dreams a reality, namely the engine cradle, the adapter plate, the axles, and the exhaust system. Some of these parts were built for the first time ever, and others were re-engineered and improved along the way. To make a long story short, cash traded hands and I had the main parts in my hands for the swap. Now all I needed was a motor…………
....remove all the unneeded bits, clean things up.
I found the engine for the Fiero in Chicago. One of those friend of a friend deals. I found an V8 from a 1991 Corvette that only had 6k miles on it. After a few phone calls, a weekend trip to Chicago, and the exchange of a few dollars I had an engine, complete with computer and wiring harness. In my mind, I was almost done -- just bolt the engine on to the transaxle and off we go – engine swap completed, let’s start painting this thing………………or so I thought!
Turns out that the engine was out of a 1991 Vette which was rolled in 1992, and the engine sat until I got it in 1998. At least the motor sat indoors, but the previous owner never drained the coolant out of the block.
A word of advice to all the carguys out there: if storing an engine, DRAIN THE COOLANT!!! Coolant and water reacts with the iron in the engine block and makes rust. Actually, it makes something in color and consistency that would make a sick baby proud! When the brown sludge/poo came pouring out of the block after I got home, the decision was easy – tear down the engine, do a rebuild.
....and since we're gonna rebuild, why not make a few, ahem, improvements along the way?
Now how in the h3ll do I get this in there?