Sunday, March 31, 2013


This week I was able to spend all day Friday and Saturday removing the motor and trans-axle from the cradle and received the new aluminum anodized solid mounts.The red will match the color of the Warp 9 and the solid mounts should take any play out of the cradle. (Ain't they purdy) I heard Pontiac started doing this in 1988 on all Fieros, so the looseness must have been a common problem in the earlier models.

The motor was removed and the commutator and brushes were ok, so I am going to blow out the motor and stay with the original brushes for now. The orientation of the motor needs changed so the terminals are on the top; I don't want to have to get under the car every time I need to check or make up the motor connections. This will also give me a chance to check the clutch disk and the flywheel coupling.
The trans-axle was power washed, primed and painted. Additionally, the axle seals are going to be replaced and new grease put in it. It looked like the passenger side seal was leaking a little and collecting carbon dust from the motor brushes.


Saturday I went to the local hardware store and picked up some metal to fabricate the solid trans-axle mounts. The base of the original mounts are going to be used and I found out that using a cut-off wheel is not the best way to remove the rubber from the mounts. I spent an hour that evening getting all of the rubber off of my hands and arms, not to mention how long it took to clean the bathroom sink before my wife got home. 

Pieces of square tubing were cut to the length of the old rubber mounts and end caps were welded to cover one side of the tubing. I used some flat metal with holes already in it and put a bolt through the mount to line everything up, then tacked the tubing to the original mount base. Once the mounts are trial fitted, any necessary adjustments will be made, then the tubing will be welded solid. I am going to add triangular gussets to all 4 sides to give the square tubing a little more strength. I will also pick up some grade 8 bolts for the final instillation.

 My next project is going to be priming and painting the trans-axle cradle, then test mounting the trans-axle with the new solid mounts. Once the motor is cleaned I will put it on the trans-axle and make a solid mount for it also. This should take all of the movement out of the drive system that sounded like a jack hammer when the car accelerated.

Hoping for more good weather next week.


Sunday, March 24, 2013


Last week I started the process of removing the Fiero engine cradle. Because of a belly pan that the original converter had installed, there was no access to the jack points on the car so I tried to pick up the rear with an engine hoist. With the cradle still attached to the car, there was just too much weight and the hydraulic cylinder just bypassed before the rear wheels would come off the ground.


As luck would have it, without the lead acid batteries, the car was high enough off the ground to allow me to remove the rear belly pan panel and I was able to get a jack under the rear cross member. With the car lifted as high as the jack would go I was able to get jack stands under the middle frame rails but could not get it as high as I would have liked. Because of this, I decided to disconnect the struts from the rear A arms and leave the struts suspended from the towers. After measuring the clearance, I was close so I rigged the engine puller and put some jacks under the firewall side cradle mounts and a transmission jack under the rear cross member as back up protection. The engine lift would not reach all the way to the center of the engine cradle so I would need to roll back a little on the transmission jack before transferring the load all the way to the engine hoist. After removing all of the bolts, I lowered the front jack I had supporting the firewall side of the cradle and the transmission jack allowing the cradle to slowly roll toward the rear of the car. My side to side rigging was a little off and the passenger side was quite a bit lower, so I rigged up a cable hoist to level the load. When lowered,  the cradle set firmly on the legs of the engine hoist but I was about 3 inches short of being able to clear the trunk protrusion which was the lowest point. Each side had to be jacked up, the jack stands extended and finally there was enough clearance to roll the cradle out. Success!


There was movement in the rear of the car when I drove it last summer, so solid cradle mounts have been ordered and I will make solid transmission and engine mounts to sure everything up. This will also be a good time to clean, paint, install Helwig Redtop brushes, check the clutch, and bring the motor connections up to the top instead of down on the bottom.

With the car jacked up, With access the motor compartment, I will remove the firewall insulation (as there is no heat generating ICE engine anymore), clean, paint, install the J1772 plug and clean up the wiring runs before reinstalling the motor cradle.
This week I received an email from another converter in the Columbus, OH area telling me that there was going to be a get together with all of the builders who were planning on attending  EVCCON. I am pretty excited to see some of the other local builds and hope I can get the Fiero done in time to bring to the show.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Over the last 2 weeks progress has been made in removing the remainder of the battery racks, charger, and sound system amplifier from the engine compartment and trunk of the Fiero. Also the spoiler has been removed as the studs were rusted quite badly and need to be replaced. Lead Acid batteries sure do a number on any exposed metal. I have been measuring and laying out the weight distribution for the lithium batteries and am going to try and keep the weight a little lower and centered over the axles a little better, as the handling with the old lead acids was a little scarey at times.

I tried to lift the rear of the Fiero up with my engine lift as I saw a Youtube video where they did that. They must have had a higher capacity lift than mine as it seemed to bypass right before the wheels came off the ground. I want to drop the engine/transmission cradle and check the clutch and coupler. Also I am going to install solid transmission mounts and cradle mounts as the motor and transmission shifted around quite a bit before. The dog bone has been replaced with a rod with rubber mounts and I am going to make that solid also. With no ice engine, there shouldn't be any vibration to worry about. This will also be a good time to blow the motor out and install some new Helwig Red Top brushes.

I kind of hit the wall on the Curtis 1231C controller as I am measuring a dead short between the capacitors and some of the new resisters I soldered in are reading infinity. I am going to have to remove some solder as I must have flowed some over and shorted to the other bus. I must have over heated a couple of the resisters, so I will need to replace and use heat sinks when I put the new ones in.

Hoping to get some LiFePo4s soon and that will put some spark into the rebuild.