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Old 01-19-2003, 05:53 PM   #1
nhluhr
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Question diagnose severe chassis problem!

ok so i helped get my roommate's 1987 Fiero GT back on the road today, which entailed a new alternator, new battery, and fresh motor oil.

Now this is a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive lightweight car so i expected it to behave much differently from my car, but instead what we got was an aweful feeling.

The symptoms are this:

when you give it throttle or lift off the car will twist left or right and the effect is that it feels like a wheel is about to fall off or you have a flat tire or something.

They are not very good tires, but they ought to be adequate. Could a sticky parking brake cause that problem? Or could there be something wrong with the rear diff to make it torque funny like that? It's very disconcerting to feel. Any ideas/help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

-Nick
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Old 01-19-2003, 06:03 PM   #2
Tim K.
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Could explain what you mean by 'twist' a bit more fully? Are you saying the chassis itself twist (or flexes) in a rolling motion or more of a yawing? I don't think the motor has enough power to actually twist the frame of the vehicle (like some built V8s). Have you thought about checking the motor mounts (though I think the motor is mounted longitudinally) or tranny mounts?

Drive it again and see if you can't give us more feedback.

Oh, check all the tires to make sure they are properly inflated. If you are worried about a sticking parking brake, you can always jack it up, release the brake and see how easily the wheel turns by hand (though being a drive wheel it wont be real easy to begin with). Also, some brakes can adjust themselves if you drive the vehicle backwards (self-adjusting drum brakes).
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Old 01-19-2003, 06:10 PM   #3
nhluhr
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happy to oblige on more description:

the motor is actually mounted laterally - meaning it's a FWD engine on the rear wheels... sideways tranny, everything.

The feeling is almost like SEVERE torque steer. Meaning, the car rolls right and yaws left when you lift off; vice versa for applying throttle.

I don't get the impression that the chassis is flexing/torsioning at all. The car seems to handle predictably enough and not flex around as long as you aren't changing throttle input.

I should also note that the car has been sitting, not running, for about 2 years. I'm quite surprised the gasoline hasn't gone bad or something. I bring up this point to say that the gear/diff oil hasn't been changed for a LONG time and I'm wondering if a malfunctioning differential could be the culprit?

Jeremy says it didn't feel like this the last time he drove it.

-Nick
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Old 01-19-2003, 06:56 PM   #4
Tim K.
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Well, if she tracks straight true while under constant throttle or while coasting we can throw out a sticky parking brake. Also, if she doesn't do anything funny while braking, or simply cruising we can begin to discount a few suspension related problems. It seems to be throttle related... I doubt the car just needs to loosen up after sitting for a couple years. Sounds like something isn't torqued properly, not attached, or just f'ed up.

I would be tempted to throw it on a lift and check out the rear-end of the car. Check mounts, linkage, and suspension components. Make sure everything is where its supposed to be and nothing is bent or broken. A Fiero shouldn't torque steer that badly.
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Old 01-19-2003, 07:08 PM   #5
OddMonkey
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A friend with a similar model Fiero once just had the right rear lower A-arm shear a bolt (or pin or whatever... been since the mid 80's )

Anyway, the shop he took it to said that they had seen that happen before to Fieros.

I think, and it has been a long time, that he said it felt "squishy" for a couple of days before it fell apart.
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Old 01-19-2003, 11:44 PM   #6
DrBiggly
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Good to hear that you guys got that yard ornament back on the road again.

I have no idea about the suspension/torque steer wackiness though.
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Old 01-20-2003, 11:10 AM   #7
Porter
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I think it must be Nick's fat ass in the driver's seat bending the frame. Lose some more weight, Nick!
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Old 01-20-2003, 12:37 PM   #8
steve_d
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how's the suspension bushings???

if you're getting a lateral movement in them it'll make the car wag around like a coon dog's tail.

Check the right side lower a-arm bushings...

sjd
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Old 01-20-2003, 12:45 PM   #9
nhluhr
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Quote:
Originally posted by Porter
I think it must be Nick's fat ass in the driver's seat bending the frame. Lose some more weight, Nick!
ha ha very cute, tons-o-fun.
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Old 01-21-2003, 12:34 AM   #10
DrBiggly
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Quote:
Originally posted by nhluhr


ha ha very cute, tons-o-fun.


Get off my Kool-Aid MF!
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