The Mule rides again (sort of) - pics.

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The Mule rides again (sort of) - pics.

Post by The Dark Side of Will » Sun Dec 16, 2007 9:32 pm

After cracking a liner, pulling the engine, putting the engine back together with a bad hone, burning 2 quarts of oil in 100 miles, pulling the engine again, tearing it down and getting started on a real engine and letting the car sit for a couple of years while I had a couple of lean years in my life, I got The Mule back on the road the first weekend in December.

I put it back together with a '93 Northstar that we had in shed. It had been in a fire, but did not appear to be damaged. It wasn't seized, so we had snagged it. It was the most likely engine in the shed to run, so got it on a stand, poured a couple of teaspoons of ATF into each cylinder to wet the rings, used an electric pump to push all 7 quarts of oil into the pan through the filter adapter--thus priming the engine, whipped up a stand fire harness to simulate a Fiero chassis and fired it. After coughing to life it seemed to run pretty well. Unfortunately, I did not do compression or leakdown tests.

The Mule's engine bay was kinda run down, so I removed all the little BS fittings and accessories from it and painted it with POR-15 followed by Chassis Coat. Chassis Coat is UV indifferent, so the combo should last for years. Like Restamotive's propaganda says "We know what permanent means".

I put the powertrain together with the same cast iron flywheel I've been using (resurfaced after the CF slipped like a SOB). I got a SPEC Stage III and have been liking it so far. I think it's about broken in, as it's gotten pretty smooth and predictable (or maybe I've just gotten used to driving it). The trans is a hybrid with early Q4 gears (3.50/2.19/1.38/1.03/0.72/3.61) in a V6 case modified for the Northstar. It has a Gr8Grip. I'm using Amsoil's synthetic transmission fluid which they claim is a pour in swap for GM's friction modified synchromesh (calls it out specifically by part number).

I've also got Rodney Dickman's short shift linkage.

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I drove it from my parents' house to drill and then back to my house... covering about 500 miles. It didn't really act up until I got about half an hour from my house and it overheated. I let it cool, found that it was low on coolant. I figured that what was missing had just boiled out the overflow tank, so I refilled it and got on my way without further incident.

Thereafter it would overheat and overflow the bottle every time I put my foot in it and ran a gear out.

Suspecting a head gasket, I drove it very gently back to my parents' house and left it there last weekend. I didn't have time to work on it until this weekend. I ran a compression check and a pseudo leak check on each cylinder. All cylinders except #2 were over 200 psi compression pressure with an open throttle. #2 was 195. That certainly didn't arouse suspicion, but when I pressurized each cylinder, I got bubbles out the coolant fill from #'s 2 and 4. Dammit.

So now I've got to pull the engine again and I have bit of a dilemma.
Do I pull the heads from this engine, timesert the block and put it back together with new gaskets? Maybe even MLS gaskets that will give me a little tighter quench? This engine has some miles on it and I've seen it blow a couple puffs of oil smoke on tip in after high RPM coast down, so it will probably only be a few thousand more miles before it starts blowing oil smoke on coast down all the time. Unless I do a pretty extreme carbon removal regimen to it... If I pull the heads, I'll be able to soak the rings in carb cleaner...

Or do I change engines? We have another engine in the shed that was supposedly a dyno mule. We've been told that it ran perfectly, but had holes poked in the lower crank case and one of the cam covers when it was taken off the dyno. There's apparently some stoopid-ass EPA regulation that says that such engines must be rendered unusable in production cars. We can, however, replace the cam cover and patch the lower crank case and the engine *should* run just fine. The lower crank case hole is in a relatively non-structural part of the casting, so we should just have to make an oil tight patch for it...

My billy badass engine hasn't made much progress, but my machinist moved his shop and I've had a busy fall, so I haven't really had time to pursue it. Now that the semester's over (and I'm not working full time AND taking two graduate engineering courses), I should be able to follow up on the things that the nice engine needs.

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Post by The Dark Side of Will » Sun Dec 16, 2007 9:44 pm

The Mule is in the background in this picture:
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It doesn't have to look pretty to run fast.

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Post by Shaun41178(2) » Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:45 pm

drop the other motor in. If thts bad at least you can still timesert and new head gaskets on the otehr/current motor

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Post by whipped » Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:06 am

timesert/gasket that ONE head. You can probably do that in a weekend.

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Post by crzyone » Mon Dec 17, 2007 9:52 am

Nice to hear you have your fiero back on the the road.

What is the state of the motor you have been building for your car?

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Post by Series8217 » Mon Dec 17, 2007 2:16 pm

What did you think of that gearset?
In the Getrag I just built, I ended up going with the Fiero 1st and 2nd and the shorter Quad-4 fourth and fifth gears because I found the Quad-4's second was too short up in the canyons.

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Post by The Dark Side of Will » Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:10 pm

I haven't had a chance to wring it out because of the head gasket issue causing it to overheat, but just driving it around, 2nd seemed much more "right there" than I was used to. The shorter 4th should only show benefit at the dragstrip or when racing Corvettes.

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Post by p8ntman442 » Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:15 pm

Looking at the whole picture here is what I would do.

Do the head gasket on that one bank, no timeserts. Run it. That way you can spend the time and money on the real engine, and get a feeling of how that gear set works in real life driving. Then you can make changes to the gear set when the good motor is going in.

oil is cheap enough to add, and you may see bennefits by switching to a different brand. Also, it would do you some good to get some miles under your belt with the car to see how it feels and make a mod list for the next time the engine is out.

ultimatly its your timeline, money and car and only you can decide whats right for your situation. You have the 6000 right, so its not your daily driver and if it goes down just call AAA.
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Post by teamlseep13 » Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:34 pm

Will, I will almost gaurentee that if you pull the heads, you pull at least one thread. From there on you should timesert all of the head bolt holes because you don't want to have to re tear it all down when another thread lets go during tightening.
We never ever time sert just one hole when we pull threads at the dealer, its either 0 or 20.

You should focus on one project at a time. I almost got sidetracked by a 32k mile 1967 Cadillac Deville in cherry condition for 5 grand but I knew I needed to have one project and focus on that.
1988 Pontiac Fiero

Ecotec swap taking much too long...

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Post by The Dark Side of Will » Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:47 pm

crzyone wrote:Nice to hear you have your fiero back on the the road.

What is the state of the motor you have been building for your car?
I'm not sure why it's taken as long as it has, but the shop is supposed to have the 11.5 pistons in the 2nd week of January. I'll have them coated and once the component weights are known, I'll work with the shop to balance the crank by OD material removal rather than drilling (see http://realfierotech.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4522 for details). The crank has already been indexed & ground so pistons, piston coatings and crank balancing *should* be all that's left before I can bring the parts home and assemble.

The block has been time serted in all main and head bolt locations.
The bay-to-bay breathing windows in the bock have been ported.
The block has been align honed, square decked and bore honed to 3.670 (.008 over).
Rings will be Total Seal Diamond Finish with gapless top.
Pistons are CP and will be getting ceramic top & moly skirt coatings.
The pistons are set up .005 in the hole. I'm going to use a .030 MLS gasket from Cometic to target .035 quench. Target redline is 8200.
Rods are Eagle in stock length (5.940).
Bearings are Clevite.

The Northstar rod journal is 2.126. A SBC rod journal is 2.100. The Northstar uses a thinner bearing shell than SBC and the actual bores in the rod only differ by about .001. I'm wondering about the possibility of using 6.000" Chevy rod with custom pistons in future engines. While this won't help cost as the Eagles for the N* are about the same as for a SBC, there will be infinitely more variety in Chevy rods than Northstar rods. Titanium Chevy rods are only about $800 per...
Using Chevy rods will also let me run 7/16 rod bolts and other craziness...

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Post by The Dark Side of Will » Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:55 pm

As far as the current situation goes...

I have complete confidence that I will have to time sert the head bolt holes if I pull the head off.

I do not know if the deck surfaces of the block or head have been damaged. If they have, then I need to swap engines anyway (Or I could just JB Weld the damaged areas and stone the JB down flush with the deck :scratch: :afrocool: ).

I do know that the engine will smoke badly on EVERY coast down within a few thousand miles.

I have pretty much decided to resurrect the dyno mule engine and swap it out for the current engine. After that I'll pull the head off the current engine and see if it's salvageable. If it is, I'll time sert it, put it back together and put it back in the shed with the cylinders full of carb cleaner for a couple of months. Or maybe I'll put it in the basement where it can stay warmer and the carb cleaner should dissolve the carbon more quickly.

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Re: The Mule rides again (sort of) - pics.

Post by The Dark Side of Will » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:42 pm

So I let this thread go for a while... and then remembered that I already had a thread about resurrecting The Mule.

The built Northstar is in and running. It has been since Thanksgiving last year. I'll start a separate build thread on that.

The car is not currently street legal. The current inspection sticker dates from 2002. Fortunately it's the same color as 2010 stickers... I have been working at a glacial pace to get it inspected and finally made some progress last weekend.

What the car needs to pass VA state safety inspection:

Marker lights
Parking brake
Catalysts

These are some of the things that the car needs for DDability:

Smooth trim nose
Front fenders
Front fender liners
Door hinge detent rollers
Quarter windows
Conversion to telescoping column
Steering wheel reskin
Tires
Window seals/dew wipes
VSS connection and filter

The car currently has a grooved trim nose. I will be installing the nose and front fenders from my flipped blue '87 GT onto The Mule. The smooth trim nose will allow me to use the correct market light lenses. I will probably also install the black sideskirts and GFX from my wrecked '86 SE so that the car has fewer than three colors on it. I will install Rodney's door hinge detent rollers when I have the fenders off, as access should be *MUCH* improved then. I also want LED 194's for the market lights. Suggestions for specific brands? Also, what's the best way to clean corrosion out of the terminals on the light sockets?

The parking brake will NOT be easy, but I can probably slip that one by since I know the guy who runs the inspection shop.

Catalysts are not really necessary for safety inspection, but the car should not go for safety inspection while obviously *NOT* having catalysts. I started this thread about rebuilding the exhaust: phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=17372
The car is "officially" garaged at my parents' house out in the sticks in a county where emissions testing is not a requirement.

I already installed 11.25" front brakes: phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=17323

The Northstar is having some strange idle problems. When I was in Pensacola, the car had an idle surge, but rarely stalled. Now it stalls frequently. Watching the tach while it idles shows that the car has "ignition drops" where ignition signal to the tach goes away for a split second but comes back immediately (I really need to watch the scan tool while this is happening...). This is not just tach signal, as the idle speed drops and the ECM tries to keep the engine running with the stall saver routine. It is only successful for ~50% of ignition drops. With the car idling hot, an ignition drop will occur every 10-15 seconds. It also has a stutter when heavily loaded below ~1600 RPM that I attribute to ignition drops. Above 1600, it runs perfectly. Without the ignition drops, it will easily pull from 800 RPM in 5th gear. I'm conjecturing that this behavior is caused by the coil pack getting flaky. I have another coil pack on the shelf to try, and may be able to do that this weekend.

The transmission has the magnetic reluctor VSS in it, but the harness still has the old mechanical VSS connector on it. I haven't looked too hard, but haven't found the right connector to hook up the VSS. When I do that, I'll rewire it away from "the Fiero way" so the ECM gets the VSS signal and drive the Fiero speedometer from the ECM output. That won't be hard once I find the right connector.

What replacement quarter windows are currently on the market?

Who makes the best window seals/dew wipes?

There are a number of factors in my tire decision... I'll lay those out later.

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Re: The Mule rides again (sort of) - pics.

Post by AkursedX » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:12 pm

The Dark Side of Will wrote: What replacement quarter windows are currently on the market?

Who makes the best window seals/dew wipes?

There are a number of factors in my tire decision... I'll lay those out later.
-I have DIY-Stu's dew wipes and they are top notch. I'd recommend those.

-The best 1/4 windows seem to be the one's that the Fierostore is now offering. I forget who originally designed them, but he supplies them for the Fierostore now. I've only seen pics, but they look much better than the flat, sharp-edged repro's that we're originally available.
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Re: The Mule rides again (sort of) - pics.

Post by The Dark Side of Will » Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:43 pm

Cool. Thanks for the info! I knew there had been multiple attempts at 1/4 windows and more than one producer of dew wipes.
The Dark Side of Will wrote:There are a number of factors in my tire decision... I'll lay those out later.
Lunch time concentration fade from work...

Tires:

Car currently has 215/60-16 front on LeBaron 16x6 wheels with 5x100 lug pattern on the front. On the rear it has 255/50-16's on 16x8-25 wheels with 5x115 pattern from an early '90's Grand Prix.
Tires are Firehawk SZ50-EP's. They are excellent tires, but are currently only available in C5 Corvette sizes as run-flats.

I want to swap to the 16x7 wheels from a mid-'90's Bonneville on the front. They have 5x115 pattern. That's not difficult, as I have a pair of Street Dreams lowering knuckles and hubs with the 5x115 pattern. The knuckles give a 2" drop, which is more than I want. I ordered them with that drop so that I could raise the body on the crossmember by 1" in order to reduce the pro-dive in the front suspension and end up with a net 1" drop. Also, because of the bolt pattern change, I'll have to upgrade to 12" LS1 F-body brakes at the same time. I also need to rework the XL UHMW upper control arm bushings I have for the front.

So the idealist in me wants to do all of this at the same time. Spacing the suspension on the body really isn't that hard. I could do the knuckles, brakes, wheels and tires first, then do the crossmember later and just live with a 2" drop for a little while. Now that I lay it out and have spent some time thinking about it, it's not really that hard... I just need to have a lot of parts laid out beforehand.

Based on some initial looks at Tire Rack, my options appear to be limited to Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3's in 205/55-16 and 245/50-16.

Performance tires are getting hard to find in 16" sizes, so wheel upgrades will have to come soon.

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Re: The Mule rides again (sort of) - pics.

Post by AkursedX » Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:16 am

If you want to go a bit cheaper you can go with BF Goodrich G force Sport. That's pretty much the only other choice you have. It would allow you to save up quicker for some larger wheels.
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Re: The Mule rides again (sort of) - pics.

Post by The Dark Side of Will » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:51 am

I had seen those also. They were a TireRack performance category down from the Goodyears, but still an option. Do you know anything about real-world performance comparison between the two?

I got the broken fenders and gooned up nose off The Mule over the weekend and installed Rodney Dickman's door detent rollers. As expected from Rodney, they are a high quality product with a drop-in fit. It is necessary to grind the peening off the bottom end of the original axle, but that's not too hard. Rodney's directions say to remove the hinge from the car and perform the operation on the bench. It can be done on the car by removing the fender and is actually quite easy. I used an electric die grinder, so the operation would take a good bit longer with a dremel. I'm not sure if a 4.5" angle grinder would fit...

Pics to follow when I get my Eeeeeeeeee PC back from the shop.

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Re: The Mule rides again (sort of) - pics.

Post by The Dark Side of Will » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:07 am

The Dark Side of Will wrote:The knuckles give a 2" drop, which is more than I want. I ordered them with that drop so that I could raise the body on the crossmember by 1" in order to reduce the pro-dive in the front suspension and end up with a net 1" drop.
To implement this the way I'm thinking about, I'll need 16 sets of spherical washers. That's one set above and below the crossmember at each of the 8 vertical mounting bolt locations.
I'd love to use stainless, but looking at McMaster-Carr, stainless in the size I need are $19/set. I guess I'll be going with black oxide coated steel at $4/set. That's part number 98148A162 if anyone wants to take a look.

Upon further investigation of the specs, that P/N will support 3 degrees of misalignment. For a 1" lift over the ~12" span of the LCA, I'll end up with about 5 degrees misalignment. I'll have to go up a size... There's a 17/32 size, but the specs page says they only support 2 degrees. Interesting. I'll have to do some actual math to figure out what they really can do, and maybe support that with real measurements of test articles.

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Re: The Mule rides again (sort of) - pics.

Post by Indy » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:23 pm

It looks like that set will support about 3.4 degrees with a centered up M12 bolt, plus or minus a tenth of a degree. My experience with the spherical washers is that there's generally enough bearing surface on the washer to accomodate a greater misalignment, as long as you're using an undersized bolt. In a "proper" application the bolt starts to interfere with the bottom washer at most 1/3 or 1/2 of the way through the angular travel that the set has contact surface for. If you were using an M8 bolt you could easily get away with 10 degrees.

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Re: The Mule rides again (sort of) - pics.

Post by The Dark Side of Will » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:33 am

Or someone with access to kick-ass CAD could model it for me... Thanks! That's why I love this forum.

The next size up in metric is for 16mm bolts and has a 17mm ID on the convex side (98148A170)... a bit big for what I need.
The next size up in English is for 1/2" bolts and has a 17/32 ID on the male side (91131A070). 17/32 = 0.531, while 13mm of the first set (98148A162) is 0.511... probably not a big enough step up.

Am I going to have to individually bore the concave washers? I have access to a lathe, so it won't actually be that hard, just annoying...
OTOH, I could use the 16mm set unmodified and turn "tophat washers" to keep the bolt centered in the convex washer with the load properly distributed, but that's a lot more work.

One interesting thing to note is that the English sets are cut on a 1 1/2" radius (38mm), while the metric sets are cut on a 17mm radius... With the same relationships among the hole sizes, the metric sets should be able to tolerate greater angularity.

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Re: The Mule rides again (sort of) - pics.

Post by The Dark Side of Will » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:26 am


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