Restoration Tip

Are you restoring a Fiero or other car?If your restoration project has you using the original or used radiator that is dull or worn in appearance, you might want to repaint it.Repainting a radiator is not something to be done carelessly though because typical spray paints go on too heavy.There is a product made specifically for painting automotive radiators.It is called Radiator Black and is manufactured by the Eastwood Company.It is only available in gloss black, but it reproduces the OEM appearance of the radiator.Since it is formulated for refinishing radiators, it is very light weight so that it won�t clog the cooling coils or trap heat resulting in overheating.It is somewhat difficult to use without practice due to its low viscosity and tendency to create drips and runs.Practice on scrap pieces to develop a light spraying technique that will reproduce factory results.(Source:Old Cars Weekly News And Marketplace)

Overlooked Maintenance

We all perform the typical maintenance such as checking and changing fluids, keeping tires properly inflated, replacing the battery, performing tune-ups, and repairing brakes (right?�RIGHT?�).Well two of the most overlooked maintenance items that can cause a world of headaches when they fail are belts and hoses.Do you know the last time you replaced the belts and hoses on your Fiero?Do you know how often they are to be changed?You really should know because when a belt or hose fails it will result in a costly tow or worse, engine failure.

When was the last time you heard someone complain about a belt or hose failing?Truth be known, belts and hoses have become very durable.Up until the 1930�s, most cars had one belt that drove the fan, water pump and electrical generator if present.From the 1950�s through the 80�s the number of drive belts kept increasing as more and more accessories were added to modern cars.Some vehicles had as many as four belts.The drive belts on our Fieros power the water pump, the alternator, and the air conditioning compressor on both the 2.5L and the 2.8L.The Owners Manual recommends they be checked at every oil change (3,000 miles) and replaced as needed.Worn or improperly adjusted belts have been found on one out of four modern vehicles inspected during National Car Care Month.Inspection includes checking the tension and looking for cracks, glazed areas, frayed sections and even missing pieces.

The Haynes Manual states the recommended belt tension (using a Burroughs Gauge) for new and used belts, but a more realistic method is measuring the belt for deflection.If the distance between pulleys is 7 to 11-inches, the belt should deflect a �-inch when a firm pressure is applied at the midpoint between the pulleys.The belt should deflect a �-inch for pulleys 12 to 16-inches apart.Any visible defects such as cracking or fraying indicate the need for a new belt.Glazing results in belts that are too loose and slipping.A failed belt will result in loss of component use and will likely leave you stranded � usually at the most inopportune time!

Cooling system hoses can also cause headaches and heartaches if loss of coolant results in damage to your engine.Since the radiator is located in the front of the Fiero and the engine is midship, the coolant must travel via hoses and pipes the length of the car.Hoses from the radiator to the coolant pipes located along each rocker panel carry the Coolant.At the rear of the car, hoses once again are employed to carry coolant from the rocker panel pipes to the engine.

There are up to a total of five hoses in the Fiero; two up front and up to three in the engine compartment. The Haynes Manual recommends checking hoses by visual inspection and feeling the hoses.A hose can fail by becoming dry, hard, and brittle resulting in cracking or a failure to seal.Tightening the hose clamp will not accomplish an effective seal.The hoses can also become soft indicating deterioration that can contaminate the cooling system or a spongy and swollen hose from oil or grease contamination.Burned or chafed areas can also result in failures.Hoses are most likely going to fail where they are connected to a flange with a hose clamp unless mechanical damage such as a cut results in a failure away from the clamp.Hoses should be checked periodically and changed as needed when a failure is imminent.Chances are you won�t be changing hoses too often, but checking them will give you ample warning of eventual failure.A word of caution in removing hoses: avoid scratching or marring the metal surface or the pipes where the hoses fit over.Such damage will prevent a leak-proof connection.Hoses that carry coolant can become bonded to the metal pipes.If the hose will be replaced, you can make a cut along the hose and peel it from the pipe.If the hose will be reused, grasp the hose beyond the end of the pipe and after removing the hose clamp, twist the hose in each direction working it back and forth until it slides off the pipe.Failure of a hose can result in overheating of the engine and shortened automatic transmission life.Hose failure will leave you stranded if it occurs on the road.(Sources:Haynes Manual, Fiero 1985 Do-It-Yourself Manual, Old Car News And Weekly Marketplace)


Tire Checking

With all of the news of tire failures this past year, many of us are giving our tires more attention; that is, more than conditioning them so that they look great on the show car field.Tires affect the way the car steers, starts, stops, handles, changes direction, sounds, and feels as well as the way it looks.The only real regular maintenance is monitoring air pressure and replacing worn tires.And improperly inflated tires, either too high or too low, will contribute to premature tire wear.

Most often, tires are under inflated.One result of under-inflation that isn�t talked about much is the fact that your car�s engine must work that much harder to move the vehicle.Think about riding a bicycle with low tires.The increased rolling resistance means more energy must be used and more work done for the same result.This equates to lower fuel economy and increased engine wear.

Under-inflation also causes premature tire wear due to the tire not remaining in contact with the pavement properly and increased heat build-up. And under or over-inflated tires can have an adverse, and even dangerous effect on the manner in which the car steers, stops, and handles.Keep in mind that tires lose air at a rate of about one pound per month.This is especially important to those of us who store our Fieros for extended periods.Add to this the fact that cold temperatures, temperatures that occur when most of us store our Fieros, can contribute a one-pound loss for each ten-degree temperature decrease. Your tires could be seriously under inflated.

Other factors to consider are deteriorated or damaged valve stems and loss of seal at the bead, particularly with aluminum and alloy wheels.It is not uncommon for cars with alloy wheels that are not driven frequently to lose the seal at the bead.These tires can be remounted without future problems.

One other thought regarding tires.Many of us purchase more tire than we absolutely need.If you are attempting to achieve a specific appearance, you may want to buy more tire than you need.If you only drive your Fiero a couple of thousand (hundred?) miles annually, you may be satisfied with a high-performance tire with a low tread wear rating.However, I recently had to replace tires on one of my other cars after two years and twenty thousand miles!The OEM tires were very nice.They had very high speed and traction ratings, but had a terrible tread wear rating.The reason for replacement was that the belts were slipping resulting in asymmetrical wear creating an excessively worn shoulder.This, I was told by Discount Tire, is not uncommon with the tires my car was equipped with.Needless to say, in the case of this car, which is a sports sedan, I purchased tires with characteristics that did not exceed our driving needs.The replacement tires have a comparable speed rating, lower traction rating and a higher tread wear rating.For the type of driving we do in this car, I bought tires more suited to our needs. (Source:Old Car News And Weekly Marketplace)

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