Another Vendor

      I have another vendor to recommend for body work.  I recently had to have my Jeep Grand Cherokee repaired after it was rear-ended.  The local Jeep dealer farms all of its body work out to America's Auto Body in Schaumburg.  America's is also the shop that does all of the body work for the Motor Werks dealer (these are the guys who sell all the high end imports; BMW, Mercedes, Saab, Volvo, Audi).  Not only was I extremely pleased with the repair work performed on my Jeep, but America's is the most professional shop I've ever visited.  The people are professional, the office looks like an office with nice furnishings, and the shop is well lit, clean and orderly.  America's Auto Body is located at 810 Lunt Avenue and is a participating member of the Automotive Customer Relations Bureau.  The repairs carry a lifetime written warranty.  President Jerry Watton says America's Auto Body has worked on Fieros and will be willing to work on Fieros in the future.  America's can be reached at (847)985-3760 - ask for Jerry Wattron.


Going to Ground

      All cars are equipped with several small braided ground straps.  Often, electrical gremlins turn out to be poor grounds.  An example of a braided ground strap can be seen leading from the negative battery cable to the right deck lid hinge mount.   If these become covered with dirt and grease, or if the connections are corroded or loose, you could have a bad ground which will cause electrical problems. A build up of dirt and grease can increase the resistance along these grounding straps.   These straps can be cleaned using carburetor cleaner and a stiff brush.  If the straps are broken or frayed they should be replaced.  During replacement, clean all contact areas to assure a good ground.

      "All electrical circuits are basically electricity running from the battery, through the wires, switches, relays, fuses and fusible links to each electrical component and back to ground, from which it is passed back to the battery.  Any interruption in the flow of electricity to and from the battery can cause an electrical problem."  (Haynes Manual)


Speaker Noise

      Speaking of bad grounds...if you are experiencing constant or intermittent static from you radio speakers, particularly static that rises and falls with your engines rpm's, the first place to look is the ground.  The radio needs to be grounded or shielded from all of the electrical impulses traveling around the engine.  The radios in our Fieros are shielded with a static shield mounted to the underside of the deck lid.  It looks like a thin metal plate painted to match the underside of the deck lid and mounted in the center forward portion of the lid.  Off to the front left side is a small deformation to which a metal clip with a black wire is attached.  That metal plate is your radio's static shield and the clip is the lead from the radio.  If you are experiencing static problems, remove that clip from the static shield (while it remains connected to the wire) and clean the interior surfaces using a fine sand paper.  If you are concerned about its appearance, clean the exterior surfaces too.  The condition of that clip on my car was very corroded.  You can find ground distribution diagrams in the back of the Haynes Manual.


Plastic Cars Do Rust

       Rust in the area of the trunk of Fieros has been discussed here before.  Sometimes the steel behind the trunk carpet is corroding without any indication that the deterioration is occurring.  Sometimes, however, there is an indication; we just need to pay attention and ask ourselves the correct questions.  Questions like, "Why is this carpet wet?", or "How is this water getting into the trunk?".

      As discussed in previous columns, you should pull back the trunk carpet to inspect the metal.  You could also remove the plastic wheel well liners to observe the other side of the steel trunk well.  If the steel is corroded, you should repair it accordingly.  If the corrosion is mild, clean the area to remove the existing corrosion and paint the area with a zinc rich paint.  If holes exist in the steel, the weak, corroded material should be cut away, the steel cleaned of corrosion, and a piece of sheet metal welded into place.  The repair should be painted with a zinc rich paint to prevent further corrosion. 

     Al Wagner has this additional step, which may be a good preventative measure, even if your Fiero does not contain corrosion in the trunk area.  The water and debris are able to reach the steel of the trunk well through the splices or lap joints in the plastic wheel well liner, as well as at openings and at the perimeter of the pieces.  Plastic wheel well liners are a very good idea.  Manufactures began installing them in the '70's in an effort to reduce rust-through of fenders and quarter panels.  However, wheel well liners are more effective if they are monolithic; that is, one piece without openings.  The wheel well liners in the rear wheel wells of our Fieros are fabricated out of two pieces of plastic which contain slotted holes for fasteners and an opening for the suspension.  These plastic parts fit relatively snuggly against the steel of the trunk well, but there is a gap between the two.  That gap is where moisture and debris collect.  Al's suggestion is to remove the wheel well liners and install a bead of plumbers putty along the edge of the plastic liner parts.  Fastener openings could also be covered to reduce the quantity of water even further.  If you do install this type of seal, DO NOT install is along the lower edges.  You can be guaranteed that moisture will still collect in the gap no matter how well you seal the liners and you want to provide a way for the water to run out.  Since gravity still pulls towards the earth's surface, leave the bottom open to allow the water to weep out.  This may prevent some of the more pampered Fieros from developing corrosion in the trunk area and it will contribute to the arrest of further corrosion in our daily drivers.  (Source: Al Wagner)

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