A Plug for Draining Coolant

Many Fiero owners perform maintenance on their cars themselves.The biggest problem many of us face is not having the proper tools or work environment for performing the work.Also, due to the increasing age of our Fieros, the simplest maintenance job isnít always easily performed.When we encounter a problem, solving the problem is as big of a job as performing the maintenance in the first place.Ron Dittmer encountered just such a problem when he attempted to replace the coolant.

Due to our Fieros having a mid-engine placement with the radiator in the front of the car, it is necessary to move the coolant from the radiator at the front to the engine near the rear.This task is accomplished by using two coolant pipes that run along the rocker panels of the car.These pipes are equipped with drains, located at the rear of each pipe immediately in front of the rear tires, which have metal plugs with outside threads and an interior hex-head for use with an Allen wrench.While attempting to remove one of the plugs, Ron stripped the hex-head.In order to remove the plug, a hole was drilled partially into the head (but not completely through the plug, to prevent introducing metal shavings into the coolant system).An ďeasy-outĒ tool was used to extract the plug.ďEasy-outĒ tools are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at any store with a good selection of tools.

Replacement plugs are available at plumbing supply stores and auto parts stores.The plugs are available in various materials and plugs with the interior hex-head for Allen wrenches are available as well as projecting hex-heads for use with standard sockets.Ron installed a brass plug with the projecting head.

It should be noted that you do not need to remove the coolant pipe drain plugs to drain the coolant from your Fiero.You can completely drain and flush the coolant system using the petcock located on the radiator.The petcock is located at the left lower corner on the back side of the radiator.Be aware that when draining the coolant from the radiator petcock, the coolant will spill onto the air dam of your Fiero if some sort of funnel isnít used to direct the coolant from the valve to a container.

Enjoying Quiet Sunny Days

I love sunroofs in cars.For the majority of the time Iíve owned my Fiero, Iíve used the sunroof in either the closed position or removed and stowed.I never use it in the popped up position as was intended by the designers.The reason is that in the popped up position, it rattles.Iíve decided that the reason was the tolerance between the metal horizontal pins connected to the glass and the U-shaped retainers that these pins fit into.I came to the decision because when driving with the roof open, I can eliminate the rattling by applying a slight amount of pressure to the latching mechanism.

In an attempt to stop the noise, Iíve tried coatings, grommets, and shrink tubing applied to these pins.Coatings do not stick or wear off and it is impossible to apply the correct amount.Grommets wear out quickly and shrink tubing wonít stay in place.I finally gave up on trying to find a solution.

While looking through hard copies of information that Paul Vargyas pulled from the Internet, I found a solution suggested by NIFE Member Ron Dittmer.Apparently the sunroof on Ronís car also rattled and would slam shut when negotiating a bump in the road.Ron suggests the following two solutions, assuming of course that the roof hasnít been damaged and that the plastic seats at the front of the sunroof are in place.

First, unfasten the two Phillips screws in the roof behind the latch to remove the metal cover.Two hex nuts will be visible once the cover is removed.Tighten but donít over-tighten these two hex nuts.This will eliminate some or all of the rattling.

The second solution is to replace the latch that is connected to the rear edge at the midpoint of the glass.These pieces may still be available from Pontiac and should cost about $15.

Tricks of the Trade

Have you ever had the need to remove the wiper arms of your Fiero, possibly to replace the windshield or remove the plastic screen below the windshield?There is a trick to making wiper arm removal easy.Lift the wiper arm away from the windshield until the little holes in the arm near the base, aligns with the little holes in the base.Insert a small nail through the holes so that it passes through both the arm and the base.This will keep the arm suspended above the windshield.Gently rock the arm back and forth while exerting a small amount of pressure away from the windshield.This careful movement of the arm will allow you to remove the wiper arms without using tools that could mark the paint or damage the plastic piece at the base of the windshield and without dismantling the wiper arm assembly.(Source:Ron Dittmer)