The Key to Not Getting Locked Out


In the past year, I have had difficulty gaining access to the engine and trunk of my 13 year old Fiero.If I spent enough time jiggling the key in the lock, I could eventually get it opened.However, I could foresee the day that no amount of jiggling would get that lock open.The problem was that after all these years, the lock in the deck lid of the car was worn.You can imagine how often that lock was used in the last 13 years?The fact that it was so loose was worrisome also.

The solution was to replace the lock cylinder.My concern was having a new lock in which I couldn't use my existing door lock key.As it turns out, my concerns were unfounded.Currie Motors Pontiac in Elgin, IL was able to replace the worn lock cylinder with a new one that they coded to use my original key.Interestingly, they code the cylinder to the key and not to the key knock-outs which I had supplied to them.So it doesn't matter if you have the original knock-outs, you can still get new cylinders that allow the use of your existing keys.

The job doesn't take long, however it isn't necessarily cheap.The part lists for $13.50.Currie Motors sold it to me for $10.80.The cost of the replacement, however, cost $79.50.Currie doesn't discount work that is less than $100.00, so there was no savings to be had.

Door lock cylinders can also be replaced and coded to use the original key.This job is slightly more costly due to having to remove the interior door panel.This job would cost approximately $125.00.A word about coding locks.There are about sixty different pins that can be used to adjust the tumblers to code a lock.This can be done by you if you have access to the sixty pins.You could buy a lock kit, however, purchasing the kit may cost more than simply paying a dealer to perform the work.

Now that my deck lid lock is working again, I can change the oil, perform maintenance and resume covering my Fiero.Hopefully I won't have to replace that again for another 13 2011.


Corrosion Never Sleeps Either

Due to the Fiero being a mid-engine layout with the radiator in the front of the car for maximum cooling efficiency, there must be a means to transport the coolant between the engine and the radiator.That means is accomplished with two coolant tubes.These tubes, which are a stainless steel alloy, run along each side of the car directly behind the rocker panels.The tube on the left (driverís side) is the return coolant tube coming from the cylinder head and the tube on the right (passengerís side) is the supply coolant tube going to the water pump.

As our Fieros age, leaks can develop in these tubes at the locations of the clamps that hold the tubes in place.Each tube has a front and rear bracket.These brackets are both located behind the rocker panel in the area of the door; one on each side is located at the jacking point of the rocker and the front brackets are located near the front of the doors.Due to the accumulation of dirt, salt, water, and snow, the brackets become corroded.Since these are fabricated of mild steel, the steel expands as it corrodes.Generally you will see the tubes to be in good condition while the brackets are badly corroded.What is occurring between the bracket and the tube is corrosion and a force being exerted on the tube as the bracket expands.These are dissimilar metals in contact, but since the relative mass of the parts is small, the cell which exists between the dissimilar metals in the presence of moisture will cause a small increase in the corrosion of the stainless alloy.

If the brackets on your car have sufficient section loss to cause possible failure, or if the bracket(s) have already failed, or if your need to remove the brackets for some other reason, you should probably repair or replace the brackets.If you are removing the coolant tubes, remove all corrosion and clean the isolation pads.If the brackets are in good condition, they should be cleaned and coated with a zinc-rich paint to prevent corrosion.The paint will act as a sufficient isolator between the dissimilar metals.When painting metal to prevent corrosion, pay particular attention to edges, corners (especially inside corners) and openings in the piece.When the screw or fastener is reinserted it will remove some of the coating within the opening.Try to touch up the area once the fastener is in place.

If you plan on replacing the brackets, you will need to find a good set of used ones (not very likely) or you can fabricate a hanging fixture yourselfbecause the rear brackets are no longer available from Pontiac. However, here are the parts you will need to do a replacement that are still available:

 - Front bracket #10035639 ($5.29)

- Rear Isolation pad #10029873 ($0.35 each)

- Front Isolation pads have been discontinued.Use the Rear Isolation Pads

- Bolts #12337828 ($0.20 each)

- Clip Nuts #11509582 ($0.20)

To replace all of the brackets, you will need two front brackets, two rear brackets, and six isolation pads (eachrear bracket will require two front pads).You will need six bolts and six clip nuts.Aword about fasteners.If you are going through the trouble of replacing a part, it is a good idea to replace the fasteners (nuts and washers, too) at the same time.These pieces do not cost much and can make the job easier and the results more aesthetically pleasing.Even if it is on the underside.(Source:Paul Vargyas)


The Dirty Little Modification

The V6 "Exhaust Manifold and Breather Reroute" recall may have created an adverse condition depending on how the work was performed.The result of this work is often dirty air bypassing the air filter.The problem arises due to the inlet plug at the air cleaner housing not being installed at the time the recall work was performed.It doesn't matter where the plug is installed, as long as it was installed.Some technicians installed the plug on the steel tube running along the firewall by the valve cover.Others removed the rubber hose between the steel tube and the air filter canister and inserted the plug on the filter canister. Either of these is fine.

If you have an '85 or early '86 V6, the metal air filter housing does not have an opening due to the metal tube being routed directly into the rubber inlet tube instead of the metal air filter canister.This situation is fine and there is no concern of dirty air entering.

Ron Dittmer prefers the plug on the filter canister so the canister can be easily removed.A foam rubber ring seal exists between the filter canister and the mounting plate which needs to be serviced.If that seal is deteriorated, and they do deteriorate, your engine will draw hot air from inside the engine bay rather than cool air from outside the car.Ron recommends that every V6 owner remove the air filter canister, install the recall plug if necessary, clean the mounting plate and replace the foam seal.

Ron has gone one (optional) step further by removing the left over steel air tube running beside the firewall.The smaller tube that extends from the EGR solenoid to the dirty side of the air filter canister is cut such that only one mounting flange and approximately 6 inches of tube remains.This doesn't cause a problem since the small EGR solenoid tube uses non-filtered air.The tube is bent around a small diameter object for a uniform bend so that is faces down.Facing the tube downward prevent water and dirt from accumulating in the tube.The tube is then reinstalled in its original location resulting in a more convenient and better looking installation.(Source:Ron Dittmer)


Something New For Custom Fieros

PPG recently introduced an iridescent-like specialty paint finish called Prizmatique.Designated as DX 78, the new paint creates a holographic effect that glows and changes colors depending on the light source and viewing angle.Prizmatique color selector contains 24 different basecoat and tricoat formulations.The colors most apparent in Prizmatique are violet, deep blue, green, gold, and red, all with a slightly neon touch.Prizmatique color selectors are available through you local PPG distributor or by writing to PPG color library, 19699 Progress Dr., Strongville, OH 44136.(Source:Old Cars Weekly News & Marketplace)


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