1984 Pontiac Fiero: overheats at stop lights

Backyard Mechanic

My 1984 Pontiac Fiero overheated this summer and wouldn’t restart. The diagnosis at the time was that it needed a head gasket. After towing it home, it sat in the driveway until the battery went dead. Then in an attempt to either fix or sell it, I had it towed to a mechanic who got it running again. The car doesn’t overheat … very often. So, it would seem that the problem is not the head gasket but something else. The thermostat has been replaced already so that is probably not the problem. I assume that it is either the water pump or a plugged radiator.


Apparently, other people have had similar problems with the 2.5L Iron Duke four-cylinder engine. The first Google listing for overheating Fiero sent me to an online tractor forum. Go figure that one out. The suggestions were anywhere from ignorant to helpful with many others in between. I include the link below for your perusal.


Grandpa Grimes and the Buick Park Avenue

gpa-85-park-ave-1When my grandfather retired from the Erie-Lackawanna railroad, he purchased a new 1985 Buick Park Avenue. It was a nice vehicle with a clam shell hood hinged at the front much like the Classic SAAB 900. I always thought it was a neat vehicle just because of that. Apparently the hood was designed to push back and cover the windshield in the event of a head on collision. Grandpa wasn’t the typical Buick owner though. He kept the car for almost twenty years and knew it inside and out. He bought the shop manuals so he could tell the mechanics what to do instead of asking what the problems were. At one point he diagnosed a faulty fuel injector and told the mechanics which one to replace. Knowledge is power.

Grandpa’s Park Avenue was the 6th generation of the Buick Electra Park Avenue which was built from 1985 to 1990. As you might expect, grandpa opted for the fuel-injected 3.8L V6. According to one reference, it came with 140 hp and 200 lb ft of torque. At optimal performance, it could get 27 mpg on the highway. That’s where the sequential fuel-injection made a big difference as a carbureted Fiero 4-cylinder was rated at only 29 mpg. That’s pretty good for a V6 of that era.


Better than the car are my memories of grandpa. He was always trying to teach us how things worked or was showing us something in his basement workshop. Now that was one of my childhood wonders of the world! Grandpa had sectioned off the basement into four rooms. The first was a storage area with a refrigerator. The second was a place for bonsai plants, exercise machine, and the Magnavox Odyssey game system (with speech cartridge!) for us kids. The third was the laundry room. And the forth was his workshop. The workshop was always in perfect order, as I recall. He had a little of everything including a switch on the door that turned on the light when you walked in.

gpas car

It has been a while since my last visit to Grandpa’s house in Meadville PA. He has since passed on to Jesus. But I will always have good memories of visiting with him and his ability to fix anything.

QOTD #58: How good is your gas mileage?

Whenever I buy a new car, I like to see what kind of gas mileage I get. If the car has a trip computer that makes the test easier. But I still like to write down the miles on the odometer and fill up the tank to get an accurate reading. I have yet to do that with my latest acquisitions. The 1984 Pontiac Fiero is not running at the moment but is supposed to get anywhere from 29-32 mpg hwy with the automatic transmission. The manual transmission is supposed to get as much as 40 mpg. Wouldn’t that be nice?

MPG 84 Fiero 2

The one that may be an issue is the 2002 Mercedes-Benz ML320. Fuelly.com says that four owners tracked their mileage and averaged 17.1 mpg. Apparently, the combination of AWD and a 215 hp V6 will have me visiting the gas station more often than not. Thankfully, most of my drive to work has a 45 mph speed limit. So, maybe it won’t be too bad.

MPG 02 ML320

All this makes me curious about your experience. How good is your gas mileage? Are you one of these people who coast as far as you can to save money? My uncle does that. Or are you the type that doesn’t care? As long as the car performs as it should, you don’t care what it costs. Let me know in the comment section below.

What’s the Scoop? — 7/27/2015



Last week was a bit of a roller coaster for me. As of Wednesday night, I had not sold any cars and it wasn’t looking good. I asked our pastor to pray for me and the small group who met for prayer meeting Wednesday night prayed as well. Thursday was slow as well with no sales until 7 pm. I sold a car then and two more on Friday! As a Christian, I am glad to recognize God’s help in answer to our prayers.

1984 Pontiac Fiero

Not every lesson learned is a happy one. I sold the Jaguar and purchased this 1984 Pontiac Fiero 2M4. I enjoyed the car for a few days until the head gasket blew Saturday. Thankfully our mechanic was on duty and diagnosed the problem for me. I am still unsure whether fixing the head gasket would really fix the problem. It would probably be better to replace the whole engine. Thankfully, a friend from church is willing to haul the car back to our driveway. We shall see what transpires after that.


The replacement for the Jaguar is a 2002 Mercedes-Benz ML320. It is a nice little vehicle with leather seats, Bluetooth, and working A/C. The latter two are something I’ve not had in my personal vehicle in a long time. Yesterday, we drove the ML to church in Windsor and enjoyed the ride through the country. The vehicle comes with a 215 hp 3.2L V6 and AWD. Both will help during the wintry months in northeast Ohio. As in all things, I’m thankful to God and several people who helped to make this possible.