Just today, someone suggested that the Fiero’s overheating problem is probably the head gasket. If that is the case, there are only two options if I wish to keep the car. First, I could shell out $600 to have the head gasket replaced. Second, I could try adding a liquid sealer to the cooling system in hopes of stopping the leak. But do these sealers actually work? One Youtube mechanic says that he has had 80% success with a product called K&W Engine Block Sealer. Here are his thoughts:
Note how he ends his video. Sealing the head gasket leak is only part of the solution. The other part is finding out what made the engine overheat and eventually rupture the head gasket. He suggests that common problems include a clogged radiator (which flushing will not fix) or a non-working radiator fan. What he says makes sense and would certainly be less expensive than the other option.
As a follow up to yesterday’s article about Fiero replacement wheels, I visited Great Lakes Auto Recycling in Perry, Ohio. They made things easy as all the rims and tires were conveniently stored and organized by size in a poll building near the front of the property. With my list in hand and an aesthetic look in mind, I located two wheel/tire combos that looked pretty good.
The first picture is from a Pontiac Grand Am. They probably wouldn’t fit but they looked pretty good next to the car. The second set was from a Chrysler Sebring. I kinda liked the Sebring rims. Which style do you think looks better?
I did not end up replacing the wheels today. But it was good to see how different sizes looked next to the wheel well of the Fiero. Specs are nice to have but seeing the actual thing in person makes a big difference. I think the Sebring wheels were the biggest I would try on this little car. The slightly larger Pontiac rims would probably have rubbed on the wheel well.
Remember when the 15″ tires on Classic SAAB 900s looked huge? They were huge because normal cars came with 13″ tires. But it’s not like that anymore. Now that 16″ tires are the new norm for Honda Civics, it is more difficult to find 14″ tires for cars like my 1984 Pontiac Fiero. Even TireRack.com (which usually carries a huge selection) offers only one choice in the size 215/60 R14. With that in mind, I have begun to wonder about future pricing and availability of non-normal tire sizes for this car. Perhaps finding some used 15″ or 16″ wheels would be a better solution with more options for the future. But what rims can replace my 1984 Pontiac Fiero wheels?
As you may know, it takes more than the same bolt pattern to fit wheels on a car. You also need to consider the wheel’s bore size (the hole in the middle of the wheel) and offset (the distance from the inside mounting plate to the inside edge of the rim). So, if you can find a car with similar specs, this might just work.
Fiero Wheel Specs
A quick Google search will provide you with a variety of ideas. However, all ideas are not equal. Be careful what advice you follow. Even the answers on some Fiero forums are a bit suspect. The best information I found was at Wheelfitment.eu. Although they include some European only models, they list a number of North American models that match exactly. Here are the best options that have the exact bolt pattern, bore, and offset sizes:
New Beetle 16″
There are a couple of vehicles that come very close to the specs. If you don’t mind an offset of 40 instead of 42, try these wheels at your own risk:
Almost Perfect Matches
Passat B4 VR6
One other thing needs to be mentioned. If you are going to search the junk yard for a used wheel and tire combo, you need to consider whether the existing tire will fit inside the wheel well without rubbing. Thankfully, Tiresize.com makes things easy with a Tire Size Comparison Calculator. This tool will keep you from making some bad decisions.
The Fiero is still not in perfect working order, but it is a fun car to drive around town. Last Saturday, I dropped my son off for his Cross Country meet and one of the team members asked what kind of car it was. “It’s a Pontiac Fiero.” His reply was humorous. “Oh … I thought it was a Ferrari.”
Monday morning, I rushed over to the chiropractor for an early morning adjustment only to find that I was an hour early. McDonald’s was just down the street, so I pulled in and waited there. Seeing this little Beetle was a treat for me. When I was growing up, they were everywhere but not so much anymore.
On the way home, I visited with a friend at Leikin Motor Companies who told me about the new Mercedes-Benz minivan. It is a RWD model with the 208 hp 4-cylinder from the CLA-Class. It is supposed to be a commercial vehicle but it does come in a window van version. I’m just wondering how a RWD van will do in northeastern Ohio.
Believe it or not, it was warm earlier this week. I had the top down on the SAAB when I pulled in next to this vehicle at the Mentor Public Library. If you are not familiar, it is a CAN-AM. Most people say they handle much better than the three-wheeled motorcycles of the past. I’ve never driven one, but it sure does have an appealing look to it.
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.