General Information

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  • Removal

    Engine removal is a pretty complicated process. There are actually many ways for it to be accomplished. Some people have told me that you have to take the engine out the bottom along with the transaxle and cradle. Others have said that it's possible to take the four-cylinder engine out the top, but not the V6. Still others have said it is possible to take the V6 out the top, but not the four-cylinder. I think the main difference are the facilities and tools you have available to do the job.

    I removed the engine out the bottom with the transaxle and cradle attached. We used two floor jacks, one under each side of the car to lift it up, and a pallet that we put furniture-moving wheels on to drop the cradle on to move it out from under the car.

    Basically, you just have to remove everything holding the engine to the car: the wiring, the A/C Compressor hoses (if you have one), and where the wheels connect to the suspension. The entire engine/transaxle, and exhaust is all one assembly.

    I just did it for the second time, and through hints and tips from other Fiero owners, and my previous experience, found it MUCH easier and faster than the first time. This is how I did it:

    1. First, relieve the fuel system pressure.
    2. Remove the rear decklid before you start disconnecting everything. It is MUCH easier to reach the things on the front side of the engine (and firewall) with the decklid off, and only takes a couple of minutes (although a second person helps) to get off. Just make sure you scribe around the bolts so you can get it lined up correctly.
    3. Remove the battery, air cleaner, power brake booster vacuum line, the vacuum lines to the cruise/charcoal canister, etc. Also if you have a V6, remove the "fresh air" line to the EGR solenoid, or just remove the whole solenoid.
    4. Disconnect the shift(er) cables from the transaxle, and if you have a manual, remove the clutch slave cylinder from the engine, and hang it on something (no need to open the hydraulic system).
    5. Last time, I disconnected all of the wiring from the sensors and labelled them. This took a considerable amount of time. This time, I pulled the center console off, removed the ECM and disconnected the wiring harness from it. Then I just pulled the wiring harness through the firewall and wrapped it around the engine. The other harness from the junction block near the battery (on all 85-88 models) can be disconnected from the junction block with a couple of sockets/wrenches. This was MUCH easier and quicker than disconnecting all of the wires from every sensor. If you are doing this to do major work on the engine, though, you probably may as well just go ahead and disconnect and label everything now.
    6. Drain the cooling system, and remove (at least one end of) all of coolant hoses connecting to the engine. I found them easier to remove at the pipes on the bottom of the car. The heater hoses, I found easier to remove at the water pump (especially the front-most one). If you have an automatic transaxle, you will have to disconnect its cooling lines as well.
    7. Disconnect the fuel lines. I find this easiest to do at the fittings which are about halfway up the engine compartment, between the engine and battery. I disconnected the lines where they meet the fuel tank first, to drain the remaining fuel from the lines (there will still be quite a bit, even after relieving the pressure from the system.)...it's much easier to catch the fuel without getting it all over everything there, than it is in the middle of the engine compartment. Also, make sure you catch the gasoline in a metal can (or similar), don't use a plastic or styrofoam cup, or you might find your container will dissolve on you. :)
    8. If you have A/C, a word about the A/C Compressor. If you disconnect your hoses, you will lose all your freon (assuming you have any) which would probably be expensive to replace (as well as being something you're not supposed to do anyway...bad for the environment). What I did, was to remove the A/C compressor from the engine and it's bracket (which was broken anyway) and to use a piece of rope, wrapped around it and tied to the passenger-side decklid support, to hold it as close as possible to the firewall to keep it out of the way when dropping the engine. It worked pretty well, just have someone keep an eye on it while you're dropping the engine (and putting it back in) so it doesn't get caught on anything. You wouldn't want to damage those expensive A/C lines...
    9. Last time I did this, I removed the brake calipers, tied them up to the springs, and disconnected the rear knuckle. The struts/springs, and calipers stayed with the car. If you do this, you must scribe marks on the knuckle, or else your alignment will be off, and you will need to get the rear end re-aligned. (Probably a good idea anyway.) This time, I just removed the three nuts at the top of the strut towers which hold the entire rear suspension to the frame, and removed the hydraulic brake lines (and tied them up to the hole where the strut goes through, after the cradle was out). Yes, you will need to bleed the brakes when putting things back together, and you will need to keep an eye on the struts when putting the engine back in (there isn't much free room for movement around them), but it was definately easier and quicker than the other way. Note that you will need to disconnect the main parking brake cable from the other two which connect to the calipers, no matter which way you do it.
    10. Lower the rear end of the car, so that the cradle rests on something you can set the engine on, preferably with wheels. (We used a pallet with furniture moving wheels added to the bottom for mine), then remove the four bolts holding the cradle to the frame.
    11. Raise the car, watch out for anything getting caught as you raise it. Seeing as how we didn't have one of those power-car-lift things a mechanic has, we had two floor jacks under each side of the car just in front of where the pallet was. This took three people - one on each side of the car to jack it up (together, so the car stayed level), and one in the back to make sure nothing in the engine bay got caught on anything.
    12. Remove the bolts that connect the engine to the transaxle, and you can lift the engine from the cradle/transaxle assembly.

    From: Sketch

    It's easy, heh,heh. Here's engine removal in a nutshell. The idea is to get the body up in the air enough to clear the intake plenium and struts. I use an engine crane to lift the body. Two hook jigs I've made up poke thru the strut holes and provide the lift points for the sling. A rolling angle iron cradle that neatly fits between the legs of the crane recieves the cradle as its lowered. Improvise as required. The harness comes out with the engine.


    1. Two ECM & one harness connector in the consol. Remove clip and pass left harness (right one remains) with connectors out into the engine bay from inside.
    2. Battery. Left side body-engine connector (1/4" bolt,yes 1/4) near battery
    3. Decklid. Not really necessary, but sure makes life easier!
    4. R groundstrap @ R decklid hinge & ground wire on L near O2 sensor
    5. All fuel, heater A/C, radiator, trans cooler, linkages.
    6. Both calipers. Don't forget the 13mm hose bolt on strut. Parking brake cable.
    7. 3 strut nuts on top (actually there's 4). Dogbone.
    8. R motor mount (2 nuts)
    9. Front two cradle bolts
    10. The vehicle is lowered so the two cradle crossmembers rest on the rolling jig.
    11. Rear two cradle bolts.
    12. Raise the body to clear the engine & struts. Block body. Remove crane. Rollout dolly & cradle. Remove engine with transaxle attached to cradle.

    Axles, suspension, and exhaust need not be touched.

    The wires under the plenum slip up BETWEEN the plenum and the rocker; they don't pull thru from, say,left to right.

    Tin Man

    A few comments on both of these...

    I think that if you are removing the engine/transaxle/cradle assembly to remove the transaxle, I think it would be easier to use my method of disconnecting the rear suspension in the middle like I did. If not, it's definately easier to remove the strut nuts and remove the whole strut. (Although during re-assembly, it helps if you have one person on each side to align the struts with the holes as the body is SLOWLY lowered onto the cradle. I've helped someone else do this, and it was much easier than re-aligning the knuckles.)

    Also, the wiring harness connectors at the front firewall of the engine compartment where they connect to the ECM seemed like they had some kind of glue/sealant around them, which was why I disconnected all of the sensors and wiring from the engine and left it attached to the car. It probably would be easier to remove it at the computer if possible. Not to mention save you a LOT of time labeling connectors...

    From: Sketch

    I have noticed quite a bit of message traffic lately about engine removal, especially with regard to removing the engine from the top. Here is my recent experience, for the record:

    I don't understand why you'd want to pull it out from the top. I find that the Fiero bottom engine removal is easier than most car's top removal. Primarily because the whole unit comes out as one assembly (no disconnecting motor from tranny).

    Myself and one other gentleman removed the entire motor in a few short hours (6 in total I believe). I am confident that I could now do it in about 1/2 to 2/3 that time - since I've already done it once. The key for us was creating a dolly and using a 4x4. Our parts list is as follows:

    The other nice part about doing it from the bottom (no sexual implications intended :) ) is that you do not need a *Cherry Picker* (engine hoist), which I do not own and did not want to rent!

    The only trouble we had whatsoever was that the two front horizontal cradle bolts were rusted out completely and we had to heat them up to get them out.

    I'm not saying to not pull the engine out from the top, all I'm saying is that I found it to be a very easy task to remove it from the bottom with a little creative ingenuity!

    From: Troy A. Broussard


    To clean under the engine, I bring my $30.00 hydraulic jack, and set it under the engine cradle. Pumping it to the maximun height makes it easy to do a good job cleaning underneath.

    Many of you people may disagree with me, BUT I have done this for 12 years on all of my vehicles, some that I have owned for just as long.

    I live in the Chicago area, so salt and snow is common. I don't drive my Fiero-GT in the winter, but still clean and store it this same way.

    In the fall, I spray a full can of WD-40 in the entire engine compartment. EVERYTHING gets coated but the exhaust manifolds. This protects wire connections, as well as all the hardware under the hood. In the spring, I drive to a DO-IT-YOURSELF car wash, wait 5 minutes for the engine to cool a bit, and then spray a full bottle of kerosene on it. I avoid the exhaust manifolds til they are cooled down enough. Getting kerosene on a hot manifold creates some smoke, but I would avoid it just in case. The kerosene loosens any buildup of oil/grease/dirt. Then I use the "ENGINE CLEAN CYCLE". This is a gentle spray of degreaser, similar to the Gunk product. Then power wash and rinsing removes all the foregin material. I do not protect anything from the various sprayings. Everything gets cleaned, including the distributor cap, and wiring harnesses. After a day of driving to and from work, (a 35 mile round trip) I spray STP Son Of A Gun on everything. This is the most rewarding task, as it makes everything look better than new. There is no wiping required, just let it drip dry.

    People who have seen my vehicles, have been extremely impressed with the cleanliness of the mechanical stuff. My Fiero gets the same treatment up front, under the hood. I do remember once that after a complete washing process, I did have to pop out the windshield wiper control, and set it on the dash to dry out for a few hours. It was no big deal at all.

    The WD-40 on the engine etc. really makes a difference. Without it, the engine compartment would get rusty everywhere. I used to keep clean, a car I once had, without protection, and boy did it rust up. Without protection, I think your car is better without a cleaning. That way, all your oil leaks and spills do something. The STP product alone will NOT protect well enough.

    The kerosene is like a penetrating oil, and has never hurt any paint, rubber, or anything else, except for rust proffing material. It does remove that stuff, which I don't like under my hood anyway.

    I have never experienced mechanical trouble on any type of vehicle I have owned when washing the whole thing, except for a 1980 Fiat Brava I once had. In that case, the spark plugs were in wells that filled with water. I always have rags handy, so I soaked up the puddles, and dryed out the inside of the distributor cap. Again, it was no big deal at all. Just be prepared for this type of inconvenience. Also, if your car has the air intake in the compartment, plug it with a rag first.

    From: Ron Dittmer

    ARG! Not only will that torch that Fiero, but Kerosene is horrible on the rubber wire insulation! I do this:

    I take my Fiero to the car wash, spray Gunk on it, clean it off. Take it home, make sure it's dry and cool. Spray a thin coating of some high temperature lacquer on the engine and bay (from Griot's Garage). Next time I clean it up, I use Groit's Garage Concrete Cleaner, it has the microbes that consume oil (were designed to clean up ocean oil spills), brush it in, than simply rinse with a low pressure garden hose. No more tramatic shocks on the engine bay, and the wiring stays protected and has that glossy armour all shine!

    P.S., the Gunk only happens initially when I get a Fiero, the other stuff works every year.

    From: ByronD

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