A cheap fix restores the Fiero’s motorway potential
1987 PONTIAC FIERO GT
After getting bored of the Fiero’s wing and enjoying a better view to the rear of the car, I began to use it a little more and wanted to make sure that the front-end alignment was as it should be, now that I had the correct sized rear tyres fitted.
The Fiero’s front end was always a design compromise, made up as it was of the Chevrolet Chevette’s, er, rear suspension. So I made a quick trip to Tyrecare in St Helens to get the front alignment checked. Fiero alignment specs are a subject of much debate on the online Fiero forums, so it’s always worth checking and then double-checking. Over the years the specifications for alignment, on what are now ‘classic cars’, have sometimes been the subject of factory updates. With the correct figures in hand, the front-end was all correct at zero degrees toe-in.
Tyrecare’s owner, Stan, suggested that if the front-end of a classic – or any car, for that matter – feels more wayward than expected, it might be worth checking the age of its tyres because the breakdown of a tyre’s wall structure can wreak havoc with steering. Running a finger across the tyre wall, you can often feel many small lumps on the surface that the naked eye simply cannot detect.
Sometimes what you think is going to be a nightmare job is actually quite simple. The Fiero’s cruise control hasn’t worked for a long time and the previous owner never got around to fixing it. On inspection of the control stalk – and a Haynes manual – I noticed a frayed cable running from the stalk to a single spade connector alongside the steering column. The stalk has a bayonet fitting and just twists out of the column. I soon found a £15 replacement on Amazon; the same stalk was apparently fitted to pretty much the whole GM range in the mid-1980s, so replacements are plentiful. It arrived within seven days and with a twist and a push of a spade connector, the cruise control was working again.
Next up it was time for its outing to Tatton Park in Cheshire for the huge gathering of American metal and muscle at the Stars and Stripes American Car Show. Well, I say ‘metal and muscle’, but while there’s only about 140bhp muscle (and not much metal) on a Pontiac Fiero GT, I made the journey confident that the alignment was correct and comfortable with my newlyoperational cruise control.
At the garage in the shade, awaiting its tracking test.
The only Fiero at the Stars and Stripes show.
Cruise control fix was suspiciously easy.