The Truth About Cars » LS4 FTW http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:33:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » LS4 FTW http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: Fiero and Joy or Cash Money? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/piston-slap-fiero-and-joy-or-cash-money/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/piston-slap-fiero-and-joy-or-cash-money/#comments Fri, 08 Nov 2013 12:27:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=641241

Issac writes:

Sajeev,

My father and I are Pontiac Fiero people, as we have owned nine Fieros in the past ten years (my first car was a 1986 Fiero GT). We are quite mechanically familiar with them as we have done little to major work on all of them. My dad currently has a 1988 Fiero Formula that we did a complete restoration on about five years ago. That car is an absolute blast to drive as the stock engine was modified to make considerably more power. After spending last summer driving that car almost every day I knew that someday I wanted a Fiero like his.

Last fall I was in the market for a cheap college vehicle. After looking for a couple of months and not finding anything that I wanted I stumbled across a Craigslist gem. It was a 1988 (the last year they were made and the most desirable) coupe with 95,000 miles, two owner vehicle, very little rust on it and could be had for $500. The only catch was it had a blown 2.5L iron duke motor. What made this situation ideal was that my dad had a brand new 2.5L iron duke motor sitting at home in the corner of his shop that he was looking to get rid of. After forking over $500 and a long three-day weekend, we had the car back on the road and I was glad to be back in a Fiero.

Since then I have put 8,000 trouble free miles on the car and have really enjoyed. Thinking post college I would like to do a restoration on the car where I put a much larger and more powerful engine in it. However, recently I was approached by a coworker of my dad who is looking at buying a Fiero similar to mine. He offered me a very nice amount of money for my car and it has me thinking of selling it. My question to you is, do I keep the car and hope to someday do the modifications that I want, or do I sell it?

My dad said he will set me up with a vehicle if I do sell my car, but I do not know if it worth it to walk away from a hard to find car. Such a hard decision…

Sajeev answers:

This is a hard decision for a family of Fiero restorers?  Are you kidding me? 

Click here to view the embedded video.

Turn this up, son!  I’m sorry, I can’t hear the begging and pleading of your Dad’s friend over the glorious sound of LS4-FTW.

You are graduating from college, getting a good job and “investing” your hobby time with an F40 6 speed manual and an LS4 swap!  Unlike last week’s LS4-powered dreamboat Buick Skylark,  I’m not grasping at straws to get a kid thinking about hot-rodding an obscure classic GM product. You are in the perfect position for GM perfection!

  1. The 1988 Fiero is a stunning design.
  2. You and your Dad actually know and appreciate them at their best, and tolerate ‘em at their worst.
  3. LS4-FTW isn’t a bizarre joke like in a FWD platform, this is performance GOLD in a rear engine sports car!

Okay, perhaps you might want a 3.8L V6, a supercharged 3.8L, or a Northstar V8 instead, they might be far cheaper and easier to procure locally.  Or the Twin Dual Cam swap if you truly enjoy pain. Best of luck, we wish you well!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Piston Slap: What Would Ed Lister Do? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/piston-slap-what-would-ed-lister-do/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/piston-slap-what-would-ed-lister-do/#comments Wed, 30 Oct 2013 11:34:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=637417 TTAC commentator NoGoYo writes:

Sajeev,

I’m faced with a problem that’s hard to solve: the problem of being 21 years old and stuck with a grandma car. I drive a 1995 Buick Skylark coupe with the GM 60 degree V6 (3.1 liter) and a four speed automatic transmission. It handles rather decently for a pedestrian GM product, but as you would expect from a lower-RPM pushrod V6 hooked to a 4-speed slushbox, it has about as much power as Queen Elizabeth II.

I tried to sell my car and upgrade to something more speed freak 21-year-old friendly, but gave up after not even getting close to a sale. My question is…should I sell the car at a rock bottom price just to get a more lively set of wheels, or invest a couple of bucks trying to make the old Buick a bit less of a snoozer?

Sajeev answers:

Were you expecting a level-headed discussion on the merits of Hot-Rodding a potential Sleeper Skylark versus Not-Rodding a better vehicle? From a TTAC writer with two resto-mod Fox Body Lincoln-Mercury vehicles? Here’s the thing…

You didn’t mention a budget, so I’ll assume you’re a typical broke 21-year-old (no hate, we were all there) with far more time than money. And you own a seriously cool car (stay with me here) with a star crossed history. The 1992+ Skylark was such a radical design that it deserved better, but it was a product of a fundamentally flawed General Motors. And, OMG SON will you peep that interior???

Who wouldn’t want to beat the living snot out of some poor soul in a Civic/GTI/ST Ford/FR-S or get the jump on a careless driver in a Mustang/Corvette/Ferrari in a car this…well, this unbelievably, obscurely radical looking?

You think I’m nuts for saying you could shock a Ferrari?  Hear me out…

Just like my precious Fox Bodies, the GM N-body accepts a host of superior parts from other GM products, some will be easier than others.  Assuming you are good with wrenches and actually want to be a Hot-Rodder, let’s see what we can Google:

  • Suspension: Performance springs, shocks and sway bars (Addco and from an FE3 Oldsmobile) will be easy to find.  This thread has even more fun stuff, and this shows the independent rear suspension available on 1997+ versions.  There’s a good chance the IRS bolts-in with minor modifications, from N-body to N-body. I also really, really like this thread.
  • Brakes: Camaro front calipers sound like a nice upgrade from the forums.  And the IRS swap nets you rear disc brakes too, supposedly.
  • Wheels/Tires: Larger wheels from W-bodies look like a no-brainer.  Who knows, maybe the big, common and cheap 17×8″ wheels from a 1994-present Mustang fit.
  • Powertrain: A manual transmission swap and an upgrade to a better 60-degree V6 (3.4L, 3.5L or the big bore 3.9L, way-hey!) makes perfect sense when the right donor car(s) show up.
  • Education: Learn how to drive your Frankenstein-d machine at a drag strip and a road course. Talent makes up for a premium car badge: believe that!

But wait Sanjeev…how the heck can you get the jump on a Ferrari? You gone crazy?

Maybe this link will inspire you. Or this video:

Click here to view the embedded video.

You are driving the future, so make YOUR future a better one. Can you do an all-wheel drive, fully independently sprung, turbocharged LS4-FTW in your Skylark?  In time, I think you can.  What are you gonna be driving when you’re thirty…and is it gonna top this?

Ain’t nothing gonna top this, son!  I can see it, and it’s been done before.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Piston Slap: 4DSC goes to Infiniti and Beyond? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/piston-slap-4dsc-goes-to-infiniti-and-beyond/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/piston-slap-4dsc-goes-to-infiniti-and-beyond/#comments Wed, 21 Dec 2011 12:14:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=422788  

T.J. writes:

Hey guys,

The day I knew was coming but hoped would never arrive is here.  I have to decide whether its time to replace my trusty ride, a 1996 Infiniti I30 with estimated 235k miles (odo was broken years ago, repaired, and reset to a mileage amount we now think is low.  actual miles is probably around 250-260k).  The issue is an oil leak.

It’s now leaking at the rate of about 5 quarts every 3000 miles.  I’ve been content to keep topping off the oil, but now the leak is causing other problems; specfically, the a/c and alternator belt will not stay on because the pulley is soaked in oil.  Fixing the leak would be over $1000, and this would the third or so leak that we’ve plugged, only to have another pop up, so I’m convinced that if I was to fix it, a new engine is the way to go.  I have an estimate from my mechanic (a very reasonable, trustworthy independent shop) for $2200 or so ($850 for a used local engine with 90k miles, $200 in other parts, and 13 hours labor).

That estimate will probably go up to around $3k (my guess) as I told him I’d also want to replace the transmission (original, never been rebuilt), and engine mounts (needed to be replaced years ago).  The book says to remove the engine from the bottom, so since all those pieces are coming out anyway, he said there wouldn’t be additional labor, only parts.  I’ve sunk almost $2k into this car this year for new shocks, a new harmonic balancer, and 3 new tires less than 3 weeks ago.  A/C was replaced only 1-2 years ago, radiator, I’d say roughly 50-60k miles ago.  Nonessential functions are a mess, though.  Cruise control and radio don’t work (I have a 45 minute highway commute, so those aren’t luxuries), and I can’t use the trunk due to being rear-ended by an uninsured driver, which caused about $1200 in damage to my rear bumper and trunk lid, which has never been repaired.  I have more than enough saved to do this repair, and at my current savings rate, it would take me about 3-4 months to recoup the $3k.  I’m now driving about 15k miles a year.  If I was to replace the car, I would not be getting rid of it.  Due to its condition, its worthless to anyone else except me.  Plus, this is the only car I’ve ever had.  I’m almost 28, and I’ve had this car since I got my license at 16 and put almost all the mileage on it (it had 42k miles when we got it), so it feels like a high school sweetheart I ended up marrying.

My plan if I was to replace it now would be to park it until I had sufficient funds in a few years to get it fixed up and running again.  If I do replace it, I’d likely be waiting for a couple more months and driving an extra family car my parents are willing to loan me till then (I recently started a new job and probably won’t be off new hire probation for 2-3 more months and do not want to be buying a car till then).  Thanks for the advice.

Sajeev Answers:

Since you will keep this car forever (I LOVE HEARING THAT!) do not fix this motor, instead grab a low mile motor from an auto recycler, put fresh gaskets on it, and install. The extra cost incurred is totally worth it, as you’ll get a ton of extra life.

This is also a good time to consider LS4-FTW, but that’s because I haven’t said that in a long, long time.

Restomodding is the name of this game: I was in your shoes when I was 23, with a similar car…a fairly undesirable Fox Body Mercury Cougar XR-7.  Now, almost 12 years later, the Cougar is a bit of a cult classic, and everyone seems (pretends?) to love mine.  Sure, it isn’t a daily driver anymore, but it was at one point and I saved a ton of money driving it.  I call it “my soldier” as it always stood behind me and always impresses bystanders. Hell, I drove it for weeks while waiting for my new 2011 Ford Ranger to arrive, even though it needs a lot of work. It never did me wrong, and I love it for that reason.

Screwball Restomods are insane amounts of fun.  And since the Infiniti I30 is just a Maxima in nice threads, you can do the same. My Cougar woke up quickly with 5.0 Mustang parts, among other items from the Ford parts bin.  Your Infiniti can be a real 4DSC with a lot of Maxima.org forum searching and patience from both yourself and your mechanic: suspension upgrades, 5-speed stick, etc. It’s all in the palm of your hands. Ask stupid questions with respect.  Read the posts of smart people on the forum. Absorb everything.

Buy a newer vehicle whenever you need it…but keep it cheap.  You, by your own admission, are married the Infiniti. So don’t let any schmuck stop you from keeping your I30.

Listen to the madman typing behind the scenes on this webpage, you will NEVER regret this.

 Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

 

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Super Piston Slap: <3 for Nissan Canada? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/super-piston-slap-3-for-nissan-canada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/super-piston-slap-3-for-nissan-canada/#comments Fri, 26 Aug 2011 19:41:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=408422  

 

TTAC commentator SpeedJebus writes:

Hi Sajeev,

You may remember that I wrote in before about my 2007 Honda Civic, and it’s haunted DBW system. That ordeal is over, but apparently I’m a sucker for automobile drama. Here’s the tale of my Juke: an ordeal that has been going on for over three months now. I’d like to share this cautionary tale. Here we go!

In February 2011, I decided to get a 2011 Nissan Juke as a replacement for my Civic. I did the test drive, decided it was pretty cool, and ordered one. I understood at the time that it was going to be at least 4 months, since there was only one factory turning out LHD Juke’s for the world. A month went by (bringing us to March). Then Godzilla attacked Japan, which the media covered up as a earthquake and tsunami.

With all of the factories idled, and everything up in the air, I entertained the idea of looking at different autos. Well, I have family ties with Chrysler, and started looking at Jeeps. It was love at first sight, and a much sooner delivery date. I contacted the dealer to terminate my order, since (A) it hadn’t even been built yet, and (B) we’d be looking at a MUCH delayed delivery. The sales manager (total twat) told me that I’d have to sign a form, and they’d have their legal department decide if I would get any of my deposit back, etc.

This *right* pissed me off, since we had verbally agreed that I’d have final say on accepting the ordered vehicle, since my previous vehicle had DBW issues. Unfortunately for me, I never got that in writing. (My bad.) Anyway, I had no choice but to sign the request to rescind the lease, and await word back. That was March 22, 2011. I confirmed that the dealership received my fax, and I waiting patiently for word. In the meantime, I ordered my Jeep. On April 14, 2011, I *STILL* had not received any word back. I sent a registered letter again requesting the termination of the lease contract, and refund of my deposit. I sent the same copy of the registered letter to OMVIC as well. (I should point out that I talked to them already, and they said that the dealership so far is in the right, blah blah blah…more on that after.)

After even more time without any response from the dealer at all, I authorized OMVIC to begin making inquiries on my behalf, and to attempt to get results for me. The dealership basically ignored OMVIC for a few weeks. Then I finally received an email from OMVIC stating that it was the dealerships intent to obtain the vehicle, sell it, and go after me financially for any losses incurred in them having to sell this vehicle. This pushed me over the edge.

I called Nissan Canada as a last ditch effort, and laid it all out for them, and they say they’ll look into it. I had no expectations of any results, but it was worth a shot. Long story short, the dealership emails me to say that they will agree to terminate my lease contract, and they will hold my deposit if I should choose to get another vehicle from them in the next year. At this point, I’ve already got my new Jeep, and I’m so sick of dealing with this shit, I just want it done. So I email them back and agree to this. It may cost me my deposit, but it’s over and done with. I have other things going on that I need to get a handle on. This was yesterday. HERE’S THE SURPRISE.

I got a phone call today from Nissan Canada. It turns out that they are incredibly sorry for how everything unfolded. They deeply apologized for the delays, for the mistreatment, and for the entire situation from day one. They are sending me a cheque for my deposit in full.

I was speechless. Still am.

GREAT customer service from Nissan Canada. Unnamed out-of-town dealership, and their stupid ape of a Sales Manager can kiss the fattest part of my white ass. Thanks to the actions of the Nissan Canada Customer Service team, I can say that I would honestly consider buying a Nissan in the future. Just not from that dealership. I can say that I never anticipated these things that can happen during the course of a new vehicle purchase. Huge lesson learned, that’s for sure.

Sajeev adds:

What else can I possibly add to this one?  Sometimes the squeaky wheel does indeed get the grease.  Perhaps not every bad deal needs to pursue legal action.  My hats off to you, good sir, for remaining composed in your actions and most importantly…being patient!  You’ve come a long way from that misbehaving Civic, baby!

And without researching the finer points of Canadian Dealership/Consumer Laws, kudos are certainly in order for Nissan Canada.  You folks obviously did the right thing for a potential customer, which is always a great long term strategy.  If you don’t get ‘em now, you probably will later. This is the first time I’ve been able to use Piston Slap for a positive manufacturer experience, quite a happy moment for me, personally.  If I had a set of Motor Trend’s tarnished Golden Calipers (or one of them 1980′s almost-a-clock desk ornaments given out by JD Powers) here at TTAC central, I’d surely give them to you all.  Respect.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna dream about sippin’ a Tim Horton’s coffee and munching on an Aero chocolate bar while doing wicked burnouts around the CN Tower in a 1990 Pontiac Tempest with an LS4-FTW swap.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

 

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