Special Tools for the Fiero

A lot of tasks on the Fiero absolutely require special tools, other times a job is a pain in the butt without the right tool. A lot of tools are available in the aisles of the various parts stores, but which ones are good and which ones are a waste of money? Not all stores carry all parts, and the sales personnel usually is no help at all. Since I've accumulated a lot of special tools over the years, I have decided to make this list to present my personal opinion of the usability of the various tools. Your mileage may differ.

Also, this list is not complete, it is only the tools I own and have used, or else I couldn't give you my opinions on them. I will expand this section as I acquire new tools.

Most of these tools are made by Lisle tools, available from most automotive supply stores, or online, e.g. at Nothern Auto Parts.

I have recently added a rating of 1-5 Stars for each of the tools. This is what the stars mean:

5 Stars basically means this is a "must have" for a Fiero enthusiast, and 1 Star means the tool does not work, at least you can't use it on a Fiero.

General Tools

This Windshield Wiper Arm Remover from Lisle Tools (#65750) is an invaluable little gadget. Without it removing the wiper arm is a pain, with it it is a snap. This tool is inexpensive and very useful, if you have to remove the wiper arm, don't hesitate to buy one.
A Spark Plug Gauge and Gapper is a must have for everybody. If you change your own plugs, this one is for you. And at this price, you can buy an extra in case you misplace one...
If you have to scrape a gasket off in a rather inaccessible place, this Lisle Razor Blade Scraper (#52000) is for you. For instance, if you take the side transmission oil pan off when replacing the TCC solenoid on car. I found it awkward to use though, and you go through the three replacement blades that come with it real quickly. I kept breaking off blades too, but this tool is cheap enough, so it's no big deal.
This Terminal Tool (Lisle #14900) is useful if you have to remove or open Pack-Con or Weatherpack connectors. While you can use a set of small screwdrivers sometimes, this is much better. This tools also has a "code reader" type jumper that you can use to short the A&B contacts on the ALDL port in order to read codes or set the ignition timing. And it's cheap too...
If you want to tighten your belt, you can either have an assistant cram a crowbar between the block and alternator and risk breaking your expensive alternator mount, or you can use this tool (Lisle #12400). It is not expensive (<$10), and you can use it with a simple 1/2" ratchet, it is supposed to make tightening the belt easy and a one man job. I have not yet managed to make it work on my V6 Fiero though, so reverted to the crowbar method. It may work on the L4 though.
This 5/16" side terminal battery wrench is cheap, and if you have used it once, you'll wonder what you did without it. This tool truly makes removing and fastening the battery terminals a breeze.

Brake Tools

This T47 Torx Bit (Lisle #26500) is inexpensive and a must have if you work on the brakes or seatbelt anchor bolts. Some people force a Tx-50 bit in there (and your previous owner may have done just that), but that's not what you should do.
In case you didn't know: you should not push in the piston in the rear brake calipers, it needs to be turned. For this purpose, you need this special tool (Lisle #25080). It's cheap too, and a lot cheaper than ruining your expensive calipers!
This brake bleeding kit from Lisle (#19200) is a classic. Add a vacuum pump, and brake bleeding is a one man job. But even with this tool alone, you can do it with an assistant that is able to obey simple commands (so this rules out a lot of spouses ;-)

Steering Column

There are steering wheel pullers, but I like to use this Sears #47626 combined Steering Wheel/Harmonic Balancer puller. None of the supplied bolts fits the Fiero though, so I had to get two bolts separately. Other than that, this is an invaluable tool if you have to do any work on the steering column.
Once the steering wheel is off, you need to get the lock plate off, and that's what this lock plate compressor is for (Lisle #57200). Use the silver, not the green adapter for the Fiero. This part has been superseded by a tool set that also works on late model GM columns, so maybe you can get this part on sale somewhere. Getting the lock plate off without this tool is almost impossible, so this is money well spent.
Finally, if you are tearing into the steering column, you will probably have a hard time getting the pivot pins out, and this is where this pivot pin remover (Lisle #19940) comes into play. This is definitely $10 well spent.

Body Tools

This door fastener remover is very inexpensive and required if you want to remove the inner door panels without ruining the panel. Just slide it in between panel and door and engage the tool in the fastener, and then carefully pull the panel off fastener by fastener.
If you have to take the entire door off, or if you want to replace a door hinge, you have to remove the door spring, which is loaded and dangerous. This tool is designed to compress the spring so that you can safely remove it. I found it difficult to get the tool into the spring in the first place, and space is tight, but without this tool there is no way to can get this spring out safely, let alone get it back in place.
The dew wipes on the Fiero are hard to replace, because there are a few screws you can't access while the window is still in the car. This mini ratchet from Sears (Craftsman #41469), together with a ground down philips bit glued into it, is a good and cheap way to get those screws out and the new dew wipes in.
This tamperproof Torx bit set was not only cheap, but it is also necessary to remove the bolts fuel pressure regulator or the trunk hinge torsion bars. Good value for the money, since they work on normal Torx screws too.
If you want to remove the rear axle nut, you're in for a surprise (or maybe not): That nut is big, and you need a deep socket too! Lisle tools to the rescue: They make a FWD Axle nut socket that fits the RWD Fiero perfectly.
Finally, if you have to install any of the plastic rivets on the various Fiero body panels, you need a riveter like the Marson #48000, available e.g. from Tools USA (do not use it for metal rivets!). It is only $20 or so, and you can get it in a kit with a set of rivets too.

Engine Tools

One of the very first tools you should buy (or build yourself from an old spark plug) is a spark tester. But why make one if you can buy one for $6? This spark tester from Lisle (#50850) is simple and safe to use (remember, those HEI sparks can be dangerous!). You can adjust the gap and compare the strength of the spark to that on another car. Very handy!
When trying to locate the source of a noise, this mechanics stethoscope may be useful for you. I had no luck locating my defective lifter/binding valve spring with it though, but maybe you're luckier than me. Not a cheap tool, but not expensive either ($15), and very simple to use. I had to adjust (read: bend) the spring a little to make this stethoscope a little less uncomfortable to wear. But after all, this is not a walkman, so wearing it does not have to be enjoyable.
If your engine has a no start condition, you want to make sure fuel reaches the cylinders. That's what this fuel pressure gauges is useful for. You can check if the fuel pump outputs enough pressure, if it holds the pressure after you turn off the ignition (or you may have a leaking injector or faulty pump), and the handy use is used to drain the pressurized fuel from the tool after you're done. This tool costs around $40 though, so this is really a last resort kind of tool, i.e. not something you casually buy to have around "just in case". It did help me diagnose my bad (low pressure) fuel pump though, and a diagnosis at the dealership easily would have cost me as much, so this tool paid for itself already.
This inexpensive GM PFI injector test lamp is a great way to test if there is pulsed voltage at the injectors. If you have pressure at the fuel rail, and a spark, maybe your injectors aren't pulsed? A steal at around $5.
This tool (Lisle #16750) is very handy for compressing valve springs. And at around $20, why would you want to make something yourself? It does not work on the 87/88 L4 though, because of the dampers that cover half the spring.
If you want to remove the valve springs without removing the head from the engine, you need this inexpensive tool to keep the valves shut even without the spring. It's Lisle #19700 and under $10, but you need pressurized air to use it.
And if you want to adjust the rocker arms with the engine running, these clips (Lisle #35500) keep you from getting an oil bath. They come in a set of 16, which is more than enough for the L4 or V6 engine.

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