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Thread: 355 kit questions, sorry it's long.

  1. #1
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    355 kit questions, sorry it's long.

    I have been reading some posts on this forum for the past several days attempting to learn what I can and
    find resources about assembling my kit. So far this seems like a good group of people and I am glad
    I found you.

    About 6 months ago I dropped my plans on building a Finale kit and instead used the money I had saved for
    it to purchase an early 355 Watson kit, or so I was told. ( At the time I knew nothing about 355 kits or that my kit
    was an early style one )

    I bought the kit from a pretty decent guy in NY named Bob. He drove down to Jon Watson's place picked it up and started
    on it, but never finished. He had a good amount of the fitting started on his donor, but I did not buy the donor only the
    kit and various parts for it.

    Before I can really start doing much with the kit I have I need to part out a couple cars and make room for actually
    working on the kit. So in the meantime I figured I should gather as much information as I can about the kit
    and the build process.

    On with the questions:

    1) I currently have two real 355 front rims in almost new condition. Should I try and find two more fronts
    for the rear of the car or get the real rear rims that are 18x10? Are these kits made to work with the real
    18x10 wheels?

    2) The above leads into this question. Wheel spacers? I am assuming the people who make this also make them fit the
    Ferrari bolt pattern? Will these work with big brake kits that are available for the Fiero?
    I did read that FunnyWheels has a source for these, but that I should wait on purchasing them until I get all the body
    panels fitted properly and know what size I need to look right?

    3) I am in need of the side mirror assemblies since Bob sold the ones that came with the kit to somebody else before
    I got it. I have contacted Sactodreamer about picking up a set of his. They look very nice!
    Has anyone got pictures of these installed on their kit?

    4) I am missing the following parts that I know of, and would like to know of good sources.

    - fiberglass piece that fills/fits in around the MR2 rear glass on the inside of the car
    - front grill
    - "F355 Berlinetta" logo/emblem for the rear of the car
    - "F355" emblem for the dash
    - Rear moulding for the rear MR2 glass ( do you even use moulding? )
    - Moulding for the 355 side sail panel glass ?
    - 3rd brake light, and is there a part the light sits in above the panel that the tail lights go in?

    5) Can the original 355 gauges and switches be used?
    I have a real 355 main gauge cluster, tach, speedo, etc.. and the housing, but the leather needs replaced.
    I also have the real ash tray with the power mirror button control, along with a real center console wiring
    harness.

    6) Who makes the best interior parts that can be bought, and are they functional or just for looks?
    I did read that Amida is making some really nice parts that look OEM.

    7) My kit has the integrated rocker panels in the doors. When I purchased the kit I did not know that there
    were newer kits that had the rockers separate. How much more money will it cost to convert my kit to use separate
    rockers and how much more work is it to do this?
    I am assuming that I can buy what I need from Jon Watson?

    8) Anyone have pictures of a finished kit like mine with the doors open so I could see the rocker detail?

    9) Does anyone currently sell or do authentic looking leather upholstery for the interiors? I have a fiberglass
    interior kit.

    10) How much more money and time is it to do the extended windshield? Who sells whats needed for this?
    Do the A Pillars need to be cut? I looked at FunnyWheels thread, but it appears some of the pictures are missing.
    And that Jon Watson sells the parts. I need to call him one of these days.
    Does the hood need to be modified to work with the extended windshield?

    11) How does one cut the vent holes in the rear deck lid properly? The ones on my lid are not cut out yet and
    I would like to know how to do it without messing it up. I am guessing you build some kind of a jig like you
    would for a router?

    12) Bumpers. Is there any provision for bumper/impact absorbing material to be used in these kits or if somebody
    hits you it just destroys your fiberglass and whatever brackets/support you have built?

    13) What tools would you all recommend one have on hand to build a kit like this?
    I have no body/fiberglass working tools at all. I can weld, but don't yet have a welder. I plan on buying a little
    220/230v mig wire fed, with gas.

    Thanks!

    Matt

    I tried to post pictures, but kept getting a sql error? The option does show up to attach them.

  2. #2
    Moderator FunnyWheels's Avatar
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    Re: 355 kit questions, sorry it's long.

    Regarding rims. I was going to use 18x7 all the way around and found that to be very acceptable. The rear rims are getting very pricy so go with after market or two more Ferrari rims. They do amke all of the difference in you build.

    Regarding opening up the rear vents on the deck lid. You need to use a 7" grinder and grind them from the back side. The glass will get paper thin. Then use a rasor blade to finish off the cut. Too much with the grinder will give you a lot of heart burn.

    Regarding the rockers. Call John Watson and find out what a set of rockers and the missing fiberglass piece for the window will cost you. The rest is pretty easy. I can supply you some photos of the process.

    Send me a tag to respond to at NewmDav@aceweb.com

    Dave
    If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.

  3. #3
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    Re: 355 kit questions, sorry it's long.

    Here are some of the pictures I have:

    My kit on the previous owners donor, right before we loaded it on my truck.
    My interior pieces and the previous owners picture of Watson's buck when he was down there.


    Attached Images Attached Images       

  4. #4
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    Re: 355 kit questions, sorry it's long.

    Thanks for the response and info Dave.

    I was hoping for more answers to some of my questions though. Like being able to use the original 355 gauges? I figured somebody has had to have already tried it and or researched it.

    I think I will go with the 18x7 fronts and 18x10 rears. It will just look better as long as clearance does not become a problem?

    I was also hoping for some information on tools one should have on hand. What are the best tools for cutting up ones
    frame when fitting the roof and rear clip/fenders?

    And does anyone have a step by step of what needs to be cut with pictures when doing a coupe?

    Thanks..

    Matt

  5. #5
    Senior Member FerrariFan's Avatar
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    Re: 355 kit questions, sorry it's long.

    If you can afford it, go with a widetrack suspension and big brake kit. The spacers will cause problems when you turn and don't look right. Someone here on the forum is selling a Corvette brake kit for a good price. Look for good deals like that and you can save a couple thousand dollars.
    Here's a link to a reputable guy that sells Fiero/kitcar suspension and brake upgrades.

    http://www.heldmotorsports.com/Fiero/index.htm
    Even the longest journey begins with the first step.

  6. #6
    Moderator FunnyWheels's Avatar
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    Re: 355 kit questions, sorry it's long.

    Quote Originally Posted by FerrariFan
    If you can afford it, go with a widetrack suspension and big brake kit. The spacers will cause problems when you turn and don't look right. Someone here on the forum is selling a Corvette brake kit for a good price. Look for good deals like that and you can save a couple thousand dollars.
    Here's a link to a reputable guy that sells Fiero/kitcar suspension and brake upgrades.

    http://www.heldmotorsports.com/Fiero/index.htm
    Agreed on the wide track. In order to use Ferrari rims on a Fiero including a wide track suspension you need to reposition the lower shock mount and use a 2 inch spacer on the wide track. The rim is simply too wide to fit otherwise.

    Dave

    PS: I can help with photos of the entire process.
    Attached Images Attached Images    
    If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.

  7. #7
    Moderator FunnyWheels's Avatar
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    Re: 355 kit questions, sorry it's long.

    It looks like you have most of the parts. Do you have the tail light sub panel? You will need it to mount the tail lights properly and attach the rear quarter panels.
    Attached Images Attached Images       
    If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.

  8. #8
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    Re: 355 kit questions, sorry it's long.

    Thanks for the info, both of you.

    Now on the whole suspension/wheel spacers issue. I was going to use the 88 Formula I bought a year and a half ago, but it looks like you all recommend going with an earlier year and buying the wide track suspension setup from Held.
    So if you use the wide track front and rear I won't need anything but hub adapters for the Ferrari bolt pattern on the front and for the rear I will need the bolt pattern adapter and a 2" spacer?
    I want to build a realistic, safe, and good handling kit and if that means losing the 88 donor then I will do it. To bad Held never made an 88 "wide track" suspension upgrade. : (

    If the tail light sub panel is the one with the "square" holes in it then I am missing that as well. I am really going to have to call up Jon Watson here soon and see about getting the pieces I am missing and about the cost of the updated rocker panels.

    Engine wise, I was originally planning on putting in a 4.9 mated up to a 5spd getrag in the Finale kit, but since I picked up a 6spd F40 getrag and the 355 body kit I was thinking of using V8 Archie's kit to allow use of this tranny in my Fiero with a SBC V8. I am considering picking up a LS1 and dropping the 4.9. Of course with a wide track suspension the custom axles for the F40 transmission will have to be even longer. Mind you this is all going to cost me a small fortune at some point. Plus I'd have to sell my two 4.9's and several other items collected for the Finale kit project. :|

    Has anyone on this forum put a getrag F40 6spd in there kit car yet? I was thinking having a 6spd in a 355 would be more realistic, even though the shift gate/pattern from a stock 355 would not fit. It looks like a shift gate from a Ferrari 550 would work though. Reverse on the F40 is up and to the left instead of down and to the right.

    Thanks,

    Matt



  9. #9
    Moderator FunnyWheels's Avatar
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    Re: 355 kit questions, sorry it's long.

    Quote Originally Posted by Modat5
    Thanks for the info, both of you.

    Now on the whole suspension/wheel spacers issue. I was going to use the 88 Formula I bought a year and a half ago, but it looks like you all recommend going with an earlier year and buying the wide track suspension setup from Held.
    So if you use the wide track front and rear I won't need anything but hub adapters for the Ferrari bolt pattern on the front and for the rear I will need the bolt pattern adapter and a 2" spacer?
    I want to build a realistic, safe, and good handling kit and if that means losing the 88 donor then I will do it. To bad Held never made an 88 "wide track" suspension upgrade. : (

    Matt
    Matt:

    If you are going to modify the suspension geomerty then go with the 88 using a wide track and after market rims to fit the bolt circle you use and skip the spacers. If you need to build a set up like mine then the 88 is a waste of money. My car handles like it is on rails, the suspension is stiff. I will email you a spec sheet for axles, hubs etc.

    Regards,

    Dave
    If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.

  10. #10

    Re: 355 kit questions, sorry it's long.

    I used an 88 for my car. If I had to do it over again, I would have fixed up the 88 for a daily driver and go find a cheep 86 or 87. The only good thing that I can think of for using an 88 is that you can use the 12" or 13" brake upgrade from West Coast Fieros and it is less than $400. Brake upgrades for the non88s is much more expensive.

    West Coast Fiero:
    http://www.westcoastfiero.com/brakes/brakes_12.html

    I started a build manual for my 355 but have not put to much effort into it. Feel free to read over it and get back to me.
    http://brastic.com/AD355_Manualv02.txt

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