From the time I hit the driveway to the starting of the car didn't take an hour. The battery has plenty of juice in it and it ran everything the way it's supposed to. Turned her on and off and on and off and on and off several times to prime the fuel rail, then tried cranking, got nothing. Did some more priming.
Cranked her and she almost started, so I waited a couple of seconds and tried again...and then she sputtered to life, exactly the same way she did four years ago.
I have therefore eliminated spark and fuel as the cause of my Fiero woes...and if my problem is compression I am well and truly screwed. I would have been well and truly screwed regardless of when I started this because rebuilding the engine is well beyond my financial capacity right now. I might be able to handle getting a set of rings and a "bottle brush" hone and doing a half-assed ring job, but if it's valves I'm fucked, if it's bad cylinder wear I'm fucked, and basically if it's anything really complicated or involved I'm fucked.
But how could it be compression? The last time prior to October 29, 2011, that the car moved under its own power, it ran fine. It was only then, after a bunch of stuff had happened (like my sister dying) that I had time to get after the brakes, and that's when the car decided not to run well, and that happened as soon as I turned the key.
Now is not the time for despair, though. The car won't stay running long enough for me to time the engine, but that's what needs doing; I need someone to help me find top dead center and make sure the distributor is somewhere near that point. I know that it is almost there--because the engine wouldn't start if it were too far out--but the engine will start, run for a bit, increase in speed, throw a code, and die.
It'll do so reliably, though! It starts, at least! Whee! It cranked over as easily as it always has, in fact, like I had just driven it yesterday.
So I need to find my ALDL shorting plug and check the engine codes. If I had to guess, I'd say it was likely that the code being thrown is a timing code. It might also be the ignition module, but I could check that in about two minutes by throwing another module in there. (And if that turns out to be the problem, I'm going to shit twice and die.)
So, first step is pulling those codes, and trying another module; then I'll have to visit the Fiero forum, I guess.
Ain't owning an antique vehicle fun?
Ran the codes, got a "MAP sensor error" from the ECM. Looked over the MAP sensor, and while it was plugged in and connected, there was a hose near it which was not, and guess what that hose was for? Oh, it was only THE VACUUM PORT FOR THE F-ING MANIFOLD ABSOLUTE PRESSURE SENSOR, that's all.
Started the car up, she runs like watch in need of a minor timing adjustment and doesn't quit. There's some kind of vacuum sound near the throttle body, which I need to identify and fix. Timing needs to be adjusted, and-and-and. Still, this is a major improvement over how she ran in October of 2011, and a huge step forward.
I'm glad it was something simple this time.