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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 4:18 pm 
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This week my 2001, 210,000km Dodge Dakota V-6 had its first ever drivetrain failure that stopped it from 'going', or at least 'going at regular speed'. It spat out its coolant, when of all things, corrosion in the thermostat housing caused the gasket surface to fail.

Now, much of the rest of the vehicle is a POS: many sets of disc rotors, calipers, three front hubs, four sets of sway bar links. I don't count A/C repairs, which seem to be the norm after 5 years, no matter what car. But the drivetrain, if boring, is a thing of great reliability.

On the plus side, I think back to growing up when fan belts and hoses failed regularly: I did replace the serpantine belt 18 months ago, but I'm still on original hoses - and the whole exhaust system is original except the muffler. In some respects I'm glad they don't make vehicles the way they used to. But I miss being able to move vehicle that won't start by turning the starter over with the clutch engaged.

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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 5:49 pm 
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On the plus side, I think back to growing up when fan belts and hoses failed regularly:


You said it! I can remember replacing exhaust systems every other year, manual brake adjustment and oil changes at 1500 miles, filters every other oil change (at 3000), tuneups (incl. points rotors caps condensor) every 3-6,000 miles, plugs and ignition wires around 25-30K, tires at 25K, radiators, hoses, belts, alternators, starters, water pumps and fuel pumps at about 50K. At 6 years old and 50-70K miles a car was worn out bak then.

Today, I expect trouble-free driving for over 100K miles. I don't always get it, but that is what I expect. Now, short of the regular maintenance items like oil changes and such, I can just wait until the ECU to spits our some bad news.

Sure wish I could get better than 20K out of front rotors though. They rust and pit to pieces and warp if you look at them crosseyed. I buy the good rotors, Raybestos Professional Grade, not the cheapest stuff around. Maybe rotors will become the next target for improvement by the major car companies.

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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 6:14 pm 
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Yep, and if you had a car radio, you could expect it to not work, ever. Vacuum windshield wipers which would stop when going up hill. Drum brakes, anyone? No air conditioning. An occasional tire blowout was fun. Two ply, bias ply tires. I think mine were mostly 670-15s or 710-15s. Oil bath air cleaners. Damn, I think we're getting old. Those were the good old day al right! :cheers: :cheers:


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 10:24 pm 
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My 1st "car" was a 52 Ford P-up with a Flathead 8.

It had a toilet paper oil filter!! I would dump the old oil. Undo the lid on the tank and toss in a roll! I don't think my mother ever figured out why our TP usage rate was so high when I owned that truck! :lol:

Or when changing your oil in a Aircooled VW meant waiting for the red light in the dash to come on and adding two quarts! VW's don't leak oil... they mark their territory!

Those were the days!!!

Cheers!

KS

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 8:17 am 
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Hey, don't forget manual chokes, when "learning" how to start a particular car was an art-form...

The 60 GMC, you just barely pulled the choke away from the dash, cranked it up and tried to remember to push it back in after a few minutes.

My 62 Fairlane, you pulled the choke fully out after it hit twice, waited for it to fire and immediately pushed the choke half in until the temp gauge moved off the peg.

The MG, when it had the original SU's, was the opposite. Leave the choke off until it rolled over, then pull it all the way out until it fired and the "modulation" from there depended on air temp, how long since it last ran, day of the week, shoe size and the airspeed of a fully laden African swallow... Or something like that...

Those were the days??? :mrgreen:

Oh, and DAMN, you guys are OLD! :ack:

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 9:05 am 
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The MG, when it had the original SU's


Oh yeah, I almost forgot. My MG had a hand crank for starting when the battery was so low (only a 20 amp generator!) wouldn't turn over the engine. Did we mention that batteries have gotten sooooooo much better over the years?

Anybody remember back to the 90 day new car warranty (1957 Chevy). I think I remember a 12 month warranty, but that was before I was driving. My first new car (1973) had a 36 month bumper to bumper and my latest has a 120 month drivetrain warranty. Car warranties are much better nowadays.

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:00 am 
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These days you could use a choke as an anti-theft device!

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:03 am 
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We are Slotus!
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horizenjob wrote:
These days you could use a choke as an anti-theft device!


Hell, a stickshift is a pretty good anti-theft device!

About 1999 or so, I was gonna get the E-Type inspected in Las Vegas. I told the kid working at the inspection bay that I'd drive the Jag onto the lift. He argued, said that was against the rules, yadda, yadda, yadda. I said either I drive it onto the lift or I drive it somewhere else to be inspected. He looked into the car and said, "Oh, it's a manual... You can drive it in." Geeze....

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:05 am 
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rx7locost wrote:
Car warranties are much better nowadays.
This is one of those you have to look at from both sides...

If cars are so much better, then why do we need a warranty?

But they can offer such long warranties because cars are so much more reliable now.

You do have to wonder about some of the lengths though... my 60k warranty was up a week before the water pump failed (a known issue)!! I had to raise a horrible stink to get them to cover it!! Have to wonder if I'd have had the same issues getting it covered years ago?

KS

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:31 am 
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GonzoRacer wrote:
horizenjob wrote:
These days you could use a choke as an anti-theft device!

Hell, a stickshift is a pretty good anti-theft device!
Heard in the news the other day that Sticks are making a comeback... they now have something like 6% of the market!! Woo Hoo!

I never drove an auto until I bought my 05 Gli and that was only because it was such a good deal, it's a TipTronic (Faux Stick Shift) and I was living in Grid Lock Central (Los Angeles). Otherwise I I'd never have considered a Auto!

Just think that there was a time when Autos were a option. I wonder just how many "licensed" drivers would not be on the road today if it was still that way!

KS

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 12:30 pm 
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Blasted SU's.. Had 3-4 cars with those.
GonzoRacer wrote:
The MG, when it had the original SU's, was the opposite. Leave the choke off until it rolled over, then pull it all the way out until it fired and the "modulation" from there depended on air temp, how long since it last ran, day of the week, shoe size and the airspeed of a fully laden African swallow... Or something like that...


THat was funny but true... I recently had a Volvo 142 with dual SU's and it was soooo
tempermental. get it perfect one day and the next it was wonky.. It was a track car so I didn't sit in traffic often.

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 4:43 pm 
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I grew up with a succession of family Austins and Morris'. My memory says that the SU carbs were the best bits .... (A Standard Vanguard too, and a Hillman, but they likely had Solexes)

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 4:56 pm 
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Well it brings back memories alright, my first car being a 1952 Dodge, three on the tree, edmonds dual carb intake and two spinner hubcaps.
Which side of the car the caps were on depended on which direction I was cruising past the local high school to impress the chicks.
Tires were throw a ways obtained from the local dump, as long as the cord wasn't showing through to badly they were a go, change them onto the rims in the driveway at home using a collection of tire irons.
Knock my self out once when I let one slip, came to it was dark outside, still remember that like it was yesterday.
Ripped off one of my dad's chisels and cut the handle off because it was a clear blood red plexi plastic.
I still recall the look on his face when he seen it screwed to end of my column shifter, he didn't say too much, some comment about a stupid kid wrecking a good chisel as he wandered off to have a beer or two.
Picked up a couple of bullet bicycle headlights, installed some bulbs painted them purple and put one under each end of the dash, whoooo, sex lights to charm the babes.

One day I went to pick up my future wife from school, I stopped around the corner and soaked my rear tire with kerosene, then came around the corner doing the worlds biggest smoke show, even John force would have been proud, then the tire blew out and I clunked to the side of the road got the spare out to change it.
The wife was staring straight ahead about a 100 feet further the up road holding her books in her arms.
I waved her over a couple of times, but she just stared straight ahead and didn't even look at me.
Meanwhile a bunch of little kids came by from the local elementary school and glombed all around me, " you got a flat mister", "how come it blew out mister".
Being an old 16 year old I guess I was a mister to them.
I kept waving my arms around telling them to keep moving, but it didn't work, finally I got the spare on and drove the 100 feet to pick up the future Mrs.
I said to her "hey how come you didn't walk over when I waved" , she just said "and what let everyone know I am with that stupid punk".
I must not have been that stupid as we just had our 45th wedding anniversary last month.
It was a pretty reliable car, any down time was usually caused by something I did and not the cars fault.

Oh and for some strange reason, my radio worked fine, weird.

Thanks for triggering the old memories.

Al

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 6:15 pm 
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the reliabillity factor in new cars is good for the owner, the dealership and the manufacturer.

the unreliability of old cars was, good and bad because mechanics were paid flat rate, they used to be able to do repairs quickly and invest in tools so they could make money.

now, manufacturers post a time for a repair which is unreasonable so the service writer adds things on to sell parts and labor, for instance an engine check light when the repare was a noisy rear axle bearing and replacing a lifetime lubricant when they should put it back in, it all pumps up the bill.

most service writers are paid commission only, no wages, if the customer buys these add ons its bad for the customer, good for the dealer and the manufacturer, because the mechanic is still paid flat rate, he rarely does the job within the book time, so he has to look for more reasons to get some hours from a given vehicle just to make 40 hours and is expected to work 130% efficient.

so yes new cars are better than old cars but in truth the dealer is still a crook, the expence a vehicle tech has in tools is somewhere around $20,000.00, which he needs on day one, name me another trade that is paid piece work that is not repetative and requires that kind of outlay.

in the "old days" a mechanic could get by with a little knowledge and a top box, make good money and the customer accepted the need for service, now the vehicle tech has to have a taco stand full of tools, a degree level qualification and still has to book 40 hours or cheat the customer for a weeks wages and the customer loves him when the car is broken and hates him when its not.

there are no more simple repairs on a modern car, apart from oil changes, if your car has to go to the dealer its gonna cost big time.

look at the price of used cars in states that require the mil to be out and no codes set before they do a smog test, half the faults are in the engine monitoring system and do not affect the performance of the engine at all.

now compare these prices in a state that doesn't have smog inspections, the price is reflected by the condition and usability of the vehicle, instead of wether you can renew your registration because a little light is on, telling you that the gas cap is not sealing, or the variable intake swirl plates are stuck open when they are not!

in both the above instances a vehicle would not pass a smog test in California and you would have no idea that anything was wrong with the car other than the mil.

in the "old days" if there was a fault that made the owner go to a repair shop, you can believe there was a fault 'cos the thing wouldn't run right, nine times out of ten, the part could be fixed not replaced, now its computer controlled this and that and who knows wether you needed a new computer or not.

question, can you rebuild a carb, most here would say yes, can you rebuild a modern fuel injection system, most would say no! and the cost.

when Duntov designed the first fuel injection system they needed the car for a press day and couldn't get it to run right, a technician said to Duntov "if all cars had this fuel injection and you had invented the carburetor, you would be regarded as a genius".

what i am getting at is, modern vehicles are designed with a 5 year life span, they will go wrong after that, who knows when the manufacturers will force the mil to set after a given time period even if there are no faults present at all other than the vehicle has been on the road for 60 months or 100,000 miles.

unfortunately, most people can't afford to change their car so are pinalized for not doing so by costly repairs that have no need to be done other than the legal requirement that the check light is on and it won't pass an emmissions test.

i could go into a rant here about molecular cracking and why lead was removed from gas, and it has nothing to do with smog or the developement of childrens brains.

don't you love it.

p.s. SU carbs, i love them and "if" you know what you are doing they are easy to fix, and i mean easy!

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it's back to the pits and take it to bits and don't forget the shute
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Last edited by john hennessy on Mon May 21, 2012 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 6:24 pm 
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the mil?

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