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Thread: The hardest vehicle to work on...

  1. #21
    Boolit Buddy Dunross's Avatar
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    One of the very few virtues of growing older is that I am no longer forced to work on my cars for being too poor to afford a real mechanic. I have never bought a new car. Just bad economics there. The newest I ever bought is my current truck (a Tacoma) which was a bare-bones model reclaimed after the original buyer could not make the payments then sold for a remarkably decent price.

    I've never rebuilt a motor, but timing gears, alternators, starters, radiators, drive shafts and more were done by me for one vehicle after another. My first car was a 1970 MGB because I thought those little convertibles were so cool! Much like the little girl with the little curl when it ran well it was a sweet, sweet drive, but when it decided to act up it led me to cursing British engineering all the way back to Caesar's invasion. I hope I never have to contend with a dual carburetor again!

    A 2004 Chevy Impala cured me of Detroit forevermore. Speedometer quit working? No, it's not a cable, but in the "brain" in the dashboard that also controls every other instrument in the danged vehicle. Nothing for it but to replace the thing for $500 twelve years ago. Two years later the temperature gauge went. Another brain transplant. In its model year Consumer Reports actually rated the car pretty well which is what convinced to buy a former fleet vehicle.

    And German engineering? A VW Eurovan. A '98 I seem to recall. It was actually the year before they were introduced into the U.S. market having been built for Canada. All of the instruments were in metric, but hey I got pretty good at doing a running Metric to Imperial conversion in my head. I would never have bought the thing, but my wife worked for the local import dealership and they took it in used in trade then let her buy it for what they gave for it. Price was right. Five or six years later the local German car mechanic finally had to confess they could not fix it after having it for ten days trying. It was in the ignition system, but it stumped them and their electronics.

    What does my family drive now? Toyotas. All Toyotas. They are not cheap to have worked on, but other than routine maintenance they've been the most trouble free cars I've ever owned. I tend to keep a car until the wheels fall off and my wife's 2013 RAV is still going strong and so long as she doesn't manage to knock the body off the frame (she tries sometimes!) I expect we'll have it another ten years.
    Chance favors the prepared mind.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master
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    98.5-2002 Cummins diesel in the Dodge trucks. I would LOVE to get the engineer that put #6 injection line facing the cab, not facing forward like it should have been designed! IF you get that line started on the first try, go get a lottery ticket immediately! Hahaha, it can make a person lose his religion, but I learned how to do it,( till you have to follow a hack mechanic that just bent the lines all out of shape!) Oh, and the rear drivers side plug on a ‘70 Chrysler Newport with a 383 in it! One more, ‘79 Chevy half ton, 350 Olds diesel v-8, drivers side head has two head bolts, that if you don’t put them in before putting the head on, you ain’t getting them in, period. Probably some more, like the starter on a’84 Chevy Impala, but that’s enough for now! Be safe.
    I firmly believe that you should only get treated by how you act, not by who or what you are!!

  3. #23
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    350 Olds diesel v-8 A mistake from the beginning. Neighbor had a buddy (who made a living converting them back to gas) had his changed out.
    Whatever!

  4. #24
    Boolit Master Handloader109's Avatar
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    I made the mistake of buying my wife a used BMW off a "friend" for what seemed like a very good price. Drove it a couple of months and it would start missing. Kept getting worse, but it became more of a lope kind of miss. Replace plugs, was electronic ignition, (about an 83 or 84 model). Finally took into a shop that specialized in German repairs. Easy, it is the Flywheel.... What? Yes, the timing is driven by a sensor reading the teeth on the flywheel! Not holes around inside of the wheel, or anything else, but the actual teeth on the flywheel. And ANYONE with half a brain knows that the older a car gets, the more worn the teeth on the flywheel become. Minor wear became a loping miss. $1500 to do this in about 1987..... Nope, sold the car pretty soon after having issue with driveshaft Ujoint fail.. BTW, those ujoints were supposed to be fixed, and you replaced the entire driveshaft with the two joints..... I got around it, but sure didn't like it.

  5. #25
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    Old Jeep "Viglante V8" engines, 65ish - Ford sold Jeep their Rambler engine design basically, and did severe damage to Jeep with that.

    Engine - if lugged at all, Prangs, this is on a 4x4 with 3 on the tree manual tranny.

    Guess how we got the truck? (Prev. owner broke the engine, right!)

    And then, having fixed it, my dad loaned my truck back to the previous owner - guess what happened then?

    (If you're suspecting that he broke the engine again, you're paying attention!)

    Was so glad to mod that to a Chev 327 & Turbohydramatic 400 tranny, won't say that was simple; Would have been easier to just get a Chev or something TBH.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master


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    Toyota full sized pickup. You need to take the intake manifold off to replace the starter.

    Most any Mercedes. I had a Mercedes repair shop on my mail route. The guy who ran it was German and had worked for Mercedes. He would get cars on flat bed trailers from all over the country. He was one of the few shops that would/could work on gray market Mercedes.

    There was a local guy that had a 600 series convertible. Oil changes ran over $800. Changing the plugs was over $1500. I saw some really neat cars go through that shop.
    NRA Benefactor.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by ebb View Post
    I am hearing that just about anything done on a Ford diesel p/u will require the removal of the cab and front fenders and hood.
    No, that is not true. It is only true of the 08-10 Superduty trucks with the 6.4 for certain things such as turbo removal.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master


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    Yeah, and you had to replace points, condenser, and distributer cap yearly. You were always fiddling with the carb, or at least living with it being less than ideal, especially in the mountains. You kept a close eye on your oil. When it got older, it started to burn it. Even before then, if your fuel pump took a dump, it filled the crank with gas and toasted the engine. Now I'm not familiar with the Ranchero, but I think it likely it was a 3 or 4 speed transmission, neither with overdrive. You were howling when doing 65 MPH. All that, and the engine was trash by 100,000 miles, maybe 150,000 if you really took care of it.

    And you want to talk complex? How about your drum brakes. Lots of blood and cursing has been spilled over the decades from these alien contraptions. And all that for brakes the suck. Did you even have power brakes?

    I think you need to take a look back at the whole picture. I think it likely that the most work you've done to your 2007 is change engine oil a couple times a year, and spark plugs seldom. Sure, I'll admit the airbox on that car is not a good design, I looked up the video. Still, it's a couple hose clamps to take it off, and 6 screws to take apart. It would not be fun in dusty Arizona, but once a year in Idaho, who cares? You still have a car you've barely worked on, with a nearly infinite engine life by comparison. It's nothing unusual for gas engines to go 400,000+ miles now. It sips gas, and all those gears and overdrive make highway driving a breeze. Speaking of breeze, how about that AC?

  9. #29
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Ihad to have a new head gasket installed on my Ford PU and they had to take off the whole front end. I too grew up doing my own work and rebuilt may a chevy 1962 to 1970 but no more.

  10. #30
    Boolit Bub
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    Really like my '04 Ranger with 4.0 SOHC and it has been the most trouble free vehicle I've ever owned. Glad it has 100k service interval for plugs as you have to come through wheel well to access them. I've "done my own" since my teens, built my first engine before I had a driver's license, and in addition to USAF career as an electronics tech, am also a retired ASE Master Collision tech. When the odometer displayed 100k miles I drove 3 miles to town and had the local shop change the plugs and do everything else from the list in my owner's manual, didn't even sprain my wrist writing the check.

    Last week I replaced the fuel pump assy on my Ranger and could share some choice words with designers on that.

    My favorite was access to the big block in my '72 F250 4WD, could literally crawl into engine bay to work on it even after replacing the FE with a 429.

  11. #31
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    Friends 2005 F250 6.8L V10(yes 10 cylinder...) spark plug change... back 2 plugs are so far under the cowl and so tight to it that we ended up lifting the cab to get at them... he totaled that one on a deer and we both said GREAT now go buy something that can be worked on! He went back to older Ford pickups. Friend of ours in TX brings a migrant field crew up each summer so he found a 1970's Ford pickup with a blown engine. Towed it up, we had the engine out in 2 hours, tore it down, got a short block assembly, rebuilt the heads with new valve seats to handle unleaded ethanol gas along with upgrading the fuel system for it. Rust free truck, he had it undercoated, we sanded it down and did a new paint job in his shop, looked like new! 4 speed manual so bullet proof trans... he has put 150k miles on that motor, truck still looks like new... if it needs another engine rebuild it will get done!

    He doesn't use it for work anymore so no hauling a trailer so the next rebuild is going to be high performance. He has the kit to lower the suspension 2 inches for better handling, 4 link for the rear and coil overs instead of the leaf springs... probably going to push that 390 to 450+ HP, maybe more of he does a dual turbo setup. Street truck for fun now that he is retired!

  12. #32
    Boolit Master Digger's Avatar
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    What is with the fuel pumps buried in the gas tanks these days ?!!!!
    It is much easier to fool people ,
    than to convince them they have been fooled !

    If you can read this , thank a teacher ...
    If you can read this in English , .. thank a Vet !

  13. #33
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Digger View Post
    What is with the fuel pumps buried in the gas tanks these days ?!!!!
    These days? Fuel pumps have been inside the tank for decades. The only thing ridiculous about it, is that after all these years, access panels still are not standard issue on every vehicle. There is no excuse on why a car or truck couldn't have a simple 8"x8" hole in the floor to access the fuel sender assembly. The guys down south may not understand, but dropping a gas tank on a rusty vehicle is horrible. I would rather pull a transmission than a gas tank. When I replace a fuel pump, I always cut an access panel into the floor or bed so next time it will be easy.

  14. #34
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    Hardest to work on? Just about anything since about 1987 with electrical gremlins. They don't make wiring harnesses to last anymore. That and people telling me "You have to have the computer in the vehicle to check it."

    Easiest road vehicle? In 1982 I had a 57 F-100 that you could just about crawl into the engine compartment and shut the hood. I opened the hood one night when it was running and it looked like a Christmas tree with all the sparks coming from the solid core spark plug wires. Silly truck still got 15 MPG; better than my much newer ones, but it was at 55 not 70. Dad's 63 Falcon with a 170 was just as simple, but not as roomy.

    Robert

  15. #35
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    ce4 corvette. getting at the back 2 plugs on each side too an extension a couple swivels and a contortionist with alot of patients. Then they were know for moisture in the distributor which which caused it to rust and fail and in there infinite wisdom they mounted down low behind the balancer so you had to pull the balancer and to even get at it you had to pull the front clip. I know I did it 3 times on two different c4s. 800 bucks a pop for just the parts.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  16. #36
    Boolit Grand Master








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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    These days? Fuel pumps have been inside the tank for decades. The only thing ridiculous about it, is that after all these years, access panels still are not standard issue on every vehicle. There is no excuse on why a car or truck couldn't have a simple 8"x8" hole in the floor to access the fuel sender assembly. The guys down south may not understand, but dropping a gas tank on a rusty vehicle is horrible. I would rather pull a transmission than a gas tank. When I replace a fuel pump, I always cut an access panel into the floor or bed so next time it will be easy.
    had to cut a hole in the bed of my dakota to change the pump when it went bad. Best one is my challenger. Open the trunk pull out the spare tire and the fuel pump is right there to unbolt.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  17. #37
    Boolit Master

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    Bought a 66 Corvette, 427 inch engine with 435 HP. They (GM) were trying to transisterize the engine electrics. The transistor that ran the distribitor was mounted on the panel around the radiator, facing forward. They (GM) apprently could not water proof the aluminum box that also was the heat sink for the transistor too. It got so bad that I shy away from driving in the rain. Went to a friend that was a plumber. He gave me some goop that worked like a charm. Before that I had 67 Dodge R&T (Rood&Track). Same problem as Stanbar, Had to drill a big hole to get at the back plugs. I don't think the engineers are in consert to make owner take the vehicle to the dealer. There has been no organization to the designs. If they were really were working on that idea there would be thousands of messed up cars sitting around dealers shops. Look at the farm tractors now adays. The farmers had to got the go to the courts to be able to do their own work on the electronics and the Software. When I was a kid I had a 1949 Ford with a V8. No plug problems there. Sigh.
    Ole Jack
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    "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we faulter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." Abraham Lincoln.

  18. #38
    Boolit Buddy
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    Interesting thread. In my younger days I did auto collision and then taught it for 15 years.

    In my early years working in rural KS, we didn't even work on foreign cars, they were thought to be junk and too complicated.

    I learned to literally dislike a Ford product. I thought they were terribly made but the woorst part was to take a front end apart they had every size socket with the most unusual size heads of anything ever made. Constantly changing sockets and bolts were special for every part of the front end which made you memorize where they all went.

    After 5 or so years in rural KS I moved a bigger town that had all those foreign cars..my first job was repairing a Honda civic and I thought it was the easiest vehicle I ever worked on. I have generally loved foreign made vehicles since, European first, Asian second. We measured frames with very precise equipment and the U.S. made cars had by far the highest tolerances of any cars made.

    Eventually I worked in a shop where we did Mercedes, Vette, caddy's, Volvos and anything else high end. Loved it back then but I am glad I don't do that anymore.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by robg View Post
    sunbeam tiger with the v8 motor had to drop the motor to reach the rear plugs.
    You beat me to it. The most cussed job I ever had to do. But when you stick a 289 ford V8 in a 2 seater sports car the size of a TR3 what do you expect.

  20. #40
    Boolit Master
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    A top fuel dragster but not why you would think. It had a custom paint job and the dzus fasteners were not captured so to put it back together you had to line every one of them up with the paint.

    I've never had to do much to my 2003 Saturn. Vue. But it is a pain to change the timing belt. Spark plugs required pulling six bolts to pull the intake. My wife's 2008 aura is a fight to do headlamps. You have to jack it up, pull tires and inner fenders to remove the entire bumper cover.

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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
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GC Gas Check