On a side note, I'm not dissing Toy's, but I'm sick of hearing people
extolling the virtues of Jap scrap. Domestics made great kill proof engines
also, 2.0 Ford, slant six Dodge( pretty much runs with no oil ), 302 Ford,
350 GM, most of these old iron horses are no longer.
I don't think any of these engines are still being made, except as original
equipment factory replacements in Mexico and for racing. I took apart a lot
of these engines in my younger days in high school and college. I can't
think of any Ford 2.0 engines that I would call "old iron horses." I think
the 2.0 was an aluminum block and cast iron head engine. I don't know if
there was another Ford 2.0 engine, except for the one in the Escort and
Contour, but that was all aluminum.
My favorite was the 350 Olds Diesel. Some of those were really durable and
lasted a long time. (Most weren't.) But you were able to change the cam,
push rods and cylinder heads to gas models (I think from a 455), and you
had a really durable engine. The problem that GM and Peugeot had with their
diesel engines was that they came from gas designs, so they weren't durable
IMHO, other old iron horses include the 240 Ford and 250 Chevy straight
sixes, the big block V8 (GM) and the 3.8 liter Olds and Dodge Hemi.
The 3.8 Olds is still made, but has been revised 4 or 5 times. Changes
include the crankshaft design, piston design and metal so that piston rings
can be closer to the top of the piston, to improve efficiency and decrease
I don't think any others of these are still made. I know the Hemi is made,
and although it is a similar design to the old Hemi, it is made on a new
production line and wasn't made for 30 years.
One of the things that killed the old designs is that the new production
lines are much more efficient, requiring far fewer workers than the old
ones. And the car makers designed better engines over time, too. And they
make smaller, more fuel efficient engines (except for the Hemi).
The original 2.0L OHC Ford engine was cast iron block and head. So was
the 2.3L. Ford never built an engine with an aluminum block and cast
iron head (Chevy did that for the Vega). Ford did build some cast iron
block / aluminum head engines. I think all the fours are now aluminum
block (with liners) and aluminum head.
The Pinto engines were manufactured with iron blocks and heads. I recently
had to redo the head on the 2L engine in my 71 Pinto, that was worn because
of no lead in the fuel, that had 299K miles on the clock. That was the
first the engine was apart.
Our friend Jeff basis his opinion on his personal experience and biases, as
do most of us. Most of those that post in the NGs are used car buyers,or
those, that if they did buy new, they keep their vehicle much longer than
the average new car buyer. Their opinions are based a perhaps fewer than
ten OLD vehicles My experience if far greater than average, however. I
have owned over 70 vehicles, like most folks buying used at first, but most
since the late forties were purchased new. I have owned European and
Japanese imports as well as domestics from Hudson, Studebaker, Nash
Chrysler, Ford and GM.. All types from econoboxes to sport cars to luxury
vehicles. Of all of them, maybe a half dozen were problematic.
I owed a fleet service business, that operated in four states, for ten
years. We serviced thousand of vehicles of most brands every month, many
run to ultra high mileages. There is no brand that is demonstrably 'better'
than any other, on average, in terms of longevity. We saw as many problems
with Japanese vehicles as we did with domestics, on average. The big
difference is parts are more costly for Japanese vehicles, as well as higher
insurance costs. The fact is every manufacturer is building good reliable,
long lasting, vehicles today, if given the proper PREVENTIVE maintenance.
Japanese superiority is more myth than fact. Toyota was number one in
recalls in 2006 and is number one so far in 2007, as well.
When I am asked which brand to buy, my advice is drive all of those models
that suit your needs then buy the one, with the total drive home price, that
best suits your budget. The fact is if you actually understand what ALL of
those surveys are saying is, like all manufactured products, that they ALL
have a failure rate of around 2%. There is no reason to spend more hoping to
get one of the 98% of the good ones, no mater what brand mane is on the
What I find strange is, one seldom sees domestic buyers denigrating imports
in import NGs but import buyer are always denigrating domestic in domestic
NGs. There millions more Americans every year who buy domestics, than
imports. Who are the import buyer trying to convince, themselves? ;)
Thanks. Toyota was ranked near the industry average, 847 (industry ave.) vs
832 (toyota) what seems to be about a 200-point scale (difference between
best and worst). I am not sure how important those 15 points are. What's
more worrisome is the company they keep, they are near Jeep, Chrysler,
Dodge, Kia and VW. Are they ranked relatively low just because they don't
give much on price? Is it the long wait? A whole bunch of little things?
Toyota is not as interested in the best costumer experience (that would be
giving away cars, with a smile of course) as it is in selling the most cars
they can.Toyota and all the other car makers are interested at improving the
costumer experience, because that helps sell cars. I am nearly positive that
all the car makers have requirements for space and service that the dealers
have to meet to keep their dealerships. So for a dealer to be a great dealer
from a JDPower sort of view is not the same as being a good dealer for a
Toyota point of view or the bottom cash line point of view dealers have. If
costumers come away a little less happy because they had to wait a little
while longer, but they still get the sale, Toyota and the dealers are not
going to be too upset. It might hurt the JD Power numbers, but those are not
the numbers that matter.
Another thing to realize about the JD Power numbers is that these numbers
reflect only the sales that were made. Let's say I go to my local dealer to
buy a car. The salesman says, "I have a deal for you. I will sell you this
new sedan for only $1000 over the list price. I will throw in undercoating,
an extended warranty and free tires for life (as long as you take it into
our over-priced shop for balancing and allignment every 6 months or 6,000
mi) for only $5000. And the advertising fee is only $800." Needless to say,
I would seek a vehicle elsewhere. But this bad experience would not be
reflected in JD Power's numbers. However, if I found a car I really wanted
at the next dealership, had a competent but not overly friendly salesman who
tried to bundle financing and the trade in in one transaction (bad idea),
even though the JD Power rating # for the second dealer is not that good, it
was a far better experience that the first one.
Finally, for brands like Ford and Chevy, well, there are far more dealers.
So let's say I really like the Honda Fit. I saw it at the NYC Auto Show, my
friend has one, and I really like it. Well, while there are four Ford
dealers I could go to within 25 mi., there is only one Honda dealer. They're
all good dealers with good, well-earn reputations. Some are better working
with one type of costumer than others. I would end up buying from the Ford
deal that best suited my personality. I am still going to get a good
experience at the Honda dealer, but it probably won't match my personality
like the Ford dealer, so it will end up with a lower rating.
And how bad an experience is the average car-buying experience, anyway?
Well, personally I have been struck by the arrogant attitude of the three
closest Toyota dealers. They are masters of the BIG Lie. They quote you a
relatively decent price, but when you ask for the bottom line they tack on
the biggest phony doc fee I have ever seen. One dealer keeps talking about
the low prices of cars in the "clearance zone," but when you decide you want
one of the "specials" the drive away price is literally thousands higher
than you thought. I refuse to do business with people that act like this. My
SO had to go 50 miles away to get a decent price on a RAV4. Even then the
price for the RAV4 was thousand higher than for an Escape with similar
equipment. At least the guys at that dealership acted like they were happy
you bought a car from them, instead of acting like they were doing you a
favor by letting you buy one of their oh so special cars.
I think the magazines are slanted towards Asain cars. And I wonder if real
people report problems with US cars differently than Asian brands, based on
expectations (it is one of those rare things for the Asians, but expected
for US cars).
The problem is that in a newsgroup like this, you get only a small sampling,
and some of the people are like, well, me. That's a red flag that the
experience of most people aren't represented by the sample here.
JD Powers runs surveys all over the globe. It is ridiculous for you to
claim they slant their surveys towards Detroit products (just look a
their list of winners - if they were so beholden to Detroit, why so
many non-Detroit winners). While Consumer Reports is not beholden to a
particular manufacturer, the CR editors clearly have their own
opinions AND they have to satisfy their readers. The CR survey is not
scientifically sound. It is not a random survey, it is not
comprehensive survey, and it is not even well worded. CR surveys only
it's own readers - people who are likely to share CR's opinions. Only
about a third of the people who get the survey bother to respond at
all - and the ones who respond are even more likely to be very devoted
readers that share the opinions of the CR editors. CR depends upon the
respondents to decide what is a problem. For some vehicles they base
the result on as few as 100 responses - hardly a sufficient sample
size for a vehicle produced in the tens of thousands. And finally, the
CR Survey is as much a fund raising project as a survey designed to
gather information. Yet people constantly treat the CR survey as if
it was statistically valid. It isn't. CR makes interesting reading,
but it hardly represents the final word on anything. It is just one
more opinion to be considered. I read CR all the time. I even value
the opinions of the CR editors - but - I actually go and try things
out for myself. Last year I needed a new farm truck. CR's constant
drum beat for the Tundra convinced me it should be at the top of the
list for my new truck. I tried three different Tundras. Consumer
Reports claimed the Tundra has a very smooth engine. All three of the
ones I tested sounded like rock crushers when they were first started.
Salesmen at two different dealer said this was normal. If a Ford did
that, people would be in demanding a new engine because of piston
slap. Consumer Reports talked about how roomy the cab was. I found the
cab to be cramped compared to my old F150, with marginal head room.
Consumer Reports talked about how quiet the Tundra was (not a big
concern for a farm truck), but I found the truck no quieter than a 14
year old F150. Compared to my old F150 with an inline six, I found the
Tundra's V-8 to be weak at the bottom end. I am sure it would out run
the F150 in a drag race, but around town it was a dog off the line and
you really had to get on it to stay up with traffic. However, the
biggest negative was the arrogance of the salesmen. The Tundra was
clearly overpriced. For the price of a minimally equipped Tundra, I
could buy an F250 that would haul more, tow more, and last at least as
long. I didn't want an F250 however. I wanted a smaller truck, and the
I liked the size of the Tundra. I even tried to get a deal on a
Tacoma, but the prices on those were actually higher then for the
Tundra (I could not figure that out). So I ended up in a Nissan
Frontier. It is not my favorite truck (I miss the old F150) but at
least it was thousands less expensive that a Toyota. Before you ask -
I don't like the current F150s. They were clearly designed for people
who should be buying a car. But, it seems the Tundras were too.
Bottom line is that the buying public finds Toyota and Honda's offerings
better than Ford's-Ford is floating between #3 and #4 in results released.
Ford is flushing plants and people and Toyota is building plants in the US
and hiring Americans. Ford has been exporting work to Mexico, Canada, China
(DCX is doing even more in China). Past Ford (and GM & DCX) poor management
decisions and treatment of *former* customers is why the Old Big Three is
being replaced by the New Big Three. People vote by means of their
purchases of new vehicles. The Old Big Three boards have turned American
icons into scrap metal.
But why? Toyota products are nothing special in terms of engineering,
ride, power, handling, etc. The designs of many Toyota models are
comparatively old and very conservative. Claims of Toyota reliability
are over blown. Many Toyota models have mediocre insurance injury loss
ratings. And Toyota prices are often much higher than comparable cars
from other manufacturers. So what is the attraction? My SO has a new
RAV4. It is a nice little Station Wagon (whoops - SUV) BUT, I don't
find it any nicer than my younger sister's 6 year old Escape. The RAV4
is bigger, but the drivng posiiton is worse. It may well be reliable,
but since my sister has spent less than $20 on repairs for her Escape,
can it possibly be more reliable? I could buy an Escape equipped like
my SO's RAV4 for at least $3000 less. Yet my SO would not even
consider an Escape. In fact, she didn't consider anything but the
RAV4. Why? I don't know. Mostly she just likes Toyotas. Her Father has
a Tacoma, and her Mother a Camry. Neither of them have owned an
American car in at least 25 years. Interestingly, my older Sister has
a Honda Civic (in the past she has owend a Jetta, an Esccort, an
Accord, and a Pinto). She is shopping for a new car. She wants an
Escape, probably because she likes my other Sister's Escape. BTW, I
did try to get her to at least look at my SO's RAV4. She isn't
interested (but then she is - hmmm - frugal).
And what's wrong with being cheap? I have a '97 Contour with 135k mi on it.
It has a total value of around $1500. I may replacee it with '03 Civic
Hybrid if the price is right. Otherwise, I will continue to run it as long
as it is safe.
Nothing wrong with being frugal. At least in my mind, being cheap is not
such a good thing. But words mean different things to different people. You
probably qualify as Frugal :) My Sister borders on cheap (or more correctly
uncaring). Her 1997 Honda Civic is looking pretty ratty, plus the clutch is
not long for this world. The car also needs new tires. If it was strictly
used for short trips, it might be OK. But for her frequent long trips, she
feels it is marginal (so do I). Money is not a problem, so she has decided
she wants a new car - but - she keeps putting it off. This is worrisome to
me since she hasn't had a car meet a good end since her 1973 Pinto (I bought
that in good condition). Her first Honda was totaled in a wreck, the Jetta
had the transmission self destruct, and the Escort was totaled in a wreck. I
think she is on target to have the Civic either get wrecked (not the worst
end if she is unhurt) or have the transmission blow....
That's a young car. My Concord is a '95 and it's running as new, but
only about 80k miles.
I would have traded it at 10 yrs, but I like it MUCH better than what
Chrysler has to offer.
I may switch to Ford I feel the Fusion is nice , but what I really need
is a Fusion SW and the related CUVs aren't what I want.
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