Follow up...Oil changes, Toyotas, and GM problems

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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:


The Lucerne uses the iron-horse series-III 3800 and the Northstar V8 - both have been proven as good engines, although I wouldnt personally buy any car in it's first model year.
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Masospaghetti wrote:

Oh, I don't know. One of the best cars I ever bought was a first-year Chrysler LH series (93 Eagle Vision TSi) built about 5 months into the production run. Still have it with 241,000 miles on the clock.
In the case of the Lucerne, if its using a Northstar and a Gen-III 3800, the only "new" things about it are all low-risk engineering items. I have to admit ignorance on many of the new GM cars, but I did notice that the "all new" (according to the clever commercial with herds of metallic antelope) Impala appears to have the exact same underpinnings as a circa-1990 Olds Cutlass and Pontiac Grand Prix when you look under one in person. And thats a GOOD thing, IMO.
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Just go buy a godamn toyota and STFU.
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"Scott" <homealone.com> wrote in message

had
Gosh, Scott. Thanks for you eloquent and perceptive comments.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

HLS, you forgot one thing... to STFU. Two things if you haven't bought the Toyota yet.
Kidding, Toyota MDT in MO
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You have known me long enough to know that I am unlikely to STFU;>)
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I feel that my story, although slightly off-topic, might shed some light. I bought a 1995 Toyota T100 pickup in December of 2000. 3.4 liter V6, automatic, 2WD long bed. At the time I bought it, it was showing 219,000 miles on the clock. In June of 2002, at 242,000 miles, it blew a head gasket. I knew that Toyota had experienced head gasket issues with this engine and that there was a recall on them. Per the dealership's service managaer's advice, I drove it to the local Toyota dealership - probably 8-10 miles. I made sure the coolant was full and drove gingerly. So, two days after taking the truck there, the service manager calls and says it was indeed a blown head gasket, the repair would be covered under the recall, and that I had pitting in several cylinder bores due to coolant leaking into the cylinders. The solution was new short block. Here's the kicker - Toyota covered the short block too under the head gasket warranty. I didn't have to scream, threaten, or anything. They admitted the problem was theirs and took responsibility for it. The repair was wrapped up in about 5 days and I now have 316,000 miles on the truck. Am I a fan of Toyota? Because of this experience, absolutely. Would I be a fan of GM or Ford or Chrysler if I'd been treated the same way? Absolutely. Experience, though has shown me that domestic car companies/dealerships have a "blame the owner first" policy. Just my $.02.
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Lhead wrote:

Your story echos the common reaction to the V6 recall on Toyota trucks / 4Runners by their owners. I had a hard time believing the vehicles that we would provide warranty coverage for, though. In some cases, the truck was a totally neglected shitbox, but it got repaired just the same. I much prefered doing recalls on the well maintained trucks and the ones that weren't jury-rigged by incompetent butchers. Something about performing "free" work for someone that doesn't IMO deserve it gets under my craw :)
Toyota MDT in MO
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Why would you be surprised? Toyota wasn't doing this for the owners benefit! Do you know how many millions of bucks national television advertising time costs? Toyota probably just redirected their advertising and marketing budget into paying for the recall and got even better mileage out of it and saved money to boot. It's a fantastic advertising campaign. produce a product with a flaw, then when it blows up replace the product for free, and the customer is so grateful they don't even think to get mad that the product blew up on them in the first place, thus inconveniencing them.

The goal here should be to spend the effort on producing the vehicle that doesen't break down to begin with, not on spending effort on cleaning up after it. :-)
Ted
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wrote:

You've got something there.
Savvy marketing people speak of "The Rule of Thirty"
ie; The average person will tell 30 other people about their experience ( good or bad ) with a company.
Go the extra mile with one customer, get 30 new customers..... Not too shabby.
Of course, the converse is; Screw one customer, lose 30 potential customers.
<rj>
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Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:

You're right, of course, but there will always be issues, and how those issues are handled definitely reflects on the company, well or poorly. For example, VW has had a few minor supplier related problems in recent years, notably heater cores, ignition coils, and window regulators. None of these issues were really VW's "fault" as at least in two cases I know for a fact that the issue was caused by suppliers changing materials or design of their part which no longer conformed to VW's spec, which resulted in widespread early failures. Now VW eventually did recall the coil packs and window regulators, but there are still vehicles with known bad heater cores that have never been recalled, and VW seems to put off recalling until there is great outcry from the VW customer community. Also when the coil pack recall was done, they had serious supply pipeline issues which meant that people were trying to schedule warranty/recall work and they were told by their local dealer that parts were a month or more out.
Compare and contrast with Toyota's handling of this issue. They had a problem with the ENGINE and cheerfully replaced a whole crapload of them to keep their customers happy. Now in my mind, the VW car is a better product, but my opinion of Toyota's customer service is infinitely greater. I am willing to bet that more people who know the above facts will buy Toyotas than VWs even though the VW is a superior product, simply because they don't want to deal with those combusting anuses known as VWoA and VW's dealer network. There's a lesson in there somewhere...
nate
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Well, I do feel compelled to point out that VW sells cars based on "the VW mystique" that came out of the Flower children of the 60's. That's why they brought back the New Beetle.
The few unfortunate times I've ever been goat-roped into assisting a friend to fix their VW I have not found the vehicles "repairable with a simple set of tools and a few kitchen implements" as some have claimed, nor have I observed them to be espically well designed. And when my wife owned a VW rabbit before we got married I did plenty of work nursing that POS.
Interestingly, while I see a lot of older cars in the area here, I haven't seen a VW Rabbit on the road in years.
Ted
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Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:

yeah, I guess I'm a member of a very small subset of people who likes VWs not because of nostalgia for the 60s (I was born in 1974) but for the cheap, economical, bulletproof cars that they built in the early watercooled era. Iconic status of the original GTI notwithstanding, they don't seem to have been all that successful in either selling cars or building a reputation back then, probably because of their execrable dealer network.

I really don't understand that comment... While certainly not as easy to work on as a 60's era American compact, I find that VW's are easily repairable with only a few special tools required, like a set of cheesehead bits, an extra long Allen wrench for the airflow meter adjustment, and a cutaway socket for the top strut nuts. My daily driver for years was an '84 Scirocco (basically a fancy Wabbit.) Now some jobs are definitely easier with a helper, I'll grant you that, like replacing CV joints (need helper to hold the wheel with the brakes so you can break loose the inner bolts... they don't just pop out of the transaxle like many other FWD cars.)

I've started to see them *again* now, just the other day I saw a guy in a white GTI tow-barring another GTI that was clearly a "barn car," apparently they're restorable now. Which means I guess that I shouldn't have sold mine as prices are going to start going back up again...
nate
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I've owned a couple of Passats, and have had really good luck with them. Both were company cars, so I didn't really have to work on them. I have heard from other owners that some year models had electrical issues, but mine never did.
I have considered another Passat as a result of my Toyota research. They seem to be about as quiet and smooth as a Camry, but not as fuel miserly, if I can believe reports. Price about the same. I know nothing about the reliability of their auto trannies.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

Conventional wisdom seems to suggest that the VW folks didn't figure out the automatic transmission until about 98 - the B5 platform for the Passat. Those seem to be fairly reliable, as do the A4 and onward Jetta/Beetle/Golf transmissions. However, they call the fluid 'lifetime' but it's really more like '100k' or maybe even '50k' and very, very expensive.
-Keith
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Thanks, Keith... Their Value series seems to come with a turbocharged 4 cyl. Other than the requirement to use premium unleaded gasoline, does this engine have a disadvantage on reliability?
I have never owned a turbo application. Years ago, they were very expensive and unreliable. Have they been tamed?
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

The 1.8T is the best engine VW has made in recent memory IMHO.
That said, I'm surprised you had good luck with a Passat. Those don't seem to be as reliable as the Golf/Jetta series for some reason.
nate
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nate,
The Passat seems to be a testbed for features that are going to go into other VW cars. Also, VW seems to sometimes not uprate the parts enough the first time around for the bigger car.
That said, I took a 1995 Passat from 70k to 156k before selling it, and apart from stuff that I broke myself doing silly things like driving over a curb, the non-maintinance items I had to replace were as follows: one EGR temperature sensor, one crank position sensor, one door latch, a thermostat, the load reduction relay, the secondary electric water pump, and a couple of gaskets and little clips here and there. I'm not counting things like brakes, struts, tires, so on, which wear out on every car. Actually, the stuff like brakes have done well: I put two sets on, but the second set is still more than half left, and I did the clutch at 150k but found out I didn't need to once I got it apart. I took it apart because the timing chain was getting noisy, and though I'm glad I did that, I didn't really need to once I got in there - it was in OK enough shape for much more service, but since I had it apart I replaced the guides and chain anyway. The car is still driving around and hasn't needed anything else yet. Of course, if I had paid a shop to do these things I probably would have a bad opinion of the car, as I would have spent much on labor to fix little fiddly things that didn't need parts, or were an hour of work and a 15 cent part. An example: on the B4 platform there is a little pin in the door handles that slowly wanders out. You can pop the door handles out, grease them, and drift the pin back in every year or two, or you can do like I do and drill the pin out, then replace it with a screw and nut. It's annoying and takes a little bit of time to do, but it's not actually expensive to fix. Of course, I didn't need to do it the first time until 100k were on the clock, so if you tend to keep cars for less than that it might have never been an issue.
Lately with VWs, the lineup seems to be pretty solid mechanically. For instance, the VR6 engine has the bugs all worked out, the 1.8T seems fantastic for a turbo motor, the 2.0 is basically bulletproof if a bit of an oil consumer at this point, and the pre-2003 TDI has a short list of well known faults. The 2.5 FSI is still an unknown quantity and I might be a bit leery of it; thankfully the FSI system has gotten a couple of years workout in Europe, but it still is relatively new. New VW injection techniques aren't inherently bad, but even the (awful) dealers might not know how to troubleshoot them well yet if they go wrong, as it takes a certain amount of Zen to troubleshoot VW systems.
-Keith
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N8N wrote:

You must not have owned a first generation Rabbit! What an unreliable piece of junk that was. My sister had one and her husband was an absolute maintenance fanatic. He fell for the Consumer Reports gushing review of the Rabbit when it came out and lived to regret it :(.
John
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John Horner wrote:

I did, an '84 GTI and it was even Westmoreland built. Despite the bad reputation the US-built cars had, it was pretty much trouble free once I rebuilt the suspension (struts were shot) and the only reason I sold it was because the alternator was bad and I was offered a much nicer Scirocco for $900ish IIRC. The Scirocco I drove for about 5 years with only normal maintenance, the only issue I had with it was some worn bearings in the transaxle (at 200K miles, go figure) that allowed all the gear oil to leak out the output flange seal, so I just threw in a cheap used tranny from a JEtta and kept on rollin.'
nate
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