In defense of the Chevrolet Vega

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On 12/27/2010 6:18 PM, Ashton Crusher wrote:


The Capri was a sexy German import. I had one for a short time and I enjoyed driving it and it never once caught fire on me. The interior was made of some poor quality materials and self-destructed as did other various parts on the car. The drive train was pretty robust though.
The air-cooled VW engines used to catch fire in numbers that a Capri or Omni or Pinto could only hope to attain. As an added bonus, the block would ignite and melt, dripping white-hot metal. That was certainly cool.
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On Mon, 27 Dec 2010 18:56:13 +0000 (UTC), Brent

Meant to say Javelin, not Maverick. Don't know which engine it had. The Javelin was closest to my Nova in tinniness and road noise than any other car I've been in. But there's lots of cars I've never been in.
--Vic
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On Mon, 27 Dec 2010 10:10:14 -0600, Vic Smith wrote:

Have always had Chrysler Corp. cars, as have my family. Presently have: 1941 Chrysler Windsor, 1991 New Yorker 5th Avenue, 2010 Dodge Avenger. Great cars.
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wrote:

I had an 80 Plymouth Fury and it was one of the best cars I've had except for the carb-ign developed some impossible to fix problem at around 100K.
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I never heard much problem with AMCs either, Nate. Only owned one, a new 1975 AMC Sportabout wagon, bought when my son was born. I thought I needed a station wagon in those days.
This car had only one issue...gas mileage on the 6 cylinder engine was not too good...about 17 mpg. Otherwise no problem until it was T-boned and totaled.
Someone said earlier that the shitteaux 4 cylinder engines used by some lines of GM in the early 80's were made by AMC and every one of these that I know of cracked the block.
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Actually it's the other way around, AMC purchased GM 4-cylinder engines in the early 1980s to install in Spirit and Eagle models. A friend of mine had an Eagle Kammback (basically a 4WD Gremlin) with one of those. AMC finally came out with their own 4-cylinder mill around 1984.
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wrote:

The particular car I had problems with was an 84 Fiero, bought new. I had hoped the "Iron Duke" would be a strong and economical engine.. It wasnt. Block cracked early on, and GM denied any responsibility. When I went to the junkyard to find a rebuildable block, took me 4-5 tries.. They were all cracked at the same place.
I think it might have been Aarcuda that mentioned that these blocks were bought from AMC by GM, but I could easily be wrong.
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I probably have mentioned the particulars of the iron duke block cracking problem. The foundry that supplied them to GM (and held responsibility for the bad pour) at the time was John Deere.
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Actually, I just went back and searched for your old post, and you indeed said John Deere, not AMC.. My bad...
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I have seen some comments that these blocks were actually cast in Africa. I suppose it is possible that John Deere might have cast them there. Do you know?
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My foggy memory of the 'where' is Iowa, although I could be mistaken. I remember the TSB well, it specifically mentioned John Deere as the supplier of the blocks, probably didn't mention where the foundry was but it very well could have been mentioned during class at the training center.
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aarcuda69062 wrote:

I seem to recall that the bad blocks came from a JD foundry in Africa and was due to the thickness of the web around the lifter gallery.
I had a bunch in various vehicles and a couple boats. When they were put together well they held up OK. At least until that POS cam gear failed....
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When I found a sound block in the junkyard, gave it a slight bore, and rebuilt it with good parts, it lasted quite a while. Gave the car to my son, and it suffered some pretty rough treatment under his care but AFAIK this one did not crack. Why"? I assumed that if I found an aged one in the boneyard that had not cracked, I might have gotten an accidentally good casting...and, of course, I was very careful with torqueing when I rebuilt it.
Pontiac performance parts catalog showed an Iron Duke block that was especially cast for HP projects (they indicated, anyway). I never saw one, and dont know if they were any better than the stockers.
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As I understand it there was nothing wrong with the iron duke engine design wise, but suffered manufacturing quality wise. This got much worse in the Fiero because to fit in there it ran hotter with less oil.
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\ That was one of the earliest recalls. The original engine had a 3.5 quart sump, IIRC... They replaced it with a 5 quart one.
When I rebuilt this engine, I made a number of engineering modifications to the heads, etc, all of which remedied some of the defects in this engine.
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Vic Smith wrote:

VW put in valve seals made of a type of rubber that would wear quickly and make the engine burn a quart every 200 miles. This was fixed free under an EPA recall that also included a valve adjustment and, at least for fuel injected Rabbits, elimination of the EGR system. So the car ended up with no emission control equipment except for a spark vacuum advance delay.
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On 12/27/2010 1:10 PM, do_not_spam snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com wrote:

I had one of those rabbits. It was a good car except for that valve stem seals. Very easy to service and it didn't drip oil or grind gears when shifting into second or break timing belts like every single one of my Fiats did.
The recommended repair procedure for fixing a bad catalytic converter was to take the housing off and stick a broom handle onto the honeycomb ceramic element and whacking it with a hammer, then dumping out the shattered fragments and reinstalling the housing. Now that's my kind of car fixin'!
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On 12/27/2010 09:52 PM, dsi1 wrote:

Probably still passed emissions afterwards, too. Had a Scirocco whose cat self-destructed (on a long road trip, I heard the exhaust get quieter, then all of a sudden glowing chunks flew out the tailpipe and it returned to its normal tone) and it still passed the sniffer test for years afterwards. Those vee-dub I-4s were apparently pretty clean running engines, even without a lot of tacked on crap.
nate
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On 12/27/2010 7:20 PM, Nate Nagel wrote:

The first generation Scirocco was my favorite car. It had the usual problems but nothing I couldn't fix or tolerate. The 4 speed was pretty much a perfect match for how I drove. It felt as nimble as all those Fiat sports I've owned but without any of the standard little problems. You might say it was a refreshing change of problems. I didn't have the glowing chunk option like you did but my guess is that most of the cars over a few years old had the cats gutted already.

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dsi1 wrote:

Went on an around the country trip in the mid 80's. We had a Pontiac Grand Prix with the 301 and a family friend who went had a VW Dasher Wagon (80 or 81) with the diesel and stick. The VW was great on fuel but VERY short on power... Both of us were pulling pop-up campers and when we got into the mid-west we swapped them because the VW just couldn't handle the hills. The camper we had was about 500 pounds lighter plus we stuffed everything we could in the GP. Even had two extra kids.
The Poncho was great until we hit the gasohol out west. Then it was, drive 50 miles, change the fuel filter, drive 50 miles, change the fuel filter again... Once all the crud and crap was out of the tank and lines it actually ran better.
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