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.
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
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
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.
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.
(Change "invalid" to "com" for email. Google Groups killfiled due to spam.)
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.
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
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....
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.
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.
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
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.
On 12/27/2010 1:10 PM, do_not_spam firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
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.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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.
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
Once all the crud and crap was out of the tank and lines it actually ran
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