Any car companies considering building cars people can once again work on?

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Old 01-31-10, 11:42 AM
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Any car companies considering building cars people can once again work on?

I have brought up to some people how easy it is to work on my early 90's Dodges. Battery right out in the open. Alternator and belt right out in the open. Plugs easy to get at. Oil filter right there in front of you. Same with the old fashion coil. Same with the distributor. Valvecover easy to remove. Timing belt easy to inspect. Etc.

And not overloaded with various sensors, relays, vacuum lines, more wires. No climate control, tire pressure sensors, ABS, power seats and windows, security system, chip key,........... and all those things that can maybe go even more wrong when subjected to years, rust, salt, etc.

Not everyone can afford high mechanic bills that even become higher when they have to dismantle half the car to get at some of the things that used to be easily accessible on older cars.

Aren't they getting any messages from the working class DIY'er that wants cars to go back to the good old days where you actually even have guy friends over and have car repair clinics outside, while enjoying the beautiful day? That being able to work on your own car was something that gave you pleasure? There are guys who simply enjoy working on cars, and that has been almost taken away.

My one older neighbor(70's) even told me that he wishes he could buy a car new, just like the one I have. I mentioned this to some other people (including this forum), and they said good luck. That in the future it will get to be worse and you won't be able to do a thing on your car. That's ridiculous.

You would think a competitor out there would offer an easy to make and work on, vehicle.

My other next door neighbor had to pay $285 yesterday to have likely a relatively low amp alternator put in his car (probably cost $100) because they buried the alternator. I told him I could have changed out MY alternator on the shoulder in about 15 minutes (since I did change out the belt in a few minutes, on the shoulder, in 0-5 temp out, in the dark). Look how much money I saved! -and no expensive tow truck necessary! I also was able to easily change out my ignition switch, and also the turn-signal/hi-low beam/wiper arm - both in minutes! Not even 1/2 hour in each case!!
 
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Old 01-31-10, 11:51 AM
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Building a car that can be repaired by a DIY is the least of their worries.

They have to worry about design criteria for sfety, EPA and CAFE standards, servicability is not their main concern.

The reason there are all of the sensors is because they are required to meet the standards, the cars built today are better built than the cars of the 70's, they go a lot longer without service, and last a lot longer without major work needing to be done on them.

$285 installed for an alternator is not a bad price, I put one in my F250, and it cost me about $150 from Autozone.
 
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Old 01-31-10, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by bgbill View Post
Building a car that can be repaired by a DIY is the least of their worries.

They have to worry about design criteria for sfety, EPA and CAFE standards, servicability is not their main concern.

The reason there are all of the sensors is because they are required to meet the standards, the cars built today are better built than the cars of the 70's, they go a lot longer without service, and last a lot longer without major work needing to be done on them.

$285 installed for an alternator is not a bad price, I put one in my F250, and it cost me about $150 from Autozone.
A 3/4 ton pick up is going to have a higher amp alternator.


Good reasoning on your post - unfortunatly for me and others like me, I guess. The gov't is the cause of everything, probably. Too bad we cannot send them the difference in the charges between what a bill would have cost some years back(adjusted for inflation, of course) and what current charges are

Very true though on the age of how long things now last. But it sure hits you hard, if something easy DOES go out, and you are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Then it is easy to forget about that!

I have idealistic tendencies - maybe my downfall. If I was from the 1800's, I guess I'm the type that would have wanted the horse without the manure.
 
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Old 01-31-10, 02:29 PM
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You don't have to drive new vehicles There are many that fix up the old classic and antique cars.... and drive them regularly. I met a boy in autozone parking lot a few years ago - he had a nice ford galaxy with a 390 cid under the hood. We talked about how much easier the older cars are to work on and somewhere during the conversation I said the only thing the new cars have going for them is their fuel mileage. He replied that the money he didn't spend on a new car payment would buy a LOT of gas

Although my wife doesn't agree, I'd rather have 5-10k in a classic car and drive around in style than have a brand new 20-30k vehicle that I can't do much more than change the oil
 
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Old 01-31-10, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
A 3/4 ton pick up is going to have a higher amp alternator.


Good reasoning on your post - unfortunatly for me and others like me, I guess. The gov't is the cause of everything, probably. Too bad we cannot send them the difference in the charges between what a bill would have cost some years back(adjusted for inflation, of course) and what current charges are

Very true though on the age of how long things now last. But it sure hits you hard, if something easy DOES go out, and you are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Then it is easy to forget about that!

I have idealistic tendencies - maybe my downfall. If I was from the 1800's, I guess I'm the type that would have wanted the horse without the manure.
I have 208,000 miles on my F250, a 70's era 3/4 ton truck would not have lasted this long with so few problems.

I have 1 original spark plug because it is hard to get to, original transmission, if the transmission goes out I can buy one from Ford for about $2100 and install it in about 4 hours, and they come with a 3 year warranty.

It eats up brakes though because it has a utility body on it and weighs 9,000 lbs.
 
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Old 01-31-10, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
Although my wife doesn't agree, I'd rather have 5-10k in a classic car and drive around in style than have a brand new 20-30k vehicle that I can't do much more than change the oil
Gimme 5! Trouble is though, as time goes on, all these classics will be worth a mint! How much for an old slant 6 Dodge Dart with little rust?

Do they ( State inspection) make you install the 3-point safety belts, rather than the old lap belts, in classics? I guess I'd want that, regardless. I'm used to buckling up now good and snug. I was one of those that used to have the mindset that maybe you'd luck out if you flew through the windshield.
 
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Old 01-31-10, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by bgbill View Post
I have 208,000 miles on my F250,......I have 1 original spark plug because it is hard to get to,.....
A 208,000 mile spark plug? You serious? Maybe you didn't need to change the others then?
 
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Old 01-31-10, 05:06 PM
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"Do they ( State inspection) make you install the 3-point safety belts, rather than the old lap belts, in classics?"

We don't have a vehicle inspection here in tenn

I've had a 51 ford f-1 for about 35 yrs. It doesn't have seat belts and turn signals were an option. When I lived in fla, it was ok not to have turn signals or seat belts if that was the way it came from the factory. Since I had installed turn signals - they had to work.

Older vehicles were exempt from the smog and safety regulations because of when they were built. I don't know if the laws have changed or not. I had to take my truck off the road a number of years ago and sadly I've not found the time to get her back in good shape
 
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Old 02-02-10, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
"Do they ( State inspection) make you install the 3-point safety belts, rather than the old lap belts, in classics?"

We don't have a vehicle inspection here in tenn
We don't up where I live, either. Can't say that is State-wide though.

I've had a 51 ford f-1 for about 35 yrs. It doesn't have seat belts and turn signals were an option. When I lived in fla, it was ok not to have turn signals or seat belts if that was the way it came from the factory. Since I had installed turn signals - they had to work.
The old lap belts now sort of scare me. If you are going fast enough, and only have that type, your body can jackknife at the waste. I watched car crash videos on that.

......and sadly I've not found the time to get her back in good shape
Maybe that's because you are not in good enough shape, yourself.
 
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Old 02-02-10, 04:15 PM
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If the car is old enough, it can be grandfathered if they were the type installed at that time. If it was an antique or collector car, they can easily use the old style and any variations would decrease the value.

I don't think the market for "repairable back yard cars" is big enough to justify adding another line, when the excessive lines buried Chrysler and almost buried GM. - People want a comfortable car that can be driven for 100,000 to 300,000 miles without major repairs and just replacement of the stuff hanging on the engine. - That is the reason there are so many Mercedes cabs in Europe with 300,00 - 500,000 miles on them and they have to comply with strict inspections (once or twice a year depending on the country).

Dick
 
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Old 02-02-10, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
Maybe that's because you are not in good enough shape, yourself.
Have you been spying on me?
 
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Old 02-02-10, 07:15 PM
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Dick,

So are you saying that with Mercedes they are built so well that only the bolt on stuff fails(if that)?

I'd still like to see bolt on stuff easy to get at though, or even be able to find it, for that matter.

I can't get that post out of my head where Bill190 said the first two instructions on getting at the heater core was to remove the dashboard and the steering column. That made me chuckle.
 
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Old 02-02-10, 07:18 PM
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Mark,

We KNOW you'd still be out there painting, if you could handle it.

That reminds me - I have to paint a stairwell that goes up, hits a landing(maybe towmorrow) and turns and goes up the other direction, with a high ceiling above the landing, and stained mopboard, and corners, and stairs, and.......not my cup of tea. It kinda gets my stomach in knots. I like to just have to re-roll flat wall sections and that's it. That other stuff drives me nuts. I'd rather be working on dryers or furnaces. I'll probably be duct taping the paint brush to one or maybe two paint roller sticks to be able to cut in the wall ceiling intersect. I don't feel like getting an extension ladder over there just for that area. But I'll probably go nuts from raising the stick way up there, painting 8 inches worth?", lowering the stick and dunking it again, raising it up there again, etc,., etc., etc., etc.
 

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Old 02-03-10, 05:48 AM
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"I'll probably be duct taping the paint brush to one or maybe two paint roller sticks to be able to cut in the wall ceiling intersect"

Go to your local paint store and get a brush holder that screws on to a roller pole. The holder clamps to the brush handle and can be angled to various positions. Not the easiest to use but works well when you can't [or won't] use a ladder. It does give you a lot more control than taping a brush to a stick.
 
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Old 02-03-10, 05:09 PM
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Mark,

I'll keep that in mind for the next time. Finished the job good enough today. Opted to not paint that, way up there, at all. Same color paint blended in well and you can't tell where I left off. PITB job.

That new roller cover (I posted about in painting forum here) really sprays the dots all over the place. I kept having to wash the top of the mopboard and stained wood steps and rubber mats. Opted to go that route rather than taping and covering everything, and maybe tripping and taking a spill.

A trick I use when doing that is I first prewash the surfaces so that when the spatters hits, it does not stick. Then I can easily wipe away later. I had lots of cutting in to do. That stairwell with the landing midway is nothing but one big corner, it seemed. Oh, BTW, it was (previously painted) wallpaper. Some areas bubbled on me as I went. But I am anticipating the bubbles will disappear like the last time. I may stop by tomorrow to make sure.

The job only took me 4 hours. Including painting living room walls, as long as I was here and had the paint out. The college girls here are worth it, as they keep a REAL clean, neat and uncluttered house.
 
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Old 02-03-10, 07:08 PM
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The Mercedes cabs are common because they are used cars in good shape (thanks to inspections) with less than about 70,000 miles on them. In Germany, Switzerland and some other counties you do not get the car back after you take it in for inspection and have repairs made. In Switzerland, if your tires fail, you might get lucky to get a 1 or 2 day period for new tires and your car is reported online to the other inspections sites. No permit until it is approved. Pollution is an absolute situation and the car is held. The easiest and cheapest thing to do is keep it fit before an inspection and take care of any pollution and rust. - There are no "junkers" there because they may get on an autobahn that is a high class, high speed freeway bu U.S. standards. You may see older cars but they still have to meet the inspections, which recognize the difference in technology in the original car.

The Mercedes are well suited for taxis because they usually have durable leather and enough room for more than 2 people. As long as they are maintained, the guts will last a long, long time. They still need a qualified mechanic, but they are cheap to own and run.

For the DIY mechanics the new Chrysler Corp. (controlled by Fiat) may offer imports like a basic small Italian Fiat, Russian Lada or Spanish Seat. - Don't expect to see the Ferraris and Maseratis to be imported (which they also own) because of the image problems and being sold out.

Dick
 
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Old 02-04-10, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Concretemasonry View Post
. In Germany, Switzerland and some other counties you do not get the car back after you take it in for inspection and have repairs made.
How do you get the repairs made if they do not give you your car? It actually reads that they do not give you your car back after you have the repairs made. Can you rewrite this?

Interesting read, otherwise. Owning a Ferrari or Maserati no longer sounds as prestigious, does it?
 
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Old 02-04-10, 07:02 PM
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If you bring it in and it is a safety issue it may not be return except for tires, but there is a time limit on the extension for tire purchases that is put on-line for othe shops to know what was found. and that tires were required. Only government licensed places conduct inspections. This varies from country to country. The high level of inspection causes the level of repairs to be elevated and car to be maintained and last longer. Michigan has no inspection so cars can be run into the ground and people have to buy more.

People in many European cities do not have the space to tie for repairing cars, let alone the interest in doing it. The inspections are so strict, especially in Switzerland, that a DIY patch job will not fly.

Eastern Europe may not be as strict because of the traditions, habits and standards instilled by the Russian occupation.

Europeans want a good reliable car they can trust on the roads (even at 100 mph on autobahns) or drive over curbs in. They will race anything. A truck race is not a puny Ford, Chevy or Dodgs, but the real truck races with big semi tractors including the European Kenworth, Volvos, Mercedes and Manns are very popular. Once or twice a week in NW Germany you can pay your $11 (depending on the devaluation of the $) to do a couple of laps on an 11 mile track with any vehicle you want (bicycle, motorcycle, car, sports car, exotic, school bus, etc) at any speed you can manage.

The precision and high tech respect is the reason Formula 1 is so popular internationally since it does not use ovals, but real roads and race is almost any weather. Formula 1 dropped the U.S. from the schedule because of the low fan base and the number of countries willing to pay more to get a real technical car race. Strictly a question of international marketing and not just a small domestic U.S. market.

Sorry about the discourse, but I do enjoy racing very much be it dirt track or Formula 1, not the hyped PR of most things things in between. There is a relationship between the precision and technology and the spirit of the European long term outlook.

The days of the DIY "grease monkey" are limited as evidenced by Chryslers sale again and the government ownership/control of GM, leaving Toyota as the largest producer of American cars and internationally. Soon there will be a lack of junkers to rehab.

Dick
 
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Old 02-05-10, 07:42 PM
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A good read Dick. An 11 mile course? That's pretty big.

I think the only thing we can do here in the U.S. is put our cars on a 1/4 mile dragstrip, right?
 
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Old 02-25-11, 05:25 PM
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Electric vehicles (not hybrids) don't have all that sensor crap, cost less to build, but cost way too much to buy and I don't get a tax rebate!
 
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Old 03-14-12, 10:58 AM
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Bad Design Fuse Location/access!

You can't blame the government for the non-accessable and almost non viewable fuse block under the instrument panel in the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix!

They could have included a snap-out access panel!
 
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Old 03-14-12, 11:23 AM
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You have to blame the consumer that does not have the hindsight to look at details that increase the market cost that prices them out of the market for U.S. cars.

The Europeans just charge according to their products and cost and do not rely on the U.S. market to a great degree. China (the world's largest auto market and producer) and India ( huge producers) will not even import into the U.S. The major imports into China are Mercedes and BMW and there few, if any rickshaws sold, but they are only made in home shops.

Dick
 
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Old 03-15-12, 12:28 PM
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There are a major reasons cars are not as serviceable at home as they use to be.
In no particular order....
  • Emmissions/fuel millage requirements (Goverment's fault) require all the electronics.
  • Manufacturing costs (materials and assembly) More space, means more materials
  • Dealer's service department (Possibly a larger profit marging for the service department than the sales)
  • Artificial performance restrictions (My 08 SRT-4 can be faster then an 08 SRT-8, but the manufacture doesn't want their $30k car to out perform their $50k car)
  • Safety (i.e electronic throttle body is a major component of the traction control systems these days)
I may have missed a few things, but I have to main ones.
 
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Old 03-15-12, 12:59 PM
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Mike -

I agree with most of you points (1,2 & 5)

Very often the service department is a profit center for the dealer and the dealer has some feed-back to the manufacturer, but it is tempered somewhat, but the dealers want to bring in cars for service. Intyernational companies seem to have more control over the dealers.

Performance/speed is relative. Fast is not always better since the Formula 1 races are not won by the cars with the highest top speed or best off the line acceleration, so the engines are governed to about 18,000 - 19,500 rpms depending on the track. Despite the 190-240 mph top speed, they win by cornering and braking and not at all like the NASCAR tank concept.

Performance restrictions may be limited and if voided can void warranties. You always have the option to buy the model you want.

Dick
 
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Old 03-15-12, 01:39 PM
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I should have been more specific on the performance point and use a better example.
If I was to use the Caliber SRT-4 as an example still, the performance (pre-production vs production), the computer was dialed back (Torque and HP limited) in order to supply the Mopar performance department with and upgrade computer (same computer used in the pre-production models).
Unfortunately I don't have any car examples, but it computer control limits are also applied to sell the same model/setup for a higher price (with limitations removed or adjusted). The only example I can think of is outboard motors. At one point, you could purchase a 9.9hp motor, change the carb with the one from a 15hp and there you go.

Anyway, this is off topic of the original post. The artificial limitations bit doesn't exactly apply to what the original poster was talking about.
 
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Old 03-15-12, 02:09 PM
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Mike -

Strange that you cited the 9.9 hp outboard. I had a 9.8 and 9.9 hp outboards (Mercs and Evenrudes) that were really over 10 hp, but they were advertised and sold as being less than 10 hp to allow them to be used on many lakes that had a maximum limit of 10 hp. I never need anything over 10 hp for fishing.

Later, I also had an 18 hp Merc, but borrowed a neighbors 25 hp Merc for the same boat and could not notice a difference (maybe another derating item). - A great motor for fishing and trolling because it was convenient and I did not have to bother with my electric trolling motor. - I was a back-trolling bottom dragger for Walleyes and Northerns. I have a 42# Lake Trout (on 6# line) hanging on the wall that a caught just into Canada and our guide (Michael Murphy) was using an 18 hp Merc, so I also got to use it when he wanted to fish.
 
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Old 03-16-12, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Concretemasonry
Mike -

Strange that you cited the 9.9 hp outboard. I had a 9.8 and 9.9 hp outboards (Mercs and Evenrudes) that were really over 10 hp, but they were advertised and sold as being less than 10 hp to allow them to be used on many lakes that had a maximum limit of 10 hp. I never need anything over 10 hp for fishing.

Later, I also had an 18 hp Merc, but borrowed a neighbors 25 hp Merc for the same boat and could not notice a difference (maybe another derating item). - A great motor for fishing and trolling because it was convenient and I did not have to bother with my electric trolling motor. - I was a back-trolling bottom dragger for Walleyes and Northerns. I have a 42# Lake Trout (on 6# line) hanging on the wall that a caught just into Canada and our guide (Michael Murphy) was using an 18 hp Merc, so I also got to use it when he wanted to fish.
I believe the 9.8 and 9.9hp ratings where more so for boat registeration. Up until recently, most areas required that a boat with 10hp or more had to be registered.
I never was really into trolling except when fishing for lake trout (love my leadcore line).
Growing up (spent 75% of my childhood, including highschool on a lake), my two favorite motors for fishing was an 1985 7.5 merc (fast motor on a 12' allumium as a kid) and my go anywhere, air cooled 3.5hp Viking. (picture of one exactly like mine http://www.richardlpaquette.ca/images/Bruce%27s3.5.jpg)


Anyway, this is totally off topic.
To the OP, long story short, cars are now complicated primarily because they need to meet government regulations while saving on manufacturing costs.
 
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