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AMC Pacer vs Chevy Vega.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by BobbyZ, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. PCollen

    PCollen Tele-Afflicted

    May 7, 2010
    Man of the World
    I owned a '73 Chevy Vega wagon, until it hit about 55,000 miles and started to burn HUGE amounts of oil. Did anyone own a Vega that made it to 60,000 miles ?
     

  2. PCollen

    PCollen Tele-Afflicted

    May 7, 2010
    Man of the World
    I sold my '73 Vega with a oil burning engine to a guy who showed up driving a Vega with a Buick V-6 engine in it and tubbed, just like this one is. He had plans for my car..
     

  3. PCollen

    PCollen Tele-Afflicted

    May 7, 2010
    Man of the World
    Replacing the engine is assumed, Roscoe.
     

  4. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Very remarkable story. I'd love to know what brand and grade of motor oil was used.

    My '64 Impala was one of those assembled at the short lived Dothan, AL Chevy assembly facility, but I had that thing apart (when I had other things to do) way too often. I had a head gasket breach, 2nd to 3rd cylinders, failed starter motors, failed generator, replaced carbs, had replace the oil pump and mains and con rod bearings at about 90,000 miles - just on and on. I did get $ 500 for it when I sold it (which was $ 450 more than I paid) but my best friend's mom had a '63 Impala wagon and it was no better. I think I kept trying to make this '64 better because it was rust free. I think a lot of folks just drove their "wonderful" cars into the ground because the rust made the car irredeemable - they left the generator not working right, never addressed the loss of compression or the oil consumption or the bad gas economy because the End was clearly in sight (even as the car soldiered on another 2 years).

    I think a lot of people gave up on cars, prematurely in some cases, because a newer, lower mileage used car was so easy to find. Sometimes the newer vehicle was a bust, but people loved being able to talk about "all the different" cars they had, even more than they liked talking about that one car they had for 25 years. Human nature.
     

  5. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

    Feb 19, 2015
    TooFarFromCanada
    Ah, but is the fact that any motive power will be dragging flecking rust where once was the illusion of a body assumed as well?

    Truly, I can't imagine an engine of any power not blasting apart even a pristine Vega body--if one existed the mircosecond after oxidation became possible. What were those things made of, anyway? A robot's spit? Paper mache and grease paint? The gorgeous MoPars of the late-'50s were rotters partly due to Chrysler switching to new sheet metal suppliers, new body panel pressing machines, and rushing them through testing with seals problems, etc. But what was GM getting so wrong with the Vega body building to make it so much cruddier than most other '70s rusters?

    Reminds me of how exactly wrong for North American winters was the infamous Renault Dauphine. Apparently, tow truck drivers refused to hook up Dauphines because they were prone to snapping due to underbody/frame rust.

    Which makes how relatively rust-proof most modern vehicles are pretty amazing. What, then, are makers doing now that works so well that makers then weren't doing right or at all?
     

  6. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

    Feb 19, 2015
    TooFarFromCanada
    There is wisdom, muchly, here....
     

  7. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

    Feb 19, 2015
    TooFarFromCanada
    58,500, if I remember correctly. All due, as per prior post, to a very handy father-in-law, and two very handy brothers-in-law. They rebuilt that engine twice in a 15- or 20,000 mile span, would drive down from Ontario with fresh parts, etc. That thing spent a lot of time in deliberate as well as its eventual pieces. A 2-mile trip to the grocery store had me biting my nails between curses. Burned off my eyebrows mis-fixing its back-blasting, gaggy carb. I remember my father-in-law, who'd bought it for my wife before we were dating, ritually saying, "Well, now my dad's '36 Chev, that thing ran great" while skinning his knuckles yet again.

    At least my Gremlin was purple.
     
    Rich_S likes this.

  8. Bob M

    Bob M Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    897
    May 11, 2011
    North of Boston
    For the last 10 years my primary drivers are never more than 3 years old. I always keep a sports car in the garage that gets very little use, but my daily drivers get jettisoned after 36 months. In 10 years I have bought tires once, about 6 oil changes and brakes once. All it takes is one major repair to be an financial nightmare. One of the few bright spots about my current situation is that I can afford to deal with automobiles in this manner.
     

  9. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    I had a 75 Pacer, first car in 1980. Only problem I ever had out of it(instead of laughing and snickers from onlookers) was the steering column shifter(3 on the tree). That problem disappeared when I found out the proper way to shift it.

    Seen a couple Pacers still driving on the road within the last year. Only seen 1 original shape Vega last year and it was the only running one I've seen since 1978.
     

  10. David Barnett

    David Barnett Poster Extraordinaire

    My mom had a '74 Vega wagon. The little Turbo Hydramatic 250 transmission failed before she got the car home from the dealership, and it took them several attempts to get it right. But apart from that, and some surface rust, she didn't have any particular trouble with it, right up until she wrapped it around a fire hydrant to avoid running over a pair of runaway poodles. She replaced it with a 1980 Citation...
     
    Obsessed likes this.

  11. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    Cars from the last two decades last a heck of a lot longer than most cars made in previous decades. We had a lowly 1995 Mazda Protege and finally sold it in 2011 to get something better. The catalytic converter needed replacing, so we got a 2007 Mazda 3. The Protege was 16 years old with nearly 300,000 km on it. We sold the Mazda 3 last year to get our new CX5. That car was 9 years old and had never had the slightest bit of trouble.
    Entry level cars made in the '70s and '80s would not be expected to last 9 trouble-free years, and certainly not 16 years. Heck, even Hyundai and Kia are making reliable cars now.
     

  12. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Well, I made a road trip from the Memphis area, out to California, up to Sacramento and down to Pasadena and back east where I started......

    And I saw a pretty decent number of stranded Kias and Hyundais along the side of the road. Statistically, I think these brands attract buyers who cannot or will not do basic things to maintain their rides, and some will just keep driving when the owner of another brand would stop and fix the issue before it lead to a breakdown, but the simple fact is, while H + Ks are clearly more reliable than a well used car from the early 1980s, they're IMO not on par with very many of the other brands offered in the USA. With the possible exception of Mitsubishi, maybe Nissan.
     
    Obsessed likes this.

  13. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    Ooooh boy, there is a story: I replaced my Vega with a Citation. :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
     
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  14. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    Oh I agree. They don't measure up to Toyota, Honda, Mazda, and Subaru. However, they are definitely competing with GM and Chrysler for reliability, and they've certainly improved from when they started. Think back to that first Hyundai Pony. That might have been as bad as the Vega.
     
    boris bubbanov likes this.

  15. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    Yep, that's worse than me replacing my Gremlin with a Pinto.
     

  16. David Barnett

    David Barnett Poster Extraordinaire

    She didn't have the Citation long enough for it to develop problems, although some rust was starting to appear around the rear window. She traded it in for a 1984 S-10 pickup. The S-10, with the same 2.8 liter V6 as the Citation, always leaked oil.

    My parents never had a particularly unreliable car.
     
    Obsessed likes this.

  17. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 13, 2013
    Initech, Inc.
    Sleeveless aluminum engines are just a horrible, horrible idea. Aluminum only has 1/3 the hardness that steel does, it's gonna wear right out.
     
    BobbyZ likes this.

  18. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 13, 2013
    Initech, Inc.
    And people wonder why the Japanese makers started to gain such a foothold in the US market starting in the late 70's...
     

  19. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 7, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    I must live on some other planet than everyone. My wife's (before she was my wife) AMC Pacer was the definition of LEMON. One thing after another and if I remember correctly, she returned it in less than a year and battled for most of her money back. I think a comparison between a Vega and Pacer is a good match.

    Also, in complete contrast to your experience of having to drive around Hyundai's in flames along the highway I was impressed with their warranty and dependability as far back as 2003. I was sold after my daughter bought a 2004 Accent in late 2003. By 2007 we needed a new car and bought a 2008 model Sonata that year. I couldn't have been happier. Granted, my daughters Accent is bare bones...so not much to go wrong but the Sonata was equally bullet proof and drives like a dream.

    At the same time, I was driving a Dodge Dakota and liked it, but gas was shooting up and I didn't really need a truck, so shortly after buying the Sonata I traded the truck for another Accent...this time a 2008 hatch back. 30 MPG and is only intolerable on a long trip because it has no cruise. Equally depenbable.

    Meantime, my youngest daughter had been driving Hondas. Her first was a used Civic with 80,000 and it nickel and dimed us and stranded her three times. It made it just a couple years and had to sell it. We thought it was a fluke...bought another used Civic. Groundhog day. One thing after another. Finally the tranny went out and I thought she'd already spent so much that I paid to get it rebuilt. A month later she got smacked and totaled it. A blessing. We shopped and found a 2013 Hyundai Elantra with 30,000 and still enough warranty to make sure it's solid. I love driving that car!

    All of these cars get regular maintenance. The two on left are ten years old, the accent on the right is fourteen years old. I'll let you know if they all simultaneously burst into flames...:D

    hun1.jpg hun2.jpg hun4.jpg
     

  20. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    Also if you look at the Japanese makers they really knew their market. Started out with cheaper cars that were pretty reliable, that gained them a following with younger people that by cheaper cars. Then as those people got older and made more money the Japanese made more upscale cars for them, like Lexus.
    Cadillac and Lincoln no longer had the "status" and given some of the garbage they both tried to pass off in the late 70's early 80's it's not hard to see why.
    Actually I hate to think about what we'd be driving today if not for the Japanese imports forcing the big three to play catch up.
    Chevy would still be selling Vegas. Lol
    Actually even people that only drive American cars (If there really is such a thing?) are better off because of the competition.
    Unless they live in Detroit. . . .
     

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