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Jim Koepke
01-23-2016, 1:53 PM
When I was younger there were very few problems on any of my cars that couldn't be fixed under a tree providing shade and a small box of tools.

Now days some of the modern cars have the fuel filter integral to the fuel pump which is then hidden inside the fuel tank.

Saves a little cost when making the car. Sure sucks the wallet dry when it needs replacement.

On some of the internet auto repair chat sites the first question is, "what codes are you getting?"

I remember the simpler times when it was either compression, ignition or fuel.

Now there are more little "black boxes" just in the engine area than it took to build some of the cars I used to drive.

My old vehicles had clear fuel filters or a glass bowl with a replaceable element inside, easy peasy.

Our current car took me awhile just to find where the filter was hidden. Relieving the pressure from the system was another added feature. Still after getting the car off the ground with the pressure released there was still plenty of fuel in the lines to spray and drip with a rag held around the fittings as it was replaced.

Rube Goldberg was a prophet and deity to modern car manufacturing.

jtk

Tom M King
01-23-2016, 2:13 PM
And in pickups there was enough room to sit on the fender under the hood to work on the engine. I set more than a few sets of points with a matchbook cover. Now you have to be a contortionist to change the fuel filter in my diesel pickup.

Bruce Wrenn
01-23-2016, 10:33 PM
Now you have to be a contortionist to change the fuel filter in my diesel pickup.Ever change the spark plugs in a Ford Areostar van? It ain't easy. Left side is fairly easy, but to do right side you have to remove right front wheel and go through wheel well. Back one has to be done by feel only as there is no way to see in there. Some saw a 3" hole trough fire wall to reach that plug. Suzuki Grand Vertia is a PITA to change oil filter, unless you are left handed. You can't reach it using right hand, unless you lay under car with feet facing to rear, which means oil spills on you when you loosen filter.

Todd Willhoit
01-23-2016, 11:13 PM
Changing the plugs and ignition coils in a Toyota Sienna requires removing the intake manifold, working as a blind contortionist behind the engine, and 4-5 hours of your life.

Bob Turkovich
01-23-2016, 11:25 PM
When I was younger there were very few problems on any of my cars that couldn't be fixed under a tree providing shade and a small box of tools.

Now days some of the modern cars have the fuel filter integral to the fuel pump which is then hidden inside the fuel tank.

Saves a little cost when making the car. Sure sucks the wallet dry when it needs replacement.

...

Rube Goldberg was a prophet and deity to modern car manufacturing.

jtk

Let's look at it from a different perspective...

Old way: tank to fuel line to filter to fuel line to pump to fuel line to fuel rail (or carburetor) = 6 external connections, most of which are usually located under the hood

New way: filter and pump (located in the tank which has to be protected for impact anyway) to fuel line to fuel rail = 2 external connections of which only one is under the hood.

Which way do you think is better for fuel system integrity under impact?

Also, keep in mind that recent occupant protection standards have driven the auto manufacturers into designing more crush in the frontal area (ie., underhood) to dissipate impact energy and reduce forces on the occupants. Minimizing the number of potential leak points (in this case) would be more of a design driver than reducing cost.

Art Mann
01-24-2016, 1:20 AM
I remember the good old days too. It was rare for a car to have 75,000 miles on it without needing an engine rebuild. Automatic transmissions were unreliable and manual transmissions required clutch and pressure replacement on a random schedule. Ten year old cars were either junk or existed in private collections and in museums. Most vehicles had to have some type of repair like a coil replacement or carburetor rebuild done at least once a year. Fuel economy was 13 mpg in a new pickup truck with a lame slant six engine. Outer body rust through was inevitable after just a few New England winters with salt on the roads. It took a modified big block 454 cid engine to make 375 horsepower. Spark plugs and points had to be changed every 15 or 20 thousand miles. Tires typically lasted 20,000 miles. There was no such thing as pollution control. Yes, I remember those days really well and I would hate to go back.

Brian Henderson
01-24-2016, 3:52 AM
Ever change the spark plugs in a Ford Areostar van? It ain't easy. Left side is fairly easy, but to do right side you have to remove right front wheel and go through wheel well. Back one has to be done by feel only as there is no way to see in there. Some saw a 3" hole trough fire wall to reach that plug. Suzuki Grand Vertia is a PITA to change oil filter, unless you are left handed. You can't reach it using right hand, unless you lay under car with feet facing to rear, which means oil spills on you when you loosen filter.

Been there, done that. The recommended way is to remove the dashboard and go in through the passenger compartment. That's what happens when cars are designed by computer, not by people who actually have to work on the fool things.

Jerry Thompson
01-24-2016, 6:53 AM
All of the above are reasons I still drive my beat up looking 1986 BMW 535i.

Glenn Clabo
01-24-2016, 8:13 AM
I love the old cars...but I would never want to use one for every day driving. They are completely unsafe with constant repair needs. My wife would be dead right now if she was driving a 50-80's car vs the Volvo when she totaled it in a high speed crash. Seatbelt gave her a black and blue stripe...but she walked away otherwise. Her now 4 year old one has had zero problems...zero. Not even a light bulb. Back in the day...a 4 year old car would be a rust bucket needing major repairs. Again...I love the old ones...but newer wins for us.

Gary Yoder
01-24-2016, 8:15 AM
Hey now, don't muddle nostalgia with facts!! :cool:



I remember the good old days too. It was rare for a car to have 75,000 miles on it without needing an engine rebuild. Automatic transmissions were unreliable and manual transmissions required clutch and pressure replacement on a random schedule. Ten year old cars were either junk or existed in private collections and in museums. Most vehicles had to have some type of repair like a coil replacement or carburetor rebuild done at least once a year. Fuel economy was 13 mpg in a new pickup truck with a lame slant six engine. Outer body rust through was inevitable after just a few New England winters with salt on the roads. It took a modified big block 454 cid engine to make 375 horsepower. Spark plugs and points had to be changed every 15 or 20 thousand miles. Tires typically lasted 20,000 miles. There was no such thing as pollution control. Yes, I remember those days really well and I would hate to go back.

Larry Frank
01-24-2016, 9:20 AM
I loved working on cars. When I was a kid, my dad and I restored a 1929 Model A.....now that was old iron.

But the new cars, it is great when they will start in almost any weather. My 1970s and 1980s cars were tough when it got really cold.

Shawn Pixley
01-24-2016, 11:44 AM
Jim,

I will disagree with you a bit on one point. Yes, cars are harder to work on yourself, but the overall dependability has increased considerably. I could tell you that I haven't had a car have a mechanical breakdown for many, many years. Now all that requires repair / replacements are tires, wipers, oil, brakes, etc... In other words, the consumables. I grew up working on cars. I hated it then, I hate it now. If making cars more reliable also mean I can't do the work myself, so be it.

Greg Peterson
01-24-2016, 12:58 PM
I had a 67 VW thity years ago. I don't miss the constant tinkering. I've gotten use to my car starting everytime regardless the weather or temperature.

Yeah, the modern vehicle is vastly more complicated than the good ol' days, but dependability, reliability and durability are greatly increased. That's the trade off.

Frederick Skelly
01-24-2016, 1:45 PM
Jim,

I will disagree with you a bit on one point. Yes, cars are harder to work on yourself, but the overall dependability has increased considerably. I could tell you that I haven't had a car have a mechanical breakdown for many, many years. Now all that requires repair / replacements are tires, wipers, oil, brakes, etc... In other words, the consumables. I grew up working on cars. I hated it then, I hate it now. If making cars more reliable also mean I can't do the work myself, so be it.

This point and the related one made by Art were good reminders for me, because I often feel the way Jim describes. But it HAS been a while since I've been left stranded next to the road. I'll try to remember this next time I have to pay someone to work on my car.

Jim Koepke
01-24-2016, 3:48 PM
This point and the related one made by Art were good reminders for me, because I often feel the way Jim describes. But it HAS been a while since I've been left stranded next to the road. I'll try to remember this next time I have to pay someone to work on my car.

My old cars only left me stranded by the road a couple of times. Once after I rebuilt the engine in my 1957 VW bus. The person at the parts store suggested this would be a good time to replace the clutch. The clutch webbing broke on the new clutch. The next day a friend of mine and I spent more time drinking coffee and getting to the scene than it took to pull the engine and put the old clutch back in. The other time there was an electrical problem. Same friend and I also took care of that fairly quickly.

My modern truck had a fuel pump go bad that caused the wife and I to take a cab home and have the truck towed to a shop to fix it. Another car broke a timing chain. It was abandon as it wasn't worth fixing.

At times I wish I still had that old VW bus. Likely worth a lot these days. 40 horse power, 6V and a lot of fun for a death trap.

jtk

Ole Anderson
01-24-2016, 4:17 PM
Ah, the good old cars needed repairs much more so than the new ones. Now it is not unheard of for your car to go 100k without needing much more than an oil change and brakes. My '68 Opal needed two exhaust systems before I sold it with 42,000 miles. I would much rather deal with a code than a buggy carburetor that you can never to quite fix for more than a few thousand miles.

Glenn Clabo
01-24-2016, 4:28 PM
Just to prove a point...
http://kottke.org/16/01/a-small-2009-car-demolishes-a-1959-chevy-in-a-crash-test

Brian Elfert
01-24-2016, 5:04 PM
My parents had a 1977 Ford LTD II. The engine blew at around 90,000 miles. My father put a junkyard engine in it and it started to die on the freeway at 105,000 miles so he got rid of it.

Last two cars my parents got rid of they had for 14 and 15 years.

Jason Roehl
01-24-2016, 6:49 PM
Along with what Art said, I've done some work on my high-mileage, computer-controlled, modern cars. Read the codes, replace the parts and you're done. No fiddling with gummed-up carburetors or fouled points and plugs, or breaking out the timing light on a regular basis. Better mileage, better longevity, better reliability, better comfort, quieter, more powerful, more nimble, lower emissions, etc. Economy cars of today can run with the sports cars of yesteryear--and outlast them.

Terry Hatfield
01-24-2016, 8:26 PM
Plus I'm really, really spoiled to remote start and heated seats and steering wheel. :D

Matthew Brawley
01-24-2016, 8:52 PM
The biggest issue with the new cars is when you replace a part that a computer has to relearn and you still have to go to a dealer for them to hook the diagnostic computer to it and update the software.

Jason Roehl
01-25-2016, 7:16 AM
Plus I'm really, really spoiled to remote start and heated seats and steering wheel. :D


I discovered recently that I have voice-activated remote start on my '03 E250 van. Sadly, it only works under certain conditions. "Hey! One of you boys go out and start my van!"

Jeff Monson
01-25-2016, 12:23 PM
I remember the good old days too. It was rare for a car to have 75,000 miles on it without needing an engine rebuild. Automatic transmissions were unreliable and manual transmissions required clutch and pressure replacement on a random schedule. Ten year old cars were either junk or existed in private collections and in museums. Most vehicles had to have some type of repair like a coil replacement or carburetor rebuild done at least once a year. Fuel economy was 13 mpg in a new pickup truck with a lame slant six engine. Outer body rust through was inevitable after just a few New England winters with salt on the roads. It took a modified big block 454 cid engine to make 375 horsepower. Spark plugs and points had to be changed every 15 or 20 thousand miles. Tires typically lasted 20,000 miles. There was no such thing as pollution control. Yes, I remember those days really well and I would hate to go back.

I'm with Art, vehicles are so much more reliable today, its apples to bowling balls. I work on cars for a living, yes they are tighter and harder to get to certain components....but you adapt and learn new ways to deal with it, just like any other industry IMO. Not to mention, when it gets below zero, today's cars start.....consistently.

Jim Laumann
01-25-2016, 1:06 PM
Learned to drive on mid-late '60's vehicles in the early '70s. Devilish-ly hard to start in the winter once the temps went below zero. Now days - can't think of the last time I had issues with a car not starting in the winter....

Jim

Steve Peterson
01-25-2016, 1:10 PM
I remember the good old days too. It was rare for a car to have 75,000 miles on it without needing an engine rebuild. Automatic transmissions were unreliable and manual transmissions required clutch and pressure replacement on a random schedule. Ten year old cars were either junk or existed in private collections and in museums. Most vehicles had to have some type of repair like a coil replacement or carburetor rebuild done at least once a year. Fuel economy was 13 mpg in a new pickup truck with a lame slant six engine. Outer body rust through was inevitable after just a few New England winters with salt on the roads. It took a modified big block 454 cid engine to make 375 horsepower. Spark plugs and points had to be changed every 15 or 20 thousand miles. Tires typically lasted 20,000 miles. There was no such thing as pollution control. Yes, I remember those days really well and I would hate to go back.

I agree with Art. I have a 1999 BMW 323i with 180K miles. There are no points to adjust and spark plugs last 100K miles with modern electronic ignition. The timing chain is not even recommended to be replaced.

The oil filter is at the top of the engine where it is easy to get to. Brakes and rotors can be replaced in 1.5 hours even with my 9 year old son helping. It has been in the shop 2 or 3 times for stuff that I can't do at home.

Cars are significantly more reliable today. Even if it does break down, cell phones bring a tow truck quickly and there is no need to walk to find help. I feel much safer if I were to get in an accident. I don't want to go back to the good old days.

Steve

Brian Henderson
01-25-2016, 2:44 PM
I agree with Art. I have a 1999 BMW 323i with 180K miles. There are no points to adjust and spark plugs last 100K miles with modern electronic ignition. The timing chain is not even recommended to be replaced.

The oil filter is at the top of the engine where it is easy to get to. Brakes and rotors can be replaced in 1.5 hours even with my 9 year old son helping. It has been in the shop 2 or 3 times for stuff that I can't do at home.

Cars are significantly more reliable today. Even if it does break down, cell phones bring a tow truck quickly and there is no need to walk to find help. I feel much safer if I were to get in an accident. I don't want to go back to the good old days.

Steve

I agree. The only time my cars have been in the shop has been for things that I simply cannot do and even then, it's not all that expensive. The only thing I do these days is brakes and watch the consumables and even there, so much is sealed that it never needs replacing. There's no way I'd ever want to go back to the not-so-good old days.

Roger Feeley
01-25-2016, 5:50 PM
When I watch cars getting more and more complicated, I'm reminded of what a music history professor once told me. He said that you can tell the end of a major period in music because the compositions get more complicated. Baroque became Rococco and then Classical came along with a different style and changed the world. I wonder if technology is following that model. Sometimes I yearn for my old '66 Chevy Bel-Air where I could climb into the engine compartment and stand next to that straight 6. I look into the engine compartment of my Nissan XTerra and I can't even see the ground, let alone stand in there. Then I look at electric cars: Battery, controller, motor. Right back to simple. Could it be that the electric car signals the beginning of a new 'period' in transportation? I certainly hope so.

I remember hearing Bruce Babbitt, a former Secretary of the Interior speak at the National Press Club about 20 years ago. He made a remarkable statement which I will try to paraphrase.

"A car manufactured today running at highway speed produces less pollution than a pre-1979 car does parked with the engine off."

So all that complication has value. But I don't think there is a whole lot more we can to make improvements. It's time for the new tech to take over and a new period to begin.

Chris Padilla
01-25-2016, 8:43 PM
Hey, we all have access to the grand ole INTERNET. These days, one can find a blurb, write-up, discussion or YouTube video on just about anything. And most of us handy with wood are handy in general and with a little guidance, can fix just about anything. I did all sorts of fixes and maintenance on my 2001 BMW 530i and while it was a bit more complicated than my 1990 Toyota pick-up or my 1969 Pontiac Firebird, it really wasn't any less work with a bit of WWW help.

During Thanksgiving, our old trusty Maytag front loading washing machine's spin cycle decided to not spin. A few minutes of WWW searching yielded the problem and a few more minutes found the solution. A couple days later I was my wife's hero fixing it and it cost me about $30 in parts and some wait time. (The problem was the door latching mechanism failed and when it fails, the washing machine will not spin because it thinks the door is open)

Jim Koepke
01-25-2016, 9:30 PM
Hey, we all have access to the grand ole INTERNET. These days, one can find a blurb, write-up, discussion or YouTube video on just about anything. And most of us handy with wood are handy in general and with a little guidance, can fix just about anything. I did all sorts of fixes and maintenance on my 2001 BMW 530i and while it was a bit more complicated than my 1990 Toyota pick-up or my 1969 Pontiac Firebird, it really wasn't any less work with a bit of WWW help.

Yes, there was a YouTube video on how to drop my gas tank. It may have been possible for me to clear out an area in my shop to have a solid surface to put the car up in the air enough to drop the fuel tank and replace the fuel pump myself. More of a pain than I wanted to tackle. Outside the shop, everything is uneven dirt.

jtk

Jason Roehl
01-26-2016, 7:06 AM
During Thanksgiving, our old trusty Maytag front loading washing machine's spin cycle decided to not spin. A few minutes of WWW searching yielded the problem and a few more minutes found the solution. A couple days later I was my wife's hero fixing it and it cost me about $30 in parts and some wait time. (The problem was the door latching mechanism failed and when it fails, the washing machine will not spin because it thinks the door is open)

We have a combo machine, and that dumb door latch has failed so many times it's not funny. My wife and son have even started rebuilding the old latches we have laying around. There's a weak electrical joint, that my son solders back together to get the latch back up and running. Never mind the number of thermal limiters I've replaced in the dryer, the ball and socket joint, the drum/door seal, etc. I wish the stupid thing would just die so I had a good excuse to buy standalone units, but after almost 15 years, it's still going, and the replacement parts have been too cheap to pass up the quick repairs (which I can almost do blindfolded now).

roger wiegand
01-26-2016, 9:37 AM
I loved my string of 64-68 Dodge Darts and Plymouth Valiants that I drove over a 20 year period. Easy to fix everything on them, the problem was it was also required to fix everything on them, constantly. I really don't miss having to carry a box in the trunk with a spare alternator, water pump, fuel pump, distributor, carburetor, etc. Yes I could (and did) replace all of those at the side of the road, at night, in the rain or sleet :D at one time or another. Replaced the ball joints in those so often I could do it in my sleep. I also don't miss the gaping rust holes up and down the sides of the cars. We currently have five vehicles (ouch!) and have had 1-1/2 actual breakdowns over the last decade (broken water pump in the Mini Cooper that stopped it, and failure of the system that engages the 4WD in the F350-- the latter only sort of stopped me, with the duallys in the winter we had last year I couldn't get in or out of our driveway without the 4WD. In the Dart/Valiant days it wasn't uncommon to have two breakdowns during a 1000 mile trip.

Rich Engelhardt
01-26-2016, 10:22 AM
I got married at a young age & jumped right into having kids.
Bottom line was, I missed the whole "car thing".
Other guys my age got into the muscle cars of the 60's and 70's.
I got into - - family responsibility and family obligations.

Heaped on top of that, I became a single parent in 1974 & that pretty much sealed my "car fate".

Instead of being able to drive what I wanted, I was forced into driving what I needed.
A souless econobox.....

Fast forward a few years & I entered the automotive sales industry and managed to get real close to the "automotive experience" from that perspective :D.
Short line there - - "There's a butt for every seat"! Meaning - there's really nothing special on the road. Anyone with enough money can drive whatever they want.

In a number of ways, I was ahead of my time!
Now a lot of people just drive what get's them from point "A" to point "B" with as little hit to the wallet as possible and with as little tinkering as possible.

Me? I'm just glad there's Hyundai and Kia - - they have 5 year 60,000 bumper to bumper. Buy it, drive it 5 years then trade it...:) No tinkering required!

Chris Padilla
01-26-2016, 4:18 PM
Yes, there was a YouTube video on how to drop my gas tank. It may have been possible for me to clear out an area in my shop to have a solid surface to put the car up in the air enough to drop the fuel tank and replace the fuel pump myself. More of a pain than I wanted to tackle. Outside the shop, everything is uneven dirt.

jtk
Truth be told, I got TIRED of working on my 530i and just wanted a new car, under warranty, that the dealer would take care of. I did some searching and found a guy wanting to get out of his lease on a 2014 BMW 335i. He had barely driven the car and it had 28 months left on the 3 year lease. PERFECT! I got myself a new car with all new fancy gadgets and technology and the dealer takes care of everything with no money out of my pocket. I also have the chance to try out a 3-series which my wife and I weren't sure about but we like it just fine and so plan to get another one in 2017 when the lease is up. Anyway, nice to have a car I don't have to spend any time on. Heck, I don't even like washing and waxing my cars any longer! I have a place I take 'em to and they do 10x the job in 1/10th the time and for a reasonable cost.

Chris Padilla
01-26-2016, 4:23 PM
We have a combo machine, and that dumb door latch has failed so many times it's not funny. My wife and son have even started rebuilding the old latches we have laying around. There's a weak electrical joint, that my son solders back together to get the latch back up and running. Never mind the number of thermal limiters I've replaced in the dryer, the ball and socket joint, the drum/door seal, etc. I wish the stupid thing would just die so I had a good excuse to buy standalone units, but after almost 15 years, it's still going, and the replacement parts have been too cheap to pass up the quick repairs (which I can almost do blindfolded now).

Maytag upgraded the door latch part so this new one I got ought to not fail. Heck, the original lasted 15 years so I can't really complain. I also had to replace a transistor and a resistor on the circuit board as apparently they both suffer from a surge of current when the door latch fails. There was a nice crisply burned resistor I had to dig out!

Matt Meiser
01-26-2016, 6:00 PM
I discovered recently that I have voice-activated remote start on my '03 E250 van. Sadly, it only works under certain conditions. "Hey! One of you boys go out and start my van!"

That is the exact same system my parents' TV used to use!