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The Last Best Car Ever

Old 03-26-19, 07:54 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
When I lived in Germany (all of the '80's), parts for all of these cars were plentiful and dirt cheap. Unfortunately here, nothing is cheap, and anything affordable is beat beat beat. My 2011 F150 is just turning over 95k miles. Its still a strong, smooth truck. I dunno... maybe I'm just paranoid.
F150s have a fatal flaw, rhe GEM "motherboard" located in the dash, and below a "typical" leaky front window seal.

Now, sure, if you're living in south AZ, problem may never show, but you are in Seattle... different issue entirely.
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Old 03-26-19, 08:19 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
F150s have a fatal flaw, rhe GEM "motherboard" located in the dash, and below a "typical" leaky front window seal.

Now, sure, if you're living in south AZ, problem may never show, but you are in Seattle... different issue entirely.
Well I had that board replaced, but no issues with seals or windows or anything else for that matter. Its been a decent truck, and I'd buy it again if I had the chance.
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Old 03-26-19, 08:43 PM
  #53  
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I've been driving Ford Rangers for years. I've had my current one for a decade and outside of replacing ball joints I haven't had any major repairs. My dad had one that recently gave out on him after 20+ years and 385,000 miles.

After discontinuing them ~2012 they've just introduced a new model, but it's really a different vehicle with the same name.
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Old 03-26-19, 09:20 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
Well I had that board replaced, but no issues with seals or windows or anything else for that matter. Its been a decent truck, and I'd buy it again if I had the chance.
Well there ya go, you already found the problem. Gee, did ya get a spare board too? Damn problem has been around for over a decade... ya think they might have come up with a solution by now. BTW, this is exactly what the OP is seeking to avoid... complicated electronics that fail in modern vehicles.
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Old 03-27-19, 05:24 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
I've been driving Ford Rangers for years. I've had my current one for a decade and outside of replacing ball joints I haven't had any major repairs. My dad had one that recently gave out on him after 20+ years and 385,000 miles.

After discontinuing them ~2012 they've just introduced a new model, but it's really a different vehicle with the same name.
Best truck I ever had was a 1991 2WD Ranger. Took that truck everywhere!
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Old 03-27-19, 05:28 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
BTW, this is exactly what the OP is seeking to avoid... complicated electronics that fail in modern vehicles.
Um, I am the OP, genec, and yes, I do want to avoid complicated electronics.

I wonder if vehicles are still being made somewhere in the world that do not have all of the electronics? What about new vehicles destined for less-than-modern countries?
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Old 03-27-19, 11:21 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
Um, I am the OP, genec, and yes, I do want to avoid complicated electronics.

I wonder if vehicles are still being made somewhere in the world that do not have all of the electronics? What about new vehicles destined for less-than-modern countries?
Well that explains your frustration with all that electronic stuff... an otherwise good vehicle, "spoiled' by a stupid circuit board design.
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Old 03-28-19, 12:11 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
When I lived in Germany (all of the '80's), parts for all of these cars were plentiful and dirt cheap. Unfortunately here, nothing is cheap, and anything affordable is beat beat beat.
Mercedes has always been an expensive brand here too, and therefore expensive in mainenance and repair. But especially in Germany it was not just a luxury brand, it was a 'professionals' brand too. Not just taxi drivers and ambulances, but also the workhorse of the high mileage salesmen and whoever needed to rely on a car for his job or company. A big but sensible investment for small incomes. So there was an industrial quallity to them, also in the lack of standard equipment. In the 80's you would typically pay at least 30% more for a Mercedes than for a comparable car from a different manufacturer but for only a very basic model, and with only 4 gears, only a left mirror, no electric windows, no rev counter, no power steering, no antenna, nothing. And all the 'extra's' would be famously expensive too. Anyway, I believe the fact that it wasn't just a luxury brand for rich people and the fact that is was a big seller in Germany kept prices of parts down, relatively. In America it's more a luxury brand and what's more fun than overcharging rich people?

My 2011 F150 is just turning over 95k miles. Its still a strong, smooth truck. I dunno... maybe I'm just paranoid.
There's a difference between reliability and durability allthough they often overlap. I don't know them, but if they aren't build to last they probably won't. At one hand there's more proven technology and more knowledge about how to make a reliable car, on the other hand they know how to make a car for reasonable durability now, instead of just making it as good as they could and overengineer it just to make sure, like Mercedes and Volvo did in the past. These 80's Mercedes always held some value, because when they finally got below the lowest German used car standards they were shipped to Eastern Europe, and when they are done with them they can be sold in Africa. I think the days that (some) cars are made like that are over, it's not in the manufacturers interest. The days that you could buy a good enough 6 or 8 cilinder for under 5K here are well over too, those are classics now.

Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
Um, I am the OP, genec, and yes, I do want to avoid complicated electronics.

I wonder if vehicles are still being made somewhere in the world that do not have all of the electronics? What about new vehicles destined for less-than-modern countries?
Maybe the Lada Niva. It's still made and it was one of the few good cars from communism. It's got a bit of a cult status here because it's a good off roader and very cheap, but not particularly good on the road. Simple and rugged though. It now has a fuel injection for environmental rules, but that's about it.
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Old 03-29-19, 06:04 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
90's Toyota Tacoma.
Names are important, so Tacoma was the redesign in 96. You want the pre-Tacoma with a 22RE. When the bed rots out should you happen to find one that was redone, you just put a wood flatbed on it.
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Old 03-29-19, 09:16 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
Mercedes has always been an expensive brand here too, and therefore expensive in mainenance and repair. But especially in Germany it was not just a luxury brand, it was a 'professionals' brand too. Not just taxi drivers and ambulances, but also the workhorse of the high mileage salesmen and whoever needed to rely on a car for his job or company. A big but sensible investment for small incomes. So there was an industrial quallity to them, also in the lack of standard equipment. In the 80's you would typically pay at least 30% more for a Mercedes than for a comparable car from a different manufacturer but for only a very basic model, and with only 4 gears, only a left mirror, no electric windows, no rev counter, no power steering, no antenna, nothing. And all the 'extra's' would be famously expensive too. Anyway, I believe the fact that it wasn't just a luxury brand for rich people and the fact that is was a big seller in Germany kept prices of parts down, relatively. In America it's more a luxury brand and what's more fun than overcharging rich people?

There's a difference between reliability and durability allthough they often overlap. I don't know them, but if they aren't build to last they probably won't. At one hand there's more proven technology and more knowledge about how to make a reliable car, on the other hand they know how to make a car for reasonable durability now, instead of just making it as good as they could and overengineer it just to make sure, like Mercedes and Volvo did in the past. These 80's Mercedes always held some value, because when they finally got below the lowest German used car standards they were shipped to Eastern Europe, and when they are done with them they can be sold in Africa. I think the days that (some) cars are made like that are over, it's not in the manufacturers interest. The days that you could buy a good enough 6 or 8 cilinder for under 5K here are well over too, those are classics now.


Maybe the Lada Niva. It's still made and it was one of the few good cars from communism. It's got a bit of a cult status here because it's a good off roader and very cheap, but not particularly good on the road. Simple and rugged though. It now has a fuel injection for environmental rules, but that's about it.
Now that there is good stuff.
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Old 03-29-19, 09:22 AM
  #61  
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Ranger fan here too. 3.0, 4wd, I have a 98, Mrs. LAJ has a 99. Things break, but I almost consider oxygen sensors a tune up item now. Time to put valve cover gaskets on hers, and while there, plugs and wires. Easy to route with the plenum off, and the valve covers are much more accessible with the plenum off.
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Old 04-02-19, 05:17 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post
When the bed rots out should you happen to find one that was redone, you just put a wood flatbed on it.
This describes nearly every toyota truck around here.
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Old 04-03-19, 06:47 PM
  #63  
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Datsun 240Z Lots of parts acailable, 6 cyl Carborated engine. Lots of class.
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Old 04-04-19, 03:12 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post
Names are important, so Tacoma was the redesign in 96. You want the pre-Tacoma with a 22RE. When the bed rots out should you happen to find one that was redone, you just put a wood flatbed on it.
The RE has EFI... the 22RC has a carburetor. Here is something else to watch for...
In Sept 1984, Toyota switched to the lower deck height 22R/RE block. I don't remember what year they switched from a double roller chain with metal guides to a single chain with plastic guides; 1983 sticks out in my mind. We all know the notoriety of the plastic guides breaking and the chain rubbing a hole in the timing cover coolant passage.
My '91 truck had that timing chain issue...

My much earlier Corona had the 22RC, and I was easily able to find and replace the head, back in the late '70s... oddly this was just a few years before I went carfree, for well over a decade. I bought that '91 truck in '98. (I've never owned a new car... my wife, on the other hand, has owned two... a '78 VW convertible, she sold about 2005, and her new 2016 Mazda3)
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Old 04-04-19, 04:11 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Wulf View Post
Datsun 240Z Lots of parts acailable, 6 cyl Carborated engine. Lots of class.
Winner! Its a great car, but not much cargo capability.
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Old 04-04-19, 07:17 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Wulf View Post
Datsun 240Z Lots of parts acailable, 6 cyl Carborated engine. Lots of class.
I'm not sure there are many of those left, or if parts are readily available. About a decade ago there were guys scouring the USA for 240Z and early-260Z cars and shipping them off to Japan. They became really popular collector cars over there and collectors would pay quite the premium to get their hands on one.
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Old 04-04-19, 08:03 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by skidder View Post
I'm not sure there are many of those left, or if parts are readily available. About a decade ago there were guys scouring the USA for 240Z and early-260Z cars and shipping them off to Japan. They became really popular collector cars over there and collectors would pay quite the premium to get their hands on one.
Actually there are loads of classic parts companies out there for the 240Z, and to a more limited degree the 260. The issue with the newer ones are all the trim plastics and interior parts. Both the 240 and 260 share an inline 6 that is basically bulletproof and very easy to work on.

In regard to the OP. I think if I were going to search for one vehicle to be THE one for the rest of my life, I would likely look for an American made with a common V8, or straight six, carbureted, with the only "electronics" being the ignition. I would consider looking for a design that crossed badges by way of a sedan...IE one that was essentially the same if Chevy/Buick/Olds, etc. where possible. Consider something with a following such that reman and aftermarket parts would still be available.
If it had to be a truck I would likely choose a 70's to early 80's F-150. Not so much because I like the look of those, but Chevy trucks of that era body metal was not well prepped and they all suffer from bad rust issues, deep down.
Something else I might consider if ergonomics weren't of high import. A VW Beetle.
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Old 04-04-19, 09:17 AM
  #68  
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OP is in NH? What other than a fiberglass corvette will not rust out from under you?
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