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 Post subject: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 1:31 am 
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Location: Hamilton Square, New Jersey
Considering the current cold snap, I started thinking about the 3 vehicles that exist in this household: a 2010 Toyota Tacoma with a 2.7 four cylinder at about 60k miles, a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.7 six cylinder at about 186k miles and a 1993 Jaguar XJ6 4.0 six cylinder. with just over 100k miles. The two "newer" vehicles are obviously OBD2 and the XJ6 is OBD1; they all are fuel injected.

Starting and driving them is as non eventful as in warmer weather, other than the lack of heat for the first mile or so. The XJ6 by design does not idle over 800 rpm even when the engine is stone cold at below freezing temperatures and shortly thereafter settles in at a 580 rpm idle under load with no complaints. The Santa Fe seems to start, idle, shift and drive pretty much the same as when it was new even though the exterior is starting to look road beaten. The Tacoma seems to be indestructible.

I just find it so impressive that technology has advanced to the point where these vehicles really earn their keep over time with for the most part routine and preventative maintenance. Other than timing belts on the Santa Fe every 60k miles and the usual-tires, brakes, etc. I've been quite fortunate. I think back to the first car I owned which was a 1979 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with a 267 4.4 V8. I must say I loved that car but it seemed to have a mind of its own. It was a headache getting that engine to pass emissions every year and the bolt on devices were so unreliable that on occasion, the car would refuse to run-it seemed like there were vapor locks all over the place.

Then there was the 1980 Chevy Citation with a 2.8 V6. I bought this car used from a local GM executive and for a Citation, it was oddly equipped with all kinds of options such as power windows, air conditioning, intermittent wipers, cruise control and power door locks. I hated this car. It was front wheel drive but would stall when making a turn while going uphill.

My 1986 Cutlass Supreme was much better as the carburetor was controlled by the ECM and ran great, engine wise, but it went through transmissions. My 1995 Monte Carlo was indestructible for the most part but had a lower intake manifold gasket problem which was systemic with the 3.1 V6 engines. Other than that though, I couldn't kill it. I finally gave it away at 200k plus miles when I bought the Tacoma.

As much as I enjoyed fiddling around with carburetors and considering the mastering of them an accomplishment, I don't miss the quirks of ignition points, stuck chokes, bolt on emission controls and expensive transmission rebuild bills. Say what you want about vehicle styling and all of the other junk that they seem to add on, it's still an impressive feat how well they run and serve us. I do miss the Cutlass Supreme though; it was a gorgeous car and I'd take it over the Jaguar any day :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 2:10 am 
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Location: Beautiful Downtown Burbank CA
Cold snap? That reminded me...

You know in some cities/states it is against the law to warm up your car in YOUR driveway if you aren't behind the wheel? So much for remote starting your car in cold weather while waiting for the heater to heat the interior.


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 2:46 am 
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Joined: Apr Mon 04, 2011 4:23 am
Posts: 695
Location: SW PA
As far as I'm concerned, EFI was one of the best advancements ever made to vehicles. So much better than carburetors in every way, except for their simplicity. I can live without most of the other electronic crap that's been added over the years, though.


Last edited by beat_truck on Dec Sat 30, 2017 2:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 2:55 am 
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Location: SW PA
Mike Toon wrote:
Cold snap? That reminded me...

You know in some cities/states it is against the law to warm up your car in YOUR driveway if you aren't behind the wheel? So much for remote starting your car in cold weather while waiting for the heater to heat the interior.

Another useless law that I don't imagine is enforced much, unless the cop is just being a jerk. :roll: I don't know or care if it is illegal here (it's probably not). If it's down around 0 degrees out, I'm going to let the car warm up for a bit while I sit in the warm house. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 3:34 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 7532
Location: Minneapolis, MN USA
Yes, EFI has made a dramatic improvement in starting reliablity especially in cold weather. Remember when cars had chokes tied to the acceleator pedal and you had to carefully choose to set or not set the choke when starting the car ? Too easy to set the choke on a cool not chilly day and flood the engine. A skill I taught both my sisters was how to prop the butterfly to get the engine started. I like to change my plugs sooner than 100k but I do not miss points and timing and all that. One drawback to the increased reliability is the complexity and increased inability to DIY repair a no start issue.

Those of you in cold weather states wanting to warm up your cars check the laws specific to your town and state. It is not usually illegal period end of story. Minneapolis has laws for limited idle time that varies by above and below zero degree temps plus freedom of restriction if you have a remote start.


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 3:52 am 
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Location: SoCal, 91387
Mike Toon wrote:
Cold snap? That reminded me...

You know in some cities/states it is against the law to warm up your car in YOUR driveway if you aren't behind the wheel? So much for remote starting your car in cold weather while waiting for the heater to heat the interior.

I doubt a law like that exists here in California... :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 5:15 am 
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Location: Hamilton Square, New Jersey
New Jersey has idling laws, even on one's own property. I would crack up if a police officer actually showed up and wrote a ticket. As replied, I also remember misjudging the temperature and flooding the engine, even with the automatic choke by depressing the accelerator too far before starting. My father would slam the gas pedal for what seemed like a dozen times to kick his cold engine off of the fast idle cam. I swear that's why he ruined engines. That poor Buick of his.


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 3:14 pm 
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Location: Waterloo, Iowa
Driving with an obstructed view is hazardous and illegal. Those without garages or parking outside will need a certain amount of idling for the defrosters to do their thing. In some areas lowlifes will steal anything not nailed down so there's that angle of it too.


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 3:39 pm 
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Joined: Nov Fri 04, 2011 3:12 am
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Location: New York
HEHEHEH This reminds me of a friend who had bought a Toyota in the 1980's {I THINK it was an MR2}. The thing never ran well for years, the dealer never got a handle on it's issues and his boys became expert at giving Mom a push start so she could pop the clutch. Summer, Winter, didn't matter. That was after he had sold his Opel GT. That car seemed to randomly throw parts off over or under the hood as unneeded. Like the time he picked it up originally from the dealer. He got there just before closing, hopped in, started driving in a downpour and the windshield wiper on the driver's side disappeared after it got flung off. He finally got back to the dealer which had then closed for the day at this point and he couldn't get any help. The Opel was no better than the Toyota as to unreliability.

Yes, vehicles have gotten MUCH better. Maintenance cycles have grown to several years as opposed to merely months.
John S.


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 3:50 pm 
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Location: Butte, MT USA
Gone are the days of starting fluid and gas line anti-freeze. Good riddance!


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 4:08 pm 
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Location: Westhampton, New York
All this car maintenance talk reminds me that my car is due the 12,000 mile points, spark plugs, and timing work.


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 4:17 pm 
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Location: Ohio 45177
If I am worried about leaving my car running out front, I can seperate the fob from the keys and use the buttons to lock or unlock for security while I am away from it. My previous car even had that keypad by the door handle so had no need to do anything but know the code.


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 4:48 pm 
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Location: Waterloo, Iowa
Fuel injection, and electronic ignition, obviated the need for jumper cables and other arcane starting rituals, for the most part. Getting a car started in subzero weather in the "good old days" could often be a dicey affair for less than well tuned and maintained vehicles, a balance between getting the engine to fire without flooding with excess gas, versus running the battery down all the way. A garage sure makes things nicer no matter what you drive.


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 5:35 pm 
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Location: Litchfield Minnesota USA
It is true that cars today can be started in temperatures that would keep a 1960's - even '70s - from starting without aid, or even being shoved into a heated building to thaw.
However, a lot of that can be blamed on the thick oil's that were used in those cars. 10-W30 was the standard of the 70's back through the '60's. Before that it was usually a straight weigh oil, SAE 20 in winter, SAE-30 in summer.
That stuff made it difficult to turn the crankshaft fast enough to start the engine in extreme cold. In Alaska they would drain the oil and bring it inside and kept it warm next to the stove. That was both for their cars and their airplanes. Still the rule with airplanes in many cases.
Mark D.


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 5:50 pm 
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Location: Detroit, MI USA
No doubt they are much easier to get started in cold weather than several decades ago, but even then if you knew the idiosyncracies of any particular car, you could get it started. On a 6 volt system it was much more crucial to have everything perfect. Many people who parked cars outdoors resorted to block heaters or dipstick heaters to get a little edge on the temperature, and some would put a drop light with a 75 or 100 watt bulb in it directly underneath the battery. Some people would even bring the battery indoors overnight so it would be warm. The major problem was usually fuel line freeze from moisture in the gas, and if you had that problem you weren't going anywhere until the temperature got above freezing or you pushed the vehicle into a heated garage.

The other day I needed to get something out of the top of the garage, and it was 1 degree outside so the unheated garage couldn't have been much warmer. Had to back out the '60 Cadillac to do that, and it started the first try following the instructions in the owners manual to pump the pedal twice to prime it and set the automatic choke. That has a Carter AFB, original to the vehicle, which is one of my least favorite carburetors but it works........had probably been at least 3-4 weeks since last time it was started.

My daily winter driver is a 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis with a 14 year old battery in it.......gotta love heavy rear wheel drive vehicles in the snow!

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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 6:11 pm 
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Joined: Apr Mon 04, 2011 4:23 am
Posts: 695
Location: SW PA
Mark D wrote:
It is true that cars today can be started in temperatures that would keep a 1960's - even '70s - from starting without aid, or even being shoved into a heated building to thaw.
However, a lot of that can be blamed on the thick oil's that were used in those cars. 10-W30 was the standard of the 70's back through the '60's. Before that it was usually a straight weigh oil, SAE 20 in winter, SAE-30 in summer.
That stuff made it difficult to turn the crankshaft fast enough to start the engine in extreme cold. In Alaska they would drain the oil and bring it inside and kept it warm next to the stove. That was both for their cars and their airplanes. Still the rule with airplanes in many cases.
Mark D.

I briefly had an '86 Buick Skyhawk wagon (Cavalier clone) and for some odd reason that stupid thing refused to start when it got down to around 10 degrees or below. It just wouldn't turn over fast enough. I replaced the battery, starter, switched to lighter 5w30 oil, and NOTHING helped. That car was a prime example of 1980's garbage. It never got more than 20 mpg and didn't have enough power to pull a sick woman off a toilet. It's only redeeming points were it went like hell in the snow, because it didn't have the power to spin :roll:, and it was nearly INDESTRUCTABLE. I and one of my friends abused that car mercilessly before it went to the scrap yard, and it refused to die. He even ran it for a good 10 miles after the water pump belt came off. :shock: I put a new belt on and put water back in it, and the crappy little all cast iron motor ran the same as it always did. :? If you did that to a car you actually cared about, the motor would have been trashed.


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 6:45 pm 
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Location: Port Dover, Ontario
If the car wouldn't start on a very cold morning, at least the radio would!

Joseph


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 7:20 pm 
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Posts: 1699
Location: Hamilton Square, New Jersey
I remember my 1979 Monte Carlo would not start after the early 1996 storm of the century. The 5 degree temperature wasn't the problem. There was so much snow burying the car the engine could not suck in any oxygen. I had to dig a tunnel to the front end. It started after that and 4 of us dug it out.


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 7:22 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Litchfield Minnesota USA
beat_truck wrote:
I briefly had an '86 Buick Skyhawk wagon (Cavalier clone) and for some odd reason that stupid thing refused to start when it got down to around 10 degrees or below. It just wouldn't turn over fast enough. car you actually cared about, the motor would have been


You probably had oil in it that was too heavy. An oil change to 5/ W30 would likely have made a huge difference. It that wasn't the cause, a good block heater would definitely have helped.

Mark D.


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 Post subject: Re: Some positive thoughts about automobiles.
PostPosted: Dec Sat 30, 2017 7:31 pm 
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Joined: Apr Mon 04, 2011 4:23 am
Posts: 695
Location: SW PA
Mark D wrote:
beat_truck wrote:
I briefly had an '86 Buick Skyhawk wagon (Cavalier clone) and for some odd reason that stupid thing refused to start when it got down to around 10 degrees or below. It just wouldn't turn over fast enough. car you actually cared about, the motor would have been


You probably had oil in it that was too heavy. An oil change to 5/ W30 would likely have made a huge difference. It that wasn't the cause, a good block heater would definitely have helped.

Mark D.

I stated in the next sentence that I did that. :wink: It made little change. If I would have kept it longer, I guess a block heater would have been a necessity.


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