New vs. Old… The Video!

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Here’s a quick video version of my rant about the Old vs. the New:

One thing I forgot to write about in the original rant is the “tinkerability” of the old, pre-computer stuff. You could tinker with it; fix it by the side of the road. When a modern fuel-injected car develops a fault there is no fixing it by the side of the road. If the car stops running, you’ll be walking.

Or, dialing… for AAA.TA 5 4:16

I also prefer something amenable to a screwdriver – which fuel injection isn’t. It works – or it doesn’t. And “tuning” it means plucking and replacing parts – or “re-flashing” or “chipping” the ECU.

It’s not even what a Fleshlight is to the real thing.

I love the old stuff because it’s hands-on. Mechanical. You can see (and touch) the workings. With FI and computers there is not much to see and while you can touch it, it’s not very satisfying to touch it. Ugly lumpy plasticky parts with wires coming out of them.

Compare that with the gorgeousness of the Trans-Am’s mighty 455 V8 engine.

Note the Pontiac-specific deep blue metallic engine paint. No one (almost, there are a couple of exceptions) paints engines anymore. They are mostly undifferentiated ugly alloy castings – covered with plastic (with good reason).TA engine2 4:2016

I like watching the raw gas shoot into the venturis; the hiss of engine vacuum… the hellhound moan of a big four barrel’s secondaries opening up.

The new stuff has many virtues. But very little emotional pull.

Of course that’s just me – and I’m a Known Kook.

Your mileage may vary!

PS: We are close to making book for the month but still have a bit to go before we’re safely in the green zone. A few notable EPautos stalwarts (LG and GC, this means you!) have really stepped up. Thank you! And, thanks to all the rest of you who make it possible for me to keep this thing running!

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  1. “Can you imagine having one of the first cars made that had oil reservoirs that simply ran through the engine that was open on the bottom and the oil dripped on the ground?”

    damn, 8. Harley still hasn’t gotten past that level of design. 😉

    • If you have kids or grandkids you ‘had’ to watch “Cars” with (or you just watched it anyway, because you wanted to), remember this line: “British cars – if there’s no oil under’em, there’s no oil in’em.”

      • PtB, several years ago the owner of the company that supplied the seals and gaskets for all Brit equipment, a great deal of Australian and some American equipment in WWll was hung in effigy because it became known they made defective seals on purpose to sell more. They made seals out of newspaper and all sorts of crap. It was known by everybody but the idiots in govt. who gave them all that business. What do you do when somebody makes it known 70 years later? It just sort of went away, like the bodies of all those people who died from equipment failure.

    • Sure they have Ed, it just has to hang out long enough to go around the seals and gaskets. I’ve always admired their chain oiling though. You could always tell if a guy rode a bobber cause of that streak up his back……as well as the smell. I always wondered what their reaction would have been if 90 weight gearlube had been bright white…..or yellow…….it was skunky enough without the look.

      I’d never considered it but that would be a good way to mask when you were smoking xxx skunk. No occifer, that’s just gearlube.

      I might have to make a movie about a motorcycle gang with “SKUNKS” on their jackets. I could cast Rip Torn as the leader and Will Ferrel as his acolyte and Kevin Bacon as the coward traitor.

    • That is the injector equivalent of a carb rebuild kit. Like a carb if you need one of the other parts, one of the parts that doesn’t typically wear, you have to purchase that separately.

  2. Once you reject the myth of authority, you can also reject the myth that there is an authoritative answer to every question. Thus BrentP and eric offer the reader two distinct and valuable worldviews for you to consider. You are free to pick and choose from each what you find useful as it suits you.

    Perhaps one will win over the other eventually. Perhaps not. It is only truth and value that endures and not personalities, preferences, or emotions.

    I prefer hobgoblin to bugaboo. But would never use either in a conversation with anyone. Sounds too douchey to my ears.

    “Before one may scare the plain people one must first have a firm understanding of the bugaboos that most facilely alarm them. One must study the schemes that have served to do it in the past, and one must study very carefully the technique of the chief current professionals.” – H L Mencken

  3. I recently went out to Seattle and rented a car at the SeaTac airport. I will be kind and not mention the rental company as the incident which I am about to describe was not their fault. As I travel extensively, I get a lot of upgrades on airlines, hotels, and rental cars. Being in the top tier of car renters, I went straight to the parking garage to get a car. The agent directed me to a brand new Chrysler 300. I had previously rented one in Chicago and it ‘seemed’ like a decent ride. My gut instinct told me to take the Chevy Suburban. Anyway, I drove away in the 300. It was a Sunday and I have been to Seattle numerous times, but never went to Mt. Rainer. The car did okay for most of the trip, listening to channel 6 on XM most of the way which will start giving my age away. Everything was fine up until or near the 10,000 ft elevation. I was not abusing the car in any way. Just driving up the winding mountain road between 15-25mph. I pulled off at a scenic stop to view a waterfall and that’s when the problem(s) started.

    I put the car in park but it started rolling backwards. I applied the brakes stopped the car and a dash led came on saying to put the car in park. It did go into park but it would not go back into drive. Not only that, but if you pushed the stop button the car would not turn off. At this point, I an already cussing. I had a quick look in the owners manual. The only thing I could find was if there are electronic issues with the car, and I cannot remember the specifics as to what was in the owners manual since this was a couple of weeks ago, it said that it would reset itself after sitting for 30 minutes.

    I popped the hood and took the top off of the relay box and pulled out a relay to the engine and it quit. I waited a few minutes and restarted the car. No change. It would not move, nor would it cut off either. I tried it one more time and gave up.

    There were other problems that were associated with this car craping out. At 10k feet, there is no phone service. No telephone booths, you are just shit out of luck. If I travel internationally, I carry a sat phone with me. I did leave the hood up. A half hour had came and gone so I tried starting the car again with no change.

    I kind of wished I had a scanner with me. In a way, I did as I had an app downloaded on my phone, but I didn’t have the OBD II Bluetooth module with me. It was 3000 miles away. I had a feeling even if I had a scanner, you would probably would have to had a Starscan unit to maybe fix/reset it -or- another trans computer or even body computer. The software on the car was scrambled.

    Finally, a park ranger driving an ambulance passed by and then came back. He took us part way down the mountain to a lodge, which had a phone. I called the rental company after talking probably to someone in another country, they arranged for Triple A to tow a car out from the SeaTac airport rental center. The driver showed up seven hours later with a Buick. Then an hour and forty five minute drive back to my hotel in Seattle, I was into the next day.

    I have worked on cars for 55 plus years. Anyone reading this can understand what was going through my mind being stuck out in the middle of nowhere with a useless piece of junk, cell phones useless, no phone booths. The ultimate breakdown.

  4. I had the IAC stick so the car wouldn’t hold idle one day when I went to leave work. I popped it off with the tools I had in the trunk cleaned it the best I could and it worked. I gave it a proper cleaning later.

    If an injector fails it’s probably dirty. It doesn’t take much, two small nuts or bolts usually, to pop the rail out and clean it. But you don’t need to fix it. The computer will shut down that cylinder and you can drive home. A family member’s car popped a spark plug out of the head. It was simply driven home. 35 miles. On 7 cylinders. I fixed the threads with an insert. It was fine. Why was that possible? The computer shut down that cylinder. Turned off the fuel flow to prevent any oil dilution with gasoline and any other issues.

    Meanwhile try to do fine carburetor work at the side of the road. All the little parts. You can’t fool me. I’ve rebuilt a quadrajet. I know what’s in them. It’s practically a mechanical computer.

    • Hi Brent,

      It’s very easy to make adjustments and clean a carb by the side of the road. The typical stuff that goes awry when you’re out driving around being fixable by a spritz of Gumout. A teardown by the side of the road is almost never necessary. What possible scenario would make it necessary to tear down a properly set up/functioning carb by the side of the road?

      Such a thing has never happened to me in more than 30 years of owning/driving older vehicles with carburetors.

      I’ve had power valves in Holleys rupture.. four screws to take off the bowl, unscrew the old power valve, screw in the new one… drive on. Stuck needle and seat… tap the carb with screwdriver, shoot some Gumout into the easily accessible ports/venturis… stuff like that.

      I’ve had to replace fuel pumps by the side of the road… easily doable with simple hand tools. How is easy is it to replace a current car’s in-tank electric fuel pump when it suddenly fails? Doable by the side of the road with simple hand tools?

      Once upon a time, the engine (’73 VW) died suddenly… I rolled it off the road, popped the trunk… and noticed that a dime-sized plug had popped off the carb’s body. I literally inserted a dime… and back in business.

      Computer-controlled cars will just stop running, too. But a dime will not get them back on the road.

      Last fall, I was driving a brand-new Mini Cooper (press car) and, after stopping for coffee, the engine would not re-start. Brand-new car.

      Several attempts and it eventually started – and the dash lit up like a Christmas tree with fault lights. “Check engine,” “SRS,” “TCS,” etc. The gear selector (automatic) would not move out of Park. I popped the trim cover (most people do not know about this) and found the manual release button, which allowed me to move into Drive. But the transmission would not shift out of second gear. The car was barely drivable… and there was nothing to be done about it by the side of the road. Electronic/software problem… without a diagnostic tool/computer which I didn’t happen to have with me.

      Meanwhile, when a throttle cable has popped off or broken in one of my pre-computer cars, it is very by-the-side-of-the-road fixable.

      What happens when drive-by-wire craps out? How are you going to deal with that by the side of the road?

      Another VW True Tale: Carb backfired and a fire ensued. I put it out with handfuls of dirt by the side of the road. Wires were melted. But because there was no got-damned computer and the only wiring necessary for the engine to run was extremely simple, I was able to walk to a parts store, buy some generic/off-the-shelf wire and re-wire the vitals by the side of the road.

      When there is an engine fire – even if quickly put out – in the engine compartment of a modern car, it’s all over.

      When the air bags deploy, it’s all over.

      When the $5,000 DSG tranny craps out, it’s all over.

      That brand-new BMW 7 I had a few weeks ago? All of a sudden, chimes erupt and the LCD display is full of warnings about multiple systems failures.

      There is no fixing that by the side of the road, either.

      Or even in your garage.

      Unless you have a BMW diagnostic computer and all the necessary tools and equipment.

      You may say that’s just BMW. Not anymore. They are all going down this road.

      Your ’97 is hardly representative of what’s typical today.

      And it’s still much more complicated than any pre-computer car… and the more complicated anything is, the more problems you are likely to have (eventually) and they harder/more expensive they will be to fix.

      • You’re playing the wack-a-mole thing with me again. We’ve been over it. I’ve wacked those moles already. You refuse to accept that there is anything but full blown dealer list price retail for anything newer than 1980 and manufacturers trying to lock down service of the cars to their dealer network has been ongoing since when? The 1930s?

        If you want to avoid random electronic faults and high repair bills, don’t buy a BMW or MB. It’s been that way for 25-30 years I don’t expect it to change any time soon. With English cars the electrical demons go back to 1960s? Before? A mini with an electrical gremlin is a stereotype. And why did a VW have a fire? Because it had a carb that could backfire. The very technology you’re in favor of faults caused the fire in the first place.

        But let’s say there is a top engine fire that ruins a few wires. If they aren’t completely burnt it’s just a matter of going from A to B. Sure a few more might need work but it’s not that much more difficult and much more unlikely to happen.

        I mention a teardown at the side of the road because that makes it apples to apples. Fuel injection is not complex and what might leave you stuck is no more difficult to deal with than what’s on a carb. I grew up with fuel injection and carbs together. I know both technologies. A can of the appropriate cleaner fixes most real life issues for both. And fuel injection will generally limp you to the autoparts store to buy a can.

        The simple fact is that I’ve never had the problems you say I’ll have with 30 years years of fuel injection. The fuel injection didn’t let me down even in the 1986 beater I had. (which was purchased new by my parents thus starting my clock with fuel injection experience) It left me sort-of-stranded when the ignition module took a dump on me though. But that’s 1970s technology, simply miniaturized in the 80s. Your TA has one. But here’s the thing, if I had to, I could have limped it along by driving and then pausing to let it cool. Then driving again. repeating the process until I got home.

        I always could work around any problem with a carb too, but the point is fuel injection isn’t any more difficult to deal with for typical things that will go wrong.

        If you saw the link I gave on the last round in the other thread, you could get yourself a 90s Mustang and put a 4bbl carb on it. Rip out the fuel injection and replace it with a carb if you want.

        • Hi Brent,

          I’ve whacked your moles, too! Only you continue to deny it!

          I’ve never argued that FI/computer cars are (generally) less maintenance intensive; I agree that they are very reliable. I have stated (and it’s true) that when the old stuff developed a problem of the sort we’ve been discussing, it was fixable with simple hand tools and by the side of the road. When the new stuff develops a problem it is often a major PITAS and not fixable by the side of the road.

          Again, the fuel pump example. Your electric in-tank pump stops working – you are calling a tow truck. My mechanical fuel pump fails, I can fix it by the side of the road in 15 minutes with basic hand tools. I understand the electric in-tank fuel pump will last a long time… but when it/related components fail, it’s major work. I gave the example of my late-model Nissan pick-up. The pump is part of an “assembly” and this “assembly” is a major PITAS to get at and the cost to replace is beyond obnoxious.

          About $500.

          Yes, you can use a used “assembly” (I did) for less ($75). It’s still a big PITAS.

          How about the hot water pipe for the cold start enrichment circuit. This is a pipe with bends and nipples specific to the Nissan that you cannot just buy “It’ll work” rubber hoses for. Guess how much the pipe costs? And it’s also a huge PITAS to remove and replace.

          And – c’mon – you know as well as I do that an engine fire in a modern computer-controlled car is The End for that car. Yes, I understand it’s less likely (though when FI leaks, the pressure is higher, so you have a spray of fuel mist vs. a liquid drip) but if it does happen… you lose.

          I fixed the VW with maybe $20′ worth of generic wire.

          • Name one thing I haven’t addressed.

            I’ve addressed so much you’re now down to complicated German engineering and English car electrical gremlins… both of which are stereotypical problems going back to before your TA was built. (although that far back the Germans were using hydraulics)


            • “Name one thing I haven’t addressed.”

              The complexity/cost of repairs when something does go wrong. Which will happen, sooner or later.

              To go back to where we started: I can replace the entire fuel delivery system in my car with brand-new parts for about $400. How much would it cost to replace all the fuel delivery components in your car? Never mind how reliable and long-lived they are. They are not eternal. How much to replace them all with new parts?

              And unlike your FI system, I can rebuild my system (to good as new function) for less than $100.

              This applies generally.

              For instance, what is the cost of a new/rebuilt modern car computer-controlled six-speed automatic? How much does a pre-computer automatic (even an OD four-speed automatic) cost?

              Price a modern car alterntator lately?

              Exhaust: My TA’s iron manifolds will likely outlive me. The only parts I’ve had to replace are pipes (cheap) and mufflers (also fairly cheap). The big expense is the chrome splitter tips. But they are much cheaper than a pair (or four) of three-way cats and 02 sensors!

              AC – vs. electric climate control. Manual cables and so on vs. a controller that costs a fortune when it croaks.

              I will never have to worry about air bags and their attendant sensors and wiring… or a computer…

              You will… eventually.

              • I’ve addressed your fuel system and other cost bugaboos countless times. You compare hobbyist aftermarket prices and rebuilt prices to full boat dealer new retail list! Dealer list which is almost entirely mark up, not the real cost of the parts. I know what it really costs to make stuff, it’s part of my job. I know how much parts are marked up at my employer. I’ve demonstrated that costs are not horrific if you have modern car with a following and can be horrific if you have an old car that doesn’t. I’ve demonstrated aftermarket remans are available affordably for all the things you quote outrageous dealer new list prices for. You simply repeat the same argument you made before rather than address what I have presented. You pop the same mole back up.

                I also addressed your part failure bugaboo. Again, it’s part of my job to understand this stuff. I tried to explain the bathtub curve. I tried to explain how after a part has gone without failure for some time it has a high probably of going a long time longer. You don’t make a counter argument. You repeat yourself. Yes eventually my car will eventually break because the sun is going to go red giant eventually. If I treat it from here on out like you treat your TA it will probably never break in any serious way. If it does it’s going to be something that’s environmentally related to the first dozen years of use. If I treated your TA like I did my car for a dozen years it would be gone. And that was a very high level of care and of use.

                Rock Auto has NEW aftermarket alternators for my ’97 for about $100. A Bosch reman will run $110. A Motorcraft $150. For my mav reman from $35 to a Motorcraft at $79. The ’97 is a 130amp, the ’73 no more than 55Amp. The cheap ones are lower. On that basis it seems quite reasonable. For my ’12 a NEW motorcraft $238 and a reman is $137. Of course at the Ford dealer those motorcraft prices would double or triple. I used to be able to get motorcraft parts cheaper than rockauto and amazon. On the southside there was a distributor called “Motive Auto Parts” and they were old school and would sell you parts over the counter. Today’s distributors don’t do that. I really miss them. I didn’t like the counter guys at the store near where I grew up but in the main warehouse on indiana ave in the city they were great guys. I could get stuff like real motorcraft battery cables for my ’73. Unbelievable what they could get me out of the motorcraft catalog. Stuff nobody else would have and at low prices. It went downhill for them when McPier took their main location away. They built a nice place near my grandmother’s house. but a few years later they closed the counter and then after that sold out to a larger distributor. Last part I bought there was a water pump for my ’97. It cost me about $50-60. New OEM motorcraft. Which reminds me I need to find where I put the old and replace the seals/bearings in it.

                And I am not fan of recent stuff where everything is electronically controlled. But not because I fear the controller taking a dump but because the little motors will be hard to find as just motors for cheap. I’ve spent too long in the land of the cars few people care about. It was a pain getting simple Maverick parts in the late 80s. The last maverick was made in ’77 (for the USA). It’s far easier to get parts now than it was then. But here’s the thing, if something in the heater linkages breaks in my maverick I have to find someone parting one out. It might be $10 but I have to find it. Those controllers will be reman’d and if I really had to I could make my own manual controller to tell the stepper motors what to do, turn on the AC, etc, and such.

                • I suspect a used block for that ‘stang would be considerably cheaper than something like a nailhead Buick and the probably unobtainable heads.

                  Even Chevy stuff from old is hard to find now if you’re speaking of BB and 427’s are downright scarce even though you can buy new aftermarket for really big bucks. If you have something like a 454 simply rebuilding it is expensive. Head jobs alone are stupidly expensive. Blow jobs are cheaper by far.

                • Hi Brent,

                  They’re not “bugaboos.” C’mon now… I haven’t insulted you! 🙂

                  It’s a fact (is it not?) that I can replace the entire fuel delivery system on a car like mine for much less (and far more easily) than you can replace the entire fuel delivery system on a modern, computer-controlled PFI car.

                  Stock replacement or generic aftermarket carbs cost a few hundred bucks at the most – and that’s it. There is nothing else to replace. You are now all set for decades.

                  I’ve challenged you to add up the cost of all the many components that comprise the fuel delivery system in a modern PFI-equipped car. This would include the all the sensors, including O2 sensors in the exhaust, as well as the computer… because the PFI system cannot function correctly unless all those components are working.

                  Many of these are specific to that car, cannot be replaced with a generic part. Some of these parts are inexpensive, but others aren’t. In any event, I asked you to give an estimate of the total cost of buying all the necessary components, as would be necessary during a restoration or when the system has been in service for so long that a major overhaul is needed. So that we can contrast the cost of that vs. the cost of buying a replacement carburetor.

                  You have thus far declined to do so.

                  I have pointed out, moreover, that it’s usually possibly to rebuild the carb you’ve got rather than replace it. This can be done for peanuts – $50 or so in parts. And once done, the carb is functionally as good as a brand-new carb.

                  Can you rebuild the sensors and electronic parts of a PFI system? For $50 or so?

                  You argue, basically, that your electronic, computer controlled components last forever as a way to evade discussing repair/replacement costs. The fuel pump “assembly” in my ’02 Nissan did not last forever. And while I did not have to buy a new $500 “assembly” from Nissan I did have to drop the fuel tank, which is a job most people can’t do. Which means the dealer. Which means…. $$$$.

                  Most people who can change oil, on the other other hand, can change a mechanical fuel pump. Two bolts, the pump’s right there hanging off the engine. No wires or sensors or computers. And the brand-new part costs $40 or so.

                  Certain parts for old cars are of course expensive – trim, for instance. Or out-of-production mechanical pieces. But that is neither here nor there regarding their fundamentally simpler systems, their generally easier and lower cost of R&R.

                  • It’s not an insult. Bugaboo is a mythical creature. It’s a shorter way of expressing that you’ve created a mythical creature. There’s simply no need to replace the whole system. There isn’t. There never will be. You don’t want to take the time to understand how simple the components are. You don’t want to understand the manufacturing processes. Six-sigma, reliability curves. You just repeat again and again ‘it’s all going to break’.

                    Yes, if it was made with 1970s technology, 1970s design, 1970s materials, and 1970s manufacturing methods, yes it would all likely break and need wholesale replacement, but it’s _not_. It’s just not. If you want to make an injector need more than cleaning you have to practically dump sand in the fuel system. Sure they get replaced because it’s cheaper to buy new ones than pay someone to clean them. And yes there are the odd failures of the solenoids, but that’s not the rule, it’s the exception.

                    I haven’t added it all up because I’ve dealt with the very premise that it’s required. I’ve done so repeatedly. You can’t show me it is either. You just keep saying that eventually it will. No it eventually won’t and certainly won’t need to be at dealer list with the parts costing 400% or more than their production cost.

                    Ok, let’s expand this. How much does it cost to build an old car from scratch. All new? Buy a dynacorn body, all the parts? Brand new. You’re talking about forty thousand dollars to do that on the cheap. The dynacorn unit body and panels are going to run you half that by themselves. If you wanted a nice paint job you’re left with only $10 grand for everything else. So I’m talking a 1970s style paint job too. So how’s the old car affordable under the same argument method you’re using? You’re creating a fiction.

                    Or how about this line, modern cars have much more rust resistant bodies. How much is going to cost to replace the rusted body parts of your old car if it’s actually used? How about the whole thing? You’re going to say that’s a ridiculous argument, but it’s not any different than your insistence every system with parts that didn’t exist in 1976 on a modern car is going to need 100% replacement.

                    The reality is that under a restoration fuel rails will need to be re-plated to look pretty. Injectors will need to be repainted. Throttle bodies ultrasonically cleaned. They aren’t going to need replacement and neither is the ECU. People are still running their atari 8 bits! You fabricate this myth of needing wholesale replacement at dealer list prices. People are restoring modern cars now and they aren’t replacing all these things. Your entire premise of wholesale replacement is not valid.

                    You allow the old car components to be cleaned and reconditioned in your calculations. You won’t even allow the toothed wheel of an ABS sensor to be cleaned. No this simple piece of dumb metal has to be REPLACED, and replaced at OEM dealer list price. Why? because your argument begins to fall apart when the reality appears that an ABS sensor is nothing more than toothed metal wheel and a magnet.

                    You can make your own at home:

                    • Brent,

                      No machine – or electronic component – doesn’t wear out. Not break – wear out. The “when” is not relevant. You don’t know the exact date, neither do I. Your ’97 is not quite 20 years old. It hasn’t given you any trouble yet? Great! Let’s see how it fares over another 20… .

                      Machines and electronics wear out now, just as they wore out then.

                      The difference is that when your more complex, modern PFI/computerized car does wear out, it will cost much more to bring back than a simpler car like mine – which has many fewer parts (especially electrical parts).

                      This is the essential point you continue to deny.

                      Again: A replacement carburetor costs at most a few hundred bucks and you have just replaced the entire fuel delivery system.

                      Is this a fact – or not?

                      No quibbling – just a “yes” or “no” answer, please.

                      Is it a fact – or not – that one can rebuild a carb to good-as-new for less than $100?

                      Again – “yes” or “no”?

                      How many total components are there to a modern PFI/computer controlled car’s fuel delivery system? A dozen? What is the cost of these individual parts taken together? How many of them can be cleaned and rebuilt vs. thrown away and replaced?

                      You have yet to directly answer these entirely reasonable questions!

                      Your answer is “six sigma curves” and so on…

                      I’ve never disputed the longer service life of modern computer-controlled cars. But they are not eternal.

                      They will degrade and fail, just like a carburetor or a set of points.

                      But which costs less to replace? Which is easier to replace?

                    • How’s outlasting you or me?

                      My car has 208K on it. How many miles on your TA? 40K? 70K? How long has it lead a pampered life? When was it was driven daily in rain, sleet, snow? When it did it encounter road salt from October to April? Put a car like my ’97 on a well cared for ~1-2,000 mile a year average which is where I think your TA is at, and that’s effectively more than a century already under my car’s belt.

                      But no, it’s always the same. repeat the same mantra. It will fail. I know, I know, I’ve heard it since I was a teenager. My cars are shit. I just haven’t had them long enough. No matter where I go in car circles it’s the same damn thing. My Fords are shit. I just have to have them a few decades longer to prove it.

                      Anyway it’s as if you don’t know what these components are. If you knew what they are you’d realize their 1970s equals ARE THE PARTS YOU KEEP in a carb rebuild. There’s a solenoid on the carter RBS for my Maverick. But I can trust that this piece of unobtainium is going to function forever and if it doesn’t well I can just do something non-stock. But you won’t give a fuel injector, a much more robust piece, the same credit. You insist your car’s die cast carb body isn’t going to turn to white metallic powder but my car’s throttle body will. I’m not allowed to replace a couple bushings and a couple gaskets to rebuild it. No you insist I do the calculation with new OEM dealer list price replacement.

                      Throttle bodies are rebuilt. Even fuel injectors are re-manufactured. You don’t have to throw the parts away. here’s what rebuilding a fuel injector runs if you do it: $2.00. Look for yourself:

                      You refuse to believe there is anything but full replacement for modern car components. You’re wrong. There are remans and kits and places to take or send components just like with your TA or a 1908 model T.

                      As a side note, let’s figure my car has averaged 1500 rpm and 30mph over 200K. That’s 600,000,000 cycles. Do you know how you achieve that many cycles in part? You design it so fatigue doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen because it’s a dirt simple concept. There’s nothing to wear out. The materials themselves have to start returning to nature. So after a century or three of enjoyment as a hobby car a Mustang’s injectors will cost ~$16 dollars to rehab.

                      An ABS sensor uses the same basics. Again there’s nothing to break unless the materials return to nature. That’s not going to happen treated the way your TA is and it’s unlikely if the car is pulled from such service before it starts.

                      Will it cost more to restore a basket case modern car vs. a basket case 60s car. Sure. But you admit that turning the modern car into that basic case is going to take a lot more. So this is an irrelevancy because such an exercise, the restoration of a basket case, is the result of insanity, emotional attachment, or market demand or some combination there of.

                    • Brent- c’mon! I never said your car was “shit.” I don’t think it is shit, either. 🙂

                      I merely stated – as a fact – that a carburetor comprises the entirety of an older car’s fuel delivery system, that it can be replaced for at most a few hundred bucks, that it is often not even necessary to replace it, that it can be rebuilt (every 10 years or so, in my experience) for about $50.

                      With an older, pre-computer car, I will never have to worry about computers, or sensors, or elaborate wiring or a bunch of can’t-be-rebuilt/must-be-replaced electrical parts… because there are no such parts. There is no – zero – worry about them. Ever.

                      The above isn’t really debatable … or am I missing something?

                      Maybe the body will rust – but that’s a different issue. And – trust me – modern cars rust, too. Sometimes, they rust as quickly as older cars. But when the modern car rusts – being a unibody – the rust is typically even more expensive to repair. Also, there are (once again) elaborate/expensive components to deal with. Like the rusted fuel line/assembly in my late-model Nissan truck.

                      You claim that your electrical/computer components will outlast you and I. Define that. Is it 20 years? 40? You don’t know. You project/estimate. But I retort that everything mechanical and electrical has a service life. Your computer-controlled/PFI car may indeed run reliably for decades. That’s possible. But not certain. I have given you several examples of personal experiences I’ve had with modern vehicle electrical and other components not lasting even 15 years. This is by no means a rare thing. And the cost of these parts was much higher than a comparable problem with an older car (viz, the fuel pump “assembly” in my late-model Nissan vs. the fuel pump in a car like my old Pontiac) as well a much bigger hassle to deal with. Serviceability – for the DIY/home mechanic – is much more difficult as a general rule with modern cars for many reasons, including packaging as well as the greater complexity, need for higher-order skills and tools to properly do the job.

                      I grant that individual small parts may not cost a great deal – but many do cost a great deal. And an older car has fewer (and maybe none) of these parts… so there is a certainty of no repair/replacement costs while you have the absolute possibility and – eventually – the actuality.

                      Right? Or am I missing something?

                    • Brent, my wife’s Cutlass has 290,000 miles on the same everything but alternator, plugs and wires. It just keeps on keeping on. I’d say it was not only superior design but execution as well. What make of car from the 70’s(I had plenty of them…..had)would go 23 years of everyday service in the heat of west Tx. with the same water pump, the same power steering pump, the same everything except for struts which do wear out on badass roads? Tell me so I can buy one. My Elco’s been sitting for 20 years from a variety of ailments. A new style engine and transmission as well as a rack and pinion would have it lasting a great deal further than original. Of course an overpowered vehicle with my foot in it isn’t going to last like the way my wife drives but then again, mine won’t have the body bashed in which is a pretty expensive fix in itself. And to be honest, my body skills(and tools)are limited although the other day I got out and reformed the fender on Step Child with a big hammer and a big shop hammer on the backside and did it in a matter of seconds, not even minutes.

                      That car has never needed anything replaced on the port fuel injection, not a single piece. If the body of the car would hold up, I could see the engine going another 100K or more. The transmission, from the factory had a bad sun gear. The replacement is the one with more than 200K on it. I had a ’69 Impala that had the transmission last 200K and the engine would have without the nylon timing gear. The Elco was made in Mexico with cheap shit. Driven easily it would probably have lasted 200K but not a great deal more.

                      I have two friends, one with an’89 GMC pickup and the other with a ’93 Chevy pickup that both engines went well of half a million miles. I think it was due to the simple TBI on them. And neither one ever needed a single part on the fuel injection system including the fuel pump.

                      I can tell you for sure I’ll never have another carb for anything except the new lawnmower.

                    • When my ’75 Maverick was about 15 years old I would go to a auto parts store for something ordinarily replaced on a 15 year old car, like say brake hoses. As you know 1970s rubber often doesn’t last all that well compared to the modern stuff, but once replaced it’s good for a long time. Anyhow I would be subjected to counter people making various disparaging remarks about my car being no good. The same happened with my ’73. When I bought my ’97 I got much the same. Always about how they wouldn’t last. And here you after I think it’s been proven that my ’97 lasts, telling me it hasn’t been long enough. It will never be long enough. Major failure is just around the corner.

                      Yes modern cars can rust. I fight rust. my mazda (which is kept outside) is trying to rust away on me in many creative ways but it isn’t like it used to be. Cars were heavily rusted inside a few years in the 60s and 70s. I remember. Now it takes over 15 for it to start.

                      Ever notice that shops replace a string of sensors and electronic components and the problem isn’t fixed? Ever notice that places that sell autoparts have strict policies on the return of electrical parts. Policies that go back to before the 1980s? That’s because there’s often an underlying problem that they get blamed for. When they don’t exist they can’t be blamed and people have to find it.

                      I had a sensor fail. Flow sensor for the evap emissions system. It’s there just to make sure the evap system is working. That’s uncle. But I don’t ‘worry’ about it. Most everything that can go wrong with the modern system is the same with the old system. Grime, varnish, etc. Cleaning usually takes care of it. Keeping things clean often prevents it. Just like you do with your 70s car.

                      If not that it’s a rubber piece. If it’s something expensive like an injector the rubber piece is often available if one looks. There are heat cycle related problems like the evap sensor that was next to a heater hose but those aren’t going to appear on a garaged 40K mile, 30-40 year old car that’s lived the good life. Such cars from the 80s aren’t filled with electronic issues unless they come from makes known for such problems built in from the factory.

                      If your thing is the number of parts you want the Fords made when Henry was still running the company. Maybe one of the first flathead V8 cars. That OHV V8 in your TA is way too complicated for that way of thinking. But even then that car can’t be fixed without a fair amount of infrastructure behind it. What’s really needed is a early model T.

                      The line of argument you’re taking here has been used since the model T got replaced. It’s the same one that Henry nearly bankrupted the company using. That another part is just something else to break but the starting point is arbitrary.

                    • Can you imagine having one of the first cars made that had oil reservoirs that simply ran through the engine that was open on the bottom and the oil dripped on the ground? You not only had a driver if you couldn’t operate one but a riding mechanic for their non-stop problems.

                      While I like TBI, I don’t want any other computer on a vehicle. But I know many vehicles that are extremely reliable that have quite a bit of computer controlled parts. I can’t and therefore don’t work on those vehicles so I’d just as soon Not have one.

                      And now you can get a stand-alone TBI system that learns for $800, the price of a new high end carb….that never learns.

                      I realize the old 6.5L Turbo Diesels GM made without computers only have a fraction of the power of a new one but there are few specialty tools required to work on one and none of which need be acquired from GM. A tie rod separator is a specialty tool but you could make one although they’re cheap enough and won’t ever wear out while being good for quite a few vehicles.

                    • Eight, some early cars required the driver or passenger to pump oil for the engine. No fancy cam driven oil pump to break.

                      Computers and electronics don’t scare me. They are really very logical and very simple.

      • “When the $5,000 DSG tranny craps out, it’s all over. ”
        But the local VW dealer wants $4k to replace mine w/a used one – inspected and guaranteed for 90 days of course. $6k for a rebuilt. If it was 5k for a new one, I might consider it, except of course for the EPA fatwa on the TDI.

        • PtB, you’re looking in the wrong place. Anyone can get a new transmission and install it. A shame it’s not a GM. I could get you one cheap. The point being, lots of independents could do you a much cheaper deal.

          • Probably so, 8, but until the final details of the VW/EPA settlement come out, it’s not worth investigating.

  5. ” I’m a Known Kook”
    What must one to to become an officially recognized member of the ” Known Kook Klub”?

    • ” I’m a Known Kook”
      What must one to to become an officially recognized member of the ” Known Kook Klub”?


      • Exactly!

        Deviate from “policy.” If you’re a man, show no interest in fuuuuhhhhhhhhhtttttttttttttttttttttttttttball. Question orthodoxies. Show no interest in controlling other people. Avoid saying “we” ought to do (or not do) things.


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