The Truth About Cars » rust http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 28 Jul 2015 22:00:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » rust http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: A Fusion of Moonroof Drainage Problems? (Part II) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/piston-slap-fusion-moonroof-drainage-problems-part-ii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/piston-slap-fusion-moonroof-drainage-problems-part-ii/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1096217   Matt writes: Hi Sajeev, I’ve got a follow up question to this one. The leak is still happening. It seemed to have stopped over the winter because of the snow and cold. The snow wasn’t melting enough to cause water to come into the car but we’ve been getting heavy rain lately and the […]

The post Piston Slap: A Fusion of Moonroof Drainage Problems? (Part II) appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
 

(photo courtesy: OP)

Matt writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I’ve got a follow up question to this one. The leak is still happening. It seemed to have stopped over the winter because of the snow and cold. The snow wasn’t melting enough to cause water to come into the car but we’ve been getting heavy rain lately and the leak seems to be back.

I noticed a couple days ago that the sunroof is rusted out on the inside of the rubber seal that runs around the moon roof itself. I’ve attached some pictures of it. The rust seems to stop, from what I can tell, around the drivers side front corner of the moon roof but along the front and especially the front passenger corner of the moon roof the rust is really bad.

I have an appointment next week at the dealership to see what can be done about it but I am really hoping that even though the car is 6 years old that Ford will step up and fix on their dime what, in my opinion, is clearly a case of defect when it was manufactured.

Will the entire moon roof unit need to be replaced? I can’t leave it the way it is because its only going to get worse and worse, but I am wondering what my options are in terms of fixing it – assuming Ford leaves me hanging in the wind which, lets face it, given the cars age is probably what I am looking at. Honestly, I am very upset by this whole thing. I don’t think a 15 year old car let alone a 6 year old one should be suffering from a rusted out moonroof.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Sajeev answers:

Turns out, from your last query, the B&B nailed it. Kudos to “vinnie” for this nugget of wisdom:

“Hey, so the dealer just figured out this same exact problem in my 2012 SE. It took several calls to Ford engineering and a year of trial and error for them to figure it out. It ended up being the moonroof glass itself. Apparently the metal band that is around the actual glass can become separated and water can get in there and leak into the headliner. Based on what Ford told them, they put in 3 brand new moonroof glass panels before they found one that worked, so there seemed to have been a bad batch or two where the metal and glass were not bonded correctly. Good luck…”

With that in mind, I suggest:

  1. What does your owner’s manual say about the corrosion warranty’s duration? You still might be okay on years, but IIRC, you will be way past it if they limit your mileage.
  2. Talk to the dealer and see if you can get the name of a Ford warranty/claims rep. Plead your case, professionally. Don’t ruin someone’s day – someone that had nothing to do with your problem and has their hands tied. Generally speaking: good customers that make their case known in a pleasant manner get things done far more often than nasty-tempered customers.
  3. Manufacturers (and dealers, ‘natch) love customers that come back for service to the dealership. This paper trail makes it easier for either Ford or the dealer to get you a new moonroof glass for no charge. It’s called goodwill repairs and it happens all the time.

Answering your final question: moonroof glass can be replaced separately from the entire assembly in the roof.  It’s usually a handful of screws attaching it to the”arms” of the assembly.  If Ford leaves you out in the cold, just get a replacement moonroof from a junkyard based in a rust free portion of the US.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 

The post Piston Slap: A Fusion of Moonroof Drainage Problems? (Part II) appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/piston-slap-fusion-moonroof-drainage-problems-part-ii/feed/ 36
What’s Wrong With This Picture: ProMaster Of Rustbits Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/whats-wrong-picture-promaster-rustbits-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/whats-wrong-picture-promaster-rustbits-edition/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 12:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1094921 There are few traditions at TTAC as hallowed as that of the “low-quality point-and-shoot photo used as centerpiece of article”. The undisputed master of this genre, the Mapplethorpe of the grainy tree-growing-mysteriously-out-of-a-car’s-trunk-just-above-the-glowing-date-stamped-on-the-shot, was TrueDelta’s Michael “TrueDelta” Karesh, of TrueDelta. Some of his work was so bad it approached the status of art. If I had […]

The post What’s Wrong With This Picture: ProMaster Of Rustbits Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
promaster

There are few traditions at TTAC as hallowed as that of the “low-quality point-and-shoot photo used as centerpiece of article”. The undisputed master of this genre, the Mapplethorpe of the grainy tree-growing-mysteriously-out-of-a-car’s-trunk-just-above-the-glowing-date-stamped-on-the-shot, was TrueDelta’s Michael “TrueDelta” Karesh, of TrueDelta. Some of his work was so bad it approached the status of art. If I had space on my walls at home, I’d enlarge and frame some of the shots, and give them names, like Silver Hump On Equally Silver Car, In Shadow. Then I would sell them to wealthy Russian immigrants and become rich enough to fund my long-awaited Lifetime autobiographical movie in which Colin Farrell would get fat just so he could play me in my forties.

So as you look at the Zaxxon-esque pixelation of the above photo, try to think of it less as “Jack doesn’t own an actual camera” and more like “Jack is honoring the spirits of all who have gone before under the red-and-white masthead”. Or something like that. And before you waste too much time trying to figure out what the photo actually shows, I’ll tell you: it’s the door hinge on a nearly new RAM ProMaster cargo van, and it is rusting.

The cynic in me says, “Well, the Mercedes Sprinter has been, and continues to be, the most rust-prone vehicle since the 1983 Civic 1500GL, and it continues to sell in remarkable volume at prices that could almost be characterized as ‘predatory’ compared to the outgoing Ford Econoline and Chevy Express. In light of that demonstrated customer apathy, why shouldn’t the ProMaster rust? For that matter, why shouldn’t the Transit rust? The old Transits had reputations for rust in the UK long before we ever saw the nameplate here.”

The former Ford van salesman in me, on the other hand, looks at the current lineup of available “Euro-style” vans and wonders whether American commercial customers really want them. Consider the following options:

  • 2015 RAM Promaster, 118″ WB, 3.6L Pentastar/280HP, $29,735
  • 2015 Ford Transit, 130″ WB, 3.7L Duratec/275HP, $29,735
  • 2015 MB Sprinter, 144″ WB, 2.1L Diesel/161HP, $35,995

The outgoing E-150 was nominally priced at $28,200 and offered much less space than any of these. The Chevrolet Express, the last of the old-school vans, starts at $29,555. So what’s the problem? It’s just this: the old vans didn’t sell for anything close to MSRP, and they lasted more or less forever. In the late Nineties we used to shove six-cylinder 150 Econolines out the door for fifteen grand all day. As late as two or three years ago, the major dealers were still selling base vans for $19,995 on the weekends.

The new vans cost more, they have fewer incentives available, and the dealers have less room to move. It also remains to be seen how expensive they will be to operate. The Sprinter has gained a reputation over the years for requiring frequent and costly service. It also rusts, particularly in the salt states. I’ve been reading the European commercial-van sites and, from what I can gather, Ford has made major strides with the current generation Transit. The Fiat Ducato? Well, it’s intended for use in countries like Italy and France. How well will it do in Ohio?

The photo above suggests it won’t thrive in places where any unprotected metal rusts overnight, but I could be wrong about that. One swallow does not a summer make, and one rusty hinge doesn’t mean that the ProMaster will rust like the Sprinter. But if I ran a small business, I’d wonder.

I’d also wonder why, in a segment where low initial cost and longevity mean about as much to the customers as quarter-mile time does to buyers of supercharged ponycars, the manufacturers have collectively forced an “upgrade” on those customers at considerable expense. Say what you like about the old vans, they were durable and very well-understood. I have no doubt the Transit is better in every way than the old E-150, which wasn’t a modern design when I was selling it in 1996. But the additional cargo space and increased fuel economy mean very little to customers who don’t fill the box all the way and who leave the vans idling in loading zones half of the time. They’d rather have hinges that don’t rust. Or if they’re going to rust, they should at least be bulky enough to last a while with rust on them.

Alfred North Whitehead wrote, “It is the business of the future to be dangerous…” As I survey the current automotive landscape, with its super-sized family cars, mandatory automatic transmissions, four-door coupes, wagons on stilts, and miniature luxury CUVs, I wonder if perhaps the manufacturers haven’t confused dangerous with obnoxious.

The post What’s Wrong With This Picture: ProMaster Of Rustbits Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/whats-wrong-picture-promaster-rustbits-edition/feed/ 76
Junkyard Find: 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood, Terrifying Ocean Rust Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1974-cadillac-fleetwood-terrifying-ocean-rust-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1974-cadillac-fleetwood-terrifying-ocean-rust-edition/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1086657 So many rusty Junkyard Finds lately! We had the Krusty Kressida earlier this week, and then a whole week of corroded Coloradans before that. Now we’re returning to San Francisco, where cars parked close to the ocean dissolve in strange top-down fashion thanks to the constant salt spray and chilly fog. I found this once-luxurious […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood, Terrifying Ocean Rust Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
24 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

So many rusty Junkyard Finds lately! We had the Krusty Kressida earlier this week, and then a whole week of corroded Coloradans before that. Now we’re returning to San Francisco, where cars parked close to the ocean dissolve in strange top-down fashion thanks to the constant salt spray and chilly fog. I found this once-luxurious Fleetwood sedan in a Bay Area yard a few weeks ago.
22 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

472 cubic inches, 205 horsepower.

16 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The hood rained salty rust flakes for decades.

09 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The interior is still Whorehouse Red and doesn’t look as bad as the outside, but the mildew/seaweed smell is off-putting.

04 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I think losing most of a quarter-panel is a car’s way of telling you that its driving days are just about over.


This car is from the era when Cadillac was trumpeting sales figures rather than exclusivity. This didn’t work out so well in the long run.

01 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 27 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 28 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 29 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 30 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 31 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 32 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 33 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 34 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 35 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood, Terrifying Ocean Rust Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1974-cadillac-fleetwood-terrifying-ocean-rust-edition/feed/ 56
Junkyard Find: 1983 Toyota Cressida Wagon, Salty Pacific Ocean Spray Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-cressida-wagon-salty-pacific-ocean-spray-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-cressida-wagon-salty-pacific-ocean-spray-edition/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 11:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1079161 Since we had some rusty Junkyard Finds recently and I just spent a couple of days driving around San Francisco looking at ocean-salt horror-story cars, let’s continue with the Toyota Rust theme and check out this frighteningly oxidized San Francisco Cressida. Cars in the non-mountainous regions of California mostly don’t rust much, unless they’re air-cooled […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1983 Toyota Cressida Wagon, Salty Pacific Ocean Spray Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
40 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Since we had some rusty Junkyard Finds recently and I just spent a couple of days driving around San Francisco looking at ocean-salt horror-story cars, let’s continue with the Toyota Rust theme and check out this frighteningly oxidized San Francisco Cressida.
27 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Cars in the non-mountainous regions of California mostly don’t rust much, unless they’re air-cooled Volkswagens. Sometimes you’ll see old Detroit cars in California with rusted-out trunk floors (from rainwater leaking in during the winter) or rust beneath vinyl tops, but that’s about as bad as it gets… unless you live within a few blocks of the ocean. In that situation, you get salt spray kicked up by big waves, plus the constant damp and fog that neighborhoods right on the ocean get. The damage tends to start on top and work its way down. Eventually, a good-running Toyota becomes more of a rusty cheese grater and must be scrapped.

15 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This Cressida has San Francisco N Zone residential parking permits stretching from 1994 through a couple months ago. The Richmond District gets plenty of salt and chilly fog, being one of those SF neighborhoods with summer high temperatures in the 40s.

01 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The owner of this car experimented with several types of rust-covering fillers. This appears to be Sculpey and Rustoleum.

29 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I got so obsessed with documenting the rust “repairs” that I neglected to shoot the interior of this car. The icky Children’s Interactive Expo T-shirt as a seat cover is the only interior shot I took.

21 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The 5M engine might still be a runner. Only one way to find out!

01 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 27 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 28 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 29 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 30 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 31 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 32 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 33 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 34 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 35 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 38 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 39 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 40 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1983 Toyota Cressida Wagon, Salty Pacific Ocean Spray Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-cressida-wagon-salty-pacific-ocean-spray-edition/feed/ 40
Junkyard Find: 1981 Chevrolet Citation, Rock Salt Sandblasting Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation-rock-salt-sandblasting-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation-rock-salt-sandblasting-edition/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 12:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1074762 This is the third week in Themed Junkyard Find Week Madness. We started with 21st Century Junkyard Find Week, then had Volkswagen Junkyard Find Week, and now we’ve staggered right into Rusty Junkyard Find Week. Next week, I might return to ordinary jumbled-up Junkyard Finds, or I might subject you to an entire month of […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1981 Chevrolet Citation, Rock Salt Sandblasting Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Incredibly Rusty Chevrolet Citation - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This is the third week in Themed Junkyard Find Week Madness. We started with 21st Century Junkyard Find Week, then had Volkswagen Junkyard Find Week, and now we’ve staggered right into Rusty Junkyard Find Week. Next week, I might return to ordinary jumbled-up Junkyard Finds, or I might subject you to an entire month of Chrysler LH Junkyard Finds.

For now, though, let’s finish up our third Themed Junkyard Find Week with a case of genuinely puzzling rust.
Incredibly Rusty Chevrolet Citation Detail 1 - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Unlike most of the interesting cars I shoot in junkyards, this ’81 Chevy Citation is represented here by just a single photograph. I was visiting the yard just before closing time, to grab a Dodge D100 pickup fuel gauge for my get-it-done-today A100 instrument-cluster rebuild project, walked past this Citation, and shot a single cellphone photo.

Incredibly Rusty Chevrolet Citation Detail 2 - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

So, we’ll look at details from that single photo, like conspiracy theorists studying a single frame of the Zapruder Film. This car had some rust all over, but the vertical surfaces of the right side of the body had terrifying and weirdly localized rust. How? Why? There’s no evidence of a fire burning off a patch of paint, so perhaps the car spent several years lying on its right side in the manure pond of a western Kansas pig farm?

Let’s time-travel back to 1979, when “the first Chevy of the 80s” hadn’t yet hit the streets in large numbers and existed mostly in the minds of Americans who were hoping that the gloom of the previous decade would be washed away by a car that showed that the days of bad Chevrolets were over.


Well, long-term-wise, that didn’t work out so well, with the Citation merely ushering in a decade of brand-damaging disasters and puzzling attempts to compete with German luxury marques. Today, we laugh at the Citation, though there was a time when they were as commonplace as are Malibus today.

The post Junkyard Find: 1981 Chevrolet Citation, Rock Salt Sandblasting Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation-rock-salt-sandblasting-edition/feed/ 62
Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, Spray-Foam Rust-Repair Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-corolla-hatchback-spray-foam-rust-repair-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-corolla-hatchback-spray-foam-rust-repair-edition/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1074322 Let’s follow up 21st Century Junkyard Find Week and Volkswagen Junkyard Find Week with Rusty Junkyard Find week, shall we? On Tuesday, we saw this ’83 Toyota pickup with not-so-effective fiberglass-and-Bondo cover-up-the-rust-and-hope-it-goes-away repairs, and today we’ll be looking at a thoroughly used-up Corolla with similar squeeze-another-few-months-out-of-this-heap repairs done by someone who knew he or she […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, Spray-Foam Rust-Repair Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
14 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLet’s follow up 21st Century Junkyard Find Week and Volkswagen Junkyard Find Week with Rusty Junkyard Find week, shall we? On Tuesday, we saw this ’83 Toyota pickup with not-so-effective fiberglass-and-Bondo cover-up-the-rust-and-hope-it-goes-away repairs, and today we’ll be looking at a thoroughly used-up Corolla with similar squeeze-another-few-months-out-of-this-heap repairs done by someone who knew he or she would be the vehicle’s last owner.
43 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAmericans didn’t much like the look of the AE82 Corolla hatchback, although we bought a fair number of its NUMMI-built Chevy Nova siblings.
51 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDoes this rust mean that important structural components are likely to fail soon? You bet!
32 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo close to that magical 300,000-mile mark, but another 38,868 miles in this hooptie would have been pretty miserable.
36 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven if the structure held together, there is no quantity or type of air freshener that could cover the stench of the fast-food-detritus-and-bodily-fluids-caked interior of this car.
13 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlus it’s a real hassle to have a hatchback with a nonfunctional hatch.
09 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCrab Spirits is sure to find inspiration about this Corolla’s previous owner via the large number of stickers on the back glass. For example, he or she was a fan of Propaganda E-Liquid.
10 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis retailer of smoking accessories also gets a shout-out on the Corolla’s rear glass.
47 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou could get a diesel version of this car, but few did. Wikipedia editors believe that the 4A-LC engine was sold only in Australia, Switzerland, and Sweden, but you’ll see plenty of these two-digit-horsepower cockroaches in US-market Corollas.

US-market ads for Corollas and their kin seldom employed the word “sexy.”

San Franciscans— hundreds of them, lining the streets— doubted that the ’84 Corolla sedan could do anything.

John Davidson pitched a special New Zealand version of this car.

49 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 28 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 30 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 31 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 32 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 33 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 34 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 36 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 37 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 38 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 39 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 40 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 41 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 42 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 43 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 45 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 46 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 47 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 48 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 51 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, Spray-Foam Rust-Repair Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-corolla-hatchback-spray-foam-rust-repair-edition/feed/ 27
Junkyard Find: 1983 Toyota Pickup, Adobe Rust Repair Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-pickup-adobe-rust-repair-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-pickup-adobe-rust-repair-edition/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 11:15:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073818 Toyotas of the 1970s and 1980s were quite reliable for the era, if you’re just talking about running gear. If you lived in a rust-prone area, though (say, a block from the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco), Toyotas were eaten by the Iron Oxide Monster in a hurry. Here in Denver, where the snow usually […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1983 Toyota Pickup, Adobe Rust Repair Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
08 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Toyotas of the 1970s and 1980s were quite reliable for the era, if you’re just talking about running gear. If you lived in a rust-prone area, though (say, a block from the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco), Toyotas were eaten by the Iron Oxide Monster in a hurry. Here in Denver, where the snow usually doesn’t stick around long enough to warrant the application of road salt and the single-digit humidity dries out pockets of moisture trapped behind body panels before they can cause much harm, you don’t see too many rust horror-shows in junkyards. However, being conveniently located to both the western edge of the Rust Belt and the salty-road mountains means that I do see some interesting approaches to the Rotting Toyota Problem. Here’s a camper-shell-equipped Missouri Hilux (sold as, simply, the “Toyota Truck” in the United States) with some fiberglass-and-body-filler bodywork that may have bought it another year or two on the road.
19 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Actually, the shell came from Missouri; there’s no telling where the truck came from (though the shell appears to have been on the truck since it was new-ish).

05 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Not even 200,000 miles on the clock.

06 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Bondo over rust solves the problem in about the same way that painting over termite damage fixes your house.

21 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I keep hearing that 20R heads are worth plenty to the guys who want to swap them onto their 22R off-road trucks and get higher compression, but I never see them removed at junkyards. Urban legend?

11 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Mechanically speaking, this truck probably had a lot of life left in it, but watching shards of your vehicle tumbling behind you in the rear-view mirror while listening to the howl of wind through all the rust holes… well, it gets old.


There are parts of the world, however, where Hilux owners don’t worry about how rusty their trucks might be.


The Australians have always had better Hilux ads than North Americans.


See what I mean?

10 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1983 Toyota Pickup, Adobe Rust Repair Edition appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-pickup-adobe-rust-repair-edition/feed/ 27
Piston Slap: Outdoor Convertible Storage? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/piston-slap-outdoor-convertible-storage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/piston-slap-outdoor-convertible-storage/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 12:53:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1017562   Ken writes: Sajeev – I thoroughly enjoy your column – keep up the good work! You’ve also answered several questions I’ve sent over the years, so thanks for that. Your latest article on rear quarter panel rust on Hondas got me thinking. I have an attached 2 car garage and 3 cars. You can […]

The post Piston Slap: Outdoor Convertible Storage? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
 

1885006-2

Or not… (photo courtesy: http://www.rigsofrods.com/)

Ken writes:

Sajeev –
I thoroughly enjoy your column – keep up the good work! You’ve also answered several questions I’ve sent over the years, so thanks for that.

Your latest article on rear quarter panel rust on Hondas got me thinking. I have an attached 2 car garage and 3 cars. You can see the dilemma. Two cars are DDs and one is a recently purchased pleasure vehicle/ toy – in a used 2007 Saab 9-3.

Since I’m married, my wife’s MKZ (the same one you provided mod advice on) owns one of the spaces – leaving me one for an SUV (2010 Xterra) and said convertible.

I live in New England and the convertible will not see usage from November through till April. This is my first winter with the two car dilemma. At first my decision was made for me. The Saab 9-3 would sit outside. We have a newborn and I didn’t want to trudge the little guy into the cold when we have an attached garage. And since a pop up carport went over with the Wife like a fart in church – I bought a high end car cover for the Saab.

Fast forward, things have changed and we no longer utilize daycare for the little guy. The Saab is now sitting in the garage. WITH a car cover on it. (Cause why not? Already have it.) I figured I could wrench on it occasionally during the winter. But if I’m honest, even though the garage is attached, its just too friggin cold. So it could sit outside.

Both vehicles I’d like to keep for a long time. But my Xterra is of more use to the family and should get the better treatment of the two. The Saab shouldn’t rust much as it will never see salt, but the Nissan is my winter driver.

My question is – which should be outside and which inside? With the latest snow storms I am a bit annoyed clearing snow off my car when I don’t have to – but its just me and I’ve done it for years so its not really a big deal. I’ve also heard that its better to keep a vehicle in the cold rather than cycles of warm and cold as the attached frozen salt will melt and corrode more. Is there any truth to that?

What are your thoughts? Car cover the Saab outside or leave it in the garage?

Sajeev answers:

A total no-brainer: leave the Saab in the garage.

Never leave a winter beater in the garage when you have a topless summer toy! Okay, so says the single guy who lives in Houston.

But still, the effects of snow on a droptop are dangerous, especially when it’s a vehicle lacking the ridiculously strong aftermarket support of something Mustang convertible-like.

 

You want it, they got it .(photo courtesy: foxresto.com)

 

Like the above set up, most of which I’ve replaced (some personally) on the Mehta’s own Mo-Stang, a 1987 Mustang GT droptop.  It’s pretty easy and super cheap, and the re-popped parts are often OEM-quality: making the Mo-Stang a pure joy to own and restore like most Fox Bodies.  But that’s really not the point.

The point?  What works for me is not so cheap and easy for you. So forget outdoor convertible storage, it ain’t worth the risk of wear and tear. Put the Saab in the garage and leave the rusty winter beater out in the winter.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

The post Piston Slap: Outdoor Convertible Storage? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/piston-slap-outdoor-convertible-storage/feed/ 13
Piston Slap: The Importance of A Craigslist 3-Ring Binder http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/piston-slap-importance-craigslist-3-ring-binder/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/piston-slap-importance-craigslist-3-ring-binder/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 13:57:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991714 TTAC commentator dtremit writes: Hey Sajeev — Inspired by your recent Mazda3 Piston Slap, I thought I’d throw this question your way. Seems like something the B&B might have advice on. I have a 2005 Mazda6 that is a rather desirable used car…on paper. It is in excellent condition mechanically, and has fairly low miles […]

The post Piston Slap: The Importance of A Craigslist 3-Ring Binder appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
cars_binder-r49d780cf3f674bf9aab1a92d9682f9c9_xz8my_8byvr_324

How do I know you love me? (photo courtesy: zazzle.com)

TTAC commentator dtremit writes:

Hey Sajeev —

Inspired by your recent Mazda3 Piston Slap, I thought I’d throw this question your way. Seems like something the B&B might have advice on.

I have a 2005 Mazda6 that is a rather desirable used car…on paper. It is in excellent condition mechanically, and has fairly low miles for its age (about 78k). Single owner, and I have maintained it well, though I am not sure the mess of receipts in the glovebox counts as excellent documentation. I have a good set of Nokian snow tires for it on steel wheels, which would go along with it. It would make a good car for someone for quite some time to come.

My problem is that it’s cosmetically a lot worse off; ten years in Boston is hard on a car. It has a ~3″ perforation in the front bumper, and both front and rear bumpers are quite well scratched. (Otherwise, the paint is in reasonably good shape, and there aren’t any major flaws that wouldn’t buff out.) There’s also a bit of rust starting in one rear wheel well, though it appears limited and cosmetic.

Inside, like nearly every 6 of its era, the foam on the driver’s seat bolster has failed, though the leather is intact. The leather on the wheel is pretty scraped up, and there’s a tear in the carpet in the driver’s footwell.

I had intended to keep this car for a few more years, until it was more or less worthless anyway. However, my plans may include a new car sooner as a recent injury leaves me struggling to get in and out of the Mazda. So I’m wondering — what is my best strategy for getting value out of this car?

Do I try to repair some of the cosmetic stuff, and hope it increases the sale price? If so, what does it make sense to spend on, and where should I scrimp? Or do I try to cut my losses and negotiate the best trade I can in the current condition?

I will probably be buying a Ford using A-plan, so the price of the new car won’t be up for negotiation. I’ve considered just being blunt about its shortcomings, contacting a bunch of local Ford dealers, and letting them know I’ll be buying an A-plan car from whichever one offers me the best trade. I don’t have a sense of whether they’ll play that game, though.

Anyhow, thought this might be an interesting question, since a lot of readers probably find themselves in this basic situation at some point.

Sajeev answers:

First, grab a 3-ring binder, I betcha there’s one about to get tossed at your/your loved ones/your friends office right now! Use a hole punch on the receipts, pop them in and print out an image of your car (from Google Image search) and slide it into the front’s clear sleeve.

BLAM SON, a fantastic repair/service history that makes you look like you really, truly loved this car!

Rust and body damage is par for the course in your part of the country.  I also assume your suspension is beat to hell on Boston roads. Whatever, that’s life: restoring a 10-year-old sedan won’t generate the value to justify the cost.  So find the most willing buyer for your dollar. My first stop? Carmax.

Carmax sets the floor for your asking price, your Mazda would probably be sold at their auction for a bit more than they have in it. Which implies that you’ll find a willing buyer on Craigslist for more money, maybe what it would go for at the auction. Essentially you offer a decent auction car with none of the hassle and cost. See how you’re adding value by essentially doing nothing? 

Back to the 3-ring binder: that’s your secret Craigslist weapon.  Keeping in mind the Carmax offer, put the Mazda6 on Craigslist in as-is condition (aside from a proper cleaning if you’re messy) with good quality photos and offer it at the private party asking price of Edmunds.com, KBB.com, etc appraisal tool. Write an honest assessment of the car’s positives and negatives in bullet point format, it will build trust and speed up a buyer’s first visit.

And mention that cool 3-ring binder you have for the car, too!

Your final transaction price will likely be between private party and the Carmax offer. It must be higher than the trade-in credit you get from the Ford dealer.

Credit perks aside, the Ford dealer(s) will likely beat Carmax’s offer if you ask.  Maybe because they wanna pretty it up if its good fodder for their used car lot. But one of them will deal: especially if they’re hungry to move another unit that month.  Or that quarter.  Or this year.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

The post Piston Slap: The Importance of A Craigslist 3-Ring Binder appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/piston-slap-importance-craigslist-3-ring-binder/feed/ 29
Piston Slap: Feelin’ Rotten sans Seam Sealer? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-feelin-rotten-sans-seam-sealer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-feelin-rotten-sans-seam-sealer/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 13:22:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=975809   TTAC Commentator Calgarytek writes: Hey Sajeev, I enjoy reading your posts on TTAC. This one is a chassis related question and concerns rear quarter panel rust issues on old school Hondas. I’ve got a 2000 Civic SiR and I’ve poked around the rear wheel wells to figure out why that may be. It seems […]

The post Piston Slap: Feelin’ Rotten sans Seam Sealer? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
 

rusty quarter panel

(photo courtesy: www.tamparacing.com)

TTAC Commentator Calgarytek writes:

Hey Sajeev,

I enjoy reading your posts on TTAC. This one is a chassis related question and concerns rear quarter panel rust issues on old school Hondas.

I’ve got a 2000 Civic SiR and I’ve poked around the rear wheel wells to figure out why that may be. It seems that Honda didn’t seal the rear quarters well enough. There is no sealant present on the inner skin of the outer portion of wheel well. The outer skin just tends to ‘fold’ into the inner well and just ‘sit there’ as exposed metal.

The question is – would applying seam sealer to the above mentioned locations protect the quarters? If so, can you recommend a brand?

If you’re wondering, I’m helping my younger cousin buy a non-rust-belt-based 2000 Acura EL. We’re planning to winterize the vehicle during the summer time when he eventually gets it.

Sajeev answers:

Thank you for your note, and for reminding us Americans that cooler Hondas are available outside of our borders.

Before answering, one point of clarification: what you see isn’t “exposed metal” waiting to rust.  As part of the assembly line process (all?) manufacturers dunk their cars into a rustproofing bath to minimize corrosion.  Peep this vid:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Also note how BMW’s machine applies seam sealer after the rustproof dunk. But in the case of Honda rear wheel arches…well, I wonder if any manufacturer uses seam sealer there. It’s gotta be a messy proposition.

On to your question: if you are positive you’re applying seam sealer to a rust free, dirt free, dry and solid meeting of two panels, by all means go ahead! My big concern is trapping dirt, water or anything else that can cause the panel to rust under the seam sealer.  Hence why the rustproofing “dunk” at the factory is so cool.

A company called POR-15 makes a host of products for the pre-seal, I do not know of an alternative that works as well. OTOH, seam sealer is available from a host of manufacturers sold by even more vendors. Not being a body man by hobby or trade, I’m offering this as a guide instead of making a recommendation.

There you go, Best and Brightest.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

The post Piston Slap: Feelin’ Rotten sans Seam Sealer? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-feelin-rotten-sans-seam-sealer/feed/ 57
Piston Slap: American Rust vs. Japanese Rust? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-american-rust-vs-japanese-rust/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-american-rust-vs-japanese-rust/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 12:49:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=963650   Stefan writes: Sajeev, I recently had a conversation with my cousin in Wisconsin. He claimed that cars assembled in North America are more rust prone than cars assembled in Japan or other oriental countries. Apparently his observation was based on several cars in our extended family: An elderly Dodge Durango and a not-so-elderly Honda […]

The post Piston Slap: American Rust vs. Japanese Rust? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
 

mazda5-rust-5

Rusty Mazda Protege5 (photo courtesy: old Piston Slap post)

Stefan writes:

Sajeev, I recently had a conversation with my cousin in Wisconsin. He claimed that cars assembled in North America are more rust prone than cars assembled in Japan or other oriental countries. Apparently his observation was based on several cars in our extended family: An elderly Dodge Durango and a not-so-elderly Honda Odyssey with the traditional clapped-out transmission.

I have never seen any statistics to support these ideas and really don’t recall reading suchlike statements in the TTAC in the past. That older American cars rust more than newer Japanese, and vice versa, seems natural and I recall seeing many old Japanese cars with severe corrosion damage, but what is the truth in this matter? Over to you and the B & B!

Stefan (’97 Fat Panther without a speck of rust)

Sajeev answers:

This is pure Internet Troll Bait, but whatever…I’ll bite.

Cars made in Japan used to be inadequate for use in the American Rust Belt, back in the 1970s.  That’s history, as Japan wised up and eventually made the vehicles that would dominate the marketplace in every American market they compete in. (well, except trucks #murica)

The only modern cars that I’ve seen (and I live in Houston) or heard to be chronically rusty are Mazdas from the last decade.  Discussed here, here and here. Oh, and the Toyota Tacoma, witnessed by the massive recall.  One person mentioned a Ford Focus, and that’s about it.

And in this most unscientific sampling, only the Mazda is not made in North America.  So your cousin is wrong.

UNDYING PANTHER LOVE (photo courtesy: syracuse.com)

Dead Wrong: USA, USA, USA!!!

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

The post Piston Slap: American Rust vs. Japanese Rust? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/piston-slap-american-rust-vs-japanese-rust/feed/ 184
Piston Slap: Mazda’s Rust and Tire Size Trust Gap? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-mazdas-rust-tire-size-trust-gap/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-mazdas-rust-tire-size-trust-gap/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:42:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939433 Greg writes: Hello Sajeev, David Holzman says I should write to you about my Mazda concerns. 1. Concern #1. In two out of three dealers there was significant rust at the center of the wheels due to the wheel caps not having been put on. I only took three pictures, but essentially: at New Country […]

The post Piston Slap: Mazda’s Rust and Tire Size Trust Gap? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
0821141123

Curb Appeal? (photo courtesy: Greg)

Greg writes:

Hello Sajeev, David Holzman says I should write to you about my Mazda concerns.

1. Concern #1. In two out of three dealers there was significant rust at the center of the wheels due to the wheel caps not having been put on. I only took three pictures, but essentially: at New Country Mazda in Saratoga Springs NY 100% of the Mazdas had no wheelcaps on in the lot and were all showing various degrees of rust. That includes the one in the showroom, you can see it in the pic with the tile floor.

I only took three pictures, I wasn’t intending to do a 60 minutes expose. The other two pictures were taken at Orange Motors in Albany NY. At Orange Motors about 40% of the cars had no wheel caps. One had light rust and the other shows advanced penetration of the surface–not quite sure what we’re looking at, an axle nut and lug of some sort maybe–but this is rust that won’t wipe off, on a 2015 Mazda 6, and I don’t have anything comparable on my 2004 Corolla. Yes, I know that brakes get rusty–I see what’s going on every time I change my tires in the winter and spring–but I just don’t have anything like this.

I contacted Mazda North America with the pictures but they are extremely non-committal. I find it odd that a car company would be happy with dealers’ not installing wheel caps and showing rust on the show room floor. But that’s just me.

So the question: should this issue be a deterrent to purchasing a Mazda 6?

2. Concern #2. While I was talking to the Mazda North America “marketing experience” rep (the title was something like that) I indicated that I was having a hard time getting a dealer to commit to the idea of selling me the intermediate trim level Mazda 6 (the Touring) with 17″ alloy rims instead of 19″. The reason I am concerned is that currently tirerack.com is showing only two available tires for the Mazda 6. I would prefer series 55 to series 45 tires in order to have increased protection from the abundant pot holes in my area. But the OEM default for the Touring and Grand Touring is series 45. Not only are the series 45 tires less protective, they increase road noise and all seem to have low 200 to 300 tread wear ratings. But if you have series 55 tires you have about two dozen different choices, with a wide range of prices as well as considerable choice in speed and wear ratings.

One dealer indicated that he might be willing to switch the rims and tires from a Sport to a Touring to accommodate my request, but the Mazda North America rep said this was not recommended because of some design differences in the undercarriage between the Touring and Sport models. Is that true? I was not able to get detailed information from the rep who seemed to be more of a marketing person.

This is not just a question about the tires. If I want certain things that seem like a good idea, such as a back up camera, and I really need to stick to the “Sport” trim level to get 17″ rims, then I can’t get a manual transmission and also have the back up camera. So I’m thinking hard about the Accord LX manual, but the lack of a 60/40 split rear seat makes it tough for me, that’s a feature that I need from time to time, and when I need it I really need it.

Anyhow I’m wondering why Mazda is being so coy about 17″ rims on the Touring trim level, and it is also important for me to figure this out because I would like to get some steel rims with snow tires for the winter months. Here the choice of snow tires is also sharply limited in 19″ alloy rims, but 17″ steel is pretty easy to find snow tires for. And of course steel makes more sense for winter use.

Hope that’s not all too complicated.

Thanks,
Greg

Sajeev answers:

Let’s get to it.

Concern 1: Not a concern.  While it is bizarre that Mazdas are displayed sans center caps, that rust is on the hub. Not the wheel, behind the wheel.  Hubs (or brake rotors with integral hubs) are not rustproofed like other items, because these thick metal castings need 100+ rusty years for actual damage.  Just like surface rust on an engine block, it means nothing.

0821141329Not buying a Mazda 6 for this reason is silly.  And let’s hope the rust issues from 5+ years ago are history.

Concern 2: One man can’t make a difference.  No matter the groundswell seen in my inbox and the last few Piston Slaps revealing a sad new Truth About Cars: big wheels and low profile tires are kinda seriously dumb.

Forget about the base model wheels on a higher trimmed model.  And don’t rock the boat, nobody at the factory wants to say anything to make YOU happy that’ll get THEM in hot water.  Until smaller wheels (and bigger sidewalls) become a must-have feature, the bigger ones will continue to boost the profit margins of all manufacturers. (not just Mazda)

Your dealer (or the aftermarket) offers the right move: 17″ wheels with the correct minus sized tire (discussed here) will give you the same circumference and a similar (probably the same) footprint.  The “not recommended because of some design differences in the undercarriage between the Touring and Sport models” is hard to verify without seeing in person (or asking a Mazda PR rep) but I doubt it. Again, see my comment about non-committal statements to save one’s own bacon.

You can’t blame someone for toeing the company line to keep their job…can you? We’ve all been there!

The real question we need to answer is twofold:

  • When will manufacturers abandon tall bodies that need tall wagon wheels and pointless sidewalls?  
  • When will they offer more diverse options for buyers who refuse to be pigeonholed by restrictive trim packages? 

That requires a serious commitment from high level execs for cash (design new cars with old car proportioning) and…well honestly I don’t know who would approve the solution to the latter. Good luck with that.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

The post Piston Slap: Mazda’s Rust and Tire Size Trust Gap? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/piston-slap-mazdas-rust-tire-size-trust-gap/feed/ 99
Piston Slap: The Self-Lathing CRX? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-theres-rub/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-theres-rub/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 11:58:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=888017 Gareth writes: Good afternoon Sajeev, Read your latest and I’m determined to help you out. I recently had a bone-stock 87 CRX Si follow me home from an impound auction and, if I can get the damn thing through an Ontario Safety Inspection, I’ll let TTAC’s very own Derek K drive it. Therein lies the […]

The post Piston Slap: The Self-Lathing CRX? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

photo courtesy: flickr.com

Gareth writes:

Good afternoon Sajeev,

Read your latest and I’m determined to help you out. I recently had a bone-stock 87 CRX Si follow me home from an impound auction and, if I can get the damn thing through an Ontario Safety Inspection, I’ll let TTAC’s very own Derek K drive it.

Therein lies the rub, or brake rub really. The front discs were rubbing, a lot. Constant grinding sound as the wheels turn. I have since removed/lubricated the caliper sliders (they were a bit stuck from sitting) and measured the discs and pads using a measuring tape and straight edge, everything is above min specs.

With the pin lube the grinding noise has abated somewhat but continues, worst is passenger side.

The discs don’t feel warped (no front shudder under hard braking).

Your thoughts?

Sajeev answers:

OMG SON, why can’t someone find ME a nice CRX in Houston?  What’s so wrong with giving the Piston Slap Guy a ride in your whip, huh? I care not of the distance between us, I can still feel the pain inflicted upon me! How could this happen to me?  It must be my fault!

Perhaps less self-loathing and more self-lathing is in order.

Your situation reminds me of an old road test of mine, where the subject’s rear brakes rusted shut waiting for a test drive. Popping them free was fun, actually. That said, I don’t know what’s out-of-place on the CRX.  My gut says that driving more will wipe off the rust/squeaks like a lathe in a machine shop.  Assuming you’ve only driven it a few yards…sorry, meters for you Canadians.

So either replace the discs/pads/calipers now (and flush all the brake fluid) OR drive it slowly another 0.25 to 0.5 miles kilometers to learn more.  This depends on the population density nearby and your faith in this machine. Driving the CRX it will either clear things up or the offending part will come forward as the brakes continue to lathe themselves.

Who knows, it could be a bad hub! But I bet you have rusty/sticky calipers, so flush the brake fluid and put fresh pads/calipers/new or turned rotors on too.

Cheap insurance, totally worth it. Don’t mess with rusty brake systems, DK will appreciate it.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

The post Piston Slap: The Self-Lathing CRX? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/piston-slap-theres-rub/feed/ 23
General Motors Digest: July 8, 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/general-motors-digest-july-8-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/general-motors-digest-july-8-2014/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=861585 In today’s General Motors Digest: Replacement ignition switches are shipping to dealership service bays in boxes that may not reflect the contents inside; GM hands over 2 million documents to the United States House of Representatives; and certain truck owners are on their own as far as rusty brake lines are concerned. Automotive News reports […]

The post General Motors Digest: July 8, 2014 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In today’s General Motors Digest: Replacement ignition switches are shipping to dealership service bays in boxes that may not reflect the contents inside; GM hands over 2 million documents to the United States House of Representatives; and certain truck owners are on their own as far as rusty brake lines are concerned.

Automotive News reports in a June 24, 2014 memo by the automaker to its 4,300-strong dealership network, GM would be shipping the ignition switches related to the February 2014 recalls in ACDelco boxes “due to the unprecedented volume of parts being shipped and the resulting shortage of GM Parts boxes.” The memo was composed to allay doubts of authenticity that might arise when the shipments arrive. As of June 25, 2014, 296,462 of the 2.6 million vehicles affected by the recall have been repaired, while GM expects to have the parts ready for the majority of the affected by October.

Over in the Beltway, The Detroit News says the automaker has turned over 2 million pages of records in relation to the February 2014 recall to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of the latter’s ongoing investigation. Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, who is in the early stages of planning an auto safety overhaul bill, states that he wants to wrap up the investigation prior to making such a bill available for consideration. In an interview with WJR-AM, Upton is considering a national registry to easily track recalled vehicles in the repair stage, as well as when affected vehicles pass into the used car market.

Finally, Bloomberg reports that while General Motors has issued recalls left and right, it has not done so with 1.8 million light trucks and SUVs made between 1999 and 2003 affected by rusting brake lines. Further, the automaker says it’s the owner’s responsibility to prevent rusting and, if need be, replace the lines with a $500 MSRP kit. The defect has hit Salt Belt owners the hardest, where failed brake lines make up 43 out of 100,000 units sold, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The post General Motors Digest: July 8, 2014 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/general-motors-digest-july-8-2014/feed/ 36
Piston Slap: The Luxury Sedan Fanboi Fallacy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/piston-slap-the-luxury-sedan-fanboi-fallacy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/piston-slap-the-luxury-sedan-fanboi-fallacy/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 11:58:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=835145 Earl writes: Hi Sajeev, My wife wants me to sell our pristine, time-capsule 90 Cressida for a 4Runner (or similar) because we live in winter-world. I am looking at used 4Runners and the prices are crazy. Typically a rusted 1996-98 with 350-390,000KM will be asking $5,000 – $6,000CDN. I have seen Lexus LS with half […]

The post Piston Slap: The Luxury Sedan Fanboi Fallacy appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

Earl writes:

Hi Sajeev,

My wife wants me to sell our pristine, time-capsule 90 Cressida for a 4Runner (or similar) because we live in winter-world. I am looking at used 4Runners and the prices are crazy. Typically a rusted 1996-98 with 350-390,000KM will be asking $5,000 – $6,000CDN. I have seen Lexus LS with half the mileage, far better condition and all services done for that price.

What gives? Are 4Runners that good?

Sajeev answers:

Of course used 4Runners aren’t that good! Well, except they are that good for many folks.

Here’s the deal: you, much like me, have a soft spot for classic luxury (or near luxury) sedans. They are so nice, so affordable and give you so much more than any other road going machine.  And the Cressida isn’t a K-car derived New Yorker, it kinda gives the same thoroughly satisfying experience as a newer near luxury sedan. But for pennies on the dollar. An excellent value proposition that everyone should embrace!

The fallacy?  Nobody’s gonna embrace a cheap alternative to an Avalon under warranty. But everyone outside of Manhattan wants a beater truck (or truck based SUV) to carry shit, safely travel through snow, flash floods, non-KOA campgrounds, etc.  As much as my Lincoln-Mercury fanboi self enjoys the occasional compliment on my cars, I get cash offers on my 5-speed Ranger. On a regular basis: the market has spoken, son!

Is the 4Runner worth the money?  Sure, as they earned a reputation for great quality, excellent performance and even superior fit and finish. And the market reflects those opinions.  But that’s another fallacy: the quality gap at the fully depreciated level really depends more on service records. I’ll take a cherry Explorer/Blazer/Durango with a binder full of receipts over a rust bucket 4Runner with zero service history. Odds are both can be had for the same price.

If you are so frickin’ bad-ass enough to roll a choice Cressida, I don’t peg you as a lemming. The tone of your letter also proved the point. But if the sedan has to go to keep your household in balance, buy something other than a 4Runner.   Because, unless your Fanboi blood runs deep, Toyota SUVs and Trucks (especially Tacomas) can be a poor value for their premium asking price.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

The post Piston Slap: The Luxury Sedan Fanboi Fallacy appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/piston-slap-the-luxury-sedan-fanboi-fallacy/feed/ 51
Piston Slap: In Praise of the 2005 Honda CR-V http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/piston-slap-in-praise-of-the-2005-honda-cr-v/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/piston-slap-in-praise-of-the-2005-honda-cr-v/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 16:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=752977 Chris writes: Dear Sajeev, Back in 2005 I purchased a new Honda CR-V. It recently rolled over 200,000 miles. It has never given me any trouble or needed anything but normally scheduled service and the usual wear items (tires, brakes, battery). It has survived the New England winters rust free. Most importantly, it’s paid for. […]

The post Piston Slap: In Praise of the 2005 Honda CR-V appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Chris writes:

Dear Sajeev,

Back in 2005 I purchased a new Honda CR-V. It recently rolled over 200,000 miles. It has never given me any trouble or needed anything but normally scheduled service and the usual wear items (tires, brakes, battery). It has survived the New England winters rust free. Most importantly, it’s paid for.

Is there anything proactive I should do to keep it on the road, maybe even for another 100K? I don’t mind investing now if it will save me major repairs later. As trouble-free as it’s been I can’t see replacing it (nor am I in a position to right now), but given the mileage I feel like I should be waiting for that other shoe to drop!

Sajeev answers:

Wow…recanting Monday’s Piston Slap kinda sounds like a good idea now. The CR-V laughs at our Rust Belt Woes!

Probably the best things you can do (outside of regular servicing) is keeping your ride as pretty (wax/detail at the minimum) and as nice to drive (new shocks/springs) as possible.

The former is obvious: you want a vehicle with decent curb appeal, otherwise you’re driving a mere winter beater year ’round.  Even if that doesn’t bother you, why let it get worse when you don’t have to? Pride in your Ride…Son!

The latter can keep the suspension at its ideal geometry, preventing excess wear as its bones get older.  And new shocks make sure those old bones don’t cycle up/down unnecessarily, in theory.  Plus, it’ll ride and handle like new again. Which is the textbook definition of an “added perk.”  So what else is left that you may never notice until it’s too late?

  • Replace all rubber hoses at your next coolant flush. (even the ones to the heater!)
  • Replace engine serpentine belt.
  • Inspect all vacuum lines for cracks/brittleness/gooey-ness.
  • Upgrade your speakers (with the cheaper side of the aftermarket) so you can hear what you’ve missed, or shall miss.
  • Replace headlight bulbs, odds are the filaments are far from their original efficiency.
  • Lubricate weatherstripping with silicone spray lubricant, slick up door hinges/latches with something the factory recommends.
  • Shampoo carpets.

I’ve probably left plenty on the table for the Best and Brightest…so off we go!

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

The post Piston Slap: In Praise of the 2005 Honda CR-V appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/piston-slap-in-praise-of-the-2005-honda-cr-v/feed/ 106
Junkyard Find: 1976 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1976-fiat-124-sport-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1976-fiat-124-sport-spider/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=753777 So many Fiat 124 Sport Spiders get junked, and the process has been going on for my entire junkyard-prowling career. In the three years of this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’78, and this ’80, and we might as well add the 124’s little brother, this ’71 850 Sport Spider. […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1976 Fiat 124 Sport Spider appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
06 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo many Fiat 124 Sport Spiders get junked, and the process has been going on for my entire junkyard-prowling career. In the three years of this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’78, and this ’80, and we might as well add the 124’s little brother, this ’71 850 Sport Spider. I don’t even photograph every 124 Sport Spider I see, because they’re almost as common in wrecking yards as ’85 Camrys. Today’s ’76, however, holds the Junkyard Find record for Scariest California Beach Neighborhood Rust.
13 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCars that live within a block or two of the Pacific Ocean in Northern California (I found this car in one of my favorite East Bay yards during a recent drive around California in a new Mirage) often rust in a weird top-down pattern. For example, the truly frightening ’84 Toyota Van we saw last October. California cars with bad weatherstripping often rust inside the trunk, as water leaks in and sits for months during the long, rainy winters. This Fiat managed to rot from both types of California rust.
01 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHow does this even happen?
17 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car comes from the era of separate emissions requirements for new cars sold in California.
10 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI have quite a collection of these SLOW DOWN lights, which were used to warn of an overheating catalytic converter (presumably the CATALYST indicator light warned of some other cat problem). Ferrari 328s had them, too.
14 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDefinitely not worth restoring, but maybe someone will grab the Twin Cam engine for a nicer Fiat.
IMG_2237Given how cheap these cars are, we see surprisingly few 124 Sport Spiders in the 24 Hours of LeMons. I can think of a couple of Twin Cam-powered examples, and then there’s the Volkswagen TDI-powered Smokey Unit Fiat. This car is pretty quick, but its real advantage in endurance racing is its tremendous range on a tank of diesel.
19 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe last owner of this Fiat was against Proposition 86.

01 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1976 Fiat 124 Sport Spider appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1976-fiat-124-sport-spider/feed/ 20
Piston Slap: Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/piston-slap-out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/piston-slap-out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire/#comments Mon, 24 Feb 2014 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=752393 Marshall writes: Hi Sajeev, Here’s the situation: I own an 08 Dodge Caravan, 117000KM’s (Canada), bought used at 94000KM’s or so. It’s been good to us…but I have this feeling in my stomach that doom is pending on this van. I keep it well maintained, do my own work on it when I can. I am […]

The post Piston Slap: Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

Marshall writes:

Hi Sajeev,

Here’s the situation: I own an 08 Dodge Caravan, 117000KM’s (Canada), bought used at 94000KM’s or so. It’s been good to us…but I have this feeling in my stomach that doom is pending on this van. I keep it well maintained, do my own work on it when I can. I am noticing more and more rust spots (underbody) and oil seepages under the hood (oil levels are good). It’s a base SE, no power doors or lift gate. Last time I did some brake work a bolt broke due to corrosion.

We have 2 kids and love the space of the stow and go’s and such. However, I’m no fool, this van is a liability in my mind. Am I overreacting?

Want to sell and buy a similar vintage Honda CR-V.

Sajeev answers:

Of course you are overreacting, this ain’t no Mazda!

There’s a chance that your average 6-year-old CR-V has less rust than your van.  Or perhaps what you see is a fact of life in places where there’s more salt on the roads than butter in Paula Deen’s kitchen.

Will a similar vintage Honda have less rust?  Maybe.  But, more importantly, will that less-rusty body last long enough to justify this effort?

More to the point, the CR-V’s resale is stronger than any base model Mopar Van: you’re gonna get hosed on this deal.  Are you gonna find a comparable CR-V for less than $1000 over than your van’s market value? Possibly, but vehicles this age all have problems (leaks you mentioned are commonplace) unless the last owner did a ridiculous amount of preventative maintenance, with reams of paperwork as proof.

That said, bolts on any older vehicle get far nastier with winter salt/rust on them.  Now IF you didn’t soak the bolts in penetrating oil and carefully break them free with a TON of patience and a dash of manhandling, well, you are partially to blame. That’s not hate: that’s me remembering the times I snapped bolts, kicking myself for overlooking the obvious.

So anyway…stick with the problems you know and drive the wheels off the Caravan. Literally.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

The post Piston Slap: Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/piston-slap-out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire/feed/ 59
Piston Slap: When is the Olds too Old? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/piston-slap-when-is-the-olds-too-old/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/piston-slap-when-is-the-olds-too-old/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 12:53:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=731186 TTAC commentator supremebrougham writes, For the first time in a long time, I am 100% debt free, and it feels great! It’s so great that I have decided to try and keep my car going for a while yet, instead of trading it for a new one. Last December I found a 2001 Oldsmobile Alero […]

The post Piston Slap: When is the Olds too Old? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
unnamed

TTAC commentator supremebrougham writes,

For the first time in a long time, I am 100% debt free, and it feels great! It’s so great that I have decided to try and keep my car going for a while yet, instead of trading it for a new one.

Last December I found a 2001 Oldsmobile Alero GL2, with the 3.4 liter V6. The miles weren’t too bad (104k) and the price was right. The previous owner, a girl from what I can tell, had the car for around eight years and while she didn’t drive it far, she didn’t take very good care of it. It was scratched up pretty bad, and she smoked in it and burned parts of the interior. However, the car ran great. Since I got it I have replaced a power window motor, all four struts and tires, both front wheel hubs and bearings, the rear defrost module the O2 sensor, and had it tuned up. I replaced a lot of the interior parts that were burned, and had the paint buffed out.

I love the car, and have so far put almost 12000 miles on it, and have taken it on several long trips. I’m thinking of having some of the rust spots fixed soon. But here’s where my question comes in…with the car now being thirteen years old, and about to roll over 116k, what should I be concerned with as far as any potential problems that might arise, and when should I just call it enough and not invest any more money into it. I really enjoy driving it, and I get lots of compliments on it. Plus, I am LOVING not having a car payment! I took it to a couple of dealers last month just for giggles to see what they thought it was worth. One wouldn’t even make me an offer, said “it’s just an old car”, and the other one said $1500. I could never replace it with something equivalent at that price!

Thanks in advance,

Richard

Sajeev answers:

Before I go any further, I’d like to tell everyone that Richard is the broughamiest of Brougham fans:  and his well curated, maturely moderated Facebook page proves it.  Join The Brougham Society now! That said, you’d want to keep the Olds running as long as possible, as the only truly broughamy things you’d replace it with are Panthers, luxury SUVs/trucks or certain South Korean sedans (DAT GRANDEUR) to do a fine job taking the reigns from defunct American brands that you (and I) so truly adore.

Far and away the worst thing that kills high mileage vehicles is rust.  Pouring water in all seams/folds and letting it freeze out the road salt is one idea I do like (in theory) but people have tried other avenues (undercarriage coatings, like used oil) for the same desired effect.

Rust aside, the little things that drive you nuts will eventually make you sick of the car.  Or as I once said to a similar query, do you own the car, or does the car own you?  Read that link for more answers to your query.

Now you are a handy guy, I bet you can procure parts on the cheap and install some of them yourself.  And this isn’t a high mile European car needing minor repairs that cost more than the value of said whip.  But still…there’s a moment when you will want a newer car.

Or need a newer car.

  1. When you have a job that demands a 100% reliable mode of transport, lest you get fired/backstabbed in office politics.
  2. When the time value of money is more valuable than any love of old cars and their quirky habits.
  3. When you meet a great girl, and you don’t want to look like a fool when your hooptie breaks down.
  4. When you have kids and are horrified at the mere thought of being stranded somewhere and helpless.  Even worse, your family being stranded and you aren’t there to help.

All valid reasons to give up, and make that car payment.  Now the Olds is a good car, and it will always do its best for you. At some point, well, that simply won’t be good enough.

Best of luck with that.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

The post Piston Slap: When is the Olds too Old? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/piston-slap-when-is-the-olds-too-old/feed/ 101
New or Used: Should I Beat My Hauler? Or Haul My Beater? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/new-or-used-should-i-beat-my-hauler-or-haul-my-beater/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/new-or-used-should-i-beat-my-hauler-or-haul-my-beater/#comments Mon, 23 Dec 2013 13:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=685722 To The Best & Brightest, I need advice on my next used car purchase. 99% of the time the vehicle will be a daily commuter (rural highway and very little city traffic / 26 miles round trip). But during the winter when salt keeps my classic pickup off the roads I need the ability to […]

The post New or Used: Should I Beat My Hauler? Or Haul My Beater? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

rzrforums.net

To The Best & Brightest,

I need advice on my next used car purchase.

99% of the time the vehicle will be a daily commuter (rural highway and very little city traffic / 26 miles round trip). But during the winter when salt keeps my classic pickup off the roads I need the ability to tow my boat and trailer (combined weight of 4500 lbs.)

The towing distance is only 13 miles and the vehicle must either be front wheel drive or AWD/4WD to get the boat out of the water. The ramps are fairly steep on the lower Niagara river and for obvious reasons can be icy in the winter time. Normally just me in the car but have a wife and two teenagers who come along boating occasionally. A three seat pickup would work but most I have seen are too expensive. It’s either by two vehicles or one if it offers the right combination of capabilities and economy. I would like to keep it under 12 grand but would go as high as 15 for a great vehicle. If it won’t get a t least 20 mpg I would likely go the two vehicle route. I have a neighbor who is a great independent mechanic and for reasonable prices will help me keep an older vehicle on the road.

Lastly, is it worth the cost and hassle to travel to a non snow state to find a rust free vehicle to avoid the rust belt effect of vehicles here in the Buffalo area? I thought a used Grand Caravan would be perfect but those are evidently only rated to tow 3500 lbs. Thanks.

Steve Says:

The good news is that you’re hitting the prime part of the used car market as it pertains to value.

There are a ton of older minivans and SUV’s, hundreds of thousands of them, that are molderizing in wholesale auction heaven as we speak. Unpopular vehicles. Orphan brands. You could pretty much start at the near beginning of the alphabet with the Buick Rainier, and work your way nearly all the way down to the Volvo XC90. Both of those vehicles, coincidentally, would easily hit your price quotient and may have older owners who took proper care of those rides.

This brings me to what I think is going to be the big issue with you, the prior owner. You’re not buying a used vehicle these days as much as a prior owner who may or may not have done the right thing. I would keep your list fairly open and wide while attempting to snag that ride that can handle all of your hauling days.

Would I encourage you to buy it outside of the rust-o-sphere that is northern New York? Hell yes. Not only due to the rust, but the fact that the suburbs surrounding the tri-state area are swarming with used SUV’s (and minivans to a lesser extent) that have been garage kept and dealer maintained. I may sound like a complete snob for saying this. But I would prioritize a vehicle that was dealer maintained over one from the rougher parts of town that was not. I used to liquidate vehicles for an auto finance company and  at the time, I visited quite a few wholesale auctions that had more heavy haulers than they knew what to do with. The difference between a well-kept one and an abused one was quite vast.

If you’re asking for that one vehicle, well, I have a bit of a shocker for you. My choice would be the last year of a good generation from an unpopular automaker. A 2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport Limited 4WD with all the options. I would definitely opt for the 3.5 Liter with the touring package. As for fuel economy, if you drive with a lighter foot, you’re likely to get about 16 mpg, which is less than the 20 mpg you mentioned. But if you’re only driving it part of the time, say maybe 8,000 miles a year,  you are only looking at a few hundred dollar difference in gas. To me, a better tool for the job and a lower purchase price will more than make up for that cost differential.

If you drive a LOT, then get whatever car interests you for daily commutes… and then get the Montero anyway. The only hauling vehicle with a serious fuel economy edge would be a Touareg TDI, and they are hysterically overpriced. So is the Toyota Highlander.  There is also the SAAB 9-7x with the 5.3 Liter V8.  But most people don’t have the guts to buy an orphan brand. Even though that particular vehicle is composed of the most common of GM engines and the most common of GM platforms, nobody wants em’.

That’s what I recommend. Hit em’ where they ain’t. Opt for a loaded orphaned or unpopular vehicle that was built in the last year of it’s production run.

Good luck!

 

The post New or Used: Should I Beat My Hauler? Or Haul My Beater? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/new-or-used-should-i-beat-my-hauler-or-haul-my-beater/feed/ 23
Piston Slap: Bennie Bucks on the Winter Beater? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/piston-slap-bennie-bucks-on-the-winter-beater/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/piston-slap-bennie-bucks-on-the-winter-beater/#comments Wed, 27 Nov 2013 13:16:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=662242 TTAC Commentator 28-Cars-Later writes: Sajeev, I’ve got a small conundrum for Piston Slap.  Winter is fast approaching and for those of us in the mid-Atlantic states this is a serious affair. My winter beater has been my trusty (but not rusty) ’98 Saturn SL/auto/164K, which in the spring started showing its age and developed transmission […]

The post Piston Slap: Bennie Bucks on the Winter Beater? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

TTAC Commentator 28-Cars-Later writes:

Sajeev,

I’ve got a small conundrum for Piston Slap.  Winter is fast approaching and for those of us in the mid-Atlantic states this is a serious affair. My winter beater has been my trusty (but not rusty) ’98 Saturn SL/auto/164K, which in the spring started showing its age and developed transmission issues after seven years (and roughly 80K) of ownership. I’ve let her sit most of the summer save starting her up and driving her around the parking lot every 7-12 days but I’ve been trying to put off the inevitable investment of Bennie bucks. This evening I was offered an ’00 Subaru Outback/auto/186K to replace it for $2500 inc four new cheap tires and inspection.

The prospects of an actual [built in Japan] Japanese wagon are intriguing, the Subaru is 7/10 in terms of condition with some dings and several rust spots, it had no issue starting up and is throwing no codes. The catch is I have zero documentation on the car (was a recent trade) and personally I am leery of all AWD systems regardless of make and model, especially without documentation/receipts. Panning over the engine bay I noticed a newer alternator and a battery stickered 3/12 (with old acid all over the cradle) so somebody (sort of) attempted to take care of the car. Oil was a down 1/4 a quart, coolant was dirty but not caked on or anything, but the kicker was the trans fluid is getting to be brown. I figure whomever recently owned this attempted to take care of it to some degree, but neglected all of the fluid changes, which leads to me to suspect none of the Subie specific maint (diff fluid, sensors, etc) has been done either by this owner (and who knows about the head gaskets). I have two days to make up my mind on the Subie before he sends it to auction.

(NOTE: because of my time delay in publishing, this car is already bought or auctioned off – SM)

So I figure my choices are as such:

  1. Spend $1200-1400 to install a used transmission in my Saturn and risk more expensive stuff breaking down the line.
  2. Spend $2500 and buy the Subaru, which for my purposes will probably get me through at least this winter without fireworks, but risk later expensive Subie specific repairs, or total loss if something big breaks.
  3. Not spend any money, junk my Saturn, and just drive one of my other two cars in the winter that I currently baby to some degree.

Sajeev answers:

Well…I guess it kinda depends on your other two vehicles.

#2 is not a sure thing: with zero service history and tired fluids, expecting this Subaru to work all winter is a rather huge leap of faith.  Perhaps if it was something more robust (truck) with less unique parts that are painfully hard to reach, perhaps if it wasn’t a vehicle known for its fragility (bad head gaskets) especially when neglected/abused…

Install a junkyard transmission in the Saturn, coming from a yard that offers a warranty.  Or research to see if a local shop rebuilds these units with quality parts and labor (not always easy to find) for a fair price.  Why?  Because it’s almost always easier to keep the problems you know, not the gigantic rolling question mark that could be even more of a horrid money pit.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

The post Piston Slap: Bennie Bucks on the Winter Beater? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/piston-slap-bennie-bucks-on-the-winter-beater/feed/ 64
Piston Slap: Affalterbach’s A-faltering Headlight! (Part II) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/piston-slap-affalterbachs-a-faltering-headlight-part-ii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/piston-slap-affalterbachs-a-faltering-headlight-part-ii/#comments Fri, 25 Oct 2013 12:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=633586 Martin writes: Hi Sajeev, I just wanted to follow up the post with the resolution.  I’m not sure if this is important to you all, but I see that it’s an issue with Bimmers sometimes as well.  I switched the bulbs from right to left.  My passenger side light had been flickering off.  When I […]

The post Piston Slap: Affalterbach’s A-faltering Headlight! (Part II) appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

Martin writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I just wanted to follow up the post with the resolution.  I’m not sure if this is important to you all, but I see that it’s an issue with Bimmers sometimes as well.  I switched the bulbs from right to left.  My passenger side light had been flickering off.  When I switched the bulbs, the issue went to the driver’s side, which seemed to narrow down the issue to a bulb problem.  

Both lights would sometimes flicker as a pre courser to the bulb shutting down.  I replaced the Xenon bulbs with new ones, and so far, the problem is gone. I’m not sure why both bulbs flickered simultaneously as a pre courser to the bulb going out, but it did.  This issue is also gone. I hope it helps someone because initially when I took the problem to mechanics I received estimates including the replacement of the entire light, which is around 1200-1300 bucks, or replacing the ballast which is a 400-600 dollar part, and one indy mechanic even told me they had to drop the bumper cover JUST to get to the light, which is really untrue.

Instead the resolution cost me 150 bucks.

Cheers!
Martin

Sajeev answers:

Good to hear Martin, sometimes the easiest answer is the right one! And sadly, if one lacks the time and knowledge to seek that easy automotive solution, they’re gonna get hosed.  Hosed for a normal wear item?  How sad.  So let’s consider more wear items that people tend to neglect:

  1. Fuses: they go bad over time, even when they look good at a casual glance.  Even when tested with a voltmeter/continuity tester! Here’s one from my (LH high beam circuit) Sierra that looked okay at first…but when I shined light behind it…a new fuse and freshly cleaned ground wiring fixed a multitude of problems.
  2. Headlights: they are wear items.  They can flicker (as you know well!) and dim over time. The dimming is so gradual that you’d never know, until you replace them.  I’ve seen 2 year old vehicles need new headlights!
  3. Vacuum lines in particular, rubber parts in general:  Anything that uses engine vacuum (less of a concern today) relies on tubing that gets cracked, brittle, gooey, leaky…so replace it.  Lines connected to PCV systems can get gooey/leaky in just a few years…not decades.
  4. Tires: if they are dry rotted, their performance (especially in the wet) is kinda horrible.  Depending on where you live/park, your tires could be history after 5 years, even with fantastic tread depth.
  5. Brake lines: after a decade, especially if you live in the rust belt, look at your brake lines to ensure they won’t go explodey from rusting.
  6. Wiring: lines get brittle-cracked-shorted, connectors get broken/loose and “Ghosts in the Machine” that are seemingly impossible to trace have a very simple solution: replacement.
  7. Weatherstripping (again rubber): however your car’s doors seal to the body, that stuff will shrink, split, etc. no longer making an air (or water!) tight seal.  And don’t forget leaky sunroofs/moonroofs!
  8. Hinges and Latches:  bushings (often brass?) inside door hinges can wear to the point that doors sag, especially on convertibles.  Similarly, door latches wear, become misaligned, and make horrible squeaking sounds sometimes.
  9. Springs and Shocks: sounds logical, but how many people pony up the cash for these new parts after years of metal fatigue on coils and leaky/coagulated cartridges? Not nearly enough.
  10. Copper connections: similar to #6, if there’s an exposed connection on a printed circuit (probably less of a concern today) that can become oxidized…well, it will. I’ve repaired many a flaky module with a pink eraser (not white, they lack the “tooth” to make a clean cut) from the top of a pencil.  It’s funny the things you learn from people on the Internet.
  11. Batteries, Alternators, Terminals+Cables : as cars get more complex, their thirst for fresh batteries shortens the lifespan of these wear items.  Alternators age, even more so when trying to support a weak battery.  And everything can go bad because your battery’s termainals+cables are crusty and corroded.  The moment you hear your car “chugs” and labors at start up compared to a car with a new battery OR the moment the dashboard electrics goes bonkers for no apparent reason…well, that’s the moment you are officially warned of a simple but important charging problem.

Best and Brightest: fill in the gaps I left.  And have a great weekend.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

The post Piston Slap: Affalterbach’s A-faltering Headlight! (Part II) appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/piston-slap-affalterbachs-a-faltering-headlight-part-ii/feed/ 36
Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Van, With Bonus San Francisco Beachfront Rust http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-van-with-bonus-san-francisco-beachfront-rust/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-van-with-bonus-san-francisco-beachfront-rust/#comments Tue, 22 Oct 2013 13:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=627466 Unless they’re air-cooled Volkswagens, cars in non-mountain California don’t suffer much from the teeth of The Rust Monster. Sure, the rainy winters mean that leaky weatherstripping results in rusty trunk floors (especially in GM cars of the pre-1990s era), but plenty of 50-year-old street-parked California cars have solid sheet metal that leave Michigan residents in […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Van, With Bonus San Francisco Beachfront Rust appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
11 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinUnless they’re air-cooled Volkswagens, cars in non-mountain California don’t suffer much from the teeth of The Rust Monster. Sure, the rainy winters mean that leaky weatherstripping results in rusty trunk floors (especially in GM cars of the pre-1990s era), but plenty of 50-year-old street-parked California cars have solid sheet metal that leave Michigan residents in awe. However, all this goes out the window if you happen to live within a block or two of the not-so-aptly-named Pacific Ocean in San Francisco. During a trip to California last week, I spotted this victim of Outer Sunset District Rust in an East Bay self-serve yard (with a spectacular Halloween display).
12 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThose of you who imagine California beaches to be warm, sunny places full of movie-star-gorgeous babes in bikinis are getting your imagery from Southern California. Go 400 miles north and you’ll find beaches that feature howling winds coming straight from the Aleutian Islands, gigantic waves, freezing-ass water that will kill you stone dead from hypothermia in minutes (that is, if the Great Whites or rip currents don’t get you first). That’s in August; it gets a lot worse during the winter. Why, it’s enough to make you shoot an OD in your squalid Ocean Beach hotel room right before your struggling band’s album suddenly goes multi-platinum!
05 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo, with constant salt spray from the gigantic waves crashing into the beach, prevailing winds from the northwest, and heavy morning/evening fog approximately 362 days of the year, cars parked within a few hundred yards of the beach tend to spend their lives bathed in an eternal saline mist. Any nick in the paint, no matter how small, will become a horrible festering hole within a year or two. And, of course, cars parked on the streets of San Francisco get dinged, bumped, key-striped, sideswiped, and otherwise have their paint chipped on a depressingly regular basis (which is one reason my super-patina’d ’65 Impala sedan was such a practical daily driver when I lived there).
18 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou don’t have to go very far east— a half-dozen blocks will do it— to avoid this problem. This residential parking permit is for the northeastern corner of the city, far from the ocean, but there’s no way you get rust like this in North Beach— clearly, 1996 was a brief respite from the joys of oxidation for this Toyota.
13 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBecause important structural components (being protected beneath the car) don’t get rusty, you can keep your 48th Avenue car going for as long as you’re willing to tolerate the ugliness and/or big holes that allow chilly winds inside.
09 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis MasterAce got to 300,000 miles before the rust reduced its value to sub-scrap levels and/or parking tickets totaling more than 150 bucks landed it in the clutches of AutoReturn. These vans were as hard to kill as cockroaches, what with their indifferent-to-abuse pushrod Y engines, so we can assume that it was still a runner at the end.
06 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior isn’t so bad for a 300,000-mile, 29-year-old van. Perhaps all the additional ventilation kept mildew from getting to be a problem.
02 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHey, because plastic paneling doesn’t care about salt water, you couldn’t see most of these holes from the inside!

01 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1984 Toyota MasterAce Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Van, With Bonus San Francisco Beachfront Rust appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-van-with-bonus-san-francisco-beachfront-rust/feed/ 21
Piston Slap: When Does The Car Own…You? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/piston-slap-when-does-the-car-own-you/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/piston-slap-when-does-the-car-own-you/#comments Mon, 26 Aug 2013 12:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=501126 Keith writes: Hey Sajeev, Longtime lurker on TTAC that’s coming out of the woodwork. Love your columns and thanks for your time. I’ve got a 99 Civic with 199000 km (124000 miles) that needs new rear trailing arm bushings on both sides. I’m looking at about $500 to get them replaced. Now here’s the rub. […]

The post Piston Slap: When Does The Car Own…You? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

Keith writes:

Hey Sajeev,

Longtime lurker on TTAC that’s coming out of the woodwork. Love your columns and thanks for your time. I’ve got a 99 Civic with 199000 km (124000 miles) that needs new rear trailing arm bushings on both sides. I’m looking at about $500 to get them replaced.

Now here’s the rub. I can afford the repair but I can also afford to buy a new car too. But I really like my car. It’s cheap, cheerful, fun to drive and utterly reliable. Even the bushings, from what I gather, were close to the end of their useful life. I’m sure the awful Toronto roads didn’t help though. It has been religiously maintained according Honda’s maintenance schedule and the brakes were done within last year. The other thing you and fellow TTAC readers should know is that there’s a crack in catalytic converter and the fuel & brake lines are rusted & corroded. They are areas of concern but have been so for several years now. I’m not too worried about them but when one of them does go, that’s the absolute end of the car for me.

If I buy, I’m looking at a 2013 Mazda3 hatchback (Yes, I don’t mind the big goofy smile). I know they’re great cars for the money and well within my budget, especially considering dealers ought to blowing them out with the 3rd gen coming to their lots in the next few months.

Is the Civic worth keeping or am I just being a sentimental fool?

Sajeev answers:

I don’t see why a bad catalytic convertor is “the absolute end of the car” for you. The replacement (and installation at a local muffler shop) is a fraction of the cost of a new Mazda’s monthly payment. Ditto brake/fuel lines.  Old cars get old, especially on brutally rough urban streets and salty-cold weather. That’s life.

It is the classic quandary…do you own the car, or does the car own you?

At what point do you go from a warranty-laden, Ain’t Got a Care in the World motoring attitude to…ZOMG WHAT’S BREAKING NEXT AND AM I GETTING HOSED ON THE FIX?  I’ve made quite the name for myself being the latter of that statement, but I understand the frustration.  And the tiring weekends when you could be doing something else.  Anything else: it is, on occasion, a colossal resource hog in one’s life.

Would I have it any other way?  Hell no, but I also have a new(ish) truck with a decent warranty that happily gets me to work.  Taking the Civic’s sentimentality out of the equation (i.e. have you looked at the new Civic?), can you live with one car of moderate reliability? I’d sell when the Ontario winters finally put holes in the Civic’s floorboards, but that’s by no means the right answer.

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

And by the way, I’m running low on the Piston Slap reserves of user-submitted questions, so read what’s below and help the TTAC community out.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

The post Piston Slap: When Does The Car Own…You? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/piston-slap-when-does-the-car-own-you/feed/ 36
Total Recall Update: Rustectomy Successful But Change Is In The Wind http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/total-recall-update-rustectomy-successful-but-change-is-in-the-wind/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/total-recall-update-rustectomy-successful-but-change-is-in-the-wind/#comments Mon, 29 Jul 2013 13:56:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=497310 Saturday was a day of reckoning for my Ford Freestar. As detailed in an article I wrote last week, my Freestar required a trip to the dealer to repair rust related issues that affected the rear wheel wells and the third row seat latches and the cost of the repairs were covered by Ford under […]

The post Total Recall Update: Rustectomy Successful But Change Is In The Wind appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Freestar

Saturday was a day of reckoning for my Ford Freestar. As detailed in an article I wrote last week, my Freestar required a trip to the dealer to repair rust related issues that affected the rear wheel wells and the third row seat latches and the cost of the repairs were covered by Ford under a recall issued earlier this year. I promised then that, once the repair was completed, I would report back to you on how everything turned out.

As you may remember from that earlier article, the damage to the van was fairly advanced. The area around the seat mounts was encircled with corrosion and, in some places, had rusted to the point that there were actual holes between the wheel well and the interior of the vehicle. The affected area had been concealed under a plastic panel so I had not noticed the issue earlier, but I had noticed the van felt and smelled damp. How the whole piece had stayed in place I have no clue as it seemed to me at the time I could have pulled the seat mount out with my bare hands.

rust 1

As usual, my local Ford dealer was excellent and scheduled the repair as quickly as they could. They took it in after work on Friday night, completed the repair on a Saturday and I had the vehicle back in my garage that night. Once again, Ford deserves accolades for their customer service and I came away quite satisfied with the transaction.

On Sunday morning, I went out to the garage and took a good look at the work done. From the wheel well side I could see where a new piece of sheet metal had been grafted onto the inner fender well. The edges appear to have been carefully caulked and the whole thing covered over with rubberized undercoating. To my eye it looks to be a neat and efficient repair.

IMG_01

Inside the van, I once again removed the plastic panel to examine the backside of the repair. The most obvious thing the Ford techs have done is to totally cut out the rusted area. It appears as though they did the work with a pair of tin snips, nibbling away at the area one bite at a time and leaving a series of sharp metal teeth along the edge of their cut. Several sheet metal screws have been used to affix the panel and a large steel band has also been added to reinforce the seat mount. Besides the sloppy cut, which would have been neater and easier had they used a dremel or a sidewheel cutter, the repair seems to be a good one. Given that it was all done on the company dime and that all the sharp bits are hidden behind a thick plastic panel where they should never come into contact with soft human skin, I am satisfied with the work. Of course, since I am not a body and fender man, I’d be interested in everyone’s comments, too.

IMG_4716

To me, however, there is a larger issue brewing. This whole experience of finding massive quantities of hitherto unexpected rust has left me questioning whether or not hanging on to the Freestar for another year is really worth risk. I wonder now just what other parts of the vehicle are suffering similar issues and what the results may be if we have an accident. There are, I note, a few places around the body where rust bubbles are forming and I have over the past year assiduously attacked the red stuff wherever I have found it, in particular along the lower edges of the vehicle’s doors. With my eventual departure from Buffalo now less than a year away, I am thinking it may be time to replace the Gray Lady and I have a pretty good idea what we are going to end up with.

Am I wise to make a move or just worried rat trying to jump a holed ship that isn’t actually sinking? You tell me.

Photo courtesy of Netcarshow.com

Thomas M Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

The post Total Recall Update: Rustectomy Successful But Change Is In The Wind appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/total-recall-update-rustectomy-successful-but-change-is-in-the-wind/feed/ 92