By on April 8, 2015

bicycle. Image: Shutterstock user Eugene Onischenko

TTAC writer Vojta Dobes writes:

Hello Sa(n)jeev,

As you already know, I had to get rid of the borrowed ’98 Town Car which served me for last 15 months. When I mentioned to you that I’m getting a ’94 Chrysler LHS instead, you told me that it would be wise for me to purchase a reasonable, domestically produced (which means European for me) car, so I have something that’s easy to fix and easy to get parts for.

I found afairly nice Alfa Romeo 164 Diesel, with just a few dings and scratches and in mostly working condition, save for some unimportantelectricals. Is that what you had in mind?Do you think those two cars will be enough to keep me mobile, or shall I better buy a new bicycle for times when there’s no press car for me?Thanks for your input!

Sajeev answers:

Oh. My. Damn. Son.

I must remember all those Sierra parts you shipped for TTAC’s project car before I proceed. Because it’s very, very hard to avoid internet flaming when considering a transaxle-munching Chrysler LH car in the Czech Republic! And then, salt in the wound, maximum FCA  pain via used Alfa?

But you got press cars. (Not jealous!) And maybe your city is like others in Europe; flush with a strong infrastructure for bicyclists. Ditto public transportation. With that in mind, why not?

What could possibly go wrong?

You tell us, Best and Brightest.

[Image: Shutterstock user Eugene Onischenko]

Send your queries to [email protected]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.

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23 Comments on “Piston Slap: FCA Makes the Case for Czech Bicycle Ownership?...”


  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    OMG, not enough hands for facepalm.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Buy a Lada! Now that would be a fun TTAC ‘build’ to follow :) But seriously a Niva would be cool, they have some over there don’t they?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Shipping a transmission from North America to the Czech Republic can’t be that expensive, can it?

    Edit, it’d be about $1900 USD to ship one via UPS on a pallet o.O Probably best to have someone rebuild it if need be.

    How does one acquire a ’94 LHS in the Czech Republic these days?

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      You can do cheaper than that. Road freight it to FL, then send it to Europe via ship. Once in the continent, road freight to Czech Republic. It won’t be there in a week, but he’ll probably pay half of what you got. There are companies that provide a service like that and he must know them on a first name basis.

      The main thing about having a rare car where there is no support is PLANNING.

      PS: there must be a rebuild kit available via Rockauto, so he could do even cheaper if someone over there knows their way around an A/T

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “PS: there must be a rebuild kit available via Rockauto, so he could do even cheaper if someone over there knows their way around an A/T”

        That’s what I was thinking, rebuild kits for the 42LE are pretty cheap. Now finding a mechanic in Europe that has seen the insides of an automatic transmission before…

  • avatar
    jrmason

    The diesel should be mechanical injection. Standard or auto? If its a standard shift and can be had at a reasonable price I say go for it. The mechanical injected diesel engines are some of the simplist and most reliable engines ever built. Couple that to a manual gear box and the only thing you really HAVE to worry about is keeping all 4 wheels bolted to the car.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      Have you ever owned an Alfa, or known anyone who has? Because keeping the four wheels bolted to the car *IS* something you have think about with those. Basically, anything you take for granted on your car (the door handle will work every time, the ignition switch will not fall into the steering column, etc.) cannot be taken for granted with an Alfa. But on those three days when everything works and nothing breaks, they’re magic.

  • avatar
    NN

    Massive quantities of Budvar will be needed to settle the frayed nerves of dual Alfa/LH ownership. I suggest adding an old Hilux manual pickup in the fleet just so you have something that will always work and carry all the parts you’re going to need.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Diesel Alfa-Romeos make baby Jesus cry.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      He knows it’s a sin he’ll have to die for.

      Peter 2:24 makes it pretty clear:

      “He Himself bore our sins of diesel Alfas in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to to purchase RWD gas powered Alfas; for by His wounds you were healed.”

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    At least the LHS has the 3.5L V6. Good luck with the the 42LE…

  • avatar
    ReSa

    It’s not the solid 2.5 TD you have to worry about son, it’s the car that’s built around it. Step away from the vehicle while you still can.

    If those are your options, might as well go for a fine vehicle like the Skoda Rapid 136 :)

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    What could possibly go wrong. IMHO there are too many things to list.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Can we please stop with the “LH-transaxle-munching” talk.. FFS. The high failure rate was due to the wrong fluid being put into these as they used solenoids for fluid control that required a specific fluid. Allpar has a great write up on this. Once remedied, these trans lasted well beyond 200k. I had three LH’s and not one ate up a trans when maintained right. Seeing this 94 is still alive, I would say it was maintained correctly. The other thing these are known for are input/output sensors which will put the trans into limp mode. Easy fix. Just sayin’.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    What, aren’t there any high mile Thema 8.42’s available to complete the collection?

  • avatar

    The 1990s weren’t great years for Chrysler transmissions. Our minivan went through four 604 automatics. I knew dealers that would have been happy to never have to see another one again, and that was despite making decent warranty money from Chrysler for replacing them.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Wait did the LHS bust a transaxle yet? If no, then what the hell go nuts and drive it till it does (really how many miles does Vojta drive in a year in a landlocked country?). Then it will make a nice Junkyard Find: Czech Edition and Vojta can move on to a Volvo 140…

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    Alfa Romeo and electrical problems creates an aura of grim foreboding since Marelli was clearly Lucas’ Italian cousin. Fortunately the Czechs make some excellent bikes and components so you will have a backup system,

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