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Some thoughts on old Vs new cars.  RSS feed

 
Joe Baker
Posts: 25
Location: Portland OR
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Well this seems something for the meaningless drivel forum. Its about motorized transportation and since i don't consider myself to be a permie i don't know how well it may be taken by others around this place, I'm more of the home steader indipendint type. But I'm going to try and make a case for keeping the old beater around.

In any case 2 of the 3 engine driven transportation devices i have had were what most people consider projects. The one that i don't consider to have been a project only lived to 98,000 miles before its cost of maintenance started making my bald spot grow larger. This was due to the fact that for some reason modern front wheal drive cars made in the early 2000s are just so hard to work on that i had to give up on this thing.

So now all i have is my trusty and rusty old 76 land cruiser. Granted the thing still needs a lot of work but what made me think to write this up in the first place was riding home after work on the light rail system around town i was talking with another person about cars. And i listed off all the things as best as i can remember that i had to fix on this thing from the time i got it. Basically all new ignition system other then the distributer. New raidiater core, new brakes, clutch master and slave cilender, other things that i can't think of right now. And then this person just had to ask me why don't i just buy a new one? Well thats a good question... so why don't i?

Well to start with this things my secondary transportation. I ride a bike most the time and or use public transit. So that frees me up to optomise it for travel on badly maintained roads. And use it for its intended perpous and go up into the hills for camping hiking and fishing type of stuff. If i had to start all over with a new SUV i would have to void the factory warentie with adding things like differential locks, proper bumpers and winch, improving ground clearance and so on. This thing already has all of that and the factory ground clearance and tire size is good enough for what i need it to be. And i would have to do that while making payments since i don't have the cash on hand to pay for it. Fixing the old rig however i may need to make a $200 or $300 repair every 3 or 4 months. I honestly don't think i can get a car payment that low and still pay it off before it starts needing major work. And even then i just don't think it will last like this thing has. And it seems that its going to keep going if i do some of the major work its now due for.

This also makes me wonder how much energy and material go to waist from people replacing a car every 10 years. How much energy goes into building a new car and how much stuff goes to the land fill wen you send a car to the recyclers? Compared to undertaking a bumper to bumper overhaul of a existing car? To be honest thats about the point this old rig is at as it needs a engine some time soon depending on how many miles it gets in the next year. But i do have some help from the room mates who kik in wen i need help as I'm the only driver of the household. Right now the plan is to remove and crate the engine to send to one of the re builders who work on these engines and while its there will get a few upgrades. Like raise the compression ratio to 9:1 or higher if possible. Maybe a cam upgrade to get better millage and go to a high flow exhaust header. And at the some time rebuild and rejet the carb to run on E85 or propane wen thats not available. Those last two modifications alone are very near cost prohibitive on a newer EFI driven fuel system. To be honest i don't even know if it can be done. But with this old tec thing its easy since the liquid and gas fuel systems would basically operate indipendint of each other.

Anyway i figure i would post this disconnected string of thoughts and see what others think of the logic.
 
Lee Einer
Posts: 169
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bakerjoe wrote:

So now all i have is my trusty and rusty old 76 land cruiser. Granted the thing still needs a lot of work but what made me think to write this up in the first place was riding home after work on the light rail system around town i was talking with another person about cars. And i listed off all the things as best as i can remember that i had to fix on this thing from the time i got it. Basically all new ignition system other then the distributer. New raidiater core, new brakes, clutch master and slave cilender, other things that i can't think of right now. And then this person just had to ask me why don't i just buy a new one? Well thats a good question... so why don't i?



When folks say "they don't make 'em like they used to," they may well be talking about the old landcruisers. The only downside of them that I encountered is that the Japanese steel of the 1970s was candy for the rust monster. I used to get mud in my eye every time I drove my FJ40 through a puddle. Mechanically, they were bulletproof. I don't blame you at all for hanging on to yours.
 
Joe Baker
Posts: 25
Location: Portland OR
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Yea i think the neat part of all this is that i never sat out to own one. I found it on Craigs list for dirt cheep but with a working 8,000Lbs Warn wench. Well basically i had to take the whole truck if i wanted the wench. After 3 or 4 months of loosening the thing up after having sat for years it kind of grew on me. Now theres no way I'm ever going to let it go. Even if the rust monster just bit the tailgate clean off of it 

But most the rust is in the rear fender well and very back of the rig. oh and the floor as well. Guess that just goes with owning something significantly older then myself.

Anyway how did you like that FJ40? i was at first looking for a short wheal base rig since there easy to turn around wen you find out that road you were curious about didn't have a turn around at the end.
 
Lee Einer
Posts: 169
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bakerjoe wrote:

Anyway how did you like that FJ40? i was at first looking for a short wheal base rig since there easy to turn around wen you find out that road you were curious about didn't have a turn around at the end.


I found mine in the classifieds. The family owned an FJ55 pickup when I was a kid and I knew they were a serious, serious, 4wd rig. I loved it.

Short wheelbase doesn't just mean short turning radius. It also means you're less likely to high-center it in rugged terrain.

Iffn the rust gets too bad, there's a company, or at least there used to be, that sells replacement fiberglass pans for the FJ40.
 
                                
Posts: 19
Location: 5a, cool humid, 34"rf,
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My 74 ford f-250 i-6 300 w/granny gears is the greenest vehicle i own. it sat seven years in a barnbefore i bought it . I put a fuel pump, battery, and radiator clamps on it and drove home. It sat for another four years until i had more money to sink into it. a carb rebuild, brakes rebuilt, new clutch, and a few other parts and tires from my brothers truck which he ruined the engine in and it was road worthy.  I may have sunk a fair share of money into it  and employed the local mechanic alot for an old beater, but it always gets the job done on the farm. I might drive it 1000 miles a year. There is no sense from my perspective to buy a newer truck when 100% brute 4x4 strength is needed 2% of my driving time. To keep the old beast alive and out of the scrap heap further increases the embodied energy value it has even over recycling. I look forward to many more years working with the beast.
 
Brice Moss
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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My primary car is a 91 Volkswagen diesel in fact I have two now and with luck both will be running soon. given my excessive driving habits the 45 mpg and up on biodiesel is a heck of a lot better than any gaser would do.
Now I'm just going to take a rough geuss that half of the 20k I'd spend on a similar new car would be spent on some sort of energy so it would take a long time for the extra 10% a newer diesel to make up for the energy of building it.
 
Joe Baker
Posts: 25
Location: Portland OR
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Ah the Diesel. quite possibly the best no nonsense get the job done engine ever made. I have been considering just out right doing a diesel swap on the old land cruiser but it would end up being too large a job for my budget and planed use of the rig. This simplest option if i did go that route would be to use one of the diesels that Toyota used in them for other markets. And something like the 2B or 13B-t would be ideal depending on how much money i would want to spend. And to the best of my knowledge there both drop in swaps.

But as it stands i think I'm just going to keep the existing spark ignition engine in it and make as many improvements as i can wen i rebuild it. Right now it gets around 14mpg and i see no reason i can't get that up to 20~22mpg or 16~17mpg on E85 should i convert it.

But Yea i would love one of the VW diesels. I had someone offer to trade me straight across for a 88 VW diesel jetta i think is how you spell that. It was a hard choice to make but i had to decline. But i still hope to get my paws on a VW diesel car some day soon.
 
Brice Moss
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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you can't beat the A2 diesels if you do a lot of highway driving, but if you're putting less than about 8k a year on your car anyway I'd go with something with a lessor learning curve because finding a mechanic for these old diesel who is both honest and knowledgeable takes some time patience and luck, no way I could afford to drive them if I had to pay shop hours for repairs.

but I drive way to much largely because my kids still live three hours away so one thing to add, for me at least the A2 vw's have the best drivers seats I've ever sat in, very important on those weekends where i end up spending 15 hours in the drivers seat
 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1351
Location: Cascades of Oregon
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I love Landcruisers. Parts are becoming a bit scarcer though still available. Being mechanically savvy would be a a consideration for those keeping older vehicles. New vehicles a definite requirement. My commute to work is only five miles so a bicycle is an option that I use. The wife however commutes 40 miles to work so even though she loves her Karman Ghia she drives a new vehicle most of the time.
 
Brice Moss
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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I dove air cooled vw's for years before I found the diesels
always wished I had the funds for  nice solid ghia
I'd take a bug over most new cars or my daily commute, but then again I always carry some tools and spares what I always hated was folks complaining about the heat who had never looked at their heater boxes and heat tube, unless I was stuck in traffic idling for over 10 minutes she would keep me plenty warm even in upstate new york winters, but I adjusted the flaps and sealed up all the leaks every fall. the thing about air cooled vw's was that they love attention all the repairs and maintenance are easy but you end up doing a lot of it

at this point I'd love to have the extra funds to build up a baja Bug to scratch my off road itch with, the little honda  bike does good when its just me, as weell as being even cheaper to commute with than the diesels but I can't take the kids. it would also be asey enough to build for E85 which would give me a carb  that could be adjusted to run on moonshine in a pinch just saying.
 
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