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Old 12 May 2009, 02:54 pm
Paul Christiansen
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Default American Cars

I'm 63 Most of my cars have been non-US, but for those I've
owned/inherited via marriage:

'67 Pontiac LeMans - 326 engine, ran like a train. Had (unbelievably)
what must have been almost the last of the 4-wheel, non-power drum
brakes you could get anywhere. Any stop over 40 mph was a two foot
affair and any over 60 mph required prayer both during and after.
Engine was as strong at 120K as new. Sold because of inablility to
buy replacement brake drums/shoes for the front. Had minimal rust,
even after 4 years in Detroit and all that salt during the winter.

'82 Buick Skylark - had the carbureted "Iron Duke" 4 cylinder, the
engine main seals went at 80K (common to this engine) and the car was
traded in on a '90 Ford Taurus. Most engine problems were with idle
cut-off circult on carburator, which I discovered could be cured by
simply leaving the shutoff valve plunger without its tip. The engine
didn't know the difference, but by then the seals were going and it
wasn't worth a lower end rebuild to fix it. This was actually a very
nice family car otherwise, despite all the bad press the X-cars got at
the time.

'90 Ford Taurus - Was a lovely car. Traded in on a Toyota Solara
because the air conditioner system needed a total rebuild and it
didn't make sense at 106K to pay that much and in Washington, DC,
wasn't an option to just ignore. The engine never had any problems.
My wife hated to let it go...(until she had the Toyota Solara for a
day and then she never mentioned the car again.)

'83 Ford Topaz - Engine was fine. The rest of the car started falling
apart (literally) at about 80K. Went through exhaust systems like
they were made of water putty. The struts went, the headliner cover
detatched (and was then held up with thumb tacks), the right front
brake caliper froze, etc. Got tired of fixing it and wallowing down
the road on weak struts and bought a

'93 Ford Probe - OK, actually a Japanese Mazda. Engine developed a
valve cover oil leak that took out the distributor and even though a
recall was issued, my car's serial block wasn't included and a long
fight to get the repair covered ended with me paying. A very nice car
with a terrific engine. Sold at 93K simply because I was tired fo
shifting in Washington, DC traffic.

My early cars all had 3K oil changes with the best oil available ( the
Porsche was on a 1K cycle). People in the 60's were just starting to
use detergent oils then. I've always also included a filter change
each time. Since 1990, switched to 5K intervals. I use regular
mineral oil.

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