I just bought it so there is not much to say except the Ranger nightmares are over. The NIssan Rogue is expensive but worth every dime so far.
Rather than belabor my problems and joy with various automobiles inline with my personal history, I decided to lay the car descriptions out here. The 2008 Ford Ranger is so bad that I created its own web page.
My first car. I was working at Chrysler Corporation in Detroit and I needed a car. Taking the bus in Detroit is not a responsible thing to do – especially with my hours. I started calling around. I hate those old 6-button phones. You had no privacy. The entire office had lines that anyone can just push the button and listen in on.
I called various dealers and found no one would give me a discount just because I worked at Chrysler. Almost no one. A Chevrolet dealer would give me 20% just to get one of his nice new Chevrolets into the Chrysler corporate parking lot. My second line called me into his office and said not a chance – Chrysler product or hit the highway.
I could not afford a new one at the going rates. I found a dealer (on the recommendation of a co-worker) who offered me a two-year-old car at a good price. Right. It was two years old. He said it had the 318 cubic inch engine. It had the 287. The engines are identical from the outside. The 318 gets better mileage and better performance. The car looked good. He added a black vinyl roof – that was the really in thing in those days. He added it also to the price. But I needed the car and did not know about the small engine or the fact that it had been a drivers education car or …
While working at Chrysler, I took shifts at loading the warrantee database from backup tapes onto the new IBM installation. This was the job of the IBM reps but I would take a shift just to learn. It turned out that the download finished on my shift. This was cause for great celebration. It had taken 3 shifts a day for a week. This was all Chrysler cars, all records, all everything. The system was to have terminals in all Chrysler dealers across the country. Hot stuff in 1967. So, they called down Lynn Townsend (President, CEO), board members, and other executives. I demonstrated the new system. I asked for registration so that we could look up one of their cars. They all had drivers. I pulled out my wallet and pulled out my registration and typed in the VIN. Up came all of the repairs on my car. Strange many of the repairs were for mileage seriously high than the odometer said. I had been defrauded.
I mean by this time knew I had the small engine. They had sold me, at cost, the conversion to a 4-barrel. Carb, manifold, gaskets, et al. I never did get around to installing them. One night I did but found the bolts were the wrong size. It turned out that the Canadian bolts were smaller than the USA. They expected me to drill them out. Sorry, I had to go to work the next day. It took to midnight to swap it back.
I knew I had an extortive loan but then getting a loan at all with no history was hard even then.
I did not know how many serious repairs the car had had and that the mileage had been rolled back at least 20,000 miles. The executives were happy the system worked and worked well. They had no interest in Van Dyke Dodge cheating its customers.
The car worked well. It made many trips from Detroit to Milwaukee or Madison. On one trip, to Milwaukee, I got up in the morning and started it up. This was a Sunday and as I may have explained elsewhere, your battery can freeze in that level of cold. Your oil turns to lead. And once this happens, your car may not start again. When it is really cold, when your first wake up in the morning, the first thing you do is go out and start you car. Starting it at 4 or 5 in the morning gives it a chance to keep from the final death-freeze. Those last couple of hours of the coldest part of the day are critical. This day was really cold. I was out there in my skivvies and my skin was sticking to the vinyl. Serious cold.
At breakfast we discussed it -- it was 30 degrees below zero and this was Milwaukee. Milwaukee, being on the lake, is warmer than further North or West. This was the day of the famous Ice Bowl Football game between Green Bay and Dallas. It was 35 degrees below on the field. I was driving back to Detroit during the game and pulled over to the side to listen to the last two minutes of the game. All of us fans knew that Bart Starr would win. We just did not know how. In the last two minutes, he scored 3 touchdowns and we won. The Dallas them immediately contested the game. Strange they did not contest until they lost. Since then all bowl and playoff games are held in the south or in covered stadiums.
My poor car got old with all of these trips. But it lasted through my life at Chrysler, my semester back at Wisconsin and the start of my life at Bendix.
While working at Bendix, the 8-track player was stolen out of the car in the corporate parking lot. Well, almost the corporate parking lot. I discovered that the last row furthest from the building was technically an alley and the company presumed no responsibility for the alley. I filled a comprehensive claim with my insurance. Knowing that they required evidence of a break-in and there was none, I tore s light piece of rubber from the window seal as if someone poked a rod through the seal to get to the door lock. The adjuster took several pictures of this slot and filed the claim. They paid at 50% claiming depreciation. I always wonder how many people (obviously not many) sue their insurance company over this. I mean none of the tapes was more than 6 months old. They paid the claim and canceled the policy. I learned to not trust insurance companies. This is a lesson I learned for life.
The first time I went to change my tires from a flat tire I discovered something: the bolts were rusted to the lug nuts. I broke a couple of them off. When I had the tire replaced, I had the bolts replaced. The tires on the car had lots of tread but they went flat weekly. I had a spare but several times, I had to be requested by a friend (Kathie Z) because I had another flat before I picked up the first. This was out of hand. I developed a libeling distrust of Goodyear. But then again the tires were older than might be expected under serious weather conditions with no housing.
I bought a set of Firestone 500 tires. Very expensive and I had to have one replaced – they prorated a tire with less than 5,000 miles by 50%. They used a tread depth gauge and I did not know about the tread markers. This is where the Firestone dealer measured the depth – of course it showed excessive wear. They should have measured it anywhere but there. I wonder how they made a profit on that. I learned to distrust any tire dealer from that. Other than that the tires lasted until I sold the car.
When I was established at Bendix, it was time for a new
had paid Gary and Steve and my dentist friend. THe Bendix
limousines were Chryslers, blue with black vinyl roofs and
They looked good. I did not want to look pretentious -- only
to look second hand any more. I went to the local
Chrysler Plymouth dealer and started getting serious. I am
sure how but instead of working with a salesman, I worked with the
sales manager. I do not remember his name but he remembered
It turned out that he had been a customer of mine down the
from us on 106th street -- my paper
route. He was so
pleased with my service that he sold me the car with minimal profit:
all of the options were on the house. He told me this after I
given him my option list and not before. But then I had
every option in the book except show room finish 'A'.
did not order power seats either. Whatever.
This was my dream car. It lasted 90 days and then the warrantee expired. I mean this car in 1970 cost $5,300. It had every option I could want. It had a few options that the dealer had not heard of and I had to order by number. I knew all of the options from working at Chrysler. This car was a behemoth: it weighed two tons. Posi-traction rear end. 383 Cu. In.. 4-barrel. Torsion bars like baseball bats. It was gun metal blue with a black vinyl roof.
I loved my new car but it had lots of minor problems that
in it being at the dealer almost as much as I had it at home.
serious draft through the firewall. Not bad in South Bend but
when driving in the below zero temperatures in WIsconsin, I
a blanket over my feet. They sprayed black goop everywhere
in front and that was cleared up.
At about 85 mph, the tappets clattered something
insisted I drive it to show them since that speed was
They point out that solid lifters had that problem. It was
The headlights were covered by rotating, motorized
problem was the SOuth Bend winters: they would cover with water,
freeze, and then burn out the rotating motor when you turned on the
lamps/ They replaced the motors once and told me that the
time was my problem. In other words, a design flaw and no
overload fuse became my problem. Under/over engineering again.
Another interesting aspect. I had a good
relationship with my
bank in Milwaukee. There are stories about this
But now I needed a loan for my new car. I called the bank and
worked out the deal. Since I had ordered options unknown to
dealer, the total price was unknown. When the car was
I wrote a check for the amount of the purchase. The dealer
shock. We called the bank. My arrangement was that
check came in, the bank would write a loan for the amount of the check
and the next time in the bank, I would sign the
Even in those days, this was unheard of. But then I have good
We can do this again. After accepting the offer for
car, my sales manager informed me that the delivery date would be
unknown as the Belvedere assembly plant where they made these Plymouths
was on strike. THis set me back but what the heck, there was
choice here? So I called friends at Chrysler who gave me the
number of the assembly plant. I checked every couple of days
see how things were going. In fact the strike ended quickly
was told that my car had been made and delivered to the dealer after
little more than a week's wait.
I called my friend at the dealer and asked when I could pick
new car. He told me that the strike had only ended 3 days
and there wa s no chance that my car would come in less than a
month. I insisted it was in his lot and he checked.
the car that afternoon. He called me a week later and asked
could do the same thing for other cars he had on order. Since
had not done anything to get my car other than make status requests, I
had no idea what to tell him other than "sorry".
Now I ran into an Indiana thing and in those days I had an
attitude. I had very strong beliefs in right and wrong, was
adamant about them, and was vocal about them. The Indiana
thing? I forget the name. Oh. Intangibles
This is a tax on any money which does not exist. This is why
is called intangible. OK. The tax is on the amount
loan, for example. I pay sales tax on the amount of the
car. I pay intangible tax on the amount of the
loan. If I
remember correctly, and I may be wrong, the tax is due every
year. The amount of sales tax in Indiana is low but with the
intangible tax, the total taxes are much higher than in
Wisconsin. Since I bank in WIsconsin and the loan is in
Wisconsin, I register the car in Wisconsin and pay Wisconsin
taxes. I use Gary Leive's address in Wauwatosa like I always
and no problem.
After the demise of the Plymouth, I needed a smaller, more
economical car. I took the bus to Milwaukee and stopped at
Ehlers Buick. The salesman was a young guy who produced the
GT. He also drove me to Madison when I agreed to buy
The car came in several very bright colors: red, yellow,
lime. Maybe something else but I do not remember.
I took delivery the following week and off I went.
asked about the salesman who apparently had disappeared with money due
both ways. In any case, this was a strange car but it also
premium gas but got closer to 30 mph. This would go a long
resolving the gas credit cards and I could drive on the highway
well. I did have to get used to the idea that the car had no
seats -- only a little storage area.
This car had serious, not minor problems. Weird
problems. The rear axle leaked. I started carrying
of axle fluid with me. Multiple trips to Buick dealerships in
Milwaukee and Madison could not cure this.
The muffler hung across the back by two rubber bands that
off every time I hit a bump. At $3 a copy, this amount to a
of money. I tried to wire them on but this did not help.
The worst problem was the carburetor. It took a long
figure out the major problem with the carburetor. It was an
Indiana thing. The car drove fine everywhere but
That is, it drove fine in WIsconsin. In Indiana, I would
down the road and it would stall with the engine dying.
Dead. I would open the hood and find nothing wrong.
would then start up OK and I could repeat the process.
my friend, Chris, discovered the problem. We switched cars
week: I drove his Volkswagen. In order to maintain its
low profile, the carburetor and intake manifold were extended to the
passenger side of the engine. The hood had a little rise for
this. Cute. The problem is that with this distance,
carburetor did not get enough engine heat. In the damp, cool,
almost freezing climate of Indiana, the carburetor throat would totally
close with ice. The car would stall, the stopped engine would
melt the ice, and we could do this again. Venturi can explain
ice if you you do not understand the process. There is no
except to not live in Indiana.
The carburetor had other problems but this was the major
flaw. The Madison dealer replaced it once but
the car was traded and the new owner got to deal with the design error
called Opal. Oh. Another thing. The car
came with a
little can of touch up paint. Why? The cars were
different colors. The Germans made no attempt to make them
the same. They claimed it was because some were made in
and the rest made in Belgium. It was the Belgians
This was Carole's car. She got this from her father
was single. It had its problems too but I really do not much
remember it. Since it was her first car, I am sure Carole can
tell you more about it. It needed at least a new starter
and battery. It was good for Carole because it had lots of
floor room and so she could drive it with her damaged knee.
we got married and lived in Madison I convinced her to give it back to
her father. The expense of maintaining two cars was more than
could afford. Carole got really good dashing around town in
little orange Opal.
Shortly after we gave up
the Chevrolet, we bought the Dodge
The Dodge was 'our' car. We sold the Chevy to Carole's dad and traded the Opal in for the Dodge Van. We lived on Johnson street at his point and there was space in the back for the van. The Dodge dealer was on the other side of State street -- not too far. The salesman was new and had no idea what he was doing. I had no idea how different a van was from a car. We ordered the B200 with no options at all. Well, almost no options. It had windows all the way around, a front t passenger seat and a radio. It had no power steering, no power brakes, and had a rear end that made it impossible to drive in third gear under 40 miles per hour. It was bright blue. From day 1 it was a Chrysler product: it had serious problems. I complained about it to the dealer. The dealer did not care. I called Chrysler home office. They said bring it to them. I did. I got to Highland Park and the guy I had talked to was not available. Nobody was available. I drove it back to Madison. At 12,500 miles we paid for a valve job. 500 miles off warrantee. Of course, the dealer threw out the bad valves before we picked it up. We had the valve job done at the Plymouth dealer because we did not trust the Dodge dealer. Carole had lived at the Dodge dealer for months waiting for all sorts of minor repairs for an empty truck.
We quickly learned that the absence of power steering made driving the car very difficult. An add-on power-steering unit was very expensive and we were told not very reliable. We should have been told but the salesman did not know any more than we did. To park the van took standing up and both arms to turn the wheel. Brakes were not a problem: you just pushed harder than usual. Carole's Chevy had not had power brakes and she was used to this. Her leg was fixed and strong and not a problem any more. Thank you God for Dr. Okigaki.
We visited Len and Gloria in Detroit with our new
except for our camping equipment. We went to the Detroit Art
Museum and parked within sight of the entrance. While there
truck was broken into and all of our belongings stolen. We
reported it to the police. The side vent window was broken.
clothes were in a pile on the floor but everything else was gone.
We had made up an inventory list for our trips and gave this to the police as what was missing. When we got home we found that Carole had left many items behind and were not lost. I called the Detroit police to reduce their list of missing items. They told me to forget it as the insurance company would make us regret being honest.
We fixed the van up with camping equipment. This took a couple of years and kept getting better. We put curtains up behind the driver-passenger. White with multi-colored polka dots. I made the curtains and put pockets at the bottom for holding miscellaneous items. We used those springs you can buy to hold the curtains in place.. We put curtains on all of the windows. The front doors were very large and very heavy. On the side and the back were sets of double doors that were much easier to use -- especially if you used just one of them and left the other one latched. So we primarily got i and out the side door. Carole had no idea how much I loved her acceptance of this as our family vehicle.
I added headrests from J. C. Whitney to protect our necks and to make driving long distances more comfortable. Big white headrests.
I bought a gas refrigerator and installed it by the second side door. A propane tank underneath and a wood frame around the refrigerator with a heater built-in to the front panel completed the inside of this. I pulled the window and replaced it with an orange plastic sheet with a vent. We then put this window in the rear. The truck version of the van (rather than the passenger version) had non-opening windows in the rear. By swapping windows, we got much better ventilation. I mention this here because the refrigerator had problems. Back in those days RV refrigerators hd to be lit with a long rod with a wick on the end. You put lighter fluid on the wick. lit it, and held it to the pilot lamp at the rear bottom of the refrigerator until the thermostat snapped and permitted the gas to flow. Today this is done electronically. When we opened windows in the RV, the refrigerator would be blown out. That is, unless we opened them in the right order. Carole re-lit the refrigerator many times on our travels.
I built cupboards to go along the driver-sde wall. We had a porta-potty behind the drivers seat. I built a bed/table to fit across the back. This caused me problems as I drilled a hole through the floor for screws to hold the table brace. I drilled right through the top of the gas tank. Re-soldering these holes was an all day project. Drain the gas, fill the tank with water, empty the tank again, solder, torch it dry, replace the gas. Whew.
We mounted the spare tire on a brace on the back door. We installed blue shag carpet throughout and installed a white vinyl ceiling. I put a half inch of foam above the vinyl. This protected our heads from injury on the low ceiling.
After we moved to Phoenix, we had the roof repainted white to
with the heat. Before Bree was born, I had an AC unit
added. In fact, much of the above work was completed in
Phoenix. Translucent window screening was not available yet
they had come
up with a perforated Mylar screen that was black on the
and reflective on the outside. This had limited visibility
was very effective in keeping out the heat and stray peeping toms.
Bree's baby carrier fit very nicely between the seats on the floor. With an added seat belt, this was really great. I mean she was visible and almost out-of-reach of the driver and secure. We could see and talk with her and when stopped touch her. The seat also fit into the passenger side when only one of us was with her.
What was really great about this after we got through our
problems was the gas mileage. We could drive very comfortably
80-85 miles per hour. 55 was a problem because the drive
would not smooth out until we were doing at least that. In
we only used first and second gears. We used third after 45
were not comfortable until 65. With 75-85 mph we got about 20
miles per gallon. At 55 we got 14-15 mpg. This
we had a van ideal for traveling but not so good for around town.
From Phoenix, Carole could pick me up early from work and we could be in LA before midnight. We could get a good night's sleep and be ready to go in the morning. We would then have Saturday and Sunday to enjoy Disneyland or whatever and drive home Sunday night. I could start, Carole could finish, and I would have a good sleep before going to work on Monday morning. Three-day weekends were better.
Our insurance company at that point was American Family. The broken window was not enough to exceed the deductible. The missing property fell under our new homeowners/renters policy. Did they ever try to screw us over! Wow! They depreciated everything by at least half. We had been married less than a year: all of the camping equipment, cassette tapes, personal items were less than a year old. 50%. I argued with the agent over the missing tools: you cannot depreciate hand tools. He had the itemized list of tools and I asked him to go to the Sears store and replace them with what they had paid us. He got us an additional amount for the tools. Because of the police recommendation, we came out close to even.
This had been the third breakin to the van in three months. Previously the only thing stolen was an owners manual. After the third breakin, I went down the street and bought a Federal police car siren. I called the police department to find out what they used and bought one just like it. I installed the siren as a burglar alarm: open any of the doors or the hood and the siren started wailing. A relay made sure it wailed after the door was closed. The speaker was mounted next to the battery: if you raised the hood and tried to pull the battery cable you risked permanent hearing damage. To make sure that I had no problem with the police, I wired the relay to a lock switch on the front right fender where the little Chrysler star emblem had been. Nothing was ever stolen from the van again. We usually left it unlocked to protect our windows from being broken and always set the alarm. This was many years before those little electronic siren modules became available. Professional burglar alarms were expensive and the modules that were available were not very loud. I presumed that someone trying to rob our van would want to hear a police siren as much as he wanted an angry pet panther inside.
Carole, I, and George went to visit Jeanne in California. She lived in an upstairs apartment with railroad tracks next to it. Between the tracks and the building was a large empty lot where people parked. In the middle of the night a group of very large people started trying to break into the car. George was growling and this did not dissuade the burglars. This frightened me very much. These people were trying to break in and were aware that we were inside. About 50 yards away someone got out of a step van with a shotgun and frightened the burglars away. We re-wired the siren so that it could be set off from inside the car: to hell with local laws regarding sirens in private vehicles. I would not permit my wife to be endangered in that way ever again.
Because I really liked my original Firestone 500 tires bought for the Dodge 440 in 1967, when the van needed new tires, we bought some of the new Firestone 500 radial tires. A really bad mistake. Before we bought the tires, Carole took the car to the local Goodyear dealer and had the wheels aligned.
We then went to the Firestone dealer on 35th avenue for new
tires. When she came home, the van drove terribly.
pulled to the side and the wheels thumped. The dealer wanted
charge us for a wheel alignment. Fat chance. We
back to the Goodyear dealer and he showed Carole that one of the new
tires was visibly out of round and one other had defective
The Firestone dealer refused to correct the problems. We had
charged the tires on the new Firestone credit card -- remember that
Visa and Master Charge were just coming into existence. I
pay the Firestone charge bill. The Firestone store manager
work. He informed me that he and the Vice President of
(where I worked) went to the same church (Mormon) and that he would
have me fired. From what we knew of the Mormon church, this
real possibility. I called the home office of Firestone in
and asked for the president. I related the problems to the
I did get to talk to. The next day I got a call back and was
to take the car to a different Firestone dealer on Indian
This fellow was most cooperative and immediately replaced the two bad
tires. This fellow soon got his own dealership up on Cave
and we continued our business with him. Within a year or two
had replaced 8 tires. I discuss this more on our trip to Dallas
-- 4 more went bad. This was in 1977 with the first bad tires
made by Firestone. They kept replacing the tires but they
believe that we were the only ones having problems. We found
later that these were just bad tires from a bad company. They
it again 20 years later. I think the name Firestone should be
erased from the world.
When Bree and I drove to Dallas, we did not know what we were
for. We blew a tire in New Mexico and when we arrived in
Firestone replaced all 4 with their new 721 radial tires. The
tires were then the least of our problems. Within the first
so many things went wrong with the Dodge that we had to sell
The radiator brackets broke. It needed new shocks -- Dallas
potholes really tore the poor thing apart. It got so that I
not keep up with the repairs -- time wise or financially.
When I got divorced, this was the only property that my wife insisted upon retaining.
My first almost perfect car. A plastic trim strip
replacing. The radio antenna needed trimming (yes, they
did). The wheels needed aligning. The headlights
aligning. After multiple trips to the dealer service, we
compromised' I trimmed the radio antenna (little screw under
of the knobs) and corrected the headlight aligning. He
to trim strip and after 4 visits got the wheels aligned
After that the car was perfect. It could drive comfortably at
mph but you had to figure this from the tachometer because this was
during the time that the government restricted the speedometer to 85
The hatchback was a problem. First I bought the
reflective solar stuff. This did the trick for the sun but
because of the hatchback angle, made rear viewing impossible.
got a really nice set of louvres for the rear and steamed off the
Mylar. I think I cut one of the defroster wires as the rear
defroster never worked quite right after that but when you live in the
desert there is not much need for the defroster. There are many types
of hatchback louvres. This is one time when I got something
right. The side brackets slid tightly into the window frame
sides. The louvres themselves were some sort of strong
alloy that snapped into place in the side brackets. These
aerodynamically curved to not need any center support and actually made
the car handle better at higher speeds. Other brackets /
rattled and clanked - these were absolutely silent and I could see out
the back again since they also eliminated sun glare off the window.
We took vacations in the SX. The hatchback area took
our camping equipment -- including the ice chest.. All cars
be as good as the 1982 SX and what Datsun evolved it into was a
sin. I loved my SX but after a couple hundred thousand miles
really bad dealer repair service, it needed a new engine and the inside
plastic was severely damaged from living in the high heat of Arizona
Typical of many Japanese cars, this car came with Bridgestone
and no road hazard guarantee. When one went flat, I bought a
one, Bridgestone with a road hazard guarantee. The car
well but when the next Bridgestone went out, I bought a couple of
Michelins and put them in the front. The difference in
was a real "wow"! Same size but the Bridgestone sidewalls are
almost totally inflexible making the ride hard (and hard on the
suspension and passengers). The Michelin sidewalls were much
flexible and changed the SX ride from a stiff sporty car to a family
ride but with the handling improved. I then bought additional
Michelins as the Bridgestones went out. None of the
lasted for their warrantee period but then the warrantee did not cover
road hazards and the things kept getting flats. During the
lifetime of the car, all of the Bridgestones got irreparable
flats. The one tire I bought with the road hazard warrantee
lasted for over 100,000 miles but was replaced 4 or 5 times.
Michelins? I had to replace a couple after 50,000 miles --
lasted longer. I know, driving on 3 Michelins and one
did no one any favors but to me the Bridgestone was a joke and I
enjoyed watching it fail and getting a new one. I kept it on
left rear since it is the right rear that need the good traction and
you never mismatch front tires. After the SX, I
bought Michelins for any car.
Until I met the Ford
Ranger, this was the worst engineered car I
thought anyone could deliver. It cost over $500 repairs on
trip we took.
Stupid engineering? The electric rear door ONLY
the ignition were on. Not accessory --
only time in my life that I locked my keys in a car was when I needed
to get in the back, put the keys in the ignition, popped the hatch,
closed the door, got my stuff from the back and closed it.
Poof. Locked out. There is much more but I do not
time right now.
I doubt that there is a better car
anywhere. My first
perfect car: nothing was wrong when I bought it. Nothing ever
went wrong -- until my daughter got it. Then the transmission
went out -- bad timing but I really think the dealer that I took it to
forgot to replace the fluid that they took out. I took the
to Capital Toyota (San Jose) to perform maintenance to make sure that
the car was in good condition for my daughter. I should have
listened to my friends about Capital Toyota Service -- one friend had
to buy a new car after getting service at Capital.
The history of this car is wonderful. I met a
friend, Amynah Vadsaria, for whom it was her first car. I
it when I found my daughter, Megan, was consistently late or missing
classes due to the random bus schedules of Santa Clara
mean we were on a straight run down one street from our apartment to
the high school and at 6:30 in the morning the bus ran so unreliably
she would not get to school by 7:30. Megan went to San Jose
School, San Jose City College, and San Jose State University.
needed the car.
Shortly after Megan got her license she made a minor mistake
sideswiped by a pickup. This scraped the sheet metal and lost
mirror. I took the insurance money and made the second
had the entire car painted by Maaco. This was obviously a
6 months in as the shine started to disappear -- and I paid for their
'better' paint job. By two years, the car was totally
and had no shine at all. Megan took exceptional
care of her
car as did its previous owner, Amy.
When Megan bought her first new car, her Corolla, she donated
Tercel to me. When I got it almost two years ago, I was not
nice: I cut two big
holes in the front bumper for a tow bar and ran a wiring harness from
the front bumper t the rear lights. While trying to knock the
sideways to affix the hitch to the RV, I instead knocked a large dent
the front fender.
In May of 2005 I managed to jump the car into gear while
and blew up the engine. I got peanuts from the insurance
but peanuts are better than nothing. I replaced it with my
other Red Tercel
This could take a section all by itself. But for now
keep it short. Fleetwood has filed for bankruptcy. In the
economy this is not unexpected -- many other RV manufacturers have also
done so. We can blame our friend GWB for the economy but
bankrupt could not happen to a nicer group of people than
Fleetwood. I previously complained that the only way to get
quality to an acceptable level would be for Toyota to get into the
business. That's what it took to get Ford up to
par. GM and
Chrysler never made it. Blame who you want. Blame
union. Blame the engineers (I wouldn't), blame
American product quality is why we buy Japanese products.
Fleetwood. Other than the general quality of
below par (I know, Flair is the bottom of the line), the manufacturing
is reminiscent of the 1950's cars. Shoot they had to replace
entire right side panel of the RV and it took them two
The windshield was replaced three times -- all because of improper
installations. How do you mess up a windshield
You can see everything there is to see.
It was advertised with a 7-liter engine. It is
liter. Ford sells a 7-liter but this Flair does not have it.
So Fleetwood is going under. I could cheer but I won't. I would rather they went under as people bought other brands because they heard about Fleetwood quality. As it is this economy is making a lot of choices for people that they really would rather not have made.
I bought this second hand when my first Tercel
died. It was not well taken care of but very nicely detailed
I bought it. The main seal leaks and there are multiple
and dents. I am hoping nothing more serious is wrong with
it. I added my tow bar and am waiting for tow lamps (not a
harness this time) to be delivered. It tows and drives
well. If the dents and scrapes came from an accident, I think
would neither drive nor tow straight. It goes very
straight. SOmetimes it shifts sort of hard. Maybe I
mistake. I shall find out. I need to replace the
both front turn lamps (one was already broken, I broke the other).
The one thing I do not like about the Tercel is that they do not have a headrest. They have a vertical extension that comes almost to the top of my shoulder blades but my daughter will always have a bad back because of her being rearranged and the car not having a headrest.
I have rented various cars in my lifetime. I shall not
of them here. A couple comments: I hate GM cars.
a ridge across the top of the seat that cuts across my shoulder
blades. My Dodge Minivan had this too. This ridge makes me
The Japanese cars do not do this.
housewife's shopping car and should not be considered seriously for any
travel more than 5 miles from home. The Cruiser is a
Dodge Neon. The high center of gravity makes it unstable on
highway. But then the gas mileage is so bad (23 mph) that you
would not take it on the highway for fear of increasing your mortgage
debt. The seats have the typical Chrysler
no back support and a rigid shell and soft center, if your are taller
than 5' 10", you will develop neck cramps from leaning forward away
from the top of the seat frame. You are going to lean forward
anyway because the curve of the roof comes so far forward that you have
to duck just to see the overhead street signals. Sort of like
1947 Dodge. Again, trips around town only present a problem
you run the red lights. For cross-country, bring some of
instant-hot pads to relieve the neck cramps. The car is built
transporting lots of little things: kids, groceries, etc. The
perfect car for a visit to Wal-Mart. Otherwise it is just a
expensive, cute little toy.
poor man's Nissan Altima. It rides well. It has
computer gadgets but for the money you could buy a real car.
me the best Chevrolet ever was the 1960 Impala or the 1959 Bel
Aire. They have gone down hill from there. The
Malibu was great. Now the Malibu just seems like they want to
in the came but came up short. Good mileage. Good
driving. Comfortable. It has a key fob controller
only does the normal Detroit things and you know it could do more if it
Obviously I saved the best for last and maybe that is the problem: it
the first of the three that I rented. I sort of got
spoiled. Great mileage. Very comfortable.
gadgets: keyless ignition. Automatic door locks.
security system. Insane? If you do not start the
shortly after getting into it, the horn starts beeping. I am
there is a way around this but it certainly is a nuisance when you are
traveling long distances. For example, I stop at a rest
area. I get out and go to the rest rooms. I return,
the map to examine my next segment and just about the time I have the
map centered, the ticking starts. If I do not start the car
thereafter, the ticking stops and is replaced by the rhythmic beeping
the horn. At 3:00 pm, the neighbors just look at me
strangely. At 3:00 am, the looks change from curious to
as people are rousted from their restless sleep.