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PostPosted: July 12, 2018, 12:07 am 
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I've replied to many post on several boards questioning my sanity for using "Old obsolete British junk" or "Archaic push-rod and carburetor dinosaurs" in my builds.
Well, today I attempted to buy some parts for a 1995 Miata transmission.
1995 is already too old for original Japanese parts!
You essentially cannot buy a STOCK flywheel, or it will cost significantly MORE than a "Performance" aftermarket part.
How about a new input shaft? Not likely, I could not find a source and if I did it would be a LOT more than just getting another good used transmission.
Then of course there is the cost of installing the new input.
So the point is that recent production drivetrains have a very short service life.
That's fine so long as the sheer number made keeps parts plentiful, but that is not going to remain true for long when basic repair parts are already unavailable.

The original Zetec is now obsolete.
There are too many variations of Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Mazda to keep track of and serious repair parts are often simply not available.

But you know what I CAN still buy parts for easily, even if they are from the 1950's?
BRITISH cars, and Alfa Romeos!
SBC, SBF, even flat-head Fords!
Those old "Dinosaur" tech engines were in production for decades, there is a huge market for the parts and several suppliers.
So I am off even considering late model "Flash in the pan" drivetrains for my own future builds.
Spitfire 1500 for the Locost 7, Buick V6 for the GT6, 327 Gen 1 SBC for the El Camino, and probably leave the original engine in the other GT6 if I get to build it.

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PostPosted: July 12, 2018, 6:40 am 
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Interesting points Richard.

I waited once 4 months for VW Canada to provide me with a rather modern OHC engine replacement parts.
On the other hand I can get any thing over night down to nuts and bolts as well as remanufacured and upgraded parts from several US GM Corvair part suppliers . I also had pleasant surprises from California Sunbeam and Spitfire parts suppliers.
On the same token, but not directly related, this week my son is getting a $3000 repair bill for his Audi TT. What happened ? Just loosing the timing belt. Yes,,,, these wonderful overhead cams are driven by a notched rubber belt and when the belt goes chances are that your valves are going to collide with the pistons. They call it interference valves. Every one knows that in the VW Audi community. What a stupid design. This makes me look positively at my simple 1965 pushrod Corvair engines.


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PostPosted: July 12, 2018, 1:49 pm 
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News flash: Part supply decreases in conjunction with demand as cars near the bottom of their depreciation curve, and extremely low failure rates leads to reduced component over-production. :shock:

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Last edited by Driven5 on July 12, 2018, 2:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: July 12, 2018, 2:28 pm 
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I don't see the modern throw-away cars appreciating, ever.
Too much irreplaceable plastic interior and instantly obsolete engine control devices.
Sure there are Pinto, Chevette, Gremlin,Vega, and K car fans but those are still not popular or becoming more valuable.

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PostPosted: July 12, 2018, 2:55 pm 
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RichardSIA wrote:
I don't see the modern throw-away cars appreciating, ever.
Too much irreplaceable plastic interior and instantly obsolete engine control devices.
Sure there are Pinto, Chevette, Gremlin,Vega, and K car fans but those are still not popular or becoming more valuable.

Modern? Pinto? Pintos (and others on your list, are 45 years old (give or take) already! I agree that as more plastic is used, the viability for long-term parts availability becomes less and less. The same may go for electronic components or model-specific headlight & tail light assys etc. Parts availability doesn't drive value IMO. It is the other way around. Let's face it, except for a few muscle cars, (Mustangs, Camaros, Corvette, 'Cuda, or the like) who really wants a 1970's or 1980's era car. I think the expansion of various makes and models over the years has splintered some of the remaining enthusiasm and failed to drive the volume necessary to attract 3rd party mfgrs to tool up. There are many small mfgrs in the UK supporting the Brit cars of the 50's thru the 70's. However, the small business model that exists there doesn't exist here. For US mfgrs to supply OEM-like small parts for US cars isn't in our wheelhouse. There will always be a need for good used parts though.

I hope both you and I are wrong.

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PostPosted: July 12, 2018, 3:15 pm 
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My point is that Pinto's, K cars, etc should have significantly appreciated by now if modern cars are following a depreciation CURVE.
I think it more likely they are just following a decline that ends at the scrap heap.
The Miata that kicked off this musing probably has another ten? years of life left if I'm willing to put more into it than it is worth.
Actually, I've already reached the break even point, and it started as a free car!
IF the paint gets too bad the cost of redoing it would be foolish, if the engine needs a rebuild the cost exceeds the cars value, transmission PARTS are already mostly unavailable.
Just buying more "Good" used parts will become difficult as the rest of the interchangeable models age out as well.
The overuse of plastic in all aspects makes the problem even worse, mere sun exposure ruins it.
With so very many different variations of even simple items light head and tail lamps, instrument clusters, door caps, etc to infinity, I see no chance of the aftermarket ever being able to step in to supply those components at an affordable price.

The older British and some model Italian cars made this much less of an issue, basically one of three headlamps, simple chrome bezels, one or two companies supplied the gauges, many models and brands used the same lamps and switches, very little plastic.
Note that clean examples of these old dinosaurs now retail for more than comparable new cars!

Lots of 70's cars I would like to have, very few from the plastic and Gov. Org. mandate affected 80's!

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PostPosted: July 12, 2018, 5:09 pm 
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Your premise is flawed. The Miata is FAR more equivalent to MGB or Spitfire than Pinto or K-car in the world of enthusiast collectability and shape of the depreciation curve...And thus parts support curve. The combination of large production total numbers AND relative enthusiasm will drive a relatively gentile upswing in both prices (already beginning) and the parts availability that naturally lags the combination of prices and volume of demand. There is always an awkward time between OEM and late-model aftermarket support, and the transition to classic and restoration aftermarket support if it's going to get such...Which there is no reason the Miata won't. There is also nothing so technologically advanced on a NA or NB Miata that cannot already be circumvented via the aftermarket. I have no reason to doubt that that our technological progressions in the coming years will allow the same to be considered of todays cars in 25 years as is the case of 25 year old cars today, which was much the same as 50 year old cars 25 years ago. Much like life, enthusiasts will find a way. So while it's certainly true that not all cars will survive, there is no indication that the Miata will be going extinct any time soon.

Then again, I've been hearing these same types of 'sky is falling' predictions for long enough to know that they're almost always overblown and overstated. Then again, even a broken clock is right twice a day...So I suppose a broken record is bound to play the right tune from time to time too.

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PostPosted: July 12, 2018, 5:26 pm 
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At 63 I may live just long enough to see my prediction proven out.
So let me double down!
I predict that in twenty years new parts for British cars up to the early 80's will still be mostly readily available.
But parts for late 80's and up anything else but some "Muscle cars" will not be, particularly for the Japanese cars.
Of course all bets are off if politicians start mandating only electric and/or self driving vehicles on the public roads. :BH: :ack:

My original point was to caution builders to be very careful what they choose for their drivetrain unless they plan to sell the car fairly quickly.
I intend to hang onto my builds for as long as possible, so I need to be able to make repairs as needed.

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PostPosted: July 12, 2018, 6:05 pm 
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RichardSIA wrote:
My original point was to caution builders to be very careful what they choose for their drivetrain...
At least this one thing we can agree on...Obviously though, how each of us chooses to define that is another matter entirely, and is a point we'll simply have to continue to agree-to-disagree on.

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PostPosted: July 12, 2018, 10:43 pm 
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I disagree with virtually every point you've made. I've lived through the carbs & points era and I cannot imagine ever going back.

Driving at the back of the pack during the get together in the Ozarks behind all those carbs made it very difficult to breathe. I had to move towards the front of the pack.

Driveability is so much better with fuel injection, power curves are better and they require WAY, WAY, WAY less maintenance. Sure to the uninitiated they can be as confusing as say . . . carbs, but with a little education there are actually fewer parts to worry about and fewer things the problem could be. Or course tracking down a bad ground can be an exercise in frustration, but it's still simpler than most of the threads I see on SU, Weber & other carbs. Plus fix a carb and soon you'll have to fix it again. They don't stay fixed.

Your OEM Miata flywheel thought is also thoroughly flawed. Who ever bought an OEM part when an aftermarket part was available? With few exceptions aftermarket has always been much cheaper and usually better.

That's not to say I don't appreciate your love of older cars & engines but only as a hobby. Please, never let me have to live through the constant maintenance of cars of yesteryear!

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PostPosted: July 12, 2018, 11:16 pm 
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Just spent $109.00 to replace the ECU on a 1990 4.3 V6 Chevy truck.
When a carb gets a problem it may run poorly but will usually not leave you stranded.
When the glorified sand (IC) in an ECU goes bad, you are on foot!
Looking forward to getting rid of that F.I. infested truck and only having my 1981 CARBURETED one-ton. :chev:
I frankly don't understand what is so mysterious about carbs, most only have two normal adjustments, three if you include the float level.
If you were troubled following carb cars I have to wonder if the altitude was very different than their home bases?

Having had the engine out of the Miata I became all too familiar with the "Simplicity" :roll: of FI and the myriad sensors it requires. :BH:
I recently got rid of a pretty nice Range Rover, had a mystery battery drain that no one could diagnose.
Found hidden relays and fuses in the most bizarre places, inside the dash, even inside the doors.
Had to replace the ECU on a Disco, thought I had been sold a bad one, then found out that it had to be "Re-flashed" by the dealer at an excessive price.

I'm probably down to my last few personal builds and only ONE will be F.I., and that only because Weber IDA-3 prices are so crazy now.

But this did not start as a critique of individual features of late model engines, more a caution that the serviceable life of many late model drivetrains is very short as it seems manufacturers have mostly cut support to the minimum allowed by law.
Coupled with the too numerous running changes, and even different parts used in different factories for the "same" car during the same year, I'm not willing to run that gauntlet.
Builders here are generally pursuing a "Low-Cost" approach but that may be false economy if major components cannot be maintained for more than a couple of years.
I basically see the newer cars useful service life as ending the same day as the warranty so will never consider buying one.

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PostPosted: July 13, 2018, 1:05 am 
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I do have a prediction - this will be a never ending thread, interesting opinions, but never ending none the less.
Personal preference is what it's all about.

As a side bar, I remember when I started to apprentice as an auto mechanic, the "old" mechanics talking about these new fangled 'alternators' that mysteriously charged the car battery. What was wrong with the generator? Nothing. Just a matter of evolution.

Everything is reliable as it gets in it's time in history.

Edit: This is just my opinion, I do not want to debate.

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PostPosted: July 13, 2018, 10:19 am 
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phil wrote:
Interesting points Richard.

I waited once 4 months for VW Canada to provide me with a rather modern OHC engine replacement parts.
On the other hand I can get any thing over night down to nuts and bolts as well as remanufacured and upgraded parts from several US GM Corvair part suppliers . I also had pleasant surprises from California Sunbeam and Spitfire parts suppliers.
On the same token, but not directly related, this week my son is getting a $3000 repair bill for his Audi TT. What happened ? Just loosing the timing belt. Yes,,,, these wonderful overhead cams are driven by a notched rubber belt and when the belt goes chances are that your valves are going to collide with the pistons. They call it interference valves. Every one knows that in the VW Audi community. What a stupid design. This makes me look positively at my simple 1965 pushrod Corvair engines.


A lot of the smaller displacement high revving engines have interference fit between the valves and pistons. Not all, but a lot. Timing belts have the same service life as timing chains. Either can fail and do massive internal damage.

I personally hate interference engines.

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PostPosted: July 13, 2018, 5:23 pm 
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A lot of the smaller displacement high revving engines have interference fit between the valves and pistons. Not all, but a lot. Timing belts have the same service life as timing chains. Either can fail and do massive internal damage.

I personally hate interference engines.[/quote]


I have read that indeed about 60% of OHC engines nowadays have a timing belt and interference valves (either valves and pistons or valves on valves in DOHC). It is beyond me why large manufacturers who have the choice choose a system which is bound to make a lot of damage when the timing belt goes. Or maybe their goal is to create work opportunities for their dealers!!!! I know it is cynical but this is probably not far from the truth. I have rebuilt my own Jetta VW engine (not rocket science)and IMHO all it would take to prevent catastrophic damage on these designs would be to eliminate the interference by milling pistons to the relevant shape!! :)


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PostPosted: July 13, 2018, 5:35 pm 
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A lot of this is due to emissions standards. If I'm understanding what I read properly, you get a cleaner & more complete burn, with a simpler combustion chamber design without all the nooks & crannies of pistons being milled deeply for valve reliefs.

Higher compression ratios are more standard now due to the ability of the computer controls, which leaves less room for a non interference engine. And then there's the fact that those higher compression ratios net you more power. With proper maintenance how often do these belts and chains fail? While it does happen it doesn't happen that often.

GM has had a couple of engines that had early failure rates on their chains, but they made them good under warranty and fixed the problem in newer engines.

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