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Could we hit a technological/economic dead end with cars

All things being considered regarding the cost to buy, maintain and operate a motor vehicle could we see someone offering a retro-kit at J.C.Whitney, et al, that offered a basic distributor and carburetor to replace troublesome digital engine management systems on some popular models?

Well I think the trend has been rather than retro, is to just replace entire components instead of trying to fix them. Just swap everything out and send it back for refurbishment. Of course that includes just swapping the car out too, especially if it is a lease.

Go back to carburetors ? Leave me out of that, I had all of that years ago and don’t want it again.


“Troublesome digital electronic management systems”??? Are you serious? They’re MUCH better than carbs and points.

Is this a joke?


To check availability of retro fit systems . . check the racing catalogs like Summit and Jegs.
But even the racing community is getting away from carbs.

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When Jack Nasser was president of Ford there was a study underway to build an integrated engine with all the controls attached. Then at 150,000 miles or so change out the complete unit except for starter and alternator. Some time in the future that may be the case. Troubleshooting today’s engines will get more and more complicated.

However I don’t trust Ford to do this right. Too many poor quality components. Toyota might be able to do it.

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There are a whole lot of modern engine management systems that are far, far, far less troublesome than carburetors were. And they burn far cleaner, and that helps engines today last longer.

For those that have a problem vehicle, there are other choices.

I believe that in ten or fifteen years all cars will be either hybrids or EVs. In 20 years I suspect there’ll be more EVs on the new car market than gas engine cars. It’s happening quickly.

I want an EV with Ludicrous Mode.

Me too. But there’s a problem with the cost. I can’t pay it. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Maybe it won’t be long till the hood is welded shut with a sticker on it, like on your TV etc . . . ‘‘no user serviceable parts inside’’

That does seem to be a somewhat likely situation @ken_green. But with average new car prices above $33,000, average annual income below $29,000 and 60% of the country living pay check to pay check I am curious how a great many people can keep their 12 year old beaters on the road getting them to work. With flat rates running $100+/hr how does a person working in retail at irregular hours and minimum wage keep his car running?

I see pre 1980 domestics on the road every day but they can’t be patched up forever like they do in Cuba. What are the Mexicans doing with all the small pickups they are hauling across the border? Are they retro fitting them to pre emmission carburetors? Whatever they are doing Americans may be soon copying them.

That would essentially be an illegal modification unless the vehicle was for “off road” use only.
Reading a lot of the classic car restoration magazines that the boss brings to work, I have noticed the opposite. Kits that replace carburetors with EFI systems, often using the old carb as a throttle body to retain the look of the classic car, or with throttle bodies that resemble classic 4 barrel carbs. There’s a company called Microsquirt that offers EFI retrofits for motorcycle and other engines.

I have a fuel injected motorcycle and I’m not looking back, in fact, not having fuel injection has become a deal breaker for me.

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Not legal on the Federal or most State levels.

And wasn’t beer illegal by an act of congress at one time @oldtimer_11? Illegal is just ink on paper and I just popped the top on a can of Bud that is now legal.

Hey folks, I’m just supposing that if we see another serious economic dip those who are currently hanging on by the skin of their teeth might hit the bottom and in their efforts to climb out they will need transportation which is expensive. Public transportation is not an option for millions. What does someone with a 1995 beater that has quit running do to get to the unemployment office to apply for a job and unemployment checks?

Trade it for a newer beater that still runs or fix that old beater. With the increasing availability of aftermarket EFI conversions, that may not be as impossible as you think.

I dunno, in my younger years I always managed to get to work or school in a ten year old car. Even the 200 miles to school. I never had much money either. In my later years I commented to my wife that I had a newer car when I was in school as I drove my 10-20 year old car to work. I’ll have to admit that I missed a day or two over 30 years for car issues but it was a 50 mile commute, so some issues were expected.

Now though even lawn mowers are going with fuel injected. I don’t mind at all and should be an improvement in the no-adjustabilty carbs that have been in use to satisfy the EPA.

Yes, I feel fuel injection, water cooling, oxygen sensors, variable valve timing, etc. allow for most efficient operation of the vehicle at various speeds. On the other hand, complex navigation systems that are integrated with the radio, drive by wire for everything, and such may make things more complex than needed. My parents recently purchased a new Mercedes and EVERYTHING is electronically controlled. You push a button or lever to shift and it has no mechanical feedback. Everything is computer controlled. Then there is me who purchased as simple of a new car as possible, the Mitsubishi Mirage.

As for non-serviceable parts, the CVT transmission has come up as one of these. You don’t rebuild them, just replace the entire unit. With everything in some modern cars being controlled by a computer under the dash, some cars will probably become disposable if anything major goes wrong. Otherwise the owner will continue to drive the car with some fault like a non-working radio or navigation system because the cost to repair it is so high but the rest of the car still drives.

I always like it when someone jams an old quadrjet and manifold on a TBI Chevy SB and claims it runs better,seems to me like the leap to even TBI resulted in about a 30 hp and 1-2 mpg increase and have you priced a new Holley or rebuilt Q Jet lately?Used to be I could buy a new Holley 4BBL for a 50 hr weeks wages ,now I am not so sure (Hey ,I live in Applachaia)

Regardless of income, you can still buy a NEW family car for about $15,000 if you really want to… US car buyers are enjoying record low interest rates and are often buying more car that they can realistically afford. Six months gross salary is about what you should spend on a car.

Don’t forget as well, the average NEW car is bought by people in a higher income bracket; there are twice as many used cars sold to folks with lower incomes. So you have to combine the value of ALL cars sold and compare it with average income!!!

Agree that the high price of REPAIRS will be intimidating to those in the lower income bracket.

Not true. The average household income is about $69,000, the median, half above and half below is about $51,000 a year.

$33,000 is still a bunch of money for a new car but compare that new car to one from, say 1970. In today’s cars we have power disk brakes, power steering, A/C, power windows and locks, cruise control, power mirrors, airbags, TPMS, ABS, Stability control and on and on. The first few were optional and somewhat rare in 1970, the rest didn’t even exist. Some regulated features some options people just won’t live without anymore.