Diplomat or Caprice

"“I will not buy any modern stuff with the unreliable fuel injection”

Then you can cross the Chevy off your list, as it sports a TBI setup.

@WheresRick the verdict is again

You are NOT giving me a ride in your old car

@Wheresrick From what you describe, I would say you have a lemon of some sorts. Last year we disposed of a 19 year old Nissan which had NEVER had injectors or fuel pump or automatic transmission replaced or repaired. This is a car that sold for $14,000 NEW.

As stated by various other posters, today’s cars (when properly cared for) are far more reliable and durable than they were 25 years ago. Carburetors needed periodic adjustments and rebuilding, and some 4 barrel units were very tricky to adjust.

For what it’s worth, Rick, I have kept track of “trips to garage for repairs” (aside from regular maintenace) of some past vehicles owned for the first 100,000 miles to keep the statistics fair:

  1. 1976 Ford Granada 56 trips
  2. 1965 Dodge Dart 39 trips
  3. 1988 Caprice 33 trips
  4. 1984 Impala 21 trips
  5. 1994 Nissan Sentra 11 trips.

As you can see the repair trips have improved with newer models, a fact confirmed by Consumer Reports. Our 2007 Corolla has yet to go in for a repair!

You must be very hard on transmissions. I’ve driven automatics since 1965, 8 cars in total and have towed trailers with all. The only auto transmission repair we ever had was on a Ford C-4 in a 1971 Mercury Comet. That cost all of $183 .

I trained in the army as a maintenance and repair mechanic and one thing was drilled into us; NEVER skip or delay proper maintenance and don’t abuse the equipment…

A 1990 Caprice has fuel injection, specifically Throttle Body Injection, a single injector setup in a throttle body introduced in 1989. I have a 1993 with a 305 with TBI (L03). It’s off the road at the moment, but was good for 20-21 mpg in local driving and ~24 mpg highway. I felt the same way about fuel injection in 1986 when I bought my first fuel injected car. After that I did not miss carbs one bit.

A 1987 Diplomat would be the opposite of reliability in my opinion.

Ed B.

While I do think that modern vehicles are generally more reliable, I also agree that some are harder to work on than the cars of old. As for fuel injection, I am all for it. All the sensors may be more complex to maintain but you get a much cleaner and more efficient burn at all temps and operating loads. If maintained, a newer car will be more trouble free in general.

As for the cars you mention (1980’s era land yachts), take note of what you see on the road. I see lots of Caprices and Crown Vics/Grand Marquis from that era but cannot even recall the last time I saw a Dodge Diplomat. This just feeds into my overall negative opinion of Chrysler products. Take note of the dead cars along the road. There seem to be a disproportionate number of Chryslers. One of my friends is a state trooper and commonly gets called to help stranded motorists. He has owned 3 Chrysler products himself that left him stranded and has made a mental note that more than the fair share of the stranded motorists are in a Chrysler. They recently replaced his Crown Vic patrol car that he beat the hell out of and was still running fine with a Dodge Charger. He was patrolling with 4600 miles on the car and heard a loud bang like a gunshot and the engine died. One of the valve seats dropped, causing the piston to crash into the valve and seat, leading to a catastrophic chain of events that destroyed the engine.

Besides a less than desirable reliability rating, Chrysler also seems to either not care or go out of their way to make their cars harder to work on than others. I am currently in a 1995 Dodge Ram for several cooling system repairs that I am blaming on owner neglect, not the fact it is a Chrysler. Thermostats should be easy to change and you shouldn’t need to remove the alternator and AC compressor to get at it.

I am personally a Chevy guy and we had several of the Caprices growing up. It was a boat and a large comfortable car like you want. The ones we had never really gave us any major problems and it was a simple car with lots of room under the hood to work. I am sure you wouldn’t go wrong with a Crown Vic. Most used the Ford 302 which is a good engine and pretty simple to work on. Both the Caprice and Crown Vic were so common or used parts common with other similar models that you will always be able to find parts. If you could find a Caprice with the 350, I would jump on that. The 305 isn’t horrible but the 350 is more powerful and a better engine all around.

As for your other car eating fuel pumps, did you ever change fuel filters? Did you run the fuel down too low? Did you ever run any type of cleaners through the fuel system? Not changing fuel filters and running a tank too low is a good way to kill pumps.

I may buy the caprice for myself, its a good running car and its not carbureted, It was listed as a 90 but it was an 88. The worst problem with the caprice is the a/c doesnt work.

The truck never had the fuel filter changed when I bought it, but I changed it several times. The tank is always low cause it sucks the gas. Even when I fill it up its not long till its empty again.


If you buy the Caprice, fix the AC and have it converted to R-134a. That will make it easier to service in the future.

@db4690 Yes, I am off all week and I think I will be buying it tomorrow, I think we will be buying a new corolla for her.

It’s not that 23 year old cars weren’t reliable at one time, especially the Caprice. It’s just that after 23 years, your cances of having one remain as reliable as something much newer are slim.
If you have had that many reliability problems with fuel injection and transmission, you need to look at the truck and the maker and maintenance, not the technology.

The carburetor (electronic) on the Caprice is very tricky to adjust. It was the only part of my 1988 Caprice that really bugged me. When cold the choke tended to stay shut too much, preventing easy restarts if the engine was shut off before being fully warmed up. My solution was to stick a comb in it to hold the choke open.

A modern fuel injection system is far, far more reliable than our carburators were and far, far better at metering fuel. Even throttle body injection (now obsolete) was far better than carburators.

Modern systems use a high pressure feed with no air pockets designed all the way from the fuel pump to the injector, virtually eliminating vapor lock and gas line icing. Injectors spary the gas in a far finer mist, making it burn quicker, cleaner, and extracting more of the gas’s available power. And injectors have far fewer parts than carburators. Injectors eliminate sinking floats, gummed up needle valves, gummed up jets (injectors operate at far, far higher pressures, which contributes to preventing gumming up), failed accelerator pump diaphragms, sticking high idle linkages, failed accelerator pump diaphragms, sticky high idle linkages, and I could go on and on. And there’s no adjustment necessary.

The problems you had with your truck are not because it’s fuel injected. The causes would have caused problems in a carbureted system too. As a matter of fact, it’s very possible that you yourself caused the repeated failed fuel pumps…and if you think replacing an injector is expensive, try getting a carburetor rebuilt.

If the Diplomat has a landau roof and you have towing insurance, then be the coolest guy on the road. :>))

AC works?
And for $299, are you really looking for reliability.

Buy the car with the best tires.

I switched over from carb outboard to EFI on the bigger outboard. It makes you want to go barefoot again and think they never invented shoes before going back to carburators. No thanks. With the ethanol problem, carbs are worse then ever to deal with. EFI at least gives you a fighting chance.