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What is the biggest PITA you have had on a vehicle?

My biggest PITA (not the bread) was changing the spark plugs on a Ford Windstar van. (Actually, I began, saw how PITA it would be, reckoned the engine performance was good, and went home without fully enjoying the experience.) You?

my spouse on the drive to my in-laws. no further comment

Mine was also spark plugs, but on a 1988 Corsica V6. The right rear plug was seized in the aluminum head. It took we 45 minutes to break it loose. I got a 5-foot tube, put it over the socket wrench, stood on to p of the engine, and yanked. And yanked, and yanked. Having to use a universal joint didn’t help ally the torque needed, either. I also liberally applied four-letter works, but that lubricant didn’t work well, either. Eventually, it broke loose. I used anti-seize compound as required, but never changed to plugs again.

'86 ranger, carburator, cap, rotor, plugs. UGH. needle valves that seemed to have a mind of their own, gumming carb, choke plate falling off, leaking manifold gasket, hole in gas tank, seized rear hub and bearings.

all in two weeks. the truck was jinxed. so i gave it to a kid for a first car project.

darned if he is’t STILL running it!

My biggest PITA vehicle was a 1955 Pontiac. The stud mounted rocker arms were lubricated through the studs. The engine had been overhauled by the Rambler dealer just before I bought the car in 1962. However, every time I took a long trip, the rocker arms would start chirping. I had the studs pulled out and cleaned in solvent, I had the passage in the head cleaned out, but the problem persisted. I never did get the problem solved in the time I owned the car.

As far as I remember it was the right rear spark plug on a Windstar. Also the rubber timing belt on Ford 2.3 that was installed in Pinto’s & Couriers.

1990 Mazda Protege. Water pump. 'nuff said. $38 water pump cost me the bulk of a weekend. The water pump was driven by a drive belt, but was under the timing belt. I replaced the timing belt and front oil seal, but had to remove the entire front of the engine, accessories, and some brackets on the side of the engine. A royal pain. I complained to a mechanic friend. He related a similar story with a Ford Escort. Uses the same engine. Labor book called for 8-hour job, and a water pump with shop charges came to $650.

Rear struts in a '97 Escort - preassembled struts, thus an easy couple of hours (or so one would think).

Time to position/jack/support: 10 min
Wheel removal: 5 min
Remove interior panels to access upper mounts: 20 min
Remove upper stud nuts: 5 min
Remove 2 lower nuts from shoulder bolts: 20min (w/some penetrating oil and heat)

With nuts removed, time to get the rusted in shoulder bolts out? about 2 days. (I figured I’d rather be patient than break them off - my tool selection is also pretty basic)

Time to finish installation after that - about 1hr.

2 hour job - 2.5 days.

It was a whole car, I think it was a 1978 Datsun 510, and I bought it from the dealer in 1982. Odometer said 39,000 miles. It came out to about the same cost of repairs as gas. The strange thing is the repairs were almost never maintenance related. Things like a switch down inside the a/c and the whole system had to be torn open to get at it. It was pure junk. I can’t say it had 139,000 miles or 239,000 miles on it, because as I said the repairs were not maintenance type stuff, such as motor or struts. Just weird failures that cost a lot of money.

I’ve got dozens of them. :frowning:

Just an example. A guy had a Renault Le Car (makes a Yugo look pretty darned good) in which the starter was bad. After eyeballing this thing for an hour I could see no way in creation to remove the starter due to its location.
I take a look at the service manual and it is recommended that both the engine and transmission be removed to change the starter!

Needless to say, the owner of this heap had a severe aversion to spending that much money labor-wise to fix it (I also was in agreement with him).
He decided to allow me a bit of wiggle room on the procedures so I removed the driver’s side front carpet/matting, did some careful measuring behind the brake/clutch pedals, and cut a hole through the firewall. The starter was fished out through the hole (with great difficulty) and I fabricated a 1/8" thick steel patch panel for the firewall. Once done, it was never noticeable and worked fine but it did make me despise the cars even more since I had several prior experiences with Le Cars.

Ford F250 6.0 Liter diesel: First generation diesel with EGR system on it.

When I bought that truck it was a good vehicle, plenty of power. However, they recalled it and reprogrammed the computer. From that day on, it was the biggest POS I’ve ever owned.

At around 13,000 miles (1000 miles out of Kentucky’s lemon law) the EGR system malfunctioned and stopped up the engine with carbon dust. The turbo blades stuck in the high boost position and blew the boots off the motor. They replaced the boots under warranty and reprogrammed it again. It had no power, couldn’t hardly let the clutch out on it without stalling.

Took it back, they worked on it some more, replaced EGR valve with an updated version, but didn’t clean carbon out of the motor.

Next month it was another EGR valve and another reprogram, still it wouldn’t run right.

Next month another reprogram. Still wouldn’t run

Next month another reprogram and request for an engineer to look at it to figure out what was wrong.

Engineer looked at it, said there was nothing wrong with it even though it took it 1500 feet to accelerate from 0 to 20 mph. Engineer said it was designed that way to prevent me from tearing the rearend out of it never mind that it couldn’t get out of the way of traffic pulling onto 4 lane roads.

Next month EGR failed again. Found out the preferred way for them to work on my truck was to remove hood, and remove valve cores from tires to flatten tires so truck would be 6 or 8 inches shorter. Went over me not liking my tires treated that way.

2 months of misery driving it and another failed EGR valve.

2 months later, turbo blades stuck again and blew off boots again. Dealer Reattatched boots and truck made it 2 miles from dealership before they blew off again. Explained my opinion on letting out air of tires again to no avail.

Dealer ordered new boots in May.

Mid July, truck still in my driveway waiting on boot to come in to fix it

Called dealership, got runaround in July, decided to call Ford MO CO.

Got run around from them. Told Ford Mo CO that I wanted a boot overnighted and installed on my truck next day. They told me to kiss their donkey.

I decide to order boot from local parts store and self fix it. Removed EGR to clean it and checked in the intake noticing it was thoroughly clogged with what looked like a 20 lb bag of Kingsford Charcoal. Called dealership and told them they had no chance of fixing that engine with a 8" rubber hose. Need new motor. They said they couldn’t authorize that.

Called Ford Mo Co in Detroit and explained it to them, they said they would talk to dealer and call back. 3 weeks later I still can’t get in touch with my case person at Ford. Took to the internet and had some buddies leave 200 messages on her machine to call me back withing about 2 hours time. Got a call from Ford threatening to put me in jail for harassment. Told them all I wanted was my truck fixed as it’d been broke down for nearly 3 months now under their warranty. They assigned a new case guy to me. He calls and says he’s researched my problem and I’ve put gasoline in my diesel engine and the mechanic he’s talked to with 30 years experience working on diesel engines told him that I would need to change the spark plugs and ignition wires and distributor on my engine. I offered to set up him a place to bring that dumb ass down to change the spark plugs in that diesel engine complete with bleachers for 200 of my buddies to watch this magical feat. He says I’m harrassing him again and hangs up. I guess he gets his feelings hurt easily.

Dealer calls in a couple days and finally has gotten the 8" long piece of hose and 2 new clamps to get me back on the road. They installed it and about a week later, the turbo stuck open again and blew the cooler apart underneath it.

Back at dealer for 1 solid month to work on the cooler. They wouldn’t consider putting a new motor in it or replacing the sticking turbo or for that matter cleaning out the 20lbs of charcoal dust in the intake. They called the last week of November and said Truck is ready, come get it. They called back an hour later and told me to wait till this afternoon to come pick it up. Went to get it about 2. Diesel mechanic and service manager were gone. Dealer owner said they were test driving a vehicle. My truck wasn’t there, so I assumed they were driving it. 20 minutes of standing around later someone else walks in and owner says they are test driving a brown car. My big red truck and brown car are not equal, so I begin to wonder what happened to my truck. 20 more minues of standing around and dealers wife calls me to back room, says she has something to tell me. I thought, good, they’ve wrecked that piece of junk and totalled it. No, they’d took it on a test drive 3 days earlier and it quit on them, they were out trying to get it started to get it back to the shop. To say the least, I’m livid. 3 days and they can’t find a wrecker.

Had to call towing companies to find out where my truck was, they wouldn’t tell me. Finally found out that they’d had a fuel leak, and got air in the system then ran the batteries down cranking on it. 3 days later they called to say it was ready. I picked it up and asked what was wrong with it. They said the EGR cooler was leaking coolant. I said, I knew that 2 months ago, why did it quit and you had to have it towed in? They said the battery ran down. Duh. Also noticed that dealership had raised truck into the garage rafters with the hood up and bent my hood. They of course said they didn’t do that but offered me a free bug deflector to hide the dent they’d put in it.

3 days later, truck quit on me. Dealer wouldn’t come get it. Ford MO Co in Detroit said, “Something else is evidently wrong with your truck other than what they worked on it for the last month and since you are over 36,000 miles, you have to pay for the tow.” We argued a while and the case person said, “If you pay the tow, I guarantee we will do whatever it takes to solve the problems with this truck.” I paid to have truck towed to a dealer 100 miles away hoping to get someone who knew their up from down. Not to be. After 2 weeks, got truck back and it ran 4 days this time before quitting. Called chick at Ford Mo CO back and explained that her guarantee wasn’t worth chit. Told her I wanted them to come get this pos off the side of the road immediately. She says they won’t tow it again. I hit the roof with her. Told her I was going to go get my farm tractor and tow chain, tow the sob to their dealership and push it through the show room. Told her I was going to go get enough either to launch a space shuttle, cram it down the intake and hit the starter and see what happens. She said, “We don’t want people like you driving Fords.” I said, “That’s pretty evident, I’m wearing out that Chevrolet wrecker chaufering this pile of junk around.”

Dumped half a can of either in it. It started and I drove home. Told wife it would be gone tomorrow I didn’t plan on coming home with it.

Next morning put the rest of the either in it and got it to work. Left at lunch time with the help of a new can of either. Limped it into the Dodge dealership. By some miracle of something, it started when the Dodge dealer went to test drive it. We agreed to a price but I’d forgot title at office. Had to pour more either in it to go get title, just left it running until I had a Dodge and they had it. Next morning Dodge Dealer goes to move truck to back of lot and calls to ask how to start it. I tell him there’s part of a can of either under rear seat. Haven’t been to the Dodge place since, and don’t suppose I’m welcome there any more than I am at the Ford place.

After driving Fords exclusively for 18 years, I’m done with them.


Correction: rt rear spark plug on an Aerostar, PITA

Mine was a Le Car Renault too. 1st the started wire was loose on day two. The oil pan leak took a full day to fix just because you need to take all the front suspension/steering off to get to the pan. Had to dismantle half the car to tighten the wire-see OK’s post. Then when I had to change the muffler it took half a day to center it in the hole passing through the wheel well so it doesn’t hit the sides during acceleration and braking.

73 Lincoln town car type. I saw it being towed three times after I sold it.

I had forgotten about the Renault starter as a hugh PITA. I, actually, unbolted the starter, moved it about a foot, and if I had had just one more inch of clearance, it would have come out. The best that memory serves is that two large tubes, of some sort, blocked the removal. Fortunately, for me, I was able to give the problem back to the owner. Owner must of been able to find someone to remove the car from the starter.

Mine was my 84 GMC S-15…Replacing the drivers side Valve Cover gasket. The rear bolt that’s between the valve cover and the firewall there’s only about 1/4" room. On top of the bolt is a bracket (it’s actually part of the bolt) that holds down the three spark plug wires. There just wasn’t any room to work. Took me well over 2 hours to just remove that bracket and bolt. When I put it back together I rerouted the wires and removed that bracket.

Another one was my wifes 87 Accord timing belt. It’s IMPOSSIBLE if your arms are bigger then a 10 yo’s. My forearm was too thick to reach in to remove one of the bolts for a bracket that had to be removed. My wife had to do it…She had a tough time because she didn’t have enough strength.

Why do they design things this way. A simple redesign and never would have had these problems.

The diveability of my 1976 Ford Granada with a Windsor 351 V8. This car had a catalytic converter, but kept stalling; could not adjust the idle. Took the coverter off and replaced with resonator, which improved the situation.

This car also had a smog pump with little tubes going into the exhust ports. The tubes were mild steel and corroded through, causing underhood exhaust and noise. The new replacement units on the dealer’s shelf were also already rusting, so I hired a performance mechanic to plug these exhaust holes (the rear ones were very difficult) and remove the whole smog system. All this was breaking the law, but like Thoreau, I felt a little civil disobedience was justified here.

At this time Lee Iacocca was asked on TV what was a good car. He answered:“One that sells!”. That was the time I decided to never even look at a Ford product for the rest of my life.

I had a 1972 Vega (hi Mike). The retaining clip that holds the rear axle in the housing came off and the entire rear axle and wheel slid completely out. That was one of the many issues common to that car.

Nothing gets your heart pumping like losing the rear axle right out of the housing.

There just wasn’t enough time to mention all the problems I had with the Vega…I had the wheel slip out on I-71 in Kentucky…driving back to Ft Campbell. There are just too many problems to mention with this car.

That has to be the poster child example for the lemon law. What an ordeal! You have way more patience than I ever will having put up with their antics and stupidity through all of that. Made for interesting reading though. Just curious, how long ago did all of this happen?