Worst or most unserviceable designs?

One of my friends lives in San Francisco and this sounds like the crap they do there. You couldn’t pay me enough to live in that city or that state for that matter.

In his case, he had a car parking spot at his building. It is illegal to store ANYTHING other than a car in a designated car parking spot. He had boxes and a bike behind the car. Anyway, the car wasn’t driven much being right in the city. One day they did a seismic inspection to his building and it was seen he had something other than a car in his car parking spot. The bike had to go inside and the boxes just got put INSIDE the car since it wasn’t used often and was then used as a storage container for a while.

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The GM Ecotec 2.2 liter water pump replacement.

This guy’s got it on an engine stand.

Do it while the engine’s still in the car.


@Barkydog At one time we had 5 acres in the country and had 4 acres fenced in for the horse we had at the time. There was an addition of rather expensive houses just down the road. We got a call from one woman who lived in the addition and told us that we were to keep our horse in the barn, because her dog liked to run in our pasture. Apparently, her dog was chasing our horse and the dog got kicked in the mouth and lost a tooth. I explained to her that I had better not catch her dog in.my pasture or I would shoot the dog. I didn’t tell her that the only gun I have ever owned is a Daisy single shot BB gun. I would never kill someone’s pet.
Getting back to cars, I remember when the heater was a box under the passenger side of the dashboard. It was really easy to change the heater core. The wipers were suspended from above the windshield. It was easy to replace the wiper motor. An option was a passenger side wiper, so there were two motors that might give problems, but were easily replaced. Of course, these were vacuum powered motors, so there wasn’t any fuse to burn out. Also, when GM began offering air conditioning in the Oldsmobile, Buick Super and Roadmaster and Cadillac back in 1953, the evaporator and blower were in the trunk and the cooled air brought into the cabin through transparent plastic duck work. Heating and cooling were two separate systems. Nash integrated the heating and cooling into one system and all the components were in the dash and under the hood. The other manufacturers adopted the integrated heating and cooling systems in 1957. It was certainly more convenient than two separate systems and didn’t consume trunk space, but wasn’t as easy to service.
In my opinion, the King Midget was probably the most easily repaired car. If a purchaser bought the basic car it had a recoil starter for its 12 hp air cooled engine and the windshield wiper operated with a hand crank. I would rather have a little more difficulty serving a modern car than have the ease of repair of a King Midget.

I did not seriously believe you would shoot the dog. Reminds me of doing the rubber refills on wiper blades, and no job was done until blood was drawn :laughing:

It was impossible to cross the parts from side to side. One thing I never had the option to discover was whether or not the rear shoes and wheel cylinders were all different and whether or not those were all different from the fronts…That would mean 8 different shoes and 8 different wheel cylinders.

The 2 strokes were fun to drive though. Four speed on the column and would rev to the moon in a cloud of smoke and sounding like a run amok Weed Eater. First ones the car owner had to carry 2 cycle oil and after filling up was required to dump a bottle of oil into the fuel tank. Later ones came with a tank under the hood for automatic oil injection. No idea how many engines were ruined by someone not having 2 stroke oil and figuring “Nah…don’t need it…”.

As for GM, they owned 15% of SAAB even back in the late 70s and used that horrible little R4 air compressor on them.
The V-4 engines were actually German Ford engines and the slant 4s in the same era were made by Triumph.

I am a sucker for the 900 series though and they have a cult following. I’ve got a decent stash of 900 parts stuffed back that I’ve considered selling since Wal Mart ignores that market segment.
Just sheer fun to drive IMO; especially the turbo models and built like an Abrams tank. I’ve walked over one of mine from front of the hood to the tail lamps (I’m 204 pounds) and not a scuff or wrinkle anywhere.

I remember the two stroke Saabs as having free wheeling. Letting up on the accelerator had the same effect as depressing the clutch. The free wheeling was used because the lubrication to the engine through the fuel/oil mixture was cut when the accelerator was released. Without freewheeling, the engine would be turning faster when driven by the wheels and not be receiving enough lubrication. There was a control to lock out the freewheeling, but it was only to be used when engine braking was absolutely needed.

I had an '83 (?) 900 Turbo 5 speed for a few years that I bought from a customer. What a fun little car to drive, and a perfect seating position.

Haha. I would NEVER buy a car where the water pump is inside the engine, driven by a timing chain. It is best if it’s driven by an accessory belt, but it’s also acceptable if the engine uses a timing belt for the timing belt to drive the water pump.

Saab probably used 4 wheel cylinders for the same reason that Chrysler did. In the days before power brakes were common, or in Saab’s case ,where the car was light enough to not need power brakes, a double leading shoe design was self energizing and gave superior performance.

The GM 2.2 was never the best if you ask me. We had one back in the day and it was doggedly underpowered. It also blew a head gasket early on which I guess was a factory defect during the time this one was made. It never acted up again but would run hot on long uphill climbs in the summer.

I don’t hate timing belts as much as some people. If a belt, make sure to change the water pump at the same time as the belt. At the very least, the job will have to be repeated and the belt and everything else done in the belt swap to be removed. At the worst, the water pump could lock up and trash the valves if this was an interference engine. My rule of thumb is to replace ANYTHING touching the belt while replacing a timing belt.

Timing chains definitely last longer but the service on these is much more difficult than on a belt driven engine. If a chain lasts the life of the engine, then this is great, otherwise it is a difficult service compared to a belt.

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Freeze plugs on the back end of the engine. Had to drill holes in the firewall to get at them.

My Corolla has a coolant drain plug (for the engine block) near the oil filter, easily accessed. I tried to remove it one time during a cooling system change-out, wouldn’t budge …lol… so I can see why servicing a freeze plug in an inaccessible location would prove very difficult.

I also had an 83 900 Turbo 5 speed and enjoyed driving it a lot. I bought mine from a neighbor for, believe it or not, 20 bucks. It had acted up on him a few times and he thought it was a low gas level so he filled it up. It acted up a few miles later when the fuel pump died for good so he offered it to me for near nothing.

I just happened to have an almost brand new pump in my stash of stuff so 10 minutes to change the pump and off to the tag agency for a title transfer. The full tank of gas was worth far more than the selling price and the title transfer… :slight_smile:

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As we used to say when the price of gas went up when we filled the tank we doubled the price of The car. :laughing:


The guy actually offered that SAAB to me for one dollar but I could not bring myself to do that to someone so I upped the ante to 20 dollars. He was kind of sick of it…

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Not all water pumps run off the timing belt. My 90 and 98 Pathfinder didn’t.

Chains are significantly more complicated than a belt. Now you have to deal with gaskets. Many vehicles require you to drop the oil pan to change the chain. The belt on my Pathfinders weren’t very difficult. The hardest part is removing the radiator.

Yeah, I had several of the SOHC Geo Metro 3 cylinders. They were a non-interference belt driven engine although all the manuals said they were interference. They are not but ONE model of Suzuki Swift (same car) used an interference DOHC 4 cylinder so they applied it to all. The SOHC 4 cylinder was also non-interference.

Anyway, the water pump on these is driven off a very small serpentine belt that also runs the alternator so the water pump is not run off the timing belt BUT… In order to change the water pump, the timing belt must come off. The tensioner for the timing belt it mounted to the water pump and the timing belt had to be removed to change a water pump. There were people who would buy junkyard pumps for this job but I could get a lifetime warranty pump for $35. Again, this wasn’t a hard job for for $35 just buy new. Also, as mentioned, I once changed a broken timing belt on one of these in an hour on the side of the road with simple tools. They were very easy cars to work on for something somewhat modern and foreign.


Our ,aurora had the pump driven off of a separate little serpentine belt like that. Not hard to change on the road though as I found out and Napa stocked them. Wife was back shopping again in less than a hour.

I never had that belt break but I kept the one one in the back in case it was needed in an emergency. It didn’t take up any space.