Survey: type 44 break down frequency

Wallace White wallace@stanfordalumni.org
Mon, 16 Sep 2002 08:08:33 -0700


How many times have you wound up stuck on the side of the road in your
type 44 (5k, 100/200, V8)?

As you might surmise, I just chalked up another one. In my four years of
5k ownership, I've had four (hurray for towing coverage):

(1) Clutch throw-out bearing, June '98.
Some of you will remember this one--I'm still thankful for the quick
help from the list! One day into a cross-country road trip. Took five
days to get the clutch replaced in Albuquerque. Lesson learned: don't
buy a car and drive it on a 7000-mile trip the next week. (One might
think I would've known that... ;) And don't be surprised if the clutch
pedal breaks a week later!

(2) Ignition switch, Jan. '99.
Luckily this happened at home. Relatively painless, since I was biking
and taking the train to work at the time. Lesson learned: replace the
switch now if you have to turn the key hard before the starter engages.

(3) Heater control valve, June '99.
Created a nice big steam cloud but no apparent lasting problems.
Happened with four people in the car. Lesson learned: use metal heater
valves or replace regularly, and carry a Prestone flush-and-fill kit for
emergency fixes.

(4) Fuel pump, three days ago.
Once again, four people in the car (family this time). Lost power while
on the freeway, made it to the shoulder. Frustratingly, I pre-emptively
replaced the pump two years ago with a noisy Bosch unit, probably Czech
built... Embarassment compounded when our second car had problems the
next day. Lesson learned: TBD.

Looking back, I've done pretty well after the initial sorting-out. But
with both of our cars breaking down over the weekend with family in
town, and the 5k's recent A/C troubles when 300 miles away, it didn't
take long to wonder if we need at least one car we can really count
on... we're planning to go from here (SF area) to Utah in a few months
and my confidence in the 5k is shaky. Even if I had a mechanic go over
the car thoroughly, I doubt we'd catch things like this fuel pump.

That said, I still enjoy driving and working on the car and being part
of this list, and even with the recent bills for A/C, it's a cheap total
cost of ownership compared to a new car. I spend less on parts than I'd
pay just on insurance on a new WRX.

I'm curious to hear how other folks' experiences and decisions have been
in this regard.

Thanks,
Wallace
'87 5kcstq 190k