Survey: type 44 break down frequency

Mike Arman armanmik@n-jcenter.com
Mon, 16 Sep 2002 13:31:16


Stuck on the side of the road one time in five years - fuel pump relay
simply decided to retire after almost 16 years of faithful service. AAA+ to
the rescue, delivered me to my driveway, an hour later a new FPR had me
going again.

Been stuck at home once or twice - broken radiator (broke it myself),
failed clutch slave, shifter rod fell off. The usual litany of door
handles, inop windows, sunroof motors, sticking brakes (bad m/c on the
fronts, rusty e-brake pivot pins at the rear), and so forth and so forth
and so forth, but they did not mean I was stuck - just annoyed.


However . . .

Being stuck on the side of the road has several components besides simply
being stuck.

How far away is help? How far away is home? How many people are along? Is
it during business hours on a weekday or is it at oh-dark-hundred on Sunday
night of a rainy holiday weekend? Do you have a major job interview, are
you on your way to your wedding? Or did you just go out for a ride, and
really have nowhere to be by time certain?

We have to understand that the type 44 is getting increasing geriatric, and
it wasn't exactly a paragon of reliability when it was new. While the
engines and drive trains seem to last forever, sometimes it appears that
everything attached to them is either broken or waiting to break, often not
for the first time, either.


Well, so be it. After all, these are nice cars (if you understand that you
ARE going to have to fiddle with them on a pretty regular basis), BUT they
are NOT NEW ANY MORE.

So here is how *I* deal with this - and YMMV.

If I am going on a high-stress, important, far away, loaded to the gills,
car full of people trip on a hot summer day, I will go and rent a brand new
Buick or some other similar barge from the local car rental agency. Example
- we went to Savannah for our anniversary, about 300 miles of interstate
driving each way, and it was HOT - and rural Georgia isn't the place to
need parts for a 1986 Audi late on Sunday night . . . The rental car cost
$100 for the three day weekend, and we FLOGGED it - *MERCILESSLY* - 80 mph
on the interstate (and being passed regularly!), parking in an unguarded
motel lot, driving all over town, basically ran the wheels off it, and then
gave it back and walked away from it. While is is possible that my 1986
5000 might have done this, it was worth $100 to me not to have to worry
about it. And a blown radiator hose on Friday evening would have sort of
ruined the rest of the weekend for us.

Another time, I had four clients fly into Orlando from Japan. Well *they*
may be somewhat smaller than the average Amurrican, but they EACH had
suitcases the size of Montana - times four! The smallest one (suitcase, not
client) would have made a good road closure barrier - bright RED and
weighed a ton. Rental car time again, because I was going to be playing
Mike's taxi service for the next four days. A rented Chebby Impala filled
the bill quite nicely, and I even wrote off the $175 against my business.

This works for me because I don't really have a formal "commute", and I
don't often drive clients around - so I don't need nor need to pay for a
brand new do-it-all impress the clients go-anywhere-anytime with a full
load vehicle. My needs are such that an older, often quirky, not
tremendously reliable vehicle will do it for me. I figure the money I save
on car payments and insurance *more* than covers renting something on the
three or four times a year that I need a more capable, more reliable vehicle.

Other needs require other vehicles. I just don't ask my grandmother to run
the high hurdles. And despite its' quirks (which are LEGION!), I do like
the car - I do not see myself coming and going all day long.

Best Regards,

Mike Arman