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Is There Really Such a Thing as a "Lemon"?

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Comments

  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,284
    Talk about your extremes of ownership, the most reliable (Accord) versus one of the least reliable pieces of junk ever made (Neon).

    Yes, after having lived through the domestic ownership experience provided to me by Chrysler through their Neon, I had to go to the other extreme of reliability and get an Accord.

    THANK GOD the 2003 models came out with a wonderful redesign that didn't bore me to death like the older generation model would have. So I got to have my cake (reliability) and eat it too, with icing on top (great redesign, looks, power, efficiency).
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    I saw an old friend at lunch today. He used to have an Audi 100 up until very recently. He swore it was perfectly reliable. He is driving an Accord LX right now. I bet you that Audi bled him dry, but he will never admit it.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Whoa, the Audi 100. There was a model with a 100% lemon rate. :lemon: indeed.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Oh you might be thinking of the old 100LS. I think he means the 100 from the 1990s.

    That car wasn't so bad. The 100LS was a disaster, that's true.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Are we allowed to designate whole model runs as lemons?! :-P

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    I think I actually prefer the style of the '98-02 to the '03+. But for my tastes at least, the '03-07 is a much better car all around. I know the EPA will say otherwise, but for me, 2003 was when the Accord finally became a midsized car.

    It took awhile for the style of the '03 to grow on me, but I always found them comfortable, nice riding, and just big enough inside. And to be fair, often it does take a couple years for a new style to grow on me. I hated the look of the '98 Concorde and Intrepid when they first came out, but I ended up with an '00 Intrepid a couple years later. So it couldn't have been THAT ugly. :shades:
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    Are we allowed to designate whole model runs as lemons?!

    Well, I guess if the whole model run sucked, sure! :lemon: Hopefully though, the manufacturer would get the bugs worked out after a year or so. Or, if they didn't, I'd like to think the public would be smart enough to quit buying that model, so as not to encourage the maker to keep building it!
  • The 100LS is a case in point to suggest that even THAT car can be made to run reliably. I had one of those and once I figured out the defects, it proved to be a pretty comfortable and reliable car. I had to figure out how to defeat the overheating issues; otherwise it was a nice car (for the time it was built).

    I'm sure most people did not have a good experience with that car, but it wasn't ALL bad. In fact, only 10% of it was bad...but that 10% was REALLY bad. :surprise:
  • tankbeanstankbeans Posts: 585
    And to be fair, often it does take a couple years for a new style to grow on me.

    I couldn't agree more. For instance, I absolutely hated to Focus when it was first introduced. I thought it looked stupid, but then as they were putting around close to everywhere I started to really like them. BUT, Ford had to go and mess that up by turning the Focus into the monstrosity that it is now.

    Jeez, that thing is gross and if Ford has remained the same it'll keep that same style for about 7 years. Lord knows the last model remained relatively unchanged for 9 years save a few minor changes in the lighting structures. The stupid part is if you were to look at a profile view of a car from the current generation along with one from any of the previous model years you'd swear they were of the same generation. The doors and most of the side panels are almost identical.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,451
    a lot of camcords are originally bought by people who take very good care of them.
    a lot of domestics are bought by people who are lucky to be able to get a new car from anyone. what goes along with that is that the maintenance is skipped.
    i am not saying the domestics did not earn that type of buyer.
    anyways, i hear plenty of stories at work and from some family members who passed their well maintained camry/accord to one of the kids and in another year or two it needs a new tranny/engine.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,284
    Or, if they didn't, I'd like to think the public would be smart enough to quit buying that model, so as not to encourage the maker to keep building it!

    I think that's what always happens, but some fall for the trick of buying the same thing that goes by another name; example: Neon --> Caliber.

    Neon = junk :lemon:
    Calibre = junk :lemon:

    Conclusion = Caliber is a Neon by another name.

    Civic and Accords have been around forever. So has the Corrolla and Camry! Go figure!
  • tankbeanstankbeans Posts: 585
    The fun part about the Neon is that I have a person at work who owns a Neon along with a Cavalier. She insists that they are both vehicles from the gods and claims that they can do no wrong.

    She claims that the Neon has 200 hp at the wheel stock and that the Cavalier has 175 hp at the wheel stock. Here's the kicker the Neon apparently dumps its engine every 10-15k and I guess the fuel pressure regulator on the Cavalier drops out every three months.

    I know that not all of these maladies aren't entirely the cars' faults. She drives the s*** out of both of them thinking that they are somehow racing material. She's full of herself though so I don't put much weight behind half of what she says.

    How's that for idiotic. Also apparently she had the engine on the Neon rebuilt using a 97 top with a 95 bottom. Is this even possible?

    Signed amused and confused.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    She claims that the Neon has 200 hp at the wheel stock and that the Cavalier has 175 hp at the wheel stock. Here's the kicker the Neon apparently dumps its engine every 10-15k and I guess the fuel pressure regulator on the Cavalier drops out every three months.

    There's no way either of those two are putting out that much hp, at the wheels. At the FLYwheels, maybe. And using the old gross hp rating, perhaps?

    There were some pretty hot versions of the Neon, but I think they topped out at about 200 hp, using the 2.0 4-cyl. The body design was not strong enough to handle the torque of a 2.4, which is why they just kept hopping up the 2.0. FWIW, the standard 2.0 in the Neon put out 132 hp. By the time that got to the wheels, it was probably around 90-100?

    Chevy used to have a 307 V-8 that put out 200 hp gross. When they went to the net rating system for 1972, it dropped down to 130. So, I guess it's possible that a 132 hp Neon might put out around 200 hp, gross.

    The Neon engine really wasn't changed much over the years, I don't think. Especially in the early years. So you probably could swap a lot of parts between the 1995 block and the 1997. The early ones tended to blow head gaskets, but the later models weren't too bad.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,284
    The Neon engine really wasn't changed much over the years, I don't think. Especially in the early years. So you probably could swap a lot of parts between the 1995 block and the 1997. The early ones tended to blow head gaskets, but the later models weren't too bad.

    Actually, if you take the time to read something like user reviews and reports on 98 -2000 Neons even, (for example, MSN user reviews) there are still a TON of complaints about head gaskets blowing/leaking/failing. More common than not, and it was never solved according to the user reports and reviews.
  • I have NEVER been more disappointed in an American car debut than with the Neon.

    Here I thought, when it first came out in 1995 (??)

    "GREAT! Finally we have a low-cost, fun to drive little sports coupe ala the old Alfa Romeo Sprint"

    At a time when "fun" was in low supply in American cars if you didn't have a lot of money, this car was of great interest to me. I even test drove one and considered buying it.

    But alas, between some early defects, marginal (at best) dealer service) and Chrysler's winning ways with customers, the car became, at best, something you sell to rental fleets catering to budget vacations in Miami and Vegas. Not a great image and hardly a good track record.

    I'm not sure why it takes a manufacturer so many years to figure out how to keep a head gasket on an engine, but Chrysler isn't the first to fail in this regard. Renault and Saab struggled with this, as did GM's Northstar V-8.
  • tankbeanstankbeans Posts: 585
    And using the old gross hp rating, perhaps?

    Just curious, when you said gross hp rating I assume you meant before any adjustments are made for energy lost to friction, heat, etc., etc. Correct.

    If so I'm wondering my car has a published rating of 160 hp at 5500 for an 03 Accord I4. Would that be the gross rating or the net?

    I know we're supposed to be talking about junk cars, but that statement caught my eye. Some of these things are still lost on me.

    Thanks for humoring an idiot.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    I have NEVER been more disappointed in an American car debut than with the Neon.

    Heck, I have to admit that I was even impressed with the Neon when it first came out, and little cars normally don't register on my radar screen. On paper it had a lot going for it...gutsy 132 hp 2.0 engine in an era where many competitors hadn't even hit 100 yet. Roomy interior that could hold four good-sized adults in comfort, on a relatively lanky 104" wheelbase. That's probably where the interior room came from, as 104" was pushing midsized back in those days. 1995 was the first model year, but they came out early, like February of 1994.

    I have to admit that once, I came close to buying a Neon. It was late 1996 and my 300,000+ mile '68 Dart died on me, while delivering pizzas. Right at a traffic light, in the rain. I almost got rear-ended by some buffoon who wasn't paying attention. Car was TOTALLY dead. Wouldn't start, no power, no lights, no nothing. I was able to push it off the road and coast for about 1/4 mile. I'd pretty much had it with that car

    Called my grandmother and asked her if she'd co-sign on a loan for me for a newer car, and I was strongly considering a '95 or so Neon, because I wanted something economical that I could still fit comfortably in. Well luckily, the Dart decided to fire up a couple hours later, and got me home. It turned out that the points had worn down so far on it that they were sticking together, and that was killing the car. I didn't realize that could kill the car totally, electrical power and all (maybe it can't, and there was something else going on), but one of my uncle's friends put new points and a condensor in for me, and the sucker ran fine after that.

    so, for like 5 bucks, I got that Dart running again, versus God-only-knows how much headache and wallet-ache a used Neon would have run me! I probably dodged a bullet with that one. :lemon:

    I know the K-car 2.2 from that era, especially with the turbo, tended to blow head gaskets, because it had an iron block and an aluminum head, and the different expansion/contraction rates of the metals as they heated and cooled would stress the gasket over time. I think the 2.0 was based on the 2.2/2.5 block...I wonder if it was an iron block, as well?

    Still, whatever the Neon's problem was, it tended to blow much quicker than the K-car 2.2/2.5. I think with the K-cars, you could usually get at least 100,000 miles out of them. My ex-wife's LeBaron Turbo blew its gasket around 115,000 miles.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    Gross hp is a term that I think most people have forgotten about nowadays. I think when they measured gross hp on an engine, it had literally nothing attached. No exhaust manifold, no air cleaner assembly, no transmission, no belts and pulleys, and IIRC, not even a water pump or alternator! This is how cars were rated up through 1971.

    Starting in 1971 though, they started publishing more accurate net ratings. For this, they put on the water pump, exhaust manifolds (not sure about the whole exhaust system, though), air cleaner/filter assembly, etc. I don't think they would have tested with air conditioning or power steering though. And it still wouldn't take into account the transmission, differential (or transaxle on an FWD car) etc.

    I think for a general rough guideline, net hp tends to be about 75% of gross. So if an engine had 200 hp gross, it would probably put out around 150 net. It'll vary from engine to engine though. I think smaller engines tended to lose less hp, although another factor was that sometimes the bigger engines tended to be over-inflated. They often took great liberties with those old gross hp numbers, and they were more often the result of the imagination of the guy writing the ad copy, than actual engineering test results.

    Also, around the 1971-72 timeframe, a lot of engines had their compression ratios cut, so there was a legitimate loss in hp, along with the "paper" loss of going from gross to net. And again, I think it was mainly the bigger engines that saw the larger compression cuts, so that might have explained why they tended to lose a larger percentage.

    Now, there's another term thrown out that's called "Brake Horsepower", or "BHP". I always thought that meant they measured it at the brakes of the car, which means the transmission, differential, etc would be factored into the equation. But I think most people use BHP and Net HP interchangeably.

    I think the only way to get true hp at the wheel, is to put the car on a dyno. But then, I've also heard there's ways to fake out the dyno test so you can get it to say almost whatever hp rating you want it to.

    As for your '03 Accord with 160 hp, that would be net hp. In gross hp, I'd imagine that would be around 210-230 hp? There's really no magic formula to pin it down exactly, but it would probably be somewhere thereabouts. Heck, a lot of cars in 1971 that were rated at 250 hp gross, were down to around 160-170 net for 1972.

    Anyway, hope this makes sense!
  • tankbeanstankbeans Posts: 585
    I follow you just fine. I just know that people have told me, namely girl who thinks her neon is from god, that their is no way that my car could have 160 hp and that the V6 Accord could have 270, for the current year.

    She even told me that I needed a better car because mine wasn't as fast as hers. Phht.

    Anyway thanks for clearing things up, or at least trying to explain things to me.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,071
    What? I never heard of a head gasket failure on a Northstar and I've had two cars with that particular engine. I've heard of a problem with an oil leak on the earlier Northstars with the lower crankcase seal - a $44 part.
This discussion has been closed.