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Brand Problems Swept Under The Rug

steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,153
Pick any brand and someone can name a problem they tried to sweep under the rug or downplay.

Who wants to go first? British Rover?

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    I want to hear what problems Land Rover tried to sweep under the rug! j/k

    Toyota: sludging 2.2 and 3.0 in the late 90s (at least, some would say they tried to sweep it under the rug, including all those in the lawsuit action class that eventually won their suit), failing head gaskets on the 3.0 (different 3.0) from '90-'95. (and a few '96s, there was eventually a silent recall and a 100K extended warranty)

    Subaru: failing head gaskets on the 2.5s in the late 90s and early 00s. Failing wheel bearings on Outbacks (perhaps other models as well?).

    Honda: ?? The auto trans's in the late 90s and early 00s V-6s? How quickly did they respond to that? Was the "fix" effectual?

    VW: ignition coils on 1.8Ts for most of the early 00s. Claimed it wasn't a big problem even as owners waited on a six week backlog of parts before they could drive their cars again.....

    GM: DexCool?

    Ford: head gaskets in the "Vulcan" V-6?

    I hope someone will help me out with the domestics. Seems like most Chrysler products were short-lived products of ill quality until the 300 came along. Andre might beg to differ.... ;-)

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

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    Ford - gaskets on the 3.8 commonly in Tauri and Windstalls. Automatic transmissions until at leats 96 when they finally replaced that aluminum piston with a stainless steel one.

    VW - too many electrical glitches to remember.

    Early fixes on those Honda trannies were a problem. They eventually got things right and at least in my case didn't take it out of my pocket and kept me rolling the whole time.

    My folks had an OHC 6 in a 67 Pontiac Tempest that GM spent some time denying was a defective design.

    Everyone will have stories in here...
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,153
    I think Honda had a class action about the early Odyssey transmissions. Now the CR-V AC compressors seem to go south a bit more frequently than you'd expect.

    My sister had the electrical issues, mostly with the power window and locks, on her '00 New Beetle.

    Ford Explorer roll-overs?

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,567
    Transmissions in earlier Taurus were weak, too.

    Earlier MB W210 in harsh winter regions are becoming rusty, and many enthusiasts aren't loving those cars.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,153
    That reminds me of Toyota Tacoma frame rust. Extended warranty on some of those, so it's not exactly swept under the rug.

    Older Passport/Rodeos and Axioms seem to have more frame rust than normal too.

    Back to Ford, I had friends who had the "plastic" gear failure happen to them long ago.

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  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    Calling me out I see.

    They denied the frame rust problem for a long long time though. Started buying back rusted out Tacomas for XX percent over KBB trade in a couple years back.

    GM plastic intake manifold gaskets on the NA 3800 series II motors
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,902
    Seems like most Chrysler products were short-lived products of ill quality until the 300 came along. Andre might beg to differ....

    Well, I can dig up some dirt on Chryslers over the years...

    1955: I've heard stories that the 1955 models were poorly put together. However, I think this was partly because the 1949-54 models were almost tank-like. Truth be told, all cars started getting flimsier around that timeframe. Once upon a time, cars had to be built like trucks, to handle all sorts of road conditions...dirt, gravel, deep ruts, washouts, etc. But as America got paved and more civilized, the car became "softer" and started to differentiate itself more from the truck. From examples I've seen though at car shows, I would say that the typical 1955 GM product, or 1949-54 Mopar, does look like it has better fit and finish.

    1957: These cars suddenly made the competition look about 4 years old, and Plymouth's ads proclaimed "suddenly it's 1960". Unfortunately, rust resistance was so bad that many of these cars would not be around in 1960! The market in general softened for 1957. About 8 million 1955 domestics were sold I think, and around 7.5 million 1956es. 1957 saw that market shrink to about 6.2 million...but Mopars were wildly popular that year, taking something like 20% of the market. It was Plymouth's best year ever up to that point, and I think that would only be surpassed once or twice in the early 1970's, thanks partly to the Duster. I think it was DeSoto's third best year ever, surpassed only by 1953 and 1950. Something like 37,000 Imperials were built, and I believe that was an all-time record. Dodge and Chrysler also had strong, if not necessarily record-setting sales. The 1957 cars were rushed to the market, which hurt quality, and because of their wild popularity, assembly lines were no doubt sped up in an attempt to rush the cars out the door. The biggest problems were squeaks, leaks, rattles, and rusting. And of course, leaks could lead to electrical problems. However, even things that Chrysler is normally good at, such as engines, transmissions, started to suffer, as they were rushed down the production line.

    Dodge Dart: Many people consider the Dart and its Valiant sibling to be one of the best cars ever built, especially when equipped with the slant six engine. However, at least one rag joked that it was one of the worst cars ever made! The reason was that the fresh air intake vents tended to hold water, a problem only exacerbated by drain holes that were easily clogged. Accelerating, braking, and turning would cause that water to slosh around, spilling into the car. Well, the cars tended to be durable and long-lasting otherwise, so they'd subject the owner to the torture of wet feet long after most "ordinary" cars had worn out and been junked!

    Lean Burn: A rudimentary computer that first debuted for 1974, that controlled the spark advance and a few other functions. When it failed, it was supposed to default to run rich, to keep from burning up the valves. But it wouldn't always. Supposedly a horrible, horrible invention, but I've had three cars with it, and two of them were reliable. The third, a 1979 New Yorker I still have, will occasionally stall out, and sometimes won't start, but my mechanic doesn't think it's the Lean Burn. I drove it to work today, and it behaved. Hopefully, I won't be hitching a ride or hoofing it tonite! :P

    This post is becoming epic length, so I'll cut off here and write more later...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The funny thing about this thread is that the fans of a brand will actually know its flaws the best. So this is really a measure of how honest we are. :D

    I'll play...

    Toyota: you beat me to it, I was gonna say sludge on the 1MZ (3.0l V6). Add to your list the hesitation complaints on the new U660E 6 speed automatic. And let's not forget the glass camshafts on the new Tundra, which had to be replaced.

    Subaru: just a few more specifics, most of the head gasket failures seemed to be from 1999 to 2001. And yes the wheel bearings failures also occured on the Forester and Impreza but only 98-2001 on the Impreza and 98-2002 on the Forester. 2002 glass trans on the WRX, though to be fair most of those were heavily modified.

    Honda: the Ody added a cooler to the trans, IIRC, for model year 2004. So 2003 and earlier trannies are basically time bombs. CR's data shows an immediate improvement under "Transmission" for 2004. Early power doors were also very problematic, though many vans have that problems.

    Mazda: the CD4E transmission in the 90's 626 4 cylinder models will need a rebuild every 60k miles, you can count on it. 1990 Miata crank. 99 Miata also had an issue but right now it escapes me.

    VW: not only the ignition coils, but also the window regulators. So bad dealers did not have enough stock.

    Dodge/Chrysler vans: transmission. A neighbor down the street had 3 differnet Grand Caravans and each ate through a trans, one of them ate two.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,902
    didn't the biggest problem tend to be in the Sienna minivan? I heard that it had something to do with the engine being in a tighter compartment that tended to trap heat more, and in certain conditions that would start cooking the oil, and making it more prone to sludging?
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    Never heard that the Siennas were more problematic then the other cars. I seemed to see it more often in the RX300s but that might have been just cause I saw so many RX300s for service at my shop.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    1999 to 2003 Siennas had that engine.

    The Sienna is heavier and carries a heavier payload than other models, so it would not surprise me of lots of those had the problem. It was less than 1% from what I heard, but I still would not buy a used one and take that gamble.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,567
    Ah window regulators....been an issue on MB sedans for maybe 50 years now. Maybe the very latest examples have it cured, but even on cars from this decade, failures are not uncommon, especially on rear doors.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Time for another one - rust on 80s Subarus.

    I believe the formula went like this:

    Ungalvanized steel

    +

    Snow (and salt/chemicals) in New England

    +

    AWD/4WD cars that were out in that weather all the time

    =

    Rust.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,153
    the fans of a brand will actually know its flaws the best

    Well put.

    I had a CJ-5 for a few years. The old ones back in the 70's were known for having the gas tanks rust out. New Jeeps have "Death Wobble."

    Late 80's Caravans had lousy transmissions, but my '89 Voyager was fine ... not counting the three head gaskets in 90k.

    And it's not Toyota sludge - it's gel. :)

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Gellation! That's right. :D
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,902
    It was less than 1% from what I heard, but I still would not buy a used one and take that gamble.

    I'm in sort of the same boat with Mopar. The 2.7 that my Intrepid uses was implicated in sludging, and the transmission doesn't have a stellar reputation, either. I've never had any problems with my engine or tranny in the 149,000 miles I've had the Trep, but I also know how it's been taken care of these past ~10 years. I think I'd be reluctant to buy a used one. I think I'd be willing to take a gamble on a 300M or Intrepid/Concorde with the more powerful but simpler, cheaper-to-fix 3.5, but when you consider these cars have been out of production now for about 6 years, even newer ones ain't spring chickens anymore!

    That, and while my Intrepid's been a good car, I don't know that I necessarily want another one. Sometimes change is a good thing.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Can you use synthetic? Isn't that less sludge-prone, err, I mean gel-prone?
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    We sold a 2004 E500 back a few weeks ago.

    Window Regulators in the back both failed recently.

    Oh and the front airmatic struts died too plus something else.

    Thank god he is out of his 60 day 3,000 mile state warranty now.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,567
    Airmatic...a huge issue on earlier build cars, the key issue that makes earlier W220 to be nightmares, but I like to think they are not a secret swept under the rug, everyone knows the issues. IIRC on the new E63, a standard/conventional suspension is now fitted.

    I think there are some occasional transmission flaws in those 2003-04 W211s, too.

    I don't roll down the rear windows on my car, I am chicken :shades: ....several years ago I rolled them down on the fintail on a hot day...when I went to roll up the rear driver's side window...snap! It wasn't too tough to replace anyway.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,902
    Can you use synthetic? Isn't that less sludge-prone, err, I mean gel-prone?

    I've never used synthetic before, but I guess it couldn't hurt. Especially since I've gotten a bit lazy with oil changes on that Intrepid! :blush:
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,145
    Those 1949-54 and previous Mopar bodies were built by Briggs and built to last. A friend of mine's grandfather has a small junkyard full of 1940s and early 1950s Mopars. These cars have been sitting for at least 30 to 50 years and the bodies are still intact.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,153
    It was less than 1% from what I heard, but I still would not buy a used one and take that gamble.

    That's the other question - how many cars have to sludge in order for the brand to get a problem reputation that sticks? The warranty claims accrual rate seems to run under 3 percent for most car makers (Warranty Week).

    My guess is that the percentage of "brand problems" that ding a reputation is still relatively low, maybe 5% or 6%.

    Double that for Freelander owners. :P

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  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    Double that for Freelander owners.

    oh man quintuple for freelander owners.

    There is a reason why we tried to pass on selling any 2005 MY freelanders.

    We had to take some but we took the absolute minimum that we could and stopped selling them used a year or so later which was about the same time we sold the last new one. :surprise:
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,153
    Yeah, we talk about Toyota gel or CR-V AC compressors, but Freelanders are just bad to the bone.

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  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,273
    "...dirt on Chryslers..."

    To add to what you said.

    The Chrysler 2.7L had a reputation as a sludger. I owned one and never had any problems. Chrysler trannies from the 90s were supose to be weak but I just sold a 97' with 117K miles and it shifts just fine.

    I found the post that said head gaskets on Toyotas were a problem in the 90s to be interesting. I had an 86' Toyota (2.2L I think) that blew the head gasket twice before 40K miles. The truck as a whole was a POS.

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    No, the only thing really good about them was their bones.

    They had a ridiculously strong chassis. The torsional rigidity was better then anything else on the market back then when they came out. The only cars that had stiffer chassis later on were the Cayenne and Range Rover with the Range Rover being the absolute stiffiest.

    You could balance a freelander on opposing wheels and open all the doors without getting groans or creeks. Then you could close them again and all the latches still lined up.

    Try that with most SUVS and the windows will break.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Do tell: what is "death wobble" in a new Jeep?

    I KNEW I was going to love this topic! :-P

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's the other question - how many cars have to sludge in order for the brand to get a problem reputation that sticks? The warranty claims accrual rate seems to run under 3 percent for most car makers (Warranty Week).

    My guess is that the percentage of "brand problems" that ding a reputation is still relatively low, maybe 5% or 6%.


    Good source, thanks. My numbers may be outdated, I was recalling an article in Automotive News with a photo of a lady next to her Sienna, at the time it was around 1%. Surely more gelled later.

    Still, Toyota's case got more attention because it was a surprise, and that made it front page news.

    Still, at $6000 for some cases, I'm not taking any chances with the 3.0l V6.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,153
    It's the same thing as "harmonic tingle" on Hondas. :D

    Various suspension parts get out of spec and causes violent shaking, usually at 50 mph or over. Sometimes it's the tires or alignment.

    This is a great post about it:

    erickpl, "Jeep Wrangler Tires and Wheels" #134, 20 Nov 2008 7:54 am

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    1999 to 2003 Siennas had that engine.

    I believe it was '98-'02. The '03 Sienna was the new body style, and it used the 3.3L right from the start, went to using the 3.5L about halfway through the model run (for maybe the '06 MY?).

    At first there was a rumor or two floating around that the 3.3 had the same problem, only in the Sienna. That seems to have come to nothing.

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

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