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Powar UltraDork
5/21/22 2:16 p.m.

I have two, and they're both cars that make me feel like I must be the problem because other people love them.

The first was a Subaru Legacy. Cheaply built, loud, horrible fuel economy, and it rusted in ways that I've not seen on any other car. I swore off the brand and haven't been back.

The second was an '85 Toyota Pickup. Like wheelsmithy, I found the 22R to be a boat anchor. Blown head gaskets and broken timing chain guides, all while delivering full-size pickup fuel economy. I haven't owned an import truck since, though I know they've come a looooong way. 

JimS Reader
5/21/22 2:55 p.m.

Chevy s10 Blazer. Anything that could break did break, or leaked, or caught fire. Biggest piece of junk I ever owned. 

NickD MegaDork
5/21/22 3:40 p.m.

Subaru Baja. I bought it because it seemed funny. Turns out it sucked and there was a reason they sat on dealer lots for 3 years. It has zero cargo room in the bed, zero rear leg room and only two rear seats. Transmission gearing was bizarre, first gear was too high and fifth gear was too low, it always felt like you were taking off in second and going down the highway I was always doing doublechecks to make sure I was in fifth. Fuel efficiency sucked, the damn thing rusted like it was it's job, and in typical Subaru fashion it leaked fluid from everywhere and chewed through brake parts left and right. After that thing, and keeping my parents' Outback wagon and my sister's Forester running all at the same time, I swore off Subaru forever 

buzzboy SuperDork
5/21/22 4:28 p.m.

In 1993 my parents sold their AMC  Wagoneer and my mom bought a Toyota pickup. 22RE, 5 speed, 4x4, stripper. I loved that truck. I learned to drive in it. Surprisingly comfy, great on the beach, practical, reliable. It was rusting back into the earth, but I still am not happy that they sold it.

Dad replaced it with a 2nd gen Tacoma: 2.7, 5 speed, 4x4, stripper. I hated that truck. The pedals felt like there were gummy bears in all the joints. Ditto the shifter. The stupid electric shifter got stuck in 4lo a few times. It was geared too high to drive well on the beach in 2hi. With factory sized tires the speedo was 5mph fast at 55mph. It was stolen and I hoped we'd never see it again, but it was found 5 miles away burried up to the axles in mud. Too bad they didn't put that POS out of it's misery. I was happy the day it became a 2nd gen colorado.

Appleseed MegaDork
5/21/22 4:36 p.m.

77 LTD. Complete pig berkeley boat. Every cliche you can think of out of a deep malaise era sled. Abysmal gas mileage. Couldn't accelerate. Couldn't stop. Couldn't turn. Not a tear was shed when I sent it to the glue factory. Zero redeeming qualities outside of the cheap $400 purchase.

berkeley that car.

clutchsmoke UltraDork
5/21/22 4:48 p.m.

I've owned many Hondas. I still have a place in my heart for Acura Legends, but after my brother's 1990 Legend caught on fire for unknown reasons at the rear of the vehicle and left me with 3rd degree burns before I could exit the vehicle I shall not own one. I'd still drive one. Albeit with great trepidation.

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
5/21/22 5:09 p.m.

I know the GLH is a legend around here, but my first car was a regular 1984 Omni that was an astonishing pile of crap. I literally can't think of one good thing to say about that car.  The day I got rid of it for an 84 Rabbit GTI with 250k miles and floorboards that were rusted all the way through was one of the happiest days of my life. That one used as much oil as gas and I didn't even care, I was just so happy to be rid of the Omni. 

SuperDave New Reader
5/21/22 6:03 p.m.

'86 Ford Tempo.  I never imagined so many things could fail in the year and a half we owned this turd.  Mercifully it was totaled in an accident (no injuries) and was overjoyed there was a small amount of money left after the loan was paid off.  Worst car we ever owned.  Ranks just below the GMC S-15 that needed a new long block (2.5) around 80,000 miles.  The last GM vehicle we purchased.  We have a family heirloom from GM in the fleet.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/21/22 6:11 p.m.

E30 BMW.  Love how they look. Love sitting in the driver's seat. Can't stand how the car actually drives - at least in relatively stock form. 

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
5/21/22 6:18 p.m.

What really makes me mad is my girlfriend, now wife was going to order a new 1986 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS and decided FWD is better and since her dads a Pontiac guy and a GM employee maybe one of those Grand Am's would be a nice car.   

It came in and had a dent and needed a rear quarter panel rework.  She gets it and comes to my house and the tranny is leaking.   Car started rusting after the 4th winter and the trans blew at 50,000 miles.  I still have a scar on my hand from changing the back 3 spark plugs.   Total piece of crap.  

It became my car when she ordered an S10 Blazer.  I hated the car - I might look happy here but it's a front and I'm still annoyed about that Monte Carlo SS.

wae PowerDork
5/21/22 6:31 p.m.

Honda Odyssey.  Those jackwads knew that transmission was nothing but a time bomb and yet they kept selling them.  And don't get me started with the stupid power sliding doors.  And the dumb-assed navigation system that only knew how to give one direction: "make a U-turn if possible"

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/21/22 6:38 p.m.

In reply to wae :

They continually updated the trans and it is pretty well bulletproof in the later years.

I will allow that the power sliding doors are almost always disabled by cutting the cable.  And maybe you pissed off the nav system? "I swear I WILL turn this car around!!!" laugh

NickD MegaDork
5/21/22 6:46 p.m.

Oh, early Ford Focus is another. When my middle sister moved out, my father not only didn't find himself with one less car to work on, he somehow ended up having to work on her boyfriend's car. And he had an '03 Ford Focus wagon that was the most massive piece of E36 M3 I have ever encountered. The rocker panels were already disintegrated, the AC compressor clutch pulley broke off and he somehow drove to NYC with the pulley rattling around on the clutch without throwing the belt off, replacing an alternator was the most infuriating experience I've ever had. Finally it ripped the rear control arms out of the subframe and that was that

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ SuperDork
5/21/22 7:25 p.m.
Antihero said:

70s Cherokees. My parents had a 76 and it was a screaming pile of garbage.


Sad because I think they look cool

I've heard a lot of people say that.  We had 4 of them when I grew up and they treated us quite well except for the rear power glass.  That was always troublesome 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/21/22 7:37 p.m.

1985 C4 Vette, what a horrible car - and I even expected it to be a horrible car, based on the words from previous owners here. But it still surprised me just how bad it sucked, even relative to how old it was & the era it was built. 

ShawnG MegaDork
5/21/22 8:30 p.m.

I had almost forgotten my 1989 Jeep Comanche Eliminator.

If it weren't for the fact that it was pretty damn fast (for its time) in a straight line, it should have been in the landfill.

My friends raved about how good their Cherokees were so I bought a used Comanche. I think mine was built at beer-thirty on the Friday of a long weekend, right before a union strike.

That hunk of junk was broken more than it was fixed.

Renix engine managment can eat an entire satchel of richards.


Argo1 UltraDork
5/21/22 8:45 p.m.

I bought a brand new 1984 Audi Quattro.  This is back when Quattro meant something.  They were rallye based cars with locking diff controls and all.  Fantastic driving... when it ran.  Which was not very often.  The electrical systems in those cars were s**t.  Everything electrical that could fail, did.  Smoke would start coming out from the dashboard while driving down the road.  In a piece of unexplainable engineering genius, they put the fuse box in a plastic tub underneath the vents at the base of the windshield.  Coming out of a car wash, it was a total flat line. Fuse box filled with water.

I sold the car the week the warranty ran out.  On the way back from selling it, I spotted a lady by the side of the road kicking the door of her stranded Audi Quattro.  I pulled off and said, "I know exactly how you feel."

Antihero PowerDork
5/21/22 8:47 p.m.
A 401 CJ said:
Antihero said:

70s Cherokees. My parents had a 76 and it was a screaming pile of garbage.


Sad because I think they look cool

I've heard a lot of people say that.  We had 4 of them when I grew up and they treated us quite well except for the rear power glass.  That was always troublesome 

I really hated that, my overwhelming memory of them since I was about 10 when we got it, was dust. Lots and lots of dust.


The 4 wheel drive system was horrible along with pretty much everything we had to work on

Antihero PowerDork
5/21/22 8:49 p.m.

Also.....02 Explorer.


Literally the worst car ever according to some and the SOHCv6 is a godawful engine 


I literally wouldn't accept one for free, and I'd consider the person attempting to give it to me a mortal enemy

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
5/21/22 8:50 p.m.

My first brand new car was a 1985 Chevy Cavalier. MSRP was $7777. Four speed with no a/c. 

I bought it because I was going away to college and the one and only Ford dealer that I went told me that none of the other Ford dealers had any Mustangs either. And for some reason, I didn't want a Honda because I didn't like the light spring on the gas pedal on the Accord that my high school used for driver's ed. Stupid. 

I had that Chevy for three miserable driving years. Eventually, it was totaled when was rear ended by a drunk driver with insurance, and I remember thanking him. 

That car was made of Suck.

I haven't bought another GM vehicle since. 

Mr_Asa UltimaDork
5/21/22 9:19 p.m.
Mr_Asa said:

Most GMs of the 80s and 90s that aren't full size vehicles.

Something about the seating position in them torques my knee into a painful position and if I drive them for more than an hour my knee locks up.  Happened with an El Camino, a Blazer, an S-10, and a few random ones that weren't in the family but were rentals or such.

Apparently I feel the need to vent about this El Camino.
This thread, and specifically this post has been sitting in the back of my head all day.

So, in 1985, my Uncle-In-Law, a Florida real-estate lawyer, went and bought an El Camino.  This El Camino.

He kept this car for almost the rest of his life.  This is somewhat amazing as he bought more cars than anyone I've ever met.  Usually two a year, although some years he'd buy three or four.  Well, fast forward to about a year or two before I graduated high school and went into the USAF; he had some idiot redneck pull the TBI from the 4.3L and slap on an Edelbrock intake, carb, and dual exhaust.  It also had an HEI ignition on it, but I'm not sure if that was a factory setup or if it was something the redneck did, but whatever it was it had to be rigged up and had a crappy power wire running to it.  More on that later.

It was done... poorly.  The choke was held half-shut at all times by a zip tie.  It idled at something like 1500+ RPMs (not sure what, as it didn't have a tach.)  The exhaust leaked, it was badly put together in general.  But he also had it repainted at that time and bought those bullet hole wheels, and to be fair it looked great.

About the time I joined the USAF, my Mom bought the car from my uncle-in-law (who she worked for as a paralegal.)  Susie's rear end was pretty much shot, and I hadn't been able to re-install the 8" I pulled from a '68 Mustang, so Mom gave me the El Camino to drive.  For about a year it was fine.  At that point in time:

  • The water pump died.  The bolts were rusted in place, I couldn't remove them except with a rechargable dremel.  I'd go work on dremeling the bolt out, battery would die, then I'd go back inside and recharge it.  Luckily I was living on base and was less than 1/4 mile away from anything I needed to get to, work, chow hall, etc.  I couldn't use the base auto hobby shop as I was on nights and they weren't open at all for anything but banker's hours.  Andrews AFB sucked for shift workers.  Likely all bases do, but with how top-heavy Andrews was, it was definitely worse.
  • Couple months after that, the balancer went out.  It went out in such a way that the ring slipped and wore a nice 1/4" deep semi-circle in the timing chain cover.  I sourced a new balancer, timing chain cover, and timing chain.  I tried to do the job in the parking lot again, tried to use the balancer bolt to install the balancer.  Pulled the first threads out of the crank, buggered up the bolt.  Panicked.  Sourced a tap and die set from the shop, bought a new bolt (screwed up, only one I could find was at the speed shop just outside base, was a 12-point head, so I had to then buy a new socket,) bought a balancer installer which I still have and have used two more times! and finally got everything installed again.  
  • Chronic exhaust leak from crappy install of the exhaust.  Went through multiple gasket sets.
  • Remember the timing chain cover I installed?  It constantly leaked oil.  I pulled the pan multiple times, cleaned it all, redid it multiple times.  Ultimately found out that somehow the pan itself was bent before I ever got it.
  • Tried to go home on leave.  Got from Andrews down about an hour into Virginia.  Stopped for some reason and came out and tried to start the car and got nothing.  Called a coworker that lived a couple doors down from me, he came down with some tools, poked at the car, got nowhere, so we went back to base.  I burnt a day of leave and then next day went back down with my coworker's roommate (a Vehicle Mx troop) and we both poked at the car.  He found the HEI ignition power wire had worked itself loose, crimped a new female spade end on it and I was on the road.
  • Got out of the USAF, thankfully a year before I had bought my truck and I gave the stupid car back to my mom.  Later, as I mentioned in my truck thread the lines on the truck rubbed through and I burned up a transmission.  So I went and got the El Camino from Mom again.  Shortly after I got it (4-6 months) the reverse gear in the transmission burned out.  I became very adept at finding parking spots where I could pull all the way through.
  • Had to replace the plugs.  The back two on each side I had to break the ceramic in order to get them out.  No clue how I got them reinstalled.
  • Around the point where the reverse gear died, I realized I was getting particularly horrible gas mileage.  Somehow, this car that had lived all of its life in Florida, except for about 2 years in DC, had a gas hose rust through.  I fixed it in a parking lot.

A lot of the issues here are related to this being my second car that I really had issues with and was wrenching on on my own.  However, the first five items?  They happened within a year.  Then I had the El Camino after getting out of the Air Force for about 14-16 months before getting my truck back, so those last issues cropped up in that short of a time. 

This stupid berkeleying car let me down at every single turn, whenever it could.  It never had a single issue with my uncle as the owner.  Its giving its current owner, my mom's husband, fits as well.  Maybe it was just mourning that my uncle sold it.  Maybe my mom's husband is a horrible mechanic.  Maybe the shop that did the swap for mom's husband was a bunch of idiots.  No clue.
Mom let me know the other weekend that she's taking it to a shop in July in order to get it fixed, then she's going to give it to me.



1988RedT2 MegaDork
5/21/22 9:44 p.m.

2001 Subaru Outback.  A thoroughly mediocre vehicle with no redeeming characteristics.  I might have been able to forgive it if it had been dependable.  It wasn't.  It had plenty that went wrong with it in a very short time, including (needless to say) head gaskets. 

wawazat SuperDork
5/21/22 10:02 p.m.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit with 3.0 turbodiesel.  Shortly in to my ownership experience it wouldn't start while under warranty.  I'm in the Detroit area and could see the Chrysler HQ in Auburn Hills from the parking lot where it died.  43 days later I get it back.  For the next 3 years a trip to the dealership for service was a crap shoot on whether it would come home or not.  Multiple many day service visits and being stranded hours from my home office shook my confidence.  It's gone and I won't consider another Stellantis product ever again.  

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/21/22 10:50 p.m.

73 AMC Hornet Sportabout wagon.

4 wheel manual drums.  Everything was replaced except the hard lines, and I mean everything.  It never would stop even with two feet standing on the brake pedal.  I finally had enough of it when one morning in the snow I stood on the pedal with both feet, put it in gear, and the speedo jumped up to 5mph.  One of the back tires just spun at idle like the brakes didn't exist.  I figured it had to be something about THAT car until I drove another one and it was the same way, and AMC enthusiasts (which seems like an oxymoron) all were like "oh yeah, the brakes don't exist."  It's just assumed that when you buy an earlier AMC, you're going to do brakes as a requirement.

I also never drove any other manual-steering car that had clipper-ship steering ratio (seemingly 342.7 turns lock-to-lock), and yet with only 185mm rubber and a 14" steering wheel it was impossible to turn the wheel unless you were moving.  Then when you got over 45 mph the steering was so loose it was like you just prayed and pointed.  I would love to blame it on a wasted chassis, but the thing had 7400 miles and all new bushings.

Duke MegaDork
5/21/22 11:35 p.m.

DW's '81 Fairmont Futura. With the 6 cyl it was slow; a 4 would have been actually dangerous.

It had a weird thing where it wouldn't take any throttle at all for a while; it took 2 rebuilt carbs to make it stop doing that.

It didn't have a clock.

DW and I have almost the same inseam, but I am 5"-6" taller than she is and have longer arms. With the bench seat in her driving position, I physically couldn't get behind the wheel. On the passenger side I could get in but my forehead was about 2" away from the sun visor.

You blew the horn by pushing in on the end of the turn signal stalk. I mean seriously, who thought that was an even marginally acceptable idea?


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