I purchased my 1993 Plymouth Sundance right off the lot, and have been it's only driver going on 140,000 miles now. After performing routine maintenance as suggested, including brakes, coolant, pvc valve, bearings re-packed, manual transmission fluid, I can say that my original exhaust finally started leaking after 130,000, but still was quite, just fumey in the passenger compartment. The struts needed replacing, and rear shocks after about 115,000. It's a bit gutless, but it's a four cylinder, getting about 28 mpg no matter how I drive it. I'll say that, other than scheduled maintenance, this vehicle has NEVER failed to start (in cold Wisconsin winters), it's never once left me sitting on the roadside, other than a flat, which was easily changed by me, and still handles like the day I jumped in it. Oh, and the original clutch is still very tight, no slippage. I think lemons do exist in any make and model, but Plymouth built a good one for me, and I use mine to respond to fire calls everyday, and to get to work, and I can and will continue to count on it's great reliability until it "coughs once", which I estimate will be at around 200,000 miles. Not much to ask of a four cylinder car, that listed for $8,999 brand new. Oh, and I had the underside coated for about two hundred when it was new, as we use a lot of salt on our roads here, and it remains in excellent shape, as does the body paint, other than a tiny bit of rust on the underside of the trunk lid. I never heard of a lemon Sundance.
The only thing I have to say is, the author revealed immediately the reason behind the breakdowns; poor maintenance.
You said you were driving around on bad brakes. Ignore your car, and you should expect failures.
I'll bet you have a long string of vehicles with failure rates just like the Sundance. How often do you change your oil and filters? Rotate the tires? Have the brakes inspected? Replace the PCV valve? Especially the PCV valve, it's the cause of 90% of the oil leaks on these cars, and it's a $3 parts perched happily on the top of the valce cover in plain sight.
In light of recent comments, the author would like to defend himself, as well as add some words of wisdom. To begin, The car was bought from the proverbially seedy used-car lot, where the owner instantly knocked $1500 off the asking price in order to make the sale. A year later, after the car had proven its unworthiness, I returned to the lot to find that the owner didn't remember me, or selling me the car. A few months later, the car lot ceased to exist. Oh, well, I learned that you need to buy from a reputable seller. Secondly, I never, ever, neglect to change my oil and filter. I let it drip for an hour in order to get the maximum amount of inpurities out of my crankcase. My second car, a Chevy Corsica of equal age, was serviced by me and only by me, in the same manner of the Sundance. It ran every day (in Ottawa winters), never failing to start, no breakdowns. It reached 260,000 km's before an elderly driver (on the wrong side of the road, mind you) put an end to its valued service. My mother's first car was a '76 Volare, which was one of Chrysler's famous lemons. My father owned an '84 Reliant, which was plagued with the same ailments as my Sundance. It would seem that a recent history of entry-level Plymoths reveals questions about reliability. Lastly, concerning rust, always check your rocker panels on this car. They will rust completely through, leaving the paint intact to cover the damage. I poked a finger through my seemingly pristine panels. Sooo... in the words of Hill Street Blues; 'Let's be careful out there'.
I have owned my Sun-dance for 5 months now, bought it from my great-grandmother and it had 90,000 miles on it.. I have put 9k on it myself, but soon after I bought it it started missing really bad.. No big problem so I changed the fuel filter, air filter, changed gas for 3 weeks, cleaned my gas tank out. None of that worked so finally I got spark plugs and plug cords, after that it finally started running good. That cost about $200..Now only 2 months later my tranmission is starting to slip. These cars are not very dependable, I only use my car to go to school and work. I would have never bought this car if I would have known all the problems I was going to encounter.
FIRST of all, the Vega and Edsel never started on fire, that was the Pinto. Second, the Edsel was a sales failure, there were no reliability or safety problems. Third, the Vega was a piece of crap all around (have you owned a Vega? EVERY SINGLE CAR FROM 1980 on kicks its ass in terms of reliability.) Plus, the problems with the Vega were engine related (I am talking about REAL problems, not a failing fuel pump, but scored cylinders, warped/cracked heads, blown head gaskets.) the problem was that the engine was all aluminum WITH NO CYLINDER INSERTS!
Drive a Vega and then tell me your Sundance is the worst car ever. Jeez, between 1972 and 1992, there is NO comparison. 90s cars are hundreds of times better, just give this car credit. Oh and BTW, whoever replaced your fuel pump is an idiot because he didn't clean the rust/dirt out of the fuel tank which is what caused the failure of your new pump. So get pissed off at whoever replaced the pump, not the car.
Perhaps the gentleman who made these last comments doesn't understand the 'seriousness' of the term 'complete engine rebuild'. It's actually quite expensive to have your entire engine REBUILT!. While it is unfortunate that he owned a Vega (his fault) you must admit that a bad car is a bad car. And the Sundance, or at least mine, was a bad car. And I never replaced the fuel pump, the person I sold it to did. Let's not get all worked up here. God forbid that I would make fun of your car, when you yourself admitted that it was a peice of crap.
I believe that the Edsel did have a problem with fires starting in the steering collumn due to short circuits. I've seen it happen in modern-day Chevys and Volkswagens, so why not in '58? There were instances of fires in the Edsel.
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