9th Aug 2019, 23:01
"engines and transmissions are generally tougher and longer lasting"
Not true at all. Companies like Volkswagen are using plastic oil pans, over at BMW you have plastic water pump impellers, and some years back Ford and GM learned their lesson using plastic intake manifolds on two well praised engines that lead to class action law suits. Cost cutting like this can lead to expensive catastrophic engine failure.
One of the most expensive engine repairs is blown head gaskets, which can be a common thing on these all aluminium engine blocks and cylinder heads used today. Really wasn't a common thing on older engines that were iron block and heads; you had to overheat the engine for a long period of time at a high temp.
10th Aug 2019, 21:32
What if you go proactive and simply replace with all new plastic parts as a precaution at say 50.000 miles. That’s if the car is not a rust bucket (a concern on the east coast). It’s easy enough to go on Amazon, Rock Auto or a similar site. I bought a new Delco wiring harness for my Chevelle. Next day it was at my front door. Had 3 of my car friends over and knocked it out. You don’t even need to leave your home anymore. Not sure if these parts are that easy to find, but I give all the information and most always hear back shortly. I don’t buy parts that are of questionable origin as quality is always a concern. With YouTube videos and a free weekend, there’s many topics to try yourself. I replace parts that are still functional, but my concern is age. In the case of the new wiring harness, it was fire. If you have a review car like this but very low miles, it’s usually a smart move. My car was built in Van Nuys California and spent most of its life on the west coast, so didn’t have to deal with rust. If yours is, try to find a better one.
11th Aug 2019, 12:39
Talking about modern cars with vital engine parts made of plastic, and you're bringing up a 1970 Chevelle... whatever.
12th Aug 2019, 07:16
Plastic use is prevalent now, even with Japanese engines. But when anything new is done for the first time, you can expect problems. As you mentioned - BMW plastic impeller water pumps. But once sussed out they can do well. My last car, a 4-cylinder 2001 BMW hatch, which I kept until it was 19 years old, had a water pump with impeller made not of plastic, but an improved composite material. I have been waiting for it to leak for years, never did. Finally as a precaution, I replaced it together with the thermostat (and plastic housing), upper and lower hoses - all original from the factory. The water pump and its composite impeller were still in very good shape.
As for aluminum alloy engines - you are correct, they are very sensitive to overheating. But you can't use iron anymore - modern engines need to be run hot enough to comply with emission laws, and alloys are better at handling heat, but they need to be proactively maintained with the right coolant, and making sure that the owner keeps tabs on any leaks (in hoses, for example). Plastics are unfortunately here to stay, but periodically it doesn't hurt to replace some of these parts, like elbows for coolant hoses, during routine maintenance.
12th Aug 2019, 20:21
The point was replacing dated parts in old cars as you likely surmised.
Also I had Pontiac sedans as company cars from this time period. Peaked my interest even if they were turned in before age and mileage was ever an issue.
Sometimes making a point or analogy runs awry when sticklers have some form of agenda. To put it in another way, you can have a late high mileage vehicle and may not to attend to engine design weaknesses. Or have an older vehicle (even with very low mileage) that has deterioration of some parts. I don’t care if you are comparing same make and same model, it goes either way with automobiles, trucks, boats and even airplanes. Advanced age or high mileage deteriorates parts. Happens to a Ferrari or Pontiac. Let maintenance go and engines can go boom.
13th Aug 2019, 16:41
Yes. But the plugging and unplugging of the cord can be a royal pain in the rear.
15th Aug 2019, 21:14
Just because something is free at work doesn’t always mean quality of life and a better driving experience. Or you really enjoy your commute to a far better degree. That’s my take on a car like a Volt. You can mass transit by train, bus or bike if you think you are saving the planet with a tinier carbon footprint. A good example is water free from the tap. But we prefer piece of mind and buy bottled water. The free tap water is water. But you may be ingesting chemicals, prescriptions flushed down the drain. If a employer is going to give you anything, why not a raise? And drive what you like to drive. Tethered cords hold no interest for us. Get out of the car and do your work. And drive anywhere, anytime to a gym on the way or a bite to eat to kill a long drive home. Not with eyes pegged to an odometer to squeeze out every battery mile to be free. I fill up and take different enjoyable routes til I pull in the driveway. And maybe grab another car to go out later in the evening. Easy.