OT Did people only use bumper jacks?

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It's part of the fun. I learned about JC Whitney and ordering direct from England long before anyone even dreamed of the Internet. Then I learned about Whitworth, metric and US threads. Very educational and fun for the whole family. Aside from pulling me out from under it, Mom helped with the walnut refinishing. Back then, before Nannystate, you could choose to have an all wood dashboard. Real door handles and hood ornaments, too. Having a Jag early in life taught me the value of solid, reliable transportation. I've driven Hondas ever since then. (-"

Not at all true. I recall standing next to a new V-12. I couldn't figure out why my leg was warm. Then I realized the engine was idling, but there wasn't any noise or even perceptible vibration. I ran my Mark X over 120mph on several occasions without catastrophe. Had giant disc brakes when most American cars were still drum-bound. When it ran, it was remarkable. But it was not a mass-produced item like the Chevy Nova so it suffered from the smaller production volume on a number of fronts. It's worst aspect, as you suggest, is that every few months it could just die for no apparent reason and recover just as mysteriously. Or after the infusion of cash, parts, labor and prayer.
Eventually sold it to a pediatrician specializing in mostly terminal cancer cases because he wanted something that time and money could fix. Bought it for $750, sold it for $5K, bought a new Honda. A twenty year old Jag was just what the doctor ordered to keep his mind off his very grim work. Everything has a place in the world.
-- Bobby G.
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On Sun, 22 May 2011 17:58:57 -0400, Robert Green wrote:

As a Brit, I grew up with British cars (obviously ;) and never found them *that* bad - the Lucas stuff wasn't any worse than anything that anybody else was making. The big problem was rust - poor quality steel and little thought to where water would end up and how it would get out again once it had.

Yeah, nice looks for sure... but then I think that most Jags were until the most recent models of the last decade or so. In terms of curvy goodness, I wouldn't mind an XJ13, but they only ever built one of those and then wrecked it ;-)
cheers
Jules
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My big problems were when water got under the hood, when the transmission (Borg-Warnet) blew up, when the power steering pump blew up spraying the hot exhaust manifold with enough PS fluid to create a small cumulo-nimbus cloud outside the gates of the Naval Academy during June Week (now I would be shot as a terrorist bomber), the sudden loss of spark to three of the six cylinders (it did managed to limp thirty miles home in that condition) a failed A/C compressor, which apparently was held in mid-air while the rest of the car was built around it (it was SO hard to remove), a fender full of tree-nuts that apparently only grow in Spain, plenty of the body rust you allude to, an engine that ran hot enough to alligator the paint on the hood, a failed "anti-creep" system that kept pressure on the brakes during idling until the vacuum gave out, releasing the car to roll into the one ahead of it or downhill if you were in an unfortunate spot when it occurred, a horn ring made of white metal with so little support that the first time you hit it hard, it broke off (and no spares existed in any Jaguar junk yard I knew of), a rear brake assembly that was half disk, half drum and all trouble, a push button starter that meant anyone who didn't know Jags who serviced it routinely broke the key off in the switch assuming that it must start that way rather than the big "START" button on the dash and last but not least, three Solex carbs that had to be tuned by a combination of praying, cursing and magic.

The Mark X was the four door predecessor to the XJ series. Walnut fold-down picnic tables behind the front seats, all walnut dash, twin 13 gallon fuel tanks with separate electric pumps, gauges for everything (no idiot lights), leather power seats, power windows, a big boot, a well-fitted tool kit and a top speed of 160 mph. I liked it an awful lot until I decided I really needed to get from point A to point B more than I needed to drive a fancy car. Saved me from making a $80K mistake later in life, I think.
What's Lucas Electrics motto? "Get home before dark!"
http://www.mez.co.uk/lucas.html
(See the fuse panel equivalency diagram!)
http://www.mez.co.uk/fusereplacement.jpg
-- Bobby G.
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On Thu, 26 May 2011 06:12:37 -0400, Robert Green wrote:

Ha ha! I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read that. It all sounds familiar - I've had the tree-nut problem, and exhaust manifold bolts that require a team of trained squirrels to reach, and loss of spark (passing folk at 90mph or so on a country road when the supply to the coil gave out) and, of course, engine heat - Triumph were famous for poor QC and their V8s left the factory with a small beach of casting sand still inside, which of course just loved to block engine cooling passages.

Ahh yeah, I remember a friend had a Mark X... very sleek car. The XJs were nice, too, and I think they sold quite a few of those in the US - I keep thinking I should try and get one someday. My uncle had a Mark IX at one point - I'm not sure if those ever made it to the US market, did they?
The XJ13 was Jaguar's Le Mans racer attempt - http://www.netcarshow.com / jaguar/1966-xj13/800x600/wallpaper_02.htm - very nice lines, I think. Shame they never made it a production body like they did with the E type.

Ha :) I've been in so many European cars of the same era though, and they really weren't any better when it came to electrics. Quite why they couldn't figure it out, I don't know. I've got a '60s Ford F100 these days though and that's really not any different - maybe the US climate (and roads) were just generally kinder on vehicles, so they didn't get the same bad rep?
cheers
Jules
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On Thu, 26 May 2011 13:26:44 +0000 (UTC), Jules Richardson

Lucas - and 2 or 3 times as expensive to fix.
Euro electrics do not seam to stand up well over here in the Americas. The "Euro style" connectors used in the American built "Mondeo clones" - Mercury Mystique/Ford Contour are the largest cause of problems on those cars. Other than the encroaching body rust, virtually every problem I've had on my wife's '96 has been an electrical connector.
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French cars never, ever impressed me. My boss had one of those variable suspension Citroens and once had an accident because he was trying to warn someone backing up into us with the horn, which the French decided should be on the end of the turnsignal stalk. Apparently the French automakers were unfamiliar with the basic concepts of human factors engineering. Another friend bought the Renault Alliance which literally dissolved out from under him. Things were always falling off that junkmobile. C&D's "Car of the Year" - must have been 1911.

I agree. It got so that I didn't bother to drive the Jag if I knew heavy rains were coming. If I were doing it all over again, I would have used adhesive lined heat shrink tubing to cover the most vulnerable connectors since they're rarely disconnected for routine maintenance. It would have been a simple matter to slice them open with a razor if need be. I've seen people do the same with connectors for marine electronics and saltwater is far more troublesome, electrically speaking, than rainwater.
I had an overheating problem I was never able to solve. It meant that on really hot days I had to run with the A/C off, all the windows open and the heat on full blast. The Jag had a little popup ventilator scoop on the hood and when up, provided just enough additional cooling so that the engine thermostat wouldn't blow. Even with all the problems I learned how to be a Bondo master and an automotive electrical trouble shooter. I remember when the tranny started slipping, I took it to an alleged Jag expert who told me I needed a $1200 rebuild. Turned out it was just low on fluid. Fortunately the manual was very well done and had fold out schematics and more. Some things never got fixed.
The passenger power window used a scissors mechanism with a long center screw to raise and lower the window. Apparently the previous owner had an accident and the door was not properly straightened so that the lifting nut and the threaded rod both lost threads in critical areas. You would start to lower the window and it would move slowly until the stripped threads and then drop like a guillotine. I ended up disconnecting the motor and drilling a hole through the scissors assembly, permanently bolting it in the closed position after the window just fell open one rainy day with predictable results.
Got into a nearly homicidal grudge match with my neighbor because I came out of the house one day to find this (expletive deleted) bitch sitting on the porch watching her delinquent little boy trying to pry the Jaguar hood ornament off the car. "Shucks, he's just playing!" was her response. The little rugrat was eventually busted for breaking into ten different houses in the neighborhood. My first encounter with the little bastard was when I was moving in and he and his brothers were inspecting the boxes on my porch. I heard the little six year old fokker say to his older brother "What can we steal?" I assume he's been shived to death in prison by now, he was such a likeable little cuss. NOT!
-- Bobby G.
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My squirrel team was killed in the power steering pump explosion. (-:

I had a TR6. Sold that to a kid that damn near killed himself in it by hitting a stalled tractor-trailer. Very lucky to be alive. Almost no protection for the occupants and it was even MORE trouble for the short time that I had it than the Triumph. Awful to work on, very crowded under the hood, unlike my Volvo 142 that had a cavernous engine compartment with this teeny little engine held in place by massive struts. The easiest car ever to do engine work, however when the wiper motors failed, it required disassembly of the whole dashboard to replace. By that time it had 300K miles, an old street sign for the rear floor boards and the fender from a 144. So I took my jig saw and cut through the dash to where I knew the motor was and removed it that way.

Once I picked up a female hitchhiker who proudly proclaimed: "I know what kind of car this is - it's a hearse!"

I've seen one or two IX's on the street and more at vintage car shows. They were an older, Rolls-Royce-ish sort of design.

They did make one of their racers into a production car. Steven McQueen owned one:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaguar_XKSS
I'm not enamored of the style - it looks bulbous. But I'll bet they're worth a fortune because productions was so limited.

I know it took a while for the Japanese to build cars that would work in the wide range of weather found in the US. I assume the Europeans had similar issues, tending to design cars for their local environment. Brits, of course, drive on the wrong side of the road so that introduces a number of left/right hand issues because the cars usually are built to accommodate both types of steering. My Mark X was left-hand drive but there were obvious "vestigial" right hand drive connectors, fittings, etc.
It was a great experience, and I learned more about cars than I ever could from one that ran well, but now I drive a Honda that starts every time and gets me where I am going without incident.
Did you see the bit about "Lucas Wiring Harness Replacement Magic Smoke?" I never fried the wiring harness on the Jag, but I did smoke a 1967 Buick Riviera with the drum speedometer, the fastback and the flip up (mostly) headlights. Had that up to 110 mph when I was a police reporter for the Washington Star when I responding to a Signal 13 (officer down) call. I knew from what my journo prof said that when cops are "running on code" they will NEVER stop to issue speeding tickets so I got in line with all the cruisers heading up US Route One, leaving the ground when I hit a big enough dip. I'd recently wrote an article about doing a stint at the Bondurant Racing School which gave me a very false sense of confidence about high-speed driving. Very false and life-threatening, too! (-:
The woman with me, whom I was giving a ride to her dorm when the call came in, wet her pants and I finally has to slow down when an older police cruiser, doing about 130 mph passed me. Obviously the piston rings were just about shot because he laid down a trail of blue smoke so thick I couldn't see anymore. When I finally got to the scene I was so loaded with adrenaline that my knees just buckled as I stepped out of the car. It took a few seconds to get my footing back. Poor Leslie was shaking like a leaf while trying to tie her sweater around her waist to conceal her indelicate condition.
I did one other high speed chase before I made a deal with God and gave up chasing cop cars. I was going 100 mph on a four lane city thoroughfare, following a line of police cars responding to a bank robbery. One thing they drill into you at Bondurant is that braking at those speeds isn't a practical way to avoid disaster, even though it's a reflex response.
I remember (and will remember until the day I die) trying to brake for a car nudging out from a stop sign way, far ahead and realizing I had covered an enormous distance without appreciably slowing down. Fortunately he had seen the long line of patrol cars ahead of me and stopped, half way into the intersection. I remember whizzing by so close the car shuddered as it passed within a foot of the other car the way it feels when a huge truck passes at high speed. In those few seconds (which seemed like an hour) I made my deal with God. Don't kill me tonight and I'll find safer work! That (and getting shot at during a 7-11 robbery) did the trick and I went back to school to study CompSci.
At 100mph late at night, by the time you see it, it's already too late to brake for it. There's the difference between many American sedans and Brit sedan/sports cars. Before the Riviera and the Jag was a 71 Ford LTD ex-state trooper car. Humongous engine, incredible torque but likely to set sail at really high speeds because of its very boxy design and high undercarriage. Prodigious understeer, too. A whopping 7 miles to the gallon.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_LTD_(Americas)
It's "sweet spot" was the ability to catch up quickly with almost anything that shot past you. Accelerating from 55 to 85 was like having a rocket assist. But at about 90, it started to lift. With the window cracked the whoosh kept getting louder and louder until you got to a little over 90. Then it was clear something had changed aerodynamically - as if I were passing the sound barrier. (-" That car was very high off the ground and as enough air got rammed under the chassis the handling became terribly squirrelly. Squirrelly is NOT what you want at 90+ mph.
-- Bobby G.
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On 5/26/2011 10:51 PM, Robert Green wrote: (snip) Before the Riviera and the Jag was a 71 Ford LTD

full-size wagon, but it only had the 400, not the cop 429. I think it got maybe 14mpg driven gently on the interstate. But it was still pretty fast in a straight line. Never did manage to peg the speedo during the middle-of-the-night interstate banzai runs, but I know I had it north of 110 a couple times. With more road, it might have made it, but even with stiff shocks and performance tires, it was scary-twitchy by then.
With all the stupid stuff I did with cars back then, it is amazing that I am still alive, have all my appendages, and never got arrested. Some of the crowd I ran with back them were not so lucky. I'm a pretty boring driver now, and drive less in a year than I used to drive in a month. Of course, with current gas prices, aimless cruising is no longer a viable option, even in little 4-banger Honda. The only way to get that thing over 100 would be to drive it off a tall cliff. But for 25mpg in town and 32 on highway, I can live with it.
--
aem sends...

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wrote:

1963 Valiant with sagged rear springs - lowered the Torsion bars to match and installed heavy duty gas shocks from a 'cuda. Cornered like it was on rains, and stuck to the road like glue. The "warmed over" slant six was putting 206HP to the rear tires through the pushbutton automatic - 60 in Low, 90 in second, and bury the speedo in drive at 6500RPM.
Didn't idle worth crap - pretty well HAD to drive in low in town.

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Loved the pushbutton shifter. Had a Dodge Dart that blew the lower radiator hose. I was too young to realize what a sudden jump in water temp and a thump meant and when the dial settled back down (it was a bad design - the gauge looked to be in the normal zone even though the sensor was no longer in the coolant, which was now a yellow-green streak stretching out behind the car). The result: burned out piston heads.
Rebuilt it (last engine rebuild I ever did - my mom couldn't stand all the swearing!) and eventually sold it to a kid who managed to burn the rebuilt engine up one week later by leaving the sump drain plug only hand tight. Eventually it worked loose and he left a brownish-black trail up until the moment the engine seized once again. He heard a thunk, too, and even saw the oil pressure light come on. By that time the poor little Dart was headed for the scrap heap.
My wife's the automotive expert. She and her friends race (ugh) Corvairs rebuilt into "Yenko Stingers"
http://www.yenkostinger.com/faq.html
but IMHO, a Corvair is a Corvair, and gussying them up doesn't alter that fact. The folks that race them, love them. There's no accounting for taste.
I wonder, have they finally got things computerized enough so that engines now shut themselves down when there's catastrophic coolant or oil leakage? Based on all the codes that my OBD II scanner lists in the codebook, the onboard computer's got a lot of sensors throughout the car that should be able to detect a catastrophe in motion. Hell, my van knows when I'm using an aftermarket locking gas cap and complains about it. It should be smart enough to keep from committing suicide by oil loss.
-- Bobby G.
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On Fri, 27 May 2011 14:37:17 -0400, "Robert Green"

The little suckers really FLY though!!!! Mine will LITERALLY fly, as it is converted to an aircraft engine and is going into a french Canadian designed bush-plane called a Pegazair.

Some do. Some don't. A Caddy Northstar will shut off cyls in rotation to keep from overheating with coolant loss, allowing you to "limp home". Many GM cars ( and others) shut off the fuel pump when the oil pressure drops.

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On 5/22/2011 7:25 AM, Robert Green wrote:

When I used CMU blocks to hold up the car, I had a wood or plywood plank on top of the block to protect it from metal digging into it and causing it to break. CMU block will hold up an incredible amount of weight if used properly, just like anything else. I once had a substitute teacher who was an architect who filled in for my vocational agriculture teacher on a regular basis and he told the class that a pair of 2x4's strapped together could hold up just about anything. He taught us a lot about building materials and structures. ^_^
TDD
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On Sun, 22 May 2011 08:08:32 -0700, Smitty Two

The tripod screw jacks with fit-to-bumper hook up were the best bumper jacks I've used. But they're big. Scissors jacks are way too flexible. Used them because they make a small package. The old Bugs had a ratcheting jack that plugged into a square hole on the side, so you lifted the entire left or right side. But the steel that made that hole rusted out after not too many years. Used a scissors jack on it after that. I think the 2 car I have now have scissors jacks in the trunk. Can't remember the last time I had a flat. That's why I don't bother to keep a small floor jack in the trunk like I used to. Think those little 2 1/2 ton floor jacks became available for less than a hundred in the late '70's. I trust the heavy duty jack stands, but nothing gives me more comfort under a car than levelly stacked 18" 6x6's. They are foolproof, but bulky and hard to place so they don't get in the way..
--Vic
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wrote:

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I used to carry 2 or 3 of those ballast resistors around in the car, and didn't even own a Chrysler product. Made a lot of brownie points with them.
Erik
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On Sat, 21 May 2011 19:00:43 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

people that a slant six mopar COULD run when wet.
Always had a spare resistor in the glove-box untill I "got smart" and mounted a spare on the fire-wall.
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On May 21, 8:53pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Don't even let me get started about the finicky nature of AMC models and their cobbeled together parts from any and all manufacturers. The things they would do when it rained/got hot/got cold/dried out/you name it!
.......
"I need a starter for a 66 Ambassador."
"What month was it built?"
"What *month*? I don't know..."
"Go take the starter off and we'll see if we can match the bolt pattern. They used 3 different starters that year."
.......
"The wipers on my 68 Javelin stop working."
"Check the fuel pump."
"The car runs fine...I said the wipers don't work."
"Check the fuel pump. There's a vacuum booster pump bolted to the top of the fuel pump that powers the wipers. They can leak."
.....
BTDT
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On 5/21/2011 9:29 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote: (snip)

Okay, so Javelins were really 1959 Ramblers under the skin. But you gotta admit, that first year Javelin sure was pretty. I did a real double take going through a 73? or so Hornet hatch at a dealership- the load floor cover over the spare tire was painted plywood- the company was so broke by then they couldn't even afford tooling for a simple almost-flat ridged metal panel.
--
aem sends....

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wrote:

And that plywood deck did NOT rattle, and was very stout - you never saw one dented or damaged. Why use steel???? It was protected from the elements and was not required to be air-tight like floor-boards, or to stand up to exhaust heat etc.
And the Javelin was MUCH different than a '57 Rambler. It was a '68, more or less. The 232 and 258 sixes were pretty good little engines - and the 290, 304,360 engines were better than the 287, 290, and 327 Nash engines of previous generations -- and they were not BAD engines.
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On 5/21/2011 11:04 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

No argument there- my family owned several of the AMC straight sixes with the seven main bearings- it was about the only part on the car that held up well, aside from the perennial leaky valve cover. I think Jeep only recently stopped using a descendant of the same engine. Wiki sez 64 through 06. That is a production lifespan up there with the ford and gm small-block v8s.
But vacuum-operated wipers by the late 60's? Almost Made a Car, indeed.
--
aem sends...

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