That is not entirely ture. I live in Houston and have done so since the
early 70's. Most every vehicle is available here and seen on a daily basis
including Ferrari. Because Houston is still growing there is opportunity
for more and more dealerships. If you live in a city or small town that is
not growing rapidly the opportunity to add another sucessful dealership is
limited. Because vehicles are major investments a new model is not usually
purchased on a whim and the customer is more comfortable with what he knows.
Typically GM, Ford, and Dodge have been around for a very long time in any
decent sized town. In the 70's you did not see as many imports in Houston
as you do now. I dont exagerate when I say that half or more vehicles on
the road are Japanese and that trend is growing. The clostest Toyota
dealership to me is my far busier in the service department than probably
the largest Chevy dealer ship in the country where my son works part time.
And don't equate that to a lack of reliabibliy. The majority of traffic in
the Toyota service department is for the quick lube center which also
rotates and balances tires, and changes batteries.
YES all vehicles have problems and yes you typically only hear about the
ones with problems. You more often hear about problems than you do
reliability. When I worked for the GM dealership the shop was the money
maker, dealers bought franchises so that they could sell a product that was
going to need to be serviced. Oldsmobile warranty work was our most
frequent customer by a huge percentage and yes dealerships are credited for
the warranty work that they perform. Warranty work is an easy sale, the
customer does not have to authorize the work therefore warranty work is a
major income segment in the service department. There is a problem with
that however, warranty work was/is often troublesome to diagnose and does
not return as much profit as does regular non warranty repair work.
Absolutely the best most profitable work is routine maintence work. There
is no lost time in diagnosis and typically the customer knows what he needs
to have done before he gets there. You do not have to call him back to tell
him what it will cost and get authorization to perform the work. The
Japanese auto makers seem to have recognise these facts and reliability is
probably why Toyota has become one of the Big 3.
But it is...it'll take tens of years before a slight outselling of the
Big 3 (and I still don't think they're outselling them in full-size
truck market--they simply don't have the model numbers available to do
so) will even come close to catching up to the volume on the road.
The dynamics aren't the same as for the automobile end at all.
As for the smaller market dynamics (which I am in, thankfully), there's
a little bit of truth there, but there has been a Toyota dealer as well
for quite a lot of time (as noted, it's also the Chevy dealership).
The fact is, the demand here for work trucks is for hard-working work
trucks (which is what I've focused on as that seemed to be the area of
interest I thought until the sidelight of the SUV came up) and the lower
payload, no better or worse mileage ratings and particularly the
no-diesel option really limits the "likeability" of the Tundra for that
market. They sell a decent number all pimped out for the hunters and
the in-town folks who want a car that can carry something, but that's a
different market. I still expect that that's the major market in
Houston you're seeing as well--most of them will be traded in and still
not have a scratch in the bed.
On the reliability of the Big 3, it's much like much of the other
reporting these days. There was a period of some serious problems and
that has now become legend and is reported as though nothing has changed
since the mid-70s. The difficulty of regaining a lost reputation is
legend in any arena and is no different for the automakers than an
individual. They're just not getting any favors and imo much undeserved
bad press and continued bashing from general folks who just do so
because it's "the in thing" rather than real knowledge/experience.
You have experience, but even much of your anecdotes are somewhat dated
and not directly reflective of current state of affairs.
The Chevy shop here is generally half empty these days--there just
aren't enough vehicles to repair, warranty or otherwise. I have a
Chrysler 300 as well as the GM products and the Chrysler/Dodge dealer is
probably the largest in town (owing in large part to the popularity of
the Ram) and yet it's not difficult to get in to their service area,
either, even though they've not added personnel for years and their
sales have mushroomed.
Not in the specific case of the Titan to which I was referring. The
travails of the Titan have been well documented, and they have finally
given up on trying to fix them.
Much more than an economic move, a small amount of research will
reveal that assembly problems, rear end problems, and overall quality
control problems contributed to this move. Since this is just idle
conversation between all of us, I didn't dig around for the specifics
that were cited by Nissan, but the gist was that they still wanted to
be in the truck market, but were abandoning their own efforts due to
the fact they simply couldn't get it right.
Perhaps this is why:
Pretty ugly scores for a truck that has been in manufacture for some
time now, certainly long enough to get the kinks out of design and
Interesting too, is that not only will the Titan be built along side
the Dodge trucks, but they will drop their own engineering and design
for the structure/frame, power train, engine, and finish options.
However, Nissan assures it loyal few that "above the frame" it will be
My truck has to do it all. It has to function as an office when I am
paying my guys, and a comfortable venue for negotiation with
subcontractors. I write and negotiate with subs on the spot as needed
in the air conditioned comfort of the truck.
It has to look nice enough to drive to the house of a client, nice
enough for them to believe they are getting someone that is successful
at what they do. As for the amenities, you got me. I like air
conditioning. After working in our South Texas heat for several hours
or a day, it is nice to get in the truck and crank it up.
The truck has to take me and my tools to the job as I am a hands on
guy most of the time. It hauls shingles, plywood, paint, lumber, job
site debris, compressors, large tools, smelly/sweaty men (including
me!) as needed.
But it needs to cast the appearance of some level of success when I
drive up to a potential client's home, beyond one of that appearance
being cast by a 20 year old truck that is "dependable".
My personal sales persona is not that of the humble craftsman that is
grateful to have work.
OK, if you want to break it down that way, I will agree with you all
day long that today's vehicles are nothing more than cars without back
I have had three trucks that were real trucks. My '59 Ford 3/4 ton
with a six speed manual transmission. You could pull the balls of a
rhino with that thing.
#2 would be a '75 GMC one ton dual axle. It had a four speed manual
transmission, 2" tube steel framing for ladders and scaffolding welded
onto the frame that extended bumper to bumper. Since it had a flat,
short dock height float bed instead of a truck bed on it, I had tool
boxes welded to the bed behind the cab.
You could carry 4 guys, load it with a lift of sheetrock, add all the
tools needed, and still pull a skid steer loader all at the same
time. At the end of the day, you took the mats out and hosed out the
interior to get out the mud, dirt, spilled coffee and soda, dropped
cigarettes, etc. I bought that truck second hand, and it was a beast.
The last really honest to Pete truck I had was a '76 3/4 ton Chevy. I
didn't like it at the time because it wasn't as powerful or sturdy as
my old '59, which finally just fell apart. In the end, it did
everything that was asked of it reliably and with no fuss.
Those were the days.
Let me wipe a tear from my eye when talking about the good ole trucks that
earned their keep and built america.
Where I grew up, we had a lot of poor farmers and loggers. What we used to
do with all kinds of old trucks was to cut of the body and shorten the
frame. Put on some big tires, maybe a winch and make ourselves a home made
tractor. One of the primary functions of this home made tractor was to pull
out our regular tractor when it got into trouble.
Many of them were pretty funky in appearance. We welded on a seat from an
old horse drawn wagon onto ours. Big metal leaf spring type affair with a
seat that had holes to drain the rain water. Our neighbor just had a big
chink of wood for his seat.
Nothing fancy. No cab, no air conditioning. no seats, etc. Often we put
some pig iron or other weights on it. Quick and dirty to build. But these
things saved our asses and other equipment again and again. And one of the
reason why we could get away with it was because we were building it out of
something that was quite substantial to begin with.
I can't imagine building anything like this out of the contemporary, pretty
And to add to that Robert, a friend that I grew up with was all GM in mind
set as was I. Our parents only bought GM products. He however ended up
going to work for a neighbor at a Ford dealership, I eventually ended up
working with GM products. He moved up to to eventually become the service
manager at the Ford truck center and commented ond day that Ford is
targeting a group of people that are not picky. They simply want a vehicle
that could get them from point A to point B reliably and one that could be
repaired quickly when it broke down. That was back in the early 90's.
I guess the thing that really make me start looking at imports more
seriousely was when out dealership built a new facility close to the Toyota
dealership. We also added Isuzu to our offerings. As I have previousely
mentioned vwhen isiting with the Toyota parts manager and seeing the few
items in their warranty scrap pile and our Isuzu scrap pile as compared to
our Oldsmobile warranty scrap pile I had a pretty good indicator as to which
car companies were building the more reliable product. When a vehicle is
under warranty the owner seldom hesitates to complain about a problem.
Literally 40% of our Oldsmobile mechanical repair business was for warranty
reasons and our shop had a very good reputation.
I bought my wife an Acura in 1989, our first import and it was the first
small car that we easily put over 100k miles on with out any break downs.
IIRC I had to replace the radiator after the 100k mark. Same goes for the
87 Isuzu Trooper, no break downs in the 10 years that I drove it.
While new vehicles are exciting as you well know when you work with the
vehicles or nail guns, saws, etc. day in and day out you loose the
enthusiasm and start to put much more emphysis on reliability and quality.
Ahhh the old gold "Rocket" engine or was it painted black? Back when GM's
different product lines actually designed and built their on engines, the
Olds engine was hard to beat.
I looked at the Nissan also, my nephiew "owned" one after owning a GMC and 3
previous Dodges. Each of the Dodges left him high and dry so he decided to
try the GMC. He loved it as always did what he needed it to do and it never
had major problems like the Dodges did. Then he bought the Titan and was
very unhappy with the gas mileage. While none of them get great mileage I
can say that I am happy the the Tundra gets 20 mph on the highway with the
5.7 whaich was the same as the 97 Chevy with the 5.0 engine and 150 less hp.
In town I now get a consistant 14.5-15-8 mpg as compared to the 13-14 on
the old Chevy.
Tha tis exactly what put me in the Tundra.
I really think you are going to see this happen, I think Toyota wants their
cut of the pie.
My Ranger gets about that, on a good day. I got about 15MPG from
Ohio to Alabama pulling a 5x9 Uhaul (and about the same from Vermont
to Ohio last year) loaded with 8 maple 2x10s and about 250bf of Ash.
My Ranger only gets about 12-13MPG in the winter though. ...good
thing I left those back in Ohio. ;-)
I'm in the market for a new pickup. I'll have to give the Tundra a
look (was leaning towards an F150). Did it come with the Walnut?
Uh no, it did not come with that walnut. ;~)
Oddly the V6 in the Tundra only gets a mile or 2 better, the small V8 got
worse mileage. This mileage I am stating is with the larger V8 with 381 hp
and 402 torque so you get plenty of power. Additionally, while the "media"
has researched and claim that premium fuel is a waste of money if the engine
will burn regular I do indeed get about 10% better gas mileage when burning
premium, not a mixture of regular and premium. As long as premium is less
than 10% greater in price over regular, that's what I buy. Premium fuels
tend to also have better/more additives to keep the engine running clean.
Uh huh, thanks to the on board computer, knock sensor and electronic timing
advance. Premium used with standard ignition vehicles was not much of a
help back in the late 70's and or early 80's unless the vehicle specifically
required it. Because premium fuel is less likely to create engine knock
than regular fuel the computer will advance ignition timing until it hears
engine knock/valve clatter through the knock sensor. With electronically
advanced ignition timing you normally should get better performance and gas
mileage when burning premium.
My ranger averages 23.2mpg lifetime (92,000 miles). I got close to
25mpg with a full load (higher than cab) from Vegas to Bay Area once
which I attributed to better aerodynamics due to the covered load.
('99 2.5l 4-cyl manual shortbed, no a/c)
On Aug 26, 12:02 pm, email@example.com (Scott Lurndal) wrote:
Drop the tailgate and gain about 1/2 MPG. I used a tailgate net for
years in my Dodge pick-up. It worked nicely to save the odd gallon
here and there. I bought that truck with 32,000 on it and sold it just
before it turned 200,000. The only out-of-usual replacement in that
time was the water pump. A friend told me he'd seen it the other day,
about 4-1/2 years after I sold it, with new ladder racks installed.
Slant 6 auto, so it may well last forever.
Didn't see Mythbusters? <G>
Maybe your net was simply much lighter than the steel gate?
The gate up and latched also improves pickup box crash performance. I
would also imagine a lowered gate becoming a projectile in a crash.
I'll bet your web gate trapped enough air to create almost the same
cushion as the steel gate.
By any chance did you drive through the mountains? Oddly I have always
gotten better gas mileage when going through the mountains. Thinner air
does not require as high of octane from the fuel to prevent valve clatter
and if you are burning regular elevation fuel 87 or better your mileage
could increase also. Typically gas octane in high elevation regions has an
85 or lower rating.
Please quote carefully.
Leon said that, not me.
I think you're absolutely right about the valves, and can't figure out
why octane would have anything to do with valve noise.
On the other hand, in ground school I learned that detonation is caused
by too low of an octane, with the compression burning the fuel
explosively before the plug fires. Pre-ignition is caused by cylinder
hot spots and burning carbon deposits. The carbon deposits are usually
artifacts from too rich of a mixture resulting in too low cylinder head
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