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  #1  
Old 02-25-2018, 08:46 PM
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MIPS MIPS is offline
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K-cars

I know that one day another panel welded in is just not going to be enough to keep my Geo Tracker on the road and I am slowly starting to look into other options. I need a good car I can put a phone into that's not a luxury sedan.
I've been looking at K-cars now for a few months to see which models are still relatively available or are the least painful to keep in service. Granted, they are all now at least 30 years old.
What I really need though is some owner feedback. I know some of you farts are old enough to of seen Sputnik make it into space so I am assuming there are a few people who had one. How good were they? What were the known issues? What kind of fuel economy was normal for them? Were there any later models that still featured a manual transmission?
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Old 02-25-2018, 08:51 PM
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maxhifi maxhifi is offline
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K-cars were cheaply made, bottom of the line cars which were usually bought by either people who were disinterested in cars and bought on price alone, or diehard Chrysler fanatics.

It would be kind of cool to have one now, just because there's so few survivors, and they were once so common.

I've seen some manual transmission models, if you're looking now try and find one which isn't rusty above all else, the mechanical stuff is much easier to fix than the body, and these rusted quite fast
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Old 02-25-2018, 09:40 PM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxhifi View Post
K-cars were cheaply made, bottom of the line cars which were usually bought by either people who were disinterested in cars and bought on price alone, or diehard Chrysler fanatics.

It would be kind of cool to have one now, just because there's so few survivors, and they were once so common.

I've seen some manual transmission models, if you're looking now try and find one which isn't rusty above all else, the mechanical stuff is much easier to fix than the body, and these rusted quite fast
Try to look for a GM "X" car, Chev Citation or the Pontiac, Buick or Olds offerings and see what real junk was all about. How about a Chevy Vega!
The Chevette was almost a good car. Some almost lasted 100K miles.
Buyers of that junk had to be real GM fanatics. Many of those are now driving Japanese or Korean makes.
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Old 02-25-2018, 10:53 PM
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I'm actually at the point now where I wouldn't mind buying a Yugo if all the ones I see for sale are "collectors" cars with laughable prices. Come one man, driving an east bloc car around Canada for a summer sounds fun.

There's actually an '89 Dodge Aries not too far away from me right now that just its price slashed from $1500 to $950. Miiiighty tempting.
https://vancouver.craigslist.ca/van/...478855677.html
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Old 02-25-2018, 11:25 PM
Chip Chester Chip Chester is offline
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There's a 40,000-mile Chevette Diesel down here on CL from time to time that's going for $5000. Pretty clean, too.

Not sure I understand the attraction of K-cars, X-cars or Vegas. Because I've driven them when new. They cannot have improved.

Another Suzuki/Tracker? They're pretty cheap.

Up there, I'd go for a Volvo Cross-Country wagon if you want comfy, snow-worthy, and no rust. Kinda picky to take care of, but heated seats are worth the effort.
So you have an installed car phone? Does Rogers still have AMPS/NAMPS? If so, have I got a deal for you!
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Old 02-26-2018, 12:20 AM
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Another Suzuki/Tracker? They're pretty cheap.
Western Canada is weird. We barely use any salt.
We got a lot of kids here now that spend a few weeks in the fields and come home to all sorts of toys and the trailers to transport said toys behind their massive goddamn trucks. Little 4x4's like the tracker and Samurai are often $4k-$6000 for the 4x4 models and the much cheaper 2WD models are starting to get pretty rare as people strip them for parts.

Also no I don't have an AMPS car phone, I have the next best thing: this.
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Old 02-26-2018, 12:48 AM
Chip Chester Chip Chester is offline
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Not mine, no relation, etc.
'92 4WD 5-speed, surprisingly un-rusty for around here.
If my driveway wasn't full I'd get it for myself.
You'd have to work out delivery, though.

https://columbus.craigslist.org/cto/...510390321.html

You know why Yugos have heated rear windows, don't you?
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Old 02-26-2018, 01:18 AM
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First of all... I've never owned an original K car, but I will put forth the following: Lee Iacocca saved Chrysler corp. from ruin with the K cars, so if they were so awful, why did people keep buying them? Many of them are still on the road today. And in response to the no doubt numerous nay-sayers (as there WILL BE many), ANY cars that are made cheap and sold cheap get a bad rep, not necessarily because they're poorly made, but because they're bought by poor people, who don't maintain them properly, because they're poor!

I do however own a 93 Chrysler Lebaron convertible. It's what you'd call an EEK (Every Extended K car). I love that little car, it's a lot of fun. Though it's not a good example of reliability, because - who'd've guessed? - it was previously owned by poor people who abused it. But once I got past its initial problems, it never fails to serve me. Hell, I leave it alone outside for the whole winter, and it'll start right up in the spring without a jump. I have done a lot of work to it, and the great thing is that it's easy as pie to work on those cars. Tons of room in the engine bay, above AND below. Tiny little K frame ftw. Also, linkless sway bar, among many other neat little innovations.

That being said, any one of them you buy is going to be 20+ years old, you should set your sights a little newer, methinks. I like old cars as much as the next guy, but unless you're planning on restoring the car you get, newer would be better.


Lastly, on Yugos. I once saw an absolutely MINT Yugo going down the road and I had to pull up and tell the owner how neat that was. He and his passenger said it was a barn find, etc, etc, I told them, "Nice Yugo, and I see you brought a friend to help you push!"

:P
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Old 02-26-2018, 01:58 AM
Titan1a Titan1a is offline
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Try getting a GEO Metro. The three-cylinder is torquey and gets phenomenal fuel economy. Fairly roomy too! My brother's was very nice.
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Old 02-26-2018, 05:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadMan View Post
First of all... I've never owned an original K car, but I will put forth the following: Lee Iacocca saved Chrysler corp. from ruin with the K cars, so if they were so awful, why did people keep buying them? Many of them are still on the road today. And in response to the no doubt numerous nay-sayers (as there WILL BE many), ANY cars that are made cheap and sold cheap get a bad rep, not necessarily because they're poorly made, but because they're bought by poor people, who don't maintain them properly, because they're poor!
No kidding, they would do anything short of deliberately wrecking them. I've gotten flack for my interest in the Mercury Lynx (not to mention the slightly plainer-looking Ford Escort) but our '84 Lynx served us very well in spite of previous owners beating the tar out of it. Aside from the usual rusty exhaust system it came with a lot of Bondo on the driver's side quarter panel, an oil pan leak, a non-functioning parking brake, a busted half-shaft and a 4-speed that was VERY difficult to get into reverse. That was in 1992, and I've seen older ones in far better shape since then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MadMan View Post
I do however own a 93 Chrysler Lebaron convertible. It's what you'd call an EEK (Every Extended K car). I love that little car, it's a lot of fun. Though it's not a good example of reliability, because - who'd've guessed? - it was previously owned by poor people who abused it. But once I got past its initial problems, it never fails to serve me. Hell, I leave it alone outside for the whole winter, and it'll start right up in the spring without a jump. I have done a lot of work to it, and the great thing is that it's easy as pie to work on those cars. Tons of room in the engine bay, above AND below. Tiny little K frame ftw. Also, linkless sway bar, among many other neat little innovations.
I used to drive a 1987 Dodge Lancer ES. The only persistent mechanical problems it had was a transmission that often had trouble upshifting and trouble engaging at all in cold weather and a mysterious knock in the front end. Other than that the worst problems were a blown head gasket and a broken timing belt. All problems aside, it held up very well underneath in spite of all the salt used when Fail Town still had a real winter and the coldest weather never prevented it from starting, it just cranked slowly.

It had the optional 2.5 which was rather noisy, one time someone asked me if it was a diesel.
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Old 02-26-2018, 07:58 AM
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The later ones with fuel injection were really solid cars, that Aries OP linked above is a good example. They were simple, parts are still easy to come by and they are easy to wrench on. The 2.2 is a little underpowered, but the 2.5 will move it along pretty well.

The higher end models with Turbo are going to be more complicated, and try to avoid the earlier carbureted models. In addition to Reliant and Aries, you might want to search for Sundance and Shadow, or even better, a 4 cyl Acclaim or Spirit.
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Old 02-26-2018, 11:55 AM
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maxhifi maxhifi is offline
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I recall peeling factory paint, creaky doors, misaligned instrument clusters, stuffy and uncomfortable seats.. And by the late 1980s terribly outdated styling. Shift points in the 3 speed auto chosen to make driving as bland as possible.. They did really sell a lot of them so there must be something to it, and I've had at least one friend who absolutely swears by them, he's had three or four. Not my cup of tea, but they do have fans.

I think some of the last run K car descendants just before the Neon were available with a small Mitsubishi 6 cyl, which was a little more fun to drive, and fairly reliable.

Wasn't there a front wheel drive new yorker based on the K car chassis too? Those were a bit nicer than the usual K's.
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Old 02-26-2018, 01:19 PM
Gregb Gregb is offline
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We had a 1990 Dynasty which was an upscale K-car and it had a Mitsubishi V6 motor and it was an awesome car that got fantastic gas mileage. We bought it used and kept it a few years with very few problems. My one daughter bought an Aries with a 2.2 litre motor and we did have a lot of trouble with that one.

Gregb
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Old 02-26-2018, 02:02 PM
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CoogarXR CoogarXR is offline
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K-cars are easy to work on, and easy to get parts for. I just sold my 1985 Plymouth Voyager, which was technically a K-car. It had a 1985 Daytona turbo engine swapped in. It was a fun little ride.

I never had any real trouble with it. We also had a non-turbo 2.2 charger with the 5-speed. Never really had any trouble with it either.

I say, if you find one cheap enough, and it's been decently maintained, go for it.

I can say DON'T get a geo metro though. I had a 4-door one, and I had 4 people in it. I got hit broadside by a chick on a cell phone who ran a red light. All 4 of us ended up in the hospital. That car offered NO protection. Sure, they get phenomenal mileage, because they are a 3-cylinder-powered soda can.
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Old 02-26-2018, 02:50 PM
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Rust will be the biggest concern. Rocker, floorboards, torsion bar. These cars are really vintage now!
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