Xeon

"Best" daily driver?

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See, I mean I really don't need anything "super fast". If I can go on the highways, pass slow people and take off from a red light at a reasonable speed, I'm happy. My father drives a 2002 s10 2.2l with around 90HP to the tires, and that's just a little slow for me. Has a hard time climbing small hills if we're hauling anything.

 

My '02 S10 has an automatic with the anemic 2.2 liter engine RATED @ 120 HP ahead of it too.

At 75 MPH it's all in.......  :angry:  .......and that's with AC OFF.

At a curb weight of about 3000 pounds it's pretty doggy.

My '65 Mustang Coupe with 200 cubes in six cylinders in a car that weighs about 400 pounds less is snappy as all get out @ 120 rated HP.......  :D

My '59 Chevy with 235 cubes in six cylinders rated @ 135 HP ahead of a 3 speed manual in a car weighing about 3700 pounds will wipe the floor with the S10.

Horsepower, in and of itself, doesn't really mean all that much.

 

Getting back to BEST daily driver.......there isn't ONE.

I would and DO drive both of the cars mentioned above frequently and wouldn't be afraid to drive them anywhere so don't get stuck in a particular time frame.

 

That said quantum leaps in COLLISION safety are built into later cars so you might want to consider that.......  ;)

Edited by cahartley (see edit history)

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Forget HP it is not important except for top speed. Torque and more importantly the torque curve is what is important. That said there have been great improvements in recent years with variable valve timing.

My 59 Jag with a 3.4L/210 cid 6 had a torque peak of 240 lb-ft at 4800 rpm, rpm, '12 Jeep 3.6 260 lb-ft at 4800 rpm. Howerver the Jag was rated at 250 hp and the Jeep, 290hp the main difference being the Jeeps torque curve is almost flat (within 90% of peak) from 1800 to 6400 rpm so the area under the torque curve is far greater for the Jeep than the Jag. That area is what determines accelleration. (of course the Jeep weighs about 50% more than the Jag so hardly faster).

BTW back in the day the adage was that for the first 20 feet off the line, nothing could beat a VW. Except a man on foot.

ps speaking of flow, it is a lot easier to make a 6 breathe well than an 8. IMNSHO.

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Xeon you would be wise to check with your insurance co before you buy a car. My guess would be, rates should not be too bad for an older, six cylinder or small V8. Get a big V8, like over 350 cu in, or a car with a "fast name" like GTO, Road Runner, Mustang etc and rates can be much higher.

 

But, they change the rules all the time so it pays to ask.

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Sorry I've been off for awhile. Although you guys are probably getting a little bored with me anyway haha!

 

So, I'm not going in depth about why it really matters as I think it may have fallen through, but..

 

All in all, how do you think a 1981 Trans am would fit into what I want from the thread? Any major problems for that year? Any really awesome things from that year? Just anything big as I don't even Standard/Automatic.

 

I'm going out of town, leaving tomorrow and coming back on Thursday/Friday and won't have secure internet, so I'll only be able to read replies and reply when I get back.

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Well the turbo 301 was only available with automagic and was not a memorable motor. If you want a fast turbo TA, 89 is the only year.

Can tell an 81 TTA by the screaming chicken facing the driver's side. See the second S&B movie but they had to add nitrous for the jumps.

Or here at about 1:08.

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Well the turbo 301 was only available with automagic and was not a memorable motor. If you want a fast turbo TA, 89 is the only year.

Can tell an 81 TTA by the screaming chicken facing the driver's side. See the second S&B movie but they had to add nitrous for the jumps.

Or here at about 1:08.

 

 

Was it a well built motor? Reliability wise?

 

Chances are, whatever it is it's going to need all new decals.

 

 

Is it an engine that will come alive with all of the "basic" engine upgrades? Cam/Carb/Exhaust/Headers/Intake etc or is it just slow?

Edited by Xeon (see edit history)

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See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontiac_301_Turbo

 

It wasn't a bad engine per se and while the turbo version had a stronger block, it was never considered a "strong" engine like the Chevrolet 302, more like the 305 except there were virtually no aftermarket parts, it was a different family from any other engine though shared some design features from the 303. Biggest limitation was releatively small valve heads. 81 Turbo is more refined than the 80 version and had a lock three speed automatic trans.

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See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontiac_301_Turbo

 

It wasn't a bad engine per se and while the turbo version had a stronger block, it was never considered a "strong" engine like the Chevrolet 302, more like the 305 except there were virtually no aftermarket parts, it was a different family from any other engine though shared some design features from the 303. Biggest limitation was releatively small valve heads. 81 Turbo is more refined than the 80 version and had a lock three speed automatic trans.

 

So overall, it wasn't a great engine for anything really.

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One way to think about it was that 68-72 was the first gen of smog controls that did not do much though by 72 compression ratios were dropping. 73-80 was the second gen where Detroit was still trying to update old designs. Though there were some precursors to the third gen slightly earlier and catalytic converters came in 1975 true feedback control did not arrive until 1981. So 81-92 is the third gen as everything downsized but Detroit was still resisting new technology. 93-about 03 is the next group but still dominated by iron blocks with cams in. Innovation was really comng from Europe and the Orient with OHC and VVT but Detroit was still retooling for alloy engines for everyone.

 

And now we are in the new golden age and horsepower is back, this time with MPG to go with it and boosted/Direct Injection engines are starting to appear. True we are seeing innovation in the form of electric/hybrids/diesel but our whole infrastructure is based around petrolium and it is still the densest energy medium around (a few thousand Teslas are fine but a million or two ? Ever hear of logistics ?)

 

Personally, I'm just enjoying modern times when I can have 500 albums on my telephone and there is a slot for it on all of my dashes. And no tapes to wrap around the capistan.

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So since my 2007 Crossie is really a 2001 SLK320 it's perfect.

This should be a CL primer.

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I watched 3 of your Mercedes guys videos and it was all I could stand. Man o man can he waste time bloviating over nothing. He may know what he is talking about, he doesn't really say one way or the other,  but it takes forever to say the simplest thing. 45 minutes of videos could be put into less than 5.

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Well, thanks for the info guys!

 

The reason I asked about that 81 trans am is because my neighbor may(The chances have gone down to near nothing that's why I'm telling) be actually giving me one. For nothing.

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The price is right. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth they say. If you can get it, bring it home and figure out what it needs to go on the road safely. If it is too much you can get rid of it, otherwise you have some time to work on it before you need a car.

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I don't know what I'm going to do..

 

I've just been looking more and more at safety, reliability and practicality and the old cars I want just don't have any of it.. I don't know what I'm going to get..

 

Cause for like <5k I could get an MX-5 with low miles in good condition where safety, reliability and practicality are all present. For a small convertible I hear they're pretty safe.

 

 

I would just rather something old by a longshot.

 

 

...

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Nothing wrong with a Miata, they can be very reliable fun cars with a loyal following. Mazda stepped into the gap when english sports cars departed and American convertibles were very rare. I considered a '90 at one point until I realized I cared more about the AC than the top going down.

Part of the question we have not asked is "what kid of driving do you expect to do ?" One of my requirements is to be able to point south from Orlando, punch the cruise at 70ish, and relax for a few hours. Except for the Judge (kinda thirsty for 93+) any of my cars can do this and go there and back on a tank (380-420 miles depending on putzing done) - gas is usually 10% cheaper here & am scots.

Really the only rule is that there are no rules (am considering a S2000. Like the 9,000 rpm redline but do not care for the dash.) Once you get past basic transportation, it is all individual preferance. That's what makes this a hobby.

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If you are now looking at a Miata go take a look at a Reatta. Still have some styling, modern convienances, cheap on gas and a very dependable drive train.

 On top of it they are still pretty inexpensive and they have an excellant support forum.

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Might be hard to find in Brazil, they were a hard sell in this country. Are two in my .sig. Were milllions of 3800/4T60s made. Didn't mention because was trying to stay unbiased & all of the electronics can be daunting. One of a very few computer cars to have full diagnostics built into the dash. 1991 is probably the easiest to maintain & 89-90 the most common..

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I don't know what I'm going to do..

 

I've just been looking more and more at safety, reliability and practicality and the old cars I want just don't have any of it.. I don't know what I'm going to get..

 

Cause for like <5k I could get an MX-5 with low miles in good condition where safety, reliability and practicality are all present. For a small convertible I hear they're pretty safe.

 

 

I would just rather something old by a longshot.

 

 

...

I don't know how "safe" I'd consider a Miata, for a young driver.  Yes, it has all the modern components and has passed the govt's fixed barrier tests, but one has to consider that in the real world mass and size count for something, if not everything.  The 4WD trucks around where I live would mostly drive up and over a Miata, taking the Miata driver's head with them.

 

For "like <5K", you're in the neighborhood of the early 5.0 Mustangs...search ebay for "solds" for any of the early 80s years and you'll see you have quite a choice.  Like this:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ford-Mustang-GT-/171938439215?forcerrptr=true&hash=item280854602f:g:W8oAAOSwv0tVY2df&item=171938439215

 

If you find a car, any car, that has been sitting a long time and needs considerable work, even if you get it for free it will cost you more than something like the Mustang. 

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Nothing wrong with a Miata, they can be very reliable fun cars with a loyal following. Mazda stepped into the gap when english sports cars departed and American convertibles were very rare. I considered a '90 at one point until I realized I cared more about the AC than the top going down.

Part of the question we have not asked is "what kid of driving do you expect to do ?" One of my requirements is to be able to point south from Orlando, punch the cruise at 70ish, and relax for a few hours. Except for the Judge (kinda thirsty for 93+) any of my cars can do this and go there and back on a tank (380-420 miles depending on putzing done) - gas is usually 10% cheaper here & am scots.

Really the only rule is that there are no rules (am considering a S2000. Like the 9,000 rpm redline but do not care for the dash.) Once you get past basic transportation, it is all individual preferance. That's what makes this a hobby.

 

Yeah, except for only seating two which could be a problem they look almost perfect.

 

See, I don't have an answer to that. I really have no idea what kind of driving I'm going to be doing.

 

That's the other one, an S2000!

 

If you are now looking at a Miata go take a look at a Reatta. Still have some styling, modern convienances, cheap on gas and a very dependable drive train.

 On top of it they are still pretty inexpensive and they have an excellant support forum.

 

Yeah, I actually was kinda interested in them. They actually seem pretty cheap for what they are, but they seem to be pretty hard to find around here. And probably even harder to get parts for.

 

Saw a convertible a few days ago. Not for sale though..

 

I don't know how "safe" I'd consider a Miata, for a young driver.  Yes, it has all the modern components and has passed the govt's fixed barrier tests, but one has to consider that in the real world mass and size count for something, if not everything.  The 4WD trucks around where I live would mostly drive up and over a Miata, taking the Miata driver's head with them.

 

For "like <5K", you're in the neighborhood of the early 5.0 Mustangs...search ebay for "solds" for any of the early 80s years and you'll see you have quite a choice.  Like this:  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ford-Mustang-GT-/171938439215?forcerrptr=true&hash=item280854602f:g:W8oAAOSwv0tVY2df&item=171938439215

 

If you find a car, any car, that has been sitting a long time and needs considerable work, even if you get it for free it will cost you more than something like the Mustang. 

 

True, but overall I'd still think they'd be safer than most of the older cars in the more common accidents just due to having the modern safety features like airbags.

 

That was my first recommendation, I just can't stand how they look.

 

 

 

I'm still figuring stuff out.

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a Miata and  Reatta may both be 2 seaters that end in "ata", but they drive completely differently. 

 

I think more what he meant was the obvious things. Gas, safe enough, two seater, dependable, sporty etc which is kind of what I'm looking for.  Although I bet a lot of things fall into that catagory.

 

I've been looking at the Reattas, and all the electronics they have inside are awesome! It seems like everything is electronic in that car! Although doesn't that mean just more stuff that can, and will, fail? They're also insanely cheap. There's one on CL here for 2500 that looks like it has an amazing interior and only somewhat faded paint. With only 90-ish k miles!

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Now that the subject is broached, for me the Reatta is an ideal daily driver. Went for a year when the blue coupe was my only car. Also is a strong forum here and several parts suppliers. 90s were the first to have a driver airbag but with the long nose an accident is going on way out there and not back at the seat.

 

Parts: some of the electronic modules have to come from one of the vendors but they are very reliable and there is a ton of DIY information on the GM P4 computer system. The Reatta is also one of the few cars that has full diagnostics and error detection built in. Just press off, warm, and wiggle your ears at the same time and it will tell you eveything a Tech-1 can.

 

Finally the whole 3800/440T4/4T60/4T60E/4T65E (were more changes to the trans than the engine) drivetrain was used in almost everything GM from the late 80s to the 00's (with updates). Some have even transplanted the legendary L-67 supercharged engine and a Getrag manual transmission, it all fits just is a different crowd from the SBC in everything guys.

 

Need a tune, try GMTuners.. Just an easily replacable PROM.

 

As to room, I have put a 32" TV in the box behind the seats and then there is a full trunk. Even know of some who have properly mounted a child seat in the back or a luggage rack on the trunk lid. Convertible has less (I have both).

 

And repairs ? GM is being obstinate but suspect you can find service manuals and parts books plus a wealth of tutorials all online (GM recinded permission recently to post their scanned manuals but on the Internet everything is forever).

</fanaticism>

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Now that the subject is broached, for me the Reatta is an ideal daily driver. Went for a year when the blue coupe was my only car. Also is a strong forum here and several parts suppliers. 90s were the first to have a driver airbag but with the long nose an accident is going on way out there and not back at the seat.

 

Parts: some of the electronic modules have to come from one of the vendors but they are very reliable and there is a ton of DIY information on the GM P4 computer system. The Reatta is also one of the few cars that has full diagnostics and error detection built in. Just press off, warm, and wiggle your ears at the same time and it will tell you eveything a Tech-1 can.

 

Finally the whole 3800/440T4/4T60/4T60E/4T65E (were more changes to the trans than the engine) drivetrain was used in almost everything GM from the late 80s to the 00's (with updates). Some have even transplanted the legendary L-67 supercharged engine and a Getrag manual transmission, it all fits just is a different crowd from the SBC in everything guys.

 

Need a tune, try GMTuners.. Just an easily replacable PROM.

 

As to room, I have put a 32" TV in the box behind the seats and then there is a full trunk. Even know of some who have properly mounted a child seat in the back or a luggage rack on the trunk lid. Convertible has less (I have both).

 

And repairs ? GM is being obstinate but suspect you can find service manuals and parts books plus a wealth of tutorials all online (GM recinded permission recently to post their scanned manuals but on the Internet everything is forever).

</fanaticism>

 

Wow.

 

Now, all in all are they as rare as Wikipedia says they are? Are they something that I should feel bad running day after day mile after mile until then engine just wears out? And before someone just goes with the "He's 16 so the engine will probably die at less than 100k miles because he'll never do maintenance" or something, don't. I will.

 

Reliability wise, if well maintained can they last a while? Like 200k miles isn't uncommon or..

 

I don't mean to sound stupid but, when you said millions of the 3800/4T60s were made, is that the engine or..

 

 

Unrelated: For oil in anything, can and should it be converted to synthetic if it's not already? I've just always wondered this.

 

 

And lastly, I'm not buying anything for awhile as everyone knows, but if I were is this about normal for this condition? https://montgomery.craigslist.org/cto/5295294932.html

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