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re:Daily Drivers

To: spitfires@autox.team.net
Subject: re:Daily Drivers
From: Terry Thompson <epharisto@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 16:19:20 -0800 (PST)
I've used my Spitfire as a daily driver for the past
2-3 years after my "modern" car broke down. And I
don't mind driving my car everywhere, but when I think
of all of the times I've had a problem, it makes me
shake my head. But you don't consider them when you
think of all the fun you have driving the car.
Spitfires are such a blast.

  I abandoned my car 4 times in the past 4.5 years
that I've owned it. 

1) Unexpected snow-fall dumped a foot of snow in the
area in under 2 hours. Pulled to a side street and
walked the 3 miles home. (no car malfunction

2)  I lost a fan belt and didn't have a spare on me.
(it happened in a rural part of MD, and I had to walk
4  miles to get to a gas station). Luckily, the gas
station had (albeit dusty) one for the spitfire. But I
did get back to it later that day, so technically it
wasn't abandoned over-night. I always keep a spare
belt now. 

3)  One of the air filter retaining bolts fell out.
And the air filter pivoted/hinged down by default of
the other bolt, shutting off air flow to the carb. (by
now I'd learned to carry a cell-phone, so I got a
ride.) It was very late at night, it had started
snowing and I didn't see what caused the car to die
until the next morning. Ironically, it was almost in
the exact same spot that as where the car lost the fan

I've also had to call for a tow twice in the past 3
1) I threw a rod in the original engine 6 months after
I bought the car. (one of the rod bearings had given
up...Some suspect the "original" 47k miles may have
been more like 147k miles.)

2) A ZS carb that I'd had rebuilt a year previous
decided to start flooding the engine due to a torn
diaphram (this was after I installed an electric fuel
pump, so that was probably 'Dumb Current Owner'

 On atleast half a dozen others days I was able to
limp home or fix the problem forth with. 

-U-joints replaced (typical weakpoint in the car that
needs to be addressed)
-Blew out an exhaust...man that car was loud for a few
days. (23 year old steel will do that I hear)
-Crappy aftermarket thermostat kept the fan on and
killed the battery (that lead to the 'overheat' about
a week later). That was a tiwanese made piece of junk
-Blew out a second exhaust. I'd replaced the original
with a "used" original one. And it was free, and
served for a year. I got more than what I paaid for.
-Radiator sprung a leak (I had changed the fluid the
day before, and I think the 'cleaner' I put in to
flush the system ate away rust that was keeping the
hole closed. We'll call that one DCO error)
-Coil went bad and arced off of the housing (probably
was the original 20+ year old unit.)
-Alternator slipped and pivoted striking the fan
blades on the air pump bracket. This was a couple of
days before replacing the first fan I probably had
stretched the belt when I tightened the alternator.
(DCO error)
-Another fan belt (DCO error. had the belt too loose)
-Overheated (forgot to reconnect the elec. fan and
left the running and unattended for 30 minutes....Shut
up. DCO error.)
-Ran the car out of petrol about a city block from a
gas station (Let he who has never run out of gas, cast
the first stone). 
-Choke cable replaced (Do I really have to say who's
fault it was?) In my own defense, if they didn't want
me tinkering with it, they should have sealed it in a
hermedically sealed ABS plastic shell, damn it!
-Brake caliper came off while taking a turn. (DCO - I
didn't torque a bolt down tight enough.)

Okay, so I've been the cause of a lot of the problems.
But they say the only way you learn is by making
In the past year it's only had two real problems (The
ZS carb flooding and blowing out the exhaust), and a
lot of preventative maintenance (bearings replaced,
valve adjustment, diff. replaced, dizzy replaced, half
shaft replaced, suspension replaced) I'd even been
using my car for work for a month (100-200 miles a
day) during the summer to drive all over MD, VA and
DC, and no problems cropped up.

So, 15 times it's "broken down" in 4.5 years. Plus two
dozen or so times I've pulled over to 'investigate' a
strange noise or perform a tune-up on the side of the
road.  That's only about 40 times I've been
inconvenienced since buying the car.

Hmmm...So, does anyone know what rate GM is giving
right now for a 5 year car loan?
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