High miles on older vehicles

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1,935
Location
British Columbia, Canada
We hear about a significant number of modern vehicles going 300,000 or even 500,000 miles on the original and untouched power train these days. We also hear about the "good old days". My own experience in the old days wasn't that great: 1) My 1960 Dodge Dart Seneca 318 V8 3 speed push button automatic, was having transmission troubles by 85,000 miles and 7 years. 2) My 1965 Comet 289 V8 3 MT was a basket case by 80,000 miles and 10 years. It had already had a valve job (burned valve), was burning lots of oil (smoking on deceleration), and had rust bubbles over the up and down headlights. 3) But my 1963 Chevy II 194 I6 3 MT was still running strong at about 80,000 miles and 15 years, but had some rust problems (hole in passenger's floor boards, and perforation of the rear bottom corners of the front fenders). So I'd be interested in anyone who has personally put high miles on an earlier vehicle, lets say model year 1970 or earlier.
 
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5,364
Location
NJ
Older cars had a bit more "personality" than modern vehicles but they certainly didn't last as long.
 
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2,806
Location
Lakeside, CA
I had a 57 Chevy Pickup with 350,000 miles when I did a V8 swap. It smoked real bad. I am pretty sure it was original. Sister had a 64 Dodge Dart Slant 6 go 225,000 miles. She drove it to the junk yard.
 

ecotourist

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1,935
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British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted by Blkstanger
I had a 57 Chevy Pickup with 350,000 miles when I did a V8 swap. It smoked real bad. I am pretty sure it was original. Sister had a 64 Dodge Dart Slant 6 go 225,000 miles. She drove it to the junk yard.
Chevy V8s and Chrysler slant 6s were 2 famous and long lived engines.They even used Chev V8s and Chrysler Slant 6s on Massey Ferguson combines at one point. A friend of mine had a '60 Dodge Dart 225 CI Slant 6 blow the head gasket while idling at the gas pumps of the GM dealership where he worked. It was in rough shape generally - I believe he said every body panel had at least one dent. They towed it to the back of the lot. I don't know how many miles it had on it.
 
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16,486
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...
In general, older cars were easier to work on. As for floorboard holes, the common fix was to peel back the floor mat and insulation and use a old five pound coffee can that you cut and flattened.
 
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10,495
Location
Jupiter, Florida
Owned plenty of older vehicles. Few lasted a long time without major effort. Fuel injection is one contributing factor to long engine Life.
 

ecotourist

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1,935
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British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted by PimTac
In general, older cars were easier to work on. As for floorboard holes, the common fix was to peel back the floor mat and insulation and use a old five pound coffee can that you cut and flattened.
I pulled the floor mat back and put in a large fibreglass patch. That one part of my Chevy II became high tech. The death of the Chevy II to us was when my wife became too embarrassed to drive it (rusty fenders). It was still running fine. I "sold it" for almost nothing to my nephew who promptly took out the clutch - twice, in a few months. So of course he sold it (stupid car!); I saw it again, still running fine many years later.
 
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394
Location
CT USA
My first car was a 1963 Plymouth Valiant V200. Given to me by my grandmother in 1973 so I could get to work at a hospital while in college. Car was 10 years old with 66k miles. I drove it for 8 more years and sold it with 168k miles. Had a 170 cu slant 6 and the Torqueflite push button transmission that couldn't get out of its own way. LOL. Changed the oil every 2k miles with Quaker State 10w30 and a K Mart filter. Never changed the transmission fluid. Tuned it up every 12k with spark plugs, points, condenser and timing. Car was trouble free except it went through lots of mufflers and needed a carburetor rebuild. Burned about a quart per 1k miles all the time I owned it. Seemed consistent with other cars of the day. No rust despite New England salt and outdoor parking.
 
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3,460
Location
NC
Had a 1970 Pontiac Catalina that had round about 130,000 miles when I traded it. It had a Pontiac 400 engine with a 400 Turbo Hydramatic trans. Round about 100,000 miles a lifter went bad. Stuck a new set of TRW hydraulic lifters in it. Changed oil and filter every 3,000 with Texaco Havoline 10W-40. One of the best cars I have ever had. Old man that bought it drove it for years and years because I would see him every now and then around town.
 
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1,669
Location
Prospect, KY
Older cars required alot more constant attention but were normally easier to work on and engine bays had room to make working on them simpler. Even an engine or tranny swap was much easier and cheaper then than it is now.
 
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4,234
Location
Central Maryland
On 60's/early 70's cars... My family regularly got 125-135K miles out of mid-size and full-size Ford straight 6's and small block V-8's, at the usual cost of a starter, water pump, alternator, 2 mufflers and one set of the rest of the exhaust. They were all using oil by that point. When we tried to go further we usually paid for a transmission, a valve job, a radiator, ball joints, and some repeats on the first list. (Shocks were just maintenance.) In the mid 80's the family's late-70's Ford Fairmont needed a transmission rebuild before 100K miles... same C-4 they had always used, gently used and well maintained... which just shows how bad Ford quality had fallen down during the 70's. They couldn't even make their old stuff as well. An early Ford Escort needed everything replaced all the time over 80K miles. Except for extreme rust, the best car we had of that era was a mid-60's Chevy II Nova II with the straight 6. It needed almost nothing but tune-ups and occasional shocks and headlights. It's too bad rust took it out. Yes, cars are made better now. Even Fords, though, that's not a high bar.
 

ecotourist

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1,935
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British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted by HangFire
Except for extreme rust, the best car we had of that era was a mid-60's Chevy II Nova II with the straight 6. It needed almost nothing but tune-ups and occasional shocks and headlights. It's too bad rust took it out.
When mine was getting older I "gave it" a $100 account for repairs. When the money was gone it had to go. It never spent the money. One day my wife broke off the gear shift lever. I knew how to get the transmission into various gears with the levers under the hood. So I put it in 2nd gear and drove it across town to the shop that took care of bigger things. It seemed as though they (the Shirley Brothers in Saskatoon) had decided to keep that car going for almost nothing. They went to a salvage shop and brought back at least 4 different gear shift levers to make sure one fit. That repair cost me $10. Yes, too bad about the rust. My wife was parking in the same lot as the professors in her department. It did look pretty bad. We bought a new Toyota Celica and she got to drive the Ford Fiesta. It looked a lot better but in my opinion wasn't as good a car.
 
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36,272
Location
ME
BIL had a 72 Chevy nova with the 307/powerglide. 100ish k miles he had to rebuild the motor "just to get the carbon out." They did a driveway rebuild and the engine outlived the car (due to rust). That engine found its way into a 1980 scottsdale with a TH350 and gearing for the 250-6 cyl, which, of course, blew up. Both engine and truck were happy from then on out until, of course, rust gobbled them up.
 
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586
Location
Raleigh NC
Originally Posted by atikovi
No comparison what with inferior lubricants and coolants, minimal or no rust protection and lenient tolerances.
I think one of the big causes of oil consumption was the primitive seal materials, particularly valves and main seals. I had a couple of 60s 318 Mopars that ran over 150k, but used oil.
 
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1,338
Location
south dakota
Engines didn't last long in the old days. We had a nearby large junkyard and it was almost impossible to find a small block Chevrolet engine to use as a replacement for a blown engine. In todays world you can find lots of replacement engines that are in very good shape. A neighbor had a 1969 Pontiac station wagon with 160,00 miles that still ran great and had tons of power. The neighbor kid would rod the crap out of it and it took a beating and the car looked nice and clean. Regular maintenance and oil and filter changes made them last a lot longer.
 
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