First American car, and I'm disappointed

zio

Mr. Atlas
Jul 28, 2000
2,291
0
All my life, I've owned foreign cars- starting with a VW Scirrocco, then a Jetta, then a Toyota pickup ('89, 2wd base version and favorite to date), Acura Integra, Nissan Pathfinder, Infiniti Q45. I've never been unconfident in their integrity, even the VW's. The build quality of all seemed at least average (the '80 Scirrocco being the oldest and worst). Aside from my dad's current Chevy Blazer, my parents have only owned VW's/Volvos/Porsches/Hondas.

We just traded in the Pathfinder for a '97 Mercury Villager. It's a sibling of the Nissan Quest, and I was under the impression that the entire vehicle was built by Nissan, and rebadged by Ford. Not so, I just found out. Only the engine is built by Nissan- it's their bulletproof 3.3 V6). The rest of the entire vehicle is built/assembled by Ford. No wonder I didn't recognize any of the parts when we first looked at it. (Thanks a lot, Consumer Reports. Idiots.) I wouldn't have bought it if I had known.

We bought the vehicle on 8/2. I just got a call from the service manager at the local dealer where the car is being fixed- it's going to cost over $1100 to fix the rear brakes, plug their computer in to tell me why the "check engine" light came on (by the way, it went off the morning we took the car in), and fix the dash lights that mysteriously quit working a few days after purchase. Also, we accidentaly discovered that the rear wiper is inoperative, as is the passenger side window switch. While I probably have recourse with the dealer for these items not working, who's to say they didn't work the day we drove off the lot.

You know how when you first get into a vehicle you've never seen before, it takes a while to get used to and familiarize yourself with it- well after a month I must say this is nothing like any of the other cars I've owned. What crappy engineering and craftsmanship. Now that I think about it, it reminds me of my mother-in-law's Taurus. Why on earth would anyone buy one of these American cars (unless they hadn't first driven a comparable Euro/Japanese vehicle) is beyond me. I just feel stupid for not realizing this before buying. :o

Thank God we bought a warranty. Let's just see how much of this it'll cover. I've had good luck with them in the past, so I'm optimistic.
 

DaddGoneMadd

Member
Apr 23, 2000
47
0
I'm going to jump out on a limb here, and agree with you. American cars, though they are definately getting better, suffer from too little engineering, and too much " it looks cool ". I believe this is the blame of the consumers though, and not the designers. They only build what the herd will buy. America is leading the world in the aviation/aerospace industry, so obviously we are capable of top notch engineering and build quality.
 

zio

Mr. Atlas
Jul 28, 2000
2,291
0
no kidding. We build the best fighter planes, the best bombers, the best cruise missiles, the best "everything that matters". So why not the best cars?

Seriously- I went to possibly the best engineering AND aviation school in the country- a small university in Texas called LeTourneau University. LeTourneau consistently turns out top-notch M.E.'s & E.E's, and their test scores continually beat out those of students at M.I.T., for example. The aviation was ranked ahead of the Airforce Academy when I was there. And you know where all these guys go after graduation? The aviation/aerospace industry. NASA. Lockheed. Cessna. General Dynamics.

Of course, I was a business major.:o I tried the aviation program, but dropped out after the first semester. Those courses regulated by the FAA are tough!
 

justql

Sponsoring Member<BR>Club Moderator
LIFETIME SPONSOR
Oct 23, 2000
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Drive your foriegn car. I'll stick to American, if flawed they are at least OUR flaws.;)
 

nephron

Dr. Feel Good
LIFETIME SPONSOR
Jun 15, 2001
2,552
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What the hell is a Mercury Villager? :scream:

Just the NAME ought to be an obvious deterrent. :think

If you have a bad feeling about it, dump it. Your initial concerns are probably spot-on. Just get rid of it.

There's more here though, eh? What made you buy one? Price? Liked the look of a classroom on wheels? Favor to a friend in the business?

About the American vs. "other" stuff--I'm no longer as staunch about it, but still am a pretty dedicated GM man. Hmmm, on the other hand, my car is a 92 300E Mercedes with 130,000 miles on it AND LITERALLY RUNS AND RIDES LIKE IT'S BRAND NEW. You CANNOT get a car like that in America. However, Mercedes' are no longer made this way today either.

Japanese quality is obviously excellent. Go with it if that's what you like. If you want to go back to Germany, get an older Benz. One hell of a deal! :)
 

zio

Mr. Atlas
Jul 28, 2000
2,291
0
Yeah, basically I like the "short-bus" look. Plus, it seems to have made me invisible to hotties which is always good for your soul.:silly:
 

keith500r

Member
Jul 27, 2001
261
0
I agree that a lot of American cars have their problems, but there are some good cars, they dont all suck. Im sure you could find a single type of car that was complete crap from just about any auto manufacturer.
 

Kyron

Member
Feb 3, 2001
65
0
:p You bought the WORST looking (is there such a thing?) Mini-van.. LOL

But don't compare a Mercury Villiager to any GM product....

How bad did the salesman sell the minivan to you???

I have a 95 Pontiac Grand Prix with 140k on it and it still runs great :think
 

KelvinKDX

LIFETIME SPONSOR
Aug 25, 2000
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Your '97 Villager/Quest (program VX54) was designed by Nissan/Ford together (mostly Nissan). You are correct that it is built by Ford - at the Avion Lake Plant near Clevland, OH. Most of the original tooling for the facility was done in Japan. At the same plant where they made Zero's for WWII in Zama-City.
 

zio

Mr. Atlas
Jul 28, 2000
2,291
0
Kyron- no, the salesman didn't "sell me"- I've gotten so good at dealing with salesmen and their crap. No, we picked it out ourselves- we were looking for Quests/Villagers. They were the only older model Japanese minivans we could afford that still had enough room inside, except for the Toyota Previa- that's the ugliest ov the minivans. My dad has a Chevy Blazer with the 4.3 v6 with 190k miles on it, and it still runs fine (albeit very smokey). The motor has been great- it's everything else that's fallen apart over and over again.

Kelvin- Yeah, I know but what was Kawasaki building during WWII? :p Hey, no one's more upset than me for having to buy Japanese. I have an uncle on the U.S.S. Arizona, and one other that survived the great march and the internment camps. But come on, I'm not going to pay for sub-par work. If you ask me, the big three could make better vehicles if they wanted (read: had) to. America is just too set in it's ways. Like Yellowdog Democrats.
 

zio

Mr. Atlas
Jul 28, 2000
2,291
0
And, it doesn't resemble any Nissan I've ever owned (Pathfinder, or Infiniti Q45)- not parts or performance- except for the engine. I did, however, notice that the $300 "part" (don't know what int he heck it was) that was replaced for the dash lights had two diff/ part #'s on it- one moarked for Ford, one for Nissan.
 

nephron

Dr. Feel Good
LIFETIME SPONSOR
Jun 15, 2001
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Yeah, I know but what was Kawasaki building during WWII
What the.........DID Kawasaki make during WWII? :scream:
 

OnAnySunday

Big Pig
LIFETIME SPONSOR
Nov 20, 2000
998
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lost in the deserts of NM
Originally posted by Kyron :
":p You bought the WORST looking (is there such a thing?) Mini-van.. LOL"

Not minivans, but there have been much MUCH worse.
The infamous Pontiac Aztec for instance. One of the ugliest on the planet.
And how about that new Chevy Z-71 (??) 4 door truck? Y U C K !!
Whoever desined those piles of scrap need to be taken out and whipped.
(although after the poor sales figures came in, i'm sure that probably already happened.)
And how about Ford's new "cutting edge" wedgeomatic styling?
uhhhhhhhh, B A R F !! Heck, even the Mustang's ugly now.
(whatever happened to the functional charm of the '79 to '90 models?)


"I have a 95 Pontiac Grand Prix with 140k on it and it still runs great :think "

True, with a little t.l.c. good old American iron can last ages.
Some that i've owned:
1988 Bronco2 -w- 145,000
1980 Thunderbird GT -w- 175,000 + (best car i ever owned)
1990 Bronco2 -w- 130,000 (and climbing. only replaced the starter, battery, brakes, and LH front hub.)
1977 Thunderbird -w- over 200,000.
1975 Chevy Monza V-8 -w- 150,000.

PS; the only reason i sold ANY of the above (and several others) was either due to accident, lifestyle change, or inclement weather. None of them had terminal problems.
PPS: There wasnt a eastern car built (at the time) that could smoke the '80 'Bird by the way. :p :p
 

tristan68

Member
Mar 14, 2001
79
0
Originally posted by nephron
[Hmmm, on the other hand, my car is a 92 300E Mercedes with 130,000 miles on it AND LITERALLY RUNS AND RIDES LIKE IT'S BRAND NEW. You CANNOT get a car like that in America. However, Mercedes' are no longer made this way today either.

Japanese quality is obviously excellent. Go with it if that's what you like. If you want to go back to Germany, get an older Benz. One hell of a deal! :) [/B]

my 1996 C280, almost has 100,000 miles and still rides like new too.
Mercedes can still make solid cars.

only thing i'll buy american are trucks, gotta get my F250 crew cab 4x4 powerstroke diesel
hopefully in november:)

those japanese trucks are nice but too small.
 

Ramski

Member
Feb 6, 2001
131
0
Kawasaki built fighter aircraft during WW2

I'm the same. I've only owned Japanese and never had one complaint. My 95 Maxima keeps having the engine check light come on. Dealer got it to go away the first time, but from what I hear its nothing to worry about. Could be a bad sensor. Anyway, I'm in the market for a truck and need to decide on the GMC Sierra Extended Cab or Nissan Frontier Crew Cab. I would love the size of the GMC and love the interior, but still worried about American products. I'm reading and talking to as many prior owners as possible. Hopefully I'll be happy with whatever I purchase.
 

rickshaw

Sponsoring Member
Sep 24, 2000
404
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opinion from detroit

this one the most humorous post's I've seen!

I sell maintenance operations software to GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda and have visited a majority of their plants. If you think Toyota and Honda have a better manufacturing process than their peers, you are kidding yourselves! Certainly we all can agree that quality varies between companies regardless of where they are built.

For example, did anyone mention the NINE recalls on the BMW M5, or the 39 quality infractions on the Mercedes ML platform identified by JD Powers? Does anyone know that the Jaguar fenders on their smaller platform are stamped on presses in Dearborn MI dating back to 1927?

A majority of cars have flaws, some depending on the day of the week they were assembled. I have owned 3 BMW's. Great cars, nothing drives like a BMW. Getting it fixed is like a Mercedes, get your wallet out for minor major tuneups to maintain your maintenance book and resale value.

Here's a long awaited point, Zio, you bought a used car and it appears that you've been had! You have no idea who owned the car or how they didn't maintain it:( Next time consider buying a new vehicle.

PS. I drive a 98' Taurus SHO and a 97 Chevy Tahoe w/145K.

Better luck next time.
 

zio

Mr. Atlas
Jul 28, 2000
2,291
0
my next car will be a truck- either an old Toyota pickup with the 22R, or a new(er) T100
 

WoodsRider

Sponsoring Member<BR>Club Moderator
Damn Yankees
Oct 13, 1999
2,812
0
Re: opinion from detroit

Next time consider buying a new vehicle.
As someone who has never purchased a new vehicle I don't agree with this advice. Basically all new vehicles (except for maybe Hyundai and Kia) seem extremely plush when new. What matters is how long a vehicle lasts under normal wear and tear. The best advice I have ever been given is test drive used vehicles of the same make and model you are looking at. Especially if you can find them in the range of 20K to 80K miles. This will give you an idea of how the vehicle will "feel" after a few years. Then look for used vehicles with less than 24K miles, particularly lease vehicles.

The only new vehicle we ever had was a '92 Dodge Shadow Convertible that my wife bought before we were married. That car was nothing but a hole we kept throwing money into. At 80K, right after we just sank close to $1500 into it, it caught fire while my wife was driving to work one day. :eek: Luckily the insurance company gave us more money than that POS was worth. :cool:
 

placelast

Member
Apr 11, 2001
1,298
1
Originally posted by zio
my next car will be a truck- either an old Toyota pickup with the 22R, or a new(er) T100

I'd suggest the larger of the two, only because the ride will be better & has more room. :think driving a "ferin" truck in Fresno? Lol. Not much farmin' left, eh?

If you do get a T-100, do not get the '95; I know of two that eat front tires; later models improved (bushings?)

I have a '95 xtracab (now 180k mi.) Don't know about GM or Mopar, but the F-150 rides better, is quieter, has more power, & gets ~ same fuel mileage. Tho I understand your reservations re: reliability - thats what you get in exchange.
 

XRpredator

AssClown SuperPowers
Damn Yankees
Aug 2, 2000
13,510
19
Well Zio, you're the exact opposite of me. I've owned nothing but American rigs (actually, GM all the way), except for one moment of clouded thought. My little buttercup wanted a "sporty-lookin" rig, and she was in love with the Isuzu Rodeo. I buckled and got her one. The worst mistake I ever made. The power windows worked funky, the seats fit weird, the cruise control was a little off, and to top it off, the sucker flooded! I didn't know you could flood a fuel injected engine! Needless to say, that sucker hit the move list and she's driven a Chevy ever since (96 S-Blazer, 97 Tahoe).

I'd never own another furren rig, except for maybe a beater for around town. At least I know how to work on my ol' Chevys.
 

fastkevin

Member
Oct 22, 2000
20
0
I let my wife make the same mistake you did. Only her's was a Saturn. It flooded too. I was told (by Saturn) that when cold. the injection unit "pools" fuel more or less to run a higher idle. This evidently aids the warm up, like a choke. Anyway, if you don't let the "P.O.S." warm up before shutting it down (like if you need to move the pile out of the way of a real car), all of that extra fuel floods it out. I don't know if that had anything to do with it's bad coil(s), ignition module, battery, spark plug wires, etc.., but I do know I haven't looked back after kicking that junk to the curb.
I have: '99 Sub pretty good, but not a daily driver, a '94 toy truck (22RE) with 135k. GREAT truck, and a '01 Silverado 5.3 (9.5k) so far so good. I had a '97 T100 X-cab gave it to my G-pa and he loved it, until he got whacked by a 10,000 pound commercial truck last December. Funny thing is; the insurance co. gave him almost $20k for it, and it wasn't even an SR5, and had 50kmi on it. He turned around and got an F-150 ('98 V8 XLT w/ 25kmi) for $16k-He hates it. Want's another T100. But what does he know, he's 80:D
 

zio

Mr. Atlas
Jul 28, 2000
2,291
0
Originally posted by placelast


. :think driving a "ferin" truck in Fresno? Lol. Not much farmin' left, eh?


I wouldn't know- just moved here from the coast last year. But from the looks of things- I'm the foreigner!;) Yeah, there's quite a few farms left, but many of the small orchards within city limits are being leveled in favor of tract homes.

XRP- sorry man, guess I'm just not as patriotic as you are, bro!:p
 

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