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erohslc
erohslc Reader
6/14/10 9:12 p.m.

Was watching 'Wheeler Dealers' do a Corvette, I burst out laughing when the host referred to 'dodgy American Car electrics'. But he did it several more times in the show (2 episodes). Is this guy the son of Joseph Lucas or something? The 'hoopty doo' digital display on the Vette (C5?) had failed, needed a new one. Except for a broken wire to the headlight closing mechanism, and a bad radiator thermostat (both likely due to DPO), everything worked perfectly.

I've been a victim of Little British Car disease for 40 years, and Lucas is a an epithet. OTH, my experience with Corvette electrics is limited.

Do American cars really have a bad rep for electrics vs Brit? (Never mind how they would know, after all, how many American cars were exported to Ye Olde?)

Carter

CLH
CLH New Reader
6/14/10 9:26 p.m.

Yeah, my wife was reading a book as I watched that episode, overheard that comment and even SHE couldn't believe a Brit was going on about American electrics. The broken wire to the headlight motor relay looked like it had been spliced (badly) once or twice before.

Some of the stuff those guys do while 'fixing' up the cars is a bit suspect. Case in point, on this particular C4 they got rid of the hacked-in fan switch but chose to put in a stand-alone thermo-switch rather than replace the faulty temp sensor. Mostly good fun to watch though.

oldeskewltoy
oldeskewltoy Dork
6/14/10 10:06 p.m.

Why do the English drink warm beer..........

........ Lucas makes their refrigerators.

There is a guy here in Portland with an E-Type... using all denso(Toyota) electrics....

Lugnut
Lugnut Dork
6/14/10 10:16 p.m.
oldeskewltoy wrote: Why do the English drink warm beer.......... ........ Lucas makes their refrigerators.

This can't be true. There are no British manufacturers of refrigerators - they can't figure out how to make them leak oil.

pres589
pres589 Reader
6/14/10 11:09 p.m.

The thing I did like about that add-in thermostatic controller for an electric fan was that Edd could set the turn on/off temp for whatever he wanted.

As a 6th gen VFR owner I almost started drooling at the idea of being able to turn on at least one of the cooling fans on my bike at something below the factory ~220F.

I did find their comments about electrical problems with American cars a little odd until I remembered all of the electrical problems (that I'm too lazy to fix) I have with my 1999 Olds Intrigue.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim Dork
6/15/10 1:47 a.m.

I haven't seen the episode but my guess was that it's an earlier C4. Most of them have to have the digital dashboard repaired.

Given the standard of electrical bodgery^Wrepair I've seen on cars here in the UK, I'd call those comments posturing rather than anything else. One of the bikes that went in the US-bound container yesterday has had some electric repairs done here. I'm planning to fix those next winter, they're horrible, half a step above twisting together wires and then sticking them together with insulating tape (had that one, too). I'll probably end up partially replacing the loom, which is going to be fun on a 35 yo Italian bike (yes, the original Italian electrics are better than the UK repair to them).

One of the Mercedes I had here nearly caught fire thanks to someone who didn't bother fixing a get-me-home repair properly. Half the rear loom ended up melting and was suspiciously black in places. Fortunately I had noticed the smell of the magic smoke starting to escape.

The fan with inline controller was probably a Kenlowe, they're fairly popular here as an add-on for classic cars, plus they tend to save a little fuel over an engine driven fan, too.

Oh, and with me being German and all that, my UK house has a Siemens fridge and a Miele washing machine . I can't figure why...

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
6/15/10 4:49 a.m.

When my US Mini dealer was educating me on these cars prior to my buying one, one of the things they commented on was the difference between UK and US opinions on what constituted a 'good' repair. According to them, my car was 'restored' before being sold to them. This meant it had a Maaco quality respray and new pattern cheapo bumpers. The standards there are generally much lower than ours.

foxtrapper
foxtrapper PowerDork
6/15/10 5:00 a.m.
erohslc wrote: Do American cars really have a bad rep for electrics vs Brit?

When it comes to defective electronic dashboards, the US companies take the cake. They all fail, and are non-replaceable or repairable. There's a whole lot of cars in the junk yards just because the dashboard failed.

Most Lucas problems are really Smith/Jaeger problems.

ZOO
ZOO Dork
6/15/10 6:16 a.m.

I've read that pre-91 C4s have wiring harnesses that are problematic at this age due to poor insulation of the wiring against the heat generated by the motors.

Of course, I can't easily put my finger on that nugget of information at this time, so take it for what it's worth.

I never had any issue with my 92 C4 and wiriing.

integraguy
integraguy HalfDork
6/15/10 6:49 a.m.

Not quite half the vehicles I've owned (so far) have been American, while 3 or 4 have been British. Most of my cars get traded off before they accumulate a load of miles. However, I used to own a Ford Ranger that I put nearly 100,000 miles on. Aside from what I felt was a bit of clumsy assembly (the plastics on the dash and other plastic parts in the interior broke or bent out of shape) my only problem was a headlight switch that started to get intermittent as the truck neared 90,000. I've since noticed that same switch has been "gerry-rigged" on numerous used Rangers for sale in my area.

Any country that uses/used a POSITIVE grounding wiring system CAN'T throw stones at the U.S. car industry.

And yes, the British people have a lower standard when it comes to the repair of automobiles.

foxtrapper
foxtrapper SuperDork
6/15/10 7:20 a.m.

The positive ground machinery I have is all US made. Positive ground was an era thing, not a location thing.

Otto_Maddox
Otto_Maddox Reader
6/15/10 8:55 a.m.

Didn't he also say that Corvettes don't handle all that well? Something about how the back end will kick out if you stomp on it in corners? Don't V8 TVRs do the same?

Wally
Wally MegaDork
6/15/10 9:02 a.m.

It can't handle well, it doesn't even have trunions

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
6/15/10 11:16 a.m.

While I love Wheeler Dealers, that episode kinda sucked. First off they picked the worst C4 available. (1984) Edd did an OK job, but the sales guy clearly didn't know much about the car, and obviously didn't like it. He seemed to just dismiss it as a bloated pig of a car suited best for poseurs with gold chains etc. He certainly isn't a racer, and they never really put the cars through their paces. They just fling them around an abandoned airstrip for photo purposes.

They usually do a good job, and put on an entertaining show, but not with that issue. "Dodgy American electrics" cracked me up too! It seems most of these English shows (Top Gear also) insult the U.S. on a regular basis. inferiority complex I assume.

The show is worth watching for Edd China though.

turboswede
turboswede SuperDork
6/15/10 11:16 a.m.
Lugnut wrote:
oldeskewltoy wrote: Why do the English drink warm beer.......... ........ Lucas makes their refrigerators.

This can't be true. There are no British manufacturers of refrigerators - they can't figure out how to make them leak oil.

Yes, but the wiring in the houses are made by Lucas ;)

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
6/15/10 11:27 a.m.

The original anti-theft device- Lucas Electric products.

If Lucas made guns, wars would not start either.

Back in the '70s Lucas decided to diversify it's product line and began manufacturing vacuum cleaners. It was the only product they offered that didn't suck.

Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Joseph Lucas invented the short circuit.

I've had a Lucas pacemaker for years and have never experience prob...

How to make AIDS disappear? Give it a Lucas parts number.

Quality Assurance phoned and advised the Lucas engineering guy that they had trouble with his design shorting out. So he made the wires longer.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim Dork
6/15/10 11:27 a.m.

In reply to turboswede:

It isn't, mine hasn't burned down yet from a wiring fault .

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt Dork
6/15/10 11:53 a.m.

If you compare the factory wiring diagram for my '66 Dodge Dart to the '79 Triumph Spitfire I used to own, you would probably be able to guess correctly that they were designed about 15 years apart, but guess wrong about which was the older one. The Spitfire had only three fuses in its entire harness, none of them on the headlights. Apparently they intended the high beam switch to double as a fuse. Unfortunately, it doesn't blow fast enough and typically leaves burn marks on the steering column when it does.

In all fairness, the electronics in my C4 Corvette were dodgy. However, dodgy is a considerable improvement over the Spitfire.

Rusnak_322
Rusnak_322 Reader
6/15/10 12:12 p.m.
foxtrapper wrote:
erohslc wrote: Do American cars really have a bad rep for electrics vs Brit?

When it comes to defective electronic dashboards, the US companies take the cake. They all fail, and are non-replaceable or repairable. There's a whole lot of cars in the junk yards just because the dashboard failed.

Most Lucas problems are really Smith/Jaeger problems.

Nothing is non-replaceable. it just may be to big of a PITA for some to do.

The only thing not repairable is something that isn't broke.

Sofa King
Sofa King Reader
6/15/10 12:15 p.m.

I agree that C4's can have questionable electronics. But that is one car, Lucas damaged the reputation of all British cars! (and, probably some that don't use Lucas.)

pres589
pres589 Reader
6/15/10 12:25 p.m.

In reply to Joe Gearin:

To be honest, that's how I regard these cars too, especially with the Crossfire setup; wheezy engines, pointlessly stiff suspension, not all that stiff. These cars got a lot better in the 90's I think as the styling was improved with nicer front end treatments and the interior went further and further away from the Atari-esque gauges in the early cars.

Even an '87 or so car with the port fuel injection and revised suspensions would be a lot nicer to deal with and drive. And I don't think they cost that much more to pick up on the used market than the Crossfire cars.

Schmidlap
Schmidlap Reader
6/15/10 12:40 p.m.
oldeskewltoy wrote: ... There is a guy here in Portland with an E-Type... using all denso(Toyota) electrics....

Ironically, the Denso MAF failing in my Jaguar is one of only two electrical problems I've had with the car. The other was a failed window switch but it was fixed under warranty so I don't know who made it.

Bob

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt Dork
6/15/10 1:04 p.m.
Rusnak_322 wrote: The only thing not repairable is something that isn't broke.

And they're repairable too if you have a big enough imagination.

oldeskewltoy
oldeskewltoy Reader
6/15/10 1:40 p.m.
96DXCivic wrote: The original anti-theft device- Lucas Electric products. If Lucas made guns, wars would not start either. Back in the '70s Lucas decided to diversify it's product line and began manufacturing vacuum cleaners. It was the only product they offered that didn't suck. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Joseph Lucas invented the short circuit. I've had a Lucas pacemaker for years and have never experience prob... How to make AIDS disappear? Give it a Lucas parts number. Quality Assurance phoned and advised the Lucas engineering guy that they had trouble with his design shorting out. So he made the wires longer.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim Dork
6/15/10 1:59 p.m.
pres589 wrote: Even an '87 or so car with the port fuel injection and revised suspensions would be a lot nicer to deal with and drive. And I don't think they cost that much more to pick up on the used market than the Crossfire cars.

Yes, in the US - Corvettes are fairly rare in the UK and they probably had to grab whatever they could find.

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