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Thread: General Motors

  1. #1
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    General Motors

    I have very mixed feelings about General Motors. On one hand, I like their cars better than any other maker, except for maybe Jaguar. On the other hand, I hate what they do.

    GM was the first company to put Daytime Running Lights on their vehicles made after 1995.

    GM was the first company to install Event Data Recorders in their cars and not tell anyone about it.

    GM is shoving ON STAR down all buyers throats in the 2008 model year.

    There is much to like about GM. The new Camaro, the Saturn Aura, the Cadillac CTS, and the Pontiac G8. There is much to hate about them as well.

    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    MikeHalloran
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    Re: General Motors

    My sister bought a car with OnStar. She says she likes it well enough to pay for it when the 'free' subscription runs out.

    They've been pushing OnStar for a couple of years, after a slow start. Maybe it's one of those things that you can't imagine you'd use, until you have it. I thought Ford's pushbutton locks were silly, until I got a car with them.




  3. #3
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    Re: General Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeHalloran
    My sister bought a car with OnStar. She says she likes it well enough to pay for it when the 'free' subscription runs out.

    They've been pushing OnStar for a couple of years, after a slow start. Maybe it's one of those things that you can't imagine you'd use, until you have it. I thought Ford's pushbutton locks were silly, until I got a car with them.
    My objections to OnStar are its pretty awful privacy implications.

  4. #4
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: General Motors

    I've hated GM for years, simply because they have the resources to make every product in their lineup "best in class", but choose to make disposible automotive appliances instead. They are a waste of resources.

  5. #5
    mrblanche
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    Re: General Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat
    My objections to OnStar are its pretty awful privacy implications.
    I heard plenty of truck drivers with the same objections to QualComm when it became common. But it has saved enough driver's lives over the years, and kept us out of phone booths calling in every hour for loads, that most drivers find it a positive.

    Just as an example, it kept a driver in Arkansas out of prison. He was involved in an accident that killed a state trooper. The facts of the accident weren't particularly in question, and he was at fault, but the state accused him of negigent homicide because they claimed he had stopped at a truck stop down around Hope, AR, and told a waitress he was too tired to drive but had to go on because his dispatch insisted he had to make a deliver by a certain time. The records of his QualComm showed he had NOT stopped there.

  6. #6
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: General Motors

    "I have very mixed feelings about General Motors. .."

    Me also.

    I love old GM vehicles, esp. from the '50s, '60s and '70s. Even some into the '80s.

    But I don't like the way GM (among others) pushed for NAFTA and the way it (along with other large corporations) are eviscerating the manufacturingbase of this country and the economic status of the average American in order to increase shareholder and CEO profits, etc.

    And I hate the EDRs... I would never own a car with one of these damn things.

    A core tenet of traditional conservatism is that power is not to be trusted - whether governmental or corporate. GM - and Uncle Sam - are not our friends. They are pushing these technologies for their own interests, not ours.

    Guard your privacy; once it's gone, you'll never get it back.

  7. #7
    mrblanche
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    Re: General Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Guard your privacy; once it's gone, you'll never get it back.
    One great thing about the recorders on cars and trucks--more and more cases coming up in court are going to the truck, when it becomes obvious that the car driver was lying about what he was doing just before the accident. And that includes drivers in split speed limit states that are running into a truck doing a legal speed while the car is doing well over their allowable speed. Justice, at last.

  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: General Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Guard your privacy; once it's gone, you'll never get it back.
    One great thing about the recorders on cars and trucks--more and more cases coming up in court are going to the truck, when it becomes obvious that the car driver was lying about what he was doing just before the accident. And that includes drivers in split speed limit states that are running into a truck doing a legal speed while the car is doing well over their allowable speed. Justice, at last.
    Yes, but by the same logic, we could put a real dent in crime by getting rid of the pesky 4th Amendment and allowing the government to wiretap and physically search anyone, anytime for any reason at all.

    To me, the benefit is not worth the loss of our prvacy; and it will only set a precedent for even more (and more intrusive) measures....

  9. #9
    DonTom
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    Re: General Motors

    "I love old GM vehicles, esp. from the '50s, '60s and '70s. Even some into the '80s."

    Anything later would not be for a techophobe.

    But IMO, that's all junk compared to the vehicles made today. I am especially convinced of that since my meltdown disaster.

    -Don-

  10. #10
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: General Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "I love old GM vehicles, esp. from the '50s, '60s and '70s. Even some into the '80s."

    Anything later would not be for a techophobe.

    But IMO, that's all junk compared to the vehicles made today. I am especially convinced of that since my meltdown disaster.

    -Don-
    I took my Trans-Am out the other day for a long drive; what an enjoyable car! With the OD transmission, it barely turns 2,000 RPM at 75 mph.. even with 3.90 reargears. It is so much more fun to drive than a new car. And I drive new cars every week...

  11. #11
    DonTom
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    Re: General Motors

    "I took my Trans-Am out the other day for a long drive; what an enjoyable car! With the OD transmission, it barely turns 2,000 RPM at 75 mph.."

    That was like my 1984 GM 3/4 ton Van conversion (305 CID) which also blew a rod. Perhaps when your RPM's are too low it can blow a rod from lugging it too much!

    -Don-

  12. #12
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: General Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "I took my Trans-Am out the other day for a long drive; what an enjoyable car! With the OD transmission, it barely turns 2,000 RPM at 75 mph.."

    That was like my 1984 GM 3/4 ton Van conversion (305 CID) which also blew a rod. Perhaps when your RPM's are too low it can blow a rod from lugging it too much!

    -Don-
    The 305 was one of GM's weaker-kneed smallblocks; now "chief plenty horses" (my 455) is heap stout with no worries about rods breaking (so long as you keep it under 5,700 RPM!)

  13. #13
    DonTom
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    Re: General Motors

    "The 305 was one of GM's weaker-kneed smallblocks;"

    Was the 350 the only decent GM small block engine?

    BTW, when did GM stop using small block engines?

    -Don-



  14. #14
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: General Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "The 305 was one of GM's weaker-kneed smallblocks;"

    Was the 350 the only decent GM small block engine?

    BTW, when did GM stop using small block engines?

    -Don-


    Not at all; the earlier 302 ('67-'69 Z28) 327 and 283 were also sturdy, high-powered engines. The problem with the 307, 305 and 400 is that they were conceived during the '70s as low-performance "smog" (and "mileage") engines; in addition to blocks that didn't have the high-strength features (and also typically were cast of lesser materials) they tended to use internal parts (rods, etc.) that were just adequate for the use designed. Any type of use that could be called "heavy duty" or "severe" tended to stress these engines beyond their design parameters.

    As Mike says, they could be upgraded with better parts to handle higher power and heavier duty service - as is true of almost any engine. The 305 was in fact eventually used as a high-perf. engine (for the time) in the early-mid 1980s, in cars like the 5.0 liter "HO" Z28 and Monte Carlo SS, etc. It was upgraded with Tuned Port Injection circa 1985... but eventually retired in favor of the larger 350. (Which by then, in these applications, had also been beefed up).

    The small block is still in production, albeit it has undergone significant evolution from cast iron block and heads to aluminum, reverse-flow cooling, etc. However, even the current LS1 series is considered part of the small block family tree that dates back to 1955. It's still a pushrod, 2-valve engine and the fundamental similarities are still there, more than 50 years after the engine's inception!

    With Pontiacs, the 301 (and an even smaller displacement version of that engine that appeared for a couple of years during the late '70s) is the weak sister...

  15. #15
    DonTom
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    Re: General Motors

    "The problem with the 307,"

    Tom convinced me to buy my first car in 1975 (I was motorcycle only before that). After him teaching me how to drive his car (new 1974 Dodge Cornet Custom) and me getting a driver's license that allowed me to drive cars, I purchased a used 1971 Chevy Malibu 307 that looked like new, yet had 66,000 miles on it.

    About 30,000 miles later, the timing chain fell off the cheap nylon tooth sprocket. It was an interference engine and valves were bent. My then next door neighborer, Eric M. (the Eric who was a married heterosexual who died later of Aids at the age of 38) was a home VW Bug auto mechanic. Anyway, I removed the heads and he did the valves and after changing the chain and sprockets, the thing ran quite well, but ate a quart of oil every couple of hundred miles or so (too much compression with the new valves and old rings?).

    Did all the GM's of that day use the nylon teeth sprocket? Did my 400?

    I have had other GM engines drop timing chains, such as my 1988 Biretta which I junked when that happened. It seemed to me that those nylon sprockets that GM used caused the first serious problem with many of their engines.


    "The small block is still in production,"

    I didn't realize that they still used the name "small block" for newer engines. Do they have small blocks and large blocks for the same (or near the same) CID? If so, is the larger a tougher engine?

    -Don-

  16. #16
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    Re: General Motors

    Did all the GM's of that day use the nylon teeth sprocket? Did my 400?
    The 350ci I had in my 1975 Impala had the nylon gear. I went through two of them.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  17. #17
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: General Motors


    "I didn't realize that they still used the name "small block" for newer engines."

    "Small block" is just a generic term denoting the family of Chevy small block engines that all trace their ancestry and basic layout back to the 1950s. But there are numerous variations, displacements, materials, etc. used - and the current LS series heads and other major parts (includingblocks, I think) do NOT interchange with the earlier "small block" Chevy V-8s.

  18. #18
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: General Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "The 305 was one of GM's weaker-kneed smallblocks;"

    Was the 350 the only decent GM small block engine?

    BTW, when did GM stop using small block engines?

    -Don-


    Not at all; the earlier 302 ('67-'69 Z28) 327 and 283 were also sturdy, high-powered engines. The problem with the 307, 305 and 400 is that they were conceived during the '70s as low-performance "smog" (and "mileage") engines; in addition to blocks that didn't have the high-strength features (and also typically were cast of lesser materials) they tended to use internal parts (rods, etc.) that were just adequate for the use designed. Any type of use that could be called "heavy duty" or "severe" tended to stress these engines beyond their design parameters.

    As Mike says, they could be upgraded with better parts to handle higher power and heavier duty service - as is true of almost any engine. The 305 was in fact eventually used as a high-perf. engine (for the time) in the early-mid 1980s, in cars like the 5.0 liter "HO" Z28 and Monte Carlo SS, etc. It was upgraded with Tuned Port Injection circa 1985... but eventually retired in favor of the larger 350. (Which by then, in these applications, had also been beefed up).

    The small block is still in production, albeit it has undergone significant evolution from cast iron block and heads to aluminum, reverse-flow cooling, etc. However, even the current LS1 series is considered part of the small block family tree that dates back to 1955. It's still a pushrod, 2-valve engine and the fundamental similarities are still there, more than 50 years after the engine's inception!

    With Pontiacs, the 301 (and an even smaller displacement version of that engine that appeared for a couple of years during the late '70s) is the weak sister...
    What are they putting in trucks these days?

  19. #19
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: General Motors

    "What are they putting in trucks these days?"

    The OHV "Vortec" V-8s used in current GM trucks are all based on the same design as used in Corvette. There are varying displacements (4.8 liters, 5.3 liters, 6 liters, etc.) and, of course, different cam profiles, compression ratios and so on. But the basic design is common throughout the range... .

    Ford (similarly) uses its "family" of OHC V-8s (4.6 and 5.4 liters) in both passenger vehicles (Mustang GT) and trucks/SUVs.....

  20. #20
    DonTom
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    Re: General Motors

    "Vortec"

    I keep seeing that name, but what does it mean?

    -Don-

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