The easiest car you've ever had to work on?  
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Robin Reliant
We hear a lot of moans about the complxity of modern cars, with even a bulb change being a dealer job, but it wasn't always like that. Can you remember a car where maintainence was a doddle?

Mine was probably a Morris Marina. It was just as well as it needed lots of work, but most jobs could be done from under the bonnet with one of those bicycle multi spanners. IIRC the camshaft could be withdrawn through the front of the block after removing the radiator grill, and the lever arm front shocks were about ten minutes a side.

Tags: owning legal and consumer advice headlights repairs

The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - martint123
A35 - you could almost stand inside the engine bay there was that much room.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - 659FBE
Triumph Herald - at the front anyway. It's a pity the execution was so dire you had to be in there every weekend.

659.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Number_Cruncher
mk II Astra 1300

Easy to change the clutch without taking the gearbox out
Slide the cam out of the cam cover without disturbing the head
Rockers replaceable in-situ without disturbing the cam
Crank removable in-situ
Extract the gearbox internal without disturbing the bell housing & clutch
Extract the final drive without disturbing the gearbox
Replace the discs without needing to remove the caipers
simple electronic ignition which can be checked out completely with a test lamp and a moist finger tip


The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Harleyman
My old GMC pick-up; everything is bolted together, not welded, the whole thing's a bit like a giant Meccano set! Bags of room everywhere, you could have a board meeting in the engine bay plus it seems to be totally reliable, apart from bad earth issues with the lights (inevitable on an unrestored 45-year-old vehicle) and a change of carburettor from Stromberg to Holley (improved fuel consumption by 60% but before you get excited it was only doing 10mpg before!) I haven't had to put a spanner on it.

Land-Rovers were pretty good but again the fuel consumption was horrific. I did, however, have the advantage of "factory" training on them as I was a VM in the R.E.M.E.

Older Renaults (4,5,6,12) were pretty good too but the 14 was an absolute dog.

Most satisfying was a customer who had an old Moggy Minor, and had treated it to an expensive Crypton tune, with the inevitable result that it ran like a sack of spanners. I set it up in the approved manner, using the tuning devices located either side of the human cranium, it never missed a beat thereafter!
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - bintang
MGTC (2), MGTD, Morris 1000 Traveller, Triumph Spitfire 2CV (3).
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Alby Back
Westfield - you could have the bonnet and nosecone off in less than a minute. This completely exposed the ford X-Flow engine which in itself was very easy to live with and work on.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Harleyman

ford X-Flow engine which in itself was very easy to live
with and work on.



yes, I agree. My old man's first car was a 1970 Mark 2 Cortina, and that was a doddle, especially compared to the early OHC abortions.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - boxsterboy
2CV (3).


Yes, my 2CV is a doddle to work on. Never fails to start after months standing - no electronics to go wrong/drain the battery, etc. Small engine = plenty of room to work, even without unbolting all panels forward of the bulkhead in a matter of minutes. Designed for peasants, you see ;)
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - TheOilBurner
Best I had was a 1987 Fiesta 950cc Popular. Hated the car because I don't "do" basic small cars, but it was a huge pleasure to work on. So easy just to cast your eye under the bonnet and see *exactly* what everything did and why.

Last easy car to work on I owned was a 1990 Orion 1.6i. A few complications with the EFi system, but still very easy. So much so I happily changed the camshaft on it, something I would be quite nervous of in a modern twin-cam car with all the other add-ons...

Edited by TheOilBurner on 23/11/2008 at 12:02

The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Number_Cruncher
>>but it was a huge pleasure to work on.

You didn't change a water pump then?!!


The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - TheOilBurner
You're right I didn't have that pleasure!

But even if some bits could be a pain, at least I understood it all, which is great for inspiring confidence in a numpty like me. The same can't be said of the latest Fiesta...
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Mr.Tee43
659

With the Triumph Herald, you spent more time underneath it welding up those outriggers to get it through the MOT.That or forcing in a bit of cement into the box sections, then covering it up with nice new underseal to defeat the testers screwdriver or probe.

Ah, such memories !
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - billy25
Got to agree with both comments re- Triumph Herald! - but mine also had the regular problem of the gearlever jumping out of the selector!. Straight forward enough to fix, centre console type thing off, 6/8 bolts to unscrew, top of gearbox off, line up selecter channel with screwdriver, put end of gearlever in channel. and plonk everything back together again. i got it down to 10 mins, and often had to pull over and do it during runs into town. Ah! good old 70's, they dont build them like that nowadays!

Billy
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Harleyman

at least I understood it all
>>
The same can't be
said of the latest Fiesta...


That is the nub of the problem with modern cars. Whether by deliberate design or as a consequence of environmental legislation, home maintenance is no longer as rewarding, either financially or otherwise, as it used to be; and that's not simply nostalgia!
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Rattle
I;ve only ever done basic repairs but the easiest was my old Fiesta MK3 1.1i. It developed an over revving fault, a wiggle test I quickly discovered a wire going into the TPS was faulty. 10 minutes job bodge a cable replacement.

Also temp guage didn't work, again very very easy fix.

You could see everything and work everything out and it had a nice simple cable clutch. The air filter was a 30 second job, instead of the 10-15 minute job it now is.

I have not really worked on many cars though.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - jag
60's hillman minx 1725cc, plenty of room and straightforward. jag.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Bromptonaut
In trems of mechanical simplicity the Mini, only car I've ever had a head off. But some jobs, Rad hoses for example were a nightmare even with small hands.

For accessing service items - drains, filters etc - the XUD engined 205 & BX were pretty straightforward. I also manged to change the radiator on the 205 and carried out a range of electrical jobs like wiper motors on both. The instrument panel on the BX was retained by a couple of wing nuts - the entire set of panel and warning bulbs could be changed in 15 minutes. Left head gasket and cambelt changes to the pros though.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - L'escargot
Phase 1 Standard Vanguard. There was a removable panel in the floor to enable you to remove and refit the gearbox from inside the car, and the front bumper was strong enough to be stood on to enable you to get to the top of the engine.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Altea Ego
Mk1 ford Capris.

Brakes, gearbox, engine, transmition. all a doddle to work on with acres of room under the engine bay.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Screwloose
martint

I don't remember much room around an A35's engine... Pig to work on; silly little hatch instead of a bonnet - did you mean an A40?

NC

What was hard about a 950 Fiesta's water pump? 15 minutes going easy; just don't shear the two bolts...
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - madf
Ford E93A Prefect.
Brother had one: I stood inside the engine bay - feet on the chassis to lift the engine out.
No tappets to adjust unless you wanted to gring down the valve stems and no nasty electrical windscreen wiper motor...and whilst they did rust the bodywork was so thick.

The suspension was all leaf spring.. and rod brakes..


The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Number_Cruncher
>>What was hard...

I found it difficult to get at the thing! There was so little room between the front of the engine and the offside chassis rail. On the few I did, I was probably missing a trick, and doing something like releasing an engine mounting would have allowed easy access. IIRC, the larger engined ones, like the 1300 were even worse.

The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}
Many things like bulbs were indeed easy to get at on the old BMC cars like Minis and Maxis and Marinas. I hated the fact that so much in the way of constant repairs and replacements were forced upon me. Some bits were easy and some difficult.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - gordonbennet
Apart from mk2 cortina's and moggie minors my favourite was my 93 landcruiser, well at least it was made in 93 but was designed in the 70's, (maybe before the manufactureres twigged they should and could make their vehicles easyrepair proof) and very little was difficult on that.

Cam belt was 1 hour at the most, every electrical item was labelled with what it did and the voltage ie 'glow plug relay 12V' , strange when a vehicle made in Japan can be so easy to work on in English. Plus many jobs didn't need the vehicle jacking up, you just slid under with the gease gun for all those greasing points.
I don't suppose the engine would have been an easy strip down like an A or B series Morris, but i've never heard of one going wrong anyway.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - mfarrow
My mk4 Escort 1.3 is the easiest (and for the most part the only) car I've worked on. Plenty of room to do anything on the OHV engine. Did the radiator last month and that was only 4 bolts plus the hose clips, with plenty of room even with the fan cowl in the way. Dried out the nearside headlight last week - 2 screws then pivot it forward and unclip.

Girlfriend's Corsa on the other hand needed the ECU, turbo intake hose and latter's securing brakets off just to change the glow plugs. I'll need to check the tappets next year which will require removal of the injector pipes.

Edited by mfarrow on 23/11/2008 at 18:18

The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - doctorchris
OK, well my Herald was a doddle to work on and my neighbours 50 year old Minor still is.

However I will stick my neck out a bit and vote, on the original question posed, for the New Fiat Panda 1.1 Active.

My daughter has one and it just keeps on going, needing no serious repairs at all. Thus, the only work required is replacement of service items such as brake pads or shoes, filters, tyres, bulbs, etc. These items are all delightfully easy to replace compared with many ancient and modern motors.

In addition, the technology of the car is not very far removed from the original Panda when you get down to it. The bodyshell is remarkably well rustproofed and seems bullet proof.

I predict these cars will be chugging around Italy and Poland for many years to come.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - mattbod
The 999cc FIRE engine (Carb) in my first car: a FIAT Uno 45. Simple little OHC engine. Same engine albeit in bigger fuel injected form that is in the Panda mentioned above. Tough as old bots too, shame about the rest of the car!
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Lud
Probably Lada 1200 estate. Like a Tonka toy, or in another way like a Kalashnikov assault rifle, able to carry on working under the most hostile conditions without maintenance. Designed to be maintained anywhere on the vast muddy Steppes by a vodka-guzzling moujik with a big hammer, so pretty easy for a sophisticated urban westerner, even one gormless enough to grapple with a Lada ...

On the down side, no amount of maintenance could make it anything but a very crude and coarse car or make it stay in tune for more than a day or two. Unlike a Kalashnikov assault rifle which has a classy side despite its ubiquity and all the evil it has done. Of course the military always get the best toys.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - legacylad
again, Morris Marina 1.8TC. A distant memory.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Cliff Pope
Volvo 240
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - DP
1983 Sierra 1.6. The Pinto engine had all the mechanical complexity of a lump of wood, and was installed longitudinally. Yes it had a timing belt, but changing it took half an hour, and didn't involve stripping half the engine bay down to gain access. You could see all the bolts on both manifolds, it ran basic, but reliable electronic ignition, a carburettor, you could see the road surface all round the engine, and access to all maintenance points was a doddle.

I can't talk about ease of maintenance without seconding N_C's mention of the Astra / Cavalier clutch housing design though. This was a genuine example of design genius, in my opinion.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - redils
Not me personaly but my father said his Cortina Mk2 1600 GT was easy even for him to work on, I remember he was always under the bonnet & never once had to take it to a garage for any maintenance or repair.

Mine was probably my first car, a British Leyland Mini Van 1000cc, gosh I had it for years traveled all around Europe in it, sometimes sleeping in it. I eventually passed it on to my younger brother when he passed his test, he too also had it years before selling it. You rarely see them now, but when I do I think gosh how did I do so much & have so much fun with such a small vehicle. Great memories though !!!!!!
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - hillman
Morris Minor MM 1952. 912cc side valve.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Dave_TD
Astra / Cavalier clutch housing design though. This was a genuine example of design genius


Seconded. Although I wasn't confident enough to change my MkII Cavalier's clutch myself, I once had it changed at a clutch specialist in 10 minutes flat! I left it with him at lunchtime and he hadn't started the job when I arrived to collect it, but two of them did the job in less time than it took me to drink a cup of tea. Their record, apparently, was a Nova clutch changed in 6 minutes.
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - pmh
Morris minor MM - Sv 918cc 1949 (or possibly even 48?) - one of the originals with not even a water pump, and only a single wiper, and dipping to a single headlight. Fitted with famous spacer on the bumper bars.

First bit welding I ever did, Dexion as a front cross -member.

Next easiest was probably a Hillman Imp - I could get the engine+gearbox out in less than 30 minutes. Quickest way to change the no4 sparkplug.



pmh

Edited by pmh on 26/11/2008 at 18:36

The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Big John
Cortina MKII was extremely easy to work on. The simplest though was a Datsun 100A, clutch could be changed without removing gearbox. If the gearbox/engine did have to be removed the driveshafts were attached using a few bolts, you had to re-fit it quickly though before the body rusted away!
The easiest car you've ever had to work on? - Tidzertornado
Dead easy..my Two Beetles..1965 & 69?(vertical headlights) they never went back to the shop from new, did the lot myself..fixed the pads, silencers, oil changes, clutch adjustments, etc..replacement silencers aways rejected if a scratch was on that grey matt paint as it may have been dropped, and wouldn't fit over the 200 studs!!..used to look after my mates Beetles too, both of mine did over 180.000 miles..sold the last one to my mate's daughter, next time I saw it, flowers were painted all over it...it still ranckles...had a great manual called "How to keep your Bug alive" printed in the states...gave it away with the car..pity that..

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