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Is "Mechanical Curse" a Myth
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Peter_L



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
Posts: 2614
Location: New Brunswick. Canada.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 1:49 am    Post subject: Is "Mechanical Curse" a Myth Reply with quote

At 3 score years + quite a few, and having vehicles in the family for close to 70 of those years it may not come as a surprise that I have known many family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues... etc who have owned vehicles.

While some go through life with few mechanical traumas, there are others who can quote chapter and verse about the failures that were caused by "crap engineering", name associated products or location of manufacture.

Not mentioning specific vehicles but not excluded from "mechanical curse" is my dear sister who over several decades has provided a short term home for many more washing machines, lawn mowers, computers, cookers, heaters and vehicles than myself. I have worked with people whose vehicle "failed to proceed"... or even start, so many times that it was no longer "news worthy"...

Is there a "mechanical curse" ? or do some people have a sympathetic "mechanical relationship" ?..

2020 has been quite the year.... stay safe... take care....


Last edited by Peter_L on Sat Dec 19, 2020 3:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bitumen Boy



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 1499
Location: Above the snow line in old Monmouthshire

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there probably is something in it, some people just seem unlucky. There's a chap at my work who keeps buying cars that look and sound good initially but they just keep on letting him down, and almost straight away at that - it can't just be the way he drives them or doesn't look after them. Other people I know keep on driving the same terrible old bangers year on year, world tourers that just keep on going despite looking well overdue for the scrapyard - they don't abuse them but they're not doing anything special either, they just seem to be lucky.
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Keith D



Joined: 16 Oct 2008
Posts: 1022
Location: Upper Swan, Western Australia

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 4:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is also the opposite. There are people who seem to be blessed by 'good luck' when having anything to do with motoring.

Whatever my brother buys, and he has many old cars and tractors, he never seems to get a lemon. He has undertaken long journeys in cars I would hesitate to even take out of the garage.

He drove a well worn 1951 two and a half litre Riley from Melbourne to Perth (3300 km) with no problems at all.

He was driving the same car from Perth to Bunbury when he broke an axle half way. He went to the nearest house only to find a Riley enthusiast lived there who supplied him with another axle and even helped him remove the broken one and fit the new one.

This same brother bought a rusty Mark 1 Zodiac from a Perth car wrecker and then drove it to Melbourne. His only problem was a puncture. I could give endless examples of his 'good luck'.

So I can fully accept that there are people who have 'bad luck' with their motoring experiences

Keith
_________________
1926 Chrysler 60 tourer
1932 Austin Seven RN long wheelbase box sedan
1950 Austin A40 tourer
1999 BMW Z3
Its weird being the same age as old people.
You are either part of the problem or part of the solution
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 4216
Location: Derby

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a 'cursed' garage - if that counts?

My work bench has "sideways" gravity which in a 4 dimensional way drags the smallest things at the speed of light into a black hole that Stephen Hawking would have been proud of.



Shocked
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Kenham



Joined: 12 Mar 2012
Posts: 195
Location: Kent

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha. Ray that sideways gravity follows me where ever I go/
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alastairq



Joined: 14 Oct 2016
Posts: 1541
Location: East Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You will all find your missing bits and bobs..in the afterlife.
Plus, possibly, a lot of other folks lost bits?
Also, the tools once lent out, but never seen again?
_________________
Dellow Mk2, 1951 built, reg 1952.
Ford Mustang coupe, 1967, 6 cylinder auto.
Fiat 126 BIS
Cannon special [1996 registered. Built in 1950's]
----------------------------------------------
Ford Pop chassis, Ashley 1172 bodyshell, in pieces.
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Ellis



Joined: 07 Mar 2011
Posts: 1378
Location: Betws y Coed, North Wales

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the 1970s and 1980s I bought (among others) four cars (two of each), Triumph Dolomite Sprint and Triumph Stag both of which were regarded as bywords for unreliability at the time.
I didn't have a single problem with either of them apart from consumables. The second Stag had it's timing chains changed after buying it, a precautionary move because it's one previous lady owner had only undertaken short local journeys in the car.

Was it luck or what? I don't really know but all four had their cooling systems drained, flushed, reverse flushed and refilled with correct mixture Bluecol and oil and filter changes carried out at 3000 mile intervals.

I didn't believe in mechanical curses until I bought a 1968 Jaguar "S" Type 3.4 litre in January 1990. It had been bodily restored but the previous owner had "lost interest and enthusiasm" when I bought it from him.

I was soon to find out why.

I injured myself at least five times during the restoration, one was gashing my arm while cutting carpet underlay but the most serious was when the IRS rear cage moved off it's axle stands while being fitted with new brake discs. I still don't really know what happened but the cage slid down my lower right leg and shin. There's little flesh there, just bone and is one of the most sensitive parts of your lower anatomy. I couldn't walk properly for two days and the wound took weeks to heal. Oh yes, it was agony as well.

A rebuilt engine and all parts overhauled to the best of my ability, it broke down on the way to the MOT station. I checked everything and in a last desperate move I disconnected the battery and reconnected it. It restarted.

It passed it's MOT but the speedo broke on the way home.

I could write a sizeable pamphlet on the car's woes but the strangest fault happened one evening on one of it's reliable runs. I noticed the headlamps dimming every time I slowed down for corners and most electrical systems failed intermittently. Luckily I reached home and the "S" Type's engine died outside my neighbour's garage. With his help the car was pushed into the garage and I retired to the pub for much liquid consolation.

Two days later I asked a mechanic friend to have a look. I had renewed both battery cables for new but when started the headlamps and sidelights repeated their previous dimming and brightening.
The fault lay with the earth lead despite being new. For some reason it's resistance was weak over certain amperages and "broke down".

The last straw was when the vacuum system failed. I finally took the car to my local garage and they found no fault. The air intake rose as it should.

I am convinced to this day that there was a malevolent spirit in the car. Indigenous Americans call it a "manitou". I called the car many things and, yes, "Christine" came to mind more than once.

The car found a new owner easily enough, surprisingly, by word of mouth, and drove faultlessly on the 80 mile journey to it's new home. It did look good, good paint, new chrome and a lovely red replacement interior but I was glad to see the back of it after three and a half years and, yes, I lost money on it.

Was the car cursed or was I simply unlucky?

You decide.
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1964 Jaguar Mark 2 3.4 litre
1962 Land Rover Series 2a 88"
2002 BMW M3 E46 Cabriolet
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Kenham



Joined: 12 Mar 2012
Posts: 195
Location: Kent

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds a lot like a Mk 1 Transit I had back in the day, the one with the horrible V 4 engine. Every time i drove it it broke down and nearly every time i was stopped by the police, I never did find out why they stopped me so many times. After many months of trouble I sold it and was informed that two days later it caught fire and was a right off. I was a shame as it was a really nice example, I wish I had it now.
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 4216
Location: Derby

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My MG has a 1/16" non alignment rule.

The rule is that when ever I go to fit two parts together they will almost fit... but not quite. The difference is usually only 1/16" but try as I might, they will not align. Rolling Eyes
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peter scott



Joined: 18 Dec 2007
Posts: 6580
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not quite as per the headline but I sometimes think cars "take the huff". I had my Citroen BX DTR for a few years and apart from hydraulic failures it also suffered from failing electrics. All four electric windows failed as did the electric sunroof. Then I saw a Mondeo in a garage 120 miles away and decided to trade in the Citroen but by this stage its alternator had also failed. I charged up the battery for the journey but then discovered that the clutch would not disengage. Fortunately it was quite happy to start in gear so starting and stopping was just a matter of using the ignition switch and clutchless changes were not that difficult. The journey was all non-motorway with quite a lot of junctions and I was rather worried that I might run out of battery power before I got there so no heater blower or wipers when it rained, which it did.

On arrival I explained about the loss of clutch but the garage weren't bothered as they were only going to scrap the Citroen anyway.

Peter
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1939 SS Jaguar 2 litre saloon
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alastairq



Joined: 14 Oct 2016
Posts: 1541
Location: East Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I once owned a MG Maestro [very under -rated motorcar, IMVHO]...

The central locking mechanism in the rear hatch failed one day....well, it all failed, really, but, the culprit, the solenoid, overheated, and set fire to the rear door!
I never realised how much combustible material the rear hatch trim contained.

Or how vile the smell was, afterwards?

Later, my then-missus managed to smash the rear glass, by slamming the hatch down onto a fridge she was taking to the dump.

It got a hatch off a mundane Maestro after that.....which, in my true tradition, never actually got painted to match the rest of the car.
I have a phillosphy....in that, what I cannot actually see from the driving seat, I don't worry about.

Hence I never really know, or worry about, how dirty my cars are.
_________________
Dellow Mk2, 1951 built, reg 1952.
Ford Mustang coupe, 1967, 6 cylinder auto.
Fiat 126 BIS
Cannon special [1996 registered. Built in 1950's]
----------------------------------------------
Ford Pop chassis, Ashley 1172 bodyshell, in pieces.
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 4216
Location: Derby

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Brother got his taste for quick cars when he had a new MG Maestro. We both loved the thing. It was black with red go faster stripes. I am not sure I would feel as fondly towards one now...but then we are not youngsters like we were then. In it's day both the MG maestro - and the even better MG Montego - were quite the thing.
We tended to overlook the shoddy finish.
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alanb



Joined: 10 Sep 2012
Posts: 514
Location: Berkshire.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter L
I think some people are just unlucky others create their unluckyness ,
A few years ago friends daughter bought a 6 year old Fiesta from a reputable dealer, it had had a full service and cam belt change prior to sale, on the way home on the motorway it started making a noise instead of pulling onto the hard shoulder and investigating see continued to drive in the hope of getting home the noise got worse until there was a loud bang and a light came on on the dash, as she only had 5 miles to go she continued, more lights on the dash came on but with only 2 miles to go she carried on at the bottom of her road about a hundred yards from her house the car stopped with steam and smoke pouring from under the bonnet. She called the garage and complained that they had sold her a duff car. The garage collected the car and on examination found the engine seized due to the auxiliary belt failure, the engine was completely wrecked, after a long dispute the garage fitted a new engine and she kept the car for a couple of years but was never happy with it.
Had she stopped when she first heard the noise the belt could have been changed and no other problems would have occurred. Some people just make their own bad luck
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Morris 8 two seater
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alastairq



Joined: 14 Oct 2016
Posts: 1541
Location: East Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, my last missus tried something similar, when we had, as a daily, an early 70's BMW 2002. [Quite why, I never really fathomed. It looked nice sat outside a house with a 'for sale' sign on it.]
The car went very well indeed, given that it was 30 years old-ish.
But, one day whilst driving home, she managed to 'collect' a piece of builders reinforcement wire, through the radiator.

She chose to ignore the rising temp gauge, as she was but a couple of miles from home, and the kids were in the back.
As a result, the head gasket blew, the head ceased to be flat, and I was faced with a thoroughly unwanted job, wintertime too.
BMWs of most colours seemed to be prone to throwing their teddies out of the pram if a head gasket blew.
Whereas a good old BMC A-series could be coaxed hundreds of miles home on 2 or 3 cylinders, and just need a new gasket.
_________________
Dellow Mk2, 1951 built, reg 1952.
Ford Mustang coupe, 1967, 6 cylinder auto.
Fiat 126 BIS
Cannon special [1996 registered. Built in 1950's]
----------------------------------------------
Ford Pop chassis, Ashley 1172 bodyshell, in pieces.
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