Clutch broke down

  • carew28

    Posts: 660

    Jun 28, 2016 6:12 PM GMT
    I've got a few questions for any guys good at mechanics who might be on this forum. Last Sunday night, the clutch on my 2019 Nissan Versa failed. I had to have the car towed to the auto-repair shop I go to. The car has about 98,500 miles on it, and I've always driven it carefully, and don't ride the clutch. I bought the car new in December 2009. The mechanic has told me that my car has a hydraulic clutch ( so no clutch-cable), and the part that broke down is known as the 'slave-cylinder'. They had to remove the whole transmission to replace it, order the new part, and are presently installing it. This is the second day that they've had the car. I don't know whether the whole clutch is being replaced, or just the failed part.

    Anyone have any idea how long a clutch should last ?I spoke to another mechanic about it, and he said that normally a clutch should go for over 100,000 miles without any problems developing, as long as it's driven properly and not abused.

    Also, any ideas about how much it should cost to replace the part, and put the clutch back in ? Thanks for any help or advice that's available.
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    Jun 28, 2016 7:34 PM GMT
    just a guess but your old clutch is about 75% gone
    you should replace the clutch along with the hydraulics

    you should be charged ~$1300 for the whole thing (clutch & hydraulics) parts & labor.
    they will charge you $250 for clutch parts inc bearings
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    Jun 28, 2016 7:38 PM GMT
    98,500 miles on the original clutch is pretty decent. You are within the normal range. Always depends on proportion of driving, highway (low clutch use) vs city (high clutch use) vs drag racing (manic clutch use.)

    http://repairpal.com/estimator/nissan/versa/clutch-replacement-cost
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    Jun 28, 2016 7:38 PM GMT
    Usually when people say "the clutch wore out" they mean the pressure plate. Mine usually last around 200,000 miles.
    The slave cylinder is another matter. They just start leaking, eventually. It might help to change the clutch fluid regularly, might not. Rubber parts bathed in oil eventually deteriorate. (Hint: if you bleed the cylinder and the fluid comes out black, the seals are rotting.)
    Internal slaves are a true PITA. I just replaced one on my Jeep... a solid eight hours of difficult disassembly to replace a part that literally takes 30 seconds, then another long day to reassemble the whole thing. If I had 100,000 miles on the clutch, I'd order the whole kit and replace everything when changing any part in there. Practically all of the cost is in the labor (assuming that you pay someone else to do it.) Spending a hundred bucks on extra parts now will save repeating all that work (and cost) again in a couple of years.

    Of course time travel can have weird effects on materials too. Probably can't really trust any mechanical device sent back in time from 2019.
  • carew28

    Posts: 660

    Jun 29, 2016 7:05 PM GMT
    Thanks for the responses above. The transmission shop replaced the entire clutch, they said that was the best thing to do, and it took them about 2 days to do it. The mechanic I talked to seemed friendly & knowledgeable. I know very little about auto mechanics myself, so I'm always a bit leery about what I've been told by mechanics. The full bill was $ 1,031. That was way more than I'd expected. While the car was in the shop, I called my old mechanic, and he said the charge to replace a clutch should be about $500-$600. However, based on the amount of time the shop said they spent on it, I guess that the $1,031 charge was fair. It was evidently quite a bit of time & work.Nothing I can do about it, anyway, I had to get the car fixed. I make minimum-wage, so there goes my summer vacation money.........Oh well, that's life. Who needes vacations anyway !

    I drive carefully, surely don't abuse the clutch, but the mechanic said that 98,000 miles is about average for a clutch. Lucky I was close to home when it broke down. The leaking slave-cylinder was indeed the problem, but replacing the whole clutch was probably the most economical thing to do, since the whole thing had to be taken out. Anyway, thanks for the advice from the above posters. Now, I just need to hope that my car goes for the next couple of years with no more problems.
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    Jun 30, 2016 4:03 PM GMT
    The mechanic lied to you when he said he had to remove the transmission to change the clutch slave cylinder !!
    You don't have to do it on 2009 Nissan Versa base 5 sp
    He takes about 2 h to remove and reinstall the part , they pushed you to a higher bill for their own good .
    You mention you are driving cautiously your car , you clutch plates would have easily lasted another 50.000 miles ( you are averaging 14000 miles a year , so that clutch would have lasted another 3 years ) .
    A clutch slave cylinder is about 100 , and another 150 for labour ...
  • Apparition

    Posts: 3525

    Jul 01, 2016 5:29 PM GMT
    mindgarden said
    Of course time travel can have weird effects on materials too. Probably can't really trust any mechanical device sent back in time from 2019.


    just what i was thinking.
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    Jul 02, 2016 9:30 AM GMT
    carew28 saidI've got a few questions for any guys good at mechanics who might be on this forum. Last Sunday night, the clutch on my 2019 Nissan Versa failed. I had to have the car towed to the auto-repair shop I go to. The car has about 98,500 miles on it, and I've always driven it carefully, and don't ride the clutch. I bought the car new in December 2009. The mechanic has told me that my car has a hydraulic clutch ( so no clutch-cable), and the part that broke down is known as the 'slave-cylinder'. They had to remove the whole transmission to replace it, order the new part, and are presently installing it. This is the second day that they've had the car. I don't know whether the whole clutch is being replaced, or just the failed part.

    Anyone have any idea how long a clutch should last ?I spoke to another mechanic about it, and he said that normally a clutch should go for over 100,000 miles without any problems developing, as long as it's driven properly and not abused.

    Also, any ideas about how much it should cost to replace the part, and put the clutch back in ? Thanks for any help or advice that's available.

    Clutch should last the life of the car. Usually 10 years. They reason why it costs so much time/money to repair your car is the labor involved.

    > I don't know whether the whole clutch is being replaced, or just the failed part.

    You should really be asking these questions to your mechanic. If he is in fact tearing down your clutch assembly to replace the slave cylinder, you should ask what condition the pressure plate and flywheel are in . If you plan to drive this car till it dies, you might as well get all that replaced now. The labor will be cheaper now, while everything is still in pieces.
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    Jul 04, 2016 4:02 PM GMT
    2 cars:

    96 Toyota Camry: 233,000 miles. Original auto transmission/differential.

    97 Nissan Maxima: 307,000 miles still going: original auto transmission.

    Moral of the story: auto transmission=fewer problems, longer miles. There's a reason why manual cars are a few thousand cheaper....
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    Jul 04, 2016 6:35 PM GMT
    FuzzyPecs28 said2 cars:

    96 Toyota Camry: 233,000 miles. Original auto transmission/differential.

    97 Nissan Maxima: 307,000 miles still going: original auto transmission.

    Moral of the story: auto transmission=fewer problems, longer miles. There's a reason why manual cars are a few thousand cheaper....

    And the reason is that manuals have much less mechanical components & complication, and therefore lower manufacturing cost than an automatic.
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    Jul 05, 2016 11:26 PM GMT
    Truth. Automatic transmissions have less maintenance. But when/if they break, you're going to be paying a lot of cash.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4864

    Jul 08, 2016 12:28 AM GMT
    You have to distinguish between the clutch and the hydraulic linkage which operates the clutch. One can fail without the other.

    It is common for clutches to last well over 100 thousand miles if they are used carefully. Moreover, riding the clutch is not the only thing that can shorten its life. Instead of using the brakes to keep the car stationary on hills, do you use the clutch? Doing so will shorten its life. When you downshift, do you drag the engine up to speed with the clutch, or do you match revs by using the accelerator to speed up the engine to the proper speed before engaging the clutch? Do you slip the clutch excessively when starting out? Do you habitually start in second? Instead of shifting to a low enough gear when slowing down, do you slip the clutch? It is common for people to drive for over half a century and still not drive properly.

    The clutch contains friction surfaces. Any time the clutch is slipping, which can occur if it is not fully engaged or disengaged, wear is occurring. It's also a good practice to wait in neutral with you foot off the clutch pedal until the light turns green, etc. Otherwise, if the car has a fragile clutch throwout bearing it may fail.

    If the clutch linkage fails so you cannot disengage the clutch, you can, as a temporary measure, shift gears without the clutch; I've had to do it on three different cars. On my mother's 1950 Chevrolet on which I learned to drive, a segment of the clutch plate came loose and jammed making it impossible to disengage the clutch. On my father's 1953 Austin Healey, the clutch linkage broke. On my 1971 Porsche 914, the clutch cable broke. However, if clutchless shifting is done improperly, damage can result. To start out from stand still without using the clutch, you have to shift into 1st gear BEFORE starting the engine.

    Knowing more about cars and how they work can help you drive better and make the car last longer. My father told me that at one time people were taught how a car works before they were taught to drive; that was a good idea.
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    Jul 08, 2016 1:44 PM GMT
    FRE0 said
    Knowing more about cars and how they work can help you drive better and make the car last longer. My father told me that at one time people were taught how a car works before they were taught to drive; that was a good idea.

    I agree with all you wrote. There may be some cars with mechanically operated clutches (as are many motorcycles), but hydraulic has become the standard. Classic cars operated the clutch with rigid metal rods and pivots, more recently with cable for smaller cars, and now with hydraulic for all.

    The real reason for cable or hydraulic is the international car market, which requires design accommodation for left or right-hand drive, the steering wheel & pedals being on either side. It's much easier to build a car that will have either drive when the clutch is operated by flexible cable or hydraulic lines from the pedal, since altering the transmission itself for left or right side clutch operation is prohibitive.

    I had a friend in Seattle whose 1980s Honda Civic snapped its clutch cable. I think the part only cost around $20-30 in 1995, the installation simply to snake it through the firewall, hooking both ends, a quick freeplay adjustment, et voila.

    Replacing/repairing master or slave cylinders, especially if the slave was inside the clutch bell housing, would have been beyond my ability working in his driveway. I was able to do his cable installation with common hand tools in roughly 30 minutes. And I only charged him a drink at a gay bar. LOL!
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4864

    Jul 11, 2016 1:57 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    FRE0 said
    Knowing more about cars and how they work can help you drive better and make the car last longer. My father told me that at one time people were taught how a car works before they were taught to drive; that was a good idea.

    I agree with all you wrote. There may be some cars with mechanically operated clutches (as are many motorcycles), but hydraulic has become the standard. Classic cars operated the clutch with rigid metal rods and pivots, more recently with cable for smaller cars, and now with hydraulic for all.

    The real reason for cable or hydraulic is the international car market, which requires design accommodation for left or right-hand drive, the steering wheel & pedals being on either side. It's much easier to build a car that will have either drive when the clutch is operated by flexible cable or hydraulic lines from the pedal, since altering the transmission itself for left or right side clutch operation is prohibitive.

    I had a friend in Seattle whose 1980s Honda Civic snapped its clutch cable. I think the part only cost around $20-30 in 1995, the installation simply to snake it through the firewall, hooking both ends, a quick freeplay adjustment, et voila.

    Replacing/repairing master or slave cylinders, especially if the slave was inside the clutch bell housing, would have been beyond my ability working in his driveway. I was able to do his cable installation with common hand tools in roughly 30 minutes. And I only charged him a drink at a gay bar. LOL!


    I hadn't considered that with a hydraulic clutch linkage it was easier to switch between right hand and left had drive. That makes sense. I had thought that it was because a hydraulic clutch linkage is less likely to produce clutch chatter. With a mechanical clutch linkage, as the engine moves slightly on its mountings, the clutch linkage can be affected whereas with a hydraulic clutch linkage that would have no effect. Also, with a hydraulic linkage, the need to make adjustments for clutch wear is eliminated. I guess that a hydraulic linkage has multiple advantages.

    The Packard V12 had a vacuum assisted clutch linkage; I think that some other real classic cars did too. Whether the actual linkage was hydraulic I don't know but it would not be hard to find out.

    My brother once had a 1964 Austin Healey Sprite with a hydraulic clutch linkage. Unfortunately, the clutch and brakes used the same reservoir so when the clutch slave cylinder leaked, it caused the brakes to fail. That was a very irresponsible design.
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    Jul 11, 2016 3:32 AM GMT
    FRE0 said
    The Packard V12 had a vacuum assisted clutch linkage; I think that some other real classic cars did too. Whether the actual linkage was hydraulic I don't know but it would not be hard to find out.

    Funny you should mention it. Here it is, in the form of a 1939 V-12 convertible, the last full year that engine was offered. The shift lever is a column-mounted 3-speed manual, which itself required quite a bit of leverage trickery to reach the transmission. Careful geometry helped to isolate both it and the clutch from normal engine rocking motion, and both were mechanical linkage, not cable or hydraulic.

    Below the convertible is a 1941 Packard limousine (with yours truly, during one of my bearded periods). By then the headlights had become integrated into the fenders. And Packard dropped the V-12 for V-8s. They had also begun experimenting with a rudimentary automatic transmission.

    Air conditioning was also an option. But since sophisticated car A/C control hadn't been developed yet, these basically operated like simple indoor refrigeration units, and the compressor (pump) couldn't be easily cycled on and off. Your driver, or the Packard dealer, manually removed the separate drive belt during the cold weather season. And reinstalled it for the summer, when the A/C ran continuously. You varied the interior temperature with the fan speed, and by regulating air outlets and opening windows.

    Packard%2039%20conv1_zpsqwdvpdyr.jpg

    Packard%2039%20convdash_zpspppz7zp5.jpg

    IMG_3851_2_2_zpse8zvkhuf.jpg
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4864

    Jul 11, 2016 7:18 PM GMT
    Packard never made a V8 before introducing one in 1955 to replace the flathead straight 8. I had two Packards when I lived in San Diego: A 1953 Cavalier and a 1955 Caribbean convertible. Both were fully loaded except for air conditioning. I.e., both had power seats, power windows, power steering, power brakes, signal seeking radio, and ultramatic. The ultramatic transmission was introduced in 1949 and was the first automatic transmission to have a lock-up torque converter. In 1954, Packard introduced the part-throttle kick down and was the first manufacturer to have it. Packard was also the first independent to make its own automatic transmission.
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    Jul 12, 2016 12:49 AM GMT
    FRE0 saidPackard never made a V8 before introducing one in 1955 to replace the flathead straight 8. I had two Packards when I lived in San Diego: A 1953 Cavalier and a 1955 Caribbean convertible. Both were fully loaded except for air conditioning. I.e., both had power seats, power windows, power steering, power brakes, signal seeking radio, and ultramatic. The ultramatic transmission was introduced in 1949 and was the first automatic transmission to have a lock-up torque converter. In 1954, Packard introduced the part-throttle kick down and was the first manufacturer to have it. Packard was also the first independent to make its own automatic transmission.

    Well, I'll have to return to that Packard museum and recheck the info plate for that car I'm standing beside. It read V-8. These cars couldn't be touched, so I couldn't see under the hood for myself.

    And yet, reading the history tonight, I see no evidence for a V-8 during this time period, although an earlier one did exist. I read some automobile historians severely faulting Packard management, for dropping the excellent V-12 for the already-outdated flathead straight 8, when GM was about to introduce the OHV V-8 in post-war models. They saw the V-12 as Packard's strongest card, that they threw away, along with Packard's claim to exclusivity.

    Also please note I said "experimenting" with an auto trans design. Work that began as early as 1935. A few cars got them, as rolling test beds. Full factory production was indeed later.

    The Ultramatic was certainly better than the weird Chrysler "Fluid Clutch", which I've actually driven. But inferior, in my view, to the competing GM Hydramatic. Which only had a fluid coupling, not a more sophisticated & efficient torque converter with later lock-up, but the GM was completely self-shifting with planetary gear sets.
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    Jul 12, 2016 1:43 AM GMT
    I had to replace a slave on the Miata. It wasn't much. Maybe $200???

    I had a clutch replaced on a 94 SHO Taurus, about $700 or $800. If you take it to a dealer it can be 2x as much.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4864

    Jul 12, 2016 2:05 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    FRE0 saidPackard never made a V8 before introducing one in 1955 to replace the flathead straight 8. I had two Packards when I lived in San Diego: A 1953 Cavalier and a 1955 Caribbean convertible. Both were fully loaded except for air conditioning. I.e., both had power seats, power windows, power steering, power brakes, signal seeking radio, and ultramatic. The ultramatic transmission was introduced in 1949 and was the first automatic transmission to have a lock-up torque converter. In 1954, Packard introduced the part-throttle kick down and was the first manufacturer to have it. Packard was also the first independent to make its own automatic transmission.

    Well, I'll have to return to that Packard museum and recheck the info plate for that car I'm standing beside. It read V-8. These cars couldn't be touched, so I couldn't see under the hood for myself.

    And yet, reading the history tonight, I see no evidence for a V-8 during this time period, although an earlier one did exist. I read some automobile historians severely faulting Packard management, for dropping the excellent V-12 for the already-outdated flathead straight 8, when GM was about to introduce the OHV V-8 in post-war models. They saw the V-12 as Packard's strongest card, that they threw away, along with Packard's claim to exclusivity.

    Also please note I said "experimenting" with an auto trans design. Work that began as early as 1935. A few cars got them, as rolling test beds. Full factory production was indeed later.

    The Ultramatic was certainly better than the weird Chrysler "Fluid Clutch", which I've actually driven. But inferior, in my view, to the competing GM Hydramatic. Which only had a fluid coupling, not a more sophisticated & efficient torque converter with later lock-up, but the GM was completely self-shifting with planetary gear sets.


    The straight 8 outsold the V12 by a wide margin so from the economic standpoint dropping the V12 made sense. It was during the depression and that greatly reduced the demand for high priced cars. Straight 8 engines were very popular and didn't begin losing popularity until 1949 which was the year when the trend to OHV V8 engines started and straight 8 engines became less common very rapidly until there were none lift by 1955. The last American straight 8 engines were made by Pontiac and Packard in 1954.

    Actually, whether fluid clutches or torque converters are more efficient depends on operating conditions. At moderate to high speeds fluid clutches slip less than torque converters. The Hydramatic had especially low slippage except in low gear. The power flow in low was from the engine to the front planetary, then forward to the fluid clutch, then back to the middle planetary. Thus, there was a gear reduction of 1.45 before the fluid clutch which increased slippage and reduced creep. But in second, the torque was split so the fluid clutch handled only about 1/2 of the engine torque resulting in very low slippage. The layout was such that in third gear the fluid clutch handled an even lower portion of the engine torque and in fourth gear, a lower yet percentage of engine torque. So, the Hydramatic was really quite efficient up through 1955 after which they added a second fluid clutch. I've driven several cars with the olde Hydramatic.
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    Jul 12, 2016 2:31 AM GMT
    FRE0 said
    The straight 8 outsold the V12 by a wide margin so from the economic standpoint dropping the V12 made sense. It was during the depression and that greatly reduced the demand for high priced cars. Straight 8 engines were very popular and didn't begin losing popularity until 1949 which was the year when the trend to OHV V8 engines started and straight 8 engines became less common very rapidly until there were none lift by 1955. The last American straight 8 engines were made by Pontiac and Packard in 1954.

    Actually, whether fluid clutches or torque converters are more efficient depends on operating conditions. At moderate to high speeds fluid clutches slip less than torque converters. The Hydramatic had especially low slippage except in low gear. The power flow in low was from the engine to the front planetary, then forward to the fluid clutch, then back to the middle planetary. Thus, there was a gear reduction of 1.45 before the fluid clutch which increased slippage and reduced creep. But in second, the torque was split so the fluid clutch handled only about 1/2 of the engine torque resulting in very low slippage. The layout was such that in third gear the fluid clutch handled an even lower portion of the engine torque and in fourth gear, a lower yet percentage of engine torque. So, the Hydramatic was really quite efficient up through 1955 after which they added a second fluid clutch. I've driven several cars with the olde Hydramatic.

    Producing more popular, affordable cars appears to have been the Packard management strategy. But critics argue that it lost Packard its exclusivity niche, and they got pushed aside by Cadillac. Whom they had outsold during the Depression years. Even during a severe economic downturn the upper 1% still have their money.

    My Dad's 1953 Buick Roadmaster could be had with either the straight 8 or the V-8, I think the last year Buick offered the straight 8. He got the V-8, and of course it had the Dynaflow, another strange transmission of incredible inefficiency. It was the first car I ever drove, at his urging, and I nearly killed us both. That whole car was strange by today's standards.

    I believe that second fluid drive in Hydramatics was known as a controlled coupling. Because it would alternate between emptying and filling during the shifting cycle. So that the shift was undetectable between first & second, as I recall, leading people to believe it was a 3-speed. When technically it really had 4 distinct forward speeds.

    Cadillac retained the Hydramatic for many years, even after the Turbo Hydramatic was introduced in its passenger cars. It was used in heavier chassis applications, like limousines, ambulances, hearses, and such.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4864

    Jul 15, 2016 11:16 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    FRE0 said
    The straight 8 outsold the V12 by a wide margin so from the economic standpoint dropping the V12 made sense. It was during the depression and that greatly reduced the demand for high priced cars. Straight 8 engines were very popular and didn't begin losing popularity until 1949 which was the year when the trend to OHV V8 engines started and straight 8 engines became less common very rapidly until there were none lift by 1955. The last American straight 8 engines were made by Pontiac and Packard in 1954.

    Actually, whether fluid clutches or torque converters are more efficient depends on operating conditions. At moderate to high speeds fluid clutches slip less than torque converters. The Hydramatic had especially low slippage except in low gear. The power flow in low was from the engine to the front planetary, then forward to the fluid clutch, then back to the middle planetary. Thus, there was a gear reduction of 1.45 before the fluid clutch which increased slippage and reduced creep. But in second, the torque was split so the fluid clutch handled only about 1/2 of the engine torque resulting in very low slippage. The layout was such that in third gear the fluid clutch handled an even lower portion of the engine torque and in fourth gear, a lower yet percentage of engine torque. So, the Hydramatic was really quite efficient up through 1955 after which they added a second fluid clutch. I've driven several cars with the olde Hydramatic.

    Producing more popular, affordable cars appears to have been the Packard management strategy. But critics argue that it lost Packard its exclusivity niche, and they got pushed aside by Cadillac. Whom they had outsold during the Depression years. Even during a severe economic downturn the upper 1% still have their money.

    My Dad's 1953 Buick Roadmaster could be had with either the straight 8 or the V-8, I think the last year Buick offered the straight 8. He got the V-8, and of course it had the Dynaflow, another strange transmission of incredible inefficiency. It was the first car I ever drove, at his urging, and I nearly killed us both. That whole car was strange by today's standards.

    I believe that second fluid drive in Hydramatics was known as a controlled coupling. Because it would alternate between emptying and filling during the shifting cycle. So that the shift was undetectable between first & second, as I recall, leading people to believe it was a 3-speed. When technically it really had 4 distinct forward speeds.

    Cadillac retained the Hydramatic for many years, even after the Turbo Hydramatic was introduced in its passenger cars. It was used in heavier chassis applications, like limousines, ambulances, hearses, and such.


    On the Hydramatic with the 2nd fluid coupling, also called the controlled coupling, both the 1 - 2 shift and the 3 - 4 shift were effected by filling the controlled coupling. The controlled coupling was emptied for the 2-3 shift. It was smooth but from the performance standpoint it was a step backward. Then, in 1963, they introduced another transmission also called Hydramatic.; it had 3 speeds. On that one, the 2 - 3 shift was effected by filling the fluid clutch. My mother had a 1964 Pontiac with that transmission; it was another step backward. The 3 - 2 kickdown, which was effected by dumping the fluid clutch, was slow and the car actually seemed to lose speed until that shift was completed. Mother said it reminded her of a cat leaning back on its haunches getting ready to leap.

    It should be noted that during the Great Depression, all the independent manufacturers of luxury cars, except for Packard, failed. The reason that Packard did not fail at that time was that they started making medium priced cars which would sell when high priced luxury cars were selling very poorly. Cadillac survived only because it was supported by GM. So, it appears that Packard made the right decision.

    The Ultramamic, which the spelling corrector does not like, of course had 2 speeds. However, the torque converter lockup felt like a shift which confused people about how many speeds it had. Some people will insist that the Ultramatic had 3 speeds; others insist that it had 4 speeds because the torque converter could lock up in either 1st gear or 2nd gear. Under light throttle, it could lock up at only 20 mph.
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 14354

    Aug 21, 2016 3:50 PM GMT
    Thank God that I don't own a car and really don't need to since I can either ride my bike or use public transportation to get around. Owning a car is nothing but aggravation and endless expense. I feel sorry for you guys who live in car centric areas where auto ownership is a demanded must rather than an option.