why can't they make auto's any more
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  1. #1
    VIP Sponsor David Cavanagh's Avatar
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    why can't they make auto's any more

    What's wrong with the car industry. Why can't they build a reliable autaomatic transmission any more?
    We all remember the good old 504, ever with its Borg Warner transmission it just kept going, I made a customer who had clocked up 1.1 million km without touching the auto, R12 & R16 although weren't that good would still last 3-400,000 wothout problems (unless you abused them). I have lots of old 505's with over 400,000 and still no problems with there autos. Then came the R25 and although it got a bad reputation you could still expect 200,000 out of it. Then came the dreaded R19. Once we learned to change the timing belt and the auto every 80,000 we learned to live with it. But now Citroen have gone even further, a customer of mine bought a new C5 2 months ago. He's had it for 1 month and the dealer for the other, at 4,000 km it needed it's first auto replaced and it's currently in having it's second done, yes I said 4,000 km. Now I don't know what's going on but all these junk auto's must cost someone somewhere a lot of money
    It seems to pretty much the same thing with all manufactures, a friend of mine had the motor and trany replaced twice in the first 12 months in his Camry and is currently arguring with Toyota because it's still no good. I think modern quality control is out of control.

    David.

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  2. #2
    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    fords since around the early 80's are the same and magnas are bad as well
    i have known people with both these makes to have a new tranny in around 120 000km's
    504's were good
    604's you would only get around 200-250 out of them
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  3. #3
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    504's were good?
    Wow.

    Our Borg Warner 504 has been rebuilt 3 times that I know of. The car's got 320 000km on it.

    I was under the impression they were just as crap as the Ford Falcon boxes because they're made in the same factory. They certainly sound the same in first gear!

    Derek.

  4. #4
    VIP Sponsor David Cavanagh's Avatar
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    504 Borg Warners were almost bullet proof. The car with 1.1 million did all highway KM's therefore always in top gear. I doubt a city car would do that, but still I haven't heard of one needing rebuild under 300,000, even if they did, there only about $5-600 each with 12 months warranty, compare that with 3-4 grand for modern ones.
    I think they lasted longer than the same unit behind a Falcon motor was just because of the amount of torque being put through them, a 2 litre 504 engine is no match for the big ford lump.

    David.
    David Cavanagh

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  5. #5
    UFO
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    I think that the gearbox makers (Borg Warner, ZF etc) must be, like the rest of industry, working down to a budget rather than up to a quality level. It probably works out cheaper that way.

    With the few real duds (as indicated by the C5 in this story) are probably well outweighed by those that don't fail.

    There have been stories for ages about ZF boxes in BXs (and suppose 405s) failing early. Yet others go on for yonks.

    You would have to suspect though that a car that does two boxes in two months must have some other major prob - perhaps a failing ECU computer or similar? Earlier C5s required a reprogramming of the BIOS for the gearbox ECU and apparently late XMs can benefit from the same thing (must find out about mine)

    The torque vs gearbox argument of course makes sense.

    People often also forget that clutchs need to be replaced in manual boxes and that gearshafts etc fail in manuals too.

    They are after all only mechanical items but I suppose the point here is that they are expected to last a lot longer than the dire examples given.
    Craig K
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  6. #6
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    The Borg-Warner 35 was designed for 1500-2000cc engined cars.

    Ford had the wonderful 2-speed Fordomatic in their 144, 170 etc Falcons until about 1964, then they adopted the 35. It was a bit of a stretch for the 35, but it was up to the task.

    Austin Freeways got them too, a little earlier than that, and Borg-Warner did a wonderful job to recast them in the role of a FWD box in the Austin 1800.

    By the end of the sixties, they were more or less everywhere, not just in the Cortinas and Hillmans that they'd been designed for.

    But Ford kept increasing their engine size. And car size.

    The XP with a 170 it could handle, but the XR with a 200 was getting a bit marginal. Borg-Warner made a variation with larger clutches and external housing to suit these bigger engines, I think it had another designation, but it was still 35-based.

    When the 504 arrived it had the ZF, of course, but new rulings about the tariffs that applied to imported cars meant that Peugeot had to find a bit more local content. Enter Borg-Warner!

    And they did a nice job of adapting it too.

    Now, when you compare it to a Ford box, you must also remember that some of the bigger Ford 6s of the era had Ford's own C4 box instead.

    I'm no expert on automatics, I really don't like them, but I think I have to give a lot of credit to the 35 and also to what it's done for automatic motoring in smaller cars.

    And I think it's pugrambo who will tell you that a rebuild kit for the 35 costs nearly nothing, while the ZF might last longer, but costs a packet when it goes.

    It's when the 4-speed autos came in that things went silly, I think. I know of one Falcon that did well... it had 180,000kms on it when the box went, and it only cost $2100 to repair. A friend did it for him...

  7. #7
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Oh, I forgot to include this bit...

    The bigger pommie cars... Jaguars, Zephyrs, fat Austins and Wolseleys etc that had Borg-Warners had a box called the DG. It had a good feature in that the torque converter locked solid in top gear.

    But when Freeways were being built alongside the A110s and 6/110s at Zetland, someone thought it would be a good save to put a 35 in them.

    I bought one of these cars with a destroyed box once, and I rang the Borg-Warner technical people in an effort to see if the Freeway box I had lying around would fit straight in.

    "Oh, no," the boffin said, "you couldn't use a 35 behind that engine, the torque at stall would simply destroy it!"

    Good old BMC!

    Oh, yeah, apparently he was right.

  8. #8
    nJm
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    Did all 504's have the same gearbox? My grandpa had a mid 70s 504 GL, and by 1987 its auto had died twice. Maybe it was bad luck? Still, it was enough to put him off buying another pug (pretty stupid considering nothing else went wrong with the car over the 11 years he owned it).
    Nick
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  9. #9
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    As mentioned, early 504s had the ZF. Imported ones did too... so the build date wouldn't be the only way to tell.

    I think it was only up to 1971, but Dave McBean will probably be clearer on that.

  10. #10
    VIP Sponsor David Cavanagh's Avatar
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    nJm:
    Did all 504's have the same gearbox? My grandpa had a mid 70s 504 GL, and by 1987 its auto had died twice. Maybe it was bad luck? Still, it was enough to put him off buying another pug (pretty stupid considering nothing else went wrong with the car over the 11 years he owned it).
    What does he think of todays auto's??

    David.
    David Cavanagh

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  11. #11
    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    ZF boxes in 504's are as rare as rocking horse poo
    there were very few that arrived here with them
    "some" LTI's had the ZF but i really do mean "some"
    depending on how you drive the BW35 car the box can last for years or be destroyed in a very short time
    ZF's are a good box and last well but they can be expensive to service and very expensive to repair
    BW's on the other hand are as cheap as chips to re build
    if you are lucky enough to fall upon a ZF in a 504 and you want an auto grab it but remember to change the filter in it when needed and keep it serviced and with all autos of this era drive them as an auto or suffer the consequences of having to replace them
    seen many an auto die an early death from bieng driven and used as an auto should not be used
    they are auto for a reason
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  12. #12
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    The ZF box in our XM was a nightmare - from memory $4300 for a reconditioned box! It did come on a pallet in a fancy box if that was any consolation It was that horrific cost that prompted the decision never to buy an auto again!

    As for why our 504 Borg Warner box has suffered.. I don't know.

    I remember mum picking us up from school once, and stopped in our driveway (as some of you know it's quite steep) and when we all got back in the car later there was no reverse. I remember mum and I pushing the car around the backyard to turn it around and off we went! Got it fixed later

    Another time it started slipping and then ended up with no power in any gear at all.

    Another time I remember it not wanting to change from 2nd to 3rd. Dad and I were up in Port Macquarie at our other business at the time. We drove home to Sydney in second gear (noisy!)

    All of those were well before my driving days.
    I do know we've always had the auto transmission regularly serviced - there's a second service sticker on the windscreen for it. Been that long since I've driven it I'm not sure what the interval is though.

    Derek.

  13. #13
    Fellow Frogger! crosspug's Avatar
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    My Auto i've had for 4 years now and put approx 80,000 on it since I got it, I got it as a swap because the old 504 4 speed in my STi was on the outers. Straight swap of the auto at 280,000. That box lasted till las sept when it blew the torque converter at 360,000kms (for the box).

    Not a bad little thing, but thank god for 5 spd Manuals......... wink

    Now, [email protected]@B 900 auto's they were a gearbox eek! , and dirt cheap to fix , really they were.......honest!!! mallet

    Jono

    And for those that missed it I was being VERY sarcastic about the [email protected]@B's, damn things.......
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  14. #14
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    'rambo... Owen Wuillemin, from memory, had both a ZF and a Borg-Warner at one time... the legacy of having a wife who can't change gears... and he pointed out years ago that the Borg-Warner had a higher second gear, much more useful for passing and hillclimbing.

    DeKa... that would have been a four-speed, surely?

  15. #15
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    Ray,

    The 504 is a 3 speed and the XM was a 4 speed yes.

    I'm assuming you're meaning 4 speed boxes are worse than 3 speed boxes in terms of longevity?

    Derek.

  16. #16
    nJm
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    David Cavanagh:
    nJm:
    Did all 504's have the same gearbox? My grandpa had a mid 70s 504 GL, and by 1987 its auto had died twice. Maybe it was bad luck? Still, it was enough to put him off buying another pug (pretty stupid considering nothing else went wrong with the car over the 11 years he owned it).
    What does he think of todays auto's??

    David.
    He's only owned manuals since then .
    Nick
    1983 Peugeot 505 GR


    "All of its cars from the 1.1 litre 205 through the ugly duckling 309 to the 2.2 litre 505 GTi had a rightness and a righteousness about them that turned every humdrum drive into a journey. Someone, I once wrote, in the bowels of Peugeot understands handling and how a chassis should feel." - Jeremy Clarkson

  17. #17
    1000+ Posts Rod Hagen's Avatar
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    Ray Bell:
    As mentioned, early 504s had the ZF. Imported ones did too... so the build date wouldn't be the only way to tell.

    I think it was only up to 1971, but Dave McBean will probably be clearer on that.
    My daughter's 78 (Australian) 504 had a ZF which never missed a beat. Haven't had any problems with the 3 speed ZF's in the 505 sLi's either.

    I always thought the BW's were only used in the 04's for a comparatively short period of time.

    Cheers

    Rod

    <small>[ 14 May 2003, 09:15 AM: Message edited by: Rod Hagen ]</small>
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  18. #18
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DeKa
    <strong>.....I'm assuming you're meaning 4 speed boxes are worse than 3 speed boxes in terms of longevity?
    Longevity and price of repair... note the last paragraph in my first post:

    From my first post

    It's when the 4-speed autos came in that things went silly, I think. I know of one Falcon that did well... it had 180,000kms on it when the box went, and it only cost $2100 to repair. A friend did it for him...

  19. #19
    1000+ Posts Rod Hagen's Avatar
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    Mind you, there is an up side to the newer autos. For mine at least the adaptive ZF box in my 406 is infinitely more "driveable" than the old three speeds. Wouldn't swap it for quids (even if i one day have to spend quids to keep it going!) wink

    We tend to remember the autos that lived for years (because they are still around), but there were plenty that didn't. I remember all too well spending oodles of money on the slush box in my wifes Renault 12. We had a 3 speed Volvo 244 with a BW35 that also died.

    Then there was the tranny in the 75 Holden wagon that the mob I worked for in Alice Springs had that shook itself to death within a year on the corrugated roads up there....

    etc etc etc.

    Yes, some seemed "bulletproof" but auto tranny repairers were still making a good living in the 1960's and 70's!

    Cheers

    Rod
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  20. #20
    1000+ Posts Haakon's Avatar
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    I agree that modern stuff may be shorter lived, but no one has mentioned how much better they are to drive. 4sp autos are bloody great, revving less on the highway, better pickup around town etc and much better fuel economy.
    But as with anything, the more complicated you make it, the probability of something going pop goes up - cant be helped.
    The old BW 35 in the 504 was reliable, but a terrible clunky thing to drive (I procured a ZF trans for the 504 LTi restoration project, but am now toying with the idea of using 505 GTi engine and 4sp auto in it for the economy and performance).
    The 4sp auto in my R21 is a bit clunky (worn valve body - fixable for ~$400) but is still going strong after 200000 km of hard city use, and is much more relaxed than the 3sp in my R25 (also still going strong at 220000km)
    Renault have said that they build a 300000km life into the cars, so 200000 km from a component is not unreasonable.
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  21. #21
    1000+ Posts Haakon's Avatar
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    Rod Hagen:
    Mind you, there is an up side to the newer autos. For mine at least the adaptive ZF box in my 406 is infinitely more "driveable" than the old three speeds. Wouldn't swap it for quids (even if i one day have to spend quids to keep it going!) wink

    Rod
    you beat me to it.. wink
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  22. #22
    1000+ Posts Rod Hagen's Avatar
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    Haakon:
    am now toying with the idea of using 505 GTi engine and 4sp auto in it for the economy and performance).
    I remember reading somewhere (vectorid maybe??) that the 4 speed ZF's from the GTi's etc are fine as long as you avoid the 1987 models. Apparently there were some quality control problems that affected not only Peugeot but most of the 4 speed ZF boxes fitted to Euro's that year .

    Cheers

    Rod
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  23. #23
    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    I can't fault the 35 in the TI is got the other week... it was very smooth, did all the right things.

    Maybe there were good ones and bad ones... if so, there's going to be a good one for sale very soon.

  24. #24
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Guys,

    this is easy, autos are a brilliant idea .... If you dissabled and can't use your left leg ... Why on earth would you ever drive one by choice mallet mallet

    Get a proper manual gearbox !! Problem fixed dance dance dance

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  25. #25
    1000+ Posts Rod Hagen's Avatar
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    Because, Shane, sometimes people have cars that other people have to drive on occasion too.... moon

    (Mind you, if you had ever suffered the problems that a Holden column shift could produce you'd probably want an auto too! Having to open the bonnet and whack the thing every time you stopped at the lights didn't make for a fast getaway!)

    Cheers

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