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Technical Just how reliable is your hot rod or custom?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HOTRODPRIMER, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 6,140


    I've driven my Nomad 300,000 miles plus in the almost 29 years I've owned it. Only once did it need a ride home, and that was about 15 years ago when I stopped at a railroad crossing for a train. Trained passed, I drove over the tracks, went a block to a stop sign, put on the brakes, and no brakes! I am glad it didn't happen a block earlier when I was stopping for the train. Called AAA, told the lady the car was a '56 Nomad and she called the towing company which happened to be owned by a good friend. He told me the AAA lady hesitantly told him, "He said it was a car called a Nomad?" And he said, "I know just who it is!"
    I've put 12,000 miles on the '40 in 3 1/2 years, and time will tell how reliable it is but so far, so good.
  2. oilslinger53
    Joined: Apr 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,500

    from covina CA

    The car in my profile pic was my daily for several years. I even used it as my service “truck” for a couple of those years. My speedo never worked, so I can be sure about exact mileage, but I’d estimate 40-50,000 miles, and the only times it’s seen a tow truck are when i brought it home for the first time, when I got pulled over with a suspended license, and when this happened [​IMG]

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Ron Funkhouser and HOTRODPRIMER like this.
  3. The '59 Ford came to the rescue of my OT car when it needed a battery last fall. I did manage to break the M20 back in May of 2018 when it blew out of 3rd gear during a hard shift.
    20181125_101033_resized.jpg 20180505_094546_resized.jpg
  4. That makes me sick and it ain't even my car. :( HRP
    dana barlow likes this.
  5. 3W JOHN
    Joined: Oct 8, 2015
    Posts: 773

    3W JOHN

    My old T never let me down.

    dana barlow, Jet96, Rickybop and 3 others like this.
  6. After a new transmission, steering box, steering components and a new thermostat I guess my 34 Dodge is reliable. 34dodge.jpg
  7. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,214


    upload_2019-10-6_4-35-39.png L.A. SHRINE AUDITORIUM


    I guess we have all had hot rods and cruisers over the years that were fairly trouble free. The longest mileage without any problems was with the 1965 El Camino. It had gone back and forth to Northern California a million times during college, photo road trips during our twenty something times, deep Mojave-Red Rock desert times, and as far south as Baja, Mexico. The only thing was a water pump replacement a year (9 years of ownership) before we sold it at 125k miles.
    The other hot rods saw their own trouble-free mileage for the varying times of ownership. We were lucky at never having to have a “side of the road” repair or problem on those HAMB friendly hot rods and cruisers. The thing I liked the most was after the beginning of hearing a clunk on the ignition switch, taking care of that problem, the rest were turn the key and start every time. They were all single start wonders as far as my wife was concerned. There was no worry that they would not start at all.

    I am sure we did more than a thorough check up on the 1958 Impala before we went to the Lions Dragstrip. For a couple of teens, reliability was the key to happiness. On the Impala, it was one incident, in the staging area, that got shut down for about 5 minutes. They had to clean some debris off of the track. So, all cars, except for one black Impala shut down. My worry was that if I shut down it would not start again. For some reason, in the pits a few minutes earlier, it was difficult to start it back up.

    So, I did not want to have to do something in the staging area in front of all of the spectators and racers. So, I idled a few minutes, until we moved forward. I did open the hood to look like I was doing something on the motor… but that was just for looks. Of course, I cleaned it out, prior to racing and actually winning that round.

    My wife has been happy with all of the reliability in our “together cars” from way back then to the clunker surfer station wagon that was happy driving to the beach almost daily. For the longevity of the “after hot rod stage,” there were some problems about blown fuel injection air boxes and stuck starters on some of the cars. But for the past history in hot rods, they were as reliable as a new car off of the showroom floor.
    HOTRODPRIMER and Ron Funkhouser like this.
  8. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,173


    If its not reliable, it won't be around here very long. I drive my stuff, and fully expect to get back home when I pull out of the driveway.
    The coupe has 60,000 miles in 7 years, came home on the stretcher one time, from about 2 miles away from home. I'm OK with that. Gene
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  9. hudson48
    Joined: Oct 16, 2007
    Posts: 2,697


    I am happy with the reliability of all my cars now. Just came back from a 1000km round trip to an event with the Hudson and no problems. Of course the big one was in 2018 when I took the Hudson across to USA and did over 10,000kms from Oakland CA along I40/66 to Dewey OK, then St Louis MO, Auburn IA, Detroit, then headed west again back to Santa Maria and then Encinitas before shipping home. Only a couple of minor problems,not bad for that kind of a trip. The roadster is also very reliable and the 63 Riviera just as good.
  10. 6sally6
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 1,331


    I'm on first name basis with the AAA driver...........seriously.:(
    I truly get my moneys worth from my membership.
    Maybe it because I DO drive it a lot.
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  11. Reliability really isn't a big deal if you stay close to home, you usually have someone you can call but a thousand miles from home having a hot rod or custom you are confident with goes a long way to having a worry free road trip. HRP
    jim snow likes this.
  12. The missus and I just finished a 562 mile round trip this weekend to the Hot Rod 100 in St. Charles, MO. We took the '55 Chevy and it ran like the proverbial top. The run started in St. Charles and ended up in Washington, MO which has a great old downtown with numerous bars. Thinking ahead, we stayed Friday night in Washington and got up early to drive the 25 miles to the start on Saturday. When we finished we were not far from the motel and the bars.

    It was a great run if you are in the area. Anyhow, the old car proved, once again, that it is reliable.
    guthriesmith likes this.
  13. Bill Rinaldi
    Joined: Mar 23, 2006
    Posts: 1,824

    Bill Rinaldi

    My 48 Chevy P/U has been my reliable driver for the last 20 years. For the first 40+ years, I had 8 completed pre 48 hot rods. 36 Ford Cabrolet, 23 T (track roadster style), 40 Chevy coupe, 41 Ford 2 dr Sedan, 23 T touring, 40 Chevy 2 dr Sedan, 48 Willys Jeepster, another 40 Chevy 2dr Sedan. Plus another half dozen I bought, worked on and sold. AND a 57 Chevy wagon back in the 80's that was a family car for 7or 8 years. Well over 150,000 miles on the cars before the 48 P/U (We put over 50,000 miles on the wagon alone) Blew one engine on the road home from Memphis, actually limped it home. Blew a trans or 2 and an awful lot of roadside and garage "fixes" I only recall 2 rescues, 1 by tow truck, 1 by tow dolly. For the most part they've been pretty darn reliable, 'course it's been quite a learning curve!! LOTTA miles, but then again, it's been my hobby and a major part of my life and family since I was a kid. Bill Rinaldi
    firstinsteele likes this.
  14. hudson48
    Joined: Oct 16, 2007
    Posts: 2,697


    Even though as stated earlier I have good reliability with all 3 cars I always anticipate trouble and load up with tools, jack, multimeter, wheel brace, wheel cover remover etc etc. Over all the years I have hardly ever had to use anything but other rodders always need to use something.:rolleyes:
  15. ElSolo
    Joined: May 8, 2019
    Posts: 11


    Still running strong with minor problems bent push rod on my way to Bonneville but was easy repair and have to spray electrical dryer on Mag once when I got caught in rain storm and broken brake light switch but no long trips lately probably 4000 additional miles so far :)[​IMG]

    Sent from my iPad using H.A.M.B.
    Ron Funkhouser likes this.
  16. 1 am in the morning in Vermont driving in a heavy rain , pulled into a closed gas station but the pumps were lit up . Filled up tank go to start car and starter clicks . I said to my wife water got in starter , maybe if we sit here a while the engine is still hot just might dry out starter . After half hour goes past said a prayer and turned key and starter worked and we were on way .
    guthriesmith and Montana1 like this.
  17. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 20,659


    Most of mine are pretty reliable. Honestly, the problems I have are with parts failing. I spend all this time making sure everything that could go out is new. Should have kept the road tested crap I guess.
  18. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,728

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    Check oil, make sure its full of gas, hit the key and go. If not, what's the point in having it.

    I dont have anything without brand new wiring and everything on the car as solid as i can get it. More fun if you can drive it there and back and not have to worry or haul wrenches
  19. A friend came down for a week this winter and we went every where.

    I drove to the airport to pick them up and took them back 7 days later (100 miles one way). Went on an air boat ride, went to Garlit's Museum, 2 cruise-ins and a swap meet, out to the Gulf to see the Manatee, shopping for souvenirs, took in a couple of flea markets along the way, out to breakfast a couple times with the guys in the club, and out to lunch with some others, visited a friends private collection, plus sight seeing along the way.

    Gas, oil and grease the front end. Put on a thousand miles in 7 days! Had a lot of fun! :cool:
  20. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,214



    We were very lucky to have such a cool looking hot rod as a teenager. I wish it had the original hot rod motor the way we originally saw it cruise into the Bixby Knolls drive-in restaurant parking lot. The rumble, the look and the attitude was outstanding and everyone was impressed with the first time showing by a friend of ours.

    For some reason, maybe quality assurance lapse at midnight and the fumes…caused the Red-Orange paint to become somewhat Salmon Pink. Or that is what the original owner/builder heard most often in that popular parking lot conversations. “Wow, that Salmon Pink Ford is very cool looking…etc.” despite the powerful looks and sound, the owner was not a happy camper and he had just finished the build, including the late night paint job.

    He let it slip that the 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery was for sale. His reason was that he wanted to complete another drag racing project and needed the cash to get it going. No one took him up on his offer as it was a little too high in cost. Plus, no one had ever seen a sedan delivery except for a Helms Truck or the local plumber and those were work trucks, not hot rods.


    When I finally bought the sedan delivery, it had a stock Flathead and LaSalle transmission. It was my first old hot rod and teenage high school daily driver. It also served as my transportation to the beaches all over So Cal. It did not have the power to go up into the local mountains, so that was left up to the 58 Impala when it was available.

    But, for a stock 80 HP Flathead, it was as reliable as a comfortable bed in the winter. It was warm, drove well, (except for uphill grades on Coast Highway) and looked unusual for a teenager’s first hot rod. There wasn’t one in the whole So Cal coastal area that we saw or came across. So, it always drew a crowd. At those surf movies held at high school/college auditoriums, the sedan delivery was a big hit. Pure surf mobile in the beach, no question...

    The only thing was it needed recycled oil to keep it running. It did not make any oil droppings on my mom’s concrete driveway, did not burn oil, had the cleanest Flathead motor around, and started every single time that was needed. No fumes in the cab or hollow chamber coming inside. It was a mystery of all mysteries. Many expert local Flathead mechanics and our expert in Los Angeles said the only way to get to the bottom of this was to take out the Flathead and rebuilt the whole thing. Money and time prevented it from happening. Also, why tear down a perfectly tuned, running motor that was so reliable that it felt right driving it everywhere?

    We could flog it around the rainy-day mud holes, in the high tide saltwater roads and sandy parking areas, without any worry that it would not start of get us where we wanted to go on our road trips. San Diego south, to Santa Barbara north were regular routes. It was a blast to drive. It just needed a gallon of recycled oil from one long 100 mile one way trip to get us back home safely.


    Maybe it was just because it was a 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery, as ten years later, my wife and I bought a somewhat build up hot rod 40 Ford Sedan Delivery, again. This time it needed a lot of work to get it running well, handling and safety items included. Once everything was put in place by us, it became another 40 Ford Sedan Delivery that ran as smooth as any car on the road. But, this time it had a 327 and A/C to boot. That in itself allowed my wife to drive it by herself to her friend’s houses and do some errands. That is reliability.

    We even had the exterior to look like my own Flathead sedan delivery from high school.
    But, this time the paint was a solid Red-Orange combination, not a Salmon Pink. Plus, it had more 327 SBC power to conquer those steep coastal highway hills/road grades that the Flathead had to take in 2nd and sometimes in first gear.
    LOU WELLS likes this.
  21. As long as I don't try to drive them....they are very reliable...taking them down the driveway and out onto the highway I live can get very sketchy...

    I keep the AAA card close to me at all times...

    Ron Funkhouser likes this.
    Joined: Jan 24, 2010
    Posts: 1,897

    from IDAHO

    Damn Dependable And A Survival Kit In The Trunk For Others.. 13502646_1635889193402022_7802521148572035620_o.jpg
    1956 F100 and Ron Funkhouser like this.
  23. TCATTC
    Joined: Oct 12, 2019
    Posts: 169


    I've never had much trouble on the road but I go prepared. I have a box I take with me with a starter, alternator, distributor, water pump, fuel filter and fuel pump. In my travel tool box I keep extra hose clamps, zip ties, carb cleaner, oil, trans fluid, etc. It really does'nt take as much space as you think. I have been accused of having a rolling parts store. lol
  24. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,229

    from Oregon

    I've put 14,000 miles on my Austin gasser since I built it. I wont hesitate to drive the wheels off it. I do tend to not travel long distances though, simply because the little car is cramped, and after a few hours I'm ready to take a break.
    My '39 Chev coupe just hit the road in late summer of 2020, and a month later I took it on a 1250 mile trip. I usually prefer to get some miles and months around town before trying a long run, but it's been a great ride so far, so with 500 miles on it I headed out on the trip. It ran flawlessly the whole trip, and halfway to my destination I finally relaxed knowing it was going well.
  25. I can't complain. I've had a few flats, { those stupid old dirt track tires }. Also just a few small break downs. 20171125_165541.jpg I usually call a friend to bring a tire, or the parts needed to fix. The only time I had to call AAA. It was night, and I fried an electronic ignition on the delivery. {So knock on wood.} Ron........
    tb33anda3rd likes this.

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