What gave the Chevy Vega engine its bad reputation?

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What gave the Chevy Vega engine its bad reputation?

Postby cos2482 » Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:29 pm

Ask a Hemmings Editor: What gave the Chevy Vega engine its bad reputation?

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Jim
http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2007 ... ves-vegas/

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Re: What gave the Chevy Vega engine its bad reputation?

Postby rpoz-29 » Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:49 pm

The head was a mess. The cross flow head Reynolds designed burned a valve during emissions tests. GM tech built the head that went into production. The block was never the issue, the head and lack of adequate cooling was. I fixed a crap load of the little buggers into the early '90's.
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Re: What gave the Chevy Vega engine its bad reputation?

Postby hammerdown7 » Wed Jun 24, 2020 9:00 pm

I would have to say the GM accountants are at the top of the list. They wanted to cut every penny out of the build because the Pinto list price was between $100-$150 less than GM's target price for the Vega. The number one item on the list was a radiator overflow tank. With the lack of normal owners paying little attention to maintenance, low cooling fluid led to overheating which killed the new aluminum block.
Dick
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Re: What gave the Chevy Vega engine its bad reputation?

Postby rpoz-29 » Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:25 am

Dick is correct. The "bean counters" ruined Reynold's design. A local machinist worked for Reynolds during the development. They had always used chrome plated pistons in the engine, but GM decided not to use they and save a few dollars. In DeLorean's book, "On A Clear Day You Can See GM", he devotes a chapter to the Vega.
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Re: What gave the Chevy Vega engine its bad reputation?

Postby HI WINDING MONZA » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:45 pm

Should of just put the Nova 153 Chevy engine in it and be done with no bad reputation.

Doug in P.R. 8)
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Re: What gave the Chevy Vega engine its bad reputation?

Postby Monza Harry » Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:07 pm

But without the Vega we would have to have waited years for our current line-up of aluminum engines. Reynolds did this R&D for GM specifically for the Vega. Ground breaking usually goes through a "Heartbreaking phase"
If the general had finished the work and pushed back on the accounting dept, this would have been a much different story we are telling. I would bet all of the major manufacturers have a similar tale of Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda woe. Real world problems and their costs make for a bad decision making process, usually oriented to best for today and the "Future be Damned!" Harry
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Re: What gave the Chevy Vega engine its bad reputation?

Postby Howler73 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:28 pm

I bought a new 74 Vega GT station wagon in Dec 73. I was a freshman in college, of course my Dad helped me out. It was a 1 bbl carb, 4 speed and it was a dog. I was going to school in Alabama and going home to Warner Robins, Georgia about every 2 weeks. As it was ridiculously hot there it had AC and when it was on it was even more of a dog. The problem I had was it starting burning oil right after the 12 month/12,000 warranty was over. It was recommended to pull the head and put valve guide seals in it but that didn't help. So by the time I traded it in on a 76 Monza, 262 V8, 4sp it got around 30 MPG and less that a 100 miles to the quart. I liked the look of the car but it was a real mistake to buy it. It was cheap though!

Ken
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Re: What gave the Chevy Vega engine its bad reputation?

Postby rpoz-29 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:53 pm

I was a senior in hs when I bought my '73 GT new, and still have it. I never had the ailments so many other people seem to have had. I competitively autocrossed it from 1975 until 2002 in a variety of classes. Pulled a small camper, (still have the hitch), and a boat from time to time. I did pull the engine at about 78,000 miles due to a broken piston skirt. Put it back together and back on the road.
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