Buying a new Honda - Page 7 - Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums

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post #61 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-20-2012, 11:36 PM
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My oldest car is a 1964 Ford Fairlane, it is my main daily driver, it is not in the best cosmetic shape, it has a few minor dings, and after 50 years, could use a new paint job. I did have the seats redone and put new carpet in it, everything else inside is acceptable if not perfect. I drive it nearly every day (I would love to have a Model A, but can't afford one, not even a replica)

My car starts and drives fine, stays in the road, is comfortable except for it's lack of A/C (soon to be remedied). It almost never breaks down, and the couple of time it has I was easily to fix it myself. It still has the original engine and transmission. I have personally put over 160,000 miles on it during the past 15 years I've had it, and it has been stone reliable. And while this is subjective, to me it's styling is WAY better than all those ovaloid cars of today.

It does have seatbelts (lap only), but air bags, ABS, power windows, power brakes, power steering, keyless entry, fancy audio systems are things I want no part of(my Fairlane does have an underdash 8-track player, and an indash AM radio that still works) But the best thing about it, besides just being old, is it doesn't have any electronics, fuel injection, or emissions crap on it. It is a "pure" car, that only has what it needs. It's simplicity means it's easy to work on, and there are less things to go wrong. And it must be built well, to have survived nearly 50 years of daily use as a transportation car and still be in such great shape. With it's 200 c.i. straight six, it gets 15 mpg city, 20+ highway, and has no trouble keeping up with highway speeds. I drove it 3,000 miles round trip from Phoenix to Portland and back last year at 75 mph, not a single hiccup.I expect to drive it for the rest of my life. (I'll be 53 next week) If it breaks, I'll fix it.


My '85 Goldwing LTD, with it's computerized electronic fuel injection, has given me nothing but trouble. I finally have it running again (but have no idea how or why) but for how long? I no longer trust it to go very far away on. The mechanicals seem to be in great shape, but the electronics are junk. I lack the specialized knowledge and equipment to work on them, and the only replacement parts available are used ones on eBay. $300 for a USED ECU? I don't think so. I have my eye on an '84 Interstate that does not have all that electronic crap on it, but you can't even get mechanical parts for it like you can my old cars. So what if the engine needs to be rebuilt every 150,000 miles. It's super easy to do, and all the parts are readily available. Ford knew how to build cars, they used the same parts on many different models. So the engine, transmission, steering, suspension, and brakes also fit the early Mustangs, and there will always be parts available for those.

If I were 21 (yeah right) I wouldn't have any problem spending $25,000 for a car, IF it could be made to last for the rest of my life, like those old cars could. But new ones have an average lifespan of about 10-15 years, before they become obsolete, nobody will work on them, and unlike the old cars, you can't work on them yourself, and most of the parts would not be available, the few that were would cost more than the car is worth.

But this is a motorcycle forum. About a year ago I bought my '85 Goldwing, which needed some work, and spent months searching for parts, wound up having to fabricate some of my own. The older non fuel injected 'Wings are bikes that COULD be kept going forever, but parts are not available. By contrast, IF you have a 1960 Harley Panhead, you can be assured of a lifetime supply of parts, and mechanics that know how to work on it if you can't

And NO, I am not starting a Goldwing/Harley debate. I love my '85 'Wing when it runs. But the simple fact is, Harley's, any model any year, CAN be kept going forever. Unfortunately, that is not true of Japanese bikes. Yes they have very high initial quality, but everything eventually breaks or wears out, and Honda's cannot be fixed. There are no parts, and nobody is willing (or even knows how) to work on them.

"Anyone who thinks those old vintage cars were good never had to rely on them or drive very many miles in them." Not so. I rely on mine on a daily basis, and have put a ton of miles on them. And I couldn't be happier with them. I do have several motorcycles as a backup, but have never needed a backup.

"New vehicles move the body. Old vehicles move the soul. Vintage forever"
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post #62 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-20-2012, 11:41 PM
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I sold my '98 Grand Marquis two years ago. We'd put a bit over 200,000 miles one it with no major repairs. The 4.6L V8 delivered an honest 20mpg around town and 27 on the road. It had keyless entry, AT,PS,PW,AC,CC,ABS, in fact all the goodies which all worked flawlessly. That's why I prefer more modern vehicles.

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post #63 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-20-2012, 11:53 PM
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It's true that an "official" Harley dealer does not support their customers much if any better than Japanese dealers. What sets Harley apart is the simplicity of their bikes (easy to work on and less to go wrong) and the absolutely unbelievable aftermarket support they have. Parts, service, and repairs are readily available for ANY Harley of ANY year, even if it's 100 years old. You can buy a brand new Harley Knucklehead engine, built way better than the original with modern manufacturing technology. Try buying a brand new engine for your early Goldwing. Initial quality is not worth a whole lot if it is not made to be rebuilt and/or repaired.

Even if I had the money, I would not buy a new Goldwing every ten years, just on principal alone. The price of a new Goldwing (or Harley) pretty much makes it a lifetime investment.

"New vehicles move the body. Old vehicles move the soul. Vintage forever"
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post #64 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-21-2012, 12:19 AM
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One point that needs to be considered about quality. The water cooled engines inGoldwings last a lot longer than an aircooled HD engine. Air cooled engines are never as long lived as a water cooled engine. Simply because air cooled engines expand and contract much more than water cooled one because they operate through a much wider heat range. To compensate for that air cooled engines have to be built with much larger clearances in moving parts to prevent seizing. Not so for water cooled engines. Since a brand new air cooled engine has more clearence in the pistons, rings, bearing, etc, than water cooled ones it's as though the new air cooled engine is already half worn out compared to the water cooled one.

The reason you can get parts for old Harley is because Harley Davidson's marketing and old Hollywood movies popularized these bikes. They're not popular because of their technical excellence but because of excellent marketing of their, "mystique". That keeps them popular and aftermarket producers providing accessories and parts. Goldwings are not as popular and are not sold in large enough numbers to keep after marketers going. So it's a good thing that a 'Wing engine can go 250-300 thousand miles without major repairs with decent maintenance. Try that with an air cooled bike.

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post #65 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-21-2012, 01:57 AM
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You are 100% right about the Harley not being as good quality wise as the Goldwing. Not even close. But a Harley EVO (pre Twin Cam) CAN last 100,000 miles with proper care and maintenance. I've seen it happen. A Goldwing engine CAN goe three times as far, if properly treated and maintained. I don't question any of that. My problem as a vintage motorcycle enthusiast, is that when that Goldwing engine does wear out, it's gone. It cannot be fixed. It uses too many complex and expensive parts, and many of them will no longer be available.

But the Harley can be rebuilt 4 times, and it is fairly easy and inexpensive to do so. And when it if finally no longer rebuildable, you can buy a new engine, and start all over again, basically making the bike immortal. I like things that last forever. I wish I could buy a new engine for my '85 Goldwing, and just keep on riding it for the rest of my life. But unlike Harley engines, that is not possible.

Harleys are definitely NOT technically superior to anything, unless it might be a Royal Enfield Bullet. But that is actually one of their strong points. They do make upgrades as time goes by, but much slower than the Japanese companies. Even with the upgrades, their basic design remains the same as it has for decades.

You are partially right about Harleys being popular because of their "mystique" It even appeals to me. I like my motor vehicles to feel and sound like motor vehicles. I like them to have character and soul. Harleys definitely have that.

But I think the main reason Harley has so much aftermarket support, is because there is a market for it. Companies making aftermarket Harley parts and accessories, and even complete frames and engines, know that what they make will sell in large quantities. So their investment in design and tooling to make these parts is pretty safe.

Even with Japanese cruisers, aftermarket companies are afraid to design and build the tooling to make parts and accessories, because the Japanese change things too often. About 10-12 years ago, I thought that might change, that the Japanese might stay with the same design a lot longer, at least with cruisers, and get the aftermarket interested. And for a short time they did. But it didn't last. The Japanese just can't seem to leave well enough alone. So the aftermarket is scared to mess with them, afraid to invest a lot of money to build stuff that there might be no market for.

Unlike a jet fighter, a motorcycle does not need to be on the cutting edge of technology. Back in the late '70s, the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers reached a point where there bikes were extremely reliable, and would almost last forever. And they performed as well or better than any motorcycle needed to (at least as far as cruisers and touring bikes go, sportbikes will always be on the edge) but instead of keeping their existing designs and slowly refining them, they dropped them altogether, and came out with something completely new. So neither the manufacturers nor the aftermarket was able to keep supplying parts for them, they had to move on to the newer stuff.

To me, riding a motorcycle should be a very visceral experience. A motorcycle should be a very basic, elemental, even primitive machine. Even if you like new cars, a motorcycle is not a car.

Many people get into Harleys because they want to be part of the "Harley scene" That has alway been a turnoff to me. I really am an individualist, and riding the same bike as everyone else just doesn't do it for me. But, I am still attracted to Harleys, and it has nothing to do with the image, the mystique, the scene, or any of that. It is the bikes themselves. It is the way they look, the fact that they are old tech, that they make noise and vibrate like something with a large internal combustion engine should. Their lack of refinement, the fact that they do not have an electric smooth engine, is a major plus for me. It is the same thing that draws me to all vintage vehicles. The fact that there is a forever supply of parts and mechanics who know how to work on them is just another plus.


I have no problem with new technology, I own a lot of it. I just don't want it on my vehicles. At least the computerized electronic part of it. Tubeless tires, disc brakes (non ABS), liquid cooling, shaft drive, modern metallurgy and manufacturing techniques are all technology I like. But electronics, fuel injection, air bags, ABS, etc., just don't do it for me. I come from a time when none of that stuff existed. I learned to operate and work on motor vehicles back when they were simple mechanical devices, and that is still what I want. My cars can be kept going forever. I wish my bikes could too, but they can't. They weren't designed for it, and there are no parts, or won't always be parts for them.

I have seen many people on here, myself included, with older bikes, get so frustrated because parts are no longer available, or they cannot find anyone to work on them. I have to wonder why. Back in '85, my LTD was the ultimate touring bike. Now most people consider it scrap. If it was good enough back then, and it was, why is it not good enough now?

"New vehicles move the body. Old vehicles move the soul. Vintage forever"
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post #66 of 69 (permalink) Old 03-21-2012, 03:19 PM
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Just goes to show different strokes... I'm old enough to have had plenty of experience with the older machines and still are fond of them but still prefer operating more modern ones. With twoexceptions, I still prefer fabric covered aircraft and wooden boats. I apparently have personal dichotomies myself. I salute your enjoyment of the older bikes while I appreciate my complex 'Wing.

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post #67 of 69 (permalink) Old 04-01-2012, 11:36 AM
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Kit Carson wrote:
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A great many things go into running a business or shop. The ten year rule some shops have adopted is not against you or the bikes, it is simply business.

Any inventory of parts takes time and effort to keep around and also standing inventory has to be paid for every year, to the tax man. So quite simply the taxes on outdated inventory exceed the profit of any sales of older parts.

They have to be organized and in their bins, this takes up space, they sit for years, as although there are old bikes out there, not enough to be profitable.

Although it may rub you wrong the goal of any business is to make a profit, otherwise there is no need to be in business.

It is not the training or skill of the mechanics, a motorcycle is a motorcycle is a motorcycle, period, trouble shooting, basic things like brakes and so on are the same on all bikes basically, just different design but any mechanic can turn wrenches on any machine. There is no great mystery to that. A bike is a bike is a bike. Electronic and new circuits have became quite the challenge sometimes, but it is all the same.

There is also the element of the one who will bring in an older bike for repair, say for example it is the rear swing arm rotted out or the stator in a 1200 and you have to pull the engine . For a shop who pays wages and supports overhead, this is a $2000 dollar or better job. So what is the bike worth?? If it is never claimed back, now you have to go to the local magistrate and gain ownership of the bike, in my area this costs another $185 bucks to accomplish. So now I am up to 2185 plus time to do this.
Now I have to try to sell it. It will sit there for two years and finally you just give it away. Write it off as as loss on taxes.

Those are some of the problems a dealership faces dealing with the public, the government and the tax man.

Just putting a perspective on it some do not consider.

Kit
Kit said it the best, IMHO. Dealers do not want to take on the aspect of potentially owning a bike they cannot sell because the work costs more to do than the bike is worth. With that being said, it's rather easy to get nearly any dealer to do any standard work for any bike as long as parts can be found: Tell the dealer to give you a quote and pay for the service and parts up front.

You can't convince the dealer "I'll pay for it even if it's $1500 for a bike worth $2000" no matter how hard you try. But give them $1500 before they start work and have a service contract that states the work will be done for that $1500 and I bet at least 80-90% of the service managers will gladly take that work on - there's virtually no risk to the dealership at that point.

These odds are even improved when it's just routine maintenance: tire changes, oil changes, etc.

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post #68 of 69 (permalink) Old 04-01-2012, 09:31 PM
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wildwolf wrote:
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Kit Carson wrote:
Quote:
A great many things go into running a business or shop. The ten year rule some shops have adopted is not against you or the bikes, it is simply business.

Any inventory of parts takes time and effort to keep around and also standing inventory has to be paid for every year, to the tax man. So quite simply the taxes on outdated inventory exceed the profit of any sales of older parts.

They have to be organized and in their bins, this takes up space, they sit for years, as although there are old bikes out there, not enough to be profitable.

Although it may rub you wrong the goal of any business is to make a profit, otherwise there is no need to be in business.

It is not the training or skill of the mechanics, a motorcycle is a motorcycle is a motorcycle, period, trouble shooting, basic things like brakes and so on are the same on all bikes basically, just different design but any mechanic can turn wrenches on any machine. There is no great mystery to that. A bike is a bike is a bike. Electronic and new circuits have became quite the challenge sometimes, but it is all the same.

There is also the element of the one who will bring in an older bike for repair, say for example it is the rear swing arm rotted out or the stator in a 1200 and you have to pull the engine . For a shop who pays wages and supports overhead, this is a $2000 dollar or better job. So what is the bike worth?? If it is never claimed back, now you have to go to the local magistrate and gain ownership of the bike, in my area this costs another $185 bucks to accomplish. So now I am up to 2185 plus time to do this.
Now I have to try to sell it. It will sit there for two years and finally you just give it away. Write it off as as loss on taxes.

Those are some of the problems a dealership faces dealing with the public, the government and the tax man.

Just putting a perspective on it some do not consider.

Kit
Kit said it the best, IMHO. Dealers do not want to take on the aspect of potentially owning a bike they cannot sell because the work costs more to do than the bike is worth. With that being said, it's rather easy to get nearly any dealer to do any standard work for any bike as long as parts can be found: Tell the dealer to give you a quote and pay for the service and parts up front.

You can't convince the dealer "I'll pay for it even if it's $1500 for a bike worth $2000" no matter how hard you try. But give them $1500 before they start work and have a service contract that states the work will be done for that $1500 and I bet at least 80-90% of the service managers will gladly take that work on - there's virtually no risk to the dealership at that point.

These odds are even improved when it's just routine maintenance: tire changes, oil changes, etc.
While this is true from a strictly business standpoint, a manufacturer and their dealers need owner loyalty. If I bought a brand new GW tomorrow for $30K, and 10 years later the dealer would not work on it or even sell me parts for it, you can bet I would never buy that brand again. A $30K bike would have to last at least 25 years to justify the initial investment. I think a new Goldwing should come with a 10 year 100,000 mile warranty standard for what they cost.

"New vehicles move the body. Old vehicles move the soul. Vintage forever"
"Obsolete does not mean it is not any good, it just means it is not made anymore"
"The simpler the better"
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post #69 of 69 (permalink) Old 04-01-2012, 09:46 PM
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Owner loyalty can come from many factors warranty time and mileage length are just two of them. Some people weigh more on dependability, some buy the brand the family always bought (I've seen it happen), some because a specific dealer or mechanic has always steered them towards that brand, etc.

I would assume as long as Honda is available, the dealer can order parts for the older models - though some parts are discontinued after certain periods of time. This could be 10 years, 15 years, or even shorter depending on the vehicle. However, this is true of any brand.

It's also dealer discretion on many of these aspects with which we discus. Could be one would just need to quit frequenting the crappy dealers. It can be better to shop to another location for better service. I've done it myself for many purchases - not just vehicles.

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