Select "Old Car" from side menu, select "Austin 3 litre" then scroll down and near the bottom of the page find "downloads" - look at the first item.
Rather disappointing reviews and certainly not representative of my experiences with the crabs. However there is an interesting reference to the 1800S and 18/85 being knocked off course by mid bump corners that I encountered on only one of my cars when driven hard and I will reveal the cause later!
I'm with Chris - thought it accurate! And it cheered me up - all the things I thought were wrong with my car were there from new. I didn't believe the old boys round here that worked on them when they were new when they said "they all did that - even from the factory" but it seems that in a number of cases they were right! Cheers Andrew
While I agree with many of the comments in the report, I would like to take the opportunity to discuss my experience with a number of crabs that I owned between 1972 and 1988 that I used as my daily drivers.
I appreciate that a sample of one owner (me) is not representative. However, I wonder if the sample of owners used in the report was biased towards those who wanted to record their cars’ faults while those who were happy did not comment? Some of the percentages of faults appear questionable to me.
My cars Austin 1800 Mk1.5 1967 - owned 4 years - mileage covered circa 90,000 Wolseley 18/85 Mk11 1971 – owned 4 years – mileage covered circa 75,000 Austin 1800 Mk11 1970 – owned 6 years – mileage covered circa 60,000 (2nd car) Austin 1800 Mk111 1973 – owned 3 years – mileage covered circa 25,000 (2nd car) Austin 1800 Mk111 1975 – owned 13 years – mileage covered 190,000 (Morris 1800 Mk11 1968 and Wolseley 18/85 auto owned between 1992 and 1996 nominal mileage)
Turning to the comments in report in roughly the order they were displayed my experience was as follows:
Need churning to start. I never experienced this summer or winter with the 4 star leaded fuel Jerky around town. Never an issue, if tuned and driven properly- single carb Bumps throw off line mid corner. Only experienced in my W18/85 due to wrong steering arm fitted on left hand side Rough roads bouncing uncomfortably.Compared to what? Better than my Saabs Front wheels sliding in the wet.Not an issue using steel braced radials (SP 68 on test were quiet but not renowned for wet grip) Heating not adequate.Not my experience nor Tommy’s in Norway! Fuel consumption.I kept detailed records for all my cars and the average wasaround 30mpg for mixed town and fast road driving. Many reports of the time noted fuel consumption in the low 20s. I can only assume the test drivers failed to use the low down torque and drove them as they would a Cortina or similar oversquare engine. Handling and performance.I am amazed the Corsair 2000E would be considered as a sporty alternative for handling and performance. While the comparatively light Corsair had better straight line acceleration, my experience driving both was that the crabshandling was vastly superior and safer.
Faults 1 in 3 cars door locks.Not one issue with any of my cars ever Thermostat. I routinely changed every 12 months, cheap service part Head gaskets.1 failure + 2 others replaced when rebuilding engines, onefull overhaul at 110,000miles the other after primary shaft nut came loose at around 70,000 miles 18/85 power steering. No issues Report Accuracy. Back seat head room quoted as 25” for 1800S!
Notable Faults my Cars
Mk1.5 Austin 1800 1967. Lower suspension arm rubber bushes twice (replaced with later single piece) W18/85 Mk11 1971. Crankshaft thrust washer failure, crb failure,front wheel bearing Mk11 Austin 1800 1970. Primary shaft nut loose, grinding aluminium from housing (maybe not tightened by garage after clutch change). Rubber donuts replaced with nylon type, rear hydrolastic unit, rear Slipflex bearing replaced, servo overhauled Austin 1800 Mk111 1973. Clutch plate broken Austin 1800 Mk111 1975.CV joint, rubber donuts x 2, engine rebuild at 110,000 miles, steering rack, 160,000 miles, starter motor brushes at 120,000 miles, front right knuckle joint 170,000 miles
Misc Exhaust systems typically lasted only 2 years Suspension ball joints and track rod ends replaced approx. every 40-60,000 miles (cheap enough not to bother re-shimming) Alternator and dynamo brushes and voltage regulators Hoses and ignition parts all replaced every 1-2 years Carb overhaul as needed, mainly float chamber needle valve Brake m/s, clutch m/s, calipers and wheel cylinders replaced, rebuilt as required Welding to sills Mk1
It would be interesting to hear your experiences with crabs that you owned or were in your family in the 60s, 70s and 80s.
I owned a MkIII Maroon Morris back in 1987/8. Sadly back then I was a young man who knew little about cars and it was just a cheap car to run until the MoT got expensive. I rather liked it and it proved to be reliable; so much so that when the engine failed diasterously I had it replaced. I seem to recall it was from a Princess and ran rather well. Eventually it lost all drive pulling out of Wellingborough one winter's evening and that was the end.
Otherwise, it needed an alternator and brake pads and an occasional service. Things which annoyed me were wind noise from the front passenger door at speed and the ignition key being on the left hand side of the steering column. Working the choke and the key required some interesting contortions.
It obviously struck some sort of chord with me, as I returned to 'Crabs in 2004 with Eugenie, and latterly with the Red Dog. Now being far older vehicles, the work list is more extensive and perhaps more regular, but bears little resemblence to the list in the article. Still the most annoying feature of the car is wind noise from the front passenger door at speed.
Dad had a second hand one that he bought in 1973 when it was three years old. Same probs as now really - rust by the time it was 5 years old, power steering pump, many cv joints, displacer failure, cracked cylinder head. It was eventually passed to me - it lasted about a year until it holed a piston and was given to a family friend! I then spent £25 on a 3 litre with 6 months MOT which was fun then moved that on! Cheers Andrew
I wonder if the quality miraculously improved in 1975 the year my last daily driver was built. It was an ex military (R.N.) car that I purchased direct from their auction. I kept it until late 1988 with 190,000+ on the clock.
I rebuilt the original LC engine at 110,000 miles, converting it to standard HC spec and apart from routine service items it was very reliable considering the mileage. Excluding normal service items here is a brief summary
Hydrolastic units - no failures *Suspension - front knuckle joint x1 worn and replaced Drive shafts, replaced 1 CV joint and 2x donuts Suspension ball joints all replaced 1-2x *Tie rods re-bushed *Steering - rack and track rod ends replaced Servo - no failure No head gasket issues Calipers - no issues *Rear brake cylinders renewed rubbers *Brake and clutch master cylinders, rebuilt Brake disks - both replaced once Clutch slave cylinder replaced *Starter motor - replaced one set of brushes Alternator - voltage regulator pack replaced twice Electrical switches, wiper no issues Radiator - no issues *Water pump - replaced with engine overhaul Distributor - no issues other than routine service items *Engine mountings, all replaced with engine overhaul, 1 x larger mounting failed later Gearbox /final drive - no issues Clutch /crb no issues (repaced with engine overhaul
Bodywork, replaced boot lid after Ford Capri couldn't stop as fast. NO WELDING (Annual Waxoil)
* Items replaced > 100,000 miles
(I was living in the SE of England at the time so very little road salting)
My earlier cars with lower mileages were not so reliable but were probably driven much harder by me! Most of the time this vehicle was travelling on Motorways / A class roads.