Yes, the older machines were pretty tired. I have heard that the magnetic heads in the old machines were exactly the same as those in 8 track tape machines, and the 8 track historical society (yes there is one!) contacted BART for surplus machines.
The new machines are far more reliable and problems are far less frequent.
> You can't see out the front windows like you can on the D.C. Metro. Sad That's a bummer, but still a good ride.
Look for an A car - most of them run out of Richmond (since that's where all 59 A cars are maintained). Richmond - Fremont trains almost always have at least one, as do the Richmond - Daly City / Colma trains. Not all the lines run on Sunday, so plan your railfanning accordingly. A cars often appear on Pittsburg trains, about one out of five has an A car. And, the short-run, turnback commute trains sometimes have A cars, but always are packed, so railfanning mey be difficult.
The A cars have a bigger windshield, since they don't have the inter-car doors, like the C cars. Sometimes, curtains, coats, or tinting block the view, but the trailing cab may be usable for railfanning.