Last post on Feb 04, 2013 at 8:06 PM
You are in the Maintenance & Repair
What is this discussion about?
#561 of 576 Re: shaking out the vote [steve_]
Nov 22, 2012 (1:35 am)
Cars aren't a big circuit board. Even so different sections inside a PC require wiring to connect them together.
As magnificant as PC's are today they are about as complex as a toaster when compared to an automobile. To try and have a car that could have a module select and use an alternate wire to self repair you would have to triple the amount of wiring in the car, and that would be a waste of resources for 99% of the vehicles on the road. Even then the best that would do is cause just enough fewer actual repair events that you remove a significant layer of experience that the techs must have to be proficient to deal with the cars that do end up needing repairs.
Looks like we will never get rid of the theme here that mimics the new car dealers perspective. You don't want technicians fixing the cars, you simply want the owner to replace it with a new one no matter how much that method costs them for transportation. That's a good strategy fostered by the people who make their living selling cars, but it's not a good strategy for the average owner. The problem is they have been listening to the other way so long that they think that it's wrong for a car to ever require any repairs.
I just repaired a Nissan Sentra for a fellow who is laid off. It was $1400 to give him back transportation that he can rely on for several years to come.
That effort saved him ten times as much money right now, assuming he could even buuy another car since he doesn't have a steady job right now. That Durango I mentioned earlier could be back on the road for about $2000, the owner says she doesn't have that kind of money and somehow thinks that buying a new car will be cheaper for her. She wants another Chrysler AWD SUV. The sales tax she will have to pay will be over $1000, and the depreciation will be double what the repair will be the moment she pulls the new one off of the lot. Her payments on the new one will have her at the break even point by February, except she will still have 56 more months of payments on the new one, meanwhile she could have been putting that money in her bank account if she had simply fixed what she already has. But don't tell consumers that, those manufacturers and dealers need them to replace their cars instead of repairing them!
#562 of 576 Re: shaking out the vote [Mr_Shiftright]
Nov 22, 2012 (1:45 am)
Both your fuel and timing maps rely on a barometric pressure measurement or calculation. Your check engine light is probably coming on for a rich exhaust code because there is less oxygen available for the same pulse width of fuel. The fuel trims would be trying to correct for that up until they reach the level that the programmers set as the threshold for the system detecting that it is out of control and you end up with a check engine light. By shutting the car off, the system re-measures the barometric pressure and then correctly calculates an appropriate base injector pulse width and that brings the fuel trims back to tolerance. Now if you drive back down the hill, you'll again have to do a restart to allow the system to relearn (or measure) the higher barometric pressure. If you don't do that now the system will code for being too lean. "Basics, basics, basics, always start by checking he basics!"
#563 of 576 Re: shaking out the vote [thecardoc3]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Nov 22, 2012 (9:41 am)
PC require wiring
PCs yes. But that's a dying category; mature anyway. No loose wires in tablets or smartphones and few if any in most laptops.
Automobiles seem complex until you break them down into their various systems. They still got four wheels and running boards, to quote the old Campfire song. Brake system, HVAC, engine, drivetrain, lights and accessories. Fuel system, exhaust and sensors. New safety gizmos (back to the brakes). Peel back the sheetmetal and it's really not rocket science. Make the components easier to swap out and you can just plug and play anything from the alternator to the transmission and send the core back to a rebuild facility where the great techs can refurb them to factory spec. We're already there with BCMs, starters, alternators, engine cores, yada yada.
You're not getting the point about rewiring circuits. That technology is already here and the price will fall like all other printed circuits have, so self-repairing computer nodes will be the norm. We're talking a few traces, not six pounds of insulated copper wiring.
Something has to give - otherwise the standard in twenty years will be ZipCars and public transportation. Few things are as expensive as owning a depreciating asset like a car and Gen Y may have figured that out early. If you are making $25k a year, a $1,400 repair bill (with no guarantee that something different isn't going to break next month) means that a big part of your working life is spent on transportation.
#564 of 576 Re: shaking out the vote [steve_]
Nov 22, 2012 (10:10 am)
Something has to give - otherwise the standard in twenty years will be ZipCars and public transportation.
Do you really think there is any chance of ending up anywhere else, unless the "consumers" change their habits first?
Few things are as expensive as owning a depreciating asset like a car and Gen Y may have figured that out early. If you are making $25k a year, a $1,400 repair bill (with no guarantee that something different isn't going to break next month) means that a big part of your working life is spent on transportation.
Compare that to dumping the car for yet another $400 a month payment for the next five years, and then a $450 a month for the next five years after that, etc...
The alternative is and has always been competent repair, and that needs to be recognized by the consumers. Every other responses here seems to still go towards trying to discourage long term ownership and service and repair. The depreciation values of a given vehicle is controlled by those who sell vehicles to make their fortunes. They don't create an accurate picture for the average vehicle owner and haven't for decades. Properly repaired my cusrtomers Nissan will do EVERYTHING that any brand new car will do, except come with a guarantee of almost five more years of payments.
#565 of 576 Re: shaking out the vote [thecardoc3]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Nov 22, 2012 (10:18 am)
Well, it won't have a warranty and free roadside assistance when something else breaks on it.
Consumers are changing their habits and this may be the last "golden age" of new car sales. The kids aren't buying. I doubt that repair costs figure into their decision but us old guys don't like paying the freight that the local garage charges either.
I'd sure be upset if I had to remove a fender skirt and some other junk just to replace a headlight bulb, but apparently there are some cars like that out there. Or my friend's Concorde with the battery buried in the fender. What are these engineers thinking when they design stuff like that, knowing that replacement will be required in a year or three?
#566 of 576 Re: shaking out the vote [thecardoc3]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Nov 22, 2012 (12:18 pm)
Not so easy---I'm using an undersize drive pulley on the supercharger as well. I rather doubt that your excellent suggestion will work, since I stopped at rest stops, etc and it made no difference.
The black tape, however, seems quite reliable.
Besides, there will always be more pressing needs--a MINI breaks something every few months, and it's always punishingly expensive to fix.
The last fun event was a "simple" door lock actuator---too bad they used fasteners made in Mongolia for .02 cents apiece, as well as burying the actuator where human hands dare not tread.
I did it but I wish I hadn't.
Between access issues and multiplexing, newer cars are built in defiance of mechanics, not to help them.
#567 of 576 Re: shaking out the vote [steve_]
Nov 22, 2012 (7:41 pm)
I'd sure be upset if I had to remove a fender skirt and some other junk just to replace a headlight bulb, but apparently there are some cars like that out there.
On the GMC Acadia, booktime to replace the front headlight is .8 hours. Imagine that to replace a $15 part. People have been complaining that dealers charge up to $300 labor to replace the headlight. Course GM revised the original procedure which required tire removal as well as the front wheelhouse front liner. Currently only the front wheelhouse front liner removal is required for bulb replacement.
#568 of 576 Re: shaking out the vote [obyone]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Nov 22, 2012 (10:11 pm)
All to save 15 cents a copy going down the assembly line.
#569 of 576 Re: shaking out the vote [steve_]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Nov 23, 2012 (10:49 am)
On some cars you have to take the bumper off.
#570 of 576 Re: shaking out the vote [Mr_Shiftright]
Nov 24, 2012 (2:26 am)
On others with the HID headlights you don't even know if the problem is the headlight bulb or the ballast (transformer), or both. There is no practical way to test the ballast since it generates the 25,000v that is required to turn the headlight on. The only thing we can do is dissasemble both headlight assemblies and try the bulb in the opposite ballast.
From there we have the motorized aiming assemblies. There are cars that we cannot check and adjust the headlights on "correctly" because it requires bi-directional commands from the factory scan tool to put them in the "home" position for aiming, and then there is another function to re-train the headlight aiming controller.
The engineers often have claimed that they try and consider servicing issues during design but you can't prove that for the most part by what I've seen. The moment I find the next new fastener that means I'll be purchasing yet another whole set of sockets and possibly wrenches I have all the proof I need about how much they think of technicians.