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Thread: The Right To Repair

  1. Top | #11
    Veteran Member Tharmas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Bring back the old VW bug and bus.

    One person could change an engine, did that a number of times. Easy to rebuild an engine. Fuel efficient. Easy to tune up.
    Dirty and unsafe by modern standards.
    The main safety feature was that the front of the car collapsed on impact absorbing energy....

    Then tehre was the exploding Pinto and the Corvair that started to go airborne because of the fins.

    I was waxing philosophical back to a simpler world where all you need was a screwdriver and a wrench....
    Not only did the front of the Bug collapse, you were also protected by that 10 gallon gas tank to cushion the blow. Also, a Corvair didn't have fins.

  2. Top | #12
    Super Moderator Bronzeage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Bring back the old VW bug and bus.

    One person could change an engine, did that a number of times. Easy to rebuild an engine. Fuel efficient. Easy to tune up.
    You could, but nobody would buy one. "Easy to rebuild an engine" is just not a good sales pitch in the 21st century.

    The gasoline engine that puffs away under the hood of a modern car is a 19th century technology that reached it's peak in the late 1940s. The biggest obstacle in the early 20th century was a workable and reliable ignition system. The insulating materials of the day were not adequate. Around 1915, the first mechanical switch and capacitor (points and condenser) ignition system was patented and it became the industry standard for 60 years. It worked, but required regular maintenance or the car wouldn't start. In 1975, transistor ignitions systems appeared. The "tune up" was an anachronism. The only part of the ignition system subject to regular wear is the spark plugs, and those are now changed at 100,000 miles, if ever.

    Since then, the gasoline engine relied on electronic digital controls to squeeze out the last few drops of power and efficiency. What began with a very crude method to meter fuel to the engine, based on engine speed and temperature, has become a control system which can detect a change in engine speed over an arc of rotation less than three degrees. That's important information, if you want to get if you want to get 1970 horsepower levels out of an engine that's one third 1970 engine displacement.

    All of this was in response to laws requiring less pollution, not a demand for smaller more powerful engines. Along with that came USB ports on the console and bluetooth speakers. This has resulted in thousands, if not millions of very small single purpose electronic modules and any car may have a dozen or more. When you press the button for the passenger side door window, you are actually sending a request to a module in the door, which will operate the window motor for you. That module will likely not fit more than a few other models of car. Enough are made for production, with a small overrun for service parts inventory. When they are gone, there are no more.

    The future of owner repair is not so much about the right to repair, it's actually the possibility of repair. I remember in 2011, a five year old Cadillac required a $3000 repair to make the headlamps work. The labor on that bill was $98. In 2021, it might not be possible to repair a 2007 Coupe at any price. In the future, salvage yards will be filled with car which have perfectly good engines and transmissions. The cars were considered a total loss because the windows wouldn't roll up.

  3. Top | #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronzeage View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Bring back the old VW bug and bus.

    One person could change an engine, did that a number of times. Easy to rebuild an engine. Fuel efficient. Easy to tune up.
    You could, but nobody would buy one. "Easy to rebuild an engine" is just not a good sales pitch in the 21st century.

    The gasoline engine that puffs away under the hood of a modern car is a 19th century technology that reached it's peak in the late 1940s. The biggest obstacle in the early 20th century was a workable and reliable ignition system. The insulating materials of the day were not adequate. Around 1915, the first mechanical switch and capacitor (points and condenser) ignition system was patented and it became the industry standard for 60 years. It worked, but required regular maintenance or the car wouldn't start. In 1975, transistor ignitions systems appeared. The "tune up" was an anachronism. The only part of the ignition system subject to regular wear is the spark plugs, and those are now changed at 100,000 miles, if ever.

    Since then, the gasoline engine relied on electronic digital controls to squeeze out the last few drops of power and efficiency. What began with a very crude method to meter fuel to the engine, based on engine speed and temperature, has become a control system which can detect a change in engine speed over an arc of rotation less than three degrees. That's important information, if you want to get if you want to get 1970 horsepower levels out of an engine that's one third 1970 engine displacement.

    All of this was in response to laws requiring less pollution, not a demand for smaller more powerful engines. Along with that came USB ports on the console and bluetooth speakers. This has resulted in thousands, if not millions of very small single purpose electronic modules and any car may have a dozen or more. When you press the button for the passenger side door window, you are actually sending a request to a module in the door, which will operate the window motor for you. That module will likely not fit more than a few other models of car. Enough are made for production, with a small overrun for service parts inventory. When they are gone, there are no more.

    The future of owner repair is not so much about the right to repair, it's actually the possibility of repair. I remember in 2011, a five year old Cadillac required a $3000 repair to make the headlamps work. The labor on that bill was $98. In 2021, it might not be possible to repair a 2007 Coupe at any price. In the future, salvage yards will be filled with car which have perfectly good engines and transmissions. The cars were considered a total loss because the windows wouldn't roll up.

    Yes I know, however car repair is a racket.

    The chips used in the computers are not unique or costly. Yet what dies a dealership charge. Same for a washing machine.

    Products like cars can be designed to be repairable, but they are not. They are deigned to have an economical low failure rate for the warranty period.

    EV nay be different because the motor controller is not complicated.
    a
    In our have everything dome for you culture, what is a screwdriver? Actually Home Depo ws doing a lot of business during the shutdown. If cars were more repairable people would do it.

  4. Top | #14
    Loony Running The Asylum ZiprHead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tharmas View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post

    The main safety feature was that the front of the car collapsed on impact absorbing energy....

    Then tehre was the exploding Pinto and the Corvair that started to go airborne because of the fins.

    I was waxing philosophical back to a simpler world where all you need was a screwdriver and a wrench....
    Not only did the front of the Bug collapse, you were also protected by that 10 gallon gas tank to cushion the blow. Also, a Corvair didn't have fins.
    The Corvair had inadequately designed rear swing arm suspension that caused them to be prone to rollovers. Easily repaired now with one fifty dollar part, a single leaf spring that bolts to the center of the chassis then both ends are attached to the wheel suspension on each side.
    When conservatives realize they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will abandon democracy.

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  5. Top | #15
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    It had a surface that acted as an airfoil as I remember it on the rear top sides.

  6. Top | #16
    Veteran Member Tharmas's Avatar
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    This thread has been dormant for a couple of days, so I feel free to continue the derail about Corvairs.

    The problem with the Corvair was not the car so much as the drivers, and the problem with the drivers was lack of familiarity with driving a car with pronounced oversteer. This came about because of the rear engine and the “swing” axels, the same design found on the VW Beetle and various Porches including the famous 911.

    I drove a Corvair Monza, but only once. I didn’t take it over 35 or 40 mph, but this was in a city right after a snow storm and there were patches of sheet ice. I felt completely safe and the car handled beautifully.

    Oversteer means the rear end tends to come around and “help” the cornering. If you’re used to large American cars that have considerable understeer, meaning you have to keep turning harder and harder to get the car around the corner, I can see where oversteer would surprise you and become a problem. I did drive a car with swing axels and pronounced understeer for a number of years – a Triumph Herald Sports Six – and I drove it hard and fast down curvy roads. I loved it. You quickly learn to take advantage of the oversteer to increase your cornering speed.

    Here is a video (10 min) of a good driver taking Ralph Nader’s own Corvair through a slalom course.



    Nader’s book, Unsafe at Any Speed did a lot of good to improve safety in cars, leading to seat belts and airbags and many other improvements, but I think his chapter on the Corvair did a real disservice to a revolutionary American design.

    Also, Steve, you may have been thinking of some other car. The aerodynamics of the Corvair don’t look in any way problematic to me.


  7. Top | #17
    Loony Running The Asylum ZiprHead's Avatar
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    Agreed with everything you said above. Both the car and the flat six air cooled engine were revolutionary designs.

    One quibble, understeer means the car wants to go straight instead of turning. Same explanation but defined a little better, I think.
    When conservatives realize they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will abandon democracy.

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  8. Top | #18
    Super Moderator Bronzeage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bronzeage View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Bring back the old VW bug and bus.

    One person could change an engine, did that a number of times. Easy to rebuild an engine. Fuel efficient. Easy to tune up.
    You could, but nobody would buy one. "Easy to rebuild an engine" is just not a good sales pitch in the 21st century.

    The gasoline engine that puffs away under the hood of a modern car is a 19th century technology that reached it's peak in the late 1940s. The biggest obstacle in the early 20th century was a workable and reliable ignition system. The insulating materials of the day were not adequate. Around 1915, the first mechanical switch and capacitor (points and condenser) ignition system was patented and it became the industry standard for 60 years. It worked, but required regular maintenance or the car wouldn't start. In 1975, transistor ignitions systems appeared. The "tune up" was an anachronism. The only part of the ignition system subject to regular wear is the spark plugs, and those are now changed at 100,000 miles, if ever.

    Since then, the gasoline engine relied on electronic digital controls to squeeze out the last few drops of power and efficiency. What began with a very crude method to meter fuel to the engine, based on engine speed and temperature, has become a control system which can detect a change in engine speed over an arc of rotation less than three degrees. That's important information, if you want to get if you want to get 1970 horsepower levels out of an engine that's one third 1970 engine displacement.

    All of this was in response to laws requiring less pollution, not a demand for smaller more powerful engines. Along with that came USB ports on the console and bluetooth speakers. This has resulted in thousands, if not millions of very small single purpose electronic modules and any car may have a dozen or more. When you press the button for the passenger side door window, you are actually sending a request to a module in the door, which will operate the window motor for you. That module will likely not fit more than a few other models of car. Enough are made for production, with a small overrun for service parts inventory. When they are gone, there are no more.

    The future of owner repair is not so much about the right to repair, it's actually the possibility of repair. I remember in 2011, a five year old Cadillac required a $3000 repair to make the headlamps work. The labor on that bill was $98. In 2021, it might not be possible to repair a 2007 Coupe at any price. In the future, salvage yards will be filled with car which have perfectly good engines and transmissions. The cars were considered a total loss because the windows wouldn't roll up.

    Yes I know, however car repair is a racket.

    The chips used in the computers are not unique or costly. Yet what dies a dealership charge. Same for a washing machine.

    Products like cars can be designed to be repairable, but they are not. They are deigned to have an economical low failure rate for the warranty period.

    EV nay be different because the motor controller is not complicated.
    a
    In our have everything dome for you culture, what is a screwdriver? Actually Home Depo ws doing a lot of business during the shutdown. If cars were more repairable people would do it.
    I guess that depends on what you call a racket. If you ever ride an elevator, I'm sure you would prefer the land lord pay a qualified elevator technician work on it, instead of doing it himself.

    The chips may not be unique, but the circuit board they sit on has very limited application. I don't think many people will be unsoldering a chip and replacing it, no matter how cheap the cheap may be. Cars are designed to be sold. Serviceability is a concern, but a secondary one. The market demand ultimately determines what a car looks like and the stuff inside it. When the average car buyer walks into a showroom, how easy it is to change a starter is not on their list of things to consider.

    I've spent a lot of my life working on cars. In that time, I met a lot of people who worked on their own cars and I usually charged extra to correct their mistakes. There is a difference between amateur and professional standards of work. In reality, the maintenance an untrained person could do, such such as oil changes and spark plug replacement are not substantially different than back when(choose any golden age). For this kind of stuff, the main difference between professionals and amateurs is the amateur can let the engine cool down to below the second degree burn temperature before leaning over the fender.

    I had an uncle who drove a VW bug in high school, then college and medical school. He kept it running all that time. When he got his first doctor job, along with doctor pay, he bought a Volvo. I was still in high school when we went for a family visit. He was very happy with his Volvo because Consumer Report gave it a very high rating. He had the dealer order a manual transmission model, "because if it breaks, I want to be able to work on it." I didn't tell him, his 1973 Volvo had Bosch electronic multiport fuel injection and transistor controlled ignition.

    I don't work on cars anymore. I spend most of my time repairing lamps and chandeliers. I get quite a few lamps which someone tried to repair and I've seen that the work of kitchen table electricians is pretty much on par with that of driveway mechanics.

  9. Top | #19
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    You can design any product to make it maintainable.

    With the rise of large scale electronic manufacturing and automated PCB assembly repairing boards became uneconomical. Cheaper to just throw away failures as long as the rate was low.

    In the early 80s in my first job I took care of a few problems that dropped the field failure rate of a product. Along with that gave customers a troubleshooting guide. Previously they set back a board set for test and there were a lot of fees for testing, and return with no trouble found.

    I made an enemy of the field service manager, I reduced his profit.

    If you go to a flat rate auto shop if yu have two problems which can be doe togter you will be charged the flat rate for from a book for each task.



    You can buy devices that plug into the diagnostics port in the car and it will give you manufacturer diagnostic codes, but that doesn't help you much other tan keeping a repair shop honest.

    Anybody rember the JC Whitney catalog?

  10. Top | #20
    Super Moderator Bronzeage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    You can design any product to make it maintainable.

    With the rise of large scale electronic manufacturing and automated PCB assembly repairing boards became uneconomical. Cheaper to just throw away failures as long as the rate was low.

    In the early 80s in my first job I took care of a few problems that dropped the field failure rate of a product. Along with that gave customers a troubleshooting guide. Previously they set back a board set for test and there were a lot of fees for testing, and return with no trouble found.

    I made an enemy of the field service manager, I reduced his profit.

    If you go to a flat rate auto shop if yu have two problems which can be doe togter you will be charged the flat rate for from a book for each task.



    You can buy devices that plug into the diagnostics port in the car and it will give you manufacturer diagnostic codes, but that doesn't help you much other tan keeping a repair shop honest.

    Anybody rember the JC Whitney catalog?
    It's not a question of whether or not something can be designed. Can you sell it at a profit which allows you to stay in business?

    The "two problems" thing is sort of a myth, except in the cases of cars which have been neglected to the point of driving with multiple failures, until it can't be driven. If a failed component must be removed to get to the failed component under it, flat rate does not charge labor for both, but you will be expected to pay for both parts.

    You can buy a device which plugs into the car and reads diagnostic codes and all the data streams. This allows you to see the voltage produced by all the sensors, the state of all(we wish) output controls, oxygen level in the exhaust, and power differential between cylinders. The first such machine I had in 1981 cost $127. I believe the current devices will cost about $3000 for a cheap one.

    I started as the "tune up man", which became the "performance specialist", which became the "driveability technician. When a customer had their own ideas about the cause of the problem, I listened patiently and the explained that a Code 42(1981-1993) meant the EST bypass circuit was either open or shorted to ground. When a customer disputed my diagnosis and estimate, I advised them to do business with someone they could trust and backed(or pushed) their car out of my stall. I was not getting paid to argue.

    JC Whitney was the catalog which sold Winky the Cat. This was a fuzzy stuff cat with red light bulbs for eyes. Winky was put in the back window of a sedan and the eyes wired into the brake lights of the car. I'm not sure if Winky is compatible with the LED light systems of late model cats.

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