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AlfaLincs
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Vehicle Engineering,,tricks the designers play

Well we all know that cambelts on cars was a job creation scheme for garages profit margins..but there are now other such design scams.

Have any of you noticed how items that used to be simple to replace have now become really expensive or difficult..and its all deliberate.

Headlight bulbs is the first one,,they are usually horrendous to change now. The second is clutch slave cylinders.

On a Alfa 164 you could change the clutch slave in about an hour if it leaked, and the part cost about £25 or so. A mate has a leaking clutch slave on his MGZT (Turbo Diesel) and its a gearbox out job!!!,and I'm led to believe its the same on a Mondeo. What a rip off is that then!!!

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Re: Vehicle Engineering,,tricks the designers play

You only have to pop a bonnet to see the evidence.

Changeable parts used to be easy to access on most cars, and the majority of peple did their own maintenance on their cars.

Now you look at a modern engine, and what can you actually do to it, outside of checking the oil, coolant etc?
Everything is shrouded in a casing and hidden away from the owners hands and spanners.
 
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Re: Vehicle Engineering,,tricks the designers play

It's not just cars though - look at software packages. Many are deliberately designed to be difficult to learn, so that you need training courses, and are replaced more frequently than I'm sure is needed. Autocad and Photoshop are cases that show this perfectly.
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Re: Vehicle Engineering,,tricks the designers play

But then modern engines will happily do 150,000 miles without a rebuild if well looked after, maybe even double, fuel economy is better (would be even more so if the cars were as light as old ones) performance has gone through the roof and emissions are getting better and better. There has to be a downside to all this, and it is complexity and expense.
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Re: Vehicle Engineering,,tricks the designers play

If everyone made do with a 903cc Fiat Uno then you could have 50mpg and be able to climb into the engine bay to fit your new parts (which would cost 20p each as they could be made anywhere).

But, we want 500bhp in something the size of suitcase (more space for our golf-clubs, child-seats, hi-fi, 42" plasma sat-nav and 3 tons of other useless crap you don't need in a car. ) so space for "maintenance access" is at a premium.



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Re: Vehicle Engineering,,tricks the designers play

Quote:
Originally Posted by HSTDriver View Post
Now you look at a modern engine, and what can you actually do to it, outside of checking the oil, coolant etc?
Everything is shrouded in a casing and hidden away from the owners hands and spanners.
Yes, but the covers come off and underneath is all the same basic gubbins as before. I recently spent six months running a business based in a friends indie garage and it was increadible enlightening. across all makes and models the same few faults kept coming back: lamda sensors, slave clinders, coil packs, and the usual wear and tear items. very rarely was there a fault that required dealer 'expertise' (if their is such a thing)

IMHO
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Re: Vehicle Engineering,,tricks the designers play

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Originally Posted by misterchase View Post
Yes, but the covers come off and underneath is all the same basic gubbins as before. I recently spent six months running a business based in a friends indie garage and it was increadible enlightening. across all makes and models the same few faults kept coming back: lamda sensors, slave clinders, coil packs, and the usual wear and tear items. very rarely was there a fault that required dealer 'expertise' (if their is such a thing)

IMHO
Yup, surprising how much cars are still the same....
When I bought my first car years ago, I'd reach for the Haynes manual at the slightest problem. We've had 6 cars over the last 3 years, and I haven't needed to own a Haynes for any of them; not that I'm particularly mechanically skilled, but because they're all the same really (except for ECU magic.... but then it's normally sensors anyway )
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Re: Vehicle Engineering,,tricks the designers play

this is an interesting subject. I would love to have a chat with a motor industry economic expert, as I've always wanted to understand the profit % made by the dealer v the profit % made by the service dept.

Let's take Toyota. As far as I'm aware, a Corolla is not a hugely expensive car to buy. Ok, it's boring, but let's ignore that for a moment. And is has the kit that you'd expect a car like that to have. Sure, it's no Rolls-Royce, but it's ok. But there's every chance that even when it hits 60k, the warranty claims will be peanuts. But more than that, every service will only be oil/oil + filter change, air filter, a gromit here etc.

Now, this is a car that never goes wrong, and isn't hugely expensive to buy/run/service or repair. But each year, Toyota has to pay rising rent (for its dealership), rising salaries for sales/technicians/training/diagnostic kit.

I want to understand where they money comes from? Ok, maybe labour rates in Japan are cheaper (although I doubt that); but if profit can't be gleaned from fleecing the customer via servicing, then how does Toyota manage to be so profitable? Is it just through sales volumes/profit margin alone?

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Re: Vehicle Engineering,,tricks the designers play

Don't forget the parts that are designed to fail
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Re: Vehicle Engineering,,tricks the designers play

Very interesting. A similar thought crossed my mind a week ago when I realised the n/s dipped beam had gone on the Mazda 6. "Two minute job" thinks I.

Can I get at it? Can I 'eckerslike! Owners manual out - for a bulb FFS! Right. Open bonnet, take off locking plastic cover, turn steering to full r/h lock, undo five screws and remove wheel arch liner, get torch, insert arm up the gap, fiddle out the clasp and remove old bulb, dispose of safely (yawn)...replacement is a reverse of the above.

It was going dark at the first stab and I seriosuly considered taking it into the dealers to get the headlight bulb changed. What would that have cost? £50, £80? An hour's labour (or part thereof) and a tenner for a bulb plus vat?

I did it in the end - but what a palaver! I am certain it was designed to be so awkward.


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Re: Vehicle Engineering,,tricks the designers play

DIY, RIP, that's what it's about, period.: But, with time and plenty of patience, man can be very innovative, with a spot of reverse engineerig. Big gas jet, large lump hammer comes to mind, in a few situations.
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Re: Vehicle Engineering,,tricks the designers play

Two factors hit manufacturers profitability. The first is production costs, and the second is warranty costs. Toyota have got both of these licked.

For the dealership, long jobs are unprofitable, but quick ones are very profitable, so a quick oil/filter change can be dolled up a bit as a 'major service' and you can charge £300 for it, and you can do lots of them in 8 hours.

Its volume turnover that makes both operations tick.

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Re: Vehicle Engineering,,tricks the designers play

It does seem at times these things are designed not for the home mechanic, but to be fair to the various designers involved, mostly it is done for 1: Profit on the vehicle itself by making it easy (cheap) to put together on the production line & 2: a more attractive purchase for the customer.

Unfortunately, clever design modeling coupled with transverse engine layouts means the 'packaging' under a bonnet these days can be made very tight, this is great because the customer is happy, he/she has all the mod cons and performance stuffed into an engine bay that doesn't take up (relatively speaking) much room. The downside of course, it can be a nightmare to take anything apart again in service (Even garage tech's must hate some of these job's).

As for Toyota, they are masters of efficient manufacture, and for many, the benchmark which they aspire to.
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Re: Vehicle Engineering,,tricks the designers play

Shall we all go Japanese at sometime or other, by way of a change?:
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