By Daniel Pankratz, Human Factors Senior Engineer
You don’t know “made by monkeys” unless you’ve had a 1993 Ford Bronco. The Maintenance Monkeys were in prime form on this vehicle.
I was about 15 miles out into some very rugged tracks in Nevada when my fuel pump failed. As I found out later, getting a tow truck driver out to where my dead truck was stuck was not an option. No driver would take his truck out there much less with any expectations of towing anything back. Well, OK, I had changed out fuel pumps before, so I thought, “No problem.” Of course, I had to find a ride back out to the highway and into the nearest town.
But, while purchasing the new pump, the store manager told me the bad part. The pump is not located external to the fuel tank like in the older cars, but in the fuel tank, apparently for cooling. That’s OK, or so I thought, because, like in one of my old Dodge vans, there is bound to be an access port in the floor to the top of the fuel tank. Nope, the monkeys didn’t think of that. To change out the pump, you need to completely remove the fuel tank from the vehicle. Since the tank was still pretty full, that required draining the tank first. This monkey-design is for a vehicle that was supposedly designed and advertised for off-the-road adventuring.
Then there is the back window and tail gate. You can’t open the gate unless the window is down. The window is operated ONLY by an electric motor and a mildly strange gear mechanism, and if either fails, the gate can’t come down. I found this out 500 miles south of the border in Baja California about 20 miles off of the “main highway” at our SCUBA camp site. Now, the monkeys designed the tail gate so that you can get to and manually override and/or fix the window via an access panel on the inside, but to get to that everything inside had to go out through one of the two front doors. Guess what?? Getting loads of SCUBA and camp gear out the two front doors is a real pain. The air tank compressor just wasn’t coming out. So, to get to the panel to work on it required climbing over the compressor and working in a very cramped space. Allow me to repeat, this monkey-design is for a vehicle supposedly designed and advertised for off-the-road adventuring.
Did I also mention the monkey-designed shock isolation pads that, if I remember correctly, had five bolts each, with three different head sizes on the right side and an additional fourth head size on the opposite side, AND one bolt that was reverse threaded AND not mentioned as such in the repair manual?