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Hot-Seat Emergency in the Outback

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naperlou
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automobile design
naperlou   10/1/2012 10:35:52 AM
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Richard, you have discovered one of the conumdrums of modern automobile design.  We just replaced a ten year old minivan.  The transmission went and we decided that the cost of fixing that coupled with the mileage on the van made a replacement the prudent thing to do.  This was for my wife.  So, while we didn't have quite the leap you did, there is quite a difference.  We also had two cars from the same manufacturer from the same year.   The controls were not exactly the same, but they were similar.  Now they are very different.  We have not run into quite the issues you have, but it does take some adjustment.  There always seems to be something in a place you don't expect, or want it.  You would think that with all the ergonomics research that has been done that you new Subaru would be better laid out.

RBedell
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Re: automobile design
RBedell   10/1/2012 7:14:33 PM
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Yes, it does take time to adapt.  The emergency flasher will probably always be an issue with my large hands.  I do remember the first time it rained while driving the Subaru. I almost had to pull over to search for the windshield wiper control.  The Ford Escort was on the left hand steering column lever and the Subaru had it on the right side and it operated differently.  I have adapted.  I haven't hit the seat warmer in awhile either. But that emergency button...

TJ McDermott
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Re: automobile design
TJ McDermott   10/2/2012 10:53:55 AM
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Richard, the dashboard has a finite amount of space.  Location of the hazard button is low priority, so it gets put low and "out of the way".  It's a somewhat understandable (if frustrating) design choice.

I have a bigger problem with changing the "standard" location of common controls.  The PT Cruiser design team made a conscious choice to simplify wiring.  Commendable.  Removing wiring harnesses from a door is always a good choice, except when controls that have ALWAYS been on the door get moved.  The PT Cruiser has its window controls mounted right in the middle of the dashboard.

Granted, it's a central location for both front seat occupants.  However, this is not a good design choice for a car that is frequently used in rental car fleets.  Every first-time renter who is not a PT Cruiser owner fumbles around for a minute looking for the window buttons.

olyh01
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Iron
Re: automobile design
olyh01   10/2/2012 10:59:22 AM
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All electrical switches should have spill proofing feature or else they should not be placed in a horizontal surface near the console. Seat warmer, power windows, etc.

Here is a somewhat stretched real story of unprotected switch.

A quarter fell through the open slot of the shifter bezel, lodged i somewhere below and eventually shifted and jammed the shifter position switch open. After I parked the car in the airport parking lot I couldn't remove the key to lock the car! Apparently the design intent was to require the shifter to be in P to release the key, ostensibly for safety. But with that particular failure mode the security of the car was thoroughly compromised. I was lucky to have a passenger so I could dispatch a live human guard while picking up the second, arriving passenger.

For the next couple of weeks I used a second key to lock the doors, and a cap sitting on the ledge of the dash to cover the ever in-position ignition key, until eventually I removed the shifter bezel and found the culprit. Judging from the appearance of grime and dried up syrup, the coin had probably been there for a long time, even before I bought the car. It was probably in a non-interefering position but over time shifted to fool the safety design.

This was a Volvo 940 turbo stationwagon. But I believe all of 740, 940, and 960 shared the same key-shifter `safety' interlock design.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: automobile design
Rob Spiegel   10/2/2012 11:48:13 AM
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Wow, so the problems continue to be a bother. I went through a period when I used a good number of rental cars. The first thing I did was check where the lights were and how the window wipers worked. Those are hard systems to learn on the spot.

Charles Murray
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Re: automobile design
Charles Murray   10/2/2012 5:05:08 PM
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The issue of leg room is a big one in my family. My two youngest sons are 6'-7" and 6'-6" and have been unable to drive a number of different vehicles that I've either rented or brought home for test drives. A few cars are said to be very good in this area, however. Those include the Honda Fit and Nissan Cube (both have high roof lines). Shaqulle O'Neal does commercials for the Buick LaCrosse, which suggests that it can fit a 7-footer, but I haven't verified it. Surprisingly, Smart Cars are also said to be pretty good, again because of the high roof line. We've found that cars with sun roofs and moon roofs aren't very good. Tall people end up with their heads squeezed up against the ceilings.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: automobile design
Rob Spiegel   10/3/2012 8:06:26 PM
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Wow, those are some tall boys, Charles. Are you also tall? I would guess basketball has found a place in your family.

Interesting that the small cars have more head room. Are there particular car makers that generally have more room?

RBedell
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Re: automobile design
RBedell   10/17/2012 1:19:47 PM
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Charles, I can relate.  I have been through the ringer when looking for a car.  So much so that I ended up with a check list.  Items on the list got moved up and down so that I could get in a car and in ten seconds I could begin eliminating it as a car for me.  The first item?  Can the seat be adjusted so I can even fit comfortably?  Second: After the seat is adjusted, is the B-pillar blocking my side view? (The B-pillar is the support between the front and back door.)  Three: Does the seat belt still fit properly?  So many cars failed those two questions that the third is never asked.  And there are more questions.  But, I did learn that power seats provide more range of adjustment than manual seats.  From my experience with cars and other things came a saying ; 'I am a tall guy stuck in a short world.' and its ... frustrating.

Charles, take your boys to a Subaru dealer and stick them in a 2012 or 2013 Outback and see how they fit.  Mine is a 2012 Premium Outback, manual trans, moonroof, power seat (driver), etc. I have three, count them, three ... inches of head room clearance with a moonroof.  The driver seat is NOT all the way back - but it is all the way down.  Seats go back so far that I would have to point my foot to touch the gas petal. Dang seats go forward/backward, up/down, tilts and the back reclines.  If they had another switch for yaw, you could sit in there and pretend to be flying a plane.

RICKZ28
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Re: automobile design
RICKZ28   10/3/2012 3:18:35 PM
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I also realized the same thing in rental cars years ago...figure out where the lights and windshield wiper switches are located upon getting in the car.  At the time, I had 1970's era cars where the lights and windshield wiper controls were all on the dash board...not on stalks connected to the steering column.

With my new Honda Civic, I occasionally hit the windshield wiper switch on the steering column stalk when reaching for the navigation/radio system...which turns on the wipers.  I'm training myself to avoid inadvertently turning on the windshield wipers.  I do enjoy the automatic lights so I don't have to remember.  I also like the steering wheel controls for the radio/car computer/navigation/phone and cruise control.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: automobile design
Rob Spiegel   10/3/2012 8:11:20 PM
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Radio controls on the steering column are a new one on me, Rickz28. The last two cars I've owned had windshield wipers on the turn signal. That's very convenient, but it also means I inadvertently turn on the wipers when I use the turn signals.

RICKZ28
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Re: automobile design
RICKZ28   10/4/2012 2:32:41 PM
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Rob, I'm particularly attuned to car design including the interior controls since I just finished car shopping and purchased a new car.  It was my first new car purchase, so I made sure to take my time and enjoy the process of evaluation and decisions.

The steering wheel mounted controls for the radio are fantastic.  The push buttons control the radio volume, source (FM, AM, XM, CD or aux input), and channel (including music CD track).  I don't have to remove my hand from the steering wheel while driving for typical radio adjustments.  It's a feature I wanted on my new car, since I grew to enjoy this feature on my wife's '07 Acura TSX.

About the "hot-seat emergency", I noticed the switches for the heated seats on my new Honda Civic are also directly in front of the gear shifter.  Since the car has an automatic transmission, there's not much risk of accidently turning on the heated seats.  My wife's Acura heated seat switches are on the center console, and the heated seats have been accidently turned-on a few times...I've learned not to do that.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: automobile design
Rob Spiegel   10/4/2012 6:35:05 PM
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Rickz28, it sounds like the steering wheel radio and CD controls may actually be a safety improvement. 

Jim_E
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Re: automobile design
Jim_E   10/10/2012 9:36:45 AM
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Oh, where to start....

Toyota, oh hallowed vehicle designers, why must you torment me!  :)

We have a Toyota Sienna minivan and my wife loves it.  At 6'3", I'm a good foot taller than her, and that makes some problems for me.  I'm sure that my wife is the target audience, and can accept that, but....

- With seat and steering wheel properly adjusted, I cannot see the top of the speedometer!  I have learned at 55mph is with the needle straight up and down, so that helps me a bit, since I can see the lower part of the needle.

- The windshield wiper switch is on a stalk on the right side of the wheel, rather low and close to the wheel.  About every other time that I drive the van, I accidentally hit the stupid thing with my hand, causing the wipers to smear stuff on the dry windshield....

- The interior lights do not feature automatic shutoff.  In a van. Made to carry around young kids.  With push button lights in the back....  So, sometimes the kids push on the light over their seats, and we leave the van.  Since all of the lights are on when we open a door, I don't see it.  Luckily, I usally see the lights on when I'm out walking the dog later, but it had caused a dead battery before.

My 2000 Chevy Silverado has a nice feature which will automatically shut off the interior light after about twenty minutes, preventing a dead battery.  But, my Silverado also featured brake lines which completely rusted out this year!  One of the worse driveway repair jobs that I've ever done, since GM installed the brake lines before putting the body on!  Yes, I put new stainless steel lines on this time.

As for steering wheel radio controls, they are great!  My 1995 Pontiac Trans-Am has them, as well as our minivan.  They even make third party interfaces which will let the buttons work with aftermarket head units (stereos).

 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: automobile design
Rob Spiegel   10/10/2012 12:22:10 PM
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Interesting point, Jim_E. Sounds like a mix of good positions (the radio on the steering wheel) or the other controls. I've always held the view that Japanese cars are designed for relatively small people. I'm 5'8", and the Japanese cars all seem to have everything in the right place. If I were 6'3", I would imagine the controls would not seem to be in the right place.

Nancy Golden
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Re: automobile design
Nancy Golden   10/10/2012 3:20:02 PM
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Rick, you may want to figure out how to turn off those automatic lights. I remember one Christmas we were all in our Lumina which also has the "feature" of the headlights turning on automatically. We were in a very long car line driving through a Christmas lights village about 9:00pm. When it was our turn to enter the village there was a huge sign that said "Please turn off your headlights so they won't distract from the enjoyment of others driving through."  We had no idea how to do it and much to our chagrin we had to complete the drive through with our headlights on...

RICKZ28
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Re: automobile design
RICKZ28   10/10/2012 3:50:16 PM
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Good point Nancy, and I did figure out how to turn off the automatic headlights on my new Honda Civic.  There are certainly circumstances in which the automatic headlights are not desirable, but I usually keep the automatic feature turned on. 

Interestingly, the automatic headlights on my pristine 1998 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 (now my weekend recreational vehicle after 10 years of daily driving), cannot be turned off.  The light switch on the dash is only to turn on the headlights during the daytime.

I remember the old days when there were drive-in movie theaters.  It was bad etiquette to drive in with headlights on after the show started.

Nancy Golden
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Re: automobile design
Nancy Golden   10/10/2012 4:07:32 PM
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I hate to admit I remember those days too, Rick - although I was usually a passenger...

If you google how to turn off a Lumina's headlights, this is what you get:

Turn off engine

Depress Emergency Brake

Turn on engine

I happen to be driving another Lumina (great family car) so I am going to give that a try...I bet if you jump on one of those car forums one of the guys can tell you how to turn your camaro headlights off...

GuidoBee
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Re: automobile design
GuidoBee   10/10/2012 4:36:15 PM
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My Tracker has the automatic lights (release emergency brake and the daytime running lights come on).  Flasher switch is on top of the steering column, which seems to be OK. 

My method for getting daytime headlights off is to pull up the E-brake a couple of notches.  It does not engage the brake, but it does cause the headlights to go out.  May not work that way on other vehicles, but it does the trick on mine.  Once I'm rolling again, I release the brake all the way. 

Driving up to military base gates in rental cars was always a pain in the butt.  Trying to get the lights to go out so as not to blind the guard was normal practice, but in rental cars, I was always concious of looking like an idiot trying to figure it out, and since you had to show the rental papers, ID, license, etc., it was a flail.

GuidoBee
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Re: automobile design
GuidoBee   10/10/2012 4:36:45 PM
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My Tracker has the automatic lights (release emergency brake and the daytime running lights come on).  Flasher switch is on top of the steering column, which seems to be OK. 

My method for getting daytime headlights off is to pull up the E-brake a couple of notches.  It does not engage the brake, but it does cause the headlights to go out.  May not work that way on other vehicles, but it does the trick on mine.  Once I'm rolling again, I release the brake all the way. 

Driving up to military base gates in rental cars was always a pain in the butt.  Trying to get the lights to go out so as not to blind the guard was normal practice, but in rental cars, I was always concious of looking like an idiot trying to figure it out, and since you had to show the rental papers, ID, license, etc., it was a flail.

curious_device
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Re: automobile design
curious_device   10/10/2012 4:54:24 PM
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Talking about the center console seat heater switches - just add one dog to the mix.

RickNY
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Poor user interface on a good car
RickNY   10/2/2012 3:13:03 PM
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I also own the new Outback - my fourth Subaru.  While these are good cars, the most affordable and fuel efficient AWD vehicles around, they do suffer from poorly designed user interfaces. 

The horizontal, center console mounted, seat heater switches that Richard mentions, have been their design essentially forever (at least from mid '90s).  And yes, they are very easy to accidentally turn on.  It is nice to hear that Richard, like myself, is a diehard manual transmission fan.  Apparently the console designers do NOT drive a manual, and don't realize how easy it is to hit the buttons when shifting. 

Perhaps the worst interface design is the Bluetooth system.  A simple "passthrough" operation, like on Bluetooth headsets, would be quite usable, and easy to design.  But no, the designers have opted to make it more complex and less usable.  You must record the name and number of only up to 20 contacts, and use their "less than perfect" voice recognition operation.  Why?  A passthrough connection to the phone, which generally has a much better voice recognition, would be much more usable.  I can only guess that the designers are not using Bluetooth when driving.  Or they suffer from the poorly trained marketeer's curse of "We have some technology.  Let's use it, no matter how silly it is."  I guess they never heard of KISS. 

radio-active
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Switch positions
radio-active   10/3/2012 10:04:32 AM
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If a couple of poorly positioned switches are your top complaints with your new car, I'd say that's pretty good. You'll quickly learn to avoid hitting those switches. Humans are trainable.

RBedell
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Re: Switch positions
RBedell   10/17/2012 1:35:08 PM
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radio-active, I agree about the swtiches.  Humans are trainable.  But it doesn't stop there.  I have read that the ignition system in the Subaru tries to learn the driver's driving pattern.  So now I am trying to learn the car and it is trying to learn me - we are have some communications issues.  The radio has some quirks and I should write it up.  The engine is an interference-type.  But I fit in this car so well.

John
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Buttons on the dash
John   10/10/2012 3:28:09 PM
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I never understood why anyone would think that the red triangle warning flasher button would make a great focal point in the middle of the dash.  I think it's a foreign car thing to put that thing there.  Guess the rest of the world uses it more often than the US audience.  Kind of like the horn.  Some rebuilders have intresting jokes about that button. lol.  Maybe one day it will have what is suppose to go there.  Like a dial faced clock or is that too retro and not hip enough.

Amclaussen
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Re: Buttons on the dash
Amclaussen   6/6/2013 4:13:50 PM
It is not a matter of "focal Point" or style John... the emergency button is just that: an EMERGENCY switch.  By placing it at the center of the dash allows a front seat and even rear seat passengers to be able to see it directly, and be able to reach it and activate it quickly in case of an accident. Most european vehicles feature the switch in that logical, almost standarized place.  (even the triangular logotype is standarized).  But american designers fail to properly understand this. Thus, you can find it anywhere except in a central location!

And control placement is not only badly done in automobiles; one terrible mid-air crash has happened in Brazil between a B-737 and an executive jet, killing all the souls aboard the airliner.

One of the conclusions of the investigation, was that the damn transponder switch location was too close to the foot of the pilot on the executive jet when the pilot was resting his feet on the rest support, and it was too easy to disconnect the transponder with the foot tip without even noticing it!  The damn stupid designers (monkeys!), directed by the even stupidier bean counters at the executive jet manufacturer (orangutans!) just decided to add a single line in the Pilot's Operationg Manual pointing to this (!!!)... and the design of the jet is still as it was, with the blessings of the FAA and everyone (another accident waiting to happen). Amclaussen.

John
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Re: Buttons on the dash
John   6/7/2013 9:28:22 AM
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Using it as an Emergency notification is just what it isn't and if you have emergency lights and horns on your car and your not an emergency repsonse vehicle then your illegal.  The giant triangle switch turns on the hazard warning lights.  If your parked on the side of the road with a flat tire, you are a hazard to all passing traffic, thus hazard warning lights should be operating.  Hazard lights don't make it okay to speed to your destination. 

For placement, I think the driver should have priority access to the switch.  Not the passengers.  On all american cars I have ever owned it has always been on the steering column.  No where else.

I am no pilot, but sounds like wiring wasn't well placed in the plane.  The transponder in a lear jet is usually hanging from the roof or in the middle console.  Gives the radar scope a number next to the blip and changes as your handed off to different traffic control.  Sounds like radar scope watcher miss routed.

Amclaussen
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Re: Buttons on the dash
Amclaussen   6/10/2013 1:54:33 PM
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While your language knowledge and semantics ("Hazard" vs. "Emergency") surely are better than mine (English is NOT my native Language), I was referring to a dangerous situation where the vehicle needs to be seen either travelling slowly or stopped. I never mentioned any use of horns, BTW.  And the thing is that, even when a number of american cars have the switch somewhere on the steering column, the exact location and switch actuation varies. Lack of standarization abounds...

In many accidents, the driver becomes incapacitated, but other passengers (if any) can still  easily actuate the "hazard" lights, specially in fog.  My old 1967 Falcon had it on the left side of the column, and it was an inverted conical knob (that was pushed out when the steering was turned, turning it Off, wheter you still desired it to be On!).  A latter 1978 Fairmont (same family of cars) had a different one.  In both cases, the little knob lettering was too small and hidden from an easy view. From a design standpoint, a centrally located, big and clearly visible (illuminated)universal symbol, push-on/push-off is the best; regardless of cosmetics or style.

The accident I was referring to was not a Lear, but an Embraer Legacy 600 business jet colliding with a much larger B-737 from the Brazilian airline GOL, the bad placement of the transponder switch (susceptible to be actuated accidentally) was argued to explain or justify why the executive jet was travelling with the transponder off, thus rendering the Traffic Collision Avoidance (TCAS) system incapable of operating, rendering both planes unable to automatically detect each other.  All 154 ocupants of the Boeing 737-800 perished. Amclaussen.

Keldawwg
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I think just about every manufacturer does this kind of thing...
Keldawwg   10/10/2012 5:46:12 PM
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I have a 2004 Toyota Tundra Double Cab that I love almost completely...

A couple of things I don't love...

1. My wife bought the truck while I was in the hospital for a motorcycle accident... She gave it to me on my birthday (about a month after the accident... Bad times...) I would have never paid for the seat warmers, since we live in California and I have never had my butt get cold... But she wanted them... The switches are on the top right edge of the center console, and every time we take a road trip she will at some point cross her legs and switch my seat warmer on high... There is no light that illuminates when they are activated, either on the dash or the switch itself... And the switches toggle with the slightest pressure, and they don't click audibly... The only indication that they are on is when I realize that I am uncomfortably HOT!

2. Timing belt... The V6 Tundra has a timing belt that will not cause any issues if it breaks... The truck will just stop running until you replace the belt. The V8 Tundra has an interference engine, and that means that the belt breaking will absolutely destroy the engine... The pistons will slam into the valves. As a side note, but also another major design flaw as far as I'm concerned is the fact that to adjust the valve clearances on the V8 you must remove the camshafts. The V6 shims can be changed with the camshafts in place...

3. The parking brake is almost completely inneffective... It is a design that you step on it to set it, and step on it to release it... That doesn't explain why the darn thing really doesn't work. If I set the park brake with the truck in neutral in my driveway, it will roll down to the street before it stops. And I do not have a steep driveway... I have adjusted the thing to get the max braking out of it I can, and it sucks...

4. Twice, the truck has shifted itself out of Park and went into reverse... The first time it happened I was putting chains on the truck... The thing nearly ran me over, and almost crashed into the minivan that was 20 or so feet behind me before I managed to get into it and step on the brake. I thought I must not have put it all the way into Park. The second time it did it, I was pulling my boat out... I had just climbed into the boat to raise the outdrive when the truck shifted into reverse... I was all by myself, and I ran and jumped from the boat into the back of the truck and just manged to step on the brake before the whole truck went under... The thing that saved it was the fact that the boat lifted the back wheels off, and it slowed down since it had no more traction... Another couple of feet and the weight of the truck would have pulled my 21 foot Bayliner under water... The truck was under water so far that the carpet in the front seat area got wet... After a lot of cleaning and draining my differential since the vent was two feet under water, I managed to adjust the shifter interlock so that I don't think it will happen again... But I will never again leave it running when I'm on a boat ramp... NEVER!

Sigh... And I still think Toyota makes some of the best cars on the planet...

Tool_maker
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Re: I think just about every manufacturer does this kind of thing...
Tool_maker   10/11/2012 1:14:56 PM
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Inconvienence is one thing, what you have described is life threatening. This sort of reminds me of people who tell me how lovable a pitbull is. Why take the chance? Why tolerate that truck? Fool me once, shame on you, etc. I am sorry, I would not own a vehicle that shifted itself and there would be a dealer willing to pay me to get out of their showroom after I told everyone in there of my experiences.

Keldawwg
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Re: I think just about every manufacturer does this kind of thing...
Keldawwg   10/11/2012 1:59:17 PM
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I have searched the internet, and I see no instance of these trucks shifting out of Park... Mine was just a lemon in that one feature... I have the factory service manual, and I checked the interlock adjustment and it seemed right on. (The interlock is where you must step on the brake to take it out of Park...)

So I adjusted the interlock out of the spec, and then adjusted it back... It has never done it again in the last 60,000 miles...

But if the parking brake was effective then the truck would not roll when it was idling in reverse... Just the perfect storm of two crappy designs working against me...

I have two Toyota trucks. My little 1995 T-100 has over 350,000 miles on it, and it has been extremely trouble free... I don't think I have ever replaced a light bulb in that truck with the exception of headlights... Original alternator and starter... I did put new contacts in the solenoid of the starter... I think that cost $3 and took about an hour... Other than fluid changes, brakes and clutches, that truck has never broke down on me yet... The clutch pedal bracket in that truck is a sub-par design, but literally that has been the only thing that has broken in 350,000 miles... I would be very surprised if that little truck doesn't make it to 500,000 miles...

I need a real truck to pull my boat, and based on my friends experiences with Ford's (engines that spit out spark plugs every 25,000 miles) Chevy's (Transmission failures at 40,000 miles that required a new transmission in 2 different 4x4s, warranty just expired on both of them...) Dodge (My friends Dodge truck has not had any engine problems, he has the Cummins Diesel in it, but transmission issues, door handles breaking off, glove compartment fell off, center console lid broke... The entire truck is falling apart except for that diesel engine...)

I'll stick with my Toyota... I have just over 100,000 miles on the Tundra, and I expect it will still be running fine and everything will still work when it hits 250,000 or 300,000 miles... That's what Toyota's do.

RBedell
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Gold
Re: I think just about every manufacturer does this kind of thing...
RBedell   10/17/2012 1:09:01 PM
Speaking of parking brakes: The Outback has 'electronic parking brake'.  Basically, an electric motor that pulls the cable.  Nice idea, at first.  One feature the Outback has is 'hill assist'.  Works two ways: 1) Turn on hill assist and when you stop on an incline the parking brake automatically engages. They release when you try to move, forward or backward.  2)  Come to a stop on an incline, press the parking brake button, when you try to move forward the brakes release.  If the not on an incline then the brakes don't release.  The foreseen problem: Power or electrical failure and can't release the brakes.  Subaru provides a tool stored with the spare tire. A two foot long hex tool - under the car below the driver's door is a place to insert the tool and turn ~200 times to release the brake.  Turn the tool the wrong direction and you may damage the emergency brake system.  Parked your car on an incline and came back to a dead battery?  Trying to release the brake to push start the Outback is going to be ... interesting.

Tool_maker
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Re: I think just about every manufacturer does this kind of thing...
Tool_maker   10/18/2012 12:59:54 PM
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  I was beginning to think my wife and I were the only drivers left who routinely set the emergency brake when we park our vehicles. When we were recently looking at used cars it was very rare to find them on the lot with the brake set.

  Just an informal survey, but I would be curious as to how many drivers make it a habit to set the brake when parking.

RBedell
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Re: I think just about every manufacturer does this kind of thing...
RBedell   10/18/2012 10:22:46 PM
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I set the brake.  The Ford Escort, I had prior, the emergency brake never worked that well the last 10-12 years so I also left the car in 1st gear (it was a manual). Doing this is now a habit with the Subaru as well.

Amclaussen
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Re: I think just about every manufacturer does this kind of thing...
Amclaussen   6/10/2013 2:19:23 PM
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Using the parking brake together with the transmission in PARK (or Reverse or First) is a very good idea.  On slippery surfaces, most vehicles can still move if one of the drive wheels slides (the differential allows the other wheel to turn freely!). And as most FWD vehicles use the rear wheels to perform the parking brake function, with rear wheel brakes being now of the disc type, the smaller, puny parking brake shoes become way too small to perform effectively when parking on an inclined ramp or pronounced slope... an accident waiting to happen! Therefore, I prefer to use Both! Amclaussen.

ChasChas
User Rank
Platinum
Blame it on the Steering Wheel
ChasChas   10/10/2012 6:13:27 PM
NO RATINGS
 

If we could get rid of the steering wheel, then all the controls could be laid out like they should be.

RBedell
User Rank
Gold
Re: Blame it on the Steering Wheel
RBedell   10/17/2012 1:10:27 PM
NO RATINGS
Two things on a car that should not be messed with; the steering and brakes.  If I am going down hill and the vehicle has no power - I want to be able to steer and stop that vehicle. Everything else can be messed with but not steering and braking.  Power brakes and steering may make it hard to do but at least I have a chance.

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Ergonomics
tekochip   10/19/2012 10:06:15 AM
NO RATINGS
 
I sometimes wonder how the placement of components is designed.  I had a vehicle that did not have a tilt steering wheel, which isn't really so bad, except that the semicircular gauges prescribed the same arc as the steering wheel, so it was impossible to read the midpoint of the tachometer or the speedometer without slouching down in the seat, sort of like the gangster lean.


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