HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Made by Monkeys

Seat Switch Cost Turns Consumer Off

View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
Page 1/5  >  >>
cancow
User Rank
Iron
Re: Seat switch, dissabling airbags...
cancow   2/17/2014 9:37:40 AM
NO RATINGS
This is really turning into a old school way of thinking.  I can remember debates about seat belts.  I won't wear seat belts because: It wrinkles my clothes, it is uncomfortable, what happens if I get into an accident and I can't unlock the belt, ...etc.  The list can go on and on.  Yes there are instances, especially with the older generation of airbags, of people getting injured by the airbag.  I can assure you that seat belts and airbags have saved more lives and prevented serious injures than the have created.  You will always find someone who has had a problem but I bet you can find 10-20 people for the good than you will the bad.  People still get tickets for seat belts, and why is that?  They are a proven life saver as well as front airbags and side airbags. 

This conversation has led down a tangent that probably is not recoverable.  Older generations say cars are not built like the used to be.  Small crashes cost thousands of dollars.  The reason a car cost so much when and accident occurs and you have to replace so much is because of "crumple zones" and other safety devices.  A 1960's car doesn't crumple much at a 20 MPH crash, something has to give and that is the passengers.  20 MPH to 0 in less than 1 sec equals disaster for the human body.  NASACR drivers did not want to wear the HANS device because it limited their mobility, Earnhardt would still be alive if he had worn such a device. Now it is manditory. 

Plain and simple airbags work and they save lives. 

Amclaussen
User Rank
Platinum
Re:" Green Eco-wiring" insulation problem on several brand cars.
Amclaussen   2/13/2014 6:05:55 PM
NO RATINGS
Absolutely true. Chrysler was in a critical condition when the Germans arrived, and that has been clearly documented and traced to some corrupt and oportunistic americans in high places. But, as someone who lived through the merge said: "It was like a suit stitched only with pins... but the first thing the germans did, was to pull the pins out"

The worst thing that Daimler did to Chrysler was to mercilessly, was to replace or displace every good american engineer in Chrysler, because their "strategy" was like the "take no prisoners and hold the place", which placed germans in many critical positions across the taken company, from top to bottom.   That personnel was accustomed to the german way of things, and performed very poorly, frequently giving contradictory orders, in an attempt to gather absolute control.

Other aspect permanently causing problems, as you have already said, is the relentless pursuit of the "If I save a penny on every car...." mentality of bean counters.  And Chrysler has always have had among the most atrocious ones.

CliffG
User Rank
Iron
Re:" Green Eco-wiring" insulation problem on several brand cars.
CliffG   2/13/2014 4:14:09 PM
NO RATINGS
Strides in innovation always bring headaches, even when they are well-intentioned. The mechanical Kugelfischer injection on my old tii was one of those "innovations." Those stretches are sometimes not well-thought out or well designed. Or they may start out well-designed but the bean counters intercept it in Purchasing and do "value engineering," two words that do not belong together where safety is involved.

Putting 5 window regulators in a 4 door car is an example of that. I did a repir that last time that I found posted on the web, then fixed my motorhome window as well. Although not designed for repair, some of these things can be fixed better than new.

Chrysler was in a tough spot when Mercedes bought them: I don't think they would have survived. If their name had been "General" or some other military rank there may have been other choices. Reminds me of the old joke of the day: "How do you pronounce Daimler/Chrysler? The Chrysler is silent." But, who is laughing now? My manager just bought a diesel Grand Cherokee, pretty nice rig. Challenger, Viper, even the Dart is a nice compromise.

Amclaussen
User Rank
Platinum
Re:" Green Eco-wiring" insulation failure:known and hidden!
Amclaussen   2/13/2014 3:59:41 PM
NO RATINGS
" Perhaps you have a Larger body of vehicles to assess"

Could be, Cliff; because I've worked for the Mexican Petroleum Institute since 1977, and additionally, during some years I had to work (Hands-On) on cars, even on weekends in order to make up some money because I got married and purchased a dwelling. In addition to that, I participated actively with the "ATA" (an association that represented and grouped many auto repair shops) so that I was called upon many times when a shop had a technical puzzle. This was during the period when autos were changing from carburetors to EFI, and emissions testing became at last mandatory here in Mexico.    As I'm not a mechanical engineer by profession (I'm  a Chemical Eng.), but love mechanics since I was a little child, I slowly learned thanks to having to maintain an old 1967 american car (Ford Falcon GT), which I kept for a very long time as an almost daily driver (about 37 years non-stop, no less).  In my experience, I have developed the strong impression that cars have changed in some respects, for the worst. (Even when enormous progress has happened, some very pesky trends have appeared at the same time), those became my "pet-peeves".

One of the things that frequently appear, is that so called "luxury", or "exclusive" auto brands, surprisingly have the same or even a worse quality record. To start with, auto makers rely too much on parts commonality. Many many parts used on top line luxury models are exactly the same as in the "mundane" lowest price line of a given auto manufacturer.  In many cases (specially in recent years), the added complexity and overabundance of features of their more expensive models, only add to the reliability problems!  On the other side, I've seen that repair costs, from parts to the Super-Specialized auto mechanics and technicians (to call some of them in a non-insulting manner) are way above what a person well versed in auto maintenance would consider "reasonable".  In the end, I've seen that the public has a wrong stereotyped image of these brands, where factory money would be much better used in real life testing and correcting, than in brand image and advertising campaigns.

Of course, design parameters imbeded in "performance" or "classy" vehicles tend to be an step above the generic, less expensive cars called "grocery getters", but when one sees and has to confront the harsh realities that independent repair shops have to deal with, on vehicles used outside the track or racecourse (daily drivers) the design differences that separate those two products, are hugely reduced, it is when the quality aspects like freedom from problems, reliability, durability etc. make the costly brands appear as "worst than" ones.

In relation to your wiring harness problem, it was not a BMW only problem, as Marcedes and others presented it too. IT WS A KNOWN PROBLEM but the auto makers denied it.  In reality, your nice BMW dealer didn't repaired your car for free, since they could have still more problems if people knew the truth!  So they preferred to be nice and did the repair in roder to keep things smooth and quiet.

An interesting description with photos of degraded electrical wire insulation crumbling and the bitter but justified opinion of a writer about a german auto industry CEO, that has helped some companies go bad with his stupidity and arrogance, see http://badmercedes.com/ .  That educated gentleman has been identified as one of the worst managers inflicting terrible damage to Chrysler when Daimler took over. a good friend of mine works for whatever it remains of Chrysler de Mexico, and barely survived the german plague and how they crippled the american auotmaker and then fkew away. Promises to "add strenghts from both parties" were just babble, in reality Daimler damaged Chrysler deeply. As the webpage shows, Mr. Zetsche is a fervent (phanatic would be more appropriate) "green" supporter, and his influence forced the german engineers to use that degradable plastic, in pursue of a greener and greener world.

CliffG
User Rank
Iron
Re: BMW reliability, and more
CliffG   2/13/2014 1:09:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Perhaps you have a larger body of vehicles to assess. I have only owned 7 BMW's so far. The least reliable was my 1973 2002tii with somewhere around 80,000 or 130,000 miles: the speedo and odometer were worn out. The "reliability" was great when I spent a day a month on maintenence, replacing worn out parts, but very little breakage, even with track days. I did upgrade the points to solid state becasue the distributor had poor access, but that was not as bad as the old Chevy where you had to unbolt engine mounts & lift up the engine to chagne a sprk plug.

Other than the engine harness mentioned previously and some poorly designed window regulators on a 2001 X5, my shop visits have been for routine maintenance.

Regarding air bags: race cars have passive resistance with 5 point belts, helmets, HANS systems, roll bars, nomex/kevlar clothing and most civilian drivers are not willing to put up with that. You are an exception. most of my track rat buddies use the 3-point on public roads, even with roll bars. A simple risk assessment will demonstrate that today's airbags are safer than the early ones, and safer than no airbag.

The long horror stories about air bag and ignitors reminds me of people who (still) contend they have to drive without their seatbelt in case the car is suddenly underwater and they are trapped. And the odds of that are???

As a safety professional, risk assessment is part of my every-day job. NOTHING is risk-free, so how we each choose to manage the risk is a choice we should be free to make. Years ago I suggested that we don't need helmet laws, just inform the bike rider that he will get no free handout for medical care for head injuries. The cost of your helmet is directly propotional to your perceived value of your brain

bobl
User Rank
Iron
Re: Design for maximum repair cost
bobl   2/13/2014 12:53:48 PM
NO RATINGS
GTOLover:

I love my 2011 Challenger with the 5.7 Hemi.  RT Classic trim.  Great car to drive, comfortable on the road.  There is actually enough room in the back seast for two reasonably sized adults (not football or basketball players).

Amclaussen
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Information access is sometimes easier
Amclaussen   2/12/2014 10:59:28 PM
NO RATINGS
Sorry, but just after I posted my comment, I remembered having read an article somewhere, about many Mercedes having a complete electrical cable insulation failure some years ago.

(Don´t believe me 'cause I can't fully remember it), but it was related to the factory desiring to get "green", and changing to using a different kind of electrical insulation, made with (you guessedit): Bio-degradable plastics, made with "green" or "natural" or "organic" materials or something...

If true, that one is another monkey prize awarded to the "green" european politicians that cause more trouble than they solve when they issue another "ecological" measure.

Amclaussen
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Information access is sometimes easier
Amclaussen   2/12/2014 10:50:04 PM
NO RATINGS
"...BMW's: they fit me, sound and feel great, but they break because they are cars."

And not very reliable ones, judging from the frequency and type of failures I've seen on them, quite a few of them. Probably second to english cars overall, but close.

(Pardon me, I didn't resist the urge to say that!)

Amclaussen
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Not just a simple switch.. and WHY not?
Amclaussen   2/12/2014 10:44:59 PM
@LloydP:

Your explanation is no doubt, the true one:

"...sensor referred to is only used on the front passenger seat.It is not a simple "switch" but a complex sensor system, mated to an electronic control unit (ECU). Each seat assembly (including the ECU) must be calibrated individually. The greatest variability in the weight sensing system is the seat foam. Due to the size and complexity of the calibration process and fixture, and the variability from seat to seat, it is not feasible to perform this calibration at a dealership."

but WHY?

Apart from the presumptuous, unnecessary complicated, worthy of a "Rube Goldberg" design contest award;  that appproach to passenger detection and signal interpretation is simply too much complicated, expensive and demanding a critical calibration capacity! (and the opportunity to scam people when it goes bad).

The fact that computers are available to automotive systems "designers", does not mean they HAVE TO use them to that degree. It shouldn't be a matter of presumption, but reliability, repairability, durability, and to serve the NEEDS of the public. Is that demand too hard to meet?

I remember my school final ceremony, where we received an iron ring at graduation. The Dean at Engineering Faculty pronounced a very succinct discourse, and explained that giving an iron and NOT a gold ring meant that we, as professional engineers, needed to be honest to the profession, and that encompassed honesty to conduct our profession; and humbleness to keep ourselves equilibrated as individuals. the ring was very simple, non ostentatious, humble and simple, representing a functional design.

Amclaussen
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Not just a simple switch, why not a simpler approach?
Amclaussen   2/12/2014 9:58:43 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree, 1,600 is alot of money for that part, even when the stupid (or corrupt), or overzealous "Green" politics could be responsible for raising the true part cost by demanding a lenghty, costly process to get their approval or "certification".

Why they did not thought of using a different type of sensor? (having to depend on a complex, temperamental device buried deep inside the foam cushion of the seat, appears to me as a complete lack of intelligence from the designers. As a matter of fact, some other physical means exist to detect a passenger and its characteristics, at much reduced complexity and even cost. I already have imagined a couple of them in just seconds, and I don't pretend to be such an Stellar automotive designer at all! (just accustomed to follow that GREAT design and life principle: "KISS"!

Amclaussen.

Page 1/5  >  >>
Partner Zone
More Blogs from Made by Monkeys
Made by Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made By Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made by Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made By Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made By Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Design News Webinar Series
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
6/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
5/13/2014 10:00 a.m. California / 1:00 p.m. New York / 6:00 p.m. London
5/8/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York / 7:00 p.m. London
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Jul 21 - 25, Design Products With Bluetooth Low Energy
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: August 12 - 14
Sponsored by igus
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service