My car's horn relay was buried in the dash, and "no problem," I thought as I had purchased a factory service manual. So, looking in the index I found "Horn Relay, Location, Section 4D." Opening up the manual at Section 4, I carefully thumbed through sections A ... B .... C ... E..? Where's "D." It didn't have a section D. I eventually found the rely by depressing the horn button, listening for the clicks with a stethascope, and taking off the center cover. It was under the radio and easily replaced.
You're right Jmiller. Those are two good examples of replacing products that are in fine working order. I have a car cassette player in storage that was replaced when I had a CD player installed. I couldn't bring myself to throw away a perfectly good tape player.
Good point Jmiller. I think part of the problem is that each new generation comes with advances or new technology that appeals to the consumer. With a repair, you still have the old features that in many cases have been replaced with new features.
I sometimes wonder if the movement towards replacement rather than repair was a move towards taking a $50 repair and turning it into a $100 replace. Who am I kidding of course it was. But unfortunately I think the American consumer has not demostrate through their purchasing habits that they will pay more for a product that will not result in a repair.
Your 1965 Buick SPECIAL was NOT the same chassis-style as the one highlighted in this article. In 1965, yours was considered a "compact" car, along w/ the other GM variants, the CHEVY II (NOVA), Oldsmobile F-85, Pontiac TEMPEST (later, LeMANS, GTO). The Buick in this article was a full-sized vehicle, just one of the series available during that era.
Ever once in a while some designs make life really easy. The dashboard of the '77 thru '83 Olds and other full size GM cars wasn't bad. Removing a few screws let you remove the facia panels and then almost all the pieces, radio, clock, idiot lights and the speedometer could be removed from the front. My '65 Ford Galaxie 500 was similar in that removing the 2 screws holding the shroud over the radio, speedo, gauges etc. left everything exposed. Even better was the heater core in a "drawer" which could be easily accessed by removing 4 screws. My '69 Firebird wasn't easy at all. Everthing comes out from underneath and behind the dashboard. The heater/AC Fan is accessed by removing the R/F fender. The '96 Maxima is pretty good with all the dash components coming out from the front. I don't have any experience yet with my other cars, 2002 Jag and a 2009 VE Jetta.
As one who actually worked for quite some time in the OEM auto headunit business (and designed systems just hitting the market this year):
1. I've NEVER seen an OEM auto head unit with conformal coating; too expensive, and no need. You do find this in BOATING products!
2. While there is a SMALL degree of standardization, it's only in the DIN package size, and the standards are often literally "stretched" or squashed to make things fit. There are no real standards for providing mounting features for aftermarket radios. It takes hole drilling to make them fit, and a custom cover plate to hide the mess underneath. Also, use of unique connectors and connector pinouts (varying even between model lines for the same nameplate) means a special harness adapter is needed in every case.
3. Most OEMs have adopted the CAN bus "standard." However, no two OEMs use the same protocols, messages or even low-level things like data rates or physical bus structures (1-wire vs. 2-wire, etc.). ALL OEM head units these days depend on that OEM-unique CAN bus for power management and support for moderately-advanced features that depend on the head unit receiving information about what's going on in the vehicle, communication with add-ons like satellite radio, etc. After-market units can't do either job at all.
4. Also because of that CAN bus, the better OEM designs (not the low-end "base units") mincorporate theft protection keying off the VIN. It just won't work, even in the identical model car, and because of the CAN mismatch, no possibility of working in a car from a different maker.
5. Repairability: even the OEM itself can't repair a modern HU; in-warranty returns go back to the supplier for "remanufacture" and eventual resale as a replacement unit by the dealer network.
6. As I have posted many times before, little of the high price of repair parts is new. I had a 1980 Datsun 200SX; great car, had it for many years, survived even teaching two sons to drive the stick shift, etc. BUT... it had one of those annoying expensive routine service items: it had an idler pullley assembly for tensioning the alternator belt. The bearing in the pulley (maybe a 25-cent item back then) was generally good for 30K miles or so; the reason was there was no lubricant hole or other access to oil the bearing! . The only part that Datsun sold was the entire idler assembly, including the die-cast arm, pulley assembly, and HW, for about $60! I never found a source for the bearing itself (it was an oddball size), so I did have to buy ONE $60 part. I did figure out how to disassemble the whole mess, and re-lubricate the bearing every 10K miles or so, so I didn't have to buy another ever again. P.S. because of the crappy design, there was no point in getting one from a junkyard, because it usually was nearly shot anyway.
I get your points, William. But you made a lot of sense in your earlier comment when you said, "it would be a challenge to remove a failed component and replace it, because of the thick coating of preservative on the boards. Of course, that assumes that you could determine which part had failed."
I could be these products are disposible whether they're expensive or not.
At this year's MD&M West show, lots of material suppliers are talking about new formulations for wearables and things that stick to the skin, whether it's adhesives, wound dressings, skin patches and other drug delivery devices, or medical electronics.
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