Good comment I_jhanson. I Started this one because I was particularly irritated by the observation that there was plenty of space, mounting surface, clearance, and routing opportunity to have done this better. The cable space from the mirror to the inaccessable connector is very nearly open enough to insert my arm. I am a retired aerospace and commercial product designer and have faced such situations before. I acknowledge that if is not addressed early enough in the design cycle it will not get changed for many very good reasons. This one I saw as simply making a couple of wires a little longer and not having to change connector or mounting and allowing the mirror change to be done in about five minutes in the parking lot. I doubt the mirror is preasembled onto the door before going on to the vehicle because it would make the door assembly very difficult to handle and stock.
Re an earlier comment, I did experience one of lifes small triumphs in making the change. I got all 11 of the little plastic door panel mounting clips out and back in place without destroying a single one.
Battar: There is no room to leave the old lines in place, and no desire to leave the rusty old things there.
It's amazing the way that the lines are routed. The two lines from the master cylinder run down the top of, and then outside frame rail, to about under the driver's seat where the ABS module is located on the inside of the frame rail. The two lines loop over the frame to the module, then three lines come out of the module (two for the fronts, one for the backs) which also loop over the frame. All five of those bends by the ABS module is where mine were really rotted out.
I was looking online for some pictures, but nothing good. This is close, but the bends at the ABS block on my lines are angular and factory bent, unlike these home bent lines:
I could attach a picture of mine, but it doesn't seem to be possible on here, and I'm too lazy to host it. :)
GTOLover: I agree that OEM is better in some instances. I used the GM optispark (aka optipuke) distribution on my Trans-Am, as well as choosing GM O2 sensors. A lot of us noticed when tuning the ECM, that aftermarket O2 sensors did not perform as well as the GM ones.
I work in the auto industry and specifically with connectors... There are several potential causes for the issue reported...certainly the designer not discussing the connector placement with service is one... Others could be: No mounting surface near the mirror that had sufficient clearance to prevent rattle; No surface that would accept the available connector mounting style; Cost prevented design of a custom connector or fastener for the application... The designer could have simply found himself/herself between a rock and a hard place...
Your last statement is so true to my experience. I replaced the distributor in my 1993 Suburban due to an intermittent engine stumble (misfire). The problem did not go away and got worse. I spent 3 weeks, more money, and computer diagnostic software (reading ALDL data from ECM) to try and resolve this issue. I went back to the distributor that I bought from aftermarket 'big box' store. Replaced it with an OEM AC Delco unit. Truck runs perfect!
Moral of this experience, careful buying aftermarket. The do it yourself type, like myself, may be desperate and end up going to the dealer (luckily I have a friend who tipped me off).
Couldn't you have left the old brake lines in place and re-routed new ones point-to-point? That's what plumbers do when they replace corroded water piped buried inside walls. Of course, it's easy for me to say. I would never attempt a do-it-yourself job on a safety critical componnent. Not just because of the 3 boys in the back seat, but because of the liability issues if someone else gets hurt due to ANY future mechanical malfunction in the vehicle.
This is not unique to the newer vehicles. I have had to replace the entire brakelines front to back on a 1968 GTO. The only wat to do this is to raise the body off of the frame!
Complex designs are a trade off. As stated earlier, the consumers want more features and options at a lower cost. That means designers have to design for assembly to lower unit costs and less concerned about service costs. Other than recalls or warrenty claims, service costs are born by the owner. Reduced vehicle costs with more 'standard' features is a marketing ploy to sell more vehicles (increase market share).
The root cause is similar to the posting earlier this month about why the heater core is lurking deep inside the car's dashboard. It's just cheaper and faster to assemble the car that way. The higher the volume the more important assembly is and serviceability simply falls to the wayside.
I mentioned it before, but my most recent vehicle rant has to be the brake lines on my 2000 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. The brakes lines rusted out! I've never had a vehicle with that problem, but apparently, the GM supplier from 1999-2003 used some inferior steel and many people are having this problem, and there are talks of a possible recall. See here:
I have to say that it's a very scary feeling to push the brake pedal down and have no braking power! One of my front lines burst a year ago, and I spliced in a new piece of line, but this time they really failed and I knew they all needed to be replaced.
I'm cheap, and I'm a car guy, so I decided to replace the brake lines myself with pre-bent, stainless steel lines that I bought from Inline Tube.
Wow! What a job! When assembling the truck, General Motors obviously installed the brake lines onto the frame before putting the body (cab and bed) onto the truck. This means that there is next to no room to fish new, up to eight feet long brake lines into position. I had to unbolt the bed of the truck and jack it up to get access in the back. For the front, I unbolted the body to frame mounts on the driver's side and was able to jack up the body about two or three inches to get a little more clearance. Luckily I have other vehicles to drive, as this driveway project has taken me several weeks to finish (haven't had much time to work on it) and I'm still not done. I finally got all of the lines on last weekend and when I went to bleed the front brakes, one of the bleeder screws was totally corroded to the point that there weren't even flat sides to put a wrench on. And it was so frozen, even drilling and using an extractor failed to get it out, so I had to spend $52 on a new caliper.
I've replaced motors, transmissions, rear ends, clutches, and have done almost everything to a vehicle, but this has been one of the worst things that I've ever had to do....
Obviously the designers' chief concern is to design a a door that is cheap and FAST to assemble in the factory, and hung on the vehicle body with the mirror in place and electrically connected. Can you think of a method whereby a) the door would be easier to assemble from its' component parts and b) as many parts as possible (mirror, cable harness etc) would be common to other models? The time saved in assembly is initial purchase money saved. Of course, the design assumes that the mirror will last the life of the vehicle - which in most cases is not unreasonable. Bet you broke some of those snap filt one-time-use plastic clips.
I think you raise a good point about the inclination to make design decisions that trade up serviceability for manufacturability. Manufacturing and engineering have traditionally been more closely linked in terms of collaboration around design, although that's not to say they haven't had their struggles. The service department and service engineers, however, are definitely traditionally working in different systems from the engineering group, with a very different set of goals. To date, there hasn't been a seamless workflow or flow of communications between those two groups in any kind of widespread or sustainable manner. PLM vendors are definitely trying to change that story and PTC, specifically, is really starting to play that hand.
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With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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