Stories like this always make me wish I was one of those people who was more mechanically inclined. It's amazing how much money you can save by doing it yourself when it comes to thinks like fixing a vehicle, and how much you can get fleeced by a dealer or a mechanic's shop. This is not only a clever fix, it also sounds like it saved David from buying an entirely new truck.
Having worked with OEM and Tier 2 suppliers in the 90's, the drive for them was (and still is) reducing costs. I am sure that the supplier of the Mazda ECM was trying to reduce costs and may have been mandated by hte OEM to 'find' a certain percentage of savings to 'keep' the business. At least that has been my experience in that time frame.
In fairness, the original caps may have met the testing requirements and was not seen as an issue. Afterall, they did last 10 years for you. Read the latest Boeing report here at DN and you can appreciate the need for better testing/certification specifications. Had Mazda thought of the temperature issues you point out, they may have tested more stringently.
Oh, please tell me that they weren't using standard temperature parts under the hood!
One company I worked for needed a 12-24V DC/DC converter and found an automotive device that was 6-12V (old Volkswagons were 6V). The decision was to burn in the 6-12V converter at full load for 24 hours and if it survived we used it. In all my years there I think only one ever failed, and the only field failures were in units that were abused and had the fuses defeated.
I agree Elizabeth...for lack of a cap, the ECM was lost. Such a simple fix on the surface but like my Daddy used to say - if you do know, it's awfully simple...if you don't know, it's simply awful. David did a great job and saved big bucks doing it.
My husband told me a story about when he used to work in a T.V. repair shop many years ago. People would bring in their T.V. for repair and the old guy that owned the shop knew every make and model circuit board inside out and could locate the problem in minutes. Sometimes it was just a bad cap and the repair took just 15 minutes. He would have my husband tell the customer it wouldn't be ready until the next day...if people had to pay $50 for a repair and got it back in 15 minutes, they would feel as if they had been ripped off - never mind the years of experience and knowledge that allowed the guy to diagnose and fix the problem so quickly. So I think there needs to be a balance...people shouldn't fleece their customers, yet they should get paid a fair price for the knowledge they have worked to obtain. But charging someone $1400 for a $300 part is ridiculous. It reminds me of hay prices for our horses during drought. Charging $125 for a round bale is just flat taking advantage of people...for some reason people think that a limited supply gives them a right to huge profits rather than fair prices...okay - off my soapbox now...
Yes, Nancy, I suppose the whole idea of getting what you pay for is true...and if someone takes time to repair something and you have to pay a fair bit, you don't feel so bad if you think they earned the price tag.
I actually am a bit biased today on this topic, as I am waiting for my own vehicle to be fixed at the moment and am anticipating a really high price tag (it's nearly impossible here in southwest Portugal to get a used vehicle, which most of us have, that doesn't constantly need work!). The work that needs doing is somewhat simple if you're mechanically inclined, but for an auto luddite like me I'll be spending big bucks--and probably have to listen to an excuse, too, as to why either a) it cost so much or b) something couldn't quite get repaired properly. So I tip my hat to all the gearheads out there and read with interest their monkeying around stories.
Ouch, Elizabeth - as the owner of a 1997 Chevy Lumina, I feel your pain! Auto repair prices are among the worst for being over-inflated and it is hard to find a competent and honest mechanic. I believe in a fair wage for a competent job but unfortunately that is often not the case. I hope it is for you today!
Well, I *am* mechanically inclined (mechanical engineering runs in my family), pretty handy with basic tools, and at least some car systems make a lot of intuitive sense to me (although not electrical!). But--I can't fix most of the simple mechanical stuff on my car anymore because it's no longer mechanical: it's become an electronic module. And an expensive one, at that.
True enough, Ann, even the most mechanical folks can't figure out the electronic and computerized wonder that are modern automobiles, I reckon. It's interesting--while the internal bits and bobs have gotten more complex, it seems the external parts like bumpers and panels are often more frail than they used to be. Go figure.
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