Amcloaussens response about increasing complexity and penny pinching of automotive companies makes me think about timing belts. Most cars these days have a timing belt that must be replaced around 100,000 miles with a cost of between $750-$1000. If you don't change it and it snaps, you can destroy the top end of your engine when the pistons strike open valves. Of course, some engines have valve relief pockets machined into the tops of the piston but many manufacturers have decided that these cost money and put the risk on the consumer. My question is when was the last time you heard of a timing chain snap on a small block Chevy? Probably never.
If the cooling system had been checked by any INDEPENDENT RADIATOR SHOP, the total cost for the " repair " would have been about $50 at today's prices. That would have also included a NEW Stant brand radiator cap.
That was the common fix that my dad found working at a radiator shop. If the usually plastic coolant tank was cracked, it would take another day to get an OEM part.
NONE of this extra work would have had to be done IF AN OLD SCHOOL REPAIR PERSON saw the problem in the first place!
I'm watching my daughter go through the ASE coursework. Sometimes the " If you can't do the job, teach " applies here.
That is similar to the many IT " experts with a cert " who are arrogant and think their s--t doesn't stink. They either get humble really quick or get let go after their 90 day probation period.
A company cannot afford to keep these types on their staff for very long.
They are not like IBM...
Dealership repair shops need to think the same way.
Good description of the recovery tank radiator system, EVprofessor.
Quite a few european cars avoid the cap complexity by using a pressurized tank system, that absorbs the volumetric expansion of the coolant (about 5% volume expansion from 40 to 195° F with a 65% ethylene Glicol coolant solution). The advantage is that the coolant has much less tendency to become contaminated because that way the system is completely closed. (I have cleaned many open type plastic recovery tanks, where the interior became covered with all kind of dirt and lime or fungus!). Correctly done, the sealed system should be superior, but I've seen a lot of cracked plastic tanks on those too!.
I presently own and use two Dodge cars (and have had many others) and have been mostly satisfied, but I admit that you have a point!
While my older 1991 Spirit R/T Turbo was and continues to be an excellent sporty sedan, the 2002 Stratus R/T Sedan Turbo is not as good, and that is for certain.
In general, Dodge cars with "R/T" badges have been above average in respect to performance/price ratio, but since 1995 the company has been lowering their former standards. The "grace shot" was the terrible Daimler-Chrysler "merging" (it was more an Overtake than a merger). The stupid germans that displaced many americans in engineering plus the worst administration lead by those bean counters, plus the new "Let's make a half cent more from each car" mentality executives, have destroyed the company. I'm shure that the company has replaced former trusty parts manufacturers to "save" the company a few bucks, but threw the former reliability into the trash can. I can personally attest to the shity quality of many parts on their cars from 1995 on. The steering rack on the Spirit is still working like new after more than 22 years of use. The same assembly on the Stratus has developed some play and since 2005 has had a "clunk type" noise. Why the hell they replaced a trusty manufacturer to find another that produces much poorer parts? I also had to replace a damaged turn lights switch made with plastic and too flimsy internal mechanism, (made by Valeo BTW), while the same part in the old Spirit keeps working like new... The Stratus used a very "Monkeyish" two-wire door lock wiring, that depends on the Body Control Module, deeply buried inside the dash, to command the door locks. As you may have guessed, the locks stopped working less than three years from new, while the much stronger door lock motors used in the Spirit doors keep on ticking thanks to their three wire system, that does NOT need a damn "control module" at all. (Automotive electronics "designers" should be hit at the knuckles whenever they "save" about 20 feet wire lenght" by using a damn expensive "module" that costs about 300 times the money they "saved" from the third wire!)
On the Stabilizer bar, the Spirit uses std. type rubber isolated links, while the Stratus (and a lot of other cars) now use links that have a ball joint that is housed in a PLASTIC cavity... that develops cracks (a true potentially dangerous condition), so I had to replace both of them. While Chrysler was aware of the propensity, they only provided me with one part, on the condition that I returned them the failed part and made me sign a letter stating I was "satisfied" with the deal... And that was only Thanks To me having mentioned the potential risk at a Mopar internet forum! (I was surprised THEY contacted me after I wrote that comment). As the second part needed to replace both sides was tremendously expensive at the dealer, I resorted to go to a parts store, where I found a similar part, made totally from metal, that had provisions to install a grease fitting. Curiously, the parts dept. manager that handled my complaint, told me He had replaced the same parts of his Corvette with much beefier aftermarket ones, and showed me both.
On the Brakes, the Spirit R/T has a very good to perfect four wheel disc brake system that can be improved only by using better aftermarket pads, that stops this fast car on a dime, thanks to Kelsey-Hayes solid design.. but when the dumb (Monkeyish-dumb) germans took control, they replaced the tried and true KH brakes with a puny "ATE" (Alfred Teves Continental) german braking system that is only good enough for a Jetta, a car that is more than 400 pounds lighter. Not only the brake booster diaphragm area is now 30% less, but the front disc calipers are too flexible and do not perform as well as the older KH designed ones.
But we must recognize that quality of design and manufacture in cars in the last 15 years has been in a steady decline. While newer cars do not (and they usually don't) require almost any maintenance in the first 4 or 5 years, after that they start to fail miserably from bumper to bumper. And that applies to many manufacturers, not only Chrysler! Teror stories can be found on Fords, GM and even previoulsly "sacred" brands such as Toyota. Is is a very extended, industry wide phenomena. You can blame the dashboard flex pcb with all the solder joints cracked to the dumbest european politicians for their RoHS banning of lead solder. And FYI, some Pontiacs suffer from complete instrument panel failure too. And how about the Corvette's placement of the computer UNDER the battery tray, ready to be eaten by the slightest acid spill or even vapors! or the piles of Ford Focus at every dealer shop, waiting to be repaired from all kind of electronic maladies... (and I could continue on and on.)
At least my two Dodges have been mostly trouble free up to now... And they have a great advantage for Do-It-yourselfers like me: you can retrieve the Diagnostic Trouble codes from the odometer with three simple key movements from Off to On, without requiring the use of a scanner. And that is a BIG advantage should something happen in the middle of a dark and lonely place!.
But thinking about buying a new car (in my case a new Dart R/T, IFand only IF they decide to make the 2.4L Turbo version) I will do a profound investigation about it, before I star to decide to buy again from them.
And those are voltage levels AT the filament... so that many cars and trucks have puny wires that have to go from the main harness to the samll switch located on the steering column or the dash, to then return all the way to the headlamps, so that the light output diminishes easily, unless one takes the task of installing relays to feed much shorter wires od enough section to send the full 12.8 to 14 VDC to the filaments.
In your case, the voltage regulator must be misadjusted or faulty. Another thing to know, is that many automotive voltage regulators have negative temperature coefficients, so that they can put out even more voltage at freezing temperatures, like 20°F and below, and that's an invitation to blown bulbs!
If your older vehicle has dim lights, visit Mr Stern's website to learn how to properly install headlamp relays. (I'm not associated with him, but I admire a true expert everytime I see one!)
Z, I also had the flaking paint, but the beauty of a white car is that applianc e white at $3 per can made it look good again. I did have a few problems with the cooling system and it did blow a camshaft oil seal after a few overheating sessions, which I had presumed it was a headgasket, which would have been a much bigger job. I should have replaced the oil seal myself, since the garage that did it messed something else up and caused a lot more problems. And the reason that it went to a garage instead of the dealer is that the dealers price quote was about what the car was worth. But at least the dealer was honest. And the other problems you mentioned I would have handled myself because I am always far more intent on doing the job right than on doing the job fast.
Have owned several Chrysler/Dodge products, and was mostly happy with them until their recent Marketing 101 college grad shyteheads ruined the company. What turned me off Dodge finally was a 96 Neon. Flaking paint, failed head gasket that I had to take twice to the dealer before they admitted under warranty that the oil leak was due to the head gasket, spark plug wire misfires that they would not repair under warranty because the problem was "intermittant" and could not be reproduced, dashboard flex pcb with all the solder joints breaking, some wierd oil coating film on the windshield whenever I used the air conditioner (which some dumbshyt in their service department assured me was not poisonous even though he could not tell me what it was), a failed valve at only 75,000 miles - whatever, after once having been an advocate of Dodge/Chrysler I can now state that I will never purchase Chrysler crap again.
And I strongly recommened to anyone reading this that they avoid Chrysler products.
@Zeeglen, I like the cars and they have been fun to drive and mostly no big problems, so my solution is to just not use the dealer service, rather than dump the whole product line.
The one really dumb, as in "monkey class dumb" design goof was the radiator in my Neon. It had plastic tanks top and bottom, and a solid copper and brass core, and a thin band of cheap quality steel as the crimped on clamp to hold the pieces togather. Poor quality steel rusts quickly in the heavy salt application that we get every winter, and not even a lot of JB WELD epoxy was able to keep it from leaking for more than a few weeks at a time. So it was a couple hundred dollars for a new radiator, which did hurt my feelings. How could anybody be dumb enough to use cheap steel in such a critical location?
William, your point is right on. I worked for a time, for a sales and service organization, which was a franchise for a major copier company. The firm had a good reputation, and the service staff were well trained, and the customers were well pleased, with the service staff and the service group, but, because the service paid a reasonable wage, and kept the staff satisfied, (We were not paid on percentage of labor billing.) But, the service department was not making enough, for the franchising manufacturer, and eventually, we were sold off, to another franchisee. Because, they actually did not pay as well, many of us tried them for a time, but, almost everyone started seeking alternative employment. In a couple months, even I was ready to leave, and I took a job teaching again. Eventually the sales firm I had started with dropped the manufacturer's line, and switched to another major brand. I still believe, service is the key, to continuing sales, and poor service will, definately, kill the sales, requireing discounted pricing, just to keep sales moving, but, it will never be as good, as sales with good service can be, even if service is not profitable, the sales will be so much better, that customers will be loyal.
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