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11 Low Points in the History of Automotive Design and Engineering

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  • 11 Low Points in the History of Automotive Design and Engineering

    http://www.bangshift.com/blog/11-Low...gineering.html

  • #2
    Re: 11 Low Points in the History of Automotive Design and Engineering

    Some good low points there. Including the Chrysler efi.

    Back in the '80s when GM bought up Ross Perot's computer company, I couldn't quite figure it out. But...whatever it looked like they were doing, it appeared they were intent on taking electronics seriously. That did turn out to be what was neccessary to make efi and ecm's work on production cars. Take it seriously, nothing less will do.

    As a guy who was a kid in the '70s, my favorite engineering bungle remains the Vega motor. How many screwed-up things can you do on just one design?

    Silicon/aluminum block material w/ iron-plated pistons = horrible scuffing.
    Open block cooling passages = instability between the block sides and cylinders and failed head gaskets.
    Very tall, heavy cyl head w/ uneven cooling=cracked casting.
    Very tall, heavy cyl head on top of light block=motor c/g well above mounting points for truly bizzarre torsional vibrations.

    Well, I guess that's only four things but it was more than enough to ensure that few of those made it past 50,000 mi.
    ...

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    • #3
      Re: 11 Low Points in the History of Automotive Design and Engineering

      Great list, Matt. A few things there I didn't know about.

      Trabants other disaster was the use of an air cooled two cycle engine that didn't like it if you didn't mix the oil into the gas like your weed eater. In '85, I was in East Germany, I saw as many sitting on the side of the road as I did moving under their own power. If you got stuck in heavy rush hour traffice in East Berlin, bring a gas mask.


      I remember Mom wanting an Eldorado in '81 or '82. Dad was already clued in on those heaps of 8-6-4 motors and refused to even look at one that had that engine. One other problem that occurred with them was them stalling in 4 cylinder mode and wouldn't start with only four cylinders. You had to pull the ecm fuse to reset the system.

      As a limo driver for the last 15 years, I can tell you that any car stretched into a limo with front wheel drive will do wonderful things to those front tires. I've seen them melting and smoking from four tons of vehicle with shit loads of under steer. Ask Caddy about their front drive factory limos.
      BS'er formally known as Rebeldryver

      Resident Instigator

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      • #4
        Re: 11 Low Points in the History of Automotive Design and Engineering

        I had no idea of the vega. i did encounter one that ran a bit bigger than the others..with its four cylinder. Must have been the more open manly coolant passages allowing for fire...I wonder if it was like a 396...or a subarus 3 main boxer... unlike a hemi, which thinks it is the world on top of one cylinder.. why did the wedge get away with lower octane for the same power?

        who knows. let them repeat it again with sloppy injection this time.

        the chemistry messups are horrifying. the escort with the magnesium in the heads. oh my god. purple fire...
        or entire electrical systems that forgot what they are grounding to..chrysler coronet comes to mind...
        or the ford pickups, with the solenoid one had to smack around... I followed my own fords error to a rusty cab corner and rocker panel. oh my god. system grounds do go farther than an engineers punty ass mind.

        lets add fuel injection to this mess and delay the cams for instant heat in the winter...

        MMMMM nuclear. so tasty.
        Let s keep recurculating that around through an egr valve.., like breathing our own farts until we die...
        and well..must add two morte valves per cylinder and call it frctionless downdraft timing..just a little bullshit, noone will notice.
        may as well mount it sideways and call it a genius...


        the grand finale is.... don't let me near the big red button.

        Previously boxer3main
        the death rate and fairy tales cannot kill the nature left behind.

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        • #5
          Re: 11 Low Points in the History of Automotive Design and Engineering

          That's a great list Matt!

          German engineering, the Communist way ? There are a lot of good materials for making car bodies ? steel, aluminum, fiberglass, and carbon fiber have all worked out pretty well. The Trabant is the only car to have its bodywork made from plastic-coated fabric scraps. Passenger safety wasn't particularly high on the East German government's priority list.
          I heard so much about these cars in Germany.




          I almost had a chance to drive one, but Julia's cousin didn't bring it to the wedding :P


          And I heard the rocker solenoids weren't the issue with the Caddy 4-6-8, but the ECM's weak processing power.
          Escaped on a technicality.

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          • #6
            Re: 11 Low Points in the History of Automotive Design and Engineering

            So many good ideas are probably left on the table because cars have to be somewhat idiot proof.

            My grand national has an unused idiot light in the dash for "power injection" so the water injection idea must have been scrapped at the last minute. Nowadays I run methanol injection and I use that idiot light gm provided as my pump on indicator.
            Powertour off/on since 2002
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            • #7
              Re: 11 Low Points in the History of Automotive Design and Engineering

              Originally posted by bishir
              My grand national has an unused idiot light in the dash for "power injection" so the water injection idea must have been scrapped at the last minute. Nowadays I run methanol injection and I use that idiot light gm provided as my pump on indicator.
              That Sir, is Awesome.
              Escaped on a technicality.

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              • #8
                Re: 11 Low Points in the History of Automotive Design and Engineering

                Glad you guys liked it. I considered the Vega, but that aluminum block was a case of something that almost sounded like it could work, and later efforts (particularly some BMWs) actually pulled it off. Come to think of it, BMW's first try was only slightly less of a disaster than the Vega, and they stuck to iron blocks in the US for (not unjustified) fears they'd repeat the Vega story all over again.

                Bishir, that rocks!

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                • #9
                  Re: 11 Low Points in the History of Automotive Design and Engineering

                  Another candidate: the story goes that Chrysler started using imported Japanese steel in some of their cars beginning around 1957. The problem, so goes the story is that the steel had supposedly come from buildings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki destroyed by the atomic blast. And while melting the steel down was supposed to kill any radioactivity one aftereffect was that the steel would rust prematurely. Anyone who owns one of these cars can attest to that part. :

                  Yeah, it sounds far fetched, but you never know. ;D

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