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Question Of The Day: When Did You Want To Hang The Engineer Of Your Car?


Question Of The Day: When Did You Want To Hang The Engineer Of Your Car?

If you were anywhere on the engineering team that packaged up the Chrysler LX platform, you are not my friend right now. In fact, I’d be seeing blood red if it weren’t for the fact that I’m in that section of the country that has been under deep refrigeration. Here’s the rundown: our resident 2006 Chrysler has been pretty much down and out since the beginning of December, when an oil pressure sensor kicked the bucket in a rather spectacular fashion. To get to said sensor, you have to remove the alternator…which means undoing bolts from the top and bottom…which means you have to remove the belly pan…which, in my world, means I have to do the jig of driving the car onto enough wooden blocks to gain the altitude needed to get the jack underneath the car to do any of this fun stuff in the first place! And don’t ask me about electrical connectors for either the oil pressure sensor or the oil temperature sensor. Or the battery that flat-lined due to the Arctic chill that is going to require me to crawl through the backseat/trunk passage to pull the Little Timmy handle to open the trunk so I can change it out with a new battery. Which means that I’m doing that while my wife is at work, because I’ll be damned if anybody gets a picture of that moment.

Don’t get me wrong…when the 300 is up and running, it’s a great car, but right now I’m playing automotive Twister with the gold brick trying to get some stuff fixed. The last time I was this pissed off at a car, I was enjoying working on dash lights in the Mirada. Or twisting into a pretzel so that I could pull the starter out of a 1989 Celica. Or screaming some truly epic language as I was trying to break a body bolt loose on the most rusted 1987 Chevrolet truck I’ve ever seen, bar none. They get paid good money to put together a product that will last with “easy” service, but if you really work on cars, sooner or later you’ll stop, scratch your head and wonder just WTF the team was thinking when they put THAT thing right THERE. I guess it could be worse…I could be taking steam baths like I did working on one particular Thunderbird, thanks to a poorly-designed coolant port.

Got any fun stories about this? Please share. I could use a laugh right about now…


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26 thoughts on “Question Of The Day: When Did You Want To Hang The Engineer Of Your Car?

  1. Matt Cramer

    When the starter failed on my E36 BMW right after I had changed the clutch. The starter comes out when you have the transmission removed. The only other way to get to it is to pull off the intake manifold. Really weird to have this problem on an inline six.

  2. Jeepster

    changing the water pump on a buick park ave ultra 15 years ago. the supercharger brackets and overall assembly method was an afterthought.
    what a typical beta test hob knobbed disaster.

    3 days unbolting every type of bolt made to get the inner fender out.

  3. jerry z

    Friggin Optispark on mid-90’s LT1’s! A distributor behind a water pump? What were they smoking that day.

  4. Dick Sappington

    I’ll add a classic version to this.

    It’ll be Ma Chrysler’s upside down screw-on oil filter on their slant six. Easy enough to get a strap wrench on, but no way in hell to keep it from dumping its load over everything on the starboard side of the engine bay, and no decent way to pre-fill, for the same reason.

    Worse still, never re-engineered during the entire two decade plus production run of an engine that saw use in more applications than nearly any other.

    1. Matt Cramer

      And getting the clips that hold the distributor cap down back on is no picnic either, the way the slant six oil filter is so close to the distributor.

  5. keezling

    43 years swinging wrenches I dealerships and I’m sure I haven’t seen every bad design there is, because they keep making new ones every year!

  6. malc

    Changing the oil filter on a front wheel driver.
    Filter is mounted horizontally off the back of the block, under the inlet manifold and right over the starter.
    No way can you keep it in your hands when it comes unscrewed, inlet is cramping your hands.
    So it dumps it’s contents on the starter which I did cover with rags but it’s a lot of oil.

  7. Mol

    Just so you know for next time. There is no need to remove the alt. bolts from the bottom. Use a 15mm “S” wrench and you can do them all from the top. I did the alternator in my car in 30 minutes in a hotel parking lot.

  8. Scott Liggett

    None of these problems would occur if auto companies spent half as much time putting engineers and mechanics together to solve these idiotic problems as they do having focus groups pick out colors for each model of car.

    1. Jeepster

      good one Larry-
      not to mention the crankcase oil seals on the revolutionary northstar engine
      ( that can not be rebuilt 99.9% of the time ) Another GM consumer beta test gone way wrong resulting in worthless disposable cars for years.

  9. Jeepster

    Porsche boxter engine killin’ shaft failure syndrome

    1984 Iron dukes’ one bad cast piston per Fiero

    Shovelhead oil recirculation nearly ending Hardley D for good

    4.6 plastic manifolds and with new and improved sparkplug thread blowouts

    There is a new small Ford engine made today that takes 18+ hours to change the water pump also !

  10. oldguy

    Mid 80’s Sentra in the 90’s- took a day under a tarp in the rain to disconnect all the crap + hoses + tubes + the manifolds + the damper etc .
    15 mins to pull the head to replace the blown head gasket ….good news was it was flat enough to bolt back on …
    and the damn thing never had any water/oil cross over when it went !
    exhaust was coming out of the radiator fill though…..

  11. KCR

    Early Cummins in a Dodge truck. The fuel filter is under the intake manifold .Its at the back of the block above the started driver side. You have to fill a diesel fuel filter with fuel to prime it. There is a prime pump . Each flick of the pump delivers about a half teaspoon of fuel. The filter holds a quart. There has been a complete industry made up of after market Cummins 5.9 fuel filter relocation. Pain in the ass.

  12. Tim

    My solution to all these problems is before any snot nosed kid with an engineering degree gets anywhere near the proverbial drawing board they must serve at least a 2 year apprenticeship in a dealership. A private shop would be better since we can’t afford the fancy special tools manufacturers force dealerships to have so make due. But manufacturers would not go along with that. And that snot nosed rookie engineer would be required to actually get their hands dirty and not stand around. Then when they actually start doing their engineering they would have some idea what mechanics must go through and customers get charged outrageous prices because of it. But it gets better. Just so they can’t say they paid their dues and are going to get the next rookie with crummy designs this now veteran engineer and all engineers must periodically return to a dealership as a line mechanic and must turn the wrenches.

  13. Bill Greenwood

    I have owned several Daimler-era Mopars now, enabling me to identify a number of things that pointed towards the unfortunate Germanic tendency to over-complicate. Need to change a battery on a PT Turbo? Ja! Zere iss two hourss ovf your life zat ees not coming back, ja. Or, change the brake pads on an Alero right after you’ve done them on a Ram. Ja! Sure as hell, the squareheads have added one extra step for no reason.
    Then there were the battery cable ends on my son’s Golf. Only a German could come up with that. I once read that the power trunk lid on a VW Phaeton had 11 sensors. That’s because they didn’t have enough space for 12.
    My daughter owns a 2013 Dart. The only Fix It Again Tony thing that got me wound up so far is the absence of wheel studs. Bolts instead. Really? All that does is make a simple tire rotation that much more annoying.

  14. BeaverMartin

    So many things could be said. Head gasket on my 94 Z28, I swear it would have been easier to pull the engine as step one. Timing belt on a Subaru, The complete and utter lack of a fill port on newer VW transmissions, that I figured out after draining it…Ford mod motor spark plugs. The 93′ 735i I had took the cake. Took me hours to change the 800 Euro wiper motor. 30 something bolts in the oil pan! I hated that car.

  15. Pete231

    I want to have a close encounter with the designer(s) of the Ford 4.6l mod motor. For its engine displacement, it’s a big lump of scheisse. Bean counter engineering demanded the same cylinder head be used for both sides of the block. This steaming pile of logic caused the heads to be abnormally large with major compromises in ports and oil passages. This is a physically huge engine that packs the engine bay of any car it’s stuffed into due to the width of the cyl. head dimensions. I recently o/h’d the 4.6 in my ’95 T-Bird due to its extreme hunger for the crankcase contents. (100 miles/qt.). Two 302 engines would fit in the space of one of these behemoths. So, Mr. design engineer(s), meet Mr. Fungo Bat !! WHAM !!!

  16. Ian

    Water pump on the Rover KV6, as used in the Land Rover Freeloader and Kia Sedona.
    It’s plastic and buried under the intake.
    I suspect it was a Triumph engineer who did that, namely the same bloke do did the same trick on the Stag engine.
    Doing the sparkplugs on a Mitsubishi L400 V6 causes abit of headscratching. Firstly the inake covers both banks, and the plugs are on the inside edge of the heads under the intake. Secondly, the whole lot is buried under the windsheild. Just pulling the intake apart is a challenge, it won’t come out in 1 piece. Easiest way is to lie ontop of the engine bay, it’s the only way to do them on the 4wd models.

  17. Threedoor

    Any and all engineers who put the oil filter on its side. And the guy that designed the 60-72 Chevy pickup motormount. Sure he’s dead by now but he can be exhumed and hung.

  18. Ron Ward

    Whoever approved the design of single-use bed bolts on late model Ford trucks needs to be throat punched. For those of you who have had to remove these oddball, Torx-headed bitches, you know what I’m talking about…. Then, you have to buy an $80 set of bolts to replace them when you put the bed back on.

  19. Ron Ward

    Oh… and one more…

    Who the f*ck thought it would be a great idea to use a multi-layered head gasket on the 2.0L engine in Dodge and Plymouth Neons? Why wasn’t this a freakin’ recall issue? I have NEVER seen a Neon with more than 90K miles that hasn’t had the head gasket replaced at least twice.

    I firmly believe new automotive engineers, after completing their college degrees (pfft!), should be required to spend a minimum of TWO YEARS doing warranty repair work in a dealership before they ever touch a drafting table… or CAD machine.

  20. nxpress62

    Now i remember why I like my ls based 03 Tahoe.. intake gasket went out, got a new set of gaskets and a case of beer.. 30 minutes later and the truck was running and I had forgotten to finish my first beer. We complain about engineering but no gen 1 small block ever went 300k without even having the valve covers off..

  21. Gray Had

    2006 VW t5 5cylinder Deisel van.
    The power steering pump started sucking oil out of the engine and pumping it onto the drive way. OK. to buy a pump locally $660.00 AUD and two weeks wait. Internet from the UK. $125.00 AUD and three day delivey to Aus. . Next . remove alternator which is driven on the power steering pump, then remove pump. It’s about six bolts. One of the bolts invloves removing the front bumper. Didn’t put that bolt back in. Get it going. the drive that connects the powere steering pump to the air con pump has a sprag clutch. it failed. remove aircon pump, rplace sprag and drive connector. all good. then the water pump fails dumping water into the oil. on tha back of the engine under a cover. had to youtube it to work out where it was hidden as the genuine workshop manual was no help. it is an O ring fit.requires a special puller to get it out and has to be honed to get rid of the rust all good so far. then the stainless exhaust manifold breaks. $1026.00 for a genuine repalcement. nil stock in Aus. $246.00 from the UK with free delivery. took three days to get here. (its not like postage from the USA). Another three day job to change

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