Wednesday, December 24, 2003

The History Channel Presents

The Real Story of Christmas

The Fine Line

There is a fine line between genius and foolishness in design and I've bumped heads with a fool. The best designed machines give thought to the end user and his needs but in all my years of working on cars, airplanes, motorcycles, whatever, precious few were designed to be easy to repair. I'm not talking about complexity in design - that's fine - I'm talking about the ability to reach, remove and replace parts that wear out. And parts are going to wear out, engineers know that, so why design a product to be easy to build with no thought to the mechanic?

One of my cars has a bad fuel pump. Fuel pumps are electrical devices and they wear out. The repair manual says there is a plate on the bottom of the trunk so you can get to the top of the fuel tank where the pump is located. Great, that's genius, but when I removed the carpeting from the trunk - nothing. There's no access panel in the trunk. So, in order to change the fuel pump I have to remove the fuel tank. Before I can do that, however, I have to remove the exhaust system and most of the rear suspension has to be unbolted and moved, including the shocks and springs. In case you are not familiar with those tasks, it's a huge job! I can buy the part I need for $100.00 at Autozone but I'll end up having to pay someone $400 - 500 dollars to fix this. That sucks!

It's not any specific car I'm picking on, very few don't have a few of these kinds of design flaws. Some cars require the engine to be lifted or even removed just to change spark plugs or other parts that wear out and need maintenence on a somewhat regular basis. Alot of cars require the fuel tank to come out to change the fuel pump, too. It's not unusual, just maddening. That's progress I guess. Cars are meant to be bought new and disposed of within 4 years. I'm thinking about going Monster Garage on it and cut my own access panel!

No comments: