Things that frustrate me about newer vehicles.

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  #1  
Old 12-14-12, 10:06 AM
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Things that frustrate me about newer vehicles.

Ok, not so new, but it's the newest vehicle I've ever owned.

Changing the headlight bulb on a 2005 Dodge Caravan. Three screws to remove to pull out the whole headlight assembly. Screws are attached to plastic of course. Haven't likely been removed since vehicle was new of course.

One's super tight (likely rusted into the threads slightly), and during the removal process snaps the plastic bit.

Why, oh why wouldn't they make the part the screw fastens too just a little bit more substantial so that you don't break everything removing it when you know it's exposed to elements and it going to rust and tighten up?
 
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  #2  
Old 12-14-12, 10:42 AM
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The answer is, Because Dodge does not value the customer. That has to be the only answer. All screws that can be exposed to water should be an alloy or coated screw that will not oxidize, and all engine bolts should be hardened. Without exception.

Case-in-point: My mother-in-law has a 2004 Dodge full size van. On a trip to the Grand Canyon in 2006 the Bolt to her serpentine belt tensioner pulley broke. We found the part that broke off and it was a non-hardened bolt that was factory installed (in other words it was just waiting to fail). In total over $400 after tow, emergency repair, and over night motel. After that FIASCO, when we made it back home I checked the pulley bolt on my 1998 Chrysler Town & Country mini-van to make sure the same problem wouldn't happen to it. Sure enough the bolt was a non-hardened black painted standard bolt. This bolt is probably saving Dodge about 9 cents a vehicle but costing unsuspecting Dodge and Chrysler owners hundreds in emergency road repairs. Dodge makes amazing cars and trucks, but these little cost corner cuts ultimately hurt the customer and in the long run the brand. Who doesn't remember what car they were driving when they got stuck in the middle of nowhere or when the snow was 3 feet high?

I know the augment on the other side is that making a car right will drive up the cost, but look at the recent recalls and calculate the related cost in value, customer trust, and inconvenience. My favorite is the recall for replacement of the pins in the doors that can rust causing the doors to "Fail" (wink wink or fall off).
 

Last edited by EnclosedVisions; 12-14-12 at 11:50 AM.
  #3  
Old 12-14-12, 10:48 AM
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My second generation Neon was much worse. The screw was ~4" long and went through the headlight assembly in two locations (top and bottom). Broke the head off using a screw driver trying to remove it.

Back on subject... If you managed to save the piece that broke off, you could glue it back together with a bit of epoxy or plastic weld (if you happen to have it handy). Being that you need to remove the assembly on these vans (I have a 2007), it should be easy to bring into the house or workshop, clean and repair.
 
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Old 12-14-12, 11:43 AM
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To repair plastic I have had good luck with Oatey's #30821 all purpose cement for ABS, CPVC, and PVC plastic. Oatey can be found in the plumbing department of most home repair stores. It is clear and will actually soften the broken ends of the plastic and form a really hard repair. Just remember to drill out the hole and gently thread it if necessary after the repair has hardened. I have used epoxy on plastic before and the bond is usually poor and will not hold.

Mike is on the money with cleaning the part before assembly. If the plastic has rust embedded in it, I would use "The Works Basic" toilet bowl cleaner on just the rusted parts. First caution: Use it in a well ventilated place, because it contains Hydrochloric Acid, which will instantly dissolve rust. Second caution: Wear gloves and to never use Hydrochloric Acid on Aluminum, or Zink it will dissolve these elements. After removing the rust completely rinse the parts with water then let completely dry with a hair dryer or by air before attempting to glue. The Oatey’s glue should not require any bracing or clamping and will not bond anywhere that is wet.

Remember to also protect your eyes.
 

Last edited by EnclosedVisions; 12-14-12 at 12:16 PM.
  #5  
Old 12-14-12, 12:07 PM
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Every make and model of car that I've worked on, without fail, has had some kind of problem somewhere caused by corners being cut. I don't care if it's a Mopar, a Ford, a GM, a Toyota, a Honda, a Nissan, or something else entirely.

My wife's '01 Integra has blown two radiators in 120K miles. The first time, I found the wiring harness on the body-side of the connector was zip-tied to the fan shroud, instead of the fan-side being zip-tied to the fan shroud. She's also had three hatchback motor failures and at this point we just use the key even when the hatch is unlocked. The power antenna has also failed and now just stays up, and one piece of plastic trim under the windshield has cracked.

My '95 Nissan Hardbody burned through the wiring supplying power to the fuel pump, in the tank. The light behind the HVAC controls has failed, so at night it's interesting trying to use them. The wiring for the tail/brake/turn lights at the back burned through and shorted all three types of lights together. The MAP sensor or whatever it is on the bottom side of the air cleaner pan had its wiring fray because there's too much tension on it.

My '95 Impala SS has broken power windows where the sliders in the tracks have broken. That car was like that when I bought it six months ago with only 6400 miles on it, garaged in a collection its whole life.

All cars are turds. The only advantage in being an automotive enthusiast for one brand or another is to learn what faults the platform generally has and how to fix them.
 
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Old 12-14-12, 12:29 PM
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Every make and model of car that I've worked on, without fail, has had some kind of problem somewhere caused by corners being cut. I don't care if it's a Mopar, a Ford, a GM, a Toyota, a Honda, a Nissan, or something else entirely.
Definitely agree with this piece. Even those that swear imports are better are seeing the short falls of using the $0.02 part over the $0.03 one.
Currently being in the market for a new family vehicle, I'm sure having a hard time picking a make/model to spend my money on. Probably going to go with the cheapest desposable vehicle I can find, so when it needs to be replaced, it won't hurt so bad.
 
  #7  
Old 12-14-12, 01:07 PM
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But Mike when buying a used(new to you) vehicle it is easy to check the that group of vehicles for known drive train problems. These are the most important big ticket areas to know about before getting into a used vehicle.

I wish I had done that for my 98 Chrysler T&C, because it has a know transmission failure that has cost me $2000(that was at a discount, it has happened luckily only once) and if it fails again I would be smarter to just junk the mini-van and add the $2k to another newer mini-van. I love the van's space and usability (its a truck that can hold full 4x8 sheets of plywood or drywall and and it can take 8 full grown adults skiing). The engine is outstanding, besides no being able to change the back three spark plugs without taking off the intake. The quietest car I have ever owned, but that means nothing if it doesn't move.
 
  #8  
Old 12-14-12, 01:07 PM
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Definitely agree with this piece. Even those that swear imports are better are seeing the short falls of using the $0.02 part over the $0.03 one.
Currently being in the market for a new family vehicle, I'm sure having a hard time picking a make/model to spend my money on. Probably going to go with the cheapest desposable vehicle I can find, so when it needs to be replaced, it won't hurt so bad.
I won't deny I'm biased, but on a recent trip we rented a Town and Country with stow-n-go seats. This was a trip to visit my wife's parents in greater Boston and to help them with chores since they don't drive anymore, and to attend a wedding down in Connecticut.

We went to pick up a bunch of supplies from the Home Depot and it was really nice being able to fold the seats down for cargo in less than a minute. It also was fine on the turnpike and on rural highway despite that being Thanksgiving weekend. We don't have kids yet, but it's on the short list for my wife's next replacement because it could probably also replace my decrepit '95 Nissan Hardbody too.
 
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Old 12-14-12, 06:51 PM
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Oyts, sorry for lengthy post to come

There was a SciFi short story I read once. Some time in the future, guy is running down the street, carrying something wrapped in paper on his chest.
He runs fast, so his shoes made out of faux leather slowly but steadily fall apart; his jacket, then shirt, then pants, made out of paper based fabric, follow the suite. All this running is done through background of cheaply made, deteriorating city landscape.
Mostly naked, he finally gets inside of his flat, and with awe and shaking hands, unveils his treasure - a wooden stool.
 
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