Automotive Mystery-what"s the answer---or your opinion?

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  #1  
Old 03-29-13, 09:34 AM
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Automotive Mystery-what"s the answer---or your opinion?

I know that MANY people will disagree, and that's OK with me.
I have been an automotive Gearhead for over 50 years and, like many people, wonder why things change.
With all the talk about increasing gas mileage, and automotive design, why is there not a single automobile, that I can think of, that has a bench seat up front? Wouldn't it make sense to have such a seating arrangement to add one more passinger?
Now--all the advertising about front wheel drive when they were really pressed in the 1980s. One of the biggest brags was "Flat floorboards" How many have flat floorboards today?
Another brag was More traction--when they have less! It should have been "More Control" You disagree---why will a lawn mower or a tractor go up a steep hill forward, and just dig a hole spinning in reverse?
A few years ago, we had a big snow and the streets were reasonably clear. We had an uphill driveway that was still quite slick. Slick enough that I told my daughter to back up the drive instead of driving forward because it would not move forward. She later asked my why that was, and I tried to explain.
It should be obvious that I do not like FWD. Being a certified auto mechanic, I found them much harder to repair, and therefore, had to charge more for the same repair to a RWD.
I still believe it is much cheaper to manufacture a FWD then a RWD!
 
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Old 03-29-13, 05:33 PM
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It's about the money. It's always about the money.

I think cars should have bumpers again too.
 
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Old 03-29-13, 05:40 PM
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Wouldn't it make sense to have such a seating arrangement to add one more passinger?
I think it makes a lot of sense, but common sense doesn't sell a stylish car. The last brand new vehicle I bought was a 1994 Ford Explorer. Listed as an option was a bench seat, but I had never seen one and neither had the salesman I was working with. When he looked it up, it was a factory order option and was listed as a deduct instead of an extra. Go figure.
 
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Old 03-29-13, 06:05 PM
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Giles, simply read Protocols. It's eye opening. This is a very naive set of questions.
 
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Old 03-29-13, 06:49 PM
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Well--Please excuse me for wasting your time expressing my opinion!!!!!
I will try to do better
 
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Old 03-30-13, 05:45 AM
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I think bench seats have lost their appeal to the public for a few reasons. One, the console is a nice thing to have to rest your arm on, store stuff, write on, etc. Two, individual seat controls, as one person is long and the other is short, you can accommodate each, including backrests. Three, bench seating does not garner individual butt space. They are generally straight across and a bucket or individual seat just feels better and, although not scientifically proven, can help keep the driver in place when needed, like sharp cornering.

Just a few thoughts. Last one I owned was a '55 chevy. Nice for teenagers at the drive in, but we won't go there.
 
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Old 03-30-13, 07:06 AM
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Thanks chandler--certainly a lot more useful answer then the useless one given before you.
I belong to a car club and we a had a lengthy discussion concerning automobiles and these topics were discussed with mixed opinions.
I just thought it might be an interesting subject.
THANKS--you always seem to come through
 
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Old 03-30-13, 09:12 AM
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Some of my opinions, and why:
  • FWD became popular because of packaging. The engine, engine wiring harness, transmission, engine and transmission support cradle, and front suspension could all be built as a unit and in some cases, fitted to many different cars. It also allowed for less material in the form of no full frame. It reduced the complexity of the nonmechanical portions of the car while not dramatically increasing the number of parts of the mechanical portion.
  • FWD also can allow for more interior space. I had a '97 Stratus for quite some time, and it had a lot of space in it for its size, as much interior space as the '78 Chrysler Cordoba has, and a bigger trunk. That doesn't mean that all FWD cars are well designed, an old girlfriend's Ford Contour was terrible for its interior space. Today, if we compare the Chrysler LH-chassied 300M and the '05 300C that followed, the 300C did have less interior space.
  • If a FWD vehicle is well engineered, then it's not as big of a problem if it's harder to work on, as it won't need to be worked on very often. A friend's '02 PT Cruiser has made it to 110,000 miles without needing more than a radiator and cooling fans. Unfortunately my Stratus, which is why it's gone now, had a head gasket issue because a faulty gasket design was replaced under recall and they did a poor job, so it failed again by 100,000 miles, and it was a real pain to work on.
  • As to traction, when a car has a massively disproportionate weight distribution, then putting the drive wheels under the weight helps with the handling. I personally like RWD, but I drove a FWD car for many years and it did handle well. But, some of that handling advantage came from McPherson struts, variable spring rates, and four wheel independent suspension, which the RWD cars I drove lacked, having instead torsion bars which are not variable, and live axles with leafsprings.
    As to the lawnmower comment, I'm guessing that weight shift is a big issue due to the short wheelbase and relatively low weight of the vehicle compared to the driver and cargo. Going uphill shifts the driver's weight and a large chunk of the weight of the machine to the rear wheels when driving forward, while reversing up the hill shifts the driver's weight and the bulk of the weight of the machine to the front wheels and off the rear wheels, so they spin.
 
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Old 03-30-13, 09:58 AM
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Just to add a bit to the lawnmower thing.....look at the tires! The tread is designed to push ahead...not pull back. Tractor people will know what I mean.

A conversation with a lawn equipment supply guy who was selling a great Kubota cued me in to that. He was selling one he used to launch his boat at his property. He had a ball mounted on the front so he could easily guide the boat in and keep the drive wheels on land. If there was any moisture he had a heck of a time pulling it out that way. As a test he reversed the tires and the opposite happened.
 
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Old 03-30-13, 10:26 AM
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Tractors work great for pushing a trailer around
I've seen a few instances where they've mounted one tire forward and the other backwards to make it work in a variety of conditions - but those are really only specialized applications.
 
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Old 03-30-13, 01:39 PM
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I use my Ford 640 to push trailers and boats around all the time. A whole lot more accurate than backing with the Dodge dually . Never had a problem with traction, though. You just have to get used to doing the opposite with the steering wheel when you go to turn it.
 
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Old 03-30-13, 02:16 PM
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Remember...I said launching a boat...that means a ramp of some sort...in this case a grassy slope. Level ground is a diff story.

And I believe I remember someone talking about filling their tires with fluid of some sort? For extra weight and traction? Hmmmm who would that have been? Lol
 
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Old 03-30-13, 05:22 PM
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We fill tractor tires with antifreeze and water, does that count?? Never thought about reversing the tires, and don't see how the big lugs at that angle would make a difference, but hey, what do I know???
 
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Old 03-31-13, 04:42 AM
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I've never done it but have seen it a few times. I inquired why the first opportunity I had and was told to increase traction when backing up.

My tractor would be useless on my property without fluid in the rear tires. Originally I just had calcium chloride which is heavier than plain water but it is very corrosive if you have a leak A year of two ago I had a valve stem blow out while in the woods and I lost the over half of the fluid in that tube. I didn't want to add more CC and looked into the options, both beet juice and anti freeze were too expensive so I used windshield washer fluid = methanol.
 
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