1994 Tbird and Damned Fool

Damned Fool has a 1994 Tbird LX V8 with 70k (mostly city) mi. DF is a Damned Fool because he took it to a shop largely known to raise superflous issues to
fail MO state safety (not emissions) inspections because the shop waived the $12 fee.
Vehicle failed inspection due to: 1.) One of two center (rear window) brake light bulbs burned out. 2.) Excessive play in both rear upper control arm bushings.
1.) is trivial. 2.) does not appear to be a real safety hazard: there are large bolts, etc preventing significant loss-of-control of the vehicle. Damned thing doesn't even clunk when driven.
For legal (if no other) reasons, DF *may* be forced to have "rear upper control arm bushings" replaced.
Does anyone have any kind of handle on "rear upper control arm bushings" on such a beast? Safety hazard? Ballpark cost of labor and parts to replace?
Thx, Will
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On Sat, 19 Jun 2010 15:41:22 -0500, Wilfred Xavier Pickles

Safety inspections are a scam. There is no evidence at all that they do anything but line the pockets of repair shops.
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Ashton Crusher wrote:
<...>

I disagree. They help ensure that people have safe brakes, working lights, safe tires, windshield wipers that work, etc. I think the tires and lights are particularly important, because some people tend not to pay attention to these, in my experience. BTW, I don't working in the industry and don't gain financially from these inspections.
However, some studies show no benefit to safety inspections: http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst?docIdP01233856
Some do: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118894912/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0
I don't if the cost-benefit analysis (including the cost of doing unneeded work pushed on costumers by repair shops) has been done or the cost of one life saved.
Jeff
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I do several different government mandated inspections... commercial vehicle inspections, Out of Province inspections (this is for vehicles that were not registered in our province in the previous year) and ambulance inspections.
Each one of these inspections has it's very own government manual requirement. These manuals spell it out quite succinctly as to what is a pass, what is a fail and what is a "reject". Now... I can't speak for anyone elses region/state/country/province... and it would take someone thatis pretty brave to state beyond a doubt that there isn't a published criteria for these inspections.
After damned fool stops making a damned fool of himself, he might realize that the inspecting mechanic may simply be doing what is required of him.. and Ashton might conside this as well.
Once the inspecting mechanic signs "the paper" and issues the certificate.... let's say damned fool drives out of the shop, and gets into an accident... "Well, there's these loose bushings in the back and the wheel just jerked outta my hands"... but the tech signed this paper saying the car is safe....
As for the brake light... if you take a car into a shop for a safety inspection... and a brake light is out - well, that is a red light (pardon the pun) for the inspector... We drive on the same roads you do.... and we see the same cars, day after day with the same burned out light... the same muffler dragging on the pavement... and what else hasn't this guy looked at "as he walks around his car".
FWIW, when it comes to worn bushings and such, printed regs will usually refer us to the appropriate workshop manual. Worn suspension bushings will be covered under a statement like "worn or deteriorated rubber". To pass this bushing, the tech must state that the rubber bushing is NOT worn or deteriorated. Or is everyone expecting the tech to lie "just this once... I wont tell anyone...".
wrote:

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To what extent are you really reading details, i.e.:

...

Same question:

That means that all 3 brake lights work. But the one in the rear window is somewhat less bright because one of 2 bulbs is burned out.
I have no problem with your premise: there are undoubtedly inspections that are done properly and serve their intended purpose. But the US states tend to sling a rule-book out there and ignore what is actually done with it (often just revenue generation).
What about it? Up to evaluating your call? Per the supplied evidence? Which does it really sound like?
a.) Proper inspection b.) Revenue generation.
Oh, and do you happen to know anything about rear upper control arm bushings on an MN12?? :-)
...

Will
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Nothing has changed... as per the workshop manual, if your control arm bushings are worn or deteriorated they are worn or deteriorated. Like I said, I'm not there to see them. In retrospect, some of these suspension bushings can be quite "soft"... for a reason.... The engineers may have designed the suspension so that deflection during cornering will enhance vehicle performance through the corner. I'll back-pedal that far. Have the shop show you the reason for the "fail" or "reject" assessment. At the same time, you have every right to take the car for a second opinion.
For the brake lights... specifically the high mount stop lamp.... The Out of Province inspection manual is pretty curt... "Reject if - 5.3a inoperative 5.3b obscured by aftermarket tint 5.3c lamp is blocked by an installed canopy that does not have a high mounted stop light".
Now... if you call the powers that be (in this case, Government of Alberta - Infrastructure) and ask if a multi-segment high mount stop light with less than all segments operating will pass the inspection, I am told "What do you think?". Well, sir... I think if I pass a high mount with less than all segments operating and get auditted on it (and they DO audit where I live) - there is every chance in the world that I will no longer be allowed to perform these inspections..... Imagine. if you will, your girlfriend telling you she is pregnant.... Now don't get excited... she's only a "little bit" pregnant....
Just a side note... I see even professional truckers drive up and down the road with one burned out headlight... Shit.. there's one on the other side... he can see. Well... one of those headlights burned out... what's to say the other wont? There is a redundancy in late model high mount stop lamps... do you think there may be a reason for that redundancy? Sure... it means you can wait an extra special long time before you become really dangerous.
I don't get to work on many 94 TBirds (they stopped making them... it couldn't be because people weren't buying them, could it?)... but, after re-reading your initial post... I have to ask.... these loose bushings.... would that be the rear bushing on the front arms? Or the only bushings on the upper rear arms?
I'm not saying that there are no inadequate techs or unscupulous techs.... but it seems like every time you talk to a proud American there seems to be all these mechanics that are out to screw the American public.... I have to think that honest people -well - let's not go there just yet.


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Nope - I loved my '93 and they kept making them because people kept buying them, as they came just about fully loaded for a respectable price. Mine went 211K miles before I sold it for $500. Ford stopped making that design (the larger 5 pass. coupe) that was the Ford T-Bird and Merc. Cougar, for a year while they retooled for the completely different 2 seater retro design they thought people wanted. Now THAT one, they stopped making because people weren't buying them. Way overpriced, and frickin' ugly in my opinion....
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I had one of the two seaters and loved it. I see them around a lot in my area and regret selling mine. It had a limited appeal (as do most two seaters). However, the sales of the prior 2 door coupes had also dropped off greatly. 2 Door coupes are out of fashion at the moment. They may come back in the future.
Ed
Ed
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For my dollar, the rule book is a bible... my ability (or dare I say "privilege") to perform these inspections is, in my area, a "value added" thing. ( do not have to go through the registration process, I have already had the criminal background check and I have passed muster on all their inspecting tech criteria... ). These are assets that increase my net worth as an employee (much like having earned certification in Ford factory "specialties"). I am not about to squander this privilege trying to add ambiguity to an inspection criteria that has no ambiguity.
The brake bulbs that you appear to dwell on.... in the inspection manual I MUST use, there is no "is the brake lamp "safe"? It says all the bulbs MUST work. I have no "judgement call" to make. I'll let you in on something you might not realize... "they" will audit us to ensure that we are working within their rules... If we don't work within their rules... we wont get to do that any more. They audit us to get rid of the people you want me to be...
As for how many upper bushings in the upper rear suspension? Perhaps you might count again.... There is a bushing in the rear knuckle - it's location would be at the outer end of the upper rear suspension control arm. There is another <GASP> bushing located at the inner end of the upper rear suspension control arm - this bushing in in the arm itself.
Now... one engineer or another writes the material specification for all of the things that we deal with... an actual engineer... a person that deals with projected load calculations and such. If he or she is not going to sign off on something, don't expect me to be the dupe that will say "HYUK HYUK, I'll do that". And this brings us to the ball joint conumdrum. Now, it is important to mention that you appear to be on the outside looking in. You can be forgiven for that but only after you realize it....
There is a class of technicians (those that can't or wont read) that fail ball joints when they see "perceptible movement". I'm not allowed to do that.... If I fail a ball joint, it must fail the MANUFACTURERS TEST PROCEDURE.... Believe it or not, I can be auditted and punished for failing a loose ball joint that passes the manufacturers test procedure. Sounds curious, but doing it my way will keep me from being correspondent in any litigation. And I will keep perfroming impartial inspections.
I see you have repaired the offending brake light.... would it not be easier to have just done that rather than bitch about it?
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No ambiguity? I cry "Uncle". Like many, you see what you wanna see, and look NOT The Gift Horse ....

I didn't ask you to endanger your livlihood. Only to be aware that it's relevance to "Safety" is often questionable.

I tried to re-count. The Ford diagrams I've seen are so bad I couldn't tell.

who just *happens* to be a bureaucrat ...

Per the above, I realize about your livlihood. You, on the other hand, continue to deny the reality of the ambiguity (of certain violations vis a vis actual "Safety") ...

The one (of zillions) designed primarily to generate repair revenue for the Ford dealers? :-)

Impartial? Gott Im Himmel!! <g>

The replacement bulb was in the trunk when the violation was written.
It was merely a good example of the potential chasm between a rule-book violation and a true "Safety" issue.
Ashton made the best point regarding state/province bureaucrats, purchasable for finite compensation, writing rule-books that are more favorable to generating repair revenue than fostering real "Safety" on the roads.
Will
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I'm referring to the typical car and light truck inspections, not big rig inspections. There is no meaningful evidence that there is any safety benefit to finding and fixing "worn bushings" and "worn brakes" etc. Accidents caused by "mechanical problems" which would be the kind of accidents prevented by these safety inspections account for something like less then 5% of all accidents. And these safety inspections will rarely find the thing that winds up causing the accidents so the overall impact is just about nil. In exchange there is the expenditure of 10's of millions of dollars for repairs, the vast majority of which provide no benefit to the car owner. The typical car with the "worn bushings" that cost $500 to fix would have run another year or two or three on those worn bushings with no ill effects other then a clunking noise. And then possibly the whole car would have been scrapped and it will likely be scrapped with the new bushings too because it will still be overall worn out in 1 - 3 years. These safety inspections are nothing but a feel good program put in place at the behest of massive lobbying campaigns where the auto repair associations bribe the legislature to pass the law. Just another example of gvt run amuck.
On Sun, 20 Jun 2010 20:45:52 GMT, "Jim Warman"

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Ashton makes some very good points. I'd be hard pressed not to agree.
There *is* a rationale for safety inspections, but, as noted, it doesn't catch many of the truly dangerous. And the way it is administered is often a good reason to ignore or dodge the "law".
Near as I can tell, danger from mechanical failures is totally swamped by driver disregard for driving safety. Around here, "Everybody Drives" (while eating, primping, fingering their girlfriend, yakking on celly-phonies, etc, etc ad nauseum). Hope it is better where you are, doubt it is. They go a long, long way toward destroying what used to be known as the "American Road".
Will

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On Sat, 19 Jun 2010 15:41:22 -0500, Wilfred Xavier Pickles

Seems to be some subjective opinions here:
1) MO law states that all lights must work. Several court decisions in favor of the driver where the light (with mutipial bulbs) worked when one of the bulbs was out.
2) What is excessive play? Again very subjective.
Take it back through and ask for a supervisor to oversee the inspection.
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