Detroit auto makers try some new tricks

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• posted on September 29, 2007, 4:34 am

Like Big Bill Teague said after he knocked out the two guys in Oh Brother Where Art Thou, "It's all about the money, boys."
Charles of Schaumburg

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• posted on September 26, 2007, 1:55 am
Wickeddoll® wrote:

A rigid body (one that does not crumple) transfers energy (into, say, a passenger compartment). A non rigid body (one that crumples) absorbs/dissipates energy as it crumples. Hint: Go back to basics. Force with zero motion is zero energy; motion without force is zero energy. Energy = force applied over a distance. Crumpling (motion with force applied) reperesents extraction of energy from the body creating the crumpling. It's all about controlled energy dissipation so that the energy does not get transferred in full into the passenger compartment (by a rigid body).
Bill Putney (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')

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• posted on September 26, 2007, 2:14 am
"Bill Putney" ...

So that whole thing about "Christine" in "Night Court" surviving a crash with a bus in her Roadmaster was a load of crap?
:-)
Natalie

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• posted on September 26, 2007, 6:30 am
On Tue, 25 Sep 2007 22:14:44 -0400, "Wickeddoll®"

If she was buckled in properly, maybe. But I would NOT bet on it.
Don't recall the episode, but if it was a Big Ol' 50's Chrysler Boat Vs. an Inner-city Bus, the Chrysler could soak up enough of the hit to bounce off.
Just look what happens with a car Vs a Light Rail trolley car - the car looks like bug-splat on the windshield, and the train gets off with minor damage. Full freight locomotives sometimes come out of the wreck without hardly a scratch - it bends the front coupler...
Buses and Semis are only one notch down on the Vehicular Mass scale, a small car is either bouncing off or going under.
--<< Bruce >>--

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• posted on September 26, 2007, 6:58 pm
"Bruce L. Bergman" "Wickeddoll®" wrote:

She was the type of character who would be buckled in - she was very straight-laced.

It was a 50s model, I'm pretty sure.

Submarining anyone?
Natalie

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• posted on September 26, 2007, 5:51 pm
Wickeddoll® wrote:

Or Al in Married with Children. "The Dodge cut through that kraut car like butter..."

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• posted on September 26, 2007, 8:27 pm

LOL Al Bundy (looking at a very beautiful blonde): "Let's see the Japanese make a better one of those!"

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• posted on September 26, 2007, 9:14 pm
On Tue, 25 Sep 2007 22:14:44 -0400, "Wickeddoll®"

The bigger car will have more metal to absorb crash energy, and more interior room to move into before contacting the driver or passengers. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Retired Shop Rat: 14,647 days in a GM plant. Now I can do what I enjoy: Large Format Photography
Web Site: www.destarr.com - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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• posted on September 26, 2007, 3:56 pm
Wickeddoll® wrote:

The short answer is that they're DESIGNED to crumple in order to dissipate energy in crashes, which is why cars are safer today (much more of a real impact on saftey than airbags, IMO. I think they've gone way too far, though, when a 5 mph "oops" with a pole can tear up an entire bumper cover. But that's not really a problem with the energy absorption philosophy as much as it is with the implemenation. By the way, "crush zone" design really started way back in the 50s. Steering wheels were changed so that the center shaft wouldn't spear you in the chest, then steering columns were made collapsible (68 model year), drivetrains were made so that the engine/transmission would slide down under the passenger compartment rather than punch into it, door beams for side impact protection were mandated (circa 1973) etc. etc. etc. To read some commentary, you'd think that collision safety applied to chassis design appeared out of whole cloth in the 90s, but that's not true at all. Truth be told, a 1973 autmobile has all of the *most effective* features that a current car has. IMO its sort of an 80/20 rule- 80% of the survivability improvements came with the first 20% of design effort. All the complex stuff- self-retracting belts, air bombs, side-curtain air bombs, etc. really don't add much on top of that EXCEPT for the persistent idiots who won't wear their shoulder belts.

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• posted on September 26, 2007, 4:35 pm
I worked on designing some of the safety equipment for Ford in the early fifties. The "safety package" was offered on the newly designed '55 models for \$150. Virtually nobody chose the option. We made it standard on the '56 models
mike

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• posted on September 26, 2007, 7:00 pm
"Steve" ..

Thanks - the no seat belt/no helmet types just do not get it.
Natalie

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• posted on September 27, 2007, 4:29 pm

It didn't in the early 80s implementation. The early Chrysler Horizons had shocks supporting the bumper bar. I was rear ended hard twice ('81 Horizon) with no more damage than a scuff on the plastic bumper cover. The easing of regulations resulted in more fragile bumpers that are trashed in slight bumps.

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• posted on September 21, 2007, 2:35 pm
Wickeddoll® wrote:

Based on the small amount that I've looked into that, it seems to me that a lot of people zeroed in on the fuel tank installation simply because "its different." The fatal crashes have tended to be such violent high-speed things that my initial reaction is that *ANY* car would probably have suffered a ruptured fuel tank and fire, but scrutiny descended on the Crown Vic because its the only car on the road that has a fuel tank situated just that way (although, for example, my wife's Chrysler LH car is not terribly different in general principle, but rather different in implementation being a front-drive).
But that doesn't mean a lot. The fuel tank placement in the Ford Panther platform (Crown Vic, Police Interceptor, and Town Car) should, theoretically, in many ways be much safer than other cars and SUVs- its buried deep in the chassis, away from the rear and sides of the car, and is rather hard to actually crush the thing because its so far forward in the chassis (its AHEAD of the trunk well, behind the rear passenger's seat and above/behind the axle, and pretty well inboard of the structure). Its got a lot of "crush zone" around it, certainly more than your average vehicle with the tank slung under the trunk well and only 8-10 inches forward of the rear bumper. It was also used on a whole, long line of Ford cars that predated the Panther (yes, there *were* Fords older than the Panther platform yet younger than the Model T, hard as it is to believe!) such as my high-school friend's 1971 LTD. Having spent a lot of time under *that* car only bolsters my contention that the location of the fuel tank is fine, but it was physically larger than the current Panther and had more room around the tank.
Now what may be more of a problem with the Panther than the older designs is the possiblity that once the fuel tank is breached, fuel and vapors intrude into the passenger comparment. Ford *did* build a lot of cars where the wall of the fuel tank was actually the floor or wall of the trunk itself (the "drop-in" Mustang tank, for example) and that was pretty much a bad idea in most people's view. But the Panther is NOT built that way- the tank is outside the passenger area and doesn't share a common wall with it.
Bottom line- its all a moot point because the Charger police-package car is going to kick the Ford Interceptor right out of the market segment anyway ;-) Heck, the 3.5L HO v6 Charger is faster than the 4.6L v8 Ford Police Interceptor, and the 5.7L Hemi is back in late-60s CopCar performance territory, though not quite as fast as the legendary '69 Polara Pursuit package but it does corner better ;-)

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• posted on September 21, 2007, 11:10 pm

*snipping for brevity*
Thanks - that's by far the most cogent response I've seen on that issue.
And you did it without being nasty - unlike some on this thread.
Natalie

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• posted on September 21, 2007, 11:12 pm

And yet, there is no history of that particualr design being more fire prone than other cars of the era. Take a look at many cars of the era that had the fuel filler behind the licence plate - in some cases the filler tube ran naked trhough the trunk. Or for that matter look at station wagons from the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's. The fuel tanks were usually in the passenger side rear fender with no inner liner. Or how about pickup trucks before the 70's - the gas tank were usually in the cab with a flexible hose connecting the tank to the external filler neck.
Ed
Ed

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• posted on September 22, 2007, 1:24 am
Ed White wrote:

That's true, but its still questionable engineering.

Nothing wrong with that at all- its still outside the passenger compartment. And those tubes were designed to simply slide further into the gas tank through the rubber grommet around them in the event of an impact- without leaking. I've seen examples of them doing exactly that- they work very well.

Yeah, even my beloved Mopars. When they started cutting corners on the A-bodies (Valiant/Dart) in the early 70s, they shifted from a reasonable filler tube to one that passed *diagonally* through the trunk, eating into usable space. I always hated that one....

Well, tank-in-cab pickups *DO* have a higher conflagration history than contemporary vehicles. And while drop-in tanks might not be statistically worse, it still doesn't sound like a good idea to only have 1 layer of sheet metal between the passenger compartment and fuel.

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• posted on September 21, 2007, 9:30 pm
On Thu, 20 Sep 2007 18:36:00 -0400, "Wickeddoll®"

Overhyped by the media. The cars exceeded the federal rear crash requirements by a fairly significant amount. Some fires were caused by non-standard items added (welded?) into the trunk.Any motionless vehicle rear ended at a high rate of speed is going to have serious problems.
I've got the fancy version - 02 Town Car. :-) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Retired Shop Rat: 14,647 days in a GM plant. Now I can do what I enjoy: Large Format Photography
Web Site: www.destarr.com - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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• posted on September 21, 2007, 11:04 pm

From http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/studies/CrownVic/Index.html
ODI Findings:
- The crash energy levels associated with post rear impact fuel tank failures in the CVPI vehicles are significantly greater than the levels in FMVSS 301 tests. - Fuel tank failures during high-speed rear impacts can result from numerous causes in addition to the hex-headed bolt and U-brackets identified in the Ford TSB. Crash reports identify many causes for loss of fuel system integrity during a high-energy rear crash, such as puncture from a deformed frame rail, lower shock absorber supports, or stowed items in the trunk, hydrostatic rupture, and other causes. - Based on analysis of FARS data, the risk of fire per fatal rear crash in the subject vehicles is comparable to that of the GM B-body vehicle (Caprice). - The vast majority of reported post rear crash fires in the subject vehicles (over 80%) occurred in CVPI vehicles, even though they constitute less than 15% of the total Panther vehicle production. - The Florida Highway Patrol Study did not identify a difference between the post rear impact fire risk in CVPI vehicles and that of the Caprice police vehicles. - Ford-sponsored testing indicates that the subject vehicles are not unique in their inability to maintain fuel tank integrity in at least one example of a severe rear impact crash. - There have been numerous high-energy rear crashes involving CVPI vehicles within the scope of Ford's TSB that exhibited little or no fuel loss and no fire.
The available information regarding fuel tank failure mode, the risk of fire per fatal crash, field performance, and crash testing indicate that the performance of the subject vehicle in high-energy rear crashes is not unlike that of the most comparable peer vehicle, the GM B-body.
Ed

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• posted on September 21, 2007, 11:11 pm

*snipping for brevity*
Thanks Ed!
Natalie

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• posted on September 24, 2007, 7:14 pm

Where'd you get that nonsense? The Mustangs had nothing to do with the Pintos and had no such defect.
You want to talk about corporate cheapness, go look up how GM screwed up the Corvair.