Detroit auto makers try some new tricks

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Wickeddoll® wrote:


Only an idiot would claim that Ford handled the Pinto correctly. That's a textbook case of a car company MIShandling a problem that was solvable with a *very* simple design change. Toyota seems to have studied the text very carefully in the sludge fiasco, which is why I believe that Toyota is indeed the next General Motors- in EVERY sense of the word. With the huge size and utter market dominance comes complacency and we're already seeing it. Sludge, Tundra brakes, Priuses that reboot when the traction control engages.... But I digress.
What the "Pinto fans" (if there are any left) rightly pointed out was that the actual engineering change needed for the car was really, really small, and the car wasn't the grossly defective rolling piece of crap that it was portrayed to be. But that only serves to highlight how S-T-U-P-I-D-L-Y Ford dealt with the situation.
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"Steve" ...

Hey, I'm with you on the cockroach - um PRIUS. :-) I think they're a work-in-shaky-progress, but Prince Albert (Al Gore Jr.) managed to get it to 100 mph. Of course he was high at the time...
As for the sludge, etc. You keep saying this stuff, but you offer no proof. I know Tundra has problems as well, but I would probably buy a domestic truck anyway.

OMG we AGREE.
:-)
What are your thoughts on the cops frying in Crown Vics - just curious.
Natalie
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If you get the chance, slide under a late model Crown Vic and look at the placement of the gas tank, then slide under a 68 Galaxy and look at that gas tank. They are so similar it's like they're using the same stamping dies except for the differences in the electric fuel pump and EVAP system on the late models...
So where were all the frying cops in the 60s and 70s?
I've worked on retired late model cop cars that had sheet metal screws run thru the fuel tank from the trunk bulkhead from the mounting of radio equipment, shotgun racks and the usual other cop car accessory stuff. This stupidity isn't going back to the state/county/city fleet mechanic that did the deed to begin with...
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"aarcuda69062" ...

I'll take your word for it - I don't slide under vehicles, if I can help it. :-)

Maybe it had something to do with the quality of the chassis? Weren't cars a lot sturdier back then? No alloys.

Huh?
Natalie
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Any particular reason?

Not necessarily. Nothing wrong with alloys and reason would dictate that crash worthiness has improved greatly with modern design techniques.

Which part of that are you "huh?"ing?
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"aarcuda69062" ...

Because I don't work on cars?

But then why did the 90s CVs do that?

The whole sentence - I can't understand some of the terminology.
Natalie
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I didn't suggest that you work on them, I suggested that you look for yourself.

As someone else had already posted, they didn't. The Crown Vic PI doesn't suffer any greater fire risk than it's counterpart from GM. But, since Ford already -had- public notoriety from its Pinto and Taurus fiascos, the media capitalized on it.

okay;
"I've worked on" means that I am a mechanic by trade.
"retired late model cop cars" means vehicles that were previously in service to law enforcement agencies and are now in private service as private security patrol vehicles, taxi cabs and private ownership.
"had sheet metal screws run thru the fuel tank from the trunk bulkhead from the mounting of radio equipment, shotgun racks and the usual other cop car accessory stuff." means that in the process of equipping said vehicles when they are put into service, the people installing the equipment would not think about where and what they are drilling holes/driving sheet metal screws thru/into. Sheet metal screws have pointed tips that when driven with crash force can and will puncture a fuel tank unless of course the screw already has punctured the fuel tank during installation of the cop equipment. Makes for a bomb just waiting its chance to go off.
"trunk bulkhead" means the forward most vertical wall of the trunk compartment which happens to be the next part of the car directly behind the fuel tank.
" mounting of radio equipment, shotgun racks and the usual other cop car accessory stuff" means all of the not supplied by the original vehicle manufacturer pieces of equipment that gets bolted down in a police vehicle. IOWs, cops carry a lot of crap in their trunks.
The rest means that basically, the damage that compromises the vehicles crash worthiness, i.e., the screws aimed at or already puncturing the fuel tank is self inflicted by the agency or municipality that owns the vehicle. It would certainly look bad for them to take responsibility for their mistake so they instead opt for suing the vehicle manufacturer for building an unsafe vehicle (even though it isn't), it's the American way.
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aarcuda69062 wrote:

And someone with just enough knowledge to be dangerous noticed that the Panther fuel tank placement was different than the GM B-body, or the Mopar M-body, or the older Mopar C-bodies, R-bodies, and B-bodies, or any other copcar (except other Fords) and so capitalized on that. My belief, anyway.
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wrote: *snipping for brevity*

Ah. Thanks.
Natalie
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wrote:

That depends on the car. I'll have to speak up for my '63 Chev II 6 cyl. It wasn't very sophisticated, but it was one tough car that took me 100k miles, including 15k miles towing a 1,500lb trailer. Then I traded it in still with the original brakes.
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My 72 Dodge Dart went everywhere...off road...across streams... Drove it until we got the 99 Camry.
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"Joe" ...

When did they start using the alloys? I remember steel cars driven by my parents (very hard to dent them). This was the late 60s and 70s.
Natalie
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Wickeddoll® wrote:

Well, if I wanted to be a nit-picker I'd point out that steel IS an alloy ;-)
But since I know that you mean lighter alloys like aluminum and magnesium...
Aluminum started being used commonly in the 60s and 70s, but some cars used it way back in the 30s. Duesenberg, for example, had a 32-valve dual-overhead-cam aluminum bock v8 with aluminum connecting rods back in the 1930s! But you gotta remember, buying a Duesenberg in the 30s would be like buying a Bugatti Veyron today- not something most people could afford. Chrysler introduced an aluminum-block slant-6 in 1960 and produced it for 2 years, but the advantages over iron didn't outweigh the cost of the expensive die-casting process needed to build it. GM tried with the Vega, but the engine got a bad rep very quickly. GM finally got it 100% right with the Northstar family of engines in the early 90s. Iron *still* has many advantages as an engine block material, so quite a few production engines are still iron.
Chassis-wise, light alloys really never have caught on much for run-of the-mill production cars, apart from suspension components. There've been a few- for example the Plymouth "Feather Duster" from 1976 had an aluminum hood structure and aluminum bumpers to save weight (and it got close to 30 mpg, with a 4-speed overdrive and slant-6). But for the most part, composites (plastics) have been the material of choice to lighten bumpers and body panels where possible. Sheet steel is still used most places. The biggest lightening of car bodies has come from thinning the gauge of metal used in body panels, and also transitioning away from body-on-frame construction. Again, Chrysler led the way on that by only retaining one body-on-frame model beyond 1960, and phasing that one (the D-body Imperial) out in 1967.
But that's not the whole story. If you look at curb weights of cars, you might be surprised to compare old and new, though, because sound deadening and "creature comfort" materials have more than offset the savings in chassis weight. Safety equipment adds some weight, but not nearly as much as sound deadeners and luxury equipment like power umpteen-way seats, heated/cooled seats, etc. My 1973 Plymouth's curb weight is actually within a couple hundred pounds of my wife's 93 LH, even though to look at them you'd swear that the Plymouth weighed 800 lb. more. The Plymouth can tow and carry far, far more, but the car itself weighs almost the same.
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That was a straight 8, not a V8.
GM built the all-aluminum 215ci V8 in the early '60s. I've seen the Olds Jetfire turbocharged variant at car shows. Pretty high-tech for its day.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Yep, I'm so used to typing "v8" that my fingers do it regardless of what my brain is daydreaming about. I have had the pleasure of seeing a Duesenberg J (non-supercharged) arrive and depart a local car show under its own power for the last two years. An amazing machine- the engine is about the size of a small piano. And the sound is like nothing else I've ever heard.
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On Tue, 25 Sep 2007 17:49:16 -0000, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I had one...amazing in some ways, typical GM ridiculousness in others.
The 215 in the Olds variant ran 10.5:1 compression, and when they slapped the Monza turbo and Rochester H Monza carb on it, they didn't decrease the CR at all...thus the need for the "fluid injection" system that worked very well...if and when it worked. Vapor injection had been around in aircraft piston engines since the late '30s as a method of preventing detonation at high CRs that tetraethyl lead couldn't completely eliminate at the time. When the vapor injection system on the Jetfire worked, it worked pretty well indeed. When it didn't, you were looking at serious engine damage if you ran the boost on a dry day with no injection.
Another problem with the Jetfire was the "Slim Jim" Roto HydraMatic transmission, an attempt by GM corporate to come up with a cheaper alternative to the four speed Dual Coupling HydraMatic for its Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles. Buick had their own "slush boxes" going at the time. The Roto and "Slim Jim" eliminated 2nd gear, replacing it with a "torque multiplier" in the fluid coupling, making it an ersatz torque converter. The theory was that the multiplier would eliminate the need for the 2nd gear. In reality it provided a VERY slushy and low 1st gear with a HUGE ratio drop to what became 2nd (3rd on the real HydraMatics). Cars so equipped would have all kinds of torque and acceleration until the shift point, and then bog down. The Roto went away, along with the expensive but better HydraMatic, in 1965, replaced by the perennial favorite, the THM 400, which was cheaper to produce than even the Roto.
The Jetfire wrung 215 BHP out of 215 cu. in. and was a real screamer off the line...until you hit the first shift point, anyway. Keeping the injection system working properly was a normal weekend chore, with miles of vacuum lines and the like giving lots of trouble. I used to run cheap vodka and water in mine sometimes, which allowed even more head room against detonation. Most turbo equipped Jetfires from '61 through '64 would go away, made into simple 4 bbl. 215s for free by the Olds dealers under a special warranty from the factory. Thus, a working turbo equipped Jetfire is quite valuable.
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"Steve" ...

LOL touche.

Yah
The "Dusey" (sp?) had aluminum? The things ya learn.

Then why do a lot of late-model cars (Toyotas included) crumple way more than my parents' cars (they didn't drive big cars, either)?

Very interesting, thanks.
Natalie
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Because it's advantageous in that it dissipates the crash energy instead of transmitting it to the occupants of the cars.
Car bodies are way cheaper to fix than human bodies.
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"aarcuda69062" ...

As a nurse, I get that, but some have said those old steel cans were safer.
Natalie
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I'd question their qualifications.
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