Unwanted Complexity

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I'm doing the lower intake gasket on my '97 Lumina. 160k miles, and hasn't failed, but since they are known to fail, I'm not taking any chances since I decided to keep it a couple more years,
and do the annual Florida trip again. That's about 3K miles total.. Rocker panels starting to rust through. Anyway, at the dealer to pick up some parts, I took a look at the Cruze. No drive, just showroom. I just told the story here of the airbag exploding on my kid's '95 Bonnevilles. So what's the first thing the salesman brags about the Cruze? IT HAS TEN AIRBAGS!!!
I told him I don't want to hear about it. Then we get in the car and he brags about the key fob, where the key folds into the remote unit. Pretty small package. Can't say that impressed me much. So I'm at the wheel and he turns to ignition only and says press the button on the wheel. The display shows all four tires and their pressure. I told him I don't like that, just adds complexity, I can tell when I have a low tire by looking at my tires, or feeling it when I drive. He says, "Ah, old school guy, eh?" Anyway, we didn't get much farther. He mentioned GPS, On-Star, the sound system. Not interested. I did note to him that what he pointed out to be the radio/sound system looked like it was part of the dash and I wouldn't be able to replace it with an aftermarket. He said, "Why would you want to replace it? It does everything!" Showed me the engine and pointed out the hood insulation and what looked like a modernistically formed baffle down low. Said the car is as quiet as a Cadillac. I liked the under hood part. But I was thinking of the 10 airbags and all the gizmos that can go bad and cost me a lot of money. Maybe I'm wrong. But I'll probably buy a new car within a few years, maybe a Cruze, maybe an Elantra, maybe a Malibu. And I'm scared.
--Vic
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At least two of them are mandated by federal law. The others are mandated by the modern public's obsession with "safety". Buyers believe the more airbags they have, the better, because airbags are "SAFE". Ignore those big yellow warning-labels that tell you the airbags will kill you if you don't do things just-so; those airbags are GOOD for you!
And side-impact laws demand those stupidly-thick pillars and tiny windows, with their resultant lousy visibility.

Another federal law, this one fairly recent. All cars are now required to have some sort of tire-pressure monitoring system.
<snip>

Yup. Add to that the federally-mandated security system, the difficulty of finding a new car with manual windows and locks (on account of the security system requirements), and things are not good for the likes of us.
It's going to get worse, too. The new CAFE regulations are forcing automakers to produce cars with small, complex, and expensive engines that have turbos, direct-injection, and other workarounds for emissions laws and the engines' lack of swept-volume.

My '91 Integra is getting near the end of its economically-useful life, and I absolutely /hate/ what's on the market these days. I'm at a loss for what to do. I'm hoping to find something late-'60s that's good enough to be a daily driver in the Rust Belt. '67 Chevelle 2-door wagon?
--
Tegger

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Tegger wrote:

I just bought (2008) a new 1965 Nova with a 283. Wore out the last one. Lighter than a Chevelle! No safety, seatbelt optional, no electronics and chrome bumpers!
We won't run out of good cars in my lifetime. After that it's someone else's problem.
--
Andrew Muzi
<www.yellowjersey.org/>
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On 05/28/2011 03:38 PM, Vic Smith wrote:

some of this stuff is beneficial, but most of it is a misguided attempt to raise the bar on imports. and increase vehicle weights so that modern efficient engines use more gas to lug their 3000-4000 lb vehicles around and keep the oilcos fat.
in terms of absolute costs, it's frequently cheaper to run an old car and spend money on maintenance than it is to suck up the depreciation on a new one. if you can handle the social implications. then you won't get the complications.
--
nomina rutrum rutrum

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Your only recourse as far as new cars are concerned seems to be either going the course of total minimalism (barebones compact/subcompact, probably a jap) or euro entry level luxury hoping that is was not screwed yet.
Another option is a decade old car.
Midside "family" segment is utterly screwed as you have just discovered. even bmw 5xx is screwed by electric steering.
I was eyeing jeep compass lately until discovering that off road group is coupled to cvt and can't be had with a manual.
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Unfortunately the euro entry-level luxury cars available in the US are pretty over the top as well. I looked at the Mercedes C class recently, since it's about the only Mercedes available with a manual. It comes with a million "standard options" that cannot be removed. In Europe, you can purchase it without those options, but not in the US.
BMW 128 is even worse.

I'm driving a 40-year-old BMW to work every day and while BMW still has parts available for it, miraculously, there is a limit to how long it is going to last.

See...the current BMW 5-series is just gargantuan. I would call that bigger than midsize, personally. Maybe that's part of my issue.

The CVT isn't a bad thing... I would actually love to have a manually adjustable CVT! That would only involve adding one control and some software! --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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Cooper S is right out. FWD, no spare tire. The basic model I might be able to live with. It handles amazingly well for FWD although I don't think I would be able to change a clutch. Changing the clutch on the 2002 is about two hour's work in the driveway with some 2X4s to lower the transmission. And a spare gaibo since I have wrecked one every time I have dropped the thing.

I think that's probably where I'm going to be going. Still lots of junk on it.

I have been avoiding reproduction. As a child I remember sitting between my parents on the parking brake of the MGB on long drives. So while I think child seats are a good idea, I do find the current obsession with safety to be a little over the top. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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On Jun 1, 6:17pm, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

i believe it can be had without idrive

for me it's no so much safety as a convenience for carrying an infant with only one parent present.
during outdoor barbeque it's convient to plop the whole assembly with the sleeping thing and relocate it wherever you need
cheap child seats I use would hardly protect much in an event of a crash
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On Jun 1, 6:17pm, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

you get dual zone climate and as far as junk goes there is sunroof and that's it. Still could be handy to vent hot air out when it's hot outside.
I could not feel any engine vibration or heard any unpleasant noises from that 4 banger :----------O
Not an issue for you since you are in the states.
Good luck finding bare bones bmw there.
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On 5/28/2011 12:38 PM, Vic Smith wrote:

You're in luck. When the electric car takes over, complexity will drop way down. No need to replace the intake gasket cause there won't be any intake. Unfortunately, there will still probably be a lot of air-bags and my guess is that we won't be using keys to start cars anymore.

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not bother to bring the physical key. Well, TV overpowered his remote entry fob.
I vote for simpler low tech solutions any day.
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On 6/1/2011 3:15 AM, AD wrote:

I agree with this. My point was that a car with 2 electric motors, controller, and batteries would be dead simple compared to a car with a conventional internal combustion drivetrain and all those things needed to keep the piston engine happy. Dead simple is always good. OTOH, a dead simple car security system might be taking things too far. :-)
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Electric car would not be effective at freeway speeds. Hence you do need conventional transmission, though 2 or 3 speeds might be sufficient. That and electic motor to feed the rear wheels.
And then you need two electric motors in front wheels to have a 3 wheel drive setup in snowbelt.
Then you could step further to do active vectoring on the rear axle the way acura (and now nissan juke) does it.
all of a sudden a lot of the complexity of the piston engine is back in.
My preference is for a conventional classic (rwd) setup with the two electrical motors for the front wheels for low speed unstuck assist.
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Hybrids seem to be the worst option of all if you value simplicity. Maybe you could have an steam powered heater installed too. :-)
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Not really. The hybrid DOES have an electric system and a gasoline system, but both can be built pretty stripped down. It's a little gas engine that runs at constant RPM. It's a little battery. It's a charge controller.
The problem is that manufacturers go out of their way to overcomplicate things. And they also want to make them cheap, and you make things cheap by making one device do multiple tasks. And that makes things ugly. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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On 6/7/2011 2:36 AM, Scott Dorsey wrote:

You can simplify a hybrid by using the gas engine to only generate electricity and not drive the wheels. However, most hybrids are not built this way. The simplest car possible would probably be an electric one with a single motor directly connected to a differential driving the rear wheels.

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Right. Or two pancake motors driving the rear wheels, doing away completely with the mechanical differential. You could even have positraction in software and some degree of steering control by differentially driving the pair. Fewer actual things to go wrong that way.
Reducing the number of moving parts is always a win to my mind. Of course, I don't work for GM.... --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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On Jun 8, 1:13am, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

The electric car will greatly simplify making a car because the drive train will be modular, and driven by software. You could use the same set ups for sports cars, muscle cars and family cars. Just change the software. Maybe they'll bolt on a high wattage motor or 2 additional motors for expensive cars but my guess is that the controller would be pretty much the same unit for a broad range of cars.
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Sure, but that's already kind of the case for gasoline engines, except when the manufacturer does something silly. Pick this engine, that transmission, the standard ECU, drop the software for the combination in.
In reality it's often not like that, but that's not for technical reasons. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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On 6/12/2011 1:50 AM, Scott Dorsey wrote:

My belief is that if you have a software-driven drivetrain, you can program a car to act like anything under the sun, from a small 4 cylinder to a turbo-V6 using the exact same hardware. The advantage in manufacturing is obvious. OTOH, you probably could program a V6 to act like a small 4 cylinder but that's a little wasteful and inefficient.
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