Yaris, Scion xD, Honda Fit - no water temp gauge

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Steve wrote:


no dude, it's the other way around. the engineers doctor the gauge so it only tells you two things - normal and too hot, and only one of those is important. left to their own devices, they'd leave the waste of space out. it's the marketing lizards that insist on a gauge because people like you think they need one and get all amped up about a subject they haven't bothered to analyze or don't understand. even when given the facts.
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jim beam wrote:

That's simply not true. The HISTORY of the situation is that engineers installed gauges for years. Then came idiot lights because designers and stylists liked the "modern, all-electric" look of the dashboards they could create. Then gauges made a comeback. THEN, the automakers started getting complaints from people who'd grown up on idiot lights, and didn't understand normal behavior, most particularly of the oil pressure.
THAT is when the "dummy" gauges that read mid-scale or nothing at all appeared.

Engineers NEVER leave instrumentation out of ANYTHING if left to their own devices. Left to their own devices they'd install an oil pressure gauge before the filter, one after, and one at the last feed off the oil galley. You'd have a water temp gauge before and after the radiator, a transmission oil temperature gauge before and after the cooler, and 8 individual exhaust gas temperature probes.

He says, as if he'd know a fact if it jumped up and bit his ass....
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This would fail to solve the first engineering problem, which is have a good car of xyz dimensions. You can't get everything in without trading off something else that is important to the engineering. It's also false that engineers do not make economic decisions. In this instance, more gages = more manufacturing costs = less than optimal sales and profit.
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Elle wrote:

As a working engineer, I realize that. I might have exaggerated a bit, but in general powertrain engineers would argue that electric seat warmers be omitted to meet weight and cost before they would leave out instrumentation. Certainly very few powertrain engineers would want to leave something so basic as a temperature gauge and oil pressure gauge out of their own car.
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Me being a retired engineer specialized in power plants, it depends on the instrumentation. (Call that a nitpick; I am betting you know this.) A prime example is the tachometer. Many automatic transmission cars have one. It could be argued to be superfluous for auto trannies and manual trannies. I suppose it is in auto tranny cars because it helps sell the car, though.

I do not think anyone here disputes that some sort of gage or idiot light--one or the other, at least--for coolant temperature and oil pressure is a very good idea. We're talking about automotive design and how systems integrate (e.g. when it comes to using space; offering safety to the passengers; etc.). A contingent of engineers will be focused on passenger comfort, and with the marketing department, they will run the numbers and find that the seat warmers sell X amount of cars at Y price, so they need to make it work for Z dollars a car.
Related aside: Laypeople of course can discuss this topic intelligently, because this is about tradeoffs. Many of these tradeoffs are understandable simply with the application of common sense.
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Elle wrote:

Not only that, but it is helpful, because one is able to determine what gear a car is in by comparing the vehicle speed with the engine speed. Plus, if one has a manual transmission, if the engine speeds seem to creep up when going uphill, but the road speed stays constant, this suggests that there is a problem with the clutch (and soon, your bank account is going to take a hit).

Actually, good engineering means reducing the number of gauges. Imagine if every operation on your computer required a gauge. You'd have one for your disk drives, ethernet card, wireless card, one for each of your USB drives, for the temperature, a bunch for different keyboard settings, for your floppy diskdrive (older machine only), your fire wire, for the state of the batteries, your video port, the audio I/O, etc.
Your computer would have more gauges than a nuclear power plant (and Bush wouldn't be able to say it, either).

What about priests and other clergy members? Should they be able to understand it?
There is some good info about how engines work on the internet (How stuff works has a lot). Plus, there is this neat building(s) in most towns called "a library" where they have books on the subject.
And if you're in school, you can ask your science teacher, too.
jeff
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The meaning of "good engineering" depends on the goals of what is being engineered. E.g. for a vehicle where engineers and technicians are trying to improve XYZ, additional gages ABC may be warranted, at least temporarily.
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Elle wrote:

but in this day and age, you'd just record the computer's data output. it's a host of feeds available, engine temp being just one of them. in real time.
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Jeff wrote:

Of course, you CAN call up programs that do monitor and put a "gauge" on all of those items. Right now I have a CPU utilization bar graph in the lower corner of my screen. I can switch it to network I/O, disk I/O, or disk space used if I want.
Good engineering really means making the RIGHT information available at the RIGHT time. With a car, the critical things that need to be displayed are fairly simple: Engine temperature, oil pressure, speed, and fuel remaining are the big 4. The best designs, as I have said, make all 4 available as analog readouts, and ALSO will turn on an attention-getting light and/or ring a chime if any of them (except speed) get out of the normal range. That's been done for decades (my wife's 1993 car being so equipped) so its just DUMB to regress.
The point I've been belaboring is that to reduce oil pressure and water temperature to ONLY a warning light is actually denying the driver information that he/she might occasionally want or need, and which can be valuable. Certainly the average driver doesn't need to know the exhaust gas temperature and oxygen content, but with only 4 basic readouts really NEEDED, why deny any one of them? It would be a different matter if there were 10 parameters equal in importance to oil pressure and coolant temp and designers would have to start making decisions about what needs to be primary and what could be secondary, but there just AREN'T!!
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Elle wrote:

And even though its mostly window dressing, it does come in handy even in an automatic car to indicate if the transmission starts slipping, TC clutch fails to lock, etc. But yeah, 99.999% of the life of the car, a tach in an automatic is worthless and a prime example of something that's there ONLY for marketing.

Agreed. Sad though the result may often be....
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Steve wrote:

if for their own testing, no. but engineers make stuff to be used by people that don't know what they're doing. like you.

so you think an "engineer" is going to put a 747 flight deck instrumentation cluster into my grandmothers lincoln and expect her to learn to use it???? engineers aren't stupid.

says the guy that thinks a dummy water temp meter is giving him useful information!!!
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jim beam wrote:

Stop drinking your name-sake while posting and you might understand more.
A major component of my WHOLE ARGUMENT in this thread has been that DUMMY gauges are just idiot lights with pointers and are therefore as useless as an idiot light. How could you POSSIBLY have missed that, other than deliberately doing so just to pick an argument?
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Steve wrote:

so why were /you/ making such a big noise about wanting a gauge?
quote: "Gauges warn before the problem gets critical."
"The whole point is that the gauge will tell you when some things are wrong"
but now you're admitting that a warning light is as much use.
quote: "gauges are just idiot lights with pointers"
so you're contradicting yourself and arguing for nothing!
bottom line: if you want full instrumentation, install it yourself. the stuff you get with the car is good enough for the job it has to do. any /real/ engineer should know that.
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On 4/22/2008 9:13 PM jim beam spake these words of knowledge:

He was clearly talking about the use of actual working gauges, specifically as opposed to those which are dressed-up idiot lights.
RFT!!! Dave Kelsen
--
A library is an arsenal of liberty.

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jim beam wrote:

Because /not/ wanting one is just stupid. Sure, there are reasons for el-cheapo line cars not to have a gauge, and that's fine. But for any driver to say "I'd rather have a light" is just flat dumb. No way around that.
What really gets me is the idiot gauge- costs MORE than a light, but is less useful (because it doesn't attract attention, and worse yet may even give the unwitting driver the impression that its a real gauge.

Not at all. Gauges do warn you before things get critical, and you blatantly left out the obvious part of the second statement, which is that a gauge will tell you when some things are wrong WHICH A LIGHT WON'T TELL YOU. Hence my examples of 1) a dead electric fan which was indicated as a slightly abnormal gauge reading but which was not far enough out of range to have turned on a light, and 2) abnormal oil pressure behavior which indicated a collapsed filter causing the bypass valve to open, but was technically within the "normal" range and never turned on the idiot light.

No, I never said that YOU read it that way, but its not what I said. I said that "idiot" gauges (the kind that are just controlled by a switch which either sets them to the normal range, or drops them to zero) are just idiot lights with pointers. I never said that real analog gauges, whether mechanical or electric, are idiot lights with pointers.

No, you're just showing the fact that you aren't actually reading (or comprehending) posts, you're reading a few words then shooting off your message while missing the main points. As has been the case every time you blunder into rec.autos.tech.
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In your narrow world.
In the real world, plainly, things are way different.
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You are assuming one HELL of a lot here. You assume that people know how the machinery works in the first place. That's a strong presumption.
Without the operator knowing how the machine works in the first place, a gauge is absolutely useless.
See, your mind is in a very, very narrow place. YOU wanted to know how the thing works, so YOU found out. Others don't know, don't want to know, and in many cases can't understand it even if they try. A gauge is useless to those people.
The world where all you need to know is that "gauges warn you before things get critical" is Springfield, and Homer Simpson runs the nuclear power plant equipment.
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No, not really. I remember in driver's ed, a few decades ago, the instructor explaining to us that every few minutes you should move your eyes over the instrument panel and look at the gauges and see that they are all more or less nominal. If anything is in the red, pull over and call for help. If you notice it moving toward the red, get ready to pull over and call for help.

No, they still have eyes. Now, it's true that there are people who do not do the periodic glance over the instrument panel and notice where everything is, every few minutes. That is bad, but it's an easy skill to learn. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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I remember them teaching us to always use turn signals...
You can lead a horse to water, (you can even shove it's head down in the water,) but you can't make it drink.
--
Nick




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snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

If all you're looking for is "in the red, pull over" then a dash light does a MUCH better job of alerting you. That's simple psychology.
Unless you know the principles of operation of the whole machine, the gauge will indicate nothing to you. It may be behaving perfectly normal within its own context, but if you don't know the context then you don't understand its behavior. If the needle wiggles around up and down, the guy who has no idea what the gauge is for will worry. Hence the "idiot light driven gauges".
And if all you end up with are "idiot light driven gauges," then just put in idiot lights. You save money, and you get a better alert.
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