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
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?
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:
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.
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
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...".
To what extent are you really reading details, i.e.:
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?? :-)
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"
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
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.
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....
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.
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
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?
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.
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"
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".
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
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