Why Civics have IRS and Mustangs don't



AMEN!! For Pete's sake, look at what your getting!!!
Mike 1995 Eagle Talon TSi
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The seat bolts go into the place where they put the fuel lines. The seat design requires a floor shape that now puts his fuel lines through the interior. The backseat conflicts with the fuel tank. The fuel pump needs to be installed before the back seat. (for tanks under the rear seat)

His engine brackets (mounts?) allow for too much side-to-side variablity that in turn destroys the rear end inside of 20,000 miles. Or if you are refering to the install brackets, he has to know how the rest of the drive line is put in on the factory floor. Order of operations will be important for how the manufacturing engineers on the floor want to put the engine in, what will be the best angle to get it in, what makes for a good bracket location or a bad one.

The blower motor interferes with the shock tower. The front suspension pushes the wheel well further into the dash than the dashboard guy guessed. There isn't time for him to guess, he has to be able to check the CAD model and know how that inner wheel well looks like. If there is a problem he needs to talk to the suspension and body guys to arrive at a solution.
Got any more?

Not on any product I've ever worked on. I don't design a part and toss it over the wall to someone else to see if it fits. I talk to the people designing the other parts, subsystems, etc. I check the cad model that we all have access to make sure. Some problems still get through, sure, but almost all are caught and prevented. Tossing over the wall isn't going to do nearly as well, which I found out when I started working at a new company that didn't model things up front and relied on the team building the prototypes to find the problems.

Well I am in product design. Done this work for 7 years now. The communication does not bring the process to halt, it speeds it up greatly by removing interation. There simply isn't time to design things that don't work together and then have somebody else check it, then have it done over or fixed.

That doesn't change they are often idiots. Here's a marketing requirement a co-worker of mine had to deal with. Width of display = X. Width of product = Y. X > Y. Figure out the problem? The marketeer knew that big displays and small overall size were the 'in' thing. The physical conflict between the two never registered.

You don't get it though, the savings is an illusion. That was my point in bringing up that system. If the product doesn't stay around for a long time it actually cost more.

No, that you've completely missed what I've been attempting to point out.

That's why I picked it.

I picked 1974 because it was decided not to have a V8. Later years had to add the V8.
The next big mustasng example is the 1989 mazda 626 based mustang that became the probe.

I'm not.
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Brent P wrote:

But does he need to know what material, bolstering, controls the seat uses. You're referring a very small part of the seat design. Most of it he doesn't care about.

I'm not referring to engine mounts but all the little brackets that hold accessories and other miscellaneous parts to the engine firewall etc.

But does he care about the control knobs, gage look and function, shifter location, the steering wheel design? The bulk of the dash design effects him very little. Maybe the dash designers have to work around his design not vice versa.

Plenty. Why would the guy designing the front fascia care about the exhaust design? There's many more examples.

If the base level design engineers know everything about the car then why have a management layer over them at all? If they all talked to each other independently then the design would be a cluster f***. it would never get completed. CADD definitely helps keep everyone in the design process informed but I doubt Ford let too many people have access to the complete design for secrecy reasons.

What products do you design?

In Ford I see marketers are to its engineers like architects are to us civil engineers. Architects design a building and we make it happen and work from a technical standpoint. We may find their design is expensive to build and it gets changed if the client wants to save the cost. Or it may be kept if it is seen a vital to the overall concept. The marketers tell the engineers what the client (us) wants and it's their job to make it happen. Through the process the design may be altered and compromises made. It's my guess the marketers felt a live axle wasn't a liability for this car and as a bonus it helped to keep the cost of the car in check. What this amount actually is can't be known but if they kept this way of thinking consistently through the entire design process then I image it added up to a substantial amount.

> > >

This process happens everywhere all the time though. I use it myself in my own business depending on the client. If a vendors price is competitive then Ford won't find someone else giving a better price. If the vendor is inefficient at making their widget then some other company that has a better more efficient process for making the same or an improved widget will, and should, get Ford's business. I would expect Ford to pressure all their vendors to lower their prices over time. Let them run unchecked and before you know it a Mustang would cost $40k.

Do you think the Mustang would be more expensive if it had an IRS as standard equipment verses a live axle?
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Oh I get it now, it's gonna be one of those threads where a person decides that he will 'prove' his point at all costs. I didn't make any arguement saying that everyone has to know everything about every part. That's a strawman of your creation. I am saying they all have to work together, not toss plans over the wall to some guy 'who puts it all together'.

Maybe because he's the same guy designing the rear one!

Nice strawman.

And you know this from developing how many products?

*sigh* I worked at a major corporation that required just as much secrecy in the design of the new products. I got to see the whole thing because if everyone on the team didn't there would be fuck ups and we didn't have time for it.
On a car there might be a few people who could be compartmentalized. However, even they would still need to be in a chain. Your front facisa guy, who is probably also doing the rear, is going to need to see the front and rear clips, the exhaust, the grill, the radiator, the rear suspension, the front suspension and anything else that could be in the way of his part assembled or during assembly or it's possible attachement points. Otherwise, there will be considerable fuckups to deal with, tooling that will need to be fixed or scrapped, and there just isn't time for that.

What difference does it make to the generalities of the process? Unless you are an automotive design engineer, I think I'm closer to the process than you.

No. Industrial designers are the equal to architects. Marketeers are sales people, glorified sales people. Donald Trump, whatever he is to a civil engineer, is probably close to what a marketeer is to an engineer in product design.

My point is lost. Oh, btw those people you are so fond of also often pick based on price alone. They force the engineers to work with the worst quality vendors. The product development team is often left trying to squeeze blood from a turnip to get a quality part. If you think this doesn't show up in the finished product, think again.

Odds are it would, unless there was significant sharing of the IRS with other products or someone other wild card. So what? Doesn't change my feeling that it wouldn't be difficult or not self supporting money wise as an option.
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Brent P wrote:

Strawman? I'm just pointing out the holes in your previous post. Fact is every engineer doesn't need to know the design criteria of every component on a car. Sounds like we agree then.

Possibly. Then I could say does he need to know the operation of the side door latches or what materials the pistons are made from. I think we've both made our point on this topic.

Is this your answer when you really don't have an answer? ;)

I don't have to work for Ford to know this. It's just plain common sense. The more people involved in the design process the bigger the cluster f*** if they aren't controlled and directed.

>

I didn't imply that components can be designed blindly. I would like to know how many engineers worked on the Mustangs design.

In my past I designed land development projects ranging in size from 1-6,000 acres. I don't really classify this as the equivalent of designing a retail product but the coordination for design a 6,000 acre development is fairly formidable. I've owned a consulting business for the last 10 years and am now involved in land development as the developer.

You're the one that mentioned your background and implied it was relevant to the topic at hand. I was curious about your experience and if it was directly applicable to our discussion. From my experience most good engineering is grounded in the liberal use of common sense whether you design widgets, cars or shopping centers.

I see. You are probably right. How does an industrial designer fit in between a marketer and an engineer?

Having owned a business for 10 years gives me a different view of this. I see the marketer, industrial designer (see I can earn), the bean counters, the corporate talking heads from Bill Ford on down and the engineers as all being equally valuable. IMO, the new Mustang wouldn't be what it is unless they all worked together, cooperated and compromised with each other. Frankly, I'm surprised they all did their jobs this well.

I put much more weight on how critical the sales price is for the new Mustang's success than you. I would rather they keep the live axle and spend the money saved on the all aluminum, three valve, VVT engine. If I were going to complain about any aspect of the new Mustang GT it would be the use of the 5-speed manual instead of the T-56, six speed. Maybe it will show up in later models. For now I'm more than happy with what we got from Ford.
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You are assigning an extreme arguement that I didn't make to me then knocking it down. Hence a strawman.
However, engineer B better know what engineer A is doing otherwise there could be a serious problem.

Again, not my arguement. Mine is one of working as a team vs. your throw it all over the wall and hope it's ok compartmentalized idea.

I never made such an extreme arguement.

So you've never worked on a product with 10s of other engineers.

Who said there was no direction? Another made up arguement.

You stated they all go to someone else who puts them together and checks. There's no time for that. Each engineer checks his own stuff, and someone might have responsibility for the assembly, who then double checks things. This system gets rid of nearly all the interference problems. Some will still occur. At my current job, when I started they didn't do modeling before the first build. what a nightmare. tons of intereferences. lots of manual hacking of part after part to make things work. I convinced them to model first and then build. This last project, 1 interference. And that was because the guy doing the assembly had surpressed a part we won't be using until later on. So it won't even slow us down in the near term and can be fixed before production.

Consumer electronics and now a medical device. In the former there would be a dozen mechanical engineers alone on the project. At least that many if not more electricals and a 3-4 manufacturing engineers. When electrical and mechanical communication was not good, a capacitor would end up going through a shield can or housing. We had to talk to each other or the product wouldn't go together. And that's only on the order 400-500 parts, mostly board level components.
The current product I work on is the size of a big dorm fridge really. Like a kegarator. Without modeling first and checking interferences it was a nightmare. It simply couldn't be put together. I cannot afford to ignore what other guys are doing. The interference I mentioned earlier was caught when I just sat in when others were test fitting their parts. without us talking, some field service guy would have been installing the optional part in the field and find it didn't fit.

The industrial designer creates the styling, often the features list. (then edited by marketing) Sometimes marketing has to sign off the study. Then engineering gets to look at it, but at least the corporation I worked at all warnings would be ignored only to come back and bite us in the ass at the end of the project.

Suffer trying to squeeze quality out of a cheap ass vendor that knows that you as an engineer can't take the business from him. It's a bad system really, and the reason not to buy a car in it's first year of production.

I'm not changing the sales price or arguing for it to be different, so by what grounds do you make this comment?

That's nice.

That's nice.
Doesn't change that I think the IRS would make a good extra cost option. I'd certainly option it at $600 or so. My guess-i-mate of how much it would cost (over and above the live axle) with some profit.
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Brent P wrote:

My point was that there are a group of people (likely management types) that are ultimately responsible for making sure all the parts fit together correctly. The base level design engineers can't be hampered by knowing every aspect of a car's design. I read your replies to say you think the base level engineers are mainly responsible for coordination of how their particular part works relative to the entire car. Without an overseeing group coordinating how these thousands of parts work and fit together I can't see how a car can ever get engineered.

It's not extreme. I made it to illustrate a point that all these engineers need coordination from a smaller group that in turn insure all the parts making up a car fit and work together and the targets of the marketing and industrial designers are met. Without this control group hundreds of engineers can't communication well enough with each other to complete the design correctly and in a timely manner. Once again I thought your point was that the base level engineers make the design work by communicating with other base level engineers directly and/or by looking at CADD plans. I can't see how this would cause nothing but chaos which designing something as complicated as a car. Especially when the inevitable conflicts happen that cause design changes.

Not a product but construction plans that require the input of numerous civil engineering disciplines (i.e. structural, environmental, construction, site engineering etc.) as well as surveyors and architects. A large project could easily involve 50-100 people. Some engineers and some not but all are involved in the design process to some degree. I know having them all talk to each other without involving me to OK design changes and make the final call on most decisions would have been disastrous for project. I was the interface between these people and the client.

I stated that an oversight group (e.g. management) insures the parts fit and work together and coordinate design changes with other managers. You're point was this is mostly done by the base level engineers. Personally, I can't see how this would not cause chaos. Especially when design changes are made that effect other systems.

I've dealt with my share of incompetent sub consultants. Nothing worse than finding out they don't know $hit halfway through a project. I don't like buying first year models either. This car looks so good though I might have to make an exception. :)

But you admitted the addition of IRS would make the Mustang cost more than a solid axle. Wouldn't that change the sales price?

My guess is that Ford found through market research that very few would pay the price for an IRS option. The fewer that order it the higher the option costs. In the end they likely figured the lost sales for the base and GT models going solid axle only weren't worth worrying about.
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Excellant points Michael!
Through all the debates I've seen, on different discussion groups, about the solid axle vs IRS controversy, I have yet to see a single person offer an estimate of the cost to add IRS to the Mustang.
I would have thought all the self proclaimed "experts" would have a good idea of that part of the equation. I guess its easy to be an expert about IRS when you don't have to provide any information other than "Ford was wrong for not making it standard" or "It wouldn't cost that much to include IRS".
Since Ford initially planned on using IRS and found it cheaper to actually redesign for solid axle, they must have found the IRS to be cost prohibitive, not just a slight increase to pass on to buyers.
Your thoughts?
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It really doesn't matter other than it's 'more'.

The cost savings to ford doesn't have to be much, if anything for them go with the live axle. If it's say $2.00 that's right $2.00 they'll do it. Why is that? The price of the mustang is already decided before they start. They have decided the ideal price for a mustang is X. Any added cost to make it comes out of their profit.
It's not really a question of it being trivial or large, it's a question of the mindset being used.
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Mustang_66 wrote:

I bet it is more than many think. Just the pre-assembly of the IRS before it is bolted on the car is substantially more time consuming than for a solid axle.

I don't see the decision to keep the solid axle as one that was made solely by the marketers or bean counters. My guess is that the engineers looked at the performance advantages of the IRS over a redesigned solid axle and found the IRS was just marginally better and not worth the additional cost/complexity. Then considering many Mustang buyers don't care about IRS or actually prefer the solid axle in the GT made it an easy decision for everyone involved with the car's design. Otherwise, why would they take a chassis designed for IRS and fit a solid axle to it?

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The statistics probably showed that the overall profit margin was better with a solid axle. The number of prospective buyers that got turned off due to the solid axle was probably more than offset by the number of additional buyers of the solid axle car because the price was lower.
Joe Calypso Green '93 5.0 LX AOD hatch with a few goodies Black '03 Dakota 5.9 R/T CC
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Joe wrote:

I wouldn't be surprised if Ford let various individuals actually drive an IRS car and a solid axle one back to back and found most people couldn't tell a difference between them. You're absolutely right though about price being the overriding factor to go with the solid axle. Bang for the buck is what really sells Mustangs. The year Ford tries to take the base model and GT upscale is the beginning of the end for it in Ford's lineup. It will go the way of the Supra, 300ZX and RX-7. They were all fantastic cars but they priced themselves out of their original market that made them successful in the first place.

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180 Out wrote...

snip the bullshit
I don't read Car & Driver.
You did not post your message in the Honda Civic newsgroup. Why?
Davd Greenville, NC
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Frankly, I wish they'd take some of the CRAP out of most cars. Power this and that. Seems you can't just buy a plain old car anymore without having to buy a stripped down KIA POS. Apparently people want the thing to wipe your ass for you cause they keep on buying them. Just more crap to break. I do understand what your saying, an IRS would be an asset but as others have said it would be a nice option without having to buy a Cobra. I don't understand the Civic comparo, my wifes '97 Escort wagon has IRS but I doubt it would be much of a contest as to which car I'd rather have.
StuK TS#11

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With you there, why have a power seat (weighs more) then not have a 2 position memory? It takes days to get the seat back to where I like it once it's been moved. With a manual seat it's easy to count the detents to put it where it belongs. I like the seats in the Cobra, but I don't need the power crap and still liked the seats in my '89 GT better. Although, I couldn't do without power windows. I need to get another one toutch down module from Tim for the passenger side. I should have yanked the one from my '00 GT before I traded it in.
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Mike
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Around 1/20/2004 4:25 PM, Stuart&Janet wrote:

Darn straight. I'd love a GTS or LX stripper: GT guts, but with the V6 styling, cloth interior, and power nutin'.
(For my desktop wallpaper, I'm trying to decide between http://tinyurl.com/2wfu9 and http://tinyurl.com/3e2bq , and leaning toward the former... Those wheels are so sweet!)
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| My V6stang: http://www.v6stang.com/v6stang |
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On 20 Jan 2004 09:40:35 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (180 Out) wrote:

Well, it does make sense somewhat. V6 owners really don't care about this (exceptions there of course). If they did, they would have bought a V8. Therefor I think the V6 should be solid axle, and all v8's should have an optional IRS. Don't want it then don't order it. simple.
Remove NO-SPAM from email address when replying
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On Tue, 20 Jan 2004 18:23:48 -0700, Rein

If only it was that simple. They would drop the Mustang line all together before doing that. It would cost millions to revamp the factories to do it and drive up the cost of the V6 and V8 versions. It is all or nothing.
The choice isn't usually between a Mustang and a Civic anyway. They are worlds apart even in the V6 flavor.
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While I'm sure this is a bait mine does havr IRS and you'r actually comparing a civic to a mustang? Yugo's had IRS also.

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Uh, wait just a minute there! ;-) In 1999, the Mustang V6 coupe and the Civic Si coupe had allot in common. I looked at both.
I chose the Civic because the seats were shaped better (sportier), the 5-speed shifter was allot slicker, and I felt more comfortable in the back seat (my wife occasionally drives her mother around and I take the back).
The Mustang had better low-end but the Civic had better mileage (much better city mpg). The Mustang was slightly larger and much heavier (no doubt making it safer), though the '99 Civic coupe was considered to be one of the safest small cars in at least two separate tests, second only to the VW Golf/NB. Overall performance (0-60 and 1/4m) was similar, with the 5-speed V6 Mustang being slightly quicker.
The Mustang had ricey fake scoops while the Civic (even for the "sporty" model), was very conservatively styled (no factory rice whatsoever - not even a rear spoiler was standard).
The Civic cost a little more but had a power moon roof (nice to have in FL). Had I been able to afford the convertible (my #1 priority and the reason I was at the Ford dealership in the first place), I would have chosen the Mustang.
Plus, my previous Civic at 7 yrs / 140k was remarkably dependable (my current Civic at 5 years / 70k miles also has an immaculate service record so far - knock on plastic). However, my parent's '87 Escort GT also had a stellar service record at that age.
So at one time, you COULD compare at least one brand new Civic model to a Mustang model, IMHO. But not today (no Civic Si coupe and performance gap has widened).
My next car may or may not be a convertible, but it WILL be a Mustang GT (regardless or rear suspension)! That's only because I'm absolutely crazy about the new styling (inside and out)!
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Mark
'99 Civic Si
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