Monday, October 13, 2008

People shouldn't be so wishy-washy...

Courtesy of an old post at Dustbury is a link to an awesome rant on why one guy doesn't like modern cars:
Next problem of course, is the innability to just get a good honest car, they're all loaded to the gills with stupid doodads like Electronic Ashtray Position Sensors which will fail nanoseconds after the warranty expires, most likely at 2:30 AM, February 12, in Deliverance, Kentucky- immediately frying the "ECU", a completely useless device that forces the engine to reswallow it's own vomit time and time again so that factories that produce children's toys out of lead-coated asbestos can purchase "clean air credits", and do-gooder dumbass politicos can jump in their private jets and deliver a sermon to me about how I'm personally responsible for the extinction of the Brazilian Banded Aardvark because my '92 F150 burns a quart of oil every 1,000 miles.
Don't hold back! Tell us what you really think, man...


Robb Allen said...

Why wait until the warranty expires? My VW GTI had a blown sensor 3 days after I purchased it (the Check Engine Light came on this morning reminding me that I'm waiting for the part to come in).

My 1995 Jeep Wrangler had a check engine light, but all it meant was literally, check the engine - it fell out (although, being a Jeep, it would still run for quite some time)

Tam said...

Remember: The light says "check engine" because if it said "emissions equipment" nobody would pay it any attention.

I've been driving around with the Check Engine light on in the Zed Three for five years because a secondary air pump is just not exactly super critical to the engine's operation. I'm losing a couple MPG on the interstate on cold mornings... Boo hoo.

OA said...

I think wonky oxygen sensors are responsible for probably 75% of the check engine lights that are on.

Anonymous said...

Dear OA,

Point well taken. Wonked automobubble company "sales engineers" and zonked politicians are reponsible for the immutable economic law of digital chariots: "They will make you take out a second mortgage, sub-prime."

Western civilization as we knew it blew its two great chances by laughing off Ron paul and rejecting the Ford Maverick -- ("You can fix it yourself.")

You got a lemon. My '89 F150 uses no oil. Besides, getting out in the mud to engage the hubs is a spiritually enlightening act, connecting one intimately with Mother Earth.


orangeneckinny said...

I bought my Tacoma used and the check engine light came on the 2nd week I had it. Took it to the dealer and they charged me $90 just to plug in the OBDII scanner. Turns out I needed a new catalytic converter and a few oxygen sensors. So okay, back to the original dealer to get this fixed with much protest and foot shuffling. AFTER having written letters to Tacoma HQ in California, the dealer finally capitulated and replaced the cat for free. Hell, I certainly wasn't going to shell out $2000 for a new cat incuding labor. I paid enough for this truck used. So anyway, I went and bought my own OBDII sensor and it's already paid for itself. No more having to take it to the dealer if my check engine light comes on. Of course, it hasn't come on ever since I've got all the problems in my truck fixed. Wait, where was this rant going? Oh yeah, things were much simpler back in the days of the carburetor. All you had to do is keep it gunk-free and make sure the air/fuel mixture is good, all of these things you could do yourself. I miss those days.

theirritablearchitect said...

"I think wonky oxygen sensors are responsible for probably 75% of the check engine lights that are on."

Of all the emissions related items to fail, the O2 sensor is probably the most prone to failure, with the cats and the EGR running close seconds. My wife's 2001 Eclipse GT had a problem with lunching O2 sensors, requiring replacement of three of its four within a year. DOH!!!

The air intake temperature sensor on my '96 Hardbody has been non-functional for the last 4 or 5 years, and my engine churns just fine without it. I've learned to live with the damned check engine light being on.

Brad K. said...

For the F150 burning oil - try the Xado oil treatment.

This is a moderately expensive ceramic gel, that pulls metal particles from the oil to rebuild rubbing surfaces - like piston walls - with a metal/ceramic material harder than metal. The claim is that it adds 50,000 miles to an engine, and literally rebuilds wear where friction has eroded surfaces.

As a side benefit, the reduction in friction generally improves fuel efficiency during idle.

I got mine at out of Wichita.

They make a set for 'restoring' rifled gun barrels. Also hydraulic systems and small engines.

Butch_S said...

Why bother with the dealership? Your local Vato Zone has a OBD II scanner and will tell you what's wrong for free.

Oldsmoblogger said...'s asbestos-coated lead, innit?

Ian said...

Y'all are lucky to to not live in the peoples republic of Jerseystan. If the check engine light is on, they fail you in emissions without testing. i am reasobaly sure other places that do emissions testing do the same, but i can only speak to PRNJ.

phlegmfatale said...

Um, is that guy single? If he were a chevy man, he'd be perfect.

The Raving Prophet said...

Ian, Missouri (at least around St. Louis) is the same way. Our emission testing was just revised (now it is only 1996-newer cars with the OBDII ports, used to have to sniff test everything). Still, though, even having the light on will now fail your vehicle, even if it runs clean enough to pass.

Back when they stuck sensors in your tailpipe, my 92 Saturn cleared the tests with a completely nonfunctional EGR system, and my NOx readings were still only a fraction of what the law allowed.

Kristopher said...

I like the factory mechanic instructions for fixing one of the 198(?) series 5 BMW "check Engine" warning lights ... the manual says to reach behind the dash with a screwdriver and crush the bulb.

That bulb comes on at 50,000 miles to get the sucker to go to the dealership to get the O2 sensor replace ... and there is no provision to ever turn it off again ... it cannot be reset.

Matt G said...

That's a pretty strong rant, right there.

butch_s said...

Of course, nobody ever got stranded at 2:30 AM, Febuary 12, in Deliverance, Kentucky - because the condenser in the points system picked that moment to fail. ;)

Anonymous said...

Butch has already pointed out Autozone's free scanner, but I wanted to also point out that Toyota has an 80k warranty on emissions equipment. If your catalytic converter or o2 sensors go out before 80k, the dealer will replace them for free (had this done on my Camry when the Cat failed at 76k).


John said...

Kentucky looks better every day. We not only have pretty fair gun laws, we did away with our emissions testing a few years back. My current car's never been to the VET.

rickn8or said...

Though not strictly emissions-related, I had my own auto anxiety story this weekend.

Friday afternoon my '01 GMC decided to suddenly dump most of its coolant for no apparent reason. Turned out the culprit was a chintzy piece of plastic-that-shouldn't-have-been-there-in-the-first-place between the heater hose and the heater core. Seems this one-time connector is there merely to expedite the hookup of the heater hoses to the heater core after the body drop. Assembly line convenience, 1; consumer, 0.

On the other hand, it did happen while sitting at a traffic light in town, rather than the location you mentioned. But I like to think the average Kain-tuckian would stop to help in such a situation, even if the unfortunate one did have a "Go Vols" license plate frame.

Secret word: "UCKUH". Make of it what you will

Ritchie said...

While I miss the practically empty engine bay, I don't-a-bit miss crawling under the hood on a dark crispy late autumn morning to adjust choke opening and cold fast idle by bending bits of wire linkage. For the most part, cars run much better now. Driving behind a 60-ish survivor car, it's not uncommon to note the sweet smell of raw unburnt hi test.

Farmer Frank said...

The Farmer remedy for the 'check engine' light is a wide piece of black tape. Applied to the instrument panel and over the light. Bingo! Problem solved.

I've done and I know of two others who have as well.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

TJP said...

State emissions testing is basically government make-work at this point. The cost is front-loaded when you buy a new(er) car. There's absolutely no reason to hook up the car's computer unless you're at the shop to find out which sensor failed.

I'd say do away with testing in all states, but there's the unfortunate problem that the fedgov isn't authorized by the law to tell manufacturers how to build engines or dictate what is allowed to come out of the tailpipe of a passenger car. Or maybe it's not a problem at all if it disappears.

I don't like many of the gizmos that come in new cars, either, but I don't get to dictate the wants of the market. I recall the frustration I felt when the O2 sensor in my car went south, causing the computer to reverse the shift order of the gears in the transmission. As annoying as this was, I don't want to go back to the days of the 100,000 mile car.

Anonymous said...

The point is that we've added numerous gadgets and improved otherwise satisfactory systems. I mean why does my remote lock NEED 27 operating modes? I certainly don't.
Emissions testing is one of the great frauds perpetrated on the public. MN actually published erroneous air quality data so they could institute emissions testing. The only thing I smell is corruption.

Anonymous said...

My father, a life long mechanic, glanced under the hood of my 2007 Dodge Magnum, shut the hood and muttered "Bullshit, there's no engine in there. How do they make these things run with just hoses and wires?"

He loves my 1987 Dodge Pickup, he and my 11 year old son were looking under the hood and he was pointing and saying "Carburetor, valve covers, spark plugs, oil filter, air filter, fan belts, fuel pump... See this is an engine a real man can work on."

My sisters have been nagging him to buy a new car for years for the better gas mileage. He refuses, claiming "What good is gas mileage if I can't take the damned thing apart and put it back together again."

Anonymous said...

I have two wishes:

An american car with a decent manual tranmission. 5 ratios or more. please. Buy it from Getrag if you have to.

More cars without headroom robbing "moon roofs".

And a request:
Less of all that annoying plastic "shielding" all around the on on top of the motor under the hood.