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(SeattlePI)   Late-model cars frustrate mechanics   ( divider line
    More: Obvious  
•       •       •

22632 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Mar 2004 at 4:58 PM (13 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

133 Comments     (+0 »)

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2004-03-15 09:17:29 AM  
Youe mechanic needs a geek intern.
2004-03-15 09:36:02 AM  
I miss the good old days, when cars were still programmed using BASIC. My grandfather had a 1972 AMC Pacer that was programmed using punch cards. Once Chrysler went to Fortran, I knew we were screwed.
2004-03-15 09:37:22 AM  
He can't find the passcode? Maybe he should check Kazaa.
2004-03-15 09:42:00 AM  
I'm surprised to see that my representative, Lindsay Graham, is involved in trying to change the complicated reality.

I guess mechanics are incredibly happy that the Volvo Concept Car isn't getting anywhere close to prodcution. Crazy women designers.

\my Volvo's hood still works
2004-03-15 09:58:18 AM  
Unfreakable you are so full of sh*t.

Everyone knows the Pacer didn't come out til '75, and that its native language was LISP.
2004-03-15 10:06:45 AM  
Dammit, Generation_DI knew someone was gonna call me on the Pacer model years.

*shakes fist at own ignorance*
2004-03-15 10:17:12 AM  
i think the advances are great, although they limit my opportunities for shadetree mechanicing, and it must suck for independent mechanics. at leeast i don't have to set points or lube chokes or adjust carburator idle screws anymore.
2004-03-15 10:18:56 AM  
Man, I miss the days when cars were programmed in COBOL.

It took 210 lines just to get the turn signal on, but any idiot could read that code and COBOL coders were a dime-a-dozen.
2004-03-15 10:29:12 AM  
"A calibration code is what makes that part work, and that's the part that's proprietary," Territo said. "It's like the difference between an Apple microprocessor and an IBM microprocessor.

I know this isn't slashdot, but Apple uses IBM processors. I won't call the guy an idiot because I'm sure he knows more about cars than I do, I just thought the quote was humorous.
2004-03-15 12:28:59 PM  
This isn't an issue with domestic cars, as manufacturers are required to release service codes. But apparently they can't regulate imports.

The thing is, this isn't new. They guy knew this when he started his import car repair business, he's experiencing exactly what he should have expected.
2004-03-15 03:03:08 PM  
After giving up on the dealership being able to fix my car (7 times for the same problem and 60 miles of driving for each incident) I ended up purchasing a ross-tech vag-com and now I hack my car.

Unfortunatly, the laptop was behind the car's firewall and now my lights flash morse code spam to random cars asking if they're happy with the size of their unit.
2004-03-15 04:49:07 PM  
And drivers!
2004-03-15 05:02:27 PM  
Obvious indeed. They want the cars to be impossible to fix, so that we'll have no choice but to buy new ones. It's called planned obsolescence
2004-03-15 05:06:36 PM  
I wish they would do this. I own a Saab and there are only 2 places within 50 miles of me that will even take the car in for repairs. Most places just do not have the right computer equipment.
2004-03-15 05:06:39 PM  
I bet all codes, when translated to engish is all basically the "Hello World" program anyways.
2004-03-15 05:06:39 PM  
This guy is an asshat. The freedom of information act requires manuals and repair information to be available. He probably runs his business on an abacus as well. "Damn electronic things - you just can't trust `em."
2004-03-15 05:07:04 PM  
Yeah I hate that cars now go 100,000 miles without a tuneup and I never have to do anything but change the oil and they start every time.

/missing good ol' days
2004-03-15 05:07:52 PM  
Sounds like a real enigma, to me.
2004-03-15 05:09:15 PM  
my volvo wagon owns all. easiest car to change oil on, swap cams, do most basically anything but the damned heater core and blower motor. I hate the newer volvos that need the OBD interfaces... what happened to the good ole days of kicking things and getting em to work :-D
2004-03-15 05:10:33 PM  
I have it from an inside source that the new Chryslers are going to use Linux based computers,programed at the dealership that way they can get away from the OBD 2 standards wich equals more $$$
2004-03-15 05:10:39 PM  
My brother owned a Ford Model A, can't remember the year.

The entire vehicle, ALL OF IT, came apart with a flathead screwdriver and a crescent wrench.


Also, didn't have a speck of rust on it. Great factory paint job.

Still, would rather be driving my '03 Toyota Corolla. I think cars have gotten progressively better. Especially Jap cars. (Primarily Toyota & Honda.) But I'd still rather drive just about anything from Japan, as opposed to Detroit Iron.
2004-03-15 05:11:33 PM  
They just don't make 'em like they used to.
2004-03-15 05:12:33 PM  
another thing... try to get access to the online manuals for newer cars. Most will charge you about 1-2k a year to access them. Then not to mention the massive computer setup and new software all the time just to interface. Most indy shops can't really compare. Oh yea... don't you hate it when the car goes 100k w/o any issues... then instead of replacing balljoints for 15 bucks like on older cars... you have to replace 175 buck control arms. Newer cars blow ass to work on and buy parts for. Only those who work on them and older cars can speak about the issue... others that think new cars own all need to get a ODBII plug whipped in there face. Gah I hate the new crap.
2004-03-15 05:12:37 PM  
I have a 97 Explorer (Exploder) that I've just given up on. The transmission was rebuilt a year ago - $2500, and then blew the fark up about 2 months ago.

Plus the electrical system is all jacked up, I hear there are about 36 grounds in exploders. . .Thanks Ford!!!!
2004-03-15 05:12:54 PM  
"spokesman warns, if a law is passed that mandates cooperation, automakers could withdraw from a year-old voluntary program that he says has worked well."

Oh my, please let's put money in the pockets of the anti-competive f-ups who have lost the auto business to imports. How scared are they, afraid they'll be "working" for the Asians if they don't find new profits.
2004-03-15 05:13:16 PM  
2004-03-15 03:03:08 PM mildlydisturbed

After giving up on the dealership being able to fix my car (7 times for the same problem and 60 miles of driving for each incident) I ended up purchasing a ross-tech vag-com and now I hack my car.

Unfortunatly, the laptop was behind the car's firewall and now my lights flash morse code spam to random cars asking if they're happy with the size of their unit.


I think you passed me the other night.

/Pretty funny. Near spit-take.
2004-03-15 05:14:02 PM  
Gotta' love BMW. Any dork that owns one can get the code reader from BavAuto, and handle most of the repairs themselves.

It's pretty simple to work on a BMW despite what people say.
2004-03-15 05:14:40 PM  
I really hope you, cosyg, are making some sort of strange obscure joke, rather than being so incredibly, entirely misinformed about what the Freedom of Information Act means.
2004-03-15 05:15:04 PM  
I drive a 1965 GMC 3/4 ton pickup. I can rebuild the whole thing in a day with a cresent wrench and a multidriver.
2004-03-15 05:15:58 PM  
>This guy is an asshat. The freedom of information act
>requires manuals and repair information to be available.
>He probably runs his business on an abacus as well. "Damn
>electronic things - you just can't trust `em."

Ahem. Freedom of Information Act(s) Federal and State only apply to government documents, not private (or public company)informational materials. S'matter of fact, if NTSB/NHSA were to subpoena copies of said manuals they *still* couldn't release them to the public. B3 exemption for proprietary/trade secret information donchaknow.
2004-03-15 05:17:00 PM  
BMW's are great... I love how they include thier ECU's and such into 100k serivce intervals for replacement :-D
2004-03-15 05:17:33 PM  
"The freedom of information act requires manuals and repair information to be available."

Yeah, but guess who sells the manuals (all on disk now) for $1000.00 a pop?

I remember we had a round table discussion at the shop I worked at on whether or not we should get this $10,000 handheld that could pull codes from the newest Porsches. I think they fired me to make up the cost.
2004-03-15 05:19:49 PM  
"spokesman warns, if a law is passed that mandates cooperation, automakers could withdraw from a year-old voluntary program that he says has worked well."

Nice empty threat. "If you force me to cooperate, I'll stop cooperating voluntarily!"
2004-03-15 05:20:08 PM  
There still isn't a Haynes manual for the new MINI Cooper. I guess everyone at is going to have to compile one or something on a case-by-case basis. Fun!
2004-03-15 05:21:54 PM  
Lets not forget our wonderful new cars that have uniquely coded ECU's that won't work in ANY other car unless they are reprogrammed.
2004-03-15 05:22:20 PM  
My uncle rebuilt his 49 Chevy truck. Straight six and could pull a load that a Ford F-250 couldn't.

And you could store bodies in the engine compartment if you wanted to. . .I mean. . .uh. . .
2004-03-15 05:22:35 PM  
The Freedom of Information act applies to private, proprietary corporate documents now? SWEET, now I can get that Coca-Cola secret formula!
2004-03-15 05:25:04 PM  
Think what you want MarcWolfe -but the currently BMW is the only OEM that restricts general distribution of their information. It's that very fact that presents companies like Mitchell and Alldata from being sued for copyright violations.
2004-03-15 05:26:06 PM  
Repairing new cars isn't as easy as seeing a code and replacing a part. Once you get the code, you must then follow the corresponding trouble tree which usually leads you to more trouble trees. The freedowm of information act does indeed provide that the new car companies have to give information on there vehicles. It does not however have to give the specialized computer diagnostic tools for stuff like the suspension, climate control, and other specialized CPUs. I spent 16 years fixing these piles of crap and I sure don't miss not doing it anymore.
2004-03-15 05:26:16 PM  
I agree with the indies, but I must admit my '03 Honda Civic Hybrid was designed to be incredibly transparent with its OBDII codes. It'll even flash the codes to you through the dash lights if you don't have a scanner.

There's another reason for auto makers to ditch the OBDII "standard", though: it's stupid and arcane. If I had my druthers my car would have a RJ-45 jack through which I would access my car's webserver.
2004-03-15 05:26:20 PM  
Or the Guinness secret formula. (Yup, applies even to private corps in other countries!)
2004-03-15 05:26:46 PM  
I miss the days of the 10 lb Chilton manuals, you know they actually had the instructions on how to re-weld the frame back together after it sheared apart in an accident?
2004-03-15 05:27:53 PM  
Opps, Sure don't miss doing it anymore.
2004-03-15 05:32:55 PM  
According to my brother, a mechanic, independant garage owner and former chapter president of his local garage owners association, all the major auro manufacturers are working towards the notion of "disposable" cars. Meaning you will never "own" a car again.

These new cars will have sealed hoods (i.e. the chick Volvo) and you will only be able to lease the car for about 5 years. At that time, you'd swap it out for a new car. The old car would then be resold to second and third world countries. Thus putting the "non-dealer" mechanic out of business -- and forcing you the consumer with no other option. Gotta love globalization.

By the way... if you're in L.A. or The Valley and need a good mechanic:
2004-03-15 05:33:46 PM  
Gotta love my PT Cruiser, hold the trip odometer button while turning the key to run (but not start). Dash does a self test and will display codes if there are any. No scanner needed.
2004-03-15 05:34:08 PM  
[image from too old to be available]

This car had almost 300,000 miles on it before it finally died. Held together with duct tape and bailing wire.

I miss the older cars that would still run even when a minor thing like the dome light quit working.

I'm a computer geek and all but there's too much computer crap in cars.
2004-03-15 05:35:15 PM  
The worst part about this is that the dealerships won't tell you what your car's chip is telling them. This means that they can string you along with repairs one at a time instead of telling you your car's going to cost you more money to fix than it's worth.
2004-03-15 05:37:10 PM  
Right on arnold.....
these designer asshats need to stop trying to one up eachother and make something that lasts, we have old crown busses built in 1970 still opeatering at lower maintence costs than these brand spanking new CNG and Diesel units... its farking stOOpid. i dont even want to talk about passenger cars.
2004-03-15 05:38:52 PM  
OK... "auto" not "auro". But I'm gonna trademark it just in case.
2004-03-15 05:39:47 PM  
They will have to pry my cold, dead hands off the steering wheel of my non computerized car!!!
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