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What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done?

10/10/2017 4:27 PM

The most senseless thing I've ever encountered was the headlight/wiper door Actuation system on my '72 Vette.

What isn't shown is the electrical part of the system. The headlight switch is electric. That triggers the vacuum switch that starts all the switches, relays and vacuum motors.

Same with the wiper door, but...................there is another electrical/ mechanical switch on the firewall that must be closed by the door opening mechanism before the electric wipers are powered up.

It's a nightmare to trouble shoot and maintain.

There's more.

What's yours?

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#1

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/10/2017 4:55 PM

Haha that's a good one...yes I've seen it before...pre-servo...?

Here's one for ya,,, the mechanism for the convertible top on a 60's lincoln...

Look complicated? Looks aren't deceiving....

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#2

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/10/2017 5:02 PM

Without a doubt, it has to be the Chev that needed to have engine mounts removed and the engine lifted a bit to change spark plugs. Was it not the Monza?

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#8
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/10/2017 11:10 PM

The 3.4 liter engine in the early '90s Olds Cutlass' required you to drop the engine/transaxle to change plugs, change the alternator, change the oxygen sensor, etc. And the average life of an alternator is about 25,000 miles because it's buried so deep that it doesn't get any cooling air. I'm getting ready to install the 4th alternator, 88,000 miles on the vehicle.

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#10
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/10/2017 11:29 PM

Don't drop the engine, drop the car.

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#31
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 9:55 AM

I was able to suggest a gravity test.

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#22
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 6:45 AM

Big block Chrysler A bodies (Dart, pre 70 'cuda) were the same way.

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#30
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 9:54 AM

Nah, brother to me, it was the Cavalier.

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#3

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/10/2017 5:05 PM

Oooops!

You suggested this thread, and then we both started one.

Next discussion is same topic. Sorry Lyn, didn't mean to step on ya! My people should have contacted your people before I posted.

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#4
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/10/2017 5:23 PM

What can I say? Great minds think alike!

Besides, all my people are unavailable right now. They're all in the witness protection program right now.

That latest conflict of interest trial with "U NO WHO" just got bigly!

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#33
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 9:56 AM

Would that be your cousin what got fired from his own movie studio for groping?

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#5

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/10/2017 6:16 PM

I'm going to say the Dodge Tomahawk

Marketing gimmick my ass, more like PR department face saving for a production vehicle so crazy the entire team must have been high or drunk.

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#6

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/10/2017 7:45 PM

Pontiac, Aztec comes to mind.

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#7
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/10/2017 10:57 PM

GM, Ford, Chrysler have all ceased auto mfg in Australia, but when the Big 3 used engines with carburetors here in right-hand drive Australia, the carburetors stayed on the left side of the block, while the gas pedal moved to the right side of the vehicle.

The control cable that ran from the gas pedal to the carburetor suddenly encountered longer distance to get to the other side, a few curves to go past the engine, lots of heat when it crossed the exhaust manifold. They chose the heat and friction solution of glassfiber- & graphite-filled PTFE control cable liner tubing. Customs tariff rules made them buy here locally. My (then) company was the only local PTFE extruder capable of making the tubing.

Dumb thing for the Big 3, but a windfall for us! We made millions of dollars from that tubing.

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#9
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/10/2017 11:27 PM

Every LHD to RHD conversion faced the same issue, but some (Peugeot comes to mind) placed the throttle cable high enough that there was no heat issue and no need for special tubing - simply the bowden cable in a plastic tube - works great with a long life. I just replaced one for the first time at 450,000km and then only because I broke the tubing......

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#27
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 7:39 AM

Wasn't the Pontiac Aztec marketed with a slogan along the lines of

"Possibly the world's most vulgar vehicle".

?

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#11

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 12:15 AM

What about bubble tops on concept cars...?

For some reason designers in the 50's and 60's thought there would be no Sun in the future....

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#12
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 12:26 AM

Great Eagle, concept cars then were a form of social media, where you could show off your pale, impractical upholstery and your handsome, suntanned face, yet not get wet in the rain.

Beats taking the Rolls Royce Dawn convertible down to Walmart.

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#16
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 3:24 AM

You'll need one hell of a windscreen wiper to keep that clean.

Or just use one of those through glass magnetic wiper thingy's. What a great invention they were.

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#13

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 12:33 AM

I think hazard lights just being all the indicators on at once takes the cake. To start with using hazard lights at an intersection is downright dangerous because the opposite side indicator is unsighted; it appears to the person in the intersection that the vehicle is turning and not indicating a hazard. Another example of misleading signals could be at a busy accident scene where the one indicator may be obsured by respondents.

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#14
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 12:46 AM

Huh?

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#15
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 1:11 AM

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#17

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 4:08 AM

I'm on my 2nd Subaru Forester, great car but I still have not worked out how to change a spark plug on the boxer engine. There is about 2" clearance between the rocker cover & chassis rail but you need a 6" extension to reach the plug through the cover.

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#18
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 5:31 AM

Have you looked on YouTube yet?

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#20
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 5:46 AM

In case you haven't tried this:

changing spark plugs on a subaru forester

Oh, and by the way, always remember that Subaru is U R A Bus backwards

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#21
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 5:54 AM

I had not found that video, I'll watch it properly later. Nice find.

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#25
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 6:58 AM

You guys on here always slam people when they don't do their own research.

And now you go and give up so easy and, supply the guy with a link. What's that all about. Sorry Nigh.

This sites has gone down hill.

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#19

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 5:40 AM

Touch screen radios. The one in my bought-used 2008 Jeep GC is a PITA to navigate. I want the old school one where I can get to any station I want without looking away from the road. This touch screen crap is ridiculous. Plus the car came with a 500+ page owner's manual for the entertainment system. Seriously?

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#23
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 6:50 AM

"Plus the car came with a 500+ page owner's manual for the entertainment system."

Kind of like my wife's '14 Grand Caravan. Only came with a quick start guide, ~50 pages, containing a url to down load the user's manual. About a 685 page PDF :-O

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#24
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 6:52 AM

"Plus the car came with a 500+ page owner's manual for the entertainment system. Seriously?"

Surely you understand this is the main force behind autonomous vehicle development and associated law changes? It's so you will have the time (and freedom from legal liability as a driver) to read the &^%# manual for the radio.

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#36
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 10:06 AM

I ordered a dvd with my owners manual on it. It cost less than $5.00 as I recall.

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#35
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 9:59 AM

Ah you just need the voice command option for another $2k.....lol

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#26

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 7:30 AM

'Daytime running lights'. Why?

They figure everyone is too stupid to turn on their lights during heavy rain?

They want cars to burn even more gas for no reason while they're sitting still in rush hour traffic?

They want to make it harder to see first responder vehicles and motorcycles amid all the visual clutter of vehicle headlights?

They also sell sunglasses, so more daytime glare means more sunglasses sold?

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#28
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 9:05 AM

Actually, the worst part of day light is that the rear position lights are left off. This means that a night time, you follow all these dark cars without any rear lights on simply because they believe that their lights are all on.

Having the headlights on is a worthwhile safety feature that every car needs. Many people are not with it enough to turn their lights on when the conditions degrade. The manufacturers just forgot that the car needs to be seen from the rear as well.

I always keep all my car lights on day and nights. Well design cars like the Volvo or my new Acura turn them off automatically when the engine is stop. Beside poachers, who need the lights on when the engine is stop?

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#37
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done

10/11/2017 4:44 PM

I like DRLs, but the dumb thing about them is they don't turn the tails lights on too! People go around in inclement weather thinking they can be seen 'cause they got DRLs, but you come up behind one and get a surprise! It's an easy fix with a small piece of wire and a diode.

My Prius has a setting (as does my Highlander) that let's me leave the headlights on and it turns them off and on with the ignition. Why don't all cars do this?

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#29

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done?

10/11/2017 9:53 AM

So then, boyo, does it squirt your jaundiced eye when ye' open tha' door?

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#32

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done?

10/11/2017 9:55 AM

The DeLorean gull wing DMC-12 has to be a top candidate for so many reasons.

The original engine compartment was intended for a tiny rotary engine. When that design failed an under powered V6 was shoveled into the rear instead of the intended mid-engine area.

Yeah, the body and in particular the doors are so cool that three movies were made featuring this car. But the windows in those spectacular doors originally didn't open at all. This in an era where one had to exchange currency to pay for a toll road.

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#34
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done?

10/11/2017 9:58 AM

I would hate to go to a toll booth in that, or a drive-through liquor store, or fast food outlet.

Better have sword and pistol ready to produce in that wagon, ...and whiskey in the jar.

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#38

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done?

10/11/2017 4:48 PM

I see a lot of those with the "eyes" permanently open!

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#39

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done?

10/11/2017 4:51 PM

Then there's the 429 BOSS Mustang...plugs were fun to change...but the performance was worth it!

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#40

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done?

10/11/2017 9:15 PM

My wife had a 1986 Acura Integra. The horn, interior controls and dash lights stopped working. The problem was a faulty ballast resistor.

The ballast resistor was mounted behind the dashboard, against the fire wall, up near the top. In order to change it out, I needed to remove the steering wheel, speedometer/tachometer assembly, radio, center console near the shifter, heater / ac controls and linkage cables, glove box, heater and ac plenum box, wiring harness's and connectors, then unbolt the dashboard and remove it from the car.

I had the factory service manual ( 2 books ) and this was how it directed the repair to be done.

It took me about 11 hours to pull everything apart.

I spent about 2 hundred dollars for special Honda and snap on tools ( which I still have & have not used since ) .

The replacement ballast cost about $5.00

The dealer told me they usually charged about $900.00 for this repair.

The car had 84,000 miles on it.

At 86,000 miles, the transmission failed.

The dealer and aftermarket supplier's said no rebuilds were available.

The Acura dealership said they could rebuild our transmission for $5000.00 dollars.

So, we traded to car in for a 1998 Toyota Corolla VE.

We sold the Toyota at 98,000 miles & 10 years of use. The Toyota only required basic maintenance, two sets of tires and the fluids to be changed on schedule for the entire time we owned it.

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#41

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done?

10/12/2017 12:17 AM

1980 AMC. All nuts and bolts were SAE, and so were my sockets and box wrenches.

EXCEPT the A/C compressor which had to be moved to allow replacement of the water pump.

Luckily my next door neighbor owned a Saab, and had a set of metric tools.

Still hsve the 15 mm socket and boxwrench that I bought 30+years ago.

Now have sets of metric sockets and wrenches, but don't do my own repairs anymore

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#42
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done?

10/12/2017 9:35 AM

I thought you were going to say you still had your neighbor's metric set! LOL

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#43

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done?

10/12/2017 8:22 PM

Several cars come to mind.

The Ford Prefect with it's vacuum operated windscreen wipers. The faster you drove, the lower the manifold vacuum and the slower the wipers went - crazy. Stopped at lights, the wipers would be flailing enthusiastically.

Citroen ID19 with the starter motor switch as a gear stick position!!

The secret with those cars is never lend your car to anyone. I know because I worked in a Citroen garage and had to repair the starter motor on one. What happens is novice people trying to find the right gear - while the engine is running - engage the starter which as you can imagine gets kicked up to a really high speed when it engages with the starter ring. The motor spins so fast it throws the solder off the armature and the starter no longer works.

The fun starts when taking out the starter (the fix is itself quite simply resoldering the wires) because you have to take off the exhaust manifold which takes ages, since access is really poor.

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#44
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done?

10/13/2017 1:52 PM

You beat me to it on the Ford Prefect. My father had one in the 50's. Accelerating to overtake a large truck in heavy rain - you took your life in your hands. You have to wonder if Ford ever drove those cars in the rain.

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#45

Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done?

10/17/2017 3:27 AM

The Peugeot 505S turbo diesel had the water pump, fan and clutch as one piece. The clutch quit and I had to replace the entire thing at about $1000; that was around 1986. Another dumb thing was left hand and right hand threads on wheel lug nuts. And how about the emergency spare tire. Serpentine belts. When it broke, you were left dead in the water. High compression heads on a gasoline engine block on the Olds Toronado to turn it into a diesel. They were so unreliable that people would replace the diesel engine with a gasoline engine. Although low profile tires may be cool, if you run over a curb or a pothole, there goes that wheel and they ain't cheap to replace. Pneumatic windshield wipers. Remember when you could push start a car?

Of the smart things from the designers; how about the fuel switch over valve on VW's. It was much more reliable than any fuel gauge. When the engine started to miss, you knew you had exactly so much fuel left. You then switched the fuel valve and ran on what remained in the tank.

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#46
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Re: What's The Dumbest Thing Automotive Designers Have Ever Done?

10/17/2017 7:10 AM

"Of the smart things from the designers; how about the fuel switch over valve on VW's. It was much more reliable than any fuel gauge. When the engine started to miss, you knew you had exactly so much fuel left. You then switched the fuel valve and ran on what remained in the tank"

Yeah, I remember a fun story along those lines. My first car, a '69 Baja bug. I purchased it off my cousin for $100. It was his first car and he was stepping up to a '73 Dodge Dart with a V8. But I digress;

Since I was a poor high school kid, digging change for gas money from between the seats. I spent most of my time with the needle hovering around E, or in the case of the Beetle R, for reserve.

One day, I was ambling along in the next town over, hugging R thinking that I had enough gas to make it home and beg mom for some gas money.

The car started sputtering and a hit the switch with a sly smile, thinking that I had that extra half gallon of gas. And how cool my VW was for this feature. Well, nothing changed! I got a couple more sputters and, next thing I know, I was coasting dead.

WHAT HAPPENED?!!! I was so sure I had read that you had that reserve. Had to walk to the nearest store to put $0.10 in pay phone (remember those?) Thankfully, the friend that I called had a car and could give me a ride to get some gas.

Anyway, much later, I was talking to my Uncle, who had rebuilt the car for my cousin, and he informed me that he had ordered a replacement gas tank from Brazil. Well, it turns out at some point VW do Brazil, probably as a cost saving measure, had done away with the reserve system. So R no longer meant Reserve. It meant E for Empty. The tank was also smaller. (9.5 gal instead of the typical 10.5 gal.)

That was only one of many fun and exciting adventures in that car.

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