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Recently, I have been noticing a great many padiddles, or maybe peduncles -- I get them confused.  Anyway, it seems every time I go out, which is daily most days,  I am noticing lots of cars with a headlight out.  The other day, got two in a row.  So what's with that?  And I know that since its WINTER and all, there's more dark than light, so more headlight use, and ... I get that.  But also I see this during the day, as most cars these days run headlights all the time.  Maybe this is nothing unusual, but it sure seems odd to me how many, almost every trip I take. ??

2007 JPS MotorSports Speedster

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Add to that the number of drivers who drive at night and don't turn on their lights. The DRLs are on, which is why they think their lights are on, but nothing shining out the back of the car. And when you are behind them turning on/off your lights to let them know they know not what you're trying to tell them. Makes me wish I was still handing out traffic citations.

Echo Mike Mc's comment on the cost of the new car LED headlights.  My Miata has lights that turn with car's direction - they too are $1400 LED.  The LEDs are not replaceable - have to buy the entire assembly.

Perfect! 16 17 18 19 20 21 Mazda Miata Full Led Lh Driver Side Headlight Afs Oem

On my other cars, I used the OSRAM/Sylvania SilverStar high-performance headlight replacement bulbs.  They do have a shorter life than the less bright OEM ones but fortunately are only $20/each (and I avoid driving at night if possible).

FL has NO safety inspections on cars - typical to see even all the rear lights out on a car.  Supposedly Sheriff enforces violation - but heck if I'd stop at 11 pm with dark tinted window to tell the driver he had a bulb out.  Would be a death wish with ~50% of the population armed to the teeth!

I dunno', guys -- but I don't need headlights that turn.

Dad always used to say, "if you want to buy the thing with all the options, be ready to forever pay to fix them".

He was talking about power windows (which I myself have paid to have rebuilt on the limo), and not about a car with a 19" touch-screen popping out of the dash like somebody planted some touch-screen seeds in the center vents and one of them sprouted and mutated into the Venus Flytrap from Little Shop of Horrors. I'm unsure what he'd make of all that, or about ads encouraging drivers to take their buttery soft hands off the tiller of their truck while towing a small yacht. Just a few years ago, we had half-tons pulling locomotives in football season truck ads -- now, we're selling a vehicle that sells gross negligence as an attribute, served with a side of faux aspirational manliness. Seriously -- Mr. GQ can't figure out how to tow his boat without the computer doing it for him and Mary Barra thinks I want this?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the tracks -- I'm in some sort of strange alternative reality where all 4 work trucks (as well as Jeanie's minivan) all take the same H11 headlight bulbs or some derivative for both the low and high beams -- meaning there are 20 headlights using an H11 bulb. I bought a pair of $50 Amazon LEDs, which did not change my life but did brighten up the low beams on one of the Transit Connects, enough that I bought 3 more pair for the other work-truck low beams. For highs, I'll still probably use some flame-thrower halogen bulb and call it good. We drive with the low beams on all the time -- I'm not sure why anybody wouldn't unless they like being invisible.

The idea that anybody anywhere wants a $1500 headlight is something I can't put my head around.

It's kind of like getting a windshield replaced now. Last one, the guy who did it had to "calibrate" the glass, one assumes so that I can make contact with aliens through my work truck windshield, but I'm not 100% sure.

The modern vehicle is expensive obsolescence just waiting to happen.

Last edited by Stan Galat

Dad always used to say, "if you want to buy the thing with all the options, be ready to forever pay to fix them".

My grandfather (the dairy farmer- turned appliance repair man) said essentially the same thing "the more stuff you add, the more there is to go wrong."  He explained to me how Maytag washer used a much simpler design to agitate the wash vs the conglomerate GE/Kenmore/westinghouse/etc. branded washers, and this is why he's having to fix those and not getting calls for the Maytags.

Now even Maytag is branded and isn't any better.

@DannyP posted:

I can't like @Stan Galat 's last comment enough. I cringed when I saw the ad with the faux-manly-man hit the self-drive/cruise button on his Chevy truck WHILE TOWING!

WTF are they thinking? Talk about irresponsible behavior! Sheesh!

And seriously with the headlights? Shoot me.

Danny, my wife and I were struck with the same shock >> TOWING hands free???!!  And, look at the size of the load!  I can't recall while I'm typing this, but it was a good number of four wheelers on that trailer.   Irresponsible is most certainly the description. 

@DannyP posted:

I can't like @Stan Galat 's last comment enough. I cringed when I saw the ad with the faux-manly-man hit the self-drive/cruise button on his Chevy truck WHILE TOWING!

WTF are they thinking? Talk about irresponsible behavior! Sheesh!

And seriously with the headlights? Shoot me.

Heck, manly-man doesn't even have to know how to back up when he is towing something. Push another button and the truck will back up the trailer now too.

@LI-Rick posted:

Get off my lawn!    You guys sound like old men.  More than 20 years ago I was riding jump seat in a B757 and the captain asked if I would like to see them perform an auto land.  It was pretty cool.

I am an old man, Rick, and so are you ("More than 20 years ago... etc. and so forth).

I work with Direct Digital Controls (DDC) every day, and modern controls can be amazing -- when they are doing things better than they could be done with analog devices or by human input. But regarding over-automation in general, see also: "Boeing Dreamliner 787 fires" and "Boeing 737 Max crashes" for reference.

More and more, I'm coming to believe that peak civilization occurred about Y2K. That 757 landed itself before the computers fully took over from humans in transportation. Most "advances" since 2000 have been cost-reduction engineering and frippery for full-sized children unable to perform basic tasks (like parallel parking) for themselves.

From the Harvard Business School website:

In my experience with advanced technology products, quick fixes often lead to design compromises that create more problems. This happened with the 737 MAX in 2015 when it encountered stall problems. Rather than further design changes that would have risked the 737’s original type-certification, Boeing opted for a major software change that was not disclosed to the FAA or described in its pilot’s manual.

The flaws in the software design that took flight control away from the pilots without their knowledge based on data from a single sensor, ultimately led to the two 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019, causing the deaths of 346 people. After the first crash, Boeing issued a statement that offered pilots and passengers “our assurance that the 737 MAX is as safe as any airplane that has ever flown the skies.” That assurance came back to haunt Boeing four months later when the second MAX crashed.

- Bill George, former Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Medtronic.

Someday soon, some yahoo in a self-driving Silverado towing a tank of Anhydrous Ammonia is going to wipe out a neighborhood.

So, yeah -- Get off my lawn.

Last edited by Stan Galat

One of my bicycling friends was recently in the market for a new car and wanted one that could park itself better than he could, which wasn’t asking much, but he is 73, after all.  One of those he looked at was a Ford Explorer, so he went to a local dealer and asked to see a demo of the self-parking features.

They put him in the driver’s seat with the salesperson in the passenger seat and it was supposed to back correctly into a spot after crudely lining up as if he just pulled up and then hit “park me” or some such thing.

The car backs up pretty quickly and just as he started to say, “Is it supposed to be going this fast?” It backs over the curbing with a huge bounce and he hit the brakes just as the rear bumper hit the building.  “WHAM!”

Needless to say, this caused a lot of excitement, with a lot of finger pointing at my friend who maintained that he did what the salesperson told him to do, so the general manager decided that he would try the same maneuver to see if it acted OK for him.  He lined up the same way, hit “park me” or some such, it backed up really fast and hit the same spot in the building, “WHAM!”

Both the building and the car’s rear bumper were showing some unexpected wear buy this time, mostly from two bumper impacts inside of five minutes and the bumper was now flat across the back, rather than neatly following the contour of the rest of the car.

After that, they all decided that something was wrong with the car and no more fingers were pointing at my friend.  He left and that was that, BUT, he never heard from the dealership again - No apology, no offer to demo a different car, no “How yah doin’? After the crash. In fact, no contact at all.

He ended up demoing and buying a Lexus which seems to park itself just fine, even when they have a couple of E-Bikes on a rack on the back.  

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Another bicycling friend has a seafood restaurant near us and a long time ago (around 2004) he bought a Range Rover that is taller than most.  His reasoning was that he often rushes in to the fish market in Boston to buy fish for his restaurants and with the taller cargo space he can stack three coolers high by two wide to bring fish home.

Anyway, last Summer his Rover got dinged in the parking lot of his restaurant and he had a local body shop repair it, but they couldn’t find a new headlight in any Range/Land Rover dealer or salvage yard  in the US because it was a one-year model here.  Buying a new one from Range Rover in the UK looked like around $2,100 delivered.  His shop was pretty diligent and eventually found one in a salvage yard in Scotland that wanted £850 and shipped it DHL for another £75.   That seemed like a bargain by that time, and a week later it showed up and his shop could finish their job.  

I thought that was a lotta bucks/pounds at the time, until I read through this thread.  It’s kind of like “earbuds” that cost $250.  I know electronic assemblies and there can’t be more than $30 bucks worth of stuff in them.  That is one helluva mark-up!

I have thought, in reference to the original post, that one reason for the seemingly high number of outages noted is that changing the bulbs in the modern cars can be very difficult.  My 2006 Mazda was that way.  It was a maneuver that was only just manageable with my big ham hocks.  I believe some skin was left behind.  Recently had to do same maneuver in the Subaru, 2009 vintage.  This one is a mixed bag.  The low beam bulb was easy-peasy took about 5 mins.  The high beam one (not yet burned out, still working) requires some additional disassembly of surrounding parts.  The idea of $1500 to replace an entire assembly is outrageous.  If I ever ran in to an engineer that designed such a thing, I think I'd straggle him.

One of my bicycling friends was recently in the market for a new car and wanted one that could park itself better than he could, which wasn’t asking much, but he is 73, after all.  One of those he looked at was a Ford Explorer, so he went to a local dealer and asked to see a demo of the self-parking features.

They put him in the driver’s seat with the salesperson in the passenger seat and it was supposed to back correctly into a spot after crudely lining up as if he just pulled up and then hit “park me” or some such thing.

The car backs up pretty quickly and just as he started to say, “Is it supposed to be going this fast?” It backs over the curbing with a huge bounce and he hit the brakes just as the rear bumper hit the building.  “WHAM!”

Needless to say, this caused a lot of excitement, with a lot of finger pointing at my friend who maintained that he did what the salesperson told him to do, so the general manager decided that he would try the same maneuver to see if it acted OK for him.  He lined up the same way, hit “park me” or some such, it backed up really fast and hit the same spot in the building, “WHAM!”

Both the building and the car’s rear bumper were showing some unexpected wear buy this time, mostly from two bumper impacts inside of five minutes and the bumper was now flat across the back, rather than neatly following the contour of the rest of the car.

After that, they all decided that something was wrong with the car and no more fingers were pointing at my friend.  He left and that was that, BUT, he never heard from the dealership again - No apology, no offer to demo a different car, no “How yah doin’? After the crash. In fact, no contact at all.

He ended up demoing and buying a Lexus which seems to park itself just fine, even when they have a couple of E-Bikes on a rack on the back.  

One of my favorite songs from Donald Fagen's first solo record is called "IGY," for International Geophysical Year. It's a sweet tune about a beautiful future and, as a kid, I did not quite hear the staggering irony in its lyrics, one line of which is "Just machines that make big decisions, programmed by fellas with compassion and vision."

Circa about two or three years ago, we're all of us always about an hour away from

Last edited by edsnova
@El Frazoo posted:

I have thought, in reference to the original post, that one reason for the seemingly high number of outages noted is that changing the bulbs in the modern cars can be very difficult.  My 2006 Mazda was that way.  It was a maneuver that was only just manageable with my big ham hocks.  I believe some skin was left behind.  Recently had to do same maneuver in the Subaru, 2009 vintage.  This one is a mixed bag.  The low beam bulb was easy-peasy took about 5 mins.  The high beam one (not yet burned out, still working) requires some additional disassembly of surrounding parts.  The idea of $1500 to replace an entire assembly is outrageous.  If I ever ran in to an engineer that designed such a thing, I think I'd straggle him.

I am of the opinion an engineer needs to spend a month, or more, with a mechanic so the can see the end result of some of their asinine design decisions. I have to remove the front grill and several other parts of the truck to replace the bulbs in my RAM 2500. But at least I can replace the bulbs.

Last edited by Robert M

^^ THAT!! ^^   That's the key!  (along with a lot of support from Senior Management)

I went so far as to embed a few Corporate field service engineers, the guys who supervised and/or actually did equipment installs and repairs, into my design groups as full team members who had a vote on design aspects.  If they didn't support something and had a valid reason for their non-support, the design got changed until they were happy.  They were still product cost constrained, but could work within that economic framework (and they often saved us money).

We wondered how all this would work, given that a lot of designers can be prima-donnas, but after everyone got done jousting for position (and after a few senior managers read them all the riot act) they got along and our products became WAY more serviceable.  Fast forward ten years and the stuff they were producing was amazing for serviceability and the envy of the industry.  Then, Dell bought the company and all that work got trashed as they separated everyone again, because "Dell doesn't do things that way".   😢

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

^^ THAT!! ^^   That's the key!  (along with a lot of support from Senior Management)

I went so far as to embed a few Corporate field service engineers, the guys who supervised and/or actually did equipment installs and repairs, into my design groups as full team members who had a vote on design aspects.  If they didn't support something and had a valid reason for their non-support, the design got changed until they were happy.  They were still product cost constrained, but could work within that economic framework (and they often saved us money).

We wondered how all this would work, given that a lot of designers can be prima-donnas, but after everyone got done jousting for position (and after a few senior managers read them all the riot act) they got along and our products became WAY more serviceable.  Fast forward ten years and the stuff they were producing was amazing for serviceability and the envy of the industry.  Then, Dell bought the company and all that work got trashed as they separated everyone again, because "Dell doesn't do things that way".   😢

@DannyP posted:

Fully agree, designers should be required to work on the shite they design.

Then they might understand!

My high school educated brother works at a manufacturing company that builds the machines that wrap boxes around other people’s products. They build the machine that puts the box around the bag of Triscuits and etc.  He’s one of the most mechanically inclined people I’ve ever met.  Self-taught mechanic and has a knack for thinking many, many steps ahead to avoid problems. Anyway, after building these machines and constantly having to fight with the designers/engineers regarding their blueprints, he took a segment of machinery into one of their meetings and dropped it onto the table and told them to assemble it. It was their blueprint so they should have been able to.  Mind you, they had mocked him plenty because he didn’t have an education like they did.  But in the end they couldn’t put together one of their own designs because so many parts got in the way of the other parts. Not to mention the entire machine would have to be disassembled to replace a single solenoid if it failed. They didn’t mock him anymore and he got to review blueprints before they were approved because of his ability to envision the finished machine.

He eventually got promoted to their Quality Control team, went on to become he guy that traveled the world to do warranty work, and eventually designed a chassis that was more universal and could be adapted to a multitude of machines instead of them using a different chassis for every build.  It saved the company millions. He’s given his three year notice so somebody can be trained to replace him and the owner has already told him she’ll pay him to be a consultant.  

@Robert M I've seen that territorialism a lot, although we solved it at EMC by integrating most major functions into our core product teams and then searched far and wide for the proper people to lead the teams, realizing that all teams are different because of the product they're working on and the skill sets of the team members.

I brought a guy with me from a startup to EMC.  At the time he would have been described as moderately dyslexic because he was unable to construct sentences on paper or overheads.  He was OK in meetings (if a little impatient with his team members - OK, so, a LOT impatient!)  His presentation skills were limited by his impatience with others.  What I had found out was that he could look at something, take it apart in his mind and see all of the individual parts and how they assembled and worked or didn't work.  He would do this in seconds (it was pretty impressive to see), even with design drawings.  Sounds kind-of like your brother, and companies are very lucky to recognize this sort of talent and encourage it to grow, because it is not often accepted by designers.  

Eventually, once we gotten heavily into Computer Aided design, he could do the same thing right on the CAD screen.   He was a genius at it and became a company treasure so we supplied him with an intern to write stuff for him (and they learned the company and design groups from following him around), convinced him to work on his people skills (that was tough for him to do) and become a product evangelist, wandering around to different meetings and dropping hints (he called them "Tedbits" - Ted was his name).  I can't remember how many designs and patents he influenced, but it was a lot.  Ted was from Oklahoma, as was our VP of Quality and to hear them together in a meeting with designers was a hoot with all of their OK sayings.  They'd be looking at some prints and you would hear something like:

" THAT dog cain't HUNT!   And here's WHY! "

Today, I suppose we would describe Ted as highly functioning on the Autistic scale.  Back then, the designers just called him their conscience.....  Actually, he's now retired and bugging his town government.

Interestingly enough, he became pretty effective with the software people, too and he had an extraordinarily retentive memory.  He would wander into a meeting and sit quietly while someone as explaining how their code worked and then ask, "What happens when the customer does this and this, followed by this?"  The designers, being infallible, would say, "That'll never happen."

"Yeah, OK, but it happened to XYZ bank in Charlotte seven months ago, exactly like that."  

Sure enough, when they checked it out, he was right.

Happened a lot.  Thank God there are more Teds and guys like your brother out there.

Getting back to the original topic, It is just as important to save money on repairs as it is in the original product cost to be competitive.  If you go to a dealer to replace a non-warranty headlight bulb which requires an entire headlight assembly swap at $1,500+ bucks AND they have to spend 4 hours taking the vehicle front end apart to swap it out AND the customer gets a bill for $2,100 bucks, do you think they'll be thrilled about buying another car of that make?  I know that others might be just as bad, but the owner will only see THAT vehicle and probably won't buy another one.

OTOH, if bulbs are swappable and you can do it in 30 minutes or less, that's a BIG difference in customer/owner perception.

Last edited by Gordon Nichols
@edsnova posted:

Thing about Ted and @Robert M's brother: guys like him have been unemployable by companies like that for two generations now. No BS = no interview. OR: "impatience with others" = you're fired.

Today these guys are driving trucks or running a muffler shop somewhere, stewing. I think it's a big part of why things are [gestures expansively].

There is a glut of unemployed people with degrees. Most everyone I went to high school with, who weren't interested in college but participated in the Regional Occupational Program (Vocational Training), are very successful today. Most of them went into the trades and are making nice money. My wife, who has been in education for the past 31+ years, said the No Child Left Behind initiative was a farce. It was later discovered that all of the information used to promote it was manipulated. Not everyone is interested in college and not every job needs a college degree. Now, we have a lack of trades people to do trades work. It's near impossible to get service from an electrician, plumber or other skilled tradesman without having to wait a while.

Last edited by Robert M

Way up in an earlier post I mentioned that people like those two mentioned need the support of management, all the way up to the top.  We were lucky to be joined by a guy, Mike, who had been responsible for the quality of the Patriot Missile Program at Raytheon, who quickly became our highly respected CEO.  He was a very quick learner but was also one of the most compassionate managers I’ve had the pleasure of working for.  

Mike understood people.  He also understood the dynamics of project teams and the friction that could happen during product development.  He made very sure that ALL levels of management on his team were on board with supporting high value employees and high quality products any way we could and that petty personal politics wasn’t allowed on his ship.  Those found to be bucking that trend weren’t around long.  Mike started just after me in 1988 and was CEO from 1990 to around 2002.  His successor helped to sell the company to Dell Technologies, which un-did a lot of what we had set up for product quality (we had the best product quality in the business from 1994 until just after 2016), employee growth and employee satisfaction.  Now it has become just an average company with people who work their 8 hours and then bail for home.

If you want to learn a bit about “Mike”, then google “Mike Ruettgers EMC” or follow this link to the Harvard Business Review.

Back in the WW-1 the Army decided to test a Giant Kentucky Jumping Bug for use on the battle field as a message carrier.  The Army proving grounds /facility received a cage with several of these huge bugs inside. One of the tasks was to teach the bugs to jump, on command,  to the next foxhole with a message taped to it's back. They would say JUMP BUG ! and it would !

Next was destructive testing. They tore off one leg and yelled "JUMP BUG !" and the bug would jump but fell short of it's original capability by one sixth of the original distance.  This was deemed acceptable so they continued until they tore off the last leg and commanded the bug to Jump.  The legless bug just sat there.

Back in Washington, the report on testing the Giant Kentucky Jumping Bug was headlined with TEST FAILED !!  The reason given was :  It became apparent that deep into the test, the Bug developed a severe hearing problem !

Bruce

I gave Stan my son’s sweet and sour mix recipe and I’ll share it here for those who are interested.  

1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice, 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, the juice of one orange, and 50% of the total liquid volume in sugar.

So if you get 2 1/2 cups of liquid you’ll need 1 1/4 cups of sugar. Warm the fresh squeezed juice and sugar mix on the stove on medium heat just long enough to dissolve/melt the sugar.  Let it cool in the fridge overnight before using it.

Whiskey Sour:

Put 3 shot glasses of the sour mix, 1 shot glass of whiskey, and one egg white in a shaker and shake for about 45 seconds.  Add ice to the shaker and shake again for 45 seconds or so. Strain the liquid into a whiskey glass with ice and enjoy.  

Last edited by Robert M

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