"BTW: It is a myth that the automotive industry uses the least expensive materials and assembly techniques." I didn't say they did. I said they used the cheapest that would GET THEM PAST THE WARRANTY DATE. Case in point, they don't use tinned wires. After 20 years many cars have wires that are punked out. But, cars are sold for the first (and maybe second) buyer, not for "the best" wiring. I've had a fuse *socket* punk out in my car, apparently from moisture entering the fuse box under the hood
. And my OEM muffler
routinely has to be replaced because it was welded after galvanizing, neatly blowing the galvanizing off at the welds, and not retreated. In a quirk of fate, after replacing it more than once, I've got one that has a "lifetime replacement" policy on it which will cost them dearly for me--but how many other people keep a car past four years? Or multiples of that?
"BECAUSE of the huge numbers involved no manufacturer can afford to have to correct bad designs or implementations of assembly, the loss would be terrible. " There are no costs after the warranty runs out, unless there is safety recall
, and that's a whole different issue. "It also is a myth that any automotive engineer
purposefully designs in a potential lifetime failure to occur after warranty expires." No one said they did. But the point is not that they design failures--only that they, like many companies, "design to a price" and that means the cheapest possible product, which the market demands, that will live to the warranty point, as the market demands.
I have a friend who used to do financial prediction as an executive for a major corporation, for warranty analysis. Literally every penny of every procedure is analyzed to see if they MUST spend it, or allocate it in reserve for warranty work. And, how corners can be cut to produce the best profit. That's all business as usual these days.
How many makers do you know (used to be Volvo
, and one top-end Cadillac model) that build stainless steel exhaust
systems, which last 10-20+ years instead of 4-6? Few or none, because the average buyer doesn't care if the pipes fall out 6-10 years down the line. They only keep the car for 2-3 years, sometimes 4-5 now, and after that? Right, it is out of warranty. Hyundai is famous for having a ten-year warranty, which is very clever (exemptions aside!) because they started offering it because buyers were and are afraid of repair costs. (They also have one of the best records for "improvements" per year and at the same time, worst reliability, warranty or not.)
That's all a reality of free/mass-market economics, it is very hard not to play the game
that way and still stay in business.
"So, don't be too swift to denigrate automotive techniques compared with those used aboard any vessel." Horses for courses and all that good stuff. I don't denigrate them because they are built to a price
, I just point out that that is the reason for many of their decisions--PRICE and price alone. The only reason they have air bags is because they were required. As options, folks wouldn't buy them. (Now, some do, sometimes.) Ditto for the quality of the air bag connectors. There have been recalls, and suits over failures, because even now the air bag and other critical safety systems are sometimes built to a price--incorrectly. Hell, you even see this in the commercial
aviation industry and the practice is ENDORSED by the FAA and the courts. Literally, one passenger death is worth about $3 million. One average plane crash, perhaps $300 million in such deaths. If a safety improvement will cost more than $300 million (whatever the actual number) per year and it won't save that much in death payments--it doesn't get made. That's industry policy AND law.
Consider the case of TWA800, an exploding cener fuel tank
. 24 other planes exploded in the two years prior to that. Nothing was done because most were overseas carriers, but the problem was well known. Now, in 2005, the FAA only *just* passed a ruling calling for a retrofit program to make modifications to prevent this, by inerting fuel tanks
. That program calls for completion by...Guess when? Something like 2011. Safety? Nope. Economics.
On the other hand, the military doesn't have that problem. They've been inerting their fuel tanks
for decades, because they are equally concerned with costs--but MORE concerned about the cost of lost
combat aircraft. They can't tolerate it, even though the military never pays out that kind of money
for KIA air crews.
I agree with you that it is not possible to inspect the dieletric after a soldering job, but that's what, Schrodinger's Cat? You can't inspect anything after it is done without undoing it. On the other hand, with some practice you can learn what will be a good soldering job, and even cut some apart to inspect them and confirm the procedure will be good. And the SWR meter says my soldering jobs are doing just fine, that's all that really matters. (Well, MFJ will sell you a better analyzer if things are critical, but that's still more money
What I like about soldering PL-259's is that I *know* the center conductor will have a good electrical
and mechanical connection, not subject to any motion or pulling apart when I'm done. I also cheat now, I use solder paste (Solder-It) applied before I seat the coax, so I know it has fully penetrated and it will flow and seal nicely with lower heat. (I don't like having to do the same job twice.<G>) Will the dielectric be perfect? Maybe not, but have you looked at some of the crud you find in crimped antenna connections five years down the line? UGH.
Horses for courses. Doesn't make any of them wrong, but they are all sold (and often built<G>) to a price. Price of a car breakdown: A call to AAA. Price of a boat breakdown: Don't AAA wish they could charge TowBoat prices.<G>