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The Deterioration of American Engineering

By the_webninja ·
The Deterioration of American Engineering

My Objectives in writing this, is not to whine and complain, but rather to complain with a PURPOSE.
So that Engineers may read this and Wake the fk up! And provide the people with more Quality and less BS. That is my Goal here, to enlighten the Engineers on higher standards.

What do I mean?
I?ll give you some really good examples: A while back I had a Problem with a 1970 Chevy Nova, the Fuel Pump went bad. No problem, it was bolted to the Fire Wall just under the Hood of the car, I unbolted it in about 5 minutes, bought a brand new one for about $12 Dollars and had it fixed in all of about an hour. In 1999 I had a Problem with a 1993 Chevy Camaro fuel Pump, and in order to replace THAT Fuel pump I now had to Lift up the whole Vehicle, Unbolt the Rear Axle from the frame, Remove the Fuel Tank, just to get access to the Fuel Pump which cost about $150.00 dollars. Later on down the road, I had a problem with a 1993 Ford Pick up Truck, I just wanted to give it a Tune up, and Replace the Fuel Filter as part of the Tune up. The Fuel Filter was Located in a very tight spot under the center of the vehicle tucked up into the Frame, and just to remove the Fuel Filter I had to go buy this Special little tool, just to remove the damn thing, and even then they intentionally designed it so there was not enough clearance between one side of the Fuel Filter and the Frame just to make it more difficult to fix. This is how much trouble they cause us if we just want to Tune up our vehicle and maintain it. Which is something that ALL Vehicle owners should be able to do, because if you do not maintain your vehicle, eventually it will stop working sooner than usually. (Meaning maybe they did this intentionally so they could sell more Cars?) What kind of people do things like this? The same kind of people who make Viruses, Hack people?s Computers to steal their Money, and Rip off Enron? Yeah those kind of people.

As long as we are on the Subject, in 2000 I had a problem with my fuel pump in my 1994 Toyota Celica,
So I decided it was a good time to give it a Tune up as well. I was Shocked to notice that all I had to do to remove the Fuel pump from my Toyota was lift up the back seat and unbolt it from the Fuel Tank Through a hole in the bottom of the Chassis that the Manufacturers provided for the Owner to work on the Vehicle with ease. I got a really good feeling from this, knowing that the Engineers at Toyota THOUGHT about me, when they designed this car. And I appreciated that. Then I went to change the Spark Plugs and wires, and I noticed that the whole Engine was mounted to a slight Angle to make it easier for the Owner to access the Spark Plugs. I was thinking ?Wow these guys are COOL!? After all of my negative experiences with American Automobiles it felt absolutely REFRESHING to work on a Toyota. Instead of my Wife hearing a bunch of Grumbling and Complaining as I worked on the Car, I came back in the house in only a few minutes with a SMILE on my face, like I just had Sex!

A few days later I tried to Flush the Radiator of a 1996 Chevy Cavalier and came to realize that they made the Radiator Drain Valve out of Nylon so that it would Tear off if you tried to use a Pair of Pliers on it. Once again American Engineering is creating Negative Feelings and I begin to associate mental associations of Aggravation in association with anything made in the US because of all of this.

And it is not just something specifically related to Automobile Engineering either. In 2004 I purchased an ATI Radeon 9550 Video Card with 256MB of Video Memory on it. (This was suppose to be a pretty top of the line Card at that time). But when I got it home and installed it into my Machine, I went to adjust the Settings of the Display to True Color, and it only went up to High Color 32 Bit. I downloaded new Updated Drivers and it did nothing. I had a couple problems running Video Software such as Nero with it, and some Problems running some Games too. When I tried contacting the Manufacturer ATI (who is now Owned by AMD) the Customer Service Rep acts like I am some Lowly Pee on Customer who is only Entitled to whatever Customer Service THEY wish to provide, and I should go screw myself if I am not happy with the product, or willing to submit to accepting their BS. I?m not okay with that. I buy something expecting it to WORK. I do not Purchase things so that I can experience Problems with them. It is the job of the Engineer to figure out all the Problems, that?s why they Pay YOU the Big Bucks, and they don?t hire people like me. Cause you are suppose to be SMARTER than me right? So Act like it, and Fix the Problems before you ship the Product. The only thing the Consumer should have to do is plug it in and use it. PERIOD. The User should not have to perform a whole slue of Troubleshooting Procedures just because your Engineers are so damn Lazy or Stupid that they couldn?t bench test the Prototypes enough to figure out every possible scenario BEFORE you ship it!

And ATI is not the only Guilty party, we all have had some Grumbling and Cursing projected towards Microsoft at one point or another. And I just KNOW that Vista is going to be packing it?s own unique batch of Nightmares we will all have to fight our way through. But the question is WHY? When did it become OKAY to ship Products with known Problems and Bugs in it? When did that become Acceptable? If I gave a Teacher a Multi-Media Format Software Program that I produced for an Assignment, and the Teacher Couldn?t even USE it, do you think I would get a Passing Grade on that Project? It should be Common Sense shouldn?t it? Or has Americans become so corrupt, and so Stupid, that mediocrity and substandard work, and intentional sabotage like the American Automobile Companies Practice, becomes the Norm in Engineering? Is this the RIGHT way to do things? I don?t think so.

Global Star Software is another Company that produces at least one Software Program I know of with Bugs in it, called Jet Fighter IV. I bought this Program then Tried to run it on my PC, and it kept Locking up every time I tried to Click on any Start option to start the Game. I could run down a whole list of my Top of the line Components that would show you there would be no reason why a Game should Lock up on my PC. I am running 1 GB of Ram, plus 256MB of Video Ram. But the question is, why do they Ship a Game that will not Run? It should be tested on every single Format, with every different kind of Video Card and Every single Driver. If it is not, then the Engineers are not doing their Job, and they should be Fired for Dereliction of Duty PERIOD. If you are not going to hire people like ME to supervise those idiots, then you need to take the responsibility for it. And maybe YOU should be Fired too for allowing it to happen.

And when you Produce a Product that has Flaws, your Customer Service Rep had better be French Kissing my Asss. Because if they are not, do you actually think I am going to Forgive you for creating a bunch of Problems for me? No, no, no, you take your Customer Service Reps with those Attitude Problems right out, or I will be typing up a letter about YOUR Company next. And if people stop Supporting these Companies who Promote and Produce Substandard Products that create so many problems for all of us, then these Companies committing these great evils will fall, and be forgotten or remembered as the BAD example in Engineering, as they should be. We should not Support Substandard Engineering ANYWHERE in the World. To create Problems for the Customer would be like biting the hand that feeds you. It makes no Sense.

Engineering follows a PLAN, and when you Produce Products that Create Problems I consider this a PLANNED ACTION, which falls under Negligence, Incompetence, False Advertising, Fraud, and probably a few other things I forgot about. Which could very reasonably result in a Class action Lawsuit against your Company. If someone wanted to make themselves Famous for Righting a Great Wrong that is.
So I suggest you make your Customer Service people a little bit nicer, especially if you created a bunch of BS for the Customer to start with. People do not like shitt that doesn?t WORK. Or doesn?t work the way it is suppose to.

What can be done about it?
The Engineering people are trying to slowly Condition the Public to accept lower Standards in engineering, by giving the Customers this ?So what are you gonna do about it? pushy style attitude. The Republican Companies work with Republican Media to try to suppress any Reporting of this kind of stuff so the Public goes on acting Stupid and Accepting all the BS from all of these Educated Idiot Engineers who really don?t give a damnn about you, as long as they can drive home in their Brand New Hummer to their Big Cushy House, do you really think they care if you are sitting home have problems with your PC? Helll no!

The only way to Change American Engineering is to Demand Higher Quality. That means Fire Everyone who is in Charge of Quality Control because they are not doing their Jobs, and maybe you ought to think about Hiring ME instead. The Distributors need to Demand Higher Quality as well, don?t buy it just because it is Cheaper, check it out, Test every Product you Sell on your Own Test Bench PC, and if the Part or Software is Junk, or Problematic, then don?t sell it. We should not Support Engineers who Create Problems for the Customer. And it is everyone?s Job to make sure these Engineers are producing Quality Products. It is the Supervisor?s Job, The Distributor?s Job, The Tech?s Job, The Media?s Job, and the Customer?s Job as well. Because as long as we keep Buying Junk, they will be more than happy to sell it to us. But once we stop buying Junk then the Engineers will be forced to Produce Quality Products with fewer Problems, and BETTER Customer Service. This should be our Goal.

Mark Evans


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A good rant, I should point out

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to The Deterioration of Amer ...

that us engineers are often hampered in the pursuit of quality by those who fund us' pursuit of bottom line.

On the car front domestic american cars aren't the only ones with that sort of 'erm design feature.
The weird tool trick is a regular.

My favourite was a spline key for the bolts on an exhaust manifold. Tool was about ?15 many years ago. After it just stripped three of the seven bolt heads, it got thrown away in disgust. Hacksaw and a large screwdriver solved that problem. And of course some hex studs so I could put it back together again !

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But the worst of British engineering, Tony

by NickNielsen In reply to A good rant, I should poi ...

has to be the Lords of Darkness.

I owned a 1968 MGA for about a year back in the early 80s and cursed Lucas every time I had to open the hood, since it was usually for an electrical problem. But then, I was never able to get a proper manual, either. After 4 batteries and less than 5,000 km, I gave it up as a bad effort and sold the car.

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Oh really

by ElanSE In reply to But the worst of British ...

You bought an 12+ year old car and it had issues. Who would have though! Time to understand that it was more a problem with your expectations and get over it.

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Don't you like Nick or something ?

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Oh really

If you are standing up for british automotive engineering excellence, you're going bang your shins every time you get under the car.

Talbot Princess, now there was a piece of engineering, you could see it all once you brushed the rusty bodywork away.

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Obviously an MG fan

by NickNielsen In reply to Don't you like Nick or so ...

but not an MG owner

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You've pretty much hit the zone with 1968

by DelbertPGH In reply to But the worst of British ...

For quite a few decades, British automobiles and electricity just didn't seem to get along. All the way up through the 1980s anything that had to do with wires just stunk for reliability. I hate to speak well of Margaret Thatcher, but once she made it possible to out-contract the electrical subsystems to the Germans, the pleasure of the English driving experience increased immensely.

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From the other side

by jdmercha In reply to The Deterioration of Amer ...

It's all about the money. A 10% increase in quality will add 90% more to the cost. A case in point is a nuclear power plant. You can buy a small valve for you home for $30. But if you want to use that same valve in a nuclear plant, and be sure that it is of the highest possible quality, it will cost you $300.

Designing products to a high quality is easy. Getting people to pay for them is very difficult. Otherwise everybody would have Stickley furniture in thier homes.

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Agree completely

by Tig2 In reply to From the other side

My father spent his life designing aircraft. One of his projects was a "jumbo" jet. The aircraft was initially developed for the military so mil spec was a requirement- very high quality. The problem was that the manufacturer lost money every time one rolled out of production.

This particular aircraft is considered to be one of the safest in the air. It is also so prohibitively expensive, no one can afford to fly it.

The engineers DO care about the quality of their work. But they don't get to make all of the decisions. In the end, business decides what the quality level is.

From the perspective of Customer Satisfaction/Customer Service, I agree. We have become so accustomed to inferior service that we are thrilled to get mediocre service. Shame, really. I think we deserve better.

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That doesn't explain inconvenient placement.

by Absolutely In reply to From the other side

A fuel pump can be located anywhere along the fuel line with no effect on cost. Selecting any location other than the one most convenient for the known necessity of replacement is...very telling.

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Cost is Why the Fuel Pump Is In the Tank

by TheChas In reply to That doesn't explain inco ...

The cost to manufacture the fuel pump and fuel system is precisely why the fuel pump is in the gas tank on nearly every fuel injected vehicle.

There are many cost factors that have lead to the fuel pump moving from the side of the engine to inside the gas tank.

1. Fire hazard. A slight leak in an in tank pump does not raise the risk of fire or explosion significantly. Thus, you don't need redundant seals or other methods to prevent or contain leaks.

2. Cooling. The fuel in the gas tank cools the fuel pump allowing for a less expensive motor design. This is also why it is a very bad idea to let the level of fuel in the tank drop below 1/4.

3. Vapor Lock. If the fuel pump is external to the tank, the potential for vapor lock increases significantly.

4. Noise. The fuel in the tank and the isolation from having the pump in the tank reduces the audible level of the pump noise. Again, if the pump was external to the tank, it would need additional methods to keep the noise down to an acceptable level.

I'm sure that there are more reasons, but you get my point.

Even taking the above into account, cars should not be designed to make maintenance difficult.

As to why US cars do not have an access port to get to the top of the fuel tank from inside the car or trunk, cost is still the answer. It costs more to design and build with an access port. Plus, based on US automotive legal issues, what would happen the first time gas sprayed into a car through the port after an accident? Again, another cost.


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