Lancia Motor Club

General => General Chat => Topic started by: Angle Grinder on 08 February, 2010, 09:02:32 PM

Title: Design faults by Other Car Makers
Post by: Angle Grinder on 08 February, 2010, 09:02:32 PM
I noted the other thread on Toyota and thought I'd start a thread to vent some built up frustration after working on my wife's Citroen Xsara.

Last Wednesday the 9 yr old Citroen broke a front spring. OK fair enough these things happen, but the car has only done 50K so maybe the failure was a bit early. After all, I've driven Lancias all my driving life (21 years) and never had a spring break on any... touch wood.

So Sunday morning I set about changing the spring, a 2 hour job I guessed. Not so... Citroen Xsara's have anti-rollbar droplinks that attach to a lug on the  McPherson strut. At each end of the drop link there is a ball joint, but the ball joints don't have tapered shafts so they spin freely when you try to undo the retaining nut. Citroen's solution a small alen key insert at the top of the bolt. The theory is that an alen key will stop the ball joint rotating whilst you undo the 17mm nut... Ha!!!  >:( A 4mm wide alen key against a 17mm spanner.

Now I recall from my Physics degree that Torque = Force x the square of the radius. By this reckoning a puny alen key has no chance to counter the torque of a 17mm spanner... end result, a rounded alen key and no hope of removing the droplink.

I went on the Citroen forums and this is a common issue that can only be resolved with an angle grinder and new droplinks (~20 a side).

Duff design... :P

Has anyone else got similar examples?

Title: Re: Design faults by Other Car Makers
Post by: chugga boom on 08 February, 2010, 10:34:41 PM
where do i start  ::) try most french cars front pipes, they have 2 spring bolts that act as a flexi coupling to the manifold M6!!!! then they put10mm heads on the nuts and bolts and countersink one end so you cant get a spanner on it, vw golf mk2 16v gti front pipe DROP THE SUBFRAME!!! vw golf mk3 1.4 frontpipe goes fron the front of the engine under the sump then backup over the steering rack and over the rear of the subframe "nice!!" nissan terrano front pipe drop the gearbox cradle down just to get it out 2.5hr job in total or if you've done a few you can get it down to an hr and 45 working up a sweat, peugeot and citroen use centerless wheels WHY!! that meens the center shaft of the balancer has to be removed everytime these damn wheels come in and an adaptor plate bolted on and each wheel bolted straight on as if it where on a dummy hub, the adaptor costs 600 alone , the wheels take 3 times as long to balance all for not cutting a hole in the center + they then throw another insult by putting a fake center cap on some of their wheels so you think they do have the open center, theres plenty of stupid ideas out there designed to stop mr diy in his tracks, usually on french cars with my experience i meen why make drive shafts that dont come to pieces ?? why put 5 different gearboxes in a citroen berlingo on the same year  ??? and they wont interchange , i remember my ford days DONT SHOUT AT ME but pretty much any gearbox out of a FWD ford would fit another , fiesta / escort etc all the same so why go back in time??

theres my rant over with but i fully sympathise with you james

Title: Re: Design faults by Other Car Makers
Post by: Stuartmmcfc on 09 February, 2010, 09:48:54 AM
My Wife once had a lease Jaguar X-type and although all work was meant to be carried out by the main dealer I didn't really want to go to all that hassle when one of the headlight bulbs blew.
Should have been a really, really simple job- just unclip the retaining lug , unclip the electrical connector and hey-presto!
Could I get it out!! there just wasn't room to remove the bulb because of the air-con unit directly behind it. After struggling for 30 mins and skinning all my knuckles I phoned the garage to see if there was a knack to it.
"Oh yes" the service manager replied, " Its a ****er of a job- there's just over 1mm clearence, we often have to loosen the a/c first and book 1 hour for the job". 1 hour to change a bulb!!  I did it in the end, but what a struggle!
On my Audi quattro you have to take the headlight completely off the car to change a bulb >:(

Title: Re: Design faults by Other Car Makers
Post by: andymc on 09 February, 2010, 10:08:31 AM

Oh yes, I had an Audi A4 Avant that you had to take the rear light cluster out to change the brake light or any other bulb. Not very safe or practical if you are 200 miles away from home and its dark and wet.

I had an E60 5 series BMW that soaked the rear seats if you opened the rear doors when there was rain on the roof.

The doors on my current A5 wont close properly when it's icy.

Although try changing a sidelight bulb on an integrale without swearing!

Title: Re: Design faults by Other Car Makers
Post by: Angle Grinder on 09 February, 2010, 10:18:30 AM
You just reminded me of my Brother-in-Laws BMW 5 series... no idea what age it is as they all look the same (well apart from the pig ugly latest shape)... anyway, this winter the tube for the windscreen washer had become brittle and snapped. It is stupidly made from a plastic that has virtually no flex in it.

My Brother-in-Law (an Ex car salesman & Lancia hater in the extreme!) asked me to fix the problem. No big deal, how hard can it be to attach two ends of a windscreen washer pipe?

Well...not as easy as you'd think. The pipe passes UNDER the A/C unit and it breaks with the slightest flexing. Unless using extreme care, you pretty soon are left with just a short stub of tube protruding from the edge of the A/C unit.

A simple job could soon become a major strip-down which would also need the A/C regassing.

Title: Re: Design faults by Other Car Makers
Post by: Neil Lewis on 09 February, 2010, 11:26:07 AM
Last Wednesday the 9 yr old Citroen broke a front spring. OK fair enough these things happen, but the car has only done 50K so maybe the failure was a bit early. After all, I've driven Lancias all my driving life (21 years) and never had a spring break on any... touch wood.

Springs breaking seem to be quite a problem with French cars.  A good friend of mine has a Peugeot 307CC and not even three years old.  Late last year one of teh front springs snapped.  I was astounded so I did some research on t'internet and found that broken springs is a common problem on many French cars.  The worst stories I read were where both front springs broke (presumably once one goes it puts pressure on the other side) and, in extreme cases, the broken end of the spring gouges the front tyres causing instant loss of pressure.  Despite lots of evindence and a great deal of dismay, Peugeot are taking no responsibility for this matter so my friend had to fork out for two new springs (well you wouldn't just change one would you) and the labour.  And then, just a month later, a front spring went on her son's Rebault Clio.

Now my integrale gets to compete on numerous rallies and, while I have different springs for varying circumstances, they are all standard factory items.  My car has a hard life but I've never once had any concern about the quality of the springs.  So what is it about modern French cars which makes their springs break...?

And don't start on headlight bulbs.  I'm known at work for being a car buff and I had four seperate colleagues all ask me for help to change a headlight bulb mostly because you can't reach the back of the headlights.  The worse was a Renault Clio 180 (or whatever it's called) where there was absolutely no room at all.  We ended up slackening the headlight top mounts and forcing it outwards.  Both of us came away with severly cut hands.  A Honda Jazz and a Civic were not quite so bad and teh Subaru Imprezza (lates model) was the easiest.  But compared to any of those, the sidelight bulbs on my Integrale are a doddle.


Title: Re: Design faults by Other Car Makers
Post by: sparehead3 on 09 February, 2010, 12:25:35 PM
Let's not mention the battery tray in the passat filling up with water 'cos the drain plugs block and filling up the car with rain water ....

Title: Re: Design faults by Other Car Makers
Post by: HPEHF on 09 February, 2010, 01:28:04 PM
Staying with Peugeot, we had a 305 of 1983 vintage. The battery failed, how hard could it be? undo the 2 terminals, undo 1 or 2 bolts and lift the the battery out. NO. the battery clamp was bolted diagonally with the bolts at the back bottom which entailed the aire intake and hosing to be taken off the carberuettor. In the end it took over 2 hours!!

Still take about 30mins to do the HPE, but I do not have a thin extension for the socket set.


Simon Davis

Title: Re: Design faults by Other Car Makers
Post by: Zagato on 09 February, 2010, 11:30:41 PM
Design faults?

An interesting term ....

Surely a Manufacturer will always design a car for ease of manufacture ... whilst trying to deliver the best possible driving experience for the price?

Dual mass flywheels and insulated subframes deliver far less vibration from the drivetrain and a much quieter drive/ride ... but as a result make a clutch change a lengthy and more expensive job later on in the cars life

Are they design faults or are they just very awkward jobs in the aftermarket as a result of trying to improve the customer driving experience?

With regard to broken road springs ... this maybe more due to the dreadful condition of our roads today ... I know for a fact that road spring sales are higher in the Scottish Highlands ... where the roads leave a lot to be desired compared to the rest of the UK
You also need to consider the design of a modern progressive spring - designed to give increased handling/ride comfort but by design are not always the same diameter

I thougt that this was a Lancia forum to discuss Lancias ... not a forum to kick Manufacturers?       

Title: Re: Design faults by Other Car Makers
Post by: ncundy on 09 February, 2010, 11:56:06 PM
One of the problems (or contradictions) is that design for manufacture is not the same as design for maintenance !

I know it is not the done thing to criticize the "great marque" but I would like to propose the heater on a Fulvia as a design flaw. May have been easy to put in...........but any one who has had to take one out 40 years later.........bloody hell!

Title: Re: Design faults by Other Car Makers
Post by: Zagato on 10 February, 2010, 12:07:22 AM
And the Fulvia heater raises another issue ...

What is the expected life of a mass produced car?

40 years? I would think a lot less ...

And Manufacturers only survive by selling you their latest product .... every 3 years or so

Heritage is important to manufacturers ... and some of them should and can be justifiably proud of that heritage ... especially if it's a sporting heritage like Lancias

Its only people like us who spend countless hours (and money) maintaining 'heritage' cars that face some of the 'maintainence design flaws' - that is of course providing that the originally designed part lasts for the 'expected life of the vehicle'? 

Title: Re: Design faults by Other Car Makers
Post by: fay66 on 10 February, 2010, 12:40:34 AM
It's not in the manufacturers interest to have problems, as we all know by Lancia's experiences of old, and as Toyota are finding out, but it doesn't matter how much you test a car before you put it into production, literally millions of miles under every conceivable condition, as soon as you put it in the hands of the public they will find faults the manufacturers never did.
The throttle pedal problem appears to be on higher mileage vehicles, while the Prius brake problem is, or isn't, any big deal, depending who the media speak to, on the news yesterday a company in London who have a fleet of about 35 Prius taxis, said they didn't see it as any big deal.
The problem will be like Lancia Beta and the supposed rust problems, the press will play on it for years, irrespective of how good the manufacturers are at putting the problem right.
When you look at the millions of cars we're talking about,  each made from 1000's of components, by 1000's of different people from all over the World; the biggest surprise is we don't have more stories like this one.

8227 8)

Title: Re: Design faults by Other Car Makers
Post by: SteveGales on 10 February, 2010, 08:33:56 PM
O.K how about this for Italian electrics !

Had to change the rear o/f side brake/tail light bulb on Margarets' Alfa 156 recently, just the usual 21/5W type . The Alfa has a 'bulb out'
indicator icon on the rev counter which very helpfully let's you know a bulb has blown, so a quick change of bulb extinguishes the warning light....right? Well no, brake light now works but warning light still on, checked all other bulbs on circuit these are all working.

Going back to the boot (it's getting dark by now!) and with all lights off and ignition off the new bulb is very faintly glowing on the tail
light filament . Swapped bulbs, light units from n/s still glowing, had to resort to removing bulb overnight to avoid draining battery.
A quick read on an Alfa forum revealed the culprit.....faulty REV COUNTER ??? It seems the 'bulb out' system has a PCB in the rev counter and although the rev counter worked perfectly the only solution is to change it!
Phoned an independant Alfa specialist to see if he had a S/H rev counter(new ones almost 200!), as soon as I'd told him what  I wanted his first words were....'Oh, is your O/S tail light stopping on'  :o
New, well S/H rev counter fitted(amazingly a 10 min job) and a more palatable 60 and job done. I would NEVER have diagnosed that one!!