The Goats In The Machine

My car has a complicated electrical problem. The seat memory computer doesn’t work. It works in another car. The other car’s unit fails in mine. They are talking to Seventh Level Technical Support at the manufacturer. They are frustrated. I hate being special!

Fortunately they lent me a shiny Acura TSX with nav system and satellite radio (hence my post yesterday) and it is fun to drive. They sure fixed the autostick transmission since the ’01 cars; the shifts are much faster and it doesn’t force me out of 2nd.

9 thoughts on “The Goats In The Machine

  1. That’s percisely why I drive a 1972 Dodge Dart… nothings complicated about it. My Nav system is Yahoo & Rand Mcnally maps 😉


      1. I agree. The insane complexity of the ’01 CL can be tiresome, but this is the first time in 5 years and 97,000 miles that we’ve run into it. The old cast iron car you could fix with two feet of thick wire and a blowtorch was simpler but you had to take advantage of that way too often.


      2. Also important is the difference between go-fast bits and inside luxury bits. I’d take a new Elantra over that Dart and would probably find it easier and cheaper to maintain, but even back in ’72 I’d take a BMW 2002 over a Dart.
        I thought of a very concrete example of the benefits of modern car maintenance. Note the red bar in the middle of my engine here:

        That’s the direct ignition cassette: it’s held on with four bolts and connected by a snap-in cable, and replaces the distributor, ignition coils, HT leads, combustion sensors, and so on. No moving parts; one ignition coil per cylinder sitting on the spark plug. Crankshaft sensors tell the ECU which two cylinders are reaching TDC, and the ECU knows which of those two to fire, and uses the spark plugs as combustion sensors.
        The downside is that a failure means a $300 part, but it also means a $300 part with less than an hour of labor. I got 80,000 miles out of my first one, though, and if you’re travelling a lot you just buy one (maybe rebuilt) in advance instead of when you need one and keep it in with the spare tire along with a socket wrench.
        On the other hand I’ve got a parallel-twin ’81 GS250T with two tiny little carbs that need cleaning downstairs, and I’ve been putting that off for months. The ’85 Shadow has aftermarket pipes and could really use a jet kit. I bet it’s easier to chip an ECU than install and tune a jet kit!


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