Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Impossible jigsaw puzzles

As you've probably worked out, I don't mind doing a little wrenching on cars. In fact, given the time and space I quite enjoy it.

But not today.

It's not wrenching or the time today. It's packaging. For a few reasons I wanted to have a quick look at the starter motor on my wife's car. It's not that the starter had died. Rather I wanted to check a few things and just make sure everything was as it should be before we go on holidays in the not too distant future.

EPIC fail.

I'm not a specialist when it comes to Peugeots. However, I'm usually able to identify the different parts and put my hand on connections and bolts when looking any car.

I say, "usually able", but not this time.

After an hour of pulling the battery out (which meant pulling the airbox out first), jacking the car up and climbing all over the front end. Fail. My usually mechanic told me it was on the back of the engine against the fire wall. I knew that.

All I could make out was 2 square inches of what I believe to be the mounting flange. That's it.

Heck, I'm still not even sure that it WAS the starter motor. It might have been something else, because it was buried behind a maze of exhaust manifolds, front subframes, pipes, wires and other assorted plastic junk.

Here's a pic of the top of the engine. Underneath is immeasurable worse.

Now I know French cars have a reputation for being a little kooky. Sometimes the kooky is 'good kooky'. But not in this case. When you have to pull the whole front end of the car to get to the starter that is BAD.

Don't get wrong, I understand packaging can be painful.

Prior to my current beetle, I built a dune buggy with a late model Subaru engine. I learnt a LOT of lessons about packaging, many of them I learnt the hard way. I also know that those crazy French car guys are used to packaging engines. In fact, a number of manufacturers have been known to make it hard to stop people taking them anywhere but the dealer service centres.


Sorry, I don't usually get worked up, but the car is 8+ years old. The dealers don't really even want work on it now. Which brings us to another issue. What this all turns into is... Planned Obsolescence.

Planned Obsolescence really is a serious problem.

As the car gets older it needs more repairs, the more money it costs to fix a hard to maintain car. This means people will tend to throw the car away/wreck it, rather than fix it.

Frankly, it's TERRIBLE for the environment.

Here's the interesting thing about my beetle. Next to this Peugeot, it's like building mechano.

Really it is. Which is why I'm always shocked when people tell me they're hard to work on. Ok, sure, you have to bend down a little. However, you can still fix a beetle without owning a proper hoist or thousand of tools.

The upshot of this is EVERYONE fixes beetles.

For all that beetles are not common road vehicles these days, they will outlast our current car purely because they are like lego to work on. The sad thing is, in the mean time, millions of otherwise useful and fixable cars will be tossed aside like plastic coke bottles because...

They're impossible jigsaw puzzles.

Could it be that cars destroy our planet not by emissions and everything to do with pointless and avoidable waste?

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