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Will modern electrical components shorten the lifetime of cars?

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Will modern electrical components shorten the lifetime of cars?

  #1  
Old 02-24-2012, 04:53 PM
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Default Will modern electrical components shorten the lifetime of cars?

I am wondering how the future of cars looks like? I have a Mazda 626 from 1992, and as far as I know there is no new PCM modules available for that car anymore (not manufactured anymore). Correct me if I am wrong, I would be happy to find a brand new PCM module for the car.

That is - less than 20 years after the car was produced, new vital electrical spare parts are no longer available for purchase. As the cars tends to have more and more complicated electrical wiring and modules in them and these are harder to "copy" than the "hardware" - will more cars end up in the junkyard due to lack of spare parts?

What happens when a manufacturer (like Mazda) stops manufacturing the electrical control boxes (=computers nowadays)? Are the blueprints open for sale for the aftermarket or are they kept within the company with the intention "as spare parts dwindle they are forced to purchase new cars"?

Conspiracy yes, like a hidden time bomb.
 
  #2  
Old 02-25-2012, 09:58 AM
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Not necessarily. There are Mom and Pop shops created that reproduce and repair things for older cars, in particular those that are collected. you can get wiring and wire harnesses custom made. There are places that will repair old mechanical speedometers and there are places that fix electronic units.
I have Ford Windstar with a bad ABS controller. A new one is about $700. There is a place that will repair mine for about $200.

Back in the 70's Ford stopped supporting their cars after only 5 years. The owners were upset like heck and Ford responded with a promise that for as long as you have your Ford you will get the spare parts for it.
 
  #3  
Old 02-25-2012, 11:43 AM
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As a general statement, and in my own opinion, considering that just a few short decades ago a cars usable life expectancy was only about 10 yrs/100,000 miles before some serious rebuilding became necessary, the overall reliability and longevity has much improved.
That said, I too wonder what the collectible cars of the future might be and how they are liable to be kept running after their term as daily driver's is over. Will the muscle cars of today be as loved in 20yrs as the original '60's cars are now? Will a current Ferrari or Lambo still have the same appeal as their early models do today?
Most car companies support wear parts and body parts for their vehicles for 10 yrs or more... especially if that car had a long production run w/o any major changes. Out of necessity the aftermarket seeks out those cars to produce parts for as well.
I used to work for an independent Volvo shop. To me, Volvo used to have the right idea. The basic drive components didn't change much over a lot of years. They had strong engines and gear boxes that were upgraded, but easily adapted to older chassis. It was even possible to install their top of the line 3.0L straight 6 into a former 4 cylinder car, trans and all, or visa-versa.
 

Last edited by virgin1; 02-25-2012 at 11:45 AM.
  #4  
Old 02-25-2012, 03:07 PM
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There are Mom and Pop shops created that reproduce and repair things for older cars, in particular those that are collected. you can get wiring and wire harnesses custom made. There are places that will repair old mechanical speedometers and there are places that fix electronic units.
I have Ford Windstar with a bad ABS controller. A new one is about $700. There is a place that will repair mine for about $200.
Sadly the aftermarket over here (Sweden) is not as florishing. There are used parts to buy yes, but you would then need to restore the condition of them yourself. Not counting the motor block where it is a fair chance you find a place specialized in restoring engines. Price level is also a bit high compared to the US, last time I ordered some spare parts from San Fransisco (it was cheaper than buying it here)!

The "hardware" and analogue control units will probably still be fine to service.

My point is that newer control units for cars more and more resembles of a portable computers with a bunch of microchips and few analogue parts. Replacing welded chips is not an easy task even if you happen to have the correct replacement chip. Custom made chips would make such an repair operation even harder. And how to make non-brand variants of these unless you have the blueprint?

Back in the 70's Ford stopped supporting their cars after only 5 years. The owners were upset like heck and Ford responded with a promise that for as long as you have your Ford you will get the spare parts for it.
Sounds great to me - does that promise still hold validity?
Brand parts are not that important for older cars but there must be parts available.
 
  #5  
Old 02-25-2012, 03:17 PM
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I used to work for an independent Volvo shop. To me, Volvo used to have the right idea. The basic drive components didn't change much over a lot of years. They had strong engines and gear boxes that were upgraded, but easily adapted to older chassis. It was even possible to install their top of the line 3.0L straight 6 into a former 4 cylinder car, trans and all, or visa-versa.
For a period the Volvo design was similar to a rolling coffin but lately the square lines have been softened out, at the same time loosing the idea of standard parts. On the contrary I believe the framework of newer cars are often shared between Ford and Volvo?

The engine compartment of my V50 is absolutely crammed compared to the Mazda 626 (which could already be hard to service at spots).

Design vs versatility of parts? Will design kill our cars too due to demands on specialised body parts and smaller series?

Design is more important now than before (or not?).
 
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