View Full Version : Have today's vehicles got minds of their own?

G&T ice n slice
1st May 2014, 12:44
(1) This a.m. was driving along an "unclassified" country lane. Just before where it goes from being tarmacked (sp?) to where there there are a lot of lumps & bumps I lifted off the accelerator to let the car slow down on the engine. I was prob. only doing 15-20 at that moment.

Car decides to accelerate instead. "Goodness gracious" I thought and tapped the brakes. Still bounced a bit though. Car then proceeded on its own volition ... me just covering the brake pedal (just in case) and not touching the accelerator. Effectively the car was being moved along by the tickover.

Then suddenly cough cough and nearly stalled before I caught it with a gentle push on the accelerator.

The car is a *%^$*&"!* Ovlov V40 ((never, never, never buy an Ovlov))
And it has an "engine management system" which is determined to kill me.

(2) For the last week I have actually been driving a (rented) Ovlov XC90 automatic. This not only has an "engine management system" but some sort of clver gizmo that helps to determine which gear the auto box should be using.

Every time I used the "kickdown" I got either:
(a) a long discussion between the "engine management sytem" and the "gearbox gizmo" by which time I was in the overtaking lane going nowhere whilst all the traffi8c I was about to overtake disappeared away from me
or (b) absolutely instant acceleration launching me like a rocket into the rear end of the vehicle in front, requiring a "moose test"-like manouvre.

((never, never, never buy an Ovlov))

Gone are the days when one was in charge of one's vehicle, now the flaming things are driving and one is just a terrified passenger

((never, never, never buy an Ovlov))

1st May 2014, 13:01
If you want to be in proper control of your vehicle, stick to a manual gearbox.
That clutch pedal is there for a purpose.

1st May 2014, 13:02
The car is a *%^$*&"!* Ovlov V40 ((never, never, never buy an Ovlov))

Came so close to buying that one....very, very glad I didn't, even though it looked good in the showroom and on paper.

Too much electronic rubbish in modern cars which often become very problematic after 5 years, methinks that's the current game plan by the car manufacturers.

1st May 2014, 13:10

"methinks that's the current game plan by the car manufacturers."


The old holdens, HQ, HZ were far too reliable and cheap 2nd hand parts.

Hence the Commodore !!!

1st May 2014, 13:23
The old holdens, HQ, HZ were far too reliableYep, one of my wealthy friends still chooses to drive his 1970 HG to work in city traffic, an 80km round trip, still going strong (converted to run on gas (LPG)).

Stick that up your Volvo V40.

1st May 2014, 13:24
G&T ice n slice,

The problem is most modern cars are now being fitted with electronic throttle which is what gives it all such an un-natural feel.

1st May 2014, 14:59
The problem is most modern cars are now being fitted with electronic throttle which is what gives it all such an un-natural feel.

Yer can't beat a real wire cable to a carburetor!

Anyone ever drive one of the original Hillman Imp's with a pneumatic throttle?

An experiment that soon died.

Lon More
1st May 2014, 16:45
Anyone ever drive one of the original Hillman Imp's with a pneumatic throttle?

I bought one of them. direct from the factory for 15 quid IIRC. Spent the next day rigging up a cable system.

John Hill
1st May 2014, 21:59
Ah yes! Holden HZ V8 ute with an added foot switch for the left foot and wired across the kickdown switch on the accelerator pedal. Forced the trans to downshift before opening the throttle to overtake, good for going down hill too!

1st May 2014, 22:05
"Yer can't beat a real wire cable to a carburetor!"

Agree, although I did have one on a Ford Escort that combined with something else meant it wouldn't accelerate and of all things it happened at my GF's in Balwyn, Melbourne and I lived in Beaumaris, 20kms away.

It was a long, long and very slow journey at idle speed to get home :O

Plenty of good old Holdens, HQ's, HZ's etc on the road. Must still be
plenty of the old red and blue motors out there - 202's, 308's I think
the numbers were.

When a car broke down, it was so easy to fix, that's what made those
cars so good.

1st May 2014, 23:35
Ah, but the thing is, they broke down more frequently back then. Pretty much gone are the days (for most people) when a freezing cold or wet day meant your car probably wouldn't start.

So the trade off seems to be that today's cars are generally much more reliable, but total buggers/expensive to fix when things do go wrong.

Still can't see the point of electronic handbrakes though.

1st May 2014, 23:43
Was it the car that broke down or components like batteries ?

Some car parts weren't as good, that is true.

John Hill
2nd May 2014, 05:23
They never failed to start on cold mornings if they had a crank handle!

John Hill
2nd May 2014, 05:26
Plenty of good old Holdens, HQ's, HZ's etc on the road. Must still be
plenty of the old red and blue motors out there - 202's, 308's I think
the numbers were.

The 202 was an L6 and the 308 a V8. The 253 V8 was reputed to be not so good but mine served me without problems for a few years.

2nd May 2014, 05:39
at least you bloody coloniels get real engines - not that my french four pot dieseal with EIGHTY SIX cheese eating surrender ponies dans le bonnet is anything to shout about.

but I do get a teeny weeny bill every year from George the spiv (chancellor of exchequer) for the pleasure of driving it on the public roads.

2nd May 2014, 06:33
at least you bloody coloniels get real engines

In 1994 went from driving a 4.1 litre Ford Fairlane Ghia in Oz to a 1.4 litre Rover in the UK. No difference really if you just rearrange the numbers. Think of it as vehicle dyslexia.

2nd May 2014, 08:09
It was a long, long and very slow journey at idle speed to get home

A few inches of string or wire will tie it open to a fast idle, maybe have to do a bit of clutch slipping in traffic.

In my circles the Vulva is usually though an "old man's car", but I have to say that a mate of mine had a T5 a few years ago (what the plod patrols used), that one would frighten an old man - it really shifted.

2nd May 2014, 08:20
The other day I was alerted to a motorist 'in distress'.
A Peugeot 3008 was parked on the the steep hill outside my house, creeping ever closer to the vehicle in front.
The driver was attempting to reverse up the hill, but with each attempt it crept closer to the other parked car as it stalled and then ran a few inches forward.
It transpired that the Peugeot was fitted with an electric handbrake that only released when the engine revs reached a certain level, but due to the steep gradient the engine stalled before the brake released - then the brake would release allowing the vehicle to run forward.
The driver then got out and placed two small metal wedges under the front wheels, but these were subsequently being pushed forward down the hill with each attempt to reverse.
Eventually, after many attempts, the driver managed to judge the engine revs and the clutch just right and achieved a satisfactory hill-start, but it was alarming to watch.

2nd May 2014, 08:35
The line that modern cars are more reliable is just a myth. If they were, then tow truck and tilt-tray (rollback) operators would be out of business.
I have a friend manufacturing tilt-trays and his business is booming.
There are plenty of assistance calls going through the RAC switchboard on a daily basis - and the RAC runs a fleet of dual-cab tilt-trays to enable both broken-down vehicle and pax to be taken to their requested destination.

When a modern car stops, it usually can't be driven in any fashion whatsoever, and often can't be towed either.
So they have to be winched onto tilt-trays.

In the outback of Australia, the tow/tilt-tray operators love the modern 4WD's. They stop, and they can't be fixed without a diagnostic computer - even the diesels.
The result? - $5000-$10,000 tow jobs for the "towies", as the broken-down 4WD's are recovered, 800-900 kms from civilisation.

I still see just about as many current and near-new model cars broken down by the roadside, as in the old days. When you think about the dreadful road conditions and poor maintenance endured by older cars, you could imagine they might have suffered more breakdowns.

The beauty of older cars is that you can get them going again with some twitched wire, bypassed components, parts "borrowed" from something similar, crank them on the starter in low gear to move them if needed, and any one of a myriad of emergency "fixes".

Try that with your 2014 fully-electronic, sensor and CANBUS-controlled Eurocrapmobile, whose operation is totally governed by at least 2 dozen flashing indecipherable warning lights, that threaten permanent stoppage if ignored for more than the computer-set time parameter. :yuk:

2nd May 2014, 11:37
You don't control today's cars or airplanes- the computer dioes. You're limited to only telling the computer what you want, and then you hope it will do as you want. Anyone who has used computers long enough knows how unreliable and error-prone these things are which makes me wonder about the sanity of putting them in control of your life willingly when the old way of direct control (sometimes assisted) wasn't broken but got fixed anyway. Even my cable-controlled throttle on my Buick doesn't always bring me the expected results because the computer controls the rest, but on my carburetor-equipped Ford I can rely on things 100%. The Buick has refused to slow a few times for a second or two even with the throttle shut and has refused to speed up a few times similarly. Sometimes the rev-limiter kicks in too early as well. The Ford always gives me exactly what I ask- no more and no less.

Better these days? Not really and certainly not when things go wrong. And most certainly not better when you're writing the check to the repair shop.

Ancient Mariner
2nd May 2014, 12:22
I love our modern cars with all the bells and whistles. Quiet, fast, dependable and frugal they both are. Key less entry, seats and mirrors adjust themselves as I enter, heated and cooled seats, power everything, 4x4, nice audio to while away the hours, GPS to take me where I want to go and on and on.
Would I change this for a '57 Hillman Minx or a '60 Opel Record, a '66 Hillman Super Minx or maybe even a '80 Opel Ascona 2.0S? All cars I used to own.
Let me think about that......................mmmm,................NO!

2nd May 2014, 12:45
The driver then got out and placed two small metal wedges under the front wheels

Ah ! Modern technology requiring the carrying of wedges to place under wheels.

How did we manage without such advances? :rolleyes:

simon brown
2nd May 2014, 13:35
All this modern technology just means there's more to go wrong and more to worry about. However modern cars are surprisingly reliable efficient and comfortable in comparison with older stuff

Christ, I remember in my youth the estate waking up to the cacophony of British Leyland products and their asthmatic attempts to start, my Father having to fill the wings of his 2 year old Triumph 2.5 as it had already started to rust, then him having to convert the crappy Lucas injection system for 3 hefty twin Dellortos to get the thing to run..it went like stink after that (was a bit lighter also)

2nd May 2014, 14:19
The line that modern cars are more reliable is just a myth.Oh no it isn't!

Panto mode off.

If we still had 1960's reliability we would have 1960's warranty periods. As I remember it was 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever occurred first.

I remember getting one of the 1st 12 month, unlimited mileage warranties on a 1971 Hillman Imp, and then putting 40,000 miles on it in the 12 months. :ok:

One area where all modern mechanical devices are better and more reliable, is that they are built to far tighter tolerances.

This in turn, is due to modern computer controlled machine tools.

The machines that drill cylinder blocks and the lathes that pistons are turned on, et al, all produce hundreds of interchangeable parts every day.

In the days of BMC, workers had to measure pistons and mark them with their size so that they could be fitted to the applicable cylinder.

This level of quality has made the old idea of 'blueprinting' and engine for competition to hardly be worth while.

All of the above is NOT applicable to the in car electronics.

But modern car electrics and electronics are also far more reliable.

When did any of you last change a headlight bulb? On most modern cars this is a task beyond the driver, but thankfully I haven't had to change one for over 30 years.

2nd May 2014, 14:46
Last tow truck driver I spoke to confirmed exactly what onetrack said, when modern cars have a whiff of a problem they become immobilised.

I needed his services to move my brothers car which cost me $180, ten years earlier I got one towed for $40. The tow truck driver told me his business was doing very well all thanks to the modern car which features regularly on the tray. Says it all really.

One of the weaknesses in modern cars is the increasing use of plastic bits, including in the engine bay. No matter how well you look after your car these bits tend to dry up and crack.

2nd May 2014, 15:29
Ian16th says:

When did any of you last change a headlight bulb? On most modern cars this is a task beyond the driver, but thankfully I haven't had to change one for over 30 years

They must issue more reliable bulbs in SA........... or not drive much at night!

In the UK it seems that a fair percentage of vehicles (2-3%??) have at least one headlight non-functioning.
On my current vehicles I have replaced headlight bulbs on more than one occasion. Granted both are 14-15 year old so not technically 'modern'.

Lon More
2nd May 2014, 16:04
Most Mercs and BMWs must have minds of their own. The stunts many of them pull seem beyond human stupidity


2nd May 2014, 19:48
Have to say I would like my headlight lamps to last a bit longer. Quite a bit longer. Usually have to change each of them at least once every 12 months.

( '59 plate French 1.6 Litre turbo-diesel.....but duty is only 30 a year, so some advantages).

John Hill
2nd May 2014, 20:43
Modern cars are extremely reliable and will run for years and years without issue.

Then one day you notice the light in the glovebox is no longer working and the day after the engine will drop out onto the road!

Windy Militant
2nd May 2014, 22:47
When did any of you last change a headlight bulb? On most modern cars this is a task beyond the driver, but thankfully I haven't had to change one for over 30 years.
Then your bl:mad:dy lucky then cos I've had to replace four in the last two years and I've got the skinned knuckles to prove it!

2nd May 2014, 23:02
Changing light bulbs! :mad: Those t0$$pots who decided we have to carry spare bulbs didn't have the wit to ensure that the change could be carried out at the side of the road, without tools, in the dark.

After the last time I had to change a rear bulb on the road - plod was watching, it was an Xmas purge - I wondered where all the red stuff had come from. It was so cold I hadn't noticed I'd ripped my hands and was bleeding all over the place. Come the time to change the car I had a great time getting the salesmen for each brand to demonstrate a bulb change. :E:ok:

The winner was an Ovlov. No tools, no sharp edges. The Headlamp bulbs can even be changed away from the car somewhere warm and dry if you prefer.

Most Ovlov engines are Ford, or Fordised Peugeots if diesel, with German electronics. Dunno what says about future reliability though.

Lon More
2nd May 2014, 23:26
Most Ovlov engines are Ford I'm not sure about that. I know SAAB went through a brief period of Ford ownership which almost killed the marque off.

Here's something (http://people.physics.anu.edu.au/~amh110/volvo_engine_swaps.htm) interesting to do with your Volvo

FWIW I think I can do almost any job on the engine of my 63 Chevy with only 3 spanners 7/16, 1/2 and 9/16 AF

Windy Militant
2nd May 2014, 23:31
FWIW I think I can do almost any job on the engine of my 63 Chevy with only 3 spanners 7/16, 1/2 and 9/16 AF

I don't believe you, surely you need a lump hammer as well!;)

Lon More
2nd May 2014, 23:34
surely you need a lump hammer as well

Only to use on the :mad:wits who tell me how to do it:}

2nd May 2014, 23:35
From the comments, I do seem to have been very lucky with the lights on my cars for some years.

Though I did go through a bad passage in the late 60's early 70's in the days of sealed beam units.

I am now expecting several failures in the next fortnight!:uhoh:

2nd May 2014, 23:43
SAAB went through a brief period of Ford ownership GM owned SAAB, but never managed to control them which was probably their undoing.

Ovlovs float quite well! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_ewdjB2OeY

3rd May 2014, 08:29
........and electronics are also far more reliable.

But who needs them ?

I recently asked a passing salesman if, when I change my present 24 yr old Toyota, could I still buy a car that I had some control over ? He anxiously started looking around for the men in white coats.

I didn't buy the car new, so not sure what, if anything, failed in the first 5 years, but in the 19 that we've owned it -previously Mrs, Exs's private chariot, until we bought her a computerised montster last year - I've only changed a camshaft belt, not even a headlight bulb ( 265,000 km ) tho' the glass is looking decidedly yellow now.

3rd May 2014, 08:34
A lot of people up north aus prefer the old toyotas.

Less to go wrong and easier to fix.

Solid Rust Twotter
3rd May 2014, 09:10
Same in these parts, Mr N. Plenty of Sandton pavement crushers in the city but you rarely see them out in hard bush/desert country.

3rd May 2014, 11:25
If you want to be in proper control of your vehicle, stick to a manual gearbox.
That clutch pedal is there for a purpose.

What utter nonsense.

I guess F1 drivers are not in full control then?

I have never quite understood why people equate wasting time and energy letting a clutch in and out and changing gear manually somehow equates to 'being in control' or being a 'proper driver'.

3rd May 2014, 12:05
The biggest single rort with the newest models of cars is the way that the manufacturers withhold any technical repair information from the general public, and the owners of their vehicles.

In the U.S., I understand the smash repair industry became so aggrieved with regard to their inability to access crucial technical repair info (such as dismantling and re-assembling airbag assemblies and sensors, and engine control electronics - all often necessary for smash repairs), they took the manufacturers to court, and won a decision in their favour - whereby the manufacturers were instructed to release the technical info to allow the smash repairers access to crucial info, so the body repairs could be carried out.

The manufacturers stance previous to this court order was that their technical info was proprietary, and they were entitled to withhold it.
This stance resulted in much higher smash repair costs than needed, as the vehicle would often have to be transported to a dealer so the technically-complex electronic components could be dismantled or re-assembled - and the vehicle then had to be returned to the smash repair shop for completion.

The smash repair shops court win, was a win for the public and a win for common sense.
There's nothing worse than having an exceptionally complex (electronically) item of equipment that you are travelling in, cease to function - often because of a very simple fault - and you have no idea how the system operates, or how to get it going again.

OBD readers with all your relevant model electronic repair information supplied, built into the reader are now readily available at very modest cost from the Chinese.
The cheap ones just produce fault codes, but the better ones allow you to diagnose faults, reset ECU's, alter parameters, and generally track down the electronic problem simply and effectively.

Unfortunately, unlike aircraft, most car manufacturers place electronics in poorly sited positions - and often use poor quality connectors that don't properly prevent the ingress of dust, water, salt, and 50 other soil compounds that promote corrosion. The Jap vehicles are generally the best constructed for electronic component protection.

As corrosion is the dire enemy of electronics (due to the generally small current levels), it doesn't take much for the electronic system to start throwing up faults when utilised in harsh conditions.
In many cases with electronic sensors, the electronic parameters set by the manufacturer are too narrow - and when a particular sensor fails to perform to those exact parameters, a fault code is produced.

So the problem today, is that current models of cars are essentially low-tolerance machines, with little tolerance for extremes of heat, dust, moisture, damage - or minor electrical faults.
Against that, the older vehicles are "high tolerance" machines, with the ability to cope with many variations in operating conditions with no problem at all.

There's no doubt that the current models of cars brake, handle and steer better than the "classic" older British cars such as Hillmans and Austins and Morrises of the 1950's - but there are many non-electronic vehicles from the late 1960's and early 1970's, when disc brakes and power steering and radial tuned suspensions became standard fit - that perform pretty admirably when put up against the latest offerings.

9th May 2014, 23:55
"Have today's vehicles got minds of their own?"

Just as a bit of an aside, I had to put an insurance claim in once
where I described how my dog climbed up onto the centre console
to see where I was (opening the gate) and managed to knock the
car into drive where it promptly revved and drove forward into the
large wooden gate post :O

I think I had somehow managed to leave it right on the edge of neutral.

10th May 2014, 01:03
SWMBO had a VW Golf which went fine for a while then it grew up, went through puberty and got a mind of its own.

Close and lock car, walk away, about two minutes later the driver's window would go down.

Open sun roof and any time during the journey it would close itself.

Eventually sold it to No 4 son who had similar but different troubles because it didn't like Ontario. Eventually he stuffed it so No 1 son pulled out the offended panel, roughly and fixed the light in place by spraying in insulating foam. (Good trick that, I wouldn't have thought of it.)