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Design for Repair?


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I was almost set/sold on a new theory that what is wrong with GM is they don't recognize design to repair. They are too focused on design for manufacturability (fewer hours to assemble) and design for reliability.

Consider the all-conquering Audi R8 Lemans Racer. The racing world watched in awe one night during the famous 24 hour endurance race when an Audi R8 rolled in to the pits and the crew replaced the entire rear end, including the gear box. The amazing part was they did the work in 20 minutes. A new age of modular racing was born, in which any endurance racer which was not constructed using a similar modular, quick repair approach was going to be heavily challenged.

Thus was formed my theory that all would be great if I could just pull my CTS into the dealer, open the hood, pull out the engine, slide in a new one, and be on my way in 15 minutes. The dealer could keep a big rack of nice used engines, or new engines to swap.

Until I thought about the cost trades. Audi is more than happy to put $75K engines or transmissions on the shelf in case they need them during the race. I on the other hand am not all that excited if I have to plonk down $5K for a new engine, even if it only takes 15 minutes to replace. Oh sure, $5K is significantly less than $10K, say, but what modular saves is the time of installation, not the part cost. In fact, the part cost likely goes up. So my $5K engine might cost $6K or 7K, but I would save the other $5K of labor for remove/replace, which might only be $100 for a modular engine.

And by the time you need a new engine at whatever mileage, other parts of the car are often similarly worn.

Then you have to consider, most cars never get a new engine. I'm not trying to be difficult or optimistic here, but most cars never need a new engine. Also, the things that make a modular engine nice and modular tend to make it not work all that great-- quick disconnects are not the ideal connections over time. I don't want problems in a powertrain caused by making it modular and easy to replace if I am not likely to ever need to replace it.

So that leaves me back with hoping the powertrain does not need to be replaced at all, which is Design for Reliability, and that's what GM is focusing on more or less already. Or that it was easier to replace the engine or other major assemblies, and that's part of the Design for Manufacturability part.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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I don't think this is a GM only issue.... I think all manufactures do this... In fact this trend might have started with Japanese cars where they try to put 10 pounds of crap in a 5 pound bag...

For example, ever try to take the starter out of ANY Toyota (and starter problems on Toyota's are a common problem... Google it... you'll see...) I discovered this first hand when I had to rebuild my wife's 4Runner starter at 40,000 miles. You will find it is almost as much fun as replacing cabin filters in a 98-04 Seville..

It is now a sad fact that there are certain projects on our cars that will kill the car for most owners... for example.. if the heater core on my STS goes I will have to remove the ENTIRE dash assembly to get it out.. yikes! Another good reason to service the coolant!

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Easin' down the highway in a new Cadillac,

I had a fine fox in front, I had three more in the back

ZZTOP, I'm Bad I'm Nationwide

Greg

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