Could you fix it?

  • Thread starter wolram
  • Start date
wolram
Gold Member
4,236
554

Main Question or Discussion Point

Lift the bonnet on a modern car and you see a nightmare tangle of pipes and wires, so if your car will not start would you know how to fix it?
 

Answers and Replies

I'd be pleased if I could get the bonnet open to be frank. I know less than nothing about cars. The only reason I know how the internal combustion engine works, is because I studied it in physics at school. I don't own a car, have never owned a car, and don't see myself owning one in the near future, unless a job requires it.
 
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,832
616
Lift the bonnet on a modern car and you see a nightmare tangle of pipes and wires, so if your car will not start would you know how to fix it?
So many of the systems on modern cars are run by imbedded computers, there's no way I would even try.

I grew up with seven brothers, all but two of them were very good with auto mechanics. I learned from them how to do simple things. I wasn't too bad at it, but if the car's newer than, oh, 1966, forget about it!
 
So many of the systems on modern cars are run by imbedded computers, there's no way I would even try.

I grew up with seven brothers, all but two of them were very good with auto mechanics. I learned from them how to do simple things. I wasn't too bad at it, but if the car's newer than, oh, 1966, forget about it!
I think some cars are smarter than the people that drive them these days. :wink:

They had one that drove round a circuit beating all the drivers on Top Gear, except the tame pro driver, without a driver, By itself!
 
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,832
616
The only reason I know how the internal combustion engine works, is because I studied it in physics at school.
The Otto cycle! I loved learning that!
 
Argentum Vulpes
My 95 S-10 yes after I go over to my friends house and borrow his OBD scanner. As for my 07 Prius I can cheek the fluid levels and that is the extent that I'm willing to do on that car.
 
Kurdt
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
4,769
6
You need a laptop and an automotive scanning tool.
 
turbo
Gold Member
3,028
45
I used to be able to fix a whole lot of stuff on cars, until they got loaded with sensors, computers, etc. Rebuild/rejet carbs, etc, etc. Now I'm pretty much limited to troubleshooting simple electrical problems with my multimeter, changing fluids, changing air/oil/fuel filters, replacing belts and hoses and similar stuff.
 
wolram
Gold Member
4,236
554
So how much of this stuff is making the car better than say a car with carb and points, if each of those pipes and wires increased fuel efficiency i would expect 100mpg.
 
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,543
1,685
Lift the bonnet on a modern car and you see a nightmare tangle of pipes and wires, so if your car will not start would you know how to fix it?
There's nothing that a good hammer can't fix. :biggrin: Muahahahaaaa!!!!111
 
So how much of this stuff is making the car better than say a car with carb and points, if each of those pipes and wires increased fuel efficiency i would expect 100mpg.
I think you'd have to totally redesign the engine to something else to get above 60mpg with petrol, any inventors out there? As far as I understand it, which isn't much admittedly, these days most of the technology is not for increasing MPG necessarily, in fact things like air conditioning decrease it a great deal. Hybrids do better though.
 
Last edited:
Kurdt
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
4,769
6
Blue motion VW polo diesel gets 70 mpg.
 
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,543
1,685
I used to be able to fix a whole lot of stuff on cars, until they got loaded with sensors, computers, etc. Rebuild/rejet carbs, etc, etc. Now I'm pretty much limited to troubleshooting simple electrical problems with my multimeter, changing fluids, changing air/oil/fuel filters, replacing belts and hoses and similar stuff.
I would work on early fuel injection systems, except for the computer. I had a timing light and I used to time the engine to optimize fuel efficiency. I've worked on my Honda's where I've had to change out components like wires, plugs, distributor, alternator, cooling pump (Prelude - that was a nightmare because the part of the pump sites behind the timing belt cowling :rolleyes:), brakes (cylinders and pads), . . . .

I used to help my dad when he worked on cars (Triumph, Pontiac Lemans, Volkwagens (bug and vans), lawnmowers, and stuff.
 
Blue motion VW polo diesel gets 70 mpg.
Really, I did change that to petrol, to be clear. But that is still pretty impressive. :bugeye:

Mind you ~60mpg with a petrol car is pretty amazing too. I checked and it's the Ford Ka that does that. Only 1.3 litre though, I can't see a lot of people driving it.
 
Last edited:
vincentm
Gold Member
319
3
Lift the bonnet on a modern car and you see a nightmare tangle of pipes and wires, so if your car will not start would you know how to fix it?

It's called a Chilton's manual.
 
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,832
616
It's called a Chilton's manual.
I see but to most people I would think it would be effectively written in Chinese, excepting of course Chinese people then it'd be Greek.
 
4,453
57
So how much of this stuff is making the car better than say a car with carb and points, if each of those pipes and wires increased fuel efficiency i would expect 100mpg.
The most efficient car in the pipeline is a diesel hybrid.Several companies work on that Opel / Vauxhall has an Astra with that configuration doing 59 mpg. Peugeot with a 308 model. but my Peugeot 207 1.6 HDi is hardly any less than that (52 mpg) if I dont insist on driving faster than 80 mph. If I drive a steady 55 mph it's about 78 mpg, that would be pretty much approaching the minimum limit. You can conserve energy by electric breaking and by running the combustion engine on most efficient rpm, having the electric engine doing the variation but there is nothing you can do about the loss due to drag. For 100mpg you'd need something different.
 
turbo
Gold Member
3,028
45
So how much of this stuff is making the car better than say a car with carb and points, if each of those pipes and wires increased fuel efficiency i would expect 100mpg.
There was an old joke about JC Whitney because they sold LOTS of parts that claimed to dramatically improve your gas mileage. It went something like "I'm getting such better mileage that now I have to stop every 50 miles or so to drain the fuel tank."
 
Chi Meson
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
1,766
10
Our previous car was a 1993 Volvo 240. I did a few basic repairs myself on it, even then I would think "jeez, things are so tightly packed in here."

Well now our family car is a Toyota Sienna. I looked under the hood (bonnet) and, WOW. I could not fit a credit card between the engine block and the air compressor! I was quite impressed how neatly things were packed together. So far I have been able to change an air filter.
 
BobG
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
110
80
It's called a Chilton's manual.
Or a Haynes for most home repairs. It's cheaper and includes more things than I'm qualified to do the way it is.

I wouldn't want to rebuild an engine or automatic transmission, even on an older car. I didn't even like rebuilding carburetors - there was a real good chance it would still run nearly as bad as it did before I rebuilt it. Although, one way or the other, I'd eventually get the rebuilt one working right. It just was just never a very clean process for me. Slapping on an already rebuilt carburetor gave me a much better chance of the car actually running better right away.

Likewise, I've bought transmissions from the junk yard and simply pull and replace rather than venture inside that mess. Replace a manual clutch? Maybe, if it doesn't have asbestos. An automatic? Never.

In my case, I don't have that much of a tangle of pipes and wires anyway. Jeeps aren't that hard to do self-repair on.
 
What MPG do Jeeps get these days. :tongue2:
 
turbo
Gold Member
3,028
45
I used to tear apart the S&S Super E racing carburetor several times a year and tweak it, trying to get a bit of extra performance out of my old Wide-Glide. Too many "mechanics" over-size the main jets on these to try to get good top-end speed, but that causes the bikes to stumble and run rich at low RPMs because the air-flow across the venturi at low speeds is incapable of properly atomizing the fuel. (Typical butterfly carb.) I installed a Yost Power Tube (pre-atomizer) over the main jet in that carb and was able to increase the main jet bore significantly, get a lot more torque, and improve the mileage for two-up trips from 45mpg to 50 mpg. That's pretty impressive economy on a tweaked out Evolution with steep cams and custom head-work.
 
Last edited:
BobG
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
110
80
I hope your cat dies, you miserable troll! :mad:

Uh, I mean, a hell of lot better than a Hummer, that's for sure! :biggrin:
That's unfair my cat died over 2 years ago. My dogs still alive though. :biggrin:

A tank gets better mileage than a hummer doesn't it. :wink:
 

Related Threads for: Could you fix it?

  • Last Post
6
Replies
140
Views
18K
Replies
2
Views
1K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
35
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
1K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
40
Views
4K
  • Poll
  • Last Post
3
Replies
62
Views
6K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
56
Views
10K
Top