Itinerant Air-Cooled Indiana

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Amskeptic
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Itinerant Air-Cooled Indiana

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:11 am

The plethora of maintenance issues I needed to address after the northeast tour had to wait until the sun came back out and temperatures recovered to my operating range. Thus, it was at a loading dock in Indiana off Interstate 65, out of the wind, that I decided to replace the other side of the CV boot of May 11th:

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Since this was a reprise of a job done so recently, I thought to time myself:
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I had a CV boot in my box o' parts from long ago, this replacement boot was actually one that was on the Road Warrior from 1995 to 2002. Notice that it has the old gold cad plating and deeper shoulders between the bolt holes than the cheapo silver cad plating of the Lobro replacement. The older rubber is also noticeably more compliant. Go figger.
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It actually came in at about an hour total with clean-up.
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I hit the road towards Atlanta once more, and looked around at the BobD wondering if it was a road-going version of the Titanic. Such a nice original car driving here, whiling away the hours and inexorably running down its service life and what am I going to do for replacement parts? Why is this conundrum even facing us? Why do they make lousy replacement parts? Why do we accept lousy replacement parts? While on Earth, enjoying the miracle of life and our own creative productivity, why are there people who wake up and decide to spend the day at the ragged edge of cheap, dreaming up ways to chisel others? What is the fun in that? How can groups of people work together and enter into a morally bankrupt unethical agreement to launch an advertising campaign "hey be sure to mention 'lower prices and higher quality'" while at the very same time they try to get away with as little investment in the actual product as possible? What does this do to them and what does it do to us? Just another day of World Commerce amongst human beings who have walled themselves against each other . . . they call it "competition". Competing to the bottom?
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,885 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,899 miles

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bajaman72
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Post by bajaman72 » Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:20 am

Interesting... the first one to lose... wins??

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vwlover77
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Post by vwlover77 » Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:51 am

Speaking from my own experience working for a manufacturer of precision components that is running factories and setting up supply chains in "low cost" parts of the world, there are a number of factors at work here. Perhaps I'm naive about human nature, but I don't think the initial plan is to chisel people, it's to fill a market need while extracting the maximum profit..... and therein lies the problem.

First, and perhaps most damning, is my guess that the original design specifications for many of the parts in question are not in the hands of the manufacturers unless they were originally a VW supplier. Without that key information, they are guessing at what is required, automatically select the lowest cost option, and often get it wrong.

Second, nothing can be taken for granted when dealing with manufacturing operations in low-cost countries. Capabilities that are taken for granted when dealing with suppliers in the US, Europe, or Japan often do not exist in these plants, even if they are owned and operated by respected companies. The locals running the plants don't know what they don't know, and are hungry to make the shipment and get paid.

Third, the low sales volumes of the parts for our cars means that the quality feedback loop is extremely long. A plant can set up and produce quite a few years' worth of inventory in one short run. By the time those parts are actually sold and quality problems discovered, it's too late to fix the manufacturing process or change the part design. Since the volume is so low, there's no incentive to fix it before the next run, either, since that won't happen for a LONG time.

Finally, I think in some cases we are hurt by the fact that the Bus and Beetle continued to be built for other markets that do not demand the quality standards that were expected of VW in Europe and the US. Perhaps it would be better for us if these cars were out of production for decades. At least the manufacturers would feel that their market is collectors and supply high quality parts, although the prices would probably be outrageous.

Having said all of this, I don't know what might be done to remedy the situation! I assume that over time, the low cost countries will improve their capabilities, but what we really need is someone with a manufacturing/engineering/quality background that really loves these cars to take up the charge to bring quality parts to the market. But, if that company existed today, would you pay 50% more for their part, or take your chances with the cheaper unit????
Don

---------------------------
78 Westy
71 Super Beetle Convertible Autostick

"When we let our compassion go, we let go of whatever claim we have to the divine." - Bruce Springsteen

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hambone
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Post by hambone » Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:04 am

That is a pain in the ass job. An hour is pretty darn good by cracky.
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Post by airkooledchris » Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:01 pm

was the old boot torn?
1979 California Transporter

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:59 pm

airkooledchris wrote:was the old boot torn?
The hardly old at all boot developed a hairline split along the edge of a pleat. This boot has never experienced a pucker, never been hyper-articulated, it was purchased in 2006 IIRC by BobD himself.

Though vwlover77's reply does point out the current reality, my problem is the current reality. The decisions to use inferior materials are not *necessary* decisions. They are not economically critical decisions that decide the fate of their manufacturing enterprise. They are made by people under the "new normal" of what they *expect* as far as profit vs serviceability. The "new normal" is what I have a problem with.
ColinWaWaWaaah
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,885 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,899 miles

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