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Thread: Today's example of automotive over-engineering

  1. #1
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    Today's example of automotive over-engineering

    I just worked on a friend's 2002 Subaru Forester that had inoperative windshield washers. The nozzles on the hood were clogged, but after replacing both of those, only one worked. After a little more investigation, I discovered that Subaru, at least back then, inexplicably included one-way check valves in the washer fluid lines just before the nozzles themselves. I'm sure this seemed like a great idea back in 2002, but 16 years later, when one of these values had evolved to a state of not letting washer fluid pass through in either direction, I really have to ask myself what on earth they were thinking.

    I can just picture the Subaru engineer in the early 2000s saying "Hey guys, I know that washer fluid systems have been working great for several decades, but maybe we should add a one-way check valve in the lines, just to prevent fluid from somehow draining back into the washer fluid tank, even though that's never happened at any time in the history of washer fluid systems."

    I was really wondering why those little plastic fluid line couplers had little directional arrows molded into the side of them.

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    My 1980 Corolla had those.
    -Formerly Stabulator

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    Maybe they’re there to keep the lines charged, so that there’s less delay between hitting the button and having delicious water sprayed on your windows.

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    I had an odd one on my old Nissan (1980s model), it would engage the air-con when you used reverse.
    The idea was that the compressor should be used occasionally to keep it all moving, you dont want to go months (winter) without using it.
    So having it come on in reverse was their answer. Seems odd, but actually a cool (!) idea. And didnt really require any extra parts, just some software.

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    Millennial discovers old cars.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Rare White Ape View Post
    Maybe they’re there to keep the lines charged, so that there’s less delay between hitting the button and having delicious water sprayed on your windows.
    That's what I always figured.
    -Formerly Stabulator

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    Old VW Beetles had the windshield washers pressurized by the air in the spare tire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rare White Ape View Post
    Maybe they’re there to keep the lines charged, so that there’s less delay between hitting the button and having delicious water sprayed on your windows.
    Yeah I'm sure they are, but when in the history of cars has anyone ever pressed the washer button on a properly functioning car and thought "Gee, that washer fluid really didn't come out of the nozzles as fast as I hoped."

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    All the time before the Japanese solved the issue.

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    To me itís one of those details that car manufacturers would focus on when going the extra mile to make the overall car ownership experience a good one. Just like door handles that feel nice when you pull on them to open a door, or a tailgate that has an easy action and doesnít hurt your back when you pull it closed.

    To some buyers it could be the difference between owning a Toyota or a Hyundai, and which direction they send their 35 thousand salary sacrificed dollars. Not on its own, of course. Washer nozzles have never dictated the buying decisions of anyone. But as part of a raft of details, it matters.

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