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Many more car assists mandatory from 2014, courtesy of the EU
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Posted November 8, 2012 at 9:38PM
Talk about the speaking clock and the satnavs! :) Seriously though, I expect some 'assists' will be of help to some drivers. For myself, then I'm afraid I'd be soon looking for the main cut off button in order to retain my sanity. :)
Are we all sitting comfortably? Then here comes the story
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Posted November 11, 2012 at 9:56PM
It was also started to get death traps, old bangers and polluting cars off the road and replace them with modern cars with upto date safety features.
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Posted November 11, 2012 at 11:41PM
When people talk about 'automatic' cars they often fail to realise that there are at least 3 different kinds (to my knowledge) out there. The one I think most people are familiar with has a torque converter bolted to the rear of the flywheel where a clutch would sit and is connected to a transmission box which changes gear by means of various hydraulic powered brake bands operating on rotating drums. This is recognisable by the characteristic 'creep' you get when drive is selected even at idling. Because there is no direct mechanical connection between the road wheels and the crankshaft, it is inherently less economical than a conventional manual at higher speeds and long distance traveling. However it fares better in town and stop/start driving, especially on carburated cars because of its ability to change gear without the driver taking the foot off the accelerator pedal.
The second kind of 'automatic' is really better described as a self shifting manual, as it has clutch plates that are operated by the vehicle computer not the driver. These are the automatics that are referred to when talking about auto's being more economical. Which is true, but they are also a more complex system, with correspondingly bigger bils when they go wrong. You pays your money and you takes your choice..
The last kind is pretty rare these days, and its the old big rubber belt running between 2 expanding pulley systems. I was driving one of these on a 52 plate microcar relatively recently, and they are fun, but an aquired taste. Older members may remember them fitted to variomatic daf's, and I believe ford had a dubious flirtation with them in a fiesta at one time. Downside is they are anything but fuel efficient and are only suitable for lightweight cars. but they are very simple, cheap and easy to fix. Another issue is that they will go just as fast backwards as forewards, but you can decide if thats a good thing or a bad one!
Most heavy trucks thse days are of the self shifting manual types, and in my opinion they are a mixed blessing. Yes, they do increase fuel efficiency and reduce the drivers workload, but they also foster a lazy style of driving (and yes, I'm not excluding myself in this assessment. I'm as human as the next driver) that can lead to bad habits. They are a nuisance to maneuver in a tight space when heavily laden as you cannot apply fine amounts of power as you can with a clutch pedal. There is a slow maneuvering option on the transmission selector which is some help, but far from perfect. They are also very hard work at roundabouts and junctions. some can take up to 5-6 seconds to engage a suitable gear to pull away when laden. Imagine trying to wait for a gap that size in traffic when its busy and you begin to get an idea of the problem. You can somewhat get round it by preselecting a lower gear when stationary, but this comes back to the lazy driving fostering bad habits etc.
Someone mentioned speed limiters on hgv's only of use on motorways or national speed limit dual carriageways. Well if you rely on your limiter on dual carriageways then you are speeding, plain and simple. Compulsory limiters are set to a maximum of 90kph, but they can be set to a lower speed at the discretion of the operators. 85 is common for fuel economy, which is why you see everyone whizzing past argos and tesco artics. But the national speed limit for hgv's on a dual carriageway is 50mph (80kph). And you'd better be sure just what the legal definition of a dual carriageway is, while you are at it, else you will end up having your picture taken and possibly a trip to the traffic commissioner as well. (hint: just because a road has 4 lanes, 2 going each way, doesnt make it a dual carriageway)
Warning lights. A rough rule of thumb if one one comes on is it's colour. An amber one means the next time you stop, have a look to see if you can ascertain the cause and possibly fix it as well. If it's red, possibly with a big red STOP light, then pull over immediately. If you dont stop then there's a pretty fair chance your vehicle will do it for you, so try hard to do it in a safe a place as possible.
I do recall some 1980's base model french cars that were light on instrumentation, to say the least. They met the minimum legal requirements, and that was pretty much it. They only had one warning light on them, and that lit up to tell you your engine was already stuffed and its too late to do anything about it, english pig! (The more astute among you may just detect a note of personal angst there).
But the ting about warning lights is not to ignore them. They rarely go away on their own.
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Posted November 12, 2012 at 7:47AM
"It was also started to get death traps, old bangers and polluting cars off the road and replace them with modern cars with upto date safety features."
I thought that was the purpose of the MoT?
"The second kind of 'automatic' is really better described as a self shifting manual, as it has clutch plates that are operated by the vehicle computer not the driver. "
Although I originally posted about automatics, that's the sort I have now, a Citroen with EGS (electronic gear selection).
However, I don;t really like it; if you get the revs wrong it can snatch quite badly.
I will be going back to a "normal" autobox, with torque converter, the next time.
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Posted November 12, 2012 at 12:09PM
I am all for as many of these assists/gadgets as possible. I have recently bought myself a new "VW up! White" with lots of goodies as I call them. O.k. I am a silly old sod, but I love my seat heating; my "maps and More" gadget which tells me all sorts of other things, such as when to change gears, besides guiding me to my destination; My city driving assist, which I believe will brake for me if I forget, when I get too close to the vehicle/object in front. I haven't found out if that works yet as I haven't been close enough. I have no intention of testing it out for fun; Air conditioning which works wonderfully well and clears my windscreen of condensation in no time at all.
Some of the people inventing and improving these things deserve recognition for the number of lives they probably save. The convenience of being able to just speak and talk to your partner at home, or your pal in the car in front without taking your hands off the steering wheel. But so far without doubt my favourite thing is the way my seat quickly heats up the small of my back and my bum on a cold morning. Brilliant.
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Posted November 12, 2012 at 1:16PM
WhiteTruckMan - where does a CVT auto fit in your description of automatics?
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Posted November 12, 2012 at 1:18PM
Your post makes for interesting and informative reading, WTM. I agree with what you have said as a former HGV licensed driver, but because I gave up truck driving many years ago I've never climbed aboard any of the modern goods vehicles of today. I certainly wish I still had the opportunity to take one out for a run. I'll wager I would find the driving controls and regulations much more complex than in my day. Much too old now, I'm afraid.
I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to service and repair all of my own vehicles, and those of many other people. Saved quite a few bob on garage bills over the years. Which reminds me; presented many to her indoors but can't remember getting paid! :)
Keeping my 'old banger' Honda Civic automatic roadworthy these past 21 years, so that she always sailed through its MoTs first time, is proof enough of my own capabilities I think! :) Emissions have always been well below the maximum allowed and, further more, apart from adjusting the tickover speed once and always lubricating the twin constant vacuum carburettor linkages and cables, I've never had any trouble from them at all. Blowing my own trumpet now, but it's the truth I assure you. :)
Regarding the flywheel starter ring gear tooth wear issue. I have been known on several occasions to remove the gearbox, clutch or torque converter and starter motor. If the tooth wear in the positions you mention is not too severe then I'd remove it from flywheel, reheat again and reposition it back on the flywheel. But only with the permission of the hard-up owner would I recommend this option. The wear condition of the starter motor Bendix drive gear would have to be taken into consideration as well. TC.
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Posted November 12, 2012 at 1:31PM
A cvt (constantly variable transmission) is the third type of automatic I mentioned, with the big rubber belt. I forgot to actually name it, but included it for the sake of completeness. That, and I knew if I overlooked its mention someone would pick me up on it :)
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Posted November 12, 2012 at 2:10PM
Picture the scene.
Lovely sunny Autumn evening 7 pm and an hour before sunset. No other traffic on this normally busy A road. New car, and all sorts of information on the dash if I squeezed a button on the stalk.
The end of a long round run 200 miles, and I was checking petrol consumption and recommended gear with this new toy.
4 days later a fixed penalty for exceeding 30 mph. A camera less than a mile from home!
Clean licence for 60 years. If I say I didn't notice, that's driving without due care.
I like to think this was a distraction by the all purpose gizmo on the dashboard. Without that I might still have a clean licence!
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Posted November 12, 2012 at 2:44PM
No different to the distraction of a sat nav, a hands free phone, or even tuning the radio.
No matter what else is happening, drive the car!
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