Wimminz – celebrating skank ho's everywhere

March 28, 2013

Four sprung duck technique

google it if you like, it is an old joke which plays on an old audi advert “vorsprung durch technik

Today I dropped off my leased Mk6 VW Golf for a major service, and the loaner is a brand new Polo, for comparison’s sake my personal car is an old W124 E300D, literally the last year before they started throwing a bunch of electronics under the hood.

Much is made of “german engineering” and of course in the economy sense of the german manufacturing economy, so, as a time served engineer, I am here to tell you something.

In my 22 year old merc, I can get in these cold mornings and the screen wash bottle is electrically heated, so it never freezes, also the wing mirrors are electrically heated, so they never freeze, the heater itself starts chucking out useful heat within 1 mile, and the cabin has thermostatically set heater controls, so I leave them on the drivers side as 20, winter or summer, windows / sunroof open or closed, and the thing adjusts heat output accordingly.

When driving the chair is “comfy”, and the armrest / steering wheel / drivers arm naturally fall into a comfortable position, I can sit in this car and do a 500 mile day and get out as comfy as I got it.

The all mechanical 4 speed auto trans is as smooth as the day it was made, and the straight six two valve three litre engine rarely sees the high side of 2,000 RPM, and speaking as an engineer the in-line straight six mechanical Bosch fuel injection pump alone contains more engineering precision than most modern cars.

I paid the vast sum of 700 quid for this car 4 years ago, and it is still going strong, two small coin sized bits of welding, a couple of tyres, and fluids and filters every year.


So, the Mk6 bluemotion… it’s a box of tricks, and they are all electronic, and you know what that means when things start to die, not fixing shit with a 13 mm spanner, oh no, go and plug it into a diagnostic machine and then start buying a series of pre-packaged and sealed electronic “modules” (such as the ECU) when things go wrong, as for the mechanicals, well, think “Proton” or “Lancia” or other equally cheapo crap made out of bits of tin…. but that is when it dies, when it is good…

The heater takes three miles to even start to work, this is “normal” for a £22k car, the screen washer bottle freezes, the wing mirrors freeze, the rear window gets more dirt than a whore’s mattress, the seats are crap, there is nowhere comfortable to rest your arm on a long journey, and all the “automatic” bluemotion tricks like lights and wipers just do not work well enough to be left on automatic.

The lights on the bluemotion are also crap compared to the old merc (both use filament bulbs) simply because of the beam pattern and coverage, and god help you if you throw a bag of shopping with 2kg or more weight on the passenger seat, because you will be treated to the incessant “bong”ing of the seat belt alert…. it is this sort of trivially cheap shit that is annoying, by all means put a weight sensor in the seat to trigger the seat belt alert, but set it at 50 Kg, not 2 Kg…. there are also a lot of mechanical noises that the mechanics assure me are normal, noises from tyre wear, noises from brakes, noises from wheel bearings, noises from the FWD.

Then you get into the brand spanking new Polo, and I spend the first 5 miles looking around the car at every stop, looking to see the open windows and doors, because of the external noise you can hear in the cabin, and those brand new brakes, they sound like they are next to your ear, I haven’t seen “engineering” like this since Metal Box made fucking biscuit tins for Crawfords.

I’ll give the fucking bluemotion Golf it’s due, it will return 60 mpg on the motorway at 80 mph, whereas my old merc will give you 40 mpg at 60 mph, so it drinks a LOT less fuel, but even at £1.55 a litre the £21k difference in purchase price would buy you 21,000 / 1.55 = 13,548 litres, or 2,985 gallons, and even assuming an urban 30 mpg that is 89,950 miles…

Which brings us to mileage, with 93k on the clock, the bluemotion is clearly into the place where things start to wear out with wallet smashing regularity, whereas my old merc has 200k on the clock, and now needs new front disks, which GSF do for a measly £26 a pop, pads are 30 quid a set, wheel bearings are £6.48, what’s more being designed and built by proper German engineers all these parts are made to be worked on, you do not have to remove 99 other parts to get access to the bits you want to work on and change.

Bottom line here, the Golf is clearly nothing more than a cheap and nasty cheaply built car, with a bunch of electronics to manage things and mask everything and bling things up for the driver, it is the fucking iGolf, it could have been designed by apple and made in a sweatshop in Shenzen, and as for the fucking Polo, it is a biscuit tin on a shopping trolley with a fucking ipad dock for bling.

It isn’t just these so called “low end” cars either, a recently drove a band new Audi A8 fully loaded with everything, including the fucking AWFUL low profile run flat tyres, which produced so much noise inside the cabin I might as well have been in a jetliner.

As an engineer I can tell you that the cost for manufacturing a 4 cylinder 1100 cc engine and a 4 cylinder 2200 cc engine are very very very similar, the raw materials are nothing, all the money goes in boring 4 barrels and machining a crank with 4 big ends and so on, the size of the component does not matter.

The Bosch six in-line fuel injection pump, despite being tiny compared to the six cylinder three litre engine it is attached to, therefore costs about the same to manufacture.

The modern common rail shit like the Golf has is pure cheap crap, let NOBODY kid you that it is better at anything, it is first, second, third, fourth and fifth, VASTLY cheaper to manufacture than a distributor type fuel injection pump, which is itself VASTLY cheaper to manufacture than an in-line injection pump.

In engineering costs alone you could make between two and three new golfs for what it costs to make the six cylinder merc engine and fuel pump.

It isn’t just the fuel injection system, the old merc has the pukka Bosch ABS system, which is as bulky and heavy an object as the entire golf steering train, but which still works to within 1% of the way it did when it was new 21 years or 200k miles ago.

“Fabulous German Engineering”? It is history, the same way fabulous english engineering is, and if there are no fabulously engineered products being made ROUTINELY in a country, then all the infrastructure and skills that are a pre-requisite to such an engineering base capability atrophy and die off.

I very much doubt that Mercedes in 2013 are technically fucking capable of either designing or building a car as good as the W124, or the VA group, who own lambo and bentley as well as VW and audi, or or or… you get the idea.

This is a sentiment that the director of MB himself echoed in 2007, they were striving to get back to W124 quality, they haven’t made it, they have in fact regressed…

Look at the excellent opposed twin BMW motorcycle engines from WW2 up until the 80’s, same story, and the replacement K series, they just don’t have the life in them, because they just don’t have the fucking engineering in them. Simple. As. That.

For all the shit talked about Adolf Merkel and the fucking krauts trying to take over europe again, the fact is that even if that is what the germans wanted to do, they no longer have the engineering talent or ability to build a fucking wemacht capable or taking war anywhere.

Far from blitzkreiging into France faster than the allies could be routed, the modern panzer divisions would be in Saarbrucken in “limp home mode” with the multifunction displays telling the drivers to call the dealership ASAP.

The Russian winter campaign was an absolutely motherfucking CLASSIC engineering example, fine engineering in good german guns and good german tanks, completely fucked by not having appropriate cold weather lubricants, an EXACT parallel to battle hardened kick ass german troops freezing to death because they did not have arctic gear or arctic rations, and all Adolf’s demands didn’t make a blind bit of difference.

My father before me was an engineer, he told me the single biggest difference between what they could build when he was a boy and when I was a boy was lubricant technology and tyre technology.

Fuck the nazi shit, fuck the holocaust shit, fuck all the other shit, if the german people have something to be fucking ashamed of it is that grandad could build a better fucking engine than they can today.

Just fucking IMAGINE what Messerschmitt and Dornier and Krupp could have done with modern lubricants and CNC mass production.

I have lost track of the number of retired engineers who have told me things like starting from scratch today we could not build a Saturn V, or a Fast Breeder Reactor, or Concorde, and sadly it has come down to the point where we couldn’t build a fucking W124 merc.

Everything I touch in my day job maintaining teh internetz comes under the heading of NOT BUILT HERE, but we are continuing the race to the bottom.

Just after WW2 a british army sargeant was largely credited with starting commercial production of the VW beetle, in reality he did not do shit except make sure bits of paper got signatures so that materiel could move from point A where it was to point B where it was needed, what actually got the beetle production going was local german engineering skill, the english army guy just pushed all the bullshit and paperwork out of the way, the rest is history.

So now we have an EU run by assholes who are ever more intent on putting more bullshit and paper in the way, to try to fix the problems caused by too much bullshit and paper, meanwhile the last 30 years worth of bullshit and paper has served to wipe out all the engineering talent everywhere in northern europe.

A world run by despotic crazed chinese engineers might be brutal, with a stroke of the pen 10 million must die and 100 million must relocate so that the remaining 890 million can survive, but is it actually worse than a world run by incompetent despotic western politicians where a billion must all suffer equally and remain on the sinking ship, in the name of equality and fairness and of course managed unit cost.

A world where NOTHING is built to last 20, 30, 40, 50 years is a world that should scare the living shit out of you, because renewing EVERYTHING every 5 or 10 years is simply unsustainable….

In closing, I want to stress one very important point.

The bluemotion golf, at 1,000 miles a week it is 2 years from brand spanking new to the beginning of the end of life slope, and THIS IS WITH UNLIMITED MAIN DEALER SERVICE AND MAINTENANCE, it won’t even need an MOT for another year, but the leasing company will be lucky to see 7.5k back when it is sold on, because of the mileage, it is dead and everyone knows it…. they don’t care as financially it has already been depreciated to £0 value, but my old merc is 20 odd years out of warranty, so 20 odd years of fuck all maintenance or home mechanic maintenance or back street garage maintenance, and it is still going strong.

Since I bought it, it has had MOT advisories for corrosion on the brake pipes and corrosion on the rear suspension mounts, both jobs could be rectified (remove rear axle, cut out old mounts, weld in new) for about 1500 and she’d be good to go for who knows how long, but even so, advisories are not a fail, so a spray of old engine oil every year….

I have actually spent FAR more than I paid for in in road fund licence and motor insurance than I have spent both buying it and maintaining it… the other big cost is of course fuel.

The USP of the golf and polo is they sip a lot less fuel than my old merc, and this is true, they do.

It is also true that RFL is cheaper, because there is a break point for sub 1600cc engines, but we are talking savings of £100 a year, not a vast sum.

Insurance for a new car is a lot more than insurance for a 20+ year old car…

Depreciation, don’t even go there, you’re looking at 14k over two years for the golf.

Projected ongoing maintenance and parts to get another 20 years and 100k miles out of the golf, fucking forget it.

Round here, like much of Germany I suppose, 99% of “economy” is sales of new and used cars, which means FINANCE of new and used cars, maintenance and running of new and used cars, which means FINANCING running cars, and the housing / property bubble, which means FINANCE of house purchase / maintenance / new jacuzzi – conservatory.

Ain’t no engineering.




  1. Planned obsolescence meets government efficiency decrees, resulting in what we have today. Our automobiles are designed to give the same performance for 100k miles, then fall apart. Every last gram of weight that can be removed in order to provide better mpg ratings has been removed, and so what if the seat is painful and the body is flimsy?

    Comment by tweell — March 29, 2013 @ 3:31 am

  2. Been meaning to thank you for a while.

    I bought my ’86 BMW 325e five years ago from a friend for a 1000 bucks. His dad was he original owner. It had 214K miles on it. The odometer gave out at 254K but I think it’s somewhere over 300K now.

    I drive it all over the country, with minimal possessions in the trunk, mostly outdoor gear, and the laptop I need to do my work remotely. I like the discipline of space it forces on me.

    Almost everything inside of it is broken or falling apart. But the the engine and drive-train are in nice condition. I have mechanic in Colorado I trust to take it care of it, and every time I swing through there, I put some money into it. But not the odometer. Not a necessary part.

    I think about replacing it, but out in the desert, when the engine is all warmed up, cruising down the highway, it feels like I’m in airplane. The rumbling of the seat. Nothing like it.

    Also I rammed from behind in Tucson by a Toyota. Destroyed the other guys front grille but literally didn’t leave even a scratch on the Bimmer. Maybe I can keep it a little longer.

    Anyway, what I wanted to thank you about is that post about a year ago, about how you always let your engine idle until it warms up, and how you can’t understand those who don’t do that. I started doing that after I read that post. Maybe that’s why it’s still going.

    Comment by mtrumpusa — March 29, 2013 @ 4:16 am

  3. Damn, they have weight sensors in the passenger seats now for seatbelts? Here I thought my 12 year old Ford truck was bad with the belt buckle sensor for just the drivers side.

    Comment by JFP — March 29, 2013 @ 11:24 pm

  4. Planned obsolescence + widespread FRAGILE electronics = short leash = sheeple don’t stray too far off Duh Grid and get used to self-sufficiency.

    Comment by DGAF in Miami — March 30, 2013 @ 10:37 am

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