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Buying American Cars What Does It Mean?

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,071
    >I also agree that the sub-assembly contractor is in need of updating its QC controls.

    With my limited knowledge, I picture a large tub of assembled brake units being tow-motored to the station on the line. The tow-motor operator puts the prongs under the empty tub and shuttles it out to the dock to be returned to the manufacturer on the next semi delivering full tubs. The extra pads were probably never seen in the final assembly plant. However, at the brake manufacturer, there should have been a red alert. They might not have known which cars on the line got that tub's parts, but I suspect each tub had a tea rsheet/scanable barcode on it as to when it went to the line and when it was finished. They could have checked all the vehicles produced in that range for missing pads.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,760
    edited December 2012
    How else could a manufacturer REALLY know how accurate the manufacturing techniques are? Pulling the occasional unit off the line for enhanced inspection is quite the norm.

    OK - I agree. The ultimate goal is to not have to physically check. Random checks are the norm.

    I used to work for a manufacturer that had an a-ha moment back in the 90's. Instead of checking to make sure they built things right, they decided to figure out why they didn't build things right. It took about 5 years working with internal departments, suppliers, customers, educators to fully implement the Toyota Production System.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    More than likely, the sub-assemblies came palletized in a shrink wrap or similar material, although its entirely possible that the units came in some sort of reusable container designed specifically to hold the sub-assemblies in place during shipment.

    Remember, these sub-assemblies weren't just brake rotor/caliper setups, but the entire corner suspension of the auto... Strut, brake assembly, axle, etc.

    Lots of individual parts, and unless one's job is to completely inspect the sub-assembly before attachment, it's highly possible to overlook a part not required for the installation of the sub-assembly.

    I'm pretty sure the installer would have noticed a missing strut or tie-rod attachment.

    Other than that, I would say you have a good description of how it probably happened.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,144
    edited December 2012
    Now if loose brake pads were found in the bottom of the crate (and AFAIK there's no proof of that),

    Autoweek has this quote:

    "The missing brake pads--part of a subassembly of components--fell off before the cars were assembled and had remained unnoticed at the bottom of containers being shipped to the Orion Township, Mich., factory, said GM spokesman Alan Adler.

    "This has been fixed by adding a clip to the shipping containers," he added.

    Delphi Automotive's subsidiary in South Korea provides GM with the brake assembly for the Sonic."

    So apparently there was a screw-up in packaging and a screw-up in receiving when no one noticed or reported pads at the bottom of the container.

    (Delphi is a multinational based in Troy MI.)

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited December 2012
    "The missing brake pads--part of a subassembly of components--fell off before the cars were assembled and had remained unnoticed at the bottom of containers being shipped to the Orion Township, Mich., factory, said GM spokesman Alan Adler. "

    The problem I have with that explanation is this:

    I've never seen (my experience is somewhat limited, of course) a passenger automobile disc brake/caliper assembly that doesn't securely hold the pads in place, making it impossible for the pads to simply "fall out".

    And, it makes no sense to have a sub-assembly that doesn't have a complete pad/rotor/caliper assembly already united before installation onto the car.

    I've never done a disk brake job that didn't require separation of the caliper in order to remove the pads.

    I have seen racing set-ups that allow for quick pad change, but even then the pad is secured in pace by some mechanism.

    I'd love to see a service manual on the Sonic to see the exact pad arrangement, but at this point, I'm highly suspicious of the provided explanation.

    This is the closest I could find...

    http://www.paulstravelpictures.com/GM-Chevrolet-Cobalt-Front-Brake-Pads-Replacem- ent-Guide/index.html

    I can't imagine any car manufacturer making products for general consumption that would allow for pads to simply fall out of the caliper assembly.

    Seems awfully dangerous and runs a high probability of litigation after an accident...
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,144
    I was thinking all the vibration in the shipping may have loosened the pads, but cars suffer lots worse driving around.

    GM recalled 4,300 cars. One site quoted GM as saying no more than 20 to 30 of the recalled cars got sold with missing pads. If that's true (did they go find the containers and count the pads?), you could even point to an incompetent or disgruntled worker. Maybe the worker was supposed to inspect each unit at the rate of one every 60 seconds, and it was taking 70 seconds. So 30 "slipped" through to maintain the quota. But did the worker then throw the "extra" pads into the containers?

    The defect was found by a driver of a rental. How come the jockeys moving the cars on and off the transporters or around the car lot didn't notice? You'd think there'd be some noise or metallic sounds or pulling to one side.

    Gives one a lot of confidence in those pre-inspection checklists the dealers follow too. :shades:

    Whatever the reason, an American car company got a black eye.

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    GM recalled 4,300 cars. One site quoted GM as saying no more than 20 to 30 of the recalled cars got sold with missing pads. If that's true (did they go find the containers and count the pads?), you could even point to an incompetent or disgruntled worker. Maybe the worker was supposed to inspect each unit at the rate of one every 60 seconds, and it was taking 70 seconds. So 30 "slipped" through to maintain the quota. But did the worker then throw the "extra" pads into the containers?

    If the pads were indeed found at the bottom of the shipping carton, your explanation of just throwing them in (getting rid of the "evidence") is the most plausible.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,682
    edited December 2012
    That is for sure. You don't want to tell an Alaskan you are from America or the USA. They will correct you.

    Why is this? Do splain it to me in explicit detail. :blush:

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,892
    Many people treat Alaska like a different country from the USA. When I would pull into a gas station with my Alaska license plates people would ask what I thought of being in America or the US. Most Alaskans are proud to be part of the USA.

    Though about now they may want to split off and be their own separate country. They could tie in with ND and TX and control 90% of the US oil.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    That is for sure. You don't want to tell an Alaskan you are from America or the USA. They will correct you.

    Why is this? Do splain it to me in explicit detail.


    I've heard this for decades about both Alaskans and Hawaiians. They are part of the U.S. and supposedly, in general, dislike when folks from the 'lower 48' say 'I came from America out here'.
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    I've heard this for decades about both Alaskans and Hawaiians. They are part of the U.S. and supposedly, in general, dislike when folks from the 'lower 48' say 'I came from America out here'.

    That's simply not true. We could careless where you're from or what you call it as long as you brought your money with you.... :shades:
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    My late Mom always wished to go there, but never made it. I've never been. Alaska, neither.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    That's simply not true. We could careless where you're from or what you call it as long as you brought your money with you....

    ... And leave it there when you go back home...
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Uplanderguy, seeing Alaska is a MUST!

    A great way to see Alaska as a tourist is to fly into either Fairbanks or Anchorage, then grab the train and head to the opposite city. Pay the extra for the upstairs observation car, and stay the night in towns along the way. Take a week doing it.

    To save some $$$$, do it at the very end of the summer season. Visit Denali and take the day-long bus ride through the park.

    Another great way is to take the Alaskan Ferry along the Inside Passage, and book a room on the ferry. If you do both, you get to see 2 totally different aspects of Alaska.

    You won't regret it.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,144
    edited December 2012
    What Gagrice said.

    Send mail to Anchorage? Some times it'll wind up in Arkansas. The typical tourist questions include such wonders as what kind of money do you use and can I see your passport ("tourist" Alaska passports have been sold and a friend of mine "used" his to get into Germany one year. Got it stamped and everything. :D ).

    Lots of places will only ship to the continental US, so when you ask them what continent they think Alaska is on, you get a long pause. And then they hang up on you.

    Basically it amounts to a big chip on the shoulder. :shades:

    Oh, talked to our friend today who just moved back up north to Bethel from lower Michigan. Bit of shock seeing loaf bread for $4.00 and bananas for $2.79 a pound. 10 pound scoopable cat litter is $21.95. Has no car there, American or Alaskan, so haven't heard a gas price report yet.

    Flying is fine, and the train is good, but there's nothing like a leisurely road trip up the Alaska Highway. You can do the ferry one way too and that's great, but the prices have really soared.

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,892
    there's nothing like a leisurely road trip up the Alaska Highway.

    If you have a good solid American built SUV or PU truck and plenty of time, driving to Alaska is the best way to enjoy it. Go to the end of the road at Deadhorse, Valdez and Homer. All different and unique. The highway through Canada is very good now. A couple a great hot springs along the way. Don't forget the latest Milepost.

    http://milepost.com/
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    If you have a good solid American built SUV or PU truck and plenty of time, driving to Alaska is the best way to enjoy it.

    Why, do they have bins along the sides of the roads for all the parts that fall off? :shades:

    And why wouldn't someone want to make the trip in a nice sporty CX-5, or maybe a WRX? Especially a WRX come to think of it...or maybe the WRC Fiesta variant, and too bad they won't sell one here.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,892
    And why wouldn't someone want to make the trip in a nice sporty CX-5, or maybe a WRX?

    If that is what they have go for it. I made the first trip in 1970 before the roads were paved, in a 1967 VW Bug. Drove the last 1200 miles with only the hand brake as the master cylinder went out and no parts in Whitehorse.

    My fastest and smoothest trip was in my 1993 Chevy Silverado 3/4 ton 4X4. That handled the rough sections very well. If I ever take the trip again it will be in a luxury SUV diesel. Gas prices in Canada are high.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Everyone says Alaska is stunningly beautiful. My older sister and her husband went on a tour there two years ago and their pictures are almost hard-to-believe, they're so beautiful. They loved the trip.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,144
    edited December 2012
    I first went up and back in '73 in a newish Bug. Other than a bunch of windshield cracks it made it fine. Did it in a beater Datsun wagon and got stranded overnight in Haines Jct. but a good mechanic got it shifting and got us back home. Did it in the Tercel, Voyager, Subaru and Quest with no issues.

    Of all those, the Quest was the most comfy and the most "American" ride (the Voyager was made in Ontario, while the Quest was made in Ohio).

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited December 2012
    I did my first trip in 1998 on a Harley Road King. I started off from Key West, FL and rode just about every road I could find, rode up to the Arctic Circle, then grabbed the ferry at Skagway and rode it to Bellingham, WA. Then came back to SC via the southern route through Arizona, New Mexico, etc., and took 7 weeks to make the trip.

    The last time (2010) I went I took my wife & younger daughter. Flew that time to Anchorage, rode the observation car on the train, stopping and staying the nite ate each stop along the way. After 6-7 days, we finally made it into Fairbanks and flew home.

    You see things there that you don't see anywhere else...
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Of all those, the Quest was the most comfy and the most "American" ride (the Voyager was made in Ontario, while the Quest was made in Ohio).

    It's probably a pretty safe bet the Voyager had the content percentage contest down, but probably too late to know for sure at this point.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,144
    edited December 2012
    I don't even know if they tracked that back in '89. Wiki says the engine was from Michigan. The next generation was still made in Winsor but Chrysler added production in St. Louis. That was my last car with real rain gutters. :cry:

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  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,359
    edited December 2012
    Here's the best way to really see Alaska:
    2014 Alcan 5000 Rally

    I ran the 2000 Alcan 5000 in an American(but not UAW)-made truck...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,144
    edited December 2012
    My first trip up took 6 weeks from Mississippi back in '70 in the Bug. Not enough time. Anything faster than 6 days or so north from the MT/WA border is too fast. You need at least a day at Liard to soak in the hot springs too. :shades:

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm still rather mystified that a company who says they are so 'American' was completely hamstrung here, and I mean completely, when the awful tsunami hit there in 2011

    That statement makes no sense when you consider the Camry was still the best selling car in the country last year.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    that's a far cry from basically shutting down production

    Not sure if you realize this, but Toyota manufactured over 13 million cars and trucks in N. American in 2011.

    Does that sound like production was shut down to you? :confuse:

    For 2012 they will exceed 15 million but they also expanded capacity.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    cessation of production

    image
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited December 2012
    An entire assembly built overseas, where the pads were not installed, was installed on the car, not just pads by themselves

    Double standard alert!

    Chevy gets a pass because the brake assembly for the Sonic is built in Korea?

    Then Toyota gets a pass for rusty frames supplied by Dana and made in the USA. Note their trucks with a J first in their VIN do not have the same issue. Also remember Dana paid $25 million to settle since their frames didn't meet agreed upon standards.

    Yet you've never seen it that way and mention those frames OFTEN.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Equinox is another bread-and-butter segment where they could use some improvement...it's too big to be a compact

    I disagree, the 'nox has been a hit. It's selling at higher volumes and for more money too, vs. its predecessor.
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