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Rendezvous Suspension Upgrades

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Comments

  • Obviously if your insurance rates are low, I would assume that the insurance companies are relying on NHSTA or governmental standards.

    Think of it as the difference between public and private education. Now, I don't want to start whole nother bruhaha here, but there are some that would say the "minimal standards" of public education are not up to par with private education.

    Which is why even though "public education" is "free" (taxpayer paid for), some people are willing to pay $15,000 a year just for a private education in K through 12.

    I think to answer your question, yes in most instances the government and insurance companies are using the LOWER or governmental standard.

    But if you're someone that wants the BEST, no matter what, then you might be willing to pay $15k a year for a private education rather than accept "minimal" standards of a public education.

    If you're of the school of thought that governement minimal standards and/or public education is "good enough", then I can understand why you would not see the logic of why setting the bar higher, such as in a private school or private analysis of the same situation would be "better".
  • "Interesting read - especially when it comes down to exact details of where and why the RDV is the most dangerious vehicle. Again, "where's the meat???" in this statement???"

    I assume forbes wanted to get the priciples, logic and criteria out in their article. And they did a good job of that.

    They are NOT a magazine like consumer reports that breaks down their findings into detailed form as you would like.

    I think either you are like Tidester and myself who generally give FORBES the benefit of the doubt because of their status as a reputable business magazine. Also, when you read the article, they do provide good information and cite from credible safety experts. It's not like their article is badly reasoned or doesn't make sense. To the contrary, it provides good and insightful information.

    Thus, as steve said, since the writer seems prolific and knowledgable, you would assume their testing was sound.

    There may not be any "meat" that you can see, but that doesn't mean that the testing and conclusions weren't done.

    This reminds me of that old chinese riddle I heard somewhere, was it like from Kung-Fu teaching "grasshopper": "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to see or hear it, did it really fall?"

    In this case I would say the answer is yes, someone did do the research behind the conclusions, even if they didn't necessarily put it in the article. And I just base that on my perception on how well the article was wrote, the good information it provided, the experts it cited to and that it generally made a lot of sense even though if there were no detailed results posted.
  • "Obviously if your insurance rates are low, I would assume that the insurance companies are relying on NHSTA or governmental standards. "

    I take this back. I think insurance companies probably rely on their own data. perhaps. I mean if they see one type of vehicle as being a theft risk compared to all others, they will adjust their rates accordingly.

    I think insurance analysis is a little more complicated. Because there are a lot of sub issues.

    For example, just because a vehicle is "rated as the most dangerous" doesn't mean that vehicle ALSO has a higher probability of getting into an accident.

    It could just mean that IF you are involved in an accident, you are better off in other vehicles than that vehicles.

    These are two seprate issues again. I think insurance looks more at the probability of an accident occuring. The FORBES article is not necesarily saying that a RDV is more probable to get into an accident, just that IF you get into an accident there are better choices out there.

    I think it is cleaner to keep the issue between FORBES private standard and government standards. Insurance is a whole different ballgame and not only is it not an apple or an orange, it is probably a banana.
  • "one rates one brand/model low and the other high, what number does insurance compaines use?"

    a case in point that insurance companies do not always go based "ONLY" on the safety rating of a vehicle, is my 23 year old porsche.

    I "only" pay about $500 a year for this vehicle, maybe about 1/2 the cost I pay for the RDV. And that is even though by today's standards, the Pcar is "abysmal" in terms of safety features.

    It does not have ANY airbags (not even one in the steering wheel), no form of stabilitrac.

    So this just supports the point that you can't "evaluate" whether a certain model is a more dangerous safety risk based on insurance rates alone. Again, it is not comparing apples to apples to do make this kind of comparsion.

    To me (based on my limited experience) insurance values seem to be more based on what it would cost to repair or replace the vehicle. Since older cars are worth less, the insurance is often much less than a new car even though safety wise, they are abysmal in comparsion.
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239
    .

    If wondering...

    I used to "number crunch" stats for a living. Did that for over 8 years. As they say, one can make the output of any stat look the way they want. It all depends of political pressure and who's paying for the review. If wondering, I left that company - after my boss told me to "influence the numbers because an advertisor is paying its output a certain way" situations. Soon after, I left that company. Couldn't stomach unethical number crunching anymore.

    From one extreme to another... Take an average rated item and compare it against 19 other items that are above it. In the end, that item "is the worst" rated. And, if you take that exact same item and compare against 19 garbage items, that items comes out the best. Not saying one is skuing a stat at Forbes. That would be illegal and unethical. But under the incorrect political or financal pressure, anyone can make a stats output look good or bad. I know, because I did "stats collecting and comparing for 8 years". So, I know how things "can be influenced". Especially in the private sector. Been there, done that and I still know it happens today.

    Getting past the ups / downs of why a stat output "can be different" from a different agency doing the same tests, I really wish authors would post their detailed comparison charts (vertical and horizontal criteria) on the things they compare. That way, the reader can "See the Meat" behind the "single output number". They can see the total number of vehciles that were compared. Of the 20 vehciles (in a report), how many were SUVs, how many were the same wheel base, how many were the same height, how many were from 2002 and how many were from 2007? I don't see "the background meat" in their high level article. All I hear between the lines is "trust me - we've been in business for 90 years". Maybe they are correct (explaining why the RDV was replaced in 2007) and maybe they are stacking the deck (sort of speaking). One cannot tell - unless one sees the details. Or, in layman's terms, one sees the complete horitontal and vetical table (and background rating criteria) behind it.

    I do know one thing... If someone collects stats, compares and sees a pattern (like weak engineering), they have the ethical responsibility to state where and why. Why is the RDV the "#1 - most dangerious vehcile"? Is it mechanical (like weak ball joints, too top end heavy), is it because of over steer / or under steer or is it because of too soft of suspension??? The aritical states "the output rating (from their tests)" but doesn't cleary state why? It doesn't state how the owner of the RDV can "reduce that risk" or other avoidance recommendation. You'd think the author would also recommend how to low the risk - other then apply that one should NOT buy the RDV? If one is going to yell fire at a gas station - one must also point to where it is. Pointing to "over there" isn't good enough (to me).

    .
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,984
    The insurance companies do their own testing (and likely rely on the NHTSA and other testing outfits):

    Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

    I don't think they do any rollover testing yet. See Q&As: Rollover and roof crush for more.

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  • "I do know one thing... If someone collects stats, compares and sees a pattern (like weak engineering), they have the ethical responsibility to state where and why. Why is the RDV the "#1 - most dangerious vehcile"? Is it mechanical (like weak ball joints, too top end heavy), is it because of over steer / or under steer or is it because of too soft of suspension??? The aritical states "the output rating (from their tests)" but doesn't cleary state why? It doesn't state how the owner of the RDV can "reduce that risk" or other avoidance recommendation. You'd think the author would also recommend how to low the risk - other then apply that one should NOT buy the RDV? If one is going to yell fire at a gas station - one must also point to where it is. Pointing to "over there" isn't good enough (to me). "

    Your objective to find the rational behind the reasoning is noble. Unfortunately, short of contacting forbes and/or the author diretly, this is just not going to happen (even if you did contact them there's no guarantee they would explain anything to you).

    Anyway, sometimes you can't always have everything you want. You have to make do with the information that is given and go with your best guess. That's what I am doing and also based on what Steve and Tidester said, it appears what they're doing too.

    You have every right to disbelieve the article based on the lack of concrete supporting data if you want. No one is disputing your right to do that, even though they may not necessarily agree with the position you have taken.
  • by the same token, there is no "law of the universe" that says if someone doesn't provide concrete supporting data they are automatically wrong. again, just because they didn't publish the supprting data doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    your position should be more that "well, i'm undecided until data is provided." on the other hand, you've taken the position "no data published" = "no data exists". I personally think it is a bit skeptical position to have taken.

    If you were open minded to the possibility that they "might" be right, again, you would be more open minded to looking for data to see if their conclusions were supported or not.

    You can assume some of the burden of proof of verifying their conclusiosn even if no data was provided if it is important enough to you. Rather than just saying, "they have an incomplete article with no data so their article is BS!"
  • "After skimming through that Forbes article, I'm beginning to think that some aftermarket suspension upgrades may be worth looking into. "

    Never would have imagined to hear those words coming out of your mouth with all your previos "OEM engineering" talk (or letters out of your keyboard, would be more appropriate)..

    Anyway, glad you sorta see the light I saw. Not saying what I saw was absolutely right, because I think your positon about OEM engineering is just as valid too...

    Pretty much it's just the high "cost" of an OEM mfg'd better handling car when I've already commited and bought a rdv is what makes me consider these aftermarket options...If money was no object, I'd probably be more along your previous lines of thought and just buy a BMW or Porsche SUV, which I would bet, has way way lower rollover ratings than a RDV.
  • You can assume some of the burden of proof of verifying their conclusiosn even if no data was provided if it is important enough to you. Rather than just saying, "they have an incomplete article with no data so their article is BS!"

    Spike99, this is not persnoal, but you know, it seems to me that you may own one of the vehicles that falls in the category so you are in denial about their position.

    Even though I originally thought my vehicle fell in their category too, I was not in denial but trying to objectively see whether their position and reasoning made sense.

    So which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Are you so opposed to the fact that YOUR vehicle was found as "the most dangerous" that you are completely agaist that idea altogether, no matter how right it may be? What if data WAS provided? Would your argumemnts then shift to shooting down the logic and credibility of that data also?

    I mean there really is no end. If it is that you have your mind made up that they shouldn't be picking YOUR vehicle as the most dangerous, then no matter how sound their logic and reasoning, you will always argue against it. That is what is called bias..

    I mean if you could show you aren't being biased and/or offended by the fact that they picked YOUR car, then I would tend to give your reasoning and position a little more consideration here...
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,984
    Most people don't want to spent time and money trying to upgrade a new car they just paid a lot of money for. Or they'd rather buy a NAV or RES instead of shocks or struts.

    Safety sells. Not everyone pays attention to rollover scores or mpg for that matter, but when you are selling a family people mover and grocery getter like the Rendezvous, bad ratings will hurt your sales with a lot of people. In GM's response to the Forbes article, it sounded like GM was going to focus on things like more airbags and stability control to make the RDV safer.

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  • "but when you are selling a family people mover and grocery getter like the Rendezvous, bad ratings will hurt your sales with a lot of people."

    Steve, one of the reasons, no, in fact THE PRIMARY reason I got the RDV at the time is because my wife was pregnant with her first. Before she had a little nissan sentra.

    I thought that the RDV, being a bigger SUV, higher impact zone, weight and all that would be safer for her and the child. You can imagine my surprise when that logic is turned on it's head and now SUV's and trucks with higher center of gravity can be WORSE in a single car accident due to potential for rollover. The article says side airbags helps aleviate some of this risk by eliminating imapct with the ground as does stabilitrac, I would presume.

    So yes, I think my CXL model does have side airbags and traction control and the article may not be 100% applicable to my vehicle. But there is still the rollover factor.

    Ideally, I'd like the "best of both worlds" if possible, that is an SUV like vehicle which withstands the impact of a multi-vehicle crash, yet one that is still worthy of being in and NOT rolling over in a single-vehicle emergncy mauver/crash...

    That's all I'm trying to do in making the suspension a little firmer. Because as I said, the RDV was bought priimarly with safety in mind, and if there is any 'chink' in the RDV's armor, my view is that rollover hazard would be it. All I 'm trying to do is fix that chink as cost effectively as possible...

    This may not be the case for everyone else, but my whole decision to buy a larger SUV like vehicle like the RDV was for safety. This is why I'm interested in limiting the rollover potential through aftermarket upgrades, if possible.
  • "In GM's response to the Forbes article, it sounded like GM was going to focus on things like more airbags and stability control to make the RDV safer."

    My understanding is that the RDV is discontinued as of 2008 due to the Enclave which has already been released. Also the article was dated 7/26/2007, so it is not like it is an old article either. If it was dated 7/26/2007 and GM's response was after that, what changes can they make to RDV's which have already been discontinued? Where is this response that you are referring to? (I'd like to see it).
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,984
    I should have said "make their SUVs safer."

    "Alan Adler, GM's safety spokesman, confirms that it's important to look at a wide range of information. "You've identified two technologies [side airbags and stability control] that are important, and we have rollout plans for both," says Adler."

    link

    When it rains, it pours:

    markphil, "2002 Buick Rendezvous Class Action?" #68, 30 Sep 2007 7:47 pm

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  • As I've already said, I think the CXL and Ultra models at leaset from 2004 up have "side airbags" and a traction control system.

    From a website describing the 04 RDV: "CXL FWD ($30,935) and CXL AWD ($33,140) add leather upholstery, six-way power seats, automatic dual-zone air conditioning, heated mirrors, premium eight-speaker stereo with steering-wheel-mounted controls, separate rear-seat audio controls and headphone jacks, tire inflation monitor, and unique exterior trim. Both FWD and AWD CXL models have side-impact airbags and ABS. Additionally, front-drive CXL's come with traction control."

    From another website describing the 2006 CXL (I have a 2005 that has traction control, not sure if it is the same thing as '06): " Air bags for the Driver and front-passenger are standard feature on all Rendezvous variants. In the CXL variant is provided an additional feature in the form of additional air bags for enhanced safety. These air bags are mounted for side impact safety for the driver and front-passenger on the sides of seat. These side-impact air bags have a bearing in reducing the risk of injury in the event of side-impacts on the vehicle. The 2006 Buick Rendezvous is fully equipped with traction control system so as to control efficiently untoward accidents that occur on slippery conditions of road. The traction control on 2006 Buick Rendezvous operates through a powertrain control module (PCM) computer to detect any excessive front-wheel spin and in the event there is undue spin then it makes compatible adjustments in order to enable the spinning tire to regain traction. The traction control is the Buick Rendezvous 2006 ace to arrest slippage in every aspect. The process starts with applying brakes followed by reducing power, which is achieved, by reducing spark ignition to the engine cylinders. At the end of this process the PCM switches the gears thus slowiing down mechanically the rotation. The PCM having accomplished its mission thus returns control back to driver and relinquishes the auto control mode it had taken up to restore normalcy. This would any ways convince any one of the safety and soundness of installed systems in a 2006 Buick Rendezvous."

    Okay, based on the above, I think it can be said that certain CXL and ultras DO have traction control (and again supporting my thinking that it may not apply, so I don't know why GM's response didn't indicate this and just say that some of their RDV models DO ALREADY HAVE traction control).

    Now the question remains, I think is whether the "side airbags" referenced are the same as "side curtian" airbags. My initial impression is maybe no. I think the curtain airbags protect the head area and the side airbags on my RDV are in the sides of the seats. If I am wrong on this please let me know. So again, maybe that is still one downfall of my RDV...
  • steve, it appears your linked article is different than the one I linked. Yours shows the methodology used and may answer some of spike 99's questions. Basically in the article you linked, it says they are using SCORE's methodolgy and evaluation, not only IIHS and NHSTA.

    Hope that helps you spike99.

    "Informed for Life releases SCORE (Statistical Combination of Risk Elements) data each year, which combine all the available safety data from the federal government and the IIHS, along with the role of weight and the presence of stability control, into a single number for each particular model, making it easier to compare vehicles of varying sizes or body types.

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    The SCORE is calculated according to the role that each element plays in general fatal accidents. For instance, as about 26% of national accident fatalities occur in a side impact, 26% of the SCORE depends on the vehicle's rated side-impact protection.

    The system, which has been implemented for about five years, more closely matches the fatality rate on a model-by-model basis than either IIHS or NHTSA ratings alone. And it's easy to decipher; it's on a scale that's proportional to risk, with the average passenger car ranked 100.

    So, for instance, a SCORE of 150 means that the relative risk of driver fatality is 50% higher than for the average passenger car. In the group's 2007 list, the most dangerous vehicle, the Buick Rendezvous, at 161, has more than three times the relative risk of fatality than the Hyundai Entourage and Kia Sedona minivans, at 51."
  • Anyone interested in knowing why FORBES rated the RDV as #1 most dangerous, or why it has 3x more of a fatality rate than a smiliar sized Hyundai or Kia minivans, can go to the following website. It appears Forbes had based their ratings completely on the SCORE ratings....

    http://www.informedforlife.org/
  • If you click on "ranking lists" you will see that the Kia van they refer to has side airags and ESC. And it is rated at 51.

    The RDV they tested does not have side airbags and does not have traction control. And it was rated at 161.

    Therefore, it appears that the SCORE test results of the RDV that FORBES used to say the RDV was the "most dangerous" is a RDV which has no side airbags and no traction control. This would most likely be the CX model.

    Unforunately since it appears they did not test a CXL or ULTRA model that DOES have side airbags and traction control, we don't know what the results would be in these cases.

    So yes, the FORBES article is "slightly' misprepresenting the fact that "NOT ALL" RDV's don't have side airbags or traction control like the one tested with SCORE on informed for life's website... That is slightly misleading... They should have at least made the distinction that only base CX models were tested for SCORE and that the front-wheel drive CXL and ULTRA models may have a much higher rating (or lower SCORE rating) because they DO have side airbags and traction control as standard equipment.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,984
    I haven't been to that site for a while - he's done a big make-over. In spite of Forbe's use of his methodology, the SCORE ratings haven't made much of a splash out in the real world. The plus is he tells you how he comes up with the ratings.

    As I recall, one criticism of that site is that is doesn't give much (if any) weight to the score of a vehicle having ABS brakes, and perhaps some other "safety" features.

    [edit] And saying "one model of the Rendezvous" isn't as safe as one model of a Sedona doesn't sell as many magazines. :shades:

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  • "The plus is he tells you how he comes up with the ratings."

    spike99, well, if it hadn't been for steve posting that link, i would not have known how they come up with the ratings either.

    in any case you got your wish and the website lists very detailed methodology as to how the ratings were obtained...

    (it is a bit complicated looking to me so I haven't personally taken the time to try to understand what he's doing.. I basically assume if it was good enough for forbes, then it must make "some" sense...)...
This discussion has been closed.