Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Too Much Complexity

I don't want to sound like a Luddite here, but does anyone else see a major systemic problem with Toyota's recall for faulty accelerators. It's a flippin' gas pedal folks. Didn't Henry Ford pretty much figure this out, Oh, I don't know, like 100 years ago?

The Toyota's gas pedal is apparently a thing of technological wonder. I wonder why the technology doesn't work?

Is there supposed to be some major savings behind replacing a cable and spring with a computer?

Not to sound like an old fuddy, but at some point can we leave well enough alone?

My '81 Benz had an accelerator problem. The pedal would not come back up on its own. After popping the hood, it was clear the problem was a broken hook end of the spring. Using my handy dandy multi-tool pliers, I fashioned a new hook at the end of the spring. Reattached it and drove off. That was six months ago. Probably should replace the whole spring. The hardware store should have something for less than a buck.

About 12 years ago a throttle cable broke on an old Volvo. This happened way the heck out in the middle of nowhere. It was a simple matter to replace the throttle cable with the cable used by the cruise control. As the cruise control hadn't worked in years, it was no sacrifice. Took about 20 minutes to figure out the repair. Drove it that way for a few more years until the car was traded in.

Our machines can get too complex. We loose the ability to repair them ourselves. Every time that happens, we lose a bit more control over our lives.

Do we really want to be at the mercy of a technological wizard class for every little thing?



  1. My 2001 Freightliner has a computer fuel pedal, yes sir found that out 5 wks ago and 430.00 later. Couldn't change gears, rpm's would climb but not in power transfer. What happen to spring and cable?, I'll tell you what happen, no job security for the future if you can fix it yourself. Follow the money trail.

  2. Follow the money trail is as good an explanation as any. $430 That's a bit of change. If it was a spring and cable you were replacing it'd be what $25? It's tough enough to make a living on the road these days. You certainly don't need expensive repairs.