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Driver Gets Stuck On Cruise Control

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the drop-me-off-anywhere dept.

Bug 38

Benaiah writes "In something seemingly out of a Keanu Reeves movie, an Australian driver was unable to make his freeway exit when his car failed to slow down as he applied the brake. For those of you too lazy to RTFA he tried everything to stop the car including turning off the ignition but to no avail, the computer was in control. Police at one point escorted him down the wrong side of the road at 80km/h(50mp/h) until he eventually was able to stop it by repeatedly stepping on the brake pedal. Ford Australia spokeswoman Sinead McAlary said there has been a recall on that make of car but for a different reason."

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Throw it in neutral and apply the hand break? (2, Insightful)

tsalmark (1265778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30461286)

Every time I see one of these stories I wonder, what about shifting to Neutral. I only drive standard, so am not sure, but don't Automatics still have a Neutral setting for the transmission, or are these drivers in need of another round of drivers ed?

Re:Throw it in neutral and apply the hand break? (2, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30461962)

It's called panic.

Re:Throw it in neutral and apply the hand break? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30462054)

The article pretty clearly states he tried.

Re:Throw it in neutral and apply the hand break? (1)

tsalmark (1265778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463606)

NO, no it does not. Given that he tried other options, and he seems to have remained calm for at least the first few KM of the problem, he probably did. from comments in the article and below, it does seem that at least some modern automatics are completely fly by wire affairs.

The newspaper and police are being charitable (2, Informative)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464394)

NO, no it does not. Given that he tried other options, and he seems to have remained calm for at least the first few KM of the problem, he probably did. from comments in the article and below, it does seem that at least some modern automatics are completely fly by wire affairs.

The article said it was a 2002 Ford Explorer. They're not drive by wire. He could have shifted to neutral and there's pretty much no mechanical failure that can prevent that. If it were a manual transmission and it was stuck in gear (kind of an unlikely failure at the same time the brakes and throttle mysteriously fail) then he could have still disengaged the clutch by holding the clutch pedal down.

The are several controls that can be used to stop or at least prevent further acceleration: The ignition key switch, the clutch pedal (on a manual transmission vehicle), the shifter, the brake pedal... The idea that all of these failed simultaneously is implausible.

What we have here is an idiot who became hysterical when his throttle pedal got stuck down. His parking brake probably didn't work because it was out of adjustment. The service brakes could have failed due to a fluid leak, but had he shifted to neutral he probably could have still used them to slow down because cars have dual-circuit brakes so if one side loses fluid you can still stop on the other circuit... He probably tried to downshift which resulted in stronger acceleration, when he should have just shifted to neutral and let the engine bounce off of the rev limiter (pretty much all fuel injected cars have a rev limiter routine in the engine computer).

Seriously, he sounds like a total numbnuts who just went to pieces and has no understanding of how his car operates and how he can control it:

"I was hysterical, I was absolutely hysterical. When the police opened the car door to ask if I was okay - I have never screamed so much in my life," he said.

Re:The newspaper and police are being charitable (1)

rrrhys (1475013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30469006)

Also - if the car wouldn't turn off or shift into neutral when he was moving, how did he turn it off/drop it out of gear when he stopped it through mashing the pedal? Did it magically let him turn the key then? He's just a crying retard.

Re:The newspaper and police are being charitable (2, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480912)

He's just a crying retard.


who recently arrived in Melbourne from Queensland,

I rest my case.

Re:The newspaper and police are being charitable (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488522)

We aren't all car mechanics, nor may we not have the prerequisit interest to learn how it works. I understand your point of view in the context of computers (I'm a software developer) but I don't drive and don't know, beyond what you see on tv, nor care to know how they work.

Re:Throw it in neutral and apply the hand break? (1)

FrigBot (1459361) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464518)

Yeah, it didn't say he tried dropping it into neutral. I'm not totally familiar with the Australian version of an '02 Explorer, but I doubt (based on the model year) that it had drive-by-wire. I also very much doubt that it did not have a direct mechanical connection between the shifter linkage and the transmission. Therefore, if that was the case, dropping into neutral would have saved him earlier.

BTW, he probably lost power assist to the brakes because if hte throttle was jammed open, there's no vaccuum available to the vaccuum-power-brake booster. Note that he did finally get it stopped by pressing very hard on the brake, so that means the brakes still worked - just no power assist.

Re:Throw it in neutral and apply the hand break? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30468888)

I tried turning the ignition off, I tried changing the gear shift...

Guess I read this liberally since on automatics (in the US at least) shifting would take you from drive to neutral or drive to a lower gear. Also, to me common sense would say that if he had enough time to call the police and they could respond, he probably tried most options and the emergency operator would have suggested a few.

Also, I vaguely remember trying to shift to neutral on a Ford truck and having to lift off the accelerator first. But I may be just making that up.

Re:Throw it in neutral and apply the hand break? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#30473228)

From the article:

I tried changing the gear shift

It doesn't say "neutral", but I bet it's one he tried.

Re:Throw it in neutral and apply the hand break? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30462254)

It's worse than that. Many of these cars are "fly by wire" now with no direct mechanical connection between the pedals, shifter, and the engine.

I suppose I would have tried the hand brake- but that could also be really just a signal to the computer to slow down.

Re:Throw it in neutral and apply the hand break? (1)

tsalmark (1265778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30462772)

Well, I would think using a hand break while a front wheel drive car is trying to maintain highway speeds is probably a recipe for disaster. The article does make it seem the driver did try a few obvious ways of disengaging the engine. I just find it hard to believe, and scary, that they make cars with out some fail-safe, mechanical way of disengaging the engine.

Re:Throw it in neutral and apply the hand break? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463088)

Being a mechanical device, the hand brake is not "all or nothing". I drive at 50mph all the time with one hand and my handbrake is to my right between the seats.

It is scary that you don't have a failsafe. "Pull this red button to disconnect the wires from the engine" or something.

Re:Throw it in neutral and apply the hand break? (1)

tsalmark (1265778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30463298)

I was thinking the locked on cruise control would put up a big enough fight that the handbrake would be all but useless, but perhaps not. I had been thinking about a CVT for my next car, I'll make sure to do a lot more research on the ability to disengage the drive-train.

Re:Throw it in neutral and apply the hand break? (1)

wtfbill (1408123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30467756)

Many mechanical devices are all-or-nothing, although you are right about a hand brake not being one of those (ever seen a sprag clutch?). If you think THAT'S scary, you should see how little material there actually is in items like your wheel spindles, wheel bearing contact surface area, etc. We put a lot of power and weight through just a few small bits of metal that are all there is between our backsides and a grisly death. The materials science involved is a really amazing thing.. The way most vehicles are set up, the actual ignition switch is a mechanical component that physically disengages contacts to cut power to the powertrain control module and controlled systems. So yeah, for most vehicles, you sorta do have a big red button. Also, most folks don't realize that brakes generally have several times the horsepower of the powertrain (typically, I hear the value of 5 times quoted, but I haven't seen that figure substantiated). That's why, at full throttle and with the torque converter at stall on an AT-equipped vehicle, which boosts engine torque output at 2:1 (typical figure), the front brakes still hold. Due to weight bias and brake system type, the rear brakes may or may not hold, but the fronts will. That's where the great majority of your braking power comes from anyway (ever wonder why front brake specs are always higher than rear?). Hauling the vehicle down from 100 or 150 kph to zero dissipates a LOT of energy, but even at full throttle, the brake system should be up to the task if it's been properly maintained. Of course, the way many/most maintain their vehicles, that can get iffy. Barring a mechanical failure in his brake system, this bloke should have been able to stop. The way he was talking about screaming, when he was finally able to stop, the real story is likely that he just panicked.

Re:Throw it in neutral and apply the hand break? (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30468684)

Wow even when it says "for those too lazy to RTFA" in the summary, people still ignore it.

He tried putting it in neutral. He tried turning the ignition off. He tried all manner of brake pumping. Pretty much, he tried everything that you could conceivably try.

Re:Throw it in neutral and apply the hand break? (2, Insightful)

tsalmark (1265778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30468854)

No it does not mention trying to put it in Neutral.

This could actually be true... (3, Informative)

g00ey (1494205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464042)

Many modern cars have electronic ignition which consists of a cassette that is inserted into a slot. The system feeds this cassette electrically into the slot like the tray of a CD player, and scans the chip inside the cassette (this chip is also known as RFID chip). When the ID is verified the driver can push a button to start the car. So the good old mechanical key is gone on these models and the ignition control relies entirely on computer controlled semi-conductor relays.

The parking brake, or the hand brake is not strong enough to brake a moving car, at least not at speeds above 30 kph. At 80 kph the hand brake is most likely to take considerable damage and/or premature wear and even further disable its operation when trying to use it at that speed.

When it comes to the brakes, cars have what is known as ABS. ABS is an electronically controlled braking system which neutralizes the braking force on the wheels that are starting to spin, when you hit the brakes hard or you hit them when the road is slippery. It is technically possible for the electronic control unit (ECU) to hang and force all brake calipers open no matter how strong pressure is applied on the brake pedal.

Even the automatic transmission gearbox is controlled electronically consisting of electronically controlled actuator valves that reroute hydraulic fluid in the box in order to switch operating mode of the gearbox. It is fully possible for the ECU of the automatic transmission to stop responding to "shifting commands" from the shift stick.

Usually there is redundancy in those systems and the systems at least used to be isolated from each other, i.e. they operate independently from each other using their own circuitry and wiring except for perhaps the diagnostics interface (OBD, OBDII, et al). The ABS-system used to be this way on most cars until the TRACS feature came where the ABS system sends commands to the fuel injection box forcing the engine to rev down in order to prevent spin when accelerating. This is also used to enhance the effect of the ABS control when braking.

But my bets are, since the invention of the CCAM bus that all electronic components have become more and more integrated into each other and the manufacturers do what they can to cut their production costs and save copper wire by letting all components communicate over the same CCAM bus which goes around the car in a loop. If this bus breaks, gets congested or overloaded then things don't look good for the driver.

So, all in all, I think this is possible to happen and the cruise control may have overloaded the CCAM bus disabling all electronically controlled operation of the vehicle.

Re:This could actually be true... (1)

Javaman59 (524434) | more than 4 years ago | (#30467016)

It did happen. It was on all the TV news in Australia last night, with television footage of the travelling car, and interviews with the driver and police (who were were called in while he was stuck on 100 km/hr).

Re:This could actually be true... (2, Informative)

wtfbill (1408123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30467122)

Sorry, g00ey, that's not how electronic transmissions and abs systems work. I know, I work on them all the time. And while there are a lot of cars that use RFID to start up, I've never seen one of those that's like anything you describe either. ABS works by pulsing the system pressure and bleeding it off. It doesn't fail in a hold-open mode, but hold-close. That's both for mechanical and electronic failures in the actual ABS part of the brake system. And typically, when a transmission controller stops working, most systems (the Ford in question is one of these, trust me, I,ve had LOTS of these units apart on my bench) the electronics are easily overridden by manually downshifting the stick. That's what controls the highest possible gear through a spool valve in the valve body; the shift solenoids just provide for control between 1st and the mechanically selected highest possible gear. Your understanding of TRACS is fairly accurate(but not quite on the money)--they also use retarded ignition timing and transmission upshifts to reduce engine output and wheel torque along with fuel system trim. I wouldn't bet on a system bus overload either. You have to realize that the computers operate at a few megahertz, but they are controlling mechanical events in the hertz to the kilohertz range, typically. They are very much up to the task. For instance, at 3000 rpm, a six-cylinder engine is only experiencing 9000 ignition and injection events per minute, that's 150 events per second per system. Each injector and spark plug is operating at 50 hertz. In computer terms, automotive mechanical systems are ridiculously slow. Fuel injector pulse width, for instance is typically in the 1-10 ms range. The control systems and communication buses COULD be at fault, but as someone else already stated, sounds like a human panic event. Those systems are built to a much higher physical standard than most of the hardware we typically see in a server room or on a desktop. Their operating environment requires it. From an automotive control systems point of view, not likely much to see here...move along.

Re:This could actually be true... (1)

g00ey (1494205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30472198)

I'm not a professional car mechanic with many years of experience but I'm interested in car technology and I work on cars for leisure. I also have been working in car manufacturing plants on occasion.

All of the cars I've been working with (during my leisure time) is from before the era when the car manufacturers started using the CCAN bus. It's near impossible to find useful information about it on the internet, but I've managed to come over some brief but technical articles from an automotive engineering website a few years ago. So my knowledge about this car is rather limited but I'm willing to bet that some of the changes ensuing the introduction of this bus are for worse from a security perspective.

It's a fact that many cars as of today no longer use a key to control the ignition. I'm not able to tell what the RFID cassette looks like on every model that uses this technology. I'm only able to tell how it works on the cars I've been using and assembling. But it's quite obvious that all cars that use this type of ignition control have ditched the mechanical ignition switch entirely and made it completely based on semi-conductor circuitry.

This RFID technology has been used on cars at least since the mid '90s. In such cars there is an antenna around the ignition lock and an RFID chip is fitted in the bow of the key. This is also known as an immobilizer which is made to prevent car theft and makes the car refuse to start if the key is wrongly encoded or when someone tries to bypass the ignition lock manually. In those systems the ignition control is still mechanical and the electronics circuitry cannot prevent the driver from switching the ignition off, only prevent him from switching it on. Problems with the immobilizer is actually a rather common issue for people having problems starting their cars.

When I talked about ABS I only talked about the technical possibilities and not how they actually work. My english vocabulary is rather limited when it comes to car mechanical terms so I said "force calipers open" when I rather meant "force the bleeding valves open". I was merely discussing the technical possibilites and not the likelyhood for this to happen. But the fact is that I have actually experienced when the ABS completely removed all braking pressure from the calipers and weren't just "pulsating" when I made a hard brake. The road was slippery so this was normal operation, but it did happen. On the ABS systems I've worked with I think this kind of malfunction is very unlikely to happen although it is technically possible. But then again, I don't know what changes that have been applied on these systems since the introduction of the CCAN bus.

I was mentioning the TRACS as an illustration on how the electronic systems have become more and more integrated with each other.

Brakes also fail when the system gets overheated. If the brake fluid starts to boil and/or the brake discs and linings gets overheated the brakes usually fail. Braking involves a lot of friction which turns into heat and overheating may and will happen if the brakes are used heavily enough.

Sure the CCAN bus is more robust than the lanes of the southbridge in a computer, but that doesn't make it failproof. Even though its bandwidth is far wider than the components of a car ever would need, it sure can suffer from short-circuit, corrosion, or leaking voltages which could render it useless in a split second. I know that there are measures taken to make the bus less vulnerable to these factors but I'm not so sure that these measures are so failproof as people say. I won't believe a word until I see the construction with my own eyes and draw the conclusions myself.

The automatic transmission is the part of the cars I know the least about although I know its principles and that it is electronically controlled. So it was an interesting insight about this you provided in your post wtfbill. I know that some cars have some kind of blockage that prevents the driver from switching to drive unless the brake pedal is depressed. Perhaps this blockage can kick in while driving and prevent the driver from switching the gear from drive to neutral/park.

I'm sure there are a lot of things implemented in a car to prevent many of these failures to happen. But the fact remains that something did happen and I'm convinced that this was beyond the control of the driver. My trust in the car manufacturers' claims about their cars is rather limited. I'm quite sure that if they can remove something from the car on the expense of quality and/or security to cut their costs by as little as a few cents per car and get away with it, they won't hesitate for one second to do it and they would have no qualms about it. It's just good business.

Re:This could actually be true... (1)

wtfbill (1408123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30475682)

You make some very valid, well-thought-out points. Didn't consider boiling brake fluid (shame on me). Much of what I said applies to the vehicle in question, and is not accurate for some newer vehicles. A lot of what you said is exactly why I'm not a fan of drive-by-wire. An electrical failure can stop being an inconvenience and become life-threatening in a hurry if the situation goes sour. While it's true that there is double or triple redundancy in these systems (for instance, multiple potentiometers reading the accelerator pedal position) the redundant parts are often subject to identical wear and usually fail within a short time of each other. It's not out of the question that they could fail at the same time. On some newer vehicles, for instance, there is no linkage between the driver and an automatic transmission; the range selection (P, N, D, etc) is controlled electro-mechanically. Although this doesn't apply to the vehicle in question, it could lead to a situation where the driver couldn't pull the vehicle out of gear if/when such a system failed. Not likely, but very possible. The freaky sensation you mentioned you experienced with your ABS is pretty common, been there myself. ABS works by alternating lockup (they typically target a 10% lockup timewise) and unlock, but without loss of full system pressure. It feels like a braking loss and can be very disconcerting. You don't really lose all braking even in the unlock phase, though; the system simply releases enough to see wheel spin again. It does this by dumping the pressure back to the input side of the ABS pump, and the same motor that runs that pump controls the bleed valving. When the system goes down or detects a failure, the ABS system goes inert and basically becomes a very expensive brake line. In that mode, it has no effect on braking at all. No pump, no bleed. The buses can be problematic, as you mentioned, but the problems are usually caused by corrosion at connectors and grounds. In this respect, American manufacturers are far and away better than their European and Japanese counterparts; the connectors are MUCH better protected from moisture intrusion and corrosion. The electrical systems are much more robust and they suffer less from over-engineering, IMO. Trying to troubleshoot an aging Benz or Bimmer can be a nightmare when you're dealing with electrical issues as they are more prone to corrosion in connectors (not trying to start a holy war here, just my experience of many years; each manufacturer has strengths and weaknesses). Pinching wiring between a frame member and a cross-member during a repair is fairly common, though, where the tech doesn't pay attention. It's possible for a bus to fail "on its own", but in practice, it's pretty rare. You're sure right about the difficulty getting wiring schematics and diagrams. I use two programs that update quarterly and provide all info available for every US market (my current location) vehicle from 82 to current, but they cost several thousand dollars a year each. Without that, I couldn't function. It can be a real pain... I think your last paragraph is one of the most insightful I've ever read on /. regarding manufacturers. They're cheapskates; that's how they stay profitable. It's another reason why fanboi-ism is just silly. While some of my conclusions differ from yours, I can't say you're wrong, that's for sure. We armchair quarterbacks will never know what really happened. It's obvious that you're pretty sharp on this subject, though. Real gearheads are hard to find on /., based on all the flawed car analogies I see here. Wish I could buy you a beer and chew on some of the possibilities presented in this story. I'm sure it would be interesting.

Re:This could actually be true... (1)

g00ey (1494205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30503386)

I'm willing to admit that a human factor probably has been involved too, contributing to the situation. I also understand that many of us have experienced women panicking for no apparent reason and many times I agree with the disapproval of that kind of behavior in such situations. However, I feel that people are a little too conclusive calling this guy an idiot. If I were on a highway with a lot of cars and in all of a sudden the car started accelerating putting me out of control, I would get freaked out for sure.

The major concern I have when writing my posts on this thread is that the car manufacturers tend not to take the responsibility they should for their products. They keep cutting the costs reducing the quality of their products and their philsophy seems to be; "if something goes wrong it's better to blame it all on the driver". I wish their businesses were more transparent and that people had a higher awareness of what they are doing so that the "bad apples" were quickly forced out of the market.

I'm not saying that everything is bad when it comes to electronic control replacing mechanical components. Just to give an example: Several of the experienced car-mechanics I've talked to say that the fuel injection systems as of today are very stable, reliable and less prone to failures than carburettors before they were phased out of the market. Since the introduction of all emission systems, the carbs became a nightmare to deal with and the lambda control was a god-send when it was introduced.

Remember that industrial machines such as forklifts, skylifts, mining equipment and construction equipment in many cases have this type of control and sometimes work in more corrosive environments than regular automobiles. So I think a drive-by-wire system could be reliable if it is designed properly, but when it comes to car manufacturers I'm afraid that such designs may require a lot more R&D and production costs than they are willing to take, which tends to yield much less reliable applications.

Sometimes, if you are lucky, manuals and schematics can be downloaded from p2p networks, or if you have the right connections, binders with service manuals can be bought at a not too unreasonable price. I also believe that a lot can be achieved using a regular aftermarket OBDII diagnostics unit and a laptop even on modern vehicles. But it really shouldn't be this way. At least when it comes to computers, you can always choose Linux or BSD, but when it comes to cars you usually have no choice. There may be exceptions however, there is a build-your-own fuel injection system called MegaSquirt [] .

I appriciate your informative posts, opportunities to learn new things about automotive technology becomes fewer and farther between these days. I guess that we armchair rocket scientists always have better ideas than anyone else and we would have an interesting conversation for sure.

Re:This could actually be true... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480604)

I wondered about pulling fuses. Probably a dangerous thing to try while in motion because you would have to feel for the fuse box and then pull stuff at random.

Ford got tired of making cars (3, Funny)

archangel9 (1499897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30464446)

so this is their ploy to get into the underwear stain removal business.

Re:Ford got tired of making cars (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#30473480)

Someone already has that covered [] .

Speed movie in Australia? (1)

amazingxkcd (1682296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30468186)

Don't you guys get it! He had to stay at cruise control or the bomb in the engine will blow up!! What other explanation do you need?

Just a point of detail but ... (2, Informative)

Mick R (932337) | more than 4 years ago | (#30470928)

the left hand side of the road is the CORRECT side here in Australia. The police escorted him off the main body of the road, not down the wrong side.

Just a point of detail but ... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30473278) clearly didn’t read TFA either.

The car left the freeway at Frankston and went through the Cranbourne Road intersection onto the Moorooduc Highway before approaching banked up traffic near the Monash University Peninsula Campus. At that point Mr Weir was forced to steer the car into oncoming traffic.

“That’s pretty much when I thought I’m dead,” Mr Weir told the Nine Network.

“All I could see was traffic lights ahead. There was just cars and traffic in every lane.

“I could see police cars ahead but I just didn’t just have anywhere to go.”

Mr Weir eventually stopped the car on the wrong side of the road at 1.10pm, about 50 km after his panicked drive started, by jumping up and down on the foot brake and pulling the hand brake.

Re:Just a point of detail but ... (1)

mattmatt (855592) | more than 4 years ago | (#30541808)

Mr Weir eventually stopped the car ... by jumping up and down on the foot brake and pulling the hand brake.

So why didn't he just do that to begin with?

I call bullshit (1)

jhylkema (545853) | more than 4 years ago | (#30471238)

First, turning off the ignition switch physically opens the circuit between the car's electrical system and fuel/ignition systems. This would have either deprived the engine of fuel by cutting off the fuel pump or of spark by disabling the ignition system. Either way, the car stops.

Second, I don't see why he couldn't have thrown it into a lower gear to slow down or into neutral or even park to stop. American carmakers aren't known for their technological innovations at the best of times. SUVs are their way of selling old-tech gas guzzlers for beaucoup bucks (50%-plus profit margin) so that Cialis-using men can convince themselves they don't actually have mushroom dicks. That being the case, I find it very hard to believe that it was equipped with a s00p3r l33t tranny with a computer control that somehow made it impossible to do any of those things. And being able to shift the transmission into neutral is a safety feature designed to prevent this sort of thing from happening.

Lots of things about this story just don't add up.

Re:I call bullshit (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#30473548)

My 1995 Skylark had a gearshift that was not physically attached to the transmission, and my Alero has an RFID chip in the ignition key. Your rant against US automakers is amusing, but wrong. That being said, GM is smart enough that the fail condition in tranny-by-wire is to go to neutral (which I found out with the Skylark, unfortunately) and I expect Ford is the same.

Re:I call bullshit (1)

wtfbill (1408123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30476616)

Actually, the Skylark uses a steel shift cable, so yeah, it's mechanically linked. Just not by a more traditional hard linkage. Most cars have done that for a LONG time. The trans options on that vehicle are a 4T40E or a 4T60E, depending on the engine. Both are electronically controlled, but both use a steel shift cable to move the manual valve (that's what determines what range you're in). Look under the hood/bonnet, driver's side, on top of the trans, you'll see it. If it fails, you could be left in any range, not just neutral. But you're right, Ford does work essentially the same way. And all the car manufacturers do some really cool stuff as well as some really bone-headed stuff. Most of the rants I see here against US cars may reflect personal experience, but usually they relate to a fairly rare failure or a lemon. Truth is, they ALL work pretty well, and they ALL break. ALL manufacturers produce lemons from time to time. Personal experiences of a consumer aren't numerous enough to be statistically significant, although they are all most of us have. Most mechanics I know have biases, too. The failure rates aren't as different as most people believe. And the best car is one you like that works for you and you're confident in. Niggling cable point aside, parent is pretty much on the money.

Re:I call bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30480272)

Oh, you idiots and your "call bullshit" crap. Shut up!

Australia (1)

Stele (9443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30472778)

Aha. Australia is in the SOUTHERN hemisphere. Everyone knows water goes down the toilet backwards there. I'm going to assume that you need to press the break to speed up and use the cruise control to slow down. Maybe he just forgot about that.

Attention Whore (2, Funny)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30475446)

I call bullshit on all "out of control and I can't stop" cars out there.

Turn off the ignition. Put it in neutral. And if you can't manage that, then first we cut off your head, then we execute you in the name of mankind. You are too stupid to risk having your genes perpetuated.

In Arizona about a decade ago a brainless cunt did this stunt in her Hyundai not once, but twice. The mechanics said it wasn't her car, so the police got suspicious. She was convicted of something, probably of extreme cuntery and endangerment charges.

I have no tolerance for this shit. Your car is not out of control. Your need for attention is, however.

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  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>