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Old 01-11-2009, 01:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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American Public Memory

Just thought of this. Maybe you could fill in the details?

How is it that americans "remember" diesel cars being so terrible 30 years ago yet in less than 6 months "forget" SUV's are terrible with fuel economy?

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Old 01-11-2009, 01:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm sorry, what was this topic about ???

We dont have bad memories, I just think we have lost our ability to think for ourselves an expect to be told what is good and what is bad by others and preach that as gospel ...

Remember, free thinking is the enemy ...

How can you argue with an SUV commercial that claims to be the perfect man car with the exception of not having a toilet in it?
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Old 01-11-2009, 03:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i started writing a truly brilliant reply to your thread, but I forgot what we were talking about.
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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1) Doesn't this thread belong in the Water Cooler section not General Efficiency?
2) What's your basis for saying Americans have forgotten that SUV's get crappy MPG. Fourth quarter sales were still way down the last time I looked.
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Old 01-11-2009, 06:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TestDrive View Post
1) Doesn't this thread belong in the Water Cooler section not General Efficiency?
You are right and has been moved to appropriate forum.
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Old 01-12-2009, 01:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Olds did make some bad diesel engines in cars.

But I think the main reason many Americans despise diesels is they associate them with stinky diesel 18 wheelers and other large trucks. After enough years of that, its really hard to change the mindset.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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That raises a question: if it's possible to build diesel engines that don't stink, clatter, or belch out clouds of black smoke, then why aren't they being used in trucks?
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Old 01-13-2009, 01:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
That raises a question: if it's possible to build diesel engines that don't stink, clatter, or belch out clouds of black smoke, then why aren't they being used in trucks?
Because they are made by Honda? And we all know how anemic Hondas are.

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Old 01-13-2009, 01:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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No, wait -- this story has some relevance...

Whether intentional or by shear ignorance, GM ruined the idea of Diesels in the U.S. for at least 2 Generations -- I won't expound since we know what happened.

Ironically, well-built Diesel vehicles like the Mercedes 240D only revealed their black smoke to onlookers, but efficiency and robust durability were offered to the few owners of the niche vehicles.

Further Diesels were purpose-built and tolerated in the commercial sector for the next 20 years (Semis, Fire/EMS, Delivery). I drove the non-turbo Navistar 7.3L IDI in the '96 Ford E-350 Van/Ambulance conversion for 1000's of miles. It smoked like a chimney and puzzled patients and other passengers. "Why does it stink and sound like it has no power? It's really loud too..." A direct quote from a patient's family member at the time. Explaining the whole process was too much to grasp for the average citizen.

I knew that it idled for hours without overheating and provided better FE after the day was done. A competitor across town had gasoline V-8's that often overheated, didn't provide the torque required for the added electrical demand, and couldn't keep up. They went bust. It was a combined effort of outperformance in the marketplace, but the non-turbo diesel gave us that edge of reliabilty and longevity.

The new E-350 box units in '96 had the "Power Stroke" turbo. Fast and powerful at first, but embarrassingly unreliable. Broken valve stems, dusted engines from poor air filter seals, and ECU failure plagued the new Medic Units. Way to go Ford. You dial 911 and essentially expect the equipment to perform. Instead, the engine quits after a reasonable amount of time. Basically, there wasn't a Diesel engine made in America that the mass populace could relate to.

Further, the availability of the fuel (and the price premium) didn't appeal to the masses here in the 'States -- especially when gasoline was so cheap. So, in tandem with marketing and perception, Diesel got smacked. Only VW offered a passenger car with the option, but didn't fit the mold. Go ahead -- ask a random friend or family member about a Diesel. The answer is generally the same.

So what to do? Enter the Hybrid -- Diesel's replacement. The rest is History.

It could be History in the making if more manufacturers stepped up. We're dealing with a new Generation of buyers (if they can afford it). Show them that the design can be quiet, cheaper, smokeless, reliable, and easy to fill at the pump. That's the equation. I envision a Diesel-Hybrid if designers can engineer around the thermal losses on cold starts.

The buying-public longs for this type of efficiency, reliability, and high-tech status.

-Rick

Post-Script: Before anyone comments on the low-sulfur (ULSD) initiative, I DON'T want to hear it. We have plenty of power, efficiency, and reliability to meet the EPA regs with lower emission. You know who you are, so save it.
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Last edited by RH77; 01-13-2009 at 02:06 AM.. Reason: Navistar Displacement Correction
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RH77 View Post
It smoked like a chimney and puzzled patients and other passengers. "Why does it stink and sound like it has no power? It's really loud too..."
Yeah, that was sort of my point :-) If diesels can now be built that don't do that, why don't they go into the trucks? Mercedes has a share of the small commercial truck market in the US, yet I haven't noticed that their trucks make less smoke & noise than the competition.

Of course we understand why the diesels in American pickup trucks smoke & clatter - basically the same reason a good many of their owners hang fake plastic testicles from the trailer hitch - but why haven't those clean, quiet diesels gone into semis & busses? Especially if they do get better fuel economy than the older designs.

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