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Today, I was driving a brand new (only 280 miles on the clock) Ford Custom Diesel van.

Is it just me or do all present day vehicles have lots of weird stuff?

In the general scheme of things the speedometer omitting 30, 50 & 70 mph, isn't all that important, but it really annoys me. Why? There is plenty of room on the clock face, and 30 mph is the most common in-town speed limit.

[Please excuse the blurry photo, the mobile focused on the steering wheel.]

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The van also feels like it has a pogo stick at each corner, rather than proper suspension. This may be due to the van being brand new, and the suspension hasn't bedded-in. However, any road irregularities and I was bouncing up and down in the cab.

The Ford does have lots of positives, too. The driving experience is very car-like, and except for the seat height it is easy to forget you are in a van.

The fuel consumption is amazing. By the end of to-day's journey I was averaging over 45mpg. Remember, this a van with the aerodynamic properties of a brick.

However, the best thing in the Ford is the info display, it is brilliant. Controlling all the electric gadgetry is easy with the intuitive menu system, and the audio interface is a treat.

The Ford also has all-round proximity sensors. If any part of the van gets too near some object, you get alert graphic on the info display, and an audible warning. Very useful. I would also like video cameras (particularly for reversing), but it might be I just haven't found them yet.

Steering is light and precise. Handling is very sure-footed and confidence inspiring. Acceleration is, frankly, jaw-dropping.

@fitheach
This is interesting. Vehicles in the UK have mph on their clocks? All our have been in km/hr for decades. I'm surprised.

@gemlog
Speed limits are always expressed in mph on road signs, so vehicles have the same. The smaller inner dial has kmh, and it also has 30, 50, 70 etc. missing.

@fitheach That seems very backward to me. Anachronistic. In canada it is the other way 'round and has been since... idk, the early 70's? Road signs and dials are in km.

@gemlog
Beer is sold in pints. Wine and spirits are sold using ml. It is a crazy, mixed-up British "system".

@fitheach That's funny. I had a rental van today for my daughter's move and it was a Ford too, with similar cockpit and info display. Your Fotos looked very familiar... 😂

@bruno
Yours would have been kmh, but, I bet, the 30, 50, 70 etc. were still missing. ;-)

@fitheach Yes of course i had km/h. But i paid no attention to anything else than the correct speed limit, as i had to concentrate to my left achilles tendon in special boots too, because it's torn. I ordered a automatic shifted car and got a manual shifted.

@bruno
Vans with automatic gears are fairly rare, in my experience, and in the rental sector probably non-existant.

@fitheach That's the same here. Hertz is the only company which have one, a Mercedes Vito. But it was int the car repair shop today... so i got the manual shifted one.

@bruno @fitheach

Dutch public services own a lot of DSG versions of the VW Transporter (the Police and Communications Ministry officers use them), and Mercedes ambulances with automatic 'boxes, I've not yet widely seen the VW T5 DSG offered as a rental van in Europe (probably as its quite expensive!).

Automatic vans are becoming more popular for grocery deliveries (which will probably increase as more hybrids/EVs are added to corporate fleets)

@vfrmedia
A while back I was driving an EV on a regular basis. It has something like an automatic gearbox: drive, reverse and neutral. Though as I understand it the gearing is sort of infinitely variable.

Anyway, for driving around town it was perfect. However, the limited range made it useless for rural areas.

mstdn.io/@fitheach/10378691514

@bruno

@fitheach @bruno

I suspect this is why the T5 DSG (with TDI engine) is so popular in the Netherlands, particularly with Agentschap Telecom (Dutch Ofcom/BNetzA) where tracking rogue radio signals requires a lot of slow and stop/start driving as well as driving in rural areas, and unlike BNetzA the vehicles are usually driven single crewed...

@vfrmedia
The VAG TDI engine is great. Very fuel efficient, delivers great performance and keeps going for years. I had the 1.9 & 2.0 versions in two Passats. The engines were great, the electrics weren't up to the same standards.

@bruno

@fitheach I had a Passat 1.9 TDI 25 years ago. Fantastic engine, nearly no fuel consumption (Hannover - Zurich - Hannover with one filling) but problems with the electrics. @vfrmedia

@bruno
The electrics on Passats seemed to be a common cause of problems.

Water ingress into the front passenger footwell (where the control unit was housed) caused major problems in the first Passat.

@vfrmedia

@fitheach We had a lot of problems with the immobiliser. It's not funny, if your car says "no", if you want to start the engine at 11pm after cinema... @vfrmedia

@bruno
There was so much water sloshing about under the footwell that as the car went around left-hand corners one set of electrics would fail. Then as I drove round a right-bend a different set of electrics would fail. Lights would flash on and off. The ABS warning light would flicker. Doors would lock themselves. I once had to exit the car through the driver's window.

@vfrmedia

@gemlog
The fan that blows (usually) warm air onto the inside of the windscreen (windshield), clearing it of condensation.

@vfrmedia @bruno

@fitheach
Thank you. I've never heard this word in this way before.
@vfrmedia @bruno

@fitheach
'Defrost" :-)
manualslib.com/manual/52983/Fo
It's a bit cooler where I live, even with the japanese current.
I knew you'd ask, so I pulled up a man page.
Really, at the start of winter, being really, really lazy, we normally just spritz our windows with -40C washer fluid to clear the frost, if we're in a hurry (impatient).
Since this doesn't actually change the T of the glass it quickly frosts again though...
@vfrmedia @bruno

@gemlog
I find the greatest need for the demister is in summer. On wet days the water vapour comes off me, and condensates on the cooler car windscreen.

In winter it is less of a problem because everything is cooler, therefore not so much vapour & condensation. Defrosting though is needed, both on the inside and outside of the glass.

@vfrmedia @bruno

@fitheach
Si. Depending on usage and the type of winter, some days you scrape off the thick rime only to have the interior fog up. It's a thing at our latitudes.

@vfrmedia @bruno

@fitheach
My dad used to have a 1973 Citroen back in the early 1980s. It had their special adjustable suspension. It was fun sitting at traffic lights, I would change the setting from one extreme to the other and the car would rise and fall by a few inches. The reaction from other drivers was great.
I hated that car, on the softest setting you could almost get seasick. Changing the wheel was not easy. The engine had to be on to lift the car high enough to get the jack under.

@wizardofosmium
Was it a Citroën DS? They were famous for the adjustable suspension. I've read that they worked very well, but would cost a fortune to repair.

@fitheach
It might have been.
The other thing I hated was the rear side panel had to come off to get to the wheel.
It's also the only car I've driven that came with a crank handle. To be used to turn the engine in cold weather, I don't know why, but I remember it being in the hand book.

@wizardofosmium
Crank handles were standard, and often needed, on old cars. My 1972 Land Rover Station Wagon Mark III has a crank handle. You need to be built like Arnold Schwarzenegger to turn-over the 2.3 litre engine when cold (which would almost always be the case if it wasn't starting).

Also, if you weren't careful, when the engine started, the crank could throw you into a nearby bush or break your arm.

@fitheach @wizardofosmium I had a BX for a long time - my favourite car. The suspension was very handy; e.g. a caravan stuck in a rut with both ends on the ground and the hitch very low but I could drop to get my tow bar under to lift it out.

But, yes, the suspension was also the weak point. It only lasted a year or two after the chap who serviced it, who loved Citroëns (had a DS himself), so carefully greased all the pipes every year had to stop work due to health problems.

@fitheach tbh a lot of work vehicles don’t have progressive rate springs, so they ride very stiffly when unloaded, and only ride properly with a load.

@bhtooefr
No, this was something else. I am familiar with driving both laden and unladen vans. It seemed to me something like an over zealous electronic suspension system or the wrong setting that I haven't noticed yet.

@fitheach
30, 50 & 70 are all limits nearby. Which we would think would apply to most of the UK. So it is certainly an odd one.

Unless it was white.
In which case all speeds are optional 😉

@Luke
I suppose I could get used to it, but it seems so unnecessary. I had to keep checking that the needle was at the correct mark between 20 and 40.

@fitheach

VW does the same (I didnt take a picture of the Suzuki Swift so can't remember what the layout was in there).

AFAIK the same "even multiples only" labelling occurs with the km/h versions, which isn't that much help to the rest of the World as there are speed limits of 90km/h, 130 km/h in other countries..

I usually use the digital speed display which can be put in the middle and the warning on my TomTom (but in urban areas here amount of parked cars means its rare to reach 30mph)

@vfrmedia
The satnav in my car (Garmin Nüvi 65 LM) gives an audible beep-beep if I exceed a speed limit. A very handy feature.

The LWB Transits also have a digital speedometer. That seems like an odd duplication. I then find myself looking at both speedos. It is like viewing a movie with English subtitles; even though I can understand the language I still find myself reading them.

@fitheach
All this telemetry is sometimes logged locally and used by insurance and law enforcement. Sometimes it is transmitted? Not sure.
@vfrmedia

@gemlog
No transmitter on my satnav. I've never got around to updating the maps since getting the satnav. So, no opportunity to transmit any telemetry.

@vfrmedia

@fitheach @gemlog

My satnav does use an LTE link (for which I use a separate mobile phone) to show real time traffic reports, but transmits very little back to TomTom - I am satisfied they are complying with GDPR (more strictly monitored/enforced in the Netherlands than UK).

TomTom have in the past shared anonymised data with the Dutch Police and traffic authorities (and similar orgs in other countries), which the cops have used to set speed enforcement zones with in the past >>

@vfrmedia
Do you control your on-board data storage? Do you know any of the s/w it runs. Indeed, any s/w in the vehicle at all? No. Are you sure it isn't tx-ing (I know that you, of all ppl could watch)?
@fitheach

@gemlog

It would be very difficult for the VW software to send anything from my car as only Blueooth voice is activated on it (and it lacks the on board GPS receiver).

If I wanted to I could log the data from TomTom with Wireshark or similar and another device, but I'd also notice the PAYG data consumption increasing anyway if it were..

Audis, with on board GPS and sometimes SIMs on board are a different matter (which is probably how a lot of dealers get themselves caught)

@fitheach

@vfrmedia
I have read of dealers remotely disabling vehicles - even dangerously, like on highways.
@fitheach

@gemlog

I've read about that happening too, almost invariably in the USA.

Someone here with a hire/rented BMW in Germany found it wouldn't start after LTE signal was lost, but either there are laws or simple common sense that discourage altering the systems of a *moving* vehicle in Europe (whoever did it would get in at least the same amount of trouble for supplying a dangerous/defective vehicle and even more if a collision occured because of it)

@fitheach

@vfrmedia
Yes. USA dealerships going after customers who are behind in their bills.
@fitheach

@gemlog

in England my finance agreement (which curiously is with a subsidiary of BMW!) states the company cannot reposess my car without a full Court Order because I've paid off enough of it.

I think they dealers can use any telemetry that is active to locate the car, but even with the Audi RS3 it won't send this unless you put a SIM into the multimedia interface (and you don't need to, everything works perfectly without it)

@fitheach

@vfrmedia @gemlog @fitheach the kinds of US dealers that use telemetry to locate the car typically have their own locator devices hacked into the wiring, and they’re often selling cars that are old enough to not have had their own equipment anyway (and it’s not like the manufacturer would give access if it even existed, or even still worked (a lot of the earlier OE telematics systems use cellular networks that have been shut down ages ago))

and that’s the “buy here pay here” lots that are basically the automotive dealer equivalent of payday lenders, that do that

their whole business model is essentially, overcharge massively for a terrible used car, some poor person who can’t get financing for anything better and doesn’t know how to buy private party comes along, buys it, inevitably defaults on the loan (but the buy here pay here lots have probably already made a profit), then the car is repossessed (using the dealer’s tracker to make it easier), fixed just enough to look good on the lot and last through the test drive, and the cycle repeats

@bhtooefr
Please explain things like the Jeep hack. It was very public.
@fitheach @vfrmedia

@gemlog @fitheach @vfrmedia The Chrysler telematics attack is something different from what dealers trying to repossess a vehicle are doing.

IIRC that was simply the telematics computer having a routable IP address, and someone figured out how to discover that… and then an internal escalation of the attack through the infotainment system (telematics needs bidirectional comms with infotainment for many reasons, infotainment needs bidirectional comms with powertrain and power steering computers for things like user control of settings without going to the dealership for the diagnostics computer to be used).

Dealers trying to repossess a vehicle are independent used car dealers that are also the lender. (Worth noting that, at least in the US, it’s only the most predatory sketchy dealers where the dealer is actually the lender - every other dealer, the lender is independent, and the dealer’s hands are washed of the whole thing - if the purchaser defaults on the loan, that’s the lender’s problem, not the dealer’s, and the lenders in those cases have to resort to private investigator-like tactics, or involving the courts and then sheriffs, if they want to repossess the vehicle.)

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