Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Modular Auto Parts

A car that is as easily upgraded as a computer.
  [vote for,

I don't change my own oil. Needless to say I'm not going to put a supercharder on my minivan anytime soon. However, if I could buy a plug-n-play carburetor that gave me a little more punch in the passing lane without the indigestion of dealing with a mechanic (or worse - the dealership) - I might do it? CD players, gear ratio's, power door locks, manual or stick... you name it. In fact, it would take mechanics less time to troubleshoot because the parts would snap out & in easily.
DickWeed, Jan 27 2003

Air-powered car http://www.zeropollution.com
Fairly inexpensive, room for five, doesn't go too fast, and its exhaust is cleaner than the outside air. [galukalock, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Oops http://www.theaircar.com
MUCH more information than previous link. [galukalock, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       I replaced the carb on my old Cortina in about an hour, and F1 crews replace transmissions in less than that. Audio replacement's a breeze. If you don't change your own oil, why do you want to change your own carburretor?
angel, Jan 27 2003

       That takes the fun out of it then! I drive a '65 Chevelle Malibu SS, and if I didn't work on it myself, I wouldn't be a "car-guy". I could see the need, but sorry, fishbone from me.
DemolitionMan, Jan 27 2003

       Baked: Mopar.
snarfyguy, Jan 27 2003

       <engineer's rant>Great, yet another design constraint that I can't fulfill as an auto design engineer. Figure a way to make it safe, manufacturable, cheap, clean, compact, efficient, powerful, light, fast, trustworthy in all conditions, better than the competition, easily and quickly developed, profitable, and pretty enough to be salesworthy, and I'm all ears.</er>
RayfordSteele, Jan 27 2003

       it has been argued that modern automotive technicians are merely parts-changers. Certainly applies to the sealed components used in many of the electronics. The expertise isn't in the snapping parts on and off, it's deciding what part needs to be swapped out.
rbl, Jan 29 2003

       I know of radio units that will plug in -- no wiring required. I believe ford is coming up with "skate board" technology much like this. Dunno but I figure maintence complexity would reduce and manufactuing costs would increase. Car manufacturers might be convinced this is a good thing if they can sell replacement parts direct to consumers at retail prices.   

       // deciding what needs to be swapped out   

       Add some self diagnostics and plug your car into the net, buy the replacement parts and print off the installation instructions....
madness, Jan 29 2003

       [Basie], if you really don't care what it looks like, check out the four passenger GEM. You can brag that it's a Daimler/Chrysler product, is environmentally correct, and doesn't cost a lot to own or operate. For air conditioning, though, I think you just leave the doors off. (But heck, the air conditioning system is one of the most expensive modules to replace or even service on most cars anyway.)
jurist, Jan 30 2003

       I'm still waiting for the supercharder
thumbwax, Jan 30 2003

       That's like a CuisinArt for Swiss Chard, isn't it?
jurist, Jan 30 2003

       Carburettors? Are any cars still made with one (or two or more)?
Gordon Comstock, Jan 30 2003

       [DickWeed], you might be going a bit far, but I like the basic idea of plug-n-play for cars. For example, I'd rather buy a container of windshield washer fluid that is a standard shape, where you just pop the hood, snap the top (with tube) off, take out the old container, put in the new, snap the top back on... no pouring or spilling. Same perhaps could be done with an oil filter and new oil combo unit. Not necessarily repairs, just make maintenance more convenient.
count_crackula, Feb 07 2003

       I wholepartedly agree. [Basie], check out my link.
galukalock, Feb 07 2003

       Most cars are upgraded as easily as a computer. Most new cars ECM (engine control modules) have flash memory. It is a routine practice at the dealer service intervals to upgrade your ECM by loading it with a new program as bugs or feature sets are changed. In fact even the body control module BCM can be upgraded.   

       Its a simple process with GM. Enter the VIN on the web, a database is checked for upgrades, the new sofware is loaded into the Tech II scan tool, the mechanic hooks it up to your car and in a matter of minutes you have an upgraded engine controller.   

       The problem is the EPA and CARB as well as the dealership don't need the headaches of increased performance at the expense of service life and emissions, so they don't make the process available without the dealerships ID code and Tech II device.   

       However this is changing, on Jan 1,2003, new regs require the car manufacturers devulge their reprogramming process to the aftermarket. I'm sure there will be folks who will rewrite the ECU code to allow for much higher performance and sell plug and play upgrades. Be sure to note that your warranty would disapper as soon as there was not a maunfacturer program running the engine.
amuron, Feb 08 2003

       yes, like computers the cost of standard parts would drive the cost to the customers down. That is provided the car is a popular model. Otherwise, the cost might be too high. Carbs are very pricy, the trouble with cars is there are so many variations, that complicate service. Are you suggesting a move to standardise component parts of a vehicle as well as plug and "play"?
uked, Feb 09 2003

       Why have a car that's easy to fix if you can have one that doesn't need fixing?
xtraspecialzero, Feb 09 2003


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