Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Picking up where we left off. For background see here.

So the trusty Soob-mobile was shuffled off (during daylight to avoid an onslaught of headlight winking and increased law enforcement interest) to the nearest Ford dealership to diagnose the problem and proffer a cost account for reparation. A few hours later our trusty Ford dealership representative rang my cell phone. Here is an abbreviated account of our conversation:

Trusty Ford Dealership Representative: The wire harness from your headlight switch is completely fried. It'll take 15 hours (at $75.00 per hour) to pull the dashboard, replace the harness (at $900.00 for a new harness) and replace the dash. Well?

Me: (Long bit of laughing which dissolves into sobbing and then) Ah, no.

And so the Soob-mobile was brought to the mighty garage of Soob's parents and the mechanical genius that is Soob's brother was enlisted. The operation began at 12:00 pm. What follows is a graphic display of the innards of a Ford Focus. Viewer discretion is advised:

(Click any pic to enlarge)

This is the offending section of the wire harness that rubbed itself silly against a piece of sharp metal, frayed and then cheerfully waved through unchecked voltage and amperage that melted it's many single wires into a single proud and stiff copper rod that defied the meticulous engineers of Ford Co. and rendered night driving an adventure if not an impossibility.

This is a simply obscene bit of Ford engineering. It is an entirely whole (as in one piece) dashboard. We didn't remove the steering wheel (we can deal with one air bag, but two was enough to reduce us to weeping and gnawing on ratchet's) and so yanking this hulk out was a contortionist's adventure.

This is the mess of interior parts (placed on top of the car) that has to be removed in addition to the above mentioned monolith, the dashboard casing. Note the instrument panel, which in the event of static discharge, will become completely useless. Hence, there was a lot of "You grounded yourself, right?" and "Make sure you ground yourself!" and "Wait. WAIT! Put your foot on the ground... Good. Now touch the car's body... Okay. Slowly, SLOWLY, lift the instrument panel",) etc going on between the both of us.

This is the nasty reality behind the smooth lie of the Focus dashboard. Beyond the utilitarian ease and designer slick exterior lies an interior of violent wiring jungle (bottom left,) loosely fit air conditioning tubes (center and off cam) and oddly oxidized steel framework (flits about the photo's entirety.) It is here that the offending wires were snipped out and the new resoldered in, shrink wrapped, shouted at and blessed with some yak blood. After which the whole mess was positioned, mummified in layers of electrical tape and further admonished to not fraternize with any oxidized but sharp steel framework.

The almighty passenger side air bag. Behind that comfy bit of plastic covered nylon pillow resides a cylinder of a solid substance whose exact nature I do not know. What I do know is that when this solid substance is struck with a hefty flow of electricity it becomes, in a very, very excited fashion, a gas which inflates that comfy bit of nylon in such a rapid fashion that it blasts forth at a speed of around 200 mph.

A face traveling at 70 mph will meet that airbag, have a short discussion about velocity, inertia and friction and come out better off than that involving a similar discussion with a windshield. A face traveling at 0 mph with a steel wrench in front of it will have a much different and much more unpleasant discussion and experience. Even after disconnecting the battery the air bag was handled in the same fashion one might handle a particularly pissed off, rabid and radioactive wolverine. Carefully.

A harrowing ordeal, but a success, thanks to my brother's expertise. The dealer offered repair for $2000+. By 6:00 pm the Focus shot forth two beams of halogen illumination for the cost of $50 for materials and tools. I regret that I have no photo's of the reconstructed interior, but it got late and cold and rebuilding the interior went much faster with the two of us working in tandem from each of the front seats. Victory was ever increasingly nigh and mom's cooking awaited. Little time for photos. Perhaps tomorrow.


Dan tdaxp said...


Ottavio (Otto) Marasco said...

Yes impressive and you owe your brother... As for the tech details, I may as well have been reading manual on quantum mechanics. One thing I did note seems dealership hourly labor charges are much the same in Australia, my local Mitsubishi dealership also runs at $75 per hour…. One of our family cars is a Verada which was exported to the U.S. as a ‘Diamante’.

Jay@Soob said...

Thanks gents.

Otto, here in the states you're charged a manufacturers minimum in terms of hours when dealing with a dealership. In essence the problem is diagnosed and then entered into a computer. The computer returns a minimum amount of hours the repair will take. You are billed by this and the mechanic is paid by this without regard to the actual amount of time it takes.

Otto, when your Verada needs service find a trusty non-dealer mechanic. They (here at least) generally provide an estimate and then charge strictly by the hour. The only reason I sought Ford help was very few non-dealer mechs will take on electrical problems of the magnitude I was facing. The liability is too high.