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Thread: Why recalls anyway?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    As an Engineering Manager at a Manufacturing facility, I frequently reminded people, including the owner of the company that even if your failure rate is miniscule, for that one person that bought the product that failed, it was 100% failure rate in his/hers eyes.


    And PR CAN change perception, back to the Lexus dealership. A customer brought a car in, engine was toast at about 30K miles, they asked the customer if he had any service records, as the dealer records showed none. Customer stated " I have never had the car serviced, and stated something along the line of "I bought this car because it was marketed as the most trouble free and reliable car money could buy". The Lexus service manager called the factory and they said QUOTE " If the crankcase is not full of water from a flood, fix it for free! Not that this was a defect (unless you consider the idiot that owned the car).

    But how things are addressed by the company has a lot to do with the quality perception.
    This is a GREAT comment! Very knowledgeable and informative.

    Of course, ALL manufacturers should should shoot for 0% failure rate and 100% success rate. You are correct that for that one customer to have something fail, it is devastating at the time. I've been there - stranded! However in defense of ANY manufacturer, it is virtually impossible to achieve that with literally thousands of parts all inter-working and one simple fatigue failure, or piece of dirt can shut down the whole car/motorcycle.

    Usually, recalls, are for items/situations that have shown a record of being a problem across the line of all the cars/motorcycles. Usually because of some poor quality item, wrong material, or some part under-engineered. Very difficult.

    Finally, I agree that perception is pliable, but it seems clear to me that both Honda and Toyota have had such a long history of very good perception that it would seem to me that if it weren't true, public expression of failures would seem to dent that high perception.
    "The difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't change every time congress meets." - Will Rogers

  2. #17
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    My experience has me believing Honda and Toyota will address production issues far more often and more quickly than Harley or BMW. Yes, that's car vs. bike, but you can also add BMW cars to the less likely to have known manufacture issues addressed. The BMW car fuel pumps, on their 6 cylinder turbo engines, pretty much took a TV story on the topic to get BMW's attention. Did BMW have an official recall on all the antenna rings that failed in their 2005-2008 R models or the fuel strips till 2011, when they quit using them? How about Harley's Twin Cam bearings? Apparently the auto side has more of a reputation to protect than our motorcycle makers.
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  3. #18
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by na1g View Post
    8niney8, that's what you are doing when you buy a new model. It's called beta testing. BMW Motorad has made a practice of this. Build 'em, sell 'em, fix 'em later if we absolutely can't avoid it.

    I really like my 2011 R-RT but I absolutely detest BMW's business model.

    pete
    Totally agree.

    And like you, my R1200RT a joy to ride...... when it's not giving me trouble. When newbies asked how I like my BMW, I had to be honest and tell them "When it works, it works great .... but when it breaks, it breaks BIG.

    8 motorcycles so far in my history. BMW was not the most expensive to acquire, but far and away the most expensive to maintain.

    It's a choice.
    Last edited by greenwald; 12-28-2013 at 03:37 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenwald View Post
    Totally agree.

    And like you, my R1200RT a joy to ride...... when it's not giving me trouble. When newbies asked how I like my BMW, I had to be honest and tell them "When it works, it works great .... but when it breaks, it breaks BIG.

    8 motorcycles so far in my history. BMW was not the most expensive to acquire, but far and away the most expensive to maintain.

    It's a choice.
    I agree. They are expensive to repair, and they need repair often. That's why years ago, I fell in love with the airheads, as they needed a lot of maintenance attention, but they were fairly easy to repair, allowing the owner to do it, thus reducing the cost. If I had had to take them to the dealer - like many do with the newer BMW's, I just simply couldn't afford one. I can barely afford what I have now - that's why I try to do all of my own repairs, and why I look for good, used parts.

    If I had to purchase what I could afford, I would have to be purchasing a Honda 200 or something. Hardly anything one to ride intermediate length trips on.

    But, when my airhead runs (which is pretty much always - so far!), it runs great and is worth all the preventative maintenance. As a matter of fact (luck?) I haven't had any serious negative issue since the clutch cable broke last May. Knock on wood!

    To justify to my wife what I do spend on it, I tell her a true story: I was in my local Honda/Yamaha/Suzuki/Kawasaki/Triumph dealer, and saw a man purchasing a new Honda - with price tag of $19,000. It was a bike that was less desirable (to me) than my old airhead. So...my measly $5,000 spent looks great! And I have a lot more fun and satisfaction! Keeps my wife happier, too! Now THAT alone is worth it!

    It seems to me, that BMW needs to pay attention. Honda and some of the other Japanese bikes have a far better reliability record when purchased new, than does BMW. Now that's the perception!

    I don't think I would ever purchase a new BMW, unless I had lots of money and could keep the new one under warranty.
    "The difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't change every time congress meets." - Will Rogers

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmylee View Post
    Admittedly, Honda and Toyota have recalls, but their quality rating isn't just "perceived" but legitimate. I have owned 6 different Toyotas, 4 used, and 2 new. I had less trouble out of all 6 of them then I did 1 new Dodge. I have owned 2 new Hondas, and have yet to have a problem.

    Now, take my 3 new Chrysler products. - nothing but problems!
    Yes Honda and Toyota make cars that are more reliable, on average, than most American cars. But based on my experience, I think their reliability is overrated and the reliability of American cars underrated.
    Last edited by 88bmwjeff; 12-29-2013 at 01:08 AM.
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  6. #21
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    Received a recall notice in the mail today on my '03 pick-up truck, something about a left side tie-rod end needing inspection and or replacement. I purchased the truck new and have done some front end work myself but this is no big deal. The truck has been good and I like it....and I realize that the truck brand did not make the tie-rod end in question and that it may or may not be bad. I also realize that a high mileage vs high/heavy usage (snow-plowing) will effect even the best parts.
    While I don't think that the manufactures like a recall as it costs them money, I'm happy they do it.
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  7. #22
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    I am about to retire from 36+ years in the "Automotive Industry" working for some of the largest original equipment component suppliers in the world.
    Some thoughts:

    All reliability and durability testing on parts and components is done using an accelerated method, simulating a certain life or number of duty cycles specified by the vehicle manufacturer and the parts manufacturer. There is now way, this testing will be able to simulate operation under all possible conditions and environmental influences. In addition, the vehilce operator will be the biggest unknown. Example: There are thousands of people out there who drive their automatic transmission equipped vehicle witht he right foot on the gas pedal and the left foot on the brake pedal AT THE SAME TIME. And probably quite a good amount of people who rest their right hand on the shift lever of their manual transmission equipped car, while they are driving.

    Vehicle or application testing can not be that extensive. Because of the short product development cycles that are required for competitive reasons today, final, production level vehicles are not available until very shortly before start of sale to the public. Vehicle testing has to continue after the first vehicles have already supplied to the public.

    Certain models in a manufacturers line-up will be used as test-beds for new technology. Funny enough, these are most times more expensive models and those that are deemed to be luxury items that are not usually required to be reliable on a daily basis. Example: GM's Chevrolet Corvette - no matter what the General tries to tell you.

    Motorcycles sort of fall into this category, as they are generally perceived as recreational vehicles - surprise - and owners usually tolerate down times of a week at a time.

    Finally: Quality ratings that are based on owner feedback are hardly worth the paper they are printed on. Imagine this: You are buying a luxury vehicle. You pick something that does not quite have the image and the "impress your neighbors" factor as a Mercedes Benz or BMW. You constantly have to justify your purchase against the "ribbing" of your peers. Now JDPowers calls you for your opinion about your Lexus. Will you say anything negative???

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMSimon View Post
    I am about to retire from 36+ years in the "Automotive Industry" working for some of the largest original equipment component suppliers in the world.
    Some thoughts:



    Finally: Quality ratings that are based on owner feedback are hardly worth the paper they are printed on. Imagine this: You are buying a luxury vehicle. You pick something that does not quite have the image and the "impress your neighbors" factor as a Mercedes Benz or BMW. You constantly have to justify your purchase against the "ribbing" of your peers. Now JDPowers calls you for your opinion about your Lexus. Will you say anything negative???
    Maybe, if your final drive just shot craps, or your fuel pump piddled all over your leg.
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  9. #24
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    My experience with BMW is that they are very random with recalls. My 85 K100 had many parts replaced at no charge to me, they even found a way to warranty the unreliable speedo when the bike was 7-8 years old. I also had good luck with BMW automobiles having items corrected out of warranty. I dunno why the R1200 fuel strips, fuel pumps and final drives aren't getting their attention.

    I have owned both Toyota and Honda cars and both had critical parts die young (transmission and wheel bearings) with no satisfaction from either manufacturer.

    My personal philosophy for vehicles is to buy ones I really like so that if they screw up I am at least spending the money on a machine I love. My Honda and Toyota were about as exciting as a refrigerator, so when they screwed up there was no redeeming values to these cars.
    BMW R bike rider, horizontally opposed to everything...

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anyname View Post
    My experience with BMW is that they are very random with recalls.
    A recall is performed only when there is a danger of a failure potentially resulting in an accident. While some recalls are initiated voluntarily by the manufacturer, most of them are mandated by the NTSB. Manufacturers usually try to avoid recalls as they are expensive (all parts and components are being changed/repaired, not only those showing a failure) and they are not good for the image.
    All other failures are usually addressed by parts or component replacement or repairs as called out in "service bulletins".

  11. #26
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    Guess I am just one of the luckiest guys on the planet. In 50+ years of owning and driving cars and motorcycles, I have never had a lemon vehicle. Owned most American made cars plus Hondas, Toyotas, Audis and VWs of all models. Owned most Japanese brand motorcycles and now a BMW. Best cars I have ever owned, in terms of reliability and low maintenance, were/are Fords (way better, IMO, than either Hondas or Toyotas), and best m/c's I have ever owned, in terms of reliability and low maintenance, were Hondas, Yamahas and Kawasakis. Now, having said that, I have no regrets at all about my current BMW, it just is not the equal of the Japanese bikes in the reliability/maintenance department. If I ever buy another new vehicle and reliability/maintainability is the main criterion, the car will be another Ford, the m/c will be another Honda.
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  12. #27
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    I know it's morphed into any recall, so here goes nothing. I bought a new redesigned F-150 in '04, loved it, got great mileage, great hauler, basically work truck.

    Couple years later brother-in-law says there's a problem with three valve heads blowing spark plugs through the hoods. Go figure, I apparently lucked out by getting the two valve 4.6 v8, that had more plug threads in the head. Ya just never know until a few hundred million miles are racked up to expose any flaws.

  13. #28
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    BMW will sometimes use a service bulletin in lieu of a voluntary recall. If I recall correctly the problem with and subsequent replacement of the EWS ring on some Hexheads was done thru a service bulletin. No letter was sent but when an affected model showed up in a shop for any reason they replaced the EWS ring. It is a way of not drawing attention to a problem but still addressing it in less direct way.
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  14. #29
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    BMW will sometimes use a service bulletin in lieu of a voluntary recall. If I recall correctly the problem with and subsequent replacement of the EWS ring on some Hexheads was done thru a service bulletin. No letter was sent but when an affected model showed up in a shop for any reason they replaced the EWS ring. It is a way of not drawing attention to a problem but still addressing it in less direct way.
    Only problem with that methodology is that I know of several BMW guys whose EWS rings failed while on long trips. That meant they got inconveniently stranded first - bike ended up at some BMW dealer later, and only at that time did they learn their VIN indicated a problem.

    Not a good scenario, when BMW knew there were X number of bad units in circulation. This is where casting the 'big net' of a recall would have done the greater good.

    Reliability and reputation are close cousins.
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  15. #30
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    A fundamental problem, the assembly line quota.

    In my career, I worked for several dealerships that carried well known construction equipment. We had something called "field modifications" or, oops. Since most of this equipment was FBO and way too expensive to bring into the dealership, we went out and made the changes. Like motor vehicles, they were safety based owing to the dreaded thought of an injury and the subsequent litigation. I don't recall a time I did a field mod based on performance or over all reliability.

    In one situation, the assembly line decided to install a nut and bolt in the upright of a loader and allowed the remaining threads to rub on the tilt hoses. It was a simple enough repair, turn the nut and bolt around and the hose had adequate clearance. During this field mod campaign, I was told the gang on the assembly line did it that way because the line moved to quickly for them to do it the way the drawings required.

    The assembly line, moved every twelve minutes, machine finished or not at that station. One thing I learned, it doesn't matter the manufacturer, they all do the same thing, push crap out the door and deal with the problems later.

    In Canada, there are no recalls on construction equipment for road worthiness. Imagine an 18 ton motor grader coming at you at 28 kmh and it has a bad tie rod. The manufacturers will call the accident a result of human stupidity, until it happens several times and there are a ton of lawsuits.
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