The Conspiracy of Not Explaining Things Well
I've been involved with overhauling my vehicle into a new format that fits my needs and style. During the process I've needed to reconfigure much of the vehicle's wiring to place it in out-of-the-way areas of the vehicle for more interior cabin space. Most of the splicing and soldering has been relatively simple and straightforward. The wires are mostly color coordinated with easily matched up patterns.
Problems begin when dealing with the Power Control Module wiring connectors B,C,D and the Passenger's Side Firewall Wiring from the engine compartment. Cutting into those wires is tantamount to severing the spinal cord of a human being...not something you want to do...unless you're 20 years into the future with a team of neurosurgeons on standby.
The reason for this is falsely simple: The wires begin to duplicate in their patterns and color configurations...mostly in the power and ground wires. So for instance if you have 4 black wires, 4 green wires, 4 brown and black wires, 2 browns, 4 black and yellow wires, 2 yellow and black wires that look exactly alike...yet go into unique connector ports, you need to do a continuity test using an Ohms multimeter to trace the wire from port to port. This is not easily achieved without clear explanations thru diagrams showing you what wire is what. To complicate matters, a few of the really thick wires actually contain 1-3 inner wires, and within those wires a braided metal wire wrapped around an inner sheathed copper wire makes the job of putting Humpty back together again-very difficult. It's a mess to say the least...a sitcky mess due to the gooey black tape they use to bind the wires together...which could qualify as a metaphorical cerebral spinal fluid.
Since the other wiring for the interior underdash fuse box relays perfectly matched up, I presumed the passenger side firewall wiring would as well. Big mistake. In hindsight, I realize that before cutting any wire, one should remove the flexible protective tubing, any electrical tape, and synchronize each wire with a label marking system on either side of the cut, so you know precisely the corresponding wire when you try and piece it together again. However, knowing what I know now...I would never cut into the Power Control Module wiring, and Passenger Firewall wiring to begin with because of those inner braided metal wires I mentioned...which are thermal sensors.
During this process I have used auto repair manuals both online, and in book to assist me in the process of understanding my vehicle. What I found in terms of shoddy and poor explanatory service brings me to write this article today. To be blunt...the manuals suck- ALL OF THEM. Whether you are using Haynes, Chilton's, Mitchell1 etc...they all fall short of the glory of the Automotive God. Why is this? The reason is because they don't adequately explain what each and every component is in your vehicle, what its function is, where it connects to, why it's important, and what would happen if you removed it from operation.
So in the instance of automotive wiring, instead of ASSUMING you know what the long, green, 21 pin connector that goes into your passenger side underdash fuse relay box on the top right hand side is...a kinder more comprehensive manual would diagram it, name it, explain where each wire within the connector comes from, where it's going, what color it is, what guage wire it is, and detail why it's important and what would happen if it were cut or weren't working. The manuals I mentioned do none of that.
I have poured over Mitchell1DIY online and found only sporadic, incomplete references to pin connectors in all of the fuse relay boxes...underhood, underdash passenger's and driver's side, as well as PCM/ECU (computer) components. To be fair, there is a chart for every A,B,C,D- PCM connector, but the accompanying diagrams to attempt to locate the various sensors, solenoids, switches etc. that the wires lead to on the engine is incomplete, and poor. So unless you know precisely where Knock Sensor, CYP / CDK/TDP, MAP, ECT, IAC sensor is on the engine from experience or automotive school, you'll have a hard time using the diagrams Mitchell1 DIY offers in your quest to trace the wire back to its source. Hayne's automotive books are even worse and don't even begin to tell you where every sensor is, nor do they even give you the comprehensive pin connector chart for the PCM like Mitchell1 does. It's important for manuals to not take anything for granted, but the whole cabal of automotive mechanics is a crucibilic ordeal, and an inordinately uneccesary one at that. It doesn't need to be this difficult...or does it?
This brings me to the gist of this story...where I allege possible deliberate sabatoge and pre-programmed ignorance by the automotive industry...to give you part of the picture, but not the entire one...to offer you a glimpse into fixing your own vehicle with automotive manuals, but witholding enough information that would actually make the process possible.
Let's consider this from the perspective of the manufacturers of automotive technology themselves. If you made a product, would you want to freely give out the schematics so the general public could easily understand the complexities or simplicities of your desigh? Would you sell the wiring schematics so that any person capable of assembling a 500 piece puzzle together could wire up your vehicle?
Would you put the solenoids, sensors, switches in easy to reach places so if they go bad, one could simply open up the hood, remove one with their socket set and replace it, or would you put them in hard to reach areas, buried beneath manifolds, distributors, fuel injector assembly racks, so removing them would be a multi-tiered approach requring unearthing a seris of prohibitive layers?
If the intention is to protect the Dealer Certified Mechanics who service specific manufacturer vehicles, Automotive Schools who purchase licensing agreements for access to your vhicles and manufacturer schematics, or parts dealers and manufacturers, I'd say it would smarter for your company to make automotive repair very difficult for the average person to perform. This way you can guard the goods, and make people go thru a series of middle men that you put in place....for a fee of course. How can you control your vehicle off the assembly line if you don't make it hard to service and understand?
Now the other consideration I need to...well consider is the question: Are automobiles just inherently complicated and specialized to begin with? The answer is yes and no. Anything can be as easy or difficult to work on as the manufacturer intends...this includes medicine and brain surgery. As I'm finding by reconfiguring the gameplan on my vehicle...the engineers made a conscious choice to place a particular component here or there. They didn't have to put the heater element so far behind the dash console that you need to remove the whole damn dashboard to get to it. They chose to build it that way. They did it on purpose.
I think automotive engineers, or at least the operations chiefs who control them are bastards. They use the world's knowledg of circuits, engineering, electricity to their advantage over populations of people to profit off them...not necessarily to make their lives better. They are in the game to make money and control their product. Every human throughout history has used the preceding human's knowledge base to build upon something and improve it. There is no true original anything. It borrows. Capitalistic thinking fails to acknowledge this. They would like everyone to believe they alone created the product they present. They have only assembled it in their own unique way...and sometimes not so unique way.
I don't know for certain what the agreements are between automobile manufacturers and those who create technical manuals for their products. Perhaps there lays a pre-arranged agreement as to how much knowledge can be shared... but if there aren't any limits to what can be exposed and charted, it must be incompetence which drives them.
Supposing incompetence rules and not deliberate sabatoge...if I were on the board of directors for any of the existing manuals like Hayne's, Chiltons, Mitchell1DIY etc, I would fire my operations chiefs immediately and begin the process over again...detailing the entire process of the automobile with complete clarity, and complexity...no part would be left unmentioned...and diagrams and photographs would leave nothing to the imagination. Every connector and every wire to every pin would be accounted for. A child could trace each part to one another and make any necessary replacements or repairs as they see fit or come due.
Aristoxenus works on his Honda Horse just outside of Athens, Greece.