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Old 06 February 2012, 12:29 AM
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Icon19 Auto mis-assembly

Comment: I've heard different versions with any of the big three auto makers the subject:

The parts got out of order on an auto assembly line and produced a car
with one door on one side and two doors on the other side.

I'm sixty one and I've heard this one since I was a kid.
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  #2  
Old 06 February 2012, 01:42 AM
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And hence was created the original minivan!

Considering that the frames are a single piece with openings for either 2 or 4 doors (unless one is considering one of the early three-door minivans), it seems unlikely that either the workers found a way to hang an extra door or the inspectors would fail to notice a detail like a missing door.
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Old 06 February 2012, 01:47 AM
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I think most four door cars have a post between the two doors. I also think that for cars that have a two door and four door option, the factory runs them in batches to simplify things for the people installing doors.
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  #4  
Old 06 February 2012, 02:30 AM
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There have been cars from GM that said Buick on one side or end and Pontiac on the other. My source is my memory, which is highly suspect, of articles in popular car magazines.
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Old 06 February 2012, 02:46 AM
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I support the servers that control the assembly lines of a big 3 automaker -- and while the OP wouldn't be true at all (as the vehicles built 61 years agowere hand assembled with assistance from machines).. there have been instances where a glitch in teh system has produced red cars with blue doors handles, or green cars with yellow doors etc -- these are of course caught in the QA step of the process and would not leave the shop floor.
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Old 06 February 2012, 06:13 AM
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One of the rarest Volvos ever produced had one door on one side and two on the other, and the rumour is that it was due to a production mistake. Of course, that wasn't true, the truth is that they were specially ordered by the police, who only wanted one door in the rear seat, as they didn't want to handle suspects on the traffic side of the car. Only 27 produced, so even fewer than the Volvo wheel loader I had which was made in a series of 39 (although just about every one of them was different, as it was a prototype series).

Photo and story of one that has since found its way to the civilian market: http://forums.swedespeed.com/showthr...r-The-1982-243...
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Old 06 February 2012, 01:15 PM
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As some one who is also 61, I think I read about this as a kid also, that is if being in your teens counts as being a kid. However, I am reasonably certain it happened in the early 70s when GM was producing all brands on the same assembly line.

And QC did not catch all the errors. I also bought a GM car in the early 70s. It was all Buick and the trim all matched but it got other silly warranty work.
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Old 06 February 2012, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
There have been cars from GM that said Buick on one side or end and Pontiac on the other.
When GM announced the closure of the NUMMI plant, NPR did a story about the history of the plant, and they started out by interviewing retired GM workers about what the plant was like before NUMMI. While they didn't mention your specific example, they did talk about similar sounding things like Regals coming off the line with Monte Carlo grilles.
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  #9  
Old 06 February 2012, 06:13 PM
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Of course there's the classics:

AMC was building cars made from much other car builders' existing parts. For instance, AMC built cars/Jeeps with the Turbo 400 transmission, which is a GM transmission.

OY
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Old 06 February 2012, 06:46 PM
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Even Rolls Royce used GM transmissions. And Ford used GM power steering pumps. Even today, buying parts from other car companies is common.
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  #11  
Old 06 February 2012, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
I think most four door cars have a post between the two doors. I also think that for cars that have a two door and four door option, the factory runs them in batches to simplify things for the people installing doors.
Not only is the post there, but the front doors for a four door car are typically shorter than the doors for a two door car.

Example
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Old 06 February 2012, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
Even Rolls Royce used GM transmissions. And Ford used GM power steering pumps. Even today, buying parts from other car companies is common.
I am aware of that. What I find puzzling is rebranding (at a higher price) of parts. Case in point: I had a 2000 VW Jetta that needed a starter. Dealer wanted $300+, auto parts store around $250. I cross-referenced a part number, and found the GM version of that same starter for $100. Sure enough, it fit and worked great.

OY
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  #13  
Old 06 February 2012, 07:37 PM
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VW has to a make a profit some how. What was even worse was when I owned a Porsche 914. If I bought the part at the Porsche dealer it was much more expensive that the exact same part at the VW dealer.

My FIL has an old FIAT. He likes telling the counter clerks at the part stores that he wants parts for a Ferrari. He has crossed referenced the parts and already knows what parts interchange.
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Old 06 February 2012, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
VW has to a make a profit some how.
I agree, however the part was built by Bosch. I'd venture to say that VW's internal pricing on the item was similar to GM's (VW had more of that part on the road than the GM odd-ball-whatever-vehicle-had-that-part) Why is it necessary for VW to charge 3+ times the price?

Just sayin'.

OY
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Old 06 February 2012, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meka View Post
Not only is the post there, but the front doors for a four door car are typically shorter than the doors for a two door car.
I once studied what it would take to cut up a Volvo 244 4-door sedan and a Volvo 242 coupe and make a Volvo "243" with the single door and rear window of the 242 on the left side, and the two doors of the 244 on the right side. The two types are mechanically very similar, and have many body panels in common. But there are still a lot of pieces of spot-welded steel that would have to be different between the two sides. Other differences include (but are certainly not limited to) shoulder harness belt, anchors, and reels, different electrical wiring, and different rear seat. I think that even the headliner was different, but I could be wrong on that.

Bottom line: That isn't something that could have happened by accident, not even halfway.

Thanks, Bob "BoKu" K.
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Old 06 February 2012, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overyonder View Post
I agree, however the part was built by Bosch. I'd venture to say that VW's internal pricing on the item was similar to GM's (VW had more of that part on the road than the GM odd-ball-whatever-vehicle-had-that-part) Why is it necessary for VW to charge 3+ times the price?

Just sayin'.

OY
Because they could and no other reason.
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Old 07 February 2012, 05:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
When GM announced the closure of the NUMMI plant, NPR did a story about the history of the plant, and they started out by interviewing retired GM workers about what the plant was like before NUMMI. While they didn't mention your specific example, they did talk about similar sounding things like Regals coming off the line with Monte Carlo grilles.
This would not have been possible. Though the Regal and Monte Carlo were both based on GM's G-body platform, they had no exterior sheet-metal in common, and their grilles were therefore not interchangeable; they simply would not have physically fit in each other's places.

Beyond that, I don't believe either car was ever assembled in Fremont (NUMMI's location), but if anybody knows otherwise, I would certainly defer to their knowledge.
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  #18  
Old 24 February 2012, 07:49 PM
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http://www.saturnpedia.org/what-happ...-3-door-saturn

Saturn made these for a while. I have one. It'd not so great in practice as it has the disadvantage of a two-door (can't get out without help from the front) along with the shortened doors common on a four-door. This mean leaning the seats to get into the back isn't really viable. The only access to the back seat is through the driver's-side rear door.
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Old 27 February 2012, 09:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flightsuit View Post
This would not have been possible. Though the Regal and Monte Carlo were both based on GM's G-body platform, they had no exterior sheet-metal in common, and their grilles were therefore not interchangeable; they simply would not have physically fit in each other's places.

Beyond that, I don't believe either car was ever assembled in Fremont (NUMMI's location), but if anybody knows otherwise, I would certainly defer to their knowledge.
I went back and found a tanscript of the story, and here's the actual quote:

Quote:
Frank Langfitt In his old GM job, Billy Haggerty put on hoods and fenders, and saw lots of mistakes go right down the line. So we had Monte Carlos with Regal front ends, and vice versa, and they would just stick it on, run it out to the yard, and then change.

Frank Langfitt What did they look like, the cars?

Billy Haggerty Half Regals and half-- so those things would go out the door into the yard and be fixed out there. I did a lot of overtime in the yard changing things back.

Frank Langfitt Workers told me they saw cars with engines put in backwards, cars without steering wheels or brakes. Some were so messed up they wouldn't start, and had to be towed off the line. Fixing them piled on more costs, and sometimes, taking them apart and putting them back together, workers damaged them even more.
I think there was a transcription error in there; I'm pretty sure Billy Haggerty said the part about "Monte Carlos with Regal front ends", not Frank Langfitt (the interviewer). I'd have to go back and listen to the audio to be sure.

I guess he said "front ends" rather than grilles specifically. Could that mean someone put all the exterior sheet metal from the front portion a Regal on a Monte Carlo? Does "front end" have a specific meaning in the auto industry? Also I think at that point in the story they weren't talking about the Fremont plant specifically; they were just talking about how bad quality control was at GM plants in the 1970s and 80s in general.
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Old 27 February 2012, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
I went back and found a tanscript of the story, and here's the actual quote:



I think there was a transcription error in there; I'm pretty sure Billy Haggerty said the part about "Monte Carlos with Regal front ends", not Frank Langfitt (the interviewer). I'd have to go back and listen to the audio to be sure.

I guess he said "front ends" rather than grilles specifically. Could that mean someone put all the exterior sheet metal from the front portion a Regal on a Monte Carlo? Does "front end" have a specific meaning in the auto industry? Also I think at that point in the story they weren't talking about the Fremont plant specifically; they were just talking about how bad quality control was at GM plants in the 1970s and 80s in general.

Very interesting! He'd have to be talking about exterior sheet-metal and plastic, because, whether you're talking about a body-on-frame design or the more modern unibody setup, the "front end" that's underneath that sheet-metal would be impossible to separate from the rest of the frame or unibody.

So yes, it was probably technically possible to bolt a Monte Carlo's front fenders, hood, and front clip (that's the part containing the headlamps, front bumper, and radiator grille) onto the unibody subframe of a Buick Regal or an Oldsmobile Cutlass, but the employees would have to really be not paying attention, due to the fact that the lines and curves of the Regal or Cutlass's body would not have lined up very well at all with the Monte Carlo parts.

Here's an example of a 1987 Monte Carlo:



And here's a 1978 Buick Regal:




As you can see, although they are superficially quite similar, the Chevy has dramatic, curving, almost voluptuous lines, while the Buick is all straight lines and sharp angles. Those Monte Carlo front fenders would not have lined up very well at all with the door skins of that Regal.

I'm not saying what's described in the article couldn't have happened, mind you. I'm just saying this really points to the apathy and shoddy standards of the automotive industry's malaise era.
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