Why bother having warning lights and gauges?
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Thread: Why bother having warning lights and gauges?

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    Fellow Frogger! b707's Avatar
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    Default Why bother having warning lights and gauges?

    I ask this question as I believe a great deal of motorists should be able to specify as a delete option all warning lights, coolant temp gauge, and oil pressure gauges. All they really need is a fuel quantity gauge and speedometer as the other gauges are superfluous as they don't get noticed and if they do, no action is taken.

    My poor suffering neighbor who I recently helped with his misfiring X-Trail, had his Toyota Avensis wagon (his personal daily driver) delivered home on a flat bed the other day. He had lent it to his brother and apparently in his words he noticed a red light come on (suspect oil pressure) , kept driving for a couple of minutes till a blue light came on (suspect coolant temp) and blue smoke became evident. Still kept on driving for another minute till the engine finally died.

    Closer inspection revealed the engine had dumped most of its oil, so that's the cause of the blue smoke. The radiator cap was off and the engine bay sprayed with coolant. Neighbor suspects he may not have re secured the cap after checking the coolant on the weekend. Anyway we didn't notice any coolant in the remaining oil or oil in the coolant so hoped that little internal engine damage had been done and the engine shut itself down to protect itself. Got underneath and couldn't find the oil leak. We decided to top the engine up with oil and top up the coolant. No oil leaks after topping up the oil. The engine cranked over but wouldn't fire. So its back onto a flat bed and off to a mechanic. Unfortunately the engine may be cooked.

    Granted leaving the radiator cap off led to the overheating but if the brother had stopped as soon as safe and practical when he noticed the first warning light, I'm pretty sure the engine would've been saved. I suspect the engine started to overheat first then the oil pressure dropped. The neighbor was pretty philosophical about it all but I'm not sure that given similar circumstances, I could of kept my cool.

    Anyway still trying to get my head around how the overheating led to the massive oil dump/leak

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    Did the offender, when explaining his conduct, use my favourite four letter word "just"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    Did the offender, when explaining his conduct, use my favourite four letter word "just"?
    If it was really cooked it may have damaged the rings and pistons and burnt the oil off. If the driver didn't notice the temp gauge go high and then drop it was probably without water for quite some time. I'm suprised it actually cranked.

    Thats the problem with water temp gauges. They don't work if there is no bloody water. :-)

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    1000+ Posts cav91's Avatar
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    But if you've got any Intelligence you'd notice after you've been driving for 20 minutes Why is the temp gauge reading so low! If you chose to use your gauge!

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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    I always thought that warning lights were supplied in case you were incapable of reading a guage.

    There are some cost savings to be had with vehicles that go into limp-home mode...........
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    1000+ Posts FIVEDOOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    I always thought that warning lights were supplied in case you were incapable of reading a guage.

    There are some cost savings to be had with vehicles that go into limp-home mode...........
    Stupidity will find a away around any fail safe system which can be devised.

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    JBN
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    Get a 2CV. Has a speedo (not that I bother looking at it) and it has a fuel guage. It does have a high beam warning light.

    It doesn't have a radiator and therefore no cap to lose.

    Most of all, if the driver doesn't have a clue, the car doesn't care because it has no clue at all about what is going on.

    Simple cars attract simple minds.

    John

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    Now go make me a sandwich Hotrodelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephineS View Post
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    Now go make me a sandwich Hotrodelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBN View Post
    Get a 2CV. Has a speedo (not that I bother looking at it) and it has a fuel guage. It does have a high beam warning light.


    John
    A fuel gauge and a high beam warning light? Bloody luxury. My 2CV had a stick and the high indicator was the police, when they pull me over for dazzling them.
    The measure of your character isn't what you do when people are watching- it's what you do when they aren't watching.

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    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    I always thought that warning lights were supplied in case you were incapable of reading a guage.

    .
    I reckon lights are critical ... If all else fails they scream at you to pay attention to a particular gauge. eg: if you dump your coolant or oil rapidly, you likely won't notice the engine overheating or running dry of oil until it's too late. You'll have only a few short seconds to shut it down if you loose all oil pressure, they likelyhood of spotting the gauge has dropped to zero in time is very remote.

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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    Shane, Shane, Shane! Like an airline pilot or race car driver, you are supposed to scan your gauges in a set rotation at frequent intervals. The slightest deviation from "normal" requires a prudent driver to keep a close eye on the troublesome gauge, rather than waiting for a light to tell them they weren't looking and by the way, sorry, it's too late! All the same, if you are going to rely on a light, our rally car had a motorcycle stoplight on the dash which was supposed to bathe us in a warm red glow. Never saw it lit!
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    Shane, Shane, Shane! Like an airline pilot or race car driver, you are supposed to scan your gauges in a set rotation at frequent intervals. The slightest deviation from "normal" requires a prudent driver to keep a close eye on the troublesome gauge, rather than waiting for a light to tell them they weren't looking and by the way, sorry, it's too late! All the same, if you are going to rely on a light, our rally car had a motorcycle stoplight on the dash which was supposed to bathe us in a warm red glow. Never saw it lit!
    Great idea but not much use when a top radiator hose splits and dumps the water in seconds. Happened to me 20 miles from Kimba in SA. Happens soo quick and with an alloy head it doesn't take much for it to warp.
    I installed a water level meter with a light and audible alarm after .
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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    I don't know why they're called "Murphy" Gauges but is this what you got?

    Excellent product used throughout industry...............
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Why bother having warning lights and gauges?-murphy-level-gauge.jpg  
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b707 View Post

    ......Anyway still trying to get my head around how the overheating led to the massive oil dump/leak
    The Australian Avensis has the 1AZ (2L) or 2AZ (2.4L) engines. These both suffer from oil sludging (along with many other engines of similar ilk) if not properly maintained.

    I'd be guess bright eyes neighbor has been neglecting maintenance or saving money on non synthetic oil. Something has blocked in lubrication side and the rest is history.

    It should be savalageble with a replacement engine. 2AZFE engines are fitted Camrys, some RAV4s and Taragos so they should be available used.

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    the famous 18E pug206gti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    I don't know why they're called "Murphy" Gauges but is this what you got?

    Excellent product used throughout industry...............


    G'day,
    could be the manufacturer...

    Murphy by Enovation Controls
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    I don't know why they're called "Murphy" Gauges but is this what you got?

    Excellent product used throughout industry...............
    Nothing as fancy as this. I made it up using instructions from an electronics mag. Just a warning light and an audible alarm. The 'sensor' i fitted into the top part of the radiator which of cause was metal (Datsun 2000 sport)
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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pug206gti View Post

    G'day,
    could be the manufacturer...

    Murphy by Enovation Controls
    I knew that! But I suspect they were invented as insurance against when "Murphy" struck.....Murphy's Law and all that....

    P.S: They were originally analogue gauges , but could be rigged to stop your engine when parameters approached your preset values. Not commonly used in aircraft, from memory.....
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    JBN
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Luck View Post
    Shane, Shane, Shane! Like an airline pilot or race car driver, you are supposed to scan your gauges in a set rotation at frequent intervals. The slightest deviation from "normal" requires a prudent driver to keep a close eye on the troublesome gauge, rather than waiting for a light to tell them they weren't looking and by the way, sorry, it's too late! All the same, if you are going to rely on a light, our rally car had a motorcycle stoplight on the dash which was supposed to bathe us in a warm red glow. Never saw it lit!
    Shane has a CX. It has wall-to-wall warning lights across the top of the instrument cluster. Obscure lights like C-matic gearbox oil temperature, brake pad thickness (remember this came out in 1974), all the normal warning lights and then some.

    It had an analogue fuel guage with a needle pointing somewhere between full and empty, a battery condition meter or some such which rarely worked and meant nothing and two guages that gave you the answer (rather than the menu). The speedo with a revolving drum showing the speed as a number (eg 60 for 60kph). The tacho was similar with a number (1 - 6) for the revs X 1000. Brilliant system. Company taken of by Peugeot and all the brilliance discarded to bring it down to Peugeot's mediocre level.


    John

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    1000+ Posts gerry freed's Avatar
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    Bring on the driverless car!
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    1000+ Posts Kim Luck's Avatar
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    My 1969 R16 had an audible brake pad thickness warning system. Drove home after a Western Districts Rally from Apollo Bay to Dandenong with metal to metal brakes. Sounded like a commercial bacon slicer pulling up to the lights. Worked best over 100km/h.
    Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone............

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    1000+ Posts 504-504-504's Avatar
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    Years ago "Electronics Australia" published an article on a "Critical Systems Alarm" for vehicular use.
    Idea was to wire up all the sensors, set the threshold. One warning light, then you went searching for what was wrong.
    Have been trying to find a copy of the article for years but no luck.
    Anybody have any ideas where I could find it?

    Paul.

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    JBN
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    My car works like that. I switch it on, one light appears, nothing happens and then I go searching for the problem.

    I would be happier with no light and instead have a screen or voice tell me whats wrong. Why does life always have to be a quiz?

    John

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    Like a C5; motoring along happily and then it decides to call out "Anti-Pollution Fault" because the brake pedal switch contacts have spark-eroded away somewhat, or because the battery is going short internally, or because the EGR swirl valve actuator is busted, or...? Even when they try to be more accurate in their telling you what's wrong, they cry wolf too often.

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