Any parts on modern cars being made blatantly disposable?


There was an article in the paper about farmers being compelled to have their JD tractors repaired at the dealer because of computer patent issues. They were not allowed to check for trouble codes or make the repairs because they might have a negative impact on the software. I dunno but I think we have gone too far. When you are working a weather or crop deadline and have a simple repair, a farmer can’t really wait for the shop to come get the equipment and fit it in to the schedule. Same thing coming for cars I suspect if they could.


That patent is expired. That means anyone can use it. Filed 20 years ago by the same folks who brought you the O-rings used in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion and Bosch.

It apparently wasn’t too successful or these would be in use. You DO know you don’t have to prove an idea works to get a patent for it, right?

Not sure what your point in this previous comment. Do you believe this is proof of some sort of conspiracy?


@cwatkin I have three pushmowers. Two have gasoline engines and cast aluminum decks. The other mower is a rechargeable battery electric mower with a plastic deck. I bought these mowers because I was tired of mowers with stamped steel decks that rusted away in 5 years. I don’t like throwaway equipment. However, maybe I should change my thinking. Mower 1 is an 18" Toro. It has a Tecumseh engine which is no longer made. I bought this mower in 1988 and have had to replace the handle twice at $62 a whack. Mower 2 is a 20" Homelite-Jacobsen. I replaced the short block on its Briggs and Stratton some 10 years ago at a cost of about $200. It is again smoking badly, but parts, including the blade, are no longer availablw. I bought this mower in 1992. Mower #3 is a Black and Decker rechargeable battery that I bought as a used mower a couple of years ago. I had to replace the two series wired 12 volt batteries this spring at a cost of $70. Now the mower is losing power. When I checked the batteries, one measures 13.3 volts after a recharge and the other measures 11.1 volts after the recharge. I am debating whether to just replace the weak battery, replace both batteries or forget the whole thing. I may be better off just to buy a new disposable mower on which one never changes the oil and toss it after 5 years. Much as it goes against my grain, cheap disposable equipment may be the way to go.


Yeah parts are dirt cheap. When I bought my $900 snow blower, I started having problems with the governor. Some guys reported carb defects so I bought the service replacement carb just to see for $20. The whole thing for $20 and it was metal. That wasn’t it and Briggs replaced the engine due to the China plant not properly heat treating one of the parts so now I’ve got a spare carb. No adjustments, nothing hardly to rebuild but the whole carb is cheaper than a normal rebuilt kit.


That patent is expired. That means anyone can use it.
Didn’t notice it had expired. Doesn’t matter. The teaching contained doesn’t expire. It was helpful.=================================================================

Filed 20 years ago by the same folks who brought you the O-rings used in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion and Bosch.
Incorrect. It was filed by the inventor. It must be filed by the inventor - not the assignees.=========================================================================It apparently wasn’t too successful or these would be in use.
It was successful and it is in use. Several companies use this; ZF TRW and Mosa to name 2.=================================================================You DO know you don’t have to prove an idea works to get a patent for it, right?Not sure what your point in this previous comment. Do you believe this is proof of some sort of conspiracy?
Sort of a conspiracy. I will refer you to a small but excellent book by John Kenneth Galbraith. The economics of Innocent Fraud. This doesn’t quite rise to the level of fraud, but is worse than the Innocent Fraud Galbraith discusses.
Perhaps you can explain Ford policy? In 2011 Ford began selling an economy car they call Fiesta. The Ford Fiesta is the cheapest car Ford makes. One would presume Ford would use the cheapest, adequate parts it could In its first year, the Ford Fiesta used 3 different horns.
2011 2013 Ford Fiesta Horn CE8Z-13832-A $38.162011 ///// Ford Fiesta Horn BE8Z-13832-B $29.02
2011 ///// Ford Fiesta Horn BE8Z-13832-C $27.72
Why did the Ford Fiesta - the cheapest car Ford makes - need 3 horns?
After 2013, it seems that Ford discontinued the CE8Z-13832-A and substituted the D2BZ-13832-A. 2014 ////// Ford Fiesta Horn D2BZ-13832-A $36.11
Rather than improving and reducing the cost of the CE8Z-13832-A, Ford - directly or indirectly - paid the cost of engineering, design, tooling, manufacturing, distributing and storing a new horn. Although the new horn is $2.11 cheaper than the old horn, it is a new horn that may have engineering or manufacturing defects.
If I were given the choice, I would choose a Fusion horn. Why couldn’t they use the Fusion horn? With economies of scale, the Fusion horn might get down to $14.50.
2013 ////// Ford Fusion Horn DG9Z-13832-A $17.77


You do, actually. Utility is one of the requirements for your invention to be patent-eligible. Utility as used in the patent world is defined as useful, and to meet the requirement your invention must provide a benefit, and must work in that provision.

There are ways around it - so, for instance, if you try to patent a perpetual motion machine on the grounds that you’ve figured out how to run a machine with no energy input, it will be rejected because perpetual motion machines don’t work. If on the other hand you try to patent a “perpetual motion machine” that uses hidden electromagnets to make it spin, and its utility is claimed as a novelty toy, you’ll be eligible to try for the patent.


A patent does NOT have to be proven to work. There are several patents on perpetual motion machines. Software patents are a joke. You don’t have einsteins working at the patent office.



No @shadowfax, you don’t have to prove a patent works. In the past, you needed a prototype, or Patent Model, but that changed after 1880. There are a number of perpetual motion machines granted patents. They are not called “Perpetual Motion Machine” but they are nonetheless.

This site lists a few;

The Abstract of the last one, 8,112,992, granted in 2012 outlines what can only be interpreted as a perpetual motion machine!

I hold a couple of patents that later turned out not to work. I didn’t need a prototype to file it, just drawings.


What cannot be patented:
Laws of nature
Physical phenomena
Abstract ideas
Literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works (these can be Copyright protected). Go to the Copyright Office.
Inventions which are: Not useful (such as perpetual motion machines); or
Offensive to public morality


There is no notice of expiration. The patent expired 14 years after it was granted. Now they expire 20 years after filing.

A distinction without a difference. The inventors worked for Morton Int’l and Bosch, as did the lawyers that filed the paperwork and the assignees.

Could you point me to a web page for any of these companies that advertises the offering of the device?

I cannot but neither can you. I can suggest reasons for Ford’s choices based on working in the automotive industry as an engineer for 27 years. None of which add fuel to any conspiracy theories. And certainly none that would show Ford profiting from the practice you describe.


If you invent something while working for a company then the company you work for files the patent. You the inventor name will be attached. But the patent is filed and (more importantly) OWNED by the company.


Engineer? Excellent ! I are a engineer, too.
Below is a link to an adjustable airbag inflator. Unlike many companies, this company gives complete specification of their inflators.
Also, although a bit cryptic, it seems that TRW makes adjustable inflators (link below).
Let’s discuss airbags. I believe I understand the engineering. Since you are Mustangman, let’s discuss the Mustang.
BTW, does the Mustang have any Takata airbag systems? Who makes the inflators for the Mustang?
The 2012 - 2014 Mustang has at least 4 different side impact inflators (shown below):
2012 2014 Ford Mustang SIDE IMPACT INFLATOR MODULE CR3Z-63611D10-C $218.28
2012 2014 Ford Mustang SIDE IMPACT INFLATOR MODULE CR3Z-63611D10-A $213.80
2012 2014 Ford Mustang SIDE IMPACT INFLATOR MODULE CR3Z-63611D11-A $218.192012 2014 Ford Mustang SIDE IMPACT INFLATOR MODULE CR3Z-63611D11-C $207.30

  • Why does the Mustang model need 4 different side impact inflators?
  • How is the determination of which Mustang gets what inflator made?


Requires- What is your obsession with things you can’t control. It seems your concerns should be directed at Ford.


Frankly, you sound more like someone with a background in supply chain to me.
You seem to have a penchant for supplier/parts rationalization…


What’s an engineer any more? I know a guy with a 2 year associate degree in surveying that is called an engineer. At any rate I’m not one but I think when you are hired at most companies, among those papers you sign, or the labor contracts, contain a stipulation that any patents developed on work time etc., are the property of the company. Even if you develop it at home but based on a company problem, issue, idea, etc. Along with that ole non-compete clause. Be careful what you sign because even if they are way restrictive, you may not win in court.

Also most of the big boys will not even discuss your patent or idea because a lot of people come up with the same idea at the same time and don’t want to take the chance on being sued. Very expensive to go through all the hoops for a patent and then what do you do with it? Takes a lot of money to produce and market the item. Yeah, maybe something wrong with the system that discourages good ideas from coming on line when the original intent was to encourage such development. At any rate just getting and having a patent is somewhat meaningless. I did know of a guy that developed a couple woodworking devices that is being successfully sold, but he did a prototype and got the backing of a company to bring it to fruition from production to marketing.

So sayeth me anyway.


Who knows? I can think of a number of reasonable reasons why. How many side airbags are there? Left forward, left rearward, right forward, right rearward? There’s 4 part numbers. How about trim packages? Does the GT or premium trim have different seats and interior trim from the base model? Different interior pieces might mean different airbags. And so on…


In addition it may be that they are from alternate vendors. You have to be able to identify the actual manufacturer of a part so it would not be unreasonable to give it a different part number. You wouldn’t necessarily have all cars made in a particular year with the same identical air bag from the same manufacturer. In addition it is common to have alternate manufacturers for an item so you don’t just rely on one source. You aren’t going to shut the assembly line down if one vendor plant goes up in flames. The computer might track all that for you though so it may not be apparent to someone unless they were actually involved in the procurement end of it.

Bottom line is its always easy to second guess someone else’s operation. Ask me about football though and I’ll tell you the guy would be fired-like same day. If you know what I mean. Disgusting.


Mustangman ! Where did you go? I need your inside knowledge.

Here is a really good one.

For 3 years Ford used 6 different airbag inflators on the Focus. Somebody designed, tested, manufactured, distributed, and stored 6 different inflator modules for the Focus. Why did the Focus need 6 different driver airbag inflators?

2012 2016 Ford Focus DRIVER INFLATOR MODULE DM5Z-58043B13-BA $398.43
2012 2016 Ford Focus DRIVER INFLATOR MODULE DM5Z-58043B13-AA $349.99
2014 2016 Ford Focus DRIVER INFLATOR MODULE EM5Z-58043B13-BA $403.12
2014 2016 Ford Focus DRIVER INFLATOR MODULE EM5Z-58043B13-AA $431.58
2012 2016 Ford Focus DRIVER INFLATOR MODULE DM5Z-58043B13-CA $397.13
2012 2016 Ford Focus DRIVER INFLATOR MODULE DM5Z-58043B13-DA $423.68

Comeback Mr. Mustangman.

Ford doesn’t do this for (to) everybody. Fiesta owners get a deal. There is only one driver airbag inflrator. And its a lot cheaper too - probably because there isn’t the overhead of development and manufacturing of 6 inflators.

2011 2016 Ford Fiesta DRIVER INFLATOR MODULE BE8Z-54043B13-AA $329.22


So what you’re saying is that Ford deliberately engineers more parts than they need to so that they can charge their customers more.


Well as with any conspiracy theory, you need to explain why they would do that if we are to take you seriously. It does not on the surface make sense that Ford would want to render themselves less competitive by artificially making their cars more expensive due to part sourcing rather than profit margin. That’s just begging for the competition to swoop in with single-source parts and obliterate their sales.

So, ball’s in your court: Explain why Ford would possibly do this, or your conspiracy theory goes in the bin with chemtrails and faked moon landings.


Your comment on the overhead of developing several variants affecting the piece price shows you actually have very little knowledge of the process of engineering or manufacturing parts or how pricing is established. The engineering costs are sunk costs. They are spread evenly over EVERYTHING so the Fiesta inflator is burdened the same as the others. You might want to look at volume differences between those two cars. Do they make significantly more Fiestas? Is the Fiesta inflator less complex in design or using less expensive components?

Why are you so obsessed with this in the first place???