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Automotive Industry Insight

TechGuy32

Ready to race!
It's become clear to me that many car enthusiasts are unfamiliar with how the automotive and many other industries function. The auto makers rely on a network of independent engineering companies to provide design and engineering services to accelerate new engine designs and development and tap into the latest state-of-the art technology. You may or may not be familiar with some of the engineering firms such as Roush, McLaren, Watson, Cosworth, Livernois, Porsche, Lingenfelter and more who provide design and engineering services to the U.S. auto makers. These companies providing services to the auto makers on a contract basis.

I have had the privledge of working as an engine design and development engineer in the auto industry for several decades. It's a challenging yet exciting field of engineering where you get to lead by example to develop better more efficient and fun to drive engines. A development project could be a clean sheet of paper new engine design from beginning to production, development of a new cylinder head or induction system design for more power, engine dyno testing of the best turbo designs from the various turbo manufacturers to one-off prestige engines for evaluation by executive auto maker management. At all times the data is scrutinized by engineering peers within the independent engineering firms as well as the auto makers, turbo makers and others.

As a long time VW owner including a current new MK 7.5 GSW my goal in participating in this forum was to share my firsthand expertise on related subjects and dispell the many false beliefs associated with engine design, development and ECU calibration based on thousands of hours of actual engine calibration and air flow development. My very first post in the forum was to clarify what a Used Oil Analysis (UOA) can and can not do. The reason for this is because a UOA can be a valuable inexpensive tool to determine the condition of the oil and if it needs to be changed earlier or can continue to be used for a longer drain interval. Car enthusiasts have unfortunately decided that a UOA can also be used to determine things that it can't measure be it engine wear or which oil is best.

I have helped some forum members understand that they can use objective scientific test data to reached informed technical opinions instead of relying primarily on subjective opinions. The reason why in engineering we rely primarily on objective data is because it does not lie and other entities can perform the same tests and obtain the same results if the test is properly conducted under the same conditions. This is the very basis of engineering and development. I have tried to help forum members understand the difference between marketing hype and objective data as well as warning them to not read things into technical specifications that may or may not be true without appropriate testing.

Along the way there has been resistance to new ideas and information that most car enthusiasts are unfamiliar with. We have forum members who are neither professionally trained auto engine design and development engineers nor air flow experts who do not work in this area of industry proceeding to preach to those who do this work for a living. While I have tried my best to help these people understand the subject matter some of them chose to spew venom at any messenger who delivers news they disagree with. The hate and wrath does not change reality but it does illustrate the immaturity and inability of these forum members to deal appropriately with subjects they fail to understand. This behavior is counter productive as the laws of physics don't change just because some folks do not understand them.

We also have people who like to argue yet they are unable to comprehend the most basic fundamentals of engine operation. They will tell those of us who perform engine development for a living that we are wrong because of their inability to understand the subject. When they are asked legitimate questions to try and help them understand they refuse to answer the questions and continue their mantra to prove it to them. Their passive aggressive demeanor does not change the facts. They are unable to even explain how they reach their meritless beliefs but they insist that the experts are wrong and that they are right. This unfortunately results in forum members being confused by the false info. being claimed by the keyboard experts who fail to comprehend that their beliefs are untrue. In the end both the foruim members who really want to learn and the people with closed minds who are keyboard experts all lose out on useful knowledge that can enhance their lives and allow them to obtain more enjoyment from their VW.

I was forwarned by my engineering colleagues that dealing with the socially and technically challenged keyboard experts in car forums was a futile effort because these people fail to appreciate and in many cases even understand the information being freely provided to them. Unfortunately my colleagues were 100% correct that no matter how much time and effort is invested trying to help some people these people will chose to remain technically ignorant because they can't wrap their heads around the information being provided. Their mentality is if they don't understand the info. provided then it must be wrong. It's actually quite sad to think some people would chose ignorance over knowledge but some folks do for inexplicable reasons. I'm not aware of any surgery that can open a closed mind however so these people lose out and fail to grow intellectually despite the best efforts of people trying to help them.
 

cb1111

Newbie
Yes, unfortunately it is the lemming mentality and the "just do it" posts that do great harm to the community.

One needs to learn from mistakes but you can learn from mistakes that others have made. As we get older, we tend to accumulate crates and crates of mistakes that, when shared, can save the collective group some money.

Yet, some of us are immediately labeled as crotchety old farts when we caution someone to consider the possible consequences of those mods prior to jumping in with both feet.

We don't say "don't do it" - we say "consider all the unintended consequences before you decide to do it."

We say "understand the law and the reasons behind the law before you decide to break that law." Consider if there are better alternatives to accomplish what you want.

We say "don't be a lemming and blindly follow the mod du jour without thinking about if it meets your needs.

We say "drive your car awhile to see what shortcomings you see - not what shortcomings some other guy on the internet things is something that needs to be fixed.

Understand that it is quite possible to have a rational discussion with someone who has a different opinion. They aren't idiots, they aren't fools.

Some of us, like techy, work in the industry and know what we are talking about. I've been working on the regulatory side of the industry and I can guarantee that I know more about my field than anyone here. That isn't bragging, that is fact.

Am I always right on everything? Of course not, but it'll be a cold day in hell when I'm wrong about my field of expertise. The same holds true for techy and a slew of others on the boards.

Listen to them, understand the reasoning behind their thoughts , learn from them and form your own opinions.

You'll end up with a nicer car, better, more reliable mods and a car that is "yours" and not like every other car on the forum.

Or you can be a lemming.
 

edrex

Ready to race!
@Tech, this kinda comes off as a Dear John letter... are you leaving the forum?
Anyway, as an outsider who is here to learn because I don't have much knowledge to share at this point its been interesting to see your posts in various threads I follow. Been wondering for a bit what your experience was and was happy to see you revealing your background lately.
I will say, will all respect, that you are probably a better teacher standing around in a garage with a beer in hand than behind a keyboard posting on a forum. I think in some cases the negative reaction to your posts comes from them being interpreted as condescending.
Hopefully the negative attention doesn't run you off, like I said I've enjoyed your posts to the extent that I could understand them as I learn.
Cheers
 

Wrath And Tears

Go Kart Champion
Welcome to my world. I quickly (as in very slowly, took like a year and a half) realized it wasn't worth the pain to try to educate people. Now I just drop information here and there and if they want to say otherwise, let them. At the end of the day it isn't my car and I don't have to look out the window and see it everyday as the saying goes in the industry.
 

JC_451

Autocross Champion
Wait, we can learn from other people's mistakes too?


:p

As far as the actual topic goes, the number one thing to understand is: No one likes being talked down to. Being a pedant almost always makes it seem as if you're speaking from on high, even if that isn't your intention.

There's a common phenomena called the Dunning/Kruger(or vice-versa) effect were people overestimate their own abilities and knowledge. These types of people are extremely difficult to educate because they already "know" everything.

I dunno, I think if you keep at it eventually you'll get a reputation as a guy who knows what they're talking about and more people will listen. You've only been on the Forum actively for a couple months, that's not really enough time for people to get used to your style of communication and to realize they can learn from you.
 
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cb1111

Newbie
Wait, we can learn from other people's mistakes too?


:p

As far as the actual topic goes, the number one thing to understand is: No one likes being talked down to. Being a pedant almost always makes it seem as if you're speaking from on high, even if that isn't your intention.

There's a common phenomena called the Dunning/Kruger(or vice-versa) effect were people overestimate their own abilities and knowledge. These types of people are extremely difficult to educate because they already "know" everything.

I dunno, I think if you keep at it eventually you'll get a reputation as a guy who knows what they're talking about and more people will listen. You've only been on the Forum actively for a couple months, that's not really enough time for people to get used to your style of communication and to realize they can learn from you.

I suspect that techie has been around forums a lot longer than you have.
 

anotero

Autocross Champion
Not to sound rude, but what was the objective of the drawn out OP?

PS
I'm sure plenty of forumers here would like a good advice and insight from an educated and experienced insider. Why bother with the few that couldn't care less about someone's expertise and will still follow grandmother's advice?
 

anotero

Autocross Champion

cb1111

Newbie
I suspect that techie has been around forums a lot longer than you have.

He was a member since February :p

Anyway, totally irrelevant if he's decided to opt out.
You know, this ain't the only forum in the universe.

The responses in this thread certainly are illuminating - and it doesn't say good things about a couple posters here.

"woo-hoo, we ran somebody off" isn't anything to be proud of, but it does speak volumes about some of you.
 

vjmvjm

Go Kart Newbie
Too many people miss the point. Rather than focusing on the end result, they focus on the elements. Example 1: It doesn't matter how well an oil lubricates and protects, it matters what the oil ingredients are. Example 2: It doesn't matter how well an engine performs in the real world, it matters what the max hp and max torque ratings are. Example 3: I have no car control skills, but I want to go to Stage 7 to increase the power of my engine. Example 4: What is the "best" <insert part here>? Please define "best".

You can learn a lot from this forum (or any car / truck forum, regardless of make). But, most of all, you can learn what really does not matter.
 

Dan00Hawk

Go Kart Newbie
"Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it."

That's what social media and forums are like now. It's easy to share both worthless and valid opinions. And even easier to drag someone down into the mud. You'll always run across a few pigs, but they are by far the minority. The rest of us can determine by the conversation who is helpful and who is just argumentative.

I think perhaps a good approach to share tech info would be a link to a tech article. This would allow one such as the OP to share helpful info without feeling disregarded and disrespected by "keyboard experts". They will still chime in with replies, of course, but would be doing so from a lesser position of influence.

Finally, sometimes deciding to not engage with those that are decidedly argumentative is more productive than trying in vain to prove them wrong. It isn't easy, but you'll get less frustrated, and you are maintaining control of the situation by deciding if or how to respond. I'm still not good at it... :D
 
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