Curse you Pontiac! (somewhat whiny)

I pit few people, and few organizations. But today, I most emphatically pit Pontiac.


My parents own a 1994 Pontiac Grand Prix. It’s a pretty good car. Little heavy for a “sports” car, but seats 5, so that’s okay. I don’t know much about cars, but I do know I like to take stuff apart. Thus, just like when the windows on it stuck, when the aerial had some problems, I decided to try to handle it myself.

After almost an hour of close examination, crawling, unscrewing, and annoyed yanking, I remove the aerial assembly from the trunk. A few screws later, I see that the motor drives a notched plastic cord, which feeds up the centre of the aerial. The cord is jammed of course. Just like the notched plastic belts which drive the power windows were!

WTF!?!? Who decided this was a good idea??? Who tested this??? 3 outta the 4 windows have jammed (two temporarily repaired with percussive maintenance) but I know it’s not for long. My hands are all greasy, and all I have to show for it is plastic! How am I supposed to fix this???

To all current and future engineers: build some robustness into your designs! I coulda welded broken metal… or cleaned out metal spall… but stripped plastic is a replacement item, no doubt. I’ll phone the dealership, but I betcha this’ll cost a stupid amount, just like the double-height non-industry-standard radio/CD player cost 600+ to replace when that broke. Argh.

And make your trunks more ergonomic too, 'cause I wrenched my shoulder in there.

I betcha you’ll have to replace the whole power antenna assembly. That’ll set you back a couple hundred at least.
Maybe see if you can get a broken one at the wreckers that the plastic rack gear is intact on?

I remember a hilarious letter to the editor printed in Car and Driver magazine years ago. At the time, Pontiac’s slogan was “We build excitement”. The letter said, simply, “Pontiac builds excrement”. Having said that, have you considered just unplugging the power lead and just leaving the antenna up all the time?

So you just answered your own question, er, comment, here. Chances are it would be more expensive to build components to last longer. In addition, if the parts don’t break, replacement parts can’t be sold.

I doubt that Pontiac is unique in this practice.

I suppose that’s also the reason every model x every year has a slightly differently shaped bumper… the shelves in the back must be huuuuuge! :stuck_out_tongue:

I guess I should expect stuff to break eventually (ya think?). It’s the whole planned-obsolecence bit - Fords’ whole “interchangeability of parts” idea appears to have gone by the wayside sometime and that really sucks. :frowning:

The thing isn’t nearly strong enough to be up all the time, but it turns out I can get a mostly-compatible generic version from the local Princess Auto for 50$. Think I’ll encourage competition a bit here. :slight_smile: