Something that always makes my brain itch is inconsistency when there should be …. consistency. Specifically, articles among the same authors, music between the same artists, photos between the same photographer. So as I’m typing this, I’m making an attempt to add a little structure to my future articles and see how it works out for me.
All of my articles actually start as an idea, no work has been done or parts ordered. I always always start with a rough draft of an idea and how I think its going to go. After I’ve done it, I go back and add some things to really make the article worth typing up, add some notes from during the project, and then I add a little lesson learned or results. While it makes sense to me to have it this way, for some reason I really struggle to strongly stick to that. This must be a terrible price to pay for slacking in English class so much in high school. It was such a painful task to have to write up any kind of assignment. It wasn’t until I got into the IT field that I actually discovered that I enjoyed writing manuals, write ups, and technical documents in general. I think when it comes down to it, maybe none of the articles in class really inspired me like the ones I write regarding my field or hobbies.
So what I’m not going to do is go back through all of my postings and restructure or rewrite them. No one, even myself, could see how well that part of this has matured if I didn’t leave them as they are. That leaves me to write out what I think should work out for me. Starting with what you’ve read so far, the basic introduction to the situation and the route I want to take. There is nothing mentioned about my expectations here. There never has been because, while I may read on a forum or in a book that doing it this way should create “result a”, it doesn’t mean that I or you will get “result a” every time. That is due to the complexity of what I’m usually involved in, in this case: cars.
At the most basic level, I could give you a technical write up on how to fill up either my DSM’s. You’d be very confused if you used those same instructions to fill up my partner’s Ford Focus, because it is actually a different process. Also, the secondary goal of this site is really more of a closed discussion knowledge base on how to do some things to a DSM, hopefully yours. So when we talk about things like tuning and changing parts … some information might be missing or irrelevant if you do not have exactly the same parts or mod.
Another thing I try to take into consideration when I write articles is experience level. You see, I’m not a mechanic. I actually have no college education. How ever, I have been in the diagnostic role for IT for over 10 years, I’ve completed the paramedic school, I’ve completed the basic electronic courses that the military required for my job title at the time. It appears that I have a decent sense of cause and effect , so much so that understanding how fuel and air comes together to become compressed and ignited at asynchronous times to generate power is a no brainer for me, but those are only basic concepts. The experience I have collected over the years has really help me to understand some of the limitations and how to address them, how important supporting mods are, even to other supporting mods.
Moving on, most of the projects in this site are not only to increase the performance of my DSM(s), but also to teach me about their limits and help me understand the systems that they rely on. Those same systems are found in other cars, sure. When it comes time to address a break down issue on the Focus, you’d expect a minimal amount of struggle, only enough to see that some one did something different at some point and I need to adapt and over come. For example, there is not a fuel door release on the Focus, to put gas in it, you start with opening the fuel door with your hand. Those types of differences become more complex as things change. I great example of that was learned when I offered to fix an oil leak on my in-law’s 97 Honda Civic. The rear main seal had failed, so the transmission had to come down. That generation of Civic used a shifting rod style of linkage vs a cable style like my DSM. The Focus uses a clutch cable instead of a hydraulic line, like the DSM and Honda both.
So when I read your post on a forum site talking about how you’ve done this or installed… what ever. No, I don’t automatically trust it, I actually question it. I question how it applies to my installation. I question how it differs, and what supporting mods it requires. Do you have those mods? What are your driving habits and how many miles have you put on this … what ever you did. What post install problems have you seen? One of the goals of the website is to keep those things in mind and package the results into something that is usable on most other installations.
In a basic list, the theory is as follows:
- Identify the problem.
- Determine the most reasonable remediation
- Identify any supporting mods required.
- Identify any dependencies required for supporting mods
- Problems, Snags, and Work Arounds
- Verification /Initial Test
- Post Install Notes
- Seasonal Revisit
The funny thing about that model, is that its exactly what I have in mind for the structure of my articles, minus the introduction I like to do. If the articles were consistent enough and strong enough, then any one should feel comfortably copying anything I’ve done here or even what the results would be. It should also encourage you, the reader, to question anything you do before you start. I know the younger generation of DSM’ers, which I actually likely fall into, will completely ignore that statement.
So I guess the correct thing to do at this point is to close this up and add an update in a few months. That gives me plenty of time to think about what I’ve said and also gives the article time to mature and circulate. Hopefully I remember to come back with results!