By on March 5, 2020

With the California Farm Bureau effectively giving away the right of farmers to repair their own equipment without involving the distributor in the spring of 2019, the right-to-repair movement fell back on its heels. Horrified by the ground lost, the group has rallied to better incorporate those hoping to fix or modify mobile devices and automobiles. Despite being disparate products, members share a common goal of returning control to consumers and preventing various industries from having a stranglehold on products they were supposed to relinquish ownership of when sold.

Hoping to better illustrate the plight of farmers, Bloomberg published an article outlining one man’s struggle with John Deere. Kevin Kenney is a Nebraska-based engineer who’s also a member of a grassroots campaign to undermine the corporate mandate against repairing its tractors. He believes farmers owe it to themselves to know how to fix their own equipment or risk finding themselves perpetually at the mercy of the manufacturer — while losing the skills to be self-reliant.

Why should you care? It’s presumed automakers will follow a similar business plan as vehicles become increasingly networked and electric, and as executives redefine what constitutes ownership while using proprietary software as their shield. Pretty much exactly what John Deere is doing.  

Kenney and company started a movement that now seeks to establish right-to-repair laws across the country, with 20 American states now entertaining the possibility of enacting new legislation. It even attracted the attention of Senator Elizabeth Warren when she was still campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. She endorsed the platform in the spring of 2019. The brunt of the movement, however, still rests with small business owners and consumer advocacy groups interested in supporting the proverbial little guy.

“People just want to fix their stuff. We are tired of manufacturers price-gouging for repairs, selling us disposable electronics and pushing us to buy new instead of fixing what we already have. It’s should be no surprise that interest in the right to repair keeps growing, with 20 states filing bills already this year,” Nathan Proctor, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s Campaign Director for Right-to-Repair, said in a statement last year.

“Electronic waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. It’s high time we stopped manufacturers from blocking repair, which keeps devices working and off the scrap heap. It’s better for consumers and better for the environment, and whether or not manufacturers like it, more and more people agree: We deserve the right to repair our products.”

From Bloomberg:

[John Deere] says the world needs digitized farming to feed the 10 billion people expected on Earth by 2050. The proprietary software Kenney and other repair advocates revile enables sensors and computers on machines to log and transmit data on everything: moisture and nitrogen levels in soil; the exact placement of seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides; and, ultimately, the size of the harvest. Having access to so much real-time data enables farmers and their computer-controlled machines to plant, spray, fertilize, and harvest at optimal times with as little waste as possible. All the farmer has to do is link his equipment to agronomic prescriptions beamed to him over the internet.

This is farming’s version of big data, and the potential is staggering, enthusiasts say. The efficiency gains of recent decades have increased productivity an estimated 1.4 [percent] per year for the past 70 years, and U.S. farmers now produce an average corn yield of about 175 bushels an acre. That’s still less than 30 [percent] of what some hyper-attentive farmers have shown is possible under optimum conditions. Deere and other agriculture technology companies are betting that what the industry calls “precision agriculture” can dramatically expand output.

While Mr. Kenney acknowledged the digitization of farm equipment has helped increase agricultural productivity, he’s fearful that too much of the power is being transitioned to machines and the companies that unilaterally control what happens to them.

Modern-day tractors log data just like automobiles, with manufacturers scooping up that info as it’s transmitted to the cloud. Why can’t farmers, at-home mechanics and your average person attempting to fix their own iPhone handle it themselves? We don’t know for sure, but John Deere says it isn’t safe, what with farmers only having an implied license to operate a vehicle they purchased.

“One tweak could cascade throughout an entire software system and lead to unintended consequences,” Julian Sanchez, Deere’s director of precision agriculture strategy and business development, suggested.

Digital-rights activists say this is bunk, with many claiming this is all being done to consolidate control among original equipment manufacturers.

“We’ve been telling people for years that if it has a chip in it, it’s going to get monopolized,” Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of the Repair Association, told Bloomberg. She’s been working with Kenney for years and helped get legislation passed inside Massachusetts in 2012 that required the auto industry to provide car owners and independent mechanics with the same diagnostic and repair equipment used at the dealership.

However, Gordon-Byrne and Kenney don’t always see things eye to eye. Concerned that smaller farmers won’t be able to compete with the high-cost of new equipment and manufacturer-sanctioned repairs, they’re working together to advance right-to-repair legislation in states with less-powerful equipment lobbies and smaller farms. But when he attempted to dazzle her with a photo of a 2017 John Deere combine he had modified on the sly, she urged him to exercise caution, saying the changes could fall outside copyright law and amount to theft of services.

“Gay, thanks but why was it OK years ago to pull the diesel engine fuel pump off, screw the horsepower up, put it back on, and run it with no consequences of ‘theft’?” he responded. “Just because these engines are now electronic vs. mechanical, we’ve lost our rights to repair and modify? Back in my day we truly believed, Hot-Rodding is a National Birthright!”

Good luck, Kevin. We’re pulling for you.

 

[Image: Guy RD/Shutterstock]

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130 Comments on “It’s Payback Time: Right-to-repair Movement Targets John Deere...”


  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Get ‘er done.
    ;-)

  • avatar
    boxcarclassic

    The land of the free shouldnt need to even haveto fight for this right. Im with the right to repair movement! These companies only want control and to jack prices up. Its really communist! Of course this country loses more freedoms everyday because not enough of us are willing to fight.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Some of it has to do with safety. When IH was really big in its day, one of its selling points was the ease of fixing the equipment yourselves.

      Well, some fools did actually fix their equipment, often in the field, and a lot of lawsuits followed because the equipment hurt, maimed or killed them after they “fixed” it.

      I got started in life as a Heavy equipment operator for the USAF (555CES RED HORSE Cam Ranh Bay AB 1967) and if something broke on any of our equipment, the shop came to the airfield, or any other place we were working, to fix it.

      A person has got to know their limitations. Either that, or protect these Equipment manufacturers from lawsuits that often follow such self-repair.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC31

        Yuup. And environmental regulations, you can’t have people bypassing that stuff, so this is a case of trying to pile on regulations to fix the unintended consequences of other regulations.

        And the big operators LEASE, they don’t even want to “own” anything.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        No even half civilized country, would let its courts be used by ambulance chasers to shake down “manufacturers” over anything said manufacturers didn’t explicitly sign up for being liable for.

        Once the leeches get a foot in the door, as you just described, they then proceed to abuse courts further by, among other things, doing what this article was about.

        People should be allowed to fix their stuff themselves. As well as sell whatever to whomever. If anyone feels like accepting liability for something, they should write it into explicit contracts, accepted uncoerced, both de jure and de facto, by both parties.

        Making up all manners of “implied” liabilities, is nothing more than ambulance chaser welfare. Stripping people of basic freedoms, just to make leeching boat anchors around the ankles of productive humanity, flush at their betters’ expense.

        More immediately pragmatically, looks like John Deere anno now, is GM anno 1970…. Bye, bye….

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      It’s not communist it’s capitalism. The manufacturer wants to monetize all aspects of your purchase. And it sucks. And it is the future unless it is legislated otherwise. I work in Facilities and all new equipment is loaded with proprietary electronics. A/C equipment, BMS systems, generators, fire alarm equipment, you name it. You do get good efficiency and control but the manufacturer typically obsoletes the electronic boards after 10 years or locks everything down with passwords. When those boards fail you either pay out the butt for NOS parts from a vendor that scooped them up, try to get the boards repaired, or scrap the equipment. We have had an entire floor with no A/C for three weeks because of this problem. I hope Right to Repair legislation makes it but I’m not very optimistic with the present pro-business climate.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        GH, we have a different understandings of capitalism. Capitalism allows for competition at all levels, including the repair of the products of others. To restrict that competition is anti-capitalistic.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          How is it capitalism if the consumer doesn’t have the authority to do what they want with their purchase? If I sell you something, you should be able to do anything you please with that product. I shouldn’t be able to govern what you the purchaser is going to do.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC31

            Umm no that’s not what it means at all. It means people can enter into whatever sort of agreements they want.

            I don’t know why people should expect the government to fix this, since it’s largely their fault, all the regulations they pile on for how products should be made, used, and disposed of do quite a bit to undermine the concept that what you buy is ever actually “yours.”

          • 0 avatar
            smartascii

            MBella, it’s capitalism because it gives the person with the capital (in this case, the money to develop, implement, and sell the equipment) the right to control their product in an way that increases the return on their investment. That’s ultimately what capitalism is: all the power to profit goes to the person or institution with the capital. What you’re describing, if it existed, might be called consumerism. But in a place where the people and institutions with the money can use that money to influence politics and pay lawyers to influence the courts, we have the perfect system to enable exactly this kind of screw-the-little-guy nonsense.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “we have the perfect system to enable exactly this kind of screw-the-little-guy nonsense.”

            what’s worse is they have the ability to con the little guy into believing either that they aren’t actually being screwed, or that someone else is the one actually screwing them.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            Once you sell something, your control over that product is lost. Talking about an agreement, did the farmers sign contracts that explicitly say the rules at the time of purchase? Or is it some fine print in an owner’s manual? John Deere can refuse warranty coverage if you don’t follow their rules, but otherwise they don’t get a say. Claiming that people maintaining their equipment outside of the John Deere umbrella is a violation of their intellectual property is absurd.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Thank you smartascii. That is exactly what I meant. The buyer’s only recourse is to buy another manufacturer’s equipment.

        • 0 avatar
          Ol Shel

          There are ALL kinds of capitalism. In America, we generally have the type that centers control with those who spend the most to ‘convince’ politicians to pass favorable legislation.

          JD will win this challenge, because they paid a lot of money to ‘win’ it.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Most folks probably have a mental picture of capitalism as something like “free and competitive markets without government control” (basically, the sixth-grade “Free Enterprise System” curriculum written by the National Association of Manufacturers during the Cold War). The reality, of course, is that’s a self-contradicting notion. Free markets can tend toward monopoly as easily as to competition, and preventing monopoly can require government controls. Teddy Roosevelt figured this out long ago, and hence we have anti-trust law…though it’s been unfashionable to vigorously enforce it since the 1980s.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      The saintly free market says you should just gladly bend over and take it. So shut up and take it.

      • 0 avatar
        forward_look

        My experience with the free market is in computer operating systems, and open source works well there.

        Proprietary products are the opposite of “free”.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “Its really communist!”

      Wow!!! Please use the term correctly. This is NOT communism. Communism means SHARED land and property i.e. communal/community based. Skills and expertise are also communally shared.
      I’m sure someone will bring up the USSR which was a totalitarian regime using communism as an excuse for their regime.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I need to add this:

        Capitalism does lend itself to having all of the power and wealth concentrated in the hands of those who already have most of the power and wealth. So called “Free market capitalism” does require some intervention from government since government is supposed to look out for the best interests of its population i.e. to “promote the general Welfare” of its population.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Addressing this is hardly rocket science; we’ve done it before. Competition-based antitrust enforcement, taxation that stays progressive at the top, and actual enforcement of labor law would mostly fix our capitalism. We just have a political system that is a bit too far under the influence of those with all the money to implement thsoe steps.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “I’m sure someone will bring up the USSR which was a totalitarian regime using communism as an excuse for their regime.”

        careful, or you’ll be accused of a “No True Scotsman” fallacy.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          @ Lou_BC :

          it’s always funny to see someone try to explain facts to an alt right whacko facsist who simply isn’t interested in reality at all .

          -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            Zoomers_StandingOnGenius_Shoulders

            LMFAO. This coming from someone who supports a disgusting pile of trash like Candi CdeBaca and her hateful, violence inciting rhetoric. Enjoy your irrelevance and 4+ more years commie. Way to be a brownshirt.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I think “Zoomers” here is either a Russian troll or a “returning champion” under a new name.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            Of course ~ the first thing the alt right learned from the actual brown shirts is to blame others for what *you’re* doing .

            Being honest is no longer cool .

            I don’t support that woman but who cares ? we weren’t discussing her, we were discussing FACTS and TRUTH the single most irritating thing to whack jobs every where .

            -Nate

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Raise your hand* if you own a pentalobe screwdriver.

    *Pretty please. No threat of force implied. Libertarian here. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      cprescott

      I value the youtube channels that show how Apple is screwing customers and that their equipment can be repaired. I believe iFixit would be the source for the pentalobe screwdriver in question. The Mac I own is a late 2003 and it was given to me because it did not run. I fixed it. But it was well before Apple became insidious with their pompous, planned obsolescence business model.

      If I own something, I should be able to fix it if it is possible. The beauty of some older Dell laptops was that they actually had the plans online down to the screws being alphabet labeled on the cases so you would know what went where when assembling.

      I would not tackle rebuilding a transmission in a car, but I should be able to replace a heater blower motor (which I did in my old Escort).

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “before Apple became insidious with their pompous, planned obsolescence business model.”

        Ironic you should mention that since that is exactly why we are stepping away from Apple products/phones in the future, like many before us.

        My wife gave her old iPhone to our grand daughter some time ago. But through normal wear and tear the battery would not hold much of a charge to make it through the day, and the glass cracked when the phone fell one day. Still works though.

        At the Apple store it cost more to repair that phone than the cost of a brand new Samsung phone. So, new Samsung phone it was!

        I’m having problems with my iPad Air because it is too old for iOS13 and some games/Apps won’t run, or run real slow, or just lock up the whole iPad after a while, to where you have to do a hard reboot (hold down on/off switch and home button simultaneously until iPad reboots).

        I’ll take recommendations from anyone on what to buy next. Heard Samsung makes a dynomite Notepad.

      • 0 avatar
        Zoomers_StandingOnGenius_Shoulders

        One only has to spend a short amount of time watching Louis Rossmann’s videos to learn what Apple is doing to people.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        All that said, at the end of the day Apple provides update support longer than any of the other hardware makers, especially with respect to mobile hardware and the pixel line is the only thing that matches them for speed of update. Very few if any Android devices see updates beyond 2 years while Apple is still updating 5 year old phones. The last phone made that was easily repairable was the LG V20.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Both pentalobe and tri-wing here. Screws aren’t really the problem; the problem is when there is a lack of space for screws or brackets to screw them into, and glue is used instead.

      In consumer electronics, we have to face the fact that easy repairability often means bulkier size, lower reliability, or both. (For instance, soldered RAM in ultrabooks is there to eliminate RAM slots, which were a frequent source of failure in earlier laptops.)

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        @ dal,

        “In consumer electronics, we have to face the fact that easy repairability often means bulkier size, lower reliability, or both.”

        No, it does not. A soldered ssd has failure rates similar to those not soldered. Same with RAM. Same with replaceable batteries. You shouldn’t buy the corporate speak coming from these companies.

        Parts wear out over time and making them not user replaceable is great for company profits but not for customers. There is no reason why RAM and ssd’s need to be soldered, other than company greed and screwing the customer.

        Apple, Dell, Caterpillar, Samsung and the other corporate leaches aren’t interested in you fixing what they sold you. Imagine Chevy refusing to sell you or your shade tree mechanic an alternator for your car, and instead they say that only a ‘certified Chevrolet repair center’ can handle such a dangerous repair, or that they simply say, as Apple has done, that there are no parts available for that repair and that you’ll need to junk the car.

        That’s what these companies are doing.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The RAM may fail at the same rate, but the reason for soldering the RAM was to get rid of the RAM *slot*. That took out one more point of failure, and it also took out some thickness.

          Having personally lost a laptop to RAM slot failure back around 2010, I believe the companies on this point. Also worth noting that repair rates on major-brand laptops have been falling steadily over time.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            No, the reason for soldering the RAM to the motherboard/logicboard was to upsell customers to the next step up in RAM. Same logic in pricing was used to for ssd’s. It’s why even today many of Apple’s computers start with 128gb ssd’s, which is absurd.

            The thickness argument is bunk. Most customers would say in a workhorse laptop like what the Macbook pro is supposed to be, they’re happy to have laptop that’s 5mm thicker and make it more reliable. This foolish obsession with thin laptops is one of the reasons why the Apple keyboard snafu happened.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “No, the reason for soldering the RAM to the motherboard/logicboard was to upsell customers to the next step up in RAM.”

            there’s that, but Steve Jobs was always obsessed with closed, sealed, un-upgradable boxes. The designers of the original Macintosh had to lie their butts off to The Steve in order to sneak in something that could be used as an expansion port.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          When comparing to electronics, it seems more like Chevy refusing to sell you parts to rebuild the alternator.

          I’m sure I could buy a decent laptop or television for the dealership parts counter price of an alternator. It doesn’t bother me that they don’t accommodate repairing the alternator, and I’m not sure it would bother me if I couldn’t repair a TV or laptop when it fails, as long as I got decent life out of the thing.

          But I certainly will, if it makes sense to do so. I think it’s sometimes just frustrating that we can’t do things we used to, even though it doesn’t always make sense the way it did when electronics were relatively expensive. I’m still using a Dell desktop with a P4 from 2003. I’ve replaced the hard drive a couple times, repaired the video card with new caps, and greatly expanded the RAM. But the inflation adjusted price of that computer would probably buy me a few modern desktops. It’s hard to imagine putting that much effort into a computer again.

          I haven’t personally run into anything that I believed should be worth repairing but was prevented from doing so due to design or parts availability. My most recent repair was the circuit board on my garage “Mr. Heater” this past fall. But they made it easy to diagnose and order a new one. Had they not, I guess I’d have likely replaced it with a different brand.

          I’m not terribly knowledgeable and don’t have a strong opinion on this subject though, particularly when it comes to agricultural or heavy equipment. Obviously those things are valuable enough to be subject to many repairs over the equipment lifetime. It would certainly be frustrating if you knew how to repair or improve something on them but were somehow held back from doing so.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “When comparing to electronics, it seems more like Chevy refusing to sell you parts to rebuild the alternator.”

            I think it would be more like if GM was to try suing companies like Dorman or A1 Cardone to stop them from making replacement alternators/parts.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I do own one, but funny thing is I didn’t have to buy it from Apple. I don’t care for Apple products nowadays, but even if it was a PITA I at least had the ability to fix them without their blessing. Having said that, it is typically possible to use an Apple phone for longer than an Android one. For a company that is accuused of intentionally obseleting a product they support them for a long time. My wife just ditched her 5 year old iPhone 6S. (Released 9-2015) It still worked and more importantly, was still getting iOS updates and is due to get iOS 13.

      Again, I am not an Apple user…I actually have a Pixel 4 so I’m as far out of the Apple ecosystem as one can get smartphone wise, but Google guarantees 2 years of support. That is less than half of the time Apple is currently supporting their phones with updates so I don’t get the whole “Apple planned obsolescence bit since I won’t use a phone a day after it no longer gets security updates.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    This sounds more like John Deere wants to keep control of all aspects of ownership sell the customer the equipment with the same rights as one who merely leases but control every aspect of ownership which include maintenance, information on how the owner operates the equipment, and how long the purchaser is able to keep the equipment. If the owner cannot perform maintenance and repairs then the owner is at the mercy of John Deere as to how long they can use the equipment. John Deere’s motivation would be that they don’t want the purchaser to keep the equipment longer than 3 to 5 years instead of 10 or 20 years regardless of how much that equipment is used or how long it could last. Also John Deere would retain the rights to any data pertaining to crops planted and yield of crops which the customer would have to purchase the rights to have access to this information. This is less of a concern about feeding the population in the future and more about corporate greed.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Look at prices on one of those articulating tractors pictured above, anyone that buys one should expect at very minimum a 20 year full duty use. I mean I quite often see attachments and tractors still in use around me from the late 80s early 90s and I’m talking large farms not small farms. I saw a combine a couple years back from the early 70s driving down the road.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        The old stuff really lasted. I still use an old Snowflite 5/24 two stage blower from the late 70s. Built nice and heavy with full height augers. Today there is no equivalent, at least not for home use.

        • 0 avatar
          dwford

          I had a 28 year old Maytag washer until it died recently. The one part that was no longer manufactured is the one that broke. The repairman warned me that the new machines are just not the same – don’t clean as well and don’t last as long. Super

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            27 years on my dryer. Totally pisses my wife off when I repair it. She angles for a new one every year.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Government regulations are partially to blame, I have American made SpeedQueen washer and dryer, fortunately I bought the washer right before regulations went into place that the company warned consumers would affect the washing abilities. 10 year warranty with most people reporting 20 years of reliable service.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            dwford, I recommend the Maytag Bravos XL system.

            We have more than two dozen of these Washer/Dryer pairs in our furnished rental properties and have NEVER had any malfunctions since we started buying them when they first came out.

            Never any complaints about cleanness of the laundry either, and it only takes 1 tbl spoon of laundry detergent per load (we use liquid Gain or liquid Purex).

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “The old stuff really lasted.”

          no, not in general. You’re falling victim to survivorship bias. a handful of examples of old stuff surviving to today doesn’t mean everything made back then lasted. Otherwise we’d all be using 40, 50, 60 year old stuff.

          It’s like pointing at a meticulously babied ’57 Chevy Bel Air and huffing “they don’t make ’em like this anymore” totally ignoring the fact that for every one surviving Bel Air, tens of thousands of 150s, Two-Tens, and even Bel Airs were used up and scrapped.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “ Otherwise we’d all be using 40, 50, 60 year old stuff.”

            I do still use a 1950s IH freezer and a 1960s IH Fridge.

            Problem is that there’s only a limited number of appliances for the increasing number of people.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            JimZ, if you compare two items side by side you will find that there is no comparison. The old machines were probably overbuilt and under-engineered whereas the new stuff is made with easiest assembly and lowest first costs. We the consumer is to blame as the manufacturers realized that a low entry point nets more sales. In the 70s it was pretty uncommon for a residence to have, say, a standby generator, but today is is rather common. No surprise that that a Generac is a 300 hour throwaway. It has to in order to have such a cheap price.

            Hummer, what “gov’t regulation” is partially to blame for shorter washing machine life? Water conservation? I call BS as there is absolutely no reason why a machine that uses less water has to be inherently less reliable.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            the only thing I can think of is it takes a high-efficiency washer a lot longer to do a load of laundry. I have an old-school Whirlpool top-loader (hey, my water comes from the Great Lakes, what we take out gets treated and put right back) and the wash portion runs about 9 minutes. total cycle time is about 20. people I know with HE machines say theirs take about 90 minutes.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Fair enough but the stresses of a longer run time can be addressed in the design stage – if the maker chooses to do so. My Bosch dishwasher take 156 minutes – that’s the time on the display – to do a normal load. Seems excessive but it sure does a great job of cleaning. I do know that early side load Maytags had a lot of bearing failures…I really think it comes down to what the company is willing to put into a machine and what a consumer is willing to pay for. The verdict is out – people seem to go for the low entry price first.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            that easier assembly (DFA) is a big one. Machines are just more consistently built these days. Yes, older stuff was “over-built” due to the more primitive tech (thicker castings etc.) but a lot of things needed hand-fitting which builds in unit-to-unit variation. Like my point to Hummer, yes, you may have a 50-60 year old washer that works great to this day, but there were a hell of a lot which were built just a bit differently and didn’t last long before breaking in an expensive way.

            it’s like the Kitchenaid stand mixers. people wail about the fact that modern ones have one of the gears in the mixer head made out of plastic. They don’t get that it’s a sacrificial part which is meant to actually extend the overall life of the mixer. In the old days (all metal gears) if you overloaded your mixer or it had a flawed part, something metal would break and trash the entire mechanism. On a new one, if you overload it, the nylon gear breaks before anything else gets damaged. You get a replacement gear for a few bucks, swap it, and go on using your mixer. IIRC even the big Hobart commercial mixers do this now.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            The old stuff had some drawbacks too. Adjusted for inflation it was more expensive. And I really don’t miss defrosting my freezer. And with respect to power consumption, they were pigs. I get 10+ years out of my washers which for what I pay seems fair. and I don’t recall ever having a refrigerator die (in fact my first one, a late 80’s deal is busy cooling my beer). My last dishwasher was a sore spot but the builder replaced it and I had no more issue.

            It’s like airline travel. Yes, the food used to be better and yes you had more room back in the day. But was it realler better in light of what tickets went for back then?

            Crap is still crap, just like it was back in the day. Difference is all of the old crap is in a landfill and the new stuff is still here reminding you that it’s crap. If I am brutally honest, the only thing in my life that was better in the day was hi-fi equipment and computer keyboards. Then again an IBM model F was like 700 bucks in the day and adjusted for inflation that Pioneer SX-1980 or Marantz set up was probably 10 grand and yes, they made crap then too…you find people trying to sell every turntable nowadays at Thorens prices because “all that vintage stuff was really good”. No, it wasn’t. Crap was crap and still is.

  • avatar
    forward_look

    All my software is open source, and the community is better for it. Why can’t my vehicles be too? If the code for the Ford Powershift transmission was open, somebody would have posted a fix for it.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Open source automobiles? Maybe the readers of TTAC could start a movement!!!

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        With some modifications, something like ArduPilot for rovers could probably be adapted to a human-driven EV. Maybe go to something like Factory Five for the vehicle.

        https://ardupilot.org/rover/index.html

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      You would have to replace the ECM with Megasquirt and TCM with Megashift

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      The community better for it? Are the software engineers better for it? Around here, many software engineers are underpaid because hey…can’t you just get it free somewhere?

      Devils advocate: For far too long software was undervalued and hardware overvalued. “Its just typing”. Software, especially low level firmware, controls the hardware, and in many cases, complicated proprietary hardware. Software is just as much intellectual property as is photographs, architecture drawings, or even hardware schematics. I don’t have a problem with a companies making money off of software.

      I don’t know about John Deere, but Apple fundamentally is trying to protect its brand. It wants to make sure that the product stays “Apple”.

      I have a Mazda 6. Lets say I put new springs on it, flash the ECU, and do a host of other things. Is it still a Mazda when I go out and sell it?

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        There are instances where open source makes sense. There is also a reason businesses pay for some software vs. open source. Take Splunk (Crazy Expensive) vs ELK (Open Source). Your Splunk costs are relatively fixed since it is pretty intuitive to use and the support is solid. ELK….ehhh, you are going to pay for Linux dudes and people that can write C for your parsers. Free isn’t free for a business that now has to support those potentially mission critical systems organically and at the end of the day while Windows is Windows, it is a largely known devil. Linux will every now and then reach up and remind you that at the end of the day it was some dude’s college project.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          going through that right now. I just got a new laptop from Dell, and went to put Ubuntu 19.10 on it. booted from the live USB, connected to WiFi, ran the install, no problem. Reboot into the installed system, no Wifi, OS doesn’t see a network device. go looking for support and the idiocy of these people is astounding. “You need to update to a testing version of the intel wifi driver.” How? “use another network connection to download it.” “This system doesn’t have one. Why did it work with the live USB but not after install?” *crickets.* I literally have not seen anyone answer that question. they just parrot the same stuff and demand the same information over and over.

          So I tried Fedora 31. Worked great when installing and after I rebooted. Told me there were software updates, so I ran the updater. After that, I had no audio. Apparently they broke support for this sound card in a kernel update.

          *smh*

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Yes. Everyone who thinks open source will magically fix all our software problems needs to go use a fully FOSS system for a while. Especially on a laptop, you will find yourself treating it as a triumph every time you get basic functions to work. There’s a reason we let companies profit from software-hardware integration, and it’s because otherwise no one would go through the hard work of doing it.

            Open source is a useful tool for solving certain specific problems experienced by people who have the training and experience to take advantage of having source code available.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            the corollary to “many eyes make for shallow bugs” is that “those eyes have to be actually looking.”

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I ran mint (Ubuntu based) for 6-7 months and it was OK after the usual Linux headaches but due to some new VPN requirements that I had no time to iron out I went back to Windows. I use an Ubuntu variant in my work but typically run it as a VM.

            At the end of the day though, and this will be terribly unpopular with the Linux types, if you want a POSIX type system on your daily rig with compatibility and you have no time to screw around with it, you are probably better off with a Mac. Yes, the dongles suck, but they always work…or just run windows like everyone else and put Linux in a VM so you can take snapshots and revert for those days it decides to remind you that as an OS, Linus never actually finished it.

          • 0 avatar
            Daniel J

            Art,

            I typically just run Linux in a VM. I have an older desktop machine running old Ubuntu for just grins that dual boots into Windows if needed.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      As someone who built a megasquirt DIY for his NA supercharged Miata, It is the whole tuning it after the fact that is what you are paying for. I enjoyed it, but had it been my daily I would not have.

  • avatar
    slow_poke

    How about this… if they want to full control, then when we’re done using it, they have to take it back, and completely recycle it… otherwise sell it to us and hands off???

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      I believe Europe requires either or both for various products. I have a right to repair it, and the manufacturer has a responsibility to help me recycle it.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Most of the snow blowers built in the last 20 years are built in China and will not last as long. Bad enough to have planned obsolescence in a $500 plus snow thrower but it is really bad in a 100k plus piece of farm equipment. Might be time for more foreign competition especially since many of John Deere’s competitors have either gone out of business or have been acquired by competitors.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    I heard a rumor that newer BMW’s need an ECM reflash to start after the battery is replaced–to ensure owners go to the dealer to replace the battery.

    Can any BMW owners confirm/deny this?

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      R Henry,

      Yes, I believe that bs started in 2010/11. You have to go to a BMW dealer to ‘pair’ the battery to the car. You can still buy the battery at Costco or Pep Boys, but you have to take it to the dealer so that the car ‘knows there’s a new battery’ or some other nonsense like that.

      Yet another reason we’re done with BMW ownership.

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        Thank you. Awful. Of the cars I have owned during my 35 years of driving, the only thing I have paid others to do are those things which require special equipment–A/C charges, wheel alignments, tire installs, bodywork. I have removed/reinstalled transmissions and had a tranship do that rebuild.

        With this in mind, I imagine it does NOT surprise you that I would simply not consider purchasing a BMW for this specific reason.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          I would lose my sh!t if the dealer had to pair a battery my F-150. But I could only blame myself for not doing my homework before buying.

          Like will any independents rebuild my 10-speed trans? Any shop will take the job if you pay them enough, but they’re just going down to the dealer, buying the re-man plus adding markup and R&R.

          It’s getting to be a screw job no matter what you do, unless you’re willing to drive a classic. They’re betting you’re not.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Mike, How would you know to ask that question when you’re buying a car?

            Every car has it’s weak points and poor engineering decisions, but the BMW battery pairing is just a cheap shot at their customers. Not surprising as it’s the same company that was until recently charging you for Apple Carplay when very few others were.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It’s crazy not to think it’s gonna break, especially if it’s German. They can ask their phone what a water pump job costs. Or fuel pump and hours to put in. They’ll get a general picture of what to expect, or maybe rethink it. Or just lease instead.

            A neighbor had a ’90s Jetta (back in the 90’s), it needed a valve job and was quoted around $5K from a VW
            specialist. He got a few more estimates that weren’t much better except many shops didn’t want the job at all.

            Back then I was serious about getting a Lotus Turbo Esprit but I knew very little about cars. So I asked a European specialist mechanic I knew and I said since Lotus makes race cars, the Esprit must be extremely reliable and overbuilt. He didn’t really answer but he couldn’t stop giggling like school girl.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Umm, I don’t know what year your F-150 is, but yeah the battery needs to be “paired” with the vehicle when you replace it. OK technically you don’t have to do anything, just like in a BMW. However if you don’t reset the battery age and adjust the battery type, if a change was made, the new battery’s life will be reduced.

            Just like BMW you don’t have to go to the dealer though. Aftermarket tools will do it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYUTM4bgha4 With your F-150 you want to get Forscan and you’ll be able to reset battery age yourself. I’ve done it with Forscan on our daily drivers.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ DenverMike – I know of only one person who owned a Turbo Esprit. He bought it on the way home from a doctor’s appointment at which he’d learned he was terminally ill.

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          An undeniable advantage of ICE vehicles is that you never have to deal with battery issues.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Hmm, I’ve replaced a lot of batteries in ICE powered vehicles when they had issues.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Ironically the last 12v battery I replaced was in an EV. They really freak out when the 12v goes dead.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @Art: The Leaf’s 12v battery is almost guaranteed to fail after 4 years if memory serves me correctly.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Not familiar with BMW, but I m guessing it’s the same as their competitors. It’s not a reflash, but an adaptation that resets all the battery monitoring. These types of cars really stress a battery with high electrical loads and the charging is throttled for increased fuel economy, further stressing the battery.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Mbella, Most modern cars have service interval reminders that get reset once an oil change has been completed. There is no reason a similar reset couldn’t be done by non-dealer personnel when a dead battery is replaced…. well, other than another chance to soak the customer for 1 hour of shop time.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      There was a thing I read where BMW was looking at some sort of certificate based authentication for components that talked on the CAN bus as a means of encrypting and securing the data traversing the BUS. This could go a long way towards preventing things like Chrysler’s U-Connect remote exploit on Jeeps (though some other basic safeguards would need to be in place to totally lock that one down). The side effect was that replacement of any of those components would be a dealer only affair.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Actually the new FCA products are locked down thanks to the Jeep being the target of those well publicized hackers. Currently the only company to actually lock down their BUS in the US so that you need credentials to access it, which of course is available for a subscription fee.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          The diagnostic port is locked down (somewhat)…but it still has to maintain OBD2 compliance), but if you go in behind the gateway it is as wide open as ever. There really is no way to encrypt it without significant redesign…it is 2 wires at a relatively slow data rate. Many components lack the processing power to handle encryption.

          I am not sure encryption of the bus would have prevented the U-Connect hack anyway. Once the device was compromised it would have just encrypted your nefarious traffic and sent it on. Chrysler needed to do a better job of signing and verifying their firmware and preventing that device from being hacked and not equip it with a Verizon modem with a public, internet facing IP for starters.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Yes it still has basic OBD II information, but if you want to get into other modules you are out of luck w/o “key”.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            That’s good. I haven’t tried lately but the ability to push unauthenticated firmware updates to the infotainment suite was the real issue. Take that out of the equation and you have to physically plug a device in and you come back to those attacks not being much different in nature than slicing the brake lines.

            The big problem with the Jeeps was the low number of people that patched them but the new ones should all be good.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            from what I remember hearing that UConnect flaw was caused by ports left open; once an external attacker got a connection they could start poking around for exploits.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I like the driving experience in certain BMWs enough that I’d be willing to lease one, but the only ones worth buying IMO are the ones eligible for classic car plates or the full M-cars (which still have the hassles, it’s just more a ‘labor of love’).

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Ultimately we’re to blame, not the OEM.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      This, if consumers don’t buy it then OEMs can’t sell it. I put my money where my mouth is on my preferences. Like hell I would ever buy a turbo 4 anything. Not for me, not for my kids.

      One could make the claim, “Well no one sells anything better, or what other options do we have?” Well we got to this point for a reason, because the ones with the means chose these options and screwed themselves over for the future.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Well I balance you out. I love Turbos…always have so I feel like I’m in a golden era. Tuners have been messing with them for decades now so the knowledge base is solid and honestly, if those 2 or 3 extra moving parts hanging off your exhaust manifold scare you then you should probably just close the hood anyway and go shine up the “ask me about my grandkids” license plate on the front of the ol’ Buick. Hurry up, can’t miss Lawrence Welk or the Blue Plate Special.

        My kids can buy whatever they want with their money. One is pretty into electrics.

        But yes, with respect to the tractors, if a company charged more but had their tractors repairable would people pay the premium? Purchasing habits on pretty much every product says probably not.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    F–k John Deere. Farmers pay many thousands of dollars for equipment, and when equipment is broken, it needs to be fixed, without waiting for some technician to come out from a city or town that could be some distance away. Maybe competition from manufacturers who produce less connected and less electronic equipment is what is needed?

  • avatar
    imnormlurnot

    This should be straight forward and simple.
    Here is the definition of “sale” that applys: “the act of selling
    specifically : the transfer of ownership of and title to property from one person to another for a price”.

    If John Deere sold it, they no longer own it and should have no say in how the new owner treats it, changes it, etc. And the purchaser owns all the operating systems. Again it’s called “ownership”. John Deere isn’t paying any of the supporting/ownership
    costs once they “sold” it.
    Could I sell my house, telling the new owners the plumbing system is proprietary, I’m the only plumber you can have work on it?

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Amazing this is allowed, more so that some here support it .

    In the 1960’s I was well pleased to discover the John Deere still sold parts for their 1930’s ‘A’ and ‘B’ model tractors, sturdy, well designed machines they were , reliable as anvils to boot .

    Those here who are not Farmers don’t understand that corporate farming has taken over, smaller farms can’t really compete ~ these huge machines are necessary when you’re farming enormous acreage .

    Still and all, the purchaser should never be hindered in parts or service .

    -Nate
    -Nate

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    I have a Sears Kenmore washing machine that I bought second hand about 15 years ago. In that time it has broken down three times and each time, while looking for a replacement machine, I realized it was going to be very easy and inexpensive to repair it, with parts from Sears. Most recently the pump started to leak. $25 for the parts, $40 all in with tax and shipping. I can certainly afford a new one but I’m certain the next one with be disposable. These are the kinds of products I want to own. I’m sure someone will build a washer with 2 million lines of code and an internet connection, for absolutely no good reason.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      My Maytag “DE” series dryer was manufactured in 1973 and it still works. Timer failed and it was eBay to the rescue. Door switch? Not available anywhere. Bypassed it and told the wife to make sure the door is always closed. Much like unmetered air in an EFI system, unmetered air into the dryer will have the “halo of heat” banging off the high limit switch…

      • 0 avatar
        forward_look

        My timer failed recently and I looked at a new dryer ($800), a genuine Sears timer ($140), an eBay special ($40, no guarantee). I scrounged in my junk box and found a relay with a similar contact arrangement and pulled the contact out with its spring leaf attached. I soldered it to the burned up contacts on my timer. Should be good for another 20 years.

        I did the same thing with a car starter once. The relay contacts were worn down, so I filed down a penny and built it back up again. Fortunately, I live near Canada and get real copper pennies in change.

  • avatar
    mtunofun

    It’s already happening. Cars with the advanced safety can only be serviced at the dealer. Broken windshield and your car has lane keep assist? Safelite can’t touch. Have a German car and you remove that front bumper for whatever reason? Gotta reset those fault codes at the dealer…unless you have a $5k diagnostic tool laying around.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Cuba has shown us the way to the future:
    https://tinyurl.com/uhsszjz

    After all, ‘If man made it, man can fix it.’

    (Now departing OEM/Aftermarket Parts Availability. Next stop is Parts Fabrication.)

    Quote for Further Reflection: “A Machinist Can Do It.”

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I can see that the mfr doesn’t want people poking around with the firmware and stuff, but in the article it said that the independent repair place can’t reset the codes after replacing a sensor and that the equipment needs to go to the dealer or the dealer has to dispatch a tech to do it. With all that connectivity the dealer could reset the code remotely with a few keystrokes.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      I could be wrong but i think that the reason they dont do that is safety reasons. Lets say the sensor is replaced by an independent repair facility and the code is reset remotely by the mfr. Now the piece of machinery starts functioning while a tech is working on something else. His hand get mangled by the now functioning machinery. Now law suits start pouring in. Again, i could be wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        The independent tech wouldn’t call it in until the work is complete just like if you had the ODB tool to do it yourself on your car.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          Thats what you would think. However, ive met a few independent (automotive) techs and their helpers. I can say with absolute certainty, that less than 100% of them are smart enough to never have an accident…

          And all it takes is one…

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Leasing farm equipment might be the ultimate goal of manufacturers like John Deere but if this becomes the norm and if manufacturers limit the ability to work on equipment there will be even less farmers in the future. More and more farms will go to the mega corporate farms with the expense of equipment, the cost of land which includes leasing land, and the cost of chemicals and seed which has become dominated by large companies like Monsanto. Eventually the price of food will go up and we will be importing more and more of our food. Less cropland, more development of farmland, and more population. I realize this is nothing new but we as a country might eventually reach a tipping point of not producing enough food to feed our people. This is again the result of short-term profits at the expense of long-term sustainability.

  • avatar
    johnnyz

    BMW and Mercedes are EVIL!

    Do you want to replace that ABS module? Well, you should just be able to go to the junkyard and grab one with the same part number on it, plug and play.
    But nooooo the part has to be registered to the main computer- a dealer only affair. Pure unadulterated BS.

    previously, I have contacted my representatives and ask them to support the right to repair bills being introduced in my state. I encourage you to do the same.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Most electronic modules from all manufacturers are VIN coded now because of the complexity of configurations/software.

      Right to Repair laws already cover the scenario you describe. The tools and software are available to purchase in order to complete what you want. It’s cost prohibitive for the backyard mechanic, but that’s what Right to Repair requires, to make the tools available. Not to design all the parts as interchangeable for the sake of convenience.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        So what happens when the manufacturer and/or dealer decides that after 12 years the software and equipment is no longer “available” and that serviceable car either gets junked or those features simply remain dead? For those of us who like to get a full life out of things this is not pleasant future. I accept that I can’t find a local wrench that still has the software needed to check the ABS brakes on my 28 year old bomb but what is going to be considered a reasonable time frame

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    I see both sides. I have strong libertarian leanings, so I am automatically inclined to be on the side of right-to-repair. Many large farms today repair a lot of their own equipment and thus have shops that are as advanced as many auto dealers.

    That being said, I see the viewpoint of original equipment manufacturers like Deere. Have you seen the inside of a cab of a new piece of ag equipment? Data needs to be at the operator’s fingertips. There are large touch screens all over the place, especially when hooked to a very precise tool like a modern planter. Automated row guidance is “driving” the tractor since the operator needs to attend to inputs on other screens. Multiple manufacturers (CNH Industrial, Deere,& Kinze to name three) have showcased autonomous machinery for several years now.

    For the last couple of weeks, I literally have been on the fringes of an issue at work where a subcomponent of an electro-hydraulic system is sending ripples/pulses which affects an automated guidance system on a machine. The culprit came down to the spring strength of a hydraulic counter-balance valve insert. Hours and hours were spent diagnosing the issue. The bottom line:
    Modern machinery is very precise and sensitive. I would suspect that Deere (a very conservatively-run company) is most concerned about their liability after an “unauthorized” repair.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      nope. I can understand not prioritizing repairability when designing something if it improves functionality or some other thing, but Deere crosses the line when they use the DMCA to literally obstruct anyone from trying to repair or modify a piece of equipment they BOUGHT.

      Two of the worst things we’re allowing to be done to us is 1) the “gig economy” BS and 2) trying to turn the purchase of physical devices into “subscriptions” so they can continually squeeze money out of you. Once I buy a device from you- whether it be a car, combine, phone, refrigerator, whatever- I OWN it. You should no longer have any ability to control what I do with it. I’m not buying a bulls**t “subscription from you just because you think my role in the world is to keep giving you money for basic functionality.

      People should read Cory Doctorow’s “Unauthorized Bread” to get an idea of where they’re trying to take us.

      • 0 avatar
        EquipmentJunkie

        I agree with you. It gets really blurry when certain circumstances arise. Ag is on the forefront of this curve since so many acres are farmed by so few machines by so few “customers”. These large operators/customers tend to buy the latest and greatest. Tech gives them an edge in operating margin.

        To play devil’s advocate:
        – What happens on a leased machine when another third-party holds the paper?
        – What about a modification made during the manufacturer’s warranty period? As a manufacturer myself, I know what my answer would be.
        – What if the customer modification causes a ripple effect on an authorized accessory from the same manufacturer?

      • 0 avatar
        Daniel J

        JimZ,

        Just because I buy a laptop or phone doesn’t mean I own the operating system. Typically with most software there is an “Licensing” agreement. John Deere still owns the software/firmware. It’s up to the consumers to change whatever model fits the industry.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          No, but you’re free to modify the software on it or replace the OS entirely. Microsoft can’t come after you if you dump Windows and put some flavor of Linux, BSD, or OpenSolaris on it.

  • avatar
    randyinrocklin

    I own JD stock…….lol….I know they suck in those terms, but its a screaming buy right now in the 150’s you can make a lot of dough if it goes back to around 180.I hate proprietary predators, that’s what JD is, they are bad, and hope they go the way of the dinosaurs like IBM and NEC.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Yes I agree there are a lot of things more important than the stock price but unfortunately CEO compensation is based on stock price and earnings per share. This is the reason why many great American brands known for quality in the past no longer exist or are circling the drain. Bad quality and high prices eventually catch up and customers find more affordable alternatives. This doesn’t matter to those CEOs because they are long gone when things go south.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      or a lot of them were slaughtered by private equity demons. We just had a large furniture chain get liquidated, it only took PE two years to kill it.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        It would be hard to design, but there needs to be some sort of rule that if a company is liquidated then anyone who received distributions from the company within the previous, say, 2-3 years is liable to various other parties for liquidation-related losses, including shareholders who didn’t get those distributions and employees.

        Some private equity houses actually try to improve and flip operating businesses, and those are fine. The problem is the ones that engage in naked looting, stripping businesses of cash and leaving derelict husks behind.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    I’ve read through the multiple responses to this article but have seen (with the exception of the BMW issues) few that pertain to the automotive industry in particular. The same issue of being required to maintain some sort of connectivity and “relationship” with the manufacturer is clearly on the horizon – the manufacturer will increasingly want connectivity with “your” vehicle for expanded after-the-sale financial gain (selling your driving information to third parties) as well as throwing a sop to the stealerships through the need for “specialized equipment” to perform most any type of required servicing/repairs/equipment changes. A relatively recent sop tossed to the dealers by a few manufacturers (Honda, Subaru, and others) is the replacement of low-beam bulbs that require some amount of disassembly to accomplish and the dealer gets an hour or so of book time plus the marked up bulb price in their cash box. Re-coding keys is another high-dollar dealer job. Throw in John Deere-like big brother activity and the revenue stream will begin to run wider and faster for the manufacturers and dealers.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    JimZ wrote : ” (hey, my water comes from the Great Lakes, what we take out gets treated and put right back) ”

    Cool ! kinda like The City Of Los Angeles and the pacific ocean….

    Tip from an ex sanitation worker : don’t swim in the pacific unless you’re well North of Malibu .

    I doubt anyone tried to drink that stuff .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The courts will eventually see it for what it is. Racketeering.

    It effectively puts an expiration date on the use or usefulness of tractors at whatever point the OEM decides and the OEM parts, sensors and or processors fail or require service.

  • avatar
    forward_look

    Have to ask, did the guy outlive the Turbo Esprit?

  • avatar
    forward_look

    You didn’t read your Windows license too carefully, did you?

  • avatar
    Victor

    Skynet doesn’t want anybody poking around its hardware.

  • avatar

    Car makers all have to support the OBD protocol, but beyond that, are a whole list of things only the dealer’s own computer can read….my local indy tells me he pays a $10k/yr rental to a service that allows him to read the mfr settings and diagnostics.
    I’m not an electric car expert, but there are what – two, three different plugs ? Here is a place there should be a government standard, but every one wants to rent seek and own the next lightbulb screw in socket.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “She’ll make .5 past light speed. She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid – I’ve made a lot of *special* modifications myself.”

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