That's my guess as to the reason behind the common complaint of OEM gauges being inaccurate. I haven't compiled the statistics, but I wouldn't be surprised if all the bad gauges were Honda and/or Toyota.
They're not bad. They're made that way intentionally. And it's not just confined to Honda/Toyota. Besides every other Japanese manufacturer, I have read documentation on Ford and GM vehicles that say the same thing. Although I've noticed most of their cars are made to run pretty damn cold.
If you ever install an aftermarket coolant temp gauge, you'll notice that it fluctuates all the time. Every time you come to a stop, the gauge rises rapidly. It's quite scary if you're not prepared for it. It would drive the average consumer absolutely insane. OEM's like their gauges to hang steadily in the middle. They only go into the red to warn you of a catastrophic failure so they can blame you for it later. It all has to do with the warranty and to the public's perception.
If you build the entire engine from iron you can run much hotter temps. Hondas are made from aluminum. The head AND the block. There are many advantages to aluminum as well as disadvantages. I know one thing is that I had a 4 cyl Toyota engine (aluminum head, iron block) that was substantially HEAVIER than a 6 cyl all aluminum engine. I've pulled Honda engines with just a floor jack. I've pulled Honda trannies with my bare hands (and the help of a friend).
Oh well, go ahead and criticize Honda all you want. We all know that when it comes down to hp/liter, fuel economy, reliability, number of recalls, ease of repair, low cost of repairs, Honda simply dominates the so-called domestics (assembled in Mexico from Taiwanese parts), and even the German built cars (which are well built but difficult and costly to maintain).
They only go into the red to warn you of a catastrophic failure
My experience has shown otherwise. My GMC's gauge has never reached the red, but it has fluctuated around, matching my guess as to where it would go. I admit it doesn't fluctuate very far on a constant basis, though.
Oh well, go ahead and criticize Honda all you want.
You read the criticism, I merely ventured a guess about a technical issue.
Ok, I'll address your individual points:
Doesn't matter to me. If I'm looking for power, I prefer more displacement...I like torque, and I hate 7000 (or even 5000) rpm.
Honda's pretty much got a monopoly on that. GM and Ford do pretty well, though -- take a look at the Hypermile Sleepers thread. If Honda made something as large as a Grand Marquis, you can bet it would never hit 30mpg. Apparently the Pontiac G6 makes pretty respectable numbers, too...and fuel economy is quite opposite to Pontiac's modus operandi.
reliability, number of recalls, ease of repair, low cost of repairs
I see you're still living in 1992. Whose reliability statistics do you want to use? We'll start with JD Power's top 10:
Lexus, Mercury, Cadillac, Toyota, Acura, Buick, BMW, Lincoln, Honda, Jaguar
Honda's Acura luxury brand was beaten by Ford's Mercury brand and GM's Cadillac. Cadillac, really? My 1987 Cadillac's aluminum HT4100 engine was known for being crappy. Oh, wait, it's not 1987 anymore...
My mom's Acura had gremlins that they never managed to fix when she sold it at 50,000 miles. My dad's Toyota (or are you only a Honda defender, not a Japanese name defender?) has had far more and worse problems than my GMC.
Wouldn't you expect Honda and Acura to be right next to eachother? How about Buick and Chevrolet? Here's why they're not: Customer demographics have at least as much effect on reliability as manufacturing. Who buys Toyota? People who don't care if the car is exciting, they just want a car that will last forever. What do those people do with the car? They drive smooth and easy, and they maintain the car well. Who buys Honda? Well, the reliability buyers are diluted by the riceboys who think the "Fast & Furious" movies are a model for their way of life.
Honda simply dominates the so-called domestics (assembled in Mexico from Taiwanese parts)
I call them "domestic names", since globalization has broken all the old labels. You've provided one example. Another: 77% of all Hondas and Acuras are built in the US and Mexico, according to Honda.com.
and even the German built cars (which are well built but difficult and costly to maintain).
It was my impression that German cars are engineered well but built badly.
As for difficult and costly to maintain, the maintenance schedule for my VW is quite friendly. I paid for the first oil change at 5,000 miles, did it myself at 10,000 miles with a minor learning curve (it turns out that the filter cartridge needs to be pushed into the filter housing with a strong shove), and the next scheduled service is at 20,000 (and every 10,000 after that). At 40,000 it's due for spark plugs (why didn't they use 100,000 mile plugs?) and an air filter. The synthetic oil is expensive, and it's hard to find a good selection of oils that meet VW's approval, but at every 10,000 miles it's not bad.
Anyway, I don't disagree that, on the whole, a Honda is the most logical choice if you're going to choose a car you've never seen or driven. However, for me, how the numbers add up on paper is only part of the decision. If I have a car in which I'm uncomfortable, or which I don't like for some other reason, it doesn't matter how well it adds up on paper, I will be miserable and unable to drive efficiently. It can even make me unhappy when I'm not driving, and my back or elbows hurt. Therefore, the first and most important quality of a vehicle is that I'm comfortable in it, like it, and want to drive it. For some people, a Honda fits those specifications. For me, it's a rare vehicle that fits and I accept it regardless of brand.
There's also the sheep factor -- I'm usually not about appearances, and I don't care to look cool, but I do rather dislike running with the herd* and only do it if there's some really compelling reason. That's the only abstract/conceptual problem I have with Honda, and the only reason I'd say anything about Honda that I expect to elicit that sort of reaction.
*: Sheep are usually described as running in flocks, but since I'm theholycow, I figured herd is more appropriate for me.
drive at highway speed long enough for temps to stabilize, put the windows down, stop and take off again, taking note of the sound. then remove the grill block and repeat. if it sounds the same i wouldnt worry about it
HC, if I understand correctly the fan slip speeds were what the thermal element controlled by restricting a bypass circuit. Maximum speed was about 2500 RPM regardless of engine speed. Minumum speeds considerably lower. I an not sure now but the 90-96 Nissan 300s used them. No reason to not go to electric if there was a real advantage.
I know this, the resistance bimetallic drive guages in the old Nissans I used to work on were the same as those in the early F15s. That is from the Colonel who headed the maintenance portion of the First Fighter squadron at Langley AFB. He was a good friend of mine. Same type guages in my 37 Ford as in a 1975 era F15 fighter seems to be a fairly sound testament to their effectiveness and reliability as well as accuracy. The design itself serves to dampen the readings somewhat, but not any serious inaccuracy or you can bet the USAF would not use them.
I have no doubt that faster acting guages would give you more erratic readings, especially if you drive aggressively and then stop and idle the engine. Heat transfer is always delayed somewhat, but it would be more pronounced in aluminum engines where the heat transfer rate is about 4 times higher than cast iron.
60,000 hours working on cars for a living should add up to some base of knowledge, combined with NEVER being summoned to court to defend my actions, a combination that equals treating people to a very high standard of conduct.
The Nissan aluminum block V6 engines would rival any manufactured on the planet. Even the old 3 liter cast iron blocks of the 84 300ZX were chosen by Dick Rutan for his Pond Racer at 1000 HP each, and they were 2 valve engines. Go back even further with Paul Neuman and the inline 6 engines made by Nissan at 600 HP with 24 hour race endurance. Their limitation was shearing off flywheel bolts at 9000 RPM, way beyond their design limits.
My first Honda was a totalled 77 Accord, purchased in 1978. I bought a CRX new in 1984, serial number 1018 produced in 7-83, one of the first off the assembly line.
First full time job working on cars was April 1969, probably before many here were born.
Personally when the old man died Honda lost some of its way as far as his guidance.
Sorry about going off on that rant. I was tired and bored and I hate the pointless neverending brand-fan wars.
Anyway, the temperature gauge in my VW performed well this morning while comparing it to OBD data. When cold and warming up, it moved very slightly ahead of the OBD numbers. When at operating temperature, it seemed to track well with OBD; it stays around the 190 mark, but when I saw the OBD change I could look immediately and see the needle move just a tiny amount (or was it my imagination?).
Either way, the VW stayed near 190 according to OBD. I did my normal commute, but tried to raise the temperature. I did another 3rd gear redline run, then the normal 3000rpm highway cruising for a mile, then EOC for at least 45 seconds (followed by a short pulse and another, longer EOC, ad nauseum). It varied from 187 to 198 most of the time, rarely hitting 200, and once got up to 205 (a few minutes after the stress test I describe above).
That behavior is quite acceptable. I don't beat on it as hard during normal driving, and the permanent grille block will not be anywhere near as effective as the test I'm doing now.
When comparing my OBD to gauge numbers the temp needle doesn't really move at all when engine temps while operating range from normal cruising at a steady 200-201 degrees and a rock solid 208 degrees at idle.(In normal driving the engine VERY rarely gets below 200 degrees)
Now, I stress tested my car a few weeks ago on an incline at 90mph. I ran 5800 rpm wide open for about 9 minutes. Temps varied from 190-185. We're starting to get cold here though so that same situation would probably bring it below 160 now because as the revs climb the thermostat gets sucked open on this car and radiator output to the engine is almost always within 5 degrees of ambient. If it's less than 30 degrees outside and I floor the car from a stop up to highway speed(topping out second gear) it will bury the temp gauge in the cold from full operating temp.