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          A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  How important are technical terms?

If one runs a website, then the reading of emails is something one simply has to do. Only in the early years of, were there one or two negative mails. In the meantime, I would really have to think hard to remember when it was that the last unpleasant email came in.

It's quite the opposite actually, I now find myself opening more and more mails straight away, because it is so interesting, to read the opinions, comments or questions sent in by the readers. There is also another type of letter, e.g., asking us for the copyrights of certain pictures. Indeed, we won't go into that right now.

When starting a website-project, one expects an enormous amount of feedback. In our case, in the beginning, there was not much resonance. In the meantime, there is just so much, that we really can answer each and every one and still have the time for the further site-development.

In some cases they are typical, like when someone does not agree with the wording, where he/she knows a different word used in the practice or has been taught something else. Nonetheless, when putting forward strictly factual arguments, the tone is always polite, in no way ever offensive. On the contrary, nearly all the email-writers (somewhat more men than women) are quick to add their praise of the website.

At this point I must further restrict the observations, otherwise it'll get to cluttered up. So, in the further course, it's not all about the obvious errors, which do unfortunately creep in, which can, with a big 'thank you' to the authors, be corrected as soon as possible. So much on this aspect of the emails.

Perhaps I should explain by giving an example of the type of emails that I'm referring to. There is, in fact a controversy among the Opel old-timer buffs, who would prefer to differentiate between the overhead cam next the valves (cih) and the one above the valves (ohv), although, to the best of our knowledge, the 'cih' was exclusive to Opel.

My last email is perhaps a better example, therein, e.g., it is pointed out, that the largest VW-engine should not be described by the letter 'W'. It is in fact a V-VR-engine, because, after all, it is made up of two VR-engines. to accentuate this, the author writes, that his teacher would have killed him for making a mistake like this.

Perhaps you may now understand, why I then feel a little helpless. This is the age-old nuisance of terminology, to be more precise, the mutilation thereof. Or even more accurately, that which each person imagines it to be. At this point, for the first time, the question arises, whether the expression is not sometimes given more importance than the object itself.

Were I the teacher, and someone would use, in my opinion, the wrong expression or abbreviation, I would ask him/her to explain what they understood, only then would I make a judgement. After all, what is necessary to repair cars, terminology or rather a competent understanding of the relationships?

Now, before someone decides to lynch me, I'm not saying that technical terminolgy is unimportant, but asking for an explantion of the so-called jargon or even abbreviations, is by no means hillbilly or backwoods. I can well remember times, when one was buying a computer and was battered with terms and expressions. The antidote: the sales-person became more relaxed after the third request to explain.

You won't believe just how much reward can be had by asking questions. Granted, in the beginning, the other participants may not be all that happy. You can drive some people to distraction by asking over and over again, although they themselves can't answer the question either. This is something you simply have to get through. At the end of the day it is a training course and not coarse training.

Here's an example of just how complicated it is: Nowadays, in the field of chassis/suspension there is a lot of discussion about the supression of the rolling movement in a car, e.g., through electrically twistable stabilizers. We were taught earlier, that the more weight that is placed on the outside wheel in a curve, the earlier the respective axle will break away.

One thing is quite clear, during the rolling movement the weight is taken off the inside wheel and the outside wheel is burdened. However, with todays wide-wheels, perhaps this doesn't play such an important part, maybe e.g., the constant camber is more important. Indeed, do the manufacturers take the trouble to explain this apparent contradiction? No, because we don't even ask.

So, after taking a roundabout route, we return to the W-engine. We have determined that a 'W' is made up from two 'V's. If you consider the fact that VW themselves describe their VR-engines as 'V-engines', then everything should be settled.

This however, is not the case. Since VW already had the description 'W-engine' at a time when the others were still being called 'VR'. Apart from this, the W-engine was originally concieved with 3 rows of cylinders on top of the crankcase. At that time, the Bugatti Veyron was planned to have 3 * 6 = 18 cylinders. Ferdinand Piech even commented on the number of cylinders in the other luxury engines saying: "That won't be enough".

Bad luck or the hard reality of testing would have it that the three rows of cylinders would get in each other's way, thus it became a double-VR-eight. So, what then precisely, is a W-engine? How fortunate that the original W-engine never came to be, otherwise, we would possibly, still be arguing about the description of the two engines.

As you can see, insisting on the correct technical term, doesn't really make any sense. We should do the same as is done in science with the models of the atom. As long as it's beneficial for the explaining of certain phenomena, it can be used. As far as motor car repairing is concerned, explaining the terminology is far less help than informative expertise. Whereby, I particularly, would not recommend disregarding the terms or abbreviations out of hand 02/12               Top of page               Index
2001-2015 Copyright programs, texts, animations, pictures: H. Huppertz - E-Mail
Translator: Don Leslie - Email:

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