Subject: Re: Opinions on 96 Blazer and Bravada wanted
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John W. Schaefer)
Date: Jan 23 1996
In article <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org says...
>...GM's idiotic decision to release a redesigned vehicle
>without adding dual airbags...
>The Chevy and the Jimmy are the same except for trim/options
>differences. The Bravada is the same except for drivetrain and...
>They are all nice looking vehicles, but I decided it does'nt matter
>how good they look if you're not around to look at them. I'm buying a
>Ford Explorer for the safety of my family, they rate much better in
>the crash tests.
Sometimes corporate market planning screws up. I reckon GM regrets
the Blazer/Jimmy/Bravada airbag decision big-time, especially in light of the
recent go-ahead on a suit against Ford for crash injuries suffered in a
vehicle that was made before any air bags were mandated. The extension to
injuries suffered by passengers now is obvious. But life is full of mistakes.
Personally, I reckon that I have quite a bit of control over whether
I hit anything, or anything hits me, via the front of my Jimmy. I have much
less control over being T-boned, so that's where I would especially value
extra protection provided by the vehicle, but no production SUV yet offers
side impact airbags.
With regard to that personal control over front impacts, I wanted
very much to buy an Explorer, early in my search. An uncle of mine is a
retired Ford corporate vice-president, and I could have gotten a deal. But
the extraordinarily low front and rear lateral suspension resonance
frequencies made me decide otherwise. Under impulse excitation--sudden
steering input while at speed, such as an emergency evasive manuever--the
Explorer takes at least twice as long as do the Blazer/Jimmy/Bravada to load
up the suspension and begin to apply lateral force to the suspended body
mass, meaning that the peak lateral speed differential between the
contact patches and body mass will be much greater, meaning a whole lot more
peak lifting force on the inside wheels. Skids start with peak lifting force,
not average force, because sliding contact-patch friction is so much less
stable than static or creeping friction.
In idealized skidpad testing with gradual loading, the body lean
angles and maximum turning G forces may be comparable, but real life
emergency evasive driving always requires quick turns that create impulsive,
not gradual loading. Even cone courses are unrealistic when driven by
experts, because they intuitively compensate for the suspension windup by
applying the steering excitation shifted forward in time from the desired
result. Normal drivers don't have that skill, and besides the basic
nature of on-the-road emergency driving is that you can't anticipate
it--if you could, you'd get out of the way a lot sooner and more
The evasive behavior of the Explorers I drove reminded me of a 1965
Buick convertible my parents once owned, or maybe of an old shallow-V
Chriscraft inboard. I feel much safer in that regard in my Jimmy.
Vehicle safety is complicated. You have to choose what parameters you
want to optimize; some vehicles are better at some things, others at other