Wild, you have some good ideas.
Thing is with breaking it down into manufactures it could get confusing, like when we had our repair boards by manufacture instead of by appliance type.
For example people will have a refrigerator with a sears model number, but know it was manufactured by Whirlpool so sometimes they post it in the sears category and sometimes the whirlpool category. Sometimes people will "think" they have a Whirlpool refrigerator for what ever reason, yet it's clear by the model number they posted it's another brand and so on.
If we get enough post in this board I could break things down into appliance types, like our repair boards... Washers, Dryers, Dishwasher, etc...
But in my opinion we already have a really good search function in the top right hand corner or our site.
Notice when your on a certain board such as our new board here...http://appliancejunk.com/forums/index.php?board=118.0
It gives you the option to search "This board" or "Entire forum".
By being able to search "This board" it should be easy to find any post in this board.
Not so sure how that search feature would work once we started adding sub categories.
We also have a little more advanced search page at this URL.http://appliancejunk.com/forums/index.php?action=search
What do you think of that?