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Shop Shots Volume 42 Insider Pictures of Automotive Service

Published on December 19, 2012 under Humble Mechanic

Happy Wednesday everyone. Thanks for tuning in to this weeks Shop Shots. These are some of the behind the scenes pictures from a VW service department. You will see cars torn apart. The crazy way that things break, and the goofy things that customers do to their cars.

Broken Bushings on a 2003 PassatI have been asked what a damaged/worn bushing looks like many times before. I finally got a great picture of what that looks like. This is an upper control arm on a 2003 Passat. If you look right at the tip of the arrow I added, you will see a crack. That crack runs all around the bushing.

This car came in with a suspension noise. The more you turned the wheel, the worse the noise got. Broken bushings can cause a clunk, squeak, or thud. When a bushings breaks like this it puts more strain on the rest of the suspension. That can cause premature wear on the other components. This Passat got new control arms that come with new bushings.

Heater core replacement PassatLet’s keep the Passat theme rolling. This Passat came in for a water leak. After some checking, the mechanic next to me found that the heater core was leaking. The heater core is a small radiator behind the dash of your car. Coolant moves through the heater core. As air moves across the heater core it is heated. Bam, your car has heat.

In order to replace a leaking heater core, the dash must come out of the car. It’s almost like the heater core is installed, then the rest of the interior is installed around it. The job is not that bad. It’s a lot of parts to take off. The only bad thing is these cars are getting old. That means the plastic trim can be brittle, and break very easy. We generally have to tell customers there may be some breakage. Sadly it’s almost unavoidable.

Volkswagen sunfoor water leakHere is a rare shot of a water leak in action. You are looking behind the headliner of a Tiguan. This tube is the drain tube. All VW sunroofs have a channel to catch any water that makes it past the seal. Some times the tube gets clogged, and water backs up in the channel. The water will leak past the drain tube on to the headliner.

The repair for this is to add a sealant to the tube. It’s a pretty easy repair. The worst part about this job is cleaning up the water.

Engine damage from low oil pressureWe don’t see a ton of internal engine damage. When we do, it’s generally pretty cool to see. This is a bearing for the cam shaft. The cam shaft does not ride on the bearing. It actually rides on a very thin film of oil. Many times we don’t know exactly what happened here. When we pulled the oil pan down, there were little ribbons on metal in the oil. It looks like some of that metal got into the bearing.

Because we never found the exact cause of the damage, we have to quote an engine and turbo charger. If we were just to quote the top end of the engine, we might have missed the actual failure.

Well that wraps up another volume of Shop Shots. I try and say it from time to time, but this is totally my favorite posts to do. I have a few other updates for you guys. As some of you know, we put our house up for sale a few weeks ago. We sold our house in about 40 hours. We also found a new place. We will be moving in January. I am sure there will be a new blog coming. I want to catalog all the things that we do to the property.

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2 Comments

  1. Heather

    In that cam bearing case, if people changed their oil every 5k with synthetic there would be no issues. These are the people that go to the quick lube shops and or do not use the correct spec oil that is recommended.

    They want to save a few bucks on an oil change, what they do not realize is that the proper oil change is the cheapest insurance you can buy for your car. This will keep it on the road pretty much forever. We have people with over 300k on their original 1.8L VW/Audi engines who come in for their routine maintenance schedules.

    In the bushing case, those items should be caught and watched before they get to that point, ie. courtesy check for every car that comes into the shop. With the control arms on the Passat’s and Audi’s, it seems like no shops know how to properly check the joint ends (dealers included). You need to squeeze them with a large pair of channel lock pliers and you will be amazed you can see the play when they are bad, unless they are soooooo bad then a wiggle in the wheel side to side you will be able to feel it. The spec on the joint ends are no visible play.

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