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VW Damage from a Rat

Finding damage like this can be rare

We have talked before about the diagnostic process that auto mechanics must follow. Starting with the basics, getting good information and being thorough are vital to repairing cars. There are times however that all the processes and information in the world do not guarantee a proper diagnosis.

Yesterday I spent the about half the day with a QTM working on a car. The QTM is a regional tech that travels to dealers. He deals with new cars, cars that have multiple repairs, and the extra crazy problems. The QTM has a lot more resources than we do at the dealership level. On top of that, these guys are REALLY smart. The kind of folks that will forget more than guys like me will ever know.

The QTM and I were working on a 2013 Jetta Hybrid. The customer’s concern was the car would shut off. It was shutting off differently than it is programmed to. We went round and round with the car, doing test after test, inspection after inspection. All to find NOTHING! Well, not exactly nothing, but nothing final. There was no “Ah Ha, here is the problem” moment. There was a lot of “well, this might be it,” and “it could be the issue”.

Not finding the exact problem is a very common thing. Many times we have to focus on the part that makes the most sense. Or the part that is the least crazy(seriously). So how does an auto mechanic fix your car right the first time? Here are a few things that I use to help narrow down a failed part:\

  • Known good parts.
    The great thing about being at a dealer is the ability to swap parts. Taking a part off a new car to see the change. If a sensor is not reading right and I swap the sensor, I find out if the sensor was good, if the wiring was good, and the module the controls it.
  • Comparable Vehicles
    This is an easier step than actually swapping a part. I can read sensor values from both cars. That will give me an idea of what the car should see. Comparing that to the car with the issue, and using confirm failures.
  • Experience
    This is the biggest and best tool in a mechanic’s tool box. The more problems a mechanic sees, the more they are prepared to deal with new issues. That doesn’t mean a they will not get stuff on problems. It just means they dig through them faster.

Like I said, even with all the proper information, a mechanic doesn’t always know 100% if a repair will be successful. Now if a tire has a big spike in the side of it, we KNOW that is why it is flat. Check engine lights and drive-ability issues are generally not as cut and dry. There are times when we need to roll the dice on a repair. I say it all the time, it is great to be a lucky mechanic.

Don’t forget that you can avoid the late post to Facebook, or missing a post by signing up for email updates. It’s easy, just fill out the box in the upper right of the page. You will be the first to get all the good info. I still like when you follow me on all the social media places, we have some fun times. Use the icons on the right. They take you right where you need to go.

Thank you all for the kind words about the new house. Jenn (my wife) and I are really excited. She is even more excited than I am. Fellas you know how important that is! 🙂

Bad diesel fuel in a VW TDI

After a crazy long delay, we are BACK in action. It has been a long time, but still shorter than the hockey lock out. We are jumping right in today with Shop Shots! The pictures that show some of the crazy things mechanics see. If you want to see more automotive pictures, just click Shop Shots in the light blue bar at the top of the page. That will take you back to all the previous pictures.

Leaking Seal on a VW TDIThere are times that I have to make repairs based on a gut feeling. Being right on a gut feeling is awesome. Then everyone once in a while, that gut feeling can be 100% confirmed. It’s a perfect world. You are looking at an air pipe on a TDI Jetta. The customer was complaining about an oil leak.

Finding oil leaks can be a pretty tricky. Many times it involves fixing things you know are leaking, cleaning the area, and rechecking for leaks. This leak was tricky too. It was leaking oil from an air pipe. I removed the pipe and found this pinched seal.

Wrong brakes on a VWAll mechanics make mistakes. Sometimes we make mistakes that are just plain stupid(and hilarious). Mistakes happen for a number of reasons. This mistake is due to rushing, then not doing a quality check after a repair.

The tech replaced the rear brakes on the VW. When he replaced the pads, he didn’t install the shim properly. It was installed on the outside of the of the caliper. As the wheel turned, the shim hit the wheel. Lucky for us this was an internal car. We were able to fix the issue before a customer drove it.

Bad diesel fuel in a VW TDII post pictures of TDI fuel issues from time to time. I don’t want you all to think we have nothing but issues with the TDI. We have very few issues with them. The issues that we do have tend to be expensive. This time the failure was not due to a bad HPFP(high pressure fuel pump). This was due to bad fuel. Generally water in diesel fuel makes for a bad day. It causes rust to build up in the fuel system. It can also lead to other organics to grow in the fuel.

That raps up another round of Shop Shots! I am glad to be back and posting stuff for you guys. Thanks for sticking with us. There will probably be a few more interruptions, but that will be minimal.

Quick house update
I posted a picture of the new garage on Facebook yesterday. I will give you guys the full update on the house. We did all the normal home inspections on Monday. Everything came back good. There are a few things that need to be repaired. Nothing major(like poisoned water) but a few minor repairs. I also found the spot where my toolbox will be going. 🙂

I do plan on doing some improvements asap.

  • Some type of floor treatment. Not sure if I want to epoxy or tiles. What do you guys think?
  • The lower part of the wall with corrugated steal sheets. Think wainscoting
  • A shelf around the entire garage at about chair rail height. You know, for beverages.
  • Drywall the rest of the way up the walls. If things get really fun, I would LOVE to do wood on the top half of the walls.

Auto Mechanic's garageWhat do you guys think? Throw me some suggestions on the garage. I will take all I can get.

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Happy Monday everyone! I hope that you all had a great weekend. If you are a Hockey fan, then you should be pretty excited. Between Hockey, and NFL playoffs it was a fun sports weekend.

Today I need to talk to all of you about a few things. If you have been following the blog for a while, you know that I try to make about 5 posts a week. Over the last few weeks, that has not been happening. Because I am 100% open with you guys, I need to fill you in.

In early November, my wife and I decided to move. We wanted to get some more land. Something that we could do more with than our little lot. Plus have room to build a sweet shop. 😉 We spent about a month getting our house ready to go on the market. It took about 40 hours for us to sell our house. It was really awesome. We found a house we liked. The best part was, it had 5 acres. Plenty of room for a shop.

I am a pretty cautious guy when it comes to big decisions. We also had an awesome realtor that told us to do ALL the inspections. We did all the inspections and tests that we could. At first the reports came back pretty good. A few little things to be repaired, but nothing crazy. That is until the water test came back. We found out that the water had ~160% the acceptable amount of lead. We requested that the seller install a whole house filter system. The seller didn’t want to do that. He drug his feet and that gave us time to do a ton of research. In that time we found that the company behind the lot was polluting the entire area. Sadly we had to terminate our contract.

At this point we were 2 weeks from closing on our old house. We had back up houses, and no time. We could have rented an apartment, but with 3 dogs that is almost impossible. Jenn and I spent 5 days non stop looking at houses. Most of them were awful. If you have ever bought/sold a house you know how stressful all this can be.

It turns out the lady buying our house got a USDA loan. That is some type of government backed loan. Due to the holidays, there were really backed up. Thank goodness we were able to push back the closing date on our current house. We finally found a really great house. We had to sacrifice a few things, but I think it will be a great move. The garage is 22×28 and might be tall enough for a lift 😉 As of right now we are waiting to see if they accept our offer. I am ready for this all to be over

I hate that I have missed posted for you guys. Also, if you have emailed me and I didn’t respond, I am very sorry. Feel free to email me back, or contact me with that form. Once we know exactly what is going on with the house, The blog will be back to normal. I will also be able to get back to working on the Cabby.

I want to thank you all for hanging in there with me. It has been a incredibly stressful month. I really do appreciate each of you. So stick around, follow of Facebook or Instagram, or Pinterest. I am hoping that the blog will be back to normal in a week or so.

volkswagen scan tool

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you all had a great holiday, and New Year’s Eve. We did our standard NYE. It consisted of my wife Jenn being sick, and me just hanging out at home. I actually enjoyed it. Let’s get in to those pictures!

Bad replacement exhaust VW PassatThis goes in the “What the heck where they thinking” category. What you are looking at is the exhaust of a 2003 Passat wagon. Someone wanted to change the end pipes and tips. To be fair to the customer, they may have bought it like that. The pipes and tips are riveted on. This is a very poor way to try to attach an exhaust. The little round spots on the exhaust are the rivets, somewhere around 15 of them. Someone took a lot of time to do such a poor job. Please don’t try this at home.

Poor quality tire plug VW tire repairThis is a rare look inside a tire. You are looking at a tire that had a screw in it, and was repaired. I find it odd that part of the screw is still there. That glob of orange and black goo is from the plug. Someone attempted to repair the tire by plugging it. My guess is they plugged it twice, but I am not sure. A tire plug is a good temporary repair, but having it patched or plug/patched is the best way. I wonder if this is the reason they had to replace a tire. 🙂

Bugs in a light VW This is a first for me. You are looking at the overhead light on a Jetta. The customer was complaining that there was bugs in the light. Well, sure enough there are the bugs in the light. I have never seen that happen in a VW before. Maybe she left her sunroof open? The only way they could get in there is through the top.

volkswagen scan toolThis is a picture of a VW scan tool screen. Our scan tools are pretty good, but not even close to perfect. Sometimes a weird code will come up, or a screen that does not make sense. This is a classic example.

Control Module, watchdog timer faulty.

HAHA, what the heck does that mean? Most, if not all, modules have some type of timer in them. Maybe this one was having an issue? Usually faults like this cause no issues, and have no symptoms. I just have to laugh every time I see something like this.

Well, that does it for another volume of Shop Shots. Be sure to tune in next week for more behind the scenes pictures from a VW service department. I also want to just take one minute to thank you all for such an awesome 2012. This community has grown so much over the last year. I can’t thank you all enough for hanging with me. All of your comments, likes, and shares are excellent. Please keep it up. Let’s make 2013 even more better 😉

One last thing. As many of you know we are in the process of moving. It has been a huge pain in the butt. I think it will all work out really great, but the stress level in my house has been sky high. But, right now our current house is mostly packed, and that is a big relief. I will keep you all as up to date as I can with the progress. We, Jenn and I, will be starting a new site about it in a few weeks. The site is up, but I am still in the building stages. Once that is live, I will share it with you guys. It will be about home DIY, gardening, and other cool home related stuff.