Dirty VW Pollen filter
Dirty VW Pollen filter

This filter needed to be replaced

Happy Monday everyone. Today I want to get back to the series “Does my car REALLY need this service”. Have you ever wondered if the service your mechanic is recommending is really needed? Well if you have then this series is for you. I will post links to all the rest of the posts in this series at the bottom of the page. Today we are talking about pollen or cabin air filters.

What is the Pollen or Cabin Air Filter?
This filter cleans the air that enters your car. It can remove dust and pollen from the air before it enters the cabin of your car. Think of it just like the filter that you have for your home heat and A/C system.

Why is it important?
In the grand scheme of car performance, it is not very important. Many cars don’t even have a pollen filter. So you need to make sure your car has a filter before letting a mechanic replace it. 😉 The pollen filter is more of a comfort filter. Imagine driving through a dust storm with out something to filter the air coming into the car. That dust could just come right on in.Or, if you live in the southern USA imagine all the pollen that would be coming in the car if you did not have a filter.

Like I said, this filter is NOT a critical  system of your car. Having a dirty pollen filter will not leave you stranded. It will not cause your vehicle not to perform properly. It is there specifically to add to your comfort while you drive. And that can be pretty dang important.

How do I know if I need a new cabin or pollen filter?
Inspecting a pollen filter is just like looking at any other filter. It can be really easy to tell if it needs to be replaced. Heck, removing the filter will be the hardest part.

  • Follow the owners book.
    Dirty VW Pollen filter

    A VERY dirty pollen filter

    This will give you a good idea of the average life of a pollen filter. Replacing it every 20,000 miles seems to be a common standard. Check your book and see.

  • Visual inspection
    This is a great way to check your filter. If you can remove it, give it a good look over. Look between the ribs of the filter and check for dirt or other debris. Also make sure it is not wet. You may have bigger issues if your pollen filter is wet.
  • Sniff test
    This reminds me of someone that would say “Hey, smell this, it’s awful” and then you smell it. And it is awful. Giving a filter a sniff test is the last test. Just be careful, you don’t really want a face full of stink.

Do you REALLY need a new filter?
Just like any filter, it really depends. If your owners book says replace it, just replace it. If you inspect the filter and are not sure, just replace it. Pollen filters are not that expensive. If the filter is in bad shape, you can attempt to clean it, but I have not really seen that work. Pollen filters are also a great first DIY. There is very little risk of doing it wrong on most cars.

Well, that wraps up another “Does my car really need this service?”. I hope you are enjoying the series. I really hope that someone has used this as a guide in servicing their car. If you have, PLEASE post in the comments below. I would love to get some feedback.

Check out the other posts in the “Does my car really need this service?” series.

Does MY Car Really Need This Service ~ Brake Fluid
Does MY Car Really Need This Service ~ Brake Job
Does MY Car Really Need This Service ~ Oil Change
Does MY Car Really Need This Service ~ Engine Air Filter
Does MY Car Really Need This Service ~ Tires
Does MY Car Really Need This Service ~ Serpentine Belt
Does MY Car Really Need This Service ~ Timing Belt

MK1 Volkswagen Cabriolet
MK1 Volkswagen Cabriolet

Single round headlights, and the top down 🙂

On Monday the Humble Mechanic welcomed a new VW to the family. She is a 1984 Volkswagen Cabriolet. I picked this car up from a really nice guy on Craigslist. He bought the Cabriolet for his daughter. After owning if for a short time, the Cabby started to develop some drivability issues. After a taking it to a mechanic that was not very familiar with VWs, he decided to cut his loses and sell it.

I picked this Cabby up for $700. It is a little more than I typically spend on a car that does not run. The interior is in really good condition, so I stepped up on price. MY initial intent was to strip the interior out, and use it for Project Luv-A-Dub. It would be the easiest way to complete the interior. Plus have some random extra parts.

Once I got the car home, I started to think that maybe gutting it was not the best choice. She looks pretty good, but just doesn’t run right. I don’t think that swapping the VR into the black Cabby is on the table right now, but you never know 😉 For right now, I think I am going to work on getting her running properly. My gut says that the pump is the fuel tank is the main issue. That is just a feeling I have. I need to dive deeper into the diagnosis.

Before I could post this post, my wife started talking about the car. I think that she is really starting to dig the look of the early MK1. So I guess that leaves me fixing this car up for my wife. Fellas, any time your gal is interested in your projects, you better give them exactly what they want. And ladies, the same goes for you.



Volkswagen Exhaust problems

Hey everyone It is Wednesday, for real this time. So That means we are rocking some Shop Shots today. Now this is actually the first post of the week. I have been crazy busy this week so far. If you follow on Facebook or Instagram you know that I just picked up another Cabriolet. And if you are reading this, you know that my wife has not killed me yet. 😉 I will have more on that tomorrow. Let’s get into this weeks service pictures.

 Volkswagen Exhaust problemsThis first one comes from a fellow VW tech. The customer brought the car in for a check engine light. When the tech checked the car out, he found this SHOE jammed into the exhaust. They called the customer to see what happened. The customer said that her daughter was in a small accident. Thankfully this is not something you see every day.

VW air conditioning not workingNow that spring is here, it’s time for nonstop air conditioning work. This is the time of year when everyone realizes their car’s a/c is not as cold as it was last year. There are many reasons why a/c stops working. In this case it was due to the customer hitting something.

The customer said that she had hit something in the road back in December. She didn’t realize that her a/c was not cooling until last week when it was 80 degrees here. If you look at the spot just to the right of the flash, you can see the impact damage on the condenser. What ever she hit, put a small hole in the condenser. This caused all of the refrigerant to leak out.

When I took the condenser off, I found that it had also damaged the vehicle’s radiator. I couldn’t see the damage to the radiator until I removed the condenser. Luckily the radiator was not leaking any coolant yet.

VW engine problems You have seen similar pictures to this before. A VW Touareg or Phaeton with the engine sitting on the table. This is a VR6 that came out of a Touareg. This Touareg came in for running poorly at idle. After some diagnosis and help from VW, the tech working on the car replaced the cylinder head. It doesn’t matter how many times I see this, I always take a picture. It is just so different to see an entire power plant of a car resting on a table.

Last I wanted to share this little video that someone sent me. I get a TON of requests to share and post things to all of you. Generally I don’t do it. Most of it is poor, or packed full of ads. I don’t want to waste your guys time with that crap. This one is about tires, or most specifically tyres.

Thanks for tuning in today for another volume of Shop Shots! Be sure to sign up for email updates. You can subscribe by filling out the form at the right. EASY!

Totaled Volkswagen Passat

Hey everyone, happy Wednesday, it is time for this week’s behind the scenes pictures. Don’t worry, you are not a day behind. It is Thursday, I am just pulling your leg 😉 Shop Shots is just running a day behind this week. Some times things happen and we have to adjust our schedules. All right, now that we know tomorrow is Friday, let’s get in to the insider pictures.

Volkswagen Fuel FilterI really do like when folks do their own thing on their cars. there is nothing wrong, it is just odd. This customer added an inline fuel filter to their car. This filter, in theory, will keep contaminants in the fuel out of the engine. The Passat does not have a serviceable fuel filter. So it actually may work. I wish that I could have talked to the customer about it.

  • Is there a reason that you installed the filter? Was there a failure of some sort that caused you to install it?
  • Have you had to replace it?
  • Have you inspected the filter for debris?

When I see things like this, I have so many questions.

Loose Suspension on VWIf you ever listened to Car talk, you may have heard of Lucinda Bolts(get it, loosen da bolts LOL). The master of guaranteed repeat business. That is not her exact title, but you get the idea. This is a car that came in for a noise while driving. I took it on a test drive, and the noises were more than clear. The sound of loose suspension bolt is some what distinct. This is one of 4 bolts that a technician left loose on this car. Seeing things like this makes me made. A simple post repair test drive, and the tech would have known something was not right. All the more reason to give your mechanic the time to fix your car. Rushing jobs, no matter what the reason, leads to mistakes.

Totaled Volkswagen PassatI posted this on Facebook when it happened. Since many folks are not on FB, I wanted to be sure to share it here as well. This is a pictures of my sister’s Passat. A week or so ago, someone hit her while she was stopped at a red light. She was a bit sore, but not injured. Sadly the damage to the car was severe enough to total it.

Based on the pictures, the damage does not look that bad. But I am not surprised that the car was deemed a total loss.

  1. The car is 14 years old. It didn’t have a ton of value to begin with.
  2. There is a lot of flat surface metal to rework. That may have involved cutting and welding new metal.
  3. Odds are the rear axle beam was shifted. There is very little adjustment to the rear axle. It would have most likely needed to be replaced.
  4. There will be hidden damage.

When you total up just the parts needed, I would be you get close to $1000. The labor to repair the rear quarter panels would be pretty high too. Plus there is always hidden damage. I hate to see this happen to my sister’s car. But it did, and totaling it was the best possible outcome. And most important, I am glad she is okay.(Other than being really mad about her car)

That does it for another volume of Shop Shots. If you missed it yesterday, I did a post about the Eurowise kit I picked up for Project Luv-A-Dub. I also shot a little video review Mk1 Vr6 conversion review. If you are thinking about doing a VR6 swap, check out the video.

MK1 VR6 Transmission mount

I thought I would shot a quick review video to follow up the blog post I did about the Mk1 Vr6 conversion kit from Eurowise. You can read that post here. This kit is designed as a bolt in solution for installing a VR6 engine into a Mk1 Volkswagen.

Thank you for watching. You can subscribe to all the videos on YouTube by clicking the icon on the right.

MK1 VR6 engine mount

We are long overdue for a Luv-A-Dub update. I made the trip to Charlotte, NC this past weekend. The reason I went out to Charlotte was to pick up the MK1 VR6 conversion kit from Eurowise. They are a great shop that has built a kit for the exact engine swap that I am doing.

The Engine
A while back, I had the cylinder head cleaned and worked. Last week I sent the engine block to the machine shop. They did a great job cleaning it, and honing the cylinder bores. When it comes back, it will be ready for paint.

After I paint the engine block, the rebuild will start. I have a few more odds and ends I need to get. I found that the water pump was missing a fin, so that will need to be replaced. I also think that I will replace the oil cooler. They are common to fail. When they fail, oil gets pumped into the coolant. It makes a mess, and is a pain to clean. There are also some bolts that will need to be replaced.

The Interior
I spent the better part of last summer working the interior. Removing all the stickers and glue totally got the best of me. After spending hours messing around, I needed a break. That is when I moved to working on the engine. The really has not been any progress on the interior since then.

The Exterior
This is the one place where I have not done any work. The outside sits the same way that it did when I bought her about a year ago. I am still not sure how the exterior of the car will turn out.

MK1 VR6 engine mount

Right side engine mount, complete with Eurowise logo

The Conversion Kit
I will be doing a video review of the kit. Until that is done, here are some of my thoughts on the kit. They have several “stages” of the conversion kit. From the basic engine mounts and axles to the kit that will handle a highly tuned VR6. They even make exhausts for that application.

The mounts come as bare metal. The welds are clean and solid. Even if you are not a car fan, you can look at the parts and tell these parts a well crafted. This kit came with all the bolts that are needed to install the mounts, and axles. The only bad thing is, they were out of axles. The parts fella said they had sold 10 kits recently. But in true Eurowise style, they are shipping the axles to me at no charge.

That sums up where we are at in the Luv-A-Dub build. Here are some pictures from the trip, and of the conversion kit.

Volkswagen wiring issue

Welcome to this weeks edition of Shop Shots. There is a funny thing that happened with the pictures from last week. I posted the pictures, you guys commented on them, everything was great. I went back today(I copy and paste some of the SEO type stuff) and it was gone. It doesn’t show up in the list of posts. I can see the comments, but the post has gone rouge. So that was the long way around saying there is no longer a Shop Shots Volume 49(you may want to remember that for the future). Okay, let’s get to it.

Volkswagen wiring issueIf you search the web for VW problems you will find a few things. VW is “known for” electrical issues and wiring problems. This little gem is nice find. I was doing a service on a Golf, 2000 I think. I opened the rear hatch to check the customer’s spare tire. This caught my eye. It looks like someone repaired a leak, and maybe some wires.?. I can tell you this was not a wiring or a parts failure. Someone had their hands on this.

I didn’t mention it to the customer. He had a ton of other things wrong with the car. It would have been last on the ‘important’ list. Not only that, getting your hands in something like this can get really messy.

Carbon on a VW engineI am sure that I have posted pictures of this type of thing before. You are looking at the intake valves on a VW Touareg. These valves let air into the engine. Notice that they are coated in a crusty goo. That is carbon build up. This car was mis-firing when the engine was cold. The chucks can actually get caught in the seating surface and prevent the valve from fully closing. We are starting to see this on the 2.0 turbo FSI and TSI engines. This is not the worst I have seen, but totally bad enough to cause your car to run poorly.

VW lighting issueThis is one of my favorite pictures of the year. Just when you think you have seen some crazy stuff, something like this comes through. This customer made a hole at the top of the headlight switch. He then inserted a zip tie into that hole. The zip tie just sits there looking cool.

The more I looked at it, the more I thought about why a customer would do this. I mean it can’t just be for good looks right? 😉 Then it all made sense. It is to tell if the headlights are on. Now, you might be thinking, who doesn’t know if their headlights are on? Well, the car has daytime running lights. So the headlights are always on. It also has a fully lit instrument cluster, so that doesn’t help. The customer may not have known that there is a little green light on the cluster that says DRL. When the light is on, the DRLs(daytime running lights) are on. So I gotta say, not as crazy as I thought.

Well with that we are going to wrap up Shop Shots. I hope that you all enjoyed this weeks pictures. If I can figure out what happened to last weeks pictures, I will repost it. One last thing, are any of you planning on attending Southern Worthersee? It is a German car event in Helen, GA. I am most likely planning on going. Post in the comments if you are going to be there, maybe we can arrange a cool little get together.