VW cabby with top removed
MK1 Crossmember Reinforcement Bar

This is the brace I installed from Euro-wise. I HIGHLY recommend this!

Happy Monday everyone! I hope that you all had a great weekend. One quick thing before we get into why I never throw away parts. I have been having email issues lately. Not sure what the deal is, but the folks at HostGator are working on it. If you have emailed me in the last few days, and not heard back, please resend it. I forwarded my email to another email. Sorry for any troubles.

Alright, like the title says, I never throw away parts. Even things that I don’t think I will ever need. Something happened Saturday that validated my crazy hording of VW parts. I sometimes think that I will clean house and get rid of things. Sadly I don’t think it will ever happen. On that note, if you need any VW parts let me know 😉

On Saturday I drove the Cabby Luv-A-Dub to work. My plan was to install a front brace, and remove the convertible top. The shop was pretty busy all day, so got a late start. The install of the brace was a little more work than I wanted to do. I had to remove the front engine mount and move some wiring out of the way. It was one of those jobs you think will be quick, but doesn’t really work out that way.

The excitement didn’t really start until I was finishing up the job. With the brace installed, I wanted to start the Cabby up to let it warm up a little. I hit the key and got crank crank crank crank crank, but no start. Dang, let’s try it again, crank crank crank crank, no start. It was clear at this point that something was not right. When ever this type of thing happens, step 1 is recheck your work.

I did a quick visual inspection of the brace and the area I was working in. Nothing stood out as an issue. I did have the power junction disconnected, but that could not be the issue. I could also hear the fuel pump running when I was trying to start the car. At this point I am starting to get annoyed. I just wanted to go drive!

I grabbed my laptop to check for fault codes. I have to say, having OBD2 in the Cabby is pretty awesome. Sadly, it was no help. I had fault codes stored, but that was due to several sensors that I didn’t use with the swap. In diagnosing a no start concern, this is the time to pick a path and go. You only NEED 3 things for a engine to run

  1. Compression new this was good. I drove the car in the shop. Plus you can usually hear when an engine has really low/no compression
  2. Fuel
    I knew the pump was running, but not sure about the engine getting fuel. This would have been a good next step.
  3. Spark
    This would have also been a good check.
  4. ECMI know I said you only need 3 things, but the ECM is vital. It controls spark and fuel, and it wont give you that if it doesn’t see what it wants to see.

Before I started taking fuel lines off, and checking for spark, I decided to go back over my work one more time. I raised the car up and did another visual inspection. DANG IT, didn’t see anything. After seeing nothing again, I did one of my top secret diagnostic techniques.

Mess with stuff until you find something.

I started giving all the wiring harnesses a tug. I barely touched the harness for the crankshaft position sensor when I heard a beeping and buzzing. YES, now we are on the right path, it was also lucky that I left the ignition on 😉 Now that I had something to go on, it was time to fix it.

I disconnected the sensor, checked the pins and connection. They were all good. I found that if I touched the harness on the sensor side, that beeping and buzzing would start again. I tweaked the harness so that the beep was constant.Side note, I am still not sure what was beeping. With the harness tweaked, the car would start.

VW cabby with top removed

I LOVE how the cabby looks with the top removed

The harness for the crankshaft sensor is sealed. That means it should not be repaired, but replaced. I dug through a box of parts I set a side to bring home. Wouldn’t ya know, there was a replacement crankshaft sensor! I replaced the sensor, and BOOM she fired right up.

So the moral of the story is, cars  break. It is never a bad idea to have a few extra parts laying around. I am that guy in the shop that everyone comes to when they need a part. Having this sensor saved me over $100 and my wife from having to come pick me up at work. I am happy to be a lucky auto mechanic.

boy, that escalated quickly

Hey everyone! Today I have something a little different for you. This post comes from David. He is going to talk about something I have little experience in, dealing with a new driver in the house. David is also an insurance consultant. I may bring him back some time to give us all advice on car insurance.

I find all aspects of teenage driving terrifying. Like many other parents, while teaching my daughter how to drive I found it very hard to keep the mood light and not freak out as she tried to merge onto the interstate. I struggled with my wife when deciding whether or not to buy her a car or not, which car to buy, and whether to let her drive in the snow at all. Everything about having a teenager is a tricky mess but with some help I finally got threw it. Well sort of.

Fear and frustration in empty parking lots.

I would take my daughter out to teach her to drive in parking lots and be amazed at the skills that she lacked. I kept asking myself, “Was I this bad at basic maneuvers when I was 15?” I found it increasingly difficult to follow the advice of insurance pamphlets, which is of course to keep the mood light and reward good behavior. I kept telling myself that I need to ignore the slip ups and praise the good practices she was already doing in order make the good habits stick.

This is all good and fine for the low risk situations in the parking lot but as Ron Burgundy said, “Boy, that escalated quickly.”

boy, that escalated quickly

I had a great time with saying “I love how you’re turning steadily around corners” but once she had to start making maneuvers like changing lanes in moderate traffic I could hardly stop myself from screaming as she yanked the wheel along with her head whenever she checked her blind spot. We were lucky there was no one to our left or she would have bumped them, sending us into a spinning wreck that would have to end in a huge explosion. At least that’s how I was picturing it as I tried to explain how to look behind her while keeping her hands completely still.

New drivers have an especially hard time judging the time and distance required to make maneuvers in traffic, so we went back to the parking lot and tried to get better at timing things and separating head turns from hand movements.

When it came to buying a car for my daughter I was completely beside myself.

I always thought we would get her something in our middle-class price range, but having driven with her I decided that a teenager should have an old car that isn’t cool and doesn’t have to look good. While this may cut back on driving enjoyment, it will be safe and will get them from one place to another. Chances are it’s not going to last very long anyway, and by that point she should be graduating high school and should be able to buy her own car.

We also considered briefly not getting her a car at all, first carbut instead we decided to if she promised to save a good chunk (at least 50%) of her pay checks for college expenses. She was only working about 10 hours a week and excelling at her academic studies, so we paid for her gas and pricey teenager insurance, but the car was a really cheap 1994 Ford Aspire that we found for only $600 and I have always wanted to help my children with these things.

It also helps that I have a pretty decent understanding of car mechanics, so I could do most of the repairs that popped up. She hasn’t been in an accident yet (which is a miracle given by the grace of all things holy) but I’m keeping my fingers crossed and I continue to lecture her about driving safely whenever I can.

Dealing with teen drivers is never an easy thing, but somehow I made it out alive. My advice is twofold: 1) Make sure you do all you can in parking lots to teach them the skills they need and 2) don’t invest too much in their first car. Readers, I know I’ve been extremely lucky – do you have any horror stories about teaching your kids to drive or their first cars? Let us know in the comments below!

This post was written by a humble guest, David Baldwin. He is an insurance consultant in Boise, Idaho and is currently rebuilding a 1970 Pontiac FireBird. Follow him on Twitter @DavidTBaldwin.

Hi everybody. Today I want to talk about finding a new mechanic. The folks over at MechanicAdvisor.com contacted me and asked me to check out their site. It is a place for folks to find a local repair shop, and read reviews. Think of Yelp, built specifically for repair shops.

I thought we have talked about ways to find a new mechanic before. But, after must research, I was wrong. That or I am bad at using the search feature on my own site LOL.

If you move to a new town, buy a new car, or maybe your mechanic retires, finding a new mechanic can be tough. Here are a tips to help you find a new mechanic.

Ask your friends
This can be a good start. If a trusted friend trusts their mechanic, give them a shot. I personally never recommend anyone to a friend unless I 100% trust them and their service. I would still recommend being cautious. Also be sure to let the mechanic know who referred you. I get a good amount of referrals that I have no idea where they came from.

Ask the internet
Sites like MechanicAdvisor,Yelp, and forums “CAN” be a good resource. If a site has the ability to review the company, take the review for what it is. One persons opinion about their experience. There are multiple angles at play here.

  • Is the shop really good/bad
  • What was the issue? Was someone mad they had to spend money, or did they get bad service?
  • Did an employee do the review? (it happens)
  • Was it a review on a specific mechanic? Odds are it was not.

Every shop has some techs that are better than others. But even great techs have bad days. All I am stressing here is take reviews for what they are. And remember the term “internet muscles” 😉

Ask a fellow driver
This might be the single BEST way to find a new mechanic. If you drive a VW, ask another VW driver who services their car. If they have a person they love, they will tell you. On the flip side, if they have had a bad experience, get ready for a download.

This is actually a fun thing to do even if you don’t need a new mechanic. Most folks have a strong opinion either way when it comes to getting their car serviced.

One more piece of advice. Ask for a specific person, not just the place. It is like going to your favorite restaurant, and being seated with a server you don’t relate to.

How did you find your mechanic? Was it just luck of the draw?

MechanicAdvisor review
This is a site to find a mechanic. It is a clean and well designed site. It allows you to search by brand and location. Like I do with all my reviews, here are the Pros and Con


  • Nice clean design
  • the blog and Q&A section has TONS of great information
  • It is not just for cars, they have mechanics for boats and motorcycles too
  • Coupons for local shops.
  • The reviews are better than Yelp


  • most shops have few reviews
  • Some shop info is not up to date

Those cons are VERY minor. I did a local search for VW shops. It came up with one that has been closed for a while. Just to compare, I did the same search on Yelp. It listed the same shop. So I don’t really think it’s an issue with Mechanic Advisor.  Overall I think it is a great resource for finding a mechanic.

Solution Finish

Well folks we are just about wrapped up with giveaway week. Today’s giveaway is something to bring the life back to the black trim on your car. This kit will bring the trim that turned grey back to a nice shiny black.

Solution Finish

This kit from Solution Finish has everything you need to restore that dingy black trim on your car. The 1oz bottle is enough to do 3 cars.

How to play
So far we have talked about 1st cars, car stories, and spy cars. Today post your favorite all time car. It doesn’t have to be one you have owned. It can be any car. Tell us all about the car, and why you love it. It is that simple!


We are one day closer to the weekend! That means we are one day closer to the end of giveaway week 🙁 I hope that you are all enjoying this week. I know that I am having a BLAST.

Okay, yesterday’s giveaway was a bust. It confirmed my suspension that most folks don’t like to call and talk of the phone. It’s okay, I will hang on to the wrench rack for another time. I will also leave the hotline up for anyone that does like to call in questions.

Let’s get to Thursday’s giveaway.


This set is probably my favorite. A Snap-on shirt, a freaking awesome magnetic tray, a VW water bottle, and the ultra rare Humble Mechanic sticker.

Here is how to play:

  • Post a comment in the comments section
  • Tell me what feature you would add to your car if it was a spy car (Think James Bond or Archer)
  • Give some details about what it would do
  • Make sure you put a good email address in when you comment(only I see that btw)
  • I am going to let my wife pick her favorite.

That’s all you gotta do.

Also don’t forget to enter the GRAND PRIZE giveaway for $150 worth of Tool Lodge tool organizer. That giveaway is on Facebook. For those of you not on FB, just contact me and I will help you enter. I don’t love doing FB giveaways, but it was the easiest way to do it.

Good luck everyone!

Humble Mechanic Logo

Well everyone, we are halfway though the week, and halfway through giveaway week. Before I show you what today’s giveaway is, I want to remind everyone to enter the grand prize for $150 worth of Tool Lodge tool organizers. All you have to do is post a picture of your messiest tool box draw. That picture goes on the post pinned to the top of the Facebook page.

Sort A Tool Wrench Storage Tray

The folks at Sort-A-Tool hooked me up with a wrench rack to give away to you guys. This is an AWESOME wrench rack. I did a review a while back, you can check it out at Sort-A-Tool review.

Here is how to play today. Use the call line and call in a question. You can use the box on the right side of the site, or use this link to Send me a voice message. Call in and ask me a question about cars, tools, car repair, DIY, finding a good mechanic, and so on. I will randomly pick a winner from the callers.

I want to use these calls to do an “on air” answer show. You all have great questions, so let’s have them. Based on call volume, today may be your best chance to win.. 😉

Good luck! Be sure to enter for the grand prize, and stay tuned for Thursday and Friday’s giveaways.

Snap on giveaway

Yesterday’s giveaway was HUGE! I have emailed the winner and will announce who it is, when I hear back.

I have got a few emails asking why I am doing these giveaways. There are a bunch of reasons. First, I like giving things away. I think it is fun. Working with folks and their cars can be tough. So doing ultra fun giveaway breaks that up. It is also a good to get to know you all. That is why I am asking you to post things. I have such sentimental attachment to my first car. So I want to hear about your first car. It is things like that that make all the work I do worth it.

Okay, enough about all that. Let’s get to Tuesday’s giveaway!

Snap on giveaway

 Today we more Snap-on goodies! This is a Snap-on T shirt, socks, a drink koozie, and a VW key chain. As you can tell, I am a Snap-on fan 😉

Yesterday I asked what your first car was. Today, post your funniest car related story(keep it clean kids 😉 ) in the comments section. Here is my funny car story

When I worked at Carmax, I would drive the toll road everyday. There was a spot on the toll road my radar detector would always go off. Same spot every day. The spot was about 500ft from my exit.

One morning my girlfriend (wife now) and I were heading to breakfast. We were heading down the stretch of tollway I drove everyday. My radar detector went off. She told me to slow down. I said, “don’t worry, this thing always goes off here”. About 2 seconds after I said that, I seen the blue lights flashing. I got pulled for going about 10 over the speed limit.

I pretty much got what was coming. Okay, post your funniest car related story in the comments. Just like yesterday, I will use a random number generator to pick a winner.

Grand Prize
Be sure to submit your messiest tool box drawer on the Facebook page. There is a post pinned post with all the submissions The most likes wins. The key to getting likes on your picture is sharing that post. If you are not on Facebook contact me.