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Why I Never Throw VW Parts Away

Published on March 24, 2014 under Humble Mechanic
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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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, carsย  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.

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10 Comments

  1. Adam

    VW parts are expensive, often hard to find, and broken when you get them. So it’s totally worth it to keep spare parts around.

    Since Hostgator moved a lot of hosting accounts to the Provo datacenter it’s been pretty a pretty terrible web hosting experience. Wish Endurance International didn’t buy them out.

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