Some cool and funny pictures I have taken over the years. Some are good, some are scary, but this is ALL real!

VW Wheel Damage

Happy Wednesday everyone. If you like are like me, you are about over winter. I am ready to get home from work and still have some daylight. Plus I am ready for top down weather in the Cabby. If you are new to the community, be sure to check out the Luv-a-Dub tab. You can see the build and restore of my 1988 VW Cabriolet with a VR6 engine swap. She is in winter mode right now. I can’t wait to get her back on the road.

Today we have Shop Shots. Let’s get right to it!

VW suspension curb damageLast week’s snow storm reeked havoc on so many cars. We have had 15+ cars come in with bent suspension parts over the last week. This VW is one of the worst I have seen. The solid steel arm of the lower suspension bent. It is bent at a crazy angle. The impact it takes to bend this lower control arm is severe. Replacing the control arm was just the beginning. We also had to replace the axle, wheel bearing, ball joint, and tie rod. All of these are vital parts of the suspension.

Vw Transmission problemsI feel like I post a lot of transmission pictures. There is something so cool about the guts of a transmission. This is the gears of a Passat manual transmission. The customer was concerned about a grinding going into 3rd gear. That is generally an issue with the synchro. This transmission had a good amount of metal in the fluid.

When we have an internal engine or transmission issue, we have to decide whether to repair, or replace. It involves us adding up the parts we think we need to replace, and comparing that to the cost of a new unit.  It generally works out that we replace the unit. That is something that almost always makes the customer happy.

VW Wheel Damage

Like I said in the top picture, winter has been crazy! This is the back side of a wheel. The customer drove in on their spare tire(yay for them knowing how to change a tire). Our tire guy took the wheel out of the trunk and immediately called me over. Not only was their a good size bend in the lip of the wheel, the entire wheel was split. The front face was split away from the barrel of the wheel. I have seen a ton of damaged wheels, but I have never personally seen a wheel split in two. Can you imagine the sound that made. Yikes!

Well that wraps up another week of behind the scenes pictures. I hope that you are all careful and look out for potholes. They hang around long after the snow does. My wife was just telling me about having to dodge potholes. She said she felt like a drunk guy 😉

One last thing, if you enjoy the things we talk about here, please consider sharing this blog. There are share buttons on the top and bottom of every post. As the community grow, it gives me more bargaining power to do cool things like giveaways. At some point this year, I will start looking for some sponsors for the blog. More on that another time.

Tiguan Fuse Recall

It is Wednesday, so you know what time it is. By the time most of you read this, I will be on a flight to Chicago for the Chicago Auto Show. I am not really a big fan of flying, or airports, or being away from my family, but I am looking forward to the show. I will also be posting plenty of pictures on the Humble Mechanic Facebook page.

Even though I have been out of the shop for the last few days, I still have pictures for you. Alright, let’s do this Shop Shot thing.VW engine Failure

First up we got some real nice VW engine damage. This a a picture of a Volkswagen CC engine. The car came in with strange noise/vibration while accelerating. One of the other techs in the shop was working on this car. I lent him a hand diagnosing the issue. We went around for a while trying to identify the noise. They vibration that the noise caused could be felt on the back side of the transmission. We pulled the trigger and replaced the transmission.

Sadly this was not the issue. After lots of conversation, we decided to remove the oil pan. This turned out to be a great move. We found little sparkley bits inside the oil. That prompted further engine tear down. We got the upper oil pan off and found this bolt had broken. This is one of the main bolts that hold the crank shaft in. If you are not an engine person, don’t worry. I will tell you it is really dang important. This car got a new engine. Luckily the customer had an aftermarket warranty. I think they only paid $100.

Bent VW Wheel damageNext up is something that seems to be a plague these days, bent wheels. It seems to be worse this time of year. My guess is the increase in potholes and bad driving that winter brings. I tried to shoot a video of this wheel spinning on the balancer. It came out terrible. 🙂 It is strange to me that someone could not feel they had a bent wheel. Many times a small bent in a wheel will be fine. This is a major bend. If you find out you have a bent wheel, most of the time they can be repaired. From what I have seen, the cost is around $120 or so. That is not cheap, but it’s better than $350 for a new wheel

Tiguan Fuse RecallA few weeks ago, I let you guys know that VW was issuing a recall for the Tiguan. It was related to a fuse getting too hot and melting the fuse panel. By the time the recall came out, I had seen a bunch of them fail. I wanted to post a picture of the damage to the fuse panel for everyone to see.

It is strange to me to talk about someone electronic OVERHEATING and causing something to melt in such a casual manor. When I hear overheating electronics, I think fire. I have seen a bunch of these fail, and the worst that has happened is exterior lights not working. Don’t get me wrong, having a bunch of your exterior lights not working is a real pain in the butt. But hey, it’s better than a car fire.

Tire Damage

Happy Wednesday folks. I hope you are all having a great week so far. Today is my first day back at work this week. That usually means a few hours to get back in the swing of things. Don’t worry, I still have some great pictures this week. For those of you that are new to the community, Shop Shots started pretty early in the blogs history. I posted a few pictures, and they got a great response. It because a great way to have some fun and share some of the behind the scenes type stuff that most folks never see. A great member of the community suggested the name, and Shop Shots was born. Thanks Brett 😉

Before we get into this weeks pictures, I have a few things to catch you all up on.

  1. My trip to for the Chicago Auto Show is all booked. I will be pretty busy but I want to set some time a side for a meet up. I will post more about that as the event gets closer. It will probably be something low key near the show.
  2. There is a giveaway coming next week. I am ironing out the details now, but it will be awesome. All I can tell you is, if you have a messy tool box, get some pictures ready.
  3. I still have the Snap-on Tool box I am looking to sell or trade. I am looking for a Caddy in good shape. If you have one or know someone, let me know

Tire DamageFirst up is a picture sent to me by my buddy. This car came in for an alignment. That is where we basically reset the suspension angles back to factory specs. When I first got this picture, I thought the tire had blown up. I was really confused. On closer inspection, the tire has debris jammed between the rim and the bead pack of the tire. The customer had been in an accident not too long ago. This must have been debris left over. I gotta say, it is not everyday you see something jammed in it like this.

VW battery failureI had lots of help from friends this week. This picture came from a fellow VW tech. This car was towed into his dealer with the following concern “Customer states vehicle still will not start after battery replacement”. If you are not familiar with VW batteries, you might not see the issue right away.

VW batteries come with a black cap on the negative terminal of the battery. This black plastic cap needs to be removed before the cable is installed on the battery. If you look just below the cable, you will see the cap is still installed. This is exactly like not hooking the battery cable up. This is one of those times where it would have been cheaper and easier to have someone do the work for you.

VW water leak Last week much of the country seen record low temperatures. The news jokers were calling it the Polar Vortex or something like that. For us mechanics, it means cars acting crazier than normal. This is ice build up on the floor board of a VW. If you look at the top of the picture, you can see the water line. That is not really a water line, but more of an ice line. I thought I left this type of weather when I moved from Illinois. I also seen my first TDI with ice build up in the charge cooler. We actually seen 5 or 6 TDIs with frozen charge coolers.

That about does it for this weeks Shop Shots. Thanks to my buddies for helping me out with the pictures this week. Like I said at the top of the post, stay tuned for the announcement on the giveaway. We have done a lot of giveaways, but this one will be huge! Don’t forget, you can sign up for all the updates here on the blog. Just sign up at the top right with your email. Don’t worry I wont sell your email or spam you. As Sweet Brown would say, “Ain’t nobody got time fo dat”!

Oh, I almost forgot, I made this MEME a few weeks ago. I am a fan of the show Futurama, and I am also a beard fan. I happened to lean down on my beard and this is what I thought.

Auto Mechanic Beard

Pontiac Engine Build

Hey everyone. Welcome to the first Shot Shots of 2014. Like most of you, it is record cold where I am. I left for work yesterday to an insane 11 degrees. This type of weather can make cars do weird things. Like not shift into gear, or have the battery just die. Please stay safe out there. If you don’t have to travel, DON’T!

I know that Shop Shots is normally a Wednesday post. It turns out that I fell asleep at my computer on Tuesday night. I woke up to my wife yelling at me. She is actually making fun of me about it right now. Now that she has had her fun, its time for the first pictures of 2014.automotive repair with duct tapeIt is always a fun time to see car repairs with Duct Tape. This is the back side of a Passat head light. Someone attempted to install non factory HID headlights. I am generally a fan of HID headlights. I have them installed in my Passat. But these type of kits usually require some modification. Lucky for the customer I was able to get the light seated and installed properly. The bad part is, the adjuster for the headlight was broken. That means the inside of the light just bounces around. The fix? A simple zip tie.

Volkswagen Paint Defects

From the factory Volkswagen has excellent paint. It is among the best in the industry. There is a Honda dealer next to mine. If you look at a new Honda vs a new VW, you can see VW paint is overall a better job. That being said, I have seen paint issues on VWs. This car came in for the first service and for us to look at the dark spot you see here. There was some type of sometime under the clear coat. It is funny, you see something like that and you can’t help but try and wipe it off.

Pontiac Engine BuildLast up is another picture of my buddies engine. I have posted pictures of his car a few times before. He is coming dangerously close to finishing the engine rebuild. He is really taking care to build an engine that near factory. He is doing something similar to what I did with the VR swap. Paint every part, and take the time to get it done right. Also, I am in love with those black valve covers.

That about does it for the first Shop Shots of 2014. I am really excited to kick off this year. I do think that this will be the biggest year for all of us yet. Big things are coming and it will be a wild ride. If you want to help our community grow, please consider sharing the blog. I am sure you know some folks that truly care about their cars. Remember that much of what we talk about applies to all cars, not just VWs.

VW oil problem

Happy Wednesday everyone. As I am writing this, I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Christmas is next week. That means this will most likely be the last volume of Shop Shots of the year. I know that you are probably weeping. Don’t worry Shop Shots is not going anywhere. In fact next year should be the biggest year yet for all of us. Let’s get to it.

VW oil problemThe story behind this picture is one of those “you have to be kidding me” moments. A customer stopped by the dealer. He was driving through and the check engine light came on in his 2012 Passat. We worked him in because he was just passing through. When I pulled the car in the shop, it sounded a little funny. I started scanning the car for faults. While the scan tool was doing it’s thing, I popped the hook to have a look.

With the hood up, I found the reason the check engine light was on. It turns out the customer had his car serviced before his road trip. He made it 900 some miles before the check engine light came on. The place that serviced his car did not put the oil cap back on. Luckily it was just sitting by the wipers. The car’s ECM had faults stored for an air leak. Leaving the oil cap off creates a pretty good sized air leak. 🙂 I am just shocked he made it so far before the check engine light came on.

Clogged VW cooling systemNext up is a common issue that is taken to a level I have never seen. This is a shot of a coolant bottle on a 2003 Passat. I have seen quite a few 1998-2005 Passats have issues with cooling systems getting clogged up. It usually comes in with a “My heat does not work” complaint. Over time coolant breaks down and starts to block up the system. This prevents coolant from properly flowing in the system.

In this picture you can see just how clogged up the system got. This is a shot down into the coolant reservoir. I am pretty sure I have not seen a system this clogged. The customer declined making an repairs. I think it was a good choice on her part.

VW seat wiring problemLast up we have a VW wiring problem. This one was a good one. The customer complained about the seat moving while driving. He said that sometimes the seat would move forward or back all by itself. It car has power seats. The car had been in 2 other times for the same issue. We were never able to duplicate the issue. But the car had a fault stored in the computer that controls the seat. We had replaced the seat memory buttons, and the module. I pulled the seat out to inspect the wiring. Hidden in the seat rail was a wire that had a been grounding against the frame. Basically the car was seeing the button being pushed. Kind of funny really. I guess this is one of the electrical demons everyone talks about.

Well, that wraps it up for the final Shop Shots of 2013. I really do love posting Shop Shots. It is the most fun for me. If you like Shop Shot, please sign up for email updates. It is the best way to be sure you get all the blog updates.

Cover up car damage with stickers

Hey folks. Today we are back in action with Shop Shots! For Those of you that are new to the blog, let me tell you a little about Shop Shots. It started early in the blog about 2 years ago. I posted a few pictures of some fun things I seen at the shop. With some input from the early readers(love you guys) we decided to make it a weekly thing. One of the earliest readers of the blog came up with the name. Thanks for that Brett! Here we are 64 volumes later, and rocking along. Let’s do it to this.

 Cover up car damage with stickersFirst up is not the craziest thing I have ever seen. But since I am a hockey fan, I got a good laugh from it. This is the front bumper from a new Golf. I didn’t want to peel off the sticker to see what the damage looked like. Gotta love cool sticker placement, and DIY car repairs. 😉

Wood blocks on the gas pedal

This is one of the funniest things I have seen in my working career. You are looking at the pedals from a 2002 VW Cabrio. They look a little funny because they have wood blocks strapped to them. Yep, wood blocks! I remember hearing the joke about little old ladies needed to sit on phone books, or put blocks on the pedals. Never in my life did I think I would actually see it. If there is ever a “Best of Shop Shots” This picture should be on it. Big thanks to a fellow VW tech Howie for letting my use this picture.

dirty smelly carThis picture is one I took last week. You are looking at the passenger side floor of a Jetta Sportwagen. Let me point out a few things you can see in the picture.

  • pistachio shells
  • several straw wrappers
  • leaves
  • a Starbucks coffee topper
  • Lots of weird white hair
  • a Wendy’s wrapper
  • console trim that is falling off
  • And the icing on the cake A BOTTLE OF AIR SANITIZER!

As luck would have it, I had the pleasure of replacing the pollen filter in this car. The filter lives just behind the glove box. The bigger issue I have is that someone would keep their car like this, and just buy some spray to cover it up. I can tell you all that the spray didn’t help. This is one of those times I put a cover down to keep me clean.

Well, that wraps up this weeks Shop Shots! Now that the Cabby is in a good place, I can get back to a more regular posting schedule. I can also get back to the PODCAST!

Non VW engine rebuild

Dubs For A Cause

Hi everybody(Hi Dr Nick) 😀 Sorry, I am a big Simpsons fan. It’s Wednesday, so let’s do some Shop Shots. Before we get to the shots, I have a couple of things to let you guys know.

Dubs For A Cause.
You might have seen the banner on the right side of the blog. It is a car show and charity event. If you are in the NC area, consider coming out and supporting a great cause.

Giveaway Winner
I did a giveaway on Facebook this weekend. You guys blew me away with the amount of shares and love! It made for an incredibility awesome weekend! The winner at random was Andrew Preston. Dude, contact me so I can send you the stuff. Seriously I can’t tell you how awesome you guys are. There will be more giveaways coming soon!

New Camera
Up until this point, all of my pictures were taken with my Iphone 4s. I switched phones last week. Now the pictures will be taken with my Galaxy S4. Not really super important, but many of you ask me about pictures and videos and pictures.

Volkswagen Water DamgeI have posted a lot of pictures of VWs with water damage. I have even posted pictures of control modules fried from water damage. This time it’s a little different. This is the first Pheaton I have seen with water damage. The Pheaton would not start. Then sometimes, it would try and start by itself. It is always scarey when a car tries to start by itself. This module lives under the carpet on the drivers side. I still can’t figure out why a car company would put a computer under the carpet. This one is not even in a protective box.

Vw Pheaton Headlight Let’s keep with the Pheaton theme. This was actually sent to me by a fellow tech. He was replacing a headlight bulb in a Pheaton. This may not come as a huge surprise, but replacing a headlight on a Pheaton is not a simple task. To replace the headlight bulb, you have to remove the headlight. To remove the headlight, the bumper cover must be removed.

I sometime wonder if car makers build cars just to screw with the techs working on them. LOL!

Non VW engine rebuildOkay, so if you are a VW fan, you know this is not a Volkswagen engine. It is a pictures of my friend’s freshly rebuilt Pontiac engine. Now, you might not be a muscle car fan. But that is okay. I posted this picture because there is something so beautiful about a freshly rebuilt engine. This engine had the works done, new, cam, new pistons, new bearings, a fresh paint job. The engine will be pretty awesome when she is done.

That does it for Shop Shots! Another awesome week of behind the scenes pictures. I just want to thank you all again for the amazing response from the contest on Facebook. I can’t say enough how much you guys rock!