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

VW Fender liner repair

Hi everyone. We are back to the regularly scheduled programming with Shop Shots. I was just thinking, if you ever want to go back and see some of the older pictures, just click “Shop Shots” under the header at the top of the page. That will take you through all 46ish volumes. Some times it is fun to take a look back at the older stuff. Okay, let’s get rolling

VW Fender liner repairI posted this to Facebook last week. I know that some of you don’t follow the FB page and I didn’t want anyone to miss this. You are looking at a wheel house(or fender) liner from 2004 Jetta. Someone used zip ties to “sew” the liner back together. That means they took the time to drill 42 little holes, then weave some zip ties through. All to reattach a broken fender liner.

Part of me thinks it was a total waste of time and zip ties. A new fender liner is about $75. The time and energy was much more than $75 worth. On the other hand, it was very well done. The repair was pretty strong. Plus we all have something to talk about. Bravo for being industrious.

Subaru engine damageIf you really know your VW engine, you are thinking, “Wait, this doesn’t look right”. That is because it is the engine out of a Subaru Legacy. the dealer sold an older Legacy a few weeks ago. I am not sure what happened but it came back overheating. After some diagnostics, the tech working on it found one of the 2 head gaskets blown. You can see VR6 damage from a blown head gasket here.

The tech took the heads off and replaced the head gasket. When reinstalling the parts, something failed. When he started the engine, one of the valves fell down in the cylinder. You can see the witness marks on the piston. Those shiny silver marks should not be there. That is the damage from valve hitting piston.

WARNING the next pic may not be suitable for everyone. (drug content)


Okay I warned you!

Drugs found in VW carI gave the warning because some folks are sensitive to this type of thing. I had to remove the back seat from a Beetle convertible last week. When I pulled the seat bottom up, this pipe rolled out. It was actually a pretty good hiding spot.

I don’t really care what people keep in their cars. It is their car so do what you want. Just know that if you keep this kind of thing, the entire shop comes to check it out. Then we get a big time laugh out of it. HA.

Well, that about does it for today’s Shop Shots. One quick thing. I posted yesterday’s blog post to FB around 9:00am. For some reason FB did not post it to the wall. If you want to avoid any of that mess, the best way is to subscribe. Use the box on the top right. I don’t sell or spam your email. It just makes sure you get posts when they are released. I will also do little things for the subscribers from time to time. 😉

Accident damage to Nissan

No, you are not going crazy, it is actually Friday. We generally do Shop Shots on Wednesday, but there is little scheduling change for this week. If you are a new reader, first welcome, and let me tell you a little about Shop Shots. This is your look inside a VW dealership’s service department. It should come as no surprise that mechanics see some strange things. I wanted to find a way to show and tell these things. And Shop Shots was born. Thanks again to Brett for coming up with the name.

VW Shifter buttonsThese crack me up every time I see them. They are just stickers that go over the blanks. The one at the top is for a radar detector. What a cool spot to put that. If you were to have your own stickers made, what would they be?

Damage to VW Golf ROUCH! Living in the south means we do not get much snow. I think that is a good thing. Working under a car with snow dripping down your back is an awful feeling. Plus we do not have the equipment to maintain the roads like you folks up north do. Every time we get a winter storm, our shop will see things like this.

This is the rear end of a new Golf R. For those of you that may not be VW people, the Golf R is an all wheel drive version of the Golf/GTI. It is also has a bit more horsepower. And for you super VW folks, yes there are more differences, but those are the big two. The driver of this car slid into a curb. The result was:

  • 2 bent arms on the rear suspension
  • A damaged rear wheel
  • And a ruined rear wheel bearing

It doesn’t sound like that much, but the bill totaled about $3000. Thank goodness for car insurance.

Accident damage to NissanHere is another one for the OUCH category. This is a brand new Nissan Altima. A sales person and a customer were test driving the car. From what I understand, the customer ran a stop sign and hit a Toyota. The Toyota had damage from the right front to the right rear. Thankfully everyone was okay.

This picture is pretty interesting. You can see the car did what it was suppose to. The metal is pushed in a way that absorbs the impact. The design behind crumple zones is really fascinating to me. I did a post a while ago about vehicle safety systems. I recommend checking it out.

I think that about wraps up another week of pictures. I do have other thing. If you have been reading for a while, you might remember the interviews that we did. It featured folks in the industry talking about their job, and their experiences in the auto industry. You can go back and read all the “Behind The Wrench” interviews by clicking the link. I want to get that going again. Here is what I am looking for.

  • Automotive technicians, it can be at ANY level. Brand new, still in school, seasoned vet, dealership, indy performance
  • Custom audio folks
  • Body Shop techs
  • Performance shops, talking about what you do
  • Indy shops, talking about how you are different
  • Anyone else in the industry. I want to get all points of view.

The reason I am doing this is for the readers. I want everyone to know how each part of the industry works. It will be an amazing to hear from the folks that do this all day everyday. If you are someone, or know someone, please contact me!

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.

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.

Volkswagen sunroof water leak

Happy Wednesday everyone. Thanks for tuning in to this weeks Shop Shots. These are some of the behind the scenes pictures from a VW service department. You will see cars torn apart. The crazy way that things break, and the goofy things that customers do to their cars.

Broken Bushings on a 2003 PassatI have been asked what a damaged/worn bushing looks like many times before. I finally got a great picture of what that looks like. This is an upper control arm on a 2003 Passat. If you look right at the tip of the arrow I added, you will see a crack. That crack runs all around the bushing.

This car came in with a suspension noise. The more you turned the wheel, the worse the noise got. Broken bushings can cause a clunk, squeak, or thud. When a bushings breaks like this it puts more strain on the rest of the suspension. That can cause premature wear on the other components. This Passat got new control arms that come with new bushings.

Heater core replacement PassatLet’s keep the Passat theme rolling. This Passat came in for a water leak. After some checking, the mechanic next to me found that the heater core was leaking. The heater core is a small radiator behind the dash of your car. Coolant moves through the heater core. As air moves across the heater core it is heated. Bam, your car has heat.

In order to replace a leaking heater core, the dash must come out of the car. It’s almost like the heater core is installed, then the rest of the interior is installed around it. The job is not that bad. It’s a lot of parts to take off. The only bad thing is these cars are getting old. That means the plastic trim can be brittle, and break very easy. We generally have to tell customers there may be some breakage. Sadly it’s almost unavoidable.

Volkswagen sunfoor water leakHere is a rare shot of a water leak in action. You are looking behind the headliner of a Tiguan. This tube is the drain tube. All VW sunroofs have a channel to catch any water that makes it past the seal. Some times the tube gets clogged, and water backs up in the channel. The water will leak past the drain tube on to the headliner.

The repair for this is to add a sealant to the tube. It’s a pretty easy repair. The worst part about this job is cleaning up the water.

Engine damage from low oil pressureWe don’t see a ton of internal engine damage. When we do, it’s generally pretty cool to see. This is a bearing for the cam shaft. The cam shaft does not ride on the bearing. It actually rides on a very thin film of oil. Many times we don’t know exactly what happened here. When we pulled the oil pan down, there were little ribbons on metal in the oil. It looks like some of that metal got into the bearing.

Because we never found the exact cause of the damage, we have to quote an engine and turbo charger. If we were just to quote the top end of the engine, we might have missed the actual failure.

Well that wraps up another volume of Shop Shots. I try and say it from time to time, but this is totally my favorite posts to do. I have a few other updates for you guys. As some of you know, we put our house up for sale a few weeks ago. We sold our house in about 40 hours. We also found a new place. We will be moving in January. I am sure there will be a new blog coming. I want to catalog all the things that we do to the property.

Beetle in a Volkswagen

Hey everyone, it’s Shop Shots time. Now before you go crazy, it is not Wednesday. Yep, we are running a day late on the pictures this week. As I have mentioned before, we have been working night and day to get our house ready for sale. Well today is the day that we officially went up for sale. The good thing is, all our projects are done. It is just a matter of keeping the house spotless. On a plus note, we are looking for a place with a shop 🙂

Broken VW PassatThis goes in the “glad no one got hurt” category. A truck driver was picking this car up to ship to another dealer. From what I understand(I didn’t see it happen) the car rolled back and caught part of the truck.

The window frame is totally mangled. I was pulling a car around the building and see a guy driving a Passat with a funny looking window. I had to pull over and snap a picture for you guys. This Passat will most likely be getting a new door. Again, glad no one got hurt, other than the drivers feelings.

Bad VW sunroof drainClogging sunroof drains is an issue on many VWs. The A4(or Mk4) platform Jetta, Golf, and Beetle had recalls to clean and remove the tab on the drain. I think that the Passats of that generation had a similar recall. Or that repair was part of a recall.

This is from an old Jetta that came in with a ton of issues. I was clearing the check engine light and noticed this. There is a straw in the drain tube . Why you ask. I have no idea. I guess to keep water flowing out of the car, instead of into the car. This is one of the type of things that you have to call everyone in the shop over to look at. Who knows, maybe they are on to something.

Beetle in a VolkswagenSadly I could not get a picture of this little guy where I found him. I opened the hood of a Jetta. Hanging from the washer fluid line was a horned beetle. I am not sure exactly what type of beetle he is, but I thought he looked cool.

I grabbed my phone and tried to snap a picture of him hanging. Right about that time, he fell into the cowl pan. I had to fish him out so I could show everyone. So here he is, the little beetle chilling on top of my laptop. 🙂

That does it for this week’s Shop Shots. I hope that you guys aren’t too mad at me for missing so many posts lately. If you have every sold a house or moved you know how crazy things get. Like I said before, we are done the the major stuff. That means I will be back full throttle!

Snap on Giveaway

Well, it is finally here Volume 40! What I want to do today is recap some of the best shots we have had this year. For those of you that are new to the community, let me explain. Shop Shots is your behind the scenes look at what a mechanic sees. Strange things happen to cars. Plus people do strange things to in their cars. I want everyone to see some of these crazy things. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom. I got something really fun for everyone(hint giveaway 😉 )Mold growing in a VW

This is a picture from a few years back. A customer brought their EOS in for a service, and they said there was mold on the seat belt. When I moved the seat to replace the sea belt this is what a found. A little mushroom set growing under the seat. The EOS had a water leak at some point. That made it damp enough to sprout some mushrooms.

This is a shot of the airbag on a Bently. This is still the most expensive car that I have ever worked on. It belonged to one of the owners of the dealer group that I work for. My general manager was driving it to his wedding.

On the way back from the wedding, the Airbag light came on. My boss asked me if I could check it out. I did my normal diagnostic routine, and found that the fault was for the drivers airbag. I started to take the airbag off and found something familiar. It looked just like a VW Phaeton. Turns out, it is a fancied up Phaeton. Even down to the clock spring, it had the same part number and everything. Crazy right! So I was working on a $125,000 car, owned by the owner of the company, driven by the general manager of ~9 of the ~30 dealers in the company. No pressure right?? WRONG! I was tweaking out. I got everything worked out just fine.

While I love that mushroom picture, this is one of my all time favorites. It also confirms that all mechanics make mistakes no matter how good you are. The best mechanic in our shop was doing an alignment on this Beetle. In my shop, the alignment rack is right at the window where customers can look into the shop.

I don’t know exactly how this happened. From what I can gather, the mechanic was doing the alignment measurements. On our machine we have to move the wheels back and forth. When he turned the wheel it caught the edge of the rack and rolled off.

Of course the customer was standing at the window watching. No one was hurt. We sent the car to the body shop and had it fix for the customer. All in all the customer was cool about it. Everyone was really happy that no one got hurt. It could have been a very serious situation.

Volkswagen Jetta Seat Auto MechanicThis is one of the funniest things that I have seen. A customer brought his car in because his seat back would not adjust. As you can see he rigged up a bungee and pillow system to help him sit up right.

I drove the car into the shop and took a look at the seat. One of the first steps of the diagnostic process is to “verify the concern”. I turned the knob and the seat moved perfectly. I was able to move the seat back all the way forward and back. The car was operating properly.

There is a trick to adjusting the seat back on VWs. You have to lean forward off the seat back, then adjust the seat. The twist style knob is a little tricky to use. VW designed it that way because they say that it is safer.

Volkswagen car wash kit

Win this for finding the missing Shop Shot

I think that video pretty much speaks for itself.

Alright, I promised that I would do something special today. I want to do 2 giveaways. Here is how to play. You can enter both giveaways, but you can’t win both!

  1. Find the missing Shop Shots
    There is a missing volume number in the the series. Go through and find the volume number that I missed. Post the number that you think I missed in the comments. I will pick a random winner from those comments with the correct number. I will ONLY be counting posts here on the blog for this giveaway

    Snap on Giveaway

    Win this for sharing

  2. Share, tweet, Pin, Instagram
    Just like we did last time. Share this post on Facebook, or Tweet the post out. Keeping track of the tweets is easy. The best way to share on Facebook is to share the post I make on Facebook. If you share it from the site(one of the icons below or just with the link) please let me know. I don’t want to leave anyone out. If you Pin it it Pintrest, let me know.If you want to do Instagram, post one of these pictures, and give me a shoutout.

To  make sure that everyone has a chance to play, I will end this on Friday at 8pm eastern time. Okay, good luck and share it up!!!