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

Failed Volkswagen water pump

Happy Wednesday everyone! Like always, we have the behind the scenes pictures from a VW dealership. I hope you all know how much I like doing these Wednesday posts. I try to capture all the fun things that happen in a service department. Well, all the stuff that is clean enough to share anyway 😉

Body work on a VWI have talked before about signs of body work on a car. The things that you need to look for before buying any car, new or used. Here is a classic example of what that can look like. The hatch of this Jetta has been hit. I don’t know the story, but I can see the results. From the factory, most car makers paint all the nuts and bolts that hold the body together. Things like fenders, hoods, and doors generally have the the fasteners painted. Checking for the paint missing or broken like these are can give clear evidence of body work.

If a car just had some cosmetic damage, you probably will not see this. There is no reason to remove a fender to fix a scratch. Most body shops will fix that right on the car. Also know that even new cars can have this. They should not be selling them as new, but I know some places will.

TDI VW pump failureThis is a picture of the fuel tank on a new TDI diesel Jetta. The trucking company mis-fueled the tanks. Because of that, the customer filled their car with gasoline. This one was not the customers fault. It was not a HPFP failure, it was clearly a car that had been mis-fueled.

When I removed the in tank fuel pump, I found all this debris. It seemed to be dirt. I am not exactly sure what the heck it was, but it was everywhere. It was stuck in the pump, and all throughout the tank. I was able to clean it all out. That meant I got to bury my face in a gas tank for about 30 minutes. There are 2 lessons we can learn from this

  1. Be careful where you fill up your tank. You might be filling it with the wrong fuel or pumping contaminants into your tank.
  2. Never under estimate how important a fuel filter is. If there was not a filter on the in tank pump, or near the engine, all this would have totally ruined the fuel system.

Very dirty car floor shop shots VWThis is the floor of a VW Jetta. As you can see it is covered in dirt, leaves, and pine needles. Normally I would not care one bit about that. This car had a recall to rewire the airbags in the seats. That means hanging out on the floor board of this car. You can also see the back seat was jam packed full of stuff.

I don’t really care if a customer has a clean car, or a dirty car. I am not really a fan of smelly cars, but that is another story. I do not really care for working on the floor of a car that is covered in nasty. If you are planning to bring your car in, please at least pick it up a little.

Failed Volkswagen water pumpI want to wrap up today with this. What you are looking at is a water pump from a 2001 VW Jetta 2.0l. This is a very common point of failure on that engine. The reason is the impeller is plastic. It is molded onto a metal shaft. Over time the plastic breaks loose and the pump stops pumping. If your mechanic tells says your water pump has failed, this may be what it looks like.

Another round of Shop Shots in the books. Be sure you do not miss next weeks volume. We are doing a best of and that will be super fun! Also, I have a few things I want to giveaway, but you will need to tune in next week to see what they are. I may drop a hint or two on Facebook in the mean time. 😛

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Shop Shots loose Bolt VW

Hi everyone. It’s Wednesday so we are rocking and rolling on some Shop Shots. I am also running a little behind to day. I have spent the day hanging a TV over our fireplace. Something that should be fairly simple, but running the wires was kind of a pain. All right, let’s dive in to this weeks automotive pictures.

This one comes from a fellow VW tech. I don’t recall what car it came from. This is a picture of a bolt jammed into an intake valve. If you think that it looks really clean you would be right. This car only had about 150 miles on it. I didn’t get the entire story on how this came about. But really, a freaking bolt laying in the engine? How does that even happen?

This pictures might be a little tricky to see. This car came in for an intermittent no start. The first time around we put a battery in the car. At that time it would start every time. This time it got towed in and would not start. Not only would it not start, but it was totally dead. We even tried t jump start it, and it was still dead.

The mechanic working on the car just happened to smack the fuse block. When he did that, the car switched on. We pulled the fuse block out trying to find the the loose connection. It got to the point where we could get the car to switch off, but could not find the wire. Finally I pealed back the tape in the wiring harness. I gave the big red wire a slight tug and pulled this big wire from the loom(focus on the top left of the pic). A few crimps and the car is good to go. We really got lucky finding that issue. It could have been one of those stories that went the wrong way for a long time.

For some reason this week has been full of weird tire issues. This is a bent piece of steal jammed through a tire. I have never seen a metal rod this size stuck in a tire. It was a little bigger around than a Sharpie marker.

We could not tell if the rod was bent before going into the tire, or because it was in the tire. There were not any witness markings on the rim. This is not a tire that we felt comfortable repairing. We just replaced it. It is funny to see a shop full of techs that have lots of years experience stand around and say, “Wow I have never seen that before”.

The other one I posted to the Facebook page yesterday. Swing by and check it out. 😛 That wraps up this weeks volume of Shop Shots. I am thinking of doing something cool for Volume 40. Throw me some ideas. A recap, best of the best, giveaway? What do you guys got? Post it in the comments, and let’s make #40 awesomer than normal.

Resealed VW headlight

It’s Shop Shots time! I hope that you are all having a great Wednesday. Today is my first day back in the shop. I spent the weekend with my wife and one of our dogs in Asheville, NC. It is really one of my favorite places to visit. If you ever have a chance to get out that way, please do it. You will not regret it.

Alright enough about me, let’s get into some of the pictures for this week.

Leaves on a VW that cause a water leakWhat you are looking at here is a water leak waiting to happen. This is a pile of leaves on the cowl panel of a VW Jetta Sport Wagon. I have posted pictures of this before, but since the leaves are falling, I wanted to remind you about it. This can cause water to no drain properly. If that happens you can have water run into the car instead of away from the car.

Be sure to pop the hood on your car and check for this type of debris build up. A few seconds to check can save on a big repair bill later on. It should come as no surprise that water leaks can get really expensive. I have seen more than one car totaled because of water damage. This is a really easy thing that anyone can check for.

Broken and wrong VW sparg plugI am all about saving money and getting good deals. I am also cool with some parts not being factory VW parts. There are times where you must have the right deal. If you put a non factory pollen filter in your car, worst thing that will happen is it will not fit perfect. No big deal. Spark plugs are one of many parts that must be the right thing.

This is a picture of an Auto-lite plug. This spark plug costs a dollar or two. Compare that to a factory VW spark plug which can be $20 or more. The dollar savings is crystal clear. However Auto-lite spark plugs don’t work in VW engines. They almost always cause the vehicle to misfire. This is the worst Auto-lite(read this an ought-a-light and in it should work but does not 🙂 ) The plug on the left broke when the tech was taking it out. He had to use an extractor to get the threaded part of the plug out of the cylinder head. Luckily he was able to remove it with no damage to the engine.

Resealed VW headlightFirst I have to tell you that I didn’t take this pictures. I got it from a fellow VW technician. I don’t have all the details of the headlight, but it was too awesome to not share. This is a headlight that someone “repaired”. They used expansion foam to make a repair. I am not sure if the clips that held the headlight together broke, or the clips that hold the headlight in place broke. Either way, it is a classic “don’t try this at home”.

Carbon build up in VW engineFinally I this for you all. This is a shot of the back of intake valves on a 2.0t engine. This car came in because it was misfiring when it was cold. We checked the maintenance and it was all up to date. With our scan tool, we can go in and look to see the conditions the car was under when the check engine light came on. Things like

  • Engine temperature
  • RPM
  • Engine load
  • Speed
  • The gear the transmission was in
  • Air temp
  • And many other readings

We could not find any other reason that the car would be misfiring. The mechanic next to me removed the intake manifold and found this. Carbon build up on the back of the intake valves. I don’t want to say that this is a common thing, but it is not the first one I have seen. We were able to clean the valves and get this customer back on the road. It is a messy job, but make a world of difference in power and fuel economy.

That does it for another round of Shop Shots. I hope that you all enjoyed the pictures this week. I know I say it all the time, but I love doing theses posts.

VR6 Cylinder head damage

Wednesday, to many it is known as “hump day”. For all of us, it is one of the best days of the week. That”s right, it is Shop Shots time. Today we jump behind the scenes to see a side of automotive service you will not see anywhere else. Alright, let’s get this ball rolling.

VR6 Cylinder head damageBefore I tell you all about this picture, I need you to know something. There are many times that I put these pictures into the post and seriously laugh out loud. This is one of them LOL!

This is a picture of a 4valve VR6 cylinder head. You might notice that it looks a little strange. Yep, it is covered in duct tape. You may know it as hurricane tape, riggers tape, or (my favorite) 100-mph tape. So you might be wondering why the bottom of a cylinder head is covered in Duct Tape. Well here is the skinny. I posted a few pictures of a VR6 engine all torn apart. This is the top end of that same engine.

We sent the cylinder head to the machine shop to have it checked for damage. While it was at the machine shop, VW decided that they would pay for a new engine. That left us needing to reassemble the cylinder head. We couldn’t find the right tool to properly install the valve and other cylinder head parts. So what is the solution? Duct tape of course. He was able to tape the valves to help secure them while he reassembled the cylinder head. Don’t worry, this engine will not be installed in a car before a complete rebuild.

I posted this picture on Facebook the other day, but I didn’t explain it completely. You are looking at the back window of a 2006 Beetle convertible. The Beetle convertible is equipped with several safety systems. Because the convertible does not have a hard roof, VW has built extra safety features in to it.

You are looking at the rear headrest in the extended position. When the Beetle is involved in a crash, the rear headrests pop up. This provides added support on the roof. There is a picture that I have seen with a big pickup truck resting on this support. These supports are no joke.

Clogged VW pollen filterThis is a VW pollen filter. This filter is completely clogged up with all kinds of nasty stuff. This filter is actually inside the car. So all the dirt and sticks would be inside the cabin of the car, if not for this filter. I was not the one that replaced this filter, but I bet the car was pretty smelly. Just imagine having to breathe this junk. No thank you.

Custom VW seatRemember the picture at the top? Remember that I said we were replacing the engine? When VW ships an engine, the do a great job packing it with this foam. The shop has been a little on the slow side over the past few weeks, and that is when the shenanigans tend to start.

We decided that making a “custom” seat would be the best use of all this foam. I am not gonna lie, it was very comfy. It did however have a strange smell. I would not recommend sitting on it for that long. We try to be professional, but sometimes you just gotta get some fun time in.

Dubs for a CauseOne last thing. If you are in the Raleigh,NC area please come to this event. Just grab a few canned goods and come out to meet some great Dub folks. I will be there in the early afternoon. You may also notice the logo on the bottom right. Yep, I am one of the official sponsors of the show. So come out, say hi, and support a really good cause.

There you have it, another week of Shop Shots in the books. I hope to see as many of you as possible at the “Dubs For A Cause” in a few weeks.

2003 VW passat Water leak

It’s Wednesday and you all know what that means, Shop Shots! These are the pictures that will you not see anywhere else. Maybe that is a good thing(HAHA). Who else will show you all the crazy things that happen to people’s cars? Okay, let’s do this.

Timing Chain Damage VR6 VolkswagenLast week I posted a picture of a VR6 that was taken apart. One of the bolts backed out and the timing chain came off. This is one of the covers that covers the timing chain. The bright part is where the chain was slapping against the cover. This is just the tip of the ice burg. Like I said last week there where several bent valves, among other damage.

The update is VW is buying this customer a brand new engine. The customer is paying some of the cost. I don’t know the exact numbers. I can tell you it is nowhere near the $7000+ that she was expecting to pay. I am really happy that VW stepped up and helped this customer out. It is great when a really VW helps a customer that truly loves their car. By the way, I think the engine alone was about $6500, ouch!

2003 VW passat Water leakIt has been a long time since I posted a VW water leak picture. The last one was a Touareg water leak. That is actually a good thing. Water leaks can be one of the most awful things to deal with, both for the customer and the mechanic. I have seen many cars totaled because of water damage. Plus they stink!

These are the connectors for a 2003 VW Passat convenience module. That module controls all the convenience features(D’uh?). Things like power windows and lock, and the vehicle alarm system. The connectors are covered in corrosion. That makes for very poor connections. This is something that is generally repairable. It involve replacing all 40 or so wires in the connectors. Generally replacing about 6inches of wire as well. This customer decided to no repair the vehicle. Sadly, another VW bites the dust.

Worn out VW tireThis goes into the “bad news” category. We have talked tires before. This is where the parts of the tire separate. This is very very dangerous, and begging for a tire blow out. The tire is several worn on the inner edge. If you look at the right side of the picture, you see the outer edge of the tire. It still has some tread. Granted, it not in great shape, but not as bad as the inner edge. When inspecting tires, you need to check the whole tire.  Thankfully, this customer replaced all 4 tires.

That wraps it up for this week. Another round in the books. I hope you all enjoyed the pictures this week. I am still taking your pictures for the Readers Rides. You can use the Contact me form, or just email me Charles(at)humblemechanic(dot)com.

Are you on instagram? If so, let me know. I post a few more pictures during the week. Just search humblemechanic and follow me. I also like to follow what other folks are posting.

Driving Bart Simpson

Hey everyone. I hope that you are all having a great week so far. I am back in the shop today. Last weekend was my long weekend off. Ah the beauty of a 4 day work week. Okay, let’s get these pictures rolling. One more thing, I emailed the winner of the tray again. If I don’t hear from them by the end of the day, I will pic another winner.

Blown up Turbocharger TDIThis nasty mess is the outlet side of a failed TDI turbocharger. Normally this would be nice and shiny looking If you look close you can see he blades of the turbine. They are caked with oil sludge and carbon build up. I am not really sure what caused this to happen, or how long the customer had been driving the car like this. When it came into the shop, it was smoking like crazy.

The shaft that connects the compressor wheel and the turbine wheel broke. The turbine wheel is what you are looking at here. It is completely seized. We tried moving it with a hammer and it would not budge. The fix for this issue, anew turbocharger.

Driving Bart SimpsonYou may or may not know this, but I am a pretty big fan of The Simpsons. So when I seen this I had to snap a picture of it. This was a 4ft tall stuffed Bart Simpson. So big in fact that it would not fit in the trunk of this New Jetta. I have no idea where the customer got it, or why they still had it, but I think it’s pretty cool. If it were next week I would assume they won it at the State Fair. We may never know the truth. I just like seeing fun stuff like this.

Failed Chains on VW VR6I posted this to Facebook earlier today, but I wanted to tell more of the story here. This is the carnage of a VR6 engine. The bolt for the oil pump backed out of the pump. This caused the crankshaft to turn, but the cam shafts to stay still. This is equivalent to a timing belt breaking. The end result is 18 bent valves, a whole lot of gaskets and seals, and about 20+ hours of labor.

I have heard these make noise before. It get really loud long before engine damage occurs. Generally the MIL comes on too. I am not sure the exact circumstance with this one. I guess it doesn’t really matter, the damage is done.

Last up is a video I shot last week. Unlike the picture above, this shows a really lucky customer. One of the guys I work with called me over to check out a timing belt on a V8 Touareg. The belt was so loose that I could have taken it right off. I am not sure how the belt was even on the engine. It looked as if the tensioner failed. Seriously, this is one lucky customer.

Well that wraps up another Shop Shots. Don’t forget you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter. It is really easy, just click one of the little icons to the right, or to the left if you are reading upside down.

Volkswagen radio button pealing

Hey folks! Wednesday is here and you know what that means. It’s Shop Shots day! As always, these are your behind the scenes pictures of Volkswagen service. Also, make sure you read the entire post. I have something special at the end 😉

Volkswagen radio button pealingIf you own a 2005-2008 or so VW, then this will look really familiar. This is a radio from a 2006 VW Jetta with the radio buttons peeling. The black “soft touch” has peeled off, it almost looks like it melted. This happened on some of the switches in the car too. My thought was that chemicals we put on our hands, lotions, and anti-bacterial, accelerated the wear on the buttons.

The buttons are not replaceable individually. I have heard of companies that can replace the face of the radio so you could keep the stock look. Like with any factory radio issues. I think you are better getting a good aftermarket radio. You will get more features at a better price.

Strange Volkswagen PartsI was walking through the parking lot one day last week and walked past this little part bag. I happen to read it while walking by. It took a second for my brain to catch up and realize that the description was something weird. I had to walk back and pick it up. DRUCKTASTE, what the heck does that mean? Since I do not know German, it was Google Translate to the rescue.

It turns out that DRUCKTASTE means PUSHBOTTON. This was a package for a trunk release button. In all the years I have worked for VW, and all the push buttons I have replaced. I never noticed what the package said. That is your German lesson for today.

Smashed VW Transmission PanI feel like I post a lot of smashed VW engine oil and transmission pans. This pan is from a 2007 or so Beetle. If you look at the lower left part of the picture, you can see some grass smashed up into the sub frame. This car had ran off the road. The good thing for the customer is they didn’t break the pan. It smashed it, but there is no fluid leaking.

The thing to be concerned about is the damage to parts behind the pan. There are electronics that live on the other side of that pan. Any impact can destroy them. That makes for a very unhappy transmission. I am surprised there is not a fluid leak.

Okay, you might be wondering why I am posting a picture of a Snap-on cake pan. Well this is actually a really cool Snap-on magnetic tray. I got this from my tool dealer a while back. I am so excited to reach 33 volumes of Shop Shots. I want to give this away. So here is how you can get this tray.

  1. Share this post on Facebook. You can either click the icon at the bottom of the post, or share it when from my Facebook post.
  2. Tweet this post out. If you are on Twitter.
  3. Share the post on your website or blog.
  4. Pin ANY of the pictures on the post.
  5. Sign up for email updates. See the upper right corner. If you are signed up already, I will give you an entry.

It is really just that easy. You can enter as many times as you share the post. Just post a comment here and let me know how you shared. I will draw someone at random and send them this brand new Snap-on tray! It is just a small token of my appreciation for all of you! I will pick a winner Friday evening 10/05/12!