Shop Shots Automotive serivce pictures

I feel like I have been posting  a lot of car pictures lately. But hey, pictures are fun right? I dug deep into the archives for some good pics today.

Shop Shots Automotive serivce picturesBOOST!!! This is a close up picture of a turbo charger. This is the side the exhaust bolts to. Turbos chargers are pretty easy to understand.

As exhaust gas exits the engine, it turns this little wheel. This wheel is connected to another wheel called the compressor wheel. This compresses the air coming into the engine. When the air is compressed, more air can fit into the cylinder. More air into the engine means more fuel can be used. More air+more fuel is more power!

This particular turbo is bad. the wheel came loose. It made one heck of a noise when boosted was built. Then is just stopped working all together.

Shop Shots Automotive serivce picturesWhat you are looking at here is a coolant flange. This is actually the coolant flange that I replaced on my Passat 1.8t. This is a pretty common things on most 4 cylinder VWs. The issue generally comes from engine oil.

How can oil make a coolant leak?

Excellent question. Generally what happens is oil leaks onto this flange. The oil will seep onto the seal. This will cause the seal to expand. This will eventually cause coolant to leak past the seal. This is one reason to not put off repairing an oil leak. It can cause a coolant leak too.

Shop Shots Automotive serivce picturesIt has taken me forever to find this picture. I know the quality is just awful. It was taken with my BlackBerry from years ago. We had a really bad storm at the dealership. It knocked over a few big trees and caused a ton of hail damage. This is an Accord that got totaled! The weird thing is, they put the tree back up. It is still standing today.

The other strange this is the damage that we had. There were 300+ Hondas that had hail damage. Plus the 3 or 4 that got totaled from this tree. We had 4 VWs that had hail damage. What does that say about the build quality of Honda vs Volkswagen?

Shop Shots Automotive serivce picturesI was going through the setup for our new VW diagnostic software. When these type of updates come out, I found it VERY necessary to follow the process step by step. This is a the list of our current scan tools. My dealer has the 5051B, and 2 6150 laptops. This is the first I have heard of the 6160 tablet. I can only assume that VW is coming out with some type of Ipad like device. How cool would it be to have an Ipad as the vehicle scan tool?

It also makes me wonder what the price point would be.Generally our scan tools cost a fortune. The 6150 laptop costs about $5000, and that is without the test equipment box. That is another $6000.

Well that wraps up another volume of Shop Shots in the books. I do need a little help from everyone. The help I need is pretty simple. I just need everyone to answer this question.

What do you buy for you, or your car online?

Tools? Car parts? Car wash stuff? I want to put together a little discount club for everyone. I want to make sure that I can include the things you guys want, or already buy. Just with a discount. Help me out everyone. I want to make this a really great program for you guys.


Mk3 VR6Jetta Auto Mechanic

As you all know, I have been working on a 1988 VW Cabriolet called Project Luv A Dub. When you are working with a car that is 25 years old parts can be tough or expensive to come by. So instead of hunting down things part by part, I was looking for a donor car.

I had planned on changing engines in the Cabby from day one. There are endless possibilities when it comes to swapping engine in that model VW. the only limiting factory is how much I want to pay. If budget were no obstacle, I would be putting the 1.4t fsi that is coming in the new hybrid Jetta. Since I am not rich I need a realistic swap. I figured I would just let the universe decide. When the right car came along, I would just use that engine and transmission.

I finally found the car. A 1998 Jetta with a VR6 engine. The add on Craigslist said it needed a head gasket. That is not something very common on any VW. I called the guy and we worked out a time to meet. He said he had another guy coming to look at it, but he would be willing to meet me too. This is were the story gets strange. So bare with me as you hear the tail of the VR~

The seller and I worked out a deal. I would pay him a few bucks more for him to meet me at a VW dealer. I know the service manager at a VW store one town over. We agreed to meet there. The seller called me around noon on Saturday. He told me the other guy was going to give him $300 more than I was, and he would not have to drive to meet the other guy.

This was an obvious attempt to get some more money out of me. Me being the guy I am, plus having watched Shark Tank the night before, I don’t play games like that. I told him to take the other guy’s offer, but call me if it fell through. Would you believe that the other deal fell through? Big shock right? The seller called me back and said that he wanted to sell me the car. Then he started freaking out telling me that I needed to promise to buy his car. A car a had not seen at this point.

I told him I would not do that. If he wanted to meet me he could, just like we agreed. He insisted on me meeting him at his house. Not being an idiot, I told him no, and that I was not interested in the car anymore.

Thinking that the whole thing was done, I get a call from the guy a few hours later. He tells me he will meet me where ever I want, he needs to sell the car. At this point I am not really interested in driving across town. The seller says the car will make it to my dealer and that he will meet me there. You might be shocked, but the car would not make it almost 50 miles with a bad gasket.

He calls me telling me that he will have to have the car towed. Again, I am not really thrilled with the buying this car, but its a pretty good deal. The seller show up an hour later than he said. First thing I notice, it is an AUTOMATIC! I asked the guy several times if it was a manual. So it seems he didn’t know the difference. We have some back and forth, and I tell him I don’t want the car.

At this point, he is begging me to buy it. What a change of events from trying to get more money from me. I tell him that I am only interested in the car for about $500. Surprisingly, he agrees and we make the deal. After some tax drama, and waiting I finally sign the title and the Jetta is now mine.

What a stressful ordeal over a few hundred dollars. My plan with the car is, take the parts I need for the cabby. Then part out the left over good parts. After that happens I will just send the Jetta to the crusher. I hate to see a VW go to the crusher, but it is a fitting end to a Jetta that has seen better days.

Next up, find a transmission for the car. I think I got that locked down. 🙂

Left Handed extranctor set Auto Mechanic

There comes a time in every mechanic’s life when something goes wrong. It might be a slightly rounded bolt head, or something really bad like a cleanly broken off stud. Today I want to show you guys some of the tools auto mechanics use when things go wrong.

Removing The Bolt

Outside Exctractors Auto Mechanic's Tools

I want to start out with my favorite extractors. We use these when bolt heads get damaged. It can be anything from rust, to a bolt head damaged from an accident. This extractor grabs the outside of a bolt. As you loosen the bolt, it grabs the bolt head even tighter. I find that this works the best. The only negative is, you need a fair amount of space to tap the extractor on. This set is from Craftsman. I highly recommend them!

Inside extractors Auto Mechanic tools

The next type of “Uh Oh” tools I use are inside extractors. These, believe it or not, grab on the inside of a bolt. I commonly use this on allen head bolts. They will fit inside the opening on the bolt head. Just like the outside extractors, the more you loosen the bolt, the tighter the extractor grabs. If I had my choice, I would use outside extractors. I use these when space is limited. This is a Snap-On set. From what I remember it costs a fortune.

Left Handed extranctor set Auto MechanicHere we have a drill bit and extractor set. This set functions the same way the inside kit from before does. I use these when a bolt breaks flush with a surface. I drill a hole with the drill bit, then use the extractor to remove the broken bolt. This set works really well on lower torque bolts. I have had little luck using this set when bolts are rusted, or require excess force. They also require a lot of room. You need to be able to fit a drill where ever you are working.

Power Extractors Auto MechanicThis is a Power Extractor Set. These go on the end of a drill. They are the same as the outside extractors as far as removing bolts. The only difference is they are meant to go on a drill, or other powered driver. I don’t use these much. I bought the set because a recall for B6 Passats. The extractor worked awesome on the bolts that we remove as part of the recall. Sadly, I don’t use them very much these days.

Repairing The Damage
Now that the damaged bolt, or whatever you are working with, is removed, it is time clean fix the damage. Here are some of the tools auto mechanics use to fix the damage.

Thread Chaser set Auto MechanicThis is a thread chaser set. Auto mechanics use this for cleaning threads on nuts, bolts and other fasteners. These are great for a quick clean up. They are not sharp enough to cut new threads, they will just get rid of any dirt, or burrs. I also use this on oil pans, to clean the threads and help the drain plug go in smooth!

Tap Set Auto Mechanic's toolsThis is a tap. You might have heard this type of tool referred to as a “Tap & Die Set”. The tap portion of the set is used to cut new threads in a bolt hole, or a nut. They are very sharp and very strong. If someone were to install a bolt incorrectly, and damage the threads, I would use the tap to cut new threads. Using the proper size tap is vital to doing the job right. If I were to cut new threads at the wrong pitch, I would destroy the new threads. THAT will make for a really bad day.

Die Set Auto Mechanic's toolsHere is the opposite of a tap. This is the die. I use this to cut new threads on bolts and studs. To be honest, I don’t use these all that much. I use them more like a thread chaser, to clean up bolts and studs. Usually, I will replace a damaged bolt before taking the time to cut new threads. 🙂

These type of tools are the “must have, but never want to use” tools. Every mechanic will have some, all, or more of the Uh Oh stuff, but trust me when I say, ” I don’t want to use them” 🙂


Dead Snake in a VW belly Pan Shop Shots

Time to get over “hump day” with some Shop Shots. All right, it’s time to get rollin~GTI button on a VW GTI


Check out the button on the far right. It says “GTI”. As you can imagine, that is not a normal button on a GTI. In this case, that “GTI” button was a push button start. Kinda cool right? I didn’t have a chance yo talk to the customer and see how he wired it up. It might have been a kit or something, I am not really sure. The part that I didn’t like was, you still had to put the key in the ignition. To me, it seems silly to have the push buttons start work that way. But hey, it is his car. I really do dig the button.

Dead Snake in a VW belly Pan Shop Shots


I was doing a service on a TDI this week. I started to take the belly pan off and a little tail peaking out. I could tell that whatever it was, was dead. Around the shop we were making bets on what it was. I am not an expert in creatures, so my guess was a gecko. When I took the pan all the way off, I found this little guy. Yep, that is dead snake. It looks like he was about a foot and a half when he was alive. That is the very first snake I have found in a car. As long as I don’t find any live snakes, I am good to go. 🙂

Damaged Engine Mount Shop Shots


Check out that picture framing. 😉 Lets start at the top left and more clockwise. The top left picture is a bolt hole in an engine mount. If you look carefully, you can see that all the top treads are missing. Compare that to the picture on the right. That is what a proper bolt hole looks like. Now check out the bottom picture. That is the bolt that came out. Here you can see some of the threads. When the mechanic removed the bolt some of the threads came with it. He didn’t do anything wrong. The threads were fatigued and failed. The bad part is, it cost the customer another $180, to buy a new mount.

I felt bad for the customer until I heard what she said about this. She told the service advisor that we were incompetent, and that other shops would have known this would happen. Well, here is the truth, NO other shops would not have found that before it happened. A bad shop would have rigged it up and never told her. We did the right thing, and I will stand behind that 100%.

CLick and Clack from Car Talk Shop Shots


When I heard the news that Click and Clack were not doing new shows I was pretty bummed. I love listening to these guys. The show is obviously less about car advise, and more about entertainment, but it had me listening for years and years. In 2008 my wife and I took a vacation to Boston. As luck would have it, Click and Clack were Emceeing a street fest in Harvard Square. We went to the festival and got a great spot. After the fest, I was able to sneak around the stage and chat with them for a minute. I am not really one to geek out over meeting people, but I was pretty dang excited.

Well, that wraps up the 20th edition of Shop Shots. I hope it helps everyone get through the mid-week blues. I know it does for me. Don’t forget to sign up for email updates. Just fill out the little box on the right side of the page. EASY! Oh, don’t worry about spam or any junk like that. I don’t do that crap.

Yesterday I was talking about customer service. I made mention of “topping off” your gas tank. I had a few folks ask what them means. So today we are talking about the common things that people do that can damage their car.

Not Doing Maintenance
This almost goes without saying, so I will keep it short and sweet. Skipping out on the proper maintenance can ruin your car. This also includes not checking your oil and tire pressure.

Not keeping your car clean.
Ok, I am really guilty of this one. Keeping a clean car will of course make your car hold up better. There is another side that most folks don’t consider. A clean car is awesome. When you keep your car clean, it feels like a newer car. This might not keep your car from breaking, but it will keep you happier in your car. I always love my Passat more when it’s clean, I just don’t like cleaning it.

Using your wiper blades to clear ice
I have to be honest, I am guilty of this one too. You know, that really cold morning where you have ice and snow built up on your windshield. You forgot to run out and start the car early. Now you have to make a mad dash to clean the windshield before your coffee gets cold. Most folks will jump in the car, jam the wipers on high.

This can do damage to your car in a few different ways. The extra wear on the wipers blades never a good thing. VW blades are about $20 each, you don’t want to put more stress on them than needed. There are more components that can be affected. Consider the wiper motor, and transmission. Yep, the wipers have a transmission. Anytime the wipers slow due to an outside influence, the motor and transmission are stressed. Extended stress can cause premature wear on both the motor and transmission. (The transmission is what the linkage for the wipers is called). To avoid the extra work done by the wiper system, just start your car early, or scrape your windshield.

Starting your car and “punching it”
Years ago, my dealer had a shuttle driver that would do this. He would start the shuttle van on a super cold morning. Then with out delay, slam it in drive and “punch it” As you can imagine, that is not a great thing for a car. I know that is an extreme example, but most of us are guilty.

The better way to get your car rolling is to let it run for a minute or so. Let the fluids circulate, and build pressure. You want to make sure that oil, coolant, and transmission fluid are flowing before you jam the gas and go

“Punching it” then shutting off your car
The flip side is letting your car cool down. This is much more critical for a turbo charged car. Letting your car idle for a minute before shutting it off, is a great habit to start. When your engine is running, all the fluids are moving. When they are moving, they are carrying heat away from the engine. When you just shut the car off, all that heat is trapped. This can cause the engine oil to break down faster and “coke”. When oil “cokes” it will harden. This is one of the big issues with the B5-B5.5 Passats. Not only will it speed up the break down of oil, it will clog the oil passages. Remember, no oil = sad engine!

“Topping up” your fuel tank
Ah yes, the worst one so far! Let us talk about what “topping up” really is. If you set the pump and it clicks off at $38.45. Then you turn the pump back on and put and even $40 in.Then you have successfully “Topped up” the tank. I guess now a days an extra dollar will get you no where, but you guys get the point. 😉

You are probably wondering why that is so bad. See, all modern cars have more emissions controls and you can imagine. One of the systems is designed to control fuel vapors. Whether it is a leak in the tank, while you are filling your car, or just normal driving. The vapors are managed by a system called the Evaporative Emissions system, or evap system for short.

The evap system will deal with fuel vapors by holding them in a canister. This is called a charcoal canister. The vapors are then pumped back in to the engine and burned. When you over fill your gas tank by “topping up”, you pump liquid fuel into the charcoal canister. This can cause the charcoal to break apart. When it starts to break apart it gets pumped into the engine. That part is usually not an issue. The issue comes in the damage to the canister and the control valve.

The control valve will get clogged with charcoal and cause the MIL to come on. 🙁 The end result will be replacing the charcoal canister, and control valve, and flushing all the tiny bits of charcoal out of the system. That can be a pretty costly repair. If you do it one time, fine, but don’t make a habit of it.

What do you guys think? Are you guilty of any ,or all, of these? I know that I am. If you enjoyed today’s post, please consider sharing it. I love getting new readers joining our community.

Coolant mixing Shop Shots Auto Mechanic


Hey everyone!

First let me say that I am sorry for Shop Shots being so late today. I got hung up at work longer than I expected. It’s okay because I got some really awesome auto mechanic pictures for you guys today. Enough of my yapping, lets get to it!


GROSS! What you are looking at here is the coolant bottle of a VW Beetle. If this fluid was in good condition, it would be a nice bright pink color. As you can see here it is brown and chunky. I posted this to Facebook the other day. The comments were awesome.

Jennifer~someone poured a frappacino inside their car?
Suzanne~ Stop leak didn’t work
Stefanie~Are you brewing beer or fixing a VDub? I can’t tell!(<~ my favorite)
Jeremy~someone vomited in their coolant reservoir( <~funniest)

Joe, Chris, Alex, and Brandon all got it right! This is the result of a failed transmission cooler. In order to keep automatic transmission fluid cool, they have a cooler. This will circulate engine coolant through something like a little radiator. Normally, the coolant and transmission fluid does not mix. A failed seal in the cooler caused transmission fluid to be pumped into the coolant. I will be repairing this on Friday. I will tell you guys the super high tech secret way to fix this problem next week. HINT: think Dawn 😉


Okay, this one might be a little harder to see. Take note of all the “rust” around the battery. What causes rust class? That’s right WATER! This is the battery of a Mini. The Mini’s battery is located in the trunk where most cars have the spare tire. Due to a water leak, the battery compartment had about 4 inches of water in it. Now, I am not sure who long the battery was under water, but it did make the car not start. If you look just to the right of the big red square you can just barely see a yellow box. The yellow box has some type of fuse assembly inside. The assembly is totally rusted. I am not sure how much of the cables, and fuses will need to be replaced. My guess is this repair will not be cheap. Oh, this was on our used car lot. We don’t service those cars.

Funny story about a Mini. The very first one I worked on was about 6 years ago. It took be 30 minutes to find the hood release. I had to bust out the owners manual. HAHA, what type of mechanic has to read an owners manual to figure out how to open the hood??  Turns out, that Mini’s hood release is on the passenger side! HAHA


Remember a while back when we talked about Cam Shafts? Well, here is a close up of a cam shaft. The 4 lumps you are looking at are called lobes. They basically turn a rotation into an up and down motion. Ultimately, they open the valves and let air into and out of the engine. But for this picture, look at the lobe on the left. Now, check out the lobe all the way on the right. They should be the same. Now look back at the left lobe. See how there is a “U” shape that was cut into the lobe. This made a heck of a noise. Ok, now check out the next picture.


No, you have not traveled back in time. Those are push rods. 😉 This picture goes along with the one of the cam shaft above. The long tubes are push rods. The fat tube with the wheel on the bottom is a lifter. All those little metal rods are part of a bearing set. The lifter somehow got stuck. That is what caused the cam shaft above to be damaged.

I made a little joke about traveling back in time. This type of engine design is REALLY old. VW have not used it in, well I am not really sure. This engine is from a 2009 VW Routan. AKA a Chrysler Town and Country. So does it count as a VW. I guess technically, but to me, it is NO VW! 🙂

Well, that wraps up this weeks auto mechanic pictures. We had some really messed up stuff this week. Hopefully next week I can post some more fun pictures. 🙂

Don’t forget you can also connect with me on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Quick note on YouTube, if you are subscribed to the my YouTube Channel, you get to see the videos BEFORE they are posted on the site. Just Sayin ;P Use one of the boxes just to the right ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~>>>>


Volkswagen TDI timing belt damage

Hey folks! It is that time of the week again. I got a few good picturs for you guys today. By the time you are reading this, I will be on my way to VW technician training. ~enjoy

Damaged rim Volkswagen CCIf you check out last weeks “Shop Shots” you will see a video of a CC with a messed up suspension. Listen hard and you will hear a noise that sounds like a whale. What you are hearing is the lower part of the front suspension hitting the rim. Here is the damage to the rim. The mechanic working on the car fixed the initial damage, estimate of ~$2400. Then found that there was more damage. The steering rack and more of the right side suspension needs to be replaced. The estimate is now just shy of $5000. Sad to see that type of damage on a car with only 950 miles. DANG!


Removing engine on VW Touareg

Thankfully this is not me in the picture. It came from our sister store across town. Here is what happens when an engine repair needs to be performed on a VW Touareg. The engine and transmission are unbolted from the car. The table that it is sitting on is acutally a lift table. You can see the pins on the table holding the engine up. They are strategically placed to fit the engine carrier. The picture doesn’t really capture the scale of the engine and transmission. The table is about 8ft long, and about 3ft wide. The brakes hang over just over a foot on each side. As scary as it looks, doing engine repairs a table like this is really easy. It’s just a lot of work to get to this point.

Volkswagen TDI timing belt damageWhat you are looking at here is a timing belt on a VW TDI. In the middle of the picture you can see a bunch of strands of fiber. That is part of the serpentine belt. The customer brought his car in saying that he was having a hard time starting the car. He told me that the serpentine belt broke. He said that he was worried about the timing belt. I told him not to worry, I had seen lots of broken serpentine belts break, but only 1 damage a timing belt.

Well after about an hour of checking, the car would not start at all. I was getting a faults in the engine computer saying the car was not timed properly. I checked and found that the camshaft and the crankshaft were not lined up properly. It turns out that the wad of serpentine belt shifted the tension of the timing belt. That caused the engine to be out of time. I installed a new belt, retimed the engine, and BAM, it fired right up. There was no permanent damage done to the car. The customer was almost due for his second timing belt replacement, so it was money that he would have paid either way. I was mad that I was wrong, but the car is running and the customer was really happy. It all worked out in the end.

Volkswagen Showroom Remodel I may have mentioned that my dealer is doing a remodel. We are adding on 2 new sections to the showroom. They are also changing to a new setup. Everyone is calling the “White Box”. I have seen pictures of other dealers. It has a similar feel to an Apple Store. I snuck up stairs and took a picture for you guys. Right now, it is just a lot of banging as they remove all the tile. I will keep the updates coming. I am really excited for the remodel. The building has looked the same for about 9 years. It was time for a facelift.

Well, that about raps it up. As I said I will be in training the rest of the week. Do you guys have anything you want me to ask while I am there? Something about the future of VW? I will do my best to find out. Ok, time to hit the road. I95 here I come.

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