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Due to the launch of the Forum yesterday, and some other things going on, I feel like I left you guys with out a really good post yesterday! So to make it up, I am doubling up on the “Shop Shots” today!

This is a picture of a V6 Passat axle. The axle is what connects the transmission to the wheels. Without axles, the car will not go. The picture is an inner joint. Somehow, it came apart. It’s acutally not something that happens all that much. I think that I have seen just a couple over the years.

While we are on the drivetrain, this is a close up picture of a tire that I took. I was standing under the car, which makes this the left rear tire.?. Tires are much more than just round and black. The technology is pretty amazing. Before I start going on and on about speed ratings, temp ratings, performance(sorry, I started) 😉 well lets just say they are rubber compounds, with steal imbedded in it. When the tire wear down far enough, you can actually see the metal cords. The line in the picture is where the tread(parts that makes contact with the road) meets the sidewall (where the words are written) I know that I left out so much info on tires, or tyres if its a VW, but I will save that for another post!


This little guys was sitting on the dash of a 2012 Golf. When I got in the car, I totally didn’t see him. I pulled the car around to the back door of the shop. When I seen him, I screamed. I mean, like I screamed out loud. Then I started cracking up because I just screamed at a tiny little snake on the dash of a car. So I took a picture of him. In the back round, you can see my tool box. 🙂

Here is a side by side shot of a VERY common issue on our 2.0T FSI, engine. These are called cam followers. The one on the right is the new and updated part. The one on the left, well, it shouldn’t have a hole in it. The follower is an internal engine part. It rides on the cam shaft and operates the mechanical fuel pump. I guess the issue is too soft of metal. It wears the cam shaft, and the follower. I have also seen these metal chunks clog up oil passages and ruin engines. BTW, replacing engines is not fun!

HAHA,(yes I just laughed when the picture came up), This Jetta came in the other day. The service advisor came back and asked my how much it would cost to replace a customers fuse. He said it “Cracked in half”. What had actually happened is the fuse blew. A fuse blows when too much current goes through it. This is the fuse panel on top of the battery. It is the main power junction of the car. The wire that looks weird is the one to the alternator. The fuse blew, and someone just taped a wire to it, instead of ACTUALLY fixing the car. I am not sure who did the job, but holy crap, its kind of a hazard. The customer declined the repair, they said they would “wait and see”?

Ok, I have been saving this one for a while. I think it happened a few years ago. I was off work the day this happened. I got a text from one of the boys at work saying a car fell off a lift. I of course asked for a picture! I guess what happened was the guy doing the alignment was moving the wheel back and forth. That is called doing a “sweep”. When we do a sweep, the machine measures the suspension angles. When he did the sweep, the wheel cought the edge and rolled off the rack. He was ok, mad at himself, but ok. To make things even better, the customer was standing right at the window to the shop. That is about 20 feet from the rack. Everyone was ok, the dealer paid to have the customers car fixed, and gave him a car to drive while his was getting repaired. 😀

Well, that pretty much sums it up. I am sorry I missed a good post yesterday! The forum is LIVE and doing awesome. Please come by, sign up and post in the First 50. When we hit 50, I will lock the post and do a drawing for something. Not quite sure what it will be yet, kinda depends on how fast we hit 50 😉

 

So last weeks “Shop Shops” was a pretty big hit! Thanks Brett for the great name. I think this will be a Thursday post from now on.

This picture could fall under the “Tech Tip of the Day” post. This is a transmission seal on a 2002(or so) VW passat. One of the mechanics in the shop replaced this seal because it was leaking. This is actually a pretty common repair. Well, a couple of days later the customer comes back in saying his car is leaking worse than before.

The mechanic that had replaced it was off that day. One of the other guys had to remove the axle and the flange to gain access to the seal. He called me over to show me what he found. It turns out that this seal is installed BACKWARDS! We fixed the car no problem. The guy that installed the seal, got the time taken back for his mistake.

This is actually a mess that I made. I had to replace the engine on this 2004 VW Passat. The engine locked up and broke the timing belt. I think it was due to lack of oil changes, but could not prove that. The engine on the right is the new one. This type of job usually takes about 2 days to complete.

I think I took this mid day. No way I would have left this mess overnight. This is not really my favorite job. There is a lot of “How does this go together” on a job like this.

This is a picture of a buddy’s Passat. I have turned a few wrenches on this car. In fact, I think we rebuilt the entire front suspension, among other things. He bought this car with 187,xxx miles on it. He actually knew the original owner of this Passat. Not only that, but he worked on the car starting at 30,xxx miles.

With 284,xxx miles, he sold it to buy a newer Passat. It couldn’t have been 3 weeks after he sold it, it got totaled. It was really sad to see a car that was so well maintained, with such high miles go to the car grave yard. Don’t worry, everyone was ok. It just stinks.

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Thanks for reading
Charles

Volkswagen water damage

We all know that drinking and driving is bad.  More important than anything, its dangerous.  The number of anti drinking and driving ads should tell the story.

Your probably wondering why a mechanic would be writing a blog post about drinking and driving.  I do not work in a body shop. I am not a paramedic, police officer, or any type of first responder.  I can’t say anything about that side of DUIs.

The side that I see is purely related to vehicle electrics. One of the “punishments” of a DUI is having a starter lockout device installed. Most of us call this a breathalyzer. Basically, it prevents the starter from turning until someone blows into it.

The person that gets the DUI has to pay for this device to be installed, they have to pay monitoring costs, and they have to pay to have it removed. Check out some of the cost of DUIs.Here is where I come in.  It seems that the guys, or gals, that install these devises, do not know much about modern cars.  I have ran into 2 that they have messed up.

The first time I encountered a breathalyzer issue was on a GTI. The girl had the thing installed, then the check engine light came on, and the car would not run. After some initial diagnosis, I found an injector wire that was soldered. Now the actucal WIRE repair was fine, but soldering on modern cars is a big time NO-NO.  It turned out that they fried the engine computer.  This type of repair runs about $1500.  Thankfully for her, the company that installed it, paid for the repair.  Plus note, she is now a great customer of mine!

The latest fun with a breathalyzer is actually still going on.  I am not sure how long this guy has had the breathalyzer in his Touareg, but my guess is about a year. His Touareg has had a number of issues over the years.  I mean, the 2004 Touareg had its problems all on its own. This time the car got towed in because it would not start. I spent some time with it and found that the ECM(engine control module) was not being controlled properly. I jumped the power relay (which controls power and ground ironically enough) and drove the car in the shop.

I must have spent about another hour testing different systems. I narrowed it down to the ECM. We told the customer that we would start with replacing the ECM,and go from there. He purchased an ECM from a junk yard. Thats not really something I want to install, but its what the customer wanted so I used it.

After installing the ECM, the car started right up. “GREAT, I fixed it”, thats probably what I said, and I probably said it out loud, because I tend to do that. I put the covers back on with the car running and cleaning the car up. When I shut the car off, the cooling fans stayed on. If I had the Touareg running for an hour, that would not have been a problem. I only had it running for a few minutes. Not knowing if the issue was the used ECM, or something else, I was basically back to square one.

I spend about 2 more hours searching wiring diagrams, and tracing circuits. It turns out the relay that I had an issue with initially, was still the problem. Now the problem was the relay would not release(before it would not activate). So after banging my head against the wall, I decided to pull up the relay plate and just “take a look”. As any tech with a few years under their belt will tell you, “sometimes you just got to dive in and take a look”.

What I found was SEVERAL main power wires that were under water. Even if you are not a car person, you know that electricity and water do not mix. I have repaired tons of wiring harnesses due to water damage. This one is the first Touareg that I have seen it happen to.  I guess when the company installed the breathalyzer device, they did not secure the cover properly. The box is right under the windshield wipers, so water was bound to get in.

The scary part about these harnesses, is VW is not really that clear on where they go. It could just be the connectors under the hood, it could be ALL the wires from the headlights to the taillights.  The only way to know for sure is to order one and see. Most of the body harnesses cost $2000-$4500 for the part, and probably about the same for labor.

The crazy thing is, the car is just in a holding pattern. The customer is fighting with the company that installed the breathalyzer to make them pay for the damage. They say they are not responsible for ANYTHING. To the customer point, they are the one that messed his car up. On the company’s side, if he would have never got a DUI, it would have never been a problem.

I am not really sure what will happen with this repair. I will write a new post as soon as I get an update.  Be sure to subscribe for all the updates!

So something happened in the shop this week that is, short of hurting someone, every mechanics biggest fear.

A customer brought their 2010 Passat in for its first service.  With only 10,000 miles the car got an oil change, tire rotation and some other minor checks.  The mechanic that performed the service is one of the top guys in the shop.  He was my mentor when I first started, and is one of the smartest people I have met in my life.  He is not a “do it quick” type of guy.  I just want you to understand that something like this can happen to any of us, it just so happen that this was his time.

After performing the very basic service, the car ran in the shop of about 5 minutes.  Then, he pulled the car around, customer got in and left.  About an hour later the car got towed back in with the customer saying that it died.

Before the car got pushed into the shop, we got the full story from the customer.  They said that they were driving on the highway, and the oil light came on and was beeping and flashing.  The customer continued to drive the car another 7 miles and then the engine shut off.

We check and find that there is NO oil in the car.  The mechanic added oil and tried to start the car, but no luck, engine would not even turn.  The car gets pushed in the shop, which is not fun by the way.  The mechanic checks and finds that the oil filter was loose.  He pulls the filter off to find that the filter as 2 gaskets. It turns out that when he removed the original filter, the gasket stuck to the car, not the filter.  When he put the new filter on, it crushed the gasket enough to properly seal.  The customer driving the car on the highway caused the oil pressure to push the gasket off and pump ALL of the oil out of the car.

In the end, the Passat will need a new engine and a new turbo charger.  The cost of all of the parts will come in around $5000.  The mechanic that made the mistake will have to do about 2.5 days worth of work to replace the engine.  He will be working with out pay to get the job complete.  Also, that engine is on back order for about 3 weeks.

Here are the lessons that we can all learn from what happened

  1. Even the best can make mistakes.  This mechanic takes a ton of pride in his work.  He will be beating himself up about this for a long time.  Good mechanics hate making mistakes, and noting anyone can say will make him feel any better.  I completely understand how he feels.  I don’t wish that feeling on anyone!
  2. The customer will be taken care of.  I am not sure to what extent, but the dealership will make it as right as they can.  I personally feel really bad for the customer, and what happened to their brand new ca
  3. If you have a light flashing, or a warning beeping at you, please stop driving the car.  This is NOT the customers fault, but the damage may not have been catastrophic if they had pulled over right away.

I will try to get some pictures of the internal engine damage when he takes it out.

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