Tag Archive for: Shop shots

Touring The New Shop and Studio

I AM BACK!!Touring The New Shop and Studio

Happy Monday everyone. I am super pumped to be back. I hated putting the show on hold for so long. It was really the only way I could get all the work on the new studio done. I really am having a hard time explaining how much I love this new setup. It will give me the opportunity to do more videos that you guys have been asking me for. And with better quality. One thing I didn’t mention is the plans for the floor. At this time, I don’t know what I want the floor to look like. So for now, we are leaving the floor as is.

Sponsor of the Day.
CRP Automotive has been a very important part of this shop remodel. With their help we were able to do all this cool stuff. Now that the shop is ready, I can get deeper into DIY videos, parts reviews, and even make the failed parts videos better. CRP deals in the highest quality aftermarket parts. Check them out at CRPAutomotive.com

Join me as we tour:

  • Studio location
  • Spot open for your suggestions
  • Shout out to Jason from Engineering Explained
  • Cabinets from Lowes
  • The Cabby, aka Project “Luv A Dub”
  • The signs hanging in the shop
  • Future upgrades coming
  • Wheel all the things
  • EricTheCarGuy Meetup
  • Beer of the day
  • and more

Trouble viewing? Watch “Touring The New Shop and Studio ~ Video” on YouTube.


This is the old setup for the studio

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Hey everyone. A ton of you have been asking me to bring back an old series from the blog, Shop Shots. For those of you that are new, Shop Shots was started VERY early in the blog. I would post pictures of some weird things in the shop, and write a little about each one. I was a really fun way for the reader to get an inside look at what I do. When I moved to a video platform, that dropped off. Since it is Friday, I thought it would be fun to bring it back!

TDI Fuel System FailureTDI Fuel System Failure
First up we have another exploded TDI HPFP. This is on a car with just over 100,000 miles. The customer said they use high quality fuel, and there was no trace of gas in the tank. There are a lot of times that you can blame a failure on poor maintenance habits. That is not the case here. This customer is a perfect customer. They have done every service at the dealer. They even did their oil changes every 5k instead of every 10k.

The “junk” you are seeing is metal in diesel fuel. Part of the HPFP comes apart and shoots metal shrapnel through the entire fuel system. The repair is not an easy one. All parts of the fuel system get replaced, or cleaned. We clean the tank and the lines from the tank to the engine. Any other part that has fuel in it gets replaced. The total bill if a customer has to pay is about $7000. At this point we are waiting to see if VW will be offering the customer any help

Air Filter Failure

Air Filter Failure
This is not technically a “Shop Shot” I guess. It was something that caught my eye on my way back from lunch. This folks is an engine air filter. It looks really dang dirty. I am not sure why anyone would feel the need to remove their engine air filter at a stop light. Then just leave it on the ground. There was no evidence of an accident. There was no broken down car either.

So what do you think happened? Did a car start running poorly, and the driver remove the filter for better performance? Did someone leave the old filter under the hood and it just fell out? Post in the comments YOUR best guess.

Bent Wheels

Bent Wheels
This is a very common issue we find at the dealer. We seem to have a customer come in with a bent wheel daily. The odd thing is, most folks do not complain about a vibration. Some customer mention it, but most do not. We generally find the issue while balancing the tires. It is also strange to me that people do not remember hitting anything. Well they say they don’t remember. I have a slightly bent wheel on my Passat. I clearly remember hitting a huge pothole that caused the damage. This wheel was bent too much to even repair.

Failing Exhaust

Failing Exhaust and Bad Repair
We don’t see this type of “work” that much these days. This is a welding repair on a MKIV Jetta. The flex section of the catalytic converter came apart. The customer chose to have an exhaust shop fix the issue. I would normally say that is a good move. But in this case, it clearly was not. In addition to doing a bad job repairing the pipe, the repair caused more issues. The heat shield and O2 sensor fell on to the exhaust pipe. This cause the wires of the O2 to melt to each other. We found it due to a MIL with a lot of fault codes. The issue was causing a fuse to blow.

We are still waiting to see if there is more damage. Sadly I think there may be damage to the ECM due to this issue.

Well that wraps up an other volume of Shop Shots. As always, if you have any questions or comments, post them below. You can also this contact me form, or email me Charles(at)humblemechanic(dot)com

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Failed VW swaybar link

Hi everybody. If you are a fan of The Simpsons, you totally just thought “Hi Dr. Nick” 🙂

Today is Wednesday, and that means it is Shop Shots day. I was going back to get the volume number for today’s post. I didn’t realize that the last Shop Shots was from BFI! Holy smokes. For those of you that are new to the blog, Shop Shots is something I started to share the things that automotive techs see. With these pictures I can get into a little more detail than I can with a post of Facebook.

VW Bushing

First up we have a split control arm bushing for a MK4 Jetta wagon. Just below where the nut and bolt is, you will see what is left of a bushing. This Jetta has about 220k miles on the original bushings. This bushing failure is somewhat common on this generation of Golf/Beetle/Jetta. I have to say, this is  the worst one I have seen. This car must have been making one heck of a noise for a while.

VW Strut mount bushingsNext up is also a VW bushing issue. The last failed bushing was a lower bushing, this is an upper one. The upper strut tower bushings completely broke apart. Because of that, the strut cap popped up and broke the trim at the bottom of the windshield. I have seen a ton of collapsed strut mount bushings over the years, but never one that broke the trim.

Failed VW swaybar linkI promise that I didn’t plan for broken Jetta suspension day today. This picture has just all kinds of bad things happening. In the foreground of the picture, you see a swaybar link that has completely come apart. That is the really rusted part. In the background, you can see that the outer CV boot is split.

The funny part is, the customer told us he didn’t want to know ANYTHING that was wrong with his car. He just wanted the oil changed and nothing else. I guess in this case, ignorance is bliss? Maybe?

Well that wraps up an other volume of Shop Shots. I really didn’t plan to have it be Jetta suspension problem day. It is funny how the universe works some times. As always, if you have any questions or comments, post them below. You can also this contact me form, or email me Charles(at)HumbleMechanic.com

MK1 VR6 VW Cabriolet

Happy Wednesday everyone. And because it’s Wednesday, it time for Shop Shots! This week we are moving out of the shop, and to an Oktoberfest. On Saturday, the folks at Black Forest Industries hosted their annual BFI Oktoberfest. If you are a social media person, check out the hash-tag #BFIOktoberfest. There are some great pictures and videos. This year I took a few pictures, and a video. I am still working on editing the video so stay tuned for that.

As I mentioned in the podcast, I will be traveling most of the end of October. I will be heading to Virginia next week for a A7 Workshop. That is the HVAC test for ASE certification. I am not exactly sure how the week will play out, but it should be awesome. If you have and questions about ASE type stuff, post them in the comments.

The following week, the folks at Shell invited me back to Texas. This time I will be heading to Austin for the 2014 Formula 1 US Grand Prix. I can’t even tell you guys how awesome that will be. Once I have more information and an itinerary, I will let you know. Get your F1 questions ready. 🙂

MK1 VR6 VW Cabriolet First up, I thought I would post a picture of the Cabby! I worked on the car most of the day Friday before the show. My hope was to get the clipper kit(body kit) fully installed for BFI. I got the kit installed, but sadly didn’t drive the Cabby. There was about 40% chance of rain. As you guys remember, she doesn’t have a top, or wiper blades that function. The cool part is, the car looks more complete with the clipper kit. The bad part is, I found that I have a few weird electrical bugs in the cluster. Maybe next year. :/

Blsvk Forest Industries OktoberfestThis is a shot of the entrance of the show. You can see the BFI building on the right.

Blsvk Forest Industries OktoberfestThere is always a great mix of old and new GTIs

Blsvk Forest Industries OktoberfestTons of people and tons of really cool VWs, Audis, MBs, and BMWs

Blsvk Forest Industries OktoberfestThis is a top notch A3. The car is a highly modified TDI. The owner said something about high 200s for horsepower and mid 500s in torque. Needless to say, this TDI is NUTS!

As always, the BFI Oktoberfest was a good time. It was great to meet some of you and share a beer. If you posted some pictures of the show, let us know. I would love to see more great shots.

wiring problem VW

Hey everyone! It’s Wednesday, so that means it’s time for some behind the scenes action. This series is where we look at some of the crazy things that auto mechanics see. Unless otherwise stated, I take each and every one of these pictures.

I have a few things to let y’all know before we get rolling.

Humble Mechanic Shirts
For those of you that ordered shirts, I should have them by Friday. I will let you know by email, when they ship out. There is a slight chance I will have a couple extra. I will let everyone know when I get them. 🙂

Humble Mechanic Podcast
If you have not checked out the Podcast, please check it out. As of now, they live on YouTube. But I am working on adding an audio only version. That will go on Itunes.

Show with Rusty
In addition to the solo Podcast, I have been doing a weekly show with my buddy Rusty. That is a super fun show. We spend about a hour chatting about tons of things in the car world. You can see all of them here.

Okay, let’s do some Shot Shots!

wiring problem VWFirst up, we look at one of the things that VW seems to be known for, WIRING PROBLEMS! I must say, I do fix a fair amount of wiring issues. I am just at a point where that is normal. 😉 I was working on a Passat on Monday. This car was not in that great of condition. As I was looking over the car, this caught my eye.

This is an electrical connector for the after run coolant pump. I wasn’t really looking for any issues here, but this pin out of place really caught my eye. I am not really sure how this pin came out of the connector. There are 2 different locks that hold the pin in a connector. I will be working on this car again today. Hopefully I can get the pin back in.

VW check engine light.Next up we have another “stumble upon” thing. This Golf came in for a check engine light diagnosis. One of the things I do while waiting for the scan tool, is to just look around. Some times the universe presents information to you, and this is one of those times.

I opened the hood of this car, looked down and spotted a broken hose. I went back to the scan tool to find out the code. It may come as a shock, but it was related to the broken hose. The fault was stored for a secondary air pump leak. This is the pressure hose of that system. Sometimes, it is nice to be lucky.

wrong bolt installed


Last up today is something that makes me really mad. It makes me made because I know this was done at a dealer. A customer of ours was out of town. When she was out of town, her transmission failed. She had the transmission replaced at another dealer. Luckily she was still under warranty.

A day later, she called my dealer and said that the car was making a clunking noise. We got her in and this is what we found. The “tech” that did the repair, left 4 bolts loose in the subframe. Not only were the bolts loose, but they were not installed in the proper location.

We got the customer all fixed up. The other dealer paid for new bolts, and the labor to install them. She was pretty darn happy that it was an easy fix.

Well, that wraps up another round of Shop Shots! I hope these pictures give you guys a little pick me up in the middle of the week. Don’t forget that you can follow me on:

Funny Car Signs

Happy Wednesday everyone. I hope that y’all are having a great week so far. Yesterday was the first day of fall. That means cooler temps, leaves changing, and prepping cars for winter. Before we get rolling with this weeks behind the scenes pictures, I have a few updates.

Video Podcast
As many of you know, I started a “daily” video podcast. I say “daily” because I will have a show coming out daily around late next week. I learned that the Internet at my house is painfully slow. It takes forever to upload videos. I am still recording new content, it is just slow coming out.

Show with Rusty from BRG
In addition to my podcast, I also started shooting a show with my buddy Rusty from Bench Racing Garage. We talk about many things in the auto world. It usually involves 2 buddies, having a few beers, and chatting about cars. I have a blast doing it, and I think that you will enjoy watching.

Okay, that should be all the announcements I have. Let the Shop Shots roll!

Damaged VW Drain PlugFirst up is something that makes me want to smack a technician. This is a drain plug that I took out of a VW last week. This drain plug was tightened so tight, the crush washer is folded over the “nut” part. I would guess that this is probably twice as tight as it needs to be.

I see this far more often than I care for. Not only does this make it a pain to get the crush washer off, it can put unneeded stress on the oil pan. If you have been around VWs, you know that many older pans were aluminum. Over torquing this much can damage the threads of the pan. This can result in the need for oil pan repair, or even replacement. So if you are a tech, and you are reading this STOP THAT CRAP!

Damaged VW Cam ShaftI wish that I could say, I wont rant about this picture. But, I have to rant. You are looking at a picture of a broken timing chain, cam shaft, and cam adjuster on a 2.0 Jetta. I have posted pictures before of cam followers wearing out, but this one takes the cake. This is what catastrophic engine damage looks like.

I am not really mad at the failure. Cam wear, and follower wear are an issue with the BPY engines. That is why VW did a warranty extension on many of them. I am really mad at what the customer said.

The customer had the car towed in. He said that the car drove fine, then one morning it would not start. He told us there was no noise, and no check engine light on before it would not start. Now, I am not one to say something is impossible. I have seen enough crazy things in my days working on cars. But there is no way that this car didn’t have a check engine light, or make any strange noises before catastrophic failure. The follower was the most worn I have ever seen. The check engine light must have been on for many miles before this happened. In the end the customer traded the car, so it didn’t really matter. It’s just frustrating getting bad info from a customer. Or even worse when they lie to you.

Funny Car SignsSo this is not really a “Shot Shot”, but I think it’s worth posting. My wife and I were leaving a store, and she pointed this out to me. WOW! I have seen people put “lemon” stickers on their cars, but this takes it to a whole new level. I asked the lady if that really happened. She told me that is flew off while on the highway. That is pretty scary.

Now, I know what you are thinking. This thing does not look like a top quality vehicle. I would agree. It also looks like that tire is almost flat. In addition to that, it is missing a valve stem cap, and has weights on opposite sides. I just keep looking at this picture with amazement. Does anyone have a funny caption? I would love to read some.

Well that wraps up this weeks Shop Shots. Thank you all for stopping by and seeing these pictures. Check back later today, I will be posting the video with Rusty. It is already live on the Humble Mechanic YouTube Channel.

Custom VW Dipstick

Happy Wednesday everyone. I hope that your week is going awesome. Things in the Humble Mechanic are crazy right now. With the launch of 2 new video series, and a few other really fun things coming, we are full speed ahead. But enough about the crazy things happening, let’s do some Shop Shots!

Custom VW DipstickI always like to see what people come up with when tasked with a DIY repair. This is a repair on a 1.8t Beetle dipstick. It looks like they kept the original metal dipstick, and added a cap and cotter pin.

It makes me want to know how they came to this solution. Did they search it on line? Did they find 16 different caps around the house and test each one until they found the right fit? We had a 1.8t Passat that use to be a customer. They had a similar setup, but used a New Castle cap. That was a much better choice in my opinion. 😉

VW cigarette lighter fuseThis one is sadly a very common thing. Part of me things its the design on the 12v outlet on the new Jetta. I have found a good amount of things stuck in 12v outlets. One of the more common concerns I deal with is “my 12v outlet doesn’t work”. So much so that I shot a video on “How to check your car’s fuses“. The best part about this, the customer didn’t even complain about it. I just happen to notice. LOLVW Fault Code

I have posted several times about how VW diagnostic equipment is hilarious some times. Other times it’s awful. When something funny happens, I try and snap a picture for you guys. You know, so you can appreciate some of the goofy things we see.

This is a test plan that came up for a fault. I didn’t look to see what fault was stored. It was most likely for the Carnet system, think Onstar, was not turned on. But the test the scanner wants to run, is to assist with “Important Information”. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.

Well, that wraps up another volume of Shop Shots. I can’t believe we have done 77 of these. Actually, I think it’s more like 79. I may have messed up a few numbers over the years. Also be sure to check out the weekly series I am doing with my good buddy Rusty from Bench Racing Garage. There we talk about all aspects of the automotive world.