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VW brake caliper with zie ties

No, you are not losing your mind, it is Wednesday. I am thinking about moving Shot Shots up to Wednesday. What do you guys think, Yay, Nay, Don’t care as long as I post it? Today I have some more insider pictures for you.

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HAHA, I am totally laughing about this picture! I actually took this today. It is a picture of a rear brake caliper on a 2001 Jetta. From what I can tell, the parking brake cable is missing a clip. Of course the best possible repair is wire and zip ties. There are 2 zip ties where the clip should be. The ball should not have that wire wrapped around it. I understand that people can’t always afford to fix their car properly, but PLEASE do no use zip ties on your brakes!

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Would you believe that this is the SAME car? I have not seen a Jetta in this bad of shape in a long time. This is the mount that limits movement of the engine. It is commonly known as the “dog bone” mount. I guess that they lost the bolts? The thing about this repair is, it is not safe! Remember when we talked about safety being more than seat belts? Well this is a perfect example of something not safe. The bolts that belong in that mount are meant to shear. When the wrong bolt is used, it changes the needed force to shear the bolt. It may never be an issue, but it is something to think about. Side note, I am pretty sure this car could be several posts all on its own.

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Ah the pink trail of death! The cool thing about VW coolant is that it is pink or purple. When it leaks, then dries, it leaves a trail of dried coolant behind. This can make finding leaks easier.If you are ever looking at a used VW, be sure to check the coolant pipes for this trail. This leak is actually hidden. The only reason I seen it was, the catalytic converter had been removed. The guy working on it, was replacing cats on a V6 4motion Passat. It is really one of the worst jobs we have!

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What you are looking at here is the bottom of an oil pan removed from a EOS 2.0. If you look close, you can see the reflection of me taking this picture! The reason I took this was the carbon sitting in the bottom of the pan. If you notice the chunks in the middle of the pic, that is what I am talking about. This forms due to lack of oil changes. The customer might have been following proper maintenance, I don’t really know. Just another reason why I think a 10k interval service is WAY too long. This was an issue on the B5/B5.5 Passats like mine. PSA-Change your oil, with the proper oil!

Well folks, that wraps up this weeks Shop Shots! If you would like me to keep doing this on Wednesday, let me know in the comments. If you don’t care what day, as long as you get them, post that too! Don’t forget, you can @ reply me on Twitter, if you use twitter! Also, don’t forget I am getting questions together for another Rapid Fire Q&A. If you would like to submit a question, the easiest way is to use this Contact Me form, or post in the comments!

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I can’t believe that this is the 10th volume of Shop Shots! It seemed like just yesterday that you guys were helping me name this series! As always, you will see pictures of the random things that I see around the shop. AND…..GO

This is a close up of some bearing damage inside a manual transmission. This actually belonged to a great friend of mine Daniel. His concern was a noise, and trouble getting into gear. We decided to replace the transmission, but I really wanted to see what went wrong. There was metal in the fluid, so I knew that it was bad new. I did a really early post when I first started this car blog. In that post you can see the metal chunks on the drain plug. This is one of the few manual transmissions I have had an issue with.

While we are on the subject of transmissions, here is the guts of an automatic transmission. This comes from when I was at training for Routan transmissions. This is about 1/4 of the parts that make up the rings, clutches, gears, seals and so on. Automatic transmissions are really an engineering marvel. Actually, all transmissions are pretty awesome.

This is leaves, pine needles, and dirt built up on the cowl of a Jetta. On the surface it just looks bad, but it is actually a big deal. I have seen countless cars get water leaks due to leaves building up on the cowl and around the windshield. The get stuck in the water drains and that water will go somewhere. The crappy part is that somewhere is inside the car. I actually totaled 2 cars due to water leaks caused by this exact thing! One was a Touareg that was had mold everywhere. The estimate I wrote was for about $42,000 in repairs. Take a minute and make sure you don’t this happening.

 

Last but not least, this is a quick video of a crazy noise. This car was whistling when it was sitting at idle. When I revved it up, it would stop, but as soon as I let off the gas, it would make this noise. I remember the first time I heard this I thought, “What the hell, this is not gonna be fun to fix”. It turns out it is a really easy fix. There is a check valve that only lets air flow one way. Well it gets stuck and causes this noise. WARNING– this noise is loud, I recommend turning down the volume!

Well, that wraps up another volume of Shop Shots. I am always looking for new post topics, if you have a suggestion, just contact me, or post up in the comments. Also, don’t forget to swing by Humble Mechanic on Facebook and say hi!

Hey folks, it’s Thursday, so it’s time for another round of Shop Shots! This week we have some strange add-ons to a Beetle, a Jetta that was in a wreck, and some bad news about a timing belt. If you have some shop shot, or you want your car featured, please just contact me! There is also a section on the Forum for you to post up your car!

 

First up we have this Beetle. I took this picture a few years ago so I forget what I was doing to it. I have no problem with folks customizing their car, but I am not really a fan of this. As you can imagine, I got laughed at when I pulled the car in the shop. Pink lips, eye brows and Tinkerbell seat covers. Yep!

This is just outside the shop. I was coming back from lunch and the car was towed in. I believe this car came from a body shop. When cars are being repaired at body shops, they will “sublet” them to dealers for repairs. One of the guys in the shop removed the engine so the body shop could straighten the front end. The engine sat in our shop of about 3 weeks.

This WAS a timing belt on a 1.8t Beetle. If you notice all of the teeth are missing. A timing belt drives is the main belt that connects the upper and lower part of the engine. When a timing belt breaks, it can do catastrophic engine damage. I think that the water pump seized and ripped all the teeth off of the belt. Just another example of anything can happen at anytime to anyone.

So this is a shot of my home shop. You are seeing a picture of my 1996 VW Cabrio. When I got it, the car didn’t run, the top had a hole in it, and the car was NASTY. I paid about $500 for it. I installed a new battery, put a new ignition coil in it, and drove it home. When I bought this car, I was driving an Acura CL type-S. I sold that and drove the Cabby for almost 2 years. I really did like that car, and I wish I still had it. i might have some more pics of it somewhere, maybe I will post them up in the future.

Well, another week of Shop Shots in the books. Are we on the right track with the pictures? Do you want to see more carnage? If there is something you want to see featured, let me know! Oh, and don’t miss tomorrows interview. Bill will be joining us for a great interview from a guy that has been in the industry a long time. Don’t miss it!

Happy Thursday everyone! As you probably know, I have been on vacation this week. This is actually the second time I have ever taken a week of vacation time in my working career. It has been a week filled with working in the yard, and hanging out with the family.

I also updated my phone a few days ago, in typical Iphone fashion, the update crashed my phone. I had to restore it from the last backup in February. Since all of the Shop Shots come from my phone, I am missing a lot of pictures. So, Tech Tip of the day, be sure to back your phone up! Ok, lets do this!

This is a picture of a screw I found in the tire of MY Passat. (yep I got screwed) I was leaving the store and noticed it. I did not remove the screw, it was holding air, and I didn’t want to have a flat. The thing about the location of the screw is, it will not be repairable. An object that is in the outer most of a tire tread is not repairable. The flex of the tire at that point to really high. Any repair, plug or patch is not safe. I will most likely be replacing this tire.

When it comes to repairing tires, we have 3 types of repairs, patches, plugs, and patch-plugs.

  • A plug is installed from the outside of the tire. Think of using gum to plug a water leak, Clark Griswold style. It is actually a little better than that, but you get the idea. This repair is fine for a temporary repair, but not the best way to fix a tire.
  • A patch is installed from the inside of the tire. It is a great way to repair a tire. This must be done by a professional, because the tire will need to be removed from the rim.
  • A patch-plug is the BEST way to repair a tire. It combines both methods. Covering the hole from the inside, and filling the hole with a plug. If you have a choice when getting a tire repaired, use this type of repair.

Any mechanic will tell you that we see dumb stuff like this all the time. People run wiring in the door jams is the most common dumb thing we see. The worst is when it is a big power wire from the battery to a radio amplifier. If you notice not only are the wires ran through the door jam, but it is secured with, you guess it, DUCT TAPE! I think that is was a GPS that was wired in this way. PLEASE do no do this.

I literally laughed out loud when I found this picture again. This is a picture of a Jetta airflow meter, and intake hose. I think the customer thought they had an air leak. They sealed it with tape. Then they put tape on the connector. I don’t remember what type of tape it was, it was not duct tape. I remember it came off pretty easy, but I wasn’t happy about messing with it.

This is another pride and joy picture I have. We had an EOS come in to the shop for the semi-common EOS water leak issue. The seats and seat belts were moldy, so I have know idea how long the water was in there. I removed the seats and found these little guys growing. Yep, little tiny mushrooms. Let me say that again, MUSHROOMS growing in an EOS. How awesome is that. I am sure it was really unhealthy for me to be working on that car, but live and learn!

If you have some of your own Shop Shots, come by and post them in the Humble Mechanic Forum. Don’t be stingy with your good pics. The community over at the forum is really cool come by and check it out.

1 more thing, yesterday I was featured on a really cool technology blog. I did an interview with Matt talking all about car technology. He has a great blog with a lot of awesome information. Swing by and check out my interview!

Hey guys, Its Thursday so you know what that means, SHOP SHOTS! I got some good ones for you this week! Also, we started a thread on the Automotive Forum for you to post your own Shots! Swing by, register and you can post your Shots. Remember, to keep spam out, you will need to be approved. I hate that I have to do that, but I need to keep the spam out!

You can probably guess that this is not a normal way for a tire to look. This customer actually drove in on this tire. If you look at the top of the picture, you can see that there is a lot of tread on the tire. This is what happens when a belt inside a tire breaks. A tire is more that just black and round. It is layer with steel belts, fiber layers, rubber, and so on. When a steel belt breaks, it leaves a soft spot in the tire. It makes that spot really soft. I could push my finger about 1/2″ into the tire. I don’t really know how the tire made it that long. The bad part is, the customer did not buy the tires. I think that she replaced some suspension bushings. That was totally the wrong choice. I am not sure if she was just crazy, or maybe the importance of this issue was not stressed. This is blow out territory for sure!

This picture comes from one of my best most favorite customer. Quick side story, I met her because her last Beetle Convertible was always broken. She also does dog rescue. My wife and I adopted our dog “Fugazi”, or “Foo Dog” as we call her. Peyton is an amazing person and does so much good for homeless animals. I will never be able to thank her enough. P, if you read this THANK YOU!~ Ok, back to the picture. This is a tail light out of a 2006 Beetle Conv. I am not really sure how this happened, but it sees that the bulb came in contact with the plastic housing. This caused the housing to melt, and the bulb to fall into the bumper. I have seen it happen a few times before, but it’s that that common.

HAHA, Stoners paradise. This was the first car I pulled in the other day. The second that I opened the car door, I could smell pot. I mean, it was like a smack in the face. I looked down and found that Febreze sitting on the passenger seat(right). I pulled the car in and did the oil change. To be totally honest, my curiosity got the better of me. I opened the glove box and found the perfect pothead glove box. You have, a blunt, some rolling papers, a baggie, and some Visine.You need Visine so people will not know your baked.(yeah right) I had to call everyone over to check it out. I am pretty sure that I got a contact high from his car. When the guy picked it up, I just smiled at him. I am pretty sure that he was stoned out of his mind. Oh, he had to still be in high school!

That does it for this week! What do you guys think? Post your thoughts in the comment section below. Also, be sure to sign up for email updates, with the new logo, I am working on some site redesign. If you are on the email list, you will be the first to find out cool stuff, plus I will be doing a give away when the new site launches. PLUS, don’t forget about the First Fifty on the forum. You really want to be part of the first 50 😉

One last thing, tomorrows Behind The Wrench is AWESOME! don’t miss it!

Hey folks!

Its Shop Shots time! I did a post yesterday about the new mechanic logo, if you didn’t see it, check it out. She posts on Instagram as Hammerhand. Since I can’t figure out how to link to that, just search for her. She posts all kinds of really awesome artwork and tattoos that she does. Oh, and her name “HammerHand”, yeah it’s how she tattoos. Trust me! 😉

This is a picture of a 2007 New Beetle Convertible. I had to take the front end off to replace the oil filter housing. It looks like it would be a worse job that it is. The front ends of VWs actually come off pretty easy. There are a lot of repairs that require removing the front end. VW calls it service position. I like how it looks like there is a funny mustache made into the core support. HA

I know this isn’t technically a shot in the shop, but I wanted to post it anyway. It seems that my iphone doesn’t take the best night pics, but someone asked me what my H.I.D.s looked like. I installed this kit on my 2005 VW Passat. The headlights are a 5,000k color. That is as close to white light as you can get. The fog lights are 3000k. That is a very yellow color. It actually cuts fog pretty well. I love the light output of HIDs. At some point, I will get a kit for my wife’s truck. When that happens, I will do an install video for you guys.

Ok, Ok, this is not in the shop either, but I think I want to sneak a beer pic into Shop Shots. First, notice the car is in park. We were tailgating before a Carolina Hurricanes game. Bell’s HopSlam is one of the most sought after beers in the area. When it comes out, people FREAK OUT about it. The other one is a pretty good milk stout. My wife was drinking that one. HA, I guess I just wanted to post pictures of my car this week. 😉

This is a video I shot the other day at work. If you look at the right wiper, you can see if flopping around. The other wiper was split too. Folks, replacing wiperblades is something EVERYONE can do. If you don’t want to mess with it, buy them at the dealer, and ask them to install them for you. We install them for free. I want everyone to go out and check your wipers today. I am not kidding. DO IT! 🙂

Remember, come by the Automotive Forum. It is not just for mechanics. I added a section for customers do complain about their mechanics. So you can come by and complain about me. I have to approve you(to keep the spam out). If you don’t get an email in about a day, just let me know and I can approve you. I get tons of spam and I want to keep that crap out!

Humble Mechanic Tool Box

Hey guys!

I know that this post is coming in a little late and for that I am sorry. My work changed the customers WIFI to block all social media and email sites. STUPID! I could not access my Humble Mechanic Flickr account. I am home enjoying a tasty craft beer and watching my Carolina Hurricanes~ life is GOOD!

Ok, so I wanted to talk to you guys about mechanics tools! Not mechanics that ARE tools, I mean the tools we use to fix cars. Any mechanic will tell you that tools are the life blood of our jobs. We invest thousands and thousands and THOUSANDS of dollars in tools. Anything from a basic screw driver to a special tool to remove wires from connectors. I have been in the field for a while, and I still average about $1000 every year in tools.

There are several brands of tools that I use. I think that Snap-On tools are my favorite brand. I buy most of my stuff from my Snap-On rep. Part of that is because he is the most reliable of all our reps. Here is a little about some of the different brands of tools

Craftsman
Sold by Sears, they are really good hand tools. They offer a life time warranty on almost all of their stuff. I buy Craftsman when I know that I might lose it, when I need to modify a tool, or when there is no difference in quality. I also tend to buy Craftsman for at home tools. The only issue I really have is their power tools SUCK! I will never own a battery operated drill for Craftsman again!

Snap-On
Overall my favorite brand. I love their hand tools. They are built to much tighter tolerances than any other brand I have used. The fit and finish is great. The selection is unbelievable, and my rep is great. The only down side is you pay top dollar for everything. I feel like the quality is worth it on most stuff. Remember, every dollar I make come by way of these tools, cheaping out is not an option. I have not really bought any of their power tools. I do not think they are worth it for the price. I own 1 Snap-On air tool(1/4in air ratchet), it works great.

Matco, Mac, Cornwell
I grouped these together because I fell pretty much the same about all of them. They are good tools, well made and reliable. I don’t own many of these, but what I have is ok. I just think that Snap-On is a better product.

Stanley, Kobalt, Husky
Great tools for the house. I think they also have a life time warranty. I also will buy this brand if I need to modify tools, like bending a wrench or trimming down a socket.

Dewalt, Makita
I buy ALL my power tools from theses two brands. The tool I use the most is a Makita impact driver. I love this thing so much, I got a second one, and took the old one home. If you are buying a power tool for work or for the house, you can’t go wrong with Dewalt or Makita. PLUS, my wife likes the color of Makita.

Here are some pictures of my tool box, and some of the tools I have. This is my 3rd tool box, the first one was a Craftsman, the I upgraded to a Mac, now I have a really nice Snap-on box. It will be the last one I ever buy.

[slickr-flickr tag=”tools” items=”30″]