Posts

Animal damage to TDI

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope your week is rocking right along. I am back in the shop today. You may have seen that I spent Monday visiting the fellas over at Deutsche Auto Parts. They are a great place to buy VW parts. We did some fun video “How To” stuff, so be on the look out for that.

Also before we get into this weeks Shop Shots, I want to remind you about the discount the folks at Hayden Ind have just for readers of the blog. Head over to HaydenHasIt.Com and use the code “humble-hayden” for 10% off $25 or more.

Alright, now that we have that wrapped up, let’s get into this weeks behind the scenes pictures. Remember, I am still a full time VW tech. So these shots come directly from my shop, unless otherwise noted.

Animal damage to TDIFirst up we have more critters living in an engine compartment. I removed the engine cover to do a service on the Jetta TDI, and this is what I found. After I vacuumed out all the nesting, I did find a little damage. It seems that what ever little creature made the nest, also liked the taste of wires and connectors. Lucky for this customer the damage was minimal. Just some crew marks on 2 injector connectors, and 1 wire exposed. I guess that nice warm engine bay is a good place to build a nest.

Strange things in customers carsI guess it makes sense to keep with the animal theme. Last week one of the tech called me over to see what was in the back of this Touareg. Much to my surprise, he had a dear head and some other animal head in the back. The bad part was the smell. It was awful. It smelled like an old dead animal. My guess is he just picked this stuff up from the taxidermist. The tech working on it was not very happy. Mostly because he had to move them to fill the Ad-Blue tank. YIKES!

VW Engine failure RoutanLast week I showed you guys a picture of a Routan engine waiting to be replaced. Well this is the job in mid-replacement. I have to say, the guy working on this worked pretty clean. When I replace engines, it usually looks like a bomb has went off.

But even working clean, there is a lot of parts involved. Notice the pile of parts on the bottom left of the picture. The bottom center is the subframe. There is an engine on a tire in the top right, and the engine going back in the car on the table.

Sadly this job didn’t go great for the tech. When he was finished with the job, there was a severe noise, and what felt like a high drag on the engine. It also had a slow start. I walked over to give him a hand. I was trying to start the car, and the wire for the starter began to smoke. I have not heard what the final issue was. I will be sure to update when I find out.

That does it for another volume of Shop Shots! I really do enjoy sharing a little bit of the behind the scenes things that happen in the shop. Don’t forget to sign up for email updates. It is the best way to be sure you get all the blog updates.

Bad VW gas Cap

Happy Wednesday everyone. It is time for Shot Shots again. There is not many updates beyond the pictures today. Things around the shop are absolutely insane busy. That is a good and bad thing. When it gets this type of busy I feel like we miss things. But as a flat rate technician, it makes for a nice pay check. Okay, lets get to the pics!

Weird things VW drivers Do

Sometimes you see something and just thing “What the heck?”. This is one of those times. One of the boys in the shop called me over to show this to me. This customer has a bungee cord wrapped around their drivers seat. Maybe it is for holding the trim on? Maybe it gives them a little extra butt support? Post up your thoughts in the comments. I am out of ideas LOL.

VW electrical ProblemsWe have heard that all VWs have electrical problems or wiring problems. This one was a good one. This Jetta came from one of the rental car companies. I think the original concern was rear lights not working. The tech went round and round with chasing wires, and he even replaced the main electrics module(Body control module). The car was blowing 1 certain fuse in a strange way.

I think he did almost everything right. Where he got hung up was dismissing a key bit of info he had. The interior lights didn’t work. No matter what he did the lights would not work. When he pulled down the front light he found this. When the light was installed (I am not sure if it was from the factory, or a repair) the screw that holds the light was ran into the harness. The symptoms were tricky, but I am glad he found the issue.

The key here is to always pay attention to all the symptoms of a car. I have a post coming soon about this exact thing.

Bad VW gas CapThis might be one of my all time favorite Shop Shot picture of all time. This customer brought their car in for a minor service. On this service we add a fuel treatment. I was working on something else when I hear the tech next to me laughing. I walked over to see what was up, and this is what he found.

I guess the customer lost his gas cap. So until he got a new one, this was the solution, foil and rubber bands. Looking at it while I write this post, I am cracking up! Don’t worry, he bought a new gas cap. 😉

That does it for another Volume of Shop Shots! Remember if you have any car questions, just use this contact me form, post it to Facebook, or you can even call it in!

p0171 system lean

HOLY COW!
mk1 VR6 Cabby I didn’t realize that it has been over 3 months since the last volume of Shop Shots! That is just insane. Well let me tell you guys about what has been going on around the Humble Mechanic garage lately.

At the shop
We are short handed at work. That can make for a nice pay check, but always makes for more work. Not just more cars, more nick-knack type stuff too. I also feel like VW is in the middle of a strange transition period. We are doing much more maintenance than before. The cars are getting better, but when they break it seems to be in really crazy ways. I will probably save more of my thoughts for another time. It just “feels” different.

At the house
We do a ton of spring planting in the garden. Those of you that have been around a while may remember my wife and I moved about a year and a half ago. We bought a house with a much bigger garage and 3.6 acres. That means plenty of yard work and tons of planting. We planted about 15 trees this spring. Along with the trees we planted lots of support plants too. Let’s just say we are on track to build a food oasis.

Project “Luv A Dub”
A few weeks ago I had my first real break down in the Cabby. It turned out the main engine connector came loose and shut the car down. I also feel like the torque of the engine is a little much for the engine mounts. I ordered a 4th mount from my boys at Euro-wise. Once that comes in I will start driving it a little more.

Okay, enough yapping, let’s get to the Shop Shots!

Poor exhaust repairI always love a great DIY repair. There are times when you can hodgepodge parts together to fix a problem. I am a big fan of that. I did plenty of that type of thing on the Cabby. This is the exact opposite of a good DIY. This is a nightmare.

You are looking at about 1 foot of exhaust on a Jetta. In this one foot section, you can see:

  • 4 clamps
  • 2 attempts at hangers
  • a bolt through a hanger that shouldn’t be there
  • some type of plastic “sealing” the exhaust

As you can see this is not a factory repair. If this car was in for state inspection, it would fail!

Turbo Carbon build up

If you drive a 2.0t VW, you may have heard of this issue. Carbon building up on the back of the intake valves. This is actually an issue on almost all gas engines with direct injection. The issue usually shows itself as a check engine light, or as misfires when the engine is cold.

There are a few theories floating around about what is causing this. One that makes the most sense is from the folks at B.G.(they make oil and fuel treatments). They say it is due to a small amount of fuel left unburnt when the engine is shut off. This can settle on the intake valves when they are open. That varnish catches small deposits of oil as it comes through the intake runner.

That is probably the most sound theory I have heard. We have tried a few different methods to clean the valves. Sadly the best way is to clean it by hand. Some shops use a modified walnut blaster. Other shops soak and scrape each valve by hand. Either way, it is a messy and expensive job. The next time I have the chance, I will snap a “post cleaning” picture for you guys.

VW transmission problemsThis is one of those things you see happen to a car and think “how in the world did that happen?” This is a small hole in a transmission. You would not see this hole with the transmission installed in the car. Something on the inside of the transmission broke. That break caused inside parts of the transmission to become outside parts.

I don’t think the tech working on it found the exact failure. Some parts have what is called a “core charge”. That means we have to send the part replace back to VW. Often times we do not disassemble core parts. VW can be strict about what they will and will not take back.

That wraps up another volume of Shop Shots. I know that it has been on a big time hiatus, and for that I am sorry. When the blog was young, I committed to do a blog post 5 days a week. I don’t think that I can keep that level of posting up. But I have recommitted to putting content out for you guys. If you have any topics you want us to talk about, please use the contact me form and let me know!

VW Wheel Damage

Happy Wednesday everyone. If you like are like me, you are about over winter. I am ready to get home from work and still have some daylight. Plus I am ready for top down weather in the Cabby. If you are new to the community, be sure to check out the Luv-a-Dub tab. You can see the build and restore of my 1988 VW Cabriolet with a VR6 engine swap. She is in winter mode right now. I can’t wait to get her back on the road.

Today we have Shop Shots. Let’s get right to it!

VW suspension curb damageLast week’s snow storm reeked havoc on so many cars. We have had 15+ cars come in with bent suspension parts over the last week. This VW is one of the worst I have seen. The solid steel arm of the lower suspension bent. It is bent at a crazy angle. The impact it takes to bend this lower control arm is severe. Replacing the control arm was just the beginning. We also had to replace the axle, wheel bearing, ball joint, and tie rod. All of these are vital parts of the suspension.

Vw Transmission problemsI feel like I post a lot of transmission pictures. There is something so cool about the guts of a transmission. This is the gears of a Passat manual transmission. The customer was concerned about a grinding going into 3rd gear. That is generally an issue with the synchro. This transmission had a good amount of metal in the fluid.

When we have an internal engine or transmission issue, we have to decide whether to repair, or replace. It involves us adding up the parts we think we need to replace, and comparing that to the cost of a new unit.  It generally works out that we replace the unit. That is something that almost always makes the customer happy.

VW Wheel Damage

Like I said in the top picture, winter has been crazy! This is the back side of a wheel. The customer drove in on their spare tire(yay for them knowing how to change a tire). Our tire guy took the wheel out of the trunk and immediately called me over. Not only was their a good size bend in the lip of the wheel, the entire wheel was split. The front face was split away from the barrel of the wheel. I have seen a ton of damaged wheels, but I have never personally seen a wheel split in two. Can you imagine the sound that made. Yikes!

Well that wraps up another week of behind the scenes pictures. I hope that you are all careful and look out for potholes. They hang around long after the snow does. My wife was just telling me about having to dodge potholes. She said she felt like a drunk guy 😉

One last thing, if you enjoy the things we talk about here, please consider sharing this blog. There are share buttons on the top and bottom of every post. As the community grow, it gives me more bargaining power to do cool things like giveaways. At some point this year, I will start looking for some sponsors for the blog. More on that another time.

Tiguan Fuse Recall

It is Wednesday, so you know what time it is. By the time most of you read this, I will be on a flight to Chicago for the Chicago Auto Show. I am not really a big fan of flying, or airports, or being away from my family, but I am looking forward to the show. I will also be posting plenty of pictures on the Humble Mechanic Facebook page.

Even though I have been out of the shop for the last few days, I still have pictures for you. Alright, let’s do this Shop Shot thing.VW engine Failure

First up we got some real nice VW engine damage. This a a picture of a Volkswagen CC engine. The car came in with strange noise/vibration while accelerating. One of the other techs in the shop was working on this car. I lent him a hand diagnosing the issue. We went around for a while trying to identify the noise. They vibration that the noise caused could be felt on the back side of the transmission. We pulled the trigger and replaced the transmission.

Sadly this was not the issue. After lots of conversation, we decided to remove the oil pan. This turned out to be a great move. We found little sparkley bits inside the oil. That prompted further engine tear down. We got the upper oil pan off and found this bolt had broken. This is one of the main bolts that hold the crank shaft in. If you are not an engine person, don’t worry. I will tell you it is really dang important. This car got a new engine. Luckily the customer had an aftermarket warranty. I think they only paid $100.

Bent VW Wheel damageNext up is something that seems to be a plague these days, bent wheels. It seems to be worse this time of year. My guess is the increase in potholes and bad driving that winter brings. I tried to shoot a video of this wheel spinning on the balancer. It came out terrible. 🙂 It is strange to me that someone could not feel they had a bent wheel. Many times a small bent in a wheel will be fine. This is a major bend. If you find out you have a bent wheel, most of the time they can be repaired. From what I have seen, the cost is around $120 or so. That is not cheap, but it’s better than $350 for a new wheel

Tiguan Fuse RecallA few weeks ago, I let you guys know that VW was issuing a recall for the Tiguan. It was related to a fuse getting too hot and melting the fuse panel. By the time the recall came out, I had seen a bunch of them fail. I wanted to post a picture of the damage to the fuse panel for everyone to see.

It is strange to me to talk about someone electronic OVERHEATING and causing something to melt in such a casual manor. When I hear overheating electronics, I think fire. I have seen a bunch of these fail, and the worst that has happened is exterior lights not working. Don’t get me wrong, having a bunch of your exterior lights not working is a real pain in the butt. But hey, it’s better than a car fire.

Pontiac Engine Build

Hey everyone. Welcome to the first Shot Shots of 2014. Like most of you, it is record cold where I am. I left for work yesterday to an insane 11 degrees. This type of weather can make cars do weird things. Like not shift into gear, or have the battery just die. Please stay safe out there. If you don’t have to travel, DON’T!

I know that Shop Shots is normally a Wednesday post. It turns out that I fell asleep at my computer on Tuesday night. I woke up to my wife yelling at me. She is actually making fun of me about it right now. Now that she has had her fun, its time for the first pictures of 2014.automotive repair with duct tapeIt is always a fun time to see car repairs with Duct Tape. This is the back side of a Passat head light. Someone attempted to install non factory HID headlights. I am generally a fan of HID headlights. I have them installed in my Passat. But these type of kits usually require some modification. Lucky for the customer I was able to get the light seated and installed properly. The bad part is, the adjuster for the headlight was broken. That means the inside of the light just bounces around. The fix? A simple zip tie.

Volkswagen Paint Defects

From the factory Volkswagen has excellent paint. It is among the best in the industry. There is a Honda dealer next to mine. If you look at a new Honda vs a new VW, you can see VW paint is overall a better job. That being said, I have seen paint issues on VWs. This car came in for the first service and for us to look at the dark spot you see here. There was some type of sometime under the clear coat. It is funny, you see something like that and you can’t help but try and wipe it off.

Pontiac Engine BuildLast up is another picture of my buddies engine. I have posted pictures of his car a few times before. He is coming dangerously close to finishing the engine rebuild. He is really taking care to build an engine that near factory. He is doing something similar to what I did with the VR swap. Paint every part, and take the time to get it done right. Also, I am in love with those black valve covers.

That about does it for the first Shop Shots of 2014. I am really excited to kick off this year. I do think that this will be the biggest year for all of us yet. Big things are coming and it will be a wild ride. If you want to help our community grow, please consider sharing the blog. I am sure you know some folks that truly care about their cars. Remember that much of what we talk about applies to all cars, not just VWs.

VW oil problem

Happy Wednesday everyone. As I am writing this, I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Christmas is next week. That means this will most likely be the last volume of Shop Shots of the year. I know that you are probably weeping. Don’t worry Shop Shots is not going anywhere. In fact next year should be the biggest year yet for all of us. Let’s get to it.

VW oil problemThe story behind this picture is one of those “you have to be kidding me” moments. A customer stopped by the dealer. He was driving through and the check engine light came on in his 2012 Passat. We worked him in because he was just passing through. When I pulled the car in the shop, it sounded a little funny. I started scanning the car for faults. While the scan tool was doing it’s thing, I popped the hook to have a look.

With the hood up, I found the reason the check engine light was on. It turns out the customer had his car serviced before his road trip. He made it 900 some miles before the check engine light came on. The place that serviced his car did not put the oil cap back on. Luckily it was just sitting by the wipers. The car’s ECM had faults stored for an air leak. Leaving the oil cap off creates a pretty good sized air leak. 🙂 I am just shocked he made it so far before the check engine light came on.

Clogged VW cooling systemNext up is a common issue that is taken to a level I have never seen. This is a shot of a coolant bottle on a 2003 Passat. I have seen quite a few 1998-2005 Passats have issues with cooling systems getting clogged up. It usually comes in with a “My heat does not work” complaint. Over time coolant breaks down and starts to block up the system. This prevents coolant from properly flowing in the system.

In this picture you can see just how clogged up the system got. This is a shot down into the coolant reservoir. I am pretty sure I have not seen a system this clogged. The customer declined making an repairs. I think it was a good choice on her part.

VW seat wiring problemLast up we have a VW wiring problem. This one was a good one. The customer complained about the seat moving while driving. He said that sometimes the seat would move forward or back all by itself. It car has power seats. The car had been in 2 other times for the same issue. We were never able to duplicate the issue. But the car had a fault stored in the computer that controls the seat. We had replaced the seat memory buttons, and the module. I pulled the seat out to inspect the wiring. Hidden in the seat rail was a wire that had a been grounding against the frame. Basically the car was seeing the button being pushed. Kind of funny really. I guess this is one of the electrical demons everyone talks about.

Well, that wraps it up for the final Shop Shots of 2013. I really do love posting Shop Shots. It is the most fun for me. If you like Shop Shot, please sign up for email updates. It is the best way to be sure you get all the blog updates.