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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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Damaged Vw threads

Happy Thursday boys and girls. I can’t believe that today is the last day of July. It is crazy when you realize how fast the year has gone by. Okay, enough reminiscing, it is time for Shop Shots!

VW engine failureThis may not look like something out of the ordinary, but it is. This engine was delivered to us a few days ago. When they took it off the truck I was shocked. Shocked because I had no idea what the heck type of engine it was. I have seen plenty of VW engines, and this didn’t look anything like that. That is because it is NOT a VW engine. It is for a dang Routan.

I got some of the story on why we are replacing a Routan engine with a junkyard engine. It seems that a customer drove through water high enough to pull water into the engine. I don’t know why people do that. It should be interesting to see this Routan get an engine replacement. I will keep everyone updated when the repair is done. Maybe there will be some cool pictures of the damage.

Volkswagen wiring problem engineThis is a much less rare thing. You are looking at a B7 Passat VR6. This car had some type fault for a Knock sensor. There is a Tech Tip, or a TSB for this issue. The repair is replacing the engine room harness. There are probably about 30 connectors on that harness. Replacing an engine harness can be a big task depending on the engine. I talked to the tech working on this car, he said it was one of the easier ones.

Damaged Vw threadsThis last one is a good one. This is a steering knuckle from a Touareg. The holes are where the brake caliper bolts on. One of the techs in the shop was replacing the brakes on this Touareg. When he put the bolts back in, the threads got damaged. We retapped the hole, and cleaned up the bolts. Even after that the job went sideways and ruined the treads.

Replacing the knuckle is expensive, and the machine shop didn’t have a heli-coil that size. The solution for this comes in the form of a Time Sert. These things are amazing. You basically drill a bigger hole, and thread a sleeve into the hole. The picture on the left is the repaired bolt hole, the one on the right is the good one. It is a great solution for a job that goes bad.

That does it for another volume of Shop Shots. As always I hope you have enjoyed the pictures and little stories behind them.

VW transmission problem

Happy Wednesday everyone. Sadly this time it is actually Wednesday. But hey, it is still Shop Shots day. We are as busy as can be at the shop. That means I am busy busy busy fixed and maintaining VWs. But enough about that, let’s talk Shop Shots!

Bad Volkswagen MechanicThe first picture come to us by way of a complete hack mechanic. You are looking at the the cowl panel of a VW Beetle. That is the trim right at the bottom of the windshield. You will notice that someone has drilled a hole in the trim. Talk about a hack move.

I can only assume why some tool would drill this hole. My guess is to replace the bushings at the top of the strut. The right way to do this job is to remove the wiper arms, and remove the trim. If you do it right, it takes about 10 minutes max. But if you are a hack mechanic, you aint got time fo dat!

VW transmission problemThis type of picture makes me feel a bit like a curios kid. When ever I see an engine or a transmission taken apart, I get excited. Especially when I am not the one taking it apart. 😉 Not that I mind doing this type of work, it just doesn’t pay that well.

This is the the top view of a manual transmission. One of the boys had this apart to replace a syncro. After a few times taking the transmission out and putting it back in, he ended up having to replace the entire transmission. There was some noise issues. I don’t have much to add, I just love taking pictures of this type of thing.

Volkswagen Wiring ProblemI feel like this is the things that mechanics have nightmares about. You are looking at a wiring harness in a 2014 Tiguan. The customer had about 400 miles on their car. They brought it in because the 12v outlet wouldn’t work. When I got the car the fuse was blown. Each time a new fuse was installed, it would pop. That could mean the power wire was shorted to ground(which is the brown wire in the picture).

I got a great tip for finding a shorted wire with your multi-meter

  1. Set the meter to continuity check. Most meters have an audible tone when continuity is achieved.
  2. Place one of each lead at each wire If they are shorted, the meter will beep.
  3. Start moving the harness in various places
  4. When the meter stops beeping, you have found the source of the issue.

After messing around with the front console for a while, it was time to move on to the rear console. I set the meter up and was getting nowhere. When I moved to the back, I took one of the screws out of the trim panel. As soon as I started taking the screw out, the meter stopped beeping. With the panel off, this is what I found. When the panel was installed the harness got smashed, and the screw driven through the wires. A quick wiring repair, and the car was good to go.

Well that does it for another round of Shop Shots. I hope you all have a great week. Also, feel free to share this post. I tried to make it really easy to share. You can use either the buttons on the top, or the buttons under the “You may also like” links.

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.

Leaking VW water pump

Hi everybody! Just an FYI, every time I say “Hi everybody” I say it like Dr Nick from The Simpsons. Okay, back to Shop Shots! This week we have a few different automotive service pictures. These pictures come from a VW service department. It is a great way to get a behind the scenes look at what automotive technicians see.

Leaking VW water pumpFirst up we have a leaking VW water pump. This picture shows the benefit of having pink coolant. This water pump had been leaking for some time. It must have been a slow leak. As the coolant leaked out, it would dry and form a crust.

The customer had noticed that her coolant level was low. She never found a leak. I noticed a little trail on the very bottom of the engine. I didn’t really find this mess until I pulled all the engine covers off. I have seen tons of VW coolant leaks my day. This is one of the most interesting.

Broken VW Airbag connector under seatThis is another somewhat common issue. A broken connector under a Jetta seat. This car came in with the airbag light on. The code that was stored was for the “seat position switch”. That’s right, there is a sensor that monitors what position(forward/ backward) the seat is.

These connectors under the seat are probably the most damaged connectors that I find. Things roll under the seat. Then you move the seat and CRUNCH!

Water in a VW fuel tankWe get a lot of cars that come in from other shops. Usually they get towed in with some crazy statement from the other shop. Something like “The customer took the car through a car wash, now there is water in the tank”. 99% of the time, they are not even close to being right.

This time however they were spot on. There was a bunch of water in the gas on the EOS. You can see the water and the gas separate in the container. Now I am not sure if the water actually got in there from the car wash. I didn’t get the whole story from the customer. It will be interesting to hear the story. I will update everyone when I find out.

Well another week for Shop Shots in the books. For those of you that are heading to Helen,GA this weekend for the Southern Worthersee car show please let me know. I would love to meet up with you. I will be there most of the day Saturday. If you can’t make it, be sure to like the Facebook page and or the Instagram page. I will be posting pictures from the show all day. Looking forward to meeting up with you guys

Volkswagen Exhaust problems

Hey everyone It is Wednesday, for real this time. So That means we are rocking some Shop Shots today. Now this is actually the first post of the week. I have been crazy busy this week so far. If you follow on Facebook or Instagram you know that I just picked up another Cabriolet. And if you are reading this, you know that my wife has not killed me yet. 😉 I will have more on that tomorrow. Let’s get into this weeks service pictures.

 Volkswagen Exhaust problemsThis first one comes from a fellow VW tech. The customer brought the car in for a check engine light. When the tech checked the car out, he found this SHOE jammed into the exhaust. They called the customer to see what happened. The customer said that her daughter was in a small accident. Thankfully this is not something you see every day.

VW air conditioning not workingNow that spring is here, it’s time for nonstop air conditioning work. This is the time of year when everyone realizes their car’s a/c is not as cold as it was last year. There are many reasons why a/c stops working. In this case it was due to the customer hitting something.

The customer said that she had hit something in the road back in December. She didn’t realize that her a/c was not cooling until last week when it was 80 degrees here. If you look at the spot just to the right of the flash, you can see the impact damage on the condenser. What ever she hit, put a small hole in the condenser. This caused all of the refrigerant to leak out.

When I took the condenser off, I found that it had also damaged the vehicle’s radiator. I couldn’t see the damage to the radiator until I removed the condenser. Luckily the radiator was not leaking any coolant yet.

VW engine problems You have seen similar pictures to this before. A VW Touareg or Phaeton with the engine sitting on the table. This is a VR6 that came out of a Touareg. This Touareg came in for running poorly at idle. After some diagnosis and help from VW, the tech working on the car replaced the cylinder head. It doesn’t matter how many times I see this, I always take a picture. It is just so different to see an entire power plant of a car resting on a table.

Last I wanted to share this little video that someone sent me. I get a TON of requests to share and post things to all of you. Generally I don’t do it. Most of it is poor, or packed full of ads. I don’t want to waste your guys time with that crap. This one is about tires, or most specifically tyres.

Thanks for tuning in today for another volume of Shop Shots! Be sure to sign up for email updates. You can subscribe by filling out the form at the right. EASY!