Phar Warner (pharwarner) wrote,
Phar Warner


I think I'll make a series of posts about working on my two Volkswagens. I need to both record what I've done, and keep a log of achievements for confidence's sake. I feel that we're at a time now, at least here in the Western Australian environment, where the great shift has happened which I hear folks in the US talking about.  If you have an old VW you have to be prepared to work on it yourself now. Since I had my first VW when I was 16, I had mechanics to work on them that were family friends, qualified experts who in many cases were sent to Germany, to Wolfsburg, to gain their qualifications. Work was 'cheep' and done 'by the book'. Picking up the car was full of fellowship, drinks, and talk of the old days. But after about ten years, ie. 2000s. suddenly it was 'I don't want to work on these no more.'. Yeah, play "Puff the Magic Dragon" here....

But someone was willing to spend another ten years working on the VW. He did the right thing always. But some things he couldn't do. Time had caught up. Heck, I couldn't do them either! How do you make 6 volt wiper motors work on 12 volt systems? Voltage regulators? Yes, but not very well.... I can tell many stories of cold stormy nights when I switched on the wipers and everyone in car hoped that the wipers would get over the 12 o'clock position and not stop, damming us all to a journey without any wipers at all. Good times, man....

But the most recent time that I took my Beetle to the shop for service, I was horrified that what my Dad had mentioned a couple of times on the phone was true. "Where is M------? Have you heard from him lately?" Since I was seeing him more often than he ever was since the 1980s, I thought they'd just been missing each other. But no. He wasn't running the shop anymore. Some other guy was. Who charged through the roof, and didn't do most of what I told him to do. To be fair, he did fix one thing which M----- had never been able to. That was a valve adjustment issue. I was happy for that. But the overall cost was phenomenal. And saying "oh, man, that car of yours is worth so much, you could sell it for an amazing price....". means I'll never go back there. You're there to fix my car. All that crap is for me to say, I if I choose to. Not for you to put an extra 0 on the price....

So, what does that lead us to today? A) Lean to do the mechanical work on your VW yourself. This was hinted to me in the late '90s by an apprentice mechanic who I'd grown up with. "Like, a moron can do anything but the timing themselves!" Lesson learned.... a while too late. B) (And this a lot more interesting and enjoyable than the previous lesson) The Internet has given us access to so much. A community of people willing to help with advice, and accurate knowledge to give us the ability to do our own work. And the ability to source parts (literature too) from all over the world. What was once all down to rumour and "he said" is now open to wider knowledge. I've benefited greatly.

tldr.... the internet is great!
Tags: volkswagen
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