Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Update on Little Blue

I got Little Blue back from The Garage in Petaluma yesterday. The problem? The front, right brake shoes were on backward. This brings up some other issues with where I take VWs to get worked on, but for now, I am enjoying the ride for the first time since purchase. Go, Little Blue. Go.



You really can't trust anyone else to work on your cars. I've tried several times and have been disappointed nearly each venture away from my own garage for service. I'm rebuilding my first VW engine right now and last year I couldn't have even told you how to change the oil.


Mike is right. Unless you guys are made of money, you will need to do a lot of the work on the Blues yourselves. At the very least, you should never take them in for oil changes or valve jobs again. Brakes are a good next step. Next thing you know you'll be in there packing your own bearings. I really really really recommend you guys have Colin stop by on his next tour.
The good news is, you only have to learn your way around one kind of engine (not that all VW engines I-IV are all that different).


We've experienced the fact first-hand that there just is no good classic VW mechanic out there. We've seen more than 5 mechanics on our road trip in the past two months, and none of them have really done a great job. Learning it ourselves little by little seems to be the only way to keep these VW's alive! -Marc & Eliana

Ludwig's Drivers

Hooray! I'm glad Little Blue is getting in to shape! Personally, in our collective 21 years of VW ownership we've had good experiences with the majority of mechanics when we've absolutely had to take Ludwig to the shop. But also Mitch has been interacting with ACVW mechanics since he was a teenager so he's pretty experienced in what the mechanics really need to know to get Ludwig (or his other previous vee-dubs) all fixed up. I'm not saying there aren't crooks out there, but in our experience it seems the good reputable mechanics can't do the best work on the bus when they don't know the complete back story. Sorry for the rant, I just think the good mechanics out there deserve a break.

Anyway, it's much much much nicer when we (and I mean mostly Mitch) has the time (and tools) to do the work. It's so much cheaper, and we both end up learning a ton. And having Colin visit really was a good investment.

On to more pressing issues, will the bug get a name with an "I"? Is there a back story to the "I" name?
Happy bug commuting!

PJ Alau

Rockin - and as suspected, "something" just wasn't right.

Glad you figured it out.

I'm NOT camping this weekend, gotta work on stuff at home also.

My uncle would love to take a look and give it once over/tune up at your leisure.


Perhaps you should consider stop buying beer for Paul as he's probably drinking it all as he's working on your car. Just a thought. Or maybe that day he had his 5-year old apprentice there working on your brakes....that would be the only explanation possible in regards to putting on the shoes backwards....a third-grader could do it properly.

Big Blue's Driver

I have to agree with Melissa to some degree. While Paul may have installed something wrong, he's done wonders on everything else he's worked at - especially on Big Blue. The bus arrived at his shop on a flatbed with seized brakes, no ignition and various other issues and he spent the next month putting it back together and did a great job (Big Blue, unlike "Bug soon to be names with something that starts with an 'I'" (I promise to explain soon), has been remarkably trouble free considering the miles we are putting on him).

I've been in the VW game for about 9 months and consider these trips to Paul's, Viking Auto or, in this last case, The Garage, to some degree, a learning experience. Bryan from Viking walked me through the carb and I was able to install without trouble, the guy from The Garage walked me through adjusting the brakes, and Paul, just this week, called to tell me he has a 1970 bus that I can have the front end off if I want, and offered his shop and tools for me to do the cutting work myself. With no knowledge to start, these experiences have all been helpful even if they are costing me money.

Of course the goal is to get to do most of it myself, but I needed to get the bug on the road quickly and didn't want to have to wait for me to muddle through it. Now that the bug is running, I'll be able to take some time and learn about some of the issues Big Blue has...

whc03grady - I have to get Colin's contact info from you. I would love a lesson from him. I'll even wear my short shorts.

Mike - Did you get that flyer about that camping trip near Sac I emailed you? You coming? PJ Alau is! (if any of you others guys are in the area, let me know)

Except you, Monkey - You are a grumbling snob. I can't believe we're friends. Next time you are at Paul's with me, I'm making you get out of your precious little Volvo and apologize. And, if you know of a third grader who can do brake work, send him my way. I could learn a few things about brakes. Perhaps he could teach you a few things about manners. Oh, and good times drinking in the Den of Sin last night, brother. Good times...

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