If you haven't read or signed my Guest Book yet, be sure to check it out.
Trivia question: Where was Rudolf Diesel buried?
Here are some Cheap Tricks I've employed on my VW Diesel Pickup (a.k.a. Caddy)
Return to my VW Diesel Pickup Page...
Here is a step by step guide on how to remove/repair a door handle:
Tip from John Van Vuren
Here is a step by step guide on how to re-key a door lock to work with a different key:
Tip from John Van Vuren
I think VW recommends replacing the fuel filter every 15,000 miles or so. I usually run mine until I start seeing bubbles in the clear fuel line, especially at full throttle, which seems to be about every 2 years and 20,000 miles. Replacement is a fairly easy process, requiring no tools. There are a few tips to make it easier, though.
I have an upper stress bar between the strut towers. It is a lot easier if I remove that first. Mine is held on with 13mm nuts, one of which requires a u-joint socket to remove. Its also easier if you remove the air intake cover and filter, by removing the 4 spring clips that hold it in place. Now, reach in, grab the filter and twist it off. Be careful to keep it level, it holds over a pint of fuel.
With the old filter off, take the new one and fill it with Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF). You could also use clean diesel fuel, but the detergents in the ATF will give your injector pump and injectors a good cleaning. Wipe some of the ATF on the two rubber gaskets and then screw the filter on and tighten by hand.
Now start the engine and check for leaks. With the filter pre-filled, you should see the red ATF in the clear fuel line almost immediately. There should be no bubbles in the fuel line, if there are try checking the filter for leaks.
Well, it finally happened after about a year of warning, my water pump gave up the ghost. I had been noticing a drop or two of dark liquid in the plug beneath the pump housing for the last year. Nothing major but this gave me ample warning to the impending failure. One night driving home on a bumpy road, I started hearing a (new) rattle. Upon investigating, I saw the belt to the water pump and A/C compressor looked loose. Upon further inspection, the A/C compressor itself was loose (in fact there were no bolts at the base) and the water pump was gone, as evidenced by my wet hand after pulling the water pump plug.
First step is to get the old pump out. With factory A/C, it is not possible to get the pump housing off while its attached to the vehicle. Several of the bolts are behind pulleys and brackets. So, to remove the pump I did the following:
Once out, there are 7-10mm bolts to remove. Most likely they are corroded into place. I found that by heating each one up with a propane torch until it started smoking, then applying a slight tightening torque (to crack the threads loose), they all came out w/o a problem (even the one I snapped off before discovering the heat trick). Then, I wire brushed the bolts and ran a tap down the internal threads to prepare them for re-assembly. Then, with pump housing in hand, head off to the parts store to get a replacement. My pump is the older 40mm hub style. I found VW only carries this part in a full pump (to the tune of $140). Anyway, I found a GMB pump for $32, after first getting a 30mm version, I suggest holding the old and new pump housings up side by side to make sure the hub diameter and offset match.
To make re-assembly a bit easier, I made a few modifications. First, I ran a tap down the through hole in the water pump where the lower timing belt cover attaches. I found a 5/16x18 tap fit w/o drilling and a 1" allen-head screw fit nicely in place. On the A/C bracket, I cut out a section of the web near the hard-to-get-at bolt to allow for a bit more wrenching room. I had to get new bolts for the base of the A/C compressor to replace the missing ones. On the pulley side, the fit is really tight, I ground down a bolt (to 14mm head) to fit. I think an allen-head bolt would be a better choice. Assembly is the reverse of the removal, use anti-seize or thread locking compound on all the bolts. I also tried using a teflon thread sealant on the water pump bolts. Autotech carries a set of stainless steel bolts for this application that resist corrosion.
One tip I have for properly tensioning the v-belts is as follows:
I wrap a nylon strap around the driven accessory (A/C compressor or alternator) then lay a board or piece of angle iron across the engine bay, resting on the passenger side strut tower and extending over the front of the bumper. Then, tie the strap around the lever and use a jack to raise the lever to apply the desired tension to the belt. Once tensioned, tighten the adjuster and pivot bolts and then drop the lever. Works like a charm and I've never had to re-tighten a loose belt.
Mainly due to the A/C compressor and the restricted working room. I did the job on my non-A/C '78 Rabbit and it was a piece of cake.
You know, those two little plastic encased light bulbs beside your rear license plate. Seems they last about 10 years then burn out. I pulled mine out and couldn't figure out how to get them apart, so I picked up new ones at the dealer (ouch!). Lewis Grimes, a fellow Caddy owner, passed on this tip for repairing said bulbs:"You can rebuild the license plate light bulb. It is not hard. Take a putty knife and pry them open at the seams between the black plastic and the clear. Cut the wires at the bulb. The bulb is a push in side marker light bulb out of the early Rabbits and VWs with the same marker lights. And there are many other cars that use them . They have no base just wires. I twist the wires together with the one you cut. Test by turning on your lights and plugging the bulb in to see if they work (before sealing it up). Then, put it back together with silicone to seal them. Works great and and costs little to do. I get the bulbs out at the junk yard when I'm out there. Good Luck." "P.S. Get the License bulbs out of the trucks you can good or bad. They are hard to come by and are not cheap."
1 New side marker lamp $1
My A1 VW came with 16" wiper blades. I was never happy with the coverage (or lack thereof) of the wipers. There was a section near the top and side of the windshield that was not cleared. I measured the clearances and it looked like an 18" blade would fit. I bought a set of dual-blade aerodynamic wiper arms and installed them. The driver's side fit perfectly, on the passenger side, I had a bit of interference on the outer end. I trimmed a bit (~1/4") of the plastic off the end of the arm and a corresponding bit off the wiper itself to correct the problem.
For additional coverage, I adjusted the driver's side wiper so that it was a bit higher on the windshield. It used to rest on a downward angle, I made it parallel to the hood. Now, at its upper stroke, it runs right the the left edge of the windshield.
After doing all this, I discovered Rain-X and now hardly ever use my wipers anymore.
1 Pr. 18" wiper arms $10 ---------------------------- $10
I tried a set of those 50W halogen backup lights a few years ago. The first set I tried had trouble with the leads breaking off inside the socket, so I went back to the stock bulbs. Recently I found some new bulbs. They still had the same design as before, but I tried injecting some hi-temp silicone inside the socket to prevent the bulb from moving and breaking the leads.
These bulbs worked for a while then I noticed I had no backup lights at all. The bulbs and fuse were fine, but I guess the 8A load fried the reverse switch on the transmission. This switch supplies current to the rear lights directly, there is no in-line relay. The switch read open-circuit all the time. A new switch cost me $16 at the dealer and only took a minute to install. On my 5-speed transmission, the backup switch is located just in front of the speedometer cable.
1 Reverse switch $16 ------------------------ $16 (If needed).
After using the A/C for an extended period of time you might notice that the passenger side foot well is soggy. Usually this is due to a plugged drain line for the A/C condensation. The easiest way I've found to fix it (usually needs to be done once every year or two) is to pull off the little cover plate right where the passengers left foot would be. From here, you can find the rubber drain hose, pull it off and blow some compressed air through it. The hose is just the right size to insert the tip of an air blowgun into. A blast or two and it is all clear. If it is really plugged you may need to snake some wire down to open it up.
If you get that au-de-locker-room smell emanating from your vents, you may have stuff growing inside your ventilation system. One relatively inexpensive way to combat this is to switch to the Vent position, all outlets open, fan on full speed and then spray in a whole can of Lysol disinfectant (choose a scent you can tolerate) into the air intake (under the plastic cover at the back of the engine compartment. This should suck the disinfectant through the ducts and put a stop to the critters growing in there.
Finally, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The last few minutes of your trip, shut of the A/C while keeping the blower on. This will help dry out any condensation inside the system.
Cost: $0 - $2 (for the Lysol) Rating:
A can of starting fluid (usually an ether base or good old WD-40) carried beneath the seat will get you going if you loose the glow plugs. Just pop the hood, give a good squirt into a rag placed near the air intake, jump in and crank it. This will pull air/fumes over the rag, into the intake. Alternately, have someone spray starting fluid into the intake as you crank the engine over. Don't cycle the glow plugs, in fact you really shouldn't let them warm up to prevent back firing. It'll catch right away and spit out a cloud of black smoke. Works like a charm, I've gotten going with only one working glow plug a few times. Also great for high-altitude and cold weather starting.
Cost: $3 Rating: unless you sniff too much ether :-)
My driver's side door was sagging (who's isn't!) to the point that the door latch was not working very well. I tried loosening up the hinges and moving the striker plate to their respective limits. No good. Then I tried the jack-under-the-door method and was able to get a bit of adjustment, but the improvement didn't last long. Then one day I read a USENET article from someone who was asking why they had a washer under one of the hinges and that it seemed to be messing up the door alignment.
Well, that weekend I went out to see if I could figure out what they might be talking about. If you look at the door hinge, the door piece attaches to the frame piece with a bolt. The door piece is attached to the front side of the frame piece. By placing a nice fat washer in between the halves of the *top* hinge, you can easily pull the latch side of the door up and permanently cure the sag.
Caveat: If the plastic piece on the latch pin is badly worn from the latch striking it, this fix may produce an annoying rattle in your door. If it does, here's a simple fix for it.
Parts: One or more washers Cost: Under a buck (or free if you have a well-stocked junk drawer). Rating:
Why don't light-duty, diesel-powered vehicles have to get a (CA) Smog Check?"Inclusion of light-duty, diesel-fueled vehicles was considered during development of the California Smog Check Program. It was determined that when compared to the nation's vehicle fleet as a whole, light-duty, diesel-fueled vehicles and trucks represent a small portion of the entire fleet, less than one percent. In addition, while particulates are visible in diesel exhaust, smog-causing carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions from diesel-fueled vehicles are comparatively low. Testing for NOx (oxides of nitrogen) in diesel emissions is under evaluation. With light-duty diesel vehicles comprising less than one percent of the total number of California registered vehicles, the costs associated with implementing a new regulatory program to include these vehicles are currently prohibitive."
Parts: None (YEAH) Cost: Free (ALL RIGHT!) Rating: Yes, we have no s.
The Shade Tree Howler Monkey scale was originated by Larry Soo, here's how the bananas rank:
|Pushing the limits of a stock howler monkey; opposable thumbs only get you so far.|
|Requires the ability to communicate abstract ideas to other howler monkeys.|
|The job should only be attempted by a professional orangutan.|
Trivia answer: He wasn't (buried anywhere, that is), rather he fell overboard, or was otherwise "lost at sea" while crossing the English Channel, and was never found.