Posts Tagged Jetta

Fixed… For Good Now!

So, there is something that has always been annoying to me, and that is the plastic skid plate underneath the engine on my Jetta TDI, and not just the plastic skid plate itself, but also the side skirts that the skid plate attaches to. I think I have replaced the skid plate itself 5 times in the past 9 years I have owned the car, and then the plastic side skirts have broken at least 3 times, usually when there have been ice chunks in the road. This doesn’t even count the number of times I have had to mess with the stupid screws that hold the skid plate to the side skirts and the frame, or the little metal thing that holds the screw as well.

This thing is literally the bane of my existence with this car, which I otherwise completely and utterly love more than almost any other vehicle I have ever owned, the only one I love a little bit more is the Valcan 900 motorcycle I bought this year, so maybe it’s just newer which is why I love it a little more right now.

So I recently got my bumper fixed after a moron decided it was a good idea to try to put on his seatbelt with a broken arm while pulling out of the gas station, and thus hit and scratched up my bumper. Yeah, you are gonna pay for it when you do that, even though the scrapes were not a lot, they were enough and I wanted my pound of flesh for his stupidity.

So, I get the car back, and I am cruising down Storrow Drive on my way into Boston and I hear a slightly familiar sound as I go up and down over the undulating roadway that Storrow is.




Yup, I hear the skid plate scraping on the ground.

I stop when I am at my destination and take a look at the problem, and it is not exactly what I suspected, but it is more annoying than I expected. The skid plate was held in place perfectly and was completely attached to the side skirts and frame just as it’s supposed to be. However, the side skirt is broken up at the top where it connects to the frame up by the top of the wheel well.

Oh sure, great, another $200 to spend for the parts and labor to get the skirt replaced, because you can only buy them in pairs and it’s a PITA to do this without a lift.

So, I am done with plastic, it has some great uses but this really is not one of them.

After a massive amount of searching and reading through online forums, specifically ones at,, and, I decided to go to and purchase from them.

I ended up looking things over and bought the combo of the Panzer skid plate and the Full Metal Jacket side skirts. When something is talked about as much as they are on forums, then there has to be some truth to it. I chose the one that has the nice cut out for oil changes, so maybe I will go back to doing my own changes again, or it will just make it nice and easy for whoever I pay to do my oil changes instead of needing to deal with the old plastic plate again.

Now the real challenge set in, the waiting for it to be shipped and arrive. Fortunately, it came in 4 business days, so I got it last Thursday after ordering it the previous Saturday night. I can live with that.

So the installation went pretty easy, I got the installation done in about 3 hours, but in reality, if I had fully read the whole install guide and had all the tools I needed ahead of time, I could have had this wrapped up in 60-75 minutes.  I rolled the car up onto my tire ramps, and then was able to get under the car with little to no problem, I took off the old skid plate, and then easily took off the old side skirts which were practically falling off anyway.

Then it became a little more complicated, I needed to figure out how to use the “rivnuts” that they sent, and how to use the tool they send to get them put in, all in all, it was actually pretty simple, but it did take a couple minutes to sort it out and get comfortable with it.

I didn’t end up needing to purchase many tools to get this done, I used my standard ratchets and was fortunate enough to have an extender bar that was JUUUUUST long enough, although another 2 inches wouldn’t have been horrible.(insert Michael Scott saying “That’s what she said”). I did end up purchasing a 3 pack of ratchet swivel tips to be able to get at a couple of the bolts at weird angles, and also a nice can of grease. Who doesn’t love grease right? I hear it is the word.

So once I got in the rivnuts, I then popped on the mounting arms for the skid plate. These are pretty nice, they attach the skid plate to the upper part of the frame instead of attaching it to the side skirts, this puts less pressure and weight on the side skirts so they won’t break as easily, although with them now being metal instead of plastic, I don’t expect them to break anyway.

Then the side skirts go on, these went on smoothly without too much trouble, a little twisting and turning to get it done, but not much trouble.

Then the skid plate went on, this was a little tougher than the plastic one because it’s about 25 pounds or so instead of the 5 or 6 that the plastic one weighs, but it sure did attach nice and solid with the bolts into the rivnuts, I took it for a spin afterwards and it felt good, and sounded slightly more quiet than the old one, I suspect the way it attaches and the metal itself probably absorbs a bit more of the noise, and probably keeps a little more of the ground noise out from coming through as well.

Sadly, I did not take any really good pictures like I probably should have of the process, I have a couple from the iPhone, but they aren’t anything remarkable. It looks pretty much like all the stock pictures from over at Dieselgeek if you go check it out, they have some decent videos too.

Also, I did the install using the PDF version of the install guide on my iPad instead of having it printed out, and it was very nice, easy to zoom in on pics and such to make sure I was getting everything in the right spots.

Also, no major injuries occurred during the process. I got real dirty with grease and grime, and somehow my butt really hurts, I think the combination of using my muscles to wiggle in and out from under the car for 3 hours in combination with having ZERO padding on my ass to begin with contributed to that. Also, my arms and wrists got pretty sore in the process as well, holding them up and cranking on the ratchets to get the rivnuts in and then to get the bolts in took some time, and the angles didn’t help, definitely not things my wrists and arms are used to doing on a regular basis.

This is a video that shows Jim at DieselGeek installing the rivnuts.


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495 Gets Crazy!

So, it was a Tuesday and I was swinging by my moms house to pick up here computer which is having some trouble, so I am going to fix it for her. Pretty normal stuff there, but where the interesting part comes into play is with my ride home from there.

The strange and crazy came on the way home, I cut down Allen, hit Rockland and road to Mansfield Center where I then jumped on 140 and then to 95 to 495 for the long stretch home…

So I am cruising along and going through the Milford area between exits 18 and 19. I noticed 2 cars that looked like they had spun off the road, one was facing me on the side and another had spun off and was way on the grass, so I figured I would pull over to make sure they were ok, but my brain says to pull over after then instead of before them, so I went to go wide left and then will pull over to the right.

So as I come up on them, I realized why they were over there. There was, for a lack of a better phrase, a complete shit ton of garbage all over the highway. I hit the brakes, swerved left and right and got through the obstacle course of shit all over the road and then pulled over to the right side and put on my flashers. The jetta handled beautifully though, no skidding, and the steering was nice and tight.

I open up my car door and get out to check on the other 2 cars, as I am walking back towards them, I see more cars coming up on the debris, along with a couple large trucks, lots of swerving, tire screeching and it looking like a tractor trailer was going to jackknife and roll over, I realized this was not a good thing to be going on. I grabbed my phone and called the state police to report  it, then went back to my car and grabbed the two maglights I always carry with me in the car, cuz you know, be prepared right? Seeing a truck swerving, skidding and looking like it’s going to roll over is pretty damn scary experience.

So I stayed in the breakdown lane and just was waving the flashlights in an up & down and back & forth motion at all the cars coming towards us in hopes that they would understand that to mean stop or slow down, and fortunately, they did, they all started to slow down and there was less screeching breaks and swerving to get around the stuff, although one person chose to mostly ignore me and almost rear-ended someone who slowed down to go through it all. That’s on them, pay attention to brake lights dumbass. Meanwhile I get down to the 2 cars who were on the side of the road and both of the guys from the cars were ok.

So there was some spots where there were no cars coming, so when those breaks happened, I went out to grab some of the large stuff off the roadway… the massive tarps, the dual tank air compressor, the 2×8’s, the mangled fiberglass and aluminum ladders.

I got a few of these things cleared off a statie finally showed up and parked in the middle lane to block things, and then got out and started clearing the big stuff off with me and one of the guys who was there when I pulled over. Then another statie showed up and completely blocked the whole rest of the road, so no cars were going by. I then asked the one who was cleaning off the road if we should just clear everything out of the left lane so some traffic could pass and no one would end up with a flat tire, he thought it was a good idea so we policed the lane and cleared everything out of it, the debris went for about 200-250 feet or so.

So we got the lane cleared and they opened it up to traffic in one lane.

So the stuff that was all over the road was pretty impressive. It certainly was apparent that it was from a truck that probably belonged to a contractor or carpenter of some kind. There were a couple metal ladders that were all kinds of mangled, and a fiberglass ladder that was mostly shredded but still holding together. An air compressor,  screw drivers, hammers, chisels, tool belts and bags, giant tarps, shovels, tin snips, wire cutters, pliers, staplers, drills, batteries, 10 foot 2×8’s, ladder jacks, staples, nails, screws, circular saw blades, extension cords, plywood, levels, tubes of tar and silicon, shingles and at least a half dozen home depot buckets that probably held all the stuff. The inner hoarder in me wanted to spend some time and look for anything that wasn’t totally fucked up by being dumped out onto the highway at 65mph and just keep it. I did keep a triangle square and a hammer that I picked up though, just cuz those are good to have and I can’t find any of my hammers since I moved, I think they are all over in the storage unit, plus really, who doesn’t need an extra hammer?

So got the lane clear, I was headed back to my car and was walking with one of the staties who then said something close to “This is bullshit, I don’t mind Tuesday night road duty because shit like this doesn’t happen on a Tuesday night, what a shit show.”

Checked out my car and everything appeared to be fine, so I got ready to head out. I was luckier than some of the others who ended up with flat tires, or the one guy who had the head of a shovel wedged under his car with some mystery liquid leaking out. It wasn’t oil, it wasn’t anti-freeze, it wasn’t washer fluid, and it wasn’t transmission or brake fluid… I was a bit puzzled, but not my issue…

So I drive off and about a mile or so up the road, there’s a car off to the side, so I pulled over to see if they needed anything, it was two girls just hanging out and smoking while they were waiting for AAA to come change their flat tire for them… I have an opinion on this, and I am sure you can figure out it, but I’ll just let you go with it.

I then saw a pickup truck over on the side about 3/4 of a mile up from them, so I pulled over the same to make sure they were ok… that’s when I found it… pretty sure it was the truck that lost all it’s shit out on the highway a couple miles back. Holy shit, this truck was fucked up! There are a couple pictures below that I took with my phone, so the quality is kinda crappy, but it will show you the damage to the truck. The tailgate was hanging off, front right tire was completely shredded up, but still there and there was damage to the front on both sides, the hood, the windshield and roof, but there didn’t appear to be any damage to the racks and rack supports on the back of the truck. I don’t think that the truck actually rolled over, and if it did roll over, how did it end up 3 miles down the road? Aliens maybe?

Click on the image to enlarge it.

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The Excitement NEVER ENDS!!!

Anyway, I am sure you are all aware of the drama dealing with my car last October and how the engine went kablooey, without the actual kablooey anyway.

But as of this past Friday, I am told that the new engine that I went and put a deposit on will be arriving at the dealership(New dealership versus the shitty one that fucked me over) this up coming Thursday or Friday, and they will start putting it in my car on Monday morning, and should be done by the end of the week barring any freaky problems.

How awesome is that? I will once again have my car back! My kick ass car that I really do love!!



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A Week Since My Last Update

Yeah.. busy week… to summarize….

I am back in California this week, same place as last week and it will be the same place next week.. I am coming home for the weekend though since I have a bunch of things to do and want to go get my newsed car registered on Monday.

Still trying to deal with VW on the situation with my car but I bought a Saab in the mean time to get me around when I am home. I figure once I get my car back I will either go enter a demolition derby with the Saab, or sell it. Depends on my mood at the time.

So CA is not all that interesting, I am working 11-17 hour days while I am here, and working is not really working since I sit here, and watch a computer screen and try to clear up any problems that happen.

Their system keeps locking up because of the way our programmers programmed the system, they fucked up so I need to sit and keep this thing on life support while they write new code to try to compensate for the problem.

Fuck, but on the upside, I am earning a ton of FF miles, Holiday Inn Priority points, I am not spending any of my own money on anything, and I am really cranking up the billable hours!!! I think I might almost be at my quarterly amount and I am only a couple weeks into the year!

What I am really waiting for is 11 days from now for my paycheck, that is gonna be the nice one, my 4th quarter bonus and then all the leftover from my 2nd and 3rd quarters that they held back from me last year.

I had tried to write a couple blogs earlier this week but the damn thing kept screwing up on me so I could not post em… oh well….

if you are ever in Watsonville, CA – then definitely check out Green Valley Grill and Cilantro’s Mexican restaurants. They are both really good. I had a very nice double breast of duck with a juniper, raspberry and red wine reduction with saphron rice and then at Cilantros I had some soft tacos ‘con carne asada’ and orange rice, and they were all really really good!

I am on the red eye home tonight, same as last week and same as planned for next week. That was the reason I did not make it to the show last week, I was totally drained and slept off and on Sat afternoon and was just too wiped to go out in public!

have a great weekend and hope all is well with all of you!

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Not Happy with VW at the Moment

ok, so as some of if not all of you know my car is in the shop, it came down ill while in NH and started making a loud clanking noise.

I have 1500 or so miles left on my warranty, and VW does not want to fix the car under warranty because they say that it is my fault, the suspect that the damage is due to the engine running too hot, and improper oil being used, and not being changed often enough.

Now, I am a smart person, I am pretty handy, and on top of it all, I tend to be a tad frugal with my money – why should I pay someone else to do what I can do myself, right?

So, I do my own oil changes, and simple things like fuel filter, air filters, etc etc – no problem right?

I was instructed by the dealer I got my car from that I had to use a specific oil for my oil changes – Castrol Syntec(synthetic) 5W-40. Ok, no problem!

So I got the right oil and have been doing my oil changes. I even showed the quart to the mechanic and he looked at it and said, “Well, that is not the exact same stuff that we use, but it is the full synthetic, and the right type, so you should be ok”

OK, no problem right? WRONG

They want to deny my warranty because it was the wrong oil.

BUT it gets better!!!

On top of that…. they also want proof of the oil changes. They want the reciepts for oil changes at a dealer, or the jiffy lube, or the receipts for the oil and filter at someplace like AutoZone.

What? Who keeps a receipt for $30 spent at AutoZone to buy oil? I pay cash and the recipet never makes it to my car.

I was diligent about this car, I changed my oil every 3000-4000 miles, pretty damn good for me considering I usually would do it every 7000-8000 in my other cars before.

So I said that to the guy, and he tells me that in my owners manual it tells me that I need to keep documented receipts for anything like this in order for my warranty to be valid.


My car had no owners manual! I was not given one by the dealer when I bought the car!

I specifically asked if there was anything special in it, and the only thing they told me was the oil, make sure you buy the right oil and use the right oil.

yeah, VW owes me, even if my lack of using the right oil, or not having receipts for things, Why? cuz their agents – aka sales person and service person – verbally told me what I needed to know, and they left out those things.

Yeah, I will throw them under the bus if I have to, I do not care how loyal I have been to Paul Clark Ford and Volkswagon, they deserve no loyalty at this point, for these things right here, as well as what they did to Tom after his years of service.

if worse comes to worse I will sell this car I love and never go back to VW again, if they want a loyal customer, then they need to be honorable about their part of the deal.

this will be updated……

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