986 Porsche Boxster IMS Replacement

Note these pictures are not all from the same car. The completely failed unit was sent out for complete engine tear down.

Catastrophic failure
Catastrophic failure
IMG_7525
Original Porsche IMS bearing
Original Porsche IMS bearing
cam timing lock tools in place
cam timing lock tools in place

Bearing successfully removed
Bearing successfully removed

New LN Engineering IMS Solution bearing being installed.
New LN Engineering IMS Solution bearing being installed.

New rear main seal installed, engine cleaned and IMS job complete- ready for reassembly!
New rear main seal installed, engine cleaned and IMS job complete- ready for reassembly!

VW USA 2.0 TDI Court Settlement Options for Owners

I just completed filling the forms for the beginnings of the 2.0 TDI Dieselgate compensation actions. Another owner TDI owner customer of ours called and said she was filling in a form and submitting it and she had some questions… i hadn’t heard of anything official yet so i advised her to email me a link so I could look it over and confirm that it wasn’t another thieving lawyer website (excuse the derogatory reference, i know most lawyers are humans too). I confirmed that it was legitimate by contacting our friend Steve Ferenc at Mitchell VW in Canton CT.
SO this is the portal through which all claims are being made.

www.vwcourtsettlement.com

On there you will need to provide your VIN number and current mileage and your address. At this point you are asked whether you would prefer to have your car repaired and keep it or take the buy back option. It isn’t clear yet what the actual fix will be and is still in development phase and will require approval by the EPA. I selected the buyback option and the estimate was that the buyback will take place roughly in November 2016. One question that is asked is – “Can your VW be driven to the dealer under its own 2.0 TDI power”, that to me sounds like a good reason to continue to maintain your VW well as you have to ensure preserving the value of the buyback, nudge nudge wink wink, call us a we’ll help!
This website also calculates the restitution payment which you are eligible for. In my case I bought the 2009 Jetta TDI in December which was after the September discovery of the emissions cheat device, therefore I split the restitution 50/50 with the previous owner. Regardless the calculated restitution in my case was $2550- not bad for 1/2.
The website decisions you make are not binding and you can change your mind if options change and different choices come up but for now getting on there and getting the ball rolling seems to be best.
I think that most likely the best deals will be had when the buy back coincides with the purchase of another new VW. I am excited for the new all wheel drive Golf Alltrack wagon expected to come stateside soon- that could finally be the family-hauling snow-eating machine we’ve been waiting for. There is no obligation to rush into any decisions and I’ve been told that once the info has been received through the website that we have up to 2 years to decide what to do.
I will update this as more info comes in but also feel free to call the shop and ask any questions regarding keeping your TDI in top shape in the meantime, and any decisions you need help with.
Dominic

A Tale of Yelp

July 23, 2016
Dominic Lydon

Let me begin by saying I use Yelp. I used it recently when my wife and I were thinking about having dinner out.

But this is a cautionary tale of Yelp.

yelp1

The heart of our business here at Autobahn Service and the heart of most small businesses is word of mouth. People who appreciate what we do and tell their friends and neighbors about how we’ve treated them and how we’ve fixed their cars.

Yelp exists for all of us. We don’t ask to be a part of it. It just takes someone with something to say about Autobahn Service and Yelp is there for them to say it.

And, unfortunately, in this time of iPhones and texts and instant pictures and instant judgments, it’s easy for anger and annoyance to replace careful thought and basic fairness. You’re not happy that a waiter or waitress didn’t see your raised hand, well it’s not hard to instantly slam the place.

So many times Yelp is there for someone who is appreciative, someone with a kind word. But sometimes …

Anyway with names changed to protect … well I’ll leave it you to decide innocent from guilty … here’s my recent bad experience in the Age of Yelp.

A guy named Bob called us at Autobahn and asked to have a used car he was interested in buying professionally looked at, then asked how much we charge for this service. It turns out he was coming from out of town, but read our reviews and was impressed enough to want our opinion.

He came for his appointment in the 1990 Honda Civic he was thinking of buying and brought the owner in tow. Even from fifty feet away, severe body rust was evident. I could see it had been previously badly repaired and there were new ¼” sized holes in the rear quarter panel.

When Bob came over and introduced himself my first reaction was honest and straight-forward. I told him I could save him the $47.50 fee we had agreed upon to check the car over and just tell him that the car was un-roadworthy for the Commonwealth of MA and because of that not worth buying in my opinion. Bob thanked me profusely for saving him the fee and telling him what the seller was obviously unwilling to admit.

She complained and was upset and I patiently explained to her that as much as the situation sucked, I was representing the buyer upon his request. And because of that though I appreciated her situation, it wasn’t my job to deal with her disappointment or mediate this.

Bob politely told her he wasn’t interested in the car.

The owner quickly turned to Yelp to express her anger and blame us at Autobahn. So we received a lousy rating and were penalized for doing the right thing. All because someone was trying to sell an unsafe car.

I preserved the 1-star rating and comment and here it is: “Rude and condescending. Only go here if you’re some kind of masochist who enjoys being told your car is a piece of junk.”

She was angry and annoyed because she wouldn’t be selling her car to Bob. She was mostly annoyed with me and Autobahn. And obviously didn’t care about what her words might mean for our business.

For me, of course, this was very discouraging. I immediately reached out to Yelp because it was clear to me that her review didn’t meet their guidelines. She wasn’t a customer and our obligation was to Bob.

We pay attention to Yelp and while we never solicit positive reviews we appreciate them. Our policy at Autobahn is to do our very best to resolve any questions about our work. We appreciate the opportunity to hash out an issue, and if the need arises try hard to be reasonable and work to improve someone’s experience.

Luckily I was reminded of the other side of the Yelp story, and two very recent reviews from drivers who discovered us as they travelled:

• Jodi E.
• Bethesda, MD
• 5 stars
5/19/2016
I have traveled by car all over the country and every service station should be like this one.  I have heard many stories from places like jiffy-lube about how they can’t find my air filter etc etc.  I love this place-everyone should take their car here.  The service is spectacular and they even drop you off at the coffee shop while you wait.  I cannot say enough good things about their service, it is a truly remarkable place and I drive 400 miles out of my way just to come here.

• Anthony P.
• New York, NY
• 5 stars
• 4/2/2016
I broke down in Great Barrington on my way from upstate NY back to Boston. I chose to find someone local rather than go to the BMW dealer in Pittsfield. I had it towed to Autobahn after hours and left a note; by the time I called in the morning Dominic was already on the case. I went over and they had me out the door and on my way before lunch. The staff were all very friendly, and Dominic gave me a few solid recommendations to keep my 90K 330ci running for the next 90K. All in all a great experience, great service.

As all this was happening many of our loyal customers weighed in on Facebook, expressing their support and reminding others of the highly satisfactory service we’ve provided them over the years.

Oh, and here’s the latest of Yelps:

yelp2

So please think of both sides of this Tale of Yelp and take a moment and take a deep breath and remember the power of words and the difference between passing annoyance and really bad service.

An unmediated negative review on Yelp is like shooting first, looking for a resolution after.
Bring on the dialogue….. I’m all ears!

Thank you,
Dominic Lydon

Automobiles I love: The C5 Audi Allroad

I have been asked many times about what automobiles I like best. Well, let’s start with the C5 Audi Allroad.

Made from 1999-2005, the C5 Audi Allroad is a rugged country wagon that’s perfect for the northeast. It’s faster, sexier and bigger than the Subaru Outback and WAY more fun!

Over the years we at Autobahn have worked on countless Audi Allroads, and yes, even the new ones. But don’t get confused because I’m specifically spotlighting the original Allroad here, the real deal. Not the toned-down replacement that Audi introduced, which for starters we all know is based on the A4 wagon. Don’t get me wrong, it too has its positive attributes, and if you need a new wagon, it’s the only one that comes with the Audi rings on it right now.

audiallroad

But the C5 was a real premium vehicle and, at the time, the flagship model with ALL the bells and whistles: 4 position adjustable air suspension to help you stay above that grassy center hump on your lake cottage driveway, or to stay well clear of the 9 inches of fresh powder on your way to the slopes.

At cruising speed, the air suspension automatically drops to the lower setting to maintain a lower profile and counter any unwanted negative aerodynamics and help with fuel mileage. Yes the air suspension system did have its quirks, and did also wear out over time. So we highly recommend keeping the air system, as it really is integral to the cushy ride you’re offered. When airspring failure does occur, we offer only the ultra reliable improved parts from Arnott Industries – the leader in aftermarket air suspension components. In the past we have used both the Gen 1 airsprings they offer and also the Gen 2 heavier duty version. But our first choice is still the more economical Gen 1 that’s backed by a limited lifetime part replacement warranty – you can’t beat that!

Originally, one of the tougher choices with these cars was tires – most commonly the 225/55-17 was only available in a unique Pirelli branded Allroad tire and they were pricy. Now, many many options are available including grippy snow tires in great brand names.

The 2.7 turbo power plant in the early APB version and the later BEL version were both much more reliable than they were given credit for. Common oil leaks from the cam chain tensioner gaskets and valve cover gaskets made for a pesky smokey smell in the cabin, usually when you’re stopped at a traffic light or after a longer drive. The turbos themselves are known for having some issues, but we feel that they’ve probably been misdiagnosed because of a crankcase ventilation issue. The fact is to date we’ve never had to change turbos on a 2.7 for anything other than upgrade purposes. To touch on the crankcase issue: the PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) system on these cars, like many European cars, is very complex because it has to deal with vacuum and pressurization of the system, and as a result it is definitely prone to failure. In the New England winter we have seem these systems freeze which can turn them into a vacuum that begins sucking oil from the crankcase into the intake and then sends billowing white smoke out the tailpipe. We are pretty certain that this smoke has been the cause of an expensive misdiagnosis, and as a result has cost these turbos their reputation.

One of the weak points in these cars is the higher mileage dreaded torque converter failure on automatic models. The trans is a ZF 5HP24 and is generally smooth and good. However, at somewhere between 75,000 and 125,000 miles usually, we see the MIL come on for p0741 Torque Converter clutch lock up failure.

We recommend fully rebuilding the transmission then, especially on higher mileage autos, because the labor costs to remove and replace with new units is considerable. We deal exclusively with a ZF authorized specialist and have had no issues on any rebuilt transmission to date.

To the true driving enthusiast, the holy grail of the Allroad is the sought after 6-speed manual – a true unicorn. Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer available as the years go by.

Over their lives, these Allroads do require specialized care. But we have grown to know them very well and we at Autobahn love to perform the small and big services on these fantastic cars. So please call us for any advice and service.