[T3] On the Road Again!
trongey at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 11 08:04:13 PDT 2023
Should have driven a T3. Nothing to break in the front. :)
On Wednesday, October 11, 2023 at 09:58:38 AM CDT, jadney at vwtype3.org <jadney at vwtype3.org> wrote:
Well, as many of you already know, Melissa and I drive to Tucson, AZ each fall, to visit our
daughter. We pick this time of year because the Tucson heat should start to be tolerable, and
we will still have time to drive home before the roads home get iced over. This year, we made
it to Liberal, KS [far SW corner of Kansas, almost certainly not actually liberal, so I kept my
political leanings under wraps] without difficulty, but our luck ran out there.
Following a perfectly nice dinner in downtown Liberal, our GPS got confused, and I stupidly
followed it into an alley, where I ran across what I can only describe as a "dry wash". A "dry
wash is a concrete paved dip in the road that is meant to carry water across on those rare
occasions when it rains: sort of an official gulley. This one would have been perfectly safe at
5 mi/hr, but it was dark, I didn't see it, and I hit it at maybe 20 mi/hr. The car hit its chin HARD
on the far side of the gulley.
Shortly thereafter I got a red dash warming light. The car continued to drive normally, so I
drove back to our motel parking lot, where Melissa found a slowly spreading puddle coming
out from under the front of our car. It was red and seemed oily, So I guessed it was ATF, but
our Golf Sportwagon does not have an AT; it has a DSG (Dual Shift Gearbox.) I don't know
what color the DSG fluid is. There's no body damage that I can see, and the plastic
underbody sheathing is intact, and I can see some areas where it's been in contact with
something, but I can't tell what's new from what's old.
Nevertheless, I'm thinking this is SERIOUS meaning $$$. And there's no VW dealership
nearby and almost no one that works on imports. This is Chevy/Ford country, with a few
It took over an hour to find the place in the owner's manual that mentions that warning light. It
doesn't come up under warning lights in the index. What I finally found was that this was a
general warning and that I'm also supposed to read the text that appears on the display.
Seems reasonable, but when I went back to look for the text, I found that the warning light
stays on, but the text disappears after about 2-3 seconds.
Finally, I got the text to reappear: "Check Cooling System." Okay, that sounds bad, but a little
less bad than before. I can see puddles on the bracket under the radiator. I find that I can
snake one arm down thru the tangle of hoses just far enough to get a finger on the lower
radiator hose nipple. It wiggles rather freely. We're gonna need a radiator.
I start to look for VW dealers. Nothing close. I called the VW Roadside Assistance number
that's in our owner's manual stuff. They can get us a tow to the nearest dealer, which is in
Amarillo, TX, 182 miles away. The catch is that I'll still be paying for it, all $1300+ of it.
I look around Liberal for towing services. There's one across the street from us. It's night, but
I walk over there to look it over and they have nice flatbeds. I also walk to a nearby auto
workshop. It appears to be surrounded by cars in bad shape that haven't moved in awhile.
The towing place opens the next morning at 8; I'm there at 7:45 but the owner is there before
me. Nice old guy, family business: him, his wife, two sons. One son can haul us to Amarillo,
182 miles for just over $1000. He's giving me a bit of a break; otherwise it would be closer to
the VW Roadside Assistance price. My innate cheapness is bugging me, but I fear that I
could spend a few days and nights in Liberal and STILL have to be hauled to Amarillo. I give
in. We get to the Amarillo VW dealership at 1 that afternoon. I called them earlier in the hope
that they could be ready for us and have parts waiting.
Well, they were ready, but no parts. They finally admitted that they don't keep radiators in
stock. Nowit's the next morning and we're holed up in a local motel waiting for some/any
reassuring news. I just called this morning, and they finally have our car up on the rack where
someone can start looking at it, and figuring out what the repair is going to take.
My main worry is that we'll stay here 2 nights and then they will tell us that it will be a week or
so. At some point we might wish we had rented a car to finish the trip and come back here in
a week or so. I called the friends we had planned to spend the next two nights with and
realized that if we had been in one of our Squarebacks, I'd have us back on the road the next
day at the latest. Old cars DO have their advantages!
Sorry for the long post.
Wish us luck!
Jim Adney, jadney at vwtype3.org
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
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