[T3] On the Road Again!

Mike Fisher fisherfarms at gmail.com
Wed Oct 11 09:14:06 PDT 2023

It’s not too late to rent a car.  Rowena was complaining about the $3000
sensors to fix her Honda.  I told her to trade it for a 1980’s car.

On Wed, Oct 11, 2023 at 7:58 AM <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
> Toyotas.
> 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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