[T3] On the Road Again!

bobsnotch at aol.com bobsnotch at aol.com
Wed Oct 11 09:47:19 PDT 2023

 Jim, newer VWs use a version of Dex-Cool for their cooling system that is kind of red, and the DSG fluid is mostly clear. I only mention this as my son Rob has a 2010 Jetta with the DSG Automatic trans (a clutchless manual trans). His car also needs a radiator too (has a weeper), but VW offers 4 different ones just for his car. Part of that is because his car is a "split year" model. It's a nice car though.
I hope you do get out of Amarillo, but at least the weather will be warmer there than Madison. ;-)Bob 65 Notch S w/factory sunroof 

    On Wednesday, October 11, 2023 at 10:58:20 AM EDT, 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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