Bob Howlett, Author at UnderhoodService
Direct Injection And Carbon Deposits

In 1985, Saab began using the new Bosch LH fuel injection system, and Volvo and other carmakers followed suit. The system worked such that incoming air passed through an airflow meter that sent a signal to the engine ECU telling it how much air was going into the engine. The coolant temp sensor then told the ECU how cold or warm the ­engine was, and it opened and closed the injectors when needed.

Capturing Unperformed Service Work

We’ve all had those preventive maintenance conversations with customers, but has a customer ever asked you to replace something that didn’t test bad? I had a customer tell me to replace a battery that was barely four years old and it was a 75-month battery. I told him that the battery tested fine and the charging system was working well. That’s when he said something that I now say to my customers almost every day. “You don’t wait until you run out of gas before you put gas in, right? Why would you wait until your battery died to put a new one in?”

Routine Maintenance Schedules Help You Capture Unperformed Service Work

The cold snap that hit most of the country in early January was the onset of one of the coldest winters most states have seen in years. And since cold weather can have adverse effects on vehicle systems, you probably experienced an influx of customers whose vehicles were towed in with dead batteries, or ones that were flooded due to ignition systems that could not fire the fuel. Let’s look at some VW and Audi maintenance schedules and see what we may have been missing that could help our customers avoid costly tows and generate some additional revenue for our efforts.

Audi/VW Direct-Injection Issues And Carbon Deposits

Through the years, injection systems have incorporated more sensors like air temperature, EGR temperature or exhaust gas temperature, and the emissions systems monitor how efficiently everything is working. But the systems didn’t change a whole lot until about 2006.

A Thorough Chassis Evaluation Must Precede A Proper Alignment

Thanks to all the potholes caused by our harsh winter weather, we tend to do a lot of alignments here in Northeast Ohio. But wherever you live, it’s a good idea to check the alignment whenever you put on a new set of tires or replace a worn suspension component. And, sometimes you might encounter a problem due to a unique chassis setup. Take the Volvo 850, S70 and V70, for example, which from 1993 to 2000 had a slightly different split rear axle setup that was adjustable.

Diagnosing And Replacing A Faulty Water Pump On A 2003 Volkswagen Jetta

The water pump impeller is plastic on many Volkswagens. It gets brittle and can break into pieces or spin freely on the shaft and not push any coolant. We checked the sensor, felt the radiator and had a strong suspicion that was the case on this 2003 Volkswagen Jetta, but how do you tell without removing the pump? Since the car had overheated, we were going to replace the thermostat, and with the thermostat removed you can reach in and feel the water pump impeller and verify if it’s broken or loose. This article will show you how to remove the thermostat, check the water pump and replace the pump, if necessary.

Volkswagen Feature: Don’t Miss Out On Missed Maintenance

“We don’t work on those V8s.” I’ve often heard that said in reference to the 4.2L VW and Audi 8 cylinders. Some criticisms are that the timing belts require too many special tools and you can’t see the engine. I hear a lot of excuses when it comes to V8 Audis and VWs, but, in reality, they are not much different than the V6s and most models don’t require too many special tools. There are many shops that don’t want to do a timing belt replacement on the 4.2 V8, but it’s time to buy the tools and stop sending good paying jobs to competitors.

Water Pump Replacement On 2003 Volkswagen Jetta

The water pump impeller is plastic on many Volkswagens. It gets brittle and can break into pieces or spin freely on the shaft and not push any coolant. We checked the sensor, felt the radiator and had a strong suspicion that was the case with our new loaner, but how do you tell without removing the pump?

How ‘Sweet’ It Is: Uncovering Unperformed Maintenance

Bob Howlett, owner of The Swedish Solution, Orange Village, OH, shares a vehicle inspection victory that resulted in his customer opting to get her 2004 Volvo XC70 fixed, rather than buy a new vehicle for her daughter.

Volkswagen Water Pump Replacement

We bought another loaner. It’s a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta that’s loaded with heated leather seats, heated power mirrors and the 1.8L turbo engine. It’s got the premium stereo and it’s my favorite color, black. It only has 125,000 miles on it and it’s current on its timing belt and other services. I thought we were going to have to do a minimum of service to get it ready to use as a loaner, until I noticed the temp gauge reaching for the red.

Volvo: Pulling the Plug on Plugged Oil Traps

We learned our lesson years ago. Before you fix any oil leaks, make sure there isn’t excessive crankcase pressure. Many of the vehicles we work on have crankcase breather systems that are much more involved than a plain PCV valve. A few years back, we looked at the Volvo 850 system, saw how it worked and what happens when it doesn’t. The newer cars with their extended oil change intervals seem to be just as prone to clogged breather assemblies as the older cars, and it’s even more so the case on the turbocharged cars.

Servicing Solutions: Falling into an ‘Oil Leak’ Trap

Your customer’s Volvo has an oil leak. You think you do everything right. You add dye and see the rear main oil seal leaking. The repair goes smoothly, the customer is happy…for about two weeks. Then the rear main oil seal is leaking again, and he wants to know why. This is not an isolated