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Thread: California

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2000


    San Anselmo

    Coby Smolens, Owner
    Valley Wagonworks
    "Intimately acquainted with VW Vans since 1959"
    1535 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
    San Anselmo, CA 94960
    Phone: (415) 457-5628
    Fax: (415) 457-0967
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 05-21-2008 at 04:20 PM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Raleigh, NC USA


    bb Member Posted April 10, 2001 04:37 AM

    There are dozens of rebuilders in so. Calif. I heard about a "good one" that sells rebuilds with oversize valves. Sounded good since I herd the dealer engines were of mediocre quality. I bought one from Fast German Auto and not only does the engine not perform as well as the 140K mile engine I took out but they ripped me off for the $1200 core charge! I learned my lesson, I think. Find someone local with a good reputation. Someone you can get to if you need to. Not someone 2000 miles away like i did. You will pay more for a good mechanic to rebuild YOUR engine. You will have much less of a chance of winding up with someone elses piece of crap.


    Moderator Note: First part of post lost by software glitch -- however enough remains to serve as warning against shop listed.

    . . . er I threatened to take them to small claims court did they acquiese. Call the Orange County, CA courts office Small Claims division. Get the forms sent to you, and threaten to take Fast German to court. Just the fact that you know the location of the courthouse and the procedure might be enough of a threat. If not, you can sue them for up to 5 grand in OC. Don't let them give you any BS about not being able to take them to court because the work was done outside of OC. You can, and you can sue them for work done, lost time, all that stuff. It might be worth a 200 buck round trip. When I called the lady at OC court, she told me she had just had a guy win a case against ATK, so you may have some luck. --CQ

    Ry-nck Tire and Brake, Alameda

    Matt Junior Member # 990 posted 06-08-2001 05:43 PM

    Have an '86 Westy that died one day, I didn't have time to diagnose and fix myself so I opted for a local mechanic (non brand specific, first mistake). They charged me $106 for their "12 point" diagnostic and took two days to find out that the fuel pump was bad. Estimate for replacement was $535.00, parts and labor. Given the amt of the est. I called German auto salvage for a used pump ($75, about $200 new)and spent twenty minutes installing it in a parking lot. When I asked them why they charge so much they replied because they offer a 6 mo. warranty on parts and labor. (Grrr) On the flip side, they offered to finish the 12 point inspection after the car was running, they let me borrow some tools, and they gave me a hose clamp (without charging me $25 for it.

    Orangevale (Sacramento)

    byterbit Member # 844 posted 08-07-2001 06:21 PM

    For you greater Sacramento area vanagon owners, I would recomend Der Wagon Shop. They do not do body or 'RV' work, but they were very helpful in identifying the problems on my westie.

    Total charge for a compression test and a bumper to bumber inspection was $97 out the door. Boy, did they discover some problems. While my Westie seemed pristine on the surface, it's underbelly was a rust ridden nightmare and the breaks were obscene.

    I bought it from California Campers in Redwood City about two months ago and I am LESS than pleased.

    --Matthew Iskra

    Redwood City CA

    JohnB Administrator Member # 3 posted 06-28-2000 06:56 PM

    My wife and I have just completed 2 months in the southwest and have 2 mechanics to rave about for the great service they gave our 1987 vanagon.

    Moderator Note: Mesa Az recommendation moved to appropriate forum.

    The second is our long time service center in Redwood City CA, Fred's Garage. I've lost the address since we have moved to Eugene OR but remember the phone # as 368-4353. Happy trails. Bill and Kay Rozar

    lono Member # 148 posted 08-23-2001 01:02 PM

    I just took my 1985 Vanagon to Fred's Garage for the second time. Both times they were compitent and had reasonable prices.
    They are at 416 D Street & Industrial Road in Red Wood City 94063. ph 650 368 5443.


    Pinole, CA (East Bay)

    Jeff Z. Junior Member # 864 posted 08-23-2001 11:44 PM

    Letcher Bros. VW Repair (510-724-2335) has proven to be a great shop. The previous owner of my '76 Westy had always had his service done at Letcher Bros. I have had terrific luck with the vehicle and with the shop since I bought this bus in April.

    Berkeley, CA

    Catherine Member # 151 posted 09-09-2001 07:03 PM

    I've been going to Precision People's Car Repair [Ken] 1346 San Pablo (near REI) Berkeley [M-Th 7-6, closed 12:30-1:45 lunch] For the past year for my '84 Vanagon. I'm very happy with their service and their pices. Ken, the owner is an avid camper and recommends places to go. He takes a lot of time to explain to me what's going on with my car. Very nice, reliable shop.


    LA area

    JT Junior Member # 719 posted 04-02-2001 03:21 PM

    Patti's Parts Palace
    1430 Wilmington Blvd.
    Wilmington, CA 90744
    310-549-2540 www.pattisparts.com

    They worked on my '84 Westy, what impressed me was the thoroughness of their test drives. in town , highway etc. making sure everything was working fine before they gave it back. Great folks, they take the time to talk to you about your VW.

    Campbell, CA

    MarkJ Junior Member # 2670 posted 11-01-2001 11:39 AM

    Kirkwood VW. Been there for years and do an excellent job and reasonable prices.

    Santa Clara/Silicon Valley

    Olson in Montana Junior Member # 188 posted 07-14-2000 06:39 PM

    My husband and I have been taking our Westy to "The Buggy House" for several years--the two mechanics there specialize in VW repairs and maintenance. Excellent knowledge and quality repair and new part installations. They are also very helpful if on the road and need assistance.

    chasterus Junior Member # 1375 posted 02-07-2002 09:38 PM

    I had a very unpleasant experience at the Buggy House. I brought in a newly-purchased '71 Westy for a major tune-up and horn repair. $400+ later, they let me drive out of the garage with the electrical system absolutely FUBAR, and the horn not working. They made it right, but it was clear that no one had checked the work or done a road test. I checked their tune-up work, too, and found the valves WAY too tight. I won't be going back there.

    Pleasanton, CA

    lono Member # 148 posted 09-08-2001 03:27 PM

    B. P. Automotive 1909-H Santa Rita Road (Vally Plaza Shopping Center) phone 925-846-2025. Mechanic,Eric Boring, is experenced on Vanagons.

    RegieBear Junior Member # 215 posted 02-21-2002 01:12 AM

    Ditto the BP Automotive. Curteous, knowledgeable, Quick service. Tony and Eric

    JohnB Administrator Member # 3 posted 06-11-2000 10:38 PM

    Berkeley, California
    Bauer's German Repair
    1790 University Ave.

    These people serviced my '71 Westy for many years. For the last 9 years I have had an '82 diesel westy, which they also take care of. Believe me, it's hard to find a really good mechanic to work on a diesel Westy, since they are so uncommon (and I am really picky)!

    Andrea DuFlon
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 05-21-2008 at 04:21 PM.

  4. #3


    Mill Valley, Marin County

    I'd like to add my mechanic to the list of "good guys". He's not the fastest, but he's honest, thorough, and cautious. He's taken great care of my beloved '78 Westy.

    Jim Terstegge
    Masters European
    111 Camino Alto
    Mill Valley, CA 94941
    (415) 383-2382

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Raleigh, NC USA


    Redwood City CA

    Oil change which includes all fluid levels and any indications of problems and "peace of mind".

    Fred's Garage, Inc.
    416 "D" Street Industrial Way
    RedWood City, CA 94063
    (650) 368-5343

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Pt reyes sta, CA


    While spending a vacation in SLO, I ran into some mechanical problems and had the good fortune to experience the competent, courteous, and expedient treatment afforded me by GoWesty. I can highly recommend their shop to anyone passing thru with any problems. A first-class westfalia shop.
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 05-21-2008 at 04:22 PM.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002


    Sunnyvale CA

    I *strongly* recommend MB German in Sunnyvale, CA (near San Jose). Mike is the owner -- and the only one who will work on your vehicle. Mike owns a 89-ish Syncro with about 200K on it so he totally knows his stuff. He is very, very thorough. He will fix it right the first time (unlike most dealers).

    By the way he also does Mercedes and BMWs.

    Disclaimer: Mike is my mechanic. I have no other relationship with him. (I.e. no one paid me to say this!)

    Tom Doherty
    Tom Doherty

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Encinitas, Ca. USA


    Precision Foriegn Auto in Imperial Beach. Umberto is the owner and really knows VW's. Have had really good luck with him and my westy although it has been back to him for many things. A little pricy on the labor charges, but warrants his work and will not gip you on parts. Only wants to use OEM unless you ask for it.

    1240 Palm Ave
    Imperial Beach , Ca 92931
    619) 575-1767

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Santa Barbara, CA


    Santa Barbara, CA

    Der Volks Werks
    626 E Gutierrez St
    Santa Barbara, CA

    I've taken my 87 Westie in twice and received excellent service. Honest and dependable. Dana is the owner and primary mechanic. He's restoring old kubelwagens and schwimmerwagens in his spare time... This guy knows his VWs - Aircooled, watercooled, old and new.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Vista, California


    Escondido, CA

    Classic Volkswagen (dealer)

    For Eurovan Westy and Winnebago "Rialta" campers, this dealer is excellent.

    They specialize in the Rialta, and are equipped with all the heavy-duty lifts, etc. that I've heard are the challenge with locating competent Eurovan mechanics.

    They were also honest and up-front about coil recall issues and prep issues.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004


    Any more information on this MB German in Sunnyvale. I called 408 info and they find no such company. I am buying a Vanagon and would like a pro to look it over before I buy.


    Originally posted by tomn8tor:
    I *strongly* recommend MB German in Sunnyvale, CA (near San Jose). Mike is the owner . . . Tom Doherty
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 02-17-2008 at 07:05 PM. Reason: Formatting error

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