California


jonc

New member
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
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
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.

BB

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.

Lono

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.


Catherine

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

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

Berkeley, California
Bauer's German Repair
1790 University Ave.
510-841-0475

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)!

Thanks.
Andrea DuFlon
 
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Mister_Salty

New member
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
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
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
 

schurrda

New member
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.
 
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tomn8tor

New member
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
 

Breacher

New member
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
 

qbini

New member
Santa Barbara, CA

Der Volks Werks
626 E Gutierrez St
Santa Barbara, CA
(805)965-2841

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.
 

mtd1952

New member
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.
 

amishman

New member
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.
Thanks

Thomas

Originally posted by tomn8tor:
I *strongly* recommend MB German in Sunnyvale, CA (near San Jose). Mike is the owner . . . Tom Doherty
 
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R

RCB

Guest
Greetings, If you continue to have trouble locating that particular shop in Sunnyvale, I might suggest another shop in the immediate area. Its called Freds Garage and their located in Redwood City.They have been in business since the late 70's, and are a good and honest shop to deal with. Either Tom or John Umhofer will treat you in a professional and courteous manner. Their phone # is (650) 368-5343.
Best wishes to you,
Robert
 

LBbusers

New member
Hi, does anyone have any experience with Timmons VW in Long Beach? I also saw the posting about Patti's Parts Palace. Does anyone have experiences & recommendations on these shops? Pete
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred to consolidate same locale.

SmilingCalico Junior Member posted June 15, 2004 12:59 AM

I had trouble with my Westy in Santa Cruz, CA. She broke down, and I had no time for it myself, so I had the bus towed to the OLD VOLKS HOME. I thought surely with a great name like that, they must love and know their stuff. They don't. They called and said the bus started right up, but wanted to know the symptoms. So I told them, and they did some further investigating. They said it was the ignition plate modulator. So, $242 later I left. Thankfully over the dangerous Highway 17, nothing happened, but a few days later the same thing happened. So, I decided to take a look, and found that the coil was the culprit. It's main wire was corroded through! They didn't even look at it, even though they thought some part of the ignition was the problem!! So, I called to ask how they intended to make good, and they said they wouldn't. So, ** I say. Boycott 'em!
 

filmcan

New member
Ventura/Oxnard

McCullen Motors, 2368 N. Oxnard Blvd #7, Oxnard
Joe Mccullen (805)983-1191

This guy really knows his stuff.

He used to work on my '71 Westy, '79 Westy, and now my '81 Westy. He rebuilt the engine in my '81 Westy (now 30,000 miles on it), and it really runs sweet. Doesn’t leak even a drop of oil - you could eat off my engine. Just took a 2 week trip up to OR & WA - no problems.

I lived in Santa Barbara for 10 years - been to all the VW mechanics up there. Been in Oxnard/Ventura off and on for 20 years now - been to all the mechanic around here too.

This guy is the BEST! Knows more than anyone! Reasonably priced, and can usually get you in the next day or same day (if you begg).

He is VW factory trained (used to be a mechanic at a dealer in L.A. in the 70s), and very knowlegable with all VWs. Mostly works on BMW & Mercedes now, but still likes VW owners.

Questions? Email me at stevemillerman@yahoo.com
 

raza

New member
Berkeley, CA

I was looking through the mechanics for California and I was astonished to not find the best mechanic in the East Bay! I took my car to Steve Nechedom at KarmaKanix after Bauers and Preciscion People's car repair couldn't figure out my problem and after much money spent. Steve figured out that my spark plug wires were bad in 10 minutes not using any diagnostic device except for his brain and poking around a bit.

Steve is super nice so go check him out if you're looking for a solid mechanic.

KarmaKanix
1453 4th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
510 558-0111

Paul
 
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gnnrt

New member
The Old Volks Home in Santa Cruz is a RIP OFF stay away far away from these guys!!!! If you need a Mech. in Santa Cruz go to VW Cafe.

SmilingCalico Junior Member posted June 15, 2004 12:59 AM

I had trouble with my Westy in Santa Cruz, CA. She broke down, and I had no time for it myself, so I had the bus towed to the OLD VOLKS HOME. I thought surely with a great name like that, they must love and know their stuff. They don't. They called and said the bus started right up, but wanted to know the symptoms. So I told them, and they did some further investigating. They said it was the ignition plate modulator. So, $242 later I left. Thankfully over the dangerous Highway 17, nothing happened, but a few days later the same thing happened. So, I decided to take a look, and found that the coil was the culprit. It's main wire was corroded through! They didn't even look at it, even though they thought some part of the ignition was the problem!! So, I called to ask how they intended to make good, and they said they wouldn't. So, ** I say. Boycott 'em!
 
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icarus

Moderator
This post has been moved to reflect it's proper locale

Ben Choate originaly posted the following.
Posted May 19, 2006 08:20 PM

The Garage
2004 Bodega Avenue
Petaluma CA
(707) 762-0272

Kurt and Marty are the best
I have been going to these guys for about 6 years with excellent service.
I sold my 88 Westy to the previous owner of the shop.
 

icarus

Moderator
MEDOCINO

This post has been moved to reflect it's proper local
Waunder posted the following

Posted July 01, 2006 03:01 PM
I highly recommedMEDOCINO and Mendocino Coast European Auto for anyone needing Vanagon work in this area- Trevor & Co. are very knowledgeable when it comes to Vanagons and have kept mine going, including replacing the transmission and even helping me over the phone when stranded in Nevada City.
 
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aswah

New member
I had great success with GoWesty down in SLO and if you are in the Humboldt Nations stop in Arcata check out Eli at Arcata VW 707.822.7265. He is great and kept our VW running sweetly.

Francois
 
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