North Carolina


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Capt. Mike's mentor in Raleigh NC

Those that read this site probably think I actually know one end of a Westy from the other. Well, maybe not, but I know a man that does! And an awful lot of the information I've posted comes from him. Take your mechanic to lunch now & then; it pays amazing dividends.

Southern States VW in Raleigh NC has probably the best mechanic in the SE. With every ASE & VW credential & certificate, he's forgotten more about VW's than I'll ever know. Also a suspension & alignment specialist -- a weakness found in Vanagons.

His name is Jimmy Allen, about 30 years at the dealership. Competent, clean & neat work and totally ethical. No padding the bill, parts changing for the sake of changing, no surprises. One of the few I'd turn a car over to and say, "It's broke. Fix it. Call me when you're satisfied." And not be afraid I'd find a new engine in a car with a busted headlight.

That's not to say I recommend Southern States for buying a car -- I know nothing about that end of their business. I do vouch for their parts manager, Tony, as to knowledge & ethics, but he doesn't control VW's pricing. They also have a couple of other mechanics with good bus experience, Tony & Larry.

Yes it will be VW OE parts and dealership labor rates per official VW time manual, but sometimes experience can't be bought at the discount store.

Please, DO NOT call him for advice -- make an appointment expecting to pay for diagnosis. With his reputation and regular clientele, he's booked well in advance.

Update: A number of Westy site members have brought cars considerable distances (One from Colorado!) to have him do major work, install remans or do difficult diagnosis that has stumped lesser mechanics. All have been most complimentary and a couple now bring their Westies to him on a regular basis, even though the distances may be considerable.

2421 Wake Forest Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27608
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Capt. Mike

First, an update on Jimmy Allen at Southern States VW in Raleigh -- Jimmy is still there and now, through the Westy site, a number of people are bringing vehicles in long-distance for serious work. I think the longest is a guy from Colorado that rerouted a trip to come by and spend several days getting major engine work. Also, Larry has retired and Tony is semi-retired, working only a couple days a week.

More posts transferred in to consolidate NC posts .

Central NC mechanics

bailey711 Junior Member # 34 posted 05-31-2000 07:48 PM

Two mechanics I can recommend in the Triangle area are listed in order of preference:

Lonnie at Guess Road Amoco in Durham, NC

Cleve at F&F Automotive in Carrboro, NC

New Bern, NC

giro Junior Member # 518 posted 12-19-2000 10:30 PM

70 East Foriegn Auto in New Bern its now closed, but the owner is now building a bigger shop, this man is genius dealing with VW's. All he drives is Vanagon's. I'll update when he reopens.


New member
My name is Pauly.
I was trained by a man named Hershal R. Woosley of
Charleston SC. I apprenticed for him for over 2 years. "Doc" passed away in september of 2000.
I live in Asheville now, moved here about a year ago. I have emergency ready '74 Westy to drive to your location to do service on your Wwestfalia, or pretty much any VW in general. Call me or leave me and email at
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New member
This is an update regarding the brief list of Central NC mechanics posted by Capt. Mike on March 9, 2002.

"Lonnie at Guess Road Amoco in Durham, NC" is no longer there. I recently had my 1985 Westy serviced by him as I passed through Durham on my way from Mississippi to Rhode Island:

Lonnie's University Auto Center (Lonnie Long)
1309 Christian Avenue
Durham NC 27705
(This is right off of Interstate 85... at Cole Mill Road Exit, as I recall)
919 309 7898

Web site:

I was extremely pleased with the quality of work, concern of the personnel, and overall professionalism. Lonnie has had over 30 years experience. I heartily recommend him to others.

Gary Anderson


New member
I must add a hearty recommendation to Lane Miner of Franklin Foreign Automotive of Franklin. He came to our aid when our '89 Westy Syncro broke down and delivered stellar service. His shop is surrounded by VW's of every shape and size and he is actively restoring several including a Thing and a Double-cab Transporter (if you are in the area ask for a tour, the engines are beautiful and the body restoration/fabrication is great). After my experience I would not hesitate to leave my vehicle with a "fix it it's broke" order. The shop is family run and shows it in the friendly and personal service delivered. When compared to the local VW shop in Lexington, Kentucky, well there is no comparison. I would be willing to drive 250 miles plus for service of this sort on a voluntary basis, finding it in an emergency was a god-send.

Moderator Note: Appears to refer to Franklin Foreign Automotive; 1815 Old Murphy Rd.; Franklin NC 28734 Phone 828-369-6111. Located Macon County SW NC

Capt. Mike


:mad: Vintage Werks Restoration
Burlington NC

Recently, one of my favorite shops (Metal Wizard, Archdale NC) reports he has been rumored to have some affiliation with a body shop in Burlington. As a result, he posted a disclaimer on his site and referenced another. Apparently the rumor began on a misrepresentation that Metal Wizard, a seller of antique restoration body parts, was affiliated with this end user. MetWiz is a manufacturer of vintage VW (especially bus) body repair panels and sells them commercially worldwide, but is not affiliated with any end user shops or resellers.

The other site is a major discourse about Vintage Werks Restorations in Burlington NC. It reports multiple law suits, allegations of a ruined antique VW, disappearing parts and misrepresentation. Go to Mario Gavazzi aka Vintage Werks for more information and make your own conclusions. Two court judgements are posted. Two web sites Googled as registered to Vintage Werks Restorations are discontinued or invalid.

This site and poster do not vouch for or against this shop, the accuracy of the allegations or facts, or the validity of the parties and comments. This link is provided solely for the information of our members in making their own conclusions per the disclaimer in the site Guidelines.

I believe a shop should be held accountable for its suppliers. A shop is responsible to use due diligence in selecting the parts it installs as meeting the intended use and quality expectations of the customer. A parts vendor has the duty to accurately represent the quality & fitness of use of its parts to the shop, but final use is outside the vendor's control. Metal Wizard's parts are not an issue in this case.
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New member
Darrell Philip at Silver Lake VWs is in Wilmington, and does excellent work on older buses and beetles. He's a stand-up guy who will state it like it is --- he's honest in every way. His business number is 910.791.6308.
There's also Dave's VWs, who works on Vanagons and Eurovans as well as the old school stuff in Wilmington, also.

Capt. Mike

Raleigh NC

Air Conditioning

I've used Four Bros. for several small & large repairs, as well as the R134a conversion of my wife's old MBenz. They'll get the Syncro when it comes due. They have one tech, Lynn, of not only excellent quality & knowledge, but considerable experience in old cars, antiques, custom and restoration.

Located north side near intersection of I-540 and US-1. Not bargain basement and expect a diagnostic fee, but with all the A/C & environment regs, quality doesn't come cheap. This is one of those times I think it is well worth while to bring a car long distances to get it done right.

Four Brothers
2807 Gresham Lake Rd
Raleigh, NC 27615
(919) 872-3001

:eek: Update 7/15/09: The Syncro A/C finally bit the dust. It was low and I put in 2 cans of my scarce hoard of R12 to no avail. Thus I began the painful decision to upgrade my A/C to R134a. I knew it wouldn't be cheap because VW did not use the newer barrier style hoses in 1990, so it meant all hoses had to be replaced. That's a bunch of hose! The two that run to the condensor are 14' long. It took 38 feet altogether. (R134a is a much smaller molecule so well permeate older hoses that R-12 wouldn't.) Their diagnosis also pointed out that the compressor was leaking around the shaft seal and the shaft was scored. Thus a new compressor. (4 Bros. will NOT use a rebuilt compressor. They have found all are rebuilt by the same firm in TX regardless of vendor purchased from and the quality is unacceptable, with failure rate approaching 75%.) All hoses have to be custom built as there are no ready-made available. Upgrade requires new hi & low pressure switches, rec'r/drier, charge fittings. Mine had a melting 50A fuse holder (Bentley 97.144, circuit #16). Since I got their senior tech and wasn't in a hurry, I went off-season and gave them unlimited time, knowing Lenn would get pulled for various rush jobs. It took about 3 weeks, but that included a week of flu bug that took half the shop down.

I've got A/C! We had to do some creative work. Since some of the hose fittings are unique and NLA, Lenn cut the old and welded on new stubs so they could then get OE-style crimp fittings. All of the hoses use the factory style crimp fittings -- no hose clamps. The rec'r/drier is slightly different than OE, but still mounts the same. We did have to modify the Westy cubby-hole pillar cover as the new pressure switch is larger than the OE and was pressing on the wiring. I also replaced the 50A fusable link with a 50A Maxi-fuse to avoid the high heat and fire risk some have experienced. The compressor was $600. The total conversion was ~$2,500. That's with a 15% off-season discount. The hose replacement and rebuilding was about $1,000 of that. It comes with minimum 1-year warranty parts & labor.

Sometimes, we have to bite the bullet. R12 has become so ridiculously expensive, any major system dump demands the conversion. And the conversion demands new hoses. But do take some consolation in that your Vanagon hoses are 20+ years old and will probably be failing soon anyway. Hoses deteriorate from the inside out so appearance is not a good guide. FYI -- you'll notice the photo of the new conversion sticker calls for 80 oz. of R134a. Save that for future reference.

8 May 2010: Even after a winter of little or no A/C use, it performed strong 10 months later in upper 90°F temps. Some say R134a isn't as "cold" as R12, but I couldn't tell the difference that day. :D


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New member

Hi Pauly,

I live in Marshall and just purchased a 1970 Westfalia in Knoxville. I may want to rebuild or put a new engine in soon. So I am glad you are around. Also, I might want to try and put in an auxillary heater; like an Eberspacher. Do you know anyone that can do that? I also need someone to do bodywork, paint and put in a tent. Are there people in Asheville to do that?

Anyway, I would like to talk to you and discuss upcoming work.

Garius Hill


New member
I have had great luck with Shane York at Euromotive in Greensboro but he has closed shop. I don't really trust my westy to anyone else and lost his cell number. Anyone have contact info for him?