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Re: [T3] Help

<x-flowed>RhiannonM=>"what would you do"

Here's what I gather from your post:

The motor's running, but not all that well.
You've got an undiagnosed brake problem.
You've got an undiagnosed electrical problem.
Your mechanic is charging you about twice as much as anyone in my
town per hour to not diagnose those problems.
Your mechanic is setting you up to either go away or pay him tons
of money you don't have, by telling you your car is a basket case. It's not.
You're not confident of handling these problems yourself.
You'd prefer to keep the car and get moving.

If all that's more or less true, here's my take.

It's true that old cars are not for everyone, and it would be a mistake to assume that a car this old is going to be cheap to operate, particularly in the first couple of years. The old-car owner has to fix what the previous owner(s) didn't bother with or screwed up, so startup costs are standard procedure with *any* old car -- including a 'restored' one, by the way. You always have to deal with something.

That said, from what you're describing it's my im,pression that you don't really have that much to deal with, relatively speaking. I think it likely that your main problem, second only to your unfamiliarity with the car and tight budget, is your mechanic. This is not your guy.

Your guy will charge in the neighborhood of $45-60 per hour, know what the problems are and take care of the simple stuff (like busted bleeders) without fuss. Your guy will encourage you to learn more about the car and appreciate its simplicity and sturdiness; he would never tell you to 'find another car' over stuff this minor.

You should be aware that mechanic problems are very common in Type 3 Land. We see them all the time.

Maybe you've skipped over some large pertinent factors, in which case I'm talking out my ass, but if not, what I would recommend you do is:

1. Shop around for the right mechanic. Ask here first.
2. Study up on your car, starting with the systems that seem to be giving you problems. Brakes, for instance, while absolutely critical to driving safety, are not particularly complex to understand, fix and maintain. If you don't have an authoritative manual, put that at the top of your list.
3. From this growing understanding, and with the support of this list, empower yourself to take control of your car life. Find someone in your circle who's technically oriented to help you get comfortable with tools, if that's a problem, and buckle down for a learning curve -- but understand that it ain't rocket science.

On the other hand, if it's simply not practical for you to undertake a project that will require some patience and probably a certain amount of downtime for the car, it may be smarter to find another option. But I'd caution that any unknown vehicle will come with its own set of hassles, unseen problems and unplanned costs.

Steven Ayres, Prescott AZ
'66 KG1600

List info at http://www.vwtype3.org/list | mailto:gregm@vwtype3.org

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