"Keep a Journal: How else are you going to get a good look at who you were?"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Where to begin...

...At the beginning, of course.

Okay, here's how I'm doing:

I'm divorced.

I've moved into a bigger place.

I bought a better car.

Now for the details.  The divorce became final a week ago.  Co-incidentally, today is my 45 birthday.  Happy Birthday to me.  Dad is over and he is taking me and Kath and Grant (and kids) out to dinner to celebrate.  I hardly know what to do with myself and while I would like to say I've been sleeping better lately; I haven't.  There are still a few details here and there to take care of, and I'm still not feeling myself yet.  But I am slowly getting better.  I'm dealing with it all, is what I'm trying to say, I guess.

Readers of this 'blog will already have read me moaning about the inadequacies of my new residence.  It's not actually that bad. I've made a few minor fixes here and there that have helped.  I'm still waiting on the new counter top and sink in the kitchen, however.  This has been a longer "just a week or two" than I have ever waited for in my life up to now.  The last hurdle is usually the hardest, and I console myself that once that sink is fixed the place will be just about PERFECT...except for the new light in the bathroom and the laundry I'm planning on installing in the niche next to the furnace.  Where would I be without projects to keep me occupied?

Speaking of projects: that brings us to the Car.

I bought a 1999 VW Passat Turbo.

...Because it felt right.

I've been using that phrase somewhat lately, haven't I?  I saw the ad for the car listed in Craigslist and almost immediately got an inspiration that this was the car I was looking for.  I hadn't even done any research on the Passat model yet!  My original plans were to replace the Mk III Golf with a Mk III Jetta.  Then, as it became evident that I would have a bit more money to play with than I had originally anticipated, I began looking into the possibility of a Mk IV Jetta...perhaps even a TDI model!  I soon found, however, that a VR6 or TDI model was out of my budget (hey, I'm not going to go crazy here!) unless I wanted to buy a "fixer-upper"; and the required fixes that most examples I found would need were a little outside my skill set.

The Passat (I have named him "Max"), did not require any mechanical fixes...that I was aware of.  However, the dealership (Technique Auto Sales, 225 Kingsway, Vancouver - tell 'em Brian sent you) had the car listed for one half of its Book Value.  Well within my budget, but the lowball price listing gave me pause and made me wonder what the dealership wasn't telling me.

They wouldn't tell me.

So I brought it home, and after some cursory examination found the following:

-one of the tires had been slashed.
-the dealership had rotated the tires around the car in order to take the photos for the ad.
-the ABS system warning lights on the dash were on.  Permanently.
-the passenger side lock had been removed, and the dealership had stuck a plastic cover over the hole from one of the rear doors of another Passat.  Said cover fell off before I got the car home.
-The brakes and one of the brake sensor lines had been completely replaced.  Probably in an attempt to remedy the ABS system fault.
-Volkswagen wants 1950$ to replace the entire ABS assembly on a Mk V Passat or Audi A4.
-The anti-theft code on the stereo has been erased, rendering it inoperable.
-The moon roof had a tendency to open by itself.
-The one-and-only key the dealership gave me (the Passat model originally comes with 4 keys AND an alarm remote) would not arm the anti-theft system, or open the trunk, OR close the moon roof remotely.  I know the Master Key is SUPPOSED to do all that because I insisted that the dealership provide me an owner's manual for the 1999 Passat. The key I've got is the "Valet" key - it opens only the driver's door and will also operate the ignition; but will not operate any of the car's accessories.
-The passenger side rear door has had its lock and window servos disconnected.

Now, the guys at Technique Auto Sales said nothing about this car being in an accident, or having been stolen...but I think the car may have been in an accident and I know it's been stolen; and recovered.  The theft-and-recovery is probably why the former owner traded it in on a 2010 model Passat (yes, the dealer actually showed me the transfer from the previous owner - to show that the vehicle had Clear Title, I guess).

My conclusion after all this?  I bought a LEMON...Arrrrrrgh!!!

That probably explains why I heard the guys at the dealership laughing as I drove it away...

Now, after further examination...

-the ABS fault is quite common due to a design glitch in the ABS control unit that Bosch never did get around to fixing.  You can have the unit re-built for 100$-300$...or you could just pop it open and re-solder the loose wires yourself.  Fair Warning: do not attempt this repair yourself unless you are an electronics technician; or a hobbyist who has done component level repair on a circuit board with surface-mount components.  Also, there are specific tools and materials you'll need before attempting this kind of thing, or you'll probably just destroy the unit, rather than repairing it.

Do I have the techniques, tools, and materials to attempt this repair myself?  Oh yes.  Yes I do.

All the other issues with the car's locks, keys and electrics are fairly easy to fix, and will be done in short order over the next few weeks.  Except the moon roof.  I cranked that closed with the back-up mechanical system - and then disconnected the switch and the power to the actuator.  That sucker is staying put.

Technique Auto Sales supposes that they sold some sap a car for 3000$ that needs 2500$ + in repair.  At first, I thought I was that sap.

Then I discovered that what actually happened was that I got a 6000$ car for half its book value because I did my homework...and the dealership didn't.

But I didn't know that until after I bought it...

1 comment:

Karen said...

Brilliant!! I have such a smartie for a brother, I love it!! You pulled a fast one on the dealership, instead of the other way around!! :o)