Monday, August 27, 2007

Westfalia Island

I've been back on Vancouver Island for 21 days now and started counting how many VW Westfalias I've seen. 205. That includes a few on the mainland I must admit. When we only counted one at the Vancouver airport Sam said "It's because people who have westies would rather drive than fly." So true.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

It coulda Been worse!

You know me, always looking on the bright side!

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Friday, June 15, 2007

BT auto repair

These guys fixed me up with a new triangle window for a mere $50 and even offered to let me have the entire door that it came from. I bought some coolant instead and just took their picture.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ontario, Again

I left for Toronto Wednesday morning and I had gone about 75 miles when I stopped at the Value Village in Cornwall, Ontario and when I started my van up again I discovered that the clutch was slipping really badly. I called Marc Amsden in Montréal and he said to have it towed to his place and he could look at it in a week. I already had an appointment for the next morning at Alpine motors in Toronto so I decided to have it towed there. I called for AAA roadside assistance and they sent Glen from Glen's towing and Glen brought his wife along so that I would feel more comfortable.

Glen informed me that I was eligible for 200 km free towing with my AAA plus membership so I had him tow me exactly that distance and then I called a second tow truck who only allowed me 160 km in keeping with the fact that I have a US membership which only allows 100 miles per tow. So, in the end, I was towed 440 km (275 miles) and paid $183. The driver left me in front of Alpine motors and I put the key through the slot in the door.

I took a taxi to my good friend Jill's house and made some linguini with tuna and olives and played with the dogs, Owen and Ahab.

On Friday Brenndan arrived in town and Alpine Motors called me to say that my van was ready. The new clutch with labor and parts cost $1300. Ouch.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Marc Amsden, Conversion specialist.

After a week of trying to find a VW specialist to look at my clutch and transmission, in addition trying to find a vegetable oil conversion specialist to help me find the restriction in the fuel system, a friend of a friend gave me Marc Amsden's card. Marc worked for 21 years at the VW dealership in Verdun and now builds vegetable oil conversion systems. What luck! Not only that, he agreed to look at my car on his day off AND only charged $50 per hour for labor. THEN after we talked for a while he said "Are you Chantale Doyle, the cartoonist? I loved your zines." My new favorite mechanic. Wow.

If you need a kind, thorough professional to work on your car in Montréal contact autoeem at videotron dot ca

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Sunday, May 20, 2007


Ever since I arrived in Montréal I have been having a problem with my vegetable oil system. Thaddeus said that it sounds like there is a restriction in the fuel system and that I should try changing the fuel filter again. I have also been having problems shifting gears so I took it in to have the clutch looked at and the mechanic I saw said the problem is in the linkage system for the transmission. Today I changed the fuel filter at least and will have to drive it for a little while to see if that takes care of the first problem. As for the second problem, so far it's proven impossible to get in to see a VW specialist on short notice.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Silver Lake

The day after Darin's show my van stalled while running on vegetable oil, in fact, this time it really seemed like I ran out of fuel but my gauge indicated a quarter tank. I figured that I needed to change the fuel filter and as luck would have it, I stalled right out front of Lovecraft Biofuels. I parked and went into the office to ask what shop they recommend, and they sent me to Hi-Tech automotive on Fountain. Hi-Tech happens to be almost directly across the street from Vincent Dow’s house so I stopped in for a cup of tea.

Vinnie was unhappy with the work that Hi-Tech did on Ma’s Cutty and recommended a VW specialist in the neighborhood. I called over there and decided to take the van in to Eddy at the Buggy House. Eddy was not too familiar with the conversion system but he helped me to change the veggie oil fuel filter and showed me how to change the engine oil. Even with the new fuel filter the van would stop when I switched over to Veg so I called Thaddeus, who built the system, to ask his opinion. He thought that somehow air had gotten into the system and that was causing the problem. He must have been right because after many hours and many trips to the parts suppliers to find a new fuel pump everything started running normally again.

I parked the next couple of nights in Vinnie’s driveway, my preferred home in the LA area. I love Vinnie’s neighborhood and house and company so it’s perfect! Of six pool games I won four but Vinnie was drunk for the first two.

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