Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dear Alex :: Tobbit's First Trip to the Mechanic

Different garage a few days ago...
Dear Alex,

Well, just got back from the mechanic with Tobbit and the word that best describes me is "happy." I kept grinning at them, brimming full of gratitude and smiling. So happy. Tobbit has been fixed!

As you know, Tobbit's battery has never charged. He has a new alternator and a new battery and still, the two don't work together. We tried out a new voltage regulator and that didn't work. In the end, we were stumped. For the past few months, I've been plugging Tobbit into a battery charger every couple nights making him not a self-sustaining truck.

I called up Larry at Lynnwood Auto Electric and he wasn't able to take anyone at the time (government is upset at him right now) but he suggested the folks at Malloy Services on 99. I called them up and scheduled an appointment for this morning.

It was a smooth, rainy drive over and I arrived just before 8 AM. A friendly, bearded man came over and let me inside, even though they weren't open yet. He said it might be a bit longer than an hour for them to check out what was wrong. I told him I had all day, handed him the keys, and then pulled Silas (the bike) out from the back of Tobbit. I was set to go. Since I don't have a cell phone, I said I'd check back in a bit to see what the diagnosis would be so I could decide if I could afford it. I figured I would have to and, in my head, had a price limit set at $350. It's an awful lot of money, but I figured it was about the cost of a new alternator plus all the time it would take. The sign on the wall said that they charged $93 an hour but I was told it would be less.

I biked down Aurora to Trader Joe's and Half Price Books and hung out there for a while, picking up some olive oil, a banana, kale, and a few C.S. Lewis books. It had been over an hour so I decided to head back and see if they had any updates.

Back at the shop, I occupied myself by reading in the lobby. The front-desk lady was really sweet. Before long, one of the men came out and told me that it was good that he had worked on thousands of Rabbits and that he knew what was wrong. He showed me the piece that was broken. It was the connector to the alternator. There was a part I couldn't even see within the L-shaped part and he told me that that was what was broken.

One of the men was Patrick Malloy but I forget which one. They were all wonderful people.

He went back and finished fixing Tobbit up as the woman put together my bill. I was really nervous.

"...and a discount for being patient. That comes to $92," she told me.
"92 for everything?" I clarified.
"Yep, that's it!" she told me.

I was stunned.

To fix Silas, the bike, had cost $104. This was even cheaper than that!

The diagnosis on the receipt was, "Battery not charging. Found not charging due to bad connector to alternator. By-pass connector. Tighten alt belt." The large connector "stk" cost $1.31 (there were two of them needed) and a small connector was $1.59.  Labor came to $80.

So stoked! $92 is something I can afford!

Apparently the mechanics know VW Rabbits really well. I asked if they did more than electric. Before I take Tobbit to Alaska, I want him checked over and they told me that they could definitely do that.

So - it was a success!
The battery now charges and I am free to run off.

I know we still have to do struts... let me know when you have time for that.




  1. Response From Alex..

    Hello magi,
    I wonder if i am famous, now that i have been featured here so many times. As you know my semester of school finishing in early may. Therefore i have set the weekend of may 10 and 11 to do the struts, engine mounts, and Speedometer. We can look at why the Light switch for dashboard/interior, the horn is not working properly. Please remind me to order the parts on may 6 because i am likely to forget in my craze to finish school.


    1. Dear Alex,

      Dude! Thank you!
      I suspect you are quite famous. I think of you as Tobbit's dear, beloved uncle.

      (this is Hannah. HELLO. You have a truck for a nephew? I think you are definitely famous.)

      May 10/11 is perfect! Most excellent. I'll head down on the 9th.

      Thank you,



Your words make me grin.

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