Until this point, Agathawagen has been a nice reliable automobile. We have travelled 20,000kms and required nothing but a few oil changes, a coolant flush, and some minor front axel work.
But this all changed overnight. Aggy started really rough one morning and then pretty much refused to start again. So it was off to Beetle Autohaus for further diagnostics.
The verdict? pitting on 3 of the 5 pistons due to detonation / timing issues probably caused by a faulty ECU. Perhaps I should have trained my ear better to hear 'pinging' noises coming from under the hood, or perhaps the damage was already done. Either way it was a tough pill to swallow.
After weighing the options, the decision was made to swap out Aggy's hurting unit for a new-to-us engine. As luck would have it, on February 14th, we sourced a used engine on the island with relatively minimal mileage on it -- for valentine's day Aggy would be getting a new heart.
It is not very often your mechanic actually drives the same vehicle as you let alone his whole family. The proprietor, Robert, and his son both drive circa '92 Eurovans so we feel pretty comfortable taking their advice. These guys at Beetle Auto Service are seriously busy, and although they aren't likely to pickup the phone and update you on their progress, they are very willing to 'talk shop' when you stop by.
Aggy has been off the road for almost a couple months now. Luckily the surf has been pretty flat and I can walk to work. Nonetheless, we are starting to get a bit of an itch to get back on the road. We have had her 'on loan' from the mechanic a couple times to work out some of the kinks and hopefully she will be back on the road permanently soon. We will keep you posted.
I told one of my coworker about my van troubles, they also own a camper van of an older vintage. Their response was "I have replaced the engine in my van THREE times, so welcome to the club!". Weeeeeeeee!