traveling

Social Media For Car Enthusiasts by Larry Saavedra

Social media has become a synonym for political venting and other bad, ugly stuff. That’s cool it’s a free world. But it can also be a portal for constructive collaboration between like-minded people.

Back in Klamath at the campsite with Jerry and his son. Turns out they own Quality Automotive in Whittier, California.

Back in Klamath at the campsite with Jerry and his son. Turns out they own Quality Automotive in Whittier, California.

Case in point.

I was in Crescent City, California off Highway 101 with my wife and dog inside our ‘86 Vanagon. We had stopped to get fuel at this Chevron station and I had just hopped back into the driver’s seat. I was only one week in on a two-month adventure to Canada.

I turned the key and silence…

What would normally be the cranking sound of the VW starter motor was now stone quiet stillness.

Silence.

I was stuck, frustrated and hundreds of miles from home, in a town that I was a stranger in. It was late in the afternoon on a Sunday, and most places were closed. It was getting dark.

I had my road side AAA card, but I figured it was simply a dead battery and that I could jump start it myself. It wasn’t. The vehicle had bigger issues.

That’s when I went on Facebook and posted to the Vanagon Owners Group (VOG). It’s a group of like-minded Vanagon owners that discuss the A to Z’s of this classic vehicle. It’s the only reason I support FB now.

Here’s an excerpt of that conversation and how the online calvary came to the rescue.

MY POST:

“Near klamath California red battery light on. Ground wires appear good. Drives fine v-belt fine. Might be alternator. Anyone around here? Need advice”

MY NEXT POST:

“Stuck in crescent city calif. Anyone nearby?”

15 minutes later I receive the first reply of many to follow:

VOG MEMBER RESPONSE:

Dug S. said, Check the blue wire on the alternator.

MY REPLY:

“Did. Looks good.”

VOG MEMBER RESPONSE:

Steve F. said, You might want to remove the voltage regulator and check the brushes for excessive wear. If they're almost gone it's possible that only replacing that will get you back going.

Kyle B. said, Did you check the starter wires?

Bob E. said, Does battery seem low when you engage starter? Is the belt to alternator tight? Even if the belt is new it will stretch. You can get a replacement alt at NAPA. You will have to use your old pulley. Best to check first that the alt is bad. Van should be drivable for several miles.

MY REPLY:

“The bolt that tightens it seems like its loose but im afraid to ovèr tighten it. I will look in cresent city to see what’s up.”

VOG MEMBER RESPONSE:

Anthony W. said, Check connector and condition of wire for the small blue wire on the alternator. Clean up/ replace connector if necessary.

Steve F. said, You might want to remove the voltage regulator and check the brushes for excessive wear. If they're almost gone it's possible that only replacing that will get you back going.

Kyle B. said, Did you check the starter wires?

Anthony W. said, Check connector and condition of wire for the small blue wire on the alternator. Clean up/ replace connector if necessary.

Then out of the blue, I get this VOG member reply:

Jerry D. said, My father and I just pulled up in Crescent City. We’re both vw mechanics lol Are u stuck at a campground.

MY REPLY:

“I am at the Chevron on the south side of town.”

VOG MEMBER RESPONSE:

Jerry D. said, We can come by Whats the address?

MY REPLY:

“Corner of elk valley road and 101 coming into town.”

VOG MEMBER RESPONSE:

Jerry D. said, Be there right now!


To me and my wife (and dog) it was like the calvary riding to the rescue. They didn’t know me. They didn’t have to help. But they did. People responded positively.

We were complete strangers in a sketchy place and everyone had other agendas. I was heading to Canada, and Jerry and his father Jerry Sr. were meeting up with the VW Treffen rally to Mexico that was coming down from Canada. How about that?

To make a long story short, they got us back on the road.

Here’s the final responses from VOG that I think best sum up where America is today.

VOG MEMBER RESPONSES:

Jerry D. said, With all the troubles in the world man We need more love ✌

Bill P. said, I think we all have a lot more in common than what we think separates us.

Charlie P said, Wow what are the odds huh? Stuck, puts out a call, not one but TWO VW mechanics respond and but wait there's more! They're not only willing to help, they're on the way!!!! Good fortune boggles the mind! We should all try to boggle minds every day.

Jim R. said, Make sure to get a charge on that battery, if you are able. You can drive it a pretty long way on a fully charged battery, but don't use the heater blower, air conditioning or any non-essential electrical items, ideally just fuel delivery, fuel injection and ignition. Oh, and brake lights/turn signals.

Elliot K. said, Sounds like you’re in good hands, but I’d second checking out the voltage regulator. Had one go out on me during a trip and kept the alt from charging the battery.  

Enjoy the redwoods! Went to school up there for a few years. Magical scenery.

Henry S. said, Man, I love this thread!