The Itinerary Spiel

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Amskeptic
IAC "Help Desk"
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The Itinerary Spiel

Post by Amskeptic » Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:39 pm

I am a travelling consultant. I am here to break down your resistance/fear/ignorance of maintaining and repairing your old VW.
The reasons for doing your own maintenance and repair are numerous and important. It is typical of a neophyte to not even hear these reasons due to their inner voice nattering about how spastic they are or stupid too, but in fact, it is a fact that there is no one more qualified to work on your VW than you. You, in your nervous tentative attentiveness, are more likely to do a good job and spot little deviations that could blossom into real trouble later. The BigaSHOTS are usually too busy talking at you about how many YEARS of experience they have working on these babies.

My job runs deeper than the surface of our day. I will be stirring up the sediment of your mind before the first cup of coffee is poured. I pepper you with questions to help you begin to see (everything) as a Questioner. It is your questioning ability that makes you a good listener great lover and decent mechanic. As I offer you the concepts of how your VW does its job, I will also keep forgetting to complete my sentences. You can. I also fail to answer your questions that you are supposed to figure out. I will patiently stare at you like a dolt until you make your first real effort to answer your own question.

The day begins at 9:00AM sharp with a quick review of your list. We will modify it at will. Valve adjustment will be the first operation performed on your car (solid lifters or hydraulic lifters it doesn't matter) so what the heck, make sure you have a spare set of valve cover gaskets.

As soon as possible, we will conduct a diagnostic test drive/driving lesson. Keep your ego at home. There are very few drivers out there who are capable of reducing wear and tear to the minimum that is demanded. Driving an old VW nicely is an art, and when you get good at it, you will be a better person too. Yes. . . . . you will.

IF IN MY ESTIMATION you will be better served by a buffet menu of going through your vehicle, you WILL gladly follow even as you discreetly tuck your highly hopeful list back in your pocket. I promise only that any detour will be a better value.

Paper towels are good. Forget shop towels, they are $ucky linty toilet paper these days. Cheap paper towels are perfectly OK, less soft shreds of lint. GumOut carb spray is best. There are other carb cleaners that can strip the paint off and melt your corneas, but we like GumOut carb spray see S-P-R-A-Y that's CARB SPRAY for carburetors, not parts cleaner not brake cleaner. GumOut has a very good formulation for cleaning and it is not so harmful to paint. Rustle up an under-engine pan that we can use as a rinse trap. Cookie sheets will work in a pinch, so have the house chef make the cookies the night before.

Lunch is usually just an afterthought, let's make it childhood simple if you have to recharge flagging energy stores. The only exception is if we need to do a working lunch concepts refresher with paper and pen.

Our usual stop time is 6:00PM, followed by clean-up, test drive and the all-important Fill Out The Invoice Correctly Review (using your latest diagnostic mechanical capabilities) that will take us to 7:00PM. Many spouses have been pleasantly surprised at the new sound of a fast flowing technical exchange that we conduct during the invoice review.

If we are excited and engaged in our project, you can expect that we will negotiate evening work past the usual stop time. My latest night on record was 4:00AM the next morning. This year, I am putting you on the clock if we go past 7:00PM. This so you won't be stricken with guilt, and I will be able to remain courteous and cheerful as we both help Exxon Mobil pay its executives.

Your balance will be $280.00 payable at the end of the day. If we go past 7:00PM in a substantial mechanical way, you will coughing up $38.00/hr but I won't take bathroom breaks or blather.

We will correspond via PM here only, through the winter/spring. You will show up on the Itinerary with our agreed-upon date and a "D" when your $100.00 deposit has posted. We will adjust appointments through late spring as I synchronize everybody. Please please please do not jerk me around with mere hopefulness. As an adult, you are capable of looking at your schedule and your finances and making a plan that you can stick to.
"Hey bud, I am really sorry but I just found out that I have to be at a wedding that weekend good luck on your travels man, maybe next year. . ."
This example has a fatal character flaw. Know what it is? No mention of an alternative date.

If you give me a referral to a new customer, 10% right off the top. . . unless you choose to defer in the name of A) taking it off the referral's bill B) contributing to the Cause :colors:
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 129,490 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

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LiveonJG
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Post by LiveonJG » Thu Jan 24, 2008 6:41 pm

If you haven't had the pleasure of one of Colin's visits, you should seriously think about making it happen. You feel a certain Zen with your much beloved vehicle and gain confidence in your own abilities. If you do decide to do it, and you should, be prepared to break yourself away for lunch as the man seems to subsist on nothing more than exhaust, diet coke and cigarettes. Even with a lunch break you mind will be hopelessly adrift in information by the time he leaves. I think this is by design because you'll have to have back the following year just to get some of that info back.

-John
Keep it acoustic.

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glasseye
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Post by glasseye » Thu Jan 24, 2008 8:42 pm

LiveonJG wrote: Even with a lunch break you mind will be hopelessly adrift in information by the time he leaves. I think this is by design because you'll have to have back the following year just to get some of that info back.

-John
RIGHT! I remember two days after my four-hour-or-so lecture/demo going "What the heck did he say about points? Vacuum leaks? Brakes? Huh? Where are my notes?" :flower:
"This war will pay for itself."
Paul Wolfowitz, speaking of Iraq.

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Mr Blotto
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Post by Mr Blotto » Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:41 am

Colin - I think that leaving feedback of your visit is also one of the customer's responsibilities. A detailed feedback provides a lot of good info (diagnosis / quick repairs of common issues that many of us have) that benifit the masses. It also prepares your future customers of the many unexpected pitfalls (incorrect / bad parts from vendors, siezed fasteners, etc.) that can happen during your visit that throws the entire day for a loop.

I have always enjoyed reading them and writing them.

Just my 2 cents....
1978 Sage Green Westy - 2.0 FI - SOLD WITH 109887 miles :-(

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Ritter
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Location: Sonoma County, CA
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Post by Ritter » Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:51 am

I too will sing the praises of the Itinerant Visit. Even if you are afraid of mechanics and have Mr. VW Shop Man do your work, it is worth the price of admission. Where else will you pay a highly regarded mechanic $380 for 10 hours of work while receiving 10 hours of your own education?

(this is not to imply that Colin is merely a highly regarded mechanic :blackeye: )
1978 Westfalia 2.0 FI

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:05 pm

Your feedback here is appreciated. It will also be appreciated in our Itinerant Air-Cooled Outreach where we pluck, we poach, we prostelytize, we subtly but effectively all across internetland, share the joy of Fix Your VW Yourself. I see many exchanges where the cascade of advice leaves some poor new VW owner swimming in options without a clue. My favorite irritating moments are hearing advice that says "get rid of the fuel injection, put on a header, an external oil cooler, but don't worry about flaps, my uncle Bob has been driving without them for 20 years" and the question was, "why does my car take so long to start when it is 5* below zero?" Nowhere mentioned in the replies is "clean your grounds before assuming the worst, check your advance, clean the engine! and make sure the flaps are installed lubricated adjusted and secure with the fail-safe spring. Oh and drop the oil viscosity when it is really cold."

We are slowly putting together a body of knowledge and experience here that I think can stand alongside any other site for its accuracy and friendliness. Some of you are just leaving me sitting here whispering to myself, "I can't add a thing to that reply. . ."
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 129,490 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

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Birdibus
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Post by Birdibus » Sat May 03, 2008 10:20 am

Colin, I'm looking for a topic or sticky that I can refer to potential new clients so they can understand what it is you do, what services they can expect from you, and what it is likely to cost. This sticky comes closest, but I haven't found the basic explanation. Where's the sales pitch, dude? Nothing slick needed, but I want to make referals (did you say discount?) and need to have a particular place for them to start.
71 bus, 74 westy

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LiveonJG
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Post by LiveonJG » Sat May 03, 2008 1:42 pm

Birdi, you could always start them off here:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/ ... ?id=563288

-John
Keep it acoustic.

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Sat May 03, 2008 9:29 pm

Birdibus wrote:Colin, I haven't found the basic explanation.
It is all in the first post of this thread. I am a travelling consultant who teaches you how to maintain/repair your own VW. You, Birdibus, will be the only customer this summer whose vehicles I just repair.
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 129,490 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

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