Good East Bay TDI Mechanics?

juniormarbles

Well-known member
Joined
May 7, 2006
My TDI is overheating right now in the Bay Area and I want to know where to tow the car.
Any East Bay recommendations?
 

Louie710

Veteran Member
Joined
May 15, 2019
Location
Northern California
TDI
2003 Jetta sedan 2002 Jetta wagon
There's a guy named Matt and the shop i think its called diesel autoworks? Hes in San Anselmo i think thats the only "guru" in Northern cali. If you have trouble getting a hold of him, is too busy, or is out of your price range i may be able to help but im all the way out in Yuba City
 

dlai

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 6, 2002
Location
The Insane Asylum Known As CA
TDI
2005 Passat, Stonehenge Gray, 2002 Black Golf 5M
 

juniormarbles

Well-known member
Joined
May 7, 2006
Thanks, I am familair with his great reputation. The problem: San Anselmo (Marin County) is too far away from Concord, and that makes towing and logistics of getting and staying around there hard. Anyone in the EAST Bay come to mind?
 

dlai

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 6, 2002
Location
The Insane Asylum Known As CA
TDI
2005 Passat, Stonehenge Gray, 2002 Black Golf 5M
Maybe you can make arrangements with Matt, get the tow truck to drop the car off to him, and when your car is ready whenever, take a rideshare service to San Anselmo to pick it up?
 

B100

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Location
Berkeley, Eastbania
TDI
2003 Golf
Matt's move to Oregon is good for him, but our local loss. Where else have people taken their TDIs for work? In Berkeley, I see that Karmakanix has merged with H&B, still down on 4th street, but further south at Bancroft. Anyone been there? It's definitely not a one-man shop, and I recall communication was filtered through a service manager. But what we need are competent mechanics who have breadth of knowledge about our cars.

 

LiquidBlackDZL

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Location
SF Bay Area
TDI
2000 Golf
I was just about to reach out to Matt when I saw his goodbye message.

I’m in need of a premature timing belt job. Coolant started leaking out from underneath the timing belt cover so I think the water pump has failed. Anyone have first hand TDI t-belt experience with a mechanic that they can recommend in the Bay Area?
 

Rapid Transit

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2010
Location
SF Bay Area
TDI
03 4dr Golf GLS
He did my buddies timing belt and it turned out good. Unfortunately he told me he was giving up the lease and retiring from auto mechanics.
 

LiquidBlackDZL

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2004
Location
SF Bay Area
TDI
2000 Golf
Just spitballing here, but what about the gentleman Matt was renting a bay from in Marin, Auto Haus II?
Thanks, but per my post “I was just about to reach out to Matt when I saw his goodbye message.”

He posted a goodbye message and his lease ends next week. He spent the last few weeks packing up.
 

Rapid Transit

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2010
Location
SF Bay Area
TDI
03 4dr Golf GLS
Per my post, the gentlemen that Matt was renting from also worked on TDI’s, did my buddies two months ago but is letting his lease go and retiring from auto mechanics.
 

Rapid Transit

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2010
Location
SF Bay Area
TDI
03 4dr Golf GLS
Sonoma Autowerks LLC in Petaluma is worth a look. Been a while since I used them but would again now that our Guru has escaped.
 

torman

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2007
Location
Upstate NY/CA
TDI
Mk4 Golf and Treg
Hate to say it, but Sonoma AW is iffy now .... had a couple of issues this year and decided to go elsewhere (including a botched timing belt job).
 

freebuilder

New member
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Location
Sonoma, ca.
TDI
'03 Golf
I had Sonoma AutoWerks do a few things for me through the years. They were always done correctly, and very expensive, possibly Overdone.
With Mr Phelans departure I'm also wondering where in the north bay I can bring my ALH. Suggestions anybody? Tillmans in Santa Rosa is out-
I've had a few conversations with them, and I don't do business with rude people.

PS: Matt did a timing belt for me and upgraded to an 11mm pump and a Melone stage 3 timing (same thing he had on his car), no change on injectors. Wonderful increase in power, and car is now happier at higher RPM levels. No Smoke.
 

NFSTDI

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Location
Sunny California :)
TDI
'98 Jetta
Karmakanix was owned by Steve for many years. I believe he was the founder. When he retired he sold the business to a local BMW specialty shop. I stopped going there a few years ago, before Steve retired. When my favorite service advisor moved over to Griffin, they changed how they handled things in a way that did not work well for me. The quality was still excellent but, I had grown accustomed to how Nino did things. I can not speak to their current quality but, I would imagine that they can be trusted to do good work.

AVS is another capable shop in Berkeley but, I have never gotten past my initial phone calls. There is just something about how things went that encouraged me to seek others.

Griffin Motorwerke does excellent work. They can be trusted to work on any VW TDI or gasser, Audi's, BMW, Porsche and, anything else they will let you bring to them. They do excellent work and the service advisors are straight up and easy to work with. Curly has been there for ever. Nino has now been there for a few years.

European Auto in Alameda is excellent. They did my very first timing belt. Albert is the owner and the service advisor. He is honest, professional and his staff does excellent work.

Tomas Sport Tune is highly regarded by those that frequent them. They are well known for their work on modified gassers. I think that they can be trusted with a TDI but, I have never let them work on mine.

Matt will be missed, no doubt about it. He is a sterling guy and his work is top notch. In fact, that is what brought me back here. I drove past his old shop yesterday. Two people I had referred to him were having trouble reaching him. As soon as I drove past, I knew Matt had moved. I came here hoping to find out what had happened and why. Also, because my TDI, now my son's, is due for a timing belt. We will now have to decide who and where.
 

Cgshirley

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2019
Location
OAKLAND ca
TDI
Jetta wagon 2003 tdi
FYI I just called Griffin and they are 3-4 weeks out for an appointment.

I've taken my car to European, and they struck me as expensive and didn't do a great job with the under-covering, which I asked for them to keep from hitting the ground. Their solution failed after a couple days.

Later, I needed a new fuel pump (which they didn't notice was leaking while at their shop), and I ended up buying a new one on ebay and Broadway smog and repair installed and they seemed to do good work. European wouldn't install parts he didn't buy (which I understand...).

Now I need to get the shifter adjusted (it doesn't always go into reverse) and the speedometer/electrical looked at and I was hoping to find a really knowledgable person to work on it. I ended up getting an appointment next week with Tomas Sport Tuning, and I'll let you know how it goes. Matt will be missed.
 
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B100

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Location
Berkeley, Eastbania
TDI
2003 Golf
Now I need to get the shifter adjusted (it doesn't always go into reverse) and the speedometer/electrical looked at and I was hoping to find a really knowledgable person to work on it. I ended up getting an appointment next week with Tomas Sport Tuning, and I'll let you know how it goes. Matt will be missed.
If you're comfortable doing some of your own repairs, the shifting cable adjustment is pretty simple.
 

B100

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Location
Berkeley, Eastbania
TDI
2003 Golf
^^^
An excellent, outstanding video by Jim Royston AKA DieselGeek. (y)

I'm nearby, let me know if you want a hand. This is the kind of thing we used to tackle at the local GTG's before that one ******* got all litigious and the GTG's stopped happening.
 

Cgshirley

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2019
Location
OAKLAND ca
TDI
Jetta wagon 2003 tdi
I picked the car up from Tomas Sport Tuning, they charge $185/hr and the adjustment they made to the transmission shifter didn’t hold (not 100% fault but how it was communicated to me as fixed and solid, gave me a roller coaster of emotions since I thought they hard fixed it), the front desk guy Ken does a lot of on the fly diagnostic work, but none of it paned out this time. The new fuel filter didn’t fix the low RPM stuttering, the speed sensor didn’t fix the speedometer, and they couldn’t tell me what was causing the airbag light to go off, just that one of the bags could be bad...

I just traded Jetta TDIs today, and need to get a timing belt done, the Griffen quoted me $1.5k. Know a better place to take it for the money? Repairsmith.com says they can do it for $750 but I’m not sure if that includes replacing the tensioners, pullies, water pump etc.
 

B100

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Location
Berkeley, Eastbania
TDI
2003 Golf
I was happy with the minor suspension work TST did on my Golf several years ago (replacing top front bushings), but have not had them do any engine or transmission tasks. When my shifter was sloppy, it was a quick task to reset the cable clamps atop the transmission, so your issue must have been more involved.

It's simply frightening to read that a shop wants $1,500 for a timing belt change. Almost as if they're intentionally pushing people away.
 

highender

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2006
Location
Northern California
TDI
2012 Jetta TDI
Yikes. Justin Old poopie and Matt does excellent work for excellent price. I almost want to drive up there....jsut to have my tdi fixxec.
 

NFSTDI

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Location
Sunny California :)
TDI
'98 Jetta
Locally, a timing belt is likely to be fourteen to seventeen hundred at any reputable independent repair shop. That is just the cost of doing business in CA. I will never understand those who fail to comprehend that a business can not possibly pay a living wage unless they charge enough money to make a profit over and above the wages and other cost factors.

If you want a deal on a timing belt replacement, either plan a GTG or drive up to OR.

As to European Auto in Alameda, they did my first TB job on my Jetta. Their price was fair and the work was done right. Since then, they have done a lot of work on my Jetta. The price was always fair the work was always done right. Albert closes his shop for the holidays around Christmas and New Years. He gives his staff some time off. I do believe he pays them during their time off and possibly for time off they make take when they want to. I am also fairly certain that he provides them with medical benefits. Albert is a stand up guy and an honest businessman.
 

danix

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2000
Location
Raleigh, NC
TDI
None now. Former: 2011 335d, 2010 Jetta TDI, 2003 Jetta TDI Wagon. 99.5 Jetta TDI, 98 NB TDI, 3 different black 96 Passat TDI wagons.
Unfortunately there's no one around here i know of that specializes in TDIs.
 
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