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Cross-threaded wheel bolt saga (long)

I think that I may have told you all that NTB, this past Monday, cross-threaded one of the wheel bolts on the passenger rear of my '87 VW QSW. I took it back to them on Wednesday, and yep, they snapped it off inside the hub. That was at 11:30 a.m.

All afternoon, they made a gallant effort to fix it, albeit armed with pry bars, vise grips, big hammers etc. They of course had none of the right tools. I told them to get in touch with the VW dealer two miles down the road, but noooo... they had to try it their way first. Well, after getting a new hub, and then a new bearing (after the first one was the wrong one...), they proceeded to try and install them.

They actually did rather well (after taking off just about everything in the way... brakes, axles etc.. although I wasn't too keen on their using vise grips on the bolts that hold in the rear CV joint/axle), up until they had to get the hub put into the new bearing that was pressed into the axle housing (if that's what it is called). I KNOW that you need a special tool for this, and I told them that, but they proceeded to take big hammers, and sockets, and try to beat it in there. I was just shaking my head... and trying to remain calm.

They decided to grind down the leading edge, to try and get it "started", at which point they figured all the hammering would just get it to slide in. Well, that didn't work (I could have said "I told you so!!"). Now, they have this new hub, somewhat disfigured, hammered into the new bearing. It won't go in any further, so they try take it out. But this time, it is in there so tight, that when he pulls it out, the bearing falls apart (he literally pulled the front piece off, and all the ball bearings fell out!!) ARRGGHHH!!!

It is now about 6:30 p.m., and I've been there all day. I now have no car... and I planned on taking it up to my TRUSTWORTHY dealership today (Thursday) to take a general peek and offer advice on why sometimes the shifter is a bit notchy. Well, that plan went out the window (I've rescheduled for Friday). So, the whole day was a complete waste, and it screws up my life for two days. All because some "misfit" can't properly hand tighten a bolt.... and make sure it is seated correctly before he takes the air gun to it.

As I sit here typing, they are having another go at it today. The difference is that I FIRMLY told them that they MUST get in touch with the dealership down the road, and have one of their folks come down and do it, or loan them the correct tools. That was the plan... I'll find out soon if it worked out okay.

When I last called, they said that they were taking the whole control arm off and bringing it down to the dealer, to have the bearing and hub pressed into place. Has anyone ever heard of this before? Surely, there must be a special tool or another way rather than take the whole assembly off!! ARRGGHHH!!

BTW, they were nice enough to get me a rental car for today. Of course, I didn't need it... I'd drive my '92 100S before I'd get in and go anywhere in that Geo Metro!! (Has anyone seen that McDonald's ad with the weary traveller, who gets a "Speck" as a rental car? That's what I feel like in this thing!!).

Anyway, thanks for listening to me vent. ARRGGHHH!!

P.S. On a positive note, when I was in having the timing belt and water pump replaced on my '92 100S on Tuesday, the "ding" man was there, and he said he could take out the very annoying and apparent ding in my rear quarter panel, as well two small ones in the passenger door, for $75.00!! Yahoo!! I had gotten an estimate for just the one rear quarter panel for $250.00!!

You can't tell that any dings even existed!! Needless to say, I was ecstatic!! Yippee!!

At least SOMETHING went in my favor this week!!

Jim Griffin
Maryland, USA
"Perception is often stronger than reality!"
'92 Audi 100S
'87 VW Quantum Syncro Wagon