...said my brother. The Vortex was split 50/50 on it- either it’ll be amazing, or terrible.

Bought it Friday. Started learning stick that evening (am I a true Jalop now?) Put 100+ miles on it. Drove to work Monday morning. Everything was going fine, until...


Bam. Three miles from the office. Fuck. I finished the drive, went in, got to my cube, and looked for the nearest parts store. They can read an OBDII port, right? Wait, this is a building full of engineers. One of them has got to have a reader.

“Hey Bob, do you happen to have an OBDII reader? I bought a car on Friday and it threw a code at me on the highway.”

“Yeah, but it’s at home. I can bring it tomorrow. What did you get?”

“A Golf from ‘96, same as me. I’ll just go to a parts store on my lunch.”

“Oh, they won’t be able to read it. VWs are... Special. I’ve got the VAG-COM cable at home, I’ll bring it tomorrow.”


So, I hit the google. Ross-Tech. Shit, $650 for a cable and software? Ah well, Bob will bring his tomorrow.

“Oh yeah, by the way, you should get one of those cables. You’re gonna need it.”

To Craigslist! There was only one for sale on all of my local list- somehow, it was only a few miles away.


Five hours later and three hundred bones poorer, I’m at home with a Ross-Tech VAG-COM to USB cable and software on a USB drive. I love this car, but I named it Jolene, because she’s amazing, but she’s betrayed me and I’m going to lose sleep over her.

Wish me luck.

EDIT: Aaaaaand the results are in! O2 sensor AND camshaft position sensor. To Autozone we go!


Edit 2: My Haynes manual cost three whole dollars. However, there is no camshaft position sensor in my car. Not as in “it’s not there,” as in, “there was never a camshaft position sensor on this car from the factory.” What.

Edit 3: “Camshaft position sensor” is apparently code for “hey your timing is slipping, do the belt.” So that’s good.


Edit 4: It may also be the Hall Effect Sensor. Hey, Emag! Something I understand! Unfortunately, the Hayne’s manual says not to try this one at home. Today is Monday. Time to cross my fingers and hope I don’t grenade the engine. Sigh.

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