In every automotive circle, British believers, zee Germans, 'merican made, etc, they will all rant and rave about how hard some repair is for their particular vehicles. In my luck, I ended up with two vehicles with extremely frustrating repairs.

Exhibit a. - 2003 Audi A4 1.8t - (although this applies to most VW/Audi with the 1.8t) Rear coolant flange replacement. In the Germans infinite wisdom and engineering prowess, they used a plastic coolant flange that bolts directly to the back of the block ("No, zee heat will not be a problem"). It's located less than 1" from the firewall, about 6 inches down the back of the block. You can't see it. I laid on the motor with my eyes closed and felt my way through removal and replacement. It took 4 hours.

The culprit:

The location:

(images from A4 TSCHUSS and audizine)

Exhibit b. - 2001 Nissan Xterra 3.3l V6 - spark plug replacement. This isn't technically as bad as the Audi, but, seeing as how it's a common replacement item, it's nearly as frustrating. I've always believed that the Japanese simplified things like this! WRONG. Spark plugs 1 through 5 are simple, although you need a decent extension. Spark plug #6, like the Audi, is located at the back of the block, 6 inches down where it can't be seen. You'll need two 6" extensions, and a universal joint for your ratchet. You won't see where to put them, but you'll have to stab around down there until you can get it on. And again, you get to kneel on the radiator support or lay on the motor to get to it. Took me 2 hours to do all 6 plugs and wires.


(picture from gbwilliams on

I've shared mine, what have been your most frustrating repairs?