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Van Wonder Auto Svc

1141 West 15th Street, 1 block south of Marine Drive, halfway between Pemberton and Lloyd Aves, North Vancouver, BC
9 reviews
Claim this business Last updated: Over a year ago
Listed in: Auto Service
About Van Wonder Auto Svc

Van Wonder has moved, come and see us at our new, bigger location.

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Van Wonder Auto Svc, North Vancouver Reviews (9)

9 reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
By Norah on Apr 22, 2016
1995 Eurovan Camper Ongoing problem with stalling, stuttering, losing power. Several mechanics and money later John identified the issue and repaired it within 48 hours! He's my hero!!!!
By Bistre Earwig on Oct 02, 2014
I had a very difficult time finding anyone who would even look at my old but great Westi. I had a little leak that seemed to be coming from the differential. I found Van Wonder and met John. He and his staff lived up to and in my opinion exceeded the expectation I had for speed, efficiency, price, and knowledge have read previous reviews.
He is a master craftsman in this trade, and I would recommend this company to anyone.
Thanks John

John Kowalchuk
By Blue Partridge on Jun 26, 2014
Van Wonder Auto Service has moved, their new location is at 1141 West 15th Street (1 block south of Marine Drive, halfway between Pemberton and Lloyd Aves)in North Vancouver. Same great people and service, but in a bigger, better location.
By Chamoisee Sperm-whale on Jul 20, 2012
I took my late grandfather's old '87 Westy syncro to Van Wonder, expecting a worse assessment than it got, despite its dented 90-year-old-driver body condition. It wasn't really driveable with a rear u-joint knuckle bearing on the main driveshaft completely worn out, and it would cut power and stall at the worst times in traffic, so I got John to flush and replace or check the fluids, and drop the driveshaft and make my van a 2WD. He wrapped the driveshaft in cardboard and left it on the floor of the van with all the bolts carefully re-attached to each end. (I intend to get this replaced with an aftermarket improved shaft and needed it for the core charge)

John also saw that the power steering fluid leaking wasn't just a leaky hose as my grandfather, who dutifully kept the reservoir filled, had thought for the past decade. While I was on the phone with John, he managed to find a non-leaky steering rack online. He installed it the next day. It is important to quickly return any calls your mechanic leaves on your voicemail, or you may miss those windows of opportunity and your car may be in the shop longer than it needs to be!

Only two things were missed, and one of them continued to affect my enjoyment of the van after it left the shop. The power steering pressure sensor was broken and hanging loose - it could have been ready to fall off, and replacing the belt for the steering pump could have done this. But more importantly, the green "coax" wire to the O2 sensor was broken inside the spade connector sheath and caused intermittent contact with the connector - when I discovered this, I pulled the wire out of the sheath and drove the van (it then ran smoothly, but smelled rich with unburnt gas) to the nearest Canadian tire, where I restored the connector (and the power steering pressure sensor wire) and thereafter the van no longer stalled at idle or lost power on the highway. It has run a bit rough since then when the engine has warmed up as I'm told Vanagon will do anyway at low RPM (it purrs nicely when it's cold and idling over 1K RPM), but several shots of injector cleaner in the tank at each fillup has apparently removed this problem.

Useless tip from a novice: If you're having problems finding 1st or 2nd gear with your Vanagon standard shifter (say, they're hiding somewhere in the push-down position that is normally reserved for reverse and low (syncro) and your reverse light is on when in 1st gear), and your spouse won't drive the van because she hates the way it shifts, you may have to readjust your shift rod!
Park the van while it's still in 1st gear. Turn off the engine and put on the parking brake! Climb under the van with some eye protectors on, remove the clamp that holds the front rod and the rear rod together and pull the two rods apart (wiggle and pull the spline coupling apart), keeping the rear rod pushed to the rear of the vehicle (1st gear). Once the two rods are apart, carefully set down the rods and go back to the shifter and put it in the 2nd gear position (4th in my case because my 1st gear was really off). Climb back under the vehicle and carefully (don't twist!) put the rods back together (shift lever moves to 1st) and tighten up the clamp. Test the shift positions and repeat procedure if necessary. Now my wife can drive the van without swearing at four way stops!
By Tara on Aug 01, 2011
Once upon a HARROWING day in Vancouver - I took my husband's work van to Vancouver (we live in Squamish) to pick up a new windshield, when, loaded down with all three children, the van breaks down at 12th and Clarke. Of course, husband has the cell phone, so I try the payphone, but -of course- it's broken. No problem, right? Just borrow the gas station phone! Think again - SHELL at 12th and Clarke will not let ANYONE use their phone, no matter what the reason. And, they have no idea where any other payphones could possibly be. So, mom with three little kids, hikes across the street to the Tattoo Parlour where the very kind man lets me make the call. Tow truck now coming, we head back to the gas station, to inform the gas station employees that a tow truck is coming, and to please not tow us! They very grudgingly say "fine", and off we are to Skytrain and Greyhound it back home. Van Wonder was our destination (after husband read the great reviews on this site). They fixed the van for LESS than they quoted, and on the same day. These are incredibly kind, integral people!! We will definitely return (but hopefully not too soon!) THANK YOU VAN WONDER!! -Tara McKone in Squamish
Comment by vanwonder123 on Aug 02, 2011
It's terribly sad that people won't help a stranded mother with 3 kids in tow. What has happened to humanity? As far as the bill coming in below estimate, the fuel pump came in cheaper than in the past. Sometimes these things happen. I always thought the price of those things was outrageous; at least now they're more in line with pumps from other manufacturers.
I really, really appreciate this review after the lambasting in the previous one. I'm so glad I could help!
May your next visit be a planned one!
By Green Giant-squid on Dec 08, 2010
went in to fix a problem and came out with a huge unexpected bill...turned out some other things had to be fixed he never told me beforehand....just make sure to ask for the price and to tell him to tell you what else he will do, if he decides to do in the middle of the job ahah, and how much it will cost or else you will go broke!
Comment by vanwonder123 on Jul 26, 2011
I try to 'feel out' my clients; you know, give them the service they need with their budget in mind. Sometimes the cars don't cooperate. It is the way of things.
An easy way to avoid a bill bigger than your budget allows is to say up front what your budget is. That way, if the repairs are more extensive (expensive!) than hoped, I'll get in contact and we'll determine a course of action together. Otherwise, I believe you are leaving the decisions up to me. I'd say that 95% of people know that what I do is reasonable and decently priced.
My 111,000 hours of experience repairing cars and running repair shops comes in handy when making decisions about other people's cars. But I'm not perfect. A review like this one reminds me that I still have work to do.
By bwbwbw on Oct 14, 2010
John always does what's needed, nothing more, nothing less. I can always expect great work from him, and he's not ever let us down. (c'mon, nothing for a 67 beetle costs $50)
By Purple Panthera-hybrid on May 20, 2009
I took a Westfalia Eurovan I was thinking of buying to John. I was amazed at how much he found wrong in one hour. Seemed very thorough and experienced. Great personality too. I don't advise using their 'bathroom' though. They could use a woman's touch... His assessment on the Westy saved me thousands!
By Scarlet Rat on Mar 02, 2009
I brought my Jetta in due to engine light, and over heating. Everytime I took it in somewhere they charged too much and the problem would come back a week later. Van Wonder fixed the problem, was awesome at explaining everything to me, and its been running well everysince!
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