View original topic: VW Paradise - San Marcos, CA - [email protected]
Anchovy Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:40 am

I have had two experiences with VW Paradise.

First was about 12 years ago. I took a new-to-me 15 window bus in for a complete inspection including brakes, fluid change and tune up. The bus was recently restored. They gave the bus a clean bill of health and a completed check list of everything they checked and had done so I was on my way. I got the bus home (about 5 miles) and found the lug nuts on the right front wheel were hand tight, the oil bath air cleaner was empty a valve cover was leaking (pinched gasket) and there was a crescent wrench in the engine bay. Needless to say I didn't feel confident in their work....but I got a free wrench!

Hoping that things had changed I recently took my current bus in for some work. I asked them to hunt down some electrical problems including a generator light that would not come on. I also asked for a complete brake inspection and to have the front discs turned. They did a bunch of work including replacing the generator, the brake booster and cylinder heads. I supplied the high dollar parts but the bill was still about $1,400. They reported that everything was in order with the charge system and brakes.

When I picked up the bus the generator light would not operate nor would the brake warning check light. It was right at 5 o'clock and my ride had left so I drove the short distance home. I told VW Paradise about the problem before I took the bus. I pulled the generator bulb when I got home and bench tested it...worked fine so I figured it must be something else in the charge system. I crawled under the bus to check the booster install and the vent line on the booster was disconnected and needed replacement.

I took the bus back the next day to get the generator light working, check the brake warning light and to have the booster line replaced (I paid for all lines to be replaced originally.)

The bus was done by the end of the day but I had a new bill for about $200. $45 for the generator bulb, $45 for the booster vent line and $100 for the brake check light! When I asked why I was being charged for a half hour of time for the generator bulb I was told that "it costs even more to replace it on modern cars" and that "it wasn't working when you brought the bus in" and "old cars have lots of things wrong with them" and "you didn't ask for the light to be fixed". I couldn't believe that a VW shop would let a car go out knowing the gen. light wasn't working especially when I had paid them several hundred dollars to inspect the electrical system and install a new generator.

In the end I agreed for the brake check light as it needed replacement and some trouble shooting was involved. They took off the bill for the generator bulb and half of the vent line cost.

Once again, I am not confident in the service they provide. Was I unlucky twice? Anyone else have experience with these guys?

FG1732 Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:05 pm

^^^ Anchovy hit it right on the button.

I actually ran across this thread accidentally while doing a totally unrelated search on Google. Having noticed nobody else speaking up, I just have to dive in and backup Anchovy. Although it has been many years since I've been to Paradise, I still remember the sour taste they left in my mouth.

So far, VW Paradise has a great reputation for building some of the fastest VW engines ever, but in my experience their customer service is less than average and their prices are absolutely ridiculous. VW Paradise is the type of place where the sale and profits is their number one goal....NOT customer satisfaction, NOT quality work & NOT fair pricing.

I don't have the energy to sit here and type out a long specific essay, but I can worn others and tell them this...other than stopping by to pick up a brake line, gasket or other small part, I would never recommend any fellow VW enthusiast dropping off their car to be worked on at this shop.

cptcliffhanger Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:12 am

took my dune buggy in for carb tuning (we rebuilt them and just couldn't seem to get the idle circuits cleaned out, so i took it to the "experts").. Couple days later they called said they had to rebuild the passenger side weber 44 and synch the carbs, but it runs great and is ready for pickup.. I paid the nearly $350 bill on the phone, and arranged to pick up the car the next day..

First thing in the morning I get a call saying that when they started the car in the morning to move it, the oil cooler (brand new fluidyne from ORW $400) blew out, and got oil everywhere (90% sure the tech got excited about my sweet running VW and revved the nuts out of it when still cold but cant prove it so moving on.). no apologies but he did offer to sell me one of his Latest Rage coolers off the shelf.. I said "no thank you".. Still taking uo the oil cooler with ORW and Fluidyne, neither of which seem to want to stand behind it..

Got the buggy out the the sand dunes Friday morning, and although it idles fine it runs like absolute crap anywhere above idle.. I called VW paradise for some tech support but they were none to interested to help but offered to look at it monday (for a fee of course)..

We later found that the two main jet stacks on the passenger side (the side they rebuilt) were completely loose.. after tightening them the buggy ran good..

Just thought people should know what you get for your money at VW Paradise... I will not be returning.. I usually work on my own stuff but decided to splurge and have a hassle free maintenance done by the "experts".. lesson learned..

Not cool VWP,


risk Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:13 pm

I bought a freshly rebuilt Rancho pro street trans from Chris Lauffer at VW Paradise a couple of months ago. It took him three weeks to get it shipped, each time i called to check the status he would tell me "I'll get it shipped monday".. or "I'll get it shipped this week". I hate being lied to outright, if you can't ship it for a couple weeks just say so..

When i finally got the trans, it was only packed with some cardboard pieces and paper packing, no protection for the nosecone, and the hockey stick was jammed up in the nosecone.. I called Chris and he said just pull it back out...that didn't work. I pulled the nosecone to find the hockey stick was bent, and the shift link inside was bent. I called Chris back and this time got no answer..gotta love caller ID. :fist:

So I called Rancho to see if this was something i could fix. Sam told me they would need it back, and let me ship it to Rancho on his dime. \:D/

Next day i get an email from VW Paradise to call them. So i call and get the receptionist Molly, who is apparently Chris's mom. I expressed my discontent and informed her that Rancho took care of me. At no point did i curse, scream or yell. About an hour later i get a call on my cell, blocked caller.. It's Chris this time, telling me there is no need to be a smartass. Smartass?? If you are gonna put your mom at the front counter and run your business like a choad, expect her to hear from a few unhappy customers and don't take it personal.

Bottom line, VW paradise has terrible customer service. I will never buy from them again.

Rancho VW on the other hand, they got it fixed and sent it back, with the nosecone protector and better packing. Rancho gets a thumbs up on this one.

bugnut68 Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:18 pm

I've had the complete opposite experience in dealing with VW Paradise. I had the machine work for my current 2017 build done by them, and even had follow-up questions for Jason in the machine shop and always got my questions answered with no problems.

monypwrres Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:37 pm

Thanks For The Heads Up Cause I was headed there this week Yikes, Anyone heard of B & R Buggy in Oeanside??

Dominick Luppino Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:06 am

bugnut68 wrote: I've had the complete opposite experience in dealing with VW Paradise. I had the machine work for my current 2017 build done by them, and even had follow-up questions for Jason in the machine shop and always got my questions answered with no problems.

X2 A very professional shop!

1492rp Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:50 pm

Been a customer of VW Paradise for over 15 years for parts, performance motor building and just simple advice on my collection of VW's. Always been treated above and beyond by the whole company with the best knowledge the industry has to offer. If you need it done right I highly recommend the whole team of VW Paradise. Stick with the PRO's

bugnut68 Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:59 pm

I'd love to see VW Paradise weigh in on the posters who relayed their negative experiences, as we're only hearing one side of the story.

Bustrnut Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:05 pm

I am about to head over to Paradise to see if they can verify that my engine is dead. (84 Westy). We're about 50% pro/con on Paradise on this board. Does anyone know of anyone else in the San Diego No Co area that I can go to?

I'm done with Brad's Foreign and Domestic (They deemed my Westy eng dead although it's been running fine until I dumped too much oil in her not to mention the customer service has a bit to be desired to say the least), and I do not trust Gary at B&R buggy in Oceanside. (Although I have friends that are good with B&R.)

Thx - Bustr

Anchovy Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:28 pm

I called the parts department at VW Paradice looking for some brake parts for my '71 bus. I gave them the 9 digit VW part number and they said, "Is that a Subaru part number?" They said they didn't have the parts. I drove over to J-bugs and they had them in stock.

Bustrnut Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:39 pm

j-bugs? Where are they ?.. Are they any good ?

MLTIGGER2 Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:57 pm

Bustrnut wrote: j-bugs? Where are they ?.. Are they any good ? J-Bugs is pretty close to you, up in Oceanside

Bustrnut Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:19 am

googed um - thx. They look like a bug only shop tho. I'm heading to VW Paradise today to see if I get a good vibe. I really want to take her up to Go Westy but don't have the time (and I may have to tow, which would eat $).

VWP builds dragsters, I wonder if I need a new engine in my Westfaila... vrooom lol.

Bustrnut Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:02 pm

Ok - Doin a 180 on Brad's. I got cranky cause they hadn't called me back, then I find out that Roger has been sick, and the owner's (Matt - great guy) brother passed away. Man do I feel like a dumbass.

After talking with Matt and Roger today (sorry about the rip guys), I've made up my mind - Brad's Foreign and Dom is putting in a new (probably Go Westy) 2.x into my Westfaila. They have been late in the past but ALWAYs got the job done.

Bustrnut Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:11 am

Ok -
Brads' replaced Emily's engine with a:

2300cc Engine [83-85 1900cc Vanagon](GVW-2300-1.9)

They did it in 3 weeks flat - incredibly fast.

Matt the owner accomodated my schedule when it came to discussing parts, reviewing progress, and picking her up.

They did a great job.

New license plate will be: Emily - Happy Camper :)

larryducas Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:54 pm

I had a case line bored at RIMCO / FAT performance, actually 2 cases, both were done wrong.

I had an independent machinist verify the out of round main bores in the case. This was a non VW machinist.

Mark at Paradise Motorsports helped me out.

Paradise ran their boring bar through the case set at the same .020.

And Now everything fits like it should !! Crank now turns easily by hand.

I owe Paradise many thanks, and they did not charge me for this either.

So obviously they would be good to go to for machining.

From my experience, I recommend Paradise. I have had heads done there before also.

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