1987 Toyota Celica GTS Brake Repair

Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of the award winning Pawlik Automotive - 16 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a little bit of an oldie but classic, I guess, in some ways to some people, the ’87 Toyota Celica GTS. There was a brake repair needed on this car, what’s the story?

Bernie: Well, you’re right it is getting to be a bit old, I was just thinking this car is 29 or 30 years old. It kind of shocks me when I think about it because when I remember when these cars were brand new and they were awfully nice. So what was going on with this Toyota, it was a bit of an old car, not in the best of shape, it was pretty rusty but obviously had some great value to the owner. He said there are some problems, it makes bad noises when I go around a corners and when I hit the brakes. So that’s basically why the car was brought in - driving noises and braking noises.

Mark: So you did an inspection, what did you find from your inspection?

Bernie: Well, lots of interesting things. I’ll start with the good stuff, the back brake pads and rotors were in good shape, let’s start with that, but the front brakes were worn metal on metal. Metal on metal means that the brake pads, they have a soft friction material and when they’re worn out, the metal backing plate rubs against the brake rotor which is metal, so that’s what metal on metal refers to. The brakes were worn down that far, which is worn out completely and causes horrible grinding noises. The brake calliper slider pins were seized, we also found, it’s a front wheel drive and we found one of the axel nuts on the left side was loose and that was causing the brake rotor to rub against the calliper bracket. That was easily fixed, just tighten the nut and away it went, that was fixed up but other than that it required some front brake work and also the brake hoses were cracked which happens when the vehicle gets older.

Mark: Ok, that is starting to add up to a lot of work for an old car. Was it in good shape? Was it worth fixing?

Bernie: Well, the car I mean in my opinion wasn’t in great shape and I wouldn’t of blamed the owner for saying you know I’m sending if off to the scrap yard, but he chose to fix it. I think to me, it’s really the value of the car is what he as the owner put on it and whether you want to fix it or not. Sometimes as technicians and shop owners we have judgments, oh this car’s not worth fixing or this one is and we get people with really nice cars that choose to not fix things, I kind of roll my eyes and then we get someone who takes a car that we think oh, this is a foot away from the scrap yard and they go, yeah I want to fix it and spend some money on it. So it’s really up to the owner to choose what they want to do. We’ll just have a quick look at this car here, just for nostalgia sake, it’s a ’87 Celica. There’s a bit of rust on this car so it’s not in great shape but after doing the repairs it actually ran really well; peppy, it’s got a lot of power so it’s got lots of life left in it and the mileage on the car isn’t particularly high so it will probably go for quite a while if the body doesn’t rust out completely on it.

Mark: So people don’t think about the big picture cost of car ownership always, why do you think that is?

Bernie: You know, I think people get emotionally attached to cars and they have these notions, I’ve had a number of people go, well the car’s only worth $4000 dollars and I don’t want to spend half the value of the car on repairing it and to me, I mean this Celica here is probably, he’d be lucky to get $500 bucks if you sold it on the open market, maybe a thousand but the repair was far in excess of value but what does it cost you to actually replace a car in terms of your time, you know looking for a car, the actual replacement cost, the added insurance? You just really need to sit down and really look at the facts and figures and the money and try to take the emotion out of it sometimes. Sometimes the cheapest car to fix is the car, or to operate is the car you already own. That being said, sometimes it gets to the point where it’s not worth doing certain things, we’re quite clear about that but you really have to sit and look at the money. People often go, I don’t want to spend $2000 dollars on that. Two thousand dollars might be all they spend on a repair in one yea. If you break that down to monthly payments, that’s under $200 dollars a month. Where are you going to buy a new car for that kind of money? You’d be lucky, you’d be making car payments and even the cheapest car is going to cost you $300 bucks a month and you’d probably be doing that for the next 10 years. But if you’re buying a nice car, which a lot of people are repairing you might be paying a $1000 bucks a month. So it doesn’t cost a lot to repair a car when you really break it down and look at it.

Mark: So any final thoughts on this service?

Bernie: Well you know, just the whole idea of doing this blog post, www haven’t talked too much about the brakes and the repair details, it’s really about what’s the value of the car to you and is it worth fixing and keeping going and how do you want to spend your money? That’s kind of the key thing. Some people love spending money on cars and some people don’t. We’re here to help which ever way you want to go. I’m happy to talk to people and work with them make a decision.

Mark: So if you need a reliable mechanic who will tell you the truth about your choices and be happy to go with you whatever way you want to go. You want to keep that old gem running forever, they’ll help you do that. If you want to get a real idea about that new car you’re looking at buying, Bernie is an expert, he’s done it for a long time. Give him a call 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

Should I Buy a Diesel Vehicle?

Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Gen, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 16 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers, how’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So diesels, lots of controversy going on with diesels these days. I guess our question is should I buy a diesel vehicle and I guess as an owner of a Volkswagen TDI, I’m interested to hear what you have to say. Should someone look at buying a diesel vehicle right now?

Bernie: Well I think, what you really need to do before you buy a diesel vehicle is look at what you want to use the car for. Before we talk about that, let’s just look at some of the advantages of diesel engines. I mean, first of all, fuel economy of diesel is amazing for any given size engine, diesel, I believe is 20-30% more efficient than a gasoline engine. Also, these days diesel fuel is cheaper, it hasn’t been that way for a while but it is now, so diesel fuel you pay less to fill the tank as well. A few other advantages of diesel, traditionally diesel used to be very reliable, I’d say that these days it’s not quite as reliable, but it used to be very reliable when gasoline engines needed tune-ups and things, and diesels just needed oil changes and fuel filters and air filters and they just kept on going. Also if you have a truck, towing and hauling capacity of a diesel is far superior to a gasoline engine. It’s why you know, trains and ships and large industrial engines and trucks all use diesel. They are superior for heavy load performance.

Mark: So it sounds like the advantages outweigh some of the disadvantages, but what are some of the disadvantages?

Bernie: Well, disadvantages of diesel, generally you pay more money to buy a diesel engine vehicle. Now I did a little bit of research before I did this post and I looked at a few cars, a couple different lines of cars that sell diesels, and I looked at trucks. Now it seems like for a truck, you’ll probably pay eight or ten thousand dollars more to buy a diesel model truck but for a car, like I noticed I looked at the Mercedes GL models, seems like their diesel is actually the cheapest model. So, which kind of surprised me, but I think they have the diesel as their entry level model and then they start putting the larger engine V8’s and fancy other options and the AMG packages to boost the price. Volkswagen as well, you’ve had experience with the Volkswagen TDI, I believe that the diesel option was more money than buying the gasoline version, not a lot but a little bit more money, so you’ve got the upfront cost. The other disadvantage that I think with the diesels is that they’re not as reliable as they used to be. Some are really good, but others have a lot of problems and when things do go wrong with the diesel they cost a lot of money to fix. You’re not looking at a little $300 dollar repair bill, a lot of times it a thousand or two thousand dollars or more, so the repair bills can be substantial in a diesel.

Now one of the advantages of the diesel, if you buy a diesel vehicle, it’s often got a higher resale value, so say if you spent $10,000 dollar more on that Ford F350 truck with the diesel over the gas, chances are a few years down the road when you sell it, you’ll get more money for that vehicle because it’s a diesel than a gas motor.

Mark: So on balance, maybe the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, but what else? What also should factor in to your choice about whether you buy a diesel of a petrol fuel vehicle?

Bernie: Excellent question. I think the idea that I can come up with is usage. Like what do you want to use the vehicle for? I meet many people who buy diesel vehicles who really probably shouldn’t of bought then in the first place. Just an example, I mean, I know that you live in Langley, you drive in to Vancouver quite often, maybe not every day, you’re kind of the perfect person to own a diesel vehicle because your trips are long, they’re lengthy, the engine has had time to warm up, you get good fuel economy and you’re moving, generally that trip is a moving all the time trip. But I live like four minutes from my work, it’d be silly for me to have a diesel, I mean my gasoline engine barely gets warm from driving from Burkeville to Marpole. So it would be kind of silly for me to have a diesel because I’d have to end up, to actually take good care of that engine I’d actually have to leave it and sitting and idling for another 10 or 15 minutes just to get the engine warmed up. So it really depends on how you use the vehicle. Also with trucks, I meet many people, they’re mostly men, I have to say I think it’s a guy thing about owning diesels. They are attracted to that noise and sound and the largeness of the truck, it’s a manly thing. A lot of guys that buy these trucks, I’ll say Ford’s in particular have a lot of problems, after some repair bills of a thousand or two, they just get so pissed off with the truck they end up selling it and a lot of them end up buying a gasoline powered F150 truck; which is much more practical. It’s much more useful for every day, a lot less goes wrong.

But diesel is great if you need to haul heavy loads, it’s worth the extra money. If you’re hauling a boat, a trailer or you have a business where you’re hauling heavy loads, diesel’s great. So you really need to look at what you’re buying. Unless you just like spending tons of money on car repairs when your vehicle’s broke, but most people don’t like to do that.

Also we did a blog post about a month or two ago about a Mercedes that we had where the owner hadn’t changed the oil quite frequently but again it’s another example of perhaps not the right owner for a vehicle. A lot of the trips that this person did were short trips. It only had 50,000 kilometers on a six year old diesel powered vehicle, so that’s really very little usage. I didn’t quiz him entirely, but I have a feeling that his trips were extremely short so the engine never had time to warm up, in addition to that maybe not changing the oil when he should have, you know ended up killing the engine early so had this person owned a gasoline powered engine, probably would have been no problem, although again if they didn’t change the oil it would have been an issue but I think gasoline engines they’re a little more forgiving.

Mark: So, I have an interesting, another question do car sales people ever address people’s usage of a vehicle before they recommend a car?

Bernie: I have a feeling not, I mean they probably don’t think of these factors and I think if you’re out there selling a vehicle, it’s like oh yeah, great I can sell a diesel because it’s $10,000 more and I’m sure it’s more money in their pocket to sell it, the same with the Mercedes or the TDI Volkswagen, they’re just selling it, oh yeah it’s got great gas mileage, buy this car if people are interested but they don’t ever. I would say that maybe a good salesman might ask but for the most part they would probably just you know, be happy to sell them whatever they want to buy.

Mark: Well our experience was, we were test driving looking at potentially buying an SUV and we test drove I don’t know six, seven different brands, not one salesman asked us about our use case. That was not a part of the conversation ever and that’s multiple times, multiple test drives, multiple salesman at different dealerships so that’s not even in the equation, they just want to you know, sell you what you came into look at.

Bernie: Yeah, I think that’s true, it’s interesting I mean this is a bit off the subject of diesels but hybrids as well, it’s, you know, I mean, I have a client who bought a Toyota Prius a while ago and they drive it very little, it’s again a 08 Prius it’s only got 60,000 kilometers, it’s got very little use, I mean they’re very happy with the vehicle and not a lot’s gone wrong with it but when I think of the extra money that person paid for the Prius over what, you could have bought a Camry or something nicer for the same money and you know, it’s I don’t know, to me it’s a Prius is kind of wasted on a person who’s just driving a small amount whereas I met a guy yesterday with a Highlander Hybrid, 3 years old, 180,000 kilometers. He drives 60,000 k’s a year, now that’s the right kind of person for a hybrid because they’re using it all the time, it’s getting a lot of usage, they’re going to save the money on the fuel that the extra cost of the vehicle applies but a lot of people buy you know, hybrids, they buy them for ideological reasons and I guess a lot of people bought Volkswagen TDI for ideological reasons too, you know, that they’re good on gas, and they’re good for the environment and we found out that at least one of those parts of the equation wasn’t quite right.

Mark: Yeah, well that was our choice I mean we, I as you know I used to brag about the kind of mileage that we would get and still it’s amazing, it’s not as fun an experience knowing that we’re polluting the crap out of the environment right now. VW it trying to make it better, they’ve sent us these which are about $1,000 worth of credit cards to spend on, $500 we’ve got to spend at the dealer I don’t know what the heck I’m going to use that for, $500 I can spend wherever I want and that’s the start honestly, it’s, it’s going to cost them billions of dollars to fix their polluting diesels and that is a consideration I think that for all that performance you still get some issues. So what about biodiesel, what’s the, why wouldn’t I just be able to switch my car to biodiesel and fix the issue?

Bernie: Yeah, I think, I’m not an expert on biodiesel but what I do know is that we talked about this in the past is biodiesel really doesn’t reduce your Nox emissions that’s just a factor of the temperature of the combustion but it doesn’t really reduce your Nox emissions but it certainly does reduce Co and hydrocarbon emissions are much lower so and biodiesel I mean it’s just a more pleasant experience, we have customers who do run their diesels on biodiesel and even the smell of the exhaust is much nicer than a petroleum diesel especially when you get the, I haven’t seen one in a while but the odd person who burns like vegetable oil, it’s actually quite nice, it’s the smell of the exhaust is quite pleasant where you know, especially in an older diesel you know, where you can actually, like newer diesels can have so many particulate filters so that you don’t smell the smell so much but it’s quite, it’s good from that point of view, you know the odor is less. Biodiesel, there’s a little more maintenance, it can clog up your fuel filters a little more so you got to change them a little more often but I think biodiesel is definitely a good way to go if you care about the environment.

Mark: Yeah, from what I’ve read, well I’ve run it in my previous generation vehicle and it was about 10 or 20% more power cause there’s a higher cetane rating in biodiesel so you actually get more power per liter or whatever and it is definitely, the car just feels a little, it likes it, it breathes a little easier, it runs a little easier. I don’t know, it might just all be in your head but other people commented on it as well, it wasn’t just me, so

Bernie: Yeah, I’ve hear that about biodiesels as well, it’s a little smoother and the engine runs a bit quieter.

Mark: Yeah, so if you’re looking for diesel expertise these are the guys to see, they know all the in’s and out’s of many different types of diesels, trucks, cars, you name it. Pawlikautomotive.com, tons of information on there including total frame off, rebuilds of Ford diesels or give Bernie a call for your next service 604-327-7112 Pawlik Automotive, they’re the guys. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you Mark.

2008 Mini Cooper Oil and Coolant Leaks

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; 16 times winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well today.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about Mini Coopers, a 2008 had some sort of oil and coolant leaks? What was going on there?

Bernie: Well, a couple things, the vehicle was brought to us for 100,000 kilometer service and the owner had some concerns about the, that there was some fluid, engine oil leaks that he’d had looked at the dealer and had a very large quote for repairs; so that’s what’s happening with the vehicle. We had a look at it and we did find in, a couple engine oil leaks and a coolant leak.

Mark: So what was going on with the coolant leak? Where was that coming from?

Bernie: The coolant leak was coming from the thermostat housing which is a fairly common issue on these vehicles. We’ve done quite a few of them recently. The um, it’s one of those plastic parts that I love to talk about, the thermostat housing is molded plastic; it incorporates the thermostat internally and you know these things, you know cause a lot of problems; on every vehicle they seem to be put on eventually.

Mark: So another plastic part, you’ve talked about those before, doesn’t seem to make sense that they would be using plastic in such a hot area.

Bernie: Well plastics are pretty amazing. Apparently, I’ve never seen them, apparently they actually make pistons out of plastic which is quite incredible when you think about how much heat is generated in that area but they’ve never caught on, obviously they’re experimental or for racing or something but plastic is you know, I think there’s a desire to use plastic because is A cheap and B you can mold it into any shape you want so you can create some pretty amazing pieces. Like this and I don’t have a photo to show you here but it will be on when we do this on our blog page, there’ll be a photo of this thermostat housing, I mean it’s quite an amazing, intricate piece. It has coolant pipes going all over the place which is something you could only really mold economically with plastic so there’s a reason they use it, I mean it does last a while but eventually it fails and sometimes I really question why they use it especially in things like water pumps where the, you know where like the water pump impellor they will use plastic and they break over time, they get brittle and break and fail and how much weight are you saving, I mean, ounces? It really doesn’t make sense to me.

Mark: So what about the oil, where was that leaking from?

Bernie: The oil was leaking from a few spots, the turbo, there’s a turbo charged engine so there’s an oil supply pipe to the turbo charger and that was leaking, also there’s a big oil filter housing at the front of the engine, it kind of wraps around under the exhaust manifold, it has a number of gaskets and seals, that was leaking as well from several spots, so those were the main oil leaks. There was also a minor oil leak from the valve cover gasket which the owner chose to leave at this point in time.

Mark: So pretty complex and expensive repair?

Bernie: It was, yeah, there’s a lot of work involved, the turbo charger, the exhaust manifold has to come off and actually the front bumper needs to be moved forward to gain access because everything is packed into that engine compartment pretty tight, so there’s a lot of labour involved to remove it all and replace the pieces. In this case the actual oil filter housing sometimes needs to be replaced and in this case the housing was a bit warped but the owner chose not to replace it, it adds a lot of cost to the repair so it probably would have been best to do it but I think to replacing the seals will work though the repair may not last as many years as it should.

Mark: Any further thoughts on Minis?

Bernie: Awesome little cars, I mean I’d say they’re not the most reliable cars around, you know if you’re looking for reliability the Mini’s not the car to buy but if you’re looking for a nice you know, European zippy sporty car, it’s got a bit of class to it, I think it’s a great car to buy but just be prepared, you will spend more money than you would on a Toyota or equivalent Japanese product although there’s probably not an equivalent but similar.

Mark: So if you’re looking for repairs on your Mini these are the guys to go see in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive, give Bernie a call, you can book your appointment. They’re busy; 604-327-7112 or go to their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2012 Dodge Grand Caravan Maintenance Service

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark, Top Local Lead Generation; we’re here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, the famous Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 16 times winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers, how’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 2012, so fairly recent Dodge Caravan Maintenance Service, what was due for the service on this van?

Bernie: It was, it’s fairly low mileage van, 40,000 kilometers so it was due for an oil change service and a comprehensive inspection, we like to call it a M2 Service and so what that entails is obviously changing the oil filter, this vehicle uses synthetic oil so it’s got a longer oil change interval than, than previous generations and, and comprehensive inspection so we, during our comprehensive inspection we basically look the vehicle over from front to back, we’ll take the tires if needed, we inspect the brakes thoroughly, we inspect the steering suspension, we test the battery and charging system, pressure test the cooling system, we lubricate the door locks, hinges and latches and look at a whole bunch of other items on the car at the same time; provide a full report; it’s 150 point inspection so it’s very thorough. Got a lot of clients compliment me you know when I go through the inspection, they go wow, I’ve never, I’ve never had such a thorough inspection on my vehicle so it provides a lot of value.

Mark: So did you find any additional items from your inspection?

Bernie: Really uhh, only two items, one the air filter was dirty which is kind of par for the course and we replaced that and the only other item we found that needed service was the brake fluid had about 4% water. We have a tester where we can test water content to brake fluid and 4% water is very high which, but it happens over time when brake fluid’s not flushed. I’ve mentioned before about brake fluid, I mean it should be flushed every two to three years and the water basically comes out of the air, it just gets absorbed into the brake fluid. Brake fluid’s called a hygroscopic fluid, it’s a type of fluid that absorbs water so it, it loves water and it’s good to get it flushed out every couple of years.

Mark: So how are these newer Caravan’s, I know they’re incredibly popular, they had a bit of a bad reputation in the past, how are the new ones?

Bernie: They seem to be pretty good, we haven’t worked on a ton of them but I think they’re definitely a better product than they used to be. I don’t know how the transmissions are, I mean Caravan’s over the years have had a reputation for bad transmissions and I haven’t known these to be bad yet, um, but I mean overall they’re nice vans and I think, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them. I think they’re pretty good.

Mark: So any further thoughts on Dodge vehicles?

Bernie: Um, overall they’re pretty good. I, you know, just sticking with the Caravans I mean they’ve had a lot of competition; at one time they almost owned the minivan market, they were so, they were so popular, but there’s a lot of competition for Japanese, you know, the Japanese Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna, and there’s the Kia and Hyundai make minivans but I’m not sure if they’re American, I’m just trying to think what other American competition but there’s other, there’s other Ford and GM competition but I think the Caravans are, they’re well priced. Sienna, a Sienna Van is an amazing van, very reliable but you pay a lot more money, like substantially more money for Sienna, so you know, if you don’t want to fork out the capital cost, Caravan is actually a good value.

Mark: So if you’re looking for service on your Dodge vehicle, Pawlik Automotive 604-327-7112, get ahold of Bernie, book an appointment or go to their website at pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2009 Toyota Yaris – Water Pump

Toyota Yaris

Mark: Hi, Mark from Top Local Lead Generation, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Sixteen time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their clients.

Toyota Yaris

2009 Toyota Yaris

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Toyota Yaris, a 2009 - there was a water pump problem? What was happening with this Toyota?

Bernie: Well the owner originally brought the vehicle to us not for a water pump problem but for a strange noise that was happening. It seemed like a suspension noise in the vehicle. So we had the vehicle for a couple days, the first day we drove it, we could hear quite a loud racket, it seemed like a suspension rattle in the front of the vehicle, but it only happened under certain circumstances. We did a full comprehensive inspection on the vehicle and never really found anything wrong with the suspension which was surprising, but we did find the water pump was leaking and while we did the water pump, we found a couple of other interesting issues along with that. I'll share a photograph here - so there’s our Yaris, it's a 2009. There’s the water pump, I’m actually one picture ahead of where I want to be: that red, reddish colour stuff around the plug there, that’s antifreeze, Toyota antifreeze is a red colour, and that’s antifreeze that’s been leaking out of the water pump. So the water pump was leaking and that was evident and needed to be replaced. What we found that was interesting when we replaced the water pump is that the bearing was so badly worn in the water pump that the pulley was rubbing against the water pump housing and that red arrow points to, the pulley that sort of, how do I best describe this, the shinier, smoother piece at the bottom of the picture, and that’s touching the housing of the water pump right where the red arrow is pointing. That shouldn’t be happening. There should be clearance of about an eighth of an inch in that area, so the bearing was worn so badly, the water pump housing was rubbing and in the end we figured that this was actually what was causing the noise. Strange as it was, it seemed like a suspension noise but actually under certain circumstances the noise seemed to be occurring while you’re driving. So yeah, that’s what we found.

Toyota Yaris

Side view of water pump. The red arrow points to the pulley flange sitting right beside the housing. There should be a clearance of at least an 1/8 of an inch here.

Mark: So do water pumps typically fail on Toyota’s?

Bernie: Water pumps seem to be one of the most common failure items on Toyota’s. I’ve said for years they extremely reliable vehicles and I still say that to this day, they’re very reliable. But it seems like almost every Toyota we look at seems to need a water pump sooner or later. So that seems to be the one part that fails quite frequently on Toyota’s. We’ve done them on all sorts of V6’s, 4 cylinders, Yaris’s, Highlander’s, you know just about every make and model - Even Priuses.

Mark: So if I were a Toyota owner, is there anything I can do to look after my water pump?

Bernie: No, it’s just something that’s going to fail over time, it’s just the way the part’s made. Flushing the cooling systems is really the only thing but the water pump is really a very simple device. It’s a belt driven pump, the only thing that’s in there is the antifreeze, the only fluid in there and like all modern antifreezes in cars it's meant to last five to ten years and 150,000 or more kilometres. So there’s really nothing you can do to flush it out. The belts are a lot of times self tensioned, when they’re at their proper tension they last as long as they do. It’s just one of those things: water pumps wear out when they wears out.

Toyota Yaris

View of water pump: the red crusty deposits are from antifreeze leakage

Mark: So a few years ago, Toyota really got beat up in the press about some problems that they had. So how are Toyota vehicles these days?

Bernie: They’re excellent. I mean I don’t think really honestly think there was ever really a lot wrong with them and I think the media just jumped on it and went crazy because Toyota was overtaking the American manufacturers as the biggest  carmaker in the world. I have a, maybe it’s a bit of a conspiracy theory, but I have a feeling that there were some people didn’t like it very much and pointed some flaws out. Not that there weren’t some problems and things to be fixed but it really blew over so fast that it’s nothing you ever hear about anymore. So Toyota’s were always reliable all the way through. Toyota stepped up, fixed what they needed to do and they’re still amazing, reliable cars to this day. I highly recommend them.

Mark: so if you’re looking for service on your Toyota of any kind, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive - you can call them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2011 Range Rover – Suspension Repair

Range Rover Suspension

Mark: Hi it’s Mark of Top Local Lead Generation and we’re here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Pawlik Automotive have been voted Best In Auto Repair in Vancouver by their customers 16 times. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Range Rover Suspension

2011 Range Rover

Mark: So talking about a 2011 Range Rover with a suspension repair, another Range Rover, another suspension repair. What’s going on with these vehicles?

Bernie: Well, this particular Range Rover had a warning light on the dash for an ADS system fault. It shows a little symbol that looks like the vehicle with curved arrows that looks like its rolling. So that’s what was going on with this vehicle.

Mark: What’s an ADS system?

Bernie: ADS stands for Active Damping System and it’s basically a fancy term for the electronic shock absorbers. What they do on this vehicle: it has air suspension for the springs so you can vary the height of the vehicle, but for stability control it uses active damping suspension. The shock absorbers are electronic. The active damping control adjusts the suspension depending on what you need: if you’re on a bumpy road it’ll adjust it a certain way, if you’re on a smooth road it’ll adjust it a certain way and also if you’re going around a corner and the vehicle starts loosing some stability, it’ll beef up the shocks, tighten them up, whatever is needed. So it’s all part of the stability control of the vehicle and just the overall ride and effect.

Mark: So what did you find with this vehicle?

Bernie: What we found with this vehicle: the first step, is to connect our scan tool and see what kind of information we get out of it and what we found was a trouble code stored in the system (which there always is when the light is on). It was for a fault with the right front damping sensor. I don’t have the exact code written down in front of me, but there was a fault with that part of the system. So we did further diagnosis and what we found was a broken wire to the active damping solenoid, located at the top of the shock absorber. Now I’ll share a couple of photos here because these are very telling, now lets just get into that - so - this is our Range Rover here and here’s the wiring. Now this picture here, on the left hand side is the old wire that we removed, we basically had to replace both front shock wires because although the wire on the right hand side was actually broken, the one on the left was about to break and I’ll show a close up photo of that one later. On the left hand side is the original wire, you can see it’s been cut off, if you look on the right hand side where it goes over top of the other wire, it’s been cut off of the original wiring harness and the new wire is sheathed in plastic all the way from the rubber piece, there’s a rubber piece near the connector, it’s sheathed in a thicker plastic. The other wire, you can see it is wrapped in electrical tape and I’ll just get into the next slide - this is a close up of the broken wire or the almost broken wire. So the left hand side was still functioning but it wouldn’t be long before this wire broke and caused a failure. So again, if you look back here to this picture, I don’t know if my mouse pointer actually shows here, but that’s where that picture was taken. So that’s the wire that we replaced on both sides. Land Rover has an updated part that they sell that works a lot better. You can see that thicker sheath around the wire, it should last for substantially longer. This whole issue is part of a TSB - Technical Service Bulletin put out by Land Rover, obviously something they had a problem and they’ve upgraded the design of it and there is readily available information on how to repair it and new, upgraded, expensive parts to fix it.

Range Rover Suspension

Close up of about to break wire to left Active Damping shock absorber

Range Rover Suspension

old harness connector on left and new connector on right. Note the thick rubber cover over the wires, This is a much more robust part that should last for many years.

Mark: So wouldn’t this be a safety recall item?

Bernie: Well I guess not and I don’t know exactly what the criteria is for creating a recall as opposed to just a TSB but obviously it’s not enough of a safety issue to create a recall. While driving the vehicle with the light on, there wasn’t any noticeable difference in how the vehicle handled but I’m sure that under certain circumstances there would be. But it’s nothing like the vehicle is going to accelerate or you’re going to loose your brakes or suddenly go around a corner and the vehicle is going to drop and you'll lose control. It’s nothing like that. That might be the criteria but it does make you wonder when a part is so clearly, badly designed that they wouldn’t at least offer a complementary warranty for the first few years. The vehicle is a 2011, it’s only five years old at this point. It’s really a kind of part that should of been built better but now that we’ve fixed it, it should never be an issue on this Range Rover again.

Mark: So if you’re looking for expert help on your Range Rover or any of your vehicles, these are the guys to go see - Pawlik Automotive - give Bernie a call 604-327-7112 or check out their website, tons of information there pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

2007 BMW X5 Coolant Leak Repair


2007 BMW X5

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation and we’re here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, the famous Bernie Pawlik, of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Sixteen time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver.

Mark: We’re going to talk about a BMW X5 - it had a coolant problem? What was that?

Bernie: The owner of the vehicle called us and said he some greenish coloured liquid dripping in his driveway and so he wanted us to have a look at the vehicle. So we brought the vehicle in and had a look at it.

Mark: So what was the concerns with the leak?

Bernie: Well basically our first step was to put the vehicle up on the hoist, and being a BMW we removed a number of covers underneath the engine area so we could see the bottom of the engine, had a look and didn’t find anything, which was surprising. We put our pressure tester on, had it on for about 10 minutes. Our expectation was there would be something dripping out quite quickly and easily determine what it needed. But after an hour, there was nothing under there and we were almost about to give it up and say that obviously whatever is leaking is so minimal we don’t need to worry about it because his coolant level was actually full. The owner said he put in a small amount of antifreeze, but it was very, very minimal. We looked for a little longer and found there is actually some dripping right at the very back of the engine but really, really small amounts. From that point, everything is hidden under this BMW, we had to look quite a bit further.

Mark: So where was the leak actually coming from?

Bernie: Eventually we found the leak coming from the valley pan. I’m going to show you some pictures here. The valley pan sits in the center of the engine. This is a screenshot view, this is a view actually of the intake manifold with the engine removed. On your right and left side you can see a sort of cylindrical silver object, more noticeable on the right side, those are the two cylinder banks were the cylinder heads are located. So the valley pan sits in-between the two heads and on a BMW V8, there’s a pan that the yellow arrow points to. This valley pan has a gasket around it and that’s full of coolant underneath. The red arrow actually points to actually where the leak was located and here’s a closeup view of sort where that red arrow, oops I’ll just go back here, this is the red arrow and this is a close up view of that area. You can see a bluish coloured bolt, sort on the center of the picture, there’s a bluish colour looks like crystals or liquid, anyways that’s where the coolant was coming from. It was seeping down the back of the engine and seeping around the front of the engine sometimes, the leak was very small at this point so it took a long time for the coolant to build up and seep over the sides of the vehicle. Yeah, so that’s basically where we found the leak coming from. Just to put things into perspective, this is what the engine looks like with everything intact and that red arrow I’ve got there points to the intake manifold which is a very large plastic object that must be removed before we could even find out where the leak was coming from. On top of it is the air filter box so there is a lot to remove here to get at the leak. We weren’t quite certain where the leak was coming from until we removed the intake manifold because there are coolant pipes, I’ll go back a couple of pictures here. There are pipes that run across the top of that valley pan and where the green arrows are pointing at the bottom of the picture, those point to the different pipes, coolant pipes. So these can also have leakage, there’s O rings and seals at either end and those can cause leakage too. So in this case, it was a matter of dismantling before we could find the leaks.


View of BMW X5 V8 engine valley pan after intake manifold was removed. Yellow arrow points to the valley pan; red arrow points to the area of the coolant leak; green arrows point to the coolant pipes.

Mark: So was it a big job, it was a big job to find it, was it a big job to actually fix it?

Bernie: Well once we actually found the leak, it wasn’t so much of a job because about two thirds of the job is to remove the intake manifold and reinstall it. So from that point we removed the valley pan, changed the seals on the heater pipe, and there’s a pipe at the front, we changed that pipe, it actually all comes as one piece so we changed those and then put everything back together. So it’s a fairly labour intensive job but it’s better than it used to be. The older BMW 4litre V8’s had a valley pan as well, but it had twice as many bolts, it was much larger and had a number of pipes going across it. They’ve actually improved the design of this although, you know, it’s still obviously not perfect because it leaked. But it’s an improvement over the past.


Close up view of coolant leak on left side of valley pan. The blueish coloured material beside the bolt is antifreeze.

Mark: So any other further thoughts on coolant leaks on this vehicle?

Bernie: Obviously the valley pans are issues, water pumps on BMW’s are problematic over time. I mean on this one, the kilometres are fairly low on this vehicle, the water pump is good and everything else is good. Typical to BMW they use a lot of plastic components in their cooling system so they do fail but that usually happens when the vehicle gets older. This one is a 2007 so it’s still not that old, give it another ten years, there will probably be some plastic hoses and bits and pieces breaking but for the time being, it’s good. This 4.8 litre engine is definitely redesigned, it’s an improvement over the previous generation for 4 and 4.4 litres.

Mark: So if you’re looking for service for your X5, for your BMW products, the guys to go see is Bernie, Pawlik Automotive, I got Bernie and Pawlik mixed up there. Give Bernie a call to book your appointment 604-327-7112 in Vancouver or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark.


View of 4.8L engine assembly. The red arrow points to the area of the valley pan located below the intake manifold and air filter box.

2014 Audi S6 Maintenance Service

Audi S6

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark, Top Local Lead Generation; we’re here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 16 time winners of Best Auto Repairs in Vancouver.

Mark: So, Audio S6, this is a pretty hot little number;  you had to do some maintenance?

Bernie: Yes, it had about 25,000 kilometers and was due for a maintenance service. Basically the service that was required at this point in time was an oil change, oil and filter, the air filter was dirty and we replaced that, wiper blades were smudgy, those were replaced and a full vehicle inspection and we didn’t really find a lot of issues with the car, low mileage, 25,000 kilometers is still pretty low so the brakes were good, everything else was in good shape.

Mark: So what does the Factory Maintenance Schedule say to do for this Audi?

Bernie: So, it’s oil changes is every 15,000 kilometers or once a year, every 12 months which I think is great. There are a lot of European cars, BMW specifically, they have 24,000 kilometers oil change intervals which and actually Porsches are like that too. I think it’s ridiculous, I mean that’s a really long time to go with engine oil.It could probably be OK if you did nothing but straight highway driving and you put that kind of mileage on in a year, but anything else you really have got to change it more often and Audi at 15,000 kilometers with 8 ½ litres of oil: that’s a really good oil change interval. The oil’s going to get dirty but not excessively at that point; so that’s a good time. It is an expensive oil change in these cars just like it is on a BMW or a Porsche but, you know, it’s worth the money to spend a little extra to keep the intervals done at a more timely fashion.

So that’s the annual service, it’s an oil change and the basic inspection, then the every 2 years’ service is, includes the inspection we just did so it’s a full comprehensive inspection, also replace cabin air filters and brake fluid flush are recommended every 2 years on this car, other than that there’s not much else, I did look at the maintenance schedule further ahead, spark plugs are up at about 90,000 kilometers so you have a long ways to go before you replace those.

Mark: So this is a fairly high performance car, what kind of features does it have?

Bernie: Well, it’s pretty amazing, it’s a twin turbo V8 engine and it goes like stink, it’s just awesome. The interior features: I could go on for a long time, amazing upholstered seats and climate control and navigation system and all that stuff but I thought I would just share a couple pictures because every once in a while I come across a car and it’s just got an absolutely gorgeous looking engine. Almost all cars now a days have plastic covers over top of their engine but even this plastic cover is a beautiful work of art. So many of them are just plain covers but this looks beautiful just without taking it off; but underneath is where it’s really cool and this is what’s underneath that cover which is almost scary. There’s a lot of stuff under this cover and we’re not even really looking at the engine at this point, those nice shiny gold pieces are the two turbochargers so you’ve got your air inlets and exhaust system. Underneath is the engine; it’s a kind of car where you really don’t want to be getting into doing any service at all on this thing, you want to make sure it stays in good shape for a long, long time because it will be expensive, there’s a lot in there to take care of.

Audi S6

Engine compartment of Audi S6 with engine cover installed.

Audi S6

Audi S6 engine exposed. There is a lot of complexity to this engine.

It’s also got the direct fuel injection which makes this car so powerful and responsive, it’s an awesome feature, Volkswagen uses this on a lot of their engines and in a lot of cars nowadays: it’s like the diesel fuel injection where the fuel is injected directly into the cylinders and not into the intake manifold like traditional fuel injection. This actually brings me to another maintenance item which is not on the manufacturer's list but is something that should be done probably every two to three years and that is doing a fuel system cleaning to remove carbon deposits from the engine. That’s something we can do and we can talk further about that in another hangout but that’s a service that like the Motorvac Fuel Injection Cleaning we used to do but that service is really not relevant on an engine like this because of the way the fuel injection system is differently designed. We’ll do a hangout on that in the future and talk about that.

Mark: Any further thoughts on the S6?

Bernie: No, it’s just a nice car, if you’ve some money to buy a nice car to bomb around in, all-wheel drive, go fast and very comfortable too, it’s a great car.

Mark: Great, so if you need some service on your Audi, these are the guys to go see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. They have a lot of bays now they’ve expanded and a lot of great techs doing a lot of great work or you can check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. There are many years of amazing information. Bernie gets calls from all over the world, sometimes that’s not good but it is an example of a worldwide authority on auto repair and so if you want somebody like that working on your car these are the guys to go see. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

For more about the Audi S6 click on this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_S6

2010 Mercedes-Benz GL350 – Engine Replacement

Mercedes GL350
Mercedes GL350

2010 Mercedes-Benz GL350

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark, Top Local Lead Generation in Vancouver with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Pawlik are 16 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about another Mercedes Benz, another Merc, a GL350 that you had to replace the engine on; a 2010 that seems kind of early. What happened?

Bernie: Very early! Basically the engine seized up and that’s why we replaced it.

Mark: So diesels, aren’t diesels supposed to last kind of a long time? How did this happen on a vehicle that’s not got that many years on it?

Bernie: Well, not only did this vehicle not have a lot of years, it had very little mileage too; only had 50,000 kilometers so that’s what’s even more shocking but you’re right diesel’s are supposed to last a long time and they usually do. This vehicle however, did not have its oil changed regularly enough, maybe never, it’s hard to say. According to the client he had changed it but obviously not enough. What happened is the oil had turned to sludge and the engine got destroyed.

Mark: Wow, how often are oil changes recommended on the Mercedes diesel?

Bernie: Usually its around 15,000 kilometers but they do have an electronic monitoring system that will remind you of when you need to change your oil. If you only drive 5,000 kilometers a year, that would be three years between oil changes which is far too long so they also put a time frame in the monitoring system. But really, as an owner of a vehicle like this you really need to be responsible for it and go a service once a year’s up, even if you've only driven 3 or 5,000 kilometers.

Mark: So, tell us some more about this engine repair, did you find anything else interesting when you were doing the work?

Bernie: Well there was a lot and I’m going to share a few pictures here, so let’s go to the screen share and I’ll put some pictures up.

Bernie: So this is just an example of some of the parts and pieces of the engine repair job. This is an extremely complicated engine and this isn’t even all the bits and pieces. The engine block we have sitting on an engine stand so in this pile on the floor here, there’s the flywheel, all the fuel injectors are on the left side in the bottom, there’s turbo chargers ducts, the wiring harness is that big black thing lying on the floor there with a lot of electrical plugs to connect, there’s a turbo charger near that piece, there’s just a variety of pieces. I’m just showing you this to scare you! If you’re a person who owns a vehicle like this, change your oil regularly because it just makes a lot of sense.

Mercedes GL350

Huge array of parts to be installed on replacement engine. These were all removed from old engine.

This is the view of what we found when we took the oil engine pan off and this was after draining the oil for a while. This is sludge that was in the bottom of the engine oil pan. You can’t really appreciate this unless you actually stick your hands in it, but this is like goopy tar and I think even the least experienced car drivers know that engine oil never looks like this. Here’s another view; this is the bottom of the engine with the oil pan off and that’s basically just the whole bottoms covered in a sludgy, tarry substance.

Mercedes GL350

The engine oil pan full of sludge

Mercedes GL350

Bottom of the engine with oil pan removed. A thick layer of sludge coats everything.

Just a few other interesting things we found. Carbon build up is a common problem on modern diesel engines because they use an EGR system. It recirculates exhaust gas into the engine to reduce emissions but what it also does is create carbon deposits in the intake system. Normally it takes a long time before this is problematic but this vehicle, with only 50,000 kilometers, has severe carbon deposits. We just never find these on a Mercedes diesel. It’s common on Volkswagens after around two hundred thousand kilometers but this is just an insane amount of buildup. On the top you can see there’s a hole that’s blocked, that’s called a swirl valve and that’s the valve open, that’s the valve closed. Due to these carbon deposits the amount of air flow through these ports is very, very minimal. We spent a lot of extra time on this engine cleaning these ports out to make sure it breathes. Even if this engine had not seized up, it would not have been performing very well with these deposits.

Mercedes GL350

View of intake manifold ports with severe carbon deposits. The upper port is shown with the swirl valve closed.

Mercedes GL350

View of the intake ports with swirl valve open. Note the restriction caused by the carbon deposits.

Here’s some more carbon deposits, this is again part of intake passage way. The diameter of this tube has been reduced by at least a third and that has a big effect on engine performance.

Mercedes GL350

Intake tube with severe carbon deposits.

Mark: Alright, so it was a mess, kind of reminds me of the old Fram oil filter ad, "pay me now or pay me later;" would you say this repair illustrates that statement?

Bernie: Very well. The interesting thing with that statement of "you can pay me now or pay me later" is that it implies that you can change your oil and use their quality oil filter and pay a little extra for it or you’ll pay later and it’s a 2 + 2 equals 4 kind of situation. The math however doesn't add up. In the case of this Mercedes at 50,000 kilometers it should have had about 5 oil changes at a cost of about $1,000. The repair bill for this job was well over $20,000 which is 20 times the cost of the oil changes. It definitely makes the changing of oil a lot cheaper plus the owner was out of the vehicle for a couple months and all the associated extra inconvenience. So it really does pay to change your oil, use good quality oil, good quality oil filters, change it regularly; same with all your other fluids because it really does save you money.

Mark: So in the final analysis, when you had to change the engine is it that you actually got a new block for the vehicle. Is that why the job took so long?

Bernie: Yeah, we had to get a rebuilt long block engine. It is quite surprising, considering that this is a fairly common engine found in several Mercedes vehicles, Sprinter vans, and Jeep Grand Cherokees that it’s a very difficult engine to find. There’s nobody around Vancouver who rebuilds them. We had to order it from the U.S. from a rebuilder that specializes in Sprinter engines. Our other alternative was from the Mercedes dealer but I don’t even want to tell you the price for that one, it’s very high. Even a used engine was difficult to find and they were all overpriced. The time frame to source and order the engine plus delivery took a while plus the removal and installation process takes a better part of a week.

Mark: So if you’re looking for repairs on your Mercedes Benz diesel vehicles, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive; book an appointment 604-327-7112. They’re experts in diesel repairs, they all the right equipment to do it or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.

2003 Mercedes G500 – Power Headrest Repair – Pawlik Automotive

Mercedes G500

Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation we’re here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of the award winning Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC. How’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well

Mark: So we’re talking about a 2003 tank, oh I’m sorry a Mercedes G500 and a power headrest repair - what was happening with this G wagon?

Mercedes G500

2003 Mecedes-Benz G500

Bernie: It was brought in for a few things, but what we’re going to talk about today is the power headrests on both front seats that were not operating.

Mark: So what was involved with repairing that issue?

Bernie: Well there were two things: first off being a Mercedes everything is electronic, and it’s all extremely complex, so we connected our scan tool to the vehicle and communicated with the electronic module for the power headrests. So we looked at the stored codes and data; for the passenger side it basically lost it’s programming so we were able to reprogram the headrest unit and the headrest started working. On the drivers side however, there were some additional stored trouble codes and it involved some more complex repairs. What we did next was we accessed the headrest motor unit and took that apart, and examined it for the cause of our faults.

Mark: So what did you find when you opened that up?

Bernie: Well, it was very interesting. What we found was that there were some broken solder joints; there is an electrical connector plug - the plug is basically soldered onto a circuit board and where the plug is soldered onto the circuit board, the solder joints had cracked. It happens from time to time. We we were able to simply re-solder the joints back to the board and the issue was solved. We put everything back together and the headrest works perfectly. Oh and by the way, we had to reprogram that one as well but after that both headrests worked perfectly.

Mercedes G500

Driver's seat headrest actuator motor. This has been removed from the housing. The red arrow points to the solder joints that were repaired. This photo is taken after repair showing good solder joints.

Mark: So are these bad solder joints a pretty common problem with there being so much electronics and the Red Boards and all kinds of stuff now on cars?

Bernie: You know we don’t see that problem too often, I’m almost happy when we do because it makes for a very reasonably priced repair for the customer. It's something we can do simply and it doesn’t involve spending a lot of money on parts and it’s something we can do quickly. We don’t see them very often anymore but over the history of time on cars, there has be quite a number of different common problems that happen due to solder joint problems. This issue with the G wagon headrests solder joints is a common issue by the way, it’s actually one of the more common causes of them failing. But we’ve had Honda’s where there’s a problem with the circuit board on a main relay and you just heat it up and fix the solder joint and it’s good for another 200,000 kms. We’ve seen quite a few years ago when engine computers were a little less "miniaturized." There sometimes we would find dry solder joints inside of those. So from time to time we find it, it’s always I find, a gratifying repair for us and the customer.

Mark: So what’s your opinion on the Mercedes G wagon?

Bernie: Great vehicle. You initially said it was a Mercedes tank and you’re kind of right about that, these things are rather tank like. They’re very expensive. It’s amazing how well they hold their value, so if you want to be able to drive a sport utility vehicle that holds it’s value, this is a good one to buy. But they cost a lot to buy, this used one is selling for $60,000 dollars for a 2003. Low mileage, immaculate condition, but that’s a lot of money for a 2003 vehicle. There are a lot of really fancy models around, we see them around Vancouver and Richmond but are way, way way up there in price. So great vehicles, very reliable but being Mercedes and an European car, they are a little finicky but they’re very nice.

Mark: So there you have it, if you’re looking for repairs on your Mercedes G500 in Vancouver, the guys to go see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or go to their website, tons of information on there - a few years of hangouts now - pawlikautomotive.com Thanks Bernie

​For more information on the Mercedes G500 click here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_G-Class

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