March 14

2006 Porsche Cayenne S, Coolant Leaks



Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience because they've won Best in Vancouver for auto repair, 24 times as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2006 Porsche Cayenne S that had some kind of problem with coolant. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yup, this had the classic coolant leak. I say the classic coolant leak. There's some coolant pipes that run underneath the intake manifold. Made of plastic. Just absolutely brilliant design and they were leaking. We've seen this issue for years and years. Surprising still see it occurring, but this vehicle is actually a regular client of ours, pretty low mileage vehicle. It's finally started after how many years is that now 10, 15, 16 years to start leaking. So that's basically what was going on. There's a bit of diagnosis of course to start with, but that's basically what we found at the end of the day.  

Mark: So why is it leaking? What's causing the issue?

Bernie: Well, they use these a nice array of plastic pipes. I'm going to show a picture in a few seconds, and I say array, because there's basically four plastic pipes that run underneath the intake manifold. And you know, they get hot and cold and eventually they crack and they started leaking coolant. Unfortunately there's a lot of engines that have been cooked from people who just don't quite heed the warning fast enough and shut the engine off and overheat it and as you can imagine, it's a Porsche 4.5 litre V8, very expensive engine. So not a great thing to happen.

Let's get right into some pictures. So here's our 06 model year.

2006 Porsche Cayenne S, Coolant Leaks

And there is a good view right there of what we look at with the intake manifold off. This is actually got the upper section of pipes removed. They didn't quite get a picture with the initial section, but I'm going to show a picture in a minute with the replacement pipes. 

2006 Porsche Cayenne S, Coolant Leaks

There's a very major coolant pipe here. This one had a crack in it. And that is of course, as you can see by the diameter, that's a very large, a lot of coolant flows through that pipe. Back here there's three hoses. These go to the heating system and a thermostat, and then a sort of water distribution box sits in this area here.

2006 Porsche Cayenne S, Coolant Leaks

So there's a brilliant redesign. With all metal pipes and this basically you can see the, I'll call it a water distribution box up here. There's a metal pipe, replacement pipe down here that you can no longer see underneath. And then it has these three beautifully molded aluminum pipes that should have probably been done in the very first place when this vehicle was built. 

2006 Porsche Cayenne S, Coolant Leaks

Here's a couple of the old plastic pipes broken and badly deteriorated kind of gives you an idea. There's actually three of them. I'm not sure where the other one was. We probably busted it up pretty badly.  

I have a fourth and final picture. But this is from a, you might wonder why they had such a stupid design, in 2008 Porsche redesigned their V8 engine for this. And this is a view with the intake manifold off on the 08. 

2006 Porsche Cayenne S, Coolant Leaks
2006 Porsche Cayenne S, Coolant Leaks
2006 Porsche Cayenne S, Coolant Leaks

So I'm just going to show you an example of the difference. There's the replacements. And here is the 08 and newer model. And one difference here is this has a direct fuel injection system, which is why it has this metal fuel pipe here. But as you can see, there's only a very small diameter plastic pipe that runs through here. They've changed the distribution box around, much more reliable.

But the reason I have this picture is because our next podcast, we're going to be talking about a coolant leak on an 08 Cayenne. But I just thought, I'd just show this as an example of a redesign of the engine. The thing I find really interesting about these engines is the starter motor sits right underneath the intake manifold.

So when you starter your fails and they do from time to time, not too often, that's a bit of a chore. It's not easy like an old Chevy where you just unbolt it and in half an hour, the starters in and out, this is a much bigger ordeal on this vehicle. So that's our picture show for this car.

Mark: So a lot of that is they're trying to package that V8 engine into a really small space. Unlike what you mentioned Chevy pickup kind of change where the front engine bay was huge. 

Bernie: Yeah, that's exactly right. I mean, everything's taken up and I don't think I have a picture with all the old plastic covers on, but they have nice decorative covers. So you don't see much on these engine compartments once you, but it's like a 10 minute job just to pull the plastic covers off the engine, just to access things around the engine to work on them. So they're kind of into having a lot of manufacturers, they're kind of into Lexus is like this to you, you pop the hood and the engine, just some little thing that sits in the middle, all covered up. You have to remove a whole bunch of things just to see it. 

And I think, you know, my opinion is a nicely engineered car, like I find Mercedes AMGs, they have nice looking motors because they've actually designed it to look quite attractive, but even without all these plastic, you know, maybe a little cover, but they're not covering over everything. Some Audis have nice looking engines too. As an aside. 

Mark: Okay. We have different tastes in what's beautiful or not. So did Porsche ever change the even later designs beyond 2008 where they're going back to metal pipes or did they stay with plastic? 

Bernie: Well, I'm not sure entirely what's happening in the newer, you know, we haven't run into any coolant leak issues in anything newer than like say a 2008 to 2010 model yet.

But you know, as I mentioned earlier in the podcast, this up to 06 design, that was the last model year they used it. Interestingly enough, and I don't know why I was just doing a little research on this. There is no 07 Cayenne, which should probably figure out before we did this podcast, but I don't know why, but anyways, up to 06, you're gonna run into this design.

And if you own one of these vehicles it's worth finding out whether it's actually been done. This is for the V8 models. It's worth finding out whether these pipes have been changed. If they haven't, it's a highly recommended maintenance item to replace the pipes before they cause a leak, because you could still be driving around with them. You know, this car 16 years old and still has them. 

Mark: And the issue is yes, it's probably not an inexpensive maintenance item, but the risk factor is way more expensive. 

Bernie: Yeah, it's not cheap to do these pipes. But yes, you know, and especially with the age of these cars now, you know, you blow the engine on it. You're probably not going to want to replace it because it's just going to be prohibitively expensive. Even back when the car was only a few years old, like just slightly off a warranty, it would have been a painfully expensive repair. It wouldn't be worth it. So if you have one of these cars, spend the money, make sure you fix the pipes if it has them and save yourself some money in the long run. 

Mark: And how are Cayennes, this particular series of Cayennes, for reliability? 

Bernie: Well, this coolant issue is probably one of the bigger problems with them. I mean, there's a lot of little things that go on with them. It's a fancy luxury car, so you're gonna find a lot more issues than you would in a simpler car, but the overall it's a nice ride for sure. Just be prepared to spend more money. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Porsche Cayenne in Vancouver, the guys to see, the experts to see are at Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at the website There's tons of information on there. We've been doing this for almost 11 years, or you can call them to book at (604) 327-7112. You can book on the website as well. They'll call you. They'll get ready for your appointment. And of course, we appreciate you so much watching and listening, checking out the YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds and hundreds of videos on there. Check out the, for a little light reading, feel free to check out the website again, hundreds and hundreds of videos on there. And thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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