2006 Range Rover Coolant Pipe Repair
Mark: Hi. It's Mark Bossert here from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto service experience and 21-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: We're talking about a Range Rover 2006 variant with a coolant pipe replacement problem. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: This vehicle came to our shop with a, it was overheating and had a coolant leak.
Mark: What testing did you need to do to find the leak?
Bernie: In this case, I mean, the first place we always start with a coolant leak is a pressure test and topping up the coolant, of course, and if it starts just gushing out, then we know something is really severe, but if it doesn't, the pressure test is the next step, so that's what we did.
What a pressure test does is it puts the cooling system under pressure that you would normally experienced when an engine is running. The engine cooling systems have a pressurized cap. Pressure builds up in the system. If you have pressure, you can... The engine can run hotter and you don't lose your coolant, so it's an important thing, so we put the cooling system under pressure like you normally have when the engine is running and, that way, we can find out where the leak is coming from.
Mark: What did you find?
Bernie: We found a coolant pipe located on the back of the thermostat housing. It goes between the thermostat housing and the... basically the engine block, and that was leaking. It's a plastic part. I said it before. We love plastic. I mean, unfortunately, because it wears out, they could probably make it out of metal, but they make it out of plastic to save weight and, eventually, it does wear out. Although, in all fairness, this vehicle is now 13, 14 years old, 13 years old, so it's had a pretty good life.
Mark: Is this a common failure part?
Bernie: Yeah, it is. It is because the plastic deteriorates over time. I'm going to share a few pictures while we're at it here, so there's our 2006 vintage Range Rovers, still a very good looking vehicle, say, 13 years past. It still looks great.
Here's our pipe. This is the new piece. This is the old one, and you can see a chunk of corner missing off of here, and what happens is, over time, with heat cycling and heating and cooling, eventually the plastic becomes brittle and it eventually cracks and breaks. It's not under any physical strain because it's all held in place, but it will, it does break over time just from the heat cycling, and so... and you were is this a difficult part to replace? Is that correct?
Bernie: Yeah, so this is where the pipe is located. This is where things get difficult, because the intake manifold sits right in this area here, right over the top of the edge of this pipe, so the pipe that'd broken in that you saw was sitting right here, bolts down here, and then these are intake manifold ports of the front two cylinders. It's a V8 engine, so it blocks over here, so there's a fair bit that needs to be removed to access to this piece.
Mark: Was there anything else that needed to make this repair?
Bernie: No. Actually, fortunately, this was it. We did do a visual inspection and found that was it. We did flush the cooling system, which is a good thing to do when you have the cooling system apart like this especially if the engines got hot. It's a good thing to do. Other than that, fortunately, it was straightforward.
Mark: Why wouldn't they use metal on this?
Bernie: Yeah, I think a lot of it is weight-saving. Two things, you can more easily mold a plastic piece, so that's one reason, and the second is that it's weight-saving. You can save. When you think about an engine, if you can use plastic parts, you can probably knock 30, 50 pounds off the weight of an engine, and the lighter the engine, the more efficient it is, so, in that respect, it's a good idea. There are parts we've done like certain BMWs, older vintages, where they actually make metal replacement parts for plastic thermostat housings. In this case, this vehicle didn't have such a thing, but I'd expect the plastic to last for another 10, 12 years anyways. It's the same type of part.
Mark: This is a non-supercharged engine, I'm guessing from how easy it was to actually do. Are they more trouble-free?
Bernie: I would say overall they are. I mean, there's less components obviously you've got. You don't have the supercharger, which in and of itself is a very expensive piece. I rarely see failures with the actual supercharger on some newer ones. You'll see. We have videos on the nose cone bearing failing, but, yeah, I mean, this is a simpler engine, and the cooling system is simpler on this vehicle as well.
The supercharge versions have pipes that run underneath the supercharger and intake manifold, which tend to fail and cost a lot more money to replace. They're like a rubber pipe assembly, a pipe and hose assembly, so there's more complexity in that, so, definitely, less to go wrong. You don't get the thrill of the immediate acceleration you do with the supercharge, but these things are more than adequate, a 4.4 litre engine. It's a pretty good engine. I think, around this vintage, I find these engines are actually quite reliable.
Mark: That was my next question. How are Range Rovers for reliability?
Bernie: We have a lot of videos and podcasts on these, so there are issues I'd say. Again, I was saying this is probably one of the more reliable engine models that you'll find around this vintage. The earlier ones, certainly earlier generation engines definitely had a lot more problems with oil leaks and things. These are pretty good for oil leaks. We've done actually a couple of cooling system repairs on this particular vehicle. Hoses tend to fail and pipes after a while, but, overall, I'd say these are pretty reliable, but you've got suspension problems, too, so, if you look through our collection of videos, you'll see some of the things that we see, but they're not bad, but you'll expect to spend a little more money on a Range Rover than you would for your average SUV.
Mark: One of your favourites, in other words.
Bernie: One of our favourites, yeah. They're nice vehicles to own. People like to keep them.
Mark: There you go. If you're looking for service for your Range Rover in Vancouver, British Columbia, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, they're always busy, or check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com. There's hundreds, literally, of videos and blog posts on there about different makes and models and all kinds of repairs, or our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, again, hundreds of videos, all makes and models and types of repairs, and, of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Feel free to give us a like if you enjoy what we're doing, and thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching.