2006 Range Rover Sport Supercharged – Coolant Leaks
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So we're talking about a Range Rover. We're going to England, and why did I have a German accent? We're going to talk about a 2006 Range Rover Sport Supercharged, quite a high performance vehicle, that had a lot of coolant leaks. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well, the vehicle was originally brought to our shop, the client's concern was that the heat wasn't working properly inside the vehicle cabin. And especially it was noticeable that the driver's side was colder than the passenger side. So the first step in any heating system diagnosis, or one of the first steps is to see what the ... check the coolant level. We inspected the coolant level, found it was low, performed a pressure test on the cooling system, we found several leaks. So fixing that first was the key item.
One item we found that was leaking was the radiator, also the water pump had a leak and there was possibly some leakage coming from under the intake manifold. It was hard to determine between that and the water pump, where that was coming from. Because there's a number of, so many components that are ... things cover up each other, that it's hard to see things sometimes without disassembly. But that's what we found on our initial test.
Mark: So how do you spot all the leaks when there's so many like that?
Bernie: Well, I mean the radiator's located at the front, on the rad support in the front of the engine, so that's pretty distinct and you can see those kind of areas. The water pump, you can see, again, the area where the coolant's leaking. This is where coolant leaks sometimes get a little tricky to diagnose, especially on modern vehicles, where there's so many hoses and pipes and connections and things are buried. A lot of times we go on experience of, this is a common failed part. Or you actually have to start disassembling things to find out where the leaks are coming from. But on this one, we could see the water pump. They have a weep hole in the pump. You could see that was leaking.
None of these were gusher leaks, but there were enough that there was drips and consistent coolant coming out that needed to be repaired.
Mark: A lot of work, basically.
Bernie: A lot of work, yeah, absolutely. They don't make them easy on these vehicles. They're nice and like you said, high performance. To me that's often synonymous, on a modern vehicle, with lots of extra work.
Mark: So what's involved in replacing all those, and fixing all the leaks and replacing hoses that were leaking?
Bernie: The radiator of course is, I'd say, a simple remove the radiator and replace it. It's nothing simple on this vehicle. There's a lot of components that need to be removed, little flaps and guides that angle the air through the radiator. It's connected up to the AC condenser. Like, not actually connected, but bolted in that area. It just takes a lot of fiddling to get it in and out, not an easy job. Once that's out, of course, a water pump is not so difficult, because it's easier to access on the engine. But the real kicker of the job was, what we found is there's a hose assembly underneath the supercharger that was leaking, something we find from time to time and repair. And that was probably the major piece of work that needed to be done. I'll just show a picture of that, while we're at it. You can see this okay?
Bernie: Look at the centre. So it's a V8 engine. We're looking at the centre in the engine, this is the valley area of the engine. And these are the intercoolers for the supercharger. The superchargers sits in the middle here, where my mouse pointer's moving around. That's been removed. You can see some hoses down here. There's one, two, nice and shiny. These are the new hoses. And these were leaking underneath the intake valley. The hose's complex, it goes to a number of different areas. Unfortunately, this picture's a little dark in the back, but as you can see, the hose starts way up front here, moves around, it goes to the back and splits off into several pieces.
Mark: So as the engineers try and route these complicated engines, route all the different pieces around, they've decided that they would put it under the supercharger? And how often does a hose like this fail?
Bernie: Well, this is not an uncommon repair for us at our shop. As the vehicle gets older, of course, these hoses are rubber, they're subject to a lot of heat, a lot of heat, sitting in this area here. So it's not the smartest design, in my opinion. It would have been better to use metal piping, perhaps a little hose here, metal pipe running back. Same with this one here, it could have been done with a metal pipe, and then put the rubber ends at the back. Or even just trying to minimize the amount of rubber would have been a smart idea. But they did it the way they did it, and we have to repair it however it's done. But certainly not the wisest idea.
Mark: Are they failing basically because of the heat cycling that's taking place underneath the engine like that?
Bernie: Yeah, I think that's a major cause. There's also some quick connect ends and pieces that can fail as well, on this and other hoses of these types of designs. But really, the heat is the biggest issue that causes these hoses to fail. In all fairness, the vehicle is, what, it's '06, it's 12 years old. That's a pretty good run, but there are ... My son recently bought a 1984 Toyota Celica and it has some original heater hoses on it. That's a much longer run of a car. But these aren't buried underneath anything, they're just kind of out in the elements. But good quality hoses and they're still lasting and they'll probably last ... they may last for another 10 or 20 years.
Mark: Yeah, the heater hoses already ... Anything that's dealing with moving fluid around in the vehicle's going to be really hot on the inside, but also then, they add the extra level of ... they're running on top of the cylinders, so they're really hot on the outside as well, basically.
Bernie: Yeah, exactly. I can't say that there's anything wrong with the quality of this hose. When we were talking, I was thinking about a ... Way back, I used to have some clients with Hyundai Ponys, if anyone knows what that is. It's a piece of crap car, cheap. I mean it was as cheap as cheap could be. One thing I noticed about those cars is, one way they made them cheap is to use very bad quality hose. After probably five years of usage on these hoses, they were as hard as rocks. And you could take the hose and literally grab it and break it with your hand. So we'd replace those hoses on those cars a lot. And I noticed this was like a differentiating factor. You take a Toyota, 20, 30 years later, you've still got a lot of original hoses. You take a Hyundai Pony, a cheap car, five, six years, the hoses don't even last. That's where they save money on certain things.
So on the Range Rover, to diagnose, could they have made the hose tougher? Yes, but probably metal piping would have been better. But this is what we fix.
Mark: So how did the vehicle work after all of these repairs?
Bernie: The cooling system was great, but the heating system still had an issue. It was still not quite as hot on the driver's side as the passenger. So there'll be more to do. But there was, as you can imagine, quite a substantial amount of work and a bill and the owner needed the vehicle back. So we'll be tackling it for round two, probably a blend door issue inside the heating box, which is in and of itself going to be quite a job. But the most important thing with a heating system concern is making sure the cooling system is in good shape and delivering the right amount of fluid, coolant to the heater cores. Because without that, of course, you can fix all the other things and go, "Oh, it's still not fixed." And the risk is with the coolant leak, you can wreck your engine.
Mark: So we talk about Land Rovers fairly frequently. And this is a 4.2 lite supercharged engine. How is it for reliability?
Bernie: I like these engines. They're pretty good. They don't have a lot of problems compared to some other, like previous generation engines. The four litres, some of the BMW engines they've put in these were horrible. And some of the newer ones, of course, are nicer, but the five litre, the 2010-12, the timing chains go prematurely, the supercharger nosecone wears out, a lot of premature wear on those things. These engines seem to be pretty durable. This coolant hose is one of the bigger things we fix on them. And this vehicle's now 12 years old, so it's fair to have some repairs.
Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Range Rover or Land Rover in Vancouver, the guys to see, they're experts, are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead. They're busy. Or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. YouTube, got hundreds of videos on there, including many about Range Rovers and Land Rovers and all sorts of different kinds of repairs and maintenance issues as well. Thank you so much for listening to the podcast and thank you, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark and thanks for listening, thanks for watching. We really appreciate it.