2008 Land Rover LR2, Hard Starting
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from TLR. I’m here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver’s best auto service experience. 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver. And we’re talking cars. How are you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So today’s victim, we’ve seen a few of these, a Land Rover LR2 2008 version. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: So the owner brought the vehicle to us. He bought it recently, done a few repairs himself. And the issue that he was having as the check engine light kept coming on and the vehicle is hard to start. It would crank over for a long time before the engine would eventually start.
So he’d done a bit of research, he’d replaced a few parts, fuel injectors, fuel rail pressure sensor, a lot of the things that could commonly cause an issue like that he’d replaced. Issue was still there. He said, Hey, you know, can you guys reprogram the vehicle powertrain control module. I said, yeah, it seems like a good idea. We can do that. So we did that.
Mark: And what was the result?
Bernie: Well, it didn’t solve his issue. So he still had the same concerns. About two weeks later, he booked in and brought it back and we said, Hey, we’re going to need the vehicle for a little while, based on what you’ve done.
There’s obviously some interesting issues. You know, something that might take some time to figure out. Leave it with us for a bit and we’ll look at it. So he brought it back and we started doing some tests and diagnosis on it.
Mark: So, what were the diagnostic steps that you took?
Bernie: The first thing was to test the fuel pressure. Do a complete vehicle scan and look at the data on the scan tool. So, first thing we noticed is the fuel rail pressure was a little out of spec. We suspected, you know, the pressure sensor that he put in may or may not have been good. So we got the proper fuel rail pressure sensor. Made sure it was exactly the right part number for the engine. This is really critical for these engines.
There’s a variety of different, over the years they’ve used this system on Volvos and LR2’s and some of them, these different fuel rail pressure sensors, if you put the wrong one in creates a lot of problems. We had a Volvo a little while ago that someone had put the wrong one in and just created months of havoc for the owner because they lived in a n out of the way town that had a hard time fixing it.
Anyways, put the right sensor in. The readings looked a little better, but still what we’d noticed when we put a fuel pressure gauge, as soon as you shut the engine off, the pressure would just drop down to zero, which is not a good thing.
It’s supposed to maintain a pressure around 30 PSI approximately for quite a while, like at least an hour or two. You know, and then, it’ll probably, if you leave it overnight, it’ll probably be down to zero, but at least there’s still a little bit of, it keeps the fuel on the line. So the thing that normally causes that as a bad fuel pump, there’s a check valve in the fuel pump. So that was kind of our next step in the job.
Mark: So what happened after you replaced the fuel pump?
Bernie: Yeah. So we replaced the fuel pump, it’s a large and you know, pretty pricey job in this vehicle. The pressure was good. Like the fuel pressure was exactly on spec at all times. And when you shut the engine off, the pressure would drop to 30, 40 PSI. It would stay there for a long time. So that issue was solved. So we’d fix that.
Mark: But were there some other problems still?
Bernie: So interestingly enough, the check engine light still stayed on, even though we cleared the codes and this car was still hard to start. So we had it for another day. We tried it the next morning and started perfect. But if you leave it and it got a little warm, it cranked over for a long time. So interestingly enough, even though we had good fuel pressure now, there were still some other issue going on. So we kind of proceeded to doing a whole number of further diagnosis.
The codes, by the way, for the check engine light, were a fuel system, rich code a P0171 and a 174. These are like rich fuel condition codes. So there’s too much fuel getting into the engine somehow. So how that happens, I mean, you could have a leak. There’s a few ways.
So we tested and verified that none of those items were present. We tried a new PCV it’s like a PCV valve assembly on the back of the engine replaced that. That didn’t make any difference. We cleaned the throttle plate. We did a number of things. I was at the point where, you know what, I want to fix this for the customer. We promised we do it. So at this point we kind of took it off the clock and I started going off, trying to figure out what else we could do to solve the issue.
The other area of course, is even though the oxygen sensor, the front oxygen sensors look to be reading normal, they were original. So we recommended replace them. Of course, you know, we charged for that. But you know, after that we replaced those that still didn’t solve the issue.
Mark: So now this is getting into the mystery portion of the program. So what’d you find out? What did you do next?
Bernie: Yeah, so the mystery portion, so I just re verified everything. Is our fuel pressure good. You know what could be causing this? And the last thing it came down to was the fuel injectors. And he’d replace them. So here’s a question, so I started asking him, Hey, you know, where did you get the fuel injectors from? Like where did you source them. And of course being a do it yourself, or there’s lots of options in the internet.
He’d bought them from an auto parts place that I won’t mention. They sell a variety of fuel injectors. He bought some very cheap injectors. Right away I go, I bet you that’s his problem. And having a little further conversation. The sequence of events was, you know, it was hard to start. I figured I’ll change the fuel injectors. So he put them in and it seemed to me from his conversation that maybe that’s when the check engine lights started coming on. Make a long story short. I finally conclude, you know, I think the injectors are crappy. They were probably about, I think he said, they were about $20 a piece.
I looked them up online. They’re about 20 bucks a piece. Not a bad choice. I mean, there, you know, why not go for a low price. The OEM injectors are about $400 each that’s a big discrepancy and you know, you don’t need to necessarily go with OEM, but what you should do, like on a car like this if you can get after market Bosch, which is basically the original supplier for less price, that’s probably the minimum of what you should do.
But anyways, to make a long story short the injector seemed to be the issue and so that was kind of the next stage of the the story.
Mark: So did you change injectors?
Bernie: No, we didn’t. So, at this point that, you know, his bill was very substantial. I figured, Hey, you know what? He said he still had the old ones. So I said, you know, here’s what I suggest you do. I’ve verified everything on the car, take the vehicle back, change the injectors back to the originals and then give me a call and let me know.
Bernie: So I called him, we had a conversation a couple of days ago. He said, yeah, I just changed. The injectors, starts fine. The check engine lights off. So what are the lessons to be learned from this? Well, as a repair shop, I think asking even deeper questions of which parts did you use would be a very good thing that I’ve kind of learned. After all these years and gray hair, I’ve actually learned, Hey, you never ask all the questions. There’s always something that’s missed. And I made the assumption, Oh, you changed the injectors, you use something good. But you know, there was a question I should have asked.
And you know, I think what happened originally is this fuel pump was bad, which was causing the long cranking over and starting, because it was losing the pressure. But you know, fixing the field pump didn’t solve it because the fuel injectors were bad. So they’re still dumping too much fuel into the engine you know, with the bad faulty fuel injectors cause. So the other lesson, of course, if you’re a do it yourselfer, because I know some do it yourselfers watch this podcast, buy good quality parts. Don’t go for cheap price. You know, you got to make sure what you’re getting, you’re comparing good quality oranges to good quality oranges.
You know, if you’re getting the same quality at a better lower price, then that’s fine, but don’t use substandard quality.
Mark: Don’t put apples in.
Bernie: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah. I’m trying to think of an orange comparison, but there really isn’t one.
Mark: Rotten oranges.
Bernie: Yeah rotten oranges on the inside.
Mark: This is also a good example of making assumptions, isn’t it?
Mark: Assuming that it’s the fuel injectors and changing the fuel injector and just causing a cascade of issues because you’ve fixed the wrong darn thing.
Bernie: Yeah, exactly. And this isn’t the first time. We had a client who was a GMC diesel truck. We did a diagnosis and said, or actually for some reason he bought the truck and it was an older one, decided I’m going to change the fuel injectors myself, which was a very bold job because even something for us that would take like, well, over a day’s worth of labor, just to change the fuel injectors.
He changed them himself, but he bought some injectors online from a supplier. Within a month there’s problems. At the end of the day, we ended up replacing all this fuel injectors with good parts that we knew were reliable. He ended up spending like way more money. So you gotta get the right parts, but actually paying for proper diagnosis really makes a lot of sense. If you’re just guessing at stuff, you’re gonna waste your money. Sometimes you get lucky, but a lot of times you’ll end up creating a lot of grief and costs. You know, this job costs the owner a lot more money than it could have had he brought it to us originally and we just done our diagnostic and done it.
Mark: Fixed the right thing basically.
Bernie: Fix the thing the first time, exactly. And so, I mean, we have an interesting podcast to talk about out of this and lessons learned for owners and do it yourselfers and shops. Ask the questions.
Mark: Listen, if you want expert repairs on your Land Rover in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. You can book there, book your appointment there. You have to call or book online ahead. They’re busy. Or you can check out our YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there, of course, on the website as well. Everything’s mirrored up on there. We’ve been doing this for nine years. There’s a lot of cars, a lot of repairs, a lot of types of stuff. And of course it’s all from the award-winning Pawlik Automotive. Thank you so much for watching. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching and listening.