Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast, podcast and we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 38 years servicing and maintaining cars in Vancouver, and 20 time winners of best automotive repair in Vancouver and we're talking cars. How are you, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: 2008 Lexus IS250 is this week's victim. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: This vehicle came to our shop. The engine had an overheating concern and a couple of other issues, but the overheating issue was kind of the main issue, which is important. You don't want to overheat your engine, especially in a car like this, that's for sure.
Mark: What did you find was the cause?
Bernie: We did some diagnostic and testing and found that the major cause of the overheating was the water pump. It was leaking pretty badly, so the vehicle had lost a lot of coolant.
Mark: What sort of a job is replacing the water pump on a Lexus, on this Lexus?
Bernie: On this Lexus, yeah, it's a fair bit of work. The pump is pretty buried. Let's just get right into the picture show portion. Okay. So, here we go. So there's our IS250, decent shape for a now eleven-year-old car. So when you open the hood of this car, this is what you see. This is typical of Lexus for the last decade or more. They tend to cover everything in plastic covers. Not just the engine but the sides of the engine compartment. There's all these little clips that, frustratingly, tend to break. We keep them in stock because they tend to need to be replaced. We can see there's plastic covers and clips everywhere.
The water pump is located down in this area here, and with the cover removed, this is what you get to see. So that's your V6 2.5 litre engine.
Mark: So this is a rear-wheel drive, kind of normally mounted engine.
Bernie: Exactly. It's a longitudinally mounted engine. It's got a fan on the front. The water pump is located down under this area, so if you say what kind of a job is it, well, you can't even see the pump, so usually when you can't see it, there's lot that needs to be removed just to access the pump. It's a fair bit of labour to change the pump on this vehicle, and you know what? I comment a lot about these plastic covers hiding everything, but this is a pretty complicated, I wouldn't say mess, of things to look at.
It's kind of neat, but you can see from a show-and-sales point of view why they probably put a cover over top, because it just looks a little more attractive, especially when there's no dust and dirt on it, when it's clean.
Here's a view of the water pump so again, a pretty straightforward type of water pump, but it's got a lot of bolts. It takes up a fair bit of real estate on the front of the engine, thermostat housing bolts in here, and there's the water pump pulley. The impeller is located in behind. There's a lot of housing for the amount of actual pump area.
Mark: Anything else unique about this water pump replacement?
Bernie: Well, I mean, other than it bolts in and bolts out, there's a lot of things to remove and reinstall. The other interesting thing about this replacement is the water pump gasket. Now, this is actually a really complicated gasket. It's a multi layer steel gasket. I've just sort of photographed it face-on, but you can see it's, the reason you have these rivets here, this is like holding, well, multi-layers of metal together, and you can sort of see it over here in this area. There's at least one, two, three layers of metal. This is the kind of thing you normally find on a head gasket so, yeah, it's a pretty complicated piece of engineering just for a water pump.
Mark: Why would they use such a complex gasket for that device?
Bernie: I've thought about this, and I don't really know, other than it takes up a fair bit of space in the front of the engine. I just don't see why a good, thick cardboard-paper gasket that was so frequently used in the past wouldn't do the same amount of work.
Perhaps, with the metal being largely aluminum, expanding and contracting, maybe they figured that it needed to have a gasket of this sort. And, of course, part of the procedure with the gasket like this is to torque everything properly. You don't want to just blast the bolts in because a gasket like this requires precise torques to make sure it's properly crushed but not overly so.
Mark: So this is an aluminum block engine?
Bernie: Aluminum block, yeah. And the water pump's aluminum. There's not much that's made of cast these days. I'm just trying to think. Of course, you know, there's a lot of diesels but, yeah, a lot of aluminum, especially this engine. It's not very heavy.
Mark: How long do water pumps normally last on these vehicles?
Bernie: Well, this is the first water pump replacement on this vehicle, so it's 11 years old, and about 150,000 kilometres. If you're in a place that uses miles, you can do the conversion. That's sort of the life of this one, and I guess it probably may have been leaking for a little while before he brought it in. That would be, yeah, that's sort of the lifespan of a water pump on this engine.
Speaking of water pumps on Toyotas, I talk about how reliable Toyota products are, Lexus being one of them, and they are, but it seems like one sort of typical thing you can count on replacing on a Toyota is your water pump. We do them on all sorts of Toyota products, even Prius's. There's not much that goes wrong, but water pumps seem to leak, so that's kind of the big thing on Toyotas, which isn't that big of a thing.
Mark: And how is the Lexus IS250 for reliability?
Bernie: It's good car. Definitely reliable. These cars do tend to burn some oil so if you have one, sometimes you're not going to make it through an oil change cycle without adding a litre or two of oil, which tends to happen on these engines, for some reason. But, overall, an excellent car. Well built, and not a lot of problems.
Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your IS250, or any Lexus or Toyota product in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, if you're in Vancouver. And of course if you're somewhere else, we love you watching our videos. You can check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. We get a lot of visitors from the United States and around the world. As well, on YouTube, there's hundreds of videos on Pawlik Auto Repair channel and, of course, thank you for listening to the podcast, and thank you, Bernie.
Bernie: Thank you, Mark, and thank you for watching and listening.