Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast, we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 20 time winners including this year again. 20 time winner's of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, number one, as voted by their customers and, of course, we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing well.
Mark: So, 2009 Volvo XC70, it's probably pretty close to the introduction year of these cars. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well this vehicle was brought to our shop with an amazing drive noise while the engine was running and driving. Like, I say amazing, sadly, I didn't record it because it made some of the most horrific noises I've ever heard come out of a vehicle.
And, the noise would happen when you put it in drive, you accelerate, it would make this horrible scraping, vibrating, rattling sound and, it would just disappear once you hit a certain speed. And, it was perplexing, to say the least, to try to figure out what it was because it just incorporated so many sounds of motion and vibration and, things. So, that's kind of the main, that's the main reason it was brought it, I mean, it sounded like the sky was falling in, it was pretty horrific.
Mark: What tests did you do to find the concern?
Bernie: Well, of course, road test is the first start to try to get a sense of what could this be and then, second, of course, is a hoist inspection to look underneath the vehicle at suspected areas and, we have stethoscopes and listening devices where we can listen to different components. But, what made this diagnosis perplexing is that we couldn't see anything under the hood or even, once you pop the hood, the vibration could be heard inside the car but you'd never hear it outside, you couldn't hear it under the hood.
So, we listened with various stethoscopes in different spots, tried to emulate the noise. What we did notice is, if you put it in reverse, the noise seemed to be there and then, when you put it into park, the noise would be there but, if the vehicle would roll back in park, the noise would disappear.
And so, we started suspecting it could be an engine mount issue, that seemed to be kind of the most likely candidate. And the thing with an engine mount is, it, in and of itself isn't going to make any noise but, what it will do is, if it's collapsed or, somethings happened to the engine mount, it will transmit all the noise from the drive train into the vehicle. So, it can do that in a lot of strange and weird ways.
Mark: And how did you eventually find the culprit?
Bernie: So eventually so, again, suspecting an engine mount we, you know, jacked the engine up and visually inspected the mounts. Of course, the mounts, a lot of them are buried. What we did find there so, the Volvo has basically four engine mounts. It has one on the right side, that's the main engine mount, which is sort of buried, a little hidden. It has a transmission mount on the left side. Again, very buried and then, it has two torque mounts and, most of those torque mounts have been replaced, one sits on top of the engine, the other one sits underneath. Both of those were clearly in good condition and, the top one was definitely nearly new.
So, it got to the point where, based on symptoms and what we experienced, we said, "It must be a collapsed engine mount." So, we actually removed the drivers side engine mount and, that's where we found the issue. We may as well just get right into pictures because, that's where the interesting stuff is.
So, there's Volvo XC70, nice youthful, practical wagon. I always like to say something good about every car we work on. Anyways so, engine mounts. So, there is the engine mount that we removed from the vehicle, you can't see a lot from this view but, this basically, this section bolts to the vehicle and, this part here is where the engine mount bracket bolts down to the mount. So that's the old mount. Here's a comparison. This is an old and new.
So, this is the original mount now, you can see that tab that we showed, can you see how low that sits compared, this is the new one? This mount had collapsed and that's where the noise was coming from but, it wasn't evident when we looked at it because it was, again, buried and hidden and, sometimes when you jack an engine up you can put a floor jack under the engine and jack it up, the engine will jump up and lift or, there's way's we can test engine mounts and, nothing showed up as obviously a bad engine mount.
So, that's what took us a while to figure it out, until we actually ... So, sometimes you actually have to go, "Okay, this is what we suspect" and, take it a part and it's very evident here where you can see that different heights of the new mount.
There's another view of the mounts. Again, you can see the, see this mount clearly is collapsed compared to this view of the new mount here. And then, then the ...
Mark: What's actually collapsed there? What's inside the black ...
Bernie: So, there's actually rubber and oil inside these mounts. Now, it used to be that an engine mount was simply one piece of metal on each side and, a piece of rubber in the middle but, what they do with a lot of these modern engine mounts is they actually fill them with oil because it provides an additional cushioning and, sometimes you can actually see oil seeping out of an engine mount which is pretty clear evidence that its worn out.
But, what's collapsed is the rubber, I guess the rubber collapses over time and then the oil can leak. Well, this one wasn't leaking but, I actually ended up sticking on my took cart, upside down and it actually leaked out a bunch of oil.
But, essentially the rubber just collapses over time and, there's a few items that will fail. There are some engine mounts that actually have electronic controls to them too and, I don't even, I haven't even studied, really, how they work, I'm just sometimes perplexed as a complexity that we have in our cars. Like why do you need an electronic ... Seem like when a rubber mount just worked fine but, that's why we get the smooth riding cars that we do and, you know, when everything works well, you can't even feel the engine in the car but, when it fails, it's noticeable.
Mark: So we have another picture on the screen with an arrow on it.
Bernie: The metal, yeah.
Bernie: So, this here is, this is where the engine mount, that top piece, the one that was collapsed, this is sort of an underneath view, this is the bracket that actually bolts up to the engine and the engine mounts in turn bolts to this bracket through this hole here.
Now, the arrows pointing to this little worn piece of metal here. Again, you know, I feel bad, I've presented a couple of bad photos, I should check my work a little more before I do this.
But, anyways, you can kind of see a little discoloured spot and, that was basically where the edge of the engine mount was rubbing against this metal bracket. And, that's where a lot of that noise was happening. It's basically transmitting the noises of the engine and the drive train right through the body of the vehicle and, causing all that noise.
And, actually, if I look at this picture here, oh yeah, right here you can actually see a worn spot here so, that's where that little piece of metal was rubbing against that. So that was the actual cause of the issue.
There we have it, pretty straight forward in the end but, it just took a while to take things apart until we could see it.
Mark: How was the mount on, the main transmission mount on the other side?
Bernie: Well, we never replaced it. Again, it was quite buried, I suspect, probably based on age, it wouldn't have been a bad idea to replace it but, you know, the costs of the repairs got up there and, we replaced this and it solved the issue completely.
So, for the time being, we'll leave that mount but, a lot of times, with engine mount repairs, with vibrations and engine mounts, some things are not so noticeable and often, it's worth just replacing all of them, even thought it can be a very expensive job, just replace them all because it deals with the issue. Sometimes it's hard to pin down which one it is. In this case it was pretty obvious.
Mark: Were there any other issues with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well there was, nothing related to this but, we did notice the water pump was leaking so we did replace that at the same time. This is one of those 3.2 litre, six cylinder engines that has the, I know we've got a couple of features on these, it has the drive belt and accessories mounted in the middle of the engine over the top of the transmission. It's a good space saving way to do things but, it's certainly makes for expensive and time consuming repair.
So the water pump, instead of being located on the outer side of the engine, is located in the middle, its on the inner side of the engine near the transmission. So, there's a lot of stuff to remove, it's a pretty complex repair but, it was done and, fixed.
Mark: So this is a 10 year old car. How are they for repairs and reliability?
Bernie: They're pretty good but, there are a few things. I mean, you know, we've done a lot of features on the rear differentials, the pinion bearings wearing out, that's a guaranteed repair you'll have on one of these cars if you keep it long enough or, buy it at a certain age.
We're running into issues with the drive belt mechanism too, you know, things like water pumps and there's pulley's and a variety of things in that area but, overall, they're a pretty good, decent, reliable vehicle, they're just, you know, they are complex and they can be expensive to repair. So, just keep that in mind.
But, you know, you are buying, you know, it's a nice quality vehicle, it's a good drive, Volvo safety, economical and it's all wheel drive too so, it will get you wherever you want to go in the harshest of conditions, good ground clearance too.
Mark: So there you go. If you need some service on your Volvo in Vancouver, the guys to see are, Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead because, they're busy and, they're just in Vancouver for all you other folks in the rest of North America as well. Check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of articles and videos on there about all makes and models of cars, the YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, same thing. We've been doing this for five years as well, thank you so much for watching and listening to the podcast, we appreciate it and, thank you Bernie.
Bernie: Thank you Mark and, thanks for watching, we love doing these, it's lots of fun.