April 27

2012 Range Rover Timing Chain Repair

Podcast2018, Land Rover/Range Rover


Mark: Hi, Mark from Top Local here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, we’re talking cars. And Bernie has been repairing and maintaining cars in Vancouver for 38 years and Pawlik Automotive, his shop, has been voted 18 times so far, Best Auto Repair in Vancouver by their customers. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 2012 Range Rover that had some issues with noise. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Well this engine, when you start the vehicle in the morning, most noticeably, you could hear a rattling coming from the front of the engine and that was the primary concern with the vehicle. Sometimes when it was warm you could hear it too, but mostly on a cold start up it would happen for a minute or two.

Mark: So where did you discover the noise was coming from?

Bernie: It was coming from the timing chain and how we determine that, we have various listening devices but the best one we have is a stethoscope, not like a doctor’s stethoscope which is round and fits on your chest. This one actually has a pointed tip so you can put it against various metal parts on the engine and listen for noises and it’s very good to pin point where a noise is coming from. So from the timing chain, there are two timing chains on this engine, it’s a V engine, there’s a lot of different places to touch, you know different touch points for the noise. But it was very clearly coming from the timing chain.

Mark: And what’s involved in repairing a timing chain on a 5L Super charged Range Rover motor?

Bernie: There’s a lot of work involved. This is a, it’s an extremely involved bit of work. As I mentioned, it’s a dual overhead cam engine, it has variable valve timing, direct fuel injection and a Super   charger, so all of that complexity makes for an extremely complicated job. Unlike the timing chains of old, where it was just a chain and a couple of gears, these have a lot of moving parts and pieces and precise alignment marks and things to deal with. So a few things involved actually, the Super charger has to be removed, the air intake system, the radiator fan, everything on the front of the engine has to come off. So there’s fan’s, pulley’s, water pump, the valve covers have to be removed, and to remove the valve covers on this engine, you have to actually remove the fuel injectors with a special tool because they tend to get stuck in the cylinders after a while. So we have a special puller to remove those and on and on, until you can finally get to the timing chain covers and do the timing chain.

Mark: Alright, what would cause the timing chain to wear in a fairly new vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, so the vehicle is only, well at this point, only about 5-6 years old, and under a 100,000 kilometres, which is less than 60,000 miles. So you certainly wouldn’t expect the timing chain to be worn and what we found with these and the information out there, it’s an engineering problem. I’ll show you some pictures in a few minutes, we’ll have a look at what happened but it seems to be, but anyways, so it’s basically an engineering issue with this particular model of engine. So we’ll start with some pictures.

2012 Range Rover Timing Chain Repair
2012 Range Rover Timing Chain Repair
2012 Range Rover Timing Chain Repair
2012 Range Rover Timing Chain Repair

Yeah, so there’s a 2012 Range Rover, full size model with the Super charged V8 engine. There’s the front of the engine exposing the timing chains. So the cam shafts are up in this area here, on both sides of the engine, set Super charger sits right in this area here. So once the engine’s assembled you really have, you can’t see any of this kind of stuff. The timing chain covers are off and you can see two chains here, one going in this direction around these cams and the other going in this direction around these cams here. The timing chain tensioner is located here and up here and the guide rail for the tensioner is here. These are the critical problems with this particular engine. It’s not so much that the timing chains are stretched, I mean they’d probably last for 3 or 400, maybe 500,000 kilometres,  before they’d stretch bad enough that they’d need replacement but the critical problem is actually right in this area here. And I’m going to show you some more pictures. So this is the timing chain tensioner. This is old one. This is the new one and you can see if you look carefully at the arrows pointing to the plunger, this piece pushes out against the timing chain and you can see this plunger is kind of smaller diameter than this one here and it fits into the timing chain guide. And this is the old guide and this is the new one. Now you can a wear around here and there’s some wear in this area here and you can just see a difference in design. This is actually like a steel button, a steel pad and on a different angle and I don’t have another picture on a different angle, but you can see this is much more robust and what happened, I think, is over time this design just wasn’t tough enough to handle the use inside the engine so the chain and guide would get caught and it would cause the chain to rattle. So interestingly enough, as we started to take the engine apart, as I started removing the timing chain tensioner, you could actually hear a snapping sound, all of a sudden the chain tension came tight and clearly this is where the problem lies. So this is before we took the timing chain off and that’s the slack that was in the chain, that’s what the rattling sound comes from. Again, I’ll just repeat the video so you can see that again.

Mark: And that should have probably no more than a millimetre of movement.

Bernie: It should actually have no movement. Once the chain was replaced there was absolutely no movement at all, you could not do that with a screwdriver. And as I mentioned, as soon as I loosened the timing chain tensioner bolts to remove the tensioner, something just went snap and it all of a sudden tightened up so it just gets caulked, it sits on a weird angle, it gets loose and causes it to rattle.

Mark: So what model years and engines are affected by this engineering problem?

Bernie: It seems to be 2010 to 2012 and as far as I know, it’s only Super charged models but I could be wrong about that. So don’t hold me to it. But definitely 2010 to 2012 in what I’ve read, it looks like part way through the 2012 model, they actually corrected the issue, probably designed that new tensioner and guide and corrected everything. So I think if you have like a 2013 and newer you’re not going to have that problem.

Mark: And so do other vehicles have timing chain issues that are similar to this?

Bernie: Well not this particular problem, but we do replace the odd timing chain in cars. I mean Ford V8’s so seem to have timing chain problems but a lot of times they don’t develop until 200 or a thousand or more kilometres. We’ve had Acura’s, 4 cylinders in the past where timing chains have skipped teeth, it’s not, we don’t do a lot of them but there’s enough of them out there. It’s pretty complex. One thing that does happen, they have plastic chain guides and it’s critical to change your oil regularly, as we often say, change your oil frequently because you know if these guides start to wear, that can cause problems. On this particular engine, we took it apart and there was absolutely no wear on the guides so had they not screwed up on their engineering, if I can say that, you know this chain would not be causing a problem for years and years and hundreds of thousand kilometres or miles.

Mark: So we seem to talk quite a bit about Range Rovers, so in your opinion is this because you guys have a lot of work from Range Rover clients in Vancouver or is this a problematic vehicle?

Bernie:  I’d have to say it’s a little bit of both. I mean we do work on a lot of Range Rovers and Land Rovers but there are a lot of things that do happen to these vehicles and I mean this is a bit of an anomaly, it seems to be only affecting a couple model years, but there are a lot of predictable things that we find on these vehicles. Things like suspension bushings, control arm bushings that wear, air suspension compressors, I mean with this engine, the Super charger nose cones tend to wear. There’s quite a few predictable things but other than that, they’re good vehicles but it’s a complex vehicle. There’s a lot to them so there’s a lot more to go wrong.

Mark: And wasn’t brakes another rather quick wearing item as well?

Bernie: Now that you mention it yeah, I forgot, brakes do tend to wear pretty quickly on these vehicles also. When you look at the size of the brake, I mean it’s massive and you’d think of these brakes should last a hundred thousand kilometres or more but often they don’t last even 30 thousand kilometres. So it’s a very heavy vehicle and for some reason the brakes tend to wear quite quickly as well. So you will go through a fair number of brakes and tires too. I mean they’re a large tire but they’re a performance tire, so they tend to wear out and they’re expensive. So those are the kind of things you get in a performance SUV that you will have to spend money on.

Mark: So we kind of covered off our last question here, what else could an owner expect to go wrong but overall a Range Rover for it’s purpose which is a luxury conveyance, of the Queen, it’s a pretty impressive vehicle?

Bernie: Absolutely. I have to say, they’re made for a pretty good used value too, I mean they’re not really cheap but you know but after a few years they tend to depreciate in extremely, I’d like to say precipitously, the valve drops really fast, I mean you can probably buy a Range Rover that’s probably worth $200,000 dollars new for $50,000 dollars when it’s 5 years older and if you wait a few more years, substantially less. So you will spend a fair amount of money being repaired but you know it’s an incredible vehicle for what you get, in a used vehicle.

Mark: So there you go, if you have a Range Rover in Vancouver and you’re looking for service, the guys to see who are experts are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112, check out their website pawlikautomotive.com or our YouTube channel or our new Podcast. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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