2012 VW Tiguan-Water Pump Replacement
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 38 years servicing in maintaining cars in Vancouver and 20 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers. And of course, we're here with Bernie Pawlik talking cars. How you doing, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well this morning.
Mark: So, this week's victim is a 2012 VW Tiguan. I always choke a little bit on VW. Water pump replacement. What's going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: Yeah. It's okay, Mark. It's a gas motor one. They haven't faked us out on these ones. Yeah. So this vehicle came to our shop. It had a coolant leak coming from under the hood, obviously, so we proceeded to do some diagnosis and testing to figure out what was going on.
Mark: What'd your testing and diagnosis find?
Bernie: Well, what we found was a coolant leak coming from the front of the engine kind of buried under the intake manifold. We'll look at some pictures in a little bit and you can see how typically complex this thing is under the hood. But there was a leak coming from around the area of the water pump, and that's where we proceeded next.
Mark: So, what was your next step?
Bernie: Yeah. So next step was we verified the area of the leak. Couldn't see it exactly, but it was around the area of the water pump, so we got in and removed the water pump, and that's where we found the issue.
Mark: What did you find?
Bernie: What we did we find? Here's a picture. This is the surface where the water pump bolts up to the engine block. The red arrow points to the area of failure here. If you look here, you can see there's a plastic channel. There's the channel there. Part of this plastic here is just basically broken away, allowing this O-ring to just flop out of place. Of course, it causes coolant under pressure to just blow out this way right down the side of the engine.
So, I know I say jokingly, we love plastic. I don't like to own plastic car parts because they wear out, but they do create a lot of work for us because they do I think tend to fail earlier than they should in many cases. This is sort of the backside of the water pump housing. This is the drive gear over here, but this is basically the area of failure. So the whole water pump assembly needs to be replaced. So that's what we found.
This is a view of the engine with the covers and everything on. The water pump is located down in this area here below the intake manifold. Again, there's a lot of work to access it and get at it. This is a view underneath the vehicle of the new water pump installed. You can see the drive gear, the hose outlets. There's a lot of complexity to put this pump in. There's a number of different connecting pieces. You can see a piece of the thermostat in there and the actual water pump impeller is in this area here. So the actual water pump itself is made of aluminum, but the housing is all plastic.
I think we have a final photograph to look at here. Again, this is a view down the engine with the plastic cover off the top. You can see the ignition coils and a little more of the area of the intake, but again, the water pump's buried under here.
I'm actually gonna go back to this picture of the water pump because this thing has a unique drive system. You see this cogged pulley here. It's actually driven by a tiny little drive belt. Looks like a little mini timing belt. I should've taken a picture of it, but it's about, I don't know, maybe four inches long and it goes to a drive pulley located under this area here. It actually involves removing that pulley to put the belt on. So that's another item that gets replaced at the same time as the water pump, because of course if that belt breaks, the pump won't turn and things will need to be done. The belt was starting to crack at the age of the vehicle so it was a good time to do it. But yeah, really complicated little job.
Mark: So why would they use such a complicated system? Just to fit it in the vehicle?
Bernie: Yeah, just to fit it in the vehicle. The plastic, again ... I'm just gonna go back to sharing that picture of all the plastic here. You can see there's a lot of plastic in this area. There's plastic down here. The top of the engine, the valve cover's all plastic. The intake manifold's plastic. You got covers here, ducting. I'm kind of drifting off here 'cause why they fit it in, but there's a lot put into the engine compartment, so they tend to put things wherever they can. I mean, that's kind of a quirky drive system, but I guess the engineers go, "Well, that's a good spot to put it. Let's put it over there." Kind of like our Volvo we talked about a few weeks back where again, they put the alternator underneath the intake manifold and drive the water pump with kind of a crazy pulley system on the backside of the engine. But wherever they can fit stuff in the engine compartment, gets the car out the door, they can sell it and you as a consumer have to deal with it later.
Mark: Yeah. This is kind of a smaller size SVU.
Bernie: It is, yeah. It's a nice compact sized SVU. I mean, it's a really nice vehicle. Drives great. Good performance, decent fuel economy. I can't really see anything wrong with it other than that but along with the compactness comes complication. I don't know if there's any escaping it. Some brands are just more reliable than others.
Mark: And how are Tiguans for reliability?
Bernie: I'm gonna put them in the fair category. I mean, you get things like this plastic failure is common. Over the years, we've done a lot of ... You can probably look at a video we've done a few years ago or a blog post. I talk about plastic in VWs. It's an item that does fail a lot and causes the consumer extra money to fix, but overall it's a pretty decent car. I think my comparison was always you'll spend a little more money fixing this than a Toyota and there will be a few more things that will go wrong, but other than that, it's a pretty decent vehicle.
Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your VW in Vancouver BC, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. If you're in Vancouver, call to book ahead. If you're elsewhere, check out our website, pawlikautomotive.com or our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos there or of course, thank you for listening to the podcast. We appreciate it, and thank you, Bernie.
Bernie: Thank you Mark, and thank you for watching and listening.