Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Remarkable Speaking. I'm here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC Canada, and we're talking cars. How you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing well.
Mark: So today we're talking about a 2013 Land Rover LR2. What was happening with this vehicle?
Bernie: The power steering wasn't operating, so when you turn the wheel, it was very stiff to turn. And I believe there may have been some noises associated with it as well, but the owner's complaint was the power steering wasn't operating.
Mark: Good old arm strong steering. What testing and diagnosis did you do?
Bernie: Well, the first thing we do is check for fluid. This is a hydraulic power steering system. You know, electric power steering, I was just thinking very rarely ever fails, much more reliable. But it's a hydraulic system, so there's fluid, there's a pump driven by the engine.
So the first thing we do is inspect the fluid level. Found that it was very low, so obviously there was a leak. Filled up the fluid and the steering did come back to life. So then we look at the rest of the system. Okay, where did the fluid leak out? It can leak out from hoses, pumps, there's a cooler usually, on some vehicles there's a cooler. And then there's the rack and pinion itself and we found a leak at the rack and pinion. Which is the shaft that attaches to the steering column.
Mark: So what is the rack and pinion?
Bernie: Well, let's get into pictures cuz that's actually the easiest thing to show it. So there's our LR2.
Actually we'll get it back to this picture in a second. I'll just get right to the steering rack. There's a rack and pinion steering. So this item here is the outer tie rod end. There's another one on this side. I'm moving my mouse pointer around. On the other side there's a tie rod end outta screen of the picture.
This piece here, this is the rack section. So there's a metal bar inside here with teeth cut in it. And then there's a pinion gear. This attaches to your steering wheel and basically there's a gear here, and as you turn the steering wheel, it moves this area back and forth that's basically as simple as it is.
This is a power steering rack. You can see some hoses on here. There are a couple more hoses attached to the pump and there's basically valves in there that cause fluid to be pressed in different areas inside the rack and that causes the power steering, so it's not so hard to turn the wheel back and forth.
Mark: Was there any reason why the rack and pinion started leaking?
Bernie: Yes, it is actually. So that kind of gets to our next part of the podcast, is rust. You can sort of see a bit of oily, oiliness.
And I'll get into a closer picture, right there, it was leaking. This is called the pinion seal of the rack. More commonly racks will leak from the seals underneath these accordion boots here. But this seal will leak from time to time and you can see a lot of rust around here. So this vehicle, I'm not sure where it was originally from, but somewhere where there was a lot of road salt usage.
I'm just gonna get back to the picture of the vehicle again, if you look at this, sorry it's a little on the dark side, but if you look around this vehicle, it looks in really nice shape. The paint's good. There's no rust.
Although I will say that there was a little rust around the wheel well on the other side that kind of give a little telltale sign this has been in kind of a harsh climate. But you look at the wheels, they're nice and clean. The car's beautiful. You'd never guess that this vehicle had actually seen a lot of road salt until we actually got underneath it and started looking at it. And I just got a few pictures of things here.
The front brakes. So we ended up doing a four-wheel brake job with calipers included on it because the brakes were worn out, completely rusted. I just took a few pictures of the chassis here, but you can see rust. This backing plate's coated and rust, the strut if you just kinda look closely, again, I'm moving my mouse point around, but this is normally painted black when it's new and it's so badly rusted some of the metals flaking off it. It still functions fine, but it looks really bad.
And then in the rear, some of the wheel bolts were so difficult to get off we actually had to replace the wheel hub on the left rear wheel to change a wheel stud, change the wheel bearing, everything was rusted. And you know, again, you can see the level of corrosion that's present here. But all the brake calipers needed to be replaced. The pads and rotors, everything else along with the rack and pinion. Separate job, but you know, stuff that needed to be done at the same time.
Mark: So do you see a lot of vehicles that are rusted at this level in the shop?
Bernie: No, we don't, around Vancouver, we don't get this kind of rust very often. There's a lot of places around Canada, certain areas of the US where there's a lot of salt applied to roads. You probably look at it, especially if you're working on these vehicles, go, oh yeah, that's just our usual daily routine. But you know, around here it's kind of rare.
Mark: And I'm assuming that this sort of rust can add a tremendous amount to the cost of repairs.
Bernie: It does for sure. Things wear out and that's why when we do an inspection on a vehicle, I'm often very leery to recommend someone to buy a vehicle out of province. Something that's, you know, seen this kind of road salt because it really devalues the vehicle. It's gonna cost you a lot more money to repair it. And there's a reason why, you know, places like, I'll just use Ontario for example. You have to replace your car much more frequently than you do in BC because they just don't last as long because of the road salt, it kills the car really fast.
And cars are built much better nowadays than they used to be. I mean, if you go back in like the seventies you know, some Japanese cars, I mean, the metal is so poor that cars just rot out in a couple of years. It was horrible. But they're much better now.
Mark: So when you replaced the rack and pinion, did you have to do a wheel alignment afterwards?
Bernie: Yeah, you definitely have to do a wheel alignment. You know, the outer tie rod ends come off of the rack and pinion. We usually put new ones on, but those need to be adjusted to the exact to, you know, to specification for the vehicle. You can try a tape measure alignment, you can try to adjust it as best you can, but no matter what happens, a wheel alignment is definitely required because the steering wheel will not sit straight. You know, the wheels will be at least off.
Even if you can't see it visually and the car rides straight. You need to get a wheel alignment done because it's probably out somehow.
Mark: And that's gonna cause problems in tire wear and handling issues?
Bernie: Handling, tire wear you know, if things are not set properly, when you let your hand off the steering wheel, it doesn't return properly to the centre. That's just one thing you might notice when you drive it. Or it'll veer off on the road. Or tire wear, of course. And a wheel alignment's cheap insurance against tire wear.
Mark: And how did everything work after you'd done all the repairs?
Bernie: Everything we repaired worked really well. I will say that the exhaust system was a little on the loud side, so rust had attacked that too. And that's gonna be a project we do for the owner coming up soon. But we sort of tapped out his budget with a lot of these repairs. And fortunately he had an extended warranty on some of this work too, so that's where, you know, having something like that, they call 'em extended warranties.
I like to think of 'em as a prepaid maintenance repair insurance. That's the word I'm looking for. Anyways that helped ease the cost. So even though the vehicle's rusty, they still actually repair some of the things, like the rack and pinion was repaired. The brakes, they don't pay for pads and rotors, but they pay for calipers because that's not a really a wear out item. So that helped to ease the burden.
Mark: So if you're looking for service for your Land Rover, Range Rover in Vancouver or Jaguar or Volvo, pretty much all the same. You can see the folks at Pawlik Automotive. Book online at pawlikautomotive.com. Or you can call them (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment for Vancouver. And thanks so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Thank you Bernie.
Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.