August 4

2013 Range Rover Sport Supercharged Timing Chain

Land Rover/Range Rover

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Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert. I'm here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto service experience, and we're talking cars. How are you doing, Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So we have a Range Rover Sport Supercharged 2013 vintage that had some timing chain issues. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, so this vehicle came to our shop barely running, and I can't help but think of the opening introduction to the show, Six Million Dollar Man. I know you're old enough to remember that show. If you're young, watch the show, at least one episode. But there's this part where he goes, Steve Austin, a man barely alive. And then they go on to, we can rebuild him. So anyway, the guy almost died from a rocket crash or something. And they put all these bionic parts. 

Anyways, we're not putting bionic parts in this car, but this car just reminded me of, the engine was just barely running and so we actually did resurrect it back to life. But that's how it came to the shop. A lot of bad rattling noises in the engine and just barely running. 

Mark: So what sort of testing and diagnosis do you do when it's barely running? 

Bernie: Well, of course, you know, when it's barely running and making rattle noises, we don't want to run the engine very long because it could be at its final moment of death. So we run it for a very minimal amount of time. Scan the vehicle for codes, do a little audible, you know, inspection for noises. And we determine the noises were mostly coming from the timing chains. Some noise coming from the supercharger nose cone area and we scanned it for codes and there was a very long list of codes.

Mostly cam crankshaft correlation timing and the engine misfire codes, also fuel pressure codes too. And we did look at some scan tool data, we noticed the fuel pressure was also very low. This is a high pressure direct injection fuel system.

So there's a number of issues there. And we figured from that diagnosis, the 1st place to start was, you know, pulling the timing chain covers off. The timing chains that probably skip teeth and caused all the timing issues to happen. So it seemed like the actual engine compression wise was good. So that was where we figured we need to do the work. Timing chain replacements. 

Mark: So what did you find when you took things apart? 

Bernie: It was a pretty nasty mess inside the engine. So I guess we'll just start looking at some pictures. There's our beautiful Range Rover.

2013 Range Rover Sport Supercharged Timing Chain

What did we find when we looked inside the engine? Okay, there was a number of broken bits and pieces. Here's a picture of the timing chains and some of the pieces we replaced. I'm using red arrows on an orange mat, not really the best, colour differentiation, but anyways, you can see these red arrows. 

2013 Range Rover Sport Supercharged Timing Chain

These point to 2 pieces that were broken. These are the 2 timing chains. There's also a timing chain that drives the fuel injection pump and the oil pump. And we also had to do some work on that, not replace it, but we have to retime that chain. These are the tension guides. These are the tensioners. There's two of them. One for each bank. These are the guide rails that go on the other side of the chain. And you look here, you can actually see this piece is broken. We're going to look at close ups and this mangled part is the engine oil jet. 

I'll actually show you a picture, not of the one we put in, but just from a parts website. I forgot to take a picture before I put it in. This is what that part is supposed to look like, when it's brand new. 

2013 Range Rover Sport Supercharged Timing Chain

There's a view of the new timing chains installed. That oil jet that we just looked at sits, moving the mouse point around, that sits in this area right here. And it's a very, you know, obviously fine little pipe, sits in that area right there. And it sprays oil onto the timing chains. Down below here, this is the chain that drives the fuel pump area. And so there's a lower timing chain here. We didn't replace this chain, but the timing of this chain was way out of whack.

2013 Range Rover Sport Supercharged Timing Chain

This is actually a tool here that positions that shaft in the proper position for the chain timing. So inserted that, set it in the right spot, and the tensioner is actually a big spring loaded tension. We're actually able to reset that chain to the right spot. It looked like there was no damage to the chain or gears or the tensioner, so it was okay to, to keep it, and it wasn't stretched too far. 

So there's that mangled jet. We just found that kind of floating around once we remove the timing cover. There was also a broken bolt which I don't have a picture of, but that was holding this tensioner here. 

2013 Range Rover Sport Supercharged Timing Chain

You can see that's a little damaged. There's that piece again, the jet.

2013 Range Rover Sport Supercharged Timing Chain

And there's a close up view of this timing chain guide. So there's a special bolt, a very rounded shaft that fits in these guides here, and it actually had snapped. But fortunately, because it sits so close to the timing chain cover, it never actually flung out of place because if that had gone into the chains, I mean, that could have caused a huge catastrophe. And I think that's our show.

2013 Range Rover Sport Supercharged Timing Chain

Mark: So what do you think caused all of that to happen in the first place? 

Bernie: I'd say the timing chains were loose and worn for a long time. They were probably rattling. Very loose, flopping around. And if it flops around too much, it probably caught that little metal jet. That sits probably, you know, quarter inch above the chain. It's pretty close. So if it's flopping around you know, we're talking like a 500 horsepower supercharged engine, where you rev the engine, it moves, you know, things will move very rapidly. If it moves around, chances are it probably just caught that jet and tore it apart.

It probably jumped down and somehow a piece of that got caught in the chain for the fuel pump drive. That probably just jumped a couple of teeth on that chain, which at that point, the owner is probably like, okay, I can't drive this thing anymore and probably all happened really fast. But fortunately, you know, this is like a catastrophe averted. 

Mark: Right, by the narrowest of margins. 

Bernie: By the narrowest of margins. Yeah, the Steve Austin man, not completely dead. Just a lot of mangled body parts.

Mark: So, were there things to do that could have prevented this in the 1st place? 

Bernie: Yeah so if you have a vehicle like this and there's any rattling noise in the engine, get it fixed right away. That's really the bottom line because these timing chains, we've done quite a few of these. We've had 1 other that's had that jet partially damaged, but this one is the worst. And this is the only time we've had one where it's actually jumped the fuel pump timing. So you know, clearly the worst or that broken bolt on that tensioner. 

So, you know, clearly this thing had been running for a very long time. It actually had quite a bit over 200,000, 220,000, kilometres on the engine. So it actually has got a pretty good use out of this engine. We've seen them, you know, with under 100,000 with rattly timing chains. So you know, it's pretty good use, but I don't know how long the owner had been driving it for with that noise.

But if you have a rattling noise, get it fixed right away. It's not cheap, but it's cheaper to do it then than it is to do it with this particular situation. 

Mark: Was there anything else that could have been done or should have been done during the repair? 

Bernie: When we take this all apart, you have to take the supercharger and the intake off. We actually replace the supercharger nose cone as well. I mentioned that that was noisy. The part's costly, but it's a pretty simple job to do when you're removing the supercharging, do the timing chain. That's a piece of causes rattling noises as well. It's a guaranteed failure in any of these supercharged Jag or, Land Rover engines. 

The intake valves were had a fair amount of carbon deposit. This is a direct injection engine. We did a did a podcast recently on an Audi, we did a walnut shell blasting. That would have been a good thing to do in the vehicle, but the owner was kind of at his limit for how much he wanted to spend. That wasn't a showstopper in terms of the engine, but it would have been a good thing to prevent any possible slight engine misfires for the future, or probably would improve the performance of the engine a bit to clean that. It could be done later, but it'd just be cheaper to do it when the intake manifolds already off because that's 50 or 80% of the procedures to remove those components. So that would be the only other thing. I think other than that, we did everything that needed to be done to get this job done properly.

Mark: We've done quite a few timing chain replacement videos. Why do they wear like this? 

Bernie: I think it's just a poor design. The timing chain is too small. It's too thin for this type of engine. Now, I will say then the 1st years we came across with the 2010, which is the 1st year they made them. What we noticed was when you would order the timing chain tensioner, it had a fatter plunger on it. I think what was happening with the early models was that the timing chain tensioner plunger was way too small and that would fail. 

So I figured, well, once they redesign that I think, in 2012 and update, they use the fatter plunger and I thought okay, well, that's the problem solved, but it isn't solved. I think it just leaves it a little longer before it fails. I think these timing chains are too small. I had a Mercedes SL 55 and those engines- same kind of horsepower, you know. Supercharged, very high horsepower engine.

They use a double roller chain and that's just so much thicker than this particular chain. In the design of it, if they would have used a double roller chain, that would have made this engine at least an inch fatter in the front. So they probably figured ah, we'll just use this thinner chain. I think the chains are too thin. But it isn't just the supercharged engines that fail. They also fail in the non supercharged as well. I think it's just an inadequate design. 

Mark: Getting this repaired right away when you hear the noise. Would that have been cheaper if the owner had done that? 

Bernie: Oh, definitely. Yeah. Yeah. There was a lot more labour involved in this job because we had to replace, you know, there's a broken bolt. There was the fuel rail fuel pump drive chain to realign and, you know, had that got any worse, we would have to replace that, which would involve taking the engine out, taking the oil pan off and doing all of that. So, I mean, we did say to the customer that would probably be the best thing to do, but here's the extra cost. And he goes, no, I think I'll pass on that. 

Mark: Yeah, the lesson here is if you hear it rattling, get it fixed sooner, because if it's rattling, it's causing damage and the damage is going to multiply and it just gets more expensive by the day.

Bernie: Yeah. And I think actually it's a miracle that this, this engine didn't actually completely disintegrate because here's the thing is, is if your valve and piston timing goes out too far - pistons and valves collide. And at that point, you have bent valves, then that adds a huge cost to the engine and at that point, is it actually worth repairing it or just getting another engine? A rebuilt engine or a new engine is $25,000 at least, if not a lot more. I mean, the used engine is probably at least $10,000 or more. Plus installation, you know? 

Mark: Yeah, of course. So how did it run after it was all repaired? 

Bernie: It was good. Yeah. Ran really well. So it's a nice thing to see. 

Mark: And how are these Range Rover Sport supercharged versions for reliability? 

Bernie: Well, they're good. We're talking about the biggest flaw of this engine, which is the timing chain. It's a luxury vehicle with a lot of fancy equipment. The air suspension system causes issues and there are other things, but things are better than they used to be. Brakes last longer than they did at one time, and suspension bushings do wear out, but they're a little better than they used to be. So it's a good vehicle, but you pay a lot to buy one new. To repair it, it's expensive. Generally a good vehicle, but just be prepared to spend a lot more money than you would on a lesser vehicle.

Mark: If you're looking for repairs for your Land Rover or Range Rover in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. They're experts in it. They deal with a lot of these vehicles. You can reach them on their website pawlikautomotive.com. You can book right there. Or you can call them (604) 327-7112. You have to call or book online ahead of time. They're always busy. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching and listening.

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Bernie Pawlik

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