September 13

2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine



Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So this week's victim is a 2014 G63 AMG. That was running a bit rough. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the vehicle came to us. The check engine light was on and the owner complained the engine was running a bit rough from time to time. So that's what it's here for. 

Mark: What kind of testing and diagnosis did you do? 

Bernie: Well, first of all, of course, it's to road test the vehicle. And when we drove it, it seemed to run fairly well. Maybe it just a little rough. And then of course, next step, a scan tool hookup, a full vehicle code scan and that revealed some interesting information to do some further testing.

And I'll just get the screen share right away. So there's our G63.

2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine

This is the scan report. This is the engine fault section. So you can see there's basically seven faults for the engine. There's a number of other things. 

Any European car will always have a whole bunch of faults, if it works perfectly well, if you scan it every six months, you'll find there's something going on with this and that. But, usually engine issues, we take them more seriously than say a lot of the body control issues, which may be a slightly low battery or some little glitch happened.

But a couple of interesting points here now. A lot of these codes it'll say whether it's stored or current. And as I mentioned, it seemed to be running sorta well. All these seven faults on this list here, they all say stored. But this top one is interesting, actuation ignition coil one's an electrical fault or open circuit.

That's of course, something that usually indicates the coil is bad. Not always, it could be a wiring issue, but most of the time we find that's an issue. And then of course, cylinder one has a misfire. Could be the coil. Then seven and eight cylinders also had some misfires. Plus there's a random misfire code down here.

This P0385. And then some emission gas tank cap missing. Maybe the owner at some point had not put the gas tank cap, which isn't gonna cause any performance issues. So these are the codes we have to work with and the place to start. And yeah so that was basically where we started our diagnosis.

We pulled the coil out, did a visual inspection. Swapped coils around, which we often do. Visually inspect the spark plugs, which looked okay. But you know the vehicle is seven years old. So spark plugs don't need to be replaced at seven years, but kind of getting on, you know, with all these codes could have been an issue,

Mark: Was this a high mileage vehicle? 

Bernie: No, it only had 43,000 kilometres, so very low mileage, in fact. So that brought up another issue of another service we did, which we'll talk about in a little bit. So basically from our conclusion, we figured the best thing to do would be to replace the spark plugs and the number one cylinder ignition coil. And that's where we proceeded. Vehicle seemed to run a bit better afterwards, but seem to be not quite perfect, but certainly an improvement. 

Mark: So how has changing the spark plugs and coil on this vehicle? 

Bernie: Well, I'll just get into some different photos. So here's the engine. Beautiful looking as AMG engines tend to be on almost every AMG model. So you have your air cleaners here. These are the air intake ducts, it's a turbocharged V8, so the ducts to the turbo. And underneath here, underneath both these air cleaners, they need to be removed to access the fuel injectors, spark plugs, ignition coils, and so on.

And here's another view of the left cylinder bank. This is the air cleaner off. The valve cover's basically here. You've got the fuel injectors here. This is a gasoline direct injection system, which you'll find on most vehicles made in this decade. The ignition coils sit here on top of the spark plugs, which had been removed when I took this photograph. So that's basically it. 

Now, the interesting thing is the spark plugs is, you know, spark plugs, you think, oh, they're spark plugs. You take them out. So it looks like it's sort of average type of spark plug, screw it in set a torque it. But there's actually a procedure on these, that this electrode, this is the ground electrode and this open gap has to face within 45 degrees on either side of the fuel injector. I'll just kind of go back a photograph here. So this is the fuel injector. So when that spark plug's installed that open gap has to sit sort of between this direction and this direction.

And so we had to mark our sockets and make sure that when it was torqued that was within that spec and we opted to get the actual genuine Mercedes spark plug so that, you know, for sure I mean, they're made to fit the vehicle, even though they're not made by Mercedes, they are either made by NGK or Bosch, for sure. But just to make sure that it was a hundred percent fit. So we verified that was all good in doing it. So that's a little bit of an unusual techie kind of thing on this engine. 

Mark: So, have you ever seen that before, that kind of precise, spark plug alignment on another engine? 

Bernie: You know, the only other engine I know of and this there's probably more of them, than I know, but the Honda Insight, the older Honda Insight, so it's kind of ugly looking hybrids, unless you really liked the look of them but I kind of find them ugly. The spark plugs on those actually are indexed and they actually have a special code number on each spark plug. And there's, I believe one to three different types so they'll actually align properly. So they obviously don't machine everything quite as precisely as Mercedes has done.

So you have to know, when you take the spark plugs out you have to be really careful to know which coded spark plug it is. So you get the right one in. But that's the only other engine I know of, but there might be more. I mean, obviously more of these AMG's, these engines have that same precision too.

Mark: So you did some other service on this engine. What did that entail? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the other service we did, I mentioned it's got gasoline direct injection. And so we did a GDI cleaning service, which is something we'd recommend doing about every two to three years, every 30, 40,000 kilometres on any engine like that. It's important for the performance of the engine too and longevity of the engine. And it can really fix little subtle misfire problems and rough running. So we figure, especially with this vehicle, 43,000 kilometres is not a lot on a seven year old vehicle. It's driven very little. So it's probably had a lot of cold trips, you know, not really warmed up, you know, the oil has not been changed as much as it probably should have, so that that can contribute to deposits on the valves.

Mark: And how do those deposits affect the engine performance? 

Bernie: Well, as I mentioned, it can cause misfires, it can cause you know, hard starting issues, little subtle problems. We find a lot of times, you know, engines that develop little subtle things where, you know, maybe the car just doesn't feel like it did when it was new. Like it doesn't quite start as fast or run as smoothly, or there's little times where the performance is lacking. Maybe a little hesitation. That can be from carbon deposits on valves. And if it gets really bad, it can cause some really severe performance issues. Even to the point of actually damaging valves or valve seats, but you know usually by that time, you'll notice something really wrong.

Mark: So after you did all that, how did the vehicle run? 

Bernie: Good. It ran really well. I mean, it's a bit of a stumbely rough engine. It's a high performance engine, twin turbos, AMG high-performance over 500 horsepower version. So it has a kind of a little rough feel to it, just slightly, on it's sort of at the bottom end, which is, I think, you know normal.

But yeah, it ran great lots of, you know, I mean, insane amount of power in a utility truck. But yeah, it was good. 

Mark: So these G63s are unique, very expensive vehicles. How are they for liability? And what are your thoughts about them overall?

Bernie: Yeah, they're very high price vehicle. I'll just go back to a couple of pictures I want to kind of share on some stuff. So, yeah let's talk about the picture in a second, but yeah, I mean a very high price vehicle to buy a new and they hold their value really well in the used market, which I'm sort of thinking, what vehicle does this compare to? And it's kind of like a Range Rover in some ways. I mean, it's that similar kind of market, it's a luxury utility vehicle, but this is a much rougher type of vehicle. And you know, Range Rovers depreciate at a much more substantial rate than these. So, I mean, that's one thing to say about them, but this is quite a utility vehicle.

I mean, so getting into thoughts on the vehicle. I mean, this is a picture of the front differential. This is a solid beam axle. I mean, I don't know anyone else who sells a vehicle like this anymore, but it's got the ball knuckle for the four wheel drive. It's got a re-circulating ball, like a steering box, basically with a steering linkage. So this is very crude technology. 

I had a 77 Toyota Land Cruiser. This is very similar, but what I will say about the G wagon, it's your rides a whole lot nicer than a Land Cruiser. That thing really bounced. They've got the suspension much more nicely dialed in. But I mean, I think there's a lot of things about these vehicles that are really, they're rough and utility, and they don't really suit being an AMG. Just with the power and performance. It's kind of overkill. 

I mean, things like these differential locks is never use on unpaved roads. Well, all of these vehicles will never go off road. Most people, you see a lot of them around Vancouver, a lot of people they'll never go off road. But it's certainly built, if you want an amazing off-road vehicle, this is definitely one to choose for sure. Tough, durable, but you know, with the chrome side pipes that come out under running boards and beautiful alloy wheels, it could be a, you know, too nice of a vehicle really to take on any kind of rough roads. At least the kind I like to. A good vehicle. Solid. I love the way the doors open and close to when you close the doors and you know, that's a quality vehicle. 

Mark: And reliability? 

Bernie: Yeah, good. It's a Mercedes, so you'll spend more money on repairs and maintenance and things are finickier, but you know, overall it's a vehicle that will last a long time and they're tough. I mean, there are tons of G wagons around that have been, before they were kind of regularly imported into North America, they've been around for decades before that and still tough and reliable. So good vehicle. 

Mark: Therefore, if you're needing some service for your AMG product in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, or you can book online at Check out our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there. As well as on the website, there's hundreds of blog posts, including the transcripts. We've been doing this for 10 years, literally close to a thousand videos on all makes models, types of cars, types of repairs. And of course, we really appreciate you listening and watching. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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