Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and that's Vancouver's best auto service experience. 21 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 2014 Range Rover Sport Supercharged. We're talking about another one of these with timing chain issues. What was happening with this vehicle?
Bernie: Yeah, so this vehicle came to our shop with some noises coming from the front of the engine. We did a diagnostic on it, found two issues. These are the two common issues. You can see it in our other podcasts and videos that the timing chain was rattling. And the supercharger nose cone was also making a lot of noise.
Mark: So when we talked about this before, you talked about how the timing chain failure was due to, on earlier versions of this vehicle, due to a badly designed tensioner, chain tensioner. So why is the newer model kind of having the same issue?
Bernie: Well, that's a good question. You know, initially, in the 2010 to 2012 model, they used, they used the timing chain tension, had a very small diameter plunger on it. I don't have a picture here, but if you look at our previous video, you'll see a picture of it compared to the newer design. And they redesigned that in 2013 and I figured, okay, we won't see any more of those that problem is solved. But we've started to see some 2013’s this one's a 2014 with timing chains rattling. And so there's another flaw in the design, which we'll show in a picture in a few minutes, but I think what's happened is they, they basically, the actual arm of the timing chain tensioner that the piece of pushes against the chain is actually made of aluminum. So it, it's not robust enough to handle the constant pressure that's being pushed on it. And the replacement parts have a metal, little metal piece, like a steel piece inserted. And that's a much more durable item. So why they didn't go straight to that, I don't know why but you know, I think that's what's part of what's causing it to wear out.
Mark: Now, we've talked about this a little bit in the how the chain itself is different than some other makes timing chain. Is that part of the problem?
Bernie: I think so. So interestingly enough, we've not yet done a timing chain on a non supercharged model. So I think the timing chain on this vehicle is just not robust enough to actually handle the power of the supercharged engine. If you've ever driven a supercharged engine, I mean, they have, the acceleration is, it's just instantaneous. So I mean, the engine is speeding up, you know, twice as fast as a non supercharged model. So, I mean, that's a lot of strain on an engine. It needs to be built, I think, far more robustly than they do. Mercedes, for instance, uses a double roller timing chain for most of their items, and we'll show some pictures in a second. You'll see the difference. But we, we've never changed the timing chain on a Mercedes supercharged or regular. They just, you know, they'd been using it for decades and they never wear out. So this is kind of, you know, pretty poor, but let's just get into some pictures right now.
So, here's a picture of our old tensioner and the actual tension arm that pushes against the timing chain. In this view the red arrows just point to the contact point. So there's nothing really, I mean, you can see a bit of gritty, you know wear here, but that's not really, it's a steel plunger. That's really, nothing's going to do nothing. But in here, there's a lot of wear in this particular surface, and I don't have a picture of the new item, but the new part has an actual steel piece in here, which is much tougher and it be able to withstand more abuse. So, the replacement parts work much better. Here's a side view. So this is how everything goes together. So this little plastic plate here rubs against the timing chain. This tensioner, which has a spring inside plus oil pressure pushing on it, keeps the timing chain tight. And of course, these things can fail. They do, you know, they can't hold their oil pressure property. So there might be some issues with that as well, but at least in the case of this engine that, you know, it's not that old of a vehicle, it's not likely going to have occurred at this point in time.
Mark: And the reason for a tensioner on the timing chain is due to wear and stretching in the chain?
Bernie: Exactly. Now, so these chains, so this is an overhead camshaft engine, and I don't have a picture of the whole length of the chain, but these chains are very long. They're probably, I'm going to guess three feet long if you actually cut the chain apart, it's probably a three foot long chain. So it runs from the crankshaft over two cam shafts. So there's two gears on the cam shafts, and then it goes back down to the crankshaft. And so there's a lot of length and slop, and so everything is calculated, the chain's got to be this long and the tensioner is going to take up this much tension.
If you look at this plunger here, you can actually see a sort of, you know, darker area and then a shiny spot. The shiny area is the part that's actually, like the dark part is the only part that would have actually been sticking out in the engine. You know, when the engine was running. So there's a lot of room to deal with a chain as it wears, to keep the chain tight. Also, of course, these plastic guides are a weak spot. And other models of cars, we see these guides breaking. You know, this isn't, a timing chain failure isn't a Range Rover only thing. It happens in other vehicles, but, and this is where, you know, changing oil is so critical in a lot of these modern engines. You've got your tensioners here, you know, these guides need the right kind of oil. There are plastic pieces that you know that, as long as the oil is correct, they'll last a long time, but they will wear over time. That answer your question?
Bernie: Perfect. Okay, so here's a picture of the timing chain. So this is a single roller chain. I don't have a, you know, this is a head of a Phillips screw on one of our benches. So it kind of gives you a reference that this chain is only probably a quarter inch wide, it's really pretty minimal in size. So this, you know, this to me is probably one of the biggest flaws of this engine is this chain is just not big enough to withstand. A double roller chain and I'll show you a picture in a second. Basically it's like two chains sandwich together. So it has this section plus another one here and that runs on a gear that has again, two gears. So it kind of spreads the force out over a a wider area. So here's a picture, this is a product photo of a double roller timing chain. This is a short one that you'd probably find in a push rod style V eight engine. Not the Land Rover because the Land Rover one is triple the length of this one. But you can see here that there's one section for a gear tooth and then another section. So again, the force is spread out over a much wider area. This these last much longer. So this is what I believe they should have done in the first place, and we wouldn't be here, but they all say it's kind of cynical, but thank you Land Rover, because it gives us work or thank you Ford Motor Company.
Mark: And what about the supercharger nose cones? Since this was also replaced and noisy, I guess.
Bernie: So this is another issue with this engine and the supercharger nose cone, I mean, the nose cone is basically the piece that attaches the drive belt to, there's some bearings, and then that actually attaches to the actual supercharger itself. So in the nose cone, there's a coupler. And the coupler's, what wears out. And I don't have a picture here, but if you look at some of our previous videos and podcasts, you'll be able to have a look at a picture of what that piece looks like. We have pictures there. But basically that coupler wears out and causes a rattling sound as the belt moves and the engine revs up.
Mark: So isn't there a simpler alternative than replacing the entire nose cone? Couldn't you just change the coupler?
Bernie: I wish that Land Rover offered a coupler because I think that that's really all it goes wrong. The actual bearings in the nose cone don't wear out, it's an expensive part. Although fortunately for the 2014, the price had dropped a few, a couple of hundred dollars over the previous model years, which was nice to see. But, you know, like yeah, we're chucking away a whole bunch of good stuff. But, unfortunately the coupler only comes with the whole nose cone. They really should sell it separately because nothing else really wears. The other pieces that the coupler attaches to are just steel pins, and they don't seem to wear it all. But the coupler is basically there to dampen the force of the supercharger, and I think, it's supposed to quiet down the operation of the unit. But unfortunately it's just not built robust enough to last a long time. So this is another sort of, you know, failure of this piece.
So there are after market couplers available, and we actually did do a timing chain on one vehicle where someone had put one in. But I don't really trust it. I mean, there's a reason why they design it like they do. And you know, for us, we don't want to put a part in that's going to cause some kind of other failure or other issue, you know, there's liability in certain things. So for us it's just better to replace it with the known good factory part. Although, you know, again, it will probably not last as long as it should. There's no redesign on that, by the way. If that was a question. Why don't they redesign it? They haven't, it's basically the same piece that comes.
Mark: And how many kilometres were on this vehicle?
Bernie: Yeah, not a lot. This vehicle only had just over 60,000 kilometres, you know, which is, what miles, like 40, 35, 40,000 miles. So really, I mean, way too new for something like this to happen, but out of warranty, unfortunately and you know, the problems there. So it's surprising, you know, we do a lot of these where it'll, most of them don't even hit a 100,000 kilometres or 60,000 miles before that, before this issue occurs. So it's a, you know, it happens at a pretty young age.
Mark: And how is the Range Rover after all these repairs?
Bernie: Oh, it was good. Sounded awesome. You know, nice and quiet, ran really well. The other thing I didn't mention is, you know, when this owner of this vehicle brought it in a couple of weeks ago, you know to diagnose the noise. And by the time he decided to have it fixed, the engine was already starting to run really rough. There was a check engine light on for a number of different trouble codes related to valve timing and things. So the timing chains, like there was so much play and slack, it was a good thing he had them done when he did because had he driven it much longer, something might've skipped a tooth and broken something. And at that point you, you know, risk severe engine damage. So when these things start rattling, you got to fix them.
Mark: Any final thoughts about Range Rover and reliability?
Bernie: Well, you know, as we've done a couple of podcasts on this particular issue, I'd say, you know, if you're looking to buy one of these vehicles, especially the supercharged model, find out the repair history. You know, it'll make a big difference as to whether this timing chain has been done or the supercharger nose cone because, it's a problem. It'll happen. Like a Subaru head gasket is guaranteed to happen at some point in time. I should say the timing belt, the older Subaru, and we call them older Subaru's now, but you know, there's certain years.
So this is, to me, what I'm seeing is this is a guaranteed issue that's going to happen. So, you know, do your research, find out whether it's been done or not, and if it hasn't been, if you can negotiate some money off the price of the vehicle, if you're buying it used, it's a good idea because you will be faced with the repair. And it's in the five to $10,000 range and closer to the 10 side, if you need to do both of these pieces. So that's a lot of money to fork out.
Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Range Rover in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can call them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment in Vancouver or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com all makes and models and types of repairs over 600 vehicles, over the years now. Check out the YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Again, hundreds of videos, and if you like what you're listening to or watching, give us a like on iTunes or Spotify, wherever you happen to be listening to this or watching and we appreciate it. Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching.