April 24

2015 Range Rover Sport 3L V6 Coolant Leaks

Land Rover/Range Rover

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

Bernie: I am very well as usual. 

Mark: Good. So today's victim is another Range Rover, 2015 Range Rover Sport, 3 litre V6. What was happening with this vehicle?

Bernie: So this vehicle came to our shop with a coolant leak. Not a surprise on a Range Rover or many cars for that matter to not be too hard on Range Rovers. But yeah, it came with a coolant leak concern.  

Mark: So what, other than perhaps it being obvious, what sort of inspection and diagnostic do you do for a coolant leak?

Yeah, so our cooling system inspection starts, of course, with a visual inspection to look under the hood and under the vehicle to see where we can see, and then we do a pressure test on the cooling system. What the pressure test does, is every cooling system on a car, any vehicle is under pressure, anywhere from say, 12 to 20 PSI of pressure, operating pressure.

So, we have a tool that pumps the pressure up to whatever the, we set it to whatever the operating so's say it's 16 PSI we pump it up to 16 PSI. And that helps to find leaks because obviously pressure will force the coolant out. So on the odd occasion, a pressure test won't actually find a leak. The leak actually happens when it's not under pressure. But that's probably one out of 500 leaks. So not too often. 

So we pressure test the cooling system and the first thing we found was the water pump was leaking. So that seemed to be the leak. There were further leaks, but the first leak we found was the water pump. Repaired that. And technician road tested it, came back, reinspected it, and found there was some more coolant leakage, which happens from time to time. 

Mark: How often does it happen? 

Bernie: Like we have a second leak? Hmm. Well, not so often, but every once in a while on a vehicle like this where you've got one major leak, you've gotta fix the major leak first because sometimes the other leaks, it doesn't show up from the pressure. There's a duplication of locations where the leak is. Say there's coolant running from one spot to another, you know, it's sort of running over top of where the other leak is. Or the other leak doesn't really show up as well until the first leak is fixed. 

Now this second leak was definitely much, much less then the first one, but it's still nonetheless, was a leak and you know, the vehicle had come in, we don't wanna send it back and then find the person's back a week later with another coolant leak. So best to address it all in one shot. 

Mark: So where was the second leak? 

Bernie: So second leak, I'm just gonna start right into the picture show. It was coming from the coolant intake pipes at the front of the engine. So here's the front of our engine. So this is a supercharged V6 engine. It looks almost like the V8, it just two cylinders shorter. So just a little sort of stubbier version. There's a little more room in the engine compartment to work on.

2015 Range Rover Sport 3L V6 Coolant Leaks

 It's actually a good economical alternative for the V8, I think is kind of a supercharged V8 with 500 horsepower. It sure makes this thing fly, but you know, the V6 is a really good option. Little more economical, and it still goes well. So the coolant leak was buried, it was visible way down here.

 It took a lot of looking and searching to find it. We have actual cameras, like a borescope camera, that we can look down and we can see coolant way down below. Again, I'm moving my mouse pointer around, pointing this out. So that the coolant leak was coming down in this area here. After looking carefully and looking at what components were involved, we figured the leak was coming from a coolant intake pipe. These are all plastic pipes and they do fail. 

There's a view of the the intake manifold, the supercharger all removed. And this is a view of the coolant pipe. And this is where the leak was occurring from. When we did the water pump, there's a little tube that goes between the water pump. We replaced that. And at first, technician Ed thought, Meh, maybe that seal failed, but it didn't.

2015 Range Rover Sport 3L V6 Coolant Leaks

So we make sure when we do a job, we replace all the parts around it that are important too, that could cause potential leaks. It was all good. But basically, these plastic pipes here failed. 

And as we look at further pictures, these are all the pipes. This is the one, moving my mouse pointer around, you could see from the top of the engine, it clips into this pipe here. This area here where I'm moving the mouse pointer around, this is the part that clips into the engine block and actually the ends broke off because the plastic gets brittle over time. 

2015 Range Rover Sport 3L V6 Coolant Leaks

This is another closer view, unfortunately, a little fuzzy on this part here, but you can see a seam in the plastic here. This part actually had a hairline crack in it, and that's where the coolant was leaking out of. You can also see a bunch of other little pieces here. There's a lot of complexity to this particular piece here. 

2015 Range Rover Sport 3L V6 Coolant Leaks

And the replacement unit we got, it's an aluminum pipe setup. You can see this is much better. There's 1, 2, 3 parts with the plastic piece, a coupler, there's a, an elbow, the plastic pipe there's several O-rings. And this metal pipe here eliminates most of these O-rings. So it's a really smart idea, plus it's made out of aluminum, much more durable. 

2015 Range Rover Sport 3L V6 Coolant Leaks

And this is the other pipe that was broken off inside the engine. This is the aluminum piece that goes inside here. Also, while we're out at this part here, I'm moving my mouse point around, this is the engine oil cooler and there's coolant underneath this piece here. There's a big gasket that goes around it. So while we're in there, we replaced that as well, to prevent future issues from occurring. Here you can see the new water pump that we just replaced.

2015 Range Rover Sport 3L V6 Coolant Leaks

And finally, there's the aluminum pipe. I think that ends our picture show.

2015 Range Rover Sport 3L V6 Coolant Leaks

Mark: So are these higher standard replacement parts only available in aftermarket? 

Bernie: Well, I don't know. We actually bought this from one of our aftermarket suppliers that sells a lot of parts for Land Rover and Range Rover, plus a lot of other import cars. And they sell a lot of items that replace plastic parts.

They have items for BMW thermostat housings that tend to fail. They have metal coolant pipe replacements for the Porsche Cayennes that have a high failure rate. So I don't know whether these are available from Land Rover or not, but these are our go-to items and I think it provides a much better repair.

Like a customer will likely never be back for a repair for this part again. This vehicle is now eight years, seven years old. You know, I say an early failure for this kind of thing. So with these metal pieces, likely it'll never fail again. Certainly the aluminum will never fail.

Mark: So is this a planned obsolescence thing? The use of the substandard plastic parts? 

Bernie: I dunno if it's planned obsolescence, but I think it's really lack of thought. You know, some of the things we repair and we come across, we scratch our heads going, why do they make it out of that? I mean, it saves a tiny little bit of weight. Plastic is a little lighter than aluminum. I dunno if it's any cheaper. I mean, plastic is great cuz you can mold it into many shapes. But if you look at this aluminum piece, it's very nicely fabricated. And actually the cost of it for us is actually less than buying the parts from Land Rover.

So, I don't know what their sort of markup structure is on parts. You know, what their actual cost is versus when they're making the vehicle, whether plastic was cheaper than aluminum. But to me, sometimes, you know, plastics are great for a lot of things, but there are certain areas where they do cause a lot of problems.

And this may sound cynical, but you know, it keeps us in business. So maybe, maybe it's not a bad thing, but it is kind of frustrating to see something fail and you go, well, it shouldn't. 

Mark: Yeah. Especially since there's a lot of history about making parts in places that have a high heat cycle rate that will last.

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. Now, I don't know if there are better quality plastics. I mean, plastics, there's such a Range of types of plastic out there. Whether they could make them better. I don't really know, but it seems like over the years, if you look through our podcast history, there'll be lots of discussion about plastic part failure, and it was going on long before we ever podcasted or wrote things. And we'll be talking about them in the future. 

Mark: Yeah. And how are these V6 Range Rover Sports for reliability? 

Bernie: Well, I'd say they're probably about the same as their V8 counterparts. You know, as I've said, Range Rovers, they're complex vehicles. There's a lot of things that can and do go wrong. I mean, again, these plastic parts that we just talked about, you know, to me is not the most reliable design. This engine had some rattles too. It sounded like the timing chain was probably on its way out, which is, you know, a common thing we find on the V8. It's the same design.

It's under a heavy load in a supercharge engine. Very, very fast acceleration so it's hard on the timing chains, even for a normal driving. And the supercharger nose cone had some noises too. So, you know, I believe this client will be back for some other noise repairs at some point in the future. But they're a nice vehicle. Just expect to spend more money repairing and maintaining them.

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Range Rover, Land Rover, Jaguar in Vancouver, the experts to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can book online at pawlikautomotive.com. We have many podcasts about these vehicles and their attendant issues and how to get them to last a little bit longer. Check that out at pawlikautomotive.com and you can book your appointment, or you can call (604) 327-7112 to book. You have to book ahead. They're busy. Thank you so much for watching and listening. We appreciate it. Thanks so much, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. And thanks for watching.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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