June 12

2016 Porsche Macan Coolant Leak



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

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So we're gonna talk about a Porsche pecan, Macan, what was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: I just love the way that rhymes., those two words just rhyme so well, pecan Macan. I dunno if Porsche has any plans to bring out a pecan, but it just doesn't sound quite as good. Sounds kind of nutty Anyways, what was going on with this vehicle? The owner had a small coolant leak, coolant drip coming from the vehicle, so brought it to us to have a look at.

Mark: So coolant leaks are always a little bit problematic because it's a pressurized system. What did you do to diagnose where the leak was? 

Bernie: Yeah, so it's funny you mentioned pressurized. So our first test, of course, is a visual inspection to look and see if we can see anything obvious. And then from there it's to do a pressure test. We have tools that pressurize the cooling system to help us find where the leak is coming from. Because you know, as an engine warms up, all cooling system have a pressurized cap on it and as the cooling system warms up, of course the pressure builds up and leaks that maybe aren't apparent at atmospheric pressure will certainly show up at 10 or 15 psi.

So we pressurized the cooling system and we did find a leak. From a coolant pipe that was located underneath the intake manifold. Small little coolant pipe causing a leak. Guess what the coolant pipe was made of? 

Mark: I don't know. Paper mache? 

Bernie: Yeah. Well, a little better than that. It was made of plastic. So another plastic part failed.

Mark: So, under the intake manifold. Is this a V6 or 

Bernie: Yeah, it's a v6 non turbo on this car, it's a non turbo model. 

Mark: So this is just a routing issue? Why would they have the coolant pipe under the intake manifold?

Bernie: Well, a lot of engines do that for routing coolant pipes. I mean there's many engines that route coolant pipes underneath intake manifolds. Either V engines or even straight engines, cuz it's a convenient place to put a pipe. There's room and space underneath, and of course it's a hotspot, but you know, that's what they do. 

We'll just have a look at a couple pictures. There's our car right there. Beautiful looking little compact SUV. 

2016 Porsche Macan Coolant Leak

There's the engine. So we're looking at the top of the V6 engine here. We've got our, moving the mouse pointer around, cylinder heads, right bank, left bank. The intake manifold here, and that's the coolant pipe that is in question. It's a small little pipe located under here. We'll look at that pipe in a second.

2016 Porsche Macan Coolant Leak

Mark: So essentially you have to remove the intake manifold to get

Bernie: Yeah, you have to remove the intake manifold to get at the pipe. So it's a bit complicated, but not super crazy. I mean, everything's reasonably accessible here. If it was a supercharged engine which would normally sit right up here, that would make it more complicated. But, you know, it's a fair bit of work, but it's not like a pipe that just sort of lays across the top here.

So there's the pipe, the broken pipe there. This is a small diameter pipe. It's kinda hard to make that out, but this is only about like 5/16ths, 3/8ths of an inch in diameter. It's really quite small and you can see the little broken off piece there and part of the other part of the pipe on this side here.

2016 Porsche Macan Coolant Leak

So, you know, it's unfortunately kind of common things that happen. Bit of a blurry picture here, but again, you can kind of see the plastic that's just deteriorated over time. Although this car's not really that old. To me, a 2016 is still kind of a new car, but guess it's not anymore.

2016 Porsche Macan Coolant Leak

Mark: Well, isn't that kind of quick to be replacing a coolant pipe? 

Bernie: Yeah.

Mark: We are talking about a German automotive plastic part. 

Bernie: Yeah, yeah. No, it's not entirely uncommon. I know we joke about this. I mean, I just say that because I've been in car business for so long, and I just think of when I start seeing these like German plastic parts fail. I know like some BMWs, I mean, they're kind of scary when they get, you know, 15 years old where you lean against the radiator hose nipple for their upper radiator hose snaps off because the plastic just gets brittle. And, you know, that does happen on Japanese cars too. Over time plastic just, it deteriorates. But it seems like on German cars, it often doesn't last as long or there's a lot of problems with stuff. So hopefully the redesigned pipe is of better quality, but, you know, it probably is the same. 

Mark: So there wasn't a replacement metal pipe. I know in some cases you replaced stuff with metal.

Bernie: Yeah. Not for this one. This is a very small diameter. It's kinda like a, I don't wanna say it's a breather pipe, because sometimes they have small ones where it's just meant to carry a small, it's not meant to carry a large volume of coolant.

Sometimes it just kind of takes the air out of the system, breather isn't really the right word. Or it might just service one or two little components that require some coolant to warm up a certain area. But yeah, I mean there are a lot of items, you know, on various models of cars where you can get metal replacement items. And we almost always go for those because they just, to me it just makes it a lot more durable. You've fixed it and now it's not gonna fail again. 

Mark: When you were doing this, was there anything else that needed to be replaced along with the pipe?

Bernie: Just gaskets on the intake manifold, but nothing else. You know, if we see things that are obvious. We'll do them. But in this case there wasn't anything else. There was really a one-off repair and one-off piece to do. So was, didn't require anything extra. 

Mark: And how did everything run after the repair?

Bernie: Oh, it was good. Yeah. Perfect. No more leaks. We, we always repressurize the cooling system, make sure it's good, clean everything off to make sure leaks are done. And yeah, everything was good. You know, sometimes with certain repairs, one leak will be masking a second leak. Usually when you have a small little thing like this, there's nothing that's masking.

It's usually when you have a massive leak, like a blown radiator, where it's a huge hole where you can't even pressurize it. You go, okay, well, we gotta fix that first, and then you find this another problem after that. It's a little frustrating for us to call a client afterwards and say, Hey, by the way, you've got another leak.

But you know, it does happen. So sometimes you have to fix one thing first to find the next thing, but in this case, it was just the one thing. 

Mark: How are Porsche Macans for reliability? 

Bernie: Yeah. They seem to be pretty good, seem to be pretty good little cars so far. You know, I mean they're, I still think it see them as kind of being new, but we don't see too many problems with them. We do a lot of general service with them. So far they seem to be pretty good from our experience. 

Mark: So if you're looking for service for your Porsche in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can book online at pawlikautomotive.com or call them at (604) 327-7112. Either way, they're gonna call you back. They're gonna find out what's going on. They'll get ready for your appointment. And you have to book ahead cuz they're always busy. In Vancouver, the people to see are Pawlik Automotive. Thanks for watching and listening. We appreciate it. Thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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