Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

2007 Porsche 911 4S Water Pump Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 23 time winners, unreal, 23 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 a 2007 Porsche 911 4S that had some water problems. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So the owner of the vehicle, we'd had a conversation with him and we replaced the water pump and thermostat just for maintenance purposes. No failure. Just preventative maintenance. 

Mark: So why would you replace the water pump for maintenance reasons?

Bernie: Well, these vehicles have a plastic impeller water pump, like a lot of German cars and some English vehicles as well. As a matter of fact, actually, when I think about it, there's even an Isuzu truck we've service that has a plastic impeller water pump. And what happens with plastic impeller water pumps is they do break without warning and your engine can overheat.

So it's important to make sure that it's in good functioning order. We know Porsche engines are very expensive and the owner wanted to make sure that he was doing the proper preventative maintenance to keep the engine reliable and healthy. 

Mark: Yeah, I guess with the age it's 13 years old, it could be, it's just a heat issue because it's hot and cold because of the temperature variations on the water pump. Is that why they fail? 

Bernie: I think so. I mean, the first time I ever encountered one of these was many years ago and a Volkswagen and the engine was overheating and it appeared to be, we diagnosed that, Oh, it must be a sticky thermostat because the water pump was turning. Usually when a water pump up until that point, you know, the water pump failures we'd ever seen would be like a broken belt or the bearing would wear out, but a pump would not fail the pump.

So we replaced the thermostat and found the water pump it's done. The engine was still overheating. It happens slowly, not really quickly because you've got a full body of coolant, but nonetheless, it was overheating. So we kind of went further, pull the water pump out, oh, the impeller's like cracked in half. So it may be the quality of the plastic was not up to snuff. There's you know, being a Volkswagen, it is a lower priced product. So it may be that they didn't use quite as good quality, but we see it in other water plastic water pumps. It just cracks, you know, from heat cycling. 

Mark: So is given that, is replacing a water pump a factory maintenance scheduled item?

Bernie: It is not, no, it's not a factory item, but I'd say that more progressive Porsche mechanics is something we would recommend. 

Mark: So did you find anything wrong when you actually replaced it? 

Bernie: No, we didn't. And I was just going to mention, we did replace the thermostat at the same time as well, which is located right nearby. And again, the thermostat is an item, just a little plug in about a thermostat. I mean, it's an item that can fail without warning. So you know, and sometimes they don't, you know, even after years of use, they won't quite operate exactly as they're supposed to. So putting a new one in, it ensures that the engine is going to warm up at the correct rate and not overheat. But yeah, we never found anything wrong with them that the parts all look good, which is actually a good thing.

You don't really want to be replaced. I mean, it's satisfying when you replace something's broken and it works properly afterwards. But you know, fixing it beforehand that just ensures that you have complete, consistent, easy driving. It's kind of violates that rule of if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But you know, I think we're all happy when we get in an airplane, they replaced the hydraulic hoses before they actually blew out. So if you want that kind of reliability of driving, it's good to replace some failure oriented parts before you go. 

Mark: So when you replace a water pump, do you still use the plastic impeller or are there metal impeller water pumps available?

Bernie: Depends on the vehicle. And this one, we used a plastic impeller pump. That's all we were able to find. And it's, you know, as much as I've probably trashed talk plastic impellers in the past one thing is come to realize around them that is valuable is when they do, if the bearing were to fail, the plastic isn't going to chew up the aluminum housing, which in this case is of course the engine block.

And the last thing you want is to really have a chewed up engine block and put a bunch of debris in it. Metal filings and of course actually possibly even damage the engine block. So plastic actually makes sense from a certain point of view, not just the minute weight savings, but the actual damage that could occur.

So we put a plastic impeller pump back in. And it should last the same amount of time that this one did. It's a good quality OEM pump. 

Mark: So it's a Porsche, it's a high performance vehicle. How are they for reliability? 

Bernie: Well, I think Porsche's are awesome. I mean, for the kind of car they are for the sports and high-performance car, they are really reliable. There's very little that goes wrong with them generally. I mean the one mechanical fault, I'd say about these cars, you know, a lot of these engines have that IMS bearing that you can do further research on, but it's probably a really, probably a dumb piece of engineering on Porsche's behalf.

But really other than that, they're really well built engines. Well-built cars, they are very reliable for what they do. So it will spend more money fixing them because that's the kind of car it is. But generally it's a well-built car and most people take really good care of them too.

So that makes for another pretty good used buy, they're not like your average beater or Chevy or people will just run it until all of a sudden something fails and they don't care to change the oil enough. These cars, generally people do care to take good care of them.

Mark: So, are there any tips you'd offer as far as keeping your Porsche running? Like how critical are oil changes or air filters or any other particular things just like you did with this water pump? 

Bernie: Yeah, well, I mean, routine oil changes are critical and Porsche have really long intervals for oil changes. You know, they're in that camp of European vehicles that have ridiculously long oil change intervals, and I would definitely not follow that part of the schedule. And most people don't drive them enough where they're probably going to be changing the oil with a time factor, more than a mileage factor.

So I mean, certainly change your oil every, you know, 10, 12,000 kilometers. I think a lot of the factory recommendations are in the over 20, 25,000 Ks, which is way too much. They do have a large oil capacity, so that takes a long time to get dirty, but really it's better to change it more frequently. Just routine inspections, oil changes. These are kind of important things to do. And a few preventative items like, you know, the water pump after 10 or so years. You know, these are important things to do. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for some expert help on your Porsche, that's not going to cost an arm and a leg, but is experts still, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead because they're always busy. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of videos on there on repairs for all makes and models of vehicles, including lots on Porsches, as well as check out our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, eight years worth of hundreds of videos on there, enjoy those. And of course, thanks so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

2012 Mercedes E63 AMG, Sway Bar Link Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 23 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So today's victim a 2012 Mercedes. One of your favourites, E63 AMG that had a sway bar link problem. What was going on with this car? 

Bernie: So the vehicle came to our shop with a few concerns, an inspection and we found that the sway bar end links were worn and causing a clunking sound in the vehicle when you hit bumps. 

Mark: So I'm assuming the clunking was from the sway bar links.

Bernie: Absolutely. Yes. I mean, it could be coming from lots of places and the sway bar links are probably the cheapest, easiest thing to fix on this vehicle. So fortunately for the customer, it was a fairly straightforward problem. 

Mark: So what is the sway bar link and what does it do?

Bernie: So the sway bar link. Why don't we just get into some pictures right now? And I can kind of explain what it does. So there's our car a nice little family hauler with, you know, over 500 horsepower twin turbo V8 engine. It's a lot of fun to drive this vehicle as you can well, imagine. 

So sway bar link. We'll just get right to the part. There is a picture. I apologize. It's a little fuzzy. 

This is looking up at the driver's side underneath, the wheel is over here on the left. This is the strut. This is the sway bar link here. Sway bar is this piece here and it goes across the frame.

So what it does is it keeps the vehicle stable. It reduces body roll. When you go around a corner fast that the vehicle body tends to roll in a certain direction and this,  just transfers some of that movement to the other side of the vehicle and keeps the vehicle more stable. So it's pretty critical for vehicle stability, I mean in the olden days, vehicles didn't have them. Almost every car that I can think of that's been built in the last while, has them, although I do have a Mercedes SL55 that has the active body control, which is a hydraulic suspension. It does not have sway bars because it controls the sway of the vehicle through the struts, it's so quick with hydraulic struts. It can adjust the body roll, you know, in microseconds with just a click of a solenoid and some fluid. 

But anyways, this vehicle is different, this is the bottom of the strut, by the way, it does have a variable suspension which is actuated by the struts. It's complicated. There's a lot of things on this vehicle that could be bad. But back to the sway bar, there's a ball and socket joint here that wears out and that's what causes the clunk in the sway bar end link. It's not just a Mercedes thing, like every car that has sway bars will develop clunks and clinks. Some of them are designed a little different, but this ball and socket joint type is very common on many vehicles, Mercedes obviously included. 

Let me just divert off a little bit, because I love AMGs. I mean, the neat thing about them is the engine. You got this handcrafted engine by, I think it's Errol Cork. And you know to me among the engines that we opened the hood on, these are nice looking engines. There's the top of the engine. Nice carbon fibre cover you know, the supercharged one, like the SL 55. It has a supercharger underneath, which you can see the top of, but they design these engines beautifully on most AMGs. There is one exception that I find it doesn't look that good. 

But here's the cover off. You can see there's a coolant reservoir, the ECU and a number of other components buried under here. So nice looking engine. As I say, the only one, I don't like the SL 65 has a V12 twin turbo. When they put this big plastic cover over the whole top, they kind of really cheaped out on that or never really kind of built it as well as they could.

Mark: Back to the sway bar links. What happens to sway bar links? So it's a ball and socket joint, it wears out. Basically what else can happen with that? 

Bernie: Well, once it clunks, it gets to be kind of irritating. Now you think, well, so it's irritating do I really need to fix it? And the answer, you know, like sometimes they will actually wear up to the point where they pop apart and I've never seen a problem with that, but what does worry me is it could happen that it pops apart in such a way that the bar comes out and say pokes the side of your tire and blows your tire apart.

That's to me probably the worst case scenario that could happen. Never seen it happen, never heard of it happening, but it's absolutely something that could happen. So that's why you want to replace them when they start clunking and banging. But the other components of the sway bar system, like on this car it's pretty simple. It's just a steel bar that connects from one side to the other with the links. There's some rubber bushings that attach that to the frame of the vehicle, those wear out. And they can cause a kind of thudding and thumping noise too. So those need replacement from time to time as well.

Mark: So I'm thinking if that comes apart, that's not a good thing, but you mentioned there's other components that need replacement. How often does this kind of stuff wear out on vehicles? 

Bernie: They actually wear out fairly frequently. You know, it's a repair we do quite a lot in our shop and it's not just Mercedes it's, you know, any make and model of car they tend to wear out.

So I mean, this vehicle has under a hundred thousand kilometres. It's you know, eight, nine years old at this point in time. So they're worn out. So that's kind of gives you an idea of lifespan. I think you're lucky to get about a hundred thousand Ks out of a set of sway bar links. They do tend to wear out, but it's not a very labour intensive process to replace them and they're not overly expensive on most cars. I will mention that there are some systems of sway bars that are more complicated. 

Certain manufacturers have them like a Range Rover comes to mind where they can actually disconnect the sway bar. There's a disadvantage to having a sway bar. And that is when you want your wheels to really move independently from one another, the sway bar kind of keeps the wheels, like the front wheels connected, or the rear wheels connects to a certain degree. If you have a vehicle like an off-road vehicle, like a Range Rover, you might want to actually have that wheel be able to, if you have a big deep pothole or something, or you're going over a rock. You might want to have that extra traveling suspension not affecting the other side of the vehicle. So they actually have a sway bar that will disconnect. And that adds a lot of expense.

I'm sure we've got a podcast about that system because we've repaired them and replaced them. And they're not a cheap repair, but on this Mercedes, fortunately this one's just a straight bar. Pretty simple. 

Mark: So this is an awfully cool car for a shooting brake or a station wagon. How are they for reliability?  

Bernie: Pretty good. You know, it's a pretty good car. I mean they do have some issues but it is a Mercedes. It's an AMG. It's complicated. There's a lot of extra components and pieces. I mean, twin turbochargers, there are some engine issues, which we could talk about at another time, but I mean, generally they're pretty reliable, but there's a lot of very expensive things that can go wrong on them.

So you know, if you buy one, just be prepared that you're going to be spending way more money on maintenance on this car than you would on on your average vehicle or a lesser model Mercedes for that matter. 

Mark: And probably a lot more on fuel, on tires and on brakes because 520 or 50 horsepower is tempting.

Bernie: It is absolutely. And I haven't priced the brakes out on this particular model. It doesn't look like it's got the fanciest of AMG brake packages. Some of them have very, very expensive brake systems and some have good brake systems, but they're not as expensive as others. They're more reasonably priced, but yeah, like you said, these are all like premium fuel vehicles. You know, they're not the best gas mileage, but you know being that is a twin turbo, if you're out in the highway and you're just cruising, you will get pretty good fuel economy for the kind of vehicle that it is. But around the city it's not comparable to Prius or we'll compare it to a Lexus hybrid, since it's in a class above a Prius. 

Mark: So you're looking for service for your Mercedes AMG product or any Mercedes or any European or any Japanese or any American product or light truck. The guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to book ahead, they're busy. Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of videos on there. All makes models, types of repairs. YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, same story, hundreds. We've been doing this for eight years. So we've got a lot of product on there. Thanks so much for watching. We really appreciate it. If you like what we're laying down, give us a like. Bernie, thank you. 

Thank you, Mark. And thank you for watching. We totally appreciate it.

2015 Cadillac SRX Flex Plate Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners. Can we even say 23, 23 times 23 time winners. Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. Not just some guy, where we made it up. No, this is actual customers voting for this company to say they're the best. 23 times. You gotta be pretty proud of that eh Bernie. 

Bernie: Yeah, it's really awesome. Very proud day. 

Mark: So today going to talk about a Cadillac SRX 2015, that had a flex plate problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah. So the vehicle had a flex pipe problem, and you're probably wondering, well, what is a flex plate?

So a flex plate is basically bolts under the back of the engine crankshaft. And it's where the torque converter, which is essentially a clutch for the automatic transmission, they bolt together. Flex plates on this particular GM vehicle, it has a ring gear, which the starter engages, and it's called a flex plate because the plate has a slight bit of flex. It's a thin metal plate that basically just attaches these two pieces together and the flex plate needed to be replaced. 

Mark: So why, what was wrong with it? 

Bernie: The owner brought the vehicle to us. It had some noise at certain engine speeds, mostly at idle. And we spent a great deal of time, we'd done some work on the car, rear wheel bearings, and then he'd noticed a day later there's some other noise. So he brought it back. We had a look at it spent some time couldn't really find anything definitively wrong with it. We thought maybe there was an intake, manifold runner. We pulled some things apart. It's been a fair bit of time. Couldn't find anything conclusive. So we sent it back, said to him, you know what, drive it a little longer. See what happens. About a few days later, he was back, the noise was much worse and we were able to determine the flex plate itself was actually cracked. That's, you know, something that does happen to them over time.

Mark:  How did you tell, was it a distinct noise that you were able to tell that it was the flex plate? 

Bernie: It is a distinct noise. And it's interesting because as I mentioned, we had the vehicle in earlier and we'd spent a lot of time looking at it, and it wasn't making that kind of distinct noise. Usually a flex plate will make a kind of ting, ting, ting, ting, ting, kind of noise. Like someone banging on a little plate of metal you know, often most noticeable at idle or even if you're in drive at an idle speed. And often once the engine speed picks up the noise disappears. 

I actually got really familiar with this noise early on when, I think I was about 18 years old, I bought a 69 Dodge Dart Swinger 340. Kind of a cool car. You know it had a fair bit of mileage on it. And all of a sudden I developed this horrible noise in the engine and I thought, that's it, the engine is blown. So I pulled the engine out, rebuilt it, but I found out the flex plate was actually the problem. So I got very familiar with that noise at a young age. So yeah, so there is a very distinct noise. And interestingly enough, for this Cadillac, it took a while for us to actually find it or to actually hear it as a distinct noise.

It could be that the design of it is a little different than you know, say that the Dodge that I had in the past. 

Mark: So do you have some images? Some pictures.

Bernie: I do, let's have a look. So we'll start with a picture of this 2015 Cadillac SRX, kind of an SUV ish looking vehicle. 

Mark: Wait, wait where's the fins?

Bernie: Yeah, they left those off, like probably around the year you were born Mark or something. Yes, the no fins. I find it funny when I look at it, I go, that's a Cadillac. Like it's a Cadillac in spirit, but you know, not really in looks like we're used to from the past.

So there's the flex plate. We'll just cut right to the chase. So there's the transmission down here removed from the engine. And that's the flex plate and these arrows point to where the flex plate is actually broken. There should be no cracked lines here. That's all one solid piece. I didn't actually take a picture of the new piece, but this is enough to show that it's bad. And you know what I realized I have a video and I forgot to include it with this podcast, but we'll put it on our YouTube or on our website, we can put it in, but I have a little video of it and you can move the flex plate back and forth and you can see it going, clang, clang, clang, clang, clang.

So that's basically what was causing the problem. Of course, as you can see if you left it long enough, this thing would eventually break and strip and the engine would just spin and the transmission wouldn't move anywhere. I've never seen that happen. It would take an awful long time for that to occur.

One other image we have here, this is the engine and transmission. So this is basically a drop the whole drivetrain out of the vehicle type of job. So it's a lot of work. There's the engine, transmission, you know, the fuse block comes with it. This is the subframe cradle underneath one of the drive axles.

It's an all wheel drive car. So you can see the rear drive shaft lying on the ground here. We do these jobs quite frequently, not necessarily on Cadillacs, but these, you know, sub frame removals, there's a lot of parts and pieces. 

Mark: So are cracked flex plates, a common problem on vehicles or on Caddy’s. 

Bernie: We see it from time to time. We've never seen it on this particular model of Cadillac. And I mean, this is a common engine, so I'd expect that, you know, it happens from time to time. We probably do one or two flex plates a year. It's really not a very common job, but as I said over the years it's something that does happen to vehicles.

Mark: So, how are these fin free Cadillac SRX vehicles overall? 

Bernie: Well, they don't require any maintenance on the fins, there's less waxing and washing to be done, that's for sure.You know they're pretty good. This vehicle has about 225,000 kilometres, so it's got very high mileage. You know, he's had a few issues with it. We've been servicing it for a little while. You know, wheel bearing or two that's gone bad, you know, a couple of seals, differential seals, but overall pretty good vehicle.

And once we did this repaired, it sounds like a brand new car and runs really well. So I'd say they're pretty good. I don't know of many other problems with them. We don't see a lot of them and haven't seen too many problems with them. So overall I'd say they're a pretty good car, but they're complicated, there are things that'll go wrong, a little more expensive than your sort of basic Chevy. 

Mark: There you go. If you need some service on your Cadillac or any GM product or any kind of product basically. Vehicle, light truck in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead. They're getting busier and busier and busier. As they keep winning and winning and winning, and they're doing a great job. So you got to call and book ahead in Vancouver, BC, Canada. 

Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. There's hundreds, not exaggerating, hundreds of videos and articles on there on repairs, on all makes and models and types of vehicles and types of repairs. YouTube channel again, hundreds of videos. Pawlik Auto Repair. Check it out. And thanks so much for watching the video and checking out the podcast. We really appreciate it. Smash that button. If you like what we're doing, I hate that. Give us a like, if you like what we're doing. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Appreciate you watching. Thank you.

2009 Mercedes GL320, DPF Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. Why? Because 22 times they've been voted Best Auto Repair in Vancouver by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So 2009, Mercedes GL 320, there was a DPF replacement. What's a DPF?

Bernie: A diesel particulate filter. And what that does, we can just cut right into that. It basically, traps those nasty black particles that come out of diesels. And it stores them, burns them off and sends them out into the air fresh and clean, which is why you can stand you know, by the tailpipe of one of these diesels and not feel like you're about to die like you would with the older ones. A lot of people remove them. We won't get into the politics of that. I like having DPR's because I like clean air. You know, we do the best we can with our fossil fuels for the time being. So this is one of those things that makes it happen, but it's an added expense on a diesel, you know, and things do go wrong with it over time.

Mark: So what were the indications that there was a problem with this? 

Bernie: So the vehicle came to our shop, the owner had a couple of concerns. He was actually having add a fair bit of oil to this engine. So this is the three litre Mercedes diesel, having to add a little more oil in than he figured he should have. And, also the check engine light was on. A bit of a lack of power too. So next step testing, of course, we found there's a code for a high soot content in the DPF, diesel particulate filter. And also doing some visual inspections on the vehicle, looking around, we figured that the PCV system was probably part of the reason it was using too much oil.

Also, the high exhaust back pressure can cause some issues with oil consumption as well. So a partially plugged DPF could do such a thing. So, you know, when the soot content this high, it's not flowing as well as it should. So for repairs, we ended up replacing the PCV system and we opted to do a cleaning on the DPF. There's a few options with DPF's. You can either just flat out replace it, which is the most expensive option. And there's a couple of different cleaning options. So we have a chemical cleaning process that we do in our shop. That's what we did on the vehicle. 

Mark: So what's involved in cleaning, using this chemical system?

Bernie: Yeah. So the cleaning process is basically a two part chemical process. There's a sensor we remove right in front of the DPF. I'll show a picture in a minute, we remove the sensor. There's a little tiny little wand that sprays a chemical in, and then, we leave that in for a little bit and then spray a second chemical, then you run it and that, cleans it out.

Not always a hundred percent effective, but that is the way we do it. So let me just, share some pictures here. So this is the DPF.

So, I guess, you know, by seeing it lying on the ground, kind of leaves the conclusion, we actually ended up replacing it on this vehicle in the end.

We'll we'll talk about that, but this is what the DPF looks like in this diesel. So as we look further forward on the exhaust, the catalytic converter attaches in this area here, and then from the catalytic converter is basically the down pipe from the turbocharger. So in this area here, and actually I've got a closer up shot.

I'll we'll look at that. This is just kind of gives you an idea of the whole length of the pipe. This connects to the mufflers and the tailpipes. There's a closeup of the unit. 

This is where we spray the cleaner in, right in this area here. So there's a sensor that we remove and we're able to spray, and there's like a honeycomb web of, I don't know exactly all the details of what's inside of it but basically that's where the cleaner kind of goes to work and, softens the particulates and helps burn it out quicker.

 In this area here is where the diesel exhaust fluid is injected into the exhaust system. So, again, we'll talk about that on another podcast, another time, cause I'm sure we'll have problems and issues with that, but that's where that diesel exhaust fluid ends up being sprayed into the system right in that area there. 

Mark: That's the blue part of this.

Bernie: Yeah the add blue fluid. Sometimes called a diesel exhaust fluid add blue. So that's part of the process. And, you know, Volkswagen, you know, the diesel-gate Volkswagen, they decided they didn't want to put that add blue system in because it's, it adds a bunch of extra money.

And so they fudged their numbers saying their diesels could be just as clean, but if you have this and this, it makes it really clean. Just cost more money, more stuff to add on.

Mark: So you mentioned that they're not the cleaning procedures, aren't a hundred percent effective. How successful generally are there?

Bernie: We find that, you know, in our shop, it's kind of a 50-50 type of thing. So this vehicle to do a little history. So it was a couple of weeks previous to this week that we, you know, did the work and, the check engine light did come back on. The oil consumption had dropped, which he was happy about from the PCV and POS cleaning may have helped, but mostly the PCV, I think. Oil consumption had dropped a fair bit, which is good. But basically his check engine light did come back on with a high soot load in the DPF. So we weren't successful with this one. We've done other vehicles where it does work well, it's just, you just don't know until you do it, but it's a fraction of the cost to do a cleaning. And I think worthwhile doing before you change the filter because the filter is a very expensive item to replace.

Now, there are other methods of cleaning as well. There are companies that will actually take these things. They'll bake them very high temperatures and blow them out. We haven't had a lot of success with them. We've had it done on a few, like Mercedes before, it hasn't worked. So we don't really normally we recommend it.

And a lot of these companies do that, they're really targeted more for large trucks, tractor trailer, semis, and that kind of thing, which actually works quite well. I'm not sure on, you know, sort of, your American light truck diesels, how well they work. We haven't run into too many issues with those yet, but definitely works well with big trucks.

So it's really, at this point we gave the client the option. Look, you know, we could have it baked. It probably won't work, or you know, let's replace it. It'll work better. And so he did it. 

Mark: So first, I guess what's the typical lifespan of a DPF? 

Bernie: You know, it's hard to know, and it really depends on the kind of driving you do. So this is a 2009, it's got about 154,000 kilometres on the vehicle, which is not a lot for a vehicle of that age. So what that tells me is this vehicle has probably been mostly city driven, short trips, and that's definitely much harder on a DPF than it would be had this person done nothing but highway driving. So how you drive it. Makes a big difference. And if you have a diesel, it's always important to make sure it gets warm. And you do at least some long trips. Ideally, if you just scooting around town a little bit, see if you can get up for highway drive on a Sunday, or, you know, whatever make some excuse to go for a highway drive.

I know it seems kind of wasteful, but it's really much better for the engine to get it good and hot. And you know, warms the engine up, cleans the exhaust system out, get out for a good burn down the highway. And that way it'll burn the particles out. So it may well be that the person never did this. That's kind of like the best thing you can do for that sort of thing. But I mean the average life kind of hard to say, it really depends on usage. 

Mark: Yeah so buy a diesel for its intended use, not driving around in the city, stop and go driving is the worst thing for a diesel. 

Bernie: It is the worst thing for sure. And people often buy these, you know, before you buy diesel, you need to know what are you buying it for and how are you going to use it? You know, if you're just driving five miles to work and back every day, don't buy diesel.

Mark: Get a bike.

Bernie:  Get a bike, absolutely. Yeah a bike or you know, something but just don't just, don't buy a diesel cause it won't work for that. But if you do happen to do that every day, and then you're heading off, out of the city every weekend, then it could work. But it really depends on your usage, but often with a car type or very light duty diesel like this, people buy them for the wrong reasons or they get sold on the idea. Oh, it's got great fuel economy. And the truth is it does, but the repairs are very expensive. So I think you need to be able to justify the repairs.

Mark: So, how did the vehicle work after you replaced the DPF? 

Bernie: It was awesome. So, you know, definitely felt more powerful, the check engine light remained off and we can look at data on the computer and it will actually tell what the soot  load is of the DPF and it was at zero so, which it should be since it's brand new, but it was, you know, all reset. Everything was good. So, so yeah, worked great.

Mark: So maximizing the life of your DPF is basically get out and drive up to the Caribou and back once in a while.

Bernie: Oh yeah, that'd be really good, but you don't even have to go that far. I mean, we live in Vancouver. If you drove from Vancouver to White Rock, I don't know, go out and have some dinner in White Rock once a week or something like that. 

Mark: And don't spare the horses. 

Bernie: That's right. Yeah, exactly.

Mark:  So there you go. If you need some service for your Mercedes diesel and you want experts who will give you the straight goods and fix it for you in the most economical way possible, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment in Vancouver, BC, Canada. You have to call ahead because they're busy and they're always booked. So you got to book ahead and if that's not working for you, you can check out our YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds, not exaggerating hundreds of videos on there for the last eight years. We've been talking about the repairs of many, many vehicles, all makes and models, all kinds of repairs. Or the website pawlikautomotive.com. We appreciate your watching the videos and appreciate you listened to the podcast. Leave us a review if you like what we're doing, even if I'm stumbling all over my words. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Appreciate you watching.

Range Rover Sport, Engine Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 23 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 well? 

Mark: So we're going to talk a little further. We've touched on this Range Rover Sport already. What, this has an engine replacement. What was going on with this vehicle? Let's look at the whole story. Yeah, let's look at the whole story. 

Bernie: So last week I did a video of walking around with the cab of the vehicle off. The engine had been overheated and, needed to be replaced in the easiest way to do that is to lift the cab off the vehicle.

So we did a little walk around of the vehicle last week, this week, we're going to look at the engine. What was wrong with it? What we did to replace it, repair it and get the vehicle back on the road. 

Mark: So based on just referencing last week's video with the body off of the chassis and the engine, et cetera, it looks like a whole pile of work.

Bernie: That was just the beginning  Getting the cab off is just the beginning. And then from there we remove the engine from the chassis, disconnected it from the transmission, pulled it out. I mean, in the good old days, you could just do that without pulling any cabs off or dropping cradles with engines and transmissions, which we do on a lot of vehicles. You'd  just be able to hook up a hoist, a crane and pull the engine out. This is much more complicated. We have to remove the cab to get to that stage. So we pulled it out and we started dismantling the engine. I think we'll just get right into some pictures here and you can keep asking questions. 

So let's have a look here. 

Mark: When this vehicle came in. What was the presenting problem? Was it just not working? Was it running badly? What, like, how did you go about diagnosing that the engine was bad?

Bernie: Yeah, it, it was running really rough, there's a check engine light on with a misfire codes for pretty much every engine cylinder. You could see steam blowing out of the cooling system. And the engine, I can't remember all the other details, but those are enough to, you know, we knew the engine would've been overheating. And this job was actually referred to us from another shop that had done some work on it.

But doing engine replacement was beyond the scope of what he wanted to be doing. So we knew that the vehicle was coming in for an overheat and a pretty severe problem because he'd replaced some hoses and thermostat and some simpler things, in hopes to fix a problem. But it didn't. 

So here we have the engine out of the vehicle, where we walked around last time with the video and you can see things. We use the chassis of the vehicle to provide a nice little tray to put all our parts and pieces. And this is actually what the engine out it's on an engine stand.


It's actually been dismantled. The cylinder heads are off. The timing chains are off. There's the engine oil cooler it sits in the valley. Those are the head gaskets and, cylinder heads have been moved somewhere else. So this is actually cut a little far into the disassembly process, but you can see, this is the transmission, the torque converter, which is where the engine crankshaft connects up to it.

So, let's just get right into some other pictures here. So the next step actually with this is to do a physical inspection of things. There's a cylinder head here. Now this is, we clean this up a little bit unfortunately I couldn't find the head gaskets.

It's been a few days since we did the job and they're lying there, but there was very evident leakage, between these two gaskets. The head gasket is a multi-layer steel gasket. They're very thin layers of steel that are put together, that formed the bond. This it's an aluminum engine block, aluminum cylinder head. Multi-layer steel seems to be the technology that's used on all of these things. But you can see some black marks where combustion gases had crossed through the cylinder head indicating that this head was severely warped. So, what we did is we cleaned the head up, measured it with a straight edge bar and feeler gauges.

And let's have a look at how that came out. So there's the head. The straight edge bar, this is a piece of steel that is absolutely straight. It's a fairly expensive piece of metal, but it's machined absolutely flat. So you can use it for cylinder heads, any services you want to measure for flatness.

So what we do, take the middle cylinder and we run a feeler gauge in here, and this had eight thousands of an inch of warpage, which is actually right at the spec for it being garbage. So the cylinder head, right at that point, the engines done well, at least the cylinder heads are done. Of course the engine block needs to be measured as well.

So just going a little further into this eight thousands of an inch. A lot of times we'll have these, it might be like three or four. The machine shop can take these. They can machine it flat. So it's a hundred percent, you know, a zero, you wouldn't be able to fit any thousands of an inch feeler gauge through that particular bore there or between those holes. So this is actually looking at the engine block. So over the engine block, we measured that there's five thousands of an inch warpage, which is also too high. And that would involve dismantling the engine, taking the pistons out, putting the it's called decking the block, between doing all that, all that dismantling. Huge amount of money.

So we had to come up with another alternative, which was a used engine. I'll just get a couple more quick pictures here. These are the cylinders. Again, you can actually see a little bit of evidence of this combustion leakage across here. There's a shiny area here and some gases and things that have escaped past these things. Telltale sign of a problem.

That was probably why the compression was bad or sorry, the misfire codes, because you lose this compression when the cylinder head won't seal around that area. In addition, coolant of course can escape from, these are the coolant jackets here. It will escape from here into the cylinders or cylinder pressure will escape into the jacket. So that's what causes that. Now sorry, where are we? I'm getting lost here with my pictures. Too many buttons to click on. The engine. So, our alternative was to get a used engine and replace it with that. I mean, a new engine rebuilt or new engine from Land Rover insanely expensive proposition. So we managed to obtain a used engine, not cheap, but, that was the option that we went with. 

Mark: So how do you know that the used engine doesn't have the same issues? 

Bernie: Excellent question. So the first thing we do is, we buy all our engines from a reputable auto wrecker, or they're sourced from a variety of areas. It used to be that we just call a wrecking yard down the road and they'd have one, but being a vehicle like this, it's kind of a specialty. So there are companies around that they'll source engines all over North America. This one actually came from Oregon, had very low mileage. So we kind of count on that as being, and again, a reputable record. They can inspect fluids and look at things to determine the engine's in pretty good shape, but there were some things we did to this engine.

Timing chain, specifically. We looked at it. We've talked about timing chains in these engines. We figured that they weren't in fantastic shape. So we replaced the timing chains and guides while we had this engine out. Much easier job, certainly added some cost, but now the owner has a good solid engine with good timing chains that will definitely not cause any problems. 

We'll just get another view here. We put the engine back in without the valve covers on, so you can kind of see a view, this is the used engine, back in, new timing chains. View with the valve cover off. Water pump we replaced as well just to make sure. Things like water pump and thermostat you know, needed to be replaced at the same time.

So we've talked a lot about, this is a gasoline direct injected engine. It injects the fuel right into the cylinder and I'll actually just grab another quick picture here while we're at it because you can see, this is the bottom of the cylinder head. These are the valves, the intake valves, exhaust valves, the spark plug screws in here. And that is where the fuel injector sits. So this is what you have in a gasoline direct injected engine, a fuel injector that says right in the combustion chamber. In the past, fuel injectors would spray on the back of these intake valves and keep them clean. 

In examining this engine, we found, this is just one cylinder, severe carbon deposits. This is what happens if, now, it's probably something to do with the engine overheating as well. But these are some of the deposit that can form in the back of the valve and certainly affect the performance of your engine.

This one here is not too bad, they're in the same cylinder but for some reason, this one is just loaded full of carbon deposits. So, that's just a little view of what things look like when the carbon deposit gets severe. So this is why we recommend cleaning the gasoline direct injection system to remove this. However, doing cleaning may not remove that level of carbon deposited. That's another couple of quick views. There's our Land Rover, still a good looking vehicle, even seven years old. 

And, there's the temperature gauge. I just show this because this is something you need to keep your eye on when you're driving. Some vehicles don't have them. Most of them do. If yours does, get to know it and get to know where it sits when it's normal. I took this picture, after the engine had been repaired. Running it, this is the normal area where the gauge sits when everything's working well, it'll be up here on a warm engine when it's cold. Of course, it's down here. It takes a while to warm up. So get to know this gauge, whatever kind of vehicle you drive, especially a Range Rover.

Mark: So 137,000 kilometres, a pretty catastrophic engine failure from overheating and a, I imagine in incredibly large bill to fix, but probably a lot cheaper than buying a new Range Rover. However, how do you prevent this from happening? 

Bernie: Well, there's a few things. So that's why I spent some time with the picture of the gauge. Get, get to know your gauge, watch your gauge. Of course, you've got to keep your eye on the road. There's a lot to look at while you're driving a car. And so looking at a gauge, isn't the thing I always look at, if you're going up steep hills, mountain grades, keep an eye on the gauge. But when you're driving, you know, if there's anything that feels a little off, maybe your heat's not working for a second, or maybe there's a little weird noise in the engine. Maybe there's a little steam that you see, just some indication, look at your gauge. That's the time to do it. 

A lot of cars have warning lights in addition to gauges, or they have a warning light instead of a gauge and it's always red. It'll show something that looks like a symbol of something like an engine heating up. Shut the engine off, you know, if your gauge is up, shut the engine off. If you happen to be somewhere where you have to drive, drive as fast as you can to a point of safety and pull over and shut the engine off. That's critical. 

What happened with this engine obviously, is it got too hot and ran too hot for too long. So, if you run low and out of coolant, that's the worst thing. So again, keep an eye for leaks. If you see steam coming out from under your hood. That's an indicator. If you smell, antifreeze as a distinct smell, you smell something odd. That's unusual. It might be worth pulling over.

Look at your gauge, have a look at things, just see what's happening. Those are really the things to do. You just got to prevent the engine from overheating. I mean, had this engine not overheated, it probably would go, you know, easily 200,000 kilometres. I mean, the timing chains would need to be done at some point, probably by 137 Ks, they may have already been done. The carbon deposit on the valves, who knows if that was from bad maintenance or from the engine overheating. But you know, again, that may have caused some problems, but generally speaking, you know, the overheating, had that not happened this engine would still be running strong. 

Mark: And with gasoline direct injection, do a valve clean. 

Bernie: Exactly. Yeah. We have a service that we do, it's usually recommended every 30, 40,000 kilometres. What's that 20 to 20,000 something miles. If you're used to in miles, it's not a very expensive service. Doesn't take, you know, it's kind of a thing, we need the vehicle for a day and do it. And it's well worth the prevention. And I think I mentioned using top tier gas is important and changing your oil on a regular basis. It's also critical to prevent those deposits. 

Mark: So essentially when to keep these engines at such a high level of performance, to get the maximum amount of fuel mileage out of them, but also to reduce the amount of pollution that they produce because burning dinosaurs is just a dirty process to begin with. There are incredibly complex at this point, and that takes major maintenance on a regular basis to keep them running right. Sum it up?

Bernie: Absolutely. And you know, it's an interesting, I don't know if  dichotomy is the right word, but cars have become more reliable. So people used to at one time, they need to get tuneups and flush their cooling systems once or twice a year and change their oil every 3000 miles like regular things. Cars don't need to do that. You can go a long ways between maintenance services. They're really reliable. They start, they go, you know, they're not fussy like they used to be, but with that, like you said, there's a level of complexity, but you've also gotta be really on top of your maintenance.

You've got to know what it is. You got to do it. You can't go a little longer. You know, the schedules are already stretched way out. Changing oil is a waste of oil. So you know, manufacturers have gone, Hey, how long can we stretch this out? Well they're stretching it out to the max. So if you're waiting until it's supposed to be changed, it's almost too long or that's the time. 

Mark: So the easy way to look after that, is to deal with a service company that will remind you, that sends you regular reminders. Hey, it's been six months. Hey we think you're going to, based on your record of driving, we know you're probably at the point where you need to get in here so we can do a service and check over your vehicle. Make sure it's running properly.

Bernie: Absolutely. And a lot of cars have warnings that will come on say due for service, just when that light comes on, get it done. Don't wait. You know I mean you can wait a week, but don't wait, don't wait for them months. 

Mark: Don't cover up the check engine light. 

Bernie: That's right. Yeah, don't do that either. Yeah, that's right. Exactly. 

Mark: So, if you're looking for service for your Range Rover in Vancouver, and you want to make sure it runs the longest amount of time and as reliably as possible and avoid those massive bills, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're super busy right now. It's booking up fast because Christmas they're going to take a week off. So get your vehicle in there. Get ready for winter. It's getting cold out there. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of videos on there all makes and models and types of repairs.

Our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. There's eight years of videos on there. And of course, thank you so much for watching and listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching.

2013 Range Rover, Cab Off Pt 1

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 23 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. So we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Good. 

Mark: So 2013 Range Rover Supercharged, you took the body off. What the heck was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah. So we've got a kind of exciting show for you. At least we hope that we can pull it off. 2013 Range Rover Supercharged, basically engine overheated and damaged. Needed the engine replaced, repaired or replaced. And so we, started the procedure, the best way to get the engine out of this vehicle, believe it or not as to actually lift the cab off. It's like a Ford F350 or something diesel, you know, where you basically take the cab off to service the engine. You know, we do a lot of in car repairs and this is actually the first time we've pulled a cab off one of these.

 So I thought it was pretty amazing what you find underneath the cab. So I think we'll just get right into the the video. We're not going to show you the full end repair. This is just kind of the preliminary part. This will be part one of at least one more podcast.

So let me get the screen share going. I apologize it might be a little clunky getting stuff up. So this is a video and I'm going to kind of scroll through it manually, but that is basically the cab off the vehicle. and I'm going to go, we'll kind of go backwards a little bit here. You can see the cab and we didn't clean the leaves out yet, which you can see in the wheel well. That's basically the cab off the vehicle. Back down, there's the engine and radiator, and I'm going to go back right to the very beginning. And we're gonna kind of go through this bit by bit, and I'll just show you some of the things you know, on this vehicle, because it's pretty cool.

I mean, most impressive thing I found is just how much stuff is underneath this vehicle. You know, it's, it's shorter obviously than a Ford diesel truck, but there's just so many bits and pieces and parts, which is what makes these vehicles fantastic. So if you can see right here, I mean, they're... 

Mark: Can we wait a second? How long did it take you to get the body off of the vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, it actually took up, I think it took about five hours. 

Mark: There's gotta be a heck of a lot of stuff that needs to be taken apart. 

Bernie: Well, there is a lot, but this vehicle is designed. I mean, you'll see, as you look around the pictures, you can see that, the vehicles designed, they build the whole chassis everything, engine, transmission, drive train, all the suspension components. Everything's put together and then they drop the body on top. So there's a lot of wiring. There are brake lines. But it's actually not that difficult of a job. It's complex for sure, but not that difficult. So, this is with the body off again, there's the front, the bumpers sits over front here and you've got your radiator, your air AC compressor condenser in the front here, some air conditioning pipes. The engine sits here. It's a supercharged engines with superchargers on top.

This little thing flopped here, that's the power steering reservoir. So again, that needs to be unhooked from the body because it's attached to the body. There's an air spring here, air strut for the suspension, the left front wheel. And this is one of the places where the cab mounts down to the vehicle. So it's a cushioned rubber insulator, large bolt goes through it to mount the cab. 

We look back a little further. We're looking back into the transmission, the transfer case, and I'll just move the video forward and we'll just kind of look down the car and I'll try to stop it at the best kind of picture quality I can. See if we get something a little clearer here. There's a transmission, the transfer case, this sort of, sorry, it's a little fuzzy here, but this is the transfer case actuator motor. You know, with these vehicles, they have all those various modes of, you can adjust it for sand or grass or uphills and downhills. There's a number of components in the system, but this motor here we'll be changing, with those different modes. It'll change the transfer case operations. So you can see this as the drive shaft here. It goes to the front axle, the drive shaft to the rear, the mufflers, exhaust pipes, for one side of the vehicle.

So we'll just move a little further down. I'll just on the engine too, these are the ignition coils on top of the engine. You normally don't see this cause there's plastic covers over top. So there were kind of moving past the transmission, transfer case and we're moving towards the rear end of the vehicle. Here we obviously see the rear tires. You talked before about this, but this vehicle has the sway bar, the electronic sway bar system, hydraulic sway bars in front and rear. So this it's so nice seeing all this stuff off, cause it's so easy to replace it now. Whereas, you know, when we have to replace these parts in the vehicle, it takes hours just to haul these things up.

But this is the hydraulic unit for the sway bar where you can basically disconnect the sway bar. We did a previous conversation on one of these. Parking brake on this as a module and cables. And that's where this is located. This leads out to the wheels again, like just super simple to replace. Normally there's a, a body on top of this vehicle. Rear suspension. Again, there's mufflers around the back, for the nice quiet exhaust that you get on these vehicles. 

We'll just kind of wander around the back of the vehicle. There you can see that, sorry that was a nice clear picture earlier. But again, the hydraulic unit for this air spring. There's some wiring that needed to be disconnected, wiring connector. So there's quite a few of them that needed to be disconnected. There was one around the back, the back bumper area, the spare tire. You can see parking brake module, the air suspension unit. And, there's one of the rear air struts, another cab mount. So you can see the cab mounts there. There's the rear differential and the drive shafts. So again, I don't if you can see but everything's very, there's a lot in this vehicle, a lot put together, you can see why these vehicles are not cheap to buy.

You're buying a lot of components. When you go on these vehicles. Fuel tank. This would be where the fuel pump is located, fuel lines, vents, and so on. And then just trying to find a clear picture. There's a rear drive shaft. 

You still with me there Mark? Am I? Yep. It's still some somewhat interesting. 

Transmission again, we've got a little blurry video. Here's a catalytic converters. Again, it's a dual exhaust system, so there's one on each side here. Oxygen sensors are these components here. So again, we're looking forward here, the right front tire, the suspension strut, the engine. We'll just work our way around here. What do we got? Good, clear view of the transmission and the engine. So, what we ended up doing with the engine, you're going to see some pictures in the future, but, we ended up removing the cylinder heads because you know, first of all, the engine had been overheated.

We assume the cylinder heads were bad. We, we did end up, replacing the engine with a used one because the engine was, it was too badly damaged from the overheating. And we'll talk more about that, but you know, these valve covers, you can remove all these components in the car, but when it comes to the cylinder heads, there's just too many pieces crammed right against the firewall and against the body to remove it in the car. So this is why we took it out. And once you've got it out, we pulled the engine off the transmission, put it on an engine stand and just made the repairs much easier to do.

Mark: Why did the engine overheat? 

Bernie: I don't know, this job was referred to us from another shop, and he had done some repairs on it. I think he replaced a thermostat and water pump. I don't know the history of that, but he just didn't want to get into doing a service so large, take on something like this. So he referred the customer to us. And, so that's why we're doing the work. So I don't know the cause of it yet. I know that there were no leaks when the vehicle is brought in, but certainly once we get this engine back together, we're going to be extremely careful to road test it and make sure that everything's in good shape.

There's no leaks. There's nothing that's going to cause it to overheat again. Because certainly after a repair like this, you don't want that to happen.

Mark: Can I ask you one more question. How would that show up? How would an overheated engine typically look, I'm driving it. Well, how would I know?

Bernie: Well, if your car has a temperature gauge, the gauge will probably shoot up to high. So this is important. You know, those gauges are there for a reason. Most cars don't have much in the way of gauges anymore, other than a speedometer and a gas gauge, and some of them, you know, a tachometer for engine speed.

And then, you know, a coolant temperature gauge. Even a lot of vehicles don't have temperature gauges anymore. They have warning lights. So if you have a car with a warning light and the red, and it'll always be red, if it comes on. Shut the engine off. If the temperature gauge goes up full, shut the engine off. You'll also notice and you may not see it overheating it like early signs, you'll notice coolant, dripping on the ground. It's antifreeze. It comes in a variety of colours depending on the vehicle. You have usually for a Land Rover, Range Rover, Jaguar, it's an orange coloured antifreeze. You'll notice an orangy liquid on the ground. You might get steam under your hood. Those are some of the things. And, also too, if your heating stops working all of a sudden, you might be low on coolant because the heating system in the car, it uses the hot coolant from the engine to warm your car.

So you're in the winter and all of a sudden you've got no heat. That could be an engine that's low on coolant and possibly overheating. That answer it?

Mark:  Yep, absolutely. 

Bernie: Cool. Excellent. Just another thing, this is sort of with the fuel injection, this is a direct fuel injection system, which we've talked about in other podcasts and different vehicles. So this is a high pressure fuel system. There's high pressure pumps located way down on the side of the engine, which we'll probably look at it in our next video. And again, pipes, these are extremely high pressure, so it's important that they're all fitted properly and don't cause any problems or leaks.

Coming around the front of the engine we've got another reservoir. There's a radiator, a good view with the hoses off. And, of course that's a critical thing to make sure it's working properly. And if it's plugged or leaking, that can cause engine overheating. I think we're coming around to the cab where we started. So we're full circle around the vehicle. 

Mark: So as an owner, one of the things that would prevent this from happening would be that I'm paying attention to the engine temperature gauge, or the lights that are happening. Lights aren't as accurate as a gauge. But if I'm noticing that engine temperature starting to creep up, I'm going over the Coquihalla or something and I'm matting it, trying to set speed records or whatever stupid reason I'm trying to go too fast. And the engine is getting too hot time to stop. Time to slow down. 

Bernie: Absolutely. Especially you mentioned the Coquihalla for those of you who don't live in British Columbia that's a very steep long highway grade. Very, very steep goes for, I dunno 30-40 miles perhaps. It's all uphill and there's some exceptionally steep parts. So I mean, it's a place where, it's an engine testing ground. Every time you drive up that hill, you know you gotta watch your speed. A lot of engines have been cooked going up those hills. So, I mean, it's not unique, if you have any mountainous terrain, those are where things happen, but you can still overheat your engine on a flat surface. It just doesn't quite happen as fast and as critically as you do on a hill.

But, yeah watching your gauge, warning lights, these are important. They're put there for a reason. And you know, a lot of times we don't look at our gauge. I mean, I drive all the time. I don't look at my gauges most of the time, but you know, if you're going up a steep mountain drive, then I keep my eyes on the gauge.

It's a good thing to do. If you're driving up the mountain to go skiing somewhere. It's just, you know, it may not even be more than a 10 minute drive up a hill, keep your eye on the gauge. It's an important thing to do. Can save you a lot of money. Like a lot of money. This is a extremely expensive repair job.

 It used to be a few years ago, you know, engines weren't that expensive. They've just become astronomically expensive to buy even like there's nothing used that's cheap. It's very expensive.

Mark: They're very complicated. Burning dinosaurs is a complicated deal. 

Bernie: It's become complicated. It used to be really easy at one time, but then, you know, our air, I'm surprised any of us could breathe. Either you either burn the fuel and you don't care what comes out the tailpipe, or you make it nice and clean and powerful and then the engine becomes very exceptionally complex. 

Mark: So again, to reiterate the reason that you're going through all this shenanigans to pull a cab, the whole body off of this Range Rover is because ultimately it's cheaper and faster and easier for you to do the job right than it was to leave it on and try and finagle the engine out of there.

Bernie: Absolutely. Exactly. There's a few vehicles that are like this. I mean, they're not cars because car bodies, it's a unibody. It's all put together. But any like trucks, you know, like Ford, we've done a lot of F350s, you know, the 6 litre cab off things. But when they started doing the 6.4, 6.7 litre, the newer versions, they just designed the vehicle. Any repairs like this, the cab comes off. So they actually made it easier to remove the cab. Then like the 6 litres, we can still pull them off pretty fast, but the newer ones are even quicker because they know that, you know what, anything goes wrong here, let's just make the cab really easy to remove. So that's smart thinking. I guess, you know, a lot of people will go I miss the old days where the, you know, the engine compartment is huge and there was tons of, but they just don't make them all in, in there and doing stuff. Right. They don't make them.

I had a friend who had a, a Plymouth fury from the late sixties and it had a slant six engine. And when he opened the hood, it was so big. I remember looking, you know, you could actually put two, six cylinder engines in this thing. Of course you could get the thing with a 440 or a 426 Hemi, which would probably mostly fill the engine compartment, but there was just like, so much extra space. You go what the heck. That's why people bought Volkswagens and small imported cars because, Hey, wait a minute. There's just a lot of waste here. 

Mark: Yeah. Well, even in my 65 Valiant with the slant six, there was lots of room in there. 

Bernie: Yeah. Lots of room. Yeah. Yeah. And that was, that was a compact car. 

Mark: So if you have a Range Rover in Vancouver and you have a problem, the guys to see who are experts, deal with lots of all makes and models of Range Rovers, all years, all kinds of issues. These guys are the experts Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds, including many videos on Range Rovers, Land Rovers, Jaguars, et cetera, et cetera, all makes and models and all types of repairs. YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. Same story there. Thanks for watching. We really appreciate it. If you like what we're doing, leave us a review. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

Chevy or Ford Van?

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. Today we're talking vans. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So big showdown Ford Econoline versus Chevy Express. And I guess there's a GMC Savannah in there as well, which is the better van?

Bernie: Which is a better van, while we're going to talk about a few issues of these vans, but I I'm clearly not going to come out and say one is better than the other. So if that's what you're looking for, you'll have to wait. 

Mark: So what are some of the differences between these two brands? 

Bernie: Well, they're essentially the same vehicle. I mean, they fit in the same category. They make cargo vans and passenger vans. They also make cutaway vans. And the cutaway is basically you have the front of the van and the frame, and then you can put a cube van box on the back or sometimes they'll put a bus chassis on the back, or even a motor home. Ford seems to be a little more popular in that area. They seem to be a little more utilized in that area, but, you know, those are some of the uses, but they're essentially the same category of vehicle. 

Mark: So, well, let's start with engines then. What issues do you see in between these two vehicles? 

Bernie: Yeah. So let's talk about engine and actually just to define that the model years, we're going to start from 2000 and up, you know, I mean, these vans have been around for a long time. The Econoline has been around since 1961. And, you know, for a version of a Chevy van has been around since, you know, around that time too. So we're not going to get back into, into the earlier stuff. Since 2000, I mean, Ford's, you can get these with V6 engines or V8s. V8s are much more popular and I wouldn't really recommend a V6 engine. It might be appealing in terms of, you know, better fuel economy, but they're really, they're generally overstrained and the Ford version, they had a 4.2 litre V6, not a good engine, head gasket problems, expensive, you know, not worth having. 

The GM 4.3, probably a better engine, but, you know, again, kind of underpowered so it'll generally wear out faster unless you're hauling really light loads. So again, the question is like, which van do you want to get? Depends on what kind of loads you're hauling. And we'll talk more about that as we get on. 

But let's talk about the V8. So, you know, Fords, and most of them come with the Triton V8. There's a lot of issues with these engines. In the earlier 2000 spark plugs with blow to these engines, because they didn't have enough threading in the spark plug, which caused problems. And often that would happen when you might be in a 15 passenger bus going up a hill with a load of people and all of a sudden boom, a spark plug pops out and you're stranded.

So not a good scenario. Nothing that's really in the maintenance world that you can take care of. It's just, it just happens out in the road. Then they fixed that and they put in spark plugs of a very unique design that would break off when you service them in the vehicle, costing a lot of extra money and grief. And then finally in around the later 2000s, they put proper spark plugs in and the problem was solved. So if you're buying anything from probably 08 and newer, you're not going to have that kind of spark plug issues. 

Other areas though, with the Fords that we see, intake manifolds will leak, they'll develop coolant leaks. It's a plastic manifold usually you have to replace the whole thing. Can be kind of an expensive repair. And there's some issues, the Ford engine I have to say in their favour, because I'm talking about problems, it's a more sophisticated engine. Overhead cam, so you're getting more power and performance out of the engine than you would on a Chevy, which is a simpler design with push rods.

But there's more complexity with the overhead cam is variable valve timing, and they have problems with the cam phasers in that system. So, you know, if you're really good at changing your oil and doing good services, chances are that'll be fairly trouble-free, but usually, you know, by the time you hit a couple of hundred thousand kilo-meters, it's probably pretty near game over for one of these engines. So not quite as durable. 

The Chevy's on the other hand, not all of those problems I mentioned, none of the above. They're just really pretty good, durable, solid engines. You know, being a van, of course, you know, doing any service on them is more complicated because you've got to remove that cover and get into servicing in strange ways. But things like spark plugs last an awful long time, so they don't need to be replaced very often. And I say, you know, as far as engines go, I would give the Chevy my winning vote. 

Mark: Can you buy these vans with diesel engines? 

Bernie: You can and we do service a few of them. I can't think of if we've ever done a Chevy, but Chevy, they're available from 2006 to 16 with a Duramax diesel. The Fords have had diesels in them for a long time, like way back before the 2000 model year. And, they actually have the 6 litre up to, I think it was 2014, which is, you know, they discontinued the trucks after 2008. So, you know, that's still available. I would not recommend a diesel unless you're hauling exceptionally heavy loads. Diesels need to be worked. That's really the bottom line with a diesel. 

So if you're a say, I don't know, I'm just going to say a plumber and you've got like a lot of heavyweight inside your van and you're towing a trailer behind it, that would be a really good use of having a diesel powered van. But other than that, I really don't see a lot of reason for it. In all fairness, it seems like the diesels are, they seem to have less problems in vans than they do in the trucks. Probably because they aren't worked so hard, but when things happen, they're really expensive to fix. 

We've got a lot of videos and info about diesels, especially the Fords. There's a lot to go wrong and they're more complicated in a van because they're harder to access. So you really need to think twice about getting a diesel in a van. That's my recommendation.  

Mark: Yeah, so fit for purpose, make sure that you're fitting the engine that you're buying for the purpose that you're endeavouring to fulfill. 

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. And I will say, Chevy is pretty much limited to V8 engines, but Ford has a V 10 engine as well, which is a monstrous gas guzzling engine. Now again, if you bought a cutaway van, you know, like putting the diesel in there, if you have a big cube van on the back, it makes more sense.

But if you're, and again, we're just talking about kind of a straight, regular cargo van here. The diesel definitely isn't the best option. Look at your purpose, your usage, how much weight you're hauling and that'll help you make the decision. 

Mark: What about the transmission and the rest of the drive train?

Bernie: They're pretty much equal. I don't see a lot of problems with one being better or worse than the other, you know, they're both pretty durable. One thing that we haven't talked about here is what kind of van. These vans are, and it depends on what model, they're available ever from half ton to one ton chassis and actually some of the cutaway vans are actually even more durable, like, you know, 450s and 550s for say the Fords. But it really depends, you know, like what kind of a chassis you're buying, what kind of weight it'll haul and we can talk about that a little more in the steering suspension. But generally the drive trains, you know, I find them to be pretty much equal. 

Mark: So let's talk about steering and suspension. How do they compare? 

Bernie: You know, I'm going to give the edge to Ford on this one. And the reason for Ford is that it's a little simpler. They use a twin I-beam suspension, it's a simpler system. There's less steering linkage involved in a Chevy. So there are less parts to wear out. They do a ball joints that wear out. So do Chevy's, but it seems, and the Chevy's probably last a little longer than the Fords, but the, you know, the steering linkage is much less complicated, so there's less parts and less items to wear out. Not quite as sophisticated. The ride in a Ford is probably a little more truck like but I don't know if you'd actually ever really noticed a difference between the two. It seems like their components are a little tougher on the Ford than the Chevy. 

Mark: What about brakes? 

Bernie: Brakes are pretty much the same, but I will say that it seems like with Fords, the way they build their brake calipers, that they tend to need to be replaced almost every time you do a brake job. And the reason is not because the caliper seize up, but because the dust boots that they use on their brake caliper seem to be ripped. For some reason, they seem to last for one brake job. And then a lot of times we take the brakes off and say, Oh, the dust boots torn, and so the caliper needs to be replaced.

So I think on a Ford and you can expect to spend a little more money on brakes and you can on a Chevy. Although the calipers on Chevy's do need to be replaced from time to time as well. But you know, pads and rotor life is probably pretty much the same between the two vans. 

Mark: Alright, let's go into fit and finish, how everything is put together, how it all feels and how about things like the doors opening and closing? How is that compare between these? 

Bernie: Yeah. Doors are kind of important on vans because those are the kinds of things that are used a lot. And I can, I'm going to digress back before the 2000 model years, there were some Chevy vans that had really bad doors. I mean, the sliding doors were crap, you know, really badly built. As a matter of fact, I would say that if you are even looking at something older, it seems like Chevy and GMC vans really and their trucks in general really took a leap forward in quality around the 2000 model year, because there was a lot of stuff where the brakes for instance would not last very long at all. So they were really under sized for braking, whereas Ford really had a big edge back then. 

But if we're looking at the 2000 newer, I mean, I'd say they're both probably pretty much equivalent in quality, fit and finish, you know, some of the passenger vans, of course we'll have nicer appointments than the cargo vans. But I can't say that one of them stands out to me a little more than the other. 

Mark: Alright, so we've kind of covered everything. Which one would you buy? 

Bernie: Well, just before I say that, I do want to just talk about drive train too. So there are half ton, three quarter and one ton versions available. And actually Chevy's, since I believe it's 2014, they don't sell half ton vans anymore. So, the question is like, what are you going to be hauling? That's the other thing to look at. If you're buying a half ton and you're going to be loading it with, 2000 pounds worth of weight, you're going to wear your brakes and drivetrain and everything out a lot faster than if you buy a one ton.

So just look at what you're hauling and that'll help you make a decision as to what you're going to do. Of course, if you buy a half ton and you decided to throw 2000 pounds worth of plywood in every six months. It's probably not going to hurt the van, but if you're doing it regularly, that's going to make a big difference.

So just something to look at. So which one would I choose? If I was going to buy a van, I'd probably buy a Chevy because I like the engines better. And that's my one thing. I'm a little more, a little more biased in that area, but I'm not saying you should buy one over a Ford. The key is just do your research. See what you like. You may have a preference to Ford, and there's really nothing wrong with that. But I think you might spend a little bit less money with a Chevy van than you would with a Ford. It's kind of marginal though. But you know, having a good reliable engine does make a big difference to me. It's one of the more expensive components in a vehicle. 

Mark: I guess, as always, it depends on the vehicle you're looking at as well. Since we're talking about used vehicles, how's it been looked after? What kind of shape is it in? How beat up is it? Would make a big difference into what your choice is. And so it becomes really important to get a pre-purchase inspection so, you know what the heck you're getting into right? 

Bernie: That is absolutely the most important thing for sure. Look at what you want, decide what you want, do your own research and then get a pre-purchase inspection to see if the is good, because it might not be. And if you can buy a vehicle that's got maintenance records as well. That makes a big difference too, because if you know the vehicle is well-maintained and someone's taking care of it, that can make a big difference to how much money you're going to be spending in the future on fixing things. 

Mark: So there you go. If you want honest opinions that cut through all the baloney, all the we're better than they are, blah, blah, blah, Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to get maintenance and repairs and book your appointment, come in, all makes and models of cars. If you're not in the area or you just want more research, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of videos on there on all makes and models of cars and trucks and all kinds and types of repairs and maintenance. Or check out the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, same thing, hundreds of videos on there. Thanks for watching and listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Leave us a review if you like what we're laying down. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching and listening.

Range of Cars Serviced at Pawlik Automotive

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. Twenty-two time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. And today we're going to talk about the normal range of cars in a typical week that they service at Pawlik Automotive. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So what does the average week look like?

Bernie:  Yeah, well last week we serviced 36 vehicles and I broke it down into, you know, sort of regions of where cars are made. So for Asian vehicles, we've got 14 vehicles, we've got 13 European and we've got 9 North American made vehicles.

Mark: And what model year range do these vehicles cover? 

Bernie: Well most of them are from 2000 up, but I kind of broke it down by decades. So we, we actually had one vehicle, from the 80's and 87 GMC S10 Jimmy, when those little Jimmy's and the owner loves this vehicle, four vehicles from the 90's, one was a Ford truck that we did some quite extensive work it was a diesel, 93 Ford diesel truck had some sentimental value for someone. We did a, you know, huge, huge break job. You know, like re basically replaced all the breaks from front to back. A whole bunch of diesel fuel repairs was quite extensive. 

And the rest was, some European cars, you know, nicer fancier European cars, but most of what we did, in the 2000 decade, we had 18 vehicles from that decade. And then the total 2010s, we had 13. So that's kind of a kind of, that kind of breaks the week down. I think that's probably a fairly good average. We don't often, you know, the 80's vehicles and earlier stuff, we don't see so much, but occasionally something like that will poke its head in our door. 

Mark: So what were some of the more common services and repairs that you did this week? Last week I guess? 

Bernie: Well, you know, some of the common things, of course we did a lot of A, we call A services. It's our oil change and basic maintenance inspection, but we did a number of those. Some B services, which are the oil change, but with a comprehensive vehicle inspection.

We had a pre-purchase inspection on a Sprinter. A lot of tire changeovers too. It's getting to be winter time in Vancouver. We've done a lot of tire changeovers last week, we're doing a lot this week as well. That's a seasonal kind of thing.

And you know, in the early spring we'll be taking those tires back off and switching them over for those people who do that kind of thing.

Mark: Any particularly interesting repairs? 

Bernie: Yeah, we had a few. I always like to think of the catastrophic things as being more interesting, but we had a Honda Fit that, was towed in person figured a transmission problem - it was actually a snapped axle shaft. So we're actually starting to see those on a number of Honda's Acuras. The axles will snap and it's kind of an interesting. It's the only vehicle I've seen it on. I think we did a podcast or video on that at one time, a little while ago.

We had a Mercedes GL350 with a diesel engine that was seized. Didn't repair it, maybe we will. I'm not sure. We diagnosed that was a seized engine. 

We did a podcast on this last week, a Ford Fiesta where it had a fuse box problem, and we ended up replacing that in the main engine wiring harness. 

So those are some of the more interesting repairs that we had last week. Oh yeah. Also one other thing, we had a Mercedes GLK diesel. There was a turbo intercooler dock that was leaking. You get like, a hissing noise when you rev the engine up, but also there was some problems with the diesel particulate filter and we replaced that unit. That was a pretty expensive, extensive kind of repair. We've actually had a few Mercedes diesels recently that have plugged particulate filters. It's a repair that you will have to do and in a diesel every once in a while. So we had that going on too. 

Mark: So you guys offer warranties on your repairs. Did you have any warranty repairs last week? 

Bernie: We did have one, a Ford Taurus. We did a front brake job a while ago with the pads, rotors and calipers, and one of the calipers seized up. So  we ended up doing a warranty replacement on that. No charge to the client. 

We don't have a lot of warranty work, but when something happens, we do cover our work. In any typical week, there'll be at least one or two warranty items that we have to contend with. The less, the better, of course. We're always looking at if it was a technician error, well, how could we do it better? Or if it's a part supplier issue, if there's a certain part that keeps coming back that we shouldn't be buying that particular part from that supplier. So we do look at those kinds of things. Fortunately we don't get a lot of warranty stuff.

Mark: Do you have any preference or what kind of cars do you like to work on at Pawlik?

Bernie: For me, I kind of like variety. If you ask my technicians, they'll have a variety of answers. Some of them are pretty strongly opinionated. Some of them like European cars better. Others like Japanese cars better. You can't please everyone, you know. But, to me, I like variety. I find it interesting, but I'm not in the shop quite so often working on the cars anymore.

We do a fairly wide variety of vehicles and, you know I hate to say this... it's kind of Fox guarding the henhouse kind of comment, but cars that are super reliable are not so much fun, because it's not so much business for us. I still recommend Toyotas because  they do tend to be a little more reliable, but they're not bulletproof.

Mark: Modern vehicles are really complicated - many different computer systems, et cetera. How do you keep up? 

Bernie: We keep up with the diagnostic equipment that we own. A lot of it, has background support. We can call in, we can send files to a technical team to help us diagnose the really complicated issues. So that really helps us. We've gotten really good repair information. There are courses available. We do take them from time to time, depending on what's available and what's of interest and important to us. We have really good top end repair information and access to databases for a variety of repair.

So between all of that, and just the brain trust of all the technicians in the shop, we can generally get everything figured out. The resources are out there to do it and do it efficiently, 

Mark: I guess, just the volume of cars that you're seeing and the years of experience with - for you over 40 years - you've seen a lot of stuff around all types and makes of cars that's going to help just having an intuitive sense of, "Yeah, here's where we need to look to diagnose this." 

Bernie: Absolutely that does make a huge difference. There's still always a problem that comes in the door and go, "Well, never seen that one before." There's often that learning curve. What's good is if we see another vehicle with the same problem coming in the door a little while later. It's nice being able to take that knowledge and use it on the next. It doesn't happen very often - you spend like hours and hours trying to figure something out, and you go, "Oh, great. Now we know that one!" knowing that we'll probably never see that vehicle or that issue again. So those are, unfortunately, few and far between. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your vehicle in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the guys to call are Pawlik automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead! They're busy! Check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com, there's hundreds of videos and articles on there for the last 10 years. Eight years of just videos! All makes and models and types of cars and repairs, YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. Again, hundreds of videos on there. Of course, we appreciate you listening and watching the podcast. If you like what we're laying down, leave us a review. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching. Thanks for listening.

2008 Range Rover, Heater Core Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 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 today's victim a 2008 Range Rover that had a heater problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So the owner brought this vehicle to our shop. His complaint was that there was no heat or very little heat blowing on the driver's side of the vehicle. So this is a vehicle that has two zone, split zone heating, and there was little or no heat on the driver's side of the vehicle, but it was blowing nicely on the passenger side. Like there was a lot of heat available for the passenger. 

Mark: So what kind of testing did you do to find the cause of this kind of weird problem? 

Bernie: Yeah. Well first of all with any vehicle it's important to know how this heating system works, but just in general, there are different compartments inside the heating box. Pretty complicated. And they all have actuator flaps. They have actuator motors, they have doors and flaps and things that divert the heat and air conditioning and cool air from different areas. And it'll blow it up to the defroster or down to the floor and to the vents and so on. So there are motors and actuators that do these. 

So we can observe the operation of these through our scan tool. So we did those tests, verified that all of those items were working properly. And there's also some, well, not so much visual because everything's hidden behind the dash, but you can often listen to hear if the motors are working. You can test for flow, and get a pretty good idea of how things are moving.

Sometimes you have to rip everything apart, but generally you can get an idea of how things are moving. So we've pretty much determined that that everything in that department was working well. And the problem is actually, a partially plugged heater core. 

Mark: So is the heater core in the dashboard or is that out in the front near the radiator?

Bernie: No, the heater core is inside the car. It's like a little mini radiator. We'll see a picture of it shortly. It's like a little mini radiator that sits inside the vehicle and it uses a heat that generated by the engine and it disperses it into the passenger compartment as needed.

Mark: So how can a partially plugged heater core then cause only one side of the heating system to work or not ? 

Bernie: Well this is the interesting thing. The way they do it on this Range Rover Sport is that the heater core sits flat right in the centre of the heater box. Again, I'll show pictures. Sits flat in the heater box and as the air is blown over it, one side of it will service the driver's side and the other side will service the passenger side. And it just so happened, as the heater core was plugged, the side on the left was basically plugged in the will side on the right still had free flowing coolant. So that would allow for the difference. So it's a little unusual because a lot of heater cores, all the air will flow over the heater core and it'll be dispersed through different doors to the vehicle. But in this case, it actually specifically takes air from one side of the heater core to do each side of the vehicle. 

Mark: So what's involved in replacing the heater core when it's all hidden in behind the dash?

Bernie: Well it's a lot of work. That's why I love making these podcasts because I like talking about the complexity of some of the things we take on in the shop.

So let's, let's get into some pictures. 

So there's our Range Rover, 2008 sport model, beautiful vehicles still in fantastic shape for, 12 years old at this point in time. And, there's the dash partially removed. It's still not fully apart. This is just a partway through the process. I wasn't there to be able to take pictures of everything, but this is that nice panel that you'd see on the top. The big pad on the top has been off, the steering wheel's gone, all the front accessories, the radio and controls would be sort of in this area centre console. You can see a lot of things. An enormous amount of components have been removed. There's a lot of wiring in these vehicles, exceptionally complex, which is why people love them.

And the heater core is right where the yellow arrow is. So there's a box way further in here where the heater core is located. So this big aluminum frame has to come off still. And then once we're in there, then we can get to the heater core. And as I mentioned, the heater core sits flat across this area. So the air is blown up through here for the driver's side, you can see the different side vents here. This will be for the defrosting, this sort of the vent, the sort of face vent area and the floor vents all come down here and some of them go to the back. 

So, let's just get into one last picture here. This is the actual heater core. So there's two pipes that attach to this and coolant will flow through one area. And it'll basically flow through one way. These are the, you know, the cross pipes it'll flow through all of these and then back out the other end. And basically the heater core is plugged off somewhere in this area here.

So there's very little flow going through this area, but lots going through here where the passenger side is. So, that's in a nutshell, what we've got for pictures.

Mark: So, an amazing amount of work but how did it all work when all that work was done? 

Bernie: Yeah, it was good. Yep. Lots of heat, both sides. And, yeah, worked really well. 

Mark: So, is this a common problem on these vehicles or on any kind of vehicles? 

Bernie: Well, plugged heater cores we run into from time to time. On this vehicle, it happens occasionally. It's not a super common repair, but it does happen from time to time. You know, having one that's plugged like this and having it affect the heat on one side of the vehicle is kind of interesting. We had a BMW a while ago that had a similar issue. So perhaps a little more common on European design vehicles.

We do also find leaking heater cores. At least leaking heater cores used to be a much more common repair at one time. And you would know you had a leaking heater core because you get a weird smell in your vehicle of the antifreeze leaking and then you'd get steam on your, you know, go to defrost your window instead of it defrosting, it actually steams your window up. So that a one-time was a much more common repair. We don't see that quite so much anymore. So I think they're building heater cores much better. And that's a good thing because as you can see how much work is involved in removing them, it's a lot on many vehicles.

So,  we do a, you know, maybe a heater core a month kind of thing, maybe a little more than that over a course of a year. But it happens on all vehicles. And thinking back to when they were simple, because there was a time on certain vehicles, it was when they were simple, like late 70's, early 80's Fords, like Mustang Two's and Fairmont's and there was a few different models, where the heater core would actually, they had little access hatch. You pull the glove box out, which only took a few minutes.  Take this access hatch off, take the two heater hoses off and you can slide the heater core right out, slide a new one in and away you go.

And that's a good thing because those are the kind that tended to leak a little more often too. So, that made for a really easy replacement. You can do it in an hour. This Range Rover is like two days worth of work, pretty much. So the times have changed. 

Mark: Yes. Haven't they. And I'm sure it might even be more complicated now in 2020 compared to 2008. 

Bernie: Yeah, there might be a little more complexity, but I think cars have kind of matured in the way they're built, with the things that are complex. It's just, sometimes the electronics are more elaborate, but there isn't really necessarily any more wires. It's just, everything's more complicated and in a little box. But yeah, it's a good point. Well, I guess we'll see in a 10 or more years time, what transpires. 

Mark: So, if you're looking for some service for your Range Rover in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at (604) 327-7112. They work on a lot of them. Give them a call, book ahead. They're always busy or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. There's hundreds of videos, including many on all kinds of repairs on Range Rovers in Vancouver, BC, Canada. 

Of course, if you want some more information about this kind of stuff, check out the YouTube channel: Pawlik Auto Repair. Again, we've been doing this for eight years. Hundreds of videos on all makes and models and types of repairs. Thank you so much for watching and listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. If you like what we're laying down, leave us a review. Thanks Bernie. 

2011 Ford Fiesta Fuse Box Replacement

Mark: Hi. Good morning. Good evening. Good afternoon. Wherever you are in the world. It's Mark Bossert. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. Twenty two time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers, not just by some random guys that have been bribed. By their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: I'm doing well. Doing well. 

Mark: So today's victim. 2011 Ford Fiesta that had a fuse box problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the vehicle came to our shop. The owner needed an out of province inspection along with, one of his complaints is that the vehicle would stall or some engine performance issues and a number of accessories that were, you know, intermittently working. And he'd mentioned that there were some problems with the fuse box or the fuses, that had been looked at previously. 

Mark: Fuses. So where did you start looking in the fuse box? 

Bernie: We did, exactly. Just yeah, we had to look in the fuse box. We can see there's a bit of moisture in there, which is never a good thing. Some corrosion and pretty well determined fairly quickly that that replacing that unit would be the thing to do because of the damage had gone too far. 

Mark: So that's pretty rare. Isn't it? Is that a replaceable item? 

Bernie: Okay. Well, two things. Yeah. So rare, I mean, we do replace fuse boxes from time to time. There's a lot of complexity to them and we can talk about that a little more further on, but, the actual replacement on this particular vehicle involves actually the fuse box as part of the main engine wiring harness. So it's a pretty involved job and, you know, different cars have different fuse boxes in different locations, but a lot of times they do come attached with a wiring harness. So it's a, it's a pretty involved repair. 

Mark: So, were you able to repair the fuse issues, basically. 

Bernie: Yes, we were. So let's just get into some pictures right here and have a look.

There's our Fiesta. Sub compact car. Nice little runabout car. Now let's get into some pictures here and look at some fuses. Okay. There's our fuse box. These are relays for a variety of circuits, fuses. So this is the under-hood fuse box, by the way, the main engine fuse box. So a lot of the fuses in this will be larger. These are called MAX or JKS fuses. They're a larger fuse, usually for higher power circuit loads and relays for a variety of different items, but most of the items served by this fuse box will be, engine components, lighting system components, heater blower, that kind of thing. A lot of it will be serviced by this. 

And there's usually an under dash fuse box. Some cars have like two or three maybe even four fuse boxes for a variety of different things. But this, again, like the engine and lighting is sort of the main thing done by this fuse box, but they can do a variety of things.

So, as mentioned, this is a fairly involved repair. This is what came out of the vehicle. This is the fuse box and all the wiring attached to it. So this is not a plug in and plug out fuse box. There's a lot of wires here. It comes with the main battery cables, like even the ground strap, which is actually a separate piece. This is the main positive battery cable here along with, there's actually a most, all modern vehicles, they tend to monitor the current flow in and out of the battery so they can adjust the alternator output.

Again, it's a fuel economy and efficiency issue. So, it's not like they used to be where they're just simple battery posts. Everything's got more complicated and there are issues that happen with these particular parts too. But it's all been replaced.

This big rubber thing. This is a firewall plug. So all the wiring here goes inside the vehicle. And, yeah, so you can basically see there's a lot going on here.

Mark: That inside the vehicle stuff is for the fans and the heater and stuff? 

Bernie: Well in this case, I'll just go back to that other picture. This, I believe because it's all kind of wrapped around, but I believe this plug here would plug into the under hood fuse box and the power would be distributed from there. So again, that would be the fan, the heater, all the instrument panel controls. A lot of it will be, at least the power will be fed through this item here in any communication needs to go back and forth will go through that wiring there. So there's a lot to be done, you know, removed, you know, and replaced. Here's a view of the job sort of partially done with the, I believe this is the new fuse box.

So this is the job partially done with the old one out and the new one being slowly installed, but there's wires that get routed back here and through the firewall. And, you know, the battery sits normally in this area, so a lot needs to be removed and you can see the headlights are out there's lighting circuits attached to this. So there's a lot going on here. 

Mark: This looks like an enormously big job. 

Bernie: Yeah. It's a pretty large job. It's a day worth of work to take it in and take it out. And, I know it's relatively simple vehicle compared to, you know, some that are out there if that's any consolation. It's a simple, modern vehicle. There's nothing that's simple anymore. 

Mark: Yeah, it's not like it's got three computers and body control computers and et cetera. 

Bernie: Well, it does have that. I mean, people tend to think and I still get people go, Oh, my car has computers, Oh yeah. It's got lots of them. They've been using them for years because that's actually, electronics is so cheap nowadays and so easy. They can put it in everything. Whereas, you know, 30 years ago would have been an astronomically expensive to put a lot of these things in, but now it's like, you know, once the systems are developed and they're used across platforms and it's easy to, you know, use these modules and a variety of things and it actually makes the car simpler.

Even with all the complexity of a modern car, there's way less wiring, because you've got computers that are talking to computers. All they need is two wires to talk to each other and then they can actuate devices locally. So we're kind of drifting a little off topic here, but that's a lot of the complexity of modern vehicles and usually it's reliable. It's just, when something does go wrong, then it can be difficult. 

Mark: So you don't do very many fusebox replacements. So my first question is why. And then my second question is why do you have fuses and relays and all this stuff? 

Bernie: Okay. Excellent question. So, yeah, we don't do a lot of them, but we do some now and again, and, the reason why, I mean, generally they're pretty reliable and robust, but you know, things like, well, this fuse box, so this car is from Alberta and, the other interesting piece of history on this car is that it was actually trailered behind a, probably an RV you know, a motor home, because it had brackets on the front and, and wiring. So even though the vehicle may not have that much mileage of actual driving, you know, it may have seen some excessive moisture and temperature extremes. So that can have an effect on the vehicle.

But you know, just sometimes things break down. There's a lot of heat that goes on, you know, with electrical circuits. So sometimes something will break down if it's not built as this tough as it can be. I forgot your second question. Oh, why fuses and relays? What a relay does is it actually provides power. It actually allows a high powered circuit to be shorter, like less wiring. So for instance, if you have a headlight switch, you can run all the power and say that the headlights need 20 amps of power. That requires a very thick fat wire and a lot of electricity and heat flowing through a switch.

So instead of having that, you can have a relay which is closer to the actual heavy electrical load. And then you can have, smaller wiring with very little power demand in the switch. So it actually lightens them weight of the vehicle up and puts less of a load on the switches.

So in the end, it's actually a lot more real liable. Thinking about actually back to the first car I owned was a 69 Dodge Dart Swinger 340. It's pretty cool car, but these Dodge Darts, they all, even the cheaper models, they all had a current gauge, an amp gauge as to whether the battery was being charged. And they would actually run the power from the alternator through the back of the dash and through this gauge and then back to the battery. Now it's super accurate because you, you know exactly what's going on with the battery, but the the downside is you're running this massive amount of maybe 50 amps of power through the back of your instrument panel. And it was a failure item. So, while you've got accuracy, you've created a problem. It'd be better to have some way of just getting some side of tap, you know, with a low voltage wire, low small current wire to just get the information. Again, not entirely as accurate, but good enough. So, drifted off a bit there. 

Mark: And what about why fuses is that just for, in case something gets too hot? 

Bernie: It's protection, because if you don't have a fuse, then the wires will burn and actually, you know, I'm going to go back to that 69 Dart of mine, because I learned a lot of interesting things. When I bought the car, it had this cool steering wheel. It was like a wooden steering wheel with chrome. They were kind of popular aftermarket wheels and they had this big chrome horn button in the middle. Well, it wasn't exactly the most robustly made item. 

And I used to work for Via Rail on the train. So I parked the vehicle in the parking lot. Went out of town for a few days, came back, the car was dead. Oh, that's kind of weird. What I found basically the engine wiring harness had melted because the horn button basically held the horn in place. The horn button popped off and the horn went off, who knows how long it was, in some outback parking lot somewhere probably didn't bother anyone. The horn went off until it basically melted the wiring. Wasn't a fuse protected circuit. And so that's why we have fuses to you know, when things get too hot or overload something, it'll blow the fuse.

So, you know, people often they come into our shop and say, Oh, I've got a short circuit in my wiring. Well, if you have a short circuit, usually the fuse will blow or an overload or a short but sometimes I like to call it a long circuit, you know, or the circuits too long, or the wire breaks. There's a, it's a different thing, but the fuses are there for protection to protect wiring, you know, this car of mine actually have to have a lot of the car rewired, because of that. So that happens if you don't have fuses. Or if you have a fuse that pops and you put a fuse that's too big, you can damage your wiring. So you don't want to do that. You need to put the right fuse back in. 

Mark: Or even worst case gas and fire don't mix too well and could burn your car out.

Bernie: Well, that's right. And you know, the other thing is burning wiring, you never know what's going to happen. It could actually catch fuel on fire and then the whole car burns up.

So yeah, you want your wiring to keep cool, keep proper and fuses are very important and there's a lot of them. It's amazing when you look at some vehicles and more complex vehicles, we work on like Range Rovers or fancier Mercedes. I mean, it could be like a couple of hundred fuses in different fuse box. It's quite incredible really. How many fuses, some vehicles have. The Fiesta again, kind of simple. 

Mark: So how are Ford Fiestas for reliability? 

Bernie: Well, we don't see a lot of them. They're not the most common cars here, but they are like, worldwide is one of the most common cars sold. Very popular in Europe and in North America, they've sold them in different eras. There's actually, I think there's seven or eight generations. I have to do a little Wikipedia looking, but, this generation, this 2011 is one of the newer generations has been sold in North America. They're generally pretty good. But one thing I did find I had to do a little research, transmission's problems seem to be pretty common. Sort of the biggest complaint and issue with this vehicle.

So if you are looking to buy one, transmission is definitely something to look at and make sure it's good. That's sort of not based on personal experience, but it could be a pretty big ticket item. So definitely something to look for and make sure it's good. And it's been serviced. 

Mark: So how did the Fiesta run after you did this extensive rewiring job? 

Bernie: Yeah, it was good. We tested everything, all the circuits, lights and horn and wipers and everything seemed to be working fine. Went for a road test. Drove great. So I think, you know, it's a large amount of work, but once this is done, I mean, unless you take the cover off the fuse box and spray water in it should work well for another 10 or 15, 20 years.

So, if you're looking for some service for your vehicle in Vancouver, you got some electrical issues. Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead. They are busy or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds, not exaggerating hundreds and hundreds of videos. We've been doing this for eight years now. All makes models, types of repairs, you name it. It's on there or the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, we really appreciate you listening to the podcast. If you like what we're laying down and leave us a review. Thanks Bernie. 

Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

Let's Discuss Your Vehicle...

In order to provide an estimate, a diagnosis is the next step!

1 2 3 73