Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

2008 Merceds ML320 Intake Manifold Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver and we're doing the Pawlik Automotive Podcast this morning. How you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well, Mark.

Mark: So we're going to talk about a diesel an ML320 Mercedes Benz. There was a problem with the intake manifold. What is going on with this fine German automobile? 

Bernie: Well, what was going on with this ... I won't try the German but what was going on with this vehicle, it came to our shop with a massive oil leak which we diagnosed to be coming from a couple of spots, the rear crankshaft seal and also the engine oil cooler seals. Now the engine oil cooler seals are located in the valley right at the V6 engine so the valley is the section between the two cylinder banks. The oil cooler is located is right in the very bottom. And there's a lot of items that need to be removed to get at the oil cooler such as the intake manifold being among them. 

Mark: So if it came in with an oil leak, again I guess, why are we talking about intake manifolds? 

Bernie: Well we're talking about intake manifolds because there's an actuator in the intake manifolds that causes problems. They have two ... it's an actuator that moves a flap back and forth inside of each intake runner and it can vary the size of the intake or the intake port size. And it's tuned for basically different running conditions so at certain speeds you want different kind of flows through the intake manifold for performance. And this intake runner, these things plug up. They wear out. And I'm going to put a video on which we can look at right now which will explain it almost better than my discussion here. So let's start with the video of the bad runner. Now you can see this, correct?

Mark: Yep.

Bernie: Okay, so we'll start the video. So this is the very close up view of the intake manifold port. There's one port that flows continuously and one that gets blocked off with this actuator flap. And you'll notice in this area here, there's a lot of play in these plastic moving arms. So we'll just fire it up right now and you can see. You notice there's an incredible amount of movement. 

Mark: Wobbling around pretty good.

Bernie: Yeah. Wobbles around and if you look at these two different ports, you'll see that one of them's moving and the other one isn't even moving. So there's a lot slop in this piece here. You'll also notice there's a lot of gunk inside that ... all the passage ways and that's stuff that really needs to be clean out. I'll just play the video one more time, so you can have a good look at it. So this is why we're talking about the intake manifold. We're talking about these intake manifolds runners. They sometimes call them swirl valves, variable intake actuators. I can't think of all the names. Different manufacturers use different names but there's a motor that actually operates that the computer sends a signal, the motor moves the valves and that's what makes it go. 

Mark: And so that would affect the performance and economy of the vehicle? 

Bernie: Absolutely. It does make a difference. And with those blocked ports as well, it makes a difference. I'll just show you ... this is the new manifold. You can see the arms moving. You can see how clean this is too. You can imagine how much more air is actually flowing through the engine with it set up like this. I'll run it again. Again, there's no play in any of these rods. They're all moving exactly at the same speed, same time.

Mark: Very nice. Back to you.

Bernie:Makes a big difference with it all clean. 

Mark: So then do you end up obviously changing the manifolds just for an oil leak? 

Bernie: We did. Well, we did it while we were in there because the manifolds have to be removed to get at the oil leak, to access the oil cooler. So it kind of made sense to change to them while it's all out because there's no extra labor charge. I mean, the parts are expensive, no doubt. And it's kind of a shame to toss away what's a perfectly good manifold but that's the way they manufacture them, it doesn't leave any option to replace those rods or linkage pieces. You have to change the whole manifold. And one of them comes with the actuator motor and this is an item that also had some oil had soaked the motor and that's a failure item on these engines as well. So this has been a preventive maintenance for future issues. 

Mark: And was it just a gasket issue or what was actually leaking on the oil cooler?

Bernie: The oil cooler is seals leaks so it's where the oil cooler meets the engine block. There's two rubber seals and they harden up and leak after a while and they can just ... it was leaking horrific amount of oil after. And we diagnosed it, cleaned it. There was a lot of oil coming out after ten minutes of driving, this little small puddle forming on the ground. So there's a lot of oil that can leak out.

Mark: So does it need to be this complex?

Bernie: It does and just actually before we talk about the complexity, I was going to say on the manifolds, it's interesting 'cause 2008 is the last year that Mercedes made these where there isn't a switch on the end of those actuator rods. 2009 and newer they put a little micro-switch on the end of each rod so when the motor moves the linkage, it if doesn't move far enough it will actually cause your check engine light to come on instead of trouble code. So you're really at that point force to change the intake manifolds. On these older ones, you don't actually have to change them if it's broken as long as the motor moves, the computer thinks it's working. So they made it a little more complex in newer models so you can actually get away with not changing them but in the case, they're still an effect of the performance so it's best to do it. The question about the complexity, does it need to be this complex, I'd say, yes it does in this modern era. I mean at one time diesels were simple, reliable, mostly reliable. Some weren't as good as others. But you don't find like a lot of older German diesels, Volkswagens, Mercedes they're very reliable diesel engines. And lot of the older American trucks they just you know turn the key, they start. You didn't have to do a whole lot to them. But they stunk. And they put out some horrific pollutants into the air, a lot of smoke and the nice thing about these diesels is you don't see a lot smoke, they don't smell so bad even though they don't ... they're not as clean as advertised as well know but they do make you know, it does make a difference. So I'd say yes, unfortunately it does need to be this complicated if we want to have clean air, cleaner air, fuel economy and performance. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service on your ML320 or any Mercedes Benz diesel product in Vancouver, the guys to see 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 their website, pawlikautomotive.com. Lots and lots of information on there, hundreds of articles on all different types and models of problems and cars and trucks, or our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair or our lovely new podcast. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark.

2007 Ford F150 Brake Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark here with Top Local. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive. We're doing the Pawlik Automotive podcast and we're talking trucks. Hey, Bernie. How are you doing this morning?

Bernie: I'm doing very well. 

Mark: This is a 2007 Ford F150, one of your favourites. You guys see a lot of Fords.

Bernie: We do. 

Mark: This is a brake repair. What was going on with this Ford vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle came to our shop, towed in actually. The owner was driving it. His description, there was a clunking sound. The vehicle didn't move properly afterwards, so had it towed in. We managed to drive it into the shop. It was difficult. We managed to drive it into the shop, put it up on hoist, and inspected it. What we found was a grotesquely, seriously worn front left brake. It basically had been worn so badly metal on metal the pad had jumped out of place, jammed up between the caliper bracket and the rotor, and the vehicle would barely move.

Mark: Okay. The obvious question is would there have been some noise before it was that bad to actually freeze the wheel, and wouldn't they have heard the noise?

Bernie: They would have definitely heard the noise. There would have been a lot of noise and for probably quite a long time. I don't know how long, and I never had a chance to ask the owner how long did you hear a noise for. Some people aren't quite so tuned to noises sometimes or maybe there's multiple people driving the vehicle and didn't really think too much to look further at it. Let's go straight into some photos right now. We can have a look at the details of what we saw here. This is what we found when we took the brakes apart. This is inside of the brake rotor, the really badly worn edge. This is inner brake pad. This is what's left of the outer brake pad. There's still some friction material left on this pad. You can see some of it's flaked right off.  This is the pad. It's worn metal on metal. These little springy clips which normally pop out. They've almost welded into place. You can just see, it's been worn for a long time like this and making a lot of noise. It would have made a lot of noise along with this. Here's a closeup of the pad. It's interesting looking at this metal. It's just transferred from the brake rotor onto the pad. It's almost comical in terms of what was going on there. Then here's, again, a closer view of the rotor itself. I know we showed pictures on other podcasts and videos. You can see a nice smooth clean rotor. This surface is normally a very nice smooth shiny metal. It doesn't look ground up like that. There's our picture show for the day.

Mark: One of the things that I wonder if people realize is that brakes get extremely hot even just in regular driving. Is that right?

Bernie: Oh yeah. The more you use them the hotter they get. If you're going down a steep hill, for instance, that's why they say when you learn to drive, you should pump your brakes. You don't want to hold them on continuously because the heat builds up and builds up and builds up. Whereas, if you pump the brakes and you're going down a steep hill, you put the brake on. You slow the vehicle down. Let your foot off the brake. A vehicle will speed up, but it will allow the brakes to cool a little bit, and then will heat up again. That's what you want to do. 

Mark: That heat buildup is what's causing that almost like soldering or welding that the two metals together onto the caliper like that. Is that right?

Bernie: Exactly. The way brakes are meant to work is you have your brake disc, your rotor, and that's the hard metal piece. Then the brake pad is a softer friction material which is a sacrificial item. It's meant to wear at a certain rate and between the two they dissipate heat. The faster you can dissipate the heat, the faster the car stops which is why if you have a high-performance vehicle you might have a brake rotor that's that big on a car that really doesn't need it. It's like a foot and a half in diameter with holes drilled through it and slots. That dissipates the heat really quickly. That's why a Lamborghini or something would have a huge brake rotor like that. The heat dissipation is key for brakes. The faster you can get rid of the heat, the quicker you can stop. 

Mark: Here's the hard question I guess. Is this a vehicle that you regularly service?

Bernie: Yeah, we service this vehicle regularly. Usually about one a year. We inspect it, and look it over, and advise on anything. If the owner of this car is really good he'll fix and repair whatever is needed. 

Mark: I guess the obvious question is how is it that the brakes wore so badly in just the time between your last inspection and it being towed in? 

Bernie: Well, I'd say the thing about an inspection is that basically it's a snapshot of what's there now. We visually inspect a lot of things. We move things, wiggle things, move them, turn them. Things like brakes we measure so we can say, "Hey, you've got 5 millimetres on these brake pads. You should get about a year's life left out of these. What happens between the time of the inspection and the next service, which is now, is there are certain like weather. We've just gone through a winter, and then as a car gets older things that are fine now, say like a brake caliper, we can look at it. It's fine now. Something will happen. It will start sticking and seize up. That's probably what happened in the case of these brakes.  We've gone through a winter. There's harsher road conditions. Salt on the road. The vehicle's getting on in age, and the caliper seizes up. These are the kinds of things that happen. Even though you have your vehicle inspected, and there's a certain timeframe where we expect to do things, you have to keep your ear open on this vehicle and go, "Hey. It that noise is happening we need to do something about it." I've had vehicles of my own where I look at them regularly, and all of sudden I'm driving, "Well, that's not right." A brake caliper seized up." It just sometimes happens without warning. You just got to deal with it. It's good to have it inspected, of course, regularly, and all things going properly, then we can time everything. Sometimes things do happen in between that we can't predict.

Mark: How long do brakes typically last on these 150’s?

Bernie: They're good for usually 50,000 kilometres for sure. Sometimes maybe upwards closer to 100. Certainly 50,000 for certain, assuming nothing's going to happen like a caliper seizing. This is under normal wear conditions. It also depends on what you're using the vehicle for. If you're hauling heavy weights like trailers and things, or you're loading it full of weight, that will cause your brakes to wear much quicker than it will. If you're driving down steep hills, again, a big difference. If you live in the prairies and you're in the flat all the time, the brakes will last a lot longer than they will if you live in San Francisco and you're going down those hills.

Mark: Maintenance is pretty critical on any vehicle basically. 

Bernie: Absolutely. Regular inspections. Yeah.

Mark: Another thought that occurred to me. When you're talking about a caliper seized, basically that means that it's running, the brake is on all the time.

Bernie: Exactly. The caliper as I just explained is basically the piece that clamps the brake pad to the brake rotor. When you push the brake pedal down, there's fluid. It puts pressure on the fluid, and that causes the caliper, there's pistons and sliding pieces, and they will push, clamp the brake pads on. If the caliper seizes, then what happens is it doesn't release. It's like you said, it's like the brake is on all the time. That wears. You talk about heat, that wears the brakes out really fast. Usually you'll notice when a caliper starts seizing, another you'll notice is sometimes the vehicle will feel like it lacks power because you're actually trying to force a sticking wheel to move.  Another thing you'll notice sometimes as well is the vehicle will pull. You brake on and instead of it just going straight, it will pull to the right or the left. That can often get a seized caliper at least on the front.

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for maintenance on your vehicle, any type of vehicle in Vancouver, the guys to see our Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112. Check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of articles on there. YouTube Channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos on there on all makes and models, and problems, and maintenance issues for all makes of cars, and our iTunes new podcast. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2000 Mercedes SLK230 Convertible Roof Repair

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, for the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're talking cars. A 2000 Mercedes this morning. How you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: This is an SLK230 convertible. It had a convertible roof problem. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: The owner of the vehicle went to put his roof down, or moved it up. I'm not certain which of the two. But the roof stopped working part way through the process. That was the issue. It had basically jammed up and wouldn't open or close.

Mark: What do you do when the roof gets stuck part way open?

Bernie: This is a good time to have your owner's manual of your vehicle in the car, because it's a kind of thing where you probably never pre-study it. It's one of those things where you need to go, "Oh, what do I do now?". There is in the owner's manual a procedure, and almost all convertible vehicles have a procedure to close the roof when it jams up. It's a little complex, but once, I actually had to do it a few times myself while in the process of repairing it. It's actually fairly simple once you get the procedure figured out. They think of all the things you need to do to make sure you can close the roof, even if the trunk's fully closed. There are levers you can pull and things that'll actuate things to allow you to actually manually just lift the roof closed and latch it in place. Key, you have a convertible, make sure you have the owner's manual in the glove box or somewhere accessible so you can actually do this. What I'll do is actually, I've got a nice video here of the actual roof in operation so you can just kind of have a look at that really quickly. Alright, let's start. There's the roof on. The windows go down. The trunk opens. The roof folds in, all pretty quick. This little piece comes up, goes back down. The trunk closes and hides the roof, and the windows go back up. That's all. You just hold a switch and then it does its whole operation. Pretty amazing. Now when the roof, in our diagnostic procedure what I found was, the roof, I'm just going to backtrack the video here. When I was opening the roof, it would actually get to about this point here and then jammed up, and it would stop working. 

Mark: You suddenly have a big air dam on the back of your car.

Bernie: Yeah, and it's un-drivable. At that point you really have to figure out what's going wrong, and fix it. 

Mark: How did you go about diagnosing what looks like a pretty complex mechanism and set of actions? 

Bernie: Critical to diagnose in these vehicles is a good quality scan tool that will read all the data and information in the vehicle computer. Plugged it in. Found a trouble code stored for a latch switch, so I figured that's a good place to start. The latch of course is at the front of the convertible top where there's to actuators that lock the top. There was a fault with the switch. With these tops, there's a number of switches for different things. Obviously they want to know when the trunk's open, because everything has to follow a certain sequence. What was happening is, as the top was opening, all of a sudden it would get a signal that the latch switch was closed and it would shut the whole system down. From that at least we knew an area where the issue was occurring. It was a latch switch failure. Then the next issue was to figure out, "Okay, what? The switch is bad? Is there a wire?", what was causing the next phase of the issue?

Mark: Once you found that, where the fault probably was laying, then what did you do next?

Bernie: The next step was to remove the liner of the top, which, fortunately this car it's actually not too difficult to access things. Removed the top liner. Found and tested the switches. They were both working fine. Pulled the side covers off, and then I started manually operating the top. But I noticed that when it got to that point, what I showed on the video just a few minutes ago, when it got to that point all of a sudden you could see on the computer, because it'll tell you when the switches are actuated, it would tell you that the latch switch was closed. If I moved it up a bit, it would say it was open. Right away I knew, "Okay. There's got to be a wire that's broken or shorted or something there that's telling the computer that the latch switches are closed". They're pretty simple. They're a switch that grounds a wire. I figured, with all that movement over the years, a wire is probably pinched or something's happened. Next step was to remove the wire. There's a nice plastic cover over the wire, so we removed the cover off the wire, and then I found the issue. We'll go back to screen sharing, because it's always nice to look at some pictures here of things. There by the way is the car, which we've already seen. 

Mark: Pretty nice for an 18 year old vehicle.

Bernie: Oh, it's beautiful. In really nice shape. It's a gorgeous little fun small little convertible. With the hard top roof too. If you drive it in the rain, it's just the same as having a hard roof car. You don't have that compromise of a convertible with a noisy top.  There's the problem we found. About halfway down the wiring harness, and these wires run, I should just show the picture. Go back to the car again. These wires run sort of along here, down the back, on the passenger side, and then into the trunk where the computer and all the mechanisms are. Halfway down there this is what I found. Two wires. They sit side by side. The insulation is cracked, as you can see. What would happen is, as the roof went down it would pinch the wires together and cause these two wires to short circuit. That's what the whole problem was.

Mark: How did you repair the wires?

Bernie: The wires themselves were actually in really good shape. I just put heat shrink tubing over top of the wiring insulation to cover them, and then extended the wires a little bit at the top end. I had to actually cut the wires out up at the top near where the latches were. Extended the wires about three or four inches, so the wires would now bend in a different spot, and also positioned the wires such that they weren't side by side in the same positions that they used to be. It kind of created different bending. But I carefully inspected the wire. The actual wire itself is really, it's a really high end wire. It's an extremely fine stranded wire. You can bend it and twist it all day long and the wire copper won't break. It's interesting, because a lot of the wire we buy in the automotive industry, at least at our normal automotive suppliers, is much thicker strand wire. If we'd replaced it with that wire, you'd be lucky to get six months out of it before it just snapped, because the strands are about, for every one strand of this wire there's probably 30 strands of this other wire. It's very good quality wire, but the insulation wasn't quite up to snuff for the long run.

Mark: Everything worked like new once you were all done?

Bernie: Yeah. It was awesome. These are, our podcasts are like Hollywood movies. They're all happy endings. It worked really well in the end. I was happy to find it too. There's a lot on these tops that can be really really expensive to repair. It's not just Mercedes. A lot of other vehicles use hard top convertibles. The parts are, they're all dealer parts. They're all really expensive. Just finding wiring, it's very time consuming, but at least there's nothing in the way of expensive parts.

Mark: Is that a common problem with the more complex hard top convertible tops? 

Bernie: For the most part they're really reliable. But some of the things we've seen, and this is not just Mercedes. Here there's a wiring issue. We've had Mercedes before where they have an actuator switch that's broken. That'll cause a problem. We've had other vehicles where, there's linkage rods and arms that connect things, and they'll stretch or break. That'll cause problems too.  For the most part they're reliable, but there are a lot of moving parts and pieces that can go wrong. I will say on this particular vehicle too, that there were a couple of mechanical things we found that were broken as well. There's a little flap that goes in the back behind the seat. There was, it's a cast piece of aluminum. Actually part of it was broken, and another arm that holds a flap, that piece was broken too. We're still trying to locate some parts. But it doesn't actually affect the movement of the top, but at some point it will break off and jam something up.  But other than that, these things are quite reliable and very reparable. We're happy to do them. 

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for proactive and in depth repairs on your Mercedes convertible tops, or any convertible top actually, in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. Book ahead, they're busy. Or check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com. YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. There's hundreds of videos on there over the last five years. As well, our podcast. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark.

2002 VW Jetta TDI No Start Condition

Mark: Hey, it's Mark Bossert here. Producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik in Vancouver. How are you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: I'm doing well.

Mark: So, 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver and 37 years of repairing vehicles and maintaining vehicles in Vancouver. We're going to talk about a 2002 VW Jetta TDI that wouldn't start. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah. So, this vehicle was towed to our shop with a no start condition. The engine would crank over fine, but it just wouldn't catch, wouldn't start. So, we did some diagnostics on it, as we usually do, and found a few interesting things.

Mark: What did you find during your diagnosis?

Bernie: Well, the first thing is, is the gas gauge was reading fully empty and that kinda had us concerned. So we talked to the owner and he said, "Well, the gas gauge is kind of intermittent. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't." There was definitely an issue going on with the gas gauge sending unit.  We did verify, in fact, that we couldn't pull any fuel out of the fuel tank. So, our first step was to find out is it actually in fact out of fuel. We did verify that it was out of fuel, but there was another interesting thing that we found known addition to that too.

Mark: So, what was the extra problem that you found that was more than just fuel?

Bernie: So, we found, actually, that even after we'd added fuel the fuel tank strainer was blocked. That sits, fortunately for the client who had a malfunctioning gas gauge the strainer and the gas gauge sending unit are all one piece. We pulled ... You can access this through the rear of the vehicle. You don't have to drop the fuel tank as you do in a lot of vehicles. We were able to access the fuel pick up unit with the sending assembly, gauge sender assembly through the back seat of the vehicle, under the back seat and remove it. We found the strainer was plugged full of debris, which is not an uncommon issue on these vehicles. It does happen from ... not a lot, but from time to time. So, we'll just go into some pictures right now. So, there's a nice specimen of a 2002 VW Jetta TDI. And onto pictures ... So, this is the fuel sending unit. This is the old one in the vehicle. And this is a sort of bowl where the fuel sits, and fuel is stored in here and it's picked up and sucked through here. You can see all of this black debris. That has basically blocked off the fuel system from sucking any fuel into the fuel pump, the fuel injection pump.  So, the new unit ... We'll get to right here. That is basically the new fuel sending assembly. So, this is the whole unit together. This is the gas gauge sender. So there's a float here, and this floats up and down in your gas tank. You can see its got a little arm, and this'll float, move up and down depending on how much fuel's in the vehicle. This little electrical rio stat here will send a signal to the gas gauge and then you'll know how much fuel you have. So this item wasn't working. Also, the strainer which is inside here, that was the picture you were looking at, sort of the view looking down here. That's been replaced so kind of killed two birds with one stone in this case.

Mark: So, I've had a couple of newer versions like this vehicle. They were a little bit less forgiving, perhaps, because they were high pressure fuel systems. But I definitely had issues with running bio diesel in cold weather. Was there any kind of issue in that regard? Like, why was there so much dirt in there, or debris?

Bernie: I mean ... I think it's just that it accumulated over time. I'm not really certain how that dirt got in. But, I mean normally fuel is filtered when you buy it but it's never 100%. That's why vehicles have fuel filters. Although, interestingly enough most gasoline engines, actually for the last 20 years or more, have actually had ... The fuel filters been largely eliminated as an extra piece. The actual filtration happens right in the gas tank. Rarely with a gas engine do we ever see any problems. Because I think the fuel processing system and delivery is just so clean that it actually works that way. In the past, you know, it wouldn't have been so. But, with diesel I guess, you know obviously there's some debris and things have accumulated over time. These vehicles usually last a long time too. So, you know, it's a 2002 that makes it, what, 16 years old. You know, there's quite a few kilometres and years of pumping fuel through the vehicle. So, the debris just builds up. 

Mark: And as you mentioned, this is a 2002 Jetta. How is it for reliability?

Bernie: These are still really good vehicles. The fuel system is ... it's more mechanical in this version than it is on the newer ones. More mechanical, less electronic. It works really well. It's kind of a nice, sort of, era where the blend between the fully mechanical and the more electronic diesel's ... It's kind of half way in between that. It actually works pretty well. I mean, these cars are getting ... you know, they don't have as much value as they used to. So, repairs can get expensive. But over all they're still pretty good cars. The actual base engine itself is really solid. It just, often the fuel system starts to cost money when you get to this age of the vehicle. But, this was a fairly simple repair and not to costly.

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for service for your Jetta, TDI or otherwise, in Vancouver the guys to see 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 their website pawlikautomotive.com. Our You Tube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. We've got hundreds of videos on there, or of course hopefully you're listening on our lovely new iTunes podcast here. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Brake Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. We have doing the Pawlik Automotive podcast again. How you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So, we're going to be talking about a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited that had a problem. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: We'll start right with the vehicle and this is the vehicle right here, 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, and what was going on with this vehicle? There was a number of issues, actually. It came in for an inspection. We looked at a few. We looked the vehicle over, found a number of front-end issues, worn out brakes and a few things, but the primary purpose for this podcast is to talk about the front brake hose that was in bad shape. So, there is the brake hose. If you can see, this is ... so this is on the front of the vehicle. This is the shock absorber and the brake hose. This is a pretty close up shot. This brake hose runs from the frame of the vehicle up here, out to the brake caliper over in this direction off the screen. You can see this leaky stuff, this kind of gucky, rusty stuff and this split piece of rubber here, that is the brake hose that is about to explode. What's happened here is basically the metal has started to fester and losing its grip on crimping the brake hose. Basically, a lot of it just caused by rust. It's just corrosion that's expanded the rubber, torn it apart, and then eventually caused a leak.

Mark: So is that the main reason for a brake hose to deteriorate like this, rust?

Bernie: Well, this is one reason. We actually don't see that all that often around. We're in Vancouver. The weather is pretty mild here. We don't get a lot of road salt. This vehicle is from Alberta. There's a lot more road salt used in Alberta. The winters are harsher. And so, that basically ... the salt and moisture just ends up creeping in behind this piece of rubber here which is sort of that ... there's an protective shield, kind of creeps in there, sits in there over the years. It's 10 years old. It just eventually starts to corrode the metal, it expands. As I said, it would ... it just loses its grip on that. It's a high pressure crimp on the rubber hose.

Mark: And so, is this like an accident that's waiting to happen?

Bernie: Absolutely. I can't say enough. We often talk get your ... I mean, we often tell people get your vehicle inspected once a year. I mean, not you own a vehicles only two, three, four years old. It's probably not that necessary. But once it gets on in age, really necessary to have a vehicle inspected every year because you never know what's ... what you're going to find next year even though things can be fine now and you may only drive 5,000 kilometres, there's ... things happen over time, things deteriorate, rust and corrosion just starts to get into places and it'll start working its way through stuff. So, what looks good now, even a year later, even if you don't drive a lot can often amount to problems. So this is why you always need to have an inspection because you'll never see this until it breaks and seeing an accident waiting to happen, when a hose like this breaks, usually it's fine until you hit the brake really hard which is a panic stop, usually. And then I'll assume the hose just bursts because the pressures too high. That's that's when you do not want your brakes to fail. This is when it will.

Mark: Again, this isn't something you find all that often?

Bernie: We don't find this all that often around here. I'm certain that if you ... place like Alberta, Eastern Canada, the US, places where there's lots of road salt, you'll find this kind of stuff, this kind of corrosion happens a lot more often. We do find brake hoses wear, they tend to crack and that ... that's kind of the wear we find here, but that usually takes at least 10 or 15 years before that kind of thing happens. Again, that's something we can spot on inspection it and fix. But this is almost more serious because if the failure can happen almost faster then it was just ... it's got a crack in it.

Mark: So there are a few different models of four-door Wranglers. What are the differences?

Bernie: Well, mostly, I mean, there's some more different trim packages but the main difference ... like this is an Unlimited Wrangler, some of them have cloth seats. This was really nice. It had leather seats and really, really nice interior in it. But the main difference in the upgraded model is the Rubicon which is kind of cool. It's got locking differentials, like they electronically lock the differential. So, this is ... that vehicle is a true four-wheel drive. Once you lock it all in, it's ... all four wheels are pulling you whereas most four-wheel drives, you're kind of got, posy in the rear-end, you've kind of got a three-wheel drive, but this is like a true four wheel lock drive. So you can really go ... you can really go places. So it's a pretty cool vehicle, little more complex, a lot more stuff to go wrong and things do with the differentials. But other than that, that's kind of the main difference, Rubicon or the sort of not Rubicon.

Mark: Not Rubicon?

Bernie: Well, it doesn't say not Rubicon, the plain Unlimited, the more base model. They still all go well out in the bush but the ... if you really want the best, get the Rubicon.

Mark: What other issues do you see going wrong with Jeeps?

Bernie: We work on a lot of them. I mean, a lot of front-end, the steering linkages wear out, which we replaced in this vehicle, ball joint, steering linkages. I mean, brakes wear is normal as you'd expect. There's more fluid services required because it is an all-wheel drive utility truck type vehicle. So, there's extra differentials and things that need service. People often drive them in harsher climate. So when you do that, more work need to be done and a few cooling system repairs here and there but other than that, they're pretty good.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Jeep or you have some concerns about having imported a car from Eastern Canada and maybe you need to have the brake hose checked, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of articles and videos on there, or the YouTube channel which is the same, five-plus years of videos on there, or our new podcast on iTunes. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark.

2011 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Brake Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast, here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto-service experience. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So, we're going to talk about a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle was in for a routine service, and we found that the brakes front and rear were worn out, pads and rotors, so we proceeded to do the brake repairs. And also a brake fluid flush.

Mark: So this is a pretty high performance vehicle. I imagine that the brakes were more robust than normal, like what you'd see on a normal vehicle. Is that right?

Bernie: Oh, yeah. Definitely. It's using very large rotors and pads. Well, let's get straight into some pictures right away. There's our 2011 C63, a C class, so it's a smaller sedan with a very large motor and high performance parts. Here's a view of the front brake rotor, the pads, new pads installed, the AMG six piston calipers on the front. It's a very large brake rotor. I don't have anything really here to compare it against. Again, this is the rotor sitting on the ground. It's over a foot in diameter. There's the old worn out pad. This is typical of what you find of an old, worn out rotor. You can kind of see the edges where the original metal thickness. They tend to wear down quite a lot in the middle, so by the time they're worn out, you basically have to replace them. They're not machinable as they wear. They wear pretty heavily. Again, there's the pad — about 3 mm left, so it's basically worn out. It has a pad wear sensor as well, which is common on all European cars. The pad wear sensor, while the light wasn't on, it was just starting to get worn so it would have been only a matter of time before the light came on.  For our final photo, we have the rear brakes. Again, a four piston caliper, slotted and cross-drilled rotor. Again, maximum performance.

Mark: So just leave that up for a second, Bernie. So the front brakes typically are quite a bit larger than the back brakes?

Bernie: Oh, yeah. Substantially larger.

Mark: Is this the largest brake that they would put into this that you can get on this kind of vehicle?

Bernie: They don't, actually. While it says AMG, and this is a sort of AMG brake, this is not the largest brake package you can get on this car. Most AMGs come with a ... well, it's an upgraded brake package, and they certainly stop the car incredibly fast, but you can spend extra money and you can get the AMG brake package, which has even larger rotors. They're usually a composite type rotor and larger pads. It actually takes the cost of your brake job from say maybe ... I'm just going to say off the top of my head. I can't remember the cost on this one, but maybe $800 or $1,000 to maybe over $3,000 because the rotors jump in price. On a lot of these cars, the rotors will be $1,200 apiece for the front, and the rears are actually not so much more money, but they put a lot more on the front. Usually, the rotors are around $1,200 apiece with the AMG package rotors versus about, I think these are about $300, so that's a huge price jump.

Mark: So you can get more AMG in your AMG. 

Bernie: Exactly. I have driven quite a few of these cars. These things will stop really fast, but I guess if you're out racing on the track, which few people do, you'll probably appreciate having the bigger brakes, but for the average person, you'd really never notice the difference.

Mark: So what was involved with this particular brake job? Anything different than a normal brake job for you?

Bernie: No, it's very straightforward. It's replace the pads, replace the rotors. We lubricate, clean and lubricate any sliding parts and those brake pad wear sensors that I mentioned — there's only two in this car, one in the front axle, one in the rear. And then a brake fluid flush. The brake fluid usually needs to be flushed about every two to three years on these cars, so that's a standard service item. Other than that, there's nothing complex about it.

Mark: So AMG is obviously Mercedes' performance division. Is this a quick and reliable car?

Bernie: I'd say yeah, it's both. That's the nice thing about the AMG. You get a lot of performance, and it's reliable, as reliable as any other Mercedes would be, assuming you don't run it to the red line every time you put the gas pedal down. You're running it on the track all the time. You'll probably wear the car out faster. But for an average driver, yeah, this car will last you for years and be very reliable. It's not like you know ... It's not a Lambo, but it gives you performance close to that without the hassles and problems. So yeah, good, reliable car.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Mercedes AMG or otherwise in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. Book ahead. They're busy. Remember, they're 19-time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. Or check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com. We've got many articles and videos on there. Or YouTube, Pawlik Auto Repair. Check out hundreds of videos on there over the last five years, or hopefully you're listening on our wonderful new podcast. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark.

2007 Subaru Impreza Wheel Bearing Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. How are you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: We're talking cars. Of course Pawlik Automotive, Bernie and Bernie have been repairing cars in Vancouver for 38 years and are 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. Today we're talking about a 2007 Subaru Impreza that had a wheel bearing problem. What was going on with this Subaru?

Bernie: Well we'll just cut right to the problem, so have a listen to this. This is what was going on with this vehicle. 

Mark: Okay, that sounds pretty catastrophic. What did you find was wrong?

Bernie: That was a recording of the noise from the rear wheel bearing in the vehicle while we were running it up on the hoist. That's a right rear wheel bearing. That gives you an indication of what a noisy wheel bearing sounds like. Now while you're driving your car on the road, it's a bit of a different sound, but it's similar. It's a great, grindy, groaning sound and it usually gets louder the faster you go.

Mark: Do you always test the vehicle on the hoist to verify what the noise is? Or where it's coming from?

Bernie: Yeah, we always do that because when you're driving a vehicle there's obviously four wheels, four wheel bearings, it's often difficult to decide which wheel bearing's making the noise. Sometimes it can sound like it's the left front wheel bearing when it's actually the front right wheel bearing. It's kind of odd that way. Once we put it up on a hoist we listen to it. Sometimes we can just walk by it, like in the case of that one, you don't need any listening equipment. Other times we use a stethoscope and we'll listen to all the bearings and see which ones are good and which ones are bad. In the case of this vehicle we actually found there was two bad ones. The right rear, which was the worst, and the right front was also making about 50% of that amount of noise. The other bearings, when you listen to them with a stethoscope, you don't even hear anything. There's just a little very quiet humming sound.

Mark: With it sounding that bad what did the rear wheel bearing look like once you took it apart?

Bernie: Well this one was really badly worn and we could go into looking at some pictures. This is the wheel bearing apart. You can see this okay?

Mark: Yep.

Bernie: Awesome. This is the wheel bearing apart, so these are actually the ball bearings. There's a race which is where the bearings run sort of out of view here behind this dirty grease. Then there's a wheel hub that sits in the middle here, which I'll show you in a minute, but this ... I mean these bearings, you know the grease is supposed to be kind of a nice cleanish colour, sort of like this. These bearings are extremely badly worn. The balls, they're a polished ball, highly polished, and they start to chip after a while, so there'd be little chunks and pieces missing of the metal. Slowly that metal as it rolls around in this race, where the arrow points to, this is supposed to be a precision, beautiful, absolutely smooth piece of metal, but as you can see it's just all roughed up with metals transferred from the bearings to the race, to the race to the bearings. It just totally destroyed ... '07 Subaru here. Back to me.

Mark: How much longer would this have continued to squeal and before it finally completely failed?

Bernie: Well I'd say it was very close to a complete failure, however, I mean, I guess to define a complete failure to me would be like the wheel actually seizes up or something breaks, like the hub breaks off or the wheel actually goes flying off the car. I can't think if I've actually ever seen that happen on this type of wheel bearing, because by the time that would happen, there'd be so much play in the bearing, like the wheel would be flopping around and the brakes would start to feel funny. You know people just tend to fix them by the time they get that bad. I'd say this bearing is close to something getting worse, but it's hard to say.  You know sometimes they can make noise for quite a long time, but this one here was getting very close.

Mark: What's the way to prevent that kind of wear?

Bernie: Well there really isn't. A wheel bearing on most cars ... now in the olden days, I don't know, 30, 40 years ago, and there's still the odd car that has a repackable wheel bearing, those are the kind of bearing where you actually take them apart. You clean them. You repack them with fresh grease. Any vehicle that doesn't have that, which is almost every vehicle nowadays, has a sealed wheel bearing, so there's nothing really you can do about it. The reason the bearing fails is that the seals will eventually deteriorate. Water will seep into the bearing. It'll damage the metal and damage the bearing. That's basically what happens with these bearings. The other thing too is if you hit a curb hard or something, that can also damage the bearing, but generally speaking, there's nothing you can do. They just wear out in their own time.

Mark: Am I right in assuming that everything was all good after you did the repairs?

Bernie: Yeah, really awesome. This vehicle also had a couple of really badly worn front tires as well, so we replaced all the tires. The two wheel bearings. Drove great. Really nice, quiet. If you can imagine from that video how loud that was on the hoist, how loud it would be to drive the car, almost unbearable. Even turning the radio up didn't really help too much, so afterwards really nice. Quiet, smooth, handled well, and safe.

Mark: Unlike a check engine light where you can just put a sticker over it, in this case you would have had to have your headphones on full blast to still drive the car and ignore the problem.

Bernie: Yeah. Yeah. Not a good idea.

Mark: Not a good idea. There you go. If you're looking for service for your vehicle in Vancouver the guys to see 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 their website, PawlikAutomotive.com. Check out our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. There's hundreds of videos on there, or of course, if you're listening on iTunes to our podcast. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark.

2017 Subaru Outback Pre-Purchase Inspection

Mark: Hi it's Mark Bossert here, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, and we're talking cars. How you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So 38 years of servicing vehicles in the Vancouver area, and 19 time winners so far of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by the customers. What are we talking about today, a 2017 Subaru Outback? What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: So we had this vehicle in the shop for a pre-purchase inspection, practically brand new vehicle, under 20,000 kilometres and we had a good look over the vehicle, found nothing wrong, which you expect on a car that new, but found a lot of new interesting features on this car. We've been servicing Subaru's for quite a long time, and there's a lot of neat features on this car that I wanted to just share.

Mark: Alright, so what did you find? What are some of these new features?

Bernie: Let's get straight into some pictures. There's our 2017 Subaru Outback, nice stylish looking car. This is a base model so nothing real fancy here. We'll get into some of the ... Let's have a look at some of the under hood features, so there's the engine, 2.5 litre in this car. It is available with a 3.6 cylinder model as well. This is the 2.5 ... It actually goes really nicely with this engine. Well interesting compared to some of the older models of Subaru, this uses a plastic intake, which is typical of a lot of modern cars. It's actually pretty simple and clean under the hood, there's not a lot of extra pipes and hoses and things like that. Everything's been cleaned up quite nicely, oil filter accessible from the top. The other interesting feature on this vehicle, of course, is it's ... Well what Subaru has done for quite a while, they've gone with a timing chain and not a belt, since around 2011 I guess, so this engine is a lot more like the 6 cylinder used to be. So far no head gasket problems with them, but who ... Time will tell how they go in the long run. What do we got here? Same engine view. I know I've got another one here in my pile of pictures somewhere. Yeah, there we go. You can see that in this view here, the oil filter, you can see the timing chain covered down the front. It's got variable valve timing as well, it ... They squeeze about as much power to this engine as they could, short of putting a turbo or super charger on it. Electric power steering as well, so one less accessory driven by a drive belt, so that's the under hood features of the car.

Mark: What type of transmission does this car use?

Bernie: It's got a CVT transmission, which I took a picture of that as well, which is for what it's worth, so there's a CVT transmission. One interesting feature of this transmission is quite short compared to what you would see on the regular automatic. These are available ... I believe they're available with the standard as well, I'm not 100% certain, but CVT is a pretty common feature, but the transmission extends from this arrow to this arrow, so it's actually very short. There's not a lot of gears and pieces in it, but not really-

Mark: So that ... What were looking at there left to right is front to back basically of the transmission.

Bernie: Exactly. This is the front, this is the back. You can actually see the front axle shaft, front left axle shaft here, so there's a differential assembly in the front, and then the extension housing in the back, which actually the transfer case features are function because it's all wheel driver incorporated throughout in a couple of different spots of the transmission, some in the back, and some in the front, which are out of view.

Mark: And the CVT, how ... What's your opinion on the CVT transmission?

Bernie: Well I'm not big fans of them, this car drove fine, and it's not a ... It seemed to work fine, but doing a little research, they have had some ... Subaru has had some problems with them and they've extended their warranty, which is a good thing. I know Nissan has used CVTs for quite a long time, and they had a lot of problems with them for, and again extended their warranty quite substantially. So the manufacturers, they want to use this technology because there's a lot of good things about it, but they ... A lot of them seem to have trouble getting it working properly. But as I say in the case of this car, it feels fine to drive. Hopefully once any warranty repaired items will keep the transmission going for a long time further.

Mark: So let's just maybe drill into this for just a second, CVT means constant variable transmission, so in theory than instead of a 7 speed or 9 speed or 3 speed transmission, you have an infinite amount of shifting basically, the trany will just provide the power the car needs based on the load?

Bernie: Exactly. It can be in any gear and the thing that's great about this and that's why a lot of engines have gone for electronic throttles or some engines that even have the valve trains are completely ... Not completely, but largely electronically controls of the valves can be open at different times then things aren't bound by gear ratios or timing chains, where things have to be precisely timed, they could be varied. So you can get the maximum power, the best fuel economy, the best exhaust emissions all wrapped up and all controlled by a computer, so there's good reasons to have it, did that answer your question?

Mark: Yup.

Bernie: Good, perfect.

Mark: And how else ... What else did you notice about this car? What else ... Was there any of the-

Bernie: Couple other interesting features, if we go ... Well actually back under the hood, I really like this feature. Hood shocks, or hood struts, where Subaru used to have the typical prop rod where you'd lift the hood up and put the ... Hang the rod up. These have the shocks that hold the hood up, so that's a nice ... It's a simple thing, but it's a nice feature that's been missing from Subaru in the past, and especially being a technician working on a car, it's always appreciated to have these things. However, it's nice when they work, sometimes when they fail, people don't wanna spend the money to fix 'em and that can be a little disconcerting, but we can always put the rod in place then. Electric parking brake, this is a ... Maybe this is a good feature, maybe not. It's nice if you just pull a little lever and the brake locks on, and if you forget to take the brake off, no big deal 'cause as soon as you accelerate, the parking brake comes off automatically, so many cars use electric parking brakes these days, the hand lever or foot pedal seems to have pretty near disappeared, so Subaru's gone that route too. Again, it's good, however it leaves one less brake that you could have manually operated if you needed it, and also a lot more expensive to repair as time goes by, but a nice feature. It gives the car a nice modern feel. The other feature I found I really liked on this car is the front control arm bushings. The front ... The control arm is an arm that extends from the frame of the vehicle out to the wheel. The wheel of the car would be over ... Just out of the picture here, you can see the drive axle here, and this is ... The frame of the vehicle is here. Now the rear control arm bushing where I've got the red arrow pointing, in the older generation of Subaru's like back up to the second generation, these ... They had a bushing of a similar design, it was very durable. I owned a car myself for over 10 years. The car almost 300,000 kilometres when I finally packed it in, and the bushings were still in good shape. In the next generation, they went to a bushing that looked more like this tire. It was a vertical bushing with a bolt that went this direction, through the centre and they were really crappy. They did not last, not durable, and surprising that they even put it in a car that a lot of people will actually take on rougher roads, so they've gone back to this design here, very robust, so I was really pleased to see that. That's a really big improvement for Subaru, there's a ... Actually there's the same view. I had another closer up, there's another closer view of the bushing, so the rubber bushings in here, but the bracket is really solid and robust. This design is just much better. One final feature on the inside of the car, there's your electric parking brake lever. It's got a couple of electronic modes, one, the x-mode will lock the all wheel drive system so you have better traction in slippery roads, which is a great thing to have. Also, a hill mode too, so you can climb or go down steep hills and it'll lower the gear ratio. So it gives a ... Sort of features of a ... Maybe a multi-speed transfer case, but all done electronically. I think that's all we have in the way of pictures, so I'll bring myself back to the camera.

Mark: So you drove it, you inspected it, how ... What was ... What kind of score would you give this vehicle?

Bernie: I'd say really good. My only nit picky complaint is I hate the smell of the interior, it's got that horrible plastic smell and I find that I find it hard to breathe in that environment, but it's a nice car, and this is a base model and it had ... Really had the feel of a ... If you go back past a couple of generations, it had the quality and feel of a much nicer model. So really well built car. Again the CVT is hard to know how reliable it'll be. This is a 2017, so it still got lots of warranty left on it, and other than that, fantastic car, really nice to drive, good fuel economy too with the engine.

Mark: So there you go, if you're looking for service for your Subaru's or you need a pre purchase inspection for any brand, make model of car in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604)327-7112 to book your appointment. Check out their website, PawlikAutomotive.com, our Youtube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, there's hundreds of videos on there, or hopefully you're listening on our new podcast. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2006 Honda Element Clutch Release Bearing

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So, we're going to talk about a Honda Element 2006 that had a clutch release bearing problem. What was going on with this, a little bit unique vehicle?

Bernie: Well, when you push the clutch in, it made a rather horrific grinding, grating noise. And it's not ... wasn't too difficult to determine that the problem was either a warn out clutch release bearing or something wrong with the actual clutch mechanism, like the pressure plate or disc. But usually a noise like that is pretty indicative of a bad clutch release bearing.

Mark: So what's a clutch release bearing?

Bernie: Well, what it is, the way a clutch works, it has a disc that attaches to the transmission. It's like a friction disc, kind of like a brake pad. And then there's a fly wheel and a pressure plate, which are bolted to the engine. And these ... The pressure plate clamps the clutch disc to the, between the pressure plate and the fly wheel, and the release bearing basically facilitates releasing the pressure plates. So when you push the clutch pedal down, it moves a few parts and pieces, eventually moves the clutch release bearing which presses against the pressure plate. There's a lot of force and friction. A lot of movement. There's a spinning at the speed of the engine, so it could be anywhere from 500 to 6,000 RPM, so it's got to handle a lot of pressure and speed. So that's what the clutch release bearing is that sort of intermediary piece.

Mark: And what was involved with this repair?

Bernie: Well, anything like a clutch release bearing always involves taking the transmission out of the vehicle, so we had to remove the transmission, and basically replace the whole clutch. While we're at it, we'll just have a look at some photos.

Here's our Honda Element '06 again, you were saying a unique vehicle. Very utilitarian, but practical. Our next photo we'll look at is, this is the one out clutch release bearing. So, this bearing it sits on a ... It's called a collar in the transmission, and it slides up and down in this piece, and this piece here is what rubs against the pressure plate. And inside, which you can't really see, there's a ... And normally you can't really see it, there's a number of ball bearings that sit in a race. And they're lubricated. It's sealed. And what's happened with this one, I actually didn't take it quite apart, but the actual bearings are ... There's only about a quarter of as many bearings as there's supposed to be, because the rest of them broke and then fallen apart. And, if you look at this bluish colour here, this is a bluing from excessive heat. So this thing is basically most of the time been seized up, when it's running against the transmission for quite a long time. That explains the racket and the noise. And this rough surface is again metal transfer that's been transferred from the pressure plate. This is what the release bearing rubs against. So this is a pressure plate, and these are the fingers. And these pieces here, you can see, there's quite a step of wear it's not supposed to be like that. So, this clutch is basically moments away from complete failure. The bearing would have just broken apart, and pieces would have gone flying everywhere. It would have been horrific. The clutch disc by the way, is sort of in here and there's a ... you can see, this spline is where the transmission shaft slides into. So, we'll get into what it looked like after fixed, so you can have an idea. So that is the new bearing installed on the collar, with lubricant and the ball bearings I mentioned are in here, you notice ... It's a shinier piece than the older one, but also there's no bluing colour here, and a look at the pressure plate. That is a good, new ... That is before installation, this is a new pressure plate, you can see a noticeable difference here with the fingers here. They're not ground down or worn. They're nice and thick and unworn.

Mark: So that's a big job. Is there anything that can be done to prolong the life of the clutch release bearing in the fingers?

Bernie: Actually, there is. This is one thing that's good news, and it all involves your driving habits. So, if your familiar with the term "riding the clutch," it basically means that your putting your foot on the clutch pedal, and a little bit of pressure on the clutch pedal, when you don't actually need it. So, you should only ever put your foot on the clutch pedal when you actually want to disengage it. At any other time, when your driving down the road, you just leave your foot off the clutch pedal. Because riding it is the first way to destroy the clutch release bearing. Because your just using it more than it needs to be used.  Really the key to the clutch is just use it only when you need to. So, if your sitting at a red light. Your there for you know, I don't know, 40 seconds, a minute, put the car in neutral and take your foot off the clutch, it'll rest your foot anyways and you can shift into gear when your ready to move. If your anticipating you have to move, of course, it's much safer to be in gear, but if you know your going to be sitting somewhere for a while, put on the brake, just leave it. And that's probably the best single thing you can do with the clutch, to prolong the life of the release bearing. I mean, they will wear anyways. And it's hard to know, with this vehicle is interesting, because the actual clutch disc was quite thick, and yet the release bearing was completely fried and the pressure plate ... So, the fly wheel surface was really badly worn like it had got very hot, so it's hard to know who had been driving this vehicle in the past, may have had some kind of strange habits. I mean, maybe they rode the clutch and that's what wore that particular ... wore the bearing out.

Mark: So no resting your foot on the clutch pedal.

Bernie: No. No resting your foot. That is not a place to rest your foot. Do not do it unless you want to come in and have your clutch replaced frequently.

Mark: Which we highly recommend.

Bernie: Yeah.

Mark: As I'm ... So, we talked about the Honda elephant Element being unique vehicle. How are they for reliability?

Bernie: Yeah, they're really good. I mean, it's a Honda product. There's really ... They're very reliable ... As they get older, and we do actually service a lot of them that tend to get on in age, and they do need a few repairs and some of them become a standard, so clutches wear out, and brakes and things. But, overall it's a very reliable vehicle. You know, with good sound engineering and the kind of product you expect from Honda, it's reliable.

Mark: So there you go. If you need some service on your Honda Elephant, the guys to see you are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 in Vancouver to book your appointment. Remember they are busy. They are 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. And they've been repairing and maintaining cars in Vancouver for over 38 years. You can also check out the website pawlikautomotive.com on YouTube. Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos on there. Or, our new lovely podcast. Hopefully your listening. Thank you so much. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark.

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