Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

2011 BMW 328i, Rough Running Engine

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So today's story. 2011 BMW 328i. What was the story on this BMW? 

Bernie: So it came to us and the engine was running rough. The check engine light was on and needed some repairs.

Mark: What diagnosis and testing did you proceed with?

Bernie: So from there, first step of course, is to hook our scan tool up.  See what stored trouble codes are in the system. Found a couple of lean condition codes and it was very evident the engine was quite rough. So next step, of course, pop the hood, do a visual inspection. See if we could see anything obvious that was causing it. Nothing was noticeable. So our next step, one of our piece of diagnostic equipment is a smoke machine. And what it does is, under very low pressure, I think about a half PSI, it'll generate half PSI pressure and it generates smoke. And also the smoke has a bit of a UV dye in it, which is kind of cool. You can use for tracing as well. But essentially we, we hooked that into the intake system and turn it on and it pumps smoke through the intake system. So if there's any vacuum leaks or any leaks of any sort, we can find them.

And lo and behold, we found a huge leak coming from where the PCV pipes connect into the intake manifold. Kind of buried low down in the engine. A little hard to see, but we were able to you know, get some flashlights in there and see it, and found the PCV connector was damaged and causing an enormous vacuum leak.

Mark: Okay. So that was a big jump. Like why wouldn't you have looked at other things that might cause rough running first? What led you to the smoke machine, that there might be a vacuum problem? Is that common with rough running? Like what led you there first? 

Bernie: It is especially with the code, this is where the trouble codes are useful. Now people think, oh yeah, just plug the computer and it'll tell me what's wrong with it. Well, no, it doesn't. It just says that there's a code that, that the vehicle can't adjust the fuel mixture. Essentially the interpretation is the engine's too lean. There's too much air getting in. For the amount of fuel that the injection system can deliver. So there's the problem. 

So this is where we have to use our brains and our experience and our other equipment to figure out what exactly it is. The computer does not tell you that it's this particular piece that would make our was a lot easier if it did.

But you know, just as a little aside story, I often thought it'd be great if they put a fuel injection pressure sensor because often fuel pumps will fail on vehicles. I thought, wouldn't it be great if they had that sensor that would tell you that the fuel pump had failed? Well, some vehicles actually have that because they actually regulate the fuel pressure in the vehicle.

Well, that's actually one of the common failure items on those particular, not a BMW, but other vehicles, the sensors actually fail on these vehicles and they cause more problems than the vehicles that don't have them. So I thought, well, it's interesting, you know how sometimes you can over monitor stuff.

Anyways, I kind of went off a bit there, but anyways, the smoke machine, once we determined it's it's a vacuum leak is probably too much air. Smoke machine's a great tool because we can verify right there is it because of too much air because there could be other things like maybe the mass air flow sensor is reading incorrectly, but if we can verify and visually see that there's no smoke coming out from anywhere, then we know there's no vacuum leak. So that's why the smoke machine is a great tool. 

Mark: And how often do you end up using a smoke machine for testing? 

Bernie: We use it quite often. I mean, I'd say like about out of a hundred diagnostics, maybe 20% of the time we'll use it. You know, if it's something with with a vacuum type of leak, we'll use it. It's also useful for exhaust systems. If we can't quite determine a leak or there's maybe a pinhole of some sort, we can pump the smoke through there. There's a number of things this thing's useful for. Especially EVAP system leaks. It can be like a very tiny little leak coming from somewhere. So very good for finding little minute leaks.

Mark: So what was involved in repairing this PCV hose connector? 

Bernie: So we have to remove the intake manifold and in our intention wasn't to take it entirely out of the vehicle because it was actually, if we could swing it out of the way we could take the screws off and unbolt it, that was our original intention.

However, the job ended up turning out to be a little more involved and I'll get into some pictures and we'll have a look.

2011 BMW 328i, Rough Running Engine
2011 BMW 328i, Rough Running Engine
2011 BMW 328i, Rough Running Engine
2011 BMW 328i, Rough Running Engine

So that is the intake manifold of the BMW off the car. So eventually we have to take it off because if you can see, this is where our PCV connector was, was, and you can see a lot of kind of roughness there. This manifold is made of plastic and it was melted here. Now, normally there's no heat around this area that would cause it to melt. But this particular part here has a heater in it for the PCV system and electric heater. And it basically it must've short-circuited and melted.

This is our melted PCV heater. You can see very large hole here. That's where our vacuum leak was. This part, is what bolts into the intake manifold, as you can see, it's very deformed and why it would have melted the manifold. And the PCV hose connects here as well as here. It's like a double PCV hose. So it sucks and this part and this heated section as well. So that hose was replaced also. 

This is what the new heater unit looks like. You can also see there's an electrical connector there. Everything is is in pretty good order on this piece. It gives you a better idea of what the piece looks like. 

And a close-up of our melted area. You know, we ordered the heater first because we figured that's what we needed. But as we looked further and struggled to get this thing out, we realized the manifold would definitely not have sealed with that a new piece in there. We would've had another vacuum leak. So the manifold had to be replaced as well.

Mark: Okay. Did you have to get a brand new manifold? 

Bernie: Oh, we're able to get a used one from an auto wrecker. I mean, this is a part that really doesn't fail, it's a good used part to buy. There's nothing mechanical inside. It's just a piece of molded plastic. And as long as this thing wasn't burnt or there wasn't anything cracked or broken because of course, in a wrecker, in an accident if a car got hit hard enough and you know, a plastic manifold, you get cracked, I've seen that happen, but as long as it's good and solid, it's as good as brand new, essentially.

Mark: What else did you have to replace or repair along with the manifold and the PCV? 

Bernie: Yeah. So we did the PCV pipe. I didn't show a picture of that, but basically it's a pipe that connects to the two sections in the manifold, loops around and connects up to the back of the engine to the rest of the crankcase breather system.

Also the electrical connector to the PCV heater is completely melted and disintegrated. So we have to acquire that. And the only place we could find that was from an auto wrecker. It wasn't available new from BMW. Sometimes they sell these things. You can buy the connector and then the little wiring bits inside and you put them together, but electrical connectors are a little dicey. A lot of them are highly specialized and only fit in one spot. And they're only built one way. So we managed to get a good use one from the auto wrecker and soldered, you know, put that in real nice. 

Mark: So remind us again, what does the PCV valve do. And then why would it need a heater?

Bernie: Good question on both. Okay. So first of all, the PCV, actually PCV stands for positive crankcase ventilation. So the V is not actually double because sometimes it is.  It's a positive crankcase ventilation valve. What it does is it basically takes the blow-by gases from the crankcase, when it internal combustion engine is running some of the explosion that happens in the pistols, it can't be contained fully by the piston rings. It'll blow past into the crankcase. And so those gases, which are highly noxious are the most horrific pollutants, the engine puts out.

 They basically capture it, instead of it going out into the environment it's captured in a closed system, goes through a pipe, goes back into the intake manifold, it's sucked in and re-burnt. Why they use a heater, I don't know. But some vehicles do have them. It may be just to prevent the oil vapours from condensing in a cold engine. That's what I'm kind of assuming is what it is. And I should do my homework before I do this podcast, but I didn't.  

Sometimes I don't dig as deep as maybe I should, but I go, it's there for a reason. I figured no car manufacturer ever puts anything on a car for no reason, because it all costs money to make. So they're all committed to doing it the cheapest way they can. So there's gotta be a reason, but I'd say it probably prevents the vapours from condensing as they get sucked into the intake manifold on a cold engine. 

Mark: And how did the car run after repair?

Bernie: Really good. Yeah. Ran fantastic. Like a brand new BMW, smooth and no check engine light. And it was nice to find this issue because you know, so often we do diagnostics on things where we can't see what it is. We have to kind of interpret things and go, okay, well I think that's what it is and give an estimate for a thousand dollars. And it works in the end, but it's like, it's always a little hairy. But this is nice when you can go, Hey, the smoke machine, there's the leak right there. There's the problem, you know, it's a hundred percent found and verified. So it was a nice repair story. 

Mark: And is this a common issue with BMW 328 series vehicles?

Bernie: Not that I know of know, we work in a lot of BMW. This is the first time we've ever seen this happen. It's common in a lot of other different BMWs. You know, the auto wrecker, when I brought the sample manifold out, the guy who pulled it out of the car, he goes, wow, this is weird. I've never seen this before. So to me, that's an interesting indication that it's not an entirely common occurrence, but it may happen from time to time.

Mark:  And how are these BMWs? The 300-320series, I guess, how are they for reliability? 

Bernie: Well, you know, they're okay. We do a lot of podcasts on them. You know, I just like to say, you know, if you own one of these cars, they're nice, but you'll do a lot of repairs over time. I think, as we said, this isn't the most common thing you'll come up with. But electric water pump failures are common. Oil leaks are common. So, you know they need good maintenance. That's kind of the key. A lot of people don't maintain them well. The factory maintenance schedule on BMWs in my opinion is really bad, that your oil change intervals are like 25,000 kilometres, which is way too long. You should be doing it at 12 or maybe even less.

You know, if you do it more frequently with good oil you're going to get a lot more life out of your engine for sure. If you're buying a used one and it's been dealer serviced, it may not be the best service that could have been done. I mean, at least it's been done, but it has been done more frequently, that'd be better.  

Mark: So there, if you've got a BMW in Vancouver and you want to maintain it, you want it running a little bit more trouble-free. You want it maintained so that you can go in and start it up. And it goes even in the cold winter and the rain. The guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them to book your appointment 604-327-7112. Or you can book online pawlikautomotive.com. They'll check out what you think the problem is, or what's actually going on and be ready for when you show up to get your car fixed. So it's done right the first time. Of course, check out our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. There's hundreds of videos, all makes models and types of repairs on there. We've been doing this for nine years. And thank you so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2006 Volvo S60R, All Wheel Drive System Repairs

Mark: Hi it's Mark from Top Local, I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 time winners, 24 times best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking about a Volvo today. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: I'm doing very well. 

Mark: So all wheel drive system on a Volvo, what was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah. So this vehicle had a warning light on the dash that the all wheel drive system wasn't functioning. That's basically the issue. The owner also noted that when there was some slippery surfaces it didn't feel like the four wheel drive system was actually working.

Mark: So what testing and diagnosis did you do? 

Bernie: So first thing, hookup a scan tool to the vehicle computers. Did a full system scan. There was two codes in the all wheel drive module or rear differential. I can't remember which term they use on this particular vehicle, but there's two codes, one for a communication issue with the differential module and one for a pump, issue with the pump. So we did some testing on the system as much as we could. Under the vehicle, found that the pump was definitely bad. And that was our first item to replace. 

You know, as far as communication errors, sometimes if there's a component that's part of the system, it will create a communication error on certain vehicles. Other times the communication error could actually be that the module had failed or something else. So we figured that the pump was a first place to start because we knew that was a problem. 

Mark: So you replaced the pump. Did you have to do anything else after that? 

Bernie: So, what we did is we replaced the pump along with the pump, we also replaced the filter and service the fluid. I mean, some of the fluid had to come out anyways, but it's a good idea to service the fluid once in a while in these systems because it's kind of a critical part of the system to use the right fluid. So we serviced the fluid, the pump, the filter tested it all out and there were still issues. 

Mark: So what was the next step? 

Bernie: Yeah, next step, so we rescan it. There's still a communication error code. So just did a little further testing on the wiring to the module to make sure there was proper power, ground, communication, circuits, that sort of thing. It was all good. So at that point there's really only two things left. I mean, the most likely the module, possible issue with the actual clutch packs, but not very likely considering the code is a communication code. So we proceeded to have the module repaired and replaced. 

Mark: So what's involved in replacing the module? 

Bernie: Well, labour wise it's pretty simple. It bolts onto the side of the engine, not the side of the engine, sorry, the side of the differential. And I'll get some pictures up in a second, but there's really a couple of options available for replacement. There's brand new from the Volvo dealer. There's used modules if one can find them and also having them rebuilt. We have a company that rebuilds a lot of electronic components. And they actually do a really good job in these things. They do a lot of them, so I'll just get some pictures here. So we went with the rebuilt option.

So there's our Volvo. This is a S60R model, which is kind of cool. It's like the high-performance edition and it it goes well, drives real nice. All wheel drive. Nice high-performance Volvo. 

2006 Volvo S60R, All Wheel Drive System Repairs

There's the module. This is the rebuilt unit. The nice thing about these rebuilts is they come programmed. You know, this an issue if you buy a used one, it may need to be reprogrammed to the vehicle. Modern vehicles they all have to be, modules need to be programmed so the computers connect with each other. I don't know why such complexity, but for some reason they do it. And it just makes repairs more fiddly inexpensive. But these come reprogrammed, which is a good thing. If you're buying a new one from Volvo or a used unit, you'd probably have to do the same thing. 

2006 Volvo S60R, All Wheel Drive System Repairs
2006 Volvo S60R, All Wheel Drive System Repairs
2006 Volvo S60R, All Wheel Drive System Repairs

Anyways, here's a view of the the differential unit. This is the Haldex unit here. And this is the module here, kind of looking at the other side of it, from what that picture was. Pump's located here. This is the drive shaft that comes from the front of the vehicle, hooks up with this coupler here. And then inside this area, there's all the clutch packs that kind of do the all wheel drive operations. So there's our picture show for the day. But yeah, the module basically is quite simple. It just bolts onto the side with some electrical connectors. 

Mark: And how did everything work once the module was replaced? 

Bernie: Perfect. No warning lights were all out. No more codes. All wheel drive system worked great.

Mark: So, is there anything unique about this Haldex all wheel drive system? 

Bernie: They actually use it on a number of different European vehicles. This system is used on Land Rover LR2s as well. There's some Volkswagens that have Haldex's. But this type I mean, what's unique about it. It uses electronics to control the slippage between the front and rear axles, which is important for, you know, good driving comfort, and then also good you know, differential lock up when you need it in slippery conditions. 

Mark: So is this a typical failure in these units at some point in their life?

Bernie: You know, some do. I mean the modules do fail. We've replaced all sorts of bits and pieces on these, like modules pumps, they all tend to have problems. But you know, there are many Volvo models that don't have problems at all. So it's not sort of a guaranteed failure if you own one of these, but you may run into one or two of these items. And sometimes, you know, the pump will be bad and it'll actually take the module out. So you know, it's often better, even though we did this in a couple of sequences, that if the module is bad, it's often a good idea to replace the pump at the same time, because it can cause a module to go. And it would be a shame to put a module in and have it blow out because the pump was not replaced. It's drawing too much current or something like that. 

Mark: And it works really well as far as the four wheel drive system. 

Bernie: Yeah, it does. For sure. I mean, you can't really tell you have it. If everything's working well you can't really tell it's a four wheel drive. If you've driven any, I always think of like American trucks or like a Jeep where you put it in four low and everything's locked in, you go around the corner on pavement and the wheel start hopping and grinding and binding. So, you know, you don't get any of that kind of thing on this sort of vehicle. So you can be driving in four wheel drive all the time, but it controls things. So it's comfortable to drive. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Volvo in Vancouver, they work on a lot of them. Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112. To book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead, or you can book online at pawlikautomotive.com. They'll call and check and talk to you. Find out exactly what the problem might or might not be. Thanks so much for watching. We really appreciate it. You can check out our YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair. Thousands of videos on there of all makes and models, types of repairs. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

2002 Porsche 911 IMS Bearing Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. What is it? 24 time winners. 24. Best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And today we're talking about a Porsche 911. How're you doing Bernie in? 

Bernie: Doing pretty good. 

Mark: So this had the infamous IMS bearing problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So the vehicle got towed to our shop with a sudden, humongous oil leak developed in the vehicle. We didn't know it was an IMS problem, but we did know there was a huge oil leak that had developed. 

Mark: Was there any diagnosis you had to do to find the oil leak?

Bernie: Well this wasn't our traditional, there's always a diagnosis of some form, but it wasn't the usual, let's add some UV dye. Clean something, drive it around the block. It was basically as fast as we could pour the oil in, it was pouring out. So there was a pretty severe leak coming from somewhere.

Mark: Either that out of the engine drain is not in there anymore. 

Bernie: Well, yeah, that wasn't the case though. So the oil is pouring out in the bell housing area. So either, you know something happened to the IMS bearing, the rear main crank seal had blown out or something catastrophic had cracked at the back of the engine. So we figured pulling the engine out was the next step to the process. So we pulled the engine and transmission together as a unit and separated it and. Proceeded from there. 

Mark: What did you find? 

Bernie: So we found the IMS bearing had basically broken. There's a bolt that holds the IMS bearing to the collar. It was missing. Gone, and those oil just pouring out of there. So next step of course, is pull the IMS, played out and see if we can replace the IMS bearing. 

Mark: So that bearing had failed. Did you replace it? 

Bernie: We weren't able to because the bearing had basically grenaded. Just destroyed itself. And this vehicle requires a complete engine. So why are we doing this podcast? Because we're talking about why you should replace your IMS bearing way before there's any issues. That's kind of the purpose. So we can get into some pictures. We can talk some more while we're looking at pictures. 

2002 Porsche 911 IMS Bearing Repair
2002 Porsche 911 IMS Bearing Repair
2002 Porsche 911 IMS Bearing Repair
2002 Porsche 911 IMS Bearing Repair
2002 Porsche 911 IMS Bearing Repair

So there's basically what we found. We took the engine and transmission apart with the flywheel off, you can see the rear main crank seal in this area and the red arrow points to the IMS plate. There's a hole in the middle and you can see a sort of a, kind of fresh oil that's run down here. And that is basically where there used to be a bolt and a shaft that sat in there. And that had basically broken off. Very bad thing for that to occur. Next pictures. What do we got?

Again, a close up view of the IMS cover plate. There shouldn't be all that metal laying around in there. Metal in, well, just, just looks like it's been sandblasted and there's still sand in there around this area here. No underneath like where the oil is and just right where your arrow is now.

I mean, that could be dirt. That's accumulated kind of hard to say. I think most of the guck would be inside the engine at this point. Now here's what it looks like with that piece off. I apologize. It's a bit of a fuzzy photo, but that right in this opening here is where the IMS bearing used to be.

And that's sort of, what's left of the outer bearing race that sits in the IMS bearing. At this point, you can't replace it. It's it's too badly damaged. And of course all the debris of that bearing is now circulating throughout the engine. 

Mark: Thus you need a new engine. 

Bernie: Yeah. Thus we need a new engine or, you know, tear it apart and dismantle it, but it's an enormous task. We're in the process actually right now, trying to find a good used engine for the customer. That's kind of where we're at. I mean, it's either that or you rebuild it, which is a horrendously expensive operation. 

 There's the plate. This is where the bearing once sat. You can see, you know, a lot of wear and crap around this area too. And then finally, this is what a replacement, LN Engineering bearing looks like. This is an aftermarket solution that works really well in these vehicles, but it's only a preventative maintenance repair.

This is not a after the fact of severe damage repair. This is a repair that you do when the IMS bearing has not yet failed. So that's a solution, a part. It also comes with a different style mounting plate because it's a different design. But yeah, so there's our, there's our picture show.

Mark:  So, what does IMS bearing do? 

Bernie: So what it does is it basically holds the intermediate shaft in place. And what the intermediate shaft is, the purpose is basically it's an overhead cam engine. There's timing chains that run from the well, no, on a lot of engines, they run directly from the crankshaft to the cam shafts.

But in this case the engineers at Porsche decided let's run an intermediate shaft, which slows the speed of the timing chains down to the cam shaft, cuts them in half. So it seems like a pretty neat idea. Unfortunately in the design of this bearing, this bearing is not lubricated by engine oil. It's a sealed bearing. So it only has a limited lifespan. Of course they don't tell you that. It's not part of the maintenance because they never designed it that way. They didn't think about that that far. 

There was actually a class action lawsuit that occurred a long time ago about these bearings. And I don't know much more about it, but it's out there. So they had these things fail under warranty as well, but now anyone who owns one of course is left holding the bag and you need to replace it yourself. But that's basically what the IMS shaft, you know, what the purpose is.

Mark: So does it matter whether it's air cooled or water cooled, because there was a change somewhere in there with Porsche? 

Bernie: Air cooled engines have, they have a lubricated bearing, like as kind of standard, I guess you know, a standard type of bearing that's lubricated with engine oil. So there's no problem with that. And when we get into the newer models, probably 07 and newer, they solved this issue. They either eliminated it or did something that this bearing is not a sealed bearing unit anymore. So really your problem years are probably from around approximately 97 to around 2005 or six with apparently the years, 2000 to 2005 being the worst issues.

So and that's 911s and Boxsters because they both use the same design.

Mark:  So was there any warning signs for this 911 owner? 

Bernie: No there wasn't and we just did a service I think, a month or two previous to this, changed the oil, there was no, you know, we generally look at the oil. There was no debris or particles or anything to be found in the oil. I mean, we didn't cut the oil filter apart, perhaps we should have. Maybe we would have seen something, but many times these bearings will fail internally. You know, the bearing will start wearing out and collapsing and then they'll just suddenly give out all in one kind of puff, I guess. Exactly. Yeah. They just kind of explode. So that kind of thing happens. 

So you can get magnetic drain plugs, oil, drain plugs, which are a good thing to see if there's any metal debris forming. Really a lot of times there's just no warning. We did have a Boxster once where there was a screeching noise in the engine and we did actually, a bearing was in pretty bad shape. We did actually replace it. The engine seemed to survive, but it wasn't like this where it completely blew apart. 

Mark: So what's the way to prevent it from happening from having the grenade explode? 

Bernie: You basically need to replace this bearing. I mean, it's that simple. If you don't know when it's been done, get it done. This LN Engineering, they have a couple of different options. They also have a solution where you can actually get a bearing this lubricated with engine oil, which is a more expensive option. I don't know if it's necessarily worth doing, but I'd say it was my own car, I'd figure, you know what I do it. And then if I was going to keep it long enough, I'd say within 10 years, I'd replace it again. That's kind of the way to go. It's a maintenance item and you just got to treat it like that. So if you don't know when it's been done and you can't find any hard evidence that has been done, I would just go ahead and do it. It's expensive, but way cheaper, a fraction of the cost of replacing an engine. 

Mark: So little hidden surprises for the 911 and Boxster owners of a certain vintage. How are 911s overall for reliability? 

Bernie: Super reliable vehicles. I mean, this is the only thing really that in my opinion, it's really bad about these vehicles. Other than that they're excellent .For a sports car, they run well. They just need some basic service. It's a great car, really overall not that expensive to maintain for what the kind of car it is. 

You need some service for your Porsche in Vancouver, give Pawlik Automotive a call. You can book online on the website at pawlikautomotive.com or call ahead. Check when they're actually open. You gotta call and book because they're busy. (604) 327-7112. Or our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, close to a thousand videos on there all makes and models and types of repairs. Thanks so much for watching. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

2008 Land Rover LR2, Hard Starting

Listen to podcast here.

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from TLR. I’m here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver’s best auto service experience. 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver. And we’re talking cars. How are you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So today’s victim, we’ve seen a few of these, a Land Rover LR2 2008 version. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: So the owner brought the vehicle to us. He bought it recently, done a few repairs himself. And the issue that he was having as the check engine light kept coming on and the vehicle is hard to start. It would crank over for a long time before the engine would eventually start.
So he’d done a bit of research, he’d replaced a few parts, fuel injectors, fuel rail pressure sensor, a lot of the things that could commonly cause an issue like that he’d replaced. Issue was still there. He said, Hey, you know, can you guys reprogram the vehicle powertrain control module. I said, yeah, it seems like a good idea. We can do that. So we did that.
Mark: And what was the result?
Bernie: Well, it didn’t solve his issue. So he still had the same concerns. About two weeks later, he booked in and brought it back and we said, Hey, we’re going to need the vehicle for a little while, based on what you’ve done.
There’s obviously some interesting issues. You know, something that might take some time to figure out. Leave it with us for a bit and we’ll look at it. So he brought it back and we started doing some tests and diagnosis on it.
Mark: So, what were the diagnostic steps that you took?
Bernie: The first thing was to test the fuel pressure. Do a complete vehicle scan and look at the data on the scan tool. So, first thing we noticed is the fuel rail pressure was a little out of spec. We suspected, you know, the pressure sensor that he put in may or may not have been good. So we got the proper fuel rail pressure sensor. Made sure it was exactly the right part number for the engine. This is really critical for these engines.
There’s a variety of different, over the years they’ve used this system on Volvos and LR2’s and some of them, these different fuel rail pressure sensors, if you put the wrong one in creates a lot of problems. We had a Volvo a little while ago that someone had put the wrong one in and just created months of havoc for the owner because they lived in a n out of the way town that had a hard time fixing it.
Anyways, put the right sensor in. The readings looked a little better, but still what we’d noticed when we put a fuel pressure gauge, as soon as you shut the engine off, the pressure would just drop down to zero, which is not a good thing.
It’s supposed to maintain a pressure around 30 PSI approximately for quite a while, like at least an hour or two. You know, and then, it’ll probably, if you leave it overnight, it’ll probably be down to zero, but at least there’s still a little bit of, it keeps the fuel on the line. So the thing that normally causes that as a bad fuel pump, there’s a check valve in the fuel pump. So that was kind of our next step in the job.
Mark: So what happened after you replaced the fuel pump?
Bernie: Yeah. So we replaced the fuel pump, it’s a large and you know, pretty pricey job in this vehicle. The pressure was good. Like the fuel pressure was exactly on spec at all times. And when you shut the engine off, the pressure would drop to 30, 40 PSI. It would stay there for a long time. So that issue was solved. So we’d fix that.
Mark: But were there some other problems still?
Bernie: So interestingly enough, the check engine light still stayed on, even though we cleared the codes and this car was still hard to start. So we had it for another day. We tried it the next morning and started perfect. But if you leave it and it got a little warm, it cranked over for a long time. So interestingly enough, even though we had good fuel pressure now, there were still some other issue going on. So we kind of proceeded to doing a whole number of further diagnosis.
The codes, by the way, for the check engine light, were a fuel system, rich code a P0171 and a 174. These are like rich fuel condition codes. So there’s too much fuel getting into the engine somehow. So how that happens, I mean, you could have a leak. There’s a few ways.
So we tested and verified that none of those items were present. We tried a new PCV it’s like a PCV valve assembly on the back of the engine replaced that. That didn’t make any difference. We cleaned the throttle plate. We did a number of things. I was at the point where, you know what, I want to fix this for the customer. We promised we do it. So at this point we kind of took it off the clock and I started going off, trying to figure out what else we could do to solve the issue.
The other area of course, is even though the oxygen sensor, the front oxygen sensors look to be reading normal, they were original. So we recommended replace them. Of course, you know, we charged for that. But you know, after that we replaced those that still didn’t solve the issue.
Mark: So now this is getting into the mystery portion of the program. So what’d you find out? What did you do next?
Bernie: Yeah, so the mystery portion, so I just re verified everything. Is our fuel pressure good. You know what could be causing this? And the last thing it came down to was the fuel injectors. And he’d replace them. So here’s a question, so I started asking him, Hey, you know, where did you get the fuel injectors from? Like where did you source them. And of course being a do it yourself, or there’s lots of options in the internet.
He’d bought them from an auto parts place that I won’t mention. They sell a variety of fuel injectors. He bought some very cheap injectors. Right away I go, I bet you that’s his problem. And having a little further conversation. The sequence of events was, you know, it was hard to start. I figured I’ll change the fuel injectors. So he put them in and it seemed to me from his conversation that maybe that’s when the check engine lights started coming on. Make a long story short. I finally conclude, you know, I think the injectors are crappy. They were probably about, I think he said, they were about $20 a piece.
I looked them up online. They’re about 20 bucks a piece. Not a bad choice. I mean, there, you know, why not go for a low price. The OEM injectors are about $400 each that’s a big discrepancy and you know, you don’t need to necessarily go with OEM, but what you should do, like on a car like this if you can get after market Bosch, which is basically the original supplier for less price, that’s probably the minimum of what you should do.
But anyways, to make a long story short the injector seemed to be the issue and so that was kind of the next stage of the the story.
Mark: So did you change injectors?
Bernie: No, we didn’t. So, at this point that, you know, his bill was very substantial. I figured, Hey, you know what? He said he still had the old ones. So I said, you know, here’s what I suggest you do. I’ve verified everything on the car, take the vehicle back, change the injectors back to the originals and then give me a call and let me know.
Mark: And?
Bernie: So I called him, we had a conversation a couple of days ago. He said, yeah, I just changed. The injectors, starts fine. The check engine lights off. So what are the lessons to be learned from this? Well, as a repair shop, I think asking even deeper questions of which parts did you use would be a very good thing that I’ve kind of learned. After all these years and gray hair, I’ve actually learned, Hey, you never ask all the questions. There’s always something that’s missed. And I made the assumption, Oh, you changed the injectors, you use something good. But you know, there was a question I should have asked.
And you know, I think what happened originally is this fuel pump was bad, which was causing the long cranking over and starting, because it was losing the pressure. But you know, fixing the field pump didn’t solve it because the fuel injectors were bad. So they’re still dumping too much fuel into the engine you know, with the bad faulty fuel injectors cause. So the other lesson, of course, if you’re a do it yourselfer, because I know some do it yourselfers watch this podcast, buy good quality parts. Don’t go for cheap price. You know, you got to make sure what you’re getting, you’re comparing good quality oranges to good quality oranges.
You know, if you’re getting the same quality at a better lower price, then that’s fine, but don’t use substandard quality.
Mark: Don’t put apples in.
Bernie: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah. I’m trying to think of an orange comparison, but there really isn’t one.
Mark: Rotten oranges.
Bernie: Yeah rotten oranges on the inside.
Mark: This is also a good example of making assumptions, isn’t it?
Bernie: Exactly.
Mark: Assuming that it’s the fuel injectors and changing the fuel injector and just causing a cascade of issues because you’ve fixed the wrong darn thing.
Bernie: Yeah, exactly. And this isn’t the first time. We had a client who was a GMC diesel truck. We did a diagnosis and said, or actually for some reason he bought the truck and it was an older one, decided I’m going to change the fuel injectors myself, which was a very bold job because even something for us that would take like, well, over a day’s worth of labor, just to change the fuel injectors.
He changed them himself, but he bought some injectors online from a supplier. Within a month there’s problems. At the end of the day, we ended up replacing all this fuel injectors with good parts that we knew were reliable. He ended up spending like way more money. So you gotta get the right parts, but actually paying for proper diagnosis really makes a lot of sense. If you’re just guessing at stuff, you’re gonna waste your money. Sometimes you get lucky, but a lot of times you’ll end up creating a lot of grief and costs. You know, this job costs the owner a lot more money than it could have had he brought it to us originally and we just done our diagnostic and done it.
Mark: Fixed the right thing basically.
Bernie: Fix the thing the first time, exactly. And so, I mean, we have an interesting podcast to talk about out of this and lessons learned for owners and do it yourselfers and shops. Ask the questions.
Mark: Listen, if you want expert repairs on your Land Rover in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. You can book there, book your appointment there. You have to call or book online ahead. They’re busy. Or you can check out our YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there, of course, on the website as well. Everything’s mirrored up on there. We’ve been doing this for nine years. There’s a lot of cars, a lot of repairs, a lot of types of stuff. And of course it’s all from the award-winning Pawlik Automotive. Thank you so much for watching. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching and listening.

2014 Range Rover Supercharged, Engine Noise Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 24 times voted by their customers as best auto repair in Vancouver.  And we're talking about Range Rovers today. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well? Yeah, we're talking about Range Rovers again. 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2014 Range Rover Supercharged that had an engine noise. Let me guess supercharger nose cone, timing chain? 

Bernie: Nope. None of the above. This was a different noise this time. 

Mark: So what was it? 

Bernie: There was a tapping noise in the engine and basically like a tick tick, tick, tick, tick type of sound. So surprisingly the timing chains, weren't the cause of the noise. But we did need to do some further diagnosis to figure out what it was. 

Mark: So what diagnosis and then steps towards repair did you have to take? 

Bernie: Yeah so for engine noises, I mean, our favourite tool is a stethoscope. I should have actually brought it in, hung around my neck and looked like a doctor, but it's sitting down in the shop. But it's kind of different than a doctor stethoscope in that it has a big long, it was kind of like a listening piece instead of having the flat thing that the doctor puts on. This has a big, long pointed tip and it magnifies the sound. And of course we stick it up to our ears, like any stethoscope, but when you're underneath the vehicle, you could really hear like a ticking noise right. Inside the exhaust system. 

But it wasn't the exhaust because you could also hear it actually coming up from the engine. I think it was just reverberating through the exhaust and amplifying the sound. But the noise was loudest up in the valve cover sort of under the right bank cylinder bank, valve cover area. So we knew there was something going on, probably a valve train problem, cam shaft, lifter, valve, you know, something like that, where it needed further disassembly. Specifically removing the valve cover to find out what was going on.

Mark: So is that a fairly straightforward task? 

Bernie: No, it's a Land Rover. It's a Range Rover. A Supercharged motor. Now it's not, I mean, a valve cover, you know, one time a valve cover removal was like I mean, I think there's some older Chevy's is like a 10 minute job to take a valve cover off maybe even five minutes.

If you have your tools beside you, but on these things, it's quite a lot of work. First of all, the supercharger has to come off and the intake manifolds. So that whole assembly has to come off. And then from there, the fuel injectors, it's a direct injection, they sit right in the middle of the cylinder.

The fuel injectors have to be removed in order to get the valve cover off. So we have a special puller that pulls the injectors because once they're in for a little while they stick in the cylinder bore. So it's a special slide hammer for pulling the injectors out. So it's a few hours worth of work just to get the valve cover off, to look at the inside.

Mark: Right. You got to cover off. What did you find? 

Bernie: So we found one of the exhaust valves, there's basically two exhaust valves per cylinder. One of the exhaust valves. There's a huge amount of play between the cam lobe and the bucket, which is like the lifter. The thing that presses the valve down on the camshaft. Enormous amount of play, probably like an eighth of an inch like this, you know, you can them kind of look see you in the camera, you know, like quite a lot of play, a huge amount. So it's normally about 9, 10 millimetres is kind of the average specification. This is like, I don't know, I have a hard time converting an eighth of an inch to millimetres, but it was a lot. Very excessive. So we knew that's where our problem was. And from there we had to disassemble, remove the camshaft and go further into disassembling. 

Mark: And was there anything else you found after the camshaft was removed? 

Bernie: Well, I'll show you what we actually found to be the actual issue. 

So our 2014 Range Rover. It's a full-size Range Rover Autobiography Edition, super nice. And the owners put some nice extra large wheels and tires on it. So for that even better look, it's kind of cool too get a carbon fibre hood as well. 

2014 Range Rover Supercharged, Engine Noise Repair
2014 Range Rover Supercharged, Engine Noise Repair
2014 Range Rover Supercharged, Engine Noise Repair
2014 Range Rover Supercharged, Engine Noise Repair
2014 Range Rover Supercharged, Engine Noise Repair

This is a view of the valve train on the right cylinder bank. So there's the timing chain. This is the exhaust cam, intake cam and the lifter. The issue we found is right in this area here with this exhaust valve and cam right here. This is the camshaft bucket. This will sit over top of the valve and the valve spring and the tip of the valve, the valve STEM presses against here. I don't have a view of the other side, but the other side is where the camshaft rides.

This is a brand new one. If you look really closely, you'll see a nice round piece here. And these are all very precision thicknesses, because this is how you adjust your valve clearance on this engine. It's a solid lifter. There are about 40 different, I'm guessing 30 or 40 different thicknesses. So you have to get them right. Put them in the right spot and measure them out. 

This is what we found when we took the engine apart. You can see this centre piece completely gone. So there's our eighth of an inch of play. It basically just hammered out, I don't know what happened, whether that's a hollow piece and it hammered it out or what happened, but I'll just go back and you can see the good one  and the bad one.

So that's where our problem was. We measured everything out on all the other ones after repair. We went through and did a full valve clearance inspection. All of the rest of them were good. So we just repaired the one, which was the only thing going on. Now you might wonder, should we have done all of them?

This is the first time we've run into this and we've done numerous engine repairs on these vehicles. So we figured it was basically a one-off issue on this particular thing and all the other valves specked out perfectly well. So there's our picture show of the day. 

Mark: So I'm sure while you had everything apart, you had a look at the timing chains in the Supercharger. How were they? 

Bernie: Well, we actually end up replacing all of them. Actually we're kind of surprised because the timing chains are all actually in good shape. There was no play. We talked to the owner and he said, look, I've owned this thing since brand new, had about 130,000 kilometres on, he says I've never had them replaced.

Like the engine has never been opened up. So he was keen to replace them because he knows it's a problem while it's in there, it's a bit more money for parts, but the labor is not really any more involved. The Supercharger nose cone, like there's a coupler that connects between the pulley and the actual supercharger.

That's the, where the problem lies with the nose cone. And there was some play in that, even though it wasn't really noisy, we replaced that too, because again, everything is apart. Why not do it while it's apart? Little more money for parts, but, you know, saves having to do it again in a few months.

So everything's done, complete. The end of story, it sounded great. Like the engine runs beautifully. Sounds really good. Like not any noise. Really nice. 

Mark: So do you have any idea on why that part failed? 

Bernie: No, I don't. I mean, at first we thought, well, maybe bad maintenance, because a lot of time, you know, it's easy for people to miss an oil change. These are the kinds of things that happen. If you, have not even decided you just get forgetful and you miss an oil change or the warning light comes on, says service the vehicle. They should get it done right away because you know, don't wait. I mean, I say right away, get it done within a week or two. But don't wait for a month or two, or if you've missed something. It's better to service it even before the warning lights come on if you can kind of track it. You know, go, okay I'm just going to change my oil every 10,000 kilometres. It prevents a lot of stuff from happening. 

This engine didn't look abused in any way inside. It didn't have any sludge buildup. So, I don't really know why it could have just been a faulty part or something that just wore, for some reason, things do happen. I mean, even in well-maintained cars, sometimes things just break and wear out.

So good maintenance is a good prevention. It's like eating good food, you know, will generally extend your lifespan and keep you healthy, but it's not a guarantee. 

Mark: And of course, any Supercharged high performance engine, and this definitely is in that category needs to be maintained appropriately.

Bernie: Absolutely. I mean, these engines are under an immense amount of strain. When you think of the weight of this vehicle and these things like take off like a rocket. I mean, they are super fast, you know, there's over 500 horsepower in this engine. It's a lot, and it's fun to drive for a vehicle like this. But there's an immense amount of strain on an engine that can go from zero to 5,000 RPMs in a second. That's a lot of strain. So things have to be in good shape. 

Mark: If you need some service for your Range Rover and you want experts, who've done lots of work on lots of Range Rovers and know all the ins and outs. And you want to make sure your Range Rover is running well. The guys to see are Pawlik Automotive.

Book online at pawlikautomotive.com. There's also hundreds of videos, many about all the different normal issues that you might have with your Range Rover Supercharged or not. Of course, if you want to call somebody and talk to them, (604) 327-7112 to book an appointment, you got to call, he got a call and talk to them.

They're busy. You can't just show up. But of course, this is just talking about Vancouver. We appreciate everyone who watches these shows. We really enjoy making them. We've done it for nine years. We've got close to a thousand videos out there all makes and models and types of repairs. And thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. And thanks for watching. And don't forget, you can book online too, new service works really well.

2007 Mazda CX9, PCM Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 25 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their, 25 times. Holy crap. They must be good. Bernie we're talking cars. How are you doing? 

Bernie: We are, I got to make a slight correction though,  it's only 24 of this time, Mark. And you're anticipating just a little further ahead, but it's hard to keep track these days. Anyways, thank you for the intro. I'm doing awesome. 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2007 Mazda CX9. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so this vehicle came to us actually quite a few months ago with an engine misfiring problem, it was running very rough. So that was a client's concern and all of a sudden started running rough. 

Mark: So you did some diagnosis. What did you find? 

Bernie: So we found there was an ignition misfire. The spark plugs were old and also there's codes for multiple it's cylinder misfire. So there's several cylinders, misfiring. Tested, found at least one ignition coil bad. They're all same age. So we figured the first step in the repair was to replace the spark plugs and the ignition coils which we proceeded to do. 

Mark: So you replaced that stuff. How did the vehicle run after that?

Bernie: Well, it ran better, but still not perfect. There's still a misfire in cylinder number five. And so we had to proceed with some further testing. 

Mark: So what'd you end up doing next?  

Bernie: So the next testing of course, is to verify that the coil wasn't faulty or the spark plug, we did test that found that was good. We then next proceeded to test the wiring and the wiring was good. So from there, the only thing left is the PCM the powertrain control module, which is the unit that actually fires the signal. It basically drives the primary side of the ignition coil. That was at fault. So replacing the PCM was the next step in the game. 

Mark: Are there different replacement options for PCMs? That's a computer module, basically. 

Bernie: It's a computer module, yeah. Powertrain control module. So it controls the way the transmission shifts. It controls the engine. It takes the input from the various sensors in the engine, air flow, engine temperature in a number of different items. And then it'll trigger the spark plugs. The ignition coils to fire the spark at exactly the right time. It'll trigger the fuel injectors to fire the fuel injection at the right time. And a number of other things. Plus transmission shift points and all sorts of things. It handles it all in one nice little box, which we'll look at in a minute.

Anyways as far as options. I mean, there's used parts available. There are brand new, and then usually the dealer is the place to go. There are aftermarket sources as well, so we looked through a variety of different sources. And there was nothing available used as far as new from the dealer, it was obsolete.

We deal with a company that rebuilds PCM, so we sent it off to them to have it done. And while we're talking about that, I'll just share some pictures.

2007 Mazda CX9, PCM Replacement
2007 Mazda CX9, PCM Replacement
2007 Mazda CX9, PCM Replacement
2007 Mazda CX9, PCM Replacement

So there's our CX9.  Nice red coloured vehicle. If you like red vehicles. There's a picture of the PCM. Interestingly enough of these of code numbers. Now I mentioned we weren't able to find a used one. So the interesting thing about this vehicle is it turns out this vehicle is actually a US model car. We're in Canada. This LF was actually the interesting thing.

We were able to find PCMs with this exact number it's important to get the same number. It had a different number here. I think it was a JF or a KF, something different. In I'm saying desperation, you'll know why I say desperation in a few moments. We actually did find one with a slightly different number and tried it and the engine would run, but eventually the check engine light came on because the emissions specifications for this vehicle are for California and the Canadian model PCMs just wouldn't cut it. So it ran fine, but you'd forever have a check engine light on. 

Next pictures. This is a view of the front valve cover of the engine. These are the three ignition coils for the front three cylinders. The other three coils are at the back of the engine on the back bank. It's a lot of work to get them because you have to remove the intake manifold. So this is why we often, when one coil goes bad, replace them all, especially if it's on the rear bank because you know, if you have to change one, that's the same amount of labor to change all three as it is to do one. And then you don't come back in a couple months when the next coil dies to replace that.  

The location of the PCM, which if you're looking under the hood, you have the battery, the PCMs buried away in the back the engine compartment, really not that difficult to get out, but the battery has to come out in a few things, need to be removed to get at it. So there's our pictures. 

Mark: So you had to get it reprogrammed and that took quite a while? 

Bernie: Yeah. Okay. So we sent the PCM off to our rebuilder. We've had a lot of stuff done by them. They do a great job. We got the PCM back, plugged it in, you know, going great. It's going to be done. And it ran worse because two cylinders were now misfiring. Called them up, they said send it back. So he sent it back. Actually the other thing is it took over a month to get the PCM rebuilt because they were having trouble finding the components in the unit that were faulty.

It seemed to be a shortage of them. We're now, you know, few months later, there's a big talk of shortage of computer chips out there affecting manufacturing. But I don't know if this is a start of that or whatever the case. 

Send the PCM back. They rebuilt. It said, yeah, it works fine. Now send it back to us. Same thing. So obviously that wasn't any good. This is when we tried the used one, which didn't work out. So we dug a little further with the people who did the PCM rebuild said, look, we can get you a brand new one. We'll credit you the price of what the rebuilding costs, which was actually very reasonable.

And we got a new one which actually took about two more months. So we're into this vehicle now for about six months and partway through the process, the owners decided, you know what, we don't really need this car. It's our second car. Do you want to just take it off our hands? And I said, yeah, sure. No problem. So we nixed the bill and I now own a CX9. So if you haven't watched this podcast, I have a nice CX9 for sale. Anyways, so we finally got the new PCM and plugged it in. 

Mark: Okay, so, and what happened? Did it start? 

Bernie: Oh yeah, so it still doesn't start. And this is no problem because what happens is it needs to be reprogrammed to the keys. Being Mazda is kind of a Ford sort of product, if you looked on that module, I showed it. FOMO Co on it. They use a system it's called PATS, it's passive antitheft system and the keys need to be reprogrammed. So we have to use a computer, download the files. It's a programming system and reprogram the keys to the vehicle, reprogram the computer and started up and it ran absolutely beautiful.

So yeah, so that's the end of the story. Pretty much the end of the story, but well, what I can say that we found out along the line of you're watching this podcast is PCM failure on these vehicles is very common. This is the first one we've actually run into. There's not a ton of these cars on the road. So we don't see a huge amount of them, but this is the first one we've seen that fails. And it's quite honestly a bit of a pain. Like it surprised me. I don't think I've ever had a, what I would call a regular vehicle being out of service for six months waiting for a part. If we have to do this all over again, and another vehicle came in, I know exactly where I'd order it from straight away.

And chances are, if, as a Canadian car we'd be able to get a used one pretty fast, but how reliable is it used one on a car that fails a lot. These are things we always weigh out and we do a repair on a car. Anyways, make a long story short. This is vehicles fixed. It runs great. And it's a happy ending to a very long repair process.

Mark: So all trying to sell the vehicle aside, besides PCM problems, how our Mazda CX9's for reliability? 

Bernie: Yeah. They're good vehicles. I mean, it's a nice size vehicle. A lot of them are very well equipped.  They're nice to drive, very car-like driving for small SUV. I think they're great. And we've serviced this vehicle for this person for many years. It's been a reliable car besides doing some brake work and fluid maintenances. It's actually been a very reliable vehicle. So this is one little bit of a flaw I'd say in the vehicle, but I feel confident whoever's going to buy this vehicle will not have to worry about the PCM and ignition coils because it's all brand new.

Mark: It's good for another 14 years. 

Bernie: Exactly, precisely. So there we go. 

Mark: If you need some service for your Mazda in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can book online at pawlikautomotive.com or give them a call (604) 327-7112. You got to call and book ahead. You have to book ahead. They're busy. Check out the website of course, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of videos, no exaggeration, all makes and models and types of repairs. We've been doing this for nine years now, or YouTube channel is under Pawlik Auto Repair, same thing. It's all there, all the expertise of nine years of repairing all kinds of vehicles. And of course, thanks so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. 

2016 Range Rover Sport, Front Brake 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. 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. 24 times. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: Today's victim is a 2016 Range Rover Sport that had front brake replacement. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah. So the vehicle came to us with a brake warning light on the dash, that the brakes were worn out. And so we proceeded to do some service on it. 

Mark: What inspections do you do to kind of dig into that, that warning light?

Bernie: Yeah, so the warning light is pretty clear. It's like a brake pad wear light. So we do a brake inspection on the vehicle to determine whether it's front brakes or rear brakes. In this case, it was both. But yeah, that's the inspection we do. We look at the pads, we measure the pads, we measure the rotors, inspect the brake fluid, all the brake lines. So it's not just a, let's just throw some pads and, you know, rotors on it or whatever. We move the caliper pistons, make sure they're moving okay, and the caliber sliders are good. Yeah, it's a thorough inspection. 

Mark: And what did you find? 

Bernie: So yeah, the front and rear brakes were worn out on the vehicle. So the pads and rotors were worn out front and back. Calipers were in good shape, but this vehicle is not very old, 2016, so we wouldn't expect there to be anything else with the vehicle. But it's always worth inspecting, but pads and rotors all the way around. And the brake fluid was due to be replaced as well at the same time. So we're just going to talk about the front brakes today. The backs another time, perhaps. 

Mark: So what's involved in doing brakes on a Range Rover? 

Bernie: Well, basically there's three items to replace. So we'll just talk about the front brakes. There's new pads, brake rotors and brake pad wear sensors, which  each axle has a pad wear sensor to indicate with when the pads are worn out to give you a warning on your dash.

Mark: So how effective or the pad where sensors at actually detecting accurately, whether your pads are worn out or not? 

Bernie: Well, in this case, they were really good. I'm going to share some pictures of this point and we'll have a look at a couple of things and we'll talk about that a little more.

2016 Range Rover Sport, Front Brake Replacement
2016 Range Rover Sport, Front Brake Replacement
2016 Range Rover Sport, Front Brake Replacement
2016 Range Rover Sport, Front Brake Replacement

So there's our 2016 Range Rover Sport Autobiography Edition, which is very nice model. There's a little closeup of the brakes after we completed, a nice shiny new rotor, nice Brembo red painted caliper. It's a very large brake rotor. Although it's funny in this picture, you can't really tell so much, but it's a nice visual ratio of brake size to wheel size.  If that means anything. But, you know, I tend to think it makes the vehicles should stop faster. 

So here's a picture of our old parts. These are the front pads and rotors we removed from the vehicle. This little groove here is basically you know, helps dissipate heat can see it's pretty much worn out, especially on this pad here.

There's an edge view of our pads and this wire piece here, this is the pad wear sensor. So just one brake pad on the front axle has a pad wear sensor and on the rear just one brake pad as well. You know, on some vehicles, they have a pad wear sensor on every pad. It depends. Range Rover, Land Rovers just put it on one. So how effective is it? 

Well, let's just get a close up and we can actually look at the brakes. So this is the pad with the wear sensors. So you can see there's still probably, maybe two millimetres of pad left on this one. And the sensor is, I don't know if it's actually even touched. I didn't actually look really closely, but I don't even know if the sensor is touched. So it might be the rear one that actually set the warning light off. But if you look at this front brake pad, I mean, this is a spin as a piece of paper. So this pad is worn out and almost, almost ready to go metal on metal.

I mean, it would be a matter of a week before it would start grinding. So this is the yellow arrow here, basically points of what brake pads left. That's the pad wear sensor and the blue arrow just kind of points to the edge of the rotor, which is why we replaced the rotors. These brake rotors wear pretty hard on most European cars. As the pad, whereas it tends to wear the metal away on the rotor as well. So it's not really, if you could machine it, you'd be basically machining the rotor right down to its wear limit, which means in a short period of time, it will be under the wear limit and they just wear out really fast at that point.

So that's kind of an example of everything. I'd say, you know, the downside of pad wear sensors, when you have it on one brake pad is it doesn't monitor all the pads. So as you can see, there's quite a discrepancy between these two brake pads here. If you look how thick that is and how thin that one is.

So sometimes, you know, the brakes could wear to the point where they'll start grinding and the pad wear's warning light hasn't come on. But of course, once it grinds, you know you need to do some service. You just want to do it before that point. 

Mark: So Range Rovers are pretty big vehicles and they're very high performance. Probably got a lot of horsepower. So they need big brakes. How long did the brakes actually last on these vehicles? 

Bernie: Well, surprisingly not as long as I think they should. This vehicle has 33,000 kilometres and all four brakes are worn out in front and rear. And this is kind of typical of a lot of large European SUV's. Like Audi, the Audi Q7 for years you'd be lucky to get 25,000 Ks out of a set of brake pads. The newer Q7s are much better. They've reformulated the brakes somehow and they tend to last at least 50 now. So that's a good thing.

I think 50 is pretty decent for a set of brakes, but like 33 seems a little on the low side, and I've seen Range Rovers go up to 50. But you can sort of expect between 30 and 50 K's, you're going to go through a set of brakes. And I've said before, in other podcasts, it does surprise me because I mean, they are a heavy vehicle. They've got a lot of horsepower, but they have a huge brake. I mean, these brakes are bigger than you find on a lot of you know, there's the size of what you find in a one ton pickup truck.

And it's often the one-time pickup truck brakes on an American vehicle will last 100 Ks. So it's rather surprising that these don't last as long. But somehow I think in the formulations of the pad materials, in the rotor materials, they want to go for comfortable brakes so they probably put a slightly softer material in everything.

Mark: So does that mean that the brakes are more effective? So you're stopping power's a little higher or does it mean they don't squeak as much? Or why would they go with a softer material? 

Bernie: I think it's a combination of both. Now, even while I'm saying softer material, you think that wouldn't be so hard on the rotor. So because generally a softer brake pad, isn't going to wear the rotor metal so hard. But yeah, usually like a softer material will prevent squeaks and it'll grab better. But of course, if you're doing high speed braking, you don't want something that's too soft. So there's a lot of science that goes into brake pad and brake pad materials to get it right.

Mark: If you've ever driven down a steep road for a long time, you know, brakes get extremely hot. 

Bernie: Yeah, super hot. And I can't say enough about pumping your brakes, you know, put them on, slow down and let your foot off the brake. Let them cool down. It's really important. Don't ever go down a steep hill with your foot on the brake all the time, because you might find that you don't have any brakes. I've actually almost experienced that once in a car and it was a little bit scary. 

Mark: It's more than scary. Yeah more than scary, yeah. So you service a lot of Range Rovers at your shop, how are the 2016's for reliability? 

Bernie: So far, they seem good. Of course it is only five years old at this point. And I find sometimes you need a little longer of time before you find out the reliability of the vehicle. You know, we found timing chain issues with a lot of these engines. This one's fine. Of course it's very low mileage and five years old. But if you go, you know, a few model years back, timing chains are problems But so far so good. You know, I think first five years of these vehicles, you're generally pretty good. I mean, maybe a brake job, possibly a set of tires if you drive a lot. But other than that, so far so good. 

Mark: If you need service for your Range Rover in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. Or go to the website pawlikautomotive.com. You can book your appointment online and they'll get in touch with you. Get the details, get ready for you to come in. You have to call and book ahead. You have to book on the website ahead because they are busy. There's a reason why they're 24 time winners of Best in Vancouver because they are, simply. 

So check out the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. We've got hundreds, literally not exaggerating hundreds of videos on there, close to a thousand actually. Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com, everything's there, transcripts, et cetera. We've been doing this for nine years. We've got every make and model and type of car you can probably think of and type of repair on there. Thanks for watching. We really appreciate it. Thank you, Bernie. 

Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2014 Subaru Outback, CVT Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Vancouver's best auto repair and service centre. 24 time winners, 24 times. Come on, 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing good. 

Mark: So we're talking about a 2014 Subaru Outback that had a transmission issue. What was going on with this Subaru? 

Bernie: Well, this car is brought in for a routine maintenance, but one complaint the owner had was that the transmission seemed to have a delayed shift from park into drive or reverse. It just was a bit of a delay and sometimes that's normal, but he said it seemed to be something that was a new development. So we did inspect the transmission fluid. We did a quick code scan, nothing present you know, any sort of transmission issues. The fluid was very discoloured, likely never been serviced because it's often a forgotten item. And so we recommended doing a transmission service. It says a CVT transmission. So we, we recommended a service. 

Mark: So is there anything different involved in servicing a CVT compared to a regular automatic? 

Bernie: Really the major difference is the fluid. You have to use the proper fluid.  CVTs have a specific type of fluid because they work much different than a traditional transmission. There's some different components inside and they require a different fluid. So that's the main difference. Otherwise we do the service the same way that we normally do. We take the pan off the transmission. 

We do a very thorough service here. There are a lot of shops that don't do it thoroughly. But we take the pan off. We clean it, we replace the filter. If it's replaceable. On a Subaru, it's a wire screen. So we just cleaned the filter. We can inspect the inside of the pan, we reseal it. And then we flush the fluid with a machine where we can actually run some clean fluid into the transmission and pump the old fluid out.

Mark: So is it absolutely necessary to remove the pan? 

Bernie: Well, it's not absolutely necessary. However, the big difference is that when you take the pan off, you can inspect the inside of the transmission. You can clean the pan. And a lot of times debris will develop in the sort of bottom layer of the pan. So any little metal filings. And for that matter, you know, if there's actually metal filings or any sort of, you know, hard part wear then we can actually see that. And then that gives an indication, Hey, this transmission is wearing out. There's something going on here. Either you're going to have to repair it or at least keep an eye on it, something's wearing out.

So we get to see that. This transmission fortunately had none of that. It also makes for a better service because once you clean that all out, not all the fluid drains out the bottom, there's usually a sort of a lip at the bottom where the drain bolt goes. So you're, you're leaving a layer of fluid, maybe, you know, quarter to a half an inch layer of fluid in the bottom that doesn't get changed.

And that can make a difference to the longevity of the service that we do. So let's get into some pictures here while we're at it. There's the 2014 Outback. And this is what the fluid looked like when we took it out.

2014 Subaru Outback, CVT Service
2014 Subaru Outback, CVT Service
2014 Subaru Outback, CVT Service
2014 Subaru Outback, CVT Service

So just so you know, I mean when this fluid is new, it's clear. So that has a lot of contaminants in it, it's brown, as you can see.

Mark:  It's doing its job basically.

Bernie: Doing its job absolutely. And this is a little sample into some caps. Now unfortunately this has like a little green seal at the bottom, so the fluid's not green. I didn't have a clear cap, so I just poured it in here. But this fluid is clear and this is, you know, brown. I mean, you can't even see the green bottom of the cap seal. So that's kind of different. 

This interesting too, when you look inside the transmission. This is looking up into the transmission. The filter sits in here over top of this, but this is kind of the body of the CVT transmission. Much different than you'd see in a regular automatic transmission where you would actually see the planetary gears and bands and drums and pieces like that. This is all kind of sealed in. There's some other components further up in here that we can't see, but a very much different look than you would get inside a conventional automatic transmission.

Mark: One of the things we've never really talked about is like, what's the difference in how hard, like transmission does a tremendous amount of work. It's an incredibly complex, automatic transmission is a very complex piece of equipment that is under tremendous forces. Extra heat all that kind of stuff that we use them for. Kind of take for granted, but it's pretty tremendous amount of engineering that's gone into make them so good. Is a CVT even more susceptible to breaking down or having problems or in any way like that?

Bernie:  You know, CVT is actually, I think, simpler. There's actually less parts and pieces. For some reason they're not really very rebuildable. For the most part they're expensive. A lot of them are not rebuildable. If something goes wrong with it, either replace it with a used part. I know Nissan's had a lot of trouble with their CVT transmission of which they've replaced many of them with extended warranties, like up to 10 years, which is good on their behalf. But, you know, the fact is I don't really trust Nissan CVT transmissions. Maybe, maybe the new ones are good, but they're older ones are certainly they've certainly had a lot of problems with them. 

But they are actually simpler. There's less parts and pieces, and it's kind of surprises me that, you know, you can't just go buy rebuild parts, but I talk with transmission rebuilders and wholesalers, and parts are just not really that readily available.

So there's simpler, but I don't think they're really as durable. And, you know, if you look at heavier duty, like pickup trucks, you know, like even an F-150, they don't use CVT transmissions in those because I don't think they're really, they can't really handle the abuse, you know, that's there. So I don't think they're as tough. They probably could be made to be as tough, but they're not, for some reason. 

Mark: And what's different. What's the core difference between a CVT - constant variable transmission and a regular automatic transmission? 

Bernie: Like a regular transmission has planetary gears with bands and clutches and they'll lock different. With a planetary gear you can create a number of different speeds out that gear, I would kind of get too, too much into it, but you can create a number of different speeds and directions with the transmission by just using a planetary gear. So it is a gear and then there's friction clutches and a band, which is a friction material that can lock either the drum or the different gears to create different speeds. And, you know, if you put two or three planetary gears, you can, you know, get eight, nine about a GMC truck that has a 10 speed automatic, which is crazy. You know, it's a lot of gears.  

So anyways, the CVT doesn't have those planetary gears. It uses like drums and band, like very hard metal bands that will actually vary the diameter. It's kind of brilliant. It'll vary the diameter and speed from one shaft to the other, by just changing where the band sits on the drum. So it's a pretty cool concept. That's kind of the major difference. But the thing with a CVT is you're not limited to two, five, eight, 10 speeds. You can put any gear ratio so that it creates a way you can kind of tune the whole drive train in the engine for maximum fuel economy, emissions and performance.

Mark: And for driving, instead of having the kind of that shift that you can feel, where the gears change with a CVT, how's it different?

Bernie: Yeah. That isn't there, but I believe in the earlier days they actually set them so they actually had a feel of a shift point because people are used to that  kind of shifting feel of a car accelerating. And, you know, it would seem weird that it doesn't have it, but you can kind of feel it in a CVT when you can just hear it accelerate and it's a different feel.

So you know, sometimes I think they put that in so we remember. It's almost like, you know, when cars get electric, I'm sure they'll have some with options of having the sound of a motor running just for the good old days. 

Mark: They do have that, actually. 

Bernie: Yeah. He could probably create as an option, you know, for your performance car so it feels like you're actually going fast when the motors just going zing. 

Mark: So how are Subaru CVTs overall for reliability? 

Bernie: I think they're pretty good. I mean, we haven't run into too many issues. But the thing about Subarus is their transmissions have been good for a long, long time. I mean, I've owned some Subaru's over the years, for like many years, their transmissions automatic or standard have really been very reliable.

That's one very strong part of Subarus. CVT seemed to be okay.  You know, for some reason I don't trust them. Like I prefer a conventional automatic transmission. They just seem to be tried and true. And there's been so many CVTs of different brands. I'm thinking like Nissan, Minis to mention a couple that have been very problematic. And they're not really repairable and rebuildable.

So Subaru seem to be okay. I mean, most of their models have them now, so it's hard to get away from it. Unless you have a manual. But they seem to have embraced the CVTs. And they seem to be okay. But I don't know. I still don't trust them myself, but millions of other people do. 

Mark: So why are the manufacturers moving to CVTs? What's the advantage? 

Bernie: I think it's fuel economy, exhaust emissions. I think those are the biggest reasons. 

Mark: And how are 2014 Subaru's for reliability? 

Bernie: So far they seem really good. And you know, I mean, they've gone away from the timing belt engine. So that's not a thing that needs to be serviced. And those timing belt Subarus, the 2.5 litres had head gasket problems. So we haven't seen one go bad on one of those. We have repaired some oil leaks from timing chain covers so that, you know, that is an expensive repair.

And the only issues with some of these Subaru's is engine oil, burning, unexpected oil consumption. And that is an issue that certainly happens on some models, not all, but that is a problem with some of these engines. But other than that, they seem to be, you know, very good cars.

Mark: If you need some service or maintenance for your Subaru, and you want experts who will look after you and do it right. The guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. Or you can do it on the website pawlikautomotive.com. And if you're interested, there's hundreds of videos, literally hundreds, we've been doing this for nine years. All makes and models, types of repairs, videos, articles, you name it also on YouTube Pawlik Auto Repair. Check us out there. And of course, thanks so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2015 BMW 435i xDrive, Front Tire Repairs

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. We have exciting news, now 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver, 24 times. Come on, give somebody else a chance. No, they're the best as voted by their customers and we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So today's victim 2015 BMW, 435i xDrive. BMW has the longest names in history I think. Something was going on with the front tires on this vehicle, what was happening? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the vehicle came to our shop for not a province inspection. It was coming from Ontario. And whenever you license a vehicle in BC, you've got to have a provincial safety inspection done on the vehicle to make sure it's compliant. So we did that and found that one of the front tires had a bulge in the sidewall, which is definitely a fail item. 

Mark: Can you repair a bulging sidewall?

Bernie: No, sidewall damage on a tire is not repairable. The only repair you can actually do on a tire is like a nail or a puncture in the tread area. And if you get too close to the edge of the tread, that's not repairable, but if it's sort of central to within an inch of the edge, you're good. Maybe even three quarters repairable. Sidewall no. 

Mark: So how does the sidewall get a bulge? Is it eating too much fat food? 

Bernie: Yeah. Yeah, it's bad, bad air. Usually what I find, especially with this car, it's got low profile tires. If you hit a pothole that's usually a way to get a bulge in the sidewall, but what happens is it actually causes internal damage to the tire.

So it's allowing air to escape from the sort of inside sealed area of the tire to the outer layers of the tire. And it's definitely indication of tire damage. And of course, if the sidewall blows, you know, pop it with a pin or something that you're going to lose all your air. So it's one step away from you know, disaster.

Mark: So I know, or I become aware that BMW, the later ones are using run flat tires. How are they to change? Is there anything different about run flats on a maintenance level? 

Bernie: Well run flat tires, the whole reason they have them is so that if you actually do lose air in a tire, so you have a puncture, you're actually able to drive a short distance, maybe 50 kilo meters, not at a real high speed to get your tire repaired.

And these cars don't have a spare tire. A lot of newer vehicles don't have spare tires and they don't have run flats. But the nice thing about a run flat as you can actually still drive and get your tire fixed. Changing them is a bit more work because the sidewalls are exceptionally stiff. That's the only way you can have a tire that you can run low on air. Any average tire, of course, it'll just squash up and ripped to shreds once  the air goes out of it. So it's kind of a neat design. Very expensive, by the way, like run flat tires, they're almost twice the price of a non run flat tire. So you can expect to pay a lot more money for the tires when you need to replace them. 

Mark: So once you were doing inspection, did you find anything interesting that you think caused the problem? 

Bernie: We did and sometimes you think, well, it's just a tire repair. Why are we doing a podcast? Well I've often been preachy about the idea of don't get plug repairs for tires. You know, the proper way to repair a tire is to take a tire off the rim, seal it with a patch plug, you know, inspect the inside of the tire. And when we took the tire off, we found some very interesting stuff. So let's get into some pictures and we can look at reasons why you don't want to just use a plug on a tire.

2015 BMW 435i xDrive, Front Tire Repairs
2015 BMW 435i xDrive, Front Tire Repairs
2015 BMW 435i xDrive, Front Tire Repairs
2015 BMW 435i xDrive, Front Tire Repairs

So there's our 435i with a nice dull wrap finish. This is what we found when we took the tire off. This is the inside sidewall, severely cracked, chunks of little bits of rubber inside the tire. This tire had probably had been run for a long time low on air. Who knows how long, hence the bulge, which I figured may have been more recent, but obviously it wasn't.

We looked further at the tire, this is a plug. Something you can pull into a garage, you could probably even get this yourself. Just poke it in with a piece of whatever rubbish material and a bit of glue. And that plugs the tire and your leak's fixed. Not a recommended or endorsed way to repair a tire.

And the reason why, I mean, they generally work. They do hold air in the tires because you're not getting a chance to inspect the tire. So there's the inside. There's the plug that stays in there. But you can see this crack in the sidewall. This was probably there long before this plug was put in and who knows how long this person has been driving on a tire.

That's really frankly, very dangerous. If this was not a run flat tire, it would blow out very easily because the run flat is a harder sidewall. There's at least a little bit of protection, but not much. When you look at this crack and this one all the way around the radius, the diameter of the tire. When you have a flat, get it fixed properly is what I'm saying. 

Mark: Don't use a plug. 

Bernie: Yeah. Don't use a plug. Now I do have to say there was one exception, I had a customer who he used to take his camper van on these rough logging roads. And he said, I usually get like one popped tire every time I go. So he goes, I bring a plug kit and a compressor. And I thought, well, you know, that's probably a valid way to repair it because you're not near a shop where you can actually take the tire off and repair it. And I'm like, well, you know, I guess that's okay. But you know, if you're repairing it immediately and not driving it, it's probably okay.

But if you're going into a shop, if they can't take the tire off the rim repair. You really shouldn't be dealing with them. 

 Mark: You mentioned this was a provincial inspection. So did you need to do any other repairs for the car to pass the safety rules in BC? 

Bernie: Yeah. So we found a couple issues with the car. One is the rear brakes were worn out. So they needed new pads and rotors on the rear. And being a BMW, there was actually an indicator and a warning on the dash saying rear brakes needed to be replaced. So the owner knew that when he came in and the other thing that needed to be done was there was tinting on both side windows and the windshield. You're not allowed to have tinting on front windows or windshields in British Columbia. Those windows have to be absolutely clear, just like the factory, no tint whatsoever. You can have the back windows tinted black, but not the fronts. So that had to be removed.

So, you know, as a preparation if you're watching this podcast, if you had tinted windows, if you want to speed the process up, you can get it removed. We fortunately have a neighbor who is in the tinting business. So he also removes tinting. So it's very convenient for us and our customers. But just so you know, tinting will fail your test. 

Mark: So you found one cracked sidewall, did you have to replace both tires? 

Bernie: We did both tires because the tire on the left side, the one that was good, you know, the tread was starting to get worn. This tire actually had better tread than the other side. It's entirely possible that they may have had a bulged sidewall problem. I had a Mercedes with low profile tires, and a couple of times I'd have to replace the front tires after winter because you hit a pothole, Oh, there's a bulge in the sidewall. Those weren't run flat tires, but you know, nonetheless, once you get a bulge, it's dangerous.

But yeah, we replaced both. I mean, it's always better, especially on the front to have both and the treads are much thicker on these tires. We replaced the left tire, you know, there's no damage whatsoever in the sidewall because of course they'd never been run low on air. If you run a tire low on air for a while, it does damage the tire. Many times we go to do a flat repair and we pull the tire off and it's damaged because it's been run low on air. So keeping it full is critical for the long tire life and your safety. 

Mark: If you want some expert maintenance for your BMW or any of your vehicles, if you feel like you got an issue, a bulging sidewall, the guys to call in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112. You have to call and book ahead. Or you can use the website pawlikautomotive.com. You can book your appointment right there on the website. They'll look after you, they'll call you. They will find out exactly what's going on and be ready for you when you arrive. So that you're in and out of there as fast as possible, but it will be done right.

And they're 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver. It's not a fluke after 24 times, their customers love them and you will too. Pawlik Automotive. Thanks so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2017 Chevy Bolt, Blind Spot Warning Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. 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 you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So a fresh electric car, 2017 Chevy Bolt that had a blind spot lane warning repair. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the owner came to us. They apparently hit their back bumper on something and the blind spot warning and lane changing warning system stopped working in the vehicle. So they brought it to us to look at and see what we could do to repair it.

Mark: Now this is electric, so what kind of testing and diagnosis did you do? And was it any different than normal? The way you start. 

Bernie: For something like this? No, we basically hook up our trusty Snap-on scan tool, which has all the software for GM vehicles, including the Chevy Bolt. Do we say Bolt or Volt? It's funny how you can get confused with that. Anyways we hooked up our scan tool and interrogated the body system and found a store trouble code, which kept repeating for a communication error with the rear vehicle modules. So I can't remember the exact description of the code, but it kind of confirmed what we figured might be going on with the vehicle. So that was basically what we found through the scan tool part of it, which is again, as the initial part of the diagnosis. It's the basic starting point of the diagnostic. 

Mark: Gives you a general area where the problem probably lays basically. 

Bernie: Exactly. There's something communicating. There's a computer in the front or body control computer somewhere that's not communicating with the computer's in the rear of the vehicle related to the lane keeping system and blind spot warning. 

Mark: So what were your next steps? 

Bernie: Next step, pull the rear bumper, inspect the wiring. Now I'd mentioned they'd hit something. It was very subtle because the bumper wasn't crushed or cracked. There's a little tiny mark where it hits something. But we pulled the bumper off and we found a wiring connector that was just munched with all the wires you know, crushed and you know, popped apart, so we found the problem is pretty evident right then and there.

And I should probably just get into some pictures right now because that's where the interesting stuff lies. So there's our 2017 Chevy Bolt.

2017 Chevy Bolt, Blind Spot Warning Repair
2017 Chevy Bolt, Blind Spot Warning Repair
2017 Chevy Bolt, Blind Spot Warning Repair
2017 Chevy Bolt, Blind Spot Warning Repair
2017 Chevy Bolt, Blind Spot Warning Repair
2017 Chevy Bolt, Blind Spot Warning Repair

So this is a little bit of damage on the bumper. You can barely see it. There's a tiny little crease right there and a little mark there. You know very minimal amount of damage.  Fortunately didn't damage, these are parking sensors, these round dots didn't damage any of those, didn't damage any lights. It kinda makes you wonder what with all these controls, why did he even hit something? But you know, I've got vehicles that have those and it's, I don't know, you can still hit stuff, it still happens. 

Broken wiring connector.  There's basically what we found.  So this is like a two in one connector. These pins and pieces are all popped apart. You can see this is like the weather seal. Very important to have these sealed, obviously because they're in the outdoor environment. And there's another picture here this shows another piece of the connector that's all munched. So you can kind of see what we're up against. 

Mark: Okay. So let me ask you a little bit of question. Perhaps we haven't prepared for, which is why in the heck did this happened from such a small little bump. 

Bernie: Well, what we believe happened and I'm not sure if I have a picture. Well, you know what, I'm going to jump ahead. This is the repaired connector, but this big aluminum plate here, this is the actual bumper. That other piece that has a little crease, is the plastic cover. And there's some foam in there. Behind this piece, there's a clip where the wiring connectors, this wiring connector that's all munched up is supposed to go. And it basically hooks in behind there. So it shouldn't ever get hit by anything, it's protected. But for some reason, what we conclude happen is as the person's backed up, this wiring connector was in behind in between the bumper, that metal piece and the plastic and just got crushed.

So bit of crappy luck for these people, because you know, this is only in one location. Had they backed up even a few inches over it wouldn't have cracked this, but for some reason it did. So that's basically why it happened. And when we repair it, of course, we ensured that everything was on the proper side.

So if something like this were to happen again, the wiring connectors out of harm's way. Now, why it was like that, it's hard to know. Was it a sloppy installation at the factory? Was this bumper off previously for some other repair or did somehow when it hit pull the thing apart and in a sort of two-part process of creasing in it it pulled the wiring connector apart and crushed it. It's kind of hard to know. Nonetheless, it was broken. So bit of crappy luck for the owners of this vehicle is what I can say.  

So as for repairs. Yes. There was a couple of options. One was to get new wiring harnesses from GM. I believe it was over $1,800 for the, they don't sell the connectors or plugs. You have to basically buy the whole wiring harness. So the wiring harness...

Mark: Wait a minute, wait a sec, $1,800 for a wiring harness?

Bernie: Yes. It's not an outlandish price but that's only one end of it. The one in the back bumper was I believe about $300. So the back bumper is complicated because it's got two radar sensors. I should have taken some more pictures, but it's got two radar sensors on the corner of the rear bumpers.

Plus it's got the parking sensors and of course it's got a light, so there's quite a few items as you can see. This is the body side of the wiring that we repaired. But you know, of course it's way too much money, but the $1,800 wiring harness, is a very, very complex piece of wiring. It's obviously not just a few wires. It's this plus it goes through the whole vehicle. We figured a much better, faster, and way more, way more cost effective way would be to put new wiring connectors, not an easy job, but we used these Deutsch connectors. These are a really high quality connector. They use a special crimper to crimp the wires on much like you get in a factory. I mean, it's OEM factory quality. All weather sealed. Available in a variety of sizes for different wire gauges and yeah, it's a great quality repair. 

So quite a few hours worth of work to take everything apart and do it right. But you know, the amount of time it took us to do that would probably less time than changing the wiring harness to the front of the vehicle. The only downside of course, if the back bumper ever got, you know, really destroyed whoever would be doing the future repairs would have to customize the wiring harness, but that's not a big deal in the greater scheme of things. 

Mark: So with all these electronic fanciness in there, that adds a tremendous amount of complexity, but in this case, because a lot of that stuff wasn't damaged particularly, it's just the wiring end of things that you're having to repair.

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. But there's a lot in there. I don't know the price of these radar sensors, but I mean, there's a lot to them. I bought a new GM truck recently.  It's a nice for trailer towing. It's got all sorts of cameras and sensors and warning lights, and led lights to shine down the back to look at your cargo when it's dark out and just all sorts of stuff. But I cringe to think how much this mirror would cost to fix you know, oh and it tilts in, it's a little fancier. 

So I read an article just recently about, you know a Subaru that had a headlight problem and it was like $6,000 for a new headlight for a Subaru. I mean, that's, you know, we just don't expect those kinds of things out of an average kind of car that was $6,000, maybe on a Mercedes, but not a Subaru. And, you know, there's, if you get the Mercedes and BMW, it gets even worse. So, you know, with all these fancy features that we have on cars, there's a price to be paid and trying to avoid hitting something is really important. Of course, these things are supposed to prevent you from doing it, but it's, I don't know.

Mark: We can keep out smart anything.

Bernie:  Exactly. You know, it's not hard to do sometimes, so they help out. So yeah there's a lot of added complexity for sure. 

Mark: So the Chevy Bolt is a fully electric vehicle. What do you think of them? Are they reliable? 

Bernie: Yeah, I think they're really awesome. I mean, there are fairly new, so, I mean, there's not many repairs that we do on these kinds of things at this point in time. I would say though, there probably will be very little as there's not much in the way maintenance. And that's what kind of brings people back often, other than repairs or things breaking.

 We'll just look at some more pictures of the vehicle. Some under hood shots because I find it always interesting and looking at these things. There's a good under hood view.

2017 Chevy Bolt, Blind Spot Warning Repair
2017 Chevy Bolt, Blind Spot Warning Repair

This is what you find in the engine compartment. I guess it's the motor compartment now of the Chevy Bolt.

So what's familiar. Well there's brake fluid here, the brake master cylinder, but a lot of this is all electronically controlled now. You've got computer modules here that you'd find. There's the 12 volt battery there which powers and runs all the other accessories. I believe this is an inverter I be wrong here. I didn't really research enough of what all the bits and pieces are under the hood of this vehicle. But everything with orange cables is high voltage, and this is all high voltage cabling.

The electric drive motor and unit will be down below here. You can see there's two coolant reservoirs here as well. There's some AC or heating pipes here. So again, I'm not sure how the system works and a lot of these things I tend to learn on an as needed basis. So I can definitely see an AC fitting here.

So a lot of electric vehicles will use the AC system for heat and cooling as well. So you know, there's some stuff that looks the same and a lot of stuff that's different. And then of course, repairs will be substantially different to do than you would normally do. As a matter of fact, I could see three coolant reservoirs here. So interesting.

The other thing I found interesting is this is the radiator cap. The radiator cap is like, there isn't even really a radiator there. They're so small. But what's interesting, it's only five PSI pressure, very low pressure. I mean, most internal combustion engines are up around the 15, some of this highest 18 PSI range because there's a lot of heat and pressure.

So again, these are very low pressure systems. So leaks, they won't occur as easily as they would on an internal combustion engine. They just don't have the same amount of heat generated as you would. 

Mark: Is there any other maintenance other than just maybe topping up fluids and brakes and suspension systems on an electric vehicle? 

Bernie: It's pretty much it. They have tire pressure warning, so. You know, I don't like to recommend that people just drive a car without having it inspected every once in a while. But when a car is brand new, you know, you can probably honestly drive one of these cars for a couple of years without even taking it in for service. You can top up your washer fluid, it'll have a cabin air filter that needs to be changed. I mean, there's no engine air filter anymore. The cabin air filter if you're a somewhat handy, is probably not difficult to do yourself. Rotating tires is an important thing to keep the wear even. 

And I think, you know, once the car gets a few years old, having an annual inspection will be an important thing because you never know, things do start to where at that point. You've got weather issues, road salt and that kind of thing. If you live in that kind of climate, getting it on your brakes. So brakes will need service from time to time, even though they will last a long time. Having service on brakes depending on where you live is going to be an important thing to do once every year, once every couple of years. Rotating your tires on a regular basis and just inspecting the steering and suspension, make sure there's no loose parts. It might be computer monitoring for all your fluids and tire pressures, but it doesn't monitor things like ball joints. 

There might be some kind of technology around that with nanotechnology in the future where everything will be told to you. But I think that's a little ways out. Give it five years. Yeah. But I think the key thing is when a warning light comes on, there's something that's going to need to be addressed. And that's when something will need to be repaired. I think it's hard to know what electric vehicles, what the issues are, because they're pretty new. You know, in Teslas, I mean, they've been around for over 10 years and they kind of keep to themselves. There's not so much published information out there. You know, but things like bad connections and corrosion will certainly be an issue, especially in areas where there's a lot of harsh winters and road salt. I think those things will start causing problems. Places like Arizona, where you got none of that, maybe nothing, hard to know.

Mark: If you need some service on your electric vehicle. They've actually serviced quite a few. The guys to call are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, (604) 327-7112. They've worked on Teslas. They've worked on pretty much all the electric vehicles. Not a ton of them, because they're not a lot of them on the road, but they have worked on them. They're trained up. They're up to speed. They're experts in these vehicles. They've worked on a lot of them. Give them a call (604) 327-7112. To book your appointment. You have to book ahead they're busy. Or you can go to the website pawlikautomotive.com. You can book your appointment on there. They will call you back, find out what exactly what's going on with your vehicle. You can also look at over, I don't know, 500, 600 videos on there of all makes and models and types of repairs, including electric vehicles. Check out the YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Thank you so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Thank you Bernie. 

Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching and listening.

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