Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

1999 Subaru Legacy Speedometer Repair


Mark: Hi it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive videos and podcasts and we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik talking cars, how are you this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well, Mark.

Mark: So, we've had a little break we're eager to get back into it and today we're talking about a 1999 Subaru Legacy that had a speedometer problem, what was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: So this vehicle, the speedometer would operate intermittently and mostly these days the intermittency was it wasn't working. The speedometer wouldn't read anything, and the odometer at the same time, wasn't functioning. So the owner didn't really know how fast he was going. 

Mark: Which can be pretty important, so how does the speedometer work in this car?

Bernie: So this vehicle has an electronic speedometer, this is getting to be a pretty old car now, 1999 but the previous generation of vehicles used to always use a speedometer cable, there was a cable that ran from, there was a gear in the transmission, or actually on Volkswagens they actually went from the front wheel, up to the speedometer there was a cable and it was a mechanically driven device. On this vehicle, and for pretty well anything from this generation even into the 90’s, they are all electronic speedometers, there's an electronic sensor, usually on the transaxle or transmission or in the differential, it'll send a signal to a computer and that'll be interpreted and the speedometer will operate. So that's how this one works, so it's an electronic speedometer.

Mark: And how did you diagnose this concern?

Bernie: Well, so a couple things. So the speedometer that the components are involved are of course the speedometer itself, there's usually a power train computer, could be a body control computer, sometimes there's even an instrument cluster computer, and then the speed sensor itself. Now, of course there's tests and procedures we do, which we did, one thing we kind of ruled out right away is the speed sensor being bad because the transmission itself was shifting fine, and if the speed sensor was bad the transmission would have made funny shifts, because it relies on that critical piece of information. Also, the fact that there was no check engine light or any sort of transmission warning light indicated as well that that speed sensor signal was probably good. So, there's a tree of diagnosis that we followed, we eventually removed the speedometer, tested the signal right to the speedometer and verified that signal was in fact good and the problem itself was inside the speedometer. 

Mark: So knowing the speedometer is the problem, how did you fix it?

Bernie: So, for a lot of cars, newer vehicles, the speedometer, the electronics are very complicated there very integrated. But this being an older vehicle, we're actually able to take the speedometer apart and examine the circuit board and what we actually found was a soldered joint on the circuit board on one of the main wires, was basically a dried up soldered joint, they just, over time they get hot and they dry up and the connection's bad. So we're actually able to take the circuit board apart, resolder the dried up joint and it worked perfectly. And I'll just get in some pictures, right here so you can see what was going on. 

Here we have our Subaru 1999, still in pretty decent shape for an almost 20 year old vehicle. And the speedometer itself, pretty basic dash, obviously we're not going anywhere at this point, no speed. This is the back, so this is the instrument cluster removed so if you've never seen one this is what the back side of an instrument cluster looks like. You can see there's a wiring connector, one goes here, there's another one here, another one there, and on this one, actually there's from the speedometer right there as well, so it actually had four connectors. So, throughout all these pieces, these items here are bulbs, usually the larger ones are illumination bulbs, dash lights that turn on in the dark, and these are for the various turn signals, switches, and warning lights and things like that. A lot of newer dashes these will be integrated LEDs and you won't see all these circuit issues, but the good news about this vehicle is that it actually has these, so we're actually able to do repairs. But the speedometer is actually located behind here, you can see a little SP minus, ignition, these are like, making a long story short, the speedometer's located behind this, so we actually read to remove this circuit board and take the dash further apart, and what we found in the end, this is the actual, there's a separate circuit board for the speedometer, and this is the bad soldered joint, here. Now, unfortunately the picture doesn't entirely do it justice but can see it's a little greyer than some of these other shiny, nice shiny joints, this one looks kind of grey but it was fine. This was the bad joint and often we need to look at them with a magnifying glass so we can see that the joint's bad. So, we were able to resolder that particular joint and the speedometer worked fantastic afterwards.

Mark: So, given that there's things are getting smaller and smaller and much more integrated and stuff, how often are you able to do this sort of repair on some of the newer vehicles?

Bernie: Less and less frequently, it used to be in the 80's where there was a lot of Japanese vehicles where the engine computer would malfunction, we were able to find a bad soldered joint, but yeah, it's getting to be less and less common, you look at your smartphone and you go the whole power of a desktop computer inside this tiny little device and that's the way electronics have been going and that's the way they are in cars, too. Sometimes, to me it's on a, sometimes you do it, sometimes whenever you can we do it and we'll just look at it and see if we're able to repair that because it certainly saves the customer an awful lot of money. And it's less wasteful, you don't have to chuck a whole part away and get another one.

Mark: So this car is getting on, almost 20 years old, is it still worth spending money on?

Bernie: Well, it's kind of getting to the point where probably not a lot, and we've serviced this car since it was almost new, it's been pretty reliable and the owners have kept it up in good shape, there's a few major items that it needs and among them are head gaskets, I mean there not leaking enormously, but there's a slight coolant seep coming out. I kind of advised the owner, I don't think you should spend the money on it, cause its just, the amount of money it would cost to fix that, there was a few other items, you could buy yourself another nice, used Subaru that's quite a few years newer. And put your money into something better, so, good car, but it's near the end of its life.

Mark: So there you go, if you're looking for quality repairs for your Subaru in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, their busy, check out our website, pawlikautomotive.com, or our YouTube channel, under Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there, or thank you for listening to the podcast. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching and listening.

2013 Ford E250 Van Rear Brakes

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

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So today's victim, today's vehicle is a 2013 Ford E250 van that had a problem with its rear brakes. What was going on with this van?

Bernie: So the owner of the vehicle came in with the brakes making a pretty bad grinding sound. We did a brake inspection, found that the one brake pad on the rear was extremely badly worn, grinding on the rotor right down to the backing plate.

Mark: Okay, that seems a little bit different. What would cause only one pad to wear so fast?

Bernie: It's basically a seized brake caliper on the right rear, and it's not uncommon. When a caliper seizes, usually one, often one pad will wear worse. Sometimes both pads on one side will wear, but often it'll just be one pad that wears because of the way the caliper seizes. We'll look at some pictures a little later, and I'll explain it further.

Mark: Okay, 2013, five years old, that's not that old. Did this van have really high mileage?

Bernie: No actually not. I mean, in terms of kilometres it didn't even have 50,000 kilometres. So yeah a five year old van could have a lot, but this vehicle was actually very low mileage up to this point.

Mark: And what would cause the caliper to seize this soon in it's lifecycle?

Bernie: Yeah, it's kind of a Ford issue. The calipers on these vehicles on Ford vans and trucks, I find that we replace these more than any other vehicle and they seem to often seize up at a very early age. I think just due to the design of the calipers, they're just not very durable for some reason. I mean, they're built tough, they're big. We'll look at pictures in a second. They're tough, they're big, heavy duty but just something about the design of them. They tend to fail very frequently and I'd say about 50% of the brake jobs we do on Ford trucks and vans involve replacing calipers. So let's just get into some photos right now. Isn't that lovely? All my pictures seemed to have disappeared so I'll talk for a few more seconds and see if I can get my pictures back. I love it when this happens because this is a good picture show. Ask me a few more questions and I'll stop the screen share, I'll get some pictures back.

Mark: Sure. You say this is a fairly common thing to have and is it just an issue with Ford's or does this kind of caliper freezing or sticking happen on other vehicles?

Bernie: Actually it happens on all vehicles but not quite so often. As I say, Ford tends to be ... Sorry if I'm not looking at the camera here, I'm just trying to download my photos. But Ford for some reason in the Ford design, they use what's called a phenolic piston. It's not made of metal and I think that a lot of the problems is due to that piston design. Let's get these photos up here.  But yeah, a lot of it has to do with the piston design. The other thing is that the dust seals on the Ford's tend to go bad quite frequently too and once the dust seal cracks then water can get in it and cause calipers to cease. So I think I'm ready to do a screen share here.

Okay, there's the full picture. So you can see, this is the rear brakes completely taken apart. This it the left brake rotor, the left brake pads, the left caliper and on the right hand side, you can see this is the inside of the rotor. You can see very shiny, very gouged and this is the inboard brake pad completely worn down to the metal backing plate, the outboard pad. You can't see on the angle here but there's quite a bit more material, we'll look at the pad pictures in a sec and you can see just a generally rusty condition here, which happens, 'cause you get a lot of metal flakes flying through the air.  So the next picture we'll look at is, there's a comparison of the brake pads. So this is what the outboard pad looked like. There's about five millimetres in that pad and probably at least a few months to a year's life left in that brake pad based on the driving of the vehicle. And there's the inboard pad completely worn. The pad material's completely worn away. Just the metal backing plate wearing against that rough rotor.  For our next shot, we've got the ... There we go, it sharpened up. This is one of the slider pins and there's a rubber cover over here, and you can see a lot of rust here so this could've been one of the contributions to the caliper seizing up in early age. As I say, it is five years old, I mean, all it takes is a little bit of road salt to get in here and cause this to seize. Now being in Vancouver, we don't use a lot of road salt, but we have had a couple winters where there's been a bit of salt on the roads. So maybe this seal isn't very effective at the factory, a bit of road salt and water got in there and caused this pin to seize. The caliper wasn't completely seized like this. There was movement in this area but all it takes is a bit less movement, and it'll cause the pads to wear quicker. So that combined with piston problems could've caused this issue. There is a picture of the caliper, the right brake caliper. The pistons are sticking a fair amount out. I mentioned the dust seals are a problem. These are the dust seals here. They weren't ripped on this vehicle but frequently we find that after 50 to 70 thousand kilometres, which is kind of an average life for these brake pads, depending on the weight you haul on your vehicle. Of course, these dust seals will often be blown open, and I'm seeing this for years and years on Ford's. They don't seem to have made ... changed a lot over the years. I'd say that's kind of a common problem.

I apologize, this photo's not of sharpest quality that I've done, but this is the old right rear rotor versus the new rotor. I'd say, it's a bit of a fuzzy shot, but you can see this surface here, how little material there is there compared to how much metal there is here. So quite a lot is worn off. I don't know how long this has been noisy. The owner had said he'd had the vehicle in for an oil service about a week previously, and they said there's five millimetres on his brakes. So they obviously did a quick brake inspection, but that's how much metal has all of a sudden started making noise. So that's how much metal is worn off the rotor in one or two weeks. So, you can't go very long like that before it'll completely wear out. Again, another photo of the rotor. You can see how little metal there is here versus how much is on the other side. We have over the years, I've actually seen people wear this completely off, so you have just the fins of the rotor rubbing against the pad, and you can imagine how fast that wears. 

Mark: That must sound really good. 

Bernie: It's horrific, it's horrific. This is the right rear side with a brand new rotor, new pads and a new ... this is a Napa Eclipse caliper. These are really good quality calipers. I don't know who else makes a caliper of this quality but not only are they painted nicely, but they have better hardware. They take a little more time to rebuild them than the average rebuild and they're probably about 20% more money than the regular rebuild. But I find they're worth it in terms of quality if a person wants to go for that kind of thing.  It's important on a truck. The owner of this vehicle, they haul a lot of weight in it. So we put the heavy duty fleet pads, ultra premium rotors and these calipers on. You need to do whatever you can to make it last long. If you use cheap pads, it'll wear out fast and it'll just end up costing you more money in the long run. Save you now, but you'll be back having a brake job done sooner. That's the end of our picture show.

Mark: So that was a pretty extensive repair then, basically.

Bernie: Yeah, yeah. There's a lot that needed to be done for sure.

Mark: And was it really necessary to replace all the components or could you have just done the rotors, and the pads?

Bernie: No there's no way because the caliper was what caused the pads to seize up in the first place. When you have a wear difference that much, all the other pads were about five millimetres and this other one was zero. It's clearly a seized caliper issue. You can have a bad brake hose that'll cause pads to wear to but in a vehicle of this age, a bad brake hose will be highly unlikely and as I said, Ford caliper problems are just super common. So yeah, that's the kind of the extent. Pads, rotors, calipers and we also flushed the brake fluid which had never been done before and it was old and discoloured and dirty.

Mark: So maybe talk about that for a second. Why that's a rare kind of thing in my experience in having cars for the last 40 years. Flushing the brake fluid. What's that all about?

Bernie: That's actually one of the more common services we do here. Now it's one thing that never used to be ever talked about over the years. You know, you and I are kind of the same age. When we were younger and we had cars, nobody ever flushed brake fluid. But brake fluid is a hygroscopic fluid. It absorbs water and it's actually meant to do that because if the water actually got stuck in a certain area, say if it wouldn't absorb water, water would get trapped in certain areas of the brakes, like it would maybe get out the calipers or up in the master cylinder and would cause rust and corrosion. So because it actually absorbs water, it actually takes the water with the fluid but it weakens the fluid quality over time and what happens is the boiling point of the fluid goes way down and the brakes given enough heat which happens in braking. Usually you'd only ever experience it on long hills. You could actually lose your brakes, because the brake fluid would boil. So flushing brake fluid has been recommended by European manufacturers for many years. They usually recommend every two years.  Now you can look in the manual of a lot of American vehicles, and they won't even recommend it. I don't know why because it's the same fluid, you're driving in the same conditions. The only place you might be safe from that is if the car never left the Arizona desert. But anywhere else around North America, there's a fair bit of moisture and that gets absorbed into brake fluid. So the recommendation for a lot of manufacturer's is every two years, two to three is good. I mean, we can test the water content, but normally we just look at visually, and we look for our regular customers, we just look at their maintenance schedule, and we can tell if it's been two or three years, we flush it.  So it is actually a fairly common service, but a lot of people have not heard of it and a lot of manufacturers, it's left out, and I don't know why.

Mark: All right. Econoline vans have been around forever basically, almost as long as me. How are they for reliability?

Bernie: Yeah, you know, I'd say they're fair. I won't comment on the really old ones because they're ... I realize with cars, every decade has its reliability compared to whatever other cars were around in that time. But I'd say, I'd call them fair. I mean, over the years, they've had their issues. I'd say, and we talked about bad brake calipers. Those are issues that they've had. I mean generally, they're pretty tough, well built vans, but there's been a few issues with spark plugs blowing out over the years or seizing up. I think Ford's got beyond that in these newer ones. They have the regular type of spark plugs that don't have any issues. Things like intake manifolds have had coolant leaks and things. So I'd say I'd call them fair, but they've had probably more than their share of problems. But just on a general day to day basis, they usually start up fine and run and they can haul pretty heavy loads. They're usually built quite toughly, if that's the right word to use.

Mark: Beefy.

Bernie: Beefy, yeah that's a good word for it. They're built "Ford Tough". Interestingly about the Econoline is that actually 2013 is one of the last years, 2014 was actually the last year they made Econoline's. They switched to the Transit vans, which are those more boxy, cubey type of vans that kind of mimic Sprinters. It's interesting, I've traveled to Europe a couple of times over the last two, three years. I noticed most of the vans they have they're all of that Sprinter type design. All the manufacturers have that kind of taller, narrower style van. So it seems like the American manufacturers have all gone that way too, because the Dodge's are like that and the Ford's and it's funny, I don't know what's Chevy's been doing, but I should, but. Ford's definitely gone with the Transit van which are those more tall, cubey, rectangular type of vans.

Mark: So there you go. If you need service for your Ford van or truck in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You must book ahead, they're busy or check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com. We have hundreds of videos on our YouTube channel at Pawlik Auto Repair. We really want to thank you for listening to the podcast. If you're calling from somewhere else in North America, we cannot diagnose your vehicle over the phone. It's not in integrity for us to do that. They're just too many options. So if you're in Vancouver, call us to book an appointment, otherwise, just enjoy our shows. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark and thanks for watching.  

2004 Porsche Cayenne S No Start

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast, here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, the big bopper himself, here in Vancouver, talking about cars. How are you this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So, the 2004 Porsche Cayenne had a problem starting. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: So, this vehicle was towed to our shop. When you turned the key, all the lights would come on on the dash, and everything seemed normal, but when you go to the start position, nothing happened. There's no clicks, no clunks, nothing. So, basically, it was a no-start with what seemed like to be a good strong battery.

Mark: What did you do to diagnose the problem?

Bernie: Well, of course, the first test is to verify that the battery is, in fact, good. From there, we proceeded to do some scan tool tests to make sure there weren't any issues with, say, the security system or with the ignition key, anything we could see on the scan tool. Nothing was apparent. I mean, there are a number of things that can cause a car not to start like this, and on a really simple car without any security system, you know, something like this, you'd suspect maybe the ignition key or the starter or something would be bad because it's a pretty simple circuit. But on something like a Cayenne, and a lot of vehicles, the security system, if there's something going on with that, an issue there, it could cause the vehicle to simply not to crank over. So, we verified that was all good. Went to do some tests on the starter, and we basically found that the starter itself was dead.

Mark: How is starter replacement on this vehicle?

Bernie: Well, it's a lot of work. The starter is just beautifully laid out in the valley ... it's a V8 engine. The starter actually sits in the valley between the two cylinders buried under the intake manifold, the coolant pipes. There's a lot of stuff that needs to be removed. It's a great use of space, but when it comes to replacing the starter, it's really not that good. Let's just get into some pictures because I've got some neat stuff to show you here.

There's our Cayenne. 2004, older model of Cayenne-S, which is the V8 model. Just let me work my way through these pictures here. So, there's the ... If you were to pop the hood open under this vehicle, and you look at the engine, that's the engine. The intake manifold is here. There's a lot of plastic covers all around to hide all the nice working components of the vehicle for the visual experience of just the engine only. There's covers that need to be removed here, and as we go further with the intake manifold removed, everything, all the covers removed, we get to the starter motor, which sits right down in this valley here underneath these coolant pipes here. You can see a lot of bits and pieces have been removed. The intake manifold, the black round pipes were all sitting on top here. These rags basically cover the intake port so nothing, of course, falls in between that would get sucked into the engine and cause some nasty problems. So, there's the starter right there. As I said, it's a great use of space, but when it comes to replacing it, it's not exactly a great place to do it.

Mark: So, on most American V8s, the starter is down below and underneath, basically, the pistons and close to the crankcase?

Bernie: Yeah. It's usually ... Well, you can't really see, but if you could imagine going rotating around like this and down the backside of the engine, the starter is usually located underneath the vehicle, and it bolts into the bell housing, just like this one does, but it bolts in down below. There's usually a provision made to put the starter in. They're not…

Mark: So, this one's really at the top of the flywheel, basically, at the very…

Bernie: It’s really at the top, yeah, and it's not the only vehicle. There's Cadillac's that have this type of design, as well. So, you know, it's not a Porsche-unique thing, but, you know, it's certainly, as to say, it's not the best place to remove the starter. Whenever we replace these, of course, we do put a warranty on our work. I always hope this is not the kind of warranty job that ever comes back because it's a lot of work for us to replace it. One thing about electrical parts, they are probably a more common failure. I hope I'm not jinxing this repair by saying this, but they are. Starters and alternators seem to be one of the more common failure items that we repair. Just by the nature of what they are, they're electrical components. They do tend to fail a little more frequently than other parts. Sometimes they'll go for years, but the failure rate is a little higher. There are new ones available. I mean, it used to be traditionally, you'd always replace it with a rebuilt part. There are brand new ones available, and we have used them, but we tend to find that a lot of these are cheap Chinese manufactured parts that actually the brand new ones don't even last as long as the remanufactured original components. So, we've actually just pretty well stick with a good brand of remanufactured component.

Mark: Not that Chinese components can be inferior, just sometimes they're made more cheaply as for budget reasons.

Bernie: Exactly. And I hate saying cheap Chinese because I mean, I remember when I was young, and you'll probably remember too, they used to say Jap Crap. It was like, Japanese manufactured products were bad. I mean, when you look at Jap, maybe they were in the 1960s, but I mean, they just rocketed forward in quality. I mean, nobody ever thinks that anything Japanese is being crappy, and no one has for a long time. And the thing with Chinese, they make a lot of stuff, and a lot of it's good, but there's just a lot of low-standard manufactured items, and ... undoubtedly, I mean, look at a lot our smartphones are made in places like that, and the quality of those is pretty good for most of them.

Mark: Well, if you're looking at Apple iPhones, they make a million of them a day, and the failure is terribly small compared to…

Bernie: Absolutely. Absolutely. So there's lots of great Chinese stuff, and so I probably should take the cheap ... so, we'll just say cheap offshore ... Well, you know.

Mark: It's made poorly.

Bernie: Poorly made, cheap quality. And you know, this is the thing we often battle in our industry is what are the economical things to buy? I mean, if you buy the part from the dealer, you'll pay a huge amount of money, and often, it's not worth the extra amount of money. And many of their components will be remanufactured anyway, so you just hope that their standards are high. Anyways, so yeah. So there's the starter location. We have one more picture to look at, and that is the coolant pipe, so the coolant pipes sit over the top of the starter, and then, of course, you can see now the rags have been removed, you can see the intakes parts. So, the next step in the installation here is to put the intake manifold over top and then put these air pumps back in and all the other covers and bits and pieces, and then away it goes.

Mark: So, don't these vehicles have problems with leaking coolant pipes?

Bernie: They do, and they did. The coolant pipes used to be made of plastic on these earlier models. I'm not sure when they stopped making it. Probably, maybe '07 or something like that. But the original coolant pipes were plastic, so these have been replaced, and they would fail at an alarming rate at a very early age. A lot of engines died an early death because of that because the coolant pipes would leak, people wouldn't deal with it, the engine would overheat. Yeah, not a fantastic design, and not something I'd expect out of such a high-end expensive car.

Mark: Now, what was wrong with the original design of coolant pipes?

Bernie: Basically, plastic. You know, the plastic ... They were made of plastic. They'd expand and contract, break, shrink, and basically, they just contributed to leakage. The new metal pipes, of course, they have o-rings in each end, that you know, the metal isn't subject to the same forces, and it's much more durable. 

Mark: After this extensive amount of repairs, how was the Cayenne?

Bernie: Oh, it was good. Yeah, started fine, ran great. This vehicle ran quite well. There are a lot that don't seem to. You know, over the years, we've had a lot of Cayenne's with engine problems, again, possibly overheating. They're kind of loud, noisy engines, I find. A lot of times when they run and you rev them up, you go, "Oh, something's wrong with this," and yet it's actually normal. So they're just kind of a loud, noisy engine.

Mark: And how are Porsche Cayenne's for reliability?

Bernie: You said that very well. Not Porsche, Porscha. It'll keep some of our fans happy. 

Mark: They're never happy, come on.

Bernie: Yeah. Yeah. There's always some people with… Anyways, you know, I'd say overall, I'd say they're not the most reliable vehicle. I mean, things like as I was mentioning, the coolant pipe issues they had, the noisiness of the engine, they're not the easiest vehicle to service. I mean, a battery replacement involves removing the seat to take the battery in and out. Again, this isn't unique necessarily to this vehicle, but they're just a lot of ... they're a very complex vehicle. I'd say they were probably rushed into production at the beginning, so they had a few problems. I think they've got a lot better over time, but I don't know. You know, to me, they're not my favourite, and to me, a Porsche, like a 911 is kind of like the best car. A Cayenne, while it's a nice vehicle, it's kind of a disappointment, but of course, you can haul five people around and some stuff whereas a 911, you can only take one person, so. And not a lot of stuff. So, it's not as practical, but, yeah, I'd say they're not the most reliable luxury SUV. There are probably better choices out there.

Mark: So, there you go. If you're looking for service for your Porsche in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, or check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com. We have hundreds of videos on YouTube. Search for Pawlik Auto Repair, or, of course, thank you so much for listening to our podcast. If you're calling from somewhere else in North America, we don't diagnose your vehicles over the phone. We don't feel that's an integrity, so if you're in Vancouver, call us for service. You must book ahead. Thank you for watching. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Well, thanks, Mark, and thank you for watching. We really appreciate it.

2003 Toyota Matrix EVAP System VSV Replacement

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

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So this week's victim is a 2003 Toyota Matrix that had an EVAP system problem. What's an EVAP system and what was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Alright, well first of all the vehicle came in with a check engine light and it had been at our shop previously several months ago with the same check engine light and the same trouble code. I'll talk about that in a minute but the EVAP system basically is a, it stands for evaporative fuel system and what it does is it prevents gasoline vapours from escaping to the atmosphere. Gasoline, if you've ever filled your gas tank up on a hot day you'll see all that vapour kind of floating away, unless you're in the US with one of those gas pumps that keeps the vapour contained. Basically what happens is that gasoline is very volatile and it evaporates very easily and that evaporated fuel is all hydrocarbons that creates smog and a lot of pollution. It's a huge issue, you think oh it's just drifting away but it actually creates a lot of issues so, not to mention it's actually your money that's actually floating away in to the atmosphere so it's a good idea to keep the gas contained and that's what the EVAP system does. It's rather complicated, I mean it involves a gas tank, a sealed fuel filler, and a number of pipes and valves and sometimes motors to keep the system contained but it allows the air to be, as the gas is being sucked out of the tank of course it allows air to be displaced but it doesn't allow air to go back, it doesn't allow the fumes to escape back to the environment. So that's basically what the EVAP system does. It's pretty complex but you know it does its job.

Mark: So again what was going on with this Toyota Matrix?

Bernie: So no performance issue and that's pretty common with EVAP system codes. The performance of the vehicle is often not affected, under certain circumstances it will be but most of the time it doesn't really affect the performance it's just that the system has picked up a fault that could cause gases to evaporate out into the air. So I'll just get into some pictures right away here.

Here we've got...what do we have here? Start, there's our 2003 Toyota Matrix, a little old but it's still in really good shape. Look at the trouble codes. So here's a scan on one of our scan tools that show the trouble codes. P0440, there's a malfunction in the system and then a P0446. The evaporative emission control system vent control malfunction. So this is a little more specific of a code and you can see there's a current and history. This is a way trouble codes are often stored. They'll, depending on the scan tool, show what's actually there at the moment and what's history so sometimes you'll only have a history code and not a current code. Anyway that's a question for another time. But what we found with this vehicle, because we'd actually done a previous diagnosis, and actually I guess, I know we had another question of how difficult are EVAP systems to diagnosis and I'll just jump right into that. 

These can be really complicated and fiddly to diagnosis and what some of the reasons why is that there are certain valves, there's a purge valve and a vent valve, and they'll often malfunction intermittently so we can run through all the tests and we can test it all and it all works fine, clear the codes send it away and then a week later the check engine light is back on because the system malfunctioned. So sometimes, you know we often rely on our data bases of what are common faults in these vehicles. One of the common issues that we ran, so last time we did the diagnosis we did the full system test. We tested for leaks, we found none. We tested all the valves and controls. Everything was working fine. The gas cap was very old and a bad gas cap will cause some of these codes. We replaced the gas cap and released the vehicle with the codes cleared and a few months later the light comes back on again.

So without spending a lot of extra money of the clients to test everything that we have already tested, we figured the best thing to do is to just go to the next most common fault and that's the vacuum, the VSV valve on the canister purge tank. That's an extremely common fault on this vehicle and it had never been changed, it was original to the vehicle. It's 180 thousand kilometres, 15 years old, so it made sense to change it at this point in time.

Mark: So you have a picture of that?

Bernie: Yeah I do. Yeah so that is the VSV, you can see it's a- that's the mounting bracket, extremely rusty. And where this unit mounts, right up here, this is the charcoal canister so this is a big component of the EVAP system. They've used charcoal canisters actually for a long time before they went to all this electronic, sort of monitoring of the EVAP system. This has been around since the late 60s, just to trap gasoline vapours but it wasn't quite as sophisticated as is now. But there's the location, that's the new valve installed. There are various, as you can see the number of hoses that run to a number of different locations and different parts of the vehicle. Hoses that run to engine, hoses that run from the gas tank, hoses that go to the fuel filler neck, they're all over the place. Anyone of these hoses can leak so when we do testing on the system we all test, you know to find out whether there's leaks anywhere in any of these components. And that ends our picture show. 

Mark: So what happened next?

Bernie: What happened next? We replaced the valve, cleared the codes, and so far it's working fine. Now again as mention, this was one of these repairs where we'd already done all our testing and we couldn't find a problem, so we've replaced a couple components, so we'll see how things go. It's not the way we normally like to do things in our shop. We really like to test and find things that are wrong but often, as I said with these valves like that VSV valve, they can malfunction intermittently. They'll be, you know you test it and you power it up manually and it works fine, works fine, works fine and then, you know, a hour later something will happen and it won't work. So a lot of times if it's a known common fault on a vehicle it's a good idea to replace that just to put it aside. Leaks are a good thing, you know leaks are a pretty solid thing to test. We can see them, we can verify that pressure's dropping and in this case it wasn't so, an electronic valve like that is a good call.

Mark: So for troubleshooting it's really important that you gather as much information as possible before you jump to what might seem like the obvious conclusion but often isn't. Is that fair?

Bernie: Exactly. Yeah exactly.

Mark: And how are these Toyota Matrix for reliability?

Bernie: They're good. Yeah I mean they're awesome car. Very little goes wrong, even these EVAP systems are very reliable. You know if you're living, by the way EVAP system faults happen a lot more if you live in a climate with a lot of salty road because it tends to corrode things and wear things our a lot faster. But yeah really reliable vehicle.

Mark: So there you go, if you want experts in diagnosis and troubleshooting to look after your vehicle the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 if you're in the Vancouver area. You have to call ahead to book because they're busy. Check our their website, pawlikautomotive.com; YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Thank you very much for listening on iTunes, we appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Yeah thanks for watching and thank you Mark.

1993 Ford F250 Diesel, Transmission Rough Shifting

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automatic podcast. We're here in not very sunny Vancouver, actually. We're enjoying some rain for the first time this summer, and I'm here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, the big bopper himself. We're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So, today's victim is a '93 Ford F-250, the infamous 7.3 diesel that had a transmission problem. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: So, this vehicle, well, in addition to a transmission problem, it also had an engine running problem where it would stall. But one of the main concerns with the client was the transmission would shift rough. As you drive, the first shift would be very delayed and would bang into the next gear, and it really ... an uncomfortable driving experience and not great for the vehicle. Also, there's an overdrive off, that it's a little lamp on the gear shifter stock, and it was blinking. As soon as it would make that missed shift, it'd start blinking, indicating a malfunction in the system.

Mark: So, a '93? This is getting on in age. Was it even worth, in your opinion, is it worth even fixing an old truck like this?

Bernie: Well, there's still a lot of value in an old diesel truck, one that runs well. But I guess my purpose around doing this podcast is really to illustrate just how complex diagnosing older vehicles can be as compared to newer generation technology. This is a '93. It's pre-OBD2. OBD2 had a much more sophisticated ... It was a government-mandated diagnostic system to track vehicle emissions. But along with it came very easy, I wouldn't say very easy, most of the time, you can plug a scan tool in, you can get a lot of information and diagnostic, trouble codes, data, all that sort of thing. As vehicles have got newer and newer, that data has got better and better and helps us diagnose things better. This much older than that. Also, the computer on this vehicle only does the transmission. The engine is actually all fully mechanical, so there's no engine electronics. They call it a powertrain computer, but it's really just a transmission computer. So, in answer, is it worth it? It really largely depends on the vehicle, what you're doing with it, your attachment to it. You know, the other areas, of course, around getting parts for older vehicles can be difficult, and we can talk about that a little later on. This truck was in pretty good shape other than the repairs needed, and I'm happy to say that once we completed all the repairs, which were pretty extensive, in addition to the transmission, there were some fuel injection issues, the truck runs really nicely. So, it should be good for quite some time.

Mark: So, why was the diagnosis difficult?

Bernie: Why the diagnosis was difficult, I was alluding to the diagnostic connector. This uses an old system that Ford had called EEC-IV. Now, some of the cars were pretty good, like, some of their cars and gasoline engines, you could get some data out of it, in addition to trouble codes. But in this truck, all there is available is trouble codes when there's fault, so that really leaves you very limited. It just gives you an area where things are going. I'm just going to share a couple of pictures, and then we'll talk a little more. Great, ok. 

Yeah, so there's our truck. A little dusty and dirty, but really in pretty good shape body-wise. There's no rust. It's old but pretty good. You'll actually happen to notice, there's a '94 Ford truck sitting the background here, which actually happened to come in simultaneously for the same problem, which is really bizarre. Very rare to have two vehicles of this vintage in our shop at all, let alone with the same issues. So, it was kind of a two-for-one diagnostic. They were both having the trouble codes. Anyways, pictures. There's our truck. This is the Ford EEC-IV diagnostic connector. Was very common on Ford for a long time. There's again, the test port and the connector.  So, you're asking why ... Again, we're talking about why it's difficult to diagnose, so basically what we're able to do is extract two trouble codes. There was code 23 and a code 29. One of those codes is for a throttle position sensor, otherwise known as a Fipple, on this engine. A vehicle speed sensor circuit out of ... I can't remember the exact code, but it's basically a vehicle speed sensor circuit problem. So, those are the two pieces of information we had to work with, and of course, there's no data on a computer to drive it and see, "Hey, is it getting the right signals?" Everything had to be tested manually, and this is where the diagnosis gets complicated. So, what we do to test the throttle position sensor is we hook a lab scope up, and we can take a reading of it. What we found is that basically, the sensor was dead. That piece was confirmed. The vehicle speed sensor was a much more complicated diagnosis because it gets a signal from the rear differential of the vehicle, sends that to the speedometer, the speedometer has a little computerized module which converts that signal into a square wave pattern. It sends a signal to the powertrain control computer, and inside there, that operates the transmission. So, you can see there's a few different things at play, and again, no data of any sort. Now, one thing we did have going for us is when we were driving it, the speedometer actually worked. It pretty much verified that the signal from the vehicle speed sensor was good, at least good enough to operate the speedometer. 

I'll share a couple of pictures here of some of the waveforms. What we use is a lap scope to test these items, and we have to test right at the computer for one of them, and right at the back of the speedometer for the other. So, again, we'll just go back in the screen share here, and-

Mark: Okay, wait a minute now. I've seen videos on YouTube that people hook scopes up and it tells them exactly what's wrong and what part there is that needs to be replaced, or else, that's what they claim. Isn't that how it works?

Bernie: No. It doesn't. And as I said, with the code, for instance, for the vehicle speed sensors, the code is sensor circuit out of range. Well, it doesn't tell you that piece, the vehicle's speed sensor's out of range, it just tells you the computers not getting the right signal. So, that could be coming from the speed sensor in the rear of the vehicle, it could be coming from the module, it could be coming from broken wire. It could actually be coming from inside the computer. The signal could be fine right to the computer and not getting it. So, the answer is, sometimes we can plug something in. We can get a trouble code. On certain vehicles, we know that 99% of the time that that particular sensor's a problem. So at that point, yeah, it's a good gamble to change it. But with this vehicle, it's nothing like that. It's all straight manual testing and very time-consuming. Did I answer the question?

Mark: Absolutely.

Bernie: Good. Awesome. And then really, for me doing this podcast is not defending ourselves and the time we take, but really just to show just what it does take to do a proper diagnosis on some vehicles. I say the older ones are often worse. We've got a couple of older Jaguars with fuel injection. Again, there's saying there's no trouble codes whatsoever, everything has to be tested manually, so you have to use your skills and intuition and start there and then start testing various sensors. It can take hours to get things figured out. Anyways, so what we're looking at here ... You can see this picture, correct?

Mark: Yep.

Bernie: So, this is a photograph ... This is the waveform coming from the vehicle's speed sensor while we're driving down the road. What happens with this wave, it's called an AC signal alternating current. It's generated by the sensor, and as you speed up, the height of the wave gets higher and it gets tighter. So the frequency of the wave changes, and this is the signal that comes from the rear differential of the vehicle. It goes to the speedometer, so we were actually able to verify that this signal was good. No problem with this one. Next, I have a couple of videos here, and hopefully, they'll ... So, we have one here ... You know what? I'm actually not even going to play the video because you can just see that it's the waveform. Now, this is the waveform that was coming right to the vehicle computer, and you can see it's now a square wave, not a AC sign wave, is what the other wave is called.

Mark: Yep.

Bernie: So, the other thing that's tricky is, we have this wave, and it actually varied when we were driving it. It would change height and it would actually change spacing. So we were verifying that it wasn't actually getting information, but the tricky thing about this is we actually didn't really know for sure if this was the right signal. There was no information whatsoever from Ford and any of our repair information. We have a lot of online data we can access. I couldn't find anywhere that said, "Is this a good signal or not." What was a little confusing is that even though it's a square wave, it starts at just over four volts and goes a bit under four volts, crossing zero. I'm thinking, "Is that right, or should it be zero volts up to eight or 10 volts?" We weren't really 100% sure. It looks like the right kind of wave, but I couldn't verify it. I even called the tech support line, and they couldn't even really give me 100% verification. But, based on what we saw, we figured that this is probably pretty close to accurate. It's getting a signal, and we decided the powertrain computer was at fault in this case 'cause the signal was going right to the powertrain computer. So, at that point, we ... I'll just a talk a little further since we're at the screen sharing mode, we don't want to change back. We actually pulled the powertrain computer out and found a lot of little nasty, a lot of nasty stuff inside here. It was not necessarily water, but a lot of powdery moisture. There's aluminum around the body of this. Clearly, some moisture had affected it and started flaking the aluminum off, which was a good enough sign that the inside of this computer was in bad shape.

Mark: Shorting?

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. So yeah. So, that's what we found, through again, some good rigorous testing and verification. But unfortunately, as I said, there wasn't really any data. We have a source of ... One of our bits of repair information that we can access actually has a waveform library where technicians have uploaded waveforms of various sensors, and I'm going to do that with this particular thing, so someone else can actually see what a good one looks like. Because it's good to verify this is what's good and this is what's not 'cause sometimes we're looking at something for the first time. Manufacturers never do this kind of stuff. They write crappy repair information most of the time and hope you can figure it out.

Mark: So, was the computer fairly hard to find or get access to?

Bernie: Well, yeah. The computer was hard to find. I actually managed to find one good used one in Vancouver-

Mark: I meant on the truck itself.

Bernie: Oh, on the truck? No. Well, it's a bit of work to take out, but it's not that hard. Fortunately, being an old truck with a lot of space, there is room to test a lot of these things reasonably easily and remove them. This computer was kind of stuck, jammed in place. It took a lot of work to get it out. I think the moisture had stuck it in place, but yeah, it wasn't too difficult to get it out. And then getting onto the other question, where did we get one from? There are, of course, Ford doesn't sell them anymore. All our normal auto sources like NAPA, Lordco, our parts places we deal with, nobody like that sells it either. It's basically a special ... It's easier if you're in the U.S. to get these computers 'cause there are companies that remanufacture them. We get them from there too, it's just more of a process to get it to Canada. But I managed to find a good used one that worked really well.

Mark: And once that was repaired, you got a new computer in, changed the throttle position, the throttle, Fipple, whatever you call it.

Bernie: Yeah

Mark: Then the vehicle was running good?

Bernie: Yeah, it was great. The transmission immediately shifted right away perfectly. No more blinking overdrive light, and you know, hopefully, the used computer will last a long time. The thing with computers and electronics, you never know. Sometimes they'll last for a hundred years, and other times, they'll last for 10. You just never know.

Mark: Ten minutes.

Bernie: Or minutes. Yeah. Yeah, you never really know. The thing with automotive electronics is often, in the case of this one, often it gets damaged by moisture. That'll probably kill the next one too at some point down the road.

Mark: Yeah, it's a harsh environment. So, there are some definitely older vehicles still on the road. How old is too old to be practical to work on? I mean, assuming it's not a classic that's been restored or remodelled or hot-rodded?

Bernie: Yeah, like, you're talking everyday driver kind of vehicle?

Mark: Yeah.

Bernie: Regular usage. You know, it depends on the car, but I'd say once you get in the 15-year-old range, things start to get a little dodgy for getting parts. It really depends from car to car though. There's certain cars where you can ... If it's 30 years old, you can still buy parts for them. And other cars, and Ford is really bad for this, not even 10 years old, I've had Tauruses ... I mean, there's literally millions of them on the road, and you know, a rear ball joint, I remember trying order one, "Oh, that's obsolete." What? It's a Ford Taurus. There's like millions of them, but for some reason, the part was obsolete. So, you never know, but I think a lot of times with the European cars, parts tend to be available for a lot longer of a timeframe. American cars are often shorter. How long? I think it really depends from vehicle to vehicle, but sometimes too, it's what sort of generation of diagnostics. I mean, anything with OBD2 is much better to diagnose than this older generation. If I had a choice between, say a '96, is when it was mandated by ... Between buying a 1995 car or a 1996, I'd take the '96 any day of the week because it's got the OBD2 system and makes it a lot easier to diagnose. So, those are some things to consider. I mean, I guess it's on a one by one basis, but generally, once you get to 20 years old, it gets pretty hard to get parts for, for some cars.

Mark: Yeah, and how are these old diesels for reliability?

Bernie: These are really good. These are really solid. They're all mechanical. It's called an IDI. It's an indirect injection system as opposed to like ... Well, the newer Ford's the Power Stroke, which they're super reliable, but they do stink. I mean, they're awful. If we run this thing for one minute our shop, you can't breathe anymore, so you know, that's not a good thing. It's not good for the environment obviously, and that's why we haven't made these diesels for a very long time. But they are extremely reliable, and they're pretty simple. The key is keep your fuel clean, change your fuel filters, change your oil regularly, and these things do last a long time. I don't know the history of this engine. It's the first time we've worked on it, but it has 300,000 kilometres. We did put a new injection pump in it and a fuel lift pump and cleaned all the fuel tanks 'cause there was some contamination, but it runs really really well. These are the kind of engines that can last a million kilometres or miles. They're good.

Mark: So, there you go. If you're looking for service for your diesel in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead 'cause they're busy, real busy right now. Or, if you're looking for more information, check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com or our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos on there. Thank you very much for listening on the podcast. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2006 Land Rover LR3, Throttle Pedal Replacement

Mark: Hi, its Mark Bossert here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik. We're doing the Pawlik Automotive Podcast from Vancouver and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So, today we're talking about a Land Rover LR3 that had a throttle pedal problem. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: The vehicle actually came to our shop with some suspension issues which we in diagnosing found there was actually nothing really wrong with that end of it, but there was also some intermittent faults with the vehicle would go into limp mode while driving it. Through the diagnosis process, we found that there was an issue with the actual electronic throttle body and with the throttle pedal assembly. We'll just talk about the throttle pedal assembly today on this vehicle.

Mark: Well, how does the throttle pedal be a part of a problem with the car going into limp mode?

Bernie: Well, basically the electronic throttle sends a signal to the vehicle computer to as to what the position of the gas, essentially the gas pedal where you put your foot. If it doesn't like the readings from that particular signal, it flags a warning and it'll cause the vehicle to just go into a limp mode. And because all the vehicle computers talk to each other, they want to know where the gas pedal is, how's the engine running, should the suspension be up, should it be down, there's a lot of the complexity of the communication in these vehicles, so one thing will cause another thing to happen and that's how it kind of goes into limp mode.

Mark: So, let's not assume this. What do we mean by limp mode?

Bernie: Okay, yeah, good question. Limp mode is basically there is a major fault or serious fault detected in the vehicle and it'll allow the vehicle to run at a reduced power rate so that you can basically limp it home or limp it to a shop to get fixed. So, you'll see that actually British cars are pretty good for that. They'll actually, a lot of Jaguars will actually say, "Limp Mode," but other vehicles if the transmission has a shift problem, all of a sudden it'll go into that mode. A lot of diesel vehicles, again a certain problem occurs, it'll go into that limp mode because either it'll be putting out excessive emissions or there's a safety concern with the way the vehicle's running. It allows you to get to a shop to repair it, but not much more than that.

Mark: All right. So, we have a throttle pedal assembly which is a pretty weird way of just saying a gas pedal. How come this is so complicated?

Bernie: Excellent question. So let's have a look at the item first.

There's our throttle pedal assembly. I'll just move us out there. So there's where your foot goes. This part here bolts up to the firewall and, of course, this is the pedal that moves back and forth, and here is an electrical connector. Inside here there are springs, so it's got a, it gives you a feeling that you're pushing against something. Okay, the old fashioned way was a cable connected to the throttle and say on a carburetor there's a return spring, well there is on a throttle body system as well, a return spring so it gives you that feeling of you're pushing on something and it springs back. So there's all the spring feel is done in this pedal and then inside there's a couple of different sensors that sense the position of the pedal. That's basically how the unit works as you push it down, it sends the computer a signal.

It'll actually send at least two signals. One, and the sensors work in reverse. So one will go say from zero to five volts, the other one will go from five volts to zero depending on when you push it. The computer looks for a correlation between those two movements, those two numbers that are preset. And if there is any variation of any sort, it'll, the vehicle will immediately go into a fault, limp mode.

Mark: All right. So, again, why are we using electronic throttles? This seems like really complicated.

Bernie: Well, yeah, it is very complicated. The reason for using electronic throttles is, again, it's like through and a lot of engineering and vehicles, they, the engineers have found that there's ways to ... It used to be, I'll just say the old fashioned way, you open the throttle, it allows more air to flow and the engine increases in speed, and the throttle was the control for that. But they've also found that there with engine electronics they can because you have electronic control over the fuel delivery, you have control over sometimes the intake manifold runners, some vehicles even have a lot will have electronic variable valve timing. Once you can control all those things, the throttle doesn't need to be that primary controller of engine speed, and by doing so, you can actually have a huge effect on engine performance and a lot on exhaust emissions. When you close a throttle a certain amount it'll cause a spike in emissions, so if you can actually cut the amount of fuel to slow the engine down versus having a throttle close, then you can make a substantial reduction in exhaust emissions.

Those are some of the reasons. A lot of it is driven by reduced exhaust emissions. It also effects fuel economy. I mean performance, you stomp on it, it opens. That's kind of affected differently. I think electronic throttle largely for emissions and sometimes fuel economy.

Mark: And you can really notice it with if you're around any older vehicles, and where I live there's a lot of hot rodder’s, we'll call them, with old vehicles and they drive by with lots of noise and there's a smell, a stink, that used to be what was normal and we don't notice anymore, I mean, in all the modern cars.

Bernie: No.

Mark: That's part of the throttle actually changing that?

Bernie: Well, that's to a certain degree. I think the biggest factor would be a catalytic converter, I mean, because that takes exhaust emissions even on a good clean running engine and reduces them enormously. But, yeah, the throttle’s all part of it. All the engineering that goes into a modern engine makes the difference, and a catalytic converter doesn't work instantaneously, so when you, you know some cars when you start them up and they're cold and they still have a bit of that smell, but it disappears pretty fast. But it is really a major difference and you kind of forget about how clean cars really are until you stand behind a, until you're following an old car somewhere and you go, what is that smell, and your eyes start burning and you go, wow. Everything used to be like that at one time. It wasn't that long ago, everything was like that. There's people out there defending oh, you got to have things simple and yeah, you do, but it's like you know, I mean we're ... I mean the poisons that are coming out of a car like that are just horrendous. They do look nice though.

Mark: So, how often do you find fault with electronic throttle systems?

Bernie: It's not really common, but we do see a few of them here and there. The more common problem is usually the throttle body itself will fail, and those are, throttle body it's on the engine, it lives in a much more hostile environment. It's a major moving part with motors and sensors, so there's a lot. A little more complexity to the actual throttle body, so they tend to fail a little more frequently than the pedals, but we do pedals on a variety of different vehicles.

Again, I was saying it's one of those components, the reason we replace this one it's had trouble codes and it's ... It's a lot of, what am I saying? It's a safety item like you don't ... When they engineer the vehicle, they don't want to have some kind of false signal or something where you're only idling and all of a sudden it thinks you're in full throttle. That's why they have so many, what's the word I'm looking for, redundancy built in. There's a lot of technology to this piece, and it's important. With a cable it's pretty straightforward, you either push it or you don't, but with the electronic, you don't want a false signal to the vehicle otherwise the vehicle might go flying through you driveway into a swimming pool like Audis used to. And they didn't have electronic, they did not have electronic throttles back in those days either, so.

Mark: No. Or even just the cases where cars had been hacked and people are, outside people are controlling your car, and changing the throttle electronically.

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. Those things all need to be considered and they do, at least hopefully. I'm not sure for hackers. I think there's always new frontiers that are they probably find out hey, we didn't quite bulletproof that thing as much as we should have.

Mark: And how difficult a repair was this? Did you have to take out the dash or any of that or are these generally pretty easy?

Bernie: Yeah, this is not that complicated. The assembly unbolts from under the dash and it's not really a super-complicated job. They're usually not too bad. They unbolt fairly, generally speaking, fairly easily. The nice thing about it you know the cables are simple, but it's actually ... Nice thing about modern cars with electronic parts is you basically unbolt a piece, you undo the electrical connector, bolt it back in, plug it in, do whatever reprogramming, and away it goes. It's a lot easier than having cables to hook up and in a lot of instances, so.

Mark: Fish through etc. So there you go. If you're looking for service for your vehicles that has a problem with it's throttle, the guys to see in Vancouver, or your Land Rover, service a lot of Land Rovers, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112. Please note, that's a Vancouver number. If you're in the Vancouver area, we'd love to hear from you. We'll service your vehicle. If you're from somewhere else in the world because we get calls from all over, please, we can't diagnose your vehicle over the phone. That's not ... We don't feel like that's in integrity. We don't know there is too many variables there.

So we hope you're enjoying us on our podcast and we thank you for watching on our podcast. We have our video channel where there's hundreds of videos on there for all makes and models and types of vehicles. And of course, if you want service, give us a call. You have to book ahead, we're busy. Pawlikautomotive.com as well if you're interested in our website. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark and thanks for watching.

2006 Toyota Solara, Timing Belt Replacement

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

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So we're talking about a Toyota Solara. It's a kind of a unique vehicle, a 2006 that had a timing belt problem. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: So yeah, so this vehicle came in for a B maintenance service, which is for us it's an oil, basically an oil change service with a full vehicle inspection. Out of doing the maintenance inspection we determined the timing belt needed to be replaced.

Mark: So if we're talking about timing belt replacement I assume you got a lot of other stuff that you have to change? 

Bernie: There are other items to replace at the same time as the timing belt. Generally when we do a timing belt, we'll do the water pump, the front engine oil seals, the timing belt tensioner. Any pulleys that are ... Anything really affected by the timing belt, or anything that can directly affect the timing belts life span, we do all at the same time. 

Mark: Did you find that it was worn out, or was it just a scheduled change?

Bernie: Well we basically replaced it on the mileage of the vehicle and the fact that we couldn't see any evidence that the belt had been replaced. Now you might want to ask can you not look at the belt? The answer is not without a lot of difficulty. I learned a long time ago when I had a customer with a Subaru many, many years ago. Where it was getting near the mileage of the timing belt, I looked at the timing belt, popped the cover open, it wasn't hard too hard on that car. Looked at it, go yeah it looks fine. Month later the car got towed in with a broken timing belt. So I've kind of learned, now you just never judge them. Now that being an older Subaru those belts are, they break a lot easier, these ones are a lot more robust. But you really can't tell the condition of the timing belt unless you actually take it off. There are a few tell tale signs, we'll look at some pictures in a few minutes of the age of a belt once you take it apart. Things have changed a lot with timing belts, they used to be if you got 100,000 kilometres on a timing belt you're really lucky. That Subaru I was mentioning, those things would often break at 50,000 kilometres, they were kind of a bit of a some bad engineering there. But 50 to 100,000 kilometres was kind of a normal interval for timing belt, now they're up in the 150 to 200 range, and often will go a lot longer than that. Just due to redesign of the belt and how they're built. 

So we can get into some pictures here. So there's our Solara, these come in convertible and none convertible but this is the convertible model. Real nice vehicle, very similar to a Camry in design and operation, same engine and same drive train. Here's the timing belt and a couple of the components we replaced. So there's the water pump, there's the timing belt tensioner pulley, and of course the belt itself, which is rather fairly long belt, a V6 engine. For our final photo this is a close up of the belt, so I mean the actual teeth on the belt are on the backside, but you can see on this side there's all the lettering. When these belts are new they all have like writing on them, either from Toyota or whatever, after market manufacturers, the brand name, the belt number, some other information. The fact that there was actually none visible on this just tells us the belt’s old. I mean the rubber was fairly old, but was it about to break? Not really, but you just don't want to take a chance with that kind of thing. So that's our picture show. 

Mark: Okay. I've lost my screen here. So what's our next question?

Bernie: Our next question, excellent. So we talked about visual inspections, what do we have? Well timing belt interval, generally in the 150 to 200,000 kilometre range. Closer to 150 is really where you want to do them. Depending on the age of the vehicle as well, that has a bit of a factor in it. This vehicle is 06, that makes it about a 12 year old vehicle, seeing no evidence that the belt had been replaced it's a good time to do it. A 12 year belt is getting pretty old. Also, I guess the question too of all the other items we do, with the water pump, the tensioner, the seals, I mean is that necessary to do it? People are often conscious of the cost, to do everything complete is a fair amount of money. You can just change the belt, however if the water pump fails and it very well likely will pretty soon, or any of the tensioner pulleys, or the tensioner itself, which is a hydraulic unit gives way. The whole job is basically a waste, you have to take it all apart again and do it. So what we do is do the whole job complete, get it all done and then you don't have to worry about it for another 10 years, which I think is the best way to do it. Better to spend the money now and do it fully than ... I've seen so many times when people have taken it somewhere else, and gone I had the belt replaced but I didn't want to do the water pump. A year later they're in for the water pump, and hey I should have done it right the first time. So that's the best thing to do. 

Mark: Yeah, so is that a case of everything in that kind of, if we're talking about the front end of the engine, or whatever, and all those pieces that are run off of or have something to do with the timing belt, they all wear at the same place, at the same rate in effect. So the belt is worn a little bit and stretched out tight a little bit, puts maybe a little varying amount of pressure on the water pump, or whatever the reality is of it. That they all, they've gotten used to the state of wear that they're all in. When you put the new piece in it actually puts more pressure and wears out the water pump, or the tensioner faster?

Bernie: Well it does probably put a little more pressure but like modern, all modern timing belts are all self tensioned so they theoretically have the same tension all the way through. But it's more of an age issue, I mean a bearing will only turn for so many times before it eventually fails. Now some might go for a 100,000 kilometres, some might go for 500 but you don't really know when that's going to happen. What we do know is when it does fail you're going to have take everything apart and do the timing belt again. Most of the time when we do the timing belt, you spin the bearing, you can hear it's dry, it spins very freely. Like you can tell the lubrication's drying up, and it's not as good as it could be. Same with water pumps, I mean they will leak eventually or the bearings will wear out as well. So it's just better to replace it because you know that it's only going to be a matter of time before it goes. You might get lucky, it might last 10 more years, but that would be like a statistical anomaly as opposed to being, you know what… 

Mark: What would normally happen. 

Bernie: Yeah, what would normally happen exactly.

Mark: Timing belt replacement around 150,000 kilometres, is that true across all makes and models of cars?

Bernie: Pretty much, and I say 150, that might be a little sooner than some recommended. A lot of them are like around 168, which I think is 110,000 miles. But yeah usually somewhere around the 150 to 200 range is where most of them are recommended. I mean the 200 is pretty high, I think there's a couple of Ford products I've seen that have it recommended at that mileage. But yeah, if you're thinking the 150 to 180 range that's definitely time you're going to need to do the timing belt. But check the manufacturers schedule, that's one thing that's really important to look at and follow that one. 

Mark: So when a timing belt replacement, this is a pretty major job from all the parts that are being replaced. 

Bernie: It is, yeah, I'd say it's a major maintenance service and certainly you know when you look at two engines on a car, you think okay I'm going to need a timing belt replacement on this one. Say another engine has a timing chain that doesn't need it, I mean there's a ... If you do it properly, I mean a sort of average timing belt job can be $1500 to do it with the water pump, the tensioners, the pulleys, all those kinds of things. Or it can be a bit less, it can be a bit more depending on the car. That's a fair amount of money to put out on a maintenance service, you think well great I'd rather have a timing chain engine. But timing chains do fail, and when they do the cost is a lot higher. So I mean with a timing chain you never know, it may last forever, and it may fail and you just never really know. But the key to timing chain engines is you've got to make sure you follow your oil change intervals. Because you've got that many more moving parts that are affected by, that good clean oil makes a big difference. 

Mark: So what happens if the timing belt breaks?

Bernie: Good question, so if the timing belt breaks your engine will stop right then and there and it won't start again. That's if you have a none interference fit, well that's with any engine. But the other thing is if you have an interference fit engine, which is an engine that's built in such a way that the piston and valves can collide if the timing belt breaks. Then you'll have catastrophic engine damage, the valves get bent, and it becomes extremely expensive to repair. This particular Toyota engine by the way, I was looking for some information is it inference fit or not, I got conflicting information. There's a number of different, if you look on the internet, there's a number of different sites that have lists of engines that tell you, are these inference or not. One website I looked at says yes, the other one says no. Then another one said conflicting information, treat it as an interference engine. So really the best thing to do is treat any car as an inference engine because I mean it's inconvenient when it breaks anyways. But if it does break and causes valve damage it's just horrendously expensive. 

Mark: Is this a V6 that Toyota used across a different range of models of vehicles?

Bernie: Oh yeah they've used it in, you'll find it in Lexus vehicles, you'll find it in Camry's, Avalon's, Lexus, a variety of Lexus products. Pretty common engine, excellent engine, very reliable. 

Mark: How are Toyota Solara's for reliability? 

Bernie: It's a Toyota, they're awesome. Yeah, really nothing I can say that's bad about them, they're really good. I mean really the timing belt is one of the, sort of one of the major maintenance items you're going to deal with on this engine, that's pretty much it. 

Mark: So there you go if you're looking for a service for your Toyota product, since we've pumped Toyota's tires so hard here usually. We like their products, they're reliable vehicles. The guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. We appreciate you folks watching from all over the world, but please if you're calling for service and you're in Vancouver we'd love to hear from you. If you're calling for us to diagnose your car issues over the phone we can't do it. Just can't. So give us a call if you want to book an appointment at 604-327-7112, you have to call to book ahead 'cause we're busy. Or check out our website pawlikautomotive.com, we're on YouTube, Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there. As well as of course we're really appreciating you watching our podcast. Thanks a lot Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thanks for watching. 

2016 Honda Civic Maintenance Service

Mark: Hi it's Mark Bossert, Producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast and we're here in Vancouver with the big bopper himself, Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: I am doing very well.

Mark: So we have a 2016 Honda Civic, a newer vehicle and had a maintenance service. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Well this vehicle was due for a maintenance service, actually a little overdue for scheduled maintenance service. Vehicle has 50,000 kilometres so a number of items were due at that mileage.

Mark: Maintenance service, so that's regular kind of scheduled thing that you guys let folks know about coming in for. Did you find anything unusual? 

Bernie: Well there was a couple things. First of all, and one of the reasons I wanna talk about this car, is that the owner came in, the vehicle was 5,000, more than 5,000 kilometres overdue for service. I'll just get into a real quick photo here. We have the dash, I think you can see that. If you look, this is the dash display, this comes on, you turn the key on in the car and it, right away, it says right there, maintenance past due, 5,616 kilometres. There's also a couple of little numbers here, 01279 those are maintenance items that are required, and those correlate to different parts and components, so those are all due as well. But, the light will come on when you're due for an oil change for certain. So basically, I guess one thing I wanna talk about is leaving that too long. Most modern cars, they have a maintenance reminder, it's a timer, some of them, in the olden days it was just a timer it would just go on mileage and then go off. But more modern cars they're sophisticated, they'll actually monitor your drive cycles. 

They'll make assessments. Like if you do a lot of highway driving, you'll get a longer oil change interval. If you do a lot of short trips, cold weather, it'll remind you to change the oil more frequently. It's actually pretty sophisticated on a lot of cars. I find with Honda's by the time the light comes on and tells you, you're due for service it's a good time. The oil's dirty, but not really dirty, and I think that's really the optimum time to change it. So leaving it 5,600 kilometres beyond the service interval is really not a good thing. There's a lot of expensive components, variable valves, timing in this engine, it's sophisticated, timing chain. A lot of things that could go wrong if you leave your oil too long.

Mark: So variable valve timing, just what does that do for the vehicle?

Bernie: Variable valve timing adjusts the timing of your engine valves and it allows your engine to ... I mean, it's basically there for improved gas mileage, improved performance, improved exhaust emissions, and it's amazing what a difference it'll make to an engine. A normal engine there's a timing chain or belt that drives the camshaft and the valves open and close at an exact time whether you're idling or whether you're at 6000 RPM. Really an engine, having the valves opening at different times makes a big difference to the performance of the engine depending on the speed and what's required. So variable valve timing solves that. This is why so many of our modern cars run so well, you can get so much power out of a little engine. Now variable valve timing, they have, the way it operates is it uses the engines oil system with valves and special gears and sprockets that are adjusted with oil pressure. They're very narrow passageways so they require good oil flow through the passageways. What happens to oil when you leave it, like beyond the oil change interval, it starts developing sludge. It'll start plugging the passageways up, then your variable valve timing system won't work. So you'll have engine performance problems, check engine light'll come on. Bottom line, very expensive repairs.

Mark: So is any kind of special oil required for this particular engine?

Bernie: Well this oil specifies 0-20 synthetic oil, it's a common oil that's been used in Japanese cars for a long time. A lot of other manufacturers have their own kind of specs. But most modern vehicles use pretty thin oils, like 0-20, 0-30, 0-40 on some more high performance model cars. They use the thin oils for good fuel economy because they flow really easily, especially at cold temperatures. But this is like 0-20 synthetic, it's a pretty common type of synthetic oil.

Mark: And what else did you do during this service?

Bernie: Well there was a number of other items recommended. So we did a brake fluid flush, we also did a motor vac fuel injection cleaning, which isn't a Honda recommended item, but we recommend that about every 50,000 kilometres, every two or three years for good engine performance. This is a port fuel injection system so you can still do a motor vac cleaning. A lot of modern cars you direct fuel injection and there's a fuel cleaning service as well which is really critical. Like a valve combustion chamber cleaning service. But that is a slightly different service, same kind of idea. The other thing we did is the cabin air filter was due for replacement, and I'll just share a couple more photos because there's some interesting stuff to look at here.

Here's the cabin air filter, it's amazing how dirty one of these can get after 50,000 kilometres, or basically two years of driving. I was actually kind of shocked, I pull this open and there was just loaded full of dust, you can see feathers, dog hair, leaves, a lot of stuff. Again, the cabin air filter's one of those things, they're often difficult to check, so you just change it when the service is due. On this vehicle one of those numbers that I showed earlier on the dash indicates that this one was due for service.

Mark: That's not what it would look like in a normal service interval though is it?

Bernie: You know what, I've done them at a normal service interval and they're, they look just a little dusty, so this one is exceptionally dusty. I would say, based on what I noted under the hood, when we popped the hood of the car. There's a lot of dust, so this vehicle's been driven on some dusty roads. But this is pretty extreme.

Mark: It looks like a mouse nest.

Bernie: Yeah. Kinda close. I've seen worse, but this is like among as bad as they get which is surprising. Yet sometimes I've seen them at 50,000 kilometres where they're barely dirty. But it's always best to just change it whenever the interval is required. Or if you do a lot of dusty road driving, change it more often. One other photo I've got to share too. The engine air filter. So this is the engine air filter. Again, hideously dirty. Probably should have been changed at the last service. In all fairness this vehicle probably went 15,000 kilometres since the last service based on the, what you normally get on that maintenance reminder. But this filter was so dirty, I figured it should have been changed a long time ago. Often, this was a dealer serviced car, often these things get neglected. I'm amazed how many times we have a dealer serviced vehicle where we check the air filter and it's just hideously dirty. They don't get looked at. It was really about a one minute extra check. Little bit of a rant about dealer service. Sometimes it appears to be neglected.

Mark: Why do you think that is?

Bernie: I think the reason why is that ... I mean the way dealer service works, technicians are paid flat rate. So they have, they're assigned a job, you've got like, you're paid half an hour to do this job. Faster you do it, the more jobs you can do in a day, the more money you can make. It's kinda that simple. Whatever specified, if it isn't specified to look at the air filter in the maintenance schedule, they don't look at it. Now, in all fairness some cars it's a lot of work to look at an air filter and you wouldn't wanna spend the time doing it unless you were paid extra time to do it. But, on a lot of vehicle's they're so simple to inspect and it's literally takes like a minute to look at it. So that's just, I think it's really the pay system that's used in a lot of dealerships. You know the incentive is there for the technician to do the least amount of work possible. Whatever's just barely recommended, that's what they'll do.

Mark: So given those images that we just saw, this vehicle maybe has been a little bit neglected. Is that just due to the owner?

Bernie: Well, I was just saying, some of it's due to the owner of course with the age of the, the overdue oil change. You know, that's the, the cabin air filter, hey, that's just something that sucks air in and that's, there's nothing you can do about it, same with the air filter. But the air filter, to me, is something that probably could've been inspected last service and replaced. I mean, I can't say because I wasn't the person looking at it the last service. I get it, sometimes it's hard to get in for a service, so there's a bit of neglect there, I've left my oil sometimes too long. I hate to admit it, but you know what, I know what the consequences can be. But yeah, some of it the owner, but I think sometimes, I think sometimes where you're taking your car for service. Are they looking at all the, are they looking at things like the fluids? Are they really looking at the big picture of the car? One thing I noticed with this car as soon as I looked under the hood, is there's a lot of dust in the engine compartment. That right away tells you this person drives on dusty roads. That might warrant a little extra inspecting over someone who's car is clean and it's a straight city use car.

Mark: And is it also a function of this, we got all this extra performance, and reliability, and economy from the VVT style of components in our vehicles. But they also require a little bit more rigorous maintenance schedules?

Bernie: They do. I mean the great thing about modern cars is they really don't need a lot. When you think about, I mean I've been working on cars for a long time. It used to be that every year you'd have to have car tuned up, you'd have to change your spark plugs, and have your points replaced, and carburetor adjusted, carburetor cleaned because the car wouldn't start, or it would run really poorly. But with modern cars you just hop in you start it, it's like minus 20 Celsius out, the car starts and runs just like it does at plus 20. It's fantastic. You don't need to change your oil as often. There's longer intervals because the oils are better. You know the engine's, the fuel systems are more precise, oils don't get contaminated. It's great how modern cars work, it's just easy to forget about it sometimes. The important thing is when your oil change reminder comes on just do the services. They're simpler than they used to be. They cost often more per service, but you need less service overall. So it's really just a matter of following the schedule and maybe doing a tiny little bit more, because I find a lot of manufacturer schedules are a little stretched if you want your car to last for a long time.

Mark: Yeah, as we've seen in other podcasts, if you leave your oil for 50,000 kilometres you might be getting a brand new engine.

Bernie: Yeah. Oh yeah, more frequently than not. I have seen the odd person severely neglect their engine. I had one client that used to, a couple times when 50,000 kilometres. I'll tell you it was actually a Honda CRV, 50,000 kilometres between oil changes on a couple of occasions and the engine actually survived and never blew up. That is like the most unusual, rare thing I've ever seen, because I've seen many other cars where you hit 40,000 without changing the oil and the engine throws a rod. So there's something miraculous in that Honda, that particular Honda. But that one too, had no variable valve timing, it was a timing belt. Not saying, you shouldn't abuse it, but it had, it was less sophisticated in that way. It relied less on the oil for some of the more sophisticated systems in the engine.

Mark: So be safe, follow the maintenance schedule, or better.

Bernie: Yeah. I wanna share a couple other photos too just before we ... I know we're nearly wrapped up here, but I found a couple other things kind of amusing on this car here. Oh the other thing, I was gonna share too, this is the air filter box. I apologize the picture's kinda blurry, but this, again a lot of guck inside the air filter box. When we do the service here we actually take the time to vacuum that out so it doesn't get sucked right back into the air filter immediately. Here's basically a view of the engine. You can see the dusty and dirtiness of it, which kind of makes you realize why the cabin air filter might have been dirty, and the engine air filter. The other thing that I thought was very amusing is this little decal right here. I have a closer photograph of it. I don't know what manufacturers think of sometimes, but I don't know what Earth Dreams Technology is but ... It just made me chuckle. It's like GM had 10, 15 years ago brought out the Ecotec engine. And it's just funny how they have this environmental green washing terms for a carbon dioxide pumped engine. It amused me, so I just thought I'd share that.

Mark: Well, since we're dreaming about earth here. This car's pretty young, how are Honda Civics for reliability?

Bernie: Well they're really good. Again, change the oil regularly. It's a fantastic car, really, really nice to drive, lots of power, lots of pep. Should last a long, long time, again if you change the oil regularly. Again it's a 2016 so I don't know how long it's gonna be, how good it's gonna be in the long run, but based on Honda's track record I would say it would be a good buy of a car. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

Mark: Probably will last until they need to buy themselves an electric car.

Bernie: Yeah exactly. Yeah, 'til electric cars are really popular.

Mark: Yeah.

Bernie: 'Til the earth dreams are really ...

Mark: Taking place.

Bernie: Whatever that means.

Mark: Alright, so if you're looking for service for your Honda products in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, they're always busy. Or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. For you folks who keep calling from all over North America, we appreciate your calls, but if you're not in Vancouver we can't really diagnose your car over the phone. Not very in integrity for us to try and do that. So enjoy what we provide, and talk to your local service dealer for your service needs, please. We help people in Vancouver. And thank you for watching the podcast. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you for mentioning that Mark and thank you for watching.

2013 Range Rover Sport, Supercharger Repairs

Mark: Hi. It's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast and we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, the big bopper right here in Vancouver, talking about cars. How you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So, we're talking about a 2013 Range Rover Sport that had a supercharger problem. What was happening with this Range Rover?

Bernie: Well, the same issue we've done a podcast on this recently. Same issue. The supercharger nose cone coupler was worn, causing quite a clacking sound when the engine was running, and it needed to be replaced. Pretty common issue on this vehicle.

Mark: So, what part actually needed replacement?

Bernie: Well, the actual part that wears out, I'll share some photos in a second, is there's an actual coupler between ... the way a supercharger works, it's basically got blades for better term that rotate and compress the air that goes into the engine. But that's driven from a belt off the engine, and in between that, they put a coupler that has some flexibility. Not certain why they do that. I'd say it's probably noise reduction, smooths things out, but the coupler wears out.  So, that's what causes the noise, and let's just get into some pictures right here. On this video, you can see that there's quite an enormous amount of play and I'll just get into a few photographs here and we'll have a look at the actual part. So, there is, this is a picture, actually, of the new part, and you can see this is the actual coupler unit here. You can see this okay, Mark?

Mark: Yup.

Bernie: So, there's three pins here, and these connect into the actual supercharger. This is the nose cone assembly piece here, so this is actually driven from the belt, and there's three pins here, although one's hidden behind his white plastic plate. But there's some springs and cushioning mechanisms in here that allow some play, but not a lot. So, this is what a good part looks like. Now, if we get into the worn piece, this is what the coupler removed, you see a lot of rusty bits here from the springs that have basically worn out and rusted away. There's the coupler. Again, this is the worn one. You can see there's bits and pieces missing in this area. There's springs and pieces that are in here that basically have disintegrated and gone, and there's the coupler worn out sitting on the nose cone. So, you can see, again, the same pieces as in a nice clean white piece, but when this is rotated, there's an incredible amount of play between these two areas which is not there on the new part. So, again, there's the new piece. So, there we have it.

Mark: So, does the supercharger need to be removed to replace the part?

Bernie: It does need to be removed. Not entirely out of the engine, but it needs to be unbolted from the engine and lifted up in such a way that we can actually access all the bolts to take the nose cone off. So, it would be nice if they built it in such a way you could take the nose cone off without unbolting the supercharger, but unfortunately they don't make it that easy.

Mark: What other parts do you replace at the same time?

Bernie: Really, at the same time, there's just gaskets. Whatever we remove, there's intake manifold gaskets, there's the actual intercooler which bolts up top the supercharger, and there's a big huge gasket in that area. That needs to be replaced as well.  That's pretty much it. Cooling system needs to be drained, so that needs to be properly refilled and some antifreeze added, but that's pretty much it. The nose cone assembly and the gaskets.

Mark: So, how did it sound after the repair? You said there was a clicking sound?

Bernie: Oh much better. It was so noisy when it was running and idle and revved up before, and much quieter afterwards, although I do have to say the engine itself is still, it's a little bit of a noisy engine in this vehicle, but substantially quieter, enormously quieter. Much better.

Mark: How many kilometres were on this vehicle?

Bernie: Not a lot, really. Surprisingly under 100,000. These things do tend to wear out pretty quickly and pretty early on these vehicles.

Mark: Is that a normal supercharger attachment on other supercharged engines that you've seen?

Bernie: Well, this is the only vehicle, this and Jaguar uses the same engine, so this problem happens in Jaguars and Land Rovers, but this is the only vehicle we ever replace this particular part on. Others don't seem to wear out that way. 

Mark: Does your Mercedes, for instance, have that?

Bernie: No, it doesn't. It doesn't have that system. Yeah. At least if it does, it's much more durable because that thing's got 170,000 k’s and it's still quiet.

Mark: So, like you said, it's an exclusive sounding problem to Range Rovers/Jaguars.

Bernie: Yeah, and it's only this particular engine. We have clients with supercharged Jaguars that are older vintage that never have this problem. So, it's something they, I don't know the exact model year spread, certainly from 2010 and up, Range Rovers we've done them, so I think it's sort of around that generation.

Mark: Again, let's, superchargers. What does a supercharger actually do? You'd think that something that's being turned by the engine would actually take a lot of power, and yet it actually generates power? How does that work?

Bernie: Well, you say what does it do, well, it actually gives you a lot of power. What it does, now, you're right. It does actually take power from the engine, is it actually compresses the air going into the cylinder. So, on a normal engine which is called a naturally aspirated engine, as the pistons move, they suck air in as much as the throttle opening will allow. This is on a gasoline engine. It'll suck air in under atmospheric pressure, compress it, the piston comes up and mix it with the gas, it explodes, and there's your power. But with the supercharger, it actually fills the cylinder with extra air, substantial amount of extra air, more oxygen, and then you can inject more fuel so it just creates a whole lot more power. So, it's amazing. I love superchargers because the power is instant and immediate. The turbo chargers have a lag. With engineering in modern engines, you can barely feel the lag, but when you drive a supercharged engine, you can feel it. The power's just so instantaneously there. They've been used in drag racing for an awful long time. If you want just more power in an engine, put a supercharger on. Of course, the engine has to be built for it, too, because you could blow it up pretty easily with all that extra, but of course, most supercharged cars don't get great gas mileage because you've got so much power, but when you're out on the highway and you're cruising and you're not accelerating, it's actually very efficient because you're actually getting a lot more per piston spoke.

Mark: So, there you go. If you're looking for service for your Range Rover or Jaguar with a supercharged engine in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. Check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of videos on there of all makes and models of vehicles and repairs, or our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, or thank you for listening to our podcast. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thanks for watching. 

2006 Nissan Murano Severe Steering Wander Repair

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

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So we're talking about a 2006 Nissan Murano that had a severe steering wander issue. What was going on with this Nissan SUV? 

Bernie: Well this is really interesting. The owners complaint was when you, especially if you're going up a hill on the highway and you have to accelerate the vehicle would basically veer off into the other lane when you put your foot down on the gas. So I went out and road tested it, and drove up a steep hill, and sure enough I experienced that. You basically hit the gas hard and the vehicle would just veer off to the right. I even noticed on flatter roads when you just accelerate hard it would veer off quite substantially. 

Mark: So what was the cause of this concern? I'm assuming this isn't a front wheel drive SUV. 

Bernie: It's an all-wheel drive, actually, but you know a lot of the power goes to the front wheels, but yeah it is an all-wheel drive. So there's definitely torque in the steering and power being transmitted to the front wheels. I mean what we found was a worn out control bushing especially on the right front. It was the front bushing that was really badly worn. How did we find it? We basically did a steering suspension inspection, looked over things, and it was pretty apparent when we put some pry bars to things of this front control arm bushing was pretty badly worn. I'll just get into some pictures right now, we'll have a look. 

This is the right front control arm. There's a bushing in the rear attached with a bracket, and there's the front bushing, and you can actually see the bushings come apart. Now we may have even talked about this issue on a Murano before, I know  we talk about control arm bushings a fair bit, but this was worn so badly that the centre pin had actually come out of the bushing. This is normally cemented, the rubber is cemented to the metal in the centre of the bushing. This one had actually come apart which is that badly worn. 

Another photo we have here, this is a closeup, so you can see the actual bushing is worn completely apart, and that was causing an enormous amount of play in the front end. 

Mark: How does that worn bushing cause such a wander under power on a hill? 

Bernie: Well what's happening is when you accelerate, of course there's front wheel drive, it puts torque on the wheel, and that causes the front end to actually twist sideways with the pressure. It's actually like turning your steering wheel while you're accelerating. So that's what was causing that because when you let your foot off then it twists back, so that's what causes the torque steer. 

Mark: So when that bushings worn out, that twist is actually happening. When it's working properly you probably wouldn't even feel it when you accelerate up the hill, it would just go straight? 

Bernie: After we replace the part it just basically, you accelerate at it just goes straight because nothing’s moving. I mean there's the same amount of torque being applied but nothing’s being moved other than maybe a quarter of a millimetre or something there. It's always something. That's why these bushings, because they do have some movement to them, but not like that. 

Mark: And how did this bushing wear so badly? 

Bernie: Well bushings do wear out, but one thing that probably caused this to wear more than so substantially is that there was a small leak from the engine oil pan gasket, there was a little bit of oil seeping out onto the bushing, and oil and rubber do not mix well. Basically oil will soften rubber and eventually wear rubber parts out. So when you have a lot of clients, engines develop oil leaks after a while, I mean it's never good having an oil leak for the environment, but if it's something really expensive to fix, I mean sometimes it's gonna be thousands of dollars to fix an oil leak on an engine, and it's not worth it on an old car, the most important thing to go look at is what components are being affect by the oil. If the oil is just simply dripping down onto the road, again, not great for the environment, but it's not gonna affect your car, but if it's leaking onto any rubber parts it will wear them out. We've seen engine mounts wear out from oil leaks, and here it's the control arm bushing that's worn out, a number of things. So oil will damage rubber parts. 

Mark: And that's hitting that bushing because this is a transverse mounted engine? 

Bernie: Exactly, yeah. Yeah. Fortunately on this vehicle the oil pan, it's the lower oil pan that was leaking, very simple and not very expensive to fix. So that was a pretty straightforward easy fix. 

Mark: And is this a common issue on Muranos? 

Bernie: Well control arm bushings do wear out, and sometimes the rear ones actually tend to wear more than the front ones, but I think with this oil leak that's what caused this one. But we do a number of control arms on these vehicles and the bushings, they do wear out. 

Mark: And how are Nissan Muranos for liability? 

Bernie: I'd put them in the fair category. They're not, you know they do tend to need more work than average I would say, maybe their work load is kind of average, but not as good as say a Toyota or Honda product of similar quality and age. They tend to need a little more work. 

Mark: So you save a little bit on your purchase but perhaps you have a little bit more maintenance to take care of. 

Bernie: A little more maintenance. There are a few things that tend to wear out on these vehicles. Overall it's a nice vehicle. A really nice driving vehicle. Just expect a little more repair than you might on a Toyota or Honda. 

Mark: So there you go, if you have a Nissan Murano and you need some service, the guys to call in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, they're busy. Or, check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of videos on all makes and models of cars and issues on there for your enjoyment or eduction. As well we have our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. And thank you for listening, watching our podcast. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thanks for watching. 

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