Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

2010 Volvo XC70, Drive Belt Pulley Replacement

Mark: 2010 Volvo XC70 Drive Belt Pulley Replacement.

Mark: So Bernie, today's victim is a 2010 Volvo XC70 with a drive belt replacement. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle actually, it was the second visit to our shop. In the previous week, there were some concerns with the vehicle, some vibrations and clunks when shifting from drive to reverse, and into park, and accelerating. And we'd determined that a couple of the engine mounts were worn out. So we replaced the mounts, which solved a lot of the issues, but there was still one leftover noise that was occurring. It was an interesting condition. Most noticeable when you put it in reverse, and if you put your foot on the brake and rev it up. Now, normally, a person wouldn't do that, but this is what we had to do at the shop to find the noise. But when you're accelerating slightly in reverse, there would be this strange noise coming from the engine. So this is what we were looking at on this Volvo.

Mark: And where was the noise coming from?

Bernie: Well, the noise was coming from the centre of the engine compartment area, and this engine, it's a 3.2L Volvo 6-cylinder. It has a very unique distinction of having all the accessory drives in the centre of the engine compartment. They actually drive the accessories off the back side of the engine, not the front, like is normally done on, I'd say, 99.9% of every other car on the road. They've chosen a very unique system of having the drive belt pulleys, the air conditioning compressor, the alternator, power steering pump, and water pump all on the back side of the engine. And that's where the noise was coming from.

Mark: Oh, those Swedes. So, what was causing the noise?

Bernie: Well, eventually, after a very lengthy diagnosis, and we wanted to be sure we knew what we were doing, because there's some extremely expensive ... I shouldn't say 'knew what we were doing.' Knew what we were going to replace. There's some extremely expensive parts in this vehicle, and complication, which we'll talk about later. What we found is that the accessory drive belt pulley, which it's got a one-way clutch type mechanism on it was worn out, and causing the noise.

Mark: And how did you figure out that the pulley was the cause of the noise?

Bernie: Well, there's a few methods, but one sure-fire way to determine, sometimes, whether a noise is inside an engine or whether it's an external noise, is to actually remove the belt from the system. Now, actually removing the belt on this vehicle is very complicated, as I say, by the location. We'll look at some pictures in a second. But once the belt was removed, the noise had disappeared, so it was really a matter of thinking, okay, is ... And even with the belt off, there could have still been something that was loading the pulley or the rear-end drive unit, called the READ unit, in a strange way, that could have been causing noise. But we pretty much determined that the noise was coming from a pulley-related item, and after some time and testing, we found that this pulley was, in fact, bad. We also found that ... there's a tensioner pulley and an idler pulley, and they were both worn out, as well, so we replaced all of them. But those other two pulleys were not actually the cause of the noise.

So let me just get into some pictures, here. So there's our 2010 Volvo XC70. Nice looking station wagon, all-wheel drive, lots of nice accessories, and useful to go wherever you want to be going. So this is the 3.2L engine. So again, traditional with any modern engine, plastic covers over top of everything. But if you remove this cover, you can see the spark plug, the ignition coil area, fuel injectors, that sort of thing. This is the intake manifold here, and underneath here is the location of the alternator. And over here, underneath all these covers, this is where the rear-end drive unit is, and over here are all the accessories. The air conditioning compressor is buried underneath here, power steering pump is back here, and the water pump is way over here, driven by the power steering pump. So the belt is hidden, as I said. It's several hours' worth of work just to change the belt, believe it or not, on this car, so it's kind of a crazy design. Normally, all the accessories would've been over here, but I guess they decided, "Hey, we can cram the engine over further." And it's actually kind of a smart use of space, but complicated to repair.

So we'll just get into our next photo. So this is the accessory drive pulley. Inside, you're basically looking at, this is the part that bolts onto the shaft on the READ unit. And I'll just get into another picture that's perhaps a little more ... We were looking to view in this direction, but here's the pulley where the belt sits. And inside this large area here, there's a clutch mechanism. The smooth-out operation of the belt, mostly, I would think, is the idea of this, but this is what wore out. You really can't feel anything when you turn it, but once it's running and under a certain load condition ... as I mentioned, we got the noise happening most often with the air conditioning compressor switched off, the vehicle in reverse, left foot on the brake, and right foot accelerating a little bit. So about 1,000 rpms, there's this quite horrific vibration. That's how we got the noise happening most commonly.

And then, the other two items I mentioned we replaced, this is the tensioner assembly. So there's a big, round spring inside here, and this forces the tensioner tight on the belt. So this is the kind of thing that, why modern belts don't tend to squeal like ... When we work on the older car with v-belts, half the time they come in, they're squealing. And I remember, that was a big service we used to do. Tightening belts, replacing belts. It just never lasted very long. But on modern cars ... And it's a good thing on this Volvo, because it's so hard to get to, but they tend to last a long time. You know, 100,000 kilometres without any problem, where you try to get a, I don't know, a 1965 Chevy, you'd be lucky to get 20,000 miles before your belt starts screeching and squealing, and then you've got to adjust them, and you know, it's kind of crazy.

The other pulley down below here, this is the idler pulley. And again, you know, when we spin these bearings, they're very noisy, so it indicates the bearings are worn out. And we replaced them all, and the vehicle was nice and quiet afterwards.

Mark: So, you mentioned something called a READ unit. What's that?

Bernie: So this is a unique feature on this 3.2L Volvo engine. It stands for "Rear end accessory drive," and in order to drive these belts, and to conveniently locate them at the back of the engine, they had to create a separate mechanism that they wouldn't normally create. So the timing chain on this engine, similar to many Volkswagen and Audi products, is actually on the back side of the engine. And the READ unit actually, if they didn't have to drive the accessories off the back of the engine, they could've just put the timing chain straight from the crankshaft to the camshafts. And they have to have another piece sticking out the front of the engine.

So the rear end drive unit is a bunch of extra complexity. There's a timing chain that goes from the crankshaft up to the READ unit, then there's another connecting gear from there that goes to the camshaft. So it's an integral part of the timing chain. And they do fail. Very expensive to fix. And in this READ unit, there's also a shaft that sticks out in two directions: one goes to the pulley we replaced, which drives all the accessories, the other one goes to the alternator. And there's a coupler unit on that, as well, that can fail, too. So lots of bits and pieces. But that's what the READ unit is. An extra-complicated mechanical piece on the engine to facilitate this nice, crammed-in tight engine compartment.

Mark: So, overly complicated. Is it really worth all the hassle?

Bernie: Well, sometimes, you wonder. But, I mean, from an engineering point of view, I think to myself, well, it's a very efficient use of space. But, you know, when it comes time to pay the repair bills, you're going to be paying a lot more money, because there's a lot more that goes wrong. So I don't know if it's right or ... You know, I've kind of tried to stop judging whether cars are right or wrong, or I kind of tend to look at how well were the materials used to make it, and how durable is it? Because inevitably, most things will need to be fixed sooner or later. But how they make it? I don't know. It'd be interesting to have conversations with automotive engineers about some of this stuff. But yeah, if you don't want a complex vehicle, don't buy this particular one.

Mark: So, then, speaking of complexity, perhaps, how are Volvo XC70s overall for reliability?

Bernie: They're not too bad, but there are a few things we fix, and this is one item that tends to fail. As I mentioned, the belts, while reliable, can be expensive to repair. These are the kind of vehicle that have the rear differential bearings that wear out, so there's a few common problems, but overall, they're a pretty good car. I mean, they're a nice car. You'll spend more money than you will on a Toyota, but you usually hear me say that on every podcast anyways, but ... There's more to go wrong, and they're a little more complex. But a nice car.

Mark: You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment if you're in Vancouver. And of course, if you're somewhere else, we love you watching our videos. You can check out the website,, as we get a lot of visitors from the United States and around the world. As well, on YouTube, there's hundreds of videos on Pawlik Auto Repair channel. And of course, thank you for listening to the podcast, and thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark, and thank you for watching and listening.

2012 VW Tiguan-Water Pump Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 38 years servicing in maintaining cars in Vancouver and 20 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers. And of course, we're here with Bernie Pawlik talking cars. How you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well this morning.

Mark: So, this week's victim is a 2012 VW Tiguan. I always choke a little bit on VW. Water pump replacement. What's going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah. It's okay, Mark. It's a gas motor one. They haven't faked us out on these ones. Yeah. So this vehicle came to our shop. It had a coolant leak coming from under the hood, obviously, so we proceeded to do some diagnosis and testing to figure out what was going on.

Mark: What'd your testing and diagnosis find?

Bernie: Well, what we found was a coolant leak coming from the front of the engine kind of buried under the intake manifold. We'll look at some pictures in a little bit and you can see how typically complex this thing is under the hood. But there was a leak coming from around the area of the water pump, and that's where we proceeded next.

Mark: So, what was your next step?

Bernie: Yeah. So next step was we verified the area of the leak. Couldn't see it exactly, but it was around the area of the water pump, so we got in and removed the water pump, and that's where we found the issue.

Mark: What did you find?

Bernie: What we did we find? Here's a picture. This is the surface where the water pump bolts up to the engine block. The red arrow points to the area of failure here. If you look here, you can see there's a plastic channel. There's the channel there. Part of this plastic here is just basically broken away, allowing this O-ring to just flop out of place. Of course, it causes coolant under pressure to just blow out this way right down the side of the engine.

So, I know I say jokingly, we love plastic. I don't like to own plastic car parts because they wear out, but they do create a lot of work for us because they do I think tend to fail earlier than they should in many cases. This is sort of the backside of the water pump housing. This is the drive gear over here, but this is basically the area of failure. So the whole water pump assembly needs to be replaced. So that's what we found.

This is a view of the engine with the covers and everything on. The water pump is located down in this area here below the intake manifold. Again, there's a lot of work to access it and get at it. This is a view underneath the vehicle of the new water pump installed. You can see the drive gear, the hose outlets. There's a lot of complexity to put this pump in. There's a number of different connecting pieces. You can see a piece of the thermostat in there and the actual water pump impeller is in this area here. So the actual water pump itself is made of aluminum, but the housing is all plastic.

I think we have a final photograph to look at here. Again, this is a view down the engine with the plastic cover off the top. You can see the ignition coils and a little more of the area of the intake, but again, the water pump's buried under here.

I'm actually gonna go back to this picture of the water pump because this thing has a unique drive system. You see this cogged pulley here. It's actually driven by a tiny little drive belt. Looks like a little mini timing belt. I should've taken a picture of it, but it's about, I don't know, maybe four inches long and it goes to a drive pulley located under this area here. It actually involves removing that pulley to put the belt on. So that's another item that gets replaced at the same time as the water pump, because of course if that belt breaks, the pump won't turn and things will need to be done. The belt was starting to crack at the age of the vehicle so it was a good time to do it. But yeah, really complicated little job.

Mark: So why would they use such a complicated system? Just to fit it in the vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, just to fit it in the vehicle. The plastic, again ... I'm just gonna go back to sharing that picture of all the plastic here. You can see there's a lot of plastic in this area. There's plastic down here. The top of the engine, the valve cover's all plastic. The intake manifold's plastic. You got covers here, ducting. I'm kind of drifting off here 'cause why they fit it in, but there's a lot put into the engine compartment, so they tend to put things wherever they can. I mean, that's kind of a quirky drive system, but I guess the engineers go, "Well, that's a good spot to put it. Let's put it over there." Kind of like our Volvo we talked about a few weeks back where again, they put the alternator underneath the intake manifold and drive the water pump with kind of a crazy pulley system on the backside of the engine. But wherever they can fit stuff in the engine compartment, gets the car out the door, they can sell it and you as a consumer have to deal with it later.

Mark: Yeah. This is kind of a smaller size SVU.

Bernie: It is, yeah. It's a nice compact sized SVU. I mean, it's a really nice vehicle. Drives great. Good performance, decent fuel economy. I can't really see anything wrong with it other than that but along with the compactness comes complication. I don't know if there's any escaping it. Some brands are just more reliable than others.

Mark: And how are Tiguans for reliability?

Bernie: I'm gonna put them in the fair category. I mean, you get things like this plastic failure is common. Over the years, we've done a lot of ... You can probably look at a video we've done a few years ago or a blog post. I talk about plastic in VWs. It's an item that does fail a lot and causes the consumer extra money to fix, but overall it's a pretty decent car. I think my comparison was always you'll spend a little more money fixing this than a Toyota and there will be a few more things that will go wrong, but other than that, it's a pretty decent vehicle.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your VW in Vancouver BC, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. If you're in Vancouver, call to book ahead. If you're elsewhere, check out our website, or our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos there or of course, thank you for listening to the podcast. We appreciate it, and thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you Mark, and thank you for watching and listening.

2008 Lexus IS250 Water Pump Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast, podcast and we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 38 years servicing and maintaining cars in Vancouver, and 20 time winners of best automotive repair in Vancouver and we're talking cars. How are you, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: 2008 Lexus IS250 is this week's victim. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle came to our shop. The engine had an overheating concern and a couple of other issues, but the overheating issue was kind of the main issue, which is important. You don't want to overheat your engine, especially in a car like this, that's for sure.

Mark: What did you find was the cause?

Bernie: We did some diagnostic and testing and found that the major cause of the overheating was the water pump. It was leaking pretty badly, so the vehicle had lost a lot of coolant.

Mark: What sort of a job is replacing the water pump on a Lexus, on this Lexus?

Bernie: On this Lexus, yeah, it's a fair bit of work. The pump is pretty buried. Let's just get right into the picture show portion. Okay. So, here we go. So there's our IS250, decent shape for a now eleven-year-old car. So when you open the hood of this car, this is what you see. This is typical of Lexus for the last decade or more. They tend to cover everything in plastic covers. Not just the engine but the sides of the engine compartment. There's all these little clips that, frustratingly, tend to break. We keep them in stock because they tend to need to be replaced. We can see there's plastic covers and clips everywhere.

The water pump is located down in this area here, and with the cover removed, this is what you get to see. So that's your V6 2.5 litre engine.

Mark: So this is a rear-wheel drive, kind of normally mounted engine.

Bernie: Exactly. It's a longitudinally mounted engine. It's got a fan on the front. The water pump is located down under this area, so if you say what kind of a job is it, well, you can't even see the pump, so usually when you can't see it, there's lot that needs to be removed just to access the pump. It's a fair bit of labour to change the pump on this vehicle, and you know what? I comment a lot about these plastic covers hiding everything, but this is a pretty complicated, I wouldn't say mess, of things to look at.

It's kind of neat, but you can see from a show-and-sales point of view why they probably put a cover over top, because it just looks a little more attractive, especially when there's no dust and dirt on it, when it's clean.

Here's a view of the water pump so again, a pretty straightforward type of water pump, but it's got a lot of bolts. It takes up a fair bit of real estate on the front of the engine, thermostat housing bolts in here, and there's the water pump pulley. The impeller is located in behind. There's a lot of housing for the amount of actual pump area.

Mark: Anything else unique about this water pump replacement?

Bernie: Well, I mean, other than it bolts in and bolts out, there's a lot of things to remove and reinstall. The other interesting thing about this replacement is the water pump gasket. Now, this is actually a really complicated gasket. It's a multi layer steel gasket. I've just sort of photographed it face-on, but you can see it's, the reason you have these rivets here, this is like holding, well, multi-layers of metal together, and you can sort of see it over here in this area. There's at least one, two, three layers of metal. This is the kind of thing you normally find on a head gasket so, yeah, it's a pretty complicated piece of engineering just for a water pump.

Mark: Why would they use such a complex gasket for that device?

Bernie: I've thought about this, and I don't really know, other than it takes up a fair bit of space in the front of the engine. I just don't see why a good, thick cardboard-paper gasket that was so frequently used in the past wouldn't do the same amount of work.

Perhaps, with the metal being largely aluminum, expanding and contracting, maybe they figured that it needed to have a gasket of this sort. And, of course, part of the procedure with the gasket like this is to torque everything properly. You don't want to just blast the bolts in because a gasket like this requires precise torques to make sure it's properly crushed but not overly so.

Mark: So this is an aluminum block engine?

Bernie: Aluminum block, yeah. And the water pump's aluminum. There's not much that's made of cast these days. I'm just trying to think. Of course, you know, there's a lot of diesels but, yeah, a lot of aluminum, especially this engine. It's not very heavy.

Mark: How long do water pumps normally last on these vehicles?

Bernie: Well, this is the first water pump replacement on this vehicle, so it's 11 years old, and about 150,000 kilometres. If you're in a place that uses miles, you can do the conversion. That's sort of the life of this one, and I guess it probably may have been leaking for a little while before he brought it in. That would be, yeah, that's sort of the lifespan of a water pump on this engine.

Speaking of water pumps on Toyotas, I talk about how reliable Toyota products are, Lexus being one of them, and they are, but it seems like one sort of typical thing you can count on replacing on a Toyota is your water pump. We do them on all sorts of Toyota products, even Prius's. There's not much that goes wrong, but water pumps seem to leak, so that's kind of the big thing on Toyotas, which isn't that big of a thing.

Mark: And how is the Lexus IS250 for reliability?

Bernie: It's good car. Definitely reliable. These cars do tend to burn some oil so if you have one, sometimes you're not going to make it through an oil change cycle without adding a litre or two of oil, which tends to happen on these engines, for some reason. But, overall, an excellent car. Well built, and not a lot of problems.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your IS250, or any Lexus or Toyota product in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, if you're in Vancouver. And of course if you're somewhere else, we love you watching our videos. You can check out the website We get a lot of visitors from the United States and around the world. As well, on YouTube, there's hundreds of videos on Pawlik Auto Repair channel and, of course, thank you for listening to the podcast, and thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark, and thank you for watching and listening.

A/C System Repairs – 1989 Cadillac Deville

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here in Vancouver of course with Mr. Bernie Pawlik and they've just announced we're 20 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by other customers, and we're talking cars, how you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well and happy to have one the Best of Vancouver again, it's exciting news.

Mark: So here we go. We're talking about a 1989 Cadillac Deville, which is a pretty old vehicle but still the AC system had some issues and that's pretty relevant to all cars, what was going on with this Cadillac?

Bernie: So this Cadillac came to us, the owner really liked their air conditioner working properly, I mean it's one of the nice features of the Cadillac, in fact every car has air conditioning now so, they used to be kind of a unique Caddy feature but very important to the owner of this car and she'd had it repaired several times in the past and it still wasn't working properly, so we took a look at it, did some diagnostic and testing and found some interesting issues that I wanted to share.

Mark: So, with testing and diagnosis, what did you find?

Bernie: Well I mean, first issue we found was the refrigerant was quite low. We did a visual inspection for leaks, which we normally do, didn't find anything. Added some refrigerant, went to test the system and it was interesting because the compressor would switch on for a couple seconds, would generate some pressure and then switch off and it wouldn't run anymore unless we shut the key off, recycled it. We did the whole key start cycle and then it would run for a second or two and then go, so I mean, we figured we had a leak somewhere so we did a thorough leak test, couldn't find anything, so obviously whatever was leaking was pretty minimal.

We looked over the system electronically and weren't sure where there was an electronic problem or what it was, but finally realized that looking at the system pressures when starting up, the air conditioning systems have a high and low side pressure, and what would happen is we start the vehicle up and the compressor would kick in and we could manually kick the compressor in and even with a full charge of refrigerant, the low side went into a suction, like into a negative pressure, into vacuum, which is incorrect and then the high side pressure would not generate much pressure also, so we figured there was probably a blockage in the system somewhere so we kind of dug a little further and found some interesting pieces. A little bit of history, the compressor had failed on this vehicle once and the person I guess had not put oil in it and that caused the compressor to fail, so someone had put another one in, properly oiled the system, charged it and then it stopped working after a little bit and arrived at our shop. So there was some repair history to the vehicle and so, there we are.

Mark: So do you have some pictures?

Bernie: I do. I have some awesome pictures to share.

So what we have, this is an Orifice Tube, now this actually the item that we found was plugged. What we found was when the compressor had failed at least once or twice, or sometime in the process of repair, someone should have looked a little closer at the Orifice Tube and flushed the AC system. The reason I'm showing the new part is you can see this is basically a screen with a little small ... It's basically an Orifice, it's a small opening and as the liquid moves through here, it changes the pressure or changes the state, I'm not going to explain this correctly, but there's a state change from liquid to gas or gas to liquid and that's what causes it to generate cold air. What we found was this, this is, if you can even make sense of it, this is the Orifice Tube we took out of the vehicle.

All this black stuff, this is dirt debris and crap from a failed compressor that's basically just covered the Orifice Tube screen. I'll go back to the other picture because it gives you kind of an idea, that's a good one, that's the bad one. This thing was completely plugged, so when the compressor was generating pressure, of course it was trying to force the liquid through here, it wouldn't go anywhere and it couldn't suck anything because the liquid and gas wouldn't circulate through the system, that's the key with air conditioning, it's a circulation system. So a couple of other things were the Orifice Tube bolts into the evaporating core pipes, this is the fitting here and you can see, not so clearly but there's a lot of dark, gray debris in here, and one of the repairs we did, we'll talk about this in a minute was we flushed the system out and well, this is a bucket with a bunch of very, very black liquid in it, so those were the pictures I wanted to share with you.

Mark: So how does this much contaminant get into the AC system? Isn't a close system? Sealed?

Bernie: It is a closed and sealed system and how the contaminant gets in is basically as the compressor fails, there's components in the compressor or if it overheats, there's oil in the system that gets damaged. So once we figured everything out, it all kind of made sense. A compressor failure, someone didn't flush the system and that's basically what caused everything to block up, so the proper repair is to basically take things a part and flush it out. Now, we obviously replaced the compressor because that was damaged, there's also the accumulator in the system, sometimes it's a receiver dryer but there's slightly different operation components but that's the filter of the system.

That component we replace, we obviously replace the Orifice Tube because it was completely useless but everything else, we flushed all the lines and pipes out. We flushed the evaporator, we flushed the condenser. It's a nasty job, it requires extremely expensive special chemicals, and we basically blow these chemicals through the system and do it until it actually comes out clean. That debris you saw in the bucket, that's sort of the first round of flushing but we do it until everything comes out spotlessly clean and that removes all the debris.

Mark: And how did the AC work once you got everything back together?

Bernie: It was fantastic. It worked really well. Nice cold air, compressor cycled on and off just like it should, all the system pressures were normal and worked really well.

Mark: So since this is such an older vehicle, how have AC systems evolved over the years?

Bernie: Well, they've evolved in a few ways. One of them is a lot of the components are smaller, like the compressors, if you look on a 1970s car were massive. Some of them were almost ten inches long, circular compressor, which was what was on this Cadillac or some of them actually look like a little V engine. Chrysler's had those they're like a two piston V motor, it's kind of a cool looking piece but they've evolved down to quite small, I'm thinking some Subaru's for example, the compressors on those are only like about four or five inches deep and very small and they accomplish the same thing. I mean that's one thing, the components are smaller, the refrigerants have changed. Air conditioning used to use R12, which is an ozone depleting refrigerant, fortunately we stopped using that and gone through R134A, which doesn't deplete ozone but still creates global warming when it's released, it's a global warming chemical.

There's now a new refrigerant R1234A, which has been used on in the last few years on some cars, very expensive refrigerant, it doesn't deplete the ozone or cause global warming, so that's a good thing but I've heard word that maybe that refrigerant's going to be changed to something else, so who knows but that's kind of the most modern iteration. But that's really how air conditioning has changed, either than that, the system operation is pretty much the same whether you're talking from a Tesla to a 1962 Cadillac, it's all pretty much the same it's just with a Tesla and a lot of hybrids will be an electric driven compression not belt driven like you'll find on most other engines.

Mark: So this is a bit of a well aged, well loved vehicle, is it worth fixing?

Bernie: Well, the owner of this vehicle loves it, so she likes fixing. I'd say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it's like people have attachments to cars and so, if it's worth it to you, then it's worth it to you, you know. But there are cars were we will tell people, "We don't think you should spend your money on this vehicle," and sadly I see a lot of people who don't spend money on cars that are well worth fixing that don't but everyone has their opinion. The owner loves this car, so that's why we fixed.

Mark: So there you go. If you're in Vancouver and needing AC repairs the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, or check out the website, YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there. As well, thank you for listening to the podcast and always remember we're in Vancouver, we don't provide technical support over the phone or by text, which I just got one. We're in Vancouver and we provide in person service because that's the only credible way to actually provide service for you and thank you Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you Mark and thank you for mentioning that. Thanks for watching, we really appreciate.

2006 Chevrolet Uplander Front Strut Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert producer, the Pawlik automotive podcast. And of course we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver servicing and repairing cars for 38 years in Vancouver, 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And of course we're talking cars. How are you this morning Bernie?

Bernie: I'm doing pretty well.

Mark: So we're speaking about a Chevrolet Uplander. This is a little bit of a rare model, I guess, a minivan. What was happening with it?

Bernie: Yeah, well they're not entirely rare, I mean, this was actually the Chevy's replacement for the Venture van, but I think Ventures were horrible vans. They were like one of the worst products GM's put out in a long time and we can talk about those in another situation. But the Uplander is definitely a huge improvement. But yeah, I don't think they sold tons of them. I don't have the specs, but you certainly don't see as many as you did with the Ventures. So this van basically had a really bouncy ride to the vehicle. It's a regular customer, we've been servicing this vehicle for many years. And I do a service of picking this vehicle up at the person's house or the business. So I tend to drive it a little more often, and you notice right away the ride of the front of the vehicle is very bouncy, it just didn't feel quite right.

Mark: You had to replace the struts, is that what was going on?

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. So the front struts were worn out and basically, so I was saying the ride was bouncing. You know, people often wonder, well how do I know if my stress or shocks are warn? And by the way a strut has a shock absorber in it and that's the primary wear component is the actual shock absorber. How you can tell, I mean you can just feel it in the vehicle when you, when you come to a, especially if you come to a stoplight, the vehicle should, you know, you push the vehicle, you hit the brake, you come to a stop light, the front end of the vehicle dips and it bounces up once and stops.

And you know, if it bounces even a slight bit more, you can tell your struts are worn out, but you can also just get a general feel that the vehicle. Just doesn't feel like it's really gripping. I don't say gripping the road, but it just feels like it's a little out of control. Now we've been fixing cars for a long time so I have a feel right away. But if you have a vehicle that feels like that might be an indication your struts or shocks are worn that that extra bounciness is certainly quite noticeable.

Mark: So I'm sure there's probably a recommended interval to change struts, what is that?

Bernie: Well, there used to be an a recommended interval and this came from strut and shock manufacturers replace your shocks every 80,000 kilometres or 50,000 miles. And you know, over the years of working on cars, I've always thought that just seems ridiculous. Like I've had vehicles where the shocks and struts have gone way longer than that for years and years and years. Now of course, because I'm sure they've got a lot of pushback and negative comments about that, the recommendation for the last few years is check your struts at 80,000 miles, you know, have them inspected. So which is a much fairer idea, but really, as I said, you can tell right, most of the time right away by driving the car. There's also the bounce test you can do, which is you basically bounce the vehicle up and down a few times. Difficult to do on an F350, by the way. But on a one ton truck, like if I say not as difficult, impossible, but on an average car, even a minivan, you know, you can bounce the vehicle up and down and if the vehicle will bounce up after you let your hand off the vehicle and it'll drop down to a certain point, if it does any more bouncing then the shocks are struts are worn. So that's a, that's a good test.

But anyways, as far as the interval, you know, I really believe you just need to drive the vehicle and see how it goes. This particular van, it's a 2006 so that makes it 12 to 13 years old at this point and it's got about 150,000 kilometres I believe. So quite a lot over the 80,000 that was recommended. The thing about shocks and struts too, they're not like you know, if you don't do them you're going to create a lot of extra damage. I mean sometimes your tires can wear funny and sometimes you can actually have shock or strut wear and not even be aware of it and all of a sudden you'll have your tire's worn funny. There's some interesting issues that happen. We can talk about that another time.

But that's fairly rare. Not entirely common. So you know, replacing them at a certain set interval, like a maintenance item, it really doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I think you're better to keep your money in your pocket and wait until the time when the wear is actually more applicable.

Mark: What's involved in replacing the struts on this van?

Bernie: So this vehicle, there's a couple of different ways to do it, but let's just get into some pictures while we're at it.

So there's the van, it's an '06 Uplander and that is the strut that we replaced. So there's a couple of ways you can do it, what's pretty common nowadays is what's called a quick strut, that's Munroes brand name, there's other brands around that do the same thing. But essentially what it is, it's a complete assembly. As I said, the main wear part when a strut wears out is the actual shock absorber portion, which is sort of inside this tube in the middle of the tube. This coily piece here is basically a dust protector and if you remove it, you'll see a nice shiny shaft and this is what moves up and down. You can see the the spring and then at the top to the spring seat and strut mount bearing.

That's also another part that tends to wear fairly frequently too, causing on some cars and creaks and clunks and noises and things. So the nice thing about a quick strut, again using that brand name, is you replace this whole thing. There's nothing left over to wear out and it's a little less labour intensive. You just unbolt it from the vehicle, you bolt the new one in and away you go. Whereas if you're just to replace the strut and maybe the bearing plate, we have all the tools to do it, you need to disassemble it because the spring is under a lot of pressure, and then change the parts over and then put it back together. So that's kind of the way it goes. I mean in the olden days too that a lot of struts, you could actually change the cartridge, the piece right inside, so you'd actually keep the tube, that's really old fashioned nowadays. So that's going back at least two or three decades now for that technology, so this is what we did on this vehicle.

Mark: So when you've replaced the struts like that, is a wheel alignment necessary?

Bernie: It is, on the rear, not necessary, not usually necessary. Sometimes it is, but on the front, absolutely because it does affect the steering geometry. Then the MacPherson Strut is one part of the steering geometry, it's kind of like the upper control arm and spring and everything built into one. So it kind of a neat feature, you know, neat design in terms of minimizing the amount of components in a front suspension. But yeah, it's critical to do it in alignment.

Mark: And how reliable are Chevy Uplanders?

Bernie: Well, as we talked earlier, I was talking about Ventures, I mean they're not bad, we've serviced this vehicle for quite a few years. This is a really good maintenance customer. You know, we've had others that we've serviced, they're actually quite a reliable vehicle and you know, GM did a good service compared to the Venture, we can do a whole podcast about all the things that went wrong and those vehicles, but we don't seem to see them as much on Uplander. So it to me this is a pretty decent minivan. Of course getting old now, you know, they haven't made them in awhile.

Mark: So there you go. If you have a Chevy that you need some maintenance on, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, or check out the website,, hundreds of videos and articles about all kinds of makes models, repairs, maintenance items. As well there's hundreds of videos on our youtube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course thank you so much for listening to the podcast and thank you Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you mark. Thanks for watching. We totally appreciate it.

2004 Mercedes SLK32 AMG Pre-Inspection and Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. And of course we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. 19 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So, today's victim is a 2004 Mercedes SLK32 AMG. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: So this really rare vehicle came to our shop for a pre-purchase inspection, which we did. The purchaser ended up buying the car, so we did some service work on the car as well.

Mark: So, this is an AMG model. What differentiates it from the regular model?

Bernie: Well, so for this particular, for the SLK, the major differences is the supercharged 3.2 litre V6 engine, which is a pretty awesome feature. I mean, that's definitely the biggest feature of the AMG. Also, it has nicer trim pieces, like fancier tail pipes. It looks like half of an SL tailpipe assembly, just with on one side. It's got the nicer AMG wheels, wider tires and wheels. And I'm not certain on this car exactly what the other features are. It's a little more basic than say an SL55 is compared to an SL500, but definitely has some beefed up suspension and performance enhances. But the engine is really the big thing.

Mark: What is unique about SLK series compared to SL's or other Mercedes?

Bernie: So, the SLK is basically a smaller version of the SL series. And I don't have the actual German translation front of me, but the S's roughly translate to sport, the L is light, and then the K is short. And it's interesting, because if you look at the other Mercedes line, you have your GLK, which is basically like a shorter, smaller version of a GL series. So, there's a German term for it. I'm not going to try to butcher it or anything. Porsche is about the best we'll go on the show, until I learn some more German. So what I find unique about this SLK car is that right up until ... They made the car from 1996 to 2004, and even up to 2004 it's got some features that you wouldn't really see in that era of Mercedes. Most Mercedes, they have electronic keys, the infrared keys, rack and pinion steering, things like that. This car is still has a mechanical key.

It's a much simpler version of a car. It's got a lot of the earlier 90s technology that's kind of just kept on going. So, some people may say that's a bad thing. I think it's kind of neat. It makes the car a little simpler. And this reminds me more of like a kind of a fancy Mazda Miata, just in terms of how the car is. So, let's just look at some pictures. So there's our SLK. Nice looking little car. As you can see, it's got the AMG wheels. It's a hard top convertible as well, which is awesome. So it gives you the ride, and when you're driving on a rainy cold day, it's just like having a hard top car, but you can take the roof off and then you have the benefits of the convertible. There's our 3.2 litre supercharge. If you're looking down at it really quickly, it really looks a lot like an SL55 engine, except it's of course two cylinders shorter. And it's about 350 horsepower, which is an awful lot to pack in this little car. It's, I think, about 32 or 3,400 pounds.

It's about 1,000 pounds lighter than an SL55, less power, but certainly enough to move this car really, really fast. The key I mentioned. So this is like a ... This is a 2004 car, but this key is really a very 1990s Mercedes type of key. It's a regular switch blade style key, and a regular toothed basic ignition. Steering is interesting. This is a ... I mean, it's hard to see a lot with the details of this picture, but this basically the view of the bottom of the steering box. This vehicle actually has a steering box, not rack and pinion, which of course is not quite as good in a way as rack and pinion steering. But it's interesting that it has this type of technology. And of course the car steers fine. And it's a lot simpler in construction than an SL series in terms of the way the geometry.

The lower control arms, which were actually one of the items we replaced due to worn bushings, it's just a simple wishbone style control arm as opposed to a lot of the newer ones where they have two control arms in the bottom and two at the top. I mean, there's advantages to that, but this has less parts and pieces. As I say, it's a simpler ... It's a nice car and it's simpler. And then here's our interior layout of the car. I know there's something else I want to point out about the interior layout of the car, that again is kind of a simpler throwback, but for some reason I can't think of it at the moment. So anyways, there's the basic interior layout of the car, and there we have it.

Mark: What services did you do on this car?

Bernie: Yeah, so some of the ... We did a number of catch up maintenance items, like a fuel injection cleaning and some fluid changes, drive train fluids. The control arm bushings and some of the steering linkages had wear, and also the tires were worn out.

So, their pre-purchase inspection helped them negotiate the best price, and then from there we repaired the vehicle and got it back in really nice shape. I mean it was ... I actually drove the car myself before he bought it, and the car drove really nice, but you could certainly feel the front end was wobbly, and didn't quite handle well. And then afterwards of course it's just the control was amazing. And of course, tires just make such a difference.

Mark: And how reliable are SLK cars?

Bernie: I find them fairly reliable. I mean, they do need the odd thing here and there. I'm saying it's a little simpler than a lot of Mercedes, with the technology a little older. But of course it's still got a lot of electronics. Some of the repairs we've done besides basic maintenance in the more basic SLK, we've done supercharger replacements on those. We've had convertible top issues, some simple wiring repairs. I think we've done podcasts or videos on these. But overall it's a pretty reliable car. And I think it's a nice ... I think this makes a nice ... If you're looking for a nice little semi luxurious little sports car, this is an excellent car. Especially the AMG model because it's got some really good performance.

Mark: So there you go. If you've got an SLK or Mercedes in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, they're busy. Or check out the website, YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thank you so much for listening on the podcast. Thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. And thanks for watching and listening. We really appreciate it.

2008 Range Rover Sport Engine Smoking

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

Bernie: I'm doing very well.

Mark: So 2008 Range Rover Sport Supercharged, a little hard to get the engine started, because it was trying to start that to smoke it was tough, was that what was going on?

Bernie: Well actually, it started fine, but what was happening was there was an awful lot of smoke coming out of the tailpipe. And how much smoke, you might ask? There was like a ton. You start the engine, it was just clouds of a white-ish colour smoke just billowing everywhere. It was pretty serious. And my first thought was, "Okay, this engine is done." You know, like it's got a severe ... just my first look at it, the head gasket must be blown somehow, it's just pumping coolant through this thing. Because of the colour of the smoke, so that was kind of the initial, that was my initial thought on it.

Mark: And how did you diagnose the problem?

Bernie: Well we started, of course, you know, looking at things, removing the spark plugs, looking at the condition of the spark plugs. Pressure testing the cooling system. We actually did a compression test on the engine with the spark plugs out as well. Compression was good, all even all across, which was a good sign for the engine. And the spark plugs didn't have any sort of coolant fouling, so but they definitely looked like things had been running rich, and there was a lot of oiliness on the spark plug. So put the spark plugs back in, fired everything back up and really looked at the smoke again and realized it actually had more of a bluish hue to it than white, even though you know, it was still pretty light colour, but not that typical kind of blue you'd normally see.

But definitely after a while, going, "Okay, it's definitely an oil burning issue, and not a coolant issue." So digging a little further, I mean I'll just cut to the chase. What we found was a crank case breather valve was blown, causing oil to be just sucked into the engine and burnt up, really not a huge problem in the end to fix, but what probably would have led us to diagnose that a lot sooner would have been some code, maybe a check engine light on, and some lean condition codes, which happens in a lot of other European vehicles. But that wasn't the case with this Range Rover.

There was one stored code in the vehicle computer, and it was only a ... it was an Evap system code for a purge valve problem. And the purge valve, like a purge valve probably never cause a smoking issue, and it was kind of, I say a minor code because the check engine light wasn't even on, so it was a code that was kind of stored in the background. So you know, it took a little bit to get to it, but we basically found again, I say we found the purge valve is the issue, so let's ...

Mark: Crank case breather valve.

Bernie: Crank case breather valve. Thank you. I keep confusing that. I always rehearse these podcasts, and think about it, and I keep saying purge valve. Crank case breather valve, thanks Mark.

Mark: So what's involved in replacing that valve?

Bernie: Well it's basically the valve is bolted onto the right valve cover, really not a lot of work to do, it's pretty straight forward. And I'll just get some pictures, we'll have a look. So there's our 20, sorry, 2008 Range Rover Sport. Also behind is another, a 2013 Range Rover Sport, we're doing some other service on, so it looked kind of similar, just a little subtly different. So as far as the vehicle, so there's the purge valve, this is the piece that was defective.

Mark: Crank case breather valve.

Bernie: Crank case breather valve, thank you Mark. I'm glad I got you here today. There's the Crank Case Breather Valve located in the right valve, of course. This is the new unit put in. This is the hose that actually goes to the back of the intake system, where the fumes that come out of the crank case are sucked in. And that's the new valve, which is basically bolted into the right valve cover. And after of course, I'm most curious to see what happened with the part, why it failed. So we broke the top of the valve off, and this is basically, there's a large rubber diaphragm. Underneath it, there's a little valve and a spring.

And there you can see a tear in the diaphragm, and this is where the oil is being sucked through the valve and into the engine. So that tear should not be there, it just basically happens from old age, there's a lot of ... crank case fumes are very toxic, it's obviously a very special rubber, but they don't last forever, so 11 years was about all this one got.

Mark: So is this the same piece as a PCV? Or PC valve?

Bernie: PCV valve? Yeah. PCV stands for Positive Crank Case Ventilation Valve. And it's basically essentially the same thing, although I tend to think of the more old traditional type you'd find on American V8 engine, or a lot of four cylinder Japanese type vehicles, where it would be just a little cylindrical valve, about the diameter of a large vacuum, it would clip into the valve cover. And some engines still use a valve of similar type, but it's basically the same thing. For some reason, a lot of European vehicles use these large diaphragm breather valves. And these actually tend to fail more frequently, like the old PCV valves would tend to carbon up and sludge up over time. And you'd actually have restricted breathing, whereas these ones here, they just tend to rip after time, and cause other issues like lean condition codes and blue smoke burning.

Mark: So why does the crank case need to breathe?

Bernie: Okay, so when, in an internal combustion engine, when it's running, of course there's an explosion in every cylinder, every piston. And with that, every time that explosion happens, 99% of the exhaust goes out the exhaust valve, the waste products of the explosion. But some of it escapes past the piston rings, it can't be sealed 100%. And that gas that escapes past the piston rings is called breathe blow by gases. Now if you were to have an engine completely sealed, that engine would probably run for 30 seconds, and then you know, explode due to the pressure. So in the olden days, going back, many decades, there would be a road draft tube. And this road draft tube would basically be a breather tube, and those blow by gases would just breathe out onto the road and into the atmosphere.

Think about those gases, they're about the worst pollutants generated in a combustion engine. They're just horrific, you know, the polluting gases are just the worst. So when they started developing emissions equipment on vehicles, the first thing they developed was a breathing system called a PCV system. Positive Crank Case Ventilation, where it would actually suck those vapours back into the engine and re burn them again, and essentially clean things up. So that was a huge step forward in vehicle emission reduction and really, really good for the environment for smog removal. Started in California, you know, way back in the 60s and then just eventually every car has it. And they've just gotten more and more sophisticated on a lot of European vehicles. But that's basically what the system does.

Mark: And was there anything else that you replaced on this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, so on this Range Rover, like I mentioned earlier when we were diagnosing it, we looked at the spark plugs, they were quite fouled from all the oil that had been sucked through the engine, so we replaced the spark plugs, and it was also due for basically an A service, maintenance service so we did an oil change and filter, and yeah, everything ran really well. The owner was really happy with it. No more smoke coming out the tailpipe, and really not a huge cost repair, considering when you looked at the smoke earlier.

Mark: Absolutely. So if you're looking for service for your Range Rover in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, they're busy. Or check out the website,, YouTube channel: Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Again, number one automotive podcast in Canada, number one in Korea, varying between one and two in the United Kingdom, and we thank you so much for listening. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Yeah, thanks for listening and watching. And thanks, Mark.

2007 Jeep Wrangler Brake Line Replacement

Mark: Good morning. It's Mark Bossert here with Bernie Pawlik and the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're broadcasting from Vancouver, BC and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So, today's victim is a 2007 Jeep Wrangler that had a metal brake line replacement. What was going on with this Jeep?

Bernie: Yeah, so the owner ... We'd actually just had this vehicle in for service recently and the owner called back and said, after I picked my vehicle up, I noticed this chemical smell coming out of under the hood, and the brake warning light came on. And I thought, okay, it's kind of odd because we'd just done an A service on the vehicle which is an oil and filter change, basic inspection. And we do look around the vehicle. So, any leaks and that sort of thing we noted. Looked at the fluids. All fluids were full. But I suspected, maybe when our technician did the service, maybe when he took the rad cap off, sometimes it's under pressure, a little bit of antifreeze leaks out, causes a bit of an odour. I thought maybe that's what was going on. So, that's basically why the vehicle came in. Chemical smell and the brake warning light on.

Mark: So what did you find was causing the owner's concerns?

Bernie: Yeah, so the first thing I did, I looked under the hood, didn't see any leaks. But I did notice the brake fluid level was exceptionally low. It took a lot of brake fluid to fill the master cylinder up. Which was very odd because when we did the inspection, the fluid level was full. So when we did the inspection and left our shop, there was no issue with that. I looked under the vehicle, I could see, oh, there's brake fluid leaking from one of the metal lines down below the master cylinder. And on further inspection, I could see that it had actually been spraying out of this small pinhole leaks in the metal line right onto the exhaust system. So there's the chemical smell right there. So, that's what we found. So this line had just ruptured. It's kind of one of these weird things. We get this, oh, ever since you worked on the car, this happened. Well, sometimes we do make mistakes. But a lot of times there's just weird coincidences on cars. And this happened to be one of them. It just happened that the moment she picked the car up, this brake line decided to burst. And that's what happened.

Mark: Any idea why, what caused the break line to rupture?

Bernie: Well, I'm going to say it's a manufacturing defect. And let's just look at some pictures here and then talk about that a little more.

So you can see the Jeep, our nice 07 Jeep Wrangler here in great shape. Well taken care of. Our owner of this vehicle takes good care of this vehicle. Outside and in, and mechanically. So there's the leak that we found. So this is looking ... Actually, I'll just go back to the picture of the Jeep again. So, the actual line in question is right here. The brake master cylinder sits up here. There's an ABS brake unit here. A lot of metal brake lines, and they all kind of run down the vehicle off to their respective wheels. And there's the two that run to the rear wheels, go right down in this fender area. So that's where this next picture is of, so this is just looking in the left front wheel. You can see a fluid leakage, quite a lot of brake fluid here and you can see a bit of rustiness on this brake line.

Now again, as I said, I mean when we do an A service, we have the vehicle up on a hoist. We look around. Stuff like this would be very evident. We'd be pointing it out immediately to the owner. So kind of unfortunate, but it kind of just burst right after it was brought ... After delivering to them. Here's a couple other closeups. So this is the line removed. You can see it's basically a plastic coated brake line. So they did their work from the factory to try to prevent rust corrosion. But for some reason, you can see little cracks in the line. And the line is bulged under the plastic. I actually took it on a wire wheel and just ground ... Basically removed the plastic. You can see the metal underneath is completely pitted and rotted. And this is the area of the leak right here. So why it happened? I would say probably a manufacturing defect.

Somehow, something must have caused the line to corrode. Sometimes break lens will be near a ... Say they'll be underneath the battery and you'll have battery acid leaking out. Or the vehicle is driven and very salty road conditions. But none of that's the case. This vehicle is from Vancouver, there's very little road salt used around here. And metal brake lines generally lasts a long time. Back East in the US and Canada where there's a lot of road salt, brake lines will corrode much faster. So, don't really know for sure what happened. I say it's really strange because it's a very thick plastic coating on here. But there must have been something underneath here at the factory that just caused it to sort of eat away at the line.

Mark: So what's involved in replacing? And is it just this line, or did you replace all the lines?

Bernie: No, the other ones look fine. I mean, I did a visual inspection. If you noted in that picture there was two lines running beside each other. I did a visual inspection of the other line. It looks perfectly normal. None of the bulging that was evident on this particular line. So, I mean it's possible there could be something festering underneath. But at this point there's no reason to change it. But basically what was involved is replacing this particular brake line. And this line runs from the ABS brake unit, just in front of the master cylinder along the frame rail to the left rear wheel. So we replaced the line, completely removed the old line, replaced the whole complete line with a brand new line. We custom make it, bend it, flare the ends, that's the best way to have a solid line. I mean, it could be replaced in just a piece. You could replace just a portion of it. But why bother when, who knows what's further down the line that's hidden that we see further down the line. That's funny how that kind of came out. But literally further down the line. So yeah, it's better just to replace the line complete. And we're 100% sure it works.

Mark: So, this Jeep is now 10 years old, how are they for reliability and repair ability?

Bernie: Yeah, they're pretty good. There's things like the front end parts on Jeeps tend to wear out perhaps a little faster than they could. Some oil leaks and things that occur, but overall it's a pretty good vehicle. The owner hasn't spent a ton of money on this thing. It's been pretty good. There's been a few repairs, but just generally it's been pretty good.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for any kind of repairs for any kind of problems with your brakes. Or you just need a really reliable mechanic in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're busy. Or check out the website, The YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching.

2005 Dodge 3500 Diesel Comprehensive Inspection

Mark: Hi, good morning. It's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast and video series, here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, of course, of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. 19-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers, and of course, we're talking cars! How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well this morning. And actually, we're talking trucks today.

Mark: Ah, trucks, yes! It is truck day. It's official, February 28th's truck day.

Bernie: Yeah, that's right. International truck day.

Mark: We're just making it up. A 2005 Dodge Ram was, had a 3500 diesel, for a comprehensive inspection. What was going on with this heavy-duty, big beastie?

Bernie: Yeah. This vehicle came to our shop for a B service, and part of the B service includes a comprehensive inspection.

Mark: What do you do during a B service?

Bernie: A “B” service basically starts with an oil and filter change, oil filter service, chassis lube, and then the thing that differentiates the A and the B service is the level of inspection. For a B service, we do a thorough, comprehensive inspection where we look at basically all the components of the vehicle, test the batteries, charging system, remove the wheels, inspect the brakes, steering, suspension. It's a full-vehicle mostly visual inspection, but there are some actual test items that we do, as well. But it's a very thorough inspection. The B service is something you want to do probably about once a year on a vehicle, and depending on the car and, of course, how much you drive. That's basically the component. But the big differentiating feature on the B service is the comprehensive inspection.

Mark: Okay. What's so special about your comprehensive inspection?

Bernie: Well, it's awesome that you ask that, because I think what's special about our comprehensive inspections is we're very thorough. We've always done a very thorough inspection, and about almost two years ago, we went to a digital inspection platform, which integrates with our shop management software. It's a fantastic tool that you won't find at a lot of shops.

A lot of good independent auto repair shops use these electronic inspections, but they haven't really gone through the whole industry yet. But what's amazing, and we'll look at some pictures in a minute, of what you get, but where a technician ... actually, in this case, I worked on this vehicle. I can use a tablet or smartphone, go around, capture all the data, take pictures of things, and put it all into the inspection. Then we email or text it to you and you can look at the inspection yourself and go, "Okay, here's what's good, here's what's bad, here's what we recommend." And you can actually see it with your own eyes. A really good way to prove that we're honest in what we say, and you can see what's really going on with your vehicle. 

On that note, let's just get right into looking at the inspection. 

There's our 2005 Dodge Ram truck. A few dents and dings and stuff, this is a well-used vehicle. It used to be a landscaping company vehicle, so they used it well for what they needed to. And onto inspection.

This is what you will get as a client. This is what you'll see. Not with all these exact details, but this, I've actually done some screen captures of some of these, of this inspection. Again, you can see in the green, there's 79 items that we looked at that are okay. And in these 79 items, there's a lot of detail, too. If you look at it, you might add it up, going, "Oh, it's only at 89 point inspection." But there's many more items we look at that are sort of hidden in between.

We'll look at some of those. There's three items with suggested work, and then we have the seven items that have required service. When you get this inspection yourself, you'll be able to press these plus buttons, and expand on what's good and what's not. And for the purpose of this, I just did it screen captures because I wanted to hide the client's name and phone number and so on, and vehicle information.

But you can see, there's obviously a dash warning light, and there's a bulb out warning light. There's a running light that wasn't working, a tail lamp that wasn't working. Those are some of the red items. We can go back, look at a few of the orange items here. There's the parking break, was out of adjustment. And this was actually a concern of the client's, which we took care of.

The front tire wear was a little irregular, but the tread was still at nine millimetres. And balancing the tire, just watching it, would have been a good thing to do. And then, the spare tire had some cracked side walls, very old. It's a spare tire, you know. Again, how important it is, that's up to you as the owner.

What else do we have here? A few other items. Fuel filter ... again, we can recommend, check the maintenance records. Should be replaced. There's a transfer case leak. And here's a photograph. Now, you can click on it to enlarge. In the case of this video here, we can't do that, but there's basically, you can see the fluid leak.

These are the kind of things we can show you on the inspection when we do them. Going over a few other items here. We've got some of the good stuff. You can see, the oil's good, which we changed during the service. All these other fluids were inspected, they're all good. Some other good items, too. We don't just take pictures of stuff that's bad. This is our ... this truck has two batteries, so we actually take, test each battery individually on a comprehensive inspection on a diesel truck. This is actually a photograph of our battery tester, which tells that the findings in the battery, they were both good.

Again, we've got belts, air conditioning, these are some of the other items we look at. What else do we have here? We've got this. Brakes. Again, the brakes, we take measurements of the brakes and the brake rotors. Here's a photograph of the brake measuring gauge with the brake pads, so you can see it's actually in good shape. A larger photo makes it a little easier to read, but that's kind of the gist of it.

I think that's the inspection pretty much ... got to see pretty much the whole thing. That's what makes our inspections so special. You get to see it, you get to see what's good, what's not, and that's it.

Mark: And also, I guess, if you send that to the customer, they have the option of making a choice: do they want to repair something that's not dangerous that could be left for the next service interval, or do it now? Is that right?

Bernie: Exactly. And you get to see it, and we can actually do video with this, as well. We don't do it very often, but you can actually ... say we have a loose or worn ball joint, we can actually take a little video so you can actually see the play in the ball joint.

But, yeah, exactly. It gives options. And I've had a number of people, sometimes we tell people, "Oh, you have an oil leak coming from some spot." Well, I didn't really notice it on the ground, but when you see a picture of it, and you go, "Hey! That is actually serious." It gives you an opportunity to kind of ... if you're so inclined to be more proactive or if your budget's such that you don't have the money to do things, we can still prioritize things. But it just gives you a better picture as a car owner of what's going on with your vehicle.

Mark: And of course, it didn't look like this truck, even at 19 years old, needed a lot of work.

Bernie: No, it was actually pretty good. Is it 19 years old already? Wow. It's getting up there. Yeah, no, it actually was in good shape. And we've serviced-

Mark: 15. I'm sorry. I can't add.

Bernie: Yeah, it's about 15 or 14. But that's still getting up there! The owner of this vehicle, we've serviced this vehicle for quite a few years. We've taken really good care of it. Unfortunately, the engine actually needed to be overhauled a couple of years back, and the fuel injector's replaced. Some serious money's been spent on this truck to keep it in good shape, but there was no worn or loose front end parts, the brakes were in good shape, everything was actually really good other than the parking brake adjustment and a fuel filter replacement, and some worn-out rear tires.

And the transfer case seat, which, again, we note, "Okay, it's leaking. How serious is it?"  Well, just keep an eye on it. If you start getting a drip on the ground, then it's time to, you've got to fix it right away before you run out of fluid.

But, yeah, this truck's in good shape, and it's a testament to good ongoing maintenance. If you do that kind of thing, you end up getting these kind of inspection reports, and we do get a lot of new customers who haven't taken care of their vehicles and this thing will have, you know, 25 red things, and not as many green. You kind of want to keep it in the green.

Mark: There you go! If you want to keep your vehicle in the green, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. For repairs for your diesels or any make and model of used car or truck, or even new vehicles. They offer full-warranty support for your new vehicle, as well. The guys to see, Pawlik Automotive, 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, they're busy! Or check out the website,, the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. There's actually 300 plus videos on there. I actually counted them.

Bernie: Awesome.

Mark: I was overestimating last week. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast, and thank you, Bernie!

Bernie: Thank you, Mark! And thanks for watching! We really appreciate it.

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