Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast and videos. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. We're talking cars this morning. How you doing, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So, BMW 328, XI 2008 vintage, had a front end clunk. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: Last Friday, the vehicle came in for some service and among one of the items there's a tire pressure warning light on. It needed a flat repair on the front left wheel so we did the flat repair. We noticed after we drove the vehicle, so we just unbolted the wheel and put it back on. We hoisted the vehicle up and down, of course, which we needed to do, there seemed to be a really loud clunk in the front end. Course it was late Friday. The customer needed the vehicle and we did not have time to look at it. We weren't even sure if the clunk was possibly there beforehand. It turned out it hadn't been but for some reason this horrible clunk had developed in the front end. BMWs do have front end parts that wear out quite frequently. Things like ball joints or control arm bushings wear badly. We figured well maybe it just happened to have worn out, something like that had happened. That's what we figured was what was wrong with the vehicle. We proceeded to look. That's basically what led to the vehicle, so it came back for a look at. What we found was the engine mount bolts had broken on the right hand side. Basically the bracket that had held the engine mount in place had broken. That was what was causing the clunk.
Mark: So do you have some pictures?
Bernie: I do. Yeah, let's get into some pictures. There's our BMW 328. Nice, decent, all-wheel drive sedan. This is the engine mount bracket here that was loose. There's a bolt here. That's the yellow indicates the bracket. This is actually with the assembly redone but what we found when we did the inspection on the vehicle, no loose front end parts surprisingly. We found the heads of the bolts lying on the vehicle splash pans. These are three of the four bolts for the engine mount. You'll see they're actually all broken. The fourth bolt was no where to be found. It had worked its way loose at some point. These are all aluminum bolts. Obviously aluminum is not as strong as steel, which explains why they cracked. That's at least why they're broken, because a steel bolt would not break like this, but aluminum certainly will. That's what we found. The loose mount was causing it. When you'd hit a bump, the engine would be banging up and down on the frame of the vehicle.
Mark: Or I guess if you accelerated hard as well.
Bernie: Well, interestingly enough, it didn't because it was the right hand side so all the torque is on the left side so actually, fortunately for the owner of this vehicle, it was the right side that broke, because it was already sitting down on the frame of the vehicle. But it's surprising that we didn't feel more vibration in the vehicle when you accelerate, because you'd think that ... usually it transfers quite a vibration but for some reason, however it happened, it wasn't noticeable.
Mark: So how could it happen?
Bernie: How could it happen? Well, what we speculate happened was that these bolts had probably been loose for some time, and the fact that one of them was completely missing, I mean if someone had been in there previously and done a repair or-
Mark: And not tightened everything properly.
Bernie: Either not tightened the bolts or the bolt was loose, or somehow they just worked their way loose over time. Obviously, the bolts were all loose and at some point, and I'm assuming it happened Friday afternoon at some point on one of our road tests or just jacking the engine up or down, the rest of the bolts were loose and snapped, maybe two out of three were broken. And the last one finally snapped and just kind of went crazy. But that caused the clunk.
Mark: So why do they use aluminum bolts? That seems kinda crazy.
Bernie: Good question. Yeah, you're right. It does seem kind of crazy because aluminum is such a light-weight material compared to steel. But it's really light-weight is the reason that they do it. When you consider a car how many bolts there are in the engine and in various spots, there's got to be several hundred pounds worth of bolt, so if you can reduce half of them. An aluminum bolt is a featherweight. It's really interesting holding these bolts 'cause we bought a package of new bolts from BMW and there's four of them in a bag and they weigh ... It's weird when you hold them, because they weigh nothing. It's like holding up a piece of paper. It just doesn't seem right, because the steel bolts you get used to the weight of something like that. That's essentially why they use aluminum bolts to save weight. And they've obviously done their engineering and figured okay we can use aluminum bolts here. We can use them there. That's why they do it.
Mark: Are aluminum bolts reusable?
Bernie: No. Well, I'll say only at your peril. I would never reuse an aluminum bolt. The factory way of doing things is you replace them, so this is why a lot of these kind of things are ... as long as the car's not too old. Aluminum bolt technology is something that's only been ... This is like a ten-year-old car, so it hasn't been used for too long. The Germans seem to like it a lot. But a lot of times these bolts will be stocked or pretty easy to get. We never reuse them because they're designed for one time use and that's it.
Mark: Yeah. I remember Audi used to use these as well, right?
Bernie: They certainly do.
Mark: Could you substitute ... are there aftermarket steel bolts?
Bernie: Oh yeah, you could use a steel bolt. The threads are all standard types of metric threads. You could just get the right thread pattern and use them. We just in this case of this repair, just chose to get the bolts from BMW. They're easy to get. They've got the right socket heads and that's what the factory recommendation is but you could certainly hunt around and try to find aluminum bolts.
Mark: Steel bolts.
Bernie: Steel. I'm sorry, yeah. Thank you, Mark. You could certainly hunt around and find steel bolts and probably even get ones with similar heads on them, but that takes a lot of extra work. And a lot of times metric bolts and getting the right length and so on and the right type of head are difficult to find. So we went with the factory bolts and torqued them to spec, and all should be good.
Mark: With a completely loose right side of the engine basically, that sounds like a pretty bad thing. Did any further damage occur from this issue or could it have occurred in the future?
Bernie: Well, it certainly could have. Fortunately, as I mentioned earlier, it was a good thing it was the right side and not the left, because the left side as soon as you accelerate, the engine lifts because of the torque and the rotation of the engine. Usually at that point you get much worse damage of things like the radiator fence. Being a BMW, it may have a fan or some pulleys it will hit on things. But being the right hand side, I guess reverse is where it's a risk, because if you accelerate hard in reverse, the engine will jump up. In this case, fortunately nothing else got damaged. So that was a good thing. But it certainly can. A broken engine mount is a pretty serious thing. It can cause a lot of extra costly issues to occur.
Mark: So we're learning things. Cars' crank shafts turn clockwise, basically.
Bernie: They do. Yeah. Some engines actually turn counterclockwise. It depends on ... but I don't know of any rear wheel drive, this is essentially this is an all-wheel drive but BMWs are all basically rear wheel drive cars, so that they're longitudinal engine. I can't think of one that has a counterclockwise rotation. They all rotate clockwise. But some transverse mounted engines rotate the other way depending on which way they put the transmission and which way it's configured in the engine compartment.
Mark: So how did the vehicle drive after your repairs?
Bernie: It was good. Yeah, no problem no clunks. Just about perfect.
Mark: And how are 328 and 328xi all-wheel drives for reliability?
Bernie: Well, they usually need a few more repairs than your average vehicle. They're oil and coolant leaks develop on these after time. There's spark plugs and things, those type of things wear out as usual. Ignition coil failures are common. But overall, they're a pretty nice vehicle. But if you own one, expect that you're going to be spending more money on repairs and maintenance than you would on an equivalent type of Japanese vehicle.
Mark: So your elegant European hot rod is going to cost you a bit more for maintenance?
Bernie: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for repairs, maintenance on your BMW in Vancouver, the experts to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112. You have to call and book because they're busy. Or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos on there. And thanks for listening to the podcast. Remember for all you others across North America, they can't diagnose things over the phone. We are not experts over the phone. We have to see your product in order to be able to give you an accurate diagnosis, so if you're in Vancouver, we'd love to talk to you. Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark. And thanks for mentioning that. It's much appreciated. Thanks for watching our podcast.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik. Pawlik Automotive, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We're experiencing winter starting. It's raining here, and of course, Pawlik Automotive are 19-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers. We're talking cars this morning. How you doing, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well even though it's raining.
Mark: So we have a 2005 Jeep Liberty diesel, that had a no-start problem. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: The owner of the vehicle had pulled over his vehicle, it was running fine, stopped to do something. Went to start it. Turned the key and it wouldn't start. All the lights came on in the dash, but when he turned to the start position nothing happened. So had the vehicle towed in, and we proceeded to do some testing and diagnosis.
Mark: What actual testing did you do to find the cause?
Bernie: Well, look, of course the first thing with a no-start issue is to make sure the battery is in good shape, so we tested that. And it was pretty apparent that everything ... The battery was good, everything seemed to be working but there was no starting. The starter wasn't working, so I thought maybe the starter's the first thing to test, and it's relatively easy to access on this vehicle so we tested the power in and out of the starter and the solenoid, and the various wiring tests we do, and verified there was no power getting to the starter solenoid. So we knew the problem was somewhere else. There's relays, there's wiring, there's an ignition switch; these are all the other components. So we proceeded to test all these items and basically narrowed it down to a problem inside the ignition switch area.
Mark: With a diesel, is there anything different within that system, starting system, that's different than other fuel type engines?
Bernie: No, actually, the starting system is exactly the same as a gasoline engine. The only difference with a diesel is that usually they have a much more robust starting motor, because the diesel has a much higher compression, so it needs a more powerful motor to start. But if you look at the starter motor it doesn't look particularly large in comparison to a gasoline starter. It's kind of the way modern technology with starters has gone. They used to be ... you could notice a diesel starter was substantially bigger. Nowadays they look pretty much the same size, so they pack a lot of power in to a small space, but the actual electrical system and the starting system is exactly the same.
Mark: Once you narrowed it down to the ignition switch area, what was the actual cause?
Bernie: Well, what we found was there's actually an actuator pin, or coupler assembly, in between the ignition switch and the actual electrical portion of the ignition switch and the lock cylinder. Usually within the ignition switch you have the lock cylinder, the place you put the key, and then that usually connects to the switch, the electrical part. And in this particular vehicle there's actually a coupler that goes in between the two pieces, so we'll just get in to a little picture show here, and I'll show you what's actually going on. There's our jeep in the shop after repairs, and that's the coupler piece that's broken. This sits inside the steering column. There's the ignition switch, the part where the key sits over in this part here.
Mark: To the right.
Mark: To the right?
Bernie: Yeah, that's right, yeah. Sits over here, and then there's a little slot that fits inside this metal barrel here, and this connects over here, and then this, the ignition switch, the actual electrical part, clips on to this portion here. Now I've two arrows here. The yellow one shows a little metal piece here, and if you notice, where the red arrow is, there's not a metal piece. Well there's supposed to be one there. What happens is this actuator pin, the metal piece breaks, so when you the key it wasn't actually allowing it to turn quite far enough to actuate the starter. So that's basically the issue, so this part is the piece that needed to be replaced. And interestingly enough, it's amazing how cheaply built this part and component is, and everything kind of snaps together. It's plasticky and cheap, and I just sort of reflecting while I was working on it, how this is kind of at the time when Chrysler and Mercedes were married. You know, two companies. You couldn't really build different vehicles. I mean this stuff, it's made cheap and simple and snap-together, and if you look at a Mercedes, it would be much different in assembly. It's amazing that corporate marriage lasted as long as it did, because really very different building philosophies for these vehicles. Just a little side-thought there.
Mark: Is this an easy repair?
Bernie: Not really difficult. I mean, the diagnosis took a while, just to figure out where the actual cause of the concern was, but the repair itself is not all that difficult. However, as far as parts go ... that part we ordered a replacement after-market part, but if you go to a Chrysler dealer they'll sell you the whole steering column. So there are after-market parts available, you can just get that one piece, but if you go to Chrysler you're going to spend an awful lot of money on replacing that, and a lot of extra labor.
Mark: Good to know. Once back together, I guess everything started properly?
Bernie: Yeah, it worked fine. Worked great, just like it should.
Mark: Is this a common issue on a certain range of Jeep Liberties?
Bernie: Well, this is the first time we've actually replaced this particular piece, but it, as I mentioned, there's an after-market part available for it, so once somebody makes a part like that it's a pretty common problem. It just, for some reason it's the first time one of these has come in to our shop, and after ... it's a 13 or 14 year old vehicle at this point. But the owner had said that this problem had happened previously in the past, too, and he'd spent a lot of money at Chrysler having it fixed, so I assume he got the full steering column treatment, but it didn't last a whole lot longer. Sometimes when you look at a part, and you go, "Why did they build this so poorly?"
Mark: So do other models of Jeep use this same full Chrysler steering column treatment repair?
Bernie: They do, actually. So this part actually will fit a variety of Chrysler vehicles. Not just Jeeps. Everything right to Neons, and it's used in a variety of different vehicles from 1995, all the way up to 2007, so again, it's a common part and it may be if you have the same issue, that's that's the cause of your failure, but without testing things properly it's impossible to know, because there's so many other things that can cause it, but it's definitely a good place to look.
Mark: Now, what was this part called again?
Bernie: It's called an ignition actuator pin.
Mark: So there you go. If you're having some starting issues with your Jeep or Chrysler product 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. You can see our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos covering all makes and models of cars on there, and thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for listening. Thanks for watching.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive videos and podcasts. 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. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So, two old farts talking about cars again. We're talking about a 2011 Land Rover LR4 that you had a fuel leak repair issue with. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: We done a service on this vehicle a few days prior to this job: a basic inspection on the vehicle and removed some running boards from the side that had been cut, been a bit rusted. The owner wanted them removed. So, we did that. And a couple of days later, he noted a fuel smell in the vehicle, like raw gasoline smell when he sometimes, when he'd drive the vehicle. So, the vehicle came back for us to investigate that issue.
Mark: All right. What did you find?
Bernie: Well, it took a while to find any fuel smell. You know, obviously we drive the vehicle and kind of sniff around the vehicle, and nothing was noted right away. So, we put the vehicle up on the hoist and sniffed around a little more, and then finally found some fuel leakage at the top of the fuel tank, which is not ... There's not much to see up there because the tank of course is stuck right up under the floor pan of the vehicle. But, there was definitely an odour of fuel coming from that area.
Mark: So, is there any kind of diagnostic equipment you need for this kind of concern other than your nose?
Bernie: Well, we don't need it, no. But yeah, that's ... You got to. A good nose and eyeballs are good for fuel leak diagnosing. I mean, again, we're looking for things and we're smelling around. So, if you haven't got a sense of smell, you definitely need to find someone in the shop who's got a sense of smell to find it. But, yeah, that's kind of the main thing now. In the past, we used to have a four gas exhaust analyzer. Some shops have five gas ... you know, four or five gas analyzer, and that was a very useful tool for finding fuel leaks. We don't use it anymore because there's no emission testing in Vancouver. Hasn't needed it ... We haven't needed it for a long time. And in all the cars we work on, they're really ... Having a gas analyzer is just a useless piece of equipment nowadays. So, at one time very important; not anymore. But it is actually very useful because you can sort of move around with the probe, and when you get near a fuel leaking, see the hydrocarbon levels just go crazy because that's what gasoline is. It's hydrocarbons. So, anyways, most of the specialty equipment we have are our nose and our eyes.
Mark: So, the leak was coming from the top of the gas tank. What's required to do that kind of repair?
Bernie: What we had to do was actually remove the gas tank from the vehicle, pull it down, and then inspect it further to see what was causing it. Was it a cracked tank? Was it a fitting on the fuel line? I did mention, too, this vehicle is fairly rusty. Even though a 2011 is not that old, but it obviously had been driven through some extremely salty climates. Fuel lines are all plastic, so we kind of figured it was probably something else. But you never know with ... There's always metal involved.
So, we'll just get to some pictures here. This is the top of the fuel tank. This is the ... This is actually a fuel filter, although it's basically where the fuel lines connect to the vehicle. One's a line here, and a line there, a line there. These are ... So, basically, the leak was coming right around this flange here where the fuel filter fit in. Going a little further into the taking things apart, we actually found the leak was coming from this part here. This is actually cracked. Fuel filter housing was cracked. And that's what was causing the leak. And I'm just going to go back again, now that you see what I did mention about rust. I mean, there's a fair bit of rust here. The vehicle has been in some pretty bad road conditions, so it's possible the plastic just cracked because plastic cracks. But it's also possible that it got a little strained from ... As things rust, they tend to expand and cause certain pressures on things. So, it's possible that that rust could have also caused that to leak. We'll just look at one last picture before we go. And that is, this is the actual new unit here. So, you can see some electrical connections here. This is actually a little surprising on this vehicle. This is actually a fuel filter, and it's like a sort of power unit. The fuel lines connect up here, but they actually ... Everything connects to the fuel tank module, which has the fuel pump and sending unit in, and that's actually a separate unit beyond this. So, not sure why they made it so complicated, because a lot of times they just make it all one unit. But this one, they make it two. Fortunately for the customer, is a lot cheaper to replace this than replacing the whole pump assembly.
Mark: So, the pump is where the fuel pickup is that goes inside the tank?
Bernie: Yeah, and that's further down. That's below. I don't have a view of the side of the gas tank, but that's further down beyond this piece. So, this piece is just sort of an intermediate piece. But on most vehicles, this part would actually be ... This part here would actually connect to ... would actually be the fuel pump, and it's all one unitized piece. For some reason on this vehicle, they did it in two parts. As I said, it actually makes ... It actually made this repair cheaper for the client, because often a fuel pump for a vehicle like this could be a thousand dollars. So, you know, this is a substantially cheaper piece.
Mark: With that being the fuel filter, is this not a regularly scheduled service item?
Bernie: Well, no. Normally, in the past, fuel filters used to be a regular service item. But since the mid-1990s, most vehicle manufacturers either stuck the fuel filter inside the gas tank or put very minimal filtration on the fuel. And the fuel filter itself is actually a non-serviceable item. If this was a serviceable item, they certainly wouldn't have put it at the top of the gas tank where you have to actually drop the gas tank to take it out, because that's a fair bit of work. There are very few cars. There's the odd European car that I can think of that has a fuel filter you can still replace, but the interval is so long. You're talking like in the 1 to 200,000 kilometre range that it's almost something you don't normally never need to do. And that actually makes an interesting question. Why did they used to have fuel filters and why do they not anymore? I've often wondered that, and I think that it's probably because the gasoline manufacturing process and storage of fuel has got so clean and tight that, you know, filtering fuel is just become a non-issue. So, I mean, that's kind of neat. I mean, there is still a filter, but it's extremely rare. I can't remember the last time we fixed one because the filter got plugged.
Mark: Are there any other major issues with this vintage of Land Rover LR4?
Bernie: No, they're all a pretty good vehicle. We don't see a whole lot of issues with them. I mean, as I said, you know, it's a Land Rover. It's a more complicated vehicle with the air suspension and all of the nice features of these vehicles. So, there's more to go wrong. But essentially, they're pretty well-built and pretty decent.
Mark: So, there you go. If you're looking for service for your Land Rover in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call to book ahead. They're busy. Or, check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com; Youtube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair; hundreds of videos on there. Or, thank you very much for listening to the podcast. Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive videos and podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, servicing and maintaining vehicles in Vancouver for quite a few decades. And also 19 time winners, only 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers. How you're doing, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So, we're talking about dash warning lights. We're going through a little series on this, just revealing maybe some of the things that you could find out for yourself if you looked in your owner's manual, which most of us don't do. This is for a 2012 VW Jetta TDI, which is a diesel version. What's going on with the warning lights on this VW? What do they mean?
Bernie: Yeah, well. Before we look at pictures, let's just talk about their ... I mean, there's essentially two basic colours of warning lights. There's amber, and there's red. And so red are the like stop light kinda thing. You gotta ... it's serious, you gotta deal with this right now in some way, shape, or form. And amber is something that's ... it's a caution. There's something you need to attend to at some point, but not immediate. Those are basically most of them. I mean, other than, there are dash lamps sometimes that are green or blue, like the blue one will usually mean for the high beam light. But these are not so much warning, they're just information lights. Yeah, so that's basically the key. Again, red is like stop. Amber is like caution.
Mark: And amber is just a fancy name for yellow.
Bernie: Yeah, exactly, yeah, yeah, but it's actually am- ... I was going to say amber or yellow, but it's like, you know.
Mark: So let's get up a picture of the dash and see what's going on.
Bernie: Sounds good. Okay, so you can see the dash here?
Bernie: Okay. Alright, so this is basically a view of the dash, when you turn the key on and for a couple seconds all the lights will come on. And that basically, they're on to tell you that the actual light bulb is working, and the indicator itself, the system's actually working. So, we'll just start over in the right hand side here. We've got a few ... so this is, again, an amber light. This for the airbag system, that there's a malfunction in the airbag. Some vehicles, this will actually be a red light, but on the VW it's an amber light.
ABS brake system at fault. This is for the traction control system. So those are our amber lights, again these are like sort of indicators that something isn't quite right, but not necessarily wrong. And sometimes these things will blink. The traction lamps sometimes will come on. The traction control system basically keeps your, essentially your wheels from spinning when you're accelerating hard. That will be one of the things. And so you happen to sometimes, say, on a snowy road, you accelerate hard, this light might blink, indicating that the traction system wasn't able to give you traction. But it doesn't indicate really a problem, that's just normal.
This is the ... I'm just looking around here. Yeah, so this is brake warning light, and this can often be multi-function. This can also be ... this can indicate the parking brake is on. It can also indicate that your brake fluid level is low. So, that's if your parking brake is not on and the light's still on, have your brake fluid level checked or check it yourself.
This red light hiding behind here, this is a seatbelt warning light, that your seatbelt is not on. So again it's red, it's like urgent, they want you to have your seatbelt on. And this green light that's hidden back here, it actually has a ... I think it has a view of a foot. This is to indicate to push the brake pedal down to shift out of park, so that light I believe usually goes off when you push the brake pedal down. And once you shift out of park the light's off.
So we move over to the left side of the dash, now we have ... again, we'll go over the ambers first. The check engine light. Again, if this light comes on, it indicates you need to have something looked at on the vehicle related to the emission system or engine performance. If it's blinking, however, that can indicate a catalyst damaging misfire. Now this is a diesel, so I'm not certain in terms of blinking on diesels when or how that occurs. But on a gas lean engine vehicle, if it's blinking you need to get it fixed very quickly before you cost yourself more money.
Of course, that looks like a gas can, that's your low fuel warning light. On your left, the glow plug light. So, when you turn your key on normally this will illuminate for anywhere from a second to maybe a few seconds if you're in a cold climate. And as soon as that light goes out, then you start the engine, so that indicates the glow plugs are on. That's to warm up the engine to start.
And this indicates that the catalyst, or the exhaust particulate filter on this vehicle is got too much soot in it. And again there's caution and service that needs to be done around that. We won't go into that here.
On the red light side of things, that's your temperature warning light, so that could be your engine's overheating. This is a critical thing. If that light comes on, shut the engine off and figure out what's going on with it, or take it in. Same with this one here, this oil can light. If the engine is running and that light is on, that's a bad thing. So make sure you shut the engine off immediately and have it serviced, diagnosed.
This light here, the battery, looks like a battery. It indicates that the charging system voltage is low, it's not that the battery's bad. So what will likely happen, if that light comes on while you're driving, you'll probably have a dead battery soon. So again, that's something that needs to be tended to pretty quickly.
And this light here that looks like a steering wheel indicates a fault with the steering system. These vehicles use electric power steering, so this would indicate a fault with the electric power steering.
Now, that's basically all the lights on the dash that are on right now, but I did actually take a couple of photographs of the manual.
If you own this vehicle, I mean go through the manual and have a look at it, because it explains what all these lights are, and actually ... so there's a few things I missed, I'm not going to go into all the details here. If you have the car, get a manual. You can usually find these kinda things online, but it has a list of the red lights. And then if you have a look over here it has a list of the amber lights I think come on for different issues. There's also a few green ones as well, but these are usually just related to other driving issues and not anything of any concern with the engine or operating system of the vehicle. And that hereby ends our picture show.
Mark: So how different will the warning lights be on a gas engined VW compared to this TDI?
Bernie: That's a good question. Not a lot different. The only major difference, of course, you won't have a glow plug warning light on the gasoline engine because they don't have glow plugs, and also that soot filter light will not be there. I'd say that there may be on a gas ... yeah, that's pretty much, those lights won't be there. I'm not sure on a gas engine if there'll any extra ones. Probably not. So there'll just be an absence of two lights there. But again, look through your manual. The key is look through your manual and just kinda get used to it. But again, if there's any red lights on, the key is to shut the vehicle off right away. Look and see what the information is. Call a mechanic you trust, or a service facility you trust and figure out what's going on with it.
Mark: Great, so this is in your range of VW's cheating software system that allowed them to fake good emissions when they actually had really poor emissions, and recalled lots of vehicles. Thank you, they paid me a lot of money for mine. Do you work on many of these?
Bernie: Oh yeah, we still see lots of them. I mean, there's still lots on the road. I mean, they've either fixed them up or people ... I'm not even sure what everyone's chosen to do. It's kind of a story that's sort of filtered away in the back burner. I mean Volkswagen doesn't sell these diesels anymore. But yeah, we still work on lots of them. I mean, they are a very good vehicle, and obviously from an environmental standpoint I'd say they're a lot better than diesels have been in the past, but they're obviously not ... they weren't what they were supposed to be, and that's why they got into trouble, and ... but yeah, other than that, I mean, it's a great vehicle. It's very good.
Mark: So there you go. If you have a VW dash warning lights, you need some more information, have a look in your ... or whatever vehicle ... have a look in your manual and you'll find out what's going on up there. Important for maintaining and driving safely in your vehicle. And of course if you want any kind of service or maintenance, the guys to see 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 the website, pawlikautomotive.com. YouTube channel, hundreds of videos on there over the last six or seven years as well. Thank you for listening to the podcast. Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching.
Mark: Good morning. It's Mark Bossert here with the Pawlik Automotive podcast with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: We're gonna talk about a little issue that we noticed earlier in one of our earlier podcasts where you brought up a dash warning light picture and there was a whole bunch of lights that I'd never seen before, and I went, what the heck are all these? You're gonna show us what the dash warning lights are on a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It's a diesel model. What was going on with these lights and what are they?
Bernie: Well, let's start first of all. I think we're gonna start an educational series on dash warning lights because a lot of people don't really understand them, and it's really important to understand what they mean because they can create a lot of stress if you don't know what they mean, or if you don't know what they mean, you can also make dumb decisions by ignoring them. We'll start with this Jeep and work our way through. The first place to start before I get into the picture is there's basically two major colours of warning lights. There’s amber lights and there's red ones. The red ones are lights to be taken seriously right now. Amber ones are okay, something's going on, and you need to get some service or something addressed down the road. You'll notice often a car check engine light, which is a pretty popular light on every car, is an amber light. When it comes on, it doesn't mean oh my God, you gotta pull over. The only time with a check engine light you need to be really concerned is when the light is blinking because that indicates a catalyst damaging engine misfire, and that essentially you can keep driving the car, but it's gonna cost you a lot more money if you keep driving it for too long. That's the only time that light should probably be red, but it doesn't. It's an amber light telling you there's something that needs to be serviced.
Mark: Amber and blinking.
Bernie: Amber and blinking. Yeah, amber and blinking is serious, but that's the only light that's kind of an anomaly.
Mark: Have you got a picture?
Bernie: I do, because yeah, that would really make this a lot more entertaining. Okay. Let's get in the picture of our Jeep. I'll just hide us out of the way here somewhere so we can actually see this warning light. When you turn the key on to start the vehicle, you'll normally get all of your warning lights coming on. Sometimes they'll just blink on for a second or two, and I realize one light I didn't capture on this, this is the Jeep diesel. There's one light that sits right here. It's a little yellow light that looks like a coil sitting sideways, and that is the glow plug warning light. That light's not on on this particular picture correct I guess it switched off kind of quickly. The glow plug warning light, by the way, will come on for a longer period of time when the engine's cold. You'll also notice if you own an old diesel vehicle, back a couple of decades, the warning light will stay on a lot longer than modern diesel. Some of them they'll just stay for, even cold, a second and then shut off. But the key with this light is you want to wait, when you turn the key on, you want to wait to start it til after that light goes out. The other thing, this is a diesel model. The only difference, and I actually went through a manual on the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The only difference between the dash on a gas and diesel model is in this spot here that I'm circling where the glow plug light is, this has a tow haul warning light that's basically with the automatic transmissions. That's basically an automatic transmission mode that's available.
There is also on some of them, a four wheel drive low warning light that does come on in this spot as well.
Let's go through some of these lights, and I'm gonna point out. There are a couple that are not illuminated in this picture as well, but let's start with the red lights. You have your brake light right here. Now, there's an I and a P. P is for parking brake. The I indicates a brake system issue. Normally when this light will come on is it either ... The key is once you start the engine, if these lights remain on, that's when it's a concern, or when you're driving and the light comes on. Generally the brake light will be on when you have the parking brake on. If you take the parking brake off, this light will go off. The I light, this is probably just one light that does two functions. A lot of cars are like that. That can often indicate there's low brake fluid in the brake master cylinder reservoir. If you have your parking brake off and the light's off, go check your brake fluid level because it could be low. Now, low brake fluid shouldn't happen. It's an indication of one of a couple things. It could be that the brakes are worn out, or nearly worn out, or that there's actually a leak in the brake fluid system. But you can top it up, put the light out, but you should go in for service and have it looked at.
This here is your seatbelt light. As long as your seatbelt, if you're sitting in the drivers seat, or you have a passenger and they're not buckled in, this warning light will come on.
This is the airbag system warning light. This will test the airbag system, and if all things are good, it sometimes takes a few seconds. Sometimes they blink a couple of times, depends on the vehicle, but on the Jeep, essentially the light will go out and if it's out, then your airbag system is all working fine.
Other red lights. This red light here on a Jeep is for the security system. It's just basically a round dot. Again, it'll go off when the vehicle's running. If it blinks or does anything weird, there's an issue with the security system. Something that will need to be repaired and fixed. But of course, it won't likely cause you any problem to drive the vehicle. It just indicates if you care about your security, it's important. But also there can be an issue with the security system where the vehicle won't start, so if that light stays on and won't start, that could be an issue. Again, you'll be taking it to a shop to get it fixed.
This is a warning light that's a throttle issue warning light. This is a pretty serious warning light on Jeeps. It's on gas motors as well as diesels, and the particular Jeep that kind of inspired us to do this, we had a couple of weeks ago with some intake manifold runner issue. While diesels don't really have a throttle, it indicates a serious malfunction that normally when this light comes on, the vehicle will be running in a reduced power mode just to get you to a shop to fix. Sometimes you can shut the key off and you can restart the vehicle and the light will be off, so that might get you to where you want to go. That's always worth a try when you have a warning light on, by the way, except for this one. This is the big one. That looks like a can of oil? When this read light is on, that means there is insufficient oil pressure in the engine, and that is critical. Now, that light can also go on because the sensor malfunctions, but you don't really want to make an assumption on that. I have owned vehicles where this light has come on, and if you don't hear a ticking noise in the engine, you could take a risk of driving it, but I wouldn't. If this light comes on, shut the engine off and have it towed to a shop and have it checked out. You'd be better to change the sensor than you would be to have to replace the engine if you make the wrong judgment call.
Mark: Would that be if you're a little bit not scared of lifting your hood, and what about checking your oil at that point?
Bernie: Absolutely. Yeah. That would be the first thing you'd want to do. Thank you, Mark, for mentioning that. Shut the engine off right away, and go check your oil level. Now, if the oil is low, add a litre at a time. I've had people who they look at the dipstick, oh my God, there's no oil in the engine, and they'll go get a five litre jug of oil, pour it all in at one time and then the engine is overfilled. Seen that many times. That's not a good thing to do.
Mark: That's really bad.
Bernie: Yeah. It is. Add a litre at a time. If it's way, way, way down, that's obviously it needs work. But this light is not a low oil level warning light, so just be aware that when this light comes on, it's usually a very serious issue unless the electrical sensor is bad, and that does happen from time to time. Sometimes it's not a bad thing, but you need to address it. Of all the lights on the vehicle, this is the one you want to take the most seriously because it's the one that can cost you the most amount of money to ignore.
Now, on the left side of the dash, we have this light that says plus, minus, it looks like a battery. It's basically, as Chrysler describes it, it's a low voltage warning light. It looks like it's a battery problem, but usually it'll indicate that the alternator's not functioning and charging the vehicle. But there's a number of other things that can happen. It can even indicate that the belt has jumped off the front because the alternator's belt driven. Now, you would notice that too because your power steering would become very stiff. If that light's on, and often some other lights will come on at the same time, it's a pretty good indication that your belt has skipped off. But not to diagnose stuff. When that light is on, it's something pretty serious to deal with. You may be able to drive the car, but not for long because modern vehicles consume a lot of electricity. Batteries, even good ones, don't last very long. You might be lucky if you got an hour's driving time before it dies. Diesels do require a lot of electricity to fire the fuel injectors as well, but gasoline motor, same kind of thing.
There we have our red lights. I'm just looking at a picture. See, on the Jeep as well, a couple lights that aren't on here. There's a low fuel amber low fuel warning light, so let's get into the amber lights. There's a low fuel warning light that'll come on here. Looks like a gasoline pump, so that'll come on when your fuel level is down to a certain point. Pretty self-explanatory. I'm just looking to see if there's anything else we're missing here. I think that's pretty much covers it. So, let's get into the amber lights.
This tire pressure monitor light. These lights will come on, sometimes they'll blink, sometimes they'll just be on, but any vehicle that has a tire pressure monitoring system, it's a fantastic feature because you don't really have to check your tires every week or every month. When the light comes on, that's when you need to pay attention to it. Again, unless you're noticing the vehicle's handling badly or making a thumping sound, because it could do that if it's lost all its pressure. If the light comes on, give a walk around the car and just look at your tires. Make sure none of them are flat. If they all look reasonable, go get the pressure checked as quickly as you can. Don't do any long highway trips. Make sure the pressures are all good first of all. If the light remains on, some vehicles require you to reset them. Jeeps are not like that. They have a sensor in the tire, so once the pressure's set, the light should go out. If it doesn't, then you have a problem with the system that needs to be addressed and you'll have to take it to a shop.
Over here, the ABS light. Now again, this is an amber light, but ABS is the antilock brake system. It basically provides better braking than the regular brake system, but without it, you'll still be able to stop the car fairly well. But again, that's a warning that there's a problem with the ABS system that needs to be addressed and you should take it to a shop and have it looked at.
Check engine light we discussed earlier. Again, if it's on, take it to a shop at some point, get it scanned and diagnosed. See what's going on with it. But if it's blinking, that's when you need to take a lot of caution. You should it repaired right away because you'll cause some costly damage.
Moving over to the right, we have the traction control system. Sometimes this light will come on. The traction control system helps the vehicle basically grip when it's slippery, so often it uses the ABS brake system to do this, or various other sensors. If there's a problem with the system, the light will be on all the time. But sometimes you might accelerate, say, on a slippery road and it'll loose traction and you'll actually feel it and this light will start blinking, and then it goes out. That's no big deal. That's just indicating something's happening. But if the light's on all the time, the traction control system's got an issue. A lot of times it'll come on with the ABS light because some of them work in conjunction with each other.
Finally, our last light is the ESP BAS. Now, ESP is electronic stability programming. BAS is a brake assisting system. That, again, these are electronic sensors often related with the traction control system, but it's basically there to keep your vehicle stable on the road. Some vehicles it'll tune your suspension system so it's essentially there so you don't lose control for simple things like going around a corner too fast. I'm not saying you should drive crazy around a corner, but it's when you lose traction for certain things, electronic sensors will come in and they'll activate the ABS brake system or activate the throttle and help you keep your car more stable on the road. These are all good things. Again, if this light's on, there's something going on that'll need to be checked, but again, they're amber lights.
A couple other lights I haven't talked about because they're not really warning lights are the turn signal lights. There's also the high/low beam indicator. The high/low beam indicator on a Jeep is here. It's usually a blue light. That's a long winded version of what's going on in your dash, and yeah. Again, with red lights, more serious. Amber lights, get it checked soon.
Mark: Thanks for going through that. Do you have any final thoughts?
Bernie: I think I just said it. Just red lights, take them seriously, especially that oil light. That's a really critical one, and also a number of vehicles have a, and we'll talk about these with different vehicles. I don't believe Jeep has a low oil level warning light, at least I haven't seen that when I looked through the manual, but this is a good reason to look through your owner's manual. If your vehicle has a low oil level warning light, this is a good light to have because when the oil gets down to a certain level, you can go check it and find, oh, it's low a litre or two and then you top it up and there you go. It's critical to know whether you have that versus the red oil can light because once that light comes on, it's serious stuff.
Mark: There you go. If you need more information about your vehicle or service, in fact, for your vehicle or repairs, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7712. That's the number to call if you need to book an appointment in Vancouver, or check out our website, PawlikAutomotive.com. YouTube videos, Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos on there about all makes and models of cars over the years, and of course thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark. Just as a last thing, what should people do if they're not from the Vancouver area?
Mark: Feel free to search around and find a good service advisor, a good shop in your area to get your vehicle repaired. They will be able to give you the same kind of information and support that we do here on the internet. Thanks.
Bernie: Thank you. Thanks for watching.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: We're talking about a 2013 Land Rover LR2. We've seen quite a few of these over the years. What was happening with this Land Rover?
Bernie: This Land Rover, well, this is a different issue than we've discussed before. The owner's complaint was the check engine light was coming on and off. No performance issues with the engine, but he'd scanned it himself or had someone scan it, there was a few trouble codes for a few things, so he was concerned about it, wanting to make sure it's in good shape.
Mark: You did some diagnosis, and what did you find?
Bernie: Well, we found there was a number of stored trouble codes. A number meaning that there was about four or five codes, but the main one, some of them were EVAP system codes, but the main code of concern was a P0341 which is a cam shaft position sensor code. Our diagnostic procedure, it's different every time, but in this case we cleared the codes, road tested the vehicle to see what would come back, and that code returned pretty quickly. We also noted, there's a bit of a rattle noise in the engine on many startups. You know, it would last for one or two seconds, so doing a little further diagnosis we found that that issue was generally related to the cam shaft actuator or the cam shaft gear having a problem, and that causes both the rattle and the check engine light because it puts the intake cam shaft out of time where it's supposed to be.
Mark: This sounds like a lot of work.
Bernie: Well, it's a fair bit of work. You know, the timing chain cover has to come off, the cam shaft gear has to be replaced, so that's a valve cover, timing chain cover, there's a fair bit of work involved in this. I just think back in the days of the old V8 American engine where you could pull the timing cover off the front of the engine in a matter of a couple of hours. On a simple one, you could have it all done. These are way more complicated. There's variable valve timing. There's special locking tools you have to lock all the different shafts in position, because nothing is keyed. It used to be everything was keyed. Now, pretty well every engine you need special tools to lock the cam shafts and crank shafts in place, and you put the chains in, you set the tension, you pull all the things out and away you go. It's easy with all the tools. Without them, pretty much impossible.
Mark: When you opened up the engine, what did you find?
Bernie: Let's get into the picture show portion of the show. What we found was this. You can see the picture here? Yeah, this is the valve cover off. This is the exhaust cam shaft back here. This is the intake cam shaft here. You have two solenoids here. These do the variable valve timing. The variable valve timing system works through engine oil pressure. One thing, this is the gear here, called an actuator, sometimes called a cam phaser depending on the application of the vehicle. You have your exhaust gear, you have your intake gear here.
You'll notice this big hole here, I'll show another picture that will illustrate better, but variable valve timing system, they all have a lock pin and what happens is it actually locks the fear in a fixed position until the engine starts and there's oil pressure. That allows the base valve timing to always be in the right spot. What happens with this, and there's actually a Technical Service Bulletin from Land Rover about this particular issue, this code and this particular problem, is that this lock pin actually breaks and doesn't hold it in place, so the timing chain will rattle around and of course it causes that code.
I'm getting to our next picture here where you can see, this is the new gear, this is the old one. You can see this plate here is missing. There's also inside here a spring, and then there's a pin. Now, I'm not even sure if the pin's still in there, kind of difficult to tell, but nonetheless, without the spring and the plate, it's lost its functionality. Of course, that's basically our issue. What else do I have to say here?
Mark: Did you find anything else as you went further into the engine?
Bernie: Well, we did actually. That's sort of the main problem and we'd ordered up the gear. I also found, interesting enough, when we took things apart further that, there's a guide rail on each side of the timing chain. One of them's fixed, the other one works with the timing chain tensioner. You can see on this particular one here, this is basically an aluminum guide rail with a plastic plate on it that the chain rubs against, so it keeps it noise-free. Part of this had broken, you can see where the chain was actually rubbing right against the metal. Again, that's part of our noise. Whether this was caused by the actuator, it's hard to say, or whether it just wore out because these things do happen, they do wear out.
The other interesting thing, so this is the bottom end of that guide rail, that's not in the picture I show you. That actual broken piece was further up, and you can see the plastic piece rubbing against the timing chain here. This little spring here is not supposed to be there. This is the spring that was actually inside the cam shaft actuator, it's basically just broken out. It broke apart, and of course it had to go somewhere. Where that little metal plate is, hard to say. I assume it's probably sitting in the bottom of the oil pan somewhere out of harm's way, which is good, because they have a strainer that prevents those things from being sucked into the oil pump, which would certainly seize it up.
This, by the way, is the timing chain tensioner, so this is basically the plunger, the piston that holds the tension arm tight against the chain and it's also fed by oil pressure to keep it tight. Of course, if it didn't have a spring and a lock mechanism, it could spring back when it was cold or when it lost oil pressure, which is every time you shut the engine off, so they put a lock piece in here and this is like a little ratcheting mechanism.
Every manufacturer has a different piece, but this prevents the tensioner from slipping backwards when it loses oil pressure. It'll always move out to wherever it needs to be, and if the chain wears or stretches, it'll push it just that much further. Of course, there's a limit to everything, but this mechanism keeps the chain from rattling. Sometimes you get an engine where the chain will rattle on startup, and that's because this tensioner has failed. That is our picture show for the day.
Mark: Is the rattling on startup, is that a common issue on this two litre Land Rover engine?
Bernie: Well, as I mentioned, there is a TSB from Land Rover for this particular problem, for the code P0341 and also the rattle on startup, which is-
Mark: Just to remind us, it was a TSB is?
Bernie: Technical Service Bulletin. These are put out by the manufacturer. They're not recalls, they're just, perhaps sometimes they should be recalls but in this case they're not. The Technical Service Bulletin basically it's a common problem that a manufacturer has identified, so their repair department and fortunately we, anyone can get access to them, can get access to proper repairs that have been found out. Nobody's perfect in the manufacturing business. Everything has problems, so I don't know if they try their best every time, but I like to say they do and then they find out over time, "Okay, this particular part's wearing more commonly than others and this is what the issue is." It helps us in the auto service industry more quickly diagnose and accurately repair problems.
Mark: Having a TSB issued means it is a more common issue or is always occurring, whatever the case may be?
Bernie: I would say it's not an always occurring thing, but it's obviously common enough that they see them. Once a TSB comes out, you can be sure that it's a common problem.
Mark: If I was a conscientious Land Rover owner, is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening?
Bernie: Well, a couple things. First of all, as far as that cam sprocket or that lock pin breakdown, no, there's probably nothing you can do. That's just a manufacturing issue and there's nothing you can really do to be preventative. However, that wear on the timing chain, it's hard to say whether that happened because the sprocket, that piece came out, maybe it lodged itself in something, caused something to break, or whether that was just something that happened over time. Oil changes, we've talked about, are critical, and especially with timing chain engines. A lot of cars have very long oil change intervals, I think too long for many of them. For people who follow that really long interval, I think sometimes that can cause wear and things like these plastic parts can wear over time. Again, being the conscientious owner, just get your fluids changed regularly, probably more often than recommended by the manufacturer. The manufacturer's recommendations are the bare minimum. Of course, if you go longer than that which we see some people do, well, you're really treading out into, on thin ice.
Mark: There be dragons.
Bernie: That's right, exactly.
Mark: The LR2 is also known as a Freelander in some markets. How are these newer models for reliability?
Bernie: Well, a hell of a lot better than the old ones, I'll say that. The earlier generation Freelanders were, I don't like to put any vehicles down, but to me, that was one of the worst vehicles made in the last couple of decades I've seen. The engines were just horrible, and they don't sell the diesel versions in Canada or the US, but I've talked with people from England and Australia who have worked on these things, they say the diesels are just as horrible as the gas motors. Yeah, the newer ones, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. They're a good vehicle. I mean, here's a little defect that we're talking about here, but every vehicle has them. I mean, sometimes you get lucky and it won't have anything, but for the most part, they're way better and they're serviceable. The thing I really don't like about those older Freelanders is the engines were so badly built and designed, that you couldn't really do anything but replace it with a complete unit. That's, to me, absolutely ridiculous.
Mark: Older, what kind of time frame are we talking about?
Bernie: We're talking early to mid-2000s. They were kind of a roundish looking, in Canada anyways and probably the US is says Freelander on the vehicle, whereas once they changed to the next generation, which I think was '07, '08, I can't remember the exact year, then they called them LR2s. If you have an LR2, I say it's a decent vehicle. If it says Freelander, we don't even like to work on them in our shop, because I just know, the end game with them is just so, it's an engine replacement. It's kind of ridiculous to spend any money on a vehicle that's that badly built.
Mark: There you go. If you have a newer model Land Rover LR2, the guys to see to get your repairs are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com or our YouTube channel which is Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there as well. Thank you very much for listening to the podcast. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thanks for listening.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here in Vancouver this morning in an increasingly chilly October, with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. How are you doing this morning Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So we're talking trucks today, 2002 Chevy Silverado that had a transfer case problem. What was going on with this Chevy truck?
Bernie: So this vehicle came in for service. We do a lot of work on this particular truck, and the owner had taken it on an exceptionally long trip across Canada and back. If you look on a map, you'll see it's a long ways. It's a lot of driving. He came back, there was a few issues with the truck. We looked at it, and one thing we found was that there was a leak in the transfer case. There was an actual fluid leak in the transfer case, and the fluid level when we checked it was exceptionally low pretty much right off the edge.
Mark: So where was the fluid actually leaking from?
Bernie: Well interestingly enough, we found a little hole in the transfer case near the top there was an actual hole, and we'll look at some photos in a minute and I'll show you that. But that's basically where the fluid was leaking, it was actually a hole in the case housing.
Mark: So how do you think a hole like this could develop?
Bernie: Well we'll look at that in pictures in a minute, but there are a number of ways holes can develop. You could hit a rock, you could actually hit something with the transfer case. Or a strange circumstance, a rock could actually fling up. It's pretty thin aluminum. The case of this one, it was actually wear from a part inside that had been moving back and forth over, this truck has 300,000 kilometres, so over 300,000 kilometres this part, it's the oil pump, was moving back and forth back and forth, and eventually put a hole through the side of the case.
Mark: So once you opened it up, was there any fluid in the case itself?
Bernie: Pretty much nothing. As I mentioned, we check the fluid level and we basically found nothing in there. When we took it apart there was oil in it, but no appreciable amount. There's supposed to be two litres of fluid in this case, there was probably if you could scrape very drop of oil off the bearings and everything, there's probably a couple of tablespoons at most. It was basically surviving with just lubrication that was on the bearings themselves.
Mark: You have some pictures.
Bernie: I do. Let's go right into those right now. To start, there is the rear cover of the transfer case. You can see that okay?
Bernie: Now if you look, it's an old dirty case, but if you look in this are a specifically you can see it's a little cleaner, there's a little more dirt and it's got some clean patches. So basically the hole is right over here, and I'll just close in a photo that shows a better view of that hole, which is right there. There's our hole. Tiny little, almost looks like it's meant to be there in terms of how nicely shaped it is. But that was our hole, that's where the fluid leak. And it was at the top of the case, which is fortunate because it had probably been leaking for a while and splashed out over a long period of time. So we'll go back into some other photos. So here's the inside of the transfer case. This is after reassembling it, so this is the transfer case chain. This is one of the main components of a transfer case, this is the chain that basically allows the drive to go ... This shaft here will go to the rear wheels. This connects up to the front drive shaft to drive the front axle, so that's how the. Again, the chain and these gears are one of the main components of the transfer case once you switch into four-wheel drive. To switch from high to low gear, down in this area of the case there's a planetary gear there's a shift fork and that'll make an adjustment. So that gives you the low gear range that transfer cases, most of them have. Here's the inside of that new housing. We were able to replace this housing. And the wear was basically occurred in this region here, from the oil pump, which sits in these four places here, it just has a little bit of movement and over time, 300,000 kilometres, it just moves around a tiny bit, tiny bit, tiny bit eventually it just wore a hole through the case. This replacement case is actually made of a better grade of aluminum than the original, so it theoretically should never happen again. But the ironic thing is they actually put these clips in, and we found one that was broken apart. There's a couple clips, they're called case savers, and they're actually meant to prevent this from happening. But strangely enough, they don't. It actually slapped around enough and wore the case saver and a part, and then just wore it through the case. So this is kind of a useless piece, it's not really important to replace. It doesn't come with the rebuild kit, you can get them but they're really not an important item to use.
Mark: So how could the unit survive without fluid in it?
Bernie: Well gear boxes do, they do get hot they get warm, but they're not hot like an engine, so they can survive with just lubrication that's on the surface. It's hard to know how much longer this case would've gone, but they can survive for a long time without actually being full of oil. We've run into a number of transfer cases over the years where a customer brings a vehicle in, it's basically got almost no fluid in it whatsoever, and we fill it up and away it goes and it's no problem. I'm not saying I recommend that at all, you should always keep it full because of course there was some wear inside this case, nothing major though. We replaced all the bearings of course because we were in there, but there was nothing major worn. All the gears were in good shape, the chain was in good shape. We replaced it anyways because it's a good thing to do with that kind of mileage on it, it'd be kind of crazy not to change the chain because they do stretch over time. But nothing really severely worn. The only other major component we found, was one of the shift forks was worn and it has plastic tabs on it. So over time that had worn, it's hard to say whether, chances are it was well lubricated it probably would've been in better shape, but you never know if we would've taken it apart we might have found it was still equally worn.
Mark: So what are the most common problems you find with transfer cases?
Bernie: There's a variety of things that happen, and there're different types of transfer cases. So this one, for instance, is a fully manual two speed transfer case. It's kinda common on a lot of heavier duty type of trucks. So this is the one that has the shifter on the floor where you have to mechanically move the shifter. A lot of transfer cases are electronic. There are some, let's say you got a BMWX drive vehicle like an X5 SUV, that has a transfer case that's very similar but it's all electronic. You don't even push buttons. It's all computer controlled, so it'll shift the four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, it'll make adjustments computer controlled. And then there are other versions that are sort of semi-automatic. I've got a Suburban and it has basically a push button, you push a button on the dash, it'll switch into four-wheel drive. And then you can switch into low range, and again it's push button. And the way that's done, instead of having the lever on the floor it basically has a motor. It looks kind of like a windshield wiper motor, and it basically actuates the, moves the forks back and forth. That's actually a pretty common problem. The actuator motors will go bad. The chains will stretch. Those are common things, and from time to time bearings will wear also. But fluid leaks are probably the most common we see in it and repair. And of course, if you fix a fluid leak you're preventing other damage. This is surprising we caught this transfer case at the right time. Had he driven it for another few months, it for sure catastrophic damage would've occurred.
Mark: And are there any transfer cases that are worse than others?
Bernie: They're all pretty much, I'd say they're all fairly equal, at least as far as if we think of a North American truck style transfer cases. A lot of them are made by New Process, which is a transfer case manufacturer. So there're different grades in these transfer cases depending on if you have a half ton, three quarter, or one ton vehicle. There are other brands as well, but there doesn't seem to be any particular, Chevy's are better than Ford's or Dodge's, they're all kind of created equal, even amongst the imported vehicles. But when things go wrong say with those BMW type of transfer cases, they're much more expensive because the gear mechanisms are the same but the intricacies of how the other components work are the shifting mechanisms are much more complicated. So I'd say they're all, if you're thinking I'm only going to buy this vehicle because the transfer case is better, then don't worry about. They're all created pretty much equally.
Mark: So there you go. If you've got any issues with your four by four in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, they're busy. Or check out our website, pawlikautomotive.com, we have hundreds of videos on our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Thank you very much for listening to the podcast. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thanks for listening and watching.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, Producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here in beautiful Vancouver, where it's getting cold and rainy finally, had a fantastic October. I'm here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 18-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking vans today. How are you doing, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So we're talking about a 2008 Sprinter van. Now, I don't know if this is a Dodge or Mercedes because I think this might have even been when they were both as one.
Bernie: Yeah, this one was actually a Dodge, but they're essentially the same vehicle.
Mark: This had a gear shifter replacement. What was going on with the Sprinter van?
Bernie: Actually, the vehicle came to our shop for actually a different issue. Came in for a noise in the engine. We looked at it, diagnosed it, found the alternator was worn out, causing a noise. So we replaced the alternator, successful repair, road tested the vehicle, drove it around a few times, started, stopped, shifted it, and parked the vehicle out back of our shop. When the customer came to pick the vehicle up, started the car, went move it out of park, it's an automatic into drive and the gear shifter was just locked in park. So, that was kind of a surprise because there's nothing that happened before and just suddenly, all of a sudden, this issue occurred.
Mark: Okay. How did you, guys, break it?
Bernie: How did we break it? Well, that's the first question. Of course, for the customer to go, "Hey, what did you do to my van? My van was shifting fine beforehand." For me, I'm always going, "Well, what do we do? I actually do something wrong here." So, I mean, that's the first place I always stand in when something happens because over the years, I've had many cars where someone comes in, they need something to do awesome their battery just dies, like it just won't start the car. It's like, "Well, it's working fine when it came in." These are kind of things that just happened for us and more often than not, to me, I have to explain to the client, "Hey, by the way, this is nothing to do with what we did. But I'm always curious to go, "Hey, could it have been?" So, we looked at it and found, "No, clearly, there wasn't anything related." This van has about 300,000 kilometres. So it's got a lot of mileage on it, so it's old. At that point, anything could go wrong. It just so happened to have died when it was here, which is possibly fortunate because then the owner doesn't take it home an hour later or a day later. "Oh, it won't shift and has to come back." So, whether that's of any comfort or not, it's not usually, but to me, it helps at least saying, "Hey, at least it was here when it happened." So, yeah.
Mark: And so, what did you find? What was going on?
Bernie: So yeah, from there, of course, we did some tests with a diagnostic scan to see if there's any codes and systems, sure enough, there was related to the gearshift module. And then from there, we did a little research, and testing, and found basically the gearshift module itself packed. It packed it in. So, we'll just go and do a couple of quick photos right now.
There's our 'O8 Sprinter van in good shape considering the amount of mileage. This is the gear shifter unit itself. So when we say shifter module, it's an electronic piece that was defective, which is this piece here but of course, it's not sold separately. There's a number of you can see there's a plug with about, I don't know, eight or 10 pins here. There's another wire that comes off here. There's a lot that goes on in these things surprisingly. Then the gearshift handle, of course, so the whole mechanism is replaced, the cables attached here, and this thing is if you have a Sprinter van, it's going to mounted on the dash. So, takes a bit of work to remove it, reinstall it. What is inside the shifter, of course, is as you move the gear shifter into different speed, you also have the ability to move the shifter. It just goes into drive at the bottom, but you can also manually shift gears at that point, so you move the shifter sideways and, yeah, you manually shift the gears up and down. So that's what adds some of the complexity to the shifter. There's also the interlocking mechanism, of course, that prevents it from unlocking from park.
Mark: So, were there any other items you had to look for or look at while you were diagnosing what exactly the problem was?
Bernie: Well, we work on a lot of Sprinters. This is the first time we run into a shifter issue like this. So, of course, we want to make sure we get the diagnosis right because that part is pretty expensive. We don't want to say, "Hey, replace this piece," and it being the wrong item. With a lot of Mercedes or any more modern vehicles, a lot of these modules, they talk to each other, they need to be programmed to speak to each other. So we did some research on what possible cause shifter problems. And so, came up with a variety of things through various forums and some of the search data, some of the repair information data we have, where you could simply do a flash reprogramming and it would make the module work again. I look at forums just for bits of information, but I find most of the stuff there is, quite frankly, useless. There's so many people, "Oh, your brake light bulb could be burnt out," and this and that happens. These are all things we look at to make sure and those are good things to test, but of course, in this case, what it really came down to there wasn't, let's say, a Technical Service Bulletin from Dodge. But that bulletin was issued almost right after the vehicle is manufactured and I'm thinking, "You know, this vehicle, it's 10 years old, over 10 years old now, 300,000 kilometres, that gear shifter has been moving around a lot." Clearly, the part is just worn out from age. So, some of the tests we did, we verified. It was communicating in some areas but not in others. There's something wrong and broken inside the gearshift module. So that's how we determined it. But just a word of caution, if you're looking on forums, just be careful that you're getting the right advice because there's so much opinion out there that's really not of any value. It's like just falling down a rabbit hole of useless conversation.
Mark: So, how complex is this repair job?
Bernie: Well, I mean, it involves removing some of the dash to take the shifter out and then installing the unit. Fortunately, there's no reprogramming to do. Although, we did have to clear codes and there were some relearn procedures that take place in the vehicle with the communication system. So that's something that takes a bit of time, but there's no reprogramming or reflashing of this module. So that was actually a surprisingly nice thing to find because so often on Mercedes' products, you change any one thing and you have to reprogram that module so it speaks to the other modules. So, that made for a bit of an easier repair.
Mark: You mentioned you worked on lots of Sprinters. How are they for reliability?
Bernie: They're pretty good. Although, of course, a lot of these have the three-litre diesel in them and we talk about the reliability of that particular engine. There's the other with the smaller diesel before the three-litre. I mean, those are pretty good. We don't run into a lot of problems with them and …
Mark: As long as the oil has changed?
Bernie: As long as the oil has changed, of course. I mean, regular maintenance is key, but really, they are pretty good vans, but the three-litre diesel, of course, you can look at our other podcast or you can look around, you'll see all the things that tend to go wrong with them over time. But generally, if you service the vehicle regularly and you use it hard, they're actually pretty good, and they're very practical design. One thing I do like about them is the size and the shape. You can stand up inside and it's a great tradesman's van and for many other things, for a motorhome, too, because a great vehicle overall.
Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for a service for your Mercedes, Dodge Sprinter van in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, they're busy, or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there including many on three-litre Mercedes, Dodge diesels as well. Thank you so much for watching and listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching and listening.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. In today's podcast, we're talking about Jeeps. How you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So, we're talking about a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee, three-litre diesel, that had a swirl valve motor problem. What was going on with this Jeep?
Bernie: So, the owner of the vehicle brought the vehicle to us with a ... Their complaint was that there was a warning light on the dash. It looks like a lightning bolt, and at the same time that that happens, the vehicle loses power. So, it's basically a power loss indicator light. The check engine light was also on at the same time.
Mark: So, this vehicle has the famous Mercedes three-litre diesel. Is there something different about this power plant in a Jeep?
Bernie: Not really. There's only a few subtle differences, but I mean, essentially, the engine and how it operates is the same as a Mercedes three-litre. Most of the parts are interchangeable, but there's some emission items and some of the air intake ducting is slightly different on the Jeep, but most of it is the same as the Mercedes. Not exactly, but the guts of the motor are definitely the guts. When you take it down to the basic engine itself, it's pretty much exactly the same.
Mark: So, the swirl valve motor ... Can I say it right? I'm old, I can't say it right. The swirl valve motor, I would assume that was the cause of the problem?
Bernie: Well, it was part of the problem. The swirl valve motor, essentially what it does is it operates some valves in the intake manifold. The intake manifold has two runners in it to each cylinder, and one of them can be opened and closed ... The ports can be opened and closed with the swirl valve motor, and the reason for that is just to increase or decrease air flow and the rate of air flow into the cylinder, depending on different engine conditions and different engine speeds. So, the swirl valve motor will actually operate these valves, and what can happen is the valves also get carboned up, or the actual rods that are actuated are made of plastic, and they tend to wear over time, sometimes quite severely. We've seen them really badly worn on a lot of Mercedes and Jeep products over time.
Mark: What about other parts? Is there other parts that need to be replaced at the same time, typically?
Bernie: Well, yeah, so this job we started off with the swirl valve motor being the complaint and verified that was the issue, but we also noted, as soon as we started taking things apart, there was a lot of carbon deposits in the intake ports, and we ended up removing the intake manifolds, finding a severe amount of carbon deposits in the intake manifolds and cylinder head ports, which is not uncommon. It's about 230,000 kilometres on this engine. It's kind of a normal amount you'd find. Also, there was some oil leaks from this engine, and right underneath the intake manifold sits the engine oil cooler, which is a very common cause for oil leaks. There's some seals that hold the oil cooler down in the engine, very common. So, we replaced those while we had it out as well.
Let's get into looking at a few pictures here of what we found when we removed the intake manifolds. Okay, so here's a view of the dash with all the warning lights on, just when you turn the key on initially, and that is the light of concern for the client, with the yellow arrow pointing to it. That looks like a lightning bolt, and that is basically a power loss indicator light, or that the vehicle's in limp mode because of a major issue. Also, you have the check engine light over here, which was on. The owner told us it had been on for a long time for a glowplug code. There was a code for the swirl valve motor, also an issue with the glowplugs, and we actually serviced and replaced those.
Well, we did this, but that's a story for another podcast. So, there's our instrument panel. Let's get into looking at a couple other items here. We'll have a look at the swirl valve motor. So, that's the bottom side of the swirl valve motor. Again, it's kind of oily and grungy. That's kind of a common cause of issues with these motors. There's the top view of the motor, electrical connector. Carbon deposits, this is the ... It's a plastic piece that connects the two intake ports and connects it to the air duct from the turbo, or, I should say, from the inter cooler. The EGR port is here, and these are the intake manifolds. You can see just how much carbon is in here and just to really appreciate how much carbon is in there, this is what it looked like after we cleaned it, a profound difference. I mean, there was probably ... If you look at this view here, there's, I don't know, less than 50% airflow available through that particular area.
Mark: Yeah, I was going to say, two-thirds blocked, basically.
Bernie: Yeah, exactly, precisely, and looking ... This is the cylinder head. Sorry, the intake ports in the cylinder head. You see there's a round one, this is where the swirl valve is located. In this one here, there's no valve, it has constant airflow. But again, you can see there's at least ... There's only 50% airflow available through this port as well, and a little more here, but it's still restricted. There's a view of the intake manifold, the old manifold. Again, you can see a lot of carbon on these pieces. So, this is actually the swirl valve here. Mercedes uses a different name for it. It's like a variable intake runner, but Jeep uses the word swirl valve.
These plastic rods here, there was some wear on these. It was warranted replacement, but we've seen these where they have some extremely bad wear, and on newer versions of this engine, like a Mercedes from 2009 and newer, they actually have a little switch at the end of this rod, so when the swirl valve motor moves the rod, it will actually cause a switch to send a signal to the computer that it's actually working, and when these get worn badly enough, it'll actually cause the trouble light to ... Check engine light to come on and set a trouble code for the intake runner not operating. So, when these get really badly worn, that'll happen, but on an '08 and older, and on Jeeps, that code is never an issue because they never monitored that particular thing. There's another closeup view. Again, you can see all the carbon deposits in the intake manifold, and there's a view of the valley of the engine, the oil cooler. That's the oil engine cooler. You can see the intake ports. We've cleaned them out. There's still some carbon in there, but generally, 99% of it's been removed.
Mark: So, what causes all of this carbon buildup, and why is it so common on so many diesels?
Bernie: Carbon buildup? Two things. First of all, diesels, as you can see on ... Especially on not-modern diesels, there's a lot of soot, so there's a lot of particulate in diesel exhaust, and the reason you get the exhaust into the intake system is because of the EGR system, exhaust, gas recirculation. It helps lower the NOX emissions substantially. That's a big issue on diesels, so having a good EGR system is important. Plus, it also cools the combustion temperature, which actually eliminates NOX. Yeah, I mean, it really is ... Stepping around things here, really, it's all about emissions. So, that's why, and they're pretty sophisticated systems on more modern diesels because the emission requirements are so stringent. That's why we get so much carbon deposit.
Mark: And NOX is nitrous oxide, is that right?
Bernie: Oxides of nitrogen, yeah. The air has oxygen and nitrogen, and nitrogen's inert gas ... It doesn't do anything with combustion, but it does combine with oxygen and creates some hideous pollutants.
Mark: It forms a particle, or there's particles that are just part created from the combustion process, is that ...
Bernie: Particles from diesel are actually not NOX, they're actually ... It's actually just particulate. I believe it's just soot from the combustion process. Yeah. I did have someone explain how soot and all those details work, but I'm not quite ... But it's part of the combustion process, but it's not NOX. It's kind of a smog-producing chemical, among other things, and obviously not good to breathe, either.
Mark: Yeah, it would kill you.
Mark: So, what happens when the carbon deposits get really severe?
Bernie: Basically, your vehicle won't go anywhere. In the past, I mean, this has been an issue with TDI, Volkswagens for many years way, many generations back. We serviced a lot of them where the intake ports would plug up so badly, by the time you take the intake manifold off, you'd be lucky to fit a quarter inch drill bit into the intake. There would be about that much breathing space in the port. They would be insignificant. So, there would basically be no airflow going into the engine, so you'd be going up a hill and the engine just couldn't suck the air into produce the power. Yeah, so that's basically what happens. Eventually, you just lose performance. I would say the Jeep, once done, will perform substantially better, even though it was probably reasonably good to begin with.
Mark: The whole idea of the swirl valve motor or having that secondary intake is when the engine needs ... You step on the gas or the fuel and are requiring more power, more speed captain, that opens and allows more air in to give you more power, basically, along with more fuel.
Bernie: Exactly, but I think a lot of the reason they use variable intake runners ... And they do it on gas lean engines as well, is it creates a certain ... They call it a swirl valve, because as the air's sucked into the engine, or, well, in this case, being a turbo charger, it's actually forced in, it creates a swirling motion. So, as it does, it improves the combustion process. As the air swirls in, the combustion is better, so it's more efficient, there's more power, there's better fuel economy, there's lower exhaust emissions. I mean, if you can burn the fuel 100%, the emissions are lower. Plus, of course, better economy and more power. So, depending on what speed the engine's running, if it's idling, it needs a certain amount of movement and flow, if you've got full throttle, it's a different situation.
Mark: Right. So, carbon deposits would obviously be a big problem in making that efficiently run properly, so is there a way to prevent these carbon deposits?
Bernie: Well, I have a couple of things to say, but I mean, first of all, I mean, the best way to prevent them with a diesel is to be running your diesel. Ideally, a diesel needs to be run hot, it needs to keep running all the time, and the people who will suffer the least amount of carbon deposits owning a diesel will be people who start their car up and they drive out on the highway for an hour and back, or they drive across the country. They do a lot of long drives with the engine cooking hot all the time. Like most us, you start your car up, you drive your kids to school, you drive home, or you drive to work short distances, that's when the carbon deposits start building up. So, usage is one thing, but of course, it would be kind of stupid to just go drive your vehicle out on the highway for a couple hours just to get to work.
So, you just got to work with what you've got, and this is why I've often said you should really look at ... Do you really need a diesel? I mean, the fuel economy is extremely attractive, but as the engines gum up over time, and it happens to all of them if you don't use it hot, you will pay a lot of money for maintenance to have these kind of things cleaned out and repaired and replaced. I mean, the other thought I've often had is why don't the manufacturers put a filter in the EGR system that even if you had to throw it away every 5,000 kilometres, it would just save so much of this kind of headache. So, never heard of one available. It's an interesting concept. Not sure how you'd ever put it in. Every 5,000 kilometres would be kind of an irritating thing to do because it would plug up pretty fast, but it just seems to me like that would have been a good idea to consider when building a lot of these diesels.
Mark: It just becomes part of your oil change, is that particulate filter gets changed too.
Bernie: Well, exactly. To me, it would just be a huge savings in terms of ... Yeah, in terms of maintenance, and extremely costly maintenance.
Mark: So, Jeep Grand Cherokees. How are they for overall reliability?
Bernie: I'm going to say fair. They're not the most reliable vehicles. I mean, we're talking about a pretty major repair on this one here. These diesels do have some issues, and there's front end work that ... Suspension, steering work that needs to be done on Jeeps, perhaps a little more frequently than some other vehicles. Gasoline motors are pretty reliable. I mean, these diesels are too, but there are just expensive jobs that need to be done every once in a while.
Mark: And a great off-road vehicle overall and comfortable to drive in.
Bernie: Oh, they are. They're awesome. I mean, people love their Jeeps, but just as I often say, people love certain kinds of vehicles, and you will spend more money owning a Jeep than you will on a lot of other cars.
Mark: So, if the benefits are there for you for off-road use or you like the Jeep, it's a good vehicle?
Mark: So, there you go. If you're looking for service for your Jeep in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You got to book ahead, they're busy. Remember, these guys are 19-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. 19 times. This is a good shop, so you've got to call and book ahead. They're busy. Or, you can check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com. You have hundreds of videos on YouTube, almost eight years worth of videos on there, and especially thank you for watching, listening to the podcast. Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching and listening. We really appreciate it.