Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

2018 Subaru Crosstrek, Brakes

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 time winners, 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: Today's victim is a newer one, a 2018 Subaru Crosstrek that had a brake issue. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: So the vehicle came in for a maintenance service and a brake inspection, and we found the rear brakes are worn out and needed to be replaced. So nothing out of the ordinary you might expect on a fairly newish vehicle.  

Mark: 2018. So how many kilometres were on this vehicle? 

Bernie: It had 57,000. So I guess we average it out. That's about 20 a year. It's sort of an average amount of driving. 

Mark: And I guess this would be their first brake job?

Bernie: Yeah, it was. You know, 60,000 Ks is kind of average for most vehicles with an automatic transmission. You get some vehicles with standards, the brakes last an awful lot longer. And of course, if it's an EV, they usually last way, way, way, way longer. But yeah, that's kind of average for a gasoline powered, automatic transmission vehicle. 

Mark: And what type of parts do you use for your brake replacements? 

Bernie: Well, we use a variety depending on car, but for this particular vehicle, we used a Napa, they're called the Adaptive One Line, which is their top line brake pads and rotors. And we use those for this particular vehicle. We find those work really well, good warranty. They're formulated right for the car. So yeah, that's what we use for this vehicle. 

Mark: So wouldn't the original Subaru brake parts be better? 

Bernie: No. Sometimes, I mean, there's nothing wrong with the original equipment because they're designed for the vehicle. And in some cases, in some cars, that's what we use. But we find a lot of times the aftermarket parts have better warranty. They last longer, I've had number of cars over the years where I've done cars with original brakes and they lasted for say 60,000 Ks.

And then 60,000 Ks later, the brakes still have lots of material left on. So a lot of times after market materials will actually last longer. So not always the case, but if you use the good stuff, it usually is the case. We'll have a look at some pictures here for a sec. 


2018 Subaru Crosstrek, Brakes

These are the old brakes pads. I mean, everything, kind of rusty and crusty that you kind of get after a few years of usage. And obviously this thing's been probably through some salty roads. I think of a 2018 is not really that old, but it's obviously seen a bit of salty roads. So the pads again, pretty near worn out. Not completely, but you never really want to let them get to that point. 

2018 Subaru Crosstrek, Brakes

Here's a picture of our new brakes with the Napa adaptive one rotors. The pads installed. Part of our service, we clean the caliper. So we take the caliper slider pins out. We clean, we lubricate them. We sand blast the caliper where the slider points are on the calipers. And then the good quality brake pads come with new mounting hardware as well. So we put that in. We lubricate the sliding points and make sure it all works good. 

Mark: And for anyone who's interested, there's an in-depth ancient video that we produced, I think, close to 10 years ago, or that you produced about 10 years ago, that shows in detail every step of the process of doing the kind of brake repairs that you've done for over a decade. So what kind of warranty do you put on your brake repairs?

Bernie: Yeah, so everything has a two year, 40,000 kilometre warranty. And you know, which is a really good warranty for brakes. I mean, unless it's a commercial vehicle. So I mean, usually, it's rare that we have to do any warranty work, but sometimes rotors will warp. I mean, that's probably the most common problem we get. Sometimes at least some noises or squeaks. 

We kind of offer a no nonsense warranty. If they're squeaks and squeals and things, we fix it and replace it. So it's not like, well, you know, squealing is normal, which it can be. You know, we fix it, we replace it. Our brake jobs, I'll say they're not the cheapest around especially when I drive by and I see a sign saying, a few miles from my shop, brakes $89.95. I'm going, what are they doing for 89.95? I mean, half the time, you can't even get a set of brake pads for that money. So I don't know what they're giving, you know, they should probably take that sign down. But you know we charge a fair amount for them and we back it up. 

Mark: And how Subaru Crosstreks for reliability? 

Bernie: They're good. I think they're a great car. You know, we've run into really no issues with them whatsoever, so far. They've been out for a while now. Probably maybe a decade, maybe not quite that, but yeah, they're good cars. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your brakes or for your Subaru in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can book on the website pawlikautomotive.com or who knew you could actually call them. Use ancient technology and phone them 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call or book online ahead. They are busy. If you want more information, like you want to look up that brake video checkout, pawlikautomotive.com. There's a search function there. There's over a thousand videos on all makes and models and types of repairs. Or the YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair. Same story. We've been doing this for over 10 years. And of course we really appreciate you watching and listening. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2015 Land Rover LR4, Thermostat Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 time winners, best auto repair in Vancouver and we're talking cars. Hey Bernie, how are you doing? 

Bernie: I'm good. 

Mark: So today's victim 2015 Land Rover LR4 that had a thermostat issue. What was going on with this LR4? 

Bernie: Yeah. So the owner came into the shop with a complaint of a coolant leak. And we proceeded to do a diagnosis on that. And as you can guess, the thermostat was leaking because otherwise we wouldn't be talking about the thermostat, but that's basically the coolant intake was the issue they came in with.

Mark: So how do you find the cause of a leak? 

Bernie: Two tools. First as a cooling system pressure tester, and the second is our eyeballs, to see where the leaks are coming from. We basically pressure test the cooling system. A pressure tester builds up pressure in the cooling system, much like you would have when the engines running.

And vehicle cooling systems are under pressure. Having cooling under pressure allows the temperature to go higher without boil over. So that's basically how vehicle cooling systems work. And a pressure tester generates that pressure even with the engine cold, then we can find the leak much easier.

Mark: So how difficult the replacement is the thermostat on an LR4? 

Bernie: Well, it's a bit of a pain. This is a supercharged V6 engine. So the thermostat is buried down at the side of the engine. There's a number of things to remove and, you know, thermostats are a little different than they used to be, like in the olden days of thermostat wouldn't even cause a leak. It would be a thermostat housing gasket, but this is an integral thermostat. We'll get into a picture in a minute, but it's basically a plastic modular assembly with hoses of bolt in and out. And the thermostat sits in the middle. So you know, the plastic cracks or breaks deteriorates like it doesn't so many vehicles and that's what causes a leak.

There's our 2015 LR4. Little dirty from fall leaves that we get around Vancouver.

2015 Land Rover LR4, Thermostat Repair

And there is the thermostat housing. That's the new unit.

2015 Land Rover LR4, Thermostat Repair

Where it's located just to get into that, is basically down where this arrow. This is what the thermostat housing out. But it fits down in this area here. 

2015 Land Rover LR4, Thermostat Repair

There's one of the radiator hoses that clip onto the thermostat. This is sort of down on the left front of the engine. You can sort of see the edge of the valve cover over here. So there's things in the way that need to be removed to get access to it. But we'll just look at this thermostat again.

So we have two radiator hoses. There's a small diameter heater type hose. And then the lower radiator hose fits on here. You'll notice there's a couple of differences in the way these fittings are. There's a little sort of fat nipple here, but this is straight. This one here has a clip on hose. Basically it has O-rings on the hose and slides on. Whereas these are clamp on hoses and you can see from this other picture here, these are the clamps here, and this is that clip on style hose down here. So a couple different methods. 

The thermostat's located inside this housing. Now the leak, I didn't exactly look at it in any greater detail, but the leaks usually occur somewhere in this way they mold these houses, housings, not houses, housings together. So that's that's where the leak was coming from. 

Mark: So was this the only thing you had to do during the service? 

Bernie: Well we did a cooling system flush as well, which is a good thing to do whenever you take a cooling system apart. Unless of course it was some recent repair, but this is an original coolant. It's now six years old. It's a good time to flush it out and put fresh coolant in. It's the right age and the right time to do it. 

But the other thing we ran into, as we took the lower radiator hose off. We noted that a piece inside the radiator hose had broken. So we had to replace the lower radiator hose as well. Unfortunately, an exceptionally expensive piece of hose being a kind of custom molded item, but that needed to be replaced as well. 

Mark: Now is that an issue with removal? Could you've taken it out more gently to prevent breakage?

Bernie: Well, that's kind of what the owner said to us too. Couldn't you have done it more gently and not broken it. And my answer to him was no we do it as gently as we can, but what happens is, you know, these kind of clipped together hoses are designed really for assembly line purposes.

You know, when the vehicles running down the assembly line, they probably have a machine, but if they had a human with an arm, all you got to do is go click and the hoses on. As opposed to having some kind of screw clamp or pinchy clamp. So from an assembly perspective, it's really easy, but unfortunately, given time, the way these are designed, they cause oodles of problems on so many different vehicles. And you know, the problem is actually inside the hose itself. There's a plastic ring and overtime, they just get hard and brittle. 

Now this vehicle only had 51,000 kilometres, so it wasn't really old and you think, oh, it should come apart and go back together. But it really they're just designed well for the assembly line use. And sometimes you get lucky and it all goes back together. And other times you don't. 

I was just thinking about a Ford truck we had a while ago. We did some engine work and we put the one hose together and then that leaked and then fix that. And then another one leaked. And it was like, you know, it should have been done on Wednesday, took till Friday because it needed a bunch of extra hoses that just failed from whatever, you know, we breathed on the vehicle the wrong way. So that's what kind of happened. So just be prepared if you're watching this video, a lot of times these things happen it's unforeseen and it happens. A lot of European cars, especially have these clipped together hoses, but American vehicles use them too.

Mark: And those hoses are going through immense amounts, a lot of heat cycles of heating, cooling, heating, cooling, heating, cooling, and if you've used plastic at all, that's going to wear it out pretty quick. 

Bernie: It is. It's true. And you know, the other thing is we say, oh great, this thing's got low kilometres. Why would it wear out? Well, chances are, it's probably had a lot of short drives, you know, and those heat and cooling cycles make a big difference. I was talking to someone the other day, he was in a taxi and the odometer, it said it had 25,000 kilometres.

And I said, how do you have such little kilomeres? Well, it actually rolled over. It had 1 million, 1,125,000. It's a Toyota Sienna van. And you thinking, well, you know, an average Sienna will never last that long, but because it's a taxi, it's being driven all day long. So it's like the heat and cooling cycles don't happen so much that, you know, the engines on pretty much all the time.

So the vehicle really lasts a lot longer. We were really hard on our vehicles starting and stopping, but of course, we're not gonna just leave you sitting, running in our garage all day long, wasting fuel and polluting the air. It's better to shut it off, of course, but just par for the course. 

Mark: So are coolant leaks like this a common issue for LR4s?

Bernie: Well, not just LR4s, but Land Rovers and Range Rovers in general. We do a lot of coolant leaks on these vehicles. Again, it's like these clipped together hoses fail. There are hoses that hide under superchargers on some models that fail. There are hoses that hide under intakes that fail. Again, they get a lot of heat. Sometimes a bit of oil will seep onto them, and they'll wear out. Or these plastic hoses get brittle and they break, or the thermostat housing. So coolant leaks are a pretty common repair for us on a lot of Land Rover products. 

Mark: So this is, you mentioned, this is a three litre V6. Is it a transverse mounted or longitudinal? 

Bernie: No, it's longitudinal mounted and it's a supercharged engine. It's basically like your five litre but it's like got two cylinders chopped off. It's interesting. When you look at it, it's just the superchargers just slightly quarter shorter than the or third or quarter shorter than the than the V6 or the V8 model. So yeah, I mean, I think it's a good idea in, you know, the V8, the supercharged V8, and they're kind of ridiculously high powered way over 500 horsepower. I think you can do with a nice V6 supercharged engine and still get lots of power for a vehicle like this. 

Mark: How are they for reliability? 

Bernie: Well, you know, there's more stuff that goes wrong with these things than they probably could. So, I mean, again, cooling leaks, 50,000 kilometres, you know, six year old vehicle. To me, it seems a little. Early. I mean, if it was my own vehicle, I'd kind of expect stuff like that at 10 years and maybe not five. But you know, there's more stuff that goes wrong with Land Rovers as we talked about. We've got our video collection. Nice vehicles though. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Land Rover or Range Rover, the experts in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can book online at their website, pawlikautomotive.com. Or if you want to call and talk to somebody, (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book the head, or you have to book online ahead. They're busy. Check out, of course, the website there's hundreds of videos and explanations on there. 10 years worth of these conversations, pawlikautomotive.com. Or the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, all makes and models and types of repairs. Thanks so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. And thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks for watching. And thanks, Mark. Always fun.

2013 BMW X3, Rear Wheel Bearing Repair

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

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So today we're talking about a 2013 BMW X3 that had a rear wheel bearing issue. What was going on with this BMW? 

Bernie: So the vehicle came to our shop for a drivability problem. The engine was running rough and the check engine light was on. So we looked at that, addressed that issue. And while out on the road test, noted that there was a loud noise coming from the vehicle. A wheel bearing type of sound seemed to be coming from the rear of the vehicle. So that's how we kind of got onto the wheel bearing issue. 

Mark: So after you do the road test, what's your next step? 

Bernie: Yeah, so we basically put the vehicle up on a hoist and have a listen to each bearing with the stethoscope. And the great thing about this vehicle being an x drive or all wheel drive is that we can actually run the vehicle and we can get the wheels spinning up the road speeds and listen with a stethoscope. And we can listen to each wheel bearing. And found that the left rear wheel bearing was very much noisier than anything else in the vehicle. So there was a slight noise at the right rear side, but definitely the left rear was distinctly the worst sound. 

So when you do a road test, the wheel bearing sound is kind of distinctive, in that it increases with speed and often if you're moving the steering wheel, so say you're turning the wheel and sort of banking a curve, or just kind of changing the load on the wheels, it'll often change the tone of the noise. So that can usually be a pretty good indication that it's a wheel bearing. Not a 100% guarantee without listening to the actual wheel bearings on a hoist, but it's usually a pretty good diagnosis. Gets us in the right direction. 

Mark: So what's involved in replacing this bearing?

Bernie: Well, basically the brakes have to come off. I'm going to actually put some pictures up while we're talking.

2013 BMW X3, Rear Wheel Bearing Repair

So this is the new replacement wheel bearing. This section here bolts onto the rear knuckle, the wheel hub goes in the middle here.

2013 BMW X3, Rear Wheel Bearing Repair

And this is a much uglier picture. This is the old wheel bearing in the car. You can see a lot of corrosion. You know, that kind of happens over time. This vehicle may have come from a slightly saltier climate than we're used to around Vancouver.  

But you can see the actual bearing assembly here and then the hub where the wheel bolts up to here. Of course, the brake rotor slides on to here first and the brake pads and calipers. There's also parking brake mechanism in here as well, which had to be removed to do the job.

2013 BMW X3, Rear Wheel Bearing Repair

And finally, that's what the wheel bearing looks like when it's taken out. When we take it off the hub one of the bearing races usually comes off with it. We have to pull that off separately. And that's basically the ball bearings, there's two of them. So this is a ball bearing style, some use roller bearings, but most of the ball bearings.  

So what's involved, I think the pictures kind of showed a bit there. The hub has to be pulled out of the bearing and then transferred onto the new bearing assembly.

Mark: So do the hubs sometimes need replacement? 

Bernie: Occasionally they do, but not very often. And depending on the vehicle, a lot of vehicles actually come with a bearing and hub all is one unit. So it makes the job actually easier because it's just one less step we have to do. But of course, it's another chunk of metal that's wasted, that normally can last for a lifetime of a car. 

But occasionally we will find, especially on an exceptionally badly worn wheel bearing, sometimes we'll take it out, we'll pull a hub out and find that one of the sections of the hub that the press fits into the bearing is actually worn out. It's I guess it spins on the race and it eventually wears it out. Not very common, maybe like one out of 20 times it'll be like that. So sometimes the hub needs to be replaced, but not very often. 

Mark: And how often, what about wheel bearings? How often do they have to be replaced? 

Bernie: Well, you just replaced them when they wear out. And not very often. I mean, we don't do this job very commonly. We work on a lot of X3s. It's not too common that we replace them. They just wear out from time to time. But you know, a lot depends, I guess, on where you drive your vehicle. If it's somewhere that's had a lot of road salt, that's harder on a vehicle because it'll come in and attack the seals, you know, it'll break the seals down and water gets in. That's a surefire end to the bearing. But they're generally pretty reliable on X3s and most BMWs in general. 

Mark: Is there anything that an X3 owner can do to prolong the life of their wheel bearings? 

Bernie: Not really because they're all sealed units, so they'll just wear out on their own time. Things like hitting curbs can be something that can damage wheel bearings. I think too if a vehicle sits for a very long period of time it can actually cause pressure on certain spots of the bearing. But, you know, again, that that'd be like sitting for like years. So it's not something that would normally happen. So really there's not much you can do just, I mean, it'll just wear out in its own time and you just replace it when it needs to be done. 

Mark: And how are BMW X3s for reliability?

Bernie: I'd call them fair. I mean, more stuff goes wrong with these vehicles than maybe they should. Things like oil leaks, coolant leaks, there's a lot of plastic cooling system parts that tend to wear out, ignition coil, spark plugs, those sort of things, especially ignition coil.

So there's, there's quite a few things that do tend to go wrong in these vehicles over time. But I mean, there, it's certainly a very nice vehicle. I mean, I own one myself and, you know, there's things that happen to them, but you kind of pay a little bit of a premium for it. And you will have more repairs than a Lexus say, which has to be a comparable vehicle. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your BMW, any version in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can call and book your appointment at 604-327-7112. Or you can book online at pawlikautomotive.com.

They'll call you back. They'll get ready. They'll make sure that they're going to do a great job for you when you show up for your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're busy. Check out the website, of course, pawlikautomotive.com. There's hundreds of videos on there, not a stretch at all. 10 years, we've been doing this. All makes and models and types of repairs. The YouTube channel is the same story. Pawlik Auto Repair, check it out. And thanks so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Thank you, Bernie. 

Thank you Mark.

2011 Mini Cooper S, Blower Motor

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well? 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2011 Mini Cooper S model that had a blower problem. I didn't know that they had to superchargers on Minis. 

Bernie: Well, they actually do. But this wasn't actually the blower that you're thinking about, the supercharger blower. This is a non supercharged version. And this was actually the heater blower fan inside the vehicle, that was the issue. 

Mark: So what sort of testing and diagnosis did you have to do?

Bernie: Yeah, so the client's complaint was a heater blower motor didn't work at any speed and the owner had checked the fuses and found that they looked good. It's a good thing. Kind of the only thing you can really look at yourself to just see if there's anything wrong. Of course, if a fuse is blown, there's usually a reason for it. They don't normally just blow for no reason, but sometimes you get lucky and you find a fuse and fix it, and it solves a problem, but not very often.  

So testing and diagnosis, of course we do test the fuses. We hook up a scan tool to the vehicle computer. From there we can actually look and access the climate control system. We can turn the fan switches on. We can see if the switches are actually sending signals to where they're supposed to be, at least based on the computer. And then we verified that that was in fact happening. So we knew the switch and the panel was working. From there, we had to get down and do some testing inside the vehicle. So we have to pull some paneling off. Test the power flows to the heater motor resistor, the heater blower resistor to the actual fan motor itself. 

Mark: What did you find? 

Bernie: We found the blower motor was dead. So as I said, there's a couple of things that can cause these issues. One can be the fan panel. It could be a wiring problem. The heater blower resistor is a common issue as well. But in this case, the blower motor was the culprit. 

Mark: So what's a blower motor resistor? 

Bernie: So in order for the fan to work on different speeds, they put in a blower motor resistor, or nowadays maybe more of a control module, but it resists the current flow to the motor so that you can operate the fan on different speeds.

If you actually ran it through a switch, it would be a much more complex and require a lot more wiring to do it. So it's better just to do it through a resistor. So that is a common failure item. But again, in this case, it was good. But it's basically a companion to the fan motor. Otherwise it would only work on one speed. 

Mark: So is it a difficult job that changed the blower motor? 

Bernie: Well, as far as blower motors go on cars, this wasn't too difficult. I mean, it was our technician of course, found that it was hard on his back because you've got to lie underneath the driver's side of the car. It's very fiddly to get it in and out. But the good news is you don't have to tear the whole dash apart to do it. So most blower motors are generally not too difficult, but there are some cars that require, you know, more than a day's work to pull them in and out. So the owner's never liked that too much.

Let's get into a couple of pictures here. 

So there's our nice Mini Cooper S.

2011 Mini Cooper S, Blower Motor

Followed by the blower motor. So this is the new motor. This is called a squirrel cage. It's kind of looks like a running wheel for a rodent to run around on. But it's basically a fan. This is a piece that spins right here when you turn the fan on. The actual motor's in this section here, of course the wiring connector here.

2011 Mini Cooper S, Blower Motor

We can just look at our other view here.  

2011 Mini Cooper S, Blower Motor

This is the backside, basically the blower and three attachment screws that hold it in place. This is the new unit that we put in. Actually no, this is is actually the old one. 

Mark: Ah, so did you notice anything that was wrong with this motor? 

Bernie: Well, we actually did when we actually pulled the motor out to turn that squirrel cage, usually it's super easy. There's almost no resistance whatsoever. This one was tight to turn. So something had seized up in the motor and caused it to die. So maybe a bearing seized up or something else gave way inside the motor. But it didn't have a rough spot, it was just difficult to turn. So eventually whatever happened, maybe a bearing seized up in the motor just burned itself out. 

Mark: So is this a common repair on Mini Coopers? 

Bernie: We haven't repaired a lot of them, so it's not really super common. We do work on a lot of Minis. Nothing more than any other vehicle. I mean, a blower motor does generally die eventually on any car, but it's not any more than average on a Mini. 

Mark: So how are these BMW version of a Mini Cooper for reliability?

Bernie: Well, I don't know if they're any less or more reliable than the old original version of the Mini. They probably actually are better because old cars are just not very, they had a lot of breakdowns and tuneups and things that were needed. But they're generally pretty good, but they are a more expensive vehicle to fix.

 It's a nice car for sure. It's a fun little zippy car. But you will spend more money fixing it than you would for a smaller Japanese car, but it's kind of a unique vehicle and certainly a lot more fun. So there's a little price to pay, but it's a good car overall.

Mark: And you have the extra benefit of it not being an old version of a Mini, which I went O for the summer when I had that vehicle. Girls did not like that car. 

Bernie: They didn't like the car, really? Interesting.

Mark: So, if you're looking for service for your BMW or your Mini or Mini Cooper or Mini Cooper S in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them by phone at (604) 327-7112 to discuss what's going on with your vehicle. Or you can book your appointment on the website pawlikautomotive.com. They'll get back to you. Again they'll check out what's going on. They'll be ready for you when you show up. You have to call and book ahead. They're always busy. 

Check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of videos, all makes and models types of repairs. And of course, YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, same thing. All the videos are up there. Thanks so much for watching and listening, we appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

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

2015 Jeep Cherokee, Transfer Case Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2015 Jeep Cherokee that had a transfer case problem. What was going on with this Jeep? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the owner brought the vehicle to us. There was a warning light on the dash. That was his primary concern, it said service transfer case. 

Mark: So what testing and diagnosis did you do? 

Bernie: Well, first off a good road test the vehicle to see how it's driving and we noted everything seemed to feel normal. From there we plugged a scan tool in, interrogated all the vehicle computers found some trouble codes stored in the transfer case module. Did a little further research and testing and found the transfer case itself was the fault. 

Mark: So how do you go about repairing that?

Bernie: Well, in this case, we look for whatever options are available. Do we rebuild it ourselves? Who sells them? What's available. We found that the best option is actually to buy a transfer case directly from the Chrysler dealer. In this case I'm not certain it's rebuilt that did have a core charge on it. Sometimes they don't specify whether it's rebuilt or new, but certainly look brand new when we put it in. But that's basically what we did. We found that was the best price option for the vehicle. 

Mark: So, is this a unique transfer case or is it a typical American trucks style unit? 

Bernie: No, it's actually different. So this vehicle is not like your usual, I'll say like the larger Jeeps. It used to be that the Cherokee was like the smaller version of a Grand Cherokee, or I think it started as a Cherokee. Then they made a bigger, like a lot of manufacturers. They seem to just keep making cars bigger and bigger all the time.

But anyways, this is a more of a front wheel drive platform vehicle. Whereas the traditional Jeep would have a rear wheel drive platform so the engine, transmission, transfer case, and then it drives off to the rear drive. And in this case, this is more of a front wheel drive transverse mounted engine.

So the transfer case is quite different from, at least the larger style Jeeps that normally a Cherokee is. It's a redesigned vehicle. 

Mark: You have some pictures? 

Bernie: I do. So there's our Jeep, 2015 Grand Cherokee and some closeups of the transfer case.

2015 Jeep Cherokee, Transfer Case Replacement

There's a view of the transfer case, the replacement unit that we put in. You can see on here, there's an electronic module, common to all transfer cases these days. Long gone are the days of having mechanical rods or cables to shift things. It's all got complicated.

2015 Jeep Cherokee, Transfer Case Replacement

So this is where the transfer case bolts up to the transaxle. This is the spline that drives to the rear drive shaft. And then you've got your output to the right axle shaft, and then the left axle shaft. The driver's side would normally go right straight through the transmission and right into the transfer case. 

2015 Jeep Cherokee, Transfer Case Replacement

So that's kind of a view of the two units. I'll just show the other view again, just to get a kind of an idea of it. Again, the rear drive and there it is. So, as I said, it's supposedly a remanufactured unit. And by looking at these markings, it looks to me like these are sort of remanufacturing marks, but it sure looks brand new. However, they clean it up they sure make it look pretty decent. So that's our short picture show for the day. 

Mark: So did you have anything to do with electronics after you replaced the unit? 

Bernie: No, it actually was a nice plug and play operation. We expected we'd probably have to reprogram it afterwards, but it didn't require it.

So once we put it in you know, fired everything up road tested it, cleared the codes, drove it, everything, no warning lights were on, everything operated perfectly. So no issues whatsoever, which is kinda nice because there's so many vehicles where anything electronic has to be reprogrammed for the vehicle.

I don't know why the computers just don't talk to each other, but for some reason, a lot of manufacturers just make it too complicated for some reason, but this was straightforward. Surprising. 

Mark: How labor-intensive was this replacement? 

Bernie: Yeah, it was a fair bit of work. So I mean, they really wedged this thing in there. When we first looked underneath it, it looked like you'd have to drop the subframe, which looked like an awful lot of work just to get the transfer case out. But of course, you know, we do look at the instructions in the repair manuals. They said not to do it, we didn't have to do it. It actually does come out, but there's an awful lot of work required to get it out. 

The exhaust system has to be removed and exhaust manifolds and certain things just to access it. But once, once everything's accessed property, then it comes out. But it is a lot of work, fairly labor intensive, for sure.

Mark: So again, why would you not just rebuild it yourselves? 

Bernie: You know, with a transfer case like this, like I was talking about the olden style of transfer cases where they basically, there was a mechanical linkage to it. Those are really pretty straightforward to rebuild it, just gears, chains, a few other items inside. And even if it has a module on it, even sometimes that isn't make it too complicated. 

With these type of all wheel drive systems, there's a lot of complexity. A lot of things that are monitored and like slipped clutches and things like that to provide a nice all wheel drive feeling to the vehicle.

It gets really complicated to rebuild them. And if we'd found something, there could be something wrong with the module on top of that. So it came as a nice unit from the dealer, nice package. It just made more economic sense. And the final bill was not really anything more than it would have been if we have to do a full job. So in the end, it just made more sense to replace the unit. 

Mark: How many kilometres run this Jeep Cherokee? 

Bernie: Only 69,000. So not really a lot. I would expect the transfer case to have lasted a whole lot longer, but again, even on Grand Cherokees, we've run into a lot of problems with transfer case modules and things that tend to go faulty. So I think it's a bit of a I mean, this is a different design than a Grand Cherokee, but I think there's a bit of an issue going on with the electronics and some of these Jeep four wheel drive systems that it's a bit problematic. 

Mark: If you're having trouble with your Jeep in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can book online on their website pawlikautomotive.com. Or give them a call 604-327-7112 to discuss your repair. They'll check it out exactly what's going on. They'll get ready for you. Book your appointment, you have to call or book online to get in. They're busy always. Or you can check out the YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair, close to a thousand videos there of all makes and models of any types of repairs. Over 10 years of doing this. And of course, we really appreciate you listening and watching. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2007 Nissan Frontier, Rear Axle Seal

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. Multi-time winners of many, many awards over two dozen, not exaggerating as voted by their customers, the best auto repair in Vancouver. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So today 2007 Nissan Frontier that had an axle problem. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, actually, the axle was fine. There was a fluid coming from the right, actually both rear axles seals were leaking fluid. 

Mark: So that sounds pretty bad. What kind of damage can a leaking axle seal do?

Bernie: Well in the very most extreme case, you could lose all your gear oil from your rear differential, which would of course cause the differential to seize up and break. But that would take a very long time to happen. The more immediate problem with a leaking axle seal is that it drips oil onto the brakes.

And so this has a parking brake system with parking brake shoes. So it could affect the parking brakes, but also if the leak gets bad enough, it'll affect the brake pads and you know, cause them to get oil soaked, which as you can imagine is not a good thing. Because oil on brakes, just isn't a good thing.

Mark: So what's involved in changing the axle seals? 

Bernie: So in this particular vehicle, the axle is removed from the outside, I want to say the outside of the axle. There's a couple of different designs. One of them has a removable cover and you can pull a lock pin out in the axle slides out, change the seal.

On this one, it's a little more complicated. It's easy to remove the axle. There's four bolts, the axle pulls out, often with the brake system. So there's things to detach. That's basically what's involved. You have to take that out first and then the bearing has to be removed to access the axle seal.

Mark: You have pictures? 

Bernie: I do. So there's are Nissan Frontier.

2007 Nissan Frontier, Rear Axle Seal
2007 Nissan Frontier, Rear Axle Seal
2007 Nissan Frontier, Rear Axle Seal

And let's just have a look at the axles. So there is the axle before replacement. So here's, what's involved in actually getting it apart. So the brake drum. This is the part that bolts into the actual axle housing. The brake backing plate is in between there. 

There's the axle and you can see oil here. This is fluid that's leaked out of this axle seal. And the seal is located right where the red arrow is pointing. The yellow arrow points to the axle bearing and the blue arrow points to the axle retainer. 

So the axle retainer has to be removed first. So it's basically a break-off component, one time installation. We break that off by either drilling it or chiseling it. However we get it off, it's broken off. Then the bearing either we pull it off with the hydraulic press or just simply break it apart, into pieces, pull it apart and get the bearing race off the axle. And then the seal comes out of there. 

And finally, this is the unit put all back together. You can see there's no oil on this axle. You can just see the abs wheel speed sensor. Sorry, not the sensor, the reluctor wheel, the ring here. And then the new bearing, new axle seal, new retainer. And there's actually even a circlip that actually holds it all to the axle. Heaven forbid this isn't holding. It won't slide off and your axle won't just go flying off down the road with your wheel attached. Which would be a pretty scary thing. 

Mark: Were there any further repairs needed during this service? 

Bernie: Yeah, the only other item, there was an issue with the abs wheel speed sensor. The sensor was basically rusted into the brake backing plate and we had to, actually broke apart when we took it apart. So that needed to be replaced as well. That's not untypical. When you get an older vehicle, a truck, especially it's been through the bush or just seeing a lot of rain. The sensors are usually a plastic piece that sits inside a metal housing. The housing will start rusting and then it'll kind of lock the plastic in place and it doesn't normally come over easily.

So that was the only other thing. Fortunately he'd replaced it in the right time. It hadn't damaged the brakes in any sort of way. If you have a leaking axle seal, that's what you want to do. You want to fix it before it leaks oil onto your brakes? Otherwise it's added expense. 

Mark: And how our Nissan frontier pickups for reliability?

Bernie: Yeah, that's a good truck. I'd highly recommend it. Good, nice sort of medium, I call it a medium sized truck, I guess they used to be small trucks, but kind of a nice mid-size pickup truck. All wheel drive, good off-road capabilities and they're reliable. There's not a lot that goes wrong with them. You know, this vehicle has got quite a few years on it, so not unusual to replace axle seals at this point in time. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Nissan in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can go to the website pawlikautomotive.com to book your appointment. Or you can call 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead. They're always busy. Or check out the YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds and hundreds of videos on there. No exaggeration. All makes and models and types of repairs done this for over a decade now. And of course, we really appreciate you watching and listening. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. Thanks for listening.

2013 Volvo XC70, Electrical Issues

Mark: It's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2013 Volvo XC70. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So this vehicle came to our shop. The owner had a couple of electrical complaints. The driver's power window wouldn't work, obviously very important. And his power seat would not operate. Also the backup camera when you put it in reverse to back up, the camera would not come on.

So was three electrical issues going on. Did ask him, did these all happen at the same time? That's an important bit of information to know. And he said, no, they all kind of died at their own time. So knowing that gives us the idea that there's three separate issues that have happened. Not just one thing that's kind of gone bad, like perhaps a fuse just blew. 

Mark: So what kind of testing do you do to start to dig into what's going on? 

Bernie: Well, the first thing to do, you know, being a Volvo and a 2013 vintage, hooking a scan tool up is a good place to start, just to see which modules communicate. Everything is hooked up to modules. 

The power window switch you know, it's a switch, but it connects to modules in each door. So it's important to see what's going on in these particular modules. So we did some tests and that area. Pretty much determined the power window switch was bad. The other windows would operate from their own switches. We could operate the driver's window from the computer, which is kind of a neat thing. So it eliminates the possibility of being say, a bad wire inside the door or the actual motor itself. So that's one area of testing. 

The backup camera. I don't believe there's any codes for that particular issue. But we did a visual inspection on the camera. We can see that there was some cloudiness inside of the camera, which probably indicated that some moisture got into the camera. Although there's a module for the camera apparently located under the driver's seat. 

And for the power seats. There was no communication with the module. So there's further testing to be done in that area which we did and determined that the module was defective. But there's also a lack of power getting to the module as well, which something we noted along with a very wet floor on the driver's side. So that's also a bad sign.

Mark: Ro ro, wet floor doesn't seem very good.  

Bernie: No, so the wet floor. I mean, there was actually a lot of water on the floor, so we figured you know, that would involve removing the seat, the carpet and testing some wiring under there, because we weren't getting power to the seat module, among other things. So we did know the seat module was bad. We were able to manually power it up and it wasn't actually working. So it's basically two items destroyed. 

And the owner decided, the backup camera was not such a huge issue. I mean, I priced a new one out from Volvo. It's a lot of money. That's the only place you can buy it. I can't remember the exact price, but you could buy a half decent digital SLR camera for the price of a little backup camera to stick a Volvo. Plus there's also a module. So there wasn't any way of really testing. Is the camera, the problem, or the module, he decided to leave it.

So let's get into some pictures. There's a 2013 Volvo.

2013 Volvo XC70, Electrical Issues
2013 Volvo XC70, Electrical Issues
2013 Volvo XC70, Electrical Issues
2013 Volvo XC70, Electrical Issues
2013 Volvo XC70, Electrical Issues
2013 Volvo XC70, Electrical Issues
2013 Volvo XC70, Electrical Issues

Now, by looking at this car, you wouldn't think that there would be a lot wrong with it. And why would there be a lot of water on the floor? But of course there are places water can leak in. Like a sunroof drains, windshields, door seals. There a number of places where water can get in? So we can talk about the water situation afterwards.  

Mark: So where'd your diagnosis go from there? 

Bernie: Yeah. So basically we pulled the carpet out, as I mentioned. Had a visual inspection. We took some wiring harnesses apart to trace the power to the seat module.

And I'm just going to show a few pictures of what's involved. So here's some of the wiring and we did some repairs in this particular area here. This is some of the wiring you'll find when you take the carpet out. You can look at this huge bundle of wires here. This is the floor. The seat kind of bolts in over top and the carpet and the seat bolts in over top of this area here This is the passenger side. We took out to have a look at some wiring as well. 

Again, you can see just a massive array and bundle of wires. And, you know, if it wasn't for all the computerized modules, there would be probably, I don't know, 5, 10 times as many wires. So the computers make them more complex, but they actually make it simpler at the same time.

This is the bottom of the driver's seat. So these are the plugins that go to the bottom of the driver's seat. You can see, unfortunately not a fantastic picture, but you can see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 connectors for various electrical items that go to the driver's seat. And I believe there might be a couple more as well. You can also see a lot of rust here. So this water situation has been here for a while. This is an Ontario vehicle. So it's seen some harsher road salt and worse conditions. 

This is a view of the floor with the carpet out. You can see that brake pedal on the accelerator pedal here. Again, the wiring we repaired was over in this area, but you can see the array of wiring. And there's just a little tiny bit of the seat rail that sticks up. Again, you can see a lot of rust there. So this water has been sitting on the floor for awhile. 

And one other ugliness, this module wasn't replaced. I believe this is the body control module. But you can see an awful lot of corrosion on the outside of this module. This is under the passenger side. So there've been some water intrusion on the passenger side as well. Nothing wrong with this module, but I figured we took a picture of it to show the owner and, or at least to have it on our files for a record, should something happen in the future. Then we know there might be something going on there. 

 So this was the actual problem we found took a while to trace out the power from various areas underneath the vehicle from the fuse box, over to the driver's side. This is a junction splice where power goes to the seat module and a couple of other modules in different areas. And as you can see, all this green guck, it's not good, it's not a good sign. That's corroded copper. So badly corroded in fact, there's no connection there anymore. So we replaced the wires, solder new connections, heat shrunk it, made sure it was all well sealed. And of course we dried the carpet out and everything under the floor of the vehicle.

So once that was fixed and the module is put in and the power window switch and everything was restored back to normal operation. 

Mark: So once you've repaired all that, those issues, was there anything else that needed to be done? 

Bernie: Yeah, I should say it was restored to operation. There actually was one of the thing we needed to do, and that is the seat module needed to be reprogrammed with a software update.

This happens a lot, like the power windows switch is just a switch, so it didn't require any reprogramming, but a lot of times modules need to be reprogrammed. And so we did that and you know, everything was working perfect as it was supposed to. 

Mark: So did you do that reprogramming or did you have to take it to Volvo?

Bernie: Yeah, we do the reprogramming in house. I won't lie. It's a bit of an ordeal for us to do it. I mean, we have all the equipment to do it. It's always fiddly downloading the software and you know, every time we do it, it's not like we do it every day. So there's a gap. And usually they've changed the password after a while. So I have to redo the password. I tend to do all the programming because it takes time to do it. And so I figure our technicians are better off to do the other work. So. Usually fiddle around with that and have fun. But yeah, we do it. 

Mark: It's your favorite stuff playing around with computers. 

Bernie: Yeah. But you know, the Volvo software is really neat because when we get the subscription, we do it. It's OEM Volvo software. So, the whole diagnostic system is OEM Volvo. So it's kinda neat because you can plug it in and it shows all the modules communicating with each other. Which ones will talk to each other. Which ones won't. And their repair information, it's really quite excellent. You know, we have a variety of different tools in our shop and it's really about economics as to whether we have certain ones.

Volvo unfortunately has some of the most expensive software around. Like for an annual subscription to their software is, I think it's 7,000 US dollars for a year. So we just buy it on a couple of day basis. And it's pretty economical. It's competitive. But for some reason there's no discount for buying a whole year's worth.

And I mean, I know some specialty Volvo shops, all they do is Volvo is all day long and they don't even have the software, which actually seems kind of crazy to me because you're going to be an all day long specialist. Why not invest that money to do it, but I guess they figure it's not worth it. It is a lot of money.

Mark: So why was there so much water in this vehicle? 

Bernie: Well, one thing we did do is we inspected the sunroof drains and found them to be partially plugged. So we did clean them out and made sure there was nothing going on there. That was kind of the extent of what we did on the vehicle with the abilities we have. Things like windshield leaks are not something we can do. So we basically cleaned it out, cleaned the sunroof out, made sure the drains were good in that area. Because they were partially plugged and you know, giving it back to the owner to make sure they just keep an eye on it and see what happens. And if further leaks develop, then we'll have to do some more diagnosis on it. 

Mark: So I guess a further note of this is, this is why vehicles that have been in a flood or have been left to sit for a really long time, so there's been a buildup, especially in a wet area like the coast. You get a lot of water condensation and that's going to cause all kinds of electrical issues over the long run.

Bernie: It certainly does. And we see that from time to time. Water inside your vehicle is not a good thing. I guess, you know, if it got in, drained out really fast, and you cleaned it up, that'd be one thing. But you know, even these things like these computers, you know, once you get water inside those they're pretty much toast.

There's nothing you can do. You don't get that green corrosion that we saw on that wire. Imagine that inside a computer and it does happen. So they put the computers inside the car to keep them dry, but sometimes we don't succeed or, or if a car gets stuck in a flood, a lot of flood damage vehicles are just written off. Even if they work. Sometime down the road, you'll probably have a whole bunch of problems that you'd never expect.

Mark: And be incredibly expensive to fix. 

Bernie: Absolutely. Yeah. And when you look at the wire, I mean, this junction we repaired is just one of many. Anyways, just one of many wiring junctions that you'll find in a wiring harness. So it can take like the amount of time and labour and man hours to figure some of these out can take quite a long time. 

Mark: So the owner was happy. Everything was working well. How are Volvo XC70sfor reliability?

Bernie: They're pretty good. You know, there's a few issues like the rear differentials can often wear out on these things that we've talked about in the past. Actually that reminds me, we actually did change a rear, there was a rear axle seal that was leaking and we found some interesting on this particular 2013 they'd redesigned the rear differential with different seals than we were normally used to. So I don't know, we actually haven't had the bearings go bad. And so it might be that they've made an improvement on it. I'm not sure, but for most of these XC70s rear differentials make noise. You know, the engines are kind of quirky and some of the designs of them, we can get into it further. But overall it's a pretty reliable vehicle.

Mark: If you need some service for your Volvo in Vancouver, guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can go to their website, pawlikautomotive.com to book your appointment. Or you can phone them and talk to somebody 604-327-7112. You have to call and book ahead, you have to book ahead. They're busy. Or check out the website, hundreds and hundreds of videos and articles on there about all makes and models, types of cars and repairs. We've been doing this for 10 years. Or our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. We appreciate you greatly for watching and listening. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. It's always a pleasure.

2013 Subaru Outback, Drive Belt Pulley Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience and we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So this week's victim is a 2013 Subaru Outback. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So the owner had a noise coming from the engine and he kind of figured, Hey, maybe it's not a big deal. I had a quick listen to it, it's actually a friend of mine. Said, Hey, actually, no, that is something to be concerned about. It was like a whining kind of growling noise coming from the engine when you rev it up. So that's what was happening with the vehicle. 

Mark: So how do you sneak up on engine noises in your shop?

Bernie: How do we sneak up on them, well very, very quietly and carefully. So I mean, the first thing to do of course, is to listen to the noise and see where it's coming from, what we suspect might be an issue. I kind of figured it might be a bearing in the drive belt pulley system. 

So the main tool that we use for a lot of engine diagnostics is a stethoscope. But it doesn't look like your doctor's stethoscope. I should probably should've brought a sample, but basically the thing goes in your ear like a stethoscope, and it's got a hose on it, but instead of being a flat piece like they put up to your chest. This one has a long cylinder with a very sharp pointed tip, and we can put it on individual components on the engine and try to determine where the noise is coming from. So that's the main tool we use. 

The other thing that's neat about the automotive stethoscope is you can pull off this sort of tip piece, and you can just use it as a listening device. So it just picks up sound. So you can kind of move around to certain areas of the engine, and go that's where the noise is coming from. Because sometimes the noises are mechanical sounds and sometimes they're more, I want to say audible. It's like, they're kind of in the air, so to speak. I'm having a hard time describing it. We use the tool in different ways. 

So anyways, for something like this, of course, the metal tip is the best way to find it. We pretty quickly determined that the idler pulleys for the belt, as we suspected, were worn out and that's what needed to be replaced.

Mark: So that's what you found with this Subaru. Do you have some pictures?. 

Bernie: Yeah, I do. Actually, I even have a video, which is really cool. So let's get into the pictures. So there's our 2013 Outback. Actually I'll get into the video right now, cause this is a really good example of what a noisy bearing sounds like. Can you see that okay. We should hear nothing. And usually a new bearing, it doesn't spin quite so fast and easy. 

2013 Subaru Outback, Drive Belt Pulley Replacement
2013 Subaru Outback, Drive Belt Pulley Replacement
2013 Subaru Outback, Drive Belt Pulley Replacement

There's a view of the drive belt system. So this is the crankshaft pulley down here. This is what drives everything. If you took the belt off, this is what would be spinning when the engines running. There's an idler pulley here, there, and there's a tensioner pulley here and there's a spring loaded tensioner assembly. Air conditioning compressor, power steering pump. And there's an alternator somewhere. I can't quite see it probably down, probably down here. 

Mark: Yeah, that looks like it. 

Bernie: Yeah, it seems like a, not a usual spot. No, actually this is the alternator up here. The tensioners back in here. So anyways, or the tensioners down here anyways.

Mark: It's like you've never worked on one of these. 

Bernie: Its's like I never worked on one of these. Yeah.I sound like a complete fool. But anyways so you can tell it wasn't me who actually did the service on it, but yeah, that actually the tensioner should be down here. So anyways these are the pulleys we replaced.

We also did the belt at the same time. You know, serpentine belts, which is the design of this belt. They're very durable these days. They last a long time. It used to be that they would develop cracks after a while. They use a different kind of rubber compound so they don't crack, like they used to. But they still do wear out. Like the grooves will wear and over time, you know, they won't contact the pulleys quite as well as they should.

So anyways, it's a good idea when one thing's worn out, just do them all at the same time. And then it's done forgotten about, you know, in the life of this car. You'll probably never have to do this service again. 

So there's the picture of the pulley. There's the bearing located in the centre of the pulley. 

Mark: So what would have happened if the owner had not fixed this issue? 

Bernie: Well, eventually the bearing would break apart. Eventually the bearing, you know, it's dry, like the lubrication it hasn't leaked out, but somehow it's burnt out of the bearing. Eventually the bearing would fail. The pulley would seize up. Of course the engine is still trying to turn it. The belt would burn up and all of your accessories would stop functioning. The alternator, air conditioning, power steering would all stop and your battery would go dead pretty quickly. 

But I mean, you'd notice a loss of power steering immediately. So that would be kind of the first thing. But there'd probably be some horrible screeching sounds along with it. Definitely not good. 

Mark: So how often do these pulley bearings wear out on Subarus or any car? 

Bernie: Well, they usually last a fair amount of time. I can't remember what the mileage is on this vehicle, but it's a 2013. So the car's about 8, maybe 9 years old at this point. So, you know, that's kind of an average life span for these kinds of things. Maybe, you know, 7 to 10 years on any car. It's not just a Subaru issue. It's pretty well any car that has a drive belt system and they all do. Sometimes you get more out of them, but that's kind of an average lifespan, I'd say 7 to 10 years. 

Mark: And how are 2013 Subaru Outback for reliability?

Bernie: Yeah, they're an excellent car. I mean, very few problems with these things. There are some engine oil burning issues with some of these vehicles. And I know the owner of this vehicle, he has no problem with that. So you know, that problem isn't happening on this vehicle. But there are some that do have them. And I think it's kind of random, but it is fairly common. That was not an issue with the earlier generation of these engines. So the newer ones do have that problem from time to time. 

So you have to be a little cautious if you're buying a used one, but unfortunately it's the kind of thing where it's really impossible to test for that kind of thing. But if you didn't have seen, see any blue smoke, well you'd know that was bad, but they don't necessarily blow blue smoke. They just consume oil. So that's really the only issue with these cars. Other than that, they're fantastically reliable.

Mark: So if you're looking for some service on your Subaru in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. They do a lot of Subarus. You can call them and book an appointment, 604-327-7112. Or check out and book online at pawlikautomotive.com. 

There's hundreds of videos on there for your nighttime pleasure as well. Good ones about cars and car repairs. As well, we have our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, close to a thousand videos on there. We've been doing this for 10 years. We appreciate so much you watching and listening. Thank you, and thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2011 BMW X3, I Drive Controller Repair

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

Bernie: Good. Doing very well. 

Mark: So today's first victim is a 2011 BMW X3 I Drive Controller. What was going on with this BMW small SUV? 

Bernie: Yeah. So the owner of the vehicle came to us, they'd been doing some cleaning in their car and their I Drive Controller stopped working. There's some smoke that started coming out of it. And the I Drive Controller stopped working.

Mark: So what's an I Drive Controller and what does it do? 

Bernie: Yeah. So this is something BMW put in, in the, I'm going to say late 2000s. It's a nice, cool little knob near the gear shifter on the console. And what it does is it controls the radio, the navigation system, all sorts of features in the car.

I mean this, on this BMW, you can actually turn the knob, click buttons. You can access a full owner's manual. It gives you status of oil change services or brakes. There's other inputs you have to do to make sure it's all accurate, but generally, you know, there's timed oil change intervals and things you can look at. Any services, any issues that come up with a car, everything will be displayed. 

And so this knob is actually, and this whole system has got knobs and buttons. We'll look at pictures in a few minutes. If you own a car, of course you know at BMW, you know what this thing is. It does a lot to the functionality of the vehicle. Still drives without it, but things are missing.

Mark: Cleaning has to happen. What happened to this I Drive Controller? 

Bernie: Well, basically the the owner had sprayed a lot of cleaner around the console area. And I guess some of it leaked into the controller unit. So you know, cleaning with caution is important. It's better to put the cleaner onto the cloth for instance, than it is to spray it around the various components on the vehicle. Sometimes it seems like, oh yeah, just spray it on a, wipe it off. But with sensitive electronics you've got to be careful of where things go.

Things like water intrusion with so many computers and wires in cars, you have to be careful. You don't have water leaks in the cars that we fix a lot of issues with cars where water's leaked in and the damages wires or control units. So same with cleaners. If you sprayed in the wrong spot or too much of it, it can cause damage.

Mark: So how did you repair the I Drive Controller? 

Bernie: So for this vehicle, we actually opted to use a used unit and I shall just share some pictures here. We've got our nice blue coloured X3 2011. 

2011 BMW X3, I Drive Controller Repair
2011 BMW X3, I Drive Controller Repair
2011 BMW X3, I Drive Controller Repair
2011 BMW X3, I Drive Controller Repair
2011 BMW X3, I Drive Controller Repair

As far as pictures go. So we ended up putting a used unit in the vehicle. There's a picture of the I drive controller. So as you can see this knob, it's like a little joystick, push it back and forth. And there's also a knob can rotate. A ring you can rotate and then buttons for various items here. So we ended up getting a used unit and the reason why the owner actually had an extended warranty, but the extended warranty didn't cover this particular part.

 We'll just get briefly into extended warranties, but there are different levels of extended warranties. You can get to like a basic one, which usually covers sort of engine components and drive train. So if your engine blows up or transmission you know, fails, it'll cover that, but it won't cover a lot of other items like ignition coils or computers or anything like that. Then you can get different levels of warranty.

And this one had the plus warranty but it didn't cover things like the I Drive Controller. And I actually called the warranty company to put a claim in and well, it says it covers the navigation system and the radio, which this thing I think is an integral part of, because the controller isn't a listed item, they wouldn't cover it.

But apparently if you had the elite plan, it would be covered. So this is something we can talk about in a further podcast, but when you're looking to buy an extended warranty, look at what's covered and you really need to go over the details. And then of course, weigh the costs, because the elite warranty does cost more money.

So we ended up going for a used unit based on price. The new ones in Canada, 650 bucks. So we managed to get a used unit for much less money. We ran into something interesting on this car though. When we went to change it, there's the electrical connector there in this particular 2011, it's got about 11 pins on this electrical connector.

We got a used one. Again, this is a pretty common part. The used unit had a four pin connector, which didn't work. So send it back and it turned out after calling a number of auto wreckers, nobody had one. I guess 2011 was the first year they use this and they use this other connector. But what I noticed is the actual unit is exactly the same.

And even though there's 11 pins on this electrical connector. Even those 11 pins here, they actually only use the four on the right. And they actually happened to be the same colour code. So I got a wrecker of send me a wiring harness with the four pin connector and we soldered the wiring in and it worked just fine. So learned a valuable lesson there. 

 Actually, if you have a 2011, you're watching this and you get the wrong thing, you can always just make sure you get the wiring connector from the auto wrecker and soldered it in. And just a little example of the work we do. We like to solder and heat shrink all the wiring we do instead of twisting things together, using butt splice connectors. There's a place for all of those things, but solder and heat shrink is basically the best way to do it.

This wire is like, there's no break in the wire whatsoever and it'll be bullet proof for life. So things like butt splice connectors, we don't like to use those unless there are certain circumstances, but very rare in our shop.

Mark: How'd the vehicle run after you made the repair? 

Bernie: Oh it was good. Yeah. Everything worked fine. This is a plug and play unit. So there are many modules and things on European cars, especially that if you put it in, you've got to program it. This is just a basic switch item. So no need to program it. It works fine without any programming. So that's a good thing. Yeah, it worked fine. Restored everything back to normal. 

Mark: I bet that that change is changing as we get into 2021, 2022, that pretty much everything has to be reprogrammed. 

Bernie: Well yes and no. I think it depends on whether it's a module like a computer unit or whether it's a switch. And essentially this is just a very fancy switch. I'll just go back to this picture for one second here.

You can see there's four wires in this, so this is the power wire. So battery voltage. This is a ground wire. So basically some of the power the unit up, and then these two are data communication wires. So there's a can bus. That's a computer network. And so this is how so many computers and modules work on so many vehicles from a power window switch to to this I Drive Controller.

Even though it's got numerous knobs, you think it should have a hundred wires going everywhere. It only has four. And that's what we find in a lot of components on modern cars. This just goes to a computer and that computer talks to another computer. And it's pretty cool. It's amazing. 

That's why we can have so many advanced electronics in cars. So much in there without having like, you know, a hundred or 200 pounds of wires and a million miles of wiring. It's just how it all works. So it's complicated, but it's simple. If that makes any sense. 

But the thing is you need the computers to work on the car. So, you know, without having a scan tool and a lot of things, it's hard to know. Like when I plugged a scan tool into the unit, you can actually turn the knob and you can watch it on the scan tool, how it's rotating. You can push the joystick back and forth, and it'll show you which things are working. So then it helps us our diagnostics. But again, it's simple, but you need the computer. 

However, this was a simple diagnostic because not only, you know, the owner said there was some smoke coming out of the unit, but it smelled burnt. These are things where you don't really need a complex diagnostic tools. You can just go, Hey, it got screwed up. Change it. 

Mark: How are BMW X3s for reliability? 

Bernie: Well, they're kind of not the most reliable there. There's a lot of things that do happen on these vehicles. Oil leaks, water pumps you know, they have electric water pumps that fail. Coolant hoses, they got a lot of plastic bits and pieces that break. It's kind of typical BMW. So I'd say it's not the most reliable vehicle. I mean, I shouldn't say it's not reliable, they are. But you'll have a lot more repairs to do on this as opposed to a Toyota product or even a lot of other brands. Nice vehicle to drive though, for sure.

Mark: If you're looking for service for your BMW, so that it's reliable, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can check out and book on the website pawlikautomotive.com. Or if you need to call to book ahead, and you must, they're busy. Give them a call at (604) 327-7112. They'll work through it exactly with you. Get all the parts ready for you, so that they're ready when you show up to do a great job. Get your vehicle running again. Check out our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. We've got close to a thousand videos on there. We've been doing this for 10 years, all makes and models and types of repairs. Thank you for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. And thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. And thank you for watching.

2005 Lexus GX470 – Timing Belt Replacement

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

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So today's victim 2005 Lexus GX470. There was a timing belt replacement for this huge SUV. What was going on with this? 

Bernie: Yeah. So this vehicle was basically due for timing belt replacement. The owner brought the vehicle in. So we proceeded to do that. 

Mark: Was there any kind of indication that there was something wrong with the belt? 

Bernie: No, nothing wrong with it actually, just wanted to do it based on the time of the vehicle, the odometer at about 91,000 kilometres on it.

So it was not actually due by mileage yet, but you know, certainly by time this vehicle is now 16 years old, in great shape by the way, it's very low mileage for a vehicle like this. But yeah, it was time to do the belt from point of view of preventing anything from breaking.

Mark: What's the replacement interval for timing belts on this particular vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so on this vehicle, it's about 90,000 miles. For some reason my kilometre calculator isn't working right now, but I think that's somewhere in a 150,000 kilometres, somewhere around there, 150, 160. So you know, it's due around that. These are really robust belts. And so they will generally last quite a lot longer than the service interval, but I wouldn't recommend you do it because if it breaks, I'm not giving any advice here to leave it longer. I think it's always should be replaced, but they're just much more reliable timing belts in the, I mean, I'm working on cars for a long time.

They used to be these skinny little belts that had square teeth. And they evolved into curved tooth belts with that they're much wider. You can actually look at a couple of pictures right now and it kind of gives you an idea of what the belt looks like. 

2005 Lexus GX470 – Timing Belt Replacement
2005 Lexus GX470 – Timing Belt Replacement
2005 Lexus GX470 – Timing Belt Replacement
2005 Lexus GX470 – Timing Belt Replacement
2005 Lexus GX470 – Timing Belt Replacement

 So there's a view of the front of the engine. This is actually the new timing belt installed. I didn't take pictures all the way through the process, but this is one of the cam shaft covers back on. This is the cover removed on this side. So you can see the belt in here, but it's quite a wide belt, well over an inch wide. 

And as I was saying, like in the olden days, they were much thinner and they never lasted as long, but manufacturers got smart. They made them more reliable, with less frequent replacement. 

Mark: Is this a V6 or a V8? 

Bernie: It's a V8. very good reliable engine. I don't normally say too many bad things about Toyota's they eventually they'll well, it's a Lexus, but still a Toyota. Here's another closeup view. This is the variable valve timing actuator.

And there's the belt. You can see the belt kind of in there. As I said, these are with all the covers installed, but power steering pump is kind of loose here. You can see it's kind of sitting on an angle. So things are not fully back together, but at least it gives a view of the engine compartment.

Mark: What else did you replace with the timing belt? 

Bernie: Well, the water pump for one. This is a view of the water pump. We also changed the tensioners and most of the time we change the front engine oil seals as well because they tend to leak and cause problems. But we don't on all vehicles nowadays.

It used to be a one-time. By the time your timing belt was worn out. Your oil seals were usually leaking oil, but again manufacturers make them out of much better materials. So they tend to be very durable. Sometimes lasting I don't want to say the life of the car, whatever that is, but they may last for decades without failing.

Whereas in the olden days of seals, sometimes we'd take them out and they'd be hard as hockey pucks. They'd be leaking oil all over the place. Anyways, the water pump was one item we replaced. This is a weep hole. This prevents coolant from actually running onto the timing belt.

It goes through a passageway and can run out, but you can see this festering of pink here, there's cooling that's been leaking. Not at any large rate, but some coolant has leaked and with this kind of mileage, I mean, not doing the water pump is kind of a crazy thing, because it will fail for sure over the next while.

And then you have to take everything back apart again. And it's driven by the timing belt, so if it seizes up, the bearing fails, it seizes up, then it'll damage the timing belt. And that's definitely a something we don't want to do.

Mark: So this was another issue. Was there any other issues? 

Bernie: Yeah, so I was going to say you know, like the water pump, to us it's a standard job. Timing belt, oil seals to a certain degree. The tensioners as well, there are tensioners that have bearings that rub against the timing belt, idler pulleys, tensioners, those all get changed at the same time.

The only other thing we ran into is the radiator was starting to leak. And we replaced that as well, which is a little bit of extra work on top of the timing belt, but not a lot since we had covers and things, parts removed already. It's a little more accessible, but you can't see it so much here, but there was leakage at both tank scenes. 

And you know, this is the original rad, so really good life out of this radiator. We've got a closer up view of the leak. You can see, again, this sort of pink festering. This vehicle uses, if you can't guess by the colour, uses pink coloured antifreeze, something Toyota's used for quite a long time.

And you know, these are plastic tank radiators with aluminum cores, and they crimp these together. At one time, radiator shops would actually replace these. We could actually get these recored, but that's long gone. You know, radiators are all sold new now. When they were out, we just buy new ones.

That's the beauty of Chinese manufacturing it's made the price very inexpensive for a complete radiator. Whereas at one time it used to be very expensive. So this wasn't a major leak, could have been left, but at some point it's going to get a whole lot worse and why not do it now while you have it apart and then you won't have to deal with it again for a decade.

Mark: So how are these Lexus SUV's for reliability? 

Bernie: Oh super good. You know, there's not a lot that goes wrong with them until they get quite a bit on an age. I would think that this may well be the first major amount of money that the owner spent in this vehicle. And that's pretty good for a 15 year old vehicle.

I mean, they are complicated. There's a lot of fancy features to them. Some of them have electronic suspensions, so when things do go wrong, they are expensive to fix them and they will eventually wear out. But I just find on these that they just have a much longer life span and you generally pay a lot more for, you know, there was a time I was kind of hunting around for compact SUV. Looking at a European versus like a Lexus. And a Lexus, they're are a lot more money because people know that they're more reliable. 

Things like BMWs and Mercedes, they depreciate much faster because there are more problems with them. So you can buy the vehicle for cheaper. You'll just spend more money fixing it. You have to kind of do the math. Maybe it's better to buy the German vehicle over the Japanese, but you know, it all depends, but at anyways, very reliable. 

Mark: And the North American manufacturers aren't even in the running?

Bernie: Well, I guess when I'm thinking about Ford Explorers, what else would we have? Dodges? There's some Chrysler products. You know, there's some GMs that are good, you know, I dunno. I just for some reason, just compare the Japanese to the German. I think they're kind of the extremes and the Americans kind of fit in the middle. But yeah definitely if you want to buy a long-term good reliable vehicle, the Lexus is a great way to go. 

Mark: If you need some service for your Lexus or Toyota product, or any Japanese made vehicle in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604)327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, they're busy. Or you can book online pawlikautomotive.com. They'll get back to you. They'll get the details. They'll make sure they're ready when you show up. Also check out our YouTube channel, hundreds of videos, many hundreds we've done this for 10 years. All makes models, types of vehicles, all types of repairs. And of course, we really appreciate you watching and listening. Thank you. Thank you, Bernie. 

Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. It's always a pleasure.

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