Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

Summer Road Trip Preparations

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. Now we're talking road trips today. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So summer road trips that's even with the current travel restrictions, we have to take vacations within our own country it seems that certainly there's not a lot of things. Other places that are opened up more road trips, what are some of the things that we need to make our cars prepared for the kind of stress of taking longer trips?

Bernie: So yeah, I think it's going to be big summer road trips with all the travel restrictions. People aren't gonna be flying off to Europe, but they're going to be getting to see some of the beauty of British Columbia, which is possibly one of the most beautiful places on earth. A lot of people will get to see things they haven't seen before, which is awesome. But if you're taking your car and most people will, there's certainly a lot of strains that a car goes under when you're taking a long trip. Things you'd, might not happen when you're driving, you know, your usual city trip or your commute to work and back and driving your kids around to activities.

Well, which isn't going on right now either. But you know, when you're driving out on a lot of these trips, especially where we live, there's a lot of mountains, steep hills, you know, where engines are stressed, fuels burn a lot more. Sometimes if you have an engine that may have a slight oil burning problem, you may not notice that until you get out on the road or coolant hoses you've been neglecting, might burst and cause your engine overheat.

We see a lot of, when we drive up our mountain passes, you see a lot of cars that tend to die, premature death from lack of maintenance or lack of care while you're driving. So those are some of the things to look out for. 

Mark: So what are some things to do to prepare your vehicle, because it could be your truck as well, for the journeys that you might be on? 

Bernie: Well, the biggest thing is to make sure your vehicle's inspected and all your maintenance is current. That's the biggest thing to do.  I mean, if you're, we have regular clients who come through our shop and they, you know, we have like an A service, a B service, it's like a more full inspection.

I mean, if it's something that's been done recently over the last few months, probably not a lot you need to do in the way of having a shop do the work. But if you haven't had your vehicle inspected by a mechanic or shop for awhile, you should go in and have a good thorough inspection, you know, let them know I'm going on this trip. I want to make sure that my car is in good shape to go. So we basically do a very thorough, comprehensive inspection, look at the vehicle from front to back, and it's always good to know, for us, what people's reasoning is for their inspection. And if it's a trip, then we tend to look at certain things a little more closely.

Mark: So what if there's a large list of repairs that need to be done? Do you have to do them all? 

Bernie: Well, not necessarily. And again, we like to prioritize things. So, you know, we usually break our lists of, this is absolutely critical to do. These are things to watch for, and these are things, you know, things you could do, and things you know, things that are good.

So again, we can look over the vehicle and look at what are the priorities. But if you're going on a long highway trip, you know, making sure your cooling systems in good shape, those are critical things. Your fluids are full. Any leaks that might cause problems on routes should be fixed. Any loose, critically loose suspension or steering parts, brakes again, when you're going up the steep hills, you're going to need good breaks coming down the hills.

Now if you're traveling on the prairies, of course, that's a different conversation, because you're kind of going on the flat. But you know, nonetheless, it's important, you know, you can either choose to have your car repaired at a place you like and trust, or you can choose to leave it for, gamble the odds and possibly have it repaired in a place you don't really trust. 

Mark: What about tires?

Bernie: Tires? Well, obviously you know, tires need to have proper inflation and that's really critical and especially really important when you're loading your vehicle up. You know, you've got your family in the vehicle, you've got a whole bunch of extra gear, a bunch of extra weight, making sure your tire pressures are set, is critical.

And this is another thing, of course, as I mentioned, if you'd had your vehicle recently serviced, oh within the last few months, you're going to want to make sure your tire pressures are good yourself. Those are things to check yourself, make sure your oil's full, your coolant levels up. Those are do it yourself checks that you should do. And, you know, make sure, especially tires, you know critical and the treads are in good shape. 

Mark: What about cracking? I know that's something that you mentioned on my father's vehicle. He's got an older vehicle with, it hasn't had a ton of mileage on it, all around town. So the treads are probably okay. But there's a lot of cracking in the tires. Is that a indicator that the time for new tires? 

Bernie: It is actually. Often we'll see tires, cars that have very low mileage people don't drive a whole lot. The trends will start to crack. Rubber breaks down. And you can actually look on your tires, there's a DOT, Department of Transport tag that tells when the tire was manufactured. And it's generally, sort of a rule of thumb, is if a tire is older than seven years old, like as manufactured more than seven years ago, it's pretty much time to change that tire. Now I'm not saying that a tire that's 10 years old is going to burst, but you know, it's getting to that age where the rubber is starting to get old and it's worth considering replacing your tires. 

I have an RV trailer. I mean, just trying to think of how old, I think my tire's like 12 years old. I hardly use it. So the treads are like, you know, 90% of original, but I decided, you know what, I'm changing the tires because I just don't want them to blow up on a road trip.

So these are the kinds of things that are good to look for. So yeah, cracking tires definitely worth replacing. 

Mark: So what are some of the other things that I should be making sure I'm taking a look at while I'm on the road. 

Bernie: Well, I think it's important, especially if you're doing a long trip, even if it's not that long, but before you start out driving in the day, do a walk around of your vehicle, have a look. How did the tires look, you know, is there anything noticeable, maybe, you know, poke your head under the vehicle? Is there anything dripping. By the way, it's normal for air conditioning systems to drip water. So if you're seeing a fluid coming out, kind of usually that's around the floor where the passenger's feet might be, it's normal for water to come out there.

So if you see a fluid, don't freak out, just maybe back the car up and go, Oh, is that water? And you can tell if it's water. You know, but if, you know, just have a look on the ground, make sure there's no fluids or drips. And if you do see something on the ground, make sure it's your vehicle and not from some other previously parked vehicle, but, you know, have a look at that kind of thing.

And, and I think it's very worthwhile every once in a while. Maybe every time you fill up, or every second, fill up, just pop the hood, check the oil level, just have a look at the coolant, make sure it's in the overflow bottle, it's full. You know, those are couple of things that can save you a lot of grief.

Mark: So what if my car has tire pressure monitoring or other alerts that tell me if the fluid levels are low or if there's any other problems. Should I still make these periodic checks? 

Bernie: Well I think the walk around is important, but yeah, there's some vehicles, I have a BMW that pretty well, kind of tells you everything. I mean, if the tires are low on air, a light will come on. If the oil's low, a light will come on, if the coolant's low a light will come on. So these are all things that are all taken care of. I will say that it's probably not a bad idea to just poke your head under the hood and look anyways, although on a lot of cars you won't see anything because they're so covered. But you know, it's good to know your car. So you need to know, does my car actually have these features. 

I own an older Suburban. It has oil and coolant level monitoring as well. So a light will come on if the oil level is low or the coolant. So I don't really need to look at that stuff, but it doesn't have tire pressure monitoring. So that's the kind of thing that I need to look at. And of course in that vehicle, like an under hood inspection is a good thing to do. 

But the important thing is get to know your vehicle. Don't make assumptions, look in the owner's manual. If you have any questions call your trusted mechanic, or if you're in Vancouver and you deal with us, call us. We're happy to help. 

Mark: So any other tips that you might have for making a successful trip? 

Bernie: Well, you know, it's not a bad idea to bring a little extra fluids along, like know a bit of extra coolant for your engine. You can just bring a jug of water. I mean, water works fine as a coolant for it, you know, on temporary basis. Maybe a litre of oil or so just to be on the safe side, if you happen to need it somewhere in the middle of nowhere. And you know, it's important to know where it is you're going. If you're doing a trip, that's kind of like off the grid, like out in the bush somewhere, and you're going a ways,  there's some other things you might want to bring along. Make sure your spare tires got air in it. And you know how to actually change the tire. 

Extra batteries. A lot of places sell these booster packs. They're small little compact battery. It's a sort of yay big, not very big. So I think it was a lithium ion battery. You can charge it with your car charger or charge it at home, but it has clips on it, so if your battery happens to go dead, you've got actually a battery booster to get you out in an emergency. And it's compact. You can also use it to charge your cell phones and things. But of course, if you use it for your cell phones too long, you know, your car battery won't have enough juice to do your car battery. So you've got to kind of watch it, but it's a good emergency item to have. 

Other than that cell phone, you know, bring some water for yourself, maybe some energy bars or just something to eat in case, unfortunately, your car breaks down somewhere and you have to walk. It's also good to know your terrain. Like what's the cell phone coverage like where you're going. Because there are a lot of places where there is no cell phone coverage in certain areas. So you know, just knowing that is helpful. 

Mark: Yeah you might not be able to rely on whatever support systems that you typically would have in the city. So you have to be a little more self-reliant.

Bernie: Exactly. And there are highways that have better cell coverage than others and, you know, little pockets that don't and that's basically, yeah. 

Mark: So there you go. If you would need your vehicle inspected before you go on your next road trip, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. Call and book ahead, they're busy. You got to book ahead. But there's hundreds of videos there for you to learn from and check out what the problems might be with your vehicle on the website or on the YouTube channel. And again, if you like the podcast, give us a review on Apple podcasts or wherever you're picking up your podcast from. We appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. And a happy motoring, safe driving.

2008 Ford Edge Fuel Injector Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. And of course we're talking Fords today. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So a Ford Edge, 2008, that had a fuel injector problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie:So the vehicle came to our shop with a couple of concerns and one of them was that the engine was running rough and the check engine light was on. 

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

Bernie: Yeah, so we, of course our first step in testing is hooking a scan tool up to see what trouble codes we have. There was a code P0301, which is a cylinder one misfire, and there was also a code for a misfire on startup. So clearly the problem was you know, indicated which cylinder it was. We did some tests and verified, in fact, number one cylinder wasn't firing properly, not completely dead, but partially dead.

The testing and diagnosis on this was interesting because a lot of times, you know, it'll be a bad ignition coil. A lot of these, they have an ignition coil per cylinder. They tend to fail quite frequently. And so we often come into our diagnostics with assumptions. Oh, it's probably that, but in fact, that coil had been replaced about eight months ago at another shop. Still doesn't mean it wasn't a problem. So we ran some tests. We have a lab scope where we can actually get a pattern, like a firing pattern on each coil. So we tested the coils that we could, the rear cylinder bank is a little difficult to access on this vehicle because the intake manifold hangs over the back of the rear cylinders.

And number one cylinder just happens to be in the back where it's not so easy, but the coil was visible and we were able to at least test the pattern on the coil seemed to be fine, but just a verifying testings further, we remove the intake manifold as much as we needed to. Pulled the coil out, swapped it with another cylinder, verified that in fact that coil is good, inspected the spark plug. It was good. Did a compression test on the cylinder. It was good. So that kind of narrowed us down to either a major vacuum leak or a fuel injector. So we went and performed some tests on the fuel injectors. 

Resistance tests were the first, well, actually the first test we did was we can listen with a stethoscope. We could hear the injector was clicking, so it was actually firing, but still doesn't guarantee of course the injector's perfect. I'll just go some pictures because this is where we find the actual issue. 

So there is our Ford Edge, 2008, 12 year old car now. Still in good shape about 180,000 kilometres, I believe on this vehicle and after we fixed it, of course ran well. There's a picture of the fuel injector. These are quite compact compared to what they used to be. Although I don't have anything, you know, size to compare it to. But just a couple of things, this is where the electrical connector hooks up. The actual fuel's injected out of this area here. So this sits in the intake manifold, and this is where the fuel rail connects up where the high pressure fuel sits. This is a port fuel injector, so it fires the fuel into the intake manifold as opposed to a direct fuel injector, which fires directly into the cylinder, which is a different technology.

So this is one of the fuel injectors. This is a tested with an ohm meter. So we're testing the resistance through the fuel injector, 12.2 ohms. That's a normal amount. I could show you the other five injectors, but we'll just go to the bad one, this is the bad one, 105 ohms. Immediately we knew there was something wrong with it. Now interestingly, when we first tested it in the car, we actually found that the resistance was only about 30 ohms, which was still three times what it was supposed to be. But, as we tested it a few more times, for taking this picture, I found that the resistance would vary from 40 to 105. Sometimes it hit 200. So clearly there was a problem. And that's what we found. So sometimes resistance tests are kind of useless, but in the case of this vehicle, this was clearly what helped us confirm our problem.

Mark: Did you fix the issue? Did you just replace one injector or did you have to do all of them? 

Bernie: Well, that was the discussion we had with the client, because obviously there was only one that was bad, but the vehicle has 180,000 kilometres, it's 12 years old, one injectors died. What are the chances that the other five are going to go in the next week, month, six months a year, and this is not an entirely uncommon wear out part on this particular engine. Fuel injectors do wear out fairly commonly. So we had a discussion with the client. Here's the cost to do one here's the cost to do all six. He chose to do all six. Smart move. You know, the labor to actually change one of them is the same as changing all six, because you have to remove the whole injector rail. Remove the intake manifold remove the whole injector rail. So they all come out of the engine. It's just really a matter of do you change one, or do you change the others?

And so had he not chosen to do them because that does add a bit of cost. These are fortunately not the most expensive injectors out there, so they're reasonable, but it's still six is a lot more money than doing one. But the consequences of not doing it would be, say a month from now, the engine starts running rough again. We have to go through the whole diagnostic procedure and all the costs associated with that only to find, Oh, another injector's died and then you have to pull the whole fuel rail off. He pays the whole labor cost again to change another injector. So it just makes sense to do all of them at the same time.

But again, these things, you know, we need to evaluate, you know, as to how difficult the job is. If it's easy to just change one at a time, then you can go that route. But we found in the past, a lot of times we get an engine where one ignition coil's bad, we change one and then a few months later, the next one dies. So it's often better to do all of them, but it really depends on costs and the work involved. 

Mark: So, how did it run after you completed the repairs? 

Bernie: Kind of like brand new. It was awesome. Yeah. Ran really well started great. Ran smooth. So yeah, really, really good. 

Mark: And how are Ford Edges for liability? 

Bernie: They're pretty good. We've got a number of clients with them from, you know, people who drive them very little, to you know, people who've got fairly high mileage on them. They seem to be pretty good overall. I mean, this is not an unexpected repair for a vehicle of this age. So overall I'd say they're pretty good. They're not a super high priced vehicle, so they're, I think a pretty good deal, but you will probably do a few more things than you would on a Toyota, but that's all as the benchmark standard. You'll probably hear me say that all the time. It's going to sickening and annoying, but not as reliable as a Toyota, but still pretty good. And generally the price point on them to buy is good. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Ford product in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. Again in Vancouver, BC, Canada. You can also check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. Our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. On both places, hundreds and hundreds of videos, articles on all makes and models of vehicles and all kinds of repairs. Thank you for watching the podcasts and listening. We appreciate it. Leave us a review and thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Slip Differential Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking Jeeps. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. That had a limited slip differential problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the owner's concern was a warning light on the dash and said four wheel drive system fault. And there was a couple of other warning lights that would come on at the same time, ABS and then a couple of other things. So that was the primary concern.

Mark: So how did you diagnose this? 

Bernie: Yeah. We road test the vehicle, it felt fine. Plugged in our diagnostic scan tool and did a full system scan. This is sort of the best way. I mean, we could of gone right into the four wheel drive module, but the best thing to do on a modern vehicle, especially 2015, which is pretty advanced electronics, is to do a full system scan. So that scans every module in the vehicle computer from the engine to the power windows, whatever the vehicle equipped with, it scans the whole system and it reports on any trouble codes found. And so, we found trouble codes in a variety of different modules, ABS traction control, electronic limited slip differential, which is kind of where the area of concern we found lied. 

So from there, you know, once we record all the codes and we clear them, drive it and see which come back. And that kind of gives us an idea. Because one code will often set a code in another module. So it's important to decipher which item is actually causing the fault.

So from being a little more driving diagnosis, we found that the fault clearly it was the electronic limited slip differential motor. There was a circuit problem with that motor. 

Mark: So were there any more tests that you needed to do from there? 

Bernie: Yeah. Well, now that we'd verified where the area of the problem was coming from, then we were able to test the motor, the circuits, make sure that see what component was bad.

And of course we consult the manufacturer's information when we need to, and their system is pretty simple. It's clear the code. Doesn't return. Is the wiring hooked up. If it returns the motors defective. So that's kind of their system. And in fact, this time it did work fine, but so often in automotive repair, I've seen it, you know, install known good part.

Well, sometimes the known good parts, a thousand bucks. So, you know, I don't personally feel that good about going, you know, telling someone, Hey, it's going to be a thousand dollars plus labor. It might not work. It's a good way to lose customers fast, but we did our tests and the motor turned out to be the problem.

Mark: So how difficult was it to replace this motor? 

Bernie: It's pretty simple. This motor bolts onto the side of the rear differential and pretty straightforward replacement. Let's look at some pictures. 

So there's our Jeep 2015 Grand Cherokee, fully loaded. These vehicles, they just get fancier every year, pretty cool vehicle. Good off-road ride. So let's have a look, there's the motor. Electrical connector here. There's a little drive gear here that operates the innards of the differential. And we'll just look at a few more views of the motor, but essentially there's several bolts, and this bolts right into this side of the differential case. No messy fluid to change, it's pretty straightforward and easy. Okay views. This is the gear that meshes inside the motor. You can see the mounting holes here for the bolts. 

I found this stuff kind of interesting. The motor, it says if drop scrap, Do not open or modify. And then I kind of looked at it a little more closely and noticed that the whole motor is riveted together. There's not a bolt you can take apart to look at it. So this is a very integrated unit with sensors and obviously sensitive, like if drop, scrap. It's funny, interesting kind of English.

Wiring. So this is, you know, the electronics are complicated on these things, and this is like a, again, I'll just show these sort of things so you can kind of get an appreciation for the level of complexity that a modern vehicle has. You know, this is basically the motor here and differential clutch hall sensor, that's basically a position sensor. So the computer knows what position the motor's in, whether it's doing its thing and any of these things that don't quite work properly will cause the motor to malfunction and the whole system to go down. So again, clutch motor, there's a lot to this. And this is just the the rear differential. There's the electrical connector. And I think that kind of covers our picture show.

Mark: So, did you have to reprogram anything to get this motor to work properly? 

Bernie: It's a great question, because on a lot of modern vehicles, the moment you change a part, the vehicle needs to be reprogrammed to accept the module and what it is. And in this case, it wasn't. So it made first kind of simple plug and play operation. But yes, there are a lot of vehicles where if you put a module and all of a sudden there'll just be an error code and nothing works and all systems down and you have to reprogram it. But fortunately for this, it's easy. And this is a bit of research we always do before we replace a part on a vehicle just to check with the manufacturer to make sure that it doesn't need reprogramming. So that way as a customer, you know what to expect when the job's done. 

Mark: So I've replaced a couple of differentials in vehicles over the years. I've never had to put any kind of electronic stuff in there. Why are they using electronic controls in a deferential and what does it actually do? 

Bernie: Well again control is the word and with electronics, as we well know, you can do things fast. You know, a lot of the switch time in these things is a hundred milliseconds. So that's pretty quick, you know, and so a computer senses a wheel needs to grip the road a little better. It'll just send that signal right away. And then the differential can make the adjustments, whereas on a normal limited slip differential, it's a bit crude. I mean, it works great, but you're not going to get necessarily the very best traction you could, unless you can actually send the torque to the wheel that you need to.

So this gives that capability to be able to do that. What's inside of this thing. I actually tried to do a little research and I actually don't know exactly how it works because through my repair information, they don't show, Chrysler hasn't released anything on what the insides are like on this. So I have to get a unit and take it apart and see at some point, and I know that'll happen at some point in time. 

I looked at an Eaton video, which this may be an Eaton unit I'm not sure but they have a video on how the system works. It's kind of interesting to watch. 

Anyways, you know, the clutches are basically electronically controlled and it's basically speed and operation and control and integration with the rest of the vehicle. Perhaps more torque needs to go to the front and less on the rear, you know, being an all wheel drive vehicle so this is what the vehicle can do. Much more control. 

Mark: So 2015, it seems pretty new for replacement like this. How reliable are 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees? 

Bernie: Well, you know, I consider Jeeps to be a vehicle in the fair reliability department. There's a lot of things that tend to go wrong on them. They are, in all honesty, they are are complex vehicles. There's a lot more to them than most, but this vehicle only had 42,000 kilometres. So really not a lot of mileage. And in my opinion, this motor should have lasted a whole lot longer. So I think, you know, if you own a Jeep, I guess the easiest thing I can say is just expect you're going to spend a little more money to do repairs than you would a few on some other equivalent vehicles.

Mark: And does that accelerate a little bit, if you're doing a lot more off-road stuff, even though that's rarer and rarer for Jeeps these days. 

Bernie: Yeah, well, there's certainly the risk of you go off road that you might bang or smash something, but it may actually in some way actually enhanced the life of some of the components, because they're actually meant to be used in these ways.

So sometimes lack of use can cause problems just as much as overuse. But I would say, yeah, if you're going out in the bush it might well do it. Like you said, a lot of these are city four by four. They don't really get used for what they could be used for.

Mark: So there you go. If you're city four by four, or off-road four by four needs some service in Vancouver. The guys to see your Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call the book ahead. They are busy, always a line up to get in there. So got a call and check. Pawlikautomotive.com is the website. Pawlik Auto Repair is the YouTube channel. Hundreds of videos of all makes and models and types of repairs on there over the last seven years. And of course, thanks so much for listening, watching the podcast. We appreciate it. Leave us a review. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

2008 Mercedes ML350 ABS Sensor Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking Mercedes today. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So a 2008 ML350 that had an ABS problem warning light. What was going on with this SUV? 

Bernie: Yeah. So this vehicle was brought to us. It had a number of lights on, on the dash. Primarily the ABS light was the biggest concern. He'd actually taken it to another shop to have it scanned and diagnosed and repaired. But they, well, we can talk about this one later, but to make a long story short, it was at our shop too to be looked at. So we scanned the vehicle and found some interesting stuff. 

Mark: So, is there any other diagnosis that you had to do after scanning it? 

Bernie: We did. For sure. So, part of the procedure of course is to, with any diagnostic is to road test the vehicle. We did that the vehicle drove fine. You know, the thing about ABS lights to know is that when usually when an ABS warning comes on, it doesn't usually affect your braking system, because your base breaking system works as normal. It's just the ABS features, you know, that sort of antilock feel. If you've ever pressed the pedal hard and it, you feel the pedal vibrate, that will be shut off. In the features of antilock braking, which, you know, prevent the wheels from skidding, won't happen.

So you've got your basic brakes, but anyways vehicle drove fine. We found quite a few trouble codes starting the vehicle, but all of them pointed to the left rear wheel speed sensor. And there was all sorts of different descriptions for the codes. Mercedes are very detailed in a lot of their code descriptions and tests that they do on these things.

So there was even one that said perform visual inspection on censor, which I thought was kind of an interesting code description. So clearly we knew where the area of the problem was. And so our next step of our tests and unfortunately I have a video I really wanted to show. Maybe we'll maybe we'll be able to put it in with the with the final podcast, but it's not here available today, but we were able to look at each wheel speed sensor when we drive the car and compare how each centre’s operating.

So the interesting thing I noticed right away, so it has, you know, each wheel speed sensor and you would expect as you're driving down the road to have a reading of it. You're going like five kilometres an hour, five miles an hour. However it is. And they should all be relatively the same. Well, the interesting thing was as I went to that screen with the vehicle sitting in park and the engine running, you can see the left rear wheel speed sensor was, every wheel speed sensor said 0.7 of mile per hour. For some reason, I guess that's the default number when you're not moving. The left  wheel speed sensor would start reading 3, 4, 10 miles an hour without the vehicle even moving. So clearly we knew there was a problem in that area of the computer or the sensor.

Mark: So you've found the bad sensor. Do you just change a sensor or are there any more tests that you do after that? 

Bernie: You know, there's always different ways to deal with diagnostics. I'm going to actually go to a screen share here we'll just look at a few pictures while we're talking here. 

There's the vehicle 08 gasoline powered pictures. There's a new and old wheel speed sensor. You can tell it's the old one, because there's a bit of rust and corrosion, which we frequently find. And wheel speed sensors can often be problematic to remove cause they rust and corrosion in place.

Fortunately, this one was not too difficult to remove and this is the actual speed sensor located bolted up in the wheel hub in the rear. There's the wire. So no, we don't just change the sensor. I mean, sometimes depending on what tests need to be done and depending on the price of the parts, sometimes we'll make the decision with the client. Let's change that piece first. In the case of this, we were able to do some testing on the wiring, resistance tests, and wiggle testing the wiring, and found that we when we would actually be under the vehicle, looking at the scan to a wiggling the wire, you can see the numbers jump around back and forth and normal and resistance test found the sensor was defective.

So there are other things that could have been. You know, there's a wire that runs from the rear of the vehicle to the front. Sometimes those are problematic. Not very often. The computer itself can be bad too. And we found that in other vehicles. So just jumping to the conclusion of let's just change the sensor can often lead to a, without a proper dialogue with the client can often lead to some dissatisfaction. Let's put it that way. 

Mark: So, how was it all after replacement? 

Bernie: Yeah it was good. Yeah. You know, right away the readings were normal. Everything read 0.7, when you're sitting there, no fluctuations are moving around. And once we drive it down the road, the vehicle ran you know, all the numbers were fine. All the warning lights went out. We cleared all the codes, nothing returned. So all good. 

Mark: So the ABS sensor on this at 2008, so it's a 12 year old vehicle. Would it make sense to change any of the other ones or do you wait for them to go bad?

Bernie: We wait for those to go bad. So I think with wheel speed sensors, they're usually replaced as needed type of thing. They do tend to fail kind of on their own. It isn't like if one fails, the rest of them are gonna fail shortly after. And there's really no, other than diagnostically, there's really no advantage to changing the other ones because it's all a separate labor item to replace. It's on a different corner of the car. So there's no labor savings in doing them. And I've found in the past, if you change one, sometimes you won't have a problem for a long time with the others. Good question though. 

Mark: So this is a gasoline powered ML350, how's it for reliability, especially compared to the diesels, which we know have a little bit of issues.

Bernie: Yeah. If you want to know about the diesels, of course, we have a many podcasts. I don't know how many, but there's gotta be 10 or 20 on diesel Mercedes, maybe even more. We do a lot of them. There are a lot of issues with the diesel engines, which don't happen with the gasoline engine. So you know, the rest of the vehicle like these ABS sensors are the kind of issue that'll happen on a gas or diesel. Suspension issues happen as well. But I'd say overall, a gasoline vehicle is definitely more reliable than a diesel, with the less expensive problems going wrong. So of course, your fuel, your price to drive it down the road is more expensive because of the fuel, but the diesel is very economical, but when it comes to repairs, the diesel will cost a lot more.

Mark: So there you go. If you're in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the place to go to get your Mercedes fixed is Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112. Website is pawlikautomotive.com. The YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on all makes and models and types of repairs on both of those places. As well, thanks for watching. We really appreciate it. Leave us a review if you're so inclined, and thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. We really do appreciate it. It's a pleasure to do this.

2012 Subaru Impreza AC Compressor Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking Subaru's how are you doing today? Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So today's victim 2012 Subaru Impreza that had an air conditioning problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, the owner brought the vehicle to us with the air conditioning system, not working. And he pointed out to us that you could see the air conditioning clutch was burnt at the front of the air AC compressor. So there was an obvious issue with that part.

Mark: So not a lot of testing and diagnosis needed. Did you do any further stuff and then what happened? How did this happen? 

Bernie: Yeah, normally with an air conditioning issue, when a client brings a vehicle to us, we will do a diagnosis on the air conditioning system. Air conditioning is complicated, there's a lot of moving parts. There are a lot of hidden parts or places to leak, the fluid in the air conditioning system, switches from a gas to a liquid, high pressure, low pressure. And there's a number of places the air conditioning system can leak and a number of electrical components that can fail as well.

So diagnosis is complicated. In this case or say it can be commonly in this case, it was very obvious with the compressor burnt. Usually that's a fault of the compressor or the compressor clutch. So there wasn't really anything further required other than to actually replace a compressor to start. 

Mark: And how did that happen?

Bernie: It's difficult to say.  I will just share a couple of pictures and we'll talk as we go. So there's our 2012 Impreza. The owner's kept in very nice shape. Looks pretty much like a brand new car. It's always nice to work on older vehicles that are in good shape. 

Okay, so there's the front of the AC compressor clutch, actually probably better to show a picture of a new good one. This is where the belt runs the air conditioning compressor and it's an electromagnetic clutch. So it receives an electrical signal and the electromagnet closes the clutch and that'll cause a compressor to drive.

If you were to drive the compressor all the time, it's a huge waste of energy. Air conditioning draws a lot of energy from the engine. So, running it only when needed is best and you can obviously see, this looks all rusty and corroded. Basically this compressor was seized and the clutch was burned inside. 

So how this happened, there's a few ways this will happen. One is the compressor can actually seize internally. It's like a little motor. It's got pistons inside of it. And valves and plates and a lot of moving parts that can seize up so he could have seized internally. There's also a bearing at the front of the compressor that could have seized.

And there's a very large bearing where the pulley rides and those seize up as well. But when those seize up, usually the belt will burn up pretty quickly. So that was not the case with this vehicle. It was basically this part here, which rotates the compressor was seized. So until we took it apart we weren't exactly a hundred percent certain, but one of the first steps we do as we changed the compressor is to take it out and we drain the oil out of it as best we can to look for any particles. If we find particles, then there are further repairs required. If not, then the compressor itself could probably just be changed and it could be safe.

Here's another view of the two compressors. This is the old one. Here's the new one. You can see some oil, there's an inlet and outlet on the compressor. There's a suction side and the other side is called the discharge side. That's under pressure and as I said, we basically drain this out see if there's any particles in the oil. Fortunately for the owner of this one, there's nothing found, so the failure, it all happened at the front end of this compressor and nothing inside.

Mark: So, would it be possible to just change the clutch or do they come as a unit, the compressor and the clutch? 

Bernie: They just come as a unit. There was a time where you could change the clutch. I'm pretty sure in this case, so that the seizure was actually in the compressor, probably the front bearing of the compressor and not the clutch.

There's been times where we've changed clutch bearings, but it's getting to be a rarer and rarer phenomenon, you know, more and more parts and cars are sold as complete units. Unfortunately this compressor is pretty expensive. We put a brand new one in there. There weren't too many options. I'm not a big fan of rebuilt compressors because they, sometimes it lasts a long time, but I say sometimes because other times, you know, one or two years down the road it'll start leaking or fail in some way. So brand new is always better in this case because you know, the repair is going to last a long time.

Mark: And how often do you see this part fail? 

Bernie: It's not entirely uncommon. We actually see quite a few AC compressors fail on Subarus, and overall, you know, in cars in general compressors do fail, but maybe, you know, 20% of all the air conditioning problems we run into, maybe 20% of them are compressor failures.

Most problems are leaks, but you know, for any hard part failures, compressors are a pretty common. 

Mark: And how are 2012 Subaru Imprezas for reliability. 

Bernie: Oh, they're very good. Subaru has gone away from the timing belt on these models. These are chain driven engines, so you don't have that timing belt replacement that's required at usually about 168,000 kilometres. Also the head gaskets, they seemed to fix the head gasket issues because we've never done one yet on one of these type of timing chain driven engines, which is a good thing, because that will be a much more expensive job to do than it would be on the timing belt model engine.

But they seem to be quite reliable. The only complaints I've heard about these engines, we haven't seen it personally, but I've heard, engine oil consumption can be an issue, excessive oil consumption on some of these engines. And there is actually, doing a little research, there's actually a recall on some of these like 2012 to 14 Impreza, some different models, you know, a variety of different models, for valve spring failure. So it's an actual recall from Subaru. So if you do own one of these cars, you could check and make sure that the recall has been done. The valve spring failure will actually cause the engine to run poorly. It could actually, you know, in severe case actually caused quite a major engine problem. So definitely something worth looking at. 

Mark: And recalls are done at the dealer. 

Bernie: They are done at the dealer. Yeah. Yeah. All recalls are done at the dealer and you can just call a call a Subaru dealer and say, here's my car, here's the VIN number. Am I up to date on my recalls? And they'll know, they have a database, and if you haven't done the recalls, there's possibly a couple others for different things, but that's the only engine related and major one I saw, but yeah, they'll let you know, and a book in and do the job.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Subaru in Vancouver, they've done hundreds of them. The guys to call Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're always busy or check the website, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of videos and articles on their all makes and models of cars, all types of repairs or our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Again, hundreds of videos on there. And Hey, thanks for watching or listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Leave us a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts from. And thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

2017 GMC Sierra, Lumbar Support Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 22 time winners, 22 times. Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking GMC trucks. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well this morning. 

Mark: So a 2017 GMC Sierra, the lumbar support broke. What was going on with his vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, so the owner had been, it's a work truck, he was sitting in his vehicle and I guess he needed to stretch out. So he pressed his legs rather hard on the floor, as he told me and pushed his back into the seat. And there's this pop. And after that, no lumbar support. 

Mark: So which part broke? 

Bernie: Well there's a unit on the back of the seat inside that creates a lumbar support. It's like, there's an electric motor and you can adjust it. So it pushes forward and back, you know, it's a nice truck. You know, these GMCs, they have different seat supports, side bolsters, lumbar supports and things. So basically a piece inside the seat that broke.

Mark: So why would that break? Shouldn't it be engineered to handle a lot of force? 

Bernie: I would think so, but we're going to look at some pictures now and you can see the quality of this part is less than stellar. I assume they have some sort of criteria that they don't expect people that really stretch into it and push into it. But in my opinion probably should have been built a little better than it is. But let's have a look at some pictures. 

So there's our 2017 GMC Elevation model pickup truck. And we'll get into the seat bolster here. There is the broken piece right there. We're looking at actually I'll do a wider view of this piece.

So this is the lumbar support fully removed from the vehicle, basically a long plastic pad, kind of hinged. And there's like electric motor that drives it. And some hooks in the end that kind of this whole assembly is kind of hooked into the seat mechanism. And this pushes against the seat, the back of the seat cushion, depending on whether there's a cable in the back we'll look at that. But you can see a little crack here and we'll look at our closeup again. This is the area that's cracked here. So you can see a cable here. This cable actually loops through a hole here, and that loops through a framework on the back of the seat. So that's basically what broke. As you can see, it's not very thick plastic. It's, it's pretty flimsy in fact. There's the lumbar support, the new one installed. It basically as I say clips into the back, you know, inside the frame of the seat here. There's the electric motor with cables and the wiring connectors.

The other closeup view of where the seat. This is again, you can see this sort of hinged piece here. Depending on which way the cable pulls it'll pull it tighter or looser, depending on how you want to adjust your lumbar. There's our picture show.

Mark: So obviously you could just replace the part. You didn't have to replace the whole seat, which is better. But you have to take the seat out of the truck. 

Bernie: No, you don't actually have to take the seat out. Fortunately, they've actually made it a fairly easy repair. I mean, as far as seat repairs go, you can remove the backing of the seat. Like there's a, you know, a cloth pad or a pad of sorts at the back of the seat, we remove that part. And then, then the lumbar support is pretty accessible inside there. So it's just a matter of, you know, unclipping things, taking it apart. And then, it's fiddly to put it all back together, as a lot of seat components are, but put it all back together. It was actually, it didn't require the seat removal, which is good. I mean, as far as seat repairs, that was probably one of the simpler things you could do. 

Mark: This is a crew cab pickup. I don't remember the picture. 

Bernie: It is. Yeah. Yeah. 

Mark: So that would make it a little bit easier to get access to that front seat. 

Bernie: It would be much more difficult if it was just a two seat pickup truck, but you don't actually, when I think about two seat pickup trucks, you know, well, without anything in the back are almost nonexistent anymore. It used to be like, you know, you have your traditional pickup truck with the bench seat and you could throw up a Jack in the back. It wasn't even, maybe a thermos or something in the back. Yeah. That was about it. But those days are long gone.

Mark: So, this is the question actually popped into my head. This truck's only three years old, wasn't this a warranty item? 

Bernie: No, the warranty had expired. I mean, and this is a question we ask our customers, you know, when you have a vehicle that's fairly new we say, isn't that covered under warranty and they say no, it expired. So, you know, it's a work truck. He uses it a lot. It's got a fair amount of mileage on it and it either expired by mileage or age. I'm not sure which one, but it was beyond warranty. 

Mark: So this is a unique circumstance, but is this a common issue with this part? 

Bernie: Well, I can say that this is the first lumbar support we've replaced in our shop and maybe the last. I don't know. It's not very necessarily a very common repair for us, but what I will say is that when we went to order the part from the GM dealer, it was readily available in quantity at their local warehouse. So that tells me that this is a part that breaks a lot because you know, things that don't break. They don't stock. Maybe they'd have one of them. So you know, that's always a sure sign for us sometimes when we have a repair where we're not exactly sure what it is or what's happened. Yeah. We've got lots of those in stock. That means that it's a common failure problem. So the key takeaway from this one is, you know, don't press too hard on your lumbar support because it might break.

Mark: So GMC trucks have been quite reliable. Have a reputation for being reliable and have actually been reliable for many years. How has this 2017 model?

Bernie: It's good. You know, again, it's not too old, but it uses a lot of the same engines that have they've used for a while. Same drive train components. So, you know, I say ever since around the year 2000, I've been pretty happy with GM trucks. I think overall they're a well-made products. You can count on them. They're good. Things do go wrong. You know, this lumbar support, as I said, isn't the most robustly built piece, but, you know, had he not stretched hard, you know, it may well have lasted for many more years. So overall I'd recommend a GMC truck. I think they're good. 

Mark: So there you go. If you need lumbar support replacements in Vancouver, or you need service for your GMC vehicles, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, they're always busy. Check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com or our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. There's hundreds of posts, videos, and blog posts, et cetera on all makes and models of vehicles and repairs. If you're enjoying the podcast, leave us a review. We'd appreciate it. And thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

Why Get A Pre Purchase Inspection?

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local where he was Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're going to talk about pre-purchase inspections today. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well?

Mark: So you've seen a couple of vehicles come through your shop lately that have had post-purchase inspections. What have you found? 

Bernie: Well, they're not exactly happy stories. We do get a number of people who come to us and, Oh, I just bought this car and it's got some issues. And, so yeah, it's a post-purchase inspection. This is why we're talking about pre-purchase inspections.

Now, sometimes they're happy stories and we find, Hey, there's not much wrong with the car, needs a couple of little things. But in the case of these two cars, there was a lot going on. 

First one was a Nissan Quest, mid two thousands. Person kind of needed to buy a vehicle in a hurry. Right off the bat she wasn't really, I spoke with her for awhile about the whole purchase process and right off the bat, she wasn't really very happy with the, didn't get a good feeling about the people she bought the vehicle from. They told her some work had been done. It was kind of like someone was selling it for their aunt or uncle. I can't remember all the details, but I hear these stories so often and I've seen them myself. Anyways did buy the vehicle. It wasn't a lot of money, but the vehicle ended up needing a huge amount of work, like thousands of dollars worth of work just to make it safe. There's one sad story. Had this vehicle had a pre-purchase inspection, they probably wouldn't have bought it in the first place, but if they did, you know, if they would have got the vehicle for next to free, that would have probably been, would have maybe made it an okay purchase. 

Our second story, older Dodge van, some younger people wanting to go on a trip. Bought the vehicle for cheap price. Again, they were told, you know, certain things have been done and this and that, but there was a problem with something they tinkered around with a few things. Finally brought it to us. So we did a good, thorough, comprehensive inspection on the vehicle. Found again serious problems worn out rear differential, loose ball joints, worn front brakes, you know, and like really serious expensive items. Again, you know, many thousands of dollars worth of repairs far exceeding the value of the vehicle. 

So there's a couple of sad stories right there. And the reason why you really do want to get a pre-purchase inspection, because you want to know what it is before you buy it. You don't want to find it after you buy it, oh, crap, now I'm faced with all this money to spend. And the vehicle and then, you know, if you decide, Hey, I'm going to sell the vehicle, then you've got to BS your way into selling the vehicle. Whereas perhaps the other people before were just ignorant and they say ignorance is bliss. 

Because you know, for me, I can't sell, you know, I could never sell a car if I knew, Hey, this ball joints about the break. And most people who know those kinds of things are not, don't feel ethical about doing that. 

Mark: So what's a positive story about pre-purchase inspections that you've encountered lately?

Bernie: I've got lots of positive stories, but I'm going to go into one. We had a client and I believe we did a podcast about this, he was looking for a, you know, a fairly new three quarter ton pickup truck. So he went to a GM dealer, local dealer. Very good reputation. Brought the vehicle to us. It was, it was only like two or three years old, not very old, pretty low mileage, like 30,000 kilometres or something like that. So there was a fair amount of money, this purchase, because it was a fairly new vehicle. We put up on our hoist and were shocked to find that this vehicle, it obviously, you know, spent most of its life somewhere in Northern BC or Alberta, where there's a lot of mud on the road.

There was two or three inches of caked on mud all underneath the vehicle. And it had been sprayed with undercoating. So, you know, we kind of curtailed the inspection halfway through said, you know what, this isn't a worthwhile vehicle to buy. He agreed, took it back, eventually found another vehicle from the same dealership, came back same thing. We did another, you know, almost of an inspection and say, you know what? Same thing. So he got a little discouraged with it. I think he found a Ford truck from somewhere else. We did an inspection, great vehicle and you know, he was happy with his purchase.

But if you're spending a lot of money, you want him to get the right truck. And smartly went through the process. You know, we've had people where they do one inspection and I don't know, for some reason they just don't want to spend the next amount of money to do the next inspection. This customer was smart. He did it, you know, we found the right truck and we haven't seen him since, because the truck didn't need any maintenance or repair and he's really happy with it.

The thing I'll say, you know, this was bought from a reputable dealership and I had actually ended up talking with the sales manager about it. Cause I said, Hey, I don't know if you guys actually looked at these trucks, but they probably, I'm assuming they bought them from auction somewhere. You know, they, they kind of bought them on the premise of the mileage was low and, and it's true, but you know, there were some maintenance issues, you know, care, taking issues with the vehicle that should have been dealt with, you know, had someone got under the pressure washer, really cleaned it and done a good job. It would have made the vehicle probably decent. 

Mark: So what could that customer have done to not have to go through three vehicles to find the right one? What quick tips would you have for that? 

Bernie: Well that's a really good question. I mean, I think, you know, before you buy, you really need to do your research. You know, what car do you want? How's the car work? You know, you go for a test drive and make sure the car feels fine. Now this guy did all that. And I think, you know, and then the question is, who do you buy it from? 

If it's a private sale? All you've got to go on, is your intuition and feeling for the person. But if you buy a private sale vehicle, you know, if you got someone to go, Hey, I've got all these maintenance records. I've serviced my car at this place for, you know, at the dealership or this shop for like the last 10 years, they've got those maintenance records. Those are really positive things, you know, in the favour of the car.

But again, for this person, they're buying from a reputable dealership. And I think just something happened, something fell through the cracks. I mean, I wouldn't hesitate to, I was surprised because most car dealerships, especially name brand GM, Toyota, Mercedes, wherever you buy it, you know, their reputation is at stake. They don't want to sell crap. So it kind of surprised me. And there are a lot of independent dealers that are good and some that are crappy. 

So I think you just gotta kind of do your research first. And you know what, at some time, every once in a while you get a, you know, a story like this, where something kind of falls through the cracks.

Mark: Any final thoughts on pre-purchase inspections? 

Bernie: Well, you know, I'd say if you're buying a used car, it's a process. It really is a jungle out there in terms of trying to find the right car. So do your research figure out which car you want and just go with your gut feeling on, you know, who you're buying it from, but get a pre-purchase inspection because you never know whether you're buying a good car from a bad person or a bad car from a good person or a, you know, the, maybe a reputable dealerships got some crappy cars for some reason, their, their systems and procedures slipped. So you get the pre-purchase inspection, again you're going to know a hundred percent that you're buying a car that's good.

Mark: So there you go. If you need a pre-purchase inspection, because you're looking for a good used vehicle, the guys to see in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead because they're busy even now, as we start to open up. As well, there's over 600 videos on YouTube, Pawlik Auto Repair, check us out there, all makes and models and all types of repairs. And of course the website pawlikautomotive.com and leave us a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify, wherever you get your podcasts we'd really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching and get your car inspected.

A Tale of Two AMGs

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. Now we're talking AMGs, how are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well? 

Mark: So a tale of two AMGs. What was happening with these two Mercedes high-performance vehicles?

Bernie: So the first car we'll talk about the C63 came our shop for some service. I found something interesting about this car. I actually own a SL55, a bit older and, there was a commonality between these two cars, not just that they're AMGs that I thought was, this is kind of neat. Lets let's do a podcast and talk about AMG vehicles.

So the C63 came to our shop with a few issues. The owner suspected that perhaps he had a head gasket leak because his coolant was down. The engine was running rough. Fortunately for him, we never found any of those issues. And I think he may have been a little, I don't know, maybe read some stuff on the internet or got a little, jumped the gun anyway.

There are some other issues with that C63 that we found, but I think that the base engine itself is probably in pretty good shape. 

Mark: So your car is about 17 years old, 180,000 kilometres or so I think. Yeah. So what's the difference? What was the commonality between these two vehicles? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the commonality is that these engines, so AMG engines are hand-built in a very fancy factory. I might add. There are a lot of really cool videos you can watch them on how they build these. I've watched one myself. It's pretty neat. So it's not like some guy in a dusty shop putting an engine together. This is like a, you know, building an engine in a laboratory, but the AMG engines are all hand assembled.

And on top of the engine, they have a little tag that has the name of the engine builder. So what I noted is that the engine builder for these two cars was the same. These engines was the same guy. Ricardo Beck. So if you actually get a chance to watch this podcast here, your engines are still performing well out there. 17 years later on an SL55 with 180,000 kilometres. Still runs like a dream. So good work, Ricardo.

Let's look at a couple of pictures while we're at it. So this is a 2003.  These cars look kind of the same for quite a few model years. 

And the other vehicle we have in our story here, this is a 2009 C63 AMG as well. You know, quite different cars, I mean the SL55 of course is a hard top convertible Roadster. This is basically a four door base model sedan, but with the large 6.2 litre engine in it.

So, let's get into looking at some pictures of engines. So this is the engine in the C63. And you can see the name tag right here, Ricardo Beck. And this is a 6.2 litre naturally aspirated V8 engine. And this is Ricardo's older work the SL55, 5.4 litre supercharged V8.

Mark: So what's different about these two engines other than the size? 

Bernie: Yeah. So the displacement is different, obviously. So we'll let's talk about the 5.4 litre the, in the SL55. So this is supercharged V8 5.4 litres. It's an overhead cam engine, three valves per cylinder, two spark plugs per cylinder. Interesting. It's just kind of technology of the day, and non variable valve timing. Whereas if we look at the, we'll just get into the six point, this is a 6.2 litre naturally aspirated. 

So the other engine we'll look at it in a second.

This is the intake manifold, the air filters sit here and a lot of that is done for visual. I mean, these are nice looking engines. When you pop the hood, they look good. Even my wife is not really a car person looks under the hood of our. SL55 and that's a good looking engine. So they've done a really nice job in terms of the visuals of these engines. Especially since a lot of cars, they put plastic covers around everything. You can't see anything. These are variable valve timing on intake and exhaust cams. So it's more sophisticated in terms of how the actual, the base engine itself is built than the 55, which is kind of older technology. The supercharger sits right here. These are the intercoolers, which cools the air that goes into the engine. Then the air filters sit out here, but kind of, you know, kind of a similar sort of look to these engines. 

Mark: So what about performance wise? How different are they? I imagine that the huffer-less (supercharger-less) one is a little bit less juice.

Bernie: It's a little last, but not a lot. I mean, they both go really well. They've got a lot of immediate and instant power. I really like superchargers and not just in the Mercedes, but in other vehicles. And remember, years ago I had a customer, the Ford Lightening truck. So it's about the same size engine I think, it's a 5.4 supercharged. And because this is a pickup truck like an, F-150. Driving it you tap the gas pedal and it's like, the power is instantaneous. Like, Oh man, you can really get addicted to this. It's pretty nice. You know, probably basically equivalent to like, you know, a decent electric car has. It's about as close with an internal combustion engine I think that you can get to an electric car feel. Because it's the power, so immediate. And you know, compared to like, you know, Mercedes has a lot of turbocharged twin turbo models, they kind of got away from supercharging, not a hundred percent sure why, but you know, you can notice, I mean, even though the turbo models have an immense amount of power, there's just this immediacy of the supercharged engine. That just has that microsecond of extra, immediate power that you don't get even with two turbos and all the engineering they put into it. 

Mark: So are there different levels of AMG engines and vehicles? 

Bernie: Well, generally speaking, the AMG engines are pretty much the same and one thing that's nice about AMG is even though they are kind of an exclusive upper end car, they are mass produced. And you know, the nice thing about any of these engines are available in a wide variety of lines of vehicles. So for instance, the 5.4 litre supercharged engine is available in a G wagon, you can get it in E series, you can get it in an S series, CLS. Variety of models. So it's available across the platform and same with the C63. You see that again in a variety of models also. 

So the engines are pretty much the same. Some of them have slightly more horsepower, slightly less, but they're pretty much the same. There's certain trim packages that are slightly different. For instance, in the SL55 I have, you can get different brake packages and mine has the cheaper brake package. Although it's got, you know, fantastic, huge rotors and pads, it doesn't actually have the real, the extra AMG brake package. Which provides even better breaking than, you know, I mean I can stop that car almost instantaneously. But you can get better brakes.

The good news about having the cheaper brake package is, it's way cheaper to fix. The brake rotors on the AMG package are about $1,200 a piece. The ones on the one I have are about $300, which is kinda nice when it comes time to repair it. But, you know, if you're driving continuously, racing, you'd probably want the fancier brake package.

So those are a couple of things. But the other thing that just to watch out for, you can certainly see a lot of cars in the road that says AMG on the back. People, you can buy AMG tags. You can get wheels that are AMG package. So Mercedes offers, you know, a little upgrades and people sometimes put them on to try to make the car look fancier, but you can always tell if it's a true AMG by the actual model number of the car. 

For instance, like a SL55, is the AMG version. Whereas the non AMG is an SL500 or an SL550, depending on the year. So if it has the three digit sort of engine code or model code, then it's not an AMG. So that's kind of the difference. 

Mark: So reliability is probably not a major concern for someone who's looking at an AMG, but how reliable are they?

Bernie: Well, they are really reliable. You know, that's the nice thing about them too you can get a really high performance car that's super reliable and, you know, while it's not a Lamborghini or Ferrari, it's pretty damn close. An SLS is upscale, is up in that class, but you pay a lot more money for that model. But you know, they depreciate heavily which is nice. So if you're looking for a used one, you can buy one for pretty cheap and they are pretty reliable. I mean, they're well-built cars. I, haven't spent a lot of money on the SL55 I've got considering the mileage. I mean, fortunately I can fix it myself, which is a savings. And I mean, don't expect to buy one and have it be cheap to maintain because they are expensive, but they are generally a well built, reliable car. They're just complicated. There's a lot that can go wrong with them and parts can be expensive. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your AMG or any Mercedes-Benz product 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 and book ahead, they're busy. Always check out the website. pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of articles and videos on there all makes and models and types of repairs. Our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. And thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts from. And thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

2013 BMW 328i, Maintenance Repairs

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada in the midst of the lockdown COVID craziness times, and we're talking cars. And Pawlik Automotive is of course, 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. Today we're going to talk about a fairly popular vehicle. A BMW 328i. How are you doing this morning, Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So what was happening with this three series BMW?

Bernie: So the car is a 2013 328i. The owner had a couple of issues. One was, an oil leakage, some warning lights on the dash, the engine didn't feel like it was performing properly, possibly some misfires. So those are the client's concerns and things that we looked at. 

Mark: And so you did some diagnosis, what did you find? 

Bernie: Yeah. So we start with a scan tool diagnostic. We basically hooked the scan tool up, did a full code read of the vehicle. There was a couple of codes in the engine, did a visual inspection of the vehicle and noted a lot of oil leakage. It was severe. 

There was oil leaked out everywhere, all over the top of the engine, the bottom, sort of the usual spots that we might find oil leaks on this engine, like around the oil pan gasket area. It was oil around the oil filter, housing area down the front of the engine and in a lot of spots. But of course, without cleaning things up and doing proper diagnosis, it's hard to tell where it's leaking from. And we don't want to sell a bunch of work the customer doesn't need. 

So first step, we did an engine shampoo. We cleaned it up thoroughly.  And then ran the engine and noted immediately an enormous oil leak coming from the oil filter cap housing area. Actually where the cap sits, there's oil leaking right between the cap and the housing. 

The other thing we noted was the engine oil service was way overdue, like by thousands of kilometres. So first thing we proceeded with was an A service, an oil service on the vehicle, and sealed that all up. And then we proceeded from there. We figured a lot of the problems with the engine may have actually been due to the fact that the oil level was a) low and b) just very old. So that's kind of where we proceeded. 

I'm going to show a picture here actually of the oil filter while we're talking. So this is actually the car. It's as a 2013, you know, a classic BMW three series, you know, definitely their most popular model. Four door sedan. Nice vehicle for sure. 

This is what the oil filter looked like. So we took the oil filter out. It had been in there so long, it actually just broke in half when we took it apart. This is the O ring seal that goes around the filter cap. I don't have a picture of the filter cap. It's basically a plastic cap and there's a replaceable seal. The seal is hard as a hockey puck. I mean, if we grabbed it, we could probably crack it in our hands. It was so hardened. So this is why the oil was leaking out. I mean, the filter,  this is not uncommon when we see vehicles that have been way overdue for oil services. Mercedes or BMWs, any cartridge filtered vehicles. The material just breaks down and it goes hard and it just cracks apart.

Mark: Which engine is this? 

Bernie: This is a two litre turbocharged engine. So BMW has done something interesting in the 2011 model year. Instead of using the six cylinder like they did in most models, or they did, in the say the three series that they had some four cylinders as well. You can usually tell the size of the engine by the number of the vehicles, say a 328. It would be a 2.8 litre engine. A 318 for instance, would be a 1.8 litre, which is a four cylinder. But now they've kind of got away from that and they changed the numbering around, but that doesn't necessarily reflect the displacement of the engine. 

So this is a two litre turbocharged engine. Pretty amazing technology. BMW's used it for awhile. It's got all the bells and whistles, you know, of the best of internal combustion engine technology. Twin scroll turbocharger, variable valve timing. It's got, which BMW calls the dual VANOS systems. So intake and exhaust or variable valve timing. It's got the Valvetronic System, which is variable valve lift. It's got a gasoline direct injection. It also has a start and stop technology. So you're getting like the best fuel economy and performance you can really squeeze out of out of an engine like this. 

Of course there's performance modifications, and they can make it a higher performance model. But you know, for an average driving car, you're really getting the best of both worlds. Fuel economy performance, reduced exhaust emissions, everything in one bundle. 

Mark: And this is a four cylinder, rather than the old kind of tried and true six cylinder that they used for decades. 

Bernie: Yeah, it is. It's a four cylinder. And they still make the six cylinder models, you know, with all of this technology as well. But they've gone down to the four cylinder in a lot. They use it in X3's, you know, the three series sedans and coupes, you know, so it's awesome. I mean lots of power. I can't remember the actual, I think it's 250 horsepower or something like that, which is pretty damn good, you know, for a little engine like that. And it's a nice compact engine too. There's a lot of room in the engine compartment because you can put a six cylinder engine in there. So it's actually nice to have a vehicle that has some, some extra space in an engine compartment that they haven't just crammed it all full of everything. 

Mark: So as you mentioned, probably the height and what really all of the current popular auto manufacturers, or what we consider the historic auto manufacturers, are the best that is making really high performance or really efficient gasoline or diesel powered internal combustion engines. And are they ready for the future? 

Bernie: Are they ready for the future? Well, they're trying. This could be a whole separate podcast. I know we talked earlier about Volkswagen and how their ID series is sitting idle. Maybe that's what the ID stands for, idle, due to software problems.

Whereas another manufacturer, like Tesla for instance, it started off more as a software company and a unique manufacturer. And they've kind of taken things in a different direction. I mean, I have no doubt that a lot of, you know, like the original car manufacturers are going to come through with some pretty neat cars, but they're just, you know, they'll muddle their way through for awhile and some of them probably won't survive.

Mark: So you've talked about the value of scheduled maintenance many, many times and how doing that, when it's due and how important it is for internal combustion engines and especially BMWs. But also many other manufacturers as well, especially with these high performance tweaked to the nines engines that are doing the very best possible way that they can. So what can happen when you leave your oil changes too long? 

Bernie: Well, of course, we already looked at this picture of this oil filter. You know, that's not a good thing. This is supposed to filter and clean your oil. So I mean that's just one little thing that you can see. But I talked about all the technology in this engine. I mean, all these things require clean oil. When you start getting sludge, which builds up when you don't change your oil enough, it blocks things off. A variable valve timing system stopped working, and this isn't a BMW only thing. This is any car Japanese, North American, European, anything with an internal combustion engine. Clean oil is so critical for performance. Even carbon deposits that occur with gasoline direct injected engines can increase when you don't change your oil frequently enough. So that causes other performance problems with the vehicle.

So there are so many reasons to change your oil regularly that it's just so important. That's all I can say. 

Mark: And how often should this type of BMW get serviced? 

Bernie: Well, I know the manufacturer, when we reset the oil service interval on this vehicle, it said next service due 17,000 kilometres. My opinion, that's way too long. But you know, the owner of this vehicle left it way over that interval like by probably 10,000 k's I believe so. You know, and we see this often, people just, they get busy or they, whatever happens they don't do it. But even 17,000 kilometres is too long. I mean, really, in my opinion, and I think a lot of other people in our industry, 10 to 12 is probably as far as you should go. You know, when you change the oil at that interval, it's not so dirty. It's still got some cleanliness to it and hasn't deteriorated to the point that you get when you leave it way too long. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your BMW in Vancouver, regularly scheduled service to make sure you get the maximum life out of your vehicle, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You got to call and book ahead. They're always busy. Check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of videos and articles on there about repairs of all makes and models of cars. Pawlik Auto Repair is the YouTube channel, hundreds of videos on there. Of course, thanks for listening to the podcast. Leave us a review wherever you're picking your podcasts up from, and thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2011 Mercedes GL350 Air Suspension Repairs

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver and still functioning, still running during the COVID-19 craziness. Talking Mercedes-Benz this morning. How you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So a 2011 Mercedes GL, 350 that had air suspension problems. What was going on with this seven passenger SUV? 

Bernie: So the owner brought the vehicle to us. He'd had some previous suspension issues repaired elsewhere, but he'd run into some other problems. The rear end of the vehicle was sitting very low and he'd found a few little bits and pieces lying on the ground, which he showed to us.

Some plastic pieces underneath the vehicle, but essentially the vehicle was sitting, you know, on a kind of an upward slope with the backend on the ground. 

Mark: Never a good sign when you find plastic underneath your car that looks like it's designed for the car. So what and diagnosis did you do?

Bernie: So, of course first part of our air suspension diagnosis is a visual inspection to just see what the vehicle is doing. Verified, of course that the vehicle back end was sitting quite low, scan the vehicle computer, found a, you know, a number of codes for certain issues, but the really biggest part of the inspection was of course, figuring out what were these plastic pieces and why was the backend sitting low. So we hoisted the vehicle and we found the left rear airbag had basically was blown apart and it had come right off its mounting. 

It kind of just clips into place. It's not really held in by anything other than its own, as a bag expands, it kind of mounts in the control arm and in the frame of the vehicle, but it's not really held in. It's lightly held in place at the top, and it'd come out completely out of its spot. And the plastic pieces were parts of the left rear ride height sensor.

So this is, this is what we found was wrong. And also the right rear airbag was completely deflated. So it wasn't blown, but you know, same age as the left side. So we figured, Hey, let's just start with both the rear airbags and get a new ride height sensor. 

Mark: So what repairs were involved?

Bernie: Well, let's have a look at some pictures. So there's our Mercedes. This is after the repair of course, sitting nice. But when it was brought in this fender was sitting very low, near close to the tire.

So what repairs were involved? So replacing both rear air springs was needed and also the ride height sensor. This is the ride height sensor right here. And there's a, it's kind of hard to see in this picture, but there's an arm that sticks out off of here. And actually you can see everything. There's an arm that comes off of here. This is snapped off, that connects to a piece like about, about three inches long. It clips up here. So as the spring came off, it just knocked this and broke everything apart. Got another interesting shot here. This is a comparison of the old and the new, and you can, it's pretty clear to see what's wrong with this bag. The thing I wonder about this, did this thing make a really loud boom when it blew up or did it just kind of tear apart? But it's kind of interesting, but this is the bottom part of the air. So this just sits in the control arm and this part here actually does clip up into the frame of the vehicle, but it just kind of holds in place. And as the airbag is inflated, it will sort of mount and hold everything in place. 

I mean, another example is the air spring normally sits up here at the top and then at the bottom and I can't exactly, I think it sits somewhere in and around this area. So those are the pieces we replaced.

Mark: Did that solve all the issues? 

Bernie: No. Of course, after doing it, then we, start the vehicle up and with our scan tool, we can inflate the system. So it has an air compressor and the system needs to be inflated and everything worked fine on the left side, but the right side airbag would not inflate. So there was some further diagnosis and testing that we needed to do. And what we found is that the air suspension valve block was defective and causing that part of it not to work. So that's the piece.

So this is the other piece we needed to replace. It wasn't evident until we replaced the left side. And this is why we often explain to our clients when we find an issue, we say, okay, this is what we know so far, and this is what we've got to fix first. And often it'll solve everything, but sometimes it doesn't. And in the case of this vehicle, this is what we found.

So this valve block here there's basically five fittings here. And one of them comes from directly from the compressor. Four of these go to the different air springs and you can see electrical terminals here, so that the air suspension computer will gather all its information, how's the vehicle sitting? What's the height? You can also command the vehicle to sit higher. So as the computer receives its commands, it'll send electrical signals. There's air pressure in one area from the compressor, and this will pump up the springs as needed. So there are a number of solenoids. There's at least four to five solenoids in here that will open and close as needed. And this one was defective because it wouldn't allow any air flow from this area. So there's a network of plastic hoses that run through the vehicle that carry the air to the each air spring. So this is the other item that we replaced. 

Mark: So you replaced that part? How did it all work from there? 

Bernie: Awesome. Yeah. Everything worked fine. Everything levelled out really nicely and inflated properly, adjusted fine. Everything worked really well. And vehicle road fine. 

Mark: So are there any, like further concerns or issues with this type of vehicle suspension?

Bernie: Well, so we replaced basically both the rear air airbags or air springs. He'd had the left front air strut replaced previously. And so there's basically the right front was still original. I mean, it was working fine and you never know how long these things will last. I mean, it may last for a couple of years. It might only go for a month. Hard to know. But the other area of concern is whenever you have a leak in an air suspension system is a compressor really gets strained. And it's, I would say that at some point, this compressor will probably need to be replaced sooner than later. Now of course, the vehicle is 9 years old at this point, almost 10 years old. So that compressor's had some pretty good life. But that is something that will likely need to be replaced fairly soon. We've had these vehicles where it's got a blown air strut or rear air spring. We replace it a couple months later, it's in, cause the compressor's failed. So at the present time is working really well. But you never know that does shorten the life. So if you have an air suspension issue, it's always best to fix it as soon as possible to prevent further damage. 

Mark: And how are  for reliability overall? 

Bernie: Pretty good. I know you could probably find quite a few podcasts about these. So this is the 3 litre diesel engine. There's a number of issues with these engines. We've talked about, I think, you know, really good maintenance is key with these engines. Getting the engine warm, changing the oil frequently. Those are all important things, but there are a number of things that do go wrong with them that are expensive. And of course the air suspension system is another issue. And that's, you know, with this particular vehicle, you know, you can, by the time it's 10 years old, count on having to replace, you know, a number of the air springs and struts and compressors, those kinds of things. So nice vehicle overall, but you know, they are expensive to maintain.

So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Mercedes-Benz in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead they're still busy. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com hundreds of articles on repairs of all makes and models, cars and trucks. Same on the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. Thanks for watching. Leave us a review. We'd really appreciate it and thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching and listening. We totally appreciate it.

Let's Discuss Your Vehicle...

In order to provide an estimate, a diagnosis is the next step!