Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

2012 VW Jetta TDI, Dash Warning Lights Explained

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive videos and podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, servicing and maintaining vehicles in Vancouver for quite a few decades. And also 19 time winners, only 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers. How you're doing, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So, we're talking about dash warning lights. We're going through a little series on this, just revealing maybe some of the things that you could find out for yourself if you looked in your owner's manual, which most of us don't do. This is for a 2012 VW Jetta TDI, which is a diesel version. What's going on with the warning lights on this VW? What do they mean?

Bernie: Yeah, well. Before we look at pictures, let's just talk about their ... I mean, there's essentially two basic colours of warning lights. There's amber, and there's red. And so red are the like stop light kinda thing. You gotta ... it's serious, you gotta deal with this right now in some way, shape, or form. And amber is something that's ... it's a caution. There's something you need to attend to at some point, but not immediate. Those are basically most of them. I mean, other than, there are dash lamps sometimes that are green or blue, like the blue one will usually mean for the high beam light. But these are not so much warning, they're just information lights. Yeah, so that's basically the key. Again, red is like stop. Amber is like caution.

Mark: And amber is just a fancy name for yellow.

Bernie: Yeah, exactly, yeah, yeah, but it's actually am- ... I was going to say amber or yellow, but it's like, you know.

Mark: So let's get up a picture of the dash and see what's going on.

Bernie: Sounds good. Okay, so you can see the dash here?

Mark: Yep.

Bernie: Okay. Alright, so this is basically a view of the dash, when you turn the key on and for a couple seconds all the lights will come on. And that basically, they're on to tell you that the actual light bulb is working, and the indicator itself, the system's actually working. So, we'll just start over in the right hand side here. We've got a few ... so this is, again, an amber light. This for the airbag system, that there's a malfunction in the airbag. Some vehicles, this will actually be a red light, but on the VW it's an amber light. 

ABS brake system at fault. This is for the traction control system. So those are our amber lights, again these are like sort of indicators that something isn't quite right, but not necessarily wrong. And sometimes these things will blink. The traction lamps sometimes will come on. The traction control system basically keeps your, essentially your wheels from spinning when you're accelerating hard. That will be one of the things. And so you happen to sometimes, say, on a snowy road, you accelerate hard, this light might blink, indicating that the traction system wasn't able to give you traction. But it doesn't indicate really a problem, that's just normal.

This is the ... I'm just looking around here. Yeah, so this is brake warning light, and this can often be multi-function. This can also be ... this can indicate the parking brake is on. It can also indicate that your brake fluid level is low. So, that's if your parking brake is not on and the light's still on, have your brake fluid level checked or check it yourself.

This red light hiding behind here, this is a seatbelt warning light, that your seatbelt is not on. So again it's red, it's like urgent, they want you to have your seatbelt on. And this green light that's hidden back here, it actually has a ... I think it has a view of a foot. This is to indicate to push the brake pedal down to shift out of park, so that light I believe usually goes off when you push the brake pedal down. And once you shift out of park the light's off.

So we move over to the left side of the dash, now we have ... again, we'll go over the ambers first. The check engine light. Again, if this light comes on, it indicates you need to have something looked at on the vehicle related to the emission system or engine performance. If it's blinking, however, that can indicate a catalyst damaging misfire. Now this is a diesel, so I'm not certain in terms of blinking on diesels when or how that occurs. But on a gas lean engine vehicle, if it's blinking you need to get it fixed very quickly before you cost yourself more money.

Of course, that looks like a gas can, that's your low fuel warning light. On your left, the glow plug light. So, when you turn your key on normally this will illuminate for anywhere from a second to maybe a few seconds if you're in a cold climate. And as soon as that light goes out, then you start the engine, so that indicates the glow plugs are on. That's to warm up the engine to start.

And this indicates that the catalyst, or the exhaust particulate filter on this vehicle is got too much soot in it. And again there's caution and service that needs to be done around that. We won't go into that here.

On the red light side of things, that's your temperature warning light, so that could be your engine's overheating. This is a critical thing. If that light comes on, shut the engine off and figure out what's going on with it, or take it in. Same with this one here, this oil can light. If the engine is running and that light is on, that's a bad thing. So make sure you shut the engine off immediately and have it serviced, diagnosed.

This light here, the battery, looks like a battery. It indicates that the charging system voltage is low, it's not that the battery's bad. So what will likely happen, if that light comes on while you're driving, you'll probably have a dead battery soon. So again, that's something that needs to be tended to pretty quickly.

And this light here that looks like a steering wheel indicates a fault with the steering system. These vehicles use electric power steering, so this would indicate a fault with the electric power steering.

Now, that's basically all the lights on the dash that are on right now, but I did actually take a couple of photographs of the manual. 

If you own this vehicle, I mean go through the manual and have a look at it, because it explains what all these lights are, and actually ... so there's a few things I missed, I'm not going to go into all the details here. If you have the car, get a manual. You can usually find these kinda things online, but it has a list of the red lights. And then if you have a look over here it has a list of the amber lights I think come on for different issues. There's also a few green ones as well, but these are usually just related to other driving issues and not anything of any concern with the engine or operating system of the vehicle. And that hereby ends our picture show.

Mark: So how different will the warning lights be on a gas engined VW compared to this TDI?

Bernie: That's a good question. Not a lot different. The only major difference, of course, you won't have a glow plug warning light on the gasoline engine because they don't have glow plugs, and also that soot filter light will not be there. I'd say that there may be on a gas ... yeah, that's pretty much, those lights won't be there. I'm not sure on a gas engine if there'll any extra ones. Probably not. So there'll just be an absence of two lights there. But again, look through your manual. The key is look through your manual and just kinda get used to it. But again, if there's any red lights on, the key is to shut the vehicle off right away. Look and see what the information is. Call a mechanic you trust, or a service facility you trust and figure out what's going on with it.

Mark: Great, so this is in your range of VW's cheating software system that allowed them to fake good emissions when they actually had really poor emissions, and recalled lots of vehicles. Thank you, they paid me a lot of money for mine. Do you work on many of these?

Bernie: Oh yeah, we still see lots of them. I mean, there's still lots on the road. I mean, they've either fixed them up or people ... I'm not even sure what everyone's chosen to do. It's kind of a story that's sort of filtered away in the back burner. I mean Volkswagen doesn't sell these diesels anymore. But yeah, we still work on lots of them. I mean, they are a very good vehicle, and obviously from an environmental standpoint I'd say they're a lot better than diesels have been in the past, but they're obviously not ... they weren't what they were supposed to be, and that's why they got into trouble, and ... but yeah, other than that, I mean, it's a great vehicle. It's very good.

Mark: So there you go. If you have a VW dash warning lights, you need some more information, have a look in your ... or whatever vehicle ... have a look in your manual and you'll find out what's going on up there. Important for maintaining and driving safely in your vehicle.  And of course if you want any kind of service or maintenance, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, they're busy. Or check out the website, YouTube channel, hundreds of videos on there over the last six or seven years as well.  Thank you for listening to the podcast. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching.

2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3 Litre Diesel, Dash Warning Lights Explained

Mark: Good morning. It's Mark Bossert here with the Pawlik Automotive podcast with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: We're gonna talk about a little issue that we noticed earlier in one of our earlier podcasts where you brought up a dash warning light picture and there was a whole bunch of lights that I'd never seen before, and I went, what the heck are all these? You're gonna show us what the dash warning lights are on a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It's a diesel model. What was going on with these lights and what are they?

Bernie: Well, let's start first of all. I think we're gonna start an educational series on dash warning lights because a lot of people don't really understand them, and it's really important to understand what they mean because they can create a lot of stress if you don't know what they mean, or if you don't know what they mean, you can also make dumb decisions by ignoring them. We'll start with this Jeep and work our way through. The first place to start before I get into the picture is there's basically two major colours of warning lights. There’s amber lights and there's red ones. The red ones are lights to be taken seriously right now. Amber ones are okay, something's going on, and you need to get some service or something addressed down the road. You'll notice often a car check engine light, which is a pretty popular light on every car, is an amber light. When it comes on, it doesn't mean oh my God, you gotta pull over. The only time with a check engine light you need to be really concerned is when the light is blinking because that indicates a catalyst damaging engine misfire, and that essentially you can keep driving the car, but it's gonna cost you a lot more money if you keep driving it for too long. That's the only time that light should probably be red, but it doesn't. It's an amber light telling you there's something that needs to be serviced.

Mark: Amber and blinking.

Bernie: Amber and blinking. Yeah, amber and blinking is serious, but that's the only light that's kind of an anomaly.

Mark: Have you got a picture?

Bernie: I do, because yeah, that would really make this a lot more entertaining. Okay. Let's get in the picture of our Jeep. I'll just hide us out of the way here somewhere so we can actually see this warning light. When you turn the key on to start the vehicle, you'll normally get all of your warning lights coming on. Sometimes they'll just blink on for a second or two, and I realize one light I didn't capture on this, this is the Jeep diesel. There's one light that sits right here. It's a little yellow light that looks like a coil sitting sideways, and that is the glow plug warning light. That light's not on on this particular picture correct I guess it switched off kind of quickly. The glow plug warning light, by the way, will come on for a longer period of time when the engine's cold. You'll also notice if you own an old diesel vehicle, back a couple of decades, the warning light will stay on a lot longer than modern diesel. Some of them they'll just stay for, even cold, a second and then shut off.  But the key with this light is you want to wait, when you turn the key on, you want to wait to start it til after that light goes out. The other thing, this is a diesel model. The only difference, and I actually went through a manual on the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The only difference between the dash on a gas and diesel model is in this spot here that I'm circling where the glow plug light is, this has a tow haul warning light that's basically with the automatic transmissions. That's basically an automatic transmission mode that's available.

There is also on some of them, a four wheel drive low warning light that does come on in this spot as well. 

Let's go through some of these lights, and I'm gonna point out. There are a couple that are not illuminated in this picture as well, but let's start with the red lights. You have your brake light right here. Now, there's an I and a P. P is for parking brake. The I indicates a brake system issue. Normally when this light will come on is it either ... The key is once you start the engine, if these lights remain on, that's when it's a concern, or when you're driving and the light comes on. Generally the brake light will be on when you have the parking brake on. If you take the parking brake off, this light will go off. The I light, this is probably just one light that does two functions. A lot of cars are like that. That can often indicate there's low brake fluid in the brake master cylinder reservoir. If you have your parking brake off and the light's off, go check your brake fluid level because it could be low. Now, low brake fluid shouldn't happen. It's an indication of one of a couple things. It could be that the brakes are worn out, or nearly worn out, or that there's actually a leak in the brake fluid system. But you can top it up, put the light out, but you should go in for service and have it looked at.

This here is your seatbelt light. As long as your seatbelt, if you're sitting in the drivers seat, or you have a passenger and they're not buckled in, this warning light will come on.

This is the airbag system warning light. This will test the airbag system, and if all things are good, it sometimes takes a few seconds. Sometimes they blink a couple of times, depends on the vehicle, but on the Jeep, essentially the light will go out and if it's out, then your airbag system is all working fine. 

Other red lights. This red light here on a Jeep is for the security system. It's just basically a round dot. Again, it'll go off when the vehicle's running. If it blinks or does anything weird, there's an issue with the security system. Something that will need to be repaired and fixed. But of course, it won't likely cause you any problem to drive the vehicle. It just indicates if you care about your security, it's important. But also there can be an issue with the security system where the vehicle won't start, so if that light stays on and won't start, that could be an issue. Again, you'll be taking it to a shop to get it fixed.

This is a warning light that's a throttle issue warning light. This is a pretty serious warning light on Jeeps. It's on gas motors as well as diesels, and the particular Jeep that kind of inspired us to do this, we had a couple of weeks ago with some intake manifold runner issue. While diesels don't really have a throttle, it indicates a serious malfunction that normally when this light comes on, the vehicle will be running in a reduced power mode just to get you to a shop to fix. Sometimes you can shut the key off and you can restart the vehicle and the light will be off, so that might get you to where you want to go. That's always worth a try when you have a warning light on, by the way, except for this one. This is the big one. That looks like a can of oil? When this read light is on, that means there is insufficient oil pressure in the engine, and that is critical. Now, that light can also go on because the sensor malfunctions, but you don't really want to make an assumption on that. I have owned vehicles where this light has come on, and if you don't hear a ticking noise in the engine, you could take a risk of driving it, but I wouldn't. If this light comes on, shut the engine off and have it towed to a shop and have it checked out. You'd be better to change the sensor than you would be to have to replace the engine if you make the wrong judgment call.

Mark: Would that be if you're a little bit not scared of lifting your hood, and what about checking your oil at that point?

Bernie: Absolutely. Yeah. That would be the first thing you'd want to do. Thank you, Mark, for mentioning that. Shut the engine off right away, and go check your oil level. Now, if the oil is low, add a litre at a time. I've had people who they look at the dipstick, oh my God, there's no oil in the engine, and they'll go get a five litre jug of oil, pour it all in at one time and then the engine is overfilled. Seen that many times. That's not a good thing to do.

Mark: That's really bad.

Bernie: Yeah. It is. Add a litre at a time. If it's way, way, way down, that's obviously it needs work. But this light is not a low oil level warning light, so just be aware that when this light comes on, it's usually a very serious issue unless the electrical sensor is bad, and that does happen from time to time. Sometimes it's not a bad thing, but you need to address it. Of all the lights on the vehicle, this is the one you want to take the most seriously because it's the one that can cost you the most amount of money to ignore.

Now, on the left side of the dash, we have this light that says plus, minus, it looks like a battery. It's basically, as Chrysler describes it, it's a low voltage warning light. It looks like it's a battery problem, but usually it'll indicate that the alternator's not functioning and charging the vehicle. But there's a number of other things that can happen. It can even indicate that the belt has jumped off the front because the alternator's belt driven. Now, you would notice that too because your power steering would become very stiff. If that light's on, and often some other lights will come on at the same time, it's a pretty good indication that your belt has skipped off. But not to diagnose stuff. When that light is on, it's something pretty serious to deal with. You may be able to drive the car, but not for long because modern vehicles consume a lot of electricity. Batteries, even good ones, don't last very long. You might be lucky if you got an hour's driving time before it dies. Diesels do require a lot of electricity to fire the fuel injectors as well, but gasoline motor, same kind of thing.

There we have our red lights. I'm just looking at a picture. See, on the Jeep as well, a couple lights that aren't on here. There's a low fuel amber low fuel warning light, so let's get into the amber lights. There's a low fuel warning light that'll come on here. Looks like a gasoline pump, so that'll come on when your fuel level is down to a certain point. Pretty self-explanatory. I'm just looking to see if there's anything else we're missing here. I think that's pretty much covers it. So, let's get into the amber lights.

This tire pressure monitor light. These lights will come on, sometimes they'll blink, sometimes they'll just be on, but any vehicle that has a tire pressure monitoring system, it's a fantastic feature because you don't really have to check your tires every week or every month. When the light comes on, that's when you need to pay attention to it. Again, unless you're noticing the vehicle's handling badly or making a thumping sound, because it could do that if it's lost all its pressure. If the light comes on, give a walk around the car and just look at your tires. Make sure none of them are flat. If they all look reasonable, go get the pressure checked as quickly as you can. Don't do any long highway trips. Make sure the pressures are all good first of all. If the light remains on, some vehicles require you to reset them. Jeeps are not like that. They have a sensor in the tire, so once the pressure's set, the light should go out. If it doesn't, then you have a problem with the system that needs to be addressed and you'll have to take it to a shop.

Over here, the ABS light. Now again, this is an amber light, but ABS is the antilock brake system. It basically provides better braking than the regular brake system, but without it, you'll still be able to stop the car fairly well. But again, that's a warning that there's a problem with the ABS system that needs to be addressed and you should take it to a shop and have it looked at. 

Check engine light we discussed earlier. Again, if it's on, take it to a shop at some point, get it scanned and diagnosed. See what's going on with it. But if it's blinking, that's when you need to take a lot of caution. You should it repaired right away because you'll cause some costly damage. 

Moving over to the right, we have the traction control system. Sometimes this light will come on. The traction control system helps the vehicle basically grip when it's slippery, so often it uses the ABS brake system to do this, or various other sensors. If there's a problem with the system, the light will be on all the time. But sometimes you might accelerate, say, on a slippery road and it'll loose traction and you'll actually feel it and this light will start blinking, and then it goes out. That's no big deal. That's just indicating something's happening. But if the light's on all the time, the traction control system's got an issue. A lot of times it'll come on with the ABS light because some of them work in conjunction with each other.

Finally, our last light is the ESP BAS. Now, ESP is electronic stability programming. BAS is a brake assisting system. That, again, these are electronic sensors often related with the traction control system, but it's basically there to keep your vehicle stable on the road. Some vehicles it'll tune your suspension system so it's essentially there so you don't lose control for simple things like going around a corner too fast. I'm not saying you should drive crazy around a corner, but it's when you lose traction for certain things, electronic sensors will come in and they'll activate the ABS brake system or activate the throttle and help you keep your car more stable on the road. These are all good things. Again, if this light's on, there's something going on that'll need to be checked, but again, they're amber lights.

A couple other lights I haven't talked about because they're not really warning lights are the turn signal lights. There's also the high/low beam indicator. The high/low beam indicator on a Jeep is here. It's usually a blue light. That's a long winded version of what's going on in your dash, and yeah. Again, with red lights, more serious. Amber lights, get it checked soon.

Mark: Thanks for going through that. Do you have any final thoughts?

Bernie: I think I just said it. Just red lights, take them seriously, especially that oil light. That's a really critical one, and also a number of vehicles have a, and we'll talk about these with different vehicles. I don't believe Jeep has a low oil level warning light, at least I haven't seen that when I looked through the manual, but this is a good reason to look through your owner's manual. If your vehicle has a low oil level warning light, this is a good light to have because when the oil gets down to a certain level, you can go check it and find, oh, it's low a litre or two and then you top it up and there you go. It's critical to know whether you have that versus the red oil can light because once that light comes on, it's serious stuff.

Mark: There you go. If you need more information about your vehicle or service, in fact, for your vehicle or repairs, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7712. That's the number to call if you need to book an appointment in Vancouver, or check out our website, YouTube videos, Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos on there about all makes and models of cars over the years, and of course thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Just as a last thing, what should people do if they're not from the Vancouver area?

Mark: Feel free to search around and find a good service advisor, a good shop in your area to get your vehicle repaired. They will be able to give you the same kind of information and support that we do here on the internet. Thanks.

Bernie: Thank you. Thanks for watching.

2013 Land Rover LR2 – Intake Camshaft Gear Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: We're talking about a 2013 Land Rover LR2. We've seen quite a few of these over the years. What was happening with this Land Rover?

Bernie: This Land Rover, well, this is a different issue than we've discussed before. The owner's complaint was the check engine light was coming on and off. No performance issues with the engine, but he'd scanned it himself or had someone scan it, there was a few trouble codes for a few things, so he was concerned about it, wanting to make sure it's in good shape.

Mark: You did some diagnosis, and what did you find?

Bernie: Well, we found there was a number of stored trouble codes. A number meaning that there was about four or five codes, but the main one, some of them were EVAP system codes, but the main code of concern was a P0341 which is a cam shaft position sensor code. Our diagnostic procedure, it's different every time, but in this case we cleared the codes, road tested the vehicle to see what would come back, and that code returned pretty quickly. We also noted, there's a bit of a rattle noise in the engine on many startups. You know, it would last for one or two seconds, so doing a little further diagnosis we found that that issue was generally related to the cam shaft actuator or the cam shaft gear having a problem, and that causes both the rattle and the check engine light because it puts the intake cam shaft out of time where it's supposed to be.

Mark: This sounds like a lot of work.

Bernie: Well, it's a fair bit of work. You know, the timing chain cover has to come off, the cam shaft gear has to be replaced, so that's a valve cover, timing chain cover, there's a fair bit of work involved in this. I just think back in the days of the old V8 American engine where you could pull the timing cover off the front of the engine in a matter of a couple of hours. On a simple one, you could have it all done. These are way more complicated.  There's variable valve timing. There's special locking tools you have to lock all the different shafts in position, because nothing is keyed. It used to be everything was keyed. Now, pretty well every engine you need special tools to lock the cam shafts and crank shafts in place, and you put the chains in, you set the tension, you pull all the things out and away you go. It's easy with all the tools. Without them, pretty much impossible.

Mark: When you opened up the engine, what did you find?

Bernie: Let's get into the picture show portion of the show. What we found was this. You can see the picture here? Yeah, this is the valve cover off. This is the exhaust cam shaft back here. This is the intake cam shaft here. You have two solenoids here. These do the variable valve timing. The variable valve timing system works through engine oil pressure. One thing, this is the gear here, called an actuator, sometimes called a cam phaser depending on the application of the vehicle. You have your exhaust gear, you have your intake gear here. 

You'll notice this big hole here, I'll show another picture that will illustrate better, but variable valve timing system, they all have a lock pin and what happens is it actually locks the fear in a fixed position until the engine starts and there's oil pressure. That allows the base valve timing to always be in the right spot. What happens with this, and there's actually a Technical Service Bulletin from Land Rover about this particular issue, this code and this particular problem, is that this lock pin actually breaks and doesn't hold it in place, so the timing chain will rattle around and of course it causes that code. 

I'm getting to our next picture here where you can see, this is the new gear, this is the old one. You can see this plate here is missing. There's also inside here a spring, and then there's a pin. Now, I'm not even sure if the pin's still in there, kind of difficult to tell, but nonetheless, without the spring and the plate, it's lost its functionality. Of course, that's basically our issue. What else do I have to say here?

Mark: Did you find anything else as you went further into the engine?

Bernie: Well, we did actually. That's sort of the main problem and we'd ordered up the gear. I also found, interesting enough, when we took things apart further that, there's a guide rail on each side of the timing chain. One of them's fixed, the other one works with the timing chain tensioner. You can see on this particular one here, this is basically an aluminum guide rail with a plastic plate on it that the chain rubs against, so it keeps it noise-free. Part of this had broken, you can see where the chain was actually rubbing right against the metal. Again, that's part of our noise. Whether this was caused by the actuator, it's hard to say, or whether it just wore out because these things do happen, they do wear out.

The other interesting thing, so this is the bottom end of that guide rail, that's not in the picture I show you. That actual broken piece was further up, and you can see the plastic piece rubbing against the timing chain here. This little spring here is not supposed to be there. This is the spring that was actually inside the cam shaft actuator, it's basically just broken out. It broke apart, and of course it had to go somewhere. Where that little metal plate is, hard to say. I assume it's probably sitting in the bottom of the oil pan somewhere out of harm's way, which is good, because they have a strainer that prevents those things from being sucked into the oil pump, which would certainly seize it up.

This, by the way, is the timing chain tensioner, so this is basically the plunger, the piston that holds the tension arm tight against the chain and it's also fed by oil pressure to keep it tight. Of course, if it didn't have a spring and a lock mechanism, it could spring back when it was cold or when it lost oil pressure, which is every time you shut the engine off, so they put a lock piece in here and this is like a little ratcheting mechanism. 

Every manufacturer has a different piece, but this prevents the tensioner from slipping backwards when it loses oil pressure. It'll always move out to wherever it needs to be, and if the chain wears or stretches, it'll push it just that much further. Of course, there's a limit to everything, but this mechanism keeps the chain from rattling. Sometimes you get an engine where the chain will rattle on startup, and that's because this tensioner has failed. That is our picture show for the day.

Mark: Is the rattling on startup, is that a common issue on this two litre Land Rover engine?

Bernie: Well, as I mentioned, there is a TSB from Land Rover for this particular problem, for the code P0341 and also the rattle on startup, which is-

Mark: Just to remind us, it was a TSB is?

Bernie: Technical Service Bulletin. These are put out by the manufacturer. They're not recalls, they're just, perhaps sometimes they should be recalls but in this case they're not. The Technical Service Bulletin basically it's a common problem that a manufacturer has identified, so their repair department and fortunately we, anyone can get access to them, can get access to proper repairs that have been found out. Nobody's perfect in the manufacturing business. Everything has problems, so I don't know if they try their best every time, but I like to say they do and then they find out over time, "Okay, this particular part's wearing more commonly than others and this is what the issue is." It helps us in the auto service industry more quickly diagnose and accurately repair problems.

Mark: Having a TSB issued means it is a more common issue or is always occurring, whatever the case may be?

Bernie:  I would say it's not an always occurring thing, but it's obviously common enough that they see them. Once a TSB comes out, you can be sure that it's a common problem.

Mark: If I was a conscientious Land Rover owner, is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening?

Bernie: Well, a couple things. First of all, as far as that cam sprocket or that lock pin breakdown, no, there's probably nothing you can do. That's just a manufacturing issue and there's nothing you can really do to be preventative. However, that wear on the timing chain, it's hard to say whether that happened because the sprocket, that piece came out, maybe it lodged itself in something, caused something to break, or whether that was just something that happened over time.  Oil changes, we've talked about, are critical, and especially with timing chain engines. A lot of cars have very long oil change intervals, I think too long for many of them. For people who follow that really long interval, I think sometimes that can cause wear and things like these plastic parts can wear over time. Again, being the conscientious owner, just get your fluids changed regularly, probably more often than recommended by the manufacturer. The manufacturer's recommendations are the bare minimum. Of course, if you go longer than that which we see some people do, well, you're really treading out into, on thin ice.

Mark: There be dragons.

Bernie: That's right, exactly.

Mark: The LR2 is also known as a Freelander in some markets. How are these newer models for reliability?

Bernie: Well, a hell of a lot better than the old ones, I'll say that. The earlier generation Freelanders were, I don't like to put any vehicles down, but to me, that was one of the worst vehicles made in the last couple of decades I've seen. The engines were just horrible, and they don't sell the diesel versions in Canada or the US, but I've talked with people from England and Australia who have worked on these things, they say the diesels are just as horrible as the gas motors. Yeah, the newer ones, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. They're a good vehicle. I mean, here's a little defect that we're talking about here, but every vehicle has them. I mean, sometimes you get lucky and it won't have anything, but for the most part, they're way better and they're serviceable. The thing I really don't like about those older Freelanders is the engines were so badly built and designed, that you couldn't really do anything but replace it with a complete unit. That's, to me, absolutely ridiculous.

Mark: Older, what kind of time frame are we talking about?

Bernie: We're talking early to mid-2000s. They were kind of a roundish looking, in Canada anyways and probably the US is says Freelander on the vehicle, whereas once they changed to the next generation, which I think was '07, '08, I can't remember the exact year, then they called them LR2s. If you have an LR2, I say it's a decent vehicle. If it says Freelander, we don't even like to work on them in our shop, because I just know, the end game with them is just so, it's an engine replacement. It's kind of ridiculous to spend any money on a vehicle that's that badly built.

Mark: There you go. If you have a newer model Land Rover LR2, the guys to see to get your repairs are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment or check out the website, or our YouTube channel which is Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there as well. Thank you very much for listening to the podcast. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thanks for listening. 

2002 Chevy Silverado-Transfer Case Overhaul

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here in Vancouver this morning in an increasingly chilly October, with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. How are you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So we're talking trucks today, 2002 Chevy Silverado that had a transfer case problem. What was going on with this Chevy truck?

Bernie: So this vehicle came in for service. We do a lot of work on this particular truck, and the owner had taken it on an exceptionally long trip across Canada and back. If you look on a map, you'll see it's a long ways. It's a lot of driving. He came back, there was a few issues with the truck. We looked at it, and one thing we found was that there was a leak in the transfer case. There was an actual fluid leak in the transfer case, and the fluid level when we checked it was exceptionally low pretty much right off the edge.

Mark: So where was the fluid actually leaking from?

Bernie: Well interestingly enough, we found a little hole in the transfer case near the top there was an actual hole, and we'll look at some photos in a minute and I'll show you that. But that's basically where the fluid was leaking, it was actually a hole in the case housing.

Mark: So how do you think a hole like this could develop?

Bernie: Well we'll look at that in pictures in a minute, but there are a number of ways holes can develop. You could hit a rock, you could actually hit something with the transfer case. Or a strange circumstance, a rock could actually fling up. It's pretty thin aluminum. The case of this one, it was actually wear from a part inside that had been moving back and forth over, this truck has 300,000 kilometres, so over 300,000 kilometres this part, it's the oil pump, was moving back and forth back and forth, and eventually put a hole through the side of the case.

Mark: So once you opened it up, was there any fluid in the case itself?

Bernie: Pretty much nothing. As I mentioned, we check the fluid level and we basically found nothing in there. When we took it apart there was oil in it, but no appreciable amount. There's supposed to be two litres of fluid in this case, there was probably if you could scrape very drop of oil off the bearings and everything, there's probably a couple of tablespoons at most. It was basically surviving with just lubrication that was on the bearings themselves.

Mark: You have some pictures.

Bernie: I do. Let's go right into those right now. To start, there is the rear cover of the transfer case. You can see that okay?

Mark: Yep.

Bernie: Now if you look, it's an old dirty case, but if you look in this are a specifically you can see it's a little cleaner, there's a little more dirt and it's got some clean patches. So basically the hole is right over here, and I'll just close in a photo that shows a better view of that hole, which is right there. There's our hole. Tiny little, almost looks like it's meant to be there in terms of how nicely shaped it is. But that was our hole, that's where the fluid leak. And it was at the top of the case, which is fortunate because it had probably been leaking for a while and splashed out over a long period of time. So we'll go back into some other photos. So here's the inside of the transfer case. This is after reassembling it, so this is the transfer case chain. This is one of the main components of a transfer case, this is the chain that basically allows the drive to go ... This shaft here will go to the rear wheels. This connects up to the front drive shaft to drive the front axle, so that's how the. Again, the chain and these gears are one of the main components of the transfer case once you switch into four-wheel drive. To switch from high to low gear, down in this area of the case there's a planetary gear there's a shift fork and that'll make an adjustment. So that gives you the low gear range that transfer cases, most of them have.  Here's the inside of that new housing. We were able to replace this housing. And the wear was basically occurred in this region here, from the oil pump, which sits in these four places here, it just has a little bit of movement and over time, 300,000 kilometres, it just moves around a tiny bit, tiny bit, tiny bit eventually it just wore a hole through the case. This replacement case is actually made of a better grade of aluminum than the original, so it theoretically should never happen again. But the ironic thing is they actually put these clips in, and we found one that was broken apart. There's a couple clips, they're called case savers, and they're actually meant to prevent this from happening. But strangely enough, they don't. It actually slapped around enough and wore the case saver and a part, and then just wore it through the case. So this is kind of a useless piece, it's not really important to replace. It doesn't come with the rebuild kit, you can get them but they're really not an important item to use.

Mark: So how could the unit survive without fluid in it?

Bernie: Well gear boxes do, they do get hot they get warm, but they're not hot like an engine, so they can survive with just lubrication that's on the surface. It's hard to know how much longer this case would've gone, but they can survive for a long time without actually being full of oil. We've run into a number of transfer cases over the years where a customer brings a vehicle in, it's basically got almost no fluid in it whatsoever, and we fill it up and away it goes and it's no problem. I'm not saying I recommend that at all, you should always keep it full because of course there was some wear inside this case, nothing major though. We replaced all the bearings of course because we were in there, but there was nothing major worn. All the gears were in good shape, the chain was in good shape. We replaced it anyways because it's a good thing to do with that kind of mileage on it, it'd be kind of crazy not to change the chain because they do stretch over time. But nothing really severely worn. The only other major component we found, was one of the shift forks was worn and it has plastic tabs on it. So over time that had worn, it's hard to say whether, chances are it was well lubricated it probably would've been in better shape, but you never know if we would've taken it apart we might have found it was still equally worn.

Mark: So what are the most common problems you find with transfer cases?

Bernie: There's a variety of things that happen, and there're different types of transfer cases. So this one, for instance, is a fully manual two speed transfer case. It's kinda common on a lot of heavier duty type of trucks. So this is the one that has the shifter on the floor where you have to mechanically move the shifter. A lot of transfer cases are electronic. There are some, let's say you got a BMWX drive vehicle like an X5 SUV, that has a transfer case that's very similar but it's all electronic. You don't even push buttons. It's all computer controlled, so it'll shift the four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, it'll make adjustments computer controlled. And then there are other versions that are sort of semi-automatic. I've got a Suburban and it has basically a push button, you push a button on the dash, it'll switch into four-wheel drive. And then you can switch into low range, and again it's push button. And the way that's done, instead of having the lever on the floor it basically has a motor. It looks kind of like a windshield wiper motor, and it basically actuates the, moves the forks back and forth. That's actually a pretty common problem. The actuator motors will go bad. The chains will stretch. Those are common things, and from time to time bearings will wear also. But fluid leaks are probably the most common we see in it and repair. And of course, if you fix a fluid leak you're preventing other damage. This is surprising we caught this transfer case at the right time. Had he driven it for another few months, it for sure catastrophic damage would've occurred.

Mark: And are there any transfer cases that are worse than others?

Bernie: They're all pretty much, I'd say they're all fairly equal, at least as far as if we think of a North American truck style transfer cases. A lot of them are made by New Process, which is a transfer case manufacturer. So there're different grades in these transfer cases depending on if you have a half ton, three quarter, or one ton vehicle. There are other brands as well, but there doesn't seem to be any particular, Chevy's are better than Ford's or Dodge's, they're all kind of created equal, even amongst the imported vehicles. But when things go wrong say with those BMW type of transfer cases, they're much more expensive because the gear mechanisms are the same but the intricacies of how the other components work are the shifting mechanisms are much more complicated. So I'd say they're all, if you're thinking I'm only going to buy this vehicle because the transfer case is better, then don't worry about. They're all created pretty much equally.

Mark: So there you go. If you've got any issues with your four by four in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, they're busy. Or check out our website,, we have hundreds of videos on our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Thank you very much for listening to the podcast. Thanks Bernie.

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

2008 Sprinter 2500-Gear Shifter Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, Producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here in beautiful Vancouver, where it's getting cold and rainy finally, had a fantastic October. I'm here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 18-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking vans today. How are you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So we're talking about a 2008 Sprinter van. Now, I don't know if this is a Dodge or Mercedes because I think this might have even been when they were both as one.

Bernie: Yeah, this one was actually a Dodge, but they're essentially the same vehicle.

Mark: This had a gear shifter replacement. What was going on with the Sprinter van?

Bernie: Actually, the vehicle came to our shop for actually a different issue. Came in for a noise in the engine. We looked at it, diagnosed it, found the alternator was worn out, causing a noise. So we replaced the alternator, successful repair, road tested the vehicle, drove it around a few times, started, stopped, shifted it, and parked the vehicle out back of our shop. When the customer came to pick the vehicle up, started the car, went move it out of park, it's an automatic into drive and the gear shifter was just locked in park. So, that was kind of a surprise because there's nothing that happened before and just suddenly, all of a sudden, this issue occurred.

Mark: Okay. How did you, guys, break it?

Bernie: How did we break it? Well, that's the first question. Of course, for the customer to go, "Hey, what did you do to my van? My van was shifting fine beforehand." For me, I'm always going, "Well, what do we do? I actually do something wrong here." So, I mean, that's the first place I always stand in when something happens because over the years, I've had many cars where someone comes in, they need something to do awesome their battery just dies, like it just won't start the car. It's like, "Well, it's working fine when it came in." These are kind of things that just happened for us and more often than not, to me, I have to explain to the client, "Hey, by the way, this is nothing to do with what we did. But I'm always curious to go, "Hey, could it have been?" So, we looked at it and found, "No, clearly, there wasn't anything related." This van has about 300,000 kilometres. So it's got a lot of mileage on it, so it's old. At that point, anything could go wrong. It just so happened to have died when it was here, which is possibly fortunate because then the owner doesn't take it home an hour later or a day later. "Oh, it won't shift and has to come back." So, whether that's of any comfort or not, it's not usually, but to me, it helps at least saying, "Hey, at least it was here when it happened." So, yeah. 

Mark: And so, what did you find? What was going on?

Bernie: So yeah, from there, of course, we did some tests with a diagnostic scan to see if there's any codes and systems, sure enough, there was related to the gearshift module. And then from there, we did a little research, and testing, and found basically the gearshift module itself packed. It packed it in. So, we'll just go and do a couple of quick photos right now.

There's our 'O8 Sprinter van in good shape considering the amount of mileage. This is the gear shifter unit itself. So when we say shifter module, it's an electronic piece that was defective, which is this piece here but of course, it's not sold separately. There's a number of you can see there's a plug with about, I don't know, eight or 10 pins here. There's another wire that comes off here. There's a lot that goes on in these things surprisingly. Then the gearshift handle, of course, so the whole mechanism is replaced, the cables attached here, and this thing is if you have a Sprinter van, it's going to mounted on the dash. So, takes a bit of work to remove it, reinstall it. What is inside the shifter, of course, is as you move the gear shifter into different speed, you also have the ability to move the shifter. It just goes into drive at the bottom, but you can also manually shift gears at that point, so you move the shifter sideways and, yeah, you manually shift the gears up and down. So that's what adds some of the complexity to the shifter. There's also the interlocking mechanism, of course, that prevents it from unlocking from park.

Mark: So, were there any other items you had to look for or look at while you were diagnosing what exactly the problem was?

Bernie: Well, we work on a lot of Sprinters. This is the first time we run into a shifter issue like this. So, of course, we want to make sure we get the diagnosis right because that part is pretty expensive. We don't want to say, "Hey, replace this piece," and it being the wrong item. With a lot of Mercedes or any more modern vehicles, a lot of these modules, they talk to each other, they need to be programmed to speak to each other. So we did some research on what possible cause shifter problems. And so, came up with a variety of things through various forums and some of the search data, some of the repair information data we have, where you could simply do a flash reprogramming and it would make the module work again. I look at forums just for bits of information, but I find most of the stuff there is, quite frankly, useless. There's so many people, "Oh, your brake light bulb could be burnt out," and this and that happens. These are all things we look at to make sure and those are good things to test, but of course, in this case, what it really came down to there wasn't, let's say, a Technical Service Bulletin from Dodge. But that bulletin was issued almost right after the vehicle is manufactured and I'm thinking, "You know, this vehicle, it's 10 years old, over 10 years old now, 300,000 kilometres, that gear shifter has been moving around a lot." Clearly, the part is just worn out from age. So, some of the tests we did, we verified. It was communicating in some areas but not in others. There's something wrong and broken inside the gearshift module. So that's how we determined it. But just a word of caution, if you're looking on forums, just be careful that you're getting the right advice because there's so much opinion out there that's really not of any value. It's like just falling down a rabbit hole of useless conversation.

Mark: So, how complex is this repair job?

Bernie: Well, I mean, it involves removing some of the dash to take the shifter out and then installing the unit. Fortunately, there's no reprogramming to do. Although, we did have to clear codes and there were some relearn procedures that take place in the vehicle with the communication system. So that's something that takes a bit of time, but there's no reprogramming or reflashing of this module. So that was actually a surprisingly nice thing to find because so often on Mercedes' products, you change any one thing and you have to reprogram that module so it speaks to the other modules. So, that made for a bit of an easier repair.

Mark: You mentioned you worked on lots of Sprinters. How are they for reliability?

Bernie: They're pretty good. Although, of course, a lot of these have the three-litre diesel in them and we talk about the reliability of that particular engine. There's the other with the smaller diesel before the three-litre. I mean, those are pretty good. We don't run into a lot of problems with them and …

Mark: As long as the oil has changed?

Bernie: As long as the oil has changed, of course. I mean, regular maintenance is key, but really, they are pretty good vans, but the three-litre diesel, of course, you can look at our other podcast or you can look around, you'll see all the things that tend to go wrong with them over time. But generally, if you service the vehicle regularly and you use it hard, they're actually pretty good, and they're very practical design. One thing I do like about them is the size and the shape. You can stand up inside and it's a great tradesman's van and for many other things, for a motorhome, too, because a great vehicle overall.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for a service for your Mercedes, Dodge Sprinter van in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, they're busy, or check out their website YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there including many on three-litre Mercedes, Dodge diesels as well. Thank you so much for watching and listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Thanks, Bernie.

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

2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3L Diesel-Swirl Valve Motor

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. In today's podcast, we're talking about Jeeps. How you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So, we're talking about a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee, three-litre diesel, that had a swirl valve motor problem. What was going on with this Jeep?

Bernie: So, the owner of the vehicle brought the vehicle to us with a ... Their complaint was that there was a warning light on the dash. It looks like a lightning bolt, and at the same time that that happens, the vehicle loses power. So, it's basically a power loss indicator light. The check engine light was also on at the same time.

Mark: So, this vehicle has the famous Mercedes three-litre diesel. Is there something different about this power plant in a Jeep?

Bernie: Not really. There's only a few subtle differences, but I mean, essentially, the engine and how it operates is the same as a Mercedes three-litre. Most of the parts are interchangeable, but there's some emission items and some of the air intake ducting is slightly different on the Jeep, but most of it is the same as the Mercedes. Not exactly, but the guts of the motor are definitely the guts. When you take it down to the basic engine itself, it's pretty much exactly the same.

Mark: So, the swirl valve motor ... Can I say it right? I'm old, I can't say it right. The swirl valve motor, I would assume that was the cause of the problem?

Bernie: Well, it was part of the problem. The swirl valve motor, essentially what it does is it operates some valves in the intake manifold. The intake manifold has two runners in it to each cylinder, and one of them can be opened and closed ... The ports can be opened and closed with the swirl valve motor, and the reason for that is just to increase or decrease air flow and the rate of air flow into the cylinder, depending on different engine conditions and different engine speeds. So, the swirl valve motor will actually operate these valves, and what can happen is the valves also get carboned up, or the actual rods that are actuated are made of plastic, and they tend to wear over time, sometimes quite severely. We've seen them really badly worn on a lot of Mercedes and Jeep products over time.

Mark: What about other parts? Is there other parts that need to be replaced at the same time, typically?

Bernie: Well, yeah, so this job we started off with the swirl valve motor being the complaint and verified that was the issue, but we also noted, as soon as we started taking things apart, there was a lot of carbon deposits in the intake ports, and we ended up removing the intake manifolds, finding a severe amount of carbon deposits in the intake manifolds and cylinder head ports, which is not uncommon. It's about 230,000 kilometres on this engine. It's kind of a normal amount you'd find. Also, there was some oil leaks from this engine, and right underneath the intake manifold sits the engine oil cooler, which is a very common cause for oil leaks. There's some seals that hold the oil cooler down in the engine, very common. So, we replaced those while we had it out as well. 

Let's get into looking at a few pictures here of what we found when we removed the intake manifolds. Okay, so here's a view of the dash with all the warning lights on, just when you turn the key on initially, and that is the light of concern for the client, with the yellow arrow pointing to it. That looks like a lightning bolt, and that is basically a power loss indicator light, or that the vehicle's in limp mode because of a major issue. Also, you have the check engine light over here, which was on. The owner told us it had been on for a long time for a glowplug code. There was a code for the swirl valve motor, also an issue with the glowplugs, and we actually serviced and replaced those. 

Well, we did this, but that's a story for another podcast. So, there's our instrument panel. Let's get into looking at a couple other items here. We'll have a look at the swirl valve motor. So, that's the bottom side of the swirl valve motor. Again, it's kind of oily and grungy. That's kind of a common cause of issues with these motors. There's the top view of the motor, electrical connector. Carbon deposits, this is the ... It's a plastic piece that connects the two intake ports and connects it to the air duct from the turbo, or, I should say, from the inter cooler. The EGR port is here, and these are the intake manifolds. You can see just how much carbon is in here and just to really appreciate how much carbon is in there, this is what it looked like after we cleaned it, a profound difference. I mean, there was probably ... If you look at this view here, there's, I don't know, less than 50% airflow available through that particular area. 

Mark: Yeah, I was going to say, two-thirds blocked, basically.

Bernie: Yeah, exactly, precisely, and looking ... This is the cylinder head. Sorry, the intake ports in the cylinder head. You see there's a round one, this is where the swirl valve is located. In this one here, there's no valve, it has constant airflow. But again, you can see there's at least ... There's only 50% airflow available through this port as well, and a little more here, but it's still restricted. There's a view of the intake manifold, the old manifold. Again, you can see a lot of carbon on these pieces. So, this is actually the swirl valve here. Mercedes uses a different name for it. It's like a variable intake runner, but Jeep uses the word swirl valve.

These plastic rods here, there was some wear on these. It was warranted replacement, but we've seen these where they have some extremely bad wear, and on newer versions of this engine, like a Mercedes from 2009 and newer, they actually have a little switch at the end of this rod, so when the swirl valve motor moves the rod, it will actually cause a switch to send a signal to the computer that it's actually working, and when these get worn badly enough, it'll actually cause the trouble light to ... Check engine light to come on and set a trouble code for the intake runner not operating. So, when these get really badly worn, that'll happen, but on an '08 and older, and on Jeeps, that code is never an issue because they never monitored that particular thing. There's another closeup view. Again, you can see all the carbon deposits in the intake manifold, and there's a view of the valley of the engine, the oil cooler. That's the oil engine cooler. You can see the intake ports. We've cleaned them out. There's still some carbon in there, but generally, 99% of it's been removed. 

Mark: So, what causes all of this carbon buildup, and why is it so common on so many diesels?

Bernie: Carbon buildup? Two things. First of all, diesels, as you can see on ... Especially on not-modern diesels, there's a lot of soot, so there's a lot of particulate in diesel exhaust, and the reason you get the exhaust into the intake system is because of the EGR system, exhaust, gas recirculation. It helps lower the NOX emissions substantially. That's a big issue on diesels, so having a good EGR system is important. Plus, it also cools the combustion temperature, which actually eliminates NOX. Yeah, I mean, it really is ... Stepping around things here, really, it's all about emissions. So, that's why, and they're pretty sophisticated systems on more modern diesels because the emission requirements are so stringent. That's why we get so much carbon deposit.

Mark: And NOX is nitrous oxide, is that right?

Bernie: Oxides of nitrogen, yeah. The air has oxygen and nitrogen, and nitrogen's inert gas ... It doesn't do anything with combustion, but it does combine with oxygen and creates some hideous pollutants.

Mark: It forms a particle, or there's particles that are just part created from the combustion process, is that ...

Bernie: Particles from diesel are actually not NOX, they're actually ... It's actually just particulate. I believe it's just soot from the combustion process. Yeah. I did have someone explain how soot and all those details work, but I'm not quite ... But it's part of the combustion process, but it's not NOX. It's kind of a smog-producing chemical, among other things, and obviously not good to breathe, either. 

Mark: Yeah, it would kill you.

Bernie: Yeah. 

Mark: So, what happens when the carbon deposits get really severe?

Bernie: Basically, your vehicle won't go anywhere. In the past, I mean, this has been an issue with TDI, Volkswagens for many years way, many generations back. We serviced a lot of them where the intake ports would plug up so badly, by the time you take the intake manifold off, you'd be lucky to fit a quarter inch drill bit into the intake. There would be about that much breathing space in the port. They would be insignificant. So, there would basically be no airflow going into the engine, so you'd be going up a hill and the engine just couldn't suck the air into produce the power. Yeah, so that's basically what happens. Eventually, you just lose performance. I would say the Jeep, once done, will perform substantially better, even though it was probably reasonably good to begin with.

Mark: The whole idea of the swirl valve motor or having that secondary intake is when the engine needs ... You step on the gas or the fuel and are requiring more power, more speed captain, that opens and allows more air in to give you more power, basically, along with more fuel. 

Bernie: Exactly, but I think a lot of the reason they use variable intake runners ... And they do it on gas lean engines as well, is it creates a certain ... They call it a swirl valve, because as the air's sucked into the engine, or, well, in this case, being a turbo charger, it's actually forced in, it creates a swirling motion. So, as it does, it improves the combustion process. As the air swirls in, the combustion is better, so it's more efficient, there's more power, there's better fuel economy, there's lower exhaust emissions. I mean, if you can burn the fuel 100%, the emissions are lower. Plus, of course, better economy and more power. So, depending on what speed the engine's running, if it's idling, it needs a certain amount of movement and flow, if you've got full throttle, it's a different situation.

Mark: Right. So, carbon deposits would obviously be a big problem in making that efficiently run properly, so is there a way to prevent these carbon deposits?

Bernie: Well, I have a couple of things to say, but I mean, first of all, I mean, the best way to prevent them with a diesel is to be running your diesel. Ideally, a diesel needs to be run hot, it needs to keep running all the time, and the people who will suffer the least amount of carbon deposits owning a diesel will be people who start their car up and they drive out on the highway for an hour and back, or they drive across the country. They do a lot of long drives with the engine cooking hot all the time. Like most us, you start your car up, you drive your kids to school, you drive home, or you drive to work short distances, that's when the carbon deposits start building up. So, usage is one thing, but of course, it would be kind of stupid to just go drive your vehicle out on the highway for a couple hours just to get to work. 

So, you just got to work with what you've got, and this is why I've often said you should really look at ... Do you really need a diesel? I mean, the fuel economy is extremely attractive, but as the engines gum up over time, and it happens to all of them if you don't use it hot, you will pay a lot of money for maintenance to have these kind of things cleaned out and repaired and replaced. I mean, the other thought I've often had is why don't the manufacturers put a filter in the EGR system that even if you had to throw it away every 5,000 kilometres, it would just save so much of this kind of headache. So, never heard of one available. It's an interesting concept. Not sure how you'd ever put it in. Every 5,000 kilometres would be kind of an irritating thing to do because it would plug up pretty fast, but it just seems to me like that would have been a good idea to consider when building a lot of these diesels.

Mark: It just becomes part of your oil change, is that particulate filter gets changed too.

Bernie: Well, exactly. To me, it would just be a huge savings in terms of ... Yeah, in terms of maintenance, and extremely costly maintenance. 

Mark: So, Jeep Grand Cherokees. How are they for overall reliability?

Bernie: I'm going to say fair. They're not the most reliable vehicles. I mean, we're talking about a pretty major repair on this one here. These diesels do have some issues, and there's front end work that ... Suspension, steering work that needs to be done on Jeeps, perhaps a little more frequently than some other vehicles. Gasoline motors are pretty reliable. I mean, these diesels are too, but there are just expensive jobs that need to be done every once in a while. 

Mark: And a great off-road vehicle overall and comfortable to drive in.

Bernie: Oh, they are. They're awesome. I mean, people love their Jeeps, but just as I often say, people love certain kinds of vehicles, and you will spend more money owning a Jeep than you will on a lot of other cars. 

Mark: So, if the benefits are there for you for off-road use or you like the Jeep, it's a good vehicle?

 Bernie: Absolutely. 

Mark: So, there you go. If you're looking for service for your Jeep in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You got to book ahead, they're busy. Remember, these guys are 19-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. 19 times. This is a good shop, so you've got to call and book ahead. They're busy. Or, you can check out their website, You have hundreds of videos on YouTube, almost eight years worth of videos on there, and especially thank you for watching, listening to the podcast. Thanks, Bernie. 

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

2009 Ford E350 Van 6L Diesel, Turbocharger Replacement

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark, I'm here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well. We’re talking trucks today.

Mark: A truck, yes. Well, a van, if we want to be very specific. It's a 2009 Ford E350, pretty heavy duty van. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie Pawlik: So, this is a 6-litre diesel van, so yeah, very heavy duty. The owner had a couple of complaints. Sometimes, so an intermittent condition, the engine would idle kind of surging, up-and-down, and occasionally, on very rare occasions, he'd go to accelerate. The vehicle just wouldn't accelerate. There was no power. Those were his two concerns.

Mark: All right. That sounds a little difficult to diagnose. What tests did you do and what did you find?

Bernie: So, we started our testing with a road test and went out for a very extensive road test and, of course, things that often happen, nothing occurred. It actually ran like a dream. So, the check engine light was on. 

We connected our scan tool, found only one trouble code stored. P0299, which is a turbo boost, turbo under boost code. That's not the exact definition, but that's the flavour of what that code's all about. Basically, the vehicle's detecting that there's enough boost pressure in the system under the conditions that it's supposed to occur. 

So, from that, we were able to do some tests on the vehicle. We were able to do some, they're called bidirectional tests. We can actually run the turbo actuator.

This is a variable geometry turbo. There's an actuator. Sometimes, these actuator blades will stick in these turbos. They get gummed up over time with carbon deposits. They'll stick or they'll just wear out, so we're actually able to do tests. We can change the actuation of the turbo to see if it actually works. 

What we found is that there were certain conditions where the actuator would stick. So, the solution was to replace the turbo charger on this vehicle.

Mark: So, you talked about the turbo and mentioned the variable geometry, which is very complicated. What does all that mean?

Bernie: Why don't get just get into some pictures? What I will say, before we just look at the pictures, is the way turbo chargers work is basically it's a turbine. It's driven by the exhaust of the vehicle. The exhaust is basically, it's wasted energy. It just goes out the tailpipe, but if you put a turbine in the exhaust because there's a lot of flow-and-pressure. The turbo charger actually pressurizes the air going into the cylinders, and that gives a lot of extra horsepower. So, it's actually an amazing increase in efficiency and power, so that's why turbo chargers are used. Now, in the olden days, the turbo charger was a basic item. It was basically the blades spin and the compressor, it basically compresses the air, but it would sort of be optimized for one engine speed and usually that was for higher pressure. If you've ever driven an older car, I'll give you an example. I had a client with a 1980 Saab turbo. It's a real neat car. You push your foot down on the gas. The vehicle would kind of accelerate a bit, and then, all of a sudden, about one or two seconds later, it'd be like someone lit a rocket and the car would just take off. That would be basically how turbos used to work a long time ago and that's called turbo lag, because it basically took some time for the turbo to spool up to the speed. What engineers have done and they've found ways around that because really, when you press the gas pedal, you want instant response. So, a variable geometry turbo takes care of that. It changes the shape of the chamber on the exhaust side, so when the engine's idling at low exhaust flow, you'll get a lot of turbo boost. When it's up at high speed, you'll also get a lot of turbo boost. So, overall, you don't really feel the turbo lag. It's still there subtlety. If you ever drive a super charge engine versus a turbo, you'll notice the difference, but normally nowadays, you almost never feel turbo lag in a car. It's pretty much gone, car or truck.

So, that's a little bit about how turbos work, so let's get in some pictures of a variable geometry. I have some pictures of this turbo and then I've also got some pictures of a slightly larger truck turbo where it's actually cut away and you kind of see the inside of it, which is pretty cool.

This is our 6-litre Ford turbo taken apart. This is what creates the variable geometry turbo. This is the turbine blade on the exhaust side, so this is driven by the exhaust and this is the variable geometry portion. These fingers here basically form a different size chamber depending on which way this ring here rotates. 

This is kind of the turbo taken apart in two halves. The actual actuator, I think, I believe, is in here somewhere. It's actually controlled on this engine by oil flow. So that's basically what this looks like. You can see there's a lot of soot, carbon deposits, and wear inside this. This is our old turbo.

So, here again is another close-up of the actuator. I'll call them actuator pieces. I know there's a much more technical term for it, but it's early in the morning, so. 

This is just a view of the front blades of the turbo charger. You can see there's a little bit of wear here. This is where the air comes in. There's obviously sometimes a little dirt or soot or whatever comes in, so there's a little bit of wear on these turbine blades.

This is the new turbo. You can see there's none whatsoever. It's all clean except for a greasy fingerprint. Then, let's have a look at the cutaway of the actual VGT turbo system. This is actually a cutaway. This is a larger ... This is off of a ... 

We have a 14-litre truck. It's a full-sized truck motor. So, this turbo is a bit bigger than what you'd find in a 6-litre Ford, and it works a little differently, but really gives you kind of a good view. 

This is the exhaust side of the turbo and this is the intake side, so the air comes in here. It's compressed by this blade as it spins really fast and actually comes in this way and gets blown out this direction.

This is an air intake temperature sensor. There's also, on this vehicle, a sensor. I believe that's a turbine shaft speed sensor, so it'll actually measure the speed of how fast the turbo's going, so the vehicle computer can make adjustments. 

This is where the variable geometry control is on this. This is the actual actuator for the variable geometry turbo, one of the parts of it anyways. This would be where the exhaust flows in and out.

Mark: How fast does this turbine spin?

Bernie: Some of these are like 30 or 40,000, maybe even 50,000 RPMs. I mean, they're really, really fast. Yeah, maybe even a bit faster. I mean, it's going like insane speeds. I'm going to look at a couple of other cutaway views here.

So, this is again, this is on the intake side of the turbo. Again, the air is sucked in here and pushed out in that direction. You can see the air intake sensor and then the exhaust end of the turbo there. Then, as our final photo, this is a close kind of view of, again, you can see these variable geometry pieces. There are a little different then what was on the 6-litre. This one works slightly differently, but the effect is the same, so they'll change the size of this chamber, so depending on how much exhaust pressure there is, it'll make the turbo more effective boosting the intake side and that is our picture show.

Mark: So, you replaced the turbo because the variable geometry wasn't working properly?

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. The actuator blades would stick. So, interestingly enough, I think the next question we have is, how did it work? The answer is, it worked great. We re-tested it. The actuator was all operating exactly like it was supposed to. Road tested, it was great, but a few days' later, the owner came back and the issue was, there was still a similar issue going on with the surging idle and lack of power and we spent the better part of a week and a bit, really looking over it, testing fuel pressures. Sometimes, these codes, like, unless the issue is happening while we're looking at the car, it's hard to exactly say what's going on and we need to fix the obvious things first. In this case, the turbo was bad, but there were a few other issues.The EGR valve had a lot of soot. The intake was plugged. We cleaned that. The issues still continued after that and we road tested it for quite a long time, and I think it was probably some carbon deposits in the engine that were causing it to misbehave, from time-to-time. Anyways, to make a long story short, at this point in time, it's working fine. So, the turbo's good. The intake's clean. We tested the low pressure side fuel system because that's another cause of this issue and it was good all the way through. Interesting thing with this truck, it's very low mileage, about 85,000 kilometres on a ... It's an '09. That makes it a nine-year-old vehicle. It's not a lot of mileage. It's a tradesman's vehicle. He'll drive his office to a job site, work all day and come back, so it doesn't really get the heat that it could use. As I mentioned before, for diesels, it's really important to get out and get these things hot and cooking hot, otherwise, it ends up creating things like plugged EGRs, turbo, actuator failure, things like that.

Mark: From carbon deposits from …

Bernie: Yeah, carbon.

Mark: Not the heat, not being hot enough, basically.

Bernie: Yeah. Yeah, heat and long ... Driving cycles and driving it hard is actually really good for a diesel. It's what they're meant for. They're meant for ... That's why they're in train locomotives. You can run it at full power for an hour and then the engine ... Or, an hour or two, hauling cars up a mountain, tons-and-tons of train, loads up mountainsides or trucks. It's meant to be worked hard, so a diesel that isn't worked hard, tends to have problems.

Mark: So, didn't Ford stop making the 6-litre a few years ago?

Bernie: Yeah. Like 2007 was the last year they put them in the pickup trucks, but they still used them in vans up to the 2010 model year. So, yeah, they used them a little longer in the vans.

Mark: And, do these engines in vans still have all the problems that they had in pickup trucks?

Bernie: Well, they pretty much do have the same issues, but I have noticed that the vans seem to be a little less problematic. That's just my own experience. I think it's because they don't get used quite as hard as they do ... Here I'm saying, get a diesel and work it hard, but also with these 6-litres, the interesting thing is a lot of head gasket failures and things. A lot of those have happened too because I think they can't quite handle the hard work that they're supposed to. Again, I'm kind of speculating, but I think, we've never done a head gasket job on a van yet. Now, I know they still go, but I think they just don't get quite worked as hard. People don't quite haul the heavy loads that they do in pickup trucks. That's just my own interpretation. There's probably someone out there, who'd say otherwise, but they seem to be just a little more reliable, which is a good thing because it's a lot more work to do and a lot of the operations on a van are a lot worse than they are on a pickup truck, especially head gaskets.

Mark: It's not as easy to take the body off.

Bernie: No, lifting the body off is a little more work than a pickup cab, but not a huge amount. It's just a bigger beast.

Mark: So, there you go. If you have a diesel vehicle in Vancouver that you need maintenance or repair for, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. They're diesel experts or you can check out their website, YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos including many about diesel repairs as well as thank you so much for listening to our podcast and thank you, Bernie.

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

2002 Audi A6 2.7L Heater Hose & Auxiliary Water Pump Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert here with the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. I'm the producer of our cast, our videos, our stuff. We do the websites. We do all kinds of stuff. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. How are you this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: I'm doing very well.

Mark: Kind of got lost there for a minute. We're gonna talk about a 2002 Audi A6. What was going on with this fine German automobile?

Bernie: This vehicle came to our shop. The owner was complaining of a loss of coolant. Not huge, but over time it was leaking coolant, so that was the client's complaint, coolant loss.

Mark: What tests did you do to find a loss of coolant?

Bernie: There's a couple ways we can test the cooling system. The way we generally ... Besides a visual inspection to verify a leak, which we can do under the car and on top, is a pressure test. What a pressure tester does, it actually puts the cooling system under pressure, same as what occurs when the engine actually warms up. The way a car cooling system works is it's a pressurized system. There's a sealed cap, which will blow off if the pressure exceeds a certain amount. Usually it's about 16 pounds per square inch, Psi. Some engines are a bit lower, some are a bit higher, but that's sort of the average. The pressure tester basically puts the ... We can put it under that level of pressure, and that'll force coolant out of the system. The thing with a coolant leak is, again, when the engine's cold, there's no pressure, so there may not be a leak. Sometimes there is a leak when there's no pressure, and then when it pressurizes, there's a leak. It's kind of odd the way cars work. Generally speaking, the more pressure you have, the easier the leak will occur. So we pressurize the system and then look for leaks. Sometimes it'll take a matter of seconds if it's a large leak. Other times, we've had vehicles where we pressurize it. An hour later, we look, can't see a leak. Leave the pressure tester on. Next morning, we come into the shop and there's drips on the floor and go, "Ah, that's where it is." Sometimes it's quick, sometimes it takes a while. There is one other test we do, and that is for combustion gas leakage if we suspect a cylinder head problem, but that wasn't the case in this vehicle. The only testing we did on this was a pressure test. 

Mark: And what did you find?

Bernie: What we found was there was a leak under the intake manifold around the back of the engine, which required further disassembly. What we did eventually find was the auxiliary water pump, which is located underneath the intake manifold, was leaking. That was the major cause of our leak. With Audis, there's so many hidden bits and pieces. This is true of a lot of cars nowadays. There's coolant pipes that run in various spots that are hidden under the intake manifold, under covers. There's a lot that often needs to be removed just to find a leak. But that's what we found on this car. Auxiliary water pump was leaking.

Mark: What was involved with repairing these components?

Bernie: A lot of disassembly. It's a lot of work. The other thing we did was replace the heater hoses as well. Let's just get into a bit of a picture show here.

Mark Bossert: Go to the pictures.

Bernie: Yes. The pictures. If you open the hood of this Audi A6, it's a V6 bi-turbo engine, which right away tells you there's a lot of stuff under the hood. There are two turbocharges hidden, one on each side buried way down, almost impossible to see.

This is basically the engine cover, the air intake pipe on the top, covers over the battery, plastic covers around the ... There's a lot of covers.

This is what we found once we removed the covers. The intake manifold, and that's the auxiliary water pump. This is located brilliantly, right in one of the hottest areas of the engine underneath the intake manifold. Obviously not a bad spot, because the car's a 2002 and it's 2018 right now, so that's a good 16 years of use and it's just started to leak. It possibly could be a better spot, but that's why it's there.

The other item I mentioned we replaced were the heater hoses, and I'll show you a picture in a minute. The heater hoses run from this area here. They run beside the battery, underneath the firewall here, through a tube, and they terminate somewhere way under here that you can't even see. Again, just for perspective, this is with the cover on. This is with everything removed. You can see there's a lot that's changed.

Now heater hoses. The heater hoses were not leaking, but we did this as a maintenance item. While we were working on the vehicle, we noted that the heater hoses were quite swollen. If you look, this is a brand new hose here, and this is the old hose here. Just take a minute to look at it. You can see where this clamp goes, how the rubber is much larger here. It's much larger in diameter here. By the way, that cut was just done for removal purposes. But you can see the whole hose itself is quite a lot larger. Wasn't leaking, but when a hose gets like this, the rubber's deteriorated really badly, and it's only a matter of time before it blows.

Mark: It looks like a good bratwurst.

Bernie: It does, exactly. Very good. Yeah, so anyhow, that's ... Yeah. That's our hose. Again, this is basically done as a preventative maintenance. Definitely extra labor to do it, but while we had the intake manifold off, made a lot of sense because it saved the client quite a few hours of labor, hence money.

Mark: These are complex vehicles, Audis. We've talked a lot about Audis, and they always are complex, so that means it's expensive and somewhat complicated to repair. Is it still worth it at this age?

Bernie: I think so. It largely depends on how the vehicle's maintained and who the owner is and how you take care of it. We've serviced this vehicle for quite a few years now. Previously, all the service they did on it was pretty up-to-date. When you keep a vehicle in good shape, it's just a matter of repairing the items as you go. Yes, they are expensive to repair. It's also an expensive car to replace. This particular model, the A6 with the 2.7 turbo was not a cheap model in its day. Again, calculating the cost of repairs, if you look at it over a period of a year and you think, "Well, say I spent $5,000 in a year." Most people think, "Oh, that's a lot of money." But you think a lease payment on a car like this, probably $1,000 a month. That puts you about $12,000 a year. Yes, you do have the benefit of a brand new car, but for about a third of the price, you can maintain an old one and take care of it. I think it's a good way to go. Either way with a car, it's money out the door whether you're making monthly payments, whether you're saving money and you buy the car cash, or whether you're repairing it and maintaining it. It's money out the door. You just gotta look and see how much it is.

Mark: That's one way to amortize or look at your car repair costs then, I guess.

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. I've had, interestingly, conversations with people where they ... "Oh, the car's worth $4,000. I don't wanna spend two on it 'cause that's half the value." I'm thinking, "What does that have to do with it?" It's really about looking at how much money's actually going out the door, 'cause no matter what you do, money is gonna have to go out the door. If you keep it in good shape and take care of it, it'll be better overall. I think it's important to just kinda calculate your overall costs. Of course if you buy a new car, which is fantastic to have, the insurance costs are higher on a newer car than an older one. I don't know. It's a matter of just crunching the numbers, looking at it, seeing if it works. Of course if your car's in the shop every month for a breakdown, that's not very good either. There comes a time and place where it's time to retire a car, but in the case of this Audi, the mileage is still fairly low. The owner takes pretty good care of it. They're able to part with it for a few days every once in a while to do some maintenance and repairs.

Mark: Speaking of the Audi A6, how was it after the repairs?

Bernie: Yeah, really awesome. No further coolant leaks. Again, with those heater hoses replaced, we prevented a further unexpected repair. We could've left those. But somewhere down the road those hoses are gonna burst, and it'll be driving down the highway or driving down the road somewhere where you're on your way to a meeting. This is what we like to do at our shop, is find those kind of things and prevent them from happening. That's the whole key to preventative maintenance is fixing it beforehand. And it's cheaper and less stressful.

Mark: So there you go. If you need service for your fine German automobile in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, 'cause they're busy. Or check out their website, We have hundreds of videos on YouTube. Check us out there. Or thank you so much for listening to the podcast, and thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching.

2004 Ford F450 Manual Transmission Repair

[podcast src=”” height=”360″ width=”100%” placement=”top” theme=”standard”]

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, doing the Pawlik Automotive Podcast talking about cars. How are you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Well.

Mark: You're doing well, that's excellent. So we're talking about a 2004 Ford F-450 that had a manual transmission repair. What was going wrong with this vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle was towed to our shop with actually a different issue, the engine wouldn't run, it wouldn't start. So we diagnosed that, repaired the issues, got the vehicle running quite nicely and were out on a road test and during the road test, it's a six speed manual transmission, the transmission shifter just jammed up between third and fourth gear. Took a lot of coercing to finally get it to move out of that jammed position, we were able to limp the vehicle back to our shop, and of course the transmission at that point needed repairing. You could hear some pretty horrific noises going on. It's something that while we were driving, it had just broken inside the transmission. So that's basically what was happening.

Mark: What did you find?

Bernie: Well it's interesting, we can have a look at some pictures. To start with, we had to remove the transmission to take it apart, but we started by just draining the oil out and having a look at it. I'll just share some photos right here.

So this a close-up view of our transmission oil pan, sorry our drain pan, and we drain the oil and this vehicle uses a DEXRON ATF fluid for the transmission. If you look in here, all these little things these are all particles of metal. This should just be ... This is the black, sort of, ribs of the pan, this is the red fluid and all these little blocks, or all these little speckles, are all pieces of brass and metal in the bottom of the transmission.  You don't want to see that. That indicates something's broken and let go. This is a picture, there's a magnet. When we took the transmission apart, there's a magnet in the bottom of the transmission to catch metal filings. Now this is a picture of the magnet cleaned up, this is what it should look like if there's no metal. But this is what it looked like when we took the pan out, when we took the transmission apart.  You can see there's a lot of metal here, but also a very distinct piece here. This is actually a part of a circlip that actually snapped, and this was part of the problem with the transmission. The piece of circlip actually ended up stuck onto this magnet. Now there's a picture of the transmission assembly. It's an F-450, so this is a medium sized truck, dual rear wheels, it's pretty big. It's pretty tough, and incredibly heavy transmission, incredibly large. Built for what it was meant to, built for hauling heavy things. This is the transmission assembly sitting on the ground. This would be the first gear over here, and the main gear set is inside the transmission. With it being a six speed, it's got gears outside and sort of on either side of the centre of the case. This is one of the Synchro, the shift collars.  We'll just go to one last picture to the inside of the transmission. So this is the actual main gear cluster being removed. We actually use a crane to remove it, because it's that heavy. But the problem was actually, and unfortunately for some reason I didn't take any pictures of the actual damage, but that circlip actually sat inside this area here. We didn't see that until we actually took the shifter rods off, and dismantled the transmission. But inside here, these are called the Synchro's and they basically, this is what allows a manual transmission to actually shift without having to double clutch, like you would've had to do in the 50's, way back when shifting a manual transmission was a lot of work, required a fair bit of skill and timing. Recently transmissions with synchromesh, you just push the clutch down and you can shift gears. This mechanism allows that to happen. As I say, the problem was in here. There's a shaft, and a piece, and the gear that's basically held together by the clip, and the clip broke apart, and that's what caused this whole mechanism to jam up. So that was right here. This is by the way fourth gear, third gear, second gear, first gear, and then you have your overdrive gears up here. So that's our pictures.

Mark: What did you have to replace to get the unit running and reliable again?

Bernie: We basically replaced the input shaft. You know what, I can actually just go back to this picture again. You see the transmission again?

Mark: Yep.

Bernie: So this whole shaft here with this gear, we replaced that piece. We replaced this Synchro mechanism, which is located behind this ring here. That ring, this round piece here, and everything inside there was replaced because it was damaged. Other than that bearings, which is a normal thing to do whenever you do a transmission overhaul, very surprisingly were in pretty good shape on this transmission. But it would be silly not to replace them when you have to take everything apart, if a bearing fails down the road then you have to do the whole job over again. So the bearings, replaced the bearings. We replaced all the Synchro rings, which are these small rings located here. They tend to wear over time. And all the gaskets and seals, and that's what we replaced.

Mark: So is this kind of transmission failure a common issue with this vehicle?

Bernie: Well apparently it is. I mean we don't see a lot of these. Most of our clients with these larger trucks have automatics, but apparently it isn't an uncommon problem for that particular gear, and that actual issue that occurred on this transmission. We haven't seen a lot of it in our shop, only because we don't work on a lot of them like a lot of other people might do. Yeah, it's pretty common.

Mark: We haven't really discussed transmission repairs before. Do you do many of them?

Bernie: We do. We do manual transmissions. We do anything with gears, but we don't get into automatic transmissions. It's just too specialized. It's not like we couldn't, but it doesn't make any sense when people they're doing them all day long, they have the tools, equipment.  So automatics we send out. On manual transmissions, we normally do in house.

Mark: So is a Ford F-450 2004, again this is a fairly old vehicle, worth repairing?

Bernie: Oh yeah, it's a good truck. It's a diesel. This had a dump box bed on the back, so once you start investing in equipment like that it kind of makes sense to repair the vehicle. For a few thousand dollars worth of work, the transmission's overhauled now it should be good for quite a long time, and with the engine repairs we did it should all last and be reliable for quite a long time. It's a good truck and tough. You can see by the size of this gear set on this transmission, it's meant to haul some heavy stuff around. Good truck, I mean it is a six litre diesel. We know what that means, there will be a constant stream of issues going on, but in between it's a good truck, if that's a good thing to say.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for repairs for your Ford Diesel medium duty trucks, the guys to see, or your any kind of manual transmission repairs, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, they're busy. Or check out the website,, there's lots of information on there, hundreds of postings on there in the blog and in our videos, as well as our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. And thank you for listening on iTunes, we appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Yeah thanks Mark, and thank you for watching.

1999 Subaru Legacy Speedometer Repair

[podcast src=”” height=”360″ width=”100%” placement=”top” theme=”standard”]

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

Bernie: Doing very well, Mark.

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

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

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

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

Mark: And how did you diagnose this concern?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's Discuss Your Vehicle...

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