Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

2010+ Subaru Reliability

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

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So Subarus, we're going to revisit talking about Subaru's and reliability mean maybe some of the later changes in the last decade. So we're going to talk 2010 on. How reliable of Subaru's been? 

Bernie: They've got a good reputation. There are some issues which we'll talk about, but generally they're pretty good. There have been some changes for sure. I'd say some for the better, some hard to know, you know, maybe not quite as good, but well, mostly for the better.

Mark: So let's work our way through the list. So starting with the engines, how are the engines? 

Bernie: So the engines are good. Now the biggest thing is in the early part of the decade, they were still using timing belts and you'll find those uncertain models up to maybe 2012 -2013. Actually the WRX STI still uses the timing belt. That's the only engine that actually currently uses a timing belt, but they went to a different technology with timing chain. The good news about that is there's no timing belt to be replaced at the specified interval. The chain seemed to be pretty durable that had never had a problem with a chain yet. 

The head gaskets have also been reliable because that's a problem with the 2.5 liter timing belt engine. Guarantee you'll have to replace the head gaskets on any of those models. They all go sooner or later. So the head gaskets, we've yet to see a problem with one yet. Not to say that they won't, at some point it will be a very expensive repair at that point because of the timing chain technology, but head gaskets, have been reliable. 

Really, the only thing we run into was an oil leak on one of the timing chain covers which was a fair bit of work, but again, you know, there was a bit of an outlier that's something we haven't really seen since. One big engine issue you know, that is somewhat known is oil consumption. A lot of these engines have oil consumption problems that wasn't there in the previous design of engine. So, there's a lot of owners I'm pretty unhappy with the amount of oil they had to add to their engine.

And I think there's been some work done on it. I don't know how that's progressed over the years, whether, if you buy a fairly current model, whether that's going to be a problem or not, but certainly in the earlier part of the decade there, you know, in the mid decade models, there has been some oil consumption issues.

So if you're looking to buy a used one, it would be worth doing a little research to see if what you're buying is actually an oil consumer or not. We won't get into all the details of how to figure that out, but that's something well worth looking into.

But other of that, I mean the engines are generally reliable. That's kind of the biggest thing to look for, I think is the oil consumption. 

Mark: So in the older models, then transmissions were generally reliable based on our old podcasts. Is that still the case? 

Bernie: They are still pretty good. But, one thing with the transmission is Subaru has gone to a CVT for most of their automatics. I'm not a big fan of CVTs. But I think, you know, there's been a lot of problems with CVTs in a variety of different makes and models of cars. And they're expensive to fix. For some reason, very difficult to get parts for. Nissan had tons of problems and extended their warranties.

But Subaru seems to be pretty good. We've actually never seen a CVT problem in our shop with one, but I do read a lot and there's some issues with valve body problems with them. And if that's the only problem, that's not so bad. But you know, older as you said, like the older automatics really bulletproof. Never had any issues or problems with them.

The older standards, again, never any issues or problems other than, you know, I mean the clutches wear out on standards and you can still buy Subaru's with standards as well. So, you know, again, not a big fan of the CVT, but Subaru seem to be more reliable and a lot of other brands. 

Mark: So all wheel drive. Subaru's are pretty famous for their all wheel drive system. How is the newer all wheel drive system? 

Bernie: Well I'll just talk in terms of reliability. I mean, Subaru, all wheel drive systems have been, you know, really pretty bulletproof. The one thing I've always liked about Subarus is even though it has all wheel drive, which adds complexity, there's never been any problems with it. They seem to be really reliable and the same goes with this decade, you know, everything's good, reliable. They may not be as fancy as some, you know, European models with electronic controls and things, but generally they're just very reliable. Kind of simpler and reliable, and they do the job. The wheels grip and there's few problems. So really it's something good to have. 

Mark: Okay, so let's move on to brakes, steering suspension systems, any issues in those areas?

Bernie: You know, the one thing I was happy to see on an Outback around the middle of the decade, and you know, there's been a couple of redesigns, is they went to, seems a subtle little detail only a the mechanic would notice, but, the suspension front control arm bushings, they changed to a design that they used to use back in the early part of the 2000s decade, which is a much more reliable design of control arm bushing. It's a horizontal bushy instead of a vertical bushing. For some reason they went to that in early 2000 and the vertical bushing and they're not very robust and they wear out. So the newer ones, it's got a much more robust suspension, for at least the control arm bushing.

So suspension has been really reliable. Brakes again, no issues, normal wear and tear, 50 to 80,000 kilometres on brakes type of thing. You'll get more mileage out of standard for sure. It's a good, reliable vehicle in that area. 

Mark: So Subaru's now are equipped, like many vehicles with driver assist technology. How about those systems? Are they reliable? 

Bernie: Haven't heard any issues with them. You know, driver assist technologies, you know, servicing that kind of thing is a bit of a specialty. As a shop owner, I've taken a couple of courses and looked into what's involved in actually servicing that kind of thing and right now  it's something that we're not doing. It's a huge investment, not only for equipment, but also you need a huge amount of space just dedicated to it. Which is kind of a drawback to that, we'll talk in a sec, but as far as Subaru's go the technology seems to be really reliable. 

I did actually do a road trip with a friend, pretty new Outback that had all that technology. It was pretty cool. You know, the car will slow down if you approach a car too fast and good safety features. So far it's been really reliable. 

The one thing that certainly adds to costs down the road and then these would be more in the area of the collision business. But, you know, whenever there's an accident of some sort, all this stuff needs to be recalibrated. There's a number of extra sensors and it adds an enormous amount to the cost of repairing a car. So while it does prevent accidents and collisions, when something does happen and it does, it can cost you a lot more. Even like a windshield, which used to cost say maybe $500 is now all of a sudden 1500 or $2,000 replacement. 

So, you know, as time goes by, it might well be that, you know, once it starts lowering in value, you know, you crack your windshield, it's like oh, car's are right off. So that's something to be watchful for. Nothing don't worry about right now because the cars still have a lot of value, but you know, as they get old. 

Mark: So I haven't heard much about, there has been very little news from Subaru about the upcoming wave of EVs or even hybrids. Do they, are they playing in that pool at all? 

Bernie: You can buy a 2020 Crosstrek Hybrid. Don't know much about it. And that's about all I know about Subaru hybrids. For a long time, they've had this pzev logo on the back, which is partial zero emission vehicle. So they've been trying to, you know, play that it's a low emission vehicle, but it's just basically got like fancy catalytic converters on it as far as I can see. Because I remember looking at it and I had a customer, we're going to a decade back now before 2010, and I go, Oh, what is with this vehicle. It's still runs. Its it doesn't have any start-stop technology or anything, but I guess under certain conditions it doesn't emit any other pollutants. Of course, there's always CO2 coming out as long as the is running. So, I think a little bit of a hokey play on, I don't wanna say play on words. I'm at a bit of a loss for what I'm trying to say here, but it's a little dishonest. 

Anyways, EVs, you know, there's some talk that they're going to be doing something with Toyota in the next five years by 2025, who knows how that'll pan out. It's been interesting because a lot of this seemed to be a lot of momentum going with all sorts of car manufacturing and we're going to go EV, and we're going full out with it. And then now there seems to be a lot of pull back from the Legacy manufacturers on getting into that kind of stuff.

So at some point, and there's no doubt, they'll come out with an EV because I think any car manufacturer going forward, like 10 years is going to need to have a huge lineup of EV vehicles to survive. But, you know, I've often pondered that with Subarus and wonder, you know, it seems like a lot of people who buy Subaru's are outdoorsy people. They buy them because they can, you know, throw some kayaks on the roof or bicycles and head off on some rougher roads and go do some exploring. And those are vehicles that are well suited for at least gasoline technology. 

You know, short range EVs are not going to be good for that, but you know, given time of course batteries keep getting better. And, you know, that won't be a concern anymore. But at least you can always carry extra can of gas or something with you now, if you want to go in the road. 

So I think for the marketplace of Subaru, maybe, they've kind of left that behind, but you know, as sooner or later the rug might be pulled out from under them. So that's all I got to say about Subaru and EVs, but I'd say probably more hybrids will be coming. 

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for a service for your Subaru in Vancouver,  BC, Canada. The guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead. They're booked up for weeks in advance. They're always busy. They're really busy right now. They're always been busy. They're busy. I make that a point. Call them, book ahead. Check out the website, or our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on both places, all makes and models, types of repairs. Thanks for listening on the podcast. We really appreciate it. Leave us a review if you're so inclined and Bernie thanks as always. 

Bernie: And thanks, Mark. And thank you for watching. It's always a pleasure.

2015 Mini Cooper S Engine Mount Repair

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

Bernie: Doing very well this morning.

Mark: So 2015 mini Cooper S is this week's victim, what was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So these people had noticed some issues in their vehicles, some clunking and vibrations in the vehicle. Been to the dealer for service. And, they'd been told that the right engine mount needed to be replaced.

They'd, you know, wanted a second quote. They liked our price and they were actually a regular client of ours with another vehicle anyways. But, came in so we could replace the right engine mount. 

Mark: So what kind of testing or diagnosis did you do to check whether that was accurate? 

Bernie: In this case we didn't. Generally speaking, I find, you know, dealers are, they tend to know their cars. So, you know, we can assume that what they quoted was accurate. And we did find in fact, and you'll see in some pictures, you know, that that was a very accurate diagnosis. So in this case, we just took their word for it, you know, let's say the client like the price. So we, proceed with the job. 

Mark: So what's involved in replacing this engine mount? 

Bernie:  Well, this one's actually a pretty time consuming job and the mount itself is not cheap, but the labor is also pretty intensive too.

So, let's just get into some pictures and it kind of paints a better picture here.

So there's our 2015 mini Cooper S cool looking vehicle for sure. This is a top view of the engine. This is the famous plastic cover that you find on most engines. Twin power turbo. It's pretty cool. Nice peppy little car. 

The engine mount is located under here, under this frame rail under the air conditioning, like directly under the air conditioning pipes. There's no room to kind of squeak it out. There's framework here. 

And, there's a slightly closer view here. The arrow just points to where the engine mount is, but you can't actually even in fact see it with all these pieces in place. These are red and blue hoses, by the way are air conditioning charge hoses. So I took this photo after we'd actually installed the new mount and, we're recharging the air conditioning system. These pipes actually have to come off and come apart to access the mount. So there's a lot involved in the process. There's the engine mount.

So basically, even though it's a Mini, it's a BMW vehicle. This is the mount. So basically engine mounts are made of a few different things. On the simplest terms, an engine mount is usually a piece of metal with a rubber, it's kind of like an ice cream sandwich with a rubber where the ice cream would be and metal where the cookies would be.

But, engine mounts have got a little more sophisticated, but this is kind of the same idea. The engine bolts up, you can't see it, it's on the other side of this metal piece here, the engine bolts up to that part and this bolts to the frame of the vehicle the aluminum piece here. So, this is actually taken on an oily white rag so it's a little difficult to kind of make out. But this sort of twisted and kinking, and you can see it's a bit oily, this is all deteriorated parts of the mount. It's actually torn right here. So the mount's broken, the engine, you know, jumps around, it vibrates. So there's clunks present, vibration, which this mount is supposed to dampen out occurs. 

Some of the components in this mount, I mean, as I said, the simplest engine mounts are just a piece of rubber sandwiched between two bits of metal, but they've got much more sophisticated over the years.

A lot of them are oil filled they use like a hydraulic cushioning inside the oil to dampen the vibrations out even more. And these you'll often know these are worn out if there's oil or fluid leaking out of them. And, I mean, that's not a new technology for many. It's been around since the nineties, the oil field mounts, probably, maybe even the eighties, and on a variety of vehicles, not just sophisticated European cars.

Also I've even seen some engine mounts actually have electronic dampening inside the engine mount. And again, not necessarily exclusive to a fancy European car. Sometimes it can be simpler vehicles. A Nissan Quest van that has a dampened engine mount.

Anyways, I believe that's our picture show for today. 

Mark: So is this a common failure part on these minis? This is only a 2015, so it's only five years old.  

Bernie: Yeah. It is a common failure item on this car. So if you own one of these vehicles, you can pretty well count on this engine mount failing. I realized when I was thinking about preparing this podcast, it seems like a lot of the things we talk about on these podcasts are our common failure items.

And that's one thing that's good about when you buy a used car, is there's a certain level of predictability to what are the failure items. I get people who call me up and they were about to buy a brand new model of a certain vehicle and they're like "Well, how reliable is it?"  I go, I don't know. It's brand new. 

But when you have a vehicle it's been around for awhile, you kind of get a track record of things that are common failures. And then, you know, to look for them if you're buying a used car, but if you do own one of these vehicles, chances are you'll be changing this mount because it is a failure item. 

Mark: So how would someone know that their engine mount is failing? 

Bernie: Yeah, well there's a few things you'll notice when you either accelerate or decelerate, you'll sometimes feel a clunk or a thunking kind of sound in vehicle under certain conditions. That's a pretty good indication you have a bad engine mount. The other thing is vibration. In an engine there's a certain feeling, you know, when you're idling say a light in park, you know, there's a smoothness, but if you can sort of feel a shake of the engine in the vehicle that could also be a sign of a bad or worn engine mount also. They don't have to all get as bad as this one to be troublesome.

 One question we didn't put in there is do you change all of the engine mounts? And there are some vehicles where if a mount is worn, a lot of times we will change all of them because it's just kind of the nature of the vehicle. But in the case of this Mini, this is a very common failure part. So we just changed this one. 

Mark: And how many mounts are there, is it four? 

Bernie: Generally four on most vehicles. Depends, you know, on a traditional, front engine rear wheel drive kind of vehicle is usually three, two on the engine, one on the transmission, a transverse mounted engines like these, usually about four. Sometimes they have five, they'll have like a torque damper as well at present, you know, as the engine twists back and forth, there's some dampeners. Some of those are kind of sophisticated shock absorber type things, others look like a dog bone with rubber on each end.

Mark: And how are these Minis for reliability? 

Bernie: Well, generally speaking, they're pretty good. But again, you know, as we've said, five-year-old car with a worn out engine mount and you'll find there are many cars that are 20 years old where the engine mounts aren't even worn. So I mean, every car has their issues.

There's some cooling system leaks that occur on these, but generally they're pretty good vehicles you'll know it's a BMW product. You'll tend to find that some items were out a little sooner than you'd think. And they are a little more expensive to fix. These parts are exclusively dealer, we just buy it directly from the Mini dealer. So there's not a lot of better pricing options for some parts on these things. 

Mark: Well, if you need some service for your Mini in Vancouver or if you've got some clunks and thunks that are happening from the engine area, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112. To book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead. They're busy. They're always busy. They're always booked. So you got to call and book in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Or check out the website Hundreds of videos, I'm not exaggerating, hundreds of videos on there on all makes and models of cars, all kinds of repairs for the last seven years. Or the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. Thanks so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Leave us a review on wherever you're picking up your podcasts and as always, Mr. Pawlik, thank you very much. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. And thank you for watching. It's greatly appreciated.

1997 Mercury Grand Marquis, MAF Sensor Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners, 22 times as voted by their customer. The best auto repair place in Vancouver, BC, and we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So today's victim a 97, a little bit of an oldster, Mercury Grand Marquis. Yahoo. It's a big one. You had a MAF sensor replacement on this vehicle. What was going on? 

Bernie: Yeah. So this vehicle came to our shop a couple of months ago. She had a large coolant leak coming from the engine. It was coming from the intake manifold, just anything manifold uses a lot of plastic and the plastic wears out. There's a big crossover passage that goes over the intake manifold. Plastic wears out. So we replaced the intake manifold, solved the coolant leak, but, a month or two went by and the check engine light came on and there was an issue with the engine. Made some rattling noises when we'd go up a hill. So that was her concern. So came back to see what was going on. 

Mark: So what was the diagnosis and how did that work out? 

Bernie: Yeah, so our next step, was to, first of all, just verify that all the repairs we'd done were fine and there was no problem with the manifold which we did.

The next step was to hook up scan tool. See what kind of readings, you know, see what codes were stored in the vehicle computer. The check engine light was on. So we came up with two lean fuel condition codes, one in bank, one and two for basically lean fuel condition, P0171 and 174. So that gave us a direction to go in as to what was going on with the vehicle.

Mark: So do we have some pictures? 

Bernie: We do have some pictures. And after retrieving codes, the next question is what do we do for diagnosis? You know what's the next step? So I'm going to share some of that here. That's really the purpose of doing this podcast, just to share what goes into our diagnostics.

So anyways, there's our nice, still a very nice condition for a 1997 car. I don't know how old that makes it. 23 years. It's still very good shape, this vehicle, very low kilometres too only about 65,000 K's. So you're in miles. It's only about 40,000 miles. So the next step, diagnostically with that code information, of course, there's information there, plus the intelligence of the technician working on it, and experience. 

So, our next step was to basically graph, go road test and just take some readings of things. Oxygen sensors, readings, there's a mass airflow sensor. This is a sensor and I'll show a picture of it.

The sensor located in the intake system. This is the main measuring sensor for how much air is flowing into the engine and what the density of the air is. It's a very sophisticated sensor, so it can actually pick up the speed of the air rushing into the engine. How much air is there and how dense the air is.

If you're down at sea level air as much denser than it is at say 12,000 feet altitude. So this sensor picks up all that information. It does it with this little, there's a little tiny, a couple of little wires in there and, basically they heat up, I believe a lot of them that they'll actually heat the wire up and depending on how it cools it'll take readings.

So it's pretty neat, pretty sophisticated device. There's a top view of the sensor. So I'm kind of jumping to conclusions of what we actually replaced here, but the next part of the course is the diagnostic. So this is some of the things that we looked at when we were driving the vehicle. So you see this graph here, longterm fuel trim to longterm fuel trim 1. These are each engine, the V eight engine. So each bank has a sensor on each side, it'll adjust the field trim on each side and the field trim is basically leaning or richening up the fuel mixture. 

Well, then there's engine load and grams per second of the mass airflow sensor. So this is actually reading how much the sensor is actually reading, and this is the engine load. Now this is a graph that I took driving up a very steep hill in Vancouver, full throttle. Every time you have these peaks, that's full throttle. And what this is telling the computer is at full throttle, the engine's only got about a 40% load, which is very low. It should be 80% or more, you know, because you're actually putting as much, you're demanding as much energy of the engine as possible. Also again, this is an experience type of thing, but the graph here when you're doing this full throttle, reading is 60 grams per second of an airflow, which based on experience is way too low. 

So the only thing is the fuel trim's in many of these cases, they go up to 25. This is as much as this thing will read. And 25 is enough if it's sustains that will set the check engine light on. So, anyways, that's pretty much indicated from there. This thing's got a bad mass airflow sensor. 

So cut into the, if you just remember these numbers here real quick, this is what the new mass air flow sensor, same hill the field trims are now showing up at the top here. But the engine load you can see goes up to 81% and the grams per second, 145. Huge difference. 

These trims still sometimes go up to 25, but over time I didn't reset the vehicle computer. Over time, these will actually change and they'll drop out. The vehicle is resetting, but you notice too, when you have full throttle, it's now gone down to zero. So it's making adjustments. That's the thing about modern vehicles, even though this is 23 years old, I still call it a modern vehicle. The fuel systems make adjustments on the fly. So there we go. That's what I'm trying to say. So, yeah that kind of paints a picture of, of what we look at.

Mark: So that's how things looked at to the sensors replaced? How did the car run?

Bernie: Oh way better. Now, before I did notice and the car ran really smoothly before, but I noticed when I had accelerated it didn't quite have the oomph you'd expect out of a 4.6 litre V8 engine, overhead cam engine. Should have had more oomph. And it certainly had way more once we put this in. It just you know, especially at full throttle, it really went. So a big difference there. I would expect the check engine light will not come on anymore. 

That rattling in the engine too, by the way, was basically from a lean fuel condition, caused the engine to knock and ping. So again, when the mass airflow sensor, before it was just telling the engine there's not enough air flowing to the engine. So the engine's adjusting around that. And now the engine knows, Hey, this is how much air is flowing in, we need to deliver this much fuel. 

So the nice thing about doing these tests before and after, is first of all, we can see what's wrong with that. Second after we do the repair, we can verify we've actually found the issue and solved it. 

Mark: So, is this a time consuming part to replace? 

Bernie: No, it's actually a pretty simple part. I'll just go back to our picture again of where the part's located. This is looking at the top of the engine sitting over here. This is the air filter boxes here. There's the mass air flow sensor. It's really not a time consuming part to change. It's all located up top, a few screws and bolts and wires to disconnect and it's replaced. So it's a pretty simple replacement item. Really where a lot of the work goes into the diagnosis.

Mark: So basically it's a case of you guys just don't swap out any old thing you feel like that day and see if it worked. You're checking to see exactly what the issue is. And then repairing that specific part. So it's efficiency of time and materials and costs for the customer. 

Bernie: Absolutely. And I think people want to know their car's fixed right. And there's nothing more annoying than assuming it's one thing or another. I mean, there's a lot of things that could be assumed from those trouble codes. Like it could be that the oxygen sensors are bad or there could be a large vacuum leak and it's important to find out are those things in fact bad.

And once you verify how all those other sensors are reading, then it's a matter of testing things. And of course, a lot of it's experience. I mean, I've worked on a lot of these cars for years. So, I can kind of tell what can go wrong, but I don't just go, Oh, it's throw a mass airflow sensor, it'll fix it. It's like now we know we've done the right thing. And it costs a little more money to do that. But in the end it actually saves money because throwing parts in is just a complete waste of money. 

Mark: You might win or you can just go to the casino. 

Bernie: Yeah, that's right. Yeah. It's kind of like pulling on a slot machine. Sometimes it will pay out. But in this work again with experience, there are a lot of educated guesses. I don't mind saying sometimes we do get a code on a certain car for certain item, and it's, you know, 99% of the time that sensor.

But it's a matter of knowing that before you jump in and just making assumptions or looking on the internet and go, Oh, it's this. It's like, no, it's a lot of times you've got to test it because what's happening might be slightly different than what you read. 

Mark: So this is getting to be a little bit of an older vehicle, more experienced as we should say. Is it still worth fixing? 

Bernie: Well, I'd say so. I mean, the car's in beautiful condition, drives nice. You know, as I mentioned earlier at 65,000 kilometres, it's pretty low. I mean, that's still kind of a brand new car and, you know, it's been well taken care of. The body's in nice shape, the interior is in great shape. It drives nice. So yeah, right now, not the cheapest on gas, but for someone, you know, obviously he doesn't drive it a lot. You know gas is not such a huge expense as if you're driving, you know, doing a 50 kilometre commute every day. So yeah, it's a good car. Worth fixing.

 You know, always the issue that we find with older cars is parts availability. You know, they made zillions of these cars, I don't know how many, but an awful lot of Grand Marquees and Crown Victorias in these engines. So parts are still very easy to come across. 

Mark: So that needs to be figured into the calculation of whether your old vehicle is still worth keeping going or not.

Bernie: Absolutely. And we do run into old vehicles where parts are no longer available. Then to me, it's like, you may as well just get rid of the car and get something different. Unless it's something you really love and you you're willing to, you know, wait on the side for parts. I mean, I figure there's always some part and piece available on planet Earth, but you know, whether you want to wait around for it, you know, and pay the extra time and it's going to take to find it that's the other issue. But so far the I'd say this car is still worth fixing. 

Mark: So bottom line, if you're looking for proper diagnosis of your vehicle repairs and mechanics, that you can trust, service advisors and a whole team that's really dedicated to making sure that you're happy and your car's running right. And you're not spending too much money just wasted. He, he. These are the guys to talk to. Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 in Vancouver, BC, Canada, or check out the website, Hundreds of videos on there. All makes and models of vehicles, all makes types and all kinds of repairs.

Bernie:  Lots of repairs, lots of cars

Mark: And check out the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. Same thing, lots of videos on there, hundreds. And thank you for listening on the podcast if you're doing so we appreciate it. Leave us a review on wherever you're picking up your podcasts. And, thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching. Thanks for listening. And, yeah, it's a pleasure.

2006 Toyota Prius, High Voltage Battery Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. That's important because it's not just some guy's giving it to them. It's their customers saying they're the best. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Good. Very good. 

Mark: So 2006 Toyota Prius the follow on episode. Oh my God. The high voltage battery had a problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah. So last a podcast, I guess we talked about the inverter replacement and how there was a warning light left on, on the dash. We, again, scan the vehicle computer, and found a code for the high voltage battery pack. Not really surprised considering the vehicle had sat for a year. It already had some inverter issues previously and who knows really, you know, the full extent of what the car needed. And, you know, the inverter replacement was a step along the journey of getting the car back into shape. So not really surprised when we found some issues with the high voltage battery pack. 

Mark: So what tests did you do? 

Bernie: A scan tool will do an awful lot to give information on these vehicles. So we connected our scan tool. Initially there was a code that, and I can't remember the number, because I didn't write it down but is it basically generic high-voltage battery failure. Cleared the code because I thought, you know, we want to see something more precise. So we cleared the code, drove it for awhile. And then we actually got some better information and said, cell block eight becomes weak, which was a good bit of information. Because then we knew that the issue was in cell block eight.

So I'm going to show some pictures of just what we can see and on our diagnostic tools and just, you know, this is a good bit of information. So there's our Prius once again, you saw the shot in our last podcast. 

This is the code we got P3018, battery block, eight becomes weak. And road testing it, our scan tool, we're able to actually put it into graphing mode. There's 14 battery blocks. We can actually look at all of them and see the voltage fluctuation. Now the voltage change in these battery blocks depending on whether you're going up a hill or down a hill, whether it's regenerative, braking. Regenerative braking, the voltage will go up because it's charging the battery. When you're going up a hill, of course,  you're really. giving it, it's going to drop the voltage down because it's taking power away.

But being a hybrid, only a certain amount of voltage fluctuation will occur, and energy taken out of the battery pack or given to the battery pack and the internal combustion engine and computers regulate all of that. But the key is consistency between the battery blocks.

And you can see here, red arrows, battery block V01. This battery is in good shape and kind of represents what the other ones are doing. You can see a voltage fluctuation, 17.26 to 16.79. And if you look at the battery block eight, which had the problem fault, you see those the 17 and a half, a little higher, but much lower 15.16 volts.

And the wave form should be pretty much the same between battery blocks and you can see sort of in this area here, a change. And again, this isn't very much, it looks like a lot, but we're dealing with a smaller mountain range, so to speak then this one here. So, I mean, there was a change, but a different voltage range.

I've got one more picture here too that has even a little more fluctuation. 

So we've got a, you know, high of 17 point almost nine to 14.7. so again, major fluctuations in this battery pack and much less than the other, basically it verifies as a problem in this battery block here. And this is all inside the battery pack. 

This is the kind of data and information that's available. Of course it takes a while to learn how to read all this stuff, but it's there if you look for it on a good scan tool. 

Mark: So armed with that information. What did you do next?

Bernie: We knew of course, problem's in the battery pack. I mean, that code alone was enough to say so, but we like to verify things and get some details. There's really a few options and I presented them to the client. So we can get a brand new battery from Toyota. That's the best option. We could get a used battery, not a bad option, but of course, used is used. And 2006, you know, I mean the best we could probably get is a battery pack that's a little over 10 years old, which is getting old. 

There are some aftermarket companies that rebuild batteries. The word on the street, we've never used one, the word on the street is that they work and they're often problematic. And you'll probably have some issues going on in a couple of years, which, you know, they are cheaper than the Toyota battery, but not enough I think, to justify the cost.

Then of course, there's the option of actually taking the battery pack apart and repairing the cell blocks. Which is complicated, time consuming, doable and cheaper, but not as reliable. You never know when the next cell block is going to go bad. Those were the options that we presented to the client.

Mark: So lots of pros and cons to all of the options. What did the client do in the end? 

Bernie: She chose to do the new battery from Toyota, which made sense. And I don't like to steer people in a certain direction, but I do like to provide some expert advice. And her, you know, choosing to put a brand new inverter in, it would be kind of silly to put a used battery or a lesser quality replacement option.Having that new inverter and a new battery, you can never predict the future, what's going to happen with the car, but based on odds and what normally happens, there's probably going to be nothing that goes wrong or very little that goes with this vehicle. Especially the hybrid system for that the next 10 years, if you go with a new battery. So she opted to do that. It wasn't cheap, but that's kind of the way we went. 

I've got some pictures of the inside of the battery, just to show some interesting, you know, it's just interesting stuff to look at if you ever want to see what goes on the inside of the battery. So this is the high voltage battery pack. This is the new Toyota battery pack. There's a number of items, wires, cables, the computer, a  hybrid computer, connectors, a number of items that need to be transferred from, from the old battery pack to the new one. The power cables that go to the inverter, bolt in right here.

This is what it looks like in the back of the vehicle with the hybrid battery out. These are the main power cables that connect up to the inverter. And the battery pack sits in this area back here. And that's the fuel tank in this area here. 

Mark: That's kind of towards where the backseat is?

Bernie: Yeah, it's under the backseat.

Mark:  And then this is a nickel metal hydride battery. 

Bernie: It is a nickel metal hydride battery. This is what the battery looks like when you take the cover off. So this is what's inside the battery pack. It's not just a big lob of battery, but individual cells connected together to form blocks. And a block in this case is actually two batteries put together, that at least on the scan tool, when it says block one, it'll be and I'm not sure actually I should know this stuff, but number one is on end of the battery going all the way to 14. And so, this is the other interesting thing that happens to a lot of these batteries. They end up getting corrosion on the, the bus bars. They're connected together with some copper bus bars. You can see all this ugly green greenness, none of this and corrosion should be there.

I've got a slightly closer shot as well. Again, you can see some of the festering and corrosion. And so full disclosure, I mean, these, you can replace these bus bars. You can clean these up, that may have actually solved her problem. But that it's time consuming. There's no guarantee that after we would have done all this work and it would have been a fair chunk of money that they would have solved her problem.

So again, in anything car repair related, you got to kind of valuate what's the time worth? What are you charging the client and what results are they going to get in the end? And with a brand new battery pack from Toyota, it's a hundred percent guaranteed to work. So, whereas this is, it might work and it might not.

And you know, if you have a backyard type of operation, you want to service it, certainly something you could do. Something I might fix up myself if I had my own car, for sure. But, you know, I can afford the time and not charge myself money. So again, it's just a choice.

Mark:  Not something you can just spray contact cleaner on and fix up though. 

Bernie: No, exactly, definitely not. There are, you can buy these bus bars. I have sources of them. You can probably even buy them on the internet. It's a common issue and common repair. And it's a very distinct possibility that it might be why that code is there, but there's still a lot of, it could be the battery block is bad. And after 14 years and sitting, is not good for these batteries. Leaving them sitting, you know, it can cause problems. 

Which brings me to the point, I know we've talked about it, you know, especially with these pandemic times, you may have have a hybrid car that's sitting around, don't leave it, sitting. Start it up, run it, move it around. Get some juice flowing in and out of the battery. It's very, very important. Otherwise you'll probably be faced with replacing this.

And Prius batteries are the cheapest ones around. Other hybrids, they just go up a lot from there. 

Mark: So overall, the inverter was an expensive repair, the battery was not an inexpensive repair. A lot of money spent on this for a 2006. Was it worth it? 

Bernie: Well, I think so. I mean the mileage on this car, wasn't extremely high.  And you know, it's always a choice in fixing cars. I mean the amount of money that was put into this probably certainly exceeded the value of the car, but now there's a perfectly good functioning car and it's a car that hasn't been sent to the junk yard. A lot of times we just think of our own personal cash outlay. But you know, when you think about it in a broader sense, you know, it's a car that's still usable. It's probably got a good least 10 years of good life left in it without a lot of huge expense. And that's an important thing. 

It's an individual choice for people. I've had people have these strange formulas where, Oh, that repair is half the value of the replacement cost of the vehicle, so I'm not going to do it. I'm going, I don't know. You just got to make your choice. 

Mark: So there you go. If you need some service on your Prius, keep it running or any hybrid, call the experts in Vancouver Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. They will check your car out. They will test it. They will repair it the best way possible according to your instructions. Check out the website or the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos, articles, all makes and models of vehicles, all kinds of repairs. Thanks for watching. We appreciate it. Leave us a review. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

2014 BMW 435i Fuel Injector Replacement

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

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So today's victim 2014, BMW, 435i. This is a series that we haven't seen for that long in North America. What was going on with this fairly new vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so this vehicle came to our shop with a very rough running, engine would barely run, a number warning lights on, and definitely needed some help. 

Mark: Where did you start to test? 

Bernie: Well, of course, scan tools, the first place to start, see what trouble  codes are stored. And then from there we did some tests. We pretty much determined that number one cylinder was the culprit. There was a number of misfire codes for that cylinder, and further testing we found that the fuel injector and number one cylinder was a kind of spraying like a fire hose. It was, as soon as you turn the key on, it would actually inject fuel. It's electronically controlled, whatever controls that hold the injector shut were basically not functioning.

So it was just dumping a lot of fuel into the engine, and we figured need replacement. The number one fuel injector was the culprit. 

Mark: So what kind of injection system is this?

Bernie: This is a direct injection system. So the fuel is injected directly into the cylinder as opposed to a port injection system where the fuel is injected into the intake manifold, right above the intake valve.

This is pretty common. I mean, BMW has been using this for awhile, at least since probably 2010, 2011. A lot of other manufacturers use it. It works really well. Of course creates some of its own unique issues, but, yeah. 

Mark: So this is a system that originated in diesels, if I've got that right. Why would they move to this kind of a system? 

Bernie: Yeah, you're exactly right. Direct injection is used in diesels. You know, diesels don't have spark plugs. So the only way that the fuel can be fired is to compress the air to a very high temperature, and then the fuel is injected and explodes. That's basically how diesel works.

With gasoline, of course, for many years, they didn't do that. Take carburetors, for instance, fuel just got sucked into the cylinder, got compressed with the air. There's a bit of heat developed and then the spark plug fires and boom, the cylinder goes down. 

So now with direct injection, they found there's a lot of benefit to it. There's way more precise fuel control, so the fuel can be injected exactly at the right time. It can be injected multiple times, like in a modern diesel.

That's the reason why modern diesels are so quiet, they don't knock and rattle like the old traditional diesels is because fuel is injected at exactly the right time, and it can be injected multiple times. Some diesels actually will inject, I believe, seven times during a combustion event. It'll start injecting on the way up and on the way down and, you know, as the pistons moving up and down. 

So, with gasoline, to be honest, I don't know if gasoline does the same type of thing, but there's no reason why they wouldn't do that. With the direct injection, they certainly have the capability and control to do that.

And the benefit is better performance and certainly much better fuel economy.

Mark: You mentioned there's some unique problems. What would those entail with using direct injection? 

Bernie: A lot of the unique problems actually are our combustion deposits, carbon deposits that develop on the intake valves. These have been a problem in cars for a long time, even on port injection systems.

But the thing about a port injection system is you've always got some fuel spring on the back of the intake valve, so it tends to wash that off. But on a direct injection system, there's no fuel being sprayed into the intake system, so over time, carbon deposits will build up on the intake valves - sometimes significantly - and it'll affect performance in a big way. That's probably the major issue with direct injection systems.  

Mark: How do you prevent that from happening? 

Bernie: First thing is always use a good gasoline. There's gasoline called top tier and a lot of  major like Chevron, Esso, a lot of those gasolines are all top tier. Just look around wherever you buy gas, just make sure it has a top tier rating. That has the best additive packages. You don't have to use premium if the car doesn't require it, just use whatever, if it's a top tier fuel, that tends to work really well. That will prevent deposits. We do have a combustion cleaning service and we recommend doing probably about every 30 to 50,000 kilometres.

It's basically a chemical spray that sprays into the injection system and that softens up the deposits and removes them. And if you do that on a regular basis, you're not going to develop that problem, but if you don't do it and you leave it for a long period of time, sometimes you actually have to remove the cylinder head from the vehicle. There's also techniques called Walnut blasting where you can actually take the intake manifold off, seal the cylinders up, and basically blast the carbon deposits off with walnut shells. If any of that Walnut debris gets in the engine, it'll just burn off, which is a safe thing to do. But that, as you can tell by removing the intake manifold, it's quite a procedure. So you really don't ever want to go there. 

Let's look at some pictures.

So there's our 2014, 435i BMW, beautiful looking car. I like the four series. It's kind of like a three series, but they tend to be just a little sleeker for some reason, so it's good looking. 

This is a direct fuel injector in the BMW.  This is the pintle that sits right in the cylinder here. So it's exposed a lot of heat in very high heat, very high combustion pressures. There's a seal on the end here that prevents combustion pressure from leaking out. The fuel line hooks up here.

There's an electrical connector up here. All the magic kind of happens in this area of the injector here. I mean, it's amazing how, we're talking like literally microseconds of opening times and sprays. It's a pretty amazing device.

And there's a top view of the engine. So these are different cylinders. There's number one, number six.. It looks rather like a diesel when you look at it, it's basically got a high pressure, common rail. There's the electrical connector here for the injectors and the injectors kind of buried down here.

We're looking at the ignition coils right here. So there's six of them. It's a six cylinder engine below that way down there as a spark plug. So. It's sometimes funny when you look at these, you know,  you can actually see the engine, it's hard to know what's actually engine and what's actually a fuel and ignition system.

There's so much that kind of gets  added on top, let's say. Timing changes. So, you know, it's over here, the engine oil filter air intake, just to kind of orient you to the engine compartment and that's the front of the vehicle there. Oh, and by the way, there's a big covers that go over top of here.

So in order to get it, that's an access that there's a very large cover. That pretty much goes right over to this area here. So when you look under the hood, it almost looks like a four cylinder. 

Mark: So, is there anything that can be done to prevent fuel injectors failing on one of these new BMWs? 

Bernie: No, they'll just fail at their own time. And they are problematic. This engine was kind of unique though. I mean, this is the  first one that we've run into this had developed this problem, but we've had others where they have misfires or they just don't quite run properly and the injectors tend to fail.

Strangely enough, this vehicle only has 50,000 kilometres. So it's very low usage, which is kind of surprising. You think it would last a little longer. I've got a 2011 X3 with over a hundred and it's still - knock on wood - the injectors are still working well, and hopefully they will. They tend to fail at a variety of ages, this seems a bit on the young side. 

Mark: Did you have to replace all the injectors or just the number one cylinder? 

Bernie: In this case, we only replaced number one and I strongly suggested to the owner, "let's do all six." Because if one fails, chances are the other ones are gonna fail.

You know, you never know. I mean, tomorrow or six months, you never know when the next one's going to fail. So the recommendation is to replace all the injectors and it kind of gives the engine a fresh start. But in this case we just replaced the one, that's what he wanted to do.

And that's what we did. We had recommended doing the spark plugs as well, but he just kind of opted to do the fuel injector, 'cause we knew that was the bad thing.

I'm gonna share another photo. After we change the injector, of course, we started the engine up and had been running really badly, the exhaust was smoking, you know, a lot of issues. We fired the engine up, we're warming it up, and this is the kind of smoke that was coming out of the exhaust for a little while. What had happened of course, with the injector dumping so much fuel into the engine and basically, you know, just flooded the exhaust system with a mixture of oil and extra fuels.

So these are some of the things that can happen after catastrophic injector failure like this, the exhaust's a little smokey. "Oh, did we do something?" And something happened. It's just, just a matter of time for things to burn out of the system when you ended up getting too much fuel like that.

Mark: After that burned out that stuff, how did it run after all the repairs? 

Bernie: The car ran great. A lot of power, ran really well, so we delivered it to the customer.  We got a phone call the next morning, the car is running like crap - check engine lights on, barely runs, and go, "Uh oh". I brought it back in and number six's injector had failed for exactly the same thing. 

I find it kind of ironic because it literally, when it left the shop, it was beautiful. So this is why we recommend, you know, when we say change all six, there's a good reason to do it. So after going through a very long ordeal, again, rediagnosed it. We also changed the oil because the oil had got pretty contaminated by now with two fuel injectors leaking too much gasoline, the oil was starting to get contaminated.

So we changed the oil, change number six injector and all the spark plugs and the misfire count was very minimal. We changed number six injector, car's been gone a week, haven't heard back. So I think it's all good, but you know, this is the exact reason why, you know, sometimes they say, you never know, it could fail tomorrow, it could fail in a year. 

And this is one of those cases where it failed tomorrow. And by the way, it actually, even though it costs you more money to do the job. All six first time, it's more money, but it's actually cheaper per injector to replace it like that, cause every time you go in, there's extra labor to remove all the other fuel rails and bits and pieces.

So there's the story, but now it's running well... so far, but there's four more injectors that could fail any day. 

Mark: Fingers crossed.

Bernie: Yes, exactly.

Mark: If you're looking for a service for your BMW, any fuel injection problems, the experts to see in Vancouver Pawlik automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead. They're busy, always busy. Check out the website, Hundreds of videos and articles on there, all makes and models of cars, all kinds of repairs over the last seven years. YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, same thing, hundreds of videos on there. Check it out. If you've got nothing to put you to sleep, we can do the job.  And thanks for listening. We appreciate it, leave us a review. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching and listening. 

2006 Toyota Prius, Inverter Replacement

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

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So 2006 Toyota Prius. This is a hybrid vehicle. What was going on with this car? 

Bernie: This vehicle was brought to our shop. The owner had left it sitting for about a year. She'd been told by the Toyota dealer that the inverter needed to be replaced. And it's an expensive repair, so she decided to leave it and was now committed to fixing it. So she had chose to bring it to our shop to have us look at it and repair it. 

Mark: So did you just hammer a new inverter in there or did you do some testing? 

Bernie: No, we did some testing. Of course, you know, how we work around here. So first thing, the car was completely dead, so they tested the 12 volt battery. It wouldn't take a charge. It was completely dead as we expected it might be. So the first step was install a 12 volt battery because we couldn't get any information out of the car without having that going. And so we put that in. Then we were able to see if the car would power up. The internal combustion engine wouldn't start. Basically the ready functions of the car wouldn't happen. So did some scans. Did some tests. There was a DC DC converter code. We tested that unit out and found it was faulty. And that was the cause of our, at least, no start. 

Mark: Okay. What is a DC to DC converter? 

Bernie: So what that does is it converts the high voltage battery. So this vehicle has basically two electrical systems. It has the high voltage system, which drives the vehicle. And then it has the 12 volt system, which you'll find in any normal car, which runs all the electrical accessories. It works with the hybrid system and also of course, works with your lights and radio and wipers and all the other things in the car. 

So the DC DC converter basically converts the DC voltage high voltage from the high voltage battery system down to 12 to 14 volts to charge the battery. So it keeps the electrical system going. It's an electronic alternator, much like you would, or serves the function of the alternator that you'd find in a normal internal combustion engine.

Mark: So the whole system is kaput because of one unit failing. 

Bernie: It is. Yeah. It basically that the DC DC converters, doesn't operate or there's a failure of this type, it just basically won't even allow the car to start. So you're dead in the water. Unfortunately you know, I like to say the cowboy days, well cars are just gotten more and more complicated.

If you know, your alternator is dead, at least you could charge your battery up and drive it for a few miles. But not with this car. It's you fix it or you don't go anywhere. 

Mark: So the DC DC converter, I happened to know as part of the inverter. Is that how that works?

Bernie: It is, yeah. It's all integrated inside the inverter.  And actually we'll just look at some pictures right now. 

So, there is our 06 Prius. And let's have a look at the inverter. So here's an engine compartment view. So this red arrow here is actually pointing to the inverter. This sits on top of what would be the transmission is the motor generator units. And the internal combustion engine is located on this side where the yellow arrow is. So you'll notice too there's a couple of cooling systems. This one here is actually for the inverter. And this one here is for the internal combustion engine.

There's the old inverter removed from the vehicle. You can see that coolant tank that was part of it. That comes with the new inverter. Orange cables, any orange cables, these are all high voltage cables. There are a number of different spots where the cables from the motor generator are attached into the inverter. Items that are bolted in place. This is the top view of the inverter without cover off. It says hybrid synergy drive. This is what's underneath it. And of course this can be taken apart. There's many, many layers, but it's all electrical, electronic devices inside here. And finally, there's the new units sitting in a fresh box from Toyota, which is how the customer chose to fix the vehicle.

Mark: So what else does the inverter do? 

Bernie: Well, the primary function of the inverter is to actually convert the DC voltage from the high voltage battery pack, to three phase AC voltage for the motors in the motor generator unit. There's two motor generators one of them primarily drives the vehicle.

The other one will  recharge the high voltage battery. They all kind of work together. It's complicated, but those are kind of the main functions, but there's basically conversion needed from the high voltage battery. To AC triple phase from triple phase AC back to the high voltage battery to recharge it.

And this all happens inside that box. It's kind of like a magic box, really pretty amazing how it all works. The DCDC converter is in there. So there's a conversion to convert that to 14 volts to charge the 12 volt electrical system.

Mark: So it sounds complicated and expensive. 

Bernie: Well, it is complicated. These are things that we, as far as I know, I don't know anyone who fixes them. There's really two options for repairing it. There's buy a brand new one from Toyota or buy used one. The owner opted to go for a new one.

It is very expensive part. There's sort of three main components, you know, on the hybrid system on these vehicles. One is the inverter. The other is the high voltage battery in the other courses, the motor generator transmission type of unit. These are all very expensive components. Usually very reliable,  especially the inverters. I did present the option of a used one, which was very reasonably priced and you know, it's always a bit of a gamble, but Prius inverters are pretty reliable. So it would have been a good gamble, but she wanted to the new part  and the assurance that that would provide.

So once replaced, it'll likely, never go dead again, and for another, the car is 14 years old. It'll probably last 14 or much longer than that. So that's the way she chose to go. 

Mark: How complex is it to repair or replace the inverter?

Bernie: Well of course there are safety concerns with the high voltage electrical system.

You've got to make it safe to work on. Once you do that, it's just matter of unbolting, a lot of electrical connectors and there's a cooling system involved. So it's just time to unbolt things and bolt things back together. Refill the cooling system, bleed it out properly. Then it just works. As long as the computers see everything they want to see, then the vehicle starts up. 

Mark: How did the vehicle work after all the repairs? 

Bernie: Well, it started up just fine. The moment we had the proper inverter, everything started fine.

We drove the vehicle, and there was an issue. The vehicle drove fine, but the warning lights came on on the dash. There's a triangular hybrid system warning light along with the check engine light that came on, which isn't surprising considering the vehicle sat for at least a year, and who knows how long before that?

The issue with that, we're going to talk about in our next podcast, because we've spent a lot of time talking about this inverter and if this was a TV show, it'd be a cliffhanger, but this is just car repair. We'll talk about that in the next podcast.

Mark: So there you go. If you need some service for your Prius in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112. To book your appointment - you gotta call and book ahead, they're still busy, they're rocking and rolling even through a pandemic!  Pawlik Automotive, you can check out the website: We're on YouTube: Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos in both places, all makes and models, all types of repairs.  Thanks really, we really appreciate leaving a review or just watching our crazy talks about fixing cars here. And thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

2009 Ford Escape Hybrid, HV Battery Recharge

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

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So Ford Escape, 2009 hybrid had a problem with this high voltage battery. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the vehicle was towed to our shop in a no start condition. The owner had left the vehicle sitting for a while. Found the 12 volt battery had drained completely. So he'd replaced it. That restored power to the vehicle, when you turn the key on things would light up on the dash, but the car still wouldn't start.

So at that point, he'd figured maybe the high voltage battery discharge or something else is wrong. Had it towed to us and we had to look at the vehicle. 

Mark: So what testing did you do next? 

Bernie: Well, of course, looking at the high voltage battery was the next thing. The internal combustion engine starts through a motor generator unit and that's powered by the high voltage battery. So on most hybrids, you need a good state of charge in the high voltage battery. Has to be at least above the minimum acceptable amount. To crank the engine over. 

So next test of course was to scan for codes. We found a few for high voltage battery issues, along with looking at the scan tool data for the battery indicated the state of charge was at zero.

So, that was a clue that the problem lie either in a defective discharge battery or defective battery, one of the two. 

Mark: So without a decent state of charge in the high voltage battery via electric motor generator, won't start the combustion engine on the vehicle. 

Bernie: Exactly. And this is true for most hybrids or there are a few older generation, I'm thinking Honda's that actually have a starter motor, so they can start. All Prius's they all have to have a high voltage battery to start the vehicle. 

Mark: So how do you charge a high voltage battery? 

Bernie: Yeah. Well, so you need a special charger. We bought a specialty unit from a person I've done some training with. In this case of this vehicle, we have to remove the battery from the vehicle to access, you know, open the battery pack up to access some connectors where we can actually charge the battery.

It's a very slow charging process. We had it on for a couple of days. It puts a very minimal amount of current into the battery. It's not a fast charge. We just put enough in there to get the cells balanced out and put enough energy in so the vehicle will start. And from there, the motor generator unit will take care of the rest of the charging of the vehicle.

Interestingly enough, on a Ford Escape, if you have one that's a 2008 or earlier, there's actually a capability to charge the high voltage battery with the 12 volt battery system. There's a switch. Can't remember exactly where it's located, but if you look in your owner's manual, you'll find it.

You can switch that up and it'll divert power from the 12 volt battery to the high voltage battery and charge that battery up enough so you can start to vehicle. A very smart idea, which they decided to discontinue in the 2009 model year.  Makes for a much more expensive process to fix after 2009.

I guess they assume that the cost of the charger was too high versus how often this battery would potentially go dead. So interesting choices they make as manufacturers, but this is what we work with. 

Mark: When you were mentioning high voltage, how high a voltage is that battery pack?

Bernie: It's  around the 400 volt range. It's funny how fast my memory fades sometimes. Cause I remember looking at this voltage gauge and seeing what it was. I do remember that when we started the process was that 255 volts. That was too low on the scan tool that we have that 255 volts red, zero state of charge.

So clearly the battery was not dead. The 255 volts is way below the threshold of what the vehicle needs For the motor generator unit to work? I think when we finished, it was like up and around the four, four 50 volt range. It certainly wasn't fully charged when we put it back in the car out probably would have taken a couple of weeks at the rate we charged it or at least a week. It was , sufficient to start the vehicle. And then we had the, drove it to get things going from there. 

Mark: Like all batteries, it gets slower. The charge increase slows down the closer you're getting to full. Drastically close you're getting to full. So this is, this is obviously not at that kind of voltage. This is not a charger you can just apply it  at your local auto repair place. 

Bernie: No, no, because all those charges are 12 volts. At most 24 volt charging system is what's found on trucks and the odd Toyota Land Cruiser. That's the only vehicle I've ever worked on 24 volts, but trucks have 24, but that's far below what we need.

So this is actually a specially built charger. The whole idea behind this charge, actually was not just to charge the battery, but because it puts a very low rate. It puts  only a half an amp current maximum into the battery. It can be used to balance the cells out in the nickel metal hydride battery pack.

Sometimes an older, especially older Honda's the cells go out of balance and, there's  issues with the vehicle. If you charge it, you know, with this charger, it'll actually rebalance the cells because it's putting everything in at a very slow rate. So that's kind of the design behind it, but very handy for these kinds of issues where it's either  what do you do with the vehicle? Get a new battery pack, which is a lot of money, huge amount of money. Not worth it for the value of the vehicle. 

Mark: So this isn't a service that's available at every auto repair shop. You gotta be trained in high voltage electrics, basically in vehicles to be able to do this. Do you have any pictures? 

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Bernie: Yeah, I do. I do. You're getting tired of hearing me talk? Yeah, the answer is yes. I mean, I know of only one other shop around the greater Vancouver area that does a lot of hybrid work that I'm sure has one of these chargers, but I don't know of anyone else who does. I'm not even sure what the dealers do.

They may have something. I know Toyota's. You know, their dealerships didn't even have chargers, you know, in this kind of situation, they'd have to send some tech rep out from Toyota if your Prius ever went dead. So, you know, if you have a Prius, we can resurrect it. If the battery is decent.

Okay. Pictures, there's our Escape Hybrid , still dirty from when it was brought into the shop. What else have we got here? Let's have a look under the hood. So there's the view under the hood. There's the internal combustion engine under this nice hybrid cover here. 

The motor generator unit's located underneath here. The interesting thing, I wasn't able to take a picture of it. There's a lot of space back here. The way that the Escape is designed, a lot of them have V6s. So there's a lot of room and  back in the engine compartment here. Surprisingly with the complexity of a hybrid there, but there's a lot of room. Anyways, these are a couple of the major components of the vehicle battery pack. 

Mark: Is this a four cylinder? 

Bernie: It's a four cylinder. Yeah. I can't remember the size of the engine off the top of my head, but you know, it goes good. I mean, drive it it's it's decent. Of course. It's got the boost of the motor generator unit while you're driving. So you have like two power plants moving the vehicle forward. So you don't need a, a humongous engine where it works well. 

This is the battery pack. This sits in the back underneath the cover. As I said, we have to remove this and then take all these screws off of here and inside this area here that are kind of moving the mouse over.

This is where all the battery cells sit. There's a number of electronic modules and pieces as well. This was the service plug. You can switch the power off to the vehicle through this plug here and, you know, it's a critical part in any time servicing the vehicle, you switch it to this position, it basically cuts the power to the rest of the vehicle, so it's important. 

But one thing that does happen is once you take this cover off, of course everything's live inside, so you still have the full voltage available to do nasty things should you ever touch anything. You gotta be careful around these things.

Here's a bit of scan tool data. So after we put the battery in, took it for a drive, this shows the state of charge. I went out for a long drive just to see, probably about 10 miles type of drive. This is the start of the drive.

So this is after we put the battery pack in and ran the vehicle for awhile in the shop, 44% state of charge and that kind of fluctuates. But after,  again, this is a critical thing. Like when we started the process that says state of charge zero, so we knew something was going on. There's a lot of important data that we can see here on this, like the battery pack, integrity pack. Okay. I'm not certain how it determines that, but you know, of course, if it wasn't okay, that would be an indication, was time to change the battery.

This is that same sort of data, but we can put it into graphing mode on our scan tool. Apologize for all the weird lines here. But you can see this is after a long drive the battery's now up around the 59, 58% state of charge, but did it go as high as 62? So it fluctuates depending on if you're driving down a hill with your foot on the brake, then the charge starts going up quite a bit. Could probably charge the battery up to 80% pretty easily if we just had a long enough hill. 

What else have we got here? Oh yeah, then the dash. So there's a couple of features on the instrument panel that you'll find on an Escape Hybrid that you won't see on the non-Escape. There's a charge and discharge gauge. If you boot the gas pedal really hard with the internal combustion engine and the motor generator unit driving you, this gauge will go way up in this direction. If you're kind of just cruising along normally it'll probably be around this part here, maybe even in the mid range.

And once you put the brake on and the charge goes into the charge range. This situation here, this will show you whether the engine is actually running. So of course, once the internal combustion engine starts, the RPM gauge comes on. Say stopped at a light where  it just switches the engine off, you can see the sort of state of charge of the battery. the thing required an oil change too. So that's a service where we've still need to do. And there's our picture show.

Mark: So you mentioned a high voltage batteries can become discharged on other hybrids as well. 

Bernie: Yeah. I mean, any battery will discharge over time. You know, it's an important thing to make sure that you start your hybrid every once in a while. The times we're in right now with COVID some people have parked their cars, they've left them, or they're not driving very often. Critical. If you have a hybrid, make sure you get out there, start it up, drive it around a little bit. It's very important because otherwise, , it won't start and high voltage battery is dead.

 Of course we can, can definitely get it back in a state of charge that you can use the car, but it's an expense you'd probably want to avoid if you can.

Mark: And how are these Ford escape, hybrids for reliability? 

Bernie: Pretty good. We don't see a lot of them because there aren't a ton of them around, but so far they've been pretty good. They're actually built the same, it's the same platform, not the same platform as a Prius, but same type of design.

I think the quality of the materials and part components are pretty good. So you know, underneath the vehicles, very little oil leakage from the engine. It's a 169,000 miles to the U S model well car. So that's a fair amount of time and the vehicle ran really nice.

So, I'd say, yeah, it's pretty good. If you do need a battery pack, they are expensive to buy new. There are ways to fix them for less money, or even there are some good used packs available as well. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for some service for your Ford Escape Hybrid or any kind of hybrid in Vancouver area, the guys to call her Pollock automotive, you can reach them at (604) 327-7112.

To book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead. They're busy. They're really busy right now. Everybody's getting ready to travel this summer. Little local tourism. You can check out the website. Pawlik There's hundreds of videos and articles on their repairs of all makes and models of vehicles. Pawlik auto repair is the YouTube channel. 

Of course, thank you for watching, listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Leave us a review on Apple podcast. If you are enjoying what we're doing, if you're grooving on what we're doing, what we're laying down. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching. It's always a pleasure.

Summer Road Trip Preparations

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

Bernie: Doing very well. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark: What about tires?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2008 Ford Edge Fuel Injector Repair

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

Bernie: Doing very well. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark: And how are Ford Edges for liability? 

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

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

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Slip Differential Repair

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

Bernie: Doing well.

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

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

Mark: So how did you diagnose this? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

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