Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

2012 Range Rover Evoque Maintenance Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast and video series. And 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. It keeps going up Bernie, what's going on? How are you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: That's good. Well, people keep voting for us in various magazines around Vancouver. So thank you. 

Mark: We'll take it. 

Bernie: We will take it. Absolutely. Yes I like it. The good news about this is it will never go down. It's only a credit going forward. So that's a good thing.

Mark: Beauty. So 2012 Range Rover is, today's victim, Evo Q, Evoque maintenance service. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah so we had a new client come to our shop with this 2012 Evoque. It was due for maintenance. He had a couple of concerns with the check engine light would come on occasionally, but other than that, just a basic maintenance service.

Mark: And how many kilometres were on this vehicle? 

Bernie: This vehicle had a hundred and 48,000 kilometres. So, you know, fairly, on in life for sure. I don't know what to say, middle-aged. It's hard to know with cars. Some people think 148Ks is over the hill, but I think, you know, it's not too far gone.

This is a picture of our nice looking Evoque.

Pretty cool, stylish vehicle. When I got the thing in the shop,  it's a 2012, this is the first model year of this vehicle and you go wow. It seems like they were just yesterday, it was a brand new car and kind of makes me realize how life in the world just keeps on going, you know? Anyways, so yeah, 2012. So this is now an eight year old vehicle.

Mark: And what services were due at this time?

Bernie: So there's a few filters that are due, an oil change of course, and then there's, it depends on which maintenance schedule you follow, there's a number of some other items. And I talked with the owner cause he just recently bought the vehicle, we're unsure of, you know, what the maintenance history was on it. 

So there's basically two maintenance schedules that one can follow. And depending on which one you follow, determines some of the other items, like whether to change transmission fluid, differential fluids, and so on. 

Mark: So why are there different maintenance schedules? And is that something that's common? We've never talked about that before. 

Bernie: Yeah there are. Every manufacturer has different maintenance schedules for vehicles, depending on usage. So most of us think that we just have the regular maintenance schedule but in fact, most of us actually have the heavy duty or heavy use schedule.

The reason why some of the, some of the differentiating points for the heavy usage schedule are frequent short trips which many of us do. Then there's towing, driving in extremely hot or cold weather. Those are other issues. But that frequent short trip thing is what many people fail to look at and, puts us, I say us, I mean, most people who drive in the heavy maintenance or the severe usage category. 

So on this particular vehicle, so for severe usage, the transmission fluid, drivetrain fluids, it's recommended those are replaced every five years as opposed to 10. In this case, the owner didn't want to do that. Fine. That's their thing. And the fluids, we did look at, they seemed to be in still, you know, fairly good colour, you know, not discoloured. Which doesn't always indicate the fluids are bad, but it is an indicator anyway, so you know, for the time being, we'll wait for a couple more years and then we'll do those fluids.

Mark: And were there any other issues with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Found a minor oil leak. Other than that the vehicle is actually in pretty good shape. And that of course, I did mention the check engine light was a concern for the owner. We did, as part of the service we do as vehicles scan, record the codes, clear them, and we'd just see what comes up.

But, there was nothing major, you know, in terms of the codes we found. And it's interesting with a lot of these European vehicles, when we do a full code scan, sometimes we'll get up to it like a hundred trouble codes. There was actually 20 in the engine module, but a lot of them are like, you know, little communication error between one computer and another. There's sometimes if a battery's weak, it'll set off a whole number of you know, low voltage in this module. So sometimes you'll get a number of these codes. So we clear them. A lot of times, if you, if you re inspect it or re test it in a week, you'll find this probably like none or maybe one, you know, of some sort. But I, you know, the, the key thing is if everything's working fine, sometimes I find these codes are just, it's good information, but it can be, you don't want to go down the rabbit hole of trying to fix this stuff. 

Mark: So no other issues basically, once you looked at the trouble codes?

Bernie: Yeah, it's fine. You know, if the check engine light comes back on and the owner did say that it would sometimes came back on and off, then we're going to need to have it back in for diagnosis. But having cleared away all those superfluous codes, we'll have a better idea of what's actually going on with the vehicle.

Mark: And how reliable are a Range Rover Evoques? 

Bernie: They seem to be pretty reliable so far. I'd say so far I mean, they've been around for eight years. It's not the most common vehicle, so we don't see a ton of them on our shop, but so far there doesn't seem to be too many problems with them.

These things use a two litre Ford EcoBoost engine. So that doesn't sound so fancy, you know, compared to Range Rover, but Ford owned Land Rover and Jaguar for a long time and use their technology. And I think you know, in a lot of ways made them much better vehicles. Put them kind of mainstream and where Jaguar was, you know, running out of money when it was the standalone company. Ford put a lot of money in and their technology and really improved these vehicles overall. So this is a two litre, a turbo engine, it's in the EcoBoost family, which you'll find in a lot of other Ford products. So if you want to, if you want the Range Rover Evoque feel for less money, you can probably find a Ford product, but I won't be as nicely built and as the Range Rover and have the fancy features and luxuriousness. It's a really cool vehicle. I mean I always thought, like right from the beginning, the styling is unique and it's a nice size vehicle. You know, and with that engine, it's fairly economical considering the size of the vehicle.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Range Rover product in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment in Vancouver. So you have to call and book ahead. They're always busy. Or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds, literally hundreds of videos and articles about maintaining all kinds of cars and problems as well. Thank you for watching the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there. And of course, thank you for watching and listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Leave us a review on Apple podcasts. Thanks Bernie. 


Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2018 Honda Clarity Maintenance Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local, producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast and video series, and we're talking cars with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience and 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. And today's victim is a car I know a little bit about, a 2018 Honda Clarity. What was going on with this vehicle Bernie? 

Bernie: Yes. So what was going on with this vehicle.  This vehicle was in for its first maintenance service. And I know you know a lot about this. So full disclosure everyone, this is your car Mark. We are featuring it and I know you know that, but it's awesome to, you know, thank you for the opportunity to do the first maintenance service on this vehicle. 

You know, a lot of people, we have a lot of clients who, you know, had been coming into this for years. Then they buy a new vehicle and for some reason they'd go to the dealer thinking they have to get service done there. Now I know if the dealer throws in free service, free maintenance of course go there. May be stupid not to, but for those who don't get free service, please come back to us because we do a really good job and it keeps your warranty fully intact because we use all of proper fluids and filters and everything that will keep your vehicle warranty intact. 

So, and we like working on new cars. You know, there's not a lot that needs to be done, but they're all nice and clean. And we'll look at a nice picture show of your car in a few minutes. So basically this vehicle is due for its first service. As you mentioned, I believe about 10,000 kilometres are on the vehicle and a pretty simple service. I mean  basically an oil change is essentially what it is and a visual inspection of the vehicle. 

Mark: So you just covered the second question. So it's a hybrid. Are there any additional service requirements? 

Bernie: There are none. I mean, the hybrid, the nice thing about the hybrid system is it just kind of works, it just works in the, I'll say in the background. I mean, it's certainly more than the foreground, but it just works. It's reliable. If anything does go wrong, warning lights will come on and you'll know that there's a malfunction of some sort that needs to be addressed. But other than that, it just basically takes care of itself. And you know, of course with this car being almost new, it, it does have a warranty on it. So for the first while, there's nothing that you need to worry about.

Mark:  It's actually a plugin hybrid, which means that we, it gets a drink on a fairly regular basis at home. 

Bernie: Yes. So a question, how often, how often do you actually run this on the internal combustion engine? Because that's really when we do the maintenance service, that's pretty much all it gets serviced is the internal combustion engine.

Mark: As little as possible. Because when we're, you know, looking at the difference between the two, it's got a very small fuel tank, a five, well, five and a half gallons, 27 litres, roughly. Which is really small. Kind of takes me back to my poor student days of an Austin Mini five gallon tank and which would take me from Kamloops to Vancouver actually. Anyways, this car with that small tank, in honest truth, we've had it for almost, well, in a couple of months, it'll be a year, and we filled it up six times with fuel. So not a bloody lot. Is the gas engine as little as possible because it's just so much cheaper at 11 cents a kilowatt hour to put electricity into the battery. It's way cheaper. 

Bernie: Yeah, and I imagine the car's nice to drive on plugin mode anyways. It's a lot quieter and you don't have to the vibration and the noise of the engine as well.

Mark: We'll get into that for sure because that's an interesting part of this vehicle. 

Bernie: Yeah. So really even though the vehicle has 10,000 kilometres, the internal combustion engine may have one or 2000 kilometres of actual usage. And I will say that, you know, when one of my technicians did the service, but I did look at the oil and it does look discoloured. I mean, not certainly hideous, but you know, it's a good time to change it because you know, as we've talked about different maintenance schedules in a previous podcast, you know, a hybrid is kind of in the severe use category because the engines, you know, it'll start up cold. It  often doesn't run for a long period of time. It'll switch on, switch off in hybrid mode. So you know, while it's running, it is actually under pretty severe usage. So it's good to change it at the prescribed interval, even though it seems like it may not have been run all that long. 

Mark: So Honda's made a lot of different hybrid vehicles over the past, at least 20 years, maybe longer. What's unique about this Clarity hybrid and what you've seen? 

Bernie: You know, what I see with the Clarity is okay, first of all, it's a plugin that's a bit different, a lot of Honda's were not plugins you know, until recently. So I think that's the biggest differentiating factor of the Clarity hybrid is the plugin feature but I, I just see it as kind of like Honda's evolution of hybrids. It's just the technology keeps improving over the years, and you know, and they keep adding to that technology. And what's interesting about this car is that it's kind of, I don't want, not an insult, but it has that same ugly rear fender cover, as the Honda Insight. This is certainly a much nicer looking car but it has that, actually, why don't we just show some pictures right now? 

Mark: The fender skirts Bernie.

Bernie: The fender skirt. Yes. Thank you. Yeah, it's got that, this is your beautiful car just freshly washed after the service. Yeah, it's got that, you know, sort of half fender skirt. Well the inside had a full fender skirt on it. But what's actually kind of neat about the Honda Insight, is that actually, that whole car body is actually aluminum, which is pretty cool. Like that's, you know, a 20 year old technology and it was like way ahead of its time. Unfortunately the styling was just so ugly. I don't know why anyone ever bought one, but they were, you know, they're pretty cool car for what they did. You know, so I just kind of see this as an evolution in that technology. 

Look at some other pictures because you know, speaking of aluminum you know, there's a lot underneath the vehicle that's aluminum. This is a look at the rear suspension and this whole a rear sub frame is all aluminum. And it's got this interesting, rear suspension arm. The picture doesn't really portray it quite as well as when you look underneath, you go, what the heck is this arm that sticks way out and it has a big steel frame. And my technician, Edward and I were kind of looking underneath and what that, why did they have this thing? And I think it's actually to prevent, if you back up from whacking this arm and bending it or breaking it. So it's a little interesting additional piece of metal there, but it really nicely formed, a nicely built, obviously weight reduction you know, is in mind there. 

We have another look, again another look of the rear suspension. Here's the muffler, beautiful welded stainless steel muffler. I mean, kind of neat technology. I always love the technology of cars as they come out. 

There's a look at the front suspension you know, just looks like a standard front wheel drive but again, a lot of aluminum pieces here. The control arms, the tie rod ends, really nicely fabricated. 

Underside of the engine. So this is a transmission and the electric drive unit in this area here. And then you've got your internal combustion engine here, oil filter. There's the air conditioning compressor, which is which is electric, you know, it's a high voltage unit, which is common in all modern hybrids and electric vehicles. Again lots of aluminum. And where are we going next. The front exhaust system, catalytic converter, orange cables, all orange cables, those are all high voltage electrical system cables.

And then we'll get back to the under hood. So here we have the internal combustion engine, air intake, intake manifold, radiator. This is the inverter for the electric drive motors, and you know, underneath here would be the transmission in the electric drive motors, ABS brake module, and of course, lots of orange cables. And then Honda's cool little nifty earth dreams logo. I dunno whoever thought of that, but I just laugh every time I look under the hood, especially when it's a straight internal combustion engine. I just go I don't know what that means. It's just weird corporate jargon. 

Mark: What's the size of this combustion engine? I think it's 1.4 litres. 

Bernie: Yes, it is. So not huge, but for you personally, what's the performance of this vehicle like?  

Mark: Let me ask you another question first. So how many electric motors? It's two or three, I think. 

Bernie: Oh, I should've done my research a little more thoroughly, but generally it's two.  

Mark: And I think there's a traction motor and a regenerative braking. 

Bernie: Yeah. Usually it's mg one and mg two and one of those motors drives the vehicle. The other one, we'll start the internal combustion engine. It'll do the regenerative braking, and then a lot of times, two of them will work together. So on this system, I actually haven't done my research as much as I could have, but they all work together and usually serve different functions. But one of the motors is usually substantially larger. That's the one that drives the vehicle. 

Mark: Yeah. So this vehicle is similar in a way to the way other electric vehicles, where they have the skateboard platform, where the batteries are along the bottom. The battery runs from the firewall and the engine compartment to basically where the engine cabin ends and then their batteries are stacked. The batteries are running underneath the floorboards of the car basically. The inside is quite roomy for this size of car. You don't have the driveshaft tunnel and so that's a really positive thing. It's a 17.7 kilowatt hour battery, which is for how much space that battery's taking, it doesn't compute. Somehow in my mind, it's really small for that much space. So they use some kind of weird technology that's not exactly the, you know, the best out there by any means. I mean, in a similar kind of space of Tesla will have 75 kilowatt hours. 

Bernie: Yeah. That's pretty amazing. It's a really amazing difference. It makes you wonder what's exactly in there in terms.

Mark: Yeah, exactly. And I mean, they've done it. They obviously know how to cram a lot of stuff in there. You can see from the engine compartment, it's got, you know, two electric motors and a combustion motor. Operation. You asked about performance. You get different driving modes. So you just click a button and you've got a sport mode and the vehicle if you start from the stop, it catches your attention. It's pretty quick. It's zero to 60 and seven seconds. 

Berne: That is quick.

Mark: Which, you know, in the world of EVs, it's not that fast, but in the, you know, regular world, this is just a passenger car. Your regular Honda Accord, basically. Maybe finished a little nicer inside. Got a nice but pretty common these days, you know, smaller size of  LED unit, which is, you know, my experience with it is it's not that user-friendly to use, but it's okay. I've driven Teslas. I know how they work, and it doesn't compare, in all honesty. The fit and finish of the vehicle, it's Honda. It's like a lower model Acura in terms of how I felt it was inside. It's very nice. It's a comfortable, super comfortable. Actually, I would say it's one of the most comfortable cars I've ever had. 

What don't we like about it? Performance wise it's wonderful when you're driving on the electric, like you were talking about earlier, it's very quiet. It's very powerful. When you want power, it's instantly there. All the wonderful things about electric. Anyone who says electrics don't have power is wrong. Period. 

Bernie: They've just never driven one. 

Mark: It'll snap your head faster than any other vehicle you've ever had. But when you suck too much power, too much, too fast on that small little battery, the other motor will kick in. It's got a constant variable transmission which I'm sure they probably had to use in this vehicle, which means that suddenly you got a whole bunch of noise and clatter happening that you didn't expect. Or if the battery is running low, the motor will automatically kick on and you don't have any choice about it and it starts to charge basically the gas engine is charging the battery so you don't run out of battery before you get home. 

You don't notice it at highway speeds, you can't hear it because of the road noise and wind noise. But in town, it's jarring that suddenly that motor comes on, or if you really stomp on it, it will kick in and both motors will run. That's where you get the full amount of torque. I think it's, 270 foot pounds of torque, which again, for a little one and a half liter equivalent vehicle is a lot. It's like it's got a V6. 

Bernie: Yeah. 

Mark: In performance. We wish that it had way more range. In all honesty, and if we had it to do over, we probably would have jumped and gone to a Tesla to be honest with you. Otherwise, no, the car has been trouble-free. It's easy to use, love the fact that we've got experience now as having a pseudo EV where you could just plug it in each night and you got all the juice and all the range you want in the morning. It's pretty amazing. 

It's sobering to see how much in cold weather that range drops cause it drops a fair amount, 17 and a half, or 0.7 kilowatts. It gives us generally on once, now we're starting to warm up, we'll get about 80-85 kilometres. So for most of the driving that we do even, you know, on longer trips that's going to cover most of what we need.

Bernie: Covers a good distance. 

Mark: And we've got the gas tank there so that if we want to drive to Seattle and back, which is, you know, a fair, good distance, the vehicle, you know, just throw some fuel in it and keep going. It's got 700 kilometres of range, so.

Bernie: That's pretty awesome. And it's interesting, one thing you mentioned earlier that caught my attention, you talk about how the, you know, as, as the battery gets low, it'll start charging the battery. And it's what amazes me about you know, the technology of these cars, you know, and all hybrids, even going way back to the Honda Insight well that's actually such a simple hybrid. It's a little different, but you know, these modern hybrids, the computer management of things, you know, is amazing. You know, things like the engine will just start because the batteries low, maybe not because it has to, but can't be lower than a certain level of charge, you know, for maintenance. So there's a whole bunch of stuff going on in the background in a hybrid that, you know, even when you hit the brakes, sometimes you're, if it's an emergency stop, it won't even do regenerative braking. It'll just go straight into a full ABS braking. So there's so many items that are just managed in the background on these cars, and it's reliable. That's the neat thing about it, you know, with all these computers. I've been in the trade for so long. I always worry, Oh my God. It's so complicated and it's like it, it seems like where it really counts, it's reliable. 

Mark: Yeah. So the regenerative braking is one other thing I'd like to talk about. That is a really, once you get used to it, it becomes very interesting to play with. Now with the Clarity you've got options. So when you're in certain modes, the regenerative braking on, and you have a paddle shifter where you can set how much you want. So if you're in sport mode, you can set it at, say full, you know, so it's got full regenerative where as soon as you take your foot off the gas. Off the accelerator, the car starts, you feel, it's just like somebody put a big drag shoot out the back. You're, it's pulling you back, pulling you down, slowing use your speed. Most of the time you're in EV mode trying to conserve as much battery as possible and it's not set like that, which to be honest with you is one of my pet peeve. I'm always clicking on the thing because then you can set it manually by how much regen you want every time you come to a stop.

And I'm always putting it up to four, up to the max because I want to gain as much battery back as I possibly, it's not much, but it helps. It extends it a few more kilometres. And that's sort of a pet peeve. It's kind of a weird way. I don't understand why they did that. Why they, you can't just set it once and leave it. That's how it is in other EVs. You just, you go into the control wherever the controls are and set how much regen you want and there you go. That's what you get. So that leads to the motor kicking in a little bit more often. 

Another thing that I wanted to mention is that it's a little disconcerting sometimes when I pull into the garage. This has happened once where, you know, I've been driving a little bit harder and the battery's been sucked drier a little bit, and the car is running and it, you turn the car off and the engine keeps running. 

Bernie: Hmm. 

Mark: Because it's charging the battery. It says the battery is too low. We're going to charge the battery. So you shut the car off, but the engine is still running. 

Bernie: Interesting. 

Mark: And then you flip the lid open and you plug in the car and the engine shuts off because now it's getting power from somewhere else. So it's very, very clever how they've set that part of things up to do that. But I think ultimately, Clarity was made in three different forms in California, there was a EV version, a hydrogen version and the hybrid version, all let's remaining for 2020 is the hybrid like mine. A very rare car. This, why didn't we buy an electric car? There weren't any. 

Bernie: Yeah. There was a run on them in BC for a, for a while when gas prices went high, and government put in some incentives, and I know that's when you bought yours and, yeah, it's hard to find. 

Mark: This was the last one in British Columbia, actually. In the whole province.  It's a nice car. 

Bernie: Yeah, it is a nice car for sure. I mean, yeah. If we're, this is kind of gone from a maintenance service to a review of the 2018 Honda Clarity, but I'd say it's an awesome car. And then based on the track record of a Honda hybrid reliability, I'd say it's a good car to buy.

Mark: There you go. So if you're looking for service for your Honda's in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. We love all cars. We will be honest about them as well. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com hundreds of articles, videos, discussions on there about all kinds of makes and models of vehicles, all kinds of repairs. Pawlik Auto Repair is the YouTube channel. Thanks so much for listening and watching the podcast. We really appreciate it. Leave us a review on Apple podcasts again. We would really appreciate that and thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark, and thanks for watching.

2005 BMW 325i Window Regulator And ABS Repairs

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. 22 times they've been selected and voted, which is pretty amazing. So they do a good job. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. Doing very well today. 

Mark: So 2005 BMW 325 that had window and brake problems. What was going on with this vehicle

Bernie: Yeah, so the owner of the vehicle had mentioned he'd put his left rear window down, it made a horrible clunking sound. Something seemed to shift or drop, and he was able to actually get the window back up. But it seemed, you know, there was something that wasn't working quite right with that window. Also it was due for service, a maintenance service and the ABS brake warning light was on as well. 

Mark: Were these issues related?

Bernie: No. All, all separate issues. And we're going to talk about the window regulator and the ABS issue, both in this podcast, but yeah, not related. Completely separate issues. 

Mark: So what was happening with the window? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the window, as I mentioned, he put the window down, there was a clunk sound and you know, the window didn't quite go up straight when he was able to get it up and he wasn't able to put it down again, but it wasn't, you know, it wasn't working properly. So, that was basically the issue with the window on the left rear. 

Mark: And what did you do to repair it? 

Bernie: So basically the first step of course, is a diagnosis. And we removed the door panel from the left rear door, looked inside. We can see that the cable from the a window regulator was all slack on one side, which indicates the regulator is faulty. We did test the motor, it seemed to work fine. So our recommendation was basically to replace the window regulator. 

We'll just have a look at some pictures right now while we're at it. So there's our 05 325 E46 series vehicle. And as far as pictures, let's go to the window regulator. 

So these are the two window regulators. This is the new one that we installed. This is the old one here. You can see a distinct difference between this piece and this piece and that is a plastic pulley that's no longer in place on this particular one here. So that's basically what happened. The plastic pulley broke. The cable got slack. There was enough tightness in the cable where it would go up and down, but it wouldn't obviously work as well as it should and eventually it would have failed for certain. 

This is a view of the new window regulator with the motor installed. We were able to transfer the motor over, which worked fine, but you can see the cable's tight. This is a piece that attaches to the window. So this moves up and down, this is mounted vertically inside the door. So that's how that operates.  

Mark: So that basically keeps the window square in the frame and basically winds up and down, hauling the window up and down.

Bernie: It does exactly. And the squareness in the frame is also due to the actual window sits in the mounts. Yeah. This also, if it's not sitting properly, will cause a window to sit on an angle or move up and down on an angle. Again, it depends on the design of the vehicle. This is a good simple design and actually works quite well. There's a lot of vehicles that have these cable designed regulators. Some of them are really complicated. They have cables and pulleys on both sides of the window. And those are even more of a nightmare when something breaks because the window goes all twisty and wonky. This is a pretty good straight forward simple design for cable regulator and pretty reliable too.

Mark: So what caused the pulley to break? 

Bernie: Old age. You know it's plastic. We love plastic in this business, as I've said. You know, plastic, it doesn't last forever. Eventually just somehow wore out and broke. And you know, it's a 2005. That's what, a 14 year old car, so 15 year old car now. It's not unexpected that things would break at some point in time. 

Mark: And was this a time consuming repair?

Bernie: Not really. It's not actually not too difficult. And it's actually pretty well built for repair. Some windows, some power windows can be an absolute nightmare. And this one's actually built pretty well. So BMW's are pretty good this way. At least in this type of model. 

Mark: And what was happening with the ABS system?

Bernie: Yeah so the ABS. So that's a separate concern. So the warning light on the dash was on and there was no real issue in terms of the way the car braked. But what happens is when an ABS warning light's on, basically, normally shuts the ABS system off because the system detects a fault. So your brakes work as normal. And the only time that you would actually notice anything is when you go into a panic stop. And then the ABS system wouldn't be there.

Mark: And what procedures did you perform to diagnose what the problem might be? 

Bernie: Yeah, so again, so for the ABS system, it's basically a scan tool diagnosis is where we start. So we scan the system. Look for trouble codes. We found a few. Most were related to the front right wheel speed sensor. So you know, from there road test. We can road test a vehicle and we can, on our scan tool, we can look at data and we can see what the readings of the wheel speed sensors are. So it'll actually tell us the speed of each wheel. The right front was giving us no reading. That's usually an indication that the sensor or there's something wrong with the wheel speed sensor, or sometimes a sensor ring will break in certain models of cars. But in the case of this vehicle, did a few further tests and found the actual sensor itself was defective.

I've got a picture of the wheel speed sensor. So that's the wheel speed sensor for the vehicle, the right front wheel. I mean all of them have a similar kind of look, but they are actually in this vehicle specific for each wheel and a this the part with the red arrow. This is the actual sensor that the bolts in onto the wheel. It's a little dark here, but there's a bolt goes through this piece here. This plastic piece fits in and the sensor, there's a ring, a tooth ring on the axle shaft. And as the teeth pass, the sensor can actually tell how fast the wheel is going, whether it's accelerating or decelerating.

It's actually extremely sensitive amount of data is calculated from this particular item. In a lot of BMWs the tire pressure monitoring system also works off the wheel speed sensors as well. So that might be a conversation for further podcasts. But it's, you know, nonetheless, that's how sensitive this whole system is. So this wire, you know, it's nicely shielded and the connector which connects to the rest of the wiring harness. 

Mark: So are wheel speed sensors, do they fail commonly, like regularly or?

Bernie: Yeah. I think I've all the ABS issues we fix, and I'm talking about in sort of a broad spectrum of cars, the wheel speed sensor would be the most common item that we do fix. It's out in a hostile environment, you know, with moisture and rain and snow and salt and rust and you know, everything you can throw at it. Plus on the front wheels, of course the wheels are turning, you know, there was always movement and rotation. So the, these wires are under stress, all the time. So on the rear, they're definitely more stressed, but sorry, on the front they're more stressed, but we do replace rear ones as well. I mean they all go bad. 

Mark: And is this a difficult repair? 

Bernie: Well, this one wasn't too bad and surprisingly, I'll just go back to the picture again. Just the way the sensor was designed, like a lot of these things fit into a very tight bore like, you know, the hole in the actual wheel hub is very tight compared to the size of the sensor. And over time, rust and corrosion can build up and actually cause a sensor to seize up inside the bore so that it becomes difficult. But this one here there's a lot of room around it. It was just basically unbolt and it popped right out, which is really, it's a real godsend because they can be a real nightmare to repair sometimes, especially when they stick into the bore and you have to drill it out and pull it out and then you have to clean the bore out so the new one fits in properly. So that adds a lot of extra time, of course, costs to do. But, for this BMW, it's nice and easy. Well thought out. And actually in terms of replacement. 

Mark: And how did everything work after the repair? 

Bernie: Oh, it was good. Window good. ABS brake light off. System worked properly. So just like we like it. 

Mark: Another happy customer from Pawlik Automotive. 

Bernie: Exactly. 

Mark: So if you want repairs or service for your BMW in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're busy. Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com lots of articles on there. YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. If you're enjoying the podcast, leave us a review on Apple podcast. That would be awesome and thanks so much for watching. Thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching. Thanks for listening and we always appreciate it.

BMW 320i 2005 Battery Issues

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local we're here wth Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And of course today we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. And actually I do want to add, I haven't told you this yet, but we're actually 22 time winners now.

Mark: 22! 

Bernie: Thanks to our customers. So. Yeah. It's exciting. 

Mark: Awesome. 

Bernie: To share that with you and everyone who watches this podcast first.

Mark: Congratulations. 

Bernie: Thank you. 

Mark: BMW 320i is today's victim, a 2005 that had battery issues. What was going on with this BMW? 

Bernie: This vehicle had battery issues plus a few other things. The customer came to us, first of all, the battery required boosting every time. It wouldn't start. And also there's some transmission shifting problems and a couple of other things. But those were the two main concerns. And of course, with the transmission shifting, you know, the owner was thinking, well, is it worth doing anything with this car or is it time to say goodbye? So those were the things we looked at. 

Mark: So what was causing the transmission to shift badly? 

Bernie: Well, it turns out the transmission issue and the battery issue, or one in the same. We're going to get right into the battery because there's some good pictures I want to show and we can start talking about what we found and why the battery caused the transmission to shift badly.

So let's just get right into a screen share here. So here's our 2005 BMW 320. I mean, it's an E46 chassis. BMW looks the same as pretty much all the other four door sedans of its type, depending on paint colour of course, and trim. But that's a, it's your standard. I call it your standard BMW.

Good reliable car in most cases. There's our battery. This is our battery. This is our positive battery terminal. This is what we found. This was causing, of course, it's obvious when you look at this, that the car might not start, but as this was also the cause of the transmission shifting issue.

Mark: Okay. So what causes such beauteous corrosion to take place on a battery? 

Bernie: Yeah, so this is interesting because this battery is located in the trunk of the vehicle and 99% of the time, like almost a 100% of the time when we go to look at a battery in a trunk, it's very clean.  You can't even almost tell the age of the battery, even if it's a 10 year old battery, because it sits out of the, you know, sits out of the elements of the hood out of the heat. It's actually a good place to put a battery really. It's not, it's a very unhostile environment, but this was kind of a surprise.

So what, you know, speculate as somehow, somebody, either the battery was defective or somebody you know, when they put the battery in, somehow broke the positive terminal and let acid leak out all over because this is basically an acid reacting with the metal that causes this kind of corrosion. 

You can see this piece here, this is a current sensor. So these electrical systems are highly monitored in these cars. And with many modern cars. BMW may have been a little ahead of their time compared to some brands, but these vehicles are, they, you know, they monitor how much current is going through the battery. So the charging system and the rest of the electrical system can, you know, make choices and adjustments on how to manage the power. 

The positive battery cable, clips right in here. So this terminal actually pops apart and the positive battery cable, which runs the length of the vehicle to under the hood, clips into there. 

So but you can see, just by looking at it, this is not a healthy thing. 

Mark: It's not a healthy thing to put your hands on either. 

Bernie: No. And we wear gloves for most of the work we do here. So, yeah. 

Mark: So you said that this is the transmission problem was caused also caused by the battery. How, how is that possible?

Bernie: So these vehicles are very sensitive to the operation of the electrical system. And basically what we did in terms of the diagnostic in the vehicle, of course, before replacing the battery, we were able to a hook a booster up, road tested the vehicle, extracted a number of codes. Did a little research and found there's a technical service bulletin by BMW for issues relating to the electrical system and battery. You know, the part of the technical service bulletin, you know, puts notes about whether, you know, someone's installed some aftermarket electrical equipment that might cause inter electrical interference in the vehicle or to look at battery and battery cable issues. And of course we found this and we figured we were pretty much onto something.

Of course the only, you know, it was a bit of a gamble for the customer because transmission repair is very expensive. And the only way to really get the electrical system working properly, is to install a good quality battery which is a glass mat battery in the case of this vehicle, and they're generally expensive. And then replace that battery cable end, which is not a cheap item either. We were able to find a good quality used one. As I say, those things rarely ever wear out. So this was a good used part. We were able to come up with that and we replaced it and it all worked fine. So, that's basically how it all works. You need good electrical flow. Any interruption in current flow can cause the transmission to shift improperly. 

Mark: So how did you diagnose that the battery was the causes of transmission problem? 

Bernie: Well, the TSB was one of them, you know, and it's basically, you know, with a lot of the work we do, it's a step by step procedure. Some things are clear, some things aren't. But once we have a technical service bulletin from a manufacturer that says, if the battery is bad or something, you know, to that effect and it's causing this. I didn't say guaranteed to find the issue, but that's a good start for our repair. And that's what we did. If that hadn't done it, of course we would have been into actually testing the transmission and diagnosing, you know, the electrical system or that the actual transmission itself. But in this case, a happy ending for all. The battery fixed everything. 

Mark: So how'd the vehicle work after you replaced the battery and cable? 

Bernie: Yeah, it was really good. Of course it started fine. Charging system worked well. The transmission shifted like it was supposed to. No more trouble codes returned to the transmission module or engine module. It was all good. You know, the vehicle did need some other repairs, but they were, you know, brakes and ball joints and things like that. But nothing electrical or drive train related. 

Mark: So I know that 320's, at least in some years, are Canadian only models, I had one that was a nightmare. My fault for buying a bad car. But is this a Canadian only model? 

Bernie: Yeah. I shouldn't say it's a, at least in North America, it's a Canadian only model. I'm sure they sell them in other markets around the world because Canada's car market's pretty small. So that's the only thing about this car that can be a little bit of a pain, is it was only sold in Canada, in North America. So getting, finding, looking up parts is a little more difficult, but most of the items on the car are the same as the 325 model and  E46. They're all pretty much the same car, but of course the engine's a little different. It's a bit smaller, but pretty much the same. It was interesting because this car had California plates on it, but the owner had obviously bought it in Canada moved to California, came back to Canada. So it was kind of a, it would be even a more of a strange beast down in California. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your BMW, even the rare ones in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're always busy. Or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com many, over 600 articles on there about all makes and models of cars repairs. YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, over 350 videos on all makes and models of cars and all kinds of repairs. And of course, if you like what we're doing here on the podcast, give us a like on Apple podcast, we'd appreciate it and thank you for watching and listening. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching. Thanks for listening. Always appreciate it.

Ball Joint Replacement 2001 Jaguar S Type

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, the big bopper himself, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. 21 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 today.

Mark: So Jaguar S type, a 2001. So a little bit of an older vehicle with a ball joint replacement.
What was going on with this JAG?

Bernie: So this vehicle came to us, the owner also as an older Jaguar than this we do service on and he brought this one to us to do a maintenance service, full inspection. And we found that the left lower ball joint was severely loose, and I'd love to start that off with a video because as they say, a picture's worth a thousand words, video is probably worth even more.

So let's just get right into that. So this is the area you're going to want to be looking at here. I have the camera, I apologize. I was a little less than steady with the camera, but this is the thing that you're going to want to be watching. This is the left lower ball joint, right in this area here. So our technicians basically got the tire and he's just pushing it up and down on the hoist. Let’s play it again so you can get the full view of it. So there should be no play there whatsoever. Just one more time, because I just love finding stuff like this on a car.

Mark: So that's pretty, incredibly worn. Probably a half an inch or more of travel. How does that happen in a part that should have zero like literally zero travel?

Bernie: Yeah, it's just wear and tear. Just old age wear and tear. Nothing that the driver's done. I mean, you can't, I guess you were driving over really rough roads that probably shortens the life of your ball joints, but just generally, that's just normal wear and tear. I mean, this car is almost 20 years old now. Not very high mileage, but still, nonetheless, it's just age.

Mark: So if I were driving the car, would there be anything I would notice?

Bernie: You would probably notice some clunks when you go over bumps, you should notice some clunks or bangs. There might be a slight feel of the steering isn't quite as tight as it should be, but there's a lot of things that can cause that. And usually that happens gradually. So you don't really notice it, but it's entirely possible you may not notice anything.

Mark: And you mentioned already that this probably wasn't because of neglect, but can this happened because of neglect?

Bernie: I mean, the whole idea is to get your car inspected cause you never know how long it's going to be before you know, something like this happens. So the only, the only real neglect I would say is lack of inspection would cause that sort of thing. Other than that, if you routinely inspect the car, you're going to find things like this.

Mark: And when did this car last get inspected?

Bernie: Well, as far as we could tell, he brought a, this car had been serviced by a Jaguar dealership in Vancouver, and he brought the previous invoice, which I believe was about a year ago. And they'd done quite a bit of work on it, inspected the car thoroughly, they'd actually replace the right lower ball joint, the knuckle assembly, the knuckle assemblies with the ball joint bolts into, they replaced that. They replaced the lower control arm plus a number of other items during their service. So this car was inspected a year ago. So this is the kind of thing that, and obviously, if there was wear in this joint, they would have mentioned it at the time. So, clearly, you know and we often recommend an annual inspection on the vehicle. I think, you know, this just reinforces the idea to me just how important that is because you never know what's going to wear in a year.

Mark: So when you replace that, do you just replace a ball joint or other parts required?

Bernie: We, so there's a few ways you can replace it. You can actually buy the lower ball joint, but what we did was replace the ball joint with the knuckle and the knuckle actually attaches this to the upper ball joint. And it's where the wheel bearing bolts attaches and the lower ball joints, unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it. I thought I had, but the knuckles and assembly and the ball joints pressed into it. So it makes sense to do that because sometimes when you press the ball joints out, they don't press it and quite properly. And the last thing you want of course, is a ball joint to come loose from its housing because that defeats the whole purpose of the repairs. So we changed the knuckle along with it. So that's what was required to fix this one properly.

Mark: So the ball joint basically allows the wheel to go up and down, but also turn because it's got many more movements.

Bernie: Exactly. It allows the wheel to, you know when you turn the road wheels back and forth, it allows for that movement. Plus it allows the suspension to move up and down. So there's a lot of movement that takes place in this joint at various angles. And of course, if you hit a bump on a curve, it's moving at a different rate. So it does a lot of work.

Mark: And we're not even talking about the fact that the tires actually cant back and forth based on which corner you're going on as well.

Bernie: They do. And that's all part of the, you know, the way the steering geometry is designed in some vehicles have just one ball joint. Like a MacPherson strut suspension as a lower ball joint, and then the strut, which is the shock absorber all built in, holds the top of the suspension in place. So it's got less complexity, which is why it's popular and a lot of cars and even even high end cars use MacPherson struts. But then a lot of other vehicles you get, they all actually have four ball joints. They'll have two lower ones and two upper ones. And it's interesting when you look at the way the wheels move with those, you know, when you move the wheel back and forth, there's a lot of engineering that goes into the movement of those wheels, you know.
And then again it's for handling and road feel and that kind of thing.

Mark: So if one is bad, you normally replace all of them?

Bernie: No. The thing with suspension work is it's, well, a lot of car work, it's sort of, you have to evaluate how all the parts work together. So for instance, you know, with a ball joint, if one's worn, there's not really any reason that, and the other one's in perfect shape there's not really any reason to change the ball joint on the other side of the vehicle. It doesn’t, the parts are exactly the same dimension, so it doesn't change the geometry. Whereas if you change, say a shock absorber, it's kind of, there's a certain amount of wear that could be occurring in the other side that that won't allow the same cushioning. So you need to change both at the same time. Same with brakes. If you do one, you do both because it is very important that all components are exactly the same, you know for the braking. But for a ball joint, generally speaking, you know if it makes economic sense to change another one at the same time on the same side, for instance, then it's worth doing. But a lot of times, only one joint will wear. A lot of times if one joint where's the one on the other side won't wear for many years afterwards. So it's better just to change them again, you need, it needs to be evaluated as to the type of vehicle. But in the case of this JAG, we just replaced this lower ball joint. We know the right had been replaced a year ago and was tight. The upper ball joints were fine. There was no movement. So no reason to change those either.

Mark: So here's the question, a bit of a wildcard here. Why would I care? Like if this thing's going clunk, clunk and so what's the bad? Why would I care?

Bernie: That's a really good question. So you, why you would care is this, it's like an extreme safety hazard. I'm just gonna put this video, just go back to this video picture here. Behind this tin plate here is your brake rotor and your tires, kinda here out of the picture. So this joint breaks and this one's very close to breaking because the amount of play. This part here will just basically come apart and the wheel will fling out on an angle, flop out and yeah, you basically lose control of your vehicle. So. I've seen ball joints break fortunately almost every time they've surprisingly, they've actually just snapped in a parking lot maneuver. Which kind of sucks cause you have to, you know, get your car towed in but I have had one client who at a ball joint just break while they're driving, and he said it was a horrific experience. You know, if you're driving fast and you're going down a twisty road or on the edge of a cliff, you'll probably go over, you know, it's really dangerous. So this is one part you definitely don't want the break. So that's why you should care.

Mark: Your steering is important.

Bernie: Your steering is important. Absolutely and this is like a super critical part. You know there's some things like control arm bushings for instance. I mean, they wear and they cause clunks but they'll rarely, I can't imagine they ever get to the point of failing where you'd actually lose control of your steering. Whereas, you know, something like this, like a ball joint, this is a critical piece. It has to be in good shape. If you value your life and that of other people.

Mark: And how are S type Jags for reliability?

Bernie: They're pretty good. Let's just get in a couple of other pictures while we're here.

There's our S type, good shape for an old car. And a picture under the hood. I kind of jokingly call these Ford wires, kind of combining the word Ford and Jaguar because this is, you know, this is when a Ford owned Jaguar and they, you know, to me, I do say the odd bad thing about a Ford, but you know, Ford really made Jaguar much more reliable car. The money they infused into them kind of made them a little more mainstream and much more reliable. But when you look at a lot of these caps here, like for the power steering fluid, it looks the same as you'd find on a Ford. And then its engine is very, although it's interesting, a lot of parts aren't interchangeable, but this engine is very much a Ford V6 motor. This car is also available with a V8 as well, which is actually a pretty cool, nice high performance setup. But generally it's a pretty reliable car. There's are a few things that go wrong, but what we found with this vehicle is just sort of average wear and tear and maintenance and nothing really in particular that's bad about it. So, you know, I like them. They're not super high end, so they're not like an S type so the parts are a little more reasonable than some of the other, the XK models and that kind of thing.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Jaguar in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead because they're hopping busy. Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. The YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair over 360-70, I don't know. I've lost count videos on there of all makes and models of cars and types of repairs, and of course, thank you so much for watching and listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching. Always a pleasure.

Protect Yourself from Catalytic Converter Theft

Hi, it's Mark from Top Local, we're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How are you doing this morning, Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So a bit of a controversial subject these days. Very frustrating for a lot of folks. How do we protect ourselves from catalytic converter theft? What's going on? 

Bernie: There's a lot in the news about catalytic converter theft these days, it seems to be on the rise. And it's been going on for a long, long time. And catalytic converters have always had some value as scrap metal. They're filled with precious metals. And so it's a good way for a thief to make a quick buck by removing a catalytic converter from a car. But the price fluctuates. And a catalytic converter generally have three precious metals, platinum, palladium, and rhodium. Rhodium is extremely valuable at the present time. So catalytic converters are worth a lot more money these days. 

Mark: So are there specific vehicles targeted? 

Bernie: There are. So the vehicles are targeted based on one, on ease of removal. And second, on the value of the catalytic converter. And Toyota Prius's, a lot in the news about Prius's. There's a lot of areas, not around Vancouver that I've heard, but certainly in California, Oregon, a lot in England where people have, this is what I hear in the news, and it's probably a lot of other places, but Prius's seem to be targeted very highly. 

Mark: And why? 

Bernie: The catalytic converter in a Toyota Prius, it’s valuable because it has a lot of precious metals in it. To achieve the low emissions that Toyota sets out to achieve, they pack the converter with a lot of precious metals. The more precious metal that you put in the converter, the better it actually works. You can buy a, you know, in the past you can go to an auto parts store and buy an  aftermarket replacement catalytic converter. I mean they used to have converter there. They still do, you know, it's $100 to buy a converter. Whereas the dealers, you know, a converter may be $1,200. Just giving, you know, round examples. And the Toyota Prius ones are substantially more money than that because of the precious metals. But the cheap hundred dollar converters, they barely have any precious metals in them. They didn't have to just have enough that you'll get you through an emission test. And fail within a year again. So they're not very good. Factory converters, they all have, you know, very high precious metal loading, but Prius's are exceptionally high. 

Mark: So catalytic converter, basically it's taking the pollutants, certain pollutants and those precious metals are actually bonding those pollutants and keeping them inside of the catalytic converter rather than shoving them out this tailpipe. Is that kind of a rough approximation was happening? 

Bernie: Actually, no, it doesn't work that way. And I'll be honest, I'm not, I can't tell you exactly, but what happens is as the exhaust flows past the hydrocarbon NOx and carbon monoxide, or actually converted to CO2 and water, and  that's basically how it works. As these gases pass the metals and the heat, there has to be heat and the reaction, it creates a chemical conversion. So that's basically what happens. So you know, as much as we hate CO2, coming out to the air, catalytic converter actually puts more CO2 out because it's actually taking those harmful pollutants, hydrocarbons, NOx, and carbon monoxide, and converting to the carbon dioxide and water. So, I mean, the water's good, but the CO2 is certainly is not, but you know, higher CO2, it's better combustion. But that's basically how it does it. So, catalytic converters they don't really wear out. I mean, they're supposedly last a lifetime of the vehicle, but they do fail eventually. And usually it's due to the, I mean, sometimes they can get overheated and damaged, but a lot of times the catalyst material just gets coated over by crap, you know, in the exhaust. And eventually it just isn't as efficient. But generally, even an old catalytic converter still has all that precious metal generally stays intact.

Mark: So isn't it difficult to get a catalytic converter out of a car? 

Bernie: Well it is, usually but there are some vehicles that are easier than others. Trucks, for instance, they sit higher, so someone can crawl underneath. Thieves cut these things out. It's easier nowadays because there's so many portable power tools, good battery powered tools. So with the reciprocating saw, you can just get underneath there with a metal blade in a matter of a minute or two, cut the catalytic converter out. So trucks are a good target because they sit high. Prius's of course, don't sit high, but they're highly valuable. So thieves that, there's a video you can watch on YouTube, couple of crafty guys in England pull up beside a Prius. They jack the vehicle up. One guy crawls underneath, I think it's like 90 seconds or something. They pop the vehicle down. They're gone with the catalytic converter probably, you know, make them three to 400 bucks in scrap metal, and that's a pretty good, a pretty good haul. I'm not giving anyone any ideas, you know, it's a pretty, you've got a couple of those a day. You could make a pretty good living till you get caught. 

Mark: Hopefully sooner than later. So how can I prevent my catalytic converter from being stolen? 

Bernie: Well, there's a few items, a few methods. I mean, first of all, if you have a locked, you know, a garage that you can park your car in, preferably in a private residence, that's probably the safest place. But I mean, second would be, you know, if you live in an apartment complex or something, that has shared parking, you know, an underground parking lot would be a good spot. However, people can get in. They do break into those kinds of places. So, you know, it's not a hundred percent safe, but it's better than the alternative.

You know, one, one thing to avoid is dark streets where there's no traffic at night. You know, I, my shop’s in an industrial area and down the road from me, I've had actually a couple of neighbours who've had a catalytic converter stolen off their vehicles because it gets dark down here. There's really no traffic, and it's a perfect place for a thief to do something. So if you're on a busy, busier road was more traffic, that's a good preventative. The other thing of course, is you can make things and there's a protective shields available. 

I'll just share a photo here or two. 

We had a customer come in awhile ago with an old, it was an older Toyota pickup truck, four wheel drive pickup truck had a bit of a lift on it, so this would be an a really easy vehicle to take a catalytic converter out of, but this person had a, I don't know, when had a customized catalytic converter, protective shield put into it. The red arrows kind of point to the shield, which is, I shouldn't say shield. I mean it's all a steel bars, but with a reciprocating saw, even if you did actually manage to reach it and cut the pipe, you'd never be able to sneak it out past this area. So really well thought out item. 

Now, here’s another view of it from the front. Again, with the protective pieces in the way. The one thing about this, it's of course it's a bit of a pain is if you ever have to do any repairs and remove this, you're going to have to cut this piece off and cut it apart to get it out, but it's not something in the course of normal automotive repair that you need to remove this, but there are times when you would, so that would cost you some extra money. But I mean, really a pretty cool creative solution. If you don't want to go this kind of route of customization, there are items available. If you look online there and we'll put some links, for a couple of products. We've never used them, so we can't personally endorse them, but some interesting ideas.

There's a company that makes shields, specifically for Toyota Prius's. I think they're stainless steel and they bolt in underneath the vehicle, which is good. I mean, it's not like a thief couldn't remove them, but any deterrent helps. If you have two Prius's one with the shield one without it, they're going to go with the one without it.

So that's one item. There are some wire cables that, basically clamp up to your exhaust pipe. These are like steel, hardened steel wires. Again, it makes it very difficult for a thief to cut the converter. Again, thieves want to do stuff fast. They want to do it quick, and if they can't do that, then they're going to move on to the next thing.

There's also one that's even more interesting. It's some steel cables attached to the exhaust pipe, they run down the length of the exhaust pipe from the front over the catalytic converter and it comes with an alarm. And you have a fob, you can set it. It's actually not very expensive, surprisingly, but there there's a fob and it has, I think 110 or 120 decibel siren that sounds and is supposed to set up underneath, and of course, blow the thief's ears out while we're in the middle of cutting the converter and scare them away. But it also has some, you know, if they happen to break the siren off or whatever they do, they, it has some protective wires again.

Steel wires that just slow the process down. So that's another one I thought was kind of an interesting idea. Although having the idea of having another fob to, you know, to arm your vehicle for a catalytic converter theft seem a little, it seems a little extreme to me. Like it seems like a lot of work, but I guess if you live in an area where that happens, it might be an option. So those are a few items. As I mentioned, we'll put some notes in in the end. 

Mark: So this is an item that you've had to replace far too many times already. 

Bernie: Yeah. We've done quite a few. It really varies what the price of precious metals. Sometimes when the price goes down, you know, then the level of theft goes down. But you know they talk about you know, it's often talking about the ethics of scrap dealers. I mean, you got a couple of guys walking in, Hey, I got this catalytic converter. I mean, why are they not calling the police or checking credentials? They're supposed to do that kind of thing. For some reason they don't, or people get away with it somehow. We've sold lots of catalytic converters to scrap metal dealers over the years because we don't do that many anymore. But, you know, and when we used to have Air Care, like emission testing in Vancouver, you know, catalytic converter replacement was a pretty common thing we do. You know, we do it occasionally. So we'd have scrap metal dealers coming by buying converters, and some of them, you know, go for a fair chunk of money, but not what they're going for today. Some of them are really high valued. 

Mark: So there you go. If you need to protect yourself, the guys to call in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. They can only help you in Vancouver. If you're somewhere else, cause we know this, a popular subject worldwide, you can check out the links that we have below in the show notes or on the blog post on the website. Of course, if you're looking for more information on repairing your make or model of car, or for a specific kind of issue that you're having, you can check out the blog posts over 640 on the website. Or on our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. Thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Give us a review on Apple iTunes or Spotify and thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you Mark. And just one other thing I want to add in the end. Your car insurance may pay for that, if your converter’s stolen. So just something else to look at. This is know little bonus tip for listening to all our credits at the end of the podcast.

Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft - check out these links for more ideas!
https://www.catstrap.net/
http://www.catclamp.com/
https://capcitymuffler.com/what-is-cat-security%E2%84%A2

2012 Toyota Prius C Maintenance Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada. 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. 21 times. How do you do that? 

Bernie: Got a lot of good customers. 

Mark: Your customers must love you because they're the ones who are voting for you, and that's awesome, vote for how good your company is. Plus all the five star reviews I'm noticing. 

Bernie: Yeah. I feel very privileged. 

Mark: So today we're talking about a 2012 Toyota Prius, which is a hybrid vehicle and came in for maintenance service. What was going on with this Prius C? 

Bernie: Yeah, basically the vehicle just do for a basic maintenance service. And the customer did have one complaint, which we'll talk about a little later. But other than that, it was just due for basic maintenance and based on the schedule, it was due for a B service. 

Mark: So what's involved in a B service on a Toyota Prius? 

Bernie: Well, essentially it's the same as pretty much any other vehicle. It's an oil and filter change, unless of course it's a pure electric car. I guess I'll have to take away the term B service, as time goes by. So it's an oil and filter change, a full vehicle inspection. So we look at the brakes, steering, suspension, you know, the under carriage of the vehicle, visual inspection under the hood and under the car. Test the 12 volt battery and what one thing you know, we also do with this vehicle is scan the vehicle. We do it for a lot of B services on newer cars, but especially important on a hybrid because there could be some hidden stored trouble codes. It might be worth alerting the owner of the vehicle to, for issues that may be upcoming or something that could be occurring.

Mark: So what, are there different items that you would specifically check for because this is a hybrid?  

Bernie: There's not really a lot of you know, the whole hybrid system is pretty much hidden away. There's not a lot to, you know, like for instance, the high voltage battery is under the seat or in the trunk, depending on the model of the car. On this particular one, it's under the seat, so there's nothing really to look at there. You know, on all the high voltage cabling, of course, and, and inverter transmission, all that kind of thing is all sealed and hidden away and really just keeps on functioning until there's a problem. But visual inspections, of course, are important. 

Mark: So I think you mentioned this car had over a hundred thousand kilometres. Any special items due at this time? Wasn't 96,000 kilometres, like time for most Japanese cars for a major service? 

Bernie: Yeah. The 96,000 kilometre thing is kind of old now. I think in the eighties and nineties, that was a big service interval for Japanese vehicles. Timing belts were due to be replaced, spark plugs, tune-ups. All those kinds of things.  It was a time for an expensive service. A lot of, you know, I remember too, a lot of vehicles, the CV joint boots would be about ready to rip apart, so you'd change those. And so it could make for a pretty big service. 

But nowadays, a 96K service is pretty much history. And on this particular vehicle, there wasn't really anything due, you know, this is just over a hundred K. There wasn't really anything due at this particular time. There's a coolant cooling system, flush, due I think it's around 168,000 kilometres and spark plugs are up there, maybe a little further down the road.

So, you know, those are a couple of maintenance items that are on the list. But other than that, you know, until you reach those intervals, from Toyota's perspective, it's really, oil changes and inspections. It's pretty much it. 

Mark: So were there any other service items that you might recommend on hybrid vehicles?

Bernie: Yeah, there's a few things. And then a lot of these apply to, you know, an internal combustion engine vehicles in general. But let's just have a look at some pictures of the car first and then and we'll talk about some service. 

So there's our Prius C, nice little compact car. This is based kind of based on a Yaris platform, but, anyways, it's a little compact. It's a compact version of the Prius. The C stands for city. So where do we have here? Okay. There's our under the hood view. So there's the internal combustion engine on this side. It's a 1.5 litre engine, so it's smaller than a regular Prius uses a 1.8. This one uses the 1.5 litre, so it's smaller. This vehicle, when it came out, had the highest fuel economy rating of any vehicles sold, except for a plugin hybrids or electric vehicles at the time.

On this side we have our, this is the inverter, this unit here. And we'll just go into some closer views of each side of the engine compartment. 

So this is to me is like the height, kind of the hybrid side of the vehicle. So the orange cables of course, anything with orange cabling is high voltage, this is dangerous. You don't ever want to touch this stuff without high voltage gloves, unless the system, of course, is discharged. You can see the shielding around these wires to, its protection, also protects from electromagnetic fields as well, being dispersed to the vehicle. But there's again, there's the inverter, the high voltage plugs and underneath way below, this is the transmission with the motor generator units that drive the vehicle. So there's a lot of complexity inside here. Almost all electronic until you get down below, and then you get your mechanical devices, your motors, and some gears. 

Internal combustion engine, 1.5 litre with no timing belt. So that again, that 96 K interval we talked about, it's not applicable. And of course, most timing belts are usually get almost double at lifespan now. So they improved things. But, there's your, yeah, basically under hood view, cooling system. There's two cooling systems on these hybrid vehicles. One for the, one for the hybrid system and one for the internal combustion engine. And I think that ends our picture show for today. 

Mark: Now we don't see that there's actually two motor generators in this vehicle?

Bernie: There is, yeah. And well, I can just get back to the picture again just real quick. We don't have pictures of them in this show and we'll get some in some future slides so you can see the inside of one of these units. But the motor generator units are below this, this thing, it says hybrid synergy drive. This is the inverter. The inverter by the way, converts the DC voltage from the battery to AC for different accessories, as well as for the actual hybrid drive. So there's a lot going on in this thing. It's all electrical and electronic of course. But a lot goes on in this unit converting AC to DC and DC back to AC and for a variety of different items. You know, it powers up the 12 volt. With the DC converter powers up to 12 volt electrical system, which runs all your lights and everything else. Plus the air conditioning is also run on an electric as well. So the hybrid inverter works for that too. Tripping over my tongue here. Anyways. Yes, there are two. So the two motor generator units mounted below this thing and  they sit inside the transmission and surprisingly the transmission, I've dismantled a few of these units there. They're not very complicated that you'd think there'd be a lot to them.

There's one planetary gear set in between the two units and the rest of it is basically two large electric motors. So it's actually quite simple. Surprisingly. 

Mark: And why do they use two different electric motors? 

Bernie: Yeah, so on this particular motor generator two, which is the larger one and sits further outside, like the motor generator two is sort of on this side, motor generator one would be over here next to the engine.

The MG two drive is actually what drives the vehicle and MG one starts and stops the internal combustion, well it starts the internal combustion engine. It's also used for regenerative braking as well. So they kind of share the work. So that's the kind of simplest explanation for it.

Mark: Sure. So the regenerative braking is what, where the brakes are, the car is actually slowed by that MG one, and then that energy that's generated in the generator from the slowing the car down, is actually a recharging the battery, is that right? 

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. And that is really, the biggest advantage of a hybrid vehicle, it's not that it's the vehicle's driven on the road by an electric motor, it's the fact is that breaking energy is captured. It's put back into the vehicle and it's not wasted like it is on every other car. So this is why a hybrid, when you look at the fuel mileage specifications, city mileage is higher than highway, whereas on a normal internal combustion engine, it's always the opposite because it's much more efficient on the highway, but a hybrid is much more efficient in the city.

So this is where it's important. Before you buy one to go, where am I driving my vehicle? If all you're doing is highway driving a hybrid is a waste of money. But if you, you know, you're doing city driving like most people do, then there's a definite efficiency improvement. Enormously. 

Mark: And that's distinctly different with a pure electric vehicle.

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. But you know, the thing about a pure electric vehicle, is you're also recapturing the energy of braking and that's going back into the battery as well. So you know, again, an electric vehicle is more efficient in stop and go traffic. 

Mark: Right. So it's just overall more efficient. 

Bernie: Yeah. Yeah because you're recapturing that wasted stopping energy, which is something that we've just dispersed out into the atmosphere in terms of heat and dust for, you know, since cars have been invented.

Mark: So did you find any other issues with this car? 

Bernie: The only other issue that was going on with the vehicle, the owner had a complaint of a, there was a noise coming underneath the engine or underneath the car. And so we, it was pretty apparent, we figured ah that it sounds like an exhaust rattle because it only happened when the internal combustion engine turned on. It turns out there was a loose heat shield, which we removed and solved the issue. So not bad for, you know, the only problem we found an eight year old vehicle was a, it was a loose exhaust shield. 

Mark: So what's different about the Prius C from the other Prius models? 

Bernie: Yes, as I'd mentioned it's just a compact version, like a Prius C is like a Yaris. It's a tiny little car, whereas.. 

Mark: It's even tinier. 

Bernie: Even tinier. Yes, exactly. Well, I tend to think of a Prius is kind of like a Corolla sized vehicle and the Prius C is kind of like a Yaris size vehicle. So it's got a smaller engine, a 1.5, the regular Prius, Prius V, the larger ones, they use a 1.8 litre engine.

So, you know, and they have more power, but it's, it's a larger car. So it's compact, you know, and if you want a nice little economical car to bomb around in, this is it. This is the one. 

Mark: So three motors, three different, drive trains essentially, or one drive train, but three different, powering mechanisms. rHow are the Prius C for reliability? 

Bernie: Super good. You know, Toyota is a, you know, I've said this before, you know, and when hybrids first came out I thought, Oh my God, this is like the worst idea ever because it's so complicated because you basically got two systems. And it's true. There's a lot more to go wrong. But Toyota's proven, you know, that things are really reliable. There are, you know, a few models that have had some issues, but really. It's pretty minimal. Like they're really reliable. I mean, you get taxis that have been running and they run them all the time and run them for a long time, and they're, they're very reliable. So, I mean, that's proof right there. 

Mark: Yeah five, 600,000 kilometres is standard. 

Bernie: Oh yeah, even a million. No problem. You know, and the thing that taxis like about them is that the brakes don't wear out as fast as they would. I mean, normally like a, I think a lot of taxis, I've heard, we don't service taxis, but you know, a set of brakes on an average taxi cab would have lasted one or two months where they can get a year out of them on a hybrid, which is pretty, that's a pretty substantial amount. Now for an average...  

Mark: 12 x difference.

Bernie: Oh yeah, exactly. And for an average person driving, and we have customers with hybrids that are over 10 years old. We've never done anything other than a brake service, which is basically cleaning and lubricating the brakes so they keep lasting. So you know, that's, I mean, that's, again, another advantage less wear out. Overall, you know, they're excellent cars. I don't hesitate to recommend them. They've got a really good track record, so. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Toyota Prius in Vancouver, and you want experts who actually have training and have deep knowledge and experience in fixing these vehicles, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. You have to call and book ahead. They're busy. They're always busy. Or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of articles on there. The YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Of course, if you like the podcast, give us some star ratings, some love, check us out on the socials. And thanks so much for watching. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching. We really appreciate it.

2014 Range Rover, Timing Chain Supercharger Nose Cone Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and that's Vancouver's best auto service experience. 21 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 2014 Range Rover Sport Supercharged. We're talking about another one of these with timing chain issues. What was happening with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so this vehicle came to our shop with some noises coming from the front of the engine. We did a diagnostic on it, found two issues. These are the two common issues. You can see it in our other podcasts and videos that the timing chain was rattling. And the supercharger nose cone was also making a lot of noise. 

Mark: So when we talked about this before, you talked about how the timing chain failure was due to, on earlier versions of this vehicle, due to a badly designed tensioner, chain tensioner. So why is the newer model kind of having the same issue?

Bernie: Well, that's a good question. You know, initially, in the 2010 to 2012 model, they used, they used the timing chain tension, had a very small diameter plunger on it. I don't have a picture here, but if you look at our previous video, you'll see a picture of it compared to the newer design. And they redesigned that in 2013 and I figured, okay, we won't see any more of those that problem is solved. But we've started to see some 2013’s this one's a 2014 with timing chains rattling. And so there's another flaw in the design, which we'll show in a picture in a few minutes, but I think what's happened is they, they basically, the actual arm of the timing chain tensioner that the piece of pushes against the chain is actually made of aluminum. So it, it's not robust enough to handle the constant pressure that's being pushed on it. And the replacement parts have a metal, little metal piece, like a steel piece inserted. And that's a much more durable item. So why they didn't go straight to that,  I don't know why but you know, I think that's what's part of what's causing it to wear out. 

Mark: Now, we've talked about this a little bit in the how the chain itself is different than some other makes timing chain. Is that part of the problem? 

Bernie: I think so. So interestingly enough, we've not yet done a timing chain on a non supercharged model. So I think the timing chain on this vehicle is just not robust enough to actually handle the power of the supercharged engine. If you've ever driven a supercharged engine, I mean, they have, the acceleration is, it's just instantaneous. So I mean, the engine is speeding up, you know, twice as fast as a non supercharged model. So, I mean, that's a lot of strain on an engine. It needs to be built, I think, far more robustly than they do. Mercedes, for instance, uses a double roller timing chain for most of their items, and we'll show some pictures in a second. You'll see the difference. But we, we've never changed the timing chain on a Mercedes supercharged or regular. They just, you know, they'd been using it for decades and they never wear out. So this is kind of, you know, pretty poor, but let's just get into some pictures right now. 

So, here's a picture of our old tensioner and the actual tension arm that pushes against the timing chain. In this view the red arrows just point to the contact point. So there's nothing really, I mean, you can see a bit of gritty, you know wear here, but that's not really, it's a steel plunger. That's really, nothing's going to do nothing. But in here, there's a lot of wear in this particular surface, and I don't have a picture of the new item, but the new part has an actual steel piece in here, which is much tougher and it be able to withstand more abuse. So, the replacement parts work much better. Here's a side view. So this is how everything goes together. So this little plastic plate here rubs against the timing chain. This tensioner, which has a spring inside plus oil pressure pushing on it, keeps the timing chain tight. And of course, these things can fail. They do, you know, they can't hold their oil pressure property. So there might be some issues with that as well, but at least in the case of this engine that, you know, it's not that old of a vehicle, it's not likely going to have occurred at this point in time.

Mark: And the reason for a tensioner on the timing chain is due to wear and stretching in the chain? 

Bernie: Exactly. Now, so these chains, so this is an overhead camshaft engine, and I don't have a picture of the whole length of the chain, but these chains are very long. They're probably, I'm going to guess three feet long if you actually cut the chain apart, it's probably a three foot long chain. So it runs from the crankshaft over two cam shafts. So there's two gears on the cam shafts, and then it goes back down to the crankshaft. And so there's a lot of length and slop, and so everything is calculated, the chain's got to be this long and the tensioner is going to take up this much tension. 

If you look at this plunger here, you can actually see a sort of, you know, darker area and then a shiny spot. The shiny area is the part that's actually, like the dark part is the only part that would have actually been sticking out in the engine. You know, when the engine was running. So there's a lot of room to deal with a chain as it wears, to keep the chain tight. Also, of course, these plastic guides are a weak spot. And other models of cars, we see these guides breaking. You know, this isn't, a timing chain failure isn't a Range Rover only thing. It happens in other vehicles, but, and this is where, you know, changing oil is so critical in a lot of these modern engines. You've got your tensioners here, you know, these guides need the right kind of oil. There are plastic pieces that you know that, as long as the oil is correct, they'll last a long time, but they will wear over time. That answer your question? 

Mark: Sure. 

Bernie: Perfect. Okay, so here's a picture of the timing chain. So this is a single roller chain. I don't have a, you know, this is a head of a Phillips screw on one of our benches. So it kind of gives you a reference that this chain is only probably a quarter inch wide, it's really pretty minimal in size. So this, you know, this to me is probably one of the biggest flaws of this engine is this chain is just not big enough to withstand. A double roller chain and I'll show you a picture in a second. Basically it's like two chains sandwich together. So it has this section plus another one here and that runs on a gear that has again, two gears. So it kind of spreads the force out over a a wider area. So here's a picture, this is a product photo of a double roller timing chain. This is a short one that you'd probably find in a push rod style V eight engine. Not the Land Rover because the Land Rover one is triple the length of this one. But you can see here that there's one section for a gear tooth and then another section. So again, the force is spread out over a much wider area. This  these last much longer. So this is what I believe they should have done in the first place, and we wouldn't be here, but they all say it's kind of cynical, but thank you Land Rover, because it gives us work or thank you Ford Motor Company.

Mark: And what about the supercharger nose cones? Since this was also replaced and noisy, I guess. 

Bernie: So this is another issue with this engine and the supercharger nose cone, I mean, the nose cone is basically the piece that attaches the drive belt to, there's some bearings, and then that actually attaches to the actual supercharger itself. So in the nose cone, there's a coupler. And the coupler's, what wears out. And I don't have a picture here, but if you look at some of our previous videos and podcasts, you'll be able to have a look at a picture of what that piece looks like. We have pictures there. But basically that coupler wears out and causes a rattling sound as the belt moves and the engine revs up.

Mark: So isn't there a simpler alternative than replacing the entire nose cone? Couldn't you just change the coupler?  

Bernie: I wish that Land Rover offered a coupler because I think that that's really all it goes wrong. The actual bearings in the nose cone don't wear out, it's an expensive part. Although fortunately for the 2014, the price had dropped a few, a couple of hundred dollars over the previous model years, which was nice to see. But, you know, like yeah, we're chucking away a whole bunch of good stuff. But, unfortunately the coupler only comes with the whole nose cone. They really should sell it separately because nothing else really wears. The other pieces that the coupler attaches to are just steel pins, and they don't seem to wear it all. But the coupler is basically there to dampen the force of the supercharger, and I think, it's supposed to quiet down the operation of the unit. But unfortunately it's just not built robust enough to last a long time. So this is another sort of, you know, failure of this piece. 

So there are after market couplers available, and we actually did do a timing chain on one vehicle where someone had put one in. But I don't really trust it. I mean, there's a reason why they design it like they do. And you know, for us, we don't want to put a part in that's going to cause some kind of other failure or other issue, you know, there's liability in certain things. So for us it's just better to replace it with the known good factory part. Although, you know, again, it will probably not last as long as it should. There's no redesign on that, by the way. If that was a question. Why don't they redesign it? They haven't, it's basically the same piece that comes. 

Mark: And how many kilometres were on this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, not a lot. This vehicle only had just over 60,000 kilometres, you know, which is, what miles, like 40, 35, 40,000 miles. So really, I mean, way too new for something like this to happen, but out of warranty, unfortunately and you know, the problems there. So it's surprising, you know, we do a lot of these where it'll, most of them don't even hit a 100,000 kilometres or 60,000 miles before that, before this issue occurs. So it's a, you know, it happens at a pretty young age. 

Mark: And how is the Range Rover after all these repairs? 

Bernie: Oh, it was good. Sounded awesome. You know, nice and quiet, ran really well. The other thing I didn't mention is, you know, when this owner of this vehicle brought it in a couple of weeks ago, you know to diagnose the noise. And by the time he decided to have it fixed, the engine was already starting to run really rough. There was a check engine light on for a number of different trouble codes related to valve timing and things. So the timing chains, like there was so much play and slack, it was a good thing he had them done when he did because had he driven it much longer, something might've skipped a tooth and broken something. And at that point you, you know, risk severe engine damage. So when these things start rattling, you got to fix them. 

Mark: Any final thoughts about Range Rover and reliability? 

Bernie: Well, you know, as we've done a couple of podcasts on this particular issue, I'd say, you know, if you're looking to buy one of these vehicles, especially the supercharged model, find out the repair history. You know, it'll make a big difference as to whether this timing chain has been done or the supercharger nose cone because, it's a problem. It'll happen. Like a Subaru head gasket is guaranteed to happen at some point in time. I should say the timing belt, the older Subaru, and we call them older Subaru's now, but you know, there's certain years.

So this is, to me, what I'm seeing is this is a guaranteed issue that's going to happen. So, you know, do your research, find out whether it's been done or not, and if it hasn't been, if you can negotiate some money off the price of the vehicle, if you're buying it used, it's a good idea because you will be faced with the repair. And it's in the five to $10,000 range and closer to the 10 side, if you need to do both of these pieces. So that's a lot of money to fork out. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Range Rover in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can call them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment in Vancouver or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com all makes and models and types of repairs over 600 vehicles, over the years now. Check out the YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Again, hundreds of videos, and if you like what you're listening to or watching, give us a like on iTunes or Spotify, wherever you happen to be listening to this or watching and we appreciate it. Thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching. 

Is Removing Diesel Emission Equipment A Bad Idea?

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience and 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking about diesels this morning. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So removing diesel emission equipment. I see actually quite a few diesel vehicles in my area that are blowing excessive smoke. Is this just a malfunction or is someone removed the emission equipment? 

Bernie: It could be a bit of both. Now it depends on what age of diesel. Of course, older diesels do tend to smoke. That's a normal part of the way they were. But anything newer, and I'm talking like, 2008 and newer shouldn't be really blowing any smoke whatsoever. So if you see a vehicle, truck, car or anything like that, that's that age and it's blowing smoke, there's either either a malfunction or someone's removed emission mission equipment. And I, I know where you live and you know, I know that, it's very tempting to remove that stuff and people do it all the time around here.

Mark: So why would someone remove the emission equipment when it was put there for an important reason keeping our air clean? 

Bernie: Yeah. Well there are quite a few compelling reasons, if you don't actually care about the quality of the air that you breathe or about other people's air. But that aside, a few compelling reasons are it removes the complicated, there's a lot of complication to diesel emission equipment. There are particulate filters. There's a urea injection system to remove, again, to remove particulate. There are catalytic converters that again, reduce the emission from the diesel system plus, we can talk about the EGR cooler. These are more on the, on the engine side of things. An EGR system, which creates a whole different level of issues. 

So, you know, to keep a diesel clean, there's a lot of complexity to it. Not unlike a gasoline engine, but diesel emission equipment is sort of new and I think it's, it's kind of finding its way through the system, getting the bugs worked out. Unfortunately a lot of the stuff is really expensive. When it fails, it costs a lot of money to fix, on the other downside, the the fuel economy is not as good on an emission equipped diesel as it is on a non emission equipped diesel. So by removing, simply removing those items, you actually use far less fuel, which is certainly money in your pocket, and you can also get a lot more power out of the vehicle too.

So again, there's a, there's a number of advantages, but of course the disadvantages is a quality of our air. 

Mark: So you mentioned that these components, the system complicated as it is, it's probably expensive. How expensive is it?  

Bernie: Really expensive, you know, like the I mean, a particulate filter can be three or $4,000.

A catalytic converter, same amount of money. The urea injection system, there's, again, you know, it can be thousands of dollars worth of components and pieces there. So there's, there can be a lot of money, things to go wrong. Generally, these things do last a long time. There's also a number of sensors as well that can malfunction. They're not so expensive, but again, you know, you have like a check engine light comes on. Or it won't go into regeneration mode. It can be a couple of sensors. You know, you could walk out with $1,000 bill. So you know, it's tempting to go, well, it's just you know, spend a couple thousand bucks, get rid of it all.

And you know, but there again, there's a price to pay and we'll talk a little more about that. 

Mark: So an EGR, that's an exhaust gas recirculation, is that right?  

Bernie: It is. 

Mark: Okay. So why would you delete that? 

Bernie: Well, there's a number of, again, there's a number of issues that happen with that. What EGR does is it recirculates exhaust gas back into the combustion chamber of the engine and what the effect of that is, it actually cools the combustion temperature that reduces NOx emission. And you know NOx emissions are very high in a diesel engine. So that's, EGR has had been around for a long time, but what happens with the EGR system, you know, Ford 6 litres famous for this, they're EGR coolers would crack and create a whole number of problems. So a number of companies came out with EGR Deletes. You basically get rid of the EGR system and problems are solved. You know, some other companies, that Bulletproof Diesel, for instance, that have come out with basically Bulletproof Coolers where they solved all the issues that were inherent with the you know, EGR, original EGR Cooler. And that basically, you know, that's a basically good alternative. Once you put one of those in, your problems are basically solved for forever, so you can keep the EGR system. But yeah, I mean, the other disadvantage of EGR is it just, and we see this a lot on Mercedes diesels, a number of other smaller truck diesels and car diesels. It just puts a lot of particulate material and carbon deposits in the intake system that can block everything up and need to be removed. So, you know, having that not there would certainly eliminate that problem. But you know, again, there's, there's a price to pay environmentally, so better to keep it on and keep it working and fix it.

Mark: So to remove your diesel equipment or emission equipment from your vehicle, is this illegal or legal to do that? And are the police out there looking for people who've done that? 

Bernie: Okay, so legality in the United States, every state in the United States, it's 100% illegal to remove any emission equipment or tamper with anything.

In Canada it's a little more, more of a wild west kind of attitude. The research I've done federally at when a vehicle sold, it must meet the Canadian and federal emissions standards, but once the vehicle is sold, it's really up to each province to regulate that. So certain provinces of Saskatchewan, for instance, at least back a few years ago, it was, it's fully legal to remove any emission equipment from your diesel vehicle. I don't know about gasoline, I assume gasoline's the same thing. It's fully legal to remove any emission equipment and modify it any way you like. I know in Ontario, absolutely 100% illegal, just like the US. British Columbia, same thing I believe. At least if the police know that you've removed anything, they'll order it to be reinspected and setback to original specs. So that's, so that's kind of kind of how Canada works. You'd have to, you know, if you really want to know, you'd have to check each provincial law, but to be on the safe side, better to keep it all for sure. 

Mark: How expensive is it to restore them if you get caught? 

Bernie: While it costs a lot. And so as I mentioned, you know, a lot of these components cost thousands of dollars. I mean, if you, if you were to remove your emission equipment or are you having to buy a truck that has it removed, make sure you keep everything or you, not advocating doing it, but keep every single bit and piece. If you happen to buy a truck that's got the stuff removed. Hopefully the seller has everything to give you.

Otherwise, I think that makes that truck worth an awful lot less money. I mean, you're looking at thousands of dollars to put everything back back to original, and you know, that would be with the idea of buying, you know, basically the cheaper way would be to buy the, what's missing used and then just get a functional modified. But it's a lot of work to restore it. 

Mark: Is it only from trucks that people are removing the emission equipment? 

Bernie: Well, mostly, but you know, there are, you know, there are people who remove it from cars, TDI, Volkswagens. We even had a client with a BMW, a diesel station wagon, which is, you know, kind of like a surprising customer, I would think to want to remove emission equipment, but there was some, there was a couple of things that happened in the vehicle and another thing had happened. He said, I'm just going to take it to Alberta and have this stuff removed there's a shop that specializes in that. So, you know, it's everybody. I hate to say it, but people are cheap and self-centred, you know. I mean, I'm a person too. You know, some, but you know, people just, they care more about their own self interest a lot of times and they do thinking about the broader picture. When you think about the air that we breathe, you know, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, I mean, the air quality in Vancouver was far worse than it is now. And the, the whole reason is because the vehicles we make are, they're just far cleaner. They've got better emission equipment, things function properly, and even diesels, you know, I mean they used to stink so badly. You just get, get next to an old diesel like a, I don't know, like early nineties or early two thousands Ford diesel pickup trucks, 7.3 litre. Great engine, by the way. But I mean, just the smell. I mean, you can barely breathe next to it and you get a brand new, a 6.7 litre Ford, you can just have a, you know, the engine is running, you can barely hear it. You can have a conversation and talk beside it. And you know, that's, you know, the technology, the advancements in engine design and also the emission equipment that's put on the vehicle. So there's a tremendous advantage to it. 

Mark: Of having the mission equipment? 

Bernie: But having it. Yeah. Yeah. Now, I know there are advantages to removing it, as we've said, but they're not really favourable in many respects. 

Mark: So isn't it foolish for a shop to actually remove this equipment based on the legal requirements to have that you must have according to the law emission equipment on your vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, I would say so. Absolutely. I mean, we don't do it at our shop. We have chosen not to do it. I know a lot of other diesel, progressive diesel shops that don't do it either.  I know Bulletproof Diesel, it's a company in the US they sell a lot of neat products for, you know, diesel vehicles to make them better. They don't sell any,  removal equipment either. There are companies in the US, Edge Diagnostics used to make a tuner that would allow you to delete everything. They got sued for millions of dollars by the EPA. So they're gone and out of business. And there are shops around, I mean, I actually know a dealership not far from me a, I'm not going to mention the brand name, but they actually remove emission equipment from their diesels. And, I said, Hey, how do you guys, you know, why are you guys doing that? Aren't you worried about your liability? No, we just get people to sign a waiver that they're using it for off road use. Well, which is ridiculous, you know, I'm sure it'll come back to bite them at some point.  You never know when the government's going to really clamped down. Like right now, they're right now they don't, but, you know, they can. So, yeah, I think it's foolish. 

Mark: Any final thoughts on the subject of a mission device removal?

Bernie: Yeah. Well, if you think, hey, no, no one's going to look for it.  I'll tell you that I've had a couple of customers in the last six months, both driving Dodge diesels, driving down the road, something happened, there a light flickered or malfunctioned and the police pulled them over. Kind of got a little suspicious that they may have removed some emission equipment and ordered them to have an inspection done to make sure that everything was in order. So those are the kind of simple things that happen. They're not usually cops out about looking, Oh, you know, with flashlights under a vehicle. But if anything happens, they get suspicious, you know, and it's sometimes the little things like a burned out light bulb that'll take you out. So, you know, I don't know my, you know, my final thoughts, keep it there, keep it working and keep our air clean. 

Mark: Yeah. For those who want to remove it, just think about removing all that equipment, parking that vehicle in your garage, closing a door and spending an hour in there. Would you do that? Would you want your kids to do that? Would you want your grandparents to do that? They're not going to live and neither are you. If you do that, it's deadly toxic. And then the more research is done, that's the minute particles that come out of a diesel are, are making us stupid, basically and killing us. 

Bernie: You know, the particulate from diesel is a carcinogen. It's very fine particle. It gets deep in the lungs and it's pretty serious. 

Mark: It's killing people. 

Bernie: Yeah, it is. You know, and so you know, again, we're, we're working on ways to get our world cleaner. I mean, when one day all vehicles will be electric and we won't have be having this conversation anymore. But, you know, in the interim, we're doing the best we can with the dirty fuel. 

Mark: So if you're looking for service for your diesel vehicle to keep it running clean and legally in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at (604) 327-7112. They're also experienced in putting diesel emission equipment back on vehicles so you can call them and inquire about that. It's a steep price to pay. Be aware of that. And this is in Vancouver, BC area of Canada. Thank you so much for watching the podcast. We really appreciate it. Give us a like on the socials and thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching.

Let's Discuss Your Vehicle...

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