Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

2003 Honda Accord, Spark Plugs and Ignition Coils

Mark: It's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well? 

Mark: So 2003 Honda Accord had a problem what was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the client brought it in, it was due for a maintenance service and she had also noted that the engine was running rough under certain conditions. 

Mark: So how do you go ahead to proceed and test and diagnose what was going on? What was the actual problem? 

Bernie: Yeah, so we road test the vehicle and we could confirm under, you know, a bit of a load condition, the engine was running roughly, like misfiring. And that's the first step. So we got our diagnostic scan tool, that'll help us get in the direction of which cylinder the issue might be occurring in. If there's a misfire.

So we look at the data on the scan tool. We scan for codes and found, there's actually a code for misfire in every cylinder. So when there's a code, usually it comes up as P something. And so P03O1 , for instance means cylinder number one, misfire.

And it's interesting when they use diagnostic trouble codes or set up certain  codes, mean certain things like a 300 series code is an engine misfire code. A 400 series is an emission systems code. So it's kinda well-organized but anyways, there's a number of codes for a cylinder misfires, all of them in fact, not just one. So that made for some interesting next level testing. 

Mark: What exactly is a misfire and how do you determine what's causing said misfire? 

Bernie: When an internal combustion engine is running and you could have anything from I mean, I think about in cars, what we found is, you know, 3 cylinders kind of the minimum that you'll find and 12 is usually the maximum. And any of those cylinders every time they go through their cycle, they're supposed to fire as a spark and it's supposed to work. You know, it's supposed to fire a good combustion cycle and if it doesn't, the vehicle computer through a, usually a crankshaft position sensor, the speed of rotation, will figure out, Hey, that cylinder didn't fire properly. You can also feel it usually. 

Sometimes you'll get misfire codes where you don't feel any issue, which can sometimes be a sensor problem or something else, but normally you'll feel a roughness in the engine. It just isn't performing properly. It shakes or shutters, something happens. 

So the misfire is basically a combustion event that did not occur. And there are a number of reasons for it. It can be anything from like bad compression of the cylinder, or it may be a valve is burnt. It can be a spark plug that isn't firing and ignition oil, computer problem, fuelling objector intake leak. There's a number of things. And misfires can happen at low speeds or high speeds. So there's a number of causes. So I think he had a two-part question. What's a misfire. And what was the other question, Mark? 

Mark: How do you determine what's causing it? 

Bernie: Yeah, so how do we determine? So we basically go through a tree of items to look at, first of all, and a lot of is based on our own experience.  I've worked on cars for my whole adult life. I can usually tell by driving along, yeah. It feels like an ignition misfire. It feels like the spark plug somehow just didn't fire that spark. There's just a certain feel to it. Which can, it's not a hundred percent accurate, but a lot of times I find it could be 95% accurate, but there are things we can test. And usually the easiest area to start with is ignition system. 

This has an individual ignition coil per spark plug. It's a six cylinder engine, so we can transfer spark ignition coils around this specific cylinder. What we did is clear the codes and we're able to narrow it down to a couple of cylinders that it seemed to be more common causes.

So we swapped ignition coils around between the different cylinders and the issue followed those ignition coils. So then we know that coil is the problem. Also, when we removed a spark plug, you can see they were pretty old. So again, that was something we suggested to do as a repair as well.

Mark: So I don't imagine it's, because they're fairly accessible most of the time. It's not that difficult to job. Replacing spark plugs and ignition coils. 

Bernie: On this Honda Accord is actually a pretty straightforward job. We're lucky here because a lot of V6 engines have an intake plenum that hangs out over the back of the engine. So the rear cylinder bank is very hard to access the spark plugs and coils. And you often have to remove the upper intake manifold to take those apart. So it can be quite a bit more time consuming. 

On a Honda they've nicely put the intake plenum square over the centre of the sort of V of the engine. So it makes for a pretty straightforward replacement. And we have pictures here. We can actually look at some stuff. Let's have a look at some pictures. 

So there's our, there's our 2003 Accord. It's a 18 year old car, but still in pretty nice shape where you can see a little scuff on the bumper here. If you look close enough, but still nice and shiny and  in good condition. 

2003 Honda Accord, Spark Plugs and Ignition Coils

There's the front cylinder bank of the engine. So again, it's a V6 engine. There's three ignition coils. The rear is kind of like, looks like the same. And fortunately as say you can access it.

2003 Honda Accord, Spark Plugs and Ignition Coils
2003 Honda Accord, Spark Plugs and Ignition Coils

The other thing about this car too, is it has more of a longer hood than you find a newer cars that can often make it difficult to access the coils in the rear as well. But fortunately, on this car, it's not too difficult. 

And there we have the old ignition coil and spark plug, you can see the spark plug, there's a fair bit of corrosion above the, usually you get, you find these after awhile, there's probably a tiny little bit of combustion gas leaks out through the porcelain of the spark plug, not a big issue, but it kind of indicates it's been installed for awhile. These are probably original spark plugs. Hard to be a hundred percent sure. 

And there's one of the old coils again, you can see a bit of corrosion that just kind of common on coils, but you know, inside they're magnetic windings and things that just tend to wear out or they could be cracks that can develop down this tube here, which could cause spark to leak out into the the surrounding the metal of the valve cover. There's our picture show. 

Mark: So why not just narrow it down to those two coils that you found were bad and change all the plugs, but just those two coils? 

Bernie: Well, that's certainly a possibility. And one thing I will say is when the vehicle was brought in and had a misfire in all cylinders. So that doesn't necessarily mean that they're all bad, but they could have all been bad at some point in time, or sometimes, you know, one or two cylinders will cause all of them to misfire.

Sometimes just clear the codes and see what reoccurs, what's happening right now. But anyways, to answer your question, you know, it's a mathematical thing sometimes. How much did the coils cost? How much time does it take to diagnose the issue? How old are they? If two have failed and the vehicles got 165,000 kilometres, how likely is it that the other four are on their way out? If two or three have failed now or getting weak. 

And then the question is if you can narrow it down to those two specific coils and we do have other ways to test besides swapping coils. We can hook it up to a lab scope. We can actually look at the firing patterns of the coils and see how they're firing. But besides that you know what happens in a month or two, and we've had this happen where we've had a vehicle, say it's a four cylinder, easy to change a coil. Hey, just change one. We found one that's bad then. A month later, the customer's back, Hey, the engine's running rough. Then you have to redo the diagnosis. There's a cost there. 

So I think it's better, we do them all. You know, we have a, usually a two-year warranty on these items. So customer has a two year warranty it's done, you know, finished anything happens, say a coil goes bad. They're still covered for two years.

So you know, whereas if we do just one or two and then, Oh, that one, you know, there's another one that's bad, there's more diagnostic fees and more testing. And it just makes sense.

Now the only time it may not, if you have a vehicle with a very expensive coil, I used to own a Subaru with an H six engine, very expensive for the coils in this engine, because it's not a common engine. So. I had one that failed. I just replaced one because it was so expensive to change the coil to do all six would have been a couple of thousand dollars in parts. Kind of ridiculous. So you just gotta do the math and figure it out, but usually it makes sense to change them all once the car gets old. 

Mark: And that's based on, like you said, pretty much your entire adult life working on cars and having gone through every other possible way of doing this to try and save money for people and finding that the best way is sometimes the easiest way. 

Bernie: Yeah. And when you think of it from a maintenance perspective, again, you know, I love aircraft maintenance because they fixed stuff preventatively because they can't really afford an aircraft engine to fail while you're mid flight.

So you're thinking, well, why would you want your car to do the same thing? Yes, it does cost a little more money to do that, but it makes your driving experience overall a whole lot better and more enjoyable. More peace of mind. You know, this is time to change the ignition coils. They've run their lifespan. This is time to do them. 

Mark: Basically save your frustration for all the other parts of your life. 

Bernie: That's right. Exactly. Exactly. But if your car runs well, that part's easy. 

Mark: You mentioned this vehicle has 165,000 kilometres. Was there any other service due at this time?

Bernie: Well, there's a couple of things. One thing we did do, and this isn't in the Honda schedule, we did a motor vac fuel injection cleaning, which is something we recommend every two, three, four years on a vehicle, depending on how much you drive it. So we did that during this service, which made a lot of sense, considering the engine had been misfiring and we'd never done one on this particular vehicle. This person's owned the car for a few years. So we did that. 

But the other you know, schedule maintenance item is the timing belt. This engine does have a timing belt that's due about I think 165 or 168,000 kilometres. So we didn't do it this service. But we will be doing it in the near future. So that's kind of the big service item on a Honda and actually spark plugs were actually due at this particular time. So it's a good time to do it all. So timing belt coming up next and that's kind of the major Honda item. 

Mark: And how are these, this is an 18 year old car? How are these age of Accords for reliability? 

Bernie: Yeah, that's a really good car. Now it's funny talking about reliability for a car this old, but at least we've had 18 years of experience to see what kind of a car it is. And the automatic transmissions have been a problem on Honda's of this sort of earlier, early 2000 generation. And I'm not sure if this one's ever had the transmission replaced, it works fine at this point, but that's definitely a problem that's happening. And often they happen, you know, fairly early on in the life of the car, in the five to 10 year old range of the car. So I consider that to be kind of a bit of a problem, you know, for reliability. But other than that, they're good cars. I mean, there's the expense of the timing belt, which a lot of engines don't have, but at least that's a predictable expense.

Whereas say a timing chain failure is a non predicted expense and a lot more money. So overall, you know, I think they're excellent cars. You know, do you want to buy an 18 year old car at this point? I mean, if you're looking for an older car, that's probably well priced. They're still reliable if you can get one that's well-maintained. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Honda in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, or you can book online on their website, pawlikautomotive.com. Of course, if you want to see us in living colour, there's hundreds of videos on there all makes and models and types of repairs.

Check out the YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair. We've been doing this for nine years now. There's hundreds close to a thousand videos on there, actually of all like I'm serious, all kinds of vehicles. All types of repairs. Thank you so much for watching. We really appreciate it. Thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. I'll have to crack a bottle of champagne open when we do our thousandths video. 

2006 Volvo XC90 – Catalytic Converter

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with my good friend, Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 23 times. I might even have some news about that. 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So 2006 Volvo XC90 had a catalytic converter problem. What was going on with this  vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the vehicle came to our shop. Customer had a few concerns. One was a rattling sound in the exhaust system. So yeah, that's basically the bulk of it, but that was the biggest concern.

Mark: So what kind of diagnosis inspections did you do? 

Bernie: Well, because this client was new to us and they had a number of concerns besides the rattling and exhaust. We did a comprehensive inspection. So it's a full vehicle inspection and then looked at the exhaust. We could hear the rattling sound.

We basically do a visual inspection to see if there's anything loose, you know, wiggle things around, sometimes we'll use rubber hammers on things. Variety of things sometimes just running it with one person in the vehicle, getting the right speed or, you know, until cause of vibration, this is what we do. We have different listening equipment, whatever it takes. And what we found is that the catalytic converter had a rattle inside, internally. 

Mark: So how does, leaving aside the fact that you're using rubber hammers, which my wife likes to use on me. How does the catalytic converter rattle internally?

Bernie: So what happens is the way catalytic converter, it's basically got a shell body. We'll look at a picture in a minute and inside of it, there's this it's like a sort of metal honeycomb grid, it's all welded together, very compact. And usually there's some kind of fireproof lining that goes around that.

And eventually over the years as cars, you know, it's 15 years old, it's got a fair number of kilometres on it. Things will rattle around. Sometimes people will actually hit them depending on where it's located. They might bottom out and hit it. That wasn't the case with this vehicle. But sometimes if you were to hit the converter, you know, hard to say on a rock or something, or go over something that could cause it to come loose. Sometimes just over time, the metal expand and contract, expand and contract over the years, happens a lot. You know, eventually things will kind of get loose and start to shift around inside. 

Mark: So, how does that affect the performance of the catalyst in the converter? 

Bernie: Well, it eventually will degrade the performance because the exhaust, to be effective of course the exhaust has to flow through the substrate with all the precious metals causing a chemical reactions with the exhaust.

And so any exhaustive bypasses that, which it can eventually, especially if the rattle gets severe, will definitely degrade the performance of the converter. And you'll know that because the check engine light will come on, at least on a converter of this age, because it's anything after 1996, the converter is monitored for its efficiency. So that hadn't happened yet on this vehicle, but it certainly would at some point. 

Mark: So, are there other reasons, other than someone's stolen it, that catalytic converters require replacement? 

Bernie: Well, it's funny you talked about the stolen one, cause I was going to talk about that, but let me just share a picture for a second while we're talking about that.

There's our 2006 XC90. Still in good shape for a 15 year old car. 

2006 Volvo XC90 - Catalytic Converter
2006 Volvo XC90 - Catalytic Converter

And there's the catalytic converter assembly itself. So you mentioned stolen. So these things, on this particular vehicle, this part of the flange just sits against the turbocharger. There's a flexible pipe. And this is actually a failure item on a lot of exhaust systems will cause loud exhaust, and we can usually replace these. We can buy the flex couplings and weld a new one in. 

There's the catalytic converter right there. That's the body of the cat. And inside is that substrate. This one is located under the vehicle and people will slide under there or jack it up or whatever means they have with a SAWZALL, like a portable reciprocating saw. It's nice and easy to do nowadays because there's so many battery options available, and they'll just slice it out and you'll get out one morning, start your car. And it's super loud and catalytic converter's gone. 

But other reasons for failure is basically, you know, they're not supposed to ever wear out, but they will wear out eventually. And it's just when, who knows. I mean, I had a 2001 suburban I sold last year, had almost 400,000 Ks. Cats were still original and working fine. As I say, you, you just don't know how long they'll last. You know, a lot of times, they might get hit if they're underneath the car or the substrate will work loose and rattle. So those are really the reasons they'll need replacement.

Oh, we'll give another thing. They can get plugged. You know, if you have an engine that's misfiring, often the check engine light will blink. That's something you really need to fix. A check engine light that's on solid is fix it soon. A check engine light is blinking. That's a serious concern.

It indicates a catalyst damaging misfire. What happens is, an engine misfires it dumps a lot of raw gasoline down into the cat. It gets very hot and it will actually melt the substrate. So that's another reason for replacing these. They'll get plugged, you'll lose power. And that needs to be repaired.

Mark: So the chemical reaction that's taking place in there with the platinum, and I don't know what else is in there. 

 Bernie: Palladium rhodium platinum. Those are usually the materials. 

Mark: I was going to guess that. Okay. Sorry. They react with the exhaust gases and pull the pollutants out of the air, basically. So the exhaust is cleaner coming out of the tailpipe?

Bernie: Yeah, essentially that's what they do. They take any excess hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen. They basically convert that into CO2 and water. That's basically the ideal reaction.

So we're basically pumping more CO2 into the air. But less harmful noxious type of pollutants. You know, that cause other diseases. Like carbon dioxide and oxides of nitrogen are particularly bad hydrocarbons. 

Mark: We're getting rid of the kill you now stuff. But increasing the kill you later stuff.

Bernie: Exactly. Exactly. And we're doing a really good job of that because it's amazing how little of those other pollutants really come out of a tailpipe of a car that's been built in the last 20 years. 

Mark: So what kind of replacement options are available for this catalytic converter on a Volvo?

Bernie: Well, there's a couple. There's an aftermarket pipe and catalyst assembly. We sometimes will do custom work where we'll actually weld in a really high quality universal converter or you can buy a new converter from the dealer. We've talked to the customer with different options.

In this case, we actually went with the dealer converter. This is  actually an OEM Volvo catalytic converter. So the OEM converters cost a lot more money generally than the aftermarkets, but they are much better. They have a full catalyst load in them. And which is why they cost a lot more money.

You're not just paying for the name because it's from Volvo or from wherever you're buying. It actually is the best quality unit you can buy. But often the price can just be enormously expensive, but in this case, it was a lot more, probably about $900 more to use this dealer converter over an aftermarket. But clearly this will last for, if these people keep this car for another 15 years, which is doubtful ,it'll last for 15 years. Unless you have a misfire problem which can wreck the catalytic converter pretty fast. But as long as you keep the car in good running shape, it'll last definitely for the life of the vehicle if these people will keep it for. 

Mark: So is it possible to buy a used converter? And would that be a good idea? 

Bernie: Well used is a bit dicey. You know, I've actually seen auto wreckers that won't sell catalytic converters. I remember there's one said, you know, federal law won't allow us to sell one, which seems kind of ridiculous. And that could be an American thing. A company that used to be American company that used to sell a lot of used parts here, but we have bought used converters. We rarely ever do that because it's kind of risky. You don't know how long it's going to last for, and you don't know if it's going to be any good until you actually install it in the vehicle. 

I mean, we can bang with a hammer and make sure it's not rattling, but you don't know whether it's plugged or whether the efficiency is low until you actually install it. So it's a very risky item to do. You know, if you do it and it doesn't work, then you've got a lot of labor to pull it back out again, to fix it.

Mark: And probably now with the price of palladium, rhodium, platinum, that why people are stealing catalytic converters. A lot of wreckers aren't going to be selling the converter because it can get more money by recycling the precious metals. 

Bernie: Well, no, I would say that you could still, it's still worth more money as an intact item. I mean, if you consider a lot of auto wreckers, some of them have a, there's sort of a policy of selling it for half the price of new.

So I mean, this converter could, you know, they could potentially sell this pipe for six or 700 bucks or more even if someone would pay that for it. But then, you know, that's almost approaching the price of an aftermarket new converter. So you think, well, which way is worth it.

And if it only has a 90 day warranty, it's kind of hard to legitimize, but  I mean as a piece of scrap metal, that catalytic converter is probably worth a hundred bucks.  

Mark: There's gotta be an easy way to make a living. So how many kilometres run this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so this vehicle had about 277,000 Ks actually. So it was quite up there. Ran really nice.

Mark: So how are XC90s overall and how are they for reliability? 

Bernie: Pretty good vehicles. You know, we've talked a lot about Volvos over the years. Certain quirks rear differentials wear out. They do have some transmission issues and some model years, the drive belt system on some of these is rather strange and expensive to fix, but overall I'd say they're pretty good.

And I think sometimes you have evaluate a car, you know, it's 277,000 kilometres it runs great. You know, needed a few thousand dollars worth of repairs, including this converter, but now the car is in good shape and it'll go for quite a while, I would say without any further issues. So, you know, overall a good car, but you will spend more money on these to fix them, but it is a, you know, kind of a top level European SUV vehicle. Good safety and comfort, creature comfort. So there's more to go wrong, a little more expensive to fix, but definitely a decent vehicle. And I think this one's proven itself over time with the mileage on it that it's a pretty good car. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Volvo in Vancouver, BC, Canada. The guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead. They're busy. Check out the website. pawlikautomotive.com. You can book your appointment there. They'll call and confirm everything with you ahead of your appointment. 

Or check us out on YouTube. There's hundreds of videos on there about all makes and models over nine years worth of doing this. Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thank you so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

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

2014 Honda Acura RDX B-Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So 2014 Acura RDX is today's victim. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle came to our shop for a maintenance service. It was due for a B service. So that's exactly what we did. 

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

Bernie: So B service is an oil and filter change, plus a full vehicle front to back inspection. Wheels off. Tire rotation if needed and doable, which it is on this vehicle. It's only not doable if you have vehicle with different sized tires, front and rear. So that's basically it. We do a full inspection, one of our awesome digital comprehensive inspections and and the oil service.

And we can get straight into pictures right now because we can actually go over some of the details of our service, because it's pretty awesome. 

So there's the RDX. Very practical little compact SUV I think. And very reliable also. There's our V6 motor peppy and powerful also, you know, which is a good feature to have. The earlier versions of this at a four cylinder turbo, which actually worked really well too. But I kind of liked this V6 engine a little better.

 So the inspection, so we have a digital inspection that we do and breaks everything down. So this is what you would get as a client of ours. This is the inspection that you would see that we either send you a link by text or by email. Lists that 94 items are okay, 10 items of suggested services, which are, you know, things that kind of need to be done, but could be done at a later time. And then two items that should be done right now. And one is a third brake light, which is a bulb, well probably a bulb. And then the other we found when we tested the alternator, that there was a low output and a blown diode.

So, this view is a little small right here. I should've got a blow up picture of it, but this is actually a view of our test screen and actually indicates right from the tester that the diode is blown. We send really good information out with these inspections.

So we drill down a little further. We can look at a couple of the suggested items. So there's the service due light was on which we've reset. The wiper blades are smudgy. The transmission fluid was due by mileage. Again, we like to look at vehicle history but the technician recommended, check the vehicle history, sure enough it was actually in fact due. Does that make it a red? Well, it's not really mission critical to do it, but it's kind of important to deal with it. A couple of the other orange items, the sway bar links had some slight play in the rear. There's a photograph again, which we include, and these can be clicked on to enlarge. So you can look at them a little closely. And then there was a very slight oil leak from the engine or transmission area. So again, we'd recommended a diagnostic on that. It wasn't severe, but just something to keep in mind. 

 And then some of the good items and these are things that we also do. So we measure the brake pads. There are numbers here. Seven millimetres in the front brakes. We measure the brake rotors, inspect the calipers and other brake components. On the rear there's five millimetres. There's a measurement for the rotors. Tires we measure the tires, adjust the pressure. So these are all noted. And this is everything you get on the inspection. There's are our picture show for the day. 

Mark: So was there any problem with driving a car with a bad alternator? 

Bernie: Well, yeah, so of course, how the procedure goes is we present the inspection to the client and estimate out the major items and maintenance items. And from there they'll make a decision. Now the owner decided, you know what, I don't want to fix the alternator. It is pretty expensive to repair on this vehicle. It wasn't that it wasn't functioning. It just that it wasn't functioning properly. So the answer is yes, it should have been done. I'll say that I think he should have done it, but it's not my money to spend. Their logic was, you know what, if the battery goes dead, we'll just tow it in. So that is one thing that happens if the alternative is severely bad, of course your battery won't charge it and you won't get far. 

But with a blown diode, you're kind of getting two thirds of the amount of output. The risky thing is that it can send strange voltage spikes through your vehicle. And sometimes you'll, you know, the engine will either not run properly. Like it'll kinda run funny or lights might flicker or something. None of that was happening on this vehicle. So it wasn't a big issue in that case, but nonetheless, you know, it's something that should have been done.

However they did choose to do some of the maintenance items. The brake fluid you know, we'd recommended flushing. They fixed the bulb of course, which is good and inexpensive. And we did the transmission service, which was due also. 

Mark: So this vehicle's got 90, 90, 96,000 kilometres. Isn't this a major service interval on many vehicles? 

Bernie: Well, yeah, and especially for Japanese vehicles, 96,000 kilometres used to be the major service interval where you do the timing belt and spark plugs. These were the things that were kind of due. Usually transmission service. Sometimes, you know, again, we're going back a couple of decades where the CV boots, usually the material they were made out of, they were starting to crack and it was like a good idea to replace the outer CV boots.

You know, so it ended up being a pretty major service and you know, pretty costly, but, you know, once you get it done, of course, then you're good for another 96,000 Ks. This vehicle, not the same. The Honda has gone with it. They have the maintenance reminder that comes on on the dash and reminds you when you're due for service.

And I have to say that I really like their system. I find that Honda they're, you know, when their maintenance reminder comes on telling you your oil needs to be changed, it kind of comes on, I think the right time, it's not too late. Well, to me the right time is when it's not too late. When the oil is just hideously dirty, like you find on a lot of European cars that they come on, you can smell the oil, it's a little old, it looks a bit old, but not hideous. And I think that's really the time you want to do it. So you're not causing any damage to the vehicle. 

And then of course, they're pretty sophisticated on the Acura. There'll be like an A1 or an A2, and the letters mean different things. So for instance, like this vehicle has a timing belt and it is due to be replaced at a certain point, but actually a warning light will come on and it'll say when a service four comes on, that'll be the time to do the timing belt. So I mean, normally the timing belt interval on these engines is usually before they had this electronic alert was usually around 168 K. So I would expect it would come on around then, but it might come on sooner if you don't drive a lot. So it'll take those factors into play. Also, you know, when you look at the maintenance schedule, if you do actually tow a lot with this vehicle, which most people don't do, the timing belt replacement interval is actually a hundred thousand kilometres.

 But again, that's a severe use that most people won't do, but it's important to look at those kinds of details because the last thing you want is to break a timing belt. That makes for very expensive engine repair. 

Mark: And how are Acura RDXs for reliability.

Bernie: Yeah, really good vehicle. It's a Honda product, very reliable. Can't say much bad about them. You know, they need a few repairs here and there. I mean the alternators, one thing we have repaired on a number of these cars and also this thing did have a little clunk in the rear that I suspect might be the rear struts that are going because that is an issue also. But overall, a very reliable vehicle. Good value for sure. 

Mark: So if you need service for your Acura in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112. You have to call and book ahead, they're busy. Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds, nine years worth of videos, hundreds, many hundreds on all makes and models and types of repairs. Or check out the YouTube channel, same story there Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course thank you for watching and listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2012 F150 Heater Hose Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking cars or trucks in this case. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well? 

Mark: So 2012 Ford F150 had a heater problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah. So the owner was complaining. There was no heat in the vehicle. And of course it's winter time in Vancouver and it's been a cold snap. So heat is very welcome. And yeah, there was no heat blowing in the cabin of the vehicle. 

Mark: So what, how do you test and diagnose that once it, once the vehicle's in the shop?

Bernie: Oh, it was a few things. I mean, the first thing we did was sit in the vehicle and test the heater controls on the dash and see how things were operating and everything seemed to be in good order. So our next step was to look under the hood and see, you know, check the coolant level. And we found the coolant level in the overflow tank was down a bit, not empty, but down below the full level.

And did a little further testing, did a cooling system pressure test because the level is down and found a leak from one of the heater hose connections, right at the heater core. So figured just that little lower level of coolant was enough to cause the heat not to work. And that's not an uncommon issue.

If you have a vehicle where your heat's not working, checking your coolant level is definitely a good first thing to do. I was surprised that this didn't have a warning light on the dash because I would assume most of these vehicles of this vintage and being a platinum model as well, should have had a warning light, but it may be that the level was not quite low enough, or it might be that this vehicle isn't equipped. I should probably know that doing this podcast, but I don't. 

So if you have a Ford F-150, check your owner's manual and see if that actually has a warning light to that kind of thing. For low coolant level, I for low coolant level. Yeah. That's an important thing to heat. And, you know, had that light been on the first thing, we probably would have done those, pop the hood and looked at the cooling level, but you know, we just take things in sequence.

Mark: So how sensitive, like coolant levels dropping. Is there any normal reason in regular use that that would just go down or is there always some sort of problem that's causing that? 

Bernie: Well, always a problem. Unless you have like a 1960s vehicle that doesn't have a contained overflow tank cooling system, because those will actually blow a bit of coolant out as the engine warms up and the level will sometimes drop. But yeah, coolant levels should never go down. So it'll go up and down depending on temperature, but it'll always stay between, you know, a low level and a high level. So if it's actually disappearing, you've got a leak somewhere.

Mark: So what repair did you actually end up doing? 

Bernie: Yeah, so we ended up replacing one of the heater hoses. There's a connector and I'll just get into some pictures right now. So there's our F150, it's a platinum edition.  This is like a top end model. Nice wheels, tires, you know, fancy interior though, the whole nine yards. It's a nice pickup truck. 

2012 F150 Heater Hose Repair
2012 F150 Heater Hose Repair
2012 F150 Heater Hose Repair
2012 F150 Heater Hose Repair

This is the hose that we replaced. So pretty fancy hose. There's a connector on this end here. This is where the leak was. It's a quick connect connector. And this is a closeup view of the connector. There's not much to see in terms of anything being bad, but there's an O-ring seal inside there that fits onto a special fitting on the heater core and clips in, and it's held in by clips.

So really easy to assemble and disassemble. Actually, you know, once it gets old, sometimes it can be a bit of a pain. Here's a view of the engine compartment. And that heater hose is just over here where I'm circling my mouse pointer. So it's at the back. There's two heater hoses. The other one was fine. We retested it after a repair and found no further leaks coming from that area.

So this hose runs way underneath here and around. It makes a couple of connections and connects to the bottom of the overflow tank.

Mark: So you mentioned that's a fancy looking hose. So the days of just extra hose, a red, rubber hose, basically from the firewall to the, to wherever, to your radiator. Are different because of how cramped the engine space is. Is that basically why? 

Bernie: Yeah, I'd say that's pretty much it. We still have bulk heater hose in our shop and we do use it from time to time, but it sells less and less frequently because you know, most heater hoses now are all molded with special connectors.

So some of it is a cramped engine compartment for sure. But the second part is it's manufacturing it's I would say it's a lot easier to have a hose connected up to an engine that has a clip on it. And as it goes down the assembly line, I don't know if it's a human being or a machine, but you just go bing clip, and it's done, as opposed to having a clamp where you need a plier to pinch it, or you need a screwdriver or something to turn the screw.

So I'll actually just go back to this picture, cause it's kind of interesting conversation. You can see this hose here, does have a pinch clamp, but this is attached to the engine. And this one, it goes to the overflow bottle. So when this engine would come down the assembly line, this would probably be all attached and hooked up to it.

And as the engine is put in, then there's, this a snap this and snap that kind of thing. So I really think a lot of it is all manufacturing. Now what you're going to do in this vehicle is 20 years old, you know, to get this hose Ford decides to discontinue it, there's going to need to be some customization for sure.

But the areas that are going to be challenging of course, are these ones with the heater core because they're special fittings. Whereas this could be, you know, you can buy these kinds of T's, that's an easy thing and a straight piece of hose. You can always bend stuff. There's there's lots available you could probably do. But again, I was thinking to myself, 20 years down the road, trucks will probably all electric and most people, unless they want a vintage vehicle, probably won't be repairing this thing anymore. 

Mark: Absolutely. So you mentioned this is an eco boost engine. What's that? 

Bernie: Ford started these a little over 10 years ago. It's sort of the best world of economy, performance and emission. So this is a 3.5 litre V6 engine, it's got twin turbochargers. So it's got pretty impressive specs, like 365 horsepower, 420 foot pounds of torque on this particular engine.

 And there are more modern models and other models with more performance. That have like far better horsepower ratings even than this. So it's pretty cool, but you know, essentially there's much better gas mileage, cause you're not hauling a heavy V8 around and you've got the benefit of of the extra power with the twin turbochargers. You know, on the downside, what I don't like is, there's more complexity, it's not simple. A V8 engine is much simpler. Whereas this you've got a couple less cylinders, but you've got two turbochargers to potentially go bad. And it's direct fuel injection, which causes some issues as well as the maintenance services. 

Pretty reliable, but, and good for economy. But they're definitely more complexity and more to go wrong. So keeping up your maintenance schedule, oil changes. Some direct injection cleanings on a regular basis will keep the engine running along time. 

Mark: And how are these EcoBoost F150 is for liability? 

Bernie: You know, so far at our shop, we haven't really seen any problems with them. And I don't really know in the overall world I mean, I haven't heard a lot that they're a really problematic engine. So I think Ford has done a pretty good job with them. That being said, you know, we don't see a lot of them at our shop. So most of the trucks we see have V8s or diesels but I think they're good. They seem to have been working on, I mean, this truck is 11 years old now, no nine years old getting ahead of myself. There'll be 11 years old in a couple of years. So yeah they seem to be pretty good so far. 

Mark: So there you go. If you need some service for your EcoBoost F150 or any Ford product guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you got to call and book ahead they're always busy. Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds, no exaggeration, hundreds of videos on there. We've been doing this for nine years. All makes and models and types of repairs. YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. And thank you for watching and listening we really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 DPF Tank Heater

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So 2011 Mercedes-Benz ML350 diesel. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So the owner was experiencing a check engine light coming on, and then the vehicle going into a reduced power, kind of a limp mode from time to time. So obviously it was a concern, brought it in for us to look at. 

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

Bernie: Well, first step of course, is to verify the client's concern. We drove it and of course it drove perfectly well . Never went into limp mode, no problems. We scanned the vehicle, hooked up our diagnostic computer. We interrogated the vehicle for codes found a number of codes and different modules, but only one in the engine for a diesel exhaust fluid heater. And so we cleared that. Did a couple more tests, but didn't really find anything conclusive. 

Took the vehicle next day, of course, same day he was driving it, the light came on, came back and we did further testing on it and found that the actual main heating unit in the tank was bad. There's a number of tests you can run on a scan tool looking at current draws and of the various heating circuits. And we found that that one was quite far out of range. So that basically the main heater in the tank was bad. 

Mark: What's a DPF tank heater?

Bernie: So DPF is diesel particulate fluid. Sometimes it's called a reductant tank. But basically what it does is it it holds the diesel exhaust fluid, which is injected into the SCR, the selective catalyst reduction.

Long and short of it, it reduces NOx emission and makes for a clean diesel if there's such a thing. So it's about as clean as you can get. And so this is all part of it. There's a tank that holds the fluid. The fluid will actually freeze very easily. So it has to have a heater in, it has to be kept warm for the fluid to flow. 

So just getting some pictures here. 

2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 DPF Tank Heater
2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 DPF Tank Heater
2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 DPF Tank Heater
2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 DPF Tank Heater
2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 DPF Tank Heater
2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 DPF Tank Heater

So there's our 2011 ML350 SUV. So this is the tank removed from the vehicle and underneath here where I'm kind of moving the mouse pointer, underneath here is where the actual heating assembly. We'll have a look at that in a minute, but this, unit on top here is the pump. You can see there's a lot to this. The fluid gets filled here and that's filled through the trunk. It needs to be done every, you know, maybe eight to 10,000 kilometres, depending on the maintenance interval, how you drive it and so on.

There's a hose that attaches here. Of course, it goes out to the injector. You know, there are various wiring components here to pump the fluid, to operate the tank heater and so on. As you can see, there's a lot to it electrically. 

 This is the old heating assembly. So this fits you know, underneath that big round ring, the pump bolts onto the top of it. This liquid here is the diesel exhaust fluid. The stuff is really interesting if you spill it or it spills on the floor, it, it eventually dries into this interesting looking crystal.

 This is where the unit sits. So you can see, these are the two mufflers right at the back of the vehicle. This area here is where the filler assembly is. As I said, you fill it through the trunk and the tank fits in neatly here. The wiring connects up here. So that's basically it that's that's kind of the bulk of it. There was a couple of other pictures I want to show you just while we're out of here.

You know, often, you know, we find other issues on cars, which aren't related, but it's a Mercedes diesel. Oil leaks are a common issue. This is some of the oil that had accumulate on the floor after a couple of hours of service. And a splash pan with a lot of oil coming out of it. So we've talked about oil leaks on these vehicles. That's a common thing. But I just thought, this just kind of caught my eye, and I thought, you know, is there anything else this vehicle needs. Yeah, Well, it's going to need some oil leak repairs. 

Mark: So replacing the tank heater, was that a complex repair? 

Bernie: It's not really that complex. The tank, fortunately it's designed nicely. The tank drops right out, sits in between the mufflers. There's plenty of room and the tank comes out pretty easily. It comes apart quite easily. It's just a few things to transfer over. Part and reassembly, the pump needs to be primed because it can't suck air. So it has to be primed so it's full of liquid and fluid. And adds a bit of complexity, but overall it's not really too much of a labor intensive job. 

Mark: What about the kind of repair costs? 

Bernie: Well, overall, the cost is actually pretty expensive because of course, you know, you've got some diagnostic costs to determine what's wrong with it. Then the labor to replace it, which isn't too much compared to some operations on vehicles, but the the actual heating unit itself, depending on where it's bought is in the $1,500 range, little more from the Mercedes dealer. So it's an expensive part. That's a 2021 chart as a February, 2021 costs. Because if you're looking at this video five years from now and wondering about the cost, it could be less, could be more, you never know, prices have a way of going up sometimes and down at other times, but usually it's up. So it isn't expensive repair overall.

Mark: Okay. For the folks out there who don't want to save the planet, can't you just remove the system and be done with it?

Bernie: Well, you could. But the thing is, I mean, the reason why the customer brought it in the first place is because this vehicle went into a limp mode because the heater didn't work. So it's basically set. So if there's a malfunction in the system, the vehicle isn't going to operate properly.

So what's required to take that out of the equation is to reprogram the vehicle computer. So it doesn't do that. So I know it's probably available somewhere. I have no idea who does it or how you do it. I wouldn't even look into it. I wouldn't do it myself. Cause I really do believe that these things make a big difference to the air that we all breathe.

You know, diesel exhaust is carcinogenic, if care about that at all. It's kind of important not to remove the items. So it's possible and highly not recommended and also illegal. 

Mark: Yeah. If the police find out that you don't have it, they're going to make you put it back. 

Bernie: Yup. And we have a Dodge truck where someone had removed all our emission equipment, a lot more than this, but they had a lot of it removed. It was very, very, very expensive to fix. So yeah, you're really in my opinion, better not to ever remove it, but people do. And it's more complicated on something like a Mercedes, I mean, a lot of American vehicles, it's way more common and way easier to do. But especially in Canada, because you can actually buy the computers you know, to do it in Canada, but in the US there, you can still get them. They're just less legal. 

Mark: How are these ML350s for reliability? 

Bernie: Well you know, they're not the best. We've got a lot of videos on these. There are a lot of things like oil leaks, which I showed you some oil on the floor and leaking through the splash pan. Those are probably one of the bigger issues on these vehicles.

The engine oil cooler seals are a big leak issue. The oil filter housings are another one you know, fuel injectors fail. You know, they develop fuel leaks or different spots? Turbochargers fail. Intake, runners that fail. There are a lot of things that go wrong. And now of course we have the diesel exhaust fluid heater, you know, to add to that. So there's, there's more complexity. 

A great running vehicle, but there are things that go wrong with them and you know, we need to be prepared to spend more money than you would on your average vehicle.

Mark: So, if you're looking for service for your Mercedes Benz in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112. To book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead because they're always busy. They're very popular. Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there. We've been doing this for nine years, all makes and models and types of repairs. Of course thank you so much for watching and or listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark and thanks for watching.

2002 Porsche 911, Annual Maintenance

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver. I kind of overemphasize that because it's amazing. 23 time winners as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: 2002 to Porsche 911 or Porsche for those who get all uptight about it a way we say it coming in for an annual maintenance. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so a regular client of ours came in for an annual service, oil change and basic maintenance, just an, A service inspection this time. So we did that, found a couple of services that were due, but other than that, basically an oil change in some some service. 

Mark: So what all is involved in that service? 

Bernie: So for our A-level service it's an oil filter change, a basic vehicle inspection. So by basic, we're looking at lights, adjusting tire pressures, a visual inspection under the car, under the hood. And that kind of covers it. Looking at belts and, you know, sort of normal wear out type of items. What it doesn't include is a wheel off brake inspection, a full steering suspension inspection. But because we do everything on a two post, hoist, you know, the wheels are free to move around so we do wiggle the wheels around, make sure there's nothing excessively worn that would warrant further inspection and repair. So it's a safety inspection at the same time. Just not as in-depth as it could be. And that next service it'll be a B service on this vehicle, a more full, detailed inspection.

We did find a couple of items. It was due for a motor vac fuel injection cleaning the brake fluid was  also due to be flushed. We'd also recommended spark plugs, which the owner didn't want to do it this time. But we did do the motor vac, a couple of air filters, cabinet and engine air filter, and a brake fluid flush.

Mark: So motor vac, what is a motor vac cleaning service? 

Bernie: Yeah, so a motor vac, that's actually a brand name of some cleaning equipment basically. They make fluid flushing machines. This is a fuel injection system, cleaning machine. I think it's probably the best in the industry. There are various other ways you can clean fuel injection systems. But the motor vac I think is the best. It has connectors basically for pretty much every vehicle under the sun. So it's relatively simple to hook up.

 A Porsche is a bit more work to do than your average car, but basically we hooked the motor vac machine directly to the engine which disables a fuel system, run a very concentrated cleaner through it. So that cleans the fuel injectors and even more importantly, removes carbon deposit off the valves and in the combustion chamber.

 Benefit, more horsepower. Better starting, better fuel economy, just better running overall. And I pulled clients over the years, talked to them about the benefits of the motor vac or what their experience was. And most people report back. It runs better. I got more power. If I had one person said I got 33% better gas mileage. And I mean, I've done it on my own vehicles and noticed quite a benefit too. 

So I'll just share a quick picture. So here's our 02, 911 convertible.

2002 Porsche 911, Annual Maintenance

There's the motor vac machine hooked up to the vehicle. So that's basically the motor vac. Excellent service, really provides a great benefit to any vehicle, unless it's a direct injection vehicle. And then in that case, there's a different type of service that we do. 

Mark: So how often do you recommend this kind of fuel injector cleaning? 

Bernie: For the motor vac, usually around every 50,000 kilometres is a good amount of time, maybe three to five years, depending on how much you're driving the vehicle. That's about the right interval, about 50 Ks. 

Mark: So wouldn't it be possible to just put some kind of fuel cleaner in my gas tank on a regular basis and not have to do this?

Bernie: Yeah, well, you can, but I think the fuel cleaner, it doesn't really do a whole lot. And see the thing with the motor vac is when the cleaner is very concentrated and we're running it in a ratio of like one part of motor vac cleaner to three parts of gas. So it's extremely concentrated. We run it for about half an hour but that really gets in there and cleans everything off.

Whereas if you're pouring a bottle, which is usually the same size as a motor vac bottle, you're diluting that in with you know, I dunno, 50 to 70 litres of fuel. It's really not very concentrated, so it doesn't do the same kind of job. And with the motor vac, we usually let it sit for awhile, road test it afterwards. So it really burns the carbon out. So it's a very concentrated, intense service. And putting a bottle of cleaner in while it won't hurt, is really gonna make very minimal difference. And if you're using good fuel, like a top tier gasoline, which you should be using in your car, it's got good cleaners in it already.

Mark: So you also mentioned a brake fluid flush. How often are those recommended on a 911? 

Bernie: Usually two or three years is the recommended interval. And that's kind of across the board for all cars and probably even more important for a 911. Brake fluid we've talked about this before. It's a hygroscopic fluid. And what that means is it absorbs water. And it absorbs moisture right out of the air. And you know, we used to have a tester that we would use to test for water content in the fluid. And it's amazing after a couple of years, you know, the content definitely goes up. 

Nowadays we just kind of go by time and mileage and just talk to the client. And if it's two or three years old, we recommend it because it's just needs to be done. But the moisture, the reason that actually I thought this is kind of a flaw of the design of brake fluid. Why would it absorb water? But it's actually a smart thing because if the water were to separate from the fluid, then it would sit in the areas of steel, start rusting and then possibly cause your brake components to seize up like the calipers or wheel cylinders on an older car. So it's actually kind of an interesting design, but the key is to flush the fluid out because if you get too much water content, the fluid can boil. 

And on a sports car like this, even though this one is a standard, you won't be using the brakes as much. If you're out for a really hard drive, your brakes are going to get pretty hot and that's when the brake fluid will boil. So it's even more important on a Porsche or a sports car than it is on your regular family sedan. 

Mark: Were there any other repairs required at this time? 

Bernie: I mentioned we did change the cabin air filter and the engine air filter, we'd recommended spark plugs based on mileage. And the owner declined to do that right now. We'll be doing it in the future, but that's really it. Other than that, the car is in great shape. 

Mark: And how are, this is fairly old vehicle. How are these ancient Porsches for reliability? 

Bernie: Hard to call this ancient, but it's a beautiful car. I think these are great cars. They're super reliable. The one issue with these is the IMS bearing, intermediate shaft bearing. These are definitely the engineering nightmare of this engine. And there's lots of documentation on the internet about replacing it. That's a service we do. It's something you want to do before it goes bad because it can destroy your whole engine.

So it's an important thing to deal with. And you know, that's really the only downside. Otherwise these are super reliable cars. You know, if you're looking for a reliable sports car, they're not cheap. I mean, they hold their value or go up, which is not usual in the world of European cars. Usually they're on a steady downward price curve, but Porsche's hold their value really well. And they're fun to drive and super reliable. So I'd recommend one. It's a good car. 

Mark: So there you go. If you need some service on your Porsche in Vancouver, the guys to call Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You got to call and book ahead. They're always busy or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. There are hundreds, not an exaggeration, over 600 videos,  of all kinds of repairs, all kinds of makes and models of vehicles. Because they deal with mostly everything. And of course, check out the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, same thing it's all shared on there as well. And thank you so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. ThanksBernie. 

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

2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Cam Sensor Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 23 time winners, 23, 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well? 

Mark: So we have another, a reprise, a 2014 Mercedes E63 AMG that had another issue. What was going on with this car? 

Bernie: Yeah. So this is a tagging along to the last podcast we did on the E63. And we found another issue with this vehicle I didn't talk about, but I thought this deserves some attention. It's a repair job that we will be incorporating as a maintenance item and all our future Mercedes services. Maybe not every service, but at a certain time interval. And that is replacing the camshaft position sensors at least inspecting them for oil leaks. 

Mark: So what was the presenting issue? Why did you feel like that needed to be replaced? 

Bernie: So while we were doing the repair on this E63, we took the engine out to do the valve cover gaskets. We removed the camshaft position sensors from the valve cover, which is part of the job and noticed there was oil inside the connector. And so what happens is there's four sensors. They tend to leak oil out of the sensor. You know, they're immersed in the engine oil, they leak oil out of the sensor, into the connector pins. And that works its way through the wiring harness. 

Now, eventually that works its way through a number of different wires, damaging other components. And eventually the PCM, the powertrain control module gets oil in it and damages that, and that you know, as you can imagine, that the cost of that is crazy.

To do that properly, it's a new wiring harness. It's the cam sensors, which are cheap, a wiring harness, possibly some other components and a new engine computer, which is, I don't even know what it costs for this car. 

Mark: $10,000?

Bernie: It could be, you know, five, $10,000 plus programming. Plus it probably may have to be programmed by Mercedes because they have security protocols where they won't let anyone else other than themselves do the work. So that's a maybe thing on that, but anyways, it's a scenario you don't want. So I thought. So many good issue to do as a maintenance item.

We did actually replace the cam sensors for this customer. We cleaned the wiring harness, but you know, the oil had made its way down to some other components, possibly even to the PCM. Although there wasn't a lot of evidence there of oil, but one of the oxygen sensors quite a bit down in the engine, you can see oil on that connector to that it worked its way through. 

So let's have a look at some pictures.

2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Cam Sensor Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Cam Sensor Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Cam Sensor Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Cam Sensor Repair

So this is our engine again. I showed this picture in the last podcast. However this one here, I just kinda did a little square around. This is  the cam sensor right here. There's an electrical connector. There's four of these. So there's one back in behind this oil filler cap. And then there's two on the other side, it's a V engine. So I've just kind of taken all my photos of the right engine bank here, but that's, that's the sensor there.

As far as the leakage. So this is the sensor removed. You can see oil inside there. So this part sits in the engine here. This is oily. It should be. But this part here, you can see oil in this connector. Basically these pins just aren't sealed out well over time, they just oil starts to leak out of there and into this connector.

And we'll just look at a couple of other views. Here's the connector itself. You can see oil, this is like a rubber weather pack seal. But as you know, as the oil comes out, of course it goes down here. It goes down into the wires, works its way through the installation.

This is the oxygen sensor connector. I apologize not the sharpest photo, but you can see an oiliness to this plug. This should be bone dry. And so this is a connector. This is way down. This is actually on top of the transmission. So oil has worked its way down to this area.

Once oil gets down into the oxygen sensor, it will damage it. The owner didn't want to replace it at this time, but we did the cam sensors and cleaned up the oil at the top of the engine. 

Mark: So this is a really serious, almost catastrophic failure? 

Bernie: Yup. And it happens and you know, there's people around who've had to deal with it. We've seen it on other Mercedes models. I'm even thinking back like a, had a customer with an 01 SLK 230 and that had a leaking, it may have been actually a camshaft actuator, but again, it was leaking oil into the wiring harness and caused the oxygen sensors to go bad.

So, you know, this is a thing on a number of Mercedes. And so I think, you know, going forward, we're going to incorporate this as a maintenance service. It's not too difficult when we're doing say a B service and we've got the engine cover off to actually just pop the connectors, have a look, is there any oil in there? If there is change the sensors right away to prevent any further damage? 

Mark: So that's the solution basically is replaced the sensors so that they don't leak from inside the oil from inside the engine, into the wiring harness. 

Bernie: Exactly. Now, interestingly enough, in hindsight, it would have probably would have been good 10,000 kilometres ago to replace these sensors. So again, this might be something we look at with the idea of that being a maintenance item, to just change the cam sensors maybe every 70 to 80,000 kilometres, you know just do it and then it's done and you don't have to worry about it causing any other damage. Because the cost is, you know, it's probably a $10,000 plus repair if it goes really bad. You know, if it gets left long enough and you won't really know until eventually it starts running crappy and things start happening. And you might get lucky, you might be able to clean some stuff up and away you go, but if it gets into the PCM you know, it's all over.

Mark: So why isn't this a suggested maintenance item from. Mercedes?

Bernie: Oh, because it's a defect, you know, that otherwise they'd have to admit, Hey, we put crappy cam sensors in and they would obviously make them better if they could in the first place. So, you know, this is out of the warranty kind of repair. I mean, usually the warranties, you know, five years max. So it's beyond the scope of that kind of thing. So anything beyond that, they're not really too concerned about. I mean, it does kind of affect our reputation in a way, if a lot of things happen after warranty, but you know, it's not really a big concern of theirs. 

Yeah, it's basically not a prescribed item, like an oil change or a filter that gets dirty. If they knew they'd probably improve the sensors. And this isn't entirely a Mercedes, I mean, it seems to be more common on Mercedes than any other vehicle, but there are other vehicles where, you know, oil will intrude, through a component and get into the wiring harness. So it's not a good thing, but it seems to me like Mercedes is the big one, the big culprit. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Mercedes, expert service for your Mercedes AMG or not in Vancouver, people to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, they're busy. They're always busy. They're very good at what they do. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of videos on there all makes and models and types of repairs. Same thing on YouTube Pawlik Auto Repair. Check it out. And thank you so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Vancouver's best auto service experience and 23, 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2014 AMG Mercedes E63, what was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So the vehicle came to our shop for a maintenance service. The owner had a couple of concerns as well, but mostly came in for an A maintenance service. And we did find a couple of issues with the vehicle. 

Mark: So what brought this hot rod into your shop?

Bernie: Well, besides the A service the owner had complained that sometimes it felt like the engine had a bit of a misfire and we noticed, well we road tested it and came back into the shop, you could smell oil burning off the engine, and you could see a bit of smoke puffing out here and there under the hood, which wasn't a good sign.

Took a look at it. It was pretty apparent that valve cover gaskets were leaking and they leak right on top of the exhaust manifold slash turbocharger. The turbochargers, it's a twin turbo engine. The turbos are tucked right in nice and compactly in right underneath the cover area. 

 Mark: So where was the oil leaking from? 

Bernie: From the valve cover gaskets, it was pretty apparent. We didn't need to get into any complex diagnostics on this one. It was pretty apparent where the cause of the leak was coming from. 

Mark: So how do you go about repairing that? 

Bernie: Well, actually there's a couple of ways, so it can be done in car, but we chose to actually drop the engine assembly out of the car. It's really hard to access a lot of the bolts and to cleanly remove the valve cover. And we felt like, there's a little bit of extra time, but much more worthwhile way to do a proper repair to just to drop the engine and then work on it. So I'll just get into some pictures here. 

Mark: And these cars are built to actually do that right. 

2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair

Bernie: They are and we're finding that more and more that you know, cars,  removing engines and transmission assemblies is not really that difficult. This is an all wheel drive car too. And really not that time-consuming, I mean, it's a few hours to get it out and get it back in. But once you do it, then doing the work as much simpler than doing it in the car and much less difficult on the technician too. Because you get to stand and work on the engine as opposed to... be hunched over. Yeah be hunched over. 

2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair

Here's a view of the engine. This is before disassembly. I took these photos when this service was just a maintenance repair. So you can see again, this isn't the first E63 or engine we've looked at, but it's a beautiful looking engine I have to say. They've done a nice job for most of these Mercedes AMGs making them good looking engine. 

There's our engine out of the vehicle. The vehicle sits above us out of view. And basically you've got your valve cover here. You can see some oil stainage here. There's the turbocharger right there. Oil leaking, right from where my mouse pointer is straight down, dripping off this. Of course it's got a tray here, but it does drip off and eventually hits the turbocharger.

Mark: And the turbocharger is red, like literally molten, almost molten metal temperature.

Bernie:  They can get that way for sure. Absolutely. They get super hot and you know, oil leaks never used to be a big deal on cars a long time ago. But now with crammed engine compartments and the amount of heat going on, an oily can be a fire hazard. It's  not like in the olden days. Oh, well this is an oil leaking. I remember when, you know, in younger years, I mean, a car would never catch on fire from an oil leak. It never happened. 

But you know, nowadays this kind of thing can happen, especially if oil is sprayed under any sort of pressure. I mean, at this point it's just a seep, but this again, you can see a closer view here, kind of wet right in that area. Another closer view with items removed and you can actually see the oil sitting right in there and running down there. So, I mean, at the very least it doesn't smell that good for nice hot rod engine and the smoke coming out of the hood is a little disconcerting. Again, there's a view with the wiring harnesses and the ignition coils removed. You can kind of see a better picture of the top of the engine. 

And our final last picture. This is what the valve cover off. So you can kind of see the inner workings, the two camshafts, these cam lobes here drive the high pressure fuel pump. And there's one on each side of the back of the engine. So that adds a bit of extra strain onto this cam shaft. You can see the timing chain here, not as impressive as the older series of Mercedes, where they had double roller chains. These guys have gone to the skinny, single row chain design, kind of like land rovers that are a failure item.

And so far, we haven't seen a lot of problems with these, but I would say that they are certain to fail much sooner than the earlier style of Mercedes engines with the double roller chains. Less moving mass, I guess, is why they do it. And this one does look a little beefier than the Land Rover chain, but not a lot. And you consider this is a 500 plus horsepower engine. I don't even know the exact specs, but it's way up there. So there's our picture show. 

Mark: So that engine sitting on a, basically a subframe, that you on both that. And once you've unhooked the engine from everything, it just drops out of the vehicle.

Bernie: Yeah. Well, we don't like to drop it out. That would be kind of get a mattress underneath and bounce it off. Yeah. You can do that thick, spongy, a trampoline or something, but yeah, so basically we just have a rolling bench that we put underneath and set everything in place. And then we actually leave it, that stays in place and the car body just goes up right above it. It's pretty cool. And you got like a nice built in engine stand and room to move. And you know, as I said, this can be done in the car and it's, there's a lot of room for making mistakes. 

I'll just actually get right back into this picture again here because I've got it up. But  this gasket here, everything needs to be scraped away all around the edge of this gasket. All old silicone needs to be removed. And then, you know, really the tricky part is putting it back down if there's anything in the way. And there often is when you do it in the car. Cause you're trying to push wiring harnesses out of the way and vacuum hoses or whatever bits and pieces. And you tend to have to fight with that kind of stuff. And sometimes when you do, you might, you know, the valve cover, won't go cleanly on, you might smudge the silicone and then the thing leaks. It's not quite as good of a job as you can do when you have everything off. 

Mark: So good quality control is quite a bit higher than when you do it this way.

Bernie: Way better for sure. And honestly, you know, we don't want to do this job as a warranty job. But for the customer, we want to make sure that the car, this car is what, seven years old, you know, seven years from now, maybe that's when the gas gets starts to leak again or maybe not.

Mark: Yeah, so job all done. Everything's backing the vehicle. How'd the vehicle run after repair? 

Bernie: Yeah, it was good. We actually had a chance to look at the spark plugs and the ignition coils and things while we had everything off. The spark plugs had been replaced. Remember, I did mention there was a concern of a bit of an engine misfire, but we never found anything obvious wrong. It ran fine afterwards. I mean, something that may need some diagnostic down the road and this vehicle has had some custom tuning done to it. So that can always affect how things run, shouldn't make it misfire, but there can be some interesting issues that occur from that. 

Mark: And what kind of mileage was on this car?

Bernie: About 85,000 I think. Somewhere in the 80,000 kilometre range. So not a huge amount, still pretty young and kind of disappointing to have a valve cover leak this magnitude at this age. I mean, that wouldn't have been a 1972 Chevy V8 that probably, would've had four valve cover gaskets by now, but you know, on an engine of this caliber, with that kind of sealing technology, it is a little disappointing considering we see some cars, you know, a variety of different vehicles with two or 300,000 K's, don't have a drip of oil coming out. It's kind of disappointing. 

Mark: Is that a bit of a function of the fact that it's such a high horsepower, kind of, it is a hot rod, basically custom style engine. 

Bernie: Well, I think that could be part of it. I mean, you know, the heat under the hood has got to be tremendous, especially in that valve cover area, because you've got those turbochargers sitting underneath, even though there are heat shields, there's still gotta be a lot of heat there. So that could be definitely part of why the silicone decays quicker in that area. It probably is. 

My daughter has a Jeep, it's like a four cylinder Jeep, you know, basic vehicle, couple hundred thousand K's, not a drip of oil coming out of it. I'm going, you know, that's, that's a Jeep, you know, and again, same kind of silicone technology, Toyotas, same thing, couple of two, 300 Ks, no drips, but they're not performance engines like this. So that's probably doesn't make a lot of sense. 

Mark: And how are these E63 AMGs is for reliability?

Bernie: Well they're pretty good. I think these are definitely a little more problematic engines than the earlier, like say the 55 series, the supercharged engines though, you know, there's issues with these engines that are more common and prevalent than with the older models. So, and expect to have more repairs and I mean, of course it's a Mercedes, it's a high tech high, highly complex car. So great car, just a thrill to drive. But it'll cost you. 

Mark: If you are looking for service for your AMG 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. Hundreds. Not exaggerating hundreds of videos on there. We've been doing this for nine years now. Hundreds of videos, all makes and models of cars, types of repairs. Check out the YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair, same thing. Thanks for watching and listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. And thank you Bernie. 

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

1992 VW Transporter, Ring Gear Replaced

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience Vancouver, BC, Canada, and of course, 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers not making that up. 23 times. Bernie we're talking cars. How are you doing?

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So today's victim is an old one, a 1992 VW Transporter that had a bit of a ring gear problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so this vehicle came to our shop. The owner had a complaint. The starter would wouldn't engage. It would just make a grinding sound when he went to start it. And he replaced the starter. It's a bit of a do it yourselfer, he'd replaced a starter many times. And basically he'd found the ring gear was worn out. 

Mark: So what testing and inspections did you do? How did this show up? 

Bernie: The vehicle was towed to our shop. So you know, and as I said, the owner had done a lot of his own work on it. He said, look the ring gear is worn out. So we put it up on a hoist and just visually verified that in fact, the teeth and the ring gear were worn out and it needed to be replaced. So pretty simple on that end. 

Mark: So, how did the starter and ringer work together? 

Bernie: Well basically the ring gear is a very large, it's a ring gear very large diameter, generally a foot or two in diameter, depending on the size of the engine, well  two feet is maybe on a large diesel, but you know, usually a foot, foot and a half in diameter, big ring that bolts onto the back of the engine. Sometimes it's part of the torque converter for the transmission or the flywheel. And the starter motor has a very small little gear that engages into that ring gear.

So when you turn the key to start, the starter motor, there's a plunger that moves a small gear into the ring gear and the starter motor turns rotates the engine. So that's basically how the whole system works. And then of course, when you let the key back off, it all retracts and the engine is started and running, hopefully everything works like it normally does. Well, that's kind of how it works. 

Now of course you know, as this gear meshes in and out all the time, eventually there's a little tiny bit aware. And sometimes over the years, this is a 92, so it's getting pretty old. There's been a lot of years of the gear meshing together and it basically wears the teeth out. 

Mark: So, I guess sometimes these are incorporated into, they're not separate. Is it a separate piece on the VW? 

Bernie: It is now. Yeah. On this one is actually part of the torque converter. So the transmission has to come out to replace it. It actually has to come out on pretty well every vehicle. I can think of one vehicle where you don't, but we won't talk about that right now, but 99.9% of any vehicle on the road if your ringer goes bad. Either the engine or transmission has to be removed to replace it. So, and in this case, the ring gear is incorporated in the torque converter.

So let's look at some pictures. 

1992 VW Transporter, Ring Gear Replaced
1992 VW Transporter, Ring Gear Replaced
1992 VW Transporter, Ring Gear Replaced
1992 VW Transporter, Ring Gear Replaced
1992 VW Transporter, Ring Gear Replaced

So there is our worn out ring gear. Yeah. If you can see these teeth, we'll be looking at some good ones in awhile. You can see these teeth along here, like someone's hammered them flat compared to these nice looking teeth down here. So the interesting thing with ring gear wears, it doesn't wear the whole gear.

It only usually wears one or two spots because when an engine stops, it almost always stops in the same spot. You know, one of two spots. So it's always, it seems to engage  in the same area and it'll just wear that spot out. If it stopped in a different place every time it would be kind of a different ball of wax.

This is the torque inverter removed. Again you can see the ring gear. And if you look around this area in sort of the bottom left here, you can see these teeth like a little less, quite a bit worn compared to these teeth at the bottom and around the side. 

This is a view of the ring gear when it was actually in the vehicle. So this is where the starter bolts in. That yellow arrow points to the starter drive bushing. This is something that does need to be replaced from time to time when you do the starter usually. And you can see, again, the red arrow points to a worn out tooth on the ring gear. 

Now we'll look at the new piece. You can see the teeth. Not only is it nicely painted blue, but the teeth are very much in good shape. So when they replaced this torque converter, they actually weld a new ring gear on and there's a bigger view of the torque converter. Again, you can see all the teeth look to be very tall, nothing pounded down, so works much better that way

Mark: So you're replacing the torque converter as well as the ring gear. Do they go around the same time or ... 

Bernie: They're actually welded together as an assembly? So a couple of things happened with ring gears. Sometimes you get a thing it's called a flex plate, and it's basically a plate that bolts up to the crankshaft of the engine.

It's kind of a thin metal plate, a thin, I mean, thinish compared to a relative term, I guess. It's a thin metal plate with the ring gear attached to the outside. It's kind of all formed together, welded together. And then the torque converter bolts onto that. Some engines like this one with the ringer is actually bolted the torque converter.

And if you have a standard transmission with a clutch using the ring gear is incorporated into the flywheel, which is a much more massive object than a flex plate. So it depends on what kind of transmission, but it's always either the torque converter, the flywheel or the flex plate.

Mark: So this geared situation with the two, the small gear on the starter, the big ring gear, is that the typical design do all vehicles use this kind of design of starter motor ring gear? 

Bernie: Well, they do, unless it's a hybrid. And so if you have like a Toyota Prius or, you know, just use that as example, but a lot of hybrids. The motor generator unit actually will start the engine. So when it's commanded, it'll be spinning, it serves as the starter motor and the generator kind of incorporates several items into one. And so that eliminates the ring gear, the starter. There's also some GM vehicles that are it's called a mild hybrid. It's like a 48 volt system. And it would actually use a starter and alternator become they become one unit and that'll actually start the motor with it that uses a very robust drive belt system. So again, that eliminates the ring gear and starter, but any other internal combustion engine uses this system. I guess as time goes by with hybrids, it's getting less common.  

So how common of a repair is this on VW Transporter vans are on any vehicle?

We do them from time to time. I mean, I can say probably we might do a couple of year and we do a lot of cars in our shops, so it's not a really common repair, but it does happen from time to time. I guess the next question. How do you know your ring gears are bad? In this case the starter wouldn't turn anymore. But usually you can tell when your ring gear is going, because when you turn your key to start, it'll make like a loud kind of clanging sound like instead of the engine actually cranking over normally. So if that's happening, your ring gear is probably, I mean, sometimes it can just be the starter drive gear that's bad, but that's usually indicating your ring gears on its way out. And actually, if you do get any noises like that, it's probably good to inspect it and change the starter right away, because you might prevent ring gear damage because starter's much cheaper than replacing the ring gear. 

Mark: So how are these vans for reliability? 

Bernie: Well, they're awfully old now. You know, in their day they were pretty good. I mean, there's step up from, I like them better than the rear engine vans in many ways. They're much more reliable than the rear engine vans.

But you know, again, this is almost a 30 year old van now, so things are going to be happening and yeah, what can you say, they're getting old. You'll be doing repairs.

Mark: It's nearing the eventual inevitable end. 

Bernie: It is. But it's funny how a lot of old VW vans are still around and I mean, they're worth a fortune now compared to what they used to be. For some reason, VW vans had a very long lifespan for some reason. Now, again, these Transporters are a little more mainstream because they're front wheel drive, but Yeah, the old, you know, a lot of them seem to last longer than your usual on the road vehicles. So we'll probably see a few of these for years to come.

Mark: How expensive of repair was this?

Bernie: At least $2,000 Canadian. I can't remember the exact thing is at least 2000 a lot. The torque inverter's not being insanely expensive, but there's a lot of labor involved to pull the transmission out. It's really shoehorned in there. Not a lot of fun to remove and re-install. So mostly, mostly labor, but some parts.

Mark: If you're looking for good, reliable service, honest service for your vehicle in Vancouver, the guys to call Pawlik Automotive. (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead in Vancouver, BC, Canada. We love you calling from other places, but we can't help you over the phone. It's in person. This is real-world stuff. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of videos on there. All makes models, types of repairs. We've been doing this for nine years now. And of course the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. We really appreciate you listening and watching the podcast. Leave us a review if you like what we're doing. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. Always fun.

2017 Range Rover Sport HSE, TD6 Diesel Maintenance Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. That's the important part, right? They're voted by their customers, not just some magazine bestowing on them and we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So 2017 Range Rover diesel. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: This vehicle came to our shop. It was due for a maintenance service, an A level service. And that's what we did on the vehicle. 

Mark: So, what do you do during an A level service? 

Bernie: The A-level service on this vehicle, I mean, the heart of the service is an oil and filter change. But along with that, we adjust tire pressures, do a visual inspection of the vehicle, under hood inspection. Look at fluids. Inspect lights. I mean, a lot of these things are monitored by computer these days and things like lights, but it's always good to look at them because surprisingly enough, there's the odd light that isn't monitored on certain vehicles. You'd think everything would be, but it's not. So that's something we look at and yeah, fluids and that's basically it. 

Mark: So it's a diesel, anything different because in the service realm, because it's a diesel?

Bernie:  Yeah. Well, there was one additional item on this vehicle and that is the diesel exhaust fluid needs to be filled up during a service. And that's basically the only additional thing that we would do. I mean this particular service, it was due for air filters and cabin air filters which we replaced. But that's not a normal part of the service. It's a once in a while type of thing. 

Mark: So diesel exhaust fluid. What the heck is that? 

Bernie: So diesel exhaust fluid is kind of the latest, and I say latest because it's been out for more than a decade now, it's the latest exhaust emission technology on diesels. You know, there's NOx emissions, which are the big thing on diesel engines. Need to be reduced.

There's various ways you can build an engine, you can put EGR valves. You know, programming and things to reduce NOx, but really the ultimate way to do it is with a device called an SCR. It's a selective catalyst reduction and is the last piece in the exhaust system before the muffler.

So most modern diesels, they have the oxidation catalyst, which comes as the exhaust streams out, goes to the catalyst, then it goes to the particular filter and now it goes to the SCR. And the SCR has a urea injector, and that uses a special type of fluid. It's like a urea based fluid that's injected into the SCR that reduces NOx to pretty much nothing. So that's kind of like the magic bullet in diesels nowadays. 

It's the one I know I've talked about before. It's the one that Volkswagen didn't want to do so they could do their emissions without it. And instead they faked it and because they didn't want the additional cost of putting an SCR system in the vehicle or the exhaust fluid system.

Mark: $18 billion dollars later, they learned their lesson.

Bernie: Yeah, it would, it would have been cheaper just to charge a little more money for the cars and be honest with people, but, you know, it's just getting off on Volkswagen. I mean, it's caused them to invest in electric technology. And I think they're going to be one of the winners in terms of that. So in a way it's bad and good. 

And I'm just gonna share a couple of photos real quick. I didn't take a picture of the engine on this thing, but there's, you know, a nice little picture of the the name badge in the back of the vehicle.

2017 Range Rover Sport HSE, TD6 Diesel Maintenance Service
2017 Range Rover Sport HSE, TD6 Diesel Maintenance Service

And always beautiful looking Range Rover to me, always a beautiful style, good looking vehicle. And you know, it looks pretty much the same with the diesel, it's just when you pop the hood, that's where you see the difference and some of the specs.

Mark: So does that diesel exhaust fluid add a lot of cost operating cost to this vehicle? 

Bernie: The actual fluid is really cheap and it lasts, you know, between probably I have to top it up every, maybe eight to 10,000 kilometres, depending on driving conditions and so on. And it, it's not expensive. I think on the bill of this service was about 45 bucks for the fluid and the tank was very low. So it's not a huge cost over that period of time. It's not like fuel, it's marginal. It's maybe a few cents on a litre of fuel for the amount that's used. So it's really very little, but where the cost does come in is when things start to break down, when things get old. 

It's a complicated system. The fluid freezes very easily. So it has to be kept warm. So it's got a very complex system. It's got a tank, it's got a heater, it's got a pump, you know, obviously computer controls and an injector nozzle and piping. So there's a lot of bits and pieces that go wrong and they do eventually.

So this is a young vehicle. It's only four years old. It's got, you know, 50,000 kilometres, not much going on with it yet, but given, another five years, something in the system may fail and it's expensive to fix. 

Mark: What are some of the other maintenance requirements for this three litre diesel? 

Bernie: So fuel filters are one of them. Those are the things you won't find on the gasoline engine. Of course, I mentioned air, the engine air and the cabin air filter. But the fuel filter is one of them. And then the only other thing that's interesting on this engine is it has a timing belt, which is unusual for a modern engine. Most, you know, late model vehicles don't have timing belts anymore, but this one does there hasn't been a Range Rover Land Rover product in quite some time that's had a timing belt. At least in North America, but this one does. So that's the one other unusual maintenance requirement.

Mark:  Because that does have to be replaced on a certain strict maintenance schedule. 

Bernie: It does. And if you're wondering when that is, it is a 180,000 kilometres or a112,000 miles. That's the recommended interval. So now, if the vehicle is 10 years old, you probably want to consider doing it. If you haven't got up to that mileage, but you know, they generally build these pretty well, but a failure of that belt will cause catastrophic engine damage. If it's old enough, it's probably won't be worth fixing, but if you do fix it, it'll be expensive. So the belt needs to be done at the right time. 

Mark: So how are these Range Rover diesels for reliability? 

Bernie: Well, so far so good. We don't work on a lot of them and they're not very common. I mean, there are a lot of Range Rovers around Vancouver and not a lot of diesels. So we've got a few clients with them, not many compared to gasoline models. So far they've been good.

Hopefully they will be a better quality, more reliable product than Mercedes, which we see a lot of. Not that Mercedes are bad, but there's just a lot that goes wrong with them. But hopefully these are going to end up being more reliable in the long run, but so far so good. They are nice and they've got good power, good torque. They can haul a lot of weight. So it kind of adds something, if you're looking to haul weight and you know say tow a boat or something, this could be a better vehicle than the gasoline powered one. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Range Rover in Vancouver, BC Canada, you can call Pawlik automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, they're busy. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com or our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. Both have hundreds, no exaggeration. Hundreds. We've been doing this for nine years. Hundreds of videos on all makes and models and types of repairs. Of course, thank you so much for watching and listening to our podcasts. We really appreciate it. And thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching.

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