Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

2006 Range Rover Coolant Pipe Repair

Mark: Hi. It's Mark Bossert here from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto service experience and 21-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: We're talking about a Range Rover 2006 variant with a coolant pipe replacement problem. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle came to our shop with a, it was overheating and had a coolant leak.

Mark: What testing did you need to do to find the leak?

Bernie: In this case, I mean, the first place we always start with a coolant leak is a pressure test and topping up the coolant, of course, and if it starts just gushing out, then we know something is really severe, but if it doesn't, the pressure test is the next step, so that's what we did.

What a pressure test does is it puts the cooling system under pressure that you would normally experienced when an engine is running. The engine cooling systems have a pressurized cap. Pressure builds up in the system. If you have pressure, you can... The engine can run hotter and you don't lose your coolant, so it's an important thing, so we put the cooling system under pressure like you normally have when the engine is running and, that way, we can find out where the leak is coming from.

Mark: What did you find?

Bernie: We found a coolant pipe located on the back of the thermostat housing. It goes between the thermostat housing and the... basically the engine block, and that was leaking. It's a plastic part. I said it before. We love plastic. I mean, unfortunately, because it wears out, they could probably make it out of metal, but they make it out of plastic to save weight and, eventually, it does wear out. Although, in all fairness, this vehicle is now 13, 14 years old, 13 years old, so it's had a pretty good life.

Mark: Is this a common failure part?

Bernie: Yeah, it is. It is because the plastic deteriorates over time. I'm going to share a few pictures while we're at it here, so there's our 2006 vintage Range Rovers, still a very good looking vehicle, say, 13 years past. It still looks great.

Here's our pipe. This is the new piece. This is the old one, and you can see a chunk of corner missing off of here, and what happens is, over time, with heat cycling and heating and cooling, eventually the plastic becomes brittle and it eventually cracks and breaks. It's not under any physical strain because it's all held in place, but it will, it does break over time just from the heat cycling, and so... and you were is this a difficult part to replace? Is that correct?

Mark: Yes.

Bernie: Yeah, so this is where the pipe is located. This is where things get difficult, because the intake manifold sits right in this area here, right over the top of the edge of this pipe, so the pipe that'd broken in that you saw was sitting right here, bolts down here, and then these are intake manifold ports of the front two cylinders. It's a V8 engine, so it blocks over here, so there's a fair bit that needs to be removed to access to this piece.

Mark: Was there anything else that needed to make this repair?

Bernie: No. Actually, fortunately, this was it. We did do a visual inspection and found that was it. We did flush the cooling system, which is a good thing to do when you have the cooling system apart like this especially if the engines got hot. It's a good thing to do. Other than that, fortunately, it was straightforward.

Mark: Why wouldn't they use metal on this?

Bernie: Yeah, I think a lot of it is weight-saving. Two things, you can more easily mold a plastic piece, so that's one reason, and the second is that it's weight-saving. You can save. When you think about an engine, if you can use plastic parts, you can probably knock 30, 50 pounds off the weight of an engine, and the lighter the engine, the more efficient it is, so, in that respect, it's a good idea. There are parts we've done like certain BMWs, older vintages, where they actually make metal replacement parts for plastic thermostat housings. In this case, this vehicle didn't have such a thing, but I'd expect the plastic to last for another 10, 12 years anyways. It's the same type of part.

Mark: This is a non-supercharged engine, I'm guessing from how easy it was to actually do. Are they more trouble-free?

Bernie: I would say overall they are. I mean, there's less components obviously you've got. You don't have the supercharger, which in and of itself is a very expensive piece. I rarely see failures with the actual supercharger on some newer ones. You'll see. We have videos on the nose cone bearing failing, but, yeah, I mean, this is a simpler engine, and the cooling system is simpler on this vehicle as well.

The supercharge versions have pipes that run underneath the supercharger and intake manifold, which tend to fail and cost a lot more money to replace. They're like a rubber pipe assembly, a pipe and hose assembly, so there's more complexity in that, so, definitely, less to go wrong. You don't get the thrill of the immediate acceleration you do with the supercharge, but these things are more than adequate, a 4.4 litre engine. It's a pretty good engine. I think, around this vintage, I find these engines are actually quite reliable.

Mark: That was my next question. How are Range Rovers for reliability?

Bernie: We have a lot of videos and podcasts on these, so there are issues I'd say. Again, I was saying this is probably one of the more reliable engine models that you'll find around this vintage. The earlier ones, certainly earlier generation engines definitely had a lot more problems with oil leaks and things. These are pretty good for oil leaks. We've done actually a couple of cooling system repairs on this particular vehicle. Hoses tend to fail and pipes after a while, but, overall, I'd say these are pretty reliable, but you've got suspension problems, too, so, if you look through our collection of videos, you'll see some of the things that we see, but they're not bad, but you'll expect to spend a little more money on a Range Rover than you would for your average SUV.

Mark: One of your favourites, in other words.

Bernie: One of our favourites, yeah. They're nice vehicles to own. People like to keep them.

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for service for your Range Rover in Vancouver, British Columbia, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, they're always busy, or check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com. There's hundreds, literally, of videos and blog posts on there about different makes and models and all kinds of repairs, or our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, again, hundreds of videos, all makes and models and types of repairs, and, of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Feel free to give us a like if you enjoy what we're doing, and thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching.

2011 BMW 335iS – Electric Coolant Pump And Thermostat Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto service experience. 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, or 20 time winners, I'm sorry, 20 time winners. I'm cutting you short, Bernie. We're talking cars. How you doing?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: Today's victim is a 2011 BMW 335is. BMW has such long names. There was problems with the electric coolant pump and the thermostat. What was going on with this BMW?

Bernie: Yeah. The owner was driving the vehicle and an amber warning light for the coolant system came on the dash. Then, shortly after, a red warning light came on and the vehicle went into a limp mode. I'm not sure whether he had it towed in or whether it was driven in but, anyways, the vehicle was not running well. The other thing that was happening at the same time as the electric coolant, there was a loud noise coming from under the engine, which was actually the fan running at high speed. That's basically how the vehicle came in with cooling system problems.

Mark: What testing did you do and what did you find?

Bernie: First testing we always do on a cooling system is to verify is there coolant in the engine? Had a visual inspection, looked at the coolant, it was down a little bit. Added some coolant to it, but it only took about not even a cup of coolant, so really not low enough to cause any sort of issues. Pressure tested the cooling system, made sure there was no leaks, there weren't any. Then, we proceeded to the next step, which is to hook up a scan tool, essential item to do in this kind of vehicle, hook up a scan tool and see what was happening with the engine running temperature and the operating temperature.

We did that, found a couple of codes stored in the engine module and ran some tests and found that basically the electric water pump was not functioning as it was supposed to. Now, that loud noise under the hood was basically the radiator fan running at high speed. Again, that's an electric fan and it'll come on whenever the computer tells it to. It'll tell it to come on, if there's a problem found with the cooling system, it will tell it to come on. That'll create the coolest possible temperature in the radiator and help cool the engine down. Say, the water pump isn't actually circulating, it'll help keep the engine cool.

Mark: Is it possible to do diagnostic procedure, I guess, on this vehicle without a scan tool?

Bernie: Pretty much impossible. I mean everything nowadays on cars, this car included, it's highly electronic. You really do need a scan tool to do pretty much anything. As I said, I mean the visual tests and the pressure tests, those are important initial tests and that could be where the problems are found. You've got to use a scan tool. You've got to have one to do any work on this kind of car.

Mark: We have some pictures.

Bernie: I do, let's get right into it. There is our 325is, I apologize if the brake rotors look a little rusty. We just washed the car and it still has a bit of moisture on it and the brakes were sitting. That's what happens with brakes when they sit, the rotors get rusted. A drive around the block, all that rust disappears. This car doesn't look quite as nice as it could. Next photo, we've got ...

Mark: Scan tool.

Bernie: Scan tool. When we do the initial test, we test the system for codes. It's always best on a lot of modern vehicles to actually test the whole vehicle. We can actually do a full vehicle code scan, because sometimes there'll be a problem in a different module that actually relates to a module you don't think is... Is not related to the engine. It's helpful to get that information. In this case, there were four codes stored in the system, two of them not really relevant, oxygen sensors.

These aren't relevant to engine overheating issues, but these two are, engine coolant pump cutoff, engine coolant pump speed deviation. What's happening here is that the computer commands the electric coolant pump to turn at a certain speed. It expects a certain thing to happen and it's not happening. That's why this speed deviation code is here. It's a pretty clear diagnosis from this based on experience that the electric coolant pump is defective. There are tests we do to warm it up, make sure there isn't anything else going on and we verified that the coolant pump was in fact the problem.

The coolant pump, let's have a look at that. There is the electric coolant pump, pretty fancy looking unit. It's got a very large motor in it, very robust piece. Even though it's a very robust large motor, they don't last as long as you think they should because this is an exceptionally common failure on any BMW that has an electric coolant pump, which is a lot of models. The business end of it here, this is where the pump impeller is. There's an electrical connector here and then there's an inlet and outlet there and there. The coolant just... Simple otherwise. Couple of other items on this vehicle, there's an electrically controlled thermostat and this is bolted up to the water pump.

We replaced it at the same time because, again, this is a failure item on these vehicles. In this case, it wasn't the failure item, but it would not make a lot of sense to take all this stuff apart and not change the thermostat at the same time. This is an electrically controlled thermostat. You can see there's a connector here with a couple of pins sticking out where the wire goes. Now, why would they have an electrically controlled thermostat? The thermostat generally, this is actually inside of the thermostat taken apart. This is the actual thermostatic piece that opens and closes.

Normally, in the past, it's got a wax pellet inside that expands with the temperature of the coolant. As the wax expands, the thermostat opens and allows coolant to flow. If the temperature gets below the specified point, then the thermostat closes again. This keeps the engine at the operating temperature it's designed to keep at, but it's limited. It'll only do that specific temperature. With electrical control, it'll actually heat the thermostat. If the computer says, "Hey. We need to open this thing faster or let's get the engine cooler or let's keep the engine hotter," it can control that thermostat opening. It allows more control over the thermostat, and that's our picture show for the day.

Mark: The coolant pump was bad. Why would they use an electric pump?

Bernie: Again, it's control. As I talked about with a thermostat, there's control that can be had with having electric components. You can switch the pump on and off. You can't do that with a mechanically belt-driven pump. It just runs. When you're idling, it runs at a certain speed. When you rev it up, it runs faster and that's the limit of control. Whereas with an electric pump, they can pump it at a low speed, a high speed, whatever requirements are needed. If the engine is getting too hot, they can pump it faster. If they want the engine to warm up really fast, you can just leave the pump off and just let the engine warm up quicker. Those are some of the things you can do. That's why the electric pump.

Mark: Ultimately, it's causing better... That's part of the system. As well as with the electric thermostat, because you're controlling temperature more exactly, you can reduce emissions and increase fuel economy.

Bernie: Exactly, and performance too. Yeah. All three of those can all be controlled much better.

Mark: Is this an expensive repair?

Bernie: I always think of expensive as being kind of a judgment call. Yeah, it's not cheap. The electric pump itself, I can't remember the price off the top of my head, it's a pretty pricey part. If you own one of these cars, you will need to replace it. No ands, ifs or buts. I own a BMW X3 with the same type of engine, the electric coolant pump's gone on it already. They go on all of them and probably sooner than they should. Yeah, I consider this to be a pretty expensive repair, certainly more than it would cost to do a mechanical pump.

Mark: How are BMW 335s for reliability?

Bernie: They're good. I was thinking, I mean it's a good car, but there are certain issues that you're going to face with this car. I mean one of them is this electric coolant pump. I mean that's a guaranteed issue. Say you buy the car from new and keep it to 130,000 kilometres, you'll need to do this electric coolant pump. You'll need to do the thermostat. You'll probably have some ignition coil problems. This car actually had one after we fixed it. Went out for a road test, the engine was misfiring, one of the coils had crapped out. I don't know whether it was brought to us like that. It was no code in the system.

It may be that as the engine got hot, it caused the coil to fail or they just do on these things. You can pretty well count on ignition coil replacement, coolant pump replacement. There will probably be some front end bushings that wear out and some brake work, which those kind of things are sort of normal and expected on pretty well any car. I mean the nice thing is these are predictable, but they are... Some of them are expensive being a BMW. Also, there's some fuel injection issues with some of them as well, injector issues with some of them as well, but that's basically it. Otherwise, it's a really nice car. This is a sporty car, fun, lots of power. It's a fun ride.

Mark: Of course, in the future, as more and more of the European specs kick in, actually at the start of 2020, almost every vehicle is going to be using an electric everything. Basically everything is going to be running... Any accessory type stuff is going to be running off electric, because they have to in order to meet the emission regulations.

Bernie: Yeah, yeah. Already, we have electric power steering in a lot of vehicles, which is fantastic because there's so much more flexibility. The neat thing about electric power steering as well, it has the potential to be super expensive to repair. We've never actually repaired one electric power steering unit in our shop ever, which is maybe disappointing because we do an awful lot of conventional power steering repairs. The good news about that is that there's a component there that's been electrified that's very reliable. Not to say it's 100%. I mean there's some that have had issues and I know that a lot of those have been covered by manufacturer's warranty.

There are things that have been kind of sorted out, but it's a really reliable system. I think they've had to do that. When you build something with a steering component, I mean if there's any problem with it, you don't want a failure where the car decides to steer its own way. I mean you're just asking for major lawsuits. I think the manufacturers of, this is my guess, but I think they've just taken it, gone, "Wait a minute. We can't F around this stuff. We got to make it like bullet proofly reliable."

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for service for your BMW 335 or any BMW, they're experts on it at Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112, you have to call and book ahead. They're busy, always busy, but they do excellent work. You can check out the reviews, really highly reviewed. Of course, 20 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. Of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast and thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark, and thank you for listening and watching.

Pawlik Automotive 21 Time Winners Best Auto Repair In Vancouver

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver and we have an announcement as they've been voted again as Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. How're you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: Well, with that kind of news, I'm super happy. It's awesome being acknowledged for that.

Mark: So, it's 21 times now. Twenty one times voted as Best Auto Repair in Vancouver and this is the 10th time winning Best Auto Repair in Vancouver from the Georgia Straight newspaper. Who votes for these?

Bernie: They're all readers. It's a Reader Choice Award program. And obviously these would be customers of ours who vote. So since we're not like you know, a hugely branded company like well I won't say and names, but you know there'll be customers of ours who vote, who are readers of that paper.

Mark: What do you think the value of this is?

Bernie: Well, I mean, for us. I remember the first time we won back in 2008, I was thinking, oh this is kind of nice, but I'm just kind of a humble quiet guy, something, whatever. But then I started to get some customers coming in, I saw you in the Georgia Straight. I realized, hey this is actually a pretty good acknowledgment. And so the value for us is especially after 10 times is that we're recognized as being a really awesome good auto repair shop - like best in Vancouver according to our customers. So that's a really awesome thing and you know, for people, it holds us accountable too. I mean, I would like next year to be the best auto repair shop. So we've got to keep up the good work and keep people happy.

Mark: So why do you think people got for you?

Bernie: I think the work that we do is good but I think a lot of it is how we communicate with our customers and who we are as people. I mean, are we the best auto repair shop in Vancouver in terms of work. I can't say for sure. I mean I know a lot of really really good shops in Vancouver and there's lots of great shops all over the world but I think, you know to me, it's just the relationship we have with our customers. I think allows this to happen.

Mark: So 21 times. That's a lot of years. What does it take to be able to do that for that many times, that long, you'll be able to run your business and keep your staff dedicated to looking after your customers?

Bernie: Yeah, I mean we just, to me I'm always very careful and I can't say that we've satisfied everyone a hundred percent. I mean they're all, we're human beings. They're human beings. Sometimes personalities don't work. Sometimes a job might not go as expected but I think we try really hard to make sure that people are happy and I go out of my way most of the time, to make sure that people are happy with what we do. And if something happens where I really feel like, no this is not our issue, I'll say so and I you know, that's kind of what I can say about that. But we do care that people are happy with the work that we do.

Mark: And do you feel like honesty is a big part of this?

Bernie: Absolutely. Honesty, transparency and giving people options too. You know, we have a lot of people who come to us, who come in, they may have not had their car serviced in a long time and because they haven't found someone they trust or they're too busy or well for whatever reason. And there may be a huge list of things that the car could us to get back into really premium shape but we'll prioritize things and maybe, you know you'll need to do these two or three items like right now. These are important. Six months from now, you can do these. Down the road, you can do this. Depends on your budget, what you want to do. Some people say, yeah I want you to fix everything. Other people going, you know, I'm going to get rid of the car. We just leave that option open to people. So we just leave that option open to people. So I think that's a really big contributor to how people like to deal with us.

Mark: Do you guys ever just do the work and not let the customer know and then surprise them?

Bernie: No we don't. We have a mission statement. At least if we do that and a customer says, Hey I don't want to pay for that, they can walk out without paying because, well of course, they're probably be a conversation. But we have a mission statement that says you'll never pay more that the last estimate. So you know, if we tell you, Hey Mark, you're going to be paying 200 dollars including taxes for this inspection we're going to do in your car. That's the most you can expect the bill to be unless we've phoned you up and said, of Hey by the way you need this, this and this and its going to cost this amount of money. And you say ok I want you to do that for that amount of money. Then we'll make sure we have agreement so when you come in here, you know if you're expecting a thousand dollar bill. It's going to be a thousand dollars or less. It's not going to be over that.

Mark: And that leads to 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver.

Bernie: Absolutely.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for a reliable place and place that really values honesty and clear communication to get vehicle fixed and of course a repair shop that is very up on what's going on with cars. They have the best equipment. They invest a lot of time and money including going to trainings on electrics and hybrids and all that sort of stuff coming up. The guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, they're always busy. Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds, literally hundreds of blog posts and videos on there. Hundreds of videos on our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark and thanks for watching. Thank you for voting for us, it really means a lot.

2013 Subaru WRX, Oil Leak Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience, 20 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. Not somebody just giving them a gift, that's people actually voting for them and saying this is the best. These guys know what they're doing and we're talking cars. How are you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well. After an intro like that, it just puts a big smile on my face.

Mark: So we're talking about a 2013 Subaru WRX. It had an oil leak problem. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, so the car came into our shop for a maintenance service and inspection, and one of the things that we found was there's some oil leaking from the front of the engine timing belt area, a variable valve timing solenoid, somewhere around that area, and it needed further exploration and repairs.

Mark: So what was involved in repairing those leaks?

Bernie: So all that was involved was actually removing the timing belt cover and accessing the timing belt, because it's all hidden behind there. We found some cam shaft seals leaking, as well as variable valve timing solenoid gaskets leaking as well.

Mark: So do you have some pictures?

Bernie: I do, I do, and by the way, so we replaced the timing belt at the same time and we can talk a little more about that, but let's just get into the pictures here.

So there we have our beautiful 2013 WRX. Awesome little high performance cars. There's a good view of the front of the engine with the timing belt off. The timing belt sits in this area here. If you can just follow the mouse pointer, it kind of loops around here. There's the crankshaft sprocket and this is a dual overhead cam engine so it has four cam sprockets. Cam shaft seals here, which we replaced. Water pump also, which is very important to do at the same time as the timing belt.

Mark: And this is a flat-six, right?

Bernie: Flat-four. Yeah, this is a turbocharged flat-four, inter-cooled turbo flat-four. Subaru doesn't make any turbo-sixes, although it'd be a pretty awesome option because it would go even faster, but yeah, this is a four.

Mark: And a lot of room in the front. Have you pulled out the radiator?

Bernie: We removed the radiator. Here's a view actually of the engine compartment with everything back in. You can see it's a lot tighter, but we did remove the radiator on this job. It's a standard transmission, so not too difficult, and just to access the bolts on the front of the camshafts, it's a little easier to access everything with the radiator out. Not difficult, doesn't add a lot of extra time to do that.

This is the whole package assembled. This is the intercooler. This keeps the charge air cool that's being blow basically blown into the engine by the turbochargers. As you compress that air, it gets hot. and so if you can keep it cool it has more density. Once upon a time, a long time ago, turbochargers never had intercoolers and this was a big performance upgrade to intercool a turbo. There's nothing that's been made in the last 15, 20 years that doesn't have an intercooler on it. And that's the same with supercharged engines too. So it helps boost the performance just by keeping the air at a certain temperature.

Now for other pictures we get into the meat of the job. So this vehicle has variable valve timing. This is one of the performance features of this engine. So these are the camshaft sprockets. If you look at some of our other podcasts and videos, you'll see that we do a number of timing belts on Subarus, but most of them are there the lower performance 4-cylinder versions and they don't have variable valve timing. So these sprockets are quite a bit more complex, more expensive as well.

There's one really good thing about this engine. Most vehicles with variable valve timing, you have to have special special tools to lock the camshafts in place. And this engine, you don't. These actually have pins that locate the cam sprockets on the engine, which is a fantastic feature because you can just look, put the cam sprocket on, just line the timing belt marks up and away it goes.

Whereas on most other engines you have to remove the valve cover, you have to lock the camshafts in a certain position by specialty tools to do it and then bolt everything up while everything's locked into position. So Subaru has made this job reasonably, I won't say easy to do, but reasonably easy to do. So it's kind of kind of a nice, refreshing treat. Less complicated of a job.

This is the variable valve timing solenoid and this is the gasket and this was one of the items that was leaking. So these solenoids control oil flow to the variable valve timing, the cam gears and getting against electrical signal. The engine has oil pressure, changes the oil flow through the cam, and that that changes the valve timing.

We talked about maintenance on cars, modern cars, this is why it's critical to change your oil at regular intervals. Any sludge, you can see there are very small holes. Any sludge that builds up in these will cause a malfunction of this system, or low oil level for that matter too. So critical to change your oil at the required interval.

Mark: Okay. There's a few issues here. So first, variable valve timing accomplishes what? It seems like a lot of complication.

Bernie: Well, opening the valves of the engine, the intake and exhaust valves, there's a certain optimum time to open them, but it's different at idle than it is when you've got the engine revving at 6,000 RPMs or halfway in between. So if you can vary the time the valves open and actually for that matter, vary the lift of the end of the valve, which this engine doesn't do, but some engines do. You can vary the lift of the valve, the opening. You can control the horsepower of the engine, you can improve the fuel economy and exhaust emissions. There's a number of things you can accomplish, so that's why variable valve timing is pretty much standard on most engines nowadays. Not all, but most.

Mark: Timing belts. Subaru, I thought they used dry chains. What are they using a timing belt for?

Bernie: Yeah, well interesting question. So, up until about, Subaru, the 6-cylinder engines, which they introduced around the 2000 model year, those are all timing chain engines, but the four cylinder up until about 2010, 2011, used a timing belt. Then they changed to a chain drive, but this engine still maintains the timing belt right up to modern, right up to, I'm not sure if a 2020 has gone to a chain, but certainly 2018 still has a timing belt.

So you might wonder, well, is that an inferior technology? And the answer is not really. I mean they've incorporated all the variable valve timing and everything that needs to be done. The disadvantage with a timing belt is that there is a set interval where you must replace it because it will break.

With a timing chain, it's theoretically supposed to last the life of the engine, but timing chains are very complex. There's a lot of pieces to them. Tensioners to keep them tight and things that wear out. We've done podcasts on Range Rovers where a number of them, this is a problem with that engine. 100,000 kilometres, the timing chains are rattling and you're faced with a six, in Canada, a $6,000, $7,000 bill to do the replacement. That's a lot of money for something that, like a timing belt job can be anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the car if you do it complete and there's a set interval to do it. So you know, Subaru so far, with the timing chains had been reliable but I owned a six cylinder Subaru, around 250,000 kilometres, I mean every once in a while I'd start the car and the timing chain would rattle. So, you know, that car is long gone because it kind of wore out. They're supposed to last the life of the engine, but a lot of cars they don't and they can be very expensive to replace.

Timing belts, at one time, also used to be kind of an inferior design. I mean I think of a lot of older, oh, take Subaru for example, they used to have an engine that had two timing belts. One went to the right bank, one to the left. Some of those would break at 50,000 kilometres. Fortunately there was no engine damage but highly unreliable. And you know, you'd be lucky to get a hundred thousand kilometres out of them. And there are many other cars, you know, in the eighties and nineties that were like that. You'd go like in the 1970s when timing belts started coming out, I mean they didn't last very long either, but they've made them very robust. They last a long time. You know, 150, 200,000 kilometres is not abnormal for a timing belt.

Mark: So do these WRX motors have the same head gasket issues on the older ones that other Subaru 4-cylinder engines have?

Bernie: No, they don't. These use a much more robust gasket and we don't run into the same issues. It's pretty rare. I mean over the years, the dual overhead cam engine is not just a WRX engine. They did put them in some of the other Forester models. We do the odd head gasket in those, but pretty rare and never done one on a WRX yet. So they're pretty robust. They're much better designed, much better built.

Mark: So there you go. If you've got some leaky oil issues with your WRX Subaru or any Subaru, the guys who specialize in Subaru in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive and of course every other make and model of car right up to Porsches and Teslas and all sorts of stuff. Guys to see are Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead because they're busy. Or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds, over 350 blog posts, videos on repairing all makes and models and all kinds of types of repairs. All makes and models of cars and trucks. Over 350 videos on YouTube. Check it out. Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thanks so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Leave your comments or your likes below. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thanks for watching.

2003 Ford F350 A/C Hose Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast and video series. Of course, we're here with Mr Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver and 20 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: This week's victim is a 2003 Ford F350 that had an AC problem. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: The air conditioning wasn't functioning properly, it wasn't blowing cold air. The owner had thought, well I can just get the system recharged, take it into another shop and they told them this AC compressor was cracked. They couldn't do the service and called us to replace this compressor.

Mark: What kind of diagnosis and tests did you do to find the problem?

Bernie: For this one, we just started with a complimentary visual inspection. We noted a couple of things. First of all, it didn't seem like the compressor was so much of an issue. There wasn't anything really noticeably leaking from it that we could see, but there was a very large leak coming from one of the air conditioning hoses, the discharge hose that comes off the air conditioning compressor and goes to the condenser. That was a very obvious visual clue that there was a leak, major leak, coming from this area and that would be the first place to start the repair.

Mark: Would you normally just do a thorough test of the AC system?

Bernie: We normally do a diagnostic. In this case, because of the circumstances of the vehicle coming to us and the obviousness of the leak, this was really the first thing to fix on the vehicle before we even proceeded with any further diagnosis because whatever else we'd find... And we did do a visual inspection of the rest of it. Didn't see anything else noticeable. This was the first place to start. No sense in changing the compressor if it wasn't really that noticeably bad, so this is where we started. I'm going to get right into a picture because it's really very noticeable.

This is our Ford F350 truck, only got the front end of the truck because that is a big camper on the back. It's a six litre diesel, first model year of a six litre diesel. This is our hose assembly. Here where you're looking in the passenger side compartment of the hood, this is called the discharge hose, you can see when you look at it, there's a lot of oil around here. It's very oily and there's a greenish colour to it. In the past, someone has put UV dye into this system. This is very common tool that we use to find air conditioning leaks. Some vehicles actually have the dye right from the factory.

Other times, we, I say we as service people, actually add the dye into the system. What happens is if there's even a trace amount of leakage that comes out, we can spot this with a UV light and glasses. It'll glow a bright greenish yellow. This leak is so severe. Usually with severe leaks, you can actually see the green tint of this leak right here. I mean it's a high pressure hose. Eventually, this sort of crimped fitting here breaks down and is going to start leaking refrigerant.

This is a hose assembly. This section here bolts up to the compressor. This hose is called the suction hose and basically it's on the suction side of the compressor. It's also interesting with air conditioning, you see two different diameters of hoses. There's a low side system and a high side. You don't sell the high side because it has very narrow diameter hoses. It's higher pressure. The low side has thicker hoses. There's our picture show for the day.

Mark: I guess the UV leads us down the path of how tricky are AC leaks to find?

Bernie: They can be really tricky. One reason I wanted to do this podcast is just this is a good news story. This is an easy one to find. We don't always get so lucky. I'll just take an example. I own a 2001 Suburban. It has rear air conditioning as well, so it has an array of pipes that run from the front of the vehicle right to the very back with the air conditioning pipes. I've had a leak for a couple of years. Slowly, over time, it leaks out. I have, actually over the years, I've had leaks but sometimes it'll last for several... It's lasted for a few years before it needed to be recharged.

I've looked over and over and over with all the tools and equipment we have and I've still not been able to find the leak in that system. The tricky thing with air conditioning is there's a lot of hidden components. There are pipes that are hidden. The condenser for instance, which is like a radiator in the front, I mean it has a front side that you can often see, but the back side you can't see. There can be a leak coming from the backside. If it's a small leak, you'll never see it. The evaporator core, which is what causes the cool air to be dispersed into the vehicle, it's like, again, like a type of radiator, but it's hidden inside a box and often it takes many hours to remove it.

There are no real easy ways to see those kinds of leaks. We have numerous ways and tools to find such leaks though. One of the pieces of equipment we have is a refrigerant detector. It's an electronic detector. It has a little probe on it. You go around the system and you point it at different areas. If there's a substantial leak, let's say even a minor leak, it'll pick up a refrigerant molecule and makes a beeping sound. The only thing I hate about this tool is it will do false alarms quite often unless there's a really noticeable leak... Like this hose would have caused it to beep, for sure.

It's not as good of a tool as I'd like it to be in terms of finding leaks, especially in hidden spots. The manufacturers always claim, "Oh this will find one molecule in a million molecules of air." I don't know. For some reason, they all seem to be elusive. The visual is often the best. We also use high pressure nitrogen gas. What we can do is charge the system up with high pressure gas. We can use the refrigerant detector as well with that. We can also listen for hissing sounds. We can also spray a tire type of item that we might find a leak for tires where it causes bubbles, so that's, again, another technique.

There's a variety of things we do. Unfortunately with air conditioning leaks, sometimes it takes a while to find the leak and it can be hit and miss. You can fix one. Then, a month or two or six months or a year later, the refrigerant's leaked out and there's another leak somewhere else. It can be frustrating. Hopefully in the case of this Ford, this is the only one because it was very obvious.

Mark: How was the AC on the Ford Truck after you did the repair?

Bernie: It was awesome. We put the hose on. We have a machine that does a vacuum on the system. You basically put it into a deep vacuum for about 30 minutes and then retest and make sure it holds a vacuum. It did do that. Now, that's never a foolproof guarantee that the system is good. If it fails the vacuum, that's usually a sign that you still have further leaks. It passed the vacuum test, we recharged it. It's blowing nice cold air and hopefully will remain so.

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for repairs for your air conditioning and heating system as we move into winter now 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. Check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. Many years and hundreds of postings on there on all makes and models of repairs and types of repairs. As well our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, again, over 350 videos on there about repairs to all makes and models of cars and trucks. Of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We appreciate it and look forward to the next one coming up. Thanks Bernie.

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

2007 Nissan Sentra Heater Blower Motor Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast. And of course we're here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience and 20 time winners, 20 times, as voted by their customers of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. And of course we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: A Nissan Sentra 2007, there was something going on with the heater. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle came in, it had a very noisy, when you turned the heater blower fan on, it was making quite a hideous racket and needed to be repaired and replaced.

Mark: What's involved with repairing a heater motor?

Bernie: Well, on most cars it's, on many cars it's not that complicated. You can usually remove the blower motor through a little panel under the dash, maybe takes an hour or two worth of work. Unfortunately, on this vehicle, it actually involved removing the whole dash to get at the heater blower motor. It was an extremely involved job. Not too many cars like that. I'm thinking, some BMWs are like that, some Volvos, but kind of surprising for a Nissan. But that's what was involved, so the whole dash had to come out, the heater box dismantled to change the blower motor.

Mark: When you took the motor out, what did you find?

Bernie: Well what we found was a rodent's nest inside the blower motor, inside the heater box and all the items that the rodent had used to make the nest, which was mostly the insulation from under the hood, the firewall installation had been completely chewed away and conveniently moved into the a heater box. That was basically, it had basically plugged the cabin air filter. It had, there's debris all over the inside of the squirrel. Okay, this is kind of funny because we call this the blower off, get pictures of this thing. We call it a squirrel cage. It's kind of funny that that's named after a rodent, but it looks like kind of one of those hamster wheels that they run on. Inside the squirrel cage was just full of debris causing the motor to be off balance and caused a huge racket.

Let's get in some pictures because this is a fun part.

There's our Nissan Sentra, your basic, good basic economy car and the more interesting pictures we can get into are, let's get a look at the, there's the cabin air filter that we took out. Kind of broken apart, but you can see just full of, a lot of this is just debris. It may not have been serviced properly, but there's a lot of dirt, debris, very, very, very contaminated cabin air filter. Here's the, the squirrel cage of the blower motor. And again you can see it's full of leaves and debris and pieces of stuff. And I probably should've taken pictures. I didn't have a chance to take pictures of everything else that was in there because there was a lot more debris in there that was causing noise.

And it also looks like one of these fan blades is actually missing a piece, which will cause quite a vibration. We call this a squirrel cage. The motor's located back in here and that turns this big round wheel here and blows air so you know any amount of debris in it will cause it to go off balance. And of course create a huge, huge racket. As I mentioned, a lot of this was insulation from under the hood. This is the engine here. Looking backwards to the firewall, you can kind of see the wiper blades here and the windshield would be up in this area and this area here would normally have a some insulation. And what's left of it is basically whatever pieces are held to the attachment points and it's been completely chewed away.

That's where everything went. It migrated from, miraculously migrated from under the hood to inside the heater box. And we didn't see the rodent by the way, it had vacated the premises.

Mark: Just a winter home.

Bernie: Yeah, winter home. Yeah. Who knows. I'm assuming it had been done more recently, but because otherwise it may have been the blower probably would've been noisier, but it may have been made awhile ago and somehow got sucked into the fan. For whatever reason the rodent was gone. They kind of tend to come and go. That's maybe a good thing.

Mark: How often do you see this sort of thing?

Bernie: Well, not too often with heater boxes, we see it occasionally. But more commonly wire chewing is a common occurrence under hoods. This is very common. We do see some hoses being chewed from time to time as well. But wires are chewed because over the last 10 or more years, manufacturers have, to be more ecological or environmentally friendly have started using soy based insulation on their wiring. And this of course is tasty to many rodents and a disadvantage to car owners of course.

Mark: Anything that can be done to prevent rodents from chewing wires or attacking the under hood area of your car?

Bernie: Well, we're going to, I'm not going to get into all the details of that because there's some complexity and I haven't quite figured it all out myself, but we're going to put a link on the bottom of the video that has a really good website with some very specific ways and this person has got some very detailed ways you can prevent rodents from chewing, from getting under your hood and doing your wires. To be honest, I think it's almost more than I'd want to get involved in, but they're, if you followed it thoroughly, I'm sure it would work. If you took perhaps a few of his ideas, that would probably work well too. Interestingly enough, one common vehicle, there's a Honda that has a wire that often gets chewed and causes a check engine light and it sits right underneath the intake manifold in a Honda V6 engine.

It's an expensive repair, Honda actually sells a new wire and it has a wrap around the wire and it has a little picture of a mouse with an X through it. It's actually a rodent proof wire right from the factory and that's how bad rodent chewing wires are. And then actually the problem is so bad there's actually class action lawsuits against several manufacturers for rodent, for the wiring that they've put in their cars. It's a big thing.

Mark: After repairs, I assume everything was good in the heating department in this vehicle.

Bernie: Yeah, it worked fine. Nice. The fan was nice and quiet. Everything worked really well. Yeah, just like it's supposed to do.

Mark: And how our Nissan Sentras for reliability?

Bernie: Generally they're good cars, it's an economy car. We see very few problems with them other than basic maintenance. It's a pretty well built, decent car.

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for support for your vehicle, if you've got any kind of rodent problems or if you need your Nissan Sentra or any Nissan product, looked after the guys to see in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 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 busy. Or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of articles and videos on there as well. Our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Again, over 350 videos on all makes and models of cars and all types of repairs. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thank you for watching and listening. Always a pleasure.

2005 Mazda 3 Extensive Repairs

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, host of the Pawlik Automotive podcast and we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Of course, serving Vancouverites for over 38 years, repairing and maintaining cars and 20 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How're you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So a Mazda 3 extensive repairs and maintenance. Extensive! What was going on with this Mazda?

Bernie: So, it's a 2005 Mazda 3 and the owner brought the vehicle to us who was heading on a long trip and wanted to make sure the vehicle was road worthy and had a few concerns. And we certainly noted a few when we road tested the vehicle. When you put the brake on, the brakes didn't work too well. There was some severe, sort of shifting in the front end of the vehicle when you hit bumps or applied the brakes. We knew there was something pretty serious in the front end. And this had been a customer that had been coming to us for quite a few years on and off so there was a bit, a couple of deferred maintenance items that needed to be done too.

Mark: So what, when you started tearing things apart, what'd you find?

Bernie: Well, we found a lot of interesting stuff. And I'll just get right into the picture show of what we've got.

So there's our 2005 Mazda 3. Still looks pretty good other than a few little scrapes and scuffs which is kind of normal but overall still a pretty decent looking car for a, what's that make it?

Mark: 14 years

Bernie: Fourteen years old. Yeah. So what'd we do? Well here's a nice pile of parts, and I think this hose here, I think snuck in here from a different job. I came into work Monday morning and there was this big pile of parts from Friday. These were a number of things that were replaced. So struts, we have a pair of struts here, we have a belt, a drive belt, there's a brake caliper here, there's a brake rotor that's been, actually, it was rusted on so badly it cracked in half when it was hammered off. There's brake hoses, there's a control arm bushing right there attached to a control arm, there's a control arm under here. What else do we got? There's am ABS wheel speed sensor sitting here and also some sway bar end links. So quite a few parts and pieces.

So what did we end up finding? So some of the shifting and the severe, dangerous feeling we felt in the front end was due to worn out control arm bushings and severely worn struts. There were some clunks as well contributed by the sway bar end links. So we basically replaced those major front end components. The brakes of course as you can see, the rotors were not in great shape, pretty badly rusted. So we replaced the brake calipers, rotors, pads and the brake hoses had cracks as well. So the brakes got a really good treatment, a full meal deal pretty much everything on the wheel side of the brakes was replaced. We also flushed the brake fluid. I mentioned there was some maintenance items that were deferred. We did a transmission fluid service. So that's a filter replacement and flushing new fluid through the system. No evidence of that in this picture. What else? And serpentine belts, they were worn as well so we replaced them.

There's also an ABS warning light on on the dash and we found that the ABS wheel speed sensor on the right front had a broken wire. You can see this broken wire here, the wiring connector was broken so we replaced it but the speed sensor still wasn't working and we found the actual sensor itself was bad. So we replaced both components and that restored that issue. So the ABS brakes were back in full function.

Just one other closer picture. This is a view of one of the rear brake rotors and you can just see the rustiness, I mean this surface from where I'm moving my mouse here, this should all be shiny metal kind of like this, and not rust. So basically the brakes are minimally effective, you know pushing against a rusted surface. So that's kind of our picture show. Lots of interesting parts, kind of fun when you do a complete repair like this and the car ends up driving away, no clunks and stops well. It's pretty rewarding. I know it was a fair size bill, but the client will leave going, "Hey I got good value for my money because my car's functional and safe again".

Mark: So it sounds like this was a lot of work, almost like a rebuild or partial rebuild of the vehicle. Was it worth doing?

Bernie: Well I think so, but of course every vehicle owner has to make a decision because sometimes when you're faced, and I'm not going to talk about the cost of the bill, but a lot of times vehicle owners are faced with a few thousand dollars bill and they go, No that's it, I'm out, you know, I'm replacing the car. And other people are going, No I'll keep going with it.

This car is, it is 15 years or 14 years old, it'll be 15 at some point. It's 165,000 kilometres, so not really high amount of mileage. I mean if it was over 200, I might be like, ah maybe it's time to not consider doing this. But 165 is not too much for this vehicle. Mazda 3s are a decent, reliable vehicle over all. So I tend to put them on a recommended list of cars to repair, of course, it depends on how far you leave it. But these are items that just needed to be done on pretty well any car if you leave it long enough. And obviously this vehicle has seen some rusty, salty climates to have brakes like that. So it's a little harder on the vehicle.

Mark: So that brings up a point, you said, where's the level of where they've left it too long, would it of been, I mean I know the answer to this, would it of been better to have been doing more regular maintenance and maintaining these items more gradually, rather than waiting for almost catastrophic failure to then repair everything at once? What's the better strategy here?

Bernie: Well I think it's better to repair on an ongoing basis because you don't get hit with a huge repair bill like this. And a lot of times, sometimes we get cars in and people you know, it comes with all this level of repairs and maintenance and people go Forget it, I'm getting rid of the car. Whereas if they'd, and so then they're faced with the purchase of another car which you know in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad idea but it's more economical to just keep repairing things as they go. For instance, it may be that if the car was brought in a year ago, we would of noted that hey, these struts and control arm bushings are worn, let's replace those right now and the brakes may have been ok. So smaller bill, spread out, it's a little easier on the wallet, let's put it that way, and terms of choices. A lot of times if you do things as things wear out, it's cheaper because you don't let things wear as far as they could. For instance, when you have severe front end wear, a lot of times you can end up wearing your tires out prematurely. So in this case, fortunately that didn't happen. But a lot of times, if you have a bd shock absorber or strut, it can cause your tires to wear funny and had you replaced them, you wouldn't be replacing tires as well.

Mark: So it sounds basically like Mazda 3s are very good cars overall and are there any other serious issues or common recurring issues with them?

Bernie: Well there's a few common things, like a couple of things come to mind like check engine lights will often come on and there's a variety of reasons that it'll come on. But one common one on Mazdas is that the thermostat will stick open or they open too soon and you not even necessarily notice a driving issue. Although in a cold climate, you may notice not as much heat in the vehicle, in the cabin. But a lot of times, that'll be a check engine light issue. That's a pretty common item. Ans also, there's a right side engine mount that will often fail and the vehicle will have a vibration when you're, if it's an automatic in drive, there's a certain vibration. So there's a couple common things that tend to wear out on these cars. And the only other issue we found, up until a few years ago, we used to think these were like bullet proof, reliable vehicles, but the 2.3 litre engine which this vehicle does have, does tend to have some problems. They will start burning oil and have some compression issues. So we've done a couple engine replacements on them. And this kind of came along suddenly and then we found out that a lot of other ones had that same issue. So the 2 litre model engine, sort of in this vintage or in the 2000 decade, tend to be really reliable but the 2.3 do tend to have problems after awhile. It's kind of hit and miss. Some of them go forever and some of them develop problems.

Mark: So maintain your vehicle regularly.

Bernie: Absolutely yeah, absolutely just maintain it and you'll get the best life out of it.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Mazda in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them in Vancouver at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You've got to book ahead, they're busy. Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of videos and posts on there, over 600 actually, I checked the other day.

Bernie: Awesome.

Mark: Repairs and maintenance of all makes and models of cars over many years. Our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, same thing, over 400 videos there on repairs and maintenance of all makes and models of cars and light trucks. And of course, thank you so much to listening to the podcast and watching, we really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Yeah, thanks Mark and thanks for listening and watching. It's always fun.

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Engine Noise Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. And of course we're here with Bernie Pawlik. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience, 38 years of servicing, repairing and maintaining cars in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and 20 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So a Jeep Grand Cherokee 2011 model. What was, there was an engine noise? What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, this vehicle came to our shop. The owner was complaining of a ticking sound, a fairly loud clicking sound in the engine. So we had to look at that and did some diagnostic. It definitely wasn't normal.

Mark: And what did you find was causing the problem?

Bernie: So we isolated the problem to the right hand, right cylinder bank. This is a 5.7 litre Hemi V8, and there was definitely some noise in the right hand cylinder bank. So in order to diagnose it further, we removed the right valve cover, inspected to see if we could find perhaps a loose, something loose in the valve train. This is a pushrod engine. So the cam shaft is located in the centre of the V, sort of the classic spot for a V8, and has push rods running up to the push rods and rocker arms. We didn't see anything noticeable. We rotated the engine, ran it. Nothing was excessively noticeable. But we were certain that the noise was coming from that side of the engine. And doing some research into these engines and from some personal experience, we figured that it was probably, possibly a worn out lifter or a cam shaft problem of some sort.

Mark: What was the next step?

Bernie: Next step, removing the engine. And incidentally this engine also had a leaking oil pan gasket, which can be done in the car, but it's quite a labor intensive job. So at this point we knew we had an internal engine repair to do of an oil pan gasket to repair. So we authorized the client to let's take the engine out and take it apart and find out what's going on, and then we can fix it all in one shot.

Mark: So once you had the engine out, which is a big job, and apart, what did you find?

Bernie: So what we found, and we'll just get right into the picture show here, we found that, we did find wear in the cam shaft and we found one of the lifters worn out. These use roller lifters for low friction and that's what we found was worn out. So a combination between that, those two, is causing the ticking noise.

There's our nice 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Really nice condition. This vehicle has actually pretty low mileage, 114,000 kilometres. So it's still, in my eyes, kind of a brand new vehicle. This is the old and new cam shaft. So part of the replacement was to, we had to replace the cam shaft. We replaced all the rocker arm, all the lifters, rocker arms were in good shape. So the cam and lifters was basically the main component. But we also changed the timing chain and the a, it has variable valve timing. We changed the variable valve timing actuator gear as well.

While everything is apart, it just kind of makes sense. There's always wear in everything. But this is the new camshaft down here, and if you look up at the old camshaft, you can see worn parts. I'm going to just show a closer picture in a second, but you see this cam lobe is where this one has wear. There's wear in several others that's pretty pretty noticeable.


Mark: And 114,000 kilometres. Normally that wouldn't necessarily be that apparent.

Bernie: I wouldn't think so. I mean I think this is really excessive, but if you do a little research on these engines, there's a lot of problems with these, with the lifters and cam shafts wearing. We can talk a little more about why this would happen at such an early age in a minute. But again, this is a closeup view. This is the front cam and this is the one where the lifter was collapsed as well, or worn. And you can see this wear here, this pitting. The case hardening on the camshaft is coming off. And as I said, there are several other lobes. The lifters on the others were all working fine, but it was only a matter of time before they, all of this would tend to fail.

So these, interestingly enough, this is not something you're going to find on an old 426 Hemi, that the front cam journal is just going to be a big solid piece of metal. But these passageways, these are for the variable valve timing system. So up in the engine block there are passageways and there's an electrically-operated solenoid and that changes the oil pressure out to the cam gear, which is located in this area here. And that can adjust the valve timing of the engine.

So that's kind of how that's accomplished. So again, as engines get newer, this is the same old kind of classic V8 that's been around for since the '50s, but modern modifications make it work better and more efficiently.

Lifters, this is a set of lifters. These are interesting. When you buy them, they basically come as a, normally you just buy loose lifters. These coming in this plastic holder here and there, if you notice there's little round holes in some of them and not in the others. This engine has a variable, it's a variable displacement engine. So the computer can actually shut off up to four cylinders in this engine while it's running, for a better fuel efficiency and lower emissions. And it does it with the lifters. It'll basically just depressurize these. So they basically, the cam shaft and lifter moves, but it doesn't move enough to allow the valves to open, so they stay closed. So the cylinders are basically just causing no drag on the engine. Very minimal. So it's kind of an interesting system.

This is our worn out lifter here. I'm going to get into a little closer picture so we can see some details of what was happening. It's a little subtle, and a video may have been more useful, but if you'd notice, if you look at the gap between this point and that point and then you look over here where the arrow is pointing, you'll see it's substantially lower. And if I could grab this with my hand, I could, if I could show you, but what we're able to do is actually this piece will move up and down and it's not supposed to do that. So there's little needle bearings inside that have worn out and basically created a whole bunch of excessive play. And so that's, this is where our ticking noise is coming from.

Also on the lifters, they're in this plastic retainer. And there's a reason that it being a roller, of course, this has to always roll in the proper direction. And apparently these fail. I haven't seen one yet, but it's a reasonably common item where the plastic piece will break. And so the lifter will actually rotate sideways and not roll properly on the cam. And of course that will create wear in a real hurry.

So here's another kind of close up view. There's the lifter holder. There's the lifter that slips in and you can see it's got its grooved to fit properly in there. What else do we have for pictures here? I think we've, I think we've covered ... Oh yeah, the engine.

So yeah, there's the, it's a four, this is a Hemi. It's like Dodge's, Chrysler's made a good use of their branding from the 60s. You've seen a lot of their vehicles, their Chargers, their Cudas. A lot of the vehicles they sell are leftovers from the good old days in the late 60s early 70s, when their engines had huge amount of horsepower. This is a hemispherical cylinder head. The other thing, one thing's different about this over the original 426 Hemi, of course, is that it's a smaller engine, displacement wise, but it also has two spark plugs.

And as far as for details, I assume these are both fired at the same time, but there are some engines that do use two spark plugs, again, for just better combustion. It's kind of added complication. And of course when you have to change the spark plugs, it doubles the price. But they do last a long time. So that's our picture show for the engine.

Now I do have some other items if you want to ask me the next question.

Mark: Did you find anything else while the engine was out?

Bernie: Yeah. So the other item that I did notice while the engine was out is that you can see a, you could see some coolant leakage, very subtle amount of coolant leakage. You can see sort of, this is the front left oxygen sensor. And you can see some crusty buildup around this oxygen sensor. And there's a heater pipe right above this, and so very slight amount of coolant's been leaking, who knows how long, onto this oxygen sensor.

So it just made a lot of sense to change this part while the engine was out because of course you could actually get right in there and do it. I mean it's not a hideous job while the engine's in, but the oxygen sensors are actually a real pain to change in this vehicle. Very, very inaccessible. There was a lot of good things about doing this engine job, but the location of the oxygen sensors wasn't one of them. So we changed this oxygen sensor and these heater pipes, and I'll just get a little closer view of of this kind of thing.

There again you can see a little bit of the crustiness and this is a, it's interesting. It's a little, it's an assembly, a pipe assembly. It has a plastic elbow that goes through the firewall. And then there's a couple of other hoses at the other end that attach to the actual ... this is actually in the, I shouldn't say, this is in the cowl area and the firewall is actually further back. But they, it needs this adaptor to run the hose through the cowl.

What else do we have here? Oh yeah. Close up view. There's the oxygen sensor with the crusty deposits on it. Again, we changed that while the engine was out. I mean it, as far as we know it was working fine beforehand, but you never know how, that with that kind of stuff dripping on it, it'll definitely shorten the life span.

And there's one final picture of this. So this is that hose assembly. So I wanted to just get this elbow, but of course being a modern vehicle, they only sell the hose assembly. The good news is it wasn't very expensive, which is good. And it came with all the quick connect ends down here, which clip onto the heater pipes of the engine and the hoses. It comes with clamps. So the actual removal and reassembly process is actually pretty straight forward because it comes with all the parts and pieces you need. You don't need to hunt around. Do we have clamps, how do they go together? It's pretty straight forward.

But I often wonder, this vehicle's eight years old. What's going to happen when it's 15? Oh we're sorry we don't sell that part anymore. Then you've got to start custom making stuff and kind of annoying that way. So I'm back.

Mark: So you mentioned the mileage. It wasn't that high on this vehicle.

Bernie: Oh yeah. About 114,000 kilometres is really a pretty, a young vehicle. Low mileage.

Mark: So that's kind of early for this sort of catastrophic wear to be already taking place.

Bernie: I would consider that to be so, and you might want to ask, well why would that happen? And I think, I mean, there's always manufacturing defects and things that aren't made as well as they should be. But I mean really, this is where it's critical to change your oil on time or early every time. And when this vehicle was brought to us, it had, it was a little overdue for an oil change. It was a little low on oil, not critically. But those kinds of things can all make a difference. You just get a little slight lack of lubrication or the oil just breaks down a little too much. It's a little too old. That kind of thing will cause this sort of wear to happen on engines, and you never know from engine to engine.

We have customers who abuse the crap out of their car. We had a Subaru yesterday where the owner brought it in and every time she's like, if she's like 5,000 kilometres overdue for an oil change. And she'd been doing it for years. So there, I'm not saying, like you can get away with it in some cars, because some people will go, Oh yeah, well I did that. Well, yeah. Okay. You're lucky, because there's people who drink a case of beer a day and smoke five packs of cigarettes and lived to a hundred, but they're kind of rare. They are the very rare exception. So with cars, it's like change the oil. I mean that's really the critical thing. Change it when it's due. Even a little before it's due.

Mark: Could we make an assumption that this car was probably not really driven for long distances, like taken out and driven 250 miles in one goal kind of thing. It's been all stop and start in town. And that's even more critical for making oil changes on time.

Bernie: It is. Absolutely. That's a really good point. If you do a lot of straight highway driving, you can actually stretch your oil change interval out even longer because the engine is hot. It's warm. Everything's moving. Very, very good point, Mark. It's the city stop and go traffic is even harder on it. So cold starts and that makes a huge difference. So yeah, I mean even then it's worth changing the oil probably more often.

Mark: And a lot of sitting, probably, with the eight-year-old vehicle that's only got 60,000 miles or 70,000 miles on it.

Bernie: Yeah. Yeah. Not a huge amount of use.

Mark: How are Jeep Grand Cherokees overall?

Bernie: Well you can always ... thank you for bringing that. Overall, I mean, well, to me this is kind of a bad stain on the reputation of a Jeep, and if you do a lot of research you'll find a lot of these 5.7 litre engines have similar issues. You and I do a lot of podcasts on Jeeps because there are a lot of things that happen to them. This particular Jeep. It's beautiful. Like it's a really beautiful vehicle. Really nice to drive. It looks great. And I think Grand Cherokees have always been like that. I mean, they're a really nice vehicle. But they do have a lot of issues. I mean this one we, on this particular vehicle, and I think he's a fairly recent owner, secondhand. We've actually rebuilt the transfer case on it because it had an issue.

So it's had a number of problems at what I would consider a pretty early age. I have a 2001 Suburban, knock on wood. I've never rebuilt the transfer case. It's got triple the mileage of this vehicle. So there are a lot of things that do happen to Jeeps, and it could be that this one just suffered from some bad maintenance. That does happen to us. Unfortunately the risk when you buy a used vehicle, which is good to really look at, if you're getting a used vehicle, if you can look at the maintenance schedule. Because you're, there are some risks. But I'd say like for Jeeps, there are definitely more issues than average.

Mark: So if you want to look after your Jeep in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead because they're busy. Can't just walk in. And they're only servicing people in Vancouver. So we appreciate your calls and interest from all across North America, but we can only serve you in the Vancouver, BC area, other than maybe some other circumstances. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Of course on our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos and articles about all makes and models and repairs over many years now. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching.

How Reliable are Jeeps?

Mark: Hi it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast and we're here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience and 20 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How're you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well this morning.

Mark: So we're preparing for the apocalypse and we're going to talk about Jeeps. How reliable are Jeeps?

Bernie: Well they're reliable enough to get you to, if there's a zombie apocalypse, to get you out to the bush. Let's put it that way. We often wonder why so many people own Jeeps. But people love their Jeeps. The Wrangler, which is kind of your classic Jeep style which goes back to when Jeep was founded in 1943 as an army vehicle. The Wrangler is just a modernized off shoot of that. People love that vehicle and Jeep's been really successful with their SUVs, with the Grand Cherokee of course, which is a very nice luxurious, they have really nice luxurious platforms in a lot of them. They've been making that since the, the Grand Cherokee goes well into the 90s anyways.

Mark: Almost a pioneer in SUVs.

Bernie: It really is actually. I guess sometimes I argue maybe the Suburban is kind of like the original, but really Jeep Grand Cherokee really brought the SUV to the forefront and they're kind of like the poster child of the SUV and everything that's wrong with an SUV too because they're... a lot of them, they're not that big. Of course you can drive pretty well anywhere with them but they've got a hideous gas guzzling engine, not very economical. A lot of energy goes into to powering the drivetrain on these things. So really I think there was a while were the Jeep Grand Cherokee had about the worst gas mileage going for a long time. So there's some things that maybe not to be so proud of but they are an awesome vehicle in terms of what they do and people love them. And we do work on an awful lot of them. A variety of Jeep models.

Mark: Yeah, so what goes wrong with Jeeps?

Bernie: So let's just, we'll just talk for the last couple decades, say from the year 2000. As much as I hate to say it, there's actually quite a lot of stuff on Jeeps that does tend to go wrong. Let's just start on the engine side of it. So Jeeps, mostly gasoline engines but in the Grand Cherokee there are some diesel options. In the Liberty they put a diesel in for a little while too.

So let's just talk about that Liberty diesel. If you look at our list of podcasts and videos, you'll see a number of videos we've done and I won't delve too deep into them. But it is a vehicle I'd avoid. There's a lot of engine issues with these Liberty diesels. I believe it's an Italian made diesel engine, kind of a strange design and a lot of things go wrong with them. They're hard to get parts for. We're in Canada and we usually order all our parts for these out of the US where there's a lot more available but they are an expensive engine to replace. Things do tend to go wrong with them. So as I say with a lot of diesels, the amount of money to save on fuel because they are super economical on fuel, you will pay in repairs over the long run. And these Liberty diesels they were only around the 05, 06, 07, somewhere around that model year. So these are starting to get pretty old and we're seeing less of them getting repaired nowadays because I think they're just getting less economical as they tend to get older.

The Grand Cherokee had the Mercedes 3 litre diesel for a few years in the mid 2000s. I think 06, 07, 08 somewhere around that range. Just a few model years. We repair a lot of these. Again look at our videos and podcasts because we talk a lot about these. But same kind of typical stuff that we find with the Mercedes ML320. It's a common used engine and there's a number of things that tend to go wrong with these. Again over time.

Mark: Keep up your maintenance.

Bernie: Well, keep up your maintenance that's really the key factor with these things. But even if you keep up your maintenance, you're still going to run into a number of issues that tend to go bad with them. But there's some good maintenance items that can save you some money over time and we can make sure we take care of those in our shop. But as I say, look at our videos and podcasts, there's some good ideas.

Jeep stopped making the diesel for a while and then they brought it back with a... you know when Fiat bought out Chrysler, they brought back a Fiat version diesel and to be honest with you, I've never seen a problem with them. They're not really common. I think they've been out for about 5 years now. I don't hear a lot of bad things about them but I have to say, to me having been in the car business for a long time, to me Fiat and reliability just don't tend to go along well together. So I worry that given time that Fiat diesel could be worse than the Mercedes one, but who knows, maybe it's better.

So gasoline. So as I say most of them are gasoline. I mean, all the Wranglers are gasoline, they're mostly V6 engines. Pretty reliable. I mean, we don't see too much with those. A few oil leaks here and there. Some coolant leaks. Water pumps, those sort of things. On the Jeep Grand Cherokees and some of those models they're available with V8s. Hemis, there's some issues with those which we're going to talk about next week on an engine repair we're doing. But there's a few engine issues with these, they're not bullet proof reliable, as good as you'd think. You might think they'd be being the type of engine they are. The earlier straight 6s that they put in a lot of Jeeps and this went into the 2000s, those were really good engines. Really bullet proof, reliable engines. So if you're looking at something older and you can get on of the 4 lire straight 6 engine, those were really tough. I've seen people abuse them horribly and they still survived really well. That was a good engine.

Then we have some smaller Jeeps, Compasses, those type of things. They tend to be fairly reliable. A lot of them with 4 cylinder models. Pretty decent. And of course, I'm sort of thinking back to the V6 versions of the Liberty. The gasoline model, definitely not a great engine. A lot of problems with those, with timing chains and valve seats slipping out of the engines. Definitely, you know to me, a Jeep Liberty is not a great vehicle to own. You're probably going to have a lot of issues with those. Seems like the engines, whether you or gas or diesel you're going to have some issues with those.

Oh yeah, cooling system. You know especially with Jeep Grand Cherokee, they tend to have radiator problems I tend to think ahead of their time and they're an expensive radiator repair. The way they're built with the Chrysler style of doing it, they've sandwiched the, they've sort of built the radiator, the AC condenser and the power steering cooler, it's all kind of a modular assembly all put together. And taking the radiator out is a lot of work on these vehicles. So expect to pay a lot of money when you have a leaking radiator on a Jeep. And we've seen some too where the transmission cooler fails. So you get transmission fluid inside the radiator or worse. If you get coolant into the transmission, it'll cause the transmission to fail. But fortunately most of them we've seen have gone the way of going into the radiator which is at least more repairable. You have a good cooling system flush in the radiator. It's a much more complicated repair than I think it needs to be and myself, and my fellow technicians we often curse and swear when we do it. We go "Why did they build it like this!"

Mark: So what about the transmission and drive train?

Bernie: Generally these are pretty reliable. We don't run into too many problems with them. Yeah, generally pretty decent. Although, actually I will say, transfer cases. There are a few issues on the, you know, the manual transfer cases on the older models and some models are pretty much bullet proof. But there are some electronic transfer cases on Grand Cherokees. They have an actuator unit that tends to fail prematurely and we do find the odd transfer case issue. But the differentials are generally pretty good. The CV axles are pretty well built. Not too much problem with those.

Brakes again, you know, I'd consider them average. There's nothing that tends to go wrong with those prematurely than any other vehicle. Usually of course, pad and rotors need to be replaced. Some models have to have drum brakes. But yeah, they're generally good and reliable. A lot of them have ABS brakes and there'll be the odd ABS brake sensor that will fail and need some repair. But generally the brakes are pretty reliable on these vehicles and nothing above average for repair.

Mark: And how's the steering and suspension?

Bernie: Well there's some issues there with some models. You know in a lot of them, especially I'm thinking the more the Wrangler style. The tie rod ends tend to wear out probably sooner than they could. The ball joints on a lot of models tend to wear out. There's some control arm bushings on some models. The suspensions are different depending on again, which vehicle you're looking at. But there's probably a higher than average number of repairs needed on the steering and suspension system on these vehicles. Some rack and pinions on certain models as well. So you can be prepared if you own one of these that there'll be a few, you will be spending a few more dollars than you would on some other vehicles.

Mark: How's the electrical system?

Bernie: Generally pretty good. You know on some of these they're pretty complex especially on the Grand Cherokee. some of them are pretty fancy vehicles. But generally they're pretty good and pretty trouble free.

Mark: And how is the body, fit and finish?

Bernie: Well some of these are, I'd say ok. I mean especially the Wrangler of course is a more utilitarian vehicle so it's not quite as fancy and people don't expect it to be. I find like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, when they're new, they tend to be really nice but as they age they tend to get, I don't know, they get a little creaky and the fit and finish doesn't seem to be quite as good as they were when they were new. But we don't really run into a huge amount of electrical problems with them.

It does get me thinking, you know, the one thing we haven't talked about really is the air conditioning and heating system and there are a number of issues with Jeeps. And again, I'm thinking more of the Grand Cherokee models with AC evaporator core problems and heater core issues. You know, these can be expensive repairs that require the dash to be removed. So we see that on some models, not all but occasionally they do have issues like that that need to be repaired.

Mark: So to sum it up other than freeing yourself from a Liberty at all costs, how are Jeeps overall for reliability?

Bernie: You know again I'd say probably a little below average for some. I think a lot of people buy Jeeps because they like the vehicle and to me I thinks that's kind of one of the most important things in owning a car. Do you like the vehicle? Does it suit your needs and is it what you want? You will be paying a slight premium to own a Jeep in terms of repairs for that kind of thing. As I said, the Liberty is a model I'd avoid. There's a couple there to avoid but the Grand Cherokee is decent. The Cherokees are good. The Wranglers are ok. You will just spend a little more money than you would on some other vehicles.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service and maintenance on your Jeep in Vancouver, Bc Canada. The guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead because they're busy. Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of articles and blog posts on there about all makes and models of cars and repairs and reliability reports as well. And of course, our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, same thing. Many videos over 400 now. And thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark and thanks for watching.

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