Blog - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

Range Rover Air Suspension Repairs

Range Rover air suspension parts

Among the many luxuries of the Range Rover is its air suspension system which is immensely useful for allowing this truck to ride low and safely at high speeds, and yet with the push of a button to gain a few inches of ground clearance for slow speeds on rough roads. Over the years we have serviced air suspension systems on many vehicles including Subaru, Lincoln, Cadillac and Range Rover. Undoubtly, air suspension adds complexity to a vehicle and with that complexity comes more repairs. Often these repairs are very costly with the air spring or strut costing into a thousand dollars per corner and the compressor assembly in the hundreds to thousand dollar range.

Recently we came across a refreshingly inexpensive air suspension repair on a 2006 Range Rover HSE. An air suspension failure warning appeared on the dash and the system became inoperative: stuck in the high ground clearance position. With scan tool attached we found a trouble code indicating a blockage in the air suspension exhaust system. Further diagnose found the cause of the concern: a plugged air compressor muffler. With the muffler plugged, the system could not vent the air from the springs and lower the vehicle!

Range Rover Air Suspension Repairs

The newly designed muffler on left and the old plugged up unit on the right

The muffler’s function is to quieten the air flowing in and out of the compressor and over time this one had plugged. After replacing the muffler along with an updated dryer assembly to prevent future failures, the system functioned normally. Diagnosing the Range Rover is a real treat when compared to many of the older generation air suspension systems. The Range Rover features a comprehensive series of trouble codes to help pin point areas of concern along with excellent scan tool data readings of all components. This is in contrast to systems found 10 to 20 years ago on Subaru, Lincoln & Cadillac which had no scan tool data and perhaps a few basic trouble codes.

Is air suspension worthwhile? I can answer it this way: yes it costs more to repair but it is unbeatable for giving a vehicle the versatility to ride level under all load conditions and if so designed, to give a vehicle like the Range Rover the best of both worlds: a comfortable to drive city/highway cruiser and a serious, high clearance off-road vehicle.

Yes, We Service Land Rover (And Range Rover Too)

Range Rover Land Rover

Land Rover has established a reputation as a fabulously reliable go anywhere vehicle. For decades they have been found at all corners of the globe driving on hard pavement or just as easily, where no road exists! We service Land Rover and the very luxurious Range Rover at Pawlik Automotive with care, expertise and the latest diagnostic equipment.

For many years British vehicles had a horrible reputation as being unreliable and older Land Rovers were not without fault. That however has changed: these vehicles are very well built, are extremely reliable and best of all, parts are readily available. We look forward to taking care of your Land Rover or Range Rover with our expert care and service.

Yes, We Service Land Rover (And Range Rover Too)

The Luxurious 2006 Range Rover HSE and the Rugged 1995 Land Rover Discovery

Ford 6 Liter Diesel Cylinder Head Gaskets: The Right Way

F350 Head Gasket Repair

Serious repairs require serious action: take this 2005 Ford F350 Superduty diesel repair for example, where we recently replaced cylinder head gaskets. This is a huge job which was made a lot easier by removing the truck’s cab.

While this may seem to be an extraordinarily complex amount of work, removing the cab to access the engine is well worth the effort. Having done it with both cab on and cab off I can say that this is the only way to go: the several hours to remove the cab make the engine repair so enjoyable. Without the cab confining the engine, we can stand right beside it with nothing in the way to interfere with the work at hand.

For this particular repair our client wisely opted to replace the head bolts with studs: a repair that is sure to last as studs provide a superior clamping force to bolts. Doing the head gasket with studs requires cab removal.

With the engine repairs completed, the cab was lowered back into place and all systems were reconnected to the engine and chassis in much the same way as happens on the assembly line.

While some businesses like to advertise “no job too small” you can see that for us, no job is too big!

Ford 6 Liter Diesel Cylinder Head Gaskets: The Right Way

Ford F350 Superduty with Cab off exposing the 6.0 Liter engine

Extending The Life Of Your Transmission

Automatic transmission maintenance

Many European cars clearly state that their automatic transmissions are filled for life and that replacing the fluid is never required. This is a very bold claim and I believe one that is incorrect!

Transmissions have hundreds of moving parts some of which are friction materials such as clutch discs. All of these parts wear and contaminate the transmission’s fluid. While the fluid may well be designed to handle the heat of the transmission forever, the contamination remains inside.

Recently we had a client with a 2000 BMW X5 whose transmission suddenly started malfunctioning in a serious way. The vehicle had 180,000 kilometers which is not a very high mileage for many vehicles.

To be fair, these particular transmissions do have concerns that will cause premature failures. However routinely renewing the fluid with an automatic transmission flush throughout this vehicle’s life, about every 50,000 kilometers would have added some life to this transmission… if not prevented this early death.

In this case the manufacturer got what it wanted: the sale of another vehicle as our client chose not to repair the vehicle and bought a new one.

Extending The Life Of Your Transmission

Inside a ZF Automatic transmission as used in BMW vehicles

How Much To Fix An Electrical Short In My Car?

Blown Fuse electrical problem

This is a frequently asked question that applies to electrical shorts as well as a myriad of other automotive concerns. While many people want to know “how much” before they commit to a repair, it varies from difficult to impossible to give an accurate estimate until a thorough inspection is done.

Electrical shorts are a special case as it is impossible to know where the problem may reside until it is found. The procedure involves starting at one end of the circuit and moving to the other; somewhere along the way the cause will be found.

How Much To Fix An Electrical Short In My Car?

A blown fuse; often caused by a short circuit

Another question that we are frequently asked is “how much to do front brakes?” While brake prices are more predictable than an electrical short, there are still many variables. Is it just the pads that are worn out, or are the rotors also worn, and are the calipers sticking or seized? The best way to address this and all other automotive concerns is by inspection where components can be specifically examined and their condition determined.

The best way to have your car repairs estimated is to be on a regular maintenance program where a comprehensive inspection is part of the service. With this service a shop can inform you of all the good and all the worn items and how long they will last. From here you can get an estimate of costs and when the services are required.

Giving You The Straight Goods On Your Vehicle

Auto Inspection report

”In all my years this is the most thorough inspection anyone has done on my truck.”
Auto Inspection report
This comment came from a new client as I explained the findings of our comprehensive inspection on his 1994 Ford F250 Diesel Pick up. For a man in his seventies who had owned this vehicle and others for many years I took this as a great compliment and a testament to the thoroughness of the service that we offer at Pawlik Automotive.

We look at cars and trucks in a complete way and strive to educate you about your whole vehicle so that you can make good choices about how to care for it. Our car inspections are very thorough and help save you money.

Studs For Ford Diesels

Ford 6Liter Diesel stud replacement

The Ford 6 litre Powerstroke diesel has a few chronic problems and one especially expensive concern is blown head gaskets.

While most diesel engines have bullet proof reliability this is an embarrassing failure for Ford. The great news is that it can be repaired and repaired more or less permanently by using studs instead of bolts to hold down the cylinder heads.

Diesel engines have tremendous combustion pressures which exert enormous forces on the cylinder head, the gasket and the bolts which hold them down. Over time these forces will cause the head gaskets to leak. Most diesels rarely experience this concern but with the Ford 6 litre diesel it is guaranteed to occur before 200,000 kilometers. The head bolts on this engine are simply inadequate to provide the long term clamping force needed to prevent the head gasket from failing.

Repair can take two routes: one is to replace the gaskets and head bolts and expect the same life as before. The other more permanent solution is to replace the gaskets but use studs instead of bolts.

Studs provide a far more solid clamping force to the cylinder head preventing the head gasket from future failures. When a bolt is tightened down it experiences two forces: one is a twisting force as the bolt is turned and the other is a stretching force along the length of the bolt. A stud and nut however experience only one force and that is the stretching force. This allows studs to exert a far greater clamping force than bolts.

Studs For Ford Diesels

Ford 6 liter diesel with head studs installed

A tale of two headlights

Volvo easy replacement headlamp

Working on all makes and models of cars and trucks gives us exposure to what is well designed for easy servicing and what is not. Here’s an interesting comparison of the good and bad as far as headlamps are concerned: a 2003 Mercedes SL500 versus a 2007 Volvo XC90. Both vehicles feature xenon headlamps in moulded light assemblies, but there the similarity ends.

The Mercedes headlamp assembly is bolted into place and requires a couple of hours to replace while the Volvo light assembly is held in with 2 metal pins and can be removed in 2 minutes. This makes changing bulbs so much easier.

In fairness to the Mercedes the headlamp assemblies have access ports to change the bulbs but it is much more time consuming and less enjoyable to replace than the Volvo’s bulbs. When something is clearly well designed for servicing it makes you wonder why all manufacturers don’t adopt the simple ideas; because the simple ideas usually save you money when it comes to repairs.

A tale of two headlights

The Mercedes SL500 headlamp, firmly bolted into place

A tale of two headlights

The Volvo Headlamp with the simple to remove pins

A Great Testimonial

Pawlik Testimonial from Gaston Morrison, Hard Knox Stunts

Here are some words from a very happy client.
2003 Dodge 3500
“The biggest thanks to Bernie, John and the Pawlik team!

I have found it very hard to find a competent and integral mechanical shop that I can truly trust, Pawlik meets and exceeds those expectations.
Pawlik Testimonial from Gaston Morrison, Hard Knox Stunts
After having purchased my top model 2003 Dodge 3500 Diesel truck new from a Dodge dealer in Richmond, I figured taking the truck back to the dealer for service was the way to go. Considering I just gave these people almost $60,000 for a vehicle, who better to look after my needs. After the first year of service they changed their attitude and decided not only can I not have a courtesy vehicle while my truck is being serviced, but they would not even give me a shuttle ride 15 mins away while the truck was in their shop. For me this was a huge issue. If I have to waste my day sitting in a waiting room for my truck service, that means my business is not being dealt with and I’m burning time and money on both ends, completely unacceptable!

So I started trying some of their other so called “5 star service” dealerships. I found the service to be inconsiderate, poor, and incomplete at the very best. I had issues and attitudes every time I took it to one of these “5 Star” dealerships. I even wrote a couple complaint letters to Daimler Chrysler, the response was basically that each dealership is their own boss, thanks for coming out. I was at the point of wanting to sell my truck because I was so disappointed with the service. To this day I don’t think I will buy another Dodge because of this horrible service.

Then I saw the Pawlik signs, and decided to give them a try. Not only did they diagnose the high idle problem that the dealers could not figure out after multiple visits and diagnostic expenses to me, but they estimated the repairs prior and fixed them on time and as per the estimate. So I had a couple other issue that had been happening that the dealers and every other shop just shook their heads at, and Bernie and the crew estimated and fixed all the troubles. Bernie even gave me his personal vehicle as a courtesy vehicle because the couple they had were out already. This was above and beyond the call of duty. Thank you.

The last thing that puts Pawlik on my “Best Mechanical shop ever” list is the integrity factor. Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes, it’s the human factor. The main thing that gets Pawlik the golden star status is the fact that they can admit to a mistake and fix the issue. When we had a minor issue occur, that was not directly at anyone’s fault, but just an unfortunate circumstance, they stepped up to the plate and made sure that all my needs, concerns, and damages were fully rectified and repaired at no expense to me.

In my 24 years of owning, driving and wrenching on vehicles, Pawlik is truly head and shoulders above any shop that I have dealt with. If you want a shop that you can trust on all levels, you must go to Pawlik.


Gaston Morrison
Hard Knox Stunts

“Check out Gaston’s website if you’re into world class motorcycle stunts and more! Wow!!”
A Great Testimonial

Turn Signal Switch Repairs With A Surpising Twist.

Subaru turn signal switch

OK, I’m being a bit facetious but every once in a while I get surprised when repairing a car.

Today I had a 2001 Subaru H6 Outback with an interesting turn signal concern: when the signals cancelled to the center (off) position there was a very fast ticking sound coming from the signal flasher. Clearly there was a defect in the turn signal switch causing a slight amount of current flow to the flasher unit.

Removing and inspecting the switch was the next step and here’s where the miracle was found. The switch not only removed easily and separately from the rest of the switches on the steering column but it was also possible to dismantle it. Upon dismantling I found excessive carbon sticking to the grease inside the switch. This carbon allowed a slight amount of current to continue flowing through the switch. Cleaning the carbon and old grease, regreasing the contacts and reassembling the switch was all it took to restore proper operation.

Turn Signal Switch Repairs With A Surpising Twist.

Inside the switch, note the dark carbon deposit, this was causing current flow to flasher unit. After cleaning the black was all gone

This is where we differ from many shops in that we will take the time, when possible, to dismantle and repair a part as opposed to just changing the part. It was a miracle that this part could be serviced this way as most units are sealed and can’t be repaired.

It’s also a shame, because in many cases we can save our clients lots of money with repairs.

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

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