August 10

Cadillac Engine Mount Wear and Replacement

Podcast2018, Cadillac


Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive this morning and we're talking about cars. We're doing the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. How are you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: We're going to talk about engine mount wear and replacement. This is actually on a "classic" old car, Cadillac. What was going on? You don't normally work on these.  What's relevant or interesting about this vehicle?

Bernie: We don't work on too many old cars, but I thought for this one it's a classic broken engine mount with a lot of damage and I thought it would be great example to show why you should obviously inspect your engine mounts and replace them because the cost and the damage can be pretty catastrophic. Especially, probably even more so on an old car because they didn't have some of the restraint features they put in some newer engine mounts, which we can talk about a little further down the road.  Certainly, as far as engine mounts, this is a great example to show why you don't want your engine mounts to actually break.

Mark: You mentioned that they've changed the technology over the years obviously, but is it still relevant, the engine mounts on this old vehicle, relatively comparison wise to newer cars?

Bernie: Great question 'cause a lot of cars, this is a classic car. It's your American car, standard rear wheel drive, so you have two engine mounts on the front, a transmission mount. A lot of cars that many of you will drive are front wheel drive or all wheel drive, they'll have a transverse mounted engine, which is an engine mounted sideways in the compartment. Some of you will have four mounts. Things are held in place differently, but the purpose of the engine mount is still the same and actually if you're driving a Tesla or a Nissan Leaf for an electric car, you still have motor mounts. You have to mount the engine down somehow. It's very relevant. Just basic on an engine mount, essentially what it is, it's two pieces of metal with some rubber sandwiched in between to isolate the vibration of the engine. Believe it or not you can actually get solid steel engine mounts, they're basically made for racing, good for drag racing 'cause it just holds the engine to the frame of the vehicle with a minimal amount of weight and the strain, you don't need that rubber isolation, but believe me, it would be the most uncomfortable feeling 'cause every little shake or vibration that takes place in the engine, which you aren't even aware of with regular engine mounts, you'd feel. The mount isolates that vibration you're feeling. They're essentially the same. We'll talk a little bit more about newer engine mount technology further down in the podcast. 

Mark: What happened with this engine mount and what damage was caused?

Bernie: Let's get right into the picture show because that's where the real juice is. Let's get things going here.

Cadillac Engine Mount Wear and Replacement
Cadillac Engine Mount Wear and Replacement
Cadillac Engine Mount Wear and Replacement

There is the radiator.  This is the thing that was damaged. What happened is the left engine mount, the one on the driver's side which sort of restrains the vehicle most of all when you're accelerating forward broke suddenly. The engine jumped up, the fan blade hit the radiator support, it bent the fan blade and hit the radiator and just ripped the radiator cord to shreds. You can see this nice round fan pattern. This all happened in one fell swoop. One minute the car was good, next minute it was just wrecked.  That is the radiator, there is the fan. You can see the fan blade's really badly, they're all bent, but this one got, must have hit the worst and took the worse damage. That is the fan. Obviously those need to be replaced. Here is your engine mount. Here's the old engine mount, broken. The reason it's blue is it was obviously the engine had been rebuilt and painted with the engine mounts in place.  This is the replacement unit. You can see this is the rubberized section in here. There's a metal piece, this part bolts to the engine. This part bolts to the frame of the vehicle and you can see it's clearly broken apart right here.  I was going to mention, on some newer engine mount technology these are pretty simple design engine mounts. Some next generation engine mounts, American cars, once you start getting up into the 80s, they put a little bracket, metal bracket that would extend from here around the mount or maybe this way around the mount. So, if the mount would actually break, it would actually restrain it from moving fully and breaking apart like this and probably preventing some of the damage that we saw. That didn't happen until you get into some of the newer, well the 80s is old now, but some of the newer vehicles.  I'm gonna share this video too. This actually shows the engine mount itself. You can see this okay Mark?

Mark: Yep.

Bernie: This actually shows the engine mount, don't be disturbed. The radiator hose is not hooked up. This is done with the radiator out. A lot of things disconnected, put just as an example to show what the mount looks like when it's broken. This is accelerating with the broken engine mount you can see what happens to the engine. That jumpiness should not be there. There should be a very slight movement, but that jump is basically the broken mount. You can just look at it one more time, just if you didn't get a chance to see that. A lot of strain there and that's why the driver's side mount restrains, this is when you're going forward. The passenger side does more when you're going in reverse on an engine like this.

Mark: All right. I've lost my.

Bernie: Lost your train of thought?

Mark: No, I lost my questions. 

Bernie: Gotcha.

Mark: What do we got next?

Bernie: We were talking about finding parts for this car, being an old Cadillac. People often wonder can you find parts for these things? The answer is yeah. It's not really too much of a problem. The radiator we were able to repair by having it recored. Radiator re-coring when I started my career was extremely common. There were a number of radiator shops around. They are not so common anymore because most of the time when we need a radiator we just buy a new one. They're often made cheaply offshore. Sometimes they're not as good as original, but nonetheless they're inexpensive and they do the job and we can replace easily. We had this radiator recored. What they do is they just unsolder the core, solder a new one in. Basically the outer tanks are left the same, they tend to last forever anyways. We had the radiator recored. The fan we replaced with a flex fan which has been a common part in the racing after market performance world for a long time. The owner of this vehicle wasn't too concerned about keeping it stock. He just liked the car. It's a nice convertible old car, but as long as it was functional he was happy with it. That was an easy item to find and the engine mounts we had to order out of the US. If you're in the US, it's easy enough to get online, but they weren't really available in any conventional auto parts stores around here.  Easy and extremely inexpensive. Parts available still. 

Mark: Okay. Can this sort of damage from this kind of failure occur on other vehicles even if they're not rear wheel drive?

Bernie: The answer is yes, but different things will happen.  For instance, if you have a transverse mounted engine, this is an engine that's mounted sideways in the engine compartment. It's still under torque and it's under strain so if the mount were to break, the engine can jump up. Things can get ripped and torn like radiator hoses get stretched and strained. Electrical wires. The engine can even hit the hood and dent it from the bottom side up. There's a lot of things that can happen that will cause damage. We don't normally see things too extreme.  What happens more with engine mounts nowadays is they tend to wear. They're a lot more high tech. There are some that are fluid filled which provides even more isolation from engine vibrations. There's even some that have electronic sensors on them and electronic actuators. I'll be honest, I don't know exactly what they do or why they would even go that far, but there are reasons for everything. Having actually replaced one because a sensor or a actuator's bad inside an engine mount, but fluid filled mounts will leak so there's a lot of things that do go wrong with them besides actual breakage. What you'll notice mostly is your car will have strange vibrations. Sometimes you'll be idling in drive and the car is just an odd vibrating feeling through the vehicle. That's usually caused by a bad engine mount.  

Mark: How else has engine mount technology changed over the years?

Bernie: Mostly, I guess the one thing I would say is they're definitely more reliable than they were in these old, this old Cadillac with the broken mount, that used to be a pretty common problem way back in the, say pre-80s era. Engine mounts they would actually physically break apart like this. Modern mounts the rubber compounds are a lot better. They do still break, but they don't usually come apart to this level. We did have an Acura a few years ago where someone actually left it so long all four engine mounts were broken and surprisingly it didn't cause any more damage than it just needed four new engine mounts.

Mark: I think we did a video about that didn't we?

Bernie: We did do a video about it because it was actually one of those really interesting things. Years ago I owned a 1970 Fargo van, which is basically a Dodge company that long ago ceased to exist, but it was a good Dodge van and I'd actually bought it from some friend's parents and all three engine mounts broke. The engine actually sat sideways in the engine compartment. Surprisingly the fan did not hit the radiator and there wasn't this level of damage. It was easy to fix. That's the kind of thing that used to happen. Again, nowadays, the still can break and it does happen, but you'll notice more of a vibration problem. Usually those are the kinds of things we usually replace engine mounts for nowadays.

Mark: Do other things happen to engine mounts besides just catastrophic failure like this?

Bernie: I think I just covered that, pretty much just, well fluid filled mounts will start to leak. They'll cause a lack of performance in the mount. Mostly vibrations. The other thing that actually comes to my mind is sometimes the mounts will break internally and they won't come apart like this one, but you'll go to accelerate and you'll feel this thumping sound in the car especially after you let your foot off the gas, there'll be a thunk. That's often a fluid filled mount that's worn out. Common in a lot of Volkswagens from a generation or two ago and a number of other vehicles too. Most of the failure's not complete breakage nowadays, it's just partial failure. Enough to cause an irritation and an uncomfortable feeling when you drive.

Mark: So if it's clunking and banging you need to go see Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. Or check out their website, or on YouTube, just search for Pawlik Auto Repair, or of course our podcast. Thanks for listening and thank you Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you for watching. Thanks Mark.  

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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