Acura - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

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2013 Acura TL A-Service

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, Producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik and we're talking automobiles. How're you doing, Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well today.

Mark: So, we're going to talk about a 2013 Acura TL that came in for service. What is an A-service on a 2013 Acura?

Bernie: An A-service is the most basic service you'll do on this vehicle, and it basically includes an oil change plus a basic maintenance inspection. 

Mark: So what is a basic maintenance inspection? I know it sounds real simple, but I've seen the list, you guys do quite a bit of inspecting.

Bernie: We do, yeah. So for the basic inspection, we'll look at all the fluids in the vehicle, check the levels and the quality of the fluids. We will adjust the tire pressures. We also do all our services on a hoist, a four-post hoist, so the wheels are sprung free off the ground, so we can generally wiggle all the wheels, give them a spin, make sure there's nothing like a brake calliper that might be sticking or an obviously loose suspension component, like a ball joint. Which is an advantage of having a vehicle serviced on a four-post hoist as opposed to a ... sorry, not a four-post hoist, a two-post hoist, where the vehicle's hanging free, as opposed to being on a ramp or in a pit, where the wheels are not lifted off the ground. We also look at lights, and just do a visual inspection under the hood and underneath the car, see if there's any fluid leaks, look at the belt, hoses. Again, a basic visual inspection.

Mark: So when you're mentioning, like you look at these things, you actually turn them on and off and make sure that things are working the way they're supposed to be looking, is that right?

Bernie: Yeah, absolutely. Well, things like lights, for instance, we'll look through all those. Many modern cars have dash warnings if the light is out, like you can be pretty certain on a Mercedes, not 100% but pretty certain, that if there's no warning light on the dash, every bulb in the car is working. But a lot of other vehicles aren't that way. Acura's not quite that accurate, so it's good to look over the lights anyways, and we do it on all the cars we service. Things like, as I said, we spin the wheels, we wiggle the wheels, make sure there's nothing obviously loose, and then visually just look around at things. Get a flashlight, look at the belts, look underneath the car. If there's oil leaks and things, we can advise as to what needs to be done going forward.

Mark: And we've talked a lot about the importance of oil changes, because of people not changing their oil in most cases, so what type of oil do you end up using on an Acura, 2013 Acura?

Bernie: This vehicle requires synthetic oil, and a lot of newer vehicles are that way, so synthetic oils offer better lubricating qualities than conventional oils, and they also allow you to have a longer oil service interval. So you can go longer between oil changes, which, while it costs more money to actually use synthetic oil, it saves you time, because you don't have to come get your oil changed as frequently. So it's actually better, with our resources, to ... You don't have to change the oil more often, manufacture more oil, recycle the oil, it's actually better in the long run to have an extended oil change interval.

Mark: And what would be the next types of service that would be needed on this vehicle?

Bernie: I'll just talk about the service, the dash service reminder system that they use on Acura and Honda products. They've been using it for quite a few years. A warning will come on on the dash saying, "A Service" or sometimes it'll have like A one, two, there's basically six numbers and two letters. A or B. So B service is a more thorough inspection. This is, when we do a B service, we remove the wheels, we do a wheel-off brake inspection, we really look at suspension in much more detail, we test the battery and charging system, and cooling system. We can talk more about, but that's basically, it's a much more thorough inspection than the basic inspection. Also a B service has an oil change as well. But all these other numbers indicate other items. It might be an air filter on one, cabin filter on another, brake fluid on another, timing belt, spark plugs, they've actually got it all mapped out and it's actually pretty good. I find some of these reminders are ... BMW, for instance, I find their oil change interval's ridiculously long at 24,000 Ks, but Honda, when their light comes on saying to change the oil, it's a good time to do it. It's a little dirty, but not too dirty. I actually like the way their reminders are set up, it's really good. We'll just get into a couple pictures right now.

So there's our 2013 Acura TL, beautiful-looking, nice sleek-looking sedan. The engine, again, nice looking engine, this is with some of the covers removed so you can actually see it, because when you normally pop the hood it's mostly hidden away. This engine does have a timing belt, it's located over on this side of the engine, but what you're looking at here, this is the upper intake manifold, throttle body in this area of the vehicle. You've got your ignition coils over in this area on the front cylinder bank, with the spark plugs located below, oil filler cap. The rear cylinder bank, much more difficult to access, it's kind of hidden away under these covers. And one final item, the air filter, which we always inspect every service. You can see this one's pretty dirty, and there was actually a reminder as part of this maintenance reminder system, where it'll actually have an indicator to change the air filter, but we always do a visual inspection on it, wherever it's easy to do, and it's easy on this car. This filter's dirty, it's time to change it. It's not expensive, and no extra labor charge at this time. So it's a good thing to have a clean air filter. On that note, back to me.

Mark: So you mention this engine does have a timing belt. 

Bernie: It does. Yeah. Not too many engines, more and more engines are going away from timing belts, but this one still has one. Not really a bad thing, it's just, a timing belt is something that just has to be done at a scheduled service time, and these are usually about 144 Ks, seven years I believe for most of these, and you don't have to really worry about it because your dash indicator will come on, if it says a number 4 with the service, that means your timing belt is due. Also spark plugs at the same time. So that's going to be your priciest service to do on this vehicle, but not needed to be done very often. 

Mark: And you've mentioned how good the Japanese products basically are, is this the same? Is Acura in that same category of a well-built, long-lasting vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, they are. It's not like over the years they haven't had their problems, the earlier TL’s had a lot of transmission problems, that was a common issue. But generally speaking, they're excellent cars. Really reliable and you'll get a lot of life out of them if you want to do that. You can go a long ways and not spend a ton of money on them, they're really good. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Acura in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. Call ahead to book, because they're busy, or check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com. YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, we've got five plus years of many hundreds of videos on there. Or, hopefully you're enjoying the podcast. Thanks, Bernie.

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

2006 Acura CSX, Rough Running Engine Repair

Mark: Hi, it’ Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s favourite auto service experience,18 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers and for 38 years repairing all makes and models of vehicles. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So Acura CSX, a bit of a unique vehicle for Canada, what was going on with this Acura?

Bernie: This vehicle came to our shop, the owners concern was it was running rough, not initially on startup was good for about the first five minutes but after 5 or so minutes of driving, the engine would start running rough, idling, shaking, not running so well. So that was his primary concern.

Mark: And what did you find?

Bernie: What did we find? Well fist of all, we as always, we start with a diagnostic and we did a number of tests and in the end we found that the valves were, the valve clearance was too tight. These are actually, these engines have adjustable valves, Honda’s, most of them have adjustable valves. They’ve had them for years and years and years and where a lot of manufacturers have gone to hydraulic lifters which eliminate the need for valve adjustments, Honda’s have never done that, so anyways, the valves needed an adjustment.

Mark: And how did you know and or determine that the valves were too tight?

Bernie: Well, more like a process of elimination. So you know in a diagnostic we look at, you know some of the things we look at, we plug a scan tool into the vehicle computer, see if there’s any stored trouble codes. In the case of this engine, there was nothing. We visually test things, tested a number of components, one of them you know, something that caused rough running can be vacuum leaks, we tested for that there was none, we visually inspected the spark plugs, removed them and actually the spark plugs looked to be in very good shape. So you know, from that we surmised based on experience, it’s possible the valves are too tight. Kind of a classic example like when an engine is cold, there’s a certain clearance for the valves, as it warms up the metal gets hotter and things tighten up a bit and that’s kind of a classic way that a valve might be a little too tight for clearance would show up because as it’s heats up the clearance is less and then the valve won’t seat quite properly. So as we surmised, we basically took the valve cover off, we did the valve clearance adjustment which is something that should be done probably every hundred thousand kilometres or so on a Honda engine and we found all the exhaust valves were too tight.

Mark: Did you find anything else during the service?

Bernie: No, no that was basically it, that was entirely it. When we take the valve cover off, of course we put new gaskets in and it’s actually not a bad idea if a valve cover is leaking on a Honda or any adjustable valve engine to actually do a valve adjustment at that time if it hasn’t been done, you know within a hundred thousand kilometres. We’ll just share a couple photos while we’re here. There’s an example of a 2007 CSX. The vehicle we worked on as an ’06, I’ve got a photo here of an ’07 model. So that’s the car and then there’s a photo of basically what it looks like under the valve cover of this vehicle. You’ve got your basically your intake valves here and there’s a there’s a screw and a lock nut on it and the valve clearance adjustment is done right, you stick a feeler gauge in between, but the valve has to be set in the right spot. A feeler gauge is put in here and you can tell the adjustment to their specifications. So there’s intake valves in the front of the engine, exhausts on the back, and I should be back.

Mark: Yup, so the CSX, well I guess how did it run after adjustment?

Bernie: It was awesome. Yeah put everything back together and it was like smooth as can be. Warmed up ran really nice. I will mention too, that you know, it was smart for the owner to bring this vehicle in for service although of course, it was running to the point where it was perhaps un-drivable, not very pleasant to drive but there are people who neglect these kind of things and keep going and the real risk of leaving a valve like that is when they don’t seat properly, they can actually start burning and at that point you can cause a lot of very expensive damage. So first sign of something like this, it’s always best to get it fixed right away.

Mark: And this Acura CSX is a Canadian only model, what are your comments on that?

Bernie: Yeah, so this CSX was only sold in Canada from about 2006 to 2011. This model was actually unique to Canada, a lot of vehicles they tend to, you know, they build them from somewhere else in the world but actually this vehicle is actually built in Canada. It’s unique. Somewhat similar to a Civic SI model in terms of the drivetrain but actually a unique to Canada only model, built in Canada which is kind of unusual. Not really sure why Acura did that but it is there entry level model. So maybe they’re just looking for a way to you know, sell a cheaper product to get people interested in Acura, and it’s a nice car for sure.

Mark: And how are these cars for reliability?

Bernie: They’re quite good. We don’t see a lot of them because they’re not the most common cars on the road and some of them we do see, we’ve had a few worn out wheel bearings, things that I guess that aren’t that abnormal but you know worn out wheel bearings, a few fuel valve adjustment issues like this, but other than that they’re quite good. It’s a Honda product, they’re not perfect but pretty darn good, pretty close to it.

Mark: So there you go, if you need some service work on a 2006 Acura, if you have an Acura that needs some service work or your valves are a little bit tight and you haven’t had them serviced regularly, recently in the last 100,000 kilometres, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to book ahead, they’re busy or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. There’s tons of information and videos on there or our YouTube channel, four plus years of videos every week talking about cars and how to repair them. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

2005 Acura MDX Timing Belt Tensioner Replacement

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best auto service experience, 18 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about an Acura MDX 2005, there was something going on with the timing belt, what was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, so this vehicle came into our shop, it had a rather loud engine noise, a very very loud engine noise which we determined to be coming from the timing belt area of the engine.

Mark: And what did you discover?

Bernie: Well we discovered that the timing belt tensioner, it’s a hydraulic unit, that is basically an oil filled hydraulic unit that keeps the timing belt tension tight. This unit had failed causing the timing belt to just flap around. It’s a good thing the owner didn’t drive it too long because if the unit actually, you know if were to go too long, the timing belt would actually jump teeth, strip, cause engine damage. So this is what we found. I’ll just go straight into some picture sharing right now and we’ll have a look at some stuff. Here’s a view of it with the timing belt cover off, there’s the timing belt here and there’s the tensioner pulley which is basically a very large bearing and a pulley and that’s the tensioning unit. This is the piece that failed. There’s a little shaft in here and there again as I mentioned, there’s an oil pressure, it’s a sealed unit but there’s oil pressure and springs inside and what happens is it keeps a good solid tension on the timing belt and this unit failed. So we could actually,  if you grabbed this timing belt you could actually flop this thing back and forth, that’s what was happening of course when the engines running, it’s going at high speed there’s a lot of opposing forces. So it causes this thing to flap back and forth causing one hell of a racket. Fortunately, you know there’s enough tolerance built in where the belt doesn’t skip any teeth immediately but it could certainly happen pretty quick. Here’s a view of our car and going on to the actual tensioner. So here’s the unit here, side view unit, this is the, we call it the grenade pin, I’ll explain that in a second and here’s a sort of front view, again there’s that plunger piston at the top view. Now the reason they have this pin here is because this unit is actually kept under tension and after you install the unit, you’ve got the timing belt all lined up then you pull the pin out and then that pops the tension in place. You can also collapse this unit in a vice but we always replace this part, always always always, just because they can fail without warning.

Mark: So the tension adjusted isn’t always replaced with the timing belt or is it?

Bernie: Well if you actually look in a repair manual, at the procedures, they suggest you don’t have to, we always do and this actual belt had been replaced at a shop recently, we actually repaired it for another shop, it was kind of an emergency repair, but they said it had been replaced. I’m not certain if it had been or not, it’s hard to tell the age of a part sometimes when they sit inside covers but he said that they had a complete kit and replaced it. But it’s possible they may not have, but I learned a long time ago I had a vehicle, it was a Hyundai actually, it said you don’t need to replace the tensioner. So of course trying to keep the customer’s cost down, follow the procedure, locked it back in and you can clamp the tensioner down in a vice, put a pin back in, put it in, a day later there’s a horrible noise coming from the engine, the tensioner had failed. So we’ve just learned that there’s just no, for the cost of the part, it’s not worth the risk for us and for the customer.  So yeah, it can be done without it and if you look through a repair manual often it will say as long as it holds the tension it’s fine but again it’s a part that can just fail without warning. So that’s why we replace it.

Mark: So is it fairly common for this part to fail would you say or is it not?

Bernie: Not that often, they don’t fail very often but they do from time to time. We had another vehicle a while back a Mitsubishi of some sort where again that part, that piece had failed and caused again the same kind of horrible noise, so they do from time to time they do but not really common.

Mark: And this is something in all timing chain or timing belt vehicles?

Bernie: No not all timing belt vehicles. Anything newer and I say newer meaning if we go back to maybe the mid to late 90’s they started using them a lot more frequently but not all vehicle even into the 2000’s used them. It really depends on the vehicle but it is pretty common yeah, not every vehicle but most.

Mark: So there you go and how are Acura MDX’s for reliability?

Bernie: Yeah, really good car, you know the older ones do have timing belts so that’s a maintenance item that one needs to deal with but I mean other than that it’s a really solid vehicle you know good for two to three hundred thousand kilometres quite easily without a lot of expense and certainly always a nice vehicle to drive. So, it’s a Honda product so you know generally good.

Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for maintenance on your Acura in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, they’re busy or check out their  website pawlikautomotive.com or our YouTube channel just search Pawlik Automotive Repair. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thank you Mark.

Acura Cars, How Reliable are They

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here this morning with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; Vancouver’s favourite, best, most loved auto service experience. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well this morning.

Mark: So 16 time winners of best in Vancouver, we’re going to talk about Acura cars and their reliability. Acura’s the luxury line of Honda and Honda’s are pretty good, so how are Acura vehicles?

Bernie: Basically the same as Honda, excellent vehicles only you get a little bit of a nicer package, you know, you get the leather seats in every model, the luxurious features, climate control, AC all those kind of things you expect in a high end luxury car but with the same reliability as Honda.

Mark: So no cars perfect, what problems do Acura’s sometimes show?

Bernie: Well, yeah, you’re absolutely right, so one of the biggest issues that Acura’s have had in the past and so this is going past around from 2000 maybe 2005, a lot of transmission problems both in the MDX, the TL models, very common and these aren’t you know, little reprogramming issues or sensors, its, it’s actually a full transmission rebuild job, so that’s something that you’ll come across on any of these well Honda products as well of those model years, so that’s probably the biggest single issue with these vehicles. Also the older ones, they do have a little more maintenance, little more heavy on the maintenance but we don’t see, we see very few problems with them. Now I’m just talking about the two models, the MDX which is the larger sport utility and the TL which is, yeah the TL which is the four door sedan and there’s a number of other models, we have the NSX that really cool mid-engine sports car which is very rare and then the RS, the RSX is the, get my models confused, the RSX is the, it’a a newer mid-sized sport utility vehicle, really nice vehicle, small engine, turbocharged, efficient, again luxurious, really nice, really nice vehicle, very reliable and the, uh it ends in X and RSS, NSX, that’s the one, excellent little car too, small, peppy, sporty, they do have the odd manual transmission issue with bearings and things like that but other than that, overall the whole line of cars is really reliable, and the newer, the newer models the transmission issues are gone.

Mark: So what kind of maintenance services are required on the Acura?

Bernie: Well, it’s generally like most cars nowadays, oil changes on a regular basis, the spark plugs do need to be changed rarely, timing belts are a thing of the past in most Acura’s, I think in all Acura’s actually now but the earlier again, the models that I spoke about with the transmission issues also had timing belts so that around 167,000 or sorry 168,000 k’s they require timing belt replacement so you can sort of add a cost in on owning one of those vehicles, but again they’re starting to get a little older but still very reliable. We have clients with them with three or four hundred thousand kilometers that actually, the car’s actually still work really well, so to me that’s always a sign of a well-built car but you know, other than that I mean a lot of these engines, they all have timing chains now and I’ve said many times before, you’ve got to change your oil regularly, you don’t want to miss oil changes on the timing change engine. I’ve seen some Honda’s where owners have abused them really badly, some type of Honda Acura where they’ve gone for a long time, way too long in changing oil, I don’t want to say how long, it’s frightening and for some reason the engines have survived but these are engines with timing belts and once you add the chain into the factor, there’s no tolerance, you know you’re going to wreak your engine really soon and cost a lot of money, so oil changes a big thing.

Mark: So why does the timing chain make a difference?

Bernie: That’s a good question; the reason was the timing chain is lubricated internally with the engine so it needs clean oil. Now old engines for instance, if you look at an old V8 engine the timing chain was basically a small gear, a big gear and a chain in between and that’s, you know sometimes they stretch and they did wear out but on modern cars they’re overhead cam engines so the camshaft is you know, the crankshaft is down here and the camshaft is way up here and on a V engine it has multiple timing chains, one to each bank of the engine and to keep that chain tight they use tensioners so these are plastic, generally plastic guide rails and then there’s an oil filled tensioning unit that presses against the chain it keeps the chain tight and the valve timing is always consistent, now you can imagine if you don’t have proper lubrication these plastic things start pieces start to wear out and metal pieces start to wear out so that’s one factor. The other, a lot of new engines have variable valve timing, it helps keeps emissions low, engine performance high; this is why most of our modern cars have such good performance on a lot of smaller engine size but variable valve timing requires, uses oil pressure and solenoids to actually vary the variable valve timing mechanism so again if you start running low on oil, the variable valve timing system won’t work and also of course if you’re a little low on oil things don’t get lubricated properly and things wear so that’s kind of the key and so Honda’s have these, Acura’s have these so change your oil regularly and use good oil.

Mark: Any further thoughts or last thoughts about Acura?

Bernie: Great cars, I mean really, you know people often ask me what kind of car do you want to buy and they’re looking at different lines of luxury cars and I’d never hesitate to recommend Acura, they’re very nice cars and generally very reliable.

Mark: There you go, if you’re looking for service for you Acura in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive are the guys to talk to, you can reach them at 604-327-7112, they’re busy, call ahead or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com, tons of information on there. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2006 Acura MDX, Wheel Bearing, Ball Joint and Tie Rod End Replacement

Mark: Hey it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best auto service experience, 16 time winners of Best in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 2006 Acura MDX that you did quite a bit of suspension work on. What’s the story on this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, so this vehicle was brought to our shop, the owner had some concerns about the brakes. There were some noises that were happening with his brakes, so we proceeded to do a brake inspection and found something quite completely different. There was quite a few severely worn parts on this vehicle on In the front end on the left side is a left ball joint and tie rod end and it was severely worn. I’m going to share a video in a minute and the right rear wheel bearing severely worn, the wheels were just wobbling back and forth. So that’s what we found

Mark: So is that the full extent of what was happening with this SUV?

Bernie: Pretty much, as I said he brought it in for a brake inspection but the brakes themselves weren’t in too bad condition. There were a couple caliper sliders that were seized a little bit but it clearly wasn’t the highest priority on the vehicle. These other parts were much more urgent. I’ll share these videos right now because they tell a lot, we’re doing this a little

Mark: A quick exclamation folks, we’re having some technical challenges today, we switched computers and we’re going to do the cheap and cheerful version of how we share videos, so bear with us.

Bernie: Yeah, so this is from an iPhone through a webcam so let’s hope it’s good. But just before you look at this video, if you look at the wheel, my technician’s going to grab the wheel and you’ll see a lot of up and back and up and down wobbling, and we put a zoom inside the wheel and you can see the axel shaft moving. On our website, if you look at this post, the video will be much better. So here we go, at the centre if you can see it, there is some wobbling, quite severe wobbling. I’ll just share it one more time. Right in the very centre you can see the axle shaft wobbling back and forth. So that’s our rear wheel bearing, now in and of itself, that’s bad enough. That’s going to create a lot of growling noises when you’re driving downtime road and bangs and clunks, things like that. So if that wasn’t enough, so that was on the right rear of the vehicle on the passenger side, here is what we found on the front left which is even scarier. so if you look at the bottom right, that’s the ball joint you can see that thing jumping back and forth. That should not move at all, I’m going to share this one more time. If you look at that round sort of accordion shape piece, that’s a CV joint boot and if you look up right behind that, you’ll also see another joint like a ball type joint, that’s the tie rod end that that’s jumping around as well. So we had two critically serious, critical parts jumping around, severely worn.

Mark: So that stuff should be tight and just rotate on the vertical axis to keep your tires aligned so you actually pull where you’re pointing the steering wheel

Bernie: Exactly, so when you’re going around, yeah when you’re going down the road, those parts are out of controlling themselves, you hit a bump, the ball joint jumps, it moves and the wheel moves and the tie rod end moves, so it’s a lot of, a little bit of your steering is out of control. That will wear your tires, in and of itself not, I mean the biggest concern with that is if it wears much more, it’ll just pop and break apart and it can happen, so your wheel will just flop out onto the road. Extremely serious issue. So those are what we found, we fixed them and the car is great, much safer. But I think the point of this post is to not only show some interestingly bad parts but you never know what’s wrong with your vehicle unless you have it inspected.

Mark: So I guess that’s why you recommend really highly, routine inspections on a regular basis each year so you can find these sorts of problems in the system before they get bad, is that right?

Bernie: Absolutely and I mean we recommend every year that once a car gets a little older, every year to do a comprehensive inspection so we would look at these parts in detail but also, this speaks to one advantage of our shop doing oil changes, we do all our old changes on a two post hoist, so your wheels are always lifted off the ground and loose and part of every oil service, we talk around and wiggle every wheel. It takes two minutes and provides a lot of peace of mind. Like these kinds of things would be easily found in that inspection, we could look at it further but at least you know that there’s a concern. You go somewhere like a quick lube shop with a pit or even a shop that uses a four post hoist where they just drive the vehicle on, that’s a much more efficient way to change your oil but the extra two minutes that it takes us to wiggle the wheels around, you get a lot more for it. So if you come to our shop, you’re going to get that but if you go somewhere else, see if they use a two post hoist because it’s better value for your money.

Mark: So Acura’s have a really great reputation, I assume MDX’s are not different for reliability and performance?

Bernie: No, they’re fabulous vehicles, really good. This vehicle by the way, had 240,000 kilometres on it, it was a back east vehicle as well so it’s lived a rougher life in salty conditions and it was a bit more work for us to change these parts than say it would be, a little more time consuming, doing rusty bolts and things, but yeah, very good vehicles. They last a long, long time, even 240,000 kilometres is, well it seems a lot but this vehicle has got another 100 easily of life left in it.

Mark: So there you go. If you need service for your MDX, the guys to call in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive, you have to call to book 604-327-7112 or check out their website, we have years worth of videos on there about car repairs, car maintenance, evaluations of different brands - pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

Broken Motor Mount Repair – 2006 Acura TL

Acura TL

Today's featured service is engine and transmission mount replacement done on a 2006 Acura TL brought to us by a client from Surrey BC.

Acura TL

2006 Acura TL

This service was very interesting for one reason: all 3 engine mounts and all 3 transmission mounts were broken. What is even more amazing is that this vehicle has 6 mounts in total while most cars have only 3 or 4. In spite of this added reinforcement things still came apart. Most engine mount failures are noted in a car by a vibration or shake. Sometimes it's a clunk when accelerating or decelerating. As you might expect with this car it was much worse. When you shifted the gears from reverse to drive there was an exceptionally loud bang in the car. This was caused by the engine and transmission jumping around in the engine compartment. This is a very serious condition and one that can cause a lot of damage. It was a small miracle that this vehicle seemed to have sustained no further damage. Let's looks at the engine mounts. In this photo we see all the mounts laid out in their approximate positions in the engine compartment. The engine mounts are on the right and the transmission mounts are on the left.

Acura TL

Engine mount on right and transmission mounts on left

In this photo I have taken the broken sections of the mounts out so you can see the difference. I can't stress enough how unique this condition is. Having one mount broken apart happens but to have every mount broken is unheard of.

Acura TL

Mounts showing the broken parts

Here's a view of the right side mount first together and then taken apart, the small core piece in the middle was attached to the outer shell by very strong rubber which has been torn apart. This shows how this part is constructed: they all have metal end that bolt to the vehicle body and the engine or transmission and are connected with very strong rubber bonded in between. Some also feature an oil filled section to further cushion the vibrations from the engine.

Acura TL

Broken apart right engine mount

So there you have a brief education about engine mount, especially broken mounts. How long this vehicle had vibrations and clunks is hard to know but I suspect it had been a long time. Likely the owner or drivers of this vehicle drove it very hard.

As I said previously broken engine mounts can cause some very serious and expensive damage. Fortunately for this vehicle owner the mounts were it. He was lucky.

For more information about engine mounts click here http://www.doityourself.com/stry/5-problems-a-bad-engine-mount-will-cause

For more about the Acura TL click here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acura_TL

2002 Acura RSX – Timing Chain Replacement

Acura RSX

Tuesday’s featured service is Timing Chain Replacement on a 2002 Acura RSX, brought to us by a client from Yaletown, Vancouver.

Acura RSX

2002 Acura RSX, photographed on a rainy Vancouver spring day

Timing chains are designed to last the life of your engine, at least that’s the theory. In reality they often fail at what seems to be a premature mileage.

Failure of the timing chain can be catastrophic if pistons and valves collide. Fortunately, there is usually ample warning with rattling noises (see our recent engine replacement article done on a Ford Explorer with a noisy timing chain).

This 2002 Acura RSX also gave an early warning but it was not noise: the engine suddenly wouldn’t idle and the check engine lamp came on.

As always, we start with diagnosis. When the check engine light comes on it always stores a trouble code which gives us a clue as to where the fault lies. In this case it was a code P0341 (Variable valve timing phase gap).  The common cause of this code, on this vehicle, is a timing chain that has jumped a tooth.

Delving further into our tests we found out that this is a fairly common issue on this engine; so much so that Acura has written a “ServiceNews Article” (It’s a nice way to say Technical Service Bulletin).

In the ServiceNews Article we noted something that should be brought to everyone’s attention and that is: “A damaged or stretched cam chain, resulting from infrequent oil changes.” Lack of regular oil changes are the biggest killer of timing chains. It should be noted however, that they will occasionally fail even with good maintenance.

Acura RSX

Acura “ServiceNews Article.” Note the very first line where it mentions infrequent oil changes.

Upon taking our Acura RSX timing chain cover off we found that the exhaust cam was a couple of teeth out of place due to a stretched chain. The vehicle owner is lucky that the chain only skipped two teeth: several more teeth would have caused valves to collide with pistons and made for an incredibly expensive repair bill.

Once replaced, the chain was much tighter and the engine ran well.

Interesting enough the repair bill for this job was not much more than a proper timing belt replacement (with front engine oil seals, tensioners and water pump). This vehicle had 152,000 kilometers which is also near the recommended mileage for most Honda/Acura timing belt replacement intervals.

If I can leave you with major point from this post it is: Change your oil regularly as this is critical to long timing chain life!

Acura RSX

The two camshaft gears: intake on the left and exhaust on the right. The red arrows point to the timing marks. These are supposed to be facing each other but as you can see they don’t: the exhaust gear is sitting too low

Acura RSX

Valve gear at top of cylinder head. This is the view with the valve cover removed. The red arrows point to the tops of the valves and valve springs. Blue points to the camshafts which are driven by the timing chain. Green arrows point to the rocker arms. These are all parts that cam be damaged if the timing chain skips too many teeth.

For more about the Acura RSX click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acura_rsx

For more information on the Honda VTEC system click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VTEC

 

 

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