Audi - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

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2015 Audi Q5, Wheel Bearing

Mark: Hi it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. And we can say that cause they've won best in Vancouver, 24 times as voted by their customers and we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So today's victim is an Audi Q5, a 2015 vintage that had a wheel bearing problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the owner of the vehicle, was due for service and also noticed that noise when she was driving the vehicle sounded kind of like a jet taking off or some description similar to that, like a noise that would happen as you start moving faster. 

Mark: So what kind of testing and diagnosis did you do to narrow down what the issue was? 

Bernie: Well, the first step is a road test to confirm that we can hear the noise because sometimes clients come to us with noises that we actually don't hear, which is strange. But usually these ones we do, and it was pretty apparent on the road test, the noise.

Second step was to put the vehicle up on the hoist. It sounded like it was probably a wheel bearing. There's some distinct things about wheel bearings that the noise of a wheel bearing usually gets louder the faster you go. And also if you're driving and you happen to be say going around a curve or corner, and the noise changes, that's often an indication of a wheel bearing too, because you're shifting the load from one side of the vehicle to the other and taking the weight on and off the bearing. So that can be an indication. 

Second step of course is to confirm which wheel bearing is it. Sometimes you can kind of get an idea and hear where the noise is coming from, but we need to confirm it on a hoist. So we put up on a hoist being an all wheel drive vehicle, once we put it in drive on the hoist, get one of our texts to drive the vehicle in the air and listen to all the wheel bearings with the stethoscope. And we can tell which wheel bearing. In this case, it was the front left wheel bearing that was worn out. 

Mark: So what's involved in changing a wheel bearing on an Audi? 

Bernie: Well, the wheel has to come off and the brakes need to be removed. From there, then we can actually access the wheel hub which we remove, the bearing comes in assembly. I'll show a picture in a minute, but basically the bearing and the hub separate. But what we do is we take the bearing off of the steering knuckle, and that involves also unbolting the wheel bearing from the axle shaft as well, being an all wheel drive vehicle. So there's a little more complication involved in an all wheel drive.

So it involves, you know, there's some pressing involved. Usually things get corroded and we may as well just get into some pictures right now, because as they say a picture's worth a thousand words.

So this is the brand new wheel bearing as it comes, the part that's replaced. So this is basically a ball. It's got two ball bearing races and slightly different diameters for these two. So you have to make sure that you put them together the right way. In some older Audi's, it didn't come with this sleeve. I guess you could do it the wrong way possibly, but the older ones you actually pressed in the bearing and you could actually put it in the wrong way. So then the hub wouldn't fit in properly. So you have to be careful. It seemed like Audis always have two different size races.  

2015 Audi Q5, Wheel Bearing

So here's the old bearing. So tends to be a lot of corrosion. And this is something that you have to battle when we take everything apart. Usually the bearings tend to weld themselves into place with rust and corrosion. So tends to involve a lot of hammering or large pry bars to get it out. But this is the bearing race. One of the bearing races is off here, cause that usually sticks on the hub. We have to pull that off separately, but you can see these are all the ball bearings that go around and there's two sets of these. So pretty heavy duty bearing in this vehicle.

2015 Audi Q5, Wheel Bearing

There's the wheel hub, so this part gets replaced. We reuse this as you can see, it's step there's one diameter here, one there, and the splines in the middle are where the actual shaft slips in to drive the front wheel. 

2015 Audi Q5, Wheel Bearing

And the final picture is the, this is where the wheel bearing fits in. Again, you can see corrosion here. It's a 2015, so what's that make it about six, seven years old you know, and people often buy these vehicles or at least around here to go skiing or places. And you know, this is probably seen a bit of road salt on it, which adds corrosion, which makes it a little more difficult to take out.

2015 Audi Q5, Wheel Bearing

But here's the end of the axle and you can see where the splines slipped into the hubs. So there's a very large bolt that attaches this to the hub, keeps everything rotating properly and smoothly. That ends our picture show for the day. 

Mark: So this is a very complicated job, not something you're going to try and attempt to do at home, because you have some specialized equipment that you need to use in order to get that off of the axle properly.

Bernie: Yeah. I don't want to say that if you're bold enough to try to do it at home, that you know, with a large hammer, some pry bars and some tools, you couldn't do it, but there's a lot of very tight bolts that were involved, very large tools to remove. And of course, we have hydraulic presses that we use to pry things apart to take the hub off the bearing. And then sometimes you have to actually cut the bearing race off of the hub because they stick on there and just the way they're designed. So it involves a lot of creative work to get it off. It's definitely not a do it at home kind of job.

I mean, I used to have a mobile auto repair business where I do things out on the road, so to speak. So I got kind of creative, but even a job like this would have been exceptionally challenging and very time consuming and not very doable for sure. 

Mark: So basically it sounds like a lot of work. 

Bernie: It is a lot of work. But with the right tools, it's just a straight off procedure, but again, you know, having the right tools just makes all the difference. 

Mark: So do the hubs ever wear out or get damaged? 

Bernie: They do from time to time. And what'll happen is, you saw there's two bearing races occasionally, haven't seen one for a long time. One of the bearing races will start, will somehow the fit will get loose on the hub. And the actual hub will spin on the bearing race. And if that happens enough times, it starts wearing down the hub and it won't fit properly. These have to have a friction fit. So there's just a slight, I don't know the exact measurements, but we're talking thousands of an inch of just exact fit. So, it fits with a tightness. 

If that happens, then the hub has to be replaced. And on many vehicles, when you buy this kind of assembly, it actually comes with the hub in the bearing. So you basically undo those four bolts, if you saw that picture we had of the actual bearing assembly, you unbolt those four, and the hub comes off of the bearing and you put it on. Every manufacturer's a little bit different. You know, really nothing wrong with keeping the old hub because they don't generally wear out, but it once in a while they do. 

Mark: Is this a common repair on Audi? 

Bernie: Well, we haven't done many on Q5s, but over the years we work on a lot of Audis and wheel bearings are a fairly common repair item. I'd say the wheel bearings are these days better than they were say a decade or two ago. More durable, but you know, it is a fairly common repair on Audis. 

Mark: So is there any way that you can have caused the issue or that you could, or are there steps that you could take that would help lengthen the time between having to change your wheel bearings?

Bernie: You know, there's really not much you can do. These are a sealed part. You know, and they're well sealed. I think over time, the reason this bearing failed is probably over time some moisture probably seeped in past a seal. You know, it probably got driven on some salty roads and that causes metal to start expanding or contracting or corrosion to build up and it'll allow some moisture to get into the bearing. As soon as that happens, then it tends to wear the bearing out. There's not much you can do to prevent that, you know, I mean, unless you drive in Arizona and you're not driving through the bush where there's dust. Because again, dust could get in and grind the seal out too, but really, there's not much you can do.

They're just going to wear out on their own time. I mean, if you start bashing curbs that could possibly put some strain on it, but again, if you're doing that kind of thing, you're probably going to be wearing other front end parts out faster. So really not much you can do. Just you know, one of those kind of set and forget it kind of parts and that's about it.

Mark: And how are Audi Q5s for reliability?

Bernie: They're kind of up and down. The earlier generations and a lot of problems with some of their engines with excessive oil consumption. This one's a 3 litre turbocharged V6, pretty nice unit. So far, they seem to be fairly reliable. You know, it gets vehicles not too old, but you know, some of the earlier ones with the four cylinders definitely had some oil consumption problems.

And usually I think that involves engine replacements, but I'm not a hundred percent sure on that. So it's a kind of vehicle I'm a little cautious on, but it's certainly a very nice vehicle. Nice size, you know, sort of smaller SUV. Overall, pretty good. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Audi in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them to book an appointment, 604-327-7112 or you can book online at pawlikautomotive.com. You have to book ahead, they're always busy. Or you can check out all the videos that we have. We have them on the website. There's close to a thousand there on all makes and types of repairs. Over 10 years of doing this. Or on our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. And again, thank you so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching.

2006 Audi A6, Valve Cover Gasket

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 times best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So today's victim first victim is a 2006 Audi A6 that had a valve cover gasket issue. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: This vehicle came to our shop for a few concerns. It was due for spark plug replacement. Went to replace a spark plugs, we noticed there was oil in the spark plug tubes. The spark plugs sit right in the middle of the cylinder. Called it a hemispherical head. I don't know if they call it that anymore, but that's kind of the way it used to be common, having the spark plug in the centre, it seems to be what all cars have nowadays. And in the middle of the spark plug tube there was oil sitting at the base of the spark plugs, which is not a good thing.

Mark: So, is that a typical thing when you change spark plugs that you have to change the valve cover gasket? 

Bernie: No it's not typical. It happens from time to time. Valve cover gaskets will leak in certain ways. Most of the time it's an external leak so oil will leak outside the cover. It'll drip on the ground, it might just seep out and kind of get caught by splash pans. If it's a minor leak, it not really be noticed by the owner of the vehicle. But it can also leak onto the exhaust and start smoking and smelling. In this case, there was nothing noticed other than, you know, when we took the spark plugs out, there was oil inside the tube.

Mark: So what would happen if you just left the oil inside the tube? 

Bernie: Well, the first thing that happens of course is when we pull a spark plug out the oil drains down the tube and into the engine. So the first start-up will be rather smoky, which is no big deal. But what happens is, as the oil builds up inside the tube, it eventually builds up to the level where the spark plug wire connects to the spark plug and in that case, it'll actually short the ignition wire to ground causing an engine misfire. Plus you know, once you get oil on the spark plug wire, it tends to soften the boot and wear that out. So you really don't want that to happen. I mean, if we were actually to take it apart and it was so badly soaked, we'd have to change the wires. But in this case, it's got ignition coils. You may have to change the coils of the coil boot if that's available separately. 

Mark: Anything difficult or unique about this repair? 

Bernie: Well, let's just get into some pictures. Difficult. No. These are pretty complex cars to work on for the most part. There's our Audi.

2006 Audi A6, Valve Cover Gasket
2006 Audi A6, Valve Cover Gasket

 As far as difficult, I mean, there's our engine with the valve covers on this is after we did the replacement. So you know, there's a few plastic covers to remove, but really pretty minimal. And these are the valve covers on the right. That's actually the left side of the engine, but on the right is we're looking at it. 

And on the other side, these red pieces here, these are all the ignition coils. It's a V6 engine. So the coils have to be removed and the valve covers actually come out fairly easily for the type of engine that it is. So this is one of the simpler replacements. But what is unique? Maybe not unique nowadays, but I find, oh, it's interesting, is the valve covers are made of plastic.

2006 Audi A6, Valve Cover Gasket

Why do they use plastic? Save weight. Probably the biggest reason. And you can also mold it in many different ways. You can easier to mold plastic into shapes and incorporate components than it is to do it with metal. 

So you can see inside the valve cover here, this groove. I didn't actually take a picture with the valve cover gasket in place, but this groove that I'm tracing out with the mouse pointer here, is where the valve cover gasket sits. Now, you notice three holes in the middle. These are where the spark plug tubes are. And this is where the leaks were occurring from this gasket here.

These are separate gaskets as I'm pointing out with the mouse pointer. You're looking at, just photographs. All you're going to see is just the pictures of the valve cover. But in this three tubes are where the oil seals go. So these are actually where the major leak was, but of course you have to replace everything.

Mark: So once you pull the valve covers off, you redo the gasket every time, basically. 

Bernie: Yeah, we do. Yeah. You replaced the gasket. I mean, I've had jobs where we've done an engine and then we'd go, oh, we just changed the valve gasket two months ago. Let's just reuse it and it tends to leak. So it's usually once you take something apart, you got to replace the gasket. It's just kind of a no-brainer. You'll also notice how clean those valve covers were. Actually, I'll just get back into the picture again. Very clean. We have a a jet washer that we put all our parts in, unless it's an electrical part or electronic part, which wrecks it, but we jet wash everything.

So when we took these off, they would have been grungy and oily, and they're clean and they looked as good as new. So that's another part of our high-end service that we offer at Pawlik Automotive. We clean everything very well. Not make it look like new, but as new. 

Mark: So how difficult of a job is the valve cover replacement on this V6?

Bernie: Yeah, as I mentioned, it's really not too difficult. It's a bit of labour of course, but pretty straightforward compared to valve cover jobs we do in a lot of other vehicles. There's not a lot that needs to be removed to get at the valve covers. Many times on certain V engines, the intake plenum will hang over top of one side. So it will require a lot of extra work to take the valve cover off. But in this case, it's actually one of the things on this Audi engine that's fairly straightforward. 

Mark: And how reliable are Audi A6 vehicles? 

Bernie: Well, they're not too bad. I mean, being an Audi, they're more expensive to repair than most average vehicles. It's a high end vehicle. So the costs are higher, but it's a pretty good vehicle. This one's an 06. It's got a fair number of kilometres on it and still going strong. So it's a pretty good vehicle, but you know, if you own one, you will expect to pay a lot more for service and repair. They're European, they're kind of finicky. But other than that, a good car. 

Mark: You pay for that performance that you're getting. 

Bernie: Yeah. I've often thought, you know, oh, you pay more money for the car, so it's going to be more reliable and you spend less on repairs, but the truth is you just get a better ride. It's just while you're on the journey, the rides better. But the cost to play is higher. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service on your Audi in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can book online at their website pawlikautomotive.com. They'll get back to you. They'll find out exactly what's going on. Or you can call and book at (604) 327-7112. You have to book ahead. They're busy. Check out the website, again, many repairs. We've been doing this for 10 years. Almost a thousand altogether videos on all makes and models and types of repairs, pawlikautomotive.com. Or the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. Again, you can laugh at us from 10 years ago. Many people do. Including ourselves. Of course. Including us. We've gotten better at it I hope over the years. Thank you so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: And thanks Mark. And thanks for watching.

2006 Audi A6 Quattro, Headlight Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 time winners, best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2006 Audi A6 Quattro that had a headlight problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: The vehicle came to us for an out of province inspection. And one of the issues that was going on with the vehicle, there's a warning light for an adaptive headlight issue on the dash. So all those kinds of things need to be fixed to pass a provincial inspection.

And by the way, you know, so the prevention inspections required. The vehicles being brought in from the Yukon. It'd be actually used to be registered in BC, but it had moved off to the Yukon. So now required being reregistered in BC and a provincial inspection was required.

Mark: So what was going on with the adaptive headlight? 

Bernie: Well, there's an electronic issue with the headlight. And to be honest, we never really looked too far into what was actually happening with it because if the warning lights on, it needs to be off. So the diagnostic procedure, you know, starts with basically plugging a scan tool in and seeing what sort of trouble codes are there.

You know, operating things, clearing code, see if they return. And of course it came right back on as soon as we fired the headlight back up. The lights were working fine, but you know, that issue needed to be solved and fixed before the vehicle could be passed for inspection.

Mark: So what is an adaptive headlight? 

Bernie: So an adaptive headlight, perhaps we can look at some pictures here. While I talk.

So there's the Audi. So basically here's the headlights here. I apologize for the rain. It's been rainy season of Vancouver with severe storms and so on. And it's hard to get pictures of cars outdoors without rain drops on them these days.  

2006 Audi A6 Quattro, Headlight Replacement

But they have lights, adaptive headlights basically will change depending on when you're turning that the light will point in the direction where you turn. It's actually a pretty awesome feature. 

So they'll adapt to road conditions. Some of them will automatically dim as well, but I think most adaptive headlights, at least in this car refer to, they kind of steer with the vehicle so if you're turning left, the lights will kind of point a little bit to the left. And everything's of course taking into account for safety to make sure that it doesn't point into drivers ahead of you, but they'll have sensors to monitor those kinds of things. So that's basically what an adaptive headlight does. 

This is another closer look at the new headlight that we put into the vehicle. Again, nice shiny brand new Audi only part, which makes it quite expensive.

2006 Audi A6 Quattro, Headlight Replacement

 Mark: So what kind of testing and diagnosis did you do after you found that the warning light was still coming on? When you turned the lights on? 

Bernie: There's a few areas that need to be tested. So there's the headlight and then there's the headlight module, which is this piece that bolts into the headlight.

2006 Audi A6 Quattro, Headlight Replacement

There's also an igniter module as well. Which of course, wasn't an issue because the light was igniting and turning on. It's a Xenon headlight, but this module here is part of the adaptive system as well. So we had to do some tests on the module and then the end, we were replaced the light and the module cause we found both of them to have issues. 

But the module, unfortunately for the price of the headlight, surprisingly, it doesn't come with the headlight. You have to buy that as a separate item. But the module, there's feedback between the sensors and the lights and the module will actuate and operate the items.

So it's kind of critical, but probably the best way to test it is to really swap the module from one side to the other on the vehicle and see if the problem follows or whether the issue stays with the headlight. And we found for the most part, the issue stayed at the headlight, but occasionally the module was just giving us some concern too. So both parts were replaced. 

Let's look at a few more pictures here.

Some of the electrical connectors. This is where the module plugs in. You can see there's basically three very large pins. These would be the high power, 12 volt, and then the rest of the very small little wires. So these would be for sensors and actuators and things. The high power components run through these large wires here. 

2006 Audi A6 Quattro, Headlight Replacement
2006 Audi A6 Quattro, Headlight Replacement

This is kind of what's involved in replacing it, removing the front bumper assembly. So there's a fair bit of work involved in changing the headlight on this car. Some cars are really easy. They have little clips and they pop out and other cars are very complicated and this one happens to be the complicated kind.

There's a view where the main power plug that comes in from the vehicle wiring harness. So again, there's a number of pins here. These would turn on the different lights, high beam, low beam, tail lights and that sort of thing.

2006 Audi A6 Quattro, Headlight Replacement

 Mark: So it's all these control module after a placement. Did you have to reprogram anything? 

Bernie: No. Fortunately on this vehicle is plug and play. So you never know from one car to the next, some of them, as soon as you change an electronic module, you have to right, I'll say right as in WRITE the module into the vehicle computer system. But in this case, you don't, it's it's plug and play. So that's good. It's time-consuming, but at least it takes that complexity out of the repair. 

Mark: And so why did it need to be repaired in order to pass a provincial inspection? The lights were working, right? 

Bernie: Yeah. They were. Well, any issue, any warning lights that are on anything that isn't working to factory specifications or that's a safety problem needs to be rectified.

And so in this case, you know, if the lights aren't working properly, which they aren't, if the adaptive lights aren't working, then that needs to be fixed and brought up to spec. So it makes for some expensive repair sometimes for certain things that you would think, well, I'll just live with that because it's working okay. So, you know, it can make for some expensive repairs. 

The other issue that can be difficult is if this vehicle gets really old and the parts are no longer available and I'm thinking like, you know, we get a lot of some old Ford trucks that come into our shop. Vans. People have like camper vans and you know, they're still worth keeping, but all of a sudden there's an ABS warning light on the dash.

Well, you can't buy the module anymore. The diagnostic procedures are really complicated because they're built in the 90s, 80s or 90s when ABS has just been introduced and they didn't really have the good diagnostic procedures. So sometimes if you can't get parts for it, it makes the issue difficult.

But I mean, fortunately this Audi is not very old, so still easy to get parts. So if you have a vehicle that needs to be brought in from out of province, you have a warning light on of any sort, just know that you're going to need to have that fixed. Whether that's an Audi or whatever it is, whether it seems like a superfluous component, it 's still important when it comes time to have that inspection done. 

Mark: So if you need some repairs on your Audi or you need a provincial inspection to bring a vehicle in from out of province, guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. You can book your appointment there, or you can book on a, by phone, who knew. 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead or book online. They're busy or check out the website, hundreds and hundreds, maybe over thousands, actually of articles, videos. We've been doing this for a long time. Pawlikautomotive.com. Same thing on YouTube, Pawlik Auto Repair. All makes and models, all types of repairs. And we really appreciate you watching and listening. Thank you, Bernie. 

Thank you, Mark. And thanks for watching and thank you for listening.

2004 Audi S4 Avant, Engine Repairs

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And today we're talking about a little hot rod an Audi S4, 2004, that had some engine problems. What was going on with this vehicle Bernie? 

Bernie: This is a regular client of ours and, he was driving the vehicle all of a sudden the engine started running rough and he brought it straight to us for us to look at. So, yeah, basically rough running engine happened just suddenly. 

Mark: So this is an an S4, so this is the very hopped up version or the next to the most hopped up version of an Audi that you can get. So what engine is in this vehicle in 2004? 

Bernie: This one has a V8 engine, 4.2 litre V8 engine shoehorned, literally shoehorned into the engine compartment. I mean, the car is basically an A4 they've managed to cram a V8 engine into it. There are not many things that are easy to repair on this vehicle. Spark plugs are easy to replace. The intake manifold can come on and off easily. It was a few things, but most things are extremely difficult to service on this vehicle. 

Mark: So what testing and diagnosis did you perform? 

Bernie: So scan the vehicle computer, found some codes for engine misfire and multiple engine misfires. And then from there, it was a matter of, you know, based on how it was running to test the compression. We found that one of the cylinders, and I'll be honest with you I believe it was number two, but for some reason, the car was here for a long time. So one cylinder had no compression in it, so at that point we realized, okay, it's either the timing chain may have skipped the tooth and some valves got bent or something has happened that we've lost compression in that cylinder. The engine has got to come out. We've got to dismantle it and figure out what the next issue is.

Mark: So what was involved in repairing the vehicle? 

Bernie: Well, it's an awful lot. As I mentioned, the engine's shoehorned in. Taking the cylinder heads off is impossible, but cylinder heads are the thing that we need to take off to see when there is piston damage or valve damage, or what's caused the no compression.

So, in order to remove the engine, it's typical on Audi's when we need to do a lot of repairs, the front bumper assembly, and radiators have to come off. A lot of times you can put it in a service position, but we need to take everything off because we're taking everything out. The engine and transmission and subframe are dropped down below the vehicle.

It's many hours of work for a move everything. But once that's done, then the engine and transmission can be separated again, quite an elaborate job on this thing. You know, everything is fitted together so precisely. There's very little room for anything. So that was our next step.

We pulled the engine and then from there, proceeded to remove the cylinder heads again, extremely involved amount of work, to get the heads off because this engine has a very elaborate timing chain mechanism, which you'll see in some pictures that I'll show you. But once we get the heads off and we found, our problem, and that was one of the valves had dropped slightly due to a broken valve spring.

And, that's basically what caused our problem. The valve spring broke. The valve dropped and lost compression and it got slightly bent. Fortunately for the customer, that's all that happened. He brought it in soon enough and there wasn't any further damage. Let's just go into some pictures right now because that shows a lot. 

2004 Audi S4 Avant, Engine Repairs
2004 Audi S4 Avant, Engine Repairs
2004 Audi S4 Avant, Engine Repairs
2004 Audi S4 Avant, Engine Repairs
2004 Audi S4 Avant, Engine Repairs
2004 Audi S4 Avant, Engine Repairs
2004 Audi S4 Avant, Engine Repairs
2004 Audi S4 Avant, Engine Repairs
2004 Audi S4 Avant, Engine Repairs

So this is on the left bank of the engine, second cylinder from the front. You can see a mark here. This is one of the intake valves is tapped, just tapped the piston. Fortunately no further damage happened otherwise it would have required a complete engine overhaul or replacement.

Here's a view of the cylinder heads. These are five valve engines. There's three intake valve, two exhaust valves, nicely circling the spark plug. And this of course was the valve had the broken spring. So as part of the repair, we sent the vehicle to the machine shop for a full cylinder head overhaul, and they replaced all the valve springs because you never know if one breaks when's the next one going to go. So that's what we did for that particular part of it. So these are the heads basically reconditioned and resurfaced and ready to be installed. 

So as far as other issues, problematic areas of this engine we can get into next. Timing chains, I mentioned they're very elaborate. And, I'll just show a picture, this is a partial view of the timing chains, these are at the back of the engine, between the engine and the transmission.

Now this there's only a partial view. And this, you know, when I see these pictures, actually I'll just, we'll just cut to the full view because it's really mind blowing. This is the timing chain assembly on this vehicle. There are one, two, three, four timing chains, just an array of guides, tensioners on each chain. And guide failure is very common on these engines and so hence timing chain failures. And on this engine, we replaced all the guides and the tensioners, the, actual chains themselves don't tend to wear, but the guides do, and once they fail, they're, you know, the plastic pieces, they eventually chip or break and, you know, because of timing chain failure.

So you can see if you just take a moment, I'll just leave this picture up for a while and just look at all the things that are driven. So this is the crankshaft here, which drives this assembly here. This is an accessory drive assembly. And I'll show you a view of what that drives afterwards. It drives the air conditioning compressor from this unit here. So this is again, exceptionally complicated. And when I look at it, I go, I mean, let's put an electric motor in. I mean, it's just, you know, one rotating shaft versus like these zillions of pieces. I mean, it's amazing how well this works, but there's just so many moving parts to go wrong.

Anyways, so this is a common problematic area on this engine, the timing chain. And if you do have one of these with the V8, they will give you a problem at some point in time.

Mark: Yeah, that's a lot of plastic with a lot of friction and a lot of heat on it. 

Bernie: It really is. And you know, when people, you know, don't change their oil regularly, you know, get kind of lazy, it's just, you're just asking for trouble. Even if you do all your oil changes on time, they'll probably still be a problem that develops just because of the type of engine. But anything you can do to keep it lasting longer is so critical and so important. So, you know, skimping on a lot of changes will wear these plastic bits and pieces out way faster. So it's just so important to do them on time or earlier. 

So, couple of other issues we found with this engine. As we took it apart, we noted a bit of fluid seepage coming out between a couple of seals. So this is a view of the front of the engine reassemble. And you can see here, there's a case casing here. There's a lower oil pan casing. Again, you know, it's like exceptionally complicated machinery. Casing here, casing there, this goes all the way around. This is basically the main engine bearing casing. What we found, looking at the side of the engine. I don't have a picture of a before picture, but there was some, you could see some coolant seepage, very minimal, but nonetheless this engine was out, it was time to really, it was either do it properly or, with, you know, great extra expense. But at a later date, you'd have to pull everything back out that we already pulled out to do this. So it made much more sense to tackle this. So here's a view by the way, I mentioned the accessory drive from the timing chain. This is the air conditioning compressor, which is driven by a shaft from the timing chain with a nice little CV type joint coupling. And so again, like more complexity. 

And here's a bottom of our engine. So this is before we removed the main bearing case, we can see some seals here that were leaking. And then if we look further down into the engine, this is what the main bearing case cover off. Again you can see more O-rings and seals as one here, one here, one here. You can see the seals kind of starting to fester, bubble. So these were all replaced and, you know, a lot of extra labor and work. There's special sealant around all these other areas and the O-rings, of course needed to be replaced.

This is a closer view of the upper case. This is the main bearing case, I guess you'd call it. And again, the number of seals here, I've just put arrows pointing to all of these seals and O-rings. All places for leaks to happen and they were all starting to leak. So in 2004, this vehicle's now 16 years old. So this is the kind of time where all these things start to go. And I think that pretty much concludes the picture show.

Mark: Okay, this sounds like an enormous job. And with all that time, it's going to be expensive. So was it worth doing it on this car? 

Bernie: Well, the owner likes the car, he loves his vehicle. So for him it was worth it. I don't know for everybody, whether it is, it really depends on how much you liked the car. Yeah, that's really, what it comes down to. How you value the car. Some people are really about Hey, you know, this car's worth X amount of dollars. I'm not spending any more than that, or I'm not spending half the value of the car. People have their formulas. Other people are like, you know, whatever, I love this car. I don't care what it costs to fix it. So it wasn't that he didn't care, but you know, it was, he was committed to fixing this one. 

Mark: And how did the Audi run after all this repairing work was done? 

Yeah really awesome. Yeah. Ran really well. Nice, smooth running machine and should be, you know, fingers crossed, there should be no fluid leaks. And certainly from any of the parts that we replaced and resealed, you know, those are all things that are good, preventative measures and maintenance for the future.

And a lot of power from a normally aspirated engine, but a relatively huge engine in a small vehicle, basically. 

Bernie: It is. And I mean, it's a beautiful engine. You can see the five valves, you know, the valve timing gear. I mean, it's really well built. It's only a 4.2 litre, which is not that big, but it's still, you know, compared to the normal 2 litre turbo that would come in the car, it's a really nice instant response power machine. It's really fun to drive and all wheel drive in a wagon. You can haul, your kids around and, you know, have a nice little sports car and sort of some bikes on the roof.  It's a practical sports machine. 

Mark: So is this, after all that said and done, is this a vehicle you would recommend for someone to buy?

Bernie: Well, I'd say with great deal of caution. One thing I was going to mention, you know, is that in the same week that this customer came in, we had another client who had just bought one of these cars, love the car. He just bought one and came and had it towed in. He was on a road trip and the engine basically conked out on him, towed it in. We looked at it and I think the same thing happened to his engine. Only he was probably going at highway speeds and, it just, as far as we got with the diagnostic, we pull one spark plug out of a cylinder and a whole electrode on the end was just pounded right off. So I believe what happened for this particular engine is a valve spring probably broke as well and, dropped the valve into the engine and, you know, just bent everything up.

So for him, there was a little more work you involved in terms of replacing, well replacing it with a used engine was what we came up with, but he chose to have someone else to do the work on it. But again is  it worth it? You know it really depends on the individual. I think if you're going to buy any of these Audi V8s, you know, there's a few cautions to look at. Things like, timing chain failure is common. You know, those timing chain guides fail. Also now, you know, having had two vehicles in a week with probable valve spring failure, is that looks to be like another common problem as the engine ages. So I think it's something to keep in mind. 

I think with any car, you know, if you buying anything fancy, just expect that, you know, something or anything could go wrong and it could be expensive to fix. But there's some engines that clearly have a better track record over time and are built more robustly. I think this engine is not quite as tough as it could be and it's exceptionally complicated. So, that's something to keep in mind, but if you love this car, you know, it's your dream, buy it. 

Mark: If you have an Audi in Vancouver and you need some repairs or you just want basic maintenance and common sense maintenance procedures and information about what you need to take care of and what you can leave, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112. To book your appointment, you gotta call and book ahead because they're busy. They're always busy. Best shop in Vancouver.  Check them out at pawlikautomotive.com. Or there's a YouTube channel where we have hundreds of videos on there, Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thank you so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Leave us a review and thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching.

2014 Audi R8, Maintenance Service

Mark: Good morning. It's Mark Bossert at Top Local here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive, and this is the Pawlik Automotive podcast and video series, and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So, we're talking about a bit of an exotic car today, a 2014 Audi R8 that had a maintenance schedule. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, this vehicle just came to us for some routine maintenance service. It had about 24,000 kilometres, and we did an inspection. It needed an oil change and some air filters, and that was kind of all the car needed at the moment, but yeah.

Mark: Basically it had just been aging in a garage. Did you find any issues with it?

Bernie: No. Really, besides the air filters were dirty and obviously hadn't been replaced, yeah, there was not much really wrong with it. As far as mileage, it's pretty low. Not that there aren't things that do start happening to these cars, but as I say time is often as much of a car killer as mileage. Killer's isn't really the right word, but you know, it ages the car and it requires service. But in this case, nothing was needed. It was in good shape.

Mark: What's involved in an oil change on this vehicle?

Bernie: Well, they're a little more time consuming than your average vehicle. It uses a dry sump oil system, and I could explain that in a couple of minutes, but why don't we just get into a couple of pictures right now?

2014 Audi R8, Maintenance Service
2014 Audi R8, Maintenance Service

And you can see our R8 there sitting in the shop. The same platform as Lamborghini Gallardo. So you get get a bit of Lambo for the price of an Audi, which is kinda cool.

And what else we got here? We have one more picture, which is my favourite part. You know what's neat about this car is it's got that, if you ever look at these cars, it has that sloped back, I call it a trunk, it's not. It's a mid-engine car, and so you can see the engine on display through a glass cover, which is a really cool design feature.

But once things are removed, I mean, you can see there's two quite dirty air filters here. There's a big box that they're encased in, so they need to be replaced. You know, it's just a beautiful work of engineering, this engine. Really nice looking, very pleasing to look at. What can I say?

I was saying it has a dry sump oil system, and so that involves a little more work in terms of changing the oil. There's a number of oil drain plugs that need to be removed, not just one like a standard oil pan would have, but there are several that need to be removed, plus the filters kind of buried. That's kind of it. So it takes a little more time to change the oil, and of course the air filters are hidden away in a big box, so more time, but they don't need to be serviced too often.

Mark: So with a dry sump system, how does that work?

Bernie: So dry sump is basically, well like I guess as opposed to a wet sump is like a standard oil pan in a car. A standard car will have an oil pan where all the oil drains in this catch pan in the bottom of the engine, which will hold anywhere from four to maybe eight litres of oil depending on the engine, and a dry sump doesn't hold that oil in the bottom. It basically has a pump that sucks that oil, so the pan is essentially flat. The oil's sucked and it's stored in a separate tank in a different location, and the advantage to that is that you can pump the oil in and it doesn't ... It can be ... Well I guess, when you're driving really fast and you're going around the corner, the oil sloshes around and so there's a possibility that you could actually starve the engine for oil, so in some of your racing applications, all those kind of engines have dry sumps.

In the case of this Audi though, another reason it needs a dry sump is because the pan of course will stick down a lot, and this is a very low riding car, so to keep the centre of gravity low without having the oil pan there, you can actually mount the engine lower and put all the heavy parts, the weight down low where you want it for better handling. So, that's another reason for it as well.

I think I explained that. Is there anything else I missed about dry sump? I think that kind of explains it all.

Mark: That's pretty good. So, what's the recommended service interval on this car?

Bernie: Well, the first oil service, it's basically an annual service. So every 12 months the vehicles should be serviced, oil changed, and the vehicle inspection done. As far as mileage, every 10,000 miles or 15,000 kilometres is kind of the recommended, except for the first service is 8,000 miles, but then after that 15 ... Sorry, 8,000 kilometres, then after that it's 15,000 k's after that, or 12 months, whichever comes first.

Now if you only driven a thousand kilometres, I would assert you could probably go a couple of years between oil changes because it's not going to deteriorate or get contaminated that quickly. It's not necessarily a good thing to change oil too often either.

Mark: No, you're just wasting resources.

Bernie: Wasting resources, but there's also ... I'm not an expert on oil, but what I've read is that there are certain additives to oil that can actually poison catalytic converters. You change it too often, it gets phosphorus or something in in the oil. I could well be wrong about that, but if you were to change your oil too often it can actually poison your catalytic converter because this item gets burned off as time goes by, and too much of it will wreck your catalytic converter, so.

Not something we see very often, because most people don't change their oil too often, but it's something that I'm kind of cognizant of.

Mark: Sure. So this is obviously a very high performance semi racing vehicle. How reliable is it?

Bernie: Really reliable. I mean, I think the neat thing about now Audi R8 is that if you want to get into it, I mean it's essentially a Lamborghini Gallardo. This is a V8 model, so it's kind of tuned down a little bit, because I believe the Lambo's all have V10s, and of course the Audi R8's are available with a V10 as well. But I mean, the car goes really well. It's got like a 420 something horsepower in a 3,500 pound little rocket. It's was a pretty good moving car. I mean, they're very reliable. I mean yeah, they're going to be more expensive to fix than your average, like an Audi A4, but for the kind of car it is, it's a really good bargain and you can get them used for a good price. I mean, even new, they're well priced. I think if this is the kind of car you want, this is a great vehicle to own.

Mark: So, if you're looking for service for your R8 or any Audi 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 always busy.

Bernie: Always busy.

Mark: Check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of videos and blog posts about repairs and maintenance of all makes and models of cars. And of course, bragging about 20 time winner of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And, thank you so much for watching the podcast. We appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks for watching, and thanks Mark.

How Reliable Are Audi Vehicles

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast and video series. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 20 time winners, Best AutoRepair in Vancouver as voted by their customers and of course today we're talking cars. How you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well this morning.

Mark: So, Audi. We're going to talk about the Audi, how a reliable are Audi vehicles?

Bernie: Well generally I'd say they're quite reliable, but they do need a fair number of repairs and service over time. There's a couple of models that are probably a little more problematic than others, but generally I mean, they're a very nicely built car and I tend to think of reliability as can I go out and start my car and will it drive me to where I want to go and generally Audi's are really good in that department, but they do have a number of problems and issues that come up from time to time, some more common than others.

Mark: So what are some of those problems that you see with them?

Bernie: Well why don't we start and sort of break the car down into different areas and sort of look at the reliability of each piece because there's a number of factors. We can start with the brakes and under the car, so I mean brakes generally are quite reliable on these vehicles but some of the larger SVU's like the Q7's, the breaks tend to wear quite quickly. It's a heavy vehicle, even though they have enormous brakes they do tend to wear quite fast. On the cars the life span is pretty normal, I think in 50 to 80,000 kilometre range and if you have one with a standard, you're going to get a lot more life out of the brakes then you would with an automatic. So brakes are good. Brake fluid flush is certainly a service that needs to be done on a regular basis, usually about every two years, but that's not really a reliability factor, so we've got the brakes there.

Mark: Steering and suspension?

Bernie: Yeah, steering and suspension. So for the steering and suspension, generally again, steering components are pretty reliable, the odd tie rod end will wear out here and there, again as the car gets older. Some control arm bushing issues, again these have some fairly complex suspensions in some of them and ball joint wear is also common in some of them. Again, this is over time, we're talking over five years, in the five to ten year old range of the car and older. So that's kind of steering and suspension, shocks and struts are generally pretty good but given you keep the vehicle long enough those kind of components will wear out over time.

Mark: What about the drive train?

Bernie: Drive trains are pretty reliable, but there are some transmission issues. Audi's use a variety of transmissions, they've got standards in a lot of vehicles, they've got that direct DSG, the direct gear shift box automatics, which apparently there's a lawsuit out around. We haven't seen any problems ourselves in our shop but there's certainly some issues going on with some of those. Clutch replacement we seem to do maybe a little more often than needed. I think things in the clutch, it's not so much wear but something will actually break or malfunction in the clutch and a lot of them use dual mass flywheel clutches, so they can be pretty expensive to fix.

Some standard transmission baring wear happens from time to time and the automatics generally are pretty reliable but the two wheel drive models use a CVT transmission and they can be very expensive to fix as well. But the all wheel drive systems are really quite reliable and I can't really think of anything we've ever done to fix an all wheel drive problem on an Audi, so they are also very good in terms of the way they distribute their all wheel drive in terms of driving, the way the distribution works to each wheel and providing the traction you need. But overall, that part of the drive train's pretty good, and I'm not saying transmissions are bad but there are probably more issues with them then a lot of cars.

Mark: What about the engine and cooling system?

Bernie: Engine and cooling system, that's kind of the big part and this is where Audi is probably, more issues happen than other things. I mean there are oil leaks that happen on a lot of different models, some of them can be pretty difficult to fix, there's an S4 model with a V8. Now the S4 it's like an A4 but they've actually crammed the V8 into this and it's a pretty spectacular vehicle to drive but when there's an oil leak in that, it's basically pull the engine out time to fix, so that can be very expensive to fix and all the engines do tend to develop oil leaks over time. The cooling systems, a lot of plastic parts, so they will develop leaks over time as well. Engines, generally the actual guts of the engine are pretty good with the exception of a couple models, like the Q5 comes to mind, there's a lot of oil consumption issues with those engines and to me, that's kind of a show stopper sort of problem.

Although, if you have to add a litre of oil every couple thousand kilometres it's kind of annoying but it's really not the end of the earth. Compared to the way cars used to be built a long time ago, that was not a huge amount of extra work but nowadays we kind of expect our cars to go a long ways without having to add any oil. But that to me is probably maybe of their more problematic engines, but generally the engines are pretty reliable, there are censors, things like oxygen censors that wear and of course the biggest thing that seems to go on in Audi's and Volkswagen's are ignition coils. But the good news about that is they're cheap. Audi's, sort of in the last decade or two, they've used the same ignition coil on their four cylinders, their V8's and their quite inexpensive, and generally easy to replace, they sort of pop out and they don't require a lot of labor to replace, so that's one edge that they've got, although they do tend to fail a little more frequently.

I mean, overall the engine's are good but there are some expensive things to do and timing belts are another area. So some engines have timing belts, some don't. A lot of them are chain driven, and it's important as an owner that you know which one it has because of course if it has a timing belt, you do need to replace that at the recommended interval. This just reminds in the early A4's when they came out, when they were really good, to me when they switched to an A4 that's really where Audi became a sort of decent vehicle, before that they were kind of a bit oddball and quirky but they kind of became a little more mainstream, and we had a client with one, the timing belt started making this clattering noise and they used more bizarre tensioning mechanism.

I can't really describe it here, but I looked at it and go, "This is supposed to be a highly engineered car, and it uses little ball socket joints on the tensioner," of course the replacement part was it was a regular style hydraulic oil filled tensioner and I don't know why they used that in the first place but every once in a while you find a strange thing like that but that was for the very early '97, '98 sort of model, so you'll never see that on anything newer, but as I say, if you got a timing belt, you need to know that it needs to be done. Timing belt is definitely a maintenance thing if the engine has one, and a lot of them don't.

Mark: Interior body and electrical system issues.

Bernie: Pretty good overall. I mean these are obviously nice, it's the luxury brand of Volkswagen, so there's a lot of fancier stuff but generally things seem to operate pretty well, we don't repair a lot of electrical issues with these cars. The power windows are pretty reliable, door locks, those kinds of things they're all pretty durable. With any car if you keep it long enough and it gets old enough something will happen, but it's not a problematic area for sure. Bulbs, on the models that have replaceable bulbs because this is starting to become a thing of the past with LED lights but those vehicles, bulbs tend to burn out. I had a client with a Q7, I remember every time he'd come in for service, it was at least a few times a year because he drove a lot, there would be five bulbs burnt out in the vehicle and of course the dash would be lit up like a Christmas tree morning, warning you that your lights are out. It's good having those warnings but it's kind of annoying because it always seems like there's something wrong with your car but electrically they're pretty good. Problems people might have would be more unusual than normal.

Mark: So, on all of these things, would you say that you see the S models, sort of the RS models a little more often just because they're more very high end, high performance range in the Audi series?

Bernie: We don't see a lot of RS models, I mean the RS's are even rarer. We do work on a few of them, the S's a little more, but I mean, more of the cars we work on are the regular. The lower end, the A line kind of models, but the S's are kind of the same thing that they just cram something a little more high performance in it and along with that comes more expensive repairs, so just so you know if you're going to buy that you're going to get a much fancier car, much faster, more fun to drive and more expensive to repair car, if that answers the question.

Mark: Absolutely. So, what maintenance service is required to keep all these Audi's running well?

Bernie: Well certainly regular service, so changing the oil as recommended and actually I'd suggest, not just as recommended by the manufacturer but more frequently because a lot of these, they're all synthetic oil changes. A lot of them they stretch the interval out along ways and it's better to do it probably ... We can discuss that kind of thing or you can discuss that with your service provider but more frequently than the manufacturer recommends I think is a good practice. Some other services, of course there's break fluid that should be flushed and engine coolant once in a while, there's other drivetrain fluids that need to be changed.

These aren't frequent services that need to be done they're in the 50 to 100,000 kilometre or 30 to 60,000 mile kind of range services. But fuel services are a really important thing, especially with a lot of newer generation Audi products, I say newer generation like last ten years even a little longer now use a direct fuel injection system and carbon deposits on valves can be a really big issue, so there's a cleaning service, it's like direct injection cleaning fuel injection cleaning service is highly recommended probably every 30,000 kilometres, 20,000 miles. It's really important to do that because if you get too much carbon build up on the valves, the engine can sometimes require disassembly to fix that, so this is a place you don't want to go and the services are not that difficult to do and not that expensive.

For the older models, before the GDI systems, the direct injection systems and Audi often calls them FSI or TFSI systems, a motor vac fuel injection type cleaning works really well to keep combustion deposits under control and keep the engine running well and of course, a part of good maintenance is using good quality gas and that doesn't mean necessarily premium gas as opposed to regular, it's good to use what's recommended, and a lot of Audi's will use premium because they're turbo charged performance engines, but using a top tier rated gas is good because they put the right additives in to keep the engine clean.

Mark: And how do you compare Audi with Mercedes, BMW and Porsche?

Bernie: Well, they're all kind of different. They all have their problems, they all have their issues. I'd say Audi's are a little more reliable and less problematic than BMW's. Maybe a little worse than Mercedes, it's kind of hard to say and it really depends from model to model, I mean they all have their goods, they all have their bads but they're all up there and I'd like to kind of call finicky German cars. They're in some ways, just a little bit overly complicated in many areas and a little more problematic but I mean, I'd say they're all kind of in the same realm.

Mark: And you're saying this as a Mercedes owner?

Bernie: Yeah.

Mark: And BMW owner.

Bernie: And a BMW owner, and I have to say I like the Mercedes better, I find it's a little more reliable, but it depends from model to model.

Mark: So there you go. Audi vehicles. If you need any service or repair on your Audi in Vancouver, B.C. Canada, the guys to see 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 the website, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of blog posts and video posts on there about makes and models and types of repairs for many years and as well our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair where we have hundreds of videos and of course we'd really appreciate you listening and watching the podcast and thank you Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you Mark and thanks for watching and listening.

2002 Audi A6 2.7L Heater Hose & Auxiliary Water Pump Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert here with the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. I'm the producer of our cast, our videos, our stuff. We do the websites. We do all kinds of stuff. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. How are you this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: I'm doing very well.

Mark: Kind of got lost there for a minute. We're gonna talk about a 2002 Audi A6. What was going on with this fine German automobile?

Bernie: This vehicle came to our shop. The owner was complaining of a loss of coolant. Not huge, but over time it was leaking coolant, so that was the client's complaint, coolant loss.

Mark: What tests did you do to find a loss of coolant?

Bernie: There's a couple ways we can test the cooling system. The way we generally ... Besides a visual inspection to verify a leak, which we can do under the car and on top, is a pressure test. What a pressure tester does, it actually puts the cooling system under pressure, same as what occurs when the engine actually warms up. The way a car cooling system works is it's a pressurized system. There's a sealed cap, which will blow off if the pressure exceeds a certain amount. Usually it's about 16 pounds per square inch, Psi. Some engines are a bit lower, some are a bit higher, but that's sort of the average. The pressure tester basically puts the ... We can put it under that level of pressure, and that'll force coolant out of the system. The thing with a coolant leak is, again, when the engine's cold, there's no pressure, so there may not be a leak. Sometimes there is a leak when there's no pressure, and then when it pressurizes, there's a leak. It's kind of odd the way cars work. Generally speaking, the more pressure you have, the easier the leak will occur. So we pressurize the system and then look for leaks. Sometimes it'll take a matter of seconds if it's a large leak. Other times, we've had vehicles where we pressurize it. An hour later, we look, can't see a leak. Leave the pressure tester on. Next morning, we come into the shop and there's drips on the floor and go, "Ah, that's where it is." Sometimes it's quick, sometimes it takes a while. There is one other test we do, and that is for combustion gas leakage if we suspect a cylinder head problem, but that wasn't the case in this vehicle. The only testing we did on this was a pressure test. 

Mark: And what did you find?

Bernie: What we found was there was a leak under the intake manifold around the back of the engine, which required further disassembly. What we did eventually find was the auxiliary water pump, which is located underneath the intake manifold, was leaking. That was the major cause of our leak. With Audis, there's so many hidden bits and pieces. This is true of a lot of cars nowadays. There's coolant pipes that run in various spots that are hidden under the intake manifold, under covers. There's a lot that often needs to be removed just to find a leak. But that's what we found on this car. Auxiliary water pump was leaking.

Mark: What was involved with repairing these components?

Bernie: A lot of disassembly. It's a lot of work. The other thing we did was replace the heater hoses as well. Let's just get into a bit of a picture show here.

Mark Bossert: Go to the pictures.

Bernie: Yes. The pictures. If you open the hood of this Audi A6, it's a V6 bi-turbo engine, which right away tells you there's a lot of stuff under the hood. There are two turbocharges hidden, one on each side buried way down, almost impossible to see.

This is basically the engine cover, the air intake pipe on the top, covers over the battery, plastic covers around the ... There's a lot of covers.

2002 Audi A6 2.7L Heater Hose & Auxiliary Water Pump Replacement
2002 Audi A6 2.7L Heater Hose & Auxiliary Water Pump Replacement
2002 Audi A6 2.7L Heater Hose & Auxiliary Water Pump Replacement

This is what we found once we removed the covers. The intake manifold, and that's the auxiliary water pump. This is located brilliantly, right in one of the hottest areas of the engine underneath the intake manifold. Obviously not a bad spot, because the car's a 2002 and it's 2018 right now, so that's a good 16 years of use and it's just started to leak. It possibly could be a better spot, but that's why it's there.

The other item I mentioned we replaced were the heater hoses, and I'll show you a picture in a minute. The heater hoses run from this area here. They run beside the battery, underneath the firewall here, through a tube, and they terminate somewhere way under here that you can't even see. Again, just for perspective, this is with the cover on. This is with everything removed. You can see there's a lot that's changed.

Now heater hoses. The heater hoses were not leaking, but we did this as a maintenance item. While we were working on the vehicle, we noted that the heater hoses were quite swollen. If you look, this is a brand new hose here, and this is the old hose here. Just take a minute to look at it. You can see where this clamp goes, how the rubber is much larger here. It's much larger in diameter here. By the way, that cut was just done for removal purposes. But you can see the whole hose itself is quite a lot larger. Wasn't leaking, but when a hose gets like this, the rubber's deteriorated really badly, and it's only a matter of time before it blows.

Mark: It looks like a good bratwurst.

Bernie: It does, exactly. Very good. Yeah, so anyhow, that's ... Yeah. That's our hose. Again, this is basically done as a preventative maintenance. Definitely extra labor to do it, but while we had the intake manifold off, made a lot of sense because it saved the client quite a few hours of labor, hence money.

Mark: These are complex vehicles, Audis. We've talked a lot about Audis, and they always are complex, so that means it's expensive and somewhat complicated to repair. Is it still worth it at this age?

Bernie: I think so. It largely depends on how the vehicle's maintained and who the owner is and how you take care of it. We've serviced this vehicle for quite a few years now. Previously, all the service they did on it was pretty up-to-date. When you keep a vehicle in good shape, it's just a matter of repairing the items as you go. Yes, they are expensive to repair. It's also an expensive car to replace. This particular model, the A6 with the 2.7 turbo was not a cheap model in its day. Again, calculating the cost of repairs, if you look at it over a period of a year and you think, "Well, say I spent $5,000 in a year." Most people think, "Oh, that's a lot of money." But you think a lease payment on a car like this, probably $1,000 a month. That puts you about $12,000 a year. Yes, you do have the benefit of a brand new car, but for about a third of the price, you can maintain an old one and take care of it. I think it's a good way to go. Either way with a car, it's money out the door whether you're making monthly payments, whether you're saving money and you buy the car cash, or whether you're repairing it and maintaining it. It's money out the door. You just gotta look and see how much it is.

Mark: That's one way to amortize or look at your car repair costs then, I guess.

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. I've had, interestingly, conversations with people where they ... "Oh, the car's worth $4,000. I don't wanna spend two on it 'cause that's half the value." I'm thinking, "What does that have to do with it?" It's really about looking at how much money's actually going out the door, 'cause no matter what you do, money is gonna have to go out the door. If you keep it in good shape and take care of it, it'll be better overall. I think it's important to just kinda calculate your overall costs. Of course if you buy a new car, which is fantastic to have, the insurance costs are higher on a newer car than an older one. I don't know. It's a matter of just crunching the numbers, looking at it, seeing if it works. Of course if your car's in the shop every month for a breakdown, that's not very good either. There comes a time and place where it's time to retire a car, but in the case of this Audi, the mileage is still fairly low. The owner takes pretty good care of it. They're able to part with it for a few days every once in a while to do some maintenance and repairs.

Mark: Speaking of the Audi A6, how was it after the repairs?

Bernie: Yeah, really awesome. No further coolant leaks. Again, with those heater hoses replaced, we prevented a further unexpected repair. We could've left those. But somewhere down the road those hoses are gonna burst, and it'll be driving down the highway or driving down the road somewhere where you're on your way to a meeting. This is what we like to do at our shop, is find those kind of things and prevent them from happening. That's the whole key to preventative maintenance is fixing it beforehand. And it's cheaper and less stressful.

Mark: So there you go. If you need service for your fine German automobile 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, 'cause they're busy. Or check out their website, PawlikAutomotive.com. We have hundreds of videos on YouTube. Check us out there. Or thank you so much for listening to the podcast, and thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching.

2003 Audi A4 Brake Hose Repair

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 38 years of servicing and repairing vehicles in the Vancouver BC area and 18 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. Eighteen times, voted by their customers as the best in Vancouver. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So, we’re going to talk about a 2003 Audi A4, brake flex hose replacement. What was going on with this Audi?

Bernie: Well this vehicle came to our shop with a few concerns. Did an inspection on the vehicle and one of the things we found was, for a lack of bette term, a very pregnant brake hose and I’ll just get right into pictures because that will be the best way to actually show you what was going on with this vehicle. So here’s a quick view of the 03 A4 that we serviced, and we’ll just get into the brake hose which is right here. So there’s our Audi A4, 03 that we serviced and there is the brake hose. So this is the front left corner of the vehicle. You can see the McPherson strut here and that red arrow points to as I said a very pregnant brake hose. There’s a big humongous bulge in this brake hose. Shouldn’t be there. You can see the rubber, very continuous piece and actually, interesting, I didn’t even notice this on the vehicle, but there’s a very slight bulge here too which is also a problem as well. But this was the major issue on this hose and warranted immediate replacement. 

Mark: So I’m going to assume that this didn’t occur in the normal way that pregnancy occurred? What would cause this to happen?

Bernie: So a brake hose, I’ll just keep looking at this picture, a brake hose is basically a multi-layered rubber, it’s got rubber, it’s got you know it’s got fibrous, it’s got cords that run through the hose in different directions. It’s a very strong hose. This hose will handle at least 5000 psi pressure which you know, a brake system will undergo on a very high panic stop and we’ve seen, and actually tested on a gauge over 4000 psi and there’s probably some that put out even more. So this hose has to hold a lot of pressure. Now what likely happened with this hose, is there’s a, it probably developed a pin hole somewhere, like the rubber deteriorated somehow, developed a pin hole and the outer jacket of the hose is actually filled with brake fluid. So this is a pretty serious condition. As I mentioned, this other bulge here, which we didn’t really even notice, at least I didn’t when I took the picture, you know is also a serious condition, there’s deterioration there as well. So this hose is basically rotting itself from the inside out.

Mark: So what would happen if the hose was left un-repaired?

Bernie: Basically it would just blow and at the worst, usually these kind of things can often happen at the worst of times. You’d be driving down the road, you know, you hit the brake in a panic stop and the pedestrian runs out in front of you, you nail the brake hard and the hose just goes boom, and of course your brake pedal drops to the floor. Now a modern vehicle, you won’t loose all of your brakes but you’re going to lose at least half of your braking ability at a time you don’t want it to happen. So anything like a cracked brake hose, or sorry, a deteriorated brake hose, it’s a serious issue. You need to fix that.

Mark: Any other problems that happen with brake flex hoses?

Bernie: Well the other thing that happens a lot is they’ll crack. The rubber will crack. That’s probably the most common issue we find with them. As you look at the hose, especially where it meets the metal crimping’s at  the end, it’ll usually start developing cracks and that’s a good sign that hey, this hose is wearing out, it’s time to replace it. The other issue that happens with brake hoses that we see from time to time, is they’ll actually develop an internal blockage. So sometimes, if you have a vehicle that’s pulling to the left or to the right, and you hit the brake, that could be a front brake hose that’s plugged. A lot of times it’s a calliper that’s seized but it can also be a brake hose that’s plugged or if you go to bleed the brakes or flush the brake fluid and there’s absolutely no flow of brake fluid, it could be due to a blocked brake hose. So that happens from time to time. More common is these leaky hoses or cracks, cracks are the most common. Second would be these bulges and third would be the blockage. 

Mark: So I’m going to assume this isn’t just an Audi problem?

Bernie: No, it happens on all cars. They’re all, all the hoses are made from more or less the same materials and designs so it happens on all vehicles. 

Mark: And is there any correlation between how much somebody’s, you know, if you’re driving really fast a lot and hitting the brakes a lot, is it going to wear your brake hoses out faster?

Bernie: Really good question, I would say not. Really they just, they’re just a kind of part that wears over time and not really so much with brake usage. I don’t really, I’ve never really thought of brake hoses as any preventive maintenance, to say, you know really probably the only, the biggest killer might well be road salt because it deteriorates the metal crimps on the ends but overall they’re, they just wear and then they wear out when they do. You can’t really wreck them.

Mark: And that’s a regular check item when you guys to maintenance on any car?

Bernie: Oh absolutely. Yeah, whenever we do a maintenance service inspection like a, in our shop, a B service inspection, which is a full inspection or a brake inspection, we always look at the hoses very thoroughly. Something you should do you after the car’s a few years old, I mean, every year you should have that kind of level of things inspected because it could be good this year and  you know next year, it’s got a hole in it or even you know, six months down the road, things develop. So that’s why it’s good to have, important to have your vehicle inspected annually. 

Mark: So you work on a lot of Audi’s, how are the A4’s for reliability?

Bernie: Yeah, they’re pretty good, you know, I often say, probably sound like a broken record, most European cars, more things tend to go wrong, they cost a little more money to fix and maintain but overall, they’re quite good vehicles and you get a nicer ride than your sort of average car. So yeah, they’re quite good.

Mark: So there you go. If you’re looking for service for your Audi in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. Check our their website pawlikautomotive.com, we’ve go five plus years of videos and now we’re adding Podcasts to the mix. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: You’re welcome Mark, thanks

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