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2005 Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG, ABC Tandem Pump Replacement

Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. We’re going to talk about a 2005 Mercedes Benz CL55 AMG. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver are Vancouver’s best auto service experience. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing pretty well this morning.

Mark: So, we’re going to, as I said a CL55 that had an ABC tandem pump replacement, what was going on with this sports coupe?

Bernie: So this vehicle came in with a few issues, but one of them is that the ABC warning light was on on the dash and there was an issue with the suspension system, so that was the main concern that the vehicle was brought in for.

Bernie: So the ABC warning light, basically stands for Active Body Control and what it is is Mercedes fancy suspension system, it’s hydraulic so it uses fluid, there are hydraulic struts on all four corners of the vehicle, there are some valve units that control within a hundredth of a second to make the re-adjustments on the suspension system, there are level and height sensors and also there is the pump, which is the unit that went bad with this vehicle. The pump is integrated with the power steering pump, it’s called a tandem pump, it’s actually two pumps in one. So one of the functions is to operate the hydraulic suspension system.

Mark: So what’s the ABC light all about?

Bernie: The ABC light basically, it’ll come on if there’s a problem with the suspension system. So our diagnostic procedure, as we say so many times, we hook a scan tool and computer up to the vehicle, access the trouble code see where, see what’s going on and then we can perform our tests from there. What we found was that the, from our tests, the pump wasn’t working, there was no pressure being developed in the system.

Mark: Ok, sounds expensive and complicated. What was wrong with this pump?

Bernie: Basically the pump had just died. We don’t normally take them apart to fix them, we replace them but yeah, everything on these suspension systems is expensive. First of all, it’s amazing, you can go around a corner and the vehicle doesn’t lean, the control is amazing but when things go wrong with it and they do, it costs a lot. The pump, it depends where you buy it, a rebuilt pump is about $700 bucks, brand new and from Mercedes is a bit under $2000 dollars plus there’s a fair bit of labour to put it in, so that gives you an idea of one end of the spectrum. The hydraulic struts, they can be bought re-manufactured, good quality re-manufactured units are $1200 bucks or more a piece. You can buy them new or rebuilt from Mercedes, they’re $2500 bucks, so there’s a lot of expensive pieces. There are four struts, there are valve units that are a couple thousand bucks, you could spend $20 or $30 thousand bucks fixing this thing, if everything happened to blow at one time, which it won’t but that’s kind of what you’re up against if you own one of these cars.

Mark: Don’t jump your Mercedes CL55 over big obstacles.

Bernie: Yeah, it’s not meant for jumping things that’s for sure, but on the road, it works fabulous.

Mark: So how did things work after you got the pump replaced?

Bernie: Really well. The warning light was off immediately, pump worked great, the whole suspension system was right back to where it’s supposed to be. So yeah, it worked really well. I’ll share a couple of photos while we’re at it. So here is our CL55, beautiful car. Unfortunately weI didn’t have a chance to wash it before I took this photo, it’s Vancouver, it’s salty roads and it doesn’t look as pretty as it could, but that’s the car, very beautiful vehicle, powerful. There’s the pump, the old pump that we replaced. So yeah, I mean, it doesn’t look much more than an old grungy pump but that’s the unit that’s a couple thousand dollars from Mercedes, but other than that it’s, there’s our piece. I’ll just close our photos here and I’m back.

Mark: So was anything else required for this repair?

Bernie: Well the other thing we did was we did a flush on the hydraulic system, it uses a special fluid, it’s a Pentosin CHF 11, it’s a special hydraulic fluid that is actually commonly used in a variety of European vehicles for power steering pumps and hydraulics. It’s an expensive fluid about $30 bucks a litre or so. But we did a flush on the system and this holds quite a bit of fluid but we flushed the system out, the fluid gets dirty over time and it’s actually, I strongly recommend if you own a vehicle with a Mercedes with a hydraulic suspension system, flush the fluid every probably three to four years. It’s a worthwhile service, the fluid gets dirty, it gets dark, it works hard and anything you can do to keep costs down on repairs for this vehicle is well worth it.

Mark: So I know you have one of these AMG’s, I don’t know what year yours is and you have a convertible model, how are these AMG cars over all?

Bernie: Well, they’re awesome and if you won one, you can expect that you are going to spend an awful lot of money to fix it. The finicky, complicated cars, there’s a lot to them, so if you want one I mean they’re amazing cars but be prepared to spend a lot of money to fix it. I sort of budget myself, I don’t know $5 to 10 thousand dollars a year for repairs which is an awful lot of money when you consider an average car is probably a couple thousand. But there’s a lot that can go wrong, you know they have big tires and they’re expensive and there’s a variety of those kinds of things but if you kind of keep that in mind before you buy one of these cars then you’ll know what you’re looking at. And some years you may not spend even a thousand bucks but you just never know. But the one thing is they tend to depreciate quite quickly which is why I own one, because after they’re 10 years old they tend to not be worth a huge amount of money so you can actually get an incredibly fancy car for not a lot, but you’re just going to pay a lot of money to fix it. So, but yeah, there’s a lot to them. It’s a good mechanics car, which is why I think the price goes down so much. If you have the money to buy one new, then you may as well buy a new one.

Mark: So great car with caveats.

Bernie: Yeah exactly. Great car with caveats, just be prepared to spend a lot of money on repairs.

Mark: So there you go, expert opinion from Bernie Pawlik at Pawlik Automotive and if you want Pawlik to look after your Mercedes or any other vehicle basically in Vancouver, these are the folks to call 604-327-7112 to book. They are busy you have to book ahead or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com couple years of hangout videos on there talking about all different kinds of cars. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

2009 GMC Sierra – Duramax Diesel, Fuel Filter Replacement

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

Bernie: I’m doing very well Mark.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a GMC Sierra Duramax diesel that you did a fuel filter replacement on, what’s the story with this vehicle?

Bernie: Well this vehicle was brought to us for maintenance service, excuse me, there’s a bit of feedback here, this vehicle was brought to us for maintenance service, it needed a full check over, service and just general maintenance and was also due for a fuel filter. The reason that I’m talking about it today, a fuel filter seems like a pretty basic service but there were some interesting things we found when we did the fuel filter.

Mark: So what was interesting with this fuel filter replacement?

Bernie: Well, fuel filters are important, especially on a diesel, a lot of gasoline cars no longer have the replaceable fuel filters built in to the gas tank. But on the diesel, it’s still a replacement item, it’s very critical, if you get any water in the diesel injectors or any dirt, they’re done for, so it’s critical to keep a very clean fuel supply and water free. All fuel filters have a water separator built in to them. Quite frequently we do these services, we take the filter out, drain the water separator, there’s no water the filter’s clean and you sort of think, “well geez, that could of lasted a lot longer”, but there’s a reason why we change the filters and what we do, and I’ll just show a couple of photos. With this vehicle we found some pretty ugly stuff in the fuel filter, I don’t know if it was just the age of it but it was probably within it’s regular service intervals. So let’s share some photos, you see that ok Mark? So this is the bottom of the fuel filter, there’s a sensor in the bottom, a water and fuel sensor, and this is what we poured out of the fuel filter. You can see that reddish, rusty coloured water, that’s basically what came out of the bottom of this fuel filter. I mean, the fuel filter is doing it’s job, perfect, then it’s certainly, absolutely time to get rid of it. This is the water separator, it’s been sitting in the bottom and you can see there’s a lot of guck just floating around in the bottom of this filter for a pretty long time. So very worth, am I back Mark? Ok good. Yeah so that’s basically the reason you want to change your fuel filter on a diesel. I mean these kind of things get into the fuel system, hard to know whether there is rust in the fuel tank or whether the owner went in and filled up with fuel at some point with some contamination but this is why you want to change your fuel filter on a regular basis.

Mark: So how often do you change fuel filters on these trucks?

Bernie: Well, I don’t have the interval off the top of my head, we have maintenance schedules we look at, but one thing about these 2009 era GMC’s, they have a maintenance reminder that comes on the dash. It’ll tell you when you oil is due for service, it’ll tell you when your fuel filter is due for replacement, I can’t remember the time frame, it’s probably 30 to 40,000 kilometres, but I would recommend don’t go any longer than 30,000 kilometres. Change it at least every couple of years if you don’t drive a lot because you never know what’s in there and what kind of damage will happen. A fuel filter replacement is cheap, fuel injectors are not. So you really want to make sure you don’t ever let that material build up to a point where it can actually escape the filter and cause damage.

Mark: And how are these trucks over all?

Bernie: Awesome, you know, the big three American trucks, definitely the GMC/Chevrolet are definitely my favourites. I think that they combine well, they’ve got really well built engines, very reliable, not a lot goes wrong with them. It’s got the good engine plus it’s got the body and the whole chassis of the vehicle is very good. The Dodge’s, the engines are fabulous but the front ends always requires repairs and replacement head ball joints and tire rods don’t last long but the Chevy is very durable and I think the best value for sure and less engine problems than Ford. Although the 6.7 Litre Ford’s don’t seem to have any problems yet but the earlier generation Ford’s were definitely issues, as we’ve talked about. So yeah, if you’re looking for a diesel American truck, I’d just go straight to GMC or Chevy right away.

Mark: So there you go, the expert opinion of Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. They are Vancouver’s best auto service experience, 16 time winners of Best Auto Repair and Service in Vancouver as voted by their customers. You can reach them at 604-327-7112, they’re very busy so you have to book ahead or check out their website, tons of videos on there, years worth now, pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2003 Nissan 350Z Engine Replacement

Hi there, Bernie from Pawlik Automotive again, going to talk to you this morning about an engine replacement on a 2003 Nissan 350Z. This vehicle came to our shop on the tow truck and it was pretty obvious once we had a look around the engine why it had been towed in. The engine had thrown a rod and poked a hole right through the side of the engine block, or actually blew a hole right through the side of the oil pan. So we replaced it with a used engine, it was really the best economical, the only economical option at this point in time. Pretty tricky to find an engine for this car because there’s not a lot of them around and they do tend to get abused a fair bit since they are kind of a racing type of car. But anyways, the replacement is pretty straight forward and once done the engine ran fabulously.

So a few things again, it really comes down to maintenance on these cars and with all cars we talk about, make sure you change your oil on a regular basis. I think the owner of this vehicle had actually done a little racing here or there, so that may of contributed to the demise of this engine, but if you’re not out there racing it around, just make sure you do your regular services, change the oil regularly. I can’t say enough about how much that improves the life of a vehicle or a lack of doing oil changes will shorten the life. So if you own a Nissan 350Z or any Nissan for that matter, we can do expert service on it, whether that’s engine replacement or just oil changes and maintenance to keep the vehicle alive longest. So I’m Bernie from Pawlik Automotive and we’re Vancouver’s best auto service experience.

2010 VW Golf, DSG Transmission Fluid Replacement

Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 16 time winners of Best Auto Repair 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 2010 VW Golf and something about the automatic transmission fluid, whats going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: So this vehicle is actually equipped with a DSG transmission and the DSG stands for direct shift gearbox. It’s a sort of a hybrid between a standard transmission and an automatic, trying to incorporate the best of both worlds. I mean, the difference between the DSG versus a pure automatic or standard is it uses clutches, but there’s no clutch pedal, you just put it in drive like an automatic and away you go or you can shift it manually like a standard transmission, although it doesn’t have the same kind of stick. You either just push a lever back and forth from the gear shifter or they can be equipped with paddle shifters on most cars. So those are the differences. Now what’s different is the vehicle uses, the transmission uses these clutches, it actually uses two of them, it actually has two gearboxes built into one. To be honest, I’ve never seen the inside but I’m looking forward to the day when I do, probably pretty cool. But it basically, one transmission has first, third and fifth gear, the other will have second, fourth and sixth gear on a six speed. They have six and seven speed models and the reverse is on one of the two transmissions and so what’ll happen is it’ll already have pre-selected, say you’re starting off on the road, it’ll have already pre-selected second gear but it hasn’t engaged it yet. First gear is ready to go so as soon as you accelerate it engages the clutch in first gear and away you go and when it’s ready to shift into second gear, it’s already made the shift it just has to change the two clutches from one to the other, so the gears shifts are very fast and that’s the advantage. Apparently they can do upshifts in 8 milliseconds which is like eight thousands of a second, so that is like really really quick and that’s a lot quicker than an automatic can do. There’s also some advantages, the disadvantages of an automatic is you have your torque converter which creates some slippage, so there’s always a bit of slippage in an automatic transmission. So in a way an it’s an automatic, so it’s the best of both worlds being a standard and an automatic, and I’d say more complex. Although like I say, I haven’t seen the inside, but putting two transmissions into one with a hydraulically actuated clutches, it’s got to be expensive.

Mark: So is there something unique about the fluid that this kind of pretty complex piece of machinery is going to use to be able to shift in eight milliseconds and live with all that complexity and make it work properly for a long time?

Bernie: Absolutely, so Volkswagen has a scheduled service interval at 40,000 miles which I think is about 70,000 kilometres and they have that right in their maintenance schedule. In the past, a lot of auto manufacturers have been a little bit glib with their transmission fluid recommendations, like automatics, they say it’s filled for life, don’t worry about it which I know we’ve talked before which is a bunch of BS, but with this one, they’re very specific, change the fluid every 40,000 kilometres. So whey they say to do it, they’re pretty serious on it, they know stuff will go wrong. So it is a special fluid, you have to use a special, it doesn’t have to be by Volkswagen, but there is a very special fluid made for this transmission. The service also consists of replacing a filter, so you do the filter, you change the fluid and that is basically what needs to be done. So with anything, there’s lots of expensive parts inside, you don’t want it to wear out, you want it to work reliably for a long time.

Mark: So again, we had to switch computers this morning so we don’t have any pictures but this was a fluid replacement on a 2010 VW Golf - was there anything particular about this vehicle that you wanted to mention today?

Bernie: Well not really about the Golf, I think we just talked about the DSG service in general. Just a little history of background on the transmission, it came out in 2003 so you’ll find it on some models way back then and Volkswagen Audi uses it, so you’ll find it in various Volkswagen Audi models anywhere from the mid 2000’s right up until current. We just did a service last week on a 2015 GTI with DSG, so you know there’s, like I say it varies between car to car and it just made me realize I said 70,000 K’s, it’s actually 60,000 K’s. So since we’re in Canada, that’s the way we should be thinking, that’s the way our odometers work.

Mark: Yeah, and how are VW’s on the whole these days?

Bernie: I think they’re really good, I mean obviously they suffered quite a blow with their TDI and rightly so, I mean they were dishonest with the public, shouldn’t be that way when you’re selling the car and advertising it to be a certain way but I mean, there’s really nothing wrong with the TDI other than it puts out a lot more pollution that it’s supposed to. But I mean, the performance is good, the reliability of Volkswagen is really a lot better these days. Ten, fifteen years ago I wouldn’t of recommended one, like their automatic transmission had problem after problem, super expensive to repair and they died at a very young age. Those are just some of the things, electrical problems, power windows, these are the things we used to see but they seem to be quite reliable these days so I think they really upped their game and hopefully they’ll will survive their TDI and I’m sure they will and come through and make an honest product for the public. but the reliability is good.

Mark: How is the reliability on the DSG transmission given that you were maintaining it on a regular basis, changing the fluid every 60,000 kilometres regularly?

Bernie: Well to be honest, I don’t really know. We haven’t seen a bad one yet, I haven’t seen too many of these on a high mileage vehicle so I don’t really know what their longevity is, but I would say that based on the complexity, I mean that kind of stuff always scares me, you know when I think about what you could be spending on fixing something like this, I mean I would imagine a rebuild on the transmission like this has got to be six to ten thousand dollars. So changing fluid, the service is about, off the top of my head, it’s in the $300 range to do a service so it’s not particularly cheap but certainly not anything more than a modern automatic with synthetic fluid to do a proper flush service is cheaper. Every 60,000 kilometres is really cheap insurance. But certainly when things go wrong, there will be expensive repairs. Just change the fluid and you’ll get the best life out of it you can.

Mark: Alright, so if you have a VW with the DSG or Audi with the DSG and you need service the the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can book ahead at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com - years of videos on there, great amounts of information that’s really trusted from a trusted advisor who really knows and works on cars, not just driving around in a brand new car all the time, someone you can really trust. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2006 Range Rover Sport Supercharged, Coolant Hose 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. How you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: I'm going very well this morning.

Mark: We're trying to get our second one in here. We're going to talk about Range Rovers, which we've done a few things one. This one is a ... one of the supercharged ones. There was a coolant hose replacement needed. What was happening with this sport ute?

Bernie: Well, the vehicle came to us, it had developed a sudden coolant leak, leaking a lot of coolant out of the engine. We did our usual pressure test. This one was pretty complicated to figure out where the leak was coming from, somewhere on the engine. There's a lot of covers and pieces buried. This is also a supercharged engine, so right in the middle of the engine there's the supercharger, which basically blows air into the engine, gives it all that extra horsepower. It adds level of complexity. It turns out that the coolant hoses that were leaking are located underneath the supercharger. We could barely see them, but, we could see enough to know that that was where the leak was coming from.

Mark: Under the supercharger doesn't sound like the best place to put coolant hoses.

Bernie: It's not a good location at all. I mean, it's ... you know, they're rubber hoses at an area where there's an incredible amount of heat being trapped. Although they might be good quality hoses, the vehicle is 10 years old. You know, it's ... things go wrong. It's not, from an engineering perspective, extremely smart. I'll just share some photos here. Let's get these up. There we go. This is the ... this is the engine with the supercharger removed. This is the ... you can see ... The blue arrow points to the supercharger. Now, that, that has actually been lifted up and removed. That normally sits down where the red arrow is pointing. The red arrow is actually where the hoses are located. However, we've actually removed the hoses from this picture. They sit sandwiched. This is the valley area. It's a V8 engine. It's the valley area of the engine. Hoses sit on top of the valley. Supercharger sits over top of that. Like I say, there's an awful lot of heat being generated. Also, you'll notice there's a yellow arrow there. It just points to another hose nipple. If you look, sort of at the front of that picture, you'll see there's actually 4 of those nipples coming off. There's coolant hoses on these items, and what those are, those are the intercoolers. As air is being blown in the engine, it heats up. It's cooled, actually by engine coolant, which is warm, but, it's obviously cooler than the temperature of the air. The intercooler cools the charged air down, so that it densifies the air, and it gives the engine more power. It's a performance enhancement, but, again, there's another number of coolant hoses. It adds a lot of complexity to the engine. While we're looking at pictures, this is the hose we replaced. We'll talk more about the hose after. You can see, there's a lot of bits and pieces. The little yellow piece on the left, that just holds a clamp. That's one end at the front of the hose. Then, the other end, just to the right of that is the other front piece. That was the part that was actually leaking at this particular time. This hose is available only from the dealer. It's a rather, you know, pricey piece, but, you got to do what you got to do.

Mark: What kind of cost are you talking about?

Bernie: Well, the labor's quite a few hours to remove the supercharger and get the hose off. The hose itself is over $500. I think the labor is well over that as well. It's, with taxes and everything, in the end, I think the bill will be somewhere in the $1500 range, which is a lot of money for a couple of hoses.

Mark: No kidding. It sounds like it's obviously labor intensive. Isn't that true when you get into these very high-end, high-performance vehicles with pretty complex systems? Their costs of maintenance and repair gets a lot more expensive because they're so complex?

Bernie: It does. This is a thing you got to walk into with your eyes wide open when you buy one of these vehicles. You're getting ... you know, you pay a lot of money for a Range Rover new. I think the starting price on a supercharged Range Rover is $120,000. Some of the HSE models go up to $100,000 more than that. I mean, we're talking like brand new. Even an '06 of this vehicle is probably $80,000 or $90,000. Now, you can buy one for $20,000 bucks, and you get a really, really nice luxurious sport utility vehicle. You're going to be paying a lot of money for maintenance and repairs. As long as you know that, not a bad thing because you're actually saving a lot of money over buying a brand new one. You get the ... pretty much the ... Well, it's a bit used, but it's a nice product. That speaks to the complexities of these vehicles. They all have air suspension, which we've talked about. Things go wrong with that. Supercharger, eventually when that part fails, and it may never fail, but, usually everything will at some point. That's a few thousand dollars. There's a lot of stuff on these vehicles that can cost you money.

Mark: Overall, how would you rate these vehicles? I've had my British cars, and my fun with those. They're unique. Let's put it that way. How would you rate their Range Rovers?

Bernie: You know, I'd say they're actually pretty good vehicles. The thing with ... My opinion on English cars is that they've ... Ever since Ford took over Jaguar and Land Rover, they really made the cars a whole lot more reliable. When you get into the early 2000s, it's really when these vehicles started to become reliable. It's kind of funny to say that for Ford, because I find we often criticize Fords for their reliability. They did improve the product enormously. You know, they're not bad vehicles. I would ... you know, when you're buying a Jaguar or Land Rover, you're buying a luxurious vehicle, so there's more to go wrong. They're not like the old English car where you have to meet at your mechanic's shop every week, having something tinkered or tuned, something's going to break. They're not like that anymore. They're much more reliable.

Mark: If you're looking for service on your Range Rover, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them to book, 604-327-7112. Or, check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com. We have quite a few other videos about Range Rovers on there, and lots of other luxury vehicles. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark.

2009 Volvo XC60, Rear Differential Bearing Replacement

Mark: Hi, good morning. Mark, Top Local, we're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience, voted best in Vancouver for auto repair by their customers 17 times, recently run the Georgia Straight again. How you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well!

Mark: We're talking about a Volvo, a pretty popular car, an XC60. This is the 2009, it had some kind of rear differential problems. What was going on with this, how did you diagnose this vehicle?

Bernie: Basically, the customer brought it to us with a humming noise coming from the back of this vehicle, figuring it's probably the rear differential. He was correct. We road tested the vehicle, hear a noise in the back, did a hoist inspection. We have listening equipment so we can listen to all the different areas in the rear end, the wheel bearings, the differential bearings, and whatever else is underneath the vehicle and determined that the noise was coming from inside the differential.

Mark: What's involved in repairing this?

Bernie: Basically on the Volvo, we removed the rear differential assembly, so it's a whole rear end, sub-frame assembly. Remove it from the vehicle, then take the differential off, dismantle it, and there's four bearings inside the differential. There's usually one bearing that causes the problem, it's the small bearing. It's the front bearing on the pinion shaft, for some reason these seem to wear on this vehicle all the time. Don't know why. Obviously not a big enough bearing to handle the job. That's the one that wears the most. We replace all the bearings. It's not a lot of extra money or time, while you have it apart, you may as well make sure you're covering everything. Also, when they wear out, there's metal filings that get pumped through the system, through the oil, so that's causes wear on all the bearings. The gears themselves never wear, but the bearings do. I can share a photo here, just so you can see what was going on inside this differential. This is the differential disassembled. This is a view, that sort of brownish-orangey coloured stuff in the middle, that is some of the differential fluid. That's some of the differential fluid was left inside the case after we drained it out, and you can see a bunch of shiny bits near the bottom, especially in the right corner. That is all metal filings from the worn out bearings, so that's been running around inside the system and grinding all the other bearings, so that's why it makes sense to change all the bearings at the same time. As I mentioned, the gears don't, they're so hard, they don't seem to take any abuse from this kind of thing, so they last, but the bearings wear. This is a picture of the worn bearing.

Mark: Ouch.

Bernie: Yeah, I know. If you know anything about bearings, you can see some very rough spots. There's a roller, it's a very smooth ... everything is really highly polished and smooth. You run a fingernail over this, it won't grab or gouge on anything, but if you can see, chunks of this race are missing. This is the inner bearing race. Funny, you look at the outer bearing race, it actually looks fine, so I cut the bearing apart, and that's what we find. We do a lot of these repairs, so we find this every single time.

Mark: 2009 doesn't seem that old. Is this a common problem on these cars?

Bernie: Extremely common. The interesting thing is that this vehicle is also the same as a Land Rover LR2. It doesn't look the same, but the drive train, the engine transmissions, the rear end, it's exactly the same thing. We replace these a lot on Land Rover LR2s as well.

Mark: Where do you get the parts to do these kind of services?

Bernie: This is the interesting thing. Bearings we can buy from a lot of our after-market part suppliers. Bearings are numbered, we've got the numbers off the bearings, we can get those. Seals are available from Volvo or Land Rover, I'm just going to divert to both makes here, because it applies to both. The bearings, interestingly enough, are not sold by Volvo, you can only buy those ... there's crush sleeves, there's various parts we need to do this repair. You can only buy those through Land Rover, so some of the parts we buy from Land Rover. Some of the parts we buy from after-market suppliers. Here's the interesting thing. If you were to take this vehicle to a Volvo dealer, the only thing they're going to do for you is replace the complete rear differential assembly. Would you like to know the price?

Mark: Yeah, that sounds expensive.

Bernie: $4,900 for the differential assembly.

Mark: How much?

Bernie: $4,900 for a complete differential assembly.

Mark: Plus labor to put it in.

Bernie: Plus labor to install. It's a fair bit of work on one of these Volvos to take the differential out. I don't want to ... I haven't seen a Volvo bill, but I would speculate it's probably in the $5-$6,000 range by the time the labor's there, and the taxes are applied to the job. Interestingly enough, if you go to Land Rover, they do actually have a technical service bulletin. They'll do the job by actually repairing the differential. It's strange that one dealer would do it one way, and one the other way, but that's just how they're set up.

Mark: Can you save a Volvo owner quite a bit of money when you're just changing the parts out rather than redoing the whole ... re-swapping out the whole rear end?

Bernie: Yeah, it's huge. I think thousands less to do the whole job. ​

Mark: I know for a lot of people, that they only will take their car to the dealer. The only concept they have is they're the best guys to service the car. Is that true in every case?

Bernie: I'd say not. I don't like to slam other businesses, but certainly, as an independent repair shop, we like to do things the most economical way for our customers. We'll take the time to find, we've done a lot of repairs and Volvo's where they'll only sell a completely assembly. Just an example. We look at it and go, well we can buy these bearings from this place or that, and these are the kind of creative things we do to save our customers money. You won't get that at the dealer. They're more interested in, "Let's get the car in and out, as quick as possible, let's get the job done." Without regards to cost or seeking other options. I can think of a lot of other examples I've seen over time. For an average service on your vehicle, yeah, the dealer's probably pretty good. Although one interesting thing that we do notice, we get a lot of new customers, go to do an oil change and we find the air filters are just hideously dirty. We ask, "Where'd you have the car serviced before?" "The dealer." It's like the technicians, because they're, this is my speculation, because they're paid flat rate, they want to get the job in and out as fast as they can. The more cars they can do, the more money they make. Fair enough, but they're missing things. They don't inspect air filters, unless it's incredibly easy. There's no money in them, for them, whether they sell another part or not. They don't get paid any more, so they don't bother. The customer really doesn't get the best service at the dealer. It looks like a great place. I'm not saying ... there are some dealers that are very good. It's hit and miss.

Mark: It's like life.

Bernie: Right.

Mark: How are these Volvos overall for reliability? The XC60?

Bernie: They're good cars. This is one flaw with them, but so far we don't see a lot for any other problem. This is, again, one sort of thing you can expect. It seems like almost every vehicle has something that's going to go wrong with it, unless it's ... well, even Toyotas we can pick a few things out, although they're highly reliable. Most cars, there's going to be some deficiency. This seems to be the one on these cars, other than that, they're pretty good.

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Volvo, or Land Rover LR2, your Volvo VC60, or any other kind of Volvo, the guys to see in Vancouver at Pawlik Automotive. You can book your appointment at 604 327 7112, or check out their website. We even have other website builders and SEOs telling us how good the website is, so check it out. Tons of information on there. PawlikAutomotive.com. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark.

2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Heater Blend Door 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. How you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: I am doing very well this morning.

Mark: We're going to talk about a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a little bit of a different issue. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Well, this issue had some ... There was stuff going on with the heating system on this vehicle. It wouldn't blow hot air. It sort of started out originally it would only blow hot air from one side of the vehicle. This is a vehicle that has a dual zone climate control. It's a Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, so it's a top end vehicle full of luxury on road and off road features. The climate control system wasn't working right. There was too much heat on one side of the vehicle, not enough on the other. It couldn't be controlled properly.We went to access the vehicle heating system, and we can do this with a scan tool of the computer because it's electronically controlled. We went to access that and that's where we started our procedure.

Mark: That sounds like interesting thing. What was involved after you had gotten into the electronics?

Bernie: We plugged in our scan tool, and there's different ... They're called PIDs, parameter IDs, and so we looked at the different PIDs. We could see that some things weren't reading right and then there's some actual actuator tests we can do on the scan tool. Nothing would respond properly. Things weren't reading right. A little confusing, and we finally determined the actual heating control unit, the actual computer, something was screwed up with that. This is a really expensive part. It includes the panel with all the knobs. It' the thing you see and inside there's a computer as well. We acquired a good used unit because it's an old vehicle. The owner didn't want to spend I can't remember it's like 1,200 or 1,500 dollars for the actual climate control unit. We managed to get a good used one for a fraction of the price.Put it in, and all the computer end of things were working great, but what we found, then we found the other problems that had probably been there for a long time, and that is we still couldn't control the actual it's called the blend door. The blend door controls the temperature between the air conditioning system and the heating system. The blend door's this little motor twists and turns doors inside. There's a whole bunch of doors inside these vehicles. Most vehicles are like that nowadays. Blend doors couldn't be controlled so that's where we basically have to rip the heater box out and go to the next step of the operation.

Mark: Do you have some pictures of that?

Bernie: We got pictures. I love showing this kind of stuff. It's super interesting. We'll just go back and we'll start. This is our Jeep 2002 Overland. It's a little bit of an older vehicle, but nice for it's year and age. That is a view of the instrument panel and the dash removed. That's what you got to do to change this particular blend door. It's a lot of work as you can see. The body if you just take the time to savour the photo for a minute. If you look in the top right there's a few kind of grey items, square items. That's the heater box. That unit, that's actually been re installed but we have to remove that unit, and that's where the blend door's located along with the heater core, the evaporator core, and a whole bunch of other bits and pieces. You can see the steering wheel sort of line in the bottom left corner. It's sitting upside down. It's that round, that brownish coloured piece. Then on the actual seats which are on the right, which you can barely tell are seats, that's the dash. That's the thing you're looking at.As you can see, this is a huge amount of work to take apart. Our next photo, this is the actual blend door that we replaced. It's two separate doors that operate. You see a couple of red arrows there. They point to where the motors engage the blend doors, and you can see they're broken. Over time what happens is when the vehicle turns on, it starts, and the climate control system doesn't check. It actually actuates every door, so there's blend doors. There's the doors that control the up and down air flow. It operates all these doors just to make sure the whole system's operating, and then if there's an error, it'll send something back into the system.Every time these doors are operated, they're moved a lot more often that then probably need to be, but over time it breaks. That's what the real problem was with this vehicle. We changed the blend doors, put the motors back in, and away we went. Now there was a couple other things. We can get into that. We did actually find a couple of other things when we had the heater box apart. I'll share those photos, too. Just give me a second to get back to the screen sharing. Where are you?Inside the heater box, there's also as I mentioned the evaporator core and the heater core. The evaporator creates the cold for the air conditioning. The heater core creates the heat for the heating system. Of course, we had the heater box apart so we found a couple of interesting things. If you notice on the right hand side, there's a bunch of greeny and the top a bunch of ugly green. That's antifreeze that's leaked out of the heater core. Now this vehicle didn't actually have a ... There was no client complaint of a heater core problem, but nonetheless, this was starting to leak so this was a great time to replace the heater core. It was out. No extra charge for labor, just the part. Then we found the evaporator core also had a very small leak. Again the red arrow points to that.You can see that sort of oily film and a bunch of dirt build up. That is actually a very small minute evaporator core leak. You could even smell the refrigerant oil in the area. Again, the air conditioning worked fine before we started. It was nice and cold, but this would have created problems, and we would have had to pull the whole thing back out again. It was a very good time to. It was an expensive repair, but very fortuitous for our client that we kind of dealt with everything.

Mark: Well, how did all the work once you were all done. That's a tremendous amount of work.

Bernie: Yeah it was good. There was nice heat, cold air in this vehicle. The temperature was right on the right hand side and good on the left hand side and everything was good control. Everything was like it's supposed to be, so restored to normal, and the owner was happy.

Mark: There you go. Another successful repair by Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience, 17 time winners of best in Vancouver as voted by their customers. Reach them to book at 604-327-7112 or check out their website at pawlikautomotive.com. We have a few years now of these kind of videos on there, so there's a ton of information plus all the stuff that Bernie's created himself. Check it out. Pawlik Automotive. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Talk to you soon.

2008 Ford F150, Fuel Pump Driver Module 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. 16 or 17 times, we're not sure yet, I think it's 17, Bernie thinks it's 16, time winners of Best in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: I'm doing very well.

Mark: We're going to talk about a recent repair of a Ford F-150, a 2008. What was going on with this truck?

Bernie: This vehicle was towed to our shop. It wouldn't stop, and the owner's complaint was that it had been getting progressively harder to start. Eventually went to go start it one morning, it just cranked over, but nothing happened. It wouldn't fire.

Mark: Being an F-150, I assume it's a gasoline engine.

Bernie: It is. Yeah, a gas engine, 5.4 litre, I believe, in this truck. Very common arrangement.

Mark: What happened with this vehicle?

Bernie: We diagnosed ... Of course, the battery was almost dead, so we charged the battery, hooked up some testing equipment, including a fuel pressure gauge, among other things, and found there was no fuel pressure. Basically, that was the reason it wasn't firing a good spark. All the other components needed to make an engine run were there, just no fuel pressure.

Mark: No fuel pressure is usually a dead fuel pump, right?

Bernie: Well, usually it is. As a matter of fact, probably about 95 percent of the time, it is a fuel pump, but, in this case, Ford has a little more complex system that adds to the fun of the diagnosis and, ultimately, the cost to the client to fix it, as well. What we found when we finished, complete our diagnosis is that the fuel pump driver module was dead, and that was causing our fuel pump issue.

Mark: I've never heard of that. What's a fuel pump driver, and why do they use it?

Bernie: It's a relatively new component. It's probably been around for about 10 years. The reason they use it is efficiency. Somewhere, automotive engineers are looking at what it takes to run a vehicle, how much energy is being used just to pump, just how much electrical energy it takes to run a fuel pump. A lot of times, you don't need that full on 12 volt energy and pressure that a fuel pump delivers. In idle, for instance, you don't need a lot of fuel.The pump is really there to deliver everything under load, so they put this driver module in, and what it does is it lowers the voltage to the fuel pump. More efficient use of the electricity of the vehicle is really what it is. Overall components, it kind of changes things around, but, again, overall, for fuel efficiency, as well, it helps out, because you're not trying to deal with so much fuel pressure. We can share a few photos and keep on talking.

Here's our F-150, the typical, nice 4 door pickup truck, very useful vehicle. This is the fuel pump driver module. How do we know it was bad? Along with the fact that there was no electricity coming out of it, we removed the module and found this. This is the bottom side of the module. It's an aluminum based unit, probably for heat sinking qualities. There's a lot of electricity, heat going through this unit, so that's the heat sink. It's all corroded. The reason why is because this is where it sits. This is with the spare tire removed in the back, and that's the new module installed. You can see rust and corrosion around on the frame of the vehicle. When you're driving down the road on a wet day, there's water spraying everywhere. It's living in a very hostile environment. Over time, something like this happens. It just, basically, the aluminum keeps getting rotted away, and, eventually, the hole cracked through the bottom, and water infiltrated the unit and killed it.

Mark: Yep. That's what caused the part to die. We talked about many Fords. Some have different reliability issues. How are these trucks?

Bernie: These are pretty good, actually. They're Canada's number 1 selling pickup for years and years. At least, Ford likes to advertise that and are proud of that fact. They're pretty decent trucks. I mean, they have their flaws. I think these newer lines, like '08 and newer, they got rid of the spark plugs blowing out of the engine and the spark plugs that seized in the engine, redesigned the way they should have been in the beginning. They're, overall, pretty reliable. There's a few things that go wrong here and there but nothing more than you'd expect in any other pickup truck, so, overall, pretty good. A lot less issues than an F-350 Super Duty or the Diesel.

Mark: If you're looking for service for your F-150, here are some guys who have done a lot of work on them for decades. These trucks have been around for decades, and Bernie and his team have that kind of experience. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Get ahold of them on their website, pawlikautomotive.com, or at 604-327-7112 to book your next appointment. Thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark.

2005 BMW 330Ci Coolant Overflow Tank Replacement

BMW 330ci

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; Vancouver’s highest rated and best reviewed automotive service company. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing really well.

BMW 330ci

Engine compartment of 330ci - much of what you see is plastic

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a BMW, a 2005 330, what was going on with this car?

Bernie: Well this car came into our shop with quite a bad coolant leak, it actually was to the point where I think the owner was driving down the highway and the engine actually stopped running because it got pretty warm and shut down which is a good thing before it destroyed itself but yeah the main reason it came was for a coolant leak.

Mark: So I’m going to digress for a second, is there a reason why it would shut down like that, is there an electronic protection that would shut it off?

Bernie: I suspect that’s probably the case although I don’t know for sure having not driven the car, I mean a lot of cars if you overheat it to a certain degree it will actually, you know it will actually stop because it can’t physically run anymore so actually I’m not sure whether BMW has that capability; it would be a good thing because we do fix cars where people have overheated them to the point where they’ve cooked their engines so it’s not a good thing.

Mark: It’s not a good thing to do. So where was the coolant leak coming from?

Bernie: The coolant leak was coming from the coolant overflow bottle and the bottle basically spit suddenly and this is a pretty common issue that we see in these vehicles so, yeah I can share a couple photos, actually hang on, get to the photo share thing, just a second here, here we go. There’s the BMW engine compartment with lots of plastic pieces and before we look at this I’ll just show, this is the coolant overflow bottle, it was cracked, this sits on the side of the radiator, the red arrow points to a big long crack along the length of the bottle and we do see these from time to time; it’s fairly frequent once the car gets a little older, plastic, it’s brittle, it’s under a lot of stress. The BMW’s there a lot of plastic in the engine compartment, this is a view of the top of the engine and pretty much everything black you see there is made of plastic with the exception of a piece that runs along the sort of lower portion of the photo, a long piece that runs from left to right, that’s a metal piece painted black but pretty much everything else you’re looking at in black is plastic. There’s the intake manifold is on the right near the back, the big BMW word, that’s the valve cover area, that’s all plastic and at the front is the radiator, it’s kind of buried and hidden but to the right you can see a sort of round piece with, right sort of lower corner that’s where the radiator cap is and the overflow bottle we replaced is down there. So these are the many of the plastic pieces that they have on this car, so I will stop the sharing, come back and talk.

BMW 330ci

Cracked overflow tank - the red arrow points to the large split in the plastic tank

Mark: So all of this plastic cause engines are hot, plastic doesn’t do all that great with heat, repeated cooling so it seems like not a great idea why are they using so much of it?

Bernie: I think weight reduction is probably the biggest reason but plastic is also highly moldable, you can, you can mold it into any shape so it’s helpful for certain things that require flow of liquids, flow of air and you know it I think it’s increasingly cheaper to work with than it used to be at one time but I think weight is the primary reason. I mean in all fairness plastic nowadays isn’t what it used to be 30 or 40 years ago where you couldn’t even make anything, I understand that they even have plastic pistons in engines although I’ve never seen one but I think for high level racing they’re actually used or its experimental anyways, but for a lot of parts they work fine but there’s only certain lifespan and plastic unfortunately tends to fail rather suddenly, we have like this coolant overflow bottle, basically we had this vehicle actually in for service the day before it came back for this leak and the thermostat housing was leaking, did a number of repairs on the car and I mean unfortunately the car came back in the next day with this big coolant leak. The day before we replaced the thermostat housing, we pressure tested the cooling system, there wasn’t a drip of coolant or leak coming out, next night he’s out driving on the highway, the bottle splits and you know without any warnings so almost with the BMW when you get 10 years old it’s not that preventative maintenance to just start changing some of the plastic parts, the radiator has plastic, the overflow bottle is plastic of course. A lot of the coolant hoses even have plastic ends so it’s great, you can clip these pieces together you know, from a manufacturing perspective it’s amazing but once it gets a little older like after like you said a lot of heating and cooling cycles plastic gets brittle and breaks.

Mark: So are there metal replacements available for any of these parts?

Bernie: Some of them there is, not for the radiator, not for the overflow bottle or the hoses for that matter but there are for some models there are thermostat houses that are available not for those newer models though but it’s really the older ones you can get metal thermostat housings, water pumps are one thing, water pumps themselves are made of metal but the impeller, the blade that turns inside the water pump it’s a lot of European cars use plastic impellers, we’ve even seen them on medium sized Isuzu trucks as well which is kind of shocking but the thing about plastic impellers is they just crack and break without warning so you have a water pump it looks on the outside it’s working perfectly well but it isn’t pumping any water so with these we always replace with metal impellers so again the reason they use plastic on these is just simply weight production but they fail you know and that’s without warning so.

BMW 330ci

Automatic Transmission Thermostat: this part is broken and this is typically how they look when replacing the coolant tank. It sits in the bottom of the tank.

Mark: How was the customer, you you’ve done a bunch of work, their car basically broke down on the next day, what would, what happened with that.

Bernie: Well for us it’s always highly embarrassing because the kind of work we try to do, with everything we do we like to be very thorough and make sure we’ve covered everything you know without of course selling the person a brand new car when we do our repair, by doing it the most reasonable way you know, it’s rather irritating for the customer and for us when the car gets towed back a day later. You know what we did for this customer, we replaced parts, we didn’t charge him any labour, you know it was a few hours’ worth of work that we did for no charge, we did charge him for the parts, it wasn’t our fault that failed but me I’m just interested in customers being happy with what we do so we replaced the parts and took the car out for a very long road test to make sure there wasn’t some other issue causing the vehicle to shut off suddenly, so we’re pretty satisfied, we inspected everything and it all looked to be pretty good but this is the kind of thing we do in certain cases where it may not be our fault but we figure the car just been in, spent a bunch of money, want to just do a little extra to make them happy.

Mark: Sound pretty fair.

Bernie: We try.

Mark: So if you’re looking for a fair and useful and honest mechanic, honest maintenance place for your high end vehicle, your low end vehicle, doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle it is from diesel to high end Mercedes, these guys repair it all Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Give them a call to book 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Starter Replacement

Jeep Wrangler Starter

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; recently again awarded Best in Vancouver in the Georgia Straight poll as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well; yeah, proud to receive that award for the 8th year in a row, quite awesome.

Mark: But I think that’s seventeen times now you guys have won, Best in Vancouver.

Bernie: Sixteen or seventeen with that and the West Ender, I think that’s what they’re called, but yeah it’s awesome, it’s an honour.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 2012 Jeep Wranger Unlimited, unlimited, you had to do a starter replacement, what was going on with this vehicle?

Jeep Wrangler Starter

2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Bernie: We did, yeah so the vehicle was towed in, wouldn’t start, apparently it wasn’t running properly and the story we got was it died so brought it in, it needed a starter replacement.

Mark: So how did you determine that the starter was the problem?

Bernie: Well through a grueling diagnostic process, I mean, it’s just, just what we do for every vehicle we work on. We have to take the customer’s concerns and you look at the vehicle and do some tests and from the testing we did we found the starter was dead. Just a bit surprising because the vehicles not all that old, 2012, its only 4 years old, sixty-five thousand kilometers I think on the vehicle, really pretty young, normally I would expect you know some vehicle starters last for 100, 200,000 kilometers maybe even longer.

Mark: So I guess this is a kind of generic sort of question but how difficult was it to get details from the customer about what happened to the vehicle?

Bernie: You know this is an interesting story because when the, when the customer brought it in he mentioned that the vehicle has been making some, some strange sort of screeching kind of noises and just listening to him I kind of thought well that sounds like it’s, it’s a maybe it was a problem with the belt screeching noises, belts maybe the belt tensioner came off or belt broke, the alternator wasn’t charging and the battery went dead. Those are the kind of things I think about when a customer talks about what happened to their vehicle but it is funny getting a straight story from people, the more I’ve been in this business the more I like to ask more detailed questions and some concerns are really difficult to try to pin down and others will tell you certain things and then they reverse their story and nothing wrong, it’s just that it’s just the way people perceive things and I often get a little scared in our business when someone who comes in is not proficient in English because even people who are incredibly proficient in English it’s hard to communicate the details sometimes of what’s going on. I had a guy a week or two ago, he had said you know, the moment this vehicle goes up the slightest incline the temperature gauge goes up and the engine starts, well I surmise kind of overheating and then he repeated it to me several times, the slightest incline so we did some work on the car, Nigel went out for a drive, went up a really steep hill and didn’t even overheat so I phoned him back, he goes it only happens when I go up Royal Oak hill which if you know Royal Oak hill that’s practically like a rocket ship taking off, it’s straight up, I go well no wonder. It’s funny how many times he said the same things, we get those kind of details where I try to even ask people to trip them up for stuff and then o.k. well, we’ll just work the best we can with the information we’ve got.

Mark: So let’s go back to the Jeep, what was involved in changing the starter?

Bernie: Well starters are pretty straightforward, I mean once we diagnosed it and we determined the starter is a problem we replaced it and it’s not really huge labour intensive. I’ll just share a couple photos here while we’re on it. This is the starter motor from the Jeep, the interesting thing about the starter is it’s really small, now I haven’t put anything to give it any scale but this starter motor is probably only about six or eight inches long for the total length which is really quite small, it’s also incredibly lightweight too and I kind of makes me wonder why, whether that’s part of the cause why this starter failed at a fairly young age. Vehicle manufacturers are always trying to make things lightweight, compact you know, better fuel economy performance so they make things out of lighter materials but often that doesn’t equate to durability.

Jeep Wrangler Starter

Starter from Jeep Wrangler. This unit is very small and lightweight. It may be that this compact design shorted its lifespan.

Mark: What does this vehicle look like?

Bernie: Oh yeah, so here’s our Jeep, this is our 2012 Wrangler Unlimited, four door, quite a popular vehicle, we work on a lot of these, excellent vehicle even seen a few of these rigged up by some of the dealers around town with shovels and axes and really set up for the off road experience but a lot of people they just see street pavement but if you want to take them off road they’re definitely pretty good for that, they’re nicely set up for that.

Mark: You have another shot there that was showing where the starter was in the motor?

Bernie: Yeah, yes so this is another interesting thing and I’ll just share this back again, just hang on for a second here. Actually this is a not actually the starter, this is a I took this photo because I found it very interesting, like a lot of modern cars, it has a big plastic cover over the engine. We pulled the cover off and found that, found the alternator position rather unusual in this vehicle; they’ve actually mounted the alternator backwards to where they normally sit. That red arrow points to the alternator and normally and if you look to the right of that you see sort of a round piece, the black section, that’s the belt, the drive belt and normally the alternator sit the other way around but that drive belt pulley sits forward and it’s kind of been like that for ever and ever, as long as cars have been manufactured but on this one they’ve flipped it around the other way. I guess there was space under the hood and room and that’s what they did so, it’s funny looking at the innovations of car manufacturers do, kind of set us back, what the heck is that and that’s basically what they did. It works fine either way as long as it’s bolted up and the belts tight.

Jeep Wrangler Starter

view of engine compartment with backwards mounted alternator

Mark: So how are Jeeps overall for reliability?

Bernie: Well I’d say they’re not fabulous, they’re actually to be honest with you they’re kind of one of the vehicles we like to work on because a lot of stuff goes wrong with them, so that’s a bit of an honest from the auto repair shop, a bit of information but people love Jeeps, I mean we have a lot of customers with them, people seem to like them a lot, I mean because they’re a unique vehicle and they’re capable of doing some offroading, a lot of people don’t but they like them and where there’s more stuff goes wrong with them than probably should but you know, they seldom break down if they take care of them, we don’t get too many towed in like this one but there’s a lot of, they’re complicated too, it’s all wheel drive, 4 wheel drive so there’s transfer cases, differentials, lots of other bits and pieces that can go wrong.

Mark: So basically make sure that you’re maintaining your Jeep regularly and you’ll get the maximum life out of it.

Bernie: Absolutely and I mean expect that you will spend more money fixing it than you would on a lot of say a Toyota Yaris or a Honda Fit but it’s a different class of vehicle than that so.

Mark: If you’re looking for maintenance and repairs on your vehicle in Vancouver the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive; check out their website pawlikautomotive.com, tons and tons of information on there. We’ve been doing these hangouts for a long time, they’re seen all around the world or you can give him a call to book 604-327-7112. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: You’re welcome, thanks Mark.

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