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2009 Mercedes ML320 3 Litre Diesel Engine Oil Cooler Seal Leak

Mercedes Diesel Repair

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; Vancouver’s best auto service experience. They’re 17 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing really well.

Mark: So we have a bit of a meaty presentation today, you said, a Mercedes 3 litre diesel with a cooler seal leak; what was going on with this vehicle.

Bernie: Well there was a few things going on with this vehicle but primarily, the first thing the customer brought it in for was a fairly large oil leak at the bottom of the engine and we’ve been servicing this car a while so this leak was there in the past and it’s just getting worse and worse and so basically there’s a large oil leak was the primary concern. It was due for service actually, in fact overdue for service which I’ll talk about later and the check engine light was on.

Mark: So what did you find with the oil leak?

Bernie: The oil leak it was coming from the center of the engine, the valley area so on a V engine there’s two banks of cylinders, one on the left, one on the right and in between it forms a V, the valley sits in the middle and this is where they positioned the engine oil cooler. Oil cooler seal leaks are pretty common on these engines, the actual coolers themselves are pretty much bulletproof unless you destroy your engine but the oil cooler seals do leak so very difficult to actually see the leak on this vehicle because there’s so many parts and pieces in the way, the intake manifold, there’s fuel injection pipes, a lot of, a lot of pieces in the way but the just based on where the oil was leaking from the oil cooler seals were the cause of the leak. So we, yeah we basically stripped down the engine, took the engine manifolds off, accessed the oil cooler and there’s also another area of leakage in that area which is the turbo oil stand which we looked at, at the same time. I’m going to share a few photos

Mercedes Diesel Repair

View of right cylinder head and engine valley, Note the oil leakage. The red arrow points to the oil cooler. The leaking seals are underneath. The yellow arrow points to the intake points that are covered with carbon deposits which restricts airflow into the engine. The green arrow points to the turbostand mounting. There is a lot of oil in this area and likely another source of this engine's oil leakage.

Mark: Sounds like a lot of work to get at the oil cooler.

Bernie: It is a lot of work – here’s a photo, are we seeing this o.k.?

Mark: Yup

Bernie: Perfect, so this is the, this is the valley of the V6 diesel engine with the intake manifolds removed, so a lot of parts and pieces have been removed, many hours of work has gone into what you’re looking at in this photo and there’s a lot of interesting things to see. So I’ve got the coloured arrows here, the red arrow points to the engine oil cooler, so you can see a lot of oil and filth around this area especially heading towards the right side of the picture which is the back of the engine. The green arrow points to the turbo where the turbo oil, the turbo stand sits, it’s a stand that holds the turbocharger in place and there’s oil flowing in and out of the turbocharger through this particular area. Again that’s a source of leakage and based on the amount of oil around that area that, that was probably leaking some oil as well. So the oil cooler which is the piece the red arrow points to was removed, we changed the seals and we put the cooler back in, of course it’s never enough. The yellow arrow and I’m going to talk about it further on as we get going in this hangout points to the intake manifold ports, you’ll see there’s a rectangular or square port and there’s a round one and what the arrow I’m pointing to in this picture is just that amount of black filthy carbon deposits in those ports. This engine’s gucked up pretty badly. That’s where the air, this is where the air flows into the engine so it needs lots of air flow and it wasn’t getting as much air flow that it should have had so on that note we’ll stop the sharing for the moment, back to where we were.

Mark: So I think you mentioned that there was a check engine light on, did this repair have any relation or did that have any relation to the oil leaks?

Bernie: Well the check engine light wasn’t related to the oil leaks but fortunately for the customer, the check engine light was on for a couple trouble codes for the intake valve, sorry the air intake, actually look at my notes here, the intake port shut off position sensor was the codes and it was for left and right bank and what that is actually we’ll just go right to pictures for this makes, as you say a picture is worth a thousand words. This picture is of one of the intake manifolds and this is the opposite side remember that yellow arrow that pointed to all that black sooty stuff well this is the part that bolts onto there and the red arrow is pointing to the round intake ports and these all have it’s called a butterfly valve that opens and closes. The trouble code that was stored in the engine computer was related to this particular system and again there’s a variety of arrows here so I’ll go through all of them. The red arrows point to the valves that open and close, the yellow arrow points, that’s a linkage rod that connects all three of these pieces together, the purple is the swirl valve motor, this is the motor that actuates the valves when the computer tells it to and the blue arrow points to a sensor, now that sensor, when the computer tells the valves to close or open it goes to a final position and when that position is reached then the computer knows the valves are closed, everything is good but the trouble code is being set because that sensor was not seeing that particular item happen. Now the motor was actually working fine it was moving the valves but what was happening is that there is so much wear in the linkage rods, they’re plastic over the years the rods have worn so much that the valves were all opening and closing at the same rate so you can actually see in the picture if you look on the left side you see the valve is actually partially closed and anyways the linkage was so badly worn now the only replacement for this is to replace the whole intake manifold, as you can guess it’s expensive, off the top of my head I think they’re about around nine hundred dollars apiece and there’s two of them so that kind of gives you an idea what this adds to the bill of the job but after completion it, you know, everything is done and fortunately for the customers there’s no extra labour charge to do this work at the same time as we had to remove it. This is a picture of the new manifold, so you can see how nice and clean and clear everything is, at the top of the picture there’s the swirl valve motor, it’s a bit of a different view of the linkage rods are on the bottom of the picture here and actually this is both manifolds coupled together but you can see how clean the ports are, a lot more air flow so the engine will perform, I mean the engine’s going to perform much better after this, after this particular service is done.

Mercedes Diesel Repair

View of 1 intake manifold: red arrows point to swirl valves: note the carbon deposits on all 6 intake ports; yellow arrow points to swirl valve linkage, on this engine there was severe wear in this linkage; purple arrow points to swirl valve motor; blue arrow points to switch which send computer a signal to indicate whether valve is closed fully. On this engine a code was set due to severe linkage wear and the switch not being 'switched on' when actuated

Mercedes Diesel Repair

New intake manifold - note the clean intake ports which allow a huge increase in airflow into the engine

Mark: So did you find any other issues while you were doing this repair?

Bernie: Well it’s funny that you mention that because yes we did find some other issues. This vehicle came in and it was due, well actually I’ll just show a couple things. So here’s the other issue, this is the turbo oil stand pipe, the oil stand and this as I pointed to in the other picture, you can see where it’s bolted down in the engine, it looked like it was leaking, this is the top where the turbocharger bolts onto the engine and the red arrow points to the engine oil, this is the high pressure oil line that goes through the turbocharger so this is feeding oil into the turbocharger, critical for life in the turbo, the turbo’s spinning at you know at 30 to 40 thousand rpms at times, maybe even faster, it really needs good clean oil. If you look in there it looks pretty gucked up, that’s a small hole, it’s only about maybe a quarter inch in diameter at the most but it’s, this oil hole is so badly plugged it’s surprising that a trickle of oil is getting through. The turbo is working, I think the owner of this vehicle is extremely lucky that he had this service done when he did because the turbo would have seized up in pretty short order and just so you know, the hole on the right hand side which is quite a bit larger that is the oil drain back hole so the oil drains back into the engine down through that hole but again this is you know bad maintenance and the other issue this is what was going on the dash of this vehicle; Service A exceeded by 11,415 kilometers. So this light has been on for a very, very, very long time and this isn’t the first post I’ve talked about people who left their oil and haven’t changed it and you know it’s there in black and white, Mercedes doesn’t make it much easier to be reminded you need to change your oil, it’s there every day and every kilometer you go it tells you you’ve gone too far and really if you follow that religiously you’re going to have a lot less problems, I just can’t say it enough, it doesn’t make any sense, you’re saving absolutely nothing by leaving it longer, so get your oil changed, that’s the key message for this and a lot of that, that guck we’ve seen in the intake system may be prevented, certainly the turbocharger failures we’ve talked about them on previous blogs posts, complete engine repairs, there’s a lot that goes wrong with these so, change your oil, change your oil, get the service done regularly.

Mercedes Diesel Repair

Instrument panel display indicating that service is far overdue: If you own a vehicle with these reminders PLEASE HEED THE WARNING: failure to do so will cost you lots of money

Mercedes Diesel Repair

Turbocharger stand: red arrow points to the almost solidly plugged oil supply port. Had this plugged fully the turbocharger would have quickly seized.

Mark: So it seems to be pretty like we’ve seen a few of these now and this has been a pretty consistent issue, these diesel motors from Mercedes or maybe any diesel motor really must be pretty regular, you’ve got to be rigorous about getting the oil changed on time, you can’t stretch it very far even if it’s a synthetic.

Bernie: Absolutely and this uses synthetic oil and the oil change intervals in these I believe is about 15,000 kilometers, that’s a good amount of time you know for, you know if you drive a lot, huge distances I mean that’s a couple times a year but if you’re not a huge driver it’s only probably once a year service, it’s not a lot so you know it is a couple hundred dollars but it’s only one service a year, maybe two but the cost of course you know, the bills for these kind of jobs are enormous when you leave it too long especially if you wreak the engine. We had one that was over 20,000 dollars so yeah, it’s important to do the service, I mean on any engine it’s important, gas running engines too, I mean it’s more critical now than it ever has been.

Mark: So would you say that with all that corrosion that was in those intake ports and everything I’m sure that part of that was just due to how diesels, how diesel fuel is burned but is that more a function of you know would a regular oil change have helped with that or is that more of a function of they needed to have an engine flush or you know maybe some of the other services that you guys offer the, I’m trying to think the fuel injector cleaner

Bernie: Cleaning services of diesels that can help with that, there are also EGR cleaning services that we can do, I mean a lot of it is a function of the design of the engine most all modern diesel have an EGR system exhaust gas recirculation that it’s a critical emission component to remove NOx emissions which are really high in the diesel because of the combustion temperature and pressures so it’s an important emission item but it also leads to this grungy debris if you had no EGR system that none of that debris would be there, it doesn’t seem to be too much of an issue with American diesels for some reason like the trucks and I don’t know if it’s because they’re larger, bigger breathing engines but we see it on TDI Volkswagens we see it a lot on the Jeep Liberty, it’s a small Italian 4 cylinder diesel, we see it on the Mercedes but changing the oil and doing regular service it’s critical to minimizing that and also highway driving, again it’s another thing a lot of these diesels people just use them around the city and that’s, that’s definitely harder on the system as well because the engine doesn’t get hot, warm enough, we’ve talked about this in the past, driving it and getting it good and hot that’s the best for diesel, highway drives much better. Incidentally I do want to mention this, this vehicle has 273,000 kilometers on it, so it’s had some pretty good usage and good life and that’s that is a good thing and after the work we’ve done on it, I mean it will be good for a quite a lot longer timeframe so even though the oil change is, was way overdue you know, definitely a bad thing and all the things that were plugged and blocked, cleaning all that out will get a lot more life out of this engine so as long as the owner keeps changing his oil in a regular timeframe I don’t see why he can’t get 500,000 or a million kilometers out of one of these engines, I mean they are very good.

Mark: So there you go, if you need maintenance or repairs on your ML320’s 3 litre diesel or any Mercedes, Jeep, VW diesel, these are the guys to see in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive, they’re experts in this stuff, give them a call 604-327-7112 to book your appointment or check out their website, tons of good information on there, Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark, talk to you again soon.

2008 BMW 128i Ignition Coil Diagnosis Repair

BMW 128i

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver’s highest rated and 17 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well this morning.

Mark: We’re going to talk about a 2008 BMW 128i that had some ignition coil problem. What was going on there?

2008 BMW 128i Ignition Coil Diagnosis Repair

2008 BMW 128i

Bernie: So this vehicle came to our shop, was running rough and the check engine light was on.

Mark: So what did your diagnosis find?

Bernie: What we found was, so we connected the scan tool and we found there was several codes stored for engine misfires, did some further diagnosis and we found two ignition coils that were dead. Typically when this happens, we normally replace all six, there are six of them and if one dies or two dies, usually the others are not too far behind, that’s what our experience has found with these cars. In the past, we’ve done one or two and then found the customer may often come back in a couple months with another dead coil. So it just kind of makes sense to change them all.

Mark: So are ignition coil failures common on these cars?

BMW 128i

Ignition coil from BMW 128i

Bernie: They are actually, we do quite a number of them and yeah, so this is a pretty common issue. That and a lot of German cars, it seems like Audi as well, Audis and Volkswagens, the coils fail. Fortunately they are not overly expensive parts, so to change six of them, or four or eight depending on how many your engine has are not hugely expensive. But it is pretty common on these BMW’s.

Mark: Was there anything else that you repaired on your service while doing this job?

BMW 128i

Spark plugs from BMW 128i

Bernie: Well we did the spark plugs as well, this vehicle had enough kilometres on it that the spark plugs were nearly at the age that they need to be replaced. It’s not a lot of extra work once the ignition coils are out to change the spark plugs. So that makes a lot of sense. We also changed another part, when we’re doing ignition coils, we noticed there was an oil leak, a small oil leak from a part called a Valvetronic Motor Gasket. So we replaced that as well, it was right in the vicinity, a little extra work but not a lot when we’re doing the ignition coils. So I’m just going to share a couple pictures while we’re here - so how does that look, can you see the picture of the gasket? Here is our BMW, a nice little 128, it’s a small compact BMW. There is a view of the ignition coil, as I said there are six of these parts and that’s what one of them looks like. Spark plugs, which is a sample of a couple of the old spark plugs that we replaced, and this is our Valvetronic motor gasket. If you look at the bottom on the picture you can see there’s a sort of oily film, that’s where the leak was coming from.

Mark: So what is a Valvetronic motor?

Bernie: A Valvetronic motor, sorry we’re still screen sharing here, ok we’re back, the Valvetronic motor is basically, it’s an actuator for the variable ballast timing. BMW uses a sort of a, it’s a, how do I describe it easily, there’s a sort of extra arm on the camshaft and it adjusts the valve timing, so it’s BMW’s method of variable valve timing and it works really well. It’s amazing, it has an awesome set of these broad cast style, the power you get out of a modern engine and this is just one of those kind of devices that gives you that smooth power from low end to high end on many modern engines. So the motor basically in a very fast amount of time will adjust the valve timing to whatever the computer desires it to be.

BMW 128i

Valvetronic motor gasket. Note oil leakage at bottom of gasket

Mark: Based on load and speed.

Bernie: Load, speed, fuel economy needs, exhaust emissions, it’s all taken into account and into the brain of the vehicle computer and sets everything, it’s pretty amazing. You know, it’s another thing to go wrong but I mean, generally they’re, generally the system is quite reliable. We’ve rarely replaced any parts or pieces for it, but given enough time, like they say with anything, it’ll break down but this gasket was not an uncommon leak. So just fix them and it’s done

Mark: So how are theses cars overall?

Bernie: They’re pretty good, they are quite reliable, you know ignition coils, we certainly see a number of those pieces, there is the odd oil leak. I think generally, I think the car is quite reliable but there’s an interesting study that came out a couple of months ago about overall car maintenance costs and the BMW came out on top as the highest maintenance cost vehicle, so just something to note if you’re buying one. Now I’m sure it’s not as bad as a Ferrari or something exotic, but as an average look over car, BMW came out as being the highest cost. Interestingly enough, if you want to know the lowest was a Toyota product, Toyota Lexus and Scion. So, something to keep in mind but still a great car, you know I mean, not that crazy amounts of things go wrong with them.

Mark: So if you have a BMW that needs some service, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. Give them a call to book at 604-327-7112. Remember they are 17 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

2007 Porsche Cayman Maintenance Service

Porsche Service

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local and we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver’s highest rated, most loved and 17 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Porsche Service

2007 Porsche Cayman

Bernie: i’m doing pretty well, put a big smile on my face when you said that, yeah I’m doing really well this morning.

Mark: Good, good. so we’re talking about a 2007 Porsche Cayman, that’s getting a little longer in the tooth, that’s, what is that nine years old, you did some maintenance on this, what was that about?

Bernie: Oh the vehicle was due for a maintenance service, the customer actually brought it in, it was due for an oil change but he mentioned that his oil level had gone low too, so it had been burning a bit of oil which is not untypical of Porsches as time goes by. Yeah, so we did a level two maintenance service on this vehicle.

Mark: So what is a level two maintenance service?

Bernie: A level two maintenance service for us and I mean I know different dealerships have their A’s and B’s and C’s and different codes, some have 1’s and 2’s, but for us in our shop, we basically break it down into two things. A level one service is basically an oil change and a basic maintenance inspection, so adjusting tire pressures, looking at lights, fluid levels, that sort of thing. The level two service is more involved. It’s an oil change, it’s inspecting all the fluids and then it’s a full vehicle look over so brakes, wheels off, brake inspection, steering suspension, pressure testing the coolant system, testing the battery charging system, as I mentioned a visual inspection all through the vehicle. What else do we do on that? We move the door locks, hinges and latches, rotate the tires if necessary or if possible, a lot of cars you can’t rotate tires because they’re different size tires. But we will do them if necessary and possible. So that’s kind of an overall look. It’s good to do that service about every once a year, maybe once every two years depending on the mileage of the car and how often it’s driven, you know, the usage of the car, really depends. So once every year or two depending on the car.

Mark: So, just to digress for a second, how many items are there that you guys, because I know you guys follow a pretty rigorous checklist to go through. How many items are there on that list?

Bernie: Currently our inspection sheet that we use has 150 points on that inspection. The other thing that is actually on that sheet too, it’s not just all about the 150 points, there is also maintenance items. So we’ll actually look at the manufacturers maintenance schedule, we’ll see based on the mileage what is due based on that maintenance schedule as well. But there’s also other things, this could be a separate topic, but there are other items that we recommend that are not on a manufacturers maintenance schedule that if you want to keep your car running in top condition for a long time there are other things to do that the manufacturers don’t recommend. That people in the after market, experienced technicians, shops have found that it will help your car run better so recommend those things as well. But yeah, it’s 150 points, but we also as I mentioned, lubricating door locks, hinges and latches which is not an inspection item but it’s a maintenance item that we add in there, it tends to get forgotten if you don’t do it and your doors creak when they open so regularly little things like that don’t happen.

Mark: So how often do spark plugs and fuel injection cleaning have to happen?

Bernie: Well on these vehicles, around a hundred thousand kilometres is good, fuel injection cleanings are even beneficial at 50,000K’s. So just to digress a bit, that’s one thing we did find from doing a service, was the spark plugs were due for maintenance, replacement and also a fuel injection thing was recommended just based on mileage and usage of the car. So spark plugs around every 100,000, the fuel injection cleaning that I mentioned every 50 to 100,000 is good. Fuel injection cleaning you’ll not find in the manufacturers schedule, that’s something that a lot of aftermarket shops will do and I will say there are different kinds of fuel injection cleaning, we could discuss that another time, but the machine we use is really good and thorough and most of our customers notice pretty good results in doing it.

Mark: So did you have any pictures of this?

Bernie: I got one nice picture of the car, let’s have a look, yeah so do we have a nice looking, not sure if my screen sharing is working properly, yeah so there we go. So there’s a nice 2007 Porsche Cayman hardtop, nice little reliable car, sporty and fun to drive.

Mark: Well they’re reputed as being one of the best sports cars on the road, so…

Bernie: I really like this car, I find it fun to drive, you know when I usually start you know when the first Boxsters came into our shop quite a few years back and I drove them and I was kind of disappointed, I don’t know why, but I just found it hard to get in to, it just wasn’t that much fun to drive. But I’d have a Cayman which is a very similar car, its just a lot more fun. I like this car. It’s and this is just a base model, it’s not an S so you can get even more power if you like, but it goes well and it’s fun. It’s a really nice car.

Mark: Yeah, mid engine so it handles extremely well.

Bernie: It handles extremely well, it’s a real pleasure to drive.

Mark: So there you have it.Looking for service for your Porsche, you want to make sure that it’s maintained properly Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver are your guys. Call them to book 604-327-7112 or check out the website Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2006 Ford F350 – 6 litre Diesel Head Gasket Replacement

Mark: Good Morning, it’s Mark Bossert here with Top Local Rankings; we’re with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s top, best auto service experience, how’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing really well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about Ford 6 litre diesel , something we’ve talked about a few times before and you seem to work on a few of these, this is a 2006, what was going on?

Bernie: Well this vehicle had a coolant leak, blown head gaskets which is not a surprise since it’s a pretty common issue and I know we’ve talked about it in the past. The engine was blowing a lot of smoke and occasionally the, when we went to start it, it actually wouldn’t turn over, the engine was hydro locked; that’s a condition that happens when you have fluid inside the engine cylinder and it’s the cylinder you know as you crank the engine over the cylinder moves up to compress the air but it’s actually trying to compress liquid which doesn’t work very well and the engine won’t turn so fortunately this engine sometimes you can just crank it a bit and it’ll eventually blow the coolant out so this was a pretty severe head gasket leak for one of these engines.

Mark: So there was a lot of coolant leaking into the cylinders?

Bernie: Yes, I mean that’s what happens with the head gasket when it blows, it usually blows coolant into the cylinder and when it’s in an early stage it’ll usually just you know a small amount will just go in but this, this one there was quite a lot of coolant like a lot more than usual. I’ll just share a photo here, this is kind of an interesting thing to look at, get the screen share up here, are you seeing this?

Mark: Yup

Bernie: O.k., yeah so that’s a picture of when we started dismantling things, we removed the turbo charger and the exhaust pipes and that view is looking into the right exhaust manifold with the, where the pipe comes out and goes into the turbo charger and that green liquid there is all antifreeze, now that’s just coolant inside the exhaust manifold, definitely shouldn’t be there, there should only be air in that area so that’s, it was interesting to find that, it’s pretty severe leak for this type of thing.

Mark: So is that indicating that the exhaust is filled right to the catalytic converter almost?

Bernie: Well in this case it’ll fill the exhaust system like further down in the pipes with antifreeze and I imagine, we just got the vehicle finished, got to go for a final road test today but I imagine there’ll probably still be quite a fair bit of smoke burning out because when it starts pumping coolant like that sometimes it takes quite a while and antifreeze tends to burn very white so it can make quite an ugly and kind of an embarrassing drive until it’s all burnt out.

Mark: So did you just do the head gaskets or were there more that you had to be done?

Bernie: Well we did more on this engine, I mean usually there is more to do be done, you know, we’ve talked a lot about these in the past and anyone who knows about 6 litre diesel you look at the list and there’s a lot of things that go wrong with it so, we basically did all the fix ups, the bullet proofing on this engine. We changed the engine oil cooler, with the original Ford cooler, we resealed the oil pump, the engine oil cooler seals, there’s a lot seals that tend to leak and there’s’ a fitting called a STC fitting on the high pressure oil system, they tend to blow apart you know, and they can and actually I’ve never seen it but it does happen so we replaced with an upgraded piece, so there’s an oil stem piece that we need to replace those, we put studs into the head bolt so that ensures the head gaskets are attached to them more firmly with bolts. What else did we do, oh we did bullet proof each EGR cooler as well as the EGR coolers tend to leak on these things too, so we basically fixed everything up, bullet proofed it and it should be good for quite a long time.

Mark: So how assured would an owner be if they do all that work on the head gaskets and all the other stuff you guys did that the gaskets aren’t going to blow again?

Bernie: Well you can be pretty much assured they won’t but you know I don’t want to say but, things do, there are a lot of things that do go wrong with these engines and you know it really depends on how you drive them, what I’ve noted it seems like the people who put heavy loads in the vehicles that tends to be harder on the head gaskets, if you do any performance modifications you’re risking the head gaskets going or if you just drive it just like a drag racing car you know, you’re risking the head gaskets going so if you’re driving normally, gently, not hauling massive loads all the time it’ll probably last forever, you know the bullet proof cooler for sure last way longer than the Ford cooler, never replace one after doing it, the head studs you know, help keep everything down but you can still damage can still occur if you abuse it.

Mark: Sure, so do you have any tips for owners that have 6 litre diesel that might help keep the repair costs down?

Bernie: Well, certainly regular maintenance as with any vehicle, regular oil changes, change your fuel filters, flush the coolant when needed, that’s not needed too often but just keeping on top of those kind of things, you know avoid performance modifications on these vehicles, you know if you do you’re, stuff will happen and you’ll be paying more money and just drive a little more gently especially if you have a heavy load, if you’re hauling a trailer or something, don’t go bombing up hills as fast as you can, just go a little gently and gently, however I said that and you’ll, it’ll last longer, so that’s kind of the thing, it’s really a pretty well-built engine the bottom end it’s just has a few defects that unfortunately are costly but if you take care of it, it’ll generally last quite a long time.

Mark: I don’t know if I’ve asked you this, do they actually manufacture this motor anymore?

Bernie: No, the last I believe the last time they installed it was in the 2010 Ford vans and interestingly enough you know, we’ve never done really much in the way of repairs on vans other than a few fuel injectors and things like that but never head gaskets and I think it may well be that vans, they just don’t get loaded as heavily as pickup trucks or they’re subject to as much abuse but that’s not to say they don’t blow head gaskets and it would be a lot more of a job to do a van but yeah a 2010 was the last they used it in a van and I think 07 was the last they used it in the pickup trucks. So yeah it’s not made anymore, long since surpassed by the 6.8 litre and then the 6.7.

Mark: So, if you’re the owner of a 6 litre diesel in the Vancouver area and you need to get it fixed or maintained the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can check out their website or call to book an appointment 604-327-7112. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2003 Chevy Silverado, Diesel Fuel Injector Replacement

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark at Top Local Lead Generation; we’re with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; talking about Chevy diesels. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing well Mark.

Mark: So something we really haven’t covered before I don’t think even ever, is a any kind of Chevy diesel stuff, so we’re talking about a 2003 Chevy Silverado and the fuel injector replacement, what was going on with this one?

Bernie: So this vehicle was suffering from an interesting issue, uh running pretty well but what was happening is that there is over a period of time the crankcase was filling up with diesel fuel, there’s an internal fuel leak inside the engine and so over you know, a period of say an oil change, I would add two or three extra liters of diesel fuel to the crankcase which is not a good thing you really want to be lubricating your engine with motor oil not diesel fuel.

Mark: Yeah, even tho they run on oil that’s not the right oil to lubricate it.

Bernie: No, I mean it’s better than running gasoline but at least it’s not exactly proper.

Mark: So is an internal fuel leak common on diesels?

Bernie: Well it is on some, it’s this 6.6 liter GM diesel which is actually made by Isuzu, awesome engine, very reliable, all the fuel injection plumbing is pretty much inside the engine. I’ll show you a few pictures in a minute but the injectors are inside the valve cover, all the fuel lines, I mean there are external fuel lines but all the return lines are inside the valve cover, the fuel pump, the high pressure pump bolts into the front of the engine, it can leak into the engine as well, um you know it’s common on a lot of engines, the 6 point, we’ve seen a lot of 6.4 liter Ford diesels have that issue but most, many diesels have the injection plumbing inside the engine so it can happen on any, even Ford we’ve seen quite a few where the, there’s actually a high warning light will come on or the check engine light will come on if the oil level actually gets too high so it’s a sensor to actually deal with that on the Ford.

Mark: So how’s the injector replacement on these trucks?

Bernie: It’s a huge job, it’s an enormous jobs with about 12 hours’ worth of work, can be even more sometimes but it’s a lot of work and I’ll just share a couple of photos here just to kind of give you an idea of what, what we have here, um so this is the, I’ll just expand the picture a bit, we still there?

Mark: Yeah

Bernie: O.K. so this is what, this is the top of the engine looking at the valve cover, there’s a lot of wiring and accessories and pieces that we remove. This is looking at the right cylinder bank and I’ve just gotten sort of front three cylinders you can see the back one is out of the picture because there’s piping in the way and not making such a good photo but the, this is basically what you’re looking at before you take the valve cover off so those three pipes that are bent into interesting shapes are all the high pressure fuel pipes that come to the fuel rail and go into the fuel injector. Now in our next photo we’ll have a look with the valve cover removed and this is the valve cover off and also there’s a, there’s a metal plate, spacer plate that goes between the valve cover and the and the cylinder head and that, that’s been removed as well so you can see a little more. We’ve also removed the wiring harness from the fuel injectors so this gives us a clean view of the injectors and the return lines and where some of the possible leaks can occur. All the red arrows point to the fuel injectors, the blue arrow points to the return pipe so this is sort of excess fuel that the fuel injectors don’t need and that returns the fuel back into the fuel tank through of course a lot of plumbing and the green arrow points to a couple of possible leaks. Now there’s I didn’t put green arrows everywhere where it could possible leak but there are seals, banjo bolts and seals in all, in these particular areas plus it goes to each injector so there’s, there’s more points but there’s you know, there could be any sort, if there’s any fuel leak in any of these pipes just goes directly to the crankcase and fills the oil and the injectors themselves can leak also so these are some of the places fuel can leak. This is what’s on the inside again, it takes many, many, many hours of removing pieces just to get to this particular view so it’s a large job.

Mark: So once it’s all done, what’s our final outcome here?

Bernie: Aw, the engine runs great now, I should, I didn’t talk about the diagnostic process we went through to this because it’s, it’s a little tricky to find you know, a fuel leak inside an engine when you can’t actually run the engine uh, by the time you remove everything you can’t run the engine to find the leak so we have to look at you know, mileage on the vehicle, what are the possibilities and so prior to doing any removal we get some diagnostic tests with a scan tool and you can look at the fuel rate and what the you know, how much fuel the injectors are actually injecting and see you know, what sort of compensation is being made either worn or leaking injectors and we found that several of the injectors of the fuel delivery rate is much higher than expected but this vehicle had 330,000 kilometers, talked to the owner, he’s owned it since 80,000 k’s and said never replaced the injectors so he’s got very good life out of these injectors and, and really the most common cause of the problems is bad injectors so or injector so we replaced the injectors, it’s not a 100 percent guarantee that this is going to solve all the problems but I would say first of all the engine’s going to start firing and running properly using an even amount of fuel. The only other real possibility because we’ve changed all the seals on the return pipes is the high pressure injection pump which is located on the front of the engine and with this kind of mileage it’s possible that that pump could be leaking as well but short of doing this repair first it’s really impossible to tell which you know, where it’s leaking, it’s always, it’s one thing about diesels is it’s really complicated often to diagnose things and you’ve got to by experience and knowledge, common problems first and then go from there.

Mark: So you said a word that I don’t think we’ve talked about a lot, like these are under a lot of high pressure, like how high is the pressure inside?

Bernie: You know some of these like 25,000 psi, this is just an insane amount of pressure in the system so there’s a, there’s an amazing amount of pressure and fuel injectors in these modern vehicles and that goes for modern gasoline engines too, they’re extremely high-tech you’re dealing with enormous pressures, you know, extremely precise fuel delivery I mean, I don’t have the measurement terms to say in this you know, found out but these, the amount of fuel delivery is so minute and a lot of these injectors on diesels, now this is an old 3, it’s kind of old but like a lot of newer diesels you can barely hear the engine running because it’s because the injection, some will do actually up to 7 injection pulses per combustion strokes so they’ll fire a couple little shots of fuel as the pistons coming up, they’ll fire the main shot then they’ll fire a couple more and that’s what keeps the engine from actually making the loud knocking noise that you hear on diesels typically, it’s just pretty, pretty incredible but things do go wrong, this is why you need to change your fuel filter. Now this is another interesting point, I talked to the owner, he goes you know don’t worry about changing my fuel filters, I just changed it last week because I change it religiously every six months so this is an owner that’s really conscientious about taking care of their vehicle, you know every six months is probably too much but you know what, he’s got three hundred thirty thousand kilometers on a set of fuel injectors, there’s most diesels never go that far so you know, good maintenance does pay off.

Mark: Absolutely, that’s the message of all these really isn’t it?

Bernie: It is.

Mark: Maintain your vehicle and it’ll treat you a lot better than not maintained.

Bernie: Yeah, you know we’ve had a couple Mercedes that you and I have talked about over the last six months, 3 litre Mercedes diesels where people have not changed their oil, one of them cost you know $22,000 for a new engine, another one a couple weeks ago, the turbocharger basically broke in half and these are under 50,000 kilometers and like Mercedes 3 liter diesel taken care of it, it will last you three, four, five, should last 500,000 kilometers, you know just change the oil regularly, yeah there’s a few things that will go wrong, you’ll spend some money but overall you know it will last a long, long time .

Mark: So back to this Chevy and how are Chevy GM diesels comparing to the other American diesel trucks?

Bernie: I think they’re really good, you know personally, you know to me it’s between this engine or Cummins if you’re looking at these older generation diesel and actually into the newer years and I guess the Ford 6.7 we haven’t run into any problems with that yet and I haven’t heard of any problems, Ford may have finally figured things out but I mean they had two generations of really bad engines, just very, very costly and a lot of dissatisfied owners so I would not, they’re nice trucks I just wouldn’t touch a Ford diesel, you know it’s either and I think the Chevy’s are more reliable in terms of the actual truck, less front end parts as I was alluding to in an earlier hangout, we talked about Jeeps and you know, GM or sorry Dodge front ends wearing out I mean, by the time you hit 100,000 kilometers on a Dodge you’re doing all the ball joints and tie rod ends, they’re just, they all wear out so Chevy seems to be a lot more reliable, I mean overall I think that’s the truck I’d go for.

Mark: So, any final thoughts on this whole repair service.

Bernie: You know what, it’s only you know, due good maintenance, if you’re buying a diesel do your homework and I mean the other thing about diesel I’ve mentioned quite a few times is if you’re thinking about buying a diesel ever ask yourself do you really need one because they do cost a lot of money to fix, I mean this is not going to be a cheap repair bill for the customer but if you need a diesel to haul a lot of weight well then it’s worth it but if you’re just buying it just for show, I don’t know maybe a sports car might be a bit cheaper and more fun or get a truck with a gas motor, you know an F150 or you know, a half ton truck is, it’ll be more reliable and cheaper.

Mark: So, if you want some real honest truth about your vehicles and how to maintain them properly or you have a Chevy diesel and it’s getting up there and you need to get the injectors changed, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver 604-327-7112, they’ve done a lot of this kind of work, they’re experts there someone you can trust, check out the website Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Talk to you again soon.

2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Ball Joint Replacement

Mark: Morning, it’s Mark at Top Local Lead Generation; we’re with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; Vancouver’s best auto service experience, 16 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Jeep Wrangler and some ball joint repairs; what was going on, what did you do on this vehicle?

Bernie: Well this vehicle was brought in for an inspection and a brake vibration and during the inspection we also found that the ball joints all four upper and lower as well as all the tire rod end were all worn excessively and loose so we proceeded to replace them. That’s basically what we did for this service.

Mark: So are front end repairs pretty common on these vehicles?

Bernie: They are actually and they yeah, it seems like every Jeep, this was a 2008 so it’s now a 8 year old vehicle, we’ve seen quite a few of these vehicles recently and they all seem to typically have ball joint issues. Vehicles around this vintage they also seem to have ball joints that are worn out, some of them I think a little on the premature side, we’ve had some that are under a 100,000 kilometers and the ball joints have excessive play as do all the tire rod ends as well so sometimes we don’t need to necessarily always do them all at the same time you know, it could be a pretty big bill so it can be prioritized but it’s always best to, if you’re going to do ball joints do all the ball joints at one time and then you know, do the tie rods at a separate time but if anything’s really, really loose of course it needs to be done, it’s a safety issue.

Mark: So is there, are there lots of other problems that are common to Jeeps?

Bernie: No, overall they seem to be pretty good vehicles, front end issues are common and it seems like it’s, it’s a Chrysler, it’s a Dodge truck type of phenomenon although Jeep is kind of a separate brand it is a Dodge truck made by Dodge and it seems like a any Dodge
F150, F250, sorry I got the wrong brand there; Ram 150, 250’s and 350’s, the tie rod ends and ball joints all tend to wear on those in a pretty high rate to typically, you know under a 100,000 kilometers, like close to a hundred thousand K’s you probably have worn out ball joints and tire ends if you have a Dodge truck as well so it’s, it’s pretty common, I mean other issues on Jeeps they seem to be pretty reliable overall, the engines are good, you don’t find a huge amount of you know, a lot of fluid leak problems so they’re pretty good, they don’t need tune ups very often like any modern car, they seem to run pretty well so front ends are kind of like the biggest thing.

Mark: So I know I’m throwing you a curve here, we’ve talked about the diesel Mercedes 3Litre diesel and I know that Jeep uses that motor and some of the older vehicles, any problem with those?

Bernie: Well I always talk about these 3Litres quite a lot and it’s funny, I kind of for some reason when you were talking Jeeps I guess I‘m thinking more Wrangler style of Jeep and forgetting about the Liberty and which has its own diesel and issues as well as the Grand Cherokee with its diesel and, and I mean like, as far as a Grand Cherokee I mean, it’s like the same as any other Mercedes we have posts on that, I won’t get into that right now but there’s definitely issues with those as well as the Liberties, well there’s a whole book that could be written about those too but I mean other than I’m talking more about the gasoline powered, the more traditional type of Jeep. This one, I’ve got a couple photos to share actually which I almost forgot about here, let’s get a little photo show, so we get the screen share up and going, there we go. So there’s our, these are, this is a sample of the ball joint, the top item is the ball joint that we removed from this vehicle, that’s one of four, there’s upper and lower ball joints and then on the bottom of the pictures is one of the tie rod ends, again there’s four tie rod ends that tend to wear as well. That rubber sort of piece that’s got a crack in it that’s a rubber dust boot and that was actually broken in the removal process but you know, if those are ever broken on the car while it’s in the vehicle those will shorten the life of the joint because water and dirt can get in and wreck the joint but in and of itself doesn’t necessarily mean the joint’s bad but these are, this is a sort of view of what the pieces that we replaced. Uh, there’s our Jeep Wrangler, so this is sort of while I wasn’t talking about the diesels and the motors because I had more on my mind to be Wranglers, we’ve had a few of these recently and, and done services so my brains been a little more on the gasoline powered models.

Mark: So those pieces are basically part of the structure that holds the wheel onto the car basically.

Bernie: Yeah, the ball joint basically attaches the steering knuckle which is the piece that moves when you, when you turn the wheel in your car the ball joint allows the actual wheel on the road to pivot back and forth so there’s basically there’s uppers and lowers on this type of suspension so I mean if they break then you’re wheel will basically flop sideways or back and forward. It’s a very serious condition that you know we get the odd car, it’s very odd, very rare and I thank God because it’s, it’s a harsh thing if it ever breaks while you’re driving. The tie rod end that, that’s a longer piece on the bottom of the picture, those link steering together so on this vehicle when you turn your steering wheel it goes down the steering box which is basically a gearbox that attaches to the steering linkage and those tie rod ends all attach to the linkage so if any of those break or if they’re excessively loose like they were in this Jeep you get a lot of wander so you turn the steering wheel and it doesn’t respond as well as it should so that’s why, that’s what’s critical about replacing these parts, now when they get too loose and worn and you know then they can actually break and pop apart and your wheel will point, one of your wheels will be in control and the other one won’t but there’s actually one joint that can break, I shown this Jeep two of them that could break, completely lose control of your steering so you never want that to happen, you don’t want to ever get even close to that kind of place but every once in a while I’ve seen a car on the road where you see a broken tie rod end and the one wheels pointing to the left the other pointing to the right; can’t be a nice scenario when you’re driving that car.

Mark: No. So and a lot of play it’s not, it’s not a feature like it was in the 50’s.

Bernie: No. It’s funny, we have a 58 Impala in our shop, we’re doing some work on and it’s interesting to drive a car that old because and this one is actually in quite nice shape but I mean one of the first thing I noticed was the steering, it’s just all over the road and this vehicles actually in pretty good shape too so it’s just, just kind of the way it was back then, but yeah on a modern car it’s not a feature.

Mark: So Jeeps are pretty popular and a lot of people like them, what do you think about them?

Bernie: I think they’re pretty good but they are, I mean they are certainly have their quirks and when I think about it I think there’s a lot of people who like Jeeps because of the functionality, you know this Wrangler Unlimited it’s kind of a neat vehicle because it gives you that, it’s a four door vehicle with nice comfortable, a lot more comfortable seats but it gives you that sort of ride of a traditional old Jeep and the look so I think it was a smart idea that they’re quite popular and we work on a lot of them. I think more stuff tends to go wrong with Jeeps than your average vehicle, they’re kind of like the I want to call them the British sports car of American cars, they’re not that bad but you know there’s a lot that goes on with them but people seem to like them and so they’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep the car going but, but overall I like the details if that’s the kind of vehicle you like, I mean they’re awesome. People don’t use them off road as much as they could because they’re pretty decent off road.

Mark: Yeah, so if you’re looking for service for your Jeep to make sure that it’s steering properly or if you’ve got any looseness, looseness or play in there that you need checked, you’re in Vancouver give Bernie Pawlik at Pawlik Automotive a call 604-327-7112, they’re busy, you got to book ahead or check out their website, they’ve got years and years of, of these broadcasts on their, tons of information, check it out. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: You’re welcome, thanks Mark.

2006 Honda Civic Engine Replacement

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation, we’re with Bernie Pawlik, Vancouver’s best auto repair service experience, Pawlik Automotive. They are 16 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So, we’re going to talk about a Honda Civic, now this is a little bit unique. You did an engine replacement on a Honda, that’s kind of different. What happened?

Bernie: Yeah, so we replaced an engine on a Honda. It’s a little unusual. Basically it’s a 2006 Honda Civic, came to us for a maintenance service and it had a coolant leak so we pressure tested the cooling system and we found the engine block was actually split and was leaking coolant right out of the engine block. I’ll just go straight into sharing a couple photos because it’s interesting to look at here. Now are you seeing this? Ok - so that’s the front of the engine block on the Honda Civic, that sort of dark reddish thing you see up above with the two bolt holes, that’s the exhaust, that’s where the exhaust manifold bolts up to the engine. The red arrow points to the area where the coolant was leaking and you can see a bit of a bluish discolouration below it, that’s the Honda antifreeze. Now here’s a closer up view of that area and you can see the bluish stain now, the crack is actually not visible and I kind of regret not taking a photo when we had the pressure tester because you could see coolant spraying out but that red arrow points to the leak, it’s on that sort of casting web of the engine was where the coolant was leaking out so basically nothing you can do about that but replace the engine.

Mark: So is that a common occurrence on this kind of motor?

Bernie: Well strangely enough it is, although this is the first time we’ve ever seen it and prior to this week I would of told you that Honda engines are bullet proof and they pretty much are, but this is a common occurrence on this engine and actually Honda has issued a TSB. They’ve extended the warranty on this vehicle to ten years for any engine problem for this particular issue - 2006 to 2009 model years.

Mark: So you know that is a common occurrence because of the, how do you know that it’s a common occurrence if you guys haven’t seen it that often?

Bernie: Well, what I judge as a common occurrence, even though our shop is growing, we’re still a pretty small shop, I mean we don’t do Honda’s all day long so, there’s a whole world of things that happen that we don’t see. But the first thing you do, our junior technician, he’s the one that did the diagnosis, he looked up, looked for technical service bulletins which is something that we do in our business and found a bulletin for this particular issue and there’s a 10 year warranty. So sadly enough for the customer, we got the repair job because this vehicle is just a few months out of the warranty period. Sadly for the customer, it’s too bad it didn’t happen four months ago because then he would of got the engine job done for free. So once there is a technical service bulletin issued that becomes a common problem because manufacturers identified there are issues and they need to rectify, they need to deal with it and they tell their service departments and the general public that this is something that needs to be done and this is how you fix it.

Mark: So no warranty on this vehicle, I guess it was, what kind of motor did you replace this faulty engine with?

Bernie: We got a good used engine, it was a low mileage used engine. I don’t anticipate that they’re going to see any problem with this engine. Obviously it’s used and you’d think well it might happen again and yes, it could possibly. But these engines besides this issue were incredibly reliable and we do work on a lot of these Honda’s and this is the first time we’ve seen one. So, just to go a little further just because it’s a bullet, doesn’t mean every single one of these cars has the problem, it’s just a more frequent occurrence than it should and that’s why Honda extended the warranty to give good will to their customers.

Mark: So is there anything that a Honda owner can do to prevent this from happening?

Bernie: No, it’s just basically a manufacturing defect that will show up on some engines and just to keep in mind if you have a 2006 to a 2009 Civic and the engine block splits, there’s a good chance that you’ve got a warranty. Although with the 2006 model, again that time is passing so by the end of the year it will be in the 2007 range. You can do the math. So yeah nothing you can do just, change your oil, flush you cooling system, change your fluids and do your service. These are very reliable cars, they’re excellent.

Mark: So if you need some service on your Honda Civic on your Honda anything, these are the guys to call in Vancouver, Pawlik Automotive 604-327-7112 to book, they’re busy give them a call or check out the website Remember Vancouver’s best auto repair service experience. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark, talk to you soon.

2012 Mercedes-Benz GL350 Turbocharger Replacement


Mark: Hi, it’s Mark for Top Local Lead Generation and we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive, Vancouver’s best auto service experience. How’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well this morning.


2012 Mercedes ML350

Mark: So we have another Mercedes Diesel GL350 with a big service. What happened with this vehicle?

Bernie: The engine started making some pretty horrible noises, and the owner took it to Mercedes where they told her she needed a new engine. She wasn’t extremely happy with their price quote, which was high, it’s a lot of money to do an engine in one of these cars and she brought the vehicle to us.

Mark: So it’s another diesel with the motor perhaps gone, what ended up having to be replaced?

Bernie: Well what we found actually was the turbocharger was bad in the case of this vehicle. But this is another vehicle, a 2012, so it’s only four years old at this point, 48,000 kilometres, still young and to my mind, almost a brand new vehicle. The oil hadn’t been changed in over a year and according to the dash was 20,000km over due for an oil change. A very bad thing to do on any engine, especially on a Mercedes 3 liter diesel. We’ve already talked about this in a previous blog post about the engine we replaced. So we did our diagnosis on it and listened to it: it sounded like the engine was blown with horrible knocking sounds. We authorized engine repair work and started taking things apart.

Mark: So what, tell us about the diagnostic process, what did you go through to get to that level of that you might need that level of service?

Bernie: Well, initially listening to the engine, and black smoke blowing out along with the check engine light on for a variety of different trouble codes; just the sound of the engine and based on the lack of oil change and we made a pretty quick assumption that there’s something in the bottom end of the engine had given way. What was interesting is when we authorized the engine repair, we started pulling things apart, we took the turbo duct off and Matt, our technician, who was working on it, he noticed that the turbocharger was severely worn. This is completely blown and I’ll show you a video in a minute of the turbo. The turbo is a little turbine and it sits in a bearing and it usually has a tiny bit of play, but this one is actually completely broken and we thought wait a minute, maybe it’s just the turbo. So we thought, let’s take a diagnostic a little, let’s be a little more thorough here, so we put everything back together, we’ll drain the oil out, found the oil wasn't all sludged up which was the case with our last engine job, so that was a positive sign. We took the oil filter out and cut the oil filter apart just to examine it and there were a few metal particles, but not much, just a few little fine particles. We thought, hey maybe it’s the turbo that’s bad, so we put some fresh oil in the engine, started it up and listened to it and really the only noise we could hear was coming from the turbo. So at that point we authorized with the customer to change the turbo,  flush the oil a few times because it’s been so long overdue and see what happens from there.

Mark: So what was involved with the repair process?

Bernie: Well we basically replaced the turbocharger, but in the process, we also, there’s a turbo oil stand which we have to remove, found that to be partially flooded due to the oil sludge. We tested and verified that there was actually good oil flow through there because we didn’t want to find, perhaps an oil passageway plugged up and we put a new turbo in and it blows it. But clearly the turbo had been damaged from lack of oil changes. We drained the oil out, again found there was really not much sludge in the oil which was a positive sign. We did a couple of hot oil flushes, so we actually did two oil changes on the engine then we filled it with proper oil. So that was basically the repair procedure, put it back together and that was it.


Top of engine view of 2012 ML350 diesel engine. The red arrow points to the turbocharger

Mark: So let’s see that turbo. What’d that look like?

Bernie: Yeah, let’s look at a couple things here, first I’ll share some pictures and here, we’ll start with some pictures. This is the picture of the actual engine compartment. That red arrow points to the turbocharge and so the turbocharger, if you look, there’s a sort of black piece that goes across the front of the engine, right in front of that red arrow and that’s the air intake. So the air is sucked into the engine into the turbocharger, there’s a turbine blade in there and that blows the air out through that silver pipe that goes forward towards the front of the engine and that give the engine it’s boost, it’s high pressure and the turbine sits inside this turbo mechanism. Just another quick photo, there’s our 2012 GL model vehicle. So let’s go back here, I’ll start the screen share again and we’ll look at this turbo. Ok so there’s our turbo - ok so here’s a quick, crude video.

Mark: Oh, that’s not supposed to happen

Bernie: Yeah, all that movement there is not supposed to happen at all and the camera is supposed to be steady too but I did a quick video without the tripod. I’ll just show it to you again, it’s pretty amazing, like that is just worn beyond belief. Now we’re looking at the exhaust side of the turbine here, the intake side which is on the other side, and the shaft is broken between the two, so there’s no turbo boost and this blade gets spun when the exhaust runs through, so you can imagine the kind of racket, the kind of noise it would be making. So the good news is that was basically it. Now after we put the turbo in and we started the engine up and it ran, but it started blowing a lot of smoke out because when the turbo failed there are oil passageways inside the turbo and it just filled the exhaust system and the intake system full of engine oil. So it was a bit of an embarrassing drive for Matt when he went out: there were clouds and clouds of smoke everywhere.  When he came back the engine was running quite rough, making some bad noise and we thought oh oh, it’s not fixed. But the good news is we shut it off and left it for a little while, ran it for a little longer and I think what was happening was there was so much residual oil in the intake system, and being a diesel, an oil burning engine, it would get little blasts of engine oil coming in that would cause the engine to run intermittently rough and make knocking sounds from bad combustion. So we took it out for a good long drive, burnt the rest of the oil out, embarrassed myself a little bit, after about 15 minutes the oil burning stopped and the engine ran smooth and it was good.

Mark: So it sounds like maybe this owner dodged a major bullet.

Bernie: I think so, but I wouldn’t count on the longevity of this engine. And this is actually the scary thing, we did a few posts about buying used cars and it might be that this owner may sell this vehicle and it’s going to be running great but how would you know if you bought a used car that this amount of work had been done? That this oil has been neglected like that? There’s no real record of that other than if they showed the bill for this work or if someone actually contacted us, so that’s a bit of a risk you know, just to add to our used car post we’ve had. You just hope and assume people have done good maintenance and this is why you need to ask people, do you have receipts for all your maintenance, have you done all your oil changes on time? Because if people can’t produce them that can be a real red flag, as we talked about the last person who had this particular issue had a twenty two thousand dollar job for a blown engine and his turbo for some reason was working. So yeah, I think the owner dodged a major bullet here which is great, very fortunate.

Mark: And then probably the life of this motor is compromised?

Bernie: Absolutely. You know, there’s no doubt about it. You just can’t go that far without oil changes, without causing some kind of damage.

Mark: So final lesson is if you have a diesel, change your freaking oil.

Berne: Exactly, I mean I can’t say enough and especially with so many modern cars, especially a Mercedes, I mean it tells you right on the dash, change the oil. Just follow that. It’s so simple. They couldn’t make it any simpler unless, we phoned you up when it was due and kept calling every day you didn’t do it. It’s just, the clock keeps ticking, it’ll tell you 20 days over due/ 21 days, 22, its like you got to do it, otherwise you’re going to spend a lot of money. Those are my final thoughts, change your oil unless you drive a Tesla, change your oil.

Mark: So if you need service on your vehicle from a guy who cares, from a company who pride themselves on incredible customer service and giving you the best deal and the best advice possible, not spending a dollar more of your money than is needed or deserve, these are the guys to call in Vancouver. Pawlik Automotive. You can book your appointment at 604-327-7112 or check out their website Thanks Bernie

Bernie: You’re welcome. Thanks Mark.

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2006 Pontiac Grand Prix A/C Condenser Replacement

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation; we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive, Pawlik Automotive, Vancouver’s best automotive experience. How’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well Mark. How are you?

Mark: Good. So air conditioning repairs, hard to think of right now given that we’re in the middle of you know fall in the summer of 2016 here in Vancouver; it’s been rainy but I guess you had a 2006 Grand Prix that had some ongoing air conditioner problems.

Bernie: It has, and um it’s a good example of how air conditioning systems can be a little complex to fix over time, um yeah so basically so what was happening with this car, a few months, actually I think over the last few years the owner had experienced some problems with the air conditioning and a few months ago he said let’s get this fixed up so we did a diagnosis on it, found the compressor had a pretty substantial leak and looked around the rest of the system, couldn’t find any other leaks at the time so we replaced the compressor and we also replaced the accumulator at the same time which is kind of a filter drier filter, replaced that unit at the same time, felt the system was working great, went out of town for about a month or more, came back and it wasn’t blowing cold as he had wanted it to.

Mark: So how did you find the first leak?

Bernie: Well the first leak we found initially with a refrigerant detector; we have multiple methods of finding refrigerant leaks; they can be very tricky sometimes it can be kind of small, sometimes they can be large. Large ones are always better to find but the, with this particular refrigerant leak the original one we found with an electronic refrigerant detector; the second time around we looked at the vehicle and we found that it was in fact low in refrigerant again, not empty but low so we did some tests, now when we did the first repair we added some UV dye to the system, it’s an ultraviolet dye and when the vehicle, when the leak occurs it, it mixes with the oil and it comes out you can see like a green glow, so I’m going to share a photo, screen share a photo here with you, if I can get this to work. There we go. This is a picture of the condenser, so this was what we found was faulty the 2nd time, this is the condenser, it’s like a radiator that sits in front of the engine and if you notice on the left, bottom left corner of the picture you can see a very greeny kind of glue, you can see that there’s like an oil coating on that side and if you look on the right side of the picture you see it’s just sort of black, blackish type of film but when you look towards the left you can see a sort of oiler film on it and in the bottom left corner you can see a green dye which is absolutely a hundred percent conclusive evidence of a leak from the condenser. So the leak, the leak UV dye is one of our favourite ways to find leaks because it, it’s extremely conclusive but many times a leak that’s small we can’t find it.

Mark: So what was involved in replacing this condenser?

Bernie: Well a condenser, it’s located at the front of the vehicle and it’s always in front of the radiator so uh it’s usually a fairly labour intensive job in this car and it was. In this vehicle you have to remove the radiator and then drain the cooling system, remove the radiator and then you can take the condenser out and some are not so difficult and others are even worse but that’s basically what’s involved and of course we have to evacuate whatever refrigerant is in the system first, then remove the condenser, replace it and then do another service on the, on the AC system so we deep vacuum it and then refill it again.

Mark: So you mentioned that you repaired this vehicles AC system a couple months before, did you charge for each diagnosis?

Bernie: No we don’t; what we do because the way air conditioning systems work and we can never be 100% sure we fixed it, what we do at our shop is we have a one year basic diagnostic warranty on air conditioning diagnosis so it’s something if we look at the vehicle and we determine it’s this particular problem we will do the repair if the customer wants to, see how it works out, if it works fine great, but if something else were to happen then we’ll just continue diagnosing it for you know within the year for no extra charge and in this case too we also evacuated and recharged the system for no extra charge as well. It doesn’t make sense to be paying for things over and over but often we just cannot see the other leaks and things until you know, again the system is repaired and it gets up to pressure and starts working.

Mark: So it’s almost like it, it causes cascades, one you got a big problem in one area and that seems to be the only issue but once you fix that, then all the little problems start to show up, is that kind of what’s going on in the case?

Bernie: Exactly, you know the thing is you know, the system hadn’t worked in a few years so it may have developed a leak in this condenser that you know, was not noticeable until the system is actually functional and the pressures were back. Air conditioning is really interesting because it involves, I mean, it has a, I don’t even know what it’s called, I guess a chemical like a liquid but the refrigerant, the R134 is basically, it changes state from a high-pressure gas to a high pressure liquid to a low pressure gas to a low pressure liquid and the temperatures fluctuate throughout the whole system so it’s under a major amount of stress plus it sits under the hood of a car where it’s at least, you know, it’s extremely hot so it, it’s amazing how well they work and how reliable they are but you know, there’s a lot that can go wrong.

Mark: So air conditioning can be pretty expensive to fix?

Bernie: It can be, I never like to use the word expensive, I was thinking about that word because it’s always a judgment or a perception in people’s minds but yeah, generally it’s not the cheapest thing to repair I mean, sometimes you may get away with a couple hundred dollar repair, it isn’t like some simple electrical item, but often like, like a job like this particular vehicle is probably I’m thinking it’s probably $1,500 to $2,000 but with the two repairs, so it’s a fair amount of, it’s a fair amount of cost. I usually find there’s sort of two camp of people with car air conditioning, there’s the people who want it and are willing to spend the money to fix it and there’s the people who just don’t care and don’t spend it so.

Mark: Yeah, it’s not that big deal for us here.

Bernie: Well, exactly it’s not exactly I mean Vancouver doesn’t stay hot a lot long, I mean we had like a summer in March, April and May, it’s kind of different but you know again you can always roll the windows down we seem to get used to air conditioning in cars and one time air conditioning was a luxury option and now it’s I find it rare, very rare to find a new car that, that doesn’t have air conditioning, it’s just like very car has it, it’s real standard equipment, even more popular that power windows now.

Mark: So if you’re in Vancouver and you love your air conditioning, it’s not working right, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can call them to book your appointment at 604-327-7112 or check out their website Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

How to Buy a Good Used Car – Where to Buy Cars

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation; we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive, 16 time, maybe more winners of best auto repair in Vancouver. How’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well Mark.

Mark: So, um, we’re going to talk about the last kind of section of buying a good used car; where’s a good place to buy a car?

Bernie: Well as I see it there are three options to buying a good used car, actually buying any used car whether it’s good or bad, one is a private sale, second from a dealership, and the third is from an auction.

Mark: Alright, so what are the advantages of a private sale?

Bernie: So for private sale, I usually think price is one of the advantages, not always, you have to do your homework as I mentioned in previous hangouts but price is definitely generally better and also you get to meet the owner of the car, you get to know how did this person take care of the car, you can talk to them about, you know, see if they have maintenance receipts, um, often you can buy a car from the original owner, if it’s an older car you can see how they maintained the car and it gives you an opportunity to decide, hey do I want to buy this car based on the person who’s even owned it, so that something that you don’t get when you buy from a dealer or auction house, is to get to know who’s owned the car and how they’ve taken care of it. So that to me is an advantage of the private sale, much more personal.

Mark: Yeah, I remember looking for a car and we went, quick story, and we went and the guy jumped in this car, started it, floored it, literally floored it right cold, blam and o.k. guys take it for a test drive, and it’s like, no thanks.

Bernie: Yeah, that’s an excellent example of you know, where you see the personality, the person who owned the car and you go I don’t think so, you can just tell the cars going to have problems. So that’s a very good, very good example.

Mark: So what about buying from a dealer? What’s the advantages from buying from a dealer?

Bernie: So dealers, there’s a few, there’s a wide range of dealerships. There are your branded dealerships like your GM, your Subaru, your Volvo dealership and generally these dealerships only sell what I call good cars, they’re usually late model cars, probably not much more than 5 years old, they’ve still got some, they’re still higher priced, they’ve got some good value, they probably took them in a trade in and they make sure they sell cars that are fairly decent. Your next category of dealership is your independent dealership; now these range anywhere from you know, you’re extremely sketchy auto sales person that’s made a reputation, made the car sales business horrible up to some very high quality used, independent used car dealerships. It’s really worth doing your homework before you buy a car again from these kind of people, find out where the dealership is, I mean if you like the car that you’re looking at, you know suss out the dealership and you’ll get an idea whether they sell good quality cars or not. So advantage of dealers, I mean you know, some of the lower end dealers will sell any piece of crap and try to make it look good, but the higher end independent dealers will again sell pretty good cars because their reputation’s on the line, they don’t want to sell you a piece of junk. What else, oh yeah, dealerships will often offer in-house financing, especially the larger dealerships so that’s, that’s another advantage, I mean of course you can finance pretty well any car but you know, it’s kind of a one stop shop, you can buy the car and finance it and take care of the whole transaction in one shot.

Mark: Alright, the final category, excuse me, is auctions, what, what are the downfalls or advantages of using an auction?

Bernie: Well, I think auctions are risky, this is where you really need to do your homework, this is really where you need to know what’s a good type of car, you don’t want to walk into an auction going, well I’ll just put a bid on any car, that’s a bad mistake, I’ve seen people who’ve bought cars at auctions that wouldn’t be worth owning for free. So you need to do your research, if you know exactly, hey I want to buy this you know, 2000 or say, I don’t 2009
BMW X5 and you know the price range, you know what looks good, you know what doesn’t, what the price range is for mileage you can look over the car although you can’t really take it out on a road test, you don’t really know the history of the car but can probably get a pretty good idea but again, it’s about knowing the car, doing your research, then you might have the opportunity to get a good deal. The thing about auctions is a lot of times people get caught up in the hype of the auction, they end up bidding way more money for a car that isn’t worth it, so you’ve got to know what you’re doing for auctions. I would say it’s probably your final option and the thing about the cars, it really becomes a commodity in an auction house, is just a machine that’s sitting there and who knows how it’s really been taken care of or who’s done what to it, there’s not really a lot of, you know, I’ve got to say a good independent car dealer or even a you know, a branded dealership usually does an inspection on a car and goes over it, so an auction house won’t even go that far, but there are some guarantees in place but it’s a little dicey. So I’d say that would be my very last choice for buying a good used car.

Mark: Yeah, it’s probably something where if you’re willing to do a lot of the research and you really know cars, although you don’t even get much of a chance, lifting the hood isn’t going to tell you a lot about how the car’s going to run or just starting it and seeing if it’ll, you don’t still know if the brakes or steering are any good but it’s, there’s a lot that can go wrong even with a low mileage car as you’ve pointed out, you know, 50,000 kilometer vehicles and the motors are done.

Bernie: Absolutely, we’ve got a, you know we’ve seen a couple where you know, just recently worked on some cars where you know, we’d done some work on the engines and I know they don’t have a lot of life left in them and you know, some could be some of these things in auction and it could actually pass your sort of immediate test, oh that car’s not bad, it might actually work for a while and blow up in a year so, I mean how of a used car is that? So um, yeah, that’s so, as I say auctions are definitely, I mean a lot of dealerships buy from auctions but you know, they’re experienced pros and they don’t always make the right choice either. If you’re buying a used car you usually have one shot at it and most people don’t want to buy a couple. Oh, I’ll get rid of that one, it’s a lot of work. You want to make your choice and do it right the first time.

Mark: Any final thoughts?

Bernie: Yeah, I mean, I guess a lot depends on how much money you have to spend as well, I mean if you’re looking only to buy a $3,000 used car you’re pretty much going to be in the market of buying for a private sale is really the way to go, you don’t want to go to some car lot and buy a $3,000 car, I mean it’s I don’t know it’s just, to me it’s just too risky, they pawn off too much junk but if you’re looking, you know if you have a budget for a 2 or 3 year old car I mean you’re pretty much, pretty much going to be buying that from a dealership of some sort whether it’s a good independent dealership or a, or a brand, a branded dealership and often those cars have a bit of warranty left on them as well. So, it depends on what you’re buying and it’s almost as important when you buy a used car to be realistic, if you’re buying a 3 year old used car, not much is going to go wrong with it but if you’re buying a 12 year old car, well it’s old, you know and stuff is going to happen no matter what, so you know, don’t buy a 12 year old car expecting it to be like a new car.

Mark: Right so if you’re looking to buy a new car and you need an inspection before you purchase the believe me, learned the hard way, you must get an inspection before you put your money down; these are the guys to call Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

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