BMW - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC


Category Archives for "BMW"

BMW 335i, Air Conditioner 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. 22 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Well, with an introduction like that, I certainly couldn't feel bad. 

Mark: So we're going to talk about a 2015 BMW 335i, that had an AC problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So the vehicle came to our shop. The air conditioning was not blowing cold air it was warm, so, needed some work.

Mark: So commonly did you just recharge it? 

Bernie: No. You know, sometimes we do but it really depends on the circumstances. We always, at the very least do a visual inspection, if not a full system diagnosis to figure out why it's not working. Now if the air conditioning is working, but it's not quite as cold as it should be.

Then sometimes recharging is an okay thing to do. But if there's no cold air whatsoever, then the system's leaked all its refrigerant out, or it's got an electrical problem, and that really does need to be diagnosed. In the case of this vehicle, we were quickly able to find the issue with this thing and that was, the condenser was leaking.

Mark: So was that an obvious leak? 

Bernie: It was actually obvious. And that's why I say it was kind of quickly found. I'll actually share a screen because we have lots of pictures to show today. 

So there's the condenser as removed from the BMW. And if you look here, it's a type of radiator. If you look at the bottom, it's all stained black here. This is all leaked out oil. An air conditioning system is basically the refrigerant, which is a chemical that creates the cold air. And there's oil in there to lubricate the compressor. And this is leaked out oil. So this is perfect evidence of a leak in the system. So that's why I say there's an obvious leak. We replaced the condenser and went from there. 

Mark: So is this the only way you find AC leaks?

Bernie:  No, we actually have a number of different methods. The visual inspection of course is the first thing we do. And sometimes things are not that obvious. So I'm going to go through a few of the tools and pieces that we use to find an AC leak. We'll start with this one. 

This is a top of a tank of nitrogen gas. It's basically a huge tank full of nitrogen. I don't know the full pressure in this tank. It's an awful lot. But we can pump up 3-400 PSI of pressure into the system and we can pump that into the low and high side of the air conditioning system and find leaks. It's not often the system will ever get up to that kind of pressure. So any leak is usually obvious to find. Now, sometimes it isn't. Air conditioning can be really tricky and that's why I'm showing you all these things.

But this is one of the tools we use. Nitrogen gas is inert. It doesn't do anything to the environment or it doesn't wreck the system. It's not explosive. It just provides pressure. And then we can find leaks from there. Now, with that kind of pressure, if there's a little bit of refrigerant in the system, then we can, if it's a bad leak, it'll start hissing.

But if  it's a very minimal leak, which a lot of them are. They're very slow leaks and tricky to find. There are other methods we can use. One of them is this tool here. This is a refrigerant detector and this doesn't necessarily require nitrogen, but this is an electronic detector and we can move this little tip, this little probe around. This is like a flexible head piece, and we can move this around to various spots in the system. And it makes a beeping sound. If it detects our 134 R12 refrigerant, well R12 is almost extinct, fortunately, but any AC refrigerant, it'll start beeping like crazy. These lights will go from this little light here to all, all of them will light up.

It's not my favourite tool. It seems like a good idea in theory. But for some reason it just doesn't really find the leaks that often. And sometimes it'll actually go off falsely. But if there is a definite noticeable leak, it'll definitely confirm that something's there. So there was one of the tools. 

The other one I've used, this is an ultrasonic leak detector. It basically picks up ultrasounds. So these are frequencies, our ears don't hear. And it's an electronic device. So it magnifies the sound. That's the right word to use for sound. I'll go with it.  So we have headphones on here. And this probe here is basically to listen, to sounds in a single pickup little hisses of air.

And I recently used this, I have a Suburban that's had an AC leak for a while. It started to get worse and I could actually hear a hissing sound when it was under nitrogen pressure from two spots in the condenser. So that confirmed the leak. And then I was able to verify the leak with the next thing we're going to talk about, which is UV dye. 

So this is a UV light. It basically creates like a purple colour ultraviolet light, and you generally use yellow glasses and we put a dye into the AC system. A lot of cars actually come charged, AC system comes charged with a UV dye right from the factory. Some do some don't. We can add it pretty easily and then any leaks, show up, and I'll show a picture of how that looks.

Just to go back here, this is actually an AC condenser out of my Suburban. If you look here, you can see a little bit of a stain here, not like the BMW where it was completely covered, but there is a little bit of a stain here. Not obvious to the eye, that it's a, you know, not a hundred percent confirmation because sometimes you can get oil at sprays up or some oil that sprays from elsewhere on the car that creates a leak. But that, you know, to me, I was going at it's pretty obvious and I'd already verified there was a leak coming from some of these tubes by that ultrasonic leak detector.

But the next step, took it out, this is what the UV light looks like without the yellow glasses. It basically just shines a purple light. Now with our eyeballs, I can actually see a green glow, the camera doesn't pick it up quite that well, but I do have a picture here. It's a little dark, but if you look carefully in this area, you'll see a green glow. This is a camera shot through those yellow glasses. And that's the absolute evidence that we need that there's AC oil that's leaked out of the system. So that is definitely one of the best tools for sure. 

 Little diagram of how the air conditioning system works. The condenser's the piece on the front, there's a lot of parts and components to AC, but the condenser's like the radiator and the front, then there's the evaporator, which is the, like the radiator on the inside that generates the cold air. 

There's a compressor that compresses the chemical, and there's various states of high pressure gas, high pressure liquid, low pressure gas, low pressure liquid. We won't get into that, but it changes state a lot. And that's how conditioning kind of works, and we're back.

Mark:  So in this case was the condenser the only thing you replaced?

Bernie: Yeah. So in this case, the condenser was the only piece we replaced. I will talk a little more about diagnostic. So of course, sometimes there's the obvious leaks. We look and we see, Hey, There's an obvious leak, but we still take the time to look over the whole system as much as we can see.

Now, actually just getting back to the picture, a lot of these components are really hard to find on a car. There are numerous pipes and hoses that kind of run in areas that you can't see. They're hidden. The evaporators, they're really tricky. The really tricky piece. The evaporators inside a closed box, inside the vehicle under the dash. Sometimes it can take, you know, more than a day's labour to remove the condenser and sometimes even a couple of days where the work to actually take the whole dash apart to change the condenser. And you can't see it. 

Mark: The evaporator you mean.

Bernie: The evaporator, sorry. Yeah, the evaporator. I just get those confused for some reason. Anyway yeah, the evaporator, it can be on most cars hugely time consuming. There's the odd one where you can actually see it. But, I won't even talk about which cars those are and they're extremely rare. But most of the time you can't see it and it's a lot of work to find it. So, you only change this as a last resort when you can't find anything else. But my point is that there's a lot of places where leaks are hard to find and taking the time to look for them is really worthwhile. 

We had a Jaguar last week I looked at, the air conditioning was blowing warm air. Put it up on a hoist, the compressor sits right at the bottom of the engine, really easy to see. And it was very obvious. There was like oil leaked all over it. Put the UV glasses on. You can see the green coloured stain, like actual drips of oil. Okay, great. There's the problem. But you know, we do charge our clients to do a thorough service and an inspection. So I pulled some covers off the bottom of the engine. I figured, well, I'm going to have a look at the compressor, sorry, the condenser and just see whether, you know, see whether there's possibly some leaks there. The thing again, with the condenser, a lot of it is hidden too.

It's not so easy to see, even though it is in front of the radiator, there are brackets, pieces, you know, there's stuff in the way, but I looked underneath and sure enough found a leak from one side of the condenser. Similar to that one I just showed you on, on the Suburban. 

So, it's good to take the extra time to look through things. But with that being said, even then we found two leaks, there could still be other things. And we won't know about them till we actually fix what we know, put the system back together and see how it works. So it's good to know that as a consumer, that sometimes when an air conditioning leak is found, it may not be everything.

Mark: So if you had just fixed that compressor leak, would that have solved the problem for the customer?

Bernie:  On the Jaguar? 

Mark: Yeah. 

Bernie: Well, it would of solved some of it, but it would have leaked out again because there was a second leak. Now how long that leak would take, it was smaller than the compressor for sure.

But you know, it could have leaked out in a few days. It could have leaked out in a few months, but nonetheless it's better if you fix it. And it doesn't leak out again for say forever, you know. An AC is a sealed system by the way. So it should never need to be recharged, but sometimes it can develop a very tiny little leak or seep, and you know, over a period of it, you know, if you have to recharge it every three to five years. That's probably not a bad thing, but you know, it should never leak. 

Mark: So there's many shops that have signs out front talking about recharging your AC system for so many dollars. That doesn't seem like it's a very effective service. 

Bernie: Not really. I think it really needs to be looked at on an as needed basis. So for instance, if your air conditioning is working, but it's not quite as cool as it should be, that's probably not a bad service to do. You know, evacuate it out, recharge it with refresh refrigerant. It might be a little bit low. It may have a tiny leak. That's probably not a bad service, but if it's not working, it needs to be diagnosed. It's plain and simple. It's kind of like changing oil on an engine that has a severe knocking noise. It really needs to be fixed. So if your air conditioning's not working, don't don't think, Oh, I'll just get it recharged. It needs to be diagnosed and sometimes recharging it is, you know, sometimes when we look over system and we go, Hey, we can't find a leak anywhere. Sometimes putting a partial charge into the system and seeing what happens and just seeing how it lasts is sometimes the most effective thing to do. But again, if you're just coming in as a service, kind of like an, an oil change for your AC, it's really not that effective.

Mark: So was the condenser, let's go back to the BMW. Was the condenser, the only part that you replaced on the BMW? 

Bernie: On the BMW it was. Actually I'm going to just look at another picture. What an unimportant piece to fix often when you have a major leak is the receiver dryer or the accumulator. It depends on the system. There are slightly different component, but they both serve the same function. They have a filter inside of it. And, that filter has a thing called a desiccant in it. It absorbs moisture. A moisture is a bad thing to have inside an air conditioning system. And any time there's a leak where air could get in moisture gets in to. So it's important to replace that. 

Sometimes it's prohibitively expensive because it's part of the condenser these days. But fortunately for the BMW, the dryer, which sits over here is actually part of the condenser. So, fortunately this got to kind of two for one, the dryer got changed at the same time. But that's the only other component. Now if I was changing a compressor, or an evaporator, I don't know, I'd necessarily recommend to the customer let's change the condenser as well. Because with the dryer built in that would add an awful lot of extra costs. So if it's a separated component, which it is a lot of vehicles that dryers an important thing to replace. 

Mark: And how did the BMW 335i I work after the repair?

Bernie: It was good, nice and cold inside and just like you want, it's hot in Vancouver these days. At least it wasn't until today. So air conditioning is very, air conditioner has been very welcome for the last couple of weeks. You know, it's funny around here because the air conditioning you don't really need it, at least for coolness, that often in the year, but it's nice to have it. Other places like Southern California, it's pretty much a year round requirement, unless you like really hot air.

Mark: Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to look after your BMW or any of your air conditioning problems. You have to call and book ahead they're busy. (604) 327-7112 or from the website You can book from there. You can call them from there. You can check out hundreds of videos on all makes and models of cars, all types of repairs for the last eight years, actually. As well Pawlik Auto Repair on YouTube. And thank you so much for watching or listening on podcast. We appreciate it. And leave us a review, whatever you like, if you like what we're laying down and give us a review. We'd appreciate that. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2014 BMW 435i Fuel Injector 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. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So today's victim 2014, BMW, 435i. This is a series that we haven't seen for that long in North America. What was going on with this fairly new vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so this vehicle came to our shop with a very rough running, engine would barely run, a number warning lights on, and definitely needed some help. 

Mark: Where did you start to test? 

Bernie: Well, of course, scan tools, the first place to start, see what trouble  codes are stored. And then from there we did some tests. We pretty much determined that number one cylinder was the culprit. There was a number of misfire codes for that cylinder, and further testing we found that the fuel injector and number one cylinder was a kind of spraying like a fire hose. It was, as soon as you turn the key on, it would actually inject fuel. It's electronically controlled, whatever controls that hold the injector shut were basically not functioning.

So it was just dumping a lot of fuel into the engine, and we figured need replacement. The number one fuel injector was the culprit. 

Mark: So what kind of injection system is this?

Bernie: This is a direct injection system. So the fuel is injected directly into the cylinder as opposed to a port injection system where the fuel is injected into the intake manifold, right above the intake valve.

This is pretty common. I mean, BMW has been using this for awhile, at least since probably 2010, 2011. A lot of other manufacturers use it. It works really well. Of course creates some of its own unique issues, but, yeah. 

Mark: So this is a system that originated in diesels, if I've got that right. Why would they move to this kind of a system? 

Bernie: Yeah, you're exactly right. Direct injection is used in diesels. You know, diesels don't have spark plugs. So the only way that the fuel can be fired is to compress the air to a very high temperature, and then the fuel is injected and explodes. That's basically how diesel works.

With gasoline, of course, for many years, they didn't do that. Take carburetors, for instance, fuel just got sucked into the cylinder, got compressed with the air. There's a bit of heat developed and then the spark plug fires and boom, the cylinder goes down. 

So now with direct injection, they found there's a lot of benefit to it. There's way more precise fuel control, so the fuel can be injected exactly at the right time. It can be injected multiple times, like in a modern diesel.

That's the reason why modern diesels are so quiet, they don't knock and rattle like the old traditional diesels is because fuel is injected at exactly the right time, and it can be injected multiple times. Some diesels actually will inject, I believe, seven times during a combustion event. It'll start injecting on the way up and on the way down and, you know, as the pistons moving up and down. 

So, with gasoline, to be honest, I don't know if gasoline does the same type of thing, but there's no reason why they wouldn't do that. With the direct injection, they certainly have the capability and control to do that.

And the benefit is better performance and certainly much better fuel economy.

Mark: You mentioned there's some unique problems. What would those entail with using direct injection? 

Bernie: A lot of the unique problems actually are our combustion deposits, carbon deposits that develop on the intake valves. These have been a problem in cars for a long time, even on port injection systems.

But the thing about a port injection system is you've always got some fuel spring on the back of the intake valve, so it tends to wash that off. But on a direct injection system, there's no fuel being sprayed into the intake system, so over time, carbon deposits will build up on the intake valves - sometimes significantly - and it'll affect performance in a big way. That's probably the major issue with direct injection systems.  

Mark: How do you prevent that from happening? 

Bernie: First thing is always use a good gasoline. There's gasoline called top tier and a lot of  major like Chevron, Esso, a lot of those gasolines are all top tier. Just look around wherever you buy gas, just make sure it has a top tier rating. That has the best additive packages. You don't have to use premium if the car doesn't require it, just use whatever, if it's a top tier fuel, that tends to work really well. That will prevent deposits. We do have a combustion cleaning service and we recommend doing probably about every 30 to 50,000 kilometres.

It's basically a chemical spray that sprays into the injection system and that softens up the deposits and removes them. And if you do that on a regular basis, you're not going to develop that problem, but if you don't do it and you leave it for a long period of time, sometimes you actually have to remove the cylinder head from the vehicle. There's also techniques called Walnut blasting where you can actually take the intake manifold off, seal the cylinders up, and basically blast the carbon deposits off with walnut shells. If any of that Walnut debris gets in the engine, it'll just burn off, which is a safe thing to do. But that, as you can tell by removing the intake manifold, it's quite a procedure. So you really don't ever want to go there. 

Let's look at some pictures.

So there's our 2014, 435i BMW, beautiful looking car. I like the four series. It's kind of like a three series, but they tend to be just a little sleeker for some reason, so it's good looking. 

This is a direct fuel injector in the BMW.  This is the pintle that sits right in the cylinder here. So it's exposed a lot of heat in very high heat, very high combustion pressures. There's a seal on the end here that prevents combustion pressure from leaking out. The fuel line hooks up here.

There's an electrical connector up here. All the magic kind of happens in this area of the injector here. I mean, it's amazing how, we're talking like literally microseconds of opening times and sprays. It's a pretty amazing device.

And there's a top view of the engine. So these are different cylinders. There's number one, number six.. It looks rather like a diesel when you look at it, it's basically got a high pressure, common rail. There's the electrical connector here for the injectors and the injectors kind of buried down here.

We're looking at the ignition coils right here. So there's six of them. It's a six cylinder engine below that way down there as a spark plug. So. It's sometimes funny when you look at these, you know,  you can actually see the engine, it's hard to know what's actually engine and what's actually a fuel and ignition system.

There's so much that kind of gets  added on top, let's say. Timing changes. So, you know, it's over here, the engine oil filter air intake, just to kind of orient you to the engine compartment and that's the front of the vehicle there. Oh, and by the way, there's a big covers that go over top of here.

So in order to get it, that's an access that there's a very large cover. That pretty much goes right over to this area here. So when you look under the hood, it almost looks like a four cylinder. 

Mark: So, is there anything that can be done to prevent fuel injectors failing on one of these new BMWs? 

Bernie: No, they'll just fail at their own time. And they are problematic. This engine was kind of unique though. I mean, this is the  first one that we've run into this had developed this problem, but we've had others where they have misfires or they just don't quite run properly and the injectors tend to fail.

Strangely enough, this vehicle only has 50,000 kilometres. So it's very low usage, which is kind of surprising. You think it would last a little longer. I've got a 2011 X3 with over a hundred and it's still - knock on wood - the injectors are still working well, and hopefully they will. They tend to fail at a variety of ages, this seems a bit on the young side. 

Mark: Did you have to replace all the injectors or just the number one cylinder? 

Bernie: In this case, we only replaced number one and I strongly suggested to the owner, "let's do all six." Because if one fails, chances are the other ones are gonna fail.

You know, you never know. I mean, tomorrow or six months, you never know when the next one's going to fail. So the recommendation is to replace all the injectors and it kind of gives the engine a fresh start. But in this case we just replaced the one, that's what he wanted to do.

And that's what we did. We had recommended doing the spark plugs as well, but he just kind of opted to do the fuel injector, 'cause we knew that was the bad thing.

I'm gonna share another photo. After we change the injector, of course, we started the engine up and had been running really badly, the exhaust was smoking, you know, a lot of issues. We fired the engine up, we're warming it up, and this is the kind of smoke that was coming out of the exhaust for a little while. What had happened of course, with the injector dumping so much fuel into the engine and basically, you know, just flooded the exhaust system with a mixture of oil and extra fuels.

So these are some of the things that can happen after catastrophic injector failure like this, the exhaust's a little smokey. "Oh, did we do something?" And something happened. It's just, just a matter of time for things to burn out of the system when you ended up getting too much fuel like that.

Mark: After that burned out that stuff, how did it run after all the repairs? 

Bernie: The car ran great. A lot of power, ran really well, so we delivered it to the customer.  We got a phone call the next morning, the car is running like crap - check engine lights on, barely runs, and go, "Uh oh". I brought it back in and number six's injector had failed for exactly the same thing. 

I find it kind of ironic because it literally, when it left the shop, it was beautiful. So this is why we recommend, you know, when we say change all six, there's a good reason to do it. So after going through a very long ordeal, again, rediagnosed it. We also changed the oil because the oil had got pretty contaminated by now with two fuel injectors leaking too much gasoline, the oil was starting to get contaminated.

So we changed the oil, change number six injector and all the spark plugs and the misfire count was very minimal. We changed number six injector, car's been gone a week, haven't heard back. So I think it's all good, but you know, this is the exact reason why, you know, sometimes they say, you never know, it could fail tomorrow, it could fail in a year. 

And this is one of those cases where it failed tomorrow. And by the way, it actually, even though it costs you more money to do the job. All six first time, it's more money, but it's actually cheaper per injector to replace it like that, cause every time you go in, there's extra labor to remove all the other fuel rails and bits and pieces.

So there's the story, but now it's running well... so far, but there's four more injectors that could fail any day. 

Mark: Fingers crossed.

Bernie: Yes, exactly.

Mark: If you're looking for a service for your BMW, any fuel injection problems, the experts to see in Vancouver Pawlik automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead. They're busy, always busy. Check out the website, Hundreds of videos and articles on there, all makes and models of cars, all kinds of repairs over the last seven years. YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, same thing, hundreds of videos on there. Check it out. If you've got nothing to put you to sleep, we can do the job.  And thanks for listening. We appreciate it, leave us a review. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching and listening. 

2013 BMW 328i, Maintenance Repairs

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada in the midst of the lockdown COVID craziness times, and we're talking cars. And Pawlik Automotive is of course, 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. Today we're going to talk about a fairly popular vehicle. A BMW 328i. How are you doing this morning, Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So what was happening with this three series BMW?

Bernie: So the car is a 2013 328i. The owner had a couple of issues. One was, an oil leakage, some warning lights on the dash, the engine didn't feel like it was performing properly, possibly some misfires. So those are the client's concerns and things that we looked at. 

Mark: And so you did some diagnosis, what did you find? 

Bernie: Yeah. So we start with a scan tool diagnostic. We basically hooked the scan tool up, did a full code read of the vehicle. There was a couple of codes in the engine, did a visual inspection of the vehicle and noted a lot of oil leakage. It was severe. 

There was oil leaked out everywhere, all over the top of the engine, the bottom, sort of the usual spots that we might find oil leaks on this engine, like around the oil pan gasket area. It was oil around the oil filter, housing area down the front of the engine and in a lot of spots. But of course, without cleaning things up and doing proper diagnosis, it's hard to tell where it's leaking from. And we don't want to sell a bunch of work the customer doesn't need. 

So first step, we did an engine shampoo. We cleaned it up thoroughly.  And then ran the engine and noted immediately an enormous oil leak coming from the oil filter cap housing area. Actually where the cap sits, there's oil leaking right between the cap and the housing. 

The other thing we noted was the engine oil service was way overdue, like by thousands of kilometres. So first thing we proceeded with was an A service, an oil service on the vehicle, and sealed that all up. And then we proceeded from there. We figured a lot of the problems with the engine may have actually been due to the fact that the oil level was a) low and b) just very old. So that's kind of where we proceeded. 

I'm going to show a picture here actually of the oil filter while we're talking. So this is actually the car. It's as a 2013, you know, a classic BMW three series, you know, definitely their most popular model. Four door sedan. Nice vehicle for sure. 

This is what the oil filter looked like. So we took the oil filter out. It had been in there so long, it actually just broke in half when we took it apart. This is the O ring seal that goes around the filter cap. I don't have a picture of the filter cap. It's basically a plastic cap and there's a replaceable seal. The seal is hard as a hockey puck. I mean, if we grabbed it, we could probably crack it in our hands. It was so hardened. So this is why the oil was leaking out. I mean, the filter,  this is not uncommon when we see vehicles that have been way overdue for oil services. Mercedes or BMWs, any cartridge filtered vehicles. The material just breaks down and it goes hard and it just cracks apart.

Mark: Which engine is this? 

Bernie: This is a two litre turbocharged engine. So BMW has done something interesting in the 2011 model year. Instead of using the six cylinder like they did in most models, or they did, in the say the three series that they had some four cylinders as well. You can usually tell the size of the engine by the number of the vehicles, say a 328. It would be a 2.8 litre engine. A 318 for instance, would be a 1.8 litre, which is a four cylinder. But now they've kind of got away from that and they changed the numbering around, but that doesn't necessarily reflect the displacement of the engine. 

So this is a two litre turbocharged engine. Pretty amazing technology. BMW's used it for awhile. It's got all the bells and whistles, you know, of the best of internal combustion engine technology. Twin scroll turbocharger, variable valve timing. It's got, which BMW calls the dual VANOS systems. So intake and exhaust or variable valve timing. It's got the Valvetronic System, which is variable valve lift. It's got a gasoline direct injection. It also has a start and stop technology. So you're getting like the best fuel economy and performance you can really squeeze out of out of an engine like this. 

Of course there's performance modifications, and they can make it a higher performance model. But you know, for an average driving car, you're really getting the best of both worlds. Fuel economy performance, reduced exhaust emissions, everything in one bundle. 

Mark: And this is a four cylinder, rather than the old kind of tried and true six cylinder that they used for decades. 

Bernie: Yeah, it is. It's a four cylinder. And they still make the six cylinder models, you know, with all of this technology as well. But they've gone down to the four cylinder in a lot. They use it in X3's, you know, the three series sedans and coupes, you know, so it's awesome. I mean lots of power. I can't remember the actual, I think it's 250 horsepower or something like that, which is pretty damn good, you know, for a little engine like that. And it's a nice compact engine too. There's a lot of room in the engine compartment because you can put a six cylinder engine in there. So it's actually nice to have a vehicle that has some, some extra space in an engine compartment that they haven't just crammed it all full of everything. 

Mark: So as you mentioned, probably the height and what really all of the current popular auto manufacturers, or what we consider the historic auto manufacturers, are the best that is making really high performance or really efficient gasoline or diesel powered internal combustion engines. And are they ready for the future? 

Bernie: Are they ready for the future? Well, they're trying. This could be a whole separate podcast. I know we talked earlier about Volkswagen and how their ID series is sitting idle. Maybe that's what the ID stands for, idle, due to software problems.

Whereas another manufacturer, like Tesla for instance, it started off more as a software company and a unique manufacturer. And they've kind of taken things in a different direction. I mean, I have no doubt that a lot of, you know, like the original car manufacturers are going to come through with some pretty neat cars, but they're just, you know, they'll muddle their way through for awhile and some of them probably won't survive.

Mark: So you've talked about the value of scheduled maintenance many, many times and how doing that, when it's due and how important it is for internal combustion engines and especially BMWs. But also many other manufacturers as well, especially with these high performance tweaked to the nines engines that are doing the very best possible way that they can. So what can happen when you leave your oil changes too long? 

Bernie: Well, of course, we already looked at this picture of this oil filter. You know, that's not a good thing. This is supposed to filter and clean your oil. So I mean that's just one little thing that you can see. But I talked about all the technology in this engine. I mean, all these things require clean oil. When you start getting sludge, which builds up when you don't change your oil enough, it blocks things off. A variable valve timing system stopped working, and this isn't a BMW only thing. This is any car Japanese, North American, European, anything with an internal combustion engine. Clean oil is so critical for performance. Even carbon deposits that occur with gasoline direct injected engines can increase when you don't change your oil frequently enough. So that causes other performance problems with the vehicle.

So there are so many reasons to change your oil regularly that it's just so important. That's all I can say. 

Mark: And how often should this type of BMW get serviced? 

Bernie: Well, I know the manufacturer, when we reset the oil service interval on this vehicle, it said next service due 17,000 kilometres. My opinion, that's way too long. But you know, the owner of this vehicle left it way over that interval like by probably 10,000 k's I believe so. You know, and we see this often, people just, they get busy or they, whatever happens they don't do it. But even 17,000 kilometres is too long. I mean, really, in my opinion, and I think a lot of other people in our industry, 10 to 12 is probably as far as you should go. You know, when you change the oil at that interval, it's not so dirty. It's still got some cleanliness to it and hasn't deteriorated to the point that you get when you leave it way too long. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your BMW in Vancouver, regularly scheduled service to make sure you get the maximum life out of your vehicle, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You got to call and book ahead. They're always busy. Check out the website,, hundreds of videos and articles on there about repairs of all makes and models of cars. Pawlik Auto Repair is the YouTube channel, hundreds of videos on there. Of course, thanks for listening to the podcast. Leave us a review wherever you're picking your podcasts up from, and thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

Proper Maintenance For Your BMW

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking BMWs today. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well today. 

Mark: So the German vehicle that you don't struggle with how to pronounce, the BMW. We're going to talk about proper maintenance for a modern BMW.

Bernie: Well, there's a bit of conflicting information. Sometimes if you look out in the world, if you look at the factory maintenance schedule, a lot of oil changes are scheduled for 24,000 kilometres. There's a lot of items. Over the years, BMW have said their transmissions don't require any service. It's often stamped onto the transmission pan. And, what we find out in the real world of doing services is, it's probably not the best way to maintain your BMW. If you care to keep your overall operating costs down and you want your car to last. 

Mark: Okay, wait, now, isn't the factory maintenance schedule the best?They've engineered and built the cars they should know best, right? 

Bernie: Well, yeah, absolutely. I mean the factory maintenance schedule, is well, I don't want to say it's the best. I don't think it is. And that's true with a lot of other manufacturers. We're not just picking on BMW. We're going to talk about BMW here, but this is true for a lot of other manufacturers. There are some competing factors in the maintenance schedule recommendations that aren't necessarily in the best interest of longevity of the car.

Mark: So what are some of these competing factors? 

Bernie: So the competing factors are really, they're about sales. It's about selling the car in the showroom. For instance, you know, if you only need to change your oil in your BMW every 24,000 kilometres and never change your transmission fluid. If you look over the, say a period of a hundred thousand kilometres and there are rating agencies for these kinds of things, they'll look at the actual maintenance cost of a vehicle.

Now, if you have to do these services at a very minimal amount, then your maintenance costs are lower, and that's an attractive feature to buy the car. I mean, if you're in the showroom, you're looking at say a BMW versus an equivalent Audi, and the BMW is say, a thousand dollars a year for maintenance and the Audi's 1500. Well, that's a factor in, you know, that's a plus for the BMW. Is it, and I'm not saying that these are actual, I'm just making this stuff up, but you know, these numbers. But you know, that's a reason that you might want to buy a BMW over an Audi. So there's a pressure to make the maintenance schedule as long as possible. 

I mean, there are also good environmental reasons. I mean, the less oil you have to change, the less oil it needs to produce, the less waste there is. And so that's a good thing. Also of course, most manufacturers don't really care how long their cars last. I mean, they want it to have a good reputation for a certain amount of time, but once the warranty is over, the car's, five or more years older, they don't really care so much about the car.

They want to sell you a new car. So, you know, that's the other factor in there that's competing with proper maintenance. 

Mark: So many consumer advocacy groups recommend that you only follow the factory schedule? Why would they do that? 

Bernie: Well, I think they want to protect the consumer, and there are a lot of unscrupulous people who make recommendations about services that are probably not recommended. There you know, are a lot of non-expert people in the automotive field who are just happy to just keep selling services that may not really need to be done. So they stand on the side of, Hey, the manufacturers built the car. These guys know what they're talking about. You're safer to go with that.

But what, what the consumer advocacy groups don't really do, is look into the real world of what actually happens to the cars. And that's us in the field of auto service, we get to see what happens to cars that are badly maintained and we can make better recommendations.

Mark: So your information is basically from the actual, your experience and the experience of other experts, other repair facilities and experts in the field? 

Bernie: Exactly. And I mean, we're just a small shop. I mean, our volume of BMW cars is very minimal compared to other shops. And there's also a whole community out there that looks at cars. 

I did a training program the other night. So this is the other area where we get information on BMW maintenance from someone whose shop, does a lot of BMWs and someone who's an expert in BMW service. So they're out in the field, they're talking BMWs they're looking at BMWs. They're looking at all the problems that happen and how can we maintain these vehicles better so that they last longer? Because what we ended up seeing is, you know, we don't see the cars generally from brand new. We start seeing them after they're, you know, four or five years old, off warranty, you know, suffered from the bad maintenance that the long oil change intervals, and all of a sudden things are starting to break in the engine. We're going, you know, if you'd only change that oil twice as often, you know, maybe done it every 10 or 12,000 kilometres, you know, this wouldn't have happened. So there's a lot of issues that we see. And that's where, that's where the expertise that we bring into the field. 

Mark: So what do you recommend for proper maintenance on a BMW? 

Bernie: Well, certainly more frequent oil change intervals are really the biggest thing. And using really good quality motor oils. What I learned on a recent training, is a lot of the oils that they recommend, these really thin weight oils are really only recommended for the manufacturers corporate average fuel economy. And so if the large manufacturers have a fuel economy standard that they must meet, it's a legislated thing. So if they can lower that amount then that helps them. So they can make a higher performance engine. If they put a thinner oil in, it increases the fuel efficiency slightly. So overall it improves it, but it doesn't necessarily make for better lubrication for the engine. It just helps the corporate standards. So again, this is another one, those double standard things that happens, but that's one thing. 

I mean, the other thing, you know, with BMWs of course, you know, regular inspections cause there are the things that wear out. Even testing the battery, on a regular basis, like on an annual service, can make a big difference for things like turbocharger life. And another thing I've learned recently is that turbochargers can fail because of a bad battery. And you think, well, how can that be. A turbocharger is a mechanical device. There's an after running system in a BMW, you shut the key off, it pumps coolant through the turbochargers. If the battery's weak, it'll shut that system off. And the turbochargers can get hot, oil will sludge up inside the turbocharger, harden up, and it'll affect the lubrication of the turbo. So just a little thing like that. If that's tested on a regular basis, like annually and dealt with either recharged or replaced, then you might save yourself thousands of dollars on premature turbo failure.

Let's get into some pictures. 

This is an example of a car we just did a service on. A 2008 328i. Hard top convertible, real nice car. So some of the information that we can get out of this car and in our service, I'm just going to look at some pictures I mentioning about battery. There's a whole plethora of information that we scan for, and I'm going to go through these kind of quickly. But this is like an energy diagnosis tests that's available through our scan tool. And it actually, this is an amazing thing with BMW. It looks at like the last 49 days of driving. This is, how far the car was driven, the number of journeys, the distance of the trips. This is an amazing bit of information. I'm sure like Tesla has like, you know, way more stuff that they probably analyze moment to moment, but this is again, a 12 year old BMW. Some of the other things it looks at is starting cycles and I won't get into all the little bits of information on this one.

Test the battery. So it tests the state of charge of the battery. You can see this is actually pretty low. This is like five days worth of battery state of charge. It's only at 61%. So recommend to the customer, Hey, you know, we should charge your battery up because it's probably a bit on the weak side. It also tells you the battery was replaced at this mileage, and that's the current mileage. So we can see that actually 6,000 kilometres ago the battery was replaced. And what kind of battery's in the vehicle and all sorts of other information. So it really is very useful. You can see this vehicle has actually sat a lot. So that's probably why the battery's a little bit on the low side, but that's a really useful bit of information.

Also gathered some other information from a BMW X3. This is actually my own personal vehicle. It's a 2011 X3. I can see the battery state of charge here. This is a slightly different report, but 80% you know, it's sort of average. We haven't been using the car quite as much these days because of the health situation, but generally we drive the car a fair bit.

But it's interesting looking at, this is the start ability, like the battery has to have at least this amount of charge for the vehicle to start. So looking at this number versus the actual state of charge can tell us, you know, what condition the batteries in. So really useful information that you can get from a regular service and a proper service.

And I don't want to, you know, cut anyone down, but you know, if you don't have the proper scan tools and you're taking it to a shop that doesn't have this level of testing and it's a simple test to do, you might be missing out on some valuable service that could save you some money. 

Mark: And the rough cost of a, what's the range of price to replace a turbocharger or two? 

Bernie: Or two? I can't remember off the top of my head. They're in the thousands.

Mark: Multiple thousands of dollars.

Bernie: Multiple thousands of dollars. So you don't want to do them. Now that that 328 and the picture isn't turbocharged. So you get off on that, but the X3 that I have is a twin turbo. And they do go bad. And I have to say, you know, I learned this testing information recently and I felt a little bad because the battery in my BMW did go bad recently. And I replaced it and I'm thinking, Hm, I wonder how long I actually left that in a bad state. And I hope I didn't shorten the life on my turbochargers because of it.

Car seems to work fine, but you never know. So these are the things that it's good to know, and this is what you can count on when you bring your car to our shop to have tested. And these kinds of details looked at on your BMW.

Mark: And how our BMWs for reliability?

Bernie: They're pretty good. They're a good, reliable car, but there's a lot of stuff that goes wrong with them. And they're, you know, you can expect to have a fair number of expensive repairs on them over time, but if you do good maintenance, you know, and change the oil more frequently than recommended and just keep up with that kind of stuff. You will keep your costs down and you will keep the car even more reliable. Things like you don't change the battery a little sooner, you know, will make a big difference to the life of the vehicle. So, know, they're good cars, I have to say, I mean, the BMW I've got has never let me down. You know, that's a nine year old car. That's pretty good. Maintain it. It'll keep your cost down. 

Mark: So there you go. If you need expert repair for your BMW in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're still busy, even during COVID 19 right now. And of course, check out the website,, over 600 articles on there about repairing all makes and models, all types of repairs of vehicles. YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there over many years now. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Leave us a review on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. We'd love to hear from you. Thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching and listening. We really appreciate it.

2005 BMW 325i Window Regulator And ABS Repairs

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 22 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. 22 times they've been selected and voted, which is pretty amazing. So they do a good job. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. Doing very well today. 

Mark: So 2005 BMW 325 that had window and brake problems. What was going on with this vehicle

Bernie: Yeah, so the owner of the vehicle had mentioned he'd put his left rear window down, it made a horrible clunking sound. Something seemed to shift or drop, and he was able to actually get the window back up. But it seemed, you know, there was something that wasn't working quite right with that window. Also it was due for service, a maintenance service and the ABS brake warning light was on as well. 

Mark: Were these issues related?

Bernie: No. All, all separate issues. And we're going to talk about the window regulator and the ABS issue, both in this podcast, but yeah, not related. Completely separate issues. 

Mark: So what was happening with the window? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the window, as I mentioned, he put the window down, there was a clunk sound and you know, the window didn't quite go up straight when he was able to get it up and he wasn't able to put it down again, but it wasn't, you know, it wasn't working properly. So, that was basically the issue with the window on the left rear. 

Mark: And what did you do to repair it? 

Bernie: So basically the first step of course, is a diagnosis. And we removed the door panel from the left rear door, looked inside. We can see that the cable from the a window regulator was all slack on one side, which indicates the regulator is faulty. We did test the motor, it seemed to work fine. So our recommendation was basically to replace the window regulator. 

We'll just have a look at some pictures right now while we're at it. So there's our 05 325 E46 series vehicle. And as far as pictures, let's go to the window regulator. 

So these are the two window regulators. This is the new one that we installed. This is the old one here. You can see a distinct difference between this piece and this piece and that is a plastic pulley that's no longer in place on this particular one here. So that's basically what happened. The plastic pulley broke. The cable got slack. There was enough tightness in the cable where it would go up and down, but it wouldn't obviously work as well as it should and eventually it would have failed for certain. 

This is a view of the new window regulator with the motor installed. We were able to transfer the motor over, which worked fine, but you can see the cable's tight. This is a piece that attaches to the window. So this moves up and down, this is mounted vertically inside the door. So that's how that operates.  

Mark: So that basically keeps the window square in the frame and basically winds up and down, hauling the window up and down.

Bernie: It does exactly. And the squareness in the frame is also due to the actual window sits in the mounts. Yeah. This also, if it's not sitting properly, will cause a window to sit on an angle or move up and down on an angle. Again, it depends on the design of the vehicle. This is a good simple design and actually works quite well. There's a lot of vehicles that have these cable designed regulators. Some of them are really complicated. They have cables and pulleys on both sides of the window. And those are even more of a nightmare when something breaks because the window goes all twisty and wonky. This is a pretty good straight forward simple design for cable regulator and pretty reliable too.

Mark: So what caused the pulley to break? 

Bernie: Old age. You know it's plastic. We love plastic in this business, as I've said. You know, plastic, it doesn't last forever. Eventually just somehow wore out and broke. And you know, it's a 2005. That's what, a 14 year old car, so 15 year old car now. It's not unexpected that things would break at some point in time. 

Mark: And was this a time consuming repair?

Bernie: Not really. It's not actually not too difficult. And it's actually pretty well built for repair. Some windows, some power windows can be an absolute nightmare. And this one's actually built pretty well. So BMW's are pretty good this way. At least in this type of model. 

Mark: And what was happening with the ABS system?

Bernie: Yeah so the ABS. So that's a separate concern. So the warning light on the dash was on and there was no real issue in terms of the way the car braked. But what happens is when an ABS warning light's on, basically, normally shuts the ABS system off because the system detects a fault. So your brakes work as normal. And the only time that you would actually notice anything is when you go into a panic stop. And then the ABS system wouldn't be there.

Mark: And what procedures did you perform to diagnose what the problem might be? 

Bernie: Yeah, so again, so for the ABS system, it's basically a scan tool diagnosis is where we start. So we scan the system. Look for trouble codes. We found a few. Most were related to the front right wheel speed sensor. So you know, from there road test. We can road test a vehicle and we can, on our scan tool, we can look at data and we can see what the readings of the wheel speed sensors are. So it'll actually tell us the speed of each wheel. The right front was giving us no reading. That's usually an indication that the sensor or there's something wrong with the wheel speed sensor, or sometimes a sensor ring will break in certain models of cars. But in the case of this vehicle, did a few further tests and found the actual sensor itself was defective.

I've got a picture of the wheel speed sensor. So that's the wheel speed sensor for the vehicle, the right front wheel. I mean all of them have a similar kind of look, but they are actually in this vehicle specific for each wheel and a this the part with the red arrow. This is the actual sensor that the bolts in onto the wheel. It's a little dark here, but there's a bolt goes through this piece here. This plastic piece fits in and the sensor, there's a ring, a tooth ring on the axle shaft. And as the teeth pass, the sensor can actually tell how fast the wheel is going, whether it's accelerating or decelerating.

It's actually extremely sensitive amount of data is calculated from this particular item. In a lot of BMWs the tire pressure monitoring system also works off the wheel speed sensors as well. So that might be a conversation for further podcasts. But it's, you know, nonetheless, that's how sensitive this whole system is. So this wire, you know, it's nicely shielded and the connector which connects to the rest of the wiring harness. 

Mark: So are wheel speed sensors, do they fail commonly, like regularly or?

Bernie: Yeah. I think I've all the ABS issues we fix, and I'm talking about in sort of a broad spectrum of cars, the wheel speed sensor would be the most common item that we do fix. It's out in a hostile environment, you know, with moisture and rain and snow and salt and rust and you know, everything you can throw at it. Plus on the front wheels, of course the wheels are turning, you know, there was always movement and rotation. So the, these wires are under stress, all the time. So on the rear, they're definitely more stressed, but sorry, on the front they're more stressed, but we do replace rear ones as well. I mean they all go bad. 

Mark: And is this a difficult repair? 

Bernie: Well, this one wasn't too bad and surprisingly, I'll just go back to the picture again. Just the way the sensor was designed, like a lot of these things fit into a very tight bore like, you know, the hole in the actual wheel hub is very tight compared to the size of the sensor. And over time, rust and corrosion can build up and actually cause a sensor to seize up inside the bore so that it becomes difficult. But this one here there's a lot of room around it. It was just basically unbolt and it popped right out, which is really, it's a real godsend because they can be a real nightmare to repair sometimes, especially when they stick into the bore and you have to drill it out and pull it out and then you have to clean the bore out so the new one fits in properly. So that adds a lot of extra time, of course, costs to do. But, for this BMW, it's nice and easy. Well thought out. And actually in terms of replacement. 

Mark: And how did everything work after the repair? 

Bernie: Oh, it was good. Window good. ABS brake light off. System worked properly. So just like we like it. 

Mark: Another happy customer from Pawlik Automotive. 

Bernie: Exactly. 

Mark: So if you want repairs or service for your BMW in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're busy. Or check out the website lots of articles on there. YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. If you're enjoying the podcast, leave us a review on Apple podcast. That would be awesome and thanks so much for watching. Thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching. Thanks for listening and we always appreciate it.

BMW 320i 2005 Battery Issues

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local we're here wth Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And of course today we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. And actually I do want to add, I haven't told you this yet, but we're actually 22 time winners now.

Mark: 22! 

Bernie: Thanks to our customers. So. Yeah. It's exciting. 

Mark: Awesome. 

Bernie: To share that with you and everyone who watches this podcast first.

Mark: Congratulations. 

Bernie: Thank you. 

Mark: BMW 320i is today's victim, a 2005 that had battery issues. What was going on with this BMW? 

Bernie: This vehicle had battery issues plus a few other things. The customer came to us, first of all, the battery required boosting every time. It wouldn't start. And also there's some transmission shifting problems and a couple of other things. But those were the two main concerns. And of course, with the transmission shifting, you know, the owner was thinking, well, is it worth doing anything with this car or is it time to say goodbye? So those were the things we looked at. 

Mark: So what was causing the transmission to shift badly? 

Bernie: Well, it turns out the transmission issue and the battery issue, or one in the same. We're going to get right into the battery because there's some good pictures I want to show and we can start talking about what we found and why the battery caused the transmission to shift badly.

So let's just get right into a screen share here. So here's our 2005 BMW 320. I mean, it's an E46 chassis. BMW looks the same as pretty much all the other four door sedans of its type, depending on paint colour of course, and trim. But that's a, it's your standard. I call it your standard BMW.

Good reliable car in most cases. There's our battery. This is our battery. This is our positive battery terminal. This is what we found. This was causing, of course, it's obvious when you look at this, that the car might not start, but as this was also the cause of the transmission shifting issue.

Mark: Okay. So what causes such beauteous corrosion to take place on a battery? 

Bernie: Yeah, so this is interesting because this battery is located in the trunk of the vehicle and 99% of the time, like almost a 100% of the time when we go to look at a battery in a trunk, it's very clean.  You can't even almost tell the age of the battery, even if it's a 10 year old battery, because it sits out of the, you know, sits out of the elements of the hood out of the heat. It's actually a good place to put a battery really. It's not, it's a very unhostile environment, but this was kind of a surprise.

So what, you know, speculate as somehow, somebody, either the battery was defective or somebody you know, when they put the battery in, somehow broke the positive terminal and let acid leak out all over because this is basically an acid reacting with the metal that causes this kind of corrosion. 

You can see this piece here, this is a current sensor. So these electrical systems are highly monitored in these cars. And with many modern cars. BMW may have been a little ahead of their time compared to some brands, but these vehicles are, they, you know, they monitor how much current is going through the battery. So the charging system and the rest of the electrical system can, you know, make choices and adjustments on how to manage the power. 

The positive battery cable, clips right in here. So this terminal actually pops apart and the positive battery cable, which runs the length of the vehicle to under the hood, clips into there. 

So but you can see, just by looking at it, this is not a healthy thing. 

Mark: It's not a healthy thing to put your hands on either. 

Bernie: No. And we wear gloves for most of the work we do here. So, yeah. 

Mark: So you said that this is the transmission problem was caused also caused by the battery. How, how is that possible?

Bernie: So these vehicles are very sensitive to the operation of the electrical system. And basically what we did in terms of the diagnostic in the vehicle, of course, before replacing the battery, we were able to a hook a booster up, road tested the vehicle, extracted a number of codes. Did a little research and found there's a technical service bulletin by BMW for issues relating to the electrical system and battery. You know, the part of the technical service bulletin, you know, puts notes about whether, you know, someone's installed some aftermarket electrical equipment that might cause inter electrical interference in the vehicle or to look at battery and battery cable issues. And of course we found this and we figured we were pretty much onto something.

Of course the only, you know, it was a bit of a gamble for the customer because transmission repair is very expensive. And the only way to really get the electrical system working properly, is to install a good quality battery which is a glass mat battery in the case of this vehicle, and they're generally expensive. And then replace that battery cable end, which is not a cheap item either. We were able to find a good quality used one. As I say, those things rarely ever wear out. So this was a good used part. We were able to come up with that and we replaced it and it all worked fine. So, that's basically how it all works. You need good electrical flow. Any interruption in current flow can cause the transmission to shift improperly. 

Mark: So how did you diagnose that the battery was the causes of transmission problem? 

Bernie: Well, the TSB was one of them, you know, and it's basically, you know, with a lot of the work we do, it's a step by step procedure. Some things are clear, some things aren't. But once we have a technical service bulletin from a manufacturer that says, if the battery is bad or something, you know, to that effect and it's causing this. I didn't say guaranteed to find the issue, but that's a good start for our repair. And that's what we did. If that hadn't done it, of course we would have been into actually testing the transmission and diagnosing, you know, the electrical system or that the actual transmission itself. But in this case, a happy ending for all. The battery fixed everything. 

Mark: So how'd the vehicle work after you replaced the battery and cable? 

Bernie: Yeah, it was really good. Of course it started fine. Charging system worked well. The transmission shifted like it was supposed to. No more trouble codes returned to the transmission module or engine module. It was all good. You know, the vehicle did need some other repairs, but they were, you know, brakes and ball joints and things like that. But nothing electrical or drive train related. 

Mark: So I know that 320's, at least in some years, are Canadian only models, I had one that was a nightmare. My fault for buying a bad car. But is this a Canadian only model? 

Bernie: Yeah. I shouldn't say it's a, at least in North America, it's a Canadian only model. I'm sure they sell them in other markets around the world because Canada's car market's pretty small. So that's the only thing about this car that can be a little bit of a pain, is it was only sold in Canada, in North America. So getting, finding, looking up parts is a little more difficult, but most of the items on the car are the same as the 325 model and  E46. They're all pretty much the same car, but of course the engine's a little different. It's a bit smaller, but pretty much the same. It was interesting because this car had California plates on it, but the owner had obviously bought it in Canada moved to California, came back to Canada. So it was kind of a, it would be even a more of a strange beast down in California. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your BMW, even the rare ones in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're always busy. Or check out the website, many, over 600 articles on there about all makes and models of cars repairs. YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, over 350 videos on all makes and models of cars and all kinds of repairs. And of course, if you like what we're doing here on the podcast, give us a like on Apple podcast, we'd appreciate it and thank you for watching and listening. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching. Thanks for listening. Always appreciate it.

2011 BMW X3, Battery 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 and 21 time winners. 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How are you doing today, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So we're going to talk about a BMW X3 that was having a battery problem. What was going on with this Beamer?

Bernie: So this vehicle came in for a regular maintenance service and battery. The battery was tested during the service and found that it was weak and needed to be replaced.

Mark: So were there any other indications beyond the readings on the testing that you guys did?

Bernie: Yeah. So how we found that the battery was weak. We have a tester, that we put on and it indicated the battery was near the end of its lifespan. The other thing that was noticeable is when you crank the engine over, it just felt a bit sluggish. It cranked over okay but it just had this laboured feel to it which you'd kind of get when a battery's weak and old, you know, the car still starts, but it had that feel. So that's the other indication we had that, Hmm, maybe this battery is not good. And the tester verified that.

Mark: So why are we talking about a battery replacement? This is pretty straight forward. Is there something different about replacing a battery on a BMW?

Bernie: Well, there is actually, there's a reprogramming process that's required that you have to do through a scan tool in the vehicle computer, believe it or not. It's never simple these days, but there's a number of different options of batteries you can put in the vehicle. And so yeah, that's kind of why we're talking about this because there's an added complication. And BMW is not unique to an X3. A lot of BMWs for, this is a 2011, you know, for at least five years previous to this, maybe longer, you know, this has been our required procedure.Failing to do so, the battery may not charge. So you put a battery in and a week later it's all of a sudden dead.

Mark: So you have to go in for service where you, they know what they're doing. You just can't do it yourself.

Bernie: Exactly. Now you might get lucky and put it in yourself and it might work, but you have to put exactly the same battery in and hope it was all programmed properly beforehand.

Mark: So is that part of why they made it this complicated?

Bernie: What, so you go back to the dealer for service? Well, that would be the conspiracy theory of it, but honestly, I mean the reason why is that they can control the, you know the electrical system can control the, make proper use of the alternators power.
It's more efficient if they know what kind of batteries in the vehicle. So, yeah, it's more complicated, but it's not really there, just so you have to go back to the dealer. Although that's probably like a nice little bonus. And of course you don't have to go to the dealer. I mean, we do it in any other good independent repair shop as has the tools and capabilities to do it.
But it makes for a more efficient charging system. I mean, these vehicles have very high electrical demands. You know, heated seats, heated steering wheels, electric power steering, you know, there's a number of things. If you get into a slightly newer model year, the start stop technology is part of it. So when you come up to a red light, the engine shuts off. And then as soon as you like your foot off the brake, the engine starts again for, you know, obviously reduced emissions and better fuel economy. So that again, requires a very good battery and a precise charging system.

Mark: So you mentioned there was different kinds of batteries. What, what. This is new to me. What, what, what batteries are different?

Bernie: Yeah, there are, yeah. So I mean, the traditional battery you know, in a vehicle is a lead acid battery. It's known as a flooded battery. And there've been you know, other technologies available, but this, this vehicle uses an AGM battery. It's called absorbed glass mat.
It has acid and lead plates like a traditional battery. But the way it's designed is different and it's much more efficient, lasts longer. Charges. quicker, has more power. So let's just get into a couple of pictures. I'll show you some stuff here. And then we can talk more about the AGM batteries.

Ok, so this is our scan tool screen that gives you the options for the battery capacity. When you replace the battery in the vehicle, you need to go into this particular, this is an auto logic, but you know, there are a variety of different scan tools that will do this particular job. So you can see different options here, 70AH, that means amp hours. So you can see these different options. Then you have the AGM options from 70 up to 105, the stock batteries a 90 amp hour AGM. And, so depending on which battery you put in the vehicle, you can put a non glass mat battery in but it, it's definitely, the vehicle comes with an AGM battery, so it's always better to use that. The other advantage of an AGM battery is, is it doesn't gas like a regular battery, like a regular lead acid battery, has gas that comes out of the battery as it charges. And because this battery is actually mounted in the trunk of the vehicle, you really don't want gas coming out.

So it does have a vent too, but the gassing is extremely minimal on an AGM battery. So it's pretty critical to use one of those on any vehicle. It has a battery inside the vehicle, but not all vehicles require that, but it's best to have it. So this is, this is the again, the screen again, we use the 90AH amp hour AGM battery in the vehicle. So that's what we programmed in.

Now other pictures here. This is our testers. So hook it up to the vehicle, says near end of life charged 62%. Now you think, well, maybe we could charge it up and make it better. But these, these testers are very intuitive. They actually test the resistance of the battery. They put a little mini load tests on the battery and they do a variety of things so it can, it can tell information about a battery that's you know that you can't often detect yourself, but as I said, we suspected the battery was weak just by the way it cranked over and the tester verified it.
So we get other messages here. Sometimes it says bad battery. Other times it'll say good battery and it isn't actually good. But, 95% of the time, these testers are really accurate. The other picture I want to show is this, this is the battery mounted in the back of the vehicle. The reason I took this picture, I mean this is just, it used to be that a battery would have a, here's the positive terminal here. You can barely see it and the negative terminal here, it would just have a one big thick fat wire coming off each of these terminals and that was it. We can see this thing has that as a, just a host of other items here, extra wires. It's like a junction box there. There are voltage and current sensors detecting how much voltage current is flowing in and out of the battery and they have it on the positive and negative side of this battery. So there's a lot of complexity here. This is mounted in the trunk. It takes a while even to just to change the battery cause you know, the hold down brackets, it's got a couple of hold down brackets and it's, you know, it's not like it used to be. We're just be under the hood. You pop two terminals off and away you go. So there's our picture show.

Mark: So what exactly is an AGM battery?

Berne: So it stands for absorbed glass mat and instead of having a, you know, just lead plates with a liquid, this sulphuric acid and water liquid floating around, it actually absorbs the lead acid mixture or sorry, the acid mixture in a glass mat plate, and it's all sandwiched together very tightly. So these batteries can handle a lot more vibration. They can be charged quicker. They have more power. There's just a lot of advantages to them. Plus they don't gas like a regular battery. There's no off-gassing, at least, or it's, I should say, it's very minimal. Now you're wondering what's the downside?

Well, the downside is the price there. There are a lot more money you know, 50% to sometimes twice the price, 50 to a 100% more money. But the good thing of it, the lifespan of this battery. This one and that's, it's hard to tell because when a battery is kept in a trunk, it all stays clean. Unlike when it's under a hood, where it is, where it often gets grungy. This battery, I'm pretty sure is original, which makes it a, we're in 2020. The battery is about nine years old. So that's pretty good life for a battery. I mean you will get the odd flooded, regular lead acid battery that will last that long, but it's extremely rare.

If you have a car that has one, you should probably go buy a lottery ticket because it's, you've beaten the odds pretty good. But you know, eight, nine years is pretty good. You know, kind of a, probably a lifespan you get out of these as opposed to the typical five years you get out of a regular battery.

Mark: And how did the X3 start and run after the battery replacement?

Bernie: Well, it was a noticeably different, you know, it wasn't like it was cranking really badly, but there was just a noticeable difference in terms of, it just felt peppier and more lively when it started. So that made a big difference, I would say, you know, about the life of these batteries is, you know, if you do have a vehicle with the start stop technology, you probably get a little less life out of it. And this issue with this battery would have probably been a little more noticeable because, you know, every time you stop the car, you know, at a light and it restarts that starters being used. So there's a lot more, a lot more activity involved. And you, you would probably notice a difference sooner on a vehicle like that. And the battery would probably live a little less long of a life because it's being used, you know, being cycled a lot more. But anyways, this is not the case with this. And the car was great.

Mark: So what's your opinion on BMW X3s, I know you actually own one of these vehicles as well. What do you think of them?

Bernie: It's a nice vehicle to drive, really nice. More issues than I'd like to see. I mean, I've you know, I'm kind of like, like anyone else. I love fixing cars, but I don't like fixing my own. And I think things tend to wear out in these cars a little sooner than they should. Things like, you know, they tend to develop oil leaks and coolant leaks. There's a lot of complexity and expense to them. So that's kind of, you know, to me, that's kind of the downside. If you own one, you're definitely getting a nice vehicle. It's a good feel, good looking, drives well, but you will spend more money, you know, for sure taking care of this and you went on, you know, say an equivalent, a Japanese or Korean type of SUV.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your BMW or X3, if you have it in Vancouver or battery replacements, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're always busy. Check out the website there's over 600 articles on there about all makes and models of cars and repairs. Over 350 videos on YouTube Pawlik Auto Repair, search on there. You can find our channel. And of course, thanks so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it, click the subscribe button.We'd really appreciate that even more and leave a review. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie; Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching. We really appreciate it.

2014 BMW 328d xDrive – Transfer Case Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. We're talking cars. How're you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So BMW 328d xDrive. What was going on with this car?

Bernie: So this vehicle was brought to our shop. The owner had been servicing it at the BMW dealer his local dealership and there was an issue with it. It was running kind of funny, like lacking power, shaking, misfiring was what it felt like. And it's a diesel. And they basically said they didn't know what else to do with it and recommended they take it to a diesel specialist.

Mark: Ok wait a minute. Like the dealer didn't know haw to fix the brands car where they have the experts factory trained et cetera, et cetera blah blah blah, we're the best at fixing this car. They couldn't fix the car?

Bernie: Exactly and you know, this isn't the only time we've seen this. I mean, this is the first BMW we've seen like this but we had, actually same week, we did this repair last week. We had a Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel. We have the same thing with a lot of these Jeep diesels, where the dealers can't, they don't really have the expertise to fix it. I think the thing abut dealerships, people don't realize they tend to cherry pick their work. They're into making profit. It's a good thing for a business but you know, what when you buy a vehicle it's a little bit outside of the normal edge. You can expect that kind of service from a dealer where they may not be actually able to figure out what's going with the vehicle, unless it's something simple. And in all fairness, it was a little complex in terms of, there's no plug the scan tool in and figure out what was going on with it. There was no information around that. But still you know any decent technician, I mean they should stand behind their products and their work, you know and charge accordingly to fix it.

Mark: So what tests and diagnosis did you do on the vehicle?

Bernie: So of course, our first thing with pretty well any diagnostic like this is, road test the vehicle, get a feel for the concern. We did that. Then next plugged our scan tool and did a full vehicle code scan and found nothing. There was no codes in the engine module. Nothing in the drivetrain. So at that point it was a little bit interesting. Ok, what could it be? So we drove it around a little while longer and kind of intuitively, myself and my other lead technician, we drove around quite a lot. I had a sense it felt like possibly an engine misfire but it also had a feeling like there could be something with the drivetrain. Like something that either the transmission or transfer case or something that was causing it to buck and shift and do some weird things. So that's kind of where we're at. We're kind of left with a feeling of what it might be.

Mark: Ok so that's where the 38 years of experience comes into play. No conclusive data to make a decision on but basically intuition. What were you next steps?

Bernie: Yeah so our next steps of course are research. Of course the dealer had already faced this problem and they had no suggestion other than take it somewhere else. There's a lot of information online. We have a lot of resources. We pay subscriptions for repair information programs that have a lot of good repair information and network. I way network or like other technicians, who may have found issues who post repairs. We did a little research there. Then our diagnostic scan tool also comes with a team of, it's a European scan tool. They have a whole team of technical resources people, where we can send in the data files. We get information from them. So when you come to our shop, this is the kind of thing that you get with a lot of the cars that we service. We have those resources that are really , the kind of thing you'd expect only from a dealership. Well actually in a way ours is better because we actually have resources. We we set the file in, talked with a technician who suggested possibly a transfer case issue. So our next step was basically to unhook the transfer case. It's electronically controlled. Road tested the vehicle, sure enough, drove perfectly well. The issue was gone. So the clear conclusion, the transfer case was defective.

Mark: So what's involved in repairing the transfer case?

Bernie: Well basically this is a replace the unit only type of job. So we bought a transfer case from BMW. Not certain if it was remanufactured or brand new. It certainly looked brand new when we took it our of the box but the do charge a kind of hefty core charge but nonetheless, it's an OEM spec BMW transfer case.There's a lot of electronic controls on these things and so that was basically the replacement. It's not an entirely difficult job. Fortunately it's a few hours work but fairly straightforward to unbolt and bolt back in and then there's some electronic programming that needs to be done to encode the transfer case to the vehicle which again not overly complicated. You have to have the right tools and data files but again not overly complicated and it worked fantastic.

So there's the nice 328d xDrive again. This is a diesel and..

Mark: A four wheel drive

Bernie: A four wheel drive, yeah and that as you know, adds some complications. So I mean all wheel drive is great but it certainly adds complexity. There are some vehicles where I find that the all wheel drive really doesn't create any extra costs and that Subaru is certainly one of them but a lot of European cars there are issues. So this is the transfer case. This is a view of the transfer case, it actually bolts up to the transmission end. So this would be the drive output to the front axle shaft, there the front drive shaft. And then this is a view of the rear end of it. So this goes to the rear drive shaft. This is, there's an electronic module, a control unit on the bottom of this thing. So there's the plugs underneath there. Fortunately for diagnostic purposes it wasn't too difficult to access them and unplug them and plug them back in. You know that is a piece of the transfer case. It obviously comes with the unit. So what's inside is probably fairly straightforward but you never know what these kind of things. You know they're not your sort of American style four wheel drive transfer case where it just locks gears together. These allow for smooth, they allow for slippage under certain conditions. So you don't feel like you're, the vehicle doesn't bind when you're going around corners. But of course, sometimes things go wrong like they did in this case.

Mark: So when you unhooked it, was it just running a straight pass through or just running the rear wheels, driving driving the rear wheels?

Bernie: I imagine that's what was happening. I can't really say for certain but all I can say is that the bucking and that strange power loss and all those issues that we were experiencing was gone. So is was something, I would imagine that there were some clutch packs inside the transfer case that were engaging and disengaging at times that they weren't supposed to. Causing the vehicle to shudder and do strange things and that could have been as a result of that electronic module or just sending the wrong signals or something with a worn out clutch pack or something like that.

Mark: Is this a common issue on xDrive BMW cars?

Bernie: So the owner of this vehicle fortunately had an extended warranty and in this particular warranty, we deal with a lot of extended warranty companies. This company insisted on sending an inspector over to have a look at it to verify that we diagnosed the right thing that they they were spending their money, the customers money wisely. So we took him out, drove it around, unplugged the module. He verified that he was happy with our diagnosis and actually he said, "Oh yeah, we see this problem all the time." According to the dealer I bought the transfer case from I returned the core he said, "We hardly see any of these things. It's kind of surprising". So different opinions but it seems like a common enough problem. So if you own one of these vehicles, you can expect you know, probably a transfer case repaired possibly at some point in the history of the vehicle.

Mark: So I imagine that the owner was pretty happy to have an extended warranty. What was the mileage on this vehicle?

Bernie: Only 62,000 kilometres So it's still a youngster. I mean very low mileage. You kind of think well, you know, when you're up to 150 or 200 K's maybe that would happen. But 62 is pretty young and the vehicle's of 2014 so its only 5 years old. So not really very old. Yes, I would imagine he was very happy to have that. Certainly more than paid for the price of the warranty with just this one repair job. I'm often sort of sit on the fence with extended warranty. Sometimes I think, well they're not worth it. You know certain cars like, a lot of Honda products for instance, they've you know, and Toyota's, they proved to be exceptionally reliable and having something like this go wrong with a car like that would be very unusual. But with a lot of European cars, there's so many fancy, expensive things that you know, they are, it is worth having most of the time, an extended warranty.

Mark: And this is a diesel without a lot of miles, not necessarily what we would recommend people to buy, but how are these BMW diesels for reliability?

Bernie: I'll be honest. We have very few clients with them because they're just not very common cars which explains whey the dealer is even saying take it somewhere else because even they don't have a lot of experience. When you look at the lineup of BMWs, there's very few diesels around. We have serviced a few. They've tended to be fairly reliable so far but all of them have been pretty low mileage and I hate to say it but they are a European diesel. There's a lot of stuff that goes wrong with Volkswagen diesels. A lot of stuff with Mercedes. So given time, things will go wrong with this vehicle. I mean certainly, the gas mileage is fantastic and there's a lot of of good features about it but I think it's a kind of vehicle you probably don't want to hang on to for too long lest there be some very expensive repairs down the road. But so far, you know, we haven't run into too many issues with them.

Mark: It might be a car that if you were driving for instance, a hundred thousand kilometres a year and doing a lot of highway driving, it might be a fantastic vehicle for that. But driving around town, maybe not the best choice?

Bernie: Exactly. Yeah I will say that with diesels, they've got to be hot. They've got to be really hot and driving a lot is good for it. Anything else you know, short trips definitely not the best for a diesel. Not good at all.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service and the dealer doesn't know what to do, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112. It happens more often than you think. And of course is a place to check out over 650 articles on there about all makes and models of vehicles and repairs. Pawlik Auto Repair is the channel on YouTube and there's many hundreds of vides on there talking about the same thing. And of course, thanks so much for listening to the podcast and watching. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you Mark. And thank you for watching.

2011 BMW 335iS – Electric Coolant Pump And Thermostat Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto service experience. 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, or 20 time winners, I'm sorry, 20 time winners. I'm cutting you short, Bernie. We're talking cars. How you doing?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: Today's victim is a 2011 BMW 335is. BMW has such long names. There was problems with the electric coolant pump and the thermostat. What was going on with this BMW?

Bernie: Yeah. The owner was driving the vehicle and an amber warning light for the coolant system came on the dash. Then, shortly after, a red warning light came on and the vehicle went into a limp mode. I'm not sure whether he had it towed in or whether it was driven in but, anyways, the vehicle was not running well. The other thing that was happening at the same time as the electric coolant, there was a loud noise coming from under the engine, which was actually the fan running at high speed. That's basically how the vehicle came in with cooling system problems.

Mark: What testing did you do and what did you find?

Bernie: First testing we always do on a cooling system is to verify is there coolant in the engine? Had a visual inspection, looked at the coolant, it was down a little bit. Added some coolant to it, but it only took about not even a cup of coolant, so really not low enough to cause any sort of issues. Pressure tested the cooling system, made sure there was no leaks, there weren't any. Then, we proceeded to the next step, which is to hook up a scan tool, essential item to do in this kind of vehicle, hook up a scan tool and see what was happening with the engine running temperature and the operating temperature.

We did that, found a couple of codes stored in the engine module and ran some tests and found that basically the electric water pump was not functioning as it was supposed to. Now, that loud noise under the hood was basically the radiator fan running at high speed. Again, that's an electric fan and it'll come on whenever the computer tells it to. It'll tell it to come on, if there's a problem found with the cooling system, it will tell it to come on. That'll create the coolest possible temperature in the radiator and help cool the engine down. Say, the water pump isn't actually circulating, it'll help keep the engine cool.

Mark: Is it possible to do diagnostic procedure, I guess, on this vehicle without a scan tool?

Bernie: Pretty much impossible. I mean everything nowadays on cars, this car included, it's highly electronic. You really do need a scan tool to do pretty much anything. As I said, I mean the visual tests and the pressure tests, those are important initial tests and that could be where the problems are found. You've got to use a scan tool. You've got to have one to do any work on this kind of car.

Mark: We have some pictures.

Bernie: I do, let's get right into it. There is our 325is, I apologize if the brake rotors look a little rusty. We just washed the car and it still has a bit of moisture on it and the brakes were sitting. That's what happens with brakes when they sit, the rotors get rusted. A drive around the block, all that rust disappears. This car doesn't look quite as nice as it could. Next photo, we've got ...

Mark: Scan tool.

Bernie: Scan tool. When we do the initial test, we test the system for codes. It's always best on a lot of modern vehicles to actually test the whole vehicle. We can actually do a full vehicle code scan, because sometimes there'll be a problem in a different module that actually relates to a module you don't think is... Is not related to the engine. It's helpful to get that information. In this case, there were four codes stored in the system, two of them not really relevant, oxygen sensors.

These aren't relevant to engine overheating issues, but these two are, engine coolant pump cutoff, engine coolant pump speed deviation. What's happening here is that the computer commands the electric coolant pump to turn at a certain speed. It expects a certain thing to happen and it's not happening. That's why this speed deviation code is here. It's a pretty clear diagnosis from this based on experience that the electric coolant pump is defective. There are tests we do to warm it up, make sure there isn't anything else going on and we verified that the coolant pump was in fact the problem.

The coolant pump, let's have a look at that. There is the electric coolant pump, pretty fancy looking unit. It's got a very large motor in it, very robust piece. Even though it's a very robust large motor, they don't last as long as you think they should because this is an exceptionally common failure on any BMW that has an electric coolant pump, which is a lot of models. The business end of it here, this is where the pump impeller is. There's an electrical connector here and then there's an inlet and outlet there and there. The coolant just... Simple otherwise. Couple of other items on this vehicle, there's an electrically controlled thermostat and this is bolted up to the water pump.

We replaced it at the same time because, again, this is a failure item on these vehicles. In this case, it wasn't the failure item, but it would not make a lot of sense to take all this stuff apart and not change the thermostat at the same time. This is an electrically controlled thermostat. You can see there's a connector here with a couple of pins sticking out where the wire goes. Now, why would they have an electrically controlled thermostat? The thermostat generally, this is actually inside of the thermostat taken apart. This is the actual thermostatic piece that opens and closes.

Normally, in the past, it's got a wax pellet inside that expands with the temperature of the coolant. As the wax expands, the thermostat opens and allows coolant to flow. If the temperature gets below the specified point, then the thermostat closes again. This keeps the engine at the operating temperature it's designed to keep at, but it's limited. It'll only do that specific temperature. With electrical control, it'll actually heat the thermostat. If the computer says, "Hey. We need to open this thing faster or let's get the engine cooler or let's keep the engine hotter," it can control that thermostat opening. It allows more control over the thermostat, and that's our picture show for the day.

Mark: The coolant pump was bad. Why would they use an electric pump?

Bernie: Again, it's control. As I talked about with a thermostat, there's control that can be had with having electric components. You can switch the pump on and off. You can't do that with a mechanically belt-driven pump. It just runs. When you're idling, it runs at a certain speed. When you rev it up, it runs faster and that's the limit of control. Whereas with an electric pump, they can pump it at a low speed, a high speed, whatever requirements are needed. If the engine is getting too hot, they can pump it faster. If they want the engine to warm up really fast, you can just leave the pump off and just let the engine warm up quicker. Those are some of the things you can do. That's why the electric pump.

Mark: Ultimately, it's causing better... That's part of the system. As well as with the electric thermostat, because you're controlling temperature more exactly, you can reduce emissions and increase fuel economy.

Bernie: Exactly, and performance too. Yeah. All three of those can all be controlled much better.

Mark: Is this an expensive repair?

Bernie: I always think of expensive as being kind of a judgment call. Yeah, it's not cheap. The electric pump itself, I can't remember the price off the top of my head, it's a pretty pricey part. If you own one of these cars, you will need to replace it. No ands, ifs or buts. I own a BMW X3 with the same type of engine, the electric coolant pump's gone on it already. They go on all of them and probably sooner than they should. Yeah, I consider this to be a pretty expensive repair, certainly more than it would cost to do a mechanical pump.

Mark: How are BMW 335s for reliability?

Bernie: They're good. I was thinking, I mean it's a good car, but there are certain issues that you're going to face with this car. I mean one of them is this electric coolant pump. I mean that's a guaranteed issue. Say you buy the car from new and keep it to 130,000 kilometres, you'll need to do this electric coolant pump. You'll need to do the thermostat. You'll probably have some ignition coil problems. This car actually had one after we fixed it. Went out for a road test, the engine was misfiring, one of the coils had crapped out. I don't know whether it was brought to us like that. It was no code in the system.

It may be that as the engine got hot, it caused the coil to fail or they just do on these things. You can pretty well count on ignition coil replacement, coolant pump replacement. There will probably be some front end bushings that wear out and some brake work, which those kind of things are sort of normal and expected on pretty well any car. I mean the nice thing is these are predictable, but they are... Some of them are expensive being a BMW. Also, there's some fuel injection issues with some of them as well, injector issues with some of them as well, but that's basically it. Otherwise, it's a really nice car. This is a sporty car, fun, lots of power. It's a fun ride.

Mark: Of course, in the future, as more and more of the European specs kick in, actually at the start of 2020, almost every vehicle is going to be using an electric everything. Basically everything is going to be running... Any accessory type stuff is going to be running off electric, because they have to in order to meet the emission regulations.

Bernie: Yeah, yeah. Already, we have electric power steering in a lot of vehicles, which is fantastic because there's so much more flexibility. The neat thing about electric power steering as well, it has the potential to be super expensive to repair. We've never actually repaired one electric power steering unit in our shop ever, which is maybe disappointing because we do an awful lot of conventional power steering repairs. The good news about that is that there's a component there that's been electrified that's very reliable. Not to say it's 100%. I mean there's some that have had issues and I know that a lot of those have been covered by manufacturer's warranty.

There are things that have been kind of sorted out, but it's a really reliable system. I think they've had to do that. When you build something with a steering component, I mean if there's any problem with it, you don't want a failure where the car decides to steer its own way. I mean you're just asking for major lawsuits. I think the manufacturers of, this is my guess, but I think they've just taken it, gone, "Wait a minute. We can't F around this stuff. We got to make it like bullet proofly reliable."

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for service for your BMW 335 or any BMW, they're experts on it at Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112, you have to call and book ahead. They're busy, always busy, but they do excellent work. You can check out the reviews, really highly reviewed. Of course, 20 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. Of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast and thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark, and thank you for listening and watching.

2000 BMW 323i Engine Misfire Repair

Mark: Hi it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast and Video Series and we're here of course with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience and 20 time winners of the Best AutoRepair in Vancouver as voted by their customers and today we're talking cars. How you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So 2009 BMW ... 2000 sorry.

Bernie: 2000 yeah, it's an oldie.

Mark: Yeah, BMW 323I. Had an engine misfire. What was going on with this BMW?

Bernie: Yeah so the vehicle was brought to our shop. The engine was shaking, running rough, clearly a misfire condition was happening the check engine light was also on. So we proceeded to do some testing and diagnosis.

Mark: What testing and diagnosis did you do?

Bernie: Well so for a concern like this, first thing of course is to verify the client's concern by driving it, which we did. Second was to plug in a diagnostic scan tool and just retrieve stored trouble codes, see what data's available, see what information we can get. So that was the first step. Found several trouble codes stored, but most predominantly was a cylinder four misfire. Well there was actually two, cylinder four and cylinder one.

But when we can review data, and it'll say how often the misfire occurred and cylinder four was clearly I believe there's 74 or 70 occurrences, it's actually probably a lot more. But the data for cylinder four was much higher than cylinder one. Cylinder one may have misfired just because of number four, but clearly cylinder four had the issue.

So from there, we can narrow down our testing and there's a couple ways to, I mean, there's a few things that will cause a cylinder misfire, one could be bad compression, the other could be an ignition problem like the coil or spark plug, or it could be a fuel injector, or a massive vacuum leak. Those are some of the things that can cause a misfire.

But it's pretty obvious from years of experience, it's pretty obvious when you have an ignition misfire, you can feel the roughness and because the issue occurred suddenly, it's usually a good first place to start.

So from there, we have a really nice lab scope we can actually test the ignition firing pattern by just putting a probe on top of the ignition coils. Now this is a direct coil on plug ignition system, so it's a six cylinder engine and there's one coil per cylinder. So we can go and test each coil while the engine's running, and it was very clear looking at the scope pattern that the number four ignition coil was not firing properly at all, it was dead.

So basically found the problem right there. I mean the other way that we do it without this is we can take the coil out, we can swap it to another cylinder, clear the codes, see if the misfire now moves to the other cylinder, that's also an effective method to find the issue. In this case, it was verified right off the bat. So number four cylinder coil was dead.

Mark: So is misfiring a fairly common problem on BMWs?

Bernie: It is one of the more common issues that we repair on these vehicles, yeah. It is yeah.

Mark: And the ignition coil tested bad? What else and was there anything else contributing to this misfire?

Bernie: Well the other thing that we always test of course is once we verify the coil's bad, I mean, the coil fires the spark plug, so you know we didn't know the condition of the spark plugs. It wasn't like you know, I mean if we'd known they were replaced last week or a couple weeks ago and we'd done them ourselves, we probably wouldn't look any further. But because there was no history on spark plug replacement, the next thing to do is pull the coil out and do a visual inspection.

There's a big long coil boot, it's a rubber piece, I'll show a picture in a minute and then of course, inspect the spark plug. Pull the spark plug out, inspect that, and the spark plugs in this case were extremely badly worn. So I mean even if we changed the coil, firing on an old spark plug is probably not the best thing because the coil has to work a whole lot harder to fire, so.

Why don't we just get into some pictures? So there's our nice condition, 323I, still, 235,000 kilometres, still looking good, it's a nice car. Again, if you take care of your car, it'll keep looking good and keep running well. What do we got for the next picture?

So this is the coil boot. I actually didn't take a picture of the ignition coil for some reason, but the ignition coil sits up here. And this boot is, basically attaches. The spark plug sits down here. Now you can see this rubber, this is a soft rubber boot but with 235,000 kilometres and almost 20 years of life, the rubber's kind of hard and cracked, and it was breaking off. So this was another piece that we replaced while we did it.

This was kind of like the equivalent to a spark plug wire, but it's very short. But again, it's critical to have this sealing properly because with anything electrical, electricity always follows the path of least resistance. So for some reason a gap were to occur here, it might actually fire the spark down the side of the spark plug wall instead of down the insulator or against the spark plug tube instead of actually firing the cylinder. So pretty critical piece to replace.

And then finally, the spark plugs, and I apologize this is not the sharpest picture I've taken, but you can see even in a fuzzy image, this is the old spark plug, this is the new one. Besides looking a little grungy, I'll just go over a couple of pieces of spark plug. So this is the centre electrode that serves as positive terminal of the spark plugs, and you can see this one is flat and flush with the ceramic insulator. You can see this one here, the ceramic insulator even in a crappy photo has got cracks, and the electrode is really badly worn. It's not flat and flush to the edge, and these are the ground electrodes. These are kind of an interesting spark plug. They have four ground electrodes. A lot of spark plugs if you've ever seen them, this ground electrode kind of goes over top of this, and it fires the spark directly.

But these ones can fire in any direction to any of these four ground electrodes. But again if you can see these ground electrodes are really badly worn against the insulator, there's a huge gap. So there isn't a spark plug gap spec for this particular spark plug, but you can see visually just how badly worn this is. So it's kind of a miracle this thing was actually running as well as it did but also a testament to how long spark plugs last nowadays.

Mark: So how often are spark plugs scheduled to be replaced on this model of BMW?

Bernie: I didn't actually look up the spec, but I think it's somewhere around 160,000 kilometres. That's kind of a standard nowadays for spark plugs.

Mark: So and it looks like these were in right from new?

Bernie: I think so. They were actually BMW ... you know, they actually said BMW on the spark plug so that tells me they were original equipment spark plugs.

Mark: So that's a pretty long life.

Bernie: That's a very long life.

Mark: So BMWs have earned a reputation for needing a lot of expensive repairs. How's this generation of the 3 series?

Bernie: You know, these are pretty good cars. I mean, they do have their list of quirks and things, I can rattle off a few. I mean, among them you know, ignition coils are a failure item and the crank case vent valves are a failure item. There's a lot of cooling system issues with water pumps and plastic parts, thermostats, hoses, even radiators, plastic parts get brittle and there's some suspension bushings, control arm bushings. Those kind of things.

Other than that, it's a good reliable car. And you know I think with any car, if you know the things that are going to go wrong and these are fairly predictable, then you can decide, hey is this car going to be worth it? And if you're buying a used one, you know, have these items been fixed and repaired?

But generally I'd say these are less ... Even though they're complex for their age, they're actually less complex than a lot of newer ones and I'd say more reliable.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your BMW in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, or check out the website,, YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on all makes and models of cars and types of repairs and maintenance and of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark and thanks for watching.

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