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2001 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, Diesel Injection Pump Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, nigh on 40 years of fixing vehicles in Vancouver. And of course, he's the owner, the big boss behind Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 24 time winner, 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by the customers. And of course Vancouver's best auto service experience. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So we're going to talk about a 2001 Chevy Silverado diesel that had a problem. What was going on with this truck? 

Bernie: Yeah, so this truck came to our shop with the crankcase filling up with too much oil. The oil level is actually going too high and it was starting to leak out. The customer had some issues with this for a while, had it at another shop. They'd done some work on it and weren't able to fix it. So they brought it to us. 

Mark: So, what did you discover was causing the engine oil level to rise? 

Bernie: Yeah, so what is in fact happening, of course the engine oil level will only rise if you pour more oil in which wasn't happening. But what happens on a diesel like this, and a lot of diesels, they have internal plumbing, the fuel injectors are inside the engine. The injection pump has a seal into the engine and there's a whole array of plumbing under the valve covers into the engine which can cause diesel fuel to leak and fill a crankcase up with diesel fuel. So the oil level is going up, but it's actually really diesel fuel that's filling up the crankcase. 

Mark: And diesel fuel does not do the same job as oil in your car. 

Bernie: It isn't, I mean, it, it is a lubricant but not as good as oil and it's certainly not formulated to work like motor oil. So it's not a good thing. 

Mark: Yeah. So how can that, so this was filling up quite a bit, what was going on? Why was it filling up with so much diesel? 

Bernie: Well, as I mentioned, there's a few ways it can leak. A few ways diesel can get in. One is through the, there's a seal in the injection pump where the injection pump bolts to the engine. There are fuel injectors, of course, that can leak. And then there's a lot of plumbing under the valve covers from each injector through their return lines. And on this particular engine, those have a number of seals and pipes and things that could leak fuel as well and fill up the crankcase.

So it's really a matter of doing some testing but just take it a step further. The owner had previously had all the injectors replaced at another shop. They had done the work. I believe the problem was there beforehand. They took everything apart. Apparently according to the owner, three times to try to find the leak, they said, there's nothing wrong with the work that they did. Everything was fine. 

And so he brought it to us to take it to the next step. And from there, we really concluded that, you know, assuming that the other shop had done a good job you know, that there was only one other spot that he could leak from. And that was from this fuel injection, the high pressure injection pump seal.

Mark: So you changed the pump. What sort of work is involved in replacing a diesel injection pump? 

Bernie: Well, it was a fair bit of work involved in doing one of these? I think we should just get into some pictures. We can have a look at it, but yes, we changed the injection pump. 

2001 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, Diesel Injection Pump Repair
2001 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, Diesel Injection Pump Repair
2001 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, Diesel Injection Pump Repair
2001 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, Diesel Injection Pump Repair
2001 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, Diesel Injection Pump Repair

So there's our 01 Silverado you know, it's a bit of an older truck, but still a lot of life left in it. Injection pump. There is the old injection pump. Just a couple of pictures with the injection pump removed, this is the seal that sort of seals the engine oil out from getting into the injection pump. Inside the injection pump, there's a higher pressure seal. You can actually see a little drip of fuel here. When we pulled the seal off, I thought, hey great, you know, we actually did find the leak because there's diesel fuel behind here. And of course there shouldn't be. So that's basically the front seal of the injection pump.

There is sort of where the pump is located. So this is the top of the engine. You can see the turbocharger back here. A lot of the air intakes have been removed. The pumps buried in back here behind some of the coolant pipes. It's a fiddly job. It's not as hard as doing the injectors, but there's a quite a number of hours of labor involved in taking the pump out and replacing it.

This is a view of the new pump with the new seal on the front. And one last picture to look at, this is the oil we drained out of the engine. So that's a 20 litre pail. You can see there's probably about 16, 18, 17 litres of fluid in there. There should only be 10 that's how much the crankcase. So the levels should be down around here somewhere, where to drain it. So got probably at least seven extra litres of diesel fuel in the crankcase, which is what we pulled out. 

Mark: So basically a pretty big problem that took a lot of effort  to repair, how often do you see this issue with Duramax diesels? 

Bernie: We haven't run into it too often in our shop. It does happen from time to time and it can happen on most diesels you know, because I said that there's a lot of internal plumbing. A lot of diesels, and isn't just, you know, American truck diesels, but a lot of other diesels they'll actually have a warning that comes on if the oil level gets too full. I know we've seen it on a few others. So there's a monitor for that, because of course, you don't want too much fuel in the crankcase. It'll dilute your lubrication, which is not a good thing. Plus the oil actually starts leaking out. You know, so when it gets really bad, you'll know it, but it's not a good thing. 

Mark: And how are these Silverados for reliability? 

Bernie: Oh, super good. They're kind of still my number one for North American diesel. Just especially if you take an 01, they're definitely, I'd say the most reliable, but you know, a small margin. And now these, of course, this truck is getting pretty old. It's a 20 years old now. So more problems are starting to occur. But you know, when these things were younger, say 10 years old, if you compare it to a Ford, there's a lot more, I know Ford owners hated me saying it, but truth is true. You know, there was just more problems with Fords. And Dodges have been pretty reliable, but you know, there's, there's a few issues. It just seems like the GMs have been more reliable overall. 

Mark: There you go. You need some service for your Chevy Silverado or GMC diesel pickup truck in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You got to call and book ahead. They're busy. They're super busy right now, actually. Or you can book online on their website Click the button, put the information in. They'll get back to you. Make sure they're ready for you when you show up. As well, thanks so much for watching us on YouTube. We appreciate it. And you can watch more videos. We have close to a thousand there under Pawlik Auto Repair. And thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching, listening.

2006 Chevrolet Uplander Front Strut Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert producer, the Pawlik automotive podcast. And of course we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver servicing and repairing cars for 38 years in Vancouver, 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And of course we're talking cars. How are you this morning Bernie?

Bernie: I'm doing pretty well.

Mark: So we're speaking about a Chevrolet Uplander. This is a little bit of a rare model, I guess, a minivan. What was happening with it?

Bernie: Yeah, well they're not entirely rare, I mean, this was actually the Chevy's replacement for the Venture van, but I think Ventures were horrible vans. They were like one of the worst products GM's put out in a long time and we can talk about those in another situation. But the Uplander is definitely a huge improvement. But yeah, I don't think they sold tons of them. I don't have the specs, but you certainly don't see as many as you did with the Ventures. So this van basically had a really bouncy ride to the vehicle. It's a regular customer, we've been servicing this vehicle for many years. And I do a service of picking this vehicle up at the person's house or the business. So I tend to drive it a little more often, and you notice right away the ride of the front of the vehicle is very bouncy, it just didn't feel quite right.

Mark: You had to replace the struts, is that what was going on?

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. So the front struts were worn out and basically, so I was saying the ride was bouncing. You know, people often wonder, well how do I know if my stress or shocks are warn? And by the way a strut has a shock absorber in it and that's the primary wear component is the actual shock absorber. How you can tell, I mean you can just feel it in the vehicle when you, when you come to a, especially if you come to a stoplight, the vehicle should, you know, you push the vehicle, you hit the brake, you come to a stop light, the front end of the vehicle dips and it bounces up once and stops.

And you know, if it bounces even a slight bit more, you can tell your struts are worn out, but you can also just get a general feel that the vehicle. Just doesn't feel like it's really gripping. I don't say gripping the road, but it just feels like it's a little out of control. Now we've been fixing cars for a long time so I have a feel right away. But if you have a vehicle that feels like that might be an indication your struts or shocks are worn that that extra bounciness is certainly quite noticeable.

Mark: So I'm sure there's probably a recommended interval to change struts, what is that?

Bernie: Well, there used to be an a recommended interval and this came from strut and shock manufacturers replace your shocks every 80,000 kilometres or 50,000 miles. And you know, over the years of working on cars, I've always thought that just seems ridiculous. Like I've had vehicles where the shocks and struts have gone way longer than that for years and years and years. Now of course, because I'm sure they've got a lot of pushback and negative comments about that, the recommendation for the last few years is check your struts at 80,000 miles, you know, have them inspected. So which is a much fairer idea, but really, as I said, you can tell right, most of the time right away by driving the car. There's also the bounce test you can do, which is you basically bounce the vehicle up and down a few times. Difficult to do on an F350, by the way. But on a one ton truck, like if I say not as difficult, impossible, but on an average car, even a minivan, you know, you can bounce the vehicle up and down and if the vehicle will bounce up after you let your hand off the vehicle and it'll drop down to a certain point, if it does any more bouncing then the shocks are struts are worn. So that's a, that's a good test.

But anyways, as far as the interval, you know, I really believe you just need to drive the vehicle and see how it goes. This particular van, it's a 2006 so that makes it 12 to 13 years old at this point and it's got about 150,000 kilometres I believe. So quite a lot over the 80,000 that was recommended. The thing about shocks and struts too, they're not like you know, if you don't do them you're going to create a lot of extra damage. I mean sometimes your tires can wear funny and sometimes you can actually have shock or strut wear and not even be aware of it and all of a sudden you'll have your tire's worn funny. There's some interesting issues that happen. We can talk about that another time.

But that's fairly rare. Not entirely common. So you know, replacing them at a certain set interval, like a maintenance item, it really doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I think you're better to keep your money in your pocket and wait until the time when the wear is actually more applicable.

Mark: What's involved in replacing the struts on this van?

Bernie: So this vehicle, there's a couple of different ways to do it, but let's just get into some pictures while we're at it.

2006 Chevrolet Uplander Front Strut Replacement
2006 Chevrolet Uplander Front Strut Replacement

So there's the van, it's an '06 Uplander and that is the strut that we replaced. So there's a couple of ways you can do it, what's pretty common nowadays is what's called a quick strut, that's Munroes brand name, there's other brands around that do the same thing. But essentially what it is, it's a complete assembly. As I said, the main wear part when a strut wears out is the actual shock absorber portion, which is sort of inside this tube in the middle of the tube. This coily piece here is basically a dust protector and if you remove it, you'll see a nice shiny shaft and this is what moves up and down. You can see the the spring and then at the top to the spring seat and strut mount bearing.

That's also another part that tends to wear fairly frequently too, causing on some cars and creaks and clunks and noises and things. So the nice thing about a quick strut, again using that brand name, is you replace this whole thing. There's nothing left over to wear out and it's a little less labour intensive. You just unbolt it from the vehicle, you bolt the new one in and away you go. Whereas if you're just to replace the strut and maybe the bearing plate, we have all the tools to do it, you need to disassemble it because the spring is under a lot of pressure, and then change the parts over and then put it back together. So that's kind of the way it goes. I mean in the olden days too that a lot of struts, you could actually change the cartridge, the piece right inside, so you'd actually keep the tube, that's really old fashioned nowadays. So that's going back at least two or three decades now for that technology, so this is what we did on this vehicle.

Mark: So when you've replaced the struts like that, is a wheel alignment necessary?

Bernie: It is, on the rear, not necessary, not usually necessary. Sometimes it is, but on the front, absolutely because it does affect the steering geometry. Then the MacPherson Strut is one part of the steering geometry, it's kind of like the upper control arm and spring and everything built into one. So it kind of a neat feature, you know, neat design in terms of minimizing the amount of components in a front suspension. But yeah, it's critical to do it in alignment.

Mark: And how reliable are Chevy Uplanders?

Bernie: Well, as we talked earlier, I was talking about Ventures, I mean they're not bad, we've serviced this vehicle for quite a few years. This is a really good maintenance customer. You know, we've had others that we've serviced, they're actually quite a reliable vehicle and you know, GM did a good service compared to the Venture, we can do a whole podcast about all the things that went wrong and those vehicles, but we don't seem to see them as much on Uplander. So it to me this is a pretty decent minivan. Of course getting old now, you know, they haven't made them in awhile.

Mark: So there you go. If you have a Chevy that you need some maintenance on, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, or check out the website,, hundreds of videos and articles about all kinds of makes models, repairs, maintenance items. As well there's hundreds of videos on our youtube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course thank you so much for listening to the podcast and thank you Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you mark. Thanks for watching. We totally appreciate it.

2017 Chevrolet 3500HD Pickup, Pre Purchase Inspection

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto repair experience and 19 time winners. 19 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 we have a 2017 Chevrolet 3500HD pickup, pretty almost brand new vehicle, what was pre-purchase inspection. What was going on with this and your new truck?

Bernie: Yeah, so the potential buyer brought this vehicle to us for a pre-purchase inspection, wanted to check out the condition of the vehicle before he bought it. So we proceeded to do our usually awesome pre-purchase inspection.

Mark: So of course this is a very documented procedure with hundreds of points of checking, so what did you find when you did this?

Bernie: Well, on the road test, which is the first part. Chris who did the inspection noted, he said there's a possible noisy wheel bearing from the left front. That was basically the only thing he noted otherwise the truck drove really nice. But when we got up in the hoist, we found some extremely interesting things and I wanted to share that with you.

So let's just get right into some photos. So here's our 2017 Chevy truck, I mean beautiful condition, looks really nice. Bit of a gloomy Vancouver day, so could have showed nicer on a sunny day. Getting into some other photos. Here's basically the odometer, 46,000 kilometres. So it's still, for a Chevy truck, I mean really barely broken in, almost new. But a fair bit of use for a two year period.

2017 Chevrolet 3500HD Pickup, Pre Purchase Inspection
2017 Chevrolet 3500HD Pickup, Pre Purchase Inspection
2017 Chevrolet 3500HD Pickup, Pre Purchase Inspection
2017 Chevrolet 3500HD Pickup, Pre Purchase Inspection
2017 Chevrolet 3500HD Pickup, Pre Purchase Inspection
2017 Chevrolet 3500HD Pickup, Pre Purchase Inspection
2017 Chevrolet 3500HD Pickup, Pre Purchase Inspection
2017 Chevrolet 3500HD Pickup, Pre Purchase Inspection
2017 Chevrolet 3500HD Pickup, Pre Purchase Inspection

When we got under the vehicle, that's where the interesting things started to happen. They'd undercoated this vehicle over mud, which was just absolutely bizarre. So we'll just go through some photos here. This is the exhaust crossover pipe, you can see this vehicle has been exposed to an awful lot of mud. So right away, you could tell the usage of this vehicle is probably either in the mining industry or oil and gas, somewhere been driven off road in a lot of muddy conditions, maybe construction in a muddy area.

But transmission pan's covered in mud. But this black here is basically undercoating that's been sprayed under the vehicle. So, somewhere along the line, someone has tried to mask the vehicle, make it look better underneath than it really is, but this undercoating is done over top of mud. That's why it looks so bumpy, which is absolutely crazy.

So we found numerous, numerous areas like this. Here's the back of the vehicle, this is a computer module. I believe this is the fuel pump module, coated over in undercoating. Of course it'll be a real nightmare to do some diagnosis and testing. And not so much mud here, but there's some. Again, it's been undercoating over top of mud. What else have we got here?

Another example, I mean this is where the torsion bar goes through the front frame. Again, kind of hard to see, like in real life, it's way more noticeable. But again, here's the metal here and this is all just a huge layer of mud sprayed over. We've got this, no we've already looked at this. Did we already look at this? I'm not sure but here's another example. Lots of mud here. This is the front exhaust pipe, catalytic converter.

Now actually this is facing rearwards, actually. So where the torsion bar mounts, again, just caked mud. And to get into what, you know. So up in front, this is the front skid plate, you can kind of get an idea of the mud. I mean this is a three inch thick layer of mud. That's the four wheel drive actuator. Another similar view of the same area. Again, you can see the level of mud, so this was caked all over underneath the vehicle and just sprayed over top.

I don't know if there's anything else. And of course, they didn't even do that great of a job because there's just a bit of over spray in the oil filter and the oil pan and that's it. I can't stand looking at anymore, it drives me crazy. It's that bad. Gotta put some humour in here because it's just awful.

Mark: So, okay. So what's the big problem here of other than they're trying to hide something that this thing is coated in a ton of mud that should have been cleaned off, what's the problem created by undercoating over top of mud?

Bernie: Well I think you alluded to the biggest thing there. To me, it's like, "What are you hiding?" Or "Why are you trying to make something?" It's like putting icing on a cake made of mud, it's like when you cut the icing open, it's just mud underneath, it's not cake. So, I mean that's the first thing is, like why would you even spend the energy, if you're gonna do anything proper, a really good thorough pressure washing and cleaning underneath the vehicle would be the very first step before you undercoat it and try to make it look a little better. And maybe that would actually not be a bad thing to do, because it's been bounced around the bush.

But the other bad thing about it, of course is mud absorbs water and over time, when you get mud, if you wanna take good care of a car, you've always gotta flush the wheel wells of the car out, because a lot of times you get mud and it'll sit in little corners and water will sit in there and that's a perfect way for the moisture to attack the metal and eventually rust it out.

So, keeping things clean, mud free is important because water, it attracts water and it just keeps sitting in certain spots. So over time, this truck will definitely run into a number of problems, whether it's electrical connectors being damaged from water and mud to the fact that the undercoating's even kind of retaining the mud in place and keeping the moisture in the mud because it's like a rubberized type coating.

Mark: So, I can assume probably and correct me if I'm wrong, that if you went and looked at this vehicle yourself at the lot and drove it, you'd think, "Wow, this is a great vehicle. They've probably got a good price on it." Making a really huge assumption, but let's just go with that. It drives good, it looks good, it feels good, this is a great vehicle. Because you probably yourself, wouldn't necessarily go underneath the vehicle to see this. And this could happen with a reputable car dealer or a second tier kind of car lot or even a private seller. So how do I protect myself from this happening?

Bernie: Yeah, great question. Pre purchase inspection. It's really the key. Bring it somewhere, have it looked at. And I've got to tell you an interesting about it. So this is the second truck we've looked at for this owner. The last truck we looked at was a 2018 with 20,000 kilometres and he phoned initially to us and said, "I wanna bring this thing in for inspection," and I kind of thought, "You know what? That truck is so new, why bother?"

So we did the inspection on it and we actually found some problems. There were some worn front end parts. There was a CV joint boot that was leaking grease, and those are the couple things I remember, but there was a couple things and this truck is like I say, it's a year old. Obviously been used pretty hard. No mud underneath like this, so it wasn't that bad. But right away it just turned him off, he goes, "I don't wanna buy this truck because it's got stuff."

Now some of those things may have been covered by warranty because the truck wasn't that old, but again, just a turnoff. But it just made me realize, you never know. You think "Oh, this truck's not that new." I make these assumptions, because I work on cars all the time. A lot of times it'll be fine, it's only 40,000 kilometres on a two year old truck, what could be wrong? Well, here's the evidence.

So a pre purchase inspection is really the only way to be 100% sure. You know, some people go, "I don't wanna fork over 150 or 200 dollars." But you know what? You bought this truck, you're gonna be in there wasting many times that amount of money over the years over repairs that you wouldn't have needed to do had you bought the right vehicle in the first place.

Mark: So, once this was all done, was there anything else wrong with this vehicle?

Bernie: Well, we did find a few things. There were some front end parts, like some tie rod ends that had some excessive play. The tires were worn out. I mean that's something you couldn't see, and they weren't severely worn out, but worn out to the point where, for the price of the truck, I would have expected to have a new set of tires put on it. Again, and those can be negotiating tools, but again with those worn out front end parts, you go, "Well, where has this vehicle been driven?" It's been banged around logging roads or back roads, gravel, through roads that probably don't even exist. So that takes its toll on a vehicle.

Mark: Is there a time where you wouldn't recommend a pre purchase inspection.

Bernie: Not really, I mean you should do it any time. Even if you're buying a $3000 vehicle, because you never know what might be wrong with it. And I mean I have bought vehicles in the past without doing inspections on them because sometimes I can get a pretty good feel for a car driving, but I've been in the business for a long time and I've bought a lot of crap. So I know the kind of telltale signs of stuff to look for.

But if you were saying, you're going, "I don't want an inspection on this vehicle," I mean the very least if the buyer had crawled under this vehicle and looked with a bit of a discerning eye, and you have some automotive intelligence, you would have able to say, "Hey, wait a minute. This is kind of shady, I really should have this looked at." So I'd say just any time you should. And there are some very reputable dealers around, but this vehicle shocked me because it was actually from a place where I would have never expected to find a vehicle like this.

So, usually name brand car dealerships, they only sell good cars because they value their reputation. But again, this has taught me, you know what? You can't really tell. Somehow this thing slipped by their whatever procedures they have.

Mark: There you go, if you need a pre purchase inspection on your new to you vehicle, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead because we're busy or check out our website, We have a huge YouTube channel with hundreds of videos, Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast and thank you Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thanks for watching.

2001 Chevy Suburban Intermittent No-Start

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. 19-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers. We're talking this morning about a truck, a 2001 Chevy Suburban, that had an intermittent no-start problem. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: What was going on with this rather large, rotund, boat anchor? SUV?

Bernie: Well, I add in, actually, this happened to be my own personal vehicle. What was happening is about a month and a half, two months ago, it developed this interesting no-start issue. I pulled into a store, got something, walked out, cranked the engine over. Cranked over fine, but it wouldn’t start.

I go, oh, that's weird. It's never done that before. I was a little flustered, and after trying it for a couple of minutes it started up, ran great, and I drove home going, oh, that's kind of weird, and it never gave me a problem for another couple of weeks.

I Mentioned it to my wife. She goes, “Yeah, it's done that once before, too.”

So, never gave it much of a problem, and because I'm busy, it's like the classic thing of the shoemaker's kids having their bad shoes. Sometimes, unfortunately, my cars get treated like that. In the case of this vehicle, it kind of went like that. It took about a month and a half, or so before we finally got to the final diagnosis and repair, which we're sharing on this podcast.

What happened in between is it just got slowly worse, but it seemed to always be consistent. If the engine was hot and you leave it for a few minutes, it would be hard to start. But, if you left it for a little longer, it would start just fine.

That was basically the issue, and it boiled down to being a bad fuel pump, at the end of the day, which was surprising because I'd replaced the fuel pump about three or four years ago with a high-quality pump that wasn't dead.

But, I figured, hey, let's get on top of this thing because the vehicle's got pretty high mileage. Let's make sure the pump's good, because they're one of the things that quit on these vehicles, and you don't want to be stranded somewhere. So, finally, eventually, this replacement unit quit, probably a lot sooner than I expected it would.

Mark: How did you diagnose that it was the fuel pump, and then how did you verify that the pump was the problem?

Bernie: Right. Well, initially, I didn't really ... I figured it was a fuel issue because ... Just by the way that the vehicle was operating. But, it didn't seem, initially, like a fuel pump, because, normally, when a pump dies, it'll do what we just did there. Maybe you might bang the gas tank, or something, to get it going. It doesn't usually restart after a couple of clicks of the key, so I figured maybe there's some kind of weird electronic or electrical glitch with the vehicle. A sensor, perhaps.

First step was of course to hook a scan tool up. Scanned it for codes. There was nothing relevant in any sort of way to a no-start issue. Tested some of the sensors like the crank sensor, which is a pretty important input, in terms of starting the engine. It was fine. Figured, possibly, again, because it was an intermittent issue and not happening consistently, I figured maybe there was an issue with the Passlock key.

There's a security system on these GM vehicles, and they have to send a signal. When you insert the key and turn it, it sends a signal to the computer to start it or not. It'll do exactly this. It'll crank over, but it won't start. It'll disable the fuel. So, tested out that system pretty thoroughly. It was all good.

Again, just kind of in life, it got busy and then, eventually, the vehicle got worse and finally died. Finally, the final straw was banging ... I had an emergency, I had to bang the gas tank with a hammer. It started up. So, okay, that's pretty much a guaranteed diagnosis right there.

Mark: Bringing back, flashing back to memories of crawling under this old Volvo I had, that I had to pound on the fuel pump to get it to go.

Bernie: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. The reason that works, by the way, if anyone's wondering, is that the pump, it has motor with a ... It's called a commutator. It's got little brushes and eight spots on the motor. When one of them wears, the pump can't turn, but if you bang it ... And it doesn't always work. Sometimes the pump's so dead it won't work. But, sometimes, if you bang it, it just jolts the pump enough to move that little millimetre, or quarter of a millimetre enough, to just get the electricity to flow, and then the pump starts running.

Mark: Did you do something else to check that?

Bernie: Yeah. The other interesting bit of diagnosis, because I was ... The other one that I use is a lab scope, to look at the actual current ... It's called a current ramp test of the fuel pump. Just to see what was happening with it, because, as I said, I was surprised because the pump wasn't that ... I mean it was like three, four years old. It really shouldn't have died at this early of an age. So, I wanted to see exactly what this looks like, because this is a test we can do sometimes to test people's fuel pumps. And, you know, if someone's got an intermittent issue like this, it's a good way to see, hey, is the fuel pump actually the problem?

So, I'll just share some pictures here. We did this with a lab scope.

2001 Chevy Suburban Intermittent No-Start
2001 Chevy Suburban Intermittent No-Start

 Mark: What is a lab scope?

Bernie: So, what is a lab scope? This is basically ... I'll just share the picture here, we can see it. Basically, a lab scope, it's an oscilloscope that attaches either to ... It either takes a voltage or an amperage signal. In this case, we use a current probe, and we actually take a sweep of the actual current that's being drawn through the fuel pump.

So, this is with the new fuel. This is the engine running, and this is the current flowing through the fuel pump. So, on one side, we have the voltage being used, and on other side we time-frame. So, you can see, this is 100 milliseconds across here. This is a hundred one-thousandths of a second. So, this is ten one-thousands of a second.

So, you can actually calculate the speed that the pump's turning. I'm not going to get into that. It requires a little bit of math, but not a lot.

You can see little pumps here. One, two, three, four, five, six ... This is basically a healthy fuel pump. It's got a little bit of a dip. The reason it has these different little pulses is this is where the commutator, which is where the brushes run inside the motor ... This is where they contact. So, there's a change in current flow every time it goes past.

Now, this is a good pump. Let's have a look at what a bad pump looks like, the old one. Very hashy. There's some distinct rises here, but there's also very distinct drops. Now, this is a bit unusual for a fuel pump, too, because a lot of current problems with fuel pumps ... You'll often find, if you have a bad fuel pump, the pattern'll actually look like this, except it'll have one or two missing peaks here.

That often indicates, oh, there's a commutator that's actually worn off. Whatever was going on in this fuel pump caused a pretty radical spike in voltage. Interestingly enough, when the engine was running, it ran perfectly. But, I think, because these big spikes here required a lot of power to get the pump turning, that's why it wouldn't start. When you're cranking the engine over, the voltage is lower. So, it just didn't quite have enough juice to turn. But, once it was moving, it worked fine.

So, that's what we can see with a lab scope. There's many things we test with lab scopes. It can take a little extra time to hook it up, but often it'll verify things. I had someone some in with this concern, and said, hey, I got this intermittent problem, but it only happens once in a blue moon. This is the test we could of done that didn't take a lot of time, that could of verified, you know what, your fuel pump pattern's bad, we should change it.

Mark: So, after you replaced the fuel pump, everything ran well?

Bernie: Yeah, it started fine, ran well. Perfect. Yeah, really nice.

Mark: This is quite an old-

Bernie: We're giving life to the vehicle again.

Mark: This is an 18 year-old vehicle now, and it's yours. How does it run overall, and is it worth still keeping it going on the road?

Bernie: Yeah, it's really good. I've taken really good care of it, and the engine actually wore out at about 300,000 kilometres, so I replaced it. I put a 6.0L, so it's a slightly larger engine than the 5.3L that came in it. I put a nice, used 6.0L engine in it. It runs great. As I said, I've kept up all the maintenance and repairs on it. When you drive it, it just drives like a brand new truck still.

Even the shock absorbers, which surprisingly, they're still original, and I've towed a trailer with it. It's built well. The ride is perfect. It's smooth. The only thing I can complain about, the fuel economy is not great because it's a big beast, but other than that, it's a good vehicle.

I'll keep it for a few more years. It's worth doing, but again, the key is to fix things as they wear out, as opposed to leaving a big pile of things, and all of a sudden, it's like a multi-thousand dollar bill, and you go, no, that's not worth it, I'll just junk it. But, a replacement for a Suburban is a lot of money, even a good used one.

Mark: Yeah, instead of ... It's a heck of a lot cheaper to spend a few thousand a year than $80,000 or more on a brand new one.

Bernie: Well, actually, a hundred. The equivalent of this model, I've seen them in dealerships, it's over $100,000. That's a lot of money for a truck.

Mark: Yeah.

Bernie: But, if you keep it 20 years and you amortize it out, then that's only $5,000 a year, but you still need the $100,000. It's a lot of monthly payments, or a lot of cash upfront. Whichever way you go. So, a good used one works well.

Mark: So, I take back it's a boat anchor. It's just a good used vehicle that's fulfilling its purpose.

Bernie: Yeah, yeah. It's not a boat anchor yet. It still works and runs, and it's a good boat hauler.

Mark: So, there you go. If you have a boat hauler or trailer hauler, or a people mover, that's huge and needs some maintenance, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead, they're busy. Or, check out their website, There's tons of information on there as well. There's the YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds, literally ... Over 400 videos on there of all makes, models and years of cars and types of repairs and maintenance as well. Thank you so much for listening to our podcast. We appreciate it, thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching and listening. We love having you as an audience member. Thanks.

2002 Chevrolet K2500, Duramax Diesel Fuel Injectors

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

Bernie: I’d doing very well this morning.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Duramax diesel, a 2002 ChevyK 2500, what was going on with this truck?

Bernie: Well this vehicle came to us, it was running rough and there was some issues that we eventually determined with the fuel injectors but basically the engine was shaky, was making noises and a bit of acessive smoke.

Mark: so what are some symptoms of bad fuel injectors?

Bernie: Well bad fuel injectors will do a number of things. They’ll cause an all out misfire which, so you know, the engine will be very shaky and very rough, on a more subtle level, it can just cause some subtle knocking noises and the engine is loud to subtle knocking noises in the engine, can also cause smoking ,so either start up or while it’ running,or under different throttle loads it will be a variety of a, there can be different sort of smoking conditions either white or black depending on what’s happening with the injectors. Also starting problems to the engine just takes a long time to start. So those are some of the symptoms of bad fuel injectors.

Mark: So what can cause injectors to go bad and what caused these  ones to go bad? 

Bernie: Well, so this is an interesting story and I’m going to add a little backstory for this truck. So this vehicle, our client purchased it about, I believe, about 6 months ago, he found this huge truck, we did an inspection, looked great from what I remember it seemed to run pretty well so he bought it. He’s a handy person, he took on repairing a number of the things that we found wrong with it but he also decided, “l’m going to change my fuel injectors because you know, it’s not quite running perfectly or there’s a bit of smoke”, so he did it himself which is an incredibly bold thing to do because even in our shop and all our tools and equipment, it’s a couple days worth or work to change them, it’s a lot of work, it’s a big job, a lot to be dismantled to do it and a lot to be put back together. But he did it, did a great job, put it back together, started it up and it ran fine for a bit and then he said after a while it started running like really rough and there was a pretty bad knocking noise in the engine. Yeah, so what caused these injectors to go bad? I mean the end story that I’m going to tell you is that the injectors themselves were not good quality but that’s basically what happened. The job he did was good. We had to do some diagnosis to figure out what exactly was happening. So there’s, this job came in two rounds, and the first round we basically determined number eight injector was bad and we had another one sent over from the place he bought it and put it in and it ran much better, but still not perfect. So after great amount of, a little more work we determined that the injectors we all likely bad, had them sent out for testing and sure enough, all eight injectors had a similar problem in the certain range of fuel delivery, that all of them were defective.

Mark: Wow. So is this a common issue with fuel injectors for diesels?

Bernie: Well you know, my whole point of doing this hangout is that you’ve got to watch where you buy your injectors from. I think this is really the lesson that just because someone sells a rebuilt fuel injector doesn’t mean it’s rebuilt to the right standards, and clearly in the case of this engine, this person he’d ordered them off the internet and from a somewhat reputable company but obviously they weren’t good. We have a supplier that we deal with, everything we buy from them is always good because, the injectors they sell are mostly rebuilt, at least these ones are rebuilt by Bosch, big company, they’re the people who manufacture in them in the first place, their rebuilding standards are as high as you can go. But they tell me, and this makes a lot of sense, a lot of companies they buy them and clean the injectors, they make sure they function, at least seemingly function, you know, there’re cleaned and sold off. But they’re not really rebuilt in a proper way.

Mark: So ok, a bit of fun there, two sets of injectors later, how does the truck run?

Bernie: Really good, really well, I mean smooth, starts up instantaneously, runs smooth right from the moment it starts, no smoke, it’s perfect. So the thing with diesels, as long as you have good compression in the engine, usually the injectors just make all the difference. They’re just so critical to, I mean, they control everything from the like in a gasoline engine you have a spark timing but you know in fuel delivery whereas with a diesel it’s all done with the injector. So you know having that working properly, it’s critical. I’ll just share a photo here of the truck, or I should say of a truck because I couldn’t quite get all my photos together this morning. This is a 2002 Silverado, you know similar to the truck we worked on, great vehicle, super reliable, there is nothing bad I can say about these trucks, really good overall. 

Mark: So what’s the difference between injectors that he purchased and what you supplied?

Bernie: As I was mentioning, the injectors we supplied were, they’re Bosch remanufactured and you know the highest, say the highest standards of quality so that the difference again, the key, I know we do these videos mostly for people who are just interested in having their car repaired, but you know, there’s a lot of do-it-yourselfers who watch this so my word to you is buy injectors from a reputable supplier, buy as close, maybe not right from the dealer they’re way more money but someone who’s a very reputable diesel rebuilder or supplier of diesel parts.

Mark: Any finally I guess, how are Duramax diesels?

Bernie: Duramax, yeah they’re awesome. I mean of all the big three manufacturers, these are definitely our favourites in our shop because a lot less goes wrong with them than the others. I mean, even though Cummins are really reliable, there’s still a few problems with them. The Ford’s of course are legendary, I mean the 7.3 is pretty good but I mean these Duramaxes, they’re amazing, like they really don’t have that many problems, I mean the odd injector goes bad but there’s very few problems with these engines, they’re really good. Again, this would be my choice for a diesel to buy.

Mark: So there you go, if you are looking for service for your Duramax diesel in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to book ahead, they’re busy, or check out their website or our web channel on YouTube search for Pawlik Auto repair or our new Car Truth Show web channel, YouTube channel, lots of good stuff on there. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thank you Mark

1996 Chevy 1500 Series Pickup Fuel Pump Replacement

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

Bernie: Doing very well

Mark: So we’re gong to talk about 96 Chevy 1500 Series pickup truck, what was going on with this truck?

Bernie: Well the vehicle was towed to our shop with a no start condition, the engine was cranking over fine but it wouldn’t start. So that’s what was going on with the vehicle. Basically when we have a vehicle like that, obviously diagnosis is the first thing to do to find out what’s going on with it. There’s really three things that will cause the vehicle not to start if it’s cranking over, either the engine compression is bad, the ignition system isn’t working or the fuel system’s not working. In this case, what we found is the fuel pressure was very low, not sufficient to have the engine start. 

Mark: So what type of fuel injection do these trucks use?

Bernie: Well these GM’s of this vintage, they used it throughout most of the ’90’s, it’s called a vortec fuel injection system. GM used it on the V8 and V6 engines in their trucks and to be honest, it wasn’t GM’s best system. So anyways, the fuel pumps generate quite a lot of pressure to actually get the fuel system to operate and yeah, so that’s part of it. The way the fuel injection system works, just to give a few details, the actual fuel injectors are actually located inside the intake manifold, so when you look at the engine, it’s got this big fat intake manifold that actually comes apart in two pieces and inside are, this is a V8 engine, so all the eight fuel injectors are inside. There’s a central electronic control unit that operates the fuel injectors, there’s a fuel pressure regulator, all inside the intake manifold and the fuel lines basically just go in and out through the top. So it’s a big wiring connector and the fuel lines, all hidden away, real nice, easy to manufacture but there’s a lot of problems that happen with this system. 

So I’ll just share a couple of photos here, here’s our truck here, real nice old nice truck, lowrider, really good condition. So again, you know 1996 it’s getting to be a 20 year old truck, is it worth it? Of course. It’s a beautiful truck, it’s well taken care of and a nice vehicle. I’ll just get our other photo up here, so here’s our fuel pump. This is basically a complete fuel assembly unit, you remove it, this is the part that sits into the fuel tank, right here it mounts from the fuel tank and yeah, so the pump is in the fuel tank. Here’s the pump right here, that’s the section right here, I mean really you could just get away with changing that piece and the strainer here, which sort of pre filters the fuel, but they sell it as an assembly and the good news is you get a new gas tank sending unit, that’s this thing here, this yellowish object, this is actually a float,  kind of like a float in your toilet bowl, it moves up and down with the amount of fuel. There’s a little rheostat here that sends a voltage signal to the fuel gauge and that’s how you know how much fuel you have in your tank. So again when you do this kind of replacement you’re actually getting all these parts which is kind of nice because these pieces fail too and then you have fuel lines here, you can see some gas has leaked out, the fuel inlet, fuel return line and then there’s some pipes here for the evap system which basically captures the gas fumes from getting out.

Mark: So is this a fairly reliable fuel injection system?

Bernie: No it’s not, as I was mentioning there are problems with it. There’s been a lot of issues with them, the injectors will fail, the other big problem that happens too because the fuel pressure regulator is located inside the intake manifold, it can actually start leaking fuel when it fails and it’ll start causing excessively rich mixture especially into the rear cylinders where it’s located because the fuel will actually start pouring out, extra fuel is leaking out, will actually start pouring into the cylinders. So it fails and just the injectors were just not very reliable in the way they work. The problem putting it inside the intake manifold is that you’ve got all the blow by gases, the PVC system sucks the crankcase gases in and they can create this horrible sludge and it’s a really toxic harsh environment. So it wasn’t the best idea.

There’s a replacement system available that actually makes each injector electronically controlled and so instead of having the central unit that controls the injectors, it’s still inside the manifold but it has each injector is electronically controlled. Kind of like the more modern systems are, and that definitely works better. Though I have to say, the first time we ever replaced one of those, we bought one, we put it in and it actually the unit failed right away, so hmm not sure about this, but the second one worked and the car’s been running forever, but every once in a while you get a bad part. It’s not a great time to get a bad part in the very first replacement.

Mark: So 21 years old vehicle, what does GM use now?

Bernie: So beginning in the early 2000’s, GM they redesigned their engines, they got away from this vortec fuel injection system and they basically put individual port fuel injection, individual injector, externally mounted like almost everyone else and very reliable. I’ve had at 2001 Suburban since 2006, like nothings gone wrong with it, bullet proof reliable, amazing truck. So that system works really well. We get a lot of Chevy trucks, nothing ever goes wrong with that fuel system, so that was a really good upgrade doing that. Now speaking of Chevy trucks, you know I speak pretty highly of them but really when they hit about the 2000 model year, that’s when they started building them really well. Prior to that, a lot of the Chevy trucks were definitely on the weaker side with this vortec fuel system  was problematic. A lot of the brakes were way under sized on them and you might, some trucks you know, 20 or 30 thousand kilometres would be all you’d get on a set of brakes. Sometimes even less if you’re hauling heavy loads but on the newer ones, the brakes will last a 100 thousand kilometres even with heavy loads. So they really upped the size of the truck and really built it well starting around the 2000’s.

Mark: And how about these 96 vintage, how are they for reliability?

Bernie: Well again, they’re kind of in that category, they’ve got this vortec fuel system which is problematic and the brakes are smaller, so they’re not as reliable, they’re  definitely, the 90’s were not really the best years for GM trucks. I mean you saw the picture of the truck, beautiful truck and I can’t fault someone for owning it and taking care of it and it just needs more work than the newer model, which I guess is good for us.

Mark: So there you go, if you have a Chevy or GM vehicle that needs some repair or maintenance in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book ahead, they’re busy so you’ve got to book ahead or check out their website or our Youtube channel. We’ve got hundreds of videos, just search for Pawlik Automotive on Youtube. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

Chevy And GM Trucks, How Reliable Are They?


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

Bernie: I’m doing very well this morning.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about Chevy and GM trucks, how reliable are they?

Bernie: In a nutshell, they are very reliable.

Mark: So, ok, straight and to the point, thank you so much for showing up everybody! Let’s dig in a little bit more, how about, let’s just start with pick up trucks, there’s a lot of different brands of or line of vehicles. Let’s start with pickups, how are they?

Bernie: I’d say they’re very good, I mean so I’d say in a nutshell they’re very reliable, nothing is foolproof or bullet proof and in our industry that’s always a good thing, you don’t want a car built that needs no repairs. But anyways besides that, trucks are awesome, engine-wise, I like Chevy trucks a lot so let’s talk like between say the years of 2000 and newer. Excellent engines in all their trucks, we’re talking about full size pick up trucks here, good V8 engines, very reliable, durable and simpler than say Ford and some Dodges use pushrod engines, but a lot of them use overhead cam engines. GM stuck with the pushrod engines which are not so sophisticated but they are very reliable and they generate good horsepower. So I really like the engines, they last an awful long time, front ends like steering, suspension, ball joints, steering linkages, they’re all good, I mean they do eventually wear over time but you usually got to put a few good years before any of that wears. Transmissions are reliable, some of them even come, like the higher end, the heavier duty models come with Allison Transmissions which are a bullet proof unit. Interior, fit and finish, everything else is good. Not too many electronic, quirky things, there’s nothing unusual about them in terms of how they wear out they are quite durable.

Mark: So how about the vans?

Bernie: Vans, again same thing. Here you get two categories, you get the full size vans and you’ve got the Astro van which they discontinued a few years ago which is too bad because it was a very popular van, a lot of people in the building trades and even people had them for family vans because you could put a few seats in them. So it was a nice size mini van but my inly thing with vans is that you’ve got the engine mounted inside, buried inside the vehicle so to speak, and the access is difficult. So when repairs come, they’re a little more costly and time consuming but overall they’re very reliable. One thing about the Astro vans, the idler arms wear on these things all the time. They’re kind of expensive but it’s not the end of the earth but that’s sort of the one thing that sticks out in my mind as being a common issue. Other than that, just general repair and maintenance, brakes and they’re good. Again very reliable, they run for a long time. The larger vans use the V8, for the most part use V8 engines, same as the pick up trucks. Same level of reliability.

Mark: And what about the SUV’s?

Bernie: Well the SUV, so you’ve got, I’m thinking of the larger ones like the Suburban and Tahoe which are essentially a Chevy pickup truck. The Suburban is like a four door pickup truck with a short box and it’s just built in. So same level of reliability and durability, so yeah, excellent that way. Tahoe is a bit of a smaller version and yeah overall excellent.

Mark: So there’s a lot of diesel engine choices in Chevy and GM trucks, how are they?

Bernie: Again, really good. They’re one of the best, I like them best among the options. We don’t fix too many of them which says a lot. The odd fuel injector job here and there but again it’s not that common, they are much more reliable than the Fords of a lot of vintages, maybe not the 6.7 litre but certainly much more reliable. Now when you go back, so I’m talking about the Duramax diesel, they were introduced in early 2000, the earlier models used the GM made 6.2 and 6.5 litre engines. Not so good. A lot more problems and once we get into the older ones, the diagnostics are a lot more difficult as well but I would not buy a truck with a 6.2 diesel. These are getting very old at this point and time but we still see them though so they’re still around but they were not the best, durable, reliable diesel. The Duramax by the way, is made by Isuzu, so it’s a Japanese made engine which says something to about the quality of American made engines.

Mark: Ooh, so anything to add in closing, any other parting shots?

Bernie: Um, you know overall I like GM trucks and so I’m a little biased, I drive a Suburban myself and the reason I drive it is because I like the vehicle, it’s reliable and durable but as far as the diesel trucks, again I would buy a Chevy over everything else. I like the way they drive, they’re durable and my parting shot you can’t really go wrong with a Chevy or GM truck these days.

Mark: So if you’re looking for a reliable maintenance on your Chevy vehicle in Vancouver Pawlik Automotive are the folks to call. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

2009 GMC Sierra – Duramax Diesel, Fuel Filter Replacement

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

Bernie: I’m doing very well Mark.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark: And how are these trucks over all?

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

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

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2003 Chevy Silverado, Diesel Fuel Injector Replacement

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

Bernie: I’m doing well Mark.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark: Yeah

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bernie: It is.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Talk to you again soon.

2001 Chevrolet Suburban – Preventative Maintenance Fuel Pump Replacement

preventative maintenance

Our latest featured service is a Preventative Maintenance Fuel Pump Replacement performed on a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban, brought to us by a client from Burkeville, Richmond.

preventative maintenance

2001 Chevrolet Suburban


Fuel pump replacement is not something that you will find in any manufacturer’s maintenance schedule but it makes a lot of sense to add it, and some other common failure components to your maintenance schedule. The reason being is that these items will die and you will be left stranded on the side of the road. If that’s a scenario that  you don’t mind then you can stop reading right here, however, if you want to avoid such occurrences then read on.

This fuel pump replacement on a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban just happens to have been performed on my own vehicle. There was nothing wrong with the fuel pump however the vehicle has 264,000 kilometers and this is nearing the end of this pump’s lifespan. I had two major out of town trips planned, and because fuel pumps normally fail without warning the last thing that I wanted was to be standing roadside with a group of friends or my family and a large camping trailer. If I was just driving around town for the foreseeable future perhaps a dead fuel pump would not have been such an issue. When it failed it could be simply towed to the shop for repairs, though this would still be an inconvenience.

On every make of vehicle there are common failure parts that cause a no start or the vehicle to die while driving. On the Suburban the fuel pump is such a part. On many Mercedes-Benz vehicle it’s the crankshaft sensor. On many Nissan vehicles it’s the camshaft sensors. None of these parts are included in maintenance schedules but you can bet that a part with a failure history would be routinely replaced on an airplane before it falls out of the sky.

The whole purpose of preventative maintenance is to save you money and reduce stress. Replacing a common failure part on your vehicle could make your driving that much more enjoyable as there are few things more annoying than your car being broken down at the side of the road.

For more about the Chevrolet Suburban click this link

For more about fuel pumps click this link

preventative maintenance

New fuel tank module. This unit contains the fuel pump, screen filter and gas gauge sender unit along with EVAP pressure sensor.

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