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2008 Ford Edge Transfer Case Leak

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with 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. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So Ford Edge 2008 vintage, had a transfer case problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So a relatively new owner to this vehicle, and one of his complaints was that there was a smell of something burning when he'd get out of the vehicle, shut the engine off, get out of the vehicle, you could smell something burning. So we did a comprehensive inspection and a maintenance service. And one thing we noticed was a fluid leak coming from the right transfer case seal directly onto the exhaust pipe which sits right underneath where the axle seal is located. 

Mark: So that was what was causing the smell? 

Bernie: Exactly. Yeah. The oil was basically dripping out of the transfer case and burning up on the exhaust manifold. Not the exhaust manifold, sorry on the exhaust pipe. 

Mark: And they get hot, very hot. 

Bernie: They get hot. Yeah. You know, so this is a modern engine with two catalytic converters. It's a V engine and there's a lot of heat generated in this area. So yeah, things do get very hot. So yeah, the smell was pretty prominent.


Mark: So is this just a, was it a seal problem?  How simple of a repair was it on an Edge? 

Bernie: Yeah, it actually did turn out to be a pretty complicated issue. I mean, a lot of times, certain vehicles you can just pop the axle out, pop the seal out. But no it's a Ford. They made it extra complicated. These vehicles are basically, you know, they come in two and four wheel drive versions and so when they make the four wheel drive they add a transfer case, sort of bolted onto the side of the transaxle, and then the axle, the right axle shaft is kind of customized compared to what would normally be there. It's got a very long shaft on it. We'll look at pictures in a couple of minutes, but there are several seals in the transfer case. It seals the transmission fluid from getting out. It seals the transfer case fluid from getting out. There's a number of seals. So it involves actually removing the transfer case to do the repair. Pretty complex. 

Mark: So this is a transverse mounted front engine on a two wheel drive? 

Bernie: That's exactly what it is. Yeah. And so for the four wheel drive at just a transfer case, it's a essentially just a geared unit that transfers power back to the rear differential and a not actually a transfer case in the sense of an old four wheel drive where it would, you know, change speeds. It just diverts power, shall we say, not diverts, but moves power down the rear shaft to the rear axles. 

Mark: So is there something unique about the design of the seals? 

Bernie: Yes. So yeah, I did mention it was complicated. The actual seals themselves, well let's have a look at some pictures.

What we're looking at here, this is the right axle shaft. This basically slides through the transfer case. So the transfer case, we don't really have a ruler here, but this is probably eight inches, length from here to there. And this shaft slides right through the transfer case and right into the transmission. And you can see two very polished surfaces here. These are where the seals on both of these services. So interestingly enough, on the transfer case, there's an inner seal and an outer seal that seals transmission fluid from getting into this area. And then there's an outer seal here that that again prevents dirt from getting in and provides a final seal. And what was happening is these seals in here break down. And so the, it's actually transmission fluid is leaking all the way down the shaft and out onto the exhaust pipe. So it's extra complicated. Plus there's a number of larger seals that we're not seeing here that I don't have pictures of, but they're on the transfer case itself. So there's, I believe a total of about six seals. I don't know if they could have done it with less, but that's, that's how they built it. It's a little overly complicated. 

Here's a view actually of the transfer case re-installed with a brand new seal. And again, this plastic piece is part of the special seal kit. It involves getting some special tools to put it in. And the actual shaft slides in here. So we're looking again at this little stub, this little part here is, this area right here. So you see there's a nice, you know, there's a little seal here and a little seal in there. What else can we see here? This is the rear catalytic converter outlet. 

Mark: So that's an exhaust pipe? 

Bernie: Yeah. So the exhaust pipe bolts off right underneath here, which kind of goes right across where my mouse line is going. The exhaust pipe from the front goes right under here, conveniently right underneath the seal. So Ford has a TSB about this particular issue that TSB is a technical service bulletin.

Whenever a manufacturer finds a a consistent fault and they make a change in repair procedure. They issue a bulletin. And so there's a bulletin about this. It applies to a lot of different vehicles. There's a number of other vehicles that use this drivetrain and have this issue. So there are specific repairs, updated seal kits, and so on to deal with this.

So that's basically our picture show. 

Mark: So is this a, since there's a TSB about it, is this a common leak on this vehicle? 

Bernie: It is. It is a common leak, and it's, that's applicable to other models that share the same drivetrain. I don't have the TSB in front of me. I remember seeing the word Taurus on there. So Taurus, Edge, whatever other vehicles use this particular drivetrain are similarly affected and similar repairs. 

Mark: So there's a couple of other questions that we didn't actually talk about prior to this. So hopefully that doesn't take you too far off track. So the transmission fluid was actually leaking into the transfer case, were the fluids, different fluids mixing. And is that a problem? 

Bernie: Well, it is a problem for fluids to mix because they put specific types of fluids, like the transfer case has gear oil and the transmission uses a synthetic transmission fluid. So there are different types of fluids. Sometimes it, you know, usually it does make a difference because there's a reason why they use different kinds of fluids. And sometimes it could be, it could be catastrophic. In this case, I'm not certain, but the answer is there wasn't really any mixing of the fluids because the way it's designed, it could mix because there are several sealed areas. But the way this fluid was leaking, it was just leaking straight out that axle shaft and out into the exterior environment. So in this case, it wasn't mixing, but it can happen. And it does happen. Many vehicles, sorry?

Mark: So there's like a tube that that axle shaft is running through. 

Bernie: That's exactly right because it runs right through a tube, in the transfer case. 

Mark: Okay and with the Edge it's, like a large SUV, slash station wagon, I don't know what, it's Edgy. 

Bernie: Yeah. That's called a compact SUV actually. It's not, it's not huge. It's more of a car, kinda like a BMW X3 is to a BMW 3 Series. It's kind of a compact SUV. 

Mark: And so is having a transverse mounted V engine in one of those is fairly rare, is that right?Or is that a more common thing?

Bernie: No, it's really common. Very common for a lot of vehicles. Yeah. Quite common for a lot of vehicles. Japanese, European, American. 

Mark: And the reason why they went that way instead of the normal way or what I'm used to being an old guy. 

Bernie: Yeah. Not well, because it's, they start off with a front wheel drive configuration first.

So the vehicle is first of all, a front wheel drive vehicle with an option to make it a four wheel drive. Whereas, you know, there are other, it used to be in the past, you know, it used to be like when cars were rear wheel drive, the option was let's drive the front wheels, but these ones, you know, these ones are driven by the front wheels with the option to drive the back.

So that's kind of how it, so it's a two wheel drive vehicle first, and then they just added on. But I'm thinking like vehicles like Dodge Caravans, I mean they've gone that route for a long time as well. It's a front wheel drive, transverse mounted engine. Let's throw on a, Volvo calls at an angle gear unit, and that's kind of like a good term for it because it just basically changes the angle of the drive from this direction to this direction. 

Mark: Right? So how are Ford Edges for reliability? 

Bernie: Kind of Edgy. No, I'm just joking here. But they're fair. We don't work on a ton of them in our shop. There wasn't a lot else wrong with this particular Edge and it had about 187, a hundred, 180,000 K range. So this was really the only major problem we found with it. Actually come to think of it, the shocks were leaking in the back brakes, but you know, that's a lot of kilometres in the vehicles, you know, 10, 12 years old at this point. So not, not unacceptable kind of wear, but they're overall pretty fair vehicles. But you know, again, you know, this transfer case issue, that's something you're going to be facing. And fortunately this owner just bought the vehicle and he had an extended warranty on it. So it covered most of the cost of his repair on this particular job. So that was a good thing for him.

Mark: So there we go. If you're looking for service for your Ford product, Edgy are not 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. For those folks who reach out from all across North America and even sometimes the world, we don't really provide free consultations. So this is a local service in the Vancouver, British Columbia area in Canada, and we appreciate you respecting that. As far as, anything else, we love that you take a look at the website, pawlikautomotive.com. Check out the YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thanks so much for listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Feel free to subscribe and leave us a review. Thanks, Bernie. 

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

How Reliable Are Ford Cars?

Mark: Hi, its Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, talking about cars. We're going to talk reliability of Ford cars this morning. How you doing, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well, Mark.

Mark: So, there's lots of Ford cars out there. We've talked a lot about trucks, but not much about cars yet. What do you think about their cars overall?

Bernie: I'd say they're mixed. Some of them are pretty good, some of them are not so good. I mean, Ford's been around for a long time and we've been working on Ford cars for a long time, so we've got pretty good experience with them. But yeah, overall I'd say they're mixed.

Mark: All right. So let's talk maybe some different models. The Taurus was very popular for a long time, but now there's not so many of them it seems like on the road. How have Taurus' been?

Bernie: I think Taurus' are mixed, in my opinion. I remember when they first came out when I was younger, and they were the most bizarre looking car. I remember thinking, "Man, these things are ugly," and it didn't take long ... I think they were just so far ahead of their game in terms of styling that soon they become the norm, and a lot of cars look like them, and when you look at a first generation Taurus now you go, "What an old looking thing," but when that car was new it was pretty amazing, the styling. Nonetheless, the old generations, I would say weren't that reliable. After a while they'd develop fluid leaks from all over the place. Remember replacing rack and pinions, and just oil leaks, there's a whole variety of issues, water pump, coolant leaks.

Of course, with cars it's always good to put things into context of the era, I mean cars are just a lot more reliable now than they used to be back in the 80s when those cars came out. We'll talk sort of newer Taurus', maybe around the late 90s, 2000s models. Overall not bad cars, but you really need to know which ones to buy. Say, for instance, say around the 2000 model year, three liter engine Taurus, the ones with the pushrod engines, very reliable, not a lot of engine problems. If you bought a 3.8 liter blown head gaskets are a problem. The three liter, the performance model with the overhead cams, again, issues with those. So, if you know which car to buy it's not a bad buy. There's a lot of things that do go wrong with them, there's coolant leaks, there's brakes wear out like they do on any car, nothing in particular. Again, the key thing is to do your research and buy the right car.

One example of a Taurus, we have a client, it's got over 300,000 kilometers on it, it's around a 2000 Taurus, early 2000s. He's meticulous with his maintenance, he does everything, and the car still drives like a brand new car. It's an example, even a car that's maybe not got the best reputation, if you take good care of it, you do all the work, it'll last you a long time. What you give to the car it gives back to you. Now, Taurus' don't seem to be so popular these days. We don't see many in our shop, any of the newer versions yet, but certainly some of the older ones. They need more work than your average car.

Mark: All right. What about Crown Victorias? They were very popular with the police and folks who like rear wheel drive vehicles. How's their record of repairs?

Bernie: They're pretty good, but they share a lot of drivetrain components as with the trucks. The V8 engine's one of the issues, they do blow the odd spark plug out in the earlier models, so that's one issue to deal with with Crown Victorias. Overall they're a pretty good car. There's some plastic components like intake manifold, and things where you'll develop vacuum leaks or coolant leaks, and that makes for an expensive repair. If someone wants your sort of traditional American rear wheel drive gas guzzling boaty kind of car, they're a pretty good option and actually one of the only ones left, because Chrysler and GM don't make that kind of thing. The reliability's pretty good considering the police use them and yeah. Overall, a good car if you want to go for something like that.

Mark: All right, let's move to the Mustang, that's been around since 1964. Awful long time. Where do you want to start with those?

Bernie: Well, start at the beginning. Pretty amazing car right from the beginning, and I would say up until the early 70s pretty nice car, pretty reliable considering the era. A lot of very beautiful looking cars, the fastbacks, the convertibles, fantastic. A lot of very fast ones, too. Very desirable. Of course, if you want an every day driving car you don't want to buy a '65 mustang, because it's just a little too old.

Good running car, we just had a client with a '72 Mustang who we did a bunch of work for, and I was amazed. Simple technology, two barrel carburetor, nothing fancy, the car starts nice, drives well. Again, it's a 1972, so you don't expect modern technology and air bags and all that kind of stuff, even the seatbelts are just lap belts. But just a nice driving, easy to drive, nice running car.

Getting into more modern Mustang, lets move up a couple of decades, around the 80s. Pretty horrible cars, like a lot of American cars. They're pretty horrible, lackluster styling, not a lot of performance and reliability, just a lot of problems with a variety of things. The one thing I do remember Mustangs for sort of around the 80s is the heater cores were really easy to replace. You could remove the glove box, slide the heater core out, something like less than an hour you could change a heater core, which is miraculous because a lot of cars it takes you a day or two to actually take the whole dash apart and change the heater core. They seem to fail a lot more back then, though, and I was thinking about it. Probably modern antifreeze technology cooling system components last a lot longer, whereas back then antifreeze would start attacking your coolant component and cause more leaks, so things have improved. Newer Mustangs, yeah, pretty good cars. We don't really see a lot of issues with them. They're good.

Mark: And maybe lastly, the Ford Fusion, I guess. I think we're going to talk about the Focus, too, but let's stick to the Fusion for now. How are those vehicles?

Bernie: Yeah, we'll talk about the Fusion and get onto the Focus. Fusion, not a great car. There's a lot of issues with these, like throttle body problems, this'll cause your vehicle ... You're driving, all of the sudden the vehicle just won't accelerate and it'll go into a fail safe mode, so there's a lot of issues with those. The other issues with Fusions that are very common are steering rack failures. These vehicles use electronic power steering, which is pretty common in a lot of cars, but there's a lot of failures with the electric power steering unit. So, again, it'll go into a manual steering mode, which is not great. So, I mean, it's not that the car fails to steer, but you just have a manual armstrong steering. My impression of the Fusion is it's a car that uses modern technology like a lot of other vehicles, but for some reason they kind of got it wrong. There's a lot of problems with it, so it would be a car I would avoid.

Mark: And the Focus?

Bernie: Probably not a car I would avoid. Focuses are a cheap car, but they're fairly reliable. They do have a few issues that we see reoccurring. Things like they'll develop coolant leaks from plastic thermostat housings, that's one issue that we see a lot of. Oil leaks develop after a while, usually valve cover gaskets, though, so they're not that hard to fix. Other than that, sort of normal brake wear, and some of the steering suspension components wear out over time. The Focus is one of those cars that just keeps getting better year over year. The Focus, it's a successor of the Escort, which was really kind of a piece of crap. Although we do have one customer who's got an older one that she keeps pretty good care of and it seems to be pretty reliable, but Escort, they had a lot of head gasket problems and things. Focuses don't have that, they're much more reliable. I'd say if you're looking for a low priced sort of economical car, Focus is a good one. Not as reliable as a Corolla, but usually a lot less money to buy, so you're further ahead of the game.

Mark: So, what about ... I'm going to toss a little bit of a wildcard at you. Ford has had some pretty horrific engineering failures over the years, and they've started another one with Fusions and Focuses where they're catching on fire again, they just issued a massive recall for those. How's Ford's engineering overall?

Bernie: I'd say mixed. We've talked about some of their trucks, the F350s with the six liter diesels, which I think are a kind of disgusting failure in terms of engineering, and just so many problems. The V8 engines with blowing spark plugs and seizing spark plugs. The 3.8 liter V6, which we touched on earlier in the Taurus, but also in Mustangs, they used them in a lot of different cars, chronic head gasket failures. You'd almost be guaranteed of a head gasket problem in those vehicles. So, I'd say Ford engineering is mixed. You get some cars that a really reliable, a lot of transmission problems in Fords, too, over a variety of models, too, which we didn't talk about earlier. I'd say they're mixed.

The Fords marketing department is fantastic, though, because they keep selling cars and they keep doing pretty well. I remember when they had all these problems with the 3.8 liter engine with the head gaskets, the problem was so bad they actually offered people $5,000 trade in credit on their vehicle. This would be over and above the trade in they give an extra 5,000 bucks to buy another Ford car, and I kept thinking, "Who would want to buy one after all those problems?" But it actually worked, it kind of kept the issue low profile, people don't really ever talk about it anymore. And I had a lot of clients who had those vehicles that actually bought new Ford products, so it worked. But overall, I'd say their engineering's mixed, but they're not the only ones, we can talk about other manufacturers.

Mark: Of course. So there you go, if you have a Ford that you're looking for service in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can reach them at 604-327-7112. You must book ahead for an appointment, or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thank a lot, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark

Ford Explorer: How Reliable Are They?

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

Bernie: Doing really well.

Mark: So, we’re going to talk about the Ford Explorer. It’s got a bit of a checkered history, a friend of mine who owned one nicknamed his as the Exploder, kind of had a lot of problems with lawsuits and rollovers, what happens with Explorers?

Bernie: Well speaking of that or those older models with the rollovers, that was an interesting issue. The Explorer was an incredibly popular vehicle when it came out and the rollover issue, a lot of it may not of been so much the vehicle but the tires and even the recommended tire inflation. What Ford had recommended is to inflate the tires to 26 psi which is pretty low inflation for a tire, especially a truck tire and the reason they did that is just so the vehicle would have a nice, more car-like ride as opposed to a bouncy truck ride. But the thing that happened with a lot of people is they don’t check their tire pressures, you loose typically a pound of pressure a month in your tire, so eventually not looking at if for a year those 26 psi tires were down to about, I don’t know, about 14 psi. Then everyone loads their vehicle up for a family holiday with lots of weight in it, the tires get hot, they explode. So you know, the vehicle, being the type of vehicle it is, it tends to roll over. So thats kind of a lot of what happened with that vehicle. I think had people filled their tires up to like 32 or 35 pounds, a lot of that may not of happened. So anyways, with that out of the way, lets talk about more modern Explorers because people aren’t buying a1986 Explorers any more, they’re looking at newer ones in the 2000 range. So there’s a lot of issues with these vehicles. Typically what we we see most of are engine problems, especially 4L engines,we see them continuously coming in with rattling timing chains. These are older and getting on with around 200,000 kilometres which is really high but the way the engine is designed there is a timing chain at the front of the engine for one bank and the timing chain at the rear of the engine for the other so you can just imagine if the rear chain fails, which it does, you have to pull the engine out to take it apart. It’s really expensive and really by the time they happen it’s almost usually not worth fixing.

Mark: Wow, so are there any other engine problems?

Bernie: Oh yeah, their engine misfires caused by bad ignition coils or spark plugs, I mean these don’t pop spark plugs out or seize spark plugs like the F-150’s and the other Ford engines but those are problems that happen. Coil failures, spark plugs, also cooling system issues, they use a lot of plastic parts in the cooling system like a lot of manufacturers, so the thermostat housings will leak and fail, radiators too are a pretty common problem, especially in the, I’m just looking at a couple of notes I have here, around the 2006 model year. For some reason radiator failures are really high, so that might be a model to avoid, we’ve repaired them and all sorts of different ranges of years.

Mark: How about the transmissions?

Bernie: Transmission failures are a really common item on these vehicles and that’s, as the vehicles have gotten newer, the 2010 range the transmission issues seem to have gone away but again, the earlier ones, a lot of failures, even going back to those earlier generations to flip over types, the transmission problems were really common in those too.

Mark: Steering, suspension, drivetrain?

Bernie: Fairly good, yeah not a lot of problems but again, we’ve run into electronic transfer casing issues from time to time but the differentials, the drive shafts, those types of things, they all seem to be built pretty solid, nothing exceptional in that area.

Mark: How about inside the vehicle, the common failures, a/c, heating, power windows, doors, locks?

Bernie: We seem to fix a few issues like the heating system like heater blower motor but nothing unusual. The fit and finishes, I just say ok, I mean we see a lot where the plastic interior parts wear out but that’s more of a cosmetic thing than anything else, but the power windows and those sorts of things are fairly reliable.

Mark: So bottom line, would you recommend a Ford Explorer for someone as a vehicle for someone to buy?

Bernie: Not really, no. To be perfectly blunt, I mean they’re nice vehicles when they’re new but there’s so much, so many things that go wrong with them. You’d be better off, dollar for dollar to look at something else, maybe a Toyota Highlander or something, not sure if I’m comparing the right equivalent vehicle there, but there’s other vehicles to look at. So if you want to fix your Explorer, we’d love to take care of you. We do a lot of them and we do it well.

Mark: So there you go, if you need to make sure you get the full life out of your Explorer in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. It’s world famous now, thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

2008 Ford Explorer 4.6 L V8 Spark Plug Replacement

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; our weekly hangout, talking about vehicles today. We’re going to talk about a 2008 Ford Explorer, 4.6 litre V8, it had some spark plug problems. What was going on with this vehicle Bernie?

Bernie: The vehicle was brought to us for an engine misfire and we actually, I just as another side note a couple weeks previously we did some repairs on the engine, there was a ticking noise in the engine, we did some repairs on that so we, anyways two weeks later the engine came back, it had a misfire.

Mark: So what sort of testing did you do on the vehicle?

Bernie: Well at this point the first thing we do whenever a vehicles been in for service and then something happens and the owner’s thinking well, maybe you did something that wasn’t quite right or its related to the repair we just did, the first test we do is to verify did was what we repaired fixed and so the answer was yes. The initial issue was a ticking noise in the right rear side of the engine there was a worn-out rocker arm that we replaced and that works fine, it worked great, running fine, the issue we had with this one is there was a misfire on the left cylinder banks, the opposite side of the engine, so basically not related to what we’ve done. So from this point we need to do some tests and what it came down to after testing the fuel system, the ignition it looked like it was either a spark plug problem or possibly an engine compression problem.

Mark: So that sounds kind of straightforward, remove the spark plugs, check them, do a compression test, is that what you did?

Bernie: Well, yes, however on one of these engines it’s not quite so straightforward. This is the Ford V8 engine that for about five or six model years, they had, they had the spark plugs would break off inside the cylinder so it’s not a simple matter lets pull the spark plugs out, let’s put a compression gauge in, it requires a commitment from the customer before you take these out because even we might find the plugs are all good but half of them might break off resulting in numerous hours of labour to extract them, so to his knowledge he never had them replaced so we thought it’s probably a good chance the spark plugs are bad and the compression test would be a good thing to do. So let me just share some photos here, so here’s the spark plugs removed from the engine, actually I’m not sharing these, hold on, just give it a second here. Get back with the technology or screen share, ok, now let’s, sorry give me a second here to figure out the technology, where are our pictures, they’re hidden away on me, give me half a second here, ok

Mark: We have done this before

Bernie: We’re you looking at the spark plugs?

Mark: Yeah

Bernie: Now?

Mark: Now we can see them, yeah

Bernie: O.K. so this is a new spark plug on the left, the old spark plug on the right, first thing you notice and unfortunately I was not able to put any arrows here but can you see my mouse pointer?

Mark: Yeah

Bernie: Okay so this is the old spark plug, you can see there’s a gap in this spot and there’s a gap here. You’ll notice that on the old spark plug the gap is enormous so this is an indication spark plugs are extremely worn, also the reason these spark plugs break, it’s the design of the spark plugs, you notice this big long barrel here, this is not cast as part of the threaded section of the spark plug which is unique to this engine and unique and creates a problem in that you get a lot of carbon deposits which you can see on this spark plug. They build up and they seize the spark plug, this section of spark plug into the bore, you untwist the spark plug, boom it breaks and I’m just stopping the sharing here and there should be back. Yeah, so the spark plug breaks off inside the engine.

Mark: So is there any way to prevent these spark plugs from breaking?

Bernie: Well as the owner of the vehicle, no there isn’t but it’s just simply a design of the spark plugs, not much you can do to prevent it but in removing them there are ways that we can mitigate the breakage. There’s a couple techniques, one of them; warm the engine up, shut it off and then you just crack the spark plugs a little bit, you know it’s just a minute turn to just release some of the pressure in the spark plug, maybe, yeah like a 64th of a turn kind of minute amount, spray penetrating oil and let it soak overnight. Fortunately for this vehicle it was actually a Friday night that we did that and came in Monday morning, removed them and only one spark plug broke so whether that penetrating oil you know caused all the other ones to come loose, it’s hard to know. We’ve never had all 8 break, I’m sure it’s happened to somebody but not to us.

Mark: So how often do these plugs need replacement?

Bernie: Well the Ford, the interval from Ford is and I just looked this up is 144,000 kilometers is the normal service interval on spark plugs and a severe interval is 96,000 kilometers which gets me to talking about service intervals. Most people think all I just use my car for normal use but actually most of us use our car for severe use; severe use is excessive, is long idling which is like sitting at city lights, its frequent stops and starts, it’s cold starts. I mean that depends where you live but for the most part, most of us are actually driving severe service. You know, non-severe service like normal service would be starting the car up, you got on the highway and you drive for about 30 kilometers and there may be a tiny bit of city driving and you pull over and then back again, that would be non-severe use, so most of us are in severe schedule and incidentally this vehicle had about 128,000 kilometers and I’d show you the pictures of the spark plug wear so you can see, that this was sort of halfway in between those intervals and already the spark plug were pretty badly worn.

Mark: So you said that Ford redesigned the plugs so they won’t break?

Bernie: Yeah, they did actually and just shortly after this was vehicle was built, you know that there’s’ a production date on each vehicle, during this model year of this vehicle they actually changed the design of the spark plugs and actually so they don’t break, so they don’t have that sleeve that I showed you, that cylinder, it’s more of a normal type of spark plug. Now you can’t just take those plugs and put them in this engine, it’s actually an engine redesign but finally after years of the first generation these engines the spark plugs would blow out under some conditions, these don’t blow out, they just break when you remove them. Now Ford’s finally made them so they come out when you want them to, not before and when you want them out they come out.

Mark: Handy

Bernie: Yeah like it should be.

Mark: You mentioned that this issue happened after you guys had done some work on the vehicle but they were two unrelated issues; is that something that happens fairly often?

Bernie: From time to time. It’s always a difficult conversation with a customer when you fix something and then something happens and you know, I mean most people don’t know much about cars, they’re complicated and you know, you think well you fixed one thing, now it’s doing this, maybe you did something wrong and you know the truth is sometimes we do and I mean the way we approach it is, you know, first thing we’ll do is look at what did we do and make sure that wasn’t something related to what we did, after that, then it’s o.k. this is what we did and let’s start fresh, this is what we need to figure out and this is you know, this kind of stuff happens with cars and it’s why you need to find a trusting relationship with whoever you do business with in terms of car repair, I mean find the trust and have the conversations with the person, if it seems a little dodgy see, just be honest with them and say it seems like it was this, why is that and just get an answer, anyone good in this trade, in this industry will explain that to you and give you a good answer and if they can’t, well then maybe they’re, maybe they’re full of it, there not many people are, most people are the same, this industry is pretty honest.

Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for an honest mechanic in Vancouver, the guys to go talk to and get repairs and maintenance on your vehicles are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website, we’ve got literally hundreds of videos on there now. 604-327-7112 or pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac, Engine Replacement

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; Vancouver’s highest rated and favourite auto repair dealer and experts in auto repair. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So we’re going to try and run a cast that we’ve done a few times on the Ford Explorer Sport Trac engine replacement. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: So this vehicle came to our shop, was running very rough and the engine was running very rough, check engine light was on, very minimal amount of power, the vehicle would barely run to be honest it was surprising they could even be driven to our shop. So we proceeded using diagnosis, it was a pretty complicated diagnostic, there’s a number of trouble codes without getting too technical, there’s a number of trouble codes stored in the vehicle computer for a variety of misfires on the right cylinder, in the right engine bank there was also a cam phaser code for the left engine bank which seemed a little odd because problems all seemed to be on the right. It kind of made sense there’d be a camshaft like a valve timing problem could be the issue so we proceeded to do some diagnostic, it was a very long arduous process and in the end we found that the engine needed to be replaced basically due to the fact that the oil pressure in the engine was too low to adequately operate the valve timing phasers and eventually the timing chain would start rattling and the valve timing would go out and that was part of our a lot of our misfire issue.

Mark: So you ended up replacing this motor?

Bernie: We did, we ended up replacing the engine so whenever an engine needs to be replaced we look at options, and it’s always an expensive job. For used engines, good used engine which are sometimes a good idea, in the end we settled on a rebuilt engine from, directly from Ford was a factory rebuilt engine and a really nice engine, we were very impressed with it, overall it comes with the oil pan bolted on, complete valve covers, all new sensors, really deluxe package and quite a treat. A lot times you get a rebuilt engine, it doesn’t come with the oil pan, you have to change a whole bunch of things over and this one was very complete, so it worked really well. I’ve got a few photos to share and just a couple of things here, so basically here is our view of the top of the engine, it’s a 4.6 litre, it’s an overhead cam engine with variable valve timing, 3 valve motor, not much to see other than a lot of plastic which is typical for modern engines. As far as diagnostics and I mentioned that it was a bit of a tricky diagnosis on this vehicle, some of the tools that we use, one of lab scope and so this is a lab scope pattern, there’s a yellow and a green trace you can see on the scope and this is, this shows the cam timing of the two different cam phasers and it’s something we use to figure out what’s going on with the engine, whether valve timing’s out. In this particular photo everything’s, this picture everything’s good at the moment but it changed as time went by and we could verify a lot of things but it’s a time consuming process but it tells us a lot of good accurate information and finally there’s our Ford engine. This is the new engine sitting waiting to be put in, actually the other thing that’s really neat about it is actually it comes filled with oil and a new oil filter as well which is pretty awesome so that’s the new engine right out of the crate and yeah, so there’s our photos, so I’ll go back to us.

Mark: So what do you think caused the engine’s demise?

Bernie: Bad maintenance, yeah this engine came in was way over due for an oil change. The oil was hideous and it did have 200,000 kilometers on it to be fair but that’s still, for a vehicle that’s been well maintained, it’s had all its oil changes, done at the right time, 200,000 kilometers is really nothing so I’d say it’s bad maintenance absolutely was the cause.

Mark: So once you put the new motor in how did everything run?

Bernie: Well it ran very smoothly and we got it on a road test in the parking lot and it still had no power which was kind of disappointing, you think, oh the new engines going to fix everything but what else happened because the owner had driven it for so long with the engine misfiring it actually melted the catalytic converters and caused a blockage in the exhaust system so we had another issue to deal with. We replaced the catalytic converters and then it was fine, so the lesson here is when your check engine light is on, it’s blinking do not run the engine for very long, drive it like, drive it gently as possible and get it fixed. When the check engine light comes on and it’s just on solid, it’s not often a big deal but when it’s blinking that’s a serious issue and you know that catalytic converter job on most vehicles is another 1,300 bucks on top of the engine so and that’s buying aftermarket conversion, if you went to Ford dealer it would be twice the price, so maintain your car that’s what we always say here.

Mark: So if you’re looking for a car maintenance in Vancouver these are the guys to call, Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomtove.com. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

2005 Ford E250 Van – ABS Rear Wheel Speed Sensor

Ford E250

Our latest featured service is ABS Rear Wheel Speed Sensor Replacement on a 2005 Ford E250 Van brought to us by a client from Hastings/Sunrise.

Ford E250

2006 Ford E250 Van

This van arrived with an interesting concern: during low speed stops the brake pedal would get very hard and there were strange noises present. The van had been recently purchased and the owner knew there was a problem with the brakes. He had taken it to several shops but no one had a definitive answer. After listening to his concerns and taking the vehicle for a road test we knew quickly that the cause of the concern was in his ABS system.

Even though we knew which system was problematic we still needed to find the exact cause. We also needed to verify that there were no further issues with the brake system. A thorough brake inspection found good front brake pads, slightly warped front brake rotors, dirty brake fluid and almost worn out rear brake pads. While many of these issues required attention they were not the cause of the concern. Testing the ABS brake system on our scan tool found the rear wheel speed sensor dropping out at low speeds. This was the cause of our client’s concern. There were still further steps to take in the diagnostic process and we proceeded to test the rear wheel speed sensor with a lab scope where we verified the bad sensor readings found on the scan tool.

The rear wheel speed sensor is located in the differential and consists of an electrical sensor and a large sensor ring mounted against the ring gear. On close examination we found the sensor and the ring had physical damage. We then proceeded to our next step, removing the differential cover and inspecting. Here we located the cause of the damage: broken limited slip clutch components. Unfortunately for our client the damage was extensive and required a new differential carrier assembly, but on a positive note none of the gears had been damaged by the large metal parts floating around inside the differential. Had this occurred costs would have been substantially higher.

Ford E250 Van

After replacement the vehicle was road tested and the brakes performed normally with no more stiff pedal and strange noises.

For more about the Ford E series vans click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_E-Series

For more about differentials click here http://auto.howstuffworks.com/differential.htm

Ford E250 Van

Ford E250 Van

Differential case: the arrow points to a deep cut in the case caused by the broken and shifting clutch plate featured in the image above. This case is garbage.

2001 Ford Mustang – Fuel Filler Pipe Replacement

Ford Mustang

Monday’s featured service is fuel filler pipe replacement on a 2001 Ford Mustang, brought to us by a client from North Vancouver, BC.

Ford Mustang

2001 Ford Mustang Convertible.

This Ford came to our shop with several concerns, one being that the check engine light was on. We road tested the vehicle: it ran great. We connected our diagnostic scanner and retrieved a P0456 stored trouble code. P0456 indicates a leak in the EVAP system. The EVAP system’s function is to keep raw fuel vapours from escaping into the atmosphere as they are a major source of hydrocarbon pollution.

Armed with the P0456 trouble code we could now focus our diagnostic tests and find the cause of the concern. We tested the EVAP system for leaks and found the fuel filler neck rusted out and leaking. While some EVAP system concerns are not urgent to repair, a rusted fuel filler is not in that camp: it is serious as a fuel leak can occur, especially when filling the tank. In this case the check engine lamp performed the valuable service of not only warning of excessive emissions but also a potential safety threat.

Fuel filler pipe replacement is a common repairs on many vehicles. On most cars and light trucks this steel tube assembly lives in a hostile environment exposed to water, dirt and road salt. Protective covers keep most of these corrosive evils out but overtime things seep in and given enough time rust holes develop.

This Mustang is a particularly nice car as it is a convertible and despite the odometer closing in on 200,000 km the car still drives and looks like new. These are fairly reliable cars and when the weather is good, fun to drive.

For more about vehicle emission system click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_emissions_control

For more about the Ford Mustang click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Mustang

 

Ford Mustang

Rusted fuel filler pipe. During our replacement the part broke in half, indicating just how close this was to a complete failure. When we diagnosed the concern there was only a pinhole but this could have quickly deteriorated and leaked fuel especially when filling the tank.

1992 Ford E350 Van- Ring and Pinion Replacement

Ford E350 Van

Today’s featured service is Ring and Pinion Replacement on a 1992 Ford E350 Van, brought to us by a client from Gastown, Vancouver.

Ford E350 Van

1992 Ford E350 Van. A tough one ton van equipped with a diesel engine.

The Ring and Pinion are a major component of the rear differential on this 1992 Ford E350 Van. This vehicle came to us with some strange loud noises emanating from the drivetrain. Inspecting the vehicle’s underside we found the driveshaft and u-joints to be in good condition. Upon opening the differential cover the cause became very evident: the pinion gear was missing several teeth: it was a miracle that this van moved at all.

Differentials are generally very durable and broken gear teeth are rare. Most concerns are caused by noisy and worn out bearings. What caused this gear to break is unknown for the vehicle owner had recently bought this vehicle. Fortunately it was purchased for a very low price.

In order to replace the ring and pinion the differential must be completely disassembled and thoroughly inspected. When gears break, the broken teeth can cause damage to other gears. Fortunately that did not occur here. We were able to replace the ring and pinion with a good used set. We replaced all bearings, and set and adjusted the gears for proper contact and backlash. Of course we thoroughly cleaned the inside of the differential case to ensure that no particles or broken gear teeth would damage our repair.

Differential life can be maximized by changing the fluid on a regular basis: usually every 50,000 kilometers. Good driving habits will prolong gear life: never put the transmission in drive or reverse when the engine is revving high, and always be fully stopped.

For more about the Ford E350 Van click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Van

For a fascinating video on how differentials work click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIGvhvOhLHU

Ford E350 Van

New and old pinion gears. The broken gear is obviously on the right.

 

 

 

 

1968 Shelby GT350 – Various Repairs

1968 Shelby GT350

Our featured service is a variety of repairs performed on a 1968 Shelby GT350 Mustang, brought to us by a client from Point Grey, Vancouver.

1968 Shelby GT350

1968 Shelby GT350. Sexiest car on the road?

Initially this beautiful 1968 Shelby GT350 came in with a couple of repairs needed, but as frequently happens with these vintage cars the list grew longer.

The vehicle had failed the AirCare test for excessive CO emissions at idle. Fortunately these repairs were quite simple and required carburetor adjustments.

Item two on the list was to get the A/C system working. This car had previously undergone extensive service and restoration work at another shop. They had installed air conditioning but for some reason never got it operational. We installed wiring to operate the compressor, tightened the hose fittings and charged the system.

Engine oil leaks were item three. We diagnosed the leaks and found the oil pan and valve cover gaskets leaking. We repaired these leaks using the most modern gasket technology ensuring  a long lasting repair.

After some extensive road testing a few more issues occurred: the headlights started to flicker on and off due to a defective headlamp switch; a coolant leak developed from the radiator and the temperature gauge was reading incorrectly. We proceeded to repair all of these concerns.

This 1968 Shelby GT350 Mustang is an exceptionally attractive car. I’ve driven many different types of cars and this vehicle has garnered more attention than anything else. It’s akin to a hot blonde in a mini skirt walking past a construction site. People stopping at red lights give a thumbs up, heads turn while driving down the road, driver’s honk, while others wave as the car goes by. It’s amazing; people really love the look of this car.

While this car is certainly gorgeous I really don’t like driving it much (sorry!). Older cars especially 60’s muscle cars look incredible and sound good too but they don’t hold a candle to modern car technology. Many modern cars blow these things away with speed and acceleration plus they handle and brake well. Late model cars are infinitely safer in a collision.

In defense of our featured Shelby the owner has modernized many components of this vehicle: the steering features rack and pinion steering; suspension is upgraded with modern components; the transmission is a five speed with hydraulic clutch and the brake components are modern and improved. All of these make this car much better to drive than an original Mustang.

For more about the Shelby GT350 click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelby_Mustang

For more about Carroll Shelby, the man behind this amazing car click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carroll_Shelby

1968 Shelby GT350

Engine compartment of our featured 1968 Shelby GT350. Even this looks gorgeous.

2001 Ford Explorer – Engine Replacement

Ford Explorer

Today’s featured service is engine replacement on a 2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac, brought to us by a client from Dunbar, Vancouver

Ford Explorer

2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac

For over a year this Ford Explorer, equipped with a 4 liter overhead cam V6 engine had a loud rattling noise while running. We had advised our client that the timing chain was likely the cause. Repair were costly and so it was left. Finally, last week, the chain guide for the left bank timing chain broke apart and the engine was finished.

We managed to locate a reasonably priced used engine in good condition and after the very labour intensive process of replacing the engine our client now has a good running truck with a rattle free engine.

Many engines have timing chains. In the past, when engines were simpler the timing chain was a short chain running between the cam gear and the crank gear. With many modern engines featuring overhead camshafts timing chains have become a very complicated affair. Where once 3 parts sufficed, now many timing chain systems feature a dozen or more parts. Chains are very long and may drive 2 or 4 camshafts. Some engines have 2 to 4 chains. There are many gears along with guides  and tensioners to keep the chains tight.

Generally timing chains are very reliable however, when they wear or something breaks, they are very expensive to repair. Changing engine oil on a regular basis is critical to long timing chain life. I cannot stress that enough. Few car owners really appreciate the complexity of their cars engines. Modern car engines feature more technology than a Ferrari of a couple decades ago.

While timing belts have a recommended replacement interval, timing chains do not. If your vehicle is equipped with a chain you need not worry about when to replace it. Just change your oil religiously and keep your ears open for noises from the chain. Once noises become constant the chain and it’s components will need to be replaced.

For more information on the Ford Explorer Sport Trac click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Explorer_Sport_Trac

Ford Explorer

View of left cam gear and timing chain. We did not need to remove the valve cover as it was broken open when the chain guides came apart. The red arrow points to the timing chain & blue arrow to cam gear. The yellow arrow points to a piece of the timing chain guide. This part normally sits lower and out of sight. Other parts of the chain guide were found behind the gear.

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