Ford - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC

Archive

Category Archives for "Ford"

Chevy or Ford Van?

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. Today we're talking vans. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So big showdown Ford Econoline versus Chevy Express. And I guess there's a GMC Savannah in there as well, which is the better van?

Bernie: Which is a better van, while we're going to talk about a few issues of these vans, but I I'm clearly not going to come out and say one is better than the other. So if that's what you're looking for, you'll have to wait. 

Mark: So what are some of the differences between these two brands? 

Bernie: Well, they're essentially the same vehicle. I mean, they fit in the same category. They make cargo vans and passenger vans. They also make cutaway vans. And the cutaway is basically you have the front of the van and the frame, and then you can put a cube van box on the back or sometimes they'll put a bus chassis on the back, or even a motor home. Ford seems to be a little more popular in that area. They seem to be a little more utilized in that area, but, you know, those are some of the uses, but they're essentially the same category of vehicle. 

Mark: So, well, let's start with engines then. What issues do you see in between these two vehicles? 

Bernie: Yeah. So let's talk about engine and actually just to define that the model years, we're going to start from 2000 and up, you know, I mean, these vans have been around for a long time. The Econoline has been around since 1961. And, you know, for a version of a Chevy van has been around since, you know, around that time too. So we're not going to get back into, into the earlier stuff. Since 2000, I mean, Ford's, you can get these with V6 engines or V8s. V8s are much more popular and I wouldn't really recommend a V6 engine. It might be appealing in terms of, you know, better fuel economy, but they're really, they're generally overstrained and the Ford version, they had a 4.2 litre V6, not a good engine, head gasket problems, expensive, you know, not worth having. 

The GM 4.3, probably a better engine, but, you know, again, kind of underpowered so it'll generally wear out faster unless you're hauling really light loads. So again, the question is like, which van do you want to get? Depends on what kind of loads you're hauling. And we'll talk more about that as we get on. 

But let's talk about the V8. So, you know, Fords, and most of them come with the Triton V8. There's a lot of issues with these engines. In the earlier 2000 spark plugs with blow to these engines, because they didn't have enough threading in the spark plug, which caused problems. And often that would happen when you might be in a 15 passenger bus going up a hill with a load of people and all of a sudden boom, a spark plug pops out and you're stranded.

So not a good scenario. Nothing that's really in the maintenance world that you can take care of. It's just, it just happens out in the road. Then they fixed that and they put in spark plugs of a very unique design that would break off when you service them in the vehicle, costing a lot of extra money and grief. And then finally in around the later 2000s, they put proper spark plugs in and the problem was solved. So if you're buying anything from probably 08 and newer, you're not going to have that kind of spark plug issues. 

Other areas though, with the Fords that we see, intake manifolds will leak, they'll develop coolant leaks. It's a plastic manifold usually you have to replace the whole thing. Can be kind of an expensive repair. And there's some issues, the Ford engine I have to say in their favour, because I'm talking about problems, it's a more sophisticated engine. Overhead cam, so you're getting more power and performance out of the engine than you would on a Chevy, which is a simpler design with push rods.

But there's more complexity with the overhead cam is variable valve timing, and they have problems with the cam phasers in that system. So, you know, if you're really good at changing your oil and doing good services, chances are that'll be fairly trouble-free, but usually, you know, by the time you hit a couple of hundred thousand kilo-meters, it's probably pretty near game over for one of these engines. So not quite as durable. 

The Chevy's on the other hand, not all of those problems I mentioned, none of the above. They're just really pretty good, durable, solid engines. You know, being a van, of course, you know, doing any service on them is more complicated because you've got to remove that cover and get into servicing in strange ways. But things like spark plugs last an awful long time, so they don't need to be replaced very often. And I say, you know, as far as engines go, I would give the Chevy my winning vote. 

Mark: Can you buy these vans with diesel engines? 

Bernie: You can and we do service a few of them. I can't think of if we've ever done a Chevy, but Chevy, they're available from 2006 to 16 with a Duramax diesel. The Fords have had diesels in them for a long time, like way back before the 2000 model year. And, they actually have the 6 litre up to, I think it was 2014, which is, you know, they discontinued the trucks after 2008. So, you know, that's still available. I would not recommend a diesel unless you're hauling exceptionally heavy loads. Diesels need to be worked. That's really the bottom line with a diesel. 

So if you're a say, I don't know, I'm just going to say a plumber and you've got like a lot of heavyweight inside your van and you're towing a trailer behind it, that would be a really good use of having a diesel powered van. But other than that, I really don't see a lot of reason for it. In all fairness, it seems like the diesels are, they seem to have less problems in vans than they do in the trucks. Probably because they aren't worked so hard, but when things happen, they're really expensive to fix. 

We've got a lot of videos and info about diesels, especially the Fords. There's a lot to go wrong and they're more complicated in a van because they're harder to access. So you really need to think twice about getting a diesel in a van. That's my recommendation.  

Mark: Yeah, so fit for purpose, make sure that you're fitting the engine that you're buying for the purpose that you're endeavouring to fulfill. 

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. And I will say, Chevy is pretty much limited to V8 engines, but Ford has a V 10 engine as well, which is a monstrous gas guzzling engine. Now again, if you bought a cutaway van, you know, like putting the diesel in there, if you have a big cube van on the back, it makes more sense.

But if you're, and again, we're just talking about kind of a straight, regular cargo van here. The diesel definitely isn't the best option. Look at your purpose, your usage, how much weight you're hauling and that'll help you make the decision. 

Mark: What about the transmission and the rest of the drive train?

Bernie: They're pretty much equal. I don't see a lot of problems with one being better or worse than the other, you know, they're both pretty durable. One thing that we haven't talked about here is what kind of van. These vans are, and it depends on what model, they're available ever from half ton to one ton chassis and actually some of the cutaway vans are actually even more durable, like, you know, 450s and 550s for say the Fords. But it really depends, you know, like what kind of a chassis you're buying, what kind of weight it'll haul and we can talk about that a little more in the steering suspension. But generally the drive trains, you know, I find them to be pretty much equal. 

Mark: So let's talk about steering and suspension. How do they compare? 

Bernie: You know, I'm going to give the edge to Ford on this one. And the reason for Ford is that it's a little simpler. They use a twin I-beam suspension, it's a simpler system. There's less steering linkage involved in a Chevy. So there are less parts to wear out. They do a ball joints that wear out. So do Chevy's, but it seems, and the Chevy's probably last a little longer than the Fords, but the, you know, the steering linkage is much less complicated, so there's less parts and less items to wear out. Not quite as sophisticated. The ride in a Ford is probably a little more truck like but I don't know if you'd actually ever really noticed a difference between the two. It seems like their components are a little tougher on the Ford than the Chevy. 

Mark: What about brakes? 

Bernie: Brakes are pretty much the same, but I will say that it seems like with Fords, the way they build their brake calipers, that they tend to need to be replaced almost every time you do a brake job. And the reason is not because the caliper seize up, but because the dust boots that they use on their brake caliper seem to be ripped. For some reason, they seem to last for one brake job. And then a lot of times we take the brakes off and say, Oh, the dust boots torn, and so the caliper needs to be replaced.

So I think on a Ford and you can expect to spend a little more money on brakes and you can on a Chevy. Although the calipers on Chevy's do need to be replaced from time to time as well. But you know, pads and rotor life is probably pretty much the same between the two vans. 

Mark: Alright, let's go into fit and finish, how everything is put together, how it all feels and how about things like the doors opening and closing? How is that compare between these? 

Bernie: Yeah. Doors are kind of important on vans because those are the kinds of things that are used a lot. And I can, I'm going to digress back before the 2000 model years, there were some Chevy vans that had really bad doors. I mean, the sliding doors were crap, you know, really badly built. As a matter of fact, I would say that if you are even looking at something older, it seems like Chevy and GMC vans really and their trucks in general really took a leap forward in quality around the 2000 model year, because there was a lot of stuff where the brakes for instance would not last very long at all. So they were really under sized for braking, whereas Ford really had a big edge back then. 

But if we're looking at the 2000 newer, I mean, I'd say they're both probably pretty much equivalent in quality, fit and finish, you know, some of the passenger vans, of course we'll have nicer appointments than the cargo vans. But I can't say that one of them stands out to me a little more than the other. 

Mark: Alright, so we've kind of covered everything. Which one would you buy? 

Bernie: Well, just before I say that, I do want to just talk about drive train too. So there are half ton, three quarter and one ton versions available. And actually Chevy's, since I believe it's 2014, they don't sell half ton vans anymore. So, the question is like, what are you going to be hauling? That's the other thing to look at. If you're buying a half ton and you're going to be loading it with, 2000 pounds worth of weight, you're going to wear your brakes and drivetrain and everything out a lot faster than if you buy a one ton.

So just look at what you're hauling and that'll help you make a decision as to what you're going to do. Of course, if you buy a half ton and you decided to throw 2000 pounds worth of plywood in every six months. It's probably not going to hurt the van, but if you're doing it regularly, that's going to make a big difference.

So just something to look at. So which one would I choose? If I was going to buy a van, I'd probably buy a Chevy because I like the engines better. And that's my one thing. I'm a little more, a little more biased in that area, but I'm not saying you should buy one over a Ford. The key is just do your research. See what you like. You may have a preference to Ford, and there's really nothing wrong with that. But I think you might spend a little bit less money with a Chevy van than you would with a Ford. It's kind of marginal though. But you know, having a good reliable engine does make a big difference to me. It's one of the more expensive components in a vehicle. 

Mark: I guess, as always, it depends on the vehicle you're looking at as well. Since we're talking about used vehicles, how's it been looked after? What kind of shape is it in? How beat up is it? Would make a big difference into what your choice is. And so it becomes really important to get a pre-purchase inspection so, you know what the heck you're getting into right? 

Bernie: That is absolutely the most important thing for sure. Look at what you want, decide what you want, do your own research and then get a pre-purchase inspection to see if the is good, because it might not be. And if you can buy a vehicle that's got maintenance records as well. That makes a big difference too, because if you know the vehicle is well-maintained and someone's taking care of it, that can make a big difference to how much money you're going to be spending in the future on fixing things. 

Mark: So there you go. If you want honest opinions that cut through all the baloney, all the we're better than they are, blah, blah, blah, Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to get maintenance and repairs and book your appointment, come in, all makes and models of cars. If you're not in the area or you just want more research, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of videos on there on all makes and models of cars and trucks and all kinds and types of repairs and maintenance. Or check out the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, same thing, hundreds of videos on there. Thanks for watching and listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Leave us a review if you like what we're laying down. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching and listening.

2009 Ford Escape Hybrid, HV Battery Recharge

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

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So Ford Escape, 2009 hybrid had a problem with this high voltage battery. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the vehicle was towed to our shop in a no start condition. The owner had left the vehicle sitting for a while. Found the 12 volt battery had drained completely. So he'd replaced it. That restored power to the vehicle, when you turn the key on things would light up on the dash, but the car still wouldn't start.

So at that point, he'd figured maybe the high voltage battery discharge or something else is wrong. Had it towed to us and we had to look at the vehicle. 

Mark: So what testing did you do next? 

Bernie: Well, of course, looking at the high voltage battery was the next thing. The internal combustion engine starts through a motor generator unit and that's powered by the high voltage battery. So on most hybrids, you need a good state of charge in the high voltage battery. Has to be at least above the minimum acceptable amount. To crank the engine over. 

So next test of course was to scan for codes. We found a few for high voltage battery issues, along with looking at the scan tool data for the battery indicated the state of charge was at zero.

So, that was a clue that the problem lie either in a defective discharge battery or defective battery, one of the two. 

Mark: So without a decent state of charge in the high voltage battery via electric motor generator, won't start the combustion engine on the vehicle. 

Bernie: Exactly. And this is true for most hybrids or there are a few older generation, I'm thinking Honda's that actually have a starter motor, so they can start. All Prius's they all have to have a high voltage battery to start the vehicle. 

Mark: So how do you charge a high voltage battery? 

Bernie: Yeah. Well, so you need a special charger. We bought a specialty unit from a person I've done some training with. In this case of this vehicle, we have to remove the battery from the vehicle to access, you know, open the battery pack up to access some connectors where we can actually charge the battery.

It's a very slow charging process. We had it on for a couple of days. It puts a very minimal amount of current into the battery. It's not a fast charge. We just put enough in there to get the cells balanced out and put enough energy in so the vehicle will start. And from there, the motor generator unit will take care of the rest of the charging of the vehicle.

Interestingly enough, on a Ford Escape, if you have one that's a 2008 or earlier, there's actually a capability to charge the high voltage battery with the 12 volt battery system. There's a switch. Can't remember exactly where it's located, but if you look in your owner's manual, you'll find it.

You can switch that up and it'll divert power from the 12 volt battery to the high voltage battery and charge that battery up enough so you can start to vehicle. A very smart idea, which they decided to discontinue in the 2009 model year.  Makes for a much more expensive process to fix after 2009.

I guess they assume that the cost of the charger was too high versus how often this battery would potentially go dead. So interesting choices they make as manufacturers, but this is what we work with. 

Mark: When you were mentioning high voltage, how high a voltage is that battery pack?

Bernie: It's  around the 400 volt range. It's funny how fast my memory fades sometimes. Cause I remember looking at this voltage gauge and seeing what it was. I do remember that when we started the process was that 255 volts. That was too low on the scan tool that we have that 255 volts red, zero state of charge.

So clearly the battery was not dead. The 255 volts is way below the threshold of what the vehicle needs For the motor generator unit to work? I think when we finished, it was like up and around the four, four 50 volt range. It certainly wasn't fully charged when we put it back in the car out probably would have taken a couple of weeks at the rate we charged it or at least a week. It was , sufficient to start the vehicle. And then we had the, drove it to get things going from there. 

Mark: Like all batteries, it gets slower. The charge increase slows down the closer you're getting to full. Drastically close you're getting to full. So this is, this is obviously not at that kind of voltage. This is not a charger you can just apply it  at your local auto repair place. 

Bernie: No, no, because all those charges are 12 volts. At most 24 volt charging system is what's found on trucks and the odd Toyota Land Cruiser. That's the only vehicle I've ever worked on 24 volts, but trucks have 24, but that's far below what we need.

So this is actually a specially built charger. The whole idea behind this charge, actually was not just to charge the battery, but because it puts a very low rate. It puts  only a half an amp current maximum into the battery. It can be used to balance the cells out in the nickel metal hydride battery pack.

Sometimes an older, especially older Honda's the cells go out of balance and, there's  issues with the vehicle. If you charge it, you know, with this charger, it'll actually rebalance the cells because it's putting everything in at a very slow rate. So that's kind of the design behind it, but very handy for these kinds of issues where it's either  what do you do with the vehicle? Get a new battery pack, which is a lot of money, huge amount of money. Not worth it for the value of the vehicle. 

Mark: So this isn't a service that's available at every auto repair shop. You gotta be trained in high voltage electrics, basically in vehicles to be able to do this. Do you have any pictures? 

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Bernie: Yeah, I do. I do. You're getting tired of hearing me talk? Yeah, the answer is yes. I mean, I know of only one other shop around the greater Vancouver area that does a lot of hybrid work that I'm sure has one of these chargers, but I don't know of anyone else who does. I'm not even sure what the dealers do.

They may have something. I know Toyota's. You know, their dealerships didn't even have chargers, you know, in this kind of situation, they'd have to send some tech rep out from Toyota if your Prius ever went dead. So, you know, if you have a Prius, we can resurrect it. If the battery is decent.

Okay. Pictures, there's our Escape Hybrid , still dirty from when it was brought into the shop. What else have we got here? Let's have a look under the hood. So there's the view under the hood. There's the internal combustion engine under this nice hybrid cover here. 

The motor generator unit's located underneath here. The interesting thing, I wasn't able to take a picture of it. There's a lot of space back here. The way that the Escape is designed, a lot of them have V6s. So there's a lot of room and  back in the engine compartment here. Surprisingly with the complexity of a hybrid there, but there's a lot of room. Anyways, these are a couple of the major components of the vehicle battery pack. 

Mark: Is this a four cylinder? 

Bernie: It's a four cylinder. Yeah. I can't remember the size of the engine off the top of my head, but you know, it goes good. I mean, drive it it's it's decent. Of course. It's got the boost of the motor generator unit while you're driving. So you have like two power plants moving the vehicle forward. So you don't need a, a humongous engine where it works well. 

This is the battery pack. This sits in the back underneath the cover. As I said, we have to remove this and then take all these screws off of here and inside this area here that are kind of moving the mouse over.

This is where all the battery cells sit. There's a number of electronic modules and pieces as well. This was the service plug. You can switch the power off to the vehicle through this plug here and, you know, it's a critical part in any time servicing the vehicle, you switch it to this position, it basically cuts the power to the rest of the vehicle, so it's important. 

But one thing that does happen is once you take this cover off, of course everything's live inside, so you still have the full voltage available to do nasty things should you ever touch anything. You gotta be careful around these things.

Here's a bit of scan tool data. So after we put the battery in, took it for a drive, this shows the state of charge. I went out for a long drive just to see, probably about 10 miles type of drive. This is the start of the drive.

So this is after we put the battery pack in and ran the vehicle for awhile in the shop, 44% state of charge and that kind of fluctuates. But after,  again, this is a critical thing. Like when we started the process that says state of charge zero, so we knew something was going on. There's a lot of important data that we can see here on this, like the battery pack, integrity pack. Okay. I'm not certain how it determines that, but you know, of course, if it wasn't okay, that would be an indication, was time to change the battery.

This is that same sort of data, but we can put it into graphing mode on our scan tool. Apologize for all the weird lines here. But you can see this is after a long drive the battery's now up around the 59, 58% state of charge, but did it go as high as 62? So it fluctuates depending on if you're driving down a hill with your foot on the brake, then the charge starts going up quite a bit. Could probably charge the battery up to 80% pretty easily if we just had a long enough hill. 

What else have we got here? Oh yeah, then the dash. So there's a couple of features on the instrument panel that you'll find on an Escape Hybrid that you won't see on the non-Escape. There's a charge and discharge gauge. If you boot the gas pedal really hard with the internal combustion engine and the motor generator unit driving you, this gauge will go way up in this direction. If you're kind of just cruising along normally it'll probably be around this part here, maybe even in the mid range.

And once you put the brake on and the charge goes into the charge range. This situation here, this will show you whether the engine is actually running. So of course, once the internal combustion engine starts, the RPM gauge comes on. Say stopped at a light where  it just switches the engine off, you can see the sort of state of charge of the battery. the thing required an oil change too. So that's a service where we've still need to do. And there's our picture show.

Mark: So you mentioned a high voltage batteries can become discharged on other hybrids as well. 

Bernie: Yeah. I mean, any battery will discharge over time. You know, it's an important thing to make sure that you start your hybrid every once in a while. The times we're in right now with COVID some people have parked their cars, they've left them, or they're not driving very often. Critical. If you have a hybrid, make sure you get out there, start it up, drive it around a little bit. It's very important because otherwise, , it won't start and high voltage battery is dead.

 Of course we can, can definitely get it back in a state of charge that you can use the car, but it's an expense you'd probably want to avoid if you can.

Mark: And how are these Ford escape, hybrids for reliability? 

Bernie: Pretty good. We don't see a lot of them because there aren't a ton of them around, but so far they've been pretty good. They're actually built the same, it's the same platform, not the same platform as a Prius, but same type of design.

I think the quality of the materials and part components are pretty good. So you know, underneath the vehicles, very little oil leakage from the engine. It's a 169,000 miles to the U S model well car. So that's a fair amount of time and the vehicle ran really nice.

So, I'd say, yeah, it's pretty good. If you do need a battery pack, they are expensive to buy new. There are ways to fix them for less money, or even there are some good used packs available as well. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for some service for your Ford Escape Hybrid or any kind of hybrid in Vancouver area, the guys to call her Pollock automotive, you can reach them at (604) 327-7112.

To book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead. They're busy. They're really busy right now. Everybody's getting ready to travel this summer. Little local tourism. You can check out the website. Pawlik automotive.com. There's hundreds of videos and articles on their repairs of all makes and models of vehicles. Pawlik auto repair is the YouTube channel. 

Of course, thank you for watching, listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Leave us a review on Apple podcast. If you are enjoying what we're doing, if you're grooving on what we're doing, what we're laying down. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching. It's always a pleasure.

2008 Ford Edge Fuel Injector Repair

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

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So a Ford Edge, 2008, that had a fuel injector problem. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie:So the vehicle came to our shop with a couple of concerns and one of them was that the engine was running rough and the check engine light was on. 

Mark: So you did some testing and diagnosis. What did you find? 

Bernie: Yeah, so we, of course our first step in testing is hooking a scan tool up to see what trouble codes we have. There was a code P0301, which is a cylinder one misfire, and there was also a code for a misfire on startup. So clearly the problem was you know, indicated which cylinder it was. We did some tests and verified, in fact, number one cylinder wasn't firing properly, not completely dead, but partially dead.

The testing and diagnosis on this was interesting because a lot of times, you know, it'll be a bad ignition coil. A lot of these, they have an ignition coil per cylinder. They tend to fail quite frequently. And so we often come into our diagnostics with assumptions. Oh, it's probably that, but in fact, that coil had been replaced about eight months ago at another shop. Still doesn't mean it wasn't a problem. So we ran some tests. We have a lab scope where we can actually get a pattern, like a firing pattern on each coil. So we tested the coils that we could, the rear cylinder bank is a little difficult to access on this vehicle because the intake manifold hangs over the back of the rear cylinders.

And number one cylinder just happens to be in the back where it's not so easy, but the coil was visible and we were able to at least test the pattern on the coil seemed to be fine, but just a verifying testings further, we remove the intake manifold as much as we needed to. Pulled the coil out, swapped it with another cylinder, verified that in fact that coil is good, inspected the spark plug. It was good. Did a compression test on the cylinder. It was good. So that kind of narrowed us down to either a major vacuum leak or a fuel injector. So we went and performed some tests on the fuel injectors. 

Resistance tests were the first, well, actually the first test we did was we can listen with a stethoscope. We could hear the injector was clicking, so it was actually firing, but still doesn't guarantee of course the injector's perfect. I'll just go some pictures because this is where we find the actual issue. 

So there is our Ford Edge, 2008, 12 year old car now. Still in good shape about 180,000 kilometres, I believe on this vehicle and after we fixed it, of course ran well. There's a picture of the fuel injector. These are quite compact compared to what they used to be. Although I don't have anything, you know, size to compare it to. But just a couple of things, this is where the electrical connector hooks up. The actual fuel's injected out of this area here. So this sits in the intake manifold, and this is where the fuel rail connects up where the high pressure fuel sits. This is a port fuel injector, so it fires the fuel into the intake manifold as opposed to a direct fuel injector, which fires directly into the cylinder, which is a different technology.

So this is one of the fuel injectors. This is a tested with an ohm meter. So we're testing the resistance through the fuel injector, 12.2 ohms. That's a normal amount. I could show you the other five injectors, but we'll just go to the bad one, this is the bad one, 105 ohms. Immediately we knew there was something wrong with it. Now interestingly, when we first tested it in the car, we actually found that the resistance was only about 30 ohms, which was still three times what it was supposed to be. But, as we tested it a few more times, for taking this picture, I found that the resistance would vary from 40 to 105. Sometimes it hit 200. So clearly there was a problem. And that's what we found. So sometimes resistance tests are kind of useless, but in the case of this vehicle, this was clearly what helped us confirm our problem.

Mark: Did you fix the issue? Did you just replace one injector or did you have to do all of them? 

Bernie: Well, that was the discussion we had with the client, because obviously there was only one that was bad, but the vehicle has 180,000 kilometres, it's 12 years old, one injectors died. What are the chances that the other five are going to go in the next week, month, six months a year, and this is not an entirely uncommon wear out part on this particular engine. Fuel injectors do wear out fairly commonly. So we had a discussion with the client. Here's the cost to do one here's the cost to do all six. He chose to do all six. Smart move. You know, the labor to actually change one of them is the same as changing all six, because you have to remove the whole injector rail. Remove the intake manifold remove the whole injector rail. So they all come out of the engine. It's just really a matter of do you change one, or do you change the others?

And so had he not chosen to do them because that does add a bit of cost. These are fortunately not the most expensive injectors out there, so they're reasonable, but it's still six is a lot more money than doing one. But the consequences of not doing it would be, say a month from now, the engine starts running rough again. We have to go through the whole diagnostic procedure and all the costs associated with that only to find, Oh, another injector's died and then you have to pull the whole fuel rail off. He pays the whole labor cost again to change another injector. So it just makes sense to do all of them at the same time.

But again, these things, you know, we need to evaluate, you know, as to how difficult the job is. If it's easy to just change one at a time, then you can go that route. But we found in the past, a lot of times we get an engine where one ignition coil's bad, we change one and then a few months later, the next one dies. So it's often better to do all of them, but it really depends on costs and the work involved. 

Mark: So, how did it run after you completed the repairs? 

Bernie: Kind of like brand new. It was awesome. Yeah. Ran really well started great. Ran smooth. So yeah, really, really good. 

Mark: And how are Ford Edges for liability? 

Bernie: They're pretty good. We've got a number of clients with them from, you know, people who drive them very little, to you know, people who've got fairly high mileage on them. They seem to be pretty good overall. I mean, this is not an unexpected repair for a vehicle of this age. So overall I'd say they're pretty good. They're not a super high priced vehicle, so they're, I think a pretty good deal, but you will probably do a few more things than you would on a Toyota, but that's all as the benchmark standard. You'll probably hear me say that all the time. It's going to sickening and annoying, but not as reliable as a Toyota, but still pretty good. And generally the price point on them to buy is good. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Ford product in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. Again in Vancouver, BC, Canada. You can also check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. Our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. On both places, hundreds and hundreds of videos, articles on all makes and models of vehicles and all kinds of repairs. Thank you for watching the podcasts and listening. We appreciate it. Leave us a review and thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

Truck Thieves Target Parked and Locked Ford F250 & F350’s

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

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So Ford trucks. Last week, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, which they do every year, announced the most stolen car list. So kind of stuck out. Out of the top ten, eight of them were Ford trucks. Why are Ford trucks being stolen so much?

Bernie: Yeah, this is awesome for Ford. I mean, they've got like 80% of the top 10. That's really not a very good thing. But the reason they were stolen, and there's very specific model years in that top 10 and they range from 2002 to 2007, their F250 and F350s. All of those vehicles do not have an immobilizer system. So you can basically go in there with some pliers or a screwdriver bang it in to ignition lock, give it a twist and truck is yours.

Mark: So there must be a lot of other older vehicles that don't have immobilizers, because that was something that was legislated later on in the 2000s. So why F250s and 350s?

Bernie: Excellent question. And I think the reason is probably mostly used for smash and grab theft, you know, the trucks are awesome. You steal the truck, of course you're not using your own vehicle for the theft. You're using something else. That makes two crimes. But you can go around with a truck and it's a big heavy duty beast. You can go bash, you know drive into say, a warehouse, just drive right through the front door, drive in, grab some stuff, take off, leave your merchandise, abandon the truck somewhere later. And of course, the truck is kind of used for the theft.

The other thing that I didn't mention, there's a top 50 list, and out of that top 50 list, 30% are Fords ranging from 1999 up to 2007. Interestingly enough, after 2007 there are none, which we'll talk about later. But you know, so if you have an F150 and you think, oh, no one's going to steal that, well they're there in the list too, they're just a little further down. But the heavier duty ones are, there's more appeal to those. And there might, yeah, there might be some parts stolen too as well.

Mark: So have you personally seen or repaired any stolen Ford trucks?

Bernie: Yeah, we actually, you know, we fix a wide variety of vehicles at our shop and Ford trucks are among one of our more popular vehicles, and we actually have had a couple of customers' vehicles stolen. We have a road behind our shop. It doesn't happen very often, but over a period of a few years, we've actually had a few Ford trucks stolen. And you know, they're easy to steal. Had a Ford van as well, where someone had, fortunately not stolen the vehicle, but they snuck into the vehicle and broke the ignition lock. I guess they got spooked or something because they never got away with the vehicle. But you know, this is, you know, it's obviously well known for thieves that these are easy vehicles to target. I'll say in one case, one of the trucks that was stolen was actually in for a head gasket job. It was a six litre truck and the owner wasn't too sad that it got stolen because it saved him, you know, he was committed to doing the job and it would be very expensive, but it's like, Oh, well, let's do bad, I'll just get another truck. So sometimes you know, thievery works out, but you know it still ends up costing us all money in the end cause the insurance company ended up paying for that vehicle.

Mark: So is there anything that a Ford truck owner can do to prevent this kind of easy theft?

Bernie: Well, there's definitely a couple of things you can do. So the first and the simplest thing you could do right now, you know, if you hear this and you don't have any theft prevention, you can get yourself a club. You could go to an auto parts store, you can buy a club. It's one of those pieces you stick on the steering wheel. Locks the steering wheel from moving. Or you can get ones that also lock the brake pedal to the steering wheel. You know, those are a bit of a pain in the butt because every time you get out, you've got to do it. But, you know, it shows that, hey, this vehicle is protected and it's going to make yours, it makes yours a harder vehicle to steal than the next one. Can those things be cut off? Sure they can, but it's, it's a lot of extra work. Thieves will have to take extra tools. So if there's two trucks sitting side by side, guess what? The one without the club is the one that's going to get stolen. So that's the easiest thing that you can do. You can order it online, you can go to an auto parts store. The second thing that's probably better, but more work and more cost is to get an alarm or an immobilizer installed. There's a wide range of these. Again, you could buy it online and do it yourself if you know what you're doing or take it you know, probably the best thing to do is find a reputable car audio place. Those are usually the places that do an installations of alarms, find a good one, get something put in, a good immobilizer, good alarm. You know it's a classic thing. You know, where alarms go off and people ignore them. But the thing is for a thief, once the alarm goes off, if it has no immobilizer, the vehicle won't start. It makes a lot of noise. And again, it makes it hard to steal. So those are kind of the two things you can do. And this doesn't apply just to a Ford truck. This applies to, to any vehicle, but you know, now that these are known to be, you know, high theft items, I mean, if you value your vehicle, you'll want to do something about it to protect it.

Mark: Is there any good news here for Ford truck owners?

Bernie: Well, the good news is if you have a Ford truck after 2008, they all have an immobilizer systems in them, so they don't even make the top 50 list after 2008. So you have an 08 and newer, you can rest easy because your vehicle has an immobilizer system in it. It doesn't mean it couldn't be stolen, but it's just not very likely.

Mark: So what other vehicles are in the top 10 and top 50?

Bernie: Well, there's only two other vehicles in the top 10 list. One is, I believe it's around the 2017 model year Lexus, the SUVs, the RX350-450 hybrids. Those are, I believe, number 7. I know these were stolen for different reasons. We're going to talk about this in a separate podcast. And then the other a in the top 10 is a 1998 Honda Civic SI model and again, different reasons for stealing those. That's kind of an old vehicle, it's a car, but they're specific reasons. So we'll do another couple of podcasts about this because they're again, they're things to talk about. Now, of course, those Lexus vehicles, they already have immobilizers and high tech security systems. So why they get stolen, we're going to talk about that. It's a different subject.

Mark: And what about other vehicles in the top 50?

Bernie: You know, a lot of them, a lot of them are, Honda's a huge, a huge number are Honda's. I'll just give it away right now. There are a lot of them are older ones. They have a certain engine that people like. So these are stolen basically for the engine, that people can put into for hot rodding other Honda's. I'd say that's the main reason and the others on the list are a luxury SUVs, there's a lot of Lexus, there's some Toyota Highlanders and Range Rovers. Range Rover Sport are in there too so.

Mark: And what about protecting your key fob because key fob cloning is a thing. What about, is that something that's worth doing?

Bernie: Absolutely you know, this is actually only something that's sort of come to my attention recently over the last couple of weeks, I think since these articles have come out and people been talking to me about it. And the one thing I can say, and we're going to do a little more research on this, but they say, never keep it close to your door because, there's a way that thieves can actually, with electronic systems, can actually clone your key fob and then they can actually start your vehicle and take it, which is probably how these Lexus vehicles are being stolen. But also, you know, any vehicle that has a key fob when you're, when you're walking away say, in a supermarket parking lot, you walk away, you lock the car with the key fob. There are ways that that key fob can be cloned and then people can break into the vehicle and steal things and then of course, eventually steal the vehicle. So it, what's recommended is to actually use the manual lock button in the vehicle when you're walking away. That way he doesn't send a radio signal out. That's not, I don't know if that's possible to do with every single vehicle, but if you're able to do it, I mean, I have an older Suburban and you know, that has a, I’ll walk away with the fob, but I usually just lock it with the lock button. And that sets a security system off and everything too. So if you're able to do that, that's a, that's something, and that's been talked about for many, many years that, you know, so that's one thing I just leave you with, but we'll do more research on this.

Mark: What we can do to protect ourselves from being cloned.

Bernie: Yes, exactly. That's right. Well, it's you know, they make cars more difficult to steal, which is awesome. But, you know that just ups the game for a smart thieves.

Mark: So there you go. If you have a Ford truck and you want to get some advice about making sure it's hardened up a little bit, to not be such an attractive target, give Pawlik Automotive a call 604-327-7112.Check out the website pawlikautomotive.com hundreds of articles on there. Pawlik Auto Repair is the YouTube channel. Thanks for much for so much for watching. Give us a like, rate us on YouTube or on iTunes. Thanks so much for watching us on YouTube and thanks, Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. It's always a pleasure.

2003 Ford F350 A/C Hose Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast and video series. Of course, we're here with Mr Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver and 20 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: This week's victim is a 2003 Ford F350 that had an AC problem. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: The air conditioning wasn't functioning properly, it wasn't blowing cold air. The owner had thought, well I can just get the system recharged, take it into another shop and they told them this AC compressor was cracked. They couldn't do the service and called us to replace this compressor.

Mark: What kind of diagnosis and tests did you do to find the problem?

Bernie: For this one, we just started with a complimentary visual inspection. We noted a couple of things. First of all, it didn't seem like the compressor was so much of an issue. There wasn't anything really noticeably leaking from it that we could see, but there was a very large leak coming from one of the air conditioning hoses, the discharge hose that comes off the air conditioning compressor and goes to the condenser. That was a very obvious visual clue that there was a leak, major leak, coming from this area and that would be the first place to start the repair.

Mark: Would you normally just do a thorough test of the AC system?

Bernie: We normally do a diagnostic. In this case, because of the circumstances of the vehicle coming to us and the obviousness of the leak, this was really the first thing to fix on the vehicle before we even proceeded with any further diagnosis because whatever else we'd find... And we did do a visual inspection of the rest of it. Didn't see anything else noticeable. This was the first place to start. No sense in changing the compressor if it wasn't really that noticeably bad, so this is where we started. I'm going to get right into a picture because it's really very noticeable.

This is our Ford F350 truck, only got the front end of the truck because that is a big camper on the back. It's a six litre diesel, first model year of a six litre diesel. This is our hose assembly. Here where you're looking in the passenger side compartment of the hood, this is called the discharge hose, you can see when you look at it, there's a lot of oil around here. It's very oily and there's a greenish colour to it. In the past, someone has put UV dye into this system. This is very common tool that we use to find air conditioning leaks. Some vehicles actually have the dye right from the factory.

Other times, we, I say we as service people, actually add the dye into the system. What happens is if there's even a trace amount of leakage that comes out, we can spot this with a UV light and glasses. It'll glow a bright greenish yellow. This leak is so severe. Usually with severe leaks, you can actually see the green tint of this leak right here. I mean it's a high pressure hose. Eventually, this sort of crimped fitting here breaks down and is going to start leaking refrigerant.

This is a hose assembly. This section here bolts up to the compressor. This hose is called the suction hose and basically it's on the suction side of the compressor. It's also interesting with air conditioning, you see two different diameters of hoses. There's a low side system and a high side. You don't sell the high side because it has very narrow diameter hoses. It's higher pressure. The low side has thicker hoses. There's our picture show for the day.

Mark: I guess the UV leads us down the path of how tricky are AC leaks to find?

Bernie: They can be really tricky. One reason I wanted to do this podcast is just this is a good news story. This is an easy one to find. We don't always get so lucky. I'll just take an example. I own a 2001 Suburban. It has rear air conditioning as well, so it has an array of pipes that run from the front of the vehicle right to the very back with the air conditioning pipes. I've had a leak for a couple of years. Slowly, over time, it leaks out. I have, actually over the years, I've had leaks but sometimes it'll last for several... It's lasted for a few years before it needed to be recharged.

I've looked over and over and over with all the tools and equipment we have and I've still not been able to find the leak in that system. The tricky thing with air conditioning is there's a lot of hidden components. There are pipes that are hidden. The condenser for instance, which is like a radiator in the front, I mean it has a front side that you can often see, but the back side you can't see. There can be a leak coming from the backside. If it's a small leak, you'll never see it. The evaporator core, which is what causes the cool air to be dispersed into the vehicle, it's like, again, like a type of radiator, but it's hidden inside a box and often it takes many hours to remove it.

There are no real easy ways to see those kinds of leaks. We have numerous ways and tools to find such leaks though. One of the pieces of equipment we have is a refrigerant detector. It's an electronic detector. It has a little probe on it. You go around the system and you point it at different areas. If there's a substantial leak, let's say even a minor leak, it'll pick up a refrigerant molecule and makes a beeping sound. The only thing I hate about this tool is it will do false alarms quite often unless there's a really noticeable leak... Like this hose would have caused it to beep, for sure.

It's not as good of a tool as I'd like it to be in terms of finding leaks, especially in hidden spots. The manufacturers always claim, "Oh this will find one molecule in a million molecules of air." I don't know. For some reason, they all seem to be elusive. The visual is often the best. We also use high pressure nitrogen gas. What we can do is charge the system up with high pressure gas. We can use the refrigerant detector as well with that. We can also listen for hissing sounds. We can also spray a tire type of item that we might find a leak for tires where it causes bubbles, so that's, again, another technique.

There's a variety of things we do. Unfortunately with air conditioning leaks, sometimes it takes a while to find the leak and it can be hit and miss. You can fix one. Then, a month or two or six months or a year later, the refrigerant's leaked out and there's another leak somewhere else. It can be frustrating. Hopefully in the case of this Ford, this is the only one because it was very obvious.

Mark: How was the AC on the Ford Truck after you did the repair?

Bernie: It was awesome. We put the hose on. We have a machine that does a vacuum on the system. You basically put it into a deep vacuum for about 30 minutes and then retest and make sure it holds a vacuum. It did do that. Now, that's never a foolproof guarantee that the system is good. If it fails the vacuum, that's usually a sign that you still have further leaks. It passed the vacuum test, we recharged it. It's blowing nice cold air and hopefully will remain so.

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for repairs for your air conditioning and heating system as we move into winter now in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're busy. Check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. Many years and hundreds of postings on there on all makes and models of repairs and types of repairs. As well our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, again, over 350 videos on there about repairs to all makes and models of cars and trucks. Of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We appreciate it and look forward to the next one coming up. Thanks Bernie.

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

2011 Lincoln Navigator-Heater Hose Replacement

Mark: Hi. It's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast, and we're here, of course, with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 20-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers, and 38 years repairing and maintaining cars in Vancouver, BC, and of course, we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: Today's victim, 2011 Lincoln Navigator. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle came to our shop with some steam coming out under the hood, or smoke, and it was pretty apparent that there was a coolant smell when the vehicle came in the shop, so we basically found some coolant leakage on the right-hand side of the engine, dripping down the right-hand side of the engine.

Mark: And how'd you go about determining the source of the leak?

Bernie Pawlik: Well first test we do, of course, is a visual inspection. It was pretty apparent once we accessed everything under the hood that you could see that there was some coolant pooling up on the right-hand cylinder bank, and above that there's some very elaborate heater hoses. You could see the coolant dripping down from that area. We did put a pressure test on it. It was really apparent right away that the heater hoses were leaking, and we'll just get right in to a picture, because that's going to be the best thing to look at.

These here are the heater hoses on the vehicle. What we're looking at, there's an arrow pointing. I'll talk about that in a second, but what we're looking at here ... This is the right cylinder bank here. It's a V8 engine, and there's the ignition coil. There's one of the ignition coils right here, so we're kind of looking down at the top of the engine, and the leak was coming right from this plastic piece right here. These are kind of an elaborate hose. You can see they T off in a couple of different directions. There's plastic pieces that they're all molded specially and clamped together with plastic crimps, and so basically that was our cause of the leak right there. Dripping down, it would run on top, of course, on the top of the hot engine and create steam and some pretty bad smells.

Also, of course, you never want coolant to leak for very long, because that can cause engine overheating, but when it's at the top of the engine, you have a bit of a, this is a nice warning for you to repair the work first. Another thing, of course, of concern is when you have coolant dripping down here, you have a lot of electronic items, electrical pieces. This is a fuel injector connector, so again, you don't want a lot of liquids like antifreeze running into these areas, because this will cause a lot of further problems.

Mark: Is there a proper replacement procedure for these hoses?

Bernie: Well, I mean, I guess you can do it one of two ways. This was the problem right here, however, who knows how much longer this hose is going to last. It's the same kind of plastic fitting, same area. It's hot. Things go on here, so I'd say there's one of two ways you can repair.

You can repair what's broken, and you can leave this one to break next year or in a month or a week or five years down the road, or the proper repair procedure, in my opinion, is to replace all of these hoses, and that's exactly what we did. Then the owner can be assured that they're not going to have a problem. They're not going to be back next month for the other hose leaking, so that, to me, is really the proper way to do the repair.

Just cleaning up whatever leaked coolant there is that's present so it doesn't cause any further problems down the road, again, with the engine misfires or bad connections in the fuel injectors. This could end up being costly, costly things to fix.

Mark: As far as you know, is this is a common occurrence on these engines?

Bernie: Yeah, we do see these kind of plastic fittings leaking a fair bit. It's not like we fix them every week, but they're ... It's a pretty common issue once you start getting these plastic fitting hoses, and it's not just on Ford, but I mean, it is common on these engines because of the design of them. We've done a number of them, wherever you have these plastic fittings.

I'll just actually just go back to the picture really quick again, because there's another ... while we speak of common issues, these ... You can see our little connector. Well, it's on the end of the connector here, but this is like a push together connector, and GM uses these a lot on their hoses too. It's a big failure item, as well. These plastic connector ends fail. You may ask, "Well, if they fail so often, why do they use them?"

Well, it's all about quick, simple manufacturing. When you're in the manufacturing plant, it's ... If you just slide the hose on, it goes click, and it's done, and you don't have to worry about it. Whereas a clamp like this takes more time and effort to put together, so I think it's all about easy manufacturing, but when it comes to repairing and longevity, sometimes things aren't as good as they could be.

Mark: Is there anything that an owner of a vehicle like this could do to prevent or lengthen the life of these hoses?

Bernie: It's a great question. I really don't see anything you could do. I think it's really just inherently a problem with plastic. It only has a limited lifespan, and it's going to go when it goes. There are some plastic cooling system components where making sure you're flushing the cooling system and using the proper antifreeze might help prolong the life, but I would say in this case, it's probably nothing that you could do that would prevent the failure of these hoses.

If you're really prudent about it, you'd probably even want to change these after a certain timeframe, not wait for them to crack and leak, but to actually replace them. It used to be in the past coolant hoses weren't made as well as they are nowadays, and they would tend to fail sooner, and people ... Part of replacing, doing good maintenance on a car would be to change the hoses. But there was once a time when there was four or five coolant hoses. You had your upper and lower radiator hose. You had two heater hoses, and maybe a bypass hose, and it's like four or five hoses.

Nowadays, I mean, you could spend ... Some of the Land Rovers and things we work on, I haven't priced them all out, but there's probably $2,000 worth of hoses, so you don't necessarily want to go, "Hey, let's change them all." Although we have had customers who want to do that, because they care enough about reliability, but that's the kind of thing you could do to keep on top of it.

Mark: How are Lincoln Navigators for reliability?

Bernie: They're pretty fair. I mean, it's essentially a Ford product, so it's just like a Ford pickup truck but fancy, so I mean, you've got a few extra features that'll cause problems on you. One thing that does come to my mind ... We've had a couple of these vehicles recently where the run, and actually this truck had an issue too, where they have these nice fold-out running boards, so when you get in the vehicle and close the door the running board comes up, but when you get out to step out, the running board folds out.

Well, they're really expensive, and they were starting to see those parts fail, so the more fancy equipment you have, the more things you have to go wrong. Other than that, reliability basically the same as a Ford F-150. It's the same kind of vehicle, which is, I just say fair. It would be nice if they made these hoses with metal fittings instead of plastic, but it's what we're dealt with.

Mark: What you're dealt.

Bernie: What we're dealt, yeah.

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Lincoln or Ford in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. They work on a lot of them. They see them all the time. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. Have to book ahead. They're busy. Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. The YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos on there for your enjoyment, as well, thank you so much for listening to the podcast, and thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark.

2008 Ford Escape Transfer Case Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. We're talking about cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So, we're going to talk about a 2008 Ford Escape that had a transfer case problem. What was happening with this fine Ford vehicle?

Bernie: So the owner brought the vehicle to us. His complaint was there was a very loud noise while driving and some vibration under the vehicle. So that was the issue. And very noticeable when he drove it. Yeah, the kind of thing you don't want to drive very far.

Mark: And so what did you find and how did you diagnose it?

Bernie: Yeah, so for diagnosis, of course, we start with a road test to verify the client's concerns, which was very easy in this vehicle. And then we did a hoist inspection underneath and found that basically, I guess the best diagnostic tool we had in this case was a stethoscope and our ears. And there was a very loud noise coming from the transfer case. This unit's bolted to the side of the transaxle, the transmission, and basically transfers the ... It's an all-wheel drive, so it transfers the movement of the axles to the rear, as well as the front.

And a stethoscope certainly verified a lot of noise coming from inside the transfer case. We listened to other areas of the vehicle, and didn't really, nothing was too apparent. But the noise in the transfer case was so severe that, once we found it, it was pretty easy to confirm.

Mark: And so, doctor, why was the unit so noisy?

Bernie: Yeah, so basically when we took it apart, took it out, took it apart, there was some extremely badly-worn bearings, which is we suspected it would be. So badly worn, in fact, it was causing the gears to run on a strange angle. And that exacerbated the noise even further.

Actually, we can get into some pictures right now. 

So there's our 2008 Ford Escape. And here is a view of the, this is the transfer case unit removed from the transaxle of the vehicle. And a number of bolts removed here, as you can see. The unit's about to be taken apart for inspecting inside. And what we found, this is the sort of major issue. There's three shafts inside this unit. They all have bearings on either end of the shaft, and then this one here, you can see the cage, and you can see some of the rollers here.

But some of them are completely missing, so this bearing was worn so badly, it was just causing this shaft to just wobble back and forth. And, of course, with that level of wear, it was causing ... Of the bearing causing a horrendous noise, in and of itself. You can see here that a couple of gears where two of the gears mesh, and of course, with a bearing worn like that, these gears are not going to be running true to each other. And that causes noise, too. There's a lot of engineering that goes into building anything with gear, transfer cases, transmissions, to eliminate noise.

And if you drive a really old vehicle, like we're talking like 70 years old, back when they had straight cut gears, there was a lot of gear noise present in a vehicle. But nowadays, since then they've evolved, and there's no noise. But with a worn bearing like that, of course, that brings all the noise back. Another view of the inside. This is the other end of the ... This is the shaft actually put back in, and this is the other end of the shaft. You can see this bearing, the red arrow points, this bearing was disintegrating, as well.

The yellow arrow here just indicates a bearing that still looks at least together, probably badly-worn though. The gear oil inside this unit was just, it was absolutely hideous. It smelt awful, it was burnt. And the level was also low, too. Just a final shot here before we depart the pictures. This is the unit installed under the vehicle. You can see the exhaust system, the rear drive shaft is attached here, and then the axle shaft comes out to the right side of the vehicle here. So that's the unit bolted up to the transaxle under the car.

Mark: So what would cause these bearings to wear out in this kind of catastrophic fashion?

Bernie: Well, there's a few things. So first off, this is the first time we'd serviced this vehicle. It's 10 years old, we don't know anything about the repair and maintenance history. So it's entirely possible that the fluid had never been changed in the transfer case. That could cause it. 

Second of all, we found the fluid level was low, so a leak could have been present. It wasn't, like there was some oil on the case, but it wasn't covered in fresh leaks of oil, but the oil level was down so it's possible, it may have been running for a few years on a low oil level, which could cause the wear.

Third, it could be that just the bearing just started to wear out. I mean, these things happen. And of course, once the wear, it'll cause excessive heat, causes the fluid to burn. So even with good maintenance, things will still sometimes wear out. So one of three things, but obviously, if you keep your fluids changed on a regular basis, it's going to maximize the life of any component.

Mark: So how did you repair this transfer case?

Bernie: We actually got a good used unit and put that in. Parts are not readily available, the gears and things are not available. Bearings are certainly available and seals, so we could have possibly cleaned everything up, put new bearings in, and seals. But chances are, with this level of wear, there would be gear damage, and we never even cleaned it up to that point. We just decided, let's get a good used unit.

There was a lot of, we deal with reputable auto wreckers. One of the companies we deal with, they specialize in Fords. They had several of these on the shelf, so it tells me that it's not a really common problem, and this is the first one we've actually replaced. So they're fairly reliable, which makes for a good candidate for a used part.

Mark: And how are Ford Escapes for reliability?

Bernie: I'd put them in the fair category. I mean, there are a number of things that we do service on these vehicles. So certainly not as a reliable as say a CRV or a Toyota RAV4, which is in a similar category of SUV.

They're pretty good overall, but you'll expect to spend more money on repairs and maintenance, but less money to buy the vehicle. And by the way, it's the same as a Mazda Tribute. So either way, it's the same general vehicle.

Mark: So with these, basically with any of the perhaps ... Well, I guess with any vehicle, it's really important maintenance, but these ones might be even a little bit less tolerant of running with low fluids, or not having their fluids changed, is that fair?

Bernie: I think it's fair to say. But even a Toyota is actually one of the vehicles that's like least tolerant to lack of oil changes. For some reason, some vehicles and some engines seem to be able to handle more abuse than others. Now we're not talking about an engine here, but just overall general reliability. But the thing is, it's kind of a risk thing.

And as we've said on these podcasts, you can live off of French fries for a while, and you might live to be old. But chances are, if you avoid eating that kind of food all the time, you're going to be better. And it's the same with car maintenance. If you do the right things, it won't prevent everything from happening. But at least it'll minimize the chances.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for maintenance on your Ford Escape or other Ford products, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 19-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. Please only call if you're in Vancouver. We can't diagnose products over the phone. We have to see it and there could be many things wrong, so if you're from out of town, call your local provider. If you're in Vancouver, give us a call to book your appointment. And thanks, Bernie. Thanks a lot.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2009 Ford E350 Van 6L Diesel, Turbocharger Replacement

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark, I'm here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well. We’re talking trucks today.

Mark: A truck, yes. Well, a van, if we want to be very specific. It's a 2009 Ford E350, pretty heavy duty van. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie Pawlik: So, this is a 6-litre diesel van, so yeah, very heavy duty. The owner had a couple of complaints. Sometimes, so an intermittent condition, the engine would idle kind of surging, up-and-down, and occasionally, on very rare occasions, he'd go to accelerate. The vehicle just wouldn't accelerate. There was no power. Those were his two concerns.

Mark: All right. That sounds a little difficult to diagnose. What tests did you do and what did you find?

Bernie: So, we started our testing with a road test and went out for a very extensive road test and, of course, things that often happen, nothing occurred. It actually ran like a dream. So, the check engine light was on. 

We connected our scan tool, found only one trouble code stored. P0299, which is a turbo boost, turbo under boost code. That's not the exact definition, but that's the flavour of what that code's all about. Basically, the vehicle's detecting that there's enough boost pressure in the system under the conditions that it's supposed to occur. 

So, from that, we were able to do some tests on the vehicle. We were able to do some, they're called bidirectional tests. We can actually run the turbo actuator.

This is a variable geometry turbo. There's an actuator. Sometimes, these actuator blades will stick in these turbos. They get gummed up over time with carbon deposits. They'll stick or they'll just wear out, so we're actually able to do tests. We can change the actuation of the turbo to see if it actually works. 

What we found is that there were certain conditions where the actuator would stick. So, the solution was to replace the turbo charger on this vehicle.

Mark: So, you talked about the turbo and mentioned the variable geometry, which is very complicated. What does all that mean?

Bernie: Why don't get just get into some pictures? What I will say, before we just look at the pictures, is the way turbo chargers work is basically it's a turbine. It's driven by the exhaust of the vehicle. The exhaust is basically, it's wasted energy. It just goes out the tailpipe, but if you put a turbine in the exhaust because there's a lot of flow-and-pressure. The turbo charger actually pressurizes the air going into the cylinders, and that gives a lot of extra horsepower. So, it's actually an amazing increase in efficiency and power, so that's why turbo chargers are used. Now, in the olden days, the turbo charger was a basic item. It was basically the blades spin and the compressor, it basically compresses the air, but it would sort of be optimized for one engine speed and usually that was for higher pressure. If you've ever driven an older car, I'll give you an example. I had a client with a 1980 Saab turbo. It's a real neat car. You push your foot down on the gas. The vehicle would kind of accelerate a bit, and then, all of a sudden, about one or two seconds later, it'd be like someone lit a rocket and the car would just take off. That would be basically how turbos used to work a long time ago and that's called turbo lag, because it basically took some time for the turbo to spool up to the speed. What engineers have done and they've found ways around that because really, when you press the gas pedal, you want instant response. So, a variable geometry turbo takes care of that. It changes the shape of the chamber on the exhaust side, so when the engine's idling at low exhaust flow, you'll get a lot of turbo boost. When it's up at high speed, you'll also get a lot of turbo boost. So, overall, you don't really feel the turbo lag. It's still there subtlety. If you ever drive a super charge engine versus a turbo, you'll notice the difference, but normally nowadays, you almost never feel turbo lag in a car. It's pretty much gone, car or truck.

So, that's a little bit about how turbos work, so let's get in some pictures of a variable geometry. I have some pictures of this turbo and then I've also got some pictures of a slightly larger truck turbo where it's actually cut away and you kind of see the inside of it, which is pretty cool.

This is our 6-litre Ford turbo taken apart. This is what creates the variable geometry turbo. This is the turbine blade on the exhaust side, so this is driven by the exhaust and this is the variable geometry portion. These fingers here basically form a different size chamber depending on which way this ring here rotates. 

This is kind of the turbo taken apart in two halves. The actual actuator, I think, I believe, is in here somewhere. It's actually controlled on this engine by oil flow. So that's basically what this looks like. You can see there's a lot of soot, carbon deposits, and wear inside this. This is our old turbo.

So, here again is another close-up of the actuator. I'll call them actuator pieces. I know there's a much more technical term for it, but it's early in the morning, so. 

This is just a view of the front blades of the turbo charger. You can see there's a little bit of wear here. This is where the air comes in. There's obviously sometimes a little dirt or soot or whatever comes in, so there's a little bit of wear on these turbine blades.

This is the new turbo. You can see there's none whatsoever. It's all clean except for a greasy fingerprint. Then, let's have a look at the cutaway of the actual VGT turbo system. This is actually a cutaway. This is a larger ... This is off of a ... 

We have a 14-litre truck. It's a full-sized truck motor. So, this turbo is a bit bigger than what you'd find in a 6-litre Ford, and it works a little differently, but really gives you kind of a good view. 

This is the exhaust side of the turbo and this is the intake side, so the air comes in here. It's compressed by this blade as it spins really fast and actually comes in this way and gets blown out this direction.

This is an air intake temperature sensor. There's also, on this vehicle, a sensor. I believe that's a turbine shaft speed sensor, so it'll actually measure the speed of how fast the turbo's going, so the vehicle computer can make adjustments. 

This is where the variable geometry control is on this. This is the actual actuator for the variable geometry turbo, one of the parts of it anyways. This would be where the exhaust flows in and out.

Mark: How fast does this turbine spin?

Bernie: Some of these are like 30 or 40,000, maybe even 50,000 RPMs. I mean, they're really, really fast. Yeah, maybe even a bit faster. I mean, it's going like insane speeds. I'm going to look at a couple of other cutaway views here.

So, this is again, this is on the intake side of the turbo. Again, the air is sucked in here and pushed out in that direction. You can see the air intake sensor and then the exhaust end of the turbo there. Then, as our final photo, this is a close kind of view of, again, you can see these variable geometry pieces. There are a little different then what was on the 6-litre. This one works slightly differently, but the effect is the same, so they'll change the size of this chamber, so depending on how much exhaust pressure there is, it'll make the turbo more effective boosting the intake side and that is our picture show.

Mark: So, you replaced the turbo because the variable geometry wasn't working properly?

Bernie: Yeah, exactly. The actuator blades would stick. So, interestingly enough, I think the next question we have is, how did it work? The answer is, it worked great. We re-tested it. The actuator was all operating exactly like it was supposed to. Road tested, it was great, but a few days' later, the owner came back and the issue was, there was still a similar issue going on with the surging idle and lack of power and we spent the better part of a week and a bit, really looking over it, testing fuel pressures. Sometimes, these codes, like, unless the issue is happening while we're looking at the car, it's hard to exactly say what's going on and we need to fix the obvious things first. In this case, the turbo was bad, but there were a few other issues.The EGR valve had a lot of soot. The intake was plugged. We cleaned that. The issues still continued after that and we road tested it for quite a long time, and I think it was probably some carbon deposits in the engine that were causing it to misbehave, from time-to-time. Anyways, to make a long story short, at this point in time, it's working fine. So, the turbo's good. The intake's clean. We tested the low pressure side fuel system because that's another cause of this issue and it was good all the way through. Interesting thing with this truck, it's very low mileage, about 85,000 kilometres on a ... It's an '09. That makes it a nine-year-old vehicle. It's not a lot of mileage. It's a tradesman's vehicle. He'll drive his office to a job site, work all day and come back, so it doesn't really get the heat that it could use. As I mentioned before, for diesels, it's really important to get out and get these things hot and cooking hot, otherwise, it ends up creating things like plugged EGRs, turbo, actuator failure, things like that.

Mark: From carbon deposits from …

Bernie: Yeah, carbon.

Mark: Not the heat, not being hot enough, basically.

Bernie: Yeah. Yeah, heat and long ... Driving cycles and driving it hard is actually really good for a diesel. It's what they're meant for. They're meant for ... That's why they're in train locomotives. You can run it at full power for an hour and then the engine ... Or, an hour or two, hauling cars up a mountain, tons-and-tons of train, loads up mountainsides or trucks. It's meant to be worked hard, so a diesel that isn't worked hard, tends to have problems.

Mark: So, didn't Ford stop making the 6-litre a few years ago?

Bernie: Yeah. Like 2007 was the last year they put them in the pickup trucks, but they still used them in vans up to the 2010 model year. So, yeah, they used them a little longer in the vans.

Mark: And, do these engines in vans still have all the problems that they had in pickup trucks?

Bernie: Well, they pretty much do have the same issues, but I have noticed that the vans seem to be a little less problematic. That's just my own experience. I think it's because they don't get used quite as hard as they do ... Here I'm saying, get a diesel and work it hard, but also with these 6-litres, the interesting thing is a lot of head gasket failures and things. A lot of those have happened too because I think they can't quite handle the hard work that they're supposed to. Again, I'm kind of speculating, but I think, we've never done a head gasket job on a van yet. Now, I know they still go, but I think they just don't get quite worked as hard. People don't quite haul the heavy loads that they do in pickup trucks. That's just my own interpretation. There's probably someone out there, who'd say otherwise, but they seem to be just a little more reliable, which is a good thing because it's a lot more work to do and a lot of the operations on a van are a lot worse than they are on a pickup truck, especially head gaskets.

Mark: It's not as easy to take the body off.

Bernie: No, lifting the body off is a little more work than a pickup cab, but not a huge amount. It's just a bigger beast.

Mark: So, there you go. If you have a diesel vehicle in Vancouver that you need maintenance or repair for, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. They're diesel experts or you can check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com. YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos including many about diesel repairs as well as thank you so much for listening to our podcast and thank you, Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks, Mark. Thank you for watching and listening. We appreciate it. 

2004 Ford F450 Manual Transmission Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, doing the Pawlik Automotive Podcast talking about cars. How are you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Well.

Mark: You're doing well, that's excellent. So we're talking about a 2004 Ford F-450 that had a manual transmission repair. What was going wrong with this vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle was towed to our shop with actually a different issue, the engine wouldn't run, it wouldn't start. So we diagnosed that, repaired the issues, got the vehicle running quite nicely and were out on a road test and during the road test, it's a six speed manual transmission, the transmission shifter just jammed up between third and fourth gear. Took a lot of coercing to finally get it to move out of that jammed position, we were able to limp the vehicle back to our shop, and of course the transmission at that point needed repairing. You could hear some pretty horrific noises going on. It's something that while we were driving, it had just broken inside the transmission. So that's basically what was happening.

Mark: What did you find?

Bernie: Well it's interesting, we can have a look at some pictures. To start with, we had to remove the transmission to take it apart, but we started by just draining the oil out and having a look at it. I'll just share some photos right here.

So this a close-up view of our transmission oil pan, sorry our drain pan, and we drain the oil and this vehicle uses a DEXRON ATF fluid for the transmission. If you look in here, all these little things these are all particles of metal. This should just be ... This is the black, sort of, ribs of the pan, this is the red fluid and all these little blocks, or all these little speckles, are all pieces of brass and metal in the bottom of the transmission.  You don't want to see that. That indicates something's broken and let go. This is a picture, there's a magnet. When we took the transmission apart, there's a magnet in the bottom of the transmission to catch metal filings. Now this is a picture of the magnet cleaned up, this is what it should look like if there's no metal. But this is what it looked like when we took the pan out, when we took the transmission apart.  You can see there's a lot of metal here, but also a very distinct piece here. This is actually a part of a circlip that actually snapped, and this was part of the problem with the transmission. The piece of circlip actually ended up stuck onto this magnet. Now there's a picture of the transmission assembly. It's an F-450, so this is a medium sized truck, dual rear wheels, it's pretty big. It's pretty tough, and incredibly heavy transmission, incredibly large. Built for what it was meant to, built for hauling heavy things. This is the transmission assembly sitting on the ground. This would be the first gear over here, and the main gear set is inside the transmission. With it being a six speed, it's got gears outside and sort of on either side of the centre of the case. This is one of the Synchro, the shift collars.  We'll just go to one last picture to the inside of the transmission. So this is the actual main gear cluster being removed. We actually use a crane to remove it, because it's that heavy. But the problem was actually, and unfortunately for some reason I didn't take any pictures of the actual damage, but that circlip actually sat inside this area here. We didn't see that until we actually took the shifter rods off, and dismantled the transmission. But inside here, these are called the Synchro's and they basically, this is what allows a manual transmission to actually shift without having to double clutch, like you would've had to do in the 50's, way back when shifting a manual transmission was a lot of work, required a fair bit of skill and timing. Recently transmissions with synchromesh, you just push the clutch down and you can shift gears. This mechanism allows that to happen. As I say, the problem was in here. There's a shaft, and a piece, and the gear that's basically held together by the clip, and the clip broke apart, and that's what caused this whole mechanism to jam up. So that was right here. This is by the way fourth gear, third gear, second gear, first gear, and then you have your overdrive gears up here. So that's our pictures.

Mark: What did you have to replace to get the unit running and reliable again?

Bernie: We basically replaced the input shaft. You know what, I can actually just go back to this picture again. You see the transmission again?

Mark: Yep.

Bernie: So this whole shaft here with this gear, we replaced that piece. We replaced this Synchro mechanism, which is located behind this ring here. That ring, this round piece here, and everything inside there was replaced because it was damaged. Other than that bearings, which is a normal thing to do whenever you do a transmission overhaul, very surprisingly were in pretty good shape on this transmission. But it would be silly not to replace them when you have to take everything apart, if a bearing fails down the road then you have to do the whole job over again. So the bearings, replaced the bearings. We replaced all the Synchro rings, which are these small rings located here. They tend to wear over time. And all the gaskets and seals, and that's what we replaced.

Mark: So is this kind of transmission failure a common issue with this vehicle?

Bernie: Well apparently it is. I mean we don't see a lot of these. Most of our clients with these larger trucks have automatics, but apparently it isn't an uncommon problem for that particular gear, and that actual issue that occurred on this transmission. We haven't seen a lot of it in our shop, only because we don't work on a lot of them like a lot of other people might do. Yeah, it's pretty common.

Mark: We haven't really discussed transmission repairs before. Do you do many of them?

Bernie: We do. We do manual transmissions. We do anything with gears, but we don't get into automatic transmissions. It's just too specialized. It's not like we couldn't, but it doesn't make any sense when people they're doing them all day long, they have the tools, equipment.  So automatics we send out. On manual transmissions, we normally do in house.

Mark: So is a Ford F-450 2004, again this is a fairly old vehicle, worth repairing?

Bernie: Oh yeah, it's a good truck. It's a diesel. This had a dump box bed on the back, so once you start investing in equipment like that it kind of makes sense to repair the vehicle. For a few thousand dollars worth of work, the transmission's overhauled now it should be good for quite a long time, and with the engine repairs we did it should all last and be reliable for quite a long time. It's a good truck and tough. You can see by the size of this gear set on this transmission, it's meant to haul some heavy stuff around. Good truck, I mean it is a six litre diesel. We know what that means, there will be a constant stream of issues going on, but in between it's a good truck, if that's a good thing to say.

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for repairs for your Ford Diesel medium duty trucks, the guys to see, or your any kind of manual transmission repairs, 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 the website, pawlikautomotive.com, there's lots of information on there, hundreds of postings on there in the blog and in our videos, as well as our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. And thank you for listening on iTunes, we appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Yeah thanks Mark, and thank you for watching.

2013 Ford E250 Van Rear Brakes

Mark: Hi it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast and we're here talking cars with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. How are you this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So today's victim, today's vehicle is a 2013 Ford E250 van that had a problem with its rear brakes. What was going on with this van?

Bernie: So the owner of the vehicle came in with the brakes making a pretty bad grinding sound. We did a brake inspection, found that the one brake pad on the rear was extremely badly worn, grinding on the rotor right down to the backing plate.

Mark: Okay, that seems a little bit different. What would cause only one pad to wear so fast?

Bernie: It's basically a seized brake caliper on the right rear, and it's not uncommon. When a caliper seizes, usually one, often one pad will wear worse. Sometimes both pads on one side will wear, but often it'll just be one pad that wears because of the way the caliper seizes. We'll look at some pictures a little later, and I'll explain it further.

Mark: Okay, 2013, five years old, that's not that old. Did this van have really high mileage?

Bernie: No actually not. I mean, in terms of kilometres it didn't even have 50,000 kilometres. So yeah a five year old van could have a lot, but this vehicle was actually very low mileage up to this point.

Mark: And what would cause the caliper to seize this soon in its lifecycle?

Bernie: Yeah, it's kind of a Ford issue. The calipers on these vehicles on Ford vans and trucks, I find that we replace these more than any other vehicle and they seem to often seize up at a very early age. I think just due to the design of the calipers, they're just not very durable for some reason. I mean, they're built tough, they're big. We'll look at pictures in a second. They're tough, they're big, heavy duty but just something about the design of them. They tend to fail very frequently and I'd say about 50% of the brake jobs we do on Ford trucks and vans involve replacing calipers. So let's just get into some photos right now. Isn't that lovely? All my pictures seemed to have disappeared so I'll talk for a few more seconds and see if I can get my pictures back. I love it when this happens because this is a good picture show. Ask me a few more questions and I'll stop the screen share, I'll get some pictures back.

Mark: Sure. You say this is a fairly common thing to have and is it just an issue with Ford's or does this kind of caliper freezing or sticking happen on other vehicles?

Bernie: Actually it happens on all vehicles but not quite so often. As I say, Ford tends to be ... Sorry if I'm not looking at the camera here, I'm just trying to download my photos. But Ford for some reason in the Ford design, they use what's called a phenolic piston. It's not made of metal and I think that a lot of the problems is due to that piston design. Let's get these photos up here.  But yeah, a lot of it has to do with the piston design. The other thing is that the dust seals on the Ford's tend to go bad quite frequently too and once the dust seal cracks then water can get in it and cause calipers to cease. So I think I'm ready to do a screen share here.

Okay, there's the full picture. So you can see, this is the rear brakes completely taken apart. This it the left brake rotor, the left brake pads, the left caliper and on the right hand side, you can see this is the inside of the rotor. You can see very shiny, very gouged and this is the inboard brake pad completely worn down to the metal backing plate, the outboard pad. You can't see on the angle here but there's quite a bit more material, we'll look at the pad pictures in a sec and you can see just a generally rusty condition here, which happens, 'cause you get a lot of metal flakes flying through the air.  So the next picture we'll look at is, there's a comparison of the brake pads. So this is what the outboard pad looked like. There's about five millimetres in that pad and probably at least a few months to a year's life left in that brake pad based on the driving of the vehicle. And there's the inboard pad completely worn. The pad material's completely worn away. Just the metal backing plate wearing against that rough rotor.  For our next shot, we've got the ... There we go, it sharpened up. This is one of the slider pins and there's a rubber cover over here, and you can see a lot of rust here so this could've been one of the contributions to the caliper seizing up in early age. As I say, it is five years old, I mean, all it takes is a little bit of road salt to get in here and cause this to seize. Now being in Vancouver, we don't use a lot of road salt, but we have had a couple winters where there's been a bit of salt on the roads. So maybe this seal isn't very effective at the factory, a bit of road salt and water got in there and caused this pin to seize. The caliper wasn't completely seized like this. There was movement in this area but all it takes is a bit less movement, and it'll cause the pads to wear quicker. So that combined with piston problems could've caused this issue. There is a picture of the caliper, the right brake caliper. The pistons are sticking a fair amount out. I mentioned the dust seals are a problem. These are the dust seals here. They weren't ripped on this vehicle but frequently we find that after 50 to 70 thousand kilometres, which is kind of an average life for these brake pads, depending on the weight you haul on your vehicle. Of course, these dust seals will often be blown open, and I'm seeing this for years and years on Ford's. They don't seem to have made ... changed a lot over the years. I'd say that's kind of a common problem.

I apologize, this photo's not of sharpest quality that I've done, but this is the old right rear rotor versus the new rotor. I'd say, it's a bit of a fuzzy shot, but you can see this surface here, how little material there is there compared to how much metal there is here. So quite a lot is worn off. I don't know how long this has been noisy. The owner had said he'd had the vehicle in for an oil service about a week previously, and they said there's five millimetres on his brakes. So they obviously did a quick brake inspection, but that's how much metal has all of a sudden started making noise. So that's how much metal is worn off the rotor in one or two weeks. So, you can't go very long like that before it'll completely wear out. Again, another photo of the rotor. You can see how little metal there is here versus how much is on the other side. We have over the years, I've actually seen people wear this completely off, so you have just the fins of the rotor rubbing against the pad, and you can imagine how fast that wears. 

Mark: That must sound really good. 

Bernie: It's horrific, it's horrific. This is the right rear side with a brand new rotor, new pads and a new ... this is a Napa Eclipse caliper. These are really good quality calipers. I don't know who else makes a caliper of this quality but not only are they painted nicely, but they have better hardware. They take a little more time to rebuild them than the average rebuild and they're probably about 20% more money than the regular rebuild. But I find they're worth it in terms of quality if a person wants to go for that kind of thing.  It's important on a truck. The owner of this vehicle, they haul a lot of weight in it. So we put the heavy duty fleet pads, ultra premium rotors and these calipers on. You need to do whatever you can to make it last long. If you use cheap pads, it'll wear out fast and it'll just end up costing you more money in the long run. Save you now, but you'll be back having a brake job done sooner. That's the end of our picture show.

Mark: So that was a pretty extensive repair then, basically.

Bernie: Yeah, yeah. There's a lot that needed to be done for sure.

Mark: And was it really necessary to replace all the components or could you have just done the rotors, and the pads?

Bernie: No there's no way because the caliper was what caused the pads to seize up in the first place. When you have a wear difference that much, all the other pads were about five millimetres and this other one was zero. It's clearly a seized caliper issue. You can have a bad brake hose that'll cause pads to wear to but in a vehicle of this age, a bad brake hose will be highly unlikely and as I said, Ford caliper problems are just super common. So yeah, that's the kind of the extent. Pads, rotors, calipers and we also flushed the brake fluid which had never been done before and it was old and discoloured and dirty.

Mark: So maybe talk about that for a second. Why that's a rare kind of thing in my experience in having cars for the last 40 years. Flushing the brake fluid. What's that all about?

Bernie: That's actually one of the more common services we do here. Now it's one thing that never used to be ever talked about over the years. You know, you and I are kind of the same age. When we were younger and we had cars, nobody ever flushed brake fluid. But brake fluid is a hygroscopic fluid. It absorbs water and it's actually meant to do that because if the water actually got stuck in a certain area, say if it wouldn't absorb water, water would get trapped in certain areas of the brakes, like it would maybe get out the calipers or up in the master cylinder and would cause rust and corrosion. So because it actually absorbs water, it actually takes the water with the fluid but it weakens the fluid quality over time and what happens is the boiling point of the fluid goes way down and the brakes given enough heat which happens in braking. Usually you'd only ever experience it on long hills. You could actually lose your brakes, because the brake fluid would boil. So flushing brake fluid has been recommended by European manufacturers for many years. They usually recommend every two years.  Now you can look in the manual of a lot of American vehicles, and they won't even recommend it. I don't know why because it's the same fluid, you're driving in the same conditions. The only place you might be safe from that is if the car never left the Arizona desert. But anywhere else around North America, there's a fair bit of moisture and that gets absorbed into brake fluid. So the recommendation for a lot of manufacturer's is every two years, two to three is good. I mean, we can test the water content, but normally we just look at visually, and we look for our regular customers, we just look at their maintenance schedule, and we can tell if it's been two or three years, we flush it.  So it is actually a fairly common service, but a lot of people have not heard of it and a lot of manufacturers, it's left out, and I don't know why.

Mark: All right. Econoline vans have been around forever basically, almost as long as me. How are they for reliability?

Bernie: Yeah, you know, I'd say they're fair. I won't comment on the really old ones because they're ... I realize with cars, every decade has its reliability compared to whatever other cars were around in that time. But I'd say, I'd call them fair. I mean, over the years, they've had their issues. I'd say, and we talked about bad brake calipers. Those are issues that they've had. I mean generally, they're pretty tough, well built vans, but there's been a few issues with spark plugs blowing out over the years or seizing up. I think Ford's got beyond that in these newer ones. They have the regular type of spark plugs that don't have any issues. Things like intake manifolds have had coolant leaks and things. So I'd say I'd call them fair, but they've had probably more than their share of problems. But just on a general day to day basis, they usually start up fine and run and they can haul pretty heavy loads. They're usually built quite toughly, if that's the right word to use.

Mark: Beefy.

Bernie: Beefy, yeah that's a good word for it. They're built "Ford Tough". Interestingly about the Econoline is that actually 2013 is one of the last years, 2014 was actually the last year they made Econoline's. They switched to the Transit vans, which are those more boxy, cubey type of vans that kind of mimic Sprinters. It's interesting, I've traveled to Europe a couple of times over the last two, three years. I noticed most of the vans they have they're all of that Sprinter type design. All the manufacturers have that kind of taller, narrower style van. So it seems like the American manufacturers have all gone that way too, because the Dodge's are like that and the Ford's and it's funny, I don't know what's Chevy's been doing, but I should, but. Ford's definitely gone with the Transit van which are those more tall, cubey, rectangular type of vans.

Mark: So there you go. If you need service for your Ford van or truck in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You must book ahead, they're busy or check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com. We have hundreds of videos on our YouTube channel at Pawlik Auto Repair. We really want to thank you for listening to the podcast. If you're calling from somewhere else in North America, we cannot diagnose your vehicle over the phone. It's not in integrity for us to do that. They're just too many options. So if you're in Vancouver, call us to book an appointment, otherwise, just enjoy our shows. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark and thanks for watching.  

1 2 3 5

Let's Discuss Your Vehicle...

In order to provide an estimate, a diagnosis is the next step!