Mercedes - Pawlik Automotive Repair, Vancouver BC


Category Archives for "Mercedes"

2010 Smart Car, Valve Cover Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And clearly Vancouver's best auto service experience. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: I'm doing well today. 

Mark: So today's victim is a little bit older, 2010 Smart car that had a valve cover issue. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: And so this vehicle came to our shop for a general look over. It had a few concerns of which we repaired and there was a leaking valve cover gasket, but it wasn't too severe when we looked at it. And based on the cost of the other items that were needed to be repaired, the owner, you know, we sort of made an agreement, hey, let's not fix the valve cover right now we can leave that until a later time. So we did all the other work, left the valve cover gasket alone and went out for a road test and the vehicle wasn't running too well. 

Mark: So what happened on your road test? 

Bernie: Yeah, also the engine started misfiring and when we came back to the shop, reinspected it, found that there was oil in the spark plug tubes which are not exactly part of the valve cover gasket but it does involve removing the valve cover gasket. Now we weren't aware of that before because the vehicle ran fine when it came into the shop. And the valve cover gasket we only saw the external leak. We didn't pull a spark plugs out as part of our inspection because we would have found that. That's sort of the extra amount of work that, you know, we only do when necessary. So that now necessitated us doing the valve cover replacement. 

Mark: So the spark plug tubes were filling up with oil because of the leak from the gasket. 

Bernie: Exactly. I'm going to start showing some pictures, but the actual valve cover gasket leak that we saw was due to the external gasket on the outside, but there's also seals on the inside that seal a spark plug tubes from oil getting in. So they're not actually valve cover gasket, but they're part of the whole ceiling system. So here's our cute little 2010 Smart car. It's actually a convertible model too, which is kinda neat.

2010 Smart Car, Valve Cover Replacement

 All right. Other pictures. Valve cover. There's the new valve cover. This is where the spark plugs tubes sit. The ignition coils fit down in here and there's a seal that goes in there. Then this prevents oil from getting down the spark plug tubes. So that needed to be replaced as well. 

2010 Smart Car, Valve Cover Replacement
2010 Smart Car, Valve Cover Replacement

Now you can see the gasket here. We're going to talk a little bit about this. This gasket is molded right onto the valve cover, and we have to replace the whole cover to do this job properly. And I reason I know that is because there's actually companies that sell the valve cover gasket. And so the first time we ever ran into this a few years ago, we just changed the gasket and it started leaking and we got another gasket and it started leaking.

And then we decided to realize, oh, this is a molded type of factory sealer that they put on here. So we decided to do it with silicone and we tried that and it didn't work. And finally ended up after three times having to bite the bullet, buy the valve cover, which is a lot of money and seal it. So why companies sell a gasket when it doesn't really work, I don't know. But we can talk about today a little more. So this is that factory molded gasket. This is hard rubber. It's interesting. This isn't actually quite perfectly formed, but when it all bolts down and it's torqued top, it actually works really well. And it's kind of a, you know, one time use unfortunately. 

2010 Smart Car, Valve Cover Replacement

These are our ignition coils and you can see all this oil here on the ignition coils, especially this one here is, well as bad as the other ones. Then what happens is, as the oil starts filling up, it shorts out the spark plug and it won't fire. Now you can see three coils. This is a three cylinder engine. You can imagine if you take one ignition coil out of the picture, you've got only an engine running on two thirds of your spark plugs. Whereas if you have a V8 engine and one quits, you have seven eights of an engine, but this one, you only have two thirds. It's not a lot. And if two were to quit, while you basically have a one third, it doesn't even work. So it's really critical that there's no malfunctions on this type of thing. 

2010 Smart Car, Valve Cover Replacement

This is a picture looking down to the engine compartment. This is the new valve cover put in. The coils, this is sort of the lip of the engine bay. This engine is in the back of the vehicle. A little bit hard to get at the stuff. These wires here that I'm pointing out with the most pointer are for the ignition coil wires. The coils fit in here. And the fuel injectors are sitting here. There's wiring that needs to be connected up there as well. So those are pictures show.

Mark: Okay. So did you have to replace the ignition coils? 

Bernie: No, we didn't replace the coils. They were fine. We cleaned them up with brake clean, which removes all the oil and they were in good shape. So if you were to have left them for a very long time, it might wreck the rubber boots that go over the spark plugs. But in this case it was fine and they all worked fine. So they should work for quite some time. 

Mark: So other than evilness, why would someone make and sell a valve cover gasket when it doesn't work? 

Bernie: I really don't know. It's really dumb and kind of annoying in fact. Maybe on some occasions it works, but we've tried it a couple of times, as I said. We had one that we went through and it ended up costing us a lot of extra time and grief to try to fix it. Sometimes when you fix cars, you learn that certain things have to be done a certain way. And the more expensive route first off is the best way to go. It's just a little bit harder to sell when you're faced with a bill of a thousand dollars plus for a valve cover job and you go, wow, it's a little dinky car. You know, it's a lot of money when you could get a gasket. But you got to fix it the way that works. So, yeah. I'm a little annoyed that this manufacturer actually sells it in the first place.They really shouldn't. 

Mark: These are very unique automobiles, not a lot of them around. Three cylinder engine, which is kind of very strange in itself. How are Smart cars for reliability? 

Bernie: They're not bad, but they do have a lot of things that do go wrong with them over time. And they are expensive to fix because it's a Mercedes. They're kind of exclusive and they've never sold a lot in North America. I mean, for awhile, they were only selling them in Canada and not the US and I'm not really even sure what sort of volumes they sold in the US. But the original diesel models from the sort of two thousands decade, those were only sold in Canada. So parts are hard to get. They're kind of an expensive vehicle to fix once they get older.

So they're fairly reliable, but I think they reach a point where they're just not economically worth fixing anymore after a certain amount of time. This one still has pretty low mileage. It's a nice car because it's a convertible and still get some good life.

Mark: So if you're looking for service for your Smart car or Mercedes-Benz in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can check out the website and book on there, They'll call you. They'll check out everything what's going on. There'll be ready for your appointment. Or you can phone them (604) 327-7112. You have to call and book ahead or book online prior to your appointment. They're always busy. They will look after you. Best auto service in Vancouver, Thanks Bernie. 

Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching.

2008 Mercedes Benz E320 Bluetec, Engine Mounts

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: 2008 Mercedes diesel. Bluetec. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: So the owner brought the vehicle to our shop, there was a vibration and a noise going on in the front end of the vehicle. He was concerned about. Plus the battery was weak which we replaced, but the front end sort of noise and vibration was a concern. 

Mark: So how do you go about diagnosing and finding out what was going on?

Bernie: Well, the first place to start is with a road test. And we did that. Technician already looked at it, did the diagnosis, but I took the car for driving myself. And immediately I noticed, as soon as you put it into drive or reverse, there's this horrible vibration in the vehicle. And once I feel that, indicates a worn out engine or transmission mount or something vibrating from the engine to the frame of the vehicle.

Mark: Is that a typical way that you would diagnose that? 

Bernie: Well, that's kind of a right away, going hmm. I think that's where the problem lies is an engine mount or transmission mount. So there are ways to diagnose it. So visual inspection of the engine and transmission mounts would be the next step. There's a way we can test it. So what you do is you basically have one person look under the hood. You load the engine up, so you put it in drive, put your left foot on the brake, right foot accelerator. So you're actually loading the engine and it'll twist the engine.

Different direction in forward and reverse. And you can see whether the engine moves. And so we could see very excessive movement when we did that test. Sometimes it only do it and drive, sometimes it only do it in reverse. If a mount's broken bad enough, the engine will actually jump several inches up in the engine compartment, which is not good. But you know, we know we found our problem. So there's definitely excessive play in these mounts. Very clear and noticeable. 

Mark: So an engine mount, isn't that just the rubber piece, what can wear out in an engine mount? 

Bernie: Yeah, so typically they're rubber, but these are a little more complex and we'll show some pictures in a sec, but what can wear out, I mean, a typical old fashioned engine mount was two pieces of steel with a stud or bolt holes on each end.

One end would bolt to the frame of the vehicle. The other would bolt to the engine and there'll be a big piece of rubber cushion in between. They've got a lot more sophisticated. Some of them use electromagnetics to dampen vibrations. Others like these Mercedes, fill the mounts with oil as a cushioning. It's kind of like a shock absorber. So there's more complexity to them. 

And in the olden days, the mounts, if they were to break, they just jump around and move around. But a lot of times they put a little anchor pieces on the mount, so they don't quite come apart like they used to in the old days. Like in the sixties or seventies and earlier when cars were a lot cruder. 

Let's have a look at some pictures. So there's our Mercedes.

2008 Mercedes Benz E320 Bluetec, Engine Mounts
2008 Mercedes Benz E320 Bluetec, Engine Mounts
2008 Mercedes Benz E320 Bluetec, Engine Mounts
2008 Mercedes Benz E320 Bluetec, Engine Mounts
2008 Mercedes Benz E320 Bluetec, Engine Mounts

 So there's one of our old worn out mounts. So the mount on the left side was actually leaking oil out of the mount. I've just got pictures of old mounts to look at here. There's another view of the mount . You can see a lot of fluid that's leaked out of it. And sometimes you see that in the car and other times you don't actually see it until we actually unbolt the mount and then it all kind of falls apart. 

There's a view of the mount with that rubber sort of sleeve or covering sleeve off it. You can see all the oil that's leaked out and the rubber's not in very good shape on this one either. And then finally, this is a mount on the right-hand side of the engine, which wasn't leaking oil. You can see the rubber is kind of a little cracked, not broken, but this mount may have been okay to leave.

But when we change it, we always do them in pairs. It's often best to change them all because if one's worn, the other one will have taken strain or is going to wear out sooner than later. So that's kind of the best thing to do in that case. But again you can see now, all the oil it's leaked out in this mount. And even the the metal isn't sitting properly in comparison to the, it's actually collapsed here. But once you put some load and torque on it, this mount will just jump around.

Mark: So what kind of engine configuration is this, a V6, V8? 

Bernie: It's a V6 diesel. It's a three litre diesel and it's a longitudinal mounted engine. So it's a rear wheel drive, typical Mercedes. Most Mercedes, let's see, all of them, most Mercedes are rear wheel drive.

If they're an all wheel drive, the front wheel drive is kind of a secondary drive of the vehicle, so to speak. As opposed to like something like a Subaru where it's a front wheel drive with the rears kind of being the secondary driver of the vehicle. So BMWs, Mercedes, they're primarily rear wheel drive. And this is a rear wheel drive car. ]

Mark: So you mentioned the transmission shock absorber mount or whatever. Do you have to change that typically when you change the engine mounts? 

Bernie: No, not always. Not in this configuration. It's a little different. When you have your transverse mounted engine is the sideways, I call them sideways mounted engines, a lot of times it's best to change all the mounts in those because the transmissions are twisting back and forth all together. 

So typically most of those engines will have three to four mounts. An engine like this longitudinal mount, it's usually two. There's one for the transmission, sometimes two for the transmission, but one transmission mount, two for the engine. And they can be done separately because they're so far apart and the stresses are quite spread out. 

Mark: So how labor intensive a job is this? 

Bernie: Yeah, it's a bit of a pain on this one. You know, they wedge things in pretty tight on this particular vehicle. So it was pretty labor intensive to change the mounts.

A lot of times it seems like not a very difficult job on a longitudinally mounted engine, but they're getting to be worse and worse the way they shoehorn things in. So took awhile. 

Mark: And how did the car drive after all the mounts were replaced?

Bernie: Oh fantastic. Yeah, felt really good. Vibrations gone and nice and comfortable to drive. 

Mark: So this is a 2008. How are these Bluetec diesels for reliability? 

Bernie: Well, this is the same diesel you find in a Sprinter van or in the MLs and GLs that we talk so much about. They're kind of along the same level of issues. Oil leaks and the like. Maybe a little less stress in the car than there is in the SUV's and truck models.

So they might be a little more durable, but they're still the same kind of concerns. And again, you know, as we've talked about a lot with diesel, you need to warm them up. You need to drive them. So if they're just little grocery getters and your grocery store's a kilometre from your house, that's not a good thing. You should be out to be out driving it, getting it nice and warm. 

Mark: Change the oil. 

Bernie: And change the oil absolutely.

Mark: Do not miss. 

Bernie: Do not miss it and change it once a year. Even if you don't drive it a lot. It's really important. 

Mark: So, if you're looking for service for your diesel vehicle in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive or your Mercedes they're experts in it. You can reach them on their website You can actually book on there. They'll call you. They'll get everything set up for you when you come in for your appointment, or you can call them at (604) 327-7112. You have to call or book ahead, you gotta, they're busy. Check out the website.

Like I said, thousands, not exaggerating over a thousand articles on there on all makes and models and types of repairs. We've been doing this for over 10 years. Or the YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair. Same story. Videos, we've pontificated about many things for a long time only cars though. And only cars.

Yes. And of course as always, we really appreciate you watching and listening. Thanks Bernie. 

Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So this week's victim is a 2014 G63 AMG. That was running a bit rough. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the vehicle came to us. The check engine light was on and the owner complained the engine was running a bit rough from time to time. So that's what it's here for. 

Mark: What kind of testing and diagnosis did you do? 

Bernie: Well, first of all, of course, it's to road test the vehicle. And when we drove it, it seemed to run fairly well. Maybe it just a little rough. And then of course, next step, a scan tool hookup, a full vehicle code scan and that revealed some interesting information to do some further testing.

And I'll just get the screen share right away. So there's our G63.

2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine
2014 G63 AMG, Rough Running Engine

This is the scan report. This is the engine fault section. So you can see there's basically seven faults for the engine. There's a number of other things. 

Any European car will always have a whole bunch of faults, if it works perfectly well, if you scan it every six months, you'll find there's something going on with this and that. But, usually engine issues, we take them more seriously than say a lot of the body control issues, which may be a slightly low battery or some little glitch happened.

But a couple of interesting points here now. A lot of these codes it'll say whether it's stored or current. And as I mentioned, it seemed to be running sorta well. All these seven faults on this list here, they all say stored. But this top one is interesting, actuation ignition coil one's an electrical fault or open circuit.

That's of course, something that usually indicates the coil is bad. Not always, it could be a wiring issue, but most of the time we find that's an issue. And then of course, cylinder one has a misfire. Could be the coil. Then seven and eight cylinders also had some misfires. Plus there's a random misfire code down here.

This P0385. And then some emission gas tank cap missing. Maybe the owner at some point had not put the gas tank cap, which isn't gonna cause any performance issues. So these are the codes we have to work with and the place to start. And yeah so that was basically where we started our diagnosis.

We pulled the coil out, did a visual inspection. Swapped coils around, which we often do. Visually inspect the spark plugs, which looked okay. But you know the vehicle is seven years old. So spark plugs don't need to be replaced at seven years, but kind of getting on, you know, with all these codes could have been an issue,

Mark: Was this a high mileage vehicle? 

Bernie: No, it only had 43,000 kilometres, so very low mileage, in fact. So that brought up another issue of another service we did, which we'll talk about in a little bit. So basically from our conclusion, we figured the best thing to do would be to replace the spark plugs and the number one cylinder ignition coil. And that's where we proceeded. Vehicle seemed to run a bit better afterwards, but seem to be not quite perfect, but certainly an improvement. 

Mark: So how has changing the spark plugs and coil on this vehicle? 

Bernie: Well, I'll just get into some different photos. So here's the engine. Beautiful looking as AMG engines tend to be on almost every AMG model. So you have your air cleaners here. These are the air intake ducts, it's a turbocharged V8, so the ducts to the turbo. And underneath here, underneath both these air cleaners, they need to be removed to access the fuel injectors, spark plugs, ignition coils, and so on.

And here's another view of the left cylinder bank. This is the air cleaner off. The valve cover's basically here. You've got the fuel injectors here. This is a gasoline direct injection system, which you'll find on most vehicles made in this decade. The ignition coils sit here on top of the spark plugs, which had been removed when I took this photograph. So that's basically it. 

Now, the interesting thing is the spark plugs is, you know, spark plugs, you think, oh, they're spark plugs. You take them out. So it looks like it's sort of average type of spark plug, screw it in set a torque it. But there's actually a procedure on these, that this electrode, this is the ground electrode and this open gap has to face within 45 degrees on either side of the fuel injector. I'll just kind of go back a photograph here. So this is the fuel injector. So when that spark plug's installed that open gap has to sit sort of between this direction and this direction.

And so we had to mark our sockets and make sure that when it was torqued that was within that spec and we opted to get the actual genuine Mercedes spark plug so that, you know, for sure I mean, they're made to fit the vehicle, even though they're not made by Mercedes, they are either made by NGK or Bosch, for sure. But just to make sure that it was a hundred percent fit. So we verified that was all good in doing it. So that's a little bit of an unusual techie kind of thing on this engine. 

Mark: So, have you ever seen that before, that kind of precise, spark plug alignment on another engine? 

Bernie: You know, the only other engine I know of and this there's probably more of them, than I know, but the Honda Insight, the older Honda Insight, so it's kind of ugly looking hybrids, unless you really liked the look of them but I kind of find them ugly. The spark plugs on those actually are indexed and they actually have a special code number on each spark plug. And there's, I believe one to three different types so they'll actually align properly. So they obviously don't machine everything quite as precisely as Mercedes has done.

So you have to know, when you take the spark plugs out you have to be really careful to know which coded spark plug it is. So you get the right one in. But that's the only other engine I know of, but there might be more. I mean, obviously more of these AMG's, these engines have that same precision too.

Mark: So you did some other service on this engine. What did that entail? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the other service we did, I mentioned it's got gasoline direct injection. And so we did a GDI cleaning service, which is something we'd recommend doing about every two to three years, every 30, 40,000 kilometres on any engine like that. It's important for the performance of the engine too and longevity of the engine. And it can really fix little subtle misfire problems and rough running. So we figure, especially with this vehicle, 43,000 kilometres is not a lot on a seven year old vehicle. It's driven very little. So it's probably had a lot of cold trips, you know, not really warmed up, you know, the oil has not been changed as much as it probably should have, so that that can contribute to deposits on the valves.

Mark: And how do those deposits affect the engine performance? 

Bernie: Well, as I mentioned, it can cause misfires, it can cause you know, hard starting issues, little subtle problems. We find a lot of times, you know, engines that develop little subtle things where, you know, maybe the car just doesn't feel like it did when it was new. Like it doesn't quite start as fast or run as smoothly, or there's little times where the performance is lacking. Maybe a little hesitation. That can be from carbon deposits on valves. And if it gets really bad, it can cause some really severe performance issues. Even to the point of actually damaging valves or valve seats, but you know usually by that time, you'll notice something really wrong.

Mark: So after you did all that, how did the vehicle run? 

Bernie: Good. It ran really well. I mean, it's a bit of a stumbely rough engine. It's a high performance engine, twin turbos, AMG high-performance over 500 horsepower version. So it has a kind of a little rough feel to it, just slightly, on it's sort of at the bottom end, which is, I think, you know normal.

But yeah, it ran great lots of, you know, I mean, insane amount of power in a utility truck. But yeah, it was good. 

Mark: So these G63s are unique, very expensive vehicles. How are they for liability? And what are your thoughts about them overall?

Bernie: Yeah, they're very high price vehicle. I'll just go back to a couple of pictures I want to kind of share on some stuff. So, yeah let's talk about the picture in a second, but yeah, I mean a very high price vehicle to buy a new and they hold their value really well in the used market, which I'm sort of thinking, what vehicle does this compare to? And it's kind of like a Range Rover in some ways. I mean, it's that similar kind of market, it's a luxury utility vehicle, but this is a much rougher type of vehicle. And you know, Range Rovers depreciate at a much more substantial rate than these. So, I mean, that's one thing to say about them, but this is quite a utility vehicle.

I mean, so getting into thoughts on the vehicle. I mean, this is a picture of the front differential. This is a solid beam axle. I mean, I don't know anyone else who sells a vehicle like this anymore, but it's got the ball knuckle for the four wheel drive. It's got a re-circulating ball, like a steering box, basically with a steering linkage. So this is very crude technology. 

I had a 77 Toyota Land Cruiser. This is very similar, but what I will say about the G wagon, it's your rides a whole lot nicer than a Land Cruiser. That thing really bounced. They've got the suspension much more nicely dialed in. But I mean, I think there's a lot of things about these vehicles that are really, they're rough and utility, and they don't really suit being an AMG. Just with the power and performance. It's kind of overkill. 

I mean, things like these differential locks is never use on unpaved roads. Well, all of these vehicles will never go off road. Most people, you see a lot of them around Vancouver, a lot of people they'll never go off road. But it's certainly built, if you want an amazing off-road vehicle, this is definitely one to choose for sure. Tough, durable, but you know, with the chrome side pipes that come out under running boards and beautiful alloy wheels, it could be a, you know, too nice of a vehicle really to take on any kind of rough roads. At least the kind I like to. A good vehicle. Solid. I love the way the doors open and close to when you close the doors and you know, that's a quality vehicle. 

Mark: And reliability? 

Bernie: Yeah, good. It's a Mercedes, so you'll spend more money on repairs and maintenance and things are finickier, but you know, overall it's a vehicle that will last a long time and they're tough. I mean, there are tons of G wagons around that have been, before they were kind of regularly imported into North America, they've been around for decades before that and still tough and reliable. So good vehicle. 

Mark: Therefore, if you're needing some service for your AMG product in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, or you can book online at Check out our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there. As well as on the website, there's hundreds of blog posts, including the transcripts. We've been doing this for 10 years, literally close to a thousand videos on all makes models, types of cars, types of repairs. And of course, we really appreciate you listening and watching. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2006 Mercedes C280, Engine Misfire

Mark: Hi, it'sMark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 24 time winners best auto repair in Vancouver. I can losing count. There's so many, and it always changes. 24 times their customers have voted them the best auto repair in Vancouver. And we're talking cars. How you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So 2006, Mercedes C280, had an engine mishcon, mishfire, misfire. What was going on with this car? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the owner had called, she was heading off on a holiday shortly and was concerned the engine was running rough and that her check engine light was on. So brought it in for us to have a look at.

Mark: What did you find? 

Bernie: Well, we've definitely verified the engine was misfiring. First step was to hook up our scan tool, do a scan of the vehicle. See what sort of trouble codes were stored. And we found a code for a engine misfire, a random misfire, along with a cylinder four misfire and a code indicating a, I think it was either a short or open circuit in the ignition coil to cylinder number four. So that's pretty clearly put us in the area and direction where the issue may be occurring. 

Mark: So you've found out which cylinder it is. What is the next step? 

Bernie: So the next step is to verify that it is in fact ignition coil or spark plug, or see what it is. So I'll just share some pictures here because what we did for the next step was to, and there's our C280.

2006 Mercedes C280, Engine Misfire
2006 Mercedes C280, Engine Misfire
2006 Mercedes C280, Engine Misfire
2006 Mercedes C280, Engine Misfire

Next picture, is to hook up a lab scope to actually look at the firing pattern of the ignition coils. So this is what we see on a lab scope. This is a firing pattern of a good ignition coil you can see and I'm horrible at explaining the details of this there's people that are much better, but you can see a lot of, let's call it electrical action here. Voltage. This is when the spark is actually fired at this moment here. I'm going to go into show you the bad coil. So this is number four cylinders coil, as you can see, there's no energy buildup. There's no energy release. It's just basically one little firing, you know, issue occurring. 

So that pretty much indicates the coil's bad. Doesn't a hundred percent prove it because there could be an electrical issue as well. So the next step was to swap the ignition coils from one cylinder to another. Now sometimes you can just do this and verify if the problem follows with the codes, then you know the problem's there, but I figure it's easier to, you can get some good evidence on what's actually happening in terms of, again, here's the good pattern. Here's the bad pattern. See if it follows. So I swap the coil from cylinder four to five, pull the spark plug out to visually inspect it. They were original spark plugs, looked okay. Vehicles only got 87,000 kilometres, so it's still pretty young, but you know, 2006, that makes it about a 15 year old car at this point in time.

So the spark plugs are old. Anyways swapped the coils, retested the pattern, the problem followed the ignition coils. So we knew a hundred percent, it was ignition coil in number four cylinder that was causing the issue.

Mark: So you just then replaced the bad coil and that was it? 

Bernie: Well, that was one option. But when you take the car and you go, okay, it's 15 years old, one coil has failed. There's six in total. It makes more sense to change the coil and the plugs at the same time. Of course we always give our customers options and we ended up changing the spark plugs and the ignition coils at the same time, just based on the age of the car and the probability that another one would likely fail soon.

You know, we've had in the past where we've done one coil. Then a month later, two months later, maybe six months, you know, another one fails, then you're back diagnosing it. There's a charge for that looking everything over. And then you end up spending more money in the end. It's better really to, if you can afford to do it, do it all, get it done. And then you'll never have to worry about it again because this car probably won't be in this owner's hands, 15 years from. 

So here's just another picture just to finalize things. That's this is the ignition coil, and this is a spark plug. This is the old build units, but new ones look basically the same. 

Mark: And so harder to run them once everything was back together and tested? 

Bernie: Well, I'd like to say these are Hollywood podcasts. It's always a happy ending or almost always. Yeah, no it ran great. Yeah, car ran fantastically. Just for a little extra thoroughness, of course we cleared the codes. Road tested it and actually looked at the there's, you can monitor misfires on a scan tool, it'll show any misfiring issues. Drove it for a while, nothing at, all it's perfect. So yeah, it ran great. And I wouldn't expect there to be any problem with this for quite a long time, especially the coils and plugs. 

Mark: And how are these C280s for reliability? 

Bernie: Yeah, it's a good car. I mean, it's a fairly basic for a Mercedes, although, you know, basic is pretty luxurious. This car is kind of interesting because it actually doesn't have power seats, which is really strange for a Mercedes. But but yeah, it's a nice car and, you know, actually the fact that it doesn't have power seats actually makes it a little more basic and less to go wrong. But overall good car, good reliability.

We've serviced this car for many years and the owner drives it very little. And this is the first time there's I think this and a belt problem has been about the only thing that's really gone wrong with the car. So it's been quite good. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Merc in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112. To book your appointment, you can go to the website You can book online there. They will get in touch with you. They'll get prepared for when you show up and make sure that they're ready to service your car as soon and quickly and as efficiently as possible. Of course, you can also check out the website. There's hundreds of videos on there. The YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos, not stretching it at all, over 900. And of course we really appreciate you watching and listening. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2013 Mercedes-Benz ML350, Rear Shock Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 24 time winners, 24 times as voted by their customers. Best auto repair in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. That's an impressive accomplishment. We're going to talk about a 2013 Mercedes-Benz ML350 that had a bit of a wiggly rear end. What was going on with this SUV? 

Bernie: Well, it actually came to us, well I guess it may have had a wiggly rear-ended and to be honest I never drove the vehicle, but it did come in with a couple of fluid leaks and one of them was coming from the rear shock absorbers.

Mark: Okay, so why would the rear, what type of suspension is that, that the shocks would leak. 

Bernie: Well, shock absorber has fluid inside. So all shock absorbers can leak fluid. Now, some Mercedes use a hydraulic suspension system where you could have potentially a humongous leak, but these do not use that. These Mercedes MLs, they use an air suspension system. So that adjust the height of the vehicle. Basically the springs are air and not metallic would be the easiest way to say it. So you can adjust the height of the vehicle. But the shock absorbers they're a special electronic shock absorber. So they have, you know, more fluid than usual, but basically that's what was happening. The fluid was leaking. 

The shock absorption actually occurs from fluid, which dampens the balance of the spring. And it goes through a certain valves and that's how the shock absorber works. It is filled with fluid and eventually seals will leak and the shocks will leak. Same with struts as well. If they're, you know, a fluid filled strike, which most are. 

Mark: Yeah, I guess it's like if you've ever seen, as more common for us older guys, but a vehicle gets going down the road and kind of bouncing along, trampolining along over every bump, it kind of goes the shock absorber just makes that happen and stop. Is that right? 

Bernie: It does. Yeah. It allows the spring to do one up movement and bounce down instead of oscillating because springs will just keep oscillating. And if you've ever been in a car that has blown shocks, it's a horrible feeling to drive it. I can't imagine what it must've been like in the olden days before they had shocks, you know, or in a horse drawn carriage. It's that continuous balancing it'd be, I mean, it's better to have springs than no springs, but the bouncing feeling it's just sickening when a vehicle doesn't do that sort of one bounce and stop kind of thing. So shocks are amazingly important. 

Mark: So what is an electronic shock absorber do that's different than a regular shock?

Bernie: Electronic shock absorber allows a different ride conditions. So you can have a sport ride. You can have a comfort ride. So the comfort ride allow the shock to be a little bouncier, whereas on sport ride will be much firmer. So when you hit a bump or you go hard around a corner, the car doesn't move so much. So that's kind of the difference. There's some trucks that have adjustable shocks where again, you can firm up the ride if you're going off road. You don't want the vehicle to bounce too much off road, so you can adjust that as well.

So adjustable shocks. They work at a couple of different ways and some of them they'll just have a valve, it'll change size and allow the fluid to flow at a different rate. But electronic shocks are interesting. These type, because a lot of them, and I'm not sure on Mercedes, whether they have them, some of them have a magnetic type of fluid and by changing, by sending electrical pulse into the shock, it'll change the alignment of basically the fluid. And so it'll flow slower through a valve. It's kind of interesting. So interesting technology. 

It seems to me, this is my experience, it seems to me like those kinds of fluid shocks tend to leak more easily than others. And it's probably because, again, I'm just guessing not an expert, but just guessing, that it's probably due to the fluid may be a little grittier and harder on the seals. That's my guess. 

Mark: How does this part of the suspension system fail and leak?

Bernie: Basically as I mentioned, I mean the leakage, you know, it just happens over time.

2013 Mercedes-Benz ML350, Rear Shock Replacement
2013 Mercedes-Benz ML350, Rear Shock Replacement
2013 Mercedes-Benz ML350, Rear Shock Replacement

Here's a view of the shock absorber, this is the right rear shock. I mean, you can see a stream of fluid coming down there. This is like kind of a dust cover bellows here. But inside up above there, there's a seal that seals the fluid out and so that leaks. This is the electronic chamber in the shock absorber. Again, I'm not certain if this actually has that magnetic type of fluid or whether this electronic part here just changes the valving inside the shock absorber. I don't know for certain, but in nonetheless it leaks.

 Here's the left rear. I mean, both were leaking a lot of times we find these vehicles where only one shock leaks, but in this case it was a double whammy, both were leaking. And when we put the vehicle up in the air,  after a few minutes, there's quite a drip on the ground. So they've been leaking for a little while. There's are 2013 ML350 parked in front of our shop.

Mark: So since they're fancy electronic shocks, are they expensive to repair? 

Bernie: Yeah, they are. Yeah. They're not cheap. It's an expensive job. Any suspension beyond just regular shock absorbers, you know, it can get pretty expensive and pricey to fix. So I'd say they're cheaper than the repairs in a hydraulic suspension in an SL500, but they're certainly    pretty pricey. 

Mark: And how common is this as a failure point? This is a 2013, so it's had a pretty good run. 

Bernie: Yeah, it's actually quite common. We've done them on quite a few of these cars. So I think if you, if you keep this vehicle for, you know, it was 2013, that's what seven, eight years, eight years, eight years old. I mean, if you know that they seem to fail, you know, a lot of them by 10 years old. So unfortunately hate to break the news to you if you own one of these, but you'll probably have to repair them at some point. It's just kind of part of the game. 

Mark: And how are, especially in these generations, how are they for reliability?

Bernie: They're pretty good. This is a diesel, you know, we've talked a lot about the diesel issues. Yeah.  Yes. Yeah, no, I mean, they're good. I mean, there's a lot of things that do happen with the diesels. And you'll find all sorts of information on other podcasts, but you know, the suspensions do have issues on these vehicles.

We do a lot of repairs on the air suspension, the compressors and often the valve block that diverts the air to the different air struts will fail. So that's the common issue on those. I mean, eventually the air struts themselves will fail. We don't see too many of those yet, but you know, it's a good vehicle, but stuff goes wrong and happens and that's par for the course. So just be prepared.

Mark: If you're looking to have your Mercedes last a little bit longer and be good and safe and comfortable to drive the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to call and book an appointment. Talk about it with them, or you can book online. They'll get back to you. Of course, there's our YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair. We've got hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of videos on there. We've been doing this for nine years, approaching a thousand, all makes and models, types of repairs. Thanks so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. And thanks for watching.

2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 DPF Tank Heater

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So 2011 Mercedes-Benz ML350 diesel. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So the owner was experiencing a check engine light coming on, and then the vehicle going into a reduced power, kind of a limp mode from time to time. So obviously it was a concern, brought it in for us to look at. 

Mark: So what testing and diagnosis did you have to do?

Bernie: Well, first step of course, is to verify the client's concern. We drove it and of course it drove perfectly well . Never went into limp mode, no problems. We scanned the vehicle, hooked up our diagnostic computer. We interrogated the vehicle for codes found a number of codes and different modules, but only one in the engine for a diesel exhaust fluid heater. And so we cleared that. Did a couple more tests, but didn't really find anything conclusive. 

Took the vehicle next day, of course, same day he was driving it, the light came on, came back and we did further testing on it and found that the actual main heating unit in the tank was bad. There's a number of tests you can run on a scan tool looking at current draws and of the various heating circuits. And we found that that one was quite far out of range. So that basically the main heater in the tank was bad. 

Mark: What's a DPF tank heater?

Bernie: So DPF is diesel particulate fluid. Sometimes it's called a reductant tank. But basically what it does is it it holds the diesel exhaust fluid, which is injected into the SCR, the selective catalyst reduction.

Long and short of it, it reduces NOx emission and makes for a clean diesel if there's such a thing. So it's about as clean as you can get. And so this is all part of it. There's a tank that holds the fluid. The fluid will actually freeze very easily. So it has to have a heater in, it has to be kept warm for the fluid to flow. 

So just getting some pictures here. 

2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 DPF Tank Heater
2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 DPF Tank Heater
2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 DPF Tank Heater
2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 DPF Tank Heater
2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 DPF Tank Heater
2011 Mercedes Benz ML350 DPF Tank Heater

So there's our 2011 ML350 SUV. So this is the tank removed from the vehicle and underneath here where I'm kind of moving the mouse pointer, underneath here is where the actual heating assembly. We'll have a look at that in a minute, but this, unit on top here is the pump. You can see there's a lot to this. The fluid gets filled here and that's filled through the trunk. It needs to be done every, you know, maybe eight to 10,000 kilometres, depending on the maintenance interval, how you drive it and so on.

There's a hose that attaches here. Of course, it goes out to the injector. You know, there are various wiring components here to pump the fluid, to operate the tank heater and so on. As you can see, there's a lot to it electrically. 

 This is the old heating assembly. So this fits you know, underneath that big round ring, the pump bolts onto the top of it. This liquid here is the diesel exhaust fluid. The stuff is really interesting if you spill it or it spills on the floor, it, it eventually dries into this interesting looking crystal.

 This is where the unit sits. So you can see, these are the two mufflers right at the back of the vehicle. This area here is where the filler assembly is. As I said, you fill it through the trunk and the tank fits in neatly here. The wiring connects up here. So that's basically it that's that's kind of the bulk of it. There was a couple of other pictures I want to show you just while we're out of here.

You know, often, you know, we find other issues on cars, which aren't related, but it's a Mercedes diesel. Oil leaks are a common issue. This is some of the oil that had accumulate on the floor after a couple of hours of service. And a splash pan with a lot of oil coming out of it. So we've talked about oil leaks on these vehicles. That's a common thing. But I just thought, this just kind of caught my eye, and I thought, you know, is there anything else this vehicle needs. Yeah, Well, it's going to need some oil leak repairs. 

Mark: So replacing the tank heater, was that a complex repair? 

Bernie: It's not really that complex. The tank, fortunately it's designed nicely. The tank drops right out, sits in between the mufflers. There's plenty of room and the tank comes out pretty easily. It comes apart quite easily. It's just a few things to transfer over. Part and reassembly, the pump needs to be primed because it can't suck air. So it has to be primed so it's full of liquid and fluid. And adds a bit of complexity, but overall it's not really too much of a labor intensive job. 

Mark: What about the kind of repair costs? 

Bernie: Well, overall, the cost is actually pretty expensive because of course, you know, you've got some diagnostic costs to determine what's wrong with it. Then the labor to replace it, which isn't too much compared to some operations on vehicles, but the the actual heating unit itself, depending on where it's bought is in the $1,500 range, little more from the Mercedes dealer. So it's an expensive part. That's a 2021 chart as a February, 2021 costs. Because if you're looking at this video five years from now and wondering about the cost, it could be less, could be more, you never know, prices have a way of going up sometimes and down at other times, but usually it's up. So it isn't expensive repair overall.

Mark: Okay. For the folks out there who don't want to save the planet, can't you just remove the system and be done with it?

Bernie: Well, you could. But the thing is, I mean, the reason why the customer brought it in the first place is because this vehicle went into a limp mode because the heater didn't work. So it's basically set. So if there's a malfunction in the system, the vehicle isn't going to operate properly.

So what's required to take that out of the equation is to reprogram the vehicle computer. So it doesn't do that. So I know it's probably available somewhere. I have no idea who does it or how you do it. I wouldn't even look into it. I wouldn't do it myself. Cause I really do believe that these things make a big difference to the air that we all breathe.

You know, diesel exhaust is carcinogenic, if care about that at all. It's kind of important not to remove the items. So it's possible and highly not recommended and also illegal. 

Mark: Yeah. If the police find out that you don't have it, they're going to make you put it back. 

Bernie: Yup. And we have a Dodge truck where someone had removed all our emission equipment, a lot more than this, but they had a lot of it removed. It was very, very, very expensive to fix. So yeah, you're really in my opinion, better not to ever remove it, but people do. And it's more complicated on something like a Mercedes, I mean, a lot of American vehicles, it's way more common and way easier to do. But especially in Canada, because you can actually buy the computers you know, to do it in Canada, but in the US there, you can still get them. They're just less legal. 

Mark: How are these ML350s for reliability? 

Bernie: Well you know, they're not the best. We've got a lot of videos on these. There are a lot of things like oil leaks, which I showed you some oil on the floor and leaking through the splash pan. Those are probably one of the bigger issues on these vehicles.

The engine oil cooler seals are a big leak issue. The oil filter housings are another one you know, fuel injectors fail. You know, they develop fuel leaks or different spots? Turbochargers fail. Intake, runners that fail. There are a lot of things that go wrong. And now of course we have the diesel exhaust fluid heater, you know, to add to that. So there's, there's more complexity. 

A great running vehicle, but there are things that go wrong with them and you know, we need to be prepared to spend more money than you would on your average vehicle.

Mark: So, if you're looking for service for your Mercedes Benz in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112. To book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead because they're always busy. They're very popular. Or check out the website YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there. We've been doing this for nine years, all makes and models and types of repairs. Of course thank you so much for watching and or listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark and thanks for watching.

2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Cam Sensor Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 23 time winners, 23, 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well? 

Mark: So we have another, a reprise, a 2014 Mercedes E63 AMG that had another issue. What was going on with this car? 

Bernie: Yeah. So this is a tagging along to the last podcast we did on the E63. And we found another issue with this vehicle I didn't talk about, but I thought this deserves some attention. It's a repair job that we will be incorporating as a maintenance item and all our future Mercedes services. Maybe not every service, but at a certain time interval. And that is replacing the camshaft position sensors at least inspecting them for oil leaks. 

Mark: So what was the presenting issue? Why did you feel like that needed to be replaced? 

Bernie: So while we were doing the repair on this E63, we took the engine out to do the valve cover gaskets. We removed the camshaft position sensors from the valve cover, which is part of the job and noticed there was oil inside the connector. And so what happens is there's four sensors. They tend to leak oil out of the sensor. You know, they're immersed in the engine oil, they leak oil out of the sensor, into the connector pins. And that works its way through the wiring harness. 

Now, eventually that works its way through a number of different wires, damaging other components. And eventually the PCM, the powertrain control module gets oil in it and damages that, and that you know, as you can imagine, that the cost of that is crazy.

To do that properly, it's a new wiring harness. It's the cam sensors, which are cheap, a wiring harness, possibly some other components and a new engine computer, which is, I don't even know what it costs for this car. 

Mark: $10,000?

Bernie: It could be, you know, five, $10,000 plus programming. Plus it probably may have to be programmed by Mercedes because they have security protocols where they won't let anyone else other than themselves do the work. So that's a maybe thing on that, but anyways, it's a scenario you don't want. So I thought. So many good issue to do as a maintenance item.

We did actually replace the cam sensors for this customer. We cleaned the wiring harness, but you know, the oil had made its way down to some other components, possibly even to the PCM. Although there wasn't a lot of evidence there of oil, but one of the oxygen sensors quite a bit down in the engine, you can see oil on that connector to that it worked its way through. 

So let's have a look at some pictures.

2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Cam Sensor Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Cam Sensor Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Cam Sensor Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Cam Sensor Repair

So this is our engine again. I showed this picture in the last podcast. However this one here, I just kinda did a little square around. This is  the cam sensor right here. There's an electrical connector. There's four of these. So there's one back in behind this oil filler cap. And then there's two on the other side, it's a V engine. So I've just kind of taken all my photos of the right engine bank here, but that's, that's the sensor there.

As far as the leakage. So this is the sensor removed. You can see oil inside there. So this part sits in the engine here. This is oily. It should be. But this part here, you can see oil in this connector. Basically these pins just aren't sealed out well over time, they just oil starts to leak out of there and into this connector.

And we'll just look at a couple of other views. Here's the connector itself. You can see oil, this is like a rubber weather pack seal. But as you know, as the oil comes out, of course it goes down here. It goes down into the wires, works its way through the installation.

This is the oxygen sensor connector. I apologize not the sharpest photo, but you can see an oiliness to this plug. This should be bone dry. And so this is a connector. This is way down. This is actually on top of the transmission. So oil has worked its way down to this area.

Once oil gets down into the oxygen sensor, it will damage it. The owner didn't want to replace it at this time, but we did the cam sensors and cleaned up the oil at the top of the engine. 

Mark: So this is a really serious, almost catastrophic failure? 

Bernie: Yup. And it happens and you know, there's people around who've had to deal with it. We've seen it on other Mercedes models. I'm even thinking back like a, had a customer with an 01 SLK 230 and that had a leaking, it may have been actually a camshaft actuator, but again, it was leaking oil into the wiring harness and caused the oxygen sensors to go bad.

So, you know, this is a thing on a number of Mercedes. And so I think, you know, going forward, we're going to incorporate this as a maintenance service. It's not too difficult when we're doing say a B service and we've got the engine cover off to actually just pop the connectors, have a look, is there any oil in there? If there is change the sensors right away to prevent any further damage? 

Mark: So that's the solution basically is replaced the sensors so that they don't leak from inside the oil from inside the engine, into the wiring harness. 

Bernie: Exactly. Now, interestingly enough, in hindsight, it would have probably would have been good 10,000 kilometres ago to replace these sensors. So again, this might be something we look at with the idea of that being a maintenance item, to just change the cam sensors maybe every 70 to 80,000 kilometres, you know just do it and then it's done and you don't have to worry about it causing any other damage. Because the cost is, you know, it's probably a $10,000 plus repair if it goes really bad. You know, if it gets left long enough and you won't really know until eventually it starts running crappy and things start happening. And you might get lucky, you might be able to clean some stuff up and away you go, but if it gets into the PCM you know, it's all over.

Mark: So why isn't this a suggested maintenance item from. Mercedes?

Bernie: Oh, because it's a defect, you know, that otherwise they'd have to admit, Hey, we put crappy cam sensors in and they would obviously make them better if they could in the first place. So, you know, this is out of the warranty kind of repair. I mean, usually the warranties, you know, five years max. So it's beyond the scope of that kind of thing. So anything beyond that, they're not really too concerned about. I mean, it does kind of affect our reputation in a way, if a lot of things happen after warranty, but you know, it's not really a big concern of theirs. 

Yeah, it's basically not a prescribed item, like an oil change or a filter that gets dirty. If they knew they'd probably improve the sensors. And this isn't entirely a Mercedes, I mean, it seems to be more common on Mercedes than any other vehicle, but there are other vehicles where, you know, oil will intrude, through a component and get into the wiring harness. So it's not a good thing, but it seems to me like Mercedes is the big one, the big culprit. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Mercedes, expert service for your Mercedes AMG or not in Vancouver, people to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, they're busy. They're always busy. They're very good at what they do. Check out the website Hundreds of videos on there all makes and models and types of repairs. Same thing on YouTube Pawlik Auto Repair. Check it out. And thank you so much for watching and listening. We really appreciate it. Thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Vancouver's best auto service experience and 23, 23 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2014 AMG Mercedes E63, what was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So the vehicle came to our shop for a maintenance service. The owner had a couple of concerns as well, but mostly came in for an A maintenance service. And we did find a couple of issues with the vehicle. 

Mark: So what brought this hot rod into your shop?

Bernie: Well, besides the A service the owner had complained that sometimes it felt like the engine had a bit of a misfire and we noticed, well we road tested it and came back into the shop, you could smell oil burning off the engine, and you could see a bit of smoke puffing out here and there under the hood, which wasn't a good sign.

Took a look at it. It was pretty apparent that valve cover gaskets were leaking and they leak right on top of the exhaust manifold slash turbocharger. The turbochargers, it's a twin turbo engine. The turbos are tucked right in nice and compactly in right underneath the cover area. 

 Mark: So where was the oil leaking from? 

Bernie: From the valve cover gaskets, it was pretty apparent. We didn't need to get into any complex diagnostics on this one. It was pretty apparent where the cause of the leak was coming from. 

Mark: So how do you go about repairing that? 

Bernie: Well, actually there's a couple of ways, so it can be done in car, but we chose to actually drop the engine assembly out of the car. It's really hard to access a lot of the bolts and to cleanly remove the valve cover. And we felt like, there's a little bit of extra time, but much more worthwhile way to do a proper repair to just to drop the engine and then work on it. So I'll just get into some pictures here. 

Mark: And these cars are built to actually do that right. 

2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair

Bernie: They are and we're finding that more and more that you know, cars,  removing engines and transmission assemblies is not really that difficult. This is an all wheel drive car too. And really not that time-consuming, I mean, it's a few hours to get it out and get it back in. But once you do it, then doing the work as much simpler than doing it in the car and much less difficult on the technician too. Because you get to stand and work on the engine as opposed to... be hunched over. Yeah be hunched over. 

2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair
2014 Mercedes E63 AMG, Valve Cover Gasket Repair

Here's a view of the engine. This is before disassembly. I took these photos when this service was just a maintenance repair. So you can see again, this isn't the first E63 or engine we've looked at, but it's a beautiful looking engine I have to say. They've done a nice job for most of these Mercedes AMGs making them good looking engine. 

There's our engine out of the vehicle. The vehicle sits above us out of view. And basically you've got your valve cover here. You can see some oil stainage here. There's the turbocharger right there. Oil leaking, right from where my mouse pointer is straight down, dripping off this. Of course it's got a tray here, but it does drip off and eventually hits the turbocharger.

Mark: And the turbocharger is red, like literally molten, almost molten metal temperature.

Bernie:  They can get that way for sure. Absolutely. They get super hot and you know, oil leaks never used to be a big deal on cars a long time ago. But now with crammed engine compartments and the amount of heat going on, an oily can be a fire hazard. It's  not like in the olden days. Oh, well this is an oil leaking. I remember when, you know, in younger years, I mean, a car would never catch on fire from an oil leak. It never happened. 

But you know, nowadays this kind of thing can happen, especially if oil is sprayed under any sort of pressure. I mean, at this point it's just a seep, but this again, you can see a closer view here, kind of wet right in that area. Another closer view with items removed and you can actually see the oil sitting right in there and running down there. So, I mean, at the very least it doesn't smell that good for nice hot rod engine and the smoke coming out of the hood is a little disconcerting. Again, there's a view with the wiring harnesses and the ignition coils removed. You can kind of see a better picture of the top of the engine. 

And our final last picture. This is what the valve cover off. So you can kind of see the inner workings, the two camshafts, these cam lobes here drive the high pressure fuel pump. And there's one on each side of the back of the engine. So that adds a bit of extra strain onto this cam shaft. You can see the timing chain here, not as impressive as the older series of Mercedes, where they had double roller chains. These guys have gone to the skinny, single row chain design, kind of like land rovers that are a failure item.

And so far, we haven't seen a lot of problems with these, but I would say that they are certain to fail much sooner than the earlier style of Mercedes engines with the double roller chains. Less moving mass, I guess, is why they do it. And this one does look a little beefier than the Land Rover chain, but not a lot. And you consider this is a 500 plus horsepower engine. I don't even know the exact specs, but it's way up there. So there's our picture show. 

Mark: So that engine sitting on a, basically a subframe, that you on both that. And once you've unhooked the engine from everything, it just drops out of the vehicle.

Bernie: Yeah. Well, we don't like to drop it out. That would be kind of get a mattress underneath and bounce it off. Yeah. You can do that thick, spongy, a trampoline or something, but yeah, so basically we just have a rolling bench that we put underneath and set everything in place. And then we actually leave it, that stays in place and the car body just goes up right above it. It's pretty cool. And you got like a nice built in engine stand and room to move. And you know, as I said, this can be done in the car and it's, there's a lot of room for making mistakes. 

I'll just actually get right back into this picture again here because I've got it up. But  this gasket here, everything needs to be scraped away all around the edge of this gasket. All old silicone needs to be removed. And then, you know, really the tricky part is putting it back down if there's anything in the way. And there often is when you do it in the car. Cause you're trying to push wiring harnesses out of the way and vacuum hoses or whatever bits and pieces. And you tend to have to fight with that kind of stuff. And sometimes when you do, you might, you know, the valve cover, won't go cleanly on, you might smudge the silicone and then the thing leaks. It's not quite as good of a job as you can do when you have everything off. 

Mark: So good quality control is quite a bit higher than when you do it this way.

Bernie: Way better for sure. And honestly, you know, we don't want to do this job as a warranty job. But for the customer, we want to make sure that the car, this car is what, seven years old, you know, seven years from now, maybe that's when the gas gets starts to leak again or maybe not.

Mark: Yeah, so job all done. Everything's backing the vehicle. How'd the vehicle run after repair? 

Bernie: Yeah, it was good. We actually had a chance to look at the spark plugs and the ignition coils and things while we had everything off. The spark plugs had been replaced. Remember, I did mention there was a concern of a bit of an engine misfire, but we never found anything obvious wrong. It ran fine afterwards. I mean, something that may need some diagnostic down the road and this vehicle has had some custom tuning done to it. So that can always affect how things run, shouldn't make it misfire, but there can be some interesting issues that occur from that. 

Mark: And what kind of mileage was on this car?

Bernie: About 85,000 I think. Somewhere in the 80,000 kilometre range. So not a huge amount, still pretty young and kind of disappointing to have a valve cover leak this magnitude at this age. I mean, that wouldn't have been a 1972 Chevy V8 that probably, would've had four valve cover gaskets by now, but you know, on an engine of this caliber, with that kind of sealing technology, it is a little disappointing considering we see some cars, you know, a variety of different vehicles with two or 300,000 K's, don't have a drip of oil coming out. It's kind of disappointing. 

Mark: Is that a bit of a function of the fact that it's such a high horsepower, kind of, it is a hot rod, basically custom style engine. 

Bernie: Well, I think that could be part of it. I mean, you know, the heat under the hood has got to be tremendous, especially in that valve cover area, because you've got those turbochargers sitting underneath, even though there are heat shields, there's still gotta be a lot of heat there. So that could be definitely part of why the silicone decays quicker in that area. It probably is. 

My daughter has a Jeep, it's like a four cylinder Jeep, you know, basic vehicle, couple hundred thousand K's, not a drip of oil coming out of it. I'm going, you know, that's, that's a Jeep, you know, and again, same kind of silicone technology, Toyotas, same thing, couple of two, 300 Ks, no drips, but they're not performance engines like this. So that's probably doesn't make a lot of sense. 

Mark: And how are these E63 AMGs is for reliability?

Bernie: Well they're pretty good. I think these are definitely a little more problematic engines than the earlier, like say the 55 series, the supercharged engines though, you know, there's issues with these engines that are more common and prevalent than with the older models. So, and expect to have more repairs and I mean, of course it's a Mercedes, it's a high tech high, highly complex car. So great car, just a thrill to drive. But it'll cost you. 

Mark: If you are looking for service for your AMG in Vancouver. The guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead, they're busy. Or check out the website Hundreds. Not exaggerating hundreds of videos on there. We've been doing this for nine years now. Hundreds of videos, all makes and models of cars, types of repairs. Check out the YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair, same thing. Thanks for watching and listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. And thank you Bernie. 

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

2018 Mercedes C43 AMG, Wheel Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. How many times is it Bernie? 

Bernie: It's 23 times 

Mark: 23 time winners. Oh my God. 23 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. I think we must be getting old because we can't even remember how many times it is now. 

Mark: Well, it just gets lost in the fog of, you know ... it's an honour and a privilege. My 1 brain cell. That's right. We're going to talk about a 2018 Mercedes C43 AMG. Little hot rod. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: So the owner called us, they had their car at the dealer. They had a leaking tire and Mercedes wanted to replace the wheel and they asked, Hey, do you guys have any, you have any options? It's a lot of money for this wheel. What can you do? And I said, absolutely, we can have the wheel repaired. So they towed the vehicle over and we proceeded to work on having the wheel repaired. 

Mark: So how does a wheel like this get, have an issue like this? 

Bernie: Well, it's very low profile tire on this car, and we're gonna look at pictures in a second. So with these low profile tires, the moment you hit a pothole, it's winter around Vancouver, the roads tend to get bad around this time of year, and it's easy to hit a pothole. And when you do that, the tire just doesn't have any room to compress like you would, if you had a much higher profile tire. So the wheel, you know, sometimes it'll wreck the tire. Other times it'll actually wreck the wheel, it'll crack the wheel because it'll actually hit the edge of the pothole. So this is what happened with this vehicle. It cracked the inside of the rim, not an uncommon issue. We see this on a lot of cars with low profile tires, and it's very repairable. 

Mark: So doesn't need to be replaced then, basically? 

Bernie: No it doesn't. Mercedes chose, I guess their only option on the menu is replacement, but for us and many other shops, and it's very general practice around the automotive industry, repairing wheels is big business. And just have a look at some pictures here. 

2018 Mercedes C43 AMG, Wheel Repair
2018 Mercedes C43 AMG, Wheel Repair
2018 Mercedes C43 AMG, Wheel Repair

So there's our C43. Again, you can see exceptionally low profile tire on this car, nice rim, a lot of money, $1,400 in Canada for this particular wheel. So it's not cheap. Yeah. Each yeah. Each yeah. There's inside of the wheel. And you can see a little, it's not the greatest picture, but you can see a little hairline crack and obviously when this vehicle hit the pothole or whatever happened, it crushed this tire up enough that that would actually hit something and crack the wheel. It's aluminum so it cracks. 

So the repair method is basically take the tire off the wheel. They weld it and they weld in a new metal and repair and it's a hundred percent bulletproof. I mean, the one thing I will say on the downside. If you happen to be looking at the inside of the wheel, you will see this repair, but you can't see it from the road and for the cost, which is about, you know, in the two to $250 range in Canada, it's a lot cheaper to fix than buying a new wheel. There's our picture show. 

Mark: So is the wheel, as good as new. 

Bernie: Yeah. I'd say it absolutely is as good as new other than, you know, this vehicle did a little bit of curb rashing on it. We didn't have that repaired at this point, but that is again, another thing that wheel repair shops can do. They can actually repair wheels that are chewed up by curbs, and they do a nice job. The wheels basically come out looking as good as brand new.

So in this case, the wheel did not look as good as new, but a function absolutely as good as brand new. And I mean, unless you hit another pothole and exactly the same spot that weld will hold really nicely. We've done this many times and we've come across many wheels that have been repaired and they'll work perfectly well.

Mark: So why would the dealer not offer repairing the wheel instead of just only wanting to sell them a new wheel? 

Bernie: Well, it could depend on the business model. I mean, ultimately the best repair job is to just replace the wheel with a brand new one. It's more profitable too, since they are in the business of selling parts. They make better money at it. And Mercedes you know, in my opinion, they do lots of great work, but they are a little less caring about people's wallets. They're selling the expensive cars. They don't care quite so much. It's like, well, if you don't want to do it our way, no problem. I've seen a lot of interesting repairs quoted from Mercedes that have been done in the aftermarket for fractions, like you know hundreds of the price of their quotes, because they just want to do the whole full meal deal. Yeah, I think it's partly their business model, partly, maybe some arrogance and partly some liability they're worried about. They just want to make everything perfect and right. You know, it's a high standards kind of car, so I can just kind of see where they come from and it's German, German engineering. So there's a culture around that, and I'm German. 

Mark: This is coming from an AMG owner himself. 

Bernie: Yeah, that's right. And my background is German too, so I can make fun of it kind of at least I hope. 

Mark: So how are these C43 AMGs for reliability? 

Bernie: Yeah, so far pretty good. I mean, this is a fairly new car. We haven't run into many issues with them and yeah, it's a nice car and certainly it goes like a rocket, it's like a little rocket sedan. It's pretty cool little vehicle. Good car so far. You know, give it a few more years and we'll see what some of the issues are. Again, it's a Mercedes there's more stuff that always goes wrong and a more complex car. So it'll cost you more than your average fancier Japanese car, I think to fix.

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Mercedes in Vancouver guys to see are Pawlik Automotive, or you going to crack in your wheel. Come and see them. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to call and book ahead. Check out the website There are literally hundreds of articles and videos on there. We've been doing this for over eight years now. Hundreds of types of cars and types of repairs of all makes and models of vehicles, light trucks. Check out the YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair. We appreciate you watching and leaving us a thumbs up. And of course, thank you for watching and listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

2012 Mercedes E63 AMG, Sway Bar Link Repair

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 23 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: So today's victim a 2012 Mercedes. One of your favourites, E63 AMG that had a sway bar link problem. What was going on with this car? 

Bernie: So the vehicle came to our shop with a few concerns, an inspection and we found that the sway bar end links were worn and causing a clunking sound in the vehicle when you hit bumps. 

Mark: So I'm assuming the clunking was from the sway bar links.

Bernie: Absolutely. Yes. I mean, it could be coming from lots of places and the sway bar links are probably the cheapest, easiest thing to fix on this vehicle. So fortunately for the customer, it was a fairly straightforward problem. 

Mark: So what is the sway bar link and what does it do?

Bernie: So the sway bar link. Why don't we just get into some pictures right now? And I can kind of explain what it does. So there's our car a nice little family hauler with, you know, over 500 horsepower twin turbo V8 engine. It's a lot of fun to drive this vehicle as you can well, imagine. 

So sway bar link. We'll just get right to the part. There is a picture. I apologize. It's a little fuzzy. 

2012 Mercedes E63 AMG, Sway Bar Link Repair
2012 Mercedes E63 AMG, Sway Bar Link Repair
2012 Mercedes E63 AMG, Sway Bar Link Repair
2012 Mercedes E63 AMG, Sway Bar Link Repair

This is looking up at the driver's side underneath, the wheel is over here on the left. This is the strut. This is the sway bar link here. Sway bar is this piece here and it goes across the frame.

So what it does is it keeps the vehicle stable. It reduces body roll. When you go around a corner fast that the vehicle body tends to roll in a certain direction and this,  just transfers some of that movement to the other side of the vehicle and keeps the vehicle more stable. So it's pretty critical for vehicle stability, I mean in the olden days, vehicles didn't have them. Almost every car that I can think of that's been built in the last while, has them, although I do have a Mercedes SL55 that has the active body control, which is a hydraulic suspension. It does not have sway bars because it controls the sway of the vehicle through the struts, it's so quick with hydraulic struts. It can adjust the body roll, you know, in microseconds with just a click of a solenoid and some fluid. 

But anyways, this vehicle is different, this is the bottom of the strut, by the way, it does have a variable suspension which is actuated by the struts. It's complicated. There's a lot of things on this vehicle that could be bad. But back to the sway bar, there's a ball and socket joint here that wears out and that's what causes the clunk in the sway bar end link. It's not just a Mercedes thing, like every car that has sway bars will develop clunks and clinks. Some of them are designed a little different, but this ball and socket joint type is very common on many vehicles, Mercedes obviously included. 

Let me just divert off a little bit, because I love AMGs. I mean, the neat thing about them is the engine. You got this handcrafted engine by, I think it's Errol Cork. And you know to me among the engines that we opened the hood on, these are nice looking engines. There's the top of the engine. Nice carbon fibre cover you know, the supercharged one, like the SL 55. It has a supercharger underneath, which you can see the top of, but they design these engines beautifully on most AMGs. There is one exception that I find it doesn't look that good. 

But here's the cover off. You can see there's a coolant reservoir, the ECU and a number of other components buried under here. So nice looking engine. As I say, the only one, I don't like the SL 65 has a V12 twin turbo. When they put this big plastic cover over the whole top, they kind of really cheaped out on that or never really kind of built it as well as they could.

Mark: Back to the sway bar links. What happens to sway bar links? So it's a ball and socket joint, it wears out. Basically what else can happen with that? 

Bernie: Well, once it clunks, it gets to be kind of irritating. Now you think, well, so it's irritating do I really need to fix it? And the answer, you know, like sometimes they will actually wear up to the point where they pop apart and I've never seen a problem with that, but what does worry me is it could happen that it pops apart in such a way that the bar comes out and say pokes the side of your tire and blows your tire apart.

That's to me probably the worst case scenario that could happen. Never seen it happen, never heard of it happening, but it's absolutely something that could happen. So that's why you want to replace them when they start clunking and banging. But the other components of the sway bar system, like on this car it's pretty simple. It's just a steel bar that connects from one side to the other with the links. There's some rubber bushings that attach that to the frame of the vehicle, those wear out. And they can cause a kind of thudding and thumping noise too. So those need replacement from time to time as well.

Mark: So I'm thinking if that comes apart, that's not a good thing, but you mentioned there's other components that need replacement. How often does this kind of stuff wear out on vehicles? 

Bernie: They actually wear out fairly frequently. You know, it's a repair we do quite a lot in our shop and it's not just Mercedes it's, you know, any make and model of car they tend to wear out.

So I mean, this vehicle has under a hundred thousand kilometres. It's you know, eight, nine years old at this point in time. So they're worn out. So that's kind of gives you an idea of lifespan. I think you're lucky to get about a hundred thousand Ks out of a set of sway bar links. They do tend to wear out, but it's not a very labour intensive process to replace them and they're not overly expensive on most cars. I will mention that there are some systems of sway bars that are more complicated. 

Certain manufacturers have them like a Range Rover comes to mind where they can actually disconnect the sway bar. There's a disadvantage to having a sway bar. And that is when you want your wheels to really move independently from one another, the sway bar kind of keeps the wheels, like the front wheels connected, or the rear wheels connects to a certain degree. If you have a vehicle like an off-road vehicle, like a Range Rover, you might want to actually have that wheel be able to, if you have a big deep pothole or something, or you're going over a rock. You might want to have that extra traveling suspension not affecting the other side of the vehicle. So they actually have a sway bar that will disconnect. And that adds a lot of expense.

I'm sure we've got a podcast about that system because we've repaired them and replaced them. And they're not a cheap repair, but on this Mercedes, fortunately this one's just a straight bar. Pretty simple. 

Mark: So this is an awfully cool car for a shooting brake or a station wagon. How are they for reliability?  

Bernie: Pretty good. You know, it's a pretty good car. I mean they do have some issues but it is a Mercedes. It's an AMG. It's complicated. There's a lot of extra components and pieces. I mean, twin turbochargers, there are some engine issues, which we could talk about at another time, but I mean, generally they're pretty reliable, but there's a lot of very expensive things that can go wrong on them.

So you know, if you buy one, just be prepared that you're going to be spending way more money on maintenance on this car than you would on on your average vehicle or a lesser model Mercedes for that matter. 

Mark: And probably a lot more on fuel, on tires and on brakes because 520 or 50 horsepower is tempting.

Bernie: It is absolutely. And I haven't priced the brakes out on this particular model. It doesn't look like it's got the fanciest of AMG brake packages. Some of them have very, very expensive brake systems and some have good brake systems, but they're not as expensive as others. They're more reasonably priced, but yeah, like you said, these are all like premium fuel vehicles. You know, they're not the best gas mileage, but you know being that is a twin turbo, if you're out in the highway and you're just cruising, you will get pretty good fuel economy for the kind of vehicle that it is. But around the city it's not comparable to Prius or we'll compare it to a Lexus hybrid, since it's in a class above a Prius. 

Mark: So you're looking for service for your Mercedes AMG product or any Mercedes or any European or any Japanese or any American product or light truck. The guys to call 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 Hundreds of videos on there. All makes models, types of repairs. YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, same story, hundreds. We've been doing this for eight years. So we've got a lot of product on there. Thanks so much for watching. We really appreciate it. If you like what we're laying down, give us a like. Bernie, thank you. 

Thank you, Mark. And thank you for watching. We totally appreciate it.

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