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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 pawlikautomotive.com. 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 pawlikautomotive.com. 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 pawlikautomotive.com. 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 pawlikautomotive.com. 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 pawlikautomotive.com. 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.

2009 Mercedes GL320, DPF Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. Why? Because 22 times they've been voted Best Auto Repair in Vancouver by their customers. We're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well.

Mark: So 2009, Mercedes GL 320, there was a DPF replacement. What's a DPF?

Bernie: A diesel particulate filter. And what that does, we can just cut right into that. It basically, traps those nasty black particles that come out of diesels. And it stores them, burns them off and sends them out into the air fresh and clean, which is why you can stand you know, by the tailpipe of one of these diesels and not feel like you're about to die like you would with the older ones. A lot of people remove them. We won't get into the politics of that. I like having DPR's because I like clean air. You know, we do the best we can with our fossil fuels for the time being. So this is one of those things that makes it happen, but it's an added expense on a diesel, you know, and things do go wrong with it over time.

Mark: So what were the indications that there was a problem with this? 

Bernie: So the vehicle came to our shop, the owner had a couple of concerns. He was actually having add a fair bit of oil to this engine. So this is the three litre Mercedes diesel, having to add a little more oil in than he figured he should have. And, also the check engine light was on. A bit of a lack of power too. So next step testing, of course, we found there's a code for a high soot content in the DPF, diesel particulate filter. And also doing some visual inspections on the vehicle, looking around, we figured that the PCV system was probably part of the reason it was using too much oil.

Also, the high exhaust back pressure can cause some issues with oil consumption as well. So a partially plugged DPF could do such a thing. So, you know, when the soot content this high, it's not flowing as well as it should. So for repairs, we ended up replacing the PCV system and we opted to do a cleaning on the DPF. There's a few options with DPF's. You can either just flat out replace it, which is the most expensive option. And there's a couple of different cleaning options. So we have a chemical cleaning process that we do in our shop. That's what we did on the vehicle. 

Mark: So what's involved in cleaning, using this chemical system?

Bernie: Yeah. So the cleaning process is basically a two part chemical process. There's a sensor we remove right in front of the DPF. I'll show a picture in a minute, we remove the sensor. There's a little tiny little wand that sprays a chemical in, and then, we leave that in for a little bit and then spray a second chemical, then you run it and that, cleans it out.

Not always a hundred percent effective, but that is the way we do it. So let me just, share some pictures here. So this is the DPF.

2009 Mercedes GL320, DPF Replacement

So, I guess, you know, by seeing it lying on the ground, kind of leaves the conclusion, we actually ended up replacing it on this vehicle in the end.

We'll we'll talk about that, but this is what the DPF looks like in this diesel. So as we look further forward on the exhaust, the catalytic converter attaches in this area here, and then from the catalytic converter is basically the down pipe from the turbocharger. So in this area here, and actually I've got a closer up shot.

I'll we'll look at that. This is just kind of gives you an idea of the whole length of the pipe. This connects to the mufflers and the tailpipes. There's a closeup of the unit. 

2009 Mercedes GL320, DPF Replacement

This is where we spray the cleaner in, right in this area here. So there's a sensor that we remove and we're able to spray, and there's like a honeycomb web of, I don't know exactly all the details of what's inside of it but basically that's where the cleaner kind of goes to work and, softens the particulates and helps burn it out quicker.

 In this area here is where the diesel exhaust fluid is injected into the exhaust system. So, again, we'll talk about that on another podcast, another time, cause I'm sure we'll have problems and issues with that, but that's where that diesel exhaust fluid ends up being sprayed into the system right in that area there. 

Mark: That's the blue part of this.

Bernie: Yeah the add blue fluid. Sometimes called a diesel exhaust fluid add blue. So that's part of the process. And, you know, Volkswagen, you know, the diesel-gate Volkswagen, they decided they didn't want to put that add blue system in because it's, it adds a bunch of extra money.

And so they fudged their numbers saying their diesels could be just as clean, but if you have this and this, it makes it really clean. Just cost more money, more stuff to add on.

Mark: So you mentioned that they're not the cleaning procedures, aren't a hundred percent effective. How successful generally are there?

Bernie: We find that, you know, in our shop, it's kind of a 50-50 type of thing. So this vehicle to do a little history. So it was a couple of weeks previous to this week that we, you know, did the work and, the check engine light did come back on. The oil consumption had dropped, which he was happy about from the PCV and POS cleaning may have helped, but mostly the PCV, I think. Oil consumption had dropped a fair bit, which is good. But basically his check engine light did come back on with a high soot load in the DPF. So we weren't successful with this one. We've done other vehicles where it does work well, it's just, you just don't know until you do it, but it's a fraction of the cost to do a cleaning. And I think worthwhile doing before you change the filter because the filter is a very expensive item to replace.

Now, there are other methods of cleaning as well. There are companies that will actually take these things. They'll bake them very high temperatures and blow them out. We haven't had a lot of success with them. We've had it done on a few, like Mercedes before, it hasn't worked. So we don't really normally we recommend it.

And a lot of these companies do that, they're really targeted more for large trucks, tractor trailer, semis, and that kind of thing, which actually works quite well. I'm not sure on, you know, sort of, your American light truck diesels, how well they work. We haven't run into too many issues with those yet, but definitely works well with big trucks.

So it's really, at this point we gave the client the option. Look, you know, we could have it baked. It probably won't work, or you know, let's replace it. It'll work better. And so he did it. 

Mark: So first, I guess what's the typical lifespan of a DPF? 

Bernie: You know, it's hard to know, and it really depends on the kind of driving you do. So this is a 2009, it's got about 154,000 kilometres on the vehicle, which is not a lot for a vehicle of that age. So what that tells me is this vehicle has probably been mostly city driven, short trips, and that's definitely much harder on a DPF than it would be had this person done nothing but highway driving. So how you drive it. Makes a big difference. And if you have a diesel, it's always important to make sure it gets warm. And you do at least some long trips. Ideally, if you just scooting around town a little bit, see if you can get up for highway drive on a Sunday, or, you know, whatever make some excuse to go for a highway drive.

I know it seems kind of wasteful, but it's really much better for the engine to get it good and hot. And you know, warms the engine up, cleans the exhaust system out, get out for a good burn down the highway. And that way it'll burn the particles out. So it may well be that the person never did this. That's kind of like the best thing you can do for that sort of thing. But I mean the average life kind of hard to say, it really depends on usage. 

Mark: Yeah so buy a diesel for its intended use, not driving around in the city, stop and go driving is the worst thing for a diesel. 

Bernie: It is the worst thing for sure. And people often buy these, you know, before you buy diesel, you need to know what are you buying it for and how are you going to use it? You know, if you're just driving five miles to work and back every day, don't buy diesel.

Mark: Get a bike.

Bernie:  Get a bike, absolutely. Yeah a bike or you know, something but just don't just, don't buy a diesel cause it won't work for that. But if you do happen to do that every day, and then you're heading off, out of the city every weekend, then it could work. But it really depends on your usage, but often with a car type or very light duty diesel like this, people buy them for the wrong reasons or they get sold on the idea. Oh, it's got great fuel economy. And the truth is it does, but the repairs are very expensive. So I think you need to be able to justify the repairs.

Mark: So, how did the vehicle work after you replaced the DPF? 

Bernie: It was awesome. So, you know, definitely felt more powerful, the check engine light remained off and we can look at data on the computer and it will actually tell what the soot  load is of the DPF and it was at zero so, which it should be since it's brand new, but it was, you know, all reset. Everything was good. So, so yeah, worked great.

Mark: So maximizing the life of your DPF is basically get out and drive up to the Caribou and back once in a while.

Bernie: Oh yeah, that'd be really good, but you don't even have to go that far. I mean, we live in Vancouver. If you drove from Vancouver to White Rock, I don't know, go out and have some dinner in White Rock once a week or something like that. 

Mark: And don't spare the horses. 

Bernie: That's right. Yeah, exactly.

Mark:  So there you go. If you need some service for your Mercedes diesel and you want experts who will give you the straight goods and fix it for you in the most economical way possible, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment in Vancouver, BC, Canada. You have to call ahead because they're busy and they're always booked. So you got to book ahead and if that's not working for you, you can check out our YouTube channel. Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds, not exaggerating hundreds of videos on there for the last eight years. We've been talking about the repairs of many, many vehicles, all makes and models, all kinds of repairs. Or the website pawlikautomotive.com. We appreciate your watching the videos and appreciate you listened to the podcast. Leave us a review if you like what we're doing, even if I'm stumbling all over my words. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Appreciate you watching.

2011 Mercedes E350, Electrical Issues

Mark: Hi. Good morning it's Mark from Top Local. I'm 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 of course, we're talking cars. How are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2011 Mercedes E350, which was towed in with some electrical issues. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah this car had some interesting stuff going on. So, first off, the problem is intermittent, which always adds for some fun, but to bring the car into the shop and it wouldn't shift out a park. Some of the things we noted, we could start the vehicle, but you would have to use the key, not the push button start. The instrument panels all lit up with a bunch of warning lights. And the other thing we noticed is the power seat wouldn't operate along with the tilt features of the steering column. So that's just some of what we found. 

Mark: So, where did you start? 

Bernie: Well of course verifying the concern is the first thing. Second plugged in a scan tool, retrieved all stored trouble codes and there was a lot of them. We'll look at a picture shortly and I'll show you what was going on. But the first thing to do is just clear the codes and after doing that, we were able to actually shift the vehicle, move it around and do a few further tests. 

Mark: What did you do next? 

Bernie: What do we do next? So as I said, we did a few tests and nothing really, you know, we moved the tilt column pieces around, nothing seemed to happen there. The seats. Some of the areas where we thought the fault might be, nothing seemed to happen. So really the next step was actually to take it out for a very long road test until the problem reoccurred, as mentioned, it was intermittent. It had been going on for a little while for the owner. So that's what we did. 

Mark: How long did it take for the problem to reoccur? 

Bernie: Well, quite a long time. Our service advisor, Scotty took it out for a very long drive, I think out to Chilliwack over a weekend, nothing happened. And then a Monday night when he was driving home, pulling into his underground parking lot, all the lights came on and everything kind of shut down. So that's how long it took. So this is the kind of thing we're faced with sometimes, you know, is the long drive. I mean, we had a good conversation with the owner and said, look, you know, I want this fixed. It's my daughter's car. You know, it can't go like this. And rightly so, because of course, once it shuts down, it's completely useless.

So, that's how long it took for the issue to reoccur. From there, the next point was to rescan the vehicle computer because we previously cleared all the codes and see what had occurred. And again, it was a similar set of codes. Most of them seem to be errors with the can bus system or communication. The way these vehicles work, they have a, it's called CAN bus, it's a controller area network. And there's two wires that basically connect most of the computer some of them use different bus systems, but, the CAN is used throughout most of the vehicle, various modules will talk to each other and they'll communicate.

And if something goes wrong with that communication system, it causes all these kinds of errors. Like all of a sudden it won't shift because it hasn't got the right signal from one place or another. But interesting thing with the canned buses, it can be something that happened was in the front of the vehicle. It shuts the whole system down, something in the back, something in the middle, a module. There's hundreds of things and it doesn't necessarily tell you where it is. People think, Oh yeah, we just plug it in and away it goes. Well, the plugin is a direction, but it's not an actual solution. So that's kind of where we went. 

Mark: So that all seems pretty complicated. And I know there are many miles of wires in any vehicles, modern vehicles, especially where do you start? 

Bernie: Where do we start? So, one advantage we have with the scan tool we use, there's technical support that we're able to get. So we send a file off to the company. They have some experts who look at it and it's a great help for us to try to pinpoint a direction, based on their expertise. So from that, you know, the idea is either you rip up the carpet and the seats and inspect all the wiring under the vehicle because perhaps there was a flood of some sort. A bad connection somewhere. Or the other area maybe around the front of the vehicle, it could have been some damage and one of the sensors may cause the whole system to go down. So after doing a visual inspection, of course, that's a lot of area to take apart. Hours and hours of labor to look at something that, you know, we may not find anything.

We decided to take the front bumper off and look at it, which is not a small job, but we'd noted that it seemed like there's been some body repairs and of course, bad bodywork or repairs can be a good start of the problem. 

So I'm going to start with some pictures right now and there's our car.

2011 Mercedes E350, Electrical Issues
2011 Mercedes E350, Electrical Issues
2011 Mercedes E350, Electrical Issues
2011 Mercedes E350, Electrical Issues
2011 Mercedes E350, Electrical Issues
2011 Mercedes E350, Electrical Issues

So wait, when we pulled the front, there's a fender cover on the driver's side, we found this clamp holding the bumper together. She's not a good sign. This is a sign of either someone forgot to take it off or some kind of crappy bodywork where they weren't quite able to put everything, you know, put it together with the proper fastener.

So we figured, Hey, you know, inspecting the front bumper is probably a good thing cause who knows what else has been done? So, we took the bumper off. The headlights. We did a number of tests, and what we found out of all of it, even though some of the wiring wasn't quite rooted properly. There wasn't really a problem in the front, everything actually ended up being okay in the front of the car.

So a lot of the process that, you know, doing this stuff is verifying what works and what doesn’t. We'd found that was good, but it was a good place to start. Moving further on, actually I'll just go through some pictures here of the various, module fault s. These are screen captures from our scan tool.

So when the fault happened, these are the different modules. Distronic, central gateway, engine electronics. You can see a lot of the looking at everything. I mean, the whole idea here, you can see that there's a number of modules here, but a lot of them communication. CAN communication, CAN signal, like a lot of it all points to the communication system in the vehicle of an error, but just so you can see the full gamut of it.

There's page one, there's page two. Again not all of them, you know, having CAN codes, but here's an interesting one too. The steering control module is a malfunction, current and stored. So this again could have been the area where it was, and that was actually the second area we started looking for problems again, here's page three.

So a lot of faults, a lot of errors, and all again, you know, communication. So what we found eventually, through moving the steering column back and forth and looking at a lot of those messages that we found, these wires chafed and inside here it's not the best picture I could have taken, but inside here, one of the wires here was actually rubbing against the steering column. There's two wires for the CAN system. One of them was a CAN wire and, that's where our problem was.

  Mark: That's inside the vehicle.

Bernie: That's inside the vehicle. That's with the steering column covers removed. This vehicle has power tilt and telescope steering and, you know, these wires here go to that steering module, which remember there was a code there that said stored in current. That was basically where we ended up finding the problem.

Mark: Was that just a lucky find or was that more like an educated guess basically. 

Bernie: It was educated based on the code we had, plus the tests we'd done in the beginning. So again, you know, had we gone to this first, maybe it would have saved some time for sure. But based on some of the body condition we found and some of the information we'd received starting with the front, seemed to be the best thing to do.

I've found over the years that bad bodywork can often cause a lot of problems, that's usually the best place to start. So having verified that, then we knew, okay, it's not there. Let's move on to something else. And it just so happened to that while Kevin was working on it, it was moving things around that the fault actually occurred.

So this vehicle, you know, when you get out of it, it moves the steering wheel out of the way. So, you know, it provides easy exit and entry features. So of course it's moving all the time. And what was likely happening is most of the time the wire wasn't touching, but the odd time you get into the car and then the steering column would move into place, short the CAN system out and everything would happen. Then another time you go to start it, it wasn't doing that and, everything would work fine. So that's what we found. After many hours. 

Mark: Yeah. So how did you repair it? 

Bernie: We basically took the wiring harness apart. We soldered in new wires to replace the old ones. Made sure we've protected it really well so it wouldn't short or move, you know, get damaged again in the future. 

So why, it seems like a bad design. Why was this an issue that this would occur in this car? It's not old. 

No, it's true. It's hard to say for sure. But Kevin had the impression that someone had been in there to maybe add an accessory or something to the wiring, in the steering column. That may or may not have been the case, but something seemed a little amiss. So it might be that someone, you know, someone had been in there doing something in the past and did not, you know, clip the wire in the right spot or it's just, it could have been bad from the factory and it does happen from time to time.

I mean, most manufacturers do take the time to try to make sure wires are routed properly, but you know, over time, you know, the vehicle gets tested and they can't test everything. So, you know, sometimes, you know, you find out 10 years later. Oh, that wasn't such a good idea or, you know, we're repairing it.

Mark: Yeah. So how often do you run into these wiring problems with Mercedes. 

Bernie: Not very often, fortunately, because, you know, as you can see by the way codes and all those modules, there's an awful lot of complexity to these vehicles. So fortunately we don't run into it too often, but it does happen. And I say, fortunately for us, cause it's time consuming to repair and for the customer, it can be very expensive.

There's no way of knowing when you start out, just what sort of, you know, final repair bill you're going to get because it's just basically time to look through everything and sort through it all and find the problem. But a variety of vehicles, we find wiring issues over the years, but it's not one of the highest amount number of jobs we do.

Mark: So the question on everybody's mind of course, is what did you do about the clamp? 

Bernie: What do we do about the clamp? You know, I'll have to ask Kevin about it. I believe we were able to remove it or re-bolt the bumper back together and it all stayed, it worked fine. 

Mark: Almost like a backyard job, maybe.

Bernie: Well, maybe. You know, and when we're, you know, a little ways into the process, like a couple hours in, and I thought, Hey, did we actually see if the vehicle had a rebuilt status on the insurance? And of course it didn't, it was actually. Bought from a reputable car dealer who would never sell a rebuilt vehicle, but that's again, you know, when you have a vehicle was rebuilt status, this is why if you watch our podcasts, you'll hear me often say, don't buy a vehicle with rebuilt status.

Those are the kind of things you can expect to find. Things like bad hoses, bad clamp up jobs and stuff like that. So, I mean, who knows how it was repaired? You know, unfortunately, even a reputable dealer doesn't always know the exact history of everything. 

Mark: And this could have happened after the car was purchased as well.

Bernie: Yeah. And the good news is from what we did taking the bumper apart, we made sure all the wiring was routed properly. There was no issues with anything in the front of the vehicle. So, if you've got the added bonus of, you know, making sure that that stuff is all in good shape and repaired properly.

Mark: If you need some service for your Mercedes 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 always busy.  Or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of videos and articles on there on all makes and models of cars, all types of repairs from fancy luxury cars to your basic runabout, to diesel pickup trucks. All of them are all in there. Almost eight years worth of like literally hundreds, guys hundreds. 

Bernie: We've got electric cars and hybrids in there too. 

Mark: Yeah. I forgot that mentioned those. Or you check out the YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair, everything's on there as well. And thanks for 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.

2008 Mercedes Sprinter, Rear Axle Bearing

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

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So 2008 Mercedes Sprinter that had a rear axle bearing problem. What was going on with this van? 

Bernie: Well, when the vehicle was brought in for some service and, driving the vehicle down the road, there was an exceptionally loud noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. Doing a little diagnosis and testing. We pretty quickly determined it was the right rear axle bearing that was making the noise. Extremely loud.

Mark: So what was involved in replacing this axle bearing? 

Bernie: Yeah. So this is interesting on Mercedes, actually replacing this axle bearing, there's a few ways just to kind of go over. It's a solid rear differential. So, usually, you can either remove the axle shaft by one of a couple of ways. You normally press the bearing on and off the axle shaft.

But this is kind of unique on this Mercedes, or different. The axle is replaced as a complete assembly. You can't buy a separate bearing or hub for this vehicle. You have to buy the whole axle shaft. I wanna just get into some pictures right now. 

Mark: So why did they do that way?

Bernie: I don't really know for sure why they chose to do it that way, but we'll just go over a couple of pictures here.

2008 Mercedes Sprinter, Rear Axle Bearing
2008 Mercedes Sprinter, Rear Axle Bearing
2008 Mercedes Sprinter, Rear Axle Bearing

So here's the axle removed from the vehicle. Now you can see this part here, these splines, this is what slips into the gears and the differential, and it basically drives the axle and the axle bearing, the part that was worn out and making noise sits out here.

Now I have another picture here that illustrates this a little better. So that's the general look. If you look at this close up, you can see this shaft is extremely fat and it goes skinny down here. And now normally, for these type of bearing, a lot of axle bearings, you can press this part off the vehicle. It's often a fair bit of work, but with a hydraulic press, you can press the bearing off. But interestingly enough, there's no way you could do that on this bearing because the axle shaft is actually larger than the bearing shaft diameter. So they've made it smaller at the outer end. 

And as a final picture, you know, there is a possibility I didn't remove this cap because there's no sense because you can't buy the bearing separately anyways, in the aftermarket or from Mercedes but likely if you pulled this cap out, there might be a big bolt in there that you could actually unbolt the actual shaft from the bearing and hub assembly and, change it from there. So that's our little picture show. 

Mark: So is that a unique design? 

Bernie: Well, this is unique. To have to replace the whole axle, this is the only vehicle I've run across where have to replace a whole axle, just to get the bearing. But this design of that little cup I showed at the end with the bolt, a lot of Jeeps, have a design where you can actually change that hub and bearing, I'll go back to the pictures again.

You can change the hub and bearing like you can actually, this part will actually pull off the actual there's a little bolt in the middle, kind of similar to this. I, what I imagine is, and the actual shaft will slide off of that hub and bearing so on a lot of Jeep models, but I think some Dodge pickups as well, you can have this, you can replace this separately.

Why Mercedes didn't do it? I don't know. You know, just how, how, how they roll. So, how about the longevity of this? Does this part fail fairly often on sprinter van? No, they, they last a long time. We work in a lot of sprinters. This is the first one we've changed, you know, obviously not, No, not a foolproof item, but they do tend to last a long time.

So, as you can imagine, replacing a whole axle and bearing is probably pretty expensive and it is, it's only seems to be only available from Mercedes. We weren't able to find it after market. A solution, but, we did get a used one for the customer, which has about half the price of the new one. And it actually worked really well.

We can, you can easily test the bearing beforehand by rotating it. And, it, it's pretty obvious. I'll actually, I have one more thing to share here, and that is, that is a video of, of this bearing hair. So just bear with me a second and I'll, I'll, screen-share the, the, Share this video. So just, if you listen, you should be able to hear the sound of this bearing as I spin it,

be able to hear that barely. We'll see if we can crank the volume of that up in the, in the, After post production process. But anyways, that, that is a sound of an exceptionally badly worn bearing. So they used replacement part. We had, first of all, it wasn't nearly as rusty as this. And second of all, even when you turn it, you can, you can, it takes a fair bit of force to act by hand to actually rotate it and turn it.

So, you know, it's, it's obvious when it, when it's working properly.

So. this is just the shaft to act. So this is not changing the differential though, right? No, no. The rest of the differential is all inside. you know, it's further in, there's a lot more work involved, to do that. So, I mean, on, on one note, you know, actual labor portion of this job is not too difficult because you can just pull the axle out.

You don't have to press the bearing on and off, which is typical of this kind of design. And that can be time consuming and expensive as well. So, it's kind of like a, almost a plug and play operation, but, there are other factors as well, just to put in there that the a there's an abs wheel speed sensor that has to be removed.

In order to change this, this bearing, and those will seize in there frequently. This one actually good. This one actually did season the bore and needed to be replaced as well. So, you know, sometimes you'll get lucky and you'll be able to pull it out, but other times it, it won't come out and you'll have to replace that part too.

So that's just another added, part to it. And how often does one axle bearing goal mean that you've got to change both of them? You know, these are the kind of thing where they're completely independent parts. So if one's warned, we don't normally just change the other side. Just change it as you go, say the same with a lot of, you know, hub and wheel bearing assembly that you find in it.

I say modern cars. I mean, they've been around for decades now, but usually, usually if one's worn, it doesn't mean the other, no, one's going to be worn out. Sometimes you can change one. and the other ones won't wear out for another 10 years. So, it's just basically just replace it one at a time.

There's no, no cost savings whatsoever to change. both of them. And you work on a lot of sprinters, as you mentioned, how are they for reliability? They're pretty good. You know, we've talked a lot about them. There's other podcasts. I mean, it's got the three leader, a lot of them have the three liter Mercedes diesel.

It has a, you know, a number of issues we, that I won't get into now, but they're, they do, they do have their issues. but overall they're, they're a good van and they they're very popular because of the size and the, the dimensions, no breaks, breaks do wear out on them over time, but they're, you know, not, Not abnormally fast.

but generally speaking, they're a good, reliable van. You, you pay a lot of money for them, but they're, you know, they're very useful for what they do for the size and what you can pack into them. Plus they're economical to run with, you know, with the, with the diesel, even though there are problems and issues, you know, they certainly get incredibly good fuel economy.

So if you have a Sprinter in Vancouver or any kind of Mercedes product, or even the Dodge version of that, you can call Pawlik Automotive and get them to service those vehicles. They're experts in it. (604) 367-7112 to book your appointment, you got to call and book ahead. They're always busy.

Check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com hundreds, seriously, hundreds and hundreds of videos and podcasts and articles on all makes and models of repairs, types of repairs. Pawlik Auto Repair is the YouTube channel. You can check out our videos, that are again, seven years worth of doing this every week. Lots of them. 

And of course, thanks so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Leave us a review wherever you're picking up your podcasts. And thank you, Bernie. 

Thank you, Mark. And thanks for watching.

2008 Mercedes ML350 ABS Sensor Repair

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

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So a 2008 ML350 that had an ABS problem warning light. What was going on with this SUV? 

Bernie: Yeah. So this vehicle was brought to us. It had a number of lights on, on the dash. Primarily the ABS light was the biggest concern. He'd actually taken it to another shop to have it scanned and diagnosed and repaired. But they, well, we can talk about this one later, but to make a long story short, it was at our shop too to be looked at. So we scanned the vehicle and found some interesting stuff. 

Mark: So, is there any other diagnosis that you had to do after scanning it? 

Bernie: We did. For sure. So, part of the procedure of course is to, with any diagnostic is to road test the vehicle. We did that the vehicle drove fine. You know, the thing about ABS lights to know is that when usually when an ABS warning comes on, it doesn't usually affect your braking system, because your base breaking system works as normal. It's just the ABS features, you know, that sort of antilock feel. If you've ever pressed the pedal hard and it, you feel the pedal vibrate, that will be shut off. In the features of antilock braking, which, you know, prevent the wheels from skidding, won't happen.

So you've got your basic brakes, but anyways vehicle drove fine. We found quite a few trouble codes starting the vehicle, but all of them pointed to the left rear wheel speed sensor. And there was all sorts of different descriptions for the codes. Mercedes are very detailed in a lot of their code descriptions and tests that they do on these things.

So there was even one that said perform visual inspection on censor, which I thought was kind of an interesting code description. So clearly we knew where the area of the problem was. And so our next step of our tests and unfortunately I have a video I really wanted to show. Maybe we'll maybe we'll be able to put it in with the with the final podcast, but it's not here available today, but we were able to look at each wheel speed sensor when we drive the car and compare how each centre’s operating.

So the interesting thing I noticed right away, so it has, you know, each wheel speed sensor and you would expect as you're driving down the road to have a reading of it. You're going like five kilometres an hour, five miles an hour. However it is. And they should all be relatively the same. Well, the interesting thing was as I went to that screen with the vehicle sitting in park and the engine running, you can see the left rear wheel speed sensor was, every wheel speed sensor said 0.7 of mile per hour. For some reason, I guess that's the default number when you're not moving. The left  wheel speed sensor would start reading 3, 4, 10 miles an hour without the vehicle even moving. So clearly we knew there was a problem in that area of the computer or the sensor.

Mark: So you've found the bad sensor. Do you just change a sensor or are there any more tests that you do after that? 

Bernie: You know, there's always different ways to deal with diagnostics. I'm going to actually go to a screen share here we'll just look at a few pictures while we're talking here. 

There's the vehicle 08 gasoline powered pictures. There's a new and old wheel speed sensor. You can tell it's the old one, because there's a bit of rust and corrosion, which we frequently find. And wheel speed sensors can often be problematic to remove cause they rust and corrosion in place.

2008 Mercedes ML350 ABS Sensor Repair
2008 Mercedes ML350 ABS Sensor Repair
2008 Mercedes ML350 ABS Sensor Repair

Fortunately, this one was not too difficult to remove and this is the actual speed sensor located bolted up in the wheel hub in the rear. There's the wire. So no, we don't just change the sensor. I mean, sometimes depending on what tests need to be done and depending on the price of the parts, sometimes we'll make the decision with the client. Let's change that piece first. In the case of this, we were able to do some testing on the wiring, resistance tests, and wiggle testing the wiring, and found that we when we would actually be under the vehicle, looking at the scan to a wiggling the wire, you can see the numbers jump around back and forth and normal and resistance test found the sensor was defective.

So there are other things that could have been. You know, there's a wire that runs from the rear of the vehicle to the front. Sometimes those are problematic. Not very often. The computer itself can be bad too. And we found that in other vehicles. So just jumping to the conclusion of let's just change the sensor can often lead to a, without a proper dialogue with the client can often lead to some dissatisfaction. Let's put it that way. 

Mark: So, how was it all after replacement? 

Bernie: Yeah it was good. Yeah. You know, right away the readings were normal. Everything read 0.7, when you're sitting there, no fluctuations are moving around. And once we drive it down the road, the vehicle ran you know, all the numbers were fine. All the warning lights went out. We cleared all the codes, nothing returned. So all good. 

Mark: So the ABS sensor on this at 2008, so it's a 12 year old vehicle. Would it make sense to change any of the other ones or do you wait for them to go bad?

Bernie: We wait for those to go bad. So I think with wheel speed sensors, they're usually replaced as needed type of thing. They do tend to fail kind of on their own. It isn't like if one fails, the rest of them are gonna fail shortly after. And there's really no, other than diagnostically, there's really no advantage to changing the other ones because it's all a separate labor item to replace. It's on a different corner of the car. So there's no labor savings in doing them. And I've found in the past, if you change one, sometimes you won't have a problem for a long time with the others. Good question though. 

Mark: So this is a gasoline powered ML350, how's it for reliability, especially compared to the diesels, which we know have a little bit of issues.

Bernie: Yeah. If you want to know about the diesels, of course, we have a many podcasts. I don't know how many, but there's gotta be 10 or 20 on diesel Mercedes, maybe even more. We do a lot of them. There are a lot of issues with the diesel engines, which don't happen with the gasoline engine. So you know, the rest of the vehicle like these ABS sensors are the kind of issue that'll happen on a gas or diesel. Suspension issues happen as well. But I'd say overall, a gasoline vehicle is definitely more reliable than a diesel, with the less expensive problems going wrong. So of course, your fuel, your price to drive it down the road is more expensive because of the fuel, but the diesel is very economical, but when it comes to repairs, the diesel will cost a lot more.

Mark: So there you go. If you're in Vancouver, BC, Canada, the place to go to get your Mercedes fixed is Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112. Website is pawlikautomotive.com. The YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on all makes and models and types of repairs on both of those places. As well, thanks for watching. We really appreciate it. Leave us a review if you're so inclined, and thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching. We really do appreciate it. It's a pleasure to do this.

A Tale of Two AMGs

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local 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. Now we're talking AMGs, how are you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing well? 

Mark: So a tale of two AMGs. What was happening with these two Mercedes high-performance vehicles?

Bernie: So the first car we'll talk about the C63 came our shop for some service. I found something interesting about this car. I actually own a SL55, a bit older and, there was a commonality between these two cars, not just that they're AMGs that I thought was, this is kind of neat. Lets let's do a podcast and talk about AMG vehicles.

So the C63 came to our shop with a few issues. The owner suspected that perhaps he had a head gasket leak because his coolant was down. The engine was running rough. Fortunately for him, we never found any of those issues. And I think he may have been a little, I don't know, maybe read some stuff on the internet or got a little, jumped the gun anyway.

There are some other issues with that C63 that we found, but I think that the base engine itself is probably in pretty good shape. 

Mark: So your car is about 17 years old, 180,000 kilometres or so I think. Yeah. So what's the difference? What was the commonality between these two vehicles? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the commonality is that these engines, so AMG engines are hand-built in a very fancy factory. I might add. There are a lot of really cool videos you can watch them on how they build these. I've watched one myself. It's pretty neat. So it's not like some guy in a dusty shop putting an engine together. This is like a, you know, building an engine in a laboratory, but the AMG engines are all hand assembled.

And on top of the engine, they have a little tag that has the name of the engine builder. So what I noted is that the engine builder for these two cars was the same. These engines was the same guy. Ricardo Beck. So if you actually get a chance to watch this podcast here, your engines are still performing well out there. 17 years later on an SL55 with 180,000 kilometres. Still runs like a dream. So good work, Ricardo.

Let's look at a couple of pictures while we're at it. So this is a 2003.  These cars look kind of the same for quite a few model years. 

A Tale of Two AMGs
A Tale of Two AMGs
A Tale of Two AMGs
A Tale of Two AMGs

And the other vehicle we have in our story here, this is a 2009 C63 AMG as well. You know, quite different cars, I mean the SL55 of course is a hard top convertible Roadster. This is basically a four door base model sedan, but with the large 6.2 litre engine in it.

So, let's get into looking at some pictures of engines. So this is the engine in the C63. And you can see the name tag right here, Ricardo Beck. And this is a 6.2 litre naturally aspirated V8 engine. And this is Ricardo's older work the SL55, 5.4 litre supercharged V8.

Mark: So what's different about these two engines other than the size? 

Bernie: Yeah. So the displacement is different, obviously. So we'll let's talk about the 5.4 litre the, in the SL55. So this is supercharged V8 5.4 litres. It's an overhead cam engine, three valves per cylinder, two spark plugs per cylinder. Interesting. It's just kind of technology of the day, and non variable valve timing. Whereas if we look at the, we'll just get into the six point, this is a 6.2 litre naturally aspirated. 

So the other engine we'll look at it in a second.

This is the intake manifold, the air filters sit here and a lot of that is done for visual. I mean, these are nice looking engines. When you pop the hood, they look good. Even my wife is not really a car person looks under the hood of our. SL55 and that's a good looking engine. So they've done a really nice job in terms of the visuals of these engines. Especially since a lot of cars, they put plastic covers around everything. You can't see anything. These are variable valve timing on intake and exhaust cams. So it's more sophisticated in terms of how the actual, the base engine itself is built than the 55, which is kind of older technology. The supercharger sits right here. These are the intercoolers, which cools the air that goes into the engine. Then the air filters sit out here, but kind of, you know, kind of a similar sort of look to these engines. 

Mark: So what about performance wise? How different are they? I imagine that the huffer-less (supercharger-less) one is a little bit less juice.

Bernie: It's a little last, but not a lot. I mean, they both go really well. They've got a lot of immediate and instant power. I really like superchargers and not just in the Mercedes, but in other vehicles. And remember, years ago I had a customer, the Ford Lightening truck. So it's about the same size engine I think, it's a 5.4 supercharged. And because this is a pickup truck like an, F-150. Driving it you tap the gas pedal and it's like, the power is instantaneous. Like, Oh man, you can really get addicted to this. It's pretty nice. You know, probably basically equivalent to like, you know, a decent electric car has. It's about as close with an internal combustion engine I think that you can get to an electric car feel. Because it's the power, so immediate. And you know, compared to like, you know, Mercedes has a lot of turbocharged twin turbo models, they kind of got away from supercharging, not a hundred percent sure why, but you know, you can notice, I mean, even though the turbo models have an immense amount of power, there's just this immediacy of the supercharged engine. That just has that microsecond of extra, immediate power that you don't get even with two turbos and all the engineering they put into it. 

Mark: So are there different levels of AMG engines and vehicles? 

Bernie: Well, generally speaking, the AMG engines are pretty much the same and one thing that's nice about AMG is even though they are kind of an exclusive upper end car, they are mass produced. And you know, the nice thing about any of these engines are available in a wide variety of lines of vehicles. So for instance, the 5.4 litre supercharged engine is available in a G wagon, you can get it in E series, you can get it in an S series, CLS. Variety of models. So it's available across the platform and same with the C63. You see that again in a variety of models also. 

So the engines are pretty much the same. Some of them have slightly more horsepower, slightly less, but they're pretty much the same. There's certain trim packages that are slightly different. For instance, in the SL55 I have, you can get different brake packages and mine has the cheaper brake package. Although it's got, you know, fantastic, huge rotors and pads, it doesn't actually have the real, the extra AMG brake package. Which provides even better breaking than, you know, I mean I can stop that car almost instantaneously. But you can get better brakes.

The good news about having the cheaper brake package is, it's way cheaper to fix. The brake rotors on the AMG package are about $1,200 a piece. The ones on the one I have are about $300, which is kinda nice when it comes time to repair it. But, you know, if you're driving continuously, racing, you'd probably want the fancier brake package.

So those are a couple of things. But the other thing that just to watch out for, you can certainly see a lot of cars in the road that says AMG on the back. People, you can buy AMG tags. You can get wheels that are AMG package. So Mercedes offers, you know, a little upgrades and people sometimes put them on to try to make the car look fancier, but you can always tell if it's a true AMG by the actual model number of the car. 

For instance, like a SL55, is the AMG version. Whereas the non AMG is an SL500 or an SL550, depending on the year. So if it has the three digit sort of engine code or model code, then it's not an AMG. So that's kind of the difference. 

Mark: So reliability is probably not a major concern for someone who's looking at an AMG, but how reliable are they?

Bernie: Well, they are really reliable. You know, that's the nice thing about them too you can get a really high performance car that's super reliable and, you know, while it's not a Lamborghini or Ferrari, it's pretty damn close. An SLS is upscale, is up in that class, but you pay a lot more money for that model. But you know, they depreciate heavily which is nice. So if you're looking for a used one, you can buy one for pretty cheap and they are pretty reliable. I mean, they're well-built cars. I, haven't spent a lot of money on the SL55 I've got considering the mileage. I mean, fortunately I can fix it myself, which is a savings. And I mean, don't expect to buy one and have it be cheap to maintain because they are expensive, but they are generally a well built, reliable car. They're just complicated. There's a lot that can go wrong with them and parts can be expensive. 

Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your AMG or any Mercedes-Benz product in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead, they're busy. Always check out the website. pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of articles and videos on there all makes and models and types of repairs. Our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. And thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts from. And thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for watching.

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