Mark: Good morning. It's Mark Bossert here with Bernie Pawlik and the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're broadcasting from Vancouver, BC and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So, today's victim is a 2007 Jeep Wrangler that had a metal brake line replacement. What was going on with this Jeep?
Bernie: Yeah, so the owner ... We'd actually just had this vehicle in for service recently and the owner called back and said, after I picked my vehicle up, I noticed this chemical smell coming out of under the hood, and the brake warning light came on. And I thought, okay, it's kind of odd because we'd just done an A service on the vehicle which is an oil and filter change, basic inspection. And we do look around the vehicle. So, any leaks and that sort of thing we noted. Looked at the fluids. All fluids were full. But I suspected, maybe when our technician did the service, maybe when he took the rad cap off, sometimes it's under pressure, a little bit of antifreeze leaks out, causes a bit of an odour. I thought maybe that's what was going on. So, that's basically why the vehicle came in. Chemical smell and the brake warning light on.
Mark: So what did you find was causing the owner's concerns?
Bernie: Yeah, so the first thing I did, I looked under the hood, didn't see any leaks. But I did notice the brake fluid level was exceptionally low. It took a lot of brake fluid to fill the master cylinder up. Which was very odd because when we did the inspection, the fluid level was full. So when we did the inspection and left our shop, there was no issue with that. I looked under the vehicle, I could see, oh, there's brake fluid leaking from one of the metal lines down below the master cylinder. And on further inspection, I could see that it had actually been spraying out of this small pinhole leaks in the metal line right onto the exhaust system. So there's the chemical smell right there. So, that's what we found. So this line had just ruptured. It's kind of one of these weird things. We get this, oh, ever since you worked on the car, this happened. Well, sometimes we do make mistakes. But a lot of times there's just weird coincidences on cars. And this happened to be one of them. It just happened that the moment she picked the car up, this brake line decided to burst. And that's what happened.
Mark: Any idea why, what caused the break line to rupture?
Bernie: Well, I'm going to say it's a manufacturing defect. And let's just look at some pictures here and then talk about that a little more.
So you can see the Jeep, our nice 07 Jeep Wrangler here in great shape. Well taken care of. Our owner of this vehicle takes good care of this vehicle. Outside and in, and mechanically. So there's the leak that we found. So this is looking ... Actually, I'll just go back to the picture of the Jeep again. So, the actual line in question is right here. The brake master cylinder sits up here. There's an ABS brake unit here. A lot of metal brake lines, and they all kind of run down the vehicle off to their respective wheels. And there's the two that run to the rear wheels, go right down in this fender area. So that's where this next picture is of, so this is just looking in the left front wheel. You can see a fluid leakage, quite a lot of brake fluid here and you can see a bit of rustiness on this brake line.
Now again, as I said, I mean when we do an A service, we have the vehicle up on a hoist. We look around. Stuff like this would be very evident. We'd be pointing it out immediately to the owner. So kind of unfortunate, but it kind of just burst right after it was brought ... After delivering to them. Here's a couple other closeups. So this is the line removed. You can see it's basically a plastic coated brake line. So they did their work from the factory to try to prevent rust corrosion. But for some reason, you can see little cracks in the line. And the line is bulged under the plastic. I actually took it on a wire wheel and just ground ... Basically removed the plastic. You can see the metal underneath is completely pitted and rotted. And this is the area of the leak right here. So why it happened? I would say probably a manufacturing defect.
Somehow, something must have caused the line to corrode. Sometimes break lens will be near a ... Say they'll be underneath the battery and you'll have battery acid leaking out. Or the vehicle is driven and very salty road conditions. But none of that's the case. This vehicle is from Vancouver, there's very little road salt used around here. And metal brake lines generally lasts a long time. Back East in the US and Canada where there's a lot of road salt, brake lines will corrode much faster. So, don't really know for sure what happened. I say it's really strange because it's a very thick plastic coating on here. But there must have been something underneath here at the factory that just caused it to sort of eat away at the line.
Mark: So what's involved in replacing? And is it just this line, or did you replace all the lines?
Bernie: No, the other ones look fine. I mean, I did a visual inspection. If you noted in that picture there was two lines running beside each other. I did a visual inspection of the other line. It looks perfectly normal. None of the bulging that was evident on this particular line. So, I mean it's possible there could be something festering underneath. But at this point there's no reason to change it. But basically what was involved is replacing this particular brake line. And this line runs from the ABS brake unit, just in front of the master cylinder along the frame rail to the left rear wheel. So we replaced the line, completely removed the old line, replaced the whole complete line with a brand new line. We custom make it, bend it, flare the ends, that's the best way to have a solid line. I mean, it could be replaced in just a piece. You could replace just a portion of it. But why bother when, who knows what's further down the line that's hidden that we see further down the line. That's funny how that kind of came out. But literally further down the line. So yeah, it's better just to replace the line complete. And we're 100% sure it works.
Mark: So, this Jeep is now 10 years old, how are they for reliability and repair ability?
Bernie: Yeah, they're pretty good. There's things like the front end parts on Jeeps tend to wear out perhaps a little faster than they could. Some oil leaks and things that occur, but overall it's a pretty good vehicle. The owner hasn't spent a ton of money on this thing. It's been pretty good. There's been a few repairs, but just generally it's been pretty good.
Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for any kind of repairs for any kind of problems with your brakes. Or you just need a really reliable mechanic 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. The YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik. Pawlik Automotive, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We're experiencing winter starting. It's raining here, and of course, Pawlik Automotive are 19-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers. We're talking cars this morning. How you doing, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well even though it's raining.
Mark: So we have a 2005 Jeep Liberty diesel, that had a no-start problem. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: The owner of the vehicle had pulled over his vehicle, it was running fine, stopped to do something. Went to start it. Turned the key and it wouldn't start. All the lights came on in the dash, but when he turned to the start position nothing happened. So had the vehicle towed in, and we proceeded to do some testing and diagnosis.
Mark: What actual testing did you do to find the cause?
Bernie: Well, look, of course the first thing with a no-start issue is to make sure the battery is in good shape, so we tested that. And it was pretty apparent that everything ... The battery was good, everything seemed to be working but there was no starting. The starter wasn't working, so I thought maybe the starter's the first thing to test, and it's relatively easy to access on this vehicle so we tested the power in and out of the starter and the solenoid, and the various wiring tests we do, and verified there was no power getting to the starter solenoid. So we knew the problem was somewhere else. There's relays, there's wiring, there's an ignition switch; these are all the other components. So we proceeded to test all these items and basically narrowed it down to a problem inside the ignition switch area.
Mark: With a diesel, is there anything different within that system, starting system, that's different than other fuel type engines?
Bernie: No, actually, the starting system is exactly the same as a gasoline engine. The only difference with a diesel is that usually they have a much more robust starting motor, because the diesel has a much higher compression, so it needs a more powerful motor to start. But if you look at the starter motor it doesn't look particularly large in comparison to a gasoline starter. It's kind of the way modern technology with starters has gone. They used to be ... you could notice a diesel starter was substantially bigger. Nowadays they look pretty much the same size, so they pack a lot of power in to a small space, but the actual electrical system and the starting system is exactly the same.
Mark: Once you narrowed it down to the ignition switch area, what was the actual cause?
Bernie: Well, what we found was there's actually an actuator pin, or coupler assembly, in between the ignition switch and the actual electrical portion of the ignition switch and the lock cylinder. Usually within the ignition switch you have the lock cylinder, the place you put the key, and then that usually connects to the switch, the electrical part. And in this particular vehicle there's actually a coupler that goes in between the two pieces, so we'll just get in to a little picture show here, and I'll show you what's actually going on. There's our jeep in the shop after repairs, and that's the coupler piece that's broken. This sits inside the steering column. There's the ignition switch, the part where the key sits over in this part here.
Mark: To the right.
Mark: To the right?
Bernie: Yeah, that's right, yeah. Sits over here, and then there's a little slot that fits inside this metal barrel here, and this connects over here, and then this, the ignition switch, the actual electrical part, clips on to this portion here. Now I've two arrows here. The yellow one shows a little metal piece here, and if you notice, where the red arrow is, there's not a metal piece. Well there's supposed to be one there. What happens is this actuator pin, the metal piece breaks, so when you the key it wasn't actually allowing it to turn quite far enough to actuate the starter. So that's basically the issue, so this part is the piece that needed to be replaced. And interestingly enough, it's amazing how cheaply built this part and component is, and everything kind of snaps together. It's plasticky and cheap, and I just sort of reflecting while I was working on it, how this is kind of at the time when Chrysler and Mercedes were married. You know, two companies. You couldn't really build different vehicles. I mean this stuff, it's made cheap and simple and snap-together, and if you look at a Mercedes, it would be much different in assembly. It's amazing that corporate marriage lasted as long as it did, because really very different building philosophies for these vehicles. Just a little side-thought there.
Mark: Is this an easy repair?
Bernie: Not really difficult. I mean, the diagnosis took a while, just to figure out where the actual cause of the concern was, but the repair itself is not all that difficult. However, as far as parts go ... that part we ordered a replacement after-market part, but if you go to a Chrysler dealer they'll sell you the whole steering column. So there are after-market parts available, you can just get that one piece, but if you go to Chrysler you're going to spend an awful lot of money on replacing that, and a lot of extra labor.
Mark: Good to know. Once back together, I guess everything started properly?
Bernie: Yeah, it worked fine. Worked great, just like it should.
Mark: Is this a common issue on a certain range of Jeep Liberties?
Bernie: Well, this is the first time we've actually replaced this particular piece, but it, as I mentioned, there's an after-market part available for it, so once somebody makes a part like that it's a pretty common problem. It just, for some reason it's the first time one of these has come in to our shop, and after ... it's a 13 or 14 year old vehicle at this point. But the owner had said that this problem had happened previously in the past, too, and he'd spent a lot of money at Chrysler having it fixed, so I assume he got the full steering column treatment, but it didn't last a whole lot longer. Sometimes when you look at a part, and you go, "Why did they build this so poorly?"
Mark: So do other models of Jeep use this same full Chrysler steering column treatment repair?
Bernie: They do, actually. So this part actually will fit a variety of Chrysler vehicles. Not just Jeeps. Everything right to Neons, and it's used in a variety of different vehicles from 1995, all the way up to 2007, so again, it's a common part and it may be if you have the same issue, that's that's the cause of your failure, but without testing things properly it's impossible to know, because there's so many other things that can cause it, but it's definitely a good place to look.
Mark: Now, what was this part called again?
Bernie: It's called an ignition actuator pin.
Mark: So there you go. If you're having some starting issues with your Jeep or Chrysler product in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You must book ahead, they're busy. Or check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com. You can see our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos covering all makes and models of cars on there, and thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark. Thanks for listening. Thanks for watching.
Mark: Good morning. It's Mark Bossert here with the Pawlik Automotive podcast with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: We're gonna talk about a little issue that we noticed earlier in one of our earlier podcasts where you brought up a dash warning light picture and there was a whole bunch of lights that I'd never seen before, and I went, what the heck are all these? You're gonna show us what the dash warning lights are on a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It's a diesel model. What was going on with these lights and what are they?
Bernie: Well, let's start first of all. I think we're gonna start an educational series on dash warning lights because a lot of people don't really understand them, and it's really important to understand what they mean because they can create a lot of stress if you don't know what they mean, or if you don't know what they mean, you can also make dumb decisions by ignoring them. We'll start with this Jeep and work our way through. The first place to start before I get into the picture is there's basically two major colours of warning lights. There’s amber lights and there's red ones. The red ones are lights to be taken seriously right now. Amber ones are okay, something's going on, and you need to get some service or something addressed down the road. You'll notice often a car check engine light, which is a pretty popular light on every car, is an amber light. When it comes on, it doesn't mean oh my God, you gotta pull over. The only time with a check engine light you need to be really concerned is when the light is blinking because that indicates a catalyst damaging engine misfire, and that essentially you can keep driving the car, but it's gonna cost you a lot more money if you keep driving it for too long. That's the only time that light should probably be red, but it doesn't. It's an amber light telling you there's something that needs to be serviced.
Mark: Amber and blinking.
Bernie: Amber and blinking. Yeah, amber and blinking is serious, but that's the only light that's kind of an anomaly.
Mark: Have you got a picture?
Bernie: I do, because yeah, that would really make this a lot more entertaining. Okay. Let's get in the picture of our Jeep. I'll just hide us out of the way here somewhere so we can actually see this warning light. When you turn the key on to start the vehicle, you'll normally get all of your warning lights coming on. Sometimes they'll just blink on for a second or two, and I realize one light I didn't capture on this, this is the Jeep diesel. There's one light that sits right here. It's a little yellow light that looks like a coil sitting sideways, and that is the glow plug warning light. That light's not on on this particular picture correct I guess it switched off kind of quickly. The glow plug warning light, by the way, will come on for a longer period of time when the engine's cold. You'll also notice if you own an old diesel vehicle, back a couple of decades, the warning light will stay on a lot longer than modern diesel. Some of them they'll just stay for, even cold, a second and then shut off. But the key with this light is you want to wait, when you turn the key on, you want to wait to start it til after that light goes out. The other thing, this is a diesel model. The only difference, and I actually went through a manual on the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The only difference between the dash on a gas and diesel model is in this spot here that I'm circling where the glow plug light is, this has a tow haul warning light that's basically with the automatic transmissions. That's basically an automatic transmission mode that's available.
There is also on some of them, a four wheel drive low warning light that does come on in this spot as well.
Let's go through some of these lights, and I'm gonna point out. There are a couple that are not illuminated in this picture as well, but let's start with the red lights. You have your brake light right here. Now, there's an I and a P. P is for parking brake. The I indicates a brake system issue. Normally when this light will come on is it either ... The key is once you start the engine, if these lights remain on, that's when it's a concern, or when you're driving and the light comes on. Generally the brake light will be on when you have the parking brake on. If you take the parking brake off, this light will go off. The I light, this is probably just one light that does two functions. A lot of cars are like that. That can often indicate there's low brake fluid in the brake master cylinder reservoir. If you have your parking brake off and the light's off, go check your brake fluid level because it could be low. Now, low brake fluid shouldn't happen. It's an indication of one of a couple things. It could be that the brakes are worn out, or nearly worn out, or that there's actually a leak in the brake fluid system. But you can top it up, put the light out, but you should go in for service and have it looked at.
This here is your seatbelt light. As long as your seatbelt, if you're sitting in the drivers seat, or you have a passenger and they're not buckled in, this warning light will come on.
This is the airbag system warning light. This will test the airbag system, and if all things are good, it sometimes takes a few seconds. Sometimes they blink a couple of times, depends on the vehicle, but on the Jeep, essentially the light will go out and if it's out, then your airbag system is all working fine.
Other red lights. This red light here on a Jeep is for the security system. It's just basically a round dot. Again, it'll go off when the vehicle's running. If it blinks or does anything weird, there's an issue with the security system. Something that will need to be repaired and fixed. But of course, it won't likely cause you any problem to drive the vehicle. It just indicates if you care about your security, it's important. But also there can be an issue with the security system where the vehicle won't start, so if that light stays on and won't start, that could be an issue. Again, you'll be taking it to a shop to get it fixed.
This is a warning light that's a throttle issue warning light. This is a pretty serious warning light on Jeeps. It's on gas motors as well as diesels, and the particular Jeep that kind of inspired us to do this, we had a couple of weeks ago with some intake manifold runner issue. While diesels don't really have a throttle, it indicates a serious malfunction that normally when this light comes on, the vehicle will be running in a reduced power mode just to get you to a shop to fix. Sometimes you can shut the key off and you can restart the vehicle and the light will be off, so that might get you to where you want to go. That's always worth a try when you have a warning light on, by the way, except for this one. This is the big one. That looks like a can of oil? When this read light is on, that means there is insufficient oil pressure in the engine, and that is critical. Now, that light can also go on because the sensor malfunctions, but you don't really want to make an assumption on that. I have owned vehicles where this light has come on, and if you don't hear a ticking noise in the engine, you could take a risk of driving it, but I wouldn't. If this light comes on, shut the engine off and have it towed to a shop and have it checked out. You'd be better to change the sensor than you would be to have to replace the engine if you make the wrong judgment call.
Mark: Would that be if you're a little bit not scared of lifting your hood, and what about checking your oil at that point?
Bernie: Absolutely. Yeah. That would be the first thing you'd want to do. Thank you, Mark, for mentioning that. Shut the engine off right away, and go check your oil level. Now, if the oil is low, add a litre at a time. I've had people who they look at the dipstick, oh my God, there's no oil in the engine, and they'll go get a five litre jug of oil, pour it all in at one time and then the engine is overfilled. Seen that many times. That's not a good thing to do.
Mark: That's really bad.
Bernie: Yeah. It is. Add a litre at a time. If it's way, way, way down, that's obviously it needs work. But this light is not a low oil level warning light, so just be aware that when this light comes on, it's usually a very serious issue unless the electrical sensor is bad, and that does happen from time to time. Sometimes it's not a bad thing, but you need to address it. Of all the lights on the vehicle, this is the one you want to take the most seriously because it's the one that can cost you the most amount of money to ignore.
Now, on the left side of the dash, we have this light that says plus, minus, it looks like a battery. It's basically, as Chrysler describes it, it's a low voltage warning light. It looks like it's a battery problem, but usually it'll indicate that the alternator's not functioning and charging the vehicle. But there's a number of other things that can happen. It can even indicate that the belt has jumped off the front because the alternator's belt driven. Now, you would notice that too because your power steering would become very stiff. If that light's on, and often some other lights will come on at the same time, it's a pretty good indication that your belt has skipped off. But not to diagnose stuff. When that light is on, it's something pretty serious to deal with. You may be able to drive the car, but not for long because modern vehicles consume a lot of electricity. Batteries, even good ones, don't last very long. You might be lucky if you got an hour's driving time before it dies. Diesels do require a lot of electricity to fire the fuel injectors as well, but gasoline motor, same kind of thing.
There we have our red lights. I'm just looking at a picture. See, on the Jeep as well, a couple lights that aren't on here. There's a low fuel amber low fuel warning light, so let's get into the amber lights. There's a low fuel warning light that'll come on here. Looks like a gasoline pump, so that'll come on when your fuel level is down to a certain point. Pretty self-explanatory. I'm just looking to see if there's anything else we're missing here. I think that's pretty much covers it. So, let's get into the amber lights.
This tire pressure monitor light. These lights will come on, sometimes they'll blink, sometimes they'll just be on, but any vehicle that has a tire pressure monitoring system, it's a fantastic feature because you don't really have to check your tires every week or every month. When the light comes on, that's when you need to pay attention to it. Again, unless you're noticing the vehicle's handling badly or making a thumping sound, because it could do that if it's lost all its pressure. If the light comes on, give a walk around the car and just look at your tires. Make sure none of them are flat. If they all look reasonable, go get the pressure checked as quickly as you can. Don't do any long highway trips. Make sure the pressures are all good first of all. If the light remains on, some vehicles require you to reset them. Jeeps are not like that. They have a sensor in the tire, so once the pressure's set, the light should go out. If it doesn't, then you have a problem with the system that needs to be addressed and you'll have to take it to a shop.
Over here, the ABS light. Now again, this is an amber light, but ABS is the antilock brake system. It basically provides better braking than the regular brake system, but without it, you'll still be able to stop the car fairly well. But again, that's a warning that there's a problem with the ABS system that needs to be addressed and you should take it to a shop and have it looked at.
Check engine light we discussed earlier. Again, if it's on, take it to a shop at some point, get it scanned and diagnosed. See what's going on with it. But if it's blinking, that's when you need to take a lot of caution. You should it repaired right away because you'll cause some costly damage.
Moving over to the right, we have the traction control system. Sometimes this light will come on. The traction control system helps the vehicle basically grip when it's slippery, so often it uses the ABS brake system to do this, or various other sensors. If there's a problem with the system, the light will be on all the time. But sometimes you might accelerate, say, on a slippery road and it'll loose traction and you'll actually feel it and this light will start blinking, and then it goes out. That's no big deal. That's just indicating something's happening. But if the light's on all the time, the traction control system's got an issue. A lot of times it'll come on with the ABS light because some of them work in conjunction with each other.
Finally, our last light is the ESP BAS. Now, ESP is electronic stability programming. BAS is a brake assisting system. That, again, these are electronic sensors often related with the traction control system, but it's basically there to keep your vehicle stable on the road. Some vehicles it'll tune your suspension system so it's essentially there so you don't lose control for simple things like going around a corner too fast. I'm not saying you should drive crazy around a corner, but it's when you lose traction for certain things, electronic sensors will come in and they'll activate the ABS brake system or activate the throttle and help you keep your car more stable on the road. These are all good things. Again, if this light's on, there's something going on that'll need to be checked, but again, they're amber lights.
A couple other lights I haven't talked about because they're not really warning lights are the turn signal lights. There's also the high/low beam indicator. The high/low beam indicator on a Jeep is here. It's usually a blue light. That's a long winded version of what's going on in your dash, and yeah. Again, with red lights, more serious. Amber lights, get it checked soon.
Mark: Thanks for going through that. Do you have any final thoughts?
Bernie: I think I just said it. Just red lights, take them seriously, especially that oil light. That's a really critical one, and also a number of vehicles have a, and we'll talk about these with different vehicles. I don't believe Jeep has a low oil level warning light, at least I haven't seen that when I looked through the manual, but this is a good reason to look through your owner's manual. If your vehicle has a low oil level warning light, this is a good light to have because when the oil gets down to a certain level, you can go check it and find, oh, it's low a litre or two and then you top it up and there you go. It's critical to know whether you have that versus the red oil can light because once that light comes on, it's serious stuff.
Mark: There you go. If you need more information about your vehicle or service, in fact, for your vehicle or repairs, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7712. That's the number to call if you need to book an appointment in Vancouver, or check out our website, PawlikAutomotive.com. YouTube videos, Pawlik Auto Repair. Hundreds of videos on there about all makes and models of cars over the years, and of course thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark. Just as a last thing, what should people do if they're not from the Vancouver area?
Mark: Feel free to search around and find a good service advisor, a good shop in your area to get your vehicle repaired. They will be able to give you the same kind of information and support that we do here on the internet. Thanks.
Bernie: Thank you. Thanks for watching.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. In today's podcast, we're talking about Jeeps. How you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So, we're talking about a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee, three-litre diesel, that had a swirl valve motor problem. What was going on with this Jeep?
Bernie: So, the owner of the vehicle brought the vehicle to us with a ... Their complaint was that there was a warning light on the dash. It looks like a lightning bolt, and at the same time that that happens, the vehicle loses power. So, it's basically a power loss indicator light. The check engine light was also on at the same time.
Mark: So, this vehicle has the famous Mercedes three-litre diesel. Is there something different about this power plant in a Jeep?
Bernie: Not really. There's only a few subtle differences, but I mean, essentially, the engine and how it operates is the same as a Mercedes three-litre. Most of the parts are interchangeable, but there's some emission items and some of the air intake ducting is slightly different on the Jeep, but most of it is the same as the Mercedes. Not exactly, but the guts of the motor are definitely the guts. When you take it down to the basic engine itself, it's pretty much exactly the same.
Mark: So, the swirl valve motor ... Can I say it right? I'm old, I can't say it right. The swirl valve motor, I would assume that was the cause of the problem?
Bernie: Well, it was part of the problem. The swirl valve motor, essentially what it does is it operates some valves in the intake manifold. The intake manifold has two runners in it to each cylinder, and one of them can be opened and closed ... The ports can be opened and closed with the swirl valve motor, and the reason for that is just to increase or decrease air flow and the rate of air flow into the cylinder, depending on different engine conditions and different engine speeds. So, the swirl valve motor will actually operate these valves, and what can happen is the valves also get carboned up, or the actual rods that are actuated are made of plastic, and they tend to wear over time, sometimes quite severely. We've seen them really badly worn on a lot of Mercedes and Jeep products over time.
Mark: What about other parts? Is there other parts that need to be replaced at the same time, typically?
Bernie: Well, yeah, so this job we started off with the swirl valve motor being the complaint and verified that was the issue, but we also noted, as soon as we started taking things apart, there was a lot of carbon deposits in the intake ports, and we ended up removing the intake manifolds, finding a severe amount of carbon deposits in the intake manifolds and cylinder head ports, which is not uncommon. It's about 230,000 kilometres on this engine. It's kind of a normal amount you'd find. Also, there was some oil leaks from this engine, and right underneath the intake manifold sits the engine oil cooler, which is a very common cause for oil leaks. There's some seals that hold the oil cooler down in the engine, very common. So, we replaced those while we had it out as well.
Let's get into looking at a few pictures here of what we found when we removed the intake manifolds. Okay, so here's a view of the dash with all the warning lights on, just when you turn the key on initially, and that is the light of concern for the client, with the yellow arrow pointing to it. That looks like a lightning bolt, and that is basically a power loss indicator light, or that the vehicle's in limp mode because of a major issue. Also, you have the check engine light over here, which was on. The owner told us it had been on for a long time for a glowplug code. There was a code for the swirl valve motor, also an issue with the glowplugs, and we actually serviced and replaced those.
Well, we did this, but that's a story for another podcast. So, there's our instrument panel. Let's get into looking at a couple other items here. We'll have a look at the swirl valve motor. So, that's the bottom side of the swirl valve motor. Again, it's kind of oily and grungy. That's kind of a common cause of issues with these motors. There's the top view of the motor, electrical connector. Carbon deposits, this is the ... It's a plastic piece that connects the two intake ports and connects it to the air duct from the turbo, or, I should say, from the inter cooler. The EGR port is here, and these are the intake manifolds. You can see just how much carbon is in here and just to really appreciate how much carbon is in there, this is what it looked like after we cleaned it, a profound difference. I mean, there was probably ... If you look at this view here, there's, I don't know, less than 50% airflow available through that particular area.
Mark: Yeah, I was going to say, two-thirds blocked, basically.
Bernie: Yeah, exactly, precisely, and looking ... This is the cylinder head. Sorry, the intake ports in the cylinder head. You see there's a round one, this is where the swirl valve is located. In this one here, there's no valve, it has constant airflow. But again, you can see there's at least ... There's only 50% airflow available through this port as well, and a little more here, but it's still restricted. There's a view of the intake manifold, the old manifold. Again, you can see a lot of carbon on these pieces. So, this is actually the swirl valve here. Mercedes uses a different name for it. It's like a variable intake runner, but Jeep uses the word swirl valve.
These plastic rods here, there was some wear on these. It was warranted replacement, but we've seen these where they have some extremely bad wear, and on newer versions of this engine, like a Mercedes from 2009 and newer, they actually have a little switch at the end of this rod, so when the swirl valve motor moves the rod, it will actually cause a switch to send a signal to the computer that it's actually working, and when these get worn badly enough, it'll actually cause the trouble light to ... Check engine light to come on and set a trouble code for the intake runner not operating. So, when these get really badly worn, that'll happen, but on an '08 and older, and on Jeeps, that code is never an issue because they never monitored that particular thing. There's another closeup view. Again, you can see all the carbon deposits in the intake manifold, and there's a view of the valley of the engine, the oil cooler. That's the oil engine cooler. You can see the intake ports. We've cleaned them out. There's still some carbon in there, but generally, 99% of it's been removed.
Mark: So, what causes all of this carbon buildup, and why is it so common on so many diesels?
Bernie: Carbon buildup? Two things. First of all, diesels, as you can see on ... Especially on not-modern diesels, there's a lot of soot, so there's a lot of particulate in diesel exhaust, and the reason you get the exhaust into the intake system is because of the EGR system, exhaust, gas recirculation. It helps lower the NOX emissions substantially. That's a big issue on diesels, so having a good EGR system is important. Plus, it also cools the combustion temperature, which actually eliminates NOX. Yeah, I mean, it really is ... Stepping around things here, really, it's all about emissions. So, that's why, and they're pretty sophisticated systems on more modern diesels because the emission requirements are so stringent. That's why we get so much carbon deposit.
Mark: And NOX is nitrous oxide, is that right?
Bernie: Oxides of nitrogen, yeah. The air has oxygen and nitrogen, and nitrogen's inert gas ... It doesn't do anything with combustion, but it does combine with oxygen and creates some hideous pollutants.
Mark: It forms a particle, or there's particles that are just part created from the combustion process, is that ...
Bernie: Particles from diesel are actually not NOX, they're actually ... It's actually just particulate. I believe it's just soot from the combustion process. Yeah. I did have someone explain how soot and all those details work, but I'm not quite ... But it's part of the combustion process, but it's not NOX. It's kind of a smog-producing chemical, among other things, and obviously not good to breathe, either.
Mark: Yeah, it would kill you.
Mark: So, what happens when the carbon deposits get really severe?
Bernie: Basically, your vehicle won't go anywhere. In the past, I mean, this has been an issue with TDI, Volkswagens for many years way, many generations back. We serviced a lot of them where the intake ports would plug up so badly, by the time you take the intake manifold off, you'd be lucky to fit a quarter inch drill bit into the intake. There would be about that much breathing space in the port. They would be insignificant. So, there would basically be no airflow going into the engine, so you'd be going up a hill and the engine just couldn't suck the air into produce the power. Yeah, so that's basically what happens. Eventually, you just lose performance. I would say the Jeep, once done, will perform substantially better, even though it was probably reasonably good to begin with.
Mark: The whole idea of the swirl valve motor or having that secondary intake is when the engine needs ... You step on the gas or the fuel and are requiring more power, more speed captain, that opens and allows more air in to give you more power, basically, along with more fuel.
Bernie: Exactly, but I think a lot of the reason they use variable intake runners ... And they do it on gas lean engines as well, is it creates a certain ... They call it a swirl valve, because as the air's sucked into the engine, or, well, in this case, being a turbo charger, it's actually forced in, it creates a swirling motion. So, as it does, it improves the combustion process. As the air swirls in, the combustion is better, so it's more efficient, there's more power, there's better fuel economy, there's lower exhaust emissions. I mean, if you can burn the fuel 100%, the emissions are lower. Plus, of course, better economy and more power. So, depending on what speed the engine's running, if it's idling, it needs a certain amount of movement and flow, if you've got full throttle, it's a different situation.
Mark: Right. So, carbon deposits would obviously be a big problem in making that efficiently run properly, so is there a way to prevent these carbon deposits?
Bernie: Well, I have a couple of things to say, but I mean, first of all, I mean, the best way to prevent them with a diesel is to be running your diesel. Ideally, a diesel needs to be run hot, it needs to keep running all the time, and the people who will suffer the least amount of carbon deposits owning a diesel will be people who start their car up and they drive out on the highway for an hour and back, or they drive across the country. They do a lot of long drives with the engine cooking hot all the time. Like most us, you start your car up, you drive your kids to school, you drive home, or you drive to work short distances, that's when the carbon deposits start building up. So, usage is one thing, but of course, it would be kind of stupid to just go drive your vehicle out on the highway for a couple hours just to get to work.
So, you just got to work with what you've got, and this is why I've often said you should really look at ... Do you really need a diesel? I mean, the fuel economy is extremely attractive, but as the engines gum up over time, and it happens to all of them if you don't use it hot, you will pay a lot of money for maintenance to have these kind of things cleaned out and repaired and replaced. I mean, the other thought I've often had is why don't the manufacturers put a filter in the EGR system that even if you had to throw it away every 5,000 kilometres, it would just save so much of this kind of headache. So, never heard of one available. It's an interesting concept. Not sure how you'd ever put it in. Every 5,000 kilometres would be kind of an irritating thing to do because it would plug up pretty fast, but it just seems to me like that would have been a good idea to consider when building a lot of these diesels.
Mark: It just becomes part of your oil change, is that particulate filter gets changed too.
Bernie: Well, exactly. To me, it would just be a huge savings in terms of ... Yeah, in terms of maintenance, and extremely costly maintenance.
Mark: So, Jeep Grand Cherokees. How are they for overall reliability?
Bernie: I'm going to say fair. They're not the most reliable vehicles. I mean, we're talking about a pretty major repair on this one here. These diesels do have some issues, and there's front end work that ... Suspension, steering work that needs to be done on Jeeps, perhaps a little more frequently than some other vehicles. Gasoline motors are pretty reliable. I mean, these diesels are too, but there are just expensive jobs that need to be done every once in a while.
Mark: And a great off-road vehicle overall and comfortable to drive in.
Bernie: Oh, they are. They're awesome. I mean, people love their Jeeps, but just as I often say, people love certain kinds of vehicles, and you will spend more money owning a Jeep than you will on a lot of other cars.
Mark: So, if the benefits are there for you for off-road use or you like the Jeep, it's a good vehicle?
Mark: So, there you go. If you're looking for service for your Jeep in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You got to book ahead, they're busy. Remember, these guys are 19-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. 19 times. This is a good shop, so you've got to call and book ahead. They're busy. Or, you can check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com. You have hundreds of videos on YouTube, almost eight years worth of videos on there, and especially thank you for watching, listening to the podcast. Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching and listening. We really appreciate it.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark with Top Local. We're here with Mr Bernie Pawlik doing the Pawlik Automotive podcast this morning. How are you doing this morning Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well Mark.
Mark: So we're gonna talk about a Jeep Liberty this week, and you had to do an engine replacement. What was going on with this Jeep?
Bernie:The vehicle came to our shop.Towed in. Suddenly started running really rough and the owner had thought there was something wrong with the timing chain, so that's the process we took with the vehicle, looking at it.
Mark: And what tests did you do
Bernie: Well first of all, we went to see if we could start the engine, and of course scanned the vehicle for stored trouble codes, and we were able to start the engine. It ran really rough, but it did actually run and with the owners concern about the timing chain being a problem, we of course listened to see if there was a timing chain issue, and we couldn't hear any rattling or any noise of any sort. The engine was actually quite quiet other than it ran rough and there was a stored trouble code P0340 for camshaft position sensor circuit problems so we looked at things in that area.
Mark: And what did you find?
Bernie: Well we found, eventually, what we found was that the timing chain had broken but in the interim, it was an interesting diagnosis because the camshaft position sensor is located on the right cylinder bank and there isn't one on the left. A lot of newer engines would have two of them but this older engine just has one. And with that cam sensor code, it looked like it might be an electrical issue at first but we did verify it electrically as working. Eventually, we pulled the camshaft position sensor out, looked at it and we could see the camshaft itself was not rotating. So interesting that it would set that particular code with that description when it's not in fact a circuit problem at all, it's just that the sensor wasn't picking up a signal.
Mark: And why would the cam gear or the cam shaft not rotate?
Bernie: Well that's what we wondered and because I figured that this engine's actually running, it would be surprising that the cam would in fact not be turning. So we removed the valve cover and found that actually the timing chain itself was broken. Which explained a couple of things, the owner had said " I think it's the timing chain," and we ran it for a while, tried to verify it and couldn't hear a timing chain rattle because usually if there's a timing chain problem, there's always a noise, but finding a broken chain was a really unusual, an unusual find.
Mark: So that's not something that you see very often, broken timing chain?
Bernie: No, as a matter of fact, I can't even think of the last time I ever saw one. I mean timing belts will break because they're rubber and they crack eventually and break, but a chain, it's a piece of metal, it's very, very, tough and very robust. A lot of time the guides will break, the chain will jump teeth, but to actually have a chain break, I can't even think of the last time I saw one.
Mark: And so was there any other problems that were going on?
Bernie: Yeah, so, let's get into looking at a couple of photos here, here's our engine. This is the right cylinder bank with the valve cover off and you can actually see the timing chain. I've actually taken the timing chain piece out, this doesn't normally sit over here, it would be actually inside the engine. There's one piece of it, but this is why it was ... the rest of the chain is broken and stuck inside, but you can also see, there's supposed to be a rocker arm sitting here. It was actually lying loose, I just placed it here, but this rocker arm had popped off. So what we found had happened was the ... I'll just get the other photo here, the intake valve seat on cylinder number one had actually dropped out of position and this is a problem that happens on these engines. The valve seats will actually come loose and it jams the valve. It'll jam the valve in the open position, the piston comes up, smashes the valve and I think in this case, what happened is that this all happened probably in one foul swoop and broke the timing chain. So these arrows here, the red arrow ... Unfortunately this isn't the greatest picture; it's a smartphone picture, looking down at an intake port which is the valve's a couple of inches away from where the camera was taking the picture, but it's the best I could do with this camera. This is the intake value here, this piece where the red arrow is pointing. The yellow points to the valve seat, and the blue points to where the valve seat is supposed to sit. So you can see this thing here, this dark area here, is actually supposed to be up higher. So that kinda shows in a nutshell what happened with this engine.
Mark: And which engine is this?
Bernie: Yeah, glad you asked, it’s a 3.7 litre V6. It's an overhead cam engine, gasoline. We do work on a lot of these with diesels for some odd reason, but yeah this is a gasoline motor.
Mark: And so the valve seat's dropped out, so that sounds like a pretty serious concern.
Bernie: It is and it does happen on these vehicles from time to time, it's actually one of the flaws of this engine and also the 4.7 litre V8 which is basically the same engine only with two extra cylinders. So this is a common problem with that line of engine.
Mark: So that's pretty catastrophic and compounded kind of things. How did you repair this vehicle?
Bernie: So we ended up getting a good used engine for this vehicle. That was the cheapest way to go. Doing a full rebuild would be very expensive and far beyond the value of the vehicle. So we got a good used engine, and ran great after we put it in.
Mark: And I guess was the piston compromised and the cylinder and all that? Is that why that it was gonna be more expensive?
Bernie: Well in order to repair it you'd have to do the timing chains, I mean at the very least, the timing chains, get the valve seats replaced, and you'd wanna do it on both cylinder banks because if one's dropped out, there's gonna be another one coming pretty soon. So in order to do all that work, it would far exceed the cost of even replacing with a used engine and at that point ... we never took the cylinder head off and looked at what damage happened to the piston. To break a timing chain, who knows what else has actually gone on inside the engine, so it would be pretty expensive to fix.
Mark: So normally, how reliable are Jeep Liberty's in this kind of timeframe?
Bernie: Well, obviously with this podcast, you've seen some of the worst stuff that can happen, the drop valve seats, and we've actually seen this happen on other Liberty's and not had this kind of catastrophic failure, so it doesn't always result in this particular problem. But timing chains do wear on these things. Valve seat drop out, that's probably the biggest issue. They're not the most reliable vehicles, there's a lot of little things that happen to them; it's not a Toyota. Toyota always seems to be the benchmark I go back to, but they are pretty decent vehicle for off-road but they have this little nit-picky things that happen. The engines are not the most fabulous. There's diesels, we talk a lot about those on our podcast, and they have their issues too. Personally, I'd go for the gas motor, just definitely more reliable than the diesel in spite of these problems.
Mark: So there you go, if you have an older Jeep Liberty or a newer one, or any kind of Jeep, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112. Get your vehicles maintained regularly and they will last longer. You have to call to book ahead because they're busy or check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com We're on youtube, search for Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there showing repairs of all kinds of makes and models of vehicles. Hopefully you're enjoying our podcast. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark and thanks for watching.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. We have doing the Pawlik Automotive podcast again. How you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So, we're going to be talking about a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited that had a problem. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: We'll start right with the vehicle and this is the vehicle right here, 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, and what was going on with this vehicle? There was a number of issues, actually. It came in for an inspection. We looked at a few. We looked the vehicle over, found a number of front-end issues, worn out brakes and a few things, but the primary purpose for this podcast is to talk about the front brake hose that was in bad shape. So, there is the brake hose. If you can see, this is ... so this is on the front of the vehicle. This is the shock absorber and the brake hose. This is a pretty close up shot. This brake hose runs from the frame of the vehicle up here, out to the brake caliper over in this direction off the screen. You can see this leaky stuff, this kind of gucky, rusty stuff and this split piece of rubber here, that is the brake hose that is about to explode. What's happened here is basically the metal has started to fester and losing its grip on crimping the brake hose. Basically, a lot of it just caused by rust. It's just corrosion that's expanded the rubber, torn it apart, and then eventually caused a leak.
Mark: So is that the main reason for a brake hose to deteriorate like this, rust?
Bernie: Well, this is one reason. We actually don't see that all that often around. We're in Vancouver. The weather is pretty mild here. We don't get a lot of road salt. This vehicle is from Alberta. There's a lot more road salt used in Alberta. The winters are harsher. And so, that basically ... the salt and moisture just ends up creeping in behind this piece of rubber here which is sort of that ... there's an protective shield, kind of creeps in there, sits in there over the years. It's 10 years old. It just eventually starts to corrode the metal, it expands. As I said, it would ... it just loses its grip on that. It's a high pressure crimp on the rubber hose.
Mark: And so, is this like an accident that's waiting to happen?
Bernie: Absolutely. I can't say enough. We often talk get your ... I mean, we often tell people get your vehicle inspected once a year. I mean, not you own a vehicles only two, three, four years old. It's probably not that necessary. But once it gets on in age, really necessary to have a vehicle inspected every year because you never know what's ... what you're going to find next year even though things can be fine now and you may only drive 5,000 kilometres, there's ... things happen over time, things deteriorate, rust and corrosion just starts to get into places and it'll start working its way through stuff. So, what looks good now, even a year later, even if you don't drive a lot can often amount to problems. So this is why you always need to have an inspection because you'll never see this until it breaks and seeing an accident waiting to happen, when a hose like this breaks, usually it's fine until you hit the brake really hard which is a panic stop, usually. And then I'll assume the hose just bursts because the pressures too high. That's that's when you do not want your brakes to fail. This is when it will.
Mark: Again, this isn't something you find all that often?
Bernie: We don't find this all that often around here. I'm certain that if you ... place like Alberta, Eastern Canada, the US, places where there's lots of road salt, you'll find this kind of stuff, this kind of corrosion happens a lot more often. We do find brake hoses wear, they tend to crack and that ... that's kind of the wear we find here, but that usually takes at least 10 or 15 years before that kind of thing happens. Again, that's something we can spot on inspection it and fix. But this is almost more serious because if the failure can happen almost faster then it was just ... it's got a crack in it.
Mark: So there are a few different models of four-door Wranglers. What are the differences?
Bernie: Well, mostly, I mean, there's some more different trim packages but the main difference ... like this is an Unlimited Wrangler, some of them have cloth seats. This was really nice. It had leather seats and really, really nice interior in it. But the main difference in the upgraded model is the Rubicon which is kind of cool. It's got locking differentials, like they electronically lock the differential. So, this is ... that vehicle is a true four-wheel drive. Once you lock it all in, it's ... all four wheels are pulling you whereas most four-wheel drives, you're kind of got, posy in the rear-end, you've kind of got a three-wheel drive, but this is like a true four wheel lock drive. So you can really go ... you can really go places. So it's a pretty cool vehicle, little more complex, a lot more stuff to go wrong and things do with the differentials. But other than that, that's kind of the main difference, Rubicon or the sort of not Rubicon.
Mark: Not Rubicon?
Bernie: Well, it doesn't say not Rubicon, the plain Unlimited, the more base model. They still all go well out in the bush but the ... if you really want the best, get the Rubicon.
Mark: What other issues do you see going wrong with Jeeps?
Bernie: We work on a lot of them. I mean, a lot of front-end, the steering linkages wear out, which we replaced in this vehicle, ball joint, steering linkages. I mean, brakes wear is normal as you'd expect. There's more fluid services required because it is an all-wheel drive utility truck type vehicle. So, there's extra differentials and things that need service. People often drive them in harsher climate. So when you do that, more work need to be done and a few cooling system repairs here and there but other than that, they're pretty good.
Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Jeep or you have some concerns about having imported a car from Eastern Canada and maybe you need to have the brake hose checked, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of articles and videos on there, or the YouTube channel which is the same, five-plus years of videos on there, or our new podcast on iTunes. Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 18-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How are you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: We're talking about is 2005 Grand Cherokee. What was going on with this off-road vehicle?
Bernie: Well the vehicle was towed to our shop with a no start condition and the engine wouldn't crank over, which we determined to be the starter motor and we replaced. It was also brought to us ... It was overdue for a maintenance service so we did our B service, which is an oil change, this includes an oil and filter change and a full vehicle comprehensive inspection.
Mark: And what did the inspection find?
Bernie: A few interesting things, but the one thing that I wanted to share and that is an air filter that is dirtier than any air filter I'd ever seen in my life. We'll just get straight to pictures here because this I pretty cool to look at. Actually I'm going to start with ... this is the air filter in the vehicle after it was cleaned. This is a K&N air filter. It's a reusable filter, supposedly a lower air restriction than a regular paper filter, and it's reusable. After a while, it gets dirty. You clean it with a special cleaner and you can apply a special oil film to it, and that does all your filtering. It basically lasts ... It's a lifetime type of filter.
You can see, that's what the new clean filter looks like. Let's have a look at what we found, and that was this. Absolutely covered with a huge, thick layer of dirt. That's a close-up view of it. It's so thick, I honestly don't even know this engine was running with a filter this dirty, but somehow, it was. That's our air filter.
Mark: Were there any other pressing services on this vehicle?
Bernie: There was a couple other things. Ball joints were worn out. We replaced those. Also, the engine coolant, which actually I'll just re-share another photo while I'm at it here. The radiator cap, you can see there's a lot of rust and corrosion around this cap, so the cooling system was well overdue for a flush. Fortunately for the owner ... There was a lot of rust on the cap, which looked very concerning, but fortunately, the rest of the cooling system wasn't ... The coolant wasn't so badly rusted. But once it gets really badly rusted, it's impossible to get rid of, so it's a condition you want to avoid by making sure you have proper antifreeze concentrations and you do flush your cooling system.
It doesn't happen as much as it used to in the past, but we do see it now and again. Any engine that has a metal steel block or cast block will be prone to rusting. We did a cooling system flush as well.
Mark: How is the 5.7 litre engine in this vehicle?
Bernie: They're pretty good. I think they're one of the better choices in these vehicles. We do talk a lot ... We've done a lot of these hang-outs on Grand Cherokees with diesels. We do work on a lot of them, but the 4.7s and 3.7s are also popular. In the older generations, the 4 litre straight six, but the 5.7 is a good option. The only thing is it's a pretty large engine. It's got lots of power, but it's large, so you're going to use a lot of fuel. That's probably the downside to this engine. Other than that, it's pretty reliable and powerful.
Mark: With that engine being that dirty, do you think that was a factor of being off-road a lot, or was it just not serviced often enough?
Bernie: It was entirely off-road. This vehicle had a lot of dirt on it, which is great to see, because so many people buy these vehicles and they only ever see pavement, but that's the nice thing about owning a Jeep or a Grand Cherokee. It's a really good off-road vehicle. Yeah, no, this thing was used very well off-road and that's exactly ... You'd never get that kind of dirt. You'd have to drive maybe a million kilometres in the city to ever see that level of dirt. That's all off-road. Very dusty roads. The interesting thing is it's actually, right now, it's fall and winter time in Vancouver. It's been raining and wet for quite a long time, so that kind of dust ... It must have been on there, since summertime when the roads were ... There was a lot of dust on ... I imagine he drove on a lot of logging roads where he was getting a lot of dust. That filter's probably been dirty for quite a while. I'm not even sure how the engine ran. It's probably got another 50 horsepower after we cleaned the filter.
Mark: So, there you go. If you're looking for service for your Jeep Grand Cherokee or any model of Jeep, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604)327-7112 or check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com, or our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark.
Mark: Hi we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver talking cars. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So we’re going to talk about Jeep Grand Cherokees and how reliable they are, they’ve been around for a long time, how reliable are they?
Bernie: Well let’s say they’re mixed. Yes they’ve been around for a long time, the first Grand Cherokee started in 93, there’s like basically four generation, 93 to 98, 99 to 04, 05 to 2010 and then 2011 to the present, actually realized that the present is 2017 so they’ve been making this style the longest of any Jeep so there’s bound to be a new one out pretty darn soon. Interesting thing, this vehicle is also, I mean most North American cars they never leave North America, but the Grand Cherokee is sold actually in Europe and in other places around the world so they’ve had some success selling it elsewhere. But I think one of the things that’s really hampered the vehicle is the Chrysler merger, well Chrysler has been a little bit of an unstable company for, if I can use that word, they’ve been trying to find their home so to speak for a long time. The Jeep was basically an American Motors product and Chrysler took that over so they’ve, you’ve seen the early American Motors influence in the early years of the Grand Cherokee, then Mercedes and Chrysler merged and you know created some stuff with that and they’ve gone their own way, and they’re trying to recreate themselves all along and I think that’s affected the reliability of the vehicles. Let’s do a quick share of some photos here, just a few different model years, so we’ve got, what’ve we got here, here’s your 95. This is the earliest, the early year of the first generation; we’ve got the next generation which is the 03, that’s an 03 model; and there’s an 09 so that’s the third generation and finally into the fourth generation, we’ve got a picture of a Jeep Grand Cherokee doing what it does best, driving through the snow. So there’s a few different, just got to stop my sharing, ok there I am back again, okay so yeah, those are the different Jeeps variety.
Mark: Okay so what are some of the things that go wrong with them?
Bernie: Well, I’ll talk about some of, a couple of the good things first. I think the engines are generally pretty good especially the earlier years, the four litre straight six engine is an excellent engine, extremely reliable and the V8 offerings, the 5.2, the 5.9 again pretty reliable and solid as well. We get into the early 2000’s generation then we’ve got the overhead cam V8 3.7 V6 and the 4.7 V8 there were some issue with those valve guides dropping out if you don’t change your oil often enough. These engine were not forgiving, there were timing chain problems and expensive to fix. But again, we have clients with them that have gone way over 200 thousand kilometres and still had no problems. And then you get into the newer generations, the engines again are pretty good, there’s the Hemis and there’s some good performance options available, the engines generally are pretty reliable and there’s also some diesel offerings in the last, sort of mid to late 2000’s, the Mercedes 3 litre diesel. A good engine but very expensive to fix when things go wrong so just something to watch with caution, may not be the best value. You really got to check it out whether it’s worth your while but you can buy a Jeep diesel for a lot cheaper than buying a Mercedes diesel so it could be a pretty good value.
So other issues that go wrong, we’ve seem coolant leaks, it seems like a lot of things happen on Jeeps you know maybe before other vehicles where, we’ve seen transmission coolers leaking fluid into the radiator. 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee seems to be one of the most years, there’s some electrical issues, there’s a part called a tip which is a total integrated power module. They fail suddenly, a lot of complaints for failures for these. We’ve actually not run into any ourselves at the shop, I shouldn’t say that, we’ve had a couple but you know, not as much when you look at the internet and how big of a problem that is. But that is a definite thing to watch for if you’re buying in 2011, this seems to be that that model year that is the worst.
The brakes, being a heavy sport utility vehicle, brakes you get about 50 to 70 thousand kilometres out of brakes, also a bit of a gas guzzler too. That’s really not a reliability thing, but a lot of them, there’s large engines, all wheel drive, so they use a lot of gas. And another area where we see a lot of issues, heater cores, air conditioning system, leaking heater cores, again these happen when the vehicles get older but they’re expensive to fix on these vehicles. And my other criticism to things like I mentioned, a radiator leaking earlier, a lot of them they’re not simply designed, Chrysler sort of modularly put together the radiator and the air conditioning, the AC evaporator, they’ve sandwiched it all together, so to change the radiator, not a simple job in these vehicles, can end up being over a thousand dollars to do a rad job on a Grand Cherokee. So that’s a lot more than it used to be in the earlier generations. So those are some of the things we see.
Mark: Lots of issues. What are your final thoughts?
Bernie: Final thoughts, you know they’re a popular vehicle, people like them, I would say that when you get into one, even from the earlier generations, they’re nicely built vehicles, leather seats, luxury features in a lot of the models, so they’re attractive but you know when you compare it to say a Toyota Land Cruiser which is a lot more money, by the way, but a Land Cruiser or even a Forerunner, and again those are usually more money, definitely not as reliable. You know, certain things, we’ve serviced Land Cruisers with 400 thousand kilometres, they still need some work but they’re still more solid in reliability. So I like the Grand Cherokees but just be prepared to spend a few more dollars than you would on your average vehicle for repairs and maintenance.
Mark: So there you go, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. If you have a Jeep Grand Cherokee that you need some service on, they’re the guys to call. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks a lot Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark.
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik and we’re talking car repairs. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 1995 Jeep Wrangler that had some brake repairs. What was happening with this Jeep?
Bernie: Well the Jeep came to our shop for a comprehensive inspection and a look over, it had been a while since the owner serviced the vehicle and also there was, he had a few concerns. So through the inspection we found it needed some brake work so we’re going to talk about what we did on the front brakes this morning.
Mark: Was this a routine brake job or was there something unique about it?
Bernie: Well pretty much routine but there is one thing that is unique about it, that’s why I want to do a hangout about it. I’ll just start with sharing some photos here because it’ll be a good explanation as we go through. So this is a, it’s a little dark but this is a bracket, the brake caliper bracket and this is where the brake pads ride and when we took everything apart, you can see in this area here, there’s a big gouge. This is kind of normal after years of use and this vehicle is 22 years old, so it’s been around for a while but we see even on vehicles that are 5 or 10 years old. The brake pad wears in this area, it slides, it moves back and forth and creates a gouge. When this is worn it can cause clicking sounds in the brakes, it can also cause squeaks and squeals and just generally not a great feel in the brake pedal because things could get hung up. So what I wanted to talk about in this hangout is how we repair this particular thing. We basically, we have, so I’ll go to the next photo, this is the same bracket after it’s been repaired, it’s on the other side of the vehicle, it’s the top one, but this is the area where we repaired. This again had a big gouge in it. We welded it, filled in the missing metal and then ground it down, so it’s basically like a nice flat piece of metal now for the brake pads to slide on. And the final item here, this is the brakes put together, the red arrow points to that area of the picture there, so you can see, here are the brake pads, there’s a ear on the brake pads that slide in this bracket and that’s all been fixed so everything slides clean, there’s no excessive movement. We also apply our special orange, this is the sort of modern best brake lubricant available these days to any moving services, so it prevents any squeaks or squeals and everything works and lasts for a long time.
Mark: Wow, being a ’95 this Jeep is getting on in age, how is it overall?
Bernie: Really good. The thing about Jeeps is they’re one of those type of vehicles that seems to last for a long time. There’s certain vehicles where once they get to a certain age, I can’t remember the last time I worked on a 1995 Subaru, I mean they’re just gone you know, once they get to a certain age they just have no use. But Jeeps, I was actually surprised when I looked and oh it’s a ’95, it’s in really good shape, this one is unique too, it’s a four cylinder with an automatic which is kind of unusual and maybe not the most desirable but economical and easy to drive. Most of them are standards with straight 6 engines which are awesome. I mean overall it’s a great vehicle, still in really good shape, the owner’s doing a bit of work on it but works good and we work on Jeeps that are decades older than that. They can last a long time.
Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for service for your Jeep in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Remember they are 17 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. If you want done right, these are they guys. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver; Vancouver’s best auto service experience, 16 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: I’m doing very well.
Mark: So we’re going to talk about jeeps, we’re back into the land of jeep, a Jeep Liberty 3.7 liter. So this is a gas engine which is a bit different than, talked a lot about their diesel vehicles, this is gas, what was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well, this vehicle came to us for a maintenance service and an inspection so we had a look at the vehicle and found a few things, one of them was a coolant leak on top of the engine which was not a huge leak but definitely something potentially serious which is why we’re talking about that on this hangout.
Mark: So was there a lot of coolant leaking?
Bernie: There wasn’t a lot and the interesting thing is the way the coolant was leaking, you know the way because of where the coolant was leaking, it wasn’t a large leak and could never amount to a large leak but where it was leaking was what’s really the most important thing. I’ll just show some photos here, this is our actual coolant leak. So this is the coolant overflow bottle, it’s located on the right hand side of the engine compartment and it’s basically an expansion tank for the cooling system, this is where the radiator cap, it’s, it’s out of the frame off to your right over here but the radiator cap sits on top. This is where you fill the coolant, now the red arrows are pointing to what’s broken on this piece. There’s a very small diameter hose, it’s basically an air bleed supposed to keep air out of the system so it circulates coolant and where the bottom arrow here, is where this piece here is supposed to attach into the coolant bottle so what’s happened is this, this has actually created a coolant, a small coolant leak that spews coolant out. Now where this bottle is located on the engine is kind of the critical part. I’m just going to work my way through these shares here, so this is the result of that coolant leak and if you look down, this is the top of, this is the right cylinder bank of the engine, and coolant bottle sits on top, now all that reddish coloured stuff that’s dried up anti-freeze, Chryslers anti-freeze from the factories are reddish coloured so that, it ends up showing like this. Now around here we have fuel injectors, we have ignition coils, that’s kind of the critical piece, the ignition coils sit in this area here and coolant is dripping down on top of the ignition coils running down into the spark plug wells. We have one more photo here, this is, these are the spark plug, sorry these are ignition coils taken on that cylinder bank so you can see that these coils are, this one’s o.k. but these ones are covered especially this one in the antifreeze residue and its run right down into the spark plug tube and caused, created an engine misfire. O.k.
Mark: So besides leaking coolant and you know potentially causing overheating problems, what other problems did this cause?
Bernie: Well this was actually causing the engine a slight misfire, the sparkplugs in this vehicle were quite old and we replaced them but I mean, had it started leaking a lot worse the engine would have developed, definitely developed severe misfire and with coolant seeping into wiring connectors, it can cause damage as well so I think, you know this leak may have been going on for a little while but we caught it at a good time to fix it, so the repair, basically new spark plugs just based on age, cleaning up all the leaked coolant and the ignition coils and replacing the coolant bottle and we flushed the coolant system with fresh antifreeze as well.
Mark: So how reliable would you say these gas powered Liberties are in comparison?
Bernie: Comparison to the diesel is what you’re saying?
Mark: Or into the, just into their competitors even.
Bernie: Yeah, yeah I’d say these vehicles do have their issues, the engines have problems you know, we’ve seen timing chain issues with them, we’ve also seen one common problem with this engine and it’s a 3.7 liter V6 Chrysler, also uses a 4.7 liter which is basically the same kind of engine but it has two extra cylinders, it’s a V8 and not a V6. One common problem in these engines is the valve seats fall out which is, which involves some major engine disassembly and major expense so you know, overall they’re not the most reliable vehicles out there, there’s a lot of them and if you’re asking do we want, which is better the diesel or the gas, I couldn’t really say which is better but because the diesels are, the diesels have their engine problems and they cost a lot to fix so if you’re wanting a vehicle that doesn’t have any problems, this isn’t the vehicle to buy but they are nice little niche vehicle you know, their size and being all wheel drive.
Mark: Anything further on the Jeep Liberty?
Bernie: No, I’d say you know, if you’re looking to buy a used one definitely get an inspection done on it and just do your research and know these particular items, you know if the diesel you know the, you’ve seen our hangouts, there’s a lot of information on the diesel, the problems in the 3.7 liter engine which is the other offering, there’s issues with those so as long as you go in knowing what to expect then there’s no surprises and everything can be, it can only be better.
Mark: And would you say with a vehicle like this that doesn’t have the best kind of record that regular maintenance is even more critical?
Bernie: We it is for sure, regular inspections, regular maintenance definitely more critical. We just talked about timing chains on Acura’s in our last hangout, again these engines all have overhead, overhead cam systems with timing chains and so again regular oil changes are just absolutely crucial to the life of these engines, so yeah good maintenance is really important.