Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, Producer of The Pawlik Automotive Podcast and Video Series, and of course, we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 38 years maintaining and repairing vehicles in Vancouver, and 20 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, including this year, as voted by their customers. How are we doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing well. All of that good news, it's hard not to be happy.
Mark: We're talking about a 2014 Range Rover Sport that had a gear shift head repair. Sounds like a pretty simple process, but I bet it isn't. It's a Range Rover. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: The vehicle, the owner went to shift the gear. There's this little button you press with your index finger and move your gear shift around to park and it wouldn't work. The vehicle is towed in and we had to look at it, and what we found is that the actual knob, the little button was broken.
Mark: What did you do next?
Bernie: We were actually able to... we need to move the vehicle around, we were actually able to just kind of glue the broken plastic piece back together temporarily until we were able to receive the proper part. We did that, at least verified that that's all that was wrong with it, moved the vehicle around, and then we proceeded to repair it once the parts arrived.
Mark: What was involved in the repair?
Bernie: Land Rover sells a kit for this, of course, the part is only available from the dealer. Land Rover sells a repair head kit, which is good. Not very expensive. You can buy a complete shifter, but that's a very expensive repair and very time consuming. This is a pretty straightforward labor-wise repair and parts come in a kit. I'll just get right into the picture show here because this is where it's kind of cool, the parts kit.
We should be looking at a nice black Range Rover Sport model, Supercharged, and there's a picture of the gear shift head, basically what you'd be looking at from the driver's seat. Press that button, of course, the vehicle goes into park, not while you're moving, but when you're sitting still, you push that, the vehicle goes into park. To move it out of park, there is a button... I apologize, the picture is very fuzzy. The camera wouldn't focus that close, but that is the button right there that caused the issue and it was all floppy. You could tell something was wrong. That button must be pushed in order to move it out of park and into the other gears and this is a-
Mark: Sort of like a park lockout, basically.
Bernie: Yeah, it basically locks the vehicle from moving, just like in traditional gear shift where you move it right up to the P position and lock the vehicle. This is also kind of neat. It's illuminated, so there's different colours here depending on which gear you're in. This is the repair in process. This is basically the gear shift head removed. You can see there's a little electronic circuit and quite a few items in here. There's two buttons and switches, but the neat part of this job was the repair... was the parts that we got.
This is the... this came in a nice little boat, a 3 inch by 3 inch box, and when I opened the box up this is what came out in the box. Here's our new switch, that's the park switch, that clips in place, a new, this is ... I wouldn't call it the face plate, but the cover over here, comes with a new screw. And a new face plate with, it's actually attached an adhesive, so it's got new adhesive. But it comes with a little pry bar and then these gloves. These are electrostatic gloves. So it comes with this kit. Like everything's included, I thought this is really neat. This is a sign of a nice, high quality vehicle, and a very thoughtful repair procedure. Obviously I'm guessing in the beginning they may have had a few of these repairs they did where they blew the circuit board from static electricity. It's very easy to generate then where you're doing a repair inside a car. Just slipping across the seat will generate static electricity and sulphur.
Whoever's working on the car, just one little touch of the component you can blow it just with that. So these are static protection gloves. And by the way they were actually too small for my hands. I don't have massive hands, but it took a lot of work to fit those gloves on. They could've made them a little larger. But that's my only complaint.
Mark: So it's a difficult and expensive repair.
Bernie: No, not really. Not saying you should necessarily do it at home, depending on your skill level. It's not a very time consuming repair, and that's a rare feature for a Range Rover since a lot of things are expensive. But this is a, it's a nicely thought out kit to repair an issue that probably, a part that probably shouldn't have broken at this age, but did.
Mark: And the car basically won't move if that lockout won't work.
Bernie: Won't move. It used to be there would be shift lockout buttons and things you can push, and in this case it's all electronic which is the way everything's going, more and more so all the time, things just don't move unless the electronics and electrical items function. Will this is actually a mechanical failure of an electrical part. Everything's got to work like it's supposed to.
Mark: Is this something that you've seen before? Or often in the shop?
Bernie: This is the first repair of this type we've done. But I'd say it's probably fairly common because the parts in stock at the Range Rover dealer, and that always tells me, whenever we have an issue with, if the part's in stock, that means it's a somewhat common item. They don't tend to keep inventory on things that don't move off the shelf at a reasonable pace.
Mark: And what's your overall impression of Range Rover vehicles?
Bernie: I like them a lot. But they are expensive, they're expensive to buy new. They fortunately, if you're looking for a used one, they depreciate very nicely. I'd say fortunately, if you're the buyer, if you're the owner, you'll throw away a lot of money in depreciation, a hell of a lot of money. But they're extremely nice vehicle, in the luxury SUV category. Very popular around Vancouver, many part of the world.
Good vehicle, generally pretty reliable, but there are a few issues, and some of them are ... things like timing change, we discuss a lot among this podcast, that probably shouldn't go so soon. So some things, the build quality on some items isn't perhaps as good as others. But in other areas, they're pretty good. So just expect if you buy one, you'll pay a fair amount of money to repair it, more than you would for an average vehicle.
Mark: And maintenance is of course paramount to keep it running well.
Bernie: Maintenance is very paramount. I mean things, we get people a lot, occasionally with the luxury European cars, and any car, and they neglect to do oil changes and things, and I just shake my head because if you can't afford an oil change or the time to do an oil change, you really can't afford the time to replace the engine. They're just so expensive. So you're really, doing proper maintenance, and service is just key, it just keeps the cost way down.
Mark: So there you go, if you're looking for service for your Range Rover, Land Rover, in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. Check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com. Hundred of blog posts on there about repairs of all makes and models of cars. Of course there's our YouTube Channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, again hundreds, over 300 videos on there. And of course thank you so much for listening to the podcast, we appreciate it, thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thank you Mark, and thanks for watching and listening.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the number one automotive podcast in Canada, the Pawlik Automotive Podcast, here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: I'm doing very well.
Mark: So 2008 Range Rover Sport Supercharged, a little hard to get the engine started, because it was trying to start that to smoke it was tough, was that what was going on?
Bernie: Well actually, it started fine, but what was happening was there was an awful lot of smoke coming out of the tailpipe. And how much smoke, you might ask? There was like a ton. You start the engine, it was just clouds of a white-ish colour smoke just billowing everywhere. It was pretty serious. And my first thought was, "Okay, this engine is done." You know, like it's got a severe ... just my first look at it, the head gasket must be blown somehow, it's just pumping coolant through this thing. Because of the colour of the smoke, so that was kind of the initial, that was my initial thought on it.
Mark: And how did you diagnose the problem?
Bernie: Well we started, of course, you know, looking at things, removing the spark plugs, looking at the condition of the spark plugs. Pressure testing the cooling system. We actually did a compression test on the engine with the spark plugs out as well. Compression was good, all even all across, which was a good sign for the engine. And the spark plugs didn't have any sort of coolant fouling, so but they definitely looked like things had been running rich, and there was a lot of oiliness on the spark plug. So put the spark plugs back in, fired everything back up and really looked at the smoke again and realized it actually had more of a bluish hue to it than white, even though you know, it was still pretty light colour, but not that typical kind of blue you'd normally see.
But definitely after a while, going, "Okay, it's definitely an oil burning issue, and not a coolant issue." So digging a little further, I mean I'll just cut to the chase. What we found was a crank case breather valve was blown, causing oil to be just sucked into the engine and burnt up, really not a huge problem in the end to fix, but what probably would have led us to diagnose that a lot sooner would have been some code, maybe a check engine light on, and some lean condition codes, which happens in a lot of other European vehicles. But that wasn't the case with this Range Rover.
There was one stored code in the vehicle computer, and it was only a ... it was an Evap system code for a purge valve problem. And the purge valve, like a purge valve probably never cause a smoking issue, and it was kind of, I say a minor code because the check engine light wasn't even on, so it was a code that was kind of stored in the background. So you know, it took a little bit to get to it, but we basically found again, I say we found the purge valve is the issue, so let's ...
Mark: Crank case breather valve.
Bernie: Crank case breather valve. Thank you. I keep confusing that. I always rehearse these podcasts, and think about it, and I keep saying purge valve. Crank case breather valve, thanks Mark.
Mark: So what's involved in replacing that valve?
Bernie: Well it's basically the valve is bolted onto the right valve cover, really not a lot of work to do, it's pretty straight forward. And I'll just get some pictures, we'll have a look. So there's our 20, sorry, 2008 Range Rover Sport. Also behind is another, a 2013 Range Rover Sport, we're doing some other service on, so it looked kind of similar, just a little subtly different. So as far as the vehicle, so there's the purge valve, this is the piece that was defective.
Mark: Crank case breather valve.
Bernie: Crank case breather valve, thank you Mark. I'm glad I got you here today. There's the Crank Case Breather Valve located in the right valve, of course. This is the new unit put in. This is the hose that actually goes to the back of the intake system, where the fumes that come out of the crank case are sucked in. And that's the new valve, which is basically bolted into the right valve cover. And after of course, I'm most curious to see what happened with the part, why it failed. So we broke the top of the valve off, and this is basically, there's a large rubber diaphragm. Underneath it, there's a little valve and a spring.
And there you can see a tear in the diaphragm, and this is where the oil is being sucked through the valve and into the engine. So that tear should not be there, it just basically happens from old age, there's a lot of ... crank case fumes are very toxic, it's obviously a very special rubber, but they don't last forever, so 11 years was about all this one got.
Mark: So is this the same piece as a PCV? Or PC valve?
Bernie: PCV valve? Yeah. PCV stands for Positive Crank Case Ventilation Valve. And it's basically essentially the same thing, although I tend to think of the more old traditional type you'd find on American V8 engine, or a lot of four cylinder Japanese type vehicles, where it would be just a little cylindrical valve, about the diameter of a large vacuum, it would clip into the valve cover. And some engines still use a valve of similar type, but it's basically the same thing. For some reason, a lot of European vehicles use these large diaphragm breather valves. And these actually tend to fail more frequently, like the old PCV valves would tend to carbon up and sludge up over time. And you'd actually have restricted breathing, whereas these ones here, they just tend to rip after time, and cause other issues like lean condition codes and blue smoke burning.
Mark: So why does the crank case need to breathe?
Bernie: Okay, so when, in an internal combustion engine, when it's running, of course there's an explosion in every cylinder, every piston. And with that, every time that explosion happens, 99% of the exhaust goes out the exhaust valve, the waste products of the explosion. But some of it escapes past the piston rings, it can't be sealed 100%. And that gas that escapes past the piston rings is called breathe blow by gases. Now if you were to have an engine completely sealed, that engine would probably run for 30 seconds, and then you know, explode due to the pressure. So in the olden days, going back, many decades, there would be a road draft tube. And this road draft tube would basically be a breather tube, and those blow by gases would just breathe out onto the road and into the atmosphere.
Think about those gases, they're about the worst pollutants generated in a combustion engine. They're just horrific, you know, the polluting gases are just the worst. So when they started developing emissions equipment on vehicles, the first thing they developed was a breathing system called a PCV system. Positive Crank Case Ventilation, where it would actually suck those vapours back into the engine and re burn them again, and essentially clean things up. So that was a huge step forward in vehicle emission reduction and really, really good for the environment for smog removal. Started in California, you know, way back in the 60s and then just eventually every car has it. And they've just gotten more and more sophisticated on a lot of European vehicles. But that's basically what the system does.
Mark: And was there anything else that you replaced on this vehicle?
Bernie: Yeah, so on this Range Rover, like I mentioned earlier when we were diagnosing it, we looked at the spark plugs, they were quite fouled from all the oil that had been sucked through the engine, so we replaced the spark plugs, and it was also due for basically an A service, maintenance service so we did an oil change and filter, and yeah, everything ran really well. The owner was really happy with it. No more smoke coming out the tailpipe, and really not a huge cost repair, considering when you looked at the smoke earlier.
Mark: Absolutely. So if you're looking for service for your Range Rover 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, YouTube channel: Pawlik Auto Repair. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Again, number one automotive podcast in Canada, number one in Korea, varying between one and two in the United Kingdom, and we thank you so much for listening. Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Yeah, thanks for listening and watching. And thanks, Mark.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, Producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. 19-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. And we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: I'm doing well.
Mark: 2013 Range Rover Sport Supercharged has a severe timing chain noise. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: This vehicle arrived at our shop on Monday. Well, I arrived Monday morning and found the vehicle parked outside with a message that was on our voicemail from about 12:30 at night when the vehicle had been dropped off. There was a severe ... The owner said the engine had lost power, severe ... Some noises in the engine and a number of warning lights on on the dash.
Mark: Was this an issue that occurred suddenly?
Bernie: Well, according to the owner, a few months back, we replaced the supercharger nose cone. It was very noisy and he said even since then there was a noise in the engine. I think it was something that had been progressing for a little while, then just got suddenly worse. The issue came along suddenly that they needed to drop it off to fix it. It was good they did and didn't drive it much further, as we'll see soon. Yeah, other than that, I think the noise had been there for a little while.
Mark: How did you start your diagnosis?
Bernie: Well, of course, listening to the engine we could hear there was something pretty severe rattling and didn't want to run it for very long. Ed, who was working on it, popped the oil filler cap and he could see the top of the left timing chain. He said you could actually see a piece of metal in there, which we'll again see in the photograph. He said as soon as he kind of poked down and touched it it dropped down inside the engine, so at that point we knew, "Hey, we can't run this thing. This is like too risky. We gotta pull the timing chain cover off and see what's going on. Something is broken in there."
Mark: How could it have broken apart like that?
Bernie: Well, let's ... Why don't we just look at some pictures and we'll talk about that, because we're still kind of speculating as to what may have happened. Let's get in some pictures here. This is the lower timing chain cover removed. There's a ... It's a pretty large area in the front of the engine, but the lower timing chain, this is a ... You can see the crankshaft here. Here's the two timing chains. This is the right chain, the left chain, and there are of course, tensioner ... There's the tensioner. This is the guide ... This is the tensioner lever and this is the guide rail. You'll notice something here. There are actually bolts missing. There's no bolt here, no bolt there. We didn't remove them. You can see this guide rail here has a bolt.
This is what happened. These bolts came apart and there was also ... In behind here, and you'll see a better picture of this later, there's an oil jet that sprays oil right on ... Directly on the timing chain and the gears. There's a piece that actually sticks around and points here, and that piece is completely gone in this picture.
Mark: Not to get too pedantic here, but the timing chain basically ties the camshaft together with the crankshaft so that the valves open at the right time when the pistons are up towards the top of their stroke.
Bernie: It does, exactly, and of course, it's critical that these move in exactly the right time because pistons and valves, the clearance is very tight. If the timing goes out, pistons and valves will hit and cause basically ... It basically destroys the engine. For all intents and purposes at this point you'd either have to rebuild it ... Excuse me ... Replace it with a new one or get a good used engine. Those would be the options had that occurred, and it could very well easily have happened in this case.
Let's just get into a few other pictures here. This is just some of the damage. This piece had been floating around inside the engine. Actually, I'll show you the piece in a minute, but this is just where stuff ... Metal had been banging around on the cylinder head. These are some of the other pieces we took out. This is part of that oil jet. You can see it's been scraped, bent, twisted. This piece is folded over completely. Broken bolts. These were the bolts that were in place where the timing chain guide was.
This picture here, this was the cover. You can see where the bolts have been. The arrows point ... These bolts have been rubbing for quite a while on the cover, so as the chain runs of course there's a lot of rattle and force and movement, so it's been banging around and almost wore holes through this cover, but it's still in good shape. It's just a ... It's a chunk of metal so really wouldn't be damaged. A little more wear and there'd be a hole in it, but at this point it's okay.
What else have we got here that's good to look at? There's our ... This is after the chain was removed. This is how the ... This is the damage on the front of the engine. This one here, the bolt's pretty much sheared off and the actual surface here is good. This, as you can see, the bolt has broken off quite a far ways in and what's left of it, and a lot of damage around this area. What was a flat surface like this where the bolt shoulder would rest has now been completely damaged. We have ways of repairing that, which we did, all these pieces. It's been a work. Stuff you really don't want to have to do, but it does need to be done. One more shot, just some of the damage from the guide ... Or sorry, the oil jet that was flailing around and banging against the chain and scraping.
There's a lot of bad noises going on. I guess we could probably get to the picture just showing the completed job where everything's back together. Again, here's the chains, guides bolted back in. Here's that jet that we ... That I mentioned earlier. You can see there's a whole arm here that comes around and twists around and that piece was of course mangled and bent and twisted. There was this piece left, but this one was nowhere to be found. Part of this jet here bolts up underneath this particular piece here, so somehow these bolts came loose. We don't know why or how, but they did and that's sort of what caused everything to go bad.
Mark: We'll go back to, how would those bolts ... Would they just work themselves loose? Was it a bad repair job in the past? Any clues?
Bernie: We're not really sure. It's possible that this timing chain could have been replaced in the past. I haven't had a chance to quiz the owner on it. He hadn't mentioned it and it is ... The vehicle's about 100,000 kilometres, which is sort of where we normally find the chains start to rattle. The 2010 to 2012 for certain have a lot of issues with the timing chains because the ... I've shown this in a previous ... We have a previous podcast on this ... The tensioner, the plunger of the tensioner and the guide rail are kind of substandard in size. They should have been made bigger, and so they tend to wear out and cause the chain to start rattling.
This had the updated type in it, so it may be either one of two things. Either someone had done the repair and not tightened the bolts properly, or B, it just wasn't ... It just somehow from the factory it wasn't tightened properly and it came loose. That's not usually something you see. Engines are manufactured really well, but it's something that can happen.
Mark: With all those chunks of metal floating around in there, I imagine it could have been pretty catastrophic.
Bernie: Oh yeah. I'd say by the Grace of God or a miracle or good luck, whatever you want to call it, that chunk of metal did not go actually between the chain and the gears, because had it done that, that would have been very easy for that to happen. It would have definitely jammed up the chain in the engine and it would have ... It would have been in one big boom destroying the engine. Pistons and valves would have collided and the repair bill would have been substantially higher.
Mark: I'm assuming the repair was just getting all these parts back in proper order and retiming everything and making sure it's back into good condition?
Bernie: Yeah. I mean, essentially the job was the same as any normal timing chain job we would do on one of these engines other than we had to repair those bolt phalanges that were broken and of course replace that jet, which we don't normally do when the timing chain's rattling. Other than that, it was basically the same level of work.
Mark: Anything that the owner could have done to possibly prepare for this? Or not had this happen? Maybe be as catastrophic or dangerous as it was?
Bernie: Well, yeah, I mean, I think the lesson to be learned out of this is when you hear a noise in your engine, especially a rattle noise, it's critical to have it looked at and fixed right away. Now, I say ... I mean, the repair bill for this job is not really gonna be much more ... A little more than it would have been if we'd addressed it earlier, but had it driven even a little further or just ... It could have already had that piece fall off and break and jump ... Go into the chain. It really ... The preventative maintenance here ... We often have this ... J.D. Power and Associates today ... Study saying it's 46% cheaper to maintain your car and fix things before they're broken, but I'm starting to see in a lot of cases it's actually hundreds of percent cheaper some of the time to fix things. When you hear a little noise, fix it, because this job would have been triple the cost had the engine failed, or more.
Mark: Again, we'll talk about Range Rover Sport Supercharged. This is a pretty high-performance vehicle. How are they for reliability?
Bernie: Pretty good. We talk about some of the timing chain noises. It seems these Supercharger nose cones are an issue on pretty well all of them, including Jaguars with the same engine. Other than that, the cars, they're pretty good. There's lots on them to go wrong and over the years the suspension compressors go bad. Those are things we see on Range Rovers. I haven't really done too many on these models yet, but they're at the age where we'll probably start seeing them and be doing them.
Overall, pretty good. I think they seem to get better and better as time goes by, but these timing chain issues with these are a little bit of a ... I'd say disappointment. I mean, it's work for us. That's a good thing, because we never complain about that, but from an owner's perspective, it's a little annoying having to do that, a timing chain at such a young age.
Mark: Well, it's a high-performance, ultra-luxury vehicle that has a lot of things that are very convenient and very comfortable, but also very expensive to fix.
Bernie: Exactly, exactly. That's right, and I just think about brakes, too, on these things. I mean, they tend to wear pretty fast. They have massive, enormous brakes, but there's a lot of vehicle to stop and performance ... Things just tend to wear out and ... Great vehicle and good used buy. They tend to depreciate quite well, so that's a good thing if you're looking for a good luxury used vehicle, but you will spend a fair bit of money fixing it.
Mark: There you go. If you're needing any kind of service on your Range Rover in Vancouver, the guys to see, the experts in Vancouver 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 of articles, videos on there. Literally hundreds. As well, our YouTube Channel. Eight years almost of videos on there of all makes and models of cars and repairs. Of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Thank you, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark. I was just thinking maybe one ... Pretty soon we'll be saying there's thousands of videos on there at the rate we're going, so it's kind of exciting. Anyway, thanks for watching. Thanks, Mark.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert. We're here with Mr Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive, and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: As we do this next version of our podcast, we're talking about a 2013 Land Rover LR2 that had a bizarre kind of a thing, a PCM reflash. What is a PCM reflash?
Bernie: A PCM reflash, well, I'll break the words down. A PCM is the powertrain, short for the powertrain control module, and that module you'll find that on any vehicle. The powertrain control module controls the engine and transmission. Once upon a time when computers were in their earlier generation, there would be an ECM which is an engine control module, and then they'd have a TCM, a transmission control module. They finally integrated it all into one because it kind of worked nicely as a package. The powertrain control module takes care of all that.
Plus, it gets inputs and signals from the body control module and processes it all to keep the engine and transmission running in an optimum way. A reflash is basically a reprogramming of the vehicle computer. These computers have a flashable memory, and they can be reprogrammed. At one time, again, we're going back over 20 years now, vehicle computers had the memory basically programmed in when you bought the computer, were just set for the vehicle.
The manufacturers, as computer technology got more complex in cars and the engine management systems got more complex, they realized they needed to be reprogrammed from time to time. It was a helpful thing. I'll just take General Motors, for example, they have one computer that fits in, say, I don't know, 2000 General Motors vehicle. They have one computer that'll fit in almost every model of vehicle. The difference is the way the programs reflash or the way it's flashed.
It'll be for a Cavalier with a four-cylinder engine it'll have a flash programming, for a Suburban with a V8 at a certain size it'll have a certain other kind of programming. That's a good way to keep the costs of the computers down, and you can program it. Now, reflashing is something that can be done after the fact where the manufacturer realized, "Hey, we need to make a change here so that you can reflash or reprogram." Short, simple explanation there.
Mark: Why did this vehicle need a PCM reflash?
Bernie: What happened with this vehicle, and we actually featured this vehicle in a podcast a month or two back where we replaced a camshaft actuator gear that was worn out. When the owner originally brought the vehicle to us, it had several trouble codes stored and the check engine light on. The one thing we addressed and fixed back then was the camshaft gear issue.
Since we did that, the owner had noticed the engine seemed to idle a bit rough. The check engine light kept coming back on, so we did a couple of other repairs to address that but still that rough idle persisted and the check engine light still kept coming on for a lean condition code and an EVAP code. Now, as I mentioned, we repaired a few parts and items but we were never able to get rid of the lean code and that rough idle was still present.
We weren't sure whether an engine mount was causing it. It was just a subtle shake, but, nonetheless, annoying for the owner. We figured at that point where we'd done every repair and verified everything we'd done that it was time to look and see if the vehicle could be reflashed, the computer program could be reflashed. That can be a likely cause of things like persistent check engine lights. When everything else is done and fixed to spec and it still won't perform properly, often a reflash is required. That's what we did.
Mark: Did it solve the concern?
Bernie: About a week and a half later we called the owner. He said it definitely runs a lot better. The check engine light did come on once, and he has a code reader. He switched it back off and it hasn't come back on since. I'd say we're pretty much, I mean we definitely solved most of the issues with it. There could be some other underlying problem, but he's definitely happier, much happier with the way it runs.
Mark: As technicians, how do you guys know when to reprogram the vehicle's computer?
Bernie: That's a good point. I just explained the circumstances of this vehicle, and that was a good example. Other vehicles sometimes a check engine light will be on, or there'll be a certain drivability symptom, and there'll be a technical service bulletin by the manufacturer suggesting reflash the vehicle computer. Those are ways we know. Otherwise, most vehicles built in the last 15 years will, or, well, last 10/15 years probably need to be reflashed if they have never been done.
The manufacturers are always looking at issues and creating new reflash files. Again, it's one of those things of if it ain't broke don't fix it. Is that the word?
Bernie: Sometimes if the vehicle's performing really well, it may not be necessary. With a computerized vehicle, you never know what performance, gas mileage that you might be missing, because the computer just takes care of things, so that it could actually be an improvement. I'd say most vehicles, that probably is the case.
Mark: When you guys are doing this, just to be clear about it from an electronics procedural viewpoint, you're downloading a file that you then upload into the computer to reprogram the EPROM in the actual vehicle computer, is that right?
Bernie: That is exactly we do. It basically just wipes out the original programming and puts the new one in. We download it from the manufacturer, directly from their website.
Mark: Is there a simple way for you to tell if the vehicle's PCM needs to be reflashed?
Bernie: Well, there's not really a simple way. You have to actually have the flash files, the program set up, and load into the vehicle computer. Then from there it'll actually tell you there's a reflash available for this vehicle. It's a bit of an upfront cost for the customer, because we have to commit ourselves to doing it once we buy the file. Then we access the vehicle computer, go through everything, and it'll tell us, "Yes, there's a reflash available."
Fortunately 95% of the time that's exactly what we find. Same with this Land Rover. It reads through the programming file and said, "There's an update for this vehicle," which we knew we were on the right track to at least creating some kind of performance improvement on the vehicle doing this. That's really the only way we can tell is basically just to get into the vehicle and do it.
Mark: Can you maybe just go step-by-step, once you've decided you're going to do that, what's the procedure to reflash the PCM?
Bernie: The procedure, we basically hook up our computer. For every manufacturer, we have to have their software system. For a lot of manufacturers we have that set in our computers already, and then we plug into the computer. We go onto their website. We buy the flash files, or the access to programming, and then from there we access the vehicle computer. Download the file, if I'm using the right word. Is it upload? No. Download the file to our computer and then perform the reflash procedure the way their software system works.
The neat thing about Land Rover, and I can actually get into sharing a few photos here. What I was going to say about Land Rover that's fantastic is their software system is actually a complete OEM system. Some manufacturers will only allow us to access the PCM or transmission control module, depending on what it has, to reprogram the vehicle. Land Rover's fantastic and Jaguar as well. This is that exact OEM software.
If you go to the Jaguar dealer, this is exactly the same equipment that they use. We have access to that. Probably better than 50% of manufacturers when you go in to do this procedure give, also, when we buy the software or the access, which we can subscribe to on a day basis or a couple of days, or months, or a year depending on what we want to spend and the cars we work on. This allows us to actually use OEM diagnostic software which is fantastic.
This is boring, but this is just basically a picture of after we reprogram the computer. Tells us software information and that the programming was done successfully. As I mentioned, this is OEM manufacturer software. The other thing we're able to do, can you see this okay, Mark?
Bernie: This allows us to run, again, manufacturer-specific tests. We have other really good scan tools in our shop that will do these kind of tests, but the nice thing about this is this is directly the manufacturer's made software. We know the test has run 100%. There was a code for an EVAP system fault that he'd had previously, and we did replace the EVAP canister. After that I reran the test, and you can see here, "Test passed. Tight system. Fault free."
From the manufacturer's test that there's no leaks in this EVAP system, which is a really good thing to verify.
Mark: Kind of touched on this earlier, but is there any times that it would not be a good idea to reflash even though it seems like you're saying that most cars could benefit from reflashing?
Bernie: The one area I'm a little bit cautious with is that once you reflash the computer, you can't go back to the old file. I can cite one circumstance that sticks in memory. I had a client who bought a brand new Ford F-350, 6.4 litre diesel. I think it was a 2008 or '09. Bought the truck. It was great. Had the great gas mileage you expect out of a diesel. Ford called him back in, "Hey, we need to reflash this computer." They reflashed the computer, did whatever they did, and the gas mileage dropped in half from 16 miles a gallon to 8. He was pretty pissed, as you can well imagine.
The reason, they had to do an emission reprogramming on the vehicle, which is why people remove the emission equipment off these vehicles because the gas mileage just drops in half. I don't know how you actually keep the air cleaner by burning twice as much fuel, but we can argue about that another time. Nonetheless, this is one circumstance where doing a reflash can have negative consequences and you can't go back. That's why we're a little cautious.
Normally, I mean in any reflash we've ever done in our shop it's always been positive.
Mark: Any last thoughts about this service?
Bernie: It's good. I don't think there's anything else. When I wrote the script, I'm thinking, "What else do I have to say?" I think we've covered it all. It's, again, just part of a good maintenance program on a vehicle to have the computer files checked every once in a while, maybe every couple of years. If you're not certain, it's a good idea to do it. You never know what the performance benefits will be. As I mentioned, once you do it there's no going back.
Bernie: Manufacturers normally don't do it unless there's a positive reason. I'd say for the most part if you come to our shop, ask us, we can talk to you more about it.
Mark: There you go. If you're looking for service for your Land Rover or you need a PCM reflash because of particular issues that you might be experiencing, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead. They're really busy. If you're in Vancouver, please call. If you're not in Vancouver, please call your local service advisor. They can't diagnose your problems over the phone. It's not in integrity to do that. We have to be able to see your vehicle.
As well, we have a vast library on YouTube. Check us out at Pawlik Auto Repair, and on the website, pawlikautomotive.com. Thank you so much for listening to the podcasts. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thanks for watching. We really appreciate it.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, as voted by their customers. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So we're talking about a Range Rover. We're going to England, and why did I have a German accent? We're going to talk about a 2006 Range Rover Sport Supercharged, quite a high performance vehicle, that had a lot of coolant leaks. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well, the vehicle was originally brought to our shop, the client's concern was that the heat wasn't working properly inside the vehicle cabin. And especially it was noticeable that the driver's side was colder than the passenger side. So the first step in any heating system diagnosis, or one of the first steps is to see what the ... check the coolant level. We inspected the coolant level, found it was low, performed a pressure test on the cooling system, we found several leaks. So fixing that first was the key item.
One item we found that was leaking was the radiator, also the water pump had a leak and there was possibly some leakage coming from under the intake manifold. It was hard to determine between that and the water pump, where that was coming from. Because there's a number of, so many components that are ... things cover up each other, that it's hard to see things sometimes without disassembly. But that's what we found on our initial test.
Mark: So how do you spot all the leaks when there's so many like that?
Bernie: Well, I mean the radiator's located at the front, on the rad support in the front of the engine, so that's pretty distinct and you can see those kind of areas. The water pump, you can see, again, the area where the coolant's leaking. This is where coolant leaks sometimes get a little tricky to diagnose, especially on modern vehicles, where there's so many hoses and pipes and connections and things are buried. A lot of times we go on experience of, this is a common failed part. Or you actually have to start disassembling things to find out where the leaks are coming from. But on this one, we could see the water pump. They have a weep hole in the pump. You could see that was leaking.
None of these were gusher leaks, but there were enough that there was drips and consistent coolant coming out that needed to be repaired.
Mark: A lot of work, basically.
Bernie: A lot of work, yeah, absolutely. They don't make them easy on these vehicles. They're nice and like you said, high performance. To me that's often synonymous, on a modern vehicle, with lots of extra work.
Mark: So what's involved in replacing all those, and fixing all the leaks and replacing hoses that were leaking?
Bernie: The radiator of course is, I'd say, a simple remove the radiator and replace it. It's nothing simple on this vehicle. There's a lot of components that need to be removed, little flaps and guides that angle the air through the radiator. It's connected up to the AC condenser. Like, not actually connected, but bolted in that area. It just takes a lot of fiddling to get it in and out, not an easy job. Once that's out, of course, a water pump is not so difficult, because it's easier to access on the engine. But the real kicker of the job was, what we found is there's a hose assembly underneath the supercharger that was leaking, something we find from time to time and repair. And that was probably the major piece of work that needed to be done. I'll just show a picture of that, while we're at it. You can see this okay?
Bernie: Look at the centre. So it's a V8 engine. We're looking at the centre in the engine, this is the valley area of the engine. And these are the intercoolers for the supercharger. The superchargers sits in the middle here, where my mouse pointer's moving around. That's been removed. You can see some hoses down here. There's one, two, nice and shiny. These are the new hoses. And these were leaking underneath the intake valley. The hose's complex, it goes to a number of different areas. Unfortunately, this picture's a little dark in the back, but as you can see, the hose starts way up front here, moves around, it goes to the back and splits off into several pieces.
Mark: So as the engineers try and route these complicated engines, route all the different pieces around, they've decided that they would put it under the supercharger? And how often does a hose like this fail?
Bernie: Well, this is not an uncommon repair for us at our shop. As the vehicle gets older, of course, these hoses are rubber, they're subject to a lot of heat, a lot of heat, sitting in this area here. So it's not the smartest design, in my opinion. It would have been better to use metal piping, perhaps a little hose here, metal pipe running back. Same with this one here, it could have been done with a metal pipe, and then put the rubber ends at the back. Or even just trying to minimize the amount of rubber would have been a smart idea. But they did it the way they did it, and we have to repair it however it's done. But certainly not the wisest idea.
Mark: Are they failing basically because of the heat cycling that's taking place underneath the engine like that?
Bernie: Yeah, I think that's a major cause. There's also some quick connect ends and pieces that can fail as well, on this and other hoses of these types of designs. But really, the heat is the biggest issue that causes these hoses to fail. In all fairness, the vehicle is, what, it's '06, it's 12 years old. That's a pretty good run, but there are ... My son recently bought a 1984 Toyota Celica and it has some original heater hoses on it. That's a much longer run of a car. But these aren't buried underneath anything, they're just kind of out in the elements. But good quality hoses and they're still lasting and they'll probably last ... they may last for another 10 or 20 years.
Mark: Yeah, the heater hoses already ... Anything that's dealing with moving fluid around in the vehicle's going to be really hot on the inside, but also then, they add the extra level of ... they're running on top of the cylinders, so they're really hot on the outside as well, basically.
Bernie: Yeah, exactly. I can't say that there's anything wrong with the quality of this hose. When we were talking, I was thinking about a ... Way back, I used to have some clients with Hyundai Ponys, if anyone knows what that is. It's a piece of crap car, cheap. I mean it was as cheap as cheap could be. One thing I noticed about those cars is, one way they made them cheap is to use very bad quality hose. After probably five years of usage on these hoses, they were as hard as rocks. And you could take the hose and literally grab it and break it with your hand. So we'd replace those hoses on those cars a lot. And I noticed this was like a differentiating factor. You take a Toyota, 20, 30 years later, you've still got a lot of original hoses. You take a Hyundai Pony, a cheap car, five, six years, the hoses don't even last. That's where they save money on certain things.
So on the Range Rover, to diagnose, could they have made the hose tougher? Yes, but probably metal piping would have been better. But this is what we fix.
Mark: So how did the vehicle work after all of these repairs?
Bernie: The cooling system was great, but the heating system still had an issue. It was still not quite as hot on the driver's side as the passenger. So there'll be more to do. But there was, as you can imagine, quite a substantial amount of work and a bill and the owner needed the vehicle back. So we'll be tackling it for round two, probably a blend door issue inside the heating box, which is in and of itself going to be quite a job. But the most important thing with a heating system concern is making sure the cooling system is in good shape and delivering the right amount of fluid, coolant to the heater cores. Because without that, of course, you can fix all the other things and go, "Oh, it's still not fixed." And the risk is with the coolant leak, you can wreck your engine.
Mark: So we talk about Land Rovers fairly frequently. And this is a 4.2 lite supercharged engine. How is it for reliability?
Bernie: I like these engines. They're pretty good. They don't have a lot of problems compared to some other, like previous generation engines. The four litres, some of the BMW engines they've put in these were horrible. And some of the newer ones, of course, are nicer, but the five litre, the 2010-12, the timing chains go prematurely, the supercharger nosecone wears out, a lot of premature wear on those things. These engines seem to be pretty durable. This coolant hose is one of the bigger things we fix on them. And this vehicle's now 12 years old, so it's fair to have some repairs.
Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Range Rover or Land Rover in Vancouver, the guys to see, they're experts, are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. 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. YouTube, got hundreds of videos on there, including many about Range Rovers and Land Rovers and all sorts of different kinds of repairs and maintenance issues as well. Thank you so much for listening to the podcast and thank you, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark and thanks for listening, thanks for watching. We really appreciate it.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive videos and podcasts. We're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 19-time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So, two old farts talking about cars again. We're talking about a 2011 Land Rover LR4 that you had a fuel leak repair issue with. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: We done a service on this vehicle a few days prior to this job: a basic inspection on the vehicle and removed some running boards from the side that had been cut, been a bit rusted. The owner wanted them removed. So, we did that. And a couple of days later, he noted a fuel smell in the vehicle, like raw gasoline smell when he sometimes, when he'd drive the vehicle. So, the vehicle came back for us to investigate that issue.
Mark: All right. What did you find?
Bernie: Well, it took a while to find any fuel smell. You know, obviously we drive the vehicle and kind of sniff around the vehicle, and nothing was noted right away. So, we put the vehicle up on the hoist and sniffed around a little more, and then finally found some fuel leakage at the top of the fuel tank, which is not ... There's not much to see up there because the tank of course is stuck right up under the floor pan of the vehicle. But, there was definitely an odour of fuel coming from that area.
Mark: So, is there any kind of diagnostic equipment you need for this kind of concern other than your nose?
Bernie: Well, we don't need it, no. But yeah, that's ... You got to. A good nose and eyeballs are good for fuel leak diagnosing. I mean, again, we're looking for things and we're smelling around. So, if you haven't got a sense of smell, you definitely need to find someone in the shop who's got a sense of smell to find it. But, yeah, that's kind of the main thing now. In the past, we used to have a four gas exhaust analyzer. Some shops have five gas ... you know, four or five gas analyzer, and that was a very useful tool for finding fuel leaks. We don't use it anymore because there's no emission testing in Vancouver. Hasn't needed it ... We haven't needed it for a long time. And in all the cars we work on, they're really ... Having a gas analyzer is just a useless piece of equipment nowadays. So, at one time very important; not anymore. But it is actually very useful because you can sort of move around with the probe, and when you get near a fuel leaking, see the hydrocarbon levels just go crazy because that's what gasoline is. It's hydrocarbons. So, anyways, most of the specialty equipment we have are our nose and our eyes.
Mark: So, the leak was coming from the top of the gas tank. What's required to do that kind of repair?
Bernie: What we had to do was actually remove the gas tank from the vehicle, pull it down, and then inspect it further to see what was causing it. Was it a cracked tank? Was it a fitting on the fuel line? I did mention, too, this vehicle is fairly rusty. Even though a 2011 is not that old, but it obviously had been driven through some extremely salty climates. Fuel lines are all plastic, so we kind of figured it was probably something else. But you never know with ... There's always metal involved.
So, we'll just get to some pictures here. This is the top of the fuel tank. This is the ... This is actually a fuel filter, although it's basically where the fuel lines connect to the vehicle. One's a line here, and a line there, a line there. These are ... So, basically, the leak was coming right around this flange here where the fuel filter fit in. Going a little further into the taking things apart, we actually found the leak was coming from this part here. This is actually cracked. Fuel filter housing was cracked. And that's what was causing the leak. And I'm just going to go back again, now that you see what I did mention about rust. I mean, there's a fair bit of rust here. The vehicle has been in some pretty bad road conditions, so it's possible the plastic just cracked because plastic cracks. But it's also possible that it got a little strained from ... As things rust, they tend to expand and cause certain pressures on things. So, it's possible that that rust could have also caused that to leak. We'll just look at one last picture before we go. And that is, this is the actual new unit here. So, you can see some electrical connections here. This is actually a little surprising on this vehicle. This is actually a fuel filter, and it's like a sort of power unit. The fuel lines connect up here, but they actually ... Everything connects to the fuel tank module, which has the fuel pump and sending unit in, and that's actually a separate unit beyond this. So, not sure why they made it so complicated, because a lot of times they just make it all one unit. But this one, they make it two. Fortunately for the customer, is a lot cheaper to replace this than replacing the whole pump assembly.
Mark: So, the pump is where the fuel pickup is that goes inside the tank?
Bernie: Yeah, and that's further down. That's below. I don't have a view of the side of the gas tank, but that's further down beyond this piece. So, this piece is just sort of an intermediate piece. But on most vehicles, this part would actually be ... This part here would actually connect to ... would actually be the fuel pump, and it's all one unitized piece. For some reason on this vehicle, they did it in two parts. As I said, it actually makes ... It actually made this repair cheaper for the client, because often a fuel pump for a vehicle like this could be a thousand dollars. So, you know, this is a substantially cheaper piece.
Mark: With that being the fuel filter, is this not a regularly scheduled service item?
Bernie: Well, no. Normally, in the past, fuel filters used to be a regular service item. But since the mid-1990s, most vehicle manufacturers either stuck the fuel filter inside the gas tank or put very minimal filtration on the fuel. And the fuel filter itself is actually a non-serviceable item. If this was a serviceable item, they certainly wouldn't have put it at the top of the gas tank where you have to actually drop the gas tank to take it out, because that's a fair bit of work. There are very few cars. There's the odd European car that I can think of that has a fuel filter you can still replace, but the interval is so long. You're talking like in the 1 to 200,000 kilometre range that it's almost something you don't normally never need to do. And that actually makes an interesting question. Why did they used to have fuel filters and why do they not anymore? I've often wondered that, and I think that it's probably because the gasoline manufacturing process and storage of fuel has got so clean and tight that, you know, filtering fuel is just become a non-issue. So, I mean, that's kind of neat. I mean, there is still a filter, but it's extremely rare. I can't remember the last time we fixed one because the filter got plugged.
Mark: Are there any other major issues with this vintage of Land Rover LR4?
Bernie: No, they're all a pretty good vehicle. We don't see a whole lot of issues with them. I mean, as I said, you know, it's a Land Rover. It's a more complicated vehicle with the air suspension and all of the nice features of these vehicles. So, there's more to go wrong. But essentially, they're pretty well-built and pretty decent.
Mark: So, there you go. If you're looking for service for your Land Rover 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 to book ahead. They're busy. Or, check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com; Youtube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair; hundreds of videos on there. Or, thank you very much for listening to the podcast. Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark, and thanks for watching.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: We're talking about a 2013 Land Rover LR2. We've seen quite a few of these over the years. What was happening with this Land Rover?
Bernie: This Land Rover, well, this is a different issue than we've discussed before. The owner's complaint was the check engine light was coming on and off. No performance issues with the engine, but he'd scanned it himself or had someone scan it, there was a few trouble codes for a few things, so he was concerned about it, wanting to make sure it's in good shape.
Mark: You did some diagnosis, and what did you find?
Bernie: Well, we found there was a number of stored trouble codes. A number meaning that there was about four or five codes, but the main one, some of them were EVAP system codes, but the main code of concern was a P0341 which is a cam shaft position sensor code. Our diagnostic procedure, it's different every time, but in this case we cleared the codes, road tested the vehicle to see what would come back, and that code returned pretty quickly. We also noted, there's a bit of a rattle noise in the engine on many startups. You know, it would last for one or two seconds, so doing a little further diagnosis we found that that issue was generally related to the cam shaft actuator or the cam shaft gear having a problem, and that causes both the rattle and the check engine light because it puts the intake cam shaft out of time where it's supposed to be.
Mark: This sounds like a lot of work.
Bernie: Well, it's a fair bit of work. You know, the timing chain cover has to come off, the cam shaft gear has to be replaced, so that's a valve cover, timing chain cover, there's a fair bit of work involved in this. I just think back in the days of the old V8 American engine where you could pull the timing cover off the front of the engine in a matter of a couple of hours. On a simple one, you could have it all done. These are way more complicated. There's variable valve timing. There's special locking tools you have to lock all the different shafts in position, because nothing is keyed. It used to be everything was keyed. Now, pretty well every engine you need special tools to lock the cam shafts and crank shafts in place, and you put the chains in, you set the tension, you pull all the things out and away you go. It's easy with all the tools. Without them, pretty much impossible.
Mark: When you opened up the engine, what did you find?
Bernie: Let's get into the picture show portion of the show. What we found was this. You can see the picture here? Yeah, this is the valve cover off. This is the exhaust cam shaft back here. This is the intake cam shaft here. You have two solenoids here. These do the variable valve timing. The variable valve timing system works through engine oil pressure. One thing, this is the gear here, called an actuator, sometimes called a cam phaser depending on the application of the vehicle. You have your exhaust gear, you have your intake gear here.
You'll notice this big hole here, I'll show another picture that will illustrate better, but variable valve timing system, they all have a lock pin and what happens is it actually locks the fear in a fixed position until the engine starts and there's oil pressure. That allows the base valve timing to always be in the right spot. What happens with this, and there's actually a Technical Service Bulletin from Land Rover about this particular issue, this code and this particular problem, is that this lock pin actually breaks and doesn't hold it in place, so the timing chain will rattle around and of course it causes that code.
I'm getting to our next picture here where you can see, this is the new gear, this is the old one. You can see this plate here is missing. There's also inside here a spring, and then there's a pin. Now, I'm not even sure if the pin's still in there, kind of difficult to tell, but nonetheless, without the spring and the plate, it's lost its functionality. Of course, that's basically our issue. What else do I have to say here?
Mark: Did you find anything else as you went further into the engine?
Bernie: Well, we did actually. That's sort of the main problem and we'd ordered up the gear. I also found, interesting enough, when we took things apart further that, there's a guide rail on each side of the timing chain. One of them's fixed, the other one works with the timing chain tensioner. You can see on this particular one here, this is basically an aluminum guide rail with a plastic plate on it that the chain rubs against, so it keeps it noise-free. Part of this had broken, you can see where the chain was actually rubbing right against the metal. Again, that's part of our noise. Whether this was caused by the actuator, it's hard to say, or whether it just wore out because these things do happen, they do wear out.
The other interesting thing, so this is the bottom end of that guide rail, that's not in the picture I show you. That actual broken piece was further up, and you can see the plastic piece rubbing against the timing chain here. This little spring here is not supposed to be there. This is the spring that was actually inside the cam shaft actuator, it's basically just broken out. It broke apart, and of course it had to go somewhere. Where that little metal plate is, hard to say. I assume it's probably sitting in the bottom of the oil pan somewhere out of harm's way, which is good, because they have a strainer that prevents those things from being sucked into the oil pump, which would certainly seize it up.
This, by the way, is the timing chain tensioner, so this is basically the plunger, the piston that holds the tension arm tight against the chain and it's also fed by oil pressure to keep it tight. Of course, if it didn't have a spring and a lock mechanism, it could spring back when it was cold or when it lost oil pressure, which is every time you shut the engine off, so they put a lock piece in here and this is like a little ratcheting mechanism.
Every manufacturer has a different piece, but this prevents the tensioner from slipping backwards when it loses oil pressure. It'll always move out to wherever it needs to be, and if the chain wears or stretches, it'll push it just that much further. Of course, there's a limit to everything, but this mechanism keeps the chain from rattling. Sometimes you get an engine where the chain will rattle on startup, and that's because this tensioner has failed. That is our picture show for the day.
Mark: Is the rattling on startup, is that a common issue on this two litre Land Rover engine?
Bernie: Well, as I mentioned, there is a TSB from Land Rover for this particular problem, for the code P0341 and also the rattle on startup, which is-
Mark: Just to remind us, it was a TSB is?
Bernie: Technical Service Bulletin. These are put out by the manufacturer. They're not recalls, they're just, perhaps sometimes they should be recalls but in this case they're not. The Technical Service Bulletin basically it's a common problem that a manufacturer has identified, so their repair department and fortunately we, anyone can get access to them, can get access to proper repairs that have been found out. Nobody's perfect in the manufacturing business. Everything has problems, so I don't know if they try their best every time, but I like to say they do and then they find out over time, "Okay, this particular part's wearing more commonly than others and this is what the issue is." It helps us in the auto service industry more quickly diagnose and accurately repair problems.
Mark: Having a TSB issued means it is a more common issue or is always occurring, whatever the case may be?
Bernie: I would say it's not an always occurring thing, but it's obviously common enough that they see them. Once a TSB comes out, you can be sure that it's a common problem.
Mark: If I was a conscientious Land Rover owner, is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening?
Bernie: Well, a couple things. First of all, as far as that cam sprocket or that lock pin breakdown, no, there's probably nothing you can do. That's just a manufacturing issue and there's nothing you can really do to be preventative. However, that wear on the timing chain, it's hard to say whether that happened because the sprocket, that piece came out, maybe it lodged itself in something, caused something to break, or whether that was just something that happened over time. Oil changes, we've talked about, are critical, and especially with timing chain engines. A lot of cars have very long oil change intervals, I think too long for many of them. For people who follow that really long interval, I think sometimes that can cause wear and things like these plastic parts can wear over time. Again, being the conscientious owner, just get your fluids changed regularly, probably more often than recommended by the manufacturer. The manufacturer's recommendations are the bare minimum. Of course, if you go longer than that which we see some people do, well, you're really treading out into, on thin ice.
Mark: There be dragons.
Bernie: That's right, exactly.
Mark: The LR2 is also known as a Freelander in some markets. How are these newer models for reliability?
Bernie: Well, a hell of a lot better than the old ones, I'll say that. The earlier generation Freelanders were, I don't like to put any vehicles down, but to me, that was one of the worst vehicles made in the last couple of decades I've seen. The engines were just horrible, and they don't sell the diesel versions in Canada or the US, but I've talked with people from England and Australia who have worked on these things, they say the diesels are just as horrible as the gas motors. Yeah, the newer ones, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. They're a good vehicle. I mean, here's a little defect that we're talking about here, but every vehicle has them. I mean, sometimes you get lucky and it won't have anything, but for the most part, they're way better and they're serviceable. The thing I really don't like about those older Freelanders is the engines were so badly built and designed, that you couldn't really do anything but replace it with a complete unit. That's, to me, absolutely ridiculous.
Mark: Older, what kind of time frame are we talking about?
Bernie: We're talking early to mid-2000s. They were kind of a roundish looking, in Canada anyways and probably the US is says Freelander on the vehicle, whereas once they changed to the next generation, which I think was '07, '08, I can't remember the exact year, then they called them LR2s. If you have an LR2, I say it's a decent vehicle. If it says Freelander, we don't even like to work on them in our shop, because I just know, the end game with them is just so, it's an engine replacement. It's kind of ridiculous to spend any money on a vehicle that's that badly built.
Mark: There you go. If you have a newer model Land Rover LR2, the guys to see to get your repairs are Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com or our YouTube channel which is Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there as well. Thank you very much for listening to the podcast. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thanks for listening.
Mark: Hi, its Mark Bossert here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik. We're doing the Pawlik Automotive Podcast from Vancouver and we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So, today we're talking about a Land Rover LR3 that had a throttle pedal problem. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: The vehicle actually came to our shop with some suspension issues which we in diagnosing found there was actually nothing really wrong with that end of it, but there was also some intermittent faults with the vehicle would go into limp mode while driving it. Through the diagnosis process, we found that there was an issue with the actual electronic throttle body and with the throttle pedal assembly. We'll just talk about the throttle pedal assembly today on this vehicle.
Mark: Well, how does the throttle pedal be a part of a problem with the car going into limp mode?
Bernie: Well, basically the electronic throttle sends a signal to the vehicle computer to as to what the position of the gas, essentially the gas pedal where you put your foot. If it doesn't like the readings from that particular signal, it flags a warning and it'll cause the vehicle to just go into a limp mode. And because all the vehicle computers talk to each other, they want to know where the gas pedal is, how's the engine running, should the suspension be up, should it be down, there's a lot of the complexity of the communication in these vehicles, so one thing will cause another thing to happen and that's how it kind of goes into limp mode.
Mark: So, let's not assume this. What do we mean by limp mode?
Bernie: Okay, yeah, good question. Limp mode is basically there is a major fault or serious fault detected in the vehicle and it'll allow the vehicle to run at a reduced power rate so that you can basically limp it home or limp it to a shop to get fixed. So, you'll see that actually British cars are pretty good for that. They'll actually, a lot of Jaguars will actually say, "Limp Mode," but other vehicles if the transmission has a shift problem, all of a sudden it'll go into that mode. A lot of diesel vehicles, again a certain problem occurs, it'll go into that limp mode because either it'll be putting out excessive emissions or there's a safety concern with the way the vehicle's running. It allows you to get to a shop to repair it, but not much more than that.
Mark: All right. So, we have a throttle pedal assembly which is a pretty weird way of just saying a gas pedal. How come this is so complicated?
Bernie: Excellent question. So let's have a look at the item first.
There's our throttle pedal assembly. I'll just move us out there. So there's where your foot goes. This part here bolts up to the firewall and, of course, this is the pedal that moves back and forth, and here is an electrical connector. Inside here there are springs, so it's got a, it gives you a feeling that you're pushing against something. Okay, the old fashioned way was a cable connected to the throttle and say on a carburetor there's a return spring, well there is on a throttle body system as well, a return spring so it gives you that feeling of you're pushing on something and it springs back. So there's all the spring feel is done in this pedal and then inside there's a couple of different sensors that sense the position of the pedal. That's basically how the unit works as you push it down, it sends the computer a signal.
It'll actually send at least two signals. One, and the sensors work in reverse. So one will go say from zero to five volts, the other one will go from five volts to zero depending on when you push it. The computer looks for a correlation between those two movements, those two numbers that are preset. And if there is any variation of any sort, it'll, the vehicle will immediately go into a fault, limp mode.
Mark: All right. So, again, why are we using electronic throttles? This seems like really complicated.
Bernie: Well, yeah, it is very complicated. The reason for using electronic throttles is, again, it's like through and a lot of engineering and vehicles, they, the engineers have found that there's ways to ... It used to be, I'll just say the old fashioned way, you open the throttle, it allows more air to flow and the engine increases in speed, and the throttle was the control for that. But they've also found that there with engine electronics they can because you have electronic control over the fuel delivery, you have control over sometimes the intake manifold runners, some vehicles even have a lot will have electronic variable valve timing. Once you can control all those things, the throttle doesn't need to be that primary controller of engine speed, and by doing so, you can actually have a huge effect on engine performance and a lot on exhaust emissions. When you close a throttle a certain amount it'll cause a spike in emissions, so if you can actually cut the amount of fuel to slow the engine down versus having a throttle close, then you can make a substantial reduction in exhaust emissions.
Those are some of the reasons. A lot of it is driven by reduced exhaust emissions. It also effects fuel economy. I mean performance, you stomp on it, it opens. That's kind of affected differently. I think electronic throttle largely for emissions and sometimes fuel economy.
Mark: And you can really notice it with if you're around any older vehicles, and where I live there's a lot of hot rodder’s, we'll call them, with old vehicles and they drive by with lots of noise and there's a smell, a stink, that used to be what was normal and we don't notice anymore, I mean, in all the modern cars.
Mark: That's part of the throttle actually changing that?
Bernie: Well, that's to a certain degree. I think the biggest factor would be a catalytic converter, I mean, because that takes exhaust emissions even on a good clean running engine and reduces them enormously. But, yeah, the throttle’s all part of it. All the engineering that goes into a modern engine makes the difference, and a catalytic converter doesn't work instantaneously, so when you, you know some cars when you start them up and they're cold and they still have a bit of that smell, but it disappears pretty fast. But it is really a major difference and you kind of forget about how clean cars really are until you stand behind a, until you're following an old car somewhere and you go, what is that smell, and your eyes start burning and you go, wow. Everything used to be like that at one time. It wasn't that long ago, everything was like that. There's people out there defending oh, you got to have things simple and yeah, you do, but it's like you know, I mean we're ... I mean the poisons that are coming out of a car like that are just horrendous. They do look nice though.
Mark: So, how often do you find fault with electronic throttle systems?
Bernie: It's not really common, but we do see a few of them here and there. The more common problem is usually the throttle body itself will fail, and those are, throttle body it's on the engine, it lives in a much more hostile environment. It's a major moving part with motors and sensors, so there's a lot. A little more complexity to the actual throttle body, so they tend to fail a little more frequently than the pedals, but we do pedals on a variety of different vehicles.
Again, I was saying it's one of those components, the reason we replace this one it's had trouble codes and it's ... It's a lot of, what am I saying? It's a safety item like you don't ... When they engineer the vehicle, they don't want to have some kind of false signal or something where you're only idling and all of a sudden it thinks you're in full throttle. That's why they have so many, what's the word I'm looking for, redundancy built in. There's a lot of technology to this piece, and it's important. With a cable it's pretty straightforward, you either push it or you don't, but with the electronic, you don't want a false signal to the vehicle otherwise the vehicle might go flying through you driveway into a swimming pool like Audis used to. And they didn't have electronic, they did not have electronic throttles back in those days either, so.
Mark: No. Or even just the cases where cars had been hacked and people are, outside people are controlling your car, and changing the throttle electronically.
Bernie: Yeah, exactly. Those things all need to be considered and they do, at least hopefully. I'm not sure for hackers. I think there's always new frontiers that are they probably find out hey, we didn't quite bulletproof that thing as much as we should have.
Mark: And how difficult a repair was this? Did you have to take out the dash or any of that or are these generally pretty easy?
Bernie: Yeah, this is not that complicated. The assembly unbolts from under the dash and it's not really a super-complicated job. They're usually not too bad. They unbolt fairly, generally speaking, fairly easily. The nice thing about it you know the cables are simple, but it's actually ... Nice thing about modern cars with electronic parts is you basically unbolt a piece, you undo the electrical connector, bolt it back in, plug it in, do whatever reprogramming, and away it goes. It's a lot easier than having cables to hook up and in a lot of instances, so.
Mark: Fish through etc. So there you go. If you're looking for service for your vehicles that has a problem with it's throttle, the guys to see in Vancouver, or your Land Rover, service a lot of Land Rovers, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112. Please note, that's a Vancouver number. If you're in the Vancouver area, we'd love to hear from you. We'll service your vehicle. If you're from somewhere else in the world because we get calls from all over, please, we can't diagnose your vehicle over the phone. That's not ... We don't feel like that's in integrity. We don't know there is too many variables there.
So we hope you're enjoying us on our podcast and we thank you for watching on our podcast. We have our video channel where there's hundreds of videos on there for all makes and models and types of vehicles. And of course, if you want service, give us a call. You have to book ahead, we're busy. Pawlikautomotive.com as well if you're interested in our website. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark and thanks for watching.
Mark: Hi. It's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast and we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, the big bopper right here in Vancouver, talking about cars. How you doing, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So, we're talking about a 2013 Range Rover Sport that had a supercharger problem. What was happening with this Range Rover?
Bernie: Well, the same issue we've done a podcast on this recently. Same issue. The supercharger nose cone coupler was worn, causing quite a clacking sound when the engine was running, and it needed to be replaced. Pretty common issue on this vehicle.
Mark: So, what part actually needed replacement?
Bernie: Well, the actual part that wears out, I'll share some photos in a second, is there's an actual coupler between ... the way a supercharger works, it's basically got blades for better term that rotate and compress the air that goes into the engine. But that's driven from a belt off the engine, and in between that, they put a coupler that has some flexibility. Not certain why they do that. I'd say it's probably noise reduction, smooths things out, but the coupler wears out. So, that's what causes the noise, and let's just get into some pictures right here. On this video, you can see that there's quite an enormous amount of play and I'll just get into a few photographs here and we'll have a look at the actual part. So, there is, this is a picture, actually, of the new part, and you can see this is the actual coupler unit here. You can see this okay, Mark?
Bernie: So, there's three pins here, and these connect into the actual supercharger. This is the nose cone assembly piece here, so this is actually driven from the belt, and there's three pins here, although one's hidden behind his white plastic plate. But there's some springs and cushioning mechanisms in here that allow some play, but not a lot. So, this is what a good part looks like. Now, if we get into the worn piece, this is what the coupler removed, you see a lot of rusty bits here from the springs that have basically worn out and rusted away. There's the coupler. Again, this is the worn one. You can see there's bits and pieces missing in this area. There's springs and pieces that are in here that basically have disintegrated and gone, and there's the coupler worn out sitting on the nose cone. So, you can see, again, the same pieces as in a nice clean white piece, but when this is rotated, there's an incredible amount of play between these two areas which is not there on the new part. So, again, there's the new piece. So, there we have it.
Mark: So, does the supercharger need to be removed to replace the part?
Bernie: It does need to be removed. Not entirely out of the engine, but it needs to be unbolted from the engine and lifted up in such a way that we can actually access all the bolts to take the nose cone off. So, it would be nice if they built it in such a way you could take the nose cone off without unbolting the supercharger, but unfortunately they don't make it that easy.
Mark: What other parts do you replace at the same time?
Bernie: Really, at the same time, there's just gaskets. Whatever we remove, there's intake manifold gaskets, there's the actual intercooler which bolts up top the supercharger, and there's a big huge gasket in that area. That needs to be replaced as well. That's pretty much it. Cooling system needs to be drained, so that needs to be properly refilled and some antifreeze added, but that's pretty much it. The nose cone assembly and the gaskets.
Mark: So, how did it sound after the repair? You said there was a clicking sound?
Bernie: Oh much better. It was so noisy when it was running and idle and revved up before, and much quieter afterwards, although I do have to say the engine itself is still, it's a little bit of a noisy engine in this vehicle, but substantially quieter, enormously quieter. Much better.
Mark: How many kilometres were on this vehicle?
Bernie: Not a lot, really. Surprisingly under 100,000. These things do tend to wear out pretty quickly and pretty early on these vehicles.
Mark: Is that a normal supercharger attachment on other supercharged engines that you've seen?
Bernie: Well, this is the only vehicle, this and Jaguar uses the same engine, so this problem happens in Jaguars and Land Rovers, but this is the only vehicle we ever replace this particular part on. Others don't seem to wear out that way.
Mark: Does your Mercedes, for instance, have that?
Bernie: No, it doesn't. It doesn't have that system. Yeah. At least if it does, it's much more durable because that thing's got 170,000 k’s and it's still quiet.
Mark: So, like you said, it's an exclusive sounding problem to Range Rovers/Jaguars.
Bernie: Yeah, and it's only this particular engine. We have clients with supercharged Jaguars that are older vintage that never have this problem. So, it's something they, I don't know the exact model year spread, certainly from 2010 and up, Range Rovers we've done them, so I think it's sort of around that generation.
Mark: Again, let's, superchargers. What does a supercharger actually do? You'd think that something that's being turned by the engine would actually take a lot of power, and yet it actually generates power? How does that work?
Bernie: Well, you say what does it do, well, it actually gives you a lot of power. What it does, now, you're right. It does actually take power from the engine, is it actually compresses the air going into the cylinder. So, on a normal engine which is called a naturally aspirated engine, as the pistons move, they suck air in as much as the throttle opening will allow. This is on a gasoline engine. It'll suck air in under atmospheric pressure, compress it, the piston comes up and mix it with the gas, it explodes, and there's your power. But with the supercharger, it actually fills the cylinder with extra air, substantial amount of extra air, more oxygen, and then you can inject more fuel so it just creates a whole lot more power. So, it's amazing. I love superchargers because the power is instant and immediate. The turbo chargers have a lag. With engineering in modern engines, you can barely feel the lag, but when you drive a supercharged engine, you can feel it. The power's just so instantaneously there. They've been used in drag racing for an awful long time. If you want just more power in an engine, put a supercharger on. Of course, the engine has to be built for it, too, because you could blow it up pretty easily with all that extra, but of course, most supercharged cars don't get great gas mileage because you've got so much power, but when you're out on the highway and you're cruising and you're not accelerating, it's actually very efficient because you're actually getting a lot more per piston spoke.
Mark: So, there you go. If you're looking for service for your Range Rover or Jaguar with a supercharged engine in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. Check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of videos on there of all makes and models of vehicles and repairs, or our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, or thank you for listening to our podcast. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thanks for watching.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here in Vancouver with Mr. Bernie Pawlik. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So, we're going to talk about a 2006 Range Rover Sport and some control arm bushings. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well, as in the title, the control arm bushings were worn out. This vehicle had some creaking sounds in the suspension, a few clunks when you go over bumps, and we found among other things the front lower control arm rear bushing was very badly worn. That was our Range Rover. Let's go into ... Actually we can go straight into a video, and I'll actually show you what this bushing looked like. Okay, let's have a look. So, you can see this rubber is extremely badly cracked here. I'll just play it one more time.
Mark: And it's supposed to move like that, but it shouldn't be cracked, basically.
Bernie: Well it's supposed to move not quite that much, and it's definitely not supposed to be cracked. Yeah, that's the bushing worn to an extreme point, and it happens on all of these Range Rovers, Land Rovers, all ... It's a very, very common problem.
Mark: Alright, so what is a bushing?
Bernie: It's basically a rubber flexible connector, and they're mostly used in vehicle suspension systems to connect any part that has movement. A control arm is basically the arm that goes from the frame of the vehicle out towards the wheel to the, it's called the knuckle. That's the part where the wheel hub and bearings sit and the wheel eventually bolts to. So, there has to be flexibility, there has to be movement, and a bushing is a way to facilitate that. So, every time you hit a bump, there's a little rocking movement, and that's what the bushing facilitates. So, if it was something that was required a lot of precision or there was a lot of movement, they'd probably use a bearing instead, but I can see there could be problems with those, too, with water getting in, so this is a rubber piece that can handle extreme weather elements and works pretty effectively but nonetheless will wear because it is rubber, and it twists and eventually wears.
Mark: So, do other bushings wear as badly as the one that you showed us?
Bernie: That is the worst one that wears in these vehicles. I mean, other ones do as well, and we're starting to find a lot of Land Rovers and Range Rovers as they get older, in the 10 plus year range, especially some that may have been out in salty roads, where the real control arm bushings are starting to wear not in sort of in the way of this picture, but the bushing is basically a rubber pressed into a metal frame or casing, so eventually the metal will start tearing off or rust will get in and start comprising the joint between the bushing. So, we're starting to see it wear there, but this is definitely the worst wearing. Consistent, if you own a Land Rover, Range Rover, you will replace this bushing within 100,000 kilometres of usage.
Mark: And was this a front or rear control arm?
Bernie: This is a front control arm, lower control arm, rear bushing. It's actually a very big, large piece, too.
Mark: And ... Well, I guess we've sort of addressed this, but why do these bushings wear so frequently on Land Rovers and Range Rovers?
Bernie: I think it's all in the engineering and design. It's just not an adequately built part. Otherwise, it would last a lot longer. An interesting example, I had a 2001 Subaru Outback for many years, and the lower control arm bushings on this particular vehicle, I mean, it's a different vehicle, but the lower control arm bushings ... I had the vehicle for 16 years, close to 300,000 kilometres. The front lower control arm bushings never worn. In the next generation Subaru, they redesigned them so the rear bushing was a different type. It was a vertical bushing instead of horizontal. We replaced them all the time. So, actually a lot of it goes into the engineering and design of the vehicle, but clearly these bushings are just not adequately built to last a long time.
Mark: And that's a really large vehicle to start with, so you need some-
Bernie: It is a large vehicle, but the thing about the Range Rovers is it's a luxury ride vehicle, so what they're doing is they're taking a vehicle that could be used out in the bush or driven through any road in Africa and trying to put a luxury ride to it. So, you have to make compromises. It's got to have smoothness to it. You don't want it to feel like you're driving in a truck. You're driving in a nice car. So, yeah, so that's where a lot of the compromise of these things happens.
Mark: And are there any alternatives for this that would last longer?
Bernie: Well, we're actually looking into that because after years of doing this and replacing them, I believe there are some alternatives available, and that's actually something we're looking into, so we'll talk about that at a future podcast, but it looks like ... They're not readily available through any normal parts supply channels, but I think there are people who sell unique parts for these kinds of things. We're going to look into that because I think it's better for us if we can fix it and you don't have to come back ever again or it lasts twice as long. That's a good thing.
Mark: Absolutely. So, if you're looking for service for your Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, or Range Rover ... Every model. HSC, et cetera. Your guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. Remember you have to book ahead; they're busy. They are 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers, and they've been repairing and maintaining cars in Vancouver for 38 years. So, these are the guys to see. You can check them out on their website, pawlikautomotive.com, on YouTube, Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there, or hopefully you're listening on our lovely new podcast on iTunes. Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark.