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.
Mark: Hi, Mark from Top Local here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, we’re talking cars. And Bernie has been repairing and maintaining cars in Vancouver for 38 years and Pawlik Automotive, his shop, has been voted 18 times so far, Best Auto Repair in Vancouver by their customers. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 2012 Range Rover that had some issues with noise. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well this engine, when you start the vehicle in the morning, most noticeably, you could hear a rattling coming from the front of the engine and that was the primary concern with the vehicle. Sometimes when it was warm you could hear it too, but mostly on a cold start up it would happen for a minute or two.
Mark: So where did you discover the noise was coming from?
Bernie: It was coming from the timing chain and how we determine that, we have various listening devices but the best one we have is a stethoscope, not like a doctor’s stethoscope which is round and fits on your chest. This one actually has a pointed tip so you can put it against various metal parts on the engine and listen for noises and it’s very good to pin point where a noise is coming from. So from the timing chain, there are two timing chains on this engine, it’s a V engine, there’s a lot of different places to touch, you know different touch points for the noise. But it was very clearly coming from the timing chain.
Mark: And what’s involved in repairing a timing chain on a 5L Super charged Range Rover motor?
Bernie: There’s a lot of work involved. This is a, it’s an extremely involved bit of work. As I mentioned, it’s a dual overhead cam engine, it has variable valve timing, direct fuel injection and a Super charger, so all of that complexity makes for an extremely complicated job. Unlike the timing chains of old, where it was just a chain and a couple of gears, these have a lot of moving parts and pieces and precise alignment marks and things to deal with. So a few things involved actually, the Super charger has to be removed, the air intake system, the radiator fan, everything on the front of the engine has to come off. So there’s fan’s, pulley’s, water pump, the valve covers have to be removed, and to remove the valve covers on this engine, you have to actually remove the fuel injectors with a special tool because they tend to get stuck in the cylinders after a while. So we have a special puller to remove those and on and on, until you can finally get to the timing chain covers and do the timing chain.
Mark: Alright, what would cause the timing chain to wear in a fairly new vehicle?
Bernie: Yeah, so the vehicle is only, well at this point, only about 5-6 years old, and under a 100,000 kilometres, which is less than 60,000 miles. So you certainly wouldn’t expect the timing chain to be worn and what we found with these and the information out there, it’s an engineering problem. I’ll show you some pictures in a few minutes, we’ll have a look at what happened but it seems to be, but anyways, so it’s basically an engineering issue with this particular model of engine. So we’ll start with some pictures.
Yeah, so there’s a 2012 Range Rover, full size model with the Super charged V8 engine. There’s the front of the engine exposing the timing chains. So the cam shafts are up in this area here, on both sides of the engine, set Super charger sits right in this area here. So once the engine’s assembled you really have, you can’t see any of this kind of stuff. The timing chain covers are off and you can see two chains here, one going in this direction around these cams and the other going in this direction around these cams here. The timing chain tensioner is located here and up here and the guide rail for the tensioner is here. These are the critical problems with this particular engine. It’s not so much that the timing chains are stretched, I mean they’d probably last for 3 or 400, maybe 500,000 kilometres, before they’d stretch bad enough that they’d need replacement but the critical problem is actually right in this area here. And I’m going to show you some more pictures. So this is the timing chain tensioner. This is old one. This is the new one and you can see if you look carefully at the arrows pointing to the plunger, this piece pushes out against the timing chain and you can see this plunger is kind of smaller diameter than this one here and it fits into the timing chain guide. And this is the old guide and this is the new one. Now you can a wear around here and there’s some wear in this area here and you can just see a difference in design. This is actually like a steel button, a steel pad and on a different angle and I don’t have another picture on a different angle, but you can see this is much more robust and what happened, I think, is over time this design just wasn’t tough enough to handle the use inside the engine so the chain and guide would get caught and it would cause the chain to rattle. So interestingly enough, as we started to take the engine apart, as I started removing the timing chain tensioner, you could actually hear a snapping sound, all of a sudden the chain tension came tight and clearly this is where the problem lies. So this is before we took the timing chain off and that’s the slack that was in the chain, that’s what the rattling sound comes from. Again, I’ll just repeat the video so you can see that again.
Mark: And that should have probably no more than a millimetre of movement.
Bernie: It should actually have no movement. Once the chain was replaced there was absolutely no movement at all, you could not do that with a screwdriver. And as I mentioned, as soon as I loosened the timing chain tensioner bolts to remove the tensioner, something just went snap and it all of a sudden tightened up so it just gets caulked, it sits on a weird angle, it gets loose and causes it to rattle.
Mark: So what model years and engines are affected by this engineering problem?
Bernie: It seems to be 2010 to 2012 and as far as I know, it’s only Super charged models but I could be wrong about that. So don’t hold me to it. But definitely 2010 to 2012 in what I’ve read, it looks like part way through the 2012 model, they actually corrected the issue, probably designed that new tensioner and guide and corrected everything. So I think if you have like a 2013 and newer you’re not going to have that problem.
Mark: And so do other vehicles have timing chain issues that are similar to this?
Bernie: Well not this particular problem, but we do replace the odd timing chain in cars. I mean Ford V8’s so seem to have timing chain problems but a lot of times they don’t develop until 200 or a thousand or more kilometres. We’ve had Acura’s, 4 cylinders in the past where timing chains have skipped teeth, it’s not, we don’t do a lot of them but there’s enough of them out there. It’s pretty complex. One thing that does happen, they have plastic chain guides and it’s critical to change your oil regularly, as we often say, change your oil frequently because you know if these guides start to wear, that can cause problems. On this particular engine, we took it apart and there was absolutely no wear on the guides so had they not screwed up on their engineering, if I can say that, you know this chain would not be causing a problem for years and years and hundreds of thousand kilometres or miles.
Mark: So we seem to talk quite a bit about Range Rovers, so in your opinion is this because you guys have a lot of work from Range Rover clients in Vancouver or is this a problematic vehicle?
Bernie: I’d have to say it’s a little bit of both. I mean we do work on a lot of Range Rovers and Land Rovers but there are a lot of things that do happen to these vehicles and I mean this is a bit of an anomaly, it seems to be only affecting a couple model years, but there are a lot of predictable things that we find on these vehicles. Things like suspension bushings, control arm bushings that wear, air suspension compressors, I mean with this engine, the Super charger nose cones tend to wear. There’s quite a few predictable things but other than that, they’re good vehicles but it’s a complex vehicle. There’s a lot to them so there’s a lot more to go wrong.
Mark: And wasn’t brakes another rather quick wearing item as well?
Bernie: Now that you mention it yeah, I forgot, brakes do tend to wear pretty quickly on these vehicles also. When you look at the size of the brake, I mean it’s massive and you’d think of these brakes should last a hundred thousand kilometres or more but often they don’t last even 30 thousand kilometres. So it’s a very heavy vehicle and for some reason the brakes tend to wear quite quickly as well. So you will go through a fair number of brakes and tires too. I mean they’re a large tire but they’re a performance tire, so they tend to wear out and they’re expensive. So those are the kind of things you get in a performance SUV that you will have to spend money on.
Mark: So we kind of covered off our last question here, what else could an owner expect to go wrong but overall a Range Rover for it’s purpose which is a luxury conveyance, of the Queen, it’s a pretty impressive vehicle?
Bernie: Absolutely. I have to say, they’re made for a pretty good used value too, I mean they’re not really cheap but you know but after a few years they tend to depreciate in extremely, I’d like to say precipitously, the valve drops really fast, I mean you can probably buy a Range Rover that’s probably worth $200,000 dollars new for $50,000 dollars when it’s 5 years older and if you wait a few more years, substantially less. So you will spend a fair amount of money being repaired but you know it’s an incredible vehicle for what you get, in a used vehicle.
Mark: So there you go, if you have a Range Rover in Vancouver and you’re looking for service, the guys to see who are experts are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112, check out their website pawlikautomotive.com or our YouTube channel or our new Podcast. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark.
Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver doing the Pawlik Automotive Podcast for this week. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So we’re talking about a Land Rover LR2 that was having some fuel rail issues. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: So the vehicle was towed to our shop. The owner was driving it and suddenly it started running really poorly and he had it towed in because it just wouldn’t run right. So that was basically what was happening, basically un-drivable. Sometimes it would start and run and other times it wouldn’t and it would perform pretty poorly. So that was the issue with the vehicle.
Mark: So what kind of diagnosis and tests did you have to do to find out what was going on?
Bernie: Well first step, plugging in the scan tool to the vehicle computer and just seeing what information we can extract. When we went to the engine computer, it’ll often store codes if the check engine light’s on, which it was, and there was a list of, oh I don’t have the list in front of me, it was from what I remember about 10 or 12 stored trouble codes which usually indicates something big is going on. Doesn’t mean there’s 12 different problems because sometimes one problem sets off a code for something else and if the problem had been going on intermittently for a little while, it would set a number of codes. But there was basically a number of codes stored, we cleared them because when you have that many codes stored it’s ind of important to know what is the actual real problem. Came back, one code came backlit was the fuel pressure, fuel rail pressure too low and we cleared that and another time it came back fuel rail pressure too high. So there’s a few different codes. From there we look at the repair data information. What we found is there’s a technical service bulletin from Land Rover to reflash the body control module and a couple other modules in the vehicle. Not the engine but a couple other modules that can affect this kind of issue. So we did that and that was our first step in the diagnosis.
Mark: So alright, how did reflashing things work out?
Bernie: Well it didn’t actually solve the issue, but it’s important to do those kind of things because it’s actually easier to reflash something and know that you have all the proper software in place before you proceed to the next step. So while it didn’t solve the issue, at least we knew that wasn’t the problem. The next step we did, we started doing some tests on the vehicle for the, basically, again the code that seemed to come back all the time was fuel pressure too low, but yet the engine would run and it seemed like it was running too rich. So we hooked up a fuel pressure gauge up to the vehicle, monitored some scan tool data and found some interesting stuff.
So I’ll share some photos at this point. There’s our LR2, 2008 model and we will go to this picture here, this is the fuel rail of the vehicle. So the fuel rail is where all the fuel, the high pressure fuel sits and the fuel injectors are located underneath. So there’s the injectors underneath, these are some of the injector wires. The injectors are underneath, you can’t really see them here. The fuel pressure gauge connects to a little port in the end here, the fuel pressure regulator which the red arrows point to. This is the part what we eventually replaced and I’ll talk more about that in a few minutes, but when we looked on the scan tool and the engine was running, it was running quite rough, barely running in fact. On the scan tool there’s a fuel pressure reading and it’s at zero, zero kiloPascal and yet if you look on this gauge, well it’s at 100 psi, so 700, almost 700 kiloPascals which is way too high. The actual proper reading is around 400 to 450 range which is down 60 to 65 psi. So clearly the fuel pressure was way too high. And a close up of the fuel pressure gauge. Again you can see it’s at 700 kiloPascals and it should be down in this range here. There’s a close up of the fuel pressure regulator which sits at the end of the fuel rail and what this does is it monitors the pressure in the fuel rail, sends a signal to the computer so that the fuel pump and the pressure regulator in the tank can adjust the pressure. And finally after the repair, after replacing it, this is the reading, the vehicle ran great and this is the reading on the tool. So I think there might be pictures of you and I here, so I’ll just move this out of the way. But you can see, 438 that’s with the engine running right and that’s the proper pressure for this system.
Mark: So how difficult was the pressure regulator or sensor to actually change?
Bernie: Quite easy and I think I may have called that a fuel pressure regulator a couple times, it’s a fuel pressure sensor. So used to seeing a fuel pressure regulator at the end of the rail, I kind of get used to calling it that. It’s actually not too difficult. The fuel rail fortunately comes off quite easily on this vehicle. The pressure sensor just bolts onto the end and it’s actually, fortunately for the customer, a pretty easy, straightforward repair.
Mark: And as you mentioned, the vehicle ran really well once this work was replaced or work was completed?
Bernie: Yeah, it ran really well, I mean flawlessly and I mean the other thing to mention, I said we did do a reflash on several of the vehicle systems, so everything else you know whatever you don’t really know what would happen is we went to do this repair first and then didn’t do the reflash, it may not be running as well as it did. So it’s important to make sure all that kind of stuff is up to date and current, especially if the manufacturer suggests the problem with the vehicle requires a reflash.
Mark: So when you’re mentioning a reflash, you’re basically doing a software upgrade?
Bernie: That’s exactly what it is. In the automotive industry we call it a reflash, but it’s basically, it’s exactly, a software upgrade is another term for it. I guess they’re called reflash because they’re flashable…
Bernie: Flash program EPROM’s, yeah and so that’s why they in the automotive industry, they term it that but I mean other manufacturers will also say software upgrades, that’s kind of what people are used to hearing.
Mark: So while this is a, the model LR2, a lot of people know this as a Freelander and you haven’t said good things about Freelander’s in the past, how are these LR2’s for reliability and repairs?
Bernie: Well yeah, this is a much better vehicle. I mean, when I think of, they don’t call these Freelander’s in Canada, but in other parts of the world they call it, it’s a Freelander and so I guess this is the second generation and a much better vehicle. The first ones were, there’s not too many vehicles where I actually say they’re horrible and I wouldn’t recommend anyone touch it, but a first generation Freelander is one of those. I just you know, for anyone who owns one, just get rid of it. That’s all I can tell you because they’re just not worth owing, which is really rare for me to every say about any vehicle. But the LR2 is nice. I mean it’s the same chassis as a Volvo XC70, you know quite reliable, much better, far better built vehicle than the previous generation and I mean the only thing, the issues that we see, I mean this fuel rail issue, was pretty straight forward, it was a nice easy simple repair. The only issue we see with these, it’s kind of chronic is the rear differentials wear out, the bearings wear our prematurely. We a lot of Volvo XC70’s, we do a lot of these LR2’s. And interestingly enough as a new client, I road tested the vehicle I could hear the differential humming so it’ll need bearings at some point too. So that’s kind of a fact but that’s sort of the worst thing in these vehicles that we see that’s chronic. Other than that it’s a nice vehicle.
Mark: So there we are. That’s this week’s Podcast and video. And if you’re looking for service in Vancouver for your Freelander, LR2, 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. There’s hundred of videos on there, or our Youtube Channel Pawlik Automotive Repair. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark.
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver’s best auto service experience, 38 years repairing and servicing, maintaining cars and trucks in Vancouver and 18 time winners of best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well this morning.
Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Range Rover, 1999, a little bit older one that had a plugged engine oil pickup tube, I keep thinking pickup artist on this thing, pickup tube, oil pickup tube. What was going on with this SUV?
Bernie: So this vehicle came to our shop, the owner had, the problem he was having was the engine was making a ticking sound and the oil warning light on the dash, the red oil can like looking light, which is very serious, light was coming on and he’d had a similar issue in the past. So anyways, that’s what was going on with the vehicle. Low oil pressure and obviously a pretty serious concern.
Mark: And so how did you diagnose that it was a plugged oil pickup tube?
Bernie: Well this one was a little bit of a different diagnosis, you know, we work on cars for a long time so generally when you hear an entire engine going tick tick tick tick and the oil light on, it’s usually a pretty good indication that there is in fact little to no oil pressure in the engine. We could of hooked a gauge up and verified that, but in this case, the owner of the vehicle had the vehicle for a long time, had the same thing happen in the past a few years ago, and the oil pickup tube was plugged. And in fact, this is actually not an uncommon issue on a 4.6 litre Land Rover engine. So we opted to just simply pull the oil pan off and inspect it, figuring the pickup tube was probably plugged, as he’d mentioned. And it’s actually surprisingly easy job to remove an oil pan on this engine, which is kind of rare. Usually on a 4x4, it’s a complete pain to remove it, but this is actually a rare treat, very simple to do. So I’ll just share a few photos. 1999 Range Rover, beautiful vehicle in its day, you know, getting pretty aged now but you know again, top of the line SUV in its day. There’s our oil pan underneath the vehicle. Bit of a weird angle of a photo, but there’s actually a lot of space. This is the front differential, it’s a solid differential, I’ll get into that in a minute which is interesting and unique, but it’s not like a new Range Rover or even a lot of older American pick up trucks where you can, it would take you hours to get the oil pan out. This is a really simple, very accessible job. Let’s get right into the heart of the matter, there is the plugged oil pickup tube. So the oil pickup tube is basically, it’s a big long tube about a foot-18 inches long, thin you know half to three quarter inch diameter metal tube with a pickup section on the front and a strainer. It’s got a screen which you can see, this is black carbon sludge that’s being sucked into the strainer and blocked it, so when the engine is running it can’t pick up any oil. It just sucks on this and thats not a good thing. Here’s a view in the bottom of the oil pan. This is some more sludge we found on the bottom of the oil pan. So the repair job consists of cleaning the tube out, cleaning the sludge out, washing the pan, getting rid of it all and getting it all back together. Just while we’re looking at photos, a couple of unique things I found on this vehicle. It’s old school. This is the rear differential and it’s a solid differential, like the front, so it’s a pretty simple vehicle compared to a lot of newer pick up trucks and especially Range Rovers where they have all complete independent suspension and a lot of complexity. The vehicle still have air suspension which is you know, give it a nice ride and some adjustability, but it’s a benefit of the solid axles which are very durable and if you want to take this out in the bush, this would be a really, really good vehicle to do that kind of thing in. I think that kind of covers our photos. Yep we’re all good.
Mark: So the sludge is what blocked the pickup tube and where does the oil sludge come from?
Bernie: Well if comes from, it’s formed from combustion gases reacting with the oil. Now how that occurs, I mean mostly I would say it’s due to either a blocked crankcase breathe system, we’ve talked about PCV valves in an earlier podcast, you know, a plugged crankcase breather system will cause that kind of thing to occur and we actually did do a little more investigating on this. We actually found that one side of the crankcase breather system was blocked in this vehicle. So that’ll cause the sludging to reoccur quite easily but a lot of it can be lack of maintenance too. And in the olden days, this is a lot more common. I think the older formulation oils, newer oil formulations don’t seem to sludge up as much, but a lot of it is due to the crankcase breather system and lack of oil changes. And really you know, if you change your oil religiously, regularly, it’s important to prevent this. Also people think, oh I’m driving around the city, I don’t need to change all that much. It’s like when you live in a cooler climate like Vancouver, you don’t drive a lot of highway drives, just city drives, it’s the worst thing for the oil because it never gets to warm up fully, a lot of times and that causes the sludge to occur.
Mark: That’s really disappointing. I was thinking it was something like those old dinosaurs are trying to re-form their bones and grow again in the motor.
Bernie: Well it could be, it could be the beginning, you know.
Mark: So is this just something that happens with Range Rovers or is it common to all vehicles?
Bernie: Well this is actually, if you look on some Land Rover/Range Rover forums, you’ll actually find that a few threads and posts about this. So it’s not an uncommon issue on this particular engine but you know, over the years, in the past, I’ve seen it happen on a lot of different engines. A lot of times it happens, mostly sludging and oil occurs from lack of maintenance and lack of oil changes. So biggest thing, we always talk about changing oil regularly because that’s the biggest thing that causes this. And the moment the crankcase breather system has an issue and then that’s an often neglected part these days, again we talked in the past you know, PCV valves used to be replaced a lot because they’re easy, they’re just, a lot of older, I’m thinking of an American V8’s, they just used to clip in the valve cover. You could pull it out and change it in a matter of 30 seconds so why not do it. Now that isn’t really a full crankcase ventilation service because it could still be a blocked hose, but at least if you look, change the valve, a lot of times it would solve a lot of your problems, but nowadays, they’re largely forgotten. I mean, this vehicle has a PCV valve, it’s screwed into the intake manifold. People tend to forget about it, they just don’t service them.
Mark: And how are these older Range Rovers for reliability?
Bernie: They’re pretty good. I mean, we work on a lot of Range Rovers and Land Rovers, and they all seem to have their sort of quirky problems, for every generation has a certain problem with their engines and the next one doesn’t have engine problems and overall these are pretty good. You know, it’s a complex vehicle. It’s got air suspension, so there’s a lot of things that can go wrong, and do, so be prepared to be spending a lot more money owning one of these vehicles than you would on a simpler type of vehicle. But overall, they’re pretty good. I mean I like things when you have a repair like this where the oil system is sludged up, we can actually remove an oil pan quite simply and make a repair. That’s a good thing. So I often say, you know, every car has its positives and negatives, sometimes some cars have simple things to fix and sometimes they’re complicated. In this case, the oil pan was a nice simple fix.
Mark: So there you go. If you need some service on your Range Rover or Land 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 book ahead, they’re busy or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of videos on there or our Youtube channel Pawlik Automotive Repair or our new Podcast. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark.
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s top rated, best reviewed auto repair service. Thirty eight years of serving all makes and models of cars in Vancouver. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Very well this morning.
Mark: So we’re talking about a 2012 Range Rover Supercharged. These are very expensive and very luxurious vehicles. What was going on with this SUV?
Bernie: Well, it’s a Range Rover Sport Supercharged and the issue is with a supercharger. There’s a sort of subtle clacking noise at the front of the supercharger you can hear when you’re revving the engine up but under certain conditions and certain speeds.
Mark: And what was required to fix that?
Bernie: Well fortunately not a complete supercharger replacement. There’s actually a piece, a nose cone or whatever, a nose drive assembly and inside there’s a couple of bearings and there’s a kind of I don’t know what you’d call it, a fancy coupler that couples the drive unit of the supercharger. And that unit, that little coupler tends to wear out causing the noises.
Mark: So what exactly wears inside the drive unit?
Bernie: Well let’s, why don’t I just get into some pictures. Let’s start with the vehicle. There’s, it’s a 2012 Range Rover Sport, you know nice wheels, what’s not to like other than the gas mileage and some of the repair costs. It’s a beautiful vehicle, powerful, sporty, pretty awesome. We’ll get into the supercharger. So this is the actual replacement piece. This is the view of the actual new part on the nose cone. This is actually what couples this part to the actual supercharger itself. I’ll show a couple more photos but you can see, there’s sort of, there’s like three pins, there’s two here, one’s hidden and these are on the drive unit. Then this coupler sort of isolates the engine spinning, you know like vibrations from the engine with the vibrations of the supercharger. There’s three pins that fit in here. These are on the supercharger, so that drives the supercharger. We’ll look at the, this is the old unit which is we’re looking at a different side of it but it’s definitely quite badly worn in these particular areas here. So that’s what causes that. When you feel the front, when you take the belt off you can feel a lot of play in the supercharger when you turn the pulley there’s a lot, there’s a tiny little bit with he new one, but there’s a lot with the older worn out unit. Just a couple more views. This is the top view of the engine with the, this is the supercharger, well supercharger actually sits under here, this is the intake manifold with the intercoolers but the drive bearing and nose cone, this is with things partially removed, you see that top piece removed, the supercharger sits in the middle here. This is where the actual supercharger blades are located in this area and this is the nose piece here. So it’s a complete replacement unit available from the Range Rover dealer.
Mark: So is this a new issue with Range Rover?
Bernie: Well this engine is actually used, it’s a five litre engine, it’s actually used in Range Rovers and a variety of Jaguar products and this issue happens to any of this generation of engine. Can’t remember the starting year but you know, it’s up to 2012 to 2015 somewhere in that range. Maybe a little further on either end but it’s not just unique to this engine and in the repair business you can often tell how common a problem is. If you call up a dealership and they have the part in stock that usually, especially an expensive piece, that usually tells me it’s a pretty common problem. So it’s definitely something we’ve done from time to time
Mark: And so since this was a Range Rover, was this an expensive repair?
Bernie: Oh yeah. It’s pretty labour intensive to take the piece off but the good news is you don’t have to replace the complete supercharger and there are actually bits and pieces available. If one were to take more time to order parts you know, through different sources than the dealership, you can actually buy some of these parts individually for a lot less money, if you have more time on your hands but to actually replace a complete supercharger, it is extremely expensive. But this part, was in the one to two thousand dollar price range. But much cheaper than a complete supercharger.
Mark: And how are Range Rover Sports for reliability?
Bernie: Overall they’re pretty good but you know again this is a very complex vehicle. So you’ve go little things like all supercharger bearing and couplers that wear out, there’s air suspension, there’s a lot of complexity to these vehicles. They’re good and you know, you will expect to spend a lot more money on repairs. Things like brakes wear out pretty fast, it’s a heavy, large, performance vehicle so they just end to wear through brakes and tires and so there’s a price to be paid for having the vehicle. But you know, it’s pretty awesome ride.
Mark: And what sort of horsepower does this vehicle have?
Bernie: I don’t know the actual horsepower but when you step on it, it really goes. I love superchargers because the power’s so immediate. I mean turbo chargers, a lot of manufacturers like Mercedes, has stopped using superchargers, they’ve gone straight to turbos for pretty much everything and I guess they’re more efficient overall but there’s and certainly get a lot of power but there’s immediacy about a supercharger. It’s just like when you stop on it but it just goes and so I mean, it’s really kind of fun in this vehicle. It really does move fast for a big heavy, I don’t know a 5,000 or more pound truck. It’s pretty awesome.
Mark: So there you go. If you need your Range Rover repaired in Vancouver, the guys to call are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com or our YouTube Channel, we’ve got four years of videos other including quite a few about Range Rovers. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark