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2007 Nissan Sentra Heater Blower Motor Replacement

Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast. And of course we're here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience and 20 time winners, 20 times, as voted by their customers of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. And of course we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: A Nissan Sentra 2007, there was something going on with the heater. What was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle came in, it had a very noisy, when you turned the heater blower fan on, it was making quite a hideous racket and needed to be repaired and replaced.

Mark: What's involved with repairing a heater motor?

Bernie: Well, on most cars it's, on many cars it's not that complicated. You can usually remove the blower motor through a little panel under the dash, maybe takes an hour or two worth of work. Unfortunately, on this vehicle, it actually involved removing the whole dash to get at the heater blower motor. It was an extremely involved job. Not too many cars like that. I'm thinking, some BMWs are like that, some Volvos, but kind of surprising for a Nissan. But that's what was involved, so the whole dash had to come out, the heater box dismantled to change the blower motor.

Mark: When you took the motor out, what did you find?

Bernie: Well what we found was a rodent's nest inside the blower motor, inside the heater box and all the items that the rodent had used to make the nest, which was mostly the insulation from under the hood, the firewall installation had been completely chewed away and conveniently moved into the a heater box. That was basically, it had basically plugged the cabin air filter. It had, there's debris all over the inside of the squirrel. Okay, this is kind of funny because we call this the blower off, get pictures of this thing. We call it a squirrel cage. It's kind of funny that that's named after a rodent, but it looks like kind of one of those hamster wheels that they run on. Inside the squirrel cage was just full of debris causing the motor to be off balance and caused a huge racket.

Let's get in some pictures because this is a fun part.

There's our Nissan Sentra, your basic, good basic economy car and the more interesting pictures we can get into are, let's get a look at the, there's the cabin air filter that we took out. Kind of broken apart, but you can see just full of, a lot of this is just debris. It may not have been serviced properly, but there's a lot of dirt, debris, very, very, very contaminated cabin air filter. Here's the, the squirrel cage of the blower motor. And again you can see it's full of leaves and debris and pieces of stuff. And I probably should've taken pictures. I didn't have a chance to take pictures of everything else that was in there because there was a lot more debris in there that was causing noise.

And it also looks like one of these fan blades is actually missing a piece, which will cause quite a vibration. We call this a squirrel cage. The motor's located back in here and that turns this big round wheel here and blows air so you know any amount of debris in it will cause it to go off balance. And of course create a huge, huge racket. As I mentioned, a lot of this was insulation from under the hood. This is the engine here. Looking backwards to the firewall, you can kind of see the wiper blades here and the windshield would be up in this area and this area here would normally have a some insulation. And what's left of it is basically whatever pieces are held to the attachment points and it's been completely chewed away.

That's where everything went. It migrated from, miraculously migrated from under the hood to inside the heater box. And we didn't see the rodent by the way, it had vacated the premises.

Mark: Just a winter home.

Bernie: Yeah, winter home. Yeah. Who knows. I'm assuming it had been done more recently, but because otherwise it may have been the blower probably would've been noisier, but it may have been made awhile ago and somehow got sucked into the fan. For whatever reason the rodent was gone. They kind of tend to come and go. That's maybe a good thing.

Mark: How often do you see this sort of thing?

Bernie: Well, not too often with heater boxes, we see it occasionally. But more commonly wire chewing is a common occurrence under hoods. This is very common. We do see some hoses being chewed from time to time as well. But wires are chewed because over the last 10 or more years, manufacturers have, to be more ecological or environmentally friendly have started using soy based insulation on their wiring. And this of course is tasty to many rodents and a disadvantage to car owners of course.

Mark: Anything that can be done to prevent rodents from chewing wires or attacking the under hood area of your car?

Bernie: Well, we're going to, I'm not going to get into all the details of that because there's some complexity and I haven't quite figured it all out myself, but we're going to put a link on the bottom of the video that has a really good website with some very specific ways and this person has got some very detailed ways you can prevent rodents from chewing, from getting under your hood and doing your wires. To be honest, I think it's almost more than I'd want to get involved in, but they're, if you followed it thoroughly, I'm sure it would work. If you took perhaps a few of his ideas, that would probably work well too. Interestingly enough, one common vehicle, there's a Honda that has a wire that often gets chewed and causes a check engine light and it sits right underneath the intake manifold in a Honda V6 engine.

It's an expensive repair, Honda actually sells a new wire and it has a wrap around the wire and it has a little picture of a mouse with an X through it. It's actually a rodent proof wire right from the factory and that's how bad rodent chewing wires are. And then actually the problem is so bad there's actually class action lawsuits against several manufacturers for rodent, for the wiring that they've put in their cars. It's a big thing.

Mark: After repairs, I assume everything was good in the heating department in this vehicle.

Bernie: Yeah, it worked fine. Nice. The fan was nice and quiet. Everything worked really well. Yeah, just like it's supposed to do.

Mark: And how our Nissan Sentras for reliability?

Bernie: Generally they're good cars, it's an economy car. We see very few problems with them other than basic maintenance. It's a pretty well built, decent car.

Mark: There you go. If you're looking for support for your vehicle, if you've got any kind of rodent problems or if you need your Nissan Sentra or any Nissan product, looked after the guys to see in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112, to book your appointment. You have to call and book ahead because they're busy. Or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com. Hundreds of articles and videos on there as well. Our YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Again, over 350 videos on all makes and models of cars and all types of repairs. And of course, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. We really appreciate it. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thank you for watching and listening. Always a pleasure.

2006 Nissan Murano Severe Steering Wander Repair

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Mark: Hi it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive podcast here in Vancouver with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive. How are you doing this morning, Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So we're talking about a 2006 Nissan Murano that had a severe steering wander issue. What was going on with this Nissan SUV? 

Bernie: Well this is really interesting. The owners complaint was when you, especially if you're going up a hill on the highway and you have to accelerate the vehicle would basically veer off into the other lane when you put your foot down on the gas. So I went out and road tested it, and drove up a steep hill, and sure enough I experienced that. You basically hit the gas hard and the vehicle would just veer off to the right. I even noticed on flatter roads when you just accelerate hard it would veer off quite substantially. 

Mark: So what was the cause of this concern? I'm assuming this isn't a front wheel drive SUV. 

Bernie: It's an all-wheel drive, actually, but you know a lot of the power goes to the front wheels, but yeah it is an all-wheel drive. So there's definitely torque in the steering and power being transmitted to the front wheels. I mean what we found was a worn out control bushing especially on the right front. It was the front bushing that was really badly worn. How did we find it? We basically did a steering suspension inspection, looked over things, and it was pretty apparent when we put some pry bars to things of this front control arm bushing was pretty badly worn. I'll just get into some pictures right now, we'll have a look. 

This is the right front control arm. There's a bushing in the rear attached with a bracket, and there's the front bushing, and you can actually see the bushings come apart. Now we may have even talked about this issue on a Murano before, I know  we talk about control arm bushings a fair bit, but this was worn so badly that the centre pin had actually come out of the bushing. This is normally cemented, the rubber is cemented to the metal in the centre of the bushing. This one had actually come apart which is that badly worn. 

Another photo we have here, this is a closeup, so you can see the actual bushing is worn completely apart, and that was causing an enormous amount of play in the front end. 

Mark: How does that worn bushing cause such a wander under power on a hill? 

Bernie: Well what's happening is when you accelerate, of course there's front wheel drive, it puts torque on the wheel, and that causes the front end to actually twist sideways with the pressure. It's actually like turning your steering wheel while you're accelerating. So that's what was causing that because when you let your foot off then it twists back, so that's what causes the torque steer. 

Mark: So when that bushings worn out, that twist is actually happening. When it's working properly you probably wouldn't even feel it when you accelerate up the hill, it would just go straight? 

Bernie: After we replace the part it just basically, you accelerate at it just goes straight because nothing’s moving. I mean there's the same amount of torque being applied but nothing’s being moved other than maybe a quarter of a millimetre or something there. It's always something. That's why these bushings, because they do have some movement to them, but not like that. 

Mark: And how did this bushing wear so badly? 

Bernie: Well bushings do wear out, but one thing that probably caused this to wear more than so substantially is that there was a small leak from the engine oil pan gasket, there was a little bit of oil seeping out onto the bushing, and oil and rubber do not mix well. Basically oil will soften rubber and eventually wear rubber parts out. So when you have a lot of clients, engines develop oil leaks after a while, I mean it's never good having an oil leak for the environment, but if it's something really expensive to fix, I mean sometimes it's gonna be thousands of dollars to fix an oil leak on an engine, and it's not worth it on an old car, the most important thing to go look at is what components are being affect by the oil. If the oil is just simply dripping down onto the road, again, not great for the environment, but it's not gonna affect your car, but if it's leaking onto any rubber parts it will wear them out. We've seen engine mounts wear out from oil leaks, and here it's the control arm bushing that's worn out, a number of things. So oil will damage rubber parts. 

Mark: And that's hitting that bushing because this is a transverse mounted engine? 

Bernie: Exactly, yeah. Yeah. Fortunately on this vehicle the oil pan, it's the lower oil pan that was leaking, very simple and not very expensive to fix. So that was a pretty straightforward easy fix. 

Mark: And is this a common issue on Muranos? 

Bernie: Well control arm bushings do wear out, and sometimes the rear ones actually tend to wear more than the front ones, but I think with this oil leak that's what caused this one. But we do a number of control arms on these vehicles and the bushings, they do wear out. 

Mark: And how are Nissan Muranos for liability? 

Bernie: I'd put them in the fair category. They're not, you know they do tend to need more work than average I would say, maybe their work load is kind of average, but not as good as say a Toyota or Honda product of similar quality and age. They tend to need a little more work. 

Mark: So you save a little bit on your purchase but perhaps you have a little bit more maintenance to take care of. 

Bernie: A little more maintenance. There are a few things that tend to wear out on these vehicles. Overall it's a nice vehicle. A really nice driving vehicle. Just expect a little more repair than you might on a Toyota or Honda. 

Mark: So there you go, if you have a Nissan Murano and you need some service, the guys to call in Vancouver 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 all makes and models of cars and issues on there for your enjoyment or eduction. As well we have our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair. And thank you for listening, watching our podcast. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thanks Mark, and thanks for watching. 

2005 Nissan Sentra, Fuel Injector Replacement

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, serving Vancouver area motorists for 38 years fixing all makes and models of cars and trucks and 18 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 2005 Nissan Sentra that had a fuel injector replacement. What was going on with this car?

Bernie: This vehicle was towed to our shop with a no start condition. It would, the engine would crank over but it wouldn’t start and what we found in doing our diagnosis, we removed the ignition coils and spark plugs and often a no start will be an ignition issue of some sort. But what we found was actually several cylinders fuel of fuel and when you crank the engine over with the spark plugs out there would be fuel spraying out. So there was an extreme amount of fuel being leaked inside the engine.

Mark: So how can an injector leak fuel in to a cylinder like that?

Bernie: Well the injector is meant to only inject fuel, well there’s two things; there’s pressure which comes from the fuel pump so it’s under pressure and it’s only meant to inject fuel when it receives an electronic signal from the fuel injection computer. What was happening in the case of at least two of the injectors in this vehicle, they were worn out to the point where they were actually dripping a bit of fuel even with the lack of injector signal. Once you turn the key off that residual pressure is being leaked down in through the fuel injector into the cylinder.

Mark: So I’ll ask the obvious question, why wouldn’t the car start even with the fuel filling the cylinder like that?

Bernie: Yeah, it kind of makes sense. You’ve got your fuel. You need  air, you need fuel, and spark and so that was all happening. But when you’ve got too much fuel, the engine won’t start because it’ll actually drown out the spark. Once the piston comes up there’s so much liquid, it won’t allow a spark to occur. Air and fuel needs to be mixed at a certain ratio, usually about 14 to 1, air to fuel but when you have like a half a cylinder full, the ratio is a little out. And interestingly enough liquid gasoline actually doesn’t burn, it’s only the vapour so theoretically you could actually throw a match onto liquid gasoline and it won’t burn but it always vaporizes so that’s what catches fire. But gasoline is very volatile, it vaporizes extremely easily but not when you have too much.

Mark: How many injectors were bad?

Bernie: Well there were at least two but we could see drips on most of them so at this point I’ll share some photos. Here’s the top of our Sentra engine. So these are the cylinder holes with the ignition coils and spark plugs removed and here we actually have the injector rail out, you can actually see the fuel injectors and you can see a little, kind of hard to look, but you can see a little bit of moistness around the tips of these injectors. And really there should be none there, they should be dry unless you’ve actually, you know fired the engine. But there was leakage in at least two of these injectors. Lets go to our other photo here. Here’s another view of the top of the engine again looking down. I was kind of hoping to capture, because you can actually, if you point a flashlight down in the cylinder, you can actually see some of the liquid fuel. But the, anyways this is sort of a view of the top of the engine. This is the valve cover, spark plugs sit in the middle of the cylinder and then the fuel injector rail sits right over here. So that’s where the injectors are and the fire fuel into the intake manifold on this particular engine. It’s a port fuel injection system.

Mark: Were there any other components damaged from the leaking injectors? 

Bernie: Well the spark plugs were. Yeah, now what happens when you have that much fuel, it ends up damaging the spark plugs. We replaced the spark plugs. That seemed to be the only issue that was visible and once we replaced the injectors and the spark plugs, the engine ran great and ran fine. But there are, you know leaving, having that much fuel running into an engine is actually, does actually create a problem. It washes down the cylinder walls of the oil that’s there that lubricates the cylinder walls because gasoline is not a great lubricant, so it can wash down and it can cause damage to the pistons, the piston rings and the cylinder wall.

Mark: So how would someone know if there was cylinder or piston ring damage?

Bernie: Well you would know, because like first of all the engine compression could be bad and you’d know because the engine would misfire and run rough. In the case of this engine, it wasn’t rough so I think the problem was caught pretty early. The other area of damage you could note, it’s more subtle and could take awhile is the engine would start burning oil and again that’d be another thing that you would notice over time. So if all of a sudden the engine is starting to burn oil, it may be that from this issue that the life span of this engine may be shortened, it’s hard to know. That’s something given over time. If it drives and it runs well, it doesn’t really use any oil, nothing really to worry about you just kind of let it go and see what happens.

Mark: So how often do you replace fuel injectors in gasoline engines?

Bernie: You know we don’t do them all that often. I’m thinking about like diesels, we tend to do them a lot more often but in a diesel the injector is so critical to the whole process of the combustion you  know, that any subtle thing could cause a problem. But gasoline injectors tend to last quite a long time and surprisingly it seems like Nissan has over the years replaced more fuel injectors in Nissan than any other brand. I’m not sure why that is. A lot of times with fuel injectors, they usually have one of two problems, well either one of a few problems, either they won’t work, they’l leak internally like these, or they’ll leak externally. So like an external leak, you’ll notice if you smell raw gasoline around the engine, you know sometimes you can see the actual body of the injector leaking. It seems like over the last 25 years a common issue with Nissan but we don’t do a lot of injectors. They’re fairly reliable.

Mark: And how are Nissan Sentra’s for reliability?

Bernie: Yeah, overall they’re pretty good cars. They’re sort of a lower end car but they’re reliable. If you’re looking for a good A to B kind of car that’s reliable and doesn’t have to many problems, I’d definitely recommend a Sentra. It’s a good vehicle.

Mark: So there you go. If you’re looking for a service for your Nissan Sentra or any Nissan product in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112, they are busy so you have to book ahead, or call them, or check out their website at pawlikautomotive.com or on Youtube Pawlik Automotive, search for that. Hundreds of videos on there, all makes and models. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

How Reliable Are Nissan Muranos?

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 17 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m awesome, thank you

Mark: So we’re talking cars again and we’re going to talk about a fairly obscure vehicle in some ways maybe, Nissan Murano. How reliable are Nissan Muranos?

Bernie: They’re fairly reliable but not without their issues. Overall as far as this light crossover SUV, they’re a pretty decent vehicle but there are definitely some issue with them.

Mark: Is this a vehicle that I would consider if I was looking for something in this class of SUV?

Bernie: Well you might. It’s certainly a nice car. I would say that there are definitely some things that will go wrong with it, now I’m not, we haven’t worked on too many of the newer, say after 2010 models just yet. The first generation we’re pretty well acquainted with. There’s a lot of them on the road so we kind of know what’s going with them. There’s the newer models, I think are probably a little more reliable but you know, it’s probably a vehicle to consider for sure if you’re looking for a sort of midsize, I’d call them a midsize SUV.

Mark: So what are some of the common problems with this vehicle?

Bernie: Well probably the most common issue and I’ll just talk on the first generation models, is transmission issues. These vehicles us CVT transmissions, Nissan was a very early adopter of CVT transmissions, they used them on all the models on Muranos and many of them failed. Fortunately for the owners, Nissan extended the warranty to 10 years so a lot of people got their transmissions taken care of under that warranty, but if it’s over that of course, then it’s a very expensive repair.

Mark: So just refresh us on what a CVT transmission is

Bernie: So CVT transmission is a continuously variable transmission and what it is, instead of having a set of say four or five gear sets where is actually clicks from one gear to the other, the CVT transmission can vary the gear ratio of the transmission to any infinite amount, well I guess whatever is available inside the transmission. So instead of using like in a lot of cars, the engine will accelerate to a certain level then the transmission will shift gears then it will accelerate again to a certain level, the vehicle, the powertrain management computer can actually use the transmission to vary the speed of the vehicle with the transmission or the speed of the engine. So you don’t have to change the engine speed you can change the transmission. It’s actually really useful in terms of getting power in the right band of the engine or fuel economy or exhaust emissions. It’s a pretty good tool from that point of view but there are a lot of problems with them, there have been a lot of problems with them.

Mark: So is this a big source of like, because transmission problems are pretty common across other kinds of vehicles as well, is the CVT a part of that issue?

Bernie: It can be for some but it seems like transmission problems are one of those large issues when you look at reliability of cars, and there are certain lines of cars that have transmission problems and I’m sort of thinking like Dodge Caravans have been notorious for having transmission issues and they really stick out because that’s a big ticket item. I mean next to an engine the transmission is probably the single most, it is the single next most expensive item on a car. So that’s a big thing if you have a vehicle with an unreliable transmission that can stand out in a reliability report on a vehicle. But I’d say maybe 20 to 30% of cars on the road have transmission issues but I mean, I own several different, I’ve got a Mercedes, I’ve got a Suburban, I’ve got a Subaru, knock on wood, some of these vehicles have really high mileage, the transmissions are perfect and I knock on wood, because you never know when they’re going to wear out. But they’re all really high mileage and they’ve done well and had no transmission issues but there are other cars like Murano’s, you could almost count on having a transmission problem if it hasn’t been fixed under warranty.

Mark: So what else happens to Murano’s?

Bernie: Well overall they’re pretty reliable and they do develop a few oil and fluid leaks here and there. One other very common problem of these vehicles and we’ve actually seen on similar Infiniti models, is that the seat, the driver seat breaks. A car seat has a, the base of it has a metal frame and the metal frames are a little weak on these vehicles and they a certain point where they snap. So we’ve actually very successfully been able to repair a few of them, where we take a seat apart and we re-weld the seat back together and put some reinforcement brackets in it. I’m happy to say, I’ve got a couple of clients, these are pretty large guys, years later the seats are still holding together just fine. So it is something that is common on Murano’s. If you’re really light, small person you may never brake the drivers seat but if you’re a medium to large sized man, you’ll probably take it down. Other than that, I mean it is an all-wheel drive vehicle so there are a few issues that occur with the all-wheel drive system from time to time. There’s a coupling unit in the rear, we’ve replaced those, other than that, brakes sort of last average 50-70,000 kilometres on brakes, tires, you know have a pretty decent lifespan too.

Mark: So if you have some images…

Bernie: Yeah, let’s look at a couple of different generations of Murano. This is a first generation Murano, it’s a 2006-07 I believe is the age of this model and the have have a sorry, we’re looking at the wrong thing here, this is the 2016 Murano so you can see it’s a similar shape but a lot, it’s a lot sportier looking than the older version but still I mean, these are still a pretty good looking vehicle for their time. They still, even at 10 years old, they still look pretty decent.

Mark: So what sort of maintenance is required on these vehicles?

Bernie: Well, they’re pretty, I’d call this a pretty low maintenance vehicle, I mean, definitely regular oil changes, most of these, I’m not certain on the newest models but certainly first generation into the second generation, they just use regular motor oil so the oil changes are not very expensive but you should do them every 5 or 6,000 kilometres. It’s a time chain engine, there’s not timing belt, so that’s one less thing to worry about but again, as I said many times, change your oil regularly because if you damage your timing chain it’s really expensive. But they are extremely reliable engines, spark plugs are in the mid hundred thousand ranges for replacement. Other than that it’s really just change the oil one service, do a full inspection next service and just see how things go. But they’re, it’s a pretty minimal maintenance vehicle.

Mark: So final impression

Bernie: You know, it’s a nice vehicle for its size and I mean, compared to, it’s a Japanese vehicle, it’s more reliable than a lot the European models, given time. As I say there are a few things if you’re going to buy a used one, especially a first generation make sure the transmission’s been done or have it priced accordingly if it’s never been done because it’s a very expensive repair. Other that that you know, a good inspection should show whether the vehicle is good or not but it is a nice vehicle, nicely appointed features and good to drive too.

Mark: Alright, so if you have a, looking for a Nissan Murano, there’s a maybe a solid B on the grade from Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver’s best auto service experience. You can book an appointment at 604-327-7112, they’re busy, you’ve got to book ahead or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

2006 Nissan Murano; Power Window Motor Replacement

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best auto service experience. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So, we’re talking about a Nissan Murano that had a power window problem, what was going on with this Nissan?

Bernie: Well, there was a couple interesting things. First of all, sometimes the window would stick and wouldn’t go up. We tested it and what we found is the window would go up and then it would immediately drop down about halfway, it wasn’t physically dropping because it was broken, the motor would actually go all the way up and then pull it back down and it did that a few times and then eventually it stopped and wouldn’t move. Interestingly enough, that partial down movement happens on a lot of vehicles with power windows due to like programming issues with the windows but in this case, because the window wouldn’t actually move, there was a problem with the window motor or regulator system.

Mark: So what sort of tests did you need to do to find out what was going on with this?

Bernie: Well first test generally with any power window concern, we take off the door panel, we get right to the window and we test the powers and grounds to the motor and see what signals are being commanded by the switch. In this case, when we tested it, all the signals were good from the switch, the powers and grounds to the motor were good, so it basically confirmed the motor itself was bad.

Mark: So is that then a motor replacement or did you have to complete a bunch of other changes, control modules or anything like that?

Bernie: Well, there’s a couple ways you can go about it and on modern cars, windows are a little different than they used to be. In the olden days, the window regulator used to be this big, large arm with an enormous gear and then the window motor had a gear that attached to that, it would wind the window up and down but most newer cars use a system of cables, I’m going to show you a photo in a minute, cables and pulleys and the motor operates it that way. So the thing about the cables and pulleys is they actually do tend to break over time so with this particular repair, we were actually able, for the same price as a motor, get a complete assembly with the regulator and that makes a lot of sense because they tend to break on a lot of cars or stick and cause problems. So we ended up doing a complete repair. I’ll share a photo here, the regulator, so this is the power window motor right here, this is the regulator mechanism, it’s all sort of bits and several pieces but there’s cables that run from the motor and then this part here, these two parts attach to the window, so that’s what goes up and down when you move the motor. What I found really interesting about this piece when I took it apart is how small these wires are. You can’t really get a sense of it so much looking at this picture, but in years past, power windows would be at least a 14 or 12 gauge wire, there’s a lot of power drawn, these are like an 18 gauge, very, very thin wire. Amazing how a lot of modern vehicle electrical items use very thin wires and so they’re very efficient items.

Mark: So just explaining why, those silver pieces were, are sort of sit on the top and the bottom of the window or how does that or I guess just they’re on the bottom?

Bernie: Those little pieces bolt to the bottom of the window. There’s a bracket on the window and that’s where they attach.

Mark: And that’s what pulls the window up and down

Bernie: Yeah, and sometimes you’ll get a window that’s kind of sticky or it makes a lot of noise and it’s because of the cables or inside those long solve tubes, there’s usually a roller at the end and there’s a cable that goes up and down and they’ll break on some vehicles and cause all sorts of noises or the motor to strain. It seems like actually the quality of the window regulator on this Murano is fairly good quality compared to some cars they’re not that durable but the one of the Murano seems to be pretty good.

Mark: So is this a common problem on Muranos?

Bernie: Not any more than any other vehicle. The driver’s window of course gets the most strain of any car window so it’ll go more frequently but I don’t say, I wouldn’t say the power window are more problematic on Muranos than any other vehicle.

Mark: So there you go. If you have some issues with your power windows, doesn’t even matter what kind of vehicle it is, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

How Reliable Is The Nissan Altima?

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, talking cars. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well this morning.

Mark: So we’re going to talk about the Nissan Altima. It’s been around for a couple decades, how’re these cars for reliability?

Bernie: These cars are fair, they are very popular, they’ve been around as you mentioned, since actually 1992 when they started. Most of the models that we see are somewhere in the early 2000’s and getting newer and the early models were ok, just a good sort of good basic reliable car, four cylinder engine. Once they go into the early 2000’s, they started kind of jazzing thing up a bit. They introduced a 2.5 litre engine which was mostly reliable and also offered a 3.5 litre V6 which was kind of pretty cool in smaller car, lots of power, peppy. So it was a nice option, same engine you find in a Maxima, so it’s kind of a nice blend between the large car in a slightly smaller body.

Mark: So the 2.5 litres were mostly reliable, can you talk maybe a bit more about that?

Bernie: Yeah, so mostly reliable, when I think about an engine being fully reliable you’d really not have much wrong with it other than you change spark plugs when they’re due or the timing belt if it needs to be done. But otherwise it’s, nothing much else would happen, maybe the odd little oil leak but the 2.5’s suffered a few problems. They, engine misfires on some of them would develop and that was because the head gasket would leak coolant into the combustion chamber, so that’s a pretty expensive repair. It’s a timing chain driving engine so it makes a head removal quite a job, so that’s one issue. The other sort of mid 2000 2.5’s developed a lot of oil consumption issues, for some reason around the 2005 model year, and complete engine failures that need to be rebuilt. So that’s something you’ve got to watch if you’re buying an older one, that might be, oil consumption might be an issue. Again, I don’t know how much that is attributed to bad vehicle maintenance, you know there’s certain engines that you can abuse and others you can’t and if you know and generally there’s a lot of the population that don’t do their service on time. So anyways, to make a long story short, there are some issues with the 2005’s for oil consumption.

Mark: Any other issues with these engines?

Bernie: No, they’re actually pretty good otherwise, yeah, other than that yes, no come to to of it, there’s a reason I put that question in there. Camshaft and crankshaft position sensors fail on these 2.5 litre engines a lot and we, usually when we get these vehicles towed to our shop because the customer can’t start the vehicle. It’s cranking over but the engine won’t start, it’s usually a failure of a cam or crank sensor. It’s an extremely common issue. So if you own one of these vehicle and then suddenly it wont’ start for you, that’s probably what’s going on, not 100% guaranteed but usually what’s going on. You can almost guarantee with these engines that at some point you’re going to have something, so that was the other thing.

Mark: Do Altima’s use timing belts?

Bernie: No they don’t, actually none of the engines use a timing belt, they’re all chain driven so that’s one thing you do not have to worry about with an Altima. Now actually reflecting on Nissan overall, over the decades, but Nissan, they’ve used timing belts on a few engines but for the most part, they’ve really been a timing chain, most of all their engines have been timing chains. So when things go wrong, it does cost a lot more to fix but generally chains are must more reliable. Key again, change your oil regularly.

Mark: Any issues with other areas in the car?

Bernie: Well there’s a few complaints in other areas, like in these earlier 2000, early to mid 2000 models, pretty much are the engines are the kinds of things we see issues with. But some of the newer models, around 2009, there’s issues with the steering lock jamming up and causing problems and the vehicle not starting so that’s a pretty major issue. The other really large complaint that I came across, not something we’ve seen or fixed with these cars, because these cars were still fairly new, the 2013 models a lot of transmission problems, it uses the CVT variable transmission and there’s a lot of issues with these. Nissan have a lot of issues with the CVT transmissions in a variety of different models, they’ve been a big adopter of them but they’ve had problems with them and they usually back them up with extended warranties but that’s definitely an issue with those vehicles. Other than that, pretty good car overall.

Mark: Any final thoughts on the Nissan Altima?

Bernie: Definitely a very worthwhile car to look at, again you know with any used car if you’re looking to buy it, do your research, look at what the problems are in particular model years and get an inspection done. It’s critical and if you own one, just take care of it, change the oil, change the fluids when recommended.

Mark: So there you go. If you have one of these vehicles and you like it maintained properly, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website at pawlikautomotive.com. We have years worth of videos on there, tons of information. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

2003 Nissan 350Z Engine Replacement

Hi there, Bernie from Pawlik Automotive again, going to talk to you this morning about an engine replacement on a 2003 Nissan 350Z. This vehicle came to our shop on the tow truck and it was pretty obvious once we had a look around the engine why it had been towed in. The engine had thrown a rod and poked a hole right through the side of the engine block, or actually blew a hole right through the side of the oil pan. So we replaced it with a used engine, it was really the best economical, the only economical option at this point in time. Pretty tricky to find an engine for this car because there’s not a lot of them around and they do tend to get abused a fair bit since they are kind of a racing type of car. But anyways, the replacement is pretty straight forward and once done the engine ran fabulously.

So a few things again, it really comes down to maintenance on these cars and with all cars we talk about, make sure you change your oil on a regular basis. I think the owner of this vehicle had actually done a little racing here or there, so that may of contributed to the demise of this engine, but if you’re not out there racing it around, just make sure you do your regular services, change the oil regularly. I can’t say enough about how much that improves the life of a vehicle or a lack of doing oil changes will shorten the life. So if you own a Nissan 350Z or any Nissan for that matter, we can do expert service on it, whether that’s engine replacement or just oil changes and maintenance to keep the vehicle alive longest. So I’m Bernie from Pawlik Automotive and we’re Vancouver’s best auto service experience.

Pawlik Automotive Repair of the Week Nissan Pathfinder Brake Repair

Nissan Pathfinder

Today’s featured service is brake repairs performed on a 2003 Nissan Pathfinder that was brought to us by a client from the Marpole neighbourhood of Vancouver.

Brake repairs are a frequent service at our shop. Working on Nissan Pathfinders are also a frequent serviced vehicle at our shop. What was unique about this service was the severity of the wear on the front brakes. Our client had brought the vehicle to us at the last possible moment before complete brake failure.

These brakes were so badly worn that the right inboard brake pad had been ground very thin and the pad had slipped out of it’s mounting. The brake caliper pistons were now rubbing against the rotor when the brakes were applied. The subsequent noise was hideous.

How long these brakes were grinding is hard to say but I would imagine it had been quite a long time.

Here is a view of the caliper pistons, severely damaged by rubbing against an already damaged brake rotor. The red arrows point towards the caliper pistons, note the metal filings. The yellow arrow points to the caliper dust boot. This is torn open and will allow water to get into the caliper and seize the piston.

Repairs to these brakes required new brake pads, rotors & calipers. These vehicles feature a captive rotor and that requires the front wheel hub to be removed to facilitate replacement of the rotor. When the hub is removed the wheel bearings are cleaned and repacked.

At Pawlik Automotive we have always taken extra time to thoroughly clean the wheel bearings and hubs before repacking them. This is something that is not done at many other shops. They opt to save time by squeezing out old grease and displacing it with new grease. That works OK but still leaves dirty old grease behind. It’s not the very best way to go. Doing a proper thorough clean ensures that the bearings will last as long as possible.

Here is a photo of 3 brake rotors: on the left lower we have a very rusty inner brake rotor, this was off the left front. This occurs from excessive road salt, sticky brake calipers or just sometimes old age. It is a very poor surface for the brake pad to push against and will drastically affect stopping distance.

The right lower rotor is the severely gouged rotor from the metal backing plate of the inner brake pad and then the caliper pistons.

The upper rotor is brand new. The smooth shinny surface says it all.

A few other items that we addressed with this brake job was a rear brake service and a brake fluid flush.

The rear brakes on this vehicle were in reasonably good condition: the shoes had plenty of material, the drums were good and the wheel cylinders were not leaking and their pistons moved freely. There was a lot of dust and backing plates were rusted. The brake service consists of removing the shoes, springs, hardware and adjusters. All dust is removed, components are lubricated as required and everything is reassembled; the final step it to adjust the brakes.

After repairs this vehicle stopped on a dime and best of all there were no objectionable noises.

While everything is repairable you definitely don’t want to wear your brakes to this extend because it’s downright dangerous.

2011 Nissan Versa – Exhaust Gasket Replacement

Nissan Versa

Today’s featured service is Exhaust Gasket Replacement on a 2011 Nissan Versa, brought to us by a client from Kitsilano, Vancouver.

Nissan Versa

2011 Nissan Versa

While an exhaust gasket replacement seems like a rather ordinary, run of the mill repair, and something hardly worth a mention I found a rather humorous reason to write this post.

Over the years there have been jokes floating around about parts that don’t exist, the kind of blatantly obvious parts that couldn’t possibly exist but you could tell someone they needed and they’d never know the difference. In the carpentry trade it’s the elusive lumber stretcher (a tool). In the automotive trade one such part is the muffler bearing: a part that couldn’t possibly exist because bearings are only used on moving parts; and mufflers or exhaust systems of which they are a component, have no moving parts.

While the joke of this phantom part has floated around for years, imagine my surprise when an exhaust gasket arrived from the Nissan dealership and was called a bearing on the invoice. The muffler bearing was real; sort of. I would hardly call this a bearing in the sense that we think of it on a car, however from a different definition of the term, calling this part a bearing is appropriate.

 

Nissan Versa

Exhaust gasket for 2011 Nissan Versa. This is the “bearing” as it is described on the invoice.

Nissan Versa

Portion of the invoice that confirms the existence of the elusive ‘muffler bearing’

All joking aside this Nissan Versa came to our shop with exhaust so loud that it almost sounded like a noisy sports car. We determined that the cause was a worn out exhaust gasket between the manifold and the header pipe. At this point the gasket used is somewhat special as this is a flexible joint. The fact that this gasket was worn at this car’s young age and mileage (60,000km) was likely due to being an Ontario car. Road salt and harsh winters definitely shorten the life of many components “muffler bearings” included.

For more about the Nissan Versa click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nissan_Tiida

Nissan Vehicles – Repairs and Reliability

Nissan

 

 

 

 

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of the award winning Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. They’ve been voted twelve times, best auto repair shop in Vancouver and we’re going to talk about Nissan’s this morning. How are you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: Really good.

Mark: Great, so Nissan is a very popular brand of vehicle. What can you tell us about them?

Bernie: Well, yes, they’re definitely popular. Nissan makes a wide variety of vehicles from subcompact cars to luxury sedans, large cargo vans, pickup trucks, sport utilities. They also make the fabulous Z car that was first introduced, the Datsun 240 Z in 1970. These cars had a very long running production line and it’s kind of interesting to watch the evolution of this car. You can see the whole evolution of the automotive industry in the way this car is built in terms of styling and performance and technology.

Mark: So I guess these are really fairly popular cars, so I assume you work on a lot of them. How are they for reliability?

Bernie: Yes, we work on lots of them and overall they’re very reliable. I mean the Japanese car so that’s usually synonymous with the reliability.

Mark: So what do you find that these cars need for service and repairs?

Bernie: Well like with all cars, oil changes for sure, fluid changes, routine service and inspections. If I consider sort of one faulty component that sticks out in my mind in the Nissans seems to the cam and crankshaft sensors on many models; they die out. It’s a very common issue. There are some vehicles even have a recall for repairs on those things and others don’t, I don’t know why but anyways that’s sort of the most common thing that comes to my mind. Other than that they’re very reliable.

Mark: So, Nissan has used something called a CVT transmission for many years. I’ve never driven one. What are they and how are they?

Bernie: Well CVT stands for constant variable transmission. Its an automatic transmission, that
has no gears basically, it can be in any gear but like typical automatic transmissions have multiple gear sets, originally going way back into the 60’s and earlier GM had powerglide two speed transmission, then automatic transmissions have evolved nowadays, a lot of cars have five and six speed transmissions, there’s even nine speed transmissions out there. But the CVT eliminates all that complication, all those gears. The inside of the transmissions are very simple but strangely enough they’re really expensive to fix and I’m not sure why because you’d think that simple and fewer components would make it cheaper but it’s not. Nissan’s had a lot of problems with these transmissions. You find them in a lot of their cars, the Muranos have them, so many problems, they’ve had a lot of problems with them to the extent that they actually extended the warranty on them, on a lot of the vehicles to ten years to cover the CVT transmission; so you know, there’s still issues. When they work well, they’re good.

Mark: So if they’re so problematic and expensive to fix why are they using them?

Bernie: I think the usual reasons, I mean most manufacturers do things on their vehicles to first of all improve fuel economy, lower the exhaust emissions and better engine performance. They try to make that sort of triangle of things work. CVT transmissions allow manufacturers to tune their engines in a way that you just can’t do it when you’re having to shift gears so it’s a completely different way of operating a drive train in a vehicle and it actually does have a lot of advantages. I’m not really a big fan of CVT transmissions just due to the fact that you know, the issues that I cited above, I mean there’s a lot of problems with them and Nissan’s not the only one. They’re also expensive to repair and the reliability is a little dodgy compared to just your sort of your standard automatic transmission.

Mark: So, Nissan has a big range of vehicles.

Bernie: They do, you know they have very popular vehicles, like their sport utility’s very popular, their pickup trucks are a popular line, they also offer pretty good value, I think when you compare to, I tend to compare Nissan to Toyota, I think they’re kind of head to head competitors and I think Nissan, their trucks generally seem to be a little lower priced, maybe not quite as good but pretty close. I think better value in a lot of ways. Nissan also offers a full size pickup truck and they have a cargo van, quite a large cargo van that competes against the American vans, I find they can look a bit ugly but you know they’re an awesome Japanese built vehicle.

Mark: So what about Pathfinders and the other Nissan Sport Utility.

Bernie: Pathfinders are great, I mean, very popular vehicle. I would say they’re, you know, just a little less reliable than a Forerunner but you know, really close. Nissan also has an Xterra which is less popular than a Pathfinder, look similar but the Xterra is actually a much tougher truck than a Pathfinder. It’s a body on frame designed vehicle with solid axels, so it’s a little tougher of a driving vehicle but if you’re looking for an off road, like if I was looking for an off road type of vehicle I would definitely choose an Xterra over a Pathfinder. The Pathfinder’s got more of a car ride; they try to make that compromise. Some of the Xterra’s were offered with supercharged engines as well which makes for a nice powerful fun small truck.

Mark: So I remember reading in some of your blog posts to beware of and personally have experienced this, beware of vehicles that were sold only in Canada. Does Nissan have any of these?

Bernie: Yes, they have a few and yeah it’s always worth being concerned about that. As a worldwide seller of vehicles which Nissan is, they pick certain markets and models for certain cars and in Canada you know, they will sell some cars they don’t sell in the US but what makes the job tricky is that all the repair information that we receive and the huge amazing parts network of car parts we have in North America is really based on the cars they sell in the US because their market is infinitely huger than ours. So when a vehicle is not sold, a Canadian only model it’s harder to get parts and repair information is more exclusive; it just makes our job a little more difficult but we can always get all the parts we need, you have to get a little more creative with sometimes your repair strategies and parts acquisition but the parts are always available through the dealer, just you may pay a lot more money for it than you would if you aftermarket parts. Some of the Canadian models that I can think of over the years, the Nissan Micra, it’s been gone for a long time but it was a tiny mini subcompact car and the Nissan Multi was also a very popular, kind of a small minivan or boxy station wagon depending upon which way you look at it and then what a more modern offering would be is the Nissan Xtrail, it’s a very popular vehicle. It’s based on the ultima drive train and so a lot of the parts are easily available if you order things from Ultima but some of the things are a bit tricky. As I said Canadian only models, is not correct, it’s just models weren’t sold in the US. When you look around the world, it’s amazing the different varieties of vehicles that Nissan and for that matter other Japanese manufacturers make us. I was recently in the Caribbean on a holiday and I was amazed, visiting these different island how all the cars are almost all Japanese or Korean, vehicles we never see here but really useful cars.

Mark: So any final thought on Nissan?

Bernie: You know the more we talk about Nissan the more things kind of come to my mind, but overall they’re very well made cars and they make very good cars and light trucks. It’s impressive when I think about some Maxima’s that we’ve worked on over the years and you know at over 200,000 kilometers, put on the hoist, look at the vehicle, there’s not a drip of oil coming from the engine, transmission’s not dripping anything. They’re working perfectly, you know this is a really well built vehicle so Maxima is a nice high end vehicle but even their lower end vehicles are still equivalently as good so you know, I’d say, if you like they’re a good Japanese car to buy, there’s a good variety from cheap compact economical to luxury; pickup trucks or sports which anyway you want to go.

Mark: Great. So we’ve talked about Nissan with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, the award winning Pawlik Automotive, 12 times voted by their customers as best auto repair shop in Vancouver. You can reach them at Pawlikautomotive.com or give them a call at 604-327-7112. Book your next appointment. Thanks Bernie.

Bernie: Thanks Mark, we’ll talk again soon.

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