Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of the Pawlik Automotive Podcast, we're here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience. 20 time winners including this year again. 20 time winner's of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, number one, as voted by their customers and, of course, we're talking cars. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing well.
Mark: So, 2009 Volvo XC70, it's probably pretty close to the introduction year of these cars. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well this vehicle was brought to our shop with an amazing drive noise while the engine was running and driving. Like, I say amazing, sadly, I didn't record it because it made some of the most horrific noises I've ever heard come out of a vehicle.
And, the noise would happen when you put it in drive, you accelerate, it would make this horrible scraping, vibrating, rattling sound and, it would just disappear once you hit a certain speed. And, it was perplexing, to say the least, to try to figure out what it was because it just incorporated so many sounds of motion and vibration and, things. So, that's kind of the main, that's the main reason it was brought it, I mean, it sounded like the sky was falling in, it was pretty horrific.
Mark: What tests did you do to find the concern?
Bernie: Well, of course, road test is the first start to try to get a sense of what could this be and then, second, of course, is a hoist inspection to look underneath the vehicle at suspected areas and, we have stethoscopes and listening devices where we can listen to different components. But, what made this diagnosis perplexing is that we couldn't see anything under the hood or even, once you pop the hood, the vibration could be heard inside the car but you'd never hear it outside, you couldn't hear it under the hood.
So, we listened with various stethoscopes in different spots, tried to emulate the noise. What we did notice is, if you put it in reverse, the noise seemed to be there and then, when you put it into park, the noise would be there but, if the vehicle would roll back in park, the noise would disappear.
And so, we started suspecting it could be an engine mount issue, that seemed to be kind of the most likely candidate. And the thing with an engine mount is, it, in and of itself isn't going to make any noise but, what it will do is, if it's collapsed or, somethings happened to the engine mount, it will transmit all the noise from the drive train into the vehicle. So, it can do that in a lot of strange and weird ways.
Mark: And how did you eventually find the culprit?
Bernie: So eventually so, again, suspecting an engine mount we, you know, jacked the engine up and visually inspected the mounts. Of course, the mounts, a lot of them are buried. What we did find there so, the Volvo has basically four engine mounts. It has one on the right side, that's the main engine mount, which is sort of buried, a little hidden. It has a transmission mount on the left side. Again, very buried and then, it has two torque mounts and, most of those torque mounts have been replaced, one sits on top of the engine, the other one sits underneath. Both of those were clearly in good condition and, the top one was definitely nearly new.
So, it got to the point where, based on symptoms and what we experienced, we said, "It must be a collapsed engine mount." So, we actually removed the drivers side engine mount and, that's where we found the issue. We may as well just get right into pictures because, that's where the interesting stuff is.
So, there's Volvo XC70, nice youthful, practical wagon. I always like to say something good about every car we work on. Anyways so, engine mounts. So, there is the engine mount that we removed from the vehicle, you can't see a lot from this view but, this basically, this section bolts to the vehicle and, this part here is where the engine mount bracket bolts down to the mount. So that's the old mount. Here's a comparison. This is an old and new.
So, this is the original mount now, you can see that tab that we showed, can you see how low that sits compared, this is the new one? This mount had collapsed and that's where the noise was coming from but, it wasn't evident when we looked at it because it was, again, buried and hidden and, sometimes when you jack an engine up you can put a floor jack under the engine and jack it up, the engine will jump up and lift or, there's way's we can test engine mounts and, nothing showed up as obviously a bad engine mount.
So, that's what took us a while to figure it out, until we actually ... So, sometimes you actually have to go, "Okay, this is what we suspect" and, take it a part and it's very evident here where you can see that different heights of the new mount.
There's another view of the mounts. Again, you can see the, see this mount clearly is collapsed compared to this view of the new mount here. And then, then the ...
Mark: What's actually collapsed there? What's inside the black ...
Bernie: So, there's actually rubber and oil inside these mounts. Now, it used to be that an engine mount was simply one piece of metal on each side and, a piece of rubber in the middle but, what they do with a lot of these modern engine mounts is they actually fill them with oil because it provides an additional cushioning and, sometimes you can actually see oil seeping out of an engine mount which is pretty clear evidence that its worn out.
But, what's collapsed is the rubber, I guess the rubber collapses over time and then the oil can leak. Well, this one wasn't leaking but, I actually ended up sticking on my took cart, upside down and it actually leaked out a bunch of oil.
But, essentially the rubber just collapses over time and, there's a few items that will fail. There are some engine mounts that actually have electronic controls to them too and, I don't even, I haven't even studied, really, how they work, I'm just sometimes perplexed as a complexity that we have in our cars. Like why do you need an electronic ... Seem like when a rubber mount just worked fine but, that's why we get the smooth riding cars that we do and, you know, when everything works well, you can't even feel the engine in the car but, when it fails, it's noticeable.
Mark: So we have another picture on the screen with an arrow on it.
Bernie: The metal, yeah.
Bernie: So, this here is, this is where the engine mount, that top piece, the one that was collapsed, this is sort of an underneath view, this is the bracket that actually bolts up to the engine and the engine mounts in turn bolts to this bracket through this hole here.
Now, the arrows pointing to this little worn piece of metal here. Again, you know, I feel bad, I've presented a couple of bad photos, I should check my work a little more before I do this.
But, anyways, you can kind of see a little discoloured spot and, that was basically where the edge of the engine mount was rubbing against this metal bracket. And, that's where a lot of that noise was happening. It's basically transmitting the noises of the engine and the drive train right through the body of the vehicle and, causing all that noise.
And, actually, if I look at this picture here, oh yeah, right here you can actually see a worn spot here so, that's where that little piece of metal was rubbing against that. So that was the actual cause of the issue.
There we have it, pretty straight forward in the end but, it just took a while to take things apart until we could see it.
Mark: How was the mount on, the main transmission mount on the other side?
Bernie: Well, we never replaced it. Again, it was quite buried, I suspect, probably based on age, it wouldn't have been a bad idea to replace it but, you know, the costs of the repairs got up there and, we replaced this and it solved the issue completely.
So, for the time being, we'll leave that mount but, a lot of times, with engine mount repairs, with vibrations and engine mounts, some things are not so noticeable and often, it's worth just replacing all of them, even thought it can be a very expensive job, just replace them all because it deals with the issue. Sometimes it's hard to pin down which one it is. In this case it was pretty obvious.
Mark: Were there any other issues with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well there was, nothing related to this but, we did notice the water pump was leaking so we did replace that at the same time. This is one of those 3.2 litre, six cylinder engines that has the, I know we've got a couple of features on these, it has the drive belt and accessories mounted in the middle of the engine over the top of the transmission. It's a good space saving way to do things but, it's certainly makes for expensive and time consuming repair.
So the water pump, instead of being located on the outer side of the engine, is located in the middle, its on the inner side of the engine near the transmission. So, there's a lot of stuff to remove, it's a pretty complex repair but, it was done and, fixed.
Mark: So this is a 10 year old car. How are they for repairs and reliability?
Bernie: They're pretty good but, there are a few things. I mean, you know, we've done a lot of features on the rear differentials, the pinion bearings wearing out, that's a guaranteed repair you'll have on one of these cars if you keep it long enough or, buy it at a certain age.
We're running into issues with the drive belt mechanism too, you know, things like water pumps and there's pulley's and a variety of things in that area but, overall, they're a pretty good, decent, reliable vehicle, they're just, you know, they are complex and they can be expensive to repair. So, just keep that in mind.
But, you know, you are buying, you know, it's a nice quality vehicle, it's a good drive, Volvo safety, economical and it's all wheel drive too so, it will get you wherever you want to go in the harshest of conditions, good ground clearance too.
Mark: So there you go. If you need some service on your Volvo 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 because, they're busy and, they're just in Vancouver for all you other folks in the rest of North America as well. Check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of articles and videos on there about all makes and models of cars, the YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair, same thing. We've been doing this for five years as well, thank you so much for watching and listening to the podcast, we appreciate it and, thank you Bernie.
Bernie: Thank you Mark and, thanks for watching, we love doing these, it's lots of fun.
Mark: 2010 Volvo XC70 Drive Belt Pulley Replacement.
Mark: So Bernie, today's victim is a 2010 Volvo XC70 with a drive belt replacement. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: This vehicle actually, it was the second visit to our shop. In the previous week, there were some concerns with the vehicle, some vibrations and clunks when shifting from drive to reverse, and into park, and accelerating. And we'd determined that a couple of the engine mounts were worn out. So we replaced the mounts, which solved a lot of the issues, but there was still one leftover noise that was occurring. It was an interesting condition. Most noticeable when you put it in reverse, and if you put your foot on the brake and rev it up. Now, normally, a person wouldn't do that, but this is what we had to do at the shop to find the noise. But when you're accelerating slightly in reverse, there would be this strange noise coming from the engine. So this is what we were looking at on this Volvo.
Mark: And where was the noise coming from?
Bernie: Well, the noise was coming from the centre of the engine compartment area, and this engine, it's a 3.2L Volvo 6-cylinder. It has a very unique distinction of having all the accessory drives in the centre of the engine compartment. They actually drive the accessories off the back side of the engine, not the front, like is normally done on, I'd say, 99.9% of every other car on the road. They've chosen a very unique system of having the drive belt pulleys, the air conditioning compressor, the alternator, power steering pump, and water pump all on the back side of the engine. And that's where the noise was coming from.
Mark: Oh, those Swedes. So, what was causing the noise?
Bernie: Well, eventually, after a very lengthy diagnosis, and we wanted to be sure we knew what we were doing, because there's some extremely expensive ... I shouldn't say 'knew what we were doing.' Knew what we were going to replace. There's some extremely expensive parts in this vehicle, and complication, which we'll talk about later. What we found is that the accessory drive belt pulley, which it's got a one-way clutch type mechanism on it was worn out, and causing the noise.
Mark: And how did you figure out that the pulley was the cause of the noise?
Bernie: Well, there's a few methods, but one sure-fire way to determine, sometimes, whether a noise is inside an engine or whether it's an external noise, is to actually remove the belt from the system. Now, actually removing the belt on this vehicle is very complicated, as I say, by the location. We'll look at some pictures in a second. But once the belt was removed, the noise had disappeared, so it was really a matter of thinking, okay, is ... And even with the belt off, there could have still been something that was loading the pulley or the rear-end drive unit, called the READ unit, in a strange way, that could have been causing noise. But we pretty much determined that the noise was coming from a pulley-related item, and after some time and testing, we found that this pulley was, in fact, bad. We also found that ... there's a tensioner pulley and an idler pulley, and they were both worn out, as well, so we replaced all of them. But those other two pulleys were not actually the cause of the noise.
So let me just get into some pictures, here. So there's our 2010 Volvo XC70. Nice looking station wagon, all-wheel drive, lots of nice accessories, and useful to go wherever you want to be going. So this is the 3.2L engine. So again, traditional with any modern engine, plastic covers over top of everything. But if you remove this cover, you can see the spark plug, the ignition coil area, fuel injectors, that sort of thing. This is the intake manifold here, and underneath here is the location of the alternator. And over here, underneath all these covers, this is where the rear-end drive unit is, and over here are all the accessories. The air conditioning compressor is buried underneath here, power steering pump is back here, and the water pump is way over here, driven by the power steering pump. So the belt is hidden, as I said. It's several hours' worth of work just to change the belt, believe it or not, on this car, so it's kind of a crazy design. Normally, all the accessories would've been over here, but I guess they decided, "Hey, we can cram the engine over further." And it's actually kind of a smart use of space, but complicated to repair.
So we'll just get into our next photo. So this is the accessory drive pulley. Inside, you're basically looking at, this is the part that bolts onto the shaft on the READ unit. And I'll just get into another picture that's perhaps a little more ... We were looking to view in this direction, but here's the pulley where the belt sits. And inside this large area here, there's a clutch mechanism. The smooth-out operation of the belt, mostly, I would think, is the idea of this, but this is what wore out. You really can't feel anything when you turn it, but once it's running and under a certain load condition ... as I mentioned, we got the noise happening most often with the air conditioning compressor switched off, the vehicle in reverse, left foot on the brake, and right foot accelerating a little bit. So about 1,000 rpms, there's this quite horrific vibration. That's how we got the noise happening most commonly.
And then, the other two items I mentioned we replaced, this is the tensioner assembly. So there's a big, round spring inside here, and this forces the tensioner tight on the belt. So this is the kind of thing that, why modern belts don't tend to squeal like ... When we work on the older car with v-belts, half the time they come in, they're squealing. And I remember, that was a big service we used to do. Tightening belts, replacing belts. It just never lasted very long. But on modern cars ... And it's a good thing on this Volvo, because it's so hard to get to, but they tend to last a long time. You know, 100,000 kilometres without any problem, where you try to get a, I don't know, a 1965 Chevy, you'd be lucky to get 20,000 miles before your belt starts screeching and squealing, and then you've got to adjust them, and you know, it's kind of crazy.
The other pulley down below here, this is the idler pulley. And again, you know, when we spin these bearings, they're very noisy, so it indicates the bearings are worn out. And we replaced them all, and the vehicle was nice and quiet afterwards.
Mark: So, you mentioned something called a READ unit. What's that?
Bernie: So this is a unique feature on this 3.2L Volvo engine. It stands for "Rear end accessory drive," and in order to drive these belts, and to conveniently locate them at the back of the engine, they had to create a separate mechanism that they wouldn't normally create. So the timing chain on this engine, similar to many Volkswagen and Audi products, is actually on the back side of the engine. And the READ unit actually, if they didn't have to drive the accessories off the back of the engine, they could've just put the timing chain straight from the crankshaft to the camshafts. And they have to have another piece sticking out the front of the engine.
So the rear end drive unit is a bunch of extra complexity. There's a timing chain that goes from the crankshaft up to the READ unit, then there's another connecting gear from there that goes to the camshaft. So it's an integral part of the timing chain. And they do fail. Very expensive to fix. And in this READ unit, there's also a shaft that sticks out in two directions: one goes to the pulley we replaced, which drives all the accessories, the other one goes to the alternator. And there's a coupler unit on that, as well, that can fail, too. So lots of bits and pieces. But that's what the READ unit is. An extra-complicated mechanical piece on the engine to facilitate this nice, crammed-in tight engine compartment.
Mark: So, overly complicated. Is it really worth all the hassle?
Bernie: Well, sometimes, you wonder. But, I mean, from an engineering point of view, I think to myself, well, it's a very efficient use of space. But, you know, when it comes time to pay the repair bills, you're going to be paying a lot more money, because there's a lot more that goes wrong. So I don't know if it's right or ... You know, I've kind of tried to stop judging whether cars are right or wrong, or I kind of tend to look at how well were the materials used to make it, and how durable is it? Because inevitably, most things will need to be fixed sooner or later. But how they make it? I don't know. It'd be interesting to have conversations with automotive engineers about some of this stuff. But yeah, if you don't want a complex vehicle, don't buy this particular one.
Mark: So, then, speaking of complexity, perhaps, how are Volvo XC70s overall for reliability?
Bernie: They're not too bad, but there are a few things we fix, and this is one item that tends to fail. As I mentioned, the belts, while reliable, can be expensive to repair. These are the kind of vehicle that have the rear differential bearings that wear out, so there's a few common problems, but overall, they're a pretty good car. I mean, they're a nice car. You'll spend more money than you will on a Toyota, but you usually hear me say that on every podcast anyways, but ... There's more to go wrong, and they're a little more complex. But a nice car.
Mark: You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment if you're in Vancouver. And of course, if you're somewhere else, we love you watching our videos. You can check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com, as we get a lot of visitors from the United States and around the world. As well, on YouTube, there's hundreds of videos on Pawlik Auto Repair channel. And of course, thank you for listening to the podcast, and thank you, Bernie.
Bernie: Thank you, Mark, and thank you for watching and listening.
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver’s best auto service experience, servicing and repairing vehicles in Vancouver for 38 years and 18 time winners, so far, of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Good thanks Mark. I like the so far, it’s good, many years to go.
Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 2011 Volvo XC60. This is a nice station wagon-ish SUV kind of vehicle. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well the owner of the vehicle came to our shop, he’d seen some of our videos on YouTube of noisy rear ends on Volvo’s and figured we were the people to have a look at it. So he brought the vehicle into our shop and we had a look at it.
Mark: And what was wrong?
Bernie: Well what we found essentially, something quite different from all the other videos, all our other videos on Volvo rear ends, all feature worn out differential bearings, but this one had something quite different. It had a broken rear leaf spring, actually it had two broken rear springs and it was very interesting because I just casually backed the vehicle up in my parking lot about to take a little road test and I stopped immediately because just backing it up 5 feet the vehicle’s going bang bang bang in the back. So there’s something pretty serious wrong with it. We put it on the hoist, did an inspection, we found the right rear leaf spring was broken so badly it was actually hitting the right rear axle as the vehicle turn.
Mark: Was it a leaf spring or a coil spring?
Bernie: Coil spring.
Mark: And so, what’s required to do that kind of repair?
Bernie: Well, it’s actually a pretty straight forward repair. There’s some suspension bracketry that needs to be removed and of course, you need to have ways to hold everything together because the springs are under pressure, especially the new ones. Because the old one was broken, it’s easier to get out. But it’s not too involved in the job. The parts and unfortunately are only available from the dealer, as least in Canada. We may have been able to order it elsewhere but none of out local suppliers had it other than the Volvo dealer, so that’s where we got the spring from. Put it in, pretty straightforward repair. Also replaced the cushion, it’s like a snubber cushion that if you ever hit, if the spring collapses, if you hit something so hard that the suspension fully travels to the end of its travel, there’s like a rubber cushion, we replace those because they’ve been damaged too.
Mark: And you have some pictures?
Bernie: I do. Let’s have a look at a couple. So there’s our Volvo XC60. You said nice station wagon, all wheel drive so the XC in Volvo it’s cross country, so I guess the idea is that you can go pretty well anywhere with it. They got pretty decent ground clearance and you can travel across the country in any condition, in luxury. What else do we have here for pictures? Then we have our broken spring. So that’s a broken rear leaf spring, sorry coil spring, I keep calling it leaf spring, it’s a coil spring. So you can see right at this spot here and there, that the spring is broken apart and there’s also a piece of the spring missing here as well. So there’s another chunk of the spring that had come off and the spring was also broken on the other side as well, although not quite in the middle, it was sort of more, you know near the top third of the spring. But that’s basically it. You can see a lot of rust here, so pretty certain what happens is the spring will develop a slight crack of some sort and then as over time, water corrosion will seep in and it’ll eventually cause the spring to break.
Mark: And why, that would seem to be a fairly rare thing, like what would cause a spring to break like that?
Bernie: Well you say, it’s a pretty rare thing and in fact it doesn’t happen too often, but yesterday we replaced these springs, and then it just so happens that we had a Mazda 3 come in with a banging noise in the back end with a broken coil spring as well. It’s not entirely uncommon but I mean, I think as far as causes, I mean, overloading a vehicle could certainly be a cause for it. Other than that I think, just sometimes hitting bumps little too hard. These springs are always under stress and so eventually you know, as I say that this one, you can see a very rusty area, probably developed a little stress crack, moisture seeped in, road salt corrosion, eventually weaken the spring. But certainly if you’re going over hard roads, hard bumps that’ll affect it over time. I say hard roads, I mean like you know bumpy roads, logging roads like that kind of thing.
Mark: And is it safe to drive a vehicle with a broken spring?
Bernie: Well certainly this one was not. The Mazda we had yesterday, there was only a little piece of the spring broken off, so the actual spring, it was just on the end, so the actual spring itself in kind of intact. But the risky thing with a spring breaking and as this Mazda, a piece of the spring comes off and that piece could, depending on where the spring’s located on the vehicle, could easily jump out puncture your tire, you know while you’re driving down the road. So it can be pretty serious, you definitely don’t want to drive with a broken spring.
Mark: And how are the XC60 Volvo’s for reliability?
Bernie: Well, they’re pretty good. This particular Volvo, it’s a 2011, not that old, has about over 200,000 kilometres, in really nice shape. They’re a little quirky in design, the engine, they have the serpentine drive belts are actually located between the transmission and the engine so it’s a lot of work to change it. So there’s a few quirky designs about it that make it, it can make it a little expensive to repair but as far as reliability, is really very few issues. We did our complimentary inspection on the vehicle, there’s no fluid leaking anywhere under the car, so that’s quite an achievement for that kind of mileage. Now this is the first time we’ve seen this vehicle, so they may of had a number of repairs previously but we do work on a number of and don’t see a lot of problems. Pretty good.
Mark: So there you go. If you’re looking for service for your Volvo 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, we’re getting ready to launch our PodCast, or you can check out our videos on YouTube. Pawlik Automotive Repair. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver’s best auto service experience, servicing and repairing vehicles in Vancouver for 38 years and 18 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 2010 Volvo XC70 that had a differential noise, what was going on with this Volvo?
Bernie: Well this is a typical problem with this car, probably the worst thing that goes on in this vehicle is that the rear ends, there’s a bearing in the rear differential, it wears out and causes quite a loud noise when you’re driving down the road. So the owner of the vehicle, had taken it to the Volvo dealer, got a quote on the job, it was pretty pricey from Volvo, about $6000 in Canada. The reasoning for the high price is they replace the complete rear differential assembly.
Mark: So we’ve talked about this before. Is this the same unit as a Land Rover?
Bernie: It is. So the Land Rover LR2 and the Volvo XC70 basically share the same drivetrain, same engine, the same transmission, rear differential and obviously the bodies look quite a bit different on the vehicles, but the Land Rover LR2 experienced the same issues. Land Rover however sees parts for the units, whereas Volvo doesn’t which is why their repair is so expensive. We do it for a third of the price, under a third of the price of what Volvo does. We remove the differential, take it apart completely, replace all the bearings, seals and it works. It works fine, does a great job. So and saves an awful lot of money. I’ll share a few photos while we’re at it. So there’s our 2010 Volvo XC70, there’s a bit of rain, it was a rainy day in Vancouver when we did the service on this vehicle. So there’s the car, this the is rear differential cradle. In doing the job, the whole real differential cradle has to come down, this is about half of it. The actual differential assembly sits right in this area here. One of the, see one of the axle shafts here, the wheels are located out here. So there’s lot of work involved to actually get the differential out and do the job. It’s a pretty big piece of work. Here’s the actual differential assembly after we’ve repaired it and re-bolted it back in. I’m not sharing any photos of the interior of this, we have done other posts before that there’s photos of bearings. So if you search our channel, you can find pictures of the insides, but this is basically, the unit you see right on here it says FoMoCo, which is Ford Motor Company who own both Volvo and Land Rover at this time. So they basically buildit this drivetrain in Sweden but if you take the Land Rover unit out it says exactly the same thing on it. And this unit in the front here, this is not part of the, this is called the Haldex unit, this is part of the all wheel drive system and it allows, it’s a variable clutch, it allows slippage between the front and rear. So it allows for smooth all wheel drive engagement. But yeah, that’s basically the unit, the bearing that wears out is usually right around this area here, so that’s where it’s loudest. There’s four bearings inside the unit that, we replaced them all because the front one wears the most but the you know, the other ones are contaminated with metal filings so it’s best to do them all.
Mark: So you have to disassemble that whole unit to get at the bearings, is that how it works?
Bernie: We do. We have to take that whole cradle down, we have to take the unit apart, clean it and take the bearings apart. We use a press, hydraulic presses to remove the bearings and to out them back on. It’s a bit of work but it’s you know, it’s a nice savings for the client. And overall the same kind of reliability long term as replacing the entire unit.
Mark: And overall the same kind of reliability long term as replacing the entire unit?
Bernie: Absolutely. We’ve never, we’ve done many of these units, we’ve never see any wear on the gears. When we put them back together there’s absolutely no noise whatsoever, there’s really no compromise in doing it this way and they’re rebuilding them anyway. So and the Haldex unit on the front that I mentioned, I mean those, I’m not certain if actually Volvo includes that piece or not in their job. But if it is included, I mean those parts rarely ever fail, I think we’ve repaired one in our whole career here. Now we’re not a Volvo dealer and we don’t see hundreds of Volvo’s every week but there’s, it’s a very rare part to every fail. So the repair is 100% good and Land Rover does it all the time too.
Mark: So how are these XC70’s for overall reliability?
Bernie: They’re good. It’s a pretty good car, not a lot of problems. Of course, this differential is probably thee main thing and if you own one, at some point you’ll have to do something. It’s kind of like if you own a Subaru with a 2.5 litre engine, you’re going to have to do head gaskets and so forth. So it’s just one of those things and by the way the mileage on this vehicle is only 72,000 kilometres, so that’s pretty low milage. It doesn’t take a lot of use of time before this issue happens. Other than that it’s a good car.
Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for service for your Volvo in Vancouver, or your Land Rover, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, you must book ahead, they’re buys or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. There’s hundreds of articles and video on there or our Youtube channel, Pawlik Automotive Repair. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thank you Mark.
Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Thirty eight years of repairing vehicles and 18 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well. You say 38 years, I start to feel a little bit old
Mark: Well it happens to all of us, the grey hair starts to creep in. So a 2002 Volvo V70 drivers door module replacement. This is a little bit of a different thing, what was going on with this driver’s door?
Bernie: Well when the vehicle was brought to us, there was a couple interesting issues. First of all, the battery would go dead overnight. So again that doesn’t necessarily indicate a driver’s door module but what did indicate a problem in that area was that there was a clicking sound coming from the driver’s door area where the power window switch is located. The driver’s door module and power windows switch are kind of an integrated unit and there’s a clicking sound as soon as you shut the key off there’d be a click, click, click, constant noise. If you unplug that unit, the noise would go away. Of course you have no functional power windows but also the customer had noted that the power drain would go away so the battery wouldn’t go dead overnight. So that kind of gave an indication the problem was in that area.
Mark: Ok, well what’s a driver’s door module?
Bernie: Ok, well I kind of, well almost explained that. But a driver’s door module well basically it’s a computer, computerized unit that sits, it’s usually integrated with the power windows switch assembly and what it does is that it networks with the other computers in the vehicle. So although a 2002 seems pretty old, it’s actually pretty modern by the standards of the way vehicles are built. This vehicle has a number of networked modules and the driver’s door module is one piece of it. So what happens is I think in an older car, you would when you pull the power window switch for say the passenger window, it had very thick wires that would go all the way over to the passenger’s window motor and switches and if that would cause the window to go up and down. Now that would require very thick wires, a lot of current draw through the car. With modern vehicles, they’ve eliminated that. There’s just one main power and ground wire that goes to each door and then from there it gets a very low voltage computer signal, there’s a little relay in the module and that all works again through a central control module. So the driver’s door module is a piece of that. I hope that’s not too complicated an explanation. But what it does, it makes, it allows for smaller wires as the cars have got more complex there’s more electronics to them. So it allows for smaller wires, less number of wires and also certain functionalities like for instance, if you get like a European convertible, some of them you go to open the power roof, it’ll automatically lower all of the windows and these are the functions you can do when you have everything electronically linked together. So you can hit one button and it’ll open all the windows of the car. May be overly complicated but it’s kind of neat and that’s just the way car are nowadays because we can do it.
Mark: So I’m going to guess the repair was just replacing the door module is that what was involved with the repair?
Bernie: Well you’d think so. However being a complicated electronic piece it is a little more complicated than that. The door module is actually a really easy piece to replace, you know it clips in and out of the door, doesn’t take too long to do but the hitch is on this particular car, it’s not the case with every one of them, but on a Volvo you have to reprogram the module to the vehicle. There’s a coding inside the module and once you plug the other one, the new one in, the vehicle doesn’t know it has a driver’s door module. So reprogramming is something we have to do. At this point I’m just going to share a couple of photos because we’re going to talk about some reprogramming but I’ll just get into a photo share for a second here. So here’s the door locks, here’s the power window switch mechanism, you know with your, it’s typical it’s got the mirror, power mirror as well as the power door lock and the four windows. And the actual module itself sits underneath the power window switch, so it’s all kind of one big unit about three four inches deep. To reprogram the vehicle, we actually hook the computer up and you can actually see all the modules of the vehicle. So this is the Volvo’s original OEM software and when it scans the vehicle it actually picks up all the modules. So you have the ECM which is your engine control module, TCM transition control module. This is a whole list, all the green units are the modules that are on this vehicle and you notice there is one red one, DDM driver’s door module. This is the module before you reprogrammed it, is basically the computer saying well we don’t read this module, we don’t see it. So that’s kind of a list, this is fantastic because you know again, you’ve got a rear module, passenger door module, and I won’t decode some of these, I can figure then out but it might take a little while, a BCM body control module, that’s a big one to where a lot of these, but you can see that they’re all linked in some way, shape or form.
Mark: And reprogramming modules something you’re doing a lot of in your shop?
Bernie: Yeah it’s something we can do, now it varies from vehicle to vehicle what we’re capable of. We can pretty well program an vehicle but certain vehicles we can program more of than others and Volvo is awesome because we can actually program any module. And actually when we interface with it it actually gives us the complete OEM manufacturers diagnostic system. So really good capabilities. It’s not something we do very often because it costs extra money to access it. So if we have a tricky diagnosis, we can access that system and then of course we have all access to all the software to download. But with a lot of other, some vehicles, we can only do the engine and transmission. We also have a company that we deal with that has more sophisticated diagnostic equipment and scan tools. Their business is basically reprogramming vehicles so we call on them from time to time to do some of the vehicles that are a little trickier. But Volvo’s are awesome, you know Volvo’s are really excellent for what we can do.
Mark: And so how did the car work after all the repairs?
Bernie: Fantastic. I mean there’s no more battery drain, all the windows worked fine, the moment it was reprogrammed everything just started working just like it should and no more clicking sounds, no more power drains, it worked perfectly.
Mark: So this is an almost 16 year old Volvo, getting old, is it still a worthwhile car to be doing these kind of repairs on?
Bernie: Well I’d say it’s still worthwhile to do it if the rest of the car’s in good shape. It was a rather pricey repair because unfortunately the door module is only available from the Volvo dealer, there could of been a used one available and there’s all the reprogramming and of course the diagnosis. I don’t want to get into the cost, but it wasn’t a cheap repair, but overall these are pretty good cars, they’re worth keeping, they’re generally well built. I say repair costs are kind of higher than average but it is a more sophisticated car than again a Toyota Corolla but you know they’re good cars. And I mean as far as a used car buy, if it’s the kind of car that you like it could be a worthwhile car but I would say make sure you check the service records, the miles, you know what the actual life of the aged mileage of the vehicle is but even a 200,000 kilometre Volvo, still has a lot life left in it but have a mechanic inspect it, that’s kind of the key so you know what you’re getting.
Mark: So there you go. If you’re looking for service for your Volvo new or old, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112, they’re busy, you’ve got to book ahead or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark.
Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in beautiful Vancouver, BC where the rain never stops. So we're here talking about a 2002 Volvo S40, and what was happening with this smaller Volvo vehicle?
Bernie: This little Volvo, with the four cylinder turbo engine, had an oil leak. A very bad oil leak. It went from inside the timing cover area, the actual oil leak was coming from the cam, the exhaust cam shaft gear.
Mark: So how does oil leak from a cam shaft gear?
Bernie: Well, that seems a little unusual doesn't it? I mean well, think how can a gear leak? But this gear is actually a variable valve timing gear. And so inside this, the way a variable valve timing systems work they use engine oil pressure in these valves and they change the oil pressure inside the gear. That adjusts the valve timing. So it'll be set in a certain position. Then when you apply the pressure, it changes the position of the gear so you can adjust the valve timing. Kind of simple, but sort of complicated too.
Mark: So how common of a problem is that with Volvo's?
Bernie: Well this leak is not uncommon. These gears have actually they do create problems. They'll either fail internally or they'll develop a leak. The leak is not an uncommon issue. This particular engine seems to be more problem prone than others, but the other five and six cylinder Volvo's they used variable valve timing as well. Some of them have variable valve timing on the intake and the exhaust. So you'd have like two gears too that can potentially leak or cause problems. There's the added complexity of those as well.
Mark: So we have an extra treat today, we have a video and some pictures?
Bernie: We do have a video and some pictures. So let's start with the video. So there's the video with the covers off. This is actually after the repair and you can see that gear that I'm focusing on, the one on the left, it's sort of more silvery coloured, that's the gear that we replaced. It has all the variable valve timing components. The gear on the right is just a simple gear. It has nothing. It just bolts onto the cam shaft.
Let's take a little look around the top of the engine here with the engine covers off. You can see that the ignition coils and the spark plug wires. This item here, this is part of the variable valve timing as well. This is a sensor that senses the position of the cam shaft. So it sends a signal to the computer and that will determine how to adjust the valve timing.
This piece here, this is the variable valve timing solenoid. So this is an electrical connection here. The oil pressure goes up into the solenoid and that adjusts the pressure to the cam gear.
So we'll ditch this video and we'll go look at some pictures now of the gears. So there is the cam shaft gear. There's the old one. You can see this is a bit of oil. This just spilled out when we took the gear off. There's a cap here with a seal on it and that prevents the oil from coming out, but it's impossible to change this without making a mess. You leak where the red area points a little plunger that sticks out of the side of the gear. This is where the oil was leaking out of at quite a large rate.
I was actually just to sound a little bit more intelligent I wanted to figure out what the actual purpose of that plunger is because I did a training course awhile ago and the trainer talked about how a lot of these have a plunger or something to lock the gear under certain conditions. I believe that's what this is for but I could be wrong on that. Someone will probably correct me but there was a purpose to this plunger and yeah there's a seal inside there that's leaking. But of course this gear is all put together. It's a sealed unit. While the seal's probably worth a penny, it's a couple hundred dollars for the gear. There's things that can go wrong with them besides that issue.
Let's have a look at the ... There's another view of the gear. This is the inside view. This is what bolts under the cam shaft. Again, I'm point at the plunger here again so you can kind of orient yourself but the ... You can see sort of two sort of passageways here. This is where the oil is fed in under pressure and inside this valving will actually allow the gear to switch timing. So that is basically how it works and that's what we've got for sharing here. I’m back.
Mark: So with variable valve timing engines from other manufactures, how are they for ... I guess they probably use different systems for they’re all oil pressure activated and have the same sort of problems.
Bernie: They pretty well all use the same type of system. They're all oil pressure activated. These are leaks. They're not so common in a lot of other cars because Volvo uses a timing belt. They have for a long time. Although the new ones getting into sort of middle of the 2000’s they went away. They went to a chain drive, but a lot of vehicles that have variable valve timing have chain drives. So if something like this were leaking, like on the Volvo, you'd never know because the variable valve timing gear is located inside the engine.
But there are a number of problems with variable valve timing. I must say I pointed out a few things in that video. The solenoid, the sensors, there's a number of things that can go wrong with them. Timing chains stretching. There's a lot of issues in variable valve timing. It adds a lot of complexity to an engine.
Sometimes the simplest problem we run into and this is a lot of Hondas, Acuras, I'm thinking of, is people come in and they go, "the check engine light’s on" and there's a variable valve timing code, we go to check the oil and the engine's almost out of oil. People haven't been checking their oil. You can see how having a full oil level is critical to the function of the variable valve timing system.
So again, I've talked about oil changes. Change your oil and check your oil. Make sure the level's full. Not all cars have a monitor to tell you when the oil level is low. I'd say most cars don't. So you need to check your oil level. Don't just trust that it's working because running your oil low on an engine like this is critical. These are really expensive parts to fix so it's really important that you make sure that the oil is full. That's one of the biggest things we notice, but there are lots of things that could go wrong with it.
Mark: So variable valve timing, what does that actually do? What does that accomplish? What's the result of having it in a car?
Bernie: The result is better engine performance, better fuel economy, reduced exhaust emissions. That's the end result but what it is and what it does, engines have intake and exhaust valves to let the air into the engine and exhaust out. The timing of those valves is critical to engine performance. When an engine's at idle, it doesn't necessarily need the same valve opening as it does when you're trying to race down the road at 6000 rpms. There's a real ... The engine has different needs. So variable valve timing fulfills that. So you can get way better fuel economy, engine performance and gas mileage depending on how you adjust the valve timing. On an older engine, the valve timing was fixed. It was the same at any speed. So there's a compromise in performance. Variable valve timing takes the compromise out.
Mark: How are S and V40 Volvo's for reliability?
Bernie: I'd say they're not the best cars out there. There are a lot of things that go wrong with these cars. Transmissions wear out, it has a timing belt, it's a pain to change. You get these leaks from various places. So oil leaks, excuse me, they're not the most reliable cars out there. They're a nice little car when they work well it's a good car, but it wouldn't be my first choice for reliability in a car.
Mark: I understand that Volvo is making a pretty drastic change for the future. What's going on there?
Bernie: Yeah so I believe it's 2018 or 2019 they're actually coming out with a full line of electric cars. Now I read the press release and it sounds like in the press release, the whole company's going completely electric and you'll never see a gas engine again. That's not the case, but they are going to a full line of electric cars. I guess we'll have to see what that actually means but it's a pretty bold move. So they're trying to get to the forefront of that movement.
Mark: So there you go, if you're looking for service for your Volvo in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com or our YouTube channel Pawlik Auto Repair and we've got hundreds of videos on there for all makes and brands of cars. 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, 18 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing well.
Mark: So, we’re going to talk about a 2003 Volvo V70, this is a unique vehicle and there was a problem with the check engine lamp. What was going on and why did this car come to your shop?
Bernie: Well it came to our shop for a couple of reasons. First off, the check engine lamp was coming on and going off so that was a concern, there was a few other things like a turn signal handle was broken, the vehicle was just overdue for a service and needed a good inspection, there were a couple other issues, some clunks and noises and things. So we did the inspection, looked over the other items and then proceeded to look at the check engine light issues.
Mark: So I imagine you probably stuck it on the computer, what’d you find when you scanned the vehicle’s computer?
Bernie: Yeah, so the first step in any check engine light diagnosis is to plug in a scan tool and what we found is just one trouble code stored which is a P0442 which is an EVAP system leak and it’s defined as a small leak. So there are several different EVAP system codes and the sort of major ones that go off, a 442 is common for a lot of cars. It indicates a small leak in the system. There’s another one, I think a 455 if my memory serves me is a large leak. I might be wrong on that one but anyways, it’s a P0442 on this vehicle.
Mark: Ok, so what the heck is an EVAP system? Some sort of evaporative system I’m assuming and why would a leak be a problem?
Bernie: Yeah exactly, well EVAP does refer to evaporative system. So what happens with gasoline of course, it evaporates and the hotter the air temperature the easier to evaporate. So it was found early on, like you know, decades ago that evaporating the gasoline fumes were a huge, huge cause of air pollution, especially in places like LA where the airs stagnant and there’s a lot of cars, so just simply the act of filling up your vehicle all those vapours that tend to escape, that actually contributes a huge amount to pollution. The cap should keep that vapour contained and not allowing it to escape to the atmosphere is the whole purpose of the EVAP system. It’s complicated. There’s a lot of parts and pieces, there’s not only the fuel lines but there’s a separate set of lines to keep the fuel vapour contained, there’s a sealed gas cap and then there’s pumps and systems to test and make sure that there’s integrity in the system so it’s not actually leaking. So yeah, the other problem too is that when gasoline is evaporating, it’s actually your money going up into the atmosphere. So if you can keep the gasoline fumes contained, you’ve got more gasoline to run and better gas mileage.
Mark: Ok, so is this system difficult to test and diagnose?
Bernie: EVAP systems can quite honestly be a pain to diagnose. A lot of little lines and a lot of pipes and things like you know, the fuel filler pipe can develop a little leak or a hole, the gas cap can not seal properly, I mean that’s actually a pretty simple one but sometimes finding it can be tricky. There are pumps that fail, there are hoses, there’s lines, there’s little valves and things so there’s a lot of little tricky bits but you know, but an actual leak can be sometimes difficult to find. So we have a number of tests and things that we do but they’re not often the easiest diagnosis to do on a car and sometimes they take multiple steps to find the problem.
Mark: So what did you find that was causing the check engine lamp to come on?
Bernie: Well on this Volvo there were a number of possible causes and common problems but what we did find and this our first step and there’s only a few days ago that we did this, we haven’t heard back from the customer yet, but what we found, it’s the simplest thing. The gas cap actually was badly cracked, the seal on the gas cap. So at this point I’ll just share a couple of photos. There’s our Volvo V70, getting a bit on in age but still in great shape and that’s a V in Volvo generally indicates a wagon, whereas the S model, it’s the same car but a sedan. So there’s our gas cap. So there’s the new cap and there’s the old one. Now you can seen that orange piece on this new cap, that’s the seal, on the old one it’s black and unfortunately this picture looks dark on my screen, I hope on yours it looks better, but you can …
Mark: We can see the cracks
Bernie: Yeah, there’s a very large crack right here, you can also see a bunch of smaller ones and as it kind of fades into shadow around here. The whole seal is cracked so this would be a perfect cause of a leak. I mean, it’s not completely missing, but it’s enough to cause the leak under some circumstances. So there’s our gas cap, this is like you know if you own a car and the check engine light comes on, one of the first things to do is just make sure to check your gas cap because they can often you know, not be fitted properly or someone at the gas station whether it was you or someone who’s filled it may have forgot to put it on. Sometimes that happens. So I mean, it’s always good to look for the simplest things first as long as the gas caps on and with the check engine light, what’ll happen is the vehicle runs a system of tests and it’ll happen under certain conditions. So when the problem occurs, it will set the light on but if it does the test and the problem’s not there after say two drive cycles or three depending on what the issue is and the light goes out. So that’s why the light will come on and off.
Mark: So just to be clear, this isn’t an un-drivable situation with the gas cap leaking like that, it’s just not necessarily very good for the environment or for your pocketbook but the car is still drivable, is that right?
Bernie: Oh yeah. One issue that people have and they’re smart, the check engine light comes on, people start freaking out, “oh my god, I’ve got to do something” I mean they’re checking their oil and doing things and 99% of the time that’s not relevant. The thing to remember, the check engine light is an amber coloured light. It’s not a red light. Red lights are usually immediate attention lights on a car. Amber lights are you need to do something soon but not right away and if the lights on and it’s solid you’re ok. The key thing with the check engine light is if you engine performance changes especially if it’s running rough, like it’s misfiring and shaking and the check engine light’s blinking, that requires immediate service. You don’t want to drive the car very long like that. You still can but be very gentle with it because if the light’s blinking that indicates an engine misfire that can damage the catalytic converter. So it’s, all this stuff is programmed in, it’s universal from car brand to car brand. So again, that’s where you want to be careful with the check engine light, if it’s on and you know, there’s no performance difference in the engine, you can drive the car but t’s a good idea to look at it to find out what the cause is.
Mark: So these Volvo’s have been around for quite a while, do you work on a lot of them?
Bernie: We do work on a lot of them and they’re fairly reliable cars, probably a few more issues, you know go wrong with them than say Toyota’s but it feels like I sound like a broken record when I talk like this, so but you know yeah, generally they’re pretty reliable cars. I mean this one’s, it’s 2017, 2003, 14 years old, it’s got pretty low mileage but yeah the car is great. This is a new client to us and we can see the transmission had been replaced recently and that’s one problem with a lot of Volvo’s, the transmissions go bad. So you know good thing to watch for and they are expensive to repair on these cars but other than that they’re pretty decent cars.
Mark: So there you go. If you are looking for service for your Volvo in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, you must book ahead or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com or our YouTube channel Pawlik Automotive Repair, thousands and thousands of visitors, hundreds of videos on there. 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; 16 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: I’m doing very well this morning.
Mark: So we’re going to talk about a 2008 Volvo XC90 that had a, needed some shocks. What was going on with this SUV?
Bernie: Well the vehicle was brought to our shop for a couple concerns; it was a stability warning light on, on the dash and first we always road test the vehicle and almost immediately I drove out of the parking lot and the handling of the vehicle just felt weird; like it felt very unstable and clearly there was something wrong, I figured based on years of experience something is wrong with the shock absorbers in the rear, you could just could feel it the way the vehicle was bouncing.
Mark: So what was happening with the shocks and how did you know they were bad?
Bernie: Well basically, so what was happening with the shocks was the vehicle rides as I mentioned was very poor, it was, it’s just a feeling you get when shocks absorbers are worn out and it’s like the vehicle bounces in an odd way and so when we hoisted the vehicle and looked at it there really was nothing else other than they were worn out. I’ll share pictures in a couple minutes but it’s just a feel you get with the vehicle and I know in my, in the automotive industry shock absorber manufacturers they often recommend you replace your shocks at 80,000 kilometers or 50,000 miles, they’ve since toned that down to inspect your shock absorbers because honestly and I’ve battled with my suppliers, talked to my suppliers and I think this is a bogus recommendation, I mean there’s so many cars that have 200,000 kilometers and I’ve seen a Subaru with 250,000 kilometers, the shocks, the struts original and the car still rides fine and they said look, I’ll give you a free set to try out, about 50,000 kilometers ago, try them out and you know there might be a subtle difference but really it’s minimal so when shocks are blown you can feel it like there’s, there’s a bounciness to the car, when you hit the brake if the fronts are gone, yeah the car will, you hit the brake and the vehicle dips and then it bounces back up and it keeps bouncing, like that’s when they’re really bad, if it dips too much that can be a problem too but it’s that relaying bounces that’s the problem. Now this vehicle the fronts were fine but the rear bad so when you hit a bump the whole back of the cars just kind of flopping around, it’s kind of hilarious. There’s a bridge near by my shop, the Oak Street bridge and there’s this curve and every vehicle I drive on this curve there’s a little expansion joint in the bridge and every vehicle I drive and you hit the curve it kind of makes a little bump and twists the back end and I went around this curve with this Volvo and I honestly thought the car was going to off the road it was that scary, so. Anyways, I’ll just share a couple photos so there’s our XC90, it’s a little dirty, it’s Vancouver this time of year and I didn’t have a chance to wash it for the photo but that’s it. 08 XC90 and then we have shock absorbers, the old shocks are on the top, I mean they look old and dirty, there might be a slight bit of fluid leaked out of the but that’s the new replacement unit underneath, it’s a KYB Gas-a-Just, excellent shock absorber, original equipment quality or better, so yeah that’s it, so a lot of, sometimes you can tell shocks are bad too, they start leaking, they all have fluid in them, if they start leaking fluid that’s a sure sign the shocks are on the way out. Sometimes you can be leaking fluid and still work fine for a while.
Mark: So is this a difficult repair on this Volvo?
Bernie: Not too difficult although it does require removing some of the interior to access the top shock absorber vault and there’s a bit of finikyness to it but it’s not a really, you know not a really crazy job, a couple of hours type of work to do it and it’s done.
Mark: So how did the vehicle ride after you put the new shocks in?
Bernie: Felt awesome, felt like a semi luxurious sport utility vehicle, yeah it’s nice, really good and stable I mean, the thing when the rides like that it, it actually is dangerous even though it’s not like driving a car with not brakes but it’s not stable on the road so he could lose control under certain circumstances; it’s important to have them working.
Mark: So how are these XC90 for reliability and repair?
Bernie: They’re not bad, the older versions, the older models prior to this generation they had a lot of problems, these ones seem to be a more reliable, I don’t know if I’d go out and buy one, I think they’re still you know, if you want something that’s really reliable Japanese would be better but I would say that you know, overall they’re pretty good, definitely better than the previous generation; quite redesigned too, the engine design is different. One of the other items we replaced was a serpentine drive belt that it’s interesting because it’s located between the engine and transmission instead of being on the side of the engine away from the transmission which is the normal place, so there’s a lot of interesting redesigns with cars over the last decade, we look under the hood and go wow that’s strange but you know but it uses the space more wisely but it makes for a more expensive belt replacement but fortunately they last a long time so overall you know the car is good.
Mark: So there you have it, if you’re looking for auto service, auto maintenance, changing your oil and other special, you know, specialty services in Vancouver for your vehicle’s, these are the guys to call Pawlik Automotive, you can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark.
Mark: Hi, good morning. Mark, Top Local, we're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience, voted best in Vancouver for auto repair by their customers 17 times, recently run the Georgia Straight again. How you doing, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well!
Mark: We're talking about a Volvo, a pretty popular car, an XC60. This is the 2009, it had some kind of rear differential problems. What was going on with this, how did you diagnose this vehicle?
Bernie: Basically, the customer brought it to us with a humming noise coming from the back of this vehicle, figuring it's probably the rear differential. He was correct. We road tested the vehicle, hear a noise in the back, did a hoist inspection. We have listening equipment so we can listen to all the different areas in the rear end, the wheel bearings, the differential bearings, and whatever else is underneath the vehicle and determined that the noise was coming from inside the differential.
Mark: What's involved in repairing this?
Bernie: Basically on the Volvo, we removed the rear differential assembly, so it's a whole rear end, sub-frame assembly. Remove it from the vehicle, then take the differential off, dismantle it, and there's four bearings inside the differential. There's usually one bearing that causes the problem, it's the small bearing. It's the front bearing on the pinion shaft, for some reason these seem to wear on this vehicle all the time. Don't know why. Obviously not a big enough bearing to handle the job. That's the one that wears the most. We replace all the bearings. It's not a lot of extra money or time, while you have it apart, you may as well make sure you're covering everything. Also, when they wear out, there's metal filings that get pumped through the system, through the oil, so that's causes wear on all the bearings. The gears themselves never wear, but the bearings do. I can share a photo here, just so you can see what was going on inside this differential. This is the differential disassembled. This is a view, that sort of brownish-orangey coloured stuff in the middle, that is some of the differential fluid. That's some of the differential fluid was left inside the case after we drained it out, and you can see a bunch of shiny bits near the bottom, especially in the right corner. That is all metal filings from the worn out bearings, so that's been running around inside the system and grinding all the other bearings, so that's why it makes sense to change all the bearings at the same time. As I mentioned, the gears don't, they're so hard, they don't seem to take any abuse from this kind of thing, so they last, but the bearings wear. This is a picture of the worn bearing.
Bernie: Yeah, I know. If you know anything about bearings, you can see some very rough spots. There's a roller, it's a very smooth ... everything is really highly polished and smooth. You run a fingernail over this, it won't grab or gouge on anything, but if you can see, chunks of this race are missing. This is the inner bearing race. Funny, you look at the outer bearing race, it actually looks fine, so I cut the bearing apart, and that's what we find. We do a lot of these repairs, so we find this every single time.
Mark: 2009 doesn't seem that old. Is this a common problem on these cars?
Bernie: Extremely common. The interesting thing is that this vehicle is also the same as a Land Rover LR2. It doesn't look the same, but the drive train, the engine transmissions, the rear end, it's exactly the same thing. We replace these a lot on Land Rover LR2s as well.
Mark: Where do you get the parts to do these kind of services?
Bernie: This is the interesting thing. Bearings we can buy from a lot of our after-market part suppliers. Bearings are numbered, we've got the numbers off the bearings, we can get those. Seals are available from Volvo or Land Rover, I'm just going to divert to both makes here, because it applies to both. The bearings, interestingly enough, are not sold by Volvo, you can only buy those ... there's crush sleeves, there's various parts we need to do this repair. You can only buy those through Land Rover, so some of the parts we buy from Land Rover. Some of the parts we buy from after-market suppliers. Here's the interesting thing. If you were to take this vehicle to a Volvo dealer, the only thing they're going to do for you is replace the complete rear differential assembly. Would you like to know the price?
Mark: Yeah, that sounds expensive.
Bernie: $4,900 for the differential assembly.
Mark: How much?
Bernie: $4,900 for a complete differential assembly.
Mark: Plus labor to put it in.
Bernie: Plus labor to install. It's a fair bit of work on one of these Volvos to take the differential out. I don't want to ... I haven't seen a Volvo bill, but I would speculate it's probably in the $5-$6,000 range by the time the labor's there, and the taxes are applied to the job. Interestingly enough, if you go to Land Rover, they do actually have a technical service bulletin. They'll do the job by actually repairing the differential. It's strange that one dealer would do it one way, and one the other way, but that's just how they're set up.
Mark: Can you save a Volvo owner quite a bit of money when you're just changing the parts out rather than redoing the whole ... re-swapping out the whole rear end?
Bernie: Yeah, it's huge. I think thousands less to do the whole job.
Mark: I know for a lot of people, that they only will take their car to the dealer. The only concept they have is they're the best guys to service the car. Is that true in every case?
Bernie: I'd say not. I don't like to slam other businesses, but certainly, as an independent repair shop, we like to do things the most economical way for our customers. We'll take the time to find, we've done a lot of repairs and Volvo's where they'll only sell a completely assembly. Just an example. We look at it and go, well we can buy these bearings from this place or that, and these are the kind of creative things we do to save our customers money. You won't get that at the dealer. They're more interested in, "Let's get the car in and out, as quick as possible, let's get the job done." Without regards to cost or seeking other options. I can think of a lot of other examples I've seen over time. For an average service on your vehicle, yeah, the dealer's probably pretty good. Although one interesting thing that we do notice, we get a lot of new customers, go to do an oil change and we find the air filters are just hideously dirty. We ask, "Where'd you have the car serviced before?" "The dealer." It's like the technicians, because they're, this is my speculation, because they're paid flat rate, they want to get the job in and out as fast as they can. The more cars they can do, the more money they make. Fair enough, but they're missing things. They don't inspect air filters, unless it's incredibly easy. There's no money in them, for them, whether they sell another part or not. They don't get paid any more, so they don't bother. The customer really doesn't get the best service at the dealer. It looks like a great place. I'm not saying ... there are some dealers that are very good. It's hit and miss.
Mark: It's like life.
Mark: How are these Volvos overall for reliability? The XC60?
Bernie: They're good cars. This is one flaw with them, but so far we don't see a lot for any other problem. This is, again, one sort of thing you can expect. It seems like almost every vehicle has something that's going to go wrong with it, unless it's ... well, even Toyotas we can pick a few things out, although they're highly reliable. Most cars, there's going to be some deficiency. This seems to be the one on these cars, other than that, they're pretty good.
Mark: If you're looking for service for your Volvo, or Land Rover LR2, your Volvo VC60, or any other kind of Volvo, the guys to see in Vancouver at Pawlik Automotive. You can book your appointment at 604 327 7112, or check out their website. We even have other website builders and SEOs telling us how good the website is, so check it out. Tons of information on there. PawlikAutomotive.com. Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark.