Carbon Buildup Busted in Kelowna Mercedes GL350

Carbon is essential to life. Without it we would not be alive. Not in the way that we know, anyway. In some forms, however, it can be incredibly destructive. For example, in the case of this 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTec 4Matic, it has caused quite the problem.

Carbon is essential to life. Without it we would not be alive. Not in the way that we know, anyway. In some forms, however, carbon buildup can be incredibly destructive. For example, in the case of this 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTec 4Matic, it has caused quite the problem. The owner of this Kelowna Mercedes GL350 came to us with concerns about rough-running and hard-starting. By use of a borescope (a small camera that allows internal viewing of engine components), it was discovered that there was a carbon buildup around the cylinder ports, intake and valves. This required the intake manifold and several other engine accessory components to be removed and disassembled.  We found that the carbon buildup was extensive.

Why Does This Happen?

Direct injection is to blame for excessive carbon buildup on both Gas and Diesel engines. In a direct injection engine, the fuel injector sprays directly into the combustion chamber at the exact moment combustion is needed, whereas in port fuel injection, the fuel injector is located at the intake port and fuel mixes with air and flows over the intake valve providing a cleaning effect.

The benefits of direct injection are more power, better fuel economy, and reduced emissions. This is because the fuel going directly into the combustion chamber has a cooling effect and the fuel can be atomized more efficiently, and therefore grants a higher compression ratio.

The downside to injecting directly into the chamber is that fuel, which has cleaning additives, never touches the intake valves. This results in carbon buildup forming eventually affect performance and can lead to premature engine issues.

How Can I Avoid This Happening to Me?

As with anything else, preventative measures are always preferable to repairing once broken. One way that you can avoid carbon buildup is to perform regular maintenance.

  • Frequent oil changes using factory approved engine oil will help protect the intake valves by ensuring the camshaft actuators and other oil pressure controlled parts are working properly.
  • Making sure that you change your spark plugs at recommended intervals.  A strong spark will reduce unburned fuel and therefore reduce combustion by-products sticking to a valve.
  • Schedule your car in for a regular fuel injector service. This will help injectors to maintain the correct amount of fuel sprayed into the combustion chamber.  Use top tier fuels (Chevron or Shell products only).

Another way to avoid carbon buildup is to update the engine management software. This adjusts valve and spark timing, which will limit the exposure of the valves to conditions that cause carbon.

What If I Already Have a Carbon Buildup?

If carbon buildup has already occurred, it will have to be cleaned out to avoid engine issues.

When we encounter a bad case of carbon buildup, we use a media blaster. Using compressed air, this machine sprays out crushed walnut shell at high speed, effectively separating the carbon buildup from whatever it is attached to. Media-blasting inside an engine is a very intricate and tedious undertaking. It is important that you seek out an experienced certified technician to complete this process. A lot of internal damage can be caused by using improper tools and blasting techniques.

Ciao, Carbon

It took 6 hours of media blasting to remove the deposits from this GL350. The intake manifolds, gaskets, and air distribution pipe all had to be replaced. The carbon buildup was considerable, and the labour time came in at over 20 hours for the completion of this repair. Not all carbon issues are this extensive, but if ignored, it will get out of hand like this one did!

If you are experiencing rough-running, misfiring, hard-starting, or poor fuel economy, especially in vehicles from the mid 2000’s and newer, contact us at Motor Werke today to check for carbon buildup. You can call us at 250 869 0269 or book an appointment!

Buying a Used Car – What to Look for

Adding a European vehicle to the family is an exciting venture. Whether you are looking for a bigger vehicle to accommodate for the growing family, an all-wheel to get up the Okanagan’s Big White ski hill, or finally getting that sporty car you’ve always wanted, buying used can be a great option to go a little easier on the bank account.

Adding a European vehicle to the family is an exciting venture. Whether you are looking for a bigger vehicle to accommodate a growing family, an all-wheel to get up the Okanagan’s Big White ski hill, or finally getting that sporty car you’ve always wanted, buying a used car can be a great option to go a little easier on the bank account. While there are benefits to buying a pre-owned car, there are also things to look out for to ensure that you are getting what you need with peace of mind that you won’t encounter hidden mechanical issues.

 

What Are You Looking For?

Before you set out to purchase a European vehicle, first you want to do a bit of research. If you are unsure of what is most suitable to your needs, a good idea is to go online and read some reviews. Pick a couple of models that you think are most suitable to your needs and go online to see what other people are saying about them. Perhaps you are drawn to the Range Rover Sport that can easily fit the family without losing out on style or practicality. Maybe you are looking for something like the BMW Z4, fun and sporty car that won’t entirely empty your wallet. Once you pick The One, do a market value assessment to see what the average asking price is. This way you’ll have a good idea what to expect and know when a seller is asking too much.

 

Where Are You Looking?

Something else to consider is where you are purchasing your European car from. Are you cruising through the used section at a dealership or scrolling through private sales? It is very likely when purchasing from a dealer that the vehicle has gone through a thorough inspection and any repairs needed have been done before being put on the lot. Keep in mind that not all dealerships operate the same way. There are some dealers that simply will take a returned lease vehicle from car auctions, clean it up, and quickly get it on the lot. While other dealers will replace tires and brakes if they have less than 25% service life remaining, as well as address any outstanding repairs for pending mechanical issues. A dealer may also offer a basic warranty, which can take a lot of stress out of the equation knowing that any imminent repairs will be taken care of without emptying your pockets.

On the other hand, buying a used car privately generally costs less up front. It can also be a great way to meet the previous owner of the car and get a more personal experience. You can see first hand how the car is being maintained. Is there a lot of mess and clutter inside, scratches on the console and an overall feeling of neglect? Is the oil low? Are there any warning lights on? Are the tires low on tread? If so, it may be an indication that the rest of the car hasn’t been well maintained throughout its life. You can also ask them what their motivation for selling is. Although, unless you plan on getting a pre-purchase inspection done, buying privately means you have less of an idea of what is going on under the hood.

 

What Should I Check For?

Have a checklist in tow when you go to view your prospective vehicle. It is always a good idea to get a pre-purchase inspection done on any car you are considering, but there are things you can check yourself before you take that next step. Let’s start on the exterior:

  • Paint and body – do you notice any rust? Some makes and models are more likely to rust than others, for example, the Mini Cooper. Check around the wheel wells. Are there any major scratches in the paint? Check for gaps or misalignment between the body panels. Large ones could mean that the vehicle was in an accident. Also look out for panels being slightly different colors, which indicates that they have been repainted.
  • Rims and tires – do the tires have a lot of treads left? If they are looking low, then you will have to factor in the cost to replace them. Do the rims have a lot of curb damage?
  • Glass – Are there any chips in the windshield that could turn into cracks? Are there any cracks in driver’s line of sight? Driving around with a cracked windshield can not only be unsafe but may also garner you a ticket.
  • Fluid levels – go under the hood and check oil, brake, and power steering fluid levels. If any of these are low, it could mean the car isn’t being maintained very well. Take a look under the oil cap for the presence of a white, milky substance. When this happens, it means there is either coolant mixing with the oil and could point to head gasket issues, or the car sees a lot of short trip driving where the condensation mixes with oil and does not get the chance to be cleaned out with frequent oil services. Ideally, engine oil should be changed every 5-10K kilometers to prevent expensive issues caused by the lack of service.
  • Battery – check the battery terminals for any discharge corrosion or bloated sides. Check the date stamp on the battery. Batteries typically last 4-6 years.
  • Upholstery – check for any tears in the interior. Any bad smells? It can be extremely difficult to remove odor from a vehicle that has been smoked in.
  • Electronics – European vehicles can be notorious for electrical issues (looking at you, Mercedes). Try every button and knob you can. Make sure that all the windows roll up and down properly. Test the heat and air conditioning. Move the power seats back and forth. Most importantly, make sure the radio turns on!
  • Accessories – Does the car come with a spare tire? Is it in good condition? Is there a jack to change the spare tire if necessary? Are there two keys with the car, as the keys can be anywhere from $200 (Volkswagen) to $600 (Range Rover) to replace on European brands!

 

The Test Drive

It’s time to get on the road and see how the car drives. Besides getting an idea of what it will feel like to potentially drive every day, you want to be wary of any noticeable issues.

  • Startup – does the vehicle start without trouble? Fire it up from cold if possible and then again once it has been running for a while.
  • Temperature – Keep an eye on the temperature gauge. It should get to halfway and stay there.
  • Transmission – does it shift gears smoothly?
  • Steering – check to see if the car pulls to one side when driving down a straight stretch of road. This could mean the car needs a wheel alignment or may have suspension issues.
  • Brakes – find an area where it is safe to brake hard. Does it brake quickly and effectively? Also, check if the hand brake works.
  • Engine noises – turn the radio off and really listen to the engine. Are there any loud clicks or whining sounds?
  • Comfort – Are you comfortable driving it? Is there enough head, leg, and arm space? Keep in mind, this is the car you will be driving regularly.

 

Pulling the Trigger

You have found the make and model that suits your needs, you’ve checked it over and taken it for a test drive, and now you’re ready to make the leap. Always get a pre-purchase inspection done at a shop that you know and trust. If you are in the Kelowna area, Motor Werke does multi-point inspections as well as more thorough pre-purchase inspections on all makes and models to ensure a buying experience that comes with the peace of mind of knowing exactly what you are getting! Contact us today.

Audi RS4 Brake & Suspension Upgrade 

Brakes aren’t always the most talked about upgrade, but if you want your car to go fast, you will most likely want it to stop effectively as well.
Our customer came in with concerns about squealing brakes and clunking in the suspension when driving his 2008 Audi RS4. We discovered worn brake discs and leaking struts/shocks.

Brakes aren’t always the most talked about upgrade, but if you want your car to go fast, you will most likely want it to stop effectively as well.
Our customer came in with concerns about squealing brakes and clunking in the suspension when driving his 2008 Audi RS4. We discovered worn brake discs and leaking struts/shocks so it’s brake and suspension upgrade time!

The RS4 is a power house of torque and fantastic speed. The agility and cornering capabilities are quite good for a sedan this size, and to perform while making every 420-horse power count, proper braking and suspension components are a must.

To our delight, our customer agreed, and the Motor Werke team got to work enhancing this beauty.

Metallic to Ceramic

Ceramic pads and rotors have come to be a popular choice with our customers when replacing and upgrading brake systems. Depending on the type of vehicle, what it is used for, and the budget being worked with, there are pros and cons when opting for this particular brake component material.

First, a Little History

Before the use of metallic and ceramic compounds, brake pads were made of asbestos fibers back in the day. The properties of asbestos made it a good candidate for absorption and dissipation of heat generated when stopping.
Of course, the use of asbestos was discontinued due to health risks during the early 1970’s. This lead to the use of organic and metallic compound brake pads.

Organic brake pads are made up of glass and rubber, bound together by a resin that is highly heat resistant. These brake pads tend to be quiet but wear quickly do to the softness of materials used. They also produce a lot of brake dust, which as we know, can lead to paint damage.

Metallic pads are composed of copper, graphite, and steel. They are much more durable than organic and are a better option for heavier vehicles. Their durability means a better resistance to brake fade and will not need to be replaced as often.

As time went on, organic and metallic compounds were combined to make hybrid brake pads that take the benefits of each to make a superior pad. This is what is commonly used on vehicles today.

Enter Ceramics

Ceramic brakes are specially designed to withstand intense heat and, because of their incredible cooling properties, are more resistant to warping or deforming. They tend to be less abrasive and therefore not as hard on rotors as their metallic counterparts. Because of their heat-dissipating capabilities and less-aggressive material, they last longer than traditional organic and metallic compound brakes.

Ceramic brakes are composed of stacked glass ceramic fibers, filler material, bonding agents, and small amounts of metal. They reduce black brake dust on wheels by as much as 80%!… this is the main factor for drivers knowing they can now keep their wheels much cleaner.  Ceramic materials do not corrode, which is beneficial when confronted with moisture and salt in the winter months.

Another great benefit to carbon brake pads and rotors is the obvious weight reduction. Ceramic materials are much lighter than metallic, especially when talking about ceramic rotors compared to cast-iron rotors. The less the brake components weigh, the more the vehicle’s unsprung weight is reduced, which means better handling and performance.

Our Audi RS4

We provided a few options for both pads and rotors.  Our customer opted for Akebono Euro Ultra-Premium ceramic brake pads paired with Brembo UV-coated rotors. These rotors are superior in resistance to corrosion, as well as aesthetically pleasing when admiring the brakes through the wheels. The combination of ceramic brake pads and UV-coated rotors will provide exceptional braking power and performance.

Put a Little (Less) Bounce in Your Step

A car’s suspension provides steering stability, handling, and balance while driving down the road. Shock absorbers use dampening to control unwanted spring motion. They reduce the vibratory motions by transforming kinetic energy of suspension movement into heat energy that is then dissipated through hydraulic fluid. Having the right shock assembly makes all the difference when it comes to your driving experience.

OE to Bilstein

The original equipment hydraulic dampening control shocks were removed and replaced with Bilstein B8 Performance shock assemblies. Though these are non-adjustable, it is an upgrade performance-wise, and much more cost-effective than replacement of all OEM Audi parts.

Bilstein’s high-performance gas-pressure struts and shock absorbers are manufactured with better dampening and stronger strut tube, using the heftier part of the shock to dissipate side loads. The advantages of this technology are better road handling, greater stability, and more accurate steering.

This brake and suspension upgrade came together nicely. If you’re experiencing the same issues, contact us today and book an appointment.

1999 Porsche 911 C2 Suspension & Wheel Upgrade

We had the absolute pleasure of modifying this 1999 Porsche 911 C2 for an overall better track experience. It is always exciting for us to take a customer’s passion and improve upon it for them. Upgrading is always an enjoyable venture, who doesn’t like to improve upon things and see the progress along the way?

We had the absolute pleasure of modifying this 1999 Porsche 911 C2 for an overall better track experience.

It is always exciting for us to take a customer’s passion and improve upon it for them. Upgrading is always an enjoyable venture. Who doesn’t like to improve upon things and see the progress along the way? But enhancing for a purpose is our favorite!

Suspension 

Suspension is everything when it comes to control. No matter how much horsepower or torque you have, it means nothing without proper suspension. Your tires meeting the pavement effectively is what makes better steering and handling possible, and the suspension system is responsible for maximizing that friction.

We installed Ohlin’s Road and Track height/dampening adjustable coil over suspension and added Tarett adjustable camber plates and GT3 Cup toe links to dial in alignment. The camber plates allow proper tuning of camber and holds the strut more precisely under high cornering loads. GT3 Cup adjustable toe-links and locking plates maintain toe setting better than factory toe arms.

The old rear upper shock mounts were getting soft, so they were replaced. Front and rear strut assemblies were replaced with Ohlin’s Road and Track package. Ohlin’s Dual Flow Valve technology makes it easy to quickly change stiffness of the shock absorbers. We set the height and spring preload to the recommended settings by the manufacturer and our customer has the freedom to alter for personal preference.

Braking

We took this opportunity to also upgrade the original rubber brake hoses, which were cracking and collapsing, to braided stainless steel/Teflon flex hoses. These new hoses increase pedal feel and deliver more pressure to the calipers. Because of their design and material, they will not swell when pressurized by the foot pedal and master cylinder. Installation was followed by an extensive hydraulic system flush and bleed using high-performance brake fluid.

Wheels

Finally, we mounted ultra-light OZ wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport low profile tires. Not only do they look super cool, the wheels also increase the effectiveness of the Ohlin’s kit. Each 18-inch wheel weighs only 8.75 kg, reducing the unsprung weight.

The car’s performance is enhanced when total weight is reduced because less weight needs to be controlled and therefore less energy is required to do so. Reducing unsprung weight allows the shock absorbers and struts to be more effective in controlling the suspension’s movement.The combinations of lighter wheels and tires allows for faster acceleration and shorter braking distances due to less rotational weight.

Final Lap

Once all suspension, brake, and wheel components were installed, it was time to fine tune. We loosened off front and rear control arm bushing pinch bolts and disconnected swaybars to dial in ride height, allowing suspension to articulate and settle while adjusting. An alignment was performed with our Hunter Hawkeye Elite alignment machine. Using four high-resolution cameras, it measures wheel position and orientation with absolute accuracy. All combined, these upgrades provide better handling, more precise feedback, enhanced braking, and overall consistency on lap times.

This 911 Porsche C2 is now ready for whatever the road or track has to throw at it! If you’re a Porsche owner, our experts would love to see your vehicle in our shop, located right here in Kelowna. Book your appointment today!

BMW 335i xDrive – Oh, Rats!

While addressing some maintenance items, this BMW owner was surprised to learn about a little community going on right under her hood. Everyone knows that mice are pests and sneaky ones, at that. When looking for a place to call home, your vehicle can look like a pretty inviting place.

While addressing some maintenance items, this BMW 335i owner was surprised to learn about a little community going on right under her hood.

Everyone knows that mice are pests and sneaky ones, at that. When looking for a place to call home, your vehicle can look like a pretty inviting place. A car has many dark places to hide, and lots of different materials to chew for making nests or keeping ever-growing teeth at bay. It is up to you to take necessary precautions to deter rodents.

Why Does It Matter?

As we know, mice can be very destructive. They will chew wires, hoses, pull out insulation and ruin upholstery to make comfortable beds. It may not seem like such a small creature could cause harm to such a big machine, but they can, and they do.

In the case of this BMW 335i, the repair cost came out to be just under $4,000. The infestation was caught in the early stages and there was not a lot of damage caused. Not compared to a report from 2017 of a Porsche Panamera in BC with damages totaling up to $15,000!

Luckily, in this and the case of the Porsche, the owner had comprehensive insurance and the bill was footed by ICBC.

Health is another reason to keep rodents away, as they can carry some nasty diseases such as salmonella, leptospirosis, and hantavirus. Hantavirus is particularly well known for being passed around by mice because of the severity of its symptoms. It is a respiratory disease that causes fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and a shortness of breath. The fatality rate for Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is 38%.

 

How Can I Deter Mice from My Car?

The best way to keep nests out of your car is to first keep mice out of your car. Since mice can fit through a hole smaller than a dime, you may have to get creative.

  • First, be aware of where you are parking. Stay away from long grass and shrubs. Parking in a garage or on pavement or gravel is the safest option.
  • Keep your car clean of clutter and garbage. Any sort of food source will draw the attention of rodents and clutter is a great place for them to hide. Throw away old food and beverage containers and vacuum up any crumbs left behind.
  • When parking your vehicle over night or for longer periods of time, open the hood. This will let light and space into what would otherwise be a cozy and inviting area for rodents to set up camp.
  • Use scented deterrents, such as moth balls, peppermint oil, and Bounce dryer sheets. Most people don’t like the smell of moth balls, and because it can linger in your car long after removing them, setting them in buckets underneath your car will also help deter mice.

 

Roommate (Un)Wanted

Hopefully dealing with unwanted house (or car) guests is not something you have had to experience and by following these simple suggestions we hope to help you avoid them for the foreseeable future!

We filed an insurance claim for the owner of the BMW 335i and repairs were underway. The intake manifold gaskets, ignition coil over, sound insulation, and rear engine cover were all replaced after a very thorough vacuum and engine shampoo.

Once the mouse house was dealt with by Motor Werke’s team, we were able to carry on with our usual BMW maintenance and the BMW 335i owner drove away without a worry about a stowaway!

If you think that you might have a mouse problem in your car, Motor Werke can take care of the insurance claim, necessary repairs, and clean up for you!