Performance Vauxhall - - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS -

@ I’m hav­ing prob­lems with my 1997 Astra 2.0 16v Sport and hope you can help. It keeps bring­ing the man­age­ment light on and when it does, it be­comes very er­ratic to drive and also it’s hard to start – it seems to crank over for a long time then will even­tu­ally catch. It’s just been ser­viced with new plugs, leads and all the fil­ters and I’ve also had the throt­tle body and idle value cleaned out. I’ve been told to get the ECU read for faults but no­body seems to be able to plug into the car as it’s the old type of plug – though I’m not ac­tu­ally sure what that means. I don’t know if it makes a dif­fer­ence but I’ve just fit­ted a Lex­maul man­i­fold, a stain­less ex­haust and a cone fil­ter. Brad.

AThe first port of call for any man­age­ment light re­lated is­sue is to check the fault codes stored in the ECU. From the late 90s, all cars were OBDII, which means they had a com­mon multi-plug de­sign and all give generic codes. The likes of the Cal­i­bra, Mk3 Astra, Cava­lier and so on are OBDI – they can still be read but the mul­ti­plug is a dif­fer­ent shape and due to their age now, very few peo­ple still have ac­cess to th­ese code read­ers. Vaux­hall used Tech 1 (Tech 2 is for later, OBDII cars) but th­ese are few and far be­tween. You can read the codes though, it’s a case of bridg­ing out two pins on the di­ag­nos­tic port multi-plug, this then flashes the man­age­ment light

PER­FOR­MANCE VAUX­HALL in se­quences to tell you what fault code is stored. There’s loads of info on­line and guides on how to do this so get read­ing.

Once you have your code/s then this will give you the area in which the is­sue lies but re­mem­ber, they are just guide­lines so don’t al­ways as­sume if it says “Air flow mis­match” it’s the air flow me­ter, it merely means there is some­thing caus­ing the air flow me­ter to send a fault – could be the me­ter, could be an air leak, could be wiring. In your case, we’d be very sur­prised if it wasn’t camshaft or crank­shaft sen­sor re­lated. Both are prone to fail­ure but again just check the wiring for dam­age, make sure the sen­sors aren’t loose and that the multi-plugs are clean and cor­ro­sion free. Both sen­sors are in­ex­pen­sive and read­ily avail­able but just en­sure you get the cor­rect one as there are sev­eral vari­a­tions on the Ecotec en­gine – it’s not one size fits all de­spite the en­gine be­ing the same in sev­eral mod­els. Given you’ve just fit­ted a man­i­fold, we’d dou­ble check you haven’t caught, trapped or dam­aged the crank sen­sor wiring down the front of the block as it can get very frag­ile with age and doesn’t take too kindly to rough han­dling. Worth check­ing first?

Read­ing fault codes with OBDI equipped cars can be a lit­tle tricky

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