Performance Vauxhall - - BUY & MODIFY -

The Corsa B GSi was equipped with Vauxhall’s C16XE – and the later X16XE – en­gine. A 1.6-litre in­line-four boast­ing six­teen valves, multi-point fuel in­jec­tion and a no­to­ri­ously re­stric­tive in­duc­tion sys­tem, the unit’s power out­put is quoted as be­ing 107bhp with 109lb/ft torque.

Af­ter early prob­lems with stick­ing valves on low mileage cars, Vauxhall’s ‘belt and braces’ fix was the rec­om­men­da­tion of cylin­der head re­moval and valve guide mod­i­fi­ca­tion, but when it came to cars show­ing mi­nor symp­toms, many deal­ers opted for the less se­vere rem­edy of dump­ing a can of en­gine flush into the twin-cam­mer be­fore giv­ing it a damn good thrash!

Of course, given the age of the GSi, it’s un­likely you’ll find one suf­fer­ing from stick­ing valves to­day, but it’s a con­di­tion worth know­ing about in case you find un­ex­plained pa­per­work high­light­ing cylin­der head work not long af­ter the car you’re look­ing at was first sold.

As is the case with most older en­gines, check­ing the GSi’s beat­ing heart from cold and al­low­ing the unit to get up to tem­per­a­ture is a must. Lis­ten for any ev­i­dence of un­even idle and/or mis­fires. Look for smoke at the rear. Head gas­kets can fail, although this com­plaint can be eas­ily iden­ti­fied by ex­ces­sive build up of pres­sure in the cool­ing sys­tem, white smoke from the ex­haust and se­verely dis­coloured coolant. Oil leaks are com­mon from the sump and cam cover gas­kets. For­tu­nately, re­plac­ing them is a straight­for­ward – if some­what messy – task for any­one au fait with a ba­sic tool kit.

Oil leaks from be­hind the tim­ing belt usu­ally sig­nify weep­ing camshaft seals. It’s an­other in­ex­pen­sive fix, al­beit one that might seem daunt­ing if you’re only used to car­ry­ing out ba­sic ser­vic­ing. If you do think there’s a fault here, it’s worth spend­ing time re­plac­ing the tim­ing belt and wa­ter pump, es­pe­cially if the car’s his­tory sug­gests the job’s 40k-mile ser­vice in­ter­val is draw­ing near (de­spite Vauxhall rec­om­mend­ing 80k-mile tim­ing belt in­ter­vals for the ma­jor­ity of its en­gines in the 1990s-2000s, a high num­ber of Griffins were re­turned un­der war­ranty due to snapped belts, lead­ing to a change in the pub­lished rec­om­mended fre­quency of the work be­ing done).

As a min­i­mum, oil changes should be car­ried out ev­ery 10k miles, although we’d rec­om­mend halv­ing

that num­ber. Re­fresh­ing the lu­bri­cant is one of the cheap­est and eas­i­est jobs you can do on your Vauxhall, and one which will en­sure its en­gine re­mains in rude health. Ev­i­dence of fresh, clean flu­ids is a sign of a car­ing owner, and sug­gests the car has been looked af­ter.

Many driv­ers fail to con­sider fuel in­jec­tors when it comes to rou­tine main­te­nance. In­jec­tor noz­zles can be­come blocked with the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of dirt which causes er­ratic fuel spray pat­terns. Ul­tra­sonic clean­ing and ser­vic­ing of your car’s in­jec­tors is cheap (from £12.50 per in­jec­tor), highly ef­fec­tive and can be done by mail or­der through In­jec­tor­tune ( in­jec­tor­tune.co.uk).

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