ALL IN A FLAP

Performance Vauxhall - - STAFF CARS -

Well, that turned out bet­ter and cheaper than ex­pected! Con­tin­u­ing from where I left off last is­sue (when I out­lined how I was faced with a po­ten­tial £500 re­pair bill for a swirl flap con­nec­tor rod com­plaint), ex­cel­lent progress has been made with my Zafira.

Ini­tially, I feared I would have to re­place the en­tire in­let man­i­fold with an ex­pen­sive like-for-like re­place­ment, but time spent in­ves­ti­gat­ing the prob­lem pre­sented var­i­ous op­tions, in­clud­ing fit­ting a cheaper Pier­burg in­let man­i­fold. Un­for­tu­nately, do­ing so would still in­volve hours of labour with tim­ing and aux­il­liary belts (plus plenty of other items) re­quir­ing re­moval for ac­cess. More ap­peal­ing was the avail­abil­ity of a blank­ing plate kit de­signed to seal-off the swirl flap aper­tures. The ask­ing price was £40, but the work still re­quired the man­i­fold’s com­plete re­moval. Ad­di­tion­ally, I wasn’t sure what per­for­mance or emis­sions is­sues the car might present if I opted for this so­lu­tion. To my re­lief, a search on eBay yielded a £15 up­graded link­age rod kit com­plete with brass bushes. For that money, I was hardly go­ing to pass up the chance of try­ing this op­tion first, so that’s what I did!

The old rod with plas­tic bushes is shown be­low left. The photo to its right high­lights one of the OEM part’s fail­ings. As you can see, the im­pli­ca­tion here (with wear seen on the far right bush) is the rod had partly popped off one or more of the swirl flap pins while still be­ing at­tached to the mo­tor-ac­tu­ated pin. This con­di­tion ap­pears to have caused the rod to move around the shoul­ders of the pin sock­ets, caus­ing pre­ma­ture wear to the bushes.

It’s a heck of a fid­dly job to swap rods thanks to the nar­row chan­nel be­tween cam cover and in­let man­i­fold be­ing so deep. Fur­ther­more, the glow plugs are lo­cated here (leads re­moved to do this job), plus there’s an awk­ward flange on the back of the cam cover, which is why the link­age rod has an ex­tra kink in it (see the photo to left).

Long-reach pli­ers were em­ployed to ma­nipu­ate the parts in situ. The only way I could see to in­tro­duce the rod around the ob­struc­tions was to de­tach the two far-right bushes from the new rod be­fore pos­ti­tion­ing them on their swirl flap pins and ro­tat­ing them into an ac­ces­si­ble po­si­tion. Then, with the rod holes lined-up with those of the bushes, the grub screws could be care­fully in­tro­duced on a mag­netic pick-up tool in ad­vance of be­ing tight­ened as far as pos­si­ble with a socket and a small hex bit on the end of a flexi-shaft. Tight­en­ing as far as pos­si­ble is ad­vis­able, due to the pos­si­bil­ity of the parts work­ing loose.

Fin­gers crossed (and hop­ing there’s noth­ing wrong with the swirl flap mo­tor un­der­neath the man­i­fold!), all will be well again. I’ll be sure to let you know in the next is­sue of Per­for­mance Vauxhall.

Ma­nip­u­lat­ing the rod into place with the help of long-reach pli­ers (and the odd sweary mo­ment!)

Old rod link­age re­moved Wear on the far-right plas­tic socket is ev­i­dent Re­place­ment up­grade kit. Note the ex­tra bends to the right to get around the tricky flange on the cam cover

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