ALL IN A FLAP
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