A fine mess

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Editorial -

We’ve all had to make bud­get-based de­ci­sions that have ended up cost­ing us money in the long run. Sadly, our cur­rent Vaux­hall In­signia 2.0 CDTI project car is one of those cases where you grad­u­ally be­gin to sus­pect that the ve­hi­cle you’ve bought is a ‘le­mon’.

We bought the 2011 In­signia with a high mileage and we were aware that it came with no me­chan­i­cal re­port and no ser­vice his­tory, so if it failed – as it has – we would have to de­cide whether to per­se­vere or sim­ply scrap the en­gine.

At CM, we don’t like to see any­thing go to waste if a re­pair is pos­si­ble, and buy­ing a se­cond­hand en­gine can be an ex­pen­sive busi­ness – as we found with our MINI project in 2015. So, af­ter lift­ing out the In­signia’s en­gine in the May is­sue, this month we stripped the an­cil­lar­ies and head from the block and sent it to a well-es­tab­lished en­gine re­man­u­fac­turer in Brad­ford, W Drake En­gine Re-man­u­fac­tur­ing. To make the block as light as pos­si­ble, the sump, crank and pis­tons were re­moved.

I am al­ways fas­ci­nated when an en­gine is stripped and worked on by spe­cial­ists as it makes for in­ter­est­ing read­ing – at least, that’s what I told

CM’S pub­lisher, who’s foot­ing the bill! Per­haps the most in­ter­est­ing tit­bit we learned was that W Drake had dealt with six – yes, six! – of these en­gines in the past week. It ap­pears that our In­signia diesel isn’t the only one caus­ing a few headaches for its owner. As has been noted, there seem to be quite a few on the mar­ket with seized en­gines – as one CM reader put it: “They get a bit flaky at high miles.”

Ac­cord­ing to W Drake, the cause of fail­ure is down to the DPF re­gen­er­a­tion process flood­ing the en­gine oil with diesel fuel, which then de­stroys the main cap bear­ings, but not the bi­gend bear­ings. It seems the main cap bear­ings spin and over­heat the caps.

We are look­ing for­ward to the day we can say our In­signia is run­ning fine again. How­ever, with­out want­ing to tempt fate, we have heard from CM read­ers that gear­boxes can fail with ease. In fact, through the grapevine, we heard of one case where Vaux­hall had to re­place three ’boxes on an In­signia A that was still within the three-year war­ranty pe­riod. That’s a new gear­box every year! Fin­gers crossed our six-speed man­ual will be fine.

In the July is­sue, our In­signia en­gine un­der­goes ma­jor re­con­di­tion­ing, in­clud­ing hon­ing the block (as shown here) and line­bor­ing – some­thing I find in­ter­est­ing, not bor­ing!

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