I have been extolling the virtues of this site and have said that I will put his problem to you assembled techies for suggested solutions.
His car is a 1996 P Reg. Vectra 1.8 manual hatchback.
He has a problem with the engine intermittently cutting out on tick over.
He is a pretty practical sort of bloke but he cannot sus out what action should be taken next in diagnosing the cause.
If anyone cares to post a list of appropriate questions for me to pass on to him that may help to eliminate or elicit possible causes or cures I would be grateful. I can then get back to you with his responses.
How important is the car to him?
Easiest way is to take it to a Vauxhall dealer - ask whats wrong and how much it will cost to put right. If its a 100% solid fault then they should be able to give a 100% solid diagnosis and therefore price to fix the priblem.
Would help to know engine code. Does the engine just stall, and then re-start immediately on key, or stop and then refuse to re-start for some time.
IMHO it is unlikely, 'though not impossible, to be an ECU (computer/processor) fault, especially if it is only a stalling problem. Much more likely a problem with carbon-fouled throttle housing, blocked crankcase breather system, dirty or faulty (very common) idle speed control valve, or faulty / incorrectly set throttle position sensor.
Why take it to a dealer ? Why not look in Yellow Pages or on the net for a local mobile tuning / diagnostic expert ?
99% certain to be the Idle Speed Control Valve. Common Vx problem, especially if it's done over 50k miles. May respond to a clean, of both ISCV and throttle body, but usually needs replacement. £150 job though.
Check to make sure the oil return hose and the air breather hose on top of the rocker cover arent blocked too. I have a '94 2.0 Ecotech Cavalier (same/similar engine), and had a similar problem.
Where the oil return hose comes from the top of the rocker cover and into just below the throttle body, there is a hot-water jacket surrounding the pipe at the throttle body end. This water helps to keep the oil warm and moving, however it bakes the oil solid, like pencil lead, and blocks the hole. This in turn forces any oil from the rocker cover up the air pipe and into the idle air control valve, clogging it up. Its worth spendeng 10 mins taking the pipe off and uncrewing the water jacket off, and checking to see if its blocked. If it is, you'll need to drill the baked oil out using a 1.5mm bit, then clean it and the idle air valve with carb cleaner or such like.
Also, if your car randomly cuts out (like mine did for a year), check your immobiliser!
If you want me to go into further detail about the idle valve thing, email at firstname.lastname@example.org
My friend has now had his cutting out problem sorted just when he was on the point of buying a new car.
He initially took the car to a Main Agent whose fault-finding machinery showed a reading of something being wrong (low voltage)but which the garage said meant nothing to them.
He subsequently took the car to a small independant garage which didn't have the diagnostic equipment so a mobile diagnostic bloke was brought in (not expressed very well but I think you know what I mean).
Anyway, the problem was caused by a faulty crankshaft sensor which was replaced at a cost of £40 labour, £30 parts. It is now going as sweet as a nut. That is to say it is now that he has had the diesel which he inadvertently put in immediately after the repair flushed out and replaced by petrol. Mustn't laugh really 'cos it's bound to happen to oneself eventually.
Thanks for all your original responses, they were much appreciated.
This happened twice to a friend of mine who owns a Vectra 2.0GLS. The first time is was fixed under warranty when new and the the second time cost £200 to fix. Each case it involved the replacement of an engine management chip. Common fault with Vectra's.