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98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - VD1984
Hi,

My car failed its MOT because its emissions tests were too high, I hope some one can help me figure out what I need to do to get this fixed. Also I'm getting excessive exhaust smoke, I think this must be related.

The smoke isn't black and I wouldn't say its blue, so from I've read on the internet I don't think oil or coolant is burning.

Will replacing the Lambda Sensor fix this?

Any help greatly appreciated, thanks guys!

Here are the results from the MOT:

Fast Idle Test:
Engine Speed (2500-3000 RPM) * Not Checked
CO: (<= 0.30 % vol) 0.63 Fail
HC: (<= 200 ppm vol) 108 ppm vol Pass
Lamba (sign) (0.970-1.030) 1.055 Fail

Second Fast Idle Test:
Engine Speed (2500-3000 RPM) * Not Checked
CO: (<= 0.30 % vol) 0.54 Fail
HC: (<= 200 ppm vol) 110 ppm vol Pass
Lamba (sign) (0.970-1.030) 1.042 Fail

Netural Idle Test:
Engine Speed (2500-3000 RPM) * Not Checked
CO: (<= 0.50 % vol) 0.44 Pass

98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - John S
Is the 'neutral idle test' actually done at 'normal' idle speed and not at 2500/3000 revs? If so, as the CO is better there, first thing I'd do is change the air filter.

JS
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - VD1984
Apologies that was a typo. Should have read "Natural" not neutral.

I can only assume the car was properly idle for that test.

Would the air filter being dirty also be a cause for the excessive exhaust smoke?

Thanks for your reply!
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - John S
Yes, a blocked air filter will make the mixture over rich, leading to poor combustion, high CO and possibly smoke. The fact it gets richer at higher revs makes me wonder if the air filter is obstructing the air flow. I believe the increasing lambda is telling the same story. How old is the air filter?

JS
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - VD1984
Yes a blocked air filter will make the mixture over rich....

snipquote

Hmm, I think the air filter is pretty old in fact, I know I haven't changed it in maybe 18 months at least! That sounds bad doesn't it.

Edited by Dynamic Dave on 07/10/2008 at 19:45

98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - Screwloose

What excessive exhaust smoke? Is this a clapped-out engine problem?
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - VD1984
What excessive exhaust smoke? Is this a clapped-out engine problem?


I don't think the engine has a problem, well I hope not!

Basically, there is smoke from the exhaust, and its well, an excessive amount. Not big clouds or anything like that but there's definately too much and it seems to be continous.
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - Screwloose

What colour is this smoke?
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - VD1984
What colour is this smoke?


Just pasting from my first post;

The smoke isn't black and I wouldn't say its blue, so from I've read on the internet I don't think oil or coolant is burning.

Its more grey than white or black. Thanks for you replies so far.
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - Screwloose

Before doing anything else; get the source of that smoke investigated.

There is no grey smoke from a petrol engine, so if the "smoke" isn't just a bit of temporary steam at start-up; then you have a serious problem.

Needless to say; any exhaust smoke will ruin the emissions. Don't change an oxygen sensor without proper testing.
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - jc2
The air filter would have to be seriously blocked to have an effect but it's a simple thing to change.It's unlikely to be the HEGO(lambda);this is just responding to the fumes coming from the engine.What is your oil consumption?
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - VD1984
The air filter would have to be seriously blocked to have an effect but it's
a simple thing to change.It's unlikely to be the HEGO(lambda);this is just responding to the
fumes coming from the engine.What is your oil consumption?


Far as I can tell oil isn't being consumed rapidly, and petrol isn't being consumed faster than usual.

I bought a lambda sensor today for £70! Got a booking on Thursday for a mechanic to fit it for me - do you think I don't need this?
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - injection doc
To diagnose it would need the co2 & oxygen readings as well. Do you give the car a good thrshing or just a poodle aroud with lots of short trips?
Petrol contaminated oil ( from lots of short trips ) can cause a light haze & higher Co.
A 5 gas analyzer & live data readings would be far better than a guess as to whats wrong.
Find a garage that has the new 5 gas Cat diagnostic tester, thats a very clever bit of kit & that will indicate a failed cat or engine fault. It had very clever software that will rate a percentage of inefficeint cat or sensor or other engine malfunction.

Lambda being high is pointing towards too much oxeygen ! does it have a small blow in the exhaust? or air leak in the manifold or vacum pipe leaking?
I Doc
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - VD1984
To diagnose it would need the co2 & oxygen readings as well.


SNIPQUOTE - please refrain from quoting the entire message you're replying to - as per the pop up message when you click on the "quote message" button!!!


Thanks for your reply I Doc, much appreciated.

The MOT garage told me their were "leaks" in the exhaust joints, so I went to Kwik Fit who resealed the joints. They also did an emission test to check but it was still too high. I would assume there are no leaks now.

What do you mean by "does it have a small blow in the exhaust?" sorry for being a bit blonde!

As for if the manifold or vacum pipe are leaking, I have no idea what those things are so couldn't say for certain :(

Edited by Dynamic Dave on 07/10/2008 at 19:46

98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - injection doc
when they did the tests had any part of the exhaust just been replaced & how did they re-seal the joints. It sounds to me like a good hard trip on the motorway may be the first port of call.

A small blow can be a whisper but enough to allow air to leak in causing high lambda.

Give it a good run & see if you can pursuade a good Indy garage just to check the readings & comment on the result.

You also need to know if after the joints were re-sealed whether it was just the co too high or lambda as well. If it was just co then a good blast may clean the cat out.
I doc
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - VD1984
SNIPAQUOTE!
You also need to know if after the joints were re-sealed whether it was just
the co too high or lambda as well. If it was just co then a
good blast may clean the cat out.


I don't really know how they sealed it, as you may have guessed I don't know a lot about cars.

I don't think a good hard trip will do anything positive. The whole exhaust including the cat was replaced in March i was told a bit of smoke was normal because its new. That went away soon afterwards.

More recently though in the last month or so, the exhaust smokes much more, its clearly not normal.

Ive got my car booked in for a service at the vauxhall dealership where they have a monorep garage. They are going to fit the new Lambda in for me too.

I did ask them to do the MOT again afterwards but I think I'll change that and ask them to just check the emissions for me.

Edited by Dynamic Dave on 08/10/2008 at 13:42

98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - mfarrow
I don't really know how they sealed it as you may have guessed I don't
know a lot about cars.


You seem to - you're diagnosing and getting new parts fitted!
Ive got my car booked in for a service at the vauxhall dealership


What kind of service? Are they going to do a fault-finding exercise as well?
just check the emissions for me.


Wise move
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - VD1984
You seem to - you're diagnosing and getting new parts fitted!


Well just been reading and looking at other peoples problems/advice, hope I'm not wasting money and time!

What kind of service? Are they going to do a fault-finding exercise as well?


I've had my cars for nearly 3 years and never taken it for a service - so its going to have the oil changed, various filters, brakes checked.
>> just check the emissions for me.
Wise move


Yeh I'm hoping Monorep will fix my car then I can take it back to the original garage where I had the MOT failure with the hope that they'll either not charge me or charge me only a little for putting it through the MOT again.
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - mfarrow
Nearly 3 years might make the difference. After the service do take it for an 'Italian tune-up' if it never does long trips - it can and will make a difference.

Oh and take it for a spin on the way to the MoT garage.

Edited by mfarrow on 08/10/2008 at 21:37

98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - VD1984
After the service do take it for an 'Italian tune-up' if it never does long trips - it can and >> will make a difference.


Sorry but I don't know what you mean "Italian Tune Up"?

Do you mean go really fast?

I would say I do long trips, about 50miles a day in it on the motorway, average speed being between 70-80 when theres no traffic, I wouldn't say I've been ripping it up lol
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - Dynamic Dave
Sorry but I don't know what you mean "Italian Tune Up"?


::points towards the 'Forum Search' over on the RH side of the screen::
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - Victorbox
3 years without a service (particularly an oil and filter change) and you wonder why it is smoking!!??
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - VD1984
Well, Monorep just called me back

They did a service and replaced the lambda sensor (£195) did an emissions check and it still failed.

They think it might be the head gasket, quoted me £200 to just check it. Couldn't tell me a price for repair until they've checked it. Any advice guys? Thanks for help so far.
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - SpamCan61 {P}
mmm... i'm not getting a good feeling about this garage, emmissions problems can be a pain to sort out, but head gasket failure would be a long way down my list, unless the 'smoke' on the emissions was actually steam.

If they have taken the old lambda sensor out then coolant contamination that would knacke rthe sensor should be visible on the old sensor, have they mentioned this?

A head gasket can be checked, in terms of a coolant path failure, by checking the emisisons from the coolant expansion tank for traces of exhaust gases. That takes 5 minutes max ( assuming the engine is warm) and should no way cost more than 30 quid.

FIND A GARAGE THAT KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - mfarrow
Does it consume oil or water? If so any more of late?

If not do the italian tune-up from the link DD provided then ask any garage under the arches to stick their emissions probe up it.

Edited by mfarrow on 09/10/2008 at 14:09

98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - Victorbox
As Screwloose has suggested - any amount of burnt oil will ruin the emissions test. 3 years of poor maintenance without oil / filter changes will have gradually worn the piston bores to the point where the engine is now smoking sufficiently to fail the MOT. You seem to be prepared to throw money at the problem now when spending money on annual services would have been a better idea. The engine is possibly past saving without a major overhaul.
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - VD1984
Yeah I guess it is my fault but that just makes me feel even worse.

The car is losing radiator water.

Monorep say its a blown head gasket, but they're quoting £250 to just take the head off and to check what the fault is for certain.

If its just the gasket that need replacing it could cost upto £600, if its more than up to £1,000.

I'm not prepared to pay that much for its repair, that car can't be worth anymore than £1,000 (R reg Corsa). I would have paid £250-£400 for a repair though.
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - SpamCan61 {P}
I'll repeat my previous advice with respect to your current garage.

I've had two head gasket changes done in the last few years, a 1.8 Cavalier mk3 ( 250 quid from local mobile machanic) and a 2.0 litre 16v Omega ( 400 quid from a Vauxhall main dealer) so 600 quid sounds way OTT to me - unless this garage is based in Mayfair.

Unfortunately if it is losing water as well then head gasket failure does sound likely, if you can get it done for a sensible price i.e. less than 300 quid maybe worth a gamble, but I certainly wouldn't throw more money than that at an R plate Corsa.
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - VD1984
Thanks for the advice SpamCan61, I'm going to phone around the smaller garages to see what they'll quote.

The Monorep Vauxhall garage said their prices were higher because labour is £100 an hour! And they replace more things than other garages would, like stretch bolts or something? He said most garages would just reuse the old ones. I don't know if he's stretching to the truth or just trying to make me pay out.
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - Screwloose

Two hundred and fifty quid just to lift the head and eyeball the gasket on a Corsa 1.4!

Tell me again why I spend hours tearing my hair out over obscure electronic faults for nothing - as most of them to disappear and never return to be fixed?

VD

Trade it in as an MOT emissions fail. You won't get stellar money; but haggle the buy down too. The chop price is all that matters, after all.
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - SpamCan61 {P}
Yes you should replace the stretch bolts when doing the head gasket, but that 400 quid head gasket change I mentioned above was doing the job properly with all Vauxhall bits ( Being a main dealer only to be expected!) 100 quid per hour labour for a Vx dealer still sounds like Mayfair pricing to me, my local one is 60 quid I think.

Finding a reliable reasonably priced mechanic can be a painful / expensive gamble I'm afraid:-/ Even Vauxhall main dealers will vary a fair bit in price, so worth phoning around.
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - injection doc
Just because lambda & co are high it doesn't maen the lambda sensor needs changing. A good motorway thrash & a good diagnostic check would of been the first port of call. A head gasket test is to put an exhaust gas analyzer in the top of the header tank & sniff for HC's if it exceeded 20ppm hc then head gasket failed.
as already said find a good indy!
I Doc
98 1.4 MOT Failed emission tests - Rattle
I may have missed something here but dosn;t this engine suffer from sticking valves? It might be worth trying more expensive fuel and then doing an italilian tune up but to be honest there is a simple equation here.

X3 = Smokey engine.

Where x is the number of years without a service.

How many miles have you done without a service? When was the cambelt last changed? If the cambelt is also due it may bot be worth fixing.
 

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