Vectra Engine Management - Cyrill666 {P}

I have a 1999 2.0Di Vectra. Following a recent service, I notice that the oil is rather high on the dipstick once the car has sat for a while (the old Vectra oil drain 'feature' that I've read about). Anyway, I felt I needed to drain half a litre to feel more comfortable with the level (it's above max) - all well and good till I found I needed a torx bit to take the sump plug out (why oh why!!!!) - anyway, I've had to drive 50 miles this morning to get to work, I'll try and source a torx bit today, then drive 50 miles home and hopefully sort the problem this evening.

Now to my engine management light problem (the two may be related?) - after about 30 miles this morning the engine management light starts to come one, but only when I allow the engine to tick-over for longer than about 10 seconds. So normal driving is fine, pull up at a junction and the light comes one, pull away from the junction and it goes off after a second or two when the revs pick up. Anybody have any ideas on this one?

Kind regards,
Vectra Engine Management - wemyss
The torx size is T45, I got one from Halfords. The drain plug appears to be alluminium or other light alloy so the correct size is a must to avoid damaging the splines.
You also need a new O ring from your Vauxhall dealer about 15p which they say should be replaced each time.
The torque setting is only 13pdf which is very small.
Having said all that I have found that getting a correct dipstick level is a funny old business.
Your handbook says it must be checked with the engine at operating temperature. I wait about 45 minutes.
I have found that the first dip shows no oil whatsoever and the subsequent ones are correct.
Leave overnight and dip cold and it shows way over the top until I wipe the dipstick a few times and it then shows a correct reading.
About the simplest task to carry out on any car apart from the Vectra 2.0 diesel.
Vectra Engine Management - Cyrill666 {P}
Thanks Alvin,

I figured it must be T45, the largest Torx bit I have is T40 - just typical... lol.

I found that a cold dip (car left for 24 hours or more) showed way over the top, but subsequent dips also showed way over, that's why I was concerned.

The engine management light was also a source for concern and I figured the two may well be related. Does the engine management light come on if the oil pressure is too high?

Vectra Engine Management - John S

High oil level won't cause high oil pressure. Maximum oil pressure is controlled by the oil pressure relief valve. Unless it's too low and not circulating, oil pressure is unaffected by oil level.


John S
Vectra Engine Management - wemyss
I'm sure John is quite right on this, and since cars have gone down the electronic gubbins route I'm out of my depth with them.
The spanners part is relatively easy. You can see what is happening, but with an ECU acting as the mastermind telling the mechanical parts what to do I have to throw my hands up.
I know some Vectras have warnings for low oil level and perhaps other mechanical indications but I guess these wouldn't show on the engine management light but on the digital readout.
One of the tune up lads on site would probably have some ideas on this.
Vectra Engine Management - Cyrill666 {P}
OK chaps, thanks for your comments and help.

I guess it's a £50 touch at the dealer for them to plug in the diagnostic equipment to tell me it's a £15 sensor that's stuffed.

That's life I guess.

Vectra Engine Management - SjB {P}
Vectra Engine Management Light coming on after a period at low RPM is normally nothing to worry about.

Both my V6s have done it from new, as have my brother's two 1.8s, and the 2.0 DTi hire car I once drove.

The important thing is that it goes out when revs have risen for a few seconds.

For example, the engine management light on my current GSi will illuminate if I trickle round town on a low throttle opening, at low (near tickover) RPM, for a minute or so. As soon as I hoof the throttle, it goes out, and stays out. Engine performance is unaffacted at all times.

From various Vectra discussion groups, over many years (oh yes, this is well known!), I understand that the problem is simply that the sensor(s) do not perform consistently at lowish engine speed. Having had the sensor replaced on my first Vectra in 1995, only to have the light illuminate again a week later, I've not bothered with it since.

Vectra Engine Management - Andrew Moorey (Tune-Up)
There is a known problem with a high oil level causing excessive oil mist to be blown into the intake contaminating the airflow sensor. I personally believe that extended oil change intervals cause the same effect as the oil fumes off more as the level of DERV in the sump increases.
Vectra Engine Management - Cyrill666 {P}

I've drained approximately 1 litre of oil from the sump (using a T45 Torx bit... thanks Alvin), the level is now just below the maximum level on the dip stick (after the car has been sat for around 2.5 hours).

Excessive oil mist blown into the intake - I've taken the airflow meter off and inspected it this evening, it looks very clean, what level of contamination are we talking about here?

I took the car out for a 4 mile test drive, sitting in a layby leaving the engine tickover for a minute or so half way around. Got all the way home, feeling chuffed to have sorted the problem - and just as I pulled on the drive... the engine management light came on again (duh!). I slowly put the car into the garage, the light was still on - no amount of revving the engine seems to get rid of it. In order for it to go out, the car actually has to be moving, i.e. I pull away and it's out in a couple of seconds. Does that help pin point the problem for anyone with experience?

having said all that, the car is running fine (I've driven around 120 miles today), and following SiB's comments about the light, I'm not overly worried (thanks SiB). I'd still like to find out what the problem is though... just for the hell of it.

Does anybody know how (or where I can find out) to test the various types of engine sensor?

Kind regards,
Vectra Engine Management - Dynamic Dave
the engine management light came on again.

Have you tried resetting the ECU?
Not sure if the same applies to newer Vauxhalls, but on the older ones you disconnected the battery for a minimum of 30 secs and then reconnected. First make sure you have the radio code though.
Vectra Engine Management - SjB {P}
I have my doubts that it will help, but yes, the ECUs on Vectras can be reset, though I recall the manual instructing that the powered down period must be for at least fifteen minutes. Doing this sets the ECU back to factory default settings, from where it then starts to 'learn' the optimum settings for the specific engine it is attached to, all over again.

One word of caution though so you don't annnoy your neighbours: Every Vectra I have seen has a self powered alarm fitted, and if you simply disconnect the battery, it will trigger.

The correct sequence is something like switch the ignition on and off, and then disconnect the battery within a specified number of seconds (15?), though I would check this procedure (it is listed) in the driver manual for the car, first.

Good luck,
Vectra Engine Management - Dynamic Dave

The "expensive" light (i.e. engine managment light) kept flickering after I hit a large pothole and resetting the ECU on my previous Cavalier cured it. Must have jarred the electrics somewhere and triggered a "ghost" fault.

Yes, you're right about the alarm having a battery back up - forgot that. The sequence you mention to mute the thing sounds correct. I think the factory fit alarm is only fitted to CD, CDX, & SRI models as standard though.
Vectra Engine Management - Cyrill666 {P}
OK, I'll reset the ECU tonight and see how it goes....
(fingers crossed)

Mines an LS, so no alarm to worry about.

Kind regards,
Vectra Engine Management - SjB {P}
Straight up:

Arrive at work today.
Colleague sidles over.

"Steve, You've got a Vectra haven't you?"
"Thought so. I have just picked one up (2.2 petrol) as a short term loan car, and the engine management light keeps coming on around town. Have you even come across this before?"
"Err, yes...!"

Good luck tonight anyway Cyril666.

Vectra Engine Management - Miller
I wonder how many Vectra owners have rushed to a dealer when this light comes on for the first time only to be told by the mechanic that the computer does not find and problem, and then charge them for the privilage!
Vectra Engine Management - Dynamic Dave
I wonder how many Vectra owners have rushed to a dealer
when this light comes on for the first time only to
be told by the mechanic that the computer does not find
and problem, and then charge them for the privilage!

The ECU is "supposed" to store the fault code. If the fault doesn't re-occur within the next 20 [1] ignition key turns then the ECU clears the fault from its memory. However not all fault codes are stored, so the dealer suggests you leave the engine running [2] when you pop along to them to have the diagnostic equipment plugged in - providing of course the ECU light is still on. If the light is not still on when you pop in, then chances are the fault code has vanished and you've been charged for nothing.

[1] don't quote me on that, I have also heard its 14 turns of the key.
[2] great idea!! Leave the engine running in the car park while you queue up in service reception waiting for dippy Doris to go find a grease monkey with an ECU reader to hand.
Vectra Engine Management - John S

Yes, there is a sometimes a problem getting the fault code to register. If the fault is momentary, or you clear it soon after it comes up by stopping the car and restarting it often won't register.

I had this problem when a camshaft sensor failed. The dealer suggested I ran the car for at least half an hour with the fault light on. This apparently will fix it in the memory. A colleague was given the same advice.

The other option was, however, to bring it in with the light on!


John S
Vectra Engine Management - Crombster
I had this problem on the Omega 3 years ago. The car was mis-firing and for the life of me I couldn't work out why. Annoyingly the light did not come on, but that is fairly typical of mis-fire type problems. I booked it into one dealer and they returned 40minutes later telling me the car was fine. The fact that the Automatic V6 stalled when carrying out slow maneovres (3pt turns/reverse parking) did not cause concern to the chap behind the counter. Neither did its rough idle or lack acceleration for that matter.

Unfortunately his advice was to bring the car back when the light came on, which I objected to since I had the problem for over 6 months and the light had not appeared once.

In the end a Bosch specialist diagnosed the ecu as faulty and I was fortunate in picking one up from a breaker for a fraction of the cost of a new one.

It does suggest however that in many cases dealers are unable to fault find if their computer cant see any fault codes. A bit disappointing really...
Vectra Engine Management - Cyrill666 {P}
Oh dear... :-(

I disconnected the battery in order to attempt to reset the ECU. That all went according to plan, I even had the correct radio code (always a bonus!). Drove 50 miles to work without seeing the warning light once... lovely. Drove about 4 miles of the journey home, I was just joining a dual carriageway, still in 3rd, just about to go for 4th (not hammering it) when the warning light came on with a very noticable lack of power. Couldn't get the thing above 60 so pulled into the next layby, couldn't rev it above about 3500 (normally limited at around 5250) Switched of the engine and restarted, all was well for the next 40 miles. Then it happened again.

So as things stand, I no longer see the low revs warning lighht I originally had problems with, but now I get the light at higher revs but it stays on until the ignition is switched off. Incidentally I can't make the light come on by revving the engine, it only comes on when the engine is under load, i.e. whilst I'm driving. Very perplexing. Oh, and the turbo doesn't seem to kick in at all anymore???

I've tried the fault code thing mentioned here:

with no luck, I think my 1999 Vectra must be a newer model where that particular trick doesn't work. I've also unplugged and reseated all the connectors I can see/reach in the engine bay, looking for evidence of moisture etc, but they all seem fairly tight and clean.

Can anyone offer a final straw to clutch at before I'm resigned to allowing the dealership full access to my credit card account?

Yours hopefully,
Vectra Engine Management - Flat in Fifth

I had a similar problem and as you say the tricks trying to read the fault codes do not work on later model diesels. Also I could not find any hep amywhere else on the net.

In the end a switched on dealer sorted it. As a recommendation Vauxhall Motor House in Halesowen, West midlands, very helpful and loaned me a courtesy car as they wanted to keep it overnight. Recommended.
Vectra Engine Management - Cyrill666 {P}
Flat in Fifth,

Thanks for the recommendation, unfortunately I live in Teesside. So I'm at the mercy of my local dealers.

Thanks anyway,
Vectra Engine Management - Flat in Fifth
There is a nice little virtual dealer, someehere up your way, specialises in Ladas and pink Chieftain tanks IIRC. Don't rely on a sensible answer though ;-)

Well....... it IS Friday.
Vectra Engine Management - Andy P
If my last Cavalier was anything to go by, the crankshaft sensor is a particular weak spot. I had two go in the space of three months.

Vectra Engine Management - Cyrill666 {P}
OK, to close this thread, here's the score:

I took the Vectra into the local dealership this afternoon and they plugged in their box of tricks, I'm not sure what was diagnosed exactly, but after a fair amount of investigative work under the bonnet and two test drives, they came back with the following:

* Perished turbo wastgate solenoid vacuum pipe. Replaced
* Perished EGR solenoid vacuum pipe. Replaced.

Sure enough, it's now back to normal. Took them around 45 minutes to find and fix the fault, I'm quite impressed with that. So for the record, the dealership I used was "Patrick of Stockton".

Amusingly the computer diagnosis cost £50.40 + VAT and the two vacuum pipes were £1.55 + VAT each. Typical.

Thanks to everyone who's contributed to the thread, hopefully it will be useful to somebody in the future.

Kind regards,
Vectra Engine Management - SjB {P}
And thank you for closing the thread.
Makes a pleasant change from many that I see.

I hope you are as sorted out as you appear to be!

Vectra Engine Management - battlestarone
yes me, took my car a vectra 2.0tdi to a vauxhall dealer, ecu coming on, loosing power, switching car off and restarting again clears the fault for a while. Dealer takes car, does tech 2 test, replaces mass air flow sencor replaced and some vac pipes, car test ok on tech 2, collects the car, told it had been road tested, drove it home, car still have the same problem and i am £300 down, labour was around £100 for 2 hrs work alone, total rip off, car was returned to dealer same day, tech 2 test redone, no codes present, car returned, car went back next day after contacting the service manager, one they way to garage car loosing power, ECU light coming on, turns the corner to the dealership, light goes out, still lack of power, tech 2 test done on the road with me driving and a mechanic beside me with the tech 2 plugged in, ECU light never came on, car lacked power during test, mechanic said he could not do anything until the ECU light came on and he could take a snapshot reading on the tech 2 then look back at the info on a more detailed bit of software to trace the fault, told to run the car over the weekend, if fault still there to bring it back for in dept testing, this is going to cost a bomb just to find out what is wrong never mind parts. Would i touch a 2.0tdi vectra again, Mmmmm! i like he car, i do huge milage 40k plus a year, it is the dealers that are letting the cars down and joe bloggs the owner and of course vauxhall as it reflects very badly on the company and there cars if a dealer cant get to the bottom of a fault without a huge bill.

regards to all
Vectra Engine Management - Mark From Cornwall
Having exactly same trouble with my Omega 2.5 CDxi Auto -low revs following traffic or at a junction (favourite thing stalling while crossing busy road!!) Other symptoms...loosing power while tootling along..and sometimes even surging..makes life interesting !!

My garage man (who doesnt charge me for fault diagnosis) came up with fault 15 Coolant Temperature Sensor High Voltage but nothing else. Reset codes etc.

Now going to reset ECU..would use Vauxhall dealer if I was confident they could sort it but not paying for their incompetence or educating them.

Will post up follow up if I get it sorted
Vectra Engine Management - superannuated rocker
I don't know if they are applicable to diesels but Halfords sell a decoding device for £18 from a company called Gunson (it also mentions crypton on the box) which can be used for downloading the codes from the ECU. It could be argued the unit is expensive at £18 as it only consists of a switch and a few leads and most important, detail of the codes. I bought one some time ago when occasionally getting the dreaded light up on my 2.0 petrol Vectra. Ironically the problem was the camshaft sensor which I had changed some twelve months previously during a previous period of problems. As it happens I had kept the original unit (the problem had eventually turned out to be the crankshaft sensor) so I was able to replace it and cure the problem FOC. Any way £18 is rather cheaper than paying the dealer's charges and the unit certainly works'
Vectra Engine Management - Big Vern
Why oh why does somebody not develop a datalogging box to plug into cars with these sorts of problems i.e. plug this black box in, drive on for a couple of days... maybe even a button to press so as to flag when the fault is occuring. If they can do it for planes why not for cars!! as the box of tricks would be 'on loan' from the garage it should not add cost to the car. With modern DSP software any modern laptop should be able to break down the telematry and root cause.... or am I being too simplistic??
Vectra Engine Management - Keith S
Now going to reset ECU..would use Vauxhall dealer if I was
confident they could sort it but not paying for their incompetence
or educating them.

Interesting point this....

But I can't help thinking that the dealer needs to be paid for their education process when trying to find a fault.

Sometimes I think the best way to deal with these difficult to trace faults is to wait untill the defective part completely fails, a bit inconvienient though.

One of my colleagues had a 2.0 DI company Vectra. The fleet company spent £2000 on the car and the engine management light still persisted, exactly as described above, with the ignition needing to be turned on and off before the car would have any power. The fleet company gave up on the car and replaced it.


Value my car