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General Chat Thread, There's a problem with my car... again, any ideas as to what would be appreciated in General; ...
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    Sarconia's Avatar
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    There's a problem with my car... again, any ideas as to what would be appreciated

    Hi everyone,

    There seem to be a few budding mechanics around here so I thought I might as well ask for some advice as I don't really know that much about cars (I just follow the Haynes manual and pray!).

    After coming off the motorway from doing one of my usual 75 mile journeys this weekend, my car then decided it'd turn on the wonderful orange light of doom, I cursed at my car but still carried on driving and managed to drive all the way home with this light on. It's an odd light (engine electronics light)which simply tells you that "there is a problem somewhere", it doesn't tell you where or give any indication as to what at all. In order to find out what exactly is the problem you've got to read the code from the on board computer.

    Is there any way that I can somehow make a device myself/connect it up to my laptop which I can hook up to the on board computer which will read the code and tell me what's wrong with it? I'd rather not pay £50 for a garage just to read the code only to tell me that (most likely) it is going to cost loads/is dying.

    I've been trying to figure out what it is but I'm not really sure, the only symptom which the car has is that it's glugging oil a bit faster than usual, yet there are no oil leaks in sight.

    A quick backstory of the car (and my dodgy repairs!). It broke down about 6-7months ago with an oil leak, a £2 gasket which caused me a nightmare. I decided to buy a Haynes manual and attempt to fix it myself because it would have cost hundreds, maybe thousands in labour costs, it took me a good 4 weekends working on it solidly - I dismantled virtually half the engine, took the exhaust off, changed the CAM belt and I was absolutely amazed when it actually started up again, let alone moved. Funnily enough, a month later it passed it's MOT without any issues... now I'm wondering if the problem I've encountered has anything to do with my hash mechanics from back then.

    Edit: I mis-spelt what in the title and can't change it! /slapself

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    bossman's Avatar
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    @Sarconia:

    Firstly what type of car is it (Make and Model)?
    Secondly It could probably be just a sensor which has gone but as you say you need to access the computer management system before you can ascertain what the problem is.
    Thirdly Would it not be cost effective to pay the £50 for the fault diagnostics first and work from there? (let the garage do the diagnostic testing for you and then work out the cost from googling around for the parts)?

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    Sarconia (5th May 2010)

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    Back in 2000 and something all car manufacturers were made to standardise their diagnostic ports. So yes, its easy to get a reader, but you aint going to save a great deal on your £50. In the long run you will mind.

    Guzzling oil but no leaks? If you arnt imagining it then thats a bad sign as the only places the oil can get out other than onto your drive is into the coolant system (head gasket) or into the cylinder. Check your oil filler cap for a mayo type goop. My car always has some mayo in there so dont panick too much if there is some. If theres lots then its a good sign its the head gasket.

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    Sarconia (5th May 2010)

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    is it a Vauxhall? If so, ways and means, yes. Also, Vauxhalls aren't unknown for "heavy oil use"..for some engines it's considered normal.

    Both of mine have reasonably straightforward hookups. Post 2000 have a 16 OBD2 connector that plugs into my laptop (Best £25 I ever spent on eBay there, I leave the netbook plugged in and go for a spin while it logs all the data from the systems - most handy), pre 2000 have an odd plug (12 pins), or a 10 pin ALDL plug, which can be interrogated using..haha..a paper clip. My M reg threw up a failed MAP sensor using that.

    Basically, we need to know the car details..

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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    Back in 2000 and something all car manufacturers were made to standardise their diagnostic ports. So yes, its easy to get a reader, but you aint going to save a great deal on your £50. In the long run you will mind.

    Guzzling oil but no leaks? If you arnt imagining it then thats a bad sign as the only places the oil can get out other than onto your drive is into the coolant system (head gasket) or into the cylinder. Check your oil filler cap for a mayo type goop. My car always has some mayo in there so dont panick too much if there is some. If theres lots then its a good sign its the head gasket.
    ish. Connectors do vary, as do protocols. And baud rates. It's all good fun. Also, if it's a Vauxhall 8 valve and drowning in mayo at the rocker cover, it's quite, quite normal. All of mine have, and it's called cr@p design..heh.

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    Sarconia (5th May 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirbendy View Post
    ish. Connectors do vary, as do protocols. And baud rates. It's all good fun. Also, if it's a Vauxhall 8 valve and drowning in mayo at the rocker cover, it's quite, quite normal. All of mine have, and it's called cr@p design..heh.
    Yeah, wasnt it the 1.6 2002ish engine that drank a couple of litres a years?!! I was refering to him saying it has started using more oil. I had to explain to my mum why her new 1.6 vaux was more expensive to tax than my old 2.0 and my brothers 1.8 bmw. Cr@p appeared in the convosation a few times.

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    I was a mechanic for 5 years, and am good friends with a guy that runs his own garage, specialising in diagnostics.
    He doesn't have 1 machine to plug into the car, he has a few, and even then he gets his scope out to check individual components.
    It's very rare the problem is the ECU, it's usually down to faulty or failed sensors. If you did buy an OBDII connector there is no guarantee it would tell you the problem with your car.

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    Personally I'd pay for the code read. Assuming your local garage are reputable it could be a good £50 as it may be something trivial that needs cleaning / reseating / replacing and they can then reset system.

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    mm..the Z16SE/Z16XE is supposed to do it.

    Can't say as my Z16SE does, mind. Mayo yes, usage no. I just beheaded the rocker cover last month and jetwashed it out..heh. Same with all the breathers - compressed air blowthrough, and throttle body removed and blasted clean with carb cleaner. Used to do it with the X16SZR as well. I've got a spare astra with a C14SE that badly needs it..heyho. One day.

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    rad
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    Why not register yourself on a car forum rather . Sounds like I am saying disappear but they might have experience of this and be able to tell you straight away. (Unless it is Dos-Box and his big machine............

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirbendy View Post
    is it a Vauxhall? If so, ways and means, yes. Also, Vauxhalls aren't unknown for "heavy oil use"..for some engines it's considered normal.

    Both of mine have reasonably straightforward hookups. Post 2000 have a 16 OBD2 connector that plugs into my laptop (Best £25 I ever spent on eBay there, I leave the netbook plugged in and go for a spin while it logs all the data from the systems - most handy), pre 2000 have an odd plug (12 pins), or a 10 pin ALDL plug, which can be interrogated using..haha..a paper clip. My M reg threw up a failed MAP sensor using that.

    Basically, we need to know the car details..
    Yes it is a Vauxhall. Although I've owned it for about 4-5yrs now and it's only began to drink oil recently... and by drink, every few months I need to top my oil up, bearing in mind that I only do about 500 miles a month.

    It's an old 1995/6 Astra, 1.6 16V, I checked the oil last night and theres no gloop/mayo as people have described around the oil filler cap so it doesn't look like it's mixing with water or anything else.

    It's a really odd problem, I googled it before I posted on here and it didn't really return a lot of results. I am just cheapskate and don't want to pay £50 if I can build a rig (maybe with a paperclip) myself. Don't spend money if you don't have to...

    I've had a look on car forums as well but most of them tend to deal with newer cars and don't seem to have a "chat about your old bangers" discussion forum for slightly older cars!

    Still, thanks all I'm going to have a look and see what kind of plug I've got... fingers crossed, I can use a paperclip to read it (here's hoping anyway). Although, what do you connect the paperclip up to?

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    Could be the egr valve. they're known to cause this issue with the engine management light.

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    Have a look around the engine and locate the various sensors, remove the electrical plugs and re-fit them one at a time. It's easy to dislodge these things if you were a bit 'care free' in your previous mechanical work!

    A basic sensor/switch can be bypassed with a paper clip plugged into the cables to the sensor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarconia View Post
    Yes it is a Vauxhall.
    Get yaself on MIG Performance Vauxhalls - Car Club, Vauxhall News, Forums, Free Classifieds, Gallery and More!

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    I'm amazed that you changed the cam belt yourself.

    Ben

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