Sometimes light situations might not be to your preference, but on the flip side it can create an interesting mood. In this instance from my perspective the car gives a feel of edging out from the darkness, and into the light…
Full resolution available here: Flickr
Something else I needed to fit was a new mid silencer on the Zafira, since the rubbish the garage fitted split along its plated seam after less than a year.
Luckily the new section I have is “rolled” instead of “pressed” meaning it only has one long edge seam instead of two physical sections tacked together. So my plan for this is just to give the product more protection from the elements, it’s mild steel and it will fail eventually but it might help a little…
Versachem is a good product, and it is a strong sealer so I have applied it to all the seam edges on the box, notice how it’s embedded into the small gaps nicely…
Here is another example on the recesses, this only took about five minutes skimming the versachem wearing latex gloves (seriously use gloves as versachem is rather potent stuff).
Spraying is also a rather quick task, since this is matte VHT it tends not to run so bad and even one coat looks rather tidy. Also it can be good to tape the edges to give a cleaner finish (not that anyone will see this work of art lol).
After fifteen minutes I applied another quick coat.
I applied the paint mostly to the ends and on the long seam edge, after five minutes of drying you see it goes to this flat matt colour and does not look too bad at all. To finish I sprayed the hanger sections also just to help protect the welds.
That concludes my little DIY post here on a little rust/corrosion protection for budget exhaust components, have a good day 🙂
A bit of a diagnostics walk through today, my Dad’s car (Zafira A) sprouting some confusing problems…
First things first, if you own a Vauxhall and have an engine light on do yourself a favour and get a live data retriever like what you see above. Why pay more for a garage to scan the car once when you can have a £20 reader that will probably outlast the car.
So it all started with the exhaust system, the factory down pipe flexi had failed and was blowing a lot. Purchased a new down pipe and a new o2 sensor to save the hassle or removing the old one out of the original down pipe. Everything was replaced pretty easily though once the car was started we had two codes: P0170 and P0136…
P0170 – Lean Exhaust
This code was not too tricky, and since the middle silencer and muffler had only been replaced by a garage on the last MOT I was not expecting this at all. After a few minutes I found a hairline leak from the welded side seam off the middle silencer, so a very poorly made silencer right here ! Luckily I was able to seal this defect using VersaChem.
P0136 – O2 Sensor 2 Open Circuit
This one was a bit trickier, I got an open circuit issue now ? somehow ? First things first and that was check the sensor itself. The first thing you can do on the four wire o2 sensor is check continuity and resistance in the heater circuit, which are the two white wires off the sensor:
Set multi meter to “ohms resistance” and connect to the white wires at the four pin terminal connector, you should be able to get a confirmation beep and numbers around 04.5Ω.
Next you will check the voltage range of the sensor, this is typically 0.2 to o.8 volts as you apply heat to the sensor (best done with a blow torch).
Here I recorded a video to demonstrate how you go about doing this, you will go into “Volts DC” for the meter and connect up to the grey and black wires at the terminal this time. Apply heat to the end of the sensor and see if you get a steady voltage climb, as you can see this was not the case for me, so the sensor was faulty !
Since I researched how to check the harness I will also highlight on this:
Before you go any further make sure your vehicles ignition is off !
For the Zafira A / Astra G (Z16XE) the engine ECU is located on the right side of the cylinder head next to the battery, and you should see two rather large black connectors coming off it. You have the upper harness connection and the lower harness connection, you need to unlock the top connector (known as connector X72). You simply do this by easing out the plastic slider (no.48) and then the big metal hinge will unlock for you.
We need to create a circuit testing ohms resistance with the meter connected to the X72 and then right down to terminal 3 on the o2 sensor connector (wiring harness side). You need to use a fine needle probe to pin 62 on this plug, so just two along from 64 as you see on the diagram. To connect to terminal 3 you will obviously need longer wires, speaker cable is pretty ideal especially combined with block connectors (look at the you tube video above to see how I did my “DIY” leads).
Once connected you should get a low reading of around 0.3Ω and confirmation continuity beep.
A few final tests can be carried out at the 4 pin o2 sensor connector (harness side):
o2 sensor disconnected: Ignition On / Terminal 4 (black) Harness Side to Ground = 400-500mV
o2 sensor connected: Ignition On / Terminal 4 (black) jumper Harness Side to Ground = less than 50mV
This sums up all the testing you can do, other things are if you have a live diagnostics reader go into the measuring blocks and see what kind of mV readings you are getting. The sensor should change every second, and on this bad sensor it was always stuck at 447mV or 453mV so definitely an issue. There is always the unlikely case your ECU is at fault, it is rare but it is known for them to fail since it’s effectively attached to the engine and experiencing a lifetime of noise, vibration and changing temperatures.
With the work carried out you would think that would be the end of it, but not in this case. A day after the car developed a bad misfire out of nowhere and we had codes:
P0300 – General misfire
P0303 – Cylinder 3 misfire
It seemed very strange that this would happen, and I initially thought it might be linked to all the wiring tests I had been doing. It turned out the car battery was failing, only delivering 7volts when cranking which is not ideal for any car. The sealed Vauxhall battery was at least 10 years old so that was replaced, I swapped the spark plugs out for some spares and no joy, so it was onto the Coilpack:
Here is a good video for testing the coilpack, and after replacing the unit the car was all good again, finally fixed !
The year seems to be going super fast, and finally the weather in the UK is getting better. I’ve mainly been out cycling which has felt somewhat beneficial, and over the break we had an awesome trip at the Go Ape course near Leeds Castle. I’ll be honest I was a little nervous at first since I had no real idea what to do, but after working out the equipment it was really amazing. I want to do a similar course perhaps bigger and more dangerous, probably have to go half way round the world for that !
Here is one of the Folkestone students that was in my group, the zip lines are pretty big, around 250m long and guessing probably around 100ft high.
I tried to use my camera on the big zip line and get a 1/15th shot to show the speed of motion, but I Kinda ended up in a spin… I was holding the cam with two hands and using the viewfinder when I’m supposed to be holding onto the safety harness ! Why did I not use live view you might well ask ? I use the view finder so damn much I forgot about it to be honest. Basically it didn’t work out but I still like the effect…
Like I said with cycling I’ve been doing a lot of that, and the Hope Pro 2 hub I’ve fitted to the bike has really improved the drive pickup, though I’m still getting used to the sound ! Here I’ve parked up at Sandy Lanes just checking it out, a couple of bricks and sticks to move otherwise some of trails seem okay. I want to rebuild the front wheel as well now it seems too weak in comparison. After 16 years I decided to renew the bottom bracket also, it didn’t need one but they are not expensive so I’ve fitted an UN55 in place of the UN52 and it seems good.
In the workshop I’ve completed a few more tasks and only have one left to do now ! Recent ones have been diagnosing a turbo charger pressure fault, audio equipment fault, and a steering related fault. I got to do some kind of pre-MOT inspection so I’m not sure when that is happening because it will have to be done in the other workshop, using the necessary testing facilities like the brake roller.
Here is an example of the evidence I have to submit with diagnosing audio equipment. Although the problem was damage to the component speaker wiring in the door I still have to show a methodical approach, so going to the stereo fuse first, then moving on to checking the output from the head unit amplifier etc. until getting to the component speaker in the door and no signal after entering the door indicates a wiring damage/high resistance.
I got my LV07 assignment passed a few weeks back which is good. This assignment is about describing an electronic fuel injection system and outlining an in depth diagnosis of a specific problem that can occur on the system. I did my investigation about solder breaks on the PCB for a Fuel Pump Relay. I have Mark Lamond with his great website to thank for the in depth look at the Honda CRX.
With this I was able to base my own essay off the scenario and pin it onto a newer vehicle. This fault is only common on 80’s / 90’s era cars but it still poses some relativity with vehicles that often cross climates from cold winters to hot summers.
LV07 engine and LV08 chassis exams have both been passed first time as usual. I was not totally impressed with the engine LV07 exam, getting questions about variable valve timing and just generally old stuff really. There was nothing on electric cars, hybrids, common rail diesel, direct injection, variable turbo geometry etc… I was not really expecting these things to come up, but I think the exams should focus on much newer tech because it gets quite boring covering stuff I learned in my first year.
I end the post on a rather tragic note, and that was the team I participated with did not win the skills competition over at the Broadstairs campus, we came second by half a point ! Well done to EKC Broadstairs for getting 1st place and to the other colleges that took part in the event, it was a good laugh and I leaned a fair bit on the day.