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2012 Corsa Van mechanial mashup :(

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  • [Corsa D] 2012 Corsa Van mechanial mashup :(


    I am looking for some advice from people who know these little diesels.... I bought a tidy 2012 van a couple of months back.. the only issue was a water leak. Took the van to my usual mechanic who pointed to a plastic hose clip on the bottom of the rad.. this hose was changed as well as the water pump just to be safe.... or so I thought....

    Everything went swimmingly for the next couple of weeks at which point the rad fell apart dumping all the coolant....

    Anyway.. cut a long story short the rad has now been replaced with a brand spankers unit.... but... I have now been presented with nightmare list of possible problems;

    Piston Slap
    Possible bore scored if so new pistons & rings big & small ends
    Timing chain
    Possible ouil pump
    2 new injectors


    The van was running sweet as a nut until the rad fell apart.... it's now morphed into the motor from hell.. or so I am being told. The main problem appears to be very low oil pressure when the engine gets up to temp; but I had the same mechanic change the oil & filters a couple of weeks before the hose & water pump??!!! If the list of faults from hell is accurate how is it even possible to drive the van?? OK, so it won't go far until the oil gets hot and the pressure drops but if the list of "faults" is accurate I wouldn't expect the thing to even turn over?!

    I am wondering whether the right oil was used at the oil change? I'm told it was but from what I can see most mechanics buy a big 44 gallon barrel of oil and shove it pretty much everything... I think the filter is non OEM also.

    The engine is a A13 DTC unit which I am being advised to junk in favour of something off ebay.... I'm not very keen on this idea as it sounds pretty drastic. From what I can see it's pretty obvious that the mechanic can't be @rsed to explore what is actually wrong cos chucking a new lump with all the ancillaries on it is quick and easy.

    I'd like to explore what's wrong before junking the whole lump.... I shoved a can of thickener into the oil which has made it a lot quieter... I'm thinking I might flush and change the oil and junk the el cheapo new filter using a new Vauxhall one.

    I've heard so much bull$hit about these diesels that I don't know what to believe. As you can tell from the user name I'm no mechanic but I have a big workshop full of all kinds of tools and have spent many a happy hour repairing and refitting machine tools of one kind or another. Right now I'm pretty annoyed that a poxy rad has apparently ruined a complete van.... a new one was only 100 or so FFS....

    Sorry for the long post but any help would be much appreciated... where do I start on this project?

  • #2
    Hi sorry to hear about your troubles with the van. It sounds like when the radiator leaked and lost all the coolant, the engine would have over heated, and might have caused all the faults you have listed. What's happened is when the engine over heated it caused the crankshaft to expand and rub the shell bearings, which is why the oil pressure has dropped. You could remove the sump and drop the big end caps, and check for wear on the crank journals. To see if you could fit some new shells bearings. But the crankshaft would have to come out for the mains. Just to let you know there isn't many places that can grind the corsa crankshaft, due to how narrow the journals are. Yes the quickest way to get the van back on the road would be to put another engine in it.


    • #3
      Welcome to the Forum.

      Did you have ant symptoms of the listed faults before the radiator incident?

      The thing that doesn't rally have any connection with the rest of the list, is the injectors - Was it misfiring, producing black exhaust smoke or difficult to start before the rad problem, or have any of those symptoms occurred since then?

      Having seen one thing on the list that may have no connection, tends to make this old codger a little suspicious about the other items - I'm not saying that there isn't any problems BUT....

      I dislike most oil additives,but the fact that the viscosity improver that you added had a quietening effect on your engine MAY point to you being correct about the oil being of the wrong viscosity (and probably of the wrong specification also)

      With the exception of the injectors, I don't think that any of those problems would prevent the engine from starting normally.

      You are correct about cheap and nasty oil filter elements, there have been cases where these have broken up and blocked oilways.

      As you say that you would like to explore what is wrong, may I suggest that you start by doing as you say and change the oil and filter element, but DO NOT use flushing oil, as it is not possible to drain every last drop out, what is left can have a diluting effect on the new oil. Hopefully, the engine has been run on detergent oil (for Diesel engines) but if it hasn't, then again flushing oil can do more harm than good, as any sludge in the engine may not come out with the flushing oil and then when disturbed by flushing, lead to blocked oilways.
      Rather than flushing, it would be better to change the oil and filter again in a couple of weeks.

      Once that you have the correct oil in there, I would recommend that you buy or borrow an oil pressure gauge and see for sure what the oil pressure is like, both with the engine cold and hot.
      The van's performance should give you an indication of the engine condition - Does it start as it used to - does it sound as it used to - does it pull like it used to - does it produce more blue exhaust smoke than it used to - does it use any more oil than it used to.

      The problem with buying second hand engines, is that you have no idea what they are like - Just imagine having someone who is a bit unscrupulous obtain an engine for you and fitting it - What is to stop him from steam cleaning your old one and flogging that on E-Bay?

      Most of those listed problems would not in themselves, throw up a fault code, but the injectors (if indeed they are faulty) probably would, so it might pay to clear (delete) any fault codes that are in there and see if any new ones come up after a couple of days running.

      If after doing the above, you are still not happy with the van, you could ask around for recommendations of a trusted garage (they do exist!) and have them check it over for you.



      • #4
        Thank you ever so much for the replies....

        I am in no rush to get the van back on the road..... I originally bought a sportive Corsavan with less than 30k on the clock. I've never owned a Vauxhall before and I was so impressed with this little van; the way it drove, the way it felt really nicely put together that I thought I'd replace my existing Peugeot works van with another Corsa.. the 2012 Ecoflex came up near me so I grabbed it. The sportive is fine so I can use that while I sort out the ecoflex..

        The ECOflex van drove really nicely; it was a little more nosiy (rattle/ ticky) on tickover than the sportive but not much, no smoke on startup, no smoke underload, pulled cleanly on acceleration all round a nice basic works van. As I have two of these vans I can compare driving both; if two the injectors on the ecoflex were bad then it absolutely did not show when driving it; zippy and responsive,

        The mileage is highish at 89k but this is low compared to some of the secondhand lumps on ebay...

        At the moment the van is safely off the road so there is no panic to do anything.... I've bought a workshop manual and I plan to just run the engine on tickover until it gets warm and see how things pan out... thanks for the heads up on the pressure meter.

        As far as fault codes code the dashboard display is clean as a whistle... not a warning light or abnormal indication in sight... perhaps I should invest in a cheap fault code reader.

        Anyway... thank you ever so much for sparing the time to offer advice... it's very much appreciated

        Merry Xmas


        • #5
          Quick update......

          Had the van running for approx 60 minutes.... started OK, no smoke

          After first 20 minutes pushed the throttle a few times to put load on the engine.... no smoke, revs increased in response to pedal pushes

          After the second 20 minutes did the throttle routine again... no smoke, revs went up with pedal pushes

          Last 20 minute interval... the hour mark, still ticking over nicely, no smoke.... blip the throttle and the engine died....



          • #6
            If coolant loss causes damage due to overheating the cost of the part that failed is irrelevant.It could even have been something that only needed tightening - I once had a conrod go through a crankcase because of a loose little end bolt.

            You say its a list of possible problems .But are they problems they have actually found from tests, using a bore scope etc. Or are they pointing out the worse case scenario of things they may find if the engine is stripped down? Which could put it beyond economic repair or even beyond the experience of the mechanic. So maybe they are right to point out a complete replacment lump might be the better option - assuming you can find a decent one. (The 1.3 cdti is made by Fiat btw,not just found in corsas. )

            But it might be a good idea to get a second opinion on the engine, checking oil pressure, compression etc. Its possible things are not as bad as they seem and its still good for many more miles. (or can be sold, honestly described) I would have though cheap oil from a drum is more likely to be too thick than too thin.I wouldnt have though that would reduce oil pressure. But another oil change and decent filter is a good idea in case the problem is due to clogged oil galleries.
            The two dodgy injectors might improve if a powerful injector cleaner is used in the fuel tank. One that claims results with one dose, not the type intended to keep them clean when used over a long period.

            Sorry cant help with the latest problem


            • #7
              Thanks for the reply...

              As far as I can work out the list of issues appears to be something of a guestimate....the only thing I know has been checked is the oil pressure; which is very low when the engine reaches temperature. Everything else is speculation.... mechanic made it pretty obvious they didn't want to investigate this engine further which kinda pushes me in a direction I don't want to go; unknown new lump off Ebay.

              The injector cleaner is a good idea which is worth a shot.

              I'm planning to have a go at all the easy stuff first and see how we go.

              Thanks again for all the helpful replies... I'll keep you posted


              • #8
                If the engine just 'faded away' with the last throttle blip, it might be worth investing in a new fuel filter - that;s only a guess, but it pays to start with the cheaper possibilities.
                I don't know where you are, but if the air temperature was low whilst the engine was idling, it is possible that any water in the fuel managed to freeze - or even had low temperature waxing in the fuel.

                Happy Christmas.


                • #9
                  . Could the two faulty injectors be so bad they created a fuel rich situation that 'flooded' the engine when it tried to rev? I dont know if this can happen.Its just an idea.


                  • #10
                    I'll throw my two penny's worth in as well. I think the headgasket has gone .probably between 2 and 3 . And when the engine warms up the loss of compression on the two cylinders is causing the diesel knock. You could get someone to do a sniff test. On the expansion bottle. It's basically sealing the cap with a blue fluid and seeing if it turns yellow. Compression testing a Diesel isn't easy. You could end up damaging the injectors trying to remove them. And you will have to renew the seals on the bottom of the injectors.


                    • #11
                      I have to agree that compression testing on a Diesel engine is not easy - It involves fitting the compression tester in place of one injector and running the engine on the other cylinders. Very few people do compression tests on Diesels, consequently not all workshops have the equipment - and those that do rarely use it.

                      To be honest though, I can't really see the problem being down to a head gasket, as I would have thought that there would be a misfire at all temperatures. A more depressing thought that COULD occur when hot, would be a cracked head, in which the crack only opens up when hot - but I wouldn't even start to investigate that until I had exhausted all other possibilities.
                      The 'sniff' test could show up as positive for both a gasket failure and a cracked head.

                      Note to Bugman: I would imagine that if the injectors were in such a bad condition, there would be a load of black exhaust smoke upon acceleration (if not all the time.)
                      Note to Restorer: I have re-read this post and can't find any mention of Diesel knock.


                      PS Providing that it has had regular servicing, 89,000 is not a particularly high mileage for the engine, but once that you have sorted the problems, it might not be a bad idea to treat it to a new timing chain. (you did say that it rattles)
                      Last edited by walksall; 22-12-2018, 11:15 AM.


                      • #12
                        Thank you everyone... your input is VERY much appreciated.
                        Once I've got to the bottom of the current issue I do plan on new a timing chain, the van has always been a little bit "ticky" on tickover.

                        As a rule I don't quibble over having work done; I was trying to keep this nice little van in good order; since I've had it any problem which came up was fixed straightaway. Initially the glowplug light came on and stayed on so the van went in for a new heater pack or somesuch. Then the water leak was sorted with a new pump & hose. I think the reason I'm so dissapointed is because I was trying to be careful and look after the van as best I could. Had the rad been pointed out as a bit iffy I'd have put a new one in at the same time as the hose.. the new water pump was a precaution so a rad on the same basis would have been fine by me.

                        As soon as the workshop manual arrives I'll have a better idea where to start with all your kind suggestions.

                        Merry Christmas


                        • #13
                          Thanks walksall. Must admit I hadnt thought it through about compression testing. Although my last 4 cars have all been diesels I have never had to remove an injector,.I know it can be problematic..

                          Future cars will probably be petrol.