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Starting issue 2001 Corsa 1.2 16v SXI

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  • [All Models] Starting issue 2001 Corsa 1.2 16v SXI

    Hi hoping somebody can help my lad. He has a 51 Plate corsa sxi 1.2 16v and over the last few weeks it has had a starting issue. We have bought a new battery last week and this week he had a full service and his cam belt / timing chain was replaced. He bought a new car key, (Chipped) just under a year ago and both the new key and old key start the car. The car was working fine up until three weeks ago. When we go to start it, it takes about two or three times of removing the key from the ignition before it starts. I can hear the fuel pump start and if I put my foot on the accelerator pedal you can smell petrol, so we now start it just by turning the key. Once it starts which it does after several attempts it stays started and the engine and car work ok. I am now thinking it may be the starter motor either damp or on its way out. All the lights on the dash board go out once it is started.
    Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated as we don't really know anything about car's..
    Thank you.

  • #2
    I'm a bit confused by the bit about - we start it by turning the key - that's what you usually do, so what am I not understanding about the problem? Unless you mean you are starting it without using the throttle pedal which is how they are designed to start.

    If it is reluctant to start the things I would check are:

    1. The alternator - check the voltage at the battery before starting the car (should read at least 12.5v) then check with the engine running (should be 14v). Anything much less than 13.5v with the engine running suggests the alternator isn't charging the battery properly. (Try an overnight charge and see if it starts any better the next morning - always worth checking. Even a new battery will struggle if the charging system isn't up to scratch.

    2. Check the battery main power connections, especially the earth lead where it connects to the body. Corrosion and damp in there will cause resistance which causes starting problems.

    3. Remove the earth battery terminal connection and bridge between the connection and the terminal with a multimeter - current flow with the ignition off should be a few milliamps. Anything more suggests a current leakage which will drain the battery overnight. It'll still crank over but suffer voltage drop on cranking which knocks the ignition system out. If there is a current flowing remove fuses one at a time until you find the circuit which is leaking.

    4. If still having problems replace the coolant temperature sensor on the water pump. In theory they default to a cold start mix anyway, but dud a CTS has been known to cause starting issues.

    5. Clean the EGR valve - again, a sticky EGR will cause starting problems because it throws the mix out.
    1972 Viva restoration thread -


    • #3
      Hi Taurus. Cheers for replying. I meant that the car will eventually start with both the original key and the new one we had done. Didn't know to only start the car without using the throttle pedal so cheers for this info. We had Halfords check the battery connectors when they replaced the battery and they said it was ok. The mechanic that did the cam /timing belt said no fault codes came up on the car when he tested it. As for the things you advised to test. I can check the battery connectors, but as for the rest I wouldn't have a clue. The problem we have now with having to turn the key in the ignition 4-6 times before it starts is the same problem that we had prior to having the battery changed and the full service and cam belt changed. any further advice or info would be really appreciated.


      • #4
        For additional info. The green indicator light on the battery stays bright green and does not fade over night nor when we crank the car over.


        • #5
          OK - so when you turn the key for the first time what happens? Does it crank over healthly but just not fire? Or is it slow cranking at first?

          There are number of things it could be but there's no point going at everything at once - the more information you can provide about what is actually happening the better. Knowing if it is cranking properly first turn would be helpful.

          If it is then the next step is going to be to check the fuel pressure at the rail after turning the key to the no.2 position (ignition live) but before cranking. It's quite simple to do, you just need to be careful because petrol should spray out at pressure. What you do is this:

          Turn the ignition key until all the dashboard lights come on, but do not operate the starter motor. This should cause the ECU to prime the fuel system by running the pump for a couple of seconds. You want to make sure you've got fuel pressure at the injector rail. Leave the key there and look towards the rear of the top of the engine, you will see a shiny steel tube running across the back of the engine with the injectors plugged into it. On the rail is a black plastic cap a bit like a tyre valve cap but bigger, remove it and underneath will be a valve just the same as a tyre valve. Carefully press the central tip - petrol should spray out so be careful. If it does that shows there's fuel at the rail before cranking.

          Then turn the key to crank the engine - if it does fire crank it for a few seconds - then try pressing that valve tip again - see if fuel is still present at pressure.

          Let us know about these first two checks: Cranking and fuel pressure at the rail.

          (NB When cranking do not press the throttle at first - the ECU is designed to set the fuel/air mix and you only much the settings up by pressing the throttle. Only iff it won't start try a few seconds with the throttle fully depressed.)
          1972 Viva restoration thread -


          • #6
            Hi Taurus.
            I carried out the instructions that you kindly gave above. When I turn the key for the first time, the car does crank over healthy and fast. You can also hear the fuel pump start for a few seconds. Going back to your instructions. I located the cap and the valve and did what you said. On both occasions fuel came out of the valve under pressure. (luckily I had a towel present). after checking what you advised I put the bigger cap back on and then started the car up again and it started first time. I did this several times and the car started first time every time. So the cranking appears to be fine and there is fuel pressure at the rail.
            Any further advice you can provide or the next step would be very helpful.


            • #7
              If I've read that right the car is starting first time after checking for fuel pressure - what I'd do then is to leave it overnight, then first start of the day turn the key to no.2 position and wait a couple of seconds, then turn it to the starter position. Don't touch the throttle pedal at all. See what happens and let us know.
              1972 Viva restoration thread -


              • #8
                Hi Taurus. We carried out your instructions this morning and then left the car on the drive for a good four hours. When I went out to start it, The car again took several turns of the key before it would start. Once it started it ran as normal. I then drove it up the road about two miles and then stopped and I turned it back off, waited a few seconds then straight back on again, the car started first time. I will try on your instructions tomorrow and I will update you. Thanks again for your help. Your a star.


                • #9
                  OK - that's useful. Next time it cranks but doesn't start check the fuel pressure on the rail again. Check there's pressure then when it's not firing up.
                  1972 Viva restoration thread -


                  • #10
                    Hi Taurus. Apologies for not getting back to you sooner. My Lads car has been back to the garage and the Mechanic has now fixed the problem. At first it was thought it was a problem to do the air intake to the carburettor body, but it turned out to be a faulty Earth wire on the ECU. The mechanic put a new wire between the ECU and onto the Battery earth point and the car is now working fine and starting first time again. Thought I would post this just in case anybody else suffers with the same problem. Thank s for all your help.


                    • #11
                      Early C models were prone to ECU issues - the fuel pump relay earths via the ECU, so if it won't start you check for fuel pressure at the rail - no pressure means the relay isn't operating. Usual causes are either the crankshaft sensor (usually fails when hot) or ECU issue (when cold.) Glad it's sorted.
                      1972 Viva restoration thread -