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X16XE Struggling, jerking, loss of power, possibly misfiring ?

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  • [Corsa B 1993-2000] X16XE Struggling, jerking, loss of power, possibly misfiring ?

    I have a corsa b with a X16XE engine swap that I've owned for nearly a year and recently it developed a problem which got so bad it's nearly undriveable.

    It started off by giving a small jerk when accelerating up hill and then it gradually gotten worse to shaking and sort of misfiring randomly on idle. It gets really bad when you are driving it and press the accelerator quickly, the car starts to jerk, chug and completely loose power accompanied with a sort of popping sound as if a cylinder or more are not firing.

    Here is a video which may help give an understanding:

    - YouTube

    (It is quite hard to make out the engine vibrating and misfiring
    Also the hissing sound which seems like a vacuum leak seems to be coming from the air filter)

    I have been able to acquire some parts and try them on by people i know without buying them to see if anything helps and here is a list of what I have tried:

    Spark plugs
    Coil Pack
    Plug wires
    O2 sensor
    MAP sensor
    All 4 new injectors
    Fuel pressure regulator
    Throttle Position sensor

    The car had an oil change with a new fuel filter about 3 months ago.
    I also blanked the EGR valve with no change.

    Maybe if any of you have any ideas what else it could be before I take it to a mechanic and spend loads of money on it please share. Possibly need new ECU? Timing Belt Slipped ? New Fuel Pump ?

  • #2
    Hard to diagnose from a video clip. The more information the better. When you took the plugs out what did the old ones look like? Spark plugs can tell you a lot about what is going on with an engine.

    Is it the same from cold, or only when hot?

    Did you refuel immediately before this problem began?

    You say what happens if you press the throttle quickly - what happens if you open it slowly?

    No mention of the EML light coming on. Does it come on when you turn the ignition and go off when the engine fires?
    1972 Viva restoration thread -


    • #3
      When the problem only started happening when going up steep hills I first removed the spark plugs just to check on them they were covered in oil but overall normal in appearance, however when I tried new spark plugs when I removed my old ones they were blackened after being driven with this condition, no more oil on them btw.

      It is not same when cold or hot.
      It the mornings when the engine is cold once fired up it runs really badly like in the video clip the exhaust sound sort of shows how its behaving, sometimes even feels like a cylinder or more is not working. However once I let the engine warm up for a few minutes it goes quite well if I don't press the accelerator hard and quick.

      When the car has been driven for a good 30 mins it gets really bad, especially in traffic as you try to move of uphill for example it just struggles as if fuel is not being lit or there is not enough fuel in the engine (sorry I am no mechanic, hard to describe using correct terms) and if I press the accelerator hard it doesn't go at all must popping sound and no power.

      I have been refueling as usual since I need to use this car to get to work which is not far away so it still gets me from a to b.

      So just to clear up if I press the throttle quickly it starts to go bad, but I have learned to do it slow and steady which reduces the problem and allows the car to accelerate.

      Yes the EML light is on, but it has been since I bought the car off my friend who is away to a different country, the codes are P0122 and P0410. They were before the problem started.

      I also noticed it consumes more petrol than it did and there is a strong petrol smell.

      Thanks for taking your time if you need any more details don't hesitate to ask, I will try my best to provide you with them.


      • #4
        Thanks for the additional information. I'm not surprised the plugs are black, there is a smell of petrol and it's using more fuel - it sounds like it cannot burn the fuel mix. The two codes stored are for the throttle position sensor and the secondary air system (which is designed to get the exhaust gases hot quicker - it's an emissions control system which many owner remove once it starts to give problems).

        It would be worth getting the codes cleared and then check that they aren't coming back. The TPS itself may have been replaced but that doesn't mean there isn't a problem with the wiring. That needs checking.

        The secondary air system - is that still in place or has it been removed?

        Just a few other thoughts - you've tried swapping all the usual suspects - when you did the MAP sensor did you check that the tube leading to it isn't leaking or blocked, and also with the tube connected to the throttle body can you blow down it without obstruction? I had one ages ago where everything looked fine but there was a blockage in the throttle body where the MAP tube connected and that was effectively blocking the vacuum feed to the MAP which threw the fuel mix out totally.

        Take a spark plug out and hold it to a good earth then get a friend to crank the engine (if you take the fuel pump relay out it will prevent it firing up) - check the state of the spark. The engine sounds like the ignition is weak despite the fact that you've replaced the plugs, leads and coilpack. Your hunch that it feels like the fuel is not being lit is probably pretty accurate. On older cars with points systems that often went wrong you learnt to drive round the problem to get home by feathering the throttle gently.

        Should also check the obvious - in the list of bits you've replaced you don't mention the air filter.
        1972 Viva restoration thread -


        • #5
          Thank you so much for giving me some test to perform however since I don't have big knowledge with engines I got a few questions.
          Is the secondary air system the same as egr valve ? (which I blanked off)
          I did not check the tube and I am going to try whenever I find time.
          When doing the spark plug test what would be 'good' ground ? Should I do it with the fuel pump relay removed ? What to look for in the spark plug ?
          I actually forgot to add since so many things I tried, I have tried an oem air filter which made no difference.
          Also when checking the wiring of TPS sensor what things should I look for ? broken, disconnected wires ?


          • #6
            Hold the side of the thread against any solid part of the engine block that can be reached and is similar for all. Close to their own plugholes should be ok if you have isolated the fuel but its better to be safe than sorry. You are looking for a good visible spark jumping the gap from the electrode. Its hard to say exactly what this will look like as it can depend on ambient light. Just compare the performance of each against the others.