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  • [Corsa C 2000-2006] Low Power on all hills

    Hi People,

    I have a problem with my Corsa C 1.2 16v SXI 2003 has started to be very low on power when on an incline. Until a week ago hills weren't a problem at all. But now, speed goes down to 40 when before it was 70. Also, starting off from standing there is a slight hiccup (or a second before the Power comes).

    What I've tried so far...

    1, Full service. Air, Fuel filters changed. Oil Change etc.
    2, Replaced MAF
    3, New Coil Pack and plugs
    4, New Coolant pump (is that water or air pump?)

    Does anyone have anything else to try? I'm rather desperate.

  • #2
    When you took the old plugs out what did the tips look like?

    And what did the old oil look like?

    Are oil and coolant levels constant?
    1972 Viva restoration thread - http://www.thecorsa.co.uk/projects-b....html#post1534

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi, I cant help specifically, but has the eml (engine management light) come on at any time, even briefly? There may be fault codes stored that could help identify the problem . Were the codes read by the garage? Some faults can even cause the ECU (electronic control unit) to deliberately put the car into 'limp' mode reducing power to minimise the chances of any damage but still allowing you to 'limp' to a garage.

      Why was the coolant pump changed? Had there been previous signs of leaking or overheating?

      Coolant normally means fluid. Technically coolant means the diluted mix of water and antifreeze used in the cooling system. 'Antifreeze' refers only to the concentrate before it has been diluted ,although many people interchange the meanings. Its often sold as 'coolant' ,ready mixed to the correct strength for immediate use .

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bugman View Post
        Hi, I cant help specifically, but has the eml (engine management light) come on at any time, even briefly? There may be fault codes stored that could help identify the problem . Were the codes read by the garage? Some faults can even cause the ECU (electronic control unit) to deliberately put the car into 'limp' mode reducing power to minimise the chances of any damage but still allowing you to 'limp' to a garage.

        Why was the coolant pump changed? Had there been previous signs of leaking or overheating?

        Coolant normally means fluid. Technically coolant means the diluted mix of water and antifreeze used in the cooling system. 'Antifreeze' refers only to the concentrate before it has been diluted ,although many people interchange the meanings. Its often sold as 'coolant' ,ready mixed to the correct strength for immediate use .


        Firstly, many thanks for help, Bugman & Taurus (You guys sound like a superhero duo!).

        All four spark plugs look like this....

        Click image for larger version

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        No EML at all. All dash bulbs are working though.
        No error codes came up when the mechanic ran the diagnostic. All running levels and ratios were normal.
        Coolant pump was changed to fix a broken pipe. The whole thing had to be changed as the connection between pipe and pump had perished at the connection point so had to change whole bleeding' thing.
        Oil & Coolant have to be topped up monthly. Not much. Just 1/4 litre or so. No oil leaks. In fact, no leaks at all. For such an old car I'm amazed! The pre-service oil looked very black. But that was probably due to previous owner not carrying out mini services?

        Everything is running fabulously apart from when I try to get up a hill. No power. It slows from 70mph to 40mph. I live in North Wales, we're very proud of our hills here. Ha! (Not so much this week).

        From the precious little I know about cars, do you think it's a seal leak? Or a transmission problem?

        Desperate, North Wales.

        Comment


        • #5
          The fact you are having to top up the oil & coolant and there is no sign of any leaks - coupled with loss of power - would make me want to check that the engine hasn't got an internal problem. They can use a bit of oil but they really shouldn't use any coolant. When they start using coolant you need to know where it is going.

          If there is a leak then at least you know where the coolant is going. But when there is no sign of an external leak then you need to suspect it's an internal issue.

          A common problem with these is the seal behind the waterpump. If that fails it allows coolant to get into the oil and you get an emulsion forming, usually first seen where the engine is coolest - ie around the oil filler cap.

          There was also a batch made with poorly designed water pumps and the pipe running from the water pump to the inlet used to fracture. The question is - did the engine overheat when that pipe failed? If it did then the head can warp and crush the headgasket. They are good engines but very intolerant of overheating. If it has overheated and damaged the headgasket that will often show up as loss of power.

          When climbing hills is there any sign of smoke or steam coming from the exhaust?

          One check is to make sure the coolant is a good strong antifreeze mix so it is coloured (blue or red depending on the antifreeze used - should be red in these). Start the engine from cold and put a clear or white bowl underneath the exhaust tailpipe. Water will drip into it - that is normal as burning petrol produces water vapour which condenses in a cold exhaust. But any sign of coolant coloured drips from the tailpipe mean that coolant is getting into the cylinders - usually a blown headgasket or a cracked head.

          You can test the expansion tank for signs of combustion products but you need a test kit which not everyone has.

          No sign of odd noises from the top end? I had one a few months ago that dropped power and one of the valve followers had jumped out of line.

          Other suggestions - if the timing chain is noisy it means it is worn - they can jump a tooth which throws the timing out.

          When you climb a hill and the power drops - is the engine sounding normal or is it misfiring? Sometimes a sticky EGR valve will cause a misfire under load - you do usually get a misfire code though if that happens.
          1972 Viva restoration thread - http://www.thecorsa.co.uk/projects-b....html#post1534

          Comment


          • #6
            I cant think of anything not covered by Taurus. Although from what you describe its unlikely in your case it can be worth checking the brakes are not binding. Sometimes the rear shoes can stay jammed on when you release the handbrake. Try letting the car roll down a gentle slope in neutral. (if you can find such a place in Wales!)

            If it is the head gasket that is quite a major job so make sure a competent mechanic has made thorough checks before committing to the work. Its not something to do on speculation of a cure.

            Same with the timing chain. Its an unwelcome expense so make sure other possibilities have been eliminated first. If you end up having to get both jobs done the cost could exceed the value of the car,and you might have preferred to cut your losses sooner rather than later.

            If you do need to get the timing chain done make sure they use genuine GM parts. Cheaper after market chains and sprockets wear very quickly.

            Sorry if this sounds doom and gloom. It might still be something fairly cheap and simple.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Taurus View Post
              The fact you are having to top up the oil & coolant and there is no sign of any leaks - coupled with loss of power - would make me want to check that the engine hasn't got an internal problem. They can use a bit of oil but they really shouldn't use any coolant. When they start using coolant you need to know where it is going.

              If there is a leak then at least you know where the coolant is going. But when there is no sign of an external leak then you need to suspect it's an internal issue.

              A common problem with these is the seal behind the waterpump. If that fails it allows coolant to get into the oil and you get an emulsion forming, usually first seen where the engine is coolest - ie around the oil filler cap.

              There was also a batch made with poorly designed water pumps and the pipe running from the water pump to the inlet used to fracture. The question is - did the engine overheat when that pipe failed? If it did then the head can warp and crush the headgasket. They are good engines but very intolerant of overheating. If it has overheated and damaged the headgasket that will often show up as loss of power.

              When climbing hills is there any sign of smoke or steam coming from the exhaust?

              One check is to make sure the coolant is a good strong antifreeze mix so it is coloured (blue or red depending on the antifreeze used - should be red in these). Start the engine from cold and put a clear or white bowl underneath the exhaust tailpipe. Water will drip into it - that is normal as burning petrol produces water vapour which condenses in a cold exhaust. But any sign of coolant coloured drips from the tailpipe mean that coolant is getting into the cylinders - usually a blown headgasket or a cracked head.

              You can test the expansion tank for signs of combustion products but you need a test kit which not everyone has.

              No sign of odd noises from the top end? I had one a few months ago that dropped power and one of the valve followers had jumped out of line.

              Other suggestions - if the timing chain is noisy it means it is worn - they can jump a tooth which throws the timing out.

              When you climb a hill and the power drops - is the engine sounding normal or is it misfiring? Sometimes a sticky EGR valve will cause a misfire under load - you do usually get a misfire code though if that happens.


              I guess the water pump might not have been fitted properly. Or at least the seal that comes with it. I assume the seal DOES come with a new water pump?
              The engine DID overheat just before the water pump was replaced. I had to creep 10 miles home whilst stopping to fill with water just to get home. I guess changing the head gasket is my next 'Gulp' moment then.
              I realise I'm a complete imbecile when it comes to engines. But I am learning fast.

              A while back I was topping up with oil and found a dark faun coloured gloop around the oil cap cover. Would that be the emulsion you speak of?

              Steam or smoke from exhaust, not that I've noticed. Other than the loss of power the car is running normally.

              I'll try checking what comes from the exhaust pipe later today. I think it's the head gasket. But, what the hell do I know?

              The cam belt was changed last year, at 100,000 miles. It should have at least 30,000 left in it. Gulp!

              Whilst climbing hills around the countryside and the power drops the engine sound normal, as normal as first gear can sound going up a hill. There is a very slight jerk of loss of power for half a second. But only itermittently and very seldom.
              On last diagnostic the car threw up no error codes whatsoever.

              Thanks, Taurus. I'll try the couple of things you suggest. Your help has been invaluable rearing this matter.
              Last edited by StuMannix; 25-09-2017, 07:42 AM. Reason: No Info

              Comment


              • #8
                Couple of things...

                The engine uses a timing chain not a belt. The only belt is the aux belt that runs the alternator, water pump etc.

                The seal behind the water pump is part of the timing cover gasket so it isn't usually replaced when the water pump is replaced.

                The gloop around the filler cap is the oil emulsion mentioned. It is not uncommon on these engines as combustion produces water vapour and some of that ends up in the oil. On engines used for longer journeys the oil gets hot enough for the water vapour to evaporate off, but if used for short journeys the oil doesn't get hot enough so water builds up in the oil and condenses on the coolest part of the engine - ie the oil filler area. So it's a question of knowing what is normal and what is excessive.
                1972 Viva restoration thread - http://www.thecorsa.co.uk/projects-b....html#post1534

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                • #9

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for letting us know. I guess the CAT has broken up inside and is blocking the exhaust flow. You can replace with a cheap CAT but they only last a year and if there's coolant loss you're probably wise to cut your losses. Quite a few cheap cars on Autotrader around the area at the moment. My spare car has just gone to our son-in-law as his car has died, he's getting a brand new Corsa but the factory won't have it ready until December. Good luck.
                    1972 Viva restoration thread - http://www.thecorsa.co.uk/projects-b....html#post1534

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