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2004 Corsa 1.0 12v camshaft rattle when starting.

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  • [Corsa C 2000-2006] 2004 Corsa 1.0 12v camshaft rattle when starting.

    Hello,

    New here, so greetings to everyone.

    My daughter has bought a 2004 Corsa Life, 1.0 12v to learn to drive in.
    It has 51400 miles on it but has had a timing chain this year and apparently a head gasket.
    The full service record and the MOT record back up the odometer reading and I have no cause to doubt it.

    It runs well and quietly but when first started it rattles like a Ford Pinto engine used to for perhaps 5 seconds.
    It rattles also after being left for half an hour or so, but not for so long.
    Once running, there are no rattles at all and there appears to be plenty of oil pressure.

    I have taken the oil filter housing cover off and the housing is completely empty, in fact after a day, the oil filter is virtually dry.
    I am assuming that the rattle is happening while the filter housing fills and there is no oil to the top of the engine.
    The oil is to the level and is clean, it having done only 200 miles since its last service.

    Question one. Is this bad design, or should the oil filter housing remain full when the engine is off?
    If it should, what might be the cause of the oil draining away so thoroughly?

    Question two. Is there a means to inhibit the engine from starting until there is oil pressure?

    I would be grateful for any informed answers that may help me cure this before my daughter starts to drive the car regularly.
    Thanks.

  • #2
    Hi welcome to the forum.

    These engines have hydraulic tappets. Its quite normal for hydraulic tappets to be noisy for a few seconds until the oil pressure builds up. Modern oil has quite a low viscosity so does tend to drain down quite quickly.

    I cant answer question one.
    Question 2, again I cant give a definite answer but logically I dont see how there can be an inhibitor . Oil pressure only builds up once the oil engine and oil pump are running. It does not retain residual oil pressure. So unless its allowed to start, it would never build up the necessary pressure. Modern oil does leave a coating on moving parts
    but its a fact that most engine wear occurs in the period soon after a cold start. Thats why taxis etc can do mega miles.

    Personally If the mileage is low, the oil is of good quality and the correct viscosity, and the oil filter is new and of reasonable quality I would trust it. Oil technology has improved a lot in recent years and even a budget brand of reasonable quality may be better than the oil it left the factory with in 2004.

    Some one else may be able to answer question 1, or give further comments.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you very much for the welcome and the advice.

      Comment


      • #4
        The oil filter shouldn't be totally empty, are you using a genuine filter, or at least a good quality one? There is usually some oil in there even when left overnight.

        Are you sure it is the valve followers making the noise? They usually quieten within a couple of seconds. But the timing chain can also rattle. I know you say it has been replaced but again...was it a genuine GM kit? There are a lot of cheap aftermarket chains that stretch very quickly.

        My concern would be why such a low mileage engine needed a new chain, they don't tolerate poor servicing as the oilways get blocked with deposits, which can lead to partial blockages to the valve gear.

        Don't be tempted to use a flush on it. Do a few frequent oil changes with oil for a Diesel engine, they contain more detergents which will clean the engine gently and progressively.

        It is possible to fit a starting inhibitor by fitting a switch in the wire running from the fuel pump relay to the ECU. The relay is earthed through the ECU so if you put a manual switch in line you can prevent the fuel pump running until oil pressure has been established.

        Check where the rattle is coming from. If it's the followers I wouldn't worry too much, maybe try a different oil as that can make a difference. Personally I use a decent 10W/40 semi synthetic in them rather than fully synthetic. Use a good quality filter as well. But if it's the chain then I'd keep a close eye as cheap chains don't last long.
        1972 Viva restoration thread - http://www.thecorsa.co.uk/projects-b....html#post1534

        Comment


        • #5
          whoops.
          I misread your second question as 'is there an inhibitor'. No there isnt unless you add one. Taurus's method would build up the pressure with the engine turning on the starter motor alone. Its probably of most benefit in a car that is unused for long periods, and would also act as an anti theft device.

          I was also wrong to assume 'full service record' meant it had been fully serviced at regular intervals. With an older,or indeed any car, you need to look closely at the dates and mileages servicing was done.Your car has averaged only 4K miles per year. It may have done a lot of those miles when it was new, and then very few miles over many years. Possibly only used for short trips to the shops etc,with a cold engine. And servicing, while possibly correct to the mileage may have long intervals. These are not ideal operating conditions and such engines may develop problems at a lower mileage than one used for long trips. Taurus's diesel engine oil tip is a good one

          I have two friends in a car club. One is a highly qualified motor engineer.He uses top quality oil,changed frequently. The other is an experienced marine engineer, who uses oil remarkably similar to that used in ships! But he also has a garage full of replacement engines.
          Last edited by Bugman; 24-09-2017, 06:26 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for your replies.

            I am most concerned, I think, at the empty oil filter housing and will try a Vauxhall filter first.

            It looks as if there is a spring loaded valve on the bottom of the casing which opens when the
            filter is removed and another in the centre which should be pushed down as the filter is tightened down.
            Neither of these appears to be damages at all but nevertheless, all the oil has drained out through
            somewhere.

            I cannot at the moment see how the engine can have an oil supply in those vital first few seconds of running
            when the oil filer housing starts empty.

            I have the service history but of course no idea whether the repairs have been done with genuine parts or not.
            The overall condition of the 13 year old car is as one might expect from a five year old car, but I take the point
            about short trips on a cold engine.

            Comment


            • #7
              Empty oil filter

              Originally posted by ncooper View Post
              Thanks for your replies.

              I am most concerned, I think, at the empty oil filter housing and will try a Vauxhall filter first.

              It looks as if there is a spring loaded valve on the bottom of the casing which opens when the
              filter is removed and another in the centre which should be pushed down as the filter is tightened down.
              Neither of these appears to be damages at all but nevertheless, all the oil has drained out through
              somewhere.

              I cannot at the moment see how the engine can have an oil supply in those vital first few seconds of running
              when the oil filer housing starts empty.

              I have the service history but of course no idea whether the repairs have been done with genuine parts or not.
              The overall condition of the 13 year old car is as one might expect from a five year old car, but I take the point
              about short trips on a cold engine.

              Comment


              • #8
                Empty oil filter

                Hi
                I think you are on the correct line of thought with the empty oil filter, my daughter has the same problem on her 18000 mile "61" plate, I have still not found the cure, may be a full new filter housing might be the answer.
                If I was 100% sure I would buy one.

                Good luck

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hello and thanks for your reply.

                  I went to a local Vauxhall dealer and asked.
                  It looks like the oil filter housing is empty across the range, I was shown a four cylinder engine in a year old car in for service and its filter housing was also empty.
                  While I was there, I bought a genuine filter and after fitting that and changing the oil for 3 litres of Shell Helix, the initial rattle lasts for a much shorter time.
                  It seems that the problem remains that the timing chain tensioner is hydraulic and until there is oil pressure, the chain is slack.
                  Although he stopped short of saying that the arrangement was no good, the technician did say that car manufacturers did not always get it right.
                  He also said that a rattle for a second or two was normal but to my ears it is simply wear taking place at an alarming rate and probably why the chains don't last very long.
                  It won't help either that they have more in common with a necklace than a nice strong duplex chain, such as is found in Mercedes engines and which usually outlast the car.

                  I am still considering a way to use the oil pressure switch to inhibit the ignition until there is oil pressure, which should stop the rattle.
                  I would like to source a relay which is off when there is power and defaults to on when the power is cut, as it would be if the oil pressure switch was used as its earth.
                  I might then be able to put it into the ignition circuit so that there is no spark until there is oil pressure.

                  Comment

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