Vectra Diesel starting question
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Thread: Vectra Diesel starting question

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    MIGClub Member Lugy's Avatar
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    Vectra Diesel starting question

    Am I right in thinking that if a diesel engine won't start and loads of smoke comes out the exhaust then it is getting fuel?

    I'm running into new starting problems with the Vectra, the plug light comes on for a second then it starts perfectly in the morning but if left for a few hours then it will either start for a second then cough and die, then take ages to start making loads of smoke or it just won't start at all. It seems like a petrol engine when it's flooding
    I'm going to pull out the plugs to test them tomorrow, any other wisdom I need? The car drives fine otherwise.

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    Re: Diesel starting question

    Good question!
    (my mate has similar problems like yours,but his is an old Ford van, with mechanical pump, and has exact symptoms, he asked me to find out from Miggers, but i said Miggers don't know nothing about Fords! )

    Oh well helps bump your post as well.

    (his will start fine even in very cold weather on most occasions, his glow light comes on and then goes off, he starts cranking when the glow light goes off and it mostly starts ok, but after its been driven a couple hours laters, it won't fire stsraight away, loads of smoke, and huffing and puffing, and then fires eventually after a lot of comotion) On some days even when it is cold it will not fire immediately, he's had new glow plugs last year)
    Who said the universe came from no where! flippin heck, its been around for 13.76389271 billions of years around!

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    Re: Diesel starting question

    Black smoke means its getting diesel but it doesn't mean its getting it at the right time or the right pressure.

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    Re: Diesel starting question

    It's grey smoke that I'm getting when I'm cranking.

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    Re: Diesel starting question

    My mate said the same thing, he gets grey smoke, and as he continues to crank, the engine appears to fire a little in between and then splutters and smoke gushes out the back, its like a reluctant engine that doesn't want to start staright away, and then after some considerable time i.e 30 seconds of continuous cranking ; it will eventually start, and run ok.


    Does your fire at all? and any fault codes on yours Lugy?


    My theory on his engine could be that since its done loads of miles, well over 150,000miles, and its bores or rings may be worn to an extent that when it is warm, its compression isn't as good as when cold, I have asked him to check his compression when hot. Also he has a good battery, so a weak battery has been ruled out.
    Last edited by MSG; 21-03-2012 at 12:08.
    Who said the universe came from no where! flippin heck, its been around for 13.76389271 billions of years around!

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    Re: Diesel starting question

    No fualt codes on mine, I've found someone taliking about a similar problem being down to the glowplug relay, apparently the plugs don't work on 12v, which is just as well I found out before I fried them .

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    Re: Diesel starting question

    Any luck on yours yet lugy? did you check your glow plugs and relay etc?
    Who said the universe came from no where! flippin heck, its been around for 13.76389271 billions of years around!

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    Re: Diesel starting question

    just my thoughts

    sounds like injector/ injectors leaking
    losing pressure on the common rail affecting all injectors

    the smoke could be the leaking injector overfuelling a certain cylinder


    when engine gets a bit of heat in it the diesel thins down and will be more prone to leak through an injector
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    Re: Diesel starting question

    This sounds fairly reasonable, exlains why it starts first turn of the key in the morning. The only thing is it's not a common rail (as far as I understand them to work), ie injector timing coming from the pump.

    I've still not checked the plugs yet, will do it when I've done the million and one things that seem to be more important .

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    Re: Diesel starting question

    Its usually the high pressure pump rather than the injectors but its a difficult one to suss over the tinternet.

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    Re: Diesel starting question

    With my luck the way it is it's more than likely the most expensive part! Will have a check on Sunday and report what I find. Are there any tests I can do myself on the fuel pump?

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    Re: Diesel starting question

    Hey Lugy,

    I've been following this thread - keep wondering what year and engine is it. Just thought I would look some stuff up in TIS on it.

    Cheers, Paul

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    Re: Diesel starting question

    Ah, it's a Y20DTH in an early 2001 Vectra.

    I had a quick look on Autodata when I first got the car and the only issues were the leakdown pipes, they're sorted now though. I keep reading about Vauxhall replacing injector seals but a lot of people are saying that isn't the problem.

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    Re: Diesel starting question

    hmmm, yeah I've seen leak-off tubes and injector seals mentioned for the 2 and 2.2L diesels but that was in relation to hard starting - maybe you've seen that sticky on the VXON forum.

    I know you haven't got any fault codes (like EGR-related P0400) but figured maybe it would be worth cleaning out your intake manifold and EGR valve just for the heck of it. Maybe worth having the injectors serviced sometime, incl. new seals.

    I know a lot of people like to put 12 volts to their glow plugs and watch them get red hot but if you have a multimeter you could check your plugs by resistance NGK - *Testing glow plugs. But maybe its just the relay not supplying power long enough - yours has the relay (type with fins) next to the battery..?

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    Re: Vectra Diesel starting question

    Have you tried parking it bum down or vice versa?

    They were prone of reither injector leak off pipes or indeed injector seals leaking which would also then create a leak in the system and when parked, the fuel would run back the lines tot he tank and thus when it came to starting in the morning... they would crank and crank and crank whilst chucking out grey smoke. Parking them with their rear end up would mean the fuel couldn't run back to the tank and they'd start. To further complicate things, sometimes they would start first time due to the fuel trapped in the rail/pump but once it's been used up they'd cut out and be a git to start again until they'd refilled the lines.

    Plus, do the plugs not only opperate at temperatures below 5degC?

    Possibly...
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    Re: Vectra Diesel starting question

    if its a di it shldnt need heater plugs to start unless its really cold were u are as its a direct injection sounds like either diesel run back or a really dirty fuel filter maybe filters full of jelly from contaminated fuel previously or u have a weeping leak of pipe

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    Re: Vectra Diesel starting question

    Quote Originally Posted by Turbodave View Post
    Have you tried parking it bum down or vice versa?

    They were prone of reither injector leak off pipes or indeed injector seals leaking which would also then create a leak in the system and when parked, the fuel would run back the lines tot he tank and thus when it came to starting in the morning... they would crank and crank and crank whilst chucking out grey smoke. Parking them with their rear end up would mean the fuel couldn't run back to the tank and they'd start. To further complicate things, sometimes they would start first time due to the fuel trapped in the rail/pump but once it's been used up they'd cut out and be a git to start again until they'd refilled the lines.

    Plus, do the plugs not only opperate at temperatures below 5degC?

    Possibly...
    It does it no matter which way it's parked, when I start it after it's been left for ages, seems to be about 8 hours or more, the heater plug light comes on for a second then it starts first time, if any less (a few hours) then there's no light and no starting. I've done the leak off pipes already - it was the first thing I did to the car. The more I think about it, a leaking injector is very feasible, if the fuel is thinner being warmer and seeping passed.

    Quote Originally Posted by kevboy6 View Post
    if its a di it shldnt need heater plugs to start unless its really cold were u are as its a direct injection sounds like either diesel run back or a really dirty fuel filter maybe filters full of jelly from contaminated fuel previously or u have a weeping leak of pipe
    Strange, my light always comes on during a cold start now. The fuel filter has been changed a couple of times in the passed year so hopefully that's not a problem.

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    Re: Vectra Diesel starting question

    Well, today I checked the plugs, they're all doing what they should but I have to unplug the CTS, which I assume tells it (or fools it) into thinking it's cold. With the CTS plugged in they don't come on at all.
    I then left it for a couple of hours and got depressed grinding rust on the other car, came back to start it and it just cranked over, not even a cough. I read stuff suggesting cracking open the injector pipes to see if it's getting fuel and it seems to be, I put the pipes back on and disconnected the CTS to see what happened, still nothing so reconnected it. Eventually the battery then died. I connected up a "Boost Pack" thing, still wouldn't start, eventually moved on to jump starting it from Dave's Volvo, still nothing.
    After giving the car a kick Dave then gave me a tow to try bumping it, took a while but it started eventually though ran rough as **** and making some odd noises. I'm now home (after 25miles) and the car still runs rough, has little power below 2k - less than before anyway - and feels really sluggish compared to usual.

    Currently the winning solution is to scrap it and buy a new car, especially given my new job involves a 400mile/week commute. I can't be driving through on a wing and a prayer that I'll be coming home that night!

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    Re: Vectra Diesel starting question

    Oh you poor bugger. This appears to have gone way beyond a wee start-up problem, like glow plugs.

    I know you say there is some fuel getting through, but I'm thinking it still may be the injector pump EDU acting up. Normally you would get the EML come on and there would be some fault codes too.

    Whatever - before you scrap it just check the air filter isn't fouled up with something and check the fuel filter to make sure it isn't nearly completely blocked with black sludgey diesel bug....

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    Re: Vectra Diesel starting question

    No fault codes or EML (well apart from the bit when I took the CTS off!). Will double check the airfilter but I checked the fuel filter today too, lots of fuel in the filter housing as well.

    I should point out that the list of faults are;
    Broken rear spring
    Broken front spring
    Rear bushes fubbared
    Front ball joint knocking
    Gearbox notchy/impossible to get a gear at times
    Loads of play in the steering wheel
    Brake pipes need replaced
    and whatever this problem is.....


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    Re: Vectra Diesel starting question

    Update, it won't start at all now . Seems to be plenty life in the battery as it's cranking over quickly enough, just won't even think about catching.

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    Re: Vectra Diesel starting question

    Quote Originally Posted by Lugy View Post
    No fault codes or EML (well apart from the bit when I took the CTS off!). Will double check the airfilter but I checked the fuel filter today too, lots of fuel in the filter housing as well.
    I assume you mean its absolutely full of diesel..? If not it may be back to the air leak issue (leak-off tubes and injector seals).

    I thought if it was fuel pump failure (EDU actually) then you would get fault code indicating that...

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    Re: Vectra Diesel starting question

    Id be getting back to basics and check timing belt hasnt jumped a tooth
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    Re: Vectra Diesel starting question

    It sure was, some fuel came out when I took the top off so I'm assuming that's how it's meant to be. I'll see what happens in the morning, luckily I don't start work til late next week. I'll plug in my diagnostic tool too and see if there's anything new.

    When I read up, there are people saying that to bleed you need to tow start them, then others say they are self bleeding. When I've had to bleed it in the past (ran out of fuel once when parked on a steep hill, 2 fuel filter changes and doing my leak off pipes) it's always been a case of turning it over for about 30s and it'd start fine. Suppose I got air in the system today when fannying about with it and it needed bled, if turning over on the starter didn't do it, then the tow start would yes? And after a 25 mile run home it should be fine? Hopefully turning it over for the time I have been hasn't killed the fuel pump seals like some people are saying could happen .

    I hate diesels.......

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    Re: Vectra Diesel starting question

    Quote Originally Posted by v6robstergsi View Post
    Id be getting back to basics and check timing belt hasnt jumped a tooth
    I didn't see this last night, my old man has cast his eye over it, reckons it's fine.

    We tried using some carb cleaner to get it starting but it's not playing, then we tried a tow start and there's nothing at all. We now have a fault code P1220 which relates to the fuel system timing and depending who you ask it means game over .

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