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Thread: 2.2 Direct: Engine & Gearbox Problems!!!!!

  1. #1
    Regular Member Palmo's Avatar
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    Default 2.2 Direct: Engine & Gearbox Problems!!!!!

    Hi all, it's been a while since I posted. Hoping someone maybe able to help with ongoing problems with my Wife's 2.2 SRi Direct Vectra C. This is a long story but I want to pass on as much info as possible in order to get to the bottom of this once and for all - so sorry in advance for going on a bit!

    ENGINE (hoping Benny maybe able to help here!)
    We have had ongoing issues with the engine. The car initially began to make a light ticking / tapping for 5 - 10 seconds on cold start-up and appeared to be classic signs of Chain / Tensioner failure, and so was replaced by a Vx Technician on the side (car from memory had done about 60k - 65k miles at that time with full Vx History). Turned out the Vx Technician left a nut / bolt that he had replaced somewhere loose in the top of the engine. It ran fine for approx one month, but one evening the nut / bolt must have slid across inside the top of the engine and smashed a rocker & hydraulic tappet - luckily no damage was done to the head itself.

    Following head removal (by another mechanic) the top end was rebuilt and ran fine, albeit with the odd stutter on idle. After a week or so, the car suddenly began to tick very louding and sounded like an hydraulic tappet was been starved with oil. The car went back and was back with me in 2 hours. I was told that the high pressure fuel rail was found to be 'loose'. The ticking had gone and never re-appeared. Not sure if this was the problem, but they certainly didn't have enough time to take the head off again. The car ran fine but used a lot of oil, with a large burst of smoke on start-up from time to time. It turned out the Valve Stem Oil Seals were not replaced during the rebuild (bad practice I know).

    Later the inlet manifold was replaced due to sticking Swirl Flaps and the EGR Valve was programmed out and blanked off with the latest version of Software updated onto the ECU at the same time. The idle did improve but not fully, athough initially I did think it was fully cured.

    Anyway, about 3 weeks ago I bit the bullet and had the head removed to have the Valve Stem Oil Seals replaced and ensured a complete Vauxhall Head-Set was used (don't think there is a non genuine item for the direct anyway) - the RRP for these is £250 alone! This were all duely fitted along with a new Crankshaft Oil Seal (due to a minor leak).

    Got the car back and it ran very well. After a week or so, the exact same ticking noise re-appeared that happened approx. 1 week after the last rebuild. I therefore took the car back, but the fuel rail was not 'loose' this time. The ticking has now become variable and only does it occassionally either on cold start up (for 5-10 seconds) or at idle when the engine is fully warm. It hasn't done it however, for the past 2 - 3 days. When the ticking is not there the engine sounds sweet. Any ideas what could be causing this? I've found this clip which sounds very similar to the ticking I have minus the periodic 'cracking noise'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmYaZL0CLIw

    However, 90% of the time the car sounds perfect.

    GEARBOX
    Next issue, the car has now covered 85k miles with no evidence of clutch change (we have owned since approx. 50k miles). The clutch has felt past it's best for a while now but has never slipped. Where we live is very congested so my wife queues to work each day for the best part of an hour -not ideal for the car everyday. Anyway, about a month ago the clutch over heated and 'stunk' exceptionally bad. My wife is used to the journey and this has never happened before in the past 10 years of her doing the journey with this or any other car - so sort of rules out poor driving (maybe?). The clutch cooled and drove fine afterwards, albeit the clutch did feel 'weak' if you know what I mean, it didn't slip, but had a very high biting point.

    I then drove the car last week and got stuck in a massive tailback and had to gueue for about 1.5 hrs (serious accident on the motorway). The clutch did not overheat, but after 1 hr every time I enegeaed 1st gear and started to move off there was a massive 'grinding noise'! The car didn't judder, drive engaged fine etc. just the noise was the issue. This was so loud other people alongside could clearly hear it judging from their reactions. Afterwards 10 mins of normal driving after queing removed the noise, it's only when it was queuing for a while that it did it.

    I therefore have also taken the expensive plunge and had a new clutch / pressure plate, release bearing and Dual Mass Flywheel fitted. This feels much better and is I believe the contributing factor to curing the tickover 'stutter' we have had for a long while now - so on that front - Result. I was told the Flywheel was completely knackered and covered in a whiteish powder, and that the clutch itself was well worn and beginning to break-up. HOWEVER, yesterday I ended up queing for approx. 15 minutes and low and behold the same grinding noise reared it's head!!!!!!!!!!! Again, the car was pulling away fine, just with this noise. Afterwards 10 mins of normal driving removes the noise, it's only when it's been queing for a while. So, $1m dollar question..... does this sound like the gearbox is on it's way out? What are the options? I don't suppose the engine ticking noise could in fact be related to this and not the engine itself?

    Sorry for the long post, but this car is driving me mad, and costing even more money!

    Any / All help and advise greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by Palmo; 1st September 2009 at 14:33. Reason: Edited to add better detail!

  2. #2
    Regular Member rushy's Avatar
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    Vehicle : SRi


    Engine : Z22SE (2.2 Petrol)

    Year : 2004

    Mileage : 137000

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    Holy sugar! The vid you posted was from a guy on the 2.2 forum, I think he resolved the problem but not too sure how. Did you have both chains replaced? Have you checked the zorst manifold studs are tight and the manifold is not cracked as that can cause a tick. Have you posted on the 2.2 forum mate as thats where your going to get the best answers.

  3. #3
    Regular Member Palmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rushy View Post
    Holy sugar! The vid you posted was from a guy on the 2.2 forum, I think he resolved the problem but not too sure how. Did you have both chains replaced? Have you checked the zorst manifold studs are tight and the manifold is not cracked as that can cause a tick. Have you posted on the 2.2 forum mate as thats where your going to get the best answers.
    Hi Rushy - Thanks for the post.

    Both chains / tensioners were replaced with genuine Vx items and installed by a well rated Vx Technician - it's just he dropped b*******S by leaving a replaced nut / bolt inside which he later admitted he must have done as he looked over the replaced bolts which he had put in a compartment in his tool box and one was missing. Gutted really as he's a good guy and has a really good reputation - I guess we all make mistakes, but it's been nothing but trouble since. Yes manifold studs are tight and manifold doesn't seem to be cracked. This noise comes on and then goes off. When doing it the worst, turning off the car and restarting can stop it, but not always. A bit of a mystery! I haven't posted on the 2.2 forum, will do now.

    Then on top of all this to start with the clutch / gearbox problems is unbeliveable!! Are there any common problems with the F23 - mine is the 5 Speed pre-facelift, which I think then had the F40 6 Speed?

    Cheers
    Last edited by Palmo; 1st September 2009 at 18:17. Reason: To add further details.

  4. #4
    Regular Member rushy's Avatar
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    Vehicle : SRi


    Engine : Z22SE (2.2 Petrol)

    Year : 2004

    Mileage : 137000

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    The F23 seams to be a good box tbh, its used in loads of cars through the VX range. Yep early Directs had the F23 (5 speed) then moved on to the 6 speed.

  5. #5
    Regular Member Palmo's Avatar
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    My luck with this car has been crap! It drives really well, doesn't have a single ding or dent and is in excellent condition. I've considered chopping it in for another, but have spent loads of money & time on sorting all the usual vectra issues and won't be able to get one anywhere near as good without spending a fortune - I've recently looked at some of the rubbish that's for sale.

    I will sort these issues one way or the other! The other thing that worries me is that I'm having all this trouble and could get all this sorted only for the HPFP & Regulator to start playing up - touch wood.....not to date - everything else but not those!

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    feeling your pain bro. Im no expert but maybe driving for to long with a damaged flywheel has infact damaged the gearbox. Did you take it back to who fitted the clutch as they come with a 20k warrenty if not for a new clutch but there opinion.

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    Once the Dual mass flywheel stops doing its job (dampening engine vibrations) then the gearbox is vulnerable to vibration and shock from the engine.

    I was told to have my rattly DMF fixed straight away as the next thing that happens is that the gear teeth get chipped!

    It's just another over-complicated but necessary evil that saves GM having to build gearboxes the size of a trucks to fit into cars that have ever rising power and torque figures.

  8. #8
    Regular Member Palmo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply's everyone.

    Update:
    Regarding the Gearbox - I did take the car back regarding the 'grinding noise', but it is only there when it has been queuing for a while. So simply jumping in the car and driving will not show the noise up. I have seen the old clutch and flywheel and they were definitely had it. So the new clutch & Flywheel were needed either way - just worrying that the Gearbox may now be on the way out also, although the gears engage fine, there is no judder or anything - even when the noise is present - quite strange IMO. It does make sense though that if the Flywheel has been badly worn for a while then this will have effectively stopped doing it's job and could have caused excessive wear to something in the gearbox - dam!

    Regarding the Engine - Today marks another consecutive day that the ticking noise has not been there..... dare I begin to think whatever the issue was has began to correct itself? Could it have been one or more sticking hydraulic tappets that were caused by the rebuild? I'm baffled by this - all I can say is that again today the engine has run and sounded very good..... not sure where to go from here other than to monitor the situation carefully. One thing I am thinking is that this isn't Chain or Tensioner related - remember I have had the Chains and Tensioners replaced, although I know this does not 100% rule out an issue in this area, it's more the nature of the noise + when it's doing it, the noise is not coming from one side of the engine, it's more the whole top end is noisy, dare I say like oil starvation.

    Are these engines known for having oil pressure issues to the head or do the Oil Pumps Fail very often?

    Thanks for listening! I'll keep you all posted on developments.
    Last edited by Palmo; 2nd September 2009 at 18:37. Reason: Correct poor grammar & add further detail!

  9. #9
    Regular Member rushy's Avatar
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    Vehicle : SRi


    Engine : Z22SE (2.2 Petrol)

    Year : 2004

    Mileage : 137000

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    Think I've only seen one Oil starvation thread on the 2.2 mate and that was after a flush on a high miler. The guy ended up using an air line as a last resort and a load of gunk blew threw and came out where the filter goes. He was advised to check the pick up point in the sump but that was all fine.

  10. #10
    Regular Member Palmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rushy View Post
    Think I've only seen one Oil starvation thread on the 2.2 mate and that was after a flush on a high miler. The guy ended up using an air line as a last resort and a load of gunk blew threw and came out where the filter goes. He was advised to check the pick up point in the sump but that was all fine.
    LOL - Funnily enough I was just reading about that on the 2.2 forum!

    Mine has had very regular 5-6k mile oil changes (using the Vx full synthetic Longlife) since we've had (from 50k miles - car now has approx 85k mile on it), so doubt this is the problem. When I first got it I changed the oil three time within 3k miles in order to gently flush the engine as I've heard many a bad story regarding engine flushes dislodging large chunks of sludge which has gone on to block oil galleries and blow the engine.

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