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2011 Insignia SRi Tourer 1.8
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

hoping someone here has some info for me. I purchased this car (insignia tourer 1.8 2011 A) approx a month ago and haven’t really driven until recently. I noticed it overheating when stationary waiting in traffic at the local tip.
Researching other info about the A18XER engine, I looked into the coolant system as a whole. Top rad hose was getting hot but there wasn’t really a flow back to the expansion tank so suspected the water pump. Water pump done, flow back to the expansion tank but still overheating. Changed the thermostat housing as a complete unit (thermostat and temp sensor) as the genuine GM part for the vehicle, still overheating. Noticed the fan wasn’t kicking in at all despite steam and coolant coming from the overflow pipe in the tank. Fitted salvage fan unit onto my existing radiator but still nothing. The fan works as I can get it running full pelt by removing the maf sensor plug and re-plugging it back in but assume this is a fail safe mode to protect the engine from overheating in over-fuelling conditions. No MAF issues such as stuttering, spluttering, smell of excess petrol etc, no MIL light.
Also changed coolant sensor in the rad for the old one from the old thermostat housing (tested for resistance at ambient approx 2500 ohms vs 270 ohms in a cup of hot water) and also tested the sensor removed from the rad at approx the same values so assume these are fine - also compared to the old Haynes reference resistance table values.

Any ideas of where I go next with this? Flow through the rad is good, I even flushed whilst dropping the coolant and got decent flow. Water pump is working fine shown by decent returns to the expansion tank, thermostat is opening once upto temp shown by the top rad hose getting hot. Coolant temp display gets and stays at approx 90 but coolant overflows and steams from expansion tank overflow. Just to add, the aircon doesn’t seem to work so can’t comment on that switching the fan on the slow setting as assume needs a regas and therefore pressure switch won’t engage clutch for compressor and fan assumably won’t turn on.
 

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Have you tried a new pressure cap ?
 
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2011 Insignia SRi Tourer 1.8
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Discussion Starter #3
I haven’t but I assume that as the coolant is not escaping (or steam) from the cap, that the cap isn’t and couldn’t be the issue. The system is pressurised fine, the coolant and steam escape from the overflow at the top rear of the expansion tank
 

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2003 Vauxhall Astra G 1.6 8v Active.
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To be fair that sounds like you've changed everything I could possibly think of and more besides. FWIW. Coolant decent strenght and recent ? Would a temperature sensor gun be any use together with a diagram of all the hoses just to make sure they are all getting coolant?

I had a Peugeot 305 that used to overheat in traffic. Putting the heating on used to help it when stationary, which was no fun in July :rolleyes:
 

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2011 Insignia SRi Tourer 1.8
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Discussion Starter #5
To be fair that sounds like you've changed everything I could possibly think of and more besides. FWIW. Coolant decent strenght and recent ? Would a temperature sensor gun be any use together with a diagram of all the hoses just to make sure they are all getting coolant?

I had a Peugeot 305 that used to overheat in traffic. Putting the heating on used to help it when stationary, which was no fun in July :rolleyes:
Coolant is fresh as a did a full flush and change, 50% strength. All hoses getting water they should be and all hot so no worries about bleeding the system of air etc. I haven’t worries about the system circulating the coolant, my issue is really with the lack of the fan kicking in to cool the rad when getting hot. I assume this is the reason the coolant begins to steam out of the overflow on the expansion tank...
 

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2003 Vauxhall Astra G 1.6 8v Active.
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Have you had a full diagnostic done. Opcom is the VAuxhall system.

Someone with much more skill will be along to help shortly, but from your post "The fan works as I can get it running full pelt by removing the maf sensor plug and re-plugging it back in " Dodgy MAF?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Have you had a full diagnostic done. Opcom is the VAuxhall system.

Someone with much more skill will be along to help shortly, but from your post "The fan works as I can get it running full pelt by removing the maf sensor plug and re-plugging it back in " Dodgy MAF?
I’ve been led down that thought but cannot for the life of me believe that the MAF has anything to do with the operation of the cooling fan, other than in a worst case ‘MAF failed’ situation, running the fan full to prevent overheating of the engine. From my previous knowledge of MAF sensors, they meter air density and provide feedback for air/fuel mixture ratios to ensure optimum run conditions (not too rich or lean) and have no bearing on the fan operation. I could of course be entirely wrong with Vauxhall’s as I haven’t ever owned one previously.

Thanks for the pointer regarding OpCom, would you all suggest buying from a specific place and is it an obvious diagnostic software tool to use?

I haven’t yet had a full diagnostic check, I like to operate using common sense approaches before jumping to ‘error codes’ etc as I’ve found so many times it can lead you down some very odd and incorrect routes, ignoring all common sense due to the ‘stored codes’ etc
 

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I've never used Opcom, but there are some forum members that really will be able to point you in the right direction. I do know that a proper diagnostics check can save a lot of time and money in the end.

Re the MAF. Its so easy to play parts darts, but very expensive. Perhaps try some contact cleaner on all the electic plugs and check for breaks/damage that maybe you've not seen before.

The trick of turning the heating up in traffic does work though. Something to fall back on if needs be until you've found a solution. And do update the thread if you find the answer. It wil no doubt help someone else in the future. PS: Have you tried the search facility on this forum?
 

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2011 Insignia SRi Tourer 1.8
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Discussion Starter #9
I've never used Opcom, but there are some forum members that really will be able to point you in the right direction. I do know that a proper diagnostics check can save a lot of time and money in the end.

Re the MAF. Its so easy to play parts darts, but very expensive. Perhaps try some contact cleaner on all the electic plugs and check for breaks/damage that maybe you've not seen before.

The trick of turning the heating up in traffic does work though. Something to fall back on if needs be until you've found a solution. And do update the thread if you find the answer. It wil no doubt help someone else in the future. PS: Have you tried the search facility on this forum?
With regards to checking wiring and plugs etc, I’ve been through the lot and ensured all plugs are seated correctly. I spilt some excess coolant when refilling so had to clean up. Sorted all plugs with WD to disperse and excess water where I got excited with the hose 🤣

Agreed with parts darts, hence why I started with the logical. In all fairness, the water pump was required as the impeller was broken anyway. Did the aux and PAS belt while there as only a few more pounds. Read the forums regarding using genuine thermostat and with the housing being brittle plastic, punted for the whole thing and fitted with new temp sensor as a whole.

Tested old sensor and swapped with radiator one. Radiator one also tested good so saved for an emergency.
I’ve tried searching this and other forums regarding this exact issue and most have either no replies or go cold after some advice with no posting of results/further findings which is rather frustrating.

I would like to understand what else I could be looking for. Maybe OpCom is the way to read the live data from sensors etc that will help direct me. If I am correct as it stands, I have a working water pump, my thermostat operates correctly, the temp sensors in the thermostat housing and rad are working ok and the fan itself CAN work. Just need to figure out why it won’t. I seem to have exhausted all sensor controlled inputs, just how the data is then fed to the system and used by the system to tell the fan to ‘turn on’. This is where I could maybe do with some tech experience or a shove into where best to purchase an OpCom unit
 

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Ideally you'd want to get some live readings so you know what the cars ECU is seeing. eg from the radiator temperature sensor as I'm not sure if it is the same one. Ideally you would have done this first before changing a whole heap of parts - but now once done nothing you can do.

Normally on Audis - if the AC system has no charge - the fan runs on full speed as a fail safe. However not sure if it stops working on vauxhalls if there is no pressure in the AC system.

That said if no luck there is a chap known as 'SImply DIagnostics' on youtube. Simply Diagnostics. You could ask on there via the emails in the description

This is also another good chap. LM Auto Repairs


Be sure to check all your fuses and relays and change the coolant cap. Next check the hoses. Check the pipe to the heater matrix. If the inlet pipe is hot, and the one leading out is cold - you may have a blocked heater matrix


If fuses are fine and problem persists after changing the coolant bottle cap - most likely there is problem in the wiring (and ideally you'd check continutity between pins between the ECU and fan connector - for which you'd need a wiring diagram) or the ECU itself.
 

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I haven’t but I assume that as the coolant is not escaping (or steam) from the cap,
that the cap isn’t and couldn’t be the issue.

Just change the cap and see how it is after,
it's the cheapest and easiest thing to try,if the cap isn't holding to the correct pressure (20psi) then the cap won't allow the engine to get up to the correct temp before releasing pressure,
not enough temp = no fan coming on.
 

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To test if the cap is faulty. Make sure your car is cold. Remove the small return pipe coming from the radiator towards the coolant bottle. If there is overflow coming from it within 5 minutes - most likely the cap is the culprit
 

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2011 Insignia SRi Tourer 1.8
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Discussion Starter #13
To test if the cap is faulty. Make sure your car is cold. Remove the small return pipe coming from the radiator towards the coolant bottle. If there is overflow coming from it within 5 minutes - most likely the cap is the culprit
I’ll get on this and thanks for the explanation, makes sense that if pressure isn’t held as a vacuum by the cap then the coolant will start to weep from this location.

in terms of water temp sensors, what ‘was’ fitted to the car were two identical part numbers for the one in the rad and the one in the thermostat housing. They both read the same range of resistance under ambient and hot water so I believe these are supposed to be the same unless someone prior to me owning has changed one incorrectly?

I actually ordered an OpCom last night so hope live data may help in showing what is communicating and what values are being read for temps etc. My first port of call will likely be looking at rad temp to see if fan should be on - on the a18xer I believe I’m correct in thinking fan shouldn’t run until 106+ for first stage then beyond 110 for second stage full whack?

also thanks for mentioning the heater matrix pipe work, I’ll also be checking this. The heating in the car gets really toasty but doesn’t rule out a blockage completely.

From my observations so far of no fan and steam/coolant coming from the expansion overflow, it appears the system stays very well pressurised, almost to the point of the expansion tank looking like it could blow apart. Just hoping that after all the checks etc it doesn’t reveal a small head gap whereby pressure is lost or exhaust gases are getting into the coolant (doesn’t yet smell of petrol but may test the coolant for gases just to be sure and also complete a compression test across all 4 cylinders)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ideally you'd want to get some live readings so you know what the cars ECU is seeing. eg from the radiator temperature sensor as I'm not sure if it is the same one. Ideally you would have done this first before changing a whole heap of parts - but now once done nothing you can do.

Normally on Audis - if the AC system has no charge - the fan runs on full speed as a fail safe. However not sure if it stops working on vauxhalls if there is no pressure in the AC system.

That said if no luck there is a chap known as 'SImply DIagnostics' on youtube. Simply Diagnostics. You could ask on there via the emails in the description

This is also another good chap. LM Auto Repairs


Be sure to check all your fuses and relays and change the coolant cap. Next check the hoses. Check the pipe to the heater matrix. If the inlet pipe is hot, and the one leading out is cold - you may have a blocked heater matrix


If fuses are fine and problem persists after changing the coolant bottle cap - most likely there is problem in the wiring (and ideally you'd check continutity between pins between the ECU and fan connector - for which you'd need a wiring diagram) or the ECU itself.
Fuses and relays all test fine. All fuses have continuity and relays have been removed and tested for operation with 9-12v across 85-86 and I can confirm all click and provide continuity across the switching legs.

Great point about the AC, I guess I have assumed it wouldn’t affect the fan running with the fan being so important in helping cool a cars radiator. Maybe this is the case for this vehicle - who knows - Anyone care to share any definites?

Many thanks for all replies thus far, I WILL share any findings/outcomes in the coming days/weeks to try and help any other members out if I can get to the source of the issue
 

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Discussion Starter #15
To test if the cap is faulty. Make sure your car is cold. Remove the small return pipe coming from the radiator towards the coolant bottle. If there is overflow coming from it within 5 minutes - most likely the cap is the culprit
Mocool, I don’t want to get too prematurely celebratory however, if correct, I would like to apologise for dismissing your point regarding the coolant cap!

After much thought, it makes sense the system is pressurised and hence coolant flows via assistance from the water pump. No or little pressure, no or little flow. What I had overlooked and now realise the stupidity in my diagnostics is: the overflow on the coolant bottle is where steam/coolant comes from when it overheats. Now, if it comes from here and my assumption incorrectly of the overflow being completely open from the top of the expansion bottle would mean that there’s no point in having a cap to keep the coolant in and maintain pressure. A quick 1 minute of popping the bonnet, removing the cap and looking at the route of the overflow shows the small hole in the neck which is ABOVE the valve in the cap. It is now obvious that if the cap isn’t holding pressure, this is released via the overflow pipe past the cap valve - something I hadn’t even considered previously!

I am, as you can probably tell from the wording of my post, reasonably confident that the coolant capvalve has failed and won’t hold 20psi resulting in little to no pressure in the system, little flow of coolant through the rad, low temperature in the rad meaning the coolant temp sensor in the rad won’t get hot enough to activate the fan at all.

Maybe after all I am correct in my assumption that removing the maf sensor plug and replugging back in trucks the car into thinking there’s a maf issue and failsafes the coolant fan to full speed?

Short ending so far is Amazon, just under £10, febi 20 psi cap looks identical and states fits the 1.8 insignia and should be delivered tomorrow! If that’s going to be the end of the woes, by gosh I owe you a fair few thanks and beers.

I will keep you updated on the progress and thank everyone for any input thus far. Working tomorrow down at Heathrow but soon as I’m back and pending delivery from Amazon, I’ll be testing with everything crossed that I can observe it hold pressure.

Please wish me luck 👍😀
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, the new cap has arrived, fitted after work (half hr or so ago), ran upto temp and unfortunately I have the same issue still. Just been checking the coolant bottle on the off chance there’s any damage/leaks etc but I don’t see anything.

think next steps may be to try a coolant pressure test, a compression test and a sniff test.

Again I’ll keep this thread updated with any findings
 

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Can I just ask you what brand of water pump you put on the car, when I had my vectra with the same engine I fitted a cheap pump and it was hopeless, fitted a genuine part think it was Wahler branded and never had any more problems, not sure what spares I have in the garage that would fit your engine but I will have a look and let you know - - - Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Can I just ask you what brand of water pump you put on the car, when I had my vectra with the same engine I fitted a cheap pump and it was hopeless, fitted a genuine part think it was Wahler branded and never had any more problems, not sure what spares I have in the garage that would fit your engine but I will have a look and let you know - - - Dave
Febi as same as original pump (part number etc) - Next step will likely be co2 leak test as looking more likely to be the head blown...
 
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