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Thread: Poor idle (and heavy steering?)

  
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    bathtub's Avatar
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    Question Poor idle (and heavy steering?)

    Just had some fun driving this evening and I hope someone might be able to diagnose the problem. If I talk through what happened, then maybe someone will recognise the symptoms Thanks!

    Right, I have a 2005 1.6 Astra Design that's done 65k, owned for around 8 months (since 60k). Cambelt changed at 60k (though I think that was belt-only and not the full kit, so the tensioners need doing at some point). Had a new alternator/aux belt the week I got it. Previous owner had a new coil pack at 55k to solve some issues.

    I have always had a slight intermittent problem with the idle dropping slightly low at traffic lights (only to like 700 or 750 rpm, but enough to make the engine sound like it was about to stall) and coincidentally rang a dealer this morning about having a software update done, as I'd read on the service manual that this was a common problem fixed with a reflash.

    But then coming home this evening the engine cut out coming up to a roundabout as I changed down to second... I had let it coast for a few seconds out of gear and the stalled as the revs dropped. Started fine straight away but I knew something was a bit up. I was only a few minutes from my destination so I carried on but started playing around with stopping and starting as soon as I got off the main road.

    For a while, every time I came to a stop or let it idle revs would drop to about 300 or 400 rpm and be just on the verge of stalling. At this point the power steering started cutting in and out and was very heavy at low speeds. Was a bit scary at one moment as the power steering cut out and engine nearly died whilst pulling across the road turning into a driveway.

    On the way back it stopped idling so low, but the steering still felt a bit heavier than it usually does. Definitely still had power steering, but didn't quite feel right. Engine was running fine above idle though. Parked it up on some level tarmac and tried some dry steering and it ran fine then without any audible strain on the engine. All fluid levels look ok.

    Will try running the car again in the morning, but for now I'm running through in my head what it could be. So far I have several possible theories, each of which I think could cause these kind of problems?

    • Throttle body? (will look at cleaning this in the morning)
    • EGR valve... think I had this stick open once... car lost power and died pulling away once and wouldn't start for a few minutes after.
    • Power steering pump dying?
    • Alternator on its way out?
    • Another coil problem?


    Just so I've disclosed all details I think could be useful... engine sounds fine (apart from when the revs drop) and happily revs quite high without sounding strained... slightly clicky/rattly when idling normally, though it sounds like any other petrol Astra I've ever been near... AC has been progressively getting a bit noisier recently, but I generally run without it on anyway... slight whine/squeal (belt noise?) at idle and around 2k rpm.


    So, any ideas?

    Anything you can throw at me that would avoid/postpone an expensive trip to the dealers would be greatly appreciated

    I'm 17 and a bit low on money, so any repair costs would have to be scavenged off the parents... anything I or my dad can do ourselves is a bonus. I have access to a reasonable car workshop and tools, and also have the service manual DVD for the Astra, just need some pointing in the right direction as to what the problem could be!

    Thanks

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    Just read off the error codes and the only two I get are related to the immobiliser (from the few times that it hasn't started)... 161450 and 161600.

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    one thing you haven't mentioned in your list of possible repairs is a stepper motor(ICV), not sure if your model has one, however I know my old car which had a stepper motor(ICV) use to do the exact same....

    First try giving it a good clean and see if that makes a difference if the problem is slightly better, then maybe a new one is needed :P but I'm not 100% sure.

    Also could just be some dodgey sparkplugs lol.

    both of the above options are quite cheap tbh....

    so worth having a quick look
    Active - Ultra Blue 1.8 SRI 53' 3 Dr,
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