Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Maiden voyage

Last night I shot out at around 00.30 and bought some cheap mineral oil (4 litres for 10 pounds) and a couple of bottles of coolant. My pa kindly shot out and got me a new filter, as I'm in Warrington and there's absolutely nothing here, and traffic is always a major pain in the ass, it's like they're making it tortuously painful to actually leave of an evening. The past six months have been spent removing a roundabout on one of the exits (the main one), and it's like being anally raped everynight. My quest to leave early to get to Deesidein North Wales (1/2 an hour away), ended up an hour's drive to get anywhere near the place, so it was again abandoned. It's at the end of the motorway, how hard can it be.

As soon as I got to the Starion, I jacked it up and got to work at draining what was possibly 1/2w oil from the sump. I had no idea water could 'water down' oil in such a way. It had emulsified, and it was good to get it out. There was more than I expected (a full 4 litres, which is capacity), but I couldn't see this on the grey dipstick as it was just so thin! And grey! It took a while for the lot to come out, about 1/2 an hour to the last few drops. I couldn't find my filter remover, so dug a screwdriver into the side and spun it round by hand. It took ages, and 'oil' (I'll call it 'grey milk' from now on) was was everywhere!! I was preying this new filter was a good fit as I had bought one from Halfords for another car not too long ago, and the thread was not cut properly, so I was left with expensive oil, going through the old filter. :(

Jesus wept, this was taking ages, so I sat off and had a brew.
  • Oil into bucket
  • Oil in bucket
  • DIY filter removal

When all was done I put the new filter on, and filled with oil. The last I left it last night was noticing the oil wasn't right, so I left it. It was running good, so I was hopeful. I left the car idling for 10 minutes - which is a record! The injector change and conector clean up had done something obviously - or had it? But could I actually take it out? Was it going to cut out again?

I tidied up and took it for a blast, but using no boost. It went well, a good five or so minutes to the petrol station for Super Unleaded, and a few more. I had done 4 miles in the car so far, before tonight, all ending in cut out. Tonight was different, IT WAS RUNNING! Until I floored it and it cut out - I hadn't tightened up the hose from the turbo to the filter, and it blew it clean off!

I drove up to Gan's which, and drove some more, what must've been an hour of driving.

Here's a video to show I'm not bullpoo-ing.

It was shortlived though. An hour or so into the journey, it once again, starting bunnyhopping and cut out. FFS! I thought. It started pretty quickly, and once again, cut out down the road. Each time, it started again, so I thought why not test it to see what happens.
I basically floored it, and closed the throttle and it gave a full in gutsy, blow-off, and then it cut out again! That was odd, I thought, as I don't have an external dump valve. I checked the turbo piping, and noticed the little stopper where the dump valve should be had been blown out! A quick sprint up the road to where it dumped it's load, to find the little purple Dandelion & Burdock bottle top in the middle of the road. It was put back in and I set off again.

Now it was cutting out more regularly, and I had noticed a variation in the boost gauge. Bear in mind I hadn't noticed this before, which may mean, it was a NEW problem, but there was a tell-tale sign when the car WASN'T working, and when it WAS! The picture to the right is when it's NOT working, and this is what the gauge SHOULD be doing! On idle, the boost is at '0'. In my case when everything is going fine, the gauge isn't working! It rests at -14, and I notice it creep up incrementally. As soon as the gauge is responding to what is going on, it's cutting out and the injectors are going ballistic, (as they were two weeks ago). And it IS boosting because it blew out my bottle top and the (loose) hose. I'm no turbo expert, so will have to do some checking on this.

This is a good result though - it's no longer smoking (no blue/black smoke), and even the condensation smoke (grey/white) diminished completely. Everything works, oil pressure is great, water temp is spot on (reacts to idling, speed, and using the internal heater blower), fuel consumption is just as it should be, etc. It's like my Astra, which in reflection, is so reliable, the only problems I've had with it are ones I've made myself. It has never broken down on it's own accord! It's just this, and it doesn't appear to be a major malfunction, as it's intermittent. I'd even say it was a short circuit, as it doesn't seem to be -anything- related.

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