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The Doom Blue 1990 Mk3 Cavalier 1.8L- MOT result now in

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#1 ONLINE   MrSteve

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 12:38 PM

Greetings all.

 

I got a bit of want for an early mk3 Cav, preferably a carbed 1.6 or 1.8, so when this one reappeared on ebay a few months back I couldn't resist.

001.jpg

 

It had previously been unused for several years, but still had its rear arches and got an mot last summer. The tyres were a mix of an old Michelin, a Cheng Shang and 2 Optimo Auroras(?)- all really ancient and badly cracked and only suitable for growing potatoes in.

 

It got sold to a guy in Lincoln last autumn. He didn't do much with it apart from fill the back of the car with an SRi interior, fit lowered coils and new shocks, new HT leads, distributor cap/rotor arm and plugs. An oil change was a bit too much of a stretch though. Weird.

 

He no longer wanted it so it was mine.

 

So I went over by train, thrust some £50 notes in his hand and drove it the 150 miles home. That was interesting.

 

Very wobbly and scary steering above 60.

Mystery knock from somewhere in the front end.

Near impossible to get in/out of 3rd and 4th.

Brakes pulled to one side.

Non-working coolant temp gauge.

Dashboard heater control cable snapped or disconnected.

 

First thing to do was check the tyre pressures- all low, down to about 15psi on one front wheel...might have contributed to the unpleasant steering a touch...

 

Noticed there was a split track rod end boot, so changed the pair and had the tracking done.

Fitted new anti-roll bar drop arms and bushes as the old bushes were badly split.

Changed the black watery engine oil and filter, plus air filter.

Changed the coolant sensor- gauge now works.

Gave the calipers a clean-up and greased the sliding surfaces and made sure the pistons were moving. Discs are a bit pitted but otherwise fine- ditto the pads- both must have replaced just before it was laid up.

Fitted a new crank position sensor as the insulation on the old one had disintegrated.

 

So at that point the car drove/braked ok. It still clonked, but at least I had eliminated the drop links.

 

I then decided that the brown coolant needed a change, which meant the thermostat had to come off to give it a good flush out. I Plus Gased the bolts and carefully undid the bolts. Snap! One of the bolts sheared off. No access to drill it out, so the cam belt had to come off to be able to remove the whole housing. Deep joy.

 

The water pump was stuck fast too- kind of crucial as this is the cam belt tensioner too. However, some thumping with a long piece of hardwood got it moving and it popped out- was in decent nick, so I got a new O-ring for when it was time to refit it.

 

Gave the housing to the garage next to me and they snapped off an easy-out whilst drilling out the first snapped bolt. So I had to find an engineering firm nearby that could drill it out. A few days, and £10 lighter, I got the housing back, bolted it back on, fitted the water pump and cam belt back on. Then I stripped one of the thermostat bolt threads when tightening up the 3 thermostat bolts, so the stat housing had to come off again. It wasn't me being ham-fisted as they only get tightened to 6 lb ft- shagged threads. So I had a Time-Sert by a different firm. Finally got it all back together and running again.

 

However, I had managed to crush the front to back plastic fuel pipe with a jack enough to restrict the fuel supply to cause a failure to start and flatten the battery. Cue new fuel pipe. Fitted a fuel filter into the fuel line before the fuel pump and finally, the car was running again (hadn't completed the coolant flush though).

 

As the car was now running I pulled the wheel trims off, resprayed the rims satin black and got the first pair of new tyres fitted. I decided on Nexen N'Blues for the front. Much better!

 

Jobs to do next before the MOT- finish coolant flush, get new wiper blades, change the gearbox oil, fit new rear tyres and give the Cav a wash.

 

 

And then the disaster...

 

Possibly unrelated, but In the hot weather it sometimes took 2 or 3 goes to get it started...fuel vaporisation, I thought...nothing to worry about.

 

Then after one run I was at the end of the road and managed to stall it in 2nd, restarted and then pulled up at home. It has been dead since- just won't start.

 

It's got fuel, it turns over but it's got no spark- not a twitch on the HT side, yet it has got 12V at the connector at the LT coil connections.

 

Battery- after settling after a charge is around 13.1V, dropping to around 10.3V when cranking. It was charging fine when running.

 

I have tried substituting a new ignition amplifier, the original crank sensor, new coil and a second-hand black box- no joy

 

Out of curiosity, I opened up the black box...nothing obviously fried there, but that big processor chip says Intel '80!

 

001.jpg

 

Let's have a look at the fusebox...nope, nothing's popped there. Lots of gaps because it has no luxuries like electric windows, front fog lights etc!

001.jpg

 

So there we are. I have a dead Cav, but at least you can sit in silence surrounded by beige...

001.jpg

 

If anyone has any suggestions on what I should do next, please let me know!


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1990 Vauxhall Cavalier 1.8L

1990 Peugeot 205XL

1984 Citroen LNA
1982 Fiat Panda 30
1980 Citroen Visa Special


#2 OFFLINE   vulgalour

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 12:44 PM

Ignition barrel?  Immobiliser not disarming?  Stabbing in the dark here based on experience with non-Vauxhalls.



#3 OFFLINE   sierraman

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 01:00 PM

Bit of an afterthought but you can buy just the boot for the track rod ends, only a couple of quid and quick to swap.

#4 OFFLINE   BeEP

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 01:08 PM

Rotor arm?  I know you say the previous owner changed it, but most new ones are crap (in my opinion) and from personal experience can fail without warning.


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#5 OFFLINE   Talbot

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 02:15 PM

Have you checked the crank sensor for a known-good one? I know you've changed it, but they are known to be both a bit shit, and if this engine is anything like the earlier 2.0i engine the cable gets chafed away where it runs under the cambelt clips. Had several fail this way.
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#6 ONLINE   spartacus

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 03:56 PM

Back to basics, does it have a big fat spark when cranking? Does it have fuel when cranking? Has the timing belt slipped a tooth?

#7 ONLINE   Datsuncog

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 04:36 PM

Have had similar failures to start, with 12v on the LT side but nothing at all getting to the plugs, due to defective ignition components - a cracked rotor arm on a Viva (from a component that was only 2 months old) and a Laguna distributor cap where the central carbon contact had crumbled away to black dust.

Once diagnosed, both were pleasantly easy fixes.

Do these carbed Cavs still run on a coil/distributor set up? Have you tried testing for spark at the coil lead end yet, just to see how far the power's getting?

Rollcall of shite:

1980 Ford Cortina 1.6 L (1997); 1976 Mini Clubman 1.0 (1997); 1973 Vauxhall Viva HC 1.3 (1997-2005); 1984 Datsun Sunny B11 1.5 Coupé (1999-2000); 1983 Datsun Sunny B11 1.5 Coupé (2000); 1986 Ford Fiesta 1.1 Ghia (2001-2003); 1996 Ford Escort 1.6 LX (2003-2008); 1985 Toyota Corona 2.4 Avante (2005-2006); 1981 Ford Cortina 2.0 GL Estate (2008-2010); 1993 Volkswagen Polo 1.0 Genesis (2010); 1996 Citroen XM 2.5TD VSX Estate (2010-2011); 1988 Volvo 240 2.0 GL Estate (2011-2012); 2004 Alfa Romeo 156 1.9JTD Veloce (2012-2014); 1993 Volkswagen Polo 1.0 Fox (2013-2014); 1996 Renault Laguna 1.8 RN (2014 - 2018); 1997 Renault Laguna 2.0 RT Sport (2015-2017); 1998 Renault Laguna 1.8 RT Sport (2017 - 2018); 2003 Subaru Forester 2.0 XT (2018 - present)

 

822434.png 836445.png


#8 OFFLINE   New POD

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 05:59 PM

Ignition barrel? Immobiliser not disarming? Stabbing in the dark here based on experience with non-Vauxhalls.


it's a pre face lift. so no immobiser as standard. Ignition barrel has the tendency to go smoky. Tadt.

It will have a pissburg carb, mechanical fuel pump but electronic ignition.

So first thing. Have you a spark at the plugs.
Is the dizzy cap and rotor arm correct and are the leads having the right ends.
Is fuel getting to carb ???

#9 OFFLINE   will16

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 06:14 PM

Love these! Every time I see one, I always remember the old Police Camera Action chases where there was a nicked cav getting away  :mrgreen:


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#10 ONLINE   Nyphur

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 06:17 PM

Love these! Every time I see one, I always remember the old Police Camera Action chases where there was a nicked cav getting away  :mrgreen:

 

MrSteve, earlier:

 


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#11 ONLINE   Heritage motor centre

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 06:29 PM

For some reason this always sticks in my mind from those old police camera action progs
Cav SRI rep chariot fail

Edit can’t find the Alistair Stewart voiced original, this has the original filmers commentary
“Wooooooooha av got that on video!!!!”
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#12 OFFLINE   sierraman

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 07:05 PM

On that note I’d fit a steering lock at night, these old Cavs were ridiculously easy to steal.
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#13 ONLINE   mrbenn

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 07:24 PM

For some reason this always sticks in my mind from those old police camera action progs
Cav SRI rep chariot fail

Edit can’t find the Alistair Stewart voiced original, this has the original filmers commentary
“Wooooooooha av got that on video!!!!”

 

I remember seeing that as a boy! Wonder if the driver of the red Cav ever knew about the trail of devastation.



#14 OFFLINE   bigfella2

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 07:31 PM

If I remember about that Clip is the cave never actually hit anything and drove off.

What sierraman says, I had a mk2 cav nicked in Sheffield and a MK3 cav nicked off the drive, bent door open at top to get into it. Managed to reverse it through wall then legged it. Twats!! Was an 1.8L too. Had sold it too was being collected next day.

#15 OFFLINE   sierraman

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 07:34 PM

With pretty all Vauxhall’s of that age the door would get bent outwards or the lock just barrelled straight through the door skin. Could even be worth rigging up some sort of immobiliser by way of a switch positioned somewhere odd to isolate the ignition.

#16 OFFLINE   primeradoner

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 07:41 PM

What engine is in this? We have banger raced loads of these over the years and I probably still have some bits left in the lockup.  First thing I would check is the rotor arm. On the red cap dizzys they like to break off the locating lug and then the shaft turns but the rotor arm doesn't.



#17 OFFLINE   sierraman

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 08:04 PM

What’s the craic with it being difficult to engage gear? Could be something simple like the selector bushes being worn out. A good Cavalier box should be quite slick.

#18 ONLINE   MrSteve

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 08:10 PM

Ignition barrel?  Immobiliser not disarming?  Stabbing in the dark here based on experience with non-Vauxhalls.

 

Thanks. I'd wondered about that- it feels normal when you insert the key and turn it all the way to get the starter to turn. Haynes says it is easy enough to extract the lock, so I'll have a look at that tomorrow and see if there are dodgy contacts.


1990 Vauxhall Cavalier 1.8L

1990 Peugeot 205XL

1984 Citroen LNA
1982 Fiat Panda 30
1980 Citroen Visa Special


#19 ONLINE   MrSteve

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 08:11 PM

Bit of an afterthought but you can buy just the boot for the track rod ends, only a couple of quid and quick to swap.

 

I had the same thought so have kept the old ones as spares!


1990 Vauxhall Cavalier 1.8L

1990 Peugeot 205XL

1984 Citroen LNA
1982 Fiat Panda 30
1980 Citroen Visa Special


#20 ONLINE   Heritage motor centre

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 08:18 PM

If I remember about that Clip is the cave never actually hit anything and drove off.

What sierraman says, I had a mk2 cav nicked in Sheffield and a MK3 cav nicked off the drive, bent door open at top to get into it. Managed to reverse it through wall then legged it. Twats!! Was an 1.8L too. Had sold it too was being collected next day.

 

Fatha HMC had a while cav cd hatch as a company motor (H537YTO) it got nicked twice, both time found dumped minus its alloys.

 

The final time it was put on standard steelies and L trims. After than it was just the stereo that used to get taken.


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#21 ONLINE   MrSteve

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 08:18 PM

Rotor arm?  I know you say the previous owner changed it, but most new ones are crap (in my opinion) and from personal experience can fail without warning.

 

I've had the cap off and everything is in place, clean and contacts are like new.

 

My 205 had a rotor arm disintegrate once...glad my car insurance has breakdown cover.


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1990 Vauxhall Cavalier 1.8L

1990 Peugeot 205XL

1984 Citroen LNA
1982 Fiat Panda 30
1980 Citroen Visa Special


#22 ONLINE   MrSteve

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 08:28 PM

Have you checked the crank sensor for a known-good one? I know you've changed it, but they are known to be both a bit shit, and if this engine is anything like the earlier 2.0i engine the cable gets chafed away where it runs under the cambelt clips. Had several fail this way.

 

Yes. I put the original one back on to try (I think it is the one the car left the factory with- Bosch unit- nice quality- shame the plastic sheathing around the coax dropped off with age.

 

The Cav was running fine with the replacement Meyle one on, but I have just got a Siemens one which I will try tomorrow, weather-permitting!

 

These crank sensors are inductive, apparently- that had me fooled earlier as the MAP sensor has a 5V supply and I'd assumed the crank sensor would also have a 5V supply, but it doesn't seem to be the case here. I could be wrong, of course,


1990 Vauxhall Cavalier 1.8L

1990 Peugeot 205XL

1984 Citroen LNA
1982 Fiat Panda 30
1980 Citroen Visa Special


#23 OFFLINE   BeEP

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 08:39 PM

I've had the cap off and everything is in place, clean and contacts are like new.

 

My 205 had a rotor arm disintegrate once...glad my car insurance has breakdown cover.

 

You're probably right, but for a few quid I'd try a new rotor arm anyway.  I drove an Austin 1100 from Norfolk to Land's End overnight (after 1100 number one blew its head gasket on the way down) to take part in the club's Land's End to John'o'Groats run,  It ran perfectly, started fine to be moved for photos then nothing, not a sausage, zilch.  Rotor arm and cap still looked brand new (because they were); a fellow member had spare one (old but unused).  Car started instantly again, went to Scotland and back and still has that rotor arm fitted six years on.  Absolutely nothing visibly wrong with the faulty one that any of us could see,  Even put it back on to check it really was the problem and not a co-incidence. It was!



#24 ONLINE   MrSteve

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 08:48 PM

Back to basics, does it have a big fat spark when cranking? Does it have fuel when cranking? Has the timing belt slipped a tooth?

 

I borrowed a timing light off the garage guy next door (one of those that has a thing that clamps around the HT lead) - it didn't make the timing light flash. He then did the spark plug to block test and the king lead to block test while I cranked the engine over. There was a weak spark once (weak, yellow), then no spark at all on other attempts.

 

Haynes gives a test of the crank sensor and ignition amplifier where you bridge the terminals of the LT connector with a low wattage bulb and turn the engine over- the bulb should flash regularly meaning the crank sensor and amp are working. Found a 2 watt dash bulb so will solder on some wires and try that tomorrow.

 

Fuel is getting from tank to carb. The fuel cut-off solenoid in the back of the carb clicks when you switch the ignition on, so that seems to be doing its job.

 

I'll check the cam belt alignment tomorrow.


1990 Vauxhall Cavalier 1.8L

1990 Peugeot 205XL

1984 Citroen LNA
1982 Fiat Panda 30
1980 Citroen Visa Special


#25 ONLINE   MrSteve

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 08:57 PM

Have had similar failures to start, with 12v on the LT side but nothing at all getting to the plugs, due to defective ignition components - a cracked rotor arm on a Viva (from a component that was only 2 months old) and a Laguna distributor cap where the central carbon contact had crumbled away to black dust.

Once diagnosed, both were pleasantly easy fixes.

Do these carbed Cavs still run on a coil/distributor set up? Have you tried testing for spark at the coil lead end yet, just to see how far the power's getting?

 

The 1.8 has a single coil. The black box needs inputs from the crank, MAP and oil temp sensors to work out the ignition timing.

 

As there was a 'feeble then no spark at all' situation I tried a different used coil and then got a new, but hopefully not faulty coil. Still no spark anywhere on the HT side though.


1990 Vauxhall Cavalier 1.8L

1990 Peugeot 205XL

1984 Citroen LNA
1982 Fiat Panda 30
1980 Citroen Visa Special


#26 OFFLINE   Squire_Dawson

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 09:07 PM

Coil?


Squeak, rattle and roll.

 

 

Thanks restorer.

 

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#27 ONLINE   MrSteve

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 09:14 PM

it's a pre face lift. so no immobiser as standard. Ignition barrel has the tendency to go smoky. Tadt.

It will have a pissburg carb, mechanical fuel pump but electronic ignition.

So first thing. Have you a spark at the plugs.
Is the dizzy cap and rotor arm correct and are the leads having the right ends.
Is fuel getting to carb ???

 

No spark at plugs- have done holding plug/king lead to block to get a spark- the only spark was weak and tellow, but that seemed to be a one-off as no spark since.

 

King lead has a weird end with a small female end that goes onto a male fitting at the coil. i've tried the lead both ways round and it grips, but I might try it on the 205 tomorrow.

 

It did have an old, possibly dead, Scorpion alarm fitted that I removed- I was worried that all sorts of wires would have been cut and buggered around with, but it was all attached by this type of connector:65pcs-Scotch-Lock-Quick-Splice-Connector

Only the ignition feed to the starter solenoid was cut, but I carefully soldered that back together and taped it. All wires are intact and not damaged by the blue connectors.


1990 Vauxhall Cavalier 1.8L

1990 Peugeot 205XL

1984 Citroen LNA
1982 Fiat Panda 30
1980 Citroen Visa Special


#28 ONLINE   MrSteve

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 09:16 PM

MrSteve, earlier:

 

 

Oh, how I wish I could have a Cavalier that can move without being pushed or rolling with gravity!


1990 Vauxhall Cavalier 1.8L

1990 Peugeot 205XL

1984 Citroen LNA
1982 Fiat Panda 30
1980 Citroen Visa Special


#29 ONLINE   MrSteve

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 09:20 PM

What engine is in this? We have banger raced loads of these over the years and I probably still have some bits left in the lockup.  First thing I would check is the rotor arm. On the red cap dizzys they like to break off the locating lug and then the shaft turns but the rotor arm doesn't.

 

Rotor arms on 1.8s and 2.0s seems to be of a variety that is bolted on, rather than the usual 'I think I've pushed it in far enough- I'm sure I felt it click' type


1990 Vauxhall Cavalier 1.8L

1990 Peugeot 205XL

1984 Citroen LNA
1982 Fiat Panda 30
1980 Citroen Visa Special


#30 ONLINE   MrSteve

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 09:34 PM

What’s the craic with it being difficult to engage gear? Could be something simple like the selector bushes being worn out. A good Cavalier box should be quite slick.

 

Not sure. I replaced the plastic/rubber ring around the base of the gear stick, but that made no difference.  It actually changes gear fine from cold, but then within a mile or so it gets obstructive. It's only done 63k miles and I was thinking it's probably on the original gearbox oil which might be as thin as piss now and then gets even thinner as it warms. It's not noisy, so it's not all bad!

 

If new oil doesn't cure it then Haynes says I can reset the gear linkage position.

 

And if that doesn't sort it then it could only be the clutch or the gearbox. Yay!


1990 Vauxhall Cavalier 1.8L

1990 Peugeot 205XL

1984 Citroen LNA
1982 Fiat Panda 30
1980 Citroen Visa Special






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