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Gary, Australia Car Mechanic
Category: Australia Car
Satisfied Customers: 1007
Experience:  Senior Technician
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My wife and I recently bought a Holden Barina 2009

Customer Question

Hi Glen.
My wife and I recently bought a Holden Barina 2009 Manual 3 door hatch from a dealership, but unfortunately have run into one problem after another.
The first issue was to do with the gearbox or sensors linked to throttle controls (at least this is what they suspectednit to be) as the car would stall and cut out when hitting idle at below 20km/h and would keep high revs (3000+) when dropping gear or completely disengaging to neutral when in 3rd or above when the car was at 30-40km/h+.
Anyway, when the car was taken and checked, they replaced a sensor and found that a hose had been connected the wrong way around (rebreather and vacuum I believe), and after this, the car ran smoothly for two months. But then starting in March, the car for some reason had trouble starting, had issues keeping idle, then all of a sudden had the 'click click click' problem with the all too ominous starter motor/alternator/battery trichotomy.
We assumed it may be the battery as the car would easily start when doing a gear drop rolling start, and would also turn o er if the car was run for 20 mins before shutting off. SE we did the charge and leave car if for 60 mins to be safe and thought that was the end of it. But then after the first dead battery incident, it has happened quite a bit. So I changed out the battery and it kept producing the exact same problems. Then after a week or so of this, the car started having this strange issue whereby when turning the key to get ignition, the instrumentation panel would flicker, the needles would and shudder back and forth around the zero mark on all of them, and then settle to zero for 5 secs. Then all of a sudden, whether the car managed to start or not, the instruments would all then display correctly.
So I tried calling my dealer to have the cat checked again, and they are saying they don't support flat battery issues.
I refuse to believe it is a flat battery issue as I have already tried this avenue to no avail. But today I had a very strange problem whereby the instrumentation panel did that same strange shuddering behaviour, except when I managed to start the car this time around, after it struggled to turn over for ten seconds, when it finally did, it started perfectly as though the battery had full charge, then the instrument panel settled to zero for all instruments and stayed like that with the car running. And by that, I mean the engine was on, revs would have been approx. 700rpm, the fuel tank is three quarters full and the engine would have been at operating temp. Yet all instruments read zero and didn't change. It stayed like this until I turned the car off and restarted it.
I am very confused as to what to do about this one and I need your help.
Please let me know if you need more information and I will do my best to help.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Car
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.
Hi Sam,You need to have a Holden tech look over your vehicle for voltage drops. poor grounds etc.It also needs a TECH2 scan for DTCs set.Hopefully it is only a poor ground/ negative battery lead etc.I can't give you a definitive answer at this stage, since your complaint is rare, and I am unable to see the car myself.Hope this helps.Gary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Gary, sorry, I thought was going to be Glen answering.Anyway, if there anything I can check myself in the meantime to at least attempt to repair it, could you please let me know?
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.
Hi Sam,Can you check the battery terminals are clean and tight, and the negative lead grounding point at the body 10mm nut.There's not much else you can do, until you can get a DTC scan done.I wish I could give you more, if we could have remote hookups, then I could scan it for you, I would say that is a fews years away yet.Ultimately, I think it may have a poor terminal within the wiring causing a communication fault, ECM to Immobilizer to INSTRUMENTS.Come back to me if you find anything else.Gary
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.
Hi Sam,Have you had a chance to perform any further diagnosis?Would letting a Holden dealer technician look at it be an option?I hope my advice has been of assistance to you.If you are ok now, please rate my service at your nearest convenience.Kind regards Gary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Gary. Thank you for trying although I no longer need any help. I had the car checked by the service dept of the caryard we bought it from. Although I'm not happy with the resulting bill.They bridged the terminals on the battery and stopped at that. They are saying it's a bad cell in the battery and it's causing the BCU to not register sensor reading properly and as a result, sometimes won't fire the solenoids for the fuel rails or the fuel pump. This explains both the cuts when at low rpm, and the non start on ignition, yet occasionally allowing it to start if the car is revved up after ignition occurs.Unfortunately I could not get help from you although if I could have done the scan I'm sure I could have.Next time could you suggest to customers to go to their local supa cheap auto store as apparently they do a free OBDII and a few other ECU firmware scans. They do it for free to get you to buy stuff while you're there, but if it turns out to be something easy to fix by by yourself, then they will happily let you go on your way.I think suggesting this would be better than going to Holden as they charge $169 for diagnostics at the local Holden service centre.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can you please tell me how to close this without crediting, but also not affecting your rating? Unfortunately you weren't able to help me, but because of that, I don't want to affect your rating on this site.
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.
Hi Sam,I'm happy with your honesty, and I'm happy to close the question, for which you don't need to rate or pay for.Thanks for the tip from Supercheap.Come back if you have any further questions.Kind regardsGary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not a problem at all, thank you for trying anyway. If I do have further issues, I will be sure to come back to you.And about the super cheap tip, no problems at all. Wish I had known about that before I went to the f'n dealership... Would have saved myself $154 to get it checked. Hell, I could've gone and bought the voltmeter myself and done it, but for some reason, my current volt meter tests it as fine. 14.5V when running (no loads, alternator works) 12.2V when off( no draw keys out of ignition). So to be completely honest, I still think the dealership is wrong.But hey. What do I know.Thank you for everything and as I said, I will do the testing myself next time and get your advice on the results.