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I have a 2004 Holden astra ts. Usually drives great.

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I have a 2004...

I have a 2004 Holden astra ts. Usually drives great. However, has been randomly cutting out. Usually during slow acceleration. Engines cuts out, but electrics (e.g. radio, hazards etc) cut out. Need to wait between 2-10minutes to restart. It’s getting super dangerous, as it can happen anywhere. Have run diagnostics - nothing. Have changed the coil pack (no change), swapped out the crank angle sensor about 6 months ago which made a huge difference (and seemed to fix the issue), but has now started to randomly cut out again. I’m lost as to where to go from here

Mechanic's Assistant: Does the vehicle stall at low speeds? Does it sputter?

It doesn’t really stall, and no splutter. No warning. Cut engines cuts

Mechanic's Assistant: Are you fixing your TS yourself? What have you tried so far?

Yes I am. Ran diagnostics - nothing. Changed the coil pack - nothing (if anything worse). Changed the crank angle sensor - which seemed to work for 6-9 months. Now it has started happening again

Submitted: 1 year ago.Category: Australia Car
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Answered in 10 hours by:
1/29/2021
AU Auto Mechanic: Gary, Australia Car Mechanic replied 1 year ago
Gary
Gary, Australia Car Mechanic
Category: Australia Car
Satisfied Customers: 3,497
Experience: Senior Technician
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Hello! My name is Gary.
Welcome to JustAnswer.
I'm reviewing your question now, and will post back with a reply shortly.

Sounds like an ECU, I have replaced many ECUs, possibly more than coil packs.

The purple EFI and Pump relays are also prone to drop out.

Next time it cutouts trickle some water over the Engine ECU, mounted on the side of the intake manifold, at see if starts up after a minutes wait.

Gary

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Do you have an image by any chance? Also - any idea on how to prevent this from happening, as it can happen anywhere which can quite dangerous
AU Auto Mechanic: Gary, Australia Car Mechanic replied 1 year ago

Yes, I know the feeling.

I have driven a few customer's cars with cutout complaints.

I'll upload a few pics in the morning.

My eyes are heavy now, lol.

Gary

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Hi Gary,
Any ideas/suggestions on how to prevent this from happening? $ to fix?
AU Auto Mechanic: Gary, Australia Car Mechanic replied 1 year ago

I have a good spare ECU for TS Astra that we use a test ECU when looking for intermittent issues.

Unless you have a Tech2 to do a programming swap, a bit difficult for you to do this.

But you can start buy swapping the 2 purple relays in the fusebox near the battery. If one of them is faulty, a different condition might happen.

Gary

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
What am I expecting to find/happen if I swap the 2 purple relays?
AU Auto Mechanic: Gary, Australia Car Mechanic replied 1 year ago

If it changes from a dead cut to a slow cutout, we know the relay that now controls the fuel pump is the faulty one. No change in your cutout type would mean both relays are good.

Gary

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
if both relays are good, where to from here?
AU Auto Mechanic: Gary, Australia Car Mechanic replied 1 year ago

If the cutout is still the same after swapping the relays, then both relays are good.

Once the engine does cutout, and then won't restart, we need to look at ECU data for engine speed from the crankshaft sensor.

If the engine is cranking, and engine speed is zero, we need to check the crank sensor circuit.

Gary

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Thanks Gary. The cutout is the same. Once it does cutout, and I attempt to restart, the engine cranks (e.g. once key is turned you can hear cranking/ticking, but catch), no start. As mentioned at the beginning, this was happening ~9 months ago. I swapped out the crank angle sensor - and immediate results. No cutting out at all. It has just started again in the last 3 weeks
AU Auto Mechanic: Gary, Australia Car Mechanic replied 1 year ago

Sounds like you have a crank sensor failure, or ECU.

When the fault does happen, can you pour some water over the ECU to see if will start sooner?

The engine ECU is the square unit with the 2 large connectors at the top right in this photo.

Gary

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I can ... if I'm in a safe enough position. Last time it happened was in the middle of a busy intersection. The last few times it has only taken a few minutes to restart ~3mins. What will the water show us?
AU Auto Mechanic: Gary, Australia Car Mechanic replied 1 year ago

If it restarts quicker than your previous wait times, then the ECU is failing. They do get hot in their environment.

Giving it some cool down might show "yes or no".

I have had cars that stop on a roadtest. Get out, sprinkle some water over suspect part, crank sensor, ecu etc, then starts up if you are lucky.

Gary

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
An ECU is relatively expensive to replace and reprogram right? And if there are not changes? I mean, it only only been taking a few minutes to restart. I'm worried that by the time I get the car to a safe position, get out, poor water over it, restart ... It may be difficult to tell whether it actually starts any quicker. If there is no real difference with water?
AU Auto Mechanic: Gary, Australia Car Mechanic replied 1 year ago

Yes, it can be a bit of luck as to whether it can show you a "yes or no".

That's why I take a Tech2 scan tool with me on suspect cars that breakdown like yours.

ECU on Astra is a lot cheaper than they were when new. About $300 plus time, about 1.5 hours.

Gary

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Thanks. Appreciated. I have scanned it before on breakdown (straight away) and nothing came up :(
AU Auto Mechanic: Gary, Australia Car Mechanic replied 1 year ago

The trouble is now, the car is aging, and at 16 years, Opel wiring goes hard and brittle from engine bay heat.

I have had pinhole type faults that you can barely see with your eyes.

If you have communication straight away, that is a good sign.

We now need to find the cause. My money is on your crank sensor.

I had a case a few years ago, a 2002 Vectra, where the owner had changed the crank sensor, and then wanted me to change the ecu.

I looked at data, and saw no rpm while cranking. He was so close, but his sensor was not fitted correctly. So a little bit cheaper than he expected.

If you have a dealer nearby, that would be a better option, since they will find it faster.

Gary

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Thanks Gary appreciated. It would seem strange if it is a failed crank angle sensor again though wouldn't it? I replaced it 9 months ago. Or are you talking about the wiring to the crank angle sensor?
AU Auto Mechanic: Gary, Australia Car Mechanic replied 1 year ago

Yes, it would, but I have seen parts fail in a shorter period.

I would look at the connector first, including the wiring either side, for insulation breakdown etc.

Gary

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Thanks Gary. Appreciated
AU Auto Mechanic: Gary, Australia Car Mechanic replied 1 year ago

You're welcome.

I wish you well, and stay safe.

Gary

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
You too. Thanks
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