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Old 11-16-2016, 05:07 AM   #1
Jacket
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2008 Astra XR
Wrench Saturn Astra throttle body cleaning

My check engine light came on, the scanner came up with code P0068. for my Astra this indicates the fuel air mixture was not as expected by the ECM ( engine control module ). this does not point to any one component but means the fault is at or along where the mass air flow sensor (MAF), throttle body and manifold absolute pressure sensor ( MAP ) connect. could be a bad wire connection, vacuum leak , something dirty as I understand it. I replaced the air filter and cleaned the MAF sensor but the check engine light still came on. next thing to do was to clean the throttle body, that did fix the problem. It was dirty on the inside but not excessive. 80000 miles on vehicle.

I had questions about the throttle body, it is drive by wire or electronic which means it has no cable connected to the gas pedal, instead there is a sensor at the gas pedal connected by wire to a motor on the throttle body. this moves the butterfly valve ( flat round plate inside main round throttle opening ) to regulate air flow into the engine. it is this plate that needs to be cleaned, underneath and on its edge, also below the plate inside the throttle body itself. Now, to reach this area you have to move the plate with your finger to open it but because it is connected by gear to a motor it would not move, felt like I would break something if I forced it. SO, turn the key on, use a stick to hold the gas pedal down, so the throttle body motor would open the butterfly valve? May work on some vehicles but not the Astra. My biggest concern was moving the butterfly valve by hand causing the throttle body to go out of calibration or breaking something. turns out it was ok to do it on the Astra but it did not move until after I removed the throttle body from the vehicle, as I was cleaning the inside bottom of the throttle body I touched the butterfly valve, it moved freely now but it did not happen right away, I could feel the gear motor move with it.
I use throttle body cleaner, an old tooth brush and shop towels to clean it, looks brand new.

Removal, Disconnect negative battery terminal, remove plastic air pipe between air filter and throttle body it is held together by clamps I used a 7mm socket to loosen them (MAF) is located in middle pipe section, I also removed the air filter housing to have more room but its probably not necessary. Looking down at the throttle body there appears to be 5 hoses connected to it but only 3 have to be removed, this is because there is a short coolant hose that comes out of the throttle body only to come directly back to the throttle body, creating 2 connection that are only connected to the throttle body itself. ( a short loop of hose coming out then back in ) this can stay on, it is only a coolant hose, no cleaning needed. I first removed the plastic hose coming from the valve cover area to the top of the throttle body, this is the PCV hose (positive crankcase ventilation) this moves exhaust gases from the engine to the throttle body to be mixed with incoming air to be reburned. there is no valve, just a hose, it is held on by a horse shoe shaped metal clip, I pushed one end of it with my finger it came off easy, it may spring and fly out a little, to replace it, I pushed the clip back onto the hose till it snapped on at its half way point reattached the hose to the throttle body then pressed the clip on the rest of the way, it will snap in place a second time, it would be difficult to attach the clip if you put the hose back on first ( no room to maneuver or see) the hose was a little oily inside but not blocked or clogged in any way. I sprayed it out with mass air flow cleaner, it made it look almost new, I used this cleaner because its gentle ( mass air flow sensors are delicate ) it evaporates almost instantly and leaves no residue. next I removed the coolant hose at the top of throttle body next to the PCV hose connection. there is a gold colored plastic piece that looks permanently connected to the throttle body, the coolant hose is connected to it secured with a black plastic clip. this clip looks delicate and easy to loose, I was careful with it, I use a small flat head screwdriver to pry it off where it held on. before removing the coolant hose I took the cap off the coolant reservoir to release the pressure then replaced it, the cap should stay on otherwise the coolant will run out the hose when you remove it. the hose did not come off easy, just a little coolant dribbled out. the final third hose is also a coolant hose located at the bottom front right corner of the throttle body, it is held on by a round metal hose clip , I use pliers on the ends of the clip to make it loose then worked the hose off. I laid shop towels under the coolant hose connections to catch any dribbling coolant.
( there are no fuel lines connected to the throttle body, fuel is delivered by a fuel rail at a different area of the engine ) there is just the PCV hose and 2 coolant hoses that need to be removed.

Next, I removed the electric connector plug, I pried it where it clips on with a small flat head screwdriver then pulled it out holding the plug not the wires. the throttle body is now ready to be removed, it is held on by 4 bolts that come off easy, I used a 1/4 ratchet, the socket is a T30 torx male, a six inch extension is needed to use with the ratchet to give clearance to turn the wrench. the throttle body almost falls off once these bolts are removed.
there is a rubber gasket under the throttle body it looks like a rubber band but wide and thick, to remove, just pull it out, it will not come out with the throttle body. I replaced it with a new one, I got it from rockauto.com it cost about $30. to install just insert and press in do not use any kind of gasket sealer. nothing is needed. to reinstall the throttle body after cleaning I snugged the bolts down lightly, then I did the final tightening with an INCH POUND torque wrench. ( TIGHTEN TO 71 INCH POUNDS ) do not use a foot pound torque wrench, it would have to do just under 6 foot pounds, they do not go that low and would not be accurate at such a low setting anyhow. I bought an inch pound torque wrench from amazon it is a TEKTON TRQ21101 1/4-Inch Drive Dual-Direction Click Torque Wrench (10-150 in.-lb./1.1-16.9 Nm) the setting needed to tighten the bolts is 71 inch pounds. I got this from the spec section of the service manual I have for the saturn astra, its supposed to be the same one the dealers use. it worked for my astra .

TOOLS NEEDED
PLIERS
7MM SOCKET
SMALL FLAT HEAD SCREWDRIVER
T30 MALE TORX SOCKET
1/4 in RATCHET ( 1/2in if you have proper adapters)
6in EXTENSION FOR RATCHET
AN OLD USED TOOTH BRUSH
SHOP TOWELS
THROTTLE BODY CLEANER
A TORQUE WRENCH THAT CAN BE SET AT 71 INCH POUNDS

conversion 71 INCH POUNDS = 5.916666667 FOOT POUNDS

PARTS NEEDED

NEW THROTTLE BODY GASKET check rockauto.com

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Old 11-16-2016, 10:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: Saturn Astra throttle body cleaning

Nice write-up. A service manual online may help making familiarization with drive by wire systems easier to understand. Alldata or Mitchell are monthly subscriptions, local libraries may have free access and this link may have some info; http://workshop-manuals.com/vauxhall...01_lde_or_llu/.

As you found out, throttle and pedal are no longer connected by cable. What makes drive by wire systems work is the ecm or pcm - throttle and pedal are connected electrically to the ecm/pcm; pedal signals are sent to the ecm/pcm and it commands throttle movement. Throttle and pedal have feedback position sensors so the ecm/pcm always knows what they're doing. Cleaning servo driven throttle bodies isn't difficult as long as you're aware of some things.

Since electrically driven throttle bodies (described as throttle actuator) use a servo motor for precision movement, cleaning requires some precaution. Never attempt to manually move the throttle plate with ignition on. Once ignition is turned on, the EFI system is live with throttle powered up and ready. Since the electronic pedal is needed to move throttle, power is always on and throttle is on standby. This means the servo motor is always on and keeping the throttle plate in place until pedal movement is detected for the ecm/pcm to command throttle to another position. Always leave ignition off when working on electrical equipment. You can disconnect the wire harness to throttle if you're in doubt as this removes any power going to throttle to allow cleaning.

Electric throttles are geared to their servo motor so you'll feel strong resistance to throttle plate movement initially. You're feeling the gear ratio when pressing the throttle plate/larger gear against the smaller geared servo motor. You're also pressing against an internal throttle return spring since there must be a way to close throttle if power is lost - primary throttle plate movement is from the servo motor with commands from the ecm/pcm to open or close throttle. When ignition is off a coiled return spring ensures throttle returns to closed position.

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Old 11-17-2016, 06:45 AM   #3
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2008 Astra XE
Default Re: Saturn Astra throttle body cleaning

I had the same code at about the same miles on my Astra.

I simply pulled in the intake hose off, forced the throttle body open, sprayed some TB cleaner on a rag and wiped off all the black EGR crud I could reach. Cleared the code right up and drives like new.

...
'08 Astra XE 5-speed
'72 Chevrolet El Camino
'31 Ford Model A pickup

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Old 11-18-2016, 09:17 AM   #4
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2008 Astra XR
Idea Re: Saturn Astra throttle body cleaning

I was going to clean the throttle body that way as well but I did not want to risk causing damage by forcing the plate open ( it did not want to move ). I
decided to take the throttle body off in order to clean it best as possible, also the throttle body gasket is made of rubber, this was the original gasket near 10 years old. I figured it would be a good idea to replace it because rubber degrades over time. its recommended to change a timing belt by 10 years time regardless of miles, tires 8 to 10 years, a rubber gasket ?, I don`t know but it seemed about time to me.

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Old 12-04-2016, 10:33 AM   #5
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Default Re: Saturn Astra throttle body cleaning

I finally got around to "cleaning" my throttle body today. I've been having p1101 and sometimes a pending p0068 for more than a year now. I did it the easy way, by opening the valve and just wiping what I could. I cleared the codes, and the code hasn't come back yet. Everything else I tried previously the code would come right back, so this is a promising sign. Hopefully it stays off.

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Old 12-10-2016, 12:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: Saturn Astra throttle body cleaning

Quote:
Originally Posted by kikastra View Post
I finally got around to "cleaning" my throttle body today. I've been having p1101 and sometimes a pending p0068 for more than a year now. I did it the easy way, by opening the valve and just wiping what I could. I cleared the codes, and the code hasn't come back yet. Everything else I tried previously the code would come right back, so this is a promising sign. Hopefully it stays off.
Its been a week and no codes. I even did the etest which is what I was mostly concerned about, and it passed. BTW, I forgot to mention in my original post that I used throttle body cleaner on the rag to wipe out the throttle body. Again probably not the correct way to do it, but it worked and cleared the code.

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Old 08-25-2017, 03:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Saturn Astra throttle body cleaning

So I followed Jacket's write up with the exception of disconnecting the battery.

My daughter's 2008 Astra XR with 60000 miles is still running rough. It shows code p0068 and the CEL is still on. After cleaning the throttle body we went out and drove it for about 15-20 minutes but it ran rough the whole time.

Any ideas before we call our local GM dealer??

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Old 08-26-2017, 06:46 PM   #8
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Default Re: Saturn Astra throttle body cleaning

More info. Just got the following codes on our 2008 Saturn Astra XR with 63000 miles.

p0068-Throttle Body Airflow Performance. I removed the throttle body and cleaned it per Jacket's write up. No change in car's performance

P0301-Cylinder 1 misfire

P0102 - MAF Sensor Circuit Low Voltage-removed and cleaned, no change in car's performance.

At autozone where I had the codes read their computer printout indicated to replace a fuel injector. Does that sound right?


We have an appointment Monday at our local GM dealer but I already know the codes, just don't know exactly what the problem is.

Anyone have any input??

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Old 08-29-2017, 11:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: Saturn Astra throttle body cleaning

Update #3:

Replaced plugs with Autolite Platinums gapped at .40 and coil pack. Got a Spectra unit from Rock Auto for $60. No more misfire or rough idling/aceleration. Will get the MAF tomorrow and install it. Hoping that takes care of the MAF and Throttle Body codes.

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Old 08-30-2017, 12:36 AM   #10
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Default Re: Saturn Astra throttle body cleaning

Get a new airfilter and clean out the airbox.

The MAF seems to be a robust part on the Astra and we see very few failures here. You might be able to just clean the MAF with MAF cleaner (don't use other products and don't touch the wires).

Also, note these cars run much better on Premium fuel from a major vendor. The added octane give a bit of needed horsepower and I think the engine mapping improves. Also the detergents help clean the system.

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Old 09-01-2017, 10:39 PM   #11
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Default Re: Saturn Astra throttle body cleaning

Update #4

Replaced air filter and Mass Air Flow Sensor today and took the car for about a 60 mile drive. Still running smooth, aceleration is good as posted in update 3 however, after the drive I pulled into Autozone and used their code reader to see what codes are still showing (CEL is still on)

Holy Cow!! It is still showing the following

P0068 - Throttle Body
P0102 - Mass Air Flow Sensor Ciruit Low Voltage
P0301 - Cylinder 1 misfire
P0300 - Multiple Misfire Detected


But now two new ones have popped up

P0313 - Crankshaft Position System Variation Not Learned
p0420 - Catalyst System Low Efficiency (Bank 1)


What on earth is going on? I don't understand why now that it is running fine two new codes pop up and the old ones are still on as well.

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