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Old 11-29-2020, 11:27 PM   #1
uluz2a6
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Default 2008 Astra crank no start

Hello from Las Vegas. I took over this non-running 1.8 Astra w a manual transmission.

First issue I diagnosed and repaired was a no crank situation. It had a fail fusable link. That was replaced and now has a crank no start condition.

Has 55+ PSI at fuel rail, but dry spark plugs.
Scanned and has 5 codes:
P2088
P2090
P0661
P0031
P0037

While the O2 sensor codes point to a failed sensor (I will replace tomorrow), I don't feel it would prevent the vehicle from starting.

Next I removed the timing covers and inspected timing belt. Didn't appear to have jumped. While apart I replaced the belt, tensioner, and pulley. Also performed a compression test that showed all 4 cylinders are good.

I am very familiar with the 2.2 & 2.4 Ecotec engines and know that the crankshaft and camshaft position sensors are key for running the engine. This import is new to me, so I was wondering if the crankshaft position sensor was responsible for the injectors firing.

I haven't watched for RPM signal on my scanner. If I can read engine RPM, does that mean I have a good sensor? Or if faed will the ECM reference signal from another source? On the 2.2 and 2.4 Ecotec the crankshaft position sensor is the only source of RPM to tachometer, but will still allow engine starting using the intake/exhaust camshaft position sensors for signal.

I am asking for input because I don't like just throwing parts at cars. Rather I like to learn the root causes of issues. And, I admit replacing the crankshaft position sensor looks like very little fun. Axle and starter must come out. So I would like to be sure.

I know intake exhaust and crankshaft position sensors can set codes when they are out of range. So if one sensor fails the other 2 can go out of range due to no signal from damaged sensor.

Anyone know the resistance I should see at sensors or actuators?

Thanks in advance for reading my rambling post. Please offer any ideas or path I should follow.

Last edited by uluz2a6; 11-29-2020 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 11-30-2020, 02:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: 2008 Astra crank no start

Not expert on EFI systems but know a few things that may help. Insofar as Saturn models, the crank position sensor is the electronic heartbeat of ECMs and PCMs. It provides precise timing signals to ecm/pcm. Without it the ecm/pcm is just an expensive door stop. Three things for the EFI system to run; fuel pump, ignition system for spark and injector pulses - all run from the ecm/pcm when the crank sensor is outputting signals when the engine rotates to allow ecm/pcm to operate the EFI system. Some EFI systems are easy to diagnose a faulty or intermittent crank sensor while other EFI systems are a little more difficult to diagnose. One method to diagnose loss of injectors, loss of fuel pump, loss of spark or all of them is spraying starting fluid into the throttle body. Every fossil fueled engine requires air, spark and fuel for an engine to run. The starter is needed to turn over the engine to help the EFI system in getting the engine to startup and run

You have several ways of testing for spark, injector operation and fuel pump. With fuel and pressure supplying fuel to injectors and dry plugs is one clue to diagnosing this problem. You verified injectors aren't pulsing.

I'm not sure if Astras' failure to display rpm during starting is a hint of a failed crank sensor but this does apply to other Saturns. If you can find the crank sensor connection, disconnect it and measure sensor resistance. Most crank sensors will have between 700-1200 ohms of resistance. A higher resistance or open suggest a faulty one. A dead crank sensor will not allow the ecm/pcm to run; fuel pump, ignition system for spark and pulse injectors.

Spraying staring fluid presumes a faulty fuel system and/or failure of injectors and spark is available. The engine should fire up if spark plugs fire. If the engine doesn't fire up on starting fluid then spark is missing along with injector pulses. Two of three subsystems inoperative tends to point to a faulty crank sensor, blown fuse(s), faulty ecm/pcm or Passlock security flashing during starting. The 2000 S-series, all L-series, and Vues using Passlock disables injector operation when its enabled, actively disabling injectors when the security indicator is flashing during starting. A theft attempt. Ions disable the starting circuit. I don't know which circuit in the ecm is disabled in Astras when Passlock security is flashing. If using Pass Key, the rfid chip in the key, injectors and/or starting may be disabled. GM and many vehicle manufacturers utilize the EFI system with antitheft programming to disable specific functions to prevent theft from amateur thieves. Unfortunately, smart thieves can defeat the most sophisticated anti theft systems (you'll have to search for current info).

Camshaft sensors are secondary and do not disable the EFI system. My limited knowledge has found only a dead or intermittent crank sensor can kill the entire EFI system.
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2008 Astra crank no start

This thread might help a bit
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=136833

Maybe you can test the camshaft sensor with a DMM or scope or advanced scanner as that looks tough to change out.

You can search for the z18xer engine. Especially in the Euro sites where they call our car the Astra H. Note there were several 1.8 engines but you want this model as it is vvt. It was on the astra, zafria, vectra...The z18xer was also on some chevy models, Cruze, Sonic...

FYI the coil packs on these are high failure items.
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Old 11-30-2020, 12:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2008 Astra crank no start

Thanks for the replies and advice.

I plan on returning to the vehicle today armed with noid lights to see if injectors are indeed not firing. Also taking my OTac Evolve scanner to delve deeper into the ECM and see if I can find a culprit.

I understand what you mean about the camshaft position sensors being secondary, but on the 2.2 & 2.4 Ecotec engines they will become the default source of engine timing if the crankshaft position sensor fails. In fact you can disconnect the crankshaft position sensor and the ECM will use the last known position it stored and then allow the engine to start by using the intake camshaft position for timing requirements reference.

I will follow the link provided next and see what it has to offer. Thanks again
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Old 11-30-2020, 12:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2008 Astra crank no start

I would consider a monthly DIY alldata subscription for the Saturn Astra as the engine and codes are somewhat different from those in Europe.

Reading the Euro forums, the crankshaft and camshaft sensor logic is not so clear to me. There are some base maps used when sensors fail but maybe not always used.

Some of the crank-no start service bulletins recommend disconnecting crankshaft or camshaft sensors as part of testing. See below. Euro codes are different so may not be applicable.

As Dryer noted above, there is a possibility of a failed computer module. Those are not popular problems with the Astra but obviously they can fail.

There are some Euro service manuals on-line but they are cumbersome and the engines are somewhat different principally to emissions I suppose. Confusingly I think the Astra H z18xer engine is also called the J Engine. The Euros also seem to have different DTC codes so that makes things more complicated with the Euro manuals and forums.

https://workshop-manuals.com/vauxhal..._trouble_code/

https://workshop-manuals.com/vauxhal..._or_p0017_lde/

https://workshop-manuals.com/vauxhal..._or_p0365_set/
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2008 Astra crank no start

Neither GM 2.2L nor 2.4L ecotec(?) engines have camshaft position sensors. Your 1.8L engine has crank and camshaft sensors. As suggested, service manuals are more informative than hearsay unless from reputable sources - dealer techs and third party helplines staged wth ASE certified mechanics/technicians. Misinformation can be disseminated by well meaning diyers with zero familiarity in EFI systems making blanket statements. Crankshaft sensors rely on fixed teeth, either stamped steel welded to a crankshaft or machined teeth on a crankshaft. Crank sensors rely on precision alignment for electronic timing purposes.

If what you state is true then either crank or camshaft sensor can fail yet allow the engine to run. Both of your sensors would have to fail simultaneously to be where you're at presently. My guess is your camshaft sensor is fine but not relied on for the ecm to continue running the EFI system.

I'll throw this out for consideration. If anyone believes camshaft sensors provide the equivalent timing signals of crank sensors then what happens when mechanical mistiming occurs - a timing chain wears down/chain tensioner fails and allows a camshaft(s) to skip timing or a timing belt wears down/belt tensioner fails and allows camshafts to skip timing? Alter mechanical timing and the camshaft sensor generates timing signals out of synch with crankshaft and its sensor to create problems. All 4-stroke EFI engines use the crank sensor as the only precise source of timing signals because both are fixed. Neither crank sensor nor crankshaft teeth can move to alter their fixed relationship, establishing basic electronic timing for mechanical timing between crankshaft and camshaft(s). If a camshaft skips a tooth for whatever reason, the camshaft sensor still generates a timing signal but no longer in correct time compared to crankshaft timing. Incorrect cam timing used in the ecm may result in incorrect ignition and injector timing.
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Old 12-01-2020, 12:16 AM   #7
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Default Re: 2008 Astra crank no start

I was referring to the 2.4 direct injection Ecotec engines in my earlier post.

I am sure I installed the timing belt correctly and no teeth have failed on camshaft gear.

I have confirmed with noid light and perfectly dry spark plugs that I have no fuel in combustion chamber.

There is one Astra at my local Pic a Part and I guess I can swap out an ECM if all else fails. But I would like to rule out failed sensor(s) first. I wasn't able to verify RPM ona scanner today due to time restrictions. I will try to tomorrow and update.

Monthly subscription to aid myself in this foreign mystery would be smart. However, I really think I will be avoiding these in the future. If needed I will bite that bullet and get a subscription.

Although frustrated, I do enjoy these challenges and will keep you all posted on what routes I take (even the wrong ones) as well as the cure (I hope).
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Old 12-03-2020, 08:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2008 Astra crank no start

Update.

Attempted to start again today while connected to my scanner. I am getting RPM signal from crankshaft position sensor. Still getting low voltage codes from intake, exhaust, and crankshaft sensors. ECM relates power to sensors from what I can see on diagrams I found online. I have a used ECM from a local parts yard. Same year, engine and transmission. I know it would need flashed to match VIN, but should allow starting if was the culprit. After theft deterrent relearn of course.

There is one last piece of the puzzle to report. The owner has informed me there is a an unknown "device" attached under steering wheel. Possibly an aftermarket theft immobilizer? I guess next time I'm there I should see about removing it. Perhaps it is tied into something that is sabotaging the process.
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Old 12-03-2020, 09:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2008 Astra crank no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by uluz2a6 View Post
Attempted to start again today while connected to my scanner. I am getting RPM signal from crankshaft position sensor.
Are you sure that RPM signal is coming from the crankshaft position sensor? For some basic 8v Astras in Europe, I have seen people note camshaft sensor may be bad if RPM gauge does not move during cranking; that is not necessarily the case for the z18xer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uluz2a6 View Post
Still getting low voltage codes from intake, exhaust, and crankshaft sensors. ECM relates power to sensors from what I can see on diagrams I found online.
Can you back probe the sensors for power, ground, and pwm signal? That would take a lot of items out of play.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uluz2a6 View Post
There is one last piece of the puzzle to report. The owner has informed me there is a an unknown "device" attached under steering wheel. Possibly an aftermarket theft immobilizer? I guess next time I'm there I should see about removing it. Perhaps it is tied into something that is sabotaging the process.
Take a picture. I wonder if that is just some OnStar-radio parts which are tucked behind the "kneebar". These pages have some links to photos and schematics, although. The Onstar Operation is a bit of a mystery.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho....php?p=2348594
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...=OnSTar&page=6
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Old 12-03-2020, 09:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2008 Astra crank no start

Thanks for the info.

No I am not sure of actual source of RPM. I assume it is crankshaft position sensor, but am not 100% sure I disconnected the camshaft sensors, but I think I did.
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Old 12-18-2020, 08:06 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2008 Astra crank no start

Finally made time to work on the Astra again. I have verified that there is no spark or fuel. I have 55 PSI at rail, but the noid light shows injectors are not firing. Tested ignition coils and there is no spark. I am seeing RPM on my scanner without camshaft sensors plugged in, so I assume crankshaft position sensor is active. Car does not have any aftermarket security installed. It does have a damaged key fob, but the fact that it cranks and no security light leads me to believe factory security is not a factor.

I have followed all the grounds to solid non corroded attachment points and see none that aren't connected. It seemed to me at first like I am missing an "easy" issue like a failed ground or unplugged module that is preventing fuel and spark, but obviously it's well cloaked.

Unless anyone has better strategy, I think u will next verify voltage and ground at ignition module, crank, and cam sensors. But the issue then is, if I have voltage and ground (or not) is that a result of ECM denying it or because of another factor?
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Old 12-18-2020, 08:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2008 Astra crank no start

Do you see rpm on your Astra tach when starting?
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Old 12-18-2020, 11:10 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2008 Astra crank no start

On some of the 8v Astra engines, one test for crankshaft position sensor is that interior RPM gauge will move when starting the engine; that test is not so reliable for the z18xer per the uk forums.

When the alarm is engaged (e.g. when one locks the doors with the key fob, a red light in the center console near the radio will blink briefly every 10 seconds or so.

You can easily disassemble the key and check that the board is not damaged; change the button battery.

The CIM module behind the steering wheel can fail. There is a recall note on that. GM sells a $1 springy c clamp that tightens the board up. Typical issues include an intermittent horn but that may not be a 100% test. Does your horn work? This seems to be a major issue on euro Astras and can cause crank no start. There are resoldier tutorials.

Of course, the immobilizer may be knackered. Or the ECM.

You might check the fuse boxes with the owners manual to check all the relays and fuses are in the proper places and are good. I have seen at least two Astra repair videos which traced the problem to misplaced items in the box under the hood. There is a fuse box in the hatch area (driver's side above the wheel).

Make sure the coil pack is plugged in fullly; aftermarket coilpacks might not properly connect with the wiring harness and require some "English".

I have seen cases where a new crankshaft sensor solved this issue. But if it measures OK I wouldn't be replacing parts for fun.
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Old 12-18-2020, 11:22 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2008 Astra crank no start

You might find this z16xer crank no start video. He scribbled a quick wiring diagram and does a lot of tests that might be helpful. It is a UK car and somewhat different engine note.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvN6XmW80qE
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Old 12-18-2020, 11:51 PM   #15
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Default Re: 2008 Astra crank no start

I only see RPM on scanner. Not on tach.

I will watch that linked video now. Thank you all so much for your replies
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Old 12-19-2020, 08:55 AM   #16
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Default Re: 2008 Astra crank no start

1- In post #7, noid light and dry plugs indicated zero injector operation. Fuel pressure@55 psi.

2- In post #11, noid light/dry plugs verified zero injector operation. Zero spark. Fuel pressure@55 psi.

Other than possible wiring issues, the lack of spark and injector operation points back to either ecm or crank sensor. The crank sensor (not cam sensor) provides the electronic clock timing signals allowing the ecm to operate the EFI system. The ecm uses crank timing signals to; turn on fuel pump, initiate ignition system for spark and pulse injectors. The fixed physical position of the crank sensor and fixed notches on crankshaft ensures precise timing signals are generated for the ecm to operate the EFI system.

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On a side note, my L300 has cam and crankshaft sensors. Replaced the crank sensor. The tach never displayed rpm when starting until replacing the crank sensor. Resistance measurements right after the engine died showed values above the range specified. This incident occurred several years ago and I'm still driving it today.

A Nissan Sentra died on the road and limped home. No cam sensor. Once in garage, it failed to startup. Zero spark, dry plugs. Replaced crank sensor. Engine fired up immediately. This occurred a few months ago (relative).

Both sensors are relatively easy positions to remove.

Last edited by fdryer; 12-19-2020 at 09:09 AM.
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