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Old 12-23-2016, 05:19 PM   #1
David R
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2009 Astra XE
1997 SW2
Default Stop me if you've heard this one...

Back a the beginning of December I did my own oil change. Easiest one I've ever done.

My car doesn't have a factory radio, so my center dash display is stuck on instantaneous MPG (imp) and the beginning of 2008. I've kind of gotten used to the numbers and how they match my driving route and style (conservative).

After I did the oil change, for one day my numbers were up by about 4-5 MPG (imp) for a couple of days. I thought wow this is cool, bonus to doing an oil change.

Unfortunately the numbers fell abruptly one day.

My typical driving style put 1st around 9-10 MPG, but has dropped to 7 MPG. 2nd gear is around 10-14 mpg, used to be around 12-20 MPG. 3rd is hanging around 24-32 MPG. 4th and 5th are pretty much unchanged, 34-55 MPG. Except for one really weird and annoying behavior. After accelerating to cruising or highway speeds the number will get stuck at 37 MPG, unless I purposely back way down on the gas and the come right back up again. Then the numbers will jump up into the 40's and 50's. My current tank to tank (on 3 tanks) is down to 33 MPG (imp) from my usual 42 MPG (imp), beginning of December to now.

It makes me think the ECU is getting stuck in a power timing for cam offset, then has to be prompted to go into economy timing. Don't actually feel any difference when driving.

I removed the screens on the actuator solenoids in case this was something to do with the clogging issues that have been reported. No effect.

I'm beginning to wonder if its an oil or oil filter issue. Once in awhile I'll hear the cam sprocket clatter sound after I've come off the highway and come to a stop at a stoplight. Just momentarily then its gone. Used to hear it on start-up when the engine was cold. Don't hear it anymore on start-up.

The oil I'm using is Mobil 1 synthetic 5w30, filter is a Frame Extra Guard CH10246. Unfortunately I don't know what the shop used on the last oil change, other than it was synthetic as well.

Anyone have any thoughts?

...
~I'm not an authority on anything~

2009 Astra XE 5sp 175K km
2000 Honda Civic SI 5sp 172K km, AKA EX Coupe - Gone
1997 SW2 DOHC Auto 325K km - Stored for winter, used in summer

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Old 12-23-2016, 05:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Stop me if you've heard this one...

My guess is oil isn't the issue with a drop in fuel economy. You're probably right about varying valve timing as it can affect engine power that has a direct correlation to fuel use. Were you getting the same mileage last year in December? What condition are spark plugs in? Air filter? A few mpg drop is expected when switching from summer to winter fuel but not the large drop. Perhaps half the mileage difference may be related to the variable valve timing that may not be felt since you're driving conservatively. If I'm not mistaken, valve timing changes for more lift time at the upper rpm range. Mechanically moving the cam gear by advancing or retarding the cam gear alters when cams operate. Hypothetically, a stuck cam in advanced position may not be felt in everyday driving and the lower rpm may be contributing to lower fuel economy. It seems backwards but no one technically discusses what occurs when variable valve timing goes wrong. Fuel economy isn't given any thought when winding out an engine at redline where VVT contributes to power generation. Maybe worn spark plugs are the reason for lower mpg.

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Old 12-23-2016, 05:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: Stop me if you've heard this one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by David R View Post

I'm beginning to wonder if its an oil or oil filter issue. Once in awhile I'll hear the cam sprocket clatter sound after I've come off the highway and come to a stop at a stoplight. Just momentarily then its gone. Used to hear it on start-up when the engine was cold. Don't hear it anymore on start-up.
Cam sprocket clatter...this seems odd to me since your engine uses a timing belt and not a chain. FWIW, I had a '97 Nissan Quest which would give me a sound similar to valve clatter due to insufficient octane when under harder acceleration. The noise was ended after replacing the timing belt. The old belt was stretched. How many miles are on the current timing belt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David R View Post
The oil I'm using is Mobil 1 synthetic 5w30, filter is a Frame Extra Guard CH10246. Unfortunately I don't know what the shop used on the last oil change, other than it was synthetic as well.

Anyone have any thoughts?
I can't think of a reason as to why the oil change would've had a significant impact upon your fuel economy unless you were using a much heavier oil and, of course, you wouldn't!

(Things you probably already know: apart from owner preferences about which brand of filter one should use, the two most important things to consider are filtration capacity (the smallest size of particles - in microns - which it will filter out) and oil flow through capacity. Any filter utilizing a media which is too thick will cause problems with engine lubrication since the oil can't move quickly enough from the filter and back into circulation.)

...
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Old 12-28-2016, 12:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Stop me if you've heard this one...

Thanks to all.

I must find out what the shop used for oil (brand, rating, etc.) and filter.

The clatter is a phenomenon where the inner and outer active faces of the timing sprockets contact each other. Normally oil pressure will keep them separated. On some engines (mine included), on a cold start the oil has drained out of the sprockets, and there is a delay for their cavities to fill with oil causing the clatter or rattle sound. A very rhythmic tapping sound, sounds very much like a diesel. Typically gone in less than 1 second. I'm not sure how long it would last below -15C. I was spared that last winter.

Coming off the highway down to idle and hearing the sound suggests to me that either the sprockets are getting very low oil pressure, or the oil is to thin to keep the faces separated.

Being a hydraulically operated system I can see oil quality and delivery having a big effect.

In my area (Southern Ontario) Winter fuel usually makes its presence felt around the middle of November. My S-Series wagon's fuel economy would drop 6-8 MPG. The Astra last Winter showed no appreciable effect on MPG, which was great. I was also in the middle of a tank when my numbers shifted down.

Spark-plugs haven't been changed lately, but I would expect that my highway numbers would be generally down as well. I'll add that to my "on sale" shopping list.

I guess for now I'll have to collect more information, and when its time oil change be ready with the right oil and filter.

...
~I'm not an authority on anything~

2009 Astra XE 5sp 175K km
2000 Honda Civic SI 5sp 172K km, AKA EX Coupe - Gone
1997 SW2 DOHC Auto 325K km - Stored for winter, used in summer

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Old 12-28-2016, 01:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Stop me if you've heard this one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by David R View Post

Coming off the highway down to idle and hearing the sound suggests to me that either the sprockets are getting very low oil pressure, or the oil is to thin to keep the faces separated.

Being a hydraulically operated system I can see oil quality and delivery having a big effect.
FWIW, these comments make sense to me. Given the climate you live in, the 5w- winter viscosity oil should not be raised to anything higher during the winter months. In summer months only you'd probably be okay with a 10w-, but should never use anything greater than that for your engine.

...
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The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

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Old 12-28-2016, 01:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: Stop me if you've heard this one...

hi i just joined this forum i dont own a saturn but i just got 14 skids worth of saturn parts mainly for the vue but plenty of astra and other models as well literally from top to bottom of the car if u need anything just send me a message im currently starting to sell them on ebay my store is amazonoverstockwarehouse very few parts listed so far but if u need somethig ill list it got it as closeout so very cheap all oe parts!

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Old 12-31-2016, 01:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: Stop me if you've heard this one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amzonow232012 View Post
hi i just joined this forum i dont own a saturn but i just got 14 skids worth of saturn parts mainly for the vue but plenty of astra and other models as well literally from top to bottom of the car if u need anything just send me a message im currently starting to sell them on ebay my store is amazonoverstockwarehouse very few parts listed so far but if u need somethig ill list it got it as closeout so very cheap all oe parts!
You might consider posting this in a separate thread for more visibility rather than tacking it on to something totally random...

...
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: Stop me if you've heard this one...

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Originally Posted by Saturn4Ever View Post
You might consider posting this in a separate thread for more visibility rather than tacking it on to something totally random...


thanks good idea posted it i new thread vue general > vue parts

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