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Old 08-07-2020, 10:17 PM   #1
Dvit123
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Default Help with Astra p0420 and p1101 codes

Hi all,

I have a 2008 Saturn Astra and have been getting p0420 and p1101 codes that wonít go away. I have also noticed that the car stops fueling early at the gas pump (I have to squeeze the handle many times to keep the gas flowing), but it always starts up fine. Iíve replaced the catalytic converter (with a used one, albeit), upstream O2 sensor, cleaned the MAF sensor, and replaced the EVAP purge valve. For a bit, I was thinking either the downstream o2 sensor is bad or maybe the cat is bad, but the fact that I have a p1101 code and the refuel issue makes me think it might be something else. I want to know for sure itís the cat before replacing it since itís so expensive. Iíd appreciate anybodyís help! Thanks!
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Old 08-08-2020, 08:47 AM   #2
eric08
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2008 Astra XR
Default Re: Help with Astra p0420 and p1101 codes

I don't know if you have, but if you use a bluetooth OBDII dongle and an app such as Torque or Dash Command on your phone you can gather enough data on O2 sensors and fuel trims to narrow your field of focus on related issues. Without any data, I could venture to guess that the p0420 is either the result of a lazy downstream O2 sensor or a suboptimal cat. Either way, it doesn't necessarily mean the cat needs to go if the car is otherwise running well. Many who've been saddled with this code but with no performance issues have installed spark plug non-foulers on the end of the downstream O2 in order to desensitize it and thus quash the code. However, it would be best to know the sensor itself is good before resorting to this so if you could find a way to monitor it beforehand that would be best.

The p1101 gets attacked in the manner you've attacked it thus far. Your next step is to clean the throttle body because if it is caked up with grime that will read to the PCM much the same as a bad/dirty MAF sensor. Search within the forum and you will find how-to posts on both topics, I believe.

Your fill up issues are quite likely unrelated. There may be a physical obstruction in the vent hoses or bad charcoal canister...something on the ventilation side of the tank. I think if the vent valve was faulty and remaining closed you'd get a code related but it wouldn't hurt to pull it and apply 12V off and on to see if it's got a good, strong click in the solenoid.
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Old 08-08-2020, 11:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: Help with Astra p0420 and p1101 codes

For P0420, a leaky flex pipe is a popular cause here. Several of us resolved by welding in a new flexy section. Search the forums.

Also, the spark plug replacement interval recommended by GM is very short (maybe every 25k or 30k miles but look at your owner's manual as I don't recall). Deteriorated spark plugs may have an excessive gap and stress the coil pack. So, deteriorated spark plugs and coil pack can be root issues, including downstream. So it is possible the used replacement cat is bad.

One way to check if the cat is bad is to check the outside temperature of the box with a scan gun; very hot temps are the tell-tale. A very clogged cat might cause the car to bog down at low rpm when acccelerating up a hill.

This is a P1101 cat fix.

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...ighlight=p1101

I've replaced the spark plugs 3x, coil packs 2x, and flex pipe 2x. 80k miles.

I think there was a TSB or some service note relating to fuel filler pipe. Maybe there is a replacement. You should not have issues filling the car with fuel.
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Old 08-11-2020, 01:47 AM   #4
Dvit123
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Default Re: Help with Astra p0420 and p1101 codes

Thank you both for your help. So, I went ahead and changed the oxygen sensors just in case. I also checked the pressure of the exhaust line at the two oxygen sensor locations - it was 1 psi or less so I donít see anything unusual there. However, I also checked the temp above, below, and at the cat and it was definitely a lot hotter at the top of the cat which makes me think itís going bad. On an interesting note, I also changed the spark plugs since it was cheap and easy and found that there was a good amount of oil in cylinder 2 (from the left) and the coil pack seemed to have a little warping over that cylinder. Weirdly, I didnít see any fouling on the old spark plug for that cylinder. I attached links to pics of the cylinder with oil, one without oil, the oily spark plug (without fouling), and the coil pack. Files were too big to upload on here. Could the oil on the cylinder have caused the cat to give out early? I remember I had a yellow oil light come on a couple months ago and I changed the oil.. I wonder if that was actually a low oil light if the engine has been burning oil. I cleared the codes and drove around for a little bit (not enough for a full drive cycle) and ended up getting a p2096 (post catalytic fuel trim too lean) code. I remember I had this code before I cleaned the MAF. Not sure how this could all be related so Iíd be glad to hear othersí expertise on what to do from here. I do have a Bluetooth OBDII dongle that can read/graph fuel trims, rpm, and O2 sensor data, so I can try to upload that later if it still helps at this point. Thank you all for your help so far!

Oil in cylinder: https://postimg.cc/NyT98W8H
Normal cylinder: https://postimg.cc/cr2LDFLM
Warped coil pack: https://postimg.cc/sQHrM2B9
Oily spark plug: https://postimg.cc/QBssPwG5
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Old 08-11-2020, 11:38 AM   #5
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Default Re: Help with Astra p0420 and p1101 codes

The cylinder head and spark plug photos indicate oil on the top of the spark plug but the electrodes look clean. I would strongly suspect the valve cover gasket is failing around that round spark plug area.

You may have a PCV flap issue also; it is integrated into the plastic valve cover. I linked a PCV repair kit somewhere but frankly the valve cover plastic gets brittle and I could not remove the old flap). There are tests for the Astra & Chevy Cruze with similar engine on YouTube.

Both the valve cover gasket and PCV flap are popular Astra failure items. Easy and relatively cheap to fix. I did both. Buy a "premium" gasket. Some recommend a bit of sealant at the 90* corners where the metal goes up. There are good videos on the Chevy Cruze replacement of the Valve cover & gasket on youtube.

Not sure what the problem you are noting on the coilpack. Is it cracked or damaged visually? I don't remember these being perfectly square but close enough.

Check the owners' manual for the oil light codes you received. There may be a few different indications based on low level, low pressure, change reminder, etc.

The P2096 code may or may not be coincidence. Without more info I would guess:

- vacuum leak (from valve cover issues noted above)
- flex pipe (very popular Astra failure also)
- rear o2 sensor (not so common)

Here are a few people that fixed P2096 on the Astra

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=207844

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=167686

Quick testing of catalytic converter with temp gun & o2 sensor readings.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VZ5K8n5jj0

Nice primer on reading fuel trims
https://www.vauxhallownersnetwork.co...n-warm.839453/
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Old 08-11-2020, 01:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Help with Astra p0420 and p1101 codes

Today, someone just posted a new youtube video on the valve cover and gasket replacement. That is the z18xer engine which you have.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6Tdv4NG2kc
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