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Old 04-28-2022, 11:58 AM   #1
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Default Engine died, seeking advice.

Hello! Yesterday the engine of my '08 Astra died in traffic while my wife was on her way home from work. She reported that it started to run "funny" for about 30 seconds before dying on her at a stop light and refusing to start back up.

Once I got the vehicle home via tow, I pulled the following codes:

P000B - Camshaft Position Slow Response
P0456 - Evaporative Emission System Leak Detected (very small leak)
P0341 - Camshaft Position Sensor Circuit Range/Performance
P2544 - Torque Management Request Input Signal A
P0501 - Vehicle Speed Sensor Range/Performance

During my troubleshooting, I've read about other Astra owners getting the P000B code, experiencing poor engine power, and subsequently removing the screens on the camshaft position actuator solenoids as per a service bulletin. I've removed both solenoids and taken off the screens. I didn't expect that to fix the issue, but I tried starting up the vehicle after reinstalling them with no success.

Next, I removed and visually inspected the Camshaft Position Sensors. They appeared pretty gunked up, with solid/sludge-like deposits seen in the "holes" on the sensors (hopefully that makes sense). At the time my gut was telling me this was likely to be a cause of the issue, so I ordered replacements. Since I have new ones on the way I wasn't concerned about damaging them by cleaning them. I attempted to clean the old ones as best I could, reinstalled them, and still no luck.

The wait for my parts has begun, but unfortunately my brain hasn't stopped spinning it's gears. Are there any other culprits I should be looking into or even testing prior to the arrival of those parts? Is it possible that the PCM (or is it an ECM on this vehicle?) has failed?

Some other important information; the vehicle has ~260,000kms (161,000 miles). The Sparkplugs, fuel rail, fuel injectors, and the coil pack was replaced less than 12 months ago. Coincidently, yesterday I planned on replacing the cylinder cover gasket as it has been showing signs of a (minor) leak.

I know there aren't many of us on the road anymore, but if anyone has any advice or knowledge to share, I would greatly appreciated it.

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Old 04-28-2022, 04:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Engine died, seeking advice.

How is the oil level and condition? That is critical on these cars for the VVT. You really need to use good full synthetic oil and change say every 5k miles.

When was the last time the timing belt was changed? Timing belts are not typical problems on these cars but changing every 100k miles is prudent. If you have the original belt, that would be worn excessively.

You can carefully remove the cam actuator solenoids. Carefully clean the insides. You can bench test them for proper movement with 12v.

This thread (and the attached document) might be helpful troubleshooting guides.
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Old 05-10-2022, 02:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: Engine died, seeking advice.

Just got her back up and running tonight. Due to the camshaft position codes, I started by replacing those with no luck. Next up was the wiring for the sensors; replaced that and still no luck. First look at the timing belt appeared worn but in serviceable condition. After turning the engine a little more and exposing the other half of the belt, it was obvious the timing belt was the issue with almost 6 inches being completely stripped.

After a long wait for parts and a timing toolkit, I got the belt changed. I was concerned about catastrophic engine damage due to the fact she has an interference engine and the embarrassingly bad condition the timing belt was in. Fortunately, she is back up and running after the timing belt change.
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Old 05-10-2022, 10:15 AM   #4
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Default Re: Engine died, seeking advice.

Glad to see this sorted.

161k miles and 14 years was pushing the limits of what was likely the original timing belt. There are posts with timing belt failures that do not grenade the engine but that is not always the case.

Did you replace the timing idler and tensioner also?

Did you replace the accessory belt? These don't break often either but I think it would be prudent to change.

If you have the automatic transmission, the accessory belt tensioner is a high wear item. Also, Saturn upgraded the alternater pulley; that fancy pulley is worth changing (getting the alternator out is somewhat painful, however).

Also, take a minute to clean the throttle body and butterfly as the engine runs a lot better with that service.
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Old 05-10-2022, 09:55 PM   #5
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2008 Astra XR
Default Re: Engine died, seeking advice.

I realized the document referenced in that thread is no longer available, nor do I have access to the Gmail account I shared it out with, so I've created a new link and posted in the camshaft thread.
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