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Calibra Modifications & Calibra Maintenance => Technical Troubleshooting & Servicing => Topic started by: StefanWylde on April 04, 2018, 20:30:49 PM

Title: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: StefanWylde on April 04, 2018, 20:30:49 PM
I'm having a lot of trouble with my C20XE m2.5... The last thing I diagnosed was the ignition timing. basically I hooked up the car to Op-com diagnostics, and on the program it says that at idle, the spark occurs at 20 degrees bTDC (before top dead center). According to haynes manual, the spark should occur between 8-12 degrees, and if you slam on the throttle you get advance of up to 20 degrees. When I slam on the throttle, the ignition timing goes the opposite way(later rather than earlier). Basically what I have is a very slow and unresponsive car.  Why might this be happening? Spark plugs, HT Leads, Rotor Arm and Distributor Cap have been replaced, no difference. No engine codes or anything. Is it possible my timing belt is off? I know the camshafts are aligned good to each other because I took out the cambelt cover and the marks line up, but maybe it's off down at the crankshaft?

(http://www.astra-mk2.com/forum/filedata/fetch?id=521340&d=1521979295)

Live data from my car (while driving)

- I tried unplugging the knock sensor, but then the car is EVEN slower, basically meaning that my knock sensor works fine? The timing is at 20 degrees bTDC at idle, instead of 10...
- I probably have a bad motor mount as I have tons of vibrations. Is it possible for these vibrations to "appeal" to the knock sensor as detonation or pre-ignition?
- Engine looks mechanically healthy according to other people (12/12/13.4/12 -> compression results from each cylinder), there's no oil consumption or any kind of smoke.

My car is idling PERFECTLY, the engine is very smooth (there's barely any jerking or 'kangarooing' or anything - these engines are known for that), but it's just very slow. Even in neutral, the RPM's rise up very slow. As I said above, no check engine is lit and no codes appear on the diagnostics.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: electric geen on April 05, 2018, 18:21:00 PM
This problem is I believe is to do with your other post regarding vacuum tubes missing. Every distributor I have ever known has had a vacuum advance connection to it. The vacuum advances the timing as the revs increase. I must admit the last time I had to sort out this stuff was on a SD1 V8 looong time ago.... Time to get your dwell meter, strobe gun out - I can just about remember how to use them.... and I bought myself an 8V cally two weeks ago and I got a shock when I opened the bonnet and saw the distributor sitting there staring at me.....
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: electric geen on April 05, 2018, 19:05:29 PM
The above post from me disregard, the Calibra is not that old technology!

Looking in the Haynes manual there is no distributor alignment apart from ensuring that TDC is used when refitting. If no advance or the wrong advance settings is being detected then a wiring check from the Distributor to the ECU is in order, check the distributor electrical connector plug carefully to ensure contacts are clean, check no break in wires to ECU after that only suggestion is  substitute distributor and ECU one at a time. Make sure your cabling is 100% as an unnoticed short will blow an ECU output. You should have or get a Haynes manual, although not fantastically comprehensive, read and read it again. RTFM as my boss used to tell his customers.....

Sometimes it is better to work backwards from the point where this problem occurred and check that components have failed before replacing them.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: StefanWylde on April 05, 2018, 19:59:56 PM
This problem is I believe is to do with your other post regarding vacuum tubes missing. Every distributor I have ever known has had a vacuum advance connection to it. The vacuum advances the timing as the revs increase. I must admit the last time I had to sort out this stuff was on a SD1 V8 looong time ago.... Time to get your dwell meter, strobe gun out - I can just about remember how to use them.... and I bought myself an 8V cally two weeks ago and I got a shock when I opened the bonnet and saw the distributor sitting there staring at me.....

there are no vacuum tubes missing. it's not my post, i was giving an answer to another person.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: StefanWylde on April 05, 2018, 20:00:50 PM
The above post from me disregard, the Calibra is not that old technology!

Looking in the Haynes manual there is no distributor alignment apart from ensuring that TDC is used when refitting. If no advance or the wrong advance settings is being detected then a wiring check from the Distributor to the ECU is in order, check the distributor electrical connector plug carefully to ensure contacts are clean, check no break in wires to ECU after that only suggestion is  substitute distributor and ECU one at a time. Make sure your cabling is 100% as an unnoticed short will blow an ECU output. You should have or get a Haynes manual, although not fantastically comprehensive, read and read it again. RTFM as my boss used to tell his customers.....

Sometimes it is better to work backwards from the point where this problem occurred and check that components have failed before replacing them.

the distributor plug has no connection with the ignition. it's the hall sensor for the sequential injection.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: electric geen on April 05, 2018, 20:53:31 PM
Exactly Haynes Manual page 5*3 your para 22, you must already have a copy.

para 23 says ignition amplifier receives a signal from the control module etc (Hall sensor to ECU, ECU to coil), erratic or low voltage signal from Hall sensor on distributor is a possibility (can be tested by magnet or steel depending on type),

or the amplified signal to coil from the ECU (Haynes speak as to what an amplified signal to the amplifier at the coil looks like or composes of- who knows),  (a coil current has to be broken (change in field) for the field to collapse and the secondary to generate High Voltage (spark)) the amplifier which does this is located next to the coil according to Haynes, this could also be suspect as this breaks the coil current to the coil itself, but the advance and retard timing is the ECU which signals the amplifier at the coil. It could be that the ECU has entered a defense mode if it cannot work out the timing from input signals, you may have low power but it gets you home.

The knock sensor also affects the timing but you tested that in and out of circuit and appears OK.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: StefanWylde on April 05, 2018, 21:13:08 PM
Exactly Haynes Manual page 5*3 your para 22, you must already have a copy.

para 23 says ignition amplifier receives a signal from the control module etc (Hall sensor to ECU, ECU to coil), erratic or low voltage signal from Hall sensor on distributor is a possibility (can be tested by magnet or steel depending on type),

or the amplified signal to coil from the ECU (Haynes speak as to what an amplified signal to the amplifier at the coil looks like or composes of- who knows),  (a coil current has to be broken (change in field) for the field to collapse and the secondary to generate High Voltage (spark)) the amplifier which does this is located next to the coil according to Haynes, this could also be suspect as this breaks the coil current to the coil itself, but the advance and retard timing is the ECU which signals the amplifier at the coil. It could be that the ECU has entered a defense mode if it cannot work out the timing from input signals, you may have low power but it gets you home.

The knock sensor also affects the timing but you tested that in and out of circuit and appears OK.

you added this part yourself.


From Bosch Motronic 2.5 Copyright Equiptech
Quote
Ignition
Data on load (AirFlowSensor), engine speed (CAS/crankshaft), engine temperature (CoolantTemperatureSensor) and throttle position (ThrottleSensor) are collected by the ECU, which then refers to a three dimensional digital map stored within its microprocessor. This map contains an advance angle for each operating condition, and thus the best ignition advance angle for a particular operating condition can be determined.
When the throttle switch is closed, the ECU enters base timing mode and the timing is set at 10°

There is no mention of the hall sensor is there?
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: electric geen on April 05, 2018, 21:40:37 PM
Quote  Haynes 5*3 Para 22 Motronic M2.5 XE engine  " A "Hall effect" generator is mounted in the distributor to send an ignition trigger signal to the microprocessor for each phase of the engine cycle. "

You have tested the throttle switch?

Again if the microprocessor (ECU) does not know where it is, it cannot look up that "3D map" it needs a baseline i.e. an input, your info refers to engine speed CAS/crankshaft CAS I would guess would be Cam Actuated Sensor? i.e. distributor, hall effect sensor therein?
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: StefanWylde on April 05, 2018, 21:58:19 PM
Quote  Haynes 5*3 Para 22 Motronic M2.5 XE engine  " A "Hall effect" generator is mounted in the distributor to send an ignition trigger signal to the microprocessor for each phase of the engine cycle. "

You have tested the throttle switch?

Again if the microprocessor (ECU) does not know where it is, it cannot look up that "3D map" it needs a baseline i.e. an input, your info refers to engine speed CAS/crankshaft CAS I would guess would be Cam Actuated Sensor? i.e. distributor, hall effect sensor therein?

TPS is perfect.
CAS is not Cam Actuated Sensor, and look up 'c20xe hall effect sensor' on google, you will find that many people that have disconnected the sensor, find very little to no difference in the engine performance.

From Bosch Motronic 2.5 Copyright Equiptech
Quote
CAS
The CAS consists of an inductive magnet that radiates a magnetic field and a toothed disk. The disk is attached to the crankshaft
or pulley and theoretically comprises 60 teeth set at 3° intervals around its circumference; each tooth being 3° wide. At a position
some distance BTDC, two teeth are omitted as a reference to TDC and so a total of 58 teeth remain on the disk. As the
crankshaft spins, and the teeth are rotated in the magnetic field, an AC voltage signal is generated and delivered to the ECU to
indicate speed of crankshaft rotation. In addition, as the engine spins, the missing teeth generate a variation of the signal that
serves as a reference to TDC to indicate crankshaft position.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: electric geen on April 06, 2018, 00:22:29 AM
Bosch Motronic 2.5 Copyright Equiptech is not specific to the Calibra as these units are fitted on many mainstream vehicles.
Quote Haynes 2B*3 Para 1 "up to 93 a Hall effect distributor is driven by the exhaust camshaft, at the transmission end of the engine"
"On C20XE models from 1993 onwards; a camshaft phase sensor is mounted on the exhaust camshaft, in the position previously occupied by the distributor."
This thread show similar faults to what you have, you haven´t given any fault codes which surely must be there.
http://www.migweb.co.uk/forums/engines-transmission/466861-20xe-cutting-out.html

I did a google on c20xe hall effect sensor and came up with Migweb

 Re: c20xe - what type crank sensor?

    Definately a VR. Hall effect switch is in the distributor housing.
    Depends what Omex classifies as a 'high output' VR sensor. The xe sensor outputs a low AC pulse at low rpm's, and a high voltage pulse   at high rpm's. Maybe try the high output first

This is the full thread
http://www.migweb.co.uk/forums/engines-transmission/368417-c20xe-what-type-crank-sensor.html

No mention in Haynes that I can see, but every nuance is never going to be catered for with re-vamps on the model.

Certainly one sensor is just about working to give engine speed or TDC or it would fail to start.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: StefanWylde on April 06, 2018, 08:19:09 AM
Bosch Motronic 2.5 Copyright Equiptech is not specific to the Calibra as these units are fitted on many mainstream vehicles.
Quote Haynes 2B*3 Para 1 "up to 93 a Hall effect distributor is driven by the exhaust camshaft, at the transmission end of the engine"
"On C20XE models from 1993 onwards; a camshaft phase sensor is mounted on the exhaust camshaft, in the position previously occupied by the distributor."
This thread show similar faults to what you have, you haven´t given any fault codes which surely must be there.
http://www.migweb.co.uk/forums/engines-transmission/466861-20xe-cutting-out.html

I did a google on c20xe hall effect sensor and came up with Migweb

 Re: c20xe - what type crank sensor?

    Definately a VR. Hall effect switch is in the distributor housing.
    Depends what Omex classifies as a 'high output' VR sensor. The xe sensor outputs a low AC pulse at low rpm's, and a high voltage pulse   at high rpm's. Maybe try the high output first

This is the full thread
http://www.migweb.co.uk/forums/engines-transmission/368417-c20xe-what-type-crank-sensor.html

No mention in Haynes that I can see, but every nuance is never going to be catered for with re-vamps on the model.

Certainly one sensor is just about working to give engine speed or TDC or it would fail to start.

On C20XE models from 1993 onwards... <- Bosch Motronic 2.8, not 2.5. The 2.8 is distributorless.
The camshaft sensor (on the 2.5 motronic) has nothing to do with the ignition! + the first thread, his engine is cutting out, and he's getting EML over 5k RPM. Not even close to my problem.
My engine is running very smooth throughout the whole RPM range, the problem is that it's very SLOW.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: electric geen on April 06, 2018, 10:28:28 AM
Late XE engines are distributorless too i.e. XEV

Still no mention of engine fault codes from the ECU

Assuming none, as the engine increases RPM and the timing goes allover the place, with no ECU fault codes, the only part that could affect the timing is the amplifier and the coil itself breaking down/intermittent or slow to react to the ECU signal.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: StefanWylde on April 06, 2018, 10:52:52 AM
Late XE engines are distributorless too i.e. XEV

Still no mention of engine fault codes from the ECU

Assuming none, as the engine increases RPM and the timing goes allover the place, with no ECU fault codes, the only part that could affect the timing is the amplifier and the coil itself breaking down/intermittent or slow to react to the ECU signal.

Absolutely no fault codes from the ECU. Anyway, as you can see from the screenshot, the timing is not all over the place, but the base point is off (20c before TDC instead of 10c - on idle), and instead of advance I get ignition retard as I apply the throttle. So it's not all over the place but it goes the other way around. retard instead of advance.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: electric geen on April 06, 2018, 11:33:34 AM
It appears the  amplifier next to the coil cannot keep up with signal from the ECU or a wiring fault between the ECU and amplifier? An oscilloscope would check that quite quickly but few people have them. Try and substitute an amplifier if possible.

A throttle switch fault could throw the timing in the way you described,  should be easier to test and eliminate before the amplifier
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: electric geen on April 06, 2018, 11:49:20 AM
Have you bought the calibra with this fault or was it running perfectly and developed this fault, you haven´t said.

The timing belt can be checked with cover off and the No 1 piston at TDC (piece of wire in the sparkplug hole to get the piston TDC), marks at the cam sprockets to head should line up.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: StefanWylde on April 06, 2018, 12:16:32 PM
Have you bought the calibra with this fault or was it running perfectly and developed this fault, you haven´t said.

The timing belt can be checked with cover off and the No 1 piston at TDC (piece of wire in the sparkplug hole to get the piston TDC), marks at the cam sprockets to head should line up.

I bought it with this fault. At first the idle speed was erratic but the TPS wasn't working on idle. I replaced the TPS, but now the ignition still has a problem
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: electric geen on April 06, 2018, 12:52:32 PM
Whoa! all bets are off. It could be a bitsa, bit of this , bit of that car. Check the model number and serial number of the ECU make sure it hasn´t come from anywhere else but a Calibra otherwise it will have a different program. Go back to the seller if possible and drill down to what happened (really happened) to make the car run badly, any parts he took off and changed may still have laying around, ask for them as he won´t need them.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: StefanWylde on April 06, 2018, 23:57:15 PM
Whoa! all bets are off. It could be a bitsa, bit of this , bit of that car. Check the model number and serial number of the ECU make sure it hasn´t come from anywhere else but a Calibra otherwise it will have a different program. Go back to the seller if possible and drill down to what happened (really happened) to make the car run badly, any parts he took off and changed may still have laying around, ask for them as he won´t need them.

the seller was an old guy that also bought the car with the problem, drove it without paying any attention to the problems, it seems it didn't bother him. he doesn't know much about cars.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: electric geen on April 07, 2018, 01:01:54 AM
You can't go back to the previous owner, lets hope the calibra wasn't messed around with before he bought it.

The timing belt , you need to look at the crankshaft timing marks and the cams sprocket timing marks, get a cam block (is that the right term) that prevents the cam from moving and set No 1 piston to TDC. It sounds complicated but all you have to do is take of the cambelt cover, the cam cover and observe. One or two teeth out will give you the symptons you have without the valves touching the piston. The excessive advance on idle and then flat response with a distributor and closed loop lambda would be to much for the ECU to correct. You have to check the cam belt (cam sprocket and crankshaft sprocket)with respect to Top Dead Centre on No1 piston to go forward. At the same time look at the distributor rotor arm and ensure it is pointing at No1 pistons spark plug lead.

I worked in a Motorhome dealership for a while where the mechanics used to change cambelts, missed the timing and then started the engine and heard a driiiiiinnng as the valves touched the piston, what they did was to floor the accelerator to dent the pistons with the valves to stop the noise - and these were "professionals" enough said.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: electric geen on April 07, 2018, 01:27:46 AM
I remember partially from when I had a Calibra 16V ecotec around 12 years ago, I changed the cambelt but did not need a cam block that was for an alfa which needed one because the cam sprocket could rotate, I believe the Calibra ones are fixed , just need to align the marks on the cam and the crank and check the distributor position.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: StefanWylde on April 07, 2018, 08:56:41 AM
I remember partially from when I had a Calibra 16V ecotec around 12 years ago, I changed the cambelt but did not need a cam block that was for an alfa which needed one because the cam sprocket could rotate, I believe the Calibra ones are fixed , just need to align the marks on the cam and the crank and check the distributor position.

The Calibra is a combination of 100 vehicles. Chassis was a 4x4 Turbo originally, the rear differential is still cruising with me, the engine was originally distributor-less but for some reason they put a distributor on it. The engine wiring is from a Kadett E GSI. However, I asked the guy that owned the car before the old guy, and he was saying that it's the best engine in my country, and that when he owned it the car was faster than a 140HP BMW E30, which is very lightweight. Now I'm losing a race from Astra G X18XE1 (116hp) easily. Nobody knows what's happening.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: electric geen on April 07, 2018, 14:16:17 PM
The previous, previous owner doesn´t look like he´s going to "fess up"
Seeing that you from Macedonia, I would guess that calibra´s are pretty rare in that part of the woods. You have a few options,

1. Find another 16V Calibra cheap, either crashed damaged or blown engine, swap the parts. Sell the rest make your money back.
2. Find a late tatty Cavalier 16V or Astra 16V or Vectra A 16V, swap parts (if they are 1.8 hang to your fuel injectors) Sell the rest make your money back
3. Find a rolling road tuning company/guru who is willing to take a look (don´t to be surprised if they turn you down). Hand over all your cash
4. Fit a different engine/gearbox combination inline using the rear drive. Purists will be shaking their heads at this point, but a Calibra on the road is still a Calibra. A lot of work but could be cheap if you get the right engine. Sell the rest make your money back.

No 3 is worth checking out before you pick any other option
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: electric geen on April 07, 2018, 14:27:09 PM
One option I did not mention is the fly drive.

5.  Buy a Calibra off ebay for £5-800, fly here, drive back, swap the bits, sell the rest.

You should be able to buy any Calibra in any country in Europe through ebay. I had a Calibra from Italy so there are a few there just a ferry to get for you.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: StefanWylde on April 08, 2018, 08:40:01 AM
One option I did not mention is the fly drive.

5.  Buy a Calibra off ebay for £5-800, fly here, drive back, swap the bits, sell the rest.

You should be able to buy any Calibra in any country in Europe through ebay. I had a Calibra from Italy so there are a few there just a ferry to get for you.

whatever calculations I make it's just not worth it. In my country every C20XE has been raced to death. every engine is just well... tired.
everybody was stupid enough to try to outsmart the factory, so all kinds of stupid modifications have been done to these engines... Really tough to find a car that hasn't been butchered.
Title: Re: C20XE Ignition Problem
Post by: electric geen on April 09, 2018, 11:55:47 AM
If we go back to the original problem which is advance/retard issues, I had a chance to look through a similar file from equiqip? on the Motronic ECU. It really looks to me that your crankshaft sensor is playing up or failed. I don´t know how much knowledge you have on testing or can find someone who has, but the best way forward is to test every sensor and component that has an effect on ignition. The pdf Bosch Motronic file on Google goes into some depth on what sensor affects ignition retard/advance.

You going to have to test each and every sensor using either a multimeter or oscilloscope, I do this in my job everyday testing High Speed Trains that are 40+ years old, and they fail a lot.... That's why I suggested going to a tuner, because this is what they would do first before replacing faulty components.

It´s tough, exasperating but the basics have got to be done, starting with lining up the cam belt to the crankshaft and cam and distributor, you will learn more than you want to, but your into cars then you got to learn, your Calibra is not a problem it's an opportunity!!!?!!