Holden Astra stalling

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I have a serious stalling problem with a 1998 Holden Astra. Some days it will not stall at all, others it will stall up to 12 times in a 10k drive and others a few times over the same distance. It appears to happen when I am slowing down from about 20km/h to stop - usually coming up to an intersection.

I'm concerned that as the power assisted brakes don't work quite as well when the car stalls, I won't be able to stop and roll into the intersection in front of a truck.

When the vehicle was under warranty I took it to the dealership quite a few times, however they never found any error codes and the vehicle never stalled for them. Hence the problem was never identified or fixed

I've taken it to several other mechanics after the warranty expired and each have found error codes and apparently fixed the problem, only to have it occur again later that day or the next day.

Other Holden Astra owners I have spoken with are experiencing the same problemto varying degrees.

Is anyone experiencing the same problem and more importantly has anyone been successful in fixing the problem or able to give me some hints how to fix it?



posted by  micka

If it was a 1970's car I would suggest vapour lock in the fuel bowl, but this one sounds like ignition.

It's not going to be easy finding it if Holden can't, but here goes.

Do you have an ignitor (ignition amplifier) with four wires going to it near the ignition coil? It's usually a flat looking device that is screwed to some metal for heat sinking. These can become faulty (not just on your car) and fail to reduce dwell quickly as the revs drop. Failure on this should result in a dash display warning momentarily.

Check your ignition switch contacts haven't arced over.

Chances are it's not just one problem. You could have air in the water system that is causing a coolant sensor to think the engine is cold. Similarly the air intake sensor could be faulty or have a faulty plug/socket

Other things to check:

check for throttle cable stretch at the throttle body (and deceleration dashpot if fitted). The TPS may not be correctly calibrated because of the stretch;

have an auto electrician check alternator bridge rectifier;

have the coil load tested;

have the ignition leads load tested;

check the spark plugs are the correct heat range or maybe even try some colder ones;

check idle up VSV or equivalent is operational when air cond, lights, radiator fan are operating;

and as silly as it sounds it might just be insufficient earth strapping from the engine to the chassis.

I doubt if the O2 sensor would factor into this equation.

I keep thinking ignitor though.

posted by  Wally

I'm having the same problem with my 1988 Astra. I had one guy look at it and diagnosed a dodgy Idle Speed Sensor. Had that replaced twice and nothing. I thought it might be a ECM problem, seeing as half my dash doesn't work either. Tried the error code and came up 12 which I believe means nothing is wrong. I was thinking it was a fuel injection problem - something along the lines of the fuel timers not working properly, not enough fuel getting to the engine. I was gonna take it to a Fuel Injection place to see if they could find anything.

Anyway for the time being, try keeping the air con on. It might chew petrol a little more but works for me keeping the engine going. Very rarely stalls. I'll be very interested to see if anyone actually gets the problem fixed..

posted by  Deanos

Thanks for the information guys. I've tried one thing that is very simple - using Premium unleaded fuel. This seemed to work extremely well (the car didn't stall at all for about a week) and then it started again - but not as bad.

I'm looking at getting the fuel injectors cleaned and see how that goes.

Deanos, my car seems to be worse with the air-conditioner on. Not sure what that means/what causes it

posted by  micka

Really, running worse? Your problem must be different to mine.

I've narrowed my problem down to the thermostat or something of the like (CTS or whatever it is, perhaps). I drove home from a mates place the other day without the air con on, seemed ok, so when I got home I popped the bonnet to have a look. None of the fans were going. I assumed it was coz the engine was still relatively cool because it was a pretty short drive. I let it idle for a while and still nothing until I turned the air con on. And then today I was driving around without the air con on.. longer drive this time. I noticed it started idling really rough and then it eventually stalled when I got of the accelerator.

I read about the thermostat not working and that tells the cpu the engine is still cold when it's not and making the fuel rich. So I guess it would be feeding the engine overly rich fuel to a warm engine. Although CPU error codes don't state this.

I'm investigating replacing the thermostat soon anyway. If I have any luck I'll post back.


posted by  Deanos

Hi Michael! (and others) :)

I have had this exact same problem with my 1999 Holden Astra. Exactly the same even down to it working better temporarily on premium UL.

So anyway I had it serviced today and mentioned the problem to the mechanic. He thought he knew what was wrong and said it was quite common with these cars.

Turns out it was a dirty throttle body. My mechanic cleaned it out (as well as ajoining components) and its as good as new! :) Pulls up at traffic lights or wherever like a dream now!

Saw your post and just thought I'd let you know, might want to get a mechanic to check it out for you.


P.S. I know what you mean about Holden, my car was still under warranty up until recently and had been to them twice with this problem and they claimed their was nothing wrong. Grrrrr!

posted by  aussieboi21

Yeah I had a similar problem, the mechanic fixed the idle timing and now it's ok. Not perfect, which might be due to a dirty throttle body, coz from what I can see on the outside of it, it doesn't look all that crash hot. Now all I gotta worry about is the coolant temp sensor, ecm pickin up on something about that so I'm gonna save some money and have all the cooling stuff checked out and hopefully fixed.


posted by  Deanos

how much did it cost to get the throttle body cleaned as well as ajoining components?

GLAN   26 Nov 2012 06:21

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