Vauxhall combo with no drive - your opinions sought as to reason...

27 Jan 2010
Reaction score
Buckinghamshire, Darn Sarf
United Kingdom
There I was with said Combo 1.3cdti van on the ex's drive facing uphill with the handbrake on hard. I forgot I'd also left it in 1st gear and, when I turned the key tostart it the van lurched slightly forward, as you'd expect, but then there was a thump which seemed to coincide with me hurredly pressing the clutch pedal. After this all drive was lost in all gears, and a metallic 'tinkle' could be heard when in gear and with the clutch pedal released (engine running).

We towed the van home and for the first few tens of metres more metallic noise could be heard, but by the time we reached home (1/2 mile) this had all but gone.

My opinion is that the clutch friction plate has sheared....but then I started to think about other causes of this loss of drive, and here's where you come in.

1. Is there any experience out there of the gearbox input shaft shearing off on other 1.3cdti vehicles?
2. Is there any experience of the gearbox input shaft splines shearing off?
3. Is there any experience of the clutch friction plate splines shearing/stripping?

One final piece of evidence. When I drop the clutch in gear there is a quiet rumble that varies in pitch with the gear selected. From this I conclude that, rather than a clutch problem, there may be a problem at the final drive/differential end. So I repeat some questions:

4. Is there any experience out there of the gearbox differential or output shaft failing from hard use or shock loading? Boy racer failure!?

I await your learned replies, and ask for the following extra info:

5. Does the 1.7cdti gearbox both mate to the 1.3 engine, and does it have a taller/lazier 5th gear?

Regards, MM
Sponsored Links
Good call @Motman.
I never thought to look.
Van sat on drive, so I have just run the engine in several gears and I can categorically state that the speedo is NOT working. I must also restate that there is a quiet rumbling noise, the pitch of which varies with the gear selected. Neither driveshaft shows any sign of trying to turn.
I'm quite certain that it's an internal gearbox failure now, so concentrating on getting a replacement quickly, given any option though I'd prefer the lazy top speed ratios. My van does about 24mph per 1000rpm (or it DID!), if a compatable 'box from the 1.7cdti or another Vauxhall can get 25 or 26mph per 1000rpm then at least the expense of the repair will generate some improvement.
The broken gearbox is an F17 model. I considered getting an F23 replacement (that fitted to the 1.7cdti Combo van), but chickened-out when I discovered that some (maybe all?) of the F23 gearbox have the twin cable gearchange mechanism, and mine has the rod change. I would have had to buy the F23, then almost take the old box out myself to see if the mechanisms could be interchanged...too risky when I need to get the van working soon.

So I have bought an F13 replacement with rod change, from a Corsa C and with a 5% taller fifth gear (if my research is accurate). Hopefully that will mean about 62mph at 2500rpm...only a small improvement, but better than nothing! Hands dirty day is tomorrow (and that's because all the mechanics are too busy after Easter).

Sponsored Links
Clutch friction plate destruction :eek:
John :)
No John! If so, why does (did) the rumbling noise (thread #3) pitch vary with the gear selected, and not with engine speed?

The solution (sorry it's taken several months to post this) was to push the LHS driveshaft CV joint back into the gearbox. I like easy fixes.
Most curious......Ive never come across that one before. A snap ring on the driveshaft ends is meant to keep the thing in place :eek:
John :)
Update, and to close the thread.

It's happened twice since, though I was mistaken, it was the drivers' side driveshaft that had partially jumped out. That may explain why the speedo didnt register anything (speedo drive from the nearside diff output, the side that wasn't turning?)
No oil was lost during any of the driveshaft partings.
It seemed to be connected with the number of times I'd tried to start the engine when in gear - the engine mounts load up as the engine tries to rotate, then the sudden shock release when I realise what I've done and hurredly push in the clutch pedal. This could have defeated the circlip, and then only a matter of time before the shaft worked its way out.
Anyhow, I have had a working van ever since, and a spare F13 gearbox...
Hells bells, I've had a driveshaft with completely sheared splines, no drive and one hell of a can the driveshaft jump out? (And not pi$$ oil?)
John :)
Sponsored Links