opel or vauxhaul zafira egr valve mass airflow meter problems

On 2 September 2006 I purchased an Opel Zafira 1.9 Diesel from Williams Hunt Fourways.

In the first weeks of driving I was disappointed with the fuel economy of the vehicle – my previous car was a Renault Scenic II that had averaged 6.9 litres per 100km over the 130000km that I covered in the vehicle.  The Zafira was delivering 8.2 litres per 100km.  I had been shown a comparative between the Opel Zafira and the Renault Scenic (done in Germany) that promised 6.1litres / 100km.

In the first week of November, I was driving on the freeway when there was a very sudden development of a grating noise in the engine compartment.  I pulled off and called General Motors 24 Hours customer care to arrange my very first tow in.

I was provided with an Opel Corsa for a few days and then after complaining that I was paying for a Zafira but driving a Corsa, this was changed to the dealer principle’s Zafira.

The diagnosis was that the turbo had packed up.  The unit was replaced, but during the test drive by Mark Derbyshire (he was the service manager) the new one developed the exact same fault.

The factory did not have a replacement part and expected me to wait for a new part to be shipped in from Germany.  Thanks to Gary Klets and Mark Derbyshire the vehicle was replaced (late in November) by the factory.

Late in 2007 year the new vehicle developed a problem and had to be towed in again.  The diagnosis was that the Turbo was on its way out and a new one was ordered.  After 5 days I called Mark Derbyshire (service manager) and told him that there had been no recurrence of the fault.  We agreed that it could not be the Turbo and decided to wait for symptoms to return – fortunately this did not happen – it must have been a faulty diagnostic machine.

In January 2008 year the vehicle was towed in due to an electrical fault that was diagnosed as a faulty battery.  The battery was replaced, but after three weeks the same problem recurred.  This time the fault was diagnosed as a faulty alternator.  After a week the wrong part arrived from the factory in Port Elizabeth.

I was without the vehicle for a whole month while we waited for the correct part to arrive from Germany due to the fact that the factory in Port Elizabeth did not have the correct part in stock.

On 6 April 2008 the vehicle developed a fault and had to be towed in.  The fault was diagnosed as a faulty injector.  The injector was replaced and I received the vehicle back that afternoon.

From Monday to Thursday evening I drove about 500km and was pleasantly shocked to see that the economy was suddenly achieving 6.4 litres per 100 over that period (my normal driving style and routine).

This made me think that there had been a fault since I purchased the vehicle.  If this is true then I have had to spend between R5000 and R6000 on excessive fuel consumption.

On Thursday 10 April as I turned off the freeway on my way home the engine died.  After a few attempts it restarted, cut out, restarted and then kept going over the 3km to my home.  It felt exactly the same as on Monday – very rough as if it was running on three cylinders.

The car was towed in for the fourth time since January – diagnosis another injector.  I suggested to Virusha (a service assistant) that the remaining three injectors should be replaced and this was agreed to.  Once again parts were not available in Johannesburg.  A week later I called and was told that the car would be ready but that they wanted to test it overnight.  I explained that I needed a bigger car than the Corsa lite that I had been driving all week since I needed to pick up four people with luggage at OR Tambo International airport.  Virusha agreed that I could collect the car and be the ‘guinea pig’.

When I arrived I was told that after the wash bay a warning light had come on and that they were trying to diagnose the fault.  I was provided with Williams Hunt’s courtesy shuttle vehicle which solved my problem for the airport.

The next afternoon I called Virusha to be told that the diagnosis was the ‘EGR Valve’ and that they are awaiting arrival of the part. When I asked when it will be here I was told that (as per usual) the part is on back order at the factory. I was also informed that the inlet manifold needed replacing as it was part of the EGR valve.

Over this whole time ALL staff at Williams Hunt Fourways were amazing – Bianca, Virusha, Ian, Deon, Sean, Jens and Mike Derbyshire.

Besides making me suffer in a Corsa Lite with no air con for a week, they always provided me with a loan vehicle.

I wrote to Mr S. Langheim (dealer principle)

I have absolutely no issues to grind with Williams Hunt Fourways; however I would really like to know what the purpose is of buying a Premium quality vehicle from Opel when parts are never available locally or at the factory in Port Elizabeth?

On Friday next week I have booked to take my family to St Lucia (25 April returning 2 May).  In order to make this trip possible I have to have my vehicle back.  If not I need a vehicle with a tow bar that is capable of carrying me, my wife, my parents and our three children on this trip.

I sincerely hope that you will be able to have my vehicle back on the road by Thursday Morning”

Once again, Williams Hunt came to the party and provided me with a Mercedes Vito for our family holiday – it was wonderful.

I never once received any correspondence from Mr Langheim – not even a phone call, but his staff were amazing.

On 28 May 2008 Petro Van Rooyen sent me a letter offering a further 6 month / 20000km warranty on the vehicle due to the trouble that I had experienced.  (this was worded as a gesture of goodwill, but  NOT  an admission of liability or obligation under their warranty plan.

The economy of the vehicle never improved and averaged around 8.2 litres per 100 km which is disgusting for a Diesel vehicle.  I consider myself to be an economical driver.

Between the middle of May 2008 and November 2008, the vehicle performed without any major issues, however in late November, it had to be towed in again (TWICE) – the engine warning and service light was a constant intermittent niggle that Williams Hunt could only diagnose as “a possible intermittent air leak in the system that they could not locate”. The radiator filler cap was replaced due to the water light coming on.  This did not resolve the problem, and I was told by Williams Hunt that it could be the cylinder head, but that since businesses were shutting down for the December break, I should drive the vehicle as is and keep topping up the water as and when required.

“It seems as if faults on vehicles that are under warranty are diagnosed by replacing as many parts as possible without ever going back to check which replacements were unnecessary once the problem is resolved”- personal quote.

During 2008, my vehicle was off the road for in excess of 14 WEEKS.

In February 2009 there was more trouble – and the eventual diagnosis was that there was a crack in the cylinder head. This ‘wonder car’  was off the road for at least another three weeks while the part that was on back order at the factory (FOR A CHANGE), but once again I was well looked after by Williams Hunt who provided a suitable loan vehicle.

On 30 April 2009, the Zafira was booked in for its 120000km service.  When I collected it, I was informed that (AS PER USUAL) the cam belt service could not be done due to the part being on back order at the factory.

They also reported that an intake leak was detected (as previously….ditto….ditto…ditto)

In November 2009 the vehicle was booked in for a service.  Two days before the date, the engine warning light had came on and the vehicle went into ‘limp’ mode, so I handed it over early for the service.  A loan vehicle was not available, so I was compelled to hire a vehicle at my own expense.

After a couple of days, I received a call from Ian to inform me that one of the 4 pins on the ‘Mass airflow meter’ was broken.  I was told that this can not be repaired – they had tried to solder it but firstly access is difficult and secondly due to the sensitivity of the part, it would most likely not function properly if it were soldered.  I could not understand how I should be held liable for a part that was probably broken due to the number of times that the vehicle had been worked on, however I decided not to argue this point.

The part was ordered, but this time the factory was performing a stock take (during the week instead of after hours), so the dear valued customer was forced to wait over five days for the part to be delivered.

I then received a call from Ian in service to inform me that the replacement of this part had not fully resolved the problem and that they were now going to replace the turbo at a cost of +/- R25000.00. I was shown the old Air flow meter – it had three pins, and I could clearly see the stub where the remainder of the 4th pin appeared to be.

At this stage I had requested a trade in quotation where I was offered R80000.00 (I still owed R122000.00 on my finance plan).

In a state of shock, I decided to remove the vehicle from Williams Hunt and arranged for an independent service company (BB Motor Corporation (BB Corp)) to repair my Opel Zafira.

The turbo was removed and tested by a turbo specialist who diagnosed that besides a few seals, the unit was functioning perfectly.  When the turbo was refitted, the vehicle was still running in limp mode, so BB Corp checked the catalytic converter – only to discover that the innards do not exist! I did not bother to query this discovery since I expected to repair and sell the vehicle, but I would really like to know when the catalytic converter innards were removed – and why.  Or was this also an omission at point of manufacture?

BB Corp then investigated further and discovered that the EGR valve had seized up.  This was replaced, and the inlet manifold that splits into two pieces was cleaned (not replaced).  The problem went away and I was back on the road.

This was the second EGR replacement on this vehicle, and I have since discovered that this is a regular recurring fault on this engine type – see Vauxhall Owners Forum – After discovering this in December I was in Port Alfred visiting some friends when a relative from the UK joined me to go and do some shopping.  When he got into my car he commented – oh, I also have one of these, I have just had to replace the EGR valve!

On 22 February 2010 I took the Zafira to BB Corp to have a cracked sump removed and repaired ( it had been struck by a brick on the freeway in December 2007, but I had successfully repaired the crack with Pratley’s putty, but this had once again begun to leak, and a second attempt with Pratley’s was unsuccessful).  The sump was removed, welded and refitted.  After this the vehicle went into limp mode.

BB Corp investigated and discovered that the EGR valve was totally clogged up.  This was replaced under warranty, but the problem was not resolved.  Upon further investigation, BB Corp discovered that one of the four pins on the mass airflow meter was missing.  They ordered a replacement and I was quoted R18000.00 for the part.  I showed them the invoice from Williams Hunt Fourways and they showed the invoice to Barlow World Centurion who were adamant that the part for my vehicle’s VIN number was the R18000.00 part.  However since the vehicle had functioned OK on the R8000.00 part, they ordered it (Part 93184406).  This was (ONCE AGAIN) on back order at the factory.  When the part eventually arrived, BB Corp opened the box at Barlow World Centurion and discovered that the part is actually manufactured with 3 pins and not 4!

Williams Hunt Four Ways replaced the Air mass meter Part 93184406 on invoice 33562639.  The reason for replacing the part was that one of the 4 pins had broken off and that they could not repair it. I saw the part and it had THREE pins (NOT TWO). They told me that they had tried to solder the broken pin but could not access the area, and also claimed that the soldering might interfere with electrical conductivity and the functioning of the part, so it was best to replace it.

My Big Question is: Has this OPEL Zafira 1.9cdti had the wrong Mass Air Flow Meter since point of manufacture?  If so, the incorrect fuel mix could have resulted in all of the problems that I have experienced

  1. incorrect air/fuel mix
  2. poor fuel economy
  3. recurring faulty EGR Valves
  4. engine runs at incorrect temperature
  5. cylinder head cracks
  6. I am told that it was a leaking cap
  7. problem continues
  8. I am told to drive and top up due to shut down
  9. Problem eventually diagnosed as cracked cylinder head
  10. Cracked cylinder head causes steam to enter combustion chamber
  11. This in turn causes early wear and tear on cylinders / rings…
  12. Diagnostic testing proves this due to loss of compression
  13. I am awaiting news from the factory / Williams Hunt Fourways

On Thursday 15 April I contacted GMSA to try and verify exactly what part is required for this Zafira.  On Friday 16 April I received a call from Yvette at customer care informing me that according to Germany the correct Mass Air Flow meter should have 4 pins, not 3.

Eventually on Monday 19 April I received another call to request that I have the Zafira at Williams Hunt Fourways so that Mr Louis Fingeredo (factory rep) could assess the vehicle on Wednesday 28 April.  I then ranted at Yvette complaining that it is totally unacceptable for me to have to wait another NINE days for some attention.

A few minutes later Yvette came back to me and informed me that I must take the Zafira to Williams Hunt Fourways on Tuesday 20 April, so on Monday 19 April we towed it to Fourways.

On Friday 23 April Nicky Jansen van Rensburg – the service manager at Williams Hunt Fourways called me to inform me that they had tested the Zafira.  The diagnosis is that there is a loss of compression and that the engine needs a complete overhaul. He had reported this to the factory and was awaiting a response.

On Wednesday 28 April I called Yvette – she was unavailable but called me back to inform me that she had tried to get hold of Mr Langheim but that he was not available.

This morning I called Williams Hunt Fourways and was informed by Mr Langheim that he was awaiting a report from the factory. I told him what Yvette had said yesterday to which he responded that he had not been unavailable yesterday.

I then called Yvette and when I reported this to her she promised to follow up.

I have now received an open ended quotation from Williams Hunt Fourways which I find to be simply disgusting since the History of this vehicle clearly exposes a serious FACTORY FAULT.

“Good afternoon sir

As discussed we have conducted some tests on the vehicle in order to establish what is wrong, and the finding is as follow

  • Blow by was noticed from the filler cap which indicated that the piston rings does not seal properly as it should
  • A compression test was done and found that all cylinder compression is low and the worst on cylinder no 1 and 4
  • Data display with diagnostic tool indicated that there is no boost pressure from turbo as indicated to yourself in November 2009 as well

Basically the engine needs to be overhauled

New engine on the costs R 83874.16 excluding labour and other (Oils belts etc)

Unfortunately I cannot give you accurate pricing on rebuilding the engine due to the engine still being in the vehicle and needs to be removed and sent to Engineering for inspection and quote

If we are to go with the engine overhaul I would need your authorization for the cost incurred to remove engine send it to PE (Remtec engineering) and engineering costs

With regards to the air flow meter. When the vehicle was here in November we have diagnosed the problem to be one of the problems as per our diagnostic equipment and protocols available. And unfortunately I cannot find any evidence of the pin being the cause of the failure noted on our system. And the parts was correctly ordered as per our Electronic parts catalog which is applicable to your vehicle VIN number

Please advise me where we go with regards to the engine repairs from here


Nicky Jansen van Rensburg

Williams Hunt 4 Ways

Service Manager

Tel: 011-557 3000 I Fax: 086-5160711 I Cell: 083 310 9555″


Has this OPEL Zafira 1.9cdti had the wrong Mass Air Flow Meter since point of manufacture?  If so, the incorrect fuel mix has resulted in all of the problems that I have experienced

  1. incorrect air/fuel mix
  2. poor fuel economy
  3. recurring faulty EGR Valves
  4. engine runs at incorrect temperature
  5. cylinder head cracks
  6. I am told that it was a leaking cap
  7. problem continues
  8. I am told to drive and top up due to shut down
  9. Problem eventually diagnosed as cracked cylinder head
  10. Cracked cylinder head causes steam to enter combustion chamber
  11. This in turn causes early wear and tear on cylinders / rings…
  12. Diagnostic testing proves this due to loss of compression
  13. I am awaiting news from the factory / Williams Hunt Fourways







  1. Posted April 29, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Wow. The Zafira was one of the cars I am looking at in Norway, but I am afraid it’s just fallen off the list.

  2. Sammy Jones
    Posted May 1, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    What has happened to G.M.,s good name for quality and service? Over the years I had several Opels and always had quality cars and service to match. After reading this, I would not even consider buying one of their products again. In my opinion, cars have become too complicated and even their computor diagnosed trouble shooting is beyond the understanding of the mechanics who have to work on the vehicles.This type of problem is the sad result.

  3. Iain Robertson
    Posted May 4, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    What a tale of woe. Or perhaps Whoa, if I were looking at the Zafira as a new car. The car may be fine, but the build quality in SA does not appear to be good, and the support to the dealer and his maintenance team is sadly lacking.

    • vonkie42
      Posted May 4, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Hi Iain

      Can you believe that this vehicle was built in Germany?

  4. Posted May 4, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Not much of an advert for the car. They should have replaced it if it proved not repairable.

  5. Jaco Reinecke
    Posted May 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Wow, thank heavens for this!

    Sorry to hear about your pain, thank you for the heads up.

    We where going to buy one for the family, after this I am afraid we will have to look elsewhere for a family car.

  6. Joe Moer
    Posted June 17, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Now I understand why we see so few of these vehicles on the road here in Israel………..They must all be in the garages

  7. Joe Moer
    Posted June 17, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Now I understand why we see so few of these vehicles on the roads here in Israel…………..They must ALL be in the garages for repairs

  8. espen
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    IF that car was running with the wrong maf from new, it would not only cause an high fuelconsumption, it might also caused your engine breakdown, since it clearly did constantly fill your engine with soot due to wrong maf signals and to much soot is killing new diesel engines..

    You should really find out why the cat was removed, and check if the engine is registered with an cat or an dpf(diesel particular filter) if your dealer removed the cat/dpf without you knowing this, they did not only do a coverup for the soot problem they also did something illegal.

  9. Posted March 3, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    My opel zafira has a problem with the caterer fuel. How can i fix it?

    • vonkie42
      Posted March 8, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Hello Akis

      This site was published to make people aware that there are major problems with the 1.9cdti engine in Vauxhaul / Holden / Opel Zafira’s or any other 1.9 Diesel engines used in General Motor’s vehicles worldwide.

      I am sorry that I cannot assist you further.

  10. Posted March 3, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    My opel zafira has i problem with the caterer system. What can i do about it?

  11. iflorin56
    Posted April 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    zafira 19 cdt 2006 400280km am scimbat 4 injectoare 1supapa egr volanta acum am la motor un sunet ciudat supapa sau tachet hidraulic motorul a functionat si 48 de ore am pus pe masina 1000 kg pe drumerile din romnia care sint de nivelul 3 consum mixt 5`6l viteza maxima 198 km detectat de aparat radar am platit in leasing o suma foarte mare acum ma cam doare sufletul servisul din roumania este cam dificil incorect de multe ori si foarte scump opel ar trebui sa isi ceara scuze pentru problemele de la aceasta masina iar dealeri sa fie mai civilizati si nu smecheri pe bani clientilor

    I have used Google translate and the English for this comment is:

    Zafira CDT 19 April 2006 400280km I change the egr 1supapa injectors to the engine flywheel now I have a strange sound hydraulic valve or cam engine and worked 48 hours I put on drumerile 1000 kg car in Romania, which are Level 3 sips 5 `6l top speed 198 km detected by radar in the lease I paid a huge sum now I kind of breaks my heart in anything other correctly romania is quite difficult and very expensive often opel should apologize for the problems from this car and its dealers more civilized and do not charge clients trick

    • vonkie42
      Posted April 4, 2011 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Am tradus tău post în engleză – sper că este corect.

      Am o întrebare? Ai spus ca masina ta a facut 400280 km – este corect?

  12. Posted May 24, 2011 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    I bought 2nd hand Oct 2006 Opel Zafira 1.9 CDTi in 2007 – it is such a beautiful car.
    Previous owner seemed to be impatient driver in heavy traffic, as front brakes were gone at 25000km. Since I’ve had it, front brakes lasted 50000kms. I am not the most efficient driver, and I average 8.3l/km. my wife drivers the diesel like a petrol which means high revs/lower gear and averages 9.1l/km.
    However, at 50000kms on a trip to coast (590kms at average of 120km/h) the alternator died. Exactly 2 years later (in April 2011) at 102000kms the alternator died again.
    Apart from this, this car has been nothing short of brilliant.

    I would agree that the car that this buyer got was a dud, if not for the fact that it was totally replaced, and problems still pursued.

    • vonkie42
      Posted May 24, 2011 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      Hi Ugan

      I hope your luck continues, however the economy that you are reporting really sucks. I consider myself to be an economical driver and averaged 8.2 over the disastrous time I had with my Zafira. My previous car was a 1.9 Diesel Renault Scenic – the average was 6.9l/100 over the life of the car.

  13. Alan
    Posted June 26, 2011 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I have a 2007 1.9 CDTI a great car, bought 2nd hand last year(2010) with 57610 on the clock Turbo packed up and was replaced, went again less than 30000KM later. Was told that it was driver abuse at first but after the use of a few choice words was told that when stripping a few botls were loose and this could have been the cause. Consump around town is between 8 and 9,2L/100. Open road best so far 6.6. A great car but worried what will go next. Was told yesterday by a GM employee that the motor is a renult motor??

    • vonkie42
      Posted June 26, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      That is Great Economy (Open road) but the average that mine delivered was 8.2 compared to the Scenic II Diesel that averaged 6.9 over 140000kms

      I had rumours that the motor was Renault, Saab and Fiat. If you do some research you will conclude that it is Fiat.
      Watch for your EGR Valve and Manifold next.

      Good luck – mine was a wonderful car to drive – when it was on the road!

  14. Tomas
    Posted May 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink


    That’s interesting article.
    My Zafira (1.9 CDTi, year 7/2008) is in the Opel Service at the moment, because it died 3 weeks ago with engine light on. They replaced EGR valve, which was clogged, and regenerated DPF filter. After 250km engine light came up again so I went to service. They replaced glow plug. But after next 150km engine light came up again. Fault diagnosed now was P2279 – Intake Air System Leak. Engineer found 3 pins in connector of Mass Air Flow sensor. They considered there should be 4, as cable is four wired, and this should be problem. But, new one had 3 pins as well. So they are confused.

    • vonkie42
      Posted May 7, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      And due to this BS and confusion from General Motors Worldwide, we see hardly any of these (potentially terrific) vehicles on the road in South Africa. They have all died and gone to Zafira Hell.

      Get the “technicicians” to check and ensure that the vehicle has a catalytic converter (as it should). Good luck to you!

      • Tomas
        Posted May 23, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Finally, problem was caused by rupture on exhaust tube leading to turbocharger. This caused low RPM on turbo and low presure on intake to valves.

  15. Ayanda Luthuli
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I had the same engine (1.9 cdti – z19dt) in an Opel Astra 2007 model. I had the same the issues, at some point I paid R18,000 to change the turbo. The EGR valve has been diagnosed as loose, sometimes faulty, etc. The final result is that the car is now standing waiting for an engine for six months. Never is a long time, but I vow never to buy an Opel again.

  16. Brynn Jones
    Posted October 31, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    GM are the ones here who put nothing back into Brands like Opel ….only use the European /German engineers to design Opel/Vauxhall drivetrains and zerox for other brands like Chevrolet and Daewoo and whole lot of other brands.

    It is the mass standardization of parts for cost savings that you see right here in this instance.

    An AFM that has a 4 point female point that gets the incorrect 3 point male connector perfect example of this.

    Mismatching of parts ordered on a global scale.Call back costs millions ….outcome a lot of unhappy customers.

    For Opel to survive they need to get rid of the parent GM for once and for all.

    MAF and electronic problems as well on my Astra G Estate OPC.

    Former GM chap Jonesy

  17. percy goddard
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Hi i have a opel zafia 1900cdti 2007 i have had it a month or so and i only get 9.5 per 100kms i dont think its right cause my friend has the same car and he had 6.2 per 100kms. I have had a diaglostic check on it and came up with no faults expect glow plugs, will that effect the fuel economy if not what do you think is the problem. I like the car a lot drive so well and had a lot of power pls i hope you can help me

    • vonkie42
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      Hi Percy. This blog was to tell my torrid story of a disastrous diesel engine marketed by Opel / Vauxhaul… I am afraid that you have purchased a real Lemon.
      It is a pity that you did not find this story before making your purchase. Good luck!

    • morapedi chakana
      Posted February 22, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      I have a problem with my car I went to make diagnostic but no problem but signal for service is still on my screen while came from service on three weeks ago please help me what is a problem

  18. Posted August 11, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this article I was looking into buying a Zafira but have now changed my mind. I am really not interested in buying a hole for my pocket.

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