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Old 30-07-08
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Emissions fail - high lambda

Just had my Twinny fail it's MOT on lambda reading. The incompetent garage charged me for the test then said "Uh sorry we don't do emissions here you'll have to take it somewhere else". when asked what they thought it'd be I got the blankest I've ever seen! So much for their advertised free retest.

Do you guys think it's an easy fix. Was thinking cracked/leaking exhaust or lambda sensor. Could the MAF account? It seems to be the route of most other TS problems.

Figures if anyone's interested

FAST IDLE
CO - PASS (0.00%)
HC - PASS (12ppm)
Lambda - FAIL (1.40)

SECOND FAST IDLE
CO - PASS (0.01%)
HC - PASS (8ppm)
Lambda - FAIL (1.49)

A bottle of Forte Gas and a good thrash will be had now but I think that's optimistic.
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Old 30-07-08
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Re: Emissions fail - high lambda

been doing a bit of reading around. Is it possible that a leak in the air intake manifold could lead to readings like this?

Also I've been noticing that it starts to run a little rough when the car's warmed up. feels a little sluggish to rev and a slight judder at idle. Is it true that the lambda sensor is not used until the car is up to temp? Would you expect high CO if lambda sensor was shot. Sorry for all the questions, emissions is something I know next to nothing about!

I'm booked in for a diagnostic at a local garage that bills itself as a Bosch specialist so hopefully that will shed some light.
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Old 30-07-08
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Re: Emissions fail - high lambda

Well a leak in the intake is never going to be a good thing. I'd get that sorted (if that is a problem you have) first.

I always take my car for a good hour long drive with some spirited sessions to make sure everything is warmed up, breathing well, etc - never ever failed an emissions test

Good luck.
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Old 30-07-08
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Re: Emissions fail - high lambda

universal sensors are about 30 quid so if you are mechanically minded and capable of fitting then fit one go to an mot station and offer the guy a fiver to do an emissions test for you only afterwards get an expensive diag done make sure your exhaust is not blowing first !!!
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Old 30-07-08
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Re: Emissions fail - high lambda

Cheers for the responses. I've had the intake problem as long as I've had the car. It's never caused a problem driving that I notice. It was only picked up at the first service at Peak Alfa but Roger reckoned it wasn't worth the considerable expense of fixing if driving wasn't affected. I'd have a crack at DIYing it with a scrappy part but unfortunately my long empty days of studentdom finish on monday and I start as a junior doc, I need the car for work so I won't have much time to get the car to a garage let alone consider DIYing it.

I can't see or hear any noticeable blowing from the exhaust but wondered if a small defect might have some impact.

The local 'Bosch' garage are charging £50 for the diag which I'd rather not pay but I need to get it sorted ASAP if at all possible.
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Old 31-07-08
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Re: Emissions fail - high lambda

Aye! Stick a new Lambada on it.

Sorted!


Ralf S.
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Old 31-07-08
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Re: Emissions fail - high lambda

I could be completely wrong here, but I thought the MOT test just compares the Lambda value from before the Catalytic convertor to the one from afterwards, so it will report a fail if your cat has failed (or is missing), air is leaking in between the two, either of the probes are failing. You could end up replacing 4 probes and not improving the problem if it is due to a leaking exhaust.
Engine ignores lambdas until it reaches full operating temp - so allow 5mins.
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Old 01-08-08
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Re: Emissions fail - high lambda

bit the bullet and got the diag. turns out the lambda sensor is knackered and so is the MAF which was not an original (looks like the previous owner had a bit of an ebay moment).

Getting genuine Bosch replacements and all should be well. The eyewatering part is the price! £420 plus VAT! (£170 for the diagnostics and labour) must take all of 20 mins to change a MAF and lambda! This is why I hate going to mechanics!
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Old 01-08-08
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Re: Emissions fail - high lambda

Originally Posted by indiekid View Post
bit the bullet and got the diag. turns out the lambda sensor is knackered and so is the MAF which was not an original (looks like the previous owner had a bit of an ebay moment).

Getting genuine Bosch replacements and all should be well. The eyewatering part is the price! £420 plus VAT! (£170 for the diagnostics and labour) must take all of 20 mins to change a MAF and lambda! This is why I hate going to mechanics!
That sounds horrendous, do you trust the guy doing the job ?
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Old 01-08-08
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Re: Emissions fail - high lambda

Never used him before. just moved to new area so don't really know anywhere yet. he sounded ok and he's Bosch approved centre. I believe his diagnosis, it ties in with the symptoms I've been having.The parts he's quoting are roughly what you'd expect i.e. a little bit more than alfaworkshop/shop4parts would charge. (i think about 125 for the MAF and 95 for the lambda).

So I guess he's billing me about 2-3hours labour on top of the diagnostic. I really need the car back on the road by monday so I don't really have much choice
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Re: Emissions fail - high lambda

It just sounded a lot of cash for what appears to be a fairly simple job but if you're stuck I s'pose it will have to be done. It's only money...
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Old 01-08-08
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Re: Emissions fail - high lambda

I agree it is alot. He claims to have spent a while on it with the oscilliscope but I would have thought that would be included in the charge for the diagnostic?

I could have had a gamble and done it myself for less than £200 probably but knowing my luck it would have turned out to be something else completely and i'd have wasted money replacing good parts. At least I know it's sorted now...

On the up side if MAF and lambda were both shot I'm bl**dy well expecting it to feel like a new car now! hopefully that will be the silver lining.
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Re: Emissions fail - high lambda

should be very
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Old 02-08-08
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Re: Emissions fail - high lambda

Originally Posted by indiekid View Post
I agree it is alot. He claims to have spent a while on it with the oscilliscope but I would have thought that would be included in the charge for the diagnostic?

I could have had a gamble and done it myself for less than £200 probably but knowing my luck it would have turned out to be something else completely and i'd have wasted money replacing good parts. At least I know it's sorted now...

On the up side if MAF and lambda were both shot I'm bl**dy well expecting it to feel like a new car now! hopefully that will be the silver lining.
I agree, the diagnostic bit seemed a bit high really but I s'pose you'll charging more for your diagnosis !

Anyway hope it's done alright and as you say it should feel a whole lot better afterwards, take it around the Moors and Dales and enjoy it !
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Old 02-08-08
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Re: Emissions fail - high lambda

High lambda is usually related to exhaust leak. Had this problem on a Peugeot some time ago (not mine!). Was caused by a very small leak at the back box.

See link:-

http://www.petercoopercarrepairs.co.uk/new_page_3.htm excerpt:

If the fault is a high lambda reading, with a high O2 reading but with normal CO and HC readings, the most common cause is post combustion air leaks. A small exhaust system air leak will leak air into the exhaust before any blows can be detected. Only a small volume of clean air introduced into the exhaust will cause a car to fail the MOT test.

Last edited by armoore; 02-08-08 at 13:34.
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Old 02-03-10
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My partners GTV JTS has just failed MOT on emissions. Engine light was on and computer analysis reported pre Lampda problem on the right manifold (cylinders 2 and 4). Garage thinks it needs a new cat (1200 pounds plus labour) but this does not gurantee a solution to the problem - is there anyway of getting a clear cut analysis of the problem with no guess work. I don't mind buuying and fitting a new cat but it's a lot of money if it does not work. I would be grateful for any advice.
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