The video above demonstrates the sound I hear when my car is at operating temperature. I don't know why it would sound so rough. It doesn't sound quite as bad as in the clip, but it definitely isn't normal.

The sounds seems loudest right above the alternator, but it may also be coming from the cam belt or water pump. Don't worry about the slight miss that happens about halfway through, that was the coil pack, which I subsequently replaced.

It's apparently fairly common for Astra Coupe's to sound like this, if you believe the various Vauxhall/Opel/Holden forums. But no-one is 100% positive on what it might be.

I sometimes get a low oil level warning on my trip computer when the revs have been below 2000rpm for extended periods, like say when I am in top gear in fairly free-flowing traffic, but the level is fine when I do a dipstick test and the car had a major service including oil and cam belt change done less than 3000 miles/5000km ago.

UPDATE: This is apparently a fairly common issue with the Z20LET engine found in the Astra Coupe, Astra G OPC/VXR, Zafira OPC/VXR, Astra H GSI/SRi.

2 Answers 2


That sounds like a lot of things, not your alternator, however.

First I would check Engine Oil Level. Could be some lifter noise going on in that video. If your Oil looks good, move onto check for vacuum leaks. Listen for any high pitched whistling under the hood, or spray all the lines down with CARB or MAF cleaner. That will let you know if you have a crack, the cars idle will become unstable. Third, check the octane rating. Your car may need higher octane or the last fillup, the station had poor quality fuel. That will be your next cheapest option. Last, check all exhaust lines. If there are crack it will be uneven and sound awful with some rattling. Check the manifold as well.

If all else fails, add some Oil Stabilizer to the engine oil next oil change and if the sounds persist, take it to a shop.


It might be a hydraulic "valve tick", the problem I had with z16xe engine - oil passages for hydraulic lifters get clogged, lifters lose pressure and they start hitting the surface producing ticking diesel-like sound.

The previous owner missing an oil change led to this problem for me.

My mechanic gave me the advice to do frequent oil changes (with cheaper oil), and we're also doing engine flush prior to every change. This process was instantly fixing the problem couple of times, but it came back afterward. Last time we switched to a bit lighter (within engine spec) high quality fully synthetic oil, and I hope it will be more permanent fix.

There are some risks involved with engine flushing, like getting an oil leak if seals are bad or dislodging some dirt inside which might get stuck in some narrow passages, but in my case, I was ready to address those problems. If you decide to try this, please follow the instructions, I used Liqui Moly Engine Flush and some other cheaper ones which worked the same.

Hope this helps

  • I had since sold the car and bought a Subaru. Which does the same thing LOL Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 6:54
  • XD I didn't read the date of course. Nevertheless, it might be the same problem... or maybe it is a diesel :D Have you ever solved the problem on Astra?
    – Ivan Vuk
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 8:12
  • No, people kept telling me "all Opels do that, it's normal" so I just learned to live with it. I fitted a nice and loud freeflowing turbo-back exhaust system and it drowned the rattle out completely. Same with the Subaru (dat boxer rumble). Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 10:01

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