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Discussion Starter #1
I have a completely dead Ampera, applying leads to charge points under bonnet make no difference, is there a trip or big fuse could be blown?

Also the tailgate is half open, can any body suggest a way of opening within the car?
A new 12 volt battery just delivered, it looks like a pain to change this from inside.

Any help on these two problems would be welcome.
 

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Twin Amperas
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There is a small panel on the inside of the tailgate above the latch, behind which is the release mechanism...on mine I couldn't get it to release so changed the 12v from inside which was actually not too difficult...!
 

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There's access to the hatchback lock mechanism, I think a small plastic cover you can unclip, but it's a bit of a climb to get at it from the inside! Take a selection of flat-blade screwdrivers medium-ish size, as once the cover is off, there's a square-shaped socked you can stick the screwdriver into, and rotate to release the hatchback. Angle the screwdriver up at about 45 degrees, and take a torch! Might be the same size as door-handle square rod, something close to that anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys, I have to say I’ve got the panel off lock, I cannot see a square, I’ll have another look in the light.
 

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It's there. Trust me. Unless someone's nicked the whole caboodle? :ROFLMAO:
 

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Here's the procedure from the service manual, together with rather confusing diagram

1. Insert a flat-bladed tool into the hole, rotate slightly counterclockwise.
2. Push open the tailgate from the inside.
3. Install the access cover.

139563
 

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I have a completely dead Ampera, applying leads to charge points under bonnet make no difference, is there a trip or big fuse could be blown?
Re the original problem - did it die during a drive or was it dead when you went out to it - and if so how long since it was not dead?
 

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Re the original problem - did it die during a drive or was it dead when you went out to it - and if so how long since it was not dead?
Its a bit long winded, parked for a week, battery flat, jumpmstarted, gave a run of a couple of miles, parked up, within minutes needed to move it, dreaded steering lock fault pops up, removed fuse to cure, got into driveway, wouldn’t start again wouldn’t even jump, totally dead no lights nothing, put a lead through boot to charge which now won’t open, on safety latch. been on charge for two days still nothing, I was wondering if there’s a safety cut out of main fuse could be blown.
just received new battery to fit, looks a piss changing within the car, really need to get the boot open.
bloody car been nothing but trouble, main dealers just replaced the high voltage cooling system, thank Christ under warranty. Wife also got stranded with the dreaded steering lock fault.

really appreciate all your help guys.
 

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Its a bit long winded, parked for a week, battery flat, jumpmstarted, gave a run of a couple of miles, parked up, within minutes needed to move it, dreaded steering lock fault pops up, removed fuse to cure, got into driveway, wouldn’t start again wouldn’t even jump, totally dead no lights nothing, put a lead through boot to charge which now won’t open, on safety latch. been on charge for two days still nothing, I was wondering if there’s a safety cut out of main fuse could be blown.
just received new battery to fit, looks a piss changing within the car, really need to get the boot open.
bloody car been nothing but trouble, main dealers just replaced the high voltage cooling system, thank Christ under warranty. Wife also got stranded with the dreaded steering lock fault.

really appreciate all your help guys.
The trick with the steering lock is to always park with the wheels dead ahead. Takes a while to get into the habit but the pawl doesn't drop into the lock until the wheel moves off centre, so that prevents the side load on the pawl forcing the motor to draw excess current and trip the fault. It's a pretty poor bit of engineering by all accounts thrown in as an afterthought for the European market.

Low 12v battery voltage is a known creator of havoc. Some replace the 12v battery as a preventative measure every 2 years. The problem is that 12v batteries were developed to meet starting needs of ICE vehicles and the power demand profile on an EV is quite different. I imagine the recent cold snap also played a part in bringing things to head.

Finally, since the low 12v seems to be the root cause from your description of events, it is I'm afraid entirely possible that you have suffered the same as @HandyAndy and been unlucky enough to damage the HV contactors. During power up the car does a number of safety checks on these and if they don't pass, it don't go. The cascade of clicks you hear when standing outside the car as it powers up is the various relays and contactors being exercised and completing the safe connection of the HV. Just a guess you understand - but if the fault remains after you've changed the 12v battery, you'll need the service centre to diagnose.
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Discussion Starter #10
The trick with the steering lock is to always park with the wheels dead ahead. Takes a while to get into the habit but the pawl doesn't drop into the lock until the wheel moves off centre, so that prevents the side load on the pawl forcing the motor to draw excess current and trip the fault. It's a pretty poor bit of engineering by all accounts thrown in as an afterthought for the European market.

Low 12v battery voltage is a known creator of havoc. Some replace the 12v battery as a preventative measure every 2 years. The problem is that 12v batteries were developed to meet starting needs of ICE vehicles and the power demand profile on an EV is quite different. I imagine the recent cold snap also played a part in bringing things to head.

Finally, since the low 12v seems to be the root cause from your description of events, it is I'm afraid entirely possible that you have suffered the same as @HandyAndy and been unlucky enough to damage the HV contactors. During power up the car does a number of safety checks on these and if they don't pass, it don't go. The cascade of clicks you hear when standing outside the car as it powers up is the various relays and contactors being exercised and completing the safe connection of the HV. Just a guess you understand - but if the fault remains after you've changed the 12v battery, you'll need the service centre to diagnose.
Of course the problem is getting to a main dealer who knows anything about these things with a locked hand brake.
I can’t believe I’ve got two hybrids on the driveway both crocked, the Ampera and Ds5 shouting at me that there’s a brake problem don’t move.
the hi contactors is it something you can get at?
 

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Of course the problem is getting to a main dealer who knows anything about these things with a locked hand brake.
I can’t believe I’ve got two hybrids on the driveway both crocked, the Ampera and Ds5 shouting at me that there’s a brake problem don’t move.
the hi contactors is it something you can get at?
Ouch - I feel for you. Does sound like a flat bed recovery job for the Ampera. Maybe it will spring into life with the new battery - I do hope so.

The HV contactors are inside the bulkhead at the front end of the HV battery - so no not easily accessible, or safely for the average owner. But I'm only musing - not diagnosing.

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HV contactors are a dealer job. Very little stuff inside the HV works that mere mortals like us can do, tbh. These cars are pretty bullet-proof once up & running ok. I strongly recommend getting a 12V cheapo voltage meter running off the accessory socket in dashboard, plus an extension cable, and keep an eye on the volts. The second I see 11.9 or less, the 12V battery's out, and a new one goes in. My contactors blew just as I started a charge & the 12V was dying at exact same instant. Welded something up, and a zillion errors in the error log.

Do you have a dongle? Viecar 4.0 Bluetooth OBD2 + Torque Lite (free Android) app is a good start, other free apps work with Viecar & iOS. This is required kit so you can read, do initial error diagnosis, and clear irrelevant trivial errors. Some faults can be cheaply diy fixed, and this gives you good ammo for telling the dealer what needs to be done! There's a 75 MByte Service Manual PDF floating around which has the error codes etc in, msg me for more info!
 

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Ampera Advocate
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The trick with the steering lock is to always park with the wheels dead ahead.
I found that the cure was fitting a new steering lock. This cured both of the issues - the serious one where the car is totally bricked and the merely annoying message that a steering lock service is required that popped up every time I got in the car regardless of the alignment of the wheels
 

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I fitted the new version steering lock, plus a new 12V battery, but I still get the very occasional warning msg, which I just ignore as irrelevant. Never had the bricking issue needing the fuse pull though! And I'm super-careful about getting the wheel 100% dead straight ahead when I park.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Sorry at delay in replying.

isn’t it terrible that Vauxhall must know of this steering lock problem and didn’t sort it, I was lucky with my 2012 car at 90000 miles just stayed in warranty, god know what the price of curing the high voltage cooling fault that cropped up would have been.

well handyandy I’m afraid your talking total Swahili with those diagnostic remarks, I’m knackered with all this new stuff, I’m almost embarrassed to say I’ve got the Aldi diagnostic plug in thingI would that do?

concerning the boot lock problem, as I had the mains charging cable going through I figured maybe the square was hidden with the lid not going low enough, I threw my wife into the boot and she couldn’t see a square either.
is it possible the early cars had a different lock?

why can’t modern cars be as simple as my little 1933 Austin 10/4 in the garage?

thanks all for your help, it’s much appreciated.
 

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Sorry at delay in replying.

isn’t it terrible that Vauxhall must know of this steering lock problem and didn’t sort it, I was lucky with my 2012 car at 90000 miles just stayed in warranty, god know what the price of curing the high voltage cooling fault that cropped up would have been.

well handyandy I’m afraid your talking total Swahili with those diagnostic remarks, I’m knackered with all this new stuff, I’m almost embarrassed to say I’ve got the Aldi diagnostic plug in thingI would that do?

concerning the boot lock problem, as I had the mains charging cable going through I figured maybe the square was hidden with the lid not going low enough, I threw my wife into the boot and she couldn’t see a square either.
is it possible the early cars had a different lock?

why can’t modern cars be as simple as my little 1933 Austin 10/4 in the garage?

thanks all for your help, it’s much appreciated.
Hope these pictures help a bit. I took them just now with the tailgate open so sitting on the bumper looking up at it: (1) the square hole in the trim at the bottom of the tailgate; (2) the square manual lock release that rotates inside that hole; (3) a big screwdriver inserted in the square manual lock release ready to turn.

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... I’ve got the Aldi diagnostic plug in thing, would that do?...
If you mean this item
Auto XS Vehicle Code Reader
(plugs in below the steering wheel, not over on the passenger side!)
then yes, it should be able to read out the codes. These look like "P1E00". You'll see this one whenever the orange Engine Management Light (EML) is on, just means you get that engine symbol lit. This is an MOT failure!!! All it means is "There's an error of some kind, see other codes for the nitty-gritty". Often it's just the charge-door got stuck, and the light will go out after 3 car-starts by itself. Many codes can be goofled & are standard, but plenty are Volt/Ampera-specific & need the Service Manual to decipher.
 
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