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Mk3 Astra. Using glue on rear arches

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Busy times.  My wife has signed the contract on a house extension, £25K and the builders promptly said that they need another £18K for more foundation work than they anticipated.  Work is horrendous with people shouting at each other about stuff which is at least partly my fault.  At home, well, teenagers, what can I say?

 

So, to escape I bought one of those leather gear lever gaiters off ebay for Rembrandt.  Have to say looks superb, as the interior is really pretty good.

 

Next, might consider swapping the complete dashboard as there is a tiny bit of damage in it.

 

Calling that car Rembrandt is just the ultimate in Autoshite irony

 

And I've finally fixed the dodgy fuel pump so I can now put a decent amount of fuel in it.  All I did was fit the sealing plug and connections from another old pump and a length of lead chopped out of a scrapyard car. 

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Love these Astras Lizbon. Me and a mate bought an absolutely shagged one for £70 years ago (before we got driving licences) body-wise it was immaculate because it had been barried up MAX-POWA style but the clutch was so fucked we couldn't actually drive anywhere, it ended up being sold on for parts, never did see my £35 back. I have since driven an Astra if this shape a couple of times and would really like to properly try one at some point.

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Those replacement gear lever gaiters on ebay really do make a difference.  The originals get grotty so quickly..

 

I'm pleased the Astra is still doing sterling service.  My ancient Isuzu-engined one refuses to die, it just keeps going with the minimum of fuss.

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More than a year since an update.  Rembrandt, the Rembrandt silver Astra is doing well but I'm thinking of doing one of the rear arches and getting the sill painted on that side as it has a lot of surface rust.  The offside wing is scruffy, and it would be easy to swap it for another one.  My question is: if I get a wing painted, will it match?  What's the consensus as I'm aware that paint matching has come on a lot but I'm not really up to speed with it. 

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If anyone actually reads this can they tell me how to change the title?  I'd like to change it to something mentioning 'paint question', which would hopefully get people who know about paint to read it but I can't see how to do that - I am sure it can be done.  Thanks.

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If anyone actually reads this can they tell me how to change the title? I'd like to change it to something mentioning 'paint question', which would hopefully get people who know about paint to read it but I can't see how to do that - I am sure it can be done. Thanks.

Go back to the very first post and ‘edit’

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More than a year since an update.  Rembrandt, the Rembrandt silver Astra is doing well but I'm thinking of doing one of the rear arches and getting the sill painted on that side as it has a lot of surface rust.  The offside wing is scruffy, and it would be easy to swap it for another one.  My question is: if I get a wing painted, will it match?  What's the consensus as I'm aware that paint matching has come on a lot but I'm not really up to speed with it. 

 

 

A decent paint shop will be able to match the rest of the paintwork, or get a barely distinguishable difference.

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Silver is hard to paint match and is worse when it’s panel to panel like a new wing against a front door.

 

On a quarter they’ll try to paint it up to a body line in the panel.

 

If it’s a decent paint shop then they’ll blend it into the other panels so you can see the transition if the paint isn’t a 100% match . It’s down to the skill of the paint shop really .

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The engine in the Rob T Astra runs ok but I have K sealed it, and it leaks oil.  Knocks a bit when it starts up as well.  I noticed someone selling a recon head, water pump, oil pump, pistons and rings and other bits on ebay for £40, apparently taken off a car that had done 1000 miles and was rear ended.  I collected it, which got a bit complicated as the gent was on the IOW,  but fortunately got it before we were all told to stay put.  

It all looks pretty good and the pistons are reasonably clean with new rings.  My engine runs ok, and the markings on the pistons in the engine (H3) are different to the new ones (H4) though I think both are standard size.  I'm thinking of leaving the pistons and rings well alone as I generally feel that new rings in old bores is fraught with problems as the rings bed to the bores.  There is no lip on the bores though, remember years ago when you'd get a huge lip?  

Anyone an opinion?

I will be fitting the head and the water pump with a new belt.  The tensioner looks fine and not very old so I will leave that.   The head looks good with new studs, thermostat and I have a set of new bolts and head gasket set which was £4 from an autojumble.  I'll fit the new big ends out of the new set of parts for sure, which isn't difficult on an Astra as the sump drops off as long as the exhaust is loose.  

I'm not that skint really.  I'm just tight!

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It certainly exists Rob.  It remains easy to drive and totally reliable.  Up to 117.000 now though I admit the rear arches are looking a bit grim. Worse than when I bought it from you.  I'm finishing the engine, will probably swap the dash and possibly paint/clean up the underside while we are on lockdown.  But I am reluctant to start welding as I don't think we should be doing anything dangerous and I do not have enough gear to do it.

I have enjoyed owning it, though to this day I have no idea why I bought it.  I look forward to a chance for you to see it again one day after we have returned to normal, if we ever do.  Might be a good thing if a few things don't actually get back to where they were.  

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My vague memory of going around the V6 engine assembly at Ellesmere Port in 2003 was that they measured the bores and then chose a piston to suit.  IIRC they had about 8 sizes. It was a fleeting visit, we went to look at the leak test equipment. Further down the assembly line. 

If I were refreshing an engine (and I've only ever rebuilt one a RD350LC, that required 3mm oversize pistons)  I would use the old pistons, new rings and have a very light hone on the bore. But at that miles I'd leave well alone. 

If I was doing a cam belt I'd be fitting a new GM tensioner from a dealer. Always. 

 

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I've had the pistons out and the pistons look very good.  The bores have cross hatching visible and the rings look fine.  I've cleaned the carbon off the pistons and put them back. The big end bearings looked a bit worn so I have put a new set I had in. On these, it is straightforward to change bearings and other parts with the engine still in, though in hindsight I should have taken it out.  I would have got it reground that but would be against the staying at home rules currently and I don't know if the local machinists are open.  

 

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The engine was totally filthy.  I can't see any leaks from seals, so it looks as if the oil has been getting out of the cam cover gasket and the sump gasket.  The sump gaskets tend to leak on these.  The sump itself was full of crud and really took some cleaning. Rob told me when he got the car that it was well overdue for an oil change and it looks like this was the result.  I got a new sump gasket from Eurocarparts which proved to be a decent quality one, and I've used a trace of Loctite engine sealant on each side.  I also had to straighten the flange of the sump a bit, perhaps where it had been hammered off once before.  Wonder why it was taken off?

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The two bolts that hold the springs that clamp the end of the exhaust into the manifold both broke.  Fortunately, I have a spare manifold and two spare bolts.  The spare manifold has two broken screws that hold the heat shield on, but they should be easy enough to get out and helicoil if necessary.  I might have a go at getting the broken screws out with an easi out but I don't think it will be easy.

 

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Today head is back on but being lazy, it isn't running.  No excuse tomorrow though.  Was a bit surprised how bad the camshaft bearings are.  Doubt that this will cause a problem but they are scored.  Still everywhere is totally filthy.  Rummaged through my collection of new head gaskets sets and used a C16SE gasket which seems the right thickness.  It is an Elring one, if there's one thing I don't like, it is cheap head gaskets as often comes from ECP these days.

I'm going to write down there that this thing needs to be back running tomorrow. Let's see if I can do it!

 

 

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Well, it is back together.  All done.  Seemed to take an age, but I've never been over this car so there were a lot of damaged air pipes and stuff to be sorted.  

It is clattering though.  I've warmed it up and the tappet noise hasn't gone away.  Undecided whether to run it and hope the tappet pumps up or change it - I don't think it would be too difficult to change.  I do remember this happening before with these engines and it might take a while for the tappet to go quiet.  Any opinions are welcome.  

I changed the gearbox oil and it took me ages to get the new oil in, using a syringe and some tube.  Got a method now though so if I need to do it again, I'm sorted.

In other news, text message to say I have lost my job.  Well, never a dull moment.  I'm ok financially (will die poor from lack of pension but no cashflow issues) so life goes on.

 

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Previous (neglected) oil changes can make the tappets quite noisy on these. Sometimes a couple of three engine flushes does the trick, but in my experience they can take an enormous amount of abuse and never really get any worse.

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Thanks for the reply Cavcraft.  I used the hydraulic tappets that came with the new cylinder head that I bought, so I was hoping they would be ok.  Perhaps if I feel brave, I'll take it for a run and see if it goes quiet.  But I can't do that right now  - no essential travel needed! 

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Started it up this morning and the tappet is quiet. Which is great. Quite how that works - did it fill itself up overnight- I dunno but no worries, right? 

Not super smooth and I suspect the lambda sensor. I used a different one because I couldn't get the sensor out of the old manifold, though I didn't try that hard.  But I have a new four wire sensor I can use. The original sensors in these were single wire and I've never understood how they work at all. Return the signal from a delicate sensor through an exhaust system? 

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