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Old 06-06-2019, 09:15 AM   #81
AstraFasta
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Quote:
Originally Posted by maschinenbauer View Post
I still don't see how you could be having so many issues at such low mileage. This car is very simple. Was yours in a flood or something?
No flood lol. I think most of the issues were related to a half-hearted engineering effort to shoehorn a good Japanese automatic transmission. Other German cars we owned had similar maintenance requirements.

In any case, our Astra drives and looks like a 3 year old car.
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Old 06-15-2019, 10:46 PM   #82
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Replaced valve cover, gasket, screws and oil cap today. Original valve cover was coated with a lot of oil inside. As I noted before, the spark plug ceramics were soaked in oil. The aluminum head required some cleaning of baked on oil near gasket contact areas. I added a dab of RTV at the two 90-degree corners going up towards the camshaft gear area. Cleaned all electrical contacts and applied dielectric grease. Removal, cleaning and install took less than an hour total.

I think the two coil pack screws were T40 and the 11 cover bolts were E10. GM has torque specs and order.

I purchased Part number 55564395 from eBay "GM OEM" in green cardboard box with Korean lettering but shipped from China arriving in less than a week for ~$60, total including shipping. Online pictures were perfectly clear and I just assumed they said Daewoo with appropriate logo; alas eBay photo and box clearly displayed DaRwoo lol. Box had some semi-hologram GM label but I'm not convinced that label was real. Based on quality of materials, fit, and finish, this appears to be an OEM part (maybe made off-hours).

For installation, I found this video most helpful:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOyk9ilCEN4

Still getting a chuffing / sucking / blowing sound when I hit the accelerator hard. It only lasts about 0.5 seconds just after I hit accelerator. It happens at idle or even when "high idling" at 2000 or 3000 rpms after I punch the accelerator. I don't notice the sound when driving but it might be masked by road noise. Even the new oil cover has a bit of vacuum I need to overcome to take it off; not sure if that is a clue. Any ideas?

Repaired wiring harness at valve cover Whilst replacing the valve cover, I noticed black-plastic-ribbed-wire-tube was destroyed at the passenger-front corner of valve cover. The wires were all fine but would have been worn out soon without protection. I think this harness runs wires to MAF, intake actuator, etc. I repaired the plastic tube and used some 3M electrical tape 105*C type. This is very easy to check and takes 2 minutes to fix. I recommend everyone check that harness for damage.

Cleaned airbox, MAF, throttle-body. Couldn't get into the throttlebody as the butterfly would not open when my buddy depressed the gas pedal. I think that happens when the ambient temperature is very high. Regardless, the outside of the TB was very clean as I cleaned it approximately a year ago. The airbox had a few acorns but otherwise the intake was nearly spotless. Made sure airbox & hoses were properly fitted and securely fastened.

Fixed dowel for cargo cover of trunk. The left black round dowel for the hard cargo cover disappeared. I opened the trunk fuse panel and found the dowel inside just as the trunk light burnt my hand. I disconnected the trunk light and figured out how to reinsert and lock the dowel in 60 seconds.

Secret test of coil pack Last month I swapped the 45k mile OEM coil pack into the car. I swapped back the replacement coilpack and car idles better and quieter. Not sure if that is the coilpack or the valve cover work lol.

Last edited by AstraFasta; 06-15-2019 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:52 AM   #83
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Recharged air conditioning at shop as compressor was cycling a bit at startup. $150. AC compressor etc were replaced 2017. Ice cold quickly.

The coil pack and MAF were throwing codes but I think that was a combination of the AC compressor struggles and the computer recalibrating (new plugs, cleaned TB, cleaned MAF).
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Old 07-31-2019, 10:59 PM   #84
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Recharging AC did NOT resolve issues.

PROBLEMS
Engine has been skipping and bucking in two scenarios.

1. When starting in the morning, the AC compressor seemed to be cycling and causing engine to skip / drop RPMs. It was rather subtle.

2. When travelling on highway and slightly accelerating, engine would buck pretty hard a few times until I let up on the accelerator pedal. I had this happen on an old GTI and it was a bad spark plug wire.

FIX
I swapped original coil pack into engine. That resolved all issues. Ebay is selling AC Delco coil packs for about $50 shipped so I have on in the mail and will install next week.

New coil pack solved both #1 and #2. No codes being thrown.
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Old 08-01-2019, 07:00 PM   #85
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Adjusted recently installed emergency brake cable.

Also put zip ties on rear cable rubber bellows to prevent water from entering the cable.

Finally, inspected grease fittings for new drop links.
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Old 08-10-2019, 01:55 PM   #86
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Installed new AC Delco Coil pack. That was from eBay for about $45 in colorful AC Delco Box; part only had one ACDelco reference laser etched into end but quality looked top notch. Engine more responsive and snappy now.

Replaced accessory serpentine belt and tensioner.

Trickle charged battery.
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Old 08-12-2019, 08:20 AM   #87
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Thanks a lot for the valuable information
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Old 09-01-2019, 10:27 AM   #88
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Symptoms
- We had a loud knocking for about a second on first morning start up for several months.

- Random unidentified engine rattles and clunks at idle on passenger side of engine (I thought maybe water pump or alternator at first but pullies are tight, smooth, and don't wobble, no leaking, etc.).

- Otherwise engine ran superbly.

Work
Knocking seemed likely worn camshaft actuator sprocket. But after reading the PDF and recommendations (on the camshaft sprocket thread by @Astra08), I decided to test and clean both Cam actuator solenoids as that is much easier than replacing the sprockets.

- Several years ago we removed the orange filters.

- Visual inspection, both actuators looked to be in excellent condition.

- The black filters at the end of each actuator were rather clogged, especially the exhaust side.

- I have seen some people claim about 5 ohm spec on the internet. But both my actuators measured very closely to 11 ohms so that seems fine.

- I ran 12v via test power supply and both solenoids operated fine, with identical positioning resting and powered.

- Cleaned solenoids & black filters with brake cleaner and a toothbrush. Also did some cleaning carefully powering solenoids several times.

- Swapped intake and exhaust sides (I had done that before several years ago).

Results
- Knocking sound at start up is virtually inaudible. I'll have to start up for several days to confirm there is any knocking. Hopefully, we have avoided camshaft phaser replacement job.

- Random rattling noises at idle gone. Basically just hear the fuel injection tapping like we did when the car was new (forgot about that). Otherwise virtually silent on idle. Quieter when driving.

- Not sure if drivabilty or mileage improved. Engine already ran superbly.
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Old 11-30-2019, 01:36 PM   #89
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Astra has been running perfectly, like new.

Today P0128 showed again (Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) Below Thermostat Regulating Temperature). This seems to happen around November with first really cold days of the autumn. Seems to be an overly sensitive computer temp calibration. There was a TSB with free reprogramming for first 8 years/80k miles, which expired. Today I will simply clear the code with ScanGauge as I have done in years past.

Also, the camshaft actuator sprocket rattling noise at startup has completely disappeared. Several months ago we had full synthetic oil for first time and I think that fixed things. Given the pain and expense to change damaged sprockets, I will use only full synthetic going forward. It is worth trying IMO given complexity of valve system and reports here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstraFasta View Post
Still getting a chuffing / sucking / blowing sound when I hit the accelerator hard. It only lasts about 0.5 seconds just after I hit accelerator. It happens at idle or even when "high idling" at 2000 or 3000 rpms after I punch the accelerator. I don't notice the sound when driving but it might be masked by road noise. Even the new oil cover has a bit of vacuum I need to overcome to take it off; not sure if that is a clue.[/U]
Checked my buddy's XR manual transmission and he has the same chuffing. UK forums reported that this is a normal sound.
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Old 12-01-2019, 01:01 PM   #90
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Funny you mention the P0128 code, I got it for the first time ever this year and wondered if my thermostat was needing to be replaced soon. Glad it's only a computer issue, I've since cleared it but only driven the car once and now it is parked for the salt season.

I've been running full synthetic oil in my car since 100k km and can report that it loves it and runs well with it. Haven't had any major repairs or new noise in another 100k km since the change in oil
...
09 Vauxhall Astra XR3/STD
18" Team Dynamic MonzaR rims
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CD30 Mp3, Insignia jets, vxR surround, sharkfin antenna, Spoiler, Tint
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Old 12-01-2019, 04:40 PM   #91
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

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Funny you mention the P0128 code, I got it for the first time ever this year and wondered if my thermostat was needing to be replaced soon. Glad it's only a computer issue, I've since cleared it but only driven the car once and now it is parked for the salt season.
There is a service note to reprogram the BCM to widen operating temp range.

For us, in first real cold days and maybe first real hot days, the p0128 pops up a few times. This week, we cleared the P0128 code twice.

We monitor coolant temperature with the ScanGauge II, and it seems to operate around 185*F over the years.

Coolant temps were a bit volatile last year but I think that was a broken coolant tank cap not holding pressure; we replaced with OEM cap and had no issues since.
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Old 01-07-2020, 06:28 PM   #92
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Replaced rear tires with Goodyear Assurance AS (Astra XE model with steel wheels). Fronts are matching which we replaced a few months ago. These Goodyear tires ride nicely and are quiet.

Replaced 2 clamps on air intake pipe as old ones were slipping (clamps at air box and at throttlebody).

Replaced battery with Interstate H6 battery (730cca) per recommendation of YULAstra. Battery just arrived this afternoon by coincidence at the wholesaler and tested at 12.7v before install. They had a group 91 made in Germany with easy fill top which I passed on due to age (dated 4/2019) and low cca (630 I think).

The old Interstate battery lasted nearly 7 years, but required periodic charging the past few months with increasing frequency. Today 2 shops tested old battery as bad.

New unused battery measured about 12.6v with car off and 14.0v with car idling at battery terminals.

Interestingly, the "secret dash voltage meter" in my Astra seems to read about 1v low with car off and 1.5v low with car idling. That is comparing to a readings of a good DMM at the battery terminals (similar delta on old and new batteries). I cleaned a few dozen corroded contacts and grounds last year, so it is possible the "secret dash voltage meter" is reading from a corroded terminal that I did not clean last year. It also is possible the alternator PWM commands are based on the same data; if that were the case, I would expect the alternator to be overcharging the battery, which is not the case. Any thoughts are welcomed.
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Old 01-07-2020, 10:06 PM   #93
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Flushed brake fluid. Shop did that for $60 total which was a no brainer. Braking is smoother and less nervous. This also helps prevent system from rusting from inside out.
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Old 01-09-2020, 03:51 PM   #94
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Ordered new thermostat housing (24435102 Rock Auto)

Gasket for water outlet (25189205 Rock Auto)

***The 55578957 gasket is different.

Parts diagrams below for z18xer. US and Euro thermostats seem to have different opening temperatures.

US - It seems the US 24435102 is 92*C opening. That part is sold by RockAuto, Quirk, gmpartscenter, gmpartsgiant,
https://www.gmpartscenter.net/auto-p...omponents-scat
https://www.onlinecarparts.co.uk/oenumber/24435102.html

EURO - In europe the 55577072 is 105*C opening
https://nemigaparts.com/cat_spares/epc/opel/a04/f/26/
https://www.autovaux.co.uk/55577072-...sor-gm55577072
https://www.onlinecarparts.co.uk/oenumber/55577072.html
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Old 01-09-2020, 05:09 PM   #95
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstraFasta View Post
Ordered new thermostat housing (24435102 Rock Auto)

Gasket for water outlet (25189205 Rock Auto)

***The 55578957 gasket is different.

Parts diagrams below for z18xer. US and Euro thermostats seem to have different opening temperatures.

US - It seems the US 24435102 is 92*C opening. That part is sold by RockAuto, Quirk, gmpartscenter, gmpartsgiant,
https://www.gmpartscenter.net/auto-p...omponents-scat
https://www.onlinecarparts.co.uk/oenumber/24435102.html

EURO - In europe the 55577072 is 105*C opening
https://nemigaparts.com/cat_spares/epc/opel/a04/f/26/
https://www.autovaux.co.uk/55577072-...sor-gm55577072
https://www.onlinecarparts.co.uk/oenumber/55577072.html
I have to ask - did you order these because the thermostat housing is leaking, or is it because these are the last two remaining original parts in your car?

Really just trying to be funny, but it's pretty amazing what you've put into your car. While I'm very happy with my Astra, I'm not sure I'd be quite as diligent...just for kicks, I looked up the trade-in value for mine last night and the low estimate was under a grand...
...
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Old 01-09-2020, 06:15 PM   #96
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

hahaha. P0128 keeps popping up. Reading about 183*F stabilised so that seems a bit low IMHO. Cabin heat is a bit lukewarm. Last week cabin heat did not work for 30 minutes, then suddenly got hot, just as P0128 popped up. Those are tell-tales for failing thermostat.

The Astra required a lot of parts and labour. But it really does look and run like a virtually new car. The family really likes driving it. Learned to wrench a bit also.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:44 PM   #97
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Fair enough. And it's definitely appreciated that you share the info on the site. There aren't too many of these on the road, so the info really does help.

183 does seem a little low. I think my truck runs at 210, but I could be wrong. To be honest, I've never been too impressed with the heat in this car. It warms up but sure takes a while. The heated rear window & mirrors, on the other hand, are amazing. I've rented a lot of cars and nothing comes close to the level of heat the Astra rear window puts out. Probably what wore out the adhesive on my side-view mirror and caused the glass to fall out (of course, parked outside a crowded restaurant and with three other coworkers in the car...)
...
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:54 PM   #98
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Replaced thermostat & related big gasket today.
-- Cabin heat is uber hot now.
-- The P0128 still shows but that should clear hopefully after a few drive cycles.
-- Whole job probably took 3-4 hours including organizing tools and cleanup. Previously, we spent several hours researching the issue, parts, and process. A pro could do this in less than one hour I think.

Old thermostat was in ratty shape. An inner o-ring had completely deteriorated. I don't think that o-ring is replaceable as it has about a dozen small rubber nipples affixing it to a round metal plate. I suppose old thermostat was leaking internally as the o-ring was missing and the dozen holes in the stamped steel for the nipples also might have allowed water to flow.

Car was on slight incline. Drained coolant via radiator lower drain valve with a hose into a bucket. Just over one gallon of coolant came out (squeezed upper radiator hose a few times).

The upper radiator hose was a bear to remove (hose was only 3 years old). Also the lower right E10 bolt was a bit of a challenge to reach.

Just a few drops of coolant drained out of thermostat hose or housing.

The four E10 bolts need to be torqued carefully else the plastic housing breaks for some during this process.

Added about a gallon DexCool mixture following the Astra coolant guide at SaturnFans.

Our Astra has 80k miles; auto transmission oil contaminated coolant about 4 years ago, so that may have accelerated deterioration of thermostat.

When we replaced the transmission, coolant system was flushed several times, all hoses were replaced, and new Dexcool mixture was added. Today, the coolant looked pretty transparent and clean.

New thermostat housing (24435102 Rock Auto); this is stamped 92*c.
--The original thermostat was 24435102 also stamped 92*c.
--UK thermostats seem to be different part number and higher temp.

Gasket for water outlet (25189205 Rock Auto)
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:33 PM   #99
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

According to service manuals, some error codes may take up to three drive cycles to ensure the repair is correct before extinguishing the engine light. Other error codes are reset when ignition is turned on or right after the engine starts up.
...
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Old 01-23-2020, 12:09 PM   #100
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

FYI - when changing the coolant cap a few years ago, I found a few big chunks of a broken o-ring in the translucent coolant reservoir. I recall the rubber bits had small nipples and the size was similar to that of the missing thermostat o-ring. Had no idea then what the o-ring parts were from but I (wrongly) guessed it might have been from the broken yellow coolant tank cap.

So, if your Astra seems to be running cool or has a thermostat related code, might be worth opening your coolant reservoir to see if there are any thermostat o-ring residuals at the bottom of the tank. Just make sure engine is very cold before removing the coolant cap!

After installing the new thermostat, the cabin heat gets blazing hot very quickly, even in deep sub-zero degree temperature. I think engine is more elastic and less torquey. Coolant sensor registers ~92*C after about 2 miles on the highway, where temp seems to stabilise. Sometimes temp will creep up to around 96*C for a short period. Before the thermostat change, the coolant temp stabilised around 82*C. The old and new thermostats both had 92*C stamped on the respective casings.

Astra has been through several 30 minute drives and P0128 code has not disappeared on its own. Will manually clear once I get the ScanGauge back.

OEM headlights are much brighter and whiter with the new battery. The difference is very obvious.
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