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Old 06-13-2009, 12:43 AM   #1
Astra La Vista!
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2008 Astra XR
Wrench VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

Xenon over at www.astraownersnetwork.co.uk wrote an article about how to swap out the intake snorkel on his 1.6L Astra H and replace it with one from a VXR. Well, a few weeks ago I decided to do the swap on my 1.8L engine and ordered the parts through fellow forum dude, mdcclxxvi. The parts arrived yesterday and it took me all of about fifteen minutes to complete the swap this afternoon after work. The factory airbox is maintained, and you can "de-restrict" it by way of Grymhawk's excellent post here.

The snorkel swap involves replacing the snorkel (obviously) plus the flexible tube connecting it to the airbox inlet. The part numbers for the snorkel and tube are 55558369 and 55558368. These are European part numbers, which means that your North American dealer won't be able to get them. You need either a friend or family member currently living in Europe to buy them for you, or help from our previously mentioned fellow forum dude. As for tools, you'll need a T20 torx and a 13mm wrench (spanner) or socket/ratchet.

First things first. Open your hood (bonnet) and remove the plastic grill. There are three T20 torx screws holding it to the top of the upper radiator support; one at each end and one to the left of the warning sticker (by "left" I mean "your left, when viewing the car from the front, looking backwards"). There is actually provisions for a fourth screw to the right of the hood latch assembly, but I am at a loss to explain why Opel didn't bother on our cars. FWIW, Xenon's article shows all four screws holding the grill in place on his European Astra.

Once the screws are removed, give the grill a firm upward tug. Start near one headlight and lift up on the grill while pushing down on the bumper cover. The first clip should pop free. Continue along until the entire grill is disengaged. If you try to use some sort of tool to pry the grill upwards, you risk damaging the paint on the bumper. I've had the grill out twice now and have never had to pry.

Next, remove the old connector tube between the snorkel and the airbox. The tube is corregated so it will compress slightly, giving you room to pull it out without damaging it. I found that it helped to do this swap after the engine was fully warmed up, since the heat seemed to make the plastic tube more pliable and less likely to crack/split/tear during removal. I suppose you could wait to remove the tube until after the snorkel has been removed, but this was the route I took.

Next, remove the three 13mm bolts securing the left side of the upper radiator support. There are three more on the right side (one is hidden behind the washer fluid filler port) but you actually don't need to touch these. With the three on the left removed, you can lift up on the support just enough to wiggle the factory snorkel out. It was a little difficult at first, but I didn't have to overly bend anything and it took about a minute of fiddling before finding the correct angle to remove the snorkel. The support returned to its normal position after everything was swapped out and wasn't permanently distorted or bent upwards in any way. If for some reason you are having trouble, it's only three more 13mm bolts.

Once you've removed the three 13mm bolts on the left, remove the T20 torx screw directly to the left of the empty holes. This screw locks the snorkel in place. You will note the heads of three plastic posts in slotted holes that actually secure the snorkel to the radiator support. Removing the screw allows you to shift the snorkel to the left and disengage it from the support. Now all you have to do is carefully lift the support up enough to wiggle the snorkel out. Like I said, it might take you a minute or so to find the correct angle and rotation to get it out, but it can be done with only minimal effort.

The VXR snorkel actually goes in a lot easier than the old 1.8L snorkel. So easy, in fact, that I can't even remember if I had to lift up on the radiator support or not. Slide the plastic posts in place, reinstall the three 13mm bolts, and lock the snorkel in place with the T20 screw. Like the old tube, the new tube will compress to give you the room needed to install it once the snorkel is firmly in place. There should be no need to remove the airbox! The grill pops back in very easily. Secure the grill with the remaining three T20 screws and you're done!

Below are four pics I took during the swap. The first is pretty boring, but it does show you the basic layout if you aren't currently standing in front of your own car. The second shows the grill removed, while the third shows a close-up of the three 13mm bolts and T20 torx screw removed. Finally, the fourth shows a close-up of the new flexible tube installed.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg VXR Intake Snorkel Swap 001.jpg (148.9 KB, 355 views)
File Type: jpg VXR Intake Snorkel Swap 002.jpg (140.5 KB, 345 views)
File Type: jpg VXR Intake Snorkel Swap 005.jpg (93.4 KB, 290 views)
File Type: jpg VXR Intake Snorkel Swap 008.jpg (140.0 KB, 385 views)

...
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Old 06-13-2009, 01:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

More pics.

The first shows a side-by-side comparison between the flexible tubes. The tube from our 1.8L Astras is on the left, with the VXR tube on the right. The angle and length (or lack thereof) of the VXR tube shows why you can't get away with using your old tube. I took some ID measurements of the two tubes and found them to be within about 1% of each other (about 5.8-6.0cm in diameter for both). The old flex tube certainly wasn't restrictive.

The second shows an above-angle shot of the two snorkels, with the VXR snorkel at the top and our 1.8L snorkel below. The VXR snorkel is pretty much a straight-thru design, while our 1.8L snorkels have three "chambers" most likely intended to cut down on intake noise. Even though the VXR snorkel flows more, it is actually a more compact design! This is also why I found it easier to install the VXR snorkel than remove the 1.8L one.

The third shows a head-on shot of the snorkel inlets, with the VXR above and our 1.8L snorkel below. The pic is actually a little misleading, since the 1.8L snorkel is a little closer to the camera than the VXR one (making the inlet appear a little larger than it actually is). I didn't notice this until I was reviewing the pics well after the swap was complete. Both feature prominent bellmouths to smooth airflow entering the snorkels. The outlet of the VXR snorkel (where it connects to the flex tube in pic #1) is 6.1cm in diameter, compared to 5.4cm for the 1.8L snorkel. That's a 30% increase in cross-sectional area (22.9cm2 vs 29.7cm2). The outlet of the VXR snorkel actually matches the inlet of the upgraded flex tube (which is about 6.0cm in diameter). Our 1.8L snorkels, on the other hand, go from a 5.4cm outlet into the old flex tube that is about 5.9cm in diameter.

But it is at the bellmouth where it really gets interesting. I took some pretty precise measurements (taken inside the bellmouths, not at their outermost edges) and came up with a cross-sectional area for our 1.8L snorkels of about 19.1cm2. The VXR snorkel has an inlet cross-sectional area of about 27.0cm2! That's a 41% increase. Also note that the VXR snorkel inlet and outlet cross-sectional areas are almost the same, where as the 1.8L snorkel inlet is very restrictive but opens up to a somewhat larger outlet.

The last two pics show the snorkels as installed in the car (1.8L first, VXR second). For some reason, the VXR snorkel also extends further forward. The edges of the bellmouth actually flares out, blocking the view of part of the radiator support, while the 1.8L snorkel appears to flare out behind it.

The car definately sounds louder, but not obnoxiously so. A short drive in city traffic gave me the impression that it does pull a little harder, but I'll need to wait until I can get it on the freeway and get the revs up so that the engine can really breathe (and hopefully take advantage of a less restrictive intake). I would have disassembled the intake system between the airbox and the throttle body to take some ID measurements and compare cross-sectional areas, but I didn't have my digital calipers with me at the time.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg VXR Intake Snorkel Swap 004.jpg (134.4 KB, 209 views)
File Type: jpg VXR Intake Snorkel Swap 006.jpg (129.5 KB, 287 views)
File Type: jpg VXR Intake Snorkel Swap 007.jpg (111.1 KB, 205 views)
File Type: jpg VXR Intake Snorkel Swap 003.jpg (145.0 KB, 209 views)
File Type: jpg VXR Intake Snorkel Swap 009.jpg (106.9 KB, 232 views)

...
"That's a Hruck Bugbear, manufactured in Eastern Europe in the eighties and imported to the States. People mock it as a poor man's Yugo. I consider it the pinnacle of Cold War Balkan engineering."

Last edited by Astra La Vista!; 06-13-2009 at 01:35 AM..

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Old 06-17-2009, 10:14 PM   #3
chavezr00
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Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

i like that idea i used a aftermarket one and it was to loud. how much was that?and how do i order it?

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Old 06-18-2009, 04:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digency View Post
Just curious, what happens if bugs or dirt get sucked into the snorkel?
They will get trapped in the air filter.

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Old 06-18-2009, 04:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

I'm going to be doing this swap as soon as the weather allows me so thanks for the tutorial ( going to be doing the airbox de-restriction as well)...seems to be pretty basic and thats always good news

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Old 06-18-2009, 08:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digency View Post
I don't know much about cars so bear with me, do you need to clean out the airfilter or replace it every so often?

Where can one purchase this snorkel swap?
The air filter is normally a replacement item. The service life depends a lot on where you live, and the weather & road conditions. (If you drive a lot in dusty conditions, you'll need to change it more often.) There are also re-useable air filters. The best known brand is K&N. Passions run high either for or against them because they can allow more air into the engine, but the paper (stock) filter will trap smaller particles.

The snorkel mentioned is for the Vauxhall VXR. This is our Astra as sold in Great Britain. Check the threads for part numbers, then find a friend who will buy it and ship it to you from England. If that sounds expensive, read the posts in the thread titled "de-restricting the airbox" http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=137459. There is a post about making your own snorkel from 2" PVC pipe. (I did it and the cost was less than $5.00USD.

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Old 06-18-2009, 10:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

I ordered the two items by way of another forum member, mdcclxxvi (aka: Roman Numeral Guy). I ordered them along with some other stuff in order to make shipping worth while. You'd have to contact him regarding what it would cost for just these two items shipped from Europe to him -- and what extra charges there would be to ship them from him to you.

SaturnRaycer's PVC piping intake is definately the cheaper way to go by a long shot, although it certainly isn't plug & play like the VXR parts are. Using 2" diameter PVC piping isn't a great improvement over our stock snorkel either, although it does eliminate the three resonance chambers.

...
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digency View Post
What is the difference, between VRX snorkel swap and a Cold air intake (part K&N 57-0589) other than the price.

I can purchase the Cold intake locally which is more convenient for me since I do not know anyone in the UK.
The VXR snorkel -- just like your existing snorkel -- draws 100% of its air from outside of the engine compartment. Only a tiny handful of aftermarket "cold air intakes" can do that job as well as the factory set-up. Most so-called "cold air intakes" use a contoured shield and gasket to try and seal off the area where the air filter resides from the rest of the engine compartment. I say "try" because 99% of them are not air tight and will draw some of the air from the area surrounding your hot engine (especially when the radiator fan is running, pressurizing the air within the engine bay). "Short ram intakes" make no effort whatsoever to protect the filter from this hot air, making them actually worse than a factory set-up in everyday city driving. The general rule of thumb is that for every 10F drop in temperature, there's a 1% increase in horsepower. That might not sound like much, until you realize that your engine compartment frequently sees air temperatures above 170F in stop & go traffic. On a day when it's only 70F outside, that's a potential 10% drop in horsepower! It is only under constant cruising when the underhood temperatures are kept lower would a cold air or short ram intake pay dividends.

PS: That K&N part number you quoted is not for a "cold air intake". Nowhere in the product documentation do they use the words "cold air", probably because that kit doesn't use a shield to try and reduce the amount of hot air drawn in from the engine bay.

PPS: Try p-mailing mdcclxxvi regarding what it would cost to have the VXR parts shipped to him and then to you.

...
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Old 06-20-2009, 08:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

Woot got my installed today and did the derestriction.I took it for a drive and the results were interesting. I'm not sure i picked up any power persay but it feels like 2 thinks have happend...one the torque curve seems to be flatened i feel like it pulls earlier in the power band and it seems as though the revs get up to the power band quicker...overall i'd recommend this upgrade it's quick easy and cheaper than most of the CAI out there and it still pulls all the air from the front rather than floating in the hot engine bay

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Old 04-10-2010, 05:59 PM   #10
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Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

Woohoo!!! I did the VXR snorkle swap and derestricted the airbox!

I'm excited because I took the car for a drive after and one of the things I hope it corrected in fact appears to have done so. There was always like a 'dead spot' or 'bogging down' in the powerband throughout the 2000's rpm range and it seems to have been eliminated now (driving over the next several days or more will show me for sure). The RPMs appear to be quite a bit more free flowing as you're going through the gears.

I have a 'somewhat' scientific (keyword is somewhat) test to see if any power/speed is gained that I have tested completely stock everyday for the past two months on my way home from work. The results have been dead on for two months everytime I've done it (5 days a week) STOCK. I can now do this test after this modification and see what happens. I understand the psychological variable with all modifications. I anticipate 1 or 2 mph difference, but we shall see.

Hint: acceleration, shift points, bump in road, 50mph, 55mph, 53 trials only 1 result varied on human error (shift point error). This may sound absolutely ludicrous, but the consistancy is what has me super intrigued. I will discuss in detail at the end of next week (I only get this chance once a day coming home from work).

Stay tuned. We can then debate any flaws or factors that may play a role.

...
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Old 04-13-2010, 09:09 AM   #11
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Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

Hey NJAstra

I know exactly what you are talking about when you say that dead spot in the lower revs. I notice the same thing in my 5spd. It's like the engine revs ok upon throttle tip-in, but hit's a flat spot then it starts to rev willingly after this flat spot.

goob

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Old 05-03-2010, 10:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJastra View Post
Woohoo!!! I did the VXR snorkle swap and derestricted the airbox!

I'm excited because I took the car for a drive after and one of the things I hope it corrected in fact appears to have done so. There was always like a 'dead spot' or 'bogging down' in the powerband throughout the 2000's rpm range and it seems to have been eliminated now (driving over the next several days or more will show me for sure). The RPMs appear to be quite a bit more free flowing as you're going through the gears.

I have a 'somewhat' scientific (keyword is somewhat) test to see if any power/speed is gained that I have tested completely stock everyday for the past two months on my way home from work. The results have been dead on for two months everytime I've done it (5 days a week) STOCK. I can now do this test after this modification and see what happens. I understand the psychological variable with all modifications. I anticipate 1 or 2 mph difference, but we shall see.

Hint: acceleration, shift points, bump in road, 50mph, 55mph, 53 trials only 1 result varied on human error (shift point error). This may sound absolutely ludicrous, but the consistancy is what has me super intrigued. I will discuss in detail at the end of next week (I only get this chance once a day coming home from work).

Stay tuned. We can then debate any flaws or factors that may play a role.
The 'dead spot' that I referenced in the power band is not completely eliminated, but there is definitely some improvements there.

OK, so here are some results. Not exactly scientific, but the closest that I can do.

So as partially referenced above, I performed a test that has lasted for quite some time. I started this test with the stock air intake setup really just for fun and was getting like 95% or higher consistancy which made me say hey, this might be a good test. So bear with me, I understand the many variables and possible things that could be wrong with this test but am willing to discuss them in a civil manner or answer any questions that may arise.

The test: There is a toll booth near my job. The car is already running/driven for about 7 minutes through a couple parking lots and 3 traffic signals and a 2 minute stretch of highway. I'm assuming that for every test, the car reaches normal operating temperature by the time I hit the toll booth.

Slowing down through the toll booth (EZ-Pass) to 20mph and second gear for EVERY test and using a visual cue to start the trial to drop the pedal and have aggressive acceleration in each gear. I continue to accelerate in each gear to Test A 3000 rpm and Test B 4000 rpm (I should have tested 5000 and 6000 rpms but I did not). The test concluded when I hit this big lump in the road (unmistakable as the car drops suddenly) which I used as the finish line so to speak.

Stock air intake set up:
There were 53 trials (yes, I did this for a while on the way home everyday from work).
Test A 3000rpm shifts - 39 trials (1 thrown out since I messed up shifting into the low 3000s). Almost always by the time I reached the big lump in the road, I was shifting into 5th gear at 50mph
3 trials with A/C on yielded 48, 49, 48 mph.
Test B 4000rpm shifts - 8 trials. Not too many trials in comparison with this one but each time I hit 55mph by the time I hit the big lump in the road.
2 trials with A/C on yielded 53mph

*That's amazing consistancy!
The weather ranged from upper 30s to around 70. I dismiss this as a factor considering the consistancy. Results with the A/C may or may not have been different if I had more trials. I guess it would depend when the compressor engaged (if at all) during the pulls.

VXR stock intake setup (with stock filter):
Test A 3000rpm shifts: 10 trials. The results were consistantly between 51 and 52mph. 2 trials were with A/C on resulting at 50 and 51mph.
Test B 4000rpm shifts: 3 trials. The results again were consistant between 56 and 57mph. 2 trials with A/C on resulted with 56mph.
The temperatures varied quite a bit during these trials from 50s, 60s, 70s, and even 90 this past Saturday when I had to go into work.

I can still do more trials with the new intake set up but I am already seeing consistant results. I will post any changes or updates that I notice. I've been wanting to post the results but didn't want to be premature with the findings.

I guess take it for what it is. This resulted from just messing around a couple days and then I thought to have some fun with it. I was pretty astonished by the consistancy which made me think that there has to be at least SOME validity to this fun little test.

OK, now that I put this out there, please ask any questions, point out variables, be polite if you tear it down...I don't mind constructive criticism and willing to continue more runs (obviously using the VXR intake swap only). Can I claim a 3hp gain? Is there a way to figure out based on the mph increase exactly how much hp was gained? Unfortunately I do not know the exact distance. I suppose I can check that next time to get a rough estimate if that helps any.

PS - The sound has not increased too much, but between 2800-3200rpm is such a sweet sound.

...
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Old 05-04-2010, 11:04 PM   #13
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Thumbs Up Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

Thank you Adam Savage!

Your rudimentary math is probably pretty close. In high school physics class, Energy In = Results Out is fairly straight forward and linear. If X amount of energy gets you to a speed of Y, then X+3% energy should net you a speed of Y+3% -- all else being equal. Or to be more specific, Power = (Force x Distance) / Time. Of course everything is not equal and some things ramp up in a non-linear fashion (eg: energy required to offset air resistance at greater and greater speeds), but I think it's safe to say that you've nailed it.

The only way to get closer without using a dyno is to invest in a G-Tech Pro or Autometer D-Pic. These devices are pretty accurate for calculating things like 0-60 times, 1/4 mile times, g-forces, reaction times, etc. In a nutshell, you simply input your vehicle's (plus the driver's) mass and the device does the rest. As soon as you stomp on the gas the device begins to run, and stops when you've traveled a set distance (eg: 0.25 miles). It then takes the time it measured and compares it to the mass you set in, to calculate how much horsepower was required to make the run you just did.

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Old 03-11-2012, 05:28 PM   #14
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Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

Did the job today. Biggest PITA was finding the 20Torx which of course was right where I thought it should be. Job took less than half an hour on a sunny sunday after i washed the car. Included in the half hour was the time i spent spraying bugs off the condenser becvause acess was so easy without the grill. I also wiped down everything i could.

Note to future installers - i didnt take the elbo off when removing the snorkel. It came off easily as one piece, and went in as one piece as well.

I did remove two of the 13 mm bolts on the "right" side by the windshile washer because i like dope didnt remove the last torx and thought .....

Also, one of the 13mm bolts has a flat tip - that one goes in the front left side. the others ahve a pointed tip. when you dont get any bite from the front one you will start pulling out bolts and see that one is different.

did the swap and put the car in the garage. dont know how it drives. will report back in a week or so.

...
Astra XR-3-5 HP - Hamster Powered!
Dealer added options, & Infinity speakers.

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Old 06-10-2017, 11:27 PM   #15
JFS
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2008 Astra XR
Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

In the next few months, you will be seeing me asking about a lot of things all at once. I have some comp time from work I shall avail myself of in the next 3-4 months, and I just might drive you all batty as I firm up plans and get in my last round of questioning before pursuing a number of Astra projects. You will see a disclaimer like this each time.


I want to thank those that went before me in this thread for doing some really good footwork so that I did not have to. Although our vehicles are pushing on ten years old, my car has just turned 64K miles and I am continuing my pursuit to freshen and improve it in many ways. I sought out the parts mentioned for the addition of vital capacity and I can say that the parts necessary are still available on ebay.uk without having to look more than a few times over a couple weeks to find what was needed.

The number on the air intake I obtained is a bit different than what I had seen in this thread and elsewhere. The intake I purchased is from a 1.7 l diesel engine and not an XVR. There is a close-up of each part number. After looking intently for the XVR part (55558368) on the UK part of EBay, I could not find one. There were plenty on the German ebay.de and for a fair price, but with the value added tax and DHL shipping, the least expensive piece I could find was $228 after conversion from Euros. There were no troubles finding the piece (55558369) connecting the intake to the airbox on the British site; I found these ranging in price from $7 to $12 after conversion from Euros.

In stalking the elusive XVR intake (55558368), I kept noticing that the item for the 1.7 l diesel looked entirely the same. I decided to chance things and order that part, hoping that if not a direct fit, my bodging necessary to effect a proper fit should not take more than two or three dozen trips to Lowes, Home Depot, or NAPA. I found several of these for sale on ebay.uk for less than $18 after conversion from Euros.

After confirming that each vendor would ship to the US and for a decent rate, I made separate purchases of each item, $8 plus $12 shipping for the joining piece, and $18 plus $21 shipping for the intake part. So for a hair under $60, I was still able to make this upgrade with parts that are in very good condition.

Finally, everything was a direct fit without the need for chewing gum, bailing wire, and duct tape.

The intake:
Intake 8.jpg

Intake Part Number (I suppose one is GM, the other Vauxhall/Opel).
Intake 5.jpg

Intake pipe/panel hose (55558369)
Intake 7.jpg

Part Number
Intake 9.jpg

Fitted 1:
Intake 1.jpg

Fitted 2:
Intake 6.jpg

Fitted from front:
Intake 10.jpg

Let me know if I can be of help, delusion, or derision; take your pick.

JFS

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Old 08-15-2017, 02:39 PM   #16
Red5
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Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

I didn't see anyone mention it so if it's in the thread above I apologize in advance. There's another much smaller restriction in the top half of the air box. A metal ring was inserted presumably to prevent structural collapse, which is a joke. I got the edge out with a small flathead screwdriver and then sanded the interior of the hole to remove the plastic lip the metal ring sat against.

I'm sure this will result in a very minor gain but hey...it's free. Many thanks for the posts on the alternative intake snorkel and hose; I may try it in lieu of a K&N air box.
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File Type: jpg Top of Airbox.jpg (102.8 KB, 17 views)

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Old 03-29-2019, 03:59 PM   #17
FreedomSoftware
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Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

Reviving this thread. If anyone knows where else to find the bar intake and tubing to the air box, I would greatly appreciate it. Been looking online to no avail.

...
'08 Saturn Astra
-Debadge
-Vauxhall Grille
-Thule Roof Rack (and wind fairing)
-1.25" Lowered
-Windows Tint all around
-JVC Head unit
-Dual 12" Subs

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Old 03-29-2019, 04:17 PM   #18
FreedomSoftware
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Default Re: VXR Intake Snorkel Swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreedomSoftware View Post
Reviving this thread. If anyone knows where else to find the bar intake and tubing to the air box, I would greatly appreciate it. Been looking online to no avail.
Managed to somehow skip over JFS post. Going to look for those parts first before I start badgering for help on here.

...
'08 Saturn Astra
-Debadge
-Vauxhall Grille
-Thule Roof Rack (and wind fairing)
-1.25" Lowered
-Windows Tint all around
-JVC Head unit
-Dual 12" Subs

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