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Old 03-19-2019, 09:21 PM   #1
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TheBirdy is on a distinguished road
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Location: Pensacola FL
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2008 Astra XE
Happy New here, new to Saturn

Sorry if this is in the wrong place, I didn't see an "introductions" section.

I'm Bird, I work on alot of crazy things, usually little British cars.

My neighbor moved away and got a new Subaru after his roommates stole his Saturn and he abandoned it. He's giving it to me for next to nothing because he figures that's about what its worth to him.
He took some fuses out so they couldn't drive it and let it sit in his yard for about a year.

Well I went over with some fuses and a battery after he finally got me the key and went to check on how bad it was.
The interior is completely covered in mildew and a bunch of things did not work at all, but it fired right off and putted to life.

I limped it over to my house and turned it off, not wanting to see if the fan was working or not the hard way. Today i took a look at it and added some big fuses I didn't know were missing and now the back panel has power so all the lights and locks and things are working again.

Its missing parts and in trouble in a bad way, but I plan to fix it up and make it a nice little daily. He said it needs a new ignition coil, and from the bad misfire I dont doubt it. Its a deep blue 5door hatch 2008 XE.

Its missing the glove box completely and the Blower motor does not seem to turn on, also the key fob is missing the unlock button (as in the rubber bit is still in the fob but the button has broken its solder and since fell out)

I would love to get the Vauxhaull grill and badges but the places to get them seem to be old links. Any tips or pointers for getting in the right direction?
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:22 PM   #2
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Location: Silicon Valley
Posts: 194

2008 Astra XR
Default Re: New here, new to Saturn

Welcome, sounds like a project car that moves. Have a look at the huge thread on the coil device. There is a lot of good info there.The price and sourcing of these items have changed a lot the last five or six years, Amazon seems to always carry 2-3 of the most reputable ones.

There are a lot of good videos online on how to clean cars, and a Brit has a good one on a vandalized Vauxhall Astra that sat and looked a bit wet. I will PM you a link when I find it again. The front seats come out pretty easy to make bringing them into your shop or home to deal with it better. Look for two T-40 screws to loosen and note the tabs-inserts up front.There is a single wire bundle that readily detaches the safety features.

As for parts, buying from a website that gives you access to the inventory of multiple auto depots will be a big help. After you find what you will want to:

1.) Ask if they ship. Not all do.

2.) Ask them to take new or better photos of what interests you and to text them for your look-see. The car may be onsite quite a while and not in the same shape as the photos presented.

3.) Try to bundle things together to save on a larger purchase and shipping. Watch an episode of those picker guys from Iowa for the lingo and negotiating skills.

4.) Respond to a few threads so you get 15 posts as soon as possible and you get to provide links. I am as obnoxious as they come and they tolerate it around here. Or post an obviously broken link (make an obvious space) in an emergency.

Hell we want to see what's up, so be in touch.
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Old 03-20-2019, 07:46 PM   #3
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2008 Astra XR
Default Re: New here, new to Saturn

Welcome aboard!

I think Rock Auto has the most reliable catalogue and a decent array of availability, but yes Amazon and eBay are the best price sources often. I can get some parts in the city but parts stores seem to think these are BMWs judging from the pricing. There is a ton of good information on this forum concerning both common and less common maintenance issues.

I purchased my XR in November 2018 and had to do a few repairs to get it up to snuff. I've been driving it this week to flesh out any minor things to chase before handing the keys to my kid. Honestly, it's a fun little car and I'm half tempted to keep it for my daily.

Agreed with JFS on the matter of being very interested in your experiences going forward as it's always helpful and enjoyable to compare notes. I will try to do the same as although I won't be putting the majority of miles on the Astra I will be the one maintaining it.
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Old 03-22-2019, 12:24 PM   #4
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Fan blower motor resistor usually dies from dirty cabin air filter. Popular failure on the Astra. It is likely someone removed glove box to try to access blower fan/resistor. I would guess either the blower resistor wires or the resistor have been removed. It is really tough to get out so there is a good chance someone just disconnected the wires. There are 2 harnesses going into it if I remember correctly. If you connect the wires and have only high blower speed, you can replace the resistor pack (typically a fuseable resistor blows that can be easily tested and replaced DIY costs a few cents to soldier in- I have a post on that).

If the car was parked on a hill, water may have entered the blower motor. So take that out and check it is spinning freely. It has a cheap brass bearing so I clean and oiled mine.

For mold purposes, use some lung protection! I would gut the interior, sanitize, and replace with that of a junkyard car.

The spark plugs seem to deteriorate in say 30k miles. The big gap stresses the coil pack and kills that. So replace plugs with top-end along with coilpack. That is typical failure mode on the Astra.

If your car is manual transmission, clutch problems seem to hit these around 100k miles. That is a difficult and expensive repair so consider that. I haven't seen many people with higher mileage and no major transmission service.

If this is an automatic transmission, the radiator is defective. Check that the coolant is perfectly clear and not colored/milky from mixing with transmission fluid. If they have mixed, the transmission is likely on very short life. If coolant is OK and transmission seems to shift properly, install a cheap separate transmission cooler to prevent this issue.

Also, the timing belt is up for change as this is an interference engine (unless you have evidence belt was already changed). I have seen lots of recommended intervals but 10 years/100k is longest. You should get a kit to replace the belt, idler etc whist you are there. I have not seen many failed belts here but the timing belt idler pulley spits out oil on several cars (mine included) so could fail I suppose (I haven't heard any cases but oil spitting out is path to failure)
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Old 03-22-2019, 11:29 PM   #5
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2008 Astra XE
Default Re: New here, new to Saturn

Thank you so much for the tips AstraFasta, those kind of things are definitely what i was looking for. i plan on doing the timing for sure.
I'll definitely make the trans cooler a priority i haven't check the fluids yet, tomorrow is the first time I plan to work on it in depth.

I figured it was a bad coil pack, i plan to do a full tune up but i will price the timing as well. as for the interior its not quite as bad as to gut it, but i'm definitely going to wear my paint respirator to clean it.
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Old 03-23-2019, 09:19 AM   #6
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So check coolant is clear before starting anything. Else you will likely need to install a new transmission and replace all the cooling hoses (because the oil eats the hoses quickly from inside).

For tune up, the Astra is quite fickle. You might want to add a few easy steps which I found help performance a lot (search for details here)

- Clean throttlebody (use only throttlebody cleaner as carb cleaner will destroy coatings)

- Clean MAF sensor (use only MAF cleaner)

- Replace air filter

- Remove the orange plastic filters on the "camshaft solenoids"
(GM issued a notice on this)

- Replace the alternator pulley if accessory belt squeals particularly under stress (startup, with A/C on, accelerating). GM issued a notice on this for Auto transmissions. The Astra was sold with a steel pulley and the replacement is aluminum with some fancy tech inside. This may have been replaced by prior owner (replacement alternators should come with this pulley). Old pulley ate accessory belts so replace the belt. Also check that the tensioner did not get destroyed and is not bouncing all over the place.

- Do a voltage drop test and clean battery terminals, alternator terminals, body grounds, engine grounds, etc.

- Clean the rain drainage passages behind each front wheel (from the scuttle panel down to the "spout" hidden behind the wheels). You will need to remove a few plastic fasteners holding the plastic wheel well liners. I had a few pounds of dirt behind each wheel well.

This thread provides some view on maintenance I did on my Astra
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Old 03-23-2019, 10:17 AM   #7
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2008 Astra XR
Default Re: New here, new to Saturn

Just happened to get a vauxhall grill for my astra. You will be looking for the facelift version ( I cant remember the year) but there are 2 versions: One with 7 clips and one with 6(?).

I believe this will work. That is if the seller is willing to ship overseas. That was my biggest issue when getting mine. I have seen tons of these grills but there was only one seller willing to ship mine across, and it cost me a lot.

Edit: added another link.
'08 Saturn Astra
-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 04-05-2019, 07:32 AM   #8
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Thanks, but on the first link it's sold already(
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Old 08-12-2019, 08:28 AM   #9
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Congrats on making an important mark.
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